So, how would we deal with these issues, since the programming is likely to be very deep. Some of our programming comes from pre-verbal ages, and it’s extremely difficult to address that intellectually. For instance, if our Mum or other important caretaker was disgusted by Poo, we could end up not understanding why we feel like no one seems to like us. Or if the fishwinner in our family of origin was anxious about how to fund yet another kidderoo.
This isn’t a medium to handle non-intellectual approaches, but I recommend Eugene Gendlin’s Let Your Body Interpret Your Dreams as an excellent primer on how to easily loosen the mind’s grip on Duality. Of course his classic Focusing wouldn’t hurt either. Developing a Both/And practice would be good. And you might consider Stan Grof’s When the Impossible Happens as another starting place.
Leo, Libra, Pisces, and Virgo
With all the action in Pisces this time of year – and especially with Chiron and Neptune touring Pisces – whatever planets, lights, angles, asteroids, and other hot spots we have in Virgo will be triggered. This culture has no space for Virgo, so whatever we have in Virgo will be tainted with at best internalized Rejection, and at worst Self-Hate. As Pi reminds us again and again that under her watchful eye we can no longer avoid taking Responsibility for our self-sabotaging habits, we’re asked to Clear away this detritus of Western Culture.
Virgo is the Bridge from Leo-Ego to Libra-Other. Like all Signs, Leo has it’s “good” and “bad” sides. When you go to a play or a rock concert or a lecture (where there are few on stage soliciting Attention from many in the audience) and leave feeling exhilarated, you’ve experienced Leo’s good side, where the “star” is conjuring up communicable good vibes and sharing; when you leave feeling drained, you’ve experienced Leo’s not-so-good side, where the “star” is harvesting your Energy.
If you’ve ever experienced a situation where everyone is treated equally, everyone expresses their opinions and feelings while everyone else listens and acknowledges, and the only person who’s different is a facilitator, not a leader, you’ve experienced Libra. The only example I can think of is a well-facilitated AA meeting. Some teams, like Pete Carroll’s Stuporbowl team, or a symphony, where everyone expresses their talent and everyone else makes space for it, also work that way, though there’s usually a Leonine leader involved.
I hope that helps you appreciate Virgo’s “problem” – how to get from Leo to Libra. In other cultures it’s not a problem. In Hinduism for instance, Shiva the “Destroyer” (Recycler, Deconstructor) represents a full third of the Godhead, or a third of the Action in the Universe. Western Culture’s institutionalized aversion to Ego Death is a whole ‘nother story. In classical Western Astrology, Virgo is “Critical” and “Detail-Oriented” – that’s as close as they can get without broaching Ego Death. And yes, when we internalize Criticism, it’s an Ego Death.
Ego Death is great – without it there is no Growth in Consciousness – but it feels worse than just about anything else we can imagine. Western Culture, which trains us to Identify with the Body and mind rather than Spirit or Energy, equates Ego Death to physical Death. Alzheimers is a testament to how Western Culture equates Ego Death to intellectual Death. Its growing epidemic is an example of Pi’s mandate that we take Responsibility for our Self.
Denial, meanwhile, is tricky. As Gendlin tells us, it like Dreams is not black and white. When someone Criticizes us and it hurts, or when we misinterpret their body language or words and believe they’re Criticizing us, what is it we’re “Denying”? We’re Denying Pi’s mandate to take Responsibility for our own Emotions. If we were Neutral, we would step outside of our Behaviors, consider the Criticism objectively, and decide whether it was useful for us or not. We might even have to convene a meeting of our Community, and ask whether a majority of our peers felt that way, in which case we might want to adopt a new Behavior in order to please our Community.
Or, if the Criticized Behavior is part of our True Self, change Communities. But that’s seldom the case, because Behaviors are to Self as Color is to a Chameleon. Behaviors are like the clothes we wear, they aren’t “Us,” so changing them shouldn’t normally be objectionable. Nevertheless, we might decide that the Community is not open-minded enough to tolerate Behaviors which are benign, and their prejudice might encourage us to seek a better match.
Notice that it’s never about Abandoning a Behavior – all Behaviors are useful in some circumstances. It may be about breaking a habitual Behavior, or learning a new one. It’s when we Unconsciously and habitually use the same Behavior for every circumstance, whether it’s relevant and useful or not, that we get in trouble. Then we need to become Conscious of the Habit, and learn new ways of responding to circumstances and feelings.
Otherwise, we’re just dealing with oversensitivity to Criticism. If Criticism makes us “feel bad,” then we need to start Tapping. We’d probably start with something like “Even though this Criticism makes me feel bad, I deeply and completely Love and Accept myself” or the like, then follow wherever that leads.
But that’s just a start. When we’re moving into Dropping our Masks and Allowing our True Self to come through in its own unpredictable and inimical way, and claiming our Power, when we’re allowing Yindependence and Yintegrity – both of which by their very nature are Revolutionary, which is to say, not acceptable to the Olde Culture – we’re working in a whole ‘nother realm. Rules change in the Reaches, as Ursula likes to say. Which makes our Neutrality all the more important, or we’ll burn out or burn up quickly.
We have to recognize that some Behaviors can evoke violent reactions from the defenders of the Olde Guard, and be willing to “lose (many) battles in order to stay alive to win the war” – remember the part about a baseball player going to the Hall of Fame for getting on base thirty percent of the time. Some Behaviors, even if they represent your True Self, can be equivalent to sitting in the front of the bus when you’re black, or being openly Gay in an egregiously anti-Gay gathering. If you attempt them without Support, they can get you dead, physically. Or worse.
Changing the Subject and Paying Attention
So where do we start. First we make a Decision – to bring our Response to Criticism into Consciousness so we can work with it. We could do the same with Both/And, Deciding to bring every Either/Or situation into Consciousness for review. Decisions aren’t actually worth a lot, since they barely scratch the Unconscious, but it’s the place to start. It at least will bring our Consciousness to the right place.
Then we move to PIAVA. PIAVA has the potential to penetrate deeply into the Unconscious. And as usual, the important piece is in Changing the Subject and Paying Attention.
For instance, if we succeed in Changing the Subject and Paying Attention, guess what we’re going to catch ourself doing! We’re going to catch ourself
Criticizing ourself for reacting to Criticism.
Okay, we’ve reached the real “Funhouse Mirror.” That’s the Spiritual function of Hardcopy Reality (aka Matter) – to reflect back to us what we haven’t brought into Consciousness yet. Of course if we’re reacting to other people Criticizing us, it’s a Mirror for Criticizing ourself! That’s such a reliable process that we can actually start with
Oh, I’m criticizing someone! What am I doing that this Mirrors?
This is the deeper nature of Denial; it’s not Linear or Binary; it’s a Funhouse Mirror. It will take you there, but not through Duality. It’s very seldom what you think it is, or its opposite; it’s usually something related. Gendlin’s book explores this fabulously. When we Criticize someone for Criticizing us, then we’re really chasing our own tail and in danger of turning into Butter.
Criticism is a vicious circle; the more we Criticize ourself or others, the more Critical we get and the more Criticized we get. This is how we destroy Confidence. Destroying Confidence is part of Virgo’s Leo-to-Libra task, but it doesn’t have to be done negatively.
If you’re thinking, What do you mean it doesn’t have to be negative – it’s Destruction, isn’t it!?! then you’re stuck in the Western Mind – go back to “Changing the Subject and Paying Attention,” do not collect $200, and start over.
All we need to do, is convert it to a virtuous circle, and we do that by Paying Attention.
As soon as we Notice ourself Slipping into Criticizing anyone for anything, ourself especially, we need to Congratulate ourself for Noticing, rather than Criticizing ourself for Slipping.
Doesn’t matter how many times you Slip, or how deeply you’ve Slipped into Criticism, Stop, and back out. You might be yelling at someone about what’s wrong with them, or they might be yelling at you about what’s wrong with you, or you might be suicidal over your phenomenally monumental inadequacy – doesn’t matter. Stop. And Congratulate yourself for Noticing. If you’re yelling at someone, just Stop, and calmly apologize – Oh, Sorry, I was possessed by a Demon, I didn’t mean any of that! If someone else is yelling at you, walk away or hang up the phone; you really don’t need that kind of krap and you don’t need that kind of Community. You may not even need that kind of parent or sibling. If you’re suicidal, just put the pills back in the cabinet and move on.
Your PIAVA is to just keep Noticing. The more you Notice and Act on it, the easier it gets, and the sooner you Notice. The sooner you Notice, the easier it is to Act on it. And the more you Act on it, the easier it is to Notice. Easy, actually, you just have to start Noticing.