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The Shadow and Boundary Formation

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Teacher: Rodney Smith
Date: 2005-02-15
Venue: Seattle Insight Meditation Center



This week watch how boundaries are created from resisting reality. Where do you set your boundaries and why? What determines whether something or someone is included or excluded within the boundary? When you label something as I, me, or mine, feel the boundary form around ownership and self-definition. Feel the inherent tension in that boundary and how it creates the external world. Notice how you disown a quality that you dislike in someone. You must know it in yourself in order to dislike in someone else. Disliking what you perceive in yourself, you pin the responsibility of ownership onto another person, and the boundary is secure.


The first step in releasing the boundary is to acknowledge the symptoms that result from cutting part of yourself away. Touching your symptoms with caring attention begins to heal the boundary of self and other. Without judging or blaming, allow yourself to feel your reactive thoughts, prejudices, anxieties, and embarrassments. Feel the symptom fully and ask, “What self-belief is behind this symptom?” Softly remain with the reaction until it tells you its experiential story. For example, if you intensely dislike someone, be aware of the trait in yourself that you are projecting onto that person and your hostility to the state of mind when it arises in you.

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