Tag Archives: Religion

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.

Outer Limits-1With all the talking that goes on about thinking outside the envelope, there have been very subtle, if not important, changes happening to the envelop itself. If we understand the concept of the envelope, we recognize that it represents the usual limits or boundaries to which people think or perceive within. When we speak of someone thinking or working outside of the envelope, we assume that their thoughts and actions occur outside that of the average person’s awareness and comfort zone. They are out of the ordinary. They tap into a little know current of thought and awareness.

shoes-too-small-1But, what if those outer boundaries change? What happens if the field of what is considered normal shrinks into a smaller range of potential; a smaller range of what is acceptable as being usual or common to our mental and spacial capacities? Minimizing the field of choice may make it simpler or easier to see and understand what is considered normal but it also makes anything seen as unusual or creative to be perceived as being more remote, father away from possibility and more outrageous as compared to what we’re used to and comfortable with. The further away the choice, the less likely we are to be aware of it let alone choose it for our action.

With life becoming more organized, automated and programmed, we find ourselves becoming much more dependent, complacent, lazy and more prone to allow ourselves to be led by those who establish “new” technological limits. We are gradually being “farmed” into a headspace where we will readily expect less and be complacent enough to accept only what is offered by those doing the programming. If we know and expect less, we are much more manipulatable in areas that we are unaware of. Let’s examine this premise from another perspective.

strict-teacher-1Our educational system is becoming much more regulated and stringent in terms of what is “necessary” to fulfill our idea of being educated enough to successfully live and work in our rapidly changing world. Fifty years ago children in elementary school only had to contend with a few aptitude tests, IQ test and general testing for academic proficiency upon leaving elementary school. The general consensus of thinking by teachers then was that they were “crystallizing” a child’s innate abilities lying dormant in each by teaching them reading and math in order that they might have a common language with the rest of the world to share their individual creativity. Since then, things have radically changed. State testing of our children now occurs beginning in the second grade. This seems innocuous enough but when we more closely examine what is being tested, it becomes acutely obvious that technological skills and their testing far outstrips the humanities and all but eliminates truthful knowledge about our history and the history of the rest of the world. This, in itself, is alarming enough, but when we then consider that most teachers, having only a limited amount of time to teach and too many students to service effectively, resort to only teaching Robots-1children what is necessary to pass the test rather than developing their innate talents, all of our internal alarms must now ring off the wall telling us that children are now selectively being channeled and programmed into becoming specified cogs in a technological wheel depending on their tested ability to regurgitate facts and knowledge. It becomes distressfully apparent that individuality and creativity are no longer valued by the educational administration unless they promise to enhance or improve the existing proficiency of wanted and expected performance and its ease in being tested. Despite the rising percentage of children being home schooled and enrolled in private schools due to fears of unwanted potential violence, undesirable social influences and a desire for their increased physical safety, creativity and humanitarian education are still being kept alive even in its wake. Based on our current financial structure and the powerful influences presented by consumer and manufacturing lobbies, its continued evolution towards its technological end shows no signs of retreating. In this light, maintaining humanitarian values in our children is a task that rests solely and squarely on our shoulders; their parents.

portrait of stressed teacher and blackboard backgroundIt should not be assumed that blame for the outcome of our children’s lack of humanitarian awareness rests within the responsibility of our teachers. There own survival as teachers is included in the coercive dynamic. We can see this in the fact that teachers themselves are “graded” on their children’s ability to perform well on the state testing and their tenure or continued services in the educational community depends on how high their quotient of effective performers compares to other teachers. Those who accelerate the effectiveness of children performing well on state testing are the ones who are retained by the schools, especially, since funding for public schools comes almost exclusively from the state.

TV-lockupThe shrinking envelope can also be evidenced by what appears on television now and what was programmed fifty years ago. Current programming which is banal, inert and corporately owned is geared to effectively enable and monitor a public mindset which does not questions, counter or threaten the validity and effectiveness of our currently existing political administration. In the same vein we can also see a stark absence of programs that support our curiosity and our TV-cooking showattention toward examining our feelings and circumstances with an eye toward improving the depth and richness of our own personal lives. What have taken their place are reality shows, cooking shows, a larger variety of “cops and robbers”, survival shows, forensic shows, crime investigations, “Judge Judy” shows, “lockup” shows, and many other shows espousing the prudence of focusing on and aligning with popularly known systems of living and conformity. The media has effectively directed our attention away from what we feel within ourselves and is refocused on the TV naked & Afraidcircumstances surrounding others who we’re encouraged to believe have it worse than we do. If that’s not enough to discourage us from “listening” to our hearts and our conscience, the onslaught of extreme and offensive advertising insists that we buy products or services validated by an underlying implication that we are somehow less desirable and less efficient to others than we have an assumed responsibility to be and that we need their assistance to regain the appropriate power and dignity. What is so ironic is that it is we who are not being listened to or considered by others when it comes to our needs, our opinions and our individuality. Our culture, religion and family beliefs systems are responsible for making us capitulate and become susceptible to accepting less for ourselves by TV NCISmaking us believe that others’ welfare should come before our own and that we are somehow responsible for fixing their needs and comforts before even considering our won. Our value system has been totally turned upside down. Why do we talk about self-improvement when the end result is only to be coerced into believing that it is our responsibility to give those same self-improvements over as advantage to others coupled with the enabling of a guilt generated feeling of neglected obligation when we don’t? When we allow this to occur, our “envelope” of what we consider normal and acceptable shrinks even further.

WebAs a culture, this change has been perceived by very few since its progression has happened over a long period of time. Similar to the old analogy of the frog and hot water, if the frog is immediately thrown into hot water it will immediately feel the sudden change of temperature sparking their awareness spurring them on to struggle feverishly to escape. But if the temperature starts to change at body temperature and  rises slowly, it will take much longer for them to become aware that it has become unbearably hot. In the slower change, the frog will even notice the change much later than when it occurs in the moment. Most people are notorious for not noticing or sometimes ignoring changes that occur right under their noses. Others will be afraid to mention what they feel out of fear of offending others or believing that “this is the way it’s supposed to be.” Those of us with a longer memory, like our elders, may notice simple things like actors no longer having the refinement they had “in the old days” or “We never had to do that in school when we grew up.” And because these observations of change come most often from those who are retired or aging, they’re observations are chalked up as their being “stuck in the old days” or “going senile and living in the past.”

Rose-Colored-GlassesAs technology and the media have evolved to growing and changing faster, and as we as consumers have had to chase “progress" simply in order to survive, the process has become an all encompassing  distraction from looking at our human values and considerations from the perspective of what our hearts need simply to feel peaceful and relaxed. But now with the Shrinking Envelope, and as we slowly lean back into that well deserved peace and tranquility, we can’t help noticing that our world has lost a bit of its color, its individuality and the things that spark our curiosity and interest in feeling the awe in recognizing how we and nature are and have been so superbly intertwined.

 

Candle-3There are many of us speaking about being or about following a trend or discipline that claims to be spiritual. But, really, what is being spiritual? Is it real? Is it tangible? Is it something we can teach? Learn? Pass on to others? With so many people claiming or professing it, and in coming from so many different walks of life and disciplines, how can we really have a clear understanding of what it truly is? Or is it something that is strictly personal, innate and pertains to only that which comes from within? There seems to be no clear cut definition. Spirituality seems to be our assumed road to what we perceive as a method toward the resolution of a deeply unconscious urge for fulfillment of something that feels absent and is almost indescribable. Let’s look at some of the more commonly assumed versions and characteristics of it so you can have clarity in determining what it is for yourself.

First, I would suggest that most of us would essentially agree that spirituality is mostly an intangible idea, although, many of its applications, if we can call them as such, are tangible in nature. Their effects are assumed to encourage adjustments to our behavior for specific results in the way that we live our lives in the tangible world. But that sense of intangibility comes from a source deeper and mostly undefined within us, especially, since most of our attention goes toward more clearly defined surface issues like our survival and what we exchange with others. But once those surface issues have been sufficiently handled, there surfaces a gnawing feeling within us that says it just isn’t enough. Something still remains unanswered and unfulfilled. It’s then that we start looking toward the less tangible currents that feed our feeling, that is, if we’re mature enough to accept what we’re feeling. Those of us who are not end up pursuing a more intense versions of the same physical stimulus just to break the perceived barrier between us and our idea of ecstasy, thereby, keeping its access within our perceived control.

Director-2There are those of us who interpret spirituality as relating to an imagined deity who is assumed to have initiated and administers the physical world we find ourselves living in. In that belief there is an underlying and unconscious assumption that our existence and movements are all observed and controlled by this deity making them eminently more accountable than we for our existence and actions. Believing in this deity, essentially, eliminates our need for looking any further for understandings and insights about the reason for our “being here” let alone being responsible for our existence. The emptiness or unanswered urges are just accepted by us as being unknown to us and only known to that deity and under the charge and wisdom we’ve assigned to them.

I believe that for the rest of us this unanswered and unfulfilled part of us acts as the driving force to find that something that we feel is missing.  The different methods that we use to pursue fulfillment to that end we often make and then call a spiritual tradition. It can appear in the form of religion, extreme sensory oriented stimulation or an intangible and practicable discipline either devoid of or with a creator and administrator at the peak of our intended accomplishments within the discipline.

The urge to connect with a creator or deity through religious disciplines is not the only version of our seeking the fulfillment from outside of ourselves by virtue on another entity. I believe that the subconscious urge we feel can also come from a source we can call a belief in ancient aliens seeding our planet. A general version of the story goes like this. Millions of years ago aliens came to this planet in search of the commodities that supported their way of life including the mining of minerals. We as an ignorant and more immature species were transported with them as workers to perform the physical labor. When the acquisition of what they needed was completed, their cargo would be substituted for us leaving us to dwell here on Alien DNAthe planet after they left. It is said that we also were used for DNA experiments leading to producing different variations of our life form. Those who believe this have even gone so far as to state that Noah’s ark was actually a DNA bank constructed so they may collect their successful experiments and wipe the face of the earth of their completed or no longer viable experiment (us) with a flood so they might start over. A few of us still survived implanted with a deep racial memory of wishing to return to our home. It is believed that our unconscious urge for the unanswered fulfillment within us is that wish and that the tendency to believe in an external deity is an extension of worshipping those who brought us here. Since there was more than one alien, this may also account for cultures who support a belief in multiple gods. The urge to go home can also be viewed as our wish to return to what we now interpret as the Garden of Eden.

Our culture has gotten so over involved in our mental functioning and so far away from acknowledging and following our inner feelings that our quest for fulfilling this almost indescribable urge has been becoming harder and harder to express, recognize and “put our finger on” let alone find terms that can bring us a clear explanation of what it is that we’re actually dealing with. The urge is simple. But we’ve made working it into an understandable goal damn near impossible through relating to it almost exclusively in a mental format.

Many of these examples of addressing this inner urge have produce a vehemence, an intensity and almost a feeling of desperation in our beliefs and dedication in light of the fact that very few of us can actually conceive of any other means of answering the “void” of what we feel let Sysiphus-1alone comprehend the simplicity of what we seek. What is so ironic is that the more we focus on what it is that we don’t have (fulfillment), the more of the same the universe gives us through the Law of Attraction by virtue of what we’re focusing on. It’s like the harder and further we chase it, the faster and further it moves away. When we relax and don’t focusing on our striving, the more we emulate the earth in producing gravity that attracts toward us whatever it is that needs to be “filled in.”

All the above reasons for feeling and even understanding how to handle the void seem clear and easy enough to comprehend its dynamics. But then our psychological makeup throws us a curve ball. Now relationships enter the picture and the growing expectation that all of our voids, “missing halves” and parts will be filled and answered by the presence and actions of the other person. At this point we stop looking for answers and assume the relationship will be the answer to our prayers. The amount and degree of underlying expectations and assumptions we then make are staggering. We allow ourselves to be swept away by the belief that we will be fulfilled on all levels by the other person.

I believe that this decision is made as a result of and in the wake of our early training and fostered expectation that the world will not only dictate where our efforts should be applied for our happiness but that our desired results will also come from outside ourselves. This leaves us wide open to ignoring the fact that our own happiness is of our own doing and our own responsibility. The simple fact is that the universe answers us based on where we put our attention and our energy. So, now with our putting our energy and attention into another person, we again ignore our inner urgings in favor of our childhood trained need to belong and Blaming-1be fulfilled by the world…a promise issued by the world and our parents but impossible to be fulfilled. As we progress with our expectations, our partner is not able to fulfill our imagined and desired expectations for their behavior, let alone, have knowledge of them. In our childish state of being unaccountable, we blame our partner for our lack of happiness and fulfillment and once again slowly become aware of the pain of the rising void within us. If we are on the threshold of emotional maturity, we begin to make the connection between our accountability and our own happiness. If not, we fixate on another partner expecting the same impossible fulfillment.

If we wish to, we can view our entrainment by the world and our parents into expecting the world to answer our desires and urges as a disservice. But they are only following the natural flow of the physical world, that is, they are not only in the world but also of it. They’re doing what they we trained to do and believe also. However, if it is true that we are only in this world by virtue of our own desire to experience what it has to offer, wouldn’t it make sense to expose us to circumstances that would challenge the ease of where we resided before we came here? Wouldn’t that challenge give us something to contrast so we would know the direction to follow in order to fulfill that desired goal of having the experience? If we actually chose to come here, would religion and spirituality be aligned with that intention by fostering a need to escape back to where we came from? Is escaping back to the “Garden of Eden” in alignment with that Master Po & Kwai Changintention? I think not. I believe that our choice to come here for the experience is our original intention. I also believe that the void is also within us simply to give us a reminder of who we are and a place to return to in order to revitalize our intention. Our recurring awareness of the void within our spirituality is simply our way of reminding ourselves about what it is that we came here to do.

Puritans & StocksNow that I have your attention, I will admit it was a very broad and assumptive statement on my part. Many of us may not feel ashamed of pursuing and indulging in the drama, the intrigue and pleasure of sex. But I believe that it is very important for us to first understand where the taboos came from concerning those of us who do have feelings of shame concerning indulging in pleasure and those of us who don’t and what I believe to be the reasons why.

To begin with we must first ask ourselves who were the first settlers of this country? It is generally accepted that it was the Puritans. Puritanism originally took a stand for a purer interpretation of Christian scripture. That is, they opposed the reforms made by the Catholic and Anglican churches of England because they weren’t strict enough in their reforms. Underlying that was the whole of the Puritan movement seeking to replace the personal pride of birth and status with a professional's or craftsman's pride of doing one's best in one's particular calling. As a result of both motivations they emigrated to the Netherlands, Ireland Puritans Prayingand, eventually, New England. Their focus was originally against inadequate religious reforms and unequal birth status up until the 1560s. After the 1590s Puritanism was applied to anyone having overly strict religion and morals. The majority of those who immigrated to New England were the Puritans. As they settled here they set the tone for moral and religious conduct. So our country’s earliest starting point for our perspectives on life and how it was to be lived came from them. One of the reasons that we have such diversity in our beliefs on how to live now is because as a country we eventually became a melting pot allowing other nationalities and religions to integrate into the whole contributing to our current day variations in the religions, morals and life styles of our citizens thereby diluting the moral influence of the Puritans. However, having originally set our moral tone, it had already become ingrained in the foundation of our moral code and actions and is still a very strong, mostly unconscious, compulsion in favor of adapting the behavior that we’re trained into and expected to follow even today. This is probably the ancestor of what we refer to as the “Moral Majority” today. The Puritans did not exclude pleasures such as sex or alcohol from their life styles but had very strict rules about their engagement in them. This mindset has become a very pervasive and conflicting undercurrent which many of us, especially the younger Guy Fawkes Maskgenerations, have difficulty complying with. For the older generations it surfaces as a force utilizing guilt, shame and the need to disguise our natural animal urges. For the younger generations and especially those of other integrated cultures, it is a pillar of antiquated perspectives to be circumvented if not outwardly disregarded or rebelled against. So when I say some of us have been trained into feeling shame and others have not, we can understand how our diversity and melting pot experiences have created such a disparity in the way many of us perceive or even acknowledge morality involved in the way we believe we should be living. The majority of these types of perception have emanated from our own familial history and religious roots. Since US culture emanates mostly from Puritanical roots, Europe, with many more years of history and experience in these matters than us, not to mention having less of an influence from Puritanical traditions, is a lot freer and permissive, if not celebratory, in its expression and pursuit of our natural instincts toward pleasure.

The remnants of our Puritanical background are still present but appear to operate from a much more subdued level, especially in light of the years of progressing social changes we’ve been through since its inception into this country. Our prevalent religions, mostly Christian, still carry on some of the traditions openly while emphasizing humility and self-effacement in deference to others as a component of the religious code but most of them also still struggle with the underlying urges of our innate animal nature for survival and pleasure that remain suppressed through their respective mandates within our unconscious. In dealing with these innate urges it’s probably easier for those of us with no religious leanings or preferences. I feel Puritans & Indiansthis is so because it seems that religion still has the propensity toward denying the animal characteristics we all still share which only tends to compound the intensity of our struggle with them. Because the Native Americans who lived here before us personified the integration and acceptance of these urges into their culture, they were seen by our ancestors as a threat to their ability to deny their existence within us and, therefore, judged as savages and refused membership in our social structure.

So those of us who have families rooted in early American and Puritanical values still carry on, mostly within our unconscious, the struggle between our own personal and animal urges against our intended and desired image of appearing “civilized” and/or “holy” in our social interactions and demeanor. In psychology this has arisen as the separation between our Id and Superego with our Ego bearing the brunt of the culturally required mediation between the two. Hence, we now have developed all sorts of complexes and neuroses to label the different parts of the struggle that each of us may be dealing with at any given moment. We even have medications to subdue their effects so the intensity of the struggle may be minimized if not jammed back into the unconscious where it wreaks havoc from an “undisclosed” or untenable perspective generally surfacing at the most inopportune and unexpected times. In this it becomes the bubble under the wallpaper which refuses to dissipate and simply moves around the pressure in order to avoid its own extinction.

Seduction-2So, now that we’ve looked at how our traditional social structure deals with our animal nature and urges toward pleasure, let’s take a look at pleasure from a personal point of view without the attendant socially required stamp of selfishness and the stigma of applied shame. When we’ve been with someone who really turns us on, we enjoy immensely, have just had sex, had tremendous orgasms together and we’re totally and blissfully spent, do you think we’d feel like getting up and going to work? Of course not. If we’re Smoking Marijuanainto marijuana and we’ve just smoked the cleanest and most potent joint we’ve had in a long time and we’re floating in nature and its music, do you think we’d want to clean our apartments or do our taxes? Of course not. If we’re partying with friends and having the best tasting wine, laughing, joking, playing games, talking about life and we’re loose and relaxed with not a care in the world, do think we’d want to go home, change diapers, mow Alcohol Partythe lawn or fix the faucet? No again. These “hedonistic” activities release us from self-consciousness, worry, fear, tension and anxiety. They allow our innate animal urges to come to the surface. They allow us to indulge in and feel pleasure. Pleasure is the release from pain, stress and daily tension. When we’re feeling this way, does anyone have any effective influence or control over what we do if it countermands the pleasure we’re feeling? How manipulable are we when we’re in a pleasurable state if the activity we’re being pushed into performing interferes with our pleasure? Not much. Right? They why, might we think, that religions and government administrations want to set codes for, laws against and limits on our indulgence in these activities while at the same time inferring that they are immoral, selfish, ungodly, immature, unpatriotic and evil while encouraging our parents to emphasize this in our early training? When we’re comfortable and relaxed we are virtually uncontrollable and unmotivated by others. Then we only listen to our own motivations and urges. Pleasure and creativity are our main foci. The admonition against us, usually being very subtle and often unspoken, comes out as “Shame on you for not thinking about your brothers and sisters before your own interests.”

Psychiatrist-Patient-CouchThe current in our culture has been progressing toward an almost unspoken and innate mandate for our having more and more of a responsibility for, not only the welfare of others, but how they choose to feel about how our actions affect them. This is often reflected in the growing irrational claims the someone has done or said something in their purview that has offended them. This only serves to emotionally confirm our early training that we are responsible for someone else’s feeling. In the balance between our being responsible to ourselves and accountable to the world, this has pushed the pendulum way far to the right in emphasizing the welfare and feelings of others over our own. This tilts the pursuit and indulging in our own pleasure much further into the domain of guilt, shame and embarrassment.

So now our pursuit of pleasure for someone coming from a traditional background is, on the surface, perceived and often felt as an aberration and/or an inadequacy that needs to be dealt with within ourselves when it is actually an externally generated social coercion in the form of Sinsocial blackmail. Yet, when we are alone and not in a social setting, we generally accept, enjoy and indulge in pleasure and its pursuit but always with and underlying feeling that we’re doing something that is not permissible and that classifies us as a less than an admirable or “godly” person. This is probably the original impetus for religion to call this type of activity a “sin.” I see it as an anachronistic trained mindset designed to evoke obedience. What is so sad is that with that morally social “assignment” its effect subliminally and emphatically encourages self-doubt and a diminished sense of self-confidence sabotaging our creative and joyful pursuits.

So many of us have been and still are raised in this country feeling ashamed of ourselves, and I don’t mean just our body and its basic needs and urges, but even our clothing has become just one more way for us to hide our trained and enforced perception that our natural desires and urges are to be viewed as inadequacies needing to be hidden from ourselves and others. For those of us with a traditional and religious training and upbringing it brings a paranoia pervasive within and generated by religion about acknowledging, viewing, respecting and beautifying our natural selves as evidence of excessive pride and something to be avoided at all Adam & Eve Ashamedcost lest we be labeled as Hedonistic, selfish, immoral, and then “excommunicated” from the civilized group of our neighbors. Even the bible tells us that Adam and Eve were ashamed when they saw themselves. THIS is the main reason why sex and pursuing pleasure is still such a problem in today’s US culture. The advertising agencies and our government know this and use it to the hilt. With their “aid” we receive an exacerbation of feelings of guilt and in front of our children, we are encouraged to hide how we relate to sex and pleasure while we continue to train them into our neurosis about it. It's an emotionally hurtful traditional that needs to be abandoned if we are to grow in emotional maturity and integrate our natural condition with our spiritual aspirations and awareness as balanced humans.

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.

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.