One characteristic of Third Degree of Illumination is choosing. Before third degree – within the bubble – I experience choice mostly as reactions to environmental stressors. What if all choice is defense? Consider the process of most cognitive choices:
- Something happens in my environment that requires my attention.
- I feel the stress of not knowing what to do.
- Clouded by emotion, I’m motivated to consider a shrinking set of options, entertaining very few competing solutions.
- I settle on a solution or strategy I prefer over others.
- Emotion may make me feel that there are no other options from which to choose.
- I defend my choice as though the choice itself is my defense for choosing it, “It’s the right thing to do…”
- I take action. My action is a defense that feels like a choice due to confirmation bias.
- I evaluate the outcome and adjust my strategy, which basically returns my process to step 2.
This FEELS like a process of making and taking action upon a choice. And yet, what if it is not what it appears? What if Third Degree of Illumination choice is not a choice?
At least not a choice I would recognize as a choice from within the First-Second Degree of Illumination bubble.
How can I make a Third Degree choice in a First-Second Degree bubble?
The conflict is resolved with Einstein’s theory of relativity. LOL – bet you didn’t see that one coming…!!!
How choice appears depends on your point of view – it’s relative to your reference point. From a point of view within the bubble, EVERY consideration is defense, the defining characteristic of the bubble. Therefore, every choice is a defense. How, then, could choice be the fundamental characteristic of Third Degree of Illumination when all choice is a defense?
From the perspective of the bubble, a choice is basically a confirmation, justification, or validation – defense of a current belief. A Third Degree choice might appear from that perspective as an instant of awakening, a flash of inspiration – an “aha” moment. Defense wiped away in a timeless instant as a true sense of transformation overwhelms the walls of the defensive mind and heart into enlightenment. Could be intensely painful and/or deeply sublime.
Think of Second Degree defense as the inside of the membrane of the First-Second Degree of Illumination bubble. Think of Third Degree choice as the point at which inside meets outside and Fourth Degree acceptance as the “space” beyond the membrane.
Many of the “flashes of inspiration” I experience are actually feel-good emotions, the result of confirmation bias – that basically defends my current belief. How can I tell which flash of inspiration is a Third Degree awakening and which is a feel-good, Second Degree confirmation? Perhaps that depends, again, on your perspective!
Isn’t it about time?
In the realm of the bubble, space-time as I recon it is a fundamental construct that acts as a defense of perception. From that perspective, third degree might appear as a flash or instant of inspiration – an opening in the membrane through which one arrives at one of two points (thus the “choice”):
- The timeless Fourth Degree in which accountability redefines the bubble. From this perspective, the bubble would appear quite differently than it would from within the bubble.
- The default choice – back to the bubble.
The “instant of choice” appears at the membrane of the bubble –> the passage from inside to outside the bubble = a Third Degree choice! It occurs to me that I might be faced with this choice every instant of my bubble life – basically, passing in and out of bubble “reality”. That the default choice, the bubble, is so alluring, so addictive, so automatic, that I fly by Third Degree “choices” without so much as a “What was that?”.
Perhaps on those rare occasions when I notice a flash of inspiration, I might recognize that Third Degree opportunity and entertain the idea of exploring Fourth Degree of Illumination territory. That may be the crucial difference between “feel-good” confirmation bias and true Third Degree enlightenment.