Challenging Certainty of My Prediction

In my limited awareness bubble, I start an experience with an intention that is a prediction. Based on a mixture of complex processes, I use these predictions to perceive and interpret my world. My intention builds certainty as I perceive repetition of confirmation of my predictions.

Some complex processes I use to insure the certainty of my predictions:

  • Imagination
  • Scotoma – lock on/lock out attention
  • Storytelling
  • Justification
  • Creative license
  • Etc.

Strengthening Trust in Predictions

The stronger my certainty, the more likely I am to build expectation out of prediction. Out of the certainty derived from those successes came a sense of trust in my ability to predict my future. That trust leads to productive action, which confirms and thus strengthens my trust.

Prediction is useful as a mental shortcut. Generally, trusting my predictions is faster, more efficient, and more reliable than trying to figure out all possible outcomes as my life evolves. Over time and experience with my predictions, I seldom question them. And yet, as most of us have experienced, this trust can be misplaced. Consider predictive text. I usually look to make sure my text message says what I want it to say. I challenge my phone’s predictions!

How would I know if my prediction is incorrect unless I question it? Why one asks a question affects the level of enlightenment one may derive from their inquiry. Whatever purpose I have for questioning will likely achieve that purpose. For example, if I ask you for agreement, I’ll probably get it regardless of your feedback to me. Thus defending my position and strengthening my certainty.

A questioning mind is an aware mind.

As long as I continue to think as I have, I’ll continue to get what I’ve gotten – until I question my thinking.

To get in a questioning “mood”, I may have to break my current mental state of trust and focus. This may mean using a technique like this brain hemisphere switching technique.

To question my current “reality” and my prediction for my next “reality,” I might ask, for example:

  • Why am I making this prediction?
  • How does expecting this outcome build my trust in my prediction of it?
  • What’s the purpose of this prediction?
  • What other purpose might there be that I’m not considering because I’m sold on the current purpose?
  • What else…?
  • What’s next…?
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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!

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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.
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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.

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Freeing Power of Humor

Who doesn’t enjoy a good laugh? Laughter can have positive physical effects on the body and can play a huge role in the relief of mental-emotional stress. As a healing agent, laughter can stir up and cause the release of hidden defenses like bias, prejudice, and other thinking errors.

Rigid adherence to programs limits my experience by blinding me to alternatives. This certitude affects how I experience humor. When in certitude, one feels they must follow the program – from which they can’t “let go” and they can’t “move on.” In this fixed state of mind, I accept the wrongness of humor and thus reinforce the rightness of certitude.

Between the absolute rigidity of certitude and extreme flexibility of the undefined lay ambiguity. Ambiguity offers variety in interpretation of expression, a recognition of a paradox, and the essence of humor.

Healing Power of Humor

Perhaps humor exposes the paradox in and absurdity of my extreme rigidity or flexibility. Once I’ve exposed my secret defenses, I have an opportunity to deal with them. Sometimes recognition of a paradox in my belief, behavior, or thought process brings me a chuckle that grows in the sharing.

Laughter, then, may be the manifestation of release of defense. Perhaps the compliment my laughter gives to a comedian is a “thank you” for helping me see the ambiguity in my defense.

When the feeling of freedom to choose returns because of the recognition of ambiguity, I may express that feeling as bliss, exhilaration, love. Those are the same feelings I express when connected to my gratitude.

When I get triggered, it’s because one or more of my beliefs has been challenged. Humor can offer us a gift for consciously questioning our triggers. When a joke strikes a nerve, it’s probably presenting me an opportunity to question a hidden belief.

When I don’t find humor in a type of comedy, it may be because I’ve invested in a hidden defense I’m not yet ready to let go of. I may be so invested in a drama related to the comedy that I can’t see the humor in it – yet. This is so especially when I feel offended by the comic presentation.

Psychological Benefit

Once aware of the hidden defense, I might inquire into it and derive psychological benefit from the experience. Even acknowledgement of my defense can open the door to philosophical inquiry.

Like humor, this type of questioning requires an environment of ambiguity in which I make myself open to alternative interpretations. This openness presents options for choices.

Commitment to one option collapses ambiguity into the certitude of a choice. Defense follows to support the choice, reinforcing certainty and resisting ambiguity.

In a balanced environment of certainty and ambiguity, philosophical inquiry can raise awareness and open doors to creativity. And maybe a good laugh!

Remember – both certainty and vagueness are necessary aspects of experience. How rigidly I apply either determines the level of paradox I experience in my life. A paradox subject to exposure that can come in the form of humor.

When life seems so serious it can’t be funny, maybe I’ve overlooked an opportunity. Then may be the time to seek and find a good laugh.

Perhaps the best laugh is the one I have on myself, the ultimate paradox of absurdity and reason. When faced with a paradox, question them!

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