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!

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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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Memory as a Messenger of the Unknown

What if, within my limited awareness bubble, memory works in time and space? A conscious agent uses memory as a vehicle to perceive a relationship between time and space. If so, I must defend time and space in order to live. The “I” that lives in time must store the data necessary to balance the unknown with the known – memory.

Now seems to be the only condition of time that allows me to be served by memory. Memory’s linear design is a means of holding time accountable to space and for me to be accountable to a future I haven’t yet realized. Time supports space that supports time. Memory supports the concept of linear time and space as imagined sequences of causes and effects.

What I can perceive I can believe is real. Therefore, my memories are real because I perceive them to be. I’ve perceived fear as real and I have referred to it for present experiential support. Fear as the main criteria of my memory now seems to dominate the experiences of the present. Once I believe fear is real, it will remain so until I question and change it.

Because the unknown represents my greatest fear, I create memories to fill-in what I don’t know. With memory, I can relate the unknowable to an imagined known, a reality I call my life. This known reality brings a counter-balance and a sense of direction to mitigate the fear of the unknown.

What Is the Message of Memory, then?

Memories are my link to linear reality, which includes time and space and who I am in them. In my limited matrix of associations, I can apply a memory to justify any current situation that exists in terms of time and space.

When it comes to fearful situations, applying a known in the form of a memory can provide a sense of reality. Thus, an imagined or recalled known can substitute a sense of peace to the unknown. It’s a paradox! And while the unknown remains unknown, at least I can feel better about it!

What if memory is a messenger of the unknown telling me about me through the known? Perhaps memory is loaded with data. I can mine that information about who I perceive I am beyond what I know. What is my memory telling the known me about the unknown me?

Rather than defend against the unknown with fear-based memory, what if I instead asked some questions?

  • What is true and untrue in this memory?
  • How is it true and untrue?
  • Why is it true and untrue?
  • Who am I as a result of believing this?
  • Who would I be if I didn’t believe this?
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Attention Feeds My Fear

What I give attention to grows! I have a problem-solving mind. And because of this, my mind seems to forever need problems to solve. Sometimes I feel I’m creating the very problems I then must solve.

In my First-Second Degree of Illumination bubble awareness, I focus my attention on that which I fear. I fear what and who I perceive “I’M NOT.” It’s automatic and a problem that must be solved!

That fear adds a perceived value to what and who “I’M NOT”- a value I feel I’m missing. Problem! I may feel I gain a sense of being complete when I add that perceived value to an external substitute – like a loved one, pet or new gadget. Yet, that sense of wholeness is a temporary condition that convinces me that the addition completes my value. Problem solved! Or have I just created another problem?

Each problem I think I’m solving creates a drain on my energy and resources. This drain I call a fear-feed on my attention. Because I feel dependent on external value, I always have this unwhole problem to solve. This distracts my attention from those interests that validate my wholeness. I can take charge of my attention and focus it where my consciousness takes me – beyond measurable value.

A thought has no feed value without attention. The objective of fear is to capture and feed on my attention.

In bubble awareness, I associate fear with survival. In this survival state-of-mind, fear offers me a way to silence my need to survive by convincing me to accept and follow a simple equation:

Me + Not Me = Wholeness

In bubble awareness, fear rules my consciousness. I imagine someone or something holds a value I perceive is missing in me, a value I need in order to feel complete. Once I attain that which I believe completes me, I enjoy a high of feeling OK. Yet, after a while, that artificial high wares off and I’m back to feeling fearful and incomplete. More than anything I want to feel whole and complete, yet fear pulls my attention back to the “I’m Not” problem that I feel needs solving.

Beyond Fear

While I keep my imagination firmly locked within bubble awareness, I continue to allow the fear process to nibble away at my energies until my body and mind can no longer sustain the feed.

One cannot escape bubble awareness using bubble awareness. One cannot use fear to cure fear. I must look elsewhere. I must look within… take charge of my attention… and…

Imagine beyond…

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Fear and Discipline Impact Perspective

Where I focus attention determines what I experience. When I focus my attention on fear, my perspective changes to give me an experience of threat as reality. Discipline changes that formula.

To the undisciplined mind, fear seeks to prove inadequacy as rightness. Rightness is a need that must be defended within the First-Second Degree of Illumination bubble. Certainty about my fear solidifies its image in the mirror, making it real and threatening. My need to deal with threats pops up and takes over my awareness, focusing my attention on solving an illusory problem. Attention I divert from other, perhaps more useful, subjects – like gratitude, enlightenment, connection, and awakening.

About Disciplined Attention

Focusing on fear narrows awareness of options, resulting in suffering in the form of lack of confidence, perception of deprivation, and poverty consciousness. When I’m convinced I’m right, I narrow every perception, every judgment, every opportunity, to fit within the boundaries of that right path. “There’s only one way out!” says the hero. Well, yeah, maybe there is only one way out IF you know of no others or IF you’re so terrified that you can’t think properly. Yeah, then maybe there’s only one way.

To the disciplined mind, fear represents one among many options for attention. I can appreciate and respect the power of the fire without short-circuiting my brain with fear about it. The narrowing effect that fear has on my thinking abilities strongly influences my chances for survival in an emergency. This is the reasoning behind the rigorous training first-responders get. Much of it focused on managing their fear so they can retain that wondrous faculty for effective action we can bring about with a disciplined mind.

Mental discipline provides awareness of options, resulting in a sense of confidence, trust, gratitude, strength, and expanding consciousness. There are many effective methods for managing fears. Within the bubble, mental discipline requires practice – lots of practice. Perhaps a lifetime of practice.

What happens when I’m “late to the game” of mental discipline or don’t have time to devote to all that practice? What then? Am I just SOL?

Awareness and the Bubble

Imagine a soap bubble. Does it take a lot of work to open it? No, a simple pin will do the trick. What about illusory bubbles? What kind of effort, practice, study, physical strength, strategy, or instrumentation does it take to open one of those?

Perhaps awareness is the key to disciplining the mind over fear. Maybe bursting the fear bubble only requires awareness that the bubble is not real. When faced with a fear, sometimes I’ll shout to myself inside to, “stop!” Then I’ll take an inventory of here and now – ground myself in time and space. Sometimes counting items I see or feel helps. Then I’ll revisit the object of my fear – now that my mind has settled down a bit.

Yeah, my method is a sort of “trick” – that demonstrates how quickly, easily, and effortlessly a mind can be disciplined and brought into order. The mind gets sharper the more bubbles it pops.

Think about it.

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