A friend of mine and I were discussing ‘poverty’ today and it got me thinking about things, thinking about my journey through ‘poverty’ which has led to me being more wealthy than any other moment in my life and then about the fear that goes with these ‘bad’ times. I did some thinking through a recent experience and these were the results of that thought process. I should note that the following is accompanied by a presumption that the reader has achieved a certain level of egoic detachment/objectivity.
The key is realizing that everything is great right now, as perfect as it can possibly be, instead of pining for a day that may never come when things will get ‘better'(ie: things will be better in the summer, or tomorrow, or next month). I was thinking about this while laid up in bed, that the ‘worse’ the situation is usually the more rare it is which means that those feelings and emotions we go through during the situation are equally as rare. I believe that every new emotion or new level of emotion we feel within ourselves sheds some more light on who we are and our understanding of who we are, if it doesn’t it is a sure sign that our ego’s still have too tight of a grasp to allow us to see beyond our fears. So assuming that isn’t the case and one is relatively introspective it stands to reason that these incredibly rare emotions that accompany these incredibly rare events present us with the an equally rare opportunity of looking at areas of our life normally left unexamined. Areas of ourselves which normally sit dormant in the regular ho-hum of everyday life, collecting dust in a corner, their exist unknown. Much like doing something new in the gym and feeling the pain of a muscle you never knew you had for the first time, this is the same with our emotions. We are experiencing an emotion or an emotional depth for the first time but unlike the safe controlled environment of the gym it is usually an uncontrolled situation. A situation we did not willingly, or knowingly get ourselves into and us humans have evolved to instinctively see all new uncontrolled events as a very very bad thing. It is however a part of our programming that has played a significant role in keeping us alive. If something is new it’s potentially dangerous and uncontrollable so you can’t safely predict the outcome and plan for it, meaning it ‘could’ be doubly dangerous. As cavemen it was certainly in our best interest to steer clear of such situations and this is the “negative” emotions we feel inside of us, evolved to make it as clear as possible which situations were meant to be avoided. It works the same way as the mechanism that tells us how close we can get to a fire before burning ourselves, our body makes the experience more and more uncomfortable the closer we get so that subconscious we avoid getting too close to the fire. Same exact mechanism in us, coupled with our innate fear of the unknown and the unpredictable but instead of being only applied to life threatening situations as it was meant for, it’s more of an overarching rule that our inner-chimp applies to anything and everything (better safe than sorry).
So in new ‘negative’ situations we get ourselves into our bodies making the experience, be it poverty or heart-break, so uncomfortable that not only will we subconsciously act to alleviate this discomfort by getting out of the situation as quickly as possible, but the emotional severity of the discomfort will create what I call an ‘emotional anchor’. Which is when the mind strongly achor’s specific emotions as well as their intensities to events in our life so that recalling the memories or experiencing similar situations also recalls the emotions bringing back that same discomfort(or pleasure), steering our path. It’s like a constant positive or negative re-enforcement feedback loop that incentivizes all of our present and future behaviors in order to seek or avoid similar situations we have had in the past which have emotional anchors attached to them. This is in essence the the core of the ego.
The key is realizing that we aren’t in the kind of danger that these mechanisms and instincts were evolved to protect us from. More importantly, to realize that the greatest achievements and happenings in life will always arise out of uncontrollable and unknown situations. If we are able to follow our inner-truth through those situations we will always emerge from them in the best possible shape, remaining open to wondrous opportunities the represent without the need to go through any of the horrible stresses or fears that our inner-chimp flings at us like a monkey hurling poop through the bars of his cage.
“a place removed from ego which is just a fancy way of saying a place without fear.”
A big part of this comes out of surrendering to what you think is the ‘best’ possible outcome, normally attaching some financial or egoic condition for victory to it. In fact being in a state of acceptance, of flow with the reality of how things are, will likely make you more open to those opportunities that lie just underneath that tumultuous surface. For me personally in life, the greatest, most mind-blowing changes and miracles have always, without exception, happened in seemingly unpredictable and unknown situations, some of which ‘seemed’ quite negative from a traditional western perspective. It’s embracing that unknown, those foreign situations, even if that situation is being broke out of your mind, even if it is living on the street, even if it is being alone, as long as you are experiencing it from a place of truth, a place removed from ego which is just a fancy way of saying a place without fear.
Remember what I am talking about isn’t ‘surrendering to your fate’ as some people would call it, it is not an excuse to give up. Because what is ‘giving up’ besides simply succumbing to the fear that you will always fail? It is removing that fear from the equation and believe you me without that fear no one ever gives up. Why would they if the thought of accomplishing what they set out to was a 100% possibility in their mind, the only possibility in their mind? Yet at the same time being open to the fact that what they may accomplish and what they set out to accomplish may be two completely different things. Because once you detach yourself from those emotional anchors of the past there is no longer anything pushing you towards any future goals, which in reality is only the ego’s attempt to recreate situations or experiences resembling those of the past which you have a positive emotional anchor attached to while making sure you steer clear of those with a negative emotional anchor. Without those you are free to flow in a path of greatness, true greatness, not the illusory greatness conjured in our limited imaginations but greatness so great that it is beyond what we can imagine, a greatness that is waiting for us in the magnificent darkness of the unknown.