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October 1998

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by Morag Campbell - PART 1

In fact these two topics could be classified under the single heading of dependency, since in the first place we are dependent on a substance and in the second, the dependency is on another human being.

Dependency can be defined as psychological inward attachments. The more we are attached, the greater the dependency. In the polarity model attachment is seen as a problem of the water element, however the problem probably does not initially arise in this element and so when we look at what is going on at an elemental energetic level it is useful to begin with the fire element as in many cases this is the start of our problems.

The model we are about to look at clarifies what happens at an energetic level in relation to stress and a perceived assault upon the ego or sense of self as we seek to establish our identity through the elements. ETHER - I AM. AIR - I WANT. FIRE - I CREATE. WATER - I FEEL. EARTH - I HAVE. The fire element is seen as a masculine energy. It is primarily involved with our creativity. In relation to our ego it is the creative impulse to perfection. However the manifestation of this initial creative impulse is often less than perfect and this leads to the following behaviours and feelings.
First, there is anger and a sense of failure. This is followed by frustration and the inability to accept criticism and then hostility. As the energy increases as in figure 1. and peaks we try to alter what we are doing, if we are unable to, or the new idea also does not work then there is great disappointment and increased hostility. At this stage we attempt to keep going but if the energy collapses then we fall into victim mode. AT THIS POINT WE MAY WELL JUMP INTO THE WATER ELEMENT IN AN ATTEMPT TO MAKE US FEEL BETTER. Staying in the fire pattern leads to cynicism, becoming over critical and judgmental and then there is the final collapse into bitterness, vengefulness and hatred or the negation of love.


Water is a very passive element so we tend to fall into it when the other elements fail. The egoic sense of water is an appreciation of the world through the senses:


Addictive passions are not vivid or intense they are passive, indiscriminate and banal. The addict is satisfied by the superficial qualities of a substance or person. The addiction fills time and occupies attention so that deeper meaning and feelings never develop. There is the wish to escape from the realisation that it is impossible to be "all together " all the time. Things are not always perfect !

The energy starts to rise and in the alarm reaction phase (figure 1) we appreciate the experiences that we are having. They dull the bad feelings that we have about ourselves. Self gratification comes into play and pleasure seeking in a passive way. At the peak of this phase we are very good at rationalising our behaviour. The water element is the negative pole of the mind after all.

As we move into the resistance stage the energy is building and we become gluttonous. We play with the world and we want more and more sensuous experiences. At this point we become very seductive and often we stay in these two phases as the energy rises, drops back again then rises again. However there is a tendency to become over indulgent, not fully digesting the one experience before beginning another. We are now in a obsessive, compulsive pattern and are entering the pre-addictive phase. Right action now can divert disaster!

As we topple over into the exhaustion phase there is a lack of energy to digest the experiences and so we are driven even further into exhaustion. We are now totally addicted and do not have the energy to rebuild ourselves. We are less and less able to cope and unable to deal with the anxieties that put us in this situation in the first place. This leads to irresponsibility as the taking of a substance, whatever that might be, is the only way we know to stimulate the energy of this element, but it does not work and so we have more and more even though we know that it is dangerous. The alternative is the death of the ego. By this stage we have lost all discrimination so any drink or drug or sexual partner will do. Self loathing hits an all time high as we are helpless against the effects of our addiction. This causes increased anxiety, lack of interest in anything and an increased desire for oblivion. Also at this time we become good at getting other people to do things for us and facilitate the habit ( co-dependency ).

In the final phase of degeneration there is no hope and no defences left. We hit rock bottom. The connective tissue of the body collapses, the lymph system breaks down and infection sets in. We lose the very sense of self that we set out to maintain.


Ellipted attention

This distracts us from having to feel fully or relate to ourselves. At its worse we can only feel ourselves in terms of the other person. We shift our field of awareness to someone else. If attention is at the edge of my field then I am vulnerable to whatever the other person does. Practical: Stand and feel the extent of your own energy field. Become aware of the edge of the field only, how does this make you feel emotionally. Two person work - place your awareness at edge of field and have another person do some frenetic activity or stand peacefully. What are the effects on you?

Dropped attention

Here the focus is on yourself. Focus on your own energy field and body sensations. Connect to the body. Practical: Chi Kung exercise drawing in energy from heaven and earth to heart and then sinking it to tan tien by reverse abdominal breathing. Try different shapes of energy fields. Round, square, triangle shape for instance.

Open attention

This places the focus on self and includes others. Expand the energy field and attention in all directions to include the fields of others. Imagine that you are the nucleus of an atom and the people around you are electrons.

Part 2 of this article will continue with explorations of specific Polarity bodywork and other therapeutic interventions.

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