Black Leadership Analysis

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Ancestral Reverence in Shadow Work

Part of Buddhist and African spirituality is reverence for your ancestors. In both frameworks, ancestors provide guidance and assistance. In addition to the help they can provide, people that adhere to these spiritualities use ancestral reverence as a way to recognize and thank our forebears for their sacrifice. The practice allows for a person’s ancestors to move through them. Reverence for ancestors will also aid in coming to grips with yourself as part of an unbroken continuum of experience. The continuum stretches back to the beginning of time and forward until the end of time. The continuation happens whether an individual has children or not. The ancestors will help a person to integrate aspects of their personality.

My ancestral reverence practice occurs after my daily meditation. After meditation, I bow, the Buddhist term is half-prostration, and imagine how my ancestors looked. In meditation, a person should move away from using words and attempt to concentrate on first order sensations. I chose as my ancestral image to be a slave. For me, a female image is more natural and more soothing. I am not sure why.

I feel Black Americans need to come to terms with our slave ancestry. The first step for us was coming to grips with our African ancestry. Black Americans were told the pre-colonial Africans were primitive and lacked culture. Those myths have been debunked, and most blacks understand that African civilization was advanced.

I viewed my slave ancestry as something I have to overcome. My slave ancestors sacrificed for me to be here. I now owe them being successful. If I am unsuccessful, their sacrifice was for nothing. I suspect many other people feel the same way.

What I was missing was slaves had full lives in spite of the oppression. The slaves sought wisdom, savored the few pleasures they had, and found love. I am a product of them finding love. When I came to grips with that, I could allow myself to live a full life. My life doesn’t solely have to be about being successful. My slave ancestors showed me how to have a full life in spite of oppression. I owe them being happy, not successful.

Anyone that follows my blog knows I have completed extensive research on the Pullman Porters. While doing research, I stumbled across many stories of the abusive treatment the porter’s received. Porters were called every racial slur. One of the most frequently used was calling all porters “George.” The name came because a man named George Pullman owned the Pullman company. During slavery, slaves were named after their master. Most passengers, especially from the south saw the porters as slaves and treated them accordingly.

These stories triggered me emotionally. Many times in my career I did not speak up when I or someone around me suffered a racial injustice. Many of my black co-workers expressed that I was extremely passive. I had a rocky start to my career and felt I needed to concentrate on the “nuts and bolts” of the job. I avoided unnecessary conflict because I had very little experience and could be replaced easily if things come to a head. I was fired from my first job due to having a racial conflict, and I did not want to repeat this pattern.

I often second guess my decision on this job. I regret not standing up for myself and others more. I have a few instances, in particular, I regret very much. I justify it to myself by saying I had to take care of business. I needed to hold on to the job and gain experience. Deep down I feel not only did I not stand up for myself, but I also did not stand up for my race.

I contrast my struggles with what the Pullman Porters accepted from the company and what they were able to accomplish in the field of Civil Rights. Even if a porter was completely passive, he was part of an organization, if he joined the union, which laid the foundation for the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement. If he was kowtowing, he kowtowed for the struggle. If a few racist white people laughed about making a spectacle of a porter, who cares? The porter laid the foundation for me.

I am not saying I have accomplished anything anywhere near as significant as the Pullman Porters. However, progress is not about individual achievement. Progress is about community achievement. I could get the opportunity to redeem myself, someone in a future generation could redeem me. Everyday I decide if the cumulative affects of my actions are positive or negative. Being black is not about winning every fight; no one wins every fight. The goal is to have a larger balance of positive action than negative actions. Your positive action balance is tallied every day. In each moment you create your legacy.

I recently, re-read Che Guevara’s Motorcycle Diaries. In the book, he recounts a story of meeting a black man in Peru that reported the murder of his friend. Below is the quote:

“Until this point, we had been traveling in the same truck as the black guy who had reported the murder. At one of the stops along the road, he bought us a meal and throughout it, lectured us on coffee, papaya, and the black slaves, of whom his grandfather had been one. He said this quite openly but [in] it you could detect a note of shame in his voice. In any case, Alberto and I agreed to absolve him of any guilt in the murder of his friend.”

The man from Peru had an intellectual understanding of the history of his people. The man did not have emotional acceptance, hence the shame. A person must foster both the intellectual understanding and the emotional acceptance. I feel that we as black people have a difficult time with the fact we have had to and still have to acquiesce to injustice. It is a survival method forged by our slave ancestors and is often still useful. Black people hate to admit that they had to acquiesce and others around them had to acquiesce.

The shame of acquiescence causes black people to vilify many our mainstream Civil Rights leaders as Uncle Toms. Many hate that A. Philip Randolph had to say the racist American Federation of Labor leader and L. Johnson was a greater friends to blacks than Lincoln. He was able to accomplish more than any other Civil Rights leader. Randolph was not a dogmatist; he was a pragmatist. He built relationships and allied with those he needed, not those with similar views. He separated the needs of the group and race from his personal need for pride. The same goes for Ed Nixon who organized the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Nixon was also pragmatic and extremely successful. He is now often viewed as a Tom. These men should be revered as examples of successful leadership.

I think the vilification of Nixon and Randolph would lessen if black people came to grips with their issues with acquiescence. Once a person accepts they did not directly confront the racism they encountered they can accept the behavior in other people. When can then realistically evaluate the sum of all actions and determine if the leader was successful or not. It is true many leaders acquiesce and get no benefit to themselves and the race at large. Acquiesce without results should be vilified. However, if you can prove the leader made the material conditions of black life better, then give the leader the credit they deserve.

To recap, ancestral reverence will help to integrate various aspects of a person’s personality. Once a person has a better understanding of themselves and their psychology, they will reevaluate many leaders from a more logical standpoint. Often we don’t like in leaders aspects of ourselves. As a community, doing shadow work will help us to choose the most suitable leaders.

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Read This If You Talk “WHITE”

This post will use the work and philosophy of Susan Cook-Greuter to analyze a common dynamic in the black community. The dynamic is on a personal level, and it happens when a person is accused of not wanting to identify with the black community when they display a personality trait not usually seen in the black community. Often people are charged with “Talking White” by speaking correctly. However, there are many other common triggers for this dynamic a few include:
+ Having dress inspired by a culture other than Hip-Hop
+ Striving to leave an economically depressed area
+ Having a culturally diverse group of friends
Typically the dynamic plays out with a black person that is focused more on goals, to ease communication I will call this person by the Cook-Greuter stage Conventional, and a black person more focused on relationships at the Cook-Greuter level Pre-Conventional. The Conventional person displays a personality trait seen as not prevalent in the black community. The Pre-Conventional person feels the relationship being threatened and attempts to reign the Conventional person back into the fold. The Pre-Conventional person’s need to restrain leads to a verbal or sometimes physical conflict. Frequently, the Conventional person is labeled a “sell-out, ” and the Pre-Conventional person is labeled “ghetto.” These labels are internalized and create conflict and suffering throughout the life of both individuals. Reframing the issue will allow for both parties to move forward in a healthy manner.
Many people will say the Pre-Conventional vs. Conventional dynamic is nothing more than simple bullying or conflict experienced by all kids of all races. The difference between an intelligent black child being called “white” and an intelligent white child being called a “nerd” is the attack on identity. If a white child is referred to as a nerd, he is given an identity. If a black child is called white, he has his identity taken away. In the early stages of ego development identity is a chief concern. Therefore, the Pre-Conventional vs. Conventional dynamic can be severely damaging to youth. The damage continues into adulthood and becomes an emotional shadow. Also, the Pre-Conventional vs. Conventional dynamic is played out in adults in more subtle ways. However, a brief summary of Susan Cook-Greuter’s methodology and philosophy is needed before further discussion.
Summary of the work of Susan Cook-Greuter
Susan Cook-Greuter is a Harvard psychologist who studied Ego Development, the concept that there is a set progression of a person’s view of himself. The progression of self-concept or ego can be identified, and there are common themes and personality traits in each stage. A person cannot skip a step, and everyone goes through each stage in the same order. People can stay in one stage all their life. However, there will be a few individuals that move up the entire hierarchy.
Comprehensive Language Awareness (CLA) is the basis for Cook-Greuter’s philosophy. In CLA, reality is seen as a continuum of interdependent sensations. Language is a concept that is used to differentiate the sensations to allow for further understanding and expanding our experience to other people using communication. As we age, we perceive the various concepts created in language as reality. The confusion between the concepts and reality cause suffering.
Because language is the external expression of internal reality, the complexity of one’s language is measured. The individual’s language complexity can be used to determine the individual’s view of reality. Susan Cook-Greuter devised a language test administered over ten thousand times. She saw nine distinct stages after analyzing all the data. Other psychologists independently confirmed the stages.
There are nine (9) stages in Susan Cook-Greuter’s philosophy. A very brief description of each stage can be found below with the main fear. Fear is one of many attributes that define each stage.
0. Symbiotic Stage: The stage of all infants there is no differentiation of the self and other. The concept of fear has not developed.
Pre-conventional Stage
Impulsive: This level lasts from toddler to twelve years old, and self is seen as “in need, ” and other is seen as “provider.” The main fear is abandonment.
Self-protective: This level is common in the teenagers. The self is seen as stronger or weaker than other. The power dynamic is used to meet needs. The main fear is domination by others.
Conformist: This level focuses on being seen by others or “respected.” Fitting into external standards to be seen as acceptable to others is the chief strategy for getting needs met. The main fear is dissolution or change in the peer group.

Conventional Stage
4. Expert: This level focuses on a person discovering their unique talent and differentiating themselves. Self is different and superior to others, at least superior in some ways. Chief fear is loss of status
5. Achiever: This level has honed the talent and has begun to reap tangible results. Self is different and capable of understanding others. Chief fear is the loss of autonomy.

6. Pluralist: This level understands self is using an arbitrary framework to understand the world. Self understands frameworks of others; all frameworks are equally valid. Chief fear is not finding one’s true self
7. Autonomous: This level understands that frameworks are ultimately fallible and make meaning without frameworks. Self in as part of a historical continuum filled with others. Main fear is not living up to a person’s full potential.
8. Postautonomous stage: This level understands the self is just a framework, and a self-imposed life story is the cause of suffering. Main fear is no one will be able to understand them at this advanced stage.
9. Unitive: This level has let go of the concept of ego completely. No chief fear because there is no “self” to threaten. However, the idea of self is available if needed.
To bring the conversation back to the Pre-Conventional vs. Conventional dynamic, the basis of the conflict is the incompatibility in fears. A Pre-Conventional paradigm is chiefly in fear of abandonment in one form or another. A Conventional paradigm is primarily fears loss of individualism. If the Conventional person does something to make the Pre-Conventional question the group identity, then the Pre-Conventional has to stop the Conventional person. If pressure is placed on the Conventional person, they will always defend their individuality. The two paradigms are horribly incompatible.
The conflict can be especially damaging for black people on both sides. In today’s more integrated world black people are often in a situation with few other black people. If being around the few other black people near him is taxing, he will often write-off black people. Many blacks don’t associate with other black people due to emotional shadows from the Pre-Conventional vs. Conventional conflict. Sometimes the disdain is explicitly stated, and sometimes the disdain is not explicitly stated.
I will use an example from my life to illustrate how this conflict plays out.
In college, I worked in a laboratory doing research on artificial joints. Many of the other students in the program were graduate students, and after work, we would go to a local brewery. The brewery was a predominately white establishment, but I did not feel uncomfortable. I felt I was with my peers and co-workers. I liked the place, and I decided to take one of my black friends, Eddie, there on the weekend.
When we got there I got a beer, and he got wine. Most people at a brewery drink beer. He went back for a second wine, and he felt he had to wait a long time. He assumed that the bartender did not want to serve him because he was black. Many people believe black people do not tip. I countered by saying it is a busy night and this is your first time here. He should come more, so people get to know him. My rebuttal to Eddie’s conclusion that the incident was racially motivated sent Eddie through the roof and demanded we leave. He felt I was defending white people and I was blind to racism right in front of me.
He went on to say how he felt he could not relate to me. In his opinion, I did not identify with black culture enough. I will admit I did worry about racism less in college. My focus was on achieving, making good grades, and getting a good job. At the time I felt that racism was a distraction. Only concentrate on the things you can control. If Eddie or any of my other friends brought up racism, I would change the subject. I justified it by saying that I only want positivity in my life.
One of the many drawbacks of the Conventional stage is hyper-rationality. Hyper-rationality is when a person sees only the material side of an issue. When Eddie said he had to wait a long time for a drink and he felt that it was due to racism, I thought well he has a drink now, and he can’t prove that the wait was due to racism. I could only see the material aspect of the issue.
In addition to not seeing the emotional side of the issue, I was also heavily invested in feeling that individual striving could overcome racism. I wanted to be an engineer and have financial stability. If racism could derail me, then I will not be successful, and I will no longer have status. Also, if racism is prevalent, it is selfish for me to concentrate on my success. The bigger problem is racism, and I should be fighting racism. The extreme focus on my striving led to creating a shadow. The shadow is something that people of all races create to justify having a focus on self. A shadow I only recently gained the tools to dissect properly.
People in the Conventional stage have a hard time relating to the emotional side of the situation. My friend was hurting, and I should have been there for him. If he wanted to leave, I should have just left. My need for good beer was not that significant. The friendship was more important, and in hindsight, I did not have the capability to preserve the relationship.
Over the years we had about a million arguments around the same theme. I moved to South Carolina, and we lost contact. I often think about various arguments we had and replay them in my head. I want to know if I was justified in my rebuttals to the arguments. I wonder if his criticisms of me were valid. In retrospect none of that matters, it is all about the relationship.
I believe understanding the Pre-Conventional vs. Conventional conflict in all its forms superimposed on race is a crucial step in healing the divide between black people. We have to get past all the labels we put on each other and ourselves. If not we will sabotage each other at every turn.
The Pre-Conventional vs. Conventional emotional shadow can start to be resolved in the Post-Conventional stage. In the Post-Conventional stage, people begin to let go of the idea of ego. They can also begin to accept and understand their shadow. In most of the Conventional stage, any criticism is an attack on the self. Post-Conventional people can take criticism and self-critique if necessary. If you find yourself or know someone wanting to tackle this issue here are some steps you can take to dissolve the shadow.
Steps to take to resolve this issue
First thing is a person needs to own that they have an emotional shadow around this issue. Evaluate how this particular issue plays out through journaling. Do not concentrate on what the other person did to you. Focus on the areas you could have changed and possible blind spots you have due to a hyper-focus on personal success. You can only control yourself, so become the best person you can be. Also, have defenses ready when you encounter the Pre-Conventional vs. Conventional dynamic.
It would also be a good exercise to go through all the labels you have put on yourself and others when going through this dynamic. Often you may call someone “Ghetto” in a Pre-Conventional stage or if they are in a Conventional stage, “Boujee.” These labels cut both ways. By labeling someone “Ghetto,” you label yourself as “not Ghetto.” Then a subset of self – identity forms in which you can not do or like things that are “Ghetto.” The need to hold on to a “not Ghetto” identity can cause various pathologies including, overspending, isolating yourself, or disparaging other blacks. Much of the inter-class conflict in the black community comes from dealing with this dynamic.
Remember dealing with emotional shadows is a serious issue. There is a good chance you may never fully recover from the damage. Do not listen to people telling you this is a trivial concern. The effects of the Pre-Conventional vs. Conventional dynamic are your experience and only you know the amount of damaged caused by the experience.
What to do if your child goes through this?
Now that we live in a more integrated society the experience of black people is more stratified. In addition to a wider variety of experiences, we have more exposure to whites and white culture. So the Pre-Conventional vs. Conventional dynamic will become more and more prevalent. If you child comes home complaining about the way other black kids treat him, don’t shame the child for his or her feelings. If you do shame your child, they will hide the feelings from you and later their friends. The worst case will be the child develops an emotional shadow around the feelings at a young age that they never overcome.
The first thing you should do is realize that the child’s conflict with other black kids is due to advanced ego development. It is not the result of shame in being black or arrogance. Once you realize that your child experiencing this conflict is not a bad thing, help the child to reframe the issue around differing values in each person. Pre-Conventional stage people are focused on relationships. Conventional level people are focused on goals. Once the child realizes that the issue is not about whether they are “black enough” they can approach the situation at a more logical level. It could be true that the best short-term strategy is to avoid the other children, but when a new group of people comes around the child will be able to look at those people with a fresh face. A new relationship will not be affected by old baggage.
Emotional shadows caused by the Pre-Conventional vs. Conventional dynamic cause serious trouble in the black community. There needs to be a serious effort to reframe the dynamic that allows us to reflect on the situation in a more logical manner.
Most of the information for this blog post came from “Nine Levels of Increasing Embrace” by Susan Cook-Greuter. For more on Susan Cook-Greuter check out her website

Marlboro Man Masculinity

I suffered from severe depression for five years. In that time, I had few romantic relationships. I wanted to get back in “the game” so I began looking for self-help material on how to attract women. I stumbled upon the pickup community.
I studied pickup for a few years. I see two common views on masculinity in the culture.
View 1: Bad Boy
The Bad Boy view of masculinity focuses on being a copy of James Dean. It is the archetype of a dark, unpredictable, somewhat rude, but not off-putting individual. Coaches that profess this style of masculinity encourages students to use a strategy called negging. Negging or being negative will utilize pointing out a woman’s flaws to make her feel insecure. Her insecurity will need to her craving your approval. The other method is the “takeaway.” The “takeaway” is reduction or elimination of communication unexpectedly. The “take-away” will make the girl feel like she is losing you and work harder to keep you.
These strategies play off a woman’s parental abandonment issues. It is a manipulation and will lead to attracting insecure women. The relationship will suffer from both members insecurities. People that follow this advice will have drama filled relationships.
View 2: Enlightened Warrior
The Enlightened Warrior is a much healthier concept of masculinity, but it can create a shadow. The Enlightened Warrior stays on his path no matter what. He is unphased by what a woman or anyone else says. He keeps his focus on his intended goals, which is not getting women. His goal is spreading his will to the world. Conquering new lands.
The Enlightened Warrior mindset could cause a person to repress their emotions and have tunnel vision. A person will begin to act in a mechanical way and ignore others around him. He will simply be a machine entirely focused on a goal, but unable to adjust to feedback from the people around him. His hyperfocus will block him from obtaining his goal.
The bottom line is when you think there is an ideal of masculinity that is outside of who you are naturally, low-self esteem will begin to set in. In either of the above views cause the suppression of the authentic self. When a person is suppressing their authentic self, they develop shadows, emotional pathologies, that cause them to act out. The acting out can not be understood because the reason for the acting out is suppressed.
The healthiest view for self-development is understanding of one’s psyche at the deepest levels. Meditation and shadow work develops this type of knowledge. The deeper a person understands himself, the more adeptly behavior can be controlled. The behavioral control will not result in emotional suppression. Their shadows will form, and the progress will take less effort. Meditation and Shadow Work results in long-lasting improvements in working with people.
Intense self-understanding will lead to acting from your true core. If you are not calling a woman back, it is because you don’t want to talk to her. If you are ignoring what she said, it is because you evaluated the feedback and determined the criticism was unfounded. Acting from your core will allow people of both genders to see who you are. The transparency may not lead to having tons of women, but it will help you find people that want health relationships.
The Marlboro Man is a great analogy for this philosophy. Back in the early 1900’s people thought men that smoked cigarettes were not strong enough to handle the strength of a full cigar. That is why the English called cigarettes “fags.” Men that smoked cigarettes were thought to be effeminate or homosexual. Marlboro, an American cigarette company, decided to change that thinking. They created the advertisement campaign based around the Marlboro Man. The Marlboro Man was the ultimate symbol of American masculinity. He was strong, worked alone, had command of his farm. But most importantly, he smoked cigarettes.
The Marlboro Man proved that you could be strong and enjoy cigarettes. The only problem is cigarettes are not feminine or a sign of homosexuality. Just as being a cowboy or a good farmer is not a sign of masculinity. The Marlboro Man is merely an archetype used to hide something that is not even inherently unmasculine. Using the Bad Boy or the Enlightened Warrior to hide personality traits they feel women do not value is the same thing.
If you feel there is an ideal type of masculinity not only will you always be striving to attain it to no avail, a person will also feel the need to defend the archetype? The defense of the archetype will be a waste of time and energy. Many men in pickup or men’s development will talk about how the media attacks masculinity. Ultimately, any image in the media of a man that is weak, effeminate, or unintelligent is a personal attack. As stated earlier, time and energy are wasted of defending a concept that is incomplete and of no benefit to the individual.
The most recent example of the unneeded defense of masculinity is the disapproval of coverboy, James Charles. Charles signed a modeling contract with Covergirl in October of 2016. Since his appearance on television, many masculinity sites use the advertisements as an example of the war on men. The another example is the Young Thug album cover to “No, My name is Jeffery.” Young Thug wears a dress on this cover. Many black men, especially black men that identify as Hoteps, saw this as an attack on the masculinity of black men.
These examples of effeminate men are no threat to anyone. They are isolated incidents that will not change the life of any men other than the ones in the photos or advertisement. Attacking them will only make men that have a different expression of masculinity feel isolated. Once a person focuses on expressing themselves authentically, all externals become trivial, and others can be accepted no matter how they dress.
Modifying one’s self to fit an archetype causes more problems than it solves. A person must believe that who they are naturally is sufficient to attract people. The energy from self-acceptance will radiate to other people. Self-acceptance is the basis for a healthy relationship.

What I learned from a Black Gay Republican

I have made it a point to talk to minorities that voted from Trump. I found out a co-worker voted for Trump. The man is black and has the mannerisms of a gay man. He is not openly gay. I developed a rapport with him and began to question why he chose to vote for Donald Trump.
Before I go further, I want to say I do believe a black person can be a conservative. I think black people should follow any political party that feel will uplift their community. However, I feel Donald Trump was a uniquely unqualified candidate for the black community. His rhetoric was intensely vile. He seemed to have no sympathy for the poor or disenfranchised. His involvement pressuring newspapers to write negative articles on the Central Park Five and numerous housing discrimination cases would cause most black people serious concern.
The co-worker that I will name Larry, for the sake of storytelling recounted his childhood. A single mother raised him while attending beauty school. He and his two other siblings were raised without a father in the house. They went through many hard times until he was able to join the Navy at eighteen. He used the GI Bill to go to college and now works at a job in which he makes over $100,000.
I asked, given his background, wouldn’t he like for the next generation to have a safety net. If he was helped growing up or money had been given to him to go straight to college, he could be even further in life. He replied that struggle has made him stronger. He has more than most people that had two parents in a middle-class household. If money were given to him or a safety net, he would never have “stepped out there and trusted G-d.”
His response gave me insight into how black people in the Orange Meme will internalize the need to prove themselves. Strive drive is the focus of the Orange Meme. A person needs to feel that they have earned everything that they have. There entire life can become proving themselves to other people and other people proving themselves to them.
His logic also assumes that the only motivator is fear. He was afraid of ending up in a “dead-end job” in the hood, so he joined the Navy and used the GI Bill. He could have been motivated by love of the country or need for adventure and done the same thing. He also doesn’t consider all the other black men that were not able to overcome all of those barriers. How many blacks went to the military and died in combat before they could go to college? How many black men could not make it in college due to discrimination or lack of ability? I feel that there should be some safety net for those people.
I feel the Republican Party could do more to ensure this safety net without violating their core principles. For example, Republicans could do more to keep jobs in America. I applaud Republicans for being against illegal immigration that has a disproportionately adverse effect on black labor. Donald Trump was also against the Trans-Pacific Partnership which many leading analysts said would pull jobs out of America.
Even though Trump did have some policies that could benefit black people, Larry never mentioned them. Larry was against immigration because he did not want America overrun by foreigners. Larry cited many anecdotal cases of Muslims attacking citizens in Europe and attempting to set up Sharia Law. He was against “hand-outs” and college grants because it would reduce work ethic and people would not appreciate what they are given. He believed people should rely on G-d and not the government. These are very emotional arguments.
I suppose that being part of a subculture many people become heavily influenced by the dominant culture. These people adopt the values of the dominant culture because it could help them improve themselves. Being self-reliant and being steeped in preserving your religious and patriotic roots can ground a person. However, a person can never lose sight of the bigger picture. Even if a few individuals can overcome tremendous odds, most people can’t. Also, the same logic used to keep Muslims disenfranchised because they are not American, has and continues to blacks. A few Muslims in a town what Sharia Law, the media will make people believe they all want Sharia Law. A few black people are on drugs; the media will make people think all black people are on drugs.
In conclusion, I don’t think minorities should leave or not vote for the Republican Party. I simply think the motivation should always be what is best for the community. It is important that everyone recognizes their unique place in society and works to make things easier for people like them in the future. A person should also look deeply into their mental shadows. Understand how shadow could affect decision making. It is imperative that all minorities act logically and not out of emotion.
The pathologies presented in Larry are unique to the Orange Meme. The Orange Meme focuses on earning your reward and proving yourself. The need to prove oneself becomes the shadow. Most Orange Meme individuals believe they are operating solely on logic. Attempting to alert people of their shadow will cause a ton of resistance. Shadow work needs to be an essential practice for anyone involved in Ego Development.

Introduction to Shadow Work

Shadow work should always be coupled to meditation. Shadow work is the practice done after the meditation has completed. Shadow work will analyze the negative thoughts and integrate them into your consciousness. As most people have figured out, negative thoughts play in your subconscious and impair your decision-making ability. This phenomenon is called subconscious sabotage.

To help illustrate this work, I will use and example from my life. I have always had trouble talking to people and making friends. My shadow work has revolved around improving this area of my life.

Many times I would sit down to meditate and the thought “No one likes me” or some variation would arise repeatedly. I could not shake the thought, and it would ruin my meditations. I realized if I do not actively analyze this thought I will never be able to meditate.

I first started working on my feelings of low self-worth in therapy. Therapy can be very helpful when a person begins shadow work. Frequently, logic can not outweigh and suppress negative thoughts. A third party can give an objective view of the situation.

Unfortunately, everyone cannot afford therapy. In the event, a person cannot afford therapy the internet can be a great tool. I would recommend websites such as Psychology Today,, and The school of life. Both are secular sites that base advice on psychology and philosophy. They all do an excellent job of giving a reader or listener enough information to do the further searching.

If a person is religious, they can use advice from their church, synagogue, or mosque.  However, make sure psychology and the religion are the bases for the teachings. Personal advice that only amounts to believe harder is not sufficient. There needs to be an actual action plan given to dig deeper into an issue and tangible solutions to fix the problem. An excellent resource for Christians that combines psychology and Christianity is Spiritual Living Center Atlanta. They have a youtube channel with plenty of free information for self-help.

For me, I realized through an in-depth study of psychology, that the cause of my issues with not feeling sufficient stems from being considered a nerd in school. I was a very smart child, but I could not make friends. People used to say I was stuck up and talked about things that were not interesting. I internalized these criticisms.

Most people would tell you to stop there, at understanding the cause. However, if you do, you will end up blaming your childhood or society for everything. You have to know an event or series of events from your past caused the thoughts. Since your past caused your thoughts, then they are not integral to you. You can release these thoughts and the behaviors caused by your thoughts and not fundamentally change who you are.

The next step is shadow work is to understand how a negative thought causes negative behavior. Decide that you want to improve your life in a particular manner and watch which behaviors advance or retard your agenda. You have to determine when you begin to act in a way that is not conducive to reaching a goal.

For me, I wanted to make more friends, specifically land a girlfriend. I started joining a ton of meetup groups. You will find this type of behavior in many self-improvers, compulsive, yet theoretically, helpful activity to solve a problem. I was going to a new meetup every night. If I did not go to a meetup, I felt guilty because I felt I was not working on my problem.

I also noticed even though I was going to numerous meetups; I was not making new friends. I realized that I am subconsciously sabotaging possible relationships. I also had unrealistic goals for my ideal social life.  I thought I should be Zack Morris, the fictional character from Saved by the Bell. I should have everyone in school giving my high-fives. Every girl you meet should be eating from my hand. These ideas I mostly got from fictional characters in movies.

I had to realize that due to my past I will never be the most popular person in the world. I am very guarded because the result of my life experiences led me to believe I would not be accepted. I sabotaged relationships because I did not feel those people were safe. It all began to make sense.

This realization was a huge step, yet it was not the end. If you stop there, you will just accept yourself with no changes. The goal is to integrate the negative aspects of your personality. You still want to achieve a goal you just have to make sure it is a realistic goal and fits with the person that you are natural.

I am still trying to build relationships, romantic and platonic. Now I concentrate on a few groups that I enjoy. I build my relationships over time now. Instead of putting on a mask that I think everyone will like, I am genuinely myself. When you expose yourself and become vulnerable, you will need to put small pieces out there to prove to yourself that you are safe. Once you feel comfortable, you will put more of yourself at risk. I had to accept that this will take time. My goal now is to have a few close friends, not being popular.

That is a real progression in shadow work. You accept who you are naturally and work with yourself. You can still improve; you just do it in a self-loving way. Also, you realize that you do not need to fit into an external ideal.

The problem with Law of Attraction

Bill Harris, Creator of Holosync® on The Secret

 The video above is of Bill Harris talking about the power of Law of Attraction (LOA). Bill Harris tell the story of his bullied gay student. The man catches hell from almost everyone he knows. Harris suggests that positive thinking, such as Law of Attraction, can change his life. The man tries it and VIOLA…. All the bullies leave his life is roses, and he is off to become a great stand-up comedian.

   I will say that the Law of Attraction and positive thinking can have a profound effect on your life. I never experienced anything as bad as what I saw in the video. However, I did have many problems dealing with people, and I had more confrontations with other people than other people I knew. Positive thinking and consciously controlling my body language had profound effects on how people interacted with me. Modifying my behavior and thinking, otherwise known as evolving in the I-Space was a huge help, but was not the total solution.    

   One has to wonder how the unnamed man in the video came to the conclusion that being gay would lead to physical and mental abuse. We all know how he came to the conclusion, physical and psychological abuse is a very real for gay people. This abuse is an IT-Space problem. There is no way to make people not homophobic. However, you can limit their abuse by sternly enforcing laws and creating protections for gay people.

   The other question is what made this unnamed man want to spill his guts to a man teaching an internet course. It is possible that something Harris said or did trigger him in a cathartic manner. It is also possible the unnamed man did not have a good support group of other gay individuals that could give him advice. Lack of support is a WE-Space problem. The solution would be to find or start a support group of LGBT people that can provide a safe space to vent frustrations.

   The danger of this video is the suggestion that an individual is in total control of his world. I have heard many people make the argument that your world can change with positive thinking or trying your very best. The idea an individual is in total control is an assumption so naive that it barely necessitates a response. However, if one is needed, I will provide it. I-Space solutions will only take you so far. I-Space ultimately allows a person to take advantage of opportunities created by IT-Space solutions and support created by WE-Space solutions.

   Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain is one of the best books on positive thinking. It explains how positive thinking helps a person get over mental blocks that prevent a person from having success.  Creative Visualization can remedy a mental block such as feeling unloved. Saying the affirmation “I love” over and over again in your head will erase those thoughts. That is the extent of I-Space solutions; the I-Space solutions help a person get out of their way.

   In summary, it is incorrect, insensitive, and dangerous to suggest that a person can totally change their reality by positive thinking. It is very unlikely that the unnamed man’s life changed that quickly or drastically. Anytime there’s a problem, I, WE, and IT Space solutions need to be evaluated and implemented. Each type of solution in isolation will be limited and only work on a small scale.

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