In my last post, I talked about a lot. We got heavy and we got real. Pulling back my skin to reveal how my flesh moves underneath isn’t the most comfortable thing to do; but meh, who’s judgement am I supposed to care about really? Truth be told, the only judgement that truly matters to this beautiful experience we call life, is our own.
It was only after I realized that little golden nugget, that I could get through the ways of being that obscured the vision. Now what do I mean by “ways of being that obscured the vision”, you may ask. That’s such an esoteric statement! It’s sounds like “feel good” spiritualist crap.
Well back up the torches and put down the pitchforks for a second. I’ll explain.
When we are children, we absorb. It’s what we’re preprogrammed to do. We enter this world as a helpless little ball of potential without any idea of what the rules of the game actually are. All we know, on an instinctual level, is that we crave love and safety, and need someone to provide that for us. Enter mom and dad.
We cry, they feed; we poop, they clean - you get the idea. Gradually we absorb from them the basic rules of the game called "how to get love and security". We learn which behaviors are acceptable, and which are unacceptable through gratification and punishment. In other words, our beliefs and behaviors (fundamental to our expression of identity) are heavily molded by external forces. These external forces are the way our developing mind figures out the rules of the game. Oh, and by the way, as we get older, we also realize there are a lot more people playing the game too - and that complicates things. Now we have to adapt our strategies to account for the additional opinions floating around us. So we absorb feedback on what people like or don’t like about us and our programming (our ego) says, “this is stuff we have to change or hide so we can keep getting love and security.”
Maybe you’re a little girl who loves playing sports with the boys and you can beat anyone else at science and math; or maybe you’re a boy who prefers music, and acting, and art to playing football and riding dirt bikes. Maybe your interests aren't fringe, but your personality is, and you hear everyone around you say you’re not what you’re supposed to be. So you submerge those aspects of yourself beneath the learned behaviors concordant with what you “think” you’re supposed to be and how you’re supposed to behave. Don’t feel too bad, we all do this. Your ego is not your enemy. It has been around since you were an infant, trying to form an idea of your “self” that is not in conflict with the world around it; because the helpless child you were couldn’t afford conflict over security. The helpless child wouldn’t have survived in conflict. So the ego helped you adjust yourself to move seamlessly into the role that brings you other’s love and a feeling of safety. Your ego was trying to protect you.
Unfortunately, there comes a time when your ego’s old defenses and tactics are like the colonial-era Brit’s tactics in the US’s War of Independence - outdated. It is chock full of self-limiting beliefs that we use to define what our life can or cannot be. Those little buggers sit there, hidden in the shadows of our minds where we seldom care to go, churning out negative patterns of behavior, dysfunctional emotional triggers, and a mindset that relies on external achievements, relationships, and circumstances to feel happy. And all of these systems of operating collectively form what I like to call my “lower self”. And this lower self is heavily entrenched, like a drunk guy with a gambling addiction in Vegas, in playing the game called "how to get love and security" - which is the wrong stinking game!
Pause for deep breath…and long sigh.
Was that a fun ride for you? I know it got heavy there for a second. I’ve been told I do that from time to time. It comes with the territory. I simply crave powerful, high-impact experiences and connections. I love intentionally illuminating the shadows so I can see the truth lurking there, disempower it, and level up my mindset and my life; because quite honestly, I’ve gotten tired of not living up to my human potential. And, no, that doesn’t automatically make me a holy man, a peaceful man, or a simple man. Just ask anyone who really knows me. No. If anything, deconstructing my lower self makes me a more focused fighter, a more “see the future but live in the moment” kind of man, and a more dynamic human.
So what is the game you should be playing called? What does deconstructing my lower self look like in practice and what replaces it? And how does it connect to the vision? I still haven't even told you what that vision actually is! Too bad - that’s all a conversation for next time…