The Marriage of Spirit In Context
The roots of the Marriage of Spirit lie in the important practice of self-inquiry, of looking within in order to understand and to know ourselves. Self-inquiry is one of the many tools essential for true transformation and enlightenment.
The Marriage of Spirit is a method born out of a synthesis of several disciplines, known for their different ways of practicing self-inquiry, yet it has a completely different manifestation from its roots. The method is born in many ways out of a mixture of: 1) Tantric yoga, the yoga of balancing opposites; 2) Jnana yoga, the yoga of the mind, or making the mind one with God; and 3) modern psychology.
The Marriage of Spirit’s connection to Tantric yoga is that both use the principle of the unification of opposites to create balance, harmony and unity. However, unlike traditional Tantric yoga, which usually involves physically living out the polarities in order to find the unity, the Marriage of Spirit is a mostly mental approach to balancing opposites.
The Marriage of Spirit teachings and techniques are also closely aligned with Jnana yoga, or self-inquiry. Its resemblance to Jnana yoga has to do with finding out who we are at the source rather than at the surface and with continuing to inquire into our perceptions until we find the unity inherent in the mind.
The resemblance to modern psychology lies in our willingness to delve into and see our own unconscious personality patterns and also in our allowing those patterns to reorganize. As stated in the preface of this book, the distinction between the Marriage of Spirit and modern psychology is that the Marriage of Spirit relies not only on our untying the knots of the mind, but also on the gift of grace. Doing the inner exploration is important, but at some point we have to surrender the whole lesson to spirit in order to effect transformation in our lives. Through grace, spirit provides the changes we seek.
The Marriage of Spirit is about making the unconscious conscious, bringing the shadow into light, and marrying spirit with matter. It is about becoming conscious of the luminous core of enlightenment that is within each one of us.
What is Enlightenment?
Enlightenment has been known by many different names—cosmic consciousness, Self-realization, God-realization, liberation or awakening. It could be described as a mystical state because it seems to be emanating from the mystery of being, beyond our everyday awareness. It is so rare in this world, yet it is a very sane and grounded way to be in the world.
Everyone holds an inner core of enlightened consciousness, but in general, most are unaware of it. Those who have attained conscious awareness of their enlightenment are often put on a pedestal, as though they are beyond life. It is certainly a state quite different from any other state experienced by most people. Yet it is only apparently beyond this world. In fact those that hold this way of perceiving are bonded with the world and dedicated to life far more deeply than most. What the state does give someone is a depth, a penetration into the soul of all of humankind. This is why enlightened individuals are often humanitarians or teachers. They have found a deeper perspective on life and are acquainted with its deeper meaning. The state of enlightenment is humanity’s future. It is what we will become as we grow and evolve into the fullness of our soul awareness and beyond.
The enlightened state is experienced as an all-encompassing perception of the oneness of all of life. It is the awareness that we, humanity, are all one, interconnected on a mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual level, held and contained by the essence of being. An enlightened person perceives cohesive essence-as-oneness as the source that gives rise to the existence of the universe as we know it. The enlightened state shows itself as a state of naturalness and ease on many levels. It is a state where the inner turmoil has ceased, where knowing the truth of existence is always present. It is a deep caring and an absence of fear. It is a visceral knowing of oneself as an embodiment of unified presence. Ultimately, enlightenment cannot be described in words, only experienced.
The Time is Now—A New Paradigm
It used to be that people seeking enlightenment would separate themselves from worldly life. This meant that there were extraordinary enlightened beings living mostly in isolation from society, often in monasteries or on mountaintops. This is no longer necessarily what spirit is asking of us.
We have arrived at a new and different time;
we are here to enlighten the physical plane, the body, and the personality
while living and working in the world.
At this time we are to open up the physical plane and to receive the enlightened consciousness right into the personality and the body. Although I did retreat from the world during my pseudo-cave experience in Los Angeles in 1986-88, it was not the decades-long isolation of the traditional Himalayan cave experience. It was in a big city and was for a relatively short period of time. I consider this was a step toward bridging the old way and the new. Furthermore, my guides told me that the inner exploration that had taken me ten years in the 1970s and 1980s would take others two years in the future.
We are being invited to open up and clear the personality, to rework it into a freer state, visibly woven into the fabric of the world. This expression of enlightenment integrated with worldly life will most likely catalyze changes in the environment and in institutions, like government, education, social structures, and so forth.
Currently we are seeing an unprecedented spiritual awakening of many souls, since so many are now focused on this process of transformation and Self-discovery. We see evidence of this focus almost everywhere, from the increasing number of self-help and spiritually themed books on the New York Times bestseller list, to the increasing number of people learning to meditate, and to a proliferation of spiritual communities thriving in every corner of the world. There is a great, quiet revolution underway in a segment of the population. A growing number of people are trying to find their real selves amidst the dehumanizing and mechanistic worldview of Western culture. There is a palpable sense of spiritual urgency—a yearning for many of us to reconnect with spirit, with the all-encompassing energy that creates and flows through life on this planet.
As more and more people wake up to their own enlightenment, it also becomes obvious how the oneness is able to express its unique perfection differently through each soul. For each individual who wakes up, there is a different expression of enlightened awareness in the world. As a result of this mass raising of consciousness, a new way of living is emerging. The emergence is the birth of a new paradigm.
This is the paradigm known as unity in diversity.
Unity is an energy presence which is seen to flow through all things, through all the diversity of life—people, plants, rocks, the earth, the sky—anything one can name. It is a different paradigm from the paradigm in which we now live, in that it is the flow of life coming from the oneness, and the oneness is the inner authority within each person. In this paradigm we each become our own authority, our own source of knowing in that we are directly connected to source. Some people call it going God-direct. The implementation of this new paradigm will result in a complete equality and respect for the differences found in this world, giving a complete validity to all diverse forms.
The system in which we now live is the authority of one person pitted against another, an authority of domination versus submission, based on human will and lived in separation. It is this old way that is the paradigm of polarities seen as oppositions—matter versus spirit, superiority versus inferiority, strong versus weak.
Living in the new paradigm is being able to live both within polarity and outside of it at the same time. The new paradigm of consciousness is our ability to see that all opposites can also be perceived as complements, each enhancing the other. Seeing them this way allows us to penetrate the unity which underlies all polarity, and this is the dawning of enlightenment.
After centuries of being disguised in poetical, mysterious terms for the select few, the teachings of enlightenment are no longer shrouded by the privacy of monasteries and mountaintops. Currently the information is more available and accessible than ever before. The teachings emerge simplified, more straightforward, more easily understood and practical for the modern world.
Perhaps the reason for this is because it is an unprecedented time of critical mass in our world. Collectively, our degree of ignorance of our connectedness to spirit seems to be at its zenith. Our technological society appears to teeter precariously on the brink of global crises such as nuclear accidents, nuclear warfare, overpopulation, ozone depletion, global warming, deforestation, eradication of species, other ecological disasters and epidemics like AIDS.
In times like these, there is a heightened potential for and even an imperative need for a great number of souls to wake up to a new, more balanced, human consciousness. For those that are disturbed by these global crises, the most profound way to make a contribution is by practicing self-inquiry and clearing ones own ego. As our awareness becomes more empowered and as we hold an intention along with others for global transformation, our intention joined with others begins to affect collective consciousness. Some may know this as the hundredth monkeyprinciple. I like to call this principle the power of one because it reflects the power inherent in the one mind—the universal, unified mind that is common to all of us at some level. The Power of One, originally a novel by South African, Bryce Courtenay, and later a movie, is about how the power of one individual really can make a difference.
Throughout history there have been many predictions that the times in which we now live would come. Sages and seers of many traditions, including Incan, Mayan and Native American, have prophesied the loss of divine knowledge and the rise of the rational, technological mind, steeped in the belief in our disconnection from spirit, as the prevailing state for our current time. Humanity’s journey in consciousness is always cycling from light to dark and back to light from ignorance back to the knowledge of the Divine. I, too, see that we are currently at a turning point in the ignorance cycle. Its completion is heralding the return journey to wisdom and connectedness. This is the time we are now entering.
Traditionally, it is during times of darkness and ignorance that we are most likely to be visited by enlightened beings. It follows, too, that during times of darkness there is the greatest impetus toward awakening. Enormous numbers of people all over the world, especially in the West, are currently on a spiritual path, and their return journey to truth, love and inner integrity has begun. It is time now for the many to wake up.
What Is Processing and Why Do It?
Processing is a form of self-inquiry. The term to process means to examine and to inquire deeply into the nature of our conditioned and unbalanced egoic patterning with the intention of finding the truth. We process our consciousness in order to become clear and to find our wholeness.
Why would we choose to examine and process our consciousness at certain points during the course of our lives? What is it about life that would make us feel the need to add this particular activity to our already overburdened schedules? In addition to practicing the power of one for the sake of the world, the truth is that we have a strong and inherent desire to find ourselves, to find out who we are. We yearn to find more of ourselves since we feel so limited and want to increase our resources. It is because our lives are overextended and over-stretched that we most need to do the work. We must let go of all extraneous baggage and streamline the system of mind, body and emotions to make the maximum use of our time and energy. To function to the best of our ability in this world, we must be willing to do some letting go and some clearing work to make space for the pace of life.
The energies moving into the world and through all of us at the moment reflect an enormously speeded up evolution. We have to learn to cope whether we like the pace or not. Things have changed so much in the last few decades that what we were taught in childhood is already loaded with obsolescence. Processing allows us a more fluid consciousness and an ability to flow with the changes in daily life. It frees us from being stuck in the past and from struggling with our goals for the future. A cleared consciousness is the most valuable asset in this life. It allows us to cope really effectively with life’s challenges. It means our awareness is more flexible and free. We have the resources of insight, creativity, enormously increased energy and an intensity of purpose to take us into success in whatever life situation we seek. Being rigid, blocked, and without inspiration and energy is a dead-end street in the modern world.
Processing is about creating balance in the mind, emotions and body. On the journey from ignorance to knowledge, all are of equal importance. The Western mind, especially, is extremely busy and undisciplined. The consciousness of the mind must be clear and quiet if we are to see truth and gain wisdom. Processing and clearing emotional turmoil means a letting go of all the old reactivity and stored emotional memories. This leads to a refining of the consciousness of the heart and allows the higher emotions to be expressed—states such as gratitude, unconditional love, generosity, humility, compassion and forgiveness. (In Chapter Ten—Triangles, we will take a more in-depth look at these higher emotional states and will offer some easy and practical ways of bringing them into our daily lives. For a quick preview of a longer list of higher emotional states, turn to page 174 in Chapter Ten.) With processing, the physical body also changes, because the mental-emotional overlays which cloud the physical body are melted away. Clearing the consciousness of the body reveals its original state of balance and harmony and helps us to let go of attachment to the transitory physical body.
Processing is a very unique way of letting go. We are not making something new with processing; we are melting away the old. Over time, processing is powerfully effective to reveal the deeper states of inner and outer quiescence, giving rise to what is known in the East as the state of samadhi, a state of unity consciousness, which we will discuss in great detail further into the book.
Processing is also a way of seeing into the unconscious, which helps us to let go of imbalances in the mind. Traditionally there have been a number of ways of seeing into the unconscious—for example, dream analysis, rebirthing and past-life regression. These are all popular and valid ways of expanding awareness. The Marriage of Spirit methods in Section Two are an unusual and different way of viewing the unconscious.
Processing is a very fast path to spiritual awakening. When spirit gave it to me, I was told that it would be much needed for these accelerated times we are living in. Because the techniques are mainly mental exercises, they allow us to shift consciousness quickly—in the mind. We actively engage the imbalances in the mind and clear them away. When we don’t do this kind of inner clearing work, we generally have to live out in the physical world the lessons that we took incarnation to learn. This is a more passive approach and is slower. By doing the clearing work mentally (by writing in a journal) and proactively, we learn the lesson without having to live out the experience physically, which means we save enormous amounts of time in the process of waking up. This is especially beneficial if we want to awaken more quickly.
Processing is about becoming capable of increasing our flow of energy. As we clear entrenched patterns, a tremendous liberation of trapped energies takes place in us physically, mentally and emotionally. We also find, through the clearing process, the freedom to express this renewed energy level in our lives. So much becomes possible when we have abundant energy.
In terms of our spiritual growth, this abundant energy raises our level of attention, allowing access to the deeper insight and wisdom that are naturally present in us. Wisdom and insight already exist in us. We do not have to learn them. But it takes abundant energy to retrieve those less accessible, higher vibratory levels of consciousness. We need the energy to get a lift off, to gain some altitude in life. In doing the clearing work our overall vibration becomes faster and our attention is raised into a more refined level of perceiving. Abundant, liberated energy brings joy into life, and it is fun to share with others. It invites creativity and inspiration.
How Far Do You Want To Go With Processing?
How far you want to go with this clearing work is a matter of choice and depends on the commitments you are ready to make. The clearing takes place gradually, gaining more momentum with time and creating mini-awakenings along the way. Partial clearing introduces more awakeness into your consciousness and will improve life’s circumstances. Everyone must choose for themselves which areas of personality to focus on and how much clearing to do. As people clear, they begin to succeed in whatever they apply themselves to. In other words, before awakening to the enlightened or cosmic state, you first become very creative, inspired, energized by life, and impeccable. These are the qualities which make for success in the material world and on the path to enlightenment.
Many people who have practiced the Marriage of Spirit techniques have blossomed and developed highly successful careers because that was what they were seeking. However, their success is a success generated by a flow of light, which comes from their center of inner inspiration and fullness. It is not a success driven by outer goals and ambition, which come from a sense of inner emptiness and which are seldom fulfilling or fully satisfying. At some point with doing this work, one must choose whether to go on to the direct, conscious experience of union with omnipresent being, which is full awakeness or enlightenment.
It was the nineteenth-century Indian Saint, Sri Ramakrishna, who said that no stone may remain unturned in the course of fully waking up, and in my perception this includes the full examination of the personality. However, processing the personality works just as well for the individual who simply wants to overturn a few problematical stones. Because the Marriage of Spirit techniques evolve through different levels, from a simple, beginner level to a more complex and advanced one, they can be used to whatever end you choose. If you are seeking full awakening, in time you will have to look at every minute aspect of the personality.
The Benefits of Processing
There are many benefits to processing, which range from the concrete and worldly to the spiritual. As you move through the book and learn to process, try to notice what improvements are manifesting in your life. The following list names a few of the benefits of processing.
Having fewer personality clashes with others
Healing of physical, mental or emotional traumas past or present
Increased ability to deal gracefully with anger and volatile emotions (yours and others)
Greater harmony and equanimity inside and out
More energy to use for things that bring you joy
Feeling less drained
Higher level of productivity
Better communication skills
Ability to resolve conflicts more easily
Ability to let go of counter-productive, obsessive and self-destructive behavior patterns
Greater tolerance, love, compassion and appreciation for other people and for the world around you
More fulfilling work
More fulfilling relationships
Ability to let go of negativity and fear
Increased flow of abundance
Increased spirit of generosity
Greater focus, mindfulness, awareness and insight
Ability to live with an open heart
A more tangible connection to the soul
Greater alignment with your highest path
Purity of mind and heart
Knowledge and experience of the connectedness of all things
Experience of the peace that passeth all understanding (known in the East as samadhi)
Experience of the magic healing power of grace
Greater devotion to spirit
Bliss states (known in the East as ananda)
Greater and greater levels of spiritual awakening, or enlightenment
Asking for Grace
In the processing work grace has a powerful and essential part to play. The fusing and unifying of opposites takes place because of the subtle mystery of grace. As you do the integrative work and surrender it to grace, she comes in and assists in the reorganizing process. In the processing methods presented in Section Two, you and grace each play a role.
Grace is an aspect of the unfathomable intelligence of the universe. It is the expression of your higher self, which orchestrates for you the circumstances that you in your limited state cannot. Receiving grace is like getting a surprise bonus, supporting your situation in life. Grace comes to you in enormous quantities when the heart is open. Receiving grace can be a consequence of selflessness, humility, good works—or as it is known in the East, good karma—and acts of faith. Grace is yours for the asking and is a gift—if you are willing to see it.
Many people live most of their lives thinking there is nothing else beyond what they can touch and see. They play the games and take the falls. Then suddenly, it becomes time for them to consider that there is something more to life, and they begin to seek. What they seek as they begin asking for change is grace. Nobody changes without it. Transformation takes place when we ask for grace to enter our lives and to help us change our limiting situations.
Unity is a Simple State
Knowing unity is essentially what everyone is looking for. It sounds simple, and it is. It is so simple that the mind, which is actively engaged in complexity and churning thoughts, does not find it. If you turn off your thoughts for a moment, it is there. To the untrained awareness it is seemingly nothing, a vacancy. But that is it—seemingly nothing. And yet it is also everything, a complete contradiction apparently. This spiritual journey is, almost more than anything, about becoming comfortable with paradox. The unified state contains everything and is in itself nothing.
The Marriage of Spirit methods are a way of permanently creating the emptiness of thought that allows the discernment of the unified presence, so subtle when you first contact it, but becoming so strong as you find it more and more. Most thoughts arise from stored baggage in the mind. The mind is cluttered like an old hall closet that has not been cleaned out for years. Every experience, every trauma, every hope, wish, dream, desire and more, is locked up as a thought form in the mind. Most of it is not needed, used, or even useful.
Humans are like pack rats when it comes to holding onto things in the mind. This old and excess baggage tends to replay in the mind, often consciously and mostly subconsciously, just below your surface awareness. When you try to find your spiritual self by becoming quiet and meditating, you find that these thoughts just beep and beep constantly. Try as you might, you cannot shut them off. They will not shut off until you have taken the time to clear out the old stored stuff that is the source of the thought forms. These methods do that. They help clear the clutter and make way for the presence of oneness and unity to be felt—so palpably that eventually you will feel it right down into your body.
Here are some of the main points we have introduced so far:
The Marriage of Spirit is based in the ancient principle of the unification of opposites.
The teachings are about the sacred and alchemic fusing of two different elements, creating a new, unified energy, which
reflects the underlying unity of spirit.
The Marriage of Spirit is born out of a mixture of modern psychology, Jnana yoga and Tantric yoga.
Everyone holds an enlightened core of consciousness, which ultimately cannot be described, only experienced.
We are in a new and different time. We are here to enlighten the physical plane, the body and the personality while living
and working in the world.
This is a new paradigm known as unity in diversity.
Processing is a form of self-inquiry. We process our consciousness to become clear and to find our wholeness.
Processing is a fast path to spiritual awakening.
You can take the processing along the continuum of enlightenment as far as you like from achieving success in the
material world, to directly, consciously experiencing your own awakened, divine nature.
There are numerous worldly and spiritual benefits of processing (see list on pages 26 and 27).
The unification of opposites takes place through the healing power of grace.
Unity is the simple state that everyone is looking for.
Suggestions for Putting Theory into Practice
If you are curious about how the principle of the unification of opposites works in a practical sense, try reading the introduction to Section Two and Chapter Nine—Polarities, and then return to Section One later.
When opposites are unified, we move into states of higher emotion. To get an idea of where the processing work will take you, meditate on the list of higher emotional states on page 174 of Chapter Ten—Triangles.
As you learn to process, be aware of the changes manifesting in your inner and outer life as a result. Write about what you notice in your journal.
Make daily affirmations in your journal or say some prayers to invite grace into your life in a more profound and conscious way.
This is an excerpt from The Marriage of Spirit, by Leslie Temple-Thurston with Brad Laughlin.
Copyright ©2000 by CoreLight. All rights reserved.
You may use or reproduce as long as the text is unaltered and appropriately credited.
Because clarity and enlightenment are within your own nature, they are regained without moving an inch.
Understanding the Squares Technique
Some years ago I had chronic fatigue syndrome. After trying many different therapies, which all helped to some extent, I had the distinct feeling that the problems I was having with the body were a process. I saw that the imbalances were mental-emotional overlays to the body, belief systems of a very subtle nature. I knew that I could look deeply into the body and process myself out of them. My rationale was that everything is consciousness, including the body. Processing will shift consciousness; therefore processing will shift the body. I would just have to find the right pieces. That was the hard part, finding the right pieces. I made a list of hundreds of polarities associated with the material plane things like: HEALTH and SICKNESS, OLD and YOUNG, STRONG and WEAK, GRAVITY and LEVITY.
I sat on my bed and resolved not to move until I was successful in shifting my condition. It was during this time that I intuited the squares technique. I filled two or three notebooks in my determination to be healed. It took three weeks, but I found most of the issues. Eventually, after experiencing numerous subtle shifts, the most spectacular came with a square on LIFE and DEATH. This involved looking deeply into the issues of why I DESIRED TO LIVE, why I FEARED LIVING, why I DESIRED TO DIE, and why I FEARED DYING. As I completed the square and did the offering, I felt the meridians, or channels of subtle energy, in the body pop open and the energy begin to flow in the body again. The disability was over, and the cure seemed miraculous. I was sold on the squares technique, as you may imagine. Now I would like to share this technique with you.
This technique is a little more complicated than the lists of opposites. It is associated mainly with the physical body and the physical world, although it serves to clear the subtle bodies as well including mental and emotional. The number four and the square are symbols for the physical plane. The consciousness is quite boxed-in at this level, and that creates density. The square is a very a-dynamic form. We even have a colloquial expression in our language, calling someone a square, meaning that they are rather conservative, stuck and boring. The dynamic wave energy of life has been contained in a box and cannot unravel itself easily.
As you read ahead about how a square works, you will see that each corner is an aspect of consciousness that is out of balance. Each corner represents some part of the ego that pushes or pulls you off center. In the normal course of our lives, we tend to live out the corners rather unconsciously. They are our desires and fears. When we live by habit or by rote and don’t examine the nature of our own egos, it can take years, or even lifetimes, to live out our desires and fears represented in one square. This translates as feeling boxed-in and stuck in life, and normally we don’t even know why we feel this way. Usually, most people blame the outside circumstances of their lives, rather than look within to see what needs to change in order to effect outer change.
When we have little or no knowledge of the principle of changing the inner to change the outer, we have to live out in the physical world the experience of the effect of our desires and fears. In other words, before we tumble to the fact that what limits us is the inner, egoic conditioning our—desires and fears—they will cause us to have to live out physically whatever their effects are. Until we realize this fact, we generally don’t experience significant change in our lives. We may try to change the outer appearance, the window dressing, for example by changing jobs or relationships or locations, but we don’t experience a real change in our lives until we begin to examine what really limits us our egoic conditioning, which comes down to our desires and fears. This is why we often find that we have to keep repeating the same lessons and the same kinds of experiences over and over with just a change in scenery, and we feel caught in some kind of bizarre loop. The movie Groundhog’s Day with Bill Murray offers an excellent metaphoric illustration of this metaphysical principle; it is also very funny. It is about a man who wakes up every day and re-experiences the same day—Groundhog’s Day. He finally finds his way out through balancing and clearing his inner consciousness and by moving into the heart.
As you read ahead about the squares technique, you will see that it offers a much faster method of experiencing change in your life than having to live out in the physical world the experience of your desires and fears. Doing a square allows you to complete the experience mentally, rather than physically. All you have to do is write about the desires and fears in your journal. This allows you to shorten the path greatly. In fact, this is also true for the polarities and triangles techniques. Because these are all mental techniques, they offer a very fast way to transform consciousness, rather than having to live out our lessons physically.
When I was given this structure, spirit said to me that DESIRE and FEAR form a pair of opposites. Energetically, DESIRE is the pulling toward something and FEAR is pushing it away, or pulling back from it. Desire and fear represent one of the ways in which we use ATTRACTION and REPULSION. As we have seen, attraction and repulsion are the powerful magnetic forces that shape the physical world. To use the squares technique, we insert the relevant polarity into this powerful format of desire and fear.
The Squares Technique
The oscillations in consciousness, back and forth (the ups and downs in life), are kept in motion by our attractions to things and our repulsions to things, our desires for things and our fears of them. The square processing technique is a diagram for the flow of awareness and energy on a mental and emotional level. These awarenesses form projections and create the events we live with in the physical world. They shape our physical world and the body. So we can examine any one polarity in a way that also takes into consideration that pushing/pulling sensation and effect change right through the mental-emotional levels down into the physical. This is the square.
Step One—Pick a Polarity
To do the square technique, first you pick a polarity that you want to examine in greater depth. Maybe it is one that you uncovered when you wrote a story for polarity processing, a polarity that for you seems to have a lot of charge on it. For example, our old friend of the freeway, Paul, decided to do a square on CONTROL and OUT OF CONTROL.
Step Two—Draw and Label a Square
Then you draw a square in your journal. You label the two corners on the left side of the square the DESIRE TO _____. The two corners on the right side of the square are labeled the FEAR OF _____. Then you fill in the blanks with the polarities. One polarity goes into both top corners, and the other polarity goes into the two bottom corners.
Using Paul’s example, in the upper left-hand corner of this square, we write the words, DESIRE TO BE IN CONTROL, and in the upper right-hand corner we write the words, FEAR OF BEING IN CONTROL. The desire and fear of the opposite, we write in the lower two corners. In the lower left we write DESIRE TO BE OUT OF CONTROL, and in the lower right we write FEAR OF BEING OUT OF CONTROL (Fig. 11-1).
So for any polarity, we just attach the words, DESIRE TO… , FEAR OF…, DESIRE TO…, and FEAR OF…. Whatever the polarity is, we use the same word for both top corners, and the opposite polarity for both bottom corners. We put the label, DESIRE TO… on both the left-hand corners, and the label FEAR OF… on both right-hand corners. We always use this structure (Fig. 11-2).
Now is a good time to practice the first step of the technique. Try labeling a square in your journal on the polarity LOVE and HATE, for example. Also try labeling a square on WIN and LOSE.
Step Three—Make All Corners Conscious
Once we have labeled the square, then the real fun begins. We explore it. We look at it and try to recognize which corners we are familiar with. If there are one or two corners that we have never seen before, then we try to feel them.
We all contain all four corners of the square.
Some of them may be locked into the unconscious,
but they are all in there somewhere. It is very common to
want to go into denial regarding some of the corners.
Usually when we do squares, especially when we are working with a pair of opposites that we really react to, we will find that there is at least one corner (sometimes two) that we have not seen before. This is our hidden side, the part that is in our unconscious. Everything in each corner exists within us because we are all everything. It is denial to say, “I don’t do that!” If we indulge in denial and avoidance in this way, we are choosing to make something unconscious.
We have to try to remember
an instance when we felt it.
Step three takes place on a mental-emotional level. Step four will involve writing about this in your journal. For now just think or feel it through, and don’t worry about the writing part. Before we get into journal work, take some time to think about these sample squares.
Dependent and Independent
That is a polarity that pushes on people a lot. The corners are: the desire to be dependent, the fear of being dependent, the desire to be independent, and the fear of being independent.
The fear of being dependent is very common. The image of growing old, becoming feeble and being a burden on ones family usually sends most people into fear.
But how about the desire to be dependent? Perhaps this corner is less easily visible and might require a little more internal examination. But if you look deeply enough, you can see that it is easy to long for someone else to take care of you, to nurture you and to provide for you. It can feel wonderful to be dependent on someone loving and strong in this way. This is the desire to be dependent.
The desire to be independent is pretty easy to see. Especially during the teenage years, we crave our independence. Is there a corner that you have never seen before? The fear of being independent perhaps? That is probably the least commonly felt corner. But if you feel your way into it, you can probably recall a time when you feared your own independence. For example, what about when it was time to leave your parents house and strike out on your own? Or what about leaving a long-term relationship? Usually there is some degree of fear involved in these instances.
Inferior and Superior
The desire to be inferior. Most people try their very best never to feel this corner! You might ask yourself incredulously, “Could some part of me really desire to feel inferior?! How can this possibly be?” But it is true. The desire to feel inferior is a part in the unconscious played by the victim. As the victim, we might find we get attention and sympathy, or we get to blame the outside and feel self-righteous, which feels good and juicy. If you look hard enough, you will probably be able to remember at least one time when you felt this. When you can own this corner, you are on the way to awakeness.
The other corners are: the fear of being inferior, the desire to be superior (we all know feeling), and the fear of being superior.
Approval and Disapproval
Everybody grapples with this one. The desire to be approved of and the fear of being approved of—you start suppressing the natural expression of your innate self because of these two. Most of us know about the desire to be approved of. However, a lot of people develop a self-destructive pattern so that they will not have to deal with success and with being approved of. They cannot handle it, and that feeds into the desire to be disapproved of the rebel. The fear of being approved of is the lesser known part. It will sabotage your efforts, especially if you are working with the public in some way and just cannot handle the praise or the acclaim or the criticism, actually. They both have the power to throw you off balance. Praise is something that everyone craves, yet when you get it, it often knocks you sideways.
Then, it leads to the desire to be disapproved of. For example, maybe that is the reason why movie stars sometimes do outrageous things! For the shock value. You create the outside to reject and push you away. There is juice in that.
Then, of course, you go to the fear of being disapproved of because some part of you doesn’t like feeling rejected. It creates a loop in consciousness. The energy keeps moving, and the corners lead into each other, cycling around and around continuously.
Lack and Abundance
We know the desire for abundance—everyone knows that one!
The fear of abundance can be a biggie for spiritual seekers since many of us have taken a vow of poverty in one lifetime or another. There is a fear that money corrupts. When doing this square, people often think, “Well, you know, if I had money, I would be a bad person.” So they will not let themselves have it. It is too big a responsibility, they feel. They fear they might have to shine their shoes, put a smile on their faces, and go out there to face the world or to take care of other people.
Abundance does not have to mean money, really. So you can examine abundance to see if you have chosen abundant loving, money, generosity, creativity and relationships.
The fear of abundance and the desire for lack are much less acknowledged than the other corners. These corners are usually associated with the belief that asceticism is spiritual and good. Can you find another reason?
The fear of lack runs very deeply in most of us. Some peoples worst fear is about being poor and homeless—being a bag person pushing a shopping cart on the streets.
Step Four—Apply Data to the Square
So, the next step is to divide your journal page into four equal sections by drawing a large cross in the middle of the page. Label the top of each quadrant with one corner of the square. Then, in each quadrant you write down every possible way in which you know that desire or fear.
Many times, you will have too much for one corner to fit it all on a fourth of a page. In this case, you may want to use four pages, one for each corner of the square. If you run out of room using just one page, don’t try to economize with paper. Be extravagant and fill up as many sheets as you need to.
Write words, short phrases, or a narrative of how you have lived out that corner. This includes emotions, thoughts, states of mind, memories, dreams and anything else that comes up for you. For each corner ask yourself, “How do I feel about this corner? How does/did that look for me at one time? And why do I desire or fear this thing? What is my motivation to desire or fear this thing?”
Sample Square and Journal Entry
A prominent theme in many processing stories is of being a VICTIM who is abused by a TYRANT. In a workshop we conducted, a group filled in the corners of the VICTIM/TYRANT square with the following responses. Before you read their responses, take a few minutes and try this square in your own journal. Then, look at the lists below. Some of their answers will probably be real eye-openers for you.
Here is how you can divide your page (Fig. 11-3). For our example, we have made lists. The lists are long enough for each corner that we have used several pages.
- In the corner labeled the
DESIRE TO BE A VICTIM:
- feeling the need to be punished
- feeling guilty
- to get attention
- don’t have to work
- at least I am harmless as a victim
- security of the familiar
- to get sympathy
- don’t have to be conscious
- to be a martyr
- to avoid conflict
- I have feelings of unworthiness
- balancing out bad karma
- get pampering
- belonging to the victim tribe
- comparing and sharing wounding with others
- to get nurturing and love
- to blame others
- to manipulate others
- playing games
- I want people to have compassion for me
- don’t have to be responsible
- have an excuse
- can’t help it
- justified anger
- bad mouthing others
- as a child when I got sick, I’d get special treatment
- In the corner labeled the
FEAR OF BEING A VICTIM:
- it’s embarrassing and humiliating
- I’ll never get out of my rut
- fear of death
- lose self-respect
- lose respect of others
- fear of no love
- fear of no intimacy
- fear of feeling worthless
- being in danger
- being vulnerable
- being pitied
- being terrorized
- fear of dying unconscious, unawake
- lack of control
- as a child I feared my father spanking me
- In the corner labeled the
DESIRE TO BE A TYRANT:
- to have power over my own life
- to have power and control over others
- to get my own way
- don’t have to face being wrong
- at least I know what to expect
- access to people and things
- for tough love
- to get adoration
- it’s strong
- to feel superior
- state of being active (not passive)
- to feel in charge
- to get attention
- to win
- to get respect
- to punish others
- to have no fear
- don’t have to feel
- to enjoy being cruel
- to vent rage
- make others work
- so I can be lazy
- create order
- feeling immortal
- for fame
- be a great leader
- In the corner labeled the
FEAR OF BEING A TYRANT:
- could be lonely
- being punished
- fear of making mistakes
- fear of facing my power
- I’d be unloved
- responsible for consequences
- fear of being hated
- fear of being disapproved of
- fear of not being accepted
- fear of being unspiritual
- hurting others
- being despised
- fear of having no friends or family
- bad karma
- could be fatal
- fear of feeling separate
- fear of people not being honest
- can’t trust people
- loss of love
- being out of control
Step Five—Offer Up Your Square
Now give the whole square back to spirit. Offer it up with a prayer, just like you did with the polarity processing and triangles techniques. It is important to remember at this point, after you have churned up all of this egoic stuff and feel as though you have emptied your cup, just to let it all go. You don’t have to continue to analyze, fret, figure it out with your head, or be the one to fix the situation. Spirit does the work for you after you have made the unconscious conscious. Remember that all of the desires and fears are not real; they are not who you are. You are pure awareness, and these states just pass through you. You can rest and relax after your offering, knowing that you are releasing everything you have dug up. There is nothing more for you to do once you have made the four corners of the square conscious. You can trust that grace will come in and make the changes for you, bringing you more into wholeness, balance and healing, more into the knowledge of who you truly are the Self.
Step Six—Wait for Grace
Just as with the opposites and triangle techniques, after you make your offering, remember to wait for grace. You can occupy your time by performing some simple, mundane activities, like tending the plants or taking a walk. You will get a shift from doing a square. Try to remain in your neutral witness and just be present and mindful, so that you can be conscious of and experience the shift. If you are sensitive, you may especially feel it in your body after doing a square. In fact, you may have already had an experience of feeling a shift in your body from doing polarities or triangles. But because squares take the process a step further, into the physical, you will be more likely to experience the shift physically, in addition to mentally and/or emotionally. You may also find new insights pouring in. You may find yourself saying, “Oh, I got it. I really got it!” Be open to new information coming in or a next step in your process being presented to you from anyone and anywhere. Or as the layer of the process peels off, you may find that you begin to emote. In Chapter 14—Developing the Witness, we discuss in more detail a way to vent emotion from the place of the witness and to not make the emotion real. This is an excellent way to discharge old, stuck energy and is often a good sign that you have cleared something. If you don’t feel the shift, that is okay. It is happening anyway. You can trust in that.
The Steps of the Squares Technique
- Pick a polarity
- Draw and label a square
- Make all four corners conscious
- Apply data to the square
- Offer up your square
- Wait for grace
Suggestions for Putting Theory into Practice
- Choose a polarity that is particularly charged for you. Do a square with it and offer it up.
- Do a square on MANIPULATIVE and STRAIGHT FORWARD.
- Do a square which includes the corner, the DESIRE TO SUFFER. Believe it or not, there is a part of us that loves our negative states, and we do not normally let ourselves see how much we love them. Can you work out what the corners of this square would be? (Remember the role of the victim, which we usually keep hidden in the unconscious.)
- Here are some other polarities. Label the corners of the squares for these and think about how you play out each corner. Are they conscious corners or unconscious?
- Honest and dishonest
- Pleasure and pain
- Loss and gain
- Light and dark
- Security and insecurity
- Active and passive
- Over-reactive and non-reactive
Six months ago I had liquidated my belongings and moved to Santa Fe, guided to come with very few things and a lot of faith. The Museum of New Mexico gave me a position doing archaeology, and friends invited me to stay with them until I found my feet. The work was fascinating, but the wages were low and the hours long. Despite this, life felt very full.
I was in doubt of ever affording my own place or of being supported in Santa Fe on my own. Everyone knows that there are no affordable houses or decent part-time jobs in Santa Fe! I imagined myself in a housing situation with several roommates, perhaps bagging groceries somewhere on the weekends, or asking my parents for money, which I didn’t want to do.
One Sunday shortly after the move, I was feeling particularly frustrated, depressed and hopeless about the situation. The emotions were quite intense and persistently nagging away at me. I sat with my friends at the dining table for an hour or two using squares to look at the issues around my fear and desire to make it on my own. It was rough surf, looking at deep-seated separation and vulnerability issues. One particularly difficult square for me was about abandonment. The opposite side was about feeling cherished, and I got a big shift. Later that very same day I was guided to go for a drive and pick up a newspaper (a rarity for me in those days). I felt a shakiness and sense of surrender because of the changes taking place as a result of the square. My physical body felt trembly and vulnerable, but somehow there was also a new sense of innocence, joy and openness.
Although I had never found a job via the classifieds, I was drawn to look. Miraculously, there was an ad that read: “Small spiritual organization seeks part-time books and tapes manager.” Yes!
My next stop was the rental board at a local whole-foods haven. There was a white index card that read: “Immediate sublet, downtown Santa Fe casita (cheap!)” Yes!
So, within 24 hours of learning squares, I had apparently cleared enough consciousness that I was given my next step. Grace provided me with the bonus of a house I could afford and part-time work that suited me! I see now that because I had become clearer inwardly, my outside world suddenly reflected that level of clarity to me.
This is an excerpt from The Marriage of Spirit, by Leslie Temple-Thurston with Brad Laughlin.
Copyright ©2000 by CoreLight. All rights reserved.
You may use or reproduce as long as the text is unaltered and appropriately credited.