To concretize the discussion on subpersonalities, I will present three specific examples of two-chair work with three of my incalculable subpersonalities. The first is a particularly assertive, conditioned, and powerful by-product of the Centaur or Authentic phase of development; he is Apostle, my inner artist. The second is a narcissistic, blithe, and free-spirited youth by the name of Phantasus who pops up from time to time; he is an out-dated and archaic exponent of the rudimentary Mental phase or my Instrumental Self. Finally, we have a feminine emanation of the lower Transpersonal Self or Subtle phase; her name is Solim.
Apostle the Inner Artist
(This comprises part of a larger piece I transcribed only hours after it transpired. My conscious ego or total personality is denoted by the first letter of my actual name (P) and the “voice” of the inner artist by the capital letter A.)
P: Oh Jesus, what can I say! What can one say when somebody decides to use your body so unrelentingly. I don’t do much of anything else anymore other than read and write. Why are you doing this to me? Why won’t you just leave me alone for a few days?
A: (The masculine voice is deep and husky, noticeably different from my own) There’s just so much to be done and I can’t waste a second. There’s a whole pile of books waiting to be read with more on the way. There are articles to be written. There’s a thesis on alchemy and reincarnation waiting to be worked on. Oh, and don’t forget those cool stories I want to write. I’m discovering that I have a deep passion for it and need to express myself creatively through fictional lenses. I have to write those…
P: Stop! You’re not even listening to me. I need you to stop!
(The image in my mind’s eye becomes clearer. Apostle is a tall Nordic figure with pale skin, green-blue eyes, and very rugged features. He is dressed in the attire of a Catholic priest and it takes me by surprise. Why would an artist be dressed as a priest? It doesn’t make any sense at all. There’s obviously a reason. I gawk at the middle-aged man and feel a deep sense of kinship with him. He looks rather aloof but his present disposition won’t fool me. I know about the urgent drive in his soul and the seedy passion flowing from two faucets in his heart like the Trevi fountain.)
P: You need to stop that noise you’ve got going on in your head twenty-four-seven. You know, the whole “I’ve finished that task now onto something else”. You’re non-stop Apostle!
A: I’m constantly being inspired. Messages from the universe are flashing up on screens everywhere.
P: What kind of messages?
A: You know the kind.
P: I do not understand you Apostle.
A: The people upstairs are telling me there’s work to do. They want me to do it.
P: What kind of work are you talking about?
A: Um, things like feminine consciousness and esoteric spirituality. We need to do our bit in spreading the word. Paul, I want to help stamp the transpersonal onto a much bigger map. I want to join up all the dots and see where it all leads. I feel that there are still so many great discoveries about the cosmos waiting to be made and that they’re imminent; they’re on the horizon. Many of them will come from the area of the transpersonal, maybe through altered states and esoteric ideas that haven’t been explored properly. You know, anybody studying history invariably sees that the science and knowledge of the future is always the superstition and irrationality of the present, you know what I mean?
P: Trust me I get it. I really do. I understand this explosive desire you have to express what is inside you. And I kind of understand that this is the right time for it. I am old enough to have garnered enough experience and knowledge about these things and young enough to cope with multiple stresses that come from physical and mental exertion.
A: I must act swiftly. I must not put off till evening what the morning can achieve.
P: Why such urgency Apostle? To be honest with you, I’m already exhausted. I need you to let me rest otherwise I’ll burn out completely. You’ve taken up so much of my time lately and I’ve neglected so many of my other duties and interests just to please you. My social life and my love life are suffering. I don’t have any time to relax. I don’t even have time to do my meditation exercises. Everything is disappearing like a desert mirage right before my very eyes!
A: Think of final causes Paul… think of those final causes… That’s what the beings upstairs always tell me. Trust me; you’ll be glad you did. (Winks at me.)
P: I do Apostle but there are consequences to turning inward. Some of them I don’t like. They disconnect me from other things I want to do.
P: Travelling, gymming, playing sports, that sort of stuff.
P: I know they’re meaningless to you but they’re other parts of me and if you don’t let me do them my body will get very sick. Losing balance in one’s life leads to physical sickness Apostle. You of all people should know that, right? Trust me, I won’t be of any use to you if I’m sick. I won’t be able to function at optimum capacity. Your words will come our skewed, distorted, and forced. Is that what you want?
A: (Sighs.) No I guess not.
P: There’s no reason why we should rush. We’re not rushing to beat time, are we? Fortunately neither one of us is ill or disabled. We’re both perfectly healthy, young, and vibrant. We have a whole lifetime to produce works of art. Trust me, it’s much better to pace ourselves rather than work like we’re on crack and then end up in some oppressive ward at St Vincent’s de Paul with psychic burnout.
A: But I get really restless when I’m not working.
P: (I think about his current situation. What could be work for him and concurrently rest for me?) Oh, I think I’ve found the answer to our problems.
A: What is it?
P: What if I give you other modalities through which your creativity and spirited energies might be expressed? You don’t have to just write all the time. There are other avenues through which you can express yourself, aren’t there? I mean, we all know that you’re adroit in many other areas of the arts too. You play a musical instrument, you dance, you sing, you like to act. Do any of those options appeal to you?
A: Yes, music! I started out as a pianist, a keyboard player. Have you forgotten already?
P: No, not at all. On the contrary, it’s the reason why I suggested it to you.
A: I’d be more than happy with devoting more time to music.
P: I would appreciate that very much Apostle. You’ll be doing me a massive favour, that’s for sure.
A: I will compromise because you’re the hand that feeds me. There’s no use in paddling against the current is there? (Laughs)
P: You won’t be getting far, that’s for sure. Oh, I almost forgot. I wanted to ask you something.
A: Go right ahead.
P: Why are you dressed like a reverend?
A: (Now its Apostle’s turn to be shocked. There is a look of astonishment in his eyes.) Come on, you of all people should know!
P: Enlighten me.
A: You’re far more religious than you’re prepared to admit.
A: You believe in God, as do I. You’re a pious believer Paul. You wouldn’t have found me if you weren’t.
Phantasus the Narcissist
(This comprises part of an exercise in internal dialogue I undertook recently to address an unregenerate and much more carnally orientated aspect of myself. I’ve chosen to baptize this subpersonality with the name Phantasus. For a while he would break through to the conscious surface and then dive back down into depths of the unconscious, coming and going like a flock of migrating storks. His persistence in consciousness, the cycle of innumerable appearances and disappearances, was a compelling indication that something had gone unresolved and undetected within me for years on end. The exercise shed ample light on my internal situation.
In the dialogue below my conscious ego or total personality is denoted by the first letter of my actual name (P) and the “voice” of Phantasus by the letters ‘P’ and ‘h’.)
Ph: (A red-haired youth wearing nothing but a pair of red shorts appears. He is tanned and lean with cherubic facial features. He could almost pass for an animate version of the Cupid depicted in Agnolo Bronzino’s painting ‘An Allegory of Venus and Cupid’.) Why do you have to do that all the time?
P: Do what?
Ph: You’re far too complimentary and noble. You’re far too proper and politically correct. Don’t dish out a compliment just for the sake of pleasing someone Paul. Especially when you don’t mean it. People get the wrong impression.
P: What makes you think that I don’t mean what I say?
Ph: Oh, come on! Are you serious? Why would you tell an overweight older woman that she’s extremely desirable and sexy? Flab isn’t hot.
P: Is that what you think comprises sexy do you? Your physicality?
Ph: Naturally. Everyone knows a hot person when they see one. You can’t take your eyes off them. They’re like a cocktail of drugs, an alcoholic drink. You get drunk just by looking at them. You feel warm electricity shooting up, down, and all around in your loins just by being near them. They ignite the fever of desire within your heart and you burn in it. You’re in hell but you secretly love the torture. You crave it. When these peacocks look at you everything else disappears. Nothing else exists. Nothing else matters.
P: That’s just lust.
Ph: But you’ve felt it heaps of times. Don’t deny it!
P: Sexy has more to do with attitude than what it does with physical appearance.
Ph: You’re a big liar! You can’t fool me Paul. Do you know who I am? I know who you’ve fucked, remember? None of them fit that mould.
P: People change.
Ph: (Laughs) You say that now but if that girl had pulled any moves on you as a result of your pretentious flattery, you would have bolted in the opposite direction at about a million miles per second.
P: I wouldn’t have.
Ph: You would have Paul. I know, and you know. Your dishonesty would have landed you in a most difficult situation. It would have exposed you for the fraud that you are. And all just to put a smile on someone’s face! (He breaks out in a cacophony of laughter.)
P: It was the right thing to do. And I hate to burst your bubble, but I actually really did think she was sexy. She was a woman with attitude.
Ph: Only those who have beautiful faces and great bodies have the kind of attitude you’re talking about.
P: I’m afraid we lock horns there Phantasus. You’ve been blinded by the conventional impression of what beauty actually is. You’ve let that condition and define you so completely that seeing things from a more objective perspective has become completely impossible.
Ph: Talk about a case of the pot calling the kettle black! You too have been blinded.
P: By what?
Ph: A great many things. You’re way too politically correct for my liking. You’ve become this massive weirdo that sees beauty and love in everything and everyone. It reminds me of those religious cults that are completely removed from consensus reality where the leader gets all the group members to hold hands, kiss one another, and hug one another every ten minutes. It’s a charade, and I find charades pukeworthy Paul. I put it all down to the books you’ve been reading and the kind of people you’ve been hanging around with lately. The ‘spiritualists’, as you call them. They’ve changed you for the worst.
P: Finally it all comes out! I can’t believe that this has upset you so much.
Ph: We used to be so cool Paul.
P: Ignorant and proud is more like it. Small even.
Ph: No, you’re wrong. Don’t you remember how good things were years ago? We were this little spunk that used to turn heads wherever we went. Smokin’ hot we were! We worked hard in the gym and played even harder in bed. We pleased and were very pleased. We were direct and honest. We used to tell people what we thought of them irrespective of whether it was positive or negative. Consequences weren’t all that important. We were the ultimate party animal. We were spontaneous; always ready for an adventure. We were like a mountain spring; our energy was inexhaustible. That was real freedom. But now things have changed. The Others have crept in whilst I was sleeping and taken over the control panel. They’ve chained me to this little corner of your mind and I can’t stand it.
P: I’m really sorry you feel that way Phantasus.
Ph: Why can’t you just release me?
P: If I release you as you are now you’ll end up drowning in your own self-absorption.
Ph: I won’t.
P: I might consider it if you change the way you think. For the time being I think it’s best to leave you right where you lay .You’re just too volatile and explosive when you’re free; a bit like mercury fulminate. I’m sorry Phantasus, but I can’t risk even the slightest damage to the tower I’m building.
Ph: I love you.
P: Even that has changed. I know the way that you love, but I love in a way that is completely foreign to you. We are no longer compatible.
P: You are enamoured of matter Phantasus.
Ph: What’s that supposed to mean?
P: It means that you love things. You place too much value in physical things. You’re in love and with a distorted idea of what physical beauty actually is.
Ph: I love everyone who fits in with that idea. So what?
P: My current assessment of you is that you’re a one-dimensional brat; you’re superficial, narrow, and self-absorbed.
Ph: But how? I love you more than I love anything or anyone else in the world. I’ve stuck by you through thick and thin, for better or for worse. I’ve been faithful to you since your earliest memories of child’s play. How is that self-absorbed?
P: Your stern fidelity and dedication towards me has detained you from loving anyone or anything else. It amuses me that you can’t see that.
Ph: And it amuses me that you’d take your precious little castle over the mountains, the rivers, the oceans, the canyons, and the forests that lie beyond. How can you reject the bliss you’ve experienced by exploring them with me?
P: Trust me Phantasus I haven’t forgotten the places we’ve been to together. I don’t think I’ll ever forget them. I reflect upon those experiences with fondness. Sometimes I even get a little nostalgic. The other day I was looking at a photo we took back at the Kourtaliotiko Gorge together. Do you remember the hike all the way down to the grove of African palms in the ravine and then plunging into the mountain waters of the river? Do you remember?
Ph: Ah, yes! We were savouring the perfect solitude by swimming in the Kourtaliotis River butt-naked and then got ambushed by a mob of tourists. That was funny.
P: Yes and very unruly, to say the least! We have been in some pretty embarrassing situations when I think back. For me, the past is a secret cave full of gold-laden treasures but it is also a constricted egocentric space full of material wealth, much of it alloyed with guilt, insincerity, anger, and depredation. I appreciate the experiences I’ve accumulated there and can reflect upon them with love and understanding, but I can never return there. Not with any authenticity anyway.
What I’m creating now comes from within, and is much more real, honest, self-reliant, and cherished than what I had before. I am working authentically, weaving my future from the fabric of my very soul. If I could summarize the sentiment of my past with one word it would be ‘doubt’; alternatively, my present and future are very ‘certain’. Building my little castle has taken me away from the impulsive bliss and other sensuous landscapes of which you speak, but it has also birthed a contentment and purpose that only come when one builds a concrete dream with one’s own sweat and blood. The satisfaction that derives from the latter is insurmountable.
Ph: That’s too deep for me. Can we at least revisit some of the places when you finish building your castle?
P: Only if you make a concerted effort to change Phantasus, okay? If I let you out now, you’ll probably drown in your own reflection.
Solim, an emanation of the Divine Feminine
(This comprises part of an awe-inspiring exercise I undertook many years ago. My conscious ego or total personality is denoted by the first letter of my actual name (P) and the “voice” of the entity Solim by the capital letter S. In this particular sequence, I imagined that I was crossing a suspension bridge connecting one side of a gorge to the other. I couldn’t see much of the surrounding topography because the sun had already set and only the last vestiges of twilight remained. There was a beautiful turquoise lake amidst a prodigiously flowery prairie on the other side. Light seemed to be emanating from it. An opaque figure materialized in the middle of the lake and took on the form of a woman with chalk white skin, cascading black hair, and very sharply defined facial features. The beautiful texture and quality of her skin was preternatural and eluded verbal definition. Her sheer size betrayed the notion that was not of our world. She hovered over the lake like a dragonfly, looking directly into my eyes.)
S: (In a feminine voice which has a very musical and harmonic quality.) I was hoping you would come tonight.
P: How come?
S: My lady needs your help.
P: You have a mistress Solim?
P: Who is she?
S: I can’t tell you that but she says you can help.
S: She keeps an eye out for what goes on in your world. She keeps tabs on you. You’re a potential disciple.
P: Trust me, that’s too great an honour for the likes of someone like me. I’m just a wacky spun-out writer. (Laughing.) She won’t get much intelligible banter out of me.
S: You’re on her list.
P: (I begin to feel a little nervous.) What am I supposed to do?
S: You’ll know once I show you Paul.
P: What are you going to show me?
S: The truth.
P: About what?
S: About your origins; who you are and where you come from. Isn’t that what you’ve all been wanting to know? Isn’t that what you’re all been trying to remember?
P: Not everyone Solim. A lot of people are happy living in ignorance. They abide by the popular philosophy “what we don’t know won’t hurt us”.
S: (In a serious tone.) My lady tells me that the time of the awakening is near Paul. Or should I call you Apostle?
P: Paul is fine.
S: She wants you see a bird’s eye view of creation.
P: A what?
S: Come forward and look at your reflection in the water.
P: (I hesitate.) How do I know that this isn’t some trick and that you’re not going to turn me to stone or something?
S: (Laughs.) You’re a funny boy. You know I have no such intentions Paul. You are an intuitive creature. Deep down, you know that I’m completely genuine.
P: (I take a few steps forward until I reach the edge of the lake. Then I smile sheepishly and look down, expecting to see my own reflection but instead I see deep space, or something that looks like the nebulous vicissitudes of deep space.)
S: Behold a bird’s eye view of creation!
S: Now, you’ll have to give me a second or two to reacquaint myself with a kind of self-induced hypnosis that I’ve labelled ‘double vision’. It’s a way of knowing through intuition, remembering knowledge by shifting the gears of your own consciousness. It’s been a long while since I’ve done it. The left eye remains firmly grounded in present time, the now, whilst the right enacts a big leap straight onto the monocular highway of interference patterns, enabling me that much sought and bird’s eye view of the entire cosmos.
Think of it like a photon or electron being in two places at the same time, which is, dare I say, a definite possibility. You could even relate it to the human condition; don’t people live in the prison of their own thoughts while interacting with the outer world? I’d bet that you’re perfectly able to converse with the neighbour next door about trivial matters and autogenerate fantasies of erotic nature about your best friend’s partner at the same time. True?
P: (I blush.) I guess so.
S: Anyway, here we are–fifteen milliard years ago, or thereabouts. You weren’t around then, neither was I for that matter. It was hot, extremely hot; about a million degrees Kelvin. Think of swimming through a tunnel of molten rock, or lying flat on your face in a metal-melting furnace. But there weren’t any metals, minerals or glass to shape or fashion, not just yet anyway. What little there was bathed in poisons, in ratsack, in noxious gases. The density then was such that it was impossible to hold onto even a scrap of originality, of personality, of colour and of memory, for any longer than a millimetre of a microsecond. The potentiality was there; it would form for a fleeting second, but the inability to withstand the tremendous pressures of the primordial heat would destabilise its core, its inner being, and it would sink back into the unformed chaos, silent and hopeless, over and over and over again. That’s how…
P: What just happened? The images you were showing me have disappeared from view.
S: My lady just told me to skip the entrée and get straight into the main course.
P: Is she here now?
S: Yup. She’s looking over us as we speak.
P: (My eyes dart about but I just can’t pick up any vibrations that betray another presence.) Hmm…
S: Okay, here we are. Can you see anything?
P: Yeah little tree-like organisms. They look like neurons.
S: That’s exactly what they are. I’ve fast-forwarded to about two million years ago, when my lady was urgently attempting to supress her reptilian urges by dressing the human brainstem and all its associate parts with an intricate web of grey matter, millions neural of layered neural connections that have been called the neocortex by scientists; she then proceeded to mould it into two parts, the left and right, a fatal mistake on her part for it castrated humanity of their ability to perceive reality simply, clearly, and directly. The introduction of duality of being into perception brought with it an intangible bias, and with that bias came problems of authenticity and falsehood.
P: So your lady realised her fatal mistake as soon as she’d made it.
S: That’s exactly right Paul. She brooded on the botched job for some time before attempting to patch things up by bridging the two sides of the human brain with a bundle of nerve fibres that scientists now call the corpus callosum. But as she was putting the finishing touches to the most complex piece of matter in the universe, something unprecedented happened. Something which makes the recent Indonesian earthquake and tsunami, and the even more recent ones in Japan, appear miniscule and insignificant by comparison. The upgraded, modern class of homo sapiens haven’t seen anything like this, not just yet anyway.
P: What could have happened that was so consequential Solim?
S: An asteroid breached the gravitational force field of the earth and came hurtling down towards the crust at twelve kilometres per second, burying itself in what was then the oceanic waters of the eastern Pacific. It was apocalyptic and awesome, fatal as well. By then life on earth had attained complexity, a definitive stage in its own evolution, and may not have thought as such at the time. The energy released from the collision was like a mini supernova–severely ex nihilo, a something-from-nothing event. Water was sprayed two kilometres into the skies, forming ice clouds that strangled the planet with darkness. Kinetic forces stirred up a towering wall of water; five hundred meters high it was! Fish from the deep sea found themselves marooned on the peaks of the Peruvian Andes and Transantarctic Mountains, the salt that washed over the land made it silent and very poisonous; the planet was thrown off its known axis of rotation.
P: But that wasn’t enough to devastate life on earth Solim.
S: Of course not. The characteristic that most defines my lady is her resilience, her adaptability, her dogged determination. She wasn’t about to let herself be defeated by a jolt, especially an extra-terrestrial one. She was a survivor. My lady had grown roots between chert and rocks; she’d buried herself headfirst in superheated springs and wedged herself between glaciers in the highest mountains. She’d even found a way to thrive in the deepest trenches of the sea. There’s no way that she would lose this battle; she could not, would not, lose. It was as simple as that. It ended up being a bit of an extended crisis in self-esteem. She managed to escape the charring, but she had been branded. The event dubbed itself over in the unconscious memetic tape of human survivors, and was dispersed to the four corners of the globe. Oral tradition became enamoured with it, picking it apart, polishing it, embellishing it with cultural-specific paraphernalia, before the now full developed current of human memory washed it into the deluge myths of the mother civilisations. Know for a fact that the Epic of Gilgamesh, Manu, Pyrrha and Deucalion, Noah’s Ark and Atlantis are all highly distorted memories of this mind-blowing event.
P: Interesting stuff. I guess it would have been a disaster had your lady not overcome the sudden change of conditions on the planet. Right?
S: Exactly Paul. Had she jumped ship, there would have been no way for intelligence– what the gods define as pure consciousness, pure spirit, or the diamond body–to possess the highest echelon of my lady’s creation, the homo sapien. There would have been no sufficiently developed creature to possess, at least not one which the gods thought worthy of possession, and thus the experiment would have been a dismal failure. There’s absolutely no way that I could have been born in mortal form either, or any of the other gods, for that matter.
P: Now you’ve lost me. Which gods are you talking about Solim?
S: We have always existed, vigilant and scorching, our inner being twinkling like stars over the supernal desert skies. We have always sought expression through material form, waiting for an ecliptic alignment between membranes which enabled transmission. Aeons of time had decreed the enterprise a failure, but the birth, survival and continual evolution of simple, and then of complex life on earth remained a brimming source of hope, and my lady’s conscious will to experiment with form ensured that our attention never strayed as much as a fraction of a picometre from Planet Earth.
Fortunately, somebody may have been holding, even kissing a four-leave clover when my lady realised her mistake in dividing the human neocortex. She actually missed a small part; a very complex piece of matter packed full of nerve tissue, as dense as any intergalactic pulsar. It was granular and resembled the human eye, fully equipped with its own lenses, cornea and retina. But unlike its external counterpart it detected something far more majestic and explosive than wavelengths of light. This, the organ decreed by your inadequate science to be the pineal gland, never suffered the mathematical division, subtraction, or revision the other contents of the head did by being halved and then paired together. Division was a biological action which induced kaleidoscopic vision, a true distortion and reduction of reality. As an electrochemical port to the entire information universe, it destroyed the bonds which held reality to the five physical senses. The appearance of this all-seeing eye meant that complex life had finally reached critical mass, a point at which it was entirely receptive to fertilisation by the seed of intelligence.
P: I think I know what you’re trying to tell me by showing me the ‘bird’s eye view’.
S: Be my guest.
P: Well, we humans see life as entirely indigenous to Planet Earth and the forms of matter that have evolved here; on the other hand, intelligence, pure consciousness, spirit, mind, call it what you will–the vital force which enables self-reflection and freedom from the passivity of contingencies set by the mechanical environment–is a distinct entity which has come from without. Am I correct?”
S: You’re exactly right. It manifested spontaneously in the human brain, taking its seat once the pineal gland bridged the space between the two membranes and allowed cross-dimensional transmission. Some of you are schooled to say mind over matter, a reality which has to my knowledge been accredited by twenty-first century consciousness; but I’m sorry to say that mind as distinct entity is in no way indigenous to Planet Earth.
P: I had always entertained the possibility that it might be so.
S: My lady knows that.
P: Of course.
S: She saw it.
P: I think I started entertaining it on a subconscious level after I heard about that guy from a university in Scotland who had no more than a handful of neurons in his skull but still enjoyed the same cognitive functions and abilities that people equipped with customary brains do. It spun me out a little.
S: Yes. Naturally, there is no way that your average human being can have, would have, any knowledge of any of this, for the singular event of which I speak, one that offers practical, definitive confirmation, occurred a very long time ago, a time when homo sapiens were still communal in their habits; the state-specific memory that they encompassed at that point in their evolution evaporated into oblivion when they began to think, to act, and to discriminate as distinct entities. And the coming of that selfish, two-dimensional ego called the “I” or “me”–me this, me that–a self-induced tunnel vision which scrutinises, judges, and reduces holistic, interconnected, and living wholes down to their anatomical parts; measures everything with clocks, tape measures, and formulae; and tries to put labels on everything has been a huge part of the problem. It has mercilessly squashed memories of the great primordial power, the womb from whence the gods themselves came; their lives and their great feats on earth; the inner terrain of the soul; the invisible worlds; and the intuitive way of knowing.
P: Do you speak of the materia prima?
S: Oh, that great primordial power… the mere mention of the word, the remembrance of that state of being, still makes my inner thoughts quiver like lumps of jelly.
P: (I realize that the images on the lake have disappeared and that I can now see my own reflection.) I presume you’ve finished showing me everything it is you wanted to show me.
S: I have shown you the truth.
P: I’m still unsure as to what I’m supposed to do with this information. Where to from here?
S: It will come to you much sooner than you think. Just wait and see.
P: I’ve been waiting my whole life Solim.
S: (She winks at me and dematerializes from sight, leaving me alone before the tranquil, limpid lake.)