Investigating My Fearful Manifestations

In my limited awareness bubble, what is true is also what is right. I interpret every manifestation according to what I intend to be right of me. The first thing I intend to be right about is my survival. I then work to prove that interpretation right, which I present as invulnerability to death. My fear of death makes me defend against vulnerability!

I hide my vulnerability to control my presentations of what I intend others to believe is right about me – that I’m invulnerable! I look for feedback to confirm whether my presentation is convincing or not.

Manifestation provides feedback I can use to validate my beliefs. Yet, when need requires belief to outweigh facts, interpretation of manifestation can be a powerful convincer.

“A man sees what he wants to see and disregards the rest.” (The Boxer, Simon and Garfunkel)

Because I can imagine a scenario in which even the most benign thing might hurt me, I live in a world of fear. That fear affects my interpretations, which affects my experiences!

Intention + Perception = Interpretation of Manifestation

Fearful intentions affect perceptions that affect interpretations of manifestations to prove rightness of fearful intentions. Because I live in a world of fear, here’s how I do this:

  1. I set a fearful intention to prove right my first intention, to survive.
  2. My perceptions make me aware of my symbolic representations of fear.
  3. I compare those symbols with my fearful intention.
  4. I interpret manifestations according to those symbols to fit my fearful intention.
  5. This interpretation proves that my fearful intention is right.
  6. I defend my rightness against the appearance of threat.
  7. Thus, I’m successful in fulfilling my first intention – to survive.

Since I tend to judge based on my sense of sight, my perceptual interpretation of visual appearance can affect the accuracy of my experience. For example, I might distrust a person dressed as a clown based on a scary experience I had of a clown. It doesn’t have to be a threat to present a threat. It’s in my interpretation of the presentation.

When I see someone else’s vulnerability exposed, I may feel relief that it wasn’t me exposed! On the other hand, their exposure confirms the possibility of my exposure. Thus, strengthening my fear of exposure and my need to defend against it.

Eventually, it becomes less about defending myself against real threats and more about defending myself against the appearance of threat. And what is the greatest threat? That which challenges my first intention – rightness!

What About Self-Inquiry?

How can I inquire about the true nature of Self when such inquiry may challenge my rightness and/or expose my inquiry to attack? How do I make a challenge without provoking a defense against it? What happens when I see myself as a threat?

As long as a question appears as a threat that invokes the very mechanism we described above to defend against it, how do I even begin to ask?

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Self Inquiry and Doubt

In my bubble of limited awareness – my first intention is to survive. One lives by being right and dies by being wrong. So, my first intention is to be right and survive.

Right = life
Wrong = death

This is not just for the survival of my body, it’s also for the survival of my thoughts and emotions. I use “I’m right” thinking all the time as preemptive defense against any possible threat to body, mind, or emotions. Because mind doesn’t do feelings, it must attempt to “translate” them in order to effect a complete self-convincing defense.

Where right = life and wrong = death, thought + emotion = convincing reality

Without questioning feelings with an intention to learn who I truly am, mind assumes it’s on target with its defense to keep me believing who I think I am. Thus, adding to a spiral of “wrong” feelings that mind tries to respond to with defense.

What happens when heart and mind lose trust in each other because of this continuing conflict over survival?

Questioning and Doubt

I can’t doubt myself because that feels like being wrong. The only kind of inquiry of a personal nature I practice is to divert questions about me to perceived issues with/in others. “Why is that guy such a jerk?!” “What’s her problem?!” and etc.

In nature, creatures protect themselves from being vulnerable to predation. Humans apply this principle to their psychology. This appears as defensive mental and emotional states, behaviors, and perceptions. To protect myself from psychological threats, I present an unquestionable and persistent “self-image.” This persona defends all intentions from even the possibility of threatening questions.

I especially avoid provocative questions like:

“Who do I think I am?”
“Why do I keep messing up?”
“What’s wrong with me?”

These questions are driven by an intentionally combative persona bent on provoking defense. Inquiry based on defending my negative self-image can provoke further defense to validate my ever-growing need for a feeling of safety.

I must feel safe enough before I respond to an introspective question without defense. Especially when that question comes from the outside – like when you ask me about me. To allow you to question me is to introduce an element of doubt, which implies vulnerability. I have defenses at the ready for even the slightest perception of vulnerability!

With my ever-growing need for safety, and belief that questioning exposes me to threat , what are the chances I’ll allow a truly introspective question?

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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?
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A Fight for Love

In First-Second Degree of Illumination bubble awareness, I believe I have to fight for everything that supports my need to survive. I label whatever I feel works in my favor as love.

I fight against whatever threatens what I believe I’m right about. Nothing’s more worthwhile or noble than that, in my opinion. Thus, love equates to defending for what’s right and against what’s wrong.

What’s the payoff?

What’s the payoff for equating all this conflict and pain is about love? Why all the fighting and competition? Maybe to sustain my storyline?

While in bubble awareness, I cannot view my story from a perspective outside the bubble. Only imagine it – which imaginings would arise from within the bubble! This is how bubble awareness supports and defends itself – and keeps me in it!

Within my bubble awareness, I attend to those things that grab that awareness – especially those that might threaten my bubble, my life, my story. Attention tends to add intensity value to my story with use.

Compelled to Fight

To fight the good fight, I must invest all my attention into creating and maintaining defense. That means developing strategies intended to battle for and win the greatest of causes. One of those strategies is to feel right, proper and justified, a reward for all who intentionally do good.

Another reward for furthering the cause is an increase in sense of superiority. Helping others attain what they need and are unaware of can feel fulfilling. Such feelings allow me to justify my sense of separateness as I stand alone for rightness. When I’m in my element of being right, proper,and justified, I’m a hero! If only others could appreciate that. After all, it’s just common sense to praise all who believe as I do and feel loathing or pity for those who don’t.

Compelled by Love

Love compels me to fight for it. Because I know what’s right and wrong, everyone else should too. I feel frustrated and alone when I must carry out my duty of defending right from wrong – all by myself!

My defensive strategies have become routine. I convince others to join my fight of right-thinking through enticements, and I shame or threaten them with harm. The last type of convincer, the threat of harm, I save for when I’m feeling desperate! It’s my or else card, which I play as a last resort. It can feel a bit embarrassing when I have to shut my mouth, curb my behavior, and leave feeling unloved. I imagine negative thoughts of on-lookers as they stare silently back at me.

When a strategy fails, my imagination goes to work convincing me… again… why love, as I perceive it, needs defending. I sometime resort  to self-deception, which can feel petty, yet, at least I feel justified for trying!

Those who disagree with my truth are the losers. In this environment, I experience a level of self-vindication that satisfies my need for self-validation. I love the deep affirmation of love I feel each time I do what is right, proper, and justified.

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How My Culture Governs My Experience

Within my bubble of limited awareness, by culture, I mean,  “the social behavior and norms found in human societies.” (Wikipedia) And by governance, I mean, “the way rules, norms and actions are structured, sustained, regulated and held accountable through the laws, norms, power or language of an organized society.” (Wikipedia)

When we agree on something, we add value to our defense of that something. As I parse that something into its constituent parts, I often find that I disagree in principle with some aspects. I find I favor those principle aspects that confirm my current beliefs and my place in the world (confirmation bias).

Where did I get my beliefs about myself and place in the world?

Perhaps I inherited most of my fundamental beliefs about me and the world from my ancestors through DNA and the influence of their culture. In which case, I didn’t just suddenly upon birth “invent” my beliefs. No! I came complete with a HUGE belief repertoire already. All supported, reinforced, and refined through education by the culture into which I was born.

Chief among these beliefs concerns limitations – what I can and can’t do, what I can and can’t have, who I can and can’t be. Self-regulation through cultural limitations on perception of reality.

How does my culture regulate my experience?

My culture instills in me my default point of view – what is right, justified, and proper. This defines the “I” that seems independent of while being part of – and out of which springs all my judgments, comparisons, and behaviors. Once installed, these beliefs become self-evident, self-defended, and self-limiting.

Infinite Self, therefore, perceives itself as finite self – defended by a culture of limitation – without external support, prompting, or force. Self-regulation!

It’s a systemic model of being in which each part regulates itself in support of the whole. Thus, my geopolitical cultural system limits, defends, and supports its particular version of reality through agreement among its constituents. Each member buying into the cultural self-limits by regulating themselves to its perspectives. Thus, “we” becomes “I”.

Within a culture, disagreement tends to exclude, while agreement tends to include self into that larger narrative. Thus, each “I” perceives itself in terms of “we”.

Why do I support self-limitation?

“Can’t we all just get along?” (President Dale, Mars Attacks, 1996)

I don’t mind a little limitation because it adds to my sense of safety. Over time, though, that sense of safety tends to narrow the parameters of what I will and won’t allow as acceptable experience. In the absence of culture, I tend to regulate self according to those parameters. Waddya know, self-regulation through my own culture of fear!

I tend to surround myself with “agreeable” people that confirm my cultural views. I start with my parents’ culture that I defend as my default perspective. With time and experience, I live my life in defense of it.

My personal philosophy confirms and sustains my culture that confirms and sustains my personal philosophy. It’s a self-referential paradox! This paradox, in turn, forms the basis of my judgments, justifications, and propriety. I’m always in agreement with and regulate myself to the cultural limits I experience as this story. MY culture’s story becomes MY story. MY culture’s philosophies become MY philosophies. And visa versa!

Who am I as a result?

I perceive myself and my world in terms of the culture to which I subscribe. This cultural bias defends itself in my perception of “what is” and “what is not” – reality. I tend to ignore or not perceive outside that bubble of limited awareness. True self-regulation!

Therefore, I am the cultural limitation I impose upon myself in order to agree with and sustain and be sustained by that culture of limitation. Even my disagreements are framed to regulate myself to that standard. It’s a paradox of self-reference, self-regulation, and self-defense. It’s life within “the bubble” – the ultimate paradox.

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