Chapter 3 – Archetypes and Identity

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

INTRODUCTION

In Simple Reality: The Essence we emphasized those aspects of the false self that we can observe and at times consciously experience primarily as emotional reactions. We can transform those behaviors with meditation creating the awareness of the observer and with The Point of Power Practice choosing response over reaction. Now we will begin to examine components of human identity that, for the most part, lie beneath the level of our awareness.

Human behavior can be characterized as unconscious, irrational and self-destructive. Increasing self-knowledge is one way of moving toward a healthier identity and the resultant sustainable behavior. Archetypes are one aspect of the unconscious that offer insights into our true identity.

A conventional dictionary definition of archetype says that it is an original model or type that provides for us a pattern after which we can create other similar things. Archetypes, however, are much more complex than that definition would lead us to believe. Carl Jung, for example, tells us that “…archetypes are …forms which the instincts assume.”  But let’s not get hung up on the definition and instead apply the concept in helping us in our all important shift from P-B to P-A.

In Archetypes and Identity we will briefly examine the central role that the archetype plays to get a sense of how important this area of psychology can be in helping us understand our deeper human nature—our fundamental identity—and how it drives our behavior.

Within each human being archetypes are living psychic forces which can promote Self-realization and, if neglected or not understood, may cause neurotic or psychotic behavior. Psychology in general is composed of P-B models and concepts, that is to say, it is not profound—it is nevertheless useful in deepening our understanding of P-B and its toxic influence on our behavior.

The anima and animus (the feminine and masculine) are examples of two of the most basic archetypes. We will start with the male and his relationship with his anima, his female archetype. To be in the present moment (P-A) is to be aware of the nature of Reality. To be aware of the presence and implications of the anima is simply to be able to use that awareness to increase our power in creating our own reality—to transcend reactivity—to remain responsive to our own deeper nature.

Robert Johnson gives a good description of the relationship of the anima to creativity in the male and the futility of trying to live life in P-B. “Creativity in a man is directly linked with his inner feminine capacity for growth and creation. Genius in a man is his interior feminine capacity [intuition] to give birth; it is his masculinity which gives him capacity for putting that creativity into form and structure in the outer world [intellect]… The worst characteristic of mood possession [reactivity] is that it robs one of all sense of meaning. Suddenly the ‘out there’ is dominant in one’s inner life and the inner meaning of life is lost. One is then at the mercy of the ‘out there’ [P-B] for one’s sense of value or happiness.”

Johnson continues with some remarkable parallels to the distinctions that we are making between paradigms A and B. “A man never wears femininity outwardly with any validity. A man overwhelmed by a mood [reacting within his survival strategy] is a sundial in moonlight telling the wrong time. His interior femininity serves him well … when she is rightly placed; and she does not serve him well when he wears her as an outer garment and uses her to relate to his outer world. ‘Uses’ is the pertinent word here; anyone and everything around a man feels ‘used’ when he relates to the world by way of a mood [seeking power]. Seduction, indeed! Feeling [compassion or “feeling” as opposed to “emotion”], on the contrary, is a sublime part of a man’s equipment and brings warmth, gentleness, relatedness, and perception.”

The anima and animus were named by a western psychologist (C. G. Jung), but since they are universal principles, they make their appearance as archetypes in the East as well, although with different names of course“Male deities in general embody skillful means, arising from compassion. The wisdom of emptiness arises from the realization of the nonexistence of ego, and simultaneously the illusory nature of the external world [P-B], which is created by ego’s projections. This is the feminine principle, taking the form of female buddhas or goddesses. It is the mother of all existence, the vast openness of space in which phenomena appear and dissolve. Emptiness [anima] is the essential partner of compassion [animus], for without it compassion would be based on an egocentric concept of benefiting others.”  Francesca Freemantle is helping us understand that service to others when controlled by the false self through the intellect is void of true compassion and is another way of meeting the needs of the sensation energy center of the false self or enhancement of the ego.

Other archetypes that can enrich our understanding of what is involved in the paradigm shift include:

Shaman/Healer
Priest/Teacher
Warrior/Leader/Hero
Prophet/Visionary

In the context of Oneness we know that the True self, the false self, archetypes, the shadow and typology are all interconnected and all influence human identity. Archetypes expressing the shadow of a person can be unhealthy, false-self behaviors or they can be expressions of the “golden shadow” or True-self behaviors.

In the shadow of the shaman/healer archetype we could find an intensely compassionate heart. A person living in the present moment has a heartfelt intuitive awareness of Simple Reality.

In the shadow of the priest/teacher we could find the addiction to knowledge, analysis and control.  In the present moment the True self expresses the connection to inner wisdom supported by the intellect.

In the shadow of the warrior/leader/hero is an addiction to power and perfection. Living in the Now for the warrior means the expression of the authentic power of choosing compassionate response rather than afflictive reaction.

In the shadow of the prophet/visionary is the anxiety associated with the addictive need to anticipate what is going to happen in the hope of avoiding pain. The True self has no need to know anything because life in the present moment is perfect as it is.

The energy necessary for the Point of Power Practice, enabling response rather than reaction, can be said to flow from the warrior archetype. Rick Fields in his book Code of the Warrior puts it this way: “The warrior sees the true battle as an inner or spiritual one, in which the fight is with the enemies of self-knowledge or realization… Putting others before oneself [compassion] is the ultimate source of the warrior’s courage.” Siddhartha Guatama (Buddha) said, “If one man conquer in battle a thousand times a thousand men … and if another conquers himself, he is the greatest of conquerors.”

Having the intention of ending our suffering and dealing with our fear of death by becoming present is an act of a warrior. This highest of human attainments is our natural expression, it is called the “Hero’s Journey” in mythology, Self-realization or individuation in psychology, and common sense in the world of the Now. To resist the paradigm shift is to invite mental illness and behavioral self-destruction. Carl Jung said:  “Archetypes are likened to instinctual behavior patterns… It is felt that there are as many archetypes as there are recurring situations in life, that when a situation occurs that corresponds to a particular archetype the archetype presses for completion like an instinctual drive; resistance to its expression may result in a neurosis.”

To be in the Now is to have transcended the influence of the shadow, the collective unconscious, the false self and the unconscious functioning of archetypes. The greater our awareness of the existence of these influences, the less likely we will get trapped in the illusion of P-B. When we realize that we are about to have a reaction and feel the attraction of the old narrative, we can put on the armor of the intuitive warrior and respond with compassion for ourselves and others. That is the true victory of the hero in the present moment.

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