Shadow work, Objective side of Institutions, Objectivity to 'self'

Hi friends, I’m new to Integral theory, but have absorbed the basics (hopefully), mainly from watching Ken’s interviews on YouTube. Much eye opening to me. Shadow work wow!–as a long term spiritual practitioner–I knew at some stage I would have to face childhood fears (still fearful of ‘spooks’ in the night, for instance) and weird annoying memories that still haunt and retard.

I thought these traumas, fears, addictive behaviors would get burned up or released in the course of practice, not so apparently. So will need to work at this. Direction needed.

One other major shift in perspective (simply from listening intently to integral theory and spiral dynamics) was reviewing my long term understanding or perception of my own spiritual home organization ‘objectively’ from the outside looking in. That was mind blowing! And still feel slightly treasonous for standing outside, ‘objectively’ rather than just being in the ‘subjective loop’ on the inside, so to speak. This, if I understand the quadrants, is in relation to the objective and subjective side of institutions.

What was interesting here, was I could see why there was stagnation, and no growth, just as in a human being, institutions need to move into the ‘whole world view, known in modern terms’ a reality check. Rather than reverting back to ‘old world’ archetypes that don’t really work any more or at least need to be ‘noticed’ and brought to the light of consciousness (shadow work again?) .

The other mind-blower, from the quadrants ( if I understand correctly) was my own ‘objective’ side. Certainly never saw that, after years of ‘introspective subjectivity’. Moving to an objective position in relation to my own presence ‘in the world’ is not common knowledge and certainly news to me, and with the capacity to really change our perspective. So when I stand outside of myself in perspective many things are clearer, another unnoticed dimension opens up.

So obviously much more to learn here, particularly interested in how to implement shadow work, any directions would be useful, thanks.

One important thing to remember is the word “Shadow” itself often has shadow attached to it. Often people automatically and implicitly judge the shadow as somehow wrong or bad. This drives it deeper and solidifies it denser. So the first thing is to go into it with a desire to accept and nurture ones shadow self. This is often difficult in a good / evil paradigm that is deeply ingrained in the Western psyche over 2,000 years.
The second thing is related, that we also have a “golden” shadow. We hide our greatness from ourselves, in the shadow. We may be shy or feel shame when we are complimented, or overcompensate with surface bravado and vanity because we might not see the actual gold inside.

The rest is just observation and techniques.
Observation from the outside looking at ourselves. The biggest tale-tell is anger. Anger is the great concealer. There are very few instances in our day to day lives when we encounter things that require “clean” anger. these are the times when we know we have to take a stand against something wrong, but are reluctant to do so and kind of have to “force” ourselves to show anger to prevent a greater wrong from happening.
Shadow anger comes quick and with strength, often in an instant. “How DARE he / she DO that!”. Indignant outrage, road rage, fights with lovers, petty quips and backhanded unconscious phrases that emotionally harm a loved one. These can usually be nothing other than shadow. Jealousy is a big one in the United States. People can’t stand the idea that their partner has a friend of the opposite sex and may sabotage their friend’s lifelong friendships over petty jealousy. All these areas are shadow signals.

Fear is the second one, which can also be hidden by anger but is also a common way to hid a golden shadow. Fear of standing in front of a group of people, fear of performing on stage, fear of standing up for what is right, fear of social stigma, fear of not fitting in, even when doing so is unhealthy. All of these are hiding one’s true greatness and capabilities.

Shame is another, but easier to spot. It is also transformed into anger or fear easily, so anger or fear can often be traced back to some early life shame. “I’m not worthy”, “I’m bad”, “I’m not enough” and several other shadow self talk might have been learned during childhood formative events. It’s not possible to really trace back before memory, so we usually try to find events in the age range of 4-8years old for events that may have formed these shadows.

The Integral Shadow work method is the famous 3 - 2 - 1, which I think is “ok” but lacking in many ways. I think it’s possible to “3-2-1” after one has done quite a lot of work with one’s shadow, but it’s not at all an introductory or beginner practice and I doubt if it’s enough for even the average Integral practitioner. Shadows by definition are that which hide from us, so if it is as easy to find a shadow as “321”, I would say it isn’t actually a shadow, lol.

I’ve never used this page, but it looks like it has lots of good journaling prompts.

An search for “shadow work” will turn up a ton of paid content. I would avoid the ones that seem to cast the shadow as “bad”.

I am not a psychologist or therapist and do not want to present myself as one. This is just my “hobby”.

Thanks Ray I will take a look at these and other avenues and see what is useful. Interesting what you are calling shadow I would call “reactivity” : the sudden anger we suffer daily ( or frustration, irritation, annoyance) and would try to deal with that as potentially hurtful to others but again will shift how this is looked at and follow the more psychological than spiritual approach and see how that works, appreciate your feedback.

I would agree that shadows do lend to reactivity. A reaction to me implies lack of choice, a kind of stimulus - response. Where the shadow comes in is when this response is actually counter to our best interests. For example, if someone gets in a fight and gets arrested and thrown in jail because someone passed them on the right or some other absurd things we can see in an endless stream on social media each day - those are shadows at work.
Shadows are also at work with coping mechanisms like alcohol, drugs and other addictions. The key point is that it is not a conscious choice to indulge an addiction, but a kind of compulsion or reaction to to much of a certain stimuli.

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Anyone suffering from hidden or overt fear, anxiety or trauma and wishes to consciously deal with it, may find this visual podcast very useful. The author goes very deep into the brain/ body roots of fear, and the fear response, not in a deterministic way, as some do, but from the point of view of neuro-plasticity and our own volition, he further goes into several therapies known to be effective. It’s long and very detailed (over 2 hours) I learned much from it in one sitting. Down side a lot of adverts.

Erasing Fears & Traumas Based on the Modern Neuroscience of Fear

I hope you are contagious Marty and infect a lot of people with your condition of ‘health.’ :slightly_smiling_face: This is self-transcendence.

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Thanks Lawanna, more power to that, KW does say that what was formerly ‘subjective’, then becomes ‘objective’ when there is a shift. So you can see ‘yourself’, as a part of the whole, rather than independent of the whole. It’s perspectival rather than esoteric (or a movement in energy alone). Self is still strong, embodied, not spacey, but bodily full. Head, heart and navel stay open, but under duress still revert back to default.

Not sure if this is a turquoise movement (yes, no, thoughts?) in growing up, feels that way, it is like we start thinking feeling “how is this useful for the whole?” rather than “what’s in it for me?”

Nothing ‘saintly’ or moralistic about it, feels more like, there is a great happening going on a sort of ‘evolutionary surge’; get on That Wave boy! So there is a fresh, natural potency there.

The common viewpoint from this perspective is, self is not important (not low self-esteem), not that interesting any more, your own destiny is really incidental, why not act on the basis of what is far greater? Walk in the forest, feel the unity, walk in a public market, feel the unity, love comes on board.

Should add, a really important difference, is I can advocate sources that have no relation to my own views, or preferences or icons, if they may be useful to others. Believe me that is a Biggy because, in the past or when I fall out of this perspective, I would only advocate sources connected to my own views and may feel threatened by opposing or completive views, again it’s not putting ‘self’ in the picture (chronically).

Several things come to mind here.

I don’t think most people set out to do what you describe yourself doing–consciously, intentionally standing “outside” your group and looking at it from that perspective, or looking at yourself or your presence in the world from a more objective position. That requires a degree of intentionality and self-detachment, and you might find Suzanne Cook-Greuter’s stages of self-identity (self-identity being a “line of development” in integral theory) or Terri O’Fallon’s stages model useful to take a look at. You can search for them at IL.

Regarding the stages of development overall, the process of traversing them is a process of transcendence involving identification (with the current stage), differentiation (between the current stage and the next one being entered), and integration. I tend to think this is largely an organic process for most people or for the average person. While they may be able to point to markers or events that most integralists would immediately recognize as a stage-change, they themselves don’t realize this. For instance, I worked recently with someone who had left her (amber) religion/church and was having difficulty with that, feeling less a part of her very religious family. She left because while in college, she was exposed “to science” she said, and could no longer believe the things her religion taught. She was having trouble integrating the amber stage.

The point of this is that at each stage of development, one is both a whole and a part of a whole, and certainly at the amber stage and others as well, people do tend to have some degree of understanding about that. But up the ladder of growth and development, the “whole” becomes larger and larger. At her amber stage, the whole was “us,” the family and church. At the next stage (rational), the whole is “all of us,” world-centric. At the amber stage, people also consider “how is this useful for the whole?” but their idea of “the whole” is more limited than it is at higher or later stages. People at the orange-rational stage will also consider “how is this useful for the whole” but their idea of the whole will not necessarily include the forest or its inhabitants or other elements of the natural world, will tend to be more human-centric (even though there is adequate green-washing that goes on at this level/stage).

Just wanted to clarify a little those different conceptions of “the whole.”

One way KW has differentiated the Integral Teal and Integral Turquoise stages is that Teal tends to “think in wholes” while Turquoise adds to that in that they tend to “feel wholes,” that is, to have more of a felt-sense of the interconnectedness of all things and beings, which one may think of as a spiritual orientation or wakefulness. Certainly one would be inclined to base decisions and actions on what is good for the whole of which they are aware, which doesn’t necessarily conflict with that also being good for the self, given that each of us is a part of that whole, not separate from it. I think at both Teal and Turquoise, one can flex and flow, move back and forth between a subjective and objective perspective, and as you say, cling less hardily or competitively to one’s own views and be open to opposing views and supporting the (at least partial) truth of those opposing views, certainly if that’s useful in forwarding relationship and understanding.

Sounds like you’re having a bit of a thrilling time riding “That Wave boy!” It’s nice to share in that.

Hey, thanks LaWanna for the excellent analysis, and will investigate the points you mentioned re lines of development and Terri O’Fallon. Yep, the whole gets bigger and more inclusive as we grow. Much to learn and digest here.

Just a little process point - in my experience, I very definitely “feel” ideas far in advance of being able to articulate them or form a thought.

Looking at the cultural evolution model of vMemes, the heydey of “thinking” was really the modern (orange). Thinking keeps on going beyond that, but it gets progressively less central. Of course, thinking was not central to red, amber, etc. either. Medieval knights, for example, didn’t really do self-control or emotional repression. This gets us into some pre/trans conundrums. There are feelings both from below and from above. So in putting feeling prior to thought, I’m not claiming trans-tealism. I’m pretty sure that’s how cognition works in general. Spiritually informed cognition - that may be a different matter.

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Sorry for the delay Robert; trouble logging in. I’ll be back later with a few words of response.

Yes, I know what you mean, but I think (“therefore I feel” haha, just a little joke) what is being emphasized by Teal’s “thinking in wholes” is the intellectual process sans the all-pervasiveness of the felt-sense of interconnectedness that Turquoise experiences through “feeling wholes” (which is probably better described as a “felt-knowingness,” this term pointing to a less vague awareness than “felt-sense” connotates).

While there was some great thinking going on in the orange-rational stage/modernity, and while it was more inclusive (“all of us”) than the amber stage (“us and them,” or us vs. them), integrally-speaking, being a 1st Tier stage of development, it did not/does not include the perspectives of the whole stack of developmental stages, which 2nd Tier Integral does, or aims to. I also think there had to have been a great deal of feeling going on at the pre-modern amber-mythic stage, given the emergence of all those religions, but again, being a 1st Tier stage, it excluded the perspectives of the whole stack (magical, for instance), as the orange stage excluded the perspectives of those religious ambers and magical magentas, etc.

I’m not saying that orange thinking is the best. Rather, it’s just that only at the orange stage does anyone give thinking quite the same sort of ultimate seriousness that it is given in certain types of aggressively materialist and logical positivist philosophies. (There was also a romantic counter-movement against this. So one side of the culture was all about thinking, and the other side was much more interested in feeling).

I would tend to agree that thinking gets better beyond orange, precisely because thinking at those levels makes better use of the non-cognitive.