For most people, life is a battleground between the outside world and their security, sensation and power-dominated egos. To experience the beauty of life, it is necessary for one’s mind to return to the gentle calmness that most infants enjoy much of the time. To continually appreciate your life from the Fourth, Fifth, or Sixth Centers of Consciousness, you do not have to train yourself to the point where thoughts do not spontaneously occur and there is no random stream of consciousness. However, the urgency, stridency and insistency of your stream of thoughts must be slowed down to the pace of a very light breeze that gently moves the leaves of a tree — instead of a forceful, gusty wind that whips and bends the branches back and forth.
When you were born, you had very few emotion-backed demands. Some milk when hungry was the main one. Since that time, you have programmed yourself with hundreds and hundreds of emotion-backed demands that have nothing to do with physiologically maintaining your life. Most of these addictions are concerned with the social dance of living out the various rôle s we emotionally attach ourselves to. An emotion-backed addictive model or expectation is like an inflated balloon that you always keep with you and that you have to constantly guard to keep someone from popping it. While your ego is busy mistakenly trying to protect you by automatically triggering your security fears, sensation longings and power angers, your rational mind churns away trying to do its part in support of the ego. It furnishes reasons why you are right and the other person is wrong. It manipulates and schemes to help you live out your model of success in the various rôle s and dramas with which you are identifying yourself.
As you grow toward higher consciousness, you begin to realize that all of the fear, grief and anger that you experience is simply a teaching that the world is offering you to help you free yourself from this hollow dance you are doing. The world is giving you the experience that will help you develop an insight into the mechanical way you are acting out various addictive rôle s. Every feeling of alienation, resentment, distrust, or irritation with anything anyone does or says should be viewed as a reminder that you are not consciously playing the game of your life. The world is telling you that
Your ego and your rational mind labor under the harsh programming that there is a certain special way the world should be and the people around you should act — and it is up to your rational mind to put it all aright. When your life presents you with something that does not fit your addictive models, your ego sparks the rational mind into an insistent, grabbing chain of thoughts. Simultaneously the ego triggers negative emotions such as anxiety or resentment. Your heart begins to beat faster and adrenalin and other hormones are introduced into your bloodstream. This psychosomatic turmoil feeds back into your rational mind and sparks even further activity. Unless you understand how your consciousness works, you accept this turmoil as something important that must be attended to in order to make your life work. As you become more conscious, you develop the ability to let your rational mind do its thing without automatically taking you into a burst of emotional turmoil that makes you try to manipulate and coerce the outside world to fit your expectations.
For example, when you have no perspective on the activities of that trio consisting of your addictive programming, your ego and your rational mind, you automatically get angry if someone criticizes you. When your Power Center of Consciousness no longer operates to generate your response, you begin to have a choice of what to do and say when someone criticizes you. You may wish to just quietly hear what they say and express appreciation for their caring enough to give you the benefit of their thoughts. It is not always necessary for you to agree or disagree — just receive what is offered and use what you can use and let the rest pass by. You may wish to discuss or clarify people’s criticisms and suggestions. You may wish to ask them to help you in some way — and they may be willing to put energy into what they are suggesting. You may wish to tell them that you have already considered accomplishing what they are mentioning and you just simply made the decision to do it the way you have done it and that is where it is at right here and now. In other words, when you are receptive and conscious, rather than hyper-reactive and irritated, you have a choice of responses.
This instant, automatic alarm system (in which your programming, ego and rational mind create an emotional feeling of urgency) was designed to bring our ancestors through the perils of jungle life. Unless you are confronted with a situation involving immediate physical injury or a threat to your life, the optimal solution to any problem is usually found best by harmonizing your energies with the energies of the world around you. And to flow harmoniously in an us consciousness (instead of a me vs. Them consciousness), it is necessary to be quiet enough to get in touch with the insight and perceptiveness that will always come to you when you uplevel your addictions to preferences.
As you become more and more proficient in using the Pathways, you begin to see clearly the game that your rational mind has been playing on you. You will see the way that it gets pulled into the act by both your addictive programming and your ego to produce long chains of critical, alienating thoughts. And you learn to label these thoughts that you generate when you are upset as pure nonsense. You don’t accept them — and you don’t reject them. You just let them happen, watch them and experience how peaceful it is not to be emotionally caught up in them any longer. This enables the intuitive wisdom that is always within you to emerge.
Suppose, for example, that someone urges you to change your mind about something. You may experience that your power, prestige and pride boundaries are being violated. Your rational mind will be activated by your ego to produce a forceful retort to completely devastate the person who is so stupid as to disagree with you. When you are able to watch your mind do its thing, without triggering negative emotional feelings, you will then have a choice as to which response produces division and which produces love and oneness. When you are operating on lower consciousness levels, you have no choice. You tend to immediately utter every urgent thought that comes into your mind — even if it means interrupting another person. As you grow into higher consciousness, you are able to simply observe the computer-like, automated printout that is taking place in your rational mind. You view it as a sixth sense — as just another sensory input. By upleveling your addictions into preferences, your thoughts no longer cause your emotions to automatically flare up. You begin for the first time in your life to be liberated from the dance of your rational mind.
It is interesting to note that this is not repression. When you repress, you do not express what you are feeling because you are afraid of the consequences. Repression is one of the most unconscious and harmful things you can do to yourself. What we are suggesting is that you take the energy generated by an emotion and turn this into reprogramming the addiction into a preference. You thus do not repress the energy, but you actually use it constructively and beneficially so that your rational chains of thought do not trigger feelings of anger or resentment. As you become more conscious, there will be no negative emotions to repress — or even to express. You become literally like a connoisseur who does not just grab any food, but who, in a discriminating way, uses insight and perceptiveness to consciously choose. A conscious being knows that life always works best when we operate from a loving space that lets us receive and experience other people (no matter what they do or say) as no different from ourselves.
When your biocomputer begins processing all incoming visual, auditory and other data in ways that do not keep you irritated and upset, you find that the screen of your consciousness is no longer dominated by a constant conflict between you and the outside world. You are then able to tune in to the more subtle aspects of the people and situations around you. Your insight and perceptiveness increase a hundredfold. You find that your inherent wisdom (which can be drawn upon only to the degree that your rational mind is calm) guides you so that you are able to produce the optimal response to every situation in your life.
A traditional way of calming the rational mind is through meditation. Most types of meditation involve sitting with spine erect in a quiet room and continuously focusing your attention on a physical object or a mental concept in order to crowd out random thoughts. For example, you may concentrate on experiencing your breathing in and breathing out. Or you could just put a lighted candle in front of you and train your consciousness to be dominated completely and continuously during the meditation period by only the candle flame. When random thoughts come, such as, I wonder how long this is going to take to really get results, or, My right knee doesn’t feel right, you do not stay with the thoughts and permit them to free-associate. You do not, however, reject these thoughts — for the harder you reject them, the more they will hold on tenaciously.. You gradually develop the ability to just let them go by and you gently and constantly return to the object of your meditation. You know that only one thing can dominate the central stage of your consciousness at any one time with full attention — although your mind can switch back and forth to different matters in a fraction of a second. By continually keeping one object or thought in your consciousness, you can gradually train your mind to calm down its random dance so that it can be a more enjoyable and pleasant servant for you.
If you are now using a traditional method of meditation and are getting results from it, it may be preferable for you to continue this practice — especially if you have a good meditation teacher with whom you work personally. Any system of meditation is in harmony with the Living Love Way. However, if you do not use a particular method of meditation at this time, you may wish to use the Five Methods described in this book to calm your mind during your period of growth into the Fourth Center. These Five Methods of the Living Love Way do not require you to turn off the world even for an hour, or to detach yourself from your everyday activities. They enable you to develop a capacity for achieving many of the benefits of meditation while you are busily engaged in the activities of your life. One of the main objects of meditation is to experience yourself and the world around you clearly and consciously — free from emotion-backed demands, attachments, addictive models, childhood conditioning, etc. For many people we feel that the most direct way to do this is through working with the Twelve Pathways, the Seven Centers and the Five Methods. We like to consider these techniques as a form of meditation in action.
Calming your rational mind by reducing the load of addictions that keep it activated is an important phase of your growth into higher consciousness. Since we have an animal background of millions of years in the jungle where life or death depended upon split-second timing, our emotions, egos and rational minds are far too reactive to what is going on around us. As you grow toward higher consciousness, you become more receptive and accepting. You just let the sensory stuff come in — and you let it sort itself out and drift on by. You see the warnings being generated by your rational mind, but you have learned to let your mind produce its stream of thoughts without getting your ego caught up in them. When your mind generates security, sensation and power-motivated thoughts that make you feel alienated and you begin to throw someone out of your heart, you know that you are operating on the lower levels of consciousness. You become increasingly aware of times when your rational mind is churning and speeding. You are determined not to lose your tuned-in insight into the here and now and your ability to love unconditionally. Then any action you engage in will be effective and produce the optimal results both now and in the future.
The love and peace of higher consciousness flow from just being — and enjoying it all. Anything you do will not be enough unless you feel fulfilled in just being. Usually we are not happy when we finish doing whatever it is that we think we have to do. Doing creates expectations that your world and the people around you may or may not fit. The things we do disappear in time. We must learn to appreciate just being alive in the nowness of whatever situation we are in.
Contentment is not only a benefit of higher consciousness but it is also one of the ways of working toward higher consciousness. Just insist that your rational mind slow down its rejection of the here and now, with its endless churnings, comparisons and judgements that usually create the experience of otherness. There are times when you may have to forcefully tell your rational mind to shut up so that you can enjoy your here and now. As we pointed out in the story of the Zen monk, tigers, and strawberries, there are always things you can think about to keep your rational mind and emotions stirred up. And there are always the strawberries to be enjoyed right here and now. Whether you enjoy your life continuously, or constantly harass yourself, depends upon how well you learn to simply change what is changeable without throwing people out of your heart — and then quietly accept that which you cannot change except by heavy subject-object manipulation and force.
In becoming aware of how your rational mind operates to alienate you from people, you will need to watch for the chain-reaction effect. Let’s suppose you enjoy being with a person and you have many things in common that draw you together. Then suppose you have one strong addiction that leads you to be angry and throw this person out of your heart. Unless you can quickly get on top of this addiction and become more conscious, you will find that the alienating attitude triggered by your addiction will spread like a cancer and cause you to become critical of this person in other ways that have nothing to do with the original addiction. Your rational mind is simply prostituting itself to the unconscious workings of the ego and your addictive programming. You will begin to feel separate and alien toward this person in one way after another.
Your rational mind will check back in the memory files and begin to reinterpret past events to cast a new light on them — purporting to show that the relationship really wasn’t as beautiful as it seemed at the time. It will carefully rehash both the past and the present in the light of your other security, sensation and power addictions and will tend to blow up little things into big separating problems.
For example, let’s suppose Tom and Mary are married and they have a mutually loving, flowing relationship. Suppose Tom needs to go to a night-and-day business conference in a city a thousand miles away. Since he will be busy all the time, he prefers not to take Mary with him. Suppose Mary has an addiction for going on this trip with Tom. Her Power Center of Consciousness is demanding that Tom not leave her at home alone overnight. Unless she can become conscious of what she is doing to herself with this emotion-backed addictive model, her rational mind may suggest to her that Tom is getting tired of her, Tom wants to have an affair with someone else, Tom is on a heavy power trip and does not really love her, the rest of their lives together will probably be clouded by Tom’s leaving her at home more and more often, perhaps Tom is ashamed of her and doesn’t want his business associates to meet her, etc., etc. There is no end to the nonsense that the rational mind can spin out as the pawn of the ego. A person growing into higher consciousness learns to spot this sewer-like churning and spewing and refuses to let the rational mind’s activity trigger any negative emotions. You may expect to have many real battles with your rational mind in order to stay conscious.
Just like any complex machine, our rational mind can make a beautiful contribution to our well-being if we are keenly sensitive to its limitations and problem areas. The techniques of the Living Love Way will enable you to become an expert trouble-shooter so that your rational mind can work for you — and not against you. Your rational mind is a master at proving that you are right — and the other person is wrong. But in order to be a conscious, loving, happy and fulfilled being, it is not enough to be right. You can be right in your individual contracts and in your performance of society’s games — and live a thoroughly miserable, alienated, unhappy life. We all know people who are correct and right almost all of the time — and the lives of these people do not work to produce happiness. It’s much more fulfilling to be loved than to be right. Love brings more happiness than efficiency. It’s often better to give other people space to find their own errors or to let the natural chain of events in their life show them where they have to change. If a person asks you if you think he is right, you should then open yourself completely and give him the benefit of your thoughts and feelings. But arguing at every opportunity in order to convince people that you are right and others are wrong simply means that you are trapped by your rational mind and are unconsciously and mechanically acting out your security, sensation and power addictions.
A Zen master had a beautiful young lady as his pupil. She became pregnant and she falsely named her teacher as the father of her child. When the child was born, her family indignantly brought the child to the Zen master and accused him of taking advantage of his beautiful young pupil. His only reply was, Ah — so. They left the child with the Zen master, who enjoyed caring for it and had many beautiful hours playing with the child. After about a year the young lady was very ill and not wanting to die with this false accusation on her conscience, she told her family that the real father was a young man who lived in a nearby town. Her mother and father immediately went to the teacher and profoundly bowed and apologized and asked for the baby back. The Zen master gave them the baby and said, Ah — so.
When they first accused him, the rational mind of the Zen master did not get caught up in a big chain of ego-backed arguments indignantly denying that he was the father, protesting that he was unjustly accused, threatening to tell people about the lie that was being perpetrated upon him, etc. He realized that a mother and father are not likely to believe the word of a man against the word of their pregnant daughter. He simply saw that they were not open and did not want to hear his side of it. They did not ask him whether he had done it — they accusingly told him he had done it. And so the Zen master simply flowed with the drama being enacted and did not agree or disagree. He stayed in a peaceful state of higher consciousness and simply enjoyed what was going on — and he was able to have the fun of living with the baby for a while. When they came back and apologized for their false accusations, his rational mind did not say, I could have told you, but you wouldn’t have listened. He simply peacefully saw that they now understood and there was nothing to be said. He could continue to enjoy the new act in the drama.
This story does not tell us that we must never give our side of things in any situation. It simply says that when you are conscious, you have a choice as to whether to get in a discussion because you know in advance whether the argument will bring you and the other person into a closer state of love and oneness or whether it will separate you. Under the circumstances, the Zen master’s reply, Ah — so, was the best reply to produce the closest harmony that could be obtained in that situation. Later he willingly and lovingly gave the child up without recriminations. For all concerned this also represented a flowingly harmonious thing to do. Most people with whom you interact will be more open than the parents of the pregnant girl. Usually you will be able to use the Seventh Pathway, which tells you to open yourself completely to other people. But also use the Ninth Pathway, to open yourself in a centered, calm, and loving way.
As you learn to increasingly identify yourself with your Conscious-awareness, you will find that your rational mind becomes a useful tool that is somewhat on a par with your other senses. In conjunction with your stored memories, it is the sense that produces hypotheses, theories, conjectures and possibilities. You know that just as your eyes or ears can mislead you, your rational mind can equally mislead you.
As your addictions are upleveled to preferences, you will find that your senses and your rational mind will have less distortion and will cooperate more to help your life work. You will then be enjoying your birthright as a human being. You will be the master of your emotions, your ego and your rational mind. This is one of the greatest things any human being can do. It may be beautiful to paint great pictures, erect tall buildings, or write great novels. But to become the master of yourself is an even higher contribution to all mankind — and to yourself as well. And from this place, your external achievement will be even more tuned in to the energy flow of the world.
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