A Turf War Between Thought and Emotion

In my bubble of limited awareness every thought and emotion compete for attention and defend against oblivion. Where attention is the turf, every thought or emotion must struggle to win the turf. It’s a war over my attention. In this world, I can either think or feel – not both.

In such a world, instinct rules over reason in the struggle over attention. Basically, whenever there is a question in a situation, instinct wins. We’ve seen this in history where one side wins over the other when a contest over turf arises. Even today, we see turf wars between apparently competing interests. The belief is that only one should survive.

Results of War

I don’t think anyone would argue that war is destructive. Sure, good things can come out of war, but war itself is purely destructive. Someone may win, yet, even the “winner” sustains injury. Both sides in such a conflict lose something of value.

What if there was another way? That way would have to exist outside the arena of win or lose competition. For example, in an argument, the opposing sides might find a middle ground – a compromise. OR, both sides come to the realization that their interests are better served by cooperation – adding to each other. Such would require thinking beyond that of instinct where only self-interest matters.

Turf War in a Brain Metaphor

Perhaps we see this in metaphor in our own brains. My brain consists of a primitive portion and a new brain that represents an ability to think beyond instinct. That new part is slower to react, capable of considering multiple options, and capable of questioning. It’s that last bit, questioning, that really sets it apart.

Instinctive brain: Unquestioned competition => War => Loss or Gain

New brain: Questions competition => Cooperation => Loss and Gain

A turf war between concepts and how I feel about them results in confirmation of my belief in loss. Whenever I think my position is right and must win out, I’m working to validate that belief. This turf war will make loss more real to me, which will tend to promote more war.

Fighting and defending lead to validation of loss at the expense of the participants. Meanwhile, another way leads to connection and cooperation, thus promoting flow for all participants.

What if there is no turf?

Stuck in Certitude

In my bubble of awareness, nature appears to push life toward certitude and in the process, a sense of blind obedience arises. My sense of knowing how to survive comes from a confidence that runs a strictly automated cause/effect program.

From that perspective, certitude as an instinctive program governing all thought and behavior is associated with success. Yet, with all that certitude being applied towards success, why does death, suffering, and failure top the list of outcomes?

When I challenge a wild animal in its certitude, I could be inviting my own uncertainty. What if that wild animal is my unquestionable state of knowingness? Just how far will that certitude go to prove its rightness?

Getting Stuck in Certitude

Defense plays a part in stuckness. While defending what I’m attending, I’m blocking what I’m unaware of. Thus, my reactions are due to my extractions, unaware of my unawareness!

One is certain AFTER they are uncertain, aware after they are unaware, unstuck after they are stuck – not before. Becoming aware of my unawareness may be the first step in resolving the paradox.

Am I addicted to certitude?

Becoming aware of a stuck state of mind is useful in that it sets my mind into problem solving mode. However, my addiction to certainty might take me into using a known process to solve the problem of stuckness. That’s unlikely to work because it was probably that process that got me stuck in the first place!

In certitude, I’ll resist change. Why? Because I’m right! That can add to “the problem” of stuckness in unawareness.

What can I do to resolve the awareness paradox?

I might think I can resolve the paradox of defending unawareness with a process I’ve used before. That will probably be unsuccessful because previous defense is the default behavior – resulting in the current condition.

Instead, I may want to investigate a resolution process that feels risky to me. I risk my awareness by blocking an area of consideration I’ve actively defended against to protect myself. Fear may represent that risk and thus, act as a great indicator for which process to pursue.

For example, if I fear what I might find under hypnosis, then it might be useful in resolving my awareness paradox.

All or Nothing Thinking => Stuck!

Believing that change is impossible will tend to make it so. All or nothing thinking resists change because it sees change in terms of too large or not enough. Overwhelming or insignificant. Black or white. That is the very definition of stuck!

One strategy I might use is that of chunking, in which I take something apparently large and break it up into smaller pieces. Like eating the pie one bite at a time rather than trying to smash the whole thing into my mouth at once. Breathing is done one breath at a time.

In certitude, one might introduce a little doubt and consider new ways to think and behave…

Relationship Between Compulsion, Want, And Need

In my limited awareness, I experience compulsion as needs. Compulsions increase in number and intensity when I think my environment controls me. As I take control of myself, I experience fewer needs. Need and conscious awakening seem to have an inverse relationship: the more awake I am, the less I experience need. Inversely, the more need I experience, the less awakened I am.

Let’s look at the need-less experience of a lucid dream as an example. In that consciousness, awareness of dream and dreamer while asleep gives me complete awake control. This because I’ve taken awake control of thoughts and emotions that generate the dream. I experience few if any needs in lucid dreams because I have full awake command of my dreaming self.

In awake consciousness, it seems I have many needs. From air to food to shelter, it appears I must depend upon my environment for survival. That dependence on what I feel is outside me may be key to why I have needs.

Unlike wants, needs are more black-and-white. Needs feel 100% compelling while wants feel more desirable than compelling. For example, even though I may want to breathe, at a certain point desire will turn to need and I will be compelled to breathe. I have no choice – I must pay attention to it – I must act.

I’m also compelled to believe the need is compelling enough to justify the compulsion. Thus, needs justify compulsions that justify needs. They are dependent upon and so justify each other.

Need and Compulsion Represent Each Other

Compulsion is an urge – a concept – not a physical thing or a goal. Physical or not, need represents the compulsion concept. Accepting a need as literal compels me to feel dependent upon my environment and so feeds my compulsion.

Feeding a compulsion feeds an awareness of lack that I judge as need. To that end, I may surrender all that I am to satisfy my compulsion in hopes of satisfying a need.

The nature of compulsion leads me to consider using need in situations where I seek to satisfy a want. My thought is that if I were to consider a want as a need, I’ll work harder to achieve it. On the outside, that may seem like a workable solution.

There is a flaw in that logic, however. A focus on awareness of lack tends to build more awareness of lack. Thus, even when feeling compelled to act, the focus on lack will tend to lessen the ability to act. Need may, then, subtract emotional energy from the excitement of want.

Instead, to build energy towards achievement of a goal, want it! And let go of the need for it. The entire process of achievement is within – that’s want – rather than from without – that’s need.

You may then be in a position to consider how want, too, focuses attention on lack. What might happen when you release the need for wants? I wonder…

Metaphor, a Problem-Solving Paradox

Metaphor takes perception of reality and twists it into a problem-solving paradox. The literal view seeks to defend its perspective as truth – using memory, facts, and logic to resolve paradox. The figurative view seeks to apply meaning to the literal view through metaphor, using imagination and possibility to resolve paradox. Together they seek a resolution to a fundamental problem – life.

Did You Catch the Paradox in the Metaphor?

The choice we suggest as metaphor-thinking operates best as a paradoxical view we experience with others in relationships. Thus, I understand me in a metaphor of my perception of you in relation to me. This is made all the more paradoxical when I act on my belief that you and I are literally separate.

Consider how difficult it is to see one’s own face without looking at its reflection. One would have no idea what their face looks like. With a reflective surface, sufficient light, and a properly working visual sense, and awareness of self, however, I can see a reflection that, although not me, presents a metaphor that I think represents me. Do you see the paradox in your reflection?

Even though I hear your voice doesn’t mean I hear your words. Just because I hear your words doesn’t mean I understand their meaning. Even when I hear your words and understand their meaning doesn’t mean I understand your concept. Sometimes I want an example to help me get to the meaning of a concept. That example is not the concept – it is a metaphor to help me understand the concept in an alternative form. Do you hear the paradox in these words?

What If Metaphor Presents a Problem-Solving Paradox?

Living in a problem-solving mind creates a paradox that connects solutions to problems through justification. Justifying the solution is a problem because it defends one against alternative solutions. The defense focuses attention on only one option rather than to search for alternatives. Once justified, this solution presents a mental scotoma – a problem that mind has difficulty resolving through ever-limiting repetition.

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” (Albert Einstein)

This sets up a self-referential paradox in which problems justify solutions that justify problems. As the paradox expands, it further limits the range of awareness. This limits my realization of me as both me and not me.

Reinterpreting what I defend as a solution can’t be done – due to its defense of problem and solution. Sounds like a catch-22 situation. Oh, no! Not another PROBLEM!!!

This makes metaphor inevitable and necessary.

When I consider, “This is not as it appears,” I open my conscious awareness to metaphoric interpretation. And loosen the grip of my narrow focus on literal interpretation.

Did you catch the metaphor in the paradox?

 

Embrace Distraction to Awaken Inspiration

What if distraction is a useful characteristic of mind? I have the ability to be distracted – comes to me via evolution. Evolution favors that which is useful over that which is not. Just because I think it’s not useful doesn’t make it so. I ask again, “What if distraction is a useful characteristic of mind?”

What would make me believe that I’m actually creating a distraction? If I were to realize my creation, might I then put it to use? What would happen when I change my perspective about the way I think about distractions? Might I be able to utilize my ability to be distracted by asking, “What did I create this distraction for?” (seeks purpose). How might I utilize the distraction?

Perhaps I can use distraction to:

  • Sharpen my mind
  • Redirect attention
  • Help me identify hidden needs
  • Find new information
  • Get inspired

Where is inspiration and innovation?

Usually in the distraction zone. A distraction often involves a break in attention from a hypnotic state. Sometimes that seems like a break from something important to something less important – “Oh, look, a birdie!” How do I know what’s most important in this instant?

“Pay attention!” Perhaps a distraction is an attempt of mind to understand from another perspective. My limited awareness state of mind works in associations – this related to that. Because of that characteristic of mind, I wonder how all distractions are related. What is a distraction telling me? That everything is related, even those, like the birdie, that seem completely unrelated. I can use that to help me understand who I am.

Could a distraction be an opportunity? Inspiration rarely resides in strong narrow focus. One might say inspiration resides in the blink rather than the stare. The blink offers a distraction from the stare – an opportunity for new vision.

So, embrace the distraction! Maybe in it, you’ll find a new focus.