Change and My Need for Permanence

I like to think that if something is true it never changes – it’s permanent. I try to make my beliefs permanent by defending them against change, thereby making them true.

I intend for my truths to be so well defended that they are beyond question, even from me. Questioning my beliefs would be equivalent to attacking what’s right and good, permanent and therefore true.

Certainty of my truths defends the intention to put them beyond question. That certainty is like a dam that I build for my rightness against the flow of change. Thus, certainty makes my intention appear permanent – just like truth!

What About Resistance?

I define the non-disturbed state of no movement as permanence. And the disturbed state of movement as change. Each state serves the other through the contrast inherent in their complementary differences. I experience existence in the relationship between the two states.

Perhaps the resistance in those interactions serve as proof of permanence and change. Thus, change serves permanence and visa versa resulting in a reckoning of time. The tic-toc of permanence and change, cause and effect, disturbed and non-disturbed states evidences this relationship.

What about Psychological Permanence and Change?

Who am I in relation to my psychological environment?

That which I resist tends to exist. Change involves breaking down resistance, which my need for permanence rejects. I attend to what I resist in order to conform it to fit my beliefs. Once I do, I let go of my attention to it. That frees my attention to move on to other problems I need to solve.

Here then is choice – to embrace change and permanence through their defense. When I choose one, I also choose its complement – thus, the “and” bit. I defend one option with active attention, I defend its complement with passive attention in denial.

I give equal value to their defense as benefit or threat. Arguments for and against compete for my attention. Thus, choice validates the conceptual separation between permanence and change. Of course, what I believe is choice may instead be a defense of value. Value defends my belief in competition in the context of my own survival competence.

In limited awareness, I’m never in possession of all the facts. Every choice, therefore, includes some element of assumption not based in fact. For example I choose this because it appears to be more permanent than that. I must see competitors as competitors in order to make a choice. I compete for and against truth as I perceive it competes with me. We’re both competitors!

Perhaps truth is relative to the value I assign to my concept of self: How valuable am I?

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.”

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?