RSS

Tag Archives: gut

Deeper Into Your Personality Code

Let’s begin by arranging the following clusters of values in order of priority as you consider your personal preference.Personality Code CategoriesIs it more important in your opinion to know the truth, love and be loved, or have things under control? Most likely you value all of these, but which cluster is highest on your list? Obviously you shouldn’t choose the one you think I will admire most in you, or the one that those closest to you hope you will select. Just be honest. Whichever ends up third on your list isn’t necessarily of no value to you, but merely of lower value relative to the other clusters.

Personality CodeNow, on the graphic to the left write the letter ‘S’ inside the square, or the letter ‘C’ inside the circle, or the letter ‘T’ inside the triangle, depending on your preferred cluster of values. Only insert the letter in the shape of your top choice, leaving the other shapes blank. Got it?

Let’s move on to the next step.

How would you score yourself on a scale of 1 (low) to 3 (high) that measures how flexible your belief system is? Are you fiercely committed to what you believe, or are you constantly updating your knowledge and opinions as you go along? Would you consider your world – referring to the system of meaning that you have constructed around yourself – less or more reality-oriented? Do you test your beliefs on a regular basis to be sure they square with the way things really are, or would you regard yourself a person of strong convictions that you won’t let go of so easily?

If your belief system is flexible and reality-oriented and you regularly test and update your perspective on things, then give yourself a 3 (high). If you don’t think these qualities describe you at all, give yourself a 1 (low). If you’re somewhere in the middle (somewhat flexible and open-minded but still pretty set in your views), then go with 2 (moderate). Write your number to the right of the ‘equal’ sign next to the square.

Now, how would you score yourself on a scale of 1 (low) to 3 (high) that measures the strength of your relationships with others. Do you move quickly and easily into relationships – and just as easily out of them when partners become controlling and abusive? Is staying in a dysfunctional relationship preferable to being on your own? Would you agree with the statement that “love makes the world go round,” or have your efforts at love more often thrown you into a whirlpool of hurt and confusion? Do you seek out occasions and opportunities where you can meet people, make friends, and expand your network of social support?

If you get along with others and don’t very often get caught in conflicts, then give yourself a 3 (high). If you frequently get crosswise with people and have an impossible time untangling your feelings, give yourself a 1 (low). If you’re somewhere in the middle (preferring company but hesitant over jumping in), then give yourself a 2 (moderate). Write your number to the right of the ‘equal’ sign next to the circle.

Finally, how would you score yourself on a scale of 1 (low) to 3 (high) that measures how stable you are in yourself? Are you doubtful when it comes to your abilities and the support you need to succeed in life? Is it easy for you to give away your power and let others call the shots? Do you hide behind authority and work hard to shine glory on those in control, to such a degree that you have little light left of your own? Are you chronically anxious over the possibility of things not working out, or can you stay grounded come what may?

If you are anchored in your being and in touch with your source of creative power, then give yourself a 3 (high). If on the other hand you lack confidence in yourself and reality in general, give yourself a 1 (low). If you’re somewhere in the middle (capable of trusting but preferring to play it safe), then go with 2 (moderate). Write your number to the right of the ‘equal’ sign next to the triangle.

You should end up with a letter in one of the shapes and a number to the right of each shape. This is your Personality Code. You might be a C132 or a T213 or an S321, or something like that. The letter identifies your preferred locus of engagement with reality, at the level of your head (square), heart (circle), or gut (triangle); while the number sequence represents the relative clarity of consciousness across all three loci.

(For my introduction of the Personality Code go to http://wp.me/p2tkek-DE.)

Ego PathologyThe number range from 1 (low) to 3 (high) places you on a continuum of ego strength, where 1 is borderline, bipolar, and dissociative (not necessarily at clinical levels of pathology) and 3 is stable, balanced, and unified. As explained in previous posts, normal development will satisfy the individual’s need for security, attachment, and meaning, to the point where he or she is capable of (i.e., possesses sufficient ego strength for) transcending “me and mine” in the experience of self-actualization. The clarity and flow of consciousness in self-actualization is variously named power, love, or truth depending on the favored locus (gut, heart, or head respectively) of the individual.

Personality Code FigureYour gut (particularly the digestive organs and glands) is where the raw materials of nutrition undergo conversion into the mass and energy of your body. For that reason it is the portal of consciousness into its own grounding mystery and the deep source of your creative power. This is also why, when your security is threatened or your power is momentarily lost, you feel upset in your gut.

Your heart is where you make emotional connection to what’s around you, most importantly to those human others – family, friends, strangers, and enemies – who collectively shape your personal identity. It is the portal of consciousness into the realm of relationships, your center of empathy and love. For this reason, you might speak of a loss of love as heartbreak and experience it as pain or heaviness in your chest.

And your head (mind) is where the mental construct of a world is made out of your assumptions, beliefs, thoughts, and intuitions of meaning. It is also the portal of consciousness into reality on the other side of meaning, which shines though (or burns away) the veil in moments of truth. However, if the veil is too opaque to let in the light of reality … or we might also say, if a naturally questing intelligence is locked inside inflexible and outdated convictions, this ignore-ance of what’s really real can cause mental fatigue and migraine headaches.

The Personality Code is not intended to render a diagnosis and lay one more identity contract on you. But perhaps it can be useful in helping you see why you get poked and hung up the way you do sometimes. It might also suggest a way through the suffering to a more authentic and fulfilled life.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Your Personality Code

Gut_TriangleThe triangle symbolizes security and power. Its broad base gives it stability, while the ascending peak anchors its energy to a central axis that keeps it from tipping or being easily moved. This might be a favored shape in your own personality code – referring to the preferred way you orient yourself in reality and engage the world around you. If it does represent your modus operandi in life, this doesn’t have to imply that you are a power monger or tend to push others around, but you probably do enjoy having influence in what’s going on.

Heart_CircleThe circle symbolizes attachment and love. Its round enclosure suggests wholeness and inclusion, while the endlessness of its curve speaks of rhythm and eternal recurrence. If this is the favored shape in your personality code, then you probably place high value on connection, inclusiveness, and intimacy. It doesn’t have to mean that you are sappy or an emotional pushover – although you could be. You might guess correctly that Triangle people and Circle people sometimes don’t get along well, or else they get stuck together in co-dependent relationships.

Head_Square

The square symbolizes meaning and truth. Its boxy shape suggests containment and conclusion, where things are packaged up and put away. The four sides also connote wholeness – not by inclusion (as the circle) but through bringing together different aspects, dimensions, or viewpoints (as in the four cardinal directions and the “four corners of the world”). If your personality code favors the square, then you are a person who engages the world rationally, who wants things to fit together and make logical sense.

I started our review of personality-code shapes with the triangle and ended with the square because that particular order reflects the actual sequence of stages in human development. Our need for security dominates early infancy, when we are forming our deepest impression concerning the provident nature of reality. This impression is registered in our nervous system as a set-point to which our mood, mindset, outlook on life, and emerging worldview will be tethered as we develop.

Depending on whether we feel secure in the care of our higher powers, attachment proceeds either in a healthy direction (infant-mother bonding) or else we attempt to pacify our anxiety by desperately clinging to mother and insisting on being comforted. If our mother (and the family system overall) is anxious and insecure, our insistence on keeping her close will regulate somewhat her anxiety, thereby pulling us both (or all of us) into a co-dependent web of mutual support.

If our family system was characterized by a general insecurity and these co-dependent attachment strategies, our personal construction of meaning was probably closely monitored and prescribed by the higher powers in charge. It was necessary that our mental picture of reality (or worldview) conform to their “orthodoxy.” The stories we told about others and ourselves, our beliefs concerning good and evil, right and wrong – along with the metaphysical backdrop of supernatural forces and principalities – all of them had to match up and justify our shared outlook on things. To belong was to be a confessing member of this orthodoxy, “one of us.”

3 ChakrasWhat I’m calling your personality code, then, might be thought of as the way your individual history (especially your early history) programmed your engagement with reality along an axis of three coordinates situated at points corresponding to your gut (security/power), your heart (attachment/love), and your head (meaning/truth). If the triangle, circle, or square represents your preferred way of engaging reality, then the values associated with that shape (as briefly described above) are what typically orient and motivate your choices in life. Thus we might speak of “triangle types” (or T-types), “circle types” (or C-types), and “square types” (or S-types) in naming how individual personalities operate in the world.

The physical location of these centers in the body is easily verified in ordinary experience. When we feel that our support is being threatened or taken away, when we don’t feel prepared or confident in our ability to meet a challenge, when we are required to stand in front of a group and give a speech – in such times, don’t we typically experience upset in our gut? And when a loved one betrays our trust, abandons us in our need, or is taken from us by death, don’t we commonly speak of this as heartbreak? Finally, when we are unable to make sense of something, when life throws us a curve and our working theory of how it all holds together no longer works, don’t we often experience the disorientation as tension around our eyes and a dull throbbing headache?

Instead of reading the “/” (forward slash) in the word-pair as “and,” as in security and power, the terms actually comprise an opposition of sorts. In fact, a real appreciation of the difference between security and power, attachment and love, meaning and truth might dawn for most of us only later in life, at that critical time when our spiritual awakening is pushing against the boundaries of who we think we are. Our identity up to that point is a summation of numerous identity contracts we hold with ourselves and negotiate with others around us, going way back into our infancy when we formed that deep impression regarding the provident nature of reality.

If we can allow the realization to rise within us, we will come to understand the extent in which our authentic power has been relinquished for the sake of a false sense of security. We will understand how our attachment to possessions, other people, and tribal identities has closed down our capacity for empathy and genuine love. It will become clear to us how our commitment to meaning actually removes us from direct contact with reality, with the truth of things. When we are locked up as convicts inside our convictions, the true nature of existence and its ineffable mystery is inaccessible to us.

The point here is that, while security, attachment, and meaning are necessary to our healthy development, these very developmental achievements can interfere with the full activation of our spiritual intelligence (SQ). This interference can be particularly strong if our personality code is complicated by early trauma, chronic adversity, and tribal mind control.

But the good news is that our innate drive toward self-actualization – what propels every organism into maturity (Aristotle’s entelechy) – continues to seek fulfillment. The day hopefully comes when we discover our power, embrace all things in love, and allow our veils of meaning to fall away before the present mystery of reality.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Flow in the Creative Life

I am of the opinion that a human being desires. Before this desire gets directed along a particular channel and attached to a specific object, it is life in its purest form. Life, desire, creativity and spirit – these are deeply synonymous terms in the vocabulary of what it is to be human.

Think of desire as the current that activates and inspires our experience at different levels. Oriental philosophy offers the idea of chi or energy and the various chakras or activation points along the vertical axis of the spine. Each center opens out to reality at a unique frequency of intelligence and concern. When the chakras are fully aligned and activated, an individual experiences “flow,” fulfillment and well-being.

The West has its own chakra system, although it hasn’t been developed to the degree of detail and sophistication as in the East. Typically these activation points go by the names “mind,” “heart,” and “will” – where mind thinks, heart feels, and will moves you to act. Medieval philosophy in many ways is best understood as a sustained contemplation and dialogue on these three energy-centers in human experience.

For their part, soul and body are not regarded as additional centers but refer rather to the deep interior (soul) and animal nature (body) of a human being. It was only later that a third dimension was clarified – not a “power” or energy center but what I have elsewhere characterized as a standpoint in reality – named ego. This is the socially constructed and self-conscious identity of an individual person.

As a construct, ego lacks the “substantiality” of the soul and body, and for that reason it would be acceptable to say – with Siddhartha Gautama (the Buddha) – that it doesn’t even exist. It’s a project and projection, a rather neurotic contraction of defenses, attachments and delusions.

In the language of liberation, awakening, and the creative life, ego is our primary obstacle. It’s what needs to “die” – in the words of Jesus (the Christ) – so that our deeper life can rise up and find its wings.

Back to the energy centers. This idea has become particularly interesting to me of late, as I reflect on creativity, desire, and spirit. I am appreciating more how the truly creative individual is one whose mind, heart and will are perfectly aligned and fully activated. In order to work out the implications of this, let’s look more closely at each of these Western chakras.

For our purposes I will use the organs of the brain, heart and gut as visual representations of mind, heart and will. And even though we are born with all our organs intact – with the brain nevertheless continuing to mature still into our third decade – I am going to begin this reflection at the gut level and move upwards, following the direction of development.

GutWhy is it that you feel sick to your stomach or have issues with your intestines when you feel distressed or threatened? Your gut is a system of organs working together to metabolize nutrients and remove toxins. When stress hormones are released into the bloodstream, your gut gets thrown into high gear so that you can have all the energy you need to get out of danger.

Your gut is the energy point where you feel either securely grounded or dangerously at risk of not getting what you need to stay alive. At this level of intelligence, reality needs to be experienced as provident and supportive, something greater in which you can trust and have faith.

Of course, the indisputable fact that you are alive is proof enough that you live in a provident universe. Not only “this place,” but this planet, this solar system, this galaxy, and the entire cosmos are conspiring at this moment to provide what you need to stay alive and flourish.

  • Key words here are: Providence, Support, Security, Trust and Faith.

When you have the assurance of this, the energy flow of desire is allowed to ascend the axis to points above. If it’s uncertain, or if you were raised in a home where there was lots of deprivation, neglect, abuse and repression, then the energy that should be ascending gets stuck in your gut. You can expect your health and happiness issues to be centered there.

HeartBut let’s say you are faithfully grounded in a reality that is provident and supportive. This sense of security is like a gate that lets desire continue on its upward circuit. Next it comes to your heart.

Why is it that when someone close to you decides to leave or is suddenly taken away, you feel “brokenhearted”? Why do so many people suffer from heartache? Your heart, more than any other organ, is connected to every other organ and outpost in your body. By its very nature it is about cooperation. When the connection between your heart and another organ is lost or obstructed, that organ will die.

Your heart is the energy point where you feel either intimately connected or coldly removed from the web of mutual interdependence. At this level of intelligence, reality needs to be experienced as relational and loving, something in which you can belong and find love.

A distinction between Western and Oriental cosmology is that while the latter regards the multiplicity of separately existing things as an illusion, Western philosophy and science affirm it as foundational to what the universe is. A corollary of this idea is the view that being is essentially relational and dynamic rather than monistic and unchanging.

  • Key words here are: Relationship, Communion, Intimacy, Belonging and Love.

When you have the assurance of this, the energy flow of desire is allowed to ascend the axis to the next point above. If it’s absent or doubtful, if your experience has involved more than your share of exploitation, rejection, betrayal or dysfunctional relationships, then the energy that should be ascending gets stuck in your heart. Your health issues might be centered here, in the physical consequences (or early symptoms) of losing your passion, compassion, and communion with life.

BrainBut let’s say you do feel a strong sense of belonging and healthy rapport in your relationships. This sense of intimacy is like a gate that lets desire continue on its upward circuit. Next it comes to your brain/mind.

Why is it that a lack of clarity in your efforts to make sense of something gives you a headache? Why are people so ready to trade their lack of meaning and purpose for a psychiatric diagnosis and treatment plan? Your brain is your “executive” organ, the seat of conscious awareness, and the worktable in your construction of meaning. Its dual responsibilities are to regulate the internal processes of your body and articulate the neural platform of your mind (thinking self).

Your brain is the energy point where the certainty of your life’s meaning is managed. With its unique cognitive powers you are constantly sounding a transcendent reality for echos of significance. At this level of intelligence, reality is scanned for patterns, rhythms, and correlations, which are then analyzed, synthesized, and fantasized into a cross-referencing system of meaning known as your world.

What you seek is understanding, and as you are busy with the process of constructing meaning, various checkpoints along the way (conventionally called “facts”) challenge your brain to update its world-picture.

Key words here are: Transcendence, Meaning, Certainty, Understanding and Truth.

Now, if the ascending path of desire has gotten tangled up and caught on hooks farther down, leaving only a trickle of energy by the time it reaches this point, your personal meaning can become extremely rigid, awkwardly outdated, and curiously dogmatic. When your intellectual guidance system is out of sync with the actual coordinates of reality, you should expect headaches – physical and otherwise.

                                                                           

Okay, so there you have my interpretation of the Western “chakra system.” Human creativity is an inverse function of the “impedance” in this flow of energy/desire/spirit through the primary centers of the gut, heart and brain.

The more impedance – that is to say, the greater degree in which this creative flow gets “hung up” and pulled off center into the various ailments, demons, and neuroses of our predicament – the less creative we are. (I suppose it’s obvious to also say, the more destructive we tend to become.)

The creative life is grounded in the provident mystery of reality. It flows outward into communion with all things. It strives to ask better questions, ones that will deepen understanding and open up a larger vision for our lives.

I think this model has a lot to commend it. Philosophy, theology, politics, business, commerce, art, science, medicine, ethics – we stand a chance of getting our cultural system back on track and centered again.

And just to think, it all begins with you and me.

Take care of yourself.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on March 21, 2014 in The Creative Life

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,