Third Degree Life-Change at Second Degree Markers

My life moves through stages of understanding I identify as markers. Stressors identify life-change markers. I define this type of stressor as my interpretation of a situational event in which my mental stability becomes significantly disrupted due to stimulation of unresolved core emotions. Examples of common life-change stressors include job loss, illness, divorce, and death.

Within the First-Second Degree bubble, my mind acts to defend statements I believe to be true. For example, “I am a baker.” When I perceive that someone threatens my identity as a baker, I may take offense – a Second Degree activity. The stronger my defense, the more I feel the stress of the threat. Marker stressors hold the greatest degree of defense – experienced as physical, emotional, and/or psychological pain. They also hold the greatest degree of opportunity for awakening. When I lose that identity – job loss, in the baker example – I may be faced with a life-change stressor – at an awakening marker.

When faced with a life-change marker, I’m at a Third Degree choice point!

Questions in this Third Degree window of opportunity that challenge my assumptions of truth, can open the possibility of awakening to what lies beyond my current limiting fears.

What questions might I ask? How might I start one or more lines of inquiry for awakening when I encounter a life-change marker?

First, let’s consider hierarchies.

Hierarchy of Life-change Markers

Markers exist within a hierarchy of thinking, feeling, doing, and having – that shapes and validates who I am within each marker. An example hierarchy is an emotion that represents anger. The emotion dictates who I am within a larger experience of environment – content within context. The hierarchy of thought, emotion, and senses dictates what I perceive and believe as a result of interactions with that marker: how I created the marker; why I create it; and who I perceive I am as a result of each interaction.

Within the Second Degree stress of the marker, the interaction of this content-context hierarchy presents me with pseudo-questions I experience in a loop – where I ask:

What is happening to me? → How could this happen to me? → Why is this happening to me? → Who is to blame for what is happening to me? → etc.

Third Degree questions you might ask instead at such life markers:

  • What does this experience mean?
  • How do I feel about this event’s meaning?
  • Why am I creating this event?
  • Who am I?

Asking with real intent to understand will present two basic choices –

  1. Do I take accountability for this life-change and put it into action – real change?
  2. -or- Vacillating
  3. Do I increase my efforts to defend myself against the pain of the event?

One choice leads to enlightenment. I’m all too familiar with the other choice.

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