It’s a Question of Paradoxical Policies on Automatic

In his entertaining skits, David Alan Grier’s character, Calhoun Tubbs, has a song ready for every occasion. No matter how inappropriate the situation or his application of song he wrote. He thus presents a question of paradoxical policies on automatic.

“Wrote a song about it! Like to hear it? Here it go!”
(David Alan Grier as Calhoun Tubbs, In Living Color)

Most of my personal policies are so automatic and happen so quickly, I fail to notice them in action. That is, until I question one by paying it some attention. For example, I DIDN’T NOTICE that while sitting at my desk typing this, my breathing was shallow. That is, until I NOTICED! Then, suddenly, my breathing changed. BY NOTICING, I turned an unconscious automatic conditional policy into a conscious strategy that resulted in a different outcome.

A Question of Awareness

In every conditional policy, there is an inherent question:
“Is my perception of the situation true?” Or, more succinctly, “Is it true?”

In order to NOTICE, I must QUESTION an assumption – that I perceive the situation correctly. In order to QUESTION its accuracy, I must NOTICE my perception of a situation or condition. Thus, it would seem, awareness and questioning go hand-in-hand.

My conscious awareness tends to focus mostly on outcomes. That is, did my process result as I intended? The answer to that question supplies the trigger for the next policy –

  • Yes, it worked! So, initiate a policy to –
    • Strengthen the policy through favor
    • Use the policy again
    • Increase trust in the policy
  • No, it didn’t work. So, initiate one or more of the following policies –
    • Scapegoat!
    • Blame!
    • Escape detection!
    • Deflection!
    • Confusion!
    • Reevaluate my procedures (how I carried out the policy).

Note the avoidance of a policy to –

  • Question my policy.
  • Reevaluate my philosophy.
  • Question my beliefs.
  • Take accountability.

Four Questions!

Something happened and I reacted. I might ask 4 questions that may lead me to some awareness. I might ask myself as soon as I regain my thinking capacity, “What happened and what did I do?” Then –

  1. WHAT ACTUALLY happened? (Was the situation true as I perceived it? Yes or No? Assumption: No!)
  2. Assuming my incorrect perception, how would I react/behave given what ACTUALLY happened? “Apply a new policy!”
  3. Why would I do something different given what ACTUALLY happened?
  4. Who is perceiving what ACTUALLY happened?

The same set of questions could be used to deescalate a threatening situation –

  1. WHAT is ACTUALLY happening? (What is the current situation?)
  2. HOW does the ACTUAL situation appear to me? (Inventory your sensory feedback – not your emotions!)
    1. What do I see – right now?
    2. What do I hear – right now?
    3. Where do I feel it in my body – right now?
    4. What do I taste – right now?
    5. What do I smell – right now?
  3. WHY would I assign [a negative emotion like fear] to this ACTUAL situation? (new answer: “I wouldn’t!”)
  4. WHO is in charge of my perception of this situation? (the answer to that is – “I’m the one who’s perceiving this.”)
  5. WHO’S the policy maker?” (the answer is – “me.”)
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Questioning Perception to Clarify Choice

How Choice Confirms the Paradox I Intend to Resolve

I rarely think about my intentions when people are agreeable and things are going well. I may still be unaware of my intentions when I act on perceived threats, reverting automatically to defense. This because my focus is on choice as the application of defense of the intention rather than on the intention. Regardless of my intentions, any choice I consider or make within the bubble is in defense of the separation paradox.

Thus, choice defends intention that defends perception.

That seems like a pretty poor strategy for resolving a paradox! How do I intend to resolve a paradox by choosing to confirm it? That sounds a bit confusing to me!

Might confusion be the strategy of choice?

Consider how convinced you feel when reason aligns with perception. When “how” and “why” align with sensory “what” – “I know this is true, because [a logical reason].” As I consider how stubbornly unmovable I get when I feel convinced of my “truth”, a little confusion may indeed be in order.

How does that work?

I use automation, of course! I engage a policy-management, self-regulating process to carry out my choices without question. Think mechanical process – “When this, do that.” Over time and experience, I learn to trust my choices – no questions necessary!

When I choose for, I also choose against. The process defends both sides of the argument. From an energy conservation perspective, it’s brilliant! The same reason I use in defense of one option I favor also defends why I’m right in not choosing another option. In choosing the road to the left, I’ve also chosen not to take the road to the right – for the same reasons.

Although this process manipulates conflicting concepts to maintain a sense of rightness, it adds paradox to paradox.

Let’s Recap!

  1. By perceiving, I set up a fundamental paradox of deficit within wholeness.
  2. I intend to resolve this paradox by setting up a system in which need-fulfillment feels like paradox resolution.
  3. To defend the intention, I create a life story that sets the parameters within which, as the hero, I must satisfy the ultimate need – survival of the paradox!
  4. I sustain the fundamental paradox by masking it behind paradoxical choices.

I can challenge my choices. Why? Because they’re not set in stone! They’re just concepts I’ve accepted as “right” and so, true. By questioning a choice, I open a space for understanding the philosophy and intent behind it. I might even let go of my defense of the current choice. It’s at least an opening.

Questioning

Questioning my choices may be cutting myself short of a realistic answer. My process isn’t designed to question itself because it is the answers. It has the right reasons for my survival and simply applies an appropriate defense. Therefore, questions intended to check the reasons for a system of defense must come from outside the system. Questions from within a system of defense tend to confirm the system.

Perhaps questioning my intention,rather than my perception would open a space for something new. Change the input change the output.

This means I want to design questions that awaken the process and its system of defense to itself. The answers to those questions will bring enlightenment to the process and promote clarity to a paradoxical reality.

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Who’s Reading My Story?

Endless Attention

Within my bubble, my attention is held tightly to what validates my personal identity, my precious premise – my truth. My attention gives value to my story, which is based on my premise. That premise is – I must succeed by EARNING wholeness through righteous endeavor. I must HAVE something to DO something to BE something.

I fight for and defend anything that validates the usefulness of my cause in gaining wholeness. The cause inspires me to write on the pages of my memory the nobleness, the purity of purpose, and the rightness of reason of that cause. No story of heroism can surpass the glorious adulation one feels in pursuit of the greatest cause of all – the quest for wholeness. I use this sales pitch to convince myself to keep going.

Because I’ve bought my sales pitch, my choice-supportive bias kicks in to justify my purchase. My confirmation bias confirms and supports my justification.

Whatever threatens and/or validates my sacred cause gets the full attention of my biases. I’m now becoming aware of the demand for constant alertness and defense my story places on my attention and awareness. I’ve developed such strong patterns of judging, analyzing, and proving the rightness of my premise, that I don’t have a life for anything else.

The author has become the story.

Sometimes, when I’m able to sneak in a controversial thought like, “I wonder if I’m right about this!” I feel there might just be another way to see my questionable premise.

Questioning My Premise

I fear, and so defend against, learning I’m wrong. This fear binds me to my belief in unwholeness. Thus, I feel I must forever pursue my premise.

The book is not the story nor its author. The book can only be a book, the story can only be a story, while the author IS all of these and more. I’m not only the bubble I perceive I’m in. I am not only the limitation I perceive controls my experience. As the author of my story, I am all of these and more.

I’m Also The One Reading My Story!

I’ve enjoyed reading many books including those written by J.R.R. Tolkien. I wished I had had him here with me to answer my endless questions that left me wondering what he meant and imagining what I thought he imagined.

Though I can’t ask Tolkien, I can question the author of my story. Funny how seldom I look to the author of my story when I have a question about it. Questioning my questionable premises has lead me to investigate beyond my basal premise.

Who Is Beyond?

Beyond the bubble of limited awareness, my intention is to fully account for my authorship. From this perspective I understand and appreciate all my experiences based on a new premise – I AM whole already. I AM therefore I DO and therefore I HAVE.

This way of thinking opened up my limited awareness bubble and invited my authorship to write my story in a new way.

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Questioning the Wholeness Prize

Imagine you’re in a limited awareness bubble participating in a win-or-lose game based on simple thinking errors. You may assume that you are unwhole, a premise based on satisfying perceived needs by cooperating with an external reality. When you take in and let go of what is needful to satisfy your requirements in the bubble you then may feel like a winner. You may also assume wholeness is the ultimate game prize.

That assumption is an artifact of life perceived within the bubble of limited awareness – a conclusion based on questionable premises and false equations. From that perspective, even “reasonable” equations result in unreasonable yet apparently logical conclusions – that appear as my life story.

From a perspective beyond bubble awareness, wholeness takes on an entirely different understanding. To get to that understanding, let’s start with an investigation of our premise that wholeness can and must be won or earned.

How Do I Support Questionable Premises?

Questionable premises are those that invite inquiry and scrutiny – question-able. Let’s look at the structure of some questionable premises and how they create false equations in the thinking process:

  • Premise: I must be right to be whole
    • False equations:
      • Anything less than right = wrong = unwhole
      • Success = right = whole = life
      • Wrong = failure = death
  • Premise: I can earn/achieve wholeness
    • False equations:
      • Success = achievement of wholeness
      • Sufficient education = success
      • Sufficient rightness = success
  • Premise: Wholeness is a prize
    • False equations:
      • Anything less than wholeness = failure = loss/lose
      • I am less than whole = I am a failure = I am a loser
      • Given enough time, energy, work, meditation, etc. => I WILL become whole (a future that never arrives)

Within my bubble awareness, I create a body-mind competition developed around relationships. When I  fashion an internal sense of self that compares my truths to the misunderstandings of others – who, in turn, compare my understanding to their completely unreasonable standards based on their questionable premises.

Example of how my false equations support my questionable premises:

“Because I haven’t yet become whole, I must be unwhole.”
“I am unwhole, so I must be a loser.”
“Because I need to win to live, I must not lose.”
“Because winning equates to wholeness, I must achieve wholeness.”
Therefore:
“Wholeness is the ultimate prize that I must win, yet, can’t win.”

Some reasoning errors that sustain my false or questionable premises:

  • Logic levels errors (also known as the non-sequitur fallacy) – This refers to logic leaps between BEING, DOING, and HAVING. Logic level leaps take the cause-effect form: if one logic level, then another logic level. For example: IF I DO something good then I AM good, I AM what I DO.
    Example: “Because I can’t stop smoking, I must be weak-willed.”
    Just because you can’t DO something, it does not follow that you ARE unwhole.
  • Cherry picking – “A man sees what he wants to see, and disregards the rest.”
    Example: “The boss shot down my idea at the meeting today. I’m such a loser!”
    Never mind the times when your boss accepted your ideas.
  • Circular reasoning – in which the conclusion supports the premises which supports the conclusion.
    Example: “I’m a loser because I know what a winner looks like and that’s not how I look.”
    Note how I’m the authority that proves the authority.

The key to resolving questionable premises is to question them with intent to receive answers and to understand. An unquestioned premise will most likely remain intact and active as it is. Sometimes simply questioning a premise will resolve it – resulting in a new and possibly more useful state of mind.

How to Question a Premise

Get into a meditative, relaxed state. With an intent to understand, let go of your need for understanding and how answers to these questions must appear to you. Once the body is completely comfortable and relaxed, it’s in a baseline condition. Any sensation that pops up can be considered an “answer” to the question. With this awareness, ask, listen to the body, and acknowledge responses from Self.

Elicit the Premise:

  1. Who: (premise)
    • do I believe I am that needs to manifest in this way?
    • do I think I am that needs to feel this way?
      • ex: “I’m a failure!” “I’m unworthy.” “I’m unwhole.” “I’m angry!”
    • else sees me in this way?
  2. Why: (defense)
    • do I need to think, feel, and behave in this way?
    • must I express myself this way?
    • do I care what others think, feel, and express about me?
  3. How: (expression)
    • do I express that belief?
    • does this behavior affect this experience?
    • do others see me?
    • do I want others to see me?
  4. What: (judgement)
    • do I believe about me in this situation?
    • am I trying to express?
    • am I seeking from my expression?
    • do I need from others?
    • does my expression tell others about me?

Question the Premise:

  1. What must I assume in order for me to judge myself and others as I have? (Questioning the judgment of my premise)
  2. How would my life appear without that assumption? (Questioning the expression of my premise)
  3. Why do I assume this? Why do I need to feel this way? (Questioning my defense of my premise)
  4. Who would I be without this premise? (Questioning the validity of my premise)

Again – LISTEN with openness. Pay attention to your body – which may “speak” your answers to you in the language of sensation and movement. You might notice a sensation or movement and note its intensity:

  • What sensation do I feel? (hot, cold, tense, itchy, etc.)
  • Where do I feel it? (as precise as you can without pointing or touching it – just describe it in you mind)
  • How intensely do I feel it? (maybe on a scale of 0 to 10 with 10 being completely unbearable)

Note: sensations are not questions – they are responses/answers to questions. Resist the temptation to ask a sensation for its meaning. In this case, meaning is another mind game that can result in circular reasoning – “I feel tight in the jaw because I’m angry, which makes my jaw tight…”. Just “listen” and “acknowledge” – maybe express gratitude – then accept the information.

At some point, such questioning may result in an AHA moment that leads to a Third Degree of Illumination choice.

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Transformation of Resistance into Acceptance

One of the cardinal characteristics of Second Degree of Illumination awareness is psychological resistance. I sometimes refer to it as defensiveness. What is it you resist: A change? Yourself? Someone you don’t like? A concept you find difficult to understand?

According to Newton’s Law of Inertia, opposition to change is a natural physical law. I like to think I obey the law – which gives me little comfort when I’m suffering from a case of inner conflict!

In my world, I know what is right and oppose all challenges to that! Maybe my opposition extends to anything resembling a challenge. That is, I oppose everything I think might appear different from what I think it should appear.

Resisting Acceptance of Self

Resisting keeps me firmly within bubble awareness. This protects my conscious awareness from the imagined “horrors” of Fourth Degree of Illumination acceptance of personal accountability. Within the bubble, I define accountability in terms of blame. I don’t want to be blamed, so I avoid liability or assign it to “others.”

Trouble with blame is that, as the owner of my perceptual world, there is no one outside me to accept it! So, blame goes down as an attribution error – full of pain! I don’t like pain and, yet, here I am – producing it for myself by resisting. And, the more I resist the pain, the more pain I feel. Egad!

How to Transform Resistance into Self Acceptance

Resistance is an essential element of awareness, without which I’d notice nothing. Like you need friction in order to feel something, the reason you notice something is because it represents a concept that resists the oblivion of unawareness.

What might happen were you to take charge of your struggle against acceptance? How would acknowledging your creation affect your experience as a human in a world of your own imagination?

Through my recent practice of meditation, I’m coming to a realization that I am the creator of my perceptions. This awareness transforms psychological resistance into acceptance and gratitude.

When you feel physical pain, emotional distress, or mental struggle, meditate on questions like these:

  • What/who do I resist right now? (alt: What/who do I fear/need?)
  • How do I resist it/them? (alt: How does that fear/need appear?)
  • Why do I resist it/them? (alt: What do I get out of fearing/needing this?)
  • Who am I as a result of resisting this/them? (alt: What/who does my fear/need affect?)

(IMPORTANT – listen for a question! If you hear an answer, it’s probably your ego speaking your expectation – confirming your current belief! Just ask the question and listen to the silence.)

I may then meditate on positive affirmations that support self-acceptance. For example:

  • I accept who I am now.
  • All my perceptions reflect who I think I am.
  • I am the creator of my perceptions.
  • I love everyone when I love myself.

Within First-Second Degree of Illumination bubble awareness, meditation is a form of personal responsibility that serves to awaken a sleeping Self. This affords me opportunities for Third Degree of Illumination choice, which then opens my awareness to Fourth Degree of Illumination acceptance of self-accountability.

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