Tag Archives: Personal Path

Shapeshifters-Tiger PantherSo much has been written about why we are here in these bodies in this time. Since most of us cannot remember not being here, the only thing we can do is proffer assumptions, suppositions and theories as to why we are here. And since the why is so prevalent, how we make the shift and its consequences is rarely addressed. The larger part of our contemporary Western civilization works from a perspective of altruism (to serve others or a deity at the expense of personal benefit or expectation) which is at the root of most Judaeo-Christian beliefs. The fact that the Western world inundates us with an altruistic belief system at an age where our ability to reason or make personal choices has not yet been developed accounts for the fact that it is so prevalent in our culture and so difficult to think past or recognize any alternate perspectives. In view of this altruistic saturation of our culture’s perspectives, considerations of any other belief systems offered as alternatives are few and far between at best. Please understand that there is nothing wrong with having an altruistic perspective, however, more of a balance that allows for an individual’s pursuit of an enjoyable personal life and livelihood without our current subliminal and implied application of guilt based on selfishness is sorely needed. The bottom line to this type of thinking is that we have been trained into believing that any value we hold about who we are and what our worth might be is determined, not our own assessment, but by others and their perceptions of “what” we’re worth and to whom. So, in a nutshell, the world determines first, who we are, what we must aspire to become and how we must act while “getting there.” Once we realize this we end up asking ourselves, “Doesn’t my opinion matter?” What’s ironic is that our opinion does matter but only in reference to valuing others. It’s almost like we’re forbidden to apply value to ourselves except in view of how we relate to others and they to us.

The need to be able to take care of our own needs is certainly of paramount importance; however, to focus on ourselves within the purview of others almost always gains a label that somehow infers selfishness which, in recent years and is most visibly apparent in almost all of the contemporary “spiritual” disciplines. It has gained tremendous momentum in equating any selfishness to having a “negative” or undesirable connotation. This often subliminal undercurrent coupled with our Judaeo-Christian perspective makes it seem that if we don’t have a dedication to the cause of those who are “less fortunate” than us that we are somehow deficient, immoral or insensitive. This has grown into a subtle and subliminal oppression making it very difficult for us to gather and maintain motivation for formulating and adhering to a life path that benefits us and those similar to us without applying an underlying guilt that by doing so we are depriving others who might be in “need” of our assistance. This dynamic operates well beneath our threshold of awareness for most of us in our Western culture. Our financial and political systems have geared themselves exceedingly well to this subtle dynamic and have played us mercilessly. So much so that the dynamics of altruism and its effects have become so deeply ingrained in our psyches that it has become almost impossible for most of us to recognize its deprecating effects on our own personal happiness. When we feel that we have no space, let alone allowance, for us to have a way to express our own individualism and creativity, a pervading wave of depression steeps us in helplessness permeating our general consciousness.

The Fountainhead-2There have been pioneers who have put forth literary examples of how to free ourselves from the constricting effects inherent in living within an extreme altruistic envelop but they have met with the same accusation of selfishness, immorality and insensitivity toward the “needs” of others. Among them are literary works such as “The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand who has gained some attraction among a small following but has not done enough to raise our consciousness enough for us to be able to perceive and remedy the oppressive stronghold that altruism has invisibly held over our culture. However, where anything is oppressed always has a resulting resistance and acts much like a bubble in the wallpaper simply moving under the pressure until it can find a point of release. Another approach has been slowly growing momentum in the “spiritual” field producing a method for release and slipping past the moral “watchdogs” of altruism potentially freeing us from our unconsciously nagging waves of depression and occasional hopelessness. One such approach is the growing momentum in those who learn and use the “Law of Attraction.”

Atlas ShruggedMy first encounter with LOA was in 2006. During that time I was still wrapped in the mindset of “poverty consciousness” which was well connected to the followers of any metaphysical or contemporary spiritual practice. Altruism was, and still is in many cases, well ingrained in these and like disciplines. So my perspective then was that this was just a new gimmick and a group of people geared up toward “acquiring stuff.” So, I simply passed over it as a fad much the same way I did for the shaman wave in the 05’s and the angels fad in the 09’s. Little did I know…

The VortexIn 2013 I came across a CD about LOA called “The Vortex.” It hit me like a ton of bricks. Once I listened through I was hooked. Something in it resonated strongly within me but I couldn’t quite figure out what it was. I listened to it a number of times and the underlying meaning penetrated to my core giving me a self-clarity I had never had before. Not about whom I should be. Not about how good or bad I was. Not about rules, regulations, dogma or discipline but about recognizing the inner urges that were my indicators and directionals about where I should look to find the validation I needed to allow and empower my Self-Trust and to fuel and maintain my motivation to express, create and enjoy life in spite of the endlessly perceived outer moral and cultural directives replaying within me like a tape caught in a repetitive mental loop. I found my childhood programming challenged with a perspective that allowed for more of a balance between my inner and outer worlds. Personal expression and acknowledgment of its value had become more of an option. I was psyched.

law-of-attraction-1For the next two years I downloaded and played all I could from YouTube.com. I saturated myself with the teachings. Slowly, a subtle but very strong shift grew in my understanding about the altruistic path I had been following and a different approach which included what was needed for the people in my circle of friends and acquaintances but still allowed me to pursue what I wanted guilt free. However, implementing it would involve excommunication from many of my friends and connections until a shift toward those more aligned with my personal path could take place. The basic premise behind the whole approach is that what I think about and focus on will be what comes back to me. So, if I resist something that I’m afraid of, I will attract more of what I’m afraid of. If I think about what I don’t have, I will attract more of the emptiness. If I complain about what I don’t like, I will attract more of what I don’t like. The Law of Attraction is very simple. Energy and manifestation simply follows thought. So the bible was right after all. “As a man thinketh, so he is!”

So now you’re probably asking, “How can focusing on what I have an urge to do or be answer what my new neighbors, friends and connections might need?” The answer is very simple but it’s an explanation that takes a ride around the corner from what might be expected.

At Your ServiceWhen I align my thoughts and energies with what I feel the urge to do and be, not what my culture deems is appropriate and “proper” for me according to its rules and traditions; I attract people to me who resonate with the new path I have chosen. The people already in my space and who expect me to provide them with what our culture tells them they should get from me will not receive what they expect. This will disappoint them severely and I will receive subtle accusations of being selfish or insensitive to their needs. They will wait a short time for me to “come around” and perhaps pressure me a bit more strongly to realign with providing their needs. Eventually, they will seek the support they think and have been told they should get from me, elsewhere. The new people who resonate and are aligned with the path I have chosen for myself will get what they need through their aligning with the same path that I have chosen. We will then serve as models and examples of refining our growth and alignment with the path for each other. In this way, doing what I love and have an inner urge to do will benefit the new people who are attracted to my preferred life paths and life styles as me.

The most difficult part of the above process has been losing the perceived security and acceptance I thought I had gained through attempting to provide my family, friends and acquaintances with what they were culturally trained to expect from me and that I was trained to provide to them before I began to follow my own path of growth following my own inner urges rather than acquiescing to what was traditionally expected of me. The gap between losing my family and friends’ acceptance and support and connecting with new people who resonated with my newly chosen path developed a void which left me feeling very lonely and disconnected. I could say that this was part and parcel to my journey through the abyss or my “dark night of the soul.” Simply put, I had moved from wanting to belong, be accepted and validated by those who weren’t aligned with my inner urges to attending my own dharma and personal growth in spite of the tremendous external cultural pressure. But the rewards of aligning with others who have common interests, goals and beliefs as my own has freed me from the guilt of feeling that I must be my brother’s keeper as I was trained in my childhood. fork in the road-1Instead of being outer responsive, which represents the larger sampling of our western culture, I have allowed myself to become more inner directed and balanced with my own urges and intuition. It is my belief that in the end we will all have to come to terms with making a choice between the security of belonging and the uncertainty of our experience born of awareness.

Caged-1If you are, then it’s time for you to step out “into the cold” and go it alone without the approval and support of the silent majority who remain “within the fold.” Domesticant is a new word coined by me that describes a person who will allow themselves to align with being domesticated into behaviors that sacrifice their personal excellence and growth for the comfort and "safety" of others living in mediocrity with a guaranteed security of being safe from challenge so long as they support a relatively risk free status quo. Let me explain.

The word domesticate (v.) originated in 1640 in relation to animals and in 1741 in relation to people. It’s said "to cause to be attached to home and family;" from Medieval Latin domesticatus, past participle of domesticare which is "to tame" or literally "to dwell in a house." Obviously, if our behavior is inappropriate we would not be permitted to “dwell in the house.” In one step further, a “house” could be considered to be our family heritage and tradition.

In our culture and family life we have many rules designed as unspoken coercions that enforce moving with the “herd” in behaviors that will insure the cloaking of the real or imaginary inadequacy and toxic shame felt by those doing the enforcing. Toxic shame, if you remember from past articles, is when someone sees themselves as “bad” rather than seeing an action as Dont rock the boat-1“bad.” Sayings like “If you’re not with me, then you’re against me” or “don’t rock the boat” are prevalent underlying “encouragements” designed to do just that. There are some that say that to feel and think this way is to be paranoid. But I think that the accusation of paranoia is usually fueled by their fear of possible exposure of some “below the radar” personal feelings equivalent to someone’s potential for toxic shame. However, the scenario does not always involve toxic shame. The following example will show why.

My example is a previously used and very common, close to the surface and easily perceived type of personal “alignment.” This is also one of our first trainings into aligning us with the non-verbal expectations that we might receive as a child preparing us for taking notice, perceiving and appropriately behaving according to the emotional comfort, safety and expectations of others. This example describes a scenario which makes the “developmental pattern” easily visible. If you are a child at a family dinner table and your parent puts a serving dish of food on the table and you reach for it an begin spooning out your preference before any one else has had the opportunity to serve themselves, your parent would, most likely, accuse you of being selfish for ignoring the convenience and preference of their guests and/or elders who are also at the table. In the home environment the rule of letting others precede you is often spoken but in a public place it is expected that we have been trained appropriately and that it is no longer necessary for a spoken reminder. For the transgression in the home we would most likely receive verbal admonition with some sort of “punishment” resulting in In the Doghouse-2isolation from or by other family members and/or an “applied” mood from the parent doing the admonition. This occurrence fits what many of us might remember as being termed “being in the doghouse.” This enforced perspective has the intention of making us feel diminished for our “inappropriate” actions. In this interaction the distinction between the specific types of shame that would be applied would become apparent. In healthy shame we would receive an admonition pertaining to our action. In toxic shame we would receive an admonition that assaults and belittles our personal character for poor judgment resulting in our diminished status or integrity within our family or clan.

Odd man outIn public the same “inappropriate” action would, more often than not, receive dirty looks and trigger gossip among those who feel or appear to feel offended. The gossip is intended to attract commiseration and, therefore, validation of the “gossiper’s” perspective from others. This tightens the “clan” feeling. Our “punishment” would most likely be our being ostracized and, perhaps, being openly ridiculed. If we take it personally, we will most likely “come at it” from a position of toxic shame. If we don’t, we simply relegate the experience toward our accumulated awareness of our “normal” cultural limits based on our awareness of healthy shame.

What must be understood here is that, in addition to “inappropriate” behavior, excelling in any area of endeavor also puts us beyond or outside the envelope of what the average person is willing to risk or expect, making them painfully self-conscious about what they believe they could or should be doing. Not investing more effort into excelling themselves, which inevitably must include their being moderately selfish, at least to some extent, makes them eminently more uncomfortable about their own perceived or believed inadequacy making them more aware of their own toxic shame if they are “afflicted” with it. Those who operate within the auspices of healthy shame, often, have little negative reaction to our successes. So we can rest a little easier sour grapes-1when someone does try to diminish us or our accomplishments in knowing that their “sour grapes” almost always comes from their own feelings of inadequacy. When I worked in the technical fields one of my coworkers actually said to me, “Don’t work so fast. You make us look bad.” It should be noted here that if you work to your potential you will attract negative feedback from those who may be jealous and fearful of personal exposure. It may be difficult enough to work up to our potential but to be compounded with peer group jealousy only puts our social status more into that of an outlier or someone perceived as being outside what is considered average or normal for everyone in the clan. When we excel in our endeavors the effects of “standing out from the crowd” or the saying “everyone loves a winner” now apply to us in ways we won’t often anticipate or appreciate.

So, not only do some of us receive training that diminishes our Self-Trust and self-confidence but to excel or not submit to being a domesticant also has the effect of drawing jealous criticism, gossip and excommunication from the social groups that protect each other’s perceived shortcomings by emotionally blackmailing us into silence or inaction with the threat of removing our status of belonging or opportunity for their support.

zip your lipSo, are you a Domesticant? Do you allow yourself to be “dumbed down” so others won’t feel threatened or self-conscious about not putting effort into excelling themselves? How far will you go to provide others with a “safe” and unchallenged self-concept even if you know that it is hurtful for them to feel so limited? How much do you commiserate with others about what they can’t, or more precisely, won’t do? Fear of success is not so much about adjusting our behavior to accommodate new and improved circumstances as much as it is the added stress that now we know we will be expected to perform in the new excellent way in all future endeavors. Additionally, we all “know” that it is politically and socially correct that we are expected to exhibit humility at all times…not too much and not too little. But where is it that we cross the line from being humble about our achievements to diminishing them to the extent that others will not feel so threatened or self-conscious about not excelling themselves?

Dare to be different-1To be sure, being supported by our clan, family and community is important but even in nature there comes point in development where even animals emerge from the nest, if not kicked out, to grow into their full potential. We are also part animal. We are also part of nature. What happened to living, experiencing and accepting the challenge that our physical existence has provided us? Have we allowed our social structure to mute our enthusiasm by "over-protecting" us? Are we now required to be Domesticants so we can feel accepted by others? Have we been tamed out of our true nature?