Renewal Twenty-Three : We Actually Do What Works For Us

All right, all right, back to the issue about focusing on what one wants and about paying attention to the body.

If one’s intention is so diffused they cannot tell the difference between what they think they want and what they really want, that’s a problem. I suppose this diffusion can occur if one is unable to integrate the entire body into a single, cohesive unit. When this happens, one does not pay attention to the integration of the being, only a part of it (like just thoughts or just emotions). And so we create a fragmented being.

And then we compound the problem by adoring innocence. Oh, I suppose innocence has its place, it’s certainly cute at times. But when a person is too innocent, too naive, there is a danger of being fooled. What is desired (especially in a fragmented being), can be insincerely given by others.

In being innocent, without the ability to discern the nuances of giving and receiving, of true desires and imagined ones, the naive can miss the strings attached to a gift (as can the giver). On the one hand it may appear that a desire is being fulfilled, on the other hand something seems askew (our fragmented selves get fragmented messages). But having to decide between conflicting signals when one is not used to integrating the entire being, especially when that being is afraid of not getting, then the heart of an effective guidance system is ignored.

In fact, when both the giver and the receiver are believing the giving and the receiving, and overriding conflicting information as unimportant or as problems that can be fixed, illusions are sure to be created.

And at 54, I admit to being a bit embarrassed about it all. I knew all of this in the early 1970s, before I turned 25. And I proceeded to go out and violate all of my knowing.

Apparently, I hadn’t hurt myself enough for the knowing to stick.

It is hilarious at the same time as it is not. It would seem that it takes a massive amount of energy to break through the walls of belief that we are not worthy, that we will not get, that we will be saddled with pain, that we will not find love, etc., etc.

Now one would think that positive emotion would be our intent du jour, but that does not show up in most of our behaviors. Hurt appears to be the tempering furnace in which we forge our true selves.

Okay, there is the negative-feedback law; one does not initially learn by getting something right the first time (or perhaps right many times) simply because there is not enough experience to create the contrast between opposites that clearly define the edge of what is “right.”

In other words, getting something right does not contain enough information to be useful without its opposite. When one smashes into a wall, one tends to keep the eyes open, at least for a while. Without the experience of contrasts, getting it right can make the eyes kind of dreamy and that can be a tough gig on the freeway.

So, do we have to hurt to learn? Are all of the stories about the necessity of life’s struggle correct?

I always hated that thought. Who needs to struggle and hurt and be patient until our time comes (if it does)? Yike and no thanks!

At this point that is a rhetorical statement, and an example of the discrepancy between what we desire and what we need–at least apparently. For me, struggling has been the way, at least in interpersonal relationships. So it has been, even if there were also a lot of very good times.

I’m guessing that the problem is not the likelihood of hurting or struggling, it is the lack of support, it is the lack of allowing others and ourselves to be on our own path. I’m guessing that this lack of allowing has aided and abetted our fragmentation.

For instance, we seem to expend a great deal of energy adding to the pain and the struggle by resisting our own and other’s behaviors and by interfering with those whose paths are not commensurate with our own. When we find ourselves at philosophical odds, we seem to feel we must fight the good fight or surely we will lose the very things we have struggled to get. We have paid for our freedom with blood. We have paid for our religion with blood. We have paid for our towns and our technology and our food and our homes with sweat and struggle. We are invested. When others do not respect that, when others attempt to “invade” our belief system, we tend to hold our ground, we tend to exert our energy to sway them to the rightness of our thinking and our behaviors. Failing that, we can only conclude we are face to face with lessor beings. That they are doing the same, usually adds more fuel on the fires of our righteousness, and on theirs.

Oh sure, we live in the land of the free, the place we can live and let live. However, we still have problems with gender, race, religious and sexual orientation, and so on. Freedom is a nice idea, but I’m thinking we haven’t got the practice nailed down very efficiently. Besides, in our practice of democracy, we believe in helping those that are not doing so well, so obviously the live-and-let-live philosophy has a modification clause built into it, and rightly so I think. Part of the modification problem is the question of authority and interceding under the color of authority when we believe that we cannot possibly follow the live-and-let-live paradigm.

And if our country is supposed to be a model of the freedom to live and let live as well as a model for when to intercede, and if we don’t practice those policies very well even in our own territory, what about cross-cultural issues–our relationship with other countries? Like a parent who dispenses advice, but does exactly the opposite, our authority is vastly undermined on the global stage.

Would humans really have a problem if we allowed people to be who they were? Would all of the dictators and terrorists the world has known have actually been able to amass a following if we weren’t so busy being so righteous about whom and what is right and who and what is wrong? Is that right and wrong propensity more negative than positive energy?
I mean, allowing and helping are two different things. How far would any dictator or terrorist have gotten if others didn’t jump on the band wagon? How many would have jumped on the bandwagon if we had given some positive and helpful attention in the first place? If we spend our time giving our negative attention to any enterprise, we increase the probability that negativity will grow. That would be us wanting to thwart someone, and getting what we want, thwarting someone. And a thwarted someone is not usually an aligned someone.

It isn’t just the many dictators and terrorists that are the problem–evil intention is not so easy to figure out, mostly becoming clear in hindsight. Well-intentioned people (as I’m sure most dictators and terrorists, and their followers, believe themselves to be) can also dictate and terrorize, however inadvertently. What about missionary zeal, whether political, religious, or philosophical (the crusades were about what?)? There are thousands of such stories throughout human history. And of course, well intentioned or otherwise, leaders and followers act under the color of authority, under the pretense of trying to help humanity or some particular group by driving out those not willing to adopt the same view. The real effect of all this activity is we’ve got a lot of people working very diligently to thwart others.

Let’s try a different way. It’s not a new way, it’s always been here. It’s been talked about before and even tried on occasion.

Let’s decide what we really want. Then let’s do only that. If we find that what we get wasn’t quite what we really intended, let’s modify something, the behaviors, the intent, the want, something, and then give that modification our energy. If the results keep coming up different than we expect, let’s have the courage to re-examine our true intent. Let’s shift our energy from blame and finger-pointing back to our own creations. As the cartoon character Pogo said (more or less), “I have seen the enemy and it is us.” Perhaps we’ll find that what we’re getting is only what we are settling for because getting what we really want seems so impossible.

And why is that?

Perhaps it is because we don’t really want it all that much.

That’s the part that frightens me. I worked so hard at fighting to avoid problems that there was not much energy left over to be used in the pursuit of what I did want. And then I got into intimate relationships with people who tended to do the same thing. Is it any wonder that the relationships wound up the way they did? What was I fighting but my own fears and my own misdirected intent? I’ve screwed up a lot. And I’ve not allowed a lot. I have been terribly wrong.

And the funny thing is I’ve been with my own kind all along and so have the women I’ve been involved with, though none of us thought so. We were all just so busy giving each other what we thought the other wanted instead of intending what we wanted. And that discrepancy between what we gave and what we really wanted allowed us to be judge and jury.

And, as I believe in the law of parallelism, of micros and macros, I’m guessing that much of our individual propensities are played out on the global stage as well.

If it is true that we do the things that work for us, then it is very interesting what we’ve been up to all this time. I’m guessing that hierarchy and not equity is what all of us must have really been up to all along. I’m guessing that we’ve been up to control and not love, intending separation and not connectedness, manifesting the creation of interpersonal sorrow and not interpersonal happiness.

Well, we’ve certainly done a good job of it. Shifting the compass heading to a different default, to equity and love and connectedness and happiness will likely be unfamiliar territory indeed.

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