To find out more about Terri’s and Kim’s new course, STAGES Essentials for Psychotherapy & Coaching, we invite you to a free intro session to the course on September 20. Click here for more information and to sign up for free.
Strange as it may seem, the building blocks of shadow are the same exact building blocks of spirit. The only difference is how we use those building blocks. If we use them to understand the nature of reality more accurately, then we move to higher, stronger, broader, and more sustained levels of bliss. If we use them to distort reality then we dig ourselves into ever deeper, profound and entrenched levels of suffering. In this article I’ll cover four of these building blocks: Receptivity, Action/Mastery Reciprocity, and Integration/interpenetration.
We are introduced into shadow at an early age. Our parents do not, and cannot, understand reality perfectly. As a result, their distortions become what we are raised with. The sins of the parents will be passed on to the children. I never understood the meaning of this until I understood shadow. It’s a description of reality, not a punishment.
This reality begins with our innocence. The innocence of the infant self is completely dependent upon the world in which we were born. This innocent self absorbs information like a sponge, and some of that which is absorbed is accurate, and some of it is distortions.
We absorb because that is one of the building blocks of consciousness. We must be able to receive to perceive. Reception is thus the first building block of consciousness and we receive a great deal of vital information, both accurate and distorted, before we develop the next building block. As a result, introjection shadow material is the earliest shadow that can occur, and often this shadow is pre-verbal and pre-conscious memory. It requires special therapeutic skills to address.
The next form of shadow material arises from our next building block of Mastery. The capacity to take action with our consciousness allows us the power to discover, or to project. Projection becomes the next earliest form of shadow. This form of shadow becomes intrusive upon others and it leads to the terrible temper tantrums that accompany this stage of development. But mastery also allows us to take action to grow emotionally, intellectually, spiritually. We praise spiritual masters who have taken action successfully to raise their spiritual awareness. But mastery also allows us to be efficiently cruel, selfish. We can actively blow through others boundaries without concern, or break out into spontaneous delight.
But as our self-centered action bumps up against the reality of the world a new building block of consciousness arises: Reciprocity. Reciprocity allows us to shift from self focus to collective focus. It allows us to have friends, and to be a true friend. It also requires us to split our self into two people inside our own head. That is what second person perspective is… the ability to see our own side, and also see in our mind the other side too. The two consciousnesses that exist in concrete reality, me and other, are matched inside our own consciousness. This allows for mutual intimacy, with self, other and the divine. It allows for communal ecstasy, but it also allows for self-denigration.
This self-denigration can become so intense that it leads to internal strife. A battle begins to be waged inside our minds. This is splitting shadow or split ego-state dissonance. This dissonance can become so unbearable that we then resort to projection, our earlier shadow style, to relieve this suffering. With this combination of splitting and projection we now have propagated the internal war onto the external world.
The level of hostility we are exposed to as we navigate into second person perspective is related to how hostile we develop the internal ego stage relationship to unfold. So the external hostility we are exposed to by primary care givers (and others) is imprinted upon our internal ego-state relationship and then, if too intense, gets projected back out onto the world. If that hostility is shut down with even more hostility within the family, then the hostility gets symbolized and generalized outside of the family dynamic. Thus prejudices of all kinds are born, (racism, sexism, classism, etc). And from them the injustices of the world rain down upon us.
If there is love and understanding with clear limits, then we can construct within our minds a more congenial relationship and this will allow a different, more kind perception of the world. As we move into deeper understanding of the intimate relationships that are born out of the consciousness building block of reciprocity we can experience the wonder of seeing and knowing other and being seen and known by other. We can experience the Divine. We are not alone.
But some relationships may go well while others do not. Not only this, but the same relationship can go well and then dissolve into bitter problems. We can get lost in the dynamic of the relationship and therefore get bounced around by it.
This suffering leads us to have a part of our mind step outside of the relationship dynamic and see it from the outside. From here we can construct patterns to stand by that keep us stable, safe, and the relationships become more enduring. When we align ourselves with these patterns we construct another building block of consciousness, Integration or Interpenetration. Interpenetration allows us to stay stable in the face of another person’s instability. This stability leads to better more stable relationships in our community, in ourselves, and with the divine.
These four building blocks of consciousness will drive our development for the rest of our lives, for shadow or for spirit. There are many more building blocks of consciousness, and much more to learn about these four major ones. We invite you to explore all these building blocks that have been discovered and how to use them to help us to heal shadow, awaken sprit and help those suffering from distorted use of these building blocks of consciousness. STAGES makes it all clear as it unfolds the living map of life.
Welcome to STAGES International! Terri and I are so excited to introduce you to our new website and to all the events and offerings we have. The world has been so welcoming to us and we want to return the favor by welcoming you into our lives.
STAGES Internationals is about bringing Terri’s STAGES model to a much bigger audience so we can make a difference in the everyday lives of many people. We invite you to be a part of this exciting journey.
We invite you to sign up for our email list so we can keep you up to date on all we have going here. In gratitude, we’ll send you a free PDF, Overview of the STAGES Model. We promise we won’t inundate you with email—we have too much going on in our lives to spend time spamming. So it’s a worry-free signup?
Terri and I just returned from Australia where we conducted research on the development of early childhood consciousness. This gives us deeper insight into how our own minds work during times of shadow. There is a lot here for us to offer you in your work with clients and we are excited to get the information out into the hands of people making real changes in the world one person at a time.
Here is a sneak peek at what is coming up!
We will be at the Integral European Conference in May in Budapest discussing deep shadow and developmental parenting.
Then we head to London to work with coaches on development, shadow and spirit, starting May 9.
We’re doing another STAGES In-Depth Workshop with Pacific Integral starting June 8.
Currently we are working on a developmental parenting online course set to launch sometime in the fall. That will be our first on-line course and we are looking forward to getting STAGES into the hands of a lot of people. Sign up for email list so we can tell you when it starts.
STAGES is evolving, and we are learning more daily about how effective and versatile this model is. We welcome everyone to be a part of it.
Lots of love,
When Soul is taken hostage by shadow, our connection to Spirit is shackled. We may fight against it, run from it, or become complacent in it, but never free ourselves from it. Release from the bindings of shadow has been shrouded in magical thinking since Freud first postulated the unconscious and Jung first coined the term. Somehow through various incantations prescribed by psychotherapists and coaches we will be magically released from the chains of shadow and set free into our full potential. These incantations that I and my fellow community of healers have utilized are indeed very effective…sometimes. Sometimes not. Why?
Then I was introduced to STAGES by Dr Terri O’fallon. When I understood STAGES, the dynamic of shadow, soul and spirit unfolded like a living map of life. Here I could see the underlying building blocks of consciousness rearranging themselves within the framework of our being. Just like a child can take literal blocks and rearrange them in various configurations to make completely different structures, so too can we, with these consciousness building blocks rearrange them in different configurations that makes all the difference in the consciousness structures we create.
From here we can see how impacts upon the building blocks of consciousness themselves constrict, or distort the over-all structure of who we express ourselves to be. By targeting the impacts upon the building blocks of consciousness themselves rather than the over arching structure we can make precision interventions that release the bindings of shadow material, deepen the soul and release the expression into spiritual awakening.
With each step of our life, we make core fundamental shifts in our consciousness that allow our spirit more freedom to shine. With each step there is soul waiting to be born, ego waiting to die, shadow waiting to release its energy back into the pure building blocks of consciousness, allowing the next arrangement to unfold and allowing our authentic spiritual potential to shine. Dissolving shadow, deepening soul, awaking spirit. The map is laid out in front of us and we are now free to roam the vast terrain of consciousness in ever expanding authenticity.
We invite you to join us in this journey.
Kim Barta MA & Terri O’Fallon PHD
Practitioners can use the STAGES developmental model in flexible and practical ways. Psychotherapists, coaches and spiritual guides are able to target the presenting developmental level of their clients, their shadow and their leading edge in the moment and select appropriate interventions to match. This increases the efficiency and efficacy of interventions.