What does it mean to be self-sustaining?
A system can be considered self-sustaining to the degree it can continue in a healthy state without external support.
A need to survive sustains every form of life on earth. Fear tends to drive survival, portraying perhaps a more sinister side to self-sustaining behavior – the need to do whatever it takes to continue. This need to continue is the essential core ingredient and motivation in evolution.
Evolution is a process in which resistance to change brings about more change.
As we take a closer look at the history of life on earth – how it has evolved into a predator vs prey scenario – someone must die for another to live – survival based on fear – we get a clearer picture of the physical, emotional, and mental hardening required to satisfy fear’s needful demands.
I have a “need” to continue my life-form based on a fear of nonexistence. That kind of force of will with fear at its core promotes neither balance nor choice in the lives of what it consumes. Life has become cause and effect within the realm of fearful need rather than joyful gratitude. It appears that my world of fearful need is, indeed, a self-sustaining system.
Or is it?
Systems. Networks of systems. The universe is a network of systems of systems of systems… etc. – perhaps ad infinitum. We have no idea how deep or how wide. Stable systems tend to destabilize over time (second law of thermodynamics). Self-sustaining systems cannot exist in a network of systems except as a concept void of context.
Content exists within some context, which is itself content for another context… a network of contents and contexts. Evolution guarantees that no content or context remains static for long.
Every second that passes sees the universe change – evolve – from one state of being to another. As one aspect of a system (content) changes, the system in which it is associated (context) changes as do other systems associated with it change accordingly. In a network of systems, every system is affected by every other system such that a tiny change in one system can bring about huge effects in much larger networks of systems – perhaps the entire universe as a system (i.e., the Butterfly Effect).
How does this apply to being self-sustaining?
You are not you in isolation. Your body would die in an instant were you to be evacuated of the nutrients, air pressure, gravity, and cohesion your body’s cells require for continuation in their current form. Take you outside the life-sustaining support system we call earth and you’d die pretty quickly. That’s why we take the earth with us wherever we go in space – in space suits. I literally NEED the earth in order to survive as a life form. Ah, that takes us back to need, doesn’t it?
Thoughts exist in the same way – your thoughts would immediately die if they didn’t have you in which to exist. You – what/whoever that is – are the system in which your thoughts exist and compete with one another for your attention.
For example –
Once I establish a perception as a “belief,” an apparently self-sustaining thought “pattern” is born. Yet, it exists within a system of beliefs – associated with other systems of beliefs. A network of beliefs that I refer to as “me.”
My belief appears to be a stable pattern – self-sustaining – for a while. That “while” might be years, eons, or microseconds – it all depends on scale and perspective. What gives this pattern a life is my attention. At any one instant in time, my mind is filtering through thousands of competing thoughts, each of which is contending for my attention. Thoughts that present my “thought-sorting program” a more compelling pitch get some conscious attention – like the plant that gets the sunshine in a jungle of others seeking the same.
Evolution rules in the mental as it does in the physical.
Due to my fear of extinction, I want desperately to be self-sustaining – to make sure I continue as I am without dependence on external support. The law of evolution, however, guarantees I’ll never be truly self-sustaining.
As a living entity, it is my job to resist change (evolution), to continue as I am / we are. Thus the driving motivation to “stay young.” I am compelled by my life force to continue just AS I AM right now and from a more meta viewpoint, to help my species (life form) continue AS IT IS right now. My resistance gives me the illusion of a self-sustaining life – that I am who I believe I am and that I will continue to be me without any external support. That illusion, though compelling, is still an illusion. Evolution guarantees I cannot continue as I am forever – I (embodied in my body/mind and the bodies/minds of my descendants) MUST CHANGE over time. It’s inevitable.
Therefore, it may be impossible to be truly self-sustaining, though the illusion of it will result in an experience that FEELS like it – complete with struggles, dramas, comedies, and the like that are the hallmark of resistance to the flow of evolution.
We recommend stopping. Stop trying to fulfill that need to survive as you are. Embrace change. Love evolution. Accept what is in any given moment and accept that in the next moment everything will be different. Accept. Through practice, acceptance will evolve into whatever is next, which will evolve into whatever is next… and next… and next…
We leave the context and content of your journey to you.