Posts Tagged ‘transformation’

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Philosophy Tuesday

March 12, 2019

“Distinction” is a term that crops up again and again within the philosophical and ontological arts.  But what is distinction?  And why is it important?

A distinction separates something into its own category or concept.

A distinction lets us know/feel/understand/grok the difference or particularnless of a thing/feeling/thought/category/concept.

Once a distinction is created, it becomes a vessel into which we can pour our attention and inquiry and understanding into.

Distinctions allow us to see things in greater detail, bringing refinement and granularity to things or behaviours or thoughts that otherwise would be the same for us.

Distinctions, ultimately, open whole new worlds and perceptions and understandings and even realms of possibility, of being, and of living.

Before something is distinct, we can’t really focus on it, because, to us, it’s not yet a thing.

The same happens in the martial arts.  The distinction of “rooting” creates a new world to explore:  How do I root?  What does my body need to do to root?  How do I gain that stability?  How do I transfer forces into the ground?  What does it feel like?  What do I have to adjust?  Ok, what do I have to adjust now to make it even better?

As we practice, we use distinction between two states or positions to develop things further.  Feeling the difference in balance, power, and exertion between two different body positions lets us know which one is more in line with proper rooting.  “Here I have to struggle to resist an incoming force, but here I am at ease.  This is what it feels like to engage rooting.”

With that double distinction, we know what we’re aiming for, and we gain a better sense of when we’re on target, and when we are not.*

So too when we learn a philosophical distinction.  Whether it be about the stories we tell ourselves, or one of the logical fallacies, or about identity, or about the hilarious ways we continually subvert our rationality, whenever we gain a distinction in those realms we gain access to it.  Distinction turns it from being a blind spot that we can only ever inadvertently crash into it into something we not only can avoid but can also use to our ever-growing advantage.

Distinctions are the root power of transformation.  And from those roots grows a glorious life full of power, joy, and peace.

 

* And as we gain further distinctions, our idea of rooting improves, which improves our grasp of where we should aim, which we then refine through testing and feeling, and thus the cycle of growth in ability continues evermore.

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Philosophy Tuesday

February 12, 2019

Ever gain an insight, create some new possibilities, choose to take a different path… and no one seems to notice?  Or care?  Or they seem “determined” to keep you hemmed in?  Or even if you’re fine for a while, one little slip and it all comes back?

Not surprising, really.  After all, we’d trained all those people to relate to us in a certain way, trained them on who we “are”.  Even inadvertently – our identities sure are sneaky in that way.  And so we’re trying to express something into a space that’s already filled.  They already “know” us.  (And maybe they already know of all the times previously that we tried to change things up, or made noises about shifting, that, like so many New Years Resolutions, survived for about 2.2 weeks before slipping right back…)

One of the least noted yet most powerful steps in possibility is in sharing.  Letting those around us that hey, we’ve noticed something about ourselves!  And it doesn’t work for us!  And probably hasn’t been working for you!  We need to clean up our past, step up and make those deep apologies, acknowledge what’s been so, how we’ve been, and then share what we’ve gotten.  The realization, the insight, the rough stuff.  And our new commitment.  Because when we do so, we go from trying to inject our new self into an environment that is set up and expecting the same old same old and instead create an environment of people who are at least open to seeing something new and are more likely ready and even pulling for your new ways of being and acting.  Instead of resistance, there is support.

And to further tie this into last week’s post, the “bad news” nature that accompanies so many of our insights totally can hamper us from sharing them.  We look bad!  Who wants to tell others about that?  Wouldn’t it be better to just step into the new me and try to sweep it under the rug and hope no one noticed how things were before?  Well, for one, spoiler alert… they noticed.  They ALL noticed.  For two, alas, it doesn’t work that way.  We need to do the work.

We need to step up, own our lives and own our foibles, because only then can we also own our insight, own the transformation, and clear away a space into which we can express that something new.

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Philosophy Tuesday

February 5, 2019

Transformational insights are rarely as awesome looking in reality as they are in our heads.  In our imaginations, they are all filled with radiant light shining from above, accompanied by an angelic choir as we hover gloriously in mystical comprehension.

Alas, not so much.  More often, transformation comes in the form most commonly labelled as “bad news insights.”  Bad news, as in, “Wait, I’m the one who put that barrier in front of myself?” or “So I’m the one who sentenced myself to all those years of torment?” or “Nuts, I did that, didn’t I?” or, even worse, “Crud.  I’m the one who is the jerk.  Not them.  Damn.”

This is usually accompanied by some not so great feelings.  And plenty of self-recrimination:  stupid, ass, bad, wrong, moron, fool…  all leading to a whole bevy of downward thought spirals.

I have been wrong.  I have been in the wrong.  That’s bad news!

And – it’s also quite the good news.

Because, if we were and are the cause of it, then we are the cause of the end of it as well.  We have the power.  And we know we have the power, because we’ve already done it.  Which means we also know we can undo it.  We can complete what’s there, create new contexts, clean up the messes we made with others, apologize, and lay the foundation for a different path forward.

Sure, it sucks that we spent so long in a world of poo, but here we are.  We get it now. 

And from here, now, we get to choose new futures of joy, peace of mind, and love for ourselves, our lives, and for those around us.

 

 

 

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Philosophy Tuesday

January 29, 2019

As noted before, we are not rational, but rationalizing creatures.  Pretty much everything we do in our lives makes sense to us within some sort of internal logic.*

So here’s the thing.

If someone is exhibiting behaviour that you do not understand, it is because you are missing a part of their context.

If you are exhibiting unproductive behaviour, and can’t seem to reign it in, it is because you are missing a part of your context.

Said another way, in both cases there is context that is hidden from your view.

When confronted by this, it is most helpful to respond to a person’s – including your own – ineffective behaviour with curiosity, rather than judgement.

There are always barriers.  We all have them.  They all arise inside of our own, personal, context.**  And those barriers hem us in, keeping us being and acting within their narrow confines.

Recognizing those barriers – and viewing them as legitimate – is often the first step to breaking lazy or unproductive behaviour patterns.

With others, you can listen, extend empathy, and, without blame or shame, seek to speak and engage constructively.

With yourself, you can work to unconceal what’s there, discover your hidden stories, and, without blame or shame, transform them.

And, altogether, grant great realms of freedom and choice.

 

* Logic that can, of course, be quite easily, and often most definitively is, twisted or incoherent or be full of blind spots and even hypocrisy.  Cognitive dissonance is powerfully obfuscating indeed.  Still, at least on a superficial “answer off the cuff” level, it really does makes sense to us.  It feels right and fine.

** Even though, for the most part, we didn’t consciously and deliberately choose or design many of our contexts

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Philosophy Tuesday

January 8, 2019

“If we come here and say, “Well, I didn’t intend to cause global warming on the way here,” and we say, “That’s not part of my plan,” then we realize it’s part of our de facto plan, because it’s the thing that’s happening because we have no other plan.”

— William McDonough

I love this quote for how well it ties back into the notion of systems and the path of least resistance.

When we don’t make a plan, the system makes one for us.  And the easiest is to just do what the system says to do.  Because to us it feels like that’s just how things are; we’re surrounded by it.  Its reality.  And so we punch our ticket and get swept along.

That system, though, may itself have never been planned, and rather came together by either accident, happenstance, or, often, by the messy collision of several other (perhaps/likely themselves unplanned) systems.  It’s system-ception – systems begetting systems begetting systems.

Everything we do has an outcome, a result.  And when our de facto plan spits out outcomes, whether personal or global, that aren’t as fulfilling a result as we’d like, we can be very accurate when we note that it was unintentional.  Because they’re the result of actions taken with literally no intention – just automatic engagement.  We’ve slipped into the path of least resistance.

Oops!

But our systems are just systems.  Unlike the properties of physics, they don’t have a force in reality.  They may have arrived by happenstance, but we can tweak them.  Replace them.  Transform them.  We needn’t get caught up in blame or shame or fault.  We can step up with intention, create from first principles, and be mindful of and design towards all the desired outcomes.

Until our de facto plans line up with our intended ones.

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Philosophy Tuesday

January 1, 2019

You are whole and complete

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You always have been

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And you always will be

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You may not experience it

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And you may sometimes take actions that don’t reflect it

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But it doesn’t change the truth of who and what you are

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There are just barriers to your experiencing it

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Welcome to the New Year

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Whole and Complete

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Philosophy Tuesday

December 11, 2018

There is great power in learning to “have” various states rather than “being” them.

Much in the same vein as the distinction between sadness and suffering, when we can be with and have our (often intense*)  feelings, emotions, and even thoughts, rather than automatically thinking that they are “me” and thus automatically being them, new spaces open up:

Having fear rather than being afraid.

Having uncertainty rather than being paralyzed.

Having nervousness and butterflies and tingly legs rather than being anxious and spooked.**

Having annoyance and frustration rather than being angry and enraged.

Having guilt rather than being shameful.

Having envy rather than being hopeless.

It isn’t a matter of resisting or pretending they’re not there; again, much like the distinction between sadness and suffering, it’s a matter of taking ownership and honouring them and being with them.  We are human, after all, and we humans have all those kind of things.  And they can be downright useful things to have.

To have; not to be controlled by.  Let them be, and peace of mind emerges.  Choice rises.  Everything steers away from suffering.

Let them be, and the authentic self can step to the fore, guiding things forward as we want them to be.

 

* …but even more powerful when we can notice and be with and own and have our subtle and background feelings, emotions, and especially thoughts (which are almost born from our calculating rather than authentic self) without immediately becoming them.

** I am very familiar with this before I go up on stage.  So intense!  Being with it all and essentially embracing it, as in, “I knew this was going to come, so hey, here it is!” is what gets me ready to go up and perform my heart out.  (And, depending on where I am, I’ve also at times done strings of jump kicks and other drills to burn off the nervous energy…)