I have questions in the present that challenge my certainty of a past I’ve used to justify the present. The more I consider the usefulness of self-inquiry, the more questions I have and the less confident I feel in my defense of time, as I understand it, as authoritative.
One question can start me on a path to awakening, “Do I need to be right?” This could be the result of an interaction I had with someone recently in which I was sure I was right about a position and just as sure that that someone was wrong. I backed up my points with proof as did they. Their side seemed equally logical, but I realized I had strong emotions on my side that boosted my need even further with convincing energy.
“Nobody is ever convinced of anything until they FEEL convinced, and if you can get them to FEEL convinced, you can convince them of anything.” (Scott Bryant concerning Group Manipulation)
When my emotions get involved, pain doesn’t seem to be an obstacle! Rather, it serves to prove my point – to me!
Practicing conscious awareness, I’ve been asking myself lots of inwardly-directed questions to keep me in a peaceful state of mind. Words like, “It just doesn’t matter!” and “I don’t really know for sure!” flooded my mind with a willingness to stop the crusade I’d started and maybe consider alternatives. I felt the pressure to win leave my mind and unburden my heart.
After taking a few deep cleansing breaths and giving my desire for connection a higher status in the exchange, my inner questions morphed even further into, “What do I really want to experience with this person?” – to soften my need for rightness into wanting to better understand.
Well-crafted questions turn my inner conflict into “just one of many options.” By letting go of my need for an emotional energy feed, I presented my conscious mind with alternatives – more resources.
Might Time Be Relative to Emotion?
The most authoritative time is the past – “I saw it!” and, “I witnessed what happened.” The most powerful time is NOW – the only time I can DO something, “Let’s DO this [now]!”
Perhaps I seek to impose the past upon the present to give power to my justifications (by reference to authority) of my current belief or position in an argument. One way I do this is by attaching emotions to current conditions. I DO emotions to remind me that I’m convinced, while the intensity of those emotions reminds me HOW convinced I am – of a belief I’m presenting myself (and others) in the present.
I wonder if my need to feed is attached to time – as a point of authority. If I can use time as authority, I can strengthen my argument.
“When” and “where” questions tend to deal with time and space – connecting:
- present and past
- power and authority.
I attach value via judgments to my identifications of things and people. This investment in that past brings me need-satisfying present returns in the form of defenses, justifications, rationalizations, and more judgments.
Whenever I feel my present experiences confronting my past and proven reality, I must satisfy that inner conflict by satisfying my need to prove rightness, a tried-and-proven method! In this way, past rightness places ever more tension on my present reality while appearing to satisfy it.
My mind has been fooled occasionally into defending this twisted logic that I feel I have to support. To stay in peace, I challenge my need to sustain my past as evidence used to justify my present condition and emotional state.
Defense of my defense!
Defense of my rightness has two aspects
- My logical explanation/argument – what I think.
- My emotional attachments – how I feel about what I think.
Defending what I believe can get pretty confusing, especially when I can’t tell the difference between those two aspects. The question, “How do I feel when my understanding is challenged?” tends to bring into focus those emotions attached to my logical argument. I see that I’m defending how I feel rather than what I understand.
Recognizing just what I’m defending helps me let go of the need to defend it – along with the emotional attachments I use to support and view my position.
A well-crafted question might morph from, for example, “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you” into, “What can I do for others that I’d want others to do for me?” State in a question what you’d LIKE rather than what IS happening.
When it comes to my negative emotions, I like to use this three step process:
- Acknowledge how I’m feeling right now. “I feel _____ [negative emotion].”
- Answer the question, “How would I rather feel? ______ [positive emotion].”
- Breathe – and combine into a positive affirmation: “Whenever I feel ______ [negative emotion], I’m focused on ______ [positive emotion] NOW.”
When it comes to inter-personal relationships, I like to craft questions that are:
- Focused on one subject at a time
- In the present
- Focused on what I really want
- Based on peace