It’s a Question of Paradoxical Policies on Automatic

In his entertaining skits, David Alan Grier’s character, Calhoun Tubbs, has a song ready for every occasion. No matter how inappropriate the situation or his application of song he wrote. He thus presents a question of paradoxical policies on automatic.

“Wrote a song about it! Like to hear it? Here it go!”
(David Alan Grier as Calhoun Tubbs, In Living Color)

Most of my personal policies are so automatic and happen so quickly, I fail to notice them in action. That is, until I question one by paying it some attention. For example, I DIDN’T NOTICE that while sitting at my desk typing this, my breathing was shallow. That is, until I NOTICED! Then, suddenly, my breathing changed. BY NOTICING, I turned an unconscious automatic conditional policy into a conscious strategy that resulted in a different outcome.

A Question of Awareness

In every conditional policy, there is an inherent question:
“Is my perception of the situation true?” Or, more succinctly, “Is it true?”

In order to NOTICE, I must QUESTION an assumption – that I perceive the situation correctly. In order to QUESTION its accuracy, I must NOTICE my perception of a situation or condition. Thus, it would seem, awareness and questioning go hand-in-hand.

My conscious awareness tends to focus mostly on outcomes. That is, did my process result as I intended? The answer to that question supplies the trigger for the next policy –

  • Yes, it worked! So, initiate a policy to –
    • Strengthen the policy through favor
    • Use the policy again
    • Increase trust in the policy
  • No, it didn’t work. So, initiate one or more of the following policies –
    • Scapegoat!
    • Blame!
    • Escape detection!
    • Deflection!
    • Confusion!
    • Reevaluate my procedures (how I carried out the policy).

Note the avoidance of a policy to –

  • Question my policy.
  • Reevaluate my philosophy.
  • Question my beliefs.
  • Take accountability.

Four Questions!

Something happened and I reacted. I might ask 4 questions that may lead me to some awareness. I might ask myself as soon as I regain my thinking capacity, “What happened and what did I do?” Then –

  1. WHAT ACTUALLY happened? (Was the situation true as I perceived it? Yes or No? Assumption: No!)
  2. Assuming my incorrect perception, how would I react/behave given what ACTUALLY happened? “Apply a new policy!”
  3. Why would I do something different given what ACTUALLY happened?
  4. Who is perceiving what ACTUALLY happened?

The same set of questions could be used to deescalate a threatening situation –

  1. WHAT is ACTUALLY happening? (What is the current situation?)
  2. HOW does the ACTUAL situation appear to me? (Inventory your sensory feedback – not your emotions!)
    1. What do I see – right now?
    2. What do I hear – right now?
    3. Where do I feel it in my body – right now?
    4. What do I taste – right now?
    5. What do I smell – right now?
  3. WHY would I assign [a negative emotion like fear] to this ACTUAL situation? (new answer: “I wouldn’t!”)
  4. WHO is in charge of my perception of this situation? (the answer to that is – “I’m the one who’s perceiving this.”)
  5. WHO’S the policy maker?” (the answer is – “me.”)
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My Life Philosophy as a Story

Overall, one experiences their life philosophy in a series of policies carried out over time. Like a story read one word at a time, I perceive my life as I would the story of a hero’s journey.

In visual perception, I feel I have clarity only on that to which I’m attending right now. The future and past are vague visions of what lay beyond a certain point of clarity I call NOW. I can only make clear that which I focus on now – all else is vague.

I’ve been writing and reading my story to this point. I’ve written and read some of it. I’m writing and reading it now. And, based on what I’ve read so far, I can imagine where the story will go in a vague future, though with a sense of certainty because I’m imagining it in what I read now.

I imagine past words must support the current words by supplying a vague sense of premise, motive, background, and direction. I imagine future words must support the current words by supplying perceptions of danger, anticipation, and anxiety. As the vague past meets the vague future in the clarity of now, I get a paradox in the confluence – like reading through turbulent water.

Back to my story!

There may be plot twists like those I’ve already read that give the future some interest to me and so I read on. How exciting! So interesting I can’t lay the book down! My curiosity drives me onward – to learn what happens to the protagonist (me) as he deals with all the antagonists along his way. Because I care, I want my hero to succeed in his quest. With dangers laying along the path, opportunities for interesting plot twists abound.

Every element of my story must fit within certain parameters. Every element must:

  • Obey the setting of the story. These are the basic laws and conditions under which every element of the story must work.
  • Cause and effect must be observed. I must account for every situation with a reason, logic, or feeling.
  • As the protagonist, I and those I care about must win in the end.

A good storyteller is one that during and after reading, I want to read more. Perhaps this explains depression in which the story begins to lose the interest of the reader. Maybe it’s just then that a surprise plot twist might rekindle that interest.

The reason a plot twist engages the reader is because s/he didn’t see it coming. Surprise! When I feel depressed, I let my mind wonder to, “What might happen next? I hope it’s delicious!”, and, “Something amazing is about to happen!” I can’t wait to read on!!!

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My Music Calls Me Home

Ever listened to a piece of music and felt tears welling up? I hope you have – it’s a marvelous feeling. I’ve wondered if my reaction to such music connects “me” to a familiar timelessness from which we all spring. I wonder if such music is a call to come home – to our hearts.

C’mon Home

When I was a child, my mother would call out my name when it was time for me to come in to lunch or dinner. Her voice represented the mystical mother and son reunion of my ancient origin – home. Even today, I love to hear her voice – music to my heart.

Like many fellow humans, I feel a certain loyalty to family, town, and country. I’ve associated my name with these. Wherever I am in the world, I carry these identity markers with me.

Wherever I find myself in time, I carry a unique pattern of musical markers. These identify my particular song in the timelessness from which my consciousness arises.

My Musical Home

In my bubble of limited awareness, I find it easy to get caught up in the business of comparing, competing, and defending the right. I can sometimes get busy doing – so many projects, so many jobs, so many thoughts to consider.

Sometimes all this work gets tiring and I find myself wanting a break from it – a longing for home. One of my favorite methods for dealing with the loneliness is to indulge myself with music that inspires me to remember who I am.

Sometimes, the music calls me to trust my heart to take me where it will. I may then find myself deep in meditation that fills my gratitude pool to the point where it begins to spill over, cascading welcome-home tears down my face. Even when I’m far away in thought, the music brings me back to my heart.

Gratitude is my home.

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Beating Fear with Math (pt 1)

Something is about to happen. I feel afraid of what might happen. My fear narrows my attention to ONLY a tiny subset of all outcomes – only those I can live with – maybe only one. My fear has decreased the odds of an acceptable outcome and increased the odds of an unacceptable outcome. Why? Is my fear that powerful that it can change outcomes? Maybe. Or maybe it’s just a simple bit of sets math.

Mathematics of Fear

Before something happens, all that can possibly happen make up the “all-outcomes” set. Once something happens, all possible happenings collapse into one happening – the “selection” set of happenings. Within all outcomes is THE outcome – that is, the selection set is part of the all-outcomes set. Once I select something, the section set becomes the all-outcomes set. Once something happens, it is all that could happen.

Think of it like the lottery in which only one series of numbers will result in a cash payout to ONE lucky winner. At the start of the lottery game all tickets have equal odds of winning – the winning ticket is in the all-outcomes set. The winning ticket is also in the selection set – the set of tickets that makes up those that will get selected as the winner.

The instant the winning ticket is announced, the all-outcomes set collapses into the selection set and millions of “unlucky losers” realize they didn’t win the big prize while one lucky winner realizes a fortune.

Winners and Losers

In a lottery, the odds hugely favor losing. That’s because of the outcome-narrowing effect imposed on the all-outcomes set by a small selection set. The smaller the selection set, the greater the prize for winning – at incredible odds – and the greater the motivation to play regardless of the odds. The larger the selection set, the greater the odds of winning – though a smaller prize – and less motivation to play. Like the difference between playing the lottery and investing in a savings bond.

A few years ago, a group of people figured out a way to “game the system.” They bought ALL but a tiny fraction of the tickets in a State lottery. They realized a significant return on their investment when one of those tickets won the jackpot. They shared the pot with all investors in the scheme. They’d flipped the odds into their favor by grossly expanding the selection set to nearly the size of the all-outcomes set. They’d turned a gamble into an investment in which many people realized a smaller win while fewer people realized a smaller loss.

How might I apply this concept to beating my fears? That’s the subject of our next article.

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Who’s Reading My Story?

Endless Attention

Within my bubble, my attention is held tightly to what validates my personal identity, my precious premise – my truth. My attention gives value to my story, which is based on my premise. That premise is – I must succeed by EARNING wholeness through righteous endeavor. I must HAVE something to DO something to BE something.

I fight for and defend anything that validates the usefulness of my cause in gaining wholeness. The cause inspires me to write on the pages of my memory the nobleness, the purity of purpose, and the rightness of reason of that cause. No story of heroism can surpass the glorious adulation one feels in pursuit of the greatest cause of all – the quest for wholeness. I use this sales pitch to convince myself to keep going.

Because I’ve bought my sales pitch, my choice-supportive bias kicks in to justify my purchase. My confirmation bias confirms and supports my justification.

Whatever threatens and/or validates my sacred cause gets the full attention of my biases. I’m now becoming aware of the demand for constant alertness and defense my story places on my attention and awareness. I’ve developed such strong patterns of judging, analyzing, and proving the rightness of my premise, that I don’t have a life for anything else.

The author has become the story.

Sometimes, when I’m able to sneak in a controversial thought like, “I wonder if I’m right about this!” I feel there might just be another way to see my questionable premise.

Questioning My Premise

I fear, and so defend against, learning I’m wrong. This fear binds me to my belief in unwholeness. Thus, I feel I must forever pursue my premise.

The book is not the story nor its author. The book can only be a book, the story can only be a story, while the author IS all of these and more. I’m not only the bubble I perceive I’m in. I am not only the limitation I perceive controls my experience. As the author of my story, I am all of these and more.

I’m Also The One Reading My Story!

I’ve enjoyed reading many books including those written by J.R.R. Tolkien. I wished I had had him here with me to answer my endless questions that left me wondering what he meant and imagining what I thought he imagined.

Though I can’t ask Tolkien, I can question the author of my story. Funny how seldom I look to the author of my story when I have a question about it. Questioning my questionable premises has lead me to investigate beyond my basal premise.

Who Is Beyond?

Beyond the bubble of limited awareness, my intention is to fully account for my authorship. From this perspective I understand and appreciate all my experiences based on a new premise – I AM whole already. I AM therefore I DO and therefore I HAVE.

This way of thinking opened up my limited awareness bubble and invited my authorship to write my story in a new way.

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