In working with my shortcoming, altruism, I have come to a better understanding of some of its aspects and so would like to share something about them. But this is only a start as far as my shortcoming is concerned. :)
Although my first retreat in South Africa was not my first retreat altogether, it was probably one of the most difficult. I felt that power was challenging me every step of the way, even before the retreat, as well as during my journey to the venue. To put it simply, it was a journey for survival. LOL. But all in all I found the whole experience hugely rewarding, and the long 'hidden' aspects of myself started to be revealed, not pleasant ones, but hey, it at least felt like, "At last! I AM making a step forward!" :)
But to cut a long story short, the particular aspect I'm talking about is MANIPULATION, in its various forms, and especially manipulation with WARMTH. This, effectively, summarises the behaviour that was pointed out to me by Théun during one of the sessions. Before this, all I could figure out for myself, is that the "issue" that I had might have something to do with sexuality, but in one way or another I also felt that my shortcoming had been playing a role as well.
What helped me a lot is the mirror of one lady who also was with us, and for her it was the second retreat. This lady suddenly disappeared after the first or second day, and hid in her room, after she felt that she was "rudely rejected" by some members of the Group, and was not made welcome.
Power played it in such a way that the night before this happened, this lady and I had been sitting in front of each other during dinner. I was very quiet that evening, feeling that I just needed to immerse myself deeply in the inner tensions that I had, but at the same time I could not help but notice a lot of the very subtle things that were "manifested" by this lady, just through her own doings - her 'apparently' normal behaviour. Something that particularly stood out for me was one of her specific approaches - a seductive manipulation of males who were at the table, as well as a sense of huge discomfort when a moment of quietness would appear.
I was still struggling to speak during dinner, as my throat was literally in a tight knot. Yet, I could LISTEN to everything 'on the table' VERY acutely. So although this lady and I exchanged only a few words, there was a constant flow of information that she had been creating, and which I could use freely as a stepping stone for myself, in order finally to come to grips with that which I had been struggling within.
So when I shared all of this during our retreat session the following day, Théun pointed out that what I had missed is a particular aspect which can be related to the shortcoming of altruism. This aspect is that for those who have this shortcoming it easy to EXPRESS warmth. In fact it is as natural for them as it is for a fish to swim. But together with that comes a temptation to use this ability for self-centred gain. The result of this is the manipulation: manipulation with warmth.
Working with this further I could start to see that this does have a direct relevance to sexuality, as my feelings were telling me, for any warmth IS sexual, just as ANY energy is sexual by its nature. So it made a lot of sense why the issue of seduction also came up in all of this, for using warmth in such a misguided way can only lead to emotional manipulation, which is akin to sexual seduction. Perhaps I could say that in some situations this can also manifest as mental or emotional seduction, for on a conscious level it's not ALWAYS registered as something that has to do with "sex". But in my own experience the result in all such cases is very similar; it leads to a chaotic state of awareness, lack of any kind of sobriety, a sense of attachment and identification. In short, something that can simply be described as soggy-gooey mess! :)
Clearly, it is difficult, if at all possible, to discriminate wisely in such a scenario. But it is precisely here where the first key to unlocking this challenge lies. In this case it had all started with altruism, but also it ends here. It IS possible to learn to detach, and transmute altruism; hence the vital necessity to stay alert to all the subtle nuances and tendencies, and to use DISCRIMINATION to separate the polarities and thus achieve clarity on any given situation, as opposed to falling prey to it.