Area I: InternalInternal training is the area of psychological and spiritual work. The focus is on the removal of blocks and the freeing up of natural abilities. In modern popular psychology, the neglected, wounded, or undeveloped inner child is one model used to give a form to blockages within us. Unfortunately, in this model there is often a conflation of two different internal structures: the comfort seeking, immature child that doesn’t want to grow up but wants the world to conform to his or her perceptions and feelings and the creative dynamic inner child who wants, or is at least prepared, to face the full world of experience. In this model, the aim is to let go of identification with the comfort seeking inner child and reclaim one’s connection with all the natural abilities that are our human heritage. In the spiritual realm, the aim is similar but taken to a deeper level. The blocks aren’t seen as coming solely from conditioning influences from our family and environment but are regarded as unavoidable and deeply habituated patterns of misperception that confuse our understanding of what we experience. The fundamental block, in this model, is the lack of direct knowing of what we are. (Ask yourself, “What am I?” If you observe closely, you will see that there is first a moment of clarity in in which nothing is seen, then a felt sense that nothing is seen, then a reaction of fear to that emptiness, then a solidification of position and then, usually, a retreat into some intellectual formulation.) In Buddhist thought, the direct knowing of what we are is our human heritage (buddha nature), and all the various spiritual practices, meditation, contemplation on such themes as impermanence, suffering, non-self, compassion, emptiness, koan practice (in Zen), the four immeasurables, taking and sending, etc., are concerned, at least in part, with removing the blocks that prevent that direct knowing or with cultivating that direct knowing explicitly (as in mahamudra, shiken-taza, dzokchen, etc.)
Area II: Training in InteractionInteraction training is concerned with how we interact with our experience of the world. There are essentially two sides: making connection and meeting conflict. Making connection is about relationships, connecting with people, places, things, bringing people and efforts together, unifying, facilitating cooperative effort, cultivating leadership qualities, etc. In Buddhist thought, the cultivation of the higher emotions of love, compassion, joy and equanimity are fundamental to this kind of effort. In business circles, the ability to be a team player, to participate in goal-setting, win-win strategies, etc., fall into this area.
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