Exploring the Matrix of the AHA ZONE

Exploring the matrix helps me understand it. By studying my bubble of limited awareness, it becomes a proverbial tool in my hand to investigate “Why?” Why the bubble, why limited awareness, why and why not?

This has led me to ask, “What, how, and why else?”

Perhaps the answer to all my questions lies in between the asking and the answering. Could this be where limited awareness is seeking resolution? A trip from nowhere to nowhere that I experience as reality?

Might recognition and appreciation of this instant of no-where-ness and no-when-ness, result in an incredible sense of gratitude and bliss? Could this be the fabled gateway to what lies beyond imagining, beyond questioning, beyond reality as I know it?

It’s All About Awareness!

Due to the limiting effect of separation, I can attend to only one mind at a time. Each mind competes for my attention.

Conscious thought promotes recognition of a paradoxical relationship between confusion and inquiry. Awareness promotes inquiry that promotes awareness. Awareness and inquiry are mutually supportive of an environment conducive to conscious choice. This awareness, in turn, affects the perceptual dynamic of fear in which I associate psychological change with physical threat.

That consciousness affects the way the mind interacts with its physical environment. This took the mind from fear and pain to questioning its reality. “In the past, I acted like this and failed. How else might I act instead?” That kind of inquiry spurred greater use of imagination. And exploration!

In ancient times, change was slow, painful, and in-your-face personal. Today, I can affect and accept change in an instant of Aha!

Breaking Out of Instinct

One evolutionary step in the direction of a new awareness was the recognition of symbolism. Someone realized that the world they perceived was more than it appeared.

Just as the mirror image is not the one it reflects. Those who drew animals on cave walls understood that the drawings were not the literal animals they drew. They applied an esoteric meaning that transcended literal interpretation.

A human broke the old instinctive patterns of interpretation by asking a question. They may have thought, “Wait just a second! What does this mean?” The Aha Zone is in that “instant” when we consider a meaningful question.

Today, I continue this tradition when I seek meaning in my life.

In each generation, one seems to appear to challenge the status quo – prompting all of us to explore beyond. That required an element of risk and some courage. Some of those folks in my past risked being barbequed for their disruptive ideas.

Over time, the concept of pain has shifted. I see pain as evidence of change. Because I expect change, I find pain much less frightening. Because change is inevitable, I can embrace the pain – and celebrate it as I adapt to the change.

Constant inquiry is the Aha Zone at work.

Some years ago, I listened to Fritjof Capra in which he stated that matter only appears to exist. That it is actually not material at all – instead, matter is made up of probability patterns.

Later, I heard that the closer to the speed of light one travels, the slower time passes. As an observer, I’d see light travel at about 186,000 miles per hour. If I were a tiny particle sitting on the photon I’d observed from a distance, I would experience no passage of time. I would literally arrive at my destination in the instant I left. The photon experiences no time passing. No concept of time as the observer reckons.

In other words, time and space do not exist as I reckon them.

Imagine that – having an experience of time and space where neither exists. What?!! How is that possible? It’s a paradox!

In order to experience, one must take themselves out of the flow of acceptance, investment, and defense… and into… the Aha Zone!

“What else…?” drives me forward, giving me the experience of change. I am cause, all I experience is effect. I experience time and space because I am change. Everything I experience expresses who I am. I am and I am not my experiences. Like the map is not the territory it represents, I am not reducible to an experience. It’s all figurative!

What does that mean? Well, then, maybe that is the ultimate question, “What is consciousness?” What gives me the capacity to have an experience of separation within wholeness? How am I the creator of my experience of life?

Occasionally, these questions flash a light into infinity – the Aha Zone.

What does this mean?

Transition to Awareness

What if the Aha Zone is a transition point from one level of awareness to another? For example, one of my ancestors questioned their instinctive behavior and realized an aha moment that started a new trend – the use of fire. By questioning their instinctive fear of fire, they learned to control their fear. This realization that fear could be controlled led to a leap in awareness.

Instinctual Me

Instinctive me defends itself against environmental threats and asks, “What threatens me now?” It’s also concerned with needs. “Are my needs being met?” results in two simple questions:

  1. What need is not being satisfied? (What’s wrong?)
  2. How do I get what I need now? (What must I do?)

Cognizant Me

Cognizance adds relational awareness and asks, “What happened?” This results in an awareness of what, where, when, why my environment appears to relate to me as it does. Recognition of cause and effect.

I have one such relationship with time, for example. In instinct, I serve the demands time imposes upon me – like circadian rhythms. Once I recognized that there was a way to measure time, I could change my behaviors within it. At some point, someone came to an “Aha” moment in which they realized that one could measure time. There is a significant difference between the acknowledgment of time and the cognitive use of it.

This relational awareness offers me much more insight into my world. Because of the power of instinct, I tend to put relationships into service of defense, like blame and war. Cognitive questions tend to connect me with others in a meaningful way. Such questions as, “How do I get what I want?” tend to result in behaviors that take my community into account. Cognizance adds opportunity for more questioning:

  1. Why do I feel as I do? (What does this experience mean?)
  2. Who am I in relation to my environment?

Visionary Me

Visionary me asks questions like:

  1. What’s next?
    1. What am I not perceiving yet?
    2. What could this experience mean beyond what I think it does?
  2. How might we evolve?
    1. How might what I do now affect the future?
    2. What might a future appear like than how I imagine it now?
  3. Why do I matter?
    1. What is my purpose in the grand scheme?
    2. Why does my contribution matter to the whole?
  4. Who am I?
    1. Who am I beyond the context of my world?
    2. What is beyond my perception of my personhood?
    3. Who is the who that I am?
    4. Who else might I/you be than who I think I am/you are?

Beyond Me?

What may lie beyond these limited-awareness aspects of me?

Awareness of Gratitude for the Absurd

In a bubble of limited awareness, I perceive in duality. This offers me only two options for comparison: something and everything that is not that something. This appears as a sort of battle between something and its environment – like me vs not me.

For example, I define order in a comparison to disorder. This relationship appears on a continuum from minimum to maximum. A paradox arises at the point where maximum is indistinguishable from minimum.

Full disorder is so unlimited as to be nothingness and order is so limited as to be nothingness. 0 = 1. This ambiguity presents a paradox in which any and none appear synonymous. When zero equals one, duality collapses. That’s absurd!

Limited Awareness

Perception relies upon a range of conscious awareness of adequate contrast between this and that to distinguish one from the other. Too little or too much contrast destroys the awareness of differentiation and, thus, perception.

Limited awareness changes the equation, 0=1, to a comparison, 0<1. Thus, limited awareness resolves the paradox – and makes perceptual experience possible.

From a Fifth Degree of Illumination awareness, I can appreciate how limited awareness resolves the paradox of oneness. While inside the bubble of limited awareness, however, I can’t see the paradox, much less resolve it. I’m too busy living it!

Limited awareness offers me experience that illustrates what I want to believe moment-to-moment. It does this by connecting some unknown with the known, some uncertainty with certainty, some yin with the yang. So, limitation – YAY!

The Gift of Defense

I use defense to define the borders of my limited awareness. As I introduce some flexibility into my border defense, I strengthen it. The stronger the defense, the more convinced I am that the experience is as it appears. Thus, defense resolves the paradox of reality – where nothing is as it appears AND everything is as it appears.

Defense complements limited awareness. Comparison and competition are merely concepts. My response is the defense that turns concept into experience. Defense exists in an environment of limited awareness. Limited awareness exists in an environment of defense. Together, I get experience. Experience offers opportunity for enlightenment through questioning.

Recognition and Gratitude

Recognition of the absurdity inherent in this level of limited awareness invites inquiry into the paradoxes. For example, when considering the paradox of certainty, I may ask myself what, how, why, and who is so certain that I can’t doubt. This inquiry may reveal the absurdity and add some illumination into the darkness that limits my vision.

The addition of illumination might feel like gratitude – the “aha” moment when the darkness gives up its secret. That secret is that I was never limited – just having an experience of it.

When the windows of perception clear, I see myself as I am.

The Appearance of Love in Countering Wholeness

Why would countering wholeness appear as love? How would countering wholeness appear as love? What the hell am I talking about?!!

Within my bubble of limited awareness, I must limit my understanding of wholeness to, “The state of forming a complete and harmonious whole.” Sounds to me a lot like separateness in which I compare this wholeness to that wholeness. Maybe I can’t help perceiving wholeness in terms of separation.

Beyond limited awareness, wholeness may be incomprehensible. Even to define wholeness, I must limit its infinite nature to a “something” that is finite enough that I can contain it in a definition. Thus, confirming I was right to limit perception of wholeness to my limited awareness of it.

An Unbridgeable Gap?

In limited awareness, I can only perceive infinite love and infinite wholeness in terms of limited – finite! – awareness. To perceive infinity, I must extend my limited awareness into unlimited awareness – an impossibility in limited – finite – awareness. Even to consider something as infinite, I must first define that infinite “something” in finite terms so I can compare it against “something” else I consider infinite. Thus, I limit wholeness and reinforce my finite perception of infinity! This conundrum may represent an unbridgeable awareness gap.

Editor’s note: wholeness INCLUDES all separate “somethings” just as infinity INCLUDES all finite “somethings.” Although wholeness is infinite, I experience it as finite. So, I’ve created a method to bridge the unbridgeable gap. Conditional love!

Since separateness supports me as an individual, I experience wholeness in the form of relationships – me vs you. The more like me you appear, the more I believe we are whole together. Wholeness, then, becomes a matter of agreement.

Love as agreement appears as confirmation of wholeness in which individuality counters wholeness. That’s why I perceive everything in terms of relationships with me as the central point of reference.

I want experience! Therefore, I must believe that my counter to wholeness supports that. Why? Because I defend my actions and beliefs as my acknowledgment of love. I feel love when I defend a divided reality – “I (an individual) love YOU (the appearance of someone ELSE who agrees with me).” Love becomes a symbol of proof of wholeness when it actually proves need. I need agreement (that love confirms).

Because I define everything in terms of this vs that, I cannot begin to comprehend infinite. Therefore, perhaps I’m incapable of comprehending infinite love. So, I assign “love” as a symbol that represents, and so defends, my finite reality. Countering wholeness!

Love Countering Wholeness

Because I perceive love as “outside me,” those counters that support love as less-than-whole support me as less-than-whole – and appear as NOT ME. You plus me appears to add up to love and wholeness. Yet, because of my firm defense of separation, all my concepts of love instead counter any concept of such wholeness. Faulty equation!

That means I must constantly test for wholeness in my relationships – testing that always comes up short. Thus, defending my concept of wholeness as an unachievable goal.

Suppose I wanted to expand my awareness beyond the limitation that perceives love as a reward for countering wholeness. How might I get to that awareness?

I could ask myself questions that counter my intentions. Since intention can be associated with need and need fulfillment, start with some basic needs you can’t live without. For example, “If I don’t get this need satisfied, I’ll die.”

The Challenge!

Let’s explore some awareness-expanding questions that might challenge limited awareness.

What Questions: What…

  • happened?
  • is my intention in this experience?
  • other intention might I have than the one I’m aware of?
  • is the need I’m trying to fulfill in my intention(s)?
  • other need(s) might this intention suggest?
  • must one believe in order to need that?
  • else might one believe in order to need that?
  • is love in relation to this/that intention?

How Questions: How…

  • did this intention cause this result?
  • else might this intention cause this result?
  • might I think differently about this intention?
  • else might I consider a different intention?
  • does this result demonstrate an intention of which I’m unaware (an unintended consequence due to unaware intention)?
  • does this experience demonstrate my concept of love?

Why Questions: Why…

  • this intention rather than another?
  • do I need this need or this intention?
  • is this so important to me?
  • do I trust my perception of this?
  • must I be right about this?
  • did love appear like it did in this experience?
  • am I defending this perception of less-than-wholeness as love?
  • Extra points for answering the above WHY questions without using the word “because.”

Who Questions: Who am I…

  • beyond my countered wholeness?
  • who projected and responded to this concept of being in this experience?
  • now that I’m enlightened by these questions?

Choosing to Just Say No to Choice!

One of my favorite teachers used to say, “It’s not a choice if you can’t say no.” And, of course, there was the 1980s drug interdiction mantra, “Just say no!” That didn’t work out as well as it maybe could have.

What about biased choices? Might the kind of preconceived thinking that are characteristic of bias taint the outcome? And thereby nullify any benefit I might realize from the option? In this case, would there even be an alternative? Maybe my mistake is in believing I am actually making a choice.

 When choosing IS the experience.

Consider how my choice mechanism works within the First-Second Degree of Illumination bubble:

  1. I feel bad.
  2. So, I identify a lack or problem…
  3. That makes me look for a solution.
  4. I accept a solution that satisfies my bias…
  5. Then defend that biased solution as the solution.
  6. This results in regret, and search for a scapegoat…
  7. I feel bad.

If I’m not choosing, what am I doing, then?

Looking at the cyclical nature of my selection mechanism, I’d have to admit that I’m mostly about defending my biases and preconceived notions as truths.

Moving Beyond Choosing

Perhaps it’s time to move beyond this kind of non-choosing defensiveness that in the end simply validates my rightness. Maybe it’s time to investigate another option – one I’ve encountered in the Aha Zone.

The option I refer to is that of Third Degree of Illumination awareness. This level of understanding is perhaps best described as a flash of inspiration – in which, I am faced with a choice between two options that quickly dissolve into no options. One of the two options is that of awakening into acceptance of my accountability for my life – Fourth Degree of Illumination awareness. The other option is to accept the default back to bubble awareness and confirmation that I am right and suffering is real. Back to my choice mechanism that’s worked so well in the past!

What if choosing Fourth Degree of Illumination is not what I think it is, safely inside my defensive bubble of dim awareness. I know what choosing looks like inside my bubble. Perhaps that is why I don’t recognize Third Degree of Illumination choosing when it flashes itself like an explosion into my consciousness.

Within my bubble awareness, I look for a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. What if living is not a problem looking for a solution – rather, an expression of consciousness? No choice to make. And so I propose:

Choose to just say no to choice!