Wisdom from James Hollis – Seattle Jan 14th

January 17, 2012

Stories Told, Stories Untold, Stories That Tell Us

“Our lives course with stories, stories that run through us from ancestors, stories we tell others and tell ourselves, and stories of which we are unaware and thereby tell us. We will reflect on the role these stories play in the shaping of our lives, and how they invite us to greater consciousness of what invisibly informs the visible world.”

James Hollis is likely the clearest most succinct teacher I have ever encountered. The workshop I took on the weekend was no exception to this rule. He taught through clear exposition of the principles behind his philosophy, illustrated brilliantly by examples from the dreams of his clients followed by some experiential work and sharing after lunch. He began by explaining that each of us will experience an energy driven narrative that flows from our experience of starting powerless in a powerful world. ‘Basically the world is big and powerful and you are not.” He then  suggested that there were two key responses to this fact: overwhelment and abandonment.

In terms of overwhelment he identified three core coping strategies that we could have developed as children

  1. Avoidance. This shows up as projection, disassociation, procrastination, distraction, suppression, repression.
  2. Birth of a power complex – to take control.
  3. Compliance – to get along, you go along.

In terms of abandonment the strategies are:

  1. Self esteem issues: diminished leads to sabotage and avoidance, over compensation leads to grandiosity,
  2. Power complex, narcissism, no connection with self leads to manipulating others because of emptiness within.
  3. Inordinate desire for connection causes imposition on other and addictions.

The bulk of our energy can end up being directed at self-anxiety management systems. We end up in service to archaic messages that are both systemic and evasive.

He then demonstrated the power of dreams to reveal our complexes that have resulted from our response to the above narratives. He described dreams as coming from an internal corrective process that can help guide us to self understanding.

Some great one liners. Every morning when you awake there are two gremlins at the foot of your bed – fear and lethargy. When in the grip of anxiety try lowering your energy and grounding yourself.

An experiential exercise to check your family story and how it may have impacted you.

Three columns:  Mother                     Father                           Self

Answer the following five questions based on your perception of them when you were a child. Your own answer is based on your sense of yourself now.

  1. Define the main source of life satisfaction and happiness.
  2. What story did I internalize as their major worry or concern?
  3. How did your mother and father perceive their social role or identity?
  4. What was their understanding of the transcendent?
  5. When they woke in the morning what could their motto or intention have been?

You Snooze, You Lose – stories about intuition.

January 17, 2012

I am wide awake; the bedside clock says 3.00 am; I feel a little annoyed as I have to be up early anyway to catch a flight; I notice some angst about being deprived of sleep but turn on my back, take a deep breath and begin to practice some mindfulness meditation. “Breathing in I calm body and mind, breathing out I am at peace.” Then akin to a lightening bolt penetrating my brain I know why I am awake; I have set the alarm for the wrong time. I check and sure enough had I not realized I probably would either have missed my flight or been in a major panic attempting – likely both.

So what happened? My conscious self had felt completely content that the alarm had been set for the correct time yet at some other level of consciousness I knew I had miscalculated. Intuition is a fascinating gift that works in mysterious ways. We are all intuitive many of us either lose touch with these faculties or don’t know when to trust them. Carl Jung would suggest that intuition is perception via the unconscious. The Oxford dictionary defines intuition as being able “to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning:” I have found no good scientific explanation but my understanding is that the right hemisphere of our brain has the capacity to process data without us necessarily being aware. However we have to be paying attention to the clues.

A friend of mine woke up last night with a dream that the clocks in her house were wrong. In the dream she was discussing with her father the probability of a power failure when she realized that her clock was battery operated. Then she realized that two of the clocks in the house were wrong but one was right. She felt too sleepy to process the dream and drifted back to sleep only to be awakened by her husband twenty minutes after the alarm should have gone off. In some panic as she had an early morning meeting that she was chairing, she leapt into an alert state wondering how this had happened. Only later did she connect the dream to the fact that she had set the alarm for p.m. not a.m.

One of the keys to working intuitively is to pay attention or we can miss the cues. Fortunately my friend has a husband with a superb intuitive clock. I live alone and have no such luxury to depend on.

During 2012 I am offering an evening each month to “Train Your Intuition”. The first one is next Monday January 23rd. For more details see https://ta44.wordpress.com/2012/01/12/train-your-intuition/