Hello fellow explorers,
Last month we looked at the Inner-Outer critic. This month we look at its consequences – the experience of Inner-Outer Conflict.
As a kid growing up I was sensitive to the almost constant overt and covert conflict happening in and around me in different ways. Although I didn’t understand it at the time I was urged to learn its ways, ‘toughen up’; be ‘more aggressive’. Although it never felt quite right, I tried to learn the ‘art of war’. After painful years of trying to change my nature, I realized it wasn’t making me feel good about myself.
I questioned more deeply… Is conflict really the ‘normal’ state and way of human behavior? If so why? Who said so? Is life really just about evolution, ‘natural selection’, ‘survival of the fittest’, the cross of the ‘sinner’ in a remorseless search for redemption?
Eventually I reached a point where I had suffered sufficiently to get really focused on my ‘spiritual path’. As it does for all of us, it leads directly into the mind-maze of my own Inner-Outer conflict and took me on my own healing journey.
It exposed my Separation based ‘Something-Nothing’ perception. It called me to embrace the idea that I am not here just to be a self serving ‘something’, but rather I am a ‘something’ who is an inseparable part of an omnipresent, interconnected ‘Everything’.
I started to learn that all inner and outer conflict arises directly from Something-Nothing Perception. The denial of ‘Everything’ and projection of a ‘Separation Thought’ of a ‘me’ existing separately and opposed to ‘you,’ produces a perception of ‘myself’ as a ‘Something’ in a world beyond which is ‘Nothing’.
If we believe there is nothing beyond the something we perceive, we live in a state of fear because it appears that the ‘cause’ of all conflict comes from outside of ‘me’ – that its ‘cause’ is separated from its ‘effect’ (on me!).
I began to understand that Separation based perception spawns an apparently irreconcilable mind-field of gender, racial, cultural and ideological ‘Polarities’.
I began to realize that our inter-personal conflicts are really battles of competing perceptions between humans with different levels of perception.
Yet because they are battles of Separation based perception there is an underlying ‘sameness’, a ‘pattern’ to each and every type of Inner-Outer Conflict. This is because Separation based perception produces attitudes and beliefs and habitual patterns of adversarial thinking, feeling and acting that just recycle the same underlying perception!
This produces a ‘Conflict Cycle’ predicated on a mind-field of Polarities of Separation based perception. It ultimately judges a hierarchy between the ‘worthy’ and the ‘unworthy’. It produces a self imposed perceptual prison from which there can seem no escape.
As I looked more deeply into the world I began to notice so many of its nations in some stage of splitting up or setting themselves apart, arming themselves to the teeth for some unknown and forgotten reason that had become but a habitual repeat of the Conflict Cycle.
I began to realize why inter-personal wars rage ceaselessly across the human landscape, even though names and faces change. I began to understand why the injured and dead are instantly replaced by yet more aspiring ‘heroes’?
I began to observe that even if anchored in apparently ‘normal’ values, ideologies, ‘theisms etc. inter-personal conflict from bedroom to boardroom, sporting field to battle field are nothing but different versions of the same Conflict Cycle.
Now, many years later, I observe the same old Conflict Cycle playing out in a world in which many more humans are projecting it on and through new levels, avenues and technologies. Whilst physical warfare has become increasingly lethal in terms of potential outcome, ‘cyber warfare’ is now a handy substitute!
The painful irony is that we as part of our human collective are only ever in conflict with ourselves! The Conflict Cycle is ‘life denying’, not ‘life affirming’. It cannot produce an abiding resolution. Any compromise can be but momentary, purely because it is a cycle! It can only recycle its same underlying Separation based perception.
From a place of Separation based perception, change is something we all resist with all our might. The unseen thing all participants in every conflict have in common is righteousness! This is why some of us will literally die to be right, but for what?
Even perception of an Everything based on a ‘theism’ or ideology that is conditional in some way as in loves and protects ‘him’ not ‘her’ – wants ‘this’ not ‘that’ is still Separation based perception.
The good news is that ‘divine rights’ are certainly not just reserved for ‘kings’! The Conflict Cycle is real only to the extent we keep choosing it. It only arises when we refuse to pay attention and acknowledge signals of Inner guidance from our own guiding Master Sense.
Inner guidance is transcendent of Something-Nothing perception. As we discover our inner guiding Master Sense we shift our orientation to others from ‘judgment’ to ’observation’. In this way we can transcend Something-Nothing Perception and realize the interconnection of experience and purpose of the ‘Everything’, that is. That which is ‘Everything’ cannot extend to judgment and conflict because nothing exists outside of it!
So, how about we take a look at where and how we may be experiencing our own version of the Conflict Cycle. It might be hidden behind unresolved resentments or expectations of ourselves and others. It might show up as an attachment to being right!
None of us have far to look to see some level of conflict whether inwardly or outwardly. It might be in someone we are in relationship with near or far. Relationship is where the ‘rubber hits the road’. When it comes to getting our ‘perceptual buttons’ pushed the heat really is in the kitchen!
In so doing we may expand awareness of our inner guiding Master Sense. We may discover the potential for peaceful expansion that exists in every apparent conflict. We may discover a deeper ability to find new more sustainable and harmonious ways of living and growing together.
That’s all for now…
Hello fellow explorers,
As we are all unique ‘something’s’ undivided from ‘Everything’, our everyday experience is not happening completely independently of us. Rather it is entangled with our perception of it.
So what then is the source of the ‘inner critic’?
You know, the raucous background voice of self judgment that ‘sounds’ in our minds and is pretty merciless in its criticism. It screams and belittles: ‘you are not good enough’; ‘you can’t possibly do that’; ‘you are bound to fail’; ‘others are smarter, richer, better looking… and countless variations of the same theme.
Why do we have an inner critic? Where does it come from? Why the need to criticise? Why do it at all?
After a lifetime of limiting self sabotage and trying to figure it out, what I have discovered is that even if it seems that way, it’s not just an inner thing. It is always connected with the outer. It swings both ways! The voice of self-criticism is the same voice that criticises the others in our lives which is why I like to call it the ‘Inner-Outer Critic’.
Yet no matter the faces or names, the ‘Inner-Outer Critic’ always stems from the same cause. It simply stems from Something-Nothing mis-perception – a pervasive belief that like an unseen ghost in our minds tells us we are somehow separate and disconnected from each other and from everything else. This simple mis-perception produces an apparent disconnect between our inner and outer experience that drives the comparison and judgment of our own selves and others.
It is an easy thing to spot once we accept that criticism of our own selves is never divorced from our habit of comparing ourselves with others and adjudging ourselves better or worse off.
The really weird thing about the ‘Inner-Outer Critic is that we criticise our selves which makes us feel worse and we criticise others, because it seems to make us feel better about ourselves!
For whilst Something-Nothing mis-perception means a belief in a disconnected existence, it also means that consciously or not, we have a sense of ‘Emptiness’ about our being and our lives. This is that sense of lack of disconnection; an uneasy anxiety; a sense of something missing in our lives that renders our experiences less than – our lives less than fulfilling.
This Emptiness is the home of the Inner-Outer Critic, which is why it is never a positive voice.It can feel so overwhelming that we go to great lengths to deny and distract ourselves from ever getting in touch with it.
We do this in many ways. We can try to ignore it by point blank refusing to feel it. We can have little or large disagreements, squabbles even wage wars of judgment on specific others with different racial, cultural, gender/sexual, ideological or socio-economic orientations or with different values, beliefs and attitudes. We can choose behavioural, psychosomatic or substance based fixations or addictions and so on…
The means do not really matter – they all seek to keep Emptiness at bay. When we find fault in an outer other, we feel momentarily better about ourselves and our Emptiness dissipates, but it is never long before it returns and another bout of inner-outer judgment is required. But matter how hard we try to deny Emptiness there invariably come times when we come face to face with it – most often when something happens that we can’t control!
The good news is that ‘judgment’ never means anything beyond our perception of it. To judge something is to perceive ourselves as disconnected from it. Yet as we are all unique ‘something’s’ undivided from ‘Everything’ there is literally no outside agency of judgment. There is no big bearded, judgmental dude with a sky-cam and big stick!
So let’s take a load off… As we are not in fact disconnected from each other, then Emptiness must be a misperception and any need for an Inner-Outer Critic, redundant!
So, instead of flat out denying or coping with the Inner-Outer Critic let’s regard it as potentially a friend in disguise. You know, the friend who has your highest and best interests at heart and gently scolds you if you are not living your best, connected self.
Although its voice is critical the Inner-Outer Critic is a reminder that the outer fault seen in another is showing me something that at some deep level I believe is an inner fault in me! So any moment in which another criticises me is a moment to reflect on where I may be judging myself. Any moment I catch myself criticising ‘me’ is a moment to reflect on where ‘I’ may be judging others.
Once we make this simple choice to befriend our Inner-Outer Critic, we begin to remember that we are really not so separate and disconnected from each other – that whilst all are unique in their own way our core interests not really that different after all.
We begin to remember what our hearts already know, that in essence we are all unique yet inter-connected aspects of an infinite and eternally evolving multi-verse – and that all our hearts keep time with the multi-versal beat.
As we do this, the Inner-Outer Critic starts to diminish. It might even slow to an occasional murmur – only there to remind us if we have lost our way and strayed into a moment of unnecessary judgment and loss of peace.
And, when we finally stop our outer critic – we silence our inner critic (and vice versa).
So, let’s acknowledge and thank our Inner-Outer Critic for what it represents and in so doing lift the shackles – shake loose our judgment – of our own self and others.
Let’s take a moment of appreciation of our lives, the challenges we have faced and overcome just to get to this moment. Let’s forgive ourselves for those things we think we should or should not have done. Let’s extend appreciation to those others in our lives who are showing us where we are – and where we are not – being kind to ourselves.
Until next time…
Hello fellow explorers,
The thing about our everyday experience is that it is not happening completely independently of us. It is entangled with our perception of it. So how does this work?
We have thoughts and feelings about our physical experience. We interpret and give meaning to it. Giving meaning to things allows us to develop our ‘perception’ of our experience. In this way we inwardly define ourselves and give meaning to our relationship with our outer world.
The meaning we give to ourselves and the world we perceive represents our unique belief system. A common assumption is that things come with meaning attached to them. We have names for our physical selves, planet earth and its life streams, for the sun and moon and starry observable universe and some of their component parts. We learn their names and perceive their given meaning through family, schooling and peers. If we want to know someone else’s given meaning of something we can just ‘Google’ it!
Yet whilst to some extent we have a commonality of human experience, we also have uniquely different perspectives and beliefs about it. Given names offer a slice of meaning but do they ever come close to revealing the totality of your sensory perception of them?
At some point every-thing is given a particular meaning based only on someone else’s unique perception of it. As we all like to be right, it is easy to see why rarely two people can arrive at precisely the same meaning. A debate on anything can run to endless argument and counter-argument on precisely what meaning should be given to it. This means that at the end of the day it is up to each of us to evaluate the meaning given by others and see whether it feels right or not.
Worldly perception is generally framed around physical and psycho-emotional levels of sensory experience. This offers only a limited level of awareness. Yet beyond these is a less tangible, existential, causal or ‘spiritual level’ that is beyond perception.
A Something-Nothing perspective of the world offers a limited level of awareness. Something-Nothing perception gives rise to an apparently adversarial battleground of opposing polarities such as fear-love, lack-abundance, powerless-powerful, unworthiness-worthiness. These are key currencies in a battle of perception that comes with conditions, attachment and expectations.
It is not hard to see that our inter-personal relationships are often based on a subtle and not so subtle manipulation of perception. Social media can be a network of diverse perception. Politicians contrive to influence others to their way of perceiving things and seed fear about the opposition. Businesses strive to influence others to their products and services and distinguish their brand from others. Countless ‘causes’ seek followers and subscribers. The multi-media constantly invent new ways to influence perception. Indeed, being an ‘Influencer’ is now regarded as an entrepreneurial pathway to ‘fast track’ success.
Yet behind the ‘perceptual scene’ human awareness is multi-dimensional and potentially unlimited. The spiritual dimension of sensory experience is the Soul center. It is our ’Master Sense’ of sensory experience. It holds the power of our Soul centered Inner Guidance. Only through this can we expand our self awareness of our Soul-human experience. It transcends any other level of awareness we may think we have. It is the ‘royal road’ to the infinite possibility of ‘Everything’.
Exploring the Everything-Something is the ‘spiritual path’ to expanding into new ‘spiritual’ dimensions of awareness. It offers the ability to choose our perception of reality irrespective of circumstances. As we expand our perception we expand our ‘inner awareness’ of ourselves and our relationship to ‘outer others’. This means expanding the way we perceive ourselves and others beyond the adversarial.
So, if we each have a uniquely different perspective of experience, what meaning are you giving to your life and the things around you? How are you perceiving yourself and those you are in relationship with? How are you interpreting your feelings? What meaning are you giving to the opinions and beliefs of others…?
Answers are not important, as there is no right answer. The value of questioning our perception of things is not about getting an answer it’s about observing the response we feel within ourselves by asking.
Check in with your Master Sense, your own Soul centered Inner Guidance system. Right now, you have the power to transform your perception of any and every aspect of your life experience irrespective of circumstances.
Until next time…