My Roller Coaster of Choice Predictability

Sometimes my life feels like a roller coaster. A paradoxical ride through the ups, downs, twists and turns of conflicting choices. Based on the certitude of my choices and their outcomes, I create a dependency equation. I apply the same equation, choice + defense = predictability, to every outcome.

I believe that predictable defenses mean predictable choices that result in predictable outcomes. Ambiguity develops as my dependence on specific outcomes from specific choices wavers. This challenges my defense and so affects my choices and outcomes.

Certitude and Rigidity

This kind of thinking can lead to a sense of certitude that leads to rigid thinking. This makes manifesting intended outcomes much more difficult and unpredictable. What if ambiguity invites questions about the certitude of my predictability formula?

Because I’d rather be right than accurate, I have an inclination to remember past events as being predictable at the time. In other words I reconcile differences in expected and actual outcomes by justifying results with false memories. This keeps my certitude in place regardless of outcomes.

A difference between expected and actual outcomes occurs because I am not in the same frame of mind when making a choice as when perceiving the outcome of that choice. So, to deal with the paradox, I lie to myself by revising my memory to justify what I perceive and feel now.

Predictability and Fear

This makes future outcomes seem much more predictable and choices more reliable than they actually are. It’s a useful thinking error when applied to confidence building. Not so useful when applied to medical procedures where overconfidence can lead to malpractice, for example.

When I feel conflict in yet-to-be-made choices rising within me, I may feel fear over that unpredictability. To calm my fear, I look to predictability of past choices made that I defend with my support and loyalty today.

Am I tall enough to ride this ride?

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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.

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Questioning What I Doubt

In my limited awareness bubble, I live in a world of duality. This or that. Me or not me. Etc. This is illustrated in the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. One says, “Go, go, go!” while the other says, “Whoa, whoa, whoa.”

Going requires enough certainty to overcome inertia. Whoa requires only a question. Somewhere short of going and dead stop lies an area where doubt can play a role.

Doubt Questions Certainty

It asks, “Are you sure about this…?” For example, my GO program might say, “I want that…” Doubt asks, “How certain are you that you want that…?” Doubt may trigger my whoa program to say, “Hmm, maybe we can’t afford that right now…” Then a process of negotiation may take place.

Doubt can alert me with uneasy feelings that can lead me to question my certainty. Paying attention to such uneasiness answers an internal call to investigate what I’m experiencing.

Why don’t I investigate the ill-feelings behind my doubts? Why do I continue to justify them? I’m more likely to question others about their doubts and uneasiness than I am about my own. Why is that?

Challenging My Certainty

A challenge to my certainty of my survival would imply I could be wrong. Doubt suggests I may be wrong. I have to be right to be safe – and survive. I can’t be safe and wrong. Therefore, I can’t doubt.

I need some certainty and uncertainty to live. Too much certainty and I close myself off. Too little and I can’t hold a thought. Doubt is, therefore, useful – within parameters.

I feel stuck in those choices today because of my belief about doubt! I may feel stuck in my belief about that belief. Therefore, I resist exploring my doubts.

My belief about doubt may be self-recurring, self-regenerating, and cumulative until it becomes… wait for it… certitude.

When I introduce even the tiniest doubt into my certitude, I open a crack in the defense of it.

What if I challenge the belief that I can’t doubt? If I doubt my belief about doubt, I’m likely to trigger defense of it. Dang!

Instead, what if I investigate another way to explore my beliefs than to doubt their veracity? What if I can turn a challenge into an exploration?

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Investigating My Fearful Manifestations

In my limited awareness bubble, what is true is also what is right. I interpret every manifestation according to what I intend to be right of me. The first thing I intend to be right about is my survival. I then work to prove that interpretation right, which I present as invulnerability to death. My fear of death makes me defend against vulnerability!

I hide my vulnerability to control my presentations of what I intend others to believe is right about me – that I’m invulnerable! I look for feedback to confirm whether my presentation is convincing or not.

Manifestation provides feedback I can use to validate my beliefs. Yet, when need requires belief to outweigh facts, interpretation of manifestation can be a powerful convincer.

“A man sees what he wants to see and disregards the rest.” (The Boxer, Simon and Garfunkel)

Because I can imagine a scenario in which even the most benign thing might hurt me, I live in a world of fear. That fear affects my interpretations, which affects my experiences!

Intention + Perception = Interpretation of Manifestation

Fearful intentions affect perceptions that affect interpretations of manifestations to prove rightness of fearful intentions. Because I live in a world of fear, here’s how I do this:

  1. I set a fearful intention to prove right my first intention, to survive.
  2. My perceptions make me aware of my symbolic representations of fear.
  3. I compare those symbols with my fearful intention.
  4. I interpret manifestations according to those symbols to fit my fearful intention.
  5. This interpretation proves that my fearful intention is right.
  6. I defend my rightness against the appearance of threat.
  7. Thus, I’m successful in fulfilling my first intention – to survive.

Since I tend to judge based on my sense of sight, my perceptual interpretation of visual appearance can affect the accuracy of my experience. For example, I might distrust a person dressed as a clown based on a scary experience I had of a clown. It doesn’t have to be a threat to present a threat. It’s in my interpretation of the presentation.

When I see someone else’s vulnerability exposed, I may feel relief that it wasn’t me exposed! On the other hand, their exposure confirms the possibility of my exposure. Thus, strengthening my fear of exposure and my need to defend against it.

Eventually, it becomes less about defending myself against real threats and more about defending myself against the appearance of threat. And what is the greatest threat? That which challenges my first intention – rightness!

What About Self-Inquiry?

How can I inquire about the true nature of Self when such inquiry may challenge my rightness and/or expose my inquiry to attack? How do I make a challenge without provoking a defense against it? What happens when I see myself as a threat?

As long as a question appears as a threat that invokes the very mechanism we described above to defend against it, how do I even begin to ask?

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Could Belief Be Its Own Defense?

In my First and Second Degree limited awareness world of competition and defense, I’ve divided up oneness with beliefs. A belief is basically a set of connected concepts I’ve separated out from all concepts to form or add to my story. My acceptance of that belief as truth becomes my defense of those concepts and my story as the story.

Belief as Authority

My belief, then, acts as an authority that proves I am a sovereign individual, free to think and act as I please. Not obvious to me is that I’m the servant of that authority, which is my belief.

Perhaps that’s why I rankle so much when someone, even me, challenges my belief. That challenge is to the sovereignty of my identity – who I am. I am my belief.

In a context of true vs false, my perception of separation defends my story from yours based on my truth. This pits my story against yours in a battle for “the right belief,” which connotes there is a wrong belief, yours. When applied to a group of like-minded individuals, a simple belief can grow to fanatical, perhaps dangerous, proportions.

Thus, my beliefs confirm my paradoxical concept of separation as the one and only truth. One might consider belief as the initial and fundamental defense that separates one into a competition between this versus that.

Belief as Defense

Because I perceive my right belief as separate from your wrong belief, I defend mine from yours, me from you. This belief in separation in sovereignty provides me with a sense of differentiation that I can use to compare – and defend. Thus, I confirm my rightness.

Comparisons can lead to competition in which every concept appears to defend itself against all others. This means that every belief is a defense protecting and protected by other beliefs.

When I say, “I believe…,” am I actually saying, “I defend…?”

To answer a question one must question the answer. When there is only one answer to a question, I’m probably dealing with a belief upon which I’ve placed a high degree of certitude. To dissolve the defense that is the belief, I must question my sense of certainty. Concerning my belief:

  • What is this belief protecting?
  • How is it protecting it?
  • Why is it protecting it?
  • Who am I protecting?
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