June 2011 Events
This month we are hosting the following events - (click on the green wording for more detailed information on related website pages.)
|Seminar on "Buddhist Wheel of Life as Body Mind Archetypes”, Dublin Ireland||Thursday June 9|
|“Healing Depression and Anxiety” Workshop, Dublin Ireland||Saturday June 11|
Please feel free to contact us if you wish to enquire or book in for any of the above events.
New Youtube Videos
IBMP Integrative Body Mind Psychotherapy and the Energetics Institute is moving further into the world of social media. As well as our existing Facebook, Twitter and Wordpress Blog presences, we are now on YouTube.
As of June 1, you can view online a series of video clips which are relevant to our work. Firstly there is a summary and introductory clip on what is IBMP Integrative Body Mind Psychotherapy. Next we have a series of clips that explain and demonstrate some key bodymind exercises from the viewpoint of neuroscience and stress resolution. These exercises may exist in other video formats elsewhere but typically are not explained or understood from bodymind science principles.
We lastly have a quick promotional clip for one of our key international events in Ireland, which is a seminar on the Buddhist Wheel of Life and its relevance to Western bodymind science and psychology. You can access a very detailed article on this largely unexplored topic further down in this newsletter. Our intention is to continue posting Youtube videos in the future.
Reworking Male Role Models
“Go ahead...Make my day!!”
“DIRTY HARRY” Callaghan, Clint Eastwood character
Clint Eastwood has been one of the late 20th century movie and cultural icons through virtue of his personification of masculinity and the images of power and stereotypes of manhood through Spaghetti Westerns and Dirty Harry style movie roles. For a long time everyone wanted to be the “Man with no Name” or Dirty Harry” solving problems with the power of a gun, and with the emotional detachment of a cool cynic. We all tuned into repeats on TV of his movies and noticed how over time his movie roles became more humanised and more centred around eternal themes of the human condition.
Clint Eastwood went from in front of the camera to behind the camera via his Malpaso production company and started making films of substance and integrity. Now aged 80 and the subject of interviews by numerous journalists over the last few years due to recent absorbing films, Clint has reflected on those tough guy years and the notions of manhood.
Clint’s ruminations on manhood and masculinity serve to overturn the very images he conveyed so successfully in some of his earlier movie roles. Manhood comes from an understated place notes Eastwood, it is in the quiet acceptance of who you are and then simply just getting on with it (life, work etc). From this place one does not need to “play it tough” or evoke power or worship power and images of success. The embodiment of manhood means not having to show it off.
Clint reflects now that from this quiet indwelling acceptance of one’s own manhood and the knowledge of one’s own inner strength from that core, one relaxes to a casual and calm demeanour where one does not need to take oneself seriously. Clint noted that too many real “tough guys” are today about appearance and projection of power which are illusory and are as acted and unreal as any of the movie characters he had personified from that manhood defining era of the 60’s and 70’s.
Clint cites Rocky Marciano as a role model of this quiet and almost feminine stance of manhood. The man was at home within himself, knew he could rely on himself and trust his inner strengths. He was not insecure and so needed not to show off. Clint believes that the only proper use of power is to strive for independence and to follow your values, truths and beliefs, regardless of their popularity or appeal. His movies personify this independence and pursuit of his own truth.
Clint believes that trying to exercise power in order to control life is folly. One needs trust in place of power and control and the whole letting go of these is what underscores his success with a succession of independent but sought after movies. His movies reflect this innate trust he has within himself. He scorns pretence, grandiosity and the obsession with power as a trap for the glamour guys who lack substance inside themself.
It is the dilemma of modern man not to know what it is to be a man. We have for decades put forward destructive stereotypes of manhood such as those acted out by Clint Eastwood that have been picked up by recent generations of men. The famous psychoanalyst Carl Jung lamented that men have been stripped of their manhood as society stripped away the rites of passage that take a boy and make them into a man.
Jung believes we have replaced the eternal myths of manhood with comic cartoon like images of the macho, perfect bodied, aggressive, sexualising, and narcissistic man who pursues power, success and the symbols of success such as money. Manhood is now an externalised reality of other-esteem via external appearances and objects of ownership which try to convey narcissistic images of power and success.
The inner life of man now lies neglected and unaddressed. Shamans describe this form of neglect of the soul as a “soul sickness” that manifests in bodily, emotional, mental and spiritual sicknesses as symptoms of this inner illness. The records rates of teenage male suicide, drug overdose, crime, Depression and dropping out represent in part the loss of the Rites of Passage that every boy should be guided through on their way to becoming a man. Our boys are losing their way. Many of our men have lost their way.
In most traditional societies existed the key role of the male Elder, Shaman, Guide, or man of wisdom who had themself already walked the path of manhood, and who like Clint Eastwood had embodied the quiet knowing of manhood inside themself. As powerful role models and guides they led succeeding generations of boys into manhood, and helped men in crisis, till death took them away, and another man stepped forward into that role. We lack this today in Western society.
For some time in the 20th century this used to take place for many via the rite of passage of the Apprenticeship, where young men learnt a trade, got mentoring, guidance, skills and support from an older experienced tradesman, and invariably was embraced and became part of a “tribe” in a workplace. Economic rationalism has almost killed off the traditional apprenticeship process in society now. At the same time fathers became more absent from the home and when home became more self absorbed and somehow went “missing in action” in their own and their children’s lives.
This vacuum has been filled with destructive illusions of manhood that in the search for meaning and purpose, many boys and men will be lured into and cling to as they thrash around in life like a drowning person. Many women have also been seduced into and perpetrate the false myth of manhood that we now project in society. Yet at the same time many women are disappointed with the men in their life, are still searching for a “real man”, and yet may not be aware how the unreal expectations and image of modern man must fail and disappoint their false image and expectations every time.
These issues are important and the effects can be destructive for those men who have lost their way in the world. For this reason the Energetics Institute will restart a fortnightly Mens Group for teenage boys and adult men starting in July 2011, where men can come together and discuss and share what it is to be a man, and to support each other, and the younger boys and men in their rite of passage.
Every man and women should reflect on the boys and men in their life and ask if they have healthy role models, committed support, and adequate mirroring and guidance in their passage through life as men.
East Meets West in BodyMind Wisdom
The wisdoms about the Bodymind connection in our human condition have been a constant assumption and proven truth in eastern traditions. For thousands of years there has been various bodies of knowledge concerning our embodied personality or “character” as it is revealed in our human form. Various traditions have mapped the various physical states of man to our psychology and states of wellness or suffering. These are seen in Chinese medicine, Acupuncture, Chinese Face Reading, Vedic medicine, and energy disciplines such as Reiki, Qi-gong, and some martial arts.
Tibetan and Indian Buddhism also have a deep understanding of the states of human suffering and how they relate both to our embodiment and to our psychology. In many ways Buddhism in particular is both a science and a system of psychology as much as it is a spiritual or religious system. Buddhism does not separate through materialism or reductionism the roles of spiritual, psychological or physical experiential truths from each other, but works from holism to understand how these aspects are interdependent and each affect the other.
Leading Neuroscientists such as Richard Davidson, Daniel Siegel, and Catherine Lazar are now all looking at Buddhist concepts and practices such as Mindfulness and meditation and are finding with advanced brain scanning technology that these practices physically alter and evolve the brain. In particular they note the pre-frontal cortex and related “front brain” areas undergo positive transformation from what classical science once debunked as “spiritual practice”.
Other researchers such as Pat Ogden, Rodolfo Llinus, and Minton and Pain, are showing how these practices may be best practice for trauma recovery in patients, and as a psychotherapy tool in general. The realisations of a western scientific eye played over a several thousand year lineage of experiential knowledge is creating confirmations and breakthroughs in Psychology, Medicine and Neuroscience.
One area of such little discussed realisation is the Buddhist Wheel of Life. This historical picturegram and its related commentary has been attributed to the original Budda Guatama himself, who devised it as a gift for a king of one province to offer to a king of another province. The picturegram is not only visually rich but each aspect or small detail of the diagram is rich in psychological and spiritual significance, symbolism and truth.
The most surprising aspect of this two thousand year old diagram is that it depicts very accurately the 5 key Western Body psychotherapy archetypes of the human condition as devised and articulated by Wilhelm Reich, and which are still used today as primary foundations in such body-centric work.
I personally believe that while comment exists as to the psychological nature of the Buddhist Wheel of Life, no one has made the connection between the Western view of embodied character Characterology and the close matching view of the Buddhist Wheel of Life. As a practicing Buddhist I have decided to research and document this fascinating link which is now available in my latest article Where East Meets West, The Buddhist Wheel of Life. (This article also contains a diagram of the Wheel of Life for explanatory purposes.)
Take the time to have a read for the article explores in some depth the psychological truths of this east-west correlating view of our human condition. Do not be put off by the fact that the eastern source is from a “religious” tradition, for Buddhism is a powerful system of psychology that I have tried to emphasise in this article. The article gives a summary of the origins of the Wheel of Life, and its overall picturegram symbolism so the reader can fully inform themself of the meaning of the entire diagram and how remarkable it is that over 2 thousand years ago this wisdom of the human condition was made conscious and used in eastern societies.
Its half time in the calendar for the year and Helena, Aisling and myself are off on holidays in June. We are travelling in Europe where I am both having a break, giving some lectures, and running a course, whilst also catching up on some of the latest Neuroscience developments at a seminar in Ireland.
Feel free to contact us while we are away as we are available via mobile, email and Skype where needed. You can follow us on Facebook or read our Blog as we travel around and share any realisations with you all. Make sure you too are having some downtime and exploring your world when it’s not too rainy outside.
Have a great month!!
Director, Energetics Institute