The Basics of I course began last week, but you can listen to the first session and still register for the entire course. It truly is the missing manual on being human. See the examples I give below.
There is a series of books written about the computing hardware and software products called the Missing Manual – the book that should have been in the box. They are user-friendly, clear, conversational and make it possible to get the most out of the product.
The Basics of I course is the missing manual to being human and in a warm, clear way provides the distinctions to get the most out of your life, your relationships, your work, and your spiritual and moral development.
The Basics of I offers fourfold, threefold and twofold distinctions for being human and becoming I. You will find a deeply meaningful and profoundly useful understanding of your humanity and your individuality.
Let me give you a couple of examples of just how useful these distinctions can be.
This past weekend I was at a wonderful conference, “Contemplative Practices in a Technological World.” We were given powerful examples of the value of contemplative practices in education, healthcare, the arts, the workplace and many other settings. But no one was looking at why or how it works.
I was frustrated. No one offered a picture of the human being and how that picture could enhance the contemplative experience. There was much discussion on how these practices create a more compassionate world, better learning, a more productive and profitable workplace, and personal happiness. The details were vague and the results generalized. There was much to wish for and little to identify with. And the focus of moving forward was on changing the world by creating more support for contemplative practices and not changing ourselves.
The Wisdom of Twofold and Threefold Awareness
Contemplative practices calm, center, and open the human soul. If we look at this activity through the lens of the threefold soul functions of thinking, feeling, and willing we can get a rich sense of why contemplative practices are so important, even nescessary, for personal and collective existence. To do this we will need to look also at the twofold distinction.
Most of us experience times when we are hyper (too much) or hypo (too little) stimulated (a twofold distinction) in our thinking, our feeling, or our willing (a threefold distinction).
high agitation – excessive will that leads to burnout.
low agitation – insufficient will that fails to drive desired and beneficial action.
high arousal – excessive feeling that leads to emotional drama.
low arousal – insufficient feeling that leads to emotional disengagement.
high alert – excessive thinking that leads to distraction, disorganization, disorientation.
low alert – insufficient thinking that leads to dullness and inability to learn new things.
Between the low and the high, the hyper and the hypo, is a center that provides balanced vitality in your thinking, feeling and willing.
Contemplative practices will modulate agitation, arousal, and alertness:
quiet stillness or slow movement modulates agitation,
focused attention modulates alertness,
conscious breathing modulates arousal
Examine your soul life. What is the state of your will life? Your feeling life? Your thought life? What needs self-compassionate modulation supported by a regular contemplative practice?
If you generalize your soul life without the threefold distinctions you might not realize the source of your stress. The threefold awareness gives you a more mature, conscious perspective on your needs.
I can say from personal experience with all three soul challenges, the distinctions truly give me a more powerful and productive sense of self-modulation, sensitivity, and management.
And another brief example on how a twofold awareness can help. I was talking with a very creative and intelligent young man. He told me he felt stuck in his life. I know his biography and he lost his father before the age of one. Movement lives in the relationship of polarities: two key polarities are mother and father, feminine and masculine.
This young man knows next to nothing about his father and has had no other close male role models. Finding the vital active center requires that both poles be relatively balanced for both attraction and repulsion – moving toward and pushing away. I told him to go home and ask his mother to tell him everything, good and bad, about his father certain that with the father/masculine presence even as story he will live more dynamically and move beyond his stuckness.
In the Basics of I course, we will find our way to a mature and very creative understanding of the fourfold, threefold and twofold archetypes of being human. Once you know the languages of the archetypes life gets better, more meaningful and a lot more interesting.
If you are a healer, a teacher, a parent, your “work” will become richer, more creative, and far more successful.
Consider the Complexity of I
You can experience the first session on The Complexity of Self here.
Make sure you click to view the presentation with the audio