How Can Some People be an Awakened Ass?

I always believed that once you saw through the illusion of self you would automatically be a loving, emotionally intelligent being. But it turns out, no! I’ve been watching a lot of Ken Wilbur this week and I love his Integral Theory with stages of; Waking up — Growing up — Cleaning up — Showing up — Opening up.

Waking Up

is the altered state of consciousness that gives us a first-person, direct experience of oneness and connection to all things. It can be increased/maintained via the progressive path (e.g. ongoing meditation and spiritual practices) or via the direct path (e.g. non-dual and advaita vedanta).

Growing Up

can be segmented in different ways but has been replicated in various places to show the general stages of development: Egocentric — interest in and compassion for self. Ethnocentric — interest in and compassion for the group (which therefore creates an ‘other’ group different from ours for which we don’t have compassion). Worldcentric —interest in and compassion for the world and all that’s in it. Kosmocentric — interest in and compassion for the whole cosmos.

Cleaning Up

is shadow work. Bringing to awareness the repressed emotional drives which were disallowed as children. Eventually, these become so troublesome in life that we’re urged to act upon them. Life becomes unmanageable as we project our shadows onto ‘them out there’ when it’s in here that we need to bring our attention to. For example, when we think ‘they’re being controlling’ but the problem is coming from the projection of our own, un-owned, need for control.

Showing Up

is working in service, accepting responsibility, and carving a self-initiated path to become who we are — unencumbered by the shadows we’ve been trying to keep hidden!

Opening Up

is recognising the gifts you bring, in the only way you can, and sharing them with the world. Ken talks about how we have multiple intelligences beyond the cognitive and verbal we are primarily taught in school and that those who don’t excel at those are likely to have strength in another intelligence, e.g. emotional, musical, aesthetic, spiritual.

So what does this have to do with some people being an awakened ass?

Well, it turns out that we interpret a Waking Up experience according to our stage of Growing Up.

So if you’re at Worldcentric or Cosmocentric — great! An awakened person at those levels is going to enable significant change for the good of the many.

But if you wake up at an Egocentric Level then you’re going to be an awakened ass! The self-centric behaviours are still in play and aren’t changed or developed through an awakening experience. Even at Ethnocentric, the ‘othering’ that goes on at that level with judgement about ‘the kind of people we like’ and ‘the kind of people we don’t’ will continue to play out.

I wonder though…it seems the Growing Up and/or Cleaning Up stages would happen more easily if the person was awake. If they put themselves in those opportunities, without an idea of self in the way to clog up the process, would they move more easily through the stages?

And is it in fact entirely OK that we have awakened asses, perfect just as they are to bring challenge to others and therefore beautifully equipped to help someone else go through their own process of Cleaning Up.

One last thing, if you’re seeing another as an ass, and given Cleaning Up is about recognising where we’re projecting our own shadows onto another, maybe do a bit of inquiry first to check what’s true about your own ass-like behaviour. Byron Katie’s The Work is a great place to start with that.

What do you think? I’d love to hear.

With love, Helen

I work with people who want a quieter mind and a more fulfilling life. They’re smart, passionate people who are curious about there being a better way. They’ve worked hard to get to here and yet something’s still missing: ‘is this it?’. In our work, we explore and reconnect you to innate brilliance so you rediscover the real happiness, real security, and real balance that you are. Find out more here.

Helen Amery
Reconnecting you to innate brilliance for a more fulfilling life. Disillusionment happens when, things that we took to be true, start to look less so. People, belief systems, ways of working, societal norms. As these cracks, in reality, start to show we often look around to see what else is available to make sense of this, and these moments provide the opportunity for great change and the ability to step into a whole new and fresh experience of life. I work with disillusioned people who’ve worked hard all their lives to climb the career ladder, increase their income, who got the family and the house and the car and…then they look around and realise something’s still missing. They don’t feel more fulfilled. They don’t feel successful. They don’t feel secure. Sometimes these things have even become worse. My career has developed through commercial HR into psychology-based coaching, and now my work goes beyond psychology to the fundamental truths behind our human experience. This is the final shift in perspective that frees us from the imagined limitations we’ve gathered through life and reconnects us to our innate brilliance. It’s the direct path that other development can meander us to. From here we find fulfilment, security and a feeling of success – and we find we’re able to enjoy everything we already had, and new things, in an entirely fresh way. My business is called Wild Fig Solutions because the Wild Fig has the deepest roots in the world and I always cared about getting to the heart of what was going on. Now this work is really that as it reconnects us to our heart at the deepest level and naturally rebalances us so that we use the brilliance of our head in the way it works best. I work with clients online, in one-to-one and group coaching programmes, to help them reconnect to their innate brilliance. See my book here: Let’s Get Honest About: Work