Saturday, June 28, 2014

Life Without Facades

Griffy the Cooper

The cooper should know about tubs But I learned about life as well. And you who loiter around these graves Think you know life.

You think our eyes sweeps about a wide horizon, perhaps, In truth you are only looking around the interior of your tub. You cannot lift yourself to its rim And see the outer world of things, And at the same time see yourself.

You are submerged in the tub of yourself. Taboos and rules and appearances, Are the staves of your tub.

Break them and dispel the witchcraft Of thinking your tub is life! And that you know life!

Edgar Lee Masters, the 20th century poet, biographer and dramatist, is best known for his work the Spoon River Anthology. Deceased citizens of the town speak from their graves. They finally realize there is no reason to lie. These souls construct a picture of life without facades. Life without facades is something we want to experience, but our beliefs get in the way.

We are submerged in our own tub of beliefs. Beliefs are the hard bubbles of thought that burst into actions. Our actions are filled with the taboos and rules that define us in one way or another. We protect our beliefs by only accepting the bubbles that conform to the inside of our tub. The bubbles that float outside follow another path. That path is also filled with actions, but we consider them frivolous or untrue.

We don’t realize it, but we create facades to protect what we believe to be true. Facades are the face of our truth. That face changes as the bubbles in our tub come and go with the rhythm of time. Truth, like life, is deeper than our tub. Truth reaches into our bubbles before, and after they expand into the experiences within our actions. We grab life from the specific bubbles at certain points in time. Life pops the bubbles, and then makes us aware of the pop. We only know life inside the tub until we begin to experience the pop that takes place outside of our tub. The comfortable facades that we call the only truths fade as another face of truth becomes a bubble in our expanded tub.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Our Insensible Fringe

Our present field of consciousness is a centre surrounded by a fringe that shades insensibly into a subconscious of more.

William James, the pioneering psychologist, philosopher, and medical doctor spent his entire academic career at Harvard. He taught his first Harvard psychology course in 1875. It’s safe to say that most of us don’t think about the fringe that surrounds our present field of consciousness. We’re too busy living our reality, so there’s no reason to dissect it. Our beliefs keep us safe from the fringe that opens like an invisible door to other realities. Even though a part of us exists in these realities we choose to focus on the one world that makes sense to us.

We don’t have time for the insensible. We believe insensible means unresponsive, a lack of feel or perception, so we discount anything that doesn’t conform to our version of sensibility. We forget that most of our core beliefs are rooted in our insensible fringe. We forget that our belief in God is insensible. Our belief in heaven and hell is insensible. Our belief in being alone in the universe is insensible. Everything we see, touch and know is a product of the insensibility within our thoughts.

Our insensible fringe is the catalyst for desire and creativity. It fuels our feelings. We don’t have to acknowledge it for it to work its magic. We don’t have to believe that we are doing what we think someone or something else is doing to us in order for it to work. It works without belief, but it works smoother when we believe in the power of now. Our belief in the now allows us the freedom to expand our field of consciousness in a state of awareness rather than a state of fear.

Friday, June 20, 2014

A Maze Of Notes

To live content with small means, to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion, to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich, to study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly, to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages, with open heart, to bear all cheerfully, do all bravely, await occasions, hurry never... in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common. This is to be my symphony.

William Ellery Channing, the 19th century Unitarian preacher, does serve us a hearty meal of thought when we read his words. We forget the meaning of some of the common words we use to describe us. It’s easy to put the word elegance in the same verbal pot as luxury, but they mean two different things. Refinement and fashion may be similar, but there is a big difference in their meaning. The word wealthy is certainly different than the word rich, and worthy and respectable have two different connotations.

What we are is what we believe the words mean. We change as we expand the conditions within the meaning of the words. We try to define what we are by our actions, but our actions are nothing more than the flow of energy that comes from our thoughts. If our thoughts are distorted by our beliefs then our actions reflect that distortion. Distortions are not necessarily right or wrong unless we put them in one of those categories.

Channing fashioned his life around a certain refinement. The refinement of certain points or distinctions. The focal point of his life was appreciation for what he called the unconscious aspect of who we are. He believed that aspect is the maestro in our human symphony. He believed we all have an individual maestro. That maestro leads our symphony through a maze of notes which contain insights, intuitions and probabilities. We have the ability to personalize our notes, and then we experience them. Each note has its own tone and flavor.

We choose to play our notes at different points in time. Some are rich, and some are luxurious. Others notes are refined while other notes are fashionable. At times we act brave, cheerful and never hurry. We live all our notes in order to feel our desires. We are who we desire to be. Our desire to be has no expiration date, and there are no common words to define it.

Monday, June 16, 2014

We Wonder About The Wonder

From wonder into wonder, existence opens.

Lao Tzu is considered the founder of Chinese Taoism, and the author of Tao Te Ching. The words Tao Te Ching mean The Way and Its Power. Some Chinese scholars believe the Tao Te Ching was actually a compilation of paradoxical thoughts and poems written by a few Taoists. They used the pen-name, Lao Tzu. Whatever we believe, there’s no doubt that Taoism along with Confucianism are two different and distinct responses to the political, social, and philosophical nature of reality two and a half thousand years ago in China. Confucianism is intently concerned with social conduct, relations, and the nature of human society, Taoism, on the other hand, has a much more individualistic and mystical flavor to it. The thoughts contain in the Taoist belief system are definitely influenced by nature and what fuels nature.

We wonder about the wonder that surrounds us. We put our wonder in categories, and mark it with conditions. Those conditions are an essential part of our belief structure. Our belief structure is a combination of wonder, insight, intuition and knowledge infused with ancient wisdom. We build our reality around our endless wonder, concrete associations and influences. Concrete meaning facts we accept as truths.

Our Chinese ancestors did the same thing, but their associations and influences as well as their truths were different. They were taught to tune into the world of inner senses, and use them to experience existence. The art of living was about knowing and remembering rather than wanting and accumulating. They had a sense of self within the shell of existential skepticism. They used virtue rather than vanity to shape the flow of events than develop from the endless probabilities that exist within consciousness.

We wonder about the wonder within us. We want existence to be more than the sum of our physical parts just like the ancients. We move through each experience grabbing a figment of wonder and we make it real to us. We do this to sense the sensibility of our innate desire to know the self in every existence.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Conditioned By The Conditions

Close observation discloses that most of us, most of the time, behave and act mechanically, like machines. The specifically human power of self-awareness is asleep and the human being, like an animal, acts more or less intelligently solely in response to various influences.

Only when man makes use of his power of self-awareness does he attain to the level of a person, to a level of freedom. At that moment he is living not being lived.

E.F. Schumacher, the 20th century economic scholar, wrote the 1973 book Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered. That eco-bible, as Time Magazine called it, is considered one of the most influential books published since World War II. There’s no doubt, we do behave like machines a good part of our lives. We are conditioned by the conditions within our belief system. Our ability to absorb what is really going on around us is hindered by the conditions we establish around our core beliefs. We don't like to accept the awareness that develops from other beliefs. Our conditions are preconceived notions of what reality should be for us. We tend to reject anything that doesn’t conform to specific associations and influences established by our former or present peers. We believe their beliefs are the only truths.

The roots of the smallest plants are aware of the best conditions for their own growth. They don't discriminate or judge where they are or what other roots do. They act spontaneously toward self-fulfilling probabilities in order to express their self-awareness. At each moment in that process, the flowers within them are aware of their position. As the roots grow downward as well as upward the flowers still haven’t seen the space in which they will blossom, but they are fully aware that they will blossom. The precognitive knowledge within their roots gives the flowers the impetus for fulfillment. That impetus or energy is the action of their consciousness physically living not being lived.

The question we should be asking our self is: Is our psyche or consciousness any less miraculous? We must possess the same innate ability to know how and when we will blossom and express our own level of true freedom. The self must realize that unconditional awareness is the food that gives our inner roots the impetus for value fulfillment. Unconditional physical awareness allows the inner self-awareness to bloom without restrictions. Blooming without restrictions is living like a human flower that continues to bloom using its own self-fulfilling probabilities.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Bases Of Awareness

Our present field of consciousness is a centre surrounded by a fringe that shades insensibly into a subconscious of more.

William James, the pioneering psychologist, philosopher, and medical doctor, had a major influence on 19th century thought as well as the modern day concepts of consciousness. James spent his entire academic career at Harvard. In 1875, he taught his first experimental psychology course at Harvard.

We all have an extensive field of awareness. In that field there is an infield as well as an outfield. There is also a batter’s box and dugout. But we don’t look at our awareness field as a sport field, but in many respects our awareness reacts like one. We look at awareness as a thing because, to us, it is a tool to decipher the world we live in. But awareness is not a thing. It is a form of energy within our multifaceted consciousness. That energy helps the ego recognize more of the self.

Awareness expands as the lens of the ego focuses on physical experiences. The action within each experience fuels the expansion of awareness. Just like a ball game, what we did and were aware of yesterday is recorded in our consciousness as we expand from the experiences of today. Our expectation of a winning game tomorrow waits for the energy of awareness to decipher it.

Not all expectations become experiences. Awareness waits in our subconscious dugout as we clear the rubble of distorted thoughts and obligations from our expectations. Once we do, we are pitching, hitting and catching the thoughts that have enough energy to run the bases of awareness. And so it goes. Base to base, hit to hit, strike-out to strike-out, we move through the fringe that shades our desires until we realize that awareness, just like a manager, waits for us to choose another thought. When focused thoughts are put in play, we constantly run the bases within our experiences. The number, size and shape of those bases are products of our connected or disconnected pitcher. We call that pitcher the ego.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

A Pinnacle Of Knowing

Briefly, what I am proposing is that the psychology of the mature human being is an unfolding, emergent, oscillating spiraling process marked by progressive subordination of older, lower order behavior systems to newer, higher order systems as an individual’s existential problems change.

Each successive stage, wave, or level of existence is a stage through which people pass on their way to other states of being. When the human is centralized in one state of existence, he or she has a psychology which is particular to that state. His or her feelings, motivations, ethics, and values, biochemistry, degree of neurological activation, learning system, belief system, conception of mental health, ideas as to what mental illness is and how it should be treated, conceptions of and preferences for management, education, economics and political theory and practice are all appropriate to that state.

Clare Graves was a mid-century professor of psychology, and the originator of .a Level Theory of Human Development. Ken Wilbur used some of his work to create his Theory of Spiral Dynamics. We experience this spiraling system of awareness every day, but we don’t use those words to describe it. We live in an emerging open-ended system of reality. What is reality for the tribes that live in the Amazon is certainly as valid as the reality experienced by those living in an advanced society. Each reality system has its own set of challenges, and its own methods for value fulfillment. One system is not better than the other. They are appropriate steps in the process of individual vale fulfillment and self awareness.

The interesting point to remember is while our human consciousness is experiencing one particular system in our mass reality, we are also physically aware of the other systems. We couldn’t say that a hundred years ago. Our awareness has reached one pinnacle of knowing. In this knowing, we should accept other systems as innate individual choices. Those choices will change as the individual progresses through the spiral. We don’t need to force change in other systems using our antiquated forms of conformity. Change happen as the individual consciousness within each system expresses overwhelming value fulfillment, and inner self awareness.