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THE IDEAL SELF & CONTROLLING HOW YOU ARE PERCEIVED.
This is a five part text that explores the potential limitations of having a mental ideal self and what is involved in releasing our desire to control how we are perceived. The text ties together many themes.
1) The Nature and Origin of Control.
understanding control To Be A Neutral quality.
In this text I want to bring your awareness to the energy of control that operates within each of us. We will start wide, with the nature and origin of control. And then, in the next article, we will explore one of the most persistent levels of control that tends to operate within us (even after we have come to the understanding of equality and sovereignty) — namely, being attached to how other people perceive us.
many spiritual doctrines endorse the release of control as a way to inner-peace. This points to the freedom that is discovered when you learn to let go of needing to control because, if you cannot let go of control, it means you are strapped to a treadmill of taking action (O.C.D. being a magnified example). But how, in this physical world which continually invites you on a journey of making outcome changing choices, is it possible to not exert control?
Despite what the idealistic view of spiritual teachings which demonize control would have you believe, control is like breathing — you cannot avoid it if you want to be alive in this world. That said, you can change your relationship with control such that you elevate it from being a fear-driven impulse, to it being a powerful tool of creation. Doing this will radically change your experience of reality.
control is not inherently positive or negative. It can refer to the sensation of feeling “in control” or feeling “out of control”. Our desire to control can be the primary face of our resistance to life, but it can be the expression of a beautiful act of creation. It can refer to directing proceedings as a wise leader who seeks to elevate everyone, or it can mean to nefariously manipulate people to your own ends.
Like fear, control is not something to be demonized, but something to be mastered through understanding what it is, where it comes from, and how you can best direct it.
To view control as being an “unhealthy bad thing” or a “powerfully good thing” is to be living in a dualistic “right or wrong” reality. This is the default perspective we are indoctrinated into and is what it is to be human. But, if you are seeking to awaken to your spirit — which you meet inside yourself through learning to perceive reality as it does — then you must discover the vantage point from which control is seen to be an integral part of creation in any reality based upon individuality.
When viewed from a non-dualistic perspective, nothing is right or wrong — there is no superiority to any state of being. Everything is capable of being seen from both a positive and a negative light. This makes our perception a creative choice rather than a right or wrong action.
Whether you see the desire to control as positive or negative depends on your perspective and the wider context of the situation. As such, there are times when seeking to control will tie you in knots — which may be what you desire — and other times when beautiful experiences will arise out of your desire to control something. This very world — in being an act of creation — is an act of control. We are each a defined state of focus that causes us to believe we are that focus — instead of the whole — and to focus your perception is to choose to control it.
When control is understood to be inevitable, then instead of seeking to purge ourselves of it — as if it were a sin — the desire to control is recognized as a force which inevitably exists within us that we can either master or be dominated by. This is to realize that — like all things — the shadow-side of control comes through how we use control to express and embody our fears. This is something we do in both conscious and unconscious ways. To be dominated by the need to exert control because of your fears is then to suffer as you seek — and inevitably fail — to bend reality to be as your fear demands it to be (as opposed to meeting life through a state of allowance).
The relationship between control and suffering.
This moment in time — which you probably perceive as being eons beyond the birth of the physical universe — is still the unfolding of the original choice of creation. We are each still within the original choice, the original birthing moment of this reality. You are not separate from the choice to create this world. In realizing that you are an integral part of this act of creation, one of the deepest and most unfathomable questions is why is there suffering? Why would we as eternal-consciousness choose to suffer or even create the experience of suffering in the first place?
The answer to this most challenging of questions is to realize it is not so much that we collectively choose to suffer, it is that we choose — in wanting to experience individuality — to experience the ability to personally direct creation and, in doing so, we choose to be able to experience controlling it. But why would we choose control? simply because of the way in which it feels wonderful to create and then experience what you have created. Until it is met through fear, to control is to create.
We are now so clear as to how control can lead to suffering that we tend to forget the ways in which it can be used to create joyful experiences that birth from our desire to feel love, excitement, and passion.
It feels good when things feel “in control” — when you have them laid out in a nice way, when things are organized, clear and understood (and there is nothing wrong in that good feeling). To fully see this, you must let go of judgment of the word “control” which has picked up many negative associations which tend to fear the action of creation, associating the desire to act more with suffering than the beauty of creation.
SIDE-NOTE: The spiritual doctrines that advocate letting go of control also tend to be the ones that advocate the state of non-action (usually through the idea that ANY desire is bad and the route to suffering). The truth of not desiring anything and not suffering cannot be denied. However, that person also won’t be living the life they set out to live. We did not come to this world in order to practice being detached. We each birth into humanity to experience the state of excitement from which our desire to enter it birthed.
In choosing to live within a reality where our whole consciousness is perceptually divided by fear, we are choosing to experience the shadow-side of all things. Control is no different from any other quality in that it can be met either through fear and attachment to outcome, or through our passion to experience creation (which is the state of allowance that naturally flows when we are focused on our joy rather than our fear). To master your natural desire to control is to become aware of where your desire for it is flowing from. This is not about blocking it when it comes from fear, but exploring and understanding that fear through its manifestation as our desire to control.
suffering and control Through attachment.
Throughout your life the potential for control is everywhere, in everything you do, and in everything that is done. Acts of control can be clear or subtle, conscious or unconscious. One of the clearest acts of control — which has led to many fearing it — is seeking to control reality by becoming attached to something (whether that be an idea, a person, a pet, an object, a substance, or an activity).
When we are attached to something, we naturally seek to control our reality in order to maintain that attachment. I say “naturally” because the energy the attachment holds possesses its own volition to maintain itself. It is therefore “natural” for all things within states of individuality to seek to maintain what they are — it is not a negative force any more than your own desire to be alive.
When you love something, then it is natural to seek to experience more of it and, while it is within the flow of your heart, it is a joy-based experience. There is no suffering in unconditional love. It is only when that harmonious relationship has passed — when the resonance has ceased — and the natural flow is for things to drift apart, that attachment can lead you to try to control reality against where it is flowing in order to maintain your continued experience of whatever it is you are attached to.
suffering arises from the fear-based need to control as this is to enter a no win situation.
This means that although suffering can arise out of control, it is not that control is inherently negative. As much as our desire to control can come from a place of blind attachment, it can also represent a choice to create a story of love or — paradoxically — liberation from control.
The realization that nothing is inherently negative or positive is one of the great freedoms you will discover on the spiritual path. This is why we cannot write black and white rules for life. Nothing is cut and dry. There is paradox in everything. When creation itself can be seen as an act of control, it begins to make more sense why we want to experience control. We are not directly exploring control or suffering or even positive and negative; we are exploring creation.
- Creation is the act of the single, unified level of eternal-consciousness to enter the experience of individuality.
- Creation is the one eternal-consciousness allowing itself to experience itself as many.
- Creation is a choice to manipulate / control the perception of self in order to taste a new experience of self.
- To create is to control.
- Creation does not inherently cause suffering, but it does create the potential to experience it.
You do not have to suffer in order to create, but suffering does exist within the experience of creation — most notably when you are in denial of what you are creating and are therefore able to fear it. It is this fear — and not your ability to control — that can lead you to be controlling in such a way that leads you to suffer. So it is not that we choose to suffer directly, but that suffering is a facet of experience within a reality where there is the ability to disconnect from the knowing of our own creatorship (such that we can be in the fear of what it is that we are creating).
So why would we choose to experience fear? Because fear is what gives us the ability to be unconscious and disconnect from that which surrounds us such that we can create our own defined, glorious experience of life. To see fear as being purely negative is to see being human as a mistake.
- Fear is not good or bad, fun or painful, light or dark.
- Fear is good and bad, fun and painful, light and dark.
- Individuality is not good or bad, fun or painful, light or dark.
- Individuality is good and bad, fun and painful, light and dark.
- To try to have it one way — but not the other — is to be dominated by a state of fear-based control.
For most of us who have been on this path for a while, we have identified the fear-based levels of control within us and released them — such as manipulating other people. This begins with recognizing when you are acting without regard for others, but then extends to recognizing when you are continuing to control through a distorted idea of love — such as where we feel we know what is best for someone else and manipulate them based upon the righteousness of that belief.
In this situation, a person may well feel they understand the laws of the universe (which may be perceived as the laws of love, healthiness, and freedom), and they believe they have not only the right, but a duty, to control the choices of those whom they see suffering in order for them to choose a path of love and freedom.
This kind of spiritual arrogance is the path that organized religion is most blinded by. Even though we may have rejected this in its most overt and offensive forms, we must each recognize how it comes into play in any situation where we are perceiving ourselves to be in the role of healer (which is all of us at some time or another).
one of the biggest lessons that any healer learns is that you cannot enforce healing on anyone. You cannot control anyone into “being healed” because that very idea is to not understand what healing is. It simply cannot work as a long-term solution. At worst it will blow up in your face and may even put the person you were trying to heal in a less empowered position because of how they continue being controlled through the healer.
This is the lesson of understanding that the joy, love, and freedom of your being can only be clearly shared through being it yourself and radiating it into the world. It is to be the water from which others can drink, but the act of drinking the water — which represents self-empowerment — must come from within the person seeking their healing through their own volition to change.
Those who are ready to drink of your freedom will make themselves known to you. They will come to you and they will drink from the energy you are radiating. In doing this they may still perceive you as the healer because that is what they need to believe to start the healing process (as they need to believe someone came and helped them in order to believe healing is possible). But, ultimately, to fully heal — which is to be self-empowered — is for that person to see that the change came from within them.
A healer helps others realize they have the ability to heal themselves — which is to have dominion over their own body, energy, and reality.
Any form of healing that is imposed has within it an element of disempowerment. See that this does not make it “wrong”. There are many situations of deep suffering where to be controlled by others to a state of less suffering may be chosen as an understandable route to healing. But you cannot control someone all the way to joy or freedom. You cannot control someone into being sovereign. You cannot fully heal anyone other than yourself.
We are each inherently whole — not lacking something that must be given to us by another.
loving forms of control can be used to nudge someone all the way to the door of self-empowerment, sovereignty, and freedom, but that control will always represent a disempowerment on some level. Through that door is the level of self-empowerment where you are stood fully inside of the knowing of yourself and All-That-You-Are.
That final step across the threshold can therefore only be taken by the individual themselves. No one can control a person through this door. No one can take this last step for another. The person must realize it inside themselves and step out of their fear of the life they are creating. All we can ever do as spiritual teachers and healers is point to the choice to be empowered — we cannot make that choice for another.
I imagine that most of you reading this article already feel pretty comfortable in your relationship with control. This is not to imply we feel we have complete mastery of it, but simply the feeling we are not people who control others in manipulative ways that come from a place of righteous superiority. I would therefore now like to turn to an often overlooked way in which we seek to control reality — through seeking to control how we are perceived.
To care how you are perceived is to be attached to how you are perceived. And that is to seek to control how you are perceived.
Caring about how we are perceived is usually seen through the lens of having low self-esteem — which is a valid and valuable perspective — instead of being associated with “being controlling”. By highlighting how it is an act of control, I hope to give you a more effective and actionable way to address it within you than seeking to not care about it by having high self-esteem.
The fact is that most people who do not care how they are perceived are not actually coming from a place of healthy self-esteem, but most typically by coming from a place of superiority. To see someone as an equal and not be attached to how they perceive you is far more challenging than not being attached by dismissing the value of that person’s perception of you. To master this powerful but subtle desire to control is therefore to become a master of this creative energy within you.
2) Transforming Our Desire To Control How We Are Perceived.
In this article we are going to see how, even when we no longer seek to control other people (as explored in the last article), we still tend to fall into patterns of being controlling when it comes to our attachment to how other people perceive us. The desire to be seen a certain way is so woven into our way of thinking that we rarely question it. As such, it seems “normal” to give your time and energy to this attachment (despite how others see us clearly being something we can’t control).
To open your eyes to how attachment-based control operates within you is to see the bars of a cage that you possibly had no clue you were in. To become aware of when the desire to control is operating within you is a powerful sense as it not only lets you put that energy elsewhere, it also represents a high level of self-inquiry that is likely to be highly revealing through its ability to show you how you react to particular misperceptions (as it will allow you to identify wounded areas that have been hidden by your desire to be seen a certain way). Awareness of control, resistance, and attachment within you is a powerful tool in the journey to know thyself.
The release of attachment.
To release attachment of how other people perceive you is to release one of the most subtle and evasive aspects of control. Trying to control how you are perceived is like a fear, or a neurosis, in how it can easily shift and transform. This can make its presence hard to pin down due to its ability to morph into something else. This is, in part, because there is a certain logic — or feeling of common sense — to caring about how you are perceived, as popularity is a highly rewarded commodity in our society. Our minds can therefore come up with convincing arguments as to why it is in our best interest to control how we are perceived by being selective and deliberate — instead of free — in our self-expression.
Let’s look at how, just like fear, control can shift within you when you try to pin it down. For example, you can free someone from a fear of big dogs through a controlled cognitive-behavioral technique of systematic desensitization, where you start with exposure to calm, small dogs at the shallow end of the fear and gradually build your way up to facing the full fear of big dogs. Through this kind of process many people successfully stop being afraid of dogs. However, what is sometimes seen is that another phobia appears in its place — such as a fear of loud crowds — because the person did not heal the core experience that initially created the phobia (a state of negative fear-based belief).
The same kind of shift of fear can happen in releasing control of how you are perceived. For example, a person may mentally challenge the idea of caring about how a particular group perceives them such that they logically conclude they should not care about how “those people” perceive them. However, they then find themselves worrying about how they are perceived by a different group. This is a state of anxiety that exists within the person that will always find a group to attach itself to, no matter how many times it is worked on — the conclusion being that the anxiety must be addressed directly rather through its manifestation as a focus on any particular group.
To release control of how other people perceive you, you must be conscious and vigilant of your whole energy field — which means your entire range of emotions — such that you can see if, when you address one area of resistance, something new appears elsewhere to take its place.
We are all in a dance with both the passions of our heart and the fears of our mind. Come to see both clearly, and you will have the delicious experience of your heart and mind moving as one. This will be reflected in your inner and outer experiences moving as one. And that is for your will and its fulfillment to be one. This births from freeing — rather than controlling — your will, through which the difference between wanting and needing is discovered (which reflects unconditional versus conditional love). To love without condition is to love without control.
To seek to control how others perceive you is a persistent and relentless level of control and, as we dive into exploring it, what you will discover is that it is intimately tied to how we want to think of ourselves. This is attachment to having a particular self-identity.
how we want others to perceive us is connected to how we want to perceive ourselves — be aware of when you are trying to convince others and when you are trying to convince yourself.
This persistent level of control is, to at least some degree, present within every person in modern society. Social media and our communications technologies are focusing this fear within us both collectively and individually like never before. This neurosis has so many forms, so many faces, that we must go to the heart of this energy — rather than its many manifestations — in order to see it. It will then be up to you to recognize the unique and thereby personal and intimate way in which it manifests within you.
We often talk about the beauty of both our uniqueness as individuals and our diversity as a collective. This not only describes what we see of as our positive qualities, but also our fears and neurosis.
To spirit there is as much beauty in the diversity of our fears as there is in the diversity of our passions.
Beneath the diversity of our fears — spanning the uniqueness of our wounds — there is a collective, archetypal energy of caring how we are perceived. Whether that be wanting others to think we are strong, intelligent, kind, loving, honest, virtuous, or spiritual — there is a long list of respected qualities that people commonly want others to perceive them as being.
Pause to recognize how it feels completely natural and reasonable to want to be seen in a positive light.
“Of course!” you would want people to think you are a good person, a kind person, a person who is in control of themselves, a person who is “with-it” — whatever words best describe it for you personally. Feel the strength of this “Of course!” to see how ingrained — and therefore unquestioned — this desire has become. Now feel its connection to the survival-instinct — our belief that our survival depends on it.
There were times in your past lives when, if your tribe rejected you, you would perish without their resources and protection. We have each experienced lives where being perceived as a witch meant death.
Take a moment to identify the qualities you seek to outwardly portray and inwardly follow. What would you say if you were asked to describe yourself in positive, glowing terms? how you would like to hear yourself described by other people?
remember in this that there is nothing wrong with proudly owning these words. Wanting to radiate positive qualities is a wonderful thing and is not what causes the fear that can turn it into a controlling behavior. So let yourself fully feel the qualities you want to embody and radiate — be excited about them.
To recognize what these particular qualities mean about you personally is to see yourself clearly. Are you able to identify the three qualities you are most attached to honestly? Are you feeling a pull to choose the three most noble qualities? Are you feeling judgment about some of the ways in which you would like to be seen? We can usually tell when we are resisting being transparent with other people, but are you aware of when it is difficult to be transparent with yourself?
resistance to being transparent — and thereby potentially vulnerable — is an act of control.
If you are thinking there are better or worse answers, it means you are trying to control your answer instead of giving the clear, transparent heart-based response. Fear of judgment is a potent factor in why we seek to modify our self-perception in a way that society finds acceptable or praise worthy. So be honest with yourself. How do you enjoy being seen? For example, what compliments do you find most flattering?
What most flatters you?
In this, you may need to work through your resistance to accepting that you are someone who finds certain things flattering (because, if you have lived a life — you can be flattered — because we all carry emotional charges).
Now pick just one of these descriptive words that most flatters you. Recognize there is nothing “wrong” with wanting others to perceive you in that way. There is nothing “wrong” with seeking to be that way. This is to say…
But, that said, let us now look at the realization of how a natural, positive, heart-led, passionate desire can become a cage. This is to recognize that if you become mentally attached to the fulfillment of that desire — especially through linking it to your survival — then you will start experiencing a level of resistance, and thereby control, towards anything you perceive as hindering the manifestation of your desire.
I want to be kind.
Take the example of wanting others to believe you are a kind person. What about if you are having a bad day? What if something challenging has come up in your life which you need to internally work through and, during this process, a friend asks you for a big favor? Do you honor yourself, your emotional process, and your heart-felt desire to be left alone? Or do you follow your mental desire — which is an attachment — to have your friend see you as a kind, loving, spiritual, “good” person. Are you able to say, “I am sorry. I love you, but I cannot do that for you today as I need to take care of myself?”
Or, perhaps a friend starts telling you a tale of woe you have heard from them many times and, despite your mental desire to see yourself as a kind and patient person, you feel bored with repeatedly hearing the same story because it feels clear to you they do not want to change the pattern. Do you sit through that conversation many times because you want to be kind, spiritual, or a “good” listener? Or do you speak honestly from your heart about what you are feeling and why you are feeling it?
Now let’s turn our attention to the more subtle ways the energy of control can persist and may still be operating within us. Generally, these do not even involve other people (which is what allows them to be far more subtle and therefore harder to spot). This is when you want to perceive yourself in a certain way. This is when you internally stop yourself doing something you want to do because it conflicts with the idea you want to have of yourself — usually from wanting to think of yourself as a “spiritual” person. This means that even in the privacy of your own being, you may label a natural heart-based feeling as selfish, indulgent, or impure. In doing this, you distort the compass of your heart in order to try to conform to an idea of a self you believe is superior.
This idea of wanting to embody a good-feeling quality (such as being kind) is perfectly natural — that is not in dispute. What is important to see is where the desire is coming from within you so you know whether — along with your good-feeling desire — there is an aspect of you mentally judging the opposite quality. This is because the desires of our heart are always a positive desire for something — they never contain resistance. All resistance is fear-based and mental in origin. For example, to be a kind person is to act with kindness from your heart. To be kind is not to seek to never be unkind. Kindness is felt through the presence of kindness — not the absence of cruelty.
This is to choose who you want to be in an affirming, attractive way, instead of a judgmental, rejecting way. An example of this is the choice to focus on loving peace, instead of putting energy towards hating war. See in this how it is possible to want to be a quality in an entirely joyful way, without needing to label the opposite quality as negative or wrong?
being all things.
The spiritual instruction to “know thyself” is first to know yourself at the defined level of your individuated self, and then to continue to know yourself from ever wider — and thereby more inclusive — perspectives.
As you go down the path of know thyself, you will “try on” many self-describing adjectives that you will aspire to embody — such as being kind, spiritual, smart, beautiful, generous, and loving. You will move by focusing different qualities both within your life — as your perspective matures with experience — and across your many lives. As you go ever deeper into know thyself, what you will always discover at the heart of the many qualities within the human experience is that you are every quality. There is no quality you are not capable of embodying.
Across different situations and circumstances — across many lives — you ultimately reflect everything.
There is nothing you are not capable of being.
There is nothing you are not.
This is to realize that as well as being spiritual, you can be unspiritual. As well as being kind, you can be cruel. As well as being attractive, you can be ugly. You are not just one way. Within you are ALL ways.
When you release the attachment-based control that never stops pushing you to one end of the dualistic qualities you value, you will birth an incredible new level of freedom throughout your entire being. This is not freedom from control, because you are still the focus of an individual. It is freedom from fear-based control through mental attachment.
For example, the intellectual that does not allow themselves to play the party game, be the fool, or the butt of a joke, is not free. A person who has to be serious all the time in order to maintain their perceived image of intelligence is missing out on a lot of potential fun. They are missing out on a whole dimension of being. In just the same way, a fashionista who puts a lot of time and effort into maintaining a polished, attractive image is also in a cage. It can be wonderful to put effort into how you look for a special evening or event, but when that spills over in such a way that you won’t even leave the house unless you look a certain way, then you are — literally — caged in your home by that attachment.
Though the intellectual and fashionista are in relation to how other people see them, at the deepest level they do not actually involve anyone else. They are the person’s own desire to see themselves in a certain way — to project a certain image — and then, perhaps, the desire to have the world validate it. Great freedom is unleashed when the intellectual allows themselves to be silly, or the fashionista allows themselves to go out without makeup. This does not need to involve anyone else perceiving them. It is an internal shift.
freedom from the cage of seeing yourself as only spiritual is to allow whatever it is you are feeling or desiring without judging it through the lens of spirituality.
This release of judgment applies to whatever the attachment is. Freedom from judgment is achieved by coming to see yourself clearly. This comes from allowing yourself to feel your feelings without the distortion of mental interference such that you know when they are your naturally flowing impulses, and when they are coming from a level of mental fear or attachment.
It is not that you need to be the opposite of how you would like to be seen, but, it is to be willing to go there if that is what you feel — if that is what is spontaneous and in the moment. That is freedom. That is living in the present moment. It is the freedom to be ANYTHING — without restriction — and that includes what society has labeled as the negative ends of the various polarized qualities.
“Trying on” these opposing qualities can be a good exercise if there is a particular quality you are hung up on. It can be a revealing experiment to play with the other end of the scale to see what it triggers in you — to see where your resistance or judgment is. For example, allowing yourself to be silly, unspiritual, unkempt, unpolished, unhealthy, or selfish. Do this instead of only sticking to what you completely know and feel safe in. Can you allow yourself to do this?
Can you be with your spiritual friends and talk about something that they are condescending about, such as your enjoyment of a television show they see as crass or beneath them? Can you own your “guilty pleasure” and allow yourself to say you enjoy this show they mock? Can you own your guilty pleasures and the ways in which you are flattered — both to yourself and to others? This is sharing the honesty of your heart — the honesty of your being. This is the freedom to be yourself. And this is when you come to know thyself.
This is all about developing a level of awareness as to when fear-based resistance and control is operating inside you. It is to become aware of when you are controlling your own behavior to fit a belief or to conform to an image of how you want to be seen. This is to recognize the trap of living from a mental ideal (instead of the flow of your heart) as the trap of constantly looking to a destination (rather than enjoying your journey).
3) Don’t Let Your Ideal Self Be A Prison.
In this article, which continues our series on letting go of trying to control how we are perceived by other people, we will look at how it is we want to be perceived. Is there an ideal self you are trying to create? Is it based more in thought or feeling? This beautifully ties to the abundance series of articles as it is all about allowing fantastical and exciting feelings for what you desire, without falling into becoming attached to specific definitions. Wanting to create things in our outer reality — such as how we are perceived by others — is not any different from our desire to create ourselves.
Picturing your ideal.
What is your dream for yourself — not in terms of outward action, but yourself as a personality? In doing this, I want you to come from a place of joy in your heart. There is nothing to judge or analyse here — so don’t worry if it sounds like an ideal — just freely feel into ideas of what your most exciting “fantasy self” for this life could be.
If there was a statue to be built in your honor — what would you want it to look like? What pose would it be in? What qualities would it exude? If there was a film about you — what would you want it to convey about you? If you could be seen to be like a public figure in the world or from history — who would it be and why?
TIP: It is important to recognize here that there is nothing wrong in imagining — which is fantasizing — what kind of person you want to be. It is therefore helpful to note any resistance that comes up in you through this exercise, as to be resistant to fantasizing within the freedom of your own imagination is to feel a state of wounding operating within you.
Although there is nothing wrong with the fantasy you have imagined, see how — if you do not remain conscious that you are focusing a feeling of joy — it is easy for the qualities you have come up with to stop reflecting the natural fluidity of feeling and, instead, become a static, rigid, mental ideal. When this happens, see how you stop feeling the direction that your feeling of joy is guiding you towards and, instead, focus on the mental destination that is described by your ideal.
clarification: Coming up with fantasies is not the issue here. The problem I am highlighting occurs when a person stops seeing those fantasies as feelings-based signposts that point in a general direction and become attached to them as mental blueprints that must be enacted (usually out of an idea that their joy — and perhaps even survival — requires it).
To have a mental ideal you are attached to — instead of a fun fantasy you like to play with — is to live within a state of continual comparison to that ideal. The result of this relentless divisiveness is to always find your present self to be lacking. This is something that growing up within our society causes all of us to do (with few people breaking out of the pattern).
Why do we do this to ourselves? Why are we attracted to a mental practice that so consistently makes us feel worse? The reason we welcome this negative feeling is because we believe the feeling of lack is telling us important information about how we need to change (information about what is “wrong” with us that needs to be fixed). So, even though we don’t like to feel less than ideal, we welcome it because we believe that feeling is teaching us how to become better — more ideal — people. We keep swallowing the bitter pill in the belief it will make us better.
Idealists live within cages of lack because their direction in life comes from a desire to reduce the ways in which they feel they are lacking, instead of following the joyful inspiration they feel through their hearts.
Part of the process of transforming our ideals to be more feelings based is coming to see these “ideal” qualities clearly (both in yourself and in others). For those of you who have been able to identify a public figure you would like to be seen to be like, take a moment to become aware of what you may be projecting onto this person. In regard to the quality you most like about them, do you really think they are like that all the time?
Can you think of ways in which they reflect the opposite?
Can you give them the freedom to be both the ideal and its opposite?
Can you give yourself the freedom to be both the ideal and its opposite?
Some public figures are incredibly truthful and candid — which is an embodiment of the fearless quality of transparency — in what they share of their life, but many famous people live behind crippling masks in order to be seen in a certain way. People are naturally changed by being objects of mass focus, yet the public image created of them resists seeing this change and it. becomes a cage. This is to understand that some of the people whom society believes must be the most joyful, because of their fame, are in fact the most miserable because of how that fame cages them. To let go of ideals in yourself is to see how ideals are, at best, a focus — but are more often a cage.
- Consider what this realization of limitation means in relation to your personal ideal of self.
- What are you projecting onto the ideal qualities or the image you have for yourself?
- If your fantasy looks more like a destination, can you at least see yourself experiencing joy in the journey to it?
- When you think of your dream for yourself, is there a sense of joy only in the future? Or is there potential for joy in the present moment?
Fantasies birth from the feelings within our heart and, although they are painted with definitions, those definitions only convey the feeling. They do not define it. This is why I encourage people to have many visions of joy, rather than focusing on one and becoming attached to it.
mental ideals only exist within thought and, even though the power of our thoughts is real (as they feed into the creation of our reality), those thoughts — when resistant in nature — also represent a denial of the eternal perfection of who we are in the present moment (which is the understanding that even that which we see as imperfect is perfect in its chosen imperfection).
Again, there is nothing “wrong” with moving towards the fulfillment of a mental idea. However, the suggestion is to be aware if this movement stops being a joyful, self-affirming motion, and instead becomes banging your head on a wall (or some other manifestation of frustration and resistance). Do not allow yourself to be led by a fear-based rejection of the ways in which you are not yet experiencing a mental ideal of self. Become who you want to be by loving who you want to be — not by rejecting who you are now.
seeing all ideals as bad cannot be the solution (because that would be the ideal of having no ideals). The solution is to make your ideals fluid and feeling-based rather than mental fixations. This is the realization that you can move toward something in a positive way that is resonant with your heart without there needing to be an idea of moving away from the perceived opposite of what that resonance is.
- What we are speaking of here is applying the realization of “love peace — don’t hate war” to your dreams for yourself.
- Dream of who you want to be — of the feelings you want to have — rather than of ceasing to be who you are now.
- Allowing what you feel.
- Allow room for the existence of opposing aspects to whatever you desire.
enjoy — don’t condemn — the part of you that sometimes feels angry. enjoy — don’t hate — the part of you that sometimes gets frustrated. In this, learn to have empathy for the part of you that can be cruel or unkind. Having empathy for cruelty may sound undesirable — or even dangerous — but no state of consciousness changes until it is seen clearly. And to see anything clearly, you must see it with love.
As long as we condemn those who are cruel, instead of seeking to understand them, reality will keep on showing us cruelty as an invitation to free ourselves from that judgment by learning to see cruelty clearly (which starts by understanding how it arises within ourselves).
Do not fear approaching unkindness within yourself from a point of acceptance. You know yourself — have trust that you are not going to go out and purposefully disregard or hurt people (even if you accept the part of you that is capable of doing that). Accepting your own negative tendencies will — paradoxically — lessen them, not accentuate them. This is because to accept them is to stop denying them (which means you become more aware of when they are operating within you).
TIP: In your moments of frustration or difficulty, allow yourself to step back from trying to control the situation and observe the thoughts that go through your head (instead of rejecting or judging them). Allow unkind thoughts so you can see them clearly. Allow unspiritual thoughts if that is what emerges out of your frustration. Allow yourself to observe and feel “what is” without trying to change it. There is no need to reject energies; this only ever represses them and entrenches them within you.
allowance is the quickest and most effective way through whatever feelings you may be processing. If you are feeling down or frustrated, then the allowance of angry, unkind, unspiritual thoughts can be the quickest way out of that energy because you will better see the origin of these thoughts by allowing yourself to feel and observe them freely and directly. When you do this, your negative feelings have a chance to dissipate instead of building up. The frustration is released, rather than held, and your pain is seen, instead of unseen. Allowance transforms our feelings. rejection holds them static. It is also the best way to navigate out of negative thought loops.
Are you willing to see yourself undistorted by mental judgment? Are you willing to see yourself free from the conditioning of what is and isn’t moral, healthy, or pure?
I invite you to contemplate your ideal self and consider the ways in which your desire to become it represents a desire to not be who you are today. Recognize and embrace the joy that your ideal self represents, but equally embrace the opposing aspects that exist within you.
dreams ARE a wonderful thing. All creation is the creation of our dreams. Creation is a dream. There is nothing wrong with dreams. Do not stop dreaming as if it is a solution to being more in the present moment. What I tell you is this: You CAN dream of the future without it being a rejection of your present. You will know the difference because such a dream inspires you to be in the present moment, because you know that is where you will meet it.
- A dream of feeling does not point to something that may — or may not — happen in the future.
- A dream of feeling points to a feeling you can start creating — right now — in the present.
- A dream of feeling inspires you to embrace life. It does not express your desire to escape it.
- You can never hope to control how other people perceive you, but you can come to a deeper awareness of how you see yourself.
4) The Norms That Bind Us.
Are You Ready To Break The Mold?
In the last article we explored our tendency to become attached to mental definitions of how we would like to be perceived. I used less intimate examples — like imagining what you would like a film about you to convey — in order to highlight the mental idea of our ideal self. Now I would like to bring it to a more personal level by talking about how ideals and control come into play when we are with our families.
In doing this, I will speak about family from what I have found to be the most common vantage point among those who read my work — namely, they love their family, but find spending extended time with them challenging because they have a more traditional mindset. Therefore, when I mention family, please think of whatever equivalent social group you personally find you most compromise yourself within, or whom tend to activate old patterns within you. Or, if you no longer have contact with your family, perhaps think of how it felt to be with them in the past.
For most of us, being with your family is the most clear time for you to spot the ways in which you may compromise your desires, or do things against your will, in order to not rock the boat. Regardless of whether you then choose to rock the boat, being with your family is one of the best times to become aware of historic energetic patterns you may still be carrying (because of how they tend to come to the surface when you are with your family).
We often like to tell ourselves that these patterns only come into effect around family but, if you look deeper, you will see that these patterns are always running at a subconscious level. Therefore, even if you are someone who no longer has contact with your family, it is important to recognize and — if you feel it is necessary — transform these patterns within you.
limiting patterns are resolved by nothing more — nor less — than seeing them clearly (as to completely see a limitation is to be freed from being unconsciously affected by it).
ELABORATION: I call them energetic patterns because they not only include patterns of behavior, but also patterns of emotional response, patterns of thinking, and patterns of perception (usually the pattern of perceiving things from a wounded perspective). In terms of being human, energetic patterns are patterns of resistance and allowance — in relation to the infinite diversity of life — within your consciousness.
Societal Norms and the Survival instinct.
Some of these patterns are connected to personal wounding or family dysfunction, but these patterns also include more general, societal norms. These are behaviors we believe are expected of us — with the strength of that expectation acting as an invisible force that pushes us to behave in a certain way unless we make a conscious decision to “break the norm”.
When we give ourselves the option of breaking out of a societal norm, we feel not only the fear that arises within ourselves, but we also feel enormous pressure — despite it not always being overt — to conform with those around us. We, as a society, have created and continue to enforce these norms because of how we are conditioned to believe that the harmony of our civilization rests upon them. Although the face of them is always changing, it is important to see how we hand these patterns of limitation are passed from generation to generation.
REFERENCE: When I am writing, I receive a myriad of personal references from my spirit which are activated in order to best convey what it is that I am seeking to articulate through the article. As these references are usually personal, I then have to translate what they mean to me into the writing. However, as the reference I just experienced was a song, I felt to include it. As I wrote “from generation to generation” I heard George Michael singing “Mother’s Pride”.
ELABORATION: Although we don’t always recognize it, there is patterning within each of us that makes it feel as though we are doing something “wrong” when we even think about breaking with the norm. This connects all the way back to ancient patterning which tells us we will be punished for stepping into our power and speaking our truth. This is simply because, in the past, we often were punished — or even killed — for being outside of the norm. Indeed, we still are today.
Finding your voice (which is to speak authentically from your heart) and breaking societal norms are the same thing because the act of standing in your power is to break a societal norm.
We often don’t want to recognize the enormous power of these norms because we do not like to think of ourselves as being controlled. Instead, as we spiritually awaken, we like to think of ourselves being beyond such controls. However, while I am not suggesting it is not possible to be free of them, I do not want to set that idea up as an expectation. This is because what we experience as societal pressures in modern society are still deeply connected to the survival-instinct. Although it may sound a little absurd, to not conform to a relatively benign convention — such as waiting in a queue — is to break through the same “will this lead to my death?” fear-based patterning as not kneeling before your king / superior in our past lives.
Breaking the mold.
In order to ground this and see more of how it relates to caring about how we are perceived, I want you to think about what has been happening in your life recently either with friends, family, or work colleagues. Can you see ways in which you have compromised yourself? Ways in which maybe, if you weren’t so concerned by how you were perceived, you may have done things differently.
TIP: This isn’t talking about compromise in a positive sense of trying to meet someone in the middle, but compromise in terms of not honoring your own feelings.
“Breaking the norm” can be as simple as choosing to leave a dinner or party early because you aren’t enjoying it. Do you have the courage to allow yourself to get up and say goodbye without concocting some “white lie?” Could you politely excuse yourself and leave without worrying how other people may interpret it? Social conventions are so ingrained that, even when your personal flow is strongly against them, it is easy to not see your freedom to not conform.
See how, even though you may be having a strong feeling to leave a social event, it may not even cross your mind that leaving is an “actual” or “realistic” possibility (even though you may be fantasizing about being tucked up in bed at home). This is an example of how our heart can clearly point us in a particular direction and yet this never becomes a choice because the mind does not allow for the possibility. To become aware of when this is happening within you — which comes from questioning within the moment — is to birth a powerful tool within yourself through which you can free yourself from cages of conditioning that have been subconsciously operating within you.
In order to act on this awareness you will have to face — which means feel — the survival fears that arise when you step forward and break the mold of “the norm”. The more you put this into practice, the more you will come to refine this level of awareness (which includes how you act on it). And the more consistently you make choices to not compromise your inner feeling, the more you will come to catch ever more subtle levels of conditioning.
TIP: As you begin to change your mechanisms of self-control, become vigilant of other ways in which conditioned patterns may transmute and reappear.
See the ways in which you modify your behavior with your family. In what ways do you alter your behavior to please them or avoid conflict or awkwardness? Become aware in these coming weeks of how you create resistance within your own flow when you are interacting with those closest to you.
one of the clearest gauges comes through developing your ability to speak from your heart about whatever it is you are feeling. What you will discover in this is that no where more, than in speaking from your heart, will you clearly feel your own fears and be aware of all the energies in the room. This is to step into the state of vulnerability. Speech is so powerful. It is a bridge. It is expression. It is creation. It literally can form worlds.
To speak freely from your heart is to experience who you are free of conditioning.
To allow vulnerability is to enter a state of heightened awareness.
free yourself by being more honest than you have ever been. Speak from your heart whenever you feel to. When you do this, there will be people in your life who will be confused or resistant. They will not understand what is happening. It is your right to just allow that confusion — if that is the way you feel to do it — but there is also the choice to explain your shift in behavior (why you were silent but are now speaking). Speak from your heart to convey your new choice — this new perspective you are applying to your life. This isn’t about converting them to your way of thinking; it is simply to be clear as to where you are coming from. This will allow the shift you are making to flow with greater ease through your personal relationships.
Do not assume you will know how another person will react when you speak from your heart. Naked honesty is a powerful catalyst and may trigger people in unexpected ways. Often people are looking for a chance to change — they just don’t know how to do it. You will find that some people around you breathe a sigh of relief and say, “Me too! I am so glad you said that. I feel the same way.”
In allowing yourself to speak from your heart in a way that may challenge the perception of your friends, family members, or work colleagues, you are potentially allowing an energetic earthquake — the earthquake of shifting how others perceive you.
There is such freedom in coming to speak honestly from your heart without the restriction of trying to conform to an ideal of how you want to be perceived. To seek to project an ideal is a way of allowing others to just see you one way; this therefore pigeon holes you. We say, “I don’t like it when I am pigeon holed. I don’t like it when others put me in a box and say that is what I am.” And yet it is amazing how often these pigeon holes we can get put in relate to the ideal we have tried to project. See how you are are energetically feeding into the boxes you may feel other people put you in.
To find the courage to speak from your heart is often manifested as the opportunity to find the courage to speak when you feel you are being misperceived. A part of this is to allow a chance — an opening — for the people in your life to rediscover you. In this, you know that you will be rediscovering yourself.
Are you ready to discover who you are when you purely flow from your heart, instead of flowing your energy towards a mental ideal?
Are you open to being vulnerable?
Are you open to surprising yourself?
Are you prepared to discover how you will be different if you no longer conform?
5) Creating Space Where There Was Control.
Are you ready to transform?
We will close by looking at these liberating ideas through the lens of creating space for magic, for the unknown, for spontaneous transformation. The allowance of space within your life can often seem like a luxury we can rarely afford, and yet it is a luxury without physical cost. space is room for new things to birth. space is room for growth. space is room for a wider perspective. space allows us to find the balance of our own zero point. space is room to breathe freely and without concern.
I am new.
We are each constantly changing. We are each constantly re-birthing. And yet it is amazing how long-term friends and family still see us the way we were many years ago and thereby treat us that way. It is within our nature to categorize people and then perceive them through that preconception — that pigeon-hole. This is a significant part of what keeps us in ruts. It is time to step out of that rut, to smash that box, and say,
“Hey that preconception isn’t me. There is more to me. There is a new me. There is a birthing me. There is this side to me you have never seen — you have never known about. There are these sides to me that you may not approve of, but I do not need your approval. I am not going to try to convince you to approve. I accept your disapproval, but I am no longer going to hide this side of myself from you. I do not accept your judgment. I am not going to push this down your throat, but I am not going to hide it either. I am not going to hide who I am anymore. I have changed. I am new. It is time you saw the new me, allowed the new me. I am ready to be seen.”
Are you ready to step out of the energetic cage of being concerned how other people will perceive you?
Letting go of the past.
As this new freedom within your being is birthed and new aspects within you step forward for expression, it is time to release the parts of you that have run their course. Some of these aspects of your being are old relics of the past. Some are parts of you that your family and friends keep alive because they resist seeing how you have changed and who you are now. Many people have a side of themselves that has long died, and yet, when they go and visit their family, they drag this old aspect back out the closet and put it on like a suit of clothes in order to keep everyone else happy.
You each have old suits of clothes, outfits such as these, in your closets. They are past versions of you. There is nothing wrong with them — they are not to be rejected — but the realization is that they are images that no longer represent you. And, as such, they — in their current form — cannot flow with you into the new freedom before you.
- Are you ready to let go of these old clothes?
- Are you ready to own and stand fully in who you are today?
- Can you thank your past selves and let them go?
- To let go of your past is to let it transform within you.
Close your eyes and picture two closets or wardrobes before you of whatever size feels right. One of these wardrobes contains lots of beautiful new outfits, each representing a new empowered aspect of you that is coming forward to play and create. There are many new outfits covering every conceivable occasion and aspect that is coming forward. Feel the potential of this wardrobe. Feel it as a playground of beingness that is inviting you in.
And now, in the other wardrobe, picture all your old outfits. These represent configurations you have exhausted — that no longer wish to be.
- Feel how you have been changing and feel what it is you are leaving behind.
- Feel the roles you have played that no longer represent your joy.
- Feel the masks you no longer wish to wear.
- Feel any wounds from the past within the clothes.
And now — with the knowing that it is entirely up to you — if you wish, light a match and burn the old. Set light to these antiques and past perceptions. You can burn them with whatever emotion you want, but I suggest the emotion of peace, of release into transformation, of farewell with love — for all these aspects served you at some time. They were once — in an alternate eternal moment — your divine choice.
allowing The spontaneous.
From the ashes new phoenixes will arise. For there is only so much room in the closet, and now you have cleared this space, there is room for your new outfits, your new beingness, the new roles you will play. New aspects will birth in the moment of freedom when you are no longer trying to be an ideal. They will birth when you just allow the moment to naturally unfold. The allowance of spontaneity is a powerful invitation to birth new forms of freedom into your life.
This desire to control how others perceive you quells spontaneity. spontaneity births when you are willing to let go of trying to control how others perceive you. There is such joy in spontaneous living. Within the allowance of spontaneity is the allowance of synchronicity. So much of synchronicity is by its own nature spontaneous. It is a space for magic.
spontaneity is such a succulent form of freedom. What does spontaneity mean? In the moment — in “the-Now” — it is the allowance of your own naturally arising behavior without censorship — regardless of whether that be an outburst of joy, anger, disgust, repulsion, or laughter. It is to no longer be stood within your mind — within your judgments — inside of the resistant feeling of control between you and your life. It is to act spontaneously instead of thinking about what would be “logically best” to do.
This is to live free of worrying about how others — including your own varied aspects — may perceive you.
To be spontaneous is to let go of that inner monologue that dampens the vibrancy of life. It is to let go of constantly judging your own behavior or being paralyzed by self-doubt. It is to move out from being stood behind the moment. It is to stop having to think everything out before you speak and assess every sentence before it comes out of your mouth because of how those around you may perceive it. It is to stop worrying about what you might say if you do not monitor yourself. It is to let go of fearing what personal truth might pop out of your mouth.
This freedom births when you walk in the flowing spontaneous moment where there is nothing between the fire of volition that births from your heart and its expression into matter — the space where there is no mind between impulse and action. That is the-Now. There. That is the flow. That is the strongest current. And that is why it leads to synchronicity (because the strongest current is synchronicity).
synchronicity is the magic that will most quickly, painlessness, and effortlessly unfold what you desire. This moment of spontaneous freedom of expression is the antithesis of the control of how others perceive you, the control of how you perceive yourself. It is freedom from living in the cage of “the ideal”.
This journey into spontaneous life is — like all journeys — an unfolding one. There is no moment of arrival. There is no destination. It is the spiraling evolution of freedom. And, as you allow this potent flow, as you get better at housing it, as it becomes your natural state of being, so it will continue to grow. There is no end to the joy that is within every step of creation.
For those of you that may consider spontaneity to be something you are not very good at, I am not suggesting that you force yourself to be spontaneous (as you cannot force or fake spontaneity). So allow there to be a wonder-filled journey to spontaneity. Take it a step at a time and savor the joy in each step.
A part of this is through no more — or less — than learning to be kinder to yourself. The desire to control how others perceive you has been in operation within us all since we were a child. Do not expect to throw it away overnight. Allow this to be a journey — allow your time. Allow the first steps to simply be observation. Let the first step of it be being aware of the ways in which you manipulate yourself. Become conscious of how you limit your own behavior through the desire to control how you are perceived.
Your reality can transform through this simple awareness. It can be that easy. Just in seeing your fear-based desires to control, it will begin to change. This is how all spiritual learning can be easy. Freedom is easy. Freedom must be easy — because how can it not be? how can this freedom — this joy, this effortlessness — that has been conveyed to you not be easy?
facing your fears may well feel like walking through a wall of fire but the freedom it leads you to is the energy of ease.
Freeing The difficulty.
If there is difficulty in finding ease, then the release of that difficulty is to realize ease is not difficult to find. The belief in difficulty creates difficulty. Without difficulty the natural state is ease. You cannot get “to” ease because ease is not a destination. You arrive at ease by seeing through the illusion of difficulty.
- A fear-based urgency to arrive at a destination is the difficulty that resists your arrival.
- Allow time for the steps to breathe their joy.
- Allow your journey unlimited energy by allowing it unlimited time.
- Allow whatever is needed.
- Allow whatever is apparent and clear.
- You will know how much time to allow by following the compass of your heart. It will guide you at a speed that is appropriate.
- There is no race.
- There is no mission.
- There is no ticking cosmic clock.
- There are no medals for coming first when the race is only ever within eternal-consciousness.
It is not better or worse to go slow or fast. There is no right or wrong. There is only your acceptance or rejection of the moment. This is all the stepping out of the fear of the mind — out of the plan, out of the map. It is to use the spontaneity of the compass of your heart to be in the moment, and thereby free yourself from the map of the ideally perceived self — the image you want yourself and others to see you as.
These are all maps we have been tearing up. These are old energy aspects we have been burning to create space for what is new, what is yet to be known, what is yet to be discovered, what is yet to be created.
We have been opening space for our creatorship.
Great newness will birth if you will allow these old maps to be torn up. Things you have not yet imagined will happen because you have allowed yourself the space, the time, the stillness, the ceasing of the chase, the ceasing the search, and the release of spiritual quest.
Stop and appreciate how magnificent you are, just as you are.
I can assure you that the non-physical you, whether you call it your spirit, your soul, your higher-self, or your wider-self, is looking at you now — the physical you — as indistinguishable from any ideal.
From the perspective of your spirit you are ideal — just as you are (which includes how you are changing).
connect with the perspective of your spirit to see how beautiful the choice to be you is. How can I say this with such confidence? Because you — the embodied you — is what your spirit is choosing. Your spirit is free. You are free. You are choosing you — right now — every element of your life, from the basis of this freedom. And, while it could be said that you may not like some of those elements, to see why you are choosing them is to see how they are the most beautiful signposts on your journey. No obstacle is a mistake.
Sometimes you will create obstacles in front of you that may cause you difficulty because the downstream flow is in a different direction. This is how there are no true obstacles, this is why nothing is external is blocking you, because you are the one creating all the obstacles that you push against.
As you come to follow the compass of your heart, you will no longer need to create obstacles. The only reason your spirit ever puts obstacles in front of you, is because you are not listening to your heart. As soon as you begin to live spontaneously from your heart, your spirit will no longer need to guide you in this external way unless it is for the joy and excitement of the unexpected.
The flow of freedom within is mirrored in your experience of the external world. This is when the opportunities — the synchronicities — fall into your lap. You do not even have to go looking for them because you are in contact with your heart. You are within the eternal moment of feeling — without trying to control it — because you do not feel the need to control it, because you know it is only ever showing you yourself. It is you. It is the choice of your spirit to be you and that is a perfect choice.
There is a new you birthing. Many of you have an idea of this already. You have a feeling for it. But there is more. There are things you have not yet imagined. Allow that — allow the unknown. Allow the “yet to be”. allow space for it. Feel the space that arises from the release of control.
You are the ideal you in every moment. You need no ideology, knowledge, or construction. No control is required. Reality is the greatest teacher — see it clearly by not seeking to control how you perceive it or how others perceive you. Know that reality will always offer the answer even when you do not know the question. Trust your self from which reality flows.
“Go forward with confidence in your self and be.”
Be new. Be spontaneous. Be outrageous. Be free. Be uncontrolled.