TRANSCENDING PREOCCUPATIONS WITH SURVIVAL
This life we human beings lead is a strange thing. On the one hand, we are just another mammal that has been designed to survive a wide variety of environments, with a set of instinctual responses and drives that resemble other mammals in many ways. What we have in addition seems to be an extraordinary capacity to analyze, conceptualize, manipulate, and alter surrounding environments in order to ensure our survival. This requires constant mental as well as physical attention, preparation, and work. So we are born into a world as vulnerable creatures that need to recognize threatening conditions and react quickly. So fear, anxiety, uncertainty, suspicion, wariness, pain, guilt, pressure, urgency, loss, concern, anger, greed, jealousy, and even shame and embarrassment, are felt as forms of discomfort that call the body to do something to address the unsettling conditions that are perceived to cause them.
Although extremely helpful to facilitate our survival, responding to cues based in discomfort is not very helpful when survival is not an issue. In fact, the success of this way of functioning in the world has resulted in our degrading environments worldwide, with no end in sight to our seemingly insatiable needs to produce and consume without regard to maintaining any balance with other forms of life or sense of humility. So here we are spiraling downward, suffering in many ways from our built-in mindset seeking out and reacting to the slightest perceived deficiency and insecurity.
Yet, foremost, we are spiritual beings in human bodies with which we are so strongly identified that we often lose sight of the fact. Not only are we built to survive, but we are also built with the capacity to transcend our preoccupations with survival and experience the mysterious unfolding of nature and our selves in the moment. This transcendence of the false identification with "survival mind" delivers us into a new form of aliveness where we can discover and witness over and over, infinitely, the mystery and miracle of being fully human. The great news is that this is possible, with a little discipline and practice. Find out more by viewing my Ebooks ï»¿ï»¿inï»¿ Books/Resources or by downloading them from Gumroad.com/johnhain or the Apple iBook Store (for iPads and Macs)
DISCOVER WHOLENESS WITH RADICAL ACCEPTANCE
My previous Journal entry, Suffering Happens, may seem to be rather dark and dense, and leave one hanging. Well, that is exactly where Survival Mind (a mindset built on fear and insecurity) leads. Kind of a dead end, of sorts, for the souls of individuals and communities of human beings. Adopting a secure, unconditionally loving mindset might seem like a complete fantasy or just another form of self deception based in simply thinking 'positively.' But that approach can only push 'negativity' into the shadows of the psyche, bound to rise again subconsciously in some other form.
Instead, what is being proposed is an empathic, loving attitude that encompasses and transcends both negative and positive (dualism). This may be hard to grasp, so think of it this way: There is nothing inherently negative about thoughts and feelings. Just the fact that thinking and feeling is happening inside us is miraculous and inherently 'good.' But, built for survival first, our minds instinctively create positivity and negativity, from which mindset we construct a sense of ourselves and others (personal identities).
By regularly observing inner processes with an attitude of curiosity and wonder, seeing how every part of yourself arising into awareness operates to serve you in some way, you will begin to unravel and untangle the complex narratives and stories unconsciously adopted to define (and therefore limit) yourself and your expression of life energy. At some point of observing your self (and others) you will begin to experience liberation from such identifications, glimpsing the truth of your being.
RADICAL ACCEPTANCE: ANTIDOTE TO SUFFERING
The body provides real time information through sensation and instinctive emotion, all of which is potentially valuable (and inherently good). Yet built into our bodies is a dualistic way of reacting to self and other designed to promote survival. Whatever is perceived to be of positive value brings security and/or comfort, hence is desirable. That experienced as negative results in threat and/or discomfort, and should be avoided. The mind processes unbiased raw sensory information from a perspective of positive vs. negative, creating association, discrimination, categorization, and judgement, and linking each to an emotional feel or gut response. Behavioral strategies are adopted to enhance positive and reduce negative consequences, i.e. to effect a favorable outcome.
Further evaluation of the positive or negative results of the behaviors and strategies themselves leads to conclusions of success vs. failure, fostering the development of self judgement and criticism. By taking our mental processes seriously, believing they should get us what we want, we add another mental perspective - that our performance is the source of any failure, so we intensify effort, try new strategies, or give up. When interactions with others are unrewarding, now another party may be be perceived to be the source(s) of failure, sowing the seeds of interpersonal conflict. It would seem this system has suffering built into it.
So, are we doomed to suffer? Find out more by viewing my eBooks on this website or download them from Gumroad.com/johnhain or the Apple iBooks Store (for iPads and Macs)
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All 5 A's Discovering Life Before Death Discovering Wholenesss Identity Mission Statement Radical Acceptance Practice Redefine Life Expectancy Self Image Suffering Happens Thoughts-feelings Transcending-suffering