The Core of My Influence

by Christopher Lovejoy on May 24, 2021

The notion of a core is a natural one.

At the core of our Sun, nuclear fusion causes lighter elements, like hydrogen and helium, to fuse to make larger elements with temperatures of ~15 million degrees C, with a core density that is 10 times denser than gold or lead, and with pressures that exceed the atmospheric pressure on the surface of Earth by a factor of 340 billion. It goes without saying that the inner core of our Sun is influential.

Very influential, as in very effective and very powerful.

Beyond physics and chemistry, in the realm of biology, the apple has a core, too. When you slice one in half, you can marvel at the structure, at the ways in which the seeds are sequestered for later use. The core of the apple has spawned such expressions as “the worm at the core” and “rotten to the core.” The apple core is vulnerable in a way that the solar core is not, and yet, the widespread influence of an apple core cannot be disputed, as it serves both its reproduction and perpetuation.

Besides, apples can be quite delicious and nutritious, giving us such metaphors as “apple of my eye.”

So what do solar cores and apples cores have to teach us about influence?

For one, both of these remarkable cores are hidden, concealed by demonstrations or manifestations that speak to their respective influences from within. Here, we can think of the expression “as within, so without,” which means that “the presentation is a projection of the potentiation.”

As within, so without.

For two, both of these remarkable cores serve Life effectively and powerfully in ways and by means that are natural, normal, and healthy. One need not assume “a designer with a purpose” to realize just how vital these cores are to producing and preserving Life in its many forms.

For three, these remarkable cores replicate with astonishing ease.

Do you have a core?

When I think of having a core, I immediately think of my GIT (my gastrointestinal tract).

With a GIT, I consume, digest, and eliminate. By way of analogy, when you read (this post), you consume (content), digest (the meaning), and eliminate (what does not ring true for you). The core of this consumption, digestion, and elimination is conceptual, and therefore invisible.

But is it accessible?

More to the point, can it be made accessible?

I Am the Apple of My Eye

If I were to say to you, “you’re the apple of my eye,” this would be quite an admission on my part. I’d be saying that “I love, adore, admire, and cherish you above all others.” Embarrassing, considering that I don’t even know you. But then, on One level, “I am you and you are me.”

In view of, and in light of, this One level, I invite you to consume and digest this heartfelt affirmation wholly and fully: “I embody and express a pure love of self with grace and ease, and because I do, I can love, adore, admire, and cherish you as much as anyone else, including me.”

Can you not hear this shout of protest ringing out all around the world: “you’re asking for too much!”

Am I though?

Why not cut to the chase? Why not cut to the core?

The core of what? The core of influence.

I confess, I’m writing these words for myself, first and foremost, and I’m aware that these words will influence those who read them, perhaps a little, or maybe even a lot. In accessing the core of my influence, I’m inviting you, the reader, to do likewise with your own core of influence.

In serving myself, I remain open to serving another.

As a noun, influence speaks to the capacity to affect the character, development, or behavior of someone or something. As a verb, influence speaks to the reality of affecting someone or something in a way that remains indirect, yet relevant and significant to the one being affected.

Influence is a softer proposition than control. Where control is direct, influence is indirect.

Influence can be negative or positive, and it can either seduce or produce, manipulate or appreciate; it all depends on the intent of the one who influences, as well as the susceptibility of the one being influenced. Widespread influence becomes, and remains, positive only to the extent to which the intent remains, not only effective and productive, but also supportive, protective, and/or responsive.

A shadow of influence can only grow in the one who influences when the intent wanes in its positivity and/or productivity ~ when responsibility, curiosity, and transparency buckle under the pressure of “too much, too soon,” blurring the inner boundary between influence and control.

Have you ever taken responsibility for a negative event when there was no basis in reality for doing so? Have you ever concluded (arbitrarily) that what happened was your fault? Or reflected your inadequacy? Even if you weren’t responsible for it? Have you ever felt guilty and then jumped to the conclusion that you were guilty? How much of this guilt is now being suppressed or repressed in your daily life?

How much of this guilt is now concealing the core of your influence?

Are you sensing, at least a little, that you’re bearing a load of guilt, one that is causing you to suffer from a paralyzing and burdensome sense of responsibility that compels you to carry the entire world on your shoulders? How relaxed are your shoulders now? Your neck? Your face?

Yes, do relax, and yes, do realize that it is not your responsibility to control others, least of all yourself. Influence, yes, but control? No. Your role in life will influence those with whom you come into contact, but no one can reasonably expect anyone else to exert control over another.

Admissions made without awareness, however, are tricky.

Consider: “I feel responsible, therefore I am responsible.”

No, stop right there.

A feeling is a not a fact. Ask yourself: “am I in fact responsible? Or, is my feeling generating and perpetuating a powerful illusion of truth? Truth be told, your feeling does not count ~ except! as an indicator of your underlying thought, assumption, presumption, bias, and/or prejudice.

Ideally, your cognition is clear and clean, producing emotion that is clear and clean, but . . . if what you see and hear does not make much sense, then the emotion that is produced by your cognition isn’t going to make that much sense, even if it feels valid, realistic, and/or legitimate.

Yes, your capacity to feel can be a powerful, influential source of black magic.

What I mean by this is that the more I treat feelings as facts, the more magical, powerful, and influential my feelings will seem to be to me. The temptation to justify my feelings as facts will keep building up to a point and a place where I begin believing everything my feelings tell me.

Not a good place to be, to put it mildly.

If these feelings are predominantly negative, a negative view of myself and the world approaches inevitability, but even if these feelings happen to be predominantly positive, a selective (blinkered? manic? polyannish?) view of myself and the world also approaches a certain inevitability.

Negative or positive, feelings can imprison as much as they enslave.

Is There No Hope? Is There No Help?

Emotional reasoning (treating feelings as facts) is but one of many cognitive distortions that plague many if not most members of humanity in this world, and perusing and pondering a credible, capable survey of such distortions is a sad and sobering reminder of humanity’s plight.

But again, a feeling is not a fact, and so let’s do a quick translation, as follows . . .

it seems real because it feels real > it is real because I know it’s real

If my view of the human condition feels hopeless, this does not mean that the human condition is hopeless. If I myself feel helpless in the face of the forementioned survey, this does not mean that I am helpless in the face of it. Unenlightened, disempowered feelings can be questioned.

And disputed, quickly and easily, alongside the joy of fostering feelings that enlighten and empower.

Thoughts generate and perpetuate feelings; by themselves, feelings cannot prove that thoughts are accurate. A feeling, negative or positive, just indicates that someone has swallowed a belief in a negative or positive thought. Which thought? And why that thought and not another?

I feel, therefore I am > I am, I know, therefore I feel

Feelings do not represent ultimate truth. Becoming aware of feelings so as to express them as they were self-evident serves no one. Feelings are more like propositions that can be consumed and digested for their nutrition, but they do not ~ cannot ~ represent truth beyond question.

In the absence of knowing, all feelings are questionable.

Cores of Influence Migrate Between Spheres of Concern

In my mind, I have a core of influence that migrates between various spheres of concern, where knowing comes first, and feeling comes second. Ideally, a core of influence is as credible as it is capable so that, within any given sphere of concern, it can remain as careful as it is caring.

Caring and careful, capable and credible.

Earlier in this post, I compared solar cores and apples cores. Let’s now draw on their similarities as lessons: (1) both are hidden: “as within, so without,” where “the presentation is a projection of the potentiation;” (2) they both serve Life, effectively and powerfully, in ways and by means that are natural, normal, and healthy; and (3) as a result, both of them can replicate with astonishing ease.

I wonder: how does my core of influence dovetail with these lessons?

Lesson 1: my core of influence remains hidden from view, and is absolutely, positively central to who and what I am, but only to the degree to which I do not confuse and conflate this core of influence with the image that I project with and from and through the potential that I protect.

Lesson 2: the core of my influence serves Life, effectively and powerfully, but only to the degree to which it does so in ways and by means that remain natural and normal, healthy and vital, positive and productive, supportive and protective, i.e., fully inclusive, yet wholly responsive.

Lesson 3: my core of influence can replicate with astonishing ease, with a mastery of lessons 1 and 2.

And this mastery begins with a choice.

The Look and Feel of Mastery

Like solar cores and apple cores, my core of influence can rely on innate capacities to grow and flourish. Unlike solar cores and apple cores, which demonstrate and replicate spontaneously, seamlessly, and effortlessly, my core of influence does not, indeed can not, by virtue of its capacity to choose, do the same without adequate thought given to the ways in which it chooses to project and present.

At the core of my influence, in whatever sphere of influence it happens to reside, I have a particular potential to support and protect. Ideally, in the presentation of my potential as projection, I remain ever supportive and protective, positive and productive, inclusive and responsive.

My work space, for example, is organized just so.

My laptop is centrally located, the mainstay of my productivity. To my immediate right is my paperwhite Kindle, which I consult on numerous occasions throughout the morning if, as, when I feel called to consume and digest all manner of relevant and significant information.

Not far from my Kindle is a magnifier, which I use to magnify tiny print in charts and diagrams. Somewhat further away is my smart device, which I use in between work sessions on my laptop to watch videos relevant to my current studies in psychology, ethics, and spirituality.

I am very protective of my space and my routine, as well as the arrangement of my tools and devices, because I know that everything is “just so,” in that I can remain positive and productive throughout the early morning (sometimes as early as 4 am) until lunchtime comes calling.

Did I choose this arrangement or did this arrangement choose me?

This is a fair question.

I was initially compelled to apply my influence to clear and claim this space for myself, with some resistance from someone who likes to get my attention with notes. With enough patience, diligence, and persistence, the core of my influence burned its way to a sense of completion.

Was the completion only a compulsion?

In the presentation of my potential as projection, I remained supportive of my claim and protective of my space; positive about what this claim to space could do for me; productive with the manner in which I arranged my space for my routine; inclusive of the tools and devices that I required to make the most of my space and routine; all the while responsive to the presentation of my potential as projection.

I Am the Eye of My Apple

In essence, the metaphor, “the apple of my eye,” refers to a person, object, substance, or resource of great value ~ not to be wasted or treated carelessly. As applied to “me, myself, and I,” the apple of my eye is “the core of my influence,” which provides for these three aspects:

  1. a potential
  2. a projection; and
  3. a presentation

Together, they generate a sphere of concern, as a matter of interest or importance, with more or less influence. In flipping the metaphor from “the apple of my eye” to “the eye of my apple,” the eye becomes the Witness to the apple and the apple itself becomes the sphere of concern.

In view of these definitions and distinctions, it might seem rather “selfish” (and therefore be a perpetual source of suffering) to hold myself, the core of my influence, as the apple of my eye, and yet, I would argue that many if not most of us do this anyway, often without realizing it.

Even those (especially those) who appear (rather naively) to have renounced their egos.

As I write (project and present) these words, I am what you might call “winging it,” improvising as I go with the flow of inspiration, feeling my way through, “going and growing with the knowing and flowing.” The relevant potential remains hidden, even from “me, myself, and I.”

Admittedly, in the grand scheme of things, this is a rather tiny sphere of concern, but I wanted to mention it as an example to illustrate how potential, projection, and presentation find (and follow) expression, especially in a manner that remains ever spontaneous and effortless.

The main sphere of concern, as a matter of great interest and importance, for anyone who can still care enough about it, is one that applies to what I call “the whole self,” explicable and expressible as “I have a potential to protect, which, when projected, results in a presentation.”

That is, a presentation with a vibration that attracts other presentations with similar vibrations.

Obviously, as and when I feel safe (physically and psychologically, situationally and relationally), I have no compulsion to protect potential, no compulsion to withhold projection, and therefore no compulsion to appear apathetic or indifferent; presentations flow with ease with and from and through and by whatever ways and means are possible, available, and accessible to the core of my influence.

One person’s claim to safety, however, is another person’s claim to danger. In any given interaction or situation, I might not know what I need to know to feel safe; you might not know what you need to know to feel safe. Moreover, who is to say what feels safe? Be safe, feel safe?

If I know I am safe, then how can I not feel safe? To wit: I am, I know, I feel . . . safe.

But then, is it not true that we live in a world where its most able human inhabitants have not given adequate thought to ensure that everyone is safe? Is it not true that we live in a world where its human inhabitants have not given adequate thought to ensure that everyone feels safe?

This sphere of concern, of course, is massive, being global in scope, and perhaps presumptuous for being so massive; it does, however, serve to place matters of concern on Earth (like safety) into perspective, with a gravity of concern that lends greater meaning to such questions as . . .

Are you safe enough, and do you feel safe enough, to fulfill your true potential?

Is this a safe world for you, where you feel you can fulfill your true potential?

show me that the good life does not consist in its length,
but in its use, and that it is possible ~ no, entirely too common ~
for a person who has had a long life to have lived too little

Seneca, Moral Letters, 49.10b

Or are you just getting by, the best way you know how?

One objection to this line of questioning is that “if you’re already in service to “the love of one and all,” including yourself, why bother with issues of safety and protection? Why not just trust that you already have it within you, at any given moment, and with any one at all, to be competently and appropriately supportive and responsive without having to be (and feel) safe and protective?”

Furthermore . . .

how easy would it be to embody a pure love of self, with grace and ease,
while extending the purity of this love, at any moment, to anyone at all?

The most valid moral response in the world might be to exclaim “this is impossible!,” but let me be clear that I’m not asking that you forever extend the purity of this love to anyone at all. In view of this disclaimer, how much of a sacrifice, if any, would the embodiment require?

Into the Heart of Compassionate Wisdom

I have heard it said that millions of years of spiritual evolution and ascension are required before one can reach a point and a place where a pure love of self can be embodied and expressed with grace and ease, while extending the purity of this love, at any moment, to anyone at all.

I have also had the pleasure and privilege of meeting and greeting those who do not merely appear to embody this purity of love for self, but who do embody this purity of love for self, and I realized that the purity of this love can be extended with grace and ease in one of two ways:

  1. as a pure love of self in service to self; or
  2. as a pure love of self in service to others

As an example of the first, imagine being someone for whom money is no object, for whom money can be spent freely and easily, and for whom service is, first and foremost, service to self, for the love of self, while genuine acts of service, in service to others, are mere afterthoughts.

By contrast, imagine being someone for whom time is timelessness, for whom the timelessness of time can be spent freely and easily, and for whom service is, first and foremost, service to others, for the love of others, while acts of service in service to self are mere afterthoughts.

Here, we obviously have two very different orientations to service.

Now imagine how polarizing these orientations would be for these two individuals if they were to spend some time and money together. Would they not feel a constant push and pull to be (or become) someone they are not? Would they not feel compelled to go their separate ways?

Or, would they have a most interesting story to tell of their time and money spent together?

Everyone is polarizing or depolarizing (or has polarized or depolarized) in one of two ways, which begs these questions: (1) what is a pure love of self?; (2) what does it mean to embody a pure love of self?; (3) what does it mean to embody a pure love of self with grace and ease?; and (4) what does it mean to extend the purity of this love, in any given moment, to anyone at all?


bonus question

in view of the questions above, what could it possibly mean
to approach a realization of the ultimate in personal fulfillment?

Here, again, is the catalyzing question that I introduced earlier:

how easy would it be to embody a pure love of self, with grace and ease,
while extending the purity of this love, at any moment, to anyone at all?

In light of choice of service orientation, how do you interpret this question now?

And how would you address this question with the facts and details of your life?

/

are you more generous with yourself and your conduct
or are you more generous in your conduct with others?

~ yours

/

postscript

I can hardly wait to address these questions, and more, in posts to come!

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