Cultivate Detachment and Non-Identification (2)

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“Inner silence is for our race a difficult achievement. There is a chattering part of the mind which continues, until it is corrected, to chatter on even in the holiest places.”

— C.S. Lewis


Reading time: 15-20 mins

Inner Considering

You’re on an internal cell phone to your “Self” that never stops ringing. You pick up and you say the same thing over and over. You hang up. And then it rings again and you start over, completely forgetting your last feverish conversation. Our wires become so crisscrossed and entangled with endless contradictions and conflations that we end up trapped in our mind.

A life of endless chatter, deliberation, vascillation, questioning, doubts, ten thousand possible ‘if’s’ and ‘but’s’ fuelled by our fantasies of the future and the past. These thoughts get our brain and nervous system so habitually overheated, criss-crossing over each other with complexity, that we cannot discern or discriminate objective from subjective.

That’s an unfortunate part of being human. We all do it to different degrees – mostly as our default position. It certainly takes me back to all kinds of poor decisions which were based solely on that inner noise of fear and anxiety and not much else. We can even make ourselves believe that it’s all logical and rational rather than an internal babbling of self-protection.

All this has a name: “inner considering”, a phrase drawn from the 4th Way teachings of George I. Gurdjieff and its relationship to indentification and self-remembering.

When we fully identify with the object of our attention we immediately begin a cascade of thought loops about what might or might not be, fuelled by anticipation and inner dissatisfaction. People, in particular, form our most potent forms of identification. This is the social battlefield of unresolved childhood insecurities and misdirected sexual energies. Plagued by endless loops of inner considering we are not motivated by truth but by self-protection and inner comfort. It’s like we carry around a no-entry sign for any authentic interaction. Only those exchanges which bypass “sensitive” lanes into our heart are allowed access. And since most people are asleep to themselves, therefore inauthentic, much of what we see as social interactions are merely the exchange of inner considerations.

Fear is still pumped into society on a daily basis and has produced immense distrust and cynicism. Our infotainment mediocrity elevates artifice and images devoid of meaning which means most of us search desperately for anchors of purpose. Albeit entirely understandable, this is a fool’s game because it is driven by subjective, frustrated assumptions and all manner of negative projections – all of it largely unconscious.

The net result means no change, or change for its own sake. The loops are still there based on a refusal to take responsibility for one’s own development. A contractile denial of one’s own deformations remains in place.

You can see how this feeds into groupthink tribalism and the ideology of victimhood. Taking offence at everything and everyone is a product of inner considering, an emotional/intellectual form of masturbation to relieve inner tension. This is at great cost to every quality we value in the interactions between free human beings – if we seek to grow. If not, then we exchange illusions. Inner considering is produced by fluctuations of low-self-esteem, self-hatred and inner instability sent out into the world to join all the resonant chaos.

Pathological inner considering when formed into ideological groups sucks the energy out of society just as it sucks the energy out of an individual and leaves him emasculated and effeminate (“beta male” in manosphere parlance) or passionate and aggressive (the negative version of the “Alpha male”). Or for the woman, it leaves her defeminized and devouring (Lady with a massive chip on the shoulder) or progressively histrionic (Damsel in distress) and seductively vampiric (Femme Fatale) in order to claw back energy.

Again, fear, diversified and sent off in all directions, is the overwhelming driver.

Inner considering is the domain of the petty bureaucrat within and is the very definition of parochialism. We become trapped in the neglected, disintegrated unconscious shadows, fully sealed inside one’s own bubble of self-reflection. Any puncturing of that bubble means real pain since it is threatening the personality that is fully identified with the ideology, person or authority in question.

Inner considering derives from full identification to the transient external.


“Remember: if you can cease all restless activity,
your integral nature will appear”.

— Lao Tzu


From a 4th Way perspective, you could say that inner considering is the endless banter between our fragmented inner “I”s desperate for energy from without because there isn’t nearly enough in the individual human universe in which they find themselves inhabiting – split off from a self-regulating and self-organised essence.

You can see how inner considering steers us toward low or high grade narcissism when these incessant thought loops become the only form of thinking and emoting there is. Be it a new date, clothes, job, the upper hand, control, admiration, satisfaction, success etc. It all leads back to this mantra:

How I can get what I want when I don’t have it?
How I can get what I want when I don’t have it?
How I can get what I want when I don’t have it?

And then the same answer comes back every time. It only seems different because the context and desires change and fluctuate. Strategies and insights are all designed to achieve greater sleep and to provide more energy for the God of Mammon, more energy to play the consumption or mating protocol.

It’s energy for the System, not your system.

This inner thought loop is often a fear-based set of assumptions leading to perpetual dissatisfaction so that when we do get what we want we are unable to enjoy it, because our idea of what constitutes happiness is skewed – nothing is ever enough. Such is the case when we over-identify and attach, when inner considering becomes our only hungry reality.

And then we have our relations with others which is mediated through an energy requirement. Gurdjieff called this an assumed “requirement”, an unconscious demand for respect and affirmation of our opinions, intellect, emotional needs and ideological biases, regardless of having earned it.

And on what are these requirements based?

“… a completely fantastic notion about themselves such as very often occurs with people of very modest appearance. Various writers, actors, musicians, artists, and politicians, for instance, are almost without exception sick people. And what are they suffering from? First of all from an extraordinary’ opinion of themselves, then from requirements, and then from considering, that is, being ready and prepared beforehand to take offense at lack of understanding and lack of appreciation.” [1]

In other words, our present culture fully immersed in narcissism and infantilism – chronic or mild – drains energy from our inculcated habits and prevents proper self-observation from our precious, protected bubbles. The whole aim is to make sure we never have enough mental, emotional and sexual energy to break free of inner considering, the very thing that fuels our daily constructs and illusions of freedom.

So, we have the kind of inner considering that we aren’t getting enough energy from others and secondly, when we believe we haven’t given enough energy to others (How can I give more energy to others). The former is the common denominator but the latter may be a case of false reasoning due to identification and ignorance of one’s issues. This is when you allow yourself to be drained and to give away energy as a form of blind worship to society’s opinions. You feel obliged to do and say all kinds of things which conform to Official Culture’s idea of “good behaviour” and believe yourself to be essentially unworthy. Yet this is precisely when we shouldn’t “consider” and therefore retain integrity and self-reliance. We see clearly and choose where and when to share energy and assist.

If you are of that personality type that is always guilty and depressed, and never sacrifices enough based on you own considerations, just stop and think how much of that mental chatter is really yours. The System loves martyrs – people who sacrifice all to keep its machinery going. But be sure you’re making the right kind of sacrifice for the right kind of reasons.

So, inner considering based on a perceived lack from not giving enough or from not getting enough are equal products of perceptual imbalance and distorted self-concepts which will result in the same loss, albeit from a different intent.

 

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“Nothing in life is as important as you think it is, while you are thinking about it”

Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow

External Considering

Consider this: an AIM channels meaning and purpose into being by replacing inner consideration with external considerations. i.e. thinking about others via manners, tact and kindness. And establishing that aim will define the context whereby our choices and actions can be tested within specific situations which will reveal either good or evil – and we must be able to discern their presence and act accordingly. When we are lost in inner considering we are lost to authentic living and our energy along with it.

Ouspensky relates how Gurdjieff believes that attachment, identification and inner considering are essential symptoms of a refusal to engage with oneself as one really is. It is weakness and insincerity with ourselves and others.

He states:

“… people very often think that if they begin to struggle with considering within themselves it will make them ‘insincere’ and they are afraid of this because they think that in this event they will be losing something, losing a part of themselves. In this case the same thing takes place as in attempts to struggle against the outward expression of unpleasant emotions. The sole difference is that in one case a man struggles with the outward expression of emotions and in the other case with an inner manifestation of perhaps the same emotions.” This fear of losing sincerity is of course self-deception, one of those formulas of lying upon which human weaknesses are based.

Man cannot help identifying and considering inwardly and he cannot help expressing his unpleasant emotions, simply because he is weak. Identifying, considering, the expressing of unpleasant emotions, are manifestations of his weakness, his impotence, his inability to control himself. But not wishing to acknowledge this weakness to himself, he calls it ‘sincerity’ or ‘honesty’ and he tells himself that he does not want to struggle against sincerity, whereas in fact he is unable to struggle against his weaknesses.” Sincerity and honesty are in reality something quite different. What a man calls ‘sincerity’ in this case is in reality simply being unwilling to restrain himself. And deep down inside him a man is aware of this. But he lies to himself when he says that he does not want to lose sincerity.” [2]

So, if we want to be sincere and honest and move away from the habit-forming chatter of inner considering we need to understand the opposite of internal considering which is external considering. In other words, a healthy adaptation towards understanding other people’s “requirements” without necessarily buying into the same. It’s a common-sense strategy to make life easier for others and therefore yourself, as long as we do not compromise our integrity. It is good manners, politeness, candour, sensitivity, tact, empathy and decency; simple awareness of another’s possible thoughts and feelings.

Which is why we have to know ourselves in order to combat self-deception which makes us insincere regarding our true reasons for relating to others. More often than not the strategies are self-serving symptoms of inner considering birthed from unconscious defence mechanisms turned inward, and turned outward through attachment and identification. But very often our perceptions jump back and forth between inner and external considering. We can so easily become offended if our sincere attempts to offer kindness and constructive criticism is rejected. Then our inner considering is re-ignited in a blink of an eye: “Ungrateful bastard. He didn’t even give me a word of thanks…”

I was recently out for a walk in rural Suffolk, in the east of England. Although this is one of the most intensely cultivated regions in Europe let alone the U.K., it is criss-crossed with footpaths created by the county council in the 1950s and updated in the 1970s. These paths are identified by signposts often found around the edges of fields and which lead from surrounding villages and towns. These signposts ensure we keep to the paths and the correct direction. Sometimes a reminder of the British “Countryside Code” can be found, which is as follows:

  1. Be safe – plan ahead and follow any signs.
  2. Leave gates and property as you find them.
  3. Protect plants and animals and keep your litter at home.
  4. Keep dogs under close control.
  5. Consider other people.

Image by Karen Arnold from Pixabay


“All things – whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, even so do yet also unto them”

Matthew, 7:12


This is actually a pretty good summary of external considering. When we apply this to self-observation and the social sphere we might overlay these concepts in the following way:

  1. Be aware of your propensity to react to emotional triggers and programs. Be aware of those doing the same. Be vigilant and focus attention. (Follow the signs).
  2. Be aware of people’s personal space and psychic property. If you open that “gate” via exchange and interaction be sure to close it i.e. pay attention to social ettiquette in deference to proper discourse. Do not possess or drain a person’s energy through a lack of awareness on your part. Leave their psychic property of beliefs and unconscious drivers as you find them. Unless, they state otherwise.
  3. Be aware of all sentient life and protect it when you can according to context. Do not litter in the literal sense and do not “litter” in the emotional, psychic sense. In other words, be aware of what your energy is doing: do you pollute or purify? We litter the psychic fields with allsorts of projections, beliefs and issues which are a product of unconscious complexes of disintegrated and fragmented emotions.
  4. Keep your instincts under control. Put the Predator’s Mind on a leash and don’t let it poop on the path. Others will tread after you.
  5. And finally “consider other people” is a good summary and a direct reference to external considering.

External considering at its simplest is just basic good manners. But when we dive into social interactions there are frequently more challenging temptations to join the underlying emotional currents and get swept away. It’s amazing how we think we know what’s going on in someone else’s mind before we’ve even attempted to fully understand our own. As Nobel Prize-winning psychologist Daniel Khaneman reminds us: “Our comforting conviction that the world makes sense rests on a secure foundation: our almost unlimited ability to ignore our ignorance.” And it’s this comfortable “sense” we believe keeps us ordered when in fact, it is a constant mental noise that incrementally connects us to the chaos beating on our psychic door.

We can’t expect to project our conscience, assumptions and understandings onto others and expect a nice, packaged delivery on the doorstep of our own expectations. Non-identification and detachment means letting go of that. Action to ease others’ lives is a reward in itself because that is who you are. It’s not carried out because we feel we ought to or should. But you ‘ain’t in it for kudos of the kind touted by our culture. That doesn’t mean you allow people to take advantage or run roughshod over your values either. Only that you don’t anticipate a reward for your perceived altruism. Otherwise, it’s just another strategy to steal energy.

Self-growth is about inner transformation which isn’t necessarily known or recognised by others. Balanced attention is focused on our own weaknesses and emotional programs (or buffers) so that they serve us rather than limit and control. The gradual recognition and resolution of this energy drain is then embodied naturally as a way of life. You become what you learn. Inner considering is then slowly turned into external considering as a measure of our calm, inner centre.

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“…all defense mechanisms are essentially lies we tell ourselves to evade pain”

— Donald Meltzer, psychologist


Splitting

The idea of defence mechanisms comes from some of Freud’s early insights into hysteria which have been fleshed out by other psychologists over the years. It’s one of the major insights (alongside serious flaws) of the school of psychoanalysis as a whole.

Defence mechanisms, as the name states, are all about defending our self-concept. They are instinctive, reactive and sometimes highly volatile. Restricted to the present moment with no thought of the future, warding off pain is the primary mission and no regard to the consequences of this rigid self-protection is contemplated. Our defence mechanisms are made up of programs or buffers, a part of The Predator’s Mind.

The way you habitually interact with friends and family can tell us a lot about your particular defence mechanisms. Maybe people see you as a gentle person who never gets angry about anything, nor asserts himself in any obvious way. Perhaps you tend to dominate others and prefer to be in the thick of every situation. If you don’t get your way you get bullish and loud. These two ways of interacting with people can tell us a lot about the kind of mechanisms operating. Defence mechanisms are part of the universal struggle with feelings and emotions. They are the product of disappointment, grief, unrequited love, trauma, neglect, abuse, fear anger, envy and a host of others. They are an attempt to fit in and balance dependence and independence in an increasingly confusing world.

Most of us have major or minor expressions of these mechanisms which are habitual, thus normalised. For example, we might get extremely hot under the collar if someone gently criticises our driving ability. Perhaps we are unsually defensive when it comes to people highlighting our behaviour with an ex-girlfriend. It could be that we are very resistent to any kind of help or assistance since we fear being seen as vulnerable, weak and losing control. Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) might be examples of “possession” by defence mechanisms both of which usually have a type of defence which is known as “splitting.”

Splitting is when inner considering goes into hyperdrive.

It is the dark side of simplicity and economy characterised by over-simplification and the hoarding of energy in one centre of gravity (usually the negative half of the emotional centre fuelled by the moving/instinct centre).  Energy is captured and imprisoned rather than released and reorganised. Complexity is read as a threat so that reality is split into two manageable parts, one of which is in alignment with the chosen belief and the other rejected as “evil” and must be heroically opposed. Since there is not enough energy to cope with new complexity and the light of awareness needed to transform and adapt in the face of the unknown, there is a regression to stasis and a closed body-mind system.

At its worst, it is the province of authoritarians of all types from the religious right to the radical left. It is defined by compressing reality away from shades of grey into strict black and white. But we all have milder versions of such thinking which ebb and flow according to circumstance, context and threat levels. Certainty and absolutism is the security blanket. Uncertainty complexity, ambivalence and flexibility is to be shunned since they represent a frightening window to unpredictability, thus a disintegration of the persona manufactured by fear and survival.

Splitting is a defence mechanism to create internal comfort because the personal and impersonal truth is too much to process. That comfort is determined by a narrative which best fits the imagined self-concept and the sociocultural influences which surround it. The conscious mind then becomes “ordered” while the subconscious mind is like a pressure cooker which is very hot to the touch. The personality/ego is basically at war with itself under the surface.

All of us can exhibit mild forms of splitting. We can unconsciously distort our perceptions in order to justify hatred or any other negative emotion. And through self-justification, all manner of iniquities are given free rein. Psychologist Joseph Burgo PhD develops this idea in the following way: “In order to find a safe outlet for our hostile feelings, then, we may perceive the world in very clear terms of good and bad: helpless, innocent animals we adore and the bad people who exploit them; the pristine environment and the evildoers who pollute it. We hate those bad people and they deserve it. In a time of war, governments make use of this type of splitting via propaganda, in order to convince us that the other side is evil. Consider films made during World War II, full of cartoon Nazis. Hate those people – they deserve it![3]

Childhood adversity can make some us particularly prone to stress, even to the point that relatively low levels create overreactions and defences which have very little to do with the present reality, but everything to do with the overt or covert trigger or stimulus. If we are more stable, psychic splitting is avoided by releasing this stress through an external activity (exercise, nature, mediation etc.) Letting stress build up over an already hypersensitised nervous system without a proper psychic release valve is one of the primary causes of all kinds of neuroses and autoimmune diseases.

Two “I”s

Remember the two “I”s of lower and higher principles that exist within us when we begin to self-observe?

As said previously in various posts, we might compare to the Devil and the Angel whispering advice in our ears. The Devil is inner considering tied to the ego/Predator’s Mind encouraging us to deny and seek comfort in the darkness of ignorance. The angel is our conscience and intuition alerting us to SEE and seek growth in knowledge and the light of awareness. These are both inverted when splitting dominates.

The angel is mistaken for the devil and the devil is mistaken for the angel. Good and bad are routinely confused, both within the mind and in the external world, even though dark and light must exist together in various gradations. Splitting serves to delude the person into believing s/he is a person of moral fibre, intellectual integrity, love and light embodied etc., when often people see them in less than glowing terms. This is the irony and tragedy of it all.

Perfectionism is often the result because the essential fragility and lack of self-worth mean that mistakes are not an option. They denote a crack in the persona and the absence of order and control. Repression through splitting often means this volcanic anger is expressed in titrated form, passive-aggression, arrogance and a negative detachment. Lavishing attention on such a person is enjoyed since it acts as an external buffer and reinforces that all is normal and that they deserve it. People don’t understand them rather than the misunderstanding originating from their own distorted self-concept. Thus, if they don’t receive the praise and adoration they long for, it doesn’t take long for their inherent shame and anxiety to make an appearance. Self-identification = inner considering = self-absorption, all of which is rooted in fear. And as such, narcissistic tendencies or full-blown narcissism is always married to splitting.

But even when we have a certain amount of stability within, our recognition that we are two people – one of lower intent the other of higher – the way we self-observe is also fraught with possible deception. The growth of a “real ‘I'” is only possible after many years of persistent unyielding battle. When we talk about ourselves: “I did this, I did that; I thought, I feel…”  these are often inner considerings based on fleeting impressions and their desires. They have no real meaning or substance since they are a product of the active ego-I that wants to be in control. And that petulant wish to control comes from our buffers, defence mechanisms and reactions. The real Self or “I” is a passive observer and look on as we decieve ourselves yet again. Over time, we can slowly develop the qualities which allow the real I to emerge, not as a full-frontal assault, but as a process of conscious attrition. We must break those defences and integrate the shadows and reading errors that gave rise to them. Otherwise, we cannot make a command decision to know that we serve truth and goodness or led astray to serve it’s opposite. As Mr. Jordan Peterson mentions in his 12 Rules for Life: “Something enacted is not a fact, or even a set of facts. Instead, it’s a personality—or, more precisely, a choice between two opposing personalities. It’s Sherlock Holmes or Moriarty. It’s Batman or the Joker. It’s Superman or Lex Luthor, Charles Francis Xavier or Magneto, and Thor or Loki. It’s Abel or Cain—and it’s Christ or Satan. If it’s working for the ennobling of Being, for the establishment of Paradise, then it’s Christ. If it’s working for the destruction of Being, for the generation and propagation of unnecessary suffering and pain, then it’s Satan. That’s the inescapable, archetypal reality.” [4]

We can have all kinds of desires to aid, help, assist and befriend, but more often than we’d care to admit (and that’s an automatic buffer) we are doing it at the behest of the active, ego-I to gain status, kudos and the need to be loved and admired. It is not an impulse of the Angel of the real  – the essence of soul. As Gurdjieff reminds us: “Learn to look until you have seen the difference between your two natures, until you have seen the lies, the deception in yourself. When you have seen your two natures, that day, in yourself, the truth will be born.”[5]

(To get an idea just how trapped we are in our own reflection and defences read Gurdjieff’s thoughts from Jeanne de Salzmann’s essay First Initiation, which will give you a flavour of the kind of mountain we have to climb, of which I have barely been able to describe…)


“As a broken microphone cannot broadcast a message, so a restless mind cannot transmit prayers to God.

— Paramahansa Yogananda


When you threaten the apparent ease and comfort that is always a hair’s breadth away from shattering, self-righteous anger is often the result. Those who exhibit splitting tendencies are often very sensitive individuals with a heightened pain response in somatic and emotional terms. Which is why such a defence has so easily deformed the ability to perceive correctly.  Inner considering and its pathology of splitting is basically a war between System 1 = emotional instinctive / hot and System 2 = logical, deliberative = cool. Symbolically, fire heats up water and water puts our fire. So, you get a lot of heat and hot air! (You might want to revisit this post to see how the adaptive unconscious and system 1 and system 2 thinking operate).

So, don’t underestimate the presence of these defence mechanisms. They are out-dated psycho-biological survival formulas which have now become crystallised and therefore harmful to growth. They surface continually from triggers which light up the circuits associated with that memory and shape our responses and reactions accordingly. If we don’t deal with inner considering as more stress comes down the pipeline, if we cannot begin to master our mind-body machine we will be prey to splitting and other maladaptions. In the same way, if we cannot re-organise our sexual energy, ergo our emotions, then we will not have sufficient fuel for the will power and constancy to change.

Negative emotion must be recognised, released and the energy of that release reintegrated. There’s no point trying to detach and disidentify if we haven’t understood the programs which allow our buttons to be pushed and reactions to dominate. Heal the emotions, construct positive ones and learn all you can about the workings of your mind and body. If we want to truly grow, the best thing we can possibly do above all theories and philosophies is to know our machine. Self-observation supported with knowledge may then be tested.

It’s a prerequisite to have friends who are sincerely interested in self-growth also, but these are very hard to find. More often than not, most claims of self-development are ideological lifestyles designed to comfort and appease the ego. When the chips are down, you can see how far certain people are from that quest. That is certainly problematic. However, when you begin, the probability is that you will find a suitable group, metaphysical school or even a progressive religious grouping that offers a proper setting to work on yourself and receive authentic feedback.

The big point to remember that we are all addicts to something or someone, be it orgasm, substances, gambling, being “in love” or passionate ideology. Our culture reaffirms habituations which have evolved from genetic survival programs and blended with our childhood adversity and/or trauma of the past. The dopamine reward circuitry and the consensus trance that keeps us entrained to superstimulus and automatism is a very powerful biochemical substrate that determines our reality. Breaking away from that inheritance is extraordinarily difficult. Which is why it must be done by stealth and over the long term.

All this might be a bit overwhelming. But we can’t underestimate just how ambitious it is to re-direct our emotions and to make sure we have a healthy psychological platform for further growth. Otherwise, our identifications, inner considerings and defence mechanisms will shape our reality and halt any possibility of growth. All the while, such dynamics delude us into believing we are on a righteous path to salvation.

Image by Cindy Lever from Pixabay

“The more you lose yourself in something bigger than yourself, the more energy you will have.”

— Norman Vincent Peale


Letting go and Free-will

As we continue this series it will become apparent how embedded all these suggestions are within each other, how each quality and skill informs the other. For example, without the quest for knowledge, we cannot discover how to self-regulate and it will not be possible to practice detachment and non-identification. If this skill is missing we cannot facilitate presence, and without a modicum of presence we cannot inaugurate simplicity and without simplicity, it is difficult to conserve energy…

…And around we go…

Detachment and non-identification allow us to let go and surrender to life, rather than constantly attempting to fight it with our never-satisfied desires. To surrender is not to give up or relinquish our independence or integrity, it is to adopt a strategy of recognition and realisation that we are not in control. But we can nonetheless, steer our destiny in ways that extract us from mechanical thinking and zombie-like behaviour. Then we might glimpse something bigger than our own needs and wants.

This may seem like a paradox but we aren’t seeking to fix something that is broken. Letting go of that surprisingly tenacious belief is important. This is more about setting the stage for your conscience/soul and goodness to naturally emerge. We allow, receive and enable truth to be born by clearing the path of obstacles and gaining knowledge of their source. But we don’t attack that source directly in the same way you don’t run into a burning house with a watering can. We change the very environment itself so the flames cannot exist.

Mastering self-control gives us more external control. When we are IN control (the “Input” of our open feedback system) we are fulfilling our aim, its objectives and the knowledge to make them meaningful. We learn to exercise enough self-regulation to face circumstances beyond our power to change and know that this is just how it is. We do not have to own it or seek to tackle the world at large as though it is our personal mission to right all wrongs. When we take aboard too much stress and strain we inevitably become OUT of control (the “output” of our open feedback system) because we are identified and attached to the given outcome; we have become lost in the inner and outer machine.

We don’t like to think that we actually have very little control over our lives. When we get down to the bare basics – we don’t. Not really. At least not until we begin to make steps away from our automatism. A highly unpredictable and chaotic Universe has its own cosmic destiny. How can we possibly think that reality can bend to our will when we are connected to vast streams and sub-streams of influences about which we are barely aware let alone understand? Comprehending that reality, however, paradoxically lightens one’s consciousness. Reality is fluid it seems, and our thoughts mix and match in the same way a ligand and receptor find each other and connect at the molecular level. Provided we don’t introduce too much irrelvant debris into the flow, then natural biology/genetics and mind can find their natural state.

There are endless philosophical discussions as to what constitutes free-will and choice for instance, and it usually means that biology mixed with social and cultural influences offer up the illusion of independent thought when in fact, so they say, we have nothing of the kind. It is not a view that has any merit for me. We must view free-will in much the same way as we view our quest to be something more than just a deterministic machine. Once we do so, we’ll find that there is indeed a world beyond the belief that everything is reducible to physical processes. Indeed, as philosopher Christian List argues: “…agency, choice, and control are emergent, higher-level phenomena, like cognition in psychology and institutions in economics. They “supervene” on physical phenomena, as philosophers say, but are not reducible to them.” [5]

The question isn’t whether or not there is free-will, but if we have the energy and will to find out? Then such questions will be irrelevant as the proof – or not – will be self-evident in the conscious experimentation you set in motion. Science and art combined.

There is always choice, even if those choices are subconscious. We may not have free-will when we choose to acquiesce to self-pity, laziness and blame. But the will to be free will be directly proportional to the amount of energy you invest in the faith and hope of its manifestation – even if it takes you all your life. That life, then, need not be one of sleep, but one of awakening. And that at least, is a road to somewhere different from a map already drawn from our collective inner considering. To self-remember is to draw our own map and to insert signposts of learned wisdom from which we might navigate. The rest we let go.

In the final analysis, we are utterly insignificant dust specks floating in the breath of an equally awe-inspiring Universe and here we are, trying to exert control over someone or something that in the end will be gone in a puff of cosmic smoke. We won’t even register as an afterthought of such an Overmind. Keeping that Big Picture perspective is extremely important if we are to begin the work of decentralising ourselves from the illusion that everything revolves around our special orbit of ego-wants and desires. Letting go begins that slow process of erosion.

Admittedly, it’s one of the hardest things one can do. But every time you feel you are being pulled into that state where you become a foaming-at-the-mouth raving banshee because you missed a deadline or your partner didn’t kiss you good-night, just count to ten and breathe out the words from Tao Te Ching in the quote below.

Start the balling rolling to learn how to let go of who/what you are (which is mostly programming and mechanical reactions) and allow new possibilities to transition into your life. When you let go of holding on to possessions or people, you allow their separate sovereign nature to come into focus and then move away into their own space. You’ll become acutely aware that there two “I”s within you, each with their own universe. One wishes to embrace the sleep of Official Culture, the other is there to awaken.

Don’t think about loss or gain. How can you lose anything when it wasn’t “yours” in the first place? What’s even odder is that when we set up the right “frequency” of intent buttressed with the faith, trust and will of acting “as if…” then we tend to receive what we need.

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.
When I let go of what I have, I receive what I need.”

— Tao Te Ching

In the next post we’ll look at the importance of attention and discernment so that detachment and non-identification move us away from the trap of stagnation towards increasing awareness and growth.


Notes

[1] Location 3397; Ouspensky, P. D. In Search of the Miraculous, BookMasters, Kindle Edition.
[2] Ibid. Location 3417.
[3] p. 90; Burgo PhD, Joseph. Why Do I Do That?: Psychological Defense Mechanisms and the Hidden Ways They Shape Our Lives. New Rise Press.
[4] p.199; Peterson, Jordan B. 12 Rules for Life (2017) Penguin Books Ltd.
[5] ‘Free will is real’ By John Horgan, Scientific American, 03 Jun 2019 | https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/free-will-is-real/

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