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.”

Exploring the Matrix of the AHA ZONE

Exploring the matrix helps me understand it. By studying my bubble of limited awareness, it becomes a proverbial tool in my hand to investigate “Why?” Why the bubble, why limited awareness, why and why not?

This has led me to ask, “What, how, and why else?”

Perhaps the answer to all my questions lies in between the asking and the answering. Could this be where limited awareness is seeking resolution? A trip from nowhere to nowhere that I experience as reality?

Might recognition and appreciation of this instant of no-where-ness and no-when-ness, result in an incredible sense of gratitude and bliss? Could this be the fabled gateway to what lies beyond imagining, beyond questioning, beyond reality as I know it?

It’s All About Awareness!

Due to the limiting effect of separation, I can attend to only one mind at a time. Each mind competes for my attention.

Conscious thought promotes recognition of a paradoxical relationship between confusion and inquiry. Awareness promotes inquiry that promotes awareness. Awareness and inquiry are mutually supportive of an environment conducive to conscious choice. This awareness, in turn, affects the perceptual dynamic of fear in which I associate psychological change with physical threat.

That consciousness affects the way the mind interacts with its physical environment. This took the mind from fear and pain to questioning its reality. “In the past, I acted like this and failed. How else might I act instead?” That kind of inquiry spurred greater use of imagination. And exploration!

In ancient times, change was slow, painful, and in-your-face personal. Today, I can affect and accept change in an instant of Aha!

Breaking Out of Instinct

One evolutionary step in the direction of a new awareness was the recognition of symbolism. Someone realized that the world they perceived was more than it appeared.

Just as the mirror image is not the one it reflects. Those who drew animals on cave walls understood that the drawings were not the literal animals they drew. They applied an esoteric meaning that transcended literal interpretation.

A human broke the old instinctive patterns of interpretation by asking a question. They may have thought, “Wait just a second! What does this mean?” The Aha Zone is in that “instant” when we consider a meaningful question.

Today, I continue this tradition when I seek meaning in my life.

In each generation, one seems to appear to challenge the status quo – prompting all of us to explore beyond. That required an element of risk and some courage. Some of those folks in my past risked being barbequed for their disruptive ideas.

Over time, the concept of pain has shifted. I see pain as evidence of change. Because I expect change, I find pain much less frightening. Because change is inevitable, I can embrace the pain – and celebrate it as I adapt to the change.

Constant inquiry is the Aha Zone at work.

Some years ago, I listened to Fritjof Capra in which he stated that matter only appears to exist. That it is actually not material at all – instead, matter is made up of probability patterns.

Later, I heard that the closer to the speed of light one travels, the slower time passes. As an observer, I’d see light travel at about 186,000 miles per hour. If I were a tiny particle sitting on the photon I’d observed from a distance, I would experience no passage of time. I would literally arrive at my destination in the instant I left. The photon experiences no time passing. No concept of time as the observer reckons.

In other words, time and space do not exist as I reckon them.

Imagine that – having an experience of time and space where neither exists. What?!! How is that possible? It’s a paradox!

In order to experience, one must take themselves out of the flow of acceptance, investment, and defense… and into… the Aha Zone!

“What else…?” drives me forward, giving me the experience of change. I am cause, all I experience is effect. I experience time and space because I am change. Everything I experience expresses who I am. I am and I am not my experiences. Like the map is not the territory it represents, I am not reducible to an experience. It’s all figurative!

What does that mean? Well, then, maybe that is the ultimate question, “What is consciousness?” What gives me the capacity to have an experience of separation within wholeness? How am I the creator of my experience of life?

Occasionally, these questions flash a light into infinity – the Aha Zone.

What does this mean?

Instinct and the Antelope-Cheetah Question

In instinct, I don’t question, I simply follow the program. I see this process in automatic responses like reflexes – gut reactions in which I simply do without thinking. As a human, I have the capacity to exceed this instinctive level of living through learning. When I recognize instinctive behavior, I can question the unquestioned.

What if evolution is the result of questioning?

Things tend to remain as they are until something changes. Change can be initiated by a question – “Why must I continue doing what I’ve always done?”

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” (Rita Mae Brown, in her 1983 book, “Sudden Death“)

One example is the relationship between the antelope and the cheetah. When the antelope perceives the cheetah running toward him, he instinctively jumps into flight. He doesn’t question his actions, he just does them.

What if he were to initiate a new response? What would happen were he to instead of running away, start running toward the cheetah. The cheetah’s slender physique is no match for the horns of the antelope. And yet, the antelope never once considers this possibility – it’s an antelope and antelopes run from cheetahs. It’s a formula!

Occasionally, I’m faced with the cheetah. My instinct is to fly away as quickly as I can to return to my safety zone. It takes time I don’t think I have to investigate options by asking questions. And, like the antelope, I might get eaten as a result! It’s a formula!

Risking Advantage?

Adding a questioning program offers the individual an option to improve upon instinct – possibly adding an advantage. There’s a risk involved in this process. For example, the ovum will remain a single cell until it questions its singular status by opening its membrane to another. It risks losing integrity of its membrane while offering an opportunity for something else to develop. This is repeated at the crisis point we call birth where we challenge our safety to experience what is beyond.

What might happen when I apply a questioning method to all my learning – including questioning? That is, questioning that which I feel I know. Questioning the questioner! Might this open a new understanding about my limitations?

When was the last time you questioned an instinctive response – like a fear or pain response? For example, when your body winced in pain, did you ask in your mind, “What does this pain mean?” “How does this represent who I am?” “Why this pain in this location in my body?”

What if I questioned my attitudes? Moods? Judgments?

Tools that Serve My Intention

With intention come the tools to achieve it. Without awareness of a means to achieve fulfillment, intention would be an endless unfulfillable experience.

Intention Tools

I use tools to serve my intention to be whole. These are based on body and mind working together to achieve intended outcomes to serve the cause of need and its effect on fulfillment of this intention:

  • Purpose provides motivation to a cause with a specific effect.

    1. What specific form does my tool take? Ex: My body and my mind in its form and thought capabilities provide a means for carrying out the need of my intention.
    2. How do I use this tool? Ex: The actions of my body and the thoughts of my mind work to achieve specific goals for my intention.
    3. Why do I use this tool? Ex: My logic supports my life story.
    4. Who am I as a result of using this tool? Ex: My identity, symbolically represents my cause to serve.
  • Certitude – provides conviction to my purpose. An imagined ability to see, envision cause and effect within a scope of my direction.

    1. What specific form does this tool take? Ex: Generational beliefs and philosophies.
    2. How do I use this tool? Ex: Experience and acceptance from others.
    3. Why do I use this tool? Ex: My reasons based on principles and perceptions
    4. Who am I as a result of using this tool? Ex: relational perspective of self and use of imagination.
  • Predictability – provides an advantage of pattern-recognition in cause-effect relationships. Makes things possible through trust.

    1. What specific form does this tool take? Ex: Comparing and assigning values based on usefulness to me; relating certain types of patterns with success.
    2. How do I use this tool? Ex: Habitual behavior and attitudes depend on the continuous search for patterns I trust.
    3. Why do I use this tool? Ex: Prediction algorithms save me energy and time.
    4. Who am I as a result of using this tool? Ex: My ability to maintain patterned beliefs and ritual behavior symbolizes success through prejudiced predictability – a sense of rightness. Result: I feel successful, therefore, I’m validated.
  • Justification – provides reason and logic to a storyline that defends a perspective.

    1. What specific form does this tool take? Ex: If this/then that thinking creates equations from a closed perspective -> you hurt my feelings = you don’t care about me.
    2. How do I use this tool? Ex: I’ve created an imaginary world of reasonings designed to escape pain and convince me and others I’m right. I justify my perceptions in order to prove my intention and purpose.
    3. Why do I use this tool? Ex: Convincing is more important to me than the truth.
    4. Who am I as a result of using this tool? Ex: I take on a persona tailored to justify blocking interdependence and connection, “I’m right and you’re wrong!”

As I become aware of my intention to be whole, I apply different tools that work to fulfill the implied needs. In the process of fulfillment, I have an experience I call my life.

My Matrix of Defense

In my limited state of awareness, I perceive only as much as I have to in order to have an experience of reality. That reality is a figment of my imagination – the result of defending an intention to exist.

My body represents a metaphor that explains this phenomenon. My body is made up of interacting, interdependent systems – like circulatory, nervous, and endocrine. Each operates in the realm of the others and yet is independent insofar as classification. Yet, no system operates independently of all the others. It’s a 3D matrix of interdependence that defends my belief in its reality.

Think of the game, chess, in which a 2D game board adds a third dimension with the game pieces. It then adds a 4th dimension in time – how long it takes to play the game. And then more dimensions when we add gameplay, strategy, and etc. Each dimension interacting with the others to produce an experience I enjoy.

I tend to think of my life’s purpose and the investments I place on it in two dimensions – cause and effect. This duality model limits my thinking – like thinking the chess board is the chess game. Until I realize there is a game to play on the board, my perception of the board as the entire game suits me fine.

What if I consider life in terms of concepts in more dimensions than the 2 in cause and effect? What if I consider causes and effects interacting in an interdependent 3D matrix – like my body?

Let’s consider concepts that transcend 2D thinking. By 2D, I mean like words on a page or a chess board. Let’s think in terms of a medium like water that fills a 3D space.

My experience of life is a 3D matrix of defense that appears to me as reality. Laws like gravity and core belief contain my matrix. I pour the liquid that represents my life into the container.

In my basic 2D chessboard defense matrix, I consider concepts of What, How, Why, and Who to define my perceptions. These make up the checkerboard pattern of a 2D chessboard.

In a 3D matrix, I see What, How, Why, and Who in each of my 2D concepts of the same. That is, for each concept of What, I experience What, How, Why, and Who. The same repeats for my concept of How, Why, and Who. 2D thinking considers each What, How, Why, and Who in sequence and in isolation.

3D and beyond thinking considers all aspects in relation to all other aspects in a multi-dimensional matrix. This multiplies by orders of magnitude the number of possible perceptions for each cause-effect relationship. Thus, even in my limited awareness, I experience a massive array of physical, emotional, mental, and beyond.

Imagination multiplies the effect even further – adding phantom dimensions to the matrix of dimensions. To the degree I’m convinced that an imaginary dimension is a true dimension, I add a dimension to the matrix.

All this to invest in defense of an overall purpose to defend and protect core beliefs that are themselves defenses. In this multi-dimensional matrix, I may never realize the “I” behind it all. Why? Because to expose that “I” will reveal “I” as a defense. Why? Because there is no “I”.

Thus, no matter how much I invest in discovery of my life’s purpose, I’ll find only defense.

Investment may be the amount of liquid attention I draw from the pool of purpose in order to experience something – like my life. Thus, purpose acts as my investment in proving my existence.