Matrignosis: A Blog About Inner Wisdom

Think Pyschologically; Live Spiritually

Good News, Bad News October 8, 2018

 

“Love is the fundamental energy of evolution….Our challenge today is to trust the power of love at the heart of life, to let ourselves be seized by love, to create and invent ways for love to evolve into a global wholeness of unity, compassion, justice and peacemaking. As a process of evolution, the universe is incomplete, and we humans are incomplete. We can change, grow, and become something new. We have the power to do so, but do we have the will? We need a religious imagination that ignites our energies to move beyond mediocrity and fear, one that anticipates a new future of planet life.” ~Ilia Delio. The Unbearable Wholeness of Being, p. xxv

First the good news: The first draft of my new book is finished. From here on out it’s just a matter of refining it, a process akin to socializing a child so it’s fit to be seen in polite society. It’ll take me a while to do that, then off it goes. Sending it to the publisher is like sending a child to finishing school after basic training. An editor will offer suggestions, I’ll make revisions. A marketing person will review and adjust the promotional plan, make the necessary arrangements, and so on.

Now for the bad news: I’m living in a country whose collective shadow is manifesting in so much nasty, ugly, uncivilized, territorial, competitive, top-dog, mine’s-bigger-than-yours animus masculinity that I’m losing hope. Just so you know, my book is about how psychologically and spiritually, men and women both contain the masculine and feminine principles/drives. So I’m not just talking about men. There are plenty of women around exhibiting that same shadow.

Here’s what I’m on the verge of seriously asking myself: Why am I spending so much of my life energy creating this new child who’s all about love and partnership and creative, unitive consciousness? How can it possibly survive in such an environment, let alone thrive? How can anything soft and vulnerable—like an innocent child or a human soul—bear the toxicity of our time?

I know the answer to the first question is, “Because I have to.” And I know I won’t rest until it’s done. Nevertheless, I really, really, need to hear some good news.

Two Monday mornings ago, I awoke with the usual dark cloud over my head from watching the late night news about the latest political brouhaha. This time it was the Brett Kavanaugh supreme court nominee hearing and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s upcoming testimony about an alleged abusive encounter with him. I didn’t want to think about it. I couldn’t wait to make my coffee and get to the newspaper so I could solve the sudoku puzzle. I needed a distraction from my gloomy thoughts, a problem I could actually resolve.

Part of my morning ritual is to read my horoscope which shares the same page. Occasionally a comment will resonate and spark some creative thinking. That morning, mine said something like, “Instead of thinking about what you need to change, ask yourself what would improve your life.” The answer came almost immediately. Being with a kind, compassionate, psychologically savvy and spiritually mature woman who has a good balance of masculine and feminine energy would definitely improve my life right now.

So I sent an email to a friend I haven’t seen in several months, and invited her over for tea one afternoon. We agreed to meet a week later, last Monday afternoon. One of the first things she said after we’d settled into comfortable chairs was, “Are you in as much pain as I am from watching Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony last Thursday?” She was already reading my mind. I hadn’t actually watched it that day, but I’d been seeing it on the news ever since. And yes, I was in much pain about it.

After we talked for a while about how much Ford’s testimony had moved us she said, “But you know, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for Kavanaugh and his wife too. Did you see her face? There was so much devotion and concern for him in her eyes.”

And that’s exactly what I needed to hear. Her compassion for both Ford and Kavanaugh—her ability to put herself in their shoes and imagine the impact this ordeal was having on both their families—was the voice crying in the wilderness I’d been longing to hear. We spent the next two hours having one of the most pleasant, light-hearted, and affirming conversations I can remember ever having. We laughed a lot. And I teared up a few times. I’ve felt much better ever since.

If there’s a moral to this story, it’s that if the current political situation is dragging you down, find yourself a gentle, compassionate, feminine voice with “a religious imagination that ignites [y]our energies to move beyond mediocrity and fear, one that anticipates a new future of planet life.”

Thank you, Ilia Delio. Thank you, Pat. I’ll be doing more of that from now on.

Image credits: Ford, Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty. Kavanaugh, Unknown, Vox.com.

Jean Raffa’s The Bridge to Wholeness and Dream Theatres of the Soul are at Amazon. E-book versions are also at KoboBarnes And Noble and Smashwords. Healing the Sacred Divide can be found at Amazon and Larson Publications, Inc.

 

Learning From 9-11, Envisioning a Better Future September 21, 2012

Last time I examined the symbols of the 9-11 terrorist attack from a symbolic and psychological perspective. Is this just so much airy-fairy hooey, or is it reasonable to consider that tragic event a portent of things to come in ourselves and the world? Are our most revered institutions not only endangered, but crumbling like the twin towers because of humanity’s ego-centric, upward-striving, linear mindset? Are we being challenged to expand our thinking and adapt to a very different world than any that has ever existed before?

Let’s look at some facts. Since 9-11, long-term financial institutions like Wachovia, Lehman Brothers, and Washington Mutual have gone bankrupt. The stock market crash of 2008 and the ensuing worldwide recession has caused significant declines in retirement portfolios, some of the largest decreases in the history of the Dow-Jones average, the failure of long-respected major corporations like General Motors, and the second highest unemployment rate since 1948.

Change is also underway in organized religion. In 1975 a Gallup poll showed that 68 percent of Americans had a great deal of confidence in the church. That began to change in the mid- to late 1980s when confidence in organized religion first fell below 60%, possibly because of  scandals involving televangelist preachers Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart. By 2001, our confidence in religion had returned to 60%, but when charges of widespread child molestation by Catholic priests and cover-ups by some in the church were revealed the following year, it dropped to 45%. Today it stands at 44%.

In college and professional sports, too, hierarchical structures are tumbling down. Just this year Penn States’s football program was severely damaged by the Jerry Sandusky scandal, and last month the world of professional cycling was rocked by revelations of illegal drug use, most notably by superstar Lance Armstrong. Both programs also saw cover-ups at the highest levels.

Finally, education and the media are likewise losing our trust. In fact, the latest results from Gallup’s June 7-10 update of its annual “Confidence in Institutions” question show that Americans’ confidence in public schools, banks, and television news is at its all-time lowest.

Politicians misuse these facts by blaming the opposite party in hopes of winning the next election instead of recognizing that both sides contain men and women with the same psychological characteristics. These are a dominant ego whose highest priority is to bolster its self-image with power and acclaim; a powerful resistance to seeing our own shadows or opening to perspectives different from our own; a strong bias against otherness; and willful blindness to the true cause of our problems: our own psychological ignorance and immaturity.

Nobody knows for certain if these trends point to a temporary pendulum swing or permanent changes in our thinking. But what I do know is that over the years my awareness has, like collective awareness, continued to expand beyond limiting perspectives once considered sacrosanct. Rigid and frightened egos will always respond to changing circumstances by burying their heads deeper in the sand, but the healthier and more flexible among us will recognize the signs and take steps to replace inadequate systems, including the habitual functioning of our  brains, with new ones that promote greater compassion, peace, prosperity, health and healing for all.

There’s more on this topic in my new book, Healing the Sacred Divide, which can be purchased at www.Amazon.com or www.larsonpublications.com.

 

Culture of Cynicism August 3, 2012

What is wisdom?  As a child I thought all adults were wise and my parents wiser than anyone.  In junior high school civics class I decided America’s founding fathers must have had the corner on wisdom.  During high school I equated wisdom with good grades, high I.Q.’s, and belonging to the “right” religion. In college I realized all adults weren’t wise, the founding fathers didn’t have all the answers, and good grades, membership in Mensa, and correct belief do not necessarily make for wise choices. Still, I looked to my country and religion for wisdom.

I see now that there was a serious flaw in the way I defined wisdom. I thought it was about acquiring the kind of knowledge that the majority of people agree is important. Like knowing scientific and historical facts. Understanding and memorizing scriptures. Having answers to questions on Jeopardy. Following the leads of authorities. Knowing which fork to use at a dinner party.

But does knowing facts, trusting authorities, and impressing everyone really mean we’re wise? Of course not. We all know clever, intelligent people—schools and large corporations are full of them—who we’d never think of as wise. People who are arrogant. Mean-spirited. Impatient. Greedy. Uncaring. Judgmental. Prejudiced. Predatory. Abusive. People who get off on making you feel uncomfortable and inferior. Who enjoy making you squirm. Who don’t care how you feel because they only care about satisfying their unquenchable hunger for feeling worthy, whatever the cost.

Nobody considers people like this wise. Yet if they’re socially adroit, verbally clever, or wildly successful, we still tend to look up to them! Worse, if we’re young and vulnerable we think we must trust and obey them. This is the kind of thinking that makes it possible for the Jerry Sanduskys of the world to scar countless innocents for life. The kind that influences middle management to disown its feelings and betray its conscience while corporate executives destroy the financial security of millions of innocent people.

What has brought humanity to the bizarre place where so many intelligent people tolerate someone’s ability to beat the system by lying, cheating, and doing whatever it takes to win—as long as that person is articulate, attractive, and successful? Why do the media ignore the pain and desperation of those who lack economic stability and social privilege? Why do so many suffer in silence until someone with passion speaks out and turns the tide of public opinion against their oppressors? What brings about a societal mindset that influences a malcontent to retaliate against injustice by killing innocent people who just want to enjoy a night at the movies?

In a world where ignorance, callousness and cruelty are electronically absorbed by the collective soul every moment of every day, we’ve grown so numbed by images of psychological immaturity and social injustice that we’ve become a culture of cynicism. The collective believes it’s foolish to feel or care. It finds perky appearances and clever repartee’ more appealing than character and tender feeling. It considers itself wise in believing that safety lies in hardening the heart and putting Number One first. It assumes compassion is a fatal flaw.

But the individual who listens to the spirit of the deep knows that cynicism is a mask we wear to cover our soul’s devastation at being scorned by the spirit of the times. The collective mind has forgotten how to feel, but the soul remembers. It knows that whenever two people push past just thinking about compassion and actually feel it, the whole hard crust of the earth cracks open and healing new life thrusts through.

 

 
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