The Power of Emotion in a New Paradigm

Instinct is an IF THIS, DO THAT reactionary program that largely eliminates the need to problem-solve. Instinct provides a quick, default, problem-solving program intended to be an energy conservation system that works in most situations.

As problem-solvers, humans interpret their reality through sensory feedback from the body. In the old program of instinct, the mind dealt directly with the body and the environment. The senses communicated messages about benefits and threats from the body directly to the mind. The mind used that information to engage automatic responses to improve its chances of survival.

The Old Paradigm

In instinct, situation determined action: threat = flight, or threat = fight. No other options.

The instinctive program is fast and mostly effective. No need to take time to think, feel, or ask a question. Emotions provide stimulus in the form of inquiry that engages the mind in problem-solving. This new program works with feedback in a new way.

“The world that we have made as a result of the level of thinking we have done thus far creates problems that we cannot solve at the same level as the level we created them at. That is, the only way we can solve them is by creating a new level of thinking about them. In other words, we’ve got to break the [mind]set.” (Ram Das, “The Only Dance There Is” pg 38)

Beyond instinct, this movement of emotion challenges mind to bridge to the body through new intention and that from new information. That intention, raised in self awareness, is able to understand and direct the body at new levels of experience.

The New Paradigm

The new program became IF THIS, THINK ABOUT IT, DO THAT. This new paradigm uses the same emotions used in a new way – as counselor rather than director.

This new awareness is the result of an amplification of feedback from the body to the mind via the emotions. The mind becomes aware of the emotions’ influence and engages with responses consciously to problem solve. Acting as counsel to mind, the body experiences change as a sense of increased attention to its experiences.

By utilizing emotions to enhance survival, mind can put its imagination to work enhancing its experience of survival. This new mind takes account of its feelings, serving itself and its environment in a new, more powerful way.

When the mind interprets an experience, the emotions present a powerful change feedback mirror to it. This mirroring effect reflects a message of possible changes to consider while conserving energy. This while allowing itself to make changes to upgrade its program.

Today, I no longer have to live by an instinctive reactive program. I can take a moment to consider a, “What if…” or “What else…” question. Perhaps this is the process of evolution that will change homosapiens into neo-sapiens. And then knock on the door to the Aha Zone – and beyond…

The Doubt-Certitude Paradox

In my bubble of limited awareness, life’s ambiguities raise doubts about the certainty of my choices. Those doubts tend to increase as my awareness of ambiguity grows. Doubt can be a benefit and a threat – depending on the context.

Choosing based on fear validates fear as a certainty. In order to feel safe I must believe I’ve made the right choice. This, in turn, solidifies my devotion to my certainty.

Fear resolves a paradox by feeling certitude in doubt, rather than doubt in my certitude. The paradox arises when I must be certain and yet I must have doubt. For example, in life, certitude convinces me the experience is real. Meanwhile, doubt makes life appear to change in unexpected ways. I doubt and I’m certain.

Doubt and Certitude

Doubt offers me the kind of options that challenge my comfort zone choices intended to result in safe outcomes. My instinctive choices would probably have caused me to seek escape from threat, which could’ve been disastrous! Instinct isn’t always reliable for safety.

Where life most threatens my comfort zone, paradox is there to confront my safety defense. However, the slower and straighter the ride, the more boring it feels in contrast. I need enough contrast between doubt and certitude to perceive change.

The greater the contrast, the greater the opportunity for awareness of the paradox. In my perceptual world, I’m more likely to choose from well-established options, those I rely on. That certitude creates a comfort zone of trusted options I don’t doubt.

Thus, I deliberately limit options to those that validate my comfort zone. And resist those that might throw doubt on my comfort zone.

The paradox remains until a choice appears to resolve it. Once I settle on the results of a choice, I resolve the paradox by defending it. Thus, by making a choice, I confirm the paradox by defending it.

That is a paradox!

How Intention, Choice, and Bias Resolve Life’s Ambiguity

In order to initiate a conscious choice, I must perceive two or more options relating to the concept under consideration. My life presents me a menu of options. Bias narrows the options from which I may choose. I compare those options to determine how well they might work to confirm my bias.

In my comparative world of limited awareness, life is ambiguous. It’s not 100% clear whether I’ll live or die in any moment. It’s unclear who I am. I must clarify myself to myself. I work my whole life to disambiguate the paradox of the life I live. Bias is one way I seek to clarify this ambiguous situation.

I’m unambiguous about my intention to live. So, I favor all that confirms that intention and fear alternatives. I make choices based on this intentional and fundamental bias. Thus, I resolve life’s greatest paradox – that I am ambiguous, being one and separate, for and against.

Intention

The intention to survive underlies all intentions. A default program ensures I make a preselected biased choice – both for and against. It’s paradoxical. Biases defend the underlying intention to survive, in which I’m:

  • against what threatens the underlying intention.
  • in favor of what benefits the underlying intention.

In this environment of bias, I’m seeking to disambiguate while defending a paradox. I do this by choosing for and against what affects my intention to survive. Thus, increasing the ambiguity I’m seeking to decrease.

Fear and Bias

My fears are an effort to defend myself for being right and against being wrong. Two sides of the same coin. Fear of being wrong plays an influential role in my ability to make a clear choice.

If my choice results in survival, my commitment to its rightness abates fear. When I realize I’ve survived well, my commitment solidifies into a bias that rules over my life. The paradox is that increased defense of what’s right increases fear of its alternatives.

About Choices

Questioning my bubble of limited awareness challenges my perception of survival. Denial is the default program that defends my biases and resists change.

It seems like I’m choosing all the time. Choosing only concepts that support my biases, is not choice – it’s confirmation bias in action. Once I’ve made a choice, I cannot change it while in defense of it. Bias is how I automate the process.

Conscious living may be more about challenging my reasons for making choices than blindly following them.

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?

Aced Out! A Blue Jay Metaphor

Sometimes, nature provides an obvious metaphor for me to enjoy and incorporate into my life. From their acrobatic flight style to their azure color, we love blue jays, Several live close to us. We also enjoy their apparently playful nature.

We put unsalted peanuts out on the back porch occasionally and enjoy watching our little jays sort through, pick out, and fly away to secret them.

The jays don’t eat the peanuts. Rather, they fly away to bury them. We later find peanuts in our garden beds, our compost pile, in our grassy areas – everywhere.

We lay out peanuts and then watch from our vantage point above the action. The fun begins when more than one jay notices the peanuts, which is common because we call them when we put the peanuts out.

Aced Out!

One jay I’ve named Ace after the Toronto Blue Jays mascot busies himself chasing the other jays away from the treasure hoard. There’s plenty for everyone, but Ace apparently believes otherwise.

Ace misses out on the feast because he is so busy chasing his competitors away. Chasing away each of the other jays, Ace works himself to exhaustion. Meanwhile, his companions fly in behind him and swipe every bit of his hoard. In the end, we see Ace standing by himself on the porch with no peanuts to enjoy.

It appears he has lost his hoard to his companions because he sees them as competitors. Thus, perhaps he actually lost out to his own fear, greed, and sense of lack.

Had he shared his hoard with the others, he would have had his fill. Because of his fear-driven belief in lack, his need to protect what he believed was his alone, and his greed, he left himself with nothing.

Ace repeats the performance every time.

A Metaphor for Me

I’m looking at all the times when I felt lack in my life – and what I did about it. How I’ve chased away others because I feared they would take what I believed was mine alone. How I’d sought to protect what I believed was my property by warding off others – rather than enjoying the abundance with them. All those times when, while I was away fortifying my belief in lack, others enjoyed the bounty I refused to see.

And most important of all – what will I do with the lesson of this metaphor? Will I reach out to connect with others or continue to chase them away? Will I join in the feast or continue to busy myself working to satisfy a need that isn’t there?

There’s a lesson our beautiful jays are showing me. What will I learn from it?

Will I continue to ace myself out or will I choose another way?

Thank you, Ace!