Beyond Gratitude as Judgment

Gratitude is all about noticing and awareness. By asking a question, I can bring about noticing in a way that promotes awareness beyond the First-Second Degree of Illumination bubble. Within the bubble of limited perception, I experience gratitude as an emotionally-charged competition or comparison – a value-judgment backed by a defense that often takes the form of an expression in the syntax of emotion-comparison-justification:

“I feel grateful for [something I value-judge as positive]… because… [some reason this judgment confirms my values]”

Example: “I feel grateful for sunrises because they make me feel hopeful…”

Structurally, my statement includes an emotion, “I feel”; a comparison judgment, “grateful for…”; and a defense, “because…” – the basic structure of the bubble, in which I compare, compete, and defend. “Grateful,” in this case, means “compared to what I value” – a validation of my opinions/notions as truth.

Is there another way?

To experience gratitude beyond the bubble, it must take on a different sensibility altogether. In the realm of accountability for creation, awareness would appear as a sort of universal acceptance of ALL that IS. As a confirmed bubble resident, I can tell you that my experience of this kind of gratitude is exquisite, sublime, and ultimately life-affirming.

To turn bubble comparison into life-affirming accountability, I might question how I express thanks – and maybe reconsider in the light of acceptance.

Let’s start by reviewing how I express gratitude within bubble awareness:

  1. I notice an experience that I…
  2. relate to other similar experiences and then…
  3. make a judgment (better or worse) that I…
  4. justify with a defense that validates my values and beliefs.

Now, let’s look at it from an acceptance-of-accountability perspective:

  1. I notice that everything is as I perceive it.

From my limited bubble perspective, Fourth Degree of Illumination acceptance of accountability may appear to me as surreal – and maybe the truth behind the illusion.

What Does Fourth Degree of Illumination Accountability Mean?

What does it mean to BE accountable for my life? What is Fourth Degree of Illumination accountability?

Living in a duality world, I like the following (BE-DO-HAVE) “or” mantra:

  • “I am exactly what I want to be right now or I’d be something else.”
  • “I am doing exactly what I most want to do right now or I’d be doing something else.”
  • “I have exactly what I want to have right now or I’d have something else.”

Repeating this mantra as my personal “truth,” I tend to take responsibility for my life in ways I never imagined before. As the responsible party, I realize my power to make changes, because I LOVE who I am and want to explore what ELSE I will love.

When I want to make a substantial change, I first consider accounting for my life by acknowledging that I LOVE who I am, what I do, and what I have NOW. Loving what is at the same level as what may be evens out the transition energy. Like bridging across rather than climbing the abyss.

Accountability brings me to –

My Account Payoff

How I feel about what I experience is my PAYOFF. As I embrace my payoff, I love it. After all, I’ve gone to some effort and energy to achieve it. Then I look into what OTHER PAYOFF I might enjoy JUST AS MUCH and begin embracing that, too.

I entertain the idea that I might also enjoy achieving my current payoff in a different manner. Like the kid in the sandbox making a sand castle, I can play with my design as much as I wish until I get it “just right” – that is, I experience sufficient sensational payoff.

In acceptance of the fact that I am experiencing exactly what I want to experience, I open the possibility that I may account for my life in the light of Fourth Degree of Illumination gratitude.

Blame As Counterfeit for Accountability

Does blame act as a First-Second Degree of Illumination counterfeit for Fourth Degree of Illumination accountability?

I have this idea that I can determine cause from perception of effect. I perceive something and, based on this evidence, soon believe I understand what, how, and why I perceived it as I did. For the most part, this line of reasoning works for me. Where this gets “dicey” is when I apply that reasoning to others – blame.

Considering my propensity for belief and trust in my ability to discern cause from effect within the bubble, blame works as an adequate substitute. Once blame is affixed, I feel satisfied that “justice has been done” and “books balanced” – done! No more inquiry necessary! And isn’t that the goal of my First-Second Degree bubble – to remain securely inside the bubble?

Inside the bubble, accountability and blame are basically synonymous. Dykstra sees accountability as, “answerability, blameworthiness, liability, and the expectation of account-giving.” An apt description of the bubble-bound counterfeit, blame.

Beyond the bubble, however, the concept takes on an entirely different flavor. Fourth Degree of Illumination accountability is more like “acceptance of the joy of being you in balance.”

Accounting for Values

A first step in Fourth Degree awareness may be a release of the bubble mentality of blame. The concept of “balancing the books” seems more appropriate when discussing Fourth Degree accountability. To balance the books, it makes some sense to me to consider investigating values.

I place value on everything when competition is the name of the game. This is better than that – because this is worth more than that in terms of value to me. I’ve become adept at measuring subjectives like emotions in terms of value – levels. For example, I can answer the question, “On a scale of 0-10, how angry do you feel?” This acknowledges a placement of an objective value on a subjective experience.

In the realm of blame, I’m keenly aware of a positive vs negative ledger. I view these positives and negatives in terms of values. My belief is that I must resolve all values to the positive side in order to win. “He who dies with the most points, wins!” Of course, this acknowledges the outcome of bubble thinking – win/lose – death!

Gratitude as Accountability

What might happen were I to balance my ledger? In bubble thinking, I would zero-sum out = loss. In Fourth Degree thinking, I would simply balance out of the competition game. Where there is no comparison, there is no competition, and thus no game. There is no win-lose, lose-lose, or even win-win. Because the competition game is over.

How do I end the competition game when it is all I know?

That game may be all I THINK I KNOW – yet it is far from all I know. I have no idea how much I actually know – because I’ve accepted counterfeits as real. In an instant of clarity where the competition over values disappears into oneness, only gratitude remains. It’s a different kind of gratitude than one experiences from within the bubble of competition. This kind of gratitude is exquisite, sublime, pure, and as some have described it, bliss.

Inside the bubble, I value the feeling of gratitude and so I utter to myself, “Oh, I hope I experience that level of joy someday!”

What if outside the bubble time were irrelevant? “I choose to experience gratitude right now!”

Resources:

  •  Dykstra, Clarence A. (February 1939). “The Quest for Responsibility”. American Political Science Review. The American Political Science Review, Vol. 33, No. 1. 33 (1): 1–25. doi:10.2307/1949761. JSTOR 1949761.

 

Illusion of Separation to Accountability and Gratitude

In my First-Second Degree of Illumination bubble, do I perceive separation where there is none? In my bubble, division underlies competition – the concept that one separate thing is different than another and so comparable. That difference is a conflict I intend to investigate and perhaps resolve.

Inside the bubble, I interpret wholeness as “complete rightness” – “I’m all right.”

A shift out of “the bubble,” requires resolving the disharmony within, which could include considering how I am contributing to the tension and imagining how I would rather think and feel.

What might happen when I intend to think and feel in a certain way before I begin my day or before I engage in a specific experience? First consider, then imagine, then intend, and then act. ex: “Today I’m choosing to be open-minded and feel positive in whatever situation I’m in.”

Resolving Many into One

What if I assume wholeness rather than separation? Rising in awareness from my defensive bubble to Fourth Degree of Illumination gratitude, what if I take on accountability as the creator of my perceptions? Such awareness would balance the books of separation into oneness. Equations equalized. What would happen to my conflicts as I accept awareness of wholeness, oneness?

When I cease to perceive from a basis of difference and instead perceive from a basis of wholeness, might I cease to perceive competition, discord? How would I experience my life then?

Inclusion

Prior to 4th Degree I attended to this OR that – “but” – focusing attention on one thing at a time. This encourages competition for my attention – First Degree Illumination. What might happen to my attention when I attend to this AND that as one – inclusion?

I wonder – would acceptance of Fourth Degree Illumination accountability mark the end of conflict?

Might I dispel the illusion with a shift in perspective from inside the bubble to gratitude for it?

How I Use Pseudoscience to Convince Me of My Truth

Due to a comprehensive field of fear, I defend myself from awareness of anything outside my First-Second Degree of Illumination bubble. I don’t have to perceive accurately to survive – just be correct enough. To that end, I apply the scientific method – with a twist.

That twist is pseudoscience that I employ to hold my truths firm against a world that constantly challenges them. To continue defending my truths, I occasionally accept falsity as truth and assume evidence that may appear to support my truths – without question. When MY interpretation is THE interpretation, I get rightness and certitude.

Always better to assume rightness than question it!

Read more How I Use Pseudoscience to Convince Me of My Truth