Agreement, Problem Solving, and My Life Story

My first engagement into my life – my life story – is to see a problem that needs a solution. Problem solving orders chaos into meaningful equations, like cause->effect, entropy->order, separation->wholeness, etc.

Imagine a perfect world and that you know how that perfection should appear. Now, compare that perfect world to the one you’re experiencing. That is the world of should – a problem  needing a solution, a story of comparisons to an imagined standard of perfection. Why does my world differ from the standard of perfection? Is that difference a problem that can be solved? As long as I view it as a problem, I’m driven to solve it – by living it!

Houston, We Have a Problem-Solving Problem!

To solve the problem of the should world, I link problems I create with solutions I create. This creates a coherent story that seeks to solve the why problem – why am I conscious?

Is my life story an awareness of what my Dad used to call, “one damn problem after another?”

Houston: Agreed! You Have a Problem!

Agreement is one tool I use to solve the problems inherent in my imagined world. Basically, an agreement works for me when it satisfies my need to be right. To fit agreement into my world of perfection, I standardize it!

A standard of agreement determines social understanding that makes judgments acceptable to those that agree. Agreement amplifies my trust in the perfection I’ve imagined. This builds a perception of trustworthiness into a social structure as a sense of predictability. I believe my perceptions are real because I can make and prove predictions.

Who I believe I am is the result of identifying with judgments supported by agreements. This is how I view myself as my job, my community, and my level of agreement. “I am a doctor, an American, the president of my organization” for example.

Agreement seeks to solve a fundamental problem of reality – Who am I?

Does My Life Journey Answer the Question, “Who Am I?”

In achievement of goals, the process one undertakes is important as it contains the action that results in the achievement. The voyage contains essential information about and for the one who takes it. Perhaps the journey defines the traveler as much as the traveler defines the journey. What if my bubble of limited awareness is a symbolic story of identity?

In the Hero’s Journey story format the hero doesn’t go from zero to hero in an instant. S/he becomes a hero in a process that progresses from resisting to embracing.

The hero starts out unaware of their hero status. Through the journey of awakening, the hero becomes aware of that which was always there – their “hidden” identity. The quest culminates in their embrace of that identity. The supposition is that they will continue on as a hero.

Life As A Journey

Perhaps life is about living the journey rather than arriving at the destination. I might consider my life as a story that started in conception, through birth, to a destination that must be death. That makes my hero’s passage from birth to death a series of mini-journeys of beginnings and destinations. A story that culminates in embracing an awareness of a new me awakening, while laying to rest old misunderstanding. Self in a return to wholeness.

Maybe my resistance to the journey provides me with the experience of it. In that case, I wonder if death simply represents my letting go of the need for an identity – played out in my story.

My journey of life seems to remind me regularly to focus on my purpose as well as my process of living it. This invokes a “why” question: Why am I who I am? The answer may help me recover hidden motives and understand my original intention for the journey.

I follow a process I’ve been building as my truth from before birth. That process is inspired by a purpose, one that sustains my enthusiasm for the journey and my process. In this regard, my life is self-sustaining.

Maybe it’s not about changing the “wrong way” I’ve been doing life to the “right way.” Maybe it’s about becoming aware of why I’ve been doing what I’ve been doing and who I’ve been doing it for, rather than how I’ve been doing it. With gratitude and attention, there’s no need to fix the journey, just flow with it.

Right now, I’m doing what I do to experience gratefully what I’m experiencing. Living is the expression of that gratitude. That’s a gift!

“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…?”

The First Cause

Perhaps intention is a fundamental characteristic of consciousness and the first cause from which experience arises.

An intention is an awareness of separation from wholeness – “me” consciousness. The first intention I’m aware of is to be whole. This results in an awareness of lack. Thus, I generate intentions that limit awareness and codify them in instinct to support that first intention.

In limited awareness, intentions appear as problems seeking solutions.

Any intention includes consideration of one or more means to achieve its end. This acknowledges and defends a sense of separation and lack in the present moment.

Achievement of an intention ends that intention. Because of the underlying sense of lack, the end of one intention is part of another. This movement from intention to intention generates a sense of living moment-to-moment. Time reckoning.

The First Cause

My first cause is to live at the expense of my environment. Because I perceive myself as a separate being who must fight to survive, I experience this adversarial relationship with my environment.

Because I believe I own my own experience of living, I feel a need to protect it from the ever-present threat of lack. Therefore, I feel I must fight to achieve against the tsunami of lack waging war against me.

What if I question my causal intention to be whole? Might I expose an underlying paradox in which I apply a problem as a solution?

  • What does my intention to be whole presuppose? (lack!)
  • How am I satisfying that intention? (limited awareness!)
  • Why do I have this intention? (to experience limiting awareness!)
  • Who am I as a result of my intention? (fearful and defensive!)

My default is to believe I must fight and defend to achieve wholeness. How do I achieve wholeness without fighting for it? Maybe an investigation of my first cause is in order?

What if seeing my life as a problem to be solved is itself a problem to solve – that cannot be solved by solving the problem! I can’t solve a problem using the strategy that created the problem.

As long as I perceive my life as a problem, I can’t solve it!

What might happen when I stop the fight by releasing the sense of debt inherent in the first cause. That release might appear like surrender of the fear of death.

What might happen to me when I release my fear of death? Might I then realize the wholeness I already am and transition out of my bubble of limited awareness?

What if the solution to the problem I perceive is the realization that there never was a problem to solve? Perhaps the first cause is false.

Permanence, Relativity, and Change

Relativity, Change, and Permanence

Permanence is relative to the perspective of the one perceiving it. For example, I perceive the sun and earth as permanent. I expect the earth to continue to rotate in its day-night cycle indefinitely. Yet, I also know that the sun and earth did not always have that relationship. At one point in time, neither existed as I know them now. Their relationship only appears permanent because I’m comparing it to my lifetime. It’s relative!

Likewise, the permanence of truth is relative to the one perceiving it. My truth appears permanent to me when I hold onto it long enough.

Change, on the other hand, is a permanent condition. Everything in the universe is in a state of change. That because everything moves in relation to everything else.

My perspective has a frame of reference I perceive as permanent truth. Certainty represents my commitment to that truth in this framework of reality. Defense of that perspective focuses attention that eliminates all other possible realities. Life OR death. That’s quite a limitation!

Questioning Myself

Nature presents me feedback about my relationships with myself. That feedback gives me an opportunity to experience myself in ever-changing ways. Without a clear understanding of how to interpret those opportunities, I may miss out on some insightful perspectives.

Limited by faulty reasoning and minimal awareness, even the best self-inquiry questions will tend to build false equations from my imagination – like assumptions. For example, “If this, then that.”

Defense represents the value I place on myself. When I challenge a defense, I’m challenging my own value. I’m also challenging the value of my certitude – and my idea of permanence. Questions may help me shake loose the stuck permanent-truth frame.

To investigate myself, I may want to start with letting go of false equations by questioning assumptions.

  • Who am I if not who I appear? (clue: listen to feedback from “others” – especially those you resist)
  • Why do I care about appearances? (clue: probably not what you think)
  • How do I feel and behave about who I am? (clue: check in with the body first. Emotion will more likely invoke mental defense rather than insight)
  • What do my senses tell me about who I am? (clue: report it out loud to yourself for a cool effect)