My whole life appears to be a consideration of the mechanics of separation and the reality of oneness of all of life. I expressed that life theme in drawings and paintings and poetry in my teenage years, before I was really aware of it as an unfolding life purpose. In the image on the right, the cube became a visual for our presumed confinement.
I found that the practice of embodied oneness brought up habitual patterns of separation intensively and more excruciatingly over time. When I started to experiment in groups I observed that even a little bit of exposure to the reality of one aliveness will necessarily bring up the separative patterns we tend to manifest in a more exaggerated way and sometimes we may then be habitually completely identified with whatever arises. When we are in touch with vulnerable emotions and can own what comes up, very valid processes can occur, but when that is not the case, I often felt that the biggest unseen elephant in the room can be a certain identification with being special and superior and to gain self importance by entertaining various spiritual practices, instead of feeling into more uncomfortable places underneith. Our self- protective mechanisms can learn the spiritual vocabulary we adopt, and hence begin to fake being the real deal, as they have become ‘spiritual’.
Below you can study some art I begun to create to bring awareness to classic patterns of entitlement and how they can end up disguising themselves in crafty ways, especially with the help of spiritual language. I find this to be an important process to disentagle my own blindspots.
What I have noticed a lot is that for instance underlying unseen patriarchal patterns within a group or within a relationship begin to be very complicated, because entitlement to superior treatement can be cleverely diguised. As usually I like making artistic samples to support the identification of the energy underneith language. These two visuals below have recently been changed.
My own understanding of the topic has developed. Firstly I feel now strongly in touch with the masculine and the feminine in myself and also with the seeing that both men and women tend to ultimately act from a sense of powerlessness and worthlessness within a dynamic that we would call patriarchial. It doesn’t matter who tries to play the role of the superior and if the roles flip betwen the genders, they are roles that prevent deep Love, vulnerable expression, intimacy and learning. When there is spiritual language in the mix, the dynamics can be harder to see through. In the images below I have given the man the role that I still see prevalent in a larger context of human society, but obviously conversations of this type can occur in all sorts of relationships between all sorts of people. I am touching on the necessity of equality, and how lack of equality can be hidden with ‘spiritual vocabulary’:
Here is the background story to why I chose a flat drinks can for the photo montage above. As an art student I was working with this theme inspired by a coke can I had found that was run over by a car. It looked like an angry face. I wrote a little song about how you’re being told not to make an angry face when you are just being discarded and left to rust and rain. Basically the message is, to leave you in rust and rain is ok, you being angry about it is not. Entitlement of any kind leads to injustice, by creating double standards in the realm of personal and global patterning. Dynamics of power and control keep us in loops of attemoting to get on top of one another in all sorts of way.
At the time I made photomontages with the coke can and even a whole doll with a coke can face cut out of foam. One morning I spoke to my mum on the phone about how I had sadly thrown away that doll many years ago. And how it could be useful now for visuals of this consideration. But on that very day on a walk I found another perfectly squashed can which found its way into this montage. Entitlement to different standards for yourself than for others are one of the hardest to address. Artistic expression can be a catalyst for change, because neither the entitled nor the suppressed are happy and free.
It doesn’t matter if we believe that we are entitled to be superior, or feel inclinded towards inferiority, it doesn’t matter if we tend to believe “that we know it all already”, or if we believe “we’ll never know enough to do anything”. Both ideas simply cover up what’s really there, be it painful or beautiful, powerful or despairing, and we can not even get in touch with the profundity and freedom we are, when we are stuck in playing these dynamics.
The practice of ‘Embodiment as the One Heart’, will ultimately challenge any self image we have if we engage in it seriously, so it can begin to feel threatening if there are some very tightly held identifications with separateness. In the photos below my sister many years ago kindly modelled the feeling of being locked in or locked up with ones fear, pain and reaction to life.
In my process with the practice of Embodiment as the One Heart I have been learning over time how to integrate the intense reactions and sensations I felt in the body when feeling confronted with behaviour that is intended to overpower me. I used react with my own habits of control and trying to come out on top again. Now I feel less impacted or persoanlly threatened when this happens, so there is more spaciousness to experiment with creative responses. Responses where I don’t fall into the trap of either defending myself or submitting to an ‘other’ but instead I find ways to share my deeper investigation into the comments made and also own what is true to me in this consideration.
Exploring separative patterns formed around various beliefs we may hold alongside the embodied oneness practice is a major part in the Foundation Course.
If there is a sense that we build our sense of self-worth on how spiritual we are and how good and loving because of that, then we may end up with spiritual bypass and create a dangerous divide between the ways we want to see ourselves and the ways we truly manifest.
This is why it feels very important to practice the compassionate noticing of separative patterns, no matter what they are, so we can grow safely into deeper being and seeing and uncover the real treasure of our beauty instead of effortfully upholding a fake character of some kind.
I find it fasciniating how infinitely creative the separate self idea is, just with a different energetic quality! In this short video below I am offering a juxtaposition of games of self-glorification and projection and contrasting this with an invocation of the resonant qualities of creative expression of no separation using similar language in both scenarios:
I was inspired to create this montage below, because I find the more we proclaim how much our lives are about Love and Truth the more there may be a divide in how we actually show up in life. It also is completely normal as far as I can see, that this happens. We all can be profound in some ways and will have major blindspots in other ways. We all will sometimes act in entitled ways sometimes feel deeply inferior. And there is no point in being ashamed in what we find, because no one’s patterns are anyones fault. There is no separate self. Patterns of habitual separative activity just form naturally in reaction to life events and we carry what has been unresolved and unprocessed for thousands of years of self-destructive human history. But the more we can begin to take responsibility of how we show up in life, the more space we make for being at home in the freedom of no separation.
The tricky patterns are those as I said that come in disguise and the more multidimensional our enquiry becomes, the more likely we will be able to notice our various strategies to protect the separate self idea:
So one point of enquiry could be how often we are telling ourselves how spiritually advanced we are, or on the other side of the coin how we are just not worth it ? How oftend do we need to say that our life is about Love instead of just demonstrating, that it is? Depending on which side of the spectrum we tend to find ourselves more often, the separate I-idea likes to either shine in glory or be exceptionally bad and hence locate it’s separate comfort zone just on the other side of the same coin. The truth of you is neither here nor there.
My invitation is to carefully listen to how we speak about ourselves and to practice being curious and playful and embracing whatever is there. If we can laugh about ourselves, it is a good sign.
So yes we can get increasingly more aware to how we may appear destructive in our lives. We can learn to uncover the vulnerable parts we are protecting, and we can understand how destructive behaviours from others can serve as mirrors to see our own. Another way to look into the fears that may be hiding out somewhere unnoticed is to enquire why we tend to feel inclined to want to control certain situations in life.The desire to control a situation gives it away to me, that something is going on, on a deeper level.
As long as we can not see clearly how we manifest in the realm of separation we can not practice ‘Embodiment as the One Heart’ truly, as we will tend to project the way we manifest into others. Especially in communities where we really care about unity and love and truth, I feel it is absolutely necessary, that we become aware of the interesting distortions that may happen when spiritual practice and unseen separative patterns are creating unhealthy dynamics.
This play with word and image below speaks of the seeing into the mirror of life. For me it completes the circle of this consideration. Inquiry with true curiosity isn’t about finding what we expect or fear, it is about the relief of seeing what is, which is always healing and wonderful and allows for true treasure to emerge , once effortfully painful self-protectoive mechanisms are dissolved. in the image below I am reflecting on the recognition, that whatever I fear the most from the so-called outside, is very likely something I do to myself already.
The way how I saw separation in my late twenties and how I am seeing it now has clearly changed, but ultimately it was still patterns of grandiosity versus patterns of unworthiness that were on the forefront of the consideration. I wrote and performed these two solo performances during an arts residency in London in 2005. May be they are inspiring to you and support your own consideration asking playful and compassionate questions about yourself.
The “Embodiment as the One Heart’ Foundation Course takes a deep dive into the exploration of embodied oneness of all of life, but also looks at the nature of separative patterning in detail, so that our understanding of what we are here to transform and how we can do it in an embodied way is being developed.
Being part of several communities that aim at creating beautiful, mutually empowering, safe, authentic and inclusive communities and being part of the ‘Embodiment as the One Heart’ community has inspired the creation of an in-depth enquiry for conflict resolve, that you may also find useful to study.