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.

Measuring Values Creates Polarity

In a First-Second Degree of Illumination bubble, values rule! Values and comparisons seem to work well together. I don’t think I would have the ability to choose without them.

Comparing values may be an ambiguous, non-standardized way for measuring what deserves my attention. To make a measurement, one needs a scale upon which to make a comparison. Scales involve polarity.

One type of scale requires polarities that define the outer limits or extent of the most extreme expected measurement. Another requires a balance point between two polarities. Each type of scale requires common content and context in which to make a measurement. Hence, the old saying, “You can’t compare apples to oranges…”

I seek what validates my preset values. The amount of attention I invest in a thing is the measurement of its value on that preset scale. In this way I can compare worthiness in terms of threats and benefits to my survival on a scale I understand.

Chronic value measuring keeps my mind occupied in creating and maintaining a standard, a quick reference guide to survival. At the top of my standards list is the greatest threat or benefit to my survival.

My need to be right creates polarity and a lifetime of measuring values

I believe I know how I should understand my reality. I have learned to trust my ability to measure values and accept them as accurate and true.

Polarity demands certitude

When I get close to certainty of my value judgments, I’m getting dangerously close to valuing myself at one end or pole of that scale. The closer my attention is to the poles of my value scale, the less likely I am to be fluid with my measurements, and the more likely I am to become certain and immovable. Certitude tends to lock down my scale – including its polarities.

To investigate this phenomenon, I like to get quiet and ask my inner wisdom:

  1. What do I value?
  2. How do I measure it?
  3. Why do I measure it?
  4. Who am I as I move towards polarity?

By asking these questions within, my deeper mind can search for its truths and help my conscious mind…

  • know and understand the real me.
  • reveal misunderstandings I’ve created that have supported a false me.
  • stop measuring myself, knowing I need no setting of values.

How My Life Story Controls My Life

Due to my perception of ever-present danger inside the First and Second Degree Illumination bubble, I do whatever I can to control my life. I’m building what I believe is a safe representation of who I am in story form. My “documentary,” is a collection of memories, a string of emotional interpretations. Fear of not being right about my memories leads me to trust them when maybe I shouldn’t.

My story is actually a history of defense. I trust my memories to keep me feeling secure in the bubble.

What if I challenge my trust in my story? Would that challenge or invalidate my story? Would my story invalidate my life? How do I survive without a story I can justify? Do I need my memories to appear in chronological order to validate my belief in time?

Who’s in Charge Here?

Read more How My Life Story Controls My Life

Values, Values, Values – Everywhere Values!

My values of yesterday seem incongruent with those I wish to express today. Old childhood values sometimes move me out of peace and into inappropriate action. I speak of how important peace is in my life, and yet I occasionally find myself out of peace for some time before noticing the distraction. I sometimes still find one aspect of significantly higher value than peace – rightness!

For many years, when in conversation with Carol, I’d feel an emotional need to defend my perspective. Soon, I’d realize I was defending regardless of the cost – at increasing vocal volume. I was sure I was right! And just as sure she was not! I was willing, at some point, to risk the peace of our relationship to satisfy my need to feel right.

I felt the need for acceptance outweighed the benefit of meaningful connection.

Read more Values, Values, Values – Everywhere Values!