How My Belief in Law Affects My Philosophy

My limited awareness bubble is based on laws and my need to follow them. To follow any law, I must first justify it as a law. My justifications create a paradoxical reality where reason considers philosophy as evidence in a cause-and-effect story. This convinces me that laws are real.

Therefore, I believe and obey external laws and their appearances of cause and effect in nature. In a similar way, I obey my internal laws, which manifest cause and effect of my philosophies in thoughts and emotions.

My internal laws seem as inescapable in their power over me as the undeniable power of external laws. My acceptance of fear as an internal law gives it as much power as the external law of gravity.

  1. External laws teach me about relationships within the natural world. This through a physical process. This insures that cause and effect are carried out in compliance with the laws that that process represents. Thus, I perceive interactions between forces of nature, like energy, matter, their functions and forms.
  2. Internal laws teach me about my *paradoxical relationship with self in its own world. This through a nonphysical process that insures that cause and effect are carried out in compliance with the laws that that process represents. Thus, I experience interactions of cause and effect in how I interpret my thoughts and emotions, choices and perceptions.

*A paradox is a statement that, despite apparently sound reasoning from true premises, leads to an apparently self-contradictory or logically unacceptable conclusion. Wikipedia

My Paradoxical Philosophy of Fear

My philosophies and the stories that define them are paradoxical. A philosophy keeps me accountable to laws through obedience. I feel I can’t control laws, yet, I can justify them using a paradoxical philosophy.

The stories I create to represent my philosophies string together the paradoxical effects of my thinking process. One law can have many philosophical cause-and-effect stories that defend it. For example, fear as a law dictates that my day-to-day story-lines should follow a philosophy that supports a fear of: lack, death, suffering, pain, being alone, etc.

Paradoxical Fear Equations

My logic equations illustrate how I process a paradoxical philosophy in defense of law. My equations protect and support my understanding and trust in law. This reminds me of an incident when I believed in and obeyed fear as a law while shopping. I backed that law with a philosophy of lack that supported it. At checkout, I realized I lacked the money for my purchases. That’s when a fear of lack kicked-in – “See, you were right to be afraid!” said my inner storyteller. My philosophy hijacked the law of cause and effect to justify my fear.

This fear-based illogical logic equation looks like:
Lack + Fear = Fear of Lack

A fear of lack is a fear of not having so, what I feared at checkout wasn’t about money. It was about not knowing what was going to happen next. That kind of not knowing can feel like an eternity of psychological torture. At any moment, I can find myself wanting to escape from a future I fear might happen. That experience confirmed that I am always subject to my beliefs through my process. I realized then that I was living with paradoxical equations that differ from my present intentions.

This fear-based illogical logic equation looks like:
Not knowing + Fear = Fear of not knowing

Ultimately, my thinking supports a process in which paradoxical philosophies defend paradoxical laws.

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Projection and the Dance of Light

I imagine my life as a projection in limited illumination. I perceive a dance between light and dark that makes everything appear real. Contrast provides a sense of definition that I use to compare and judge. These judgements turn light into a story.

Ever notice how poorly other people behave? Maybe your boss is a jerk, some guy on the news robbed a store, and your teenage son… well, you get the idea. Some people! Why do they do bad things?

Perhaps you’ve noticed how amazing some people are. People who can play an instrument, sing well, create artwork, or some other great accomplishment. The world is full of really amazing people doing amazing things. Amazing! Why can they do such amazing things?

The answer to those questions may surprise you! It did me! And still does when I find myself knocking on the doors of Fourth Degree of Illumination awareness.

From a Fourth Degree perspective, within First-Second Degree of Illumination bubble awareness, I develop an external sense of Self by projecting aspects of myself as perceptions of others, creating an apparent relationship (me vs you). By Self, I mean that entity of consciousness that is and interacts with everything it perceives – body, mind, environment, the universe.

Dream Projection?

Ever try to see yourself? Not your body or your image in the mirror – you!

Perhaps I experience Self like scientists view black holes in space – through evidence of its effects on its environment. I can’t see a black hole. I can see its effects. In other words, I experience Self through the effects Self has on perception.

This is how I experience ME – in a perceptual relationship with NOT ME. This is the essence of bubble awareness – I defend a projection of ME that appears as NOT ME.

I project an image of ME as a defense to protect ME from NOT ME. Since NOT ME is only an apparition, I’m counting on my imagination to make that illusion real – and make me feel safe.

Projecting from a place of fear protects me from waking up. In that dream, fear guides and controls what I experience. When I’m protecting ME from NOT ME, it’s an indication I’m still believing in a dream.

When I recognize that dream as my dream, I recognize ME and NOT ME as ONE in a dance of light.

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My Emotional Investment in Defense

What have I noticed that I do?
I express the value I’ve attached to my thoughts in my emotional investment in their defense.

How do I do that?
Within First-Second Degree of Illumination bubble awareness, every investment in thought and action must be accounted for with defense – to accommodate and sustain my sense of rightness.

Why do I do that?
Within the bubble, defense satisfies my need to feel a certain way about my experience – right, justified, proper! When I’m in the bubble groove, I feel convinced that my experience is real, true, and exactly as I perceive it. Because it is not actually as I perceive it, I engage a mechanism to support my perception as the perception in order to sustain ME as the ultimate authority over all – Mr. Right. This, in turn, sustains the presentation of my beliefs in the thoughts I entertain about the presentation. Circular! Self-sustaining! Self-convincing! Right!

Who do I think I am as a result of doing it?
Within the bubble – I feel, therefore, I am. I get to believe I am who I am by witnessing who I am not. I am not any part of my perception – yet it feels like I am. Investment in emotional defense tends to pull me into a belief that, “I am what  I defend” – I am what I think, do, and feel.

Investment Beyond the Bubble

Beyond the bubble, defense is irrelevant. Values once used for emotional investment in defense are released from compulsory military service to explore whatever is beyond.

What if I am much more than my ideal bubble image I defend? How much more? What is beyond measure? What is beyond bubble awareness?

As Jelaluddin Rumi so eloquently put it:

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn’t make any sense.

(Essential Rumi by Coleman Barks)

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My Memory Ain’t What It Used to Be

I count on and trust my senses and my memory. After experiencing several optical, auditory, and kinesthetic illusions, I’m not quite as certain about my senses as I once was. So, if I’m dedicating illusions to memory and then trusting those memories today, wouldn’t that present a distorted view? Why do I trust them so much? Doesn’t make much sense.

“People tend to place greater faith in the accuracy, completeness and vividness of their memories than they probably should.” (Simons1)

Ya think so? As I’ve managed to survive into my sixties, I appreciate how fallible my memory is – especially when someone challenges my recall of an event with their recall of the same event. Sometimes it seems we’re talking about an entirely different event. As a defense mechanism, memory just ain’t what it used to be.

3 Misconceptions about Memory

Let’s consider three misconceptions about my memory and the truth about them based on scientific study of the phenomenon by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign2.

  1. Misconception – Human memory is like a video camera that accurately records information for later evaluation.
    • Truth – “We’ve known since the 1930s that memories can become distorted in systematic ways. For example, University of California professor Elizabeth Loftus and colleagues have managed to introduce entirely false memories that people believe and trust as if they had really happened.”
  2. Misconception – Memories do not change once the experiences are embedded in memory.
    • Truth – “We’ve known since the 1980s that even memory for vivid, very meaningful personal events can change over time. Our memories can change even if we don’t realize they have changed. Cornell University psychology professor Ulric Neisser showed that personal memories for the Challenger space shuttle explosion changed over time”
  3. Misconception – The testimony of a single confident eyewitness is adequate evidence to convict someone of a crime.
    • Truth – “Even confident witnesses are wrong about 30 percent of the time. That means that if a defendant can’t remember something, a jury might assume they are lying. And misremembering one detail can impugn their credibility for other testimony, when it might just reflect the normal fallibility of memory.”

“The fallibility of memory is well established in the scientific literature, but mistaken intuitions about memory persist.” (Chabris1)

If I can’t count on my senses or memories, what can I count on? Perhaps it depends on why I depend on them. For the most part, I rely on my senses and memories to validate reality – in defense of my beliefs. What will I do now that I know my memories and senses cannot be counted upon to give me accurate and truthful information?

What to Do?

It seems to me a bit of skepticism might fit well into my equations – along with a little humility towards others. I’m learning how okay it is to allow others to challenge my perceptions and memories – useful fodder for awakening in me an awareness of who I am beyond illusions and misunderstandings.

I don’t have to be right, ya know! Life will continue with or without my understanding of it. Perhaps it’s okay to be incorrect – now and then… 😉

Sources:

  1. Union College psychology professor Chris Chabris and University of Illinois psychology professor Daniel Simons coauthors of “The Invisible Gorilla.”
  2. “What People Believe About How Memory Works: A Representative Survey of the U.S. Population.” Online or from the U. of I. News Bureau. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
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The Transformation Option

I make lots of choices. Most concern defense of what I already believe and know.  Inside my First-Second Degree of Illumination safety bubble, my choices seem real: What will I have for breakfast? Will I drive or walk to the store? What will I wear to the party? These are choices of defense: Which defense feels like it satisfies my needs at this time? Yet, all these apparent choices freeze my conscious awareness well within the bubble. One day, I realize I want to explore what might exist outside my ever-shrinking bubble. I seek transformation. How might I do that?

A Transformation Catalyst

Inside the bubble, my attention is focused on defense in its many guises. When challenged, I’m ready! Defensiveness kept my ancestors alive when they lived on the plains of Africa and their neighbors considered them food. Today I lock my doors and pay for a police force to protect me and mine. Millions of years of no change.

Consider what that fear thought train does to me. It sets me up to live within an ever-shrinking bubble of fear and justified wariness. Since I’m keen to spot danger – and I assume my neighbors live with the same fearfulness – I protect myself and my family from everyone else to the degree that we’ve become dangerous to each other. Fear continues to breed fear, generating rings within rings of ever-solidifying defense. Safety first and always!

To break out of that limitation bubble, I must deal with my defenses. Formidable as they are, there must be some way to get past them. Perhaps a catalyst.

A chicken egg has a hard crust to protect what’s inside from outside influence. Great defense! And yet, as long as the shell remains intact, I get no omelet for breakfast. So, I apply a catalyst that conflicts with the shell. I strike the egg against the fry pan. The defense gives way and the contents become available for me to create a tasty omelet. Breached defense resulted in an omelet for breakfast.

At the point of impact, the egg was faced with a conflict. As long as the egg remained undisturbed, it would remain an egg, its contents forever locked up. In overcoming the egg’s defense, I offered the egg another option – to become something else. Transformation!

I define transformation as a thorough or dramatic change that remains after the action of a catalyst. The change affects all levels of consciousness though usually appears in the physical and psychological levels.

The Transformation Option

Sometimes in my life, things seem to be going my way. Important people agree with me, my food agrees with me, I agree with me – I feel like I’m on track. No challenges. All quiet on the western front, so to speak. Egg shell intact, safe. I don’t realize it yet, that while I’m busy attending to my sense of well-being, a transformation is forming. Why?

When we were a younger couple, we cared for our little children. They tended to make noise, which helped us know where they were and to some degree what they were up to. When things got quiet, we’d ask each other, “Where are the children?” Meaning – “What are they up to?” Quiet was usually an indicator that we should go check on them!

Peace – meaning the absence of conflict – may be an indicator that I’m solidly within my safety zone, the bubble, primed and ready for a challenge to my defenses. Perfect time to “check on the children” – to seek out and find the transformation option. Scary? Yes, when viewed from behind “the wall” of my fears. No, when viewed beyond fear, as one would in the realm of awakened consciousness in which one realizes the illusion of fear.

Getting past my fear barrier may mean cracking my protective egg shell. That may mean facing such fears as embarrassment, ridicule, wrongness, and defeat. Or, it may simply mean getting over my need to be right all the time. I have many relationships that offer a plethora of opportunities for conflict. Each conflict offers me options, one of which is the transformation option. Will I recognize it when I see it? Will I choose it when I recognize it? I wonder…

  • What’s on the other side of my shell?
  • How will I get past my fear that keeps me inside my shell?
  • Why do I fear transformation?
  • Who will enjoy that delicious omelet on the other side of my fears?
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