Since the universe is basically and intrinsically whole, what happens when you set a goal, assume an identity, or focus your attention on one particular "truth", is that you split up your world. You divide up your world into what IS and what ISN'T. You compartmentalize and polarize your reality.
That wouldn't have to be the way one does it. One can also play the game of life in a more whole way. But there are definite positive reasons for playing life as a contest.
In a game that is played as a contest there are players and opponents, there is a range of freedom, and there is a set of obstacles. A balanced game matches up forces of comparable strength which makes it more interesting.
In a game of chess, for example, you agree before you start that you only control, say, the white pieces, and the opponent controls the black pieces. You agree to start from opposite ends and you agree to take turns to move pieces and only to move them according to certain rules. Nothing really physically stops you from just moving pieces any which way you want, or just wipe all the opponents pieces off the board. Nothing really stops you and the other guy from deciding to work together instead of against each other. But then it is no longer the same game. The agreement to give away part of your control is part of what makes things interesting.
In principle, in a contest type of game, you identify with or assume control over a certain chunk of the game, and that is where you will focus your attention. The rest of the game you will give up control over and that is what you will battle against. And in a balanced game, the sides are balanced.
All of this applies to any kind of polarity. See, one might run into trouble if one forgets that it is an agreed-upon game, and one starts thinking one really IS the game piece, and the opposition really IS outside one's control. That is carrying it too far. Balance can be regained by realizing that the different sides of the game or polarity are reflections of each other and that only together do they form a whole. If we put all the parts together we have all the power. If you identify with one piece to the exclusion of all others, you are giving away power, and there will be conflict.
Now, when we are talking about goals or intentions, there are advantages in looking at how it splits up into four pieces.
Let's look at for example what happens if one decides to pursue the main goal "To Know" in life. That is, one wants to concentrate of finding things to know, figuring things out, and so forth.
If you take that on as something to work on over time, you must first agree to that you don't already have the bait you are after. Your decision to pursue knowing will as a reflection establish a chunk of stuff that is trying not to be known. That is your target, and since it is something you are still working on, you obviously don't have it yet. There is resistance to your main goal, there are obstacles. The sought-after knowledge is hidden somehow, in hard-to-get-to places.
If you decide that To Know is specifically what you want to do, then you must also concede that there exists the contrast to that: To Not Know. That is the mirror reflection of To Know, in another direction. None of them would make any sense without the other. Like, the idea of eating a banana only makes sense if we can simultaneously conceive of the idea of not eating a banana. There would be no point in talking about anything unless it can be contrasted to stuff that is different from it.
The goal To Not Know has its natural opposition or resistance in the goal To Be Known. Obviously, what will give the goal To Not Know a hard time is anything or anyone who insists on being Known.
One can't really create one corner of this quadruple arrangement without simultaneously creating the three others. Often one is only conscious of being responsible for the one corner one most focuses on. The other parts are either regarded as the external target outside one's control or they are wholly sub-conscious. The person will rarely realize that she has actually agreed to Not Know at the same time she is trying To Know. It seems ridiculous, but that is what generates the dynamics of a game in life.
You can start in any corner, it works the same way, If you set out To Be Known over time, you will have to concede that there are some who don't want to know about you, and you have to concede that there is the possibility of failure, To Not Be Known. And there is your most attractive audience, somebody who wants To Know.
This 4-way split-up goes on first of all inside the person. One can't create one corner without creating the three others. So, this provides us an avenue for creating more internal harmony, and for clearing up things that don't work. If one has gotten very frustrated about not succeeding with one's goal To Know, it might be quite enlightening to realize how one has been creating the opposite at the same time.
A 4-way goal package is essentially a tool for engineering some dynamics into life. It creates motivation, action, adventure. There has to be some kind of carrots and sticks in the game for it to move.
If the use of a package has degraded into serious frustration, and it just isn't fun any longer, we can work on integrating it. Each corner represents a part of the person. The person is always doing all 4 parts, each under different circumstances, even though she might not be aware of it at first. We can get in communication with these parts, find out what they are doing and when, get them interacting, and so forth, just like in polarity integration. The end result is that one doesn't have to split up and forget about parts of yourself; you can be it all at the same time, in full harmony.
Integrating the parts doesn't mean one can't still enjoy the game. On the contrary, one might find more enjoyment out of it. Playfully going along with the mystery of a game, knowing full well that one doesn't HAVE to play it, might be most enjoyable.
We can write up a 4-way package for many different goals. To Know is just one example, albeit one of the most basic ones. You can take other very general actions or states that one might aim for in life and fill them in.
Which one goes where can be illustrated by correlating this layout with a couple of philosophical or mystical principles. For one thing, there is the eastern Yin/Yang principle. Yang is the outgoing, generating, expanding force, the outbreath of the universe. Yin is the contractive, receptive, contemplating force, the inbreath of the universe.
In the Know example, To Know and To Be Known are extroverted, active, logical Yang type forces. To Not Know and To Not Be Known are introverted, receptive, intuitive Yin type forces.
In traditional mysticism the energies of the universe are divided into four elements: fire, water, air, and earth. Fire is aggressive, energetic and individualistic, Water is receptive, nurturing and mysterious, Air is intellectual, detached and social, and Earth is practical, grounded and inflexible. Fire and Air are Yang, Water and Earth are Yin.
There is a lot to say about all of this, most of which I don't know, so only take this a superficial analogy.
We can write up the 4-way package like this:
|Air (extroverted, flexible)||Water (introverted, flexible)|
|Earth (introverted, unbending)||Fire (extroverted, unbending)|
Air and Water, which are both Yang are in harmony with each other, as are Water and Earth, which are both Yin. Any other combination denotes a conflict or opposition of some kind, or at least a complementary arrangement.
We can now take another key word to put into our package than Know. Like, how about Create. The pure outgoing expression of it would correspond to Fire, so that goes in the lower right. The extroverted, but reflective angle of it , air, would go in the upper left. The mysterious, introverted angle of it, water, would go in the upper right. And the stubborn, inflexible angle, earth, in the lower left.
|To be created (to exist)||To un-create|
|To not be created (to not exist)||To create|
or, we could say about the same thing like this:
|To be present||To make non-present|
|To not be present||To make present|
Notice that the construction of these packages is pretty much a logical thing. It does not particularly depend on the whims of a client's emotions. The statement of each corner follows logically from whatever we start with. There is of course a basis for examining more closely what that really means, but that is not a subjective thing.
The words we use can make it a bit confusing, as in the example above. Some of the words traditionally have a negative connotation, or are otherwise limited, but that is not the point. The point is that any goal naturally splits into four aspects that are reflections of each other. None of them are good or bad, it is simply a mechanical phenomenon.
All this only makes the most sense for very fundamental parts of life. But the principle does have application for more everyday detail stuff. It is essentially the same kind of thing we address with the four questions of the form:
"What would happen if you ___?"
"What would happen if you did not ___?"
"What would not happen if you ___?"
"What would not happen if you did not ___?"
It is addressing all 4 corners of a 4-way package, bringing them into awareness, exploring their boundaries, bringing them into more integration. But for more small-scale stuff we will focus on the action, not on the goal.
We could however mix up the two approaches and do something like this:
"What would happen if you knew?"
"What would happen if you did not know?"
"What would happen if you were known?"
"What would happen if you were not known?"
It explores the outcome of each of the 4 goals.
Another interesting use of all this is as personality categories. The Know 4-way package is a good one for that. Most people will mostly manifest one of the four corners, at least in their outwards behavior. If we recognize which one, we get valuable information about how the person works and how to treat them. A good way of finding out is to look at what the person really gets upset about.
A To Know person gets upset when things are deliberately hidden from her. A To Not Be Known person gets upset by being forcefully exposed. A To Not Know person gets upset by having information forced upon them. A To Be Known person gets upset if people ignore her. And each one of these people will be distinctly less sensitive to anything in the other categories. The To Be Known person might not have a big problem with things being hidden, or being forced upon her, but if she is frozen out and not recognized, THAT pisses her off.
If nothing else, that is a useful managerial tool, for example to know who to assign to what job. A To Not Know person should obviously not be a researcher or investigator, but would be great for jobs that have to be done meticulously and repetitiously. A To Be Known person would be a great PR person, but a lousy spy. We need a To Not Be Known person for that.
Addressing 4-way goal packages directly in session might or might not be a great idea, depending on the client and what stage in her progress you are in. In most cases, polarity integration will handle much the same stuff, in a more simple manner. For more intellectually oriented people, the 4-way package might be a gem that gives material for many hours of exciting exploration and development. It might be useful for anybody late in their program, after many more simple and approachable phenomena have been exhausted.
At any rate, you as a facilitator need to know that we can always see something from 4 sides. Doing it, resisting it, not doing it, insisting on it. This can be expressed a number of different ways, so you need to get a full grasp of it, so you instantly recognize it without having to think about it.
There are further more complicated schemes that can be specified. For example, each of the 4 corners could be again split up. For example, each in 3 pieces and you get 12 parts, like in astrological signs. You can go to any level of complexity at your desire, if you find it useful.