Chris: Welcome to this Dharma If You Dare bonus episode. We hope you enjoyed this Soundbite from Doug Duncan and Catherine Pawasarat on the most prevalent aspects of our society’s collective shadow, and whether we can shift our collective actions to more wholesome patterns.
Cara: What would you say is the biggest kind of collective shadow as a society that we’re not looking at currently?
Qapel: I think it depends on where you’re from. I think in North America the biggest shadow is about sexuality and power. I think they’ve connected sexuality and power together, and that’s understandable why they’ve done that, but it’s a misalignment, and I think the other big shadow of North America is the idea of rampant consumerism, that if I get more stuff, I’m going to be happy in spite of all evidence of the country. On the other hand, in Europe, I don’t think sexuality and power are as big a shadow or as connected.
Sensei: Depending on the country
Qapel: Depending on the country
Cara: Yes, so you’re saying that power and consumerism, are things that we’re doing it unconsciously, and therefore it’s in the shadow
Sensei: I think that sexuality and power are quite unconscious. I read a lot about imbalanced power dynamics and a kind of assertion that people in imbalanced power dynamics should not have sex together, and I’d say that there’s never a balanced power dynamic because it’s always in flux.
Qapel: It depends on the situation
Sensei: Yeah, it depends on the kind of power as well. And so I think it’s good to explore these topics, it’s a fair question worthy of exploration, and I’d say that the conversation gets so emotional so quickly that it’s challenging to have a constructive conversation about it. And then I agree with Sensei, I think the consumerism one is more pressing just because of the state of the planet and the window that we have to help the planet remain inhabitable is just getting shorter and shorter, and a lot of products are still disposable, a lot of products are still not biodegradable and the prevailing media is still about “consume more”.
Qapel: One other point on this one is that Shadow has layers, so you might get through you might have an insight or a breakthrough and go, “oh that’s why I’ve been doing that”, but you gotta keep going behind that is another, and behind that’s another. Now, it’s not infinite, you eventually run out of shadow material, but there’s not just one layer, it’s probably at least five or six layers down.
Sensei: And I think it’s important to add that your question is a good one. And those are great examples. They’re kind of troubling issues, right? And that’s why integrating our shadow is so important because then we can address the challenges, we have the energy we’re not losing our energy getting depressed or anxious about it.
Qapel: There’s one more point if you don’t deal with it, it’s affecting your life anyways. Anyway, it’s not like, oh I don’t have to deal with the shadow, it’s not there, it’s permeating through everything you do only rears its ugly beautiful head when you’re in a tight situation.
Cara: Do you think there is any hope of turning the rampant consumerism around
Qapel: Yeah. Yeah, no problem, no problem. It’s just a matter of refuge. The refuge is what you take refuge in. And in the same way that we’ve sort of ended wars. I mean I know there are a lot of wars going on but compared to the past, the same too with this kind of model, this is just a model. It’s been built, it’s been shaped and anything that can be built-in shape can be changed. And I think the undercurrent of the underground movement is to change it. But you can’t do it in 50 years you’re not going to do it in one lifetime, it’s going to take generations.
We need to recognize that the ego, the persona, and the desired mind is never ever satisfied. So at some point when we realized that the Desire Mind is never satisfied. We learn to manage or discipline or train our desire to be consistent with what’s healthy and wholesome for a good life and that’s what consumerism doesn’t do. It doesn’t recognize that it can’t be satisfied. So when we come to that realization, things will change.
Sensei: I do believe that we can turn it around and that’s something that we’re experimenting with here at ClearSky. How can we demonstrate that it’s possible and how can we use the community to train one another? We’ve got exciting new developments in our recycling program and our ecological restoration as the proof in the pudding and we’re learning as we go.
Chris: We hope you enjoyed today’s sound bite.
Have you checked out any of Planet Dharma’s online offerings? We have a range of options available to you on the Planet Dharma website from small group Q &A office hours to fully online courses, some of which are taught live and some of which are studied at your own pace. Take a look at what’s currently running or coming up soon by visiting PlanetDharma.com/events.