What I’m about to express here needs to be weighed in the balance of fairness and truth because this information concerns two living human beings in opposition – of which I am one. I was involved in the action, so we have to trust that I have made mistakes; I will be wrong; I have certainly been foolish; and I am probably guilty of any or all ‘accusations’ I may make about others despite how hard I strive not to be them myself – it happens unconsciously. I call it ‘being human’. Therefore the matter needs to be determined by those less self-interested observers. All I ask of my ‘judges’ is that I am not required to carry more than my own fair share of responsibility. Disputes between opposing factions need to be balanced in this way if we, as a species, are ever likely to find a way to live with each other peaceably, let alone continue our existence.
The opposition I speak of began here, continued here and was terminated yesterday, by me, when my opponent issued what I considered a threat. It is the reasons and intent underpinning my actions that I am interested in exploring here and this cannot be done without listening to my opponent first. But first I need to put some boundaries down.
You will see, from her blog, my opponent claims the right of confidentiality regarding the emails we exchanged. This was not discussed with me and, in fact, violates some ethical aspects of both my desistance and shamanic standards which require personal transparency. I experience such unspoken requirements as controlling because they operate in a way unsuited to me. Nevertheless, it is also true that I did not discuss my own position and it is customary to treat personal sharing as private between two people. When ‘confidentiality’ occurs between two therapeutic professionals, there is a requirement for supervision and it is this I am seeking. This ensures that mistakes and faults are identified in order to protect the most vulnerable within the dynamic and minimises potential abuses of controlling behaviour from either ‘side’. This blog meets my professional requirement for this. I am willing to meet my opponent’s need for confidentiality provided that she complies with her own rules. If the content of our emails finds its way into the social media, I will assume that she has consented to its release and will publish our exchanges because I believe they provide extremely useful consciousness-raising material for other women. In the event that the information arrives within the public-domain via some other source (ie: the release came from neither of us), then I am happy to discuss the matter with her but will assume that the shamanic spirit I aspire to emulate wanted it made public. This is my boundary.
It is not my intent to be the cause of any harm to my opponent, as she vividly reports herself. I have been harmed too often myself to have any wish to see it done to others, whether such harm comes from me, from others or from ourselves. My intervention, which she reports, is not unusual behaviour as I’m sure others can confirm if it ever became necessary. I believe it is important to confront harmful behaviour but it is equally important to protect the individual when doing so. No matter how I might feel personally about those who express personal differences so vast they appear alien, the Creator Spirit put them here on this Earth with me. If I have a right to be here so, too, do they and it is not for me to question the wisdom of creation. These are matters beyond my ability to understand – they are existential no matter how much I might struggle to accommodate this within my limited human awareness. In addition, I have my criminal offences to consider. I lost track of this understanding ten years ago – to remain within any rehabilitation process, I had better not lose track of it now!
So it was not the person that caused me to sever my contact with my opponent. What caused that was controlling behaviour. Because I am bound by my confidentiality agreement, I cannot discuss my opponent here – so I have another example I can use to illustrate what I mean by ‘controlling’.
This example arose during my voluntary three month stay in a psychiatric unit following my first suicide attempt. It was my first experience of psychiatry and the ward was an example of the worst the profession can produce. One of the features of psychiatric illness is an absence of boundaries among patients. Given that this unboundaried experience is ‘in the field’ within psychiatric institutions, undifferentiated establishments are likely to be produce similar behaviour amongst the staff group too. A healthy establishment ensures properly therapeutically-supervised staff so such boundary breaches are identified and managed – nobody is perfect and everyone is learning. But this particular unit – in 2002 – was not managed well and the patients suffered serious over-prescribing of medication; unnecessary forceful restraint resulting in injury; ill-considered and punitive instructions; and, most of all, a failure to empathise with the needs of patients. The story of the psychiatrist who called me, as a patient, ‘You people’ did not come from this unit, but he could well have done. The level of unexplored prejudiced reporting by staff, in my case alone, was horrifying and I challenged it whenever it came to my attention. For a while, my fellow patients reported some improvements in their treatment but I doubt that these lasted, given the unwillingness of some staff to consider the points I was raising as having any validity.
At one point and after a series of abusive incidents by staff, I found myself in conversation with the Unit Manager and we explored her thinking when it came to patients – her approach being the ‘medical’ and mine, ‘therapeutic’. I encountered a ‘wall-against-learning’ when she informed me that she did not bring her heart into her work. Her heart, she told me, was firmly protected and professionally unavailable to patients. In other words, she confirmed my suspicions that her unit was professionally “heartless” and, in doing so, validated my experience as a patient. Not all psychiatric units are managed in this way and the one I transferred to afterwards was much better because it used a therapeutic model where emotional intelligence could be accessed for everyone’s’ benefit.
When I reflect on that conversation, what I notice these days is the need for control. The difference between the Ward Manager and I is the difference between control and containment. We all have ‘containment’ needs – it is not healthy for any human being to be completely without boundaries because we are social animals. We need only look to crime or Parliament to see what occurs when humans become unboundaried, especially in our negative behaviour. There is, however, a universe of difference between containment and control.
Containment recognises that whilst harmful behaviour requires firm boundaries, it is harmful to our individual soul-self to impose rules on who we are permitted to be. As humans, our internal experience of Life is grow to whatever size we are able to aspire to, usually with effort and support from others. Where natural boundaries enter the equations are in issues of manifestation. Manifest life is naturally boundaried when it is healthy. When manifestation, however, spins into unboundaried growth this is often referred to as some form of cancer. Uncontained cancer of the body results in death of the person – the same is true for uncontained human activity in the manifest world, especially when it is enacted on a global scale. For both, the issue concerns that which refuses to, or is unable, die. Cancer cells have lost the action of their ‘death instruction’ and, as far as I can see, the same is true for human societies – nothing and no-one lasts forever in manifestation. Physical life is boundaried by death. Only Spirit can claim access to a boundless eternity – the rest is subject to death and taxes (or karma, if you like) for anyone walking the human road.
The questions of where we place our containment boundaries are a matter for each individual and are governed by human cultural developmental processes. In culture of the West, we acquire this through use of our ego – our initial sense of “Me” – although we fail to teach the way of the Soul. The ego serves a developmental purpose in that it enables us to distinguish what is good for us from what is not-so-good. This is important for survival but to live requires a further step. When we are bound by our ego, our ability to set healthy boundaries, for ourselves or others, is low because we become fascinated by self, by me and mine. We depend upon good parenting to teach us how to live well. Regrettably, in the West, such teaching remains uncommon and we can see the global results in the news. We fail to mature, so as adults we perpetuate unhealthy narcissistic behaviour that results in our seeking to control everything from people, usually via ‘rules’ which we apply to others (but frequently not to ourselves) and even the planet herself. Whilst our bodies may mature to adulthood, individuals and groups remain trapped in the illusions of ego and the ‘me-and mine-first’ mentality. Rules of Ego are highly restrictive, especially when imposed upon those who fail to fit the prevailing culture. Our ego-bound self passes negative judgment on everything that fails to conform with its own idea of ‘good’ and imprisons the other (not-Ego) within those thought-forms. It is the ego who determines and labels scroungers, skivers, cheats and liars. In an ego-ridden society, we act this out and people die because ego refuses to make way for any other life than that which falls within its own, highly limited perspective.
A child’s developing ego needs to experience being a part of our far greater living organism if they are to come into their heritage of human psychological maturity. Our ego has to ‘die’ a natural, appropriate, death so our Soul can step forward to learn. Our ego needs to be shown these connections but our healthy Soul does not. Our Soul is already aware of our connectedness to Life in all its forms – all it requires is for our ego to get out of our way so we can explore this Gift more fully. We don’t ‘lose’ anything by it – all that occurs is the ego is relegated to its proper place. Nevertheless my experience tells me that no one can force another to relinquish their ego unwillingly because this is a matter of personal choice. All we can ever do is invite. It is a matter of Respect and Free Will.
To the best of my ability, I offered an invitation for my opponent to grow beyond the control of ego and step, more fully, into the experience of Soul. She declined my offer as she is free to do. As a former therapist, this is unsurprising – no Western ego I have ever met has ever relinquished its desire to control everything without some form of to-the-death battle because this is how the Western ego experiences it. To access the source energy of the Soul, the ego has to release its need for control and being “In Charge” and this is perceived as ego-death. What the ego fails to appreciate is that this death experience is a necessary developmental step in becoming a mature human. It is a life-death-life transformation where the individual resurrects into greater dimensions. These often manifest as increased selfless contributions to the health of their community rather than simple aggrandising the self. Without this, communities of all descriptions experience this never-ending war where selfish, greedy super-ego’s fight for control of what is not theirs to begin with and, quite literally, the body count rises exponentially. The problem I see with Western culture is that we seem to have established an entire social structure based upon the personal ego needs of the unformed and selfish psyche whilst refusing to take the very necessary steps to achieve human maturity. The difference between the two? A healthy adult does not require lessons in how to give to or share with others – an ego-bound child-adult is the very manifestation of selfishness and refuses the lesson of sharing every time.
What I experienced with my opponent was, I believe, an encounter with an ego that did not want to ‘die’ – what others see is their own business; this is what I saw and I responded accordingly by withdrawing immediately and severing my connection. An ego ‘at bay’ is a highly dangerous criatura – it believes it is about to ‘die’ and is readying itself for a battle for ‘life’. I saw glimpses of this in remarks like:
“I do believe in the good of the whole and that will inevitably mean than some will be sacrificed along the way to achieve that.”
My dispute with my opponent is that those subject to this ‘sacrifice’ are already dying and her position suggests that more need to die too. An ego fighting for its life is perfectly capable of heartlessly destroying other people in its determination to exist on its own terms. I call this ego ‘it’ because it is clearly inhuman when it manifests in some. I have yet to meet a powerful ego whose opinion of themselves requires no further bolstering and which would suffer no real harm by being put on the starvation ‘diet’ it is busy prescribing for others over whom these egos have a public duty of care. The evidence of this is plain in the histories of the West. That my opponent’s ego claims that is it acceptable to be entirely unboundaried in manifestation is also evident:
The final nail in the coffin, however, was this tweet – send in response to a conversation I was having with someone else about the experience of engaging with my opponent.
In my own mind, it is clear that my opponent is getting ready to fight based upon the assumption that I was launching some kind of sneak attack against her (?). Actually, I was being an unhappy dickhead at the time (I reserve that right as a human being!) because I was struggling with my some of my responses to her private emails which, given the boundary of confidentiality, could only find expression via information contained in her public blog. I HATE being controlled into silence before I’ve even been asked! And her patronising attitude – it’s enough to do your head in. I was bound to act it out somewhere. Both Martin and Giles are forgiving people when it comes to locawoman. Others will have to make up their own minds whether I am assessing my actions and behaviour with any accuracy here. What I am absolutely certain of is that I have been on very best possible behaviour here and I am alarmed that she thinks she can treat me that way. I might even wonder if she was being intentionally provocative?
Since my actions seemed to have triggered my opponent’s ego defences sufficiently for her to issue threats, it is right and proper that I remove myself from the situation as quickly as possible, particularly given my history. Any kind of personal development can only be achieved by consent and it seemed plain to me that no further consent from my opponent was forthcoming. This is the understanding of the Soul. But consequences always accrue to any of our decisions and it helps to be clear about any change of intention at this stage.
My decision to sever contact on Twitter by blocking was based on following reasons:
- If I were to remain within the confrontation, I would be facing a ‘killing’ energy.
- I have faced killing energies before but, as a shaman, I am only permitted to act in the defence of another. If I don’t have to endure it, I leave asap.
- For the record, I may have been born into the Labour tribe but I am, in no way, a member of it now because I believe all party politics in my country are now riddled with corruption. I don’t need to be a member of a group to express my own opinion. A replay of the War between Labour and Tory could not disinterest me more. I was looking for something new. I have not found it which is disappointing.
- I have already faced this kind of killing energy from a woman and the consequence, to me, was a seven year prison sentence because I faced her down with her own energy. That was then. This is now and to remain in harmony with my adoptive community means I must walk away from such situations wherever possible. It is possible in this situation.
- To engage in such a challenge with a killing energy now would be the death of me. My heart-mind cannot withstand the strain anymore of facing down those who seek to kill those aspects of my self I most value. Whilst I might do this for welfare of my healthy community, it is certainly not appropriate with an unwilling and armed opponent. Better to let go and set my opponent free – her journey of Spirit is none of my business.
- Finally, my friends might forgive me dying in a confrontation if my intent was to benefit my community but I doubt it would be forthcoming for this purpose. It might also create serious problems for my opponent. I have no wish to be the source of any more unnecessary suffering than I already am responsible for.
What I can do is pause and reflect upon this experience and my reason for engaging in the first instance.
Certainly, it began when I stepped in to support a friend grappling with my opponent because I knew she was already vulnerable and in pain. My opponent was not aware of this and I would like to believe that, had she known, she might have dealt my friend a different set of cards. Nevertheless, in more general terms, my opponent does not appear to have a problem inflicting pain on others because, she says, she is suffering too. I have no reason to disbelieve her but the problem with human-on-human-inflicted-suffering is that its depths – especially in an ego-driven society – know no boundaries and the outcomes are frequently harmful to life itself. Nor do comparisons between ‘my’ suffering and ‘yours’ offer any real solution unless the individuals concerned are seen holistically. In my opinion, my opponent appears to understand some of this but wants to restrict her understanding and, therefore, compassion to ego knowledge and not to the Wisdom of Soul. She is who she makes claim to be, then she might be on the right road for her – but she’s a long ways to travel yet before she catches up with me. This is true for myself too excepting my catching up is in different dimension altogether.
My opponent belongs to my past now.
In closing, I want to say this. I have yet to block my opponent’s access to my blog because I do not believe in discussing others behind their back as a general rule. There are exceptions but this is not one of them. I do however seek no further contact or engagement with her. I experience the standards she unconsciously imposes upon me by her politics as a violation of my integrity and the rules of respect. I want her to leave me alone. I want absolutely no further contact with the woman.
If she is to be believed, this should not be a problem.