When discussing the Atonement with the Father stage in my first round of blogs, I said that the only way to counter the Dragon of Grandiosity was to maintain humility, and the only way to stay humble was to remain connected to the important people that can help us stay on track. Similarly, the Shadow Warrior represents the error of pride, which, while connected to grandiosity, is not so easily countered by simply “remaining humble”. Where grandiosity is a warped perception that effects our behavior, pride is more of a behavior that skews our perception. What’s required to master this cold beast is something much more profound – it requires a level of maturity that allows humility to become second nature, requiring little mental attention or input from the outside world. Getting to that point requires practice, and that practice begins with vulnerability.
When comparing the immaturity of an infantile hero like Achilles in the film, Troy, versus the maturity of a true warrior as presented in the film, Seven Samurai, the YouTuber, Like Stories of Old used the example of how one of the seven shaved his head to pose as a monk in order to resolve a hostage situation. For a samurai to have his hair cut off was a symbolic act of defeat, humiliation, and shame, but as LSOO put it, “It is a great example of a warrior who knows his true purpose and is not concerned with his own pride and grandiosity. The main difference here is that mature warriors always fight for something more than themselves. They have a transpersonal commitment to a cause, a god, a people, a nation, or a task.”
On the surface it would seem that getting myself mixed up with the ideological warfare of today would be necessary to help preserve the greatest, freest nation in history, in order to hopefully ensure that my daughter will have a better, happier life, but that’s merely a mask to what’s actually going on inside my mind. The fact of the matter is that I am simply loathe to stay still; physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually. Truthfully, any forward progress I’ve made in my life has only been incremental, and almost incidental, because I’ve spent so much time and energy bouncing back and forth between extremes because, to me, it feels better to “clearly stand for something”, and to avoid APPEARING like I’m a “fence sitter”. Now, please understand that as I type this, it’s the first time these words have ever seen the light of day, because this admission cuts through my pride deeper than any external attack ever could.
All successful people will tell you that caring about what other people think is the main reason that most people aren’t successful, and until recently I thought I was impervious to this issue. Years of bullying in my youth and a failure to truly fit into any group has given me some rather potent coping mechanisms. I learned to handle my social displacement by owning my strangeness and allowing my already odd sense of humor to warp even further. Sarcasm and emotional desensitization became my armor for dealing with the world, and I believed myself impervious to other people’s thoughts about me. On top of it all, when I was tested for Autism at Yale and told that I was not on the spectrum because I had empathy, it was a qualifying statement. The truth is that I have great difficulty relating to other people and picking up on social cues, but I mask it very well…if I care enough to try. Simply put, I have come to care so little for what other people think of me that I would often question if I could be a sociopath, and yes, I took great pride in that seemingly blanket disregard for the feelings of others…but now that’s all over.
In writing this miniseries I came to discover that I do actually care about what other people think of me, albeit on a deeper level than I was aware of, and that my own aboriginal impulses for belonging still run strong in my unconscious mind. This public admission has become a metaphorical head shaving which allows me to strip off another layer in my personal armor, and be vulnerable in a way I have never before been. Still, this awareness and admission isn’t meant to attack my Shadow Warrior, but rather it’s to allow me to integrate that errant programming. It has opened the floodgates for me, starting me on a winding path of unending questions, which is the point of the Atonement with the Father stage. It’s to get us to question the mental scripts from which we operate. By taking a hatchet to my pride I have given myself the chance to decide who I really am and what I truly want. This is, ironically, a position of strength that can only be arrived at by becoming humble and vulnerable, which is needed before I could ever hope to reach the Apotheosis.
Like Stories of Old:
Like Stories of Old – The Archetype of the Warrior:
The Unexplored Depths of Spider Man 3 - Facing the Dragon of Grandiosity:
Articles on empathy:
YouTube intro: https://youtu.be/4mBCCi1SNLQ