Surpassing Our Natural State Or Weakness.

Introduction.

The previous article, the third in the category of ‘Being Human – The Way We Are,’ Whatever Goes Around, Most DEFINITELY Comes Around – concludes leaving the reader with a question:

“Why the hell would I in effect, turn the other cheek?” Well, if it was only to take care of your own karma wouldn’t that be motivation enough? However this article takes it further suggesting that to resist self-control in his way, is the root of our suffering and so on this basis, isn’t it worth some serious consideration?

This fourth article, Surpassing Our Natural State Or Weakness, delves into some of the problems that can be encountered once we have chosen to resist ‘chucking stones’ and once we have declined to continue to create, diseased karma.

Surpassing Our Natural State Or Weakness.

The Domino Effect.

At some point in our lives and for some people, many moments of their lives, we yearn to be the best of ourselves, to love unconditionally, to be someone who can give to others without feeling owed something back. Then shortly afterwards we realise that all sorts of obstacles can and do get in the way and therefore just how hard it is to even change one little thing about ourselves, let alone many things. Worse still, we see that everything about ourselves, our thoughts, feelings and natural instincts is  interconnected just like dominoes in a row, all leaning on the one before – and just a little movement, a little change for one domino, can lead them all to fall down. So we see to change one habit, really involves a whole lot more than we at first calculated.

Often we hear from someone who wishes to quit smoking that they can’t until they have no stress in their life. Then we witness them having a cigarette in response to their perceived stress. How can this be changed? Some people will try to quit smoking by going cold turkey – in other words without any preparation or any support – but then often, when the usual stresses arise and call for their nicotine escape-route, the draw to smoke may feel even stronger than before, because they haven’t created new ideas and momentums to take the place of the addiction they wish to lose. An example of a new idea might be, “I feel stressed. I have researched the effects of smoking and now know that opposed to the stereotypical idea that smoking relaxes me, it actually makes my heart-beat double in speed, creates tension in my muscles etc. Am I simply creating greater tension to disguise the real tension?” This is an interesting concept, it’s like smashing yourself in the face to take the attention off a sore hand, or cutting your arms in a bid to free yourself of emotions that you can’t handle…hence the birth of self-harm/self-calming.

Do you know, that most legal narcotics/medications work on this basis? Check it out – the side effects of most medication, include the symptoms which the patient is taking the medication to relieve! The side effects of Venlafaxine for example, used for depression (being stuck-more about this later), include increased aggression and suicidal tendencies. These medications create a need for a fix much like a drug addict relies on each fix but all in the name of mental health support. The truth is this method of progress is often-times illusory and certainly not reliable, as it simply dampens down parts of us which need attention and whilst maintaining a vicious circle of addiction, rather than there being any useful development.

The Brains Of Evolution.

We all have a propensity to imitate here and there and certainly as children this is a chief function and very necessary for many years.  The evolution of life uses imitation within the repeated cycles that turn the cogs of the natural world, perfectly, year after year. If nature demanded that every single thing be reasoned through at length before it came into being, it would be a very different reality. No, there is already a framework in place that works and we have been equipped to exist here, even to thrive here and to procreate here. To survive and to prosper. There are many habits and momentums that do not call for our attention, that do not demand that we remember to maintain them and these are taken for granted until they fail; the beating of our hearts and breathing being just two of many, many processes that unfold without the need for our attention. We live in the womb of the Universe and just like babies, we are fed all that we need to exist.

This natural state is so powerful, that to supersede it takes very special efforts. All the mental, emotional, and sensual momentums that we experience simultaneously, are towards the survival and proliferation of our race as it is with other animals, so there is much sensory distraction for those who commit to go against the grain.  Also by their very nature, habits are comfortable whether good, bad or middling and therefore to change them, can feel like a very unfriendly idea indeed and this along with consistent distractions, can and often is enough to keep us where we are.

It is interesting to observe not just ourselves but also other people and to note where imitation arises. Many people will attempt to imitate the qualities in others that they like and superficially this can work; we can wear the same clothes as someone else, walk the same way, adopt a persona displaying certain apparent attitudes and such like but imitation cannot replace in depth study, learning and development, so unless you are content with only making connections based on transient and relatively vague ideas, imitation is not useful enough on its own.

I have witnessed people trying to imitate the un-imitatable and then finding they aren’t able to, falling into depression. In my view, depression, regardless of the cause, is essentially being stuck. Consider this if you will; if you are trying to copy people to feel connected here and to experience a sense of safety and belonging, you may well become depressed as you realise that yes you can copy others, but you cannot yourself feel the peace of the guru that you have chosen to imitate. You can sit like him and hold your head like him, you can smile like him and repeat chants like him, you can speak gently to other people in the manner that he does and you can leave them with a soft hand on their shoulder, again, just like he does. However, does this mean that you also are free of  negativity and of judgement against your fellow man? Do you feel free, pure and at peace? These attributes cannot be imitated.

Some times people try to bridge the gap between their truthful perception of themselves and the way that they wish to be perceived by others – by using marijuana, narcotics, alcohol,  medication and/or other addictions and distractions. They may avoid spending time alone, taking stimulants to push the otherwise constant nagging thought away, “This isn’t the real deal!” and all the time maintaining connections with other people who are also avoiding the same truth and who therefore present little challenge.

However, you may be one of those people who are hanging off the edge of your seat for real food now? Perhaps you have spent many years fashioning illusions of grandeur about yourself, based on parts of you that have been closer to reality at different times in your life or simply through your recognisable worldly achievements; whilst simultaneously building a safety network of people around you, for the sole purpose of supporting and nourishing these grand attributes you have fostered. You may have done all tis and more and yet still arrived at the same aforementioned thought, “This isn’t the real deal.”

There Is Nothing Valuable Without Effort.

This looks like a hard-truth and it is until it is properly understood and it cannot be understood by words alone. Western living in all its glory, teaches the less effort the better which on the surface may look really appealing – why make effort if we can just flick a switch? Why make effort if we can just lie? What make effort without knowing exactly what we can get out of it and when?

WE are largely autonomous beings and the state that is naturally ours does not afford us to see ourselves as we truly are. Even if we examine our inner worlds from our usual state, it is really just one character within us, judging another. There are different states available to us but, and it is a BIG BUT, these other states cannot be reliably experienced without making regular and very specific efforts. So here we see a problem right away – as the rewards of such efforts cannot be properly understood or appreciated UNTIL WE HAVE ALREADY MADE THE EFFORTS. The rewards are unimaginable and life-changing but the laziness of our pre-formed personality has to be confronted and diminished before the small voice of our essential selves can be followed with suitable conviction. The truth is that the majority of people will not opt for this opt for this –  why would they when they can almost effortlessly simply pull the wool over their own and other people’s eyes? However, there are those who sincerely wish to be free of western world conditioning –  and who have already experienced the joy of paying first… and for these people who wish to surpass their natural state of weakness, there is a very real way ahead.

The path of the truth-seeker utilises imitation as a means to adopt certain methods and principles, rather than as an end, to maintain a state of image and ignorance. It is the seeker’s responsibility to make enough effort and to choose whether or not to risk the safety of the conditioned life they are already accustomed to. Some seekers who opt to risk wobbling their current life circumstances (often because on balance they feel their life isn’t quite doing it for them anyway), live outside of the box but only until they have fashioned a new and more comfortable box. Whereas others, seekers may have a curiosity for all that lies under the surface of the things that we take for granted, such as artists flowing with creative thoughts challenging the usual views of life or perhaps people who have endured trauma and been left with deep grooves of discomfort and splayed out boundaries.

Please bear in mind that there really is such a thing as lost opportunity. There are many papers and books highlighting a variety of dual nature’s of man but for the purpose of this article, I will not be discussing these. Suffice to say, the duality that I am referring to, I am calling the face which we show to the world and the way that we know ourselves. If we are being driven by the face which we show to the world, then we are experiencing ourselves through other people’s opinions and interactions and not through our own peaceful reflection. If we are experiencing ourselves through other people’s opinions and interactions and not through our own peaceful reflection, life passes by extremely quickly. Without certain efforts the other part of our duality cannot do much, cannot impact much and cannot even be felt very much and opportunities, some of them one in a million, can easily be missed or even lost altogether.

As much as we know we have just one life of around seventy-eighty years – it isn’t a long time. There are many chances to grab the golden hoop and as many to miss it. It is every individual’s right to choose their own path. We can chuck stones, spreading and inciting misery. We can live by unmoderated imitation. We can operate as lazily as possible, quickly pasting the cracks where effort may be called for or we can choose to nurture the other part of our nature, the side that wants to take responsibility and find out more. We can develop the side of our natures that really doesn’t want to create negative karma but sees that there are habits to break to be free of their weakness and therefore efforts to make.

We cannot change in one step but we can choose and then forge ourselves a new path if we have a heartfelt wish to change – can’t we?

Thank you for reading. Comments welcome.

© 2015 Sarita Perrott. All Rights Reserved.

The Truth Of Disease.

Introduction.

The first article under the heading of ‘Being Human – The Way We Are’ Drama Versus Reality concludes leaving the reader with a question:

“So the question is – how can we remove ourselves from the world of drama – rather than wait until TIME delivers us our greater picture… our fuller perspective?
Can we live within drama and yet apart from it?” The second of my articles under the heading of ‘Being Human – The Way We Are’ asks the reader to begin to examine the many areas of our lives that this question can both arise and thrive in.

Where have you seen and/or where can you envisage seeing this question arise? When I queried myself, I realised that as the first article states, we don’t normally see that we are stuck in a drama at the time and if we do, although it reminds us of our debate about reality and drama, we soon forget it. I noted for myself, that the dramas that I most often found myself caught up in and also witnessed that others often found themselves most caught up in, were the ones that involved much perceived suffering and this motivated the writing of my second article. The Truth Of Disease  attempts to unpick the stereotypical thinking often attached to the the topic of ‘dis-ease’ and show where we can take the helm and refuse to allow ‘drama’ to steal the show.

The Truth Of Disease.

There are many conditions that form around us through our lives, more and less tangibly, according to our perceptions. Just like addictive bad relationships that we cannot resist, or additive soaked sweets that we like that should really be binned, unhealthy conditions form without our attention and we find ourselves inside them, being affected by them – and unable to change anything much at all. These conditions are built through many moments and it occurred to me that if we were able to let go of each and every moment as it passed, would this still be the case? Would the same conditions still be created?

I have witnessed personally and through observing others that we hang on to moments, short ones and longer ones, simple ones and complex ones. If they are good, we hold tight to make sure that they don’t go away and if they are bad, we hold tight (through our fear and suffering) to make sure that they don’t stay. If we were able to let go of these moments as if they were all passing ships, including our suffering through the discomfort of disease, and stop ourselves from grasping at each moment through fear, would the same conditions be created, or would we find ourselves on new ground?

There is grasping in the negative sense but maybe there is more than one way to grasp onto something. Do we grasp through a need for attention and care; or maybe though conditioning because we have already had the same or something similar and it feels comfortable to be without it? I want to focus for a moment on less obvious ways that we ‘grasp’ – because I think if we can become aware of these less obvious ways that we grasp onto things and won’t let them go, then we can practise going against the grain of these tendencies, thereby minimising suffering, whilst maximising our sense of substantial self at the same time.

We are creatures of habit and habit can form very quickly. There is nothing like habit to engender grasping. It can take as little as two, or maybe three nights, for two people sharing a bed for the first time to then miss one another when they next sleep apart and grasp for one another. We create habits willy-nilly without a thought (or without observing the thoughts involved at the time). In fact, we live within a whole universe of precise habits creating a network of support to survive and maintain ourselves. We need habit and we thrive within it. Think about it; if you were in charge of maintaining your own breathing – do you really think you’d be alive now? It’s great that some habits are so well developed in us as they are needed to insure our survival. Perhaps if we examine HOW habits are formed, is is possible that they can be used to our advantage? However, we are not discussing this quite yet, but instead how habit may play a part in grasping and holding onto moments that create conditions for suffering – and specifically in the area of disease.

Try to recall the last time that you were really unwell. Picture yourself then and then move deeper into the experience. Remember the moments and the conditions around you at that time. Were you sitting up in bed stating ‘I am well!’ with a huge grin on your face despite the discomfort you were experiencing? No – and that is hardly surprising as it NOT what we generally do. We talk about and think about how bad our suffering is and hope that it will end as soon as possible and when people visit, we either don’t manage to smile or manage a faint smile from a martyr’ish perspective whilst resisting any idea that we are getting better or even may get better with any conviction at all. We are so good at suffering over our own suffering and feeling like underdogs on top of it – that asking ourselves what we really can do about it, often doesn’t enter the equation.  Instead we talk about it (using energy) and depending on how much we feel we are suffering, depends on just how much passion we put into talking about it – and we will talk about it with our friends and family, doctors and even strangers on the train for example. We fidget about it. When our body is uncomfortable and needs rebalancing, we often hold it in a certain tense way (using energy) and depending on the level of discomfort we feel we are having to endure, we hold our bodies tighter and tighter and tighter. We lie about it (using energy); we might fashion our description of our own experience to meet our emotional requirement – i.e. to impact the person we are telling, in a way that satisfies us that they fully understand how much we are suffering. This is an example of hanging onto the drama of disease.

Through these happenings, we inadvertently create conditions around us for the dis-ease to thrive. We don’t take the simple route – inside ourselves to a place of quiet and sincerity. We don’t use our individuality to pull ourselves into shape again – we look outwards – outwards for answers and then outwards to blame – anything other than taking responsibility for ourselves.

My question to you is if we replaced these habitual negative thoughts with with positive affirmations, would; 1. The dramatic moments be effectively passed by and not hung on to? and 2. Would this result in changing conditions and the diminishing of disease? But I realised that this is a very big ‘if’ because we are largely creatures of habit and to ask someone to exert themselves in such a way when they are feeling sorry for themselves is probably too tall an order. this led me to wanting to look at habit in more depth to see how they are formed and to see how they could perhaps be un-formed, or even reformed in a way pallatable with the already suffering, the already knee-deep in drama.

After some study and observation, I saw that habits can be formed through shocks – even a single shock records on the reels of our memory bank and then begs to be acknowledged, through the revisiting of that emotion, those dynamics and the associated opinions, conflicts etc. And habits can also be formed through repetition. I saw that in the main the single big shock route could cause chaos, whereas the repetition route would seem tedious for many though to me seemed a sure route if someone was really dedicated. There are multitudes of self-help books full of wonderful ideas and we read them with ‘ahh’s’ and ‘oh’s’ of recognition and then go away without changing a thing. There are
group workshops where we can receive guidance through imitation, to show us how things can work, how they can be better – which again, can last for a while before we need another. How many days and nights have you sat around a table with mates, discussing the Universe and how we can better our position in it to become more functional – whilst your efforts to change are usurped because the grip of habit is stronger than your ability to lift it out of that groove and into another you have chosen? Why does this happen? Why do these gems elude us?

After noting that disease is often a dramatic experience for people within their suffering and that this drama is created by moments that have been grasped onto and not passed by – and that to create a habit takes either a big shock or much repetition, it seemed to me that there was no way out for those experiencing the suffering of disease. As I deliberated over this I saw another problem. I realised that when someone is suffering, unbeknown to them they are using a lot of energy and so another problem within the possibility of instilling new habits, was a lack of energy. But sick people are often low on energy, this is par for the course, so again, I met a brick wall. I realised that the most that a patient could be asked to consider, was to ‘”Shhhh,…conserve your energy my love.”

Then it hit me – Geronimo! ‘If we put those habits in when we are well and our energy levels are good, then this other way of thinking would be available to us when we’re sick! Of course! It takes energy to change. Like an aircraft on a runway, it takes a healthy fuel tank to be able to lift that craft from the ground hundreds of miles against gravity into the sky. Without the power, it can want to fly and talk about flying and discuss with others about flying and criticise others that do fly – but it won’t fly unless it is properly fed. Like us.

I saw that slowly but surely we can create new habits. That there is no point trying to do it all at once as that is unlikely to work – and there’s no point in trying at all if we don’t first attend to our energies – because it won’t take long before we are talking ourselves out of this bright idea to change our habits if we are low on energy. We do need to be willing to sacrifice certain sides of ourselves – sides that keep us entrenched in the habits we want to break. But we can begin simply with sleep because we know that I tired body has no reserve for changing habits – so we have to start small and with what is obvious.

We began by looking at the probable effect of dramatically holding onto the suffering of disease. If we worked to change our habits when we had sufficient energy to do so, then would disease become a sign of imbalance rather than the announcement of a period of suffering? And would this new way of thinking, invite us to ask, “What is out of balance? What needs to be addressed? What is is that I am not attending to that is creating this imbalance because I know that when I do attend to it, my body will again be free of disease.”

Ask yourself, are you in a condition now, to change your own habits, so that you have the right tools at hand, the right reminders along the way, to take responsibility for your own dis-ease? Do you waste your energy and then find yourself without any when you need to study a problem and make a change? Next time you’re on a bus, and you witness the red-nosed guy next to you blowing his snotty hooter – watch your habitual thoughts…what do they say? “Bloody hell – I bet I get that blokes cold now.” or “Poor guy, run down. He could do with redressing the balance of things in his inner and outer world.”
I am not encouraging judgement over others – I’m highlighting the habitual thoughts which often enter and shape us if they are allowed to go unchecked – that then contribute to a vicious circle of disease, with far reaching effects.

This study brought me to see that although disease is often seen as an outcome, a result – and then the symptoms attended to accordingly, really disease is a signal, a friend and a teacher, beckoning us to take a look at what is out of balance. Therefore the truth of disease, is that it is only an experience on the way to becoming more whole.

Finally, a question for you. When you are unwell and suffering over your own suffering, feeling impossibly caught in the disease that has you in its grip, imagine that each word, each sentence, each groan collects in the ether and bounces back to you like a the ripples returning inwards after a stone has been plopped into the water. Imagine that each word, sentence and groan, hits others on the way out and the way in, impacting them along the way.

Do you feel it is worth making changes when you do have the energy to?  Or is is only when you are suffering that this thought occurs to you – when you are too weak to put anything against your habits at all?

Thank you for reading. Comments welcome.

© 2015 Sarita Perrott. All Rights Reserved.