Get Serious!

All that I’m certain is right? All the judgments I’ve defended with my life? Total bullshit! Why? Because I now recognize and appreciate the ambiguity of life. A lifetime of adherence to my belief in one absolute truth and no others is absurd! Now that’s funny!

Sometimes war rages within me between “I need to defend my beliefs against any challengers” and, “I choose to question a belief.” Bridging the gulf might ease or stop that war within.

In my limited state of awareness, I judge differences in perception in terms of clarity and confusion of thought. It’s a war of interpretation. If the judgement is about right and wrong, I must interpret my beliefs through limited understanding of both. That because my limited awareness causes me to view everything as a competition of this/vs/ that. Then I defend one side against the other. That’s war!

Ambiguity and Too Many Alternatives

Of course there are times when too many alternatives can give too much flexibility and insufficient structure to my thoughts in a selection process. Yet, the extremes of my selections can reveal the nature of my biases.

I define ambiguity as being open to more than one interpretation – more than one way can be suitable. Of course, if I feel that openness leaves me vulnerable to being judged as frivolous, I might consider openness a threat. Perhaps my defense of seriousness is more about agreement than rightness, unless they are the same. This can be said of my defense of ambiguity as well.

My sense of certainty about what’s right and what’s wrong limits my scope of experience. With intention of focus and purpose, I’ll narrow my choices and experiences into one perfect misunderstanding of everything without ever knowing its alternative.

Where certainty is rightness, ambiguity must be wrongness. How certain am I about that? In limited awareness, some uncertainty is always present. In a vast universe mostly unknown to me, how arrogant of me, in my bubble of limited awareness, to think I know enough to be certain about anything? It’s absurd!

Love that Certitude!

Although in certitude I feel right, justified, and/or proper, the limitations it imposes invites a challenge to the absurdity.

Perhaps I could use the humor in absurdity to question the necessity for defense while lessening the probability of initiating one.

When I begin to recognize the ambiguity inherent in my life, some part of me may put on the doubt breaks – “Wait a second… something just ain’t right here…” As I question my certitude, the absurdity of my truths surface. I may then realize I’ve played a joke on myself.

Imagine the absurdity of all the effort I’ve put into forcing truth onto an illusion. All the while, struggling to survive based on my dogged adherence to a paradoxical belief. The joke lands when I realize the absurdity of the situation and laugh about it.

Getting Serious!

Maybe it’s time for me to get serious about embodying ambiguity – and the freedom doubt offers. Gratitude!

A paradox, sitting at the bar. One turns to the other… and smiles.

Questioning What I Doubt

In my limited awareness bubble, I live in a world of duality. This or that. Me or not me. Etc. This is illustrated in the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. One says, “Go, go, go!” while the other says, “Whoa, whoa, whoa.”

Going requires enough certainty to overcome inertia. Whoa requires only a question. Somewhere short of going and dead stop lies an area where doubt can play a role.

Doubt Questions Certainty

It asks, “Are you sure about this…?” For example, my GO program might say, “I want that…” Doubt asks, “How certain are you that you want that…?” Doubt may trigger my whoa program to say, “Hmm, maybe we can’t afford that right now…” Then a process of negotiation may take place.

Doubt can alert me with uneasy feelings that can lead me to question my certainty. Paying attention to such uneasiness answers an internal call to investigate what I’m experiencing.

Why don’t I investigate the ill-feelings behind my doubts? Why do I continue to justify them? I’m more likely to question others about their doubts and uneasiness than I am about my own. Why is that?

Challenging My Certainty

A challenge to my certainty of my survival would imply I could be wrong. Doubt suggests I may be wrong. I have to be right to be safe – and survive. I can’t be safe and wrong. Therefore, I can’t doubt.

I need some certainty and uncertainty to live. Too much certainty and I close myself off. Too little and I can’t hold a thought. Doubt is, therefore, useful – within parameters.

I feel stuck in those choices today because of my belief about doubt! I may feel stuck in my belief about that belief. Therefore, I resist exploring my doubts.

My belief about doubt may be self-recurring, self-regenerating, and cumulative until it becomes… wait for it… certitude.

When I introduce even the tiniest doubt into my certitude, I open a crack in the defense of it.

What if I challenge the belief that I can’t doubt? If I doubt my belief about doubt, I’m likely to trigger defense of it. Dang!

Instead, what if I investigate another way to explore my beliefs than to doubt their veracity? What if I can turn a challenge into an exploration?

Presentation is Everything!

Within my bubble of limited awareness, I’ve imagined and developed personas to deal with my environment. I expect others to perceive these presentations according to my intentions. In this way, I present a different “me” depending upon how I perceive my environment.

I have a work persona, a family persona, a casual persona, a formal persona, etc. My imagination can mold a persona to act out just about any presentation in just about any situation. I’m an adaptable actor.

Thanks to personas, I don’t have to BE dangerous to BE frightening – just APPEAR dangerous.

Externalized Personas

To make a persona work, I must imagine how another person witnessing my persona will react to it. That means I must do a bit of mindreading. And some in-performance interpretation of feedback from those others to whom I present my persona.

I must be aware of “externalized” personas. From my perceptions and overall judgments of them, I create a persona for every person with whom I interact. Thereby externalizing one of my personas to fit a bubble of judgments I name “you.” Thus, I’ve encapsulated you into a persona that is MY perception of YOU.

My perception of a relationship between internal and external personas represents and exists within an environment. Whenever aware of that environment, my mind presents a persona to deal with it. Thus, I appear as one person when conversing with my Mom at her home. Another when I’m with her at a store. And yet another when with her and my siblings at a family gathering. A different face for each situation.

It appears I’m reacting to an environment separate from me. Appearances can be deceiving. ALL personas present a defense of relationships, based on perceptions, beliefs, thoughts, and feelings – about MY persona.

For example, I meet a coworker, John, for the first time. He presents me with his work persona. Because it is the only persona of John I’ve met, I perceive his work persona is John. My perception of John is, nonetheless, my perception of John’s work persona – not John. My perception of John’s work persona is within my perception of our relationship within the work environment. That perception also holds an image of the relationship between our work personas. Away from our work environment, those personas and relationships may change radically.

Over a period of time at work, my identity becomes a convolution of relationships in which John’s work persona joins mine. None of those personas are me – they only appear to be me. Instead, personas represent who I am not.

How Personas May Affect Identity

Extrapolating this persona convolution concept to the myriad relationships I’ve had in my lifetime and you begin to comprehend how convoluted my identity has become. At a very young age, I learned to associate my personal with my identity. Thus, I become what I do – act a part – rather than who I am.

What I do is not who I am! Neither do I see who you are! Even when experiencing what you want me to see of you, I’m seeing that through the eyes of a persona.

Due to this flexibility of personas, I’m always seeing what I WANT to see rather than what is. Thus, I’m always seeing me as who I am not, which is whoever I want to be.

Presentation is everything!

Turning Defense into Acceptance of Accountability

Recently, I heard myself say, “I didn’t intend to…” From my self-protective, bubble of limited awareness persona point of view, this statement makes sense. This deflection, however, resists acceptance of accountability. I don’t question my defense because that would expose something I’m hiding on purpose. What am I hiding? My fear of culpability!

Why do I fear my accountability?

What Can I Do to Reclaim My Accountability?

“I didn’t” and “I’m not” (negations) often offer me an easy indicator of defense. Whenever I hear a negation (n’t, not, never, no, etc.) come out of my mouth, I can assume I’m in defense. Whenever I hear you say those words, and feel your defense, I can assume I’m in defense, too. Defense is defense no matter who shows it because it is I who perceives it. Defense is just an indicator, and so…

Rather than shoot the messenger, my mirror, I can pay attention to the message. Once aware, I’m in a position to accept accountability. To soften my defense, I can use my language to remove the negation out of a defensive statement. Then I have something to work with. “I didn’t intend to…” becomes, “If I did [intend that]…” Then, inquiries into hidden intentions can arise.

The following self-inquiry questions can perhaps lead to self-awareness and acceptance of accountability. Referring to our example above, “I didn’t intend to…” Once I calm my protective persona’s defensive posturing, I realize it’s just an indicator, a message to myself about my unconscious intention to survive.

I can then question that intention by inquiring about how I feel concerning the message. Based on that feedback, I might ask myself, “If I did intend to [do that]…,

  • Who did I believe I was to intend the outcome I observed?”
  • Why did I intend that outcome?”
  • How do I feel now about what happened then?”
  • What do I intend now?”

This inquiry starts a process of acceptance of accountability for my creation. Evidence of acceptance:

  • I would hear few or no negations in my communications.
  • I would hear connecting questions like, “How can I help us reconnect]…?” and “What do you need [for the relationship to reconnect]?” and etc.
  • The other person would report feeling cared about.
  • My body and mind would calm down.
  • A sense of profound joy in connection.

Awareness of Gratitude for the Absurd

In a bubble of limited awareness, I perceive in duality. This offers me only two options for comparison: something and everything that is not that something. This appears as a sort of battle between something and its environment – like me vs not me.

For example, I define order in a comparison to disorder. This relationship appears on a continuum from minimum to maximum. A paradox arises at the point where maximum is indistinguishable from minimum.

Full disorder is so unlimited as to be nothingness and order is so limited as to be nothingness. 0 = 1. This ambiguity presents a paradox in which any and none appear synonymous. When zero equals one, duality collapses. That’s absurd!

Limited Awareness

Perception relies upon a range of conscious awareness of adequate contrast between this and that to distinguish one from the other. Too little or too much contrast destroys the awareness of differentiation and, thus, perception.

Limited awareness changes the equation, 0=1, to a comparison, 0<1. Thus, limited awareness resolves the paradox – and makes perceptual experience possible.

From a Fifth Degree of Illumination awareness, I can appreciate how limited awareness resolves the paradox of oneness. While inside the bubble of limited awareness, however, I can’t see the paradox, much less resolve it. I’m too busy living it!

Limited awareness offers me experience that illustrates what I want to believe moment-to-moment. It does this by connecting some unknown with the known, some uncertainty with certainty, some yin with the yang. So, limitation – YAY!

The Gift of Defense

I use defense to define the borders of my limited awareness. As I introduce some flexibility into my border defense, I strengthen it. The stronger the defense, the more convinced I am that the experience is as it appears. Thus, defense resolves the paradox of reality – where nothing is as it appears AND everything is as it appears.

Defense complements limited awareness. Comparison and competition are merely concepts. My response is the defense that turns concept into experience. Defense exists in an environment of limited awareness. Limited awareness exists in an environment of defense. Together, I get experience. Experience offers opportunity for enlightenment through questioning.

Recognition and Gratitude

Recognition of the absurdity inherent in this level of limited awareness invites inquiry into the paradoxes. For example, when considering the paradox of certainty, I may ask myself what, how, why, and who is so certain that I can’t doubt. This inquiry may reveal the absurdity and add some illumination into the darkness that limits my vision.

The addition of illumination might feel like gratitude – the “aha” moment when the darkness gives up its secret. That secret is that I was never limited – just having an experience of it.

When the windows of perception clear, I see myself as I am.