Written by Matt & Steph of Seeds of Awareness, 13th of February 2018.
The following article will discuss the topics of;
– Silent suffering
– Humanity’s primary wound
– The symptoms of a distorted world
– The split between our inner male and female energies
– Reclaiming our wholeness
(Disclaimer: This article, being around 5300 words will take between 8-12 minutes to read, and therefore anyone afflicted by our modern day 8 second attention span epidemic (for which we can largely thank social media), may find it challenging to read. Not all of our articles will be this long, however some topics simply can not be skimmed over, and we are appealing to those who are truly seeking to change and grow, not those who are impatient and want knowledge without the effort)
Our state of silent suffering
Over the last five years, we have been on a whirlwind journey of healing and seeking truth in order to make sense of our suffering, as well as the suffering experienced by so many others. Seeking became our obsession, because like many, we were utterly disillusioned with the world. We were sick of not understanding why we felt so lost and broken, and why there was so much distortion in the world (such as war, ego, famine, environmental destruction, illness, addiction, animal exploitation, celebrity worshiping etc.).
We have been down many rabbit holes, explored various and diverse modalities of healing, read a bazillion books and articles, been on retreats across different countries and states, attended workshops…. all with the hope of experiencing deeper meaning in our lives, heart-centred purpose, healing, inner peace and, ultimately, to reclaim our wholeness. Suffering, as it so often is, turned out to be our greatest blessing. For us, suffering (and the friction it caused in our lives) operated like a compass, signalling to us where there existed blockages preventing the expression of our highest personal truth, as well as the areas we were not living aligned with wholeness. If we did not experience suffering in our lives (and acknowledged our suffering), we would probably not have woken up to the unconscious and negative cycles and patterns of behaviour preventing us from living in a state of wholeness.
The steps in our destructive cycle involved:
1. A state of complete disillusionment with the world (such as a sense of not belonging and feeling disconnected).
2. Associated feelings of anxiety, frustration, despair, grief, fear and depression.
3. The seeking of temporary relief via addictive, numbing and dissociative agents (such as drugs, partying, food, exercise, sex, toxic relationships) in order to numb these uncomfortable feelings.
4. More suffering, once the temporary relief faded, as well as finding it very challenging to forgive ourselves and let go of the past.
Stuck on the carousel that was our negative cycles of behaviour, we clung to some faint hope that maybe, just maybe – once we climbed that “next hill”, or achieved another admirable feat, or overcame that “next obstacle”, we would find some level of personal fulfilment, and internal peace.
Unfortunately, just like us, many people are not aware that they are also caught up in cycles of suffering similar to these, simply because much of the suffering experienced by people in the western world is silent and therefore undetected. As well as also being easier to mask and cover up.
The suffering we are referring to is characterised by a general lack of vitality, as well as feelings of hopelessness, low motivation, a constant hum of background anxiety, stress, lethargy, depression, and/or loneliness… just to name a few. This more silent form of suffering may not be attention-grabbing and extreme, but is deceptively (and potentially equally as) destructive. This is because it is like a constant dull headache that we can live with and still go about our day, as opposed to a throbbing migraine that demands bed rest and our fullest attention. It therefore, does not provide enough friction and tension in our lives to affect proper change, and thus is tolerated and allowed to continue.
We have observed a few fundamental reasons why this kind of suffering flies under the radar and is not openly realised and acknowledged by the sufferer.
Firstly, the characteristics that define our silent suffering have become so normalised in our modern culture that people do not even realise they are affected. Every second advertisement on television is geared to making us feel better, insinuating that to feel not okay is normal. Such as ads for pharmaceuticals or artificial stimulants, subliminally suggesting to us that to feel depressed and lethargic is nothing to be concerned about, just consume these substances and you can go on with your life without any worry.
Secondly, we are conditioned to believe that certain types of emotions are more acceptable than others. For example, emotions such as happiness and joy are deemed “positive”, whereas sadness, anger, or depression are viewed as “negative” and less socially acceptable. In truth, there is no such thing as a positive or negative emotion, all are just natural expressions of different types of energy moving through us, this is why they are called ‘e-motions’ (energy-in-motion). By judging, blocking and suppressing our emotions and their natural flow through us, we severely limit our ability to interact with the world through true, authentic and vulnerable expression. Blocked emotional energy generates deep internal stagnation, disharmony, and fragmentation, which ultimately prevents us from healing and reclaiming our wholeness.
According to Brown, scarcity is the ‘never enough’ problem. In her book ‘Daring Greatly‘, she explains that “the word ‘scarce’ is from the Old Norman French ‘scars’, meaning “restricted in quantity”. Scarcity thrives in a culture where everyone is hyperaware of lack. Everything from safety and love to money and resources feels restricted or lacking. We spend inordinate amounts of time calculating how much we have, want, and don’t have, and how much everyone else has, needs, and wants.
What makes this constant assessing and comparing so self-defeating is that we are often comparing our lives, our marriages, our families, and our communities to unattainable, media-driven visions of perfection, or we’re holding up our reality against our own fictional account of how great someone else has it.”
In a scarcity-fueled culture, the struggle for people to reveal their true selves (including their suffering and vulnerabilities) to the world is significant. Having been conditioned to view the world from a place of “never enough”, we are prone to compare ourselves to others and use them as a benchmark, assessing whether we measure up, or need to be more. The danger with this constant comparing to see if we measure up is that everyone else we are comparing ourselves to also harbours this scarcity “never enough” mindset, and therefore only present very select versions of themselves to the world – hiding behind carefully constructed personality masks.
Thus, we are programmed by our culture to compare our lives to ideals of perfection in others and society that are not even real. According to Brenè Brown, when we feel shame about ourselves, it is akin to real pain in the body. Expressing how we truly feel to others through vulnerability and authenticity is one way to release this pain, yet in a shame based culture this is very challenging because we are conditioned to judge certain emotions as “negative” and not socially acceptable. As a result, the pain remains trapped in body, which compounds everyday, and we suffer more.
Humanity’s Primary Cultural Wound
Our personal suffering and our search for wholeness has led us to discover what we believe is the source of all human suffering, as well as the driving force behind all individual and collective behaviour that does not align with wholeness. The source of our suffering can be traced back to a single core wound, or what has been referred to by embodiment expert and author Philip Shepherd as ‘humanity’s primary cultural wound’
Humanity’s primary cultural wound refers to our collective split between our head and our body, a deep fracture of our very being that has caused us to become disconnected from the wisdom, presence, intuition, and knowing intelligence of the body. Most of us are trapped in the prison of our head, ruled by its incessant and never ending loops of chatter, and our head-centric culture supports this disconnect. Trapped in the prison of the head, seperate from the wisdom of our being (our body in wholeness), we are fragmented. (Important note: When we say ‘we’ here, we are referring to those of us born into and influenced by western civilisation and culture, for not every human on this planet is suffering from this primary wound)
Shepherd and Guenther, both in their own unique way, highlight how this primary wound (head/body split) fractures us internally, which then also fractures and distorts our perception of reality and how we relate to the world. In our humble opinion, we believe Shepherd and Guenther are right on the mark with their research, understandings and interpretations of what has happened to humanity, and how we can find our way back home to wholeness.
It appears that everyone within modern civilisation has been afflicted by this primary wound. The only people who seem to not have been affected by the damaging head/body split are remote indigenous nomadic tribes, whom, as a result of their way of life remain deeply connected with their body’s, and with the Earth. One such tribe is the indigenous Sng’oi people, who live deep in the jungles of Malaysia. Robert Wolff beautifully captures their connected state of being and remarkable knowing wisdom in his book ‘Original Wisdom’. Another is the indigenous Pygmies of the Congolese jungle, captured intimately in the remarkable documentary titled Pygmies: Children of the Jungle.
In fact, Philip Shepherd believes that ancient human cultures previously operated (and some cultures still do) with their primary point of awareness within the body – more specifically within the pelvic bowl of the gut. We experienced the world primarily from this place, and the brain in the head was simply a receiver of this information, guided by the gut and body in every decision, rather than being the primary decision and move maker.
This is a vast contrast to our current way of living from the head as separate to the body, where we look down on the body and view it as little more than a well put together organic machine, shaped by evolution only to carry around the all important brain in the head.
With a different point of awareness, these cultures experienced the world very differently, as well as related to nature – and to each other – with a greater degree of presence, connection, awareness, compassion, understanding and kindness than we do in these modern times. Unfortunately, as Shepherd explains in great detail in ‘New Self/New World’ around 6,000 years ago that point of awareness began shifting from the gut up into the head.
Over time, we began to prioritise, value, and worship the intellect, reasoning, logic, and abstract qualities of the head, and suppress the knowing wisdom and intuitive feeling-centres of the body.
What make matters even more challenging is the fact that collectively we are completely blind to our wound. Many people today do not realise this head/body split, and thus it remains largely unacknowledged and unhealed.
– How we approach medicine, and the influence that ‘Big Pharma‘ has on our medical institutions.
The Suppression of our Inner Female & the Rise of the Tyrant
Human consciousness contains two different points of awareness – male and female – that are intimately connected, but which also display vastly different qualities.
For a very long time, as a culture, we have over-identified with the male aspect of consciousness – with a major precedence being placed on ‘doing, thinking and reasoning’. We have done so at the expense of the inner female qualities of ‘being, ‘feeling and intuitively moving through life’.
“We’ve put all our faith in and all our accolades on the brain in the head. We think reason is supreme, and we try to think our way through problems and stop feeling them. When that schism between our thinking and our being actually heals, you feel every thought. There is no division between thinking and feeling. But we give reason this place of supremacy in our culture. In the most important things in our life, reason is utterly impotent. You can’t reason your way into the present. You can’t reason your way into luck. You can’t reason your way into your soul’s purpose.” – Philip Shepherd
With our point of awareness residing primarily in the head (the male aspect of consciousness), we disconnect from the sensitive and intuitive qualities of our inner female and create an imbalance of energies. When not balanced by our present, wise, and intuitive female qualities, our inner male transforms into the destructive archetype of the ‘male tyrant’.
We want to be extremely clear here that these aspects of consciousness have absolutely nothing to do with gender, as some people may misinterpret this to be an attack on men. This however could not be further from the truth. The female and male aspects of consciousness are inherent in both women and men, and women can embody the male tyrant just as much as men.
The Taoist Yin/Yang symbol represents the beautiful dance and harmony that exists between the female and male aspects of consciousness within us all, and this dance and harmony can also be seen occurring in nature. For example, in the relationship between the sun (male) and the Earth (female).
Unfortunately, however, our primary wound has caused a fracture between our inner energies. We are programmed to live in the head, over-identifying with the male aspect of consciousness. Thus, the inner female has been deeply suppressed for many thousands of years, and the implication of this is that it has cut humanity off from its feeling centres. As a collective, we have lost true connection – not only to nature and to this planet – but also to ourselves and each other.
When these two aspects of consciousness are balanced and in harmony, the inner male instinctively and naturally serves the female, trusting and surrendering completely to her guidance and wisdom. When unified, the male aspect of consciousness is nourished and healed by the female’s healing energy, and as a result he is deeply strengthened. Balanced and softened by the female, he becomes what many people refer to as the ‘Sacred, or Divine Masculine’.
We however feel that these spiritual terms have become largely distorted and misunderstood as a result of religious indoctrination, and therefore we prefer to use the term ‘Transcendent Masculine’. The word ‘transcendent’ simply means to be exceptional and rise above the ordinary, which is referring to the inner male and females ability, when unified and in harmony, to transcend the inner tyrant.
The Transcendent Masculine is characterised by qualities of strength, honour, determination, focus, service, and resilience. When those qualities combine with the inner Transcendent (also referred to by many as ‘Sacred/Divine’) Feminine’s qualities of grounded sensitivity, presence, intuition, receptiveness, and wisdom, together they form the Inner Warrior.
Our Inner Warrior is reflected by our two different aspects of consciousness unifying to form a whole. Through the sacred marriage between the male and female, we can achieve a beautiful balance of strength and flexibility, knowledge and wisdom, fierceness and softness, focus and presence, determination and grace, receptiveness and sensitivity, knowing and faith, and dark and light. With this internal balance, we create a safe space that allows our hearts to begin opening up once more, revealing our immense love into the world, a powerful and unstoppable healing force.
Bernhard Guenther explains how all of our ancient myths and tales – wherein the hero saves the trapped and enslaved princess – can be linked back to our inner Hero’s Journey. Joseph Campbell first wrote about the Hero’s Journey (a template with which Hollywood writes its scripts – Star Wars is a great example), whereby – for our own inner hero to achieve true wholeness – we must go within our own darkness, fight the tyrant (often depicted as a beast or dark lord) and rescue the trapped princess from the hidden underworld.
Essentially, this means restoring balance between the inner male and female energies, transcending the inner tyrant.
“In my view and experience, Embodiment, reconnecting with one’s wholeness, fusing the separation of the inner male and female IS the process of what is called “ascension” or “awakening”. It is the “philosopher’s stone”, “holy grail” or the story of “the hero going into the underworld, saving/marrying the princess/bride” (his own feminine aspect of Being) as depicted in mythology. It connects us with the wholeness of nature/the world, our inner guidance system and divinity, as well as our own individual purpose for being here, something the mind can never ever grasp.” – Bernhard Guenther
Ultimately, when the inner male becomes disconnected from the inner female, not only does he inhibit his transcendent potential, but he also shifts from heart-centred, compassionate and loyal service (embodying the Inner Warrior), to a self-serving and fear-driven tyrant, who creates destruction and chaos everywhere he goes. Essentially, his focus shifts from service to the female and service to the world, to service to himself.
On top of this, he misidentifies with and serves the head-constructed ego, wherein he cleverly hides behind the ego’s personality masks and ambitions (something we will talk about in another article). When not balanced by the inner female energies, the inner male’s strength and resolve converts to fear and the inner tyrant takes his reign over our being.
Ruled by fear, the inner male’s determination and focus becomes imposing and inflexible rigidity. His care, compassion, and kindness becomes criticism, intolerance, and judgment. His belief in abundance transforms into a fear of scarcity. Instead of feeling and knowing the oneness of the Universe, he views himself as separate and independent.
Instead of cooperation and harmony, he thrives on hierarchy, competition and control over others. Instead of having faith and surrendering to ‘what is’, he is filled with distrust, envy, and the need to control.
The inner tyrant’s fears, which disconnect him from love, are what create the invisible prison walls that keep him imprisoned in the head and a slave to the insatiable ego. This prison is what Morpheus was referring to in the movie ‘The Matrix’, when he says to Neo “… you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else you were born into bondage. Into a prison that you cannot taste or see or touch. A prison for your mind.”
Because the tyrant is trapped and disconnected from the inner female, he does not understand her and thus deeply fears her. He fears her ability to feel and face everything with rawness and absolute truth, her ability to delve into and shine light onto darkness, to be raw, untameable, wild, fearless, vulnerable, and especially her connection and faith in the Universe. Deeply fearing her, he is obsessed with controlling, suppressing and destroying her (even though she can not be destroyed for she is an inherent archetypal part of our being, just as the inner male is). The tyrant knows that if he surrenders his control over her, he will be transcended, thus she is his greatest threat.
We choose the word ‘transcended’ carefully, for the tyrant can never be fully destroyed or defeated. Being an archetype, he is deeply ingrained into the human psyche. He is as much as a part of us as our inner female and male energies – we just do not have to let him run the show.
This is important to grasp because if we fear him and attempt to avoid the reality of his existence, his power and hold over us grows. It is simply up to us to decide what qualities we choose to embody and align with, the Inner Warrior (representing the unified inner male and female energies, and an open heart), or the inner tyrant (representing the fear driven and disconnected inner male, with a closed heart), and it is up to us to become aware of when the tyrant is playing out in our lives so as not to let him create chaos.
Ultimately, letting go of our inner tyrant requires humbleness, something that the tyrant can not comprehend. This is because the inner tyrant, being deeply attached with the ego, has convinced himself that he is the ruler of his life and this world, and from this conviction he builds a foundation of arrogance, certainty and self-justification (no matter how destructive and painful to others).
In essence, to reclaim our wholeness and to heal our primary wound means to embark on our own personal Hero’s Journey, and rescue, reunite with, and surrender to our inner female. Allowing the heart to open up and power our lives with love and compassion. Surrendering to and allowing our inner female to rise however, will not happen instantly, as this is a process that takes time, patience, faith and perseverance.
Blocking our access are all of our fears, conditioning, wounds and traumas that lie unacknowledged in our shadow and in the body.
Lovingly and consciously, these fears need to be brought into the light of awareness and integrated back into the whole – one by one, and layer by layer. Depending on what a person has been through, this can be a very delicate process and often it requires outside support.
We must also be aware of, when restoring wholeness, that there exist various forces in our world who wish to keep the female aspect of humanity deeply suppressed, and have successfully done so for a very long time.
For when we are disconnected from her, and our hearts are closed, we are ruled by the tyrant’s fears and are thus very easily divided and conquered by others in this world who have chosen to align with their inner tyrant. In knowing this, we can observe when these outside influences attempt to trigger our inner tyrant, and consciously breathe and surrender back into wholeness. All of which will be discussed in great length in our upcoming book – ‘Reclaiming your Wholeness in a Fragmented World‘
Essentially, coming back to wholeness is a process and a journey that takes time, patience, and faith. It involves many ups and downs and, in our experience, often taking two steps forward and one step backwards (thus the need for faith and perseverance). Expecting ourselves to be able to embrace and surrender to wholeness as soon as we become aware of humanity’s primary wound, is pushing ourselves too far.
It is akin to releasing a traumatised animal into the wild that has been locked in a cage its whole life, and expecting it to integrate smoothly back into nature without support. Obviously without the proper emotional healing, re-integration training, relearning and re-conditioning, the animal would barely survive a week.
Humanity too has been locked in a cage for a very long time…that cage being the prison of the head, ruled by the ego-serving tyrant and enclosed by invisible walls of fear. And we live in a culture that reinforces this mental prison through powerful forces from the moment we are born.
This first article was written for the purpose of bringing your attention and awareness to humanity’s primary wound, or to provide further guidance for those already embarking on this journey. For awareness is the starting point, and then the Hero’s Journey begins as we either choose or refuse the call from our spirit that beckons us to make our way back home to wholeness and to open up our hearts. Embracing the peace, joy, presence, and love that our birthright.
In future articles we will focus more specifically on the individual aspects of the journey back to wholeness, with the next article honing in specifically on ‘The Process of Awakening, & our Blindness to Wholeness’.
We are excited to be on this journey with you, and this truly is a journey, one that both of us are only just beginning ourselves. It is a unique journey for us all, but we are all in it together and the more we can support each other through vulnerability, compassion, openness, surrender, authenticity, and tapping into our Inner Warrior, the deeper we will be able to go within ourselves.