Tuesday, 25 June 2013


A lady I know suffers from fibromyalgia. I read her story about the difficult health challenges she and her family are facing, and at the end she said, well, they have a strong Christian faith (Jehova's Witnesses) that helps them through it all. On the one hand a strong faith gives people the strength to pull through, but on the other hand I imagine there's also a kind of pressure to live up to this belief system. Strong believers often find it difficult to explain the mysterious ways of their God and so have to keep reinforcing their faith - they end up with more faith than actual facts. It occurred to me, however, that though my own world view is diametrically opposite to hers, I do also feel peer pressure sometimes. When people with whom I share some beliefs challenge me, I naturally feel I have to defend myself somehow. I have to reinforce my beliefs in my own mind in order to put forward my own view as forcefully as possible. 

The point is, why do I feel this need to explain myself? I have found it very hard to let go of the hurt I felt when the lady I mentioned in my previous post started to suggest that I wasn't as disabled as I made it out to be. For a long time, she had been suggesting that I need to think more positively, change my brainwaves, and so on. She said it quite aggressively so it was a contradiction in terms. Martin said, "Like my mother always said, if you have nothing good to say, then say nothing at all". This was a great reminder to myself, as I sometimes come across as critical. It is such a great truth, especially when you're dealing with friends and acquaintances Just shut the heck up sometimes! (If you're critiquing something, for instance art, then it's a different matter, of course).

Anyhow, this person's criticism was all in the spirit of new spiritual belief systems. Because I share some of them in some form, she managed to bother me with these attempts to make me change myself. Of course the set up was ridiculous because she didn't know me in real life and clearly thought she knew way more about me based on my internet persona than she really did. Still it upset me when I found out that my intuition was true; she'd been ignoring everything I'd tried to say about my illness and how difficult it is to cope, and had only picked up the laments that she thought were easily fixed by changing the way I was thinking. I couldn't believe someone would think I made up stories about my buggered spine and fibromyalgia, especially someone whose profession is that of a psychologist and who appears to have some interest in the spiritual side of things. I wanted to scream, do you really think the Finnish government officials made the wrong decision when they granted me a life time disability pension? I didn't say very much, however, as I've been practising restraint... there is simply no point in arguing with very self-opiniated people. The cost of this attempted restraint is that I'm mulling over the case for much longer, oh well... so be it.

How is it that your spirituality can sometimes turn against you? Of course, there are many ways in which we can get trapped in a system, simply because it's a system and therefore naturally restrictive. Over the years, I've seen the downside of the new age movement. My main issue with it are probably the ideas about opening up to the limitless self. I've always felt it was quite obvious that we are really limitless. My true self or spirit is boundless... On some level, that is... in this life, I've had to come to terms with how limiting life on Earth can be. Seeking to embrace and accept limitations is quite a different evolutionary challenge than the one that speaks only of ditching false beliefs about a limited and ego-centric self. This is surely why it's been hard for me to admit that I need to pace myself and that it's actually "okay" to be disabled. In fact it's more important that I don't push myself too much than that I achieve a lot of things. It may sound a bit topsy turvy but how I feel in my body from moment to moment is more important and more real than some random achievement, which requires a relative context for its validation. Whatever our challenges are, we need to acquire a perspective on them, as well as learn not to project them onto other people. So, embracing my limited life is this life's main theme, and engaging in the limitless aspect of my life is secondary and something that will take its natural form when the time is right, I think.

So, there are many ways in which your spiritual peer group can assert undue pressure on you. Try and free yourself from that if possible, because it's only causing negative ripples and wears you out. To be truly spiritual is to be strong and independent in what you feel is spiritually significant in your own life. There may be some ultimate objective truths out there, but there's also your subjective truth that needs to be honoured. A balance between the two is crucial to your wellbeing.

I'm still doing art to express my physical predicament, but it's only a matter of time before it will all change. I feel I need to do it now that I really know what I'm talking about. You can't recreate a particular experience of suffereing later on when it's changed - not very well, at least. Yesterday I was thinking what it's all for, and that lead me to think about that vision I've had since I was quite young. I see myself being able to help people in some way. At some point, which may not be that far away, I will have the resources to support artists just like myself, people who don't fit the norm, and who may suffer from ailments that makes it even more difficult for them to assert themselves as artists. In my mind, I had it all planned out... it was clear to me even to the point where I thought I need to write it all down. It's a thing of great joy.

So you may ask, am I creating my own future as I'm imagining it? I did ask myself the very thing. But it's not that simple. About ten years ago, I started to live my life as if I was already living in the UK. I wrote a lot in English, I named my cats so the names would be pronoucable in English, I had an American boyfriend, my phone and my computer where all set to English. Then I met Martin and moved to Wales. Coincidence? Well, the truth of the matter is that I always felt that I was going to move to the UK, and therefore I was preparing myself (in some ways even earlier in life). The other vision I've had is that of eventually being given the resources to create a small museum of my art, but as time's been going by, it has become clearer I have realised that it's so much more than that. This plan encompasses helping people in a very substantial way. Now I go around imagining it very vividly. It's not day dreaming but actual planning (but remember, there's a time for everything...). Perhaps it reinforces the positive odds, but I don't think it will create the future. The future is already decided. That's what I feel. If I'm wrong, then tough shit... at least I've embraced the possibility.

Therefore, if you want a better future for yourself, I would ask myself two things. One - what has always been your secret vision for the future? Two - in what way does it involve helping others? Ponder these questions and if you believe they are true, then give them energy by thinking about them and believing in them. Reinforce the potential that is already there, no matter how crazy and life changing it may seem. Stay realistic though, know that you may still be grappling with some of your life time challenges even after the vision has come true. There's a balance to be obtained so that you keep it real and stay open to miraculous events at the same time. This is my advice about creating your own reality, and it seems to me to be the most spiritual way of doing it. I think you get further by believing that you already have a destiny to unravel rather than simply wishing to satisfy some selfish desires - and if it comes out of a place of compassion, then it's a true calling. And if in the end it doesn't come true, you gave it a chance and now you must simply accept that it was imaginary. That is possible too. I think we can feel things very strongly and be quite sure about this premonition yet it's unfortunately just a daydream and nothing more.

Monday, 27 May 2013


I feel ratty and complaintive because there are issues I feel I can't fix. I have fixed many, many personal issues in my life time. But there comes a point when you start banging your head in the wall, and it won't give way. Life moves in phases, and the "fixing" stage is over. Something else must take its place, otherwise one is simply indulging in a rather egotistical stance, a hubris which stops the "water of life" from flowing freely. I guess what always remains is the necessity of letting go, because change is the essence of life and we can't keep accumulating stuff or issues. Resolution has to occur so that change and evolution can carry on towards greater heights - you leave something behind in order to embrace a new mode of being. This is a movement towards greater depth of being. Paradoxicially, life becomes more complex, i.e. there are more facets of life to experience. You simply can't deal with this complexity if your life is too full of trivia. This is why simplifying one's life is important. "True complexity" is where life feels deep and meaningful and full of mysterious viewpoints, but there is no compulsion to find immediate resolution to all these aspects of being that seem out of reach. When you are able to let it be, you are less scattered and overwhelmed by life, and more able to enjoy the exploration that living this life really is.

The trick is to know what one needs to let go of. It could, for instance, be the "fixing mode". That mode can prevent a person from opening up to an experience of the greater mystery of life. It's not uncommon to get stuck before a truly transformative experience of life where something greater seems to be taking over, because one perceives of it as an intimidating prospect, and it also seems demanding and overwhelming. Some people are too lazy and lacking in motivation, while other people are asking too much of themselves too soon. Others are escapist and cling to various dogmatic systems for answers, when in fact they need to look into themselves and stop distracting themselves. Seeing where you really are in your own developmental place in the grand scheme of things takes honesty and courage. I rather say place - I don't like to talk about a person's spiritual path because I see it as limiting and encouraging of a judgmental "us and them" way of thinking that is only moving in one direction. In reality, our evolution is moving in all directions all at once, and may very well be too complicated for anyone to really comprehend. You just need to be open to possibilities and try and let it flow.

It's easier said than done. "Just go with the flow" can become yet another stressful compulsion, or chore. Over the years, I've become more and more sensitive to simplistic solutions that some people are so eager to offer other people in their environment. Often, these methods to a happier life seem disrespectful of the deep truth that we really are all quite different with a unique set of life experiences behind us. I like to honour individuality, uniqueness and originality. Of course, there are many things we all have in common, and we are certainly all plugged into the collective consciousness and all the issues humanity has to deal with. But someone who has dug really deep for a long time will be very weary of the same old "truths" that people like to recycle over and over... often in the name of distraction and entertainment rather than serious minded spirituality.

I revere certain spiritual teachers and their viewpoints, but I also like to think for myself. I don't find the tired quotes and glossy scraplike images about how to live life better that are dotted around Facebook inspiring at all. They often reflect a kind of sentimentalism, which isn't a heartfelt truth but just a regurgitation of the same old sayings and viewpoints to the point of sickliness. Sickly sweet "truths" can actually often feel quite patronising. "I found this truth, here you are, how sad you haven't realised it yet but never mind, thankfully I got it, isn't it amazing what great friends I have who post this stuff so I can share it". On the other hand, when people speak from their hearts, I feel inspired. And I need it in order to further my own thinking.

One must move away from the banal, by thinking for oneself. To live life spiritually, is to live it with mindful generosity. There is in fact a fine line between the banal and the elitist. While both are self-indulgent, somewhere away from these extremes there is a point of truthful compassion. As an artist, I experience this acutely. Finding the visual expression that will speak to the greatest number of people without falling into the category of tired banality on the one hand or exclusivity on the other, isn't always very obvious. There is great compassion in a generous stance that doesn't condemn and exclude those who aren't very articulate, clever or forward thinking. But you also owe it to yourself to say no to the temptation to speak to the masses only on their terms. To make art and other creations to please the masses when you can do better, is to encourage the soulless and mediocre. One must have the courage to create what feels right, even at the risk of being held a laughing stock, or not being respected. If you do value your individuality, then you must use it to create something unique. Perhaps it's avant garde, i.e. it's reflecting a vision that will be acknowledged by future generations. Good artists and other creative people are always ahead of their times. They are able to intuit the issues of the future, and offer new and exciting viewpoints that people will be able to use to the advancement of all mankind.

There certainly are a number of collective beliefs that hold us back. I was thinking about them with my husband in the car the other day. I may be allergic to simplistic systems that tell you that it's easy to rewire your brain if you really want to, but it doesn't mean I think it's all bullshit. In the following are ten sketchy examples of the truths that humans tend to believe in and that we should try and address consciously. You can't do it until you're ready to understand how it all works in your own life, however. Otherwise you're just swallowing the truth and probably regurgitating it in a mechanical way. You need to fully understand where you're standing in life and what beliefs are affecting you in which way. These beliefs go in pairs, because extremes always do.

1. We think we need to be "special" in order to have a "special" life of high standard. This only leads to endlessly seeking other people's approval, and we often fail in feeling anything but mediocre. Alternatively, we have an inflated ego and narcissistic tendencies.
2. We think we need other people's permission to do extraordinary things, or to be something other than we really are. Alternatively, we go off and do random things that don't make any sense to anyone else.
3. We think we must be dependent on other people, otherwise we'll perish. This usually also means, that other people are to blame, because co-dependency implies a lack of true responsibility for our own actions and thus we believe we are victims. Alternatively, we believe we can only live for ourselves, independently of others, and we also have power over others because of our supremacy.
4. We feel that holding onto people and things creates a sense of safety. To be truly free is a scary prospect. How can we be sure that life really carries us, that the ground won't give way? Alternatively, we might try and live anarchically, or monastically, but in reality we can't function without some kind of framework. This paradox is hard to resolve.
5. We believe we can only have good things if we work hard enough. There is no end to how hard we msut work. We must always contribute to society, which we objectify as "the other" (though it really encompasses ourselves). Alternatively, we are lazy and believe that society should offer us what we think is our birthright simply because we were born. 
6. There isn't enough time for all the things you think you have to do, and what you also want to do (dreams tend to take second place). Alternatively, we just waste our lives and regret not having lived it more wisely when we're old. 
7. There isn't enough money to go around, and why should I have it when millions have nothing? Alternatively, I should have everything I want because I'm worth it! It doesn't matter what happens to others.
8. Only I can fulfill this task, which is my mission. I have a talent, an education, a Western enlightened mind, so I must use it, even if it means I'm not going to enjoy life to its fullest. I need to contribute to society, to the world, to the Universe - in fact I need to save everything I possibly can and it's up to me to fix all collective problems from global warming to mistreated Palestinians. Alternatively, I think I'm rubbish at everything, I can't compare with those who are talented and good, and have nothing to contribute in any way whatsoever, so might as well just vegetate on the couch.
9. People believe that negative thoughts are bad, so they suppress them. Paradoxically, positive thoughts also become bad because life becomes an act of suppression and control rather than embracing all aspects of life in a balanced and mindful way. Shit happens, that's life.
10. To the broken mind, guilt is a propellor, a driving force. Guilt keeps the world go around more than money ever did. How valuable do you think guilt really is, or is there reason to scrap it? Is it possible to assume responsibility for your own life and that of the collective in a way that doesn't involve guilt? Can you feel that what you're doing is sufficient, rather than constantly lacking in something?

So how do we sort out these beliefs? Most of us swing from one extreme to another at various points in our lives. I believe in the golden middle path. How can we live through all these false beliefs and find some way that really works, possibly somewhere in the middle, away from the extremes? That would be a start, anyway... Compassion comes in many forms. How you decide to live your life matters to other people, sometimes more than you could possibly imagine. It's an act of kindness to consider this. You can retrain your brain (good old CBT) but sometimes we have too much on our plate. Be kind to yourself first and foremost. Seek out the right kind of people who can give you the right kind of support, who don't think you're just throwing a pity party because you're feeling out of sorts and anxious that life isn't what you keep visualizing in your mind.

Sometimes what we need first is just good sleep and lots of rest. And if you suffer from insomnia and an over active nervous system the way I do, then that must somehow be taken care of. Perhaps I can't fix it, but that doesn't mean there isn't a solution out there, in some form or another. Sometimes it takes time to uncover a solution, because it depends on so many things we can't control. Just be open to the possibility and have the courage to look at life with wide open eyes. You can't escape it forever. Life doesn't only exist through your subjective perception. That's a very extreme and silly notion.

And as Ken and Andrew are saying in this dialogue, "Psychology versus Enlightenment", of the Guru and the Pandit, enlightenment is realising there is no such thing. Oh, and you might like to take the way of the Moomin to heart. That's real common sense wisdom! Check out their 50 lessons in life...

Wednesday, 1 May 2013


I'm not writing here often, though I think about subject matters sometimes. I hesitate to be judgemental, but I also find it difficult right now to be very enthousiastic about anything. Life is quite difficult. I think a lot about the kind of life I'd like to lead, but deep down, when my visions don't become reality, I feel that it's simply not time just yet. Some people speak of "God's time". I have always felt humbled before the greater ways of my destiny. Postulating that only part of "me" is present to my self-awareness in this particular incarnation, there is simply a lot more to my life than I can possibly imagine. As soon as I start hypothesising about who I really am and what my purpose really is, I feel I need to stop, because it's sliding into the realm of wishful thinking. This is why I want to distance myself more and more from the whole New Age way of thinking. Don't get me wrong, the New Age has offered some interesting perspectives that I haven't encountered in a digestable form anywhere else. But when I see a lot of people trying to convince themselves that they are doing the right thing in the name of New Age, I often think, it's just another religion. 

By religion I mean a rigid and dogmatic system of beliefs that mostly relies on believing in something that may or may not be true. Of course, I'm not suggesting anyone with strange beliefs fall into the category of woolly and flakey new agers. The problem is seeing who is what. There are certainly genuine people out there with experiences that are out of the ordinary, but there are also a lot of people who are really just trying to make money out of other people's gullibility and desire "to be evolved". These people often need to  convince themselves that they are "special", with extraordinary powers and insights that simply aren't real. Very often self-development is mistaken for spiritual development. While deep down there really is only spiritual development (if there is only the One), in our day-to-day lives there is a difference suggested by this terminology. People who are into self-development can be quite self-absorbed and appear downright selfish. They are discovering themselves, and looking for tools to enhance their lives. It's all as it should be, but it's a stage in the development towards matters that are a lot more "spiritual" in a deeper sense, i.e. true compassion, the letting go of personal control in relation to other people and life on the whole, understanding some fundamental things about the nature of reality, but also of deep thinking and intellectual scrutiny. There is simply nothing airy fairy about a truly spiritual pursuit.

I follow Ken Wilber and Andrew Cohen in their attempts to underline the necessity of absolute truth. While we have our subjective truths, objective truth co-exists in a paradoxical sort of way. When we agree on what this absolute truth consists of, we are paying homage to the fact that we are part of the greater collective consciousness. Making clear distinctions in your mind about which is which can be conducive to a healthier attitude to life, and above all, a more ethically sound life style that helps create a better social environment for all of us. 

In the present day and age, not many people understand the nature of absolute truth, since you really need to experience it in order to know it's really true... but others who haven't had this epiphany, can deduce quite a lot from accounts by those who have. You can get quite far through persistant intellectual research, though you always need to be aware of not getting stuck in intellectual pursuit for its own sake. Life is also for living, regardless what kind of reality you're living.

One thing that bothers me about most of the New Age movement today is the extensive fear-mongering. For instance, the law of attraction is very attractive on the surface, but when you look at it with some critcism, you'll find that it really engenders guilt. Perhaps it's a valid tool for some people, perhaps in terms of experiment with one's abilities rather than as a tool of absolute value. When I hear people talk about it, I usually detect a sense of grasping, control and a great deal of self-centredness that doesn't take into account that there's a whole other world out there with people who have very different agendas. You can't just force your way through that field of events. Having the attitude that we need to co-exist harmoniously is a different matter entirely.

My point of view is that we are not all at the same point in our development and therefore there are no specific methods that are applicable to all. I have probably said this before, but I have to stress it again; not everyone is in a place of absolute freedom to imagine whatever life they want. Some people seem to be a lot more fixed by a destiny that doesn't allow them quite that much freedom to experiment with their lives. Take illness, for instance. Some people are able to cure themselves in the most miraculous ways, and they are more than happy to share their findings. This is all very well, but if you can't fix your problems no matter how much you try, it could well be that you are meant to live with it. Don't feel guilty and discouraged. Some karmas are simply like that. Perhaps a little bit of your suffering can be alleviated. But there really are illnesses that are chronic, and will be part of your life until the day you die. It's a great spiritual challenge to deal with such humbling conditions. Perhaps the idea that "strong souls take on heavy challenges" really is true. It should be of some solace. 

I recently found out that Ken Wilber himself has suffered from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or ME for over thirty years (see this video). I was flabberghasted - he actually has one of the most horrid and mysterious illnesses of our times, and it's not that different from my own conditon (fibromyalgia). Apparently he just "happened" to be in a small village by the Lake Tahoe when there was a weird epidemic that caused ME in about 250 people. Being a person of great intelligence and spirituality, he learnt to somehow manage the condition and still write books. He has recently had a set back, and was incapacitated for a couple of years. Hence the revelation about this illness and the happy news that he's writing again. It's a small solace that even he has trouble coping sometimes. I wish he would write a book about illness and spirituality, a bit like "Grace and Grit", maybe. All these chronic conditions that cause extreme fatigue and insomnia seem to me to be a sign of our times (ME is growing in frequency and I personally know quite a lot of people with this illness), but also constitute very specific spiritual challenges that causes marginalisation and stigmatisation (HIV comes to mind too, of course). Ken mentions insomnia as one of the greatest of challenges, one that I am more than familiar with (see my autobiographical film).

Ken Wilber manages his condition in an intelligent sort of way (I'd love to know how but suspect that extensive meditation practice is helping him), but he also doesn't complain about his destiny - who knows, he may be quite capable of staying brave in private too... Not all of us are always strong, in fact most people with a chronic condition have very bad days when it's impossible not to feel cranky. In daily life, when you also struggle with poverty and other issues, it's normal to complain a little. How can you find joy in what you do when everything requires a great effort? Fatigue does terrible things to a person's psyche. Exercising escapism isn't the answer, though. Some peope think they are better off if they control their lives, but it's really not about control, it's about co-existing with the condition and gently persuading mind and body to be as well as they can be. It's the same attitude we can cultivate in the grand scheme of life, in relation to other people and events outside of ourselves.

I have seen other forms of fear mongering, for instance the idea that people are under the attack of psychic entities. How easy to list all the symptoms people have due to chronic conditions or stressful lives and suggest it's all because of some invisible parasite? Of course many people will quickly try and get help "just in case". Whenever you consult a person who claims to be psychic, make very, very sure - and double sure - that this is a good person. How do they phrase themselves? Is the person charismatic? Do they have a loving look in their eyes? How many good people that you know personally have recommended this person? Did they come into your life almost by accident, through a friend or another positive context? And so on. Don't spend your precious money on anything that you're doing out of fear or guilt. That is not a spritual context.

Be natural and try and open up to the wonder that is life, in spite of all the flaws of your own existence. There have been times when I've cried bitter tears because I know this reality is so drab compared to some other dimensions... I know this because I have felt it so poignantly, therefore I'm bent to believing it. But this life on Earth is also a "great experiment" and through us all, spirit is finding new ways of expression. It is a wonder.

Read more about my art project involving the expression of invisible illness and fatigue here.  You can also follow what I'm doing artwise on my art blog.

Friday, 1 March 2013


Marina Abramovic during her performance "Rhythm 0" in 1974

Art is somewhere between reality and fiction, and this is where it can sneak under your skin - it can jolt you out of your day-to-day routines and fixed behavioural patterns, as it's almost real but not quite. At best it allows you to experience new thoughts and feelings, even experiment with them, within a frame work that is usually quite safe. I think most serious artists wish to provoke, and while a lot of artistic provocation can be seen as simplistic and coarse sensation-seeking, some of it can have a real impact on a person's consciousness. Interactive performance art, for instance, can give rise to role play that helps you question your own value systems, boundaries and social facade. I would think that good art balances somewhere between pleasing and displeasing the audience.

You have to admire Marina Abramovic for her persistance in using her own body, over and over again, for over 40 years, as her main artistic medium. I still have much discover about her performance art, and so this time I will only concentrate on one idea. In fact, it's about a piece of performance that happened a very long time ago, back in 1974. What I'm interested in is the constellation "victim versus predator". It really got me thinking, when a friend brought it to my attention. 

You can hear about the piece Rhythm 0 here in this video clip. With a few objects at hand, Marina put herself in the position of "victim" by allowing people to do things to her, using the items provided. They related to pleasure and pain. After a while, the atmosphere became aggressive and quite scary. People became provocative - one person dug thorns into her belly, and another put a loaded gun to her head. 

It's easy to be judgmental of the people who gave in to their aggressions. I think there's a great deal more to this set up though. For one thing, Marina is challenging the safe framework of art itself by introducing a lot of realism by being there herself and meeting the spectator, eye to eye. This is challenging art itself, as the situation draws closer to reality than fiction. The other important thing is that we are dealing with a very deep psychological issue that runs as a red thread through all of human life - it's the constellation of victim versus predator. This constellation is so much part of our consicousness and we all have feelings connected to these archetypal energies. It's also one of those troublesome issues that tend to get out of hand not just because of the very origins of these energies, but because they are so easy to identify with. While there are some people who are survivors in the deeper sense, i.e. they have risen above the dichotomy of victim and predator, most people identify to a very large extent with one or the other. It must be noted, that this usually happens subconsciously or half-consciously. Unconscious attitudes are part of our Shadow self, as defined long ago by Carl Gustav Jung. Whatever is half-conscious naturally lingers on the edge of the Shadow. Sometimes people are truly haunted by their shadow selves... but it's not always possible to know what's going on since that's in the nature of subconscious issues!

Victimization is typical in today's world, as it's easy to blame others for our misfortunes. As long as people aren't able to take responsibility for their experiences and trials in life, they will play the blame game. The people that are blamed are of course seen as predators or aggressors in one form or another. The people "on top" often dispise the "victims", who are seen as weak and incapable of "fixing" their own lives. They are often seen as the parasites who live off society and other people. Of course, these opinions are often unfounded, and at least partly imaginary. For instance, disabled people may be weak if compared with able bodied people, as they are unable to fit into a world that is designed for the fittest. It doesn't mean that they necessarily feel sorry for themselves and would be unable to contribute to society if given a fitting opportunity. The fitter people aren't always predators either, as many people simply aren't informed about the real state of affairs in the kind of complex reality that we live in.

So how does the Shadow work in practice? Our reality consists of constellations, i.e. relationships, most notably that of opposites. The interesting thing about them, is that opposites are two sides of one coin. You cannot have one without the other. Very often this means that a person is biased towards one side but not the other. Because the other side is the opposite of what we like to believe in, we tend to shun it and avoid having anything to do with it. Ironically, the more we fight it the more likely we are to attract it. This is because opposites go together!

For example (this is using the constellation of victim/predator as an example, but the same idea can be applied to any other psychological opposites. Note that the predator could be called many things, for instance the ones "in control", or "in charge", or "on top". Generally speaking, a victim appers weak and vulnerable while the predator seems strong and invincible):

People dislike a trait in others that they embody themselves, and this makes them feel "triggered" when they come in contact with those who own this trait. In other words, it's a trait they haven't owned themselves, but in order to become more mature they ought to start seeing it in themselves. This acknowledgment of the real state of affairs is crucial to healing. In fact, reconciling opposites in our psyche is how we evolve mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Opposite traits go hand in hand. A person who has a tendency to victimize themselves have an unconscious desire to be an aggressor, or someone who is "on top". They are often passive-aggressive as opposed to aggressive. An aggressor/predator, on the other hand, has a secret "inner victim" they don't want to know about, but therefore need to embrace. People with opposite traits are drawn to each other, as like does seem to attract like (or opposites attract each other, as is naturally also the case with these constellations, depending on how we look at it). They are going to push each other's buttons and things could get really ugly... if the situation isn't acknowledged and integrated into the psyche. This is the route to world peace!

There doesn't have to be a perfect match. Appearances can also cause people to be triggered. If someone perceives of another person as a victim who is fond of victimizing themselves, it may only be half the truth. Compare this with the case of the disabled person I used as an example above - the one who may be condemned unjustly. It doesn't mean the disabled person doesn't ever feel sorry for themselves, because we all do sometimes, and it's okay, because we're human... but it may be a great deal less than an arrogant and not very clear sighted onlooker might think. Sometimes it's enough to embody just a little bit of a trait that another person hates, to make them go off. When imagination is at play, facts tend to get distorted.

Can someone trigger other people without embodying their traits at all? It's an interesting question... I think you can be incredibly intuitive and pick up on people's weak spots. Only if these weaknesses really bother you, do you have a problem that you need to think about. If not, then you've repressed that trait in yourself very succesfully, or just happen to have a knack, i.e. you're just very perceptive. You might think it's a good thing to trigger others to react, but that sounds dangerously arrogant to me.

People who are marginalized or otherwise in the position of the underdog, will feel victimized at times. This is a natural feeling, but it becomes unhealthy when there's too much of it. The same goes for the opposite, which is that people who are powerful often have bloated egos and have many weak spots that have been covered up. In the world today, this constellation is prevalent and very taught. It desperately needs resolution, but this can only be acquired through compassion towards the self and others, as well as mindfulness and awareness of one's self. Self-knowledge is the key, as it's the route to a greater understanding of one's own real strengths and weaknesses. One needs to admit, that as a member of the human race we are naturally at times victims and predators, and that feelings such as vulnerability and anger are all natural. 

In short, looks can be deceptive - some people have a lot on their plate which naturally leads to many complex emotions and inner experiences in general, and change becomes more difficult. Such a person can appear weak from certain points of view, when in fact they are incredibly strong for holding it all together. Perhaps art can help express these ideas so that people get jolted out of their habitual attitudes and behavioural patterns... whatever helps rise such issues into consciousness seems like a noble pursuit to me.