I talk here mostly about waking up and healing. But there is another key part for a rich and healthy life – maturation.
If we look at standard models of human development, we can see there is an inner progression.
|Stages of Development|
|Age||Area (Alexander)||Cognitive (Piaget)||Kosha|
|0-2||Behaviour and Senses||Sensori-motor||Anna-|
|2-7||Desires and Emotions||Pre-operations||Prana-|
|18-25||Feelings and Intuition||Post-Formal Ops||a/a|
As new-borns, we learn to operate physically, then emotionally, then mind, intellect, and so forth.
But we continue to mature on each layer distinctly as we each have different styles of openness, attachment, resistance and repression. Each layer runs on different energy (chakra) and kosha (sheath or layer).
The average person doesn’t mature past “Concrete Operations”, the mind. They remain in what Loevinger called the self-protective or conformist stages. Some move further into Self-Aware, Conscientious, and so forth. Few people become what Maslow called Self-Actualized (Loevinger’s Integrated) yet that sets the stage for a mature enlightenment.
We can say the post-personal stages of enlightenment build on these stages. Yet it’s very possible to wake up without maturing psychologically. Sometimes, the more powerful attention added to an unresolved psychology leads to new issues, not resolution of karma.
Why do we get stuck so early in our potential? The answer needs some big picture plus understanding how we repress rather than release.
In the vast cycles of time, group consciousness rises and falls over thousands of years. When consciousness falls, we lose our sense of connection with the Divine and our higher Self. This can create deep impressions in our psyche that shadow it for eons.
Early in our development, we naturally individuate from our mother. We develop a sense of individuality and a sense of mine (ahamkara and asmita). This individuation is a necessary step in human maturation. But if our path is unclear and our growth resisted, we can get stuck there – as the vast majority do. We keep an immature self-sense, become identified with it, and build our life on it.
That identified ego is protective and fear-driven (3rd chakra) so it wants to feel in control. Thus it claims passing thoughts, emotions, and actions as mine. And yet the ego itself knows this is an illusion and tries to hide it from us. (Which also tells us we’re not the ego.)
Some ways we try to control:
– getting people on our side (separating them from others)
– gossip, diminishing others
– threats of emotions or behaviours
– avoiding emotions
– spiritual bypassing
– resisting things good for us like healthy food, spiritual practice, etc.
– helping roles where we get to manage others and feel better than them
– inability to receive, accept compliments, or support.
– do it myself, not trust others
– information control, withholding, editing (fake news)
– need for it to be perfect or right
– and on and on
If we stop for a moment and watch, we’ll notice the claiming process happens after the fact. After we’ve acted, the mind responds with a story of “I did this.” Then we respond to the story with guilt, satisfaction, or whatever the story habitually triggers. This can have little to do with what actually occurred.
All of that is just a story, a manipulation to sustain an illusion. At essence, the ego is just a function so we can distinguish self from other. Like when we’re cutting carrots, we avoid the fingers.
The fear can show up as anger, repression, depression, and so forth. But ultimately, the need to control is driven by fear.
We may think this is not our experience. But if you’re not awake yet, this is what’s likely driving the bus. If we don’t recognize this, then we also have some shadow along for the ride.
To this identified ego, we add unresolved childhood traumas that reduce clarity and increase fear, increasing the desire for control. We may look to others to “solve our problems” even when they were self-created. Some politicians may appeal to these base drivers to win votes but they can never satisfy because these issues don’t originate out there.
When the suitcase of this life’s karma kicks in around age 8-12 (in the mind stage), we may balk royally. Often there is a catalyzing event that marks this period but we may repress it or interpret it harshly.
Another part of growing up that starts in the womb is energetic modelling. Usually unconsciously, we learn both behaviour patterns and energy patterns from those around us. How to respond to anger, deal with internal conflict, and so on. For many, they learn repression and grasping. Both are the seeds of suffering. We don’t learn to process what arises, we learn to avoid and resist.
Avoiding and resisting our challenges causes them to cycle back again, often increased further by the energy we add by resisting. It becomes another layer of avoidance over the previous ones. We know this cycling as the wheel of karma.
When we grow into higher stages, we keep aspects of prior stages. They were part of our previous reality. All of us have a child-self or “inner child.” That part of us which is innocent, open, and playful.
As the inner child comes from our emotional phase, we need emotional acceptance to express those qualities. If we learn to reject arising emotions, it has multiple side effects:
– unresolved emotions cast a shadow over our experience
– we suppress our emotional life, reducing life’s richness
– our unhealed child self can’t express, reducing those qualities of fun and innocence
– interference with creative expression
– blocks manifesting ability
– causes relationship problems from not being able to connect emotionally
Those layers also set up energetic protections around our core sense of identity in the gut.
Loss of innocence blocks the ability to surrender, something necessary for spiritual development. And it impedes our emotional maturation and relationship potential. The emotions power our creativity and manifesting abilities too.
Repressing or hiding anything is putting it in shadow. This gives strength to the dark side.
Desires drive our action. And desires spring from the energy of emotion. When our emotions are in shadow, we’re unconscious of our drivers. We don’t see our triggers and thus can’t resolve unhealthy ones.
The need for control and to avoid emotion influences a surprising amount of our behaviour and reactivity. It interferes with resolving karma and creates new pockets of unresolved energy aka new karma. We’re also impeding nature’s support.
Happily, people can still wake up without personal maturation. But if we don’t clear up the resistance and grasping, our unfinished business will drive us into another life – awake or not.
Remember that the issue here is trying to control through force and resistance rather working with our nature. Choice remains and some choices are better than others; an apple is usually better than a chocolate bar. Usually. 🙂
The key is to recognize where we resist and repel, then learn to sit with it so we can resolve what is arising. Over time, the fog lifts, we relax control, and we add the richness of feelings back into our life. From here we can mature into self-actualized humans with a mature platform for enlightenment.