Potential Threats & Dangers
Of Engaging Ongoing Paratheatrical Work
© 2008-2015 Antero Alli
What defines "danger" can differ for each person; one person's threat can be another person's excitement. Once accepted into a ParaTheatrical ReSearch Lab, participants are asked to take a pledge towards accepting full responsibility for their own safety and their own creative states. If participants are unwilling and/or unable to take this self-pledge, they are encouraged to withdraw from doing this work until they 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; almost all the dangers, self-imposed. Exciting your own creative states amounts to discovering and knowing how to raise your own energy, to openly express yourself and to 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 in the thirty-plus years I have done this work 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 injury. In this work, everyone moves at their own pace. Everyone is responsible for their own physical limitations. This choice-centered "adult" approach to physical processes significantly minimizes the threat of physical danger.
When emotional and social needs go unmet, we can feel more threatened around others who are not interested in meeting those needs. This work occurs in an asocial climate where self-work replaces social obligations and where interaction occurs within the parameters of the paratheatre process. This work necessitates a support system and social life outside of the paratheatre workspace. When our emotional and social needs are frustrated, we tend to be more needy and insecure and, draw more attention to ourselves -- a situation that can drain group momentum. Emotional threat can also occur when our beliefs and assumptions are exposed as rigid or obsolete. We can also feel threatened when our inflated self-images and ego structures are deflated, leaving us feeling offended, embarrassed or upset. 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. The human condition conveys a vast spectrum of qualities, colors, and attributes. In truth, we are not always "good" or "bad", not always "smart" or "ignorant". In this work we are exposed to the greater contraries of being human, what Carl Jung called the archetype of The Self; we are good and bad, smart and ignorant, beautiful and ugly, etc. With increasing Self-exposure, we gain access to the internal landscape of the human condition and open up the playing fields of creativity. However, this 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.
"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
As we learn to accept more of our totality, our self-image, or ego, expands and stretches to contain more and more 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 developmental phase, becoming too full of ourselves diminsihes the receptivity necessaruy to remain open to creativity. Excessive ego-inflation can also alienate us with excessively self-important, obnoxious behavior and 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 systems and endocrine systems. When over-stimulated, it may become difficult to sleep after the night session ends; insomnia can result. Excess eletromagneticism can be discharged by deepening no-form practice after each and every ritual. A safe alternative to neutralizing excess electromagnetic charge can occur by 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, and ideals.
When our belief systems are exposed as obsolete we can naturally feel more anxious. Everyone has their own "uncertainty threshold", of how much uncertainty we can tolerate before anxiety sets in. If we can manage the force of our own anxiety -- anxiety is an energy -- we can learn to permit more uncertainty without making it a problem. Allowing 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 more 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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