Archive for December, 2010
Not completely, I bet!
We crave challenges.
We use conflict to help us grow, play, and learn.
We get up in the morning wondering “What can I accomplish today?”
So, what we need is to clarify the kind of conflict that we really want.
One way we might describe the sort of non-peace that we are most enthusiastic about is natural challenges where we have a reasonably comfortable fall back option.
In other words, we like challenges that originated from what we see as mostly random chance, or at least that we believe were not actively intended to be seriously bad. And we can feel positive about taking these natural challenges on when we are starting from a generally healthy position.
Another way to say it is that we like challenges that are on the more neutral middle of the scale of good-and-evil. We really don’t like it when we think real evil, totally beyond control, artificial, and unnatural, is involved. Stupid mistakes, and mild-mannered natural disasters, we can deal with, but the intentional and serious harm that we think of as “evil” is what we want to avoid.
This is why most average folks hate war, which is seen as evil incarnate, but love video and board games, which are seen as neutral fun. And it’s why people with extreme amounts of money and power (and who don’t have to actually get their hands dirty) do love war, and see it as neutral fun. It’s why people can enthusiastically go to school and work, if they know they will be ok even if they fail in their attempts. It’s why artists of all kinds try to turn their inner feelings into sensory experience for others, even though nothing can ever really capture what’s going on inside our hearts. And it’s why people who really love each other, and trust each other, can argue joyfully. :-)
We humans are born problem solvers and game players. And we always have to start working~playing from where we are right now. But we don’t like to feel forced to fight against the intentional cruelty that is evil. So the more we can help each other avoid truly dangerous challenges, and the more we can give everyone healthy fall back positions from which to start, the more we’ll all be able to be at peace with our conflict.
So maybe what we should wish in our cards, and in our minds, is something that clarifies what what sort of peace we want…
Try this one on for size this year:
I wish you all the resources you need to find peace and joy in all your challenges.
And, of course, just plain old love. :-)
Being able to think about life from different perspectives is what we do. And as our brain grows, we gain the ability to see more perspectives.
Starting at conception, our human brain is only aware of our body’s own internal state, and we’re just using the brain’s most primitive functioning areas.
Then at about nine months, we begin to gain the ability to be aware of another individual’s state, as it relates to our own state. At this point, someone else’s feelings and experiences can become connected to our own feelings, using the brain’s limbic system.
Then a few months before we’re four years old, we begin to gain the ability to be aware of a third person’s state, as it relates to a second person’s state, as it relates to our own state.
And by the time we reach age 35 or so, and we’ve spent decades thoroughly exploring a full range of third-person perspectives, we finally start being able to think about things in the three dimensions (three spacial dimensions, or two space and one time dimension), with what I like to call systems theory thinking. It looks to be in the prefrontal cortex, though I’m not totally sure just yet.
Of course, the kinds of things that 35 year old humans (and all other ages as well) think about are almost infinitely diverse, from rap music, to robots, to romance, to the Riemann Hypotheses. So evolution really does have pretty much everything covered, in all of space, as long as us old folks are around to pay attention to what all the people (of all species) of the world have to say.
And, obviously, I’m definitely looking forward to reaching the age of 216 years old, when we get to start thinking in four dimensions. That’s really gonna be cool!
Every possible combination of theories of life (genetic or memetic) has to be tried if we are to get to perfection. Thus, even if a set of genes or memes ends up being like the dinosaurs, and going extinct, testing out this particular set is still a valuable part of the process of making sure no stone is unturned in our search for the instructions for a better life.
Because life can’t be sure of what is best until it tries out everything, including the worst. Of course, the worst will never last long in this ultimate laboratory that is the universe, so we can be comforted that anything we encounter that is especially anti-life will be gone soon enough, as the process of evolution finishes testing it out and rejecting it as being a seriously failed theory. :-)
One theory of a better life that has been proven by the test of time, and memetic evolution, is that patience is a virtue!
Destruction is necessary for construction. For us to step forward, we have to leave some things behind. For us to build something new, we have to take apart something old. For us to create, we need to destroy, even if what we destroy is only the silence and the emptiness.
Destruction isn’t bad, it’s a valuable part of the process of growth.
The key to understanding this, and to appreciating the value of destruction, is to acknowledge your love of the past, and your need to try something different in the future as an important part of your growth.
This process of turning the negatives, that sometimes come with destruction, into positives works both within your own self, and with others in your life.
So whenever you come upon resistance to change, you can very likely turn the resistance into support by clarifying the reasons why you very much love and honor the many good things that have happened already because they allowed you to become more of the kind of person you wanted to become. Then, once that appreciation has fully set in and has neutralized the resistance, you can explain, as clearly as possible, what kind of person you want to now grow into, and say why you believe that your newly changing path will help you get there. And finally, you can open yourself up to modifying your path slightly so that the force that was previously your resistance has a chance to actually help push you towards your new direction, if that opportunity presents itself.
Because sometimes, on the rare occasion, when you trust others who have supported you in the past, even when you choose to head in a new direction, they can surprise you and want to come with you, or have, perhaps, even been there already and can give you many of the resources you need to get yourself wherever it is you want to go…
In a general sense, this reversal process is one of compassionately stepping from -1, to 0, to +1, or maybe even +2.
- The resistance starts at -1
- Adding love of the past brings it to a neutral 0
- Adding your desire for future growth gets it to a positive 1
- And opening yourself up to any support being offered can get you there with more than enough!
Just remember to be specific. I’ve given you the general formula for the numbers, now you can put in your own particular terms to make it work for your own unique situation. And remember, an “I’m sorry.” always works wonders for reversing resistance, as does phrasing things to clarify what you want, rather than trying to speak for others. Give others the freedom to follow you, or to go wherever they want to go, and they will respond in kind. :-)
Rather than eating it’s own tail, consider that the ouroboros is actually creating itself, by spitting out it’s own tail. (Or that the tail is pooping out it’s own head.)
Out of the nothingness that is the end comes the somethingness that is the beginning…
Of course, our system is also fractal.
So when I say “our system” I might mean anything from an atom, to a cell, to a human, to a planet, to a universe.
On the human level, that means if one wants to go somewhere, the easiest way to do it is to go with the flow. Just as in the process of sailing and flying, one uses the action of pushing/fighting-against minimally, as a steering mechanism, while using the action of pulling/working-with as the primary force for your power.
When you are working with the environmental forces, you only need a little push to help you aim in the specific direction that you want to go.
Creativity comes about when you combine the mainstream with your own small, and unique, effort.
Someone interesting told me recently that because I’ve finally learned to go with the flow when it comes to my own internal process, all that’s left is to learn to go with the flow of the external process. In other words, I’ve essentially stopped fighting against myself, and now I will be focusing on learning how to stop fighting against the “it” that is the external world.
I know how to steer my own inner energy to get my own self to where I want it to go, within my body, and soon I will know how to steer with the energy of the whole world to get my whole self~body to where I want to go, outside.
And, of course, I wish everyone to be able to learn this navigating skill as well. Presumably the ability to help others learn this delightful skill will come once I’ve reached that next level of ability, and I’ll be able to help others know how to steer their own selves, internally and externally.
Rather than being a suggestion for what we “should” do, it appears that the “Golden Rule” of
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
is really more of an explanation of our normal human behavior. Because when you really look at yourself, you will see that, when you want others to challenge you, you challenge them, and when you want others to support you, you support them. Though you might not see this upon first glance of yourself. It might be a desire that is buried deep down somewhere.
This doing unto others as we want to be done to us behavior isn’t perfect, of course. But as a general approach we behave as if others are mirrors, reflecting our own actions back onto us.
Consider this possibility the next time you do something for/to someone else, and ask yourself if this is something you also think you should have for yourself? Are you looking to be challenged or supported in this same way?
Similarly, consider that when someone else does something for/to you that they might very well be thinking that they also should have this too. Do you think they want to be challenged or supported in return?