As noted with ¿Truths? Part 1, I am choosing to offer these thoughts simply to encourage growth. I submit them simply for self-study as an example of one person’s searching — such self-study is a very powerful way to come to know yourself. The list of these truths is long and I will submit it over a number of blogs, 25-30 brief statements per posting.
As previously noted, a comment on language: I am not an advocate of scientific materialism, the philosophic ontology that only science can address truth, and that energy-matter is the only domain of experience in the universe. I value scientific methodology highly, but the overall terminology of scientific materialism has many hidden presuppositions. As much as possible, I will identify them in these posts.
[An apology also — sometimes the formatting offered by WordPress is very limiting! An aspect of technology that I hate is that it forces me into processes that I do not want in my life; yet the same technology offers many advantages. Thus my common statement: Technology is wonderful — when it works.]
(52 — the ending of the previous post) What traps me most as a human being is when I assume that the story I make up is true (!), somehow more important than the facts.
(53) Some of my beliefs are easy to identify; others are very difficult.
I have beliefs about my environment, my behaviors, my capabilities, even beliefs about my beliefs—all of these are comparatively easy to identify and manage.
My beliefs about who I should be (my values), about who I am (my identity), and about my identity (my faith), become progressively more difficult to identify and to manage.
(54) Life is difficult; life is painful (I would add: sometimes!). This is the first Noble Truth of the Buddha (Truth #1 of four and I ascribe to them all). There are aspects of life that I do not want to face, and I do a lot to avoid these aspects ( usually inappropriately).
The biggest difficulty (Truth #2) arises because, somehow as a human being, I do not want to believe that life is difficult. “Life should not be this way! Life should be easy!” I want to hold on the pleasurable, and avoid the painful. I suffer when life is not easy — “it should be easy.”
Truth #3 is: Pain (truth #1) is inevitable; suffering (truth #2) is optional.
(55) Maturation through life requires acceptance and discipline (Truth #4).
The Buddhists say it somewhat different from this.
(56) If I truly accept what life offers and am disciplined in my responses, life becomes easier—not less painful, just easier! And frequently more joyous!
(57) Biologically, I am deeply influenced by pain/pleasure. My mind-brain is set to experience reward with the occurrence of pleasure—whatever I consider as pleasure (and possibly also reward if I avoid pain).
In this, I have a short-term orientation to life, my source of satisfaction or my nemesis! Long-term orientation is generally more satisfying if I am seeking peace or happiness (wanting what I get). And more difficult to achieve.
Fortunately I have choice—it come with the human mind (?brain).
(58) What I resist will persist!
Human beings are not helpless, only habitual.
(59) Accepting that life is the way that it is, and authentically working for change, is a major step for creative life!
(60) Acceptance is a very active process: it is not passive! It may not be easy, though.
Often, I accept best when I, to the best of my ability:
- examine what I gain and lose from the problem,
- acknowledge/appreciate the positives,
- minimize/change the negatives, and
- forgive my humanness.
(61) By discipline, I mean “doing what I need/want to do even when I do not want to do it”, usually every day.
If I want to fly with eagles, I need to do more than play with turkeys! I need to do what is healthy for me.
(62) Discipline is a way for me to learn about myself, and to stretch my boundaries; it is a way to look at myself in action. The disciplines that I teach (informally) are Yoga (Iyengar), Meditation (Vipassana), and Journal Writing (Progoff). There are many others; essentially they all involve a dedication to truth.
How can I maximize the ways in which I use discipline?
(63) What I gain from discipline is stamina, stamina to be at peace with life’s pain.
(64) Some more definitions to consider/experience:
Pain— The conscious awareness of an unpleasant experience that denotes the potential of bodily harm.
Anxiety— The conscious awareness of an unpleasant experience that denotes the potential of personality harm.
Discipline— The conscious awareness of an unpleasant experience that denotes the potential of health, such that I choose the experience.
The action of choosing needs to be experience-based, not should-based.
(65) Discipline is not a solution; it is a tool to allow me to be still while I find other means of resolution.
(66) Much of every-day life requires discipline in the form of delayed gratification, cleaning up mess so as to have greater satisfaction.
Discipline allows one to do the cleanup with contentment rather than resentment.
(67) Laziness and fearfulness trap me; “life should be easy.”
(68) Life is not fair! It never was!
The only thing in life that is fair is what you and I agree to accept as fair. It is then unfair when one of us breaks this agreement.
Otherwise, life is! Each one of us is handed a different set of circumstances and issues with which to grapple, perhaps to solve.
Optimally we agree to treat each other fairly. We get into difficulty though when we assume that this agreement exists.
(69) My current definition of life is:
“Life is what happens when I am planning something else.”
(70) We are continually faced by great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems.
(71) It’s not so much what happens to me that matters, but how I respond!
Sometimes the environment is toxic; more commonly I lack flexibility.
Freedom and wisdom both depend on flexibility!
(72) Energy is the capability of doing work, of initiating movement. Life energy, aliveness, is my inherent excitement that I bring to my life.
Emotions occur when I give meaning and direction to my energy.
(73) There are three fundamental “laws” that impact life energy:
- every human being wants positive experience,
- it is easier to get negative experience than to get positive, and
- negative experience is better than no experience.
(74) As simple as these laws seem, they account for much human behavior.
(75) ‘Bitching’ and ‘being a bitch’ are not female preoccupations.
‘Bitching’ means to use one’s energy to complain rather than to negotiate or problem-solve, to be indirect rather than direct—it is generally an ineffective means of power, used by both men and women. It is a way to negative experience.
(76) One of the best metaphors I know for describing myself is as a pot of stew (all the stuff of my past: my values, beliefs, memories and expectations, my VBMEs), being heated on the stove by my current or recent stressors, stirred by a spoon (the current event, here now, often your behavior).
(77) When my pot is stirred (or my buttons pushed, however you want to name this), what comes to the surface (my thoughts and feelings, my T/F) are information as to what is happening, especially information as to what is already in the pot.
Although the process is rapid (and predominantly outside of awareness), I then choose my behavior, my responses (again, also often out of awareness).
If I am aware, I speak of “responding”; if unaware, I “react.” In any event, my behavior then becomes the spoon for your pot! And your subsequent response becomes a further spoon for me, or someone else, and so on!
(78) Consider, however:
- If I were really stirring a pot of stew with a spoon, and a carrot came to the surface, would I blame the spoon for the carrot? Did the spoon make the carrot?
- No! The spoon brought the carrot to the surface, but it did not make or cause the carrot.
- Yet this process is what happens when I blame you for my thoughts, feelings or behavior, when I say “you made me …..”.
- Your behavior is simply your behavior; I have no divine right to change it, or to judge it. However, I do have the right to know, to account for it, especially if I believe you intend to harm me.
- If I feel anguish of some kind (anger, sadness, etc.) and you intend it, I wish to protect myself from you, either by leaving or by defending myself in some other way!
(79) In order for me to react to an event (a spoon), I must perceive it (take in the information), and then make an interpretation or judgment about it, especially about its possible danger to me. Generally this is a highly primitive fight-or-flight reaction, incredibly rapid and out of awareness!
Then I prepare my response, and my body starts to reacts, again out of awareness! This body reaction is my emotion, my body getting ready for motion.
I have some choices and control over this process.
(80) Reactivity is a habit! And like all habits, sustained by laziness!
To be continued.