The Power of Emotion in a New Paradigm

Instinct is an IF THIS, DO THAT reactionary program that largely eliminates the need to problem-solve. Instinct provides a quick, default, problem-solving program intended to be an energy conservation system that works in most situations.

As problem-solvers, humans interpret their reality through sensory feedback from the body. In the old program of instinct, the mind dealt directly with the body and the environment. The senses communicated messages about benefits and threats from the body directly to the mind. The mind used that information to engage automatic responses to improve its chances of survival.

The Old Paradigm

In instinct, situation determined action: threat = flight, or threat = fight. No other options.

The instinctive program is fast and mostly effective. No need to take time to think, feel, or ask a question. Emotions provide stimulus in the form of inquiry that engages the mind in problem-solving. This new program works with feedback in a new way.

“The world that we have made as a result of the level of thinking we have done thus far creates problems that we cannot solve at the same level as the level we created them at. That is, the only way we can solve them is by creating a new level of thinking about them. In other words, we’ve got to break the [mind]set.” (Ram Das, “The Only Dance There Is” pg 38)

Beyond instinct, this movement of emotion challenges mind to bridge to the body through new intention and that from new information. That intention, raised in self awareness, is able to understand and direct the body at new levels of experience.

The New Paradigm

The new program became IF THIS, THINK ABOUT IT, DO THAT. This new paradigm uses the same emotions used in a new way – as counselor rather than director.

This new awareness is the result of an amplification of feedback from the body to the mind via the emotions. The mind becomes aware of the emotions’ influence and engages with responses consciously to problem solve. Acting as counsel to mind, the body experiences change as a sense of increased attention to its experiences.

By utilizing emotions to enhance survival, mind can put its imagination to work enhancing its experience of survival. This new mind takes account of its feelings, serving itself and its environment in a new, more powerful way.

When the mind interprets an experience, the emotions present a powerful change feedback mirror to it. This mirroring effect reflects a message of possible changes to consider while conserving energy. This while allowing itself to make changes to upgrade its program.

Today, I no longer have to live by an instinctive reactive program. I can take a moment to consider a, “What if…” or “What else…” question. Perhaps this is the process of evolution that will change homosapiens into neo-sapiens. And then knock on the door to the Aha Zone – and beyond…

The Messages of My Biases

In my bubble of limited awareness, I defend what I value. I value most what makes me right. My being right equates to survival. Thus, I must invest in confirming my rightness to confirm my ability to survive. Confirmation of rightness gives me a sense of satisfaction.

My need to be right is a bit of an addiction that affirms my sense of having value. With every confirmation of rightness, my sense of personal value increases, bringing me closer to my goal of wholeness.

I feel I must win or at least not lose. Bias lives by this gain/loss formula. I have a sense that I was born with bias because I need to feel success rather than failure. I set up a system for myself to “guarantee” success. This is like the guy who has a “fail-safe system” for beating the odds at the casino. That system is bias, a program that helps me cope with separateness.

My bias regulates my thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. When I have a rebellious thought, bias regulates me back into the safety of compliance with what is right. This is how bias serves a system of defense that favors the status quo. Thus, keeping me safe in my bubble of limited awareness.

A Conflict of Bias

For every argument, there are opposing biases. Because a bias is a bi-directional defense, there is that which it defends and that which it defends against. Therefore, a conflict exists between for and against. Bias illustrates a more fundamental perception in my limited awareness – that of me vs not me. This extends beyond my perception of me – in my social constructs.

For example, I want to support my society by contributing to its general benefit. My investment would include surrendering independence to the service of society and its relative safety. In this I feel a conflict. Why can’t I have independence AND safety?

This raises a question about my value system of loss/gain. Why do I have to give up something to get something? This haunts my relationship as an investor – because I must attend to the conflict of me vs not me.

Questioning Bias to Discover Its Message

I might question myself to discover my self-limiting biases and what messages they may have for me:

  • What society do I serve?
  • How do I serve?
  • Why do I serve?
  • Who do I serve?

Could Choosing Be a Hidden Defense?

In my world of limited awareness, making choices seems to be one of the most natural things we do as humans. So natural, we think we’re making choices even when we’re not. From choosing my words to choosing my mate, to choosing what flavor of creamer I put into my coffee, I think I’m making choices all the time.

Choice has some requirements – like a perception of comparable options from which to select. Comparing options makes the exercise of judgments necessary. Judging options by biased criteria limits awareness of possible alternatives. My rightness serves as the standard against which I judge options. Thus, perhaps most of what we call choice is actually a commitment to defend a judgment. Defending a choice is not a choice!

How can I know the difference between making and not making a choice? Especially when I think I’m making them all the time?

Automatic Choice Paradox

Responses to situations that seem threatening initiate automatic programs we obey without question. My life may depend on how I respond. What becomes automatic to obey is a program. Not all programs work the same way.

For example, when I turn my laptop on, certain programs initiate automatically without input from me other than pressing the power button. Once the computer is booted up, it presents me some choices – or so it appears. To fire up a program, I must tell the computer I want that program to run. I don’t dictate to the computer how that gets done. A program dictates that process. The more I learn about the operation of my laptop computer, the more useful it becomes to me.

How do my automatic programs affect my choices? I see them as a natural part of my daily life. Are they? Where does choice come in?

Although we may see choice as a means of solving limitation, the program for making a choice supports it. Paradox!

Questioning My Choices

Because I follow a set program for making choices, they cannot be considered free. Instead, I experience a sense of choice while obeying a program of defense without question. Even when I question my choice-making program, I’m obeying the previous choice-making program to make a choice to obey a new one! Catch-22!

When I ask an awareness-expanding question, I open a door to possibilities – where freedom of choice resides. In an instant of inspiration, one is faced with a choice between acceptance of accountability and the default, which is to return to defense. This “instant of choice” happens out of time – where flashes of inspiration and possibilities reside. The Aha Zone!

Maybe it’s time for me to question my choices – in a new way. Starting with an investigation of my selection-by-defense program.

Lack and the Intention to Be Whole

The first cause within my bubble of limited awareness is my intention to be whole. This intention presupposes that I’m not whole – lacking. Lack dictates that my thoughts and actions have a debt to pay to achieve wholeness.

I must defend lack to support my intention to be whole. Defense of lack limits my awareness to something short of whole. Therefore, I can never achieve wholeness. Instead, I’m forever in pursuit of it.

ANY intention is an acknowledgement and so defense of lack. Perhaps I might investigate lack for the purpose of celebrating it. After all, my defense of lack supports my cause to experience limitation. Because lack supports my intention, exploring it may help me appreciate it.

Fighting against lack is a fool’s errand. Embracing and investigating my lack helps me understand the intention that drives it. This empowers me to better apply compassion, where the Aha Zone expands awareness to possibilities that promote adaptation and evolution.

Exploring Lack

What is the purpose for perception of lack? In a world of limited awareness, everything would appear limited – lacking. This would create motivation in the form of pursuit of fulfillment. For example: Thirst must be quenched, hunger must be satisfied, death must be followed by life, and etc. Psychologically, thoughts and emotions seek resolution.

I live by reactive programs based in lack that I obey without question. There is no allowance for questioning. no need for understanding, only following the program. I obey my intention to create wholeness in a world of lack.

I use these programmed defenses of lack to perceive myself whole:

  • What form I take validates lack. I perceive my form validates the limits I place on what I can be.
  • How I think, feel, and act to validate lack. How my form functions validates the limits I place on what I do.
  • Why I must validate lack. Why I perceive my form and function validates my need to defend lack.
  • Who I am in terms of lack. Who I believe I am as a limited being validates my lack of wholeness.

In the bubble, my existence depends on the attention I pay to my program.

Questioning Lack

The old belief was that one must overcome lack through the use of force and defense. This required a sufficient sense of need to generate sufficient effort to achieve a worthy goal. One must earn their way through life. This makes life a reactive experience based on values I assign.

To change, I might seek to understand the process I used to acquire the old belief. Maybe a start might include appreciation of lack as it has served me. This change may take some redirection of my natural persistence and focus. Sweet – an evolutionary rather than revolutionary change.

Questions might help me break into secrets my needs hide from me. I’ve accepted my defense of my needs as who I am without question. Probably because when I did, I was unaware I could ask questions. In effect, my only question as an infant was (maybe), “how do I feel?”

Further, as an infant, I was unskilled in communicating my ideas. Those I might ask were of that same acceptance and defense – and so unable to assist me in that way. Thus, we continued the pattern of old beliefs about lack without question.

Today, I’m capable of asking questions that challenge my acceptance and defense by acknowledging them. For example, I might consider a goal and ask:

  • What do I need to fill this sense of lack?
  • How can that need be fulfilled?
  • Why does that need fulfillment bring me a sense of wholeness?
  • Who do I believe I am when I feel fulfilled?

Targeted self-inquiry brings insights that can lead to deeper understandings and appreciations of lack. Rather than fighting and avoiding lack, we might instead look at it as the medium for change that it is.

Transition to Awareness

What if the Aha Zone is a transition point from one level of awareness to another? For example, one of my ancestors questioned their instinctive behavior and realized an aha moment that started a new trend – the use of fire. By questioning their instinctive fear of fire, they learned to control their fear. This realization that fear could be controlled led to a leap in awareness.

Instinctual Me

Instinctive me defends itself against environmental threats and asks, “What threatens me now?” It’s also concerned with needs. “Are my needs being met?” results in two simple questions:

  1. What need is not being satisfied? (What’s wrong?)
  2. How do I get what I need now? (What must I do?)

Cognizant Me

Cognizance adds relational awareness and asks, “What happened?” This results in an awareness of what, where, when, why my environment appears to relate to me as it does. Recognition of cause and effect.

I have one such relationship with time, for example. In instinct, I serve the demands time imposes upon me – like circadian rhythms. Once I recognized that there was a way to measure time, I could change my behaviors within it. At some point, someone came to an “Aha” moment in which they realized that one could measure time. There is a significant difference between the acknowledgment of time and the cognitive use of it.

This relational awareness offers me much more insight into my world. Because of the power of instinct, I tend to put relationships into service of defense, like blame and war. Cognitive questions tend to connect me with others in a meaningful way. Such questions as, “How do I get what I want?” tend to result in behaviors that take my community into account. Cognizance adds opportunity for more questioning:

  1. Why do I feel as I do? (What does this experience mean?)
  2. Who am I in relation to my environment?

Visionary Me

Visionary me asks questions like:

  1. What’s next?
    1. What am I not perceiving yet?
    2. What could this experience mean beyond what I think it does?
  2. How might we evolve?
    1. How might what I do now affect the future?
    2. What might a future appear like than how I imagine it now?
  3. Why do I matter?
    1. What is my purpose in the grand scheme?
    2. Why does my contribution matter to the whole?
  4. Who am I?
    1. Who am I beyond the context of my world?
    2. What is beyond my perception of my personhood?
    3. Who is the who that I am?
    4. Who else might I/you be than who I think I am/you are?

Beyond Me?

What may lie beyond these limited-awareness aspects of me?