Fear About My New Life: A Personal Essay

I am full of fear about my new life.  I am planning, with my friend Fred Timm, to start a not-for-profit organization called Conscious Community — a hub, online and also in-person, for people interested in and dedicated to becoming more conscious.  This is the first time I have spoken publicly abdaniel chillin in africa_smallerout this group.  We have been working hard on formulating its principles for some time and it’s almost ready to go.  I don’t want to say much more about it right now, beyond that its ideas are in synch with the values I have been espousing for the last ten or so years.

In framing this essay, I’d like to ask myself some questions about my fear.  Sometimes I find interviewing myself to be quite helpful.  So here goes. Continue reading

Why don’t traumatized people take good care of themselves?

(written on May 1, 2013, Zagreb, Croatia, finally published almost 8 months later!)

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Why don’t traumatized people take good care of themselves?

Although this may seem like a huge and complicated topic, the crux of the answer to this question is simple.  I will break it down into a few parts.

But before jumping in, there are two preliminary things to know:

1) No one is created traumatized.  We begin life perfectly unscathed.  Continue reading

A Three-Part Assessment of the Work of Elnora Van Winkle

[Written in 2006.]

I was introduced to the work of Elnora Van Winkle, the originator of Redirecting Self Therapy (RST), by members of my original website’s now-defunct bulletin board.

Van Winkle, who passed away in 2001, was a scientist and psychological theorist who wrote about healing one’s traumas and mental illness through redirecting one’s buried anger back to one’s original traumatizers, primarily one’s parents. She claims to have discovered a foolproof method for recovery – which of course piqued my interest. Continue reading

The Twelve Steps Of Alcoholics Anonymous: A Translation Into Reality

[Written in 2006.]

1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.

Translation: I admit that I don’t have a true self within that can heal and regain control over my life, and that this is the reason – not all of my unresolved childhood traumas! – that my life has become so disturbed and dysfunctional. I admit that the root of my problem is alcohol, not all the trauma I experienced as a child and cannot acknowledge, and that’s why I come to AA. If only I can cure the symptom then everything will be okay! (So untrue!)

Continue reading

Self-Therapy Without Dreamwork Is Folly

[Written around 2007.]

All good self-therapy needs dreamwork, because dreams provide the most basic and clearest clues to the working of our unconscious.  If we wish to resolve our unconscious issues – which is the point of self-therapy, after all – we have no better tool in our armament than dream analysis.

Yet so few forms of self-therapy – including the Twelve Step Programs such as AA – even give lip service to dreamwork.  No surprise.  Continue reading

The Value of Dream Analysis

[Written around 2007.]

Dream analysis is a wonderful and challenging discipline – and is often a key component of deep psychotherapy and deep self-therapy. It is best to catch and write down dreams right when you wake up to them, so then the little details that tell so much about them are not lost to the unconscious. I have compiled a list of the benefits of dream analysis, from the personal to the interpersonal to the therapeutic.

  1. Dream analysis is humbling. Life makes it so easy for us to become arrogant and grandiose, to feel we’re on a higher plane than others.  By studying our dreams in depth, we cannot avoid seeing ourselves in the more humble light of our own vulnerabilities and ancient unmet childhood needs. Continue reading

Ten Ways To Be Your Own Therapist

[Written in 2008.]

  1. KEEP A JOURNAL: Journaling – that is, writing down the truth of your feelings, your point of view, your fears, your angers, your hopes, your expectations, your desires, your fantasies, your hatreds, your regrets, your thoughts, your memories, your prejudices, your secret loves, your painful experiences, your humiliations, your past traumas – requires massive intimacy with yourself. This self-intimacy is the essence of good therapy, and yet is also what makes good therapy so difficult. Many people find it difficult to journal – or journal in a deep and prolonged way – because of the strange feelings of being so emotionally intimate with oneself. Continue reading

Grief Opens the Door to Healing

[Written in late 2009.]

Grief is painful, but opens the door to healing and growth.  If there were no grieving, we would stay stagnant—the numb, seemingly comfortable stagnancy that is the goal of the norm.  When we are in the midst of grieving we might wish to have it all go away, because in a sense the pain of grief is terrifying, but this is only the terror of facing ourselves—a deeper, more vulnerable, more hidden side of ourselves that we are usually able to plug up in our daily lives. Continue reading

Eighteen Ways To Speed Up The Path To Enlightenment

[Written in 2006.]

People argue that conscious celibacy in the service of the path toward enlightenment would lead our species to extinction, but in their denial they completely miss the point – and get it backwards. It is our unconsciousness which is leading us to extinction, and as the coming decades pass this will become only more obvious. Continue reading

Alcoholics Anonymous: Its Value and Danger

[Written around 2004.]

Alcoholics Anonymous has helped millions to stop drinking, which is a vital step for everyone on the spiritual path, but its inherent limits as a program prevent its members from becoming fully enlightened. AA allows alcoholics a fellowship of peers, but it philosophy denies the full truth – and thus cannot provide fully enlightened guidance. As such, if its members go too far in expressing their true selves, they will not be loved by the group. Continue reading

Self-Doubt: Your Parents Still Live in Your Head

[Written around 2004.]

Self-doubt is part of the healing process. As you progressively break from your family on the quest to become a true individual, a part of yourself remains a clone of the family in attitude and behavior. This part does not want to change. It views the world through the sick family perspective and hates that the deepest part of you desires to free your spirit and stand on your own. The weak attacks the strong, and you feel this attack as self-doubt. Continue reading

Fear: A Byproduct of Moving Forward

[Written around 2005.]

Moving forward is terrifying, and anyone who tells you otherwise is not moving forward. To move forward is to heal. To heal is to become more independent. And to become more independent is to leave one’s parents, and the worst of their patterns, behind. This feels like being an abandoned child. And there is no greater terror than feeling like a helpless, powerless, vulnerable infant at the mercy of the world. Continue reading

Confronting Parents: Its Value and Risk

[Written around 2006.]

Confronting one’s parents with the truth has both advantage and disadvantage. Its two main advantages are: 1) that it allows you, the now-grown child, to finally see just how strong you really are and just what you’ve been hiding beneath your surface for so long, and 2) that it allows you to finally put your childhood history in the clear backdrop of reality and see where your parents stand: that the unhealed sides of them, which are usually a significant portion of their personalities, are selfish and not primarily out for your welfare, and never were. The disadvantage of confronting your parents is that their unhealed sides will reject you. Continue reading

The Risks of Emotional Healing

[Written around 2005.]

The emotional healing process, if it goes well, risks much. At basic it risks is a person’s false self, which is all most people have. It’s how they’ve been defining themselves for their entire conscious lives – ever since they created it to fit into their childhood families. Healing attempts to help a person rid himself of this false self and to help him manifest his true self that lies underneath, dormant or partially dormant for years. Continue reading

Passion: The Fuel For the Journey

[Written in 2004.]

Passion drives us to grow, to learn about ourselves, to be different from the expected, to face the painful consequences of our struggle and to persevere. Passion comes from deep within us. Passion pre-dates our traumas and our consciousness, our decorum and our identities. Passion tears through denial and disrespects lies. Passion is the spark of our souls, and the root of our enlightenment. Continue reading

Grieving the Ultimate Loss: Your Imperfect Parents

[Written around 2004.]

Grieving is an intrinsic part of the healing process. Grieving is long, painful, and confusing, but richly rewarding. Life is not complete unless all traumas are unearthed, grieved, and thus resolved. Those who fail to complete this process live forever in a limbo of partial misery, stuck unconsciously in the past and unable to escape. Continue reading

Does Growth Have to Be Painful?

[Written around 2004.]

Yes. Pain is a byproduct of the growth process. Emotional growth stretches the limits of the personality, and this is unpleasant. At some level personalities want to remain static and fixed, and become rigid as such, even for the most growth-oriented people. Even children. If children were not compelled to grow, motivated deeply and intensely from within – by their inner spirits, their life forces, their passion – they wouldn’t be able to put up with the pain of growth. Growing is not fun. Its consequences may feel wonderful over the long haul, but its process is awkward, uncomfortable, and anxiety-producing.

Continue reading

The Four Stages on the Path to Enlightenment

[Written in 2004 or 2005.]

As we walk forward on the path toward full enlightenment, different parts of ourselves live at different stages of healing. Some parts can be amazingly healed and insightful, while others can remain buried and out of touch. Our different parts traverse the various stages at their own speeds, seemingly independently – but ultimately connected to our core of perfection by our universal thread of truth. Continue reading