Renewal Sixty-Eight : Sacrifice Is Not The Issue, Temperance Is

Maybe I may know something about how freedom and determinism interact, and how awareness is the way we set the basis for the nature of that interaction, but patience is not my speciality. This temporal/biological existence seems to demand a lot of it. Thoughts can take one to many locations and to many ideas in an instant, but creating locations and ideas as reality in a temporal/biological plane requires the patience of an alchemist. And this alchemy is especially glacial when one is unfamiliar with arranging and allocating the components of the energy found on the human plane of existence.

I have been at this recapitulation process for a few months now and there is the still-dawning realization on my little pea brain that for something to be different, I must be different. I will have to change the pattern of my attraction. Wherever and however that attraction template arose, it needs some transformation, development will not do it. I will need to create a different kind of pattern. And I can feel a part of myself whining about the change. Dependence and habituation are a powerful force.

Ah well. In any case, I can feel some things settling in for the long run. There are shifts looming, though little that represents substance in my actual interactions. I suppose change is like that, a temporal kind of thing, whether a nanosecond or a millennium.

The grieving process has been going its way, and, as best as I can tell, I have not blocked it. But, some things, like dealing with the potential for medical malpractice, has kept that process churning. My mother’s death is still fresh. And the frustrations with it are still being renewed. After months, our first lawyer realized that one of the doctors that dealt with my mother is his doctor. Months it took. It seems to me that would be one of the first things to address. I guess we can renew the junk in our lives as well renew to enhance our lives. We have now contacted about five lawyers and none will take the case. My mother’s life, according to the lawyers, is just not worth much at 85–if she had been 45 and had a family, it would be economically viable to pursue the case.

Work continues on in the institute of higher learning. Territory still seems to be the driving mechanism, and CYA (cover your posterior) the action du jour. I really do like my job. I get paid to learn and for me, that is a nice fit. Still, besides the egotism that seems to abound, I am not happy about the system of grading–it seems to me that we support failure. As I’ve said before, I think we should set our standards high and help students get there. To give “Fs” or “Ds” does not do that I think. It is one thing when a student gets an “F” and another when they have not yet made the standard. The latter position keeps the door open and leaves it up to the student, the former simply leaves a label.

So, what can we do about all of these negative facets of our existence–lives demeaned, relationships driven by egos and the need to control, the support of failure, etc.? How do we choose what will be determined and how do we determine our choices?

When I was in my early 20s, awash in alternative views, I read in one of Carlos Castaneda’s works about the four “enemies” of man, fear, clarity, power, and old age (they are also allies) and about eight points in a person’s life. I couldn’t find what those points were in the book, but we could consider that the eight points are to experience fear, clarity, power, and old age once as allies and once as enemies. However, after thinking about it, it occurred to me that we could also experience the faces (both allies and enemies) of those four components twice, once in the compartmentalized realities of our thoughts and once in the integrated realities of an inclusive awareness.

In any case, as difficult as it was for me to deal with the psychological issues involving these four “enemies” in my early 20s, I knew it would be exponentially more difficult in the second round.

I was not wrong.

It is one thing to go it alone when dealing with the psychological facets, people are not much comfortable around someone or some culture trying to find a psychological place to land–much preferring to hang around those that have landed somewhere. It is quite another to go through the second phase alone–the sense of isolation can seem even greater.

As the global network becomes ever more tightly connected, as it becomes ever more clear that what we do has a micro and macro effect, touching all of us in one way or another, as it becomes ever more clear that we are the selective agents in the evolutionary path, it seems to me that it is time to recognize the importance of support. The manifestations of being human arise in many forms, but the underlying process is not all that different, either individually, environmentally, socially, or biologically.

At the heart of this process may be our perception of control. Controlling external events on this plane is difficult. Let’s assume, either individually or as a species, that we aren’t responsible for all of creation–so it would be clear that control in this realm would be difficult–after all, we’re still learning about the components of creation. Furthermore, if we are responsible for creating something, once we create it, it has its own life and its own influence. The umbilical cord is cut, though we all remain connected, and its creation becomes part of the quadrinary system of influence (the “I”, the “we,” our biological vehicles, and our environs). But our responses to the components of the quadrinary system, created by us or not, are something that we can manage, if we give ourselves enough energy, enough support, and enough expectation that we can actually do it.

As of now, it appears that we are mostly operating as responses to what we perceive as stimuli–from our biological bases to the geographical cycles such as climate, tides, seasons, etc., to spatial fluctuations, to social forces. Though we can mediate some of these forces with our inventions and our control, we cannot seem to master them (the ol’ problems-have-multiple-solutions, and solutions-seem-to-create-multiple-problems dilemma).

What to do, what to be?

Perhaps one important ingredient in rendering awareness unafflicted by our illusions, is to understand the relationship between the concept of sacrifice and the concept of temperance.

It seems to me that sacrifice is not the issue, though we often tend to make it so. Why is it that we count it as noble when we give up what we don’t really have to?

It seems to me that temperance is not the issue when we count it as noble by not taking what we are allowed, and call it an act of will.

It seems to me that we confuse the concept of sacrifice with the concept of temperance.

So, let’s have a definition: sacrifice is when we give up things we can have, temperance is when we do not take things we should not.

Perhaps if we engage in a little less sacrifice and a little more temperance, we will not misfile so many of our experiences and we will not create so many mutations that we cannot live freely and happily. Our choices, the points of our life, the cause and effects of our actions, become a bit more obvious. Then the journey of interacting with our choices and our causes and effects, and our interaction with our enemies and our allies (within and without), would not be so encumbered or enslaved by our laments, and instead, we would experience the power and joy of unafflicted awareness as well as the massive amount of support that has always been provided to us all.

Yep–same universe, different look. It changes everything, even as it changes nothing. But the experience of awareness and the awareness of experience are a little bit cleaner and a little more playful.

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