As I reparent myself and make my transition from sad … and mad … to glad, my sensitivity to my feelings increases.
I become more aware of feelings that would have just been my “normal” back then. I was one compacted, compounded person.
At the same time, I’ve been looking through the scrapbook Dad prepared for his Mastery Class in the est Network. It’s helping me understand him.
One thing that communicated to me loud and clear was a cartoon near the front page. A frightened baby says, “What did I do now?”
I think that about sums up the contours of my Father’s upbringing, as he’s revealed it to me, and it certainly reflects how he was with me – supercritical, violent, disempowering.
This was all generational transfer, behavior that was handed down from one generation to another, time out of mind.
Time to put a stop to it.
The traits in myself are so hidden and automatic as to be almost invisible to me. They’re “just me.” But they exist just the same.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean I have to like what was done. It just means that I let the other person off the hook for it because I now understand what the other person was dealing with.
Maybe studying my Dad’s scrapbook as a means of flattening this vasana will do me good. I’d like to rid myself of every vestige of father hatred.
Every vasana I take with me into post-Reval work will become magnified. It’ll become like velcro, snagging me, if anything is going to.
Hence my great incentive to work through as many of them as I can now.
Along with a heightened sensitivity to my feelings, the thought of the work down the road gives me strong incentive to be free of my vasanas and resentments, so I can begin afresh – with myself and others – in the midst of great challenges.
The amount of suppression and withholding I did in years gone by I could never stand doing today. I’d go insane if I tried to act the way I did several decades ago – unconscious, controlling, automatic. Oh my.
I don’t think I was ever as bigoted and undiscerning as Jared Yates Sexton portrays in “The Trauma of Toxic Masculinity.” (1) I was more of Jared’s nature. And I can also be self-serving.
Dad had very few of the benefits I had in early manhood to pull himself out of his vasanas. He had the benefits later but not in his formative (young-adult) years.
I had the benefit of advanced schooling, the freedom to wander in the halls of Anthropology and Psychology, the benefits of wonderful growth-movement workshops throughout the Seventies, and an atmosphere in which personal responsibility was valued, (2) until the jobless Recession of 1982 killed the growth movement off.
But even after that, I had the benefit of enlightenment intensives (I took 23 within a short span of years).
I have the equipment and information I need to pull out of these family ways and strike out in new and (what the Buddha called) “wholesome” directions. (3)
And I have the motivation.
(1) See Jared Yates Sexton, “The Trauma of Toxic Masculinity,” April 28, 2019 at https://goldenageofgaia.com/?p=300540
(2) Though the dynamics of working with personal responsibility could sometimes be different than today and could be considered offensive by some.
In encounter groups, we called each other on behavior. When called, the other person tried it on, tested it out, and owned it if it was true. After a while this procedure became routine. After a while as well, we called ourselves without waiting for others to do it
But today this procedure would be looked upon as blaming and a valuable tool is lost.
(3) The Buddha is reported to have said: “Do only wholesome actions, refrain from unwholesome actions, and purify the mind.”