Potential Threats & Dangers
For Those Engaging Ongoing Paratheatrical Work
© 2008-2020 Antero Alli
What defines "danger" can differ for each person; one person's threat can be another person's excitement. Before starting groiup work, participants are asked to take a pledge towards accepting full responsibility for their own safety and their own creative states. If you are unwilling and/or unable to take this vow, please refrain from doing this work until you are ready to do so. Being accountable for your own safety means that when you register threat of any kind, whether perceived or actual, you agree to do your best to restore your sense of safety and well being in whatever way works for you. Almost all the so-called threats in this work are perceived threats and almost all the dangers are self-imposed. Exciting your own creative states means discovering ways to raise your own energy, to openly express yourself and engage more fluid, spontaneous modes of action, relating and being. This self-accountability pledge nurtures personal autonomy and integrity, two core vaues in this work.
Very few physical injuries have occurred over the last forty years I have done this work alone and with many others. Physical dangers are usually caused by careless movement and ignorance of personal boundaries, one's own and others'. Naivete around the limitations of your physical strength, flexibility and stamina can also lead to physical injury in any physically active situation. In this work, everyone moves at their own pace. Everyone is also responsible for discovering and establishing their own boundaries. This choice-centered "adult" approach to dynamic physical and creative processes significantly minimizes the threat of physical danger.
When emotional and social needs go unmet, we can feel more insecure around others who are not available to meet those needs. Ongoing work in this medium necessitates a support system and social life outside of the paratheatre workspace. When our emotional and social needs are frustrated, we can feel more needy and, draw more attention to ourselves -- a situation that can also drain group morale and momentum. This work occurs in an asocial climate where self-work replaces the fulfillment of social needs and wants. This work can be highly self-confrontational, exposing rigid beliefs and assumptions which can be upsetting. We can also feel threatened when our inflated self-images and ego structures are deflated, leaving us feeling embarrassed or upset. Any confrontation with the archetype of The Self can feel like defeat for the ego. A sense of humor about oneself goes a long way in this work. Emotional threat can be remedied immediately by personal ritual boundarywork.
In this work, the "shadow" aspects of ourselves -- what we fear, loathe or avoid about ourselves -- can surface to conscious awareness and shock any one-sided ego, or self-image. Our human condition contains a vast spectrum of qualities, colors, and attributes. In truth, we are not always "good" or "bad", not always "smart" or "ignorant"; we are both sides of our nature, light and dark. In this work we are exposed to the greater contraries of what Carl Jung called the archetype of The Self; we are good and bad, smart and ignorant, beautiful and ugly, etc.
"The Self embraces not only the conscious but also the unconscious psyche, and is therefore, a personality which we also are. The Self is not only the centre but also the whole circumference which embraces both conscious and unconscious; it is the centre of this totality, just as the ego is the center of consciousness." - Carl Gustav Jung
With increasing Self-exposure, we gain access to the internal landscape of the human condition, expanding the playing fields of creation. However, this consciousness expanding experience requires courage and heart. To live with more truth about ourselves, we must learn to show more acceptance and compassion for ourselves along the way; truth without compassion can feel just like cruelty.
As we accept more of our totality, our self-image, or ego, can expand and stretch to contain more experience of The Self. However, just because we can access or embody certain archetypal forces (in a ritual context) does not automatically make us "gods" and "goddesses" (see self-delusion). Though ego-inflation can be an important stage in the development of personality, becoming too full of ourselves can also diminish the receptivity necessary to stay creative. Excessive ego-inflation can also alienate us with self-important, obnoxious behavior and bad attitudes. Any big ego can be deflated and recalibrated to align with The Self -- rather than confuse ego for The Self -- through a deepening commitment to no-form practice. It's tough being a bighead when deep down we know we are nothing.
Ongoing work in this paratheatre medium stimulates the Central Nervous System. This process activates the energetic body, the subtle expression of the chakras, the central nervous and endocrine systems. When over-stimulated, it may become difficult to sleep after the night's session ends; insomnia can result. Excess eletromagneticism can be discharged by deepening no-form practice after each and every ritual. A safe way to neutralize excess electromagnetic charge is soaking 10-20 minutes in an Epsom Salt bath (using one cup epsom salts per 100 pounds of body weight and showering afterward).
Spiritual crisis can occur with any spontaneous epiphany exposing a loss of connection or faith in God or Source and/or any collapsing belief system. This shock can trigger an epistemological crisis, causing us to question our existing values and beliefs. It can shake the very foundation of our being. Paratheatre work tests our current beliefs against the gnosis of direct experience of the phenomenal world -- beyond religion, beliefs, concepts, assumptions, and ideals.
When our belief systems are exposed as obsolete we can naturally feel anxious. Everyone has their own "uncertainty threshold", of how much uncertainty we can tolerate before anxiety sets in. When we find ways to manage the force of our own anxiety, we can permit more uncertainty. In fact, the state of uncertainty may be synonomous with a highly creative state. When I don't know what's going to happen next, I feel more fluid and excited to participate in the moment before me. Permitting more uncertainty opens us to new experiences and new ways of responding to our experiences. As we become more responsible -- able to respond; response-able -- for our actions and reactions, we earn our autonomy and integrity as awakening human beings.
"The purpose of life: to become defeated by greater and greater things."
- Rainer Maria Rilke
Also see: "SELF-DELUSION" by Antero Alli
"Pitfalls of Archetypal Identification in Paratheatrical Work"
Paratheatre (and related) articles
written by Antero Alli and others
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