Feedback Over Feedforward – Awareness Over Discipline

Creative Commons License
by DCH Park

At one point during my undergraduate studies at MIT, I took a systems control class. I bring it up here because I find that some insights from that class are helpful in illuminating personal experience.

In the control class, we studied various ways to design and analyze dynamic control systems of various types, ranging from purely mechanical ones to electrical ones (which had no transistors) to electronic ones (which did). Analytically, all of these systems could be modeled and understood using the same principles. Mathematically they were identical in spite of the fact that completely different physical components and forces were in operation in different systems.

There are primarily two different philosophies or approaches to designing control circuits. One is called feedback and the other is called feed-forward. Most of the control systems in use in the world today are feedback systems.

In a feedback control circuit, a portion of the output of the system is fed back into the control circuit inputs. The control circuit combines this feedback with the operator (or other external) control inputs to automatically adjust the system.

For example, if you adjust the speaker volume in your car radio to a certain level, the volume setting is the “operator” or external control setting. As the volume setting is increased, the control circuit sends a signal to the speaker drivers telling them to work harder.

Since it’s a feedback control circuit, a portion of this speaker driver signal is also sent back to the control circuit and mixed with the manual volume setting. Typically, the feedback signal is inverted so that as the volume goes up, the feedback causes the control signal to decrease and if the volume goes down, the control signal increases.

This type of negative feedback control tends to be very stable because it tends to push the output toward a stable center – down if the output gets too high and up if it gets too low. This is why it is used so widely.

In positive feedback control, the feedback is not inverted. Thus, it tends to further amplify the system’s outputs. If the output goes up, positive feedback makes it go higher faster. This is what happens when a microphone is placed too closely to the speaker it drives. The speaker output is picked up by the mic and amplified through the speaker, leading to an unstable feedback loop that mounts continuously, destroying the signal and resulting in screeching.

In a feed-forward control circuit, there is no input that takes the system output to the external world back into the system. Certain assumptions are made about the way in which the system will behave and the ways in which the external world will respond, The (external) control inputs take these assumptions into account and are simply fed in.

As long as the assumptions are accurate, the system behaves as expected, but if the assumptions are off, even just by a small amount, the system can become disastrously unstable. Outputs may become unpredictable or even destroy the system altogether.

This is what happens when a car suddenly loses traction on a patch of ice. The car’s behavior suddenly changes so that the driver’s assumptions about how the car will react are suddenly wrong. Control inputs that are normally safe – holding the wheel straight and pressing on the brakes – are no longer safe. Instead of producing normal results – straightening out the car’s trajectory and slowing down – they do something else – promoting a spin with locked wheels (unless the car is equipped with anti-lock brake control, which all modern commercially produced cars are).

The solution to this problem is to “close the loop,” and make the external outputs of the system a portion of the inputs. In other words, make the feed-forward system into a feedback system by adding a sensor that loops back to the inputs. This is what anti-lock braking systems do.

In exactly the same way, enhancing the feedback control in your body and life can enhance your stability and equanimity. In this case, the key is to develop your facility with awareness. Jon Kabat-Zinn, one of the seminal influences in bringing mindfulness and meditation into the medical establishment mainstream, points out that awareness, like thinking, is an inherent ability that humans possess. However, in this culture, unlike thinking, it is an ability that is not widely prized or even recognized, much less one that many people are trained in using.

Control via thinking alone is a form of feed-forward control In the body, feed-forward control is essentially experienced as a kind of numbness that cuts you off from the external world. Without feedback, there is a tendency to easily slip into a perception that the external world is on the other side of an invisible and inviolable barrier – an impossibly fine and absolutely impregnable curtain that separates you from the external world.

In the body, Hansen’s disease, commonly known as leprosy, is an extreme example of what can happen when feedback is lost and only feed-forward control remains. Hansen’s disease victims lose sensation. Loss of sensation starts in the fingertips and toes and progresses inward. Motor function control is unimpaired.

However, because all sensation is lost, including pain, victims lose the ability to sense when they have damaged themselves. As a result, they inflict repeated trauma to affected tissues and the body begins to erode. Eventually fingers, toes, noses, and more can be lost to physical trauma caused not by the disease, but by the victim upon his or her self because the disease prevents feedback about his or her physical condition.

Hansen’s disease is an extreme example, but the same mechanism is at work in less extreme situations every day. When you feel a headache due to stress or over-work and take an analgesic instead of a break, you are choosing to numb the pain and dampen your natural feedback in favor of a feed-forward control signal to keep working or work harder.

Since feed-forward control is experienced as numbness in the body, it is expressed as discipline. In the absence of sensory connection and emotional immediacy, exertion of will remains as the only means to gain control. It is like being on one side of a wall and trying to control what happens on the other side of the wall by pulling and pushing rods that go through the wall without being able to directly see, hear, or feel what is happening, relying instead on graphical progress reports that are projected on a screen.

Cultivating your awareness is a key to addressing this shortcoming. By becoming more fully aware of the many cues that your body sends you and the depth and richness of your sensory experience of your environment, you strengthen your feedback loop. Your experience of your surroundings and even of yourself shifts. You pierce the barrier that separates you from your external world and feel the world more richly and subtly.

For example, when I wanted to lose weight many years ago, I noticed that it was a struggle as long as I approached it as a discipline. To make matters worse, I was keenly aware of flavor and the sensations of eating, swallowing, and feeling full, which became positive feedback signals that tended to amplify the unhealthy behavior and desire for unhealthy foods.

Once I began to notice other sensations, like the listlessness I felt after a food binge or unhealthy meal and the feeling of tightness and deflation I felt after just one bite of unhealthy food, my relationship with food and weight control began to change significantly. I no longer had to struggle to control something that I could grasp intellectually but not feel. I could cultivate awareness of what was going on in my body and how I felt and healthy choices dropped out of that awareness effortlessly.

Losing weight and eating more healthily were no longer hard. Given greater awareness of my body and how different foods affected my body, making healthy choices became the easiest things to do. Making unhealthy choices became hard because in order to make those choices I would have to ignore what I now so clearly felt.

If you don’t have sensation, you might hit your thumb with a hammer and not even know it. Without strict discipline and rigid attention to specific details, you might keep hammering and actually break your thumb or worse. On the other hand, with your awareness and sensation intact, if hit your thumb with a hammer, you stop pounding the nail because your thumb hurts. Taking care of your thumb becomes the easiest thing to do.

Creative Commons License
“Feedback Over Feedforward – Awareness Over Discipline” by DCH Park is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Flattr this!

Creating the Relationship You Desire

Creative Commons License
by DCH Park

Are you in the relationship you desire? If not, are you seeking to form a new relationship or improve an existing one? If you seek a relationship with someone new, what do you want in your ideal relationship? If you want to improve an existing one, how is it currently different from your ideal relationship?

In considering these questions, it might be helpful to consider the nature of love. A true love relationship is predicated on who you can be to each other and with each other in the world. Does the other person support you in your growth and challenge you in your automatic habits? Are you able to support your partner in turn (and do you)?

Someone once said that the only reason to be in a relationship is if being in the relationship helps you to grow more into your divine self faster and with more fun than you could without the relationship. By the same token, if it ever becomes true that you or your partner(s) would be better served to be alone than in the relationship, then the relationship should end or change in some other way so that everyone is well served. Seen in this light, love becomes a joyful dance that whirls through laughter and tears alike. It faces the deepest fears and shares the purest joy with equal honesty and immediacy.

Nothing in such a relationship is more important than honesty and personal integrity. Without integrity all of the growth, support, and honest laughter that might otherwise be possible is jeopardized.

Of course, integrity in relationship requires personal integrity. Honesty with a partner demands honesty with your self first. Thus, in order to have a wonderful relationship, you must first become ready to be in a wonderful relationship. You must become ready to receive and/or participate in a wonderful relationship.

By analogy you do not expect to find a mausoleum built out of balsa wood, nor a bonfire built out of stone. The wood is not the right material for a crypt and the stone is not the right material for a fire. Do not expect to build a successful relationship until you are the right person to be in a wonderful relationship.

Toward this end, it can be helpful to let go of any thoughts, expectations, or desires you might have regarding unimportant or less important factors, such as background, eye or hair color, occupation, etc. Of course, the list of unimportant details to release is a personal decision. Recognize, though, that as the number of extra details grows, the preponderance of details will tend to narrow the range of possibilities to realize your vision. After a certain point, focus on incidental details can actually obscure your clarity regarding the vital factors of connection, trust, and integrity. Tragically, once you start down this path, it becomes very easy to lose sight of the important things altogether.

It can be helpful to recognize that any relationship is jointly owned by both (or all) participants. This means that in a dyad (for example) each partner owns one half of the relationship. If you can be aware of your half of the relationship and release the other half to be whatever your partner will make of it, then you free yourself to work on your half of the relationship and on getting yourself ready to be in that relationship.

Being aware of how it feels to be in the relationship you desire – from the midway point over to your end – is a powerful way to call the relationship into your experience and to identify any elements, expectations, fears, or resistance you might have that are blocking you from fully receiving that relationship in your life.

As you identify, own, and release these blocks, the relationship becomes ever more clear and palpable in your experience until, as you release the final block, it arrives in your physical reality. In my experience, the physical arrival can follow releasing the final block by hours, not months or even days. Hours.

This same principle applies to manifesting anything. Recognize that what you are actually attracting is a relationship with the thing, person, experience, or idea. In fact, you already have a relationship with the person, group, object, or idea. It just isn’t quite what you want it to be, yet.

Take responsibility for your half of that relationship and release everything on the other side of the midway point. Remember, the other half of the relationship is not your responsibility. Be aware of your half of the relationship and how it feels. Compare how it feels in its present form with how it feels in its preferred form. As you do this, notice what blocks or emotional charges, if any, that get stirred up. Clear up these blocks and emotional baggage. Heal the wounds that they spring from.

As the blocks are released, you will notice the attracted relationship orbiting nearer and nearer, until, as you release the final block, it lands directly before you.

Creative Commons License
“Creating the Relationship You Desire” by DCH Park is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Flattr this!

The Nature of Karma

Creative Commons License
by DCH Park

Karma is a widely recognized word these days, though it’s not well understood. Most popular notions of karma have to do with cycles of debt, obligation, and sin. If somehow in life I have done something to hurt you or that is morally or ethically repugnant, I incur a karmic debt that my soul carries until it is repaid.

I may not repay this debt immediately, but I must eventually, even if I don’t do so until another lifetime. Thus, in another life I may find myself on the receiving end of exactly the same mistreatment that I inflicted. In extreme cases I may find myself reincarnated at a low station in life or even as a lower order of animal as a form of cosmic restitution. This is what I learned as a child about karma in school. It also reflects most American’s basic understanding of karma.

I find it interesting how similar this view of karma is to ideas of divine justice and eternal punishment on one hand and Santa Claus checking his list on the other. All of them depend on some supremely powerful agency who can’t be fooled and keeps track of all of the secret sins that we commit. Consider how well suited such a notion is to keeping people in line. Since the agency is able to see and know everything about us, we have to meticulously police ourselves in order to be found worthy.

Karma has the added “benefit” of a built-in explanation for suffering and an argument for embracing your lot in life no matter what it may be. – If I am suffering it must be due to a karmic debt that I must repay (or that I’m paying forward). Any action that I take to change my condition carries the risk of upsetting this balance and throwing me deeper into karmic debt. If I am a servant or slave, I must have a large karmic debt. I’d better not try to revolt or change the social order. In fact, I would be wise to strive to be the best servant or slave that I can possibly be. It’s best to not even try to mess with Santa’s list, just be good!

On the other hand, if I am rich and powerful, it must be due to having lived very generously and properly in one or more other lives. I must therefore be a virtuous soul and I am justified in enjoying my wealth. Furthermore, my decisions must be inherently just since I am an obviously relatively enlightened soul.

However, in Autobiography of a Yogi, Paramhansa Yogananda describes the first meeting and initiation of a young man who would become a great yogic master with Babaji, an immortal Christ-like figure who brought yoga back to humanity after it had been lost. Babji tells the young man to return to the cave where they first met in two days. When he returns, he finds a great palace with a sumptuous banquet set up instead of the cave in the rocks.

Amazed, he asks Babaji why the palace had appeared. Babaji explains that they were close friends in the young initiate’s former life and that he had expressed a strong and sincere desire during that life to be in such a place. Babaji had chosen to manifest the palace for his friend upon the occasion of his initiation as a gift, in order to discharge the karmic debt that he had created with his wish.

The true nature of karma, then, is in the ties that we form to bind us to the creations we choose. As long as these creations are chosen from the perspective of freedom and joy – in other words from the heart of our power – they are a bond that we make with ourselves and the universe. We are bound to them until we release them, for example, by experiencing them and fully discharging them.

As long as we ignore or resist them, our creations will continue to present, even if they are no longer what we would choose. They lock us into patterns that repeat or even grow over time. Letting go of resistance and opening to these experiences can be the beginning of freeing ourselves from the karmic bond.

Beyond experiencing the chosen creation, deep healing comes from a return to the joy and power in which the creation was chosen in the first place. From this perspective, it is easy to discharge the creation or relinquish it even without fully experiencing it, since we are now on the same level of creation or higher.

Knowing this, we can even discharge karmic bonds without having to experience the creation fully. Awareness of the nature of karma and of what is happening in the body and the world can be enough to illuminate the bond and the choice that motivated it. Given this recognition, it is possible to return to that point of creation and un-make the choice, thereby freeing the energy devoted to the creation and opening the way for deeper healing.

Creative Commons License
“The Nature of Karma” by DCH Park is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Flattr this!

Post Holiday Blues

Creative Commons License
by DCH Park

A friend shared with me once that he has noticed that, as the years go by, he is less and less involved in Christmas, New Year, and the whole end-of-year holiday ritual. In my own experience, having small children around can help to make the holidays seem more exciting but personally, I feel very ambivalent about teaching another generation to embrace the culture of stuff. (If you haven’t seen the Story of Stuff, yet, go to storyofstuff.com. It is an entertaining and thought-provoking 20-minute animation that is well worth your time.)

Regardless of your own political and economic view of holiday rituals, like it or not, closely following the celebrations, is the time to clean up, pay the piper, and return unwanted gifts, but this prospect can weigh on the spirit. Not only can cleanup feel enervating, arguably gift-giving itself is bad for the economy. For one economist’s intriguing view of the inefficiency inherent in gift giving, go to http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2010/12/21/132203873/the-tuesday-podcast-making-christmas-more-joyful-and-more-efficient.

As my friend noted, it’s never as much fun taking down holiday decorations and putting them away as it is to put them up in the first place. After the New Year celebrations are over and the time to reassemble your life arrives, a sense of ennui or depression can set in. For some people the blues can encourage long delays in taking down decorations. I have a few neighbors who seem to keep their decorations up well into the new year with one or two who seem to hold onto them until March every year!

For most, the post-holiday depression is generally mild but it can linger. A feeling of lassitude, perhaps stemming from the combination of large amounts of rich foods and sweets with warm beds, long nights, and winter temperatures outside, it can make it feel hard to rise in the morning. A routine of early rising and focused work that seemed to flow effortlessly into the beginning of December might feel hard to get back to. Simply getting out of bed in the morning can seem like a chore.

At such times it can be very helpful to remember that the divisions between mind, body, and spirit are illusory. Most scholars trace the modern view of the mind/body split to Rene Descartes, the sixteenth century French philosopher, mathematician, physicist, and writer after whom the standard Cartesian x, y coordinate system in geometry is named.

In fact, evidence from many fields increasingly supports the view that in fact there is no real separation between mind, body, and spirit. They are best understood as different aspects of the same thing. Imagine an object floating in space. A light shined on it from one direction produces a shadow of a triangle. From a different direction, the same light and object cast a shadow of a rectangle. From a third direction, the shadow is square. Which is the “true” shadow of the object?

In much the same way, the body, the mind, and the spirit are all different aspects of a single, multidimensional self. What affects any one of the three leaves traces in the others, just as beating the object with a hammer to change the square shadow also affects the rectangle and triangle shadows.

If you are feeling blue because of the end of the holidays or for any other reason, one of the best ways to change this is to move your body. Engage in some physical activity. Go running or work out at the gym. Practice yoga or shovel snow. Go dancing or hiking. Any physical activity that gets your heart beating will also move your energy. As the energy begins to flow once more, the feeling of depression and weariness will vanish.

Creative Commons License
“Post Holiday Blues” by DCH Park is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Flattr this!

Positive (or Negative) Expectations

Creative Commons License
by DCH Park

It is popular in some circles to embrace juicy displays of excitement and joy as part of the creation process. Perhaps partly due to a widespread misunderstanding or too literal interpretation of lessons in The Secret and other texts, the notion that joy, gratitude, and excitement about your creation should be strong and palpable is very popular.

If this is your natural mode and it works for you, then by all means, continue. Some people are very joyful and excited. They veritably vibrate with excitement and appreciation. Their energy seems almost tangible. They are able to pass that excitement on to others, which can be a powerful motivator for action.

The emotional impact of such individuals is almost physical in its effect. In fact, the Huna view of such raw emotion is that it is felt through the Basic Self, which is associated most closely with the body and subconscious. Huna also suggests that since the Basic Self is equally capable of feeling negative emotions, these same people are as prone to strongly feel and radiate their negative emotions as they are their positive ones.

However, there is a full range of emotions and wide variety in the ways that people experience and express them. Notice that there is another way to feel the reality of a new creation even before it is ready to be experienced in the physical world. Notice the sense of certainty you have in taking a step in the dark. You can’t see the floor before you, but you step out with a sense of surety that it is there. Beyond that, you have a sense for what it feels like and where it is. On those occasions when the floor wasn’t where you expected it to be, the moment your foot passed through the space where you expected to find the floor, your sense of surety instantly passed into alarm.

By the same token, if the floor was where you’d expected but felt different than you’d expected (for example if it was carpeted instead of hardwood or if it was wet), you probably felt surprise. Not alarm to be sure, but the swiftness and dynamics of change in your emotional state was probably nearly identical.

This sense of certainty is a subtler thing than the keen, body-felt excitement of the Basic Self. It is also very powerful, arguably more powerful than the excitement. Napoleon Hill identifies this sense of certainty as the single most powerful emotion in creating new experiences. Hill calls it Faith.

The story is told of a man familiar with the Law of Attraction who had befriended a powerful Native American shaman in the southwest. They were experiencing a drought, having already gone many weeks without rain. The shaman announced that he would perform a rain ceremony to bring rain.

The man asked his friend if he could come to witness the ceremony. The shaman agreed. The man was very excited. He was eager to see how the shaman, who was well known for his ability to bring rain, would pray for rain. Would there be long meditations, chanting and drumming, exotic rituals?

They walked up onto a high plateau. After a long time the shaman announced that they had arrived at the proper spot. He drew a circle in the dry dirt and took off his shoes. Then he stepped into the circle and stepped out again. He put on his shoes and motioned for his friend to follow him back down the slope. The ceremony was over!

The man was startled. Had he missed something? Was his friend pulling his leg? Maybe they would do the real ceremony after they’d both had a good laugh.

He asked the shaman what had happened. The shaman answered that he had pictured in his mind the rain falling and felt the mud between his toes when he stepped into the circle. He believed that the mud was there instead of the dust. That was the creation.

The next day, it rained.

This quite certitude is characteristic of the High Self in Huna. In contrast to the broad flush of excitement and joy that are like blunt instruments powerfully wielded by the Basic Self, quiet certainty and faith are like a fine instrument – a surgeon’s scalpel. When handled with deftness and precision, it can do much more in less time and with less effort than the blunt instrument can. It doesn’t take a gigantic effort to bring down a giant. It only takes a small stone applied to the right spot in the right way.

Creative Commons License
“Positive (or Negative) Expectations” by DCH Park is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Flattr this!

Honoring the Divine In Others

Creative Commons License
by DCH Park

There are numerous common aphorisms that capture wisdom yet have passed into such widespread familiarity that they have taken on the flavor of cliché and ceased to seem relevant or meaningful. Sayings such as “Love makes the world go ‘round” and “Seeing the divine in all things” are quite common, especially during the holiday season, but how often do we honestly take a moment to really consider them – to savor their meanings and consider how the savoring can enrich our experiences of our world, our lives, our selves, and each other?

Many people spend time with family during the holidays. For many, that extended time with family can be trying. I knew a substance abuse counselor once who would talk about having to spend a week or more in “detox” for each weekend that he spent with his family during the holidays.

Whether or not such a direct correlation holds for you in your life, it is often true that the people who can be the most infuriating are family – the ones who are (or ought to be) the closest. When this happens, the web of relations connecting us to them can feel like it is weighing us down instead of hold us up. We can feel like a lion tangled in a net and emotions of fear, frustration, anger, despair, or negativity and withdrawal can seem overwhelming, in spite of our intentions and intelligence.

Of course, becoming entangled in emotional reactions is one of the ways that we become lost in ego-based drama. One of the hallmarks of such drama is a sense of struggle. Prevailing or winning seems to be very important from within the drama. From within the story or narrative of the drama, winning often becomes supremely important. The “reason” that winning is important varies from drama to drama. In some cases, it might be very personal. In others, it might seem that very large or important issues are at stake, such as children’s health, a community’s economy, political truth or dignity, or even planetary ecological balance.

The drama draws us into a conviction not only that we must win, but that the only way to win is through utter decimation of all opposing forces. Thus, the drama sets out a goal defined in terms of winning (and losing). It defines the world (and our experience) in terms of separation of self from the world – in order to be a winner (and experience yourself as a winner), you must go out into the world to win a contest. It doesn’t matter in this view what the contents of your inner experience are. What matters is the external “proof.” This amounts to a denial of the importance and very reality of our inner experiences and sets them up in opposition to our external experiences in the world. One is true and the other is not. They are taken to be different, which requires that fundamentally, they are separate.

Beyond that, ego-drama defines winning in terms that require conflict. It sets us up against ourselves and each other. Without separation, there can be no conflict. Without conflict, there can be no separation of winners from losers. Note that whichever side of a conflict you might find yourself on, there are always others on the other side. However strenuously you may fight for your side, you inevitably also inspire the other side to match or beat you just as fiercely. Maintaining the conceit that there is meaningful separation between sides only serves to prolong and deepen the drama, whether this is done through open conflict or “open” dialog between the two sides focused on expressing their differences to each other amicably.

In other words, winning is defined in terms of the drama, which defines the world in terms that promote even more drama. Of course, this makes it virtually impossible to actually prevail. One way to see this is to recall the observation attributed to Albert Einstein that “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”

For example, when I was a much younger man, I had a friend whom I despaired over. I never seemed to be able to make myself understood. Whenever disagreements arose, if I didn’t refrain from voicing my view, we would invariably end up arguing. During these arguments, I would be able to understand her point of view and could construct in my mind a logical argument connecting her position to mine. However, whenever I tried to communicate this chain of reasoning, I failed.

She would quickly shift her argument or simply accuse me of trying to control her thoughts, speech, and behavior. We never made any progress during these arguments. I was committed to “proving” that I was right by arguing from her position to mine. She was committed to winning recognition and respect for her own ideas. I was struggling for compromise, she was struggling against subjugation, which included oily “compromise.” It was incredibly frustrating and tiring for both of us.

The problem, of course, was that I was trying to win within the paradigm of my drama. This meant that I was reducing my options to wrestling – ego vs. ego – in a zero or negative sum game. In order for one person to win, the other had to lose. Since neither ego wanted to lose, both were locked in struggle.

Clearly, this kind of struggle can go on for a long time, growing in extent and intensity until one or both egos capitulate or collapse. In the process, both are severely depleted. Can there truly be a winner in a struggle in which both combatants are exhausted by the struggle? If even the victor pays a heavy price to win, aren’t both parties losing with one simply losing less? Why would a rational person engage in such a negative-sum game if there were any alternative?

One alternative to playing such a game would be to disengage. This certainly works in a way. I had a different friend once who made conscious decisions to eject people from his life whom he decided had become disagreeable for some reason or other. Usually, the person so ejected would have no idea that he or she had been ejected or why. My friend would simply stop returning phone calls or contact of any kind.

At best, disengagement will preserve the status quo. The heavy price of struggle is avoided. However, disengagement can also become another, albeit perhaps somewhat more subtle, path into drama and struggle to win. It is unquestionably an exercise in separation.

Another way to avoid descending into drama is to transcend it. Remember that the ego is a created thing. It is a tool, a mask created by the divine self as part of the dance of living. The ego is no more the self than a hand is the body. It is not unlike a set of clothes that we take up and put on for warmth, protection, and coloration.. And like a set of clothes, it can be taken off again and set aside.

It is possible to realize that you are caught up in drama even in the midst of the drama. Once realized, it is possible to set the drama aside and transcend it. This is not a process of denying, resisting, or controlling your thoughts, emotions, or behavior. Rather, it is a process of acknowledging the drama and the ego perspective from which it seems so important and accepting it with humor and love for yourself without losing yourself in the drama.

This is a process of recognizing that the drama and the ego struggling in it do not define you or your limits. You are not limited to your ego. You are also the wisdom and love that heals. This is the greater part of you. Without denying your ego and your drama, you can choose to identify with your wisdom and love and bring this greater part of yourself into company with the ego.

When reunited with the love and understanding that flows from your higher self, the ego’s problems dissolve. This is true of your own ego struggles. It is also true of ego and drama indulged in by others. Even in the heat of argument, when you remember and step into the loving energy that is your higher self and see the higher self of the other person, the struggle that animates the argument dissolves effortlessly.

Of course, this can be a demanding practice in a relationship characterized by struggle that spans decades. Remember that changing even a tiny drop in the ocean changes the ocean. Begin with yourself. Change your own awareness of and relationship with your drama and yourself as love.

Perhaps this will require practice, just as tying a tie, buttoning a shirt, or tying a shoelace takes practice. With continued practice it becomes easier and easier. Eventually you remember the truth in each moment, just as with much practice tying a shoelace, which was at one time confusing and difficult, became elementary.

I am not my clothes. I am not my drama. I am divine. I create my drama and I can set it aside, even if for just this moment. And in this moment when I stand naked in my divine nature, I can see and share myself directly, loving being to loving being.

Creative Commons License
“Honoring the Divine In Others” by DCH Park is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Flattr this!