In personal news, after a very difficult month or two, last Saturday I reached a near-breaking point. I found myself going through my off-day running around donig “chores” that didn’t technically even needed doing–like working out, shopping for a gift for Chloe. I realized I had no emotional connection to what I was doing, become extremely robotic. This is a pattern in my life, and luckily I was spared that day the awful emotional plunges that follow the robotic period. I had a minor one–like an irregular emotional heartbeat versus an all out heartattack.

So I realized I had do something or the Big One would hit again as it did right about this time last year.

I was searching through my immense book colletion looking for a fiction work to read–even that is a step out of bounds for me, I haven’t read a fiction work since I don’t know even when. I remember reading Satanic Verses in 2000, and I can’t remember reading another fiction work since then. Unsurprisingly in my 4 giant Target totes not one fiction work.

I did, serendipitously come across some old Ira Progoff’s works, founder of the Intensive Journal Process. (IJ) That’s him above–looks like a just regular grounded dude, which is what I need more than ever in life.

So I’ve slowly been working my way through that and got Salman Rushdie’s new book Shalimar the Clown about a Kashmiri performance artist turned terrorist–going back to that well, Satanic Verses blew my mind. Also relevant, I thought, given things like the continued Cartoon Protests.

Anyway, IJ is to my knowledge a very unique format. The form of journaling that I think is the de facto one, most of us have and practice, is simply sitting down and writing. Maybe dating the process, events of one’s current life, a poem, some reflection, etc. I had neve rreally given any thought to that format being not necessarily the ideal one for a journal. Its the one I’ve practiced, but I find in the end the most it would really help me do is emotional catharsis. Obviously that’s a good thing, but there never seemed to be a larger momentum to the process.

IJ steps in to fill that void. It was designed to give a methodology to journal writing. It is based on years of field research, group work, Progoff’s own insights, tweaking, and so forth.

The principal aim of the methodology is to access what he calls the inner artistry of the unconscious. There is an inner momentum, telos, to the human frontal personality (the ego, not the Soul, even though sometimes the word psyche is used interchangeably for them). That is the “artistry” of one’s egoic life.

In Integral Terminology, there is an eros–a directional push–in all beings. This injunction seeks to access the frontal personality-egoic eros of, in this case, the being known as Chris (not the Soul who has Chris, nor the Witness shinning through Chris, nor yet the Spirit alone that IS) just Chris.

From a psychological perspective/paradigm, the ego is defined as the dynamic force of self-regulation and adaptation. In spiritual circles, ego is typically defined as the separate self sense (sin, ignornace), etc.

To combine the two, generically, you could say that ego as separation is when one latches onto and identifies with (exclusively) the ego as a formal principle of psychic coherence and healthy development in the world.

IJ then, through its methodology of journaling, seeks to unlock and make conscious the blocks to the inner erotic drive of the (healthy) ego/frontal personality.

Wilber talks about the Big 4: Spirit, Art, Morals, and Science. I have spent my life deeply involved in 3 of those (Spirit, Morals, Science), to the almost total neglect of the fourth–Art.

When I face decisions I invariably ask, “What is the nature of the forces at work in the world”–so I go and study the political, cultural, religious, scientific forces at work. Science, in the broad sense.

I ask, “What is my duty, what is right?” Morals. After having purviewed the scene the conditions of what is “real” (maybe real-ish), then I ask what is the best thing for me to do given those circumstances.

Finally after having arrived at what I concieve to be the best for the world, as I can imagine it, I say prayers of gratitude and ask for strength. Spirit. I return to the basic nature of the Present Moment, the basic Isness pervading the All and all, and ask for mercy, since I know I will, however well-intentioned, ultimately fail.

I hardly, if ever, ask “What is the beautiful response? What is the creative? What would best for me?


The greatest commandment, it is said, is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, body, and soul, and to love your neighbor as yourself.

As best as is possible, given the grace and lights afforded me, I Love God and Neighbor deeply. I have been a major failure at loving myself.

As much as it is part well-intentioned humility and a desire not to be focused on self, but Other, there is a way in which the ego (as negative sinful principle) warps this even to its own ends. That is, every other being in the universe deserves love except me. Therefore I am different, subtly special, and unique. All of which are untrue.

I’ve further realized that this tendency in me is strong because I don’t give enough energy to the ego (as positive eros–individuation and differentiation) to ward off its negative counterpart.

I don’t know that the IJP would be right for everybody. It can be at times a tad architectonic–with its multiple subsections like Personal History Log, Twilight Imagery Log, Steppingstones, Daily Log–and I have to be careful not to reinforce my masculine-systematizing mindframe, being more interested in the nuances and inter-relationships of the different sub-species and not simply do the practice and Feel into the momentum of my ego.

It has only been a week, but I have found the process has grounded me. While I love all others, however much they may aggravate me and/or me them, I often have a hard time living into life with others. I want to give myself, my insights, and my Love to them, but I often don’t allow that good will to be returned–most especially from God. I try to fight off God’s Love like it was a bacterial infection.

I don’t allow others to love me because it will force me to come to grips with why I don’t love myself. It will force me to live into the momentum of my ego (healthy), realizing that it is deeply finite.

Part of me would rather just identify with my Soul and Spirit and not ever deal with the vehicle, psychically–at least I do a good job of dealing with the vehicle physically.

What must be done, what should be done, these are the basic questions of my life.

What do I want freezes me. I want not to have to face the question of What I want. There is the Avoidance.

Detachment as a healthy spiritual practice warped into detachment as unhealthy psychological dissociation, failed individuation-integration-actualization.

For an adopted person, the rejection/acceptance pole is a very strong one.
Did my biological mother reject me or love me so much to give me away–knowing she couldn’t take care of me?
Did the Church (my spiritual mother) reject me by not allowing me to be a married priest, or did the accept me, giving birth to the True me?
Did my parents accept me or the child they wish they had? Is their love for me their acceptacne, and their disappointment with my lifechoices (Anglican over Roman Catholic [Dad] and moving to Canada instead of living in Cincy [Mom]) their rejection?
Or both?
To the degree that I choose the rejection pole, then I reject myself. If others have rejected me, then I reject myself.
Published in: on February 18, 2006 at 5:50 am  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. . . . the caterpillar fighting to leave the cocoon . . . this post was like witnessing a part of your breaking free . . . fight on, brother 🙂

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