“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!

Fear as Motivation for Consciously Directed Purpose

In my bubble of limited awareness, I’ve defined fear as an unfulfillable need to resist change. That because I add my interpretation of what I think fear should mean. Which is, a negative or unpleasant emotion I associate with what I don’t want. Fear is a feeling that motivates me to act on it. How I act on that feeling is what I interpret as fear – two separate things. Motivation is NOT the action in a consciously directed purpose.

Beyond that limited awareness I can interpret fear as one of many emotions that motivate me towards fulfillment. Since emotions drive my thoughts into action, I can choose to use them productively. Thus, a simple shift in my perspective of fear and can move towards change in powerful and meaningful ways.

When I think of fear as an emotion I can then choose to use it to serve my purposes. I can more easily meet change with confidence. As I let go of my need to resist change, I bring clarity to its benefits. I see change and fear as one and consider its uses as a conscious tool.

Motivation in Conscious Purpose

The body program associates fear from an instinctual perspective of fight, flight, or freeze – each an action. Even when I’m frozen in fear, there’s a strong sense of, “I’ve got to get out of here!” This results in a rush of chemicals I interpret as a feeling of exhilaration – a need for movement. That’s the chemistry of motivation. The question becomes, what do I do with this motivation?

The motivation to flee, fight, or freeze is an expression of feedback to my mind about my perceptions. That’s useful information towards an understanding of self. One such understanding is that of emotion as motivator.

As an emotion, fear bridges thought to action – motivation. What are some ways I can utilize this bridging characteristic of fear to apply conscious purpose to my intentions? Consider:

  • What if that bridge could motivate me to consider other ways to act?
  • Could fear be an agent of change I need for growth towards understanding?
  • Might fear be useful in accomplishing intentions?

I get to choose what to do with the energy of fear. I might go with the default – fight, flight, or freeze. Or, I may choose to direct that energy towards my conscious intentions – purpose!

Who’s Driving this Bus Anyway?

All emotion can be understood as motivation towards action. Key to this understanding is recognition that it’s NOT emotions that drive the directing aspect of thought.

Although fear may be the loudest voice at the table, it is not the only voice. Imagine a board of directors meeting in which the CEO presides. Mr. Fear says, “OMG! We’re going under fast! We have to do something drastic NOW to save the company!” Meanwhile, the other members of the board cannot compete with Mr. Fear’s passion, intensity, and volume level. If the CEO listens only to the loudest voice, what do you think will happen to the company?

The authority we give to fear is our belief that is is powerful enough to make us do what it wants, rather than what we want. However, passion, intensity, and volume are not direction! They are the fuel of motivation.

Fear provides motivation for change, and although it appears to be dictating my actions and thoughts, it does not. In reality, I do the directing. Like my car, the fuel does not provide the direction for the vehicle – the driver does.

Motivation, Considering Fear as a Tool

Fear may have gotten a bad rap in my limited awareness bubble. Consider how I’ve blamed fear for most experiences I’ve deemed negative. Perhaps perception of fear says more about what it represents about me than what it actually is.

Consider that fear is an emotion, and like other emotions, motivates thoughts into action. Fear doesn’t tell me specifically what and how to do things. Rather, the direction thought “chooses” to follow may be strictly determined by set programs. Fear simply serves to move the process along. Could I be using that motivation to validate my interpretations?

Like fire, when fear is recognized as a tool rather than a controller, its use could reveal a significant benefit. At some point in humanity’s distant past somebody realized they could control fire and, so turn a threat into a benefit. At that moment, my ancestors made a significant change to their fear equations regarding fire. They may have changed their entire world when they added fire to their tool set.

Fear as Motivation

Fear can drive personal change. Somebody moved fire from the realm of unconscious fear response to conscious respect for its power. On that day, humans realized they could turn their fear into a tool for conscious use.

Fear can be exhilarating. It can be funny, sublime, even entertaining. We use fear to moderate behavior for social purposes. Common fear can drive action towards solving vexing social problems like racism and political corruption.

Fear has its role in survival – perhaps the primary experience in life’s drama. Yet, fear doesn’t dictate how I should live, my interpretation does. Quality of life is up to the interpretations of the one living it.

Fear as Tool

When used as a conscious tool, fear can energize intention through emotion and interpretations of intention with powerful focus. That can then push me to overcome seemingly impossible odds.

“While fear can lead to less than ideal or optimal results in performance, it can also help propel athletes into some of their best performances.” (Cristerna 2014)

As desire represents an “attractive” force, fear represents a “repulsive” force of motivation. One might increase the probability of success by using both forces together to achieve a goal.

Maybe fear is another expression of love that can be used like other emotions as a tool to achieve an intended goal.
Perhaps fear, like fire, makes a dangerous, though useful, servant and a dreadful master.

Resources:
How Fear Can Help You Win, Learn to use Fear to your Advantage in Taekwondo, by Jinnie Cristerna, LCSW, CHT, (Special Submission to USA Taekwondo).

The Peace Paradox

The paradox: the more one seeks peace, the less one finds. This because seeking acknowledges lack of that sought and finding signifies the end of seeking it.

  • Misunderstanding: My life is a problem I need to solve, the solution to which ends my life.
  • Understanding: Life simply is.

“Mad Hatter: “Why is a raven like a writing-desk?”
“Have you guessed the riddle yet?” the Hatter said, turning to Alice again.
“No, I give it up,” Alice replied: “What’s the answer?”
“I haven’t the slightest idea,” said the Hatter”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

In a world of complements as competition, defense – in the form of cause and effect – seems to exist as problem and solution. It’s a loop condition! That is, until I see both as one, I realize my misunderstanding.

One might see the humor in it.

Peace comes at a price: constant effort towards its achievement and maintenance. This raises a question. Why am I not at peace when I’ve worked so hard for it? My answer has always been to double down on my efforts because I must not be doing enough. You know, if at first you don’t succeed… try doing the same thing with renewed determination over and over again hoping for a different result. Sound familiar?

And there’s the paradox – and the humor. It seems the more I invest in achieving and defending peace, the less peace I experience. Even when I feel I’ve achieved a sense of peace, my defense of it hinders my enjoyment of it.

Challenging My Understanding

I defend what I believe gives me peace. Meanwhile, I feel threatened I will lose that peace. How can I feel threatened when I’m feeling peaceful?

It feels like a catch-22 situation in which I use the process that created the problem to solve the problem. One cannot use limited awareness to escape limited awareness or misunderstanding to correct misunderstanding.

What might happen when I shift my intention from seeking wholeness to celebrating separation? Rather than seeking to solve the problem of separation, I could enjoy the experience of it.

Perhaps it’s not about problem-solving, it’s about living in gratitude – awareness of who I am. Disconnecting from the value judgments I place on my creations allows me to enjoy being a creator. This is a different experience from that lived in judgments of right-wrong, good-bad, defensive limited/limiting awareness.

“’Somewhere beyond right and wrong, there is a garden. I will meet you there.” Rumi

Questioning A Satisfied Mind

Although the satisfied mind invites a challenge to it, it resists questioning because it feels satisfied. No need to ask a question when you feel you have the answer. Peace resists challenge!

Yet, I’m driven from deep within to understand what is beyond what I understand. I feel an urgency to expand my limited awareness to appreciate what I now cannot imagine. I wonder…

What if peace is not the answer? What if my sense of peace and comfort is an invitation to exploration into gratitude?