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.

The Domestication of My Ego – Part 2

In my bubble of limited awareness, I see survival as a set of unquestionable needs that must be filled. Rigid adherence to this program of need-fulfillment is what I call self-domestication.

Let’s investigate three aspects of domestication and apply them to ego.

  1. A sense of survival (needs)
  2. A sense of relationship
  3. An understanding of self in relationship

Sense of Survival

Defense is a survival program that domesticates my thoughts and behaviors. When I domesticate, I trade one understanding of how to survive for another. Thus, I adapt to a new intention.

In the case of dependence, the survival program is master over me. I domesticate to that understanding by defending it. In that understanding and defense, I am not in charge of my life – that domesticator is. That domesticator is not a person, place, or thing. It is my dependence on it! Even when the domesticator proves to be me!

Because survival has a very narrow understanding, I must seek resources to help me live and escape predation. My survival program knows nothing of options or choices because it’s strictly controlled. My mind adds versatility to consider options.

Sense of Relationship

Perhaps domestication is adaptation to the power structure in a relationship matrix of which I and others are served. In the case of a pet, for example, this power structure is represented in the difference between master and pet. This structure appears in families in the power difference between generations, and, to some degree between domestic partners. To the degree one adapts to power structures, one exhibits domestication.

In the process of domesticating animals, man and animal live by the same process of give and take to create a mutually beneficial relationship. I can do the same with my mind by accepting a different relationship with my ego. Thus, a new way emerges.

Understanding of Self in Relationship

When the ego is in charge, we both feel afraid. When the conscious mind is in charge, everyone feels more secure. Out of that relationship emerges selfless service.

Understanding the power structure of mind in relationship with ego is the beginning of realization and exercise of compassion.

The more I learn about my world, the more I am able to “know myself” as the ancient Greeks admonished us. The more I know myself, the more I am able to exercise compassion. It’s a positive feedback loop that acknowledges ego in the process of knowing self. This can free the mind from its shackles – bringing all aspects of creation into the light of compassion.

What if compassion is the goal of the game of life?

When I distrust my ego – “it’s something I have to overcome” – what am I saying to an aspect of me? What would a new relationship look like with my ego? How might I connect to my ego with gratitude, affection, and respect?

What if I were to consider my ego in a loving relationship with me – like I would a loved pet or companion?

  • What do my ego and I want/need/intend?
  • How can I relate to my ego in a way that honors it?
  • Why do I want a relationship with my ego?
  • Who am I with my ego?

“I train humans, and rehabilitate dogs.” (Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer)

What if I were to adapt Cesar’s quote to:

“As I awaken my conscious mind, I rehabilitate my ego.”

The Domestication of My Ego – Part 1

Understanding Ego as a Bubble of Limited Awareness

According to Freud, ego is that aspect of mind that “mediates between the conscious and the unconscious and is responsible for reality testing and a sense of personal identity.” (Oxford Dictionary – Ego) Although somewhat vague and esoteric, that definition appears to give my ego a position of power we might challenge.

Just to refresh, that level of awareness Freud called ego is “characterized by comparisons, competition, judgments, defense, blame, and perception of limited resources external to self. Survival-consciousness based on instinct.” (Aha Zone Glossary – Bubble Awareness)

The source of all that “bad juju” – judgments, blame, etc. – can’t be anything but bad, right? A demon! In ME!!!

From the Aha Zone perspective, “ego” appears as a limited conscious experience of life. From that perspective, it’s the originator of a person’s sense of self-esteem,self-importance, and self-worth. There’s some value in that which is useful to that part of me that needs to earn wholeness through value. Maybe it is the good guy!

In the Aha Zone, we define ego as that aspect of mind that views itself as separate from the whole. Through parlor tricks of smoke and mirrors, it seeks to convince the whole of mind that its sensual, emotional, and mental illusions are real. Thus, it supports and defends perception of separation as real and requiring attention.

The paradox is that the ego is, itself, unreal – an artifact of limited awareness. So, why the deception?

Defense is Everything and Nothing

Although I have a tendency to demonize ego – for example, “that’s just ego talking” – that’s just ego talking. The aspect of mind that seeks to convince my entire mind that its perception is the right/only perception, is neither demon nor angel. Instead, one might consider that aspect of mind as simply “busy” at its job. That job is to convince me that I am separate from that which I perceive. It’s an aspect of mind that gets a LOT of practice in my bubble of limited awareness!

Through a process of defense, wholeness experiences limitation while remaining whole. A sense of “separate me” defends itself against perceived threats to its separation. It confirms this sense by defending itself against everything outside itself. Thus, “I” interact with an illusory outside reality that appears to confirm my belief in its separate status. I am separate from my environment because it is separate from me. A self-referential logic error that results in an experience of limited awareness in an infinite sea of awareness.

The Power of Ego

Where does that illusory imagery come from? Evolutionary instinct? Learned behaviors? Chemical interactions in body-mind? Or could it simply be the result of intention? That intention of the whole to experience limitation.

In wholeness is ALL. And, to paraphrase Syndrome, the villain in the first The Incredibles movie, “When everyone’s whole, no one is.” What’s the fun in that?!

Maybe an infinite “I” wants to experience what it’s like to “be” limited. What if the intention of an infinitely powerful me is to experience something finite. To do that without actually being finite would require a device of some sort. That device would have to be “make believe”. Hmm, sounds a lot like ego to me.