The Hero and Villian in You

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A great example of the character transformation process in the individual can best be demonstrated in the stories and movies of the superhero protagonist.  I watched a trailer last week of the movie, Venom.  Within the three minute peak, there was an accurate depiction of the process of the emergence that takes place during an essential change of personal character.  In the trailer, the main character is a weak, plain, uptight soft spoken man in his mid 30s. He appears to be a pushover who gets lost in the overwhelming surroundings of circumstances and people.  There seems to be an untold process underway that screams a necessary change must take place within the personality of the person or the character will never emancipate himself from the grips of passivity and victimization.  This change manifests itself into the unexpected “repossessing of the soul” in the form of an indestructible god-like serpent that strives to take complete control of the character’s actions.  In the clip, giant tentacles involuntarily break loose from the protagonist’s body, pummeling and subduing the “bad guys.”  Through it all, the character demonstrates a loss of control, helplessly pleading to the entity within for a share in control, to which the monster replies something like “we do what we want, is that a deal?”  I have to admit that I haven’t watched the movie, but I can take a chance of predicting that the weak character progressively comes to terms with the unknown monster within him, he learns to live with it, possibly destroying or integrating it into his weaker known traits, and utilizes “the shadow” to conquer the opposing evil in the external world.  

The process of transformation often takes place in multidimensional phases, sometimes occurring with or without our knowledge- but our knowledge greatly influences the kind of path it takes.  First, there is an unrecognized knowledge of the dark powerful traits of our personality.  We carry through life wearing a mask (the persona) and living by shoulds or over-identifying with passivity or timidness.  Then, the suppression of the powerful impulses emerge into waking consciousness seeking existence due to constant repression.  These are the unidentified parts often taking a primitive form of expression and can create many disturbances and chaos in daily life.  This is where destructive behaviors form.  These forms have the ability to annihilate the individual without proper integration into awareness. Lastly, given the level of insight and willingness, the individual confronts the shadow, becomes knowledgeable of its tricks, intentions, and desires, and through effort and self reflection properly merges the shadow into the light of awareness.  Without this awareness and work, the shadow becomes a fully independent, overpowering force calling the shots in the host’s life.  

This process which takes place in the human psyche is as real and evident as the external world.  A suppressed shadow will seek expression with or without consent of the individual.  It is better to perceive and confront a lurking enemy than to pretend he is not there at all.  Embracing these monsters inside of us enables us to properly handle the monsters without.  

2 Boys

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I love two boys dearly.  One of them I had to leave behind in order to give the other a better life.  One is a lighthearted, inquisitive, and affectionate soul.  The other, while quite loving, can be rebellious, fearful, self-destructive, hyper vigilant, and unstable.  One is my son.  The other my inner child.  I stood at a turning point where most men find themselves who are able to reflect and take inventory of personal defects and impediments to growth.  There I found all the hindrances and shortcomings embodied in my inner psychological youth.  It was here in the personification of my inner child that all sources of irrational beliefs lived.  I had to make a decision to part ways with the boy I had intimately known for decades.

The boy within men must be outgrown, tamed, or carefully integrated into adulthood if we are to properly function in the world.  However, when most men find themselves stuck at a crossroad, repeating destructive patterns, or unable to realize their full potential, most times they will find a restless inner child consuming and sabotaging their present realities.  The boy in us may manifest himself in the form of seeking power and control, general mistrust, and a debilitating apprehension to take on new challenges.  Many times, the boy will not adhere to manipulative tactics of persuasion or compromise.  The boy is adamant in getting what it wants and unless effectively confronted will destroy the man he inhabits.  In this case, the inner child must be subdued, bound, and given up for the liberation of a man’s psychological imprisonment.  It is no wonder that biblical stories such as “the binding of Issac” or the crucifixion of Christ resonate well with many of us.  A man must sacrifice faulty beliefs and dysfunctional familial patterns before he can receive the “blessing.”  Subconsciously, we understand that the most primitive and infantile aspects of our psyche must be (or at least one must be willing to) put to rest.  However, the stark difference lies in the fact that our inner child will not comply and lie quietly as Isaac or the Christian Messiah.  The binding, giving up, and the mourning of the inner boy (false and destructive beliefs) is a necessary process, a journey by which we eventually reach complete psychological and spiritual manhood.  

Waking Up

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All things fall apart.  And all things can fall into place.  It all changes when we wake up, when we recognize our reality is happening to us and that this reality must be lived out responsibly.  “It’s a game, a joke, a role” we may say, but the game (life) continues.  Our happiness is not determined by manipulating the order of the game, our happiness is determined by our level of awareness and harmony we align with its laws.  Your role in the game may be one of success or one of lack, but spite of that, your existence validates you are an essential player.  You have been welcomed into the game with a key role to play.  Your awareness of this fact helps you strategize and play the game more effectively.  A realization dawns on us:  the game is ours and everything in it is happening for us.  Reality- the game- is much sweeter when we have finally awakened to it.  

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