“What if” and “What else”

What If …?

  • Gratitude is an expression of coming to an understanding of what I once misunderstood?
  • Courage is not a ‘cure’ for fear? Rather, what if understanding is the solution to the problem of fear?
  • It’s maybe more useful to understand than to know things?
  • I realized that the less defensive I become, the more adaptable I become?
  • When hearts connect, light turns on in mind?
  • I am not here or there or anywhere?
  • I seek first to understand my heart? What if then the truths hidden there will bring to light all else?
  • Memories are like breadcrumbs unconsciously dropped along our path to the future?
  • I am THE cause and THE effect of my creation?
  • Movement into life means stillness within?
  • It is in the waking and not the sleeping we find rest?
  • For every beam of light there are shadows fleeing?
  • The capacity to love increases as understanding of self expands?
  • By seeking wholeness, we realize lack? In defending lack, we realize life?
  • The ultimate choice of who and why I AM is up to me.
  • Fear stands at the door of every quest?
  • As the great illusionist, fear mocks understanding with judgments?

In my bubble of limited awareness, what I give focus to as real IS REAL. I tend to feel the need to judge all things from a perspective that my reality is the truth. And insist that everyone else agree with me.

That need makes everything and everyone a justification of my fear that they won’t “get” the truth. And turns me into a staunch crusader and valiant warrior for my rightness.

What Else …?

What can I do when a “What if…?” question turns into a dread statement like, “Something wrong…, that’s what!”

Might I take advantage of the plasticity of my reality to go beyond “What if…?” with “What else…?”

I might ask four simple questions when a “What if…?” question results in a statement of dread:

  1. “What else…?”
  2. “How else…?”
  3. “Why else…?”
  4. “Who else…?”

The First Cause

Perhaps intention is a fundamental characteristic of consciousness and the first cause from which experience arises.

An intention is an awareness of separation from wholeness – “me” consciousness. The first intention I’m aware of is to be whole. This results in an awareness of lack. Thus, I generate intentions that limit awareness and codify them in instinct to support that first intention.

In limited awareness, intentions appear as problems seeking solutions.

Any intention includes consideration of one or more means to achieve its end. This acknowledges and defends a sense of separation and lack in the present moment.

Achievement of an intention ends that intention. Because of the underlying sense of lack, the end of one intention is part of another. This movement from intention to intention generates a sense of living moment-to-moment. Time reckoning.

The First Cause

My first cause is to live at the expense of my environment. Because I perceive myself as a separate being who must fight to survive, I experience this adversarial relationship with my environment.

Because I believe I own my own experience of living, I feel a need to protect it from the ever-present threat of lack. Therefore, I feel I must fight to achieve against the tsunami of lack waging war against me.

What if I question my causal intention to be whole? Might I expose an underlying paradox in which I apply a problem as a solution?

  • What does my intention to be whole presuppose? (lack!)
  • How am I satisfying that intention? (limited awareness!)
  • Why do I have this intention? (to experience limiting awareness!)
  • Who am I as a result of my intention? (fearful and defensive!)

My default is to believe I must fight and defend to achieve wholeness. How do I achieve wholeness without fighting for it? Maybe an investigation of my first cause is in order?

What if seeing my life as a problem to be solved is itself a problem to solve – that cannot be solved by solving the problem! I can’t solve a problem using the strategy that created the problem.

As long as I perceive my life as a problem, I can’t solve it!

What might happen when I stop the fight by releasing the sense of debt inherent in the first cause. That release might appear like surrender of the fear of death.

What might happen to me when I release my fear of death? Might I then realize the wholeness I already am and transition out of my bubble of limited awareness?

What if the solution to the problem I perceive is the realization that there never was a problem to solve? Perhaps the first cause is false.

Fear and the Choice-Defense Algorithm

Consider how fear validates lack at the physical level by motivating the fulfillment of physical needs. That physical sense of fear influences choice-making by effectively removing options. Fewer options means more time available for fulfilling needs. That’s critical in life-or-death choices where use of time makes that choice.

From an instinctual perspective, choice may be entirely based on compliance to symbolic representations and pattern recognition. Thus, my choices defend my certainty of the reality of my symbolic representations.

Fear is the driving force of compliance – an intense, unquestionable obedience that motivates all need fulfillment.

If the instinctive world had a motto, it would be, “Do what you know!” Perhaps conscious choice threatens that knowing by questioning the certainty of the motto.

Because of the primal nature of instinct, questioning the motto will initiate defense. Fear represents preemptive defense of the motto, preventing me from even asking by returning my consciousness to the instinctive state.

Questioning is only half the equation – consideration is the other.

The Choice-Defense Algorithm

The choice-defense algorithm is a filtering process. Perception of an option’s value and immediacy affects the algorithm. For example, a high-stakes option will eliminate all lower-stakes options from the competition. My investment in fear artificially elevates an option’s value to higher-stakes. Repeated use of a certain fear in choice-making results in a bias in its favor. Thus, raising the stakes on certain options as they appear.

When I feel I have time to consider many options, I’ll filter them through a value-based mental/emotional consideration sieve. This filtering process is steeped in instinct. I already have a bias and preconception of the outcome of the process. In other words, it’s not a choice, it’s a defense algorithm!

The algorithm takes into account each option’s relative characteristics – based on a knowing. Like choosing between chocolate or vanilla ice cream – I’ll select the option I already believe is best – a bias. This because we select through symbolism. For example, I compare vanilla to chocolate in symbols I perceive as color, taste, temperature, etc. I then defend my “choice” with an explanation or reason for why it is better or best.

It’s an unfair comparison process because I’ve added biased value to MY selection compared to others. Competition and defense – the cardinal characteristics of my bubble of limited awareness.

Fear adds preemptive defense value to the already biased choice-defense algorithm, returning choices to the realm of instinct.

Permanence, Relativity, and Change

Relativity, Change, and Permanence

Permanence is relative to the perspective of the one perceiving it. For example, I perceive the sun and earth as permanent. I expect the earth to continue to rotate in its day-night cycle indefinitely. Yet, I also know that the sun and earth did not always have that relationship. At one point in time, neither existed as I know them now. Their relationship only appears permanent because I’m comparing it to my lifetime. It’s relative!

Likewise, the permanence of truth is relative to the one perceiving it. My truth appears permanent to me when I hold onto it long enough.

Change, on the other hand, is a permanent condition. Everything in the universe is in a state of change. That because everything moves in relation to everything else.

My perspective has a frame of reference I perceive as permanent truth. Certainty represents my commitment to that truth in this framework of reality. Defense of that perspective focuses attention that eliminates all other possible realities. Life OR death. That’s quite a limitation!

Questioning Myself

Nature presents me feedback about my relationships with myself. That feedback gives me an opportunity to experience myself in ever-changing ways. Without a clear understanding of how to interpret those opportunities, I may miss out on some insightful perspectives.

Limited by faulty reasoning and minimal awareness, even the best self-inquiry questions will tend to build false equations from my imagination – like assumptions. For example, “If this, then that.”

Defense represents the value I place on myself. When I challenge a defense, I’m challenging my own value. I’m also challenging the value of my certitude – and my idea of permanence. Questions may help me shake loose the stuck permanent-truth frame.

To investigate myself, I may want to start with letting go of false equations by questioning assumptions.

  • Who am I if not who I appear? (clue: listen to feedback from “others” – especially those you resist)
  • Why do I care about appearances? (clue: probably not what you think)
  • How do I feel and behave about who I am? (clue: check in with the body first. Emotion will more likely invoke mental defense rather than insight)
  • What do my senses tell me about who I am? (clue: report it out loud to yourself for a cool effect)

Change and My Need for Permanence

I like to think that if something is true it never changes – it’s permanent. I try to make my beliefs permanent by defending them against change, thereby making them true.

I intend for my truths to be so well defended that they are beyond question, even from me. Questioning my beliefs would be equivalent to attacking what’s right and good, permanent and therefore true.

Certainty of my truths defends the intention to put them beyond question. That certainty is like a dam that I build for my rightness against the flow of change. Thus, certainty makes my intention appear permanent – just like truth!

What About Resistance?

I define the non-disturbed state of no movement as permanence. And the disturbed state of movement as change. Each state serves the other through the contrast inherent in their complementary differences. I experience existence in the relationship between the two states.

Perhaps the resistance in those interactions serve as proof of permanence and change. Thus, change serves permanence and visa versa resulting in a reckoning of time. The tic-toc of permanence and change, cause and effect, disturbed and non-disturbed states evidences this relationship.

What about Psychological Permanence and Change?

Who am I in relation to my psychological environment?

That which I resist tends to exist. Change involves breaking down resistance, which my need for permanence rejects. I attend to what I resist in order to conform it to fit my beliefs. Once I do, I let go of my attention to it. That frees my attention to move on to other problems I need to solve.

Here then is choice – to embrace change and permanence through their defense. When I choose one, I also choose its complement – thus, the “and” bit. I defend one option with active attention, I defend its complement with passive attention in denial.

I give equal value to their defense as benefit or threat. Arguments for and against compete for my attention. Thus, choice validates the conceptual separation between permanence and change. Of course, what I believe is choice may instead be a defense of value. Value defends my belief in competition in the context of my own survival competence.

In limited awareness, I’m never in possession of all the facts. Every choice, therefore, includes some element of assumption not based in fact. For example I choose this because it appears to be more permanent than that. I must see competitors as competitors in order to make a choice. I compete for and against truth as I perceive it competes with me. We’re both competitors!

Perhaps truth is relative to the value I assign to my concept of self: How valuable am I?