Optimize to Actualize: 5

by Christopher Lovejoy on April 23, 2017

clear a space for safety, warm and calm:
give your presence as a sacred service,
knowing just enough to love what you do,
even as you remain alive to who you are

the power of de is not so much to attract
as it is to relax into sharing the presence;
as or when you cross paths with another,
you can do so without animosity aroused

begin with humility and end with humility,
for humility brings a clarity to the heart;
humility keeps open the mind to forgiving,
open to a forgiving and forgetting heart

with an open mind and a forgiving heart,
how can I not bear beasts and bullies both?
with everyone serving me up with wisdom,
how can I not see humility as a guide to life?

In this post, I can not and will not presume to speak for you or anyone else; I can, however, and I will, speak for myself on behalf of myself for the sake of myself, but not before I speak to Self and Other.

Many categories, distinctions, and definitions come under consideration in the depths of that profound relation known as Self and Other. The Other is a complex amalgam, and can ultimately only be resolved in three ways, as (a) another, (b) others, and (c) a world perceived.

The Self that I perceive is solitary – indeed, it can only ever be solitary. Sincerely and honestly, I can only ever presume that you, the reader, share this perception for yourself on behalf of yourself for the sake of yourself, which is, again, that “the Self that I perceive is solitary.”

Furthermore, I can only ever presume to know that those who share my life in any way also share this perception that “the Self that I perceive is solitary.” Stripping this word naked, I can see that “solitary” merely implies that “I am alone”, and in no way implies that “I am lonely”.

I am alone with my perceptions of this world, which means I can only ever be alone with (a) perceptions that arise from that profound relation known as Self and Other and (b) the meanings I give to these perceptions to fathom the depths of that relation known as Self and Other.

In the ultimate analysis, I am on my own; I am alone – blissfully alone on the best of days.

More provocatively, I am all one, but only if and when I persist and persevere, playfully and parentally, in seeking and finding and keeping my balance in a world designed exquisitely to keep me off balance, which I respectfully recognize as being integral to learning and growing.

More provocatively still, if I give up seeking and finding and keeping my balance, do I not then put the Self at the mercy of the Other? And if I insist on following one and only one way to seek and find and keep the balance, do I not then put the Self at the mercy of the Other?

These rhetorical questions point to three basic genuine needs: control, approval, security.

To wit, I need the Self to be in control of what it says and does in relation to the Other; I need the Self to know that it can give and receive, welcome and enjoy, the acceptance, approval, and affection of others; in sum, I need the Self to feel secure in relation to the Other.

Even as I surrender control to the moment, I assume control of my surrender.

The ultimate challenge in this life arises when needing slips into wanting, with or without awareness that the slipping has even occurred, and because wanting implies lacking, wanting begets ever more lacking, even as wanting remains at risk of being conflated with needing.

This complicated challenge presents me with an opportunity to manage and master that relation known as Self and Other, which is tantamount to finding an elegant (neat, simple, effective) resolution to the challenge of living and loving a deeply satisfying and wholly fulfilling life.

This opportunity must begin with a difficult proposition, a proposition that fundamentally challenges how I perceive and interpret that relation known as Self and Other: in essence, I must expose those needs that compel me, whose taproots are control, approval, and security.

I must expose those needs that drive me to think and feel and act against my will.

I must expose those needs that drive me to think they serve me, when they don’t.

Warmly and kindly, I hereby allow the Self to expose those needs that compel me to think and feel and act against my will, that compel me to think that they serve me, when they don’t, so as to be wholly present to, and at choice with, whatever I think and feel, say and do.

In the manner of a warm, kind, wise parent, I allow myself to be myself for myself.

This allowance entails an exposure to my illusions and inhibitions, to my vulnerabilities and insecurities; moreover, this allowance entails an exposure to feelings of disorientation and humiliation, with a willingness to feel disoriented or humiliated in the face of loss or lack.

Just how far can I go with this? Better yet, just how far am I willing to go with this?

Mundane clues to plumbing the depths for those needs that compel me include my daily routine (how fixed? how flexible? how satisfying?); what others have said about me, what others are saying about me, what others could be saying about me, with or without the use of words (am I bothered? do they even have a chance to say anything?); and my sense of security (how do I feel about it? not secure? why?).

Genuine needs include: being ready, willing, and able to monitor, manage, and manifest desired outcomes for the Self in relation to the Other; giving due consideration to the needs and feelings of others; and sustaining a robust sense of security in the face of uncertainty.

These needs, being genuine, are mutually reinforcing in their effects, in an upward spiral of realization.

As a child, I could not help but depend on my parents, to let them monitor, manage, and manifest outcomes for me, to let them be responsible for my health and safety, for my welfare and well-being, and when they produced results not to my liking or when I produced results not to their liking, I expressed displeasure, while risking, if not their acceptance of me, then their approval of me, if not their affection for me. As I grew in the ability to bring about desired results for myself and others, and as I grew in my ability to assume control of my environments, I grew also in how ready, willing, and able I was to hold myself back or push beyond my comfort zones. The inevitable conflicts in my learning were many and various in the growing years, and my solutions to these conflicts were not always ideal, being the source of more and different conflicts. Today, I have my share of vulnerabilities and insecurities, concealed by my inhibitions and covered over by my illusions. Just how willing and able am I to expose these illusions to move through my inhibitions to make peace with my vulnerabilities and release my insecurities?

And do so with dignity, with authenticity, sincerity, honesty, and integrity at my beck and call?

Dignity, first and foremost, as dignity is the core of gravitas, my center of gravity, which I must place within myself if I am to satisfy my basic genuine needs in support of fulfilling my most authentic desires, sincerely and honestly, with integrity, in the realization of sovereignty.

In this instructive light, I frighten myself by how easy it is for me to live inside a safe, warm, clear space created by my imagination, to make believe that I can live inside a bubble of reality, unassailably, so as to bypass the acceptance, approval, affection, and admiration of others. The completion thereby generated is a fixed creation, with little or no room for growth into the best version of myself as tested by reality.

This scenario is all the more startling when I view it in light of my need for independence, to distance myself from others and to keep myself separate from others with this need to be autonomous, to rely ultimately and solely on myself so as to be comfortably sufficient in myself for myself by any and all means necessary to preserve and renew the bubble within with all manner of cognitive, emotive, and imaginative play. These masterful yet miserly illusions are so delicious to me that they invariably inhibit me from moving beyond the comfort zone that they create for me. Why move beyond this comfort zone when I can find attention, affection, and admiration for the digital me, myself, and I? Why mix and mingle in the world beyond when I can just as easily enjoy a sense of expansion inside a Self in relation to the Other while remaining inside the comfort zone?

I concern myself as and when I realize just how comfortable I am, how much in control I feel, how good I feel about myself when I make believe that others are sharing this safe space with me, and how safe and secure I feel when I remain snug as a bug inside my bubble of reality.

The need to achieve and realize myself ambitiously, to be the very best I can be, seems more than satisfied through the activities of thinking and reading, of writing and posting the words you now see on this screen. What need have I to be recognized socially and politically for these solitary activities when I have already validated and convinced myself that I am speaking my truth to power with true love in my heart?

Besides, this world in which I live and love, albeit in a solitary confinement, is most fortunate that I have no need to dominate or exploit others, and by hook and crook, get the better of them. Admittedly, when I do go beyond my comfort zone, stepping into a world of souls driven by need with little or no awareness of the needs by which they are controlled, I have a consoling access to reason with foresight.

Curiously I have no need to maintain any belief in the omnipotence of the will to power.

Fortunately for me, I realize myself to be at a fork in the road, in this journey called life. Wait, let me rephrase: I realize myself to be forever at a fork in this road, along this journey called life.

I feel forever at risk of finding myself in a space from which I cannot escape, at risk of having to keep finding and using ad hoc strategies to buffer my sensitivities to the obligating, deceiving, seducing, conniving, manipulating, exploiting, domineering strategies, energies, and neuroses of others, by turns subtle and obvious, to navigate my way around and through ignorance and arrogance both.

Obligating, deceiving, seducing, conniving, manipulating, exploiting, domineering are words that point to desperate or cowardly conduct unbecoming of the human heart at its best: could these words not become sources of learning and growth for me, sources of wonder and fascination for me?

I remain forever at risk of losing the bubble and the sense of security that goes with it – not yet, mind you, but at any moment. For all I know, It could be today, it could be tomorrow, it could be next year, it could be when the world as we know it comes to an end, it could be near the end of my life, whenever that might be. In writing this, I realize (with a smile) that I am called – ’tis not a matter of do or die, sink or swim.

In a world dominated by dots and digits, what might I do to reform the way I satisfy my need for interdependence, to affirm the ways in which I negotiate the play of comfortably seeking and gaining acceptance and approval, while securely giving and receiving attention and affection?

I have a strong, persistent feeling that I am not the only one asking these questions.

Ah, to enjoy freedom, spontaneity, and meaning without illusion and inhibition in a world full of both … but here, I stop myself: how is it that this world can be full of illusion and inhibition if it were not for my own peculiar capacity to fill myself up with illusions and inhibitions?

‘Tis a strange yet oddly satisfying way to full fill myself.

And so I wonder: can I continue to indulge myself and still be a warm, wise parent to myself?

To share information and inspiration on what is happening on this troubled yet promising world, I drew up two lists of sites that are serving the causes of personal, global and/or cosmic awakening.

This post has been filed under Context in the Ultimate Outline.

Note: my evolving outline on approaching a realization of the ultimate in personal fulfillment can be found here, accessible from the nav menu under the page “Be Here Now”.

Note: this ever growing perspective began here: Ultimate Perspective

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