“What if” and “What else”

What If …?

  • Gratitude is an expression of coming to an understanding of what I once misunderstood?
  • Courage is not a ‘cure’ for fear? Rather, what if understanding is the solution to the problem of fear?
  • It’s maybe more useful to understand than to know things?
  • I realized that the less defensive I become, the more adaptable I become?
  • When hearts connect, light turns on in mind?
  • I am not here or there or anywhere?
  • I seek first to understand my heart? What if then the truths hidden there will bring to light all else?
  • Memories are like breadcrumbs unconsciously dropped along our path to the future?
  • I am THE cause and THE effect of my creation?
  • Movement into life means stillness within?
  • It is in the waking and not the sleeping we find rest?
  • For every beam of light there are shadows fleeing?
  • The capacity to love increases as understanding of self expands?
  • By seeking wholeness, we realize lack? In defending lack, we realize life?
  • The ultimate choice of who and why I AM is up to me.
  • Fear stands at the door of every quest?
  • As the great illusionist, fear mocks understanding with judgments?

In my bubble of limited awareness, what I give focus to as real IS REAL. I tend to feel the need to judge all things from a perspective that my reality is the truth. And insist that everyone else agree with me.

That need makes everything and everyone a justification of my fear that they won’t “get” the truth. And turns me into a staunch crusader and valiant warrior for my rightness.

What Else …?

What can I do when a “What if…?” question turns into a dread statement like, “Something wrong…, that’s what!”

Might I take advantage of the plasticity of my reality to go beyond “What if…?” with “What else…?”

I might ask four simple questions when a “What if…?” question results in a statement of dread:

  1. “What else…?”
  2. “How else…?”
  3. “Why else…?”
  4. “Who else…?”

Problem Solving, Predictions, and the Lack Cycle

Resistance is the basis of perceivable phenomena I believe to be reality. My senses provide feedback in the form of resistance that validates an environment of lack. When I experience resistance, I validate a reality of defense. In that defense, I feel a need to fulfill a lack. To the degree I validate lack, I validate its fulfillment – problem solving gives me a sense of purpose.

When I perceive resistance, I’m working to resolve it as a problem with a solution. Emotion adds motivation to my purpose to solve the problems I perceive.

Because I perceive lack as a problem needing a solution, I work towards a sense of fulfillment. Because I’m always lacking, I can never achieve complete fulfillment no matter how much I want or need it. A sense of fulfillment is as close as I can ever get to completion.

One might say I need to solve the problem of lack in order to continue as a living entity that changes – evolves over time. Perception of change could be thought of as evidence of perception of lack in search of completion. One might think of evolution in terms of lack never completely satisfied!

When I deny that lack exists, I acknowledge it. Consider that the defense I use to prove lack as an illusion proves its reality. Thus, I create a dualistic view of my life as a cycle of need and fulfillment while denying lack’s existence… and yet my denial makes it so.

Problem Solving and the Lack Cycle

Problem solving is a process of identification matched to a program that results in an outcome. That outcome is subject to the process that created it. Thus, lack, as a problem to be solved, connects to a program that results in an outcome. That outcome is, itself, a potential problem with a potential solution. That’s the lack cycle.

There’s a measure of predictability in cycles. In a cycle of need and fulfillment, I defend my predictions with a sense of confidence. So much so, that I’ll apply an inordinate amount of confidence to less probable predictions and feel right about it.

Predictability, when accurate enough, can build confidence in knowing what to do and when to do it. When my confidence is strong enough it won’t matter the outcome, I’ll believe I’m right regardless.

I predict solutions to future lack of confidence before it becomes a present threat. I see that projection of confidence as a useful tool in the present to offset my doubt about the future.

Problem-solving, making predictions, and exercising the lack cycle represent one method of expressing separation from wholeness.

This raises a question – Is there another way to perceive lack? And raises an awareness – Maybe it’s not a problem, it’s a feature!

Permanence and My Need for Security

From ancient monuments to the golden record on the Voyager probe, mankind has sought to create a permanent record of itself. In my limited awareness bubble, I feel a need for permanence for those things I like (me, my immediate family, my dear friends, etc.). I’m maybe not as hot about permanence for things I don’t like.

Perpetual motion machines, age regression creams, life extension products, immortality – all attempts at providing evidence of a magical elixir called permanence. And yet, we know permanence is impossible. Nothing can remain unchanged indefinitely.

Change vs Permanence

I feel I can’t change that which I believe is unchangeable. That sense of endless invariability can make me feel as insecure as that which changes in an inconsistent way. Maybe I need some change and some permanence.

Perhaps my sense of rightness arises from my need to feel secure. When I make a prediction, I may feel right about my understanding when a result occurs that I feel defends the prediction. This builds a sense of dependence upon my understandings. What I depend on, I defend as truth. Thus, and in many other ways, I seek to make my truth the truth – a permanent feature of the universe. As a result, I feel more secure.

For example, I depend upon the sun. I feel secure knowing the sun will rise in the morning. It’s also proof that I survived the night. That sense of rightness about the sun’s cycle may give me a sense of permanence to something I depend on. Since I feel a need to survive, my predictions about the cycles of the sun can give me a sense of security.

Thus, I derive a sense of:
Predictability <=> Rightness <=> Security <=> Permanence

Defense of my sense of rightness may be based on my need for security. In search of something I can count on, rightness seems to fill the bill. At some level of rightness, certainty satisfies my need for security. Certainty can feel like without being permanence, which may explain why I tend to prefer it over doubt. And yet, doubt may be the doorway to real understanding.

The OR Framed Choice

Consider choice in two frame perspectives: OR, AND. In the OR frame, every choice is this OR that. In the AND frame, every choice is this AND that, which is not as much a choice as it is an acknowledgement of connection.

What if the OR choice isn’t really a choice? What if an OR choice is an expression of being in terms of justifications? Perhaps an OR choice is actually a defense.

OR Separates while AND Connects

In limited awareness, when I can only choose one thing OR another, the limitation sets up a “correct” answer – a “should.” It may also set up a “can’t” condition – “you can’t do that,” “you can’t have that,” “you can’t be that,” and etc. This boundary defends separation and limits awareness.

No matter how free I think my OR choice is, the limitation it imposes can only be defined as defense of separation.

That limits my ability to experience outside my limited awareness. The very choice to expand awareness outside the bubble is limited when I frame it in “you can remain inside the bubble OR extend yourself outside it…” The AND frame includes whereas the OR frame excludes.

Does choice appear within an AND frame that includes an OR frame?

Expanding Limitation

In most choices, there are nuances, grey areas of consideration. The appearance of a choice-point may be a confluence between awareness of separation and wholeness.

Particularly in the case of “only this OR only that,” I’m defending a separation against the wholeness of “this AND that.” This kind of “up against the wall” type choice tends to result in combat.

Adding some AND into an OR framed choice tends to introduce tolerance, cooperation, affection, and allowance.

For example, when I look at a glass of water and ask, “Is the glass half full or half empty,” I exclude other options. Perhaps the glass is completely full – of water and air. I might also consider the glass completely empty of, say, diamonds.

The OR frame alone tends to further limit limited awareness. Adding to considerations with “and” and/or “else” may offer expanded awareness and less defense.

Certainty as A Mental Shortcut in Limited Awareness

Because of certainty, I feel I can predict my experiences. The more certain I feel about who I am, the more confident I feel in predicting who I will be. Certainty is a sense of knowing so strong, I won’t question it. That makes certainty a top-flight mental defense against change – and an energy saving shortcut.

Mental Shortcuts

In my perceptual bubble of limited awareness, some aspect of me believes I am limited. Because I believe in limitation, I have needs. I perceive those needs as problems requiring my attention to solve. Movement of attention from problem-solution-problem-solution results in experiences of defending my life. Need fulfillment appears as living life. Life must be defended to be lived.

This belief in limitation causes me to seek out ways to best use the finite resources I believe I have to survive and thrive. This results in the use of shortcuts to conserve life-force energy.

Mental shortcuts are rule-of-thumb strategies that help me use less mental effort to solve problems. This is especially important in need fulfillment – where I need every ounce of limited energy in order to live. Instinct is an example of a mental shortcut because we expend so little mental energy before initiating an instinctive behavior. This helps us use the least energy to survive.

That because, in certainty, I assume I already have sufficient information about how to accomplish need fulfillment. This assumption is perceived as quicker and more efficient because it bypasses the questions, research, or more attention that involves more time and effort.

This shortcut appears in unquestionable knowings like assumptions and biases. For the most part, I’m unaware of these. Like instinct, I act on my previously programmed thought process!

I become dependent upon mental concepts I feel certain of. I invest trust in them and, so may become more defensive of them. In my certainty, I may even assume I’ve not made the presumption of truth. Instead, I’m defending what I know is right! Done!

Up and Downsides

The downside to shortcuts is the manifestation of artifacts that appear as thinking and perceptual errors. Built-in mistake maker – and defender!

I use a forced perspective to interpret feedback to fit my assumptions, which I then defend as truths. Thus, I am able to achieve a kind of self-convinced ability to accurately predict my experiences. And block out anything else.

With focused practice and disciplined choices, my mind can build enough trust to predict my life with absolute certainty. That fulfills my need to be right – successful at survival.

And SO…

Unlimited consciousness in limited awareness sets up a bubble of defense in order to experience a sense of separation it cannot be. More defense further limits awareness. Thus, increasing the sense of separation. Certainty, therefore, serves unlimited consciousness by limiting awareness to provide a sense of separation.

Surprise! We’re competing and defending on purpose! I’m certain of it!

Resources:

Kendra Cherry, MS. Heuristics and Cognitive Biases. Verywellmind.com. Updated Nov 13, 2018.