Every moment of every day we’re making choices. Christ. I can’t believe I just opened with that. Sorry. But it’s important to say it so I can take it further: we are making choices not only on which burger to have for lunch, but how our reality takes shape. Moment to moment. Do I buy into “the world is a terrifying, lonely place” and so that guy sitting on the street corner is a threat; or “love is all you need”, such that he is just another beautiful soul (complete with endearing quirks and imperfections), open to a chat and a few shared fries? What we believe shapes our reality. This precedes and provides the space and framework for physics and science and the manifest realm. The more of us that believe a thing, the more that thing enters our shared reality.
I have had a concept floating around in my mind for almost 10 years. It’s called “Positive Intent” (+i) and its like gofundme but once a cause is posted, instead of money, people offer positive intention to the outcome of the cause through prayer, meditation, good vibes, whatever. It tracks the contributions in units of, perhaps, time, and also reports the status of the cause over time. My argument (and belief) is if we got, say, a million people sending one positive minute of “John’s cancer is healed”, then Johnnyboy would be healed. Perhaps not instantaneously (though there are numerous reports of spontaneous healing), but in a way where John’s environment and circumstances would shift to allow the healing to take place. Don’t get me started but ultimately I believe John’s cancer is an expression of an internal conflict anyway – and so is his responsibility to heal himself (check out Dr David R. Hawkins’s work on this) – but with that much positive intention heading his way, he may just make the mental leap required to do it. It’s kind of like crowd-funding enlightenment. I’ll get back to building it one of these days and use it as a platform to prove or disprove these theories.
The Dark Side
Outcomes are assured by the nature and scope of the choice-intention. If you clear your decks and make positive choices from a place of love, the outcome will be an increase in love and positivity. If you are in crisis and make a choice based on fear (it all comes back to fear, the spectrum not going from love to hate, but rather love to fear), then the outcome will reinforce and culminate that fear. Ok, less abstract, more examples:
- My sister took a job a long way from home in a poor area out of desperation because she was in a negative, beaten-down mindset. The place she was working was negative and beaten down, at least for her (who can say how it was for everyone else? There are as many realities as there are conscious witnesses).
- I hit exhaustion-unbalanced-suffocation crisis with my ex wife and, in desperation, called her family to come and help. In hindsight it was the death knell for our relationship. Not only had I proved that I “couldn’t support her in sickness and in health” (validated her dysfunctional narrative), but I brought in the most deeply dysfunctional pit crew you could imagine. I am only just starting to get glimpses of how deep and creepy their shit is.
The Good News
Citing Hawkins again, the power of a loving thought is many orders of magnitude greater than that of a negative thought. He reckons one truly loving thought per day undoes the rest of the day’s negative thoughts. My personal experience with this is that it is best to simply ride the convulsions of negative overwhelm in a crisis. These convulsions are shit. My current circumstances are horrible (it’s all relative, I appreciate my situation is absolutely nothing next to the horror stories you hear as soon as you mention to anyone who has been through it “I am getting a divorce”), yet I have found that by riding the convulsions and practicing letting go (accept the emotion, let it express without trying to influence, stop or change it in any way, shift your focus to something else once it has expressed), and NOT ACTING on the emotions present in the overwhelm, they fairly rapidly pass. Until the next wave.
Perhaps they’re more like contractions than convulsions and during these highly emotional events like divorce, we’re birthing something. A new psyche, perhaps. More mature, more loving, if we catalyse the pain to fuel our growth. Or maybe they actually are convulsions and we’re spewing back up the accumulated darkness we have suppressed and stored to get to the long dark night of the soul we are suffering through. In any event, riding out the waves without allowing them to overtake us or hiding from them and then, as soon as we’re able, to begin offering loving thoughts again (the universe provides constant opportunities to fall back in love with life), allows a “stepping up”. I don’t know how else to describe it, but the pain lessens, joy returns, energy is reclaimed, peace is approximated or gained, and you’re able to face the next convulsion with greater ease, grace and skill. Note that this is vastly different to suppression or “faking it til you make it”.
Less abstract, more examples:
- About 8 years ago, I was at the point of financial collapse. I had a bucketload of money walking out the door each month, and at this particular point in time I had about a week left before I had to pay next month’s bills, no money in my bank account, no work in my pipeline and nothing invoiced and awaiting payment. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to work, I had simply hit the doldrums. Without being conscious of the process I described above, I sat with it all for a minute, accepted that I was in this position (as in I saw that I was truly screwed, and had no idea how to get out of it); let the feeling be there; then said “you know what? Fuck it. It has always worked out, it will be fine”. The next day I got a call from my old boss whom I hadn’t talked to in years, with a wicked project that paid good money. I have not had any money problems or real fear about money since.
- Damien Rice, the singer, said something similar at a gig once. He struggled constantly with writing songs until he finally surrendered it, then he never worried about it again and never struggled again.
The Bad News: Unconscious Octopus Brain
Ok so why doesn’t this good intention choice stuff work for all of us all the time? We’re setting intentions all over the place and sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. I believe this is for two reasons:
- We have a number of parallel mental substates each with their own agenda and intention, all are learned and retained in an effort to “keep us safe” and get our needs met. Many are self sabotaging, simply because of the tricksy nature of human social interaction and confirmation bias. These are the octopus tentacles (if an octopus had a lot of tentacles).
- Depending on how much shadow work/development/expression/consciousness work we have done, we are unconscious of most of these tentacles, most of the time.
The whole octopus represents our psyche/ego. So imagine one, or even several, tentacles have a great idea to manifest a new job through positive intention or even just good old fashioned hard work. Why is it such a long, arduous process? I argue it’s because we think we have the whole octopus convinced to jump in a particular direction, we gee it up, we rally support from all the tentacles, and then we say “jump on three!”. 1, 2, 3: we gather all our strength and roar into action! And don’t move. Or, often the case, perhaps we move the slightest bit toward our goal. What the fuck, octopus? If we’re very aware, we might see: most of the tentacles didn’t listen. They jumped in their own direction. Because they’re tricksy and have their own agenda and are not subject to conscious control. And we might see with disappointment that there were way more tentacles than we realised and we hadn’t rallied them to our cause (shadow/unconscious aspects).
Subsequently, we are all subject to our unconscious intent, which is divided. As I say to people all the time: what we don’t own (read: take responsibility for, bring into the light, make friends with, integrate, etc.), owns us. Whether you’re faintingly beautiful or Quasimodo, unless you own your appearance, make peace with it, it will own you. Beauty, if bought into, results in vanity, which simply exposes low self worth, an exploitable weakness. Ugliness, if bought into, also exposes diminished self worth. Either way if we believe we need to be something (other than the unfolding perfection that is our true and immutable nature) to receive the love we want and get our needs met, then we are compromised and susceptible to being used and abused. We all do this, all of the time, to a greater or lesser extent.
Bringing It On Home
When we’re in crisis it’s because events have unfolded that have tapped into our unconscious drives. We feel we are at the whim of fate and out of control. The hidden tentacles are thrashing about, vying for primacy. It is at these times our rational thinking is compromised but, due to our various cognitive biases, we cannot see it. We are in a fear state, fight or flight. Our focus narrows to what we believe will best assure survival. Back in the day this was a very effective way of dodging the real tiger in the bushes. Today life is far more complex and nuanced, we have social and legal contracts that have far-reaching consequences. We live longer and have to deal long-term with the psychology we establish through our thoughts, beliefs and actions.
So what to do? Unless there is a clear and present danger (abuse, for example), it seems best to sit with it. Downregulate. Do the necessary work to bring all those unconscious tentacles into consciousness – when in crisis they are the most visible they will ever be. Or do these things as best we can while making the moves necessary for survival. When considering a decision, bring as many perspectives of which we are capable to bear and aim for the highest good, while always (in and out of crisis) aiming to increase the perspectives we are able to apply. Honour relative truth: that everything for everyone is true, but partial. Most of the time in our society these crises do not necessitate bold, brash action. Be as certain as we can before jumping. And when we jump, do so with and from love, not fear.
Then, after we jump, know that this is when the crisis REALLY hits, because it is now that we are forced to process (expose and integrate) or suppress (obscure) the thrashing tentacles of the unconscious octopus brain. Hint: don’t suppress.
Unconscious shit in our heads owns us and sabotages our peace and happiness if we let it. During crisis is when it owns us most, but also when it is most exposed and able to be reintegrated. Take responsibility, do the work, and bring it into the light so that we can live more from love, and amplify the love in the world.