My values of yesterday seem incongruent with those I wish to express today. Old childhood values sometimes move me out of peace and into inappropriate action. I speak of how important peace is in my life, and yet I occasionally find myself out of peace for some time before noticing the distraction. I sometimes still find one aspect of significantly higher value than peace – rightness!
For many years, when in conversation with Carol, I’d feel an emotional need to defend my perspective. Soon, I’d realize I was defending regardless of the cost – at increasing vocal volume. I was sure I was right! And just as sure she was not! I was willing, at some point, to risk the peace of our relationship to satisfy my need to feel right.
I felt the need for acceptance outweighed the benefit of meaningful connection.
Later, after gathering my shattered reasoning mind, we sat down together and discussed my need for acceptance and the attached value I’d given that need. I realized that I sometimes expressed my values with my vocal volume – defense. In my First-Second Degree Illumination bubble, I believed that I must defend that which I value. As I value a need for acceptance, my behaviors would bare it out – and I’d get louder!
For me, volume was one indicator of value, importance – to me. I noticed that I’d rarely increase volume to express your point until I agreed with you. And then I more likely valued my values that I thought you shared with ME. It would all come back to ME and MY values, then!
Over time, my values became my identity. I no longer gave importance to my needs – I had become the most important need. I then attached that value of identity to everything. It’s a formula for road rage, spousal and child abuse, cruelty, envy, and ignorance! Not much peace in that list. And there wasn’t much peace in my life as a result.
Defense is about the identity values I attach to my needs
In this way, I became my needs. Believing there was no alternative to this formula, I continued to defend and attack – often without any awareness of how destructive my behavior had become.
I’d invested my energy in the defense of my perceptions – such as judgments and beliefs – of my version of reality. That’s a lot of value to me. My “error” if there is one, is my need for others to agree. Somehow, I could not be me without the agreement of others. I needed acceptance from others that I was of value to them so I could confirm that I was of value to me. The more agreement I’d get, the greater the self-value and the “louder” my behavior when I perceived my value was questioned.
Where do values come from?
“Family values,” “Personal values,” “Professional values,” and maybe even, “Addams Family values,” all arise from the same source: ego. It is the job of ego to separate consciousness into aspects, thereby providing oneness the experience of separation – without actually being separate. To that end, my ego creates relative values – weights used in judgments to give an appearance of “this vs that.” In this way, I experience you as someone other than me – each of us having our own separate set of values.
My ego attaches value to “needs” so I perceive separateness. From this I get a false sense of wholeness as “self” only when my needs appear to be satisfied. However, this appearance of wholeness requires constant defense and a perpetual need for maintenance.
Value has, well, value!
That’s because I care! About a myriad of people, places, and things. It’s how I relate with my society – I care. And yet, it is also why I volunteered to go to war as a young man – because I cared. It’s why I’m writing this – because I care. I value some people, places, and things over other people, places, and things. I get it! I’m in the bubble! Why? Because I care!
In order to perceive a dimension of limitation, I attach value, which is some arbitrary figure less than 100%. Then, I use those values to equate, compare, and compute – making sense of my First-Second Degree bubble world. I MUST have values in order to perceive anything as separate from another. At least that is what my ego would have me believe. And it reinforces that belief with myriad examples of what happens when people no longer care – prisons and asylums are full of such characters – as I believe it!
Lest I be misunderstood – heaven forbid! Values have value. I’m not advocating ditching my (or your) values. No need to turn on ego’s defensiveness program quite yet. I’m suggesting we reexamine them with intent to discard or update the old – which were most likely installed during our earliest times – infancy or maybe even earlier. I didn’t know then what I know now – do, perhaps, my values could use an update!
Back to my earlier example…
I began to identify my need to defend those values I substituted for me through questions:
- “How important is it for me to force my point of view on others?”
- “What have I gained by pressing my point?”
- “Is my importance greater than hers?”
- “Would I prefer peace to this?”
Eventually, I’d come around to asking much more wholeness-oriented questions like:
- “Who AM I?”
- “Who are WE?”
- “What/who is the universe?”
- “How am I me and you?”
- “Must I always be right?! Can I be me and be wrong?”
- “Can I be of value without the agreement of others?”
- “How might my life appear without judgment?”
- “How might my life appear in wholeness?”
- “Can I appreciate without the need to care?”
I have SO many more questions!
Ultimately, though, I wonder… Just how much do I care? 😉