Growing up & Waking up
There are two main developmental paths available to us: the Growing Up path is about learning to harmonize our “Self”, while the Waking Up path is about adding new depths and facets to our conscious experience of “Being”. An important task of my research was to introduce a conceptual link between these two approaches, using an expanded definition of the conscious experience.
The paths can be described using a comparative model inspired by Ken Wilber:
Growing Up Paths. Inner Growth Journeys:
Based on conventional perspective (western psychology), such paths are oriented toward creating a healthy ego/self.
Key words describing the paths are: ego development stages, mature personality, shadow topics, multiple intelligences.
Interpretation of the spiritual experiences, levels of development, from “me” to “integral”.
Waking Up Paths. Awakening Journeys:
Based on contemplative approaches (eastern spirituality), these paths are oriented toward a better connection with “the source”.
Key words describing the paths are: true self, unified self, authentic self, meditative traditions, awakening.
Direct experience, perceptual (meta-perceptual), opening to multidimensional awareness.
The Growing Up path, operationalized in the CQ-i as “Inner Growth”, includes traits, skills and abilities related to the evolution of personality, unlearning and learning (through pain or by open learning), openness, the language updating process, accepting criticism, abandoning old perspectives and embracing new ones, noticing resistance to change, resilience, awareness of one’s level of development (e.g., using ego development theory), and an ability to sustain new patterns of thinking/feeling while old habits slowly lose their grip (awareness of the process of neuroplasticity).
Exploring and Re-programming The Automatic Patterns
Can ”unconscious” patterns and content become conscious?
Yes, the process of inner growth is about re-programming the automatic patterns of feeling-sensing-thinking-doing-being. Some automatic structures of the psyche are available for re-programming easily, some of them aren’t, due to the self-defenses that make us negate, reject or simply ignore some experiences and their significance. This unseen content is what psychologists call “the shadow”. Accessing the shadow and allowing its content to contribute again to the conscious experience is a necessary step for development.
Switching from automatic pilot to conscious functioning requires an in-depth exploration of our ways of being and interacting. It is as if the person opens all the past memory systems-of-engrams, re-explores the situation, re-arranges the content by including the ignored content, re-frames the significance of the engram, and then close the engram and let it participate again in the daily conscious experience, without paying attention to it. During the inner growth process, we all discover blind spots in our autobiographical memories. Eventually, after years of practice, there are no more (significant) blind spots.
How to re-program the patterns?
First, we need to notice the patterns. There are two ways of noticing the patterns: post-event (after it happens) or during the event (witnessing while they happen). An active self-reflection is essential. After witnessing awareness is trained, people can notice their patterns in real-time, and that leads to an acceleration of the growth process. Although, sometimes it feels like “letting go, to be re-written by the harmony around”.
During re-programming times, it is good to keep in touch with harmony by keeping good contact with nature, listening to inspirational music, or just being silent and watching the birds. Besides, trusting the process and allowing new patterns to emerge is the right attitude. While reinventing us, a common fear is related to our own disintegration. The ego cannot let its decay to take place. The intention “I am allowing myself to disintegrate” is itself a more subtle way to keep the ego in-place, to maintain the ego “integrity”. To relax the ego, this process needs to unfold without expecting anything. Evolution happens naturally, if we let go, and let it.
A technique that can be used in various moments of the day is asking myself the question “why I do this?”, or, set up a daily reminder with the question “why I do this?” on a computer or mobile phone.
Exploring The Shadow
De-automatization involves a new way of being, a new skill: the ability to observe the defenses and to skip using them. Allowing all kinds of experiences to flow through us is a natural way to integrate and accept them. Interpreting the experiences we don’t like as “negative” is a choice that stops the development process.
Working with the shadow is a part of the archetypal exploration of the psyche. In Jungian-Senoi Dreamwork methodology, developed by Strephon Kaplan-Williams, working with “adversity” archetype is useful in order to gain a balanced archetypal structure.
Fear is a natural response to intense “adversity”, and it takes some time to accept the fears and to connect with adversity. Sometimes the masculine-hero energy is needed, sometimes the feminine-hero is necessary.
 On this topic, I like an interview with Tanya Luhrmann, she talks about how people in religious cults experience what they believe in.