METAPHYSICAL PRINCIPLES

soulmates-2I’ve written previously about soul mates and past life connections. But I’d like to cover more deeply the characteristics, dynamics and flavor brought to us through the recognition of our past connections. I‘d also like to clarify a major misconception about what soul mates are and how best to recognize them. Whether you believe in reincarnation or not is not as important as the effect these kinds of feelings and connections may have on you regardless of your beliefs about it let alone dealing with the dynamics of any type of recognition.

Before I begin it would be prudent to give you my take on what a soul mate is as distinguished from a simple past life connection. A soul mate is a past life connection with whom we’ve had a profound experience. It could be as lovers, enemies, parents, children, mentors or anyone with whom the experience shaped our lives and attitudes in an important way. Upon meeting in this life there is a depth of “knowing” them with a strong sense of familiarity as if we’ve known each other for years usually including unexplained feelings of safety, comfort or trust. They often come into our life during a crisis period giving us grounding and support and then leave when the worst is over. Yet, our arch enemy will also fit the bill but with an unexplained sense of danger, discomfort and a distrust of their actions and intentions. Simple past life connections are similar but without the profundity, intensity or unexplained qualities that are elicited when meeting our soul mates. There is simply recognition of having an indescribable feeling of familiarity as if we should have something in common through the connection but being more nebulous and much less defined in terms of our personal feelings and intuition. Past life connections may also be family members other than nuclear, personal associations and connections coming mostly from peripheral past life experiences.

The most common misnomer is that soul mates are impassioned lovers that reconnect in a current life and that once found all aspects of the new relationship will progress without incident. This is a frequent belief held among westerners in that our mindset sees life as a series of challenges needing resolution and that once these challenges have been met, difficulties will cease and the rest of life will end as in a fairy tale. But we must remember that life is a process and not a destination and that if our life continues, there are bound to be more challenges simply by virtue of the fact that we all continue to grow and evolve.

samurai duelAlthough soul mates can be returning lovers, this is not as often the case as we might think. The intense connection felt by the impassioned lovers can also be felt between arch enemies. In this we need to understand that arch enemies are just as tuned in to each other as impassioned lovers are. This tuning in occurs through intensely, even obsessively, directing an abundant amount of our attention to our lover or our enemy. Energy builds just like money in a growing investment. It must also be realized that if our attention occurs within a setting of emotional immaturity, the lovers can shift to being arch enemies on a dime and vice versa. The soul mate connection is one of energy and feeling not of circumstance. Yet, circumstances are simply the medium for the energy to express itself through. The recognition we sense between people is through our feelings and can range between tsunamically overwhelming feelings or simple impressions that are brought to the surface of our awareness. And those feelings are usually triggered through a simple act or circumstance.

It’s common knowledge that if we have an immediate reaction to someone upon meeting them that our feelings will always give us an accurate measure as to how good or bad they will be for us in the long run. We’ve all, at one time or another, found ourselves saying “I have a good (or bad) feeling about this.” From that point, and if our mind believes that our original assessment might be in error or that it threatens our personal image or security, the mind will come up with Rationalizeany number of rationalizations to either confirm or deny the validity of those first impressions. In this case and more often than not, when we let the mind have the final say and it disagrees with our first impression, we almost always end up regretting our final decision. But here, we’re not too concerned with how good or bad they are for us but if the impression triggers a past life connection. The biggest difficulty for most people is in separating animal magnetism from past life recognition. Most people assume that the magnetism is somehow a past life connection. This usually occurs with people who are not subtly tuned. But, if we’ve done sufficient work on ourselves and have learned to discriminate the coarser vibrations from the subtler ones, we usually can tell the difference.

In lieu of the fact that so many levels of information are presented on our first meeting with someone, I think it’s safe to say that it’s easier to determine past life connections after the initial acquaintance has taken place and the relationship has had a little time to become comfortable and familiar with both people. Once this occurs it becomes easier to discriminate subtler differences in the impressions and feelings we pick up while relating. Essentially, the more intense and often overwhelming energies have settled and an emotional equilibrium has stage set-2returned putting the discrimination of feelings on a much more refined basis. This sets the stage for the actual dynamic that occurs triggering past life reflections. I use reflections instead of the word memories since memory usually refers to the storage of mentally assessed experiences. Spontaneous past life reflections happen in the much more subtle and intangible field of intuition while sometimes coupled with a feeling. Because of the subtlety of the connection, our combined physical senses, which usually determine if an experience is real for us or not, are not involved in the recognition of past life experiences resulting in our wondering whether we are simply making up what we perceive or if it had actually occurred. Past life recognition usually occurs through only one sense at a time. This enables clarity. The key to working with these impressions is to prevent the mind’s involvement and its tendency to combine our physical senses, thereby, reading only our intuitive and feeling perceptions through one sense. Once the mind becomes involved in the process we tend toward “fleshing out” the impression with what we think the meaning or experience must be according to our standards for assessing physical reality.

Past life regression-1When working with a hypnotherapist and regression, keeping us free from embellishing what we recognize is one of their jobs. This way the image remains true to the original impression. Linear thinking is antithetical to intuition and feeling. Yet, the human mind will always struggle to put what we know and what we perceive into linear terms so it will be able to use it in the processing of our physical world. This now leaves us only with the possible avenues for triggering past life impressions and feelings.

The dynamic is simple. The link occurs between our current relaxed awareness, often in an alpha state, with the past experience. It can and usually comes by way of one sense like a touch, a word (vibration), a phrase, a scent, a sound, a tune or any other perceived stimulus that somehow resonates with circumstances encountered in the past life experience. This is often Deja Vuperceived as what many call déjà vu. But déjà vu usually arrives through a combined sensory trigger.  The past life reflection usually occurs only through one sense. The trigger works the same way a memory is triggered but with the mind out of the picture, deeper impressions are more able to come to the surface. For example, if one person is caressing another and a very relaxed state is induced for one or both, an impression may come to the surface of either one or both the caresser and person being caressed. The act of caressing reverberates or echoes the past life experience and a resonance between this life and the past is enabled through the caressing. In the same way that a combination of flavors may bring us back to memorable times in our childhood, that same combination of flavors may also enable the surfacing of a past life experience attached to those same flavors provided our mind is briefly “out of commission.”

Any singular sensory experience may be enough to trigger a past life impression but we must be in a state where the mind and our current world doesn’t intrude or overshadow the impression with earthly qualifications and mental rationalizations. Similarly, it is like being in a crowded room with everyone loudly talking making it virtually impossible to hear a whisper. But if everybody is whispering, it is much easier to perceive more subtle sounds.

ScrutinySo, in assessing soul mate potential, we must be careful in our discrimination so we don’t fool ourselves or talk ourselves into believing that any feeling of familiarity is an indication of a soul mate when perhaps it is simply a past life connection. As with anything else, clear and concise discrimination is the key to our inner awareness.

I want, I need I desire..They're such small words for such large and multi-leveled meanings. We all speak of what we want, need and desire, but so little attention is ever given to where the urges come from and how they originated in our perception in the first place. Why do we desire? Why do we want? Why do we need? I believe the answer is very simple but we get so mired down in the details of those feelings and what they’re attached to that we never see the larger picture. The larger picture is the key to our understanding but it will take a little perceptual shifting on our parts to fully comprehend the paradigm.

on the path-2Let’s begin first by saying that a desire is a direction finder for following our hearts and our inner paths. It is this directing engine that drives the experience that we’ve come here to have. To understand this in the proper context we have to put ourselves in the position of “where” we were in before we created and entered our current bodies. I believe at the very root of this understanding is that we were not put here by anyone for any reason foreign to us. However, there is a universal energy of which we are all a part of. Call it God, the Tao, the source, our essence, regardless whatever name you choose to represent the larger part of us that we are striving to become aware of our part in. Essentially, we are a small splinter of a much, much larger force.

In this state, which we might call spirit, soul or essence, we are aware that to become aware of the larger whole of what we’re part of we must have experiences that awaken qualities within us that will make us able to comprehend and understand our connection and belonging to that larger force. To that end we create an intention for which experiences we believe will expand our awareness and understanding to do so. This is partly what is meant when many of us say Bunker familyand believe that we choose the family to which we will be born into. The type of family and circumstances we enter will train us into a perspective that will create desires and needs within us that, if followed, will eventually lead us to personal choices that will produce the experiences that will enliven our pre-birth intentions. In a sense, we’re setting the stage for how we will perceive and approach the world to serve as an impetus toward the experience(s) we’ve chosen. Once we’ve been trained into family views and perceptions, our attention will find gaps in or qualities missing in our earthly self-assessments and life circumstances that we feel must be filled in order that we may feel “whole.” For example, if we’ve chosen to experience personal accomplishment and what the world calls success, we will be born to a family that lacks opportunity, prestige, resources, and recognition. Feeling this lack we will be impelled to overcome those limitations, and hopefully, establish an awareness of those qualities within ourselves. Older esoteric organizations describe this dynamic as being a thrust block akin to how a swimmer would use the resistance of the pool wall behind them to propel themselves forward through the water. More examples would be the psychologist who comes from a dysfunctional family seeks and gains inner balance or an abused person finds and builds the internal respect to become assertive, confident and self-respecting in their life choices of partners. It has been my experience to find people who have come from exceptionally difficult childhoods to eventually excel in those areas in their lives that had provided the most difficulty. Then, their worst deficits are turned into their best assets through seeking to overturn them. Yet, not every soul “accomplishes” the earthly experience they intended. Just around the cornerWhat we call “fate” sets the path but free will allows us to choose our earthly direction based on the forces we find here. Many of our choices are not aligned with what our heart intends for us. Yet, even in missing the intended goal we acquire experiences that lead to our greater awareness. Nothing is wasted. This is one of the factors included in the Law of Conservation. Hence, we pull back and reestablish our intention. This is one of the purposes for meditation and practices that return us to our center. If not done during our incarnation, we may reassess after returning to our source.

So, now let’s return to I want, I need, I desire. Where do these desires, needs and wants come from? They are activated by the circumstances we choose to insert ourselves into before birth. By our pre-birth choice, we choose and set the stage for our growth ourselves through the family we enter ingraining in our psyches differences in culture, religion, social standing, prosperity, physical attributes, mental and emotional capacity, etc. Our perceived lack in any or all of those areas serves as the engine that drives our urges and desires for our originally intended experience.

In this light we can see that if we faithfully follow our inner most urges and desires, we will enable and manifest the worldly experience we’ve have chosen to have before we were born. The process is simple as long as we are able to listen and follow what comes from our hearts. But the world neither understands nor approves of selfishly following our own desires and urges regardless of the reasoning behind it. The world sees being selfish and following our own Vatican Rulingurges as indicative of our exhibiting negative behavior, despicable self-centeredness and assumes lack of compassion for others. Our religions have done a stupendous job of making us choose to believe that we are responsible and accountable to the world rather than our own souls, spirits or essences even though it claims to have the truth about our existence. To serve ourselves before serving others is seen as a perversion of human values. Our materially driven world sees humanity as having to be accountable and responsible for the world existing outside of our hearts. Hence, we allow ourselves become dismally distracted into believing that others are the reason to which we’ve been put here by a deity outside of us while under its threat of excommunication, ostracization and rejection. In short, we’re blackmailed through being prohibited from receiving love and belonging unless we behave in ways that only serves the religion which proposed them. Perhaps this is what one of the perspectives that Jesus meant when he said to simply be in the world rather than of it.

When we say I want, I desire, I need... they're simply the tip of the inner iceberg indicating pied-piper-1where our attention should be. We must not only listen to and follow them but look beneath the surface of those desires to be assured that our choices are not the manufactured product of a worldly Pied Piper seducing our egos and tempting us away from the inner path we have truly intended for ourselves.

1 Comment

Dark night of the soul-2There comes a time in all of our lives when the realization that what we’ve been programmed with about how the world works and what is expected of us comes face to face with our inner need to be authentic and true to ourselves. This can occur at almost any time in our lives when we begin to become accountable for our own lives and circumstances but its confrontation is, essentially, unavoidable once we reach midlife between the ages of thirty-eight through forty-four. Probably why so many adults make light of it can only be testimony to our need for relief when it arrives so voraciously on our doorstep. This confrontation challenges our beliefs and values about our reality and can often be a very frightening and incapacitating feeling. It often leaves many of us either panicked or frustrated knowing that something must be done but that our action, if truly aligned with our inner felt needs, might completely obliterate the security we have thus far built in this world as a result of our childhood and continued training. Yet, to step into a brighter light and consciousness it is necessary and unavoidable.

Parents are godsIn our younger years there is usually no one else other than our parents who are our keepers and educators. Perceiving this, their presence and omniscience within our tiny world easily encourages us to view them as gods with having all our needs and answers quickly at hand. But as adults we must, at some point, come to realize that those in child bearing years have not yet reached this midlife marker either in their temporal journey here and that in that they too have not yet experienced the crisis that, hopefully, eventually leads to their spiritual freedom in discovering and following their own path often in contradiction to what is expected of them by their unsuspecting families. This separation in timing has the effect of insuring that their journey, and ours, is wholly an independent and personal one. The most important understanding that must be realized here is that each person’s journey is individual and unique and cannot be shown or instructed by anyone else. It must be listened to and felt. For those of us who have allowed ourselves to be led, this is panic inducing. For those of us who have acted independently but pushed the river toward what we thought was the goal based on our early training, it is sublimely frustrating. Both paths ultimately lead initially to depression and a stark withdrawal into the psychological and emotional interior of our being. For those of us who have felt ahead the arrival of this time, the journey may only take a year. For those of us well ingrained in our instructed set of parental values, it may take many more. And then there are others who never ascend above the threshold of consciousness and remain trapped beneath the surface through our own fear, pride, resistance and stubbornness. The journey and its goal are not guaranteed; only our opportunity to do so.

Odd man outWe humans, by nature, are innately social. Following our early training guarantees our inclusion and acceptance by our clan and culture and is encouraged through conformity toward historical traditions and the sublimation of our own needs for the good of the group. Our adherence to the needs of the group is subliminally maintained through emotional blackmail with the inference that if we don’t acquiesce toward a preferred behavior the support and acceptance by the group and our inclusion in the benefits enjoyed by them will be withheld. Fear of banishment powers a collusion that encourages us to refrain from exposing each other’s perceived inadequacies thereby remaining in each other’s graces and forestalling a need to grow beyond our immediate emotional limitations. This can be seen the most clearly when we examine the psychology of individual family structures.

There are three effects that occur when we begin to detach from childhood patterns and assert our individuality through deference to our inner urges and intuition. First, when we embark on the path of attempting to be authentic to our own natures, our efforts almost always conflict with the emotional security needs of our family and our clan. We are no longer comfortable maintaining the status quo with family tradition and our parents which has initially protected us during our vulnerable years but in later years has come to have the effect of stagnating our sheep-roadblockindividual growth and consciousness. The removal of these blockages to our growth is perceived by our family as exposing hidden perceived inadequacies implanted in them through their early childhood training. When those in our family and clan feel our withdrawal from our blanket validation of their preferred behaviors from us in favor of our own growth, their reaction is often swift and dynamic. They then re-emphasize that fact that their support and acceptance of us is only maintained through our acquiescing to the covering of their insecurities and emotionally ingrained compensations. If stepping up the pressure is of no avail, the next step is a self-defensive excommunication of us and our relegation to the status of “black sheep” of the family.

The second effect occurs in a broader frame of reference. There is a very subtle and unspoken belief in this country that our actions should be geared toward providing support and assistance to those “lees fortunate” than we prior toward taking care of our own needs lest we be labeled as being selfish or lacking compassion. This attitude is even reflected in our country Statue of Libertymascot, the Statue of Liberty, asserting that the acceptance of those “less fortunate” in the world and immigrating here would be taken care of. This perspective came as a result of the original settlers of this country actually needing the combined efforts of everyone simply to survive. This “good of the many” perspective very quickly became integrated with their basic religious beliefs and is now often referred to as part of the Christian ethic. In spite of its religious association, this perspective has become a very quiet and subliminal programming which also lies at or just below the threshold of our secular cultural waking consciousness. This perspective has morphed into the basic assumption that if we direct our efforts toward the welfare of others, ahead of our own of course, that the hope pertaining to our own needs would be answered by someone else doing the same thing for us. This unconscious assumption has proven to be disastrous to our ability to muster motivation toward taking care of our own issues and forming personal goals let alone being accountable for our own choices. In an extreme, this has been viewed by the rest of the world as our having an attitude of entitlement. This undercurrent asserting the belief and expectation that we should be or will be taken care by others of severely undermines the accountability we need to move easily through our mid-life crises and augments the emotional effects of our perceived helplessness generated by the arrival of our Dark Night of the Soul.

StrandedThe third of these effects comes as we begin to address our own needs ahead of those of others, we not only lose the inclusion and support of our family and clan but that of our nation and peer group as well. With these three effects in play we feel completely alone and unsupported by our historical traditions and roots. But that only serves to intensify the urgency and the necessity for us to become accountable that we may be willing and able to listen to our inner urges and leanings free of the coercive and addictive effects of having or gaining a feeling of belonging. Our Dark Night of the Soul must be passed through alone that we may come to rely and trust our own judgment and intuition in lieu of depending on an outside source such as tradition or religion to dictate our objectives thereby also assuming responsibility for our choices.

carrying-weight-worldProbably one of the most difficult and daunting parts of aligning ourselves with our own inner and intuitive urges is the overwhelming feeling of loneliness we encounter when we lose the support and acceptance of those who were involved in our indoctrination into the traditional and religious currents of altruism. Friends and associates who can no longer depend on our blanket support for their emotionally generated security needs shy away from us claiming that we’re no longer the same old comrade who supported them “right or wrong.” Marriages slowly drift apart and often disintegrate as one partner grows and the other doesn’t. Our growth also alienates us from our families claiming that we’re ruining or breaking up the family or that we have no tolerance or respect for tradition and the way things have always been done. Becoming spiritually mature can be a very lonely and frightening avenue of travel.

However, on the other side of the tunnel we slowly garner new friends and associates who understand the trials we’re progressing through. This feels to us as a relief to our isolation but we must be aware that there are also dangers in the practice of commiseration over the loses of our familial and peer group support. We must guard against seeing those who rejected us as disloyal and subjects for our disdain. This perspective will also serve to sabotage the much needed attitude toward our reliance on Self-Trust by virtue of our own accountability. We must not fall into blaming our loneliness and lack of support on those who feel threatened by our journey toward spiritual self-hood. Passing through the Dark Night of the Soul is our own journey and no one else must be held accountable but ourselves.

Phoenix-1The feelings that dawn within us with our passage through this dark corridor eventually gives us so much independence and freedom from emotional enmeshment that our paths obtain a speed, a purity and new light unlike that which we have ever experienced before. With it comes an understanding and compassion for those of us who are still in process of passing through and those who have yet to do so. It also brings an unavoidable sadness in us over those of whom we have lost. Yet, we harbor a hope that they too will be able to traverse the course shedding the codependences and collusions that keep them from peeling away the layers of their trained and subsequently perceived inadequacies covering the pillars of their spiritual ignorance. Perhaps this is what Jesus actually meant when he spoke of “putting away childish things.”

Gratitude-1Gratitude and grateful are words that have been used, misinterpreted and abused by many people, disciplines and philosophies. In speaking of them with others we can never be sure how another will perceive them or apply them to action. In this light I think the best place to begin in order to establish a conventional point of reference for a continuity of our understanding should be with definitions as defined by the academicians. Etymonline.com, who defines the origins and original meanings of words, gives the most basic and original meanings, the cultures they emerged from and the meanings as used by those cultures.

Both words derive from the word grace which was first recorded in 13th century Old French as the word graciier meaning to favor. Favor, also from the 13th century French adds the meanings of to laud, to commend, to flatter or to be partial to, feel mercy for and praise which comes from the Late Latin preciare.

Lastly, grateful also derives from the word grace but its meaning shifted in the 1550s taking on flavor of being disposed to repay favors bestowed. This is where the word blessing came into play involving religion.

I’ve done this so there will be no disagreement in how someone may view gratitude. There are two applications and one assumption that the word is often applied to. Let’s first look at the most mundane and the most tangible. This will set our framework.

IOU-2The first perspective seems to apply to an expected repayment of a shared, given advantage or preference applied by someone else to us. That is, if someone gives us something that might be needed or assists in a way that we either solicited, implied the need for or appeared to need or want in the eyes of the giver, there will be assumed debt on the part of the receiver that they believe must either be repaid or simply acknowledged in the form of thanks, praise, deference or gratitude. Remember, one of the definitions of gratitude is our disposal to repay a favor bestowed.

Scolding-1The second perspective is a little more involved in that it includes being trained by someone into regarding them as someone who is deserving of our attention and deference in all our dealings with them. That is, we should regard them in a way that we accept their indispensability in our lives and always show unconditional gratitude. This is obviously a form of emotional blackmail as our perceived punishment for not doing so or feeling obligated will be either loss of love, inclusion or some form of support from them. This may be the parent that responds to our undesirable behavior with. “After all I’ve done for you go off and…”

The similarity between both these perspectives is that they both include earthly recognizable poles or sides that must be accepted in relating to our obligation and their repayment. They both exist within the time constrained polar opposing physical world. The assumption is that there is to be recognition, attention and or repayment as our gratitude for all the interchanges that can be viewed as their personal sacrifice in the interest of our retaining their favor, or in the case of religion, a deity. The resulting punishment for not acknowledging their efforts or not being grateful is either some form of self-instilled guilt (constructed in childhood training) or an actual loss of favor, approval or assistance from them.

In light of the fact that no one does anything by virtue of only one motivation, a play for gratitude or repayment is often disguised as a “noble” deed on the part of the “giver” which will serve as a sacrifice in the eyes of their peers but must be perceived as an accepted obligation on the part of the receiver. A simple example would be our eating in a restaurant, over tipping, being socially perceived by our peer group as being overly generous while conditioning the future behavior of the waiter or waitress into feeling that they “owe” us deference in our future Tipping-1visits.This dynamic may either be conscious or below the threshold of a perpetrator. Accusation of their doing so may receive a staunch denial due to their lack of awareness and thorough childhood training received directly or through unconscious emulation.

When we apply these perspectives and divisive rapport to the way that we apply our essence to the world we become extremely destructive and cripple our abilities and accountability in being Fencing-1creative and effective in how we move through this mentally polarized world. We begin to see ourselves in an adversarial relationship with our essence through applying the polarizing principles of repayment, owing, obligation and sometimes subjugation by personifying the dynamics of the universe with the mentally polarized perspectives of give and take, have and not have, want and not want.This becomes the most blatant when we construct a deity personified with demands and expectations of us that we believe ourselves to be unequal to if not inadequate in accomplishing. This also becomes applicable but less obvious in metaphysics when we apply the same polarized personification to natural universe giving it the quality of judgment overus that demands that we be grateful to it for circumstances that we put into motion ourselves through our own actions and choices. This same dynamic is resonant with the psychological dynamic that we call our Shadow where we would apply admirable Shadowqualities to an external hero or idol instead of ourselves, keeping them at a distance from our own egoic persona and feeling petrified that if we actualized them within ourselves we would lose our perceived security in our present circumstances and known behaviors while having to actualize those characteristics within ourselves and finding ourselves in unknown and “out of control” egoic territory. We have to understand that the mind is extremely clever in creating its own logic in separating us from parts of ourselves that might sabotage our preferred and perceivably secure image of ourselves. We simply bury the qualities in our unconscious or apply them to a deity or the universe around us.

in-utero-babyTo understand this dynamic a little better, please consider that before we were born we were in a state where there was no need for food, warmth, shelter or nurturance. They were all intrinsic to the state of not being incarnate. This is our essence: all inclusive, whole, complete and without any need or requirement. To the simplistic mind we might call this Heaven, Nirvana, Paradise. Then a curious thing happens. We emerge into an environment where everything becomes divided. We experience the traumatic separation of birth. I say traumatic because it divides our world into previously unknown polarities; warm versus cold, loud versus quiet, sated versus hungry, bright versus dark, nurtured versus lonely. We translate this division into pain and pleasure. To distinguish between these two states, the mind is born in tandem with our physical birth giving us the capacity to register this division in the forms of thought and language in order to describe and manage ourselves in the new environment. Our mentally polarized mind rapidly develops overshadowing the remembrance of our previous unity and essence rapidly burying it in an avalanche of divisive and separative mental assessments. We now have the foundation for our polarized rapport with our world. Now, in the same way that if we only have a hammer we see everything as a nail, our mind sees the world in terms of division and separation as that is the dynamic that the mind was formed in and only has the capacity to operate within. So, let’s now move back to our concept of gratitude.

So, when we say we are grateful to someone, we can easily understand the dynamic because we understand and accept our separation from the person that we are grateful to. But when we say we feel gratitude or are grateful to a deity or the universe for our circumstances, what are we actually doing by saying so? We are creating a separation and dividing ourselves off from our own ability and accountability in creating our own circumstances. We are creating a metaphysical Shadow where there was none before. We are, literally and perceptually, separating ourselves from our own essence.

yoda-1As many of the enlightened souls of the world have attempted, mostly in vain, to teach us that we are never separated from our essence, the mind of the common man is virtually incompetent in making the connection to his essence without seeing it through the separation inherent in an adversarial format. So we have become so ingrained and mentally accustomed to being of the world that we can no longer see that our essence is actually in the world but not of it. Showing gratitude to a deity or the universe is actually enforcing our separation from them.

As adults and relating to our childhood, it’s easy for us to see and understand the need for the authority, the guidance and how our acceptance of our parents as an external director is Training wheelsnecessary for the assurance of our safety and tutelage into becoming accountable adults. We can even see the continuation and sometimes even the necessity of transferring that stewardship to an external deity or discipline…temporarily. But there comes a time in our lives where we must accept the responsibility for our own creations and choices by acknowledging the essence within us that is constantly steering us toward our own pre-birth unity, through feeling and intuition, that still exists within us and was buried after our birth under a mountain of mental constructs.

Being gratuitous to our earthly brothers and sisters is understandable and even acceptable in the context of our physically polarized and worldly lives. But when we conceive of the universe and our essence, gratitude and gratefulness are not the rapports that activate our essence but Brotherhood-1rather divides and fractures the unity to which we all have access. To rest into our essence, simply be aware and in the moment. There’s nothing and no one to be thankful for or grateful to. Life simply is. Our essence is eternal. It’s always “there.” So are we. We are all creators. It’s time that we acknowledge that and accept the responsibility for our creations, not pass them off to making a universe or deity responsible for them. We must acknowledge our own power. Don’t defer. We are all gods in the making.

Who-am-I-3This may seem like a very simple question. It’s something that we as a race have asked ourselves as far back as we have been able to remember. But when most of us ask this question we go no further back than our own memory. That can include our memory of what we learned in history, what we’ve read, what we’ve been told by others, what we have personally experienced and what input we have processed on our time on this earth. The key word that provides us the best clue to how we identify ourselves is input.

With all of the technology that we’ve experienced we naturally hear the word input and think of computers, recorders, cameras, microphones, telephones; all of the gadgets that create a record or memory of what we or someone else has experienced. But all these gadgets simply imitate a capacity that we all share. That capacity is the use of our senses. Our senses depend on input. Our senses depend on stimulus (new information) that we can compare to what we already know, what we’ve committed to memory, what is different from what we already know or feel at the moment. We depend on input to define ourselves.

Selfie-Mona LisaWhen we are asked, “Who are you?” our answers are based on input we have received about ourselves from our surrounding world. We define ourselves by how the world sees us and how we see ourselves as participating in that world. To begin with we say our name. Did you choose your own name? No. Your parents gave that to you based on the input they perceived about you. Are you your job? No. You define yourself based on input that you and others perceive about what you do. Are you your family? No. Who you are is based on the input that you and others perceive about the people you live with and, most likely, work at supporting. The point I’m making is that sense input produces what is accepted as being true about you or not through your senses and those of others. It’s a compilation of and comparison to what you are and aren’t as compared to your surrounding world. So, what would happen to how you perceive who you are if we slowly removed those senses on by one? How, then, would you define yourself to yourself and others? Let’s see…

Smell-orangutansSince smell and taste are very closely related, let’s remove those together. Do you like a good steak? How would you know if all you could sense about it was the texture or what it feels like as you put it into your mouth? There would probably be very little difference between that and chicken, or turkey. Do you like ice cream? Yogurt? The texture of both are very similar. The only difference you’d recognize would be the color and that ice cream would feel much colder. What about flowers? You no longer can smell them. The only difference would be how they looked and how they felt (fragile, strong, thorny, tall short, etc.) With no smell and no taste, your ability to see food and flowers and feel their texture and temperature would be the only way that you could tell them apart. You, then, would have to lean much more heavily into the input available from your other senses of sight, tactile feeling and hearing. To wit, it is said that when someone goes blind the acuity of their remaining senses multiplies. Let’s remove another sensual input.

The kiss-RodanLet’s remove your tactile input. How would sex feel if you had no sense of touch? No taste? No smell? You might become aroused by what you could see or hear, but, then how could you feel the tactile pleasure of caressing? Warmth? Texture? Friction? Let’s go one further. How would you now identify your sexual experience? In pictures? In sounds? Your only input is your sight, hearing and of course your memory of what you’ve experienced before. With the loss of touch, taste and smell what has happened to the intensity of your experience? What has happened to the depth of your experience? How will you now describe it and your participation to others? How do you now define yourself in terms of sex and your experience with it? Your loss of three senses has monumentally diminished your experience with sex, food, texture, warmth, cold. What now remains to commit to memory? Let’s remove one more sense.

Hearing-Dog-1Sound has now left your repertoire. Can you hear music? Birds chirping, wind rustling leaves, the sighs of your lover during sex? What is now left to commit to memory to compare with what you’re already experienced? Only what you can see.

I’ve left the most impactful sense for last; sight. In today’s world we receive the largest volume of our sensual input through our sight. We learn things creating input watching television, our computer. We move about finding our direction through our house, the supermarket. We recognize people. We recognize ourselves in the mirror. We recognize the difference between night and day. We write Eye-heart-2down shopping lists of things to remember. We know when to stop filling a glass. We know when we come too close to the edge of a cliff. We see the steps we must traverse to go up or down in our houses. We can see when it’s safe to cross the street in traffic. Our last sense input is gone. How now can we experience the world? What have we left to identify ourselves with? Only our memory.

exhaustion-childBut, for most people, when the external input is turned off and we are so exhausted from following the convolutions and gymnastics of our conscious mind, it is our cue to sleep. When this occurs, most of us simply vacate bodily awareness and withdraw from our worldly participation. Removing any attention we may have on our body allows it the time and the space to disengage from all the resistances and polarities our conscious mind has constructed in dealing with daily events and the resulting stress it had deposited in our muscles and nervous system. In letting go of our body and mind it allows us to return to that unified non-polarized place we lived in before we were born in order to integrate our newest day’s activities into our “larger self” and clarify any changes in direction needed to further enhance our experience when we return to Larger self-1our physical world. When we are fully recharged and begin to reconnect with our body and mind it is then that we begin to dream. This is where the antics of our mind begin to negotiate with the timeless unified state we were just visiting and produce, sometimes, enlightening insights and sometimes, confusing timing and irrational scenarios that puzzle the conscious mind. When we have fully awakened, our unified awareness has totally shifted into our polarized perspective ready to participate in the physical world making choices and creating new resistance. This process repeats itself every night. If we are deprived of our REM sleep, that is, our opportunity to negotiate what we’ve integrated about being between “here” and “there” with our newest experiences, we eventually lose our mental thread and perceptual grounding: we lose our connection to “reality.” We all know that sleep deprivation makes most of us “loopy.”

SucubusHowever, the momentum of our conscious mind is sometimes so strongly connected to where we’ve been, or what we are going through, that we are unable to totally let go of our connection to our bodies resulting in the type of insomnia where we’re half in sleep and half out and dreaming. So now, with no external input the mind goes crazy dredging up enough material from our memory of past experiences to fill our awareness and “solve” what it is that we are distressed and tense about. When we finally awaken we are only partially recharged and working on only five cylinders for the rest of the day.

The point I’m making here is that the mind itself can be considered a sense. Because it contains the total memory of our past experiences and conjurations of possible outcomes in the future, it too is part of the polarization process controlling the “on” or “off” states (e.g., taste or don’t taste) of what we sense. Our senses and mind must both be released in order that we are able Energized-1to fully discharge enough of the resistance we have built and accumulated daily that we may be able to let go and vacate back into our unified essence to regroup. We can compare our regrouping to a computer that we would reboot clearing its memory and cache in order to have enough RAM to perform new tasks when turned back on again.

Desensitization tank-1It’s also worthy to note that back in the 60s the rage in colleges was to climb into desensitization tanks that would “deaden” the senses enough so that all that remained was our conscious mind. Some people loved the experience. Others became terrified at being “alone” with themselves. There is very little difference between this and the substances we currently use to either heighten or deaden our senses today like the difference between what alcohol does and what barbiturates do. Some want to escape the senses. Others want to be overwhelmed by them so they feel nothing else. Either way, it’s an escape from facing ourselves and what we feel.

So where does this leave us in terms of who we are? We know that when the senses are gone or turned off our mind replaces them with the memory of what we’ve already sensed or anticipated sensing. In recognizing this we know that we aren’t our senses. We also can say that when the physical senses are turned off, the mind goes into overdrive attempting to fill the perceptual gap. As the mind increases in speed, there eventually comes appoint where our Catch the trainability to make sense of it can no longer keep up with the speed and we are thrown free like a child from an accelerating merry go round and end up in the sidelines watching it spin. This tells us that we also aren’t our minds either, yet, we do have a mind just like we have senses. This means that when we physically die, what we can recognize, our senses and mind, are NOT all there is.

So what’s left to define? Feelings and intuition? These are continuous and involuntary types of energy that arise within us. They were present within us before we came here. But even they occur within us. So who or what are they within? So who or what is us? You? I? Without being separate from what we are attempting to define or discriminate, we can’t answer the question. It’s our belief in separation that creates the question. If there is no separation, there is no question. So now we must ask, “Who or what is it that we are asking this of?”

Temptation-1We’ve all said or thought this to ourselves at some point in our lives. For some of us this is spoken every day. For some of us it’s rarely acknowledged. For those of us who feel it often, we feel and acknowledge our own frailties in handling life and being in a challenging world. For others of us who can’t acknowledge this within ourselves, our perceived control over our lives becomes the deciding factor. Inclusive of whatever approach or combination of them we choose to recognize, we all face the physical, emotional and mental realities of the tremendous chasm that exists between what we perceive as pain and what we perceive as pleasure. Regardless of the romanticism we attach to either, the difference existing between the two is not as philosophical or spiritual as we might think. Its roots are firmly planted in the perceptions we feel in our physical senses and we always tend to react in ways that show themselves through what we do to our physical bodies and the perspectives and attitudes we take in handling them.

Pain & Pleasure-1Pain and pleasure are two sides of the same coin. This is well known and accepted as part of conventional wisdom in just about every culture and is used as fodder for every assumption and determination in constructing our beliefs concerning why we are here and what paths we must take in order to minimize our pain and heighten our pleasure. When we think of pleasure, we define it as something we’d like to move toward. When we think of pain, we define it as something we would prefer to escape. Both pain and pleasure are irrevocably interwoven into our presence in the physical world. They are born of the separation between what we want and what we don’t want. The necessity of our having to navigate between these two is inescapable until we leave these bodies. The best we can do, while we’re here, is to minimize the chasm between the pleasure of having what we want and the pain of not. The next question that might come to our minds would be was there ever a time when they didn’t exist? My answer would be yes. It was before we came into these physical bodies. For those of us who have, at the least, a sense that we are more than who we appear to be in this world, this will be easy to swallow and move on with. For those of us who believe that when we die there is nothing more, this will seem foolish and unfounded and remind us of the terror we’ll face in dying. I obviously ascribe to the first perspective.

in-utero-babyIt is my belief that before we came into these bodies, and even in utero before we took our first breath, that there was no pain or pleasure. There was no separation from or division of what we felt. There was no absence of food. There was no absence of warmth. There was no absence of nurturance. There was no absence of comfort. We floated in an ocean of feeling with other beings all moving together in waves of communal feelings. What one of us felt, all others felt. There was no perceived separation. If we think of this state in religious terms, we might call it Heaven, Paradise, Nirvana. There was no knowledge or perception of good and evil. There was no separation. When we are born we are, essentially, “ejected” from Paradise. There is quite a bit of debate in metaphysical circles as to whether this is our choice or whether some force or authority “makes” this happen. Regardless of which Heaven-1perspective is “right,” when it occurs a tremendous separation occurs. We now perceive a separation between our having and not having food, warmth, nurturance, comfort and all the qualities that were one before we emerged. This separation is our first encounter with pain. This is our first perception of the polarized world; the difference between the pleasure of being unified before we’re born and pain of separation after. This is our first bite from the tree of knowledge. Everything in our new existence is now perceived in terms of opposites. This pain of division and separation make an indelible impression on our psyches. It sets up a field of energetic movement that creates the beginnings of our mind. This Nirvana-1state is unfathomable by our adult minds as it is non-verbal and, as yet, is without language for us to describe. The urge to return to Paradise, Nirvana, Heaven, is now our primary urge within the new field of separation. It underlies every other urge we, as adults, might feel or describe throughout the rest of our lives. It is all powerful, all consuming and all knowing. Sound familiar? As we grow to accumulate language, our mental faculties and the loud and intense presence of the physical world through our senses, our attention to the physical world overwhelms and buries our Paradise-1primary urge deep within our subconscious. As we grow older our awareness of this urge may exists well beneath our awareness but its effect remains at the root of every urge we feel toward pleasure and away from pain. Its main connection and activating influence now registers almost solely through our physical senses. Knowing this we can now understand the urges we feel in our daily, mundane encounters with differing life circumstances and perspectives. Our primary urge, still unrecognizable, now registers easily and simply through our senses and within our mind and our need to rationalize and plan our physical and emotionally triggered actions. My explanation may have taken the long way around but I think it was necessary to have a clear foundation and understanding of what we’re dealing with. Let’s take a look at its many faces and how it presents itself as an available avenue for relief in our daily lives.

cornucopia-1Food: In all these faces there are many ways, including our primary urge that they may present. Food is no exception. Purely from a physical point of view we can be hungry. That hunger can simply be an urge to literally refill an empty stomach and/or to supply missing nutrients. In addition to simply feeling hungry our body, very specifically, can create urges for specific foods that it knows will supply missing nutrients. For example, if our body is low on iron we may feel an urge for either spinach, raisins or perhaps eggplant, all of which contain helpful amounts of iron. Additionally, if we have become sugar or flour junkies, our body will have produced an inordinate amount of yeast through which the body will also sense and put out an urge to consume cakes, bread and sweets to replenish the sugar and feed the yeast. Further submerged and mixed in with these urges there may also come an additional urge for “comfort food.” We can translate that into eating in order to feel “full,” loved and secure. I believe that this is only one of the causes underlying our current epidemic of obesity in addition to many others including the availability of fat producing and nutritionally inferior fast and processed foods. I also feel that eating to feel loved is also one of the detrimental consequences of our contemporarily dissolving family structure leaving more of us feeling disconnected and separated from our loved ones than we have ever been or felt before. Filling ourselves with comfort food has become a method serving to mitigate or minimize our feelings of loneliness or disconnect from those whom we want to feel close to. This aspect of pain through lack resonates all the way down to our primal desire to return to the time when we had feelings of warmth and nurturance before we were born.

sex-1Sex: The urge toward having sex is a much less disguised urge than food. For most of us it is a tension or separation eliminator described as a pleasure experience. Of course we have many mental and emotional rationalizations for experiencing and following the urge. In attaching ceremony, romanticism and an unbelievably large list of contingencies to the act as we do, we do our best to color and euphemize, if not obscure, our raw and base animal physical urges. Essentially, we each often allow ourselves to follow through on the urge but only within and through our personally generated list of required contingencies. These are different for everyone, however, the nature of the primary urge remains the same: to return to a feeling where there was no separation, no pain and no feeling of lack, aka, total union with our partner (mother, universe, etc.). We feel this the most poignantly at the point of orgasm. The degree of the orgasm we experience is relative to the degree with which we have been able to totally disengage from everything else in our physical and emotional world except for the present moment with our partner. Our partner, or whatever fantasy we fixate on, is the avenue or doorway to that reunion. Orgasm is the closest we can come to the death experience while remaining within our physical bodies with the exception of a sneeze which is a much shorter and less intense experience. It is almost the total but temporary dropping of resistance we can do while inhabiting a body. The only thing closer to death is an NDE or near death experience during which, while remaining aware, we reside outside the body for a short period of time.

Sleep-1Sleep: When we sleep naturally and deeply we are able to return to that place where there is no separation. The reunion gives us a recharge in energy. We can know that we have temporarily and totally dropped the resistance and feelings of separation accumulated in the body when we wake up refreshed and energized. In normal sleep we are able to bridge the gap and reconnect our “separated parts” and revisit “heaven” if you will. When we haven’t, we may reawaken tired and only partially renewed or, if we’ve had a rough night, even more tired and worn than when we laid down. Normally, at the end of sleep and when we begin to re-inhabit our body, we pass through an in-between state where we will find ourselves dreaming. Here we begin to recollect some of the resistances and separations we use to identify ourselves in our physical waking world. I find it interesting that as infants we spend an inordinate amount of time sleeping as if to gradually immerse ourselves into the harsh world of the physical and when we are close to death we also begin to spend more time in sleep as if to prepare for our transition back to our pre-birth union. Essentially, natural sleep is a reunion with our “larger” selves. We can compare it to a weekly staff meeting where we assess the week’s events and plan the week to come.

Creative Abandon-1Creative Abandon: When was the last time you got so involved with a project or endeavor that time and the world around you seemed to totally stand still or even disappear and nothing existed but you and what you were focusing on? This is a partial reunion with that non-separate or larger self. When we create in this way there is no separation between what we see, feel, know and our vision of our completed project or endeavor. We feel totally aligned with our unified endeavor but are still able to “impartially” utilize the worldly polarities in its construction. In this way any artistic endeavor can become a natural vehicle for identifying and aligning with that unified part of ourselves. It could be music, painting, sculpting, writing, theorizing or any other activity that lends itself to creative activities. It’s interesting that the etiology of the word recreation is actually re + creation: that is, enabling the return of our unfettered and stressless pre-birth state.

Cocain-1Drugs: Any artificial substance that can reduce or alter our physical or mental sense acuities and their ability to register our feelings of pain, pleasure and separation can be considered a drug. In this classification of artificial substances, we can also include alcohol, nicotine, hallucinogens and even our relationship with food, especially, since many of our foods are becoming more and more artificial. Many of these substances are used simply to alter our perspective and awareness of our world, first for comfort and enjoyment, but then, as the substance becomes interlaced with our metabolism, it becomes a deadly coercion and necessity simply to exist and function. As a side note: there has been tremendous dispute over the definition of what we consider to be an addiction. My perception is that compulsions and addictions are both in a continuum relating to urges and needs but where the addiction interferes with our normal functioning and survival and where a compulsion is simply a diversion that encompasses a large amount of our time and effort without interfering with our daily function. My definitions may be simplistic but are designed to bring the clarity of understanding and comprehension.

Bible-1Religion: Within our worldly cultures many systems of thought have arisen attempting to explain our place in the world with a measure of its perceived structure focused on our effectiveness and responsibilities for the life situations we find ourselves in. The people who construct these systems, through prior internal work and questioning, have come to a comprehension of the pre-birth state that we have emerged from and have attempted to describe it in terms of being originally directed or created by an external being or deity who has a specific intention or plan that is unknown to us. This has the effect of relieving us of our responsibility for dealing with our worldly situations and leaves our circumstance, essentially, in the hands of this deity partially disconnecting and relieving us of our worldly tensions and giving us the perception of moving closer to our pre-birth state through prayer and worship of the attending deity. Like any other substance or circumstance, it is effective is assisting us in dropping some of the stresses and tensions of residing in our polarized physical existence. Additionally, like the prior methods described, it too can become a compulsion or addiction connected to the relief of the pain of division and separation from our primary pre-birth state overshadowing the control and effectiveness we have through choosing and being accountable for our life circumstances.

Life after death tunnel-1Death: When we disconnect from our bodies we return to the pre-birth state effectively eliminating the tensions and polarities inherent in living in the physical polarized world. Like those of religion who might have sensed or recognized the pre-birth state we have emerged from, and with the pain of division and separation having arisen to an intolerable intensity, suicide becomes an option for relief. I find it interesting and sad that it is considered illegal and immoral by many cultures to assist anyone who is attempting to relieve themselves of their overwhelming pain and separation in the lives they have found themselves in through suicide. Perhaps we have allowed the laws of our man-made religions superseding our instincts and urges to have too much say in our personal choices and needs.

My theory of where we have emerged from to inhabit these bodies is based on my own experience and contemplation resulting in my chosen belief system. I, alone, am responsible for my own choices. Inevitably, we must all choose for ourselves what to believe and how to conduct our lives. It’s important to know that we have the final say in our decisions and chosen actions. Yet, wherever we go or return to after we leave these bodies, who can say? But I do know that our beliefs are our own choice based on each of our own personal experiences. The truth is, I can help myself. So can you. Like an all-night bender, we can drown out our perception of this reality…but only for a while.

Indiana Jones-3As a culture we have become obsessed with “making a difference” in the lives of others Why? Is it written somewhere? Does our government demand it? Our religions? Our parents? It seems to exist as this powerfully nebulous undercurrent having the determining influence on how we value ourselves. Why? Where did it come from? There are a few points of development to look at. First, let’s take a look at where it might have come from.

To begin with, when we come into this world and as mammals we humans are the most dependent of our genus on our parents for our early survival. For a longer time than any other mammal we are totally dependent on them for our food, warmth and safety. To us, they’re gods. At that preverbal age and circumstance we know nothing and of no one else. We have no Childhood Obedience-2idea that there is any other choice for how we live our lives. In our considering parental training we must understand that this perception effectively trains us toward primarily looking outside of ourselves for support, direction, safety and whatever else we might need. Additionally, we do this unconsciously and as a reaction. We learn very quickly to develop an instinct that if we don’t respond in a way that is to our parents’ liking, they withhold their love, support and attention. Though we may not yet consciously have the ability to recognize the tradeoff we participate in, we most certainly have become trained into responding properly through a rudimentary form of classic conditioning. We do what our parents demand, we receive love, attention and inclusion. When we don’t, we are ignored, neglected or excluded. This basic social training 101 provides us with examples and “proof” that the external world determines if and how our needs are to be answered. This is the first experience that contributes to an eventual perspective validating our future belief that it is more important to attend the outer world than anything else that might be going on inside us.

Church obedience-1As we grow a little older, say three or four, and with our concentration now solidly on what goes on outside of our “jurisdiction,” another layer is added pointing us toward further paying attention to an external influence independent of what we feel or think. An unchallenged demand for our obedience to an external deity is added to our dependency on what is external through an indoctrination into a larger and wider authority; religion. So now, who and what are inside the home and who and what are outside the home both confirm our newly forming belief that who and what are outside of our control determines our wellbeing and self-image. Psychology calls this an external locus of control. That is; the belief that what is outside of our will and influence determines the fate of our existence. Contrarily, the belief that we control our own fate is called having an internal locus of control. Obviously, we can’t be totally one or the other. In the larger view our belief in whether our fate is determined by inner our outer influences can vary significantly depend on the circumstances and situations that we find ourselves in. For example, we develop a very strong belief that our physical movements are almost totally determined on how we direct the muscles of our body but the love and affection we receive is perceived as being dependent on the moods and movements of others in our outer world. So you see that we can have a mix of loci of control concerning who or what concerns our fate.

The reason I’m emphasizing this perspective is because if we don’t subsequently encounter enough experiences and influences realigning us with nature in which there generally exists a balance between our ability to control or be controlled, we grow into individuals who allow ourselves to become almost solely directed by those others whom we encounter in our daily activities. Our potential in our regaining this balance rests upon the training that we might receive from our parents nurturing the parts of us that will allow us to develop trust and confidence in the effectiveness of our own efforts. In the last fifty years this re-balancing influence has occurred less and less leaving us almost exclusively with the belief that the world Control-1determines our fate, or, with our having an external locus of control. There are a whole host of causes contributing and trending toward this perspective but I think it’s safe to say that the largest contributors are the pressures our parents face in their basic support of the family leaving them little or no time for actively investing in resurrecting our inner world of feeling and Self-Trust and the concurrent rise in media affirming that they have our better interests and highest welfare at heart and tacitly asserting that our guidance must rest with them.

There is one more layer over the previous two I’d like to discuss. On top of our training to direct all our attention to the external and being indoctrinated into aligning ourselves with prevailing Odd man outaltruistic perspectives under the threat of exclusion, we are also faced with the potential for a type of demeaning labeling intended to notify and include others in our exclusion if we don’t. This labeling is more common within the frameworks of metaphysics and religion rather than in any secular circles. Simply put, when we attend our own issues and interests over those whom our society deems needy, less fortunate or in need of assistance we are labeled as selfish. Unfortunately, where the word selfish was originally seen as simply indicating the direction of our attention, over the last half century our contemporary culture has gradually replaced its meaning with an undesirable and derogatory flavor and coloring.

So now we have three compelling influences encouraging if not demanding that our thoughts and feelings be almost totally focused on what is external; our parental training and qualitative bonding, our second layer of complimentary religious values and our third layer of potentially derogatory social labeling. In this light, is it really any surprise why we are so obsessed with what everyone else thinks and feels about us? This combination of factors is lethal to our having any control over our emotions and self-image. The effect that the external world has on our perceived value is overwhelming. It almost literally states that the assessment of our value is totally out of our hands. This seems truly ironic since someone else’s value is to be determined by us as we become adults ourselves.

Far afieldIt may seem that I’ve gone pretty far afield asserting how we’ve come to perceive that our personal control has become almost solely determined by our external world but I wanted to show how deeply our looking to the outside world for love, acceptance and approval is ingrained with us. Now, let’s take a look at only one of the results of our intensive training: our obsession with needing to “make a difference.”

Overloaded burroAt this point I think it’s easy to see how we can be saddled with such a desperate need to do so. We desperately want to think well of ourselves and are petrified of being labeled selfish and ostracized through the disapproval of others. So much so that now, when we take time to do for ourselves and invest in our own thoughts, feelings and welfare, that it generates feelings of guilt and fear that we’re depriving someone less fortunate of their due from us. This combination of factors is also responsible for generating feelings of our never feeling that we’re able to be or do enough. I think you can see why our advertising media has been able to have a field day with this aspect of our psyches.

Deep hole-1I think we can also see how deeply ingrained this message has been implanted into our psyches. So deeply, in fact, that many of us are blind to its effect on us and that we have gradually grown into accepting that self-determination is no longer a normal part of the human condition and temperament. Many of us have even gone so far as to assume that serving others must be our purpose for living in our current physical incarnation. Of course, our religious leaders gleefully accept and encourage our believing in this premise, especially since this perspective assures them of being able to direct our activities and resources.

So whom are we really making a difference for? Ourselves! Under the blind of doing for others we unconsciously feel that it fulfills the external world’s requirements of us. Why does it feel so good to do for others? Because we have been taught to believe that it fulfills and validates our exhibiting expected behavior earning us love, approval, acceptance and inclusion from the external world. Will it ever be enough? Of course not. How could it be? There are more people in the world than we could ever minister to the needs of.

Is “making a difference wrong?” Of course not. The point that I’m making is that our behavior has become so automatic, overly skewed and obsessed with the outside world that we have totally neglected to give our own feelings, thoughts and urges any consideration for fear of being labeled selfish and ostracized within our clans. Remember, in all life there always is a balance between inner and outer natures. Our contemporary child rearing and social training has effectively nullified the value and validity of our inner personal natures through applying the threat of excommunication, punishment and exile for our misbehavior and selfish attention.

shakespeareSo what to do? It all boils down to us asking ourselves one simple question in every encounter we have with every other person. Do I want to belong or do I want to express through choosing my own path? It takes courage to choose our own path and run against the grain risking exclusion. A deeper question might be, “Do I want personal growth or security?” This was the deeper meaning of Shakespeare’s questioning soliloquy, “To be or not to be.” Growth can be frightening. Security can be boring. We all end up struggling and attempting to strike a comfortable balance between the two. The more we let our training and social conditioning take precedence, the more we perceive life as having an external locus of control feeling safe and secure while also feeling trapped and bored. The more we let our own feelings, urges and intuition take precedence, or allow ourselves to be selfish, the more we perceive life as having an internal locus of control and feeling the excitement and freedom to express as we please.

Roberts rules of orderNo one who has followed the all the rules has ever had any significant effect on history except to perpetuate the status quo. The crux of these questions is that we must work toward what leads to a balance by either choosing to diminish an excess urge to conformity through forging our own path toward self-hood or choosing to diminish an attitude of anarchy through choosing a path of conforming to and sharing with our community. Our choices must work toward a balance between inner and outer perspectives. Neither extreme is sustainable. Any attempt at maintaining either extreme, conformity or anarchy, will end up drawing universal situations that will move toward restoring the natural balance. That’s simply the way of nature. Why not have the courage to give consideration to both by attempting to walk the middle path? Risk a little middle Path-1criticism and disapproval by acting in your own interest. Offer a little love and compassion even though you might be labeled as a wimp or weak. Keep an inner balance between you and the world. Remember, either extreme will eventually elicit a universal response anyway forcing us to adjust on the road ahead simply to reassert the natural balance.