Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Seven Roles// #5 The Priest

When we leave the All that Is we are ‘fragments’. Picture a spark of pure white light. One of the first things we do is choose our ROLE. Picture the white spark passing through a prism and becoming one of the 7 colors within the white.
Priest // 4 to 5% of the population
The Priest is the Cardinal pole of the Inspirational Roles [the Ordinal pole is Server.] Priests are the heart of humankind.
The Priest is a channel. S/he lifts others up, inspires them to higher aspirations. Using causes, symbols and optimism, the Priest provokes noble virtues and raises the consciousness of the rest of us. We owe them our utopian visions, our spiritual awakenings, our aspirations toward the light.
In the Positive Pole of Compassion, Priests feel sympathy for others and seek to alleviate their pain by encouraging them to discover a way out of whatever misery they find themselves in.
These extremely high-frequency folks can live lives of such agape [unconditional love] and compassion that they tend to cycle off the planet much faster than the rest of us do.

Often impulsive and quick-thinking, Priests can overreach, though.
In the Negative Pole of Zeal, the Priest crusades to reform the perceived wrongs of the world.
In fact, numerous Baby and Young Priests were, literally, instrumental in sending those Medieval knights on their Crusades against the ‘Infidel’ in Jerusalem—something no Mature or Old Priest would ever do. Older Priests recognize that the ‘Other’ is every bit as human as ‘We’ are.
Younger Priests, however, can make much negative karma for themselves and lead others to do the same if they’re manifesting their negative pole of zeal.
On the other hand, the Priest in its positive pole can help save us from ourselves in the right circumstances.

Many Priests literally fulfill the name of their Role type, of course. They pursue a career in the field of religion. It might be as sheikh in a temple, rabbi in a synagogue, priest in a church, or minister of a congregation.

Historically, Priests have served in the capacity of tribal shamans or holy personages, temple priests or priestesses in ancient nations such as Egypt and Babylon, as Monks in monasteries and nuns in convents. Their role was to initiate people into the mysteries, to reveal higher truths, to lead in the worship of God or gods, and to speak for the deity. Wherever and whenever there has been pious activity, there has been a Priest.

Priests may find their calling in the medical profession, healing bodies rather than minds, although this is more often the province of Servers. A Priest in this role will usually be more aware than the Server of the psychological components of healing. The Priest/Server pair can make a great all-round healing team. The Priest wants to heal the spirit, the Server wants to heal the body. Still, on occasion, physical healing can be every bit as much a natural function of the Priest as the Server.

Priests are not always blatantly pious or religious. Another favorite life role can be psychology, covering every activity from counseling to psychiatry. Here they can apply their natural desire to heal to the task of healing the minds and spirits of their clients. Priests are very big on mental health— fulfillment, positive attitude and joy.

One problem Priests experience is an inherent sense that they are enlightened — even when they're not. This can translate into a mistaken feeling of superiority. It is in fact this very feeling which causes them to presume that they know what to do to help other people out of their problems. So, they can be guilty of offering unsolicited advice.

The old joke about the Boy Scout who spent all afternoon helping the old lady cross the street could describe the overly zealous Priest: When asked why it took so long, the Scout answers: “She didn't want to go.”

Priests can be very moralistic and self-righteous in their attempts to show people a “better” way of living. An arrogant Priest might be guilty of "helping" people who didn't ask and don't want that help. He might say within himself, "They don't know what they need, but I do." Priests can be preachy, evangelistic, and fanatical about their righteous cause.
The recent spate of ministers in the US and Sheikhs in the Middle East, in particular, who have presumed to tell us what God wants us to do or who God loves or, even more ominously, who God hates may well be Priests in their arrogant, overzealous negative poles. This can lead not only the Priests themselves but their followers into creating karma that can take generations to balance.

They can crusade zealously for reforms. They can be so overly optimistic about their own ability to transcend limitations, and so hopeful for others, that they tend to overestimate the amount of progress they can effect. They have a difficult time with the concept of leaving well enough alone, since they are always trying to improve things.

In their highest expression, Priests give advice tactfully, and only at the request of those needing assistance or advice. Older Priests have learned that they have limitations, and that other people do, too. They eventually learn that it is best not to try for too much too quickly.

Even though they can tend to be moralistic and self-righteous, one of the nice things about Priests is that they tend to forgive easily. If they ask too much of you, they’ll accept the fact that you can’t ever quite keep up with them.
Likewise, if you snap at them for intruding too far into your life, they’re likely to back off—at least for a while—and give you some breathing room. Their forgiving natures will ensure they’ll be there when you ARE ready for that next step [maybe even before you’re quite ready.]

Priests have the feeling that they have a Mission in life — a cosmic or divine Destiny. They sense that they are guided by the hand of God [whether they call it that or not] to show others the way to Truth.
The more downtrodden and wretched a person is, or the more destitute of hope the situation, the more fulfillment the Priest feels in tackling the problem.

It is not uncommon to see a Priest, especially a female one, marry some down-and-out ne'er-do-well with the hope of changing him. It might be an alcoholic or a drug-addict that she intends to save. It fulfills her Priest nature to try to rescue him from himself. "What does she see in him?" people might ask. What she sees is an opportunity to exercise her Priest essence and save a soul.

Priests can be so sure of themselves they try to live other people's lives for them.
Not having health insurance, I go to a free health clinic once a month for checkups and free meds. The staff volunteer their time.
I think one of the doctors may be an over-zealous Priest and a reformed smoker. He has used guilt, deceit and other manipulations to try to get me to quit smoking. I'm sure he's trying to 'do the right thing' as he perceives it. But, my view is that my life belongs to me, darn it!
The result is that I simply dig in my heels and avoid the clinic when he is likely to be there. Over-zealousness can backfire.

We all probably, at one time or another, act like priests when we feel high, or need a priest when we feel low. We reach down and take the hand of those we perceive as a step or so behind us in order to pull them "up" with us as we seek to transcend our human limitations. We also reach toward those who are a little “ahead of” us, to be pulled along with them as they strive to excel. Priests just do it all the time.

One of their favorite sayings might be, “You can do better than that.” If the Priest isn’t behind the pulpit, he or she is up on a soap box— preaching, exhorting, campaigning, crusading, proselytizing, provoking, and evangelizing.

Priests look on the bright side, and see the world as miraculous or what it can become. A phrase that describes the viewpoint of the Priest can be found in the Desiderata: “Whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.” You don’t get much more optimistic than that.

Even though they make up a miniscule part of the population, Priests, by their very natures, tend to become well known pretty often:
John Calvin (Protestant Reformation), Saint Dominic (founder of the Dominican monks), St. Francis of Assisi, Joan of Arc, Jesse Jackson, Carl Jung (psychologist and mystic), Abraham Maslow (psychologist), Oral Roberts, Carl Rogers (the founder of Client-centered Psychology, Rogers seems to have mastered the idea that he cannot effect change faster than the client wishes), Coretta Scott King and Martin Luther King Jr.

Nancy Reagan, Ayn Rand and Richard Bach [all of whom are sure they know best and can become preachy about it].

Adolf Hitler, Ayatollah Khomeini, Jerry Falwell, Sun Myung Moon and Charles Manson are all obviously young Priests, currently very busy creating karma they’re going to spend a fair amount of time balancing out later. [I’ve read that Hitler was 5th level Baby, fwiw.]
Not to belabor a point TOO much, but G.W. Bush’s assertion that God wanted him to be president suggests that he might be a Priest—and he certainly seems zealous enough to fit the Role.
No, I haven’t read what Role he may be—this just seems a logical conclusion, given his history. Furthermore, he seems to be manifesting at the Baby Soul Age [see The Baby Soul post above.]

Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Seven Roles// #6 The Warrior

When we leave the All that Is we are ‘fragments’. Picture a spark of pure white light. One of the first things we do is choose our ROLE. Picture the white spark passing through a prism and becoming one of the 7 colors within the white.
A very solid Role at the opposite end of the vibration spectrum from Priests, Warriors currently make up 30% of the US population [or they did during the early 1990’s, at least]. This fact along with the recently low number of Servers here [down from 30% overall to 10% during the early 1990’s] explains a lot, I think.
I think we’re presently headed back toward more balance with the rest of the world which could soften the way the US both perceives and presents itself to the world as a whole.

The Warrior// 20% of the population
The Warrior is the Ordinal pole of the Active Roles [the Cardinal pole is the King and will be profiled next]. Warriors are the powerhouses. Often choosing rather large, solid, chunky bodies, Warriors generally enjoy the physical plane immensely, thus they are among the slowest to cycle off. Unlike the zippy, zingy Priests, they don’t see any need to hurry.

Straightforward, candid and less complicated than some of the other roles and with, usually, high moral viewpoints, Warriors generally make not-so-good liars or dissemblers. This fact, along with their strong personal principles, will usually keep them honest. They also will, generally, speak truth to power. Therefore, other roles are likely to go to them when they want a frank assessment of a project to be undertaken or a second opinion.

Warriors love organization and will arrange their lives for peak efficiency. When you’re driving down the street and see lots of lawns punctuated by one yard with a concrete patio covering the front yard—the Warrior lives in the house with the patio. Utilitarianism is the name of the game—aesthetics definitely take a back seat.
The recent penchant in this country for cookie-cutter housing developments that consist of 3 or 4 designs with 3 or 4 color schemes were designed by Warrior architects. They don’t see a problem with the idea of the homeowner needing to check the address on their own house before getting out of the car.

Warriors manufacture our goods, fill our construction crews, act as road workers, staff our fire departments, do all sorts of manual tasks necessary to create a functioning society.
Colleges are filled with a higher percentage of Warriors getting their MBA’s than their numbers in the general population would predict. Our accounting and billing departments are chock full of Warriors doing their organizational things.
During their earliest lives, Warriors become pirates, gang leaders, robbers, muggers, raiders of other tribes, etc. The rest of us do these things too, of course, but Warriors are particularly drawn to them.
In their later lives, Warriors have to deal with their ingrained tendency toward violence and root it out. As they mature, their flair for organization can move them toward the top in any enterprise they undertake.

From the mid-Baby through the mid-Mature phases, you’ll find Warriors in the police forces, the military hierarchy, in the FBI, the CIA and, these days, Homeland Security.
College and professional football teams, wrestling tag-teams, the martial arts and so on are perfect venues for Warriors.
Chunky Mary Lou Retton certainly stood out in the lineup of gymnasts where the tiny, slender body build is the norm. But notice who it was who not only won a gold medal but did it with a broken foot. And, just to prove her point, after scoring a perfect 10 on her final vault, she did it AGAIN! That’s a Warrior for you.

They march off to wars on a regular basis, too. In fact, I’ve read that Kings and Priests commit a country to its wars—Warriors and Scholars fight them. That’s an oversimplification, of course, but you get the idea.

Warriors become CEOs in large corporations and go into higher politics with high principles, organizational skills and a strong sense of purpose in tow. Many of those large numbers of Warriors the US has recently boasted are women and, as a result, the women’s movement has gotten a huge boost. Warriors aren’t likely to sit quietly and look up at that glass ceiling for very long.
During their earliest lifetimes, Warriors wage wars, start [and finish] blood feuds, live lives that can be dramatic and leave a fair amount of carnage in their wakes.
A little later, as they work through their organizational phase [mid-Baby through much of the Mature period] they probably spend a fair amount of time in the law-enforcement and political end of things as well as filling the ranks in company after company from mail room clerks to CEO’s.
Later still, as doctors and social workers, they clean up a lot of the karma they created early on. As doctors they tend toward surgical practices which they appreciate for their manual applications. As social workers they’ll tend to gravitate toward government work rather than building private practices.

They’ll also organize everything from Social Service organizations at the national and international levels through local food pantries in their efforts to clean up after their war experiences and other karma-producing activities from their earliest lifetimes.
But, you’ll rarely find them taking advantage of all those safety nets they’ve put in place—even when they’re eligible for the services. Warriors would rather make their own ways in the world. They don’t go in for buying Lotto tickets for the same reason. They prefer to earn their wages—not have windfalls land in their laps.
My sister is a Mature Warrior who never sits still for long. She has been known to breed dogs, keep a large house going, take that house through several major renovation projects, own a thriving real estate firm [no mean feat in southern California’s cut-throat business climate] and has taken the extra steps necessary to become a broker as well as a realtor.

And she has not sat idly by during these difficult times, bemoaning her fate. Instead, she has branched out into the eco-friendly endeavor of selling solar panels as well as real estate. This is a decidedly Mature Warrior way of meeting the housing crisis.

She has always been far-and-away the most physically active member of our family, exercising daily though she didn’t, so far as I know, attend any classes or follow a specific program.

She lives near the Pacific Ocean and loves to water ski and water-board. She’ll hop on a plane at a moment’s notice to jet off to Hawaii or wherever her fancy takes her or take long, week-end getaways up to Big Sur where she hikes nature trails, goes back-packing and camping. She doesn’t go up there to lounge under a tree with a book.

When our mother was ill, my sister took her into her home and cared for her for several years [some of those home renovations were taken on in order to make our mother more comfortable.]
I get tired just THINKING about her whirlwind life. I could certainly never keep up with her. :)

She has made that oh, so difficult move into the Mature consciousness Soul Age. I can vouch that she is decidedly uncomfortable there. She is to be highly commended—she made the leap and has plowed halfway through that set of lifetimes. She’s at that even-more-difficult point —4th level Mature— the most challenging set of lives for anyone and it must be hell for a Warrior.
Touchy, taking offense easily when others show their feelings too blatantly, feeling decidedly uncomfortable with her own emotions—she tends toward panic attacks when faced with the angst that can accompany the Mature awareness level.

Our mother is a Warrior, too—just entering the Mature phase. My theory is that Jen took on the mission of helping our mom navigate her way through her earliest Mature awarenesses. That, all by itself, would be enough to occupy a person throughout a complete lifetime. Leave it to a Warrior to take on that challenge as well as everything else she has done.
In the positive pole Warriors are productive, filled with energy, protecting, reliable and practical. They make great parents. They’re also highly principled and honest.
In the negative pole they can be ruthless, coercive, narrow-minded and unforgiving. Not the greatest when compromise is called for, the frustrated Warrior needs to be careful not to become bullying, intimidating and intolerant.
Warriors often take on the task of managing the planet’s nations—whether as elected leaders or not. The most recent Warrior President of the US was Eisenhower, and that was in a simpler time. Today’s world requires more diplomacy and adroitness than most Warriors can muster.
Nevertheless, Geraldine Ferraro gave it her best shot with her vice-presidential bid and came pretty close to taking our country into new territory.
Golda Meier has managed to pull off that difficult feat though she admitted to preferring to wash dishes rather than govern “because then, at least, you can see something being accomplished.” That is very much the Warrior’s point of view.

George Patton, L. Ron Hubbard, Clint Eastwood, Alexander Haig [“I’m in charge, I’m in charge!” after Reagan was shot], Winston Churchill, Joseph Stalin, Barry Goldwater, Ralph Nader, Fidel Castro and Oliver North have all shown themselves to be unafraid of a good fight.
Jean Harlow, Lauren Bacall and Mae West were Warrior actresses better known for their blatant sexuality than their acting skills though Jane Fonda and Bette Davis have been acknowledged for both.
Warriors produce spiritual leaders, too. Yogi Bhajan of the disciplined Sikhs is an Old Warrior. Ken Keyes, good Warrior that he is, organized Buddhism into a step-by-step program for the busy American taste. Sun Bear is both learning and teaching that, “In gentleness there is great strength.”

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Seven Roles// #7 The King

When we leave the All that Is we are ‘fragments’. Picture a spark of pure white light. One of the first things we do is choose our ROLE. Picture the white spark passing through a prism and becoming one of the 7 colors within the white.
Another solid Role, the King embodies mastery and occupies the cardinal end of the Active axis.
Since there are always more collars than crowns, there isn’t a huge need for them worldwide at any given time. If there were more of them we might experience ‘more chiefs than indians’ more often than we already do. I think we all know how uncomfortable that can be.
Still, Kings are certainly handy to have around when we need someone to see the big picture and tell the rest of us what we need to do to accomplish our next goal within a schoolroom, a corporation or a nation.
The King //1 – 2% of the population
‘Mastery’ is the name of the game for the King. Whether learning to tie one’s shoes, making the best grades, climbing the corporate ladder or seeking spiritual fulfillment, you’ll find the King out in front.

It’s a difficult Role because the individual will not rest until mastery of whatever task s/he has set him or herself has been accomplished. Kings are easy to spot because they will be perfectionists in all they do — whether they are drug addicts or CEO’s.

When they are children, they can often be seen as the Little Tyrant [the negative pole of the Role] as they struggle to learn everything they need to know about the world extremely quickly — and become frustrated in the process.
Still, they simply will not stop until they’ve learned the lesson. Even then, they’re the least likely Role to stop and rest on their laurels for more than an instant. They’ll just move on to the next life goal.

Just as every Artisan isn’t an artist, every King doesn’t have a throne. They do, though, tend to command respect when they walk into a room. They generally like having fairly large, powerful bodies — most often male — in order to stand out from the crowd more easily.

Unless they’ve set themselves a specific karmic lesson, they won’t be bothered by timidity or any sense of hanging back, as the rest of us might, when faced with a new challenge.

Their self-karma often includes arrogance and big egos. Their natural role in society is, generally, that of leader and others will, instinctively, follow. Except in their earliest lifetimes, they tend to exert a gentle benevolence. They don’t need to bully in order to lead. They tend to easily see the big picture and their advice is often sought by others.

During the late 20th century, large numbers of Kings and other exalted Roles were being born into minority bodies here in the US in order to get things moving in the areas of civil rights and economic fairness.
[Though I don’t know his Role, I had noticed that Obama tends to hold his head with a somewhat regal bearing and had wondered if he was a King — long before beginning the review of the material for this post. Having read, today, that they tend to have wedge-shaped heads with long, aquiline noses has reinforced the idea, for me. Assuming I'm right and assuming his win, that could be good news for us as we need someone, right now, who can command respect, see the big picture and delegate effectively.]
[Addendum: Since I wrote this post, I've read that Obama is a Priest.]

Generally upright and reputable, Kings tend to rise to the top early in life. They’ll be quick studies, rapidly assimilating the information they need in order to accomplish the tasks at hand.
They’re good at delegating authority and, generally, don’t surround themselves with yes-men because they don’t need to require people to agree with them. They’ll seek advice as necessary, assimilate the facts and respond to the big picture instinctively. And, generally speaking, the rest of the population will trust their judgment and, therefore, follow them pretty willingly.

Kings, though, won’t all be kings, politicians or CEO’s. There are plenty of restaurant managers, department heads, lead guitarists or managers of rock bands, heads of school boards, etc. etc. etc. The ideal job description for a King is, ‘Person required to see the big picture and delegate work to employees as needed. Supervise subordinates without losing sight of the details. Responsible for the smooth flow of work.’

Kings tend to look more august and refined than Warriors do. They often display a regal bearing [note reference to Obama, above.] Katherine Hepburn and Madonna have also displayed these characteristic looks.

As would be expected, there are plenty of Kings to choose from when compiling a list of notables: both JFK and Jacqueline Kennedy, Aristotle Onassis, William Randolf Hearst, J. Paul Getty. The CEO’s of ABC, CBS, Safeway, ARCO and The Limited [back in the 90’s when the reference books I’m taking this info from were being published] were Kings.
C. Everett Koop is also a King.
[I don’t know if it’s just coincidence or what, but note how many of these folks tend to go by three names and/or initials.]

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Refining Ourselves [Part 1]

I’ll bet I know what you’re thinking right about now: ‘Hold it! Even among my circle of friends, there’s a lot more depth and variety than just seven types of people!’ And, of course, you’re right. There is. That’s where the refinements come in.
Soul Age, of course, colors how we view the world, how we act and how we’re perceived by others—but even adding that to the mix would only give us 343 varieties—if we take each level of each age into account— it certainly wouldn’t account for the astonishing diversity on the planet.
So, how does Michael account for that?

Well, there’s imprinting, for one. That happens after birth —most likely during childhood. We’ve all said something or done something, stopped in amazement, and said to ourselves: ‘Oh, my God! I’m my mother!’
That’s imprinting at its most obvious level.
There’re more subtle ways we’re imprinted, as well. During our early growing up times, we take on subtle qualities that emanate from the Role[s], Soul Age[s], actions or words of one or more of our caregivers. Or we may take on world-viewpoints, ways of meeting the world, etc. that go back for generations of ancestors. We incorporate these into our personalities as we’re growing up. Some of them we may find useful. Others we may not like so well and spend time and energy letting go of in a determined effort NOT to pass them on to our children.
[Although I’m an Old Soul, as a child I felt a fair amount of body shame — it may have simply been a result of my personality’s developmental levels at the time — or it may have been imprinted from my (Baby) father, I’m not sure. I did, though, work to let go of that viewpoint during my teens and twenties and, I’m pretty sure, it’s no longer part of my makeup. If you check back, I’ll bet you’ll find similar experiences in your background.]
Then, there’s Centering: a characteristic we do choose before birth.
Again, there are 7 Centers—3 of which are most commonly used by people on the planet, 1 we may enter a few times each day and 3 more that we can, on occasion, enter into by focusing on them.

The Intellectual, Emotional and Moving Centers are the ones most of us use most of the time. They are the ways we respond to the world instantly. The 3 main Centers are equally distributed worldwide at any given time though different cultures tend primarily toward one or two. For instance, the US is, right now, primarily Intellectually Centered [50%] though Emotional Centering [40%] is a pretty close second and only 10% of the population is Moving Centered.
We each have a preferred Center and a secondary one we use as backup.

Here’s how Centering works during a crisis: Say a loss of a job occurs— people who primarily operate from the Intellectual Center stop and think about why it happened.
The Emotionally Centered folks will first respond with hurt, anger, grief, even fear at being suddenly unemployed, etc.
The Action Centered person will be up at the crack of dawn and head out in search of a new job.

The person in Emotional Center [of which I’m one] will process incoming information the most rapidly because, for better or worse, the intellect isn’t being used to dissect the data they’re processing before they respond. The Emotional Center gives a deep sense of knowing and intuitive assuredness. The process occurs much faster than the logical process does.

[Just for what it’s worth, about 2 or 3 months ago, I pulled almost all my money out of my bank accounts—leaving just enough to live on so checks wouldn’t bounce.
Against everyone’s advice and amid dire warnings about lost interest, etc., I piled it into a safety deposit box. Now, those people who warned me against doing that are seriously asking me if I’m psychic. I don’t think I am— I just pay attention to what is happening around me.
While I don’t know that any reliance on my Emotional Center was behind my choice, I don’t know that that isn’t why, either. It just felt like the right thing to do and I didn’t apply logic [even though that is my secondary part] —I just acted on my feeling.
And, just this weekend, my bank made the news. It looks like it might get gobbled up by a bigger bank. Who knew it was holding a bunch of sub-primes? Not me. . . .]

The person in the Intellectual Center will think through the data they’re processing. They’ll likely make lists of pros and cons when approaching a decision, for instance. They’re more linearly oriented —a way of meeting the world that is highly prized in our culture. The kids who make straight A’s and do well on IQ tests [even if they’re not the ‘smartest’ kid in their class] are operating from their Intellectual Centers. They can be scintillating conversationalists and deep thinkers.
Those in the Emotional Part [their secondary center] will bring their feelings into the mix—thinking their feelings through thoroughly or feeling through their thought processes until they feel almost dizzy from the effort.
The people in the Moving Part will not ‘get’ emotions all that well. Being intimate with such folks may require spelling things out as they are unlikely to be able to tap into the nuances behind the emotions involved. Remember Patrick Swayze’s character in Ghost? His fiance says, ‘I love you.’ He says, ‘Ditto.’

The Moving Centered person doesn’t stop to think or emote about what’s going on around them too much. Their favored way of meeting the world is to act. They’re balls of activity—always on the move. They’re so in touch with their bodies that they can feel what is going on around them before either emotion or intellect kicks in.
They’re the most likely to jog every morning before work and favor careers in aviation, construction, postal work, anything that lets them be out and about. They’re likely to pace, fidget and jump from one project to the next—often before finishing the last one. These folks may miss lots of deadlines —not because they’re lazy— in fact just the opposite is the case. They were too busy to finish on time.
If using the Emotional Center as backup, they may choose a career in dance— bringing a great sense of feeling to the movement.
In our society that favors intellectual pursuits, it can be distressing to live in the Emotional Part of Moving Center. These folks feel themselves to be out of touch with most of the people around them.
Princess Di described herself as being, ‘Thick as a plank’ although she was certainly smart enough to live a full life.
Those in the Intellectual Part of Moving Center may take on a career in acting or mime, automobile or computer repair.
Fred Astaire brought a very refined, intellectual feel to his dance style. And we can all see how Paul Newman never stopped moving— going from acting to racing to his philanthropic work without pausing to breathe.

We tend to be not-so-good at using our secondary, backup center and, as a result, tend to use its negative pole more often than its positive pole. For instance, I’m primarily Emotionally Centered with the Intellectual Center as my backup. And, I’m here to tell you, I used to think a feeling to death. An emotion could stop me in my tracks while I thought it through from end to end— ‘Why am I angry? [hurt? scared? worried? etc.] sometimes I would start going in circles.
It could be decidedly uncomfortable and took years of therapy to move past. I’m better, now, at just allowing myself to experience my feelings—but it has taken a lot of work and, when I’m under stress, I can still fall back into that pattern till I catch myself and consciously make my way out of the maze.

Likewise, a person with the Intellectual part of the Moving Center might become agitated or go off half-cocked when they experience stress. They can stall out as they try to bring logic into the process—thinking their recent actions through until they become thoroughly confused.

Or person in the Emotional part of the Moving Center may become frenetic during a crisis as the emotions get in the way of approaching the problem with the ordered application of appropriate action.

A person in the Moving Part of the Emotional Center may respond to a problem with the ‘Ready, Fire, Aim’ approach —doing exactly the wrong thing and failing to plug the brain in at any time during the process.

The way out of the trap is by bringing in our 3rd center. So, someone who operates from the Emotional part of the Intellectual or Intellectual part of the Emotional can most easily move away from feeling blocked by going for a brisk walk or run.

I worked with a client at a drug treatment center back in the 1970’s. He was what I would refer to as a Bantam Rooster. He wasn’t a large man—in fact he was about 5’4”. He would walk into a bar and pick a fight with the biggest, baddest, meanest, scurviest character in the joint—who would promptly mop the floor with him.
He desperately wanted to stop this process but just couldn’t do it. He would steel himself before going into the bar. He would talk logic to himself—ahead of time. But, once he’d had a beer or two, he was off to the races.
When he brought this problem up in therapy, I asked him what he liked about it. It took him a while to work it out but, it turned out, he thought [at such a deep level that he didn’t know it was there] such behavior impressed women. As soon as he uncovered the motives he had hidden even from himself, the urge to commit suicide-by-Hell’s-Angel evaporated. My guess as to his centering? Moving part of Emotional Center or vice versa.

Interestingly, long before I’d ever heard of Michael or Centering, I brought logic into the formula. In fact, this young man had already begun the process by attempting to apply logic to the problem prior to going into bars—even before he started therapy. At some instinctive level, we seem to understand that applying our least-used method of operation is the way out of our problems— whether or not we can effectively apply the approach.

The fourth most commonly used center is the Instinctive Center. We each tap into it from one to several times per day when we are showering, toileting, gardening, practicing meditation or yoga, cleaning the kitchen, jogging or walking [if we are in the habit of doing it daily and no longer really think about it] doing those things we don’t need to think about and those things that lend themselves to quiet, repetitive motion. These actions can lead us into a reflective mode which can, in turn, lead us into the higher centers.

A very few people spend their entire lives in the Instinctive Center. Charles Manson or other criminals who demonstrate the crazed stare are often living within this center constantly.
People trapped in a war zone such as Darfur or Zimbabwe are likely to devolve into this Center because their lives are at such high risk that they retreat deeply within themselves.
Likewise, schizophrenics and other psychotics may retreat to this Center, as well.
Hitler lived primarily in the Instinctive Center and, as a result, descended into his deep sense of xenophobia.

Sometimes, we can tap into it when we use deep forms of therapy such as Rebirthing, breath work or Rolfing.

If we become so ill we experience a high fever or severe pain we may descend beyond our usual centers and drop into the Instinctive level. We may, then, emerge with a new-found insight we hadn’t known was there because we were forced to face some reality we had buried at a very deep level.

As mentioned above, the Instinctive Level can be used as a doorway to the Higher Centers. We don’t choose these prior to birth but can, with discipline and focus, learn to tap them.
Yoga can, on occasion, be used for this purpose. I have used the deeper forms of therapy to reach them.
The Higher Intellectual Center allows you to glimpse the meaning of life and to fully understand why you are here.
The Higher Emotional Center lets you truly feel Agape for all creatures. The drugs ecstasy and ADM provide a shortcut though the actual goal is to be able to tap into it without the use of drugs.
The Higher Moving Center may, on occasion, be experienced while making love. It can also be tapped into when seeing an extraordinarily beautiful sunset, focusing on a single flower, etc.
These centers always leave one with a sense of peace and a wish to return to that state.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Refining Ourselves [Part 2]

Overleaves: An Introduction

OK, the Role stays the same from the time we cast ourselves out of the Is till we return. The vibration of our individual ‘string’, being related to our Role, remains the same, as well.
And, while our Soul Age does change as we grow, it’s a change that takes from 1 to about a dozen lifetimes—just to move from one Level of a particular Age to the next.
The Overleaves, though, are chosen fresh prior to each lifetime. Depending on the lessons your Soul wants to learn or gain insight into during a given lifetime, it will choose the Overleaves most likely to help you get there.

As with so much of the system, there are seven Levels of Personality: for the purpose of perceiving our personality, the Role is included in this list although it doesn’t change as the others do.

So, the Overleaves are:
Role— the essence of who we are
Goal— the primary lesson we’re looking to achieve
Mode— the primary method by which we seek to achieve our Goal
Attitude— the primary way we perceive the world
Centering— [covered earlier]—the place from where we respond to the world
Body Type— a method of helping us achieve the basic plan
Chief Feature— a stumbling block we set up for ourselves [it keeps things interesting, I imagine, though I can’t say I’m all that fond of making such an arrangement for myself.]

Some Overleaves are rarely chosen because they are so narrowly focused or because they can be troublesome and difficult. Each Soul, though, gets hands-on experience with every Overleaf [some more often than others] prior to cycling off the planet. Altogether, the Overleaves smooth out our edges making each of us into a well-rounded Soul before the curtain falls on our physical lives. The percentages included in the outlines of the Overleaves indicate both how many Souls are engaged in the use of that particular Overleaf at any given time and how many times a particular Soul chooses that Overleaf over the course of all its lifetimes.

All the Overleaves, though, add intensity and propel us toward learning. Before we arrive on the planet, we each have the underlying goal of ‘Learn, learn, learn’—and our Soul wants to go there. But, often, we’d like to run the hell away—[it may be completely new territory that the Soul wants to explore and we’re scared to take the leap (even Souls can get scared when faced with new experiences); we may have attempted to reach it before with disastrous results; it may mean teaming up with someone our personality would rather avoid, etc. etc.] So, our Soul, oh, so thoughtfully, gave itself these Overleaves ahead of time, to propel us forward, whether our particular personality wants to go or not. Gee, thanks. :)

Here’s an example of a full personality:
A Young Souled King chose Dominance [Goal] in conjunction with Power [Mode] and Greed [Chief Feature]. Realist [Attitude] helped him stay focused on where he wanted to go along with Moving [Center] which kept him heading in that direction. (I wonder if this guy slept at night.)

This combination turned Alexander the Great into a human dynamo that no one could stand up against for long. So, he went on to found one of the largest empires the world has ever seen—and he did it within only a few years of a single lifetime [seventeen, if I remember correctly]. Whew!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Refining Ourselves [Part 3]

The Overleaves: The Goal

The Goal is the primary area in which the Soul wants to learn the lessons of any given life. Your Goal is the bottom-line your Soul has set up. Your lifetime will bring you face-to-face with different goals that will, together, embody your lifetime Goal so that you can research it repeatedly from many different aspects.

Some Goals are chosen rarely because they are so narrowly focused and/or troublesome.
Again, there are 7 Goals:

The Inspirational Goals
Re-evaluation [1%]
The person who chooses Re-evaluation as a goal may be contemplating, at the deepest levels, many lifetime’s worth of major issues that proved so difficult to face that they just got swept under the rug for lifetime after lifetime. These issues can be buried so deeply in the instintive center, the Soul has to take a lifetime or two just to dig down far enough to find them. People who are severely retarded, autistic, so obese that they can’t lever themselves out of bed, quadraplegic, etc. may well be living lives based on Re-evaluation. You can see how lives lived from this perspective would necessitate slowing down.

Usually, the individual is not evaluating problems on a conscious level but, instead, simply ruminating at a deep level without a clear focus. This catch-up is, generally, not easy to accomplish and can appear very self-limiting. The ultimate goal here is, ‘Let’s learn from past mistakes and do better next time.’

In the positive pole, such people look rather artless and innocent to others. Deep below the surface they’re puzzling through all those matters they’ve pushed aside, like Scarlett O’Hara, until they are finally forced to confront them whether they like it or not.
In the negative pole, the person may become stuck, internalized in the extreme, not completely ‘here.’

Surprisingly, there is a handful of people with the Goal of Re-evaluation who have risen to enough prominence to become at least fairly well known: the head of the Federal Reserve Paul Volcker, George Wallace, authors and introverts Stephen King and Edward Abbey. George Schultz, Reagan’s Secretary of State had resolved enough of his issues to begin moving into Growth [see below] on occasion though he still tended to hang back and observe. Joseph Campbell who received recognition posthumously for his work on mythology was a Scholar in Re-evaluation as he contemplated his move into First Level Old Soul Age.

Growth [40%]
Here we go on a rollercoaster lifetime with your soul pushing you to gain as much experience as possible barely pausing to rest and breathe [pant, really] between experiences. People, underneath all the whirling dervishness they’ve chosen, can look a little tired as they strive to confront themselves with learning experience piled on top of learning experience. They don’t tend to choose their encounters based on ‘is it fun?’ or ‘is it interesting?’ or ‘is it a good career move?’ but, ‘can I learn from it?’

Just look at Bette Midler, Whoopi Goldberg, Pee-Wee Herman, Billy Crystal, Lucille Ball, Frank Zappa, Steve Martin and Charlie Chaplin and you can see speed balls propelled from within to get out there and LEARN, GOLDARN IT!
Given the nature of Growth, there are a good number of well-known people to choose from here and when they’re being interviewed by Barbara Walters or whoever, you’ll often hear them say, ‘I learned a lot from that experience,’ or ‘That was very enlightening for me.’

In the positive pole you’ll see eagerness to embrace the next episode in their tumultuous lifetime. Very dynamic and outgoing, setting challenges and meeting them and moving on to the next barely pausing for breath.

In the negative pole, people will manifest lots of complications—getting in their own ways. They may look driven but confused or absent minded. They may be self-absorbed and appear callous when confronted with the needs of another person. [any experience, even Growth, can have its negative side—especially if the person becomes overtired.]
The simplest way out of the negative pole [and this holds true for all the overleaves], is to move into the positive pole of its paired goal [in this case, Re-evaluation] where the person in Growth can experience a well-earned rest and spend some time contemplating all that Growth that has just occurred.

The Expressive Goals
Discrimination [2%]
Often chosen after a number of lifetimes of Acceptance [see below] and being, perhaps, too much the door-mat, Discrimination can help the Soul sort through what one does and does not want to accept. It’s a way to develop a backbone.

These folks are selective. They are likely to hold well-thought-out opinions and will happily tell you exactly WHY they’ve made the choices they have.
They may pursue careers as critics whether of restaurants, plays, art, architecture, fine wines and beers or what-have-you. They can focus in on every detail, dissecting the object of their perusal and detailing for their audiences all the finer nuances.

People in the positive pole look sophisticated and refined, discerning and meticulous. They take pride in their exacting standards and, in fact, may find it difficult to relax and enjoy an experience unless it is up to their own level of sophistication.
In the negative pole, people may become fussy, closed-off snobs. Never satisfied, they can look at a Renoir painting only to find fault with it. These folks can drive others away with their nit-picky hair-splitting. Again, the easiest way out of the negative pole is to slide into the positive pole of Acceptance.

The typical facial expression is pursed lips and the arched eyebrow. This facial type has become so well recognized its stereotype is often used in advertising to suggest that this car or that salad dressing is, undeniably, the best on offer.

Fred Astaire, Bob Dylan, Orson Welles, Richard Gere, Steven Jobs, Dick Cavett, William F. Buckley all embody Discrimination. Simone de Beauvoir wanted to eliminate the female sexual sterotype and managed to propel us all along the way.

Tasters of fine wines and chocolates, four star chefs and sniffers in the perfume industry are, almost unanimously, in Discrimination.

Acceptance [30%]
The idea here is to accept life and the other people in it. The person wants to accept others and, likewise, wants to be accepted by them.

Generally, people in Acceptance display good spirits. You see warmth and approachability in their eyes. Very popular with Old Souls, since the over-arching Goal for the entire species [and all sentient beings] is agape—that is, unconditional love—Acceptance can feel very spiritual in nature.

In the positive pole you’ll find warm, self-accepting, agreeable, kind, friendly people. If they’re really clicking, they’ll radiate bliss and everyone around them will feel appreciated.

In the negative pole people can be ingratiating, insincere, overly fearful of rejection, doormats and flatterers. They may even look two-faced and hypocritical as they attempt to agree with everyone around them simultaneously—no matter how different those people may be.
By trying to be too accepting they’ll wind up pushing others away as no one likes being around such a wuss. This person may become so fearful of rejection that they’ll unconsciously slide into the negative pole of Discrimination in order to reject another before that person rejects them.
On an inner level, they may experience an inability to decide what they want for themselves [the opposite of Discrimination] and lose focus in the steering of their own lives.

As you may imagine, Acceptance can be helpful in the field of politics: Ronald Reagan, JFK and Bishop Tutu all used it to great effect.
G. H. W. Bush, though, experienced difficulties with it when he attempted to follow two opposing pieces of advice and first told the Kurds the US would have their backs if they stood up to Hussein—then failed to deliver on his promise—with the predictable, disastrous results.
Robert Redford, Stevie Wonder, Sally Field [“You like me! You really like me!”], Brooke Shields and Bill Cosby all show the classic ‘Acceptance Face’.

The Action Goals
Submission [10%]
Often chosen after several lifetimes of arrogance and self-centeredness or in order to follow a guru or serve a cause, a person in Submission may feel cheated if she or he hasn’t yet found a suitable person or cause to serve. Servers rarely choose this Goal as it is so intertwined with how they live their lives anyway. Notice how two Warriors [Dwight D. Eisenhower and Pope John Paul II] look almost like Servers rather than their true Role. Submission can be a very strong Goal, indeed.

Such causes as peace, the environment, caring for the sick, the hungry, the poor, and so on are all appropriate ones for the person practicing Submission.
It’s trickier to find a person to serve as there are plenty of undeserving gurus out there who may be on the prowl for people who are willing to turn their lives over to them.

In the positive pole, people in Submission will be pretty tireless—first in their quest to find a cause to serve and, later, to serve it selflessly. A major key to maintaining oneself in the positive pole is to find an appropriate calling. Therefore, it behooves one to choose carefully—not just jump at the first opportunity to serve. [Using Caution MODE (to be outlined in the next post) may help one look before he or she leaps.]
In the negative pole, a person may feel unworthy if temporarily without a cause to serve. Further into the negative end of things, a Submission directed person can feel overwhelmed by the cause, completely out of control of his or her own life. Feeling the victimized martyr feels really awful and, hopefully, will urge the person to slide into Dominance [the paired goal] in order to balance the experience and find fresh direction.

Notice how Ralph Nader, Jane Fonda, Mother Theresa, Deng Xioping, Lech Walesa and Mr. Rogers all found causes to which to devote themselves. Paul Simon and Joan Baez have used their music to further the things they believe in.
Nancy Reagan, Pat Nixon and Kitty Dukakis all devoted themselves to their husbands.

As can be seen, there are a myriad of causes for the person in Submission to serve.

Dominance [10%]
In the English language, the word ‘dominance’ can take on negative meanings. As Michael describes it, though, it is a positive quality when used appropriately as the person in Dominance wants to create Win/Win situations as it’s just so much easier to ensure that others will allow them to dominate the situation if everyone wins.

People in Dominance will always be motivated to get things moving in their own direction by jumping in to fill any void left by others. Even as children, they want complete control of themselves and their environment and will let their families know it.
From adolescence onward, individuals in Dominance will likely be allowed to take over by those around them because it just feels good to let someone else make decisions, delegate tasks and move any group toward its goals.

In the positive pole, you’ll find folks who have the natural skills to make others feel appreciated as they follow the Dominant’s lead. They’re energetic, dedicated, determined and capable people who tend to rise easily to the top. They easily take charge of their own lives and, usually, will take charge of any group they find themselves in— be it a PTA committee, a social club, a corporation or a nation.
In the negative pole, the Dominant can be dictatorial, demanding, overbearing, insensitve and controlling. Most Dominants don’t tend to stay in the negative places too long as they’re blowing it if they aren’t creating the win/win situations they are justly famous for. If they start getting into the territory of ‘Winner Take All’ no one feels good— even the Dominant her or himself.

You’ll find lots of lots of natural leaders here: George Washington and Winston Churchill, for instance. Mikhail Gorbachev and Ho Chi Minh.
Madonna, Sean Penn, Harrison Ford, Sigourney Weaver, Cher, Mae West, Jodie Foster and Katherine Hepburn all used Dominance effectively to forge their careers. Lee Iacocca has used it to run a corporation and go after our political leaders—leaving no doubt in their minds that there are real people out here in the hinterlands who deserve to be governed well.
Carl Jung broke with Freud to develop his own brand of psychology.
Charles Manson used it to get whatever he wanted and Robert Bork was one of the few who couldn’t seem to master the win/win outcome [and it’s a good thing he hasn’t yet developed that skill, imo.]

All these folks, no matter the effect they’ve had on others, are strong-willed characters intent on getting things moving in their direction.

The Assimilative Goal
Flow (aka Stagnation) [7%]
[Michael initially called this goal “Stagnation” but it was soon changed to “Flow” because of the negative connotations of the word.]

The people in Flow are often recuperating from trying sets of lifetimes and are taking a well deserved break to just kick back and relax for a while. If these folks can allow themselves to simply let go, things should just fall into their laps easily. These are the individuals the rest of us envy because of how easily things move in their direction.
Their lives aren’t set up to present a lot challenges or lots of activity. Smooth sailing pretty much embodies the entire lifetime. The goal here is to learn to let go. If the person fights the flow they’ll begin to flounder and struggle and relaxation goes right out the window. So, the folks in this goal become adept at becoming magnets—just breathing into whatever their short term goals are and letting those goals find them.

In the positive pole, they resemble Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds as she floats downstream. Looking rather dreamy, coasting along and feeling pleased with themselves, they’ll barely leave a wake behind. Tranquil pretty well describes these folks.
In the negative pole, they might appear inert, lost, drifters without any direction at all. Even deeper into the negative end of things they may struggle against the current tiring themselves out rather than allowing the relaxation to simply occur.

There aren’t too many famous examples because the Goal of Flow doesn’t lend itself to the work usually associated with developing fame and fortune. Still, take a look at George Hamilton and Ringo Starr for a couple of folks to get a sense of what they look like.

Being the neutral, assimilative Goal, Flow can also flow right into any of the other six Goals when action is called for. Most people have one or two favorites they land in more often than others. So, someone in Flow might pick the Acceptance Goal in order to feel good about oneself or others or Dominance if he or she feels a need to handle a short-term goal.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Refining Ourselves [Part 4]

The Overleaves: The Mode
Your Mode is the way in which you are most likely to approach your Goal and, in fact, the rest of your life as well. It’s one of the most visible Overleaves because it determines how you meet the world most of the time—so it’s a primary face you present to the world.
You might, most commonly, meet the world passionately—diving into your experiences without hesitating to assess what might happen next. The upside is an exuberance noticeable to you and others. The downside is that you may get in over your head on a regular basis.
Or you may meet the world cautiously—stopping and looking before you leap. The upside is that you are less likely to run into unforeseen consequences. The downside? You could freeze—becoming phobic.

When we SLIDE from one Mode to its pair, it can be quite noticeable to others—so someone in Passion Mode can easily be seen, under certain circumstances [when faced with an entirely new experience, for instance, or after a disastrous consequence] to shift gears, slide to Repression and self-correct.

Again, there are seven Modes:
Inspirational Modes
Passion [10%]
Passion is the cardinal end of the Inspirational axis. Souls rarely choose Passion Mode two lifetimes in a row because of its intensity. It can be wearing. The personality tends to lose itself in the emotionality of the moment. These folks are outgoing, enthusiastic and energetic. In other words, if you know someone in this Mode, you probably KNOW it.
When faced with virtually any situation, people in Passion will express their reactions immediately. They live very close to the surface. They live their lives from very, ‘Isn’t life wonderful?’ or ‘Isn’t life horrible?’ places and spend considerably less time than the vast majority of the population in any neutral position.

Because emotions are so important to them, Mature Souls are among the most likely to choose Passion Mode.

In the positive pole, these folks have a sparkly energy about them. They experience life to the fullest, throwing themselves into projects with enthusiasm. Especially when going after their goals, they’ll bring all their focus and energy front-and-center and, likely be able to achieve them with energy to spare.

In the negative pole, people in Passion may over identify with their goals and emotions. They’re likely to decide, in advance, how things MUST work out and drop into despondency if they fail to achieve their desired ends.
Although none of the books I consulted said so out loud, one could infer that lots of folks who choose Passion might manifest Bipolar Disorder at least fairly regularly as they swing from excitement to despair.

As you might guess, there are a number of well-known people who have chosen Passion — in fact, more than one would expect given the fact that it is chosen pretty rarely. Notice how all these folks affected their worlds: Joan of Arc, Martin Luther King, Jr., Pope John Paul II, Vincent van Gogh, Albert Einstein, Ralph Nader, Dustin Hoffman, Jane Fonda and Tom Hanks. Chopin, Mozart, Liberace, Carly Simon and Beverly Sills all used Passion to serve their music well. And Lee Iaccoca has used his passion to lead a corporation and goose political figures to do better.

Repression [2%]
Repression is the ordinal Inspirational Mode.
These folks get out their buffers and use Repression in order to learn to hold their emotions in check. Repression can look like Caution Mode [see below] except that it is used to add polish and refinement to a lifetime. It’s another difficult mode because the personality needs to learn a refined way to experience and express emotions.

Repression may be chosen after a number of lifetimes of excess and gluttony in order to get civilized and sophisticated. These folks will take on an air of reserve. You won’t find them expressing their emotions out loud or wearing their feelings on their sleeves. They’ll HAVE immediate reactions to their experiences—but the people around them are unlikely to know it.

If you were around back then, I imagine you well remember Lloyd Benson’s perfect understatement when addressing Dan Quayle: “I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy.”
While many of the rest of us were aching to jump into the TV and dope-slap Quayle, Benson’s response was the perfect riposte, delivered with poise and dignity. It quietly put Quayle in his place and I doubt his career has ever quite recovered from it. Repression can come in quite handy on occasion.

In the positive pole, these people will display dignity, restraint, tact and grace.
In the negative pole, they can become listless with overly damped-down emotion. Others may experience them as too cool to downright cold emotionally. While someone in the negative pole of Passion may become Bi-polar, a person in the negative pole of Repression may descend into a heavy depression.

People displaying this refined tastefulness include: Katherine Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Prince Charles, David Niven, Nancy Reagan and Fred Astaire, Catherine Deneuve, Merril Streep and Marlene Dietrich.
People in Repression often choose occupations in fields such as gourmet cooking and interior design, fashion design and diplomacy. You’ll also find people in the spheres of classical music and dance.

Expressive Modes
Power [20%]
Other people will certainly know when they’re in the presence of someone in Power Mode. It feels like a person with the Goal of Dominance only more showy. Also more difficult for others to get along with.
While the person in Dominance tries to move toward a win/win situation, people in Power Mode are less likely to pay attention to such niceties [unless pairing Power Mode with Dominance—a fairly common combination—making for COMMANDING personalities who are likely to accomplish whatever they set out to do].

People who thwart a person in Power are likely to feel themselves to be under a dark cloud when they experience the displeasure of the person they’ve crossed. Power Mode people can become domineering and be clueless about the way they come across to others—even after having had it pointed out to them time and time again.

In the positive pole of Power, the personality will be experienced [both internally and externally] as influential, authoritative, commanding and confident.

In the negative pole, others are likely to draw away as the personality inspires fear in them. The individual may become pushy, insensitive, bullying, high-handed.

Rupert Murdoch, Robert Kennedy, Orson Welles, Chairman Mao, Madonna and Norman Mailer are all examples of folks in Power Mode.

Caution [20%]
People operating from Caution Mode approach life carefully. This mode may be used to offset previous lives during which they had cheerfully jumped from the frying pan into the fire on too many occasions with catastrophic results. So, now, it’s time to practice a bit more wariness.

This mode is popular with Infant and Baby Souls to help them approach their new environment with a degree of circumspection rather than react instantly to events.
Youngs may use it to keep them on the straight and narrow after having pulled off a recent scandal-ridden lifetime or two.
Mature Souls may use it to help them damp down a series of soap opera lives while Old Souled Servers may find it useful for learning not to agree to participate on every committee that comes along—no matter how noble the causes they embody.

This is the deliberative, look-before-you-leap crowd.
In the positive pole, these folks are risk averse—unlikely to run up huge credit card debt or let their insurance lapse. Good diplomats, they’re likely to be tactful simply because it’s easier to avoid problems in the first place than to fix problems after the fact.
They’re also less likely than other Modes to wake up the morning after to discover they’ve made irreversible commitments the night before.

On the other hand, in the negative pole, these folks can go overboard, becoming frozen, unable to leave home without a lucky rabbit’s foot, 6 locks on their doors, even practicing particular rituals. They may become so phobic they can’t leave home at all.

Even if they don’t become fixated in this way, the word “hermit” may describe them fairly well. Caution can become self-karmic introducing little life-lessons—in this case, making the point that there are more interesting things to do in life than skulk in one’s living room with drawn blinds or hide out behind the computer.

By its very nature, Caution won’t produce lots of famous people but there are a few. Note George Washington’s carefulness when leading his army. Not for him the idea of throwing his men into battle willy-nilly. He often used fog and night to cover his advances and, on more than one occasion, strategic retreat was his choice.
Paul Simon shows a deliberateness whether he is choosing the right word for a song or the right cause to get behind. Queen Elizabeth II rules with quiet reserve. And Casper Weinberger was absolutely certain we needed both a huge arsenal AND the Star Wars defense system.

Action Modes
Aggression [ 4%]
Aggression, at the Cardinal end of the Action Axis, is the more visible of these two Modes and is manifested by behavior.

Again, Michael uses a word in an unconventional way. In its definition, personalities in the positive pole of the Aggressive Mode live dynamically actively pursuing their goals. Where others might hesitate, these personalities will step forward and take command. They’ll take more risks than most people. Aggressive Mode can be an effective way of balancing recent lifetimes during which the personality was too passive and acted like a doormat.
Even the physical bodies of people with the Aggression Mode are, more often than not, vigorous and active.

In the positive pole, these personalities are vibrant, daring, forceful and won’t back down no matter what. These folks can’t be rocked back on their heels for long—they’ll just jump up and keep-a-goin.
In the negative pole, you’ll see inflexibility, antagonism, obnoxious, belligerent and confrontational behaviors and attitudes.

A number of our funny people use Aggression Mode: Lily Tomlin, Lenny Bruce, Robin Williams, and Mel Brooks all use it well.
Ronald Reagan, Fidel Castro, Moamar Khadafy all used it to run countries.
And, speaking of using the negative side: John Hinckley and George Wallace have shown us the paths this sort of go-gettum Mode can lead someone down.

Perseverance [4%]
On the ordinal pole of the Action Axis, Perseverance manifests itself through behaviors but is less visible than Aggression. Even so, it is extremely helpful when facing long-term tasks or karmas that are going to take lots and lots of determination and sticktoitiveness. Endurance, stamina and fortitude can be seen in large measure in personalities using Perseverance. It is often chosen in tandem with being Moving Centered [see post on centering].

Perseverance chooses interim goals and, one-by-one, takes care of each before moving on to the next step.

In the positive pole, these folks are determined, disciplined, unwavering and steadfast. Able to complete tasks effectively no matter the hardships and difficulties they must overcome to get there.

In the negative pole, they can appear unchallengeable, fixed, rigid and dull. Once a goal has been set, this personality can stick with it even if the objective is no longer a reasonable one.

Mother Theresa, Phil Donahue, J. Edgar Hoover, Khomeini, P. W. Botha, Manuel Noriega, Eddie Murphy and Robert Redford have all used persistence—maybe with a bit of sliding over to aggression for some extra oomph periodically.

Neutral Mode
Observation [50%]
By far the most commonly used Mode, Observation allows you to look before you leap. The personalities with Observation will, most likely, approach just about any situation with a deliberate, moderate pace.
It’s the most serene of the Modes in that it neither moves the personality forward nor holds it back.

A major advantage of Observation is that, because it is in the neutral position the personality can easily slide to ANY of the other modes.
So, half of the people in the world walk into a room whether they’re entering a board meeting or a cocktail party and pause to assess the situation before diving into the middle of it. Then, they have 7 choices: they can remain in the Observation mode or slide to any of the other six and approach their situation in the Mode that is most appropriate under the current circumstance.

Do you have a major project in the works? You can move into Aggression and/or Perseverance to get the job done.
Have you been in this sort of position before and gotten egg on your face? You may move to Caution or remain in Observation to get more information before committing yourself.
Are you in a situation that stirs emotion? You may move toward Passion or, in rare circumstances, Repression.
Most people have one or two favorite Modes they slide to from the neutral Observation position.

In the positive pole, the personality looks thoughtful, attentive, alert and aware of what is going on around it. It’s a great place to learn lots of stuff from so Scholars love it.

In the positive pole, the person exudes precision and insight. Need clarification? Observation is a great place to be.

Those who move to its negative pole may appear a bit dull. Scrutinizing, hunting for other people’s motives [in the negative sense of the words] these folks can descend into searching for the sinister.

Whoopi Goldberg, Jay Leno and Billy Crystal all use observation to great comedic effect. William F. Buckley was the Observer par excellence. David Attenborough, Barbara Walters and Margaret Thatcher all demonstrate different aspects of this versatile Mode.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Refining Ourselves— The Attitudes [1]

The Action Attitudes —Cynic and Realist
There are seven attitudes— I'll profile them here according to their Centers.

Our Attitude is our primary life-outlook. It colors how we perceive the world and our place in it. It influences how we respond to life. Though primarily an intellectual perspective, it affects how we respond emotionally, as well, and what we are most likely to do in response to our perceptions.

Having a ‘good’ attitude is as important as everyone says it is. Your life will actually go more smoothly if you stay in your positive pole than if you move into the negative pole of your Attitude [just as happens with the other overleaves— in fact, the Attitude affects your outcomes more often than your other overleaves do.] And being in the positive pole of your Attitude will help you stay in the positive pole of your other Overleaves, as well.

The truth is, though, it is inherently easier for people with the Spiritualist and the Idealist Attitudes to stay upbeat and positive than it is for the Cynics and Skeptics to do. But, Michael reminds us, we all choose our Overleaves for a purpose— so, what is important is to stay, as much as we can, in the positive pole of our own Attitude, come what may.
Besides, being an Idealist isn’t perfect, anyhow. They have a tendency to put on blinders and be na├»ve.

It’s easier than with the other Overleaves to ‘borrow’ from the other Attitudes. So, someone in the Expressive Attitude of Skepticism can, on occasion, slide into Idealism but also into any other of the Attitudes such as the Moving Attitude of Realism, for instance. In this case, the Skeptic who borrows from Realism will kind of ‘stack’ the Realism on top of the Attitude of Skepticism the personality uses primarily: seeing reality clearly, but through a lens of skepticism— being skeptical about the motives of the other people involved, for instance.
Cynic [5%]
While rereading this material in prep for this post, I was struck by something: There is a comedic novel series written by Donald Westlake. Called the Dortmunder Series, it’s about a gang of thieves that can’t shoot straight.
The primary character, John Dortmunder is the classic cynic.
He’s a brilliant strategist who can plan a burglary to the finest detail. And, he can pull it off—up to a point. And then it goes wrong— in some hilarious way. John doesn’t see the humor, of course. But the reader does. =D

But, here’s the point: John just plods along through a gray lifetime in a gray world always expecting the worst. He distrusts everyone; he even distrusts good fortune when it [rarely] puts in an appearance. He’s always waiting for the other shoe to drop. When it does he’s likely to say something like, “Oh, yeah, that’s right,” and then just go on as if nothing had happened. He’s not at all surprised that, in the end, it all went wrong.
Even so, he never gives up— as in THE HOT ROCK when he steals the same emerald 5 times [along with a few other crimes thrown in for good measure] before finally getting his hands on it—only to lose it again.
[After noticing how well Dortmunder is outlined here, I began hunting for the other characters in the books to see if I could pinpoint their Attitudes. Where I can, I’ll profile them as well. If anyone else is familiar with Dortmunder and his gang, I hope you’ll add your views to mine.]
Galloping back to my primary point here, the Cynical Attitude is chosen for protection during a highly karmic lifetime. Cynics distrust the motives of others and expect life not to work out— no matter how hard they try. Life is a bowl of cherry pits, anyway. The only thing worth focusing on is the negative.
Expecting the worst anyhow, the Cynic isn’t disappointed when it comes.
The classic ‘yes-but’-ers, Cynics will find fault with any suggestion you put out there. They will always find a reason why your idea won’t work.
They are unconventional: they disregard social institutions and will always find sufficient reason to disregard conventional wisdom.

In the positive pole, Cynics tend to root out stupidity before it goes too far. Believing that, "If anything can go wrong, it will," they’ll at least try to come up with a fool-proof plan because, according to their viewpoint, everyone is a fool, in any case.
They are not easily conned. They don’t take people at face value and are always waiting for the other shoe to drop.
In the negative pole, Cynics will scoff and jeer. Preoccupied with the negative, they become caustic and will argue for argument’s sake. Preferring to gripe rather than try to make things better— they can look pretty miserable.

Realist [30%]
Realists pay particular attention to the action going on around them.

Among Dortmunder’s colleagues, there’s a guy named Andy Kelp. At the drop of a hat, Andy will launch into a long, drawn out anecdote about a mutual acquaintance. There doesn't need to be any point to the tale— that it happened is enough to justify its telling. He may get to the end of a story and then just gaze off into the distance— barely even being aware that he has come to the end. It will take an impatient, “Get ON with it, willya?” from John to get Andy to come back to earth.
If John then brings up another topic or person for consideration, he’s likely to launch Andy into yet another yarn about the new person or topic. And John just patiently waits for Andy to wind down again.
And Andy goes in for fads. He was the first kid on his block to get a fax and a cell phone. He has managed to shoplift lots of phones and has one in every room of his apartment--even the bathroom and the hall closet. None of these phones look like your standard phone, though. Each is unique.
Andy has tried to get John to install more than the one phone in the kitchen. After all, Andy will shoplift it for him--he won't even have to pay for it. But John will have nothing to do with the idea. Once, when Andy wouldn't lay off about it, John threw the phone out a window. And Andy finally got the point.
There’s another character who may be a Realist: Stan Murch— the driver. Ask Stan how he got here today— if you have no other plans this afternoon. Because he will tell you— in the minutest detail —the route he took and why, what streets were torn up along the way, what alternate routes he took as a result, etc. etc. etc.
Realists are concerned with the behavior and activities of other people. They also like to be up on the trends and fashions— whatever is new on the world scene. This makes them rather conventional people, who conform to social norms and institutions [but not Andy and Stan who are, after all, petty crooks. But that’s another matter.]

Realists are also often news-hounds.

Where Cynics put a stop to what is happening, Realists are unable to put a stop to anything. Instead, they are carried along by events. If a Cynic and a Realist are discussing something, the Cynic will be brief and negative and the Realist will be verbose and positive.

Realists ramble aimlessly when they talk — they cannot come to a conclusion, or get to the point, or make a concise, definitive statement. This is a dead giveaway for detecting a Realist.

Cynics see what is wrong with the world, Realists simply see things the way they are.

The Positive Pole of the Realist Attitude is Perception. Events in life seem transparent to these folks. They see things exactly as they are, so their vision is not distorted. They regard the world as a continually interesting series of occurrences of unending variety, and they approve. If there is a meaning or a mood within the action, it is not as important as the bare event itself.
Because they perceive external events neutrally, they are rather experimental in their own lives. They also readily go along with the proposals of others. This can of course work to their detriment if the suggestions are stupid or harmful.

In the Negative pole the person assumes that everything is OK, and I do mean EVERYTHING. Since such a person sees all sides to every issue, there is little understanding of a current situation. People in this pole are unable to come to a conclusion. Every alternative is seen as equally viable, so they can be wishy-washy.
Such people are uncommitted to any particular action, so it is possible for them to be easily persuaded. They will go along with just about anything. If you ask a person in the negative pole of Realism a question to which you expect a simple yes or no answer, you will likely get a lengthy, roundabout discourse that explores every aspect of the question but which arrives at no answer.

The simplest way out of the negative pole, here, is to apply the Positive Pole of the complementary attitude of Cynicism: Contradiction. Use the inherent process of elimination to arrive at a conclusion. Start looking for things that are wrong instead of always seeing everything that is right.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Refining Ourselves— The Attitudes [2]

The Inspirational Attitudes —Stoic and Spiritualist
The Attitude is our primary life-outlook. It colors how we perceive the world and our place in it. It influences how we respond to life. Though primarily an intellectual perspective it affects how we respond emotionally, as well, and what we are most likely to do.

Stoic [5%]
Stoics can be described as the pessimistic Attitude. It isn't that Stoics perceive everything as contemptible like the Cynic does, or that they perceive everything to be questionable like the Skeptic does. It is that there is very little that is of much importance. A Stoic finds the world bland, uninspiring and drab— "Things are tough all over".
Stoicism lends patience and forbearance to the personality and can be helpful during especially trying lifetimes.

The advantage here is that Stoics are not easily upset because they can put up with much negativity. It is as if they were insulated from it. Nor are they deceived by false hopes. On the other hand, there is the disadvantage that Stoics do not "fight the system" when it is in need of reform. They may not see real dangers to avoid.

Stoics hold a certain insensitivity to what is happening around them — "Who cares?". They are psychologically "nearsighted", so to speak.
They are unaffected by things that provoke others, and indifferent to things that draw others— "So what?"
Because they tend to minimize what they see, it often takes the proverbial two-by-four hitting them between the eyes to get their attention. Only in severe trauma do they realize that something serious may be wrong.

Stoicism isn’t chosen in order to change the world. It’s chosen in order to get by. Often the choice of people born in Asia, these days, imagine how much of a help it can be in China where things have been changing so fast that, for several generations now, the only safe topic of conversation has been the weather.

The idea here is to accept what is with tranquility rather than to attempt to change things. Stoics reserve their feelings— even from themselves.

In the positive pole, you find tranquility and reserve. The underlying statement is, ‘Whatever,’ or ‘What will be will be.’ Stoics make a virtue out of necessity.
It may have been a stoic who coined the phrase about making lemonade out of the lemons life hands you.

In the negative pole, the stoic can become more and more resigned to a terrible situation. They tend to hang in there— never attempting to make anything better. They may become so exhausted they simply plod along, granite faced.

John Dortmunder MAY live constantly in the negative pole of Stoicism, fwiw.

Spiritualist [5%]
Tiny Bulcher— a monster of a man who can pick up a small car and walk away with it or grab a growling rottweiller and toss it into a closet without a second thought may be a Spiritualist.
On the other hand, he MAY be a Realist in that he tells stories though they’re more likely to be about his own actions rather than those of others. Mercifully, the reader usually comes in at the tale-end of the story —just when he is wiping the blood off the hatchet and putting it back where he found it [at the Girl Scout camp] or just after he has shown that cocky guy who swore that you can’t kiss your own elbow— how he could, after all.
But, Tiny has certain principles that are extremely important to him. Politeness, for instance. He will explain very patiently, while holding someone by the throat, exactly WHAT the guy did to merit such treatment—and, often, it’s because the guy was impolite in some way.

And, 2nd, there is a friend of Kelp’s [he has lots of friends] named Wally Knurr. A little butterball of a guy who is slightly taller sitting in a standard-sized chair than he is standing up and about as wide [Tiny has been known to say he might be fun to play basketball with—but no one has asked him precisely what he means by that].
Wally sees the best in everyone. He knows that Kelp is a thief but also understands that Kelp is, at heart, a good person. So, being the geek he is, he will, on occasion, use his computer skills to help Andy figure out how to get something he needs.

And Wally is unfailingly polite [Tiny will never need to explain that to him]. He always calls John's girlfriend 'Miss May' and says 'Thank you' when she gives him cheese and crackers.
Spirituality is the optimistic Attitude. Remember that Attitudes reveal what perceptions people project onto the world, or what part of reality people tend to see.
Spiritualists typically see the world as improving, evolving, developing to a higher plane. They have high anticipations of it, so they tend to get upset when it does not live up to their expectancy [note Tiny’s disappointment with impoliteness]. They want to see it fulfill its highest potential. They hope there is a steady stream of progress in the future. A person in Spiritualism perceives the world as evolving toward higher realms.
Spiritualist's are far-sighted visionaries. They look down the road a long way, to see where it is all leading. They expect things to head toward a better world, a more highly evolved society, a finer place to live, a happier place and with fewer problems. Obviously there is a degree of distortion in this, because the world is at times a dreary, depressing place [just ask John], and situations often get worse rather than better.

The Spiritualist Attitude is the complement of the Stoic Attitude. That is, Spiritualists tend to lack Tranquility and Resignation. Whereas Stoics tolerate suffering well— they regard it as an inevitable part of life in the world —Spiritualists cannot understand why it exists. They hide their eyes from it when they can, and if they can't, they beseech the Deity to heal it.

Because Spiritualists tend to be hopeful and optimistic, they are subject to turmoil when reality does not live up to their expectation. Spiritualists do not easily resign themselves to reality. Instead, they tend to resist destiny/fate when it is not as noble, virtuous, or as good as they expect.
They do not tolerate bad fortune well. They will anguish in their minds and scream in their hearts— unable to serenely go along with an inferior reality. Spiritualists are the most likely to blame God for making a mistake in creating an imperfect world. [And Tiny will seek revenge against the person who brought it to his attention.]

The biggest problem of Spiritualists is that they lack peace of mind, whereas Stoics tend to have it too much of it. The world with it's many imperfections so often disappoints. Reality itself is a letdown to Spiritualists, because it does not live up to their vision of how things could be if only people would let go of all the garbage.

Spiritualists really enjoy comedy and fun. They are not always able to produce it but they do like it. And, just as they look for fun and enjoyment in the world, they also look for religious feelings.

Spiritualists have a difficult time with emotionality. They regard their feelings as part of their "lower" nature. If they have strong Emotions which include moodiness, for instance, they try to "rise above" it.

Often this Attitude gives a person an inherent interest in religion or spirituality of some kind. From an early age Spiritualists tend to have a sense that there are realms beyond the physical. Or the person may be interested in psychology— the "spiritual" aspect of people.
Another major factor among Spiritualists is their interest in ethics or morality. This comes from their perception of the world as becoming a better place, and out of their own noble aspirations. This can make them difficult to be around, as they will examine the ethics of every situation. They want to do what is "right"—and they expect the same of others. They can be surprised when other people do not share their ethical sensitivities. So, those others can perceive them as moralistic and self-righteous— Little Goody Two-Shoes.

The Positive Pole of Spirituality is Verification. This means to authenticate the truth. This is not to be understood in the sense of Investigation, the Positive Pole of the Skeptic Attitude, which means to seek out the facts. Verification means seeing the truth among the lies.
Spiritualists look for transcendent factors at work in the world. They see these grains of divine awareness among the chaff of falsehood and, in fact, ignore the lies. They focus instead on the part of the universe that is in fact evolving to higher realms. The whole cosmos is a "morality play.”

The Negative Pole is Faith. The meaning of this word should not be confused with the meaning in Christian theology— trust in God or belief in Christ or anything like that. It does not concern adherence to religious dogmas. Nor does it concern unproven beliefs of any kind, for those are more a factor of the Intellectual Centers.

This sort of Faith is a felt thing, not a thought thing. This Faith refers to wishing and hoping in an emotional sense.
As indicated above, people with this Attitude are optimistic — they expect things will turn out for the best, no matter how bad it seems in the present. If they are being unreasonably optimistic, having no cause to be so, they are denying reality and deluding themselves.
Whereas people in the Positive Pole see what is true and good in the world, People in the Negative Pole get their hopes up that a miracle will deliver them. Thus they continually set themselves up for disappointment.

To see what their fate may be, they consult astrology, tarot, psychics, tea leaves, the crystal ball, the I-Ching or whatever. These are exhibitions of Faith motivated by fear.
People in Faith may develop their own collection of superstitions. People in Faith may look to omens to foretell the future. There may be attempts to influence destiny through magick rituals, or through charms such as the rabbits foot or a Saint Christopher medal.
The passive person may just hope and wishfully think that things will turn out OK— cross your fingers and look toward the heavens.

The way to overcome the Negative Pole of Faith is to consider and apply the Positive Pole of Stoicism: Tranquility. Don't let the setbacks in life get you down. Realize that the world is not really becoming a better place. It just grinds on inexorably with both ups and downs in the process. Do not expect things to always get better or worse in the long run, because it is not the way of the world.