Monday, January 29, 2007

authentic self (con't)

A first (very rough) hash, fleshing out some of the details of what in another I called the authentic third-tier. This language and ideas/experiences that grow out of the sphere of Andrew Cohen's teachings.

So, a true but partial--from my pov--on the teachings. In later posts, I'll try to explain more the inside the feeling, markers as I've come to be aware of them--which I have to say is very basic. Dependable I believe but very basic.

In other words, the teaching involves certain key terms which in the context of Kosmic Addresses, I have experienced---even if as I'll show below my interpretation/understanding of them is different in significant ways. I find that they truly do ex-ist in the Kosmos. [Which is an entirely different matter than a psychological read on the community dynamics. That analysis is important, but different from the one I'm interested in for the moment.]

The true but partial is only on the teachings themselves. Again I want to stress this is very much my own interpretation based out of my reflection from a whole series of experiences and philosophical-religious streams. This is not "orthodox" Cohenism. Just my own ramblings.

The True:
--There is an Authentic Self: which is the self-identity that takes shape somewhere around violet, for lack of a better term. Very generically, third-tier.
--This identity is something like a Soul-identity. A soul-level as a stage not a state.
--The Authentic Self when awakes inherently is interested in evolution, seeks out others of the same ilk (intersubjective strong).
--It is not the same as traditional state forms of enlightenment (e.g. Zen, Dzogchen, sahaj samadhi).
--This shift does have a feeling of being from life lived as bottom-up to top-down.
--When these Authentic selves get together and converse, there is a so-named enlightened form of communication, where there is a feeling of what I call One-Networked Mind. Not One Mind, not some Super Monad uber alles, but One-Network that all minds can choose to plug into and connect in. The knowing that occurs here (relative to Soul analogies) is non-rationalistic reflexive. It is more than not less so. Not ir but trans-rational.

The Partial:
--That this Authentic Self is impersonal (as opposed to trans-personal).
--That the I becomes the We. A new I/We arise together. Not One Mind (Super-We) but One-Network.
--The ego is to be caged.
--The re-hanging that occurs in the Top-Down shift is complete and therefore no shadow work ever to be done.
--Following on last point: no use of lines. (Shift is always partial).
--That the traditional enlightenment scheme gets thrown out altogether (as opposed to supplemented).
--That this Authentic Self is only interested in evolution. Emphasis on only. And that interest taken to be always active. What I see as the Masculine version of the Authentic Self absolutized as the only manifestation of it.
--No relativization of its awareness. The third-tier is not built technologically yet, so consciousness development beyond techno-economic (right-hand) becomes isolated communities of practicioners who if they fool themselves lose touch with the reality of how quickly change will take place, naive, self-righteous etc.
--There are stages beyond this.

In other words, AC describes his position as transcend and exclude. That's third-tier transcend and then exclude everything below. In this context, I'm trying to flesh out and experience within myself--my own spiritual practice such as there is one in my life--what Authentic self transcend and include would be.

That is the essential cleavage--all other differences are just modifications of that basic one.

So an old argument is whether integral (for now let's say Wilberian) transcends and includes Cohen or vice versa? My answer is both, depending on what we are describing. The integral self-identity is centauric. Even when it is an "enlightened" centaur (or mermaid as my girl likes to say)--i.e. 2nd-tier structure stage with deep state-stage realization, it is deeply limited and limiting.

The Authentic Self opens up vistas, awarenesses, and insights that do not ex-ist in the integral sphere. Period. That is my assertion. My suggestion is take up the practice/inquiry, meditate about it, and see. Otherwise my words are meaningless pro or con.

On the other hand, the authentic self space is deeper but has less span. In fact, little to no real span at all--why it is so hard to describe. For work in the world, 3rd-tier isn't necessary. 2nd-tier is. It is has a span and practices that can do things in this world those spiritual teachings can not. Spiral Dynamics and Integral are promoted in WIE? Magazine, so that is a start anyway I guess. But if those simply stay as 3rd person systems to learn and not made operating systems in oneself, then they are useless as well.

Transformation alone is a form of fundamentalism. There is up, sideways, and below: transformation, translation, and embrace.

My close friend says there the spiritual life is three fulcrums (3 f's): freedom, fullness, and flavor.

Freedom comes from awakening to the Absolute. Or enlightenment (enlightened consciousness) as traditionally understood, e.g. Heart Sutra. The identity before/beyond space-time, birth & death, the cycle, etc.

Fullness is the Embodiment of that Freedom in Form. Evolution + Enlightenment brings a new understanding of Form and therefore (in that context) one can say enlightenment evolves. Wilber & Cohen, whatever any other faults, I've learned this from them.

Flavor is our unique manifestation of these in the world. The focus on impersonality and transcend and exclude destroys this. It undermines shadow work which I think is always necessary. Flavor would include higher gears of types, traits, and the rest.

One tentative (very tentative) postulation that my friend and I have reached is that in the authentic self, the flaws of the vehicle from a self pov get transmuted. As a Christian I symbolized this as the Risen Christ with Crucifixion Marks, which a la Doubting Thomas, become places of healing and connection not fear and pain any longer.

As to my own example of this as an adopted child I've struggled deeply with what one author calls "The Primal Wound"--the ripping away physically and psychically from the mother. It does not define who I am but it does color every aspect of my personality. Sometimes positively sometimes negatively. And no matter how much therapy is to be done on it (and some is always needed) it will never actually be healed completely.

That fear, the loss of the mother, the feelings of rejection and shame that arise from that, in my experience of this "3rd-tier" identity, becomes interestingly a much more a sense of fearlessness about rejected. Because, the logic seems to be, if you have already been rejected by the most primal of bonds, what does it matter if others reject you? It can't really be worse than your mother?

Out front like that in life, it becomes more a place of invitation.

Again, not every one has to be that dramatic sounding, but I think there may be some type of logic in the structure that carries out a similar plan through different lives. Again, it's a very tentative hypothesis.

But either way, the Flavor notion is a real launching pad I believe.

Aurobindo said when the Psychic Being (the authentic self) awakens, it does the yoga. The Flavor I think is somehow the creative re-imagining and re-calibration and re-use of the self (little s) by this newer S/self (middle class S--if there was one. Capital S is the Great SELF, Atman. So maybe self, Self, and SELF?). The pains and traumas of the little s open up and take on different meaning. So far as I can interpret my experience on this and the reflections of others.

My path, such as it is, in the process of forming is more in this line currently in my life:
--How to recognize this so-called authentic self in self and others. Put crudely, when am I in and when am I out?
--How to support it in life, particularly outside the context of a spiritual community/teacher.
--What to do with "it" beyond the state?
--What is the flavor, how is that a key to discernment of its way?


At 6:11 PM, Blogger timbomb said...


You said, "The Authentic Self opens up vistas, awarenesses, and insights that do not ex-ist in the integral sphere. Period. That is my assertion. My suggestion is take up the practice/inquiry, meditate about it, and see. Otherwise my words are meaningless pro or con."

... and I wanted to ask, what's the practice injunction? Is it just: get to violet, find others, communicate from your Authentic Self?

That "get to violet" step is a tricky one... Is that what happens in the AC community or do you simply get together with who you can and speak from as-Authentic-a-self-as-you-can?

Thanks as always,


At 8:58 PM, Blogger CJ Smith said...


I'm working on a couple of posts that work on that question.

Yeah, from my experience, the kick start was enlightened communication. I don't know that it couldn't be differently, but I can only give assurance through that medium.



At 9:38 PM, Blogger jwood said...

Smart and cautious overview Chris, with emphasis where it belongs. I hear timbomb's question clearly, and would like to add (as the mysterious 'other' referred to in this post) some possible feedback. The word that rings most true is 'tricky'. I think we are dealing at once with a truly unique method of inter-communion (sorry, both interaction and communion sound either too cold or too syrupy), but also a very simple gesture, so ordinary as be considered uncommon. As a state, access is very possible. Indeed, sexual communion, deep late-night mind wanderings with beautiful friends, or for my first experience, a healthy dose of psilicybin some years ago, all give glimses, hold promises if we are so keen to recognize and follow them humbly, curiously, passionately. The simplicity, as I've understood it, is in developing the capacity to look directly into your actual experience of being alive. This insight is at once proactive and subtly reactive without forced assumptions. This trained capacity is I suspect a key stable trait of 'violet': not awareness of untold complexity, but genuine immediate simplicity beyond (transcending & including)complexity. It is tricky for several reasons: we are not trained for such immediacy ("it's so simple, it takes lifetimes to figure out"); there is an impulsive contraction that rejects that something might be 'over our heads'; the operating system of individual life, if Adi Da is remotely correct, IS the avoidance of relationship. Basically, I've learned (i think) that like attracts like and to force someone into this state is useless. A mutual commitment to curiousity, sincerity, and determination combined with the capacity to look into something for more than a few seconds are prerequisites for even a validating glimpse to occur. I agree with Chris that as a soul recognition 'experience' it is 3rd tier, although there is interesting work being done, Peter Senge and Co. with their book Presence, Bill Isaacs, and others, eg. David Bohm, etc.. that most people know about, who I think serve as introductory/2nd tier (let's not debate this too too much) foundation practices and initial framing. Ultimately, though, nothing replaces a Sangha whose sustained practice aims only to explore the always mysterious (and amazing!) contours of this possible space...

At 1:34 PM, Blogger Bigdaddy said...

You lead, I'll follow, man!
Very precise outline, from my perspective. And much healthier from my point of view than Cohen.

My question is regarding how subjective this is. I have taken Susann Cook-Greuter's test -- have you? I am squarely "strategist" in center-of-gravity, which corresponds to teal. I think I produced about two responses that were "magician" -- so in a really optimum moment I might interpret through a turqoise structure. Beyond that, I believe she has very tentative evidence for one further stage. Even turqoise/magician is not very well developed in her data.

You may be a full two stages of development above me -- it feels like you are over my head in some important ways. But on the other hand, have you taken a test to see?

And have any Cohenians taken a test to see?

At 7:53 PM, Blogger CJ Smith said...

Big Daddy,

I haven't taken the test you mention.

One thing is no response to life of any of us is ever 100% one level or another--not to mention lines. Not to mention just being human.

So yeah there is subjectivity floating all around in this. We're all just barely eeking out the first glimpses and whatever we say now is bound to look foolish (or worse) in years to come.

The stages recall are perspectives; they only exist in the minds of people making them. I think they are "real" or point to "real" attitudes, actions, thoughts, etc. But they are never just "out there" somewhere the same for everyone.

It's really going down the rabbit hole once you start to meditate on perspectives. All the best.


At 11:52 PM, Anonymous Chris said...

I personally never read the book but a very close friend who did didn’t like it either. I’m guessing that the reason people like the book and the writer is the same reason that makes the “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” series popular. As you nicely put it, it doesn’t have food for thought. I guess some people care more about the idea of finishing a book than the actual content of the book.


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