Today is the third day of a snowstorm that has been gracing the Wasatch Range. My heater doesn’t work and with no one available to fix it, our lives now revolve around the fireplace. I am sitting in front of it now, watching the violent orange flames racing up into the air. The constant crackle of the firewood is soothing to me. I did an interview today with one of the RawBrah Brothers. The RawBrah Brothers help people to become self-actualized, empowered and holistically healthy. And they are also Christian. It is the first time I have granted an interview to anyone associated with Christianity in a very long time because it usually results in an onslaught of hate mail immediately afterward. But this time I am glad that I did. It was a unifying interview, not a divisive one. I feel in my heart that this is good. Because it demonstrates the potential that people who do not agree on truth, can still find value in each other’s perspectives.
In truth it is difficult for me to feel good about opposing truths. I desire so much for a meeting of minds between all beings. I want this because I love the feeling of harmony and understanding and also complete unity and oneness. But a shadow I discovered is that when I am confronted with a person who invalidates my ideas by contradicting me, it causes a feeling to arise within me that I had as a child of being “pushed away”. It is not a uniting energy. This makes me feel ostracized, which awakens my wound of “something is wrong with me”. This wound is common amongst those who wish to have everyone agree. I also struggle with the knowledge that if two people’s opinions differ enough and they are put in a position where their beliefs threaten each other’s needs, they will turn against each other. We have seen this with every religious war that has happened on our planet. Being completely honest, when people’s beliefs conflict with my own, a part of me is always “watching my back”, expecting them to turn against me in some painful way at a moments notice. Another holdover from growing up non Mormon in a Mormon town. After today’s interview, we had a long talk. In that talk, the subject of Good and Bad came up several times. I do not know even in my own work how to get around giving the opinion that some things are good and others are bad. But for the sake of this blog, I will simply say that it is my opinion that the minute a religion says that something is good and something else is bad, it inspires a division within the people that belong to that religion. Suddenly an aspect of themselves is bad and therefore at risk for being denied, disowned and suppressed. I cannot believe how much religion pits people against themselves. In fact the very idea of self improvement, which is so central to all spiritual traditions is inherently self hating.
Most self-improvement techniques don’t work. And they don’t work for one giant reason. They put you at war with yourself. They pit one aspect of yourself against another aspect of yourself. Have you ever noticed that it feels like you cannot overcome your problems no matter how hard you try? The truth is you cannot overcome your problems because you cannot overcome what is inside yourself or part of yourself. As soon as you identify with something, it IS you. And from that point forward, to try to overcome those things, is to put one part of you at war with another part of yourself. Even negative traits (which are part of you) can never be eradicated from you. They can only be transformed into their highest aspect. When we suppress our emotions, which all of us must do at one point or another in our early lives, those suppressed emotions become part of our personality. Our problems become part of our personality. And as soon as they become part of our personality, they become part of our identity. We begin to see them as ourselves. Resisting any aspect of yourself is asking for emotional disaster. It is self-hate. Regardless of whether you resist something positive within yourself or negative within yourself, it is self-hate, and therefore it is self-destruction. So what is the solution? The solution is Exaltation. The concept of exaltation is an ancient alchemy concept. Simply put, to exalt something is to transform something into its highest spiritual aspect. For example, the old alchemists thought that the exalted form of metal was gold. If we are to live better lives, where we are not continually made unhappy by our negative personality traits, we must take each personality trait we do not like and first recognize it within ourselves. We must then accept it by both owning it and finding a way to approve of it. And then we must find a way to amplify that personality trait into it’s most in alignment or exalted expression.
Here’s an example of exaltation: Let’s say I felt unloved as a child, and was punished for trying to get the love I needed. I suppressed those feelings of resentment and powerlessness. Over the years, the powerlessness and resentment has become part of my personality. It has caused me to exhibit certain chronic behaviors. Chief among those behaviors, it has caused me to be an energy vampire. Because I believe I am not allowed to ask for the things I need, I manipulate people so I can get the energy I need from them. This personality trait is so much a part of me, that one could say it is part of my personality. I cannot overcome this problem and I can’t eradicate it from my personality. It is part of who I am now. So, my only choice is to take that negative personality trait and make that same personality trait into something positive. Because I am an energy vampire, I am a master at manipulating energy. I could become a brilliant energy worker. I have the capability of consciously pulling in negative energy and transmuting it inside my own body. This means I can feed off of illness and discordant energy rather than stealing life force from people’s bodies. I can manipulate energy to heal people. Also, being an energy vampire, I am a master at mental chess. I play mind games with people. So, the highest aspect of that trait (what we call the exalted aspect) is to play mind games with people that benefit them. I could become a brilliant counselor or psychologist. I could outsmart other people’s egos and help them to see things about themselves that they are totally unaware of.
Describe yourself. What problems do you have? What do you feel are the negative parts of your personality? Be very honest about what traits you don’t like about yourself. Once you have your list, spend some serious time thinking about what the highest and best use of those traits could be. What is the positive exalted form of those negative traits? Maybe I am dark. The exalted form of being dark could be that I am a brilliant shadow worker. I am a seasoned veteran when it comes to working with the subconscious and with the thoughts that scare people. I can guide people into bringing awareness to and healing whole parts of themselves that they have been trying to avoid. Also, dark energy is powerfully captivating because it frightens people. I can embrace that energy instead of trying to lighten myself up and use it to capture people’s attention and break them out of the monotony of their lives. Maybe I am anxious. The exalted form of being anxious could be that I am sensitive to the energies around me. I could be a talented interior decorator because I can feel the way that energy moves around a room. I am sensitive to the placement of objects and the influence that colors have on our emotions. I could design homes for people that made them feel exactly how they want to feel upon coming home. Maybe I am a bully. Bullies push people. The exalted form of being a bully could be that I push people to be their best. I embrace my forceful energy and use it in situations where people could benefit by that force, such as when someone needs especially strong encouragement. Bullies establish dominance within a social group. The exalted version of this dominance is leadership. I embrace my leadership ability and take charge when other people feel as if they need direction. I take initiative. I can rally people to cooperating with one another. Exalting your negative personality traits and problems is not about going to war with yourself. It is profoundly self hating and counterproductive to want to rid yourself of those traits. It is resistant and whatever we resist, persists. So the key to solving your problems is to find the highest and best use for those so-called negative traits. Fall in love with what you hate about yourself. Turn metal into gold on an internal level. Embrace and own the person that you are. Quit trying to turn yourself into something or someone else.