Tag Archives: psychology

Deeper Forms of Awareness

We sometimes confuse awareness with the meager and often inaccurate image that is conjured up by the constellation of verbal labels we have swimming around in our head; these things we use to produce a basic map of the world as well as concepts of self other truth and justice and so on… our words produce an image limited by their inability to serve as an accurate measure of the totality of what we experience, not just by a little, but by a huge margin.

Our verbal awareness is responsible for a certain portion of what we know, but this is by no means the only type of awareness, and is in fact a tiny sliver of it. In the midst of this misunderstanding we might miss the many things we know that we have no label for, these are often the drivers of our relationships in ways that our abstract symbols cannot identify, much less understand. Here’s a glimpse into some of the deeper waters of understanding that is embedded in our being.

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2017-07-infants.html

How Trauma Can Distort Our Vision

The fight or flight response, that section of our biological expression that leaps into action to deal with a perceived threats is mirrored in many behavioral systems throughout the biological body of life. From the heat shock proteins that leap into defense activities within a cell that perceives threat, to the immune system which leaps into action when it sees a potentially harmful agent. The heartbeat of biology are systems built on collections of nourishing relationships that also have the capacity to defend that nourishing community against antagonists.

The article below is an example of how the brain of a stickleback fish produces alterations in gene expression up to two hours after it interacts with an intruder. This illustration of the way the brain attends to perceived threat is also an illustration of what the emotionally powerful events like the unknown and the traumatic do to affect our own experience of life. It may explain why they are so effective at etching themselves into a prominent place in the lens through which we see ourselves and the world from that defining event, forward – and why these seeds of identity can be a source of wisdom to help us navigate future hazards more effectively, or become a source of cyclic torture if they are not calibrated to be proportional to the current events we will encounter. In other words, we can become prisoners of episodes from our past because of the powerful way they can shape what we see from that point forward.

http://neurosciencenews.com/gene-activity-interactions-7104/

What is Important?

This video is a perspective on what’s important.

Here is a text of the narration:

What is important?

What is important? How would we measure it, and how would we know the measure was accurate? Although there are many possible ways, if we use a scale of things that have the most profound influence on our ability to realize our full potential, and use that to measure what we currently apply our energies to as a global culture; we can see the gap, the gap between what’s important, and what we do.

Somewhere in our not so distant past, on some day we couldn’t pinpoint because we weren’t watching, we crossed a critical threshold. We crossed the threshold where we no longer live in a world where people starve because we can’t feed them; we now live in a world where people starve because we don’t feed them. We have the skills and resources to make this a plentiful world, but we do not yet have the focus, nor the will – to do what’s important.

We have the capacity to cultivate a world brimming with potential – potential that can only be realized if we have each other’s backs. Instead we live in a world where, acting out of fear, we have to watch our backs – a world where we have to defend ourselves from ourselves. Maybe we don’t recognize this is the recipe for self made poverty – maybe we are suffering the echo of our collective traumatic past, where a veil of ignorance forced us to be at the mercy of a frightening and often cruel environment, and as a result, we learned to exploit each other, to dominate, or be dominated… This is a past we need to navigate away from if we’re going to cultivate our full potential. Until we do this, we will continue to rob ourselves of what’s important.

What’s important is you – the family, who shapes the lens through which the child understands reality by the way you treat them and each other. You forge their developing identity in the fires of the relationships you expose them to, and this defines whether that fire will refine them, or destroy them. You are the port from which the child launches, and you define what that child will be equipped with to navigate the wider social seas, and how they will influence those they touch – for the rest of their lives. You are what’s important.

What’s important is you – the teachers, who have the wheel that steers the future as you pass the torch of knowledge to the next generations. You’re not merely an installer of facts, but a primary cultivator of the tools that will determine whether we will capably face the challenges that lie before us, or sink under their weight. You have a powerful hand on the rudder that steers this Earthen ship of ours through sometimes troubled waters. Together with the family, you set the tone for the direction we will travel. You are what’s important.

What’s important is you – the friend, who doesn’t have to be asked, but actively seeks to offer your best. Your behavioral vocabulary doesn’t include apathy. You willingly act on behalf of your friends – ready to deliver a comforting word, a helping hand, or a stinging challenge depending on the need – your purpose remains constant – to serve each other. You have a powerful hand in the stability of this Earthen ship in which we all ride. And your aid through the storms, and companionship in fair weather, makes this journey we’re all on worthwhile. You are what’s important.

What’s important is you – the stranger, who may not be familiar with those in other ships that pass by, but know that they are full of kindred kinds – you who understand that it takes all of us, communicating through actions big and small, that we’re in this together, that we share the same waters – and that sharing what we have of value with each other is the reason for the abundance we have. You are the one that opens the door without being asked – you don’t hesitate to act to strengthen the larger community of life on which we all depend for breath because you know you are part of that same body. You are what’s important.

And what’s important is Earth – it is our common ground and our greatest teacher. On it we can stand together and flourish – or divided we can fall back into the soil which once generously gave us this opportunity for a plentiful life. Earth has given us what we need and taught us by writing its lessons into the fabric of who we are – like the need to strike a balance between give and take that’s written into our breath… and how all it asks in return is that we recognize that using that breath to cultivate fruitful relationships is what’s really important.

 

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The Value of Emotional Bladder Control

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Can we choose our emotions? What, if any degree of mastery can we establish over what we feel? How would that change our life and society if we were more frequently able to calibrate our emotions so that the played constructive roles rather than governed behaviors such as overreactions and escalating cycles of disproportionate responses? Why is it we clearly see the value of encouraging people to practice things like – how to pronounce words, play an instrument, and so on as part of the learning process, but we rarely, if ever, focus on teaching the skill sets to get a cognitive grip on our emotional state? In fact, we live in a reactionary society that punishes a the behavioral results of a lack of emotional control at the same time we do little to prevent these situations from arising in the first place.

Emotions are like the bladder. We can learn a measure of control when and where we express them. Of course no measure of discipline can overwhelm the ultimate physics of the situation, but the point is, we have established social norms and the corresponding physical disciplines so that we as a society, don’t piss willy-nilly at the drop of a hat. Further; we have not given the same level of attention to the destructive consequences the result from the loss of emotional bladder control.

While there are some generally vague social cues that signal what emotions are appropriate for what situation; largely speaking, the way we typically mediate emotional expression is crude an ineffective as a foundation for crafting an intentional life and a more nourishing social behavioral profile. The crux of this is the idea that if we were to craft the disciplines of emotional control and implement them sufficiently across our social landscape, we would then have much more capacity to respond constructively to situations, or at least minimize the damage that happens in the wake of emotions gone wild.

This observation is not meant to suggest that developing and implementing these techniques would usher in some utopian hug fest, nor is it meant to imply that this is the only way to address the issue. Obvious circumstances exist where we know certain segments of society are, in effect, emotional pressure cookers that are fertile fields for preventative actions, rather than developing the social structures to mitigate the aftermath of that neglect to prevent. This is meant as a pointer to significant missed opportunity for something so easily identifiable and potentially powerful as a means of forming stronger bonds of social unity among us.

We humans have precious little capacity to use logic and sound reason as a steering mechanism to guide our lives. We must leverage our meager capacity to the fullest if we are to have any realistic hope to cope with the age we live in, where we can do so much more with so much less both constructively and destructively. As it stands, our capacity to apply theory breaks down the moment our emotional hackles are raised and we transform into wild eyed banshees dipping our fangs and claws into each others flesh that would be better handled with appropriately measured responses.

We leave many scorched earth relationship landscapes in the wake of our lack of emotional bladder control. These might otherwise be avoided if those of us concerned with crafting a more constructive social landscape were focused on developing the techniques for, raising awareness of, and implementing the skills to spread the notion and the discipline of the value of situational emotional calibration – so that we are less likely to be subject to the damaging aftermath of breaking out the cannon to swat the fly.