Matrignosis: A Blog About Inner Wisdom

Think Pyschologically; Live Spiritually

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.

 

A Lesson from September 11: Is Our Dualistic Thinking Doing Us In? September 18, 2012

Eleven years ago this month people around the world witnessed a tragedy that etched indelible images onto collective consciousness. The most iconic are the fiery explosions as the airplanes hit the Twin Towers and the skyscrapers crumbling amidst billowing clouds of black smoke.

A famous adage from sages of antiquity is “As above, so below.” A corollary saying is “As without, so within.” These ideas arose from the intuition that the universe is one whole, living entity in which every pair of opposites is inextricably connected. Thus, whatever happens in the “spiritual heights” of Heaven is likewise replicated on the physical Earth. Likewise, images and events in the physical world relate to and reflect the contents of our minds.

While this might seem to imply a magical thinking cause-and-effect relationship in which, for example, we do something bad and God punishes us, or a child believes that his wanting something bad to happen to his brother is what made it happen, this is not the case. Rather, as recent discoveries in quantum physics have shown, it simply means that because of the connectedness between everything that is, inner mental and outer physical changes automatically occur together.

This is the explanation for what Carl Jung called “synchronicities,” or meaningful coincidences: when a symbol or event in the physical world parallels an inner state of being. For example, you dream about a person you haven’t seen in years and bump into him the next day. When things like this happen we grow in wisdom by recognizing their significance and asking, “What does this person mean to me? Why have we reconnected today?” Or at the global level, “What does this tragedy mean for humanity?” From this perspective, we can learn from the events of 9-11.

Look at the symbolism. A skyscraper is a hierarchical structure. In the towers of banks, hotels, condominiums and corporations, the most prestigious level is the top. Thus, like the Egyptian pyramids, the Biblical Tower of Babylon or the towers that wealthy citizens of San Gimignano, Italy built during the Middle Ages, skyscrapers represent the way our minds are structured. So far the ego has a history of creating impossibly high ideals and working obsessively to show the world that we have successfully attained the heights: of knowledge, understanding and perfection (scientific, psychological and spiritual). Of order and virtue. Of power and success. Unfortunately, our testaments to our heroic upward striving are usually accomplished at great expense to our psycho-spiritual depths as well as to the people at the bottom of the hierarchy.

So what does this terrorist attack on U.S. soil and the leveling of its two highest towers say about humanity’s collective mindset? That our dualistic thinking is doing us in. That our one-sided obsession with the hierarchical dominator model of striving, competing and proving ourselves at the expense of otherness—a model which has dominated civilized man’s thinking for about 5,000 years and triggered history’s countless wars—is no longer viable. That the seemingly impervious structures of our most beloved institutions are crumbling. And that the human psyche has evolved to the point where if we want to avoid more of the same, we must learn how to integrate otherness and heal the divides that separate us from ourselves and each other.

It is my hope that one day history will look back on 9-11 and know that its victims did not die in vain.  That the images of their ashes that were broadcast around the world that day introduced a new vision into the collective psyche in which of all of us are one united and interconnected whole. “As without, so within.”

Have events since 9-11 borne out my hope of wider acceptance of this vision? I’ll write about that next time.

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.

 

 
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