Welcome to Sanctuary 3

by Christopher Lovejoy on October 24, 2021

Note to readers: this post is the third in a series of posts about flowing into and out of sanctuary

With enough attention paid, the principles of Huna Wisdom inspire awe as much as they inform the psyche, but without a secure channel to tap and tune psychic energy, these principles are dead in the water, so to speak, and so, before substance and style can be added to these principles with mojo and magic, what sort of structure might be constructed to have and keep this psychic energy flowing?

Structure Governs Behavior

Structure governs behavior; more specifically, psychic structure governs psychic behavior.

Just as different types of chairs have different structures that exhibit different types of behavior, so too do souls have different structures that exhibit different types of behavior, and just as chairs have a more-or-less discernible essence, so too do souls have a discernible essence.

The psyche as a whole is made up of many aspects and functions. As I mentioned, I am having the term ‘psychic’ point to matters of the soul incarnate; think of soul in cosmic terms, as a mix of mind and heart, as a repository of emotionally charged memories from all lifetimes.

The structure, substance, and style of a soul is psychological, existential, and experiential.

Respectively.

In view of this comparison, I have two questions for the conduct of my soul: (1) to what extent do I have ease of access to its structure?; and (2) who can I be, and what can I do, with this ease of access to advance the evolution of my soul to accelerate the ascension of my spirit?

In posing these questions, I’ve already given away some clues to the nature of Soul, but I’d be getting ahead of myself if I pointed to these clues now, so let’s rise to the highest perspective, with a bird’s eye view of the structure, by calling attention to what is known as “the Witness.”

The Witness is Your Portal to Perspective

I first published On Being a Witness to my blog over ten years ago in late 2010.

I wrote about the Witness Perspective, the point of view that a witness assumes when faced with any sort of underwhelm or overwhelm. The Witness is a posture assumed by a witness to observe events in the world with detachment in the face of underwhelm or overwhelm.

These events can either be internal (like strong feelings or sensations) or external (like surprises, pleasant or unpleasant). Here, embodiment is key: the body, in serving as a vessel or vehicle, provides a frame of reference by which and through which events in the world can be catalogued with detachment as internal or external in the face of underwhelm or overwhelm.

With ever greater sensitivity, and with practice, I’ve become a witness to myself, my life, and my world through what I have called The Art of Surrender. With this Self as Art, I distinguish between seeing and feeling things as they are, seeing and feeling things as they should be, seeing and feeling things as they could be, and seeing and feeling things as they will be.

With spiritual surrender, I can catalyze or neutralize what is known as the negativity bias, a profound, pervasive bias in the human psyche that has been studied extensively, clinically and scientifically.


aside

I invite you to consider the negativity bias in these terms:

in a primitive milieu, if human beings failed to get a carrot “today,” they could always get one “tomorrow,” but if they ever failed to avoid the almighty stick ~ whack! ~ they might have forever lost their ability to get more carrots, which might explain why human beings tend to . . .

(1) scan for bad news (“what could go wrong?”)

(2) focus so keenly on what is perceived as bad

(3) overreact to what is perceived as bad, like pain or loss (negative experiences with people tend to affect us more deeply than positive ones ~ “Velcro for negative encounters, Teflon for positive encounters”)

(4) move negative experience into memory more quickly than positive (“once burned, twice shy”)

(5) bear the brunt of a most troublesome feature of being human, viz., that painful, stressful experience sensitizes the brain (threat detectors in the brain known as the amygdala) to even more negative experience (through the hormone known as cortisol acting inside the brain); and

(6) be susceptible to succumbing to escalating cycles of conflict in relationship to one another

Spiritual surrender is rarely if ever a passive process because it usually requires receptive, reflective, responsive acts of will, beginning with a willingness to question, when necessary, everyday assumptions and interpretations. Think of this as a gentle inquiry into pure experience.

In the spaciousness of timelessness, what is more true, more pure, more timeless?

Other facets of spiritual surrender include devotion to the One (I need not be what I am not), a realization of Awareness (I can now allow the emergence of “I as I” through which experience can arise and express with and through the “I”), as well as the intensification of Presence.

All of these facets are integral, each serving to feed and fuel the others.

And so, a calm witness is a clear witness: even in the face of overwhelm, a stable, steady witness can almost always tell the difference between internal and external events, and do so with detachment, with a body posing as a vessel for soul, through a body acting as a vehicle for spirit.

Eventually, either as a servant or as master of Creation, the ego becomes ready, willing, and able to switch between playing one or the other of these roles, until it becomes impossible to tell which is which.

The Ego Plays a Vital Role in Life

So far, I’ve identified these aspects of the psyche as a whole: the Witness, the soul and spirit, the body as a vessel for soul, and the body as a vehicle for spirit, but I have yet to draw attention to the ego, whose substance and style play a vital (vitalizing and revitalizing) role in life.

In spiritual circles, the ego continues to be maligned and scapegoated as obsessive and compulsive, aggressive and regressive, constrictive and restrictive, or even too protective and supportive for its own good, but for me, the ego is central to living and loving a healthy, happy life.

As the ego allies itself with the Witness by paying close attention to the intention, at rest or in flow, with or without inspiration, the ego becomes stronger and more sure, even as and when it meets and greets everyone and everything with and through an attitude of friendly curiosity. I call this “the egoic blissipline of cultivating, calibrating, and celebrating goodness, kindness, and sweetness.”

Respectively.

In keeping with this discipline, the ego (ideally) moves like a switch between the soul and the spirit by way of the Witness. It’s not uncommon, however, for the ego to feel (a) constrained by a lifeless soul, (b) distracted by a loveless spirit, or (c) dissociated from one or both of these ~ all of which offer learning opportunities for “going and growing with the knowing and flowing.”

In light of these observations, I invite you to ponder this simple psychic structure:


body (as vessel) < > soul (contains energy) < Witness > spirit (conveys energy) < > body (as vehicle)

The energy of soul is potential energy; the energy of spirit is kinetic energy. A central agency (the ego) is required to (1) tap into the potential energy, even as it serves to guide the kinetic energy, and (2) guide the kinetic energy, even as it serves to tap into the potential energy.

Note also the centrality of the Witness as a mediator between soul and spirit. In tandem with the Witness, the mature ego is the sole arbiter of where and when and how it acts, or reacts, in relation to the soul and spirit, and therefore in relation to the potential and kinetic energy.

In other words, when the soul is wholly at rest and (ideally) at peace, or when the spirit is fully in flow and (ideally) in bliss, the ego is nowhere to be seen, and has nowhere to go. These egoless experiences of contentment and enchantment obtain in one of two mutually exclusive ways:


egolessness as enlightenment (contentment)
energy swells where attention dwells in the body as a vessel for the soul at rest and (ideally) at peace

egolessness as empowerment (enchantment)
energy flows where attention goes for the body as a vehicle for the spirit in flow and (ideally) in bliss

Now let’s see how these states can be incorporated into a life lived well and good.

Objective Reality < > Subjective Reality

Have you ever seen one of those reversible figures where, one moment you see a vase, and the next moment you see the outlines of two faces gazing eternally into each other’s eyes? As these images switch back and forth, you might even begin to wonder how this is even possible.

I mean, there you are, and there they are, switching back and forth, but here’s the thing: one or your perspectives assumes separation between you and it, between subject and object; another perspective assumes no separation whatever between you and it, between subject and object.

With separation comes objectification, which is not necessarily a bad thing; with seamless integration comes subjectification, which is also not necessarily a bad thing. The first, objectification, is very satisfying to the ego; the second, subjectification, is very satisfying to the witness.

In the tunnels of time, which is more true, more pure, more timely? The ego says . . . “why, objectification of course!” And in the spaciousness of timelessness, which is more true, more pure, more timeless? The witness pulls back, laughs, and says . . . “why, subjectification of course!”

A word, if I may, about subjectification: submersion ~ shorthand for subjective immersion ~ is a more forgiving way of saying subjectification, and is in contrast to objectification, the process of (a) treating people as instruments of value, or (b) treating objects as representational.

With respect to (a), one can treat one’s self, one’s body, or one’s life as instrumentally valuable (in contrast to intrinsically valuable), and with respect to (b), objects of value, like works of art, can be treated representationally for such qualities as peace, love, joy, bliss, grace, ease.

Such works of art need not be representationally restricted to literary or visual pieces, but can also include musical pieces or even performance pieces as seen in film, dance, or theater. Objectification and discrimination: everyone does it, perhaps more than we would like to admit.

Submersion, on other hand, offers a welcome alternative ~ not a substitute, just an alternative. With submersion, one can allow one’s self, as a witness, to be embraced by magic, mystery, and miracle, where “going and growing with the knowing and flowing” is par for the course.

But how does one forgo the ego and become a willing witness to spaciousness and timelessness?

Enter Timelessness via Measures of Meaning

When it comes to gauging motivation and momentum, measures of meaning are superior to units of time. A string of meaningful experiences can easily maintain motivation and momentum; spending hours in and of itself to finish a project or a report, for example, is not all that meaningful, but if enough measures of meaning can be realized, any amount of time spent can feel quite fulfilling.

Consider this heuristic . . .


“Attempting to ______ for X ______ (hours, days, weeks, months) makes me tired just thinking about it, but doing A, B, C energizes and excites me, even if it ends up taking X+ ____ (hours, etc) to complete. What a difference this makes to my enjoyment of the experience!”

I invite you, in mulling over this framework, to lend some credence to bypassing any insistence on being a servant to time, or even a steward of time, and instead, in view of rest and flow, motivation and momentum, apply measures of meaning to your desired results and outcomes.

Any process of inquiry or discovery that I undertake is bookended from Alpha (desire, intention) to Omega (fulfillment, completion), between which a possibility space opens up ~ a possibility space that can be filled with measures of meaning in lieu of, or on top of, units of time.

As an example, this post I’m writing is beginning to look more like a book, which offers me a choice: I could write one very long post, and if I do, it would be prudent of me to treat sections of this post as my measures of meaning. I have a desire to keep moving forward with this post and so I would make it my intention to reach fulfillment and completion one section at a time.

On the other hand, I could write and publish this post as a book, in which case, it would be prudent of me to treat chapters of this book as my measures of meaning. That is to say, I would make it my intention to reach fulfillment with the completion of this book one chapter at a time.

Of course, I could do both: publish a post (or page) and then elaborate it as a book.

With a renewable emphasis on cultivating and calibrating measures of meaning in my life, I begin to shine and rise above preoccupations with time, with serving my time, with feeling pressured by time, or with knowing (or not knowing) whether I’ve become a master of my time.

Now what of soul and spirit in relation to the witness and ego?

Soul and Spirit: Ekos Sacred, Eros Divine

I can draw upon the fact that my body is naturally inclined to either rest or move, and so it follows that my body harbors two mutually exclusive aims: where my body serves as a vessel for soul to contain the energy of soul so as to contemplate, cultivate, and calibrate quality, my body also serves as a vehicle for spirit to convey the energy of spirit to generate, perpetuate, and celebrate vitality.

Two examples: (1) as I write this post, I am called to pause and reflect, allowing inspiration to arise as it wills, giving me ideas and suggestions that I would never have otherwise entertained; and (2) I feel called to dance my way into a space of delight after completing this section.

In light of these examples, consider, as a summation of personal reality, this prescriptive algorithm:


if

my experience of reality = quality of encounter + vitality of experience

then

my soul would do well to contemplate, cultivate, and calibrate quality

and

my spirit would do well to generate, perpetuate, and celebrate vitality

With respect to the body, especially with respect to its sensuous, amorous, erotic, sensual, and sexual capacities for intimacy and ecstasy, the human psyche can get a conceptual handle on its embodiment and expressivity: where a soul is at rest with cultivating and calibrating quality through encounter, the spirit is in flow with perpetuating and celebrating vitality with experience.

In this moment, I need only pause, breathe, and relax to welcome the heart of my soul, to become intimate with quality of encounter; in this moment, I need only move, flow, and “bliss out” to receive and release the soul of my spirit, to become ecstatic with vitality of experience.

a soul at rest is a soul at peace; a spirit in flow is a spirit in bliss
with intimacy, a soul sacralizes; for ecstasy, a spirit specializes!
if Ekos is the sacred breath of life, Eros is the divine spark of life

Ekos Sacred, Eros Divine

But at what point do “I” ~ the healthy, hearty, happy ego in tandem with the Witness ~ make the switch from soul to spirit, from peace to bliss, from quality to vitality, from resting to flowing, from encounter to experience, from contentment to enchantment, from intimacy to ecstasy?

And, at what point do “I” come back to the heart of my soul?

I wonder: at what point do I care to be informed through the heart of soul and at what point do I care to be inspired through the soul of spirit? On the verge of a switch, dare I let it be or dare I make it so? To press the point further, how do I know I’m living my life with passion on purpose? At what point do I feel and sense that my deep Now is pure and perfect ~ that is, fulfilled and fulfilling?

Coherence, Congruence, Consistency

Dare we live our lives with coherence, congruence, and consistency?

That is, dare we live our lives with psychological, moral, and spiritual integrity?

Here’s what I mean when I say coherence, congruence, and consistency:


coherence < being, knowing, feeling (psychology) : be . . . know . . . feel (as a soul)
congruence < knowing, feeling, doing (morality) : know . . . feel . . . do (as an ego)
consistency < feeling, doing, having (spirituality) : feel . . . do . . . have (as a spirit)

cycles forward into . . .

coherence < doing, having, being (psychology) : do . . . have . . . be (as a soul)
congruence < having, being, knowing (morality) : have . . . be . . . know (as an ego)
consistency < being, knowing, feeling (spirituality) : be . . . know . . . feel (as a spirit)

cycles forward into . . .

coherence < knowing, feeling, doing (psychology) : know . . . feel . . . do (as a soul)
congruence < feeling, doing, having (morality) : feel . . . do . . . have (as an ego)
consistency < doing, having, being (spirituality) : do . . . have . . . be (as a spirit)

cycles forward into . . .

coherence < having, being, knowing (psychology) : have . . . be . . . know (as a soul)
congruence < being, knowing, feeling (morality) : be . . . know . . . feel (as an ego)
consistency < knowing, feeling, doing (spirituality) : know . . . feel . . . do (as a spirit)

cycles forward into . . .

coherence < feeling, doing, having (psychology) : feel . . . do . . . have (as a soul)
congruence < doing, having, being (morality) : do . . . have . . . be (as an ego)
consistency < having, being, knowing (spirituality) : have . . . be . . . know (as a spirit)

cycles forward into . . . (completes the circuit)

coherence < being, knowing, feeling (psychology) : be . . . know . . . feel (as a soul)
congruence < knowing, feeling, doing (morality) : know . . . feel . . . do (as an ego)
consistency < feeling, doing, having (spirituality) : feel . . . do . . . have (as a spirit)

1) soul, ego, and spirit have their own ways of being, knowing, feeling, doing, having
2) psychic integrity applies to the state of a soul as a whole (be, know, feel, do, have)

I start with being and end with having, and so, it seems that being and having are the Alpha Omega of being-having, of be-having, of behaving, and so when I behave myself, I behave with integrity. Not only am I full of being, I am filling with having; I full-fill a purpose, and I full-fill my purpose with presence, promise, and passion by behaving coherently, congruently, and consistently.

Coherence is clarity, congruence is clarity, consistency is clarity. As I continue to observe how I behave, I become clear about what I believe, and as I continue to be clear about what I believe, I become clear about how to be-have in a bid to feel ever more alive, awake, aware, and alert.

And so, being never ends with having for is it not true that having feeds back into being?

This circularity of being and having, of be-having and be-coming, is a crucial feature of moving from subject to sovereign, from subjectivity to sovereignty, from subjective reality to sovereign reality in view of that reversible figure known as subjective reality and objective reality.

Is this circular movement not about cultivating more capacity (coherently), more complexity (congruently), and more capability (consistently), with more presence, more promise, more passion in service to a purpose in life in terms of the evolution of soul and the ascension of spirit?

What if I chose to cooperate with this evolution and ascension?

And how would this cooperation look, sound, and feel?

/

Note to readers: this post is the third in a series on finding sanctuary. As I post each one to my blog, I’ll be placing it into Sanctuary under the Resource tab in the Navigation menu at the top of this site

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