Layman started a new group on Facebook called Metta-Integral, for exploring issues of compassion, lovingkindness, the cultivation of virtues, etc, from an integral perspective.

On the group, I proposed the following exercise:

Wilber's new "integral mindfulness" work is based on holding each of our prior stages of development -- with their needs and gifts -- in mindfulness, especially learning to 'make object' those structures with which we might still be somewhat identified or merged (leading to different fixations, problematic habits or defenses, etc). Since lovingkindness (metta) meditation is often paired with mindfulness (vipassana) practice, we can imagine a complementary metta practice for each of our stages -- both holding the stage in loving awareness, befriending it, and perhaps also reflecting on the ways that love is expressed through that stage, or supports that stage, as a gift that we might also take into our present. Would you like to do that reflection here?

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Below, I'll post some of the meditations / reflections we come up with for each stage or layer, and I invite you to offer your own.

INFRARED

Bruce:  So, level one, at Magenta, would involve holding our basic physiological being and needs with lovingkindness -- connecting to our hunger, the desire for the body to be at the right temperature and comfortable, secure, healthy, with friendliness and care. Whenever we feel the pangs of hunger -- to which we may have a conflicted (attached or aversive) relationship -- we can hold it in lovingkindness, wishing for it to be well, to be the healthiest and most attuned and balanced version of itself it can be.

Hunger, you are a fundamental intelligence; you alert me to my body's need for more energy and sustenance; you orient me what I need to rebuild and re-energize; you help me to savor and enjoy the nectar of life. May you be well. I welcome you as the voice of one of my most ancient ancestors, as the voice of a primal communion, without which there is no life. May you have what you need to speak clearly and true.

The body is like a band playing at 70 octaves at once -- an improvisational harmony of awesome complexity and coherence. Tradition has said that the body is fundamentally the site of dissatisfaction and suffering. But the transitoriness of its 'comfort' can be seen as a sign of its basic creative dynamism: to keep up its poly-octave jazz, it must be on the move, it must not settle, it must move and change as the tempo of its elements and its environment change, in constant call and response.

Precious body, may you thrive and be well; may you have what you need to support your fractal, creative inter- and intra-coordination and coherence...

Layman:  I care for my sensimotor robot. I empathize with the humanimal. When I am half-asleep or drunk or staggering to the bathroom in illness or trying to catch a wild animal there is an intense sensitivity combined with an impressive capacity. How many times has my life been saved by movement too quick for my mind to observe? I owe my life to infrared/beige\. I care for it because it cares for me. When it is shaking in fever, I automatically wish to comfort it. When it is caught like a deer in headlights, I want to get it off to the side of the road. When its eyes hunt and gather for trivial pleasures in its immediate environment, I hope it finds what it is looking for. This shambling hominid of the dawn is eternally homeless and, in our world, often sundered from its pack. I hope it is warm, hydrated. I hope it finds a pack. I hope it springs up when it needs to spring and rests when it needs to rest. Thank you, humanimal.

MAGENTA

Bruce:  At Magenta, the world is my oyster; I delight in my budding powers, I delight in exploring the new world before me, I am swollen with an innocent and shining grandiosity that is also, at once, unstable and vulnerable, with a powerful emotional hunger for valuation and validation. I have not yet suppressed or split off from the autosymbolic imagination, and its creative genius informs my waking and dreaming worlds both. Gratification is not yet something I've learned to delay; I am afraid yet to discover that my thought-world link is vulnerable, and desires are not always magically fulfilled. I cannot hold this ambiguity and split betwen blissful satiation and delight, and outraged frustration and fear. Though at this time, not yet in rapprochement, the world for me mostly is still magical and wonderous, secure in the fulfilling orbit of my caregivers, and I am a powerful actor at its center.

I wish you well, magical self; I thank you for your exuberance, for the powerful bloom of erotic energy that first stirs here, for the creative powers of your autosymbolic imagination, for the grandiosity and primitive self-love and other-dealization: these are all seeds to be watered in lovingkindness, each of which will later flower -- when cared for -- into gifts of inestimable value: a natural comfort in myself, a deep sense of participation and agency in the world at large, the resurgence of imagination in vision-logic, the power of Eros as the engine of my unfolding, the gifts of mature sexuality, and the flowering of primitive narcissism into the ability to value self and others. I welcome you, Magenta self. May you have all you need, may you be well.

Layman:  I care for the Earth through my deep aboriginal roots in the landscape. In caring for my magenta self I care for the ancestral clans that grew the first real human cultures deep in the biosphere. Kindness toward the Elders, the real elders, not just old people, is alive here -- an inner child & an inner elder. Those who cared enough, around the song-fire, to make a code of totem and taboo to keep the tribe safe deserve my care. They have kept me safe. I love the glyphs they taught me. I revel in their dance and nonsense. When my toe taps along to the music it is their ancient stomping feet within me. I nod along in magenta. And yet there is so much gullibility, superstition, here. Their consciousness is "trance" and "hypnosis". Children who flinch from darkness and recoil from the bad mojo of harmless environmental features are suffering their magenta. I was that child. I am that child. I empathize with the hesitation that wonders about a black cat or the passage beneath a ladder. I know the latent fear that reaches out for the good luck charm... and to recognize fear in our feelings is already to begin to be compassionate. Magic is dark and light. I feel for those imposed upon by dark magic while I rejoice in the simple-life magic whose field twinkles in the night. I wish you well, Magenta. You have many secrets, unsaid, but which are still needed...

Super-cool rendering and ownership, Bruce and Layman! I feel these basic infrared and magenta meme/stages/experience clusters as important to be open to. Part of that does mean having the time, willingness for vulnerability, and safety to allow and accept these frights and delights.
In my early am moments I again found this topic moving through my mind.

In these few minutes before I head for the waves I want to say that some personal familiarity with 'infrared' life and issues are maybe my strongest suit, within an otherwise mediocre to weak deck. As my associations coelesced and roamed around this theme, I said to myself, as more accurate assessment I think than usual use of the cliche, I could write a book. The book would be too personal and introspective to be of much interest, but it would also touch other memes that infrared seems to serve, but perhaps, equally real, for this septuagenarian, that those memes must serve the roots of infrared.

Details abound. Abound!

Enough enthusiastic resonance for now.



Balder said:

Below, I'll post some of the meditations / reflections we come up with for each stage or layer, and I invite you to offer your own.

INFRARED

Bruce:  So, level one, at Magenta, would involve holding our basic physiological being and needs with lovingkindness -- connecting to our hunger, the desire for the body to be at the right temperature and comfortable, secure, healthy, with friendliness and care. Whenever we feel the pangs of hunger -- to which we may have a conflicted (attached or aversive) relationship -- we can hold it in lovingkindness, wishing for it to be well, to be the healthiest and most attuned and balanced version of itself it can be.

Hunger, you are a fundamental intelligence; you alert me to my body's need for more energy and sustenance; you orient me what I need to rebuild and re-energize; you help me to savor and enjoy the nectar of life. May you be well. I welcome you as the voice of one of my most ancient ancestors, as the voice of a primal communion, without which there is no life. May you have what you need to speak clearly and true.

The body is like a band playing at 70 octaves at once -- an improvisational harmony of awesome complexity and coherence. Tradition has said that the body is fundamentally the site of dissatisfaction and suffering. But the transitoriness of its 'comfort' can be seen as a sign of its basic creative dynamism: to keep up its poly-octave jazz, it must be on the move, it must not settle, it must move and change as the tempo of its elements and its environment change, in constant call and response.

Precious body, may you thrive and be well; may you have what you need to support your fractal, creative inter- and intra-coordination and coherence...

Layman:  I care for my sensimotor robot. I empathize with the humanimal. When I am half-asleep or drunk or staggering to the bathroom in illness or trying to catch a wild animal there is an intense sensitivity combined with an impressive capacity. How many times has my life been saved by movement too quick for my mind to observe? I owe my life to infrared/beige\. I care for it because it cares for me. When it is shaking in fever, I automatically wish to comfort it. When it is caught like a deer in headlights, I want to get it off to the side of the road. When its eyes hunt and gather for trivial pleasures in its immediate environment, I hope it finds what it is looking for. This shambling hominid of the dawn is eternally homeless and, in our world, often sundered from its pack. I hope it is warm, hydrated. I hope it finds a pack. I hope it springs up when it needs to spring and rests when it needs to rest. Thank you, humanimal.

Thank you, Ambo.  That book would be great to see.  And please feel free to share some of those abounding details here, if you are so moved.

Here are our next offerings (for the next stage):

Bruce:  At Magenta, in my primal magic-infused grandiosity, I delighted in a sense of power in the world, my ability to make things happen, but ultimately it was a borrowed power: it depended unconsciously on my participation in my mother's (magical) strength.  Tribally, I lived in and by the EarthMother's mana.  At Red, I am confronted with a dawning awareness of my own vulnerability, weakness, dependency -- there is a "gap" discovered between myself and the other whose power was once my own.  Lurking here is the dawning, if still somewhat inchoate, awareness of my own mortality.  The other is not always "there" for me, cannot always make me secure.  So, Red is the time of taking a stand, of claiming my own security through the exercise and demonstration of power-over.

As a boy at this stage (and later), I loved superheroes; and I especially loved being able to wear my own costumes, to don the colorful "sign of power" and confront the evils and threats in the world.  My feet were faster, my leaps were longer, my fist was stronger, when I wore the special shoes, or the cape and gloves.  

But this power fascination has a shadow, especially as it is carried forward; it is often demanding, controlling, dominating, and self-serving.  It will "stop" the other, however necessary, to maintain its own boundary, and even to ward off even any hint that it has a vulnerable boundary.  Death-confrontation becomes death-denial.

I bring this Red layer of my being into compassionate awareness.  Red Hero, may you be well, may you have what you need to exercise your strength in a healthy way, and to let go into the faith of the stage that follows.  I see you for what you are and for what you do:  my humanimal confrontation with its own boundariedness and vulnerability, fiercely protecting this body, bravely confronting the other and demanding the right of your agency and independence.  And I see your death-fear (it is my own), I see your fear-driven need for control, and with lovingkindness I acknowledge both its pathos and the impossibility of its aims: love makes the space for you, for me, to be all right with this.  I meet your fierceness with love's greater fierceness, and burn through to release.

~*~

Layman:  RED - I grew up on a large rural farm so I suffer from a particular nostalgic pain that laments the world's disruption of my tribal-pastoral principality. I understand what it means to care for and kill "your animals" and roar with unabashed muscular-indulgence in "your castle" and take simple pleasure in primitive social patterns that are subject to endless stressful analysis in the urban and metropolitan regimes. It is hard to let go the dreaming hold that such a realm holds over our vital energies. One struggles not to be a hillbilly terrorist just in order to function as a cosmopolitan... but in that struggle I can forget to be compassionate towards "the chieftain's son" in myself. Emotional-muscular discharge and other spoils-grabbing status displays organize the village and turn bold proclamations and anger into magical tools of supra-totemic power. So much of what our spiritual practices ask us to dissovle and feel beyond resides in our Red patterns. Partly because the Amber layer of spirituality is the first one to pass its writings on to the future -- encoding the attempt to thward Red passion within the heart of classical scriptures. Another reason we often do not sink into deeper empathy with this barbarian part. It is so close, so familiar, so offensive. When someone tells you repeatedly they are a "strong man" or "strong woman" it provokes cringing. How easy it is to overlook tender sympathy in our attempt to stand on guard against the tribal lunatic in ourselves. I'd like to love him better...

~*~

(This exercise is beginning to remind me of a Spiral Dynamics related practice I created many years ago, in which you reflect on your SD "days," "ways," and "forays" -- meaning, the actual "days" in which you inhabited that stage, the "ways" that stage still persists in you or shows up in you at this time, and any experimental "forays" you might have made to consciously re-contact, or venture into, a stage that is repressed or unfamiliar.)

Lovely endeavors toward fuller ownership, acceptance, integration.



Balder said:

Thank you, Ambo.  That book would be great to see.  And please feel free to share some of those abounding details here, if you are so moved.

Here's my next offering (for the next stage):

At Magenta, in my primal magic-infused grandiosity, I delighted in a sense of power in the world, my ability to make things happen, but ultimately it was a borrowed power: it depended unconsciously on my participation in my mother's (magical) strength.  Tribally, I lived in and by the EarthMother's mana.  At Red, I am confronted with a dawning awareness of my own vulnerability, weakness, dependency -- there is a "gap" discovered between myself and the other whose power was once my own.  Lurking here is the dawning, if still somewhat inchoate, awareness of my own mortality.  The other is not always "there" for me, cannot always make me secure.  So, Red is the time of taking a stand, of claiming my own security through the exercise and demonstration of power-over.

As a boy at this stage (and later), I loved superheroes; and I especially loved being able to wear my own costumes, to don the colorful "sign of power" and confront the evils and threats in the world.  My feet were faster, my leaps were longer, my fist was stronger, when I wore the special shoes, or the cape and gloves.  

But this power fascination has a shadow, especially as it is carried forward; it is often demanding, controlling, dominating, and self-serving.  It will "stop" the other, however necessary, to maintain its own boundary, and even to ward off even any hint that it has a vulnerable boundary.  Death-confrontation becomes death-denial.

I bring this Red layer of my being into compassionate awareness.  Red Hero, may you be well, may you have what you need to exercise your strength in a healthy way, and to let go into the faith of the stage that follows.  I see you for what you are and for what you do:  my humanimal confrontation with its own boundariedness and vulnerability, fiercely protecting this body, bravely confronting the other and demanding the right of your agency and independence.  And I see your death-fear (it is my own), I see your fear-driven need for control, and with lovingkindness I acknowledge both its pathos and the impossibility of its aims: love makes the space for you, for me, to be all right with this.  I meet your fierceness with love's greater fierceness, and burn through to release.

Thank you, Ambo.  I've edited in Layman's offering above.

Ambo Suno said:

Lovely endeavors toward fuller ownership, acceptance, integration.



Balder said:

Thank you, Ambo.  That book would be great to see.  And please feel free to share some of those abounding details here, if you are so moved.

Here's my next offering (for the next stage):

At Magenta, in my primal magic-infused grandiosity, I delighted in a sense of power in the world, my ability to make things happen, but ultimately it was a borrowed power: it depended unconsciously on my participation in my mother's (magical) strength.  Tribally, I lived in and by the EarthMother's mana.  At Red, I am confronted with a dawning awareness of my own vulnerability, weakness, dependency -- there is a "gap" discovered between myself and the other whose power was once my own.  Lurking here is the dawning, if still somewhat inchoate, awareness of my own mortality.  The other is not always "there" for me, cannot always make me secure.  So, Red is the time of taking a stand, of claiming my own security through the exercise and demonstration of power-over.

As a boy at this stage (and later), I loved superheroes; and I especially loved being able to wear my own costumes, to don the colorful "sign of power" and confront the evils and threats in the world.  My feet were faster, my leaps were longer, my fist was stronger, when I wore the special shoes, or the cape and gloves.  

But this power fascination has a shadow, especially as it is carried forward; it is often demanding, controlling, dominating, and self-serving.  It will "stop" the other, however necessary, to maintain its own boundary, and even to ward off even any hint that it has a vulnerable boundary.  Death-confrontation becomes death-denial.

I bring this Red layer of my being into compassionate awareness.  Red Hero, may you be well, may you have what you need to exercise your strength in a healthy way, and to let go into the faith of the stage that follows.  I see you for what you are and for what you do:  my humanimal confrontation with its own boundariedness and vulnerability, fiercely protecting this body, bravely confronting the other and demanding the right of your agency and independence.  And I see your death-fear (it is my own), I see your fear-driven need for control, and with lovingkindness I acknowledge both its pathos and the impossibility of its aims: love makes the space for you, for me, to be all right with this.  I meet your fierceness with love's greater fierceness, and burn through to release.

lately dreams have been reminding me of the presence and ongoing latency of early psychological needs and values that correspond to infrared through amber, with particular feelings about safety, and I suppose, the not unrelated belongingnesses. dreams have been powerful with childhood storylines and rather common themes, often awashed in degrees of fear.

Balder and Layman, I'm appreciating these ideas and explorations of actual practices.  Is there more?

David, we haven't written more yet but more will be forthcoming.  I got busy this week, but I also have found it a little more difficult to feel into Amber (the next on the list).  But I'll post more soon.

Ambo, I appreciated your thoughts - I have felt some similar stirrings, perhaps related to this exercise or perhaps not.  Some unusual (and charged) dreams. 

Here is my latest offering:

My Amber self, I see both your care and fear.  When Red is unbridled, in yourself or others, it can cause unintended harm -- it can negatively impact those who are important to you while pursuing its limited ends.  This is a kind of weakness in it that wasn't apparent before, but now you can see it: a folly, a selfishness.  There is a refuge in the greater wisdom of the group, a self-insulation which saves you from the impulsive and destructive parts of yourself that you have learned to distrust.  But the group itself is also a threat, a threat that is greater than the threats the Red Self can meet on its own.  As I recognize my dependence on the group, as I once recognized my emotional difference from and dependence on my mother, I realize a deeper vulnerability:  the group, which can protect against the excesses of Red and provide a more stable milieu for my flourishing, can also reject me or exclude me -- physically as well as emotionally.  Once "in," I fear the shame and weakness of being "out," the sting of humiliation or rejection.  To be "out" is to regress, or so it feels: to be kicked back down to where I was before.  Conformity is how you hold on, how you secure this developmental attainment and ensure the deeper nourishment and support the group can provide -- the greater confidence of the We.

My Amber self, may you be well; may you have what you need to thrive and to grow, including the security you need to eventually let go and move beyond the borders that supported and defined you.  I honor what those borders provided:  an arena in which you could learn to love, to sacrifice, to put self before other, to defer gratification, to practice social reciprocity, and to stabilize a justice beyond Red's vengeance or trials of strength.  I accept these each as the gifts that they are.  And wherever you quake or freeze in fear of being cast out -- whether in emotional rejection, or social or intellectual humiliation -- I see that and I hold it, without interference, in a love which meets and exceeds the belonging which has defined you.  You are not just that We.  Welcome.

Not being a person steeped in Spiral Dynamics and various color code schemes that seems to have evolved and been added to over time (depending on whether your a SD purist or a SDintegralist - when did Blue become Amber?), I need a map to help me correlate the colors mentioned here to the various stages.  I suppose this one will work?

 

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