Sovereignty Tag

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The (Fourth) Voice of Sovereignty

Posted by Chris Dierkes in Emotions, Mystics, Philosophy, Shamanism, Spirituality, The Soul

Spiritual author Cynthia Bourgeault has written on a discernment process she has developed employing a conversation between what she calls the four voices, i.e. the four human identities of 1. ego/personality, 2. soul, 3. spirit, and 4. Heart. I follow the same basic four part scheme in my teaching, except that what Cynthia calls the Heart, I term The Sovereign (or Sovereignty). But essentially the perspective is the same.

I believe this fourfold teaching of the human being is a crucially important one for our time and age. I recommend reading Cynthia’s post in full (as well as this followup piece). There are a number of significant implications that develop from this basic fourfold scheme. Cynthia describes a very beautiful practice of letting each voice speak in turn in relationship to making a decision (aka discernment).

I want to extend this fourfold idea into some other domains.

The first and perhaps most important takeaway from this schema is that each of the four identities (or voices) has its own worldview. Each identity opens up a specific worldspace–it has a lens, a filter. Different phenomena arise depending on which identity is being accessed. In other words, different values, thoughts, feelings, and insights correspond with each of the four voices. Each identity brings its own world of experience. Each identity creates its own boundary of possible experience and understanding. Each identity is therefore a different world.

One of the extensions of this fourfold scheme that I’ve been working on is to think through essential teachings that derive from each of the four aspects of our being and learn a way to bring them together in a fundamental integrative human teaching. I’m going to explore this idea in greater detail below, but first we need to get a bit clearer on the four terms and to what identity each refers.

The ego or frontal personality is essentially a series of survival strategies. It’s not so much that the personality has various strategies. Rather the ego-personality is (for most people) those strategies. The ego/frontal personality is the aspect of us that we identify with it say at a party or business function. You meet someone for the first time you immediately introduce yourself by name. You both end up talking about where you grew up, what schools you went to, your job. Whether you’re married, divorce, single, have kids or not. The ego (or more simply the self) is the aspect of us that is born and will die. It also knows it will die. This aspect of us is highly conditioned. It has only a few go to moves and will always deploy them. Though even here we can grow into a deeper self maturity.

The soul (lowercase s) is the source of classic shamanic and animistic processes. The soul holds karmic and ancestral energies. The soul (lowercase s) is our connection to the psychic reality of Earth and the land. The soul is what carries forward lifetime to lifetime. The soul is the one who undertakes journeys to the otherworlds. The soul is what travels in our dreams and visions. The soul is the source of subtle energy, connections to angels, guides, deceased loved ones, saints, The Creator. It’s the realm of shadow work, exorcisms, and energy healings. It’s the domain of tarot readings, astrological connections, and the Akashic Records. Access your soul and these realities automatically start emerging. That is these realities exist in the worldspace the soul opens. They are not accessible, for example, by the ego (nor interestingly by spirit).

Spirit is our connection to the universal. Spirit is transpersonal. It is what is the same for all of us. Spiritual language is language of Unity, Oneness, Non-Separation. Spirit is the The One Without a Second. Spirit is Being Per Se. Spiritual teaching, spiritual enlightenment, and spiritual realization then all point us to the recognition of our spiritual nature and identity.

The Sovereign (or Sovereignty) is the aspect of us that integrates our self, our soul, and our spirit into one utterly singular unique expression. The Sovereign is the Flavor of our Incarnation. The Sovereign is a Master Weaver taking all of the aspects of our being, bringing them into our own manifestly distinct human being. The Sovereign weaves us each into an irreducible tapestry of being. The Sovereign is for each of us, the True Guide and Teacher of our being. The Sovereign is Infinity+1.

So with those four identities a bit more clarified, we can now turn to a way of simplifying and understanding the nature of various kinds of human practices. The basic premise here is that different practices are aimed at different voices/identities. For example, personal growth processes are aimed at the personality-ego. There are soul-based practices, e.g. shamanism. There are also teachings on the nature of spiritual awakening.

Each set of teachings is valid from within the bounds of the specific identity with which it works. Another way of saying that is that each set of teachings is true and yet partial. What true but partial means is that those teachings are not valid outside their area of legitimacy. For example it makes no sense to study personal growth techniques in order to about how to relate properly and lovingly to the souls of your ancestors. One is for the ego (personal development), the other is the work of the soul (the ancestors). Similarly it doesn’t help to study spiritual enlightenment in order to solve a psychological issue (that’s called spiritual bypassing).

In this way the four-identity or four-voice framework brings a great deal of clarity.

Working with a Tarot reading (soul) is not going to help optimize your email flow (personal growth/personality). An exquisite Tarot reading can however nurture your soul. Learning to meditate (spiritual teaching) doesn’t help your soul–in fact if you’re not careful it can actually teach you to bypass it. Optimizing your email flow also doesn’t teach you about the nature of your fundamental Consciousness. For that one you need spiritual teaching.

Knowing which identity a practice is oriented towards allows the practice to do what it does best and not be asked to do things it’s not designed to do. As Ken Wilber says practices and teachings are “freed up by being limited”.

An upshot of this meta-frame is that allows spiritual teaching to be relieved of the burden of having to solve all problems for all people all the time. It also restores the inherent value and proper place of soul work–which is often marginalized and/or outright denied in our day with its dominance of personal growth and spiritual teaching. This fourfold meta-perspective also creates a role for personal growth work in relationship to soul work and spiritual teaching that does not allow the personal growth side of things to co-opt soul and spiritual traditions as in much of the contemporary spiritual wellness lifestyle crossover scene (aka LOHAS).

That’s a first key piece coming out of this fourfold framework: seeing how to incorporate aspects from each of the three traditions in a harmonious, mutually supportive manner.

The second aspect is opening an entire new domain of practice and exploration: namely that of The Sovereign. I’m going to explore that rich topic in a later article.

But for now the key point is that when deploying this fourfold meta-frame, spiritual teaching ceases to be the end all be all. Personal growth ceases to be the highest value. Enacting your soul purpose (while crucially important) no longer takes priority of other aspects of being: like spiritual awakening or personal health.

The central learning is how to incorporate at least some of each of the three major traditions to create a basic integrative framework for human practice. By the principle of true but partial, each of these traditions is relativized (in the best sense). They are freed up by being limited.

In the ego-personality realm we have the traditions of psychotherapy, somatic bodywork, and personal growth.

In the soul realm we have energy healing traditions as well as shamanic practice, with all its multitudes of variations and diverse expression.

In the spiritual realm we have teachings of nondual awakening and realization.

We put all these traditions on a horizontal line. Therapy is not greater than nor lesser than spiritual enlightenment. Soul work is similarly neither greater than nor lesser than either psychotherapy nor spiritual awakening.

All need to work in harmony. Each has a specific piece of the puzzle that is unique to it: therapy, soul work, spiritual practice. No one of them can fill in the essential elements brought by the others. Spiritual teaching doesn’t help heal your ego. Working on healing your ego (in therapy) doesn’t teach how to realize your spiritual identity (as for example meditation teaches). Neither of those teaches you about the nature of you as a soul.

Ken Wilber writes that the problem is never partiality. The problem is always wholeness without partiality. When a spiritual teaching claims to be the final ultimate and only valuable teaching it’s preaching a wholeness without partiality, aka an ideology, a fundamentalism.

When however we recognize the partially true value of each of these streams we begin to ask how we can have them work together for the mutual benefit of all. We begin to ask the right set of questions: how do I begin to incorporate elements of ego-personality practice, soul work, and spiritual teaching into a cohesive, integrated process?

That question leads to a very fruitful line of inquiry to be lived. That question is the one I believe we need to be asking of ourselves and each other right now. How do we wisely include them all in their respective truths? That I believe is the one of the core benefits that an understanding of Sovereignty brings (the one that creates a big enough home for each.)

19 Apr 2017 no comments / READ MORE

Liquid Love

Posted by Chris Dierkes in Mystics, Spirituality

2016 was a really painful year for me. It seemed to be that way for a lot of folks—including obviously the wider disturbances in the force globally. It ended for me with intense dives into traumatic territory, the US election, and my mom’s death (the latter two happening the exact same evening). Then just after her burial getting the call to move to Bowen Island and the serious stress of the move, not to mention moving in the midst of the hardest winter here in maybe a generation.

So by the end of 2016 I was left feeling battered.

Then as the year turned anew the land here (Bowen Island) began to work me. I mean both the island as a whole and also the specific plot of land where we’re situated (which has some interesting magic associated with it). I was taken through the most vivid series of dreams, night after night, for almost 4 weeks straight. The last time I dreamed (or rather was dreamed) into that intensity I left full time ordained ministry and began the soul work venture. Except those dreams took place once or twice a month over a year and a half period. There was some 20-30 of those dreams in total during that period. Just about the same number here except they took place basically every night for about a month consecutively.

I couldn’t write before those dreams because of the painful onslaught in my life. I couldn’t write during those dreams because I was in it. There wasn’t sufficient distance/differentiation from it such that I could put any of it to words. I felt muted. I largely retreated from social media and the online world pretty much altogether. Not only was my voice muted but I felt the need to mute much of the noise of the world for a time.

Those dreams and their attendant energy experiences culminated in an experience that took place about a month ago—though it’s not really fair to call it an experience. It was more that I came to honestly acknowledge what was already in front of me. It was already there, in fact it had been there for some time, but I simply couldn’t, wouldn’t, or flat out didn’t want to admit it.

Then one night for whatever reason that recognition took place. I just stopped lying to myself. I couldn’t keep up the facade. It wasn’t even really acknowledging it so much as it was dropping the veil of feigned ignorance.

I sat, utterly quiet and still, simply looking out the window, for something like four hours. In that time I knew in one very real sense, absolutely nothing in my life had changed. While at the same time I also knew everything had changed.

To get a sense of the scope of that change maybe a bit of personal history would help.

I became a spiritual seeker in earnest when I was 19. That intense seeking phase (which included my years in a religious order) “ended” in 2006 with what people would classically call a spiritual breakthrough. But for me that wasn’t the pinnacle I had believed it would turn out to be. Rather the whole thing was a crushing, levelling revelation of the brokenness of my being. The seeker identity revealed itself for what it truly was; I felt the rug had been pulled out from under me. I was prepared for victorious spiritual enlightenment. Life decided (rightly) to mock me instead to my face. I had built my entire identity and sense of purpose and meaning out of becoming enlightened. And Life laughed in my face. (It took me a loooong time to get the joke. Prior to that I simply thought God was a douche. Once I got the joke, I realized how absolutely hilarious the whole thing was/is.)

Out of the wreckage of that absolute mockery came another phase which defined the last decade of my life. The characteristic quality of that period was welcome. By welcome I mean learning to embrace all the different facets and aspects of my humanity. It started with coming to learn about my emotions. Then there was shadow work which morphed into subtler energies and aspects of being (soul). Along with those came practice experiencing and working with physical sensation, leading to exploration of the realms of my own trauma.

From the mix of stirring all those different aspects of my being together—self, soul, spirit—arose a recognition of Sovereignty, i.e. the one that is wide enough to embrace all the different facets, from the most reactive to the most spiritual and everything in between.

The writing I’ve done towards the tail end of the Beams & Struts years and then on this site over the last 5 years has reflected this turn to embrace. The first phase was much more about transcendence. The second phase immanence.

This second, immanental period is now essentially complete. That’s what this new movement means. That’s what I realized occurred a month back. Of course I still have things to learn and processes to do but in some significant, even fundamental way, that phase is done. Burned to a crisp. Toast. My identity and the thrust of things has moved elsewhere. The terrain has fundamentally shifted. The nature of the game has changed once more.

Out of the turmoil, the many deaths, and annihilation of the last year has emerged something else. In saying that I’m not offering some heroic tale of victory from defeat. What has happened doesn’t go back and magically put a bow on everything that went before. It is what it is and it was what it was to journey here. I do honour that transition without being sentimental about its brutality, which was severe.

My focus now is more firmly fixed on what is directly before me. I am humbled by what is revealing itself. I’m grateful (in a different register though) for everything that went into that period of welcome. It was wholesome and necessary and good. Still it’s done. Like I said, toast.

Starting a few years ago a phrase would periodically pop into my head during meditation. I didn’t really know what to do with it but it would appear, disappear, reappear fleetingly, only to disappear back into the mists again.

That phrase was Liquid Love.

That phrase is starting to make the barest of sense now. As always has been the case throughout all these different phases grace has brought to me a few texts I need to help give me basic guidance and orientation to this new space. I’ve only come across a couple of writers who have described this new thing. While their perspectives are deeply helpful to me, I need to find my own words. Anyone else’s will not do, even when I resonate deeply with what they are saying and feel as though they have walked these woods too.

The first piece I wrote here was Welcome. It was the rallying cry for this entire phase (second phase). And without diminishing that phase or its wise necessity, it’s over. I have nothing left to write in that vein. I have a few pieces that I had already begun some months back that I may edit/complete and publish. Or perhaps not, I don’t know.

Regardless, those words and that way of thinking-feeling-experiencing no longer hold sway for me. They’re still valid. They accurately (as best as I could) detailed a realm of experience. It’s just not a realm I walk in anymore. It’s a land that will no longer have me. You can’t go home again. Or in this case I can’t go home again. I wouldn’t be granted entry. Room needs to be made for others to walk in those verdant fields. I’ve been graced by them already. I need to keep moving on. Other lands are calling.

Like lands of Liquid Love

All that’s left now is light and heat. Existence has become a lava lamp-like experience. It’s all boiling while simultaneously being completely normal. It’s not a specific vision or “thing I see”. It’s a pure, pulsing feeling.

It’s not an extraordinary version of ordinary experience. In other words, it’s not mysticism. It’s a extraordinarily ordinary experience. In fact it’s so ordinary (and therefore rare) as to become extraordinary.

It’s ordinary experience lighting up.

The kids nowadays say so and on so is “Lit”.

What if Life, as a whole, and in every particular instance, every singular manifestation, is Lit?

By Lit, I mean that I feel a kind of magma-like quality to everything and everyone. I feel that I’m being liberated from Liberation. Liberation is a most subtle tie that binds. I am not re-shackled but I am now Unfree. Most fortunately non-liberated.

Everything, everyone is boiling.

Boiling in Liquid Love.

It’s liquid, it’s fire, it’s also light though.

It’s not a purifying fire particularly. I’ve felt those purifying kinds of fire. I’ve written about them in fact. That kind of fire is profound and worthy of sincerest respect.

This fire ain’t that fire.

This is boiling.

What’s the point of getting purified if you’re being boiled into liquid, magma-like Love? There’s nothing purifying about it. It’s just dissolving.

What occurred the other night was a deeper consent to accepting this liquefaction of my being not as some periodic alluring state but now as more and more the ground upon which to walk.
The consent then is to liquefaction within me, next to, beside, nearby, and all around me until all those words really are even themselves less solid and more liquid.

This feels like this is the real beginning and everything else before has been preparatory.

As I begin to wax poetic I can feel another movement however to slow my roll. I’m some kind of infant in this domain. Yet the feeling underneath is beyond ancient. Ultra-archaic. Yet still somehow very plugged into the future calling in the present.

The Liquid Love is a light. Liquid love is luminescent.

It’s not a red fire or heat. It’s more like a flame that has heated to the point it’s gone blue or white. But even that image isn’t quite right. I sometimes feel it almost as if it’s a crystal fire. It’s so light it’s beyond white.

Sometimes this crystalline flame brings with it a joyous simplicity. Other times even a sense of grounded and contained ecstasy. While yet other times it’s dire, shredding sorrow.

There are I’m sure many more contours to be discovered and revealed about this space. I look forward in anticipation to those encounters. Some of those moments can leave me feeling a bit exalted, over my skis let’s say. Most moments though feel much more humbling, even humiliating. An affectionate humiliation to be sure but humiliation nonetheless.

But those contours or qualities aren’t the central point. The real point—as far as I can tell so far—is simply remaining in the heat-light itself. To abide in Life boiling. Remaining is a yes, a consent to who I am. Who I am as this light-heat, this boiling, this liquid love.

It’s not consent to be purified but rather consent to be liquified.

The devotion of this is to dwell in this abode and then simply do what I do. To stay in the boiling heat and do what I do: listen, talk, rest, work, relate, whatever it may be. I’m learning quickly the kinds of situations where it’s much easier to remain and keep my stance and moments when that is not the case.

The Sovereignty that revealed itself in the second phase has now become a sovereign heat, a sovereign fire. Sovereign crystalline light-heat.

All those are just words. They are deeply inadequate to who and what this is. I simply hope they might render the maximal amount possible—which would be at best a minimal amount—of this reality.

My writing has to change. What I do in the world has to change. I have no idea how either of those will happen. All that will come. I’m not particularly concerned about that at the moment.

For now just staying with the Light-Heat.

14 Mar 2017 no comments / READ MORE