The Whole Self

For most of my adult life, I worked in marketing and advertising agencies on behalf of the world's leading brands. 

 

This work taught me a great deal about consumer culture and the power of modern media, the greatest lessons I ultimately learned were about human behavior and identity. To communicate effectively with my audience, I needed to understand their deepest desires and aspirations.  

In the early part of my career, I found this work to be fun and challenging.  It was a fun game figuring out what people wanted.  But as the years went on, I started to burn out.  I wasn't proud of my work  or the effects I observed it had on the modern society and the natural environment.  It was clear to me that endlessly stimulated consumption was not only unsustainable for the physical environment, but it was also psychologically exhausting for people living within the culture.

 

I knew this not as some as some intellectual exercise, because I was exhausted myself.  I was done convincing people that things like happiness and success could be acquired or purchased

Around the time I turned thirty, I finally accepted that contentment couldn't be consumed in the way modern consumer culture suggested it could.  .And so I began looking for fulfillment down other avenues s, I began  studying the world's great wisdom traditions, meditative disciplines, and spiritual teachers.  

THE I MODEL & CONSUMER TRIBALISM

If you're like most Americans (or Westerners in general), you probably also grew up in close proximity to a television that streamed a whole lot of information.  Some of this information came through the news, some came through your favorite shows, and some came through the advertising around those shows.

Basically, modern capitalism runs on consumption.  And in a world where consumption patterns that determine where the money in our system flows, pools, and concentrates, human attention is the most valuable thing to acquire. 

While our deepest needs can't be fulfilled in this way, the conditioning we receive is so pervasive (thanks in large part to modern media) that it seeps into us without our noticing.  Once internalized, it becomes so ingrained in our collective consciousness that we often chase things that we believe we will make us happy or fulfilled; not realizing that what we're after can't be found in this way.

The good news is that the true path to fulfillment, authenticity, and self-realization--has been well explored and chronicled by the world's great teachers, psychologists, and philosophers.  And the wisdom they've left behind is unanimous in its insistence that true transformation begins within.  It begins when we reclaim our attention from a world of distraction and cultivate a new quality of awareness.  

If we desire to see our world restored to sanity, then naturally we must stop giving our attention to self-destructive activities.  And you don't have to look long at consumer culture's endless drive to make us consume more and more to see how unsustainable it is both for us as individuals and the planet.  

 

While intellectually we might see that, this doesn't immediately change the fact that we are conditioned from early on to tie consumption to contentment.  For this reason, if we wish to stop feeding a system that exhausts us (and our world), then we as individuals must get underneath our conditioned habits.  

70% of the American economy is driven by consumer spending.  

TBD Factoid

How it Started

As my explorations of psychology and spirituality deepened, I began to realize that certain ideas kept showing up.  

For example, the concept of "service" showed up in both Western psychology and Eastern spirituality.

Soon, I began to wonder what the relationship was between these common terms.  Seemingly, if these terms commonly showed up across various traditions and cultures, 

 

Eventually I started to wonder how these important terms and ideas related to one another.  

Two sides.  Same Coin.  

After a decade working in advertising and then half a decade exploring humanity's great wisdom traditions, I came to see that these seemingly divergent worlds were actually two sides of one coin.  

Modern consumer culture--which is the dominant conditioning influence in Western society--primarily reinforces the egoic or separate self. It drives consume our way to a deeper realization of our identity.  

The challenge was that with the power of modern media (and consumer culture streaming constantly through it) it was incredibly difficult to break through the noise.  

&

the self we're sold

the Self of "Old"

Explore The Origin of The I Model

Nearly all modern marketing points toward the individual's deep driving desire to free, alive, and fulfilled.  

It seeks to resonate with a part of us 

Everywhere we look, we are encouragd to realize our greatest potential, our fullest identity.  We are even told where to look.   

Healthy consumption habits begin with a healthy sense of self. 

A healthy sense of self arises from a deep level of Self-Awareness.  

in search of balance

Equilibrium is a state in which opposing forces or influences are balanced. And when we think about our current world and our place in it as individuals, we have to acknowledge that we are, as global climate crisis accelerates, currently seriously out of balance.  And as we think about what each of us can do to set the scales straight, I believe it's essential that each of us make the trek beyond the egoic traps of consumerism (that drive both our own burn-out and the exhaustion of the earth's resources). 

"Nature once determined how we survive.  Now we determine how nature survives. One of the thing's Darwin's work has taught us that we break nature's connections at our peril, yet break them we do, at ever greater speed.  The impacts of our growing population and our consumption now directly threaten our own future..." 

- David Attenborough

CLOSING THE LOOP

On one level, the I Model offers individuals a new way to understand the relationship between the separate egoic self (or false self) and the True Self. 

 

 close the loop between an unsustainable consumer culture that drives individuals and the environment to its breaking point.  

Now I'm not saying that the mind isn't wonderfully complex.  It is! 
 

But for the sake of our exploration hereWe emerge into our world with minds that are, while not blank, definitely open.  As we consume information from the world around us, our minds begin to construct an understanding of how our world works. 

 

They also construct for us a sense of self so we know how we fit in.  

little me consuming content

 If you're like most Americans (or Westerners in general), you probably also grew up in close proximity to a television that streamed a whole lot of information.  Some of this information came through the news, some came through your favorite shows, and some came through the advertising around those shows.

While our deepest needs can't be fulfilled in this way, the conditioning we receive is so pervasive that it seeps into us without our noticing.  Once internalized, it becomes so ingrained in our collective consciousness that we often chase things that we believe we will make us happy or fulfilled; not realizing that what we're after can't be found in this way.

The good news is that the true path to fulfillment, authenticity, and self-realization--has been well explored and chronicled by the world's great teachers, psychologists, and philosophers.  And the wisdom they've left behind is unanimous in its insistence that true transformation begins within


And while territory is well known, as individuals we have our work cut out for us learning how to navigate to it.  First, we must understand why it is so difficult to turn inward and how the external world prevents us from making "headway".  As someone who spent a decade of his life working inside the machinery of digital marketing, advertising, and public relations, I understand all too well how many forces are arrayed against the individual seeking deeper levels of truth and equanimity.

If we desire to see our world restored to sanity, then naturally we must stop feeding insane activities.  And you don't have to look long at consumer culture's endless drive to make us consume more and more to see how unsustainable it is both for us as individuals and the planet.  While intellectually we might see that, this doesn't immediately change the fact that we are conditioned from the moment we are born into a cultural program that ties consumption to contentment.  For this reason, if we wish to stop feeding a system that exhausts us (and our world), then we as individuals must de-program ourselves.  

 

A virtuous cycle begins every time an individual realizes the falseness of the system and then begins to act consciously within it.  No longer falling prey to advertising that seeks to reinforce our sense of lack, we can pour our financial energy into things that truly nourish us and our well-being.

While the I Model offers a new way of thinking our outer and inner worlds, in many ways it's nothing new.  Reason being, I built theThe I Model is drawn from the insights of the world's leading psychologists, scientists, and spiritual teachers as well as the humanity's great wisdom traditions.  In this sense, it's really just a re-mix or re-synthesis of a wide array of human knowledge.  

It's my hope that by synthesizing this wide array of human insight into one single map, it will serve you in your path toward deeper self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and fulfillment.

  

Explore The Origin of The I Model

Nearly all modern marketing points toward the individual's deep driving desire to free, alive, and fulfilled.  

It seeks to resonate with a part of us 

Everywhere we look, we are encouragd to realize our greatest potential, our fullest identity.  We are even told where to look.   

When advertising is at it's best, it's telling the truth in such a way that it stirs something inside us. 

 

The hitch, of course, is that advertisements aren't telling the truth for the heck of it.  They're trying to sell us something.  In other words, they need something from us.  Sometimes it's money, but sometimes it's more than that.  A lot more.  

On the face theto get us to do something, want something, or become something more.  

This sets the whole 

 

SEPARATENESS:

Everybody's gotta start somewhere and if you're a human being, your starting point in life begins in your o.  It begins with birth into a distinct body with a specific name and certain surroundings.  

After that, it's a whole lot of learning about how this world works.  

 

FEAR

One of the first things we learn is that the world is dangerous.  We learn that to stay alive, we need to listen to our family and other authority figures who wish to keep us safe.

I MODEL WITH CONSUMER CULTURE SLANT 

 

JUDGMENT

As we grow up, our minds become conditioned by our culture and surroundings.  This is natural.  We must learn learn the rules, and ultimately how to keep our spot in the human tribe.  This means that when we're young we often fall into a habit of seeking approval from those who ensure our physical survival (i.e. parents and loved ones) and those who ensure our social survival (i.e. our peers). 

Once that core need is met, the individual aspires to set their self apart as valuable members within the tribe.  

 

ASPIRATION

The wheel of aspiration exhausts us because we cannot be fed by images forever.  Even if we keep hunting after more and more authentic images, we are nonetheless aspiring to an image driven by a sense of fear.  It takes committing to seeking truth to get out of this spin cycle and on our way to deeper levels of self awareness. 

Our pursuit of authenticity becomes obsessive because we believe aliveness exists by acquiring the authentic image of the good life.

Learning from the world around us, we discover what our tribe believes and values.  In turn, we learn what we should aspire to if we wish to be embraced by our tribe. 

In our modern context, this means we are always scanning the environment unconsciously for cues that will keep us in the good graces of those around us.  But once this core need is met, most of our energy goes toward figuring out how to"get ahead".  In Western culture, where 

 

ACQUISITION

Born into an environment of fear, judgment, and a focus on "the way things look" we are predisposed to seek out things that will put us on the "right" side of the crowd's judgment. GEnerally speaking, we do not have the discernment in ourselves early on to think for ourselves and so we accept the point of view that is most not only most acceptable but also most likely to earn us admiration, respect, and even love. And so, we set off on our aspirational journey to acquire all the things that we believe will set us apart and make us worthy of approval and acceptance. 

Growing from a mindset rooted in separateness, we tend to treat the world as a field of objects waiting to be procured, acquired, or consumed. Whether it's a prestigious education, a powerful job, a sexy spouse, a big house, or children, we are programmed by our society to seek out external things that we believe will produce some combination of internal happiness and external acceptance--or admiration.

In my experience, all transformation shares one common trait:  it starts from the inside out.  It begins with the individual making a conscious decision to stop reacting and start respond with intention and intelligence.

It's this shift, at the individual level, that moves the world forward.  And these days, with challenges growing beyond old boundaries, it's more important than ever that more individuals step into their full capacity and give their gifts.  The more aligned we become internally, the more we embody our truth outwardly and the more resonant our message becomes.  The greater our impact.  

a modern map for psycho-spiritual exploration and development synthesizing the core insights of the world's great wisdom traditions, spiritual teachers, psychologists, and thinkers (false self to true Self in 19 Steps)

 

PROJECTION

Of course, it's not enough just to acquire all the things and hide them away. As social creatures who are always peering outward to understand the both the hierarchy and valuess of our tribe, it's essential to project our acquisitions outwardly. 

 

ACTUALIZATION

This sets in motion a conflict within the psyche that The underlying assumption of projection is that once we get the surface just so that all the things we want in life will come to us.

 

SUFFERING

While suffering exists at all levels of the journey, the suffering one experiences after some life event has been actualized is unique. It's unique because, all along we have held inside our mind the belief that our happiness and fulfillment, which we have sought and has eluded us for so long, will finally arrive when we attain our vision and actualize some facet of our self (i.e. the big job, the special someone, etc.). So, to actualize this image--to make the dream happen--is to confront a fearful proposition: the thing we thought would fill our tank, didn't fill it for very long. Soon, we are unfulfilled and dissatisfied and don't know why. Nothing in our mind prepared us for this possibility, so now we spin. We wonder where we went wrong. We look back on our path for mistakes--as if some individual decision in the past singularly produced this outcome. We look for ways to remedy our discomfort with our fading victory. At this stage, it's very easy to fall back into the spin cycle of culturally conditioned aspiration. But for those who are more discerning, they are likely to notice that the problem is not in seeking the wrong thing. It's that there's a large hole in the bucket which will always empty out. If we wish to plug it, then we must seek TRUTH.

 
 

TRUTH

seeking, success, society

PRESENCE

To deepen in our search for truth, we must become present.   And in becoming present to our current condition and state of mind, we are accruing deeper levels of awareness.  Whether practicing mindfulness, meditation, or any other modality, we ultimately are learning compassion for ourselves and creating a healthy relationship toward the egoic voice.  Once we find this within ourselves, our relationship to "other" selves fundamentally shifts.  

AWARENESS

As we turn inward, the core task before us is to build awareness like a muscle.  After all, we've conditioned into such high levels of reactivity that it's necessary to reclaim our awareness. Primarily this is harnessed through meditation. It's about getting not just comfortable being alone inside our minds, but curious what's hiding inside them. But rather than letting our thoughts take us on a ride, our goal is to become the observer of our thoughts. Of course, since we've just turned the corner from the "outside" world to the "inside" world, the mind is hardly a hospitable place to be. After all, our mind has been deeply impressed upon and conditioned by our culture and environment; it's full of thoughts, ideas, and all matter of experience. Like a movie theater that runs all night long, there's always a show going on. The challenge before the individual turning within is to learn to sit and watch. This is not to make culture or the world out to be "bad" but if we are seeking to know ourselves more deeply, to uncover the truth of our suffering, and stumble into things like bliss, well, we need to sharpen awareness.

 

COMPASSION

At the compassion phase, we bring our growing awareness to all the negativity within our mind. We pay close attention to all the voices and do our best not to get carried away by them. We anchor Awareness and hold space for all our thoughts to arise and pass away. Instead, we pay especially close attention to every time our mind tells us that we "should" do or be something. Should is a dead give away that we are operating out of cultural conditioning and societal programming. In essence, our mind is trying to push us back between the lines of learned acceptability. While this is not to trample on morality (i.e don't kill people) concern for the well-being of others should never be overlooked, it serves no one to hide our true nature. The insidious side of these kinds of "shoulds" is that they threaten to make us into perfect societal drones! After all, if we're always doing what we've been told we should do, it's going to be mighty hard to get beneath this noise and discover what we must do at the level of our soul. So at this stage of the process, the goal is to bring compassion to all our inner tormenters.

 

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty." - Albert Einstein

INTEGRATION

Spiritual bypassing occurs when we skip past the integration phase (i.e. Awareness and Compassion) which would 

As we deepen in awareness and bring greater compassion to ourselves, inevitably we must confront those sides of ourselves that we would rather ignore. Perhaps there are parts of our life we feel guilt or shame about. Perhaps we are still processing deep grief from losses endured or anger towards others who mistreated us in our lives. At the intregration phase, we are turning our awareness onto our unresolved feelings--to all those things from our past (and our life's story) that have refused to release (or we have unconsciously avoided out of fear). There are a variety of modalities that are available to us to integrate our past traumas and unresolved emotions. These can include therapy, counseling, meditaiton, shamanic healing, or a variety of other modalities. Regardless of which path speaks to us, it's essential that we process what we have been unable to confront. Like a clogged filter, we must seek to tap into these energetic blockages which inhibit our full expression.

 

EMBODIMENT

As we come to integrate more of our unresolved emotions and find peace with our life's story, we step into Embodiment. Because we have found new levels of peace with ourselves and processed the stuck energy past, our presence enlivens the world. In direct contrast to egoic projection which seeks to put up a facade or front, the embodied individual has less and less interest in putting up any kind of facade as it's much easier and more joyful to simple be who we are. Showing up 100% the world can receive us 100%. Everybody wins.

 

SERVICE

As we step into deeper levels of embodiment, we begin to lose our self-protective tendencies.  Lifting away limiting beliefs and deepening in compassion for ourselves and others, we begin to see that we feel most alive when are getting outside ourselves.  And this is why stepping into deeper levels of service to our world are s.  And that's because we can only give to others what we have within ourselves. Or, said another way, the best way to support others is from a strong foundation and a coherent, integrated knowledge of who we are and how we came to be. Uncovering who we are, the good and the

 

SELFLESSNESS

Back when we were aspiring to the societal program, we were driven by fear of being cast out of the tribe. So, we chose to aspire to what the authorities in our culture told us was acceptable and desirable. But as we aspired, acquired, and ultimately actualized ourselves according to that plan, we discovered that it exhausted us or exposed us to the emptiness of success. But once we turned the corner to deepen in awareness, we came to understand that conditioning and fear were unavoidable. We learned to have compassion for ourselves and reclaimed those facets of ourselves that we were taught were unacceptable. We began integrating these lost parts and embodying ourselves more fully in the world. And in doing this, we began to serve the world by embodying a greater level of authenticity and truth within ourselves. But now we come up against a confusing proposition--and that is that the story of our "self"--even integrated is, still another conceptual container inhibiting us from acting freely. After all, if we always have to live through the lens of the life we already lived, then we're perpetually living in the past. Creatively speaking, this confines life and us (aka life itself). Instead, we must learn to de-couple from our story and allow for spontaneity. Rather than destroy our self--which does not serve life--we must de-story our self and so create more space for life's expression to flow through us. This is true freedom. It's also one of the greatest gifts we can give to the world. After all our very being is now unconfined by the past and so can be completely present. No longer are we talking the talk of freedom and authenticty, but instead walking the walk and showing others how it's "done". (tired of our story / ever wonder why spiritual teachers leave their old names behind, or speak in the third person (K). They know not to give the false self too much credit

 

 

CONSCIOUSNESS

Of course, freedom isn't done. Freedom is. We can fight for our freedom, but to be free is itself not a doing. It's a state of being. It's an undivided state. (arise and passing away)

When we fear something, we assume it is something other than us. And when we fight against that other, we reinforce the perceived division between us. But if we have found our way to the state of pure consciousness and being, then we know that consciousness is fundamental to our humanity. We know it fundmantal to the humanity of all "others". . against something, we give it more power. We confirm that the world is perpetually in opposition and that we must resist if we wish to exist. And yet the highest expression of humanity is our decision to drop our walls and truly be our fullest selves, and embrace the other as our self and without condition.

 

LOVE

When we think about what we have truly been after all this time, what is it? Have we really been looking for acknowledgment and approval?  Or have we been looking for something 


 

 

WHOLENESS

When we fear something, we assume it is something other than us. And when we fight against that other, we reinforce the perceived division between us. But as we step into experiences of pure consciousness and being, we come to understand that consciousness is fundamental to our humanity. It is the great unifier beneath all our conditioned beliefs and thoughts.  We recognize it as fundmental to the humanity of all "others".  Seeing that LOVE is our.... And yet the highest expression of humanity is our decision to drop our walls and truly be our fullest selves, and embrace the other as our self and without condition.

 

Rather than climbing up a ladder seeking perfection, we are unfolding into wholeness.  We are not tryign to transcend or vanquish the difficult energeis we consider "wrong"--the fear, shame, jealousy, anger.  This only creates a shadow that fuels our sense of deficiency.  Rather, we are learning to turn around and embrace this life, in all its realness--broken, messy, vivid, alive.  - Carl Jung

Want to explore more?  

The I Model & Non-Duality