Loading...
Menu

My Human Condition

 

My Human Condition

By Charles Bear

Copyright © 2015 by Charles Bear. All rights reserved.

Shakespir Edition

No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author/publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other non-commercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the publisher, addressed “Attention: Permissions Coordinator,” at the email address listed below.

Disclaimer: The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for every situation. This work is sold with the understanding that the Author/Publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professional services. The Author/Publisher shall not be liable for damages arising here from.

Email: [email protected]

Cover Design: Pixodign

To my mother for all of her love,

To my father from whom I learned many of life’s more difficult and valuable lessons,

To my sister with whom I can share anything,

And to you, the reader, for wanting the most from yourself.

Table of Contents

Pain

Why Pain?

Discipline

Acceptance

Hard work

Patience

Persistence

Conviction

The Decision

Courage

Acting through Fear: An Objective Response

The Act Itself

After the Fact: A State of Adjustment

Creativity (Within a Theoretical Framework of the Mind)

The Three Components of the Human Mind

Creativity: An Overview

The Beginnings of a Habit

The Creative Process

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Control

Returning to Neutral

Beyond Neutrality

Mastery

1. Selection

2. Deconstruction

3. Instruction

4. Practice

5. Patience

6. Trust

7. Sacrifice

8. Joy

9. Rest

10. Creating Value

An Additional Note on Progression: Regression to the Mean

Love

1. Sexuality

2. The Mind in Love

3. The Spirituality of Love

4. The Effort of Love

What we Learn when we Learn to Love

Grace

Define Meaning

The Three Viennese Schools of Psychotherapy

Grace

Free-will

An Open Mind

A Perception Dependent Model of the Fundamental Components of the Physical Universe

The Limits of Measurement

Pre-determination and Human Uncertainty

The Observer Effect

Ultimate Truth and Probability

Spirituality

1. Creating Centre

2. Pathways to Presence

3. Presence in Sitting

4. Presence in Movement

Conscious Evolution

1. The Ecosystem

2. The Constituents of the Ecosystem

3. The Apex

4. Evolution of the Body/Mind

5. Evolution of the Spirit

Chapter 1

Pain

The road begins with ignorance. The path begins before you know it exists. Ignorance is where we all start – without exception. Ignorance is reprieve: it is not yet doubtful as it has nothing to doubt, it is not yet brash as it has nothing to fight for. The pains and the pleasures are unmeasured and futile. Disturbance is necessary; but only when nature deems you ready for admittance – to pull back the cloth, to unmask purposeful living and purposeful suffering. Pain is not without passion, not without dread or hope or care. It is fuelled and swelled and even compelled by these things. But it needs to be real: to a mind in sleep the clatter has to resonate, the ardour has to reverberate. You need a “why?” for where you are going.

So Nature, the Universe or God, in how ever many ways you want to understand this force of hypertrophy in life that compels you to swim against the tides and strengthens you to this end, will feel this pain with you and all the same as you. What I am saying is that, when you are ready, every one of us will be called to suffer, to struggle, and to hurt in this lifetime. You need this to bleed from you, your ignorance. It is not something to be manufactured artificially; it is something that comes to you when you do not know that you are waiting.

There are those who will choose, disdainfully, not to answer the call. There are even those who may never be ready for it; and it is not a process you need to, or probably will be aware of at the time. But this is cleansing, if arid. It is water to the seed; it is air in the lungs.

Pain, when it becomes real, will start with a question: “why is this happening to me?” When you can answer this, that is when you are awakened to a greater purpose. Pain can be angry: pain is the touch of all the failings you have ever known, the crimson tide, the visceral lows of life all imbued with a severe sort of apathy. It breaks all around you when it is there; the tide of pain only seems to wash out and away from you so that when it comes in again you will feel it all again, all at once, and with a re-invigorated immediacy. And it is coloured with ignorance so long as you do not see a purpose for it – a need for it. This is the pain of the soul awakening. This is the pain of emergence from the comfort of solace and, not misdirection – no direction at all.

This pain is necessary, at first this is all that you need to realise. This pain is purposeful and awash with the most real form of meaning that we may experience. It may seem cruel; it cannot be manufactured within our conscious processes from some desire to feel. It comes at you and not from you. We face it all in our own way, in our own time, and manifested in a shape that is real for us. Caustic as it may seem from your vantage point, from your step on the ladder, it is driven by some greater force that needs you to move forward.

You are not alone in life; you are called to hurt and awaken to a sombre and terrifying reality. Your successes are not yours alone and your failures are not yours alone – they are shared. Realise this and you will step lighter and feel deeper, with empathy for every living thing. This swelling, blooming potential – you will learn it. And this presence and magnitude of greatness that fills the deeds of many can be your greatness too. First accept pain as part of the package – as an artery of life that brings blood and power and virility to your deeds.

And then, when you have succumbed to feeling, you will come to realise a new meaning to this life of yours – an honest, uncompromising, and unfiltered reality – that you are here, and that means something. Life was given to you, breathed in to you so that you could give something back and not just toil away the vapid hours. Life is not just some lonely stretch of existence – it is purposeful and direct. Every moment you live is alive with meaning and you should take some meaning from it. Pain is the conduit and the lightening rod. And your soul will contract to the tone and note of this new understanding. You will begin to live as you are supposed to live.

In the long run, of course, you will learn that every step has a meaning: every footprint you leave behind in the pursuit of growth will leave its imprint and these ghosts of meaning – of journey and destination – may invariably be read by others and so point the way to a clarity and crystallisation of hope. Your purpose will give others purpose. Pain is pushing our evolution, is pushing the growth of the species. You are answering a primal call heard through pain, and through your action in moving out against this – this resistance of atrophy and fear – you will allow the echoes of your deeds to sound a realisation in others.

Pain is the call – the primordial screeching force. It is thunderous and dreadful at times, soft and numbing at times, and will eventually lead you to question yourself and your meaning. If you feel it deep enough – if it is resounding, if it penetrates to the marrow of your bones – it can ignite a change.

Then there will need to be a separation. It will always ignite passion but not always resolution; that is something you need to call out of yourself. Pain is something you dwell in: it does not take any effort on your part. It can shine a light on the darkest passages of your mind and the lightest. It can shame you into action but it will always, always take force of effort to step beyond your own apathy. This will need to come from you. Pain is the why, it is not the how. This is the point from which you begin the application of conscious, focused effort to overcome. This is where you address life from a new perspective: discipline.

Why Pain?

Before we move on, however, we must ask ourselves: Why pain? Why must change be instigated in this form? Well it is simply our self-consciousness, our laziness, and our self-obsession. We are born into an environment that naturally enforces ignorance. We are social animals and encouraged to reciprocate mediocrity and to follow the well worn trails of life. We become so deeply invested in our environments that we lose our individuality. Everything becomes this vast drive towards mass appeal. We are just the product. There is no goal, there is no point: you are not required to add anything but simply to breathe and meet these structural obligations. And for a time this is acceptable – it is natural. Eventually, however, we come to need something more.

It is the evolutionary drive, the re-purposing of intent that comes to us. We were lost to a mild sense of delusion, branded by the universal desire for sameness. But that is fading and you are coming into some other desire that you cannot comprehend. It is not measurable; it is an expression of need in the same way you need to eat and drink and love. But you continue to live in this way to which you are accustomed – giving nothing but simplicity. So a depression begins; you are vaguely aware of an ebbing purpose that sits clenched and impactful in your psyche, but you live to expectations. You are your conscious mind and the rigours of circumstance. Beyond the borders of circumstance, of expectation, you are pure, un-wilting apathy; and why not? This is the way we live, the way we have always lived. The pain of this – of self-enforced ignorance – will mount, will grow and spread like a living thing. It will be the cause of change. The further you push yourself into ignorance, when you are nearing the point at which you can strive for purpose, the more focal and eviscerating the depression.

This is cause and effect. There is something beneath your skin and bones, something ethereal that is not simply selfish wanting – that is never enough. There is something you cannot understand: the simple necessity for an emergence from ignorance; this is the cause. The effect is experience, a breaking point, something that will push you beyond apathy and into discipline. It is not that you caused this painful experience, it is that you became aware of it. You were able to take something from your pain; the way it fell, the passion and heat and terror of it, the seeming uselessness, the tragedy – whatever it is or was, whether it was slow or fast – will hit you intimately, will be focal, will force you to escape from the listless state.

And that is why there is pain – that is why there must be pain – because it causes you to wake up. There is this underlying evolutionary verve that grows in the subconscious mind – that is our gift; that is evolution. And then there is the feeble conscious mind. And it is so exposed to circumstance – it is so affable and malleable. It wants to rest, it wants to live unencumbered. It wants simple existence in the distended chambers of thought. So it disconnects itself from the subconscious to the extent which is possible. It mutes its capacity for elegance and dominance.

But as the pain of ignorance – the psychological depression – pushes itself further into your experience of life there comes that need for change. And the need always begins internally. We need to connect to a purpose beyond ourselves. The conscious mind has come to command its own existence. But you push into the subconscious; you seek to know the pain and understand it; you look inwardly and eventually you bridge the gap; the conscious mind becomes more controlled and can see into the powers and pains of the subconscious mind. We become entire and not separated – or at least we begin to do so. We see our purpose and start to re-order our lives. We start to feel and think and thrive in a way that is innately different. Everything that resides in the subconscious mind – all of the wonder and all of the distortion – is more accessible. And with the distortion you know that you are not running from it anymore and can begin to re-align – can make your peace. And the wonder is both the design of evolution and the means by which it is achieved.

All of this is change. The normal human mind is a machine of expectation. It has worked hard to form a blueprint: an active understanding of the world in which it lives. It can make small alterations, simple deviations that do not change the plot lines of life. But its fundamental understanding remains and is immobile. In many cases this is the transference of an ineffectual worldview that demeans progress because it is adapted to a situation to which it is no longer suited. You may cling to infantile structures of understanding that are delaying you. You may relate to the world in a way that is drawing failure or disdain. In any case you are stubborn; you relate to the world through a rigid pre-formulation. Regardless of what that pre-formulation brings you, you stick to it because you have survived thus far. Pain forces you to see inside the subconscious space – see both the purpose and the internal denigrations. Once you see that, you can work towards your purpose and slowly alter your blueprint. You will begin to learn and love the growth involved in that. You will begin to seek out the opportunities of expansion which previously terrified you because they could shake your world-view.

This change needs to take place. But the greater mass of us are so resolute, so obstinate in our resistance to alteration that the natural human means – the evolutionary channel of adaptation – is this self-same pain. When you live with pain, without accepting its pronouncement, you push yourself into psychological turmoil. When you listen to it, you begin this journey of alteration. Pain of the mind can come to you through any source – through external or internal provocation. It can be something as visceral and deadening as loss, or something as immutable as disease, or something as entire as existential fallacy and redundancy. Whatever the source the message can be the same: grow from this. Push into your mind and see what is there. It can reach a critical mass, it can tear at you and leave you hopeless, but it is the most common, most ideal means of communication and alteration that exists in the highly sophisticated cerebral framework of development.

Could we as a species – with our understanding, with our capacity for analysis, for rationality – evolve without pain as an origin? Would there be evolution at all without the instinctual knowledge of pain at some level – be that visceral or ethereal? There is something to it, in self-actualised forms of life that have the right of choice: pain is a force of instigation, initiation, and a continual way-point. Pain is our origin and the duality of that is that we can choose to efface ourselves; we can choose to only see the pain of life but not what is behind it. It can crush the meek and unwilling. And the nature in us will seek a balance: that it does not become too great; that you can handle by degrees all that life has for you. But still it needs you to understand, to have context, to have a “why?”

So there exists the fallible and originally small conscious mind. And it sits within the filigree of society and culture. And the influences of such extol the commonality of succession without an emphasis on virtue or depth. It is not actively encouraged to be great or to seek purpose: it rings out in small pockets but that can get lost in the pure static of universal bewilderment. What is more valuable to the masses is that you perform a role which you begin to craft for yourself – that you are the good and reliable minutiae. Underneath the conscious mind is the mysterious and formidable sub-consciousness. And there exists, within the subconscious mind, the very material and driving force of life itself. It is the origin of problem and solution. It contains the prehistoric evolutionary drive, the basic energy of existence, and the fetid or prideful blueprint of life. And the more the unmet evolutionary drive picks up voice in the mist of sub-consciousness without response from the timid conscious mind, the more there is depression and disease. And the external world seems to wax and whirl and spin around this, becomes entwined with this negative subculture of mental existence. Eventually we come to that point at which we must explore the internal world – must open this connection. The more we open this connection, the more we can find the energy for change, read the evolutionary instinct, and adapt our blueprint to the extent which it needed adaptation.

The pain will pass, will mute or resolve to a certain extent as you bridge the gap between conscious and subconscious. But a mind resisting is an ignorant mind. And when you witness someone acting out of their ignorance – with their antiquated blueprints still enforced – remember they are in pain. Remember they are like you or who you were. The only difference is greater or lesser degrees of ignorance. We can never understand the real meaning behind everything, but we give our energy to a specific cause we possess and be open to change. That is the best we can do. So feel empathy, work for purpose, and always remember the value that pain holds or once held for you. And, beyond this, step out of apathy; listen to what life is telling you and begin a journey that invariably starts with discipline.

Chapter 2

Discipline

Discipline is what drives progress. Progress, without question or exception, is never ill-disciplined. When you begin, however, you will learn that discipline can seem monotonous – excruciatingly so. It is not fever, fits, frantic lows, soaring highs, and ambiguity: it is ever-present; it is even. It is something you will need to learn to trust; in doing so you will begin to trust yourself.

You will feel weak in the sight and presence of expected action. The feeling of it is cumbersome and immense. At first you may expect a great deal from yourself but you will be weak – weak in deed but strong in spirit. And it is the tenacity and shape of the courage you have learned (through pain), that will allow you to grow. The heart of you will grow; you will ingratiate yourself, over time, to a more cerebral and painstaking reality: discipline.

Discipline is in everything and it is continuous. This continuity of deed and impulse that it asks of you is the very manifestation of discipline. Do not fear the failings of ill-discipline that may seem to float about your thoughts and work in the beginning. You were not born strong-willed. You grow in an expansive vision of who you will become. You grow in will and persistence. To get there you need discipline. You know this in truth and that is what drives you.

Discipline is driven by a seeming lack of acceptance at the current mould of things. Discipline is a striking out against mediocrity, an embellished sense of calmness in action, a reserve and poise that belies an immensity of spirit. Discipline is not the current or flow of life: it is the paddle that allows you to traverse the tides and the tempest – to push beyond reprieve and redundancy. It is the weightlessness of intent and the strokes of action that always follow, as your attainment of progression becomes unquestioned. You no longer wait with baited breath until an updraft propels you to success; you move forward in silent focus, not waiting one more second to take control. Discipline may seem boring at first but when you suffer for it, you will see the truth – no longer clouded and opaque – discipline is power. In every manner it operates there it grows and you grow.

Discipline is wide and expansive; it is consuming and ever present – embellishing every deed, defying doubt and fear. The resistance of life is a conquering blow to action. With discipline you overturn this. Everyone who has ever attained greatness first had to attain mastery over themselves, over the basic aspects of their life: their cravings, their weakness, and their sprouting doubt – every avenue of themselves that contested progress. Discipline to the greatest extent, is of the same composition as discipline in the smallest ventures. Train yourself in everything; inspire discipline as a code of action. See it seethe and swell in your daily ventures. You will prepare your mind for success and you will construct a faith in yourself so deep rooted, that will not only serve as the tools to harvest this success, but will absolutely refuse anything less.

Because life, at its heart, is not about compromise and compensation, it is about a contribution to unity and understanding. Life is about the soul of you and seeing that revel in a powerful understanding. It is also about connection to others and the truth of yourself. Every success begins and ends with this type of discipline.

Acceptance

As with all things, discipline has a beginning. The beginnings of discipline lie in acceptance, specifically acceptance of your current state. This is not an acceptance of dwelling within your current boundaries, nor accepting mediocrity; this is acceptance of the current power you possess to make a defining change.

It is the most common, blunt, and hard-hearted experience in life: intention, followed by failure. We intend change; we strike out in verve, in vigour, and in action; we repent our past weaknesses and become resolved to alter who we are – what we are. Then we are struck back. It seems as though life is at odds with our breaking the current mould. In fact, we are compelled towards the normality of our current circumstance through the survival instinct that seeks to maintain comfort. It is a primal and purely biological under-current that is very real in the beginning: homeostasis, lethargy, failure, and finally inaction.

The enormity of the entire challenge we are facing then emerges in our mind, as a ghost rippling in the shadows. The whole vision of who we may become seems so daunting and so unreal. Mind and body recoil at the prospect and so we revert. This is a lapse and it is common. We invite change but not the suffering of change. We see only the road ahead and not the small steps of which it is composed. We stumble where we have begun. That can leave you feeling broken: as if change and growth are only meant for some and you weren’t lucky enough to be chosen. That is false. It is the spectre of mental opposition and it is something you will have to overcome many times along the journey. You need to bring yourself back to the present moment, the next step only – nothing else.

Once we allow ourselves to see the truth of this, once we accept our current level of control, we begin to operate with a certain degree of realism that quickens our actions and prepares us for each new step. Once we begin to accept the point in the journey at which we currently reside, and focus all of our intent and strain of effort on each small advance, we can become wholly subsumed by a singleness of purpose. We forget doubt, cast aside the placations of fear like some skin we were destined to shed. The way forward becomes real.

Then we become centred by this acceptance and things become lighter – gentler. It is a process you are pouring yourself into. It is not realised in a day, a week, a year. It is your life: it is the road on which you travel. Acceptance allows perspective. You begin to drop the excuses, the exaggerations of your virtues and, more critically, your faults. To rework the map you have to see things as they are. We lie to ourselves as this seems easier. A distortion allows excuse and alibi. To see things shrouded in doubtfulness allows you to circumvent the hurt. If you never really know yourself, you feel less of a responsibility to that self. “I’m not really trying… but I don’t want to know what could happen if I did try… maybe I’d come up short and would have no scapegoat – no way out… I don’t want to be left alone with failure, so I won’t really try.”

To overcome you simply accept yourself, exactly as you are, and then add to it.

Hard work

For this, there is no substitute. It is blood in the arteries of success and progression. Hard work is nothing if not difficult. The only word that adequately describes it is toil. This you must do – everyday. Even as you don’t feel that the hard work you are doing is bringing you what you want or to where you want to go; stick at it. It circumvents all shortcuts. The distance makes you wise, steadies your hand, allows you perception to feel the weight of an emerging possibility in your future and provides the resources to meet such a possibility.

Toil each day. Wake up to the struggle. Go to sleep with the mist of that fatigue resting on your skin, in your bones. You will grow. Your conscious mind may storm but your subconscious will keep you there, will keep you balanced. It will carve out from your own mind what your purpose is to be. It will give you that if only you will give in to it.

Some people may spend a lifetime running from it. Some may accept it at times but be dominated by emotion and turn their back on it when they feel spent. Do not live life with half a heart. Commit to yourself; but be patient in this. Let yourself grow in this, a little more each day.

Hard work is the heart of discipline. If you are not willing to define it, to capture it, you will not go far. Avoid it and you avoid yourself, or the longing in yourself for something better. The purpose of your journey is a derivative of hard work. What is really miraculous, however, is that hard work will bring you peace. The peace of the whole once the mind and body lie spent is the validity of your existence.

Hard work is also immaculately and unashamedly simple: simple to fathom, simple to grasp, and simple to retain – simple, not easy. Of course, for everyone hard work may qualify itself differently. But it is where we start. It will shape your nature.

As the days, months, years, stretch like elastic, you will grow to like and then love hard work. You may despise it in the beginning as it has the powerful distinctness of a stranger. You will grow accustomed to it, so accustomed that you will accept it as one of your own qualities. It will fill your days and become a friend to your hopes. You will begin to understand it, to thank it for its initial extravagance of position. That is what alienates it from some, endears it to many, and, for the brave few, denies nothing.

Patience

Of course, this is a composite of hard work but indeed has its own distinct qualities. Patience is at the core of your deeds and not the driving force. It is the poise and the regulation. It is how you greet the world. Put simply: patience is intelligence. Do not confuse me: I am not condoning sluggishness, much less procrastination. They offset patience. Patience, however, is the nature with which you apply yourself, and this is important.

Hard work replete with patience is the gold standard – the critical function which sets us apart. Hard work devoid of patience is spasmodic and unreliable.

To light patience within you do not argue: you simply accept things as they are. Accept those around you; accept the pace of your development and then rely on your own cunning to feel out the correct trajectory and define the flight of your goals. If we are not patient we have nothing.

Following from this, it is important to realise that how you treat others is linked to how you shape your development, as patience is kind and affectionate and above all wise. It has nothing to fear and everything to gain.

Persistence

Persistence is seen in every success. You achieve everything with persistence and nothing without it. You don’t stop – no matter the obstacle, no matter the threat, and no matter the fear. These things will shrink where persistence develops. Persistence is the grind.

Persistence is plan and action continuously – there is no in-between. I cannot understate this. Even when you are slowed to a crawl by the burden of your passage into greatness, make sure you keep moving – always keep moving.

I am ingraining this point however I believe that a persistent nature develops quite naturally – once you are sure that is. Then you will burn the boats which may allow you to flee and move forward commandingly. Command from life what you want with persistence.

Persistence is un-erring. It is this to the core as you cannot err if you never stop – if you are always willing to strive for yourself. Under the shattering pain of humiliation, the intoxicating lure of addiction, the snare of ill-fated reprieves and hollow cumbersome hours of doubt and wretched confusion, into the unknown and past it, if nothing will stop you, if everything will feed your desire to grow.

So persistence is not numb, though it may seem it: a simple veil that will betray the discontent of those who aren’t willing to simply push. With persistence there is no real failure. No need for perfection. Being persistent is, in itself, perfection. With time and knowledge it rights every wrong, learns everything, knows everything.

It really is the most miraculous thing; perfection is not so delicate, so fragile: it is the grind. Those who never stop, those who are unreasonable, those who lie awake each night, some flickering thought of possibility reflecting in their mind, like the luminous gleam of a water droplet as it catches the light, those are the people who achieve something resembling perfection, built on a lifetime of failures.

Persistence will envelop the idea, wrap it into the temporary sanctuary of the conscious mind, nurture and keep it alive through repetition. It will then be passed down into the subconscious where it is ready to grow unsupported, take on a life of its own, become a part of you, shape your character. It will bring you to a place where you are altered slightly, wherein success won’t seem so alien and so estranged from possibility.

Conviction

When an idea passes over into your subconscious mind, what transpires is an emergence from disbelief. It does, as I said, alter your character slightly – in a necessary way. For an idea to really take hold it has to change you. It will emerge from this embryo – this delicate thing that a moment’s distraction could wipe away – persistence will allow it passage into reality – add steel to its existence. Then, when it has the strength and composition, it will pass into the subconscious – as simple as a piece of knowledge being committed to long term memory. From there it can proceed in an exponential manner and extend itself to your action: synthesize, grow, and manipulate the fibres of which your life consists.

Conviction, of course, and very naturally, is born out of one simple singularity: the decision.

The Decision

Please, please, just decide. Don’t change your mind. Don’t double-back. Don’t transfix on doubt and fear: “what if it doesn’t work out for me? What if I fail?” Put simply: you will handle it. Every success is built upon a glorious empire of failures. In fact, they are not real failures: they are tweaks to the design, but you know that. Take evolution for example: you did not come into being without effort. The perfection of your genetic coding was embellished by failure. It was the process of natural selection that showed the many failings of certain organisms to survive – to thrive. So there were tweaks made to the primordial chromosomal recipe. This process proliferated over time until the organism was enhanced to the point of decadence and fury, immune to impotence and resolved to break the relegation of its presence in the physical and cerebral vestiges of existence. The decision here was survival.

Whatever it is you are struggling towards, you need to decide that you will achieve it – before the fact. You need to decide that you will engender yourself to every type of failure that can wreak its havoc on your mind and body in the process. There is no around there is only through – even if it kills you. Then, when you make this decision, when your soul inhales this abrasive but beautiful reality, then and only then will you change. It is a commitment and you can move forward in anything, in everything, and always back yourself. After all, there is nothing else – is there?

Chapter 3

Courage

Courage is a topic and an understanding of things that is very difficult to get your head around when virginal, when your soul is not yet coated with the tragedy and drama of defeat and resurrection. Up to this point every development has been intrinsic. But every great mind first needs to sharpen itself before it slices to the core of its existence. A proud, powerful tree that scrapes the clouds of heaven cannot be formed from shallow roots.

While discipline is progression in the face of resistance – to overcome your own laziness, lethargy, and general lack – courage is moving out against fear. Courage is similar, in this way, to a highly concentrated form of discipline. To put it another way – from a physiological perspective – there are two types of muscle fibre: type 1 (or slow twitch muscle fibres) and type 2 (or fast twitch muscle fibres). Slow twitch muscle fibres inform your physical body’s ability to purely endure. They act at low amplitude and over an extended period of time. Fast twitch muscle fibres, however, provide explosive power for short durations. In this way, it is possible to imagine discipline as being slow type 1 and courage being type 2. Courage, then, is a more driven and powerful force of alteration that is impacted over shorter, more resolute periods. It requires an immensity of effort within a narrower circumference of time. The change it elucidates then, is similarly more dramatic.

In discipline you cultivate servitude to the processes of growth. Courage connects growth to your successes in life, successes that will always and without exception require grit and vulnerability. These qualities may only be harnessed through the cultivation of courage.

Acting through Fear: An Objective Response

The Sympathetic Nervous System

I feel it is important to discuss the biology of fear: where it comes from and how it exists. I know this may be a somewhat notable divergence from the above line of discussion, however it is necessary in order to create a robust ideation of acting through fear. Our discussion then, takes us into the organic infrastructure of the body.

The central nervous system consists of the brain and the spinal cord. The peripheral nervous system is the outgoing nervous tissue that sends its fingers into every corner of the body for uptake of, and response to, every form of internal or external stimulus. This feedback is then communicated to the central nervous system for digestion and synthesis of information.

The peripheral nervous system itself has two further subdivisions: the somatic nervous system, which is responsible for voluntary control of movement and feedback of sensation, and also the autonomic nervous system which controls involuntary function and maintenance of vital processes of survival and regulation (largely below the level of consciousness). The processes of the autonomic nervous system include: maintenance of heart rate and blood pressure, respiration rate, digestion, kidney function (urination), pupil dilation, sexual arousal etc. The autonomic nervous system is therefore concerned with the automatic processes of living over which we assume minimal control. It again has two further sub-divisions: the parasympathetic and the sympathetic nervous systems.

The parasympathetic nervous system is termed the “rest and digest” system and is responsible for the automatic regulation of function when the body is at rest or in a relaxed state. The sympathetic nervous system is also termed the “fight or flight” system, and governs the process of automatic regulation in moments of perceived stress. In the discussion of courage, this natural biological trigger is what we are primarily considering. The idea is that we have a natural impetus towards action or revolt that is coded into our system of response in moments of stress. When we perceive events as threatening (and it is the perception in many cases that carries more weight than the reality), we are naturally inclined towards a specific brand of response. Of course, the roots of this response are found both in our genetic formulation (nature) but also in our formative experiences (nurture). From the combination of our inherent state and our breeding within the context of rigorous or loosened environmental constraints, we will accept or decline risk to greater or lesser extents. It is our uncertainty response.

The sympathetic nervous response, of course, possesses a natural disposition in forged genetic lines that manipulate our make-up on a sub-textual level: we are pulling our response, to an extent, from our gene pool, our wiring. This may create difficulties in some who are excessively timid and cannot untangle themselves from examining any ounce of uncertainty. In others this creates feckless and brash behavioural patterns which, without a positive filter, are simply tracked toward violent and disruptive patterns. Whatever your natural inclination, you must utilize a certain degree of cerebral overhaul to dilute the natural response, and filter it into positive outcomes.

The reality is that, although the parasympathetic nervous response emanates from a source below the level of consciousness, and we cannot fully over-write the feeling of fear, the action itself is volitional. The fear feeds the action and causes us to flee (or to advance recklessly given the disposition), but the action itself is commanded by thought-based response. We choose to act and can therefore overwrite the fear response. We cannot, or should not attempt to belittle the feeling of fear. It exists as a prehistoric trigger to avoid bodily harm and bubbles up from our nature; however the actual derision and distortion we undergo, how we subjugate ourselves entirely to this prehistoric feed, can be manipulated.

The idea of choice here is particular and important. We need to understand that we undergo a certain level of fear as is inherent in our nature, and it is not the fear that defines us but the response – the choice. This may seem to provide little comfort as you have always consciously understood, in those moments of descent, that it was your choice to withdraw. But the important conclusion is that, so long as you actually possess choice, you possess the capacity for alteration. It is necessary to understand that events do not need, as a rule, to follow this path indefinitely. That there is choice signals the capacity for emancipation.

Nature vs. Nurture

In our discussion of the nature of fear we have viewed the source of fear as a biological cog: a fundamental lever of action whose size and strength of distribution is directed by our genetic formulation. We have also integrated the idea of volition: that our response is directed by choice but that choice is so heavily impinged at times, that there is nothing but the flooding contractions of fear that rise through our bodies and force us to walk away. Yes we have choice, but we have always consciously understood this; it was that our choice was to digress that caused us so much pain. But it also leaves us with the space for potential.

However, we have not created a systematic or comprehensive picture of the role of nurture. That we can manipulate our response to fear and the governance of stress is evident through our growth within specific environments. We have come to be who we are not just because of the genetic blueprint, but also because of the environment in which it ebbed and pulsed and found vertical life.

So there is the coaxial strut of genetic form and development within specific contexts that bequeaths our basic fear-based response patterns. We are who we are because of what is inside of us and what it has been exposed to – the content and the way that content was moulded. Because we live in environments that range from overtly comfortable to dominantly hostile, the mind must, as its most primal need, forge the routes of survival. The fear response is always there, but the need to overwrite its inherent instigation is what pushes us, when threatened, to overcome. Only we are too comfortable as a rule. We are sheltered from risk and so never come to know how to overcome risk in those cases wherein it would be beneficial. We become lackadaisical, in serene but overly protective environments, with influences that deplore any possible harm – real or imagined.

In many cases we live this sheltered kind of life. When young, it is evident that our parents or guardians protect us out of an idea or impetus of love. And in experiencing this we in turn feel valuable. But we may never come to know uncertainty on even a basic scale. We need graded exposure to risk, uncertainty, defeat, and triumph. There does not need to be danger: there needs to be a growing independence.

As we feel that fine-spun experience unravel, we act in a simple way to overcome the welling sympathetic response. It kicks lightly because the threat is minimal. But still we overcome and it is forged in our person. We slowly become someone who overcomes fear. We identify ourselves as possessing moderate courage. And further events stir in our formation – slightly bolder this time – but we don’t run. The fear response still exists in us as in anyone, but we overcome it as a need, as an instinct. And the experiences come in and out of our days. Given the level of danger we respond in kind. If the threat is too great we diverge, if it is palatable or widely manageable, we push into the uncertainty of it and always watch for these risks or opportunities. They allow us to pull together a conception of courage. This is how normal formation should go: filling ourselves with the opportunities to overcome – anything else is dependence. And it is so common: to flee from risk because we can survive without it, to never acquaint ourselves with anything that is on the far side of uncertainty. If we come to reject any fear, almost as a reflex, then we are mal-adaptive to an extent. If we follow graded lines of exposure then we can become more than ourselves. If we get too caught up in the risks themselves, because there was never balance or value or appropriate protection, then we can induce harm.

Understanding Risk

You may be coming to a point where you feel the need to draw conclusions regarding your own level of development. The discussion should find its way into a more intimate scope. What are your natural genetic tendencies with regard to risk? Are you naturally reckless or are you meek? Do you take the time to digest risk, understand it, and push into it when that is appropriate? Can you overwrite your naturally developed, fear-based response patterns wherein that would ultimately prove beneficial?

What about the culture of development in which you have found yourself: has your environment, the people who you love and trust, all of the internal cogs of formation, have all of these factors derided or contributed to your natural genetic tendencies? Have the experiences of your life cultivated in you, the necessity to overcome? Or have they promoted modesty: have they allowed you to avoid healthy risk and healthy fear? Are you dependent or head-long – are you timid or brash? And what events highlight this? What are the important steps in your formation? What are the experiences of fear and fear-based response that you have had?

When you seek to understand both your natural genetic response – gauging yourself as a natural candidate for either flight or fight – and also when you explore how the events of your development have compounded or altered this response, you should come to one last simple question: are you balanced?

The idea of balance, in this instance, is necessary because too much risk that is inappropriate can of course be destructive, as can too little risk that is moderate and appropriate. When we use the term “risk” in these instances, we are discussing moving into uncertainty wherein the ultimate outcome or possible outcomes can be reasoned but, ultimately, you cannot be sure. You have no absolute power to forecast the explicit outcome of alteration in physical circumstances or, more significantly, the implicit outcome: how you will respond and alter internally – how the subconsciously constructed blueprint or worldview will be modified. And that is what terrifies the ego: change that threatens its basis of understanding. How open you are to risk is how open you are to change: externally in your life situation, or internally in your ego envisioned view of the world, and your place in that world.

So we come back to this idea of balance. To progress there must be risk. This is in every goal you set yourself and in every schematic of human development. There is and will always be uncertainty in development as in the progression of all life. You should not avoid uncertainty but you should understand risk. It is not to over-analyse but simply to be responsible: to have the capacity for appreciation of the possible reverberations of this risk you are taking on yourself and others. In many cases the same fear that is applied to generally dangerous prospects is applied to more reasonable ones, although the intensity of that fear may give you a deeper appreciation of the risk you are taking. But you have the intellectual capacity to understand, almost instantaneously, if the fear is vaporous, if the fear is misplaced, and if it is preventing growth rather than actually separating you from harm.

So therein we see the three central components of basic risk response patterns: the genetically encoded base-line for fear-avoidance, the role of environment in tempering this response, and also the capacity of the human mind to consciously understand appropriate versus inappropriate risk. These are the three inputs into how you forge a basic fear-based response mechanism. And you may have an appropriate idea of your baseline for risk tolerance and whether you feel that is appropriate, given your situation, to actualise the current goals you have set, or if your intolerance of risk is holding you back. But the path of growth, in any significant goal, contains uncertainty and calls for a degree of measured risk. If you are reckless, the genetic capacity and environmental upbringing facilitated the development of a strong risk tolerance, but the level of understanding and the cognitive appreciation of risk and its possible outcomes – on all involved parties – may be underdeveloped. In this case, you should turn to development of the mind to temper your response. In the case of those who are prone to submission, your level of cerebral analysis of risk is very highly developed, but your natural genetic tendency to avoid risk and the environment in which you developed have lead you to shy away from patterns of uncertainty based behaviour. In these cases it must be the response itself that is appropriately trained.

Legal Disclaimer: It is important to understand any risk that you may be taking, especially wherein the possible outcomes could include physical or psychological harm to you or any other individual or group. The author does not claim responsibility for any damages that could result following engagement in any activity that could induce harm on any involved or uninvolved parties in this manner. Furthermore, the author is not engaged in providing legal or professional advice.

Graded Exposure vs. Immersion

Graded Exposure

In the case of those who are reckless, ultimate development of the mind will help to modify unhealthy risk based behaviours and allow you to over-write, at the cerebral level, the tendency for inappropriate risk: risk that is vain or selfish, that can corrupt or disrupt the development of others; essentially risk that has the capacity for destruction more than the capacity for growth. Given that the generally inscribed theme of this book is mental development, to re-frame your life from the view of such development should encourage you to take a deeper look at the risks you are taking and whether they are damaging you or others. As there are risks you can take out of pure mal-adaption, that are not trained on development at all. In the case of those who are destructive, it is important to understand how these risks you have taken and are continuing to take, are fed by this desire to reduce the terror and hurt of a painful life. But development of the mind – pushing into an un-frayed understanding of who and what you are – is the only way to shake that terror and hurt. Because you deal with it, you want to understand yourself and then you attach a value to self. And while you still have a capacity for risk, you can now instil that risk into positive filters and understand and take responsibility for possible outcomes.

What is more common is an inability to cope with fear. The first thing to understand is that no words can change this for you. Development of the mind can lead you to that point at which you need to risk in order to continue along the passage of growth – both intrinsic growth of the mind and the extrinsic growth of specific goals. Development of the mind sends arteries into the prospect of healthy risk and can prevent you from running from it. It can give life to the prospect of courage and fire the need for it. But to actually change who you are – your pre-ordained fear-based response patterns – beyond and above any newfound appreciation, you must act.

Like I said, there are no words that can change this for you. They help to give you an understanding, they help to lead you to the healthy points of uncertainty, but there must come from you, the action itself. Nothing will change that. From this point then, when you are willing to combat the timid nature – if it is there in you or if it is your problem – then there are certain methods of manipulation that may prove useful: graded exposure and immersion.

Graded exposure may prove to be more powerful, simply because it instils habit. If a feature of your life cannot find consistency then it has little power for change. Graded exposure stems from understanding your baselines. What is you natural genetic pre-disposition to risk and what experience have you had of this throughout the passage of your life? These are the points in which you make alteration and it is incredibly central to have a good idea of where to begin. Once you have fully understood the point from which you are developing, it is useful to frame the development of risk tolerance from the perspective of specific goals. The idea is to attach the capacity to overcome fear to specific pursuits which demand this capacity. Risk is not sporadic and dishevelled: it needs a positive filter. There must be a reason to risk; there is almost certainly some goal set, some systematised structure of development that is leading you to this need to overcome fear. If it was not creating difficulty in some significant area of your life, your development, or your general goals, then it would not cause so much discomfort. So establish the frame (or frames) through which you want to encounter and move past reasonable uncertainty. In this you now have the appropriate origin (or baseline) and the positive filter.

The next step is to identify a series of progressive steps within that frame. You need not progress too far in your contemplation: simply a few measured actions that you can take that induce a progressive fear response. Begin at an acceptably low level wherein there is only the most minor desire for avoidance. In the beginning the aim is to produce consistency. An intelligently designed plan of development will help with this, as the first few steps in the gradation should be quite manageable. Slowly you build into the feeling of fear and the overcoming of it. As you sank the earlier challenges, the need for consistency and continuation alone should push you forward. You should feel the progressive nature of this: it should be building towards points of achievement, but slowly. Most important is consistency; this progression needs to be instilled into a weekly routine and not randomly instigated wherein you get a feeling or an urge for this. Momentum is powerful but inertia is deadening. Do not let the feeling of momentum dwindle and again fall into the mental static.

So with such a plan we move forward in steps. The idea is extremely simple. What you must create is an intelligently designed graduation from one step to the next that absolutely respects your baseline response and then moves out from it consistently. And it should be seen from the perspective of your chosen filters: be that relationships, vocation, health, etc. You move forward gradually but consistently. If there is not consistency in your response then you will play into the hands of your natural state; you will continually return to this pattern of avoidance and alteration will not find life or voice in you. In the end, consistent action is all that matters. And this must be honest: you must actually feel the sympathetic nervous system becoming active. When your heart starts to race and the unpalatable ghostly nervous issue of fear spills into your muscles, when things start to seem so indefinite and your mood drops, when you feel that this moment is not right (and this is always a sign that the sympathetic nervous system has become active and is beginning to take hold), that you would be better prepared another time- with just a bit more analysis you could install more certainty. There is never certainty: that is the point. And your problem has always been over-thinking. You can guess at possible outcomes of course, but you cannot see the turn in the path ahead; you need to move forward and push into the uncertainty. Let your world change slightly, and again and again. When the sympathetic nervous system is active and everything tells you to turn around and leave this situation: that is when the conditions are ideal.

The longer you dwell in the sympathetic activation, the more power it will possess. The longer you wait once your sympathetic nervous system begins to shout and scream and beg, the more susceptible you are to its influence. Wait too long and you will turn around. You already know whether the fear has any real body or merit – whether it is genuinely protecting you or if you are simply afraid of change, even if that is or could be positive. So move forward.

The more often you activate this nervous response and actually defy it, the greater will be your threshold for activation. There is a learning curve to this. Gradually, what once seemed formidable challenges, what once bred a greater reaction in you, will diminish. The actual feeling of fear may flutter incessantly – but at a lower level. This is a sign that you are retraining your nervous response. You are beginning to reset your baseline or push it forward. You possess a greater tolerance for uncertainty with repeated ventures. Like everything, courage is simply repetition. The idea of a baseline that is genetically pre-destined is not as damning as you might have thought because it is a simple starting point for you. And you can build on this starting point. The more you grind out this realisation, the more deftly you cut it out of yourself with repeated strokes, the more this will mean. The actual reality of this is obvious; it seems to make sense as a generality but it will only come to find depth if it is known through experience – if you push it into the particulars of your life situation.

And as you push into greater challenges, always alert for the intonations of sympathetic response, the dominance of nurture in the cultivation of courage becomes more and more obvious. This is because you are pushing yourself beyond the drear and destitution of avoidance. Your environment, maybe, never forced this upon you and so you have pulled it out of yourself in a more pre-meditated fashion. And for that you are more alert and more elegant – more entirely refined. And the breeding ground for this type of implied learning was the frame you selected: the goal you have moved towards. And every step has this slight electricity of potential change to it: that it could vastly alter the specifics of your life situation, if you take one step and then the next. There is the element of a pre-set genetic mould of course, but you can reshape this if you are intelligent, patient, and consistent in your pursuit. That is simply graduated development: slowly altering your fear based response pattern through repeated action. In doing so, you move your baseline forward, but do not expect to actually wipe away the input of fear or the sympathetic response because it is a basic human characteristic that is woven through your inherited humanity.

Immersion

Although I would suggest that graded exposure has a number of advantages over complete immersion in more acute levels of sympathetic response, that does not mean that there is no value to immersion. The most important theme of any development pattern, however, is consistency. We are not looking to struggle to reach the high-water marks of fear from the outset, but to retrain our avoidance behaviours in a manner that is more plausible given our history. Immersion has the capacity to compound fear-avoidance behaviour. If you are so shaken by the prospect of a certain event and yet throw yourself into it entirely, or are pushed into that situation, there is the possibility that you will have a very negative outcome and avoid such uncertainty, and cling even more rigidly to your behaviours of avoidance in future. However, there is also the possibility that, in overcoming the fear of that experience, a very negative event of immersion can leave you with a positive feeling of accomplishment. And we are likely to prefer negative experiences that had positive outcomes in memory, than positive experiences that had negative outcomes. When we look back at our lives, the outcomes are what stand out, not necessarily the experiences.

That is the goal of immersion: to give you a negative experience with a positive outcome, so that you will be more open to repeat ventures. How the individual will react to the experience is the singular variable that can either compound avoidance or help to both heighten the threshold of activation and increase the individual’s willingness for repeat experiences. But the only real measure of the success of immersion is whether it induces repeat attempts consistently over time. With graded progression that is the very nature of the programme which is being developed and so it could prove more successful. With immersion, the singular event is the focus and not the continuation beyond this point.

So the irony of immersion is evident: it is, in and of itself, a risk. You do not know how you will respond. And beyond that, it must be included in a programme of graduation simply to bolster the possible outcomes of such a programme. In isolation, and with no respect to the extending timeline of development, immersion, as an isolated experience with no follow up, does not even intend a lasting change – which is the whole point. It is also useful to point out that individuals will rarely undergo immersion with no external support. In order to push yourself into a deeply visceral and frightening experience (where the dangers are obviously measured and much greater in perception than in reality) there must be someone, or some group, that is behind you and supporting you in the experience. Otherwise, given the level of sympathetic kick, it may be too difficult to bear if you are not accountable to this structure of external support and monitoring.

Of course, immersion can prove beneficial in those who are so deeply locked in their sympathetic response and cannot untangle themselves from thought – when the clots of fear ceaselessly prevent action. But they must be incorporated into a programme of graduation. You may install a unique experience of immersion to assist yourself in overcoming fear-based inertia. This creates exhilaration and awareness. Your baseline – or genetically encoded threshold of activation – is temporarily increased. Following this, you immediately accede to a systematic programme of incremental development closer to your baseline that touches upon the threshold of sympathetic activation. Then you consistently develop on this in gradual increments as before (with consistency). The point is that the immersion experience is a pre-meditated tool of development that is set into a graduation process. It supercharges an intelligently designed programme of incremental development, but should not be expected to relieve you of your fears or create any kind of cure in and of itself. It is the thunderbolt in the programme and can be adopted in the face of overpowering inertia – like a shot of adrenaline that reclaims life in a failing body. But always, as a rule, be sure to be thoughtful regarding the risk of such an experience: do not entertain the possibility of harm that is too great or risk that is indecent – risk that could imbue considerable harm. Consider the process before engagement.

The Act Itself

The Stage of Intention

The action is not, to a great extent, inflamed by the voice of fear. At this point you have already made the decision and overcome inertia. Therefore you must adapt- the body, the mind, the soul must adapt. This is achieved through a deep-rooted focus; to learn in this new terrain of action in spite of fear. That is why, when acting to overcome fear, you feel so alive. The fear dissipates because you are adapting to a new form of survival. The chain is already set. Your body cannot turn back and will waste no further energy on fear. In this fashion, action breeds improvement, regardless of consequence.

But intention is not action. Intention is when the fear boils in your nervous system – when the flight mechanism screams and bays. Your senses are quickened by dismay. The cataclysmic unrelenting guilt of solitude beckons. And every inch of you relents to an imagined turmoil, an inwardly directed uproar. You are pulled by a decision: you may have already made the decision to flee and the pain you feel is your soul begging for redirection because nothing will change if you walk away from fear, you will only remain static in life.

You see, it is the intention into which fear pours itself; it is intention which touches upon the serrated edges of doubt. You deal with intention before you act; that is why the act itself is free, is focused, and is thriving with the riveted hum of possibility. Before you can truly enjoy the action you must overcome intention. This is specifically directed to acts around which there is no touchstone, no point of reference in your experience. That is again why you fear: you fear the unknown. Once you begin to know the challenge, are familiar with its lines and graces, then the fear may dampen to the point where intention is not even a conscious process. The mind doesn’t need to question because it knows it will survive. There may, of course, be some vague mesh of fear to repeated experiences of this type, but that is just your mind keeping itself taut – eccentrically contracting to ease you into a familiar weariness (and therefore keeping itself strong).

Once you begin to know the challenge, the fear may dampen for a specific experience. Once you begin to know yourself however, the fear will falter for all challenges, or rather, you will not experience it the same way: it will not mean as much. You change yourself, not the fear.

While the action is where you learn, the intention is where you grow, but only if you overcome. It is the activation energy – defeating the inertia of a static existence. You must become light-hearted in action. You must develop a mind that believes growth, and not crushing defeat, is imminent. Develop a mind that embraces all possibilities and is not stricken by some undefined sense of severity. To act is to live, to laugh, and to love. Dwell for too long within the stages of intention, without actually committing, and you will invariably be dragged away from what you want. Fight is instantaneous; flight takes some time to unfurl its wings.

The Stage of Action

This is the point to which we all must come. Everything else must recede and all that is left is the moment that you commit. When intention falls away, when the questions fall away, when all worry and doubt and insipid fear of outcome are no longer important. You just connect with the object of your focus and everything else means little.

You develop the mind so that you can find the will for this, the need for it, and the means. You then cultivate an understanding of how to approach you fears. You create a plan of action to attack the fear as it floats among specific goals. The plan you create is intelligent and subservient to your genetic and environmentally imposed baseline of sympathetic response. A level of cerebral overhaul is involved: allowing for measured and intelligent risk and not recklessness. Above all there is consistency in your programme of action – that you stalk your development without lapse.

All of this finds the subconscious mind and becomes the context of your existence – the overture behind what you are doing, what you know innately without the need for active examination. And then there is the moment of action. The sympathetic response kicks up and you know that you are moving in the right direction. As ever it is simply a case of commit or quit. It is a choice. The moment you commit is the moment you confirm your development. Nothing else means as much as your presence in that moment of commitment. Success or failure: both are welcomed; they don’t matter. All that matters is that you act. And the way you see yourself changes slightly. Your ego-defined blueprint takes on a small adaptation. But it is so meagre and flimsy in the beginning; it is begging for continuation.

And so you act again, small actions, nothing grand or dire. But your belief is changing – the beliefs you have carried all of your life. You are becoming a different person. That is the life of which you were so afraid. The more you act, the more entire the action, the more frequent, the greater the change. Your threshold for sympathetic activation is increased. When it is activated, turning back doesn’t seem like it is really a possibility. A strange thing happens: when the risk is measured, when you are still afraid and the fear kicks up, you have to face it as a compulsion. If it is blocking the way to progress it doesn’t become a question of if: it is who you are. It’s as though overcoming fear is all you’ve known and you have no other options. You bleed into the uncertainty of it in an unquestioning way. There can still be that same trepidation, the effort and cutting low mood; but you know, regardless of internal or external variables, you will act. This is what you do.

This is simply the moment of commitment: when you give in to the uncertainty. The more you act, the more you change internally: specifically your established system of fear avoidance is overturned. Then, when you have found your way to this moment of commitment enough times, when it has become habit, the external will start to take shape. The world around you, the explicitly labelled goals that you held, were working towards, the frames you exploited to this end, will start to reflect the change in your person. The goals will come closer and closer, seem more realistic. You first had to change who you were. Slowly then, the conditions of your life will change.

There will of course be failures, mistakes, moments of collapse. You will not find consistency immediately – you will work towards it over time. All of the heartache involved in this progression will only be supportable by a mind that was developed painstakingly and continues to be developed. The mind is the only refuge for the pains and mistakes you will face. Development of the mind is the only way to instil consistency despite every setback. It is the only way to always find the right trajectory and not be swayed by mischief and malign. That is why the mind is so central; that is why, when looking to cultivate courageous action, the mind is always the starting point: development of the mind in manners that may seem in no way related. It is a slow build and the foundation must be laid before the bricks can go down. And then they must be set in place to form a rigid structure by this self-same continued mental development. Whatever the pushes on your time, whatever the level of ascent, always come back to mental development as the cornerstone of your day; if not you will become unsteady. Do not neglect what brought you to this level of internal and external development or you will surely break and fall in time. A little at first, and then greater and greater until you have devolved entirely. Pay deference to the origins and inputs of your current state of development and always remain willing to build on that.

In the end, all that courage is and all that matters is commitment to action in moments of fear. The sympathetic nervous system lashes out and demands shelter and avoidance, you commit knowing there is growth in it, and the outcomes simply are what they are: you adjust. The commitment in moments of fear, when the outcome will be growth, is really all of courage. But there is so much behind that; there is so much that impels and directs you, so much that adds iron to your intentions and gives you positive direction. If you can understand how to cultivate the seemingly diminutive aspects, the vague inputs that seem almost detached from the final moment of commitment, you will find your way to courage. From there you can find your way to anything else you want or need to create.

After the Fact: A State of Adjustment

In the stages of intention, in the sympathetic mesh of uncertainty analysis, in the tumultuous build up to action, the mind operates out of ego and the prospects of that ego. What action through fear represents is fundamental loss or gain to the ego-defined self concept. The action will result in gain or loss. It will cause an explicit change in one aspect of our life situation and an implicit change in the basic format of self. This change will be positive or negative and the outcome is uncertain. Our perception, then, is that the possibility of positive change creates desire and the possibility of negative change creates fear. Within the mind, we operate on the principles of loss or gain. Loss or gain on a structure that has, through the rendering of a lifetime of vivid or placating experiences, maintained survival for the anxious, seemingly delicate self.

The idea again is that we are ruled by our conception of loss or gain. We create a lifetime of activity and endeavour that emanates out of the conception of gain. This gain, of course, is concurrent with the mandates of survival, builds on that, reinforces it exactly. However, within any pattern of development, there comes a stage of uncertainty: uncertainty which presents to us the possibility of defeat, downfall, and deterioration to the ego-driven concept of self. And that threatens survival – threatens who, how, what we have become through our every effort, through our every denigration, through our every profuse and obliterating project of maintenance and development.

But growth, being what it is, being inclined toward development upon the firmly ingrained principles of living – the principles that were imbued by ancestral design and a legacy of effort – in turn demands that which is beyond simple maintenance. It is not a simple profusion of stagnant, torpid activity, always routed within the frame of certainty – we must go beyond that. We operate out of the seat of ego which is first concerned with survival and then with gain. Ideally it wants gain without risk: but that will leave it mal-formed, un-adaptable, meek and fragile – the very depiction of self which it reviles. And so the plans for development come in, risk comes in, uncertainty comes in, and the ego goes to war with itself: inflamed by the possibilities of gain, torn apart by the possibilities of loss.

And what are gain and loss? When it comes to the ego, to what do gain and loss refer? What is the desire here? What is the fear? It all comes back to this process of survival – of continuation. Gain is to develop the capacity for survival and proliferation above all others. Loss is the deterioration of this capacity. Within the ego, that is the extent of things: the possession of a continual life. And this is not to make you reconsider, to see the fragility or ignorance or decadence of such a theory of ego-driven consciousness, this is simply a reflection on our nature. When we have found life we seek to build upon that; we seek to lay our claim to dominance and continuation, to build our machines and our culture from the fabric of this reality as every species has and does.

So the ego is first survival and then the prospect of gain or loss. In order to make significant gain, in order to develop the human picture, loss must continually be the forfeit, or, more specifically, the perceived risk of loss.

It seems, however, that there is a degree of ego-blindness to the singular basis of this condition. The ego-blindness in this instance refers to the prospect of adjustment. There is no capacity for long-term forecasting – no capacity for change. There are only the conditions of a life as they have been inscribed to the letter, to the present moment. The ego, within the tribulations of a moving concept of gain and loss, continually undergoes adjustment. The ego adjusts to the life situation maintained from the seat of gain or loss and then proceeds to forget entirely that it possesses such a capacity. Every alteration, before the fact, is seen as absolute. Every loss and gain is magnified to an importance that is out of context: that is inconsistent with the actual experience of undergoing and maintaining such an alteration. The ego forgets the capacity for adjustment. Everything plays off of the current context when, in reality, it will immediately re-contextualise following the event and again deplore loss and seek gain that builds upon the up-regulated or down-regulated context to which risk was the antecedent.

Even an active knowledge of such a process will not change the ego-response. We employ our patterns of survival, we seek gain with a turgid sense of desire and we deplore the possibility of loss and are touched by the demons of fear that attach themselves to such a concept. We synthesise this knowledge that any gain, to be significant, must come to these points of perceived risk within this framework. And these are the variables of current context. However we act, whatever the outcome, we will re-contextualise. Following this, we will immediately forget the capacity to re-contextualise exists and the potential realities reflected by the decisions we could and would make, are inflated beyond actual merit.

And, of course, emanating from the fact that this is a survival model, and we already possess survival: we over-weight loss. Perceived gain must be significant, eminently significant for us to develop risk and alteration within a system that has and continues to maintain us. We are creatures of survival; we seek to craft a dynasty of survival beyond that which we are; we want it in our family, in our progeny. We want to exist without end and do not consider the inevitability of end. And so we cling to our context in life, suffer minor alteration, forget about the capacity to re-contextualise, inflame the prospect of perceived loss and gain, and are first and foremost slow to risk. That survival is at the heart of this concept issues the reality that few will really risk, because the models they maintain are confident, comfortable, and complacent. They already possess survival and that is the primary consideration.

This is primarily a statement of adjustment, or more specifically, before risk, the need to perceive a capacity for adjustment. We operate within a turbulent world, and moment by moment we are subjugated by the ferocity of every unforeseen and not possibly foreseeable variable. The idea is that the mind has the capacity to adjust to alteration: it actively does so wherein this is required. But the capacity for such an adjustment, the active and fitful realisation that such a capacity could exist, does exist, despite a lifetime of prior experience confirming such a statement, is completely overwritten by the solace of a mind in turmoil. We live in the risks we take; they benefit or disrupt the pattern of living we create. Any minor disruption that may take place is a thread, a tip, a finger, an unplaced edge of wire that, when pulled, will really cause us to unravel. This is our survival complex.

The threats are perceived and the mind plays havoc; possible eventualities bloom in our mind like an unshakable destiny that will fall from this singular decision. And so we do not risk, except in small measure, except when we need that to move forward, to survive according to the parameters of living we have established. This is the sickly nature of a mind that protects itself against imagined realities that it cannot possibly perceive. We act or do not act; that is our choice. But the ultimate shape that our actions take is overwrought, obligated to cause terror, to grow beyond the simple act in and of itself. We act out a context and imagine the plight of gain or loss as being overly massive. Things are too important – we are too important. And so we do not risk and we distort this embracing reality of adjustment to context. Failure, loss, embarrassment: yes, these experiences hurt, but not so much as you would think, not for as long as you would think. You adapt to your new context. Success and the sharp sweet joy of such a shape of success: yes, that is inclined towards a sense of over-pouring satisfaction, warmth, and contentedness, but maybe not as entirely as you would guess and not for as long as you would guess. We adapt to the good and the bad and they, in their turn, become the normal, the standard, the baseline regardless of vaguely remembered pasts. The past fires this insight, this passion for development, gives you the reflexive wisdom borne out of solitary years of continued refinement: but the ego operates out of present concept and every risk is a plight, a possibility of savaging or favouring that context. And the capacity to adjust, the real truth of that capacity, is never favoured when the sympathetic response to risk is inevitably poured over our conscious experience of life during stages of intention.

Chapter 4

Creativity (Within a Theoretical Framework of the Mind)

In order to create a useful depiction of creativity and the nature of its operation, we must turn to a basic deconstruction of the mind itself: the layers of its control and the nature of their interaction. When I refer to the mind in this section I am referring, in principle, to the levels of human experience. Before going into further detail I feel it will be useful to outline my conception of the basic levels of human experience. From this beginning, the recreation and development of such a theory of human consciousness will, in hope, flow in a more uniform and undistorted fashion.

Following from this introduction then, I believe there are three basic levels of human experience, or three levels of conception of the mind entire. The interaction of these three basic levels of experience forms the mind entire – forms the individual.

The Three Components of the Human Mind

The Physical Environment

The entire domain of existence extends well beyond the reach of individual human conception. There exists a flooding, massing, expansive universe that possesses origin and volition that is beyond the scope of the singular human mind. We interact with this environment, we move and chatter and refrain within it, we operate within its boundaries and take hold of those moving parts which are ours to utilise, but the universe itself is an entity in which we are the simple minutiae.

In equal measure, the universe entire is an extension of the concept of self, of the mind, for many reasons. The first of these is content. We are the stuff of the universe – its matter, its energy that is dappled throughout and within these roving human forms. The stuff of the universe is the stuff of us; we find our genesis within it. We ingest its energy to fund a lifetime of struggle and activity. We are formed from its matter and we will combust in the self-same universe that gave us form. A lifetime of activity is simply a lifetime of conversion: using this human body to develop, store, and exploit our small human pocket of energy for one or other creation, act, or design within the self-same universe. That there is such a concept as mastery simply relates more uniform effort, more uniform conversion into one source. We set aside a lifetime of expenditure to nourish and form this one source. You are matter and energy. Everything you do is a process of using that matter as a lever of action to fund your individual creations, a lifetime of orderly creations, and then pass into the self-same universal float of discombobulated energy and matter until there is again the development of form. In this, we are the stuff of our environments because that is a literal configuration.

A second reason that the mind, the conception of the mind, is simply an offshoot or a part of the physical environment is because of context – because of the influence of proximity. As much as the inputs of the environment have a role in our shape, we are desperate to believe in a prospect of greater control. That we are the first point of action, that we possess influence that is firstly internal and that the external environment is merely a utilitarian vessel without massive voice in our systems of control. But the reality, to a certain extent, is that we are the stuff of our environment because of influence, because of the proximity of certain influences, certain possibilities, opportunities, personalities. Our minds exist in their present configuration because of what is shown to us, fed to use, because of what we experience, how and when we experience, and what that represents given the subtleties of our individual culture of self-creation. This is not an entire and complete influence maybe: this is due to our capacity for interpretation and our capacity to move about within our environment, to become aware of our human ability to not only reject certain influences, but to move apart from the scope of such an influence – to physically uproot our place within the culture of influence that has created and maintains the overarching strands of our character. But, nonetheless, and in a very real sense, we are formed from a lifetime of influence that comes in to us from our physical environment. We adopt some universal norms as a methodology of behaviour, but there also exist the innumerable intimate influences that betray the formation of an individual variation of the human creature – that is you.

In a real sense there is no one like you: no one has undergone the same influences and attached to them the same significance or insignificance. You are an individual creation formed from a lifetime of influence from an extremely personal physical environment. Your conception of such an environment, the meanings you attach, are conceived internally; but you are born into the proximity of an incremental array of timing and influence that forms who you are – what you conceive as self. In this manner, your physical environment has a massive part to play in that formation. Your physical environment is as much a part of your mind as your thoughts, operates all around you, and extends the continual parade of options and recognition. The choices and the manners of synthesis are yours; and so we operate and react differently to similar environments, but they are never just the same. Your physical environment is your mind. Random generation has a part to play.

The third reason I believe the physical environment and the mind to be continual is because of individual creation. The influences of proximal cultures and countercultures, opinions, attitudes, personalities, possibilities, every shape of external input, are simply that: inputs. But it is the desire of the human mind to create; it must spend a lifetime of energy to give form movement; it spends its energy (with or without a greater sense of purpose) within the physical environment. It is our purpose to let loose our energy into that environment in which we found life, to create a sense of order, to unravel the need and purpose of our own individual evolution. And this we do; we create shapes in the chaos, and all that we create, all that we can and want to create, attaches to the precepts found in the environment – attaches to the collective mind. What we create is put into the world around us and therefore is an extension of that world. What the mind does, the end its creations find, is found in that self-same physical environment. We live to populate the external world with our creations and our activities; and since our outputs are to have their destiny, their final shape, in the outside world, are to contribute to some aspect of the external world in some useful manner or to allow us to find continuation within such a world, all that we do serves this external world – the order and care of such an external world. Given that the mind desires to create inputs into the physical environment – that when we spend or invest energy, the physical environment is the machine of investment, the arena of energy use – the physical environment is very much in a continuum with the seemingly individual mind. We live our lives to add order in this way, and all that finds life in the external environment – the cultures and vast systems of human control – are very much the physical shape of a collective mind that desires simple output. In this way the mind and the physical environment are continual. The mind feeds on the many inputs found in its environment and desires to create and adapt outputs that serve a function within that environment, that allow adaptation, that allow focused growth, that allow our continuation, that serve the collective. Our mind is the physical environment in this way – is inseparable from its greater shape.

In these respects we find that the mind is not so distillate: there is a reflexive arc of learning and output that runs throughout the human levels of experience. We are the stuff of our environments, not just in the guise of content but also of influence. The influences of an external world shape the mind to find and re-find its individual form. In turn the mind manipulates the external environment, creates patterns of action that change and shape that environment in great and small ways, borne of its own volition. Your physical environment is a massive part of your individual mind.

The Conscious Mind

Consciousness, or the conscious mind, is not a totality but simply a centre of reception and transmission. You live your life, for the most part, within your conscious experience of life itself. Of course, there are levers of influence that contort your perception of the external world, and there is an internal, subconscious concept of such a world that is continually adapted for present use, but it is the conscious mind that is the centre of volition – the centre of choice.

When we speak of the conscious mind, all of the influences that pervade it from external influence or from subconscious influence, the finality is that the conscious mind is simply a machine of choice. That is free-will; that is the centre of existence for the human that operates under the banner of any and every choice regardless of influence. These variables that counteract choice, that may exert such sway, never totally override the reality that such a choice exists. Therefore we are, in the end, creatures of volition.

So the conscious mind is the seat of human experience and the machine of human choice, and must exert effort in enacting such a pattern of choices: must scrutinise, must ignite action and must, in the end, bear the possibilities of success or failure born of such a choice – any and every choice. But the variables that come into the situation are not entirely self-contained: they are found in the physical environment (which we have discussed), and also within the subconscious web of understanding. The conscious mind simply connects these levels of human experience and allows them to exert influence upon each other through this vehicle of choice. It is the centre of consciousness, the centre of choice, and the point of transmission: connecting the outside world with the subconscious ideation of such a world.

The Subconscious Mind

The subconscious mind is the most mysterious of the layers of human experience. This is because it is not directly visible; all that we know is its influence. And yet we spend a lifetime building upon the concepts and patterns of knowledge found in this space of human existence. The problems we have, the idiosyncrasies, and the psychological plagues gestate within the subconscious, as do the points of creation – of what we could call genius. The subconscious is the point of ignition of human will and strife and involvement. The architecture of a concept of self and a concept of the greater world and how they interact to form the ego: these are all stored and given from the subconscious level of experience.

However, because we don’t know the subconscious, because we don’t operate within it or experience it with any sense of immediacy, because it is not really contained within the arena of tangible, logical, entirely knowable, it is questionable as to whether we should refer to it is a level of human experience. But the reality is that it funds all human life, is the life within us – demands development, alteration, and input. We could not compete and act without such a store of internal life. And so it may remain unknowable and yet it is the origin from which thoughts, from which a diminutive pattern of consciousness, finds its greater processing capacity. The subconscious mind stores our conception of greater things and it is simply for the conscious mind to interact with this deeper level of experience, to transmit its meaning into patterns of behaviour, to use its tools to build upon a legacy of survival, and to continually connect it to the outside world.

All feed from the physical world is processed by the conscious mind. The feed from the physical environment, when processed, is then stored and finds life and meaning within the subconscious cathedral of existence. That the conscious mind is the centre of connection for the greater store of subconscious knowledge and the lived experiences that operate and have effect in the physical environment is the real plan of existence. And so the subconscious mind is where the lessons are stored and creativity is sourced. It is the deeper level of existence that funds the conscious mind with a blueprint of life and existence, both singular and collective. The subconscious mind is the deep of human existence where all knowledge is set down to be drawn upon.

These are simply the layers of human experience, and in discussing the greater prospect of creativity it is necessary to weave between these layers – back and forth again and again. And so, I believe an initial deconstruction of the levels of human experience is a useful reference point for the discussion of creativity moving forward.

Creativity: An Overview

Creativity – the idea or understanding of creativity which we possess – is notably vague. When we look at the mind we see the physical environment, the immediate conscious mind, and then we see the subconscious mind. The physical environment is the canvas of interaction, the content of our minds, and the influences that shape such a mind.

The conscious mind is where our thoughts exist. It is our simple cognitive domain. It is filled by the emotions we possess and swayed entirely by these. It is combated by the weaknesses and bolstered by the strengths of our character. The conscious mind is also so heavily open to the impetus of boredom and may spend its time wandering through discordant patterns of restless wonder. Our thoughts may blink incessantly and without reason or purpose.

Then there is our subconscious mind. For any change to take place in us, we must change the internal wiring of our subconscious mind. We start with the ego defined blueprint of self: this is our own analysis of who and what we are. Then we have our estimation of the greater world and all of its many facets. And the subconscious mind stores every form of knowledge that is particular to perception of the world at large. And then there is the connection or correlation: how does the ego-defined self fit into the world it perceives? If this is unfavourable we have the capacity to lie to ourselves – to shake with denial internally. If this is favourable we have the capacity to exert influence. If that influence is choked by egotism then we, in turn, have the capacity for cruelty. If that influence is respectful of our origins – or the processes of growth to which we are subservient – then that influence has the potential of inspiration and the creation of value for others.

In any case, there is first the subconscious blueprint of self. Then there is the perception of our world and all of the stored and growing knowledge of that world. And there is the integration of our self concept and the world at large; wherein the boundaries of the two connect (self and other), there is the formulation of a complete mental complex.

The subconscious mind is the associative machine. And creativity is born of this process of association. We gather and store information on the many concepts of existence. The subconscious mind freely associates these concepts to breed life to unique information or interpretation. This new interpretation is then cross-referenced with our blueprint of self. If the information is consistent with our story, our experiences, if the life we have lived can validate the pattern of association, then the information is confirmed. Therefore, creativity is a universally recognised concept however the actual creation is very particular to the individual who creates. From this point the creative concept is fed into the conscious mind which can gain a slow awareness of the preformed association created internally.

However, it is the conscious mind that has the capacity to create difficulty. It is because the conscious concept, when untrained, is so flimsy. It is so open to distraction – it recoils from the prospect of dispensation of massive effort. It is fed by the blueprint of self and any weakness is manifested in behavioural patterns as well as any strengths. These are the inherent conditions of life and we must alter our habits at the conscious level, we must undergo massive effort to change our behaviour in order to feed an alteration into the ego-defined blueprint. Given the current state of our conscious mind and the influences to which it is exposed, we can readily reject the imposition of a creative signal that finds body in our subconscious and feeds into the conscious mind. A difficulty in creative amalgamation is almost always a difficulty in one core region of human design: consistent behaviour.

The reason for this is twofold. Firstly, it is the consistently held behaviours which actually feed the subconscious mind with new information. The degree of information to which the subconscious mind is exposed allows for greater and greater proliferation of possible associative patterns. Secondly, patterns of behaviour which are consistent and beneficial are habits. When we invest ourselves in positive habits, it is not just the learned information that flows from these habits which is beneficial, it is the alteration it allows within the subconscious blueprint. When we invest ourselves consistently, when we exert strain for a positive cause, we feed our belief system – our blueprint. The message we set down is that we value ourselves. We commit to sweat and fatigue in the name of a positive cause because we are a person of value. In this recreation of ourselves (our blueprint and belief system), the capacity of the conscious mind to actually instil the creative design into its external world is altered.

Yes, it is not just the learned information that adds to our perception of the external world that is valuable, it is also the alteration in the perception of self that flows from consistent behaviour. In this we see that consistent behaviour in the name of growth is really all. It continually upgrades our store of knowledge, which in turn benefits the associative machine. It upgrades our blueprint adding positive tendencies and interpretations to whom and what we are. And, as a result, the conscious mind itself is fed from a blueprint that installs belief in our action and potential to create.

So the associative machine is stronger and more comprehensive, and the ability of the conscious mind to synthesise the feed of creative output is that much greater. It will not reject creative output out of apathy or listlessness or doubt. It will take up the signal, contort it with reason, and then install it in the manner which is appropriate. Creativity is an expression of the growing self within the encompassing framework of conscious and subconscious.

The Beginnings of a Habit

You possess a mind that is naturally susceptible to specific inputs. You possess a mind that has preferences, wherein the associative machinery of the subconscious mind naturally gravitates towards the manipulation and contortion of specific types of information. To maximise creative potential you must operate within the bounds of your preferences. This point cannot be over developed or stressed enough. The associative machine is wired for preference because you do not have automatic control. It is the habit that you enjoy which creates the ravenous need for increasing input. The subconscious mind then, desires a continual upgrade to its base of information. On receiving such input it electrifies synapse after synapse with the collaborative feed and your knowledge grows as a living, organic, and desperate thing.

In this you must importune habits and consistencies that are indelibly linked to preference. If you do not, you will not have the same headlong subconscious impetus for development and creativity. Beyond this, if you are living a life out of control – which does not exist for these passions and vocations – the resulting impact on your conscious mind will also prove significant.

It is again because the conscious mind operates from the sting of many variables. Mood is one of these variables. You will become disconsolate over time if the many elements that make up your life are not consistent with who you want to be. As such, your capacity to bring to life any of the flooding signals of the subconscious associative machine will be notably decreased. There is also the subconscious, ego-defined blueprint to consider. You will harm your self-confidence if you do not exert the strength and tenacity to live a life of volition – of preference defined choice. This creates a negative self-image that flows from subconscious to conscious mind-state and decreases the energy and capacity for creative expression. There is also boredom which is so dominant in a life devoid of regular incurrence’s of creativity. Your circumstance – your life situation – becomes mundane. It does not activate you in the way that it could. The conscious mind reverts to incessant thought born out of this lack of stimulus.

The conscious mind is such an ephemeral thing – it is so open to outside suggestion. In accepting the external inputs of a world that would rebuke the possibilities of creation and passion to maintain a status quo, the conscious mind may deride its own patterns of behaviour. But the patterns of behaviour themselves are the only important variable. There will be many instances in which you seek to spurn your own development due to the insecurity or doubt or the general discomfort of external force, but as long as you remain pressed within the light, quick, and benevolent habits then you will progress.

So herein we find the fundamental structure of developing habit. Beginning in the deepest levels – in the bowels of the human mind – there is the deepening prospect: the subconscious. Although the many elements of such are complex there are two overlapping frameworks of which this is composed: the ego-defined blueprint of self (wrought with all of the experiences of a lifetime, it is the internal composition of self), and then there is the perception of the world at large (and the store of knowledge specific to its many elements). The ego itself derives its internal picture from how you relate to the standards of the external world set into many derivatives. There are baselines for your perception of human value that fit into your perceived world and how you relate to these. If you feel you are above or below the average (your baseline) this defines the extent of your egotism or excessive modesty and self-consciousness. The ego itself is the integration of self-estimation and the external world.

However, the estimation of the external world and all of its many facets are explicitly separate. The standards of the outside world and what is acceptable given your position and relation to it define your self-image, but the actual external world is separate from you and you maintain many individualised chambers of information specific to that external world. The subconscious mind, again, is this associative machine and it relates and overlaps the many pools of information and, given greater exposure, can create unique amalgams specific to you. These amalgams are then cross-referenced with your own experience of the world and confirmed or rejected. If rejected they are returned to the melting pot; if confirmed they acquire life in your interpretation of the world at large and feed into the conscious mind to breed awareness.

This is the next level of habit formation: the conscious mind is given these ideas, receives this signalling from the subconscious. The creative amalgamation has no real value if it cannot proliferate in the conscious, living world. And so, the conscious mind is encouraged to utilise the creative impulse to create something tangible borne of this idea that flows out of the subconscious to become something physical – some tangible spoken ideal that can carry influence and primarily create value. What is fundamental is the conscious mind’s ability to impose the creative impulse on its physical environment. Basic human mental development is to retrain the conscious mind in this fashion so that it can better establish these signals from the subconscious mind.

This is where things become difficult. As I have said, for any consistent change to emerge, the internal blueprint must alter at the level of the subconscious self-conception. You must change your blueprint of self. But you work and think at the level of the conscious mind and cannot manipulate the blueprint so readily. In order to alter this blueprint, working at the level of the conscious mind, there must be consistent signalling. You must transmit a consistent feed into the subconscious mind to create adaptation. The only way to set down consistent change that is transmitted from conscious mind to subconscious self-conception is to set down habits or consistent patterns of behaviour in physical space. It is not simply the things you do that define who you are: it is the things you do consistently that define who you are. Your conscious mind can establish and maintain habits of positive action in this way.

The grind, then, is described as the difficulty that exists within the dominantly lazy and unwilling conscious mind (which we all initially possess) to maintain such habits of action. Positive habits however, when maintained, create a stronger conscious mind – less open to the sway or impingement of circumstance, mood, boredom, laziness, or any stimulus that would incite a regression. As the habit is instilled there is then laid down the two feedback loops.

At the level of the physical exercise of such habits the explicit information specific to the habit or exercise is transmitted. It is then received by the conscious mind. Given the level of flow in the experience, the information is translated in a cleaner, less diluted form to the subconscious mind, wherein such information is added to the worldview conception.

Again at the level of the physical experience, the conscious experience of strain and/or the joy of investment of the conscious process are transmitted. Essentially, the subjective weight of the experience is transmitted to the conscious mind. The conscious mind, in maintaining habit in the face of its own real or imagined adversity (both essentially amount to the same thing), grows proportionally in its ability to activate in the face of difficulty. As this is maintained consistently over time, the subconscious blueprint is activated. The conception of self is altered, self belief is generated, and negative character traits are reformed specific to the exercise or experience you are maintaining. Again, as the self-image is enhanced, how you relate to the world is altered. Your self-conception for any number of character traits now rises above the preset baseline interpretation of how you should relate to the world given your general position. As such you get an ego boost relative to your situation. It is how you maintain yourself and commit to the creation of value devoid of ego gratification that determines the strength of your character.

This is simply my conception of human development at the three basic levels of experience: the physical experience, the conscious experience, and the subconscious experience. I hope to build upon the framework established within the introduction but to clarify the systems of development in a more systematic manner. The discussion in this section, however, revolves around the concept of creativity, and without establishing a framework of experience in this way it would be impossible to discuss the creative process in any meaningful manner.

The Creative Process

Gathering Information

The creative process begins at the level of physical experience and the conscious interaction with physical experience. The creative process begins with the gathering of information. From the beginning of our life and our development we have invested ourselves in this conscious experience of our world. We have formulated a world-view from the knowledge we have collected, observed, and experienced as the actual events of our lives unravelled. Every second of every day the mind is working to create new stocks of information to add to its lifelong interpretation of the physical world in every respect and discipline of study and evaluation. It is also working ceaselessly to compound its existing knowledge to insure the internal perception of the world is up to date.

Of course, we experience life at these same three levels of existence. There is the event in physical space. This may or may not include us – we may be observers or participants (but first-hand experience is more palpable; it forces a greater degree of conscious interpretation as it involves that which is most valuable to your mind: you). There is then the conscious interaction and interpretation of such an influx of new information, new stories and procedures. There is finally the subconscious experience: objective information (especially when likely to be recurring and explicitly important) is added to your perception of the world at large and its many facets. If the experience involves a direct action or contribution on your part then it may feed into your ego-defined blueprint as it is largely the experiences that you have that create or build upon your inherent characteristics.

This is the mechanism through which information is transmitted, interpreted, sorted, and stored. And this process recurs across a lifetime. Our conception of the world however, beyond the borders of intimate contact, is quite incomplete and certainly less legitimate than we may believe it to be, until we have direct contact with experience. That is where the bounds of habit come into play. With the development of habit, trained on a specific vocation or pursuit, we come to know the intricacies embedded in the firmament: we come to see the specific thing entirely, and not merely what we think it will be. In this way we are engaged with the firsthand and so the level of conscious interpretation is more focused, and the level of subconscious digestion of pertinent packets of information is more complete and comprehensive. We engage within a pursuit and come to know its every line. The more consistent we are in this process, the greater the feed of new information relevant to the pursuit.

This is how we gather information, how we can only hope to harbour and invent in specialised areas of development. You are first the habit you create, then your conscious experience of such a habit, and finally you are the subconscious interpretation. You can only commit meaningful gains to the body of human knowledge when you are suitably entrenched in the subject and live and breathe that subject.

So, in this respect, the first step in any creative process is familiarity – is the gathering of information specific to the topic or subject in which you specialise. Again this should operate on preference; if it does not then that will breed disinterest and the gathering of pertinent information will become that much more arduous. It is as if your conscious mind works harder, builds to a more acute state of lethargy in subjects that are not matched to interest. And the information that is passed to the subconscious is diluted to a greater extent by the humming conscious rhythms of self-obsessed thought. The information passed to the subconscious is again incomplete to a greater degree, and so associative patterns will not ravage that information in such an intricate and comprehensive manner.

The interesting idea when it comes to the gathering of information is that the associative machinery of the mind is not confined to subject. Of course, the associative subconscious creates ideas and structures of creativity that are broadly framed on one topic for development, but it works in such a pattern that it will bring in information on a multitude of parallel or possibly seemingly irrelevant topics, to bolster the structure of its creative design. The most interesting and most muscular creative conceptions often draw from multiple sources. That is why the gathering of information, while trained on a specific pursuit and devout to the brevity and sharpness of individual mastery, can be improved upon by a mind that seeks new developments and new insights across a greater spectrum of study.

And as we are human and subjected to the many facets and perceptions of a complex external world, we cannot isolate inputs related to the gathering of information. Our subconscious perception of the world does not depend on one pursuit of development; however it may put that to the fore. But the more ceaseless you are in your pursuit of every kind of input, the hungrier you are for broad development, the more you can add to your field of study. In simple terms, the associative machine feeds on all of its inputs and all of its content and attempts to make meaningful connections which are then cross referenced with your life experience for reasonable acceptance – the richer and deeper the stock of information, the more comprehensive the creative conclusions and adaptations.

So the first step of creativity is gathering information. In order to make a meaningful contribution you should specialise in a narrow band of pursuits to which you hope to contribute or add value. But it is the ceaseless hunger for growth that allows your conscious experience to spread beyond these areas of specialty into the many colours of life and experience. As such the store of information that is transmitted to the subconscious mind can breed new perspectives within your specific fields of mastery. In order to become truly creative you must have both focus and variety. You must have both a specialised and hard-earned core of knowledge, and the many outlying facets of continuous study that can add to your specialised knowledge in ways you might not expect.

To summarise: gathering knowledge is the first step of creativity. In order to do this you must foster a habit/specific area of development that commits to the rules of mastery progression (see later section). You must also have a hunger for the development of the mind through many areas of study and development that do not compromise the habit that you are developing. The deeper and more specific the mass of content committed from physical experience/study to conscious interpretation to subconscious worldview, the more the associative machinery of the subconscious mind has with which to work.

The Conscious Mind

I thought it would be valuable, before discussing the associative machinery of the subconscious mind, to again discuss the role of the conscious mind. The conscious mind is easily the most fragile component of the creative process. It serves as the link between the physical world and the immense depth of the subconscious. It is the transistor in human experience. Its whims are ephemeral, its reception or rejection of feed from either the subconscious mind or possible experiences in the external world is sporadic. It connects everything and is the focal point of our existence and yet it is so open to sway.

We begin at the level of the gathering of new information. We have experiences in physical space and it is dominantly our conscious mind that chooses exactly what we expose ourselves to. This choice is subject to many influences that boil down to the general fluctuations in emotion (doubt, sadness, joy, etc.), the preset self-conception, and overall energy levels. This cocktail of inputs in the conscious drive contends its momentary make up that may be notably inconsistent. However, given that our conscious mind has a consistent feed from our ego-defined blueprint, there is a level of constancy, or a baseline, from which emotion and energy levels cause fluctuation; and deviation in this baseline will usually return or regress to such a baseline. The only way to employ lasting alteration is to change the subconscious blueprint (through the establishing of habits or consistent signalling). The conscious mind, with its baseline capacity for activation in that moment, then interacts with the environment and responds to the level of resistance it perceives to either commit to or reject the experience. The experience itself is that point at which we extract information, on a specific topic, from our physical environment.

Again, the only manner in which to cultivate an alteration is establishing habit or consistent signalling. As such we select a specific pursuit based on preference. We instil it as a habit in our daily or weekly schedule. The more common it is, the more devout you are, the more quickly the conscious mind builds from establishment to maintenance. Establishing a habit takes more conscious grind than maintenance of a habit. The conscious mind then, has established a firm link to the source of information in the physical environment. The dominant mechanism used to establish a habit is that of discipline. So the first step within the conscious mind is to choose to establish a positive habit and then to grind through the resistance inherent in its internal and external conditions to move from the stages of choice, to establishment, to maintenance.

From this point then, there is the actual conscious digestion of new information. As I have said, the conscious mind is the focal point of our experience of life, and all information taken in at the gathering/learning phase of creativity is done so by the conscious mind. It is also processed by the self-same conscious mind. Feeling (emotion) and thoughts digest the new information of experience, and mix with it as it passes through the filter of consciousness. My subjective experience of flow suggests that, at levels of optimal investment, there is very little need for conscious interpretation of inputs and the information passes cleanly through to the subconscious mind. You are invested entirely without distraction and perfectly balanced within the gathering/learning/physical experience. In any case, the conscious mind sets the habit in spite of resistance and is also the processing plant for intake of information derived from such pursuits before it can be delivered to the subconscious mind. This is the explicit role the conscious mind plays in the practice and processing of endeavour.

There is also the implicit role to consider. As I have said, the conscious mind acts through resistance to establish a pattern. This is firstly internal resistance, and secondly external resistance. The internal resistance is composed by a baseline established within the subconscious mind: an ego-imposed baseline of character traits such as discipline and courage. The conscious mind is then subject to the additional impetus of emotion and energy levels to have a certain momentary level of activation. If the resistance from the external environment overcomes this threshold then you will not act. The only manner in which to alter the ego-imposed baseline that exists in the subconscious mind is consistent signalling. This is done through the establishment of habits, the continuous execution of which requires an alteration in the way you see yourself. Upon consistent activation of such a habit, the conscious mind communicates change to the subconscious which in turn alters its ego-defined view of self. This updates the baseline for activation around which the other variables create mild to moderate fluctuation. So there exists this implicit role of the conscious mind in communicating change to the subconscious and altering the defined view of self and what is possible for self.

So therein we see the purpose of the conscious mind is in the gathering of material for the subconscious associative machine. The conscious mind, in this respect, is a tool which we use to interact with the physical world; and its efficiency is dependent on a number of variables. Generally it could be stated that the development of the human being as a whole is a direct reflection of the development of the conscious mind. And the development of the conscious mind has its purpose in learning. This is very much every kind of learning. Learning is how we interact with our environments, how open we are to every type of experience, and, ultimately, how much we take from these experiences (as well as how complete and accurate is our accrual of this information).

This also infers a unique suggestion: natural born genius – or a natural tendency toward an inherent standard of brilliance – essentially relates the quality and order of the associative machine within the subconscious mind. The associative machine has two primary methods of activation. Firstly as a machine of convergence to deconstruct intricate problems that call for an inherent system of pattern recognition of one variety or another. And secondly as a machine of divergence that creates vast strands of association – linking particle after particle of information to create a unique amalgam. It follows from this that the creative machine of association, that operates on the basis of pattern recognition (logic-based intelligence) or pattern creation (creative intelligence), must retain the capacity for both manners of information processing. However, in most cases, it may have a greater capacity in one area than the other. Regardless of the inherited qualities of the subconscious mind – the natural order and connectivity it imbibes and breeds – the centre of achievement will always remain within the conscious mind. It is to grind, to break apart, to continually invest, all born of a discipline that is focalised within the conscious mind. The conscious mind is the first and most important point of all human achievement (that is bolstered or impugned by physical circumstance). A more virile subconscious patterning is of course beneficial, but does not correlate entirely to achievement. Certainly not to the extent that does the human will for evolution that is developed and focused within a conscious experience of life that continually upgrades the dual subconscious stores of self-perception and gross knowledge of existence.

In summary: the first stage of the creative process is the gathering of information. This is carried out by the conscious mind. The ability of the conscious mind to expose itself to development in this way is defined by the ego-defined blueprint of self. This relates the character traits of the individual and informs you of your own self-imposed (as well as more realistic) limitations. This ego blueprint is in the subconscious mind and is constantly fed into the conscious mind. It is the lever around which we move all objects in physical space. If you want to grow you work on this. There are also the variables of energy levels and emotion that act upon your ability to actualise in any given moment. This is the machinery of the conscious mind and the way to interact with the physical environment and the subconscious (both self-perception and world-view including all skills and informational attributes relevant to this), is manipulating the conscious machinery to establish consistent patterns. This is not simply limited to actual activity (though that is the prime mover): this is the way you think at the conscious level; this is the consistent nature of your thoughts which can be mostly useless or even negative, or they can be positive and re-enforce a positive ego-defined blueprint at the conscious level.

However, in discussing the conscious mind as above, and repeatedly compounding the theoretical manner of its operation, we are primarily discussing inputs. The creative process itself is more concerned with unique outputs. In a hope to understand this we must delve again deeper into the entire framework of the mind and discuss the associative machinery of the subconscious.

An Overview of the Subconscious

The subconscious mind is that which exists below conscious thought and yet informs conscious thought. There is far more to the mind than that which exists in the momentary activation of thought. There is the categorisation of life itself – the view of self and every fold of experienced existence. And we can sense this: that there exists a world of information below the surface that feeds everything that we are and everything that we know about the world. Conscious thought, the conscious mind, is just the momentary expression of this, or what links it to relevant moments we experience in physical space. A greater degree of intelligence may simply be nothing more than a more lucid connection between the conscious and subconscious mind, and a more powerful system of association within that subconscious mind. In this depiction of intelligence we can feed information into the subconscious in a more comprehensive (and what is vitally important) more orderly and organised fashion. But, in addition, and what we have as yet failed to discuss, we can pull information out of the subconscious dilution of the world at large in a more fluid way – that is less diluted by thought – and with a more automatic/greater sense of cognitive ease.

For no reason beyond simplicity, I have divided the focusing of the subconscious mind into two fields which converge (to develop the ego). The first of course is the view of self. This is everything that you are and everything that you have been and become through your experiences in physical space (and the preformed tendencies of individual genetic composition which cannot be completely ignored). This is who you have been, who you are now, and who you believe you can become. Every proportion of your interaction with the environment feeds this and is fed from this. This is your subconscious form, which fills your conscious capacity, which dominates how you act and interact with the world around you.

Then there is the perception of the world, which is vastly more complex. From the moment we first think and experience the world as something separate and specific, that has rules and procedures and form beyond us, we endeavour to create an entire and complete picture of that frantic, dangerous external space. This is simply for survival, for cohabitation and procreation, for a secure existence in a familiarity. And when we are again stricken by the strangeness of it, when we are enveloped by alien situations and environments, our mind quickens to the pace of that new environment, to understand its every intricacy and obstacle, so again familiarity breeds security and there is very little chance of the threat of death, disease, and/or discomfort. There are procedures to follow, there is a preset manner of interaction and acceptance, and there are inherent standards within such a depiction of the external world. This is the external environment in the greater sense and we are ravenous in our desire to know both our external environment and our relevance to that construct.

As such, we feed our growing knowledge of the external world with specifics: with specialisations. We foster greater and more intimate stores of knowledge on specific practices, on specific pursuits. These are our skills. This is not the ego. This is the manner in which we interact with the external world in a more individualised sense. It is formed through habit and therefore can upgrade the ego-defined view of self, but it still exists in our conception of the world and what is relevant to it. It is one of the infinite procedures of the world that allows us to fit. And if you want to operate within the socialised world, you must have an area of expertise not possessed by all others, so that you can provide a service and thereby create value. Otherwise you are isolated in the mind’s perception.

So the external world, in our subconscious formulation, has procedures, practices, and codes. These are not only relevant to the highly specialised pursuits of mastery, but to all aspects of life. These are the relevant spheres of existence within the subconscious mind: the view of self (specifically of character traits and who you have become through experience and genetic creation), and the view of the world (and its many operational standards). Where these two segments of the subconscious mind interact, like two circles in a Venn diagram, is where the ego exists. The ego is simply how well you fit into life, how your perception of self matches the expected standards for someone of your standing in your external environment. Imagine the environment as setting a great number of standards of behaviour across many categories. For simplicity we can divide these in two: external and internal quality norms. But first we will briefly discuss the origin of the ego as it exists within us.

The Origin of the Ego

When we were infants, we saw the world as an extension of ourselves. We did not believe in separatism. The world manifested our desires because they too were its desires. When we were hungry, we were fed. When thirsty, we drank. And when we were unhappy the world endeavoured to cheer us up – to return us to our previous state of happiness. We did not see ourselves as separate, dissoluble beings, lying in a crib: we were just a part of the energy of the world. When we moved the world itself moved. Our parents were not separate but an extension of ourselves. All things flowed from our command and to know us so intimately, what other conclusion could the mind draw beyond the fact that we were the world and the world was us? There were no dividing lines, otherwise how could everything flow in such a way?

Eventually however, a separation did begin to occur. Sometimes, when hungry we were not fed, when thirsty we did not drink, and when unhappy the world was careless for our unhappiness remained. Our parents seemed, or began to seem, other – to have needs of their own, to have things to do that somehow did not include us. When we moved the world did not move and we felt pain. What was this – pain? How could we feel this if all things were connected? The world cast off our tyrannical reign, separated itself by denouncing our every desire. How? How can we be separate? So the fits of rage begin as the world doesn’t react so intimately to us (the terrible two’s). It doesn’t know us. How can there be cruelty? How can there be separation? What if I am an “I”, and the world is “them”?

Within the scope of this evolving consciousness lies the child: both innocence and investment of a newly foundered “idea of self”. The ego, the self-image, the intimate knowledge of separatism grows. And, beyond this, the world around us actually begins to react, negatively or positively, to our behaviour. We are irrevocably imbued with identity. We know that we can add to this identity, to character traits through behaviours that are impelled or condemned by those around us. But we have no reference frame for anything beyond that which is natural within us. What is natural is unfiltered connection to life; society creates a form of bondage, tempering our character so we can co-exist within the greater aspect.

With no pre-formed model we must rely on the preternatural formulation of what is right and wrong that is shown to us. This is instructed, invariably, by our parents (and to a lesser extent, society at large). There are of course flaws, there are always misinterpretations, nobody is perfect but generally they place down the touchstone – coal and diamonds. We see their action and then we replicate, with a slight voyeuristic need for individual expression contained in the replication. None the less we form our actions, first and foremost, as a replication of the expression of our role models, as to what is correct function in an alien world.

We are creatures of choice however, implored by the idea of originality. And so, beyond behaviour that is insisted upon, we choose our behaviour and test societal rule, both in the microcosm of the home (where our most intimate behaviour is created) and in the macrocosm of society at large. Depending on the reaction to our experiments of behaviour we formulate our person. If we commit bad deeds and there is nobody to correct this behaviour then this behaviour becomes normalised. If we commit kind acts which are still not recognised then this behaviour becomes condemned by degrees within us. We can become self-serving: trying to bleed a response out of our environment in relation to what is right and wrong. If the correct consequence and balanced streams of care are not formatted we can become somewhat offset.

Nature is the biology of our survival, comfort, and procreation – it impels continued existence. Nurture is our training as social beings. Nurture within loosened, under-wrought constraints breeds disillusionment, distain, and a generalised misanthropy; although this may be subtle as with all origin of the great distortions of natural life.

The impingements and delicacies of the ego are then formed. They are more lucid, plastic, when we are children; but as we age we allow our behaviours to become that much more concrete. What is subtle is (or can be) indefinite. However, the crossed lines that exist between how we are raised at home and what society believes (if, of course, a mismatch exists) create some internal friction. If the destructive generalisations learned in the home are condemned in school then our internalised picture is decried by an updated reference list. Society becomes a second in command for our budding framework of right and wrong; choice becomes a tangible issue and not entirely subjugated by the parochial influence of home rule (whether that be good or bad). Through socialising then we have a choice as our reference frame is indeed broadened.

We are at first what we are made to be and then what we choose to be. The choice may be subconscious and coveted by our nature but in the end it is still there. That is the freedom that humanity exerts upon itself. The ego, the identification and (at times) fabulation of self become an interminable process within us. The view of self, from whatever angle we choose, is a powerful indicator of that which we have the will to become.

Your identity is, without contempt or refinement, a weighted collection of decision and action. This is informed by nature, biological family, and the greater societal family. Colloquialisms are the mode of language and triviality is obsession. We form ego from the earth of home life and from the sky of other. Our choices, our actions, and our view of self are consciously narrated within this schema. But choice is what breeds individuality. Individuality breeds responsibility to the self. So knowledge of the blueprint is all.

The arcane tabulation of a blueprint, a prefigured code of existence – that which is meritorious is populated, that which is arid is eviscerated – we create this based on what is important within society, family, and self. But what is important is to know, ultimately, that the self is the first port of call and not the last. Who you are now is, to an even extent, that which you’ve chosen to be but not (as a necessity) that which you will always be. The purpose of our upbringing, in a diluted sense, is to inform us regarding the principles of morality and virtue and to allow us to be self-sustaining (hopefully within these concepts). The ego derives its popular notions from how well you fill the context of life. Who are you – both to yourself and others?

The central tenants of ego are that it continually evolves and that it is hard to pin down. We begin with the latter: it is hard to pin down, simply because we have the capacity to lie. We lie to others first and then to ourselves. We do this, primarily, because there exists in many the belief that who we are now we will always be; and if that has not yet aligned itself with the judicious context of life then it never will. We lie because we feel shame. Paradoxically then, we see that the ego evolves: we consistently take on variations in our beliefs but they all affix themselves to the same preverbal context. Although the manifestations and undulations of life mutate outward, you stay the same person inwardly.

Your blueprint then, is a fixture and will not beget any great transfiguration unless honesty prevails. Who are you? Why are you? How can you become: with neither greater than nor less than assumptions? Once your identity of self is truly aligned with actual self then growth can proliferate unperturbed.

External and Internal Quality Norms

When I refer to external and internal quality norms in this manner, I am simply creating a frame for understanding the creation of the ego. The ego is a derivative of your mind’s interaction with the world. This may be an over-simplification but it may still serve as a useful mechanism in relating some of the fundamental tenets of how you see yourself. In this view, I am suggesting that the world around you sets a number of baselines of what is acceptable in how we relate to our environment. I have divided these into external and internal quality norms. If we fall below certain baselines our ego shrinks, if we rise above others our ego grows. It is the mind’s wish to have a dominant ego, as that is more cohesive in a competitive world. External quality norms (external baselines) refer to that which can be seen, that which is on display and directly observed by the external world. This may include your job and the level of specialisation required to do that job. This may include your assets, income level, and overall wealth. This may include your social standing and the type of friends and acquaintances you keep. This may include your standing within the community. This may include your intimate relationships. This may include where and how you live. This may include your health. This may include your physical appearance and all aspects relevant to physical appearance. This may include your hobbies. This is everything that is open and chronicles how well you match up to the standards of the physical world. This list is not by any means exhaustive. Given how you perceive the external world and interpret its standards, this is a medium to give the mind a sense of place and direction; this is a medium to create the ego. I am certainly not saying that this is the correct way to interpret the world: I am simply suggesting that this may be the manner in which we understand ourselves, or a dilution of that understanding. There are baselines set for these and many other external qualities and where you rank in relation to these baselines creates a type of external value. What is important to note is that, in the case of the ego, this is a self-assigned value, subject almost entirely to self-perception. It is the self, the mind’s understanding of the world and what it needs to survive and be comfortable that invests any degree of importance into this construct. Beyond a certain point, such an ego-defined view of external value creates either a great degree of uncertainty and unhappiness or, at the other end of the scale, a crushing sense of vanity. It is difficult to achieve mental balance when so heavily invested in such a view of the world and of yourself.

There is then the baseline of internal quality to consider. An internal quality baseline, or an idea of such, relates specifically to character attributes. Everyone possesses an array of flexible or inflexible qualities that are the very manifestation of who they are. Again, in our assessment of the external world, we perceive that there exist norms for certain character attributes. These are not emotions but manners of identifying who you are. In these terms we assess ourselves as having a certain degree of intelligence, ambition, courage, adaptability, ingenuity, and so on. Given what we view as baselines or averages for such qualities in society at large (the macrocosm of society represented by the microcosm of the company we keep), we create a subconscious assessment of the strength of our mind and its many qualities as they relate to the perceived baselines for such qualities in the world around us. This is a notably vague assessment and could never be created by exact values. We certainly could not assess the average intelligence, or discipline, or the average of every other quality that exists in people at large and then compare our own exact values for such characteristics as they relate to the norm. It is more of an ethereal assumption of norms related to what we experience in our interaction with the world around us. Given our exposure to such qualities in others throughout the history of experience we possess, the mind creates a form of intensity matching, wherein the overall baseline is given a specific value, as is your own specific value for such a quality. And then you see how you compare (favourably or unfavourably) and the ego takes either a positive inclination or a negative one given the result. This is how you assess the overall quality of your mind and the assessment is subconscious and in turn provides (or attributes to) the subconscious ego. Furthermore, the impression of such is based entirely in the realm of experience. It is within the scope of experience that you have exercised the quality and capacity of your mind, as well as observed that of others. You have a conscious interpretation of such events that were fed directly into the subconscious store of self-perception. That is why habit, which establishes a heightened sense of competence through repetition, is so important in the alteration of your self-perception and the resulting ego-defined blueprint.

The idea of internal quality norms is a little less straightforward than that of external quality norms. It may be useful to provide an example of how I feel these internal quality norms develop. In the development of your worldview, through observation and experience, you have gathered information on the patterns, habits, and achievements of others that were related to specific character attributes, in the case of this example: intelligence. Your conscious mind digested this continued view of the intelligence of others through their actions. It perceived certain individuals as falling very low on the intelligence spectrum and others very high. This was directly enacted by the action and results of such individuals. Over time you created, in your subconscious mind, through the conscious digestion of such information, a set spectrum of intelligence. This had a low-end, a high-end, and an average level around which most individuals seemed to fluctuate (or a mean value). Given your own interaction with the external world you have also created an estimation of your own intelligence through the same manner: experience, conscious assessment of experience including results of that experience, and the feed to self-perception. This was then cross-correlated with the subconscious spectrum of intelligence. How you fell on the spectrum creates this interpretation of your own intelligence. If you are below the normal level you identify within yourself less value than the average and your ego takes a hit on this point. As a result you must make compensations in other areas of your life in which you believe you have a greater capacity. This whole process is set in the subconscious mind and although you may conceptualise yourself as intelligent or possessing a certain degree of intelligence, you certainly do not actively commit to these steps.

The manner in which we turn experiences in the physical world into a spectrum of quality related to a specific character attribute (e.g intelligence) is through a process of intensity matching. Our impression of the magnitude of certain achievements or certain blunders creates an intensity of impression that is then cross-correlated with this growing subconscious spectrum. And we could activate this consciously if we wished. If we, for example, witnessed a colleague or friend complete a doctoral dissertation, we may assume them to possess a high level of intelligence that is somewhat rarefied. As such we could give them a perceived score of intelligence based on our own internal spectrum. For the sake of simplicity we could suggest that this ranks as a 7 in our overall impression of intelligence levels (the lowest (1) to the highest (10)). Based on this we see them as considerably above the baseline of intelligence we recognise in the world around us (which may, for example, be theorised as a 4). This, of course, is simply an example set from my perceived worldview; there are differences in interpretation given the individual, which I will discuss shortly. At any rate, intelligence is certainly not defined by or limited to academic qualifications. The same process could be applied to any number of achievements related in some way to intelligence.

There are a few difficulties specific to this somewhat vague conception of internal quality norms as it relates to the ego. The first is that character attributes are rarely seen in isolation. Therefore, it is difficult to create norms that are unbiased and completely isolated. Namely, the mind’s perception of baselines can assign significant weight to certain characteristics in the face of certain achievements that may be inaccurate. And so, no two individuals have the same exact perception of what is normal for every character attribute and where they stand. This can create an unclear view of the world around us and what is possible. For example, we may hear about someone who started their own business and became a millionaire by 25. We may then assign a great degree of value to their specific intelligence and believe that, as we fall far below that level of intelligence on our subconscious spectrum, such an achievement is beyond our reach. In reality however, although intelligence was an integral, it certainly was not the only component. There was also a great degree of resilience, ambition, practical knowledge, and a large tolerance for discomfort amongst many other attributes and skills. As such, this process of intensity matching created in the subconscious mind may overweight certain attributes and underweight others giving an inadequate view of what is possible. We all perceive the world differently.

Another problem with this construct is that we have the capacity to lie to ourselves. Yes, we create such a construct as best we can. We create a subconscious spectrum for certain character attributes that is accurate to the extent that is possible. However, we then commit to a process of deceit in relation to our own assessment of self. We assess ourselves as falling higher (or lower) on this scale in relation to the norm or baseline. This is because intensity matching is opaque and we falsify our assessment of self, which is not backed by experience. This form of internal dishonesty may create a deluded ego and is a direct product of a fixed mindset. We don’t believe that we possess the capacity to develop these character attributes and are set in place. We cannot handle the realistic assessment because it degrades the ego to too great an extent and so we lie. The idea is to create a self-perception that is entirely honest and then realise that you develop upon these baselines in the same way you develop in any respect: practice, habit.

Another difficulty in this construct, or the manner in which it fails to maintain consistency between individuals, is that, depending on worldview, certain attributes have more weight and value than others. For some ambition is highly ranked, for others it may not be given a great degree of importance. For some resilience is a primary attribute, for others they have had no need for it and so it does not fit into their estimation of what is vital. The variations may be due in part to the culture or what is immediately important in your environment, as well as patterns of compensation. In the first we are social creatures and certain character attributes are highly praised and valued in certain environments and neglected in others. Secondly, given our natural genetic capacity for growth and adaptation in certain respects and our difficulty in maintaining even modest standards in others, we create character attribute preferences. We value certain character attributes highly if we possess such naturally and neglect those qualities in which we are less fluent or prodigious by design. The weighting is different for everyone.

The final difficulty I would impose is how multi-faceted is this system of assessment. It is the thousand colours or shades of colour that feed the one mind. Character attributes are so various and so multitudinous that it is hard to create an accurate categorisation. After all, it is our language that labels these character attributes and creates a system of order. But they are all a product of the one mind and suggest its capacity for particular types of achievement. The ego is created from these internal quality norms which are so various among individuals that no two individuals will possess the same exact fluctuations across every form or identification of attribute. I hope it is becoming clear that the external quality norms (achievements open to the assessment and criticism of the outside world) are simply manifestations of these internal attributes. It is first the character attributes that undergo alteration, and then it is the life situation you want or possess that manifests the waves of vibration from the internal movement.

The final point I would like to make in this, is in relation to the discussion of ego. I wanted to create a subjective and recognisable discussion of what I believed the ego to be. In the appreciation of internal quality norms we are discussing nothing more than honesty. Having an honest interpretation of your baselines that neither under-weights your actual human quality nor over-weights it. You are (to the best of your ability) the honest interpretation of the capacity of your mind as reflected by these many attributes. As long as you exist within the condition of the thinking, pulsing mind, you are the ego. Any attempt to inflate above, or shrink below your actual levels (that are manifest in experience at any rate) will not serve human development. And then you act from where you exist internally. You do not need to talk, you do not need to boast or undermine, you simply act and grow in accordance with your current position. Do not read too much into the plaudits or the criticism; you are simply you and act in accordance with the overall level of your mind. And always with recognition of the fact that you can develop upon this; that the mind is a product of experience and genetics, one of which is directly manipulated by sheer human investment.

A Note on the Importance of Environmental Context

Your immediate environmental context is the baseline for self-perception. Everything that you see and experience in your immediate environment formulates the external and internal standards. You are very much a reflection of your external environment because it creates the immediate depiction of the world in which you exist. It simply creates the norms your mind perceives, and then you adapt yourself to such norms. This is not simply true of external quality norms, but internal quality norms as well.

That is why the company you keep, the context in which you invest, the environment that surrounds you, is so gigantic in your self-estimation. It creates what is seen as normal. And then you fluctuate around this level. And if what you perceive as normal (based on exposure) is mundane, under-developed, and sickly, then you will adapt to such parameters, or in the very least you will find difficulty in fluctuating far above or below such.

A huge part of becoming a constantly growing and developing human being is seeking surroundings and human connections that constantly encourage this growth. The reason is simple: what you see every day, those with whom you interact every day, manipulate the standards of your life. And then you will push to maintain self-same standards. And you think you are self-made and push out of dishonesty, uncertainty, cynicism, all of the mediocrity of life purely on your own merit. Or you feel that you are thoroughly rotten, deceitful, and useless. But self-perception is formed, to a large extent, by surroundings. It is the environment in which you dwell that has had the heavy hand in your formation, and therefore the current ideation of everything that you are – be that positive or negative. What you have created of yourself – what you have physically done to develop and build the self – is informed and updated over and over again by the many variables or a fluid environment. Effort is only a part of the story – vital of course, but maybe not entire.

The truth is that you extend or develop this need for growth within your current context. As you develop, you push beyond environmental norms established by those whom you know and regard intimately. You push beyond the immediate baselines of context. And then you seek an alteration in environment that mirrors this development. As such, you are now in a new reflection of the external world with new standards of external and internal quality. The people in your life, like it or not, will change. The faces and places you see every day undergo a graduation. There is established a new set of parameters for what is perceived as normal. Once you grow beyond your current microcosm of environment, you upgrade the external conditions of your life. This, in turn, actually forces you to adapt – to grow. And it is this series of incremental adaptations – the continuous cycle of developing beyond the standards of environment, and then upgrading that self same environment, and then adapting in turn to the new parameters, and then developing beyond such and again changing or modifying that external environment – that maintains the flow of development. All of this is uncomfortable. Changing your life situation, when it is time, when it is necessary to move on, is uncomfortable. Allowing old ties to fade – affectionate and embracing ties that are, nonetheless, skewed towards your disadvantage – is uncomfortable. Adapting to new surroundings, gaining familiarity with an up-regulated context, and then modifying yourself in turn, is uncomfortable. It is a process that keeps you uncomfortable, that keeps you in motion and moving forward.

And that is why it is so important not to isolate yourself in development. It is the world around you that establishes the standards you hold. Or, more specifically, it is your immediate everyday experience of that world – the content and connections to which you are exposed – that establishes your standards. And it is to strengthen and deepen the weight of environmental context that is so important.

This has a beginning in your life. You were born into a specific environmental context and you adapted to such. It may have taught you negatively or positively, bequeathed a cultural legacy, a series of role model lessons, and a catalogue of experiences that harmed or benefitted your continued development. But, in the beginning, there was no autonomy; there was simply an extremely plastic mind, voracious for the feed from immediate environment that would allow it to learn the rules to invoke survival. And you carry these rules with you today, know them most intimately. Eventually, however, you feed yourself into an environmental context of your own volition; you still may play the game according to the rules that dictated early experience and formation, but nonetheless you have that autocracy – that choice – even if you don’t realise it. You feed yourself into this environment, you adapt to its standards and allow past lessons and current environmental expectations to converge in that which you believe yourself to be. And then there may be some schism, some incitation to development that is abnormal (pain). You realise that sitting into context and living through the impenetrable workloads might not be so desirable. And you push for growth, to order your mind, to develop within and beyond context. And, with enough time, there comes the need to alter environment. It is the immediate environment that teaches us our lessons, lets our heart beat for a purpose; it is what we feed ourselves, how we nourish ourselves; it is what is immediately available in the everyday. We are constantly being moulded and shaped, only most people simply harden the caste of who they are by adapting and then maintaining that adaptation. To grow, at a certain point, requires an alteration in your daily system of influences.

And we are so easily caught in this trap. We grow to a certain point, above and beyond what is readily perceived as normal within our microcosmic environmental constraints, but we seek not to induce an alteration (to change our environment) and so there is stagnation because your current conditions cannot teach you much beyond that which you already know. Everything is too slow and you are hesitating to break the conditions of your life and reshape them. We are so much a part of our environment; you cannot isolate yourself as then you will have no input that feeds the development of updated standards – you will have no one and nothing to learn from.

The opportunities that fall to you then, are borne of your context. They may be opportunities to develop upon the external quality norms, opportunities to develop internal quality norms (and skill sets that inform these) or they may, in time, be opportunities to develop beyond your current environmental conditions – to change your life situation, to change your environment. Regardless, they come in to you from environment. To underestimate the importance of your environment (you daily system of influences) in who you are and who you have the capacity to become, is to undermine your development as a whole. You are not simply who you make yourself, but who your environment makes you.

I hope you do not find the above discussion discouraging; I am not championing the need to cut off all current ties, communications, and influences. I am not suggesting you must live a life devoted entirely to transition, constantly uprooting the established patterns and relationships (especially when they are beneficial). I am suggesting you take a look at your environmental context and the manner in which that context influences your behaviour, attitudes, and systems of belief. And then to realise that it could take a change of environment to force adaptation of such; an alteration in a proportion of your human and situational influences may be required for any meaningful change. You can do this in great and small ways. Your environment is nothing more than a system of daily influences; you can change certain aspects of such, or alter the background of environment entirely; you can remove certain negative interactions and connections and maintain others; you can simply push for development through minor tweaks or major alteration. But do not ignore the importance of your environment: it is the cascade of influences that have come in to you across the span of your lifetime, that have formed who you are. You have the individuality of a manner of perception of such influences but even this has been educated by those around you to an extent.

In turn, it is so entirely important to surround yourself with symbiotic relationships and with positive influences: to constantly re-mould your standards. You will adapt, you just need to make the choice of alteration, with conviction, and then you will find yourself in a mental space that encourages adaptation – that requires adaptation.

To look at human development and achievement without considering the origin of such is to misunderstand. The origin is the cascading tumble of environmental influences that slowly, incrementally, developed the mind for achievement and offered the opportunities that allowed this tempered mind to grasp and develop its feats of mastery. We cannot control the actual opportunities, we simply must have faith that they will fall to us if we exercise our capacity of volition. To incur the right environmental context (that shapes and pushes growth), we simply make the choices we know are right, and then push towards and through the resulting context. We must have this ethic, this singular need for advancement of one form or another. Environment and effort must combine in a certain reflexive pattern to increase the probability of success.

The Subconscious Mind as the Associative Machine

We have now created a vague assessment of some of the processes of the complete human mind. This has included the gathering of information and the function of habit, the role of the conscious mind in establishing such habits (as well as the variables that play upon the conscious mind), and the creation of an overview of the subconscious mind (how it is divided into self-perception and the many growing bonds of information necessary to create our worldview). Furthermore, we have framed the ego as an association between self-perception and the standards set by the external world (or our specific perception of such standards). In addition to this we have discussed the nature of baselines of the external character attributes (chronicled by the outside world and directly visible to such) as well as internal character attributes which basically create this life situation.

But we have not yet journeyed into the prospect of creativity beyond the manner of creating inputs. The subconscious mind is the associative machine; this is beyond self-perception and more keenly related to all aspects of our appreciation of the world. For the purposes of discussion of this process of creativity we will first be dealing with our theoretical construct of the world at large (that exists in the subconscious mind). The associative machine then produces an output with its components extracted from this construct. The creative output is then cross-referenced with our self-perception – what seems reasonable and consistent with those experiences that have formed us – and validated or rejected (for reworking or deletion) as may be the case. And finally there is the output feeding the conscious mind.

The World-View Construct: Origin

It is difficult to create a view of the subconscious mind that does not contain many moving parts which overlap. And of course, the creation of such a theory of the subconscious mind is simply that – a theory. It is a representation of a specific way of viewing the subconscious in the hope that it will assist in the creation of greater order in your own mind. This is of great importance in relation to function, because we spend our lives wading through the impositions of disorder that exist in the human mind. We create such an intense and over-zealous sense of order in the world around us. Everything that is touched by human hands is brought to some degree of order that is beyond the natural and organic way of things and how they fall. This order is nothing real – it is an imagined order. It is simply a process of trans-locating objects and ideas in physical space so that we can operate with more human efficiency. Even the creation of technological connectivity is a manner of creating a more orderly and efficient medium for further design; that information is more abundant and uniformly sourced; that it can be extracted with a greater sense of ease and a newfound immediacy. This is human order that allows for greater and more complex springs of creation.

The need, at present, is to infer these principles within the construct of the human mind. Not in a humid and constricted sense, wherein disorder is liberty and order is submission, simply in a manner that breeds creation and the greater capacity for such creation. It is a type of order that speaks of the existence of life wherein greater order enkindles more powerful and intimate forms of life. It is not meant as oppression, and order is not necessarily an appropriate word for such, but it still relays the basic point and therefore may be extended to this argument.

In any case, I am implying a certain construct of the human mind at a basic level, to which you may give more muscle with your own interpretations. But this kind of order is useful for greater creation. The subconscious mind, in this interpretation, has a specific and complete role in our operation within the confines of physical environment. The first designation of duty by the individual is survival. To this end we create a theoretical construct of the world around us and all of its moving parts. The senses (sight, smell, taste, touch, and sound) allow us to take in the many variegations of the external world. The world around us is palpable and real in a way that the subconscious mind is not. The world around us is physical and tangible; it has sources of operation that are not us but seem linked to us. It has a volition that is not us but affects us and so we are connected, and it can destroy us if we do not understand and anticipate because there are external wills.

For the purposes of survival we must breed familiarity by creating an estimation of the moving parts of the world and then adding greater and greater depth to that estimation. And so the senses feed us our construct of the external world and the conscious mind digests it until we have a basic formulation of the veneer of the world or its appearance – what is regular, what is expected, and the rules that dominate the formation of this world around us. This must be catalogued in some manner and so there is memory. We commit this picture of appearance to the mind. But it cannot exist continuously and thus impale our ability to exist, to carry out the procedures of existence, and to take in a growing accuracy of estimation. It must be stored in a recess and drawn upon or added to as is needed. And so the conscious and subconscious become these separate and yet connected ethereal facets. And the picture of the world is relayed to this internal store of information and estimation.

But there is much beyond the appearance of the external world: there is the operation that defines appearance. And so we must learn of the operation of core stalwarts of existence. We must have a mind for the mechanisms of function. We must have the capacity to understand the workings of that which we observe and so have the ability to interact with the moving, twisting, grinding patterns of existence; and so we have the ability to think, to dissect patterns of understanding, and to commit the mechanics of life to informational memory.

It is also how we interact with the mechanics of life that is so central and so dominant. It is not simply to observe but to interact that is important. This allows us to procure our resources, our fruits, and our medium for sustenance. We commit to the cultivation of skills that are, of themselves, relevant to our interaction with the mechanics of life and the external world. Again, this is through a process of investment at the level of conscious thought, digestion, and understanding of the correct form of interaction. To figure out these processes again and again would be too costly. Furthermore, as they become too complex, it would become impossible to repeat this kind of learning and to function efficiently. We must have the capacity to train a specific response. We must, in the subconscious mind, create an operation manual for each specific interaction in which we have invested, which is called upon with ease and competency. There is an isolated store of information on a specific interaction and there is the encoded motor response pattern that may be relevant (to which we can add). And this is all stored within the subconscious mind with no conscious delineation of energy necessary beyond the simple formation of these ingrained mental and physical patterns and the additional input required for building on such. And so the conscious mind is the independent agent – free to roam, to grasp, and to return its findings to the growing body of information and origin of concise patterns of movement and thought stored in the subconscious. The conscious mind commits to learning but that takes energy and is a choice, and when survival is assured and we can push into the pages of mastery, it is simply more difficult because we no longer possess this evolutionary verve of survival.

And so we have the subconscious interpretation of the physical world: what it is and the mechanisms through which it sustains and manifests its existence. We are also social animals and the subconscious mind must create an estimation of other forms of life and how to interact with such to forge an increased likelihood of survival, comfort, and procreation. Again the process is only understood through action and response – cause and effect.

What is first useful to consider is that we live in a created world or, in the least, a created environment. And the mechanisms of interaction that we develop are only relevant in the context of this human creation of environment. What we see, what we feel, what we observe and interact with, are based on that which has flowered in the human mind. We build a culture and an environment and then interact within that culture and environment. The mechanisms for interaction are not just organic and relevant to this growing appreciation of the patterns of natural life: the mechanisms of interaction that we develop and work within contribute to the whole human mind, to the collective insight and interpretation of humanity.

And so there is the fundamental need to understand others: to understand human interaction and the psychology of that, not at an academic level but simply at an innate and compassionate level. How do we relate to these people? How do we allow them to relate to us? The culture, the environment that we are formed within, that we operate within, and that forms the basis for the cultivation of our skill sets was formed, to a great degree, by the collective mind. And so we must understand the individuals that press on the borders of our consciousness in order to illicit an effective contribution and to ensure survival, comfort, productivity, even something like happiness.

So we are formed and exist within the man-made world. Our processes of conception and understanding are very much linked to the same basic human psychology that allowed for the creation of these external conditions. We must develop, as a rule, a basic understanding of human interaction and of the greater purpose behind it. We must form a cohesive and edifying bond with others, have an intimate sense of them, identify with them, and grow with them and within the confines of this culture we create (or any sub-stratum of this culture). To exist so entirely for ourselves, to think that there really is the possibility of self that is so isolated and singular on any level, may be a misinterpretation. Because we are all fundamentally the same base matter, the same energy, the same sharply moulded human breach into churning existence. We simply present differently, are formed within different stratospheres of culture and value. And so we observe others; we observe the workers of the social culture that have formed and maintained that culture. And we seek to understand others – we invest in them. We create a subconscious frame of human interactions and add greater depth to it so that we develop our capacity to function within the socialised world – to know its rights and wrongs, to know compassion or some outline of it, to know what is needed for the collective and (given our current abilities) how to add to that. We seek to drive further into the psychology of the human condition so we can relate to that, refine ourselves within its sphere of influence, and possibly give greater direction.

So the subconscious has developed a world view construct. It ensnares all of the prototypical aspects of living the modern life, the human life. We take in all of that which abounds in the greater environment. We then have the subsection of immediate culture. We have all of the mechanisms of action and interaction of every individual and passing strand of existence. We have the human condition and interaction with others. We grow into the realisation that the greater culture, around which the world-view construct is developed, is this constellation of organic and natural processes as well as the man-made environment. The man-made environment is the physical manifestation of the capacity of the mind to create – to give life to its desires. So, in a definite and absolute manner, we exist within the collective consciousness. It is physical, it is all around us, and we add to that – we learn the lessons it sets us and in turn our mind grows. Our world view construct develops and we configure, within the associative machinery, a manner of adding to that – adding examples, adding lessons and interpretations, adding concrete machines, manoeuvres, and methods of manipulating the terrain – of adding to the whole of the thing that uses us as its moving parts. This is just a game of life and within the subconscious mind is the format, the rules, the way of everything. The conscious mind draws from these instructions to take its turns and the game plays out as it will.

The point here is that this is the mind – the human condition is operating within the mind. And what we create flows from this human condition. The collective mind is everything we see around us, that we have manipulated or given form. And while that is certainly useful and has a definite sense of need attached to it, it is the need of our species to operate within the human machine, in the same way that any animal operates within its nature. It is not the complete sum of existence that is observable, only the human portion of existence to which we are bound by nature. At any rate, the growing blueprint of understanding – the world-view construct – develops and is stored within the subconscious mind. And this is the beginning point of creativity (or the point of creating a design that will affix itself to the collective consciousness but will only exist through you).

The World-View Construct: Creation

Amongst all of the interlocking pieces of the world-view construct is the associative machine. It connects all of the parts of existence and experience to create something, some idea or interpretation that is completely unique to its own operation. The human mind, 85 billion neurons deep, links together all of the separately understood aspects of life to create a complete picture. It cross-references all of the individual and unique pockets of information to carve out the many subtleties of human function. Synapse after synapse fires information back and forth amongst this vast neuronal substrate. We carry the experiences of life into our subconscious mind and they are sorted and stored as every type of information that can refine function. And then the subconscious mind works to create a comprehensive web of association, connecting all of the particles of understanding that are available to refine any aspect of our understanding.

Most usefully, most notably, this takes place within the realm of mastery. We forge a habit of mastery and that gives us our consistent inputs and allows us to develop a more powerful and distinct picture within the binding of one topic. Once we have a notable understanding and competence within this field, the subconscious mind has a basic platform upon which to build. Because we operate within our skill-sets, we interact with the physical environment through habit and routine and the knowledge that this has built for us. To the human mind, the prerogative is to build. And what exactly it is that we have the capacity to build, is forged through both environmental values and genetically stable talent. Neither of which can have any great impact without the discipline of creation – the habit of it. It may seem I am exhausting this point, but without a focused input, the mind will lapse into a state of wild decay and wandering. It is the discipline needed to forge the input necessary to develop a comprehensive picture that is most important. From this point then we have a higher vantage point, are not stumbling in the many misunderstandings and faulty estimations that mark the beginning of any pursuit. We can only develop elegance, develop on any of the already extremely refined human designs, if we have committed ourselves to procuring continued input over a more noteworthy timescale.

We have the many inputs of habit; we have a comprehensive and powerful picture developed within our chosen field; we have the many parallel tributaries of knowledge gleaned from a life of hunger. Then the idea is to produce an output that contributes to this flowering human need for growth. The associative machine sets to work. It operates within the worldview construct. It is the firing of the many billions of neurons within the human brain – the reflexive spurts of understanding that exist in the deepest chambers of existence. It is the operating surface that we can never quite see but know exists – as a rule. Anything created is proof of that. Our type of hunger, our habits direct this process of mental association in a way that is constructive. But the reality is that it exists. It refines our existence so that we can assume greater form. The human mind, like the genetic signatures of existence, takes from the world around it that which could create greater function and prominence. It then alters itself and enacts this coding in the physical form of you, and then in the world at large.

In the mind, information is fluid: it has a need for connection. Information does not just exist of itself, it had a purpose for being recorded and fits into the picture of things in a specific way. It relates to the greater world-view construct in a necessary and dependent manner. But, beyond this, it does not simply exist as you have recorded it – we are not robots, we are more robust and organic than that. The information is an alive, tempestuous thing. It seeks to spread over your mind. Without habit or directed intent, it is the rambling portent of thought that continues mercilessly, that vacillates over every meaningless thing, that is always renewed but without any specific direction. These thoughts are the superficial shudders of an associative machine creating links in its world but without any real direction. So we reign it in, we focus it. We engage our routines of mastery and that type of thought quietens. More than this, the associative machine gathers in these newfound troves of information and is overwhelmed by a sense of direction. It creates and creates and creates. It builds the numerous and fallible links that is the signature of a novice. But that is a vital beginning in every case. Soon it knows more, is more assured, and the creation it begets has more power and depth. Slowly, slowly the many links build creations that seem to have some significance, if, as yet, underpowered in the greater respect. The associative process continues to build and craft these designs. As it does so we are washed in this feeling of purpose, because we are building on the collective consciousness, or, more importantly, we are working towards a useful build. Eventually we will have a product with the unique signature of our mind but the weight and depth of un-encountered utility. Something that began in our habits, that was built up within the subconscious worldview construct and has the capacity (the validated capacity) for physical life, because it can bring a new dimension to the human picture in its greater respect (in any given niche of study, endeavour, or generalised progression).

But in a way it is not ours - not really ours. The associative machine is there in us. It is the necessary entity for operating in the world: it is the prominent feature of our cerebral evolution. All we have done, we have done in the effortful conscious mind, through creating the discipline of continued input that is meaningful. We operate at this level of the conscious mind and interact with the vast, wilful store of subconscious real estate in that manner. This is the greatest merit that exists for the creative, for those who live accountable and revered lives. The actual creation lies in the evolutionary development that has, in its way, always allowed for this. Maybe in more meagre forms, but still unrepentant, still inevitable was the hand of evolution. But we possess self-perception and so take in this creation, in many cases, under the banner of ego-development. The associative machine is the evolution that we possess; that has always been demanded by nature. And yes, it must be more proficient in some than in others, but it is important to really know it is the conscious mind that is tempered, that gives understanding, that gives input to change the pulverising obstinacy of the subconscious mandates. We change our blueprints for self and the world through our grind. We do not take the heavy hand in creation - creation is there in us, evolution has built it thusly- we simply channel inputs and outputs. To know the power and depth of this associative machine, this is all we can give ourselves to - all that we are.

The subconscious, then, possesses the self perception and the worldview construct. They overlap to create an ego that is defined by many standards. Within (or throughout) the worldview construct is the associative machine. It links packets of information contained within the brain and ordered under our inherent lexicon of a “world-view construct”. It is the natural firing mechanism of human development. The conscious mind feeds it with inputs and directs its outputs, but it will seek to operate nonetheless. What it can create is simply more or less refined based on the industry of conscious effort. Once the associative machine has created a product that is eminent and valuable, that seems to have the potential for real life solidity, it needs to be validated.

Self-Perception and Validation

Validation, before any judgement is passed in the real, physical world, by the many minds that interact with this creation, must come from self-perception. As I have said, the subconscious mind (in this theoretical construct), is built upon self-perception and the world-view construct. How they overlap defines ego. Self-perception, of course, is routed in experience, the memory of these experiences and the context of such is stored as a part of experiential memory in the entire worldview construct. The actual conclusions of such, however, are affixed to your self-perception. It is for your self-perception to validate creative content: self-perception that draws upon all of the experiences of your life.

What I mean, when I speak about this, is that self-perception is more intimate than the greater store of knowledge. When the associative machine churns out a product, it does so in the context of your worldview. It is so vast and voracious that is does not first give credence to the common sense of experience. This is added as a validating mechanism. The idea, once it is formed, is put in the reference frame of your specific experience. What have you encountered in your life? What has formed you and made you whole? What has broken you apart? In your specific history of interaction with this world, how is this idea meritorious? How does this idea add value, given the context of all that you have experienced and all that you know? This idea, this creation, must have a use. If it is not first useful to you, in the context of your experiences, in the context of the beginnings and continuations of your self-perception, how can it give value to others? The creation must be reasonable, must have a place in the world you have experienced. This needn’t be too pronounced; it needn’t be too refined: it need only have the slightest feeling of rationality – of possibility. It is possible, the creation is validated by self-perception – this is something real, this is something useful; given what I know of life, this can add something that is not there yet.

In this way, the idea is formed from the soil of informational experiences relayed through the conscious mind. However the actual idea, the seed of the idea, will only survive the extremities of existence if it is tempered by a truthful construction of what is needed and what is possible. The idea is first created by the machine of association and then corrected for serious error, or misgiving, or plane irrationality by self-perception. What is first useful to you, given all that you have experienced? What will stand the conditions of environment, culture, and the specific standards of excellence necessary to thrive in your field and contribute? Is the potential of such an idea what it seems, given how you have experienced your life, your environment, culture, and field of endeavour? You are the first control, the first qualitative study on the validity of such an idea. If you have faith in it, if the idea can stand the tests of ego-validation, then the conscious mind can seek life for this idea – can begin the process of creative output and subject it to further scrutiny. Not every idea that is validated by self-perception will overcome the rigours of continuous assessment within the conscious mind that is subject to emotional overhaul and energy fluctuations. Not every idea in which you consciously invest will develop as you hope. No idea worth having will not mutate as it is forming a conscious output. Nonetheless, once the idea is formed and it contains trace elements of rationality or plausibility, it will then proceed to the conscious mind to create an output. Expect this to evolve in the conscious mind, to be continually fed by new elements; expect the physical environment to shape it further, to force you to mould the thing so that it is acceptable not to one mind, but to many. Expect the whole thing to change almost beyond recognition and for the creative process, based on external feedback, to be active and fitful throughout. Expect to adapt: you will almost inevitably be forced to do so. The idea is conceived and given its first inkling of validation in the subconscious mind. It will, as a rule, need to be reworked many times; but this is the point of conception and the battleground of refinement.

Life to an Idea: A Return to the Conscious Mind

When we discuss the possibility of creation and, more specifically, the operation of it, we are discussing the subconscious mind. Creativity primarily exists, the true mechanism of it, in the subconscious mind. There is this vast platform of neurons that make up the brain and extend through the central and peripheral nervous systems. Neurons are connected to adjacent neurons through these limbs, these fingers of transmission that allow the energy of information and learning, stored in the neuron, to build and discharge across the synapses. The content of the energy manipulates the structure of the neuron or what is stored within it. And so, with learning, there is the snowball effect. Any experience we receive is encoded within our physical body as energy. The energy of experience is carried through us by a signalling cascade from external environment to the peripheral nervous system (for the purpose of explanation consider this the nervous tissue constructed within the physical body that is activated by sight, smell, taste, touch, and sound as well as the general regulation of all informed tissue). This external form of environment gives us our intake through the senses and the signalling cascade then melts through our afferent neuronal systems (going to the central nervous system) into the central nervous system (the brain and the spinal cord). The signal is taken up by the spinal column at the level which is attached to signalling neurons from the peripheral nervous system responsible for that level and sense (the anatomy of this is not necessary for this description). The energy signal then continues its journey to the brain by travelling up through the spinal cord. The brain itself is divided according to function. Specific areas of the brain are responsible for dealing with certain classes of feed and formulating certain responses. The brain can be thought of as containing centres of reception, centres of origin, and, further on, centres of refinement of response to any stimulus.

The basic mapping of the brain divides it first among the four components of the cerebral cortex: the frontal lobe (decision making, planning, motor function, problem solving, memory, language, judgement, impulse and control, and social/sexual behaviour programmes), the parietal lobe (sensation, perception, and the integration of sensory input), temporal (auditory perception, memory, speech, visual response, and emotion) and the occipital lobe (the visual processing centre). In addition to these structures the brain also contains the cerebellum responsible for co-ordinating (but not initiating) movement in physical space and also has a role in some cognitive functions such as language. And there is also the brain stem which relays information from the peripheral nervous systems and spinal cord to the cerebral cortex. The brain stem is also responsible for regulation of the automatic processes of human function (alertness, arousal, heart-rate, blood pressure, breathing, digestion etc.)

This is an extremely crude map of the brain and should be received as such: this is not a neuro-anatomical text but simply a resource for human development. But even such a crude picture of the central and peripheral nervous system and the mapping of the brain can be useful in this discussion. The argument that extends from this is that all experience is simply energy passing through our physical form in the guise of this construct. There is nothing more or less to the human experience (in all of its aspects) than that. When we return to the discussion of the snow-ball effect of learning we can see that anything we experience is taken up by the peripheral nervous system as energy; this energy is then relayed through the system that, at its most basic level, is simply one neuron (nerve cell) after another, each with synaptic limbs which allow the energy of information to build and then discharge through the signalling cascade from peripheral to central, from peripheral nervous tissue, to the spinal column, and up into the brain itself. The brain, then, contains neural matter to receive this information, to digest and process it, to think about it and formulate it within its well-worn contexts, and finally to produce appropriate response patterns.

The idea of deconstructing the brain in such a manner as pertaining to a map of function is a useful means of suggestion and accurate to the extent wherein we can use external triggers to activate expected response and monitor the dominant electrical signalling patterns in the brain to see exactly where the activation is located. But on a microscopic level we are dealing with neuronal tissue that stores information as energy, adds to its own cellular structure with the charge of that energy, and thereby has a new form. It builds upon this new form with the further intake of energy to create additional patterns of activation – additional understanding. Yes, specific codes of information seem to cluster in specific regions, specific neuronal cells pocket, as a greater mass of tissue directed for this or that human function, but at a deeper level the brain, the associative machine, is more complex. The associative machine is the snowball effect, is how the energy of information is passed between the many billions of nerve cells – received, stored, clustered, and shot through the system. The associative machine is the manner in which the bonds of information leave the billion minute traces of their existence in the actual format of the nervous tissue of the brain and so, when new signals are taken in, condensed, and fired throughout the brain, they are sent through channels that have been slightly altered by experience. The capacity to associate is simply the innate connection of this system, as it spools up information and connects it throughout our network of subconscious firing patterns, at each occasion slightly altered by experience and able to bequeath a more elegant pattern. This is human creation. And the idea of pride held in possessing a creative system is as preposterous as taking great pride in having lungs that can breathe or eyes that can see or a heart that can beat: this is how we are wired – this is what evolution has granted us.

There is, however, the variable of conscious effort. We live the vast majority of our lives in the conscious mind (except in times of sleep or intense awareness to which we attach the prefix of spirituality). The conscious mind is nothing more than a system for relaying inputs and outputs much like the brain relays nervous input and output through the brain stem. We have already discussed the development of input through the format of habit and the volitional controls of the conscious structure (and their ineradicable link to the greater subconscious). But the idea, once it is formed and validated through the dense and unquantifiable signalling jungle of subconscious function, must find its release through the conscious mind – where we live our lives so uncomfortably.

The conscious mind is not where we create our masterpiece: it simply relates the jumbled particles of information collected from the environment, and then transcribes the newly fashioned blueprint pre-formed within the subconscious. It is our job, it is what we put our effort into, to create a controlled and virile consciousness that has the capacity to inform and relate truly massive creation. You may understand the mode of input and the many constraints that burden that from the above discussion, but output is now our concern.

Output takes place within the conscious mind. This form of creative output can come unbidden, like an idea collapsing into life and electrifying your thought processes. It just seems to spark into existence so naturally. You were not pushing it, searching for it; the subconscious mind was at work to build, fortify, and validate a creation and then feed it to the conscious mind so that it could find life. And you were no more aware of this process than you are aware of how your body is digesting food or how your red blood cells are taking in oxygen and transporting it around the body – it just happens. Only your conscious mind does have a very direct role in the system of outputs (as well as inputs). The idea, or creation, or refinement plunges into consciousness and you now have the capacity of choice. It registers and you decide if it will serve, how it will serve, and if you are willing, given every variable of your life situation and self-perception, to invest in the idea and become vulnerable to the many exigencies that are inevitably linked to this process.

More usefully, creativity is not entirely unbidden. If it is linked to certain mastery processes, if there are solid habits and a wealth of consistent inputs upon which the subconscious can feed, if there is a regular and controlled space for expression then creativity – the creative working of the subconscious mind – is directed with purpose towards specific outputs: towards solving a problem or creating an adjustment within a specific timeframe and translating its results into output to coincide with your regular and persistent dedication to your craft. Another reason why habit is so vital to the process of creativity is not simply to create a greater mass of inputs that are directed towards a specific function (although this is vital): it is also to channel outputs that are not sporadic but that grow and connect and pattern themselves within the natural processes of daily routine.

This is the expression of the pre-existing creative process. The conscious mind exists and functions under the unmitigated sway of subconscious pattern creation. It bestows input and accepts output. It then makes an informed decision about how, exactly, it will process this output. The idea of habit gives us a predestined forum and an actual filter for these outputs. They will be taken up, synthesised, and knit into the filigree of our development. And then the subconscious mind has something like a purpose and a sense of contentment as it receives information and patterns useful creational models that are valid and directly penetrate the outward layers of physical existence. As we grow in this everything develops: the entire work of the mind is refined and we find one of the elements of happiness: continued progression. It is first the solidity of the conscious mind that finds progress, it is then the world-view construction within our subconscious that is refined both wholly and in the form of developing skill-sets. The overlap between self-perception and world-view takes a positive slant and our ego-defined mind becomes more self-assured. Moreover the associative machine, the manner of connection, becoming more directed and consistent is, of itself, a thing growing in power and proficiency. It is the dual development of conscious and subconscious that, in time, gives rise to a life situation of growing favour. This is human development and how it can be seen in the need for creation. The beginning of this development is the conscious mind; the end of this development is the conscious mind.

There are essentially three elements that form the entire creative experience. Firstly, there is the physical environment wherein the creation is formed and has use: this is the site wherein the inputs originate and the outputs manifest. Secondly, there is the conscious mind where you actively exist. The conscious mind is the link between physical reality and subconscious sub-reality. It is the messenger between the two and the site of experience. All that you can create is allowed for by the manner in which you communicate both with the physical world and the subconscious mind. You can only really work on the strength of this connecting circuit. Input and output is how the conscious, active mind exists and in all of this we are purely discussing a state of consciousness that is connected to self-perception, not a more complete awareness that is beyond this link – we are talking about our mind. Finally, there is the level of subconscious: the under reality that is so vast and beguiling, that informs all of what you are and allows you to operate in the massive upheaval of an evolving, dangerous, and beautiful world. These are the layers of existence and, like it or not, our place is the conscious mind.

The Conscious Experience of Creation

The conscious experience of creation is very much a flow experience. The subconscious mind exhorts its influence in allowing the pre-formed creation to pass gently into consciousness. As we work to transcribe these ideas or creations within the context of what we are doing there is a massive, tranquil sense of cognitive ease. There is not the constant boiling heat of thought that steals our focus; the experience is like thought but less rambling and less weighted by self-perception. The experience is an easing where there is only one moment and the perfect insight to fill that moment and follow through to the next. The arc of thought is perfectly directed without any need to strain and strive to keep it in place, balanced, and fluid. It is the natural process of creation that is so vivid and without judgement. It is the quiet moments within design that make us something human: when the circuitry of consciousness is entirely disposed to connection, specifically to connecting the physical world to the subconscious world and vice versa. That is why the experience of flow is experienced both in garnering inputs and forming outputs: because the conscious mind is so open and so eased – just a channel of communication that links the two distillate realities without the obfuscations of our own insecurities, our own nonsensical or useless thoughts. All of the potential of the conscious mind rides purely on the ecstasies of translation, one pole to another and the energy flows cleanly through.

Our whole system seems to relax in these cases. Every part of existence becomes more lucid, more aware. We all experience flow at some level, any level, on a daily basis. But a healthy mind is predisposed to this process, cuts or minimises its self-obsession to focus and experience. A healthy mind finds the experience of flow in the everyday – it creates that translation in the everyday. It may begin with the highly tempered and co-ordinated mandates of mastery. With continued experience in such we find that the process of gaining inputs and producing outputs begins to totally consume and imbibe our consciousness for moments at a time. These moments extend and connect as the world of worry and fit becomes a more distant and rapacious thing, something that is not useful and only sucks attention. With practice we find this with more consistency and we begin to angle our lives towards these experiences. And then it engages us on more pliable and playful spectrums. We are social creatures and experience the warmth of unrestrained input and output when spending time with loved ones. We come to notice them beyond simply our concept of them and how we judge them. And then we come to laugh and play and have a freedom of intimate and loving connection with others as again the communicating channel is open and allows these signals to flow back and forth from the physical world to the subconscious experience.

And then the triggers in everyday experience become more passionate and resolute. We feel the influence of art, music, film, sport, and every other imaginable input that could give us an insight into the human condition at any point of the spectrum. These triggers become more alive and livid. We become passionate and have our art in any form, even the observation of that, as a point of initiation into the passages of flow. These are the parts of the world that we observe and that find us light, unassuming, and attached. It doesn’t need to be something morally imperious or technically astute – it can really be anything that we connect to, that opens us up.

And then we come to this point wherein flow is such a natural and consistent part of our wiring: it is our mastery pursuits, it is our social and intimate ties (our interpersonal and intimate relationships), it is the many triggers of passion and focus. When it is such a consistent process and so well-loved we come to find it more uniformly in simple things. We come to exist in the process of flow continually – hours at a time, days at a time. The whole thing leaks through us and there is a massive sense of progression, competence, and contentment. It is the simplest things, the most mundane tasks wherein our mind is newly wired to connect to any given moment: to learn as much from it and to give as much to it as possible, until we are creatures of flow.

The experience of creation is this experience, is nothing more than this experience. It is, maybe, more deftly trained within the arena of mastery and pertains to that which we have found and utilised most entirely within (but not specifically limited to) this arena. But it is the self-same process. The experience of creation is the experience of flow: when the conscious mind is light and, not uninvolved, simply more open – serving as a medium and distaining the perturbations of judgement and fatigue. These processes may follow as we demand reason and time to recover, but flow is the singular experience of consciousness wherein we find our underlying creations.

Chapter 5

Emotional Intelligence

Emotion is one of the most fascinating concepts of the human condition. It may be felt at once and yet not entirely understood or furnished with reason. It may seem reckless, not at all candid, and at times inappropriate.

In order to understand, or re-encapsulate an altered understanding of emotion, we must infer a recreation of just what the mind is – how it extends and announces. The typical concept of the mind is that it is the brain – the dense collaborating mass of neural matter responsible for thought, regulation, function, and then emotion. Our specific knowledge of Neuroanatomy assigns varying function to each structure of the brain (as discussed earlier): from the four major divisions of the cerebral cortex, which essentially co-ordinate function of all of the volitional processes of human survival and co-habitation, to the limbic system which draws out prehistoric reaction response (unregulated by intellectual function before it is filtered), to the cerebellum which essentially co-ordinates control of movement in physical space. The brain stem then creates a cross linkage between the neural mass (specifically the cerebral cortex) behind our eyes, and the neural mass that runs down our backs. It is also responsible for some basic automatic functions of the peripheral nervous system (heart rate, blood pressure, alertness, digestion, etc.).

Following on from this, the spinal column is seen as the communicating link between the brain and the body – registering and providing all of the gyrations of movement and sensation. The brain is thought of, essentially, as the command centre and the body as the vessel of command. This, of course, is a rational explanation. The central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) create the master plan and then relay this through a dense channel of connection. The peripheral nervous system is essentially the messenger borne system (the runners). Conscious central control is delineated by the brain, communicated through the spinal cord, and the body acts as a repository for this dense fabrication. The nerves that run out of the spinal cord apply a complex cocktail of feedback and feed-forward (between body and brain) to allow for control of movement, sensation, and our basic ability to apply the transcript of survival, feeling, and both conditioned and unconditioned human function.

In this way the body has become separated. The mind has come to be the brain and nothing else. All of that which we are is subjugated by the processing plant (the brain) and nothing else exists. The body is the puppet, the nerves are the strings, and the brain is the hand. I don’t believe it is that simple. In order to understand the terse overlap of emotion and extend beyond a basic idea of human anatomy and function it is important, certainly not to reject, but to reframe a part of this understanding – to see the body as the walking mind.

We are, of course, given to the fact that thoughts bubble up in the conscious, defiant spaces of the human cortices. That thought resides there, overlaps, chatters, refrains, and expedites in every possible way. It is incessant and battering. We tumble through the channels and pathways of thought even if we attempt to calm the mind. Emotion has a part to play in this process. When a thought is generated, if it is powerful enough, deep enough, and connects to our self-concept in some fundamentally overpowering way, it is then potentiated down through the typical channels of sensation and movement. The energy of a thought, the basic code of it, filters in its excoriating fashion through the nervous system. The basic charge of that thought runs through the nerves, crosses synapse after synapse, and looks for basic life in our passions and our presence – when it is strong enough.

It is then useful to see how the energy of a thought can come into our very being: can communicate with and be stored in the dynamic, moving fibres of the body. Skin, muscle, organ, and viscera: all of the informed and innervated tissue of the dynamic body creates a vast store for the energy of thought. This store, of course, is residual: it resides after the thought has actually expired from the conscious mind, but it is still there in you: it is the tightness in your muscles, the aches, the pains, disease, and, if it is alive with the vibrancy of creation and possibility, it is the glow of health.

The body relates to the mind in this way; disease and illness can, on occasion, be birthed in the classic picture of the mind and find shape, tolerance, and expression in the body. In this way the body IS the mind and vice versa. It is the dominant reason that it is so difficult to still the mind: because of the feedback of residual emotion stored within the body. Every time you attempt to quieten the mind, the body will fill you with its song, with its energy.

It is interesting to note that it is not (or may not be) the actual information that is stored in the physical mass of you, it is just the nature of that energy (because that is fundamentally what emotion is: the general charge imbued by the energy of thought). If that is worry then, when you quieten the mind, the body will pour worry over it and the mind itself will connect solid thoughts to this pattern of worrying – the feeling of worry fuels the need to create physical thoughts about which to worry.

To emote is to express. The body is what emotes – what expresses the command of the typified mind. The emotion is not just expressed: it is stored as knowledge on the cavorting theme of expression and fed back into thoughts. Positive or negative, the body stores the emotion. The body is the incubator of thought – what thought should be or look like. And we ignore this purpose of our body. Thoughts, when they are really impactful, can winnow down into emotion and create a theme for our existence. Though the emotions fluctuate, unregulated they create a predatory state within – dominantly positive or dominantly negative. All of our actions flow through this; all that we create flows through this. Part of who we are is our emotion. Part of the mind is the body.

Emotional Control

Internalised Focus and Relaxed Breathing

The first step to emotional control is essentially quite simple: establish awareness. We just rest in the chaotic turbulence of our emotion and with thought it comes out – we bleed it out. The emotions that reside in us find such powerful expression in the archetypal story of human existence because they have such sway. Emotion does not have complete control, but certainly it possesses influence on the field of thought, on our actions, on our beliefs, and on the basic cyclical nature of development. Emotion can come to dominate the patterns of action and inaction of the conscious mind, and it is this conscious mind that is the cathedral of human volition – be that dominant or submissive.

To quieten the mind, to create a more dynamic and wilful existence, emotional control is necessary. Without emotional control you will mostly have to act through irregularity (until experience creates a change of thoughts consistently, which changes emotion or adds a new layer of positivity to it). So foster awareness. You cannot change something of which you are unaware. Take your focus deep into the distinguished mass of the body. Give all of your attention to the tightness if it is there, the physical discomfort or the feel of solid, youthful health. Feel your skin; feel the muscles alive with potential; feel throughout the entire body; penetrate every inch of your body with purposeful focus. You can exact this process through strict formatting (such as from toes to head, or from head to toes) or at your own leisure – naturally. Really be patient with this; emotional awareness may inspire the discomfort and pressure of boredom but that is not the path to emotional control.

Emotional control is resilient to the frequent amplitudes of chaos that we experience. There are, and will always be, dense angular rhythms to the paths of life. And so infantile are we in our internalised structures of emotional control that we sway with the breeze: allow the feelings to exact dominion over our actions and never really question the truth of how they are there or if we could interact with them in any other manner besides reflexivity.

It is important to learn to take your focus deep inside the glowing furnace of blood and organs, bone and sinew, and shaking possibility that is the body – to really feel inside yourself. Do not judge what is there, do not label it at first – just feel it. When your thoughts really are focused internally on the perpetuating physicality of mass, begin to breathe deeply – I mean deeply. To add illustration it is helpful to become familiar with the basic anatomy of the lungs, as humans are extremely visual in their response to ideas. The human lungs are not identical in terms of capacity, however they differ only slightly. The right lung is divided into 3 separate portions with two fissures separating the upper, middle, and lower lobes. The mediastinum – which is essentially the protective cavity in which the heart is housed – rests slightly left of centre between the lungs. Then there is the left lung whose medial border, along the aspect of this mediastinum, has what could be described as an anatomical crease. The left lung is divided in two with an upper and a lower lobe; however both lungs extend to roughly the same level just below the inferior angle of pectoralis major (your “Pec” muscles). Just below the lungs rests the diaphragm which is a dome-like sheet of muscle at rest. When you breathe in, the diaphragm flattens and the rib cage expands, pulling the lungs down and out and thus creating negative pressure in the lungs which forces the intake of air. When you breathe out, the diaphragm again accedes to its previous dome shape, the rib cage shrinks inward, positive pressure is created, and air is forced out of the lungs. In this way we breathe out.

An idea of the basic human mechanism of breathing is important in this instance as it allows you to visualise your breathing and understand it. The typical human breath is quite shallow and inefficient: we breathe in and air fills the upper lobes. It generally does not extend right down as far as the base of the lungs unless we are forced to breathe deeply (due to exercise for example), or we actively take deep breaths. The purpose in all of this is to learn the practice of deep breathing, to allow air to pour down into your lower lobes, to feel the diaphragm contracting maximally along with the vital expansion of the rib cage. Deep breathing helps to relieve the body of toxicity present in the blood stream. Slow deep breaths create calmness and efficiency, as well as helping to slow your heart rate and focus your mind (of course it should be slow deep breaths as rapid deep breaths would cause dizziness/hyperventilation). What is significant here is allowing your lungs to find their natural, relaxed rhythm; breathe until you are entirely comfortable, calm, and focused.

The primary benefit we are looking at for our purposes, however, is presence. Deep breathing naturally creates an air of calmness and relaxation. When your breathing is slow, powerful, and relaxed, you can really get a sense of your internalised functioning. Slow deep breaths create an internalisation of focus and the primary issue with emotional control is to draw awareness into the body, and then relax into that awareness. It may be helpful to think of the lungs as a sort of sonar system for internalised awareness: when breathing is truly expansive and relaxed, the pulse of these breaths creates a picture of internalised energy patterns within the body. When breaths are shallow or rapid, you only see part of the picture, with less consistency, and for a shorter time.

Returning to Neutral

When you are too negatively emotionally charged it is not necessary to demand of yourself to suddenly feel happy or extremely positive. What is important is to first create a realisation of how you feel through internalising your focus. Following from this you should speak into yourself the reality of the emotion that exists there – if it is stress or tension, anger, frustration, disillusionment, or any other negative fixation. Just admit the reality to yourself without the need for absolution, without the need for, or intake of, egotism or pride. Just exist within the emotion and then slowly give over to relaxation; allow it to dissipate; admit that that is how you feel and then slowly come down off of the feeling. There is no hollow or frantic reversal – there is just acceptance and relaxation.

Feel your muscles and bones melt with the universal relief of realisation and acceptance. Feel the relaxation spread through you like a new found warmth in your blood that lights up in your extremities. Feel the distance. Feel the dissipation. Just feel who you are, without any need for thought. Allow any thought to evaporate. Just feel the relaxation of that state of neutrality, the fundamental discharge of negativity that simmers your core a bit. And you are just training your focus on relaxation and the feeling of a naturalised existence, free from the modification of external pressure or internal judgement.

That is how it is with awareness, or creating awareness: it is not some scraping sensation in which you distend yourself with judgement, or create an inner modus of impatience or lack of acceptance wherein to feel bad is fundamentally wrong. It is just breathing deeply into yourself, feeling the truth of the deep grinding or deducing emotions, and then accepting what you are with them. Beyond that then, just relax into internal focus and the emotion, the energy which is probably so clamorous because you are not allowing yourself focus, will shrink as you become more comfortable with yourself. You are just resting into your own skin and at comfort with internalised focus and awareness.

This is the internal function of emotional neutrality: restfulness and peacefulness. In this, the dexterity of amphorous, highly charged emotion is lessened because you see it, and then see the futility of it. For some people the emotions are deeply caught within their system. This really can create the basic human trap: filling your thoughts with thunder and with the struggle. Really to reside in peaceful and harmonious self-awareness is the more defiant medium. This is not to force happiness or positivity – to create a picture of what you should believe when you know that you don’t believe it – it is just to take the bitterness out of yourself and create a type of purging calm.

Beyond Neutrality

It is of course possible, at the point at which restfulness and calm come to grip your system, to then pull in positive and evocative power. Reversal is never the goal: restfulness and centeredness and just being within self, without the heat of anything else is what we are looking at. But, beyond this, there may be what could be qualified as passive and active systems of state that are distinctly penetrating when you reach this point of calm.

Passive State

Passively then, when you truly return to a position of optimum focus and internalised calm, there is an afterglow of positivity that begins to fade into indirect consciousness. It may be useful to realise that you have created a discharge of negative emotional energy; a sort of internalised phase shift can then occur naturally wherein the act of revoking the patronage of fury, or hate, or loneliness, or destructive self-pity, or any other vice or sadness of this nature, can naturally induce positivity. Letting go of that stale grip you hold so instinctively can, in and of itself, create a transmutation of charge.

It is useful to imagine yourself on a dry river bed; all of the parched soil beneath you is closely packed and nothing seems alive – everything is just blocked. You know that deep underneath the river bed there are veins of water coursing and pulsing. As you begin to scratch through the dry sand, slowly, slowly you feel moisture. The deeper you dig, the greater the sensation of moisture in the soil. Eventually, when you have created a small hole in the river bed, water will naturally flow into this and pool there. The deeper you go the more water. Beyond this, it is finely filtered and all the more important because it quenches that eviscerating drought or dehydration. It is this way with emotional control. When you start to unearth the layers of barren negativity, you will create a sort of vacuum into which positivity wells.

That is the aftershock of emotional neutrality: it naturally gives way to positive realisation. The more commonly you apply this process, the more porous your mind and body will become to positive focus. Eventually it will become your natural state, though, depending on how anhydrous you may be now, it could take quite alot of time, alot of practice, and alot of focus. However, commitment to this will absolutely devastate the sore, dry friction of negativity. The greater your focus, the more you bend the current into your path.

That is how discharging negativity creates a passive refocus of energy. You create a vacuum which previously housed all of that scything negativity. And nature pulls life into that vacuum, simply because it exists. It never did before, you were just absolutely bloated with negative energy, even if you hadn’t created an active realisation of this fact. Given the pressure of modern functioning and survival we feel that, for some strange reason, negativity will prevent us from becoming apathetic – will keep us sharp with expectancy, as if we have some obligation to prescient living that will only be met through the staunch patrol of self-criticism. I can tell you right now that, in the long run, you may be walking right into that from which you are attempting to flee. Expecting the worst, because that has been your experience, or because that is what is constantly recited and excreted through all of the sources exemplified by the microcosm of environment and society and the macrocosm of culture, or even because you just feel you are built that way, will not protect you from it should it hit. Expecting the worst will bring you the worst. Negative energy is no protection – it is attraction. You are holding the smoking gun for fear that, if you dropped it, you would not know how to act if you had to hold it. Just let go of that negativity. Because, in the end, negativity can’t protect you, it can’t save you, it carries no redemption or fortitude – it is downfall, plain and simple.

Active State

The principle of modifying your active state through a variety of mechanisms can serve as an extremely powerful tool of development and ambition. But to really enjoy the amplification of these benefits it is important to discharge any negativity you foster – to create a clean flow of altered state. We have given a somewhat vague focusing of these concepts already but it may now be more useful as you have a greater weight of knowledge on the basic dynamics of emotional control. The two primary active drivers of altered emotional state (as I see it) are physical awareness (or body language) and gratitude. There may be any number of other mediums through which you could craft an alteration in the way you feel but in and of themselves, these two concepts can radically alter the trajectory of your life and create an upturn of emotional endowment. And, once familiar, this is easily activated and lasting.

Body Language and Self-Communication

The first of the active state alterations that I would deploy is body language. As we have discussed, emotion lives in the body, is stored in the body, and is fed back into your thoughts through the strings of nervous system communication. That is why a continued effort to change the evocation of bodily position to align with greater positive energy is a very natural and acute mechanism through which to alter emotion, which can then alter your thoughts or ways of thought.

The body, beyond its primary and innately more obvious utilitarian function, is a tool of communication. This is self-communication and communication with others. When you adopt obviously powerful physical postures, it taps the residual store of remembered emotion. On a peripheral level, the body, in adopting a certain position, remembers the emotion behind such a position and re-calibrates.

It is worth noting that this is all incredibly instinctual and doesn’t necessarily need typical analysis by the intellectual bonds of the mind, though I can give some insights if you feel that would help. But what is worth reflection here is that it is usually emotion and not thought that aligns your posture. Of course, it is the mind which creates the realisation that you are in such a posture or physical position and automatically recounts why you might be standing or presenting in this way. In this respect, it digs out from residual emotional memory when you were standing this way in the past and what emotions you felt at that time. It then provides feedback through efferent neurons to compound current posture on this basis of emotion and the cycle repeats. This process instils a perceived increase or decrease in competence given your situation. And all of this can be re-tuned through the decidedly premeditated choice of changing your body language. It is in and through this very choice of changing your body language that you are essentially deciding to interact with the primarily reflexive pathway of emotion.

It is all incredibly instinctive and deeply rooted in your emotional memory. This may be supplemented by informational or experiential memory which creates the comparison of individuals who adopted similar bodily position – who they were, their level of importance and competence given the situation, and how this was openly displayed. In that manner, emotional memory and the more highly refined intellectual memory base are in a state of compounding articulation of the very strength you possess. Of course, this effect may only be perceived for as long as your body language remains altered, so you must continuously reintegrate control. It is a staunch transmogrification of state we are shooting for here.

You will fall towards natural patterns if you are consistently ignoring your emotional mastery. If your emotions sink towards disdain or petulance and you do not actively focus on this and discharge this energy, your emotions will entangle you in compromising body language. And your emotions, which are so warped by, and filled with, the physicality you possess, will just naturally reflect that negativity. This is self-communication. You first notice you feel upset. You take your focus deep into the body and create awareness. You then begin to breathe deeply and let the awareness shrink or discharge the emotional distortion. When you have returned to a state of neutrality, you will feel the tremors of positivity that jolt your system and flood the vacuum. Beyond this then, you direct your focus towards correct body language; allow the positive emotion to guide you in this, although, as this is probably not a well ingrained motor response, some active conscious focus may be required until this becomes more natural. This body language will reinforce the positivity of that emotion and create a medium of protection of that emotional awareness when you step out into the world – when you move past the spaces of quiet focus as you inevitably must.

The more often you impose the process, the more it will come to be an algorithm of your basic function – a motor response in which you automatically adjust and re-adjust. And when, at times, the emotional impingement is too great and you cannot entirely alter the flow, remember two things: firstly, it will fade in time, to the point wherein you can accept it, embrace it, and move past it. Secondly, you can still act through it, regardless of the degree of sway it may possess. Body language may be a greater tool of reinstatement of purpose on these occasions than on any others.

If you need to create an active focused imagining of confident body language, it may be useful again to approach your orientation systematically. This is just a diluted overview used to create the picture of self-confidence. You can experiment with this in bracketed time, in the quiet solitude of your own space, to create a greater affinity with, and connection to, the language of your body. For the specifics or what is right for you, it will be profitable to let the feeling of emotional confidence guide you – you will not go far wrong. This rumination on the subject is a springboard of familiarity. When you are familiar you can tap it and alter it naturally to reflect how you want to present.

Orientation Guideline

First, focus on your feet: roughly shoulder width apart, toes pointed slightly out. When walking you must have relaxed focused strides; when walking always walk as though you know exactly where you are going and why you are going there, but never in a rush. When standing, keep your knees straight (or locked in full extension) as this prevents you from slumping or stooping and makes you as tall as possible. It is important to keep your hips forward so that you are forced to stand erect and not to slouch.

In relation to the posture of your upper body, it is important to stand erect or to have your “head held high”. There are several components of this beginning at the hips, which must be held in extension as above (lightly clench your gluteal muscles). From this point then, it is appropriate to re-position your shoulders. Most people have what are known as protracted shoulders. What this means is that your shoulders are rounded forwards which causes tension and tightness in your “Pec” muscles and can cause weakness of your rotator cuff and pseudo-winging scapula (in which the border of your scapula nearest the spine protrudes outwards and the entire scapula is also forwardly rotated: what this essentially means is that the medial (beside the spine) and inferior angles of the shoulder blades are directly visible or are protruding).

Despite being inefficient from a biomechanical standpoint (possibly creating impingement or shoulder joint problems if this persists for a long period of time) it is also a sub-conscious delineator of decreased self-confidence and pre-programmed as a distinctive attempt by the brain to make you small so that you go unnoticed. In this case, it is important to roll your shoulders backwards and stick out your chest (from a biological point of view this is a display of dominance reflected by dominant primates who hold out their chest in this manner and beat on it with clenched fists to display their imperious distinction within a collective). With hips forward, shoulders back, and chest held out, it is important to maintain a parallel between the angle of your jaw and the ground. This means “chin up”. In order to maintain the alignment of posture of hips, shoulders/chest, and head position, it is useful to imagine a wire running through your spine. Only by aligning your hips, shoulders/chest, and head position can you keep this wire taught; however, if even one aspect of your posture becomes misaligned the wire will lose tension.

In addition to these basic insights on body language, it is important to look at the two most powerful instruments of bodily expression: your hands and your face. A manner in which you may be able to sympathise with the importance of the position of the hands and face, in deference to self-communicated body language, is through the introduction of the cortical homunculus – or motor homunculus as it is also known. The motor homunculus is a pictorial representation of the sensory integration of various body parts in the brain. It is essentially delineated by the degree of innervation of a particular body part. Therefore, the fact that the hand has a greater number of nervous inputs allowing for tactile and positional sense than the leg means that it is afforded greater space within the brain’s allocation of neuronal digestion of such information. The point I am attempting to make is that the pictorial representation of motor and sensory innervation that is known as the motor homunculus shows, unequivocally, that there is greater feedback and feed-forward between the hands and the brain, and between the face and the brain, than between any other region of the body and the brain. The hands and the face demand greater input and produce greater output and it is from this notion that we may scrutinize that the hands and the face have the greatest ability to interact with, reflect upon, and express emotional alignment as well as more visceral human communication and function.

When it comes to the position of the hands, context maintains primacy. It is very difficult to describe what exactly you should do with your hands but it is possible to give examples and let you feed off of general emotion to create awareness of how to position them. For example, if you place your hands in your lap and use one to cup the other, that displays vulnerability and an attempt to protect yourself. If you place your elbows on a desk in front of you and touch each finger tip to its corresponding finger tip that is a sign of contemplation from a position of greater knowledge and power. If you place your hands in your lap and wring them together by interlocking the separation of thumb and index finger that is a sign of nervousness/anxiety. If you clench your fists, that is a sign of anger or frustration. This even extends to the manner in which you shake someone’s hand: if you allow another person to rotate the handshake so that the palm of their hand is on top of yours that is an indication of subjugation to that person. The reverse is then true: when you rotate the handshake so that your palm is covering theirs, that is a sign of dominance over them (generally it is best to maintain an even handshake in which balance is maintained 50-50 to show that you are on the same wavelength as the other person). From this then, we can see the importance of hand position as a tool of both self-communication and communication with others. It is difficult to pinpoint exactly how you should conduct this given the situation but a generality is this: in any situation, the more closed your hands, the more closed, vulnerable, defensive, and insecure you are and the more open your hands the more open, confident, and accepting you will be. Position your hands in a variety of ways and reflect on how emotion touches your mind based on the positions you adopt to see the truth of this.

Communication with Others

Beyond this, we will amplify focus on the face, which is the most fluid and quantifiable register of emotional expression. Adopting the appropriate emotional visage within facial expression certainly is not something that needs to be actively explained. Facial expression is a more effective communicator of feeling than even words and as humans we find it instantly and insatiably recognisable. The face is the canvas of emotional expedition; we use it to communicate with any and every individual with whom we come in contact as easily and naturally as breathing. However, as we have discussed, your breathing may not be as natural or efficient as you think.

The whole purpose here is not to become someone who impugns their own integrity by a adopting a mask of facial expression which carries no variance within the situation. Someone, for example, who smiles when it is plainly obvious that they are unhappy, or pretends to exact enjoyment or investment of focus within a situation in which they basically feel down, out, and wholly disinterested. When your facial expression is not truly in line with the content of your emotion this will resonate perceptibly with those around you, and they will feel there is something somewhat off about you. The real reason for this is because you will probably emit two emotions. The first emotion that you emit will be that of the actor: you glue a creaking smile to your face and attempt to convey warmth through the entirety of your facial expression. The second facial expression you may come to exhibit, however, is that of the realist: the subtle creases of your face, the vague muscular contraction around your eyes, the slight, subtle tension in your jaw, basically the entire milieu of loaded suggestion painted across every second of your face, all of these signs, innumerable signs, will betray the reality of feeling behind what you are bringing. You cannot and should not attempt to dismay truth and become so unreal. Vanity, distortion, or entire occlusion of merit ensues if the external face and the internal reflection are not aligned. That is why facial expression, above all things, is the most dubious and unbelievable con. People will know when you are playing happy or grateful or generally positive and when you actually feel this way. If there is duality in your face you will express this duality and others will read it – as a rule. We are all experts at reading facial expression – we’ve been doing it our whole lives – and when someone is disingenuous that is instantly perceived.

The purpose here is to use facial expression as a trigger of awareness of how you really feel – the emotion you truly tap in that moment. Never disingenuous, never the clown or the actor; just truly use your facial expression to read yourself the way you read others. And then you can feel that you are imputed by negativity or blessed with the vigilance of positivity. The fact is that this is the touchstone: you can adapt your body language in a greater sense to align with positive emotion, and use this as an active mechanism of state, but if facial expression betrays any grief or delusion on your part then you haven’t truly settled the negativity or come to peace with it. And although body language, of course, can be an active medium for transmogrification of state, we are not attempting to build an illusion – we are attempting to build true state. Your facial expression prevents the lie – the deluded and therefore diluted self.

So facial expression is, as a distinguished certitude, the true realisation of any emotional stability you create and does not need to be faked – only highlighted. It keeps you honest with yourself and with others. Unless you are predisposed to duality this will be the automatic interpretation of conquest over ignoble and unreasoning negativity – period.

Following from this, the primary purpose of facial expression is amplification or interpersonal communication – how you express to the open world that reality of how you feel. The attraction or repugnance that this creates is the overflowing passion of emotional stability. In creating the positive resonance of emotional integrity, you will face the formatted ideation of what has the capacity for reality in you. Not the artifice, not to dupe anyone – facial expression is the reflective pool. When you smile, it is because you irreducibly have that inside of you. When you laugh, that is because laughter expresses the exuberance of your positive energy. It is not exhortation to delirium or a lack of inward facing recognition – the facial expression really expresses what it is that is inside of you. Smile because there is a part of you that truly knows what it means to smile and why you do so. Show affection or attraction because that nestles in the causality of true feeling. Use your facial expression to amplify who you are and reinforce the positivity when it is there. Show joyful expression because it is in you to show that, because you have invested in your self-worth, invested in others, and because you know that facial expression draws from and compounds deep felt emotion.

In this way, facial expression is the final trigger point, the unbreakable bond with truth that will always sink into the reality of emotion. When you are emotionally stable you know that, when you smile or show joy, that is what is really there for you – that it taps the emotion and brings it out. If you smile and it feels vain or hollow, when you smile but feel detached from it somehow, you need to refocus or commit to the transcript of emotional awareness. Either way, the mask of the actor fades and you will be left with yourself; so don’t wear a mask and you will not feel so uncomfortable when there is no need for one – when you are alone.

The final point or summary I would make with regard to facial expression is that its purpose is threefold. Firstly, it is to create an awareness of emotion. Secondly, it is to communicate the truth of that emotion to others and therefore create emotional honesty/accountability; this forges a more unified connection with them (even in the cases of negative emotion such as sadness/grief – when that is appropriate). Lastly, it is to compound the truth of the emotion that you feel when you truly feel it. Smile now, and if you truly can touch into the emotion of joy behind a smile, if you feel your chest expand a little or if you feel a small lightness from it, then you will know it is there in you, and that it is consistent with how you feel or who you are in this moment. In this case, it will be all the more powerful because it presents cogent self-awareness.

Gratitude

Be happy. More than that, be truly grateful for presence, for awareness, for the opportunity to feel something – anything. Be grateful for the abundance of possibility; be grateful for the warm pliability of friendship; be grateful for the unwavering recognition of ambition; be grateful for the impending reason that sits on the edge of every day through which you are willing to struggle and push just a little. Gratitude in the name of progression, reason, and hope; gratitude for the knowledge that you are a growing human being and the great vista of theoretical potentiated activity and triumph that awaits. Be thankful for the things great and small. Evoke blessings for all that which is meritorious, and for all of the vitriol and cruelty that does not have a place in your picture now or any longer. Be thankful for the way things are and the way things will be – clinging to the eventual horizon. Be thankful for your ability to breathe and make decisions.

Gratitude is the overwhelming mechanism of creating positive attention – of active state alteration. There is no greater means, no power of change as comprehensive because if you focus on what you do have, the merits of who you are and the person you are becoming, if you are truly thankful for the experiences of growth in life – even when they cause pain, especially when they cause pain – that bequeaths both redemption and renewed attraction. You will, through indirect force of will, draw into your life a greater number of events and circumstance about which to be grateful.

In life, or in your life situation, you find what you seek – more and more of it. The problem for a great many of us is not in our ability to locate, it is that for which we are looking. Every time you complain, you drag your focus through the witless doldrums of corpulence and corruption. The complaint expands simply because it is your focus. The more you complain, the more you find to complain about. Imagine your mind as the most abundantly fertile soil: whatever you plant (and I mean anything) will grow. You take to putting down weeds and then complain that the flowers don’t seem to be growing; but that is you – all you have planted is weeds. What you plant will grow.

And that is the unalterable affinity and distinction of gratitude: it forces you to replant your focus. Regardless of your situation, there are many things in it for which you have to be thankful. Speaking gratitude for these simple graces gives them greater life. What you focus on unravels and begets attraction or more of the same. If you can shift the tyranny of obsessive degrading thoughts onto the, as yet, possibly meagre but definitely present gifts in your life, things will start to change.

As we have noted, the body is the storehouse of emotion and emits a great degree of knowledge of self. The body reacts to complaints by closing up or tightening. Complaints, in and of themselves, create furious attraction based energy and draw more and more about which to complain. Everything stiffens up a bit – your body tightens against the mental notification of impending onslaught. You become closed and rigid; your muscles shudder and inundate their informing receptors with this tightness, this restriction – the brace. It may well be subtle but there is an effable tension in the very fibres of your existence that falls through the crevices of a plaintive nature.

Every negative thought, in this way, is a form of complaint. It is a way of looking at your situation and seeing the deep-rooted harm, the scurrying bumps and the jostles of life which shake your framework. The whole reason that you are shaken like this is to knock you out of lethargy and fear. Complaint is nothing but a misconstrued intake of life’s feedback. When all you look for is complaint, all you will find is complaint. And it is this complaint that prevents the discipline of struggle behind opportunity because you only see what is bad and not the need to do what you must to create change. Your see burdens and blocks, not opportunity. Complaint removes the responsibility of individual action and basic human development. Complaint takes something away from you and you can feel that when you complain, only it is more comfortable than the commitment implied by gratitude.

Gratitude is the complete opposite. Gratitude waits in the cosmic turbulence of any and every possibility. Gratitude is a very simple and direct lever of action and reward. One of the most useful single exercises for altering your entire mind is this: for one week – only one week of your life – become entirely grateful. Become entirely grateful for every possibility or opportunity, for every struggle that permits growth, for how perfectly the absconding mania or even the perverse, seemingly mundane entrenchment of your existence regulates and encourages the processes of growth that are most suitable for you in this moment. Whatever your situation, whatever the pain or distinctions of it, become entirely grateful. Do this without sarcasm or severity, without alteration – do not pretend to be thankful for that which you really disdain. In this, you truly and unreservedly seek out the patches of beauty in your life and buzz with frank gratitude for them. Experiment with this for one week. Wash away any complaints the moment they appear or, more than this, turn them into gratitude. Find something about that situation that benefits you within some important dimension.

I would purvey very few direct exercises in this book and only in those cases wherein I feel they are entirely necessary regardless of individual circumstance. This, however, is necessary for everyone – true heartfelt gratitude as a medium for uplifted emotional integrity. The exercise is this:

1.Commitment: The first step is to set aside one full week during which to focus only on gratitude – this is seven days without fresh start or repeat attempts. This is entire commitment.

2.External Cue: The second step is to create the external cues. Write down one word on a piece of paper: Gratitude. Place this somewhere you will view it repeatedly throughout the day. It may be useful to create a number of these external cues. I would even suggest using it as a screen-saver on your phone or laptop.

3.Internal Cue: The third step is the internal cue. At the beginning of each day, sit down and recite to yourself, “I will only focus on that for which I am grateful”. Repeat this throughout the day whenever you feel it is drawn into your consciousness.

4.Practice: Focus only on gratitude. Make this a consistent pattern from waking to sleeping. It may be necessary to note that this may touch upon increased amplitudes of emotional and therefore mental exertion but that is to dismay positive change. Tell yourself this if you feel it is a struggle.

5.Falling: There may be periods, depending on your level of focus and commitment, when you retreat towards the solace of unconscious patterns of negativity. In these instances you will catch yourself with the help of external cues, internal cues, and compounding evidence. The important thing is to forgive yourself, or, more than this, not to judge yourself. Be truly grateful that you did catch yourself and re-commit to this process with extended vigour.

6.Compounding: At the end of each day, compound this newfound focus by making a list of features of your existence for which you are grateful, including what came to you that day. You do not need to overdo things, just a handful of positive features of your life situation and that individual day.

7.Complaint: Control any complaints by abandoning them the moment they surface, or for greater benefit, and if you feel this is possible for you, see if you can reframe these complaints and search for the positives inherent in the situation out of which the complaint arrives.

8.Be genuine: Any gratitude that is not truly felt will have no connection to positive emotion and will not alter your active state.

9.Avoid negativity: When you notice that someone with whom you are in contact is attempting to level complaint, openly reframe this complaint. If they are resistant to this, simply leave them alone to digest their negativity in private. It may be beneficial to state the spiritual affirmation, “it is not my father or my mother, my sister or my brother, it is me O lord standing in the need of prayer”. The message here is that you are not attempting to change the mind state of others in this way – just your own.

The final point to note with regard to this exercise is that it must be done with no strings attached. Its success or failure is not, and cannot be, dependent on any reward. The process itself is the reward. There is no judgement of this – there is just continued commitment. Give one week of your life to this; continue through the normal rhythms of your day but attempt to frame everything through gratitude. Do this without any inherent expectation or demand as that is not the point. Any expectation will almost automatically be the expectation of failure and therefore connected to negativity. This is not a system for developing immediate external notoriety, this is you and your life – which is far more important. Commit to the process without expectation because that detracts from true presence and true gratitude. You are greater than any need for external validation and when you understand gratitude, you will understand that you already have all that you need flowing into your life with every new hour.

So that is gratitude, or the prolific buoyancy of it that prevents you from being pulled under by the deadening swell of negative emotion. Gratitude is the emancipating recollection of all that life has created within you and all that it will continue to create. Of course, negativity will plague the outcrop of thought and energy at times, but true gratitude for all that you are and all that you are becoming will always lead you back to centre. At times it will not be instantaneous. Know that it is a discipline and you must strive for a more indisputably gigantic nature. It is work and that reflects the greatest certainty of all mental developments. So put effort into the development of active mental state as a catalyst of expression and achievement. Your mind is the means of enforcing pressure to create change. You may press too lightly or not at all, at those times when emotion creates such a tangible dictate of inaction. When you feel you are weak, you inspire in your own mind thoughts of weakness and you become weak by the need to create belief in your own picture of the world. The law of congruence demands this: your actions cannot entirely defy the true nature of your beliefs. However, the reverse is then true: if you feel that pulsation of strength and tenacity, your thoughts will drink from this feeling and the belief you create will be that of strength. The world will then yield to the intoxicating strength of your manner. Emotion is not just a catalyst for progression: it underpins the probability of any such progression.

Chapter 6

Mastery

Mastery, or more specifically the process of developing mastery pathways, plays a vital role in the development of the mind. When we discuss mental development we begin at the level of conscious, straining thought. Thought then filters into routine. The routine needs to be purposeful, needs to breed an effusive and expansive consistency, and needs to bulge within the contending frame of compounding effort. Namely, when we pursue mastery it is our thoughts, it is our actions, it is our toil, our focus, and our physical joy.

The process, again, is long and stifling; it carries the weight of evolution and so must – undeniably must – test you. But that is comfortable, if uncomfortable. That is the constant reminder of existence. That is what we want.

Mastery is continual – it is entire commitment that endures beyond all staples such as a framework of time that has a definite endpoint. Mastery is the journey of everyday. Mastery is routine, it is immersion. You gain mastery as you challenge yourself in every minute aspect. Identification with time (beyond daily routine and goal structures) is meaningless when submitting to the process. You are entirely yourself within the venture and vestiges of growth. Complete involvement and commitment beyond any conditional variable is the manner in which you alter belief, draw from the subconscious energies that are necessary to step beyond yourself, and lay down an elegant sub-textual pathway (wherein the subconscious mind sets in place a pre-defined mechanism of thought and of motor response, and then you implicate increasing distinction with your efforts). Your beliefs shudder with the intoxicating pressure. This feeds back into your thoughts of the moment which again define the subtle certitudes of action. Mastery is every day, every moment, and across the expanse and duration of your physical existence.

When examining mastery in this way it is useful to trace its steadfast pathways. The complexities, diversity, and general array of challenge and function is almost inconceivable, but the communicating lines wherein mastery may be discovered and potential exchanged for expansion may well be delineated. Herein we will discuss ten channels though which mastery may be afforded life.

1. Selection

The first (and probably most obvious) pathway to mastery is selection. You must select pursuits predicated upon three fundamental principles: circumstance, joy, and quantity (the 24-hour rule).

You must apply effort and a great deal of forethought in the appropriate selection of challenge and dedication because that is just what it is – a lifetime of dedication. Ultimately I can’t tell you, you will know as a gut instinct, as a flourishing feeling of assurance, whether a pursuit is correct for you. This is inevitably sub communicated. We all follow different paths. Our ineffable subconscious energy streams will feel this for and with you, will know who you are, what you want, to what you could add the most depth given your instinctive capacities for evolution off of the back of particular direction and ascent. You choose the challenges that you need to choose, the challenges in which you have the greatest potential for development.

It is important to put effort into this decision – invest in it. Beyond this the decision must come from you, regardless of external pressure. There are certain opportunities that will present, that will seem right given your obvious superficial pathways through life, but you must make the choice; you must choose beyond what is comfortable or natural, beyond what placates friends or family or your very surroundings and bastions of pressure or distinction, beyond communal will or institutional domination. We are ourselves in these decisions. Not our mother, not our father, not our sister or brother, not our partner, our friends, or the scathing shock of society. We are alone in these decisions. Council and advice is not worthless but it will never come from a place of complete understanding. Do not ask anyone to know you entirely and make these decisions for you.

Circumstance

With that dimension of forethought in place it is important to come to the first principle of selection: circumstance. It is incumbent upon you, beyond this actually, it is vital that you do not entirely ignore circumstance. What you want, where you want to be, you can be; but you must work towards certain situations. If a pursuit is entirely beyond your current circumstances find a way to work towards it, but do not fool yourself and do not waste time. We can have all that we want and in the long run circumstance is not entirely befouling but in the shortened run of things, we exist within a certain environment. There are certain human considerations that must be upheld. If you have a family to support, independence to maintain, any broken angry passages of life that must be slowly filtered, then this is your reality. Do not run from reality: make your decisions with this reality to the front. I am not telling you to downplay your ambition, I am not insinuating that anything is beyond you but, in acting, you must act according to where you are and what you are at this moment. Act realistically and then grow, build – adjoin possibility and probability. Work for what you want. Nothing is beyond you, but pay deference to the verity of your situation.

Joy

Of course, there are the subtle lines of joy to consider. This is, in essence, what your gut is feeding you – what you want. The joy of certain pursuits is tempered by nature and nurture. Your choice of pursuit reveals how these certain potentials have been developed within you. You will find joy in that in which you have the capacity to excel. You will find joy in that which will deliver purpose. You will find joy in that which will sustain you. This type of joy is sustenance of mind, body, and soul. There is little to communicate regarding the joy of certain pursuits beyond the obvious fact that you will know it when it is truly there. You will just feel it. That this is right, that I could develop and provoke excellence through this channel. The joy will not be the ecstatic, unreasonable joy of gratification. It will not be bathed in the splendour of effusive and unbinding delight, it will inevitably be the joy of the grind – of what that means and what that will bring. It will be staunch, solid; it will be the friend that stays with you through the cutting times, the friend that won’t let you give up on yourself, or give up on it. That is the most powerful kind of joy – the joy of sweat, tears, and endurance.

Quantity and the 24-hour rule

Finally then, there is quantity. When looking at these things, at these pursuits, we realise that there is a great demand on our time, our focus, and our energy, reaching through any and every pursuit of mastery. I have told you not to worry about time in a complete sense. Do, however, worry about the 24 hours because mastery is the pursuit of every day. The day is the arena in which you contend mastery – every day. And in examining your day you will find that, when you become efficient, you can extract alot more from an individual day than you would think. Days are long and benevolent when you use them correctly. Don’t spend your time, invest your time, and you will see the truth in this.

It is central to the pursuit of mastery not to take on too much, to push yourself into a varied parlance of mediocrity and burnout that leaks through those who are scattered, those whose eyes are too big for their stomachs. We divide our tasks in a calculating and cultured manner. Your days should not consist of much more than three pursuits of mastery. This varies depending on the individual – less or more. You must balance two competing concepts: the less competition there is for your focus the more intent and precise you will become; however, if all of your focus is on one individual craft then that can breed staleness and can lessen the possibility of creative alignment of a multitude of sources. That is why scaled choice is so important.

Firstly, examine your current daily routine. Of what does it consist? What are you bound to already? What is it that demands your time and how much free time do you have? How efficient are you? Establish an inscrutable overview of how you direct your time. Just observe it. From this then, we allow the infiltration of recalibration.

Once you have crafted an accurate and unceasingly honest picture of your days, of your general pursuits, of your efficiency, of what you do, how you do it, who you do it with, why you do it (ultimately dissect your patterns with a surgeon’s scalpel), once you are truly honest about the picture you can begin to change it – if that is your choice.

It is also incredibly important to be realistic. To set yourself to a daily routine that is entirely beyond the scope of what you have done before – to allow no rest, to contemplate nothing but the design of obsession – will lead to burnout. Be honest about your situation. Be honest about your current tolerance. Both are a matter of conditioning and both will change.

So therein we see our day, our routine, our responsibilities, and our current level of ability. The purpose of all of this is to create an accurate and exacting frame. If you imbue this cipher of description and understanding with anything approaching egotism it will be off and that will cost you time and greater struggle. Of course, not every day will be the same for us given responsibility between, for example, weekdays and weekends. You will again need to frame these accurately. It is all about understanding what you do and why you do it at the level of everyday – at the level of 24 hours.

With an inscrutable overview in mind, the next step is to create boundaries for the beginning and end of each day. This is an undeniably important task: to set boundaries of waking and sleeping. What time do you need to wake up? What time do you need to go to sleep? The bracket should be in the region of 7-9 hours of sleep. However, depending on your age, generalised activity levels, cognitive and physiological requirements, and the responsibilities/requirements of your situation, you will have to tailor your system.

Do not shun sleep in the name of progression – sleep is vital for recovery. The neuro-physiological and basic physical functions, which are up-regulated in times of heightened strain and effort, need recovery. Neither should you over-indulge in sleep as this is resistance. 7-9 hours should be the bracket in most cases but decide what is right for you according to the above parameters. What is most important with sleep is consistency: in bed at the same time every night, up at the same time every morning. This consistency is reassuring and provides greater impetus at the beginning of every day. When you are struggling to establish this pattern – and it can be difficult – it may be a useful exercise to actually practice waking up and getting out of bed by recreating the conditions of the morning – setting an alarm, imagining that it is morning, and getting up when it goes off. In this manner you can retrain, firstly, your physical pattern, and when this is strongly ingrained you can retrain your belief about your ability to wake up in the morning – your neurological response patterns will alter until there is no input or thought of resistance in the morning. You simply get up when it is time to get up.

This may seem a small or somewhat irrelevant detailing in relation to the pathways of mastery but it is everything. Consistency is pre-eminent and must prevail throughout all aspects of life. Of course, decide what is right given your situation but these may be seen as useful parameters.

The next step is to establish what is and what is not necessary in your life. For example, if you are a student and must finish a degree course, if you must maintain independence and responsibility by working, if you maintain any pre-eminent commitment, then these are the distinguishing responsibilities of circumstance which serve as an important marker of selection. In most cases there is a certain degree of inefficiency upon which you can transfix an alteration. Establish the activities and patterns that you engage in – what is not absolutely necessary? Or if there is a great burden of individualised pressure inherent in your situation, how can you alter it? For everyone there are ways of creating pockets of space into which you can filter mastery progression. It is about examining your circumstance and recalibrating it intelligently and, above all, patiently. Do not complain – strive.

When you have furnished this daily pathway with a rejuvenated clarity, look at the pursuits in which you remain engaged, that are central to your life. Some of these pursuits may be temporary but regardless of this, you will have to remain committed to them for a degree of time in the future. It is in these processes that we first establish the bloodlines of mastery: be that a job (even if you disdain it), or a programme of study (even if it unsuited to your particular talents). There tends to be a general commitment of this kind in most cases. I have, of course, established the necessary tenant of joy within mastery development, but when it comes to circumstance we must be patient. Elevate the qualities of mastery within ourselves until we have worked the circumstance to breed the correct opportunity for alteration. You will find the pursuits of joy if you remain patient, but first you may have to grind through the drudgery. That is where there is growth.

Now that you have an accurate picture of your circumstance, have created borders of waking and sleeping, have discarded or reduced the glut of unnecessary action, it is time to imbue current pursuits with the staples of mastery progression. See these pursuits as dry runs – as development of mastery progression within the self. Commit to them according to the remaining principles set out herein. Eventually there will be appropriate opportunity to change your circumstance if you are unhappy. That will come if you commit to mastery.

In essence, this process is to tidy and re-focus your life. That is the first step we take on the journey of mastery. However, in reshaping your life in this way, you will have, hopefully, created time for the engagement of at least one new pursuit to illustrate the principles of mastery. It is not enough to clear the thick clots in your daily schedule: you must infuse these spaces with renewed endeavour or you will, without question, fall back into old routines. This is the point at which you decide to introduce a new mastery pathway into your life. Decide what is right for you – you will just know it as a gut instinct. It should be something that you can commit to entirely – that is laced with the entreaties of possibility and distinction. Whatever newly found or remembered path of study and action you take, be sure that it has depth and can lead you into yourself, that it has challenge and integrity, that it has the force of change behind its every dealing. Do not underestimate these decisions – make them carefully and effort-fully with a great deal of forethought.

Phase Shift

Do not be confused or distraught: I am not extolling the benefits of living a life out of your control in which you commit to endeavours that hurt you. What I am saying is that, in the beginning, you will have to create and nurture the principles of mastery within self by paying homage to your current circumstance and essentially creating a greater sense of human force and proficiency. As you grow through the discomfort and slowly alot time and show increasing discipline and courage, new mastery pathways will begin to brew and boil in the veins of life.

From this change of manner, opportunities will manifest. You will slowly etch out the probability of alteration in your life’s situation. You will begin to move further into what brings you joy and further out of what doesn’t. The whole process is to guide you in becoming a more powerful human being who knows what it is to toil, to create, to seize, and to feel joy. There is a need of patience in the beginning. Change doesn’t just suddenly manifest. But if you are willing to be patient, to wade through the tides of discomfort, you will find a way into that which you want but will not hurt yourself or others so badly in doing this – will not be so entirely wanton and reckless. You will be able to see opportunities and take them when they are there. So push through your current situation; develop, within yourself, a character of mastery and you will find your joy in life.

The pursuits rearrange their countenance, new features creep through the blank soil of boredom and apathy, everything is not as stagnant as you’d think. But in the beginning there is pain and disorganisation to a greater or lesser extent. You must embrace this – do not turn your back on it. New mastery pathways will light up when the time is right and you will have nurtured the cunning and insight to know that they are right; they provide for you and you will have what you want. And remember that minds, like bodies, fall into a recessive state from mere excess of comfort. This is as true in the beginning as it is in the end. You may not be accustomed to it yet, the challenge is taking you the long way around, but you will find your way eventually.

2. Deconstruction

Following selection of an appropriate mastery pathway, the next stage is skill deconstruction. What are the fundamental components of this skill or venture? Of what is it composed? Of course, it differs greatly depending on the objective route upon which you are travelling, but it is important to focus your engagement within any pursuit. Approach it atom by atom, shade by shade. You are to know exactly what it is you are doing and why you are doing it. For any pursuit to be significantly impactful, it must have many roots, many composites. You must know the parts that make up the whole and then approach each in turn.

So this is where we begin. On what does the fortune of growth in this endeavour depend? What are the individual aspects that make up the whole? Mastery, in any endeavour, is the sum of multiple parts – multiple challenges. For you to gain lucid proficiency in any engagement there can be no neglect. While some parts may engage you more generously than others, it is vital that you give attendance to each input.

For example, if you were to engage in a process of improved physical health, as a vehicle for mastery development (which I would highly recommend), it would be prudent, beyond this actually, it would be necessary to break down the challenge into its fundamental components. In this case the fundamental components could be:

•Strength training (weight/resistance training)

•Endurance training (cardiovascular health)

•Diet and nutrition

•Rest

This is the first essential split within the deconstruction. Now that we have delineated some of the basic inputs of our selected mastery pursuit, we would further evaluate each critical component according to its own inherent nuances.

For example, in strength training it would be important to break the body down into the muscle groups to be trained. We could break the body down into: chest, shoulders, arms (biceps/triceps), back, core, and legs (it would also be of use to train and develop the secondary movers at the hip and shoulder – this includes rotator cuff and hip abductors/adductors – to prevent muscular imbalance as we develop). Following on from this it may be necessary to formulate a basic programme of exercises to target each muscle group every week. Then we must decide how to divide up and employ this programme. Within the actual programme of employment a further deconstruction of practice may be advisable according to: form through the movement (including beginning and end of the range of movement), breathing, connection between mind-muscle through movement, and the appropriate weight progression. Of course, it would be beneficial to track progress according to this framework.

Following from this we could focus on the next input which would be our endurance training. Again, we would have to decide on the mode of training, be that jogging, rowing, swimming, cycling or any combination of these, or any other training modalities. Following on from this selection we would assign certain days to train and decide where to train, what equipment we would need, and all of the individual considerations relevant to that pursuit which would facilitate consistency and ease of engagement. For consistency we would again need to create a process of progression tracking.

Beyond this, we would need to focus on diet. We would need to evaluate our current dietary habits and employ change. In the beginning the central focus would reside in eliminating unhealthy choices. At an advanced level it may be useful to decide upon a caloric intake that is suitable for us given age, gender, basal metabolic rate, and whether we are trying to gain or lose weight. We could then split up our food groups according to Carbohydrate, Fat, Proteins, Vitamins, and Minerals (and, of course, water intake). Having decided upon an appropriate caloric intake, we could then decide how to populate our meal plan according to the above considerations with an appropriate designation of each of the above macronutrient and micronutrient categories. This could become quite complex and you may benefit from professional advice to set you off in the right direction if this is something in which you would be interested.

Beyond this, it may be useful to consider rest. Your body requires time to recover after periods of heightened activity and everyone adapts differently. In this, we should consider assigning appropriate time periods for sleep, and also allow numerous rest days to break up our weekly activity based on how much time we need to recover. The more inexperienced, the greater amount of time you must allot for recovery.

This is a basic deconstruction and not, by any means, a plan of action. I use it primarily for illustration. Although exercise should be a staple in our lives (and a programme organised along these lines could be adapted for use by anyone and is not specific to any group), depending on individual circumstance, it may be necessary to go into greater or lesser depth. Also, sport specific training could serve as a fifth category in physical health, which could demand a greater allotment of weekly time and would again need to be accurately deconstructed (and would compensate for resistance and endurance training to a certain extent but may not entirely remove the need for separate training sessions for these components of physical health).

The whole purpose behind such a slight, somewhat vague deconstruction such as this is to give you an idea of what may be involved – of the first step. Every pursuit of action will engage similar lines of deconstruction and it is useful to have a reference point, a meagre symbol, something close to what it might look like or a tool for greater imagination. As you alight to a greater body of knowledge on any given topic, the deconstruction will tumble into the realms of greater depth. From the pursuit of knowledge comes greater understanding and greater ability to deconstruct the passage to progress.

Legal Disclaimer: If you have any medical condition or dysfunction that may impact upon your ability to engage in such a programme of exercise, it is important to discuss this with your doctor/specialist and proceed in accordance with the regulations that they may provide.

Developing upon the Deconstruction

At the beginning of a path, the challenge of deconstruction may seem somewhat strange, unfamiliar, and intimidating. How can you be expected to deconstruct the necessary components of an alien or unfamiliar pursuit? The important thing to realise is that deconstruction is scaled and continuous. There is no responsibility to fully understand the challenge or the pursuit the minute you set foot in it. You begin with one step, and then another and another. There is no pressure to fully understand everything – or anything – in the beginning. That is the point: the ability to create a greater and more detailed deconstruction of what it is you will need – what you must do to conquer – is informed by submersion – by time spent in the challenge and anguish of the thing.

We all start at the point of ignorance; we start feeling unsure of ourselves or off-balance. But it doesn’t matter, we are only beginning. As you submerse yourself in the qualities, texture, and knowledge of your pursuits, you will learn. The picture of what to do, of what is needed, will inflate. And your deconstruction can feed on this growing depth of understanding; you begin to calculate and re-calculate. If what you observed before was incorrect, if the deconstruction needs to lend more weight to this category and less to that, if something you thought was central is actually peripheral, and something you didn’t realise was necessary at all actually holds a place of primacy in this endeavour, you will adapt your deconstruction to allow for such conditions. You are ignorant: you learn. You make mistakes: you learn. You succeed: you learn. We are humans and that is what we do. We vanquish inadequacy if we don’t stop pushing through that inadequacy. Because your brain is amazing; you are amazing and you will figure this all out. It is your responsibility because you were given the equipment. You must reciprocate life’s advances.

In this way, we continue to push and involve ourselves, and as we do we learn. As we learn we lend increasing insight and credence to a more adequate deconstruction. That is what you must remember: deconstruction of a task is continuous. There is no real burden of pressure in the beginning, you are just tracing a faint outline of what you think may be involved, like an artist making the initial sketches of what will prove to be his masterpiece. It will rarely look anything like the finished product, may only be a small portion of it, and may even change beyond all recognition. It doesn’t matter; what does matter is that you keep going, keep grinding through the lessons and adding to the construct. A deconstruction is a blueprint, you must continue looking it over, adding or changing or removing where necessary, building it up slowly over time – the deconstruction is the plan.

There is an inherent tendency within the ego-driven mind to denounce exploration, to rebuke, to say, “I don’t know the first thing about this”, and so write off progression and sink back into familiarity. That’s fear – fear of humiliation, fear of disdain or distaste, fear of getting things wrong, of losing, of any experience that holds virtue in the mould and blood of its simple expression. It is because of the inclement, boastful fact that it challenges our conception of self – our self image, what we think we could do and not what we can do – that it creates static. That is a static life. You are right: you don’t know the first thing. Go and learn it; and then learn the second thing, the third thing, the fourth; keep learning through the fire of fear, all of your life.

Well you might ask, “what if I learn wrong? What if I learn things but in the wrong order somehow, everything gets jumbled up and nothing makes sense? What if I tried and then I failed and now I’m hurt and discouraged?” There is no wrong way. There is just the way that happens to be, which is perfect. Everything almost certainly will be confusing in the beginning, things will overlap, lack clarity, you’ll feel like you’ve started at the wrong place and must double back. Get used to it. In the beginning things can feel disorganised. That is why you create a blueprint, why you deconstruct a task based on what you know. And then you add to it as you learn more. Continuous deconstruction pulls things into order and creates focused learning which may be messy or dishevelled in the beginning. Some enjoy this, some don’t. Regardless, we pile through this, attribute increasing order to our deconstruction and make small, everyday progress.

Take the functioning of the memory for example. Within memory it is important to create an ordered body of knowledge on a topic that begins with the very basics. This is the memory’s deconstruction of its segmental knowledge. When you create a basic structure of learned information on a topic that is simple and ordered, it is much easier to build upon. If, however, you learn different detailing of many complex aspects of a topic en masse, with no basic structure, you will not retain this information in the long-term. A basic structure of knowledge on a topic creates a certain mental magnetism. When new knowledge regarding this topic (or related to it in any way) is communicated to the mind, it can attach this learning to its current store of relevant knowledge on this topic. It associates relevant facts and understandings to that which it currently understands and builds the body of knowledge on this particular topic. A basic structure of knowledge potentiates rapidly, almost passively, within the brain.

A disorganised pool of information is not added to. The brain has no structure to attach new information to and so everything just evaporates. Even though it may have learned the same information, if it did not do so according to the principles of structure, then there is no compelling structure that can be added to. The brain just thinks, “Everything is disorganised… I can’t pull up any obvious information on this topic; there is no system for it, even though I know I’ve seen information similar to this before… I’ll just store it for the short term and then discard it as this seems to be the process with information on this topic”. There is no system, there is no deconstruction, and nothing sticks. Or, more specifically, there is no rapid access to this information.

It is this way with mastery: you deconstruct the pursuit, you create a basic framework for the pursuit at the outset and then you continue to refer back to it, build on it. Anything relevant that comes in then has something substantial and immediate with which to bond. This is efficiency. You may be painful, reckless, and profligate in the beginning, however, once you create order you will know how to create order. Things will stick; growth will compound and add to itself organically. You will engage in the pursuit of excellence that does not overlook, that perpetuates a deepening mass of wisdom and knowledge built up from this solid base.

So that is the simplicity of developing systems of order. We begin with derision, with disorder, and with a lack of harmony. As you spend time within the churning belly of experience, your mind can begin to make connections. As this process accelerates due to continued submersion, we begin to find a certain un-devastated clarity. This clarity is the deconstruction. This clarity is that of feeling the way forward, of enjoying the prolific uncertainty of immoderate exploration. Exploration breeds impetus for the deconstruction of things. When we know how the pursuit works, how it functions, the reflexive arcs of action and achievement, then we gain perspective. Do not expect this at once – immediately: expect this to sharpen with the experiences of life. And know that you must continue to adjust; nothing is static or thoughtless. Continue to adjust your trajectory. Things don’t seem to stay the same for very long: they get worse or they get better. So you must continue to adapt your systems of progression, continue to focus and re-focus, continue, essentially, to deconstruct the present understanding of this pursuit – see what is now needed to feed improvement. As your competence escalates to the point of mastery, so too must your deconstruction of what is needed to progress – to take your next step.

Goal Setting

Goal setting is very much a by-product of deconstruction. The goals themselves, however, are never the point. But they do offer guidance. Once you know what it is you want to achieve, once you set that down, it is a beacon. It continues to flare passionately in the great open distances of mental projection. And in its doing so, you can feel when you are going off course and when you have somehow gotten lost. Essentially, you will know immediately when you are going in the wrong direction and when you have taken a misstep.

This is important because of the fluctuations in effort, experience, and basic human distraction. We lose some focus; we submit, no matter our virtues, to the fear of opacity. When this happens, when the uncertainty impinges so angrily, so inelegantly, and with all of its typical pugnacious grit, we stumble. We go back on ourselves; we go back on what we said we would do. We withdraw because somehow we’ve been caught cold. The superficial, honestly superfluous confidence and geniality have left us and we have ice in our veins – the continued worry of humiliation and defeat.

This happens – it does. You think, you act, you believe, but there are cracks that need to be filled. That is the purpose of this disbelief, when it is there. Disbelief is to test you, to tempt you, “You have already done so much: why not ease off? Why not take a day, two days, three?… Why try so hard when no one else is doing this? Look at your friends and family: they seem happy and they aren’t pushing themselves like you are… You might look foolish; you might fail; you might tumble down into the rabbit hole of continued distress and discomfort… You might… You might… You might”. And it is for nothing – it means nothing. The actual words, they are just the illusion. The real purpose is to stress you, to see if you crack. If not, if you push in spite of this, then these thoughts are to compound what you are doing. You trust the order of things; you trust the desire to follow your heart and soul and just guts, through all abstract doubt and daunting uncertainty.

The purpose of the goals is to hold you accountable. This is what you really want – this is the benchmark. You know what you want and you know what you must continue to do every day to get there – to arrive. Continue to push through resistance and fear, examine and re-examine, trajectory is adjusted so it can just connect. All of the basic environmental and internal turbulence seems to move the target around. The lack of insight, of clarity, of knowledge, seems to set the target in motion. That was you – just you – because you were too far away and couldn’t see things clearly. When you get that bit closer, you realise that it is not quite what you thought it was, or where you thought it was. The deconstruction alters the trajectory; the goals keep you flying in the correct direction.

So set down your goal, write it, record the date that you set that goal and the date by which you hope to have it achieved. Do not write “I want to… I hope to… my goal is to”: write “I will”. Say it out loud every morning and every night. Watch the thought spark action and the action spark belief. And once the goal is achieved, you escalate, build on that success.

In this, what you should realise is that the actual goal is never the reason, never the purpose. The goal is never the heart of the thing, it just demands progress through its existence. The goals prevent revert. This is the most buoyant aphorism or modern progression. It is absolutely true. The goal is a compliance mechanism that prevents you from rejecting the path and rejecting the self who you could find through following that path. It keeps you going or moving forward; the journey is the destination. The goals keep you on the journey. So, in a delicate manner, hopefully devoid of condescension, every goal to which you honestly ascribe, in the only way that really matters, you have already achieved – as long as it is still there, as long as you are still going for it, as long as you are still in the vivid passion of it all. Progress is action and action is clarity – the heart of you beating every moment and becoming aware of this; becoming aware that it is not all so plain, so perfunctory or hopeless: that it is vast, gigantic and everywhere. That you just exist now: right now.

3. Instruction

One of the most powerful and fundamental tools, instincts, bastions of mastery, is that of instruction. That wheel you’re struggling with, fumbling against the round edges of creation, well that has already been created. And in being created, it was bestowed with the most fundamental relic of a mechanistic, evolving species: the desire to instruct regarding this creation and so proliferate the pride and proclivity of hard earned knowledge. The knowledge is earned, forged from this cauldron of invisible creation, not so that it could pass into the venerable distances of forgotten thought, but that it could be given, that it could flood through collective consciousness. It is the fundamental rite of human communication. The desire to teach may be even greater than the desire to learn.

We depend on each other for conscious evolution – that is the wonderful truth of it. Co-dependence is our birthright as human beings. That co-dependence is foundered and proclaims itself in the principles, firstly, of survival and secondly, evolution. With mastery we are focusing intent on the second principle – evolution. We are bound by cultural reciprocation to mould the chains of collective survival. There is a sense of duty to it, though it may of course find joy, connection, and warmth within its linking expanse. But the real, pure, visceral, and prehistoric delight of co-dependence is found in evolution. There is something so transcendent, something that feeds the cause of existence in teaching – in formulating a breeding ground for new invention.

Every idea, without exception, is directed in some way toward either survival (and comfort) or evolution. This is evolution of self or, when it is un-regulated by egotism, of others. It is this human compassion for life, for existence, that is the base metal of purpose – where that purpose may be found. Collective evolution spirited by instruction is the ironbound, instinctive core of mastery.

So success leaves clues. A human being who has created and maintains the truth of mastery in any endeavour is, by means of human growth (afforded by the attainment of mastery), devout to the human cause and implicitly willing to instruct – as long as that mastery is lined and drawn in without the entire rebuke of egotism. In most cases mastery will both build and then break down the ego. And success leaves clues. If you look, you can see the flattened grass in which the footprints rest.

Imagine mastery as the iridescent skin of a diamond. When you are not entirely engaged with pursuit and excellence and you see someone, someone who has attained these heights, all that you see is the immensity and depth of the colours of their genius – dazzling and cumbersome to envisage. You don’t know how you could ever reflect such majesty and turbulence. When you look a little closer however, you can see that the beauty of these people is not the colour of their deeds alone, it is the many anglepoised surfaces upon which the light plays in the heart of the diamond. The immensity of pressure formed these many surfaces. And this was a slow and painful process. The beauty of mastery isn’t the light that it reflects – if you are distracted by that, you will never understand it – the beauty of mastery is the many angles within the heart of the thing, which were crushed into existence by pressure and which allow, are necessary for allowing the light to be reflected in this way. That’s essentially it. You get caught up in the light of it all, in the exhibition of it all. Look deeper, look at the angles that were created by pressure. Always look at the angles and be willing to feel the pressure.

So success leaves clues. Firstly we instruct the self in less formal, formidable patterns. We learn through study: study supportable or important information, study of books, of video or recording (and of course, study of basic experience within the grind) – study of any cogent source material that will present to us the means of discovery and execution. This is of course a means of instruction – of learning of the pursuits of others. But it is somewhat less vivid or spectacular. It is less present in the more bombarding sense.

When we become a little more particular about this information or begin to tolerate its ascent in a less capacious manner, when we start to fill ourselves with the combative truths of that which we have studied or learned, it is then necessary to create a case study. We trace the stitch-work of mastery as it was laid down in a select and distinctive number of individuals. We recreate their steps. What you want has most likely already found tangible reality in the form of another – maybe many others. It is obligatory then, to seek out their stories. Claw out the detailing of their histories and see for yourself how this was attained. Give yourself circumstantial proof. Beyond the actual stock of modalities and insight this will afford you, it will grant one inescapable truth: that it is possible. Not just the attainment of mastery in the actual pursuit, you already know that, but that it is possible for you, given your situation; naming all of the inherent stupefaction of circumstance is meaningless because this thing was achieved by another mere mortal and so excuse is meaningless. It will fill you with this slow-boiling belief that is unalterable.

In the more vertical plane of things however, it will be incumbent upon you, within the pursuit, to find a mentor; to find someone who is familiar with the exigency, the wit, and the turmoil of progression; to find a mentor who can plunge your hands into the clay of dignified creation and tell you when and how hard to push and when and how to ease-off. This is important. First-hand instruction in any pursuit is a critical ingredient of progress. Look for a mentor, regardless of the pursuit and adjacent to the study of excellence. Find someone who can really guide you out of your current state of undistinguished humility. They have seen it before. They know you because they were who you are now – fragile and seeking.

It should not then need to be stated, but look for a mentor who has found growth in the pursuit to which you are binding yourself. Be specific. And furthermore, align yourself with one from whom you can learn, who cares and will invest in you – who you match. And align yourself with someone who has found the same colour of success that you are seeking, or, in the least, can serve as a springboard, a stepping stone should you grow beyond, or unravel to a greater extent your initial purpose.

We come upon greater and greater elevation of mastery then, in the presence of others – sometimes many others. Where few minds meet in the name of a kindred focus, the restoration of intent and purpose is amplified. Mastery can create isolation and a degree of self-seeking in the beginning. However, eventually, when the experience and passage of things passes as they should, when the need is there, you will find others – like minded, unstoppable others – striving within the same binds of dismay and possibility. Mastery begins as the journey of one, as you push it finds its way into greater and greater pockets of communal regard.

We grow beyond ourselves in the presence of others. When you are set on your pursuit, beyond just the deconstruction, beyond the goals, beyond the private study and digestion of knowledge and ability, it is important to find the supple, malleable bonds of friendship through performance. Find a mentor – one who is willing and who is suitable to everything about you – and then drop the ego. Admit that you don’t know best and open yourself up to every type of learning – the clean slate, with no regard at all for resistance.

This is the last piece of advice I would give you: you will always, always accelerate the processes of discovery in the absence of prejudice. We are all imbued with elegant and profitable points of view. What you think and who you are is not at all meaningless. But you should never let that create resistance during the process of instruction. Delve entirely into what someone is telling you. Of course, decide for yourself what actually works for you – take in only that which would make you stronger – but feel the experience of instruction entirely. You are to present no egotistical restriction. And then apply what is positive. Always present as a blank slate and the lessons will fill you up with the thankful touch of potency.

4. Practice

All of the other pillars of mastery are essentially to boost the promise of practice: to make it more stable, to make it more efficient and direct, to make it endure. This is the one element of mastery that is inescapable. The other levers will apply greater or less incitement given the time, the situation, what is relevant. They all exist continuously, but with graceful and moderate fluctuation. Practice, however, is stable. It must not alter. You cannot defy or disregard it.

Practice is seen through the lens of routine. Practice is what you subscribe to on the path of mastery. Everything else is essentially greater stimulus for peak performance within the arena of practice. Everything else is practice on your practice. But if you do not put in the hours, no matter the level of efficiency or promise of expertise you seem to possess or display, nothing can click, nothing can function, and nothing can come together.

We have already discussed the importance of practice within the realm of creativity and it is not a complex idea. However, as practice is a relevant construct of mastery it is useful to re-establish or re-state its importance. Repetition is practice.

The idea is to repeat, then tweak – over and over and over again. Find what works for you; find what is holding you back. Deliver time to the progression of your strengths and, more critically, your weaknesses. Constantly make progress; hold yourself to your own embattled standards. No one sets the bar for you (in an absolute sense), that is how we find mediocrity: you look at the standards set by others and it enforces a torpidity and angst in your performance. What is far more dangerous: you apply internal limits to what is possible. Yes, study others; yes, grow with others; present as a blank slate in learning and attach no prejudice to pursuit. But how much you can grow is not a standard that should be set or limited. You should believe this of yourself. This is not egotism as, by the very nature of its desire to impress, to present with too much self-consciousness, is a limiter.

So create the idea and flood it with hours and hours of practice. Use all of your means, all of the prestigious precepts of mastery to augment this practice. But the practice is the final say. The practice is just time invested in study and action – in the meat of the thing. Practice is the final word in progression. Use every other means at your disposal to enliven and embolden that practice. However, in the end, hours invested and the daily routine, that is really all of mastery. The whole of mental progression, through every bitter obstacle, boils down to practice. Hours invested is practice – is growth. To know the means and to live through them are two very different things. Sit into the thing and when it attempts to refute or disregard your presence through tension and dismay, through set-back and plateau, always remain within the delicacy of your craft.

There will be distractions that present, there will be the choking cry of disillusion, so many times you will feel the heat of longing for freedom from this struggle but always remain firm. Yes, there will be frustration as well as joy – there will be solitude and there will be reception. There will forever be the pull of disillusion. Just show up and keep grinding – no matter the obstacle, no matter the exception. There are no shortcuts. There is no malaise afforded; there is only a singular purpose; there is only an unending endurance.

In whatever way this message is real for you: just show up and keep grinding.

5. Patience

The idea of patience is essentially the internal fortitude to sustain in the face of the sheer capriciousness of developmental cycles. Patience is a necessary compound within the convulsing self-talk of individual character formation. Patience is poise in the face of rejection or seeming reversal of fortunes. Patience is entirely necessary should you choose to undertake this journey or have even the faintest designs on progression. Patience exists within every component of mastery and is the most important character trait to develop for the attainment of success.

Within the diluted dissection of mastery progression there are essentially two fields of human advancement of which we must be cognizant. The first is that of overt or explicit progression: this is the detailing of the subject itself and how you interact with it – your competence within the actual mechanical symphony of involvement. The second field of human advancement, inherent within the art of mastery attainment, is the inward-facing or implicit progression: this is how you grow as a person, how your self-concept (contained within the subconscious mind) takes on newfound perceptions of increasing competence.

The reality behind both why we choose to take on a certain pursuit of mastery, and our potential for appreciating competence (namely our capacity to expand), is because of basic human character. All of the temptations towards avoidance and leisure and hard-hearted ignorance may be capsized by the correct pursuit. Beyond just a reversal of apathy, the dove-tailing clarity behind focus and progression will lead us into new realms of thought, experience, and understanding. The real reason we take on and excel in any pursuit is inevitably because of the progression it implies within our self-concept. This is not in a material sense, not in the sense of sustenance, or survival, or even rising to a position of societal importance: this is all background noise behind our undeterred desire for character validation and liberation, for human power and understanding, for the needs of the mind and the spirit which bubble closer to the surface with every second spent in self-investment, with mastery as the medium.

Mastery is the art of expression. Mastery is how you find yourself, how you find the dreadful and elaborate steps of intensity and evocative improvement. Mastery is a medium for the employment of the tumid energies of the self. We are growing in this or becoming more of ourselves than before. All else is secondary – the fame, the decadence, the un-impeached sense of satisfaction, every material comfort behind it or every tuft of human recognition or respect. You would commit to this practice beyond all of that because mastery does two fundamental things – implicitly. One is that it pulls you out of yourself – your ego identified capitulating self-image – and just allows you to be, without hesitation. The second is that, through this zealous and engrossing sense of immersion, it gives you the medium to connect to the greater understanding of things. Maybe that is romanticism but is that not what you want as a human being: to be embossed by realisation, if only for a second, a moment, an hour, a day?

That is what mastery allows for, but only through patience. Mastery drags you beyond the anchors, it lights you on fire, it is pure and un-desiccated immersion – just dwelling in the love of doing and being. The explicit growth is what draws you in and what tracks you indefinitely. The implicit growth is what gives any of it meaning, is why you are awake with the perfume of sweat and the texture of experience heavy in your mind and on your fingertips. That is why we commit to mastery, that is what it can stand for, but only through patience.

This kind of life rests within the sometimes torrid and sometimes ensnaring hours and we find them, greet them, and toil within them regardless of what they have for us. Patience is showing up and filling the objective pursuit with mountains of your intensity when the opposing factors of life are absent and, more usefully, when they are present.

The journey may begin simply, will afford you space, will react ambivalently to your designs on attainment. The beginning is when you are washed with unprovoked ability – when things seem natural. You cannot yet realise all that you do not know and you are blessed with touch and unearned technique. The rapidity is in the beginning. You are like someone who is running their first marathon and sprints for 100 yards. Progress is rapid and exhilarating. When things start to slow down and you feel the ice of obliged longevity there can be three responses.

The Three Responses to Decelerations in Progress (And the Role of Patience)

Within the first response you continue to sprint into the thing and claw at it; you refuse to give up your rate of progress even though you know that this is not how you will get to the end, and things fall apart. In this you fall into the illumination of tangible reality. This is a long hall and if you want to persist you must relearn how to run this race, must slow down and give it acceptance and attention without the deadening grip of expectancy.

The second response is to slow down too much, to begin to walk. You have been walking your whole life and this is something with which you are comfortable. In order to make real progress you have to run with this: face the walls and face the drudgery. But walking is more comfortable; you still stay in the action in a factual sense, but you are not working to expand. In this response you are just sinking the hours, repeating what you know will not bring you progress. You are rejecting the idea of strengthening your body and fastening yourself with ambition. This is paper thin – this is not contribution of self. You know that you need to push to get better, but you are in your box and that is comfortable. You are not grinding, you are relaxing behind the echo of pursuit. This is not mastery: this is inertia – committed negligence. Painting circles in known territory. The fact is that both of these paths share the same imprint, the same reduction: impatience.

Let me explain this: the first path shows very obvious impatience – the impatience of shortcutting the demands of progress – and that is obvious. The second path, however, is just as broken by impatience. In this instance you refuse to pass through the trials because you don’t believe yourself capable. You just want achievement free of resistance and defeat. So you opt for the insanity of repetition that intends no enhancement, repetition without the tweaks uncovered by being there, by commitment. In this you are the master of your small outline, of your encroaching spaces – of your box. To be master of your diminished courtyard and to deny that a whole world waits for conquest beyond those walls – your walls that you have built – that is this brand of impatience. However, it is an impatience that, upon inspection, is called out of something deeper: a lack of trust. But we will return to that later.

And finally the third path, the final way, is pure mastery. It is first relevant to know that you will feel wrong often. You will feel confused, upset or angry. You will feel there is too much you don’t know or that you are not applying yourself correctly. Your mental receptors of chance and possibility will fire quicker than you can act. New ideas will bloat and then deflate; you will feel torn apart and slowly pieced back together again. You will feel that things just aren’t right and are too difficult more often than you can stand. It will not be easy. But somewhere, under all of that, you will be incited to take one more step, and then another, because somehow there is something there, behind all of the confusion.

That mental strain is important: it is the strain of constant re-evaluation. The evolution that mastery demands needs, as a condition of attainment, a mind that will turn the thing over a hundred times and view the possibilities from every angle. And that hurts, but it is okay. That is the pain of the plateau.

The Plateau

The plateau is the shade of mental strain and the profusion of gut-wrenching stagnation despite all off your effort. This is the simplest malady that hides the true nature of advancement. What the plateau essentially consists of is commitment that refuses to thank you with progress. You show up, you fill the time with your effort and refuse to suffer refute or have your action altered by disillusion, but still you are inert. Progress is nowhere. You are pushing and suffering; you know that, as a palpable rule, this suffering, this pain and just… time, should bring you progress. But things are just the same. It seems you are no better than yesterday, last week. In the beginning progress was so rapid, now you are cumbersome and fragile – with bones of glass and a clouded mind.

That is the plateau. The inverted truth of it, however, is that time spent on the plateau is actually when you grow. Improvement is simply the application of development strategies forged on the plateau. The reason for this is that, when you are on the plateau – committed to action and looking for progress – your mind is working furiously. It is turning the pursuit over in an endless procession of evaluation. Your mind is working to find the cracks in your performance and fill them. This is quite simple and direct in the beginning; as you make progress however, it becomes more difficult to identify.

The mind then, subconsciously, follows simple parameters that ignite progression. All that is required of you is time, dedication, and the willingness to feel the pain through all of this. The first step within the subconscious, labyrinthine route of progress is evaluation. The subconscious mind evaluates performance. This is achieved without pretence and not at all the obvious, divergent sputtering of your conscious mind which says, “I’m not good at this, so I need to improve”. It is much more directed, with an almost sickening insurgent precision. It is not just the rounded and vague evaluation – it is well honed. Your mind must calculate exactly where you are lacking. For example, if, in basketball, you are struggling with your free throws, the mind must rip apart the process and approach it in a procession of points: what exactly is off? From the moment you dip your frame in preparation of the spring, which muscles are over activating and which are under-activating? Is your body too tense that it will not allow force to be directed fluidly through the arc of movement and on into the release of the ball? As you rise out of the small squat is your foot position right to allow optimum balance? Are you forward on your toes or rolling back on your heels? Are you raising your elbows from your torso at the correct point? Are your elbows tucked in enough or too much? Are you coming out of that crumpled squat into full bodily extension with the right velocity? Are your wrists too stiff or too loose? Is your vision accurate? Is your judgement of force required accurate? Is your mental feedback of positioning on the court accurate? Is there fluctuation of any vital statistics such as heart rate or blood pressure that are causing tension within your movement and decreasing accuracy? Would the delicacy of progression be misaligned by the tension of opposing players? Are your conscious thoughts of failure or success gripping too much mental focus and taking you out of the moment? There are countless minute calculations necessary that exist on a subconscious level – many more than I could understand or list – not just within the biomechanical framework but also within the rhythm imbued nature of conscious mental struggle that could detract from evaluation and understanding.

That is evaluation and it co-insides with the second means of subconscious progression which is application and re-evaluation or testing. The subconscious mind, having identified the weaknesses in your means, puts in place altered plans of thought and movement to create greater competence. It creates and employs imperceptible tweaks to your physical and mental form searching for patterns of greater action and improvement. It runs the programme again and again searching for a consistent volume of volitional immersion. It looks for the combinations that bring about consistent results. This is endless testing and re-testing: it is the variation of thousands of processional properties that can align in such a way as to find the desired end. It is constantly employing altered collaborations, and then tweaking, and again employing this slightly altered fluency.

The final step to progression is the upswing, the ascendant curve of progress and that is synthesis. The subconscious mind has concocted a formula of action that achieves greater results for you with a consistency that validates its continued registration within your systems of involvement and connection with the pursuit. The mind simply imprints the alignment of action within a memory based system of instantaneous motor or thought-based response that is stolid and consistent. This may then be employed expressly without strain and your level of competence increases. You enjoy this newly bolstered level of competence most in the beginning. That is the synthesis phase at its purest, when the re-estimation is most up-to-date pertaining to all available subconscious estimation. Beyond this, the subconscious mind re-commits to the three processes over and over again. It is also worth noting that it applies this system of evaluation, testing, and synthesis to every area of your pursuit. The shear immensity of this challenge should then be obvious. It should also be obvious as to why the path of mastery lies in defined patience, which is the single most important isolated component of growth. This is the only way we progress. If you hack at the thing and desire the same rate of progress as you had initially installed, you will feed the fire of frustration because that will, in no instance, be possible. If you refuse to take on the pain of alteration, commit to the mechanics of the thing but reject any internal attempt at greater acuity, then you will again become forestalled. It is only though patience, though staying entirely committed despite obstacle, giving everything and accepting any ounce of progress that results, that you will come to know mastery. This criterion is applicable to every process of mastery: physical, intellectual or other. This is your life, put in the time but do it honestly. Live in the absence of impatience and you will thrive and conquer – eventually.

6. Trust

Trust is a contributable component of mastery as it is of creativity. Trust is incumbent because the journey, for the most part, will require you to walk blindly. You cannot see the progress you are working towards. It arrives through countless hours and the sheer desperation of vigilance. You are not permitted to see that for which you are working. Your senses are bathed in the quixotic passions of perceived linear time. You cannot see the future, although you may construct it in your mind. You may visualise the successes, you may create goals, and you may study the passage of others and align yourself with their suggestion. But you are separate. While you learn, while you create, while you fill yourself with the ambiguity of imagination that plays off of possible and impossible realities, you are individual. You are taking steps into uncertainty. You trust the unseen design that manipulates and dispels.

That is why trust is such an important mechanism abounding throughout all of this. You step into the vindicating distance without knowing if the payout will be there. You commit with blind faith. And that is necessary – it is the nature of things. Success is never pre-approved, it is earned in time. A part of earning that success is risking failure or deceit at every step. The undeniable fact is that you will fail. You will hurt and become disillusioned. The journey will bite you and strike you down at times. Eventually however, almost as a rule, if you refuse to stop you will find the success you seek. If you will take the pain of it, the harm, and the repeated chorus of dread; if the tyranny of false destination and the quailing, battering destinies dismay you, but will not allay you; if you are shouted down but not ripped out; if the hurt, the shadow, and the shame are never validated by self-rejection; if you will keep tumbling through every breach without anchor or humility, you will find it, you will free it in yourself – passage to greatness is assured. In this however, trust is a rule. Blind faith is a necessity.

From here it may be necessary to return to the initial deceleration in mastery progression (noted in the above section on patience) and the response that this will find.

The Three Responses to Decelerations in Progress (And the Role of Trust)

The first response is refusing to slow down, refusing to give up your rate of progress. This displays alignment to the idea of a lack of patience. In equal measure, however, lack of trust plays out. The lack of trust ensured in this response takes its form from the idea that you may not be able to endure – you don’t trust yourself to endure. You refuse to let go of the initial upswing because the belief is that the plateau will reject you; you do not have trust in yourself and you would rather seek to trade in the idea that you are a natural in all pursuits and have such startling potential. You do not trust yourself to be broken down by the grind or to sink into the realisation that the prodigy and the master are worlds apart. One is natural, entirely glamorous but essentially frail unless it is willing to lend itself to endurance. The other will ask for everything but will give it all back in a more polished and beautiful form. In the first response you do not trust yourself to endure or to face the ignominy of required failures on the path to mastery. You believe that potential unexplored is somehow a virtue when, in reality, it is mistrust.

As we have discussed, the second response to the natural deceleration on the path to mastery is that of slowing down to too great an extent, of involving yourself in action in no more than a factual sense, of never even knowing how pushing to failure might look or what it could mean. This is again impatience: the impatience of wading through effort to find mastery. So you occupy the most insignificant slice of the pursuit, many orders of magnitude down from actual mastery in that field of endeavour. It could be reflected by the practice of a guitarist learning a small sample of songs, playing them over and over again to perfection but refusing to extend beyond this, refusing to go into greater depth with scales and cords, picking styles, composition, a greater array of musical genres, live performances, anything that would stretch him/her and cause discomfort. This is the impatience of one who is not willing to struggle for mastery, would risk no failure but would desire to see it manifested in some inappreciable, almost irrelevant order of the subject.

This is impatience; but again it is impatience that finds its talents in mistrust. The reason that there is a rejection of growth in this instance is due to the fact that the individual does not trust the ability to grow. If this is you, you may disdain any notion of pressure and failure, you may hurt yourself on even the thought of it; any trace of disruption must be obliterated. The essential tragedy of such an untrusting stance is that it makes your world small. Distrust greatly reduces opportunity. It vilifies the world as a place that would tear you down, rather than praising the world as a place that will tear you down for the purpose of allowing you to rebuild an insecure structure.

Human beings, by the very nature of our psychological formulation, entirely disdain a reduction in the span of available opportunities. However, through mistrust, we enforce the most blunting, most expansive extension of this design. For psychological comfort however, we trick ourselves. We interlay the suggestion of tomorrow’s possibilities. All that you have is now – that is all that you will ever have. Break the illusion: opportunity and possibility are lost beyond recovery if you refuse to act on them without hesitation. When you truly trust yourself there will be a definite and notable psychological discomfort everyday that you do not progress towards your desires. That is the accurate discomfort of fleeting opportunity, informed by a mind that trusts itself.

That is essentially the double-barrelled, cohesive nature of patience and trust. How they feed into and play off of one and other. Patience is not found without trust and trust is not possible in the absence of patience. If anything I would suggest that trust comes before patience – that patience in any guise is birthed by trust. When you trust yourself, you trust your ability to apply, to overcome, and to survive, and you proceed to action with a nature that reflects this – with patience and determination that is entire. Trust is the seed, patience the roots, success the fruits.

As an extension of this idea, it may also be useful to consider the reflection of this trust within the idea of interpersonal relationships. When you trust another person, you become patient with them. You know that their faults and their distorted and unruly behaviours may not be borne out of the condescension of their internal character but out of circumstance, and so forgiveness is gentle and easy. When you trust another you find patience for them. This will always be the case. If you fundamentally distrust another however, the patter of their misdeeds will cause an unsheltered fury or dissonance. That is very simply an extension of the inbuilt lack of trust. You find yourself incredibly sharp and impatient as a natural ripple of the interaction. You feel no patience for them, even if their misdeed is slight, because you do not trust them. This is an extension of the idea that, if you do not trust yourself, you are sharp, acute in your reaction to any misstep, and quick to abort. You must cultivate this trust in yourself and then allow your experiences to be engulfed by patience. As you cultivate internalised trust, it will be easier still to trust others and find patience for them. It will be more natural to reflect on how their programming and experience may have shaped them and not be so rapid and denigrating in your response. In trust you develop a nature that is not so severe, in patience you employ that nature with an intelligence that will not be shaken and will interpret wisely – neither cold nor foolish.

7. Sacrifice

Beyond everything else, mastery makes demands from you. It demands so much that it creates the requirement of fundamental alteration. You must alter your lifestyle and empty the progressive toxification of lethargic routine. You must alter the interactions, the resources, the influences you carry. In many cases you must alter negative human conditions: your environment, your social surroundings, and all of the negative feedback which presents within the realm of acceptance and mediocrity. If your circumstance holds you temporarily you must alter the conditions of your mind: the reception of negativity must be refused. You must recede from the state of bare minimums – of doing the least, of selecting reaction instead of action. You must refuse the validity of waste. The circumstances of your life may have to change when you realise that the conditions of that life are hugging the paths of inaction and the defilement of the human mind that has become defined by one simple word: average.

In many cases, it is the greatest human fear: to be average. You dread the idea of becoming another number. That is basically the route of all ambition. But the circumstances of your life, the inputs you actively select only rub this plague deeper into your skin.

So you must sacrifice many of the factual ties and dedications of your current life to obtain mastery. I am not preaching a dull, thudding, ascetic existence: I am preaching passion and hunger. You do not need to give up all of the reality that you have created, just the parts that are making you sick. But this must be staggered detoxification. It is not rapid: it is simple but steady progress. As I have said, you breakdown the conditions of everyday and begin to excise that which is broken. But do this slowly over time. This is step by step, concise action: replacing small pockets of voided time with positive commitments. The more time you give to the paths of excellence, the more they demand. You are free to choose how much you are willing to give but do not allow yourself to be fooled. In order to harbour the faculties of immoderation and comfort (that is not growth), the mind will play you off against your better nature. At times, when you are stretching, the mind will create the illusion that sacrifice is amoral and selfish. It will concoct the plot of risk that is too great. It will attack you with reasonable expectations. It will pervert your better nature by disillusioning you again and again: that somehow success is bad and only for destructive or selfish people, that you are alienating yourself. It will almost certainly call into repute the actual value of that which you want to achieve. It will impart every mental denigration, sabotage, and subterfuge – everything it can feed you to make you quit or pull back.

At times you will listen; at times you will blow past it. Either way there is a notable paradox between the desire of attainment and the mental response once that desire incites action. It is something like an ambition/comfort paradox – a catch 22. There is or can be some degree of psychological discomfort either way. If you are going to feel distraught, why not do so in the name of something positive? The difference is that in comfort you are helpless, unwilling to struggle in the hope that life won’t hit as hard. In ambition you want a fair fight.

In fact, the very existence of such a paradox should create support for the path of mastery. We all feel psychological discomfort at times: it is the very fabric of mental expectation and monitoring (this, of course, is the mind we are discussing and the mind finds existence and progression in this way). Most feel it without a cause; in these cases it is soft and lulling. Some feel it because they are pushing through it; in these cases it is sporadic, intense, and slowly revoked by the qualitative delight of purpose. The point in all of this is that you must sacrifice to create. If you are not becoming more, then you must breakdown your life and remove what is enslaving your better judgement. Sacrifice is a condition of mastery attainment. The difference between a master and a novice is the simple battery of conditions and thoughts that are present in the solitude of their days. The quite routines employed ceaselessly, that require undisclosed dedication and the sacrifice of immediate gratification. Sacrifice is readiness, is how you replace the wasted hours with simple and quite action that brings about growth. It is really that simple – that beautifully simple. Sacrifice the weakest and least deliberate parts of who you are in order to create, to endow yourself with a masterful quality. Do not spend time: invest time – with all of the immutable sacrifice implied by such a conviction.

8. Joy

The quality of joy was mentioned briefly in selection, but it is useful to create a more refined imagining of joy that absolutely pertains to any committed form of mastery pursuit. What do you want out of life? Many people would infuse the generalised idea of peace and happiness (that falls out of conditions such as meaning, love, and friendship). In the specific case of mastery, that is absolutely what we are building towards. Peace and happiness are not, as the natural inbuilt desire for evolution encoded within all of us plays out, actually found in the manner in which you would imagine. Peace and happiness are not some simple deduction of relaxation; they are found in pure devotion, in the calculated maelstrom of activity and pursuit that clicks so intimately with who you are in the moment. The reason for this sense of infatuation and joy is because of the immersion in moments. This immersion manifests as the pure tranquillity of the commitment you make and an ever enlarging competency. The joy is that of spiritual immersion within a pursuit, of purpose/greater contribution, and the satisfaction of incremental growth elicited when spiritual immersion and purpose coalesce.

Spiritual Immersion

Firstly, we will discuss spiritual immersion within a well selected engagement. When I discuss the tacit connection of spirituality within any pursuit I am not attempting to create any highly opaque, almost religious servitude. I am attempting to convey the mannerisms of well-matched engagement. It is akin to the idea of flow: when all involuntary thought just bleeds dry and your conscious mind is entirely at rest. When all focus is engaged in each rep, in each calculation, in every second of effort. When all else fades and you are tirelessly twined to effort. Even though the effort may be massive, even though you may be pulling out of the bowels of creation, something entirely new and profound, there is a deeply-made peace to all that you are doing. Every second is electrified with a profound singularity of attention. True meditation is not merely the calm of sitting and breathing (although it can be), true meditation is living un-detached from life. Your thoughts are not your past, they are not your future, they are not worry or strain or doubt: your thoughts exist entirely within that which you are doing. That is the buzz that mastery creates: the spiritual elicitation.

Spiritual presence is essentially defined as the entire dedication of your very being to momentary awareness. The classic ideation of this may have alienated it from the humming, glowing world of schedule, routine, and accomplishment: as if you are somehow too busy for spiritual submersion, as if you are obligated to focus on the past or the future to create sustenance. This is a strange human idea that we have formulated from the wrack of implied pressures transmitted through generation after generation.

Mastery is what provides true success and elation, and a big component of this is or can be pure momentary presence. The peace and the happiness we may seek in life are fulfilled by the immense counter-play of action and selflessness in action, wherein the idea and wiring of a pursuit just flow through you like water. You forget about time or place; you just lose yourself in the sweat and the heartbeat of the thing. The reason why selection is important is because, depending on character, you may have greater capacity for engagement of this kind in that which you truly love. True masters are actually masters of the peaceful art of awareness in everything they do – whatever the craft. You may be a Zen master without any realisation of such a thing, if engagement in your chosen pursuit is so fluid and serene that it holds all of you, and you vacillate under the thud of doing and being. Breathing and being still, meditating, is only a passage to awareness and holds no more validity than engagement in the pursuit of mastery to this end.

A true Zen master is someone who knows how to lose themselves entirely in that which they are acting upon. And the deep visceral joys of spiritual awareness are what make the pursuit itself so joyful. It is not emotion you feel: it is resonance. Lose yourself in what you are doing and this idea will become clearer. That is the joy of mastery within a spiritual plane. In this respect, the idea of spirituality is nothing more than an unfiltered conscious mind in which the external environment and the subconscious mind flow cleanly into one and other to that point at which actual consciousness dissolves and there is nothing that separates the external and internal realities.

Greater Contribution

Of course, there is also the joy of contribution to consider. Again, this funnels out of appropriate selection. But mastery, as you may note, is not alone a spiritual pursuit but very much a pursuit of mental development. And part of the joy of life that mastery feeds is found within mental augmentation. Mastery is indeed a conduit of emotional joy specifically because it intercedes with the idea of universal roles. We feel deeply the idea that the universe is predicated upon delicate ratios. The values of life play out in such an alignment as to beget more life. Moreover, conscious life that can pass its energy about in a more spontaneous manner is still directed by this self same assignment characteristic. And when you truly connect to that which you are doing or creating, you feel that you have found what it is you were given to do. From the interpretation and synthesis of a universal plan you feel you are correctly delegating your energies for the liberation of greater and more elaborate life. The natural reward for such an exploit is the joy inherent in the mind’s pursuit of purpose. Again, it is the nature of validated existence.

Whatever the system of beliefs, we desire purpose: the “why?” in life. And when we have found our purpose there is an endless sense of security. We are now the integer, the whole number which makes life’s calculations that much simpler. For lack of a better explanation, there is a degree of psychological satisfaction to this. Unfortunately, this cannot be met if we are following a path upon which we are inventively misaligned. When something clicks you know, and the seconds that pass, although they depend on patience, self-trust, sacrifice, and such other mercurial solutions of effort, are joyful nonetheless. This is a deep, psychological joy to keep us correctly positioned. And we feel for this, we love this – this is freedom within the passions of pursuit.

Resulting Incremental Progression

The mental or emotional satisfaction of achievement is none other than that of correct alignment. This suggestion needs to be pressed and re-pressed throughout the passages of existence. What I mean by this is that you evolve, with intense purpose, throughout your engagement with mastery. That is the very precept upon which evolution is based: incremental improvement. Your capacity for flourishing progression is amplified both by the spiritual joy of complete submersion and by the additional factoring of weighted and accurately configured purpose. The joy of spiritual clarity and the power of human purpose drive greater and greater incremental growth within a pursuit and, as you are growing, your mind issues the feedback of such growth. Such feedback continually highlights the need for perennial action and exploitation of your talents.

So we are looking at the incomprehensible joy of spiritual immersion and the psychological and resulting emotional satisfaction of correct life roles that fuse together and combine in continued incremental evolution. Resultant progress ensues both explicitly within the bowels of objective competence and implicitly within the heart of who you are, within the enlarging capacity of mental magnetism. True mastery will touch upon joy again and again and will never stray too far from it; you find spiritual awareness, you find psychological satisfaction implicit in purpose, and the combination of these concepts makes anything other than incremental progression impossible. And when the joy of spiritual immersion, or the feeling of a correct role (because this mutates and asks for greater expressions of competence – you do not remain stagnant), when these factors are removed, the degree of incremental progression will decline in order to force a refocusing. Life keeps you on the path – joy keeps you on the path.

9. Rest

It is at this point that I feel discussion on the importance of correct resting practices is necessary. Mastery is the journey of everyday and as such you must work to make progress every day. The idea may infer a contradiction, but the reality is that such a contradiction is filtered out of a basic misunderstanding of the importance and correct use of rest. If used correctly rest is one of the greater and more expedient aspects of human development, and not only demonstrates growth in and of itself, but is necessary for continued proliferation and excellence.

While there are a great number of proponents of the idea of continued exertion, the reality is that we are limited biological organisms, exposed to the degradation of wear and decay. The body must rest and then return to the avenues of development once it has re-encountered sufficient means. Growth of the body is dominated by cycles of action and recovery. Growth of the mind follows similar patterns, however the execution of such is vague. At times exertion is precluded in some avenues of mental exertion but allowed in others. However, on the whole, the mind faces the same periodic de-generation and recovery as does the body. To push indefinitely shows immensity of will, but in the end may cause greater harm than progress.

The most important idea contained in all of this is the reframe: a somewhat diversified perspective on just what rest entails. Focused rest is not lethargic, focused rest is intelligent. Rest, when it is actually necessary, should be thought of as a phase of passive growth.

For instance, when we push our bodies we tear apart the structures of movement that were drawn into the exertion. Muscle fibres incur microscopic tears; tendons and ligaments are exposed to strain; there are minute internalised lacerations and minor pockets of inflammation and discomfort within bodily tissue. The integrity of the whole system is degraded and so a mass of signalling chemicals tends to draw the agents of microscopic cellular recovery. The benefit, however, is that the body not only recovers but actually improves. Muscle density, strength, and size increase to account for future exertion. The body realises that, should it be subject to such effort in future, it must become more efficient so that it will not be so entirely devastated. There is increased vascularity so that the cascade of cellular recovery can become more efficient. The nervous feedback/feedforward of damage and recovery becomes accelerated, with greater efficiency for future events. The tendons and ligaments become thicker (provided they are not pushed to injury) to manipulate the greater force patterns exerted by increased intensity. Even metabolism becomes more delicate and poised, causing the subconscious up-regulation of intake of certain foods. You may think it is planned conscious action to create a balanced and focused diet when submitting to an increased workload, but in reality it is the needs of the body which communicate with the subconscious mind, which in turn create a fitted plan of desires which formulate through conscious (seemingly voluntary) thought. You create an appropriate diet plan but this is pressed from biological need manifesting as pure common sense. The vital capacity of the lungs increases, drawing greater breathes to oxygenate muscles under increasing strain and removing the build-up of waste products (carbon dioxide) created to ensure homeostasis and maintain the PH levels of the blood. The heart itself becomes more efficient in distributing blood around the body to account for the increased needs of tissue under strain. This is manifested as a lower resting heart-rate as the heart maintains its increased strength at rest but pumps more slowly. The whole body becomes a more efficient instrument of effort and repair. All of this, every step of this, takes place during periods of rest. The effort is the ignition of all of this, but the rest is where the fire burns. In this reflection rest is not rest at all, in fact rest is not even an appropriate phrase in the form it is commonly regarded. This is passive growth or an extension of what you have earned through movement.

It is logical then, that the mind itself undergoes these same periods of breakdown and consolidation. This is inherent within the idea of plasticity: that the mind expands and develops altered pathways of neural connection. When injured and unable to feed through typical neural pathways, the mind creates alteration: the connections in the brain reformulate so that the same function of movement can be transmitted through an altered pathway. Such an idea is expressed in the manner in which movement is relearned following cerebrovascualar accident (Stroke). When there is an occlusion or bleed within the brain tissue, the tissue itself may die. In many cases this can blunt or entirely corrupt the flow of idea, signalling, and synthesis through movement implicit through nervous signalling. The brain, however, may very slowly reform its tendrils of thought and action by utilizing newfound synaptic patterning.

It can be suggested then, that the manner in which we would relearn movement in such a situation is the same manner in which we actively or passively consolidate knowledge – that plasticity extends on a massive scale in everyday life. Within this framework, we strive to create an increasingly adequate body of knowledge (say on the topic under study within the pursuit of mastery), and then the simple plasticity of our minds connects profile after profile, particle after particle of information in an increasingly complex manner. And so redesign is born, idea is born – genius is amalgamated. Learning, following such an opaque train of thought, may be considered in two stages: the gathering phase of collecting new knowledge on a subject through study and subjection, and the connecting phase of rebuilding new patterns of knowledge – of creating alternating neural routes that connect the knowledge in new and interesting manners. We are adaptive creatures and this process is again tissue under strain, better faced through repeated exposure. Not all humans respond and learn in the same manner but the dividing characteristic between sublime and satisfactory is pure and simple effort. This idea has already been developed within the section relating to creativity, however it is useful to briefly expound upon previous statements from an altered vantage to issue the idea of the importance of rest as it relates to the concept of gathering and connecting information in the mind.

The phase of gathering is active and depends on exposure. You cannot learn all things, only that to which you give your time. The plastic or connection phase is striven for in part, but your subconscious mind feeds the tempestuous broiling animation of idea and insight largely during passive states. Your subconscious mind figures things out for you while you draw your focus into additional lines of investigation. However, it prefers the entire delegation of energy that is undiluted and so what seems to be rest is actually a perverse misconception. This is actually the phase of plasticity and connection: when abstract pieces of knowledge turn into amalgams of insight. This is the source of idea and originality. True recovery is just a phase of passive growth in which the neural soup boils a little hotter and will taste a little better for it.

So we are humans – fuzzy, impetuous, and didactic things that need rest. We need rest so we can consolidate these packets of physical and mental strain we ingest. We need rest so we can forge and create from the veil of unnumbered informational bonds, something that is only introduced through us. Rest is necessary in the body to rip apart unbidden weakness and build it into something just a small bit stronger every time. The body, however, is a highly visceral register of the more informal and abundant opportunity within the mind for growth – for the tendrils of growth to connect and reconnect, to create amalgam after amalgam and infuse identity into our creations.

The growth of the single mind is the growth of the living, collective consciousness. In that we are all confounded stores of information: impartial and oblique in and of ourselves but bequeathed with the appetite for sharing of insight. And upon that, the knowledge of the species grows. As individual you are a neuron and your expression of knowledge is a synaptic limb that can make untold connections. Maybe that is your purpose: to feed the mind of human existence with refined knowledge. In this way science grows and builds on theory after theory. In this way literature feeds off of its own eloquence to develop greater complexity of insight. As general human development goes through phases of reception, creation, and then transmission so too must your individual mind go through phases of gathering, consolidation, and expression. Some of the best work you ever do will be founded while you are at rest. Of course, do not over-indulge.

How to rest is an interesting question. This is not a prescription; the mind is not so ornate and distant – so mechanised. The mind is far more volatile. It will not acquiesce to a regular pattern of recovery so easily. Simply you will know or feel your limits; there will be the most subtle sense of indentured fatigue. And that bubbles up quietly so you need to listen to yourself. Usually you will know when you have recovered and are ready to tread the gatherer’s path once again. Generally, one day should be sufficient. However, depending on the extent to which you supplant yourself, it may be longer or shorter.

Also, as I have said, mental exertion is vague. If you are engaged in multiple excursions of intellectual profit, if you travel many paths, some may lie open while others are temporarily closed. In this way you can work every day and still accrue the simple benefits of rest. In this, it is rest that is specified. Be careful to judge your readiness and ability in this as it is something that must be trained. Also, the mind as a whole will come to points in which it needs to recover but if you are exacting in your formatting of pursuits, there should be no day in which you engage entirely with the processes of passive development – ever the clever gatherer and the subtle artist of recovery, the most powerful amalgamation possible.

That is rest – the intrepid explorer requires moments of poise, recovery, and adaptation. The trajectory of development needs to become smoother, sharper, and more refined. There is no line in the sand, no one size fits all approach to rest. You must decide how to balance and proportion your pursuits. Too many pursuits and your lack of focus will obstruct mastery, too few and opportunity for collaboration of knowledge and development will be narrowed. Decide what you are going to commit yourself to, and that your choices provide clarity and destination for mental progression. Decide on what you love and then nurture the design of such properly. Gather and consolidate. Rest when you know it is needed and, as always, be honest with yourself: keep pushing if that is a possibility, run yourself into it until you are honestly in need of recovery and then keep that honest as well. Push and rest but remember that rest, or true consolidation, is something that is earned through venture and fatigue.

10. Creating Value

The final step of mastery is to create value. This is finality from a chronological perspective. In order to create value, every step mentioned previously must have found interminable existence within you – you must have ascended to the level of the master. This takes time, but how can you expect to create value for others within a pursuit unless you are something well defined? How can you expect to create value for others unless you are something beaten down and built up countless times by the savage efficiency of the grind?

Of course, sustenance must be considered. That which you create brings new pockets of knowledge to the pursuit of all others. And in attempting to achieve this goal you must have time to invest. As such, the removal of distractions such as money and occupational servility must be considered. As humans, we need work. We contribute and that allows us to continue, but almost everyone misapplies themselves. They focus far more on the survival than on the creation of value. The bulwark of mastery progression is time, and given societal imposition – to earn our keep through work, however unfitting – we empty a great deal of this time. For many, you must focus on etching time out of the cracks and becoming intensely focused on individual pursuits in tandem with developing individual qualities of mastery within that situation in which you find yourself. Because that situation is you, was given to you – every challenge of it and every shower of restless industry – so that you could find growth. You currently exist within the ideal conditions for the development of who you are.

So create mastery wherein you can. When you have applied yourself thoroughly and consistently, and found such mastery through the slow and careful grind, you can begin to create value. The creation of value within the mastery pursuit is what brings about a change of circumstance. You will always be remunerated in exact proportion to the value you create for others – in how much that value is required by them and your ability to create such value. You will be compensated for the value you create. And although compensation is never the goal of mastery, it removes an obstacle or opens up your time and energy so that you may become more efficient. As such, it is useful to consider.

Once you obtain mastery and reset your focus on the creation of value, it is immediately necessary to discuss the question of how you go about creating value. The creation of value, I believe, splits itself into three pathways – there are three mediums through which we, as human beings, express value and contribute. Regardless of the pursuit, regardless of the individuality or supreme rareness of your mind, value creation in all things adheres to one or more of these pathways.

Performance

Eventually you will ascend to that point at which the mere practice of your subject, your art, or your skills, will create value. What you do, you do with such a degree of mastery that what you previously considered practice is now so dignified that it creates value in and of itself. This is any number of professions; this is any number of skill sets at a very high level. You may have been a musician who, having attained a dimension of mastery within practice, comes to exhibit such practice on a public scale. The natural profession of mastery in this manner draws others into the experience and what you do naturally, what you have been working on for a significant period of time, comes to have value by its mere existence – as long as that existence is professed.

The performance of your art form (and any delivery into the pages of mastery should be thought of as an art form) should create value as long as it is shared. The idea is not complex. Once you have attained an unnerving degree of competence, of mastery in any discipline, the simple practice of that discipline brings value to others so long as it is shared.

If you attain a level of mastery within practice and performance, but do this silently, then you create no external value. The number of people who get to observe or become connected in any way to the practice and performance of your art form is a direct mediation of the value you create. The more minds you connect to, the greater the value. If theories are concocted and elaborated in private but never find a greater arena, they do not create value for others. If you develop a great degree of knowledge and ability in any profession, but do not practice such a profession in the presence of, service of, or in collaboration with others, you create no value. If you are an athlete who does not compete on the world stage, who has no forum for the exhibition of ability, then no individual is witness to that ability and will be given insight by that which you have created. Develop mastery within any field and when mastery is attained, give your practice to others so that they may glimpse what can be created, so that they might understand the potential that dwells within themselves, or even more simply, so a general need can be satiated.

There is no exuberance or vanity in the expression of mastery. In bringing mastery into the public arena and letting loose possibility in the hearts and minds of others, or staking your brilliance on the needs you can meet, you create value and contribute. Every human being earns money, reputation, and good-will based on this simple convention. We all subscribe to it without question. What you are paid, what you receive, is a statement of the value you create. Most would rather create a minimum of value safely and not risk failure or time. While this may breed unhappiness, it is a safe unhappiness in their estimation. The creation of greater value implies risk, but it also implies reward and sufficiency beyond anything you can create by adopting roles that do not require the stretch or contain individuality.

So, within the category of performance the main factors that garner consideration are:

•The level of mastery and therefore the amount of value you can create (with the two being roughly proportional)

•The forum for expression of mastery – the forum for performance

•The number of individuals affected

The application of such a framework can give life to the imaginings of your own individual potential. This framework can be applied wherein mastery is attained and an individual plan laid bare.

We profit when we give and how much we profit is directly proportional to that which we have the ability to give – it is no more or less complex. You can create mastery, find a forum for the expression of that mastery, and touch greater and greater depths of human consciousness depending on the number of minds that are stimulated. Mastery is quite rare and incredibly valuable. Those who would experience such mastery through you or anyone else would naturally evoke the simple happiness of potential that, in and of itself, creates an immense value in those who had little or no prior awareness of such.

Creation

Whereas performance is subject to action and only creates value when you are in motion, creation is not subject to such rules. It is comparable to the idea of earned wages versus passive income. In performance what you do creates value but, in this case, the differential is in doing the thing – in acting. You must be involved in action and without action there is no value created. Therefore, the value you create is limited to the duration and consistency of human vigour. However, creation is a different creature. Within creation you bend the powers of mastery toward the idea of form from nothingness. The mind you employ pulls into the vivid, particle based reality – the tangible actuality of existence – something new. This is related to the idea of passive income because what you create in turn creates value for others in and of its existence. You can add to it, work on it, and develop it so that it is more intricate and definitive, but ultimately it is as a separate organism that is dedicated to you but creates value independently of additional expense or effort. I use the idea of active/earned income in comparison to passive income here as a theoretical strut of explanation and not a literal configuration. Money is secondary: we do not practice mastery for this, it is not even the reason to create value, it is just one of the mechanisms through which the universe reflects, within your circumstance, the value you create, and that may be useful but is not the reasoning behind you – your why should never be money.

Creation, then, requires an immensity of personal human development. It requires you to toil within the craft and progress with unreasonable certainty. Creation is the birth and care of an idea that is afforded by the shear potency of mastery and the amelioration of any unnecessary weaknesses that may prevent such progression. You may employ your level of mastery for the purposes of creating a great piece of art. You may use knowledge of your particular field to create an invention. You may envisage rules or doctrines that allow greater proficiency within your profession. You may see some basic human need for survival or recovery that would find greater comfort in the arms of your indomitable findings. Life, art, culture, or any aspect of human experience that is given greater guidance is creation. And mental or physical inventiveness that fills up a niche, an empty pocket of space that would enhance literally any part of the human experience for any number of people: that is creation. It is only limited, interestingly, not by your human capacity for ideas (although time spent in pursuit will give those ideas a cutting layer of reality, as we have discussed previously) but by your capacity to foster such ideas. And the capacity for such is truly extended and honoured by those who are committed to development and mastery progression.

So, again, mastery progression may be the buoyant inciter of idea and creation. However, the extent to which you deliver that idea or that creation is the only true reflection of the value you create. If you are unwilling or unable to push your idea or creation into the minds and use of countless others, the value you create will be similarly restricted. The more lives you furnish, the greater the value. So you should see it as your responsibility and a significant portion of mastery and creation to actually develop not only your ideas, but your ability to extend such ideas to others. Whatever this may entail, it is your obligation as the master.

However, what is useful in such circumstances is the unyielding knowledge that, when you create value – create an idea or invention that would bring improved faculty to others – the value you create has a magnetism that is in proportion to its worth. What I mean by this is that immense value is almost self advertising. You begin the trickle and others will spread the flood. That is life’s reward – the lubrication that growth allows. You can then add to and build on creation and, furthermore, you will have developed a comfort around the process of such creation that will incite you to push further and deliver greater and greater value. Life and circumstance will reward you for this which is a true reflection of how the internal conditions draw external circumstances that reflect who you are.

The same rules of performance, of course, apply: you create an idea, an invention, really any objective lever that creates value or definition in people’s lives. You select a forum for the pronouncement and spread of such an invention. And then (usually dependant on its value), the invention will spread. The number of lives that are positively impacted by your initial designation of mastery and compassion is the true manifestation of the value that you have created.

Instruction

This is a topic which we have already discussed, but the difference is the perspective. The art of mastery carries with it the condition of extension. You extend your teaching far beyond the realms of the individual; you will perish but your instruction will speak for you beyond physical presence. To really understand the value and importance of instruction, it is immensely helpful to have, yourself, been touched by such instruction. What you learn, you learn from the exploits and the patience of those with whom you surround yourself. This strikes a love of others that resonates deeply, and the further you push into the core of mastery, the greater the joy and desire to return what you have learned and created to the public domain. You realise that, what you have learned from others was not merely a one-on-one experience but your inception into a chain of instruction. You have built on that which you have learned and now you have a greater capacity for the instruction of others. In this way our knowledge as a species develops.

I hope it is becoming evident that the whole idea of creating value is necessary for the incremental improvement of humanity as a species. And in creating value for others you create of yourself. You become a person of value. The more value you create, the larger your contribution and the more profound the effects of this both internally and externally – in who you are to yourself and to others.

Instruction is the guiding post, the bastion of proliferated suggestion and awareness that extends throughout the entirety of human consciousness. However, this touches down at a much more personal and secure level. Collective growth is a greater offshoot of the singular growth issued by instruction. And when you instruct others you sharpen your own craft. At a certain level, you must instruct in order to compound and order the knowledge you have found.

By this stage, the interweaving principles of the three structures of value creation should be somewhat evident. Performance inspires and is firmly connected to creation, as you only create through the principle structure of performance. Creation is a tool of greater human instruction however, on a wider level that is not so disinclined by the limits of the individual voice. Instruction is, in and of itself, a modus of performance at its core and creates the chain of shared knowledge. Through creating value in any of these pathways you are slipping into a symbiotic, cyclical dominion. The actual divisions are more like entry points but they blend automatically and rarely exist in an isolated sense.

In this realisation, instruction also depends on the same pillars of value as do performance and creation. The level of value you can create depends on your individual level of mastery, the forum for instruction, and the resulting number of minds you can instruct. There are, however, two critical differences within the realms of instruction.

Firstly, instruction is an art form in and of itself. Immense levels of mastery do not necessarily transmit into immediate distinction within the realms of instruction. You must treat instruction, whatever the platform, as an art of mastery in its own right. You must teach yourself the qualities of leadership, of timing and grace, a new mode of patience and, most critically, understanding. In this, I refer to the understanding of the hearts and minds of your students, of knowing their level, their personal restrictions, exactly how to read and interpret not only their general nature but also their mood of the moment. This stems from the fact that the student is not the master and, especially in the beginning, may be impinged by basic human weakness and the dominance of emotion. If your expectations cannot adapt, if you cannot manipulate the circumstance to truly find them or who they are in that moment, then you cannot instruct efficiently. Learn to read your students and develop the ability to communicate. Develop leadership that is not rank and file but is highly tractable given every interstitial mood or variation both in the student and the master. Always remember that instruction is a pursuit of mastery unto itself, and the inherent qualities of leadership, communication, and the ability to read others and adapt, are necessary for every true master regardless of the chosen vocation.

Secondly, although the laws of value creation suggest that the value you create is in direct proportion to the number of minds you enhance, instruction, as a rule, is biased towards intimacy. The smaller the student group the greater your ability to apply yourself to the nuances and variations that may beat the newcomer off of the path. This is undeniably true, however the natural evolution of human beings states that they must be allowed to grow within loosened constraints: they must be free to experiment and adapt to their own, seemingly autonomous, levels of command. The true leader is the observer who can infuse him/herself into the situation when things revert (as they will) for the students. It is an undivided ability to observe and intervene that you are creating. The level of dependence will lessen as the students become more proficient. However, when vulnerable in the beginning, if neglected when they fall, for too long a time, they may invariably renege depending on their character. That is why, despite your apparent level of mastery, unless you have actually developed your knowledge of instruction, it is not yet your field of mastery.

In the beginning, it is important to take up a smaller student base and monitor their progress without stifling them: attune yourself to their needs; give them space to grow but never allow them to feel unsupported. As the precision of your observation and intervention increases you can focus on maintaining and even developing your knowledge of instruction over a wider student base. If you are noticing failures or missteps consistently in your observation and intervention then you have progressed too quickly and must reduce your quota. Slowly, as you grow in this, you can be beholden to a greater number of students and gain increased benefit and reputation – spreading value over wider fields. In instruction, it is not only the number of minds you affect but the quality of your instruction that is important; and instruction (although it develops on the principles of your field) is an art form in its own right and requires a great deal of explicit and implicit growth.

Also, another point to note with regard to instruction is that there are generally three phases:

•The actual point of instruction: Instruction on the explicit quality of technique or information and the implicit quality of character development that should be overtly suggested in your example but not, as a necessity, stated outright

•Observation: This, in turn, should not imply pressure – your observation should always be understated. Pressure should only be imbued if you feel that would help the individual based on their needs of the moment. As a generality however, the feeling employed should always be that the student is free to explore within the parameters of your instruction with the knowledge that you are there to offer support and refinement

•Intervention: This is the most subtle aspect of instruction; the idea is never to dissuade. There will, of course, be moments when you need to offer refinement. However, it should not cause pressure or offense. The student should always feel you are a part of their mechanism offering external guidance from a vantage point they have not yet reached. It should never be combative – it should operate in a tandem. The idea you need to offer is that of a partnership in which the student’s growth benefits the teacher as much as the teacher’s greater insight benefits the student.

This cycle is then repeated continuously with the rate of progress adapted to the individual. Within a group setting however, this issue becomes more complex and is another reason why a highly refined ability to instruct is required for a larger student base.

The point of instruction has the weight of your individual mastery attainment behind it but is impeded in the absence of correct communication and patience. Observation and intervention rely primarily on your leadership qualities and your ability to read the needs and emotions of others, and manipulate your teaching to reflect such an understanding (with the qualities of general mastery, communication, and patience again required).

The point here is that prolific instruction is not afforded by the simple attainment of mastery in that field in which you would instruct, but is another pursuit in and of itself. This implies the fact that it is again subject to all of the tenets of mastery progression. And a final point I would develop on instruction is this: the golden rule of instruction and the principle philosophy upon which all effective instruction should be based is that intelligence should not be considered (as it traditionally is) as a fixed base rate. That is the product of a fixed mindset. Intelligence should be perceived, for the purposes of effective instruction, as the ability of the student to evolve beyond their base rate. We generally form an initial impression of individuals, of students, for a number of possible reasons: either because progressive cognitive loading makes initial impressions the brightest and most defined; or simply because initial impression creates a framework, a lens through which all subsequent characteristics and endeavours are viewed; or even because of the vast array of datasets that exist in the world around us which must be adequately and rapidly interpreted – in that we rely so heavily on first impressions because the extent of available information precludes a deeper and more elegant deconstruction of individuals who are not heavily entwined in the general unfolding story of our lives. In any case, we work out of initial impressions and view students as incorporating in each task their base rate of intelligence. In that, I mean that we perceive students as marshalling their limited intellectual forces for each challenge we set them and that intellectual binding is not subject to alteration. We thereby impose a culture of expectation on the student under instruction which may limit their capacity for progression. For the purposes of instruction and the attainment of mastery in such instruction it is far more effective to view each student as pertaining to a growing intellect. That may, of course, be subservient to base rates of intellectual capacity, but that is simply the springboard for development. We are instructing a growing mind, not a stagnant mind that utilises only the extent of its initial powers of application in every challenge it will ever face. Intelligence is the ability to progress – how far above the intellectual base-rates the student can travel. This is the golden rule of effective instruction and you should see it as such. It applies in equal measure to all that you would face in life.

So, in summary, we create value through the inter-linking structures of performance, creation, and instruction. The three have slight variations but elements of each exist within any true mastery pathway. Instruction is the most complex and cumbersome and relies on the development of a whole new discipline. Each of the structures of value creation rely roughly on the level of mastery attainment (and this extends not only to the individual pursuit but also to the art of instruction as a separate focus in the case of instruction itself), the forum for the expression of mastery, and the number of minds affected. True masters in any craft fit their mastery with the need for expansion. The creation of value is how we expand and how we give to others. If you are truly industrious to this end, all of the value you create will be given back to you many times over and in any form that you require.

An Additional Note on Progression: Regression to the Mean

I would like to make a final note on the nature of progression in any task. For the large part, we succumb to developmental plateaus as the mind of us seeks the path to expansion. This has already been discussed and the idea needn’t be exhausted. Plateaus are stretches of time when internal development is being found, tested, and coded; this model of internal development always precludes any external spike in competency.

However, in terms of performance, we may notice alteration – we may have good days and bad days. For the purposes of mental progression it is useful to maintain a psychological model, as many do, wherein you are only as good as your worst performance. Or, what is more common in today’s culture of performance and achievement: that you are only as good as your last performance. While both paradigms may give fuel to progression, while both may act as psychological triggers for comfort (in the case of low standards of performance you are given the psychological drive for an improvement, in the case of high standards of performance you are given the psychological comfort of perceived competency) in actuality both constructs may be somewhat inaccurate.

The reality is that you are only as good as your average performance. You are your mean: your long term efficiency is an expression of your mean level of performance. This is the base rate around which you fluctuate. And a progressing body will find that, in the long-run, the immediate result is in no way decisive unless it reflects an average that is poor. Such a statement may seem obvious to the point of senselessness. Such an idea need not be expressed because it is so entirely self-evident. However, while rationality may prevail in a detached assessment of an idea, while we can accept such a generality without refute, we are rarely capable of inferring such a generality in the specific instance of who we are and what we do. We defy any such logic when it must be applied in more intimate spectrums and again and again we get caught up in the oscillations that refute the mean in the short term but will not escape it in the long term.

This principle of regression towards the mean was first developed by Sir Francis Galton. It was a statistical observation in which a large variability in specific instances of measurement would eventually undergo a regression, and further measurements would cluster closer to the mean value. Within this context, a variable under measurement may fluctuate around the mean value, and there may in fact be large fluctuations, however, there would then be a regression reflected by further incidences of measurement. Therefore, the gross outcome of measurement of such a variable would not be refuted by outlying instances of measurement. I extend this argument to human performance within the realms of the pursuit of mastery to highlight that any fluctuations in performance standards, be they negative or positive, will not refute the average but will simply serve as a function of that average.

Following on from this discussion we must assess the two domains of experience with regard to progression: the short-term and the long-term. And through this we can infer an accurate estimation of base rate which can, in turn, be developed in a more deliberate sense that is less diluted by short term results.

The Short-Term

The short-term is the arena in which we compete for progress at an immediate level. Of course, our standards of performance maintain a certain interwoven and irrevocable constancy, but like it or not there are fluctuations. These fluctuations are merely oscillations from a mean level of performance that may result from any number of circumstantial variables including, but not limited to:

•Immediate external psychological pressures that weigh upon performance but are merely tangential aspects not related to mastery in the long-term

•Physical or cognitive fatigue presenting for any known or unknown reason (linked to the first point)

•The testing phase or improvements by the mind which may find potency or impotency in terms of immediate interaction with performance

•The probability of eventually hitting successive high or low water marks of performance (when such events are not indicative of any long running consistency)

In terms of the competitive arena such variables can extrapolate widely and spread into considerations of the other team or individual: their level of competency in relation to yours and how they are interacting with such variables on any given day. This is further complicated by the collective mind of the team and the complex series of individual pressures that may penetrate the solidity of the unit.

In any case, we are creating an estimation of short term performance and it is this almost overpowering impetus of the mind – to live within the thrill of immediacy whatever the outcome – that, in its way, distracts us from more deliberate progression. We see only the outcome, only the individual performance – as if all that we do and all that we are rests upon it. And those fluctuations which betray us or give us hollow success, in those cases when there is nothing tangible and fixed behind them, can create a bed of distraction. In order to play the game of performance and progress with force we must forsake our short-term enjoyment. The idea is to infer a deliberate and somewhat detached estimation of what we are in the moment and how focused incremental progression that is constant and undeterred by immediate outcome can benefit us. This is no simple task.

Creating a Baseline

In order to progress forcefully and adapt your behaviour for long-term results, it is incumbent upon you to create a baseline estimation of performance. In order to do this you must have an accurate and unbiased evaluation of your current competency. To do this, you must go back over performances rendered in a given time-frame that are relevant to your current situation. Say, for example, you were to create a baseline of performance that reflects competence levels achieved consistently in the last calendar year. In deconstructing performance levels registered in previous conditions all that will maintain will be outcome. You will reflect upon the level you achieved consistently and the impingement of internal and external circumstance (that was present during such performances) will not prove to incite as much profit or denigration in your estimation.

You create an accurate evaluation of that which you have accomplished as it pertains to actual performance. The mean level of performance achieved in the past calendar year will then be validated by a more quantitative result: based on your consistent performance levels in the previous year, what have you achieved? This can be in consideration of tangible results or, more usefully, hours of service rendered and the consistency with which you applied yourself (regardless of circumstance). In creating an accurate ideation of performance levels which is qualified by outcome in this way, you can infer a well reasoned and adept baseline of the level which you currently occupy in this moment.

The purpose in creating this mean is to create a more focused and un-distracted development pattern that is not so caught by emotion. You have your mean and you are safe in the knowledge that any oscillation, whatever the dependent variable that incited such an oscillation, will soon regress towards that mean level of performance.

Developing on the Mean

One of the beauties of the mean is that is protects you from the psychological turmoil of oscillation because it allows you to adequately interpret the root of such an oscillation – the reasoning behind the oscillation. As a result, you will not install false pride and then become disillusioned and offset by eventual normality and neither will you read too heavily into strange and unflattering defeat.

However, the vastly more impactful reason to develop knowledge of the mean is that it has the capacity to accelerate progress and thereby save you time. It is the drama of oscillation above and below the mean that causes us to adjust and re-adjust without giving any strategy real time to set. An accurate assessment of baseline should deconstruct both the weaknesses and the strengths you may possess. To firm up the strengths and to build steadily upon the weaknesses is the fabric of progression. If you are too caught up in the immediacy of things however, you will apply correction after correction, you will alter every aspect of your interaction with performance and at the slightest sign of collapse, you will revoke all alterations and imbue an entirely new plan of action. In this manner, you cannot find real and lasting consistent progression because you are defying the premier consideration relevant in such progression: patience.

Setting Unbiased Outcome Measures

The idea of constructing a baseline and then developing upon such in a focused, deliberate, and consistent manner has one dominant problem: the ego. In order for us to maintain a self-perception that is consistent with positive interpretations of ourselves – how disciplined, industrious, and meritorious we actually are – we involve ego too heavily in our interpretation of events. We construct a story that need not be accurate on every account but simply a skewed interpretation that maintains some consistency with actual events but is devoid of a more complete honesty because it is self serving. In order to overcome this flaw which most of us invariably posses, it is vital to construct a mean that is composed of unbiased and objective outcome measures that are not open to opinion but will adequately reflect progress with no excess of space for interpretation. These are facts.

In order to adequately develop the mean, you must deconstruct the exact components of any such baseline. You must create an idea of exactly how you develop – the over-running characteristics of development. Given the vast and unquenchable divergence in mastery pursuits and the mean values that issue progress in such, it is impossible to give anything but a vague idea of how to create objective outcome measures of progress and apply such. I can give examples but the creativity behind this (relevant to your individual pursuit) must, ultimately, come from you.

The foremost consideration is practice. The basis of any mean is duration spent in practice and so to construct the mean in this way we must have an overview of time spent in practice. This should always be the first component of any mean.

•First, go over the time period that is relevant to your pursuit and create an estimation of the average time spent in practice on a weekly basis. Document how this has fluctuated and what average level you have maintained

•Cross reference this with a more recent cross section of time spent in practice (say over the past month)

•Given that you now have a mean for hours spent in practice, set out a weekly plan of practice that slowly develops upon that mean. But be patient with this and really commit to a very slow up-regulation of consistency

•Create a system of accountability: at the end of every week create an objective measure of hours spent in practice during that week

•At the end of every month document a monthly figure of hours spent in practice and a subjective account of progress in this area (these systems of accountability can be easily created and updated and yet may contain a massive value for the meagre investment of time they represent)

Another measure that may be useful is efficiency. In the case of less tangible measures it can be difficult to stray from opinion bias. But it is still possible to create an objective frame. Though hours spent is still the primary consideration, efficiency during those hours of practice also represents a vital aspect of practice. In such cases of intangible aspects of development, it may be useful to develop a rating system. This is a subjective outcome measure, however, as it is actively focused on progress in this way, it may serve to become more useful than a mindless and indirect evaluation process.

•Create a baseline for efficiency in practice: create an estimation of the average efficiency you have maintained in a period relevant to your practice (this is more useful over a more recent period – if you stray back too far you will create a faulty estimation that is biased towards a positive or negative inclination). This subjective baseline of efficiency should be rated on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being the least efficient you possibly could have been to the point where you were just a touch above absolute lethargy and 10 being the absolute most efficient you could have been

•Working off of your perceived baseline, record weekly efficiency levels throughout practice with an overall figure from 1-10 representing efficiency during time spent for that week

•Record a monthly overall efficiency rating and a short subjective account of efficiency and the variables that may interfere with such that you may need to alter

The pattern that is instantly developing herein may be obvious. We first create an estimation of baselines based on past performance. We then create a weekly and monthly recording of such baselines according to an outcome measure that is decidedly objective. The exception, however, is that in tangible aspects of practice such as time spent, free-throws taken, songs written, win/loss record and your average score, and any and every other tangible, visceral variable, it is possible to create a decidedly objective outcome that is updated first on a weekly basis and then on a monthly basis with an overview of progress in each variable documented.

However, in the case of an intangible variable such as efficiency, effort, overall comprehension, you must create a decidedly subjective outcome measure based on a rating system from 1-10. This is open to interpretation, however, given that you are recording it in real time and the focus of such a recording sacrifices immediate ego considerations in the name of progress (if you were not willing to do this you would not make the recordings in the first place), it defies the completely abstract re-fashioning of the mind that constructs a favourable past in the absence of present results to create a view of the world that is somewhat unfair.

Of course, the creation of too great a set of tangible and intangible performance variables (especially in the beginning) may simply serve to confuse you. So you should keep it simple. First create a baseline for intangible variables (these are character attributes upon which a craft is dependent – these are the intrinsic development mechanisms). Set out a baseline for these narrow set of variables – in any craft the singular variable of efficiency/effort during practice may be considered beyond adequate (however, with growing comfort and depth within this paradigm you may explore additional composites such as discipline, courage, creativity, and overall comprehension). Update these baselines according to a subjective scale of progress and record this on a weekly and monthly basis.

Next, create the set of tangible variables upon which performance levels depend. This can be weekly duration and the individual aspects of any craft represented by a number of repetitions or duration given to each component. It is up to you to deconstruct the components of your mastery pursuit and record the time spent or repetitions completed within each. These are the explicit components of mastery.

The result you see, the value you learn to provide, is an amalgam of these two sets of variables: internal character qualities (effort/efficiency) and external practices that compose the craft in its entirety (duration, repetitions, etc.). This is simply a means of suggestion for recording consistent progress; it is a representation of avoiding the impingements of oscillation above and below the mean. Neither should you get too caught up in a system of recordings – you must keep it simple. This is just a representation of your mean that grounds you in the reality of where your performance comes from and keeps an eye on the principles of regression to your mean standard and how to develop on that mean.

The Long-Term

The above section documents how to go about setting up a system of accountability. This system of accountability is dependent on two components: the implicit or intangible character attributes upon which progress in any craft depends, and also the explicit characteristic of your craft – the mechanics of it. Creating such a system of accountability allows both a consistency in your standards of practice and also a certain perspective. The input of both implicit and explicit structures of development allows for overall performance levels. Within performance there is a mean – a standard level to which the individual subscribes – which is based on implicit and explicit growth. Of course, there are additional factors that cause performance levels to fluctuate, but the central idea is that these fluctuations will always regress to your mean level which is not so ephemeral, which is dependent on consistent qualities.

If you create a structure of accountability you can develop the craft without tangential variables weighing too heavily on progress in those cases in which they are superficial. It is the idea that all fluctuations regress towards the mean and it is only the mean to which you subscribe any focus and not the short term idiosyncrasies of performance that is the central philosophy of perspective – of working for the long-term. A system of accountability is only a suggested tool to allow focus. The real idea is that any change, any deviation in what you expect from yourself in terms of performance, be that positive or negative, if it is not an earned incremental progression on the mean, should not be a cause for distraction. This is a message of comfort: you are not the best of yourself or the worst of yourself in the fugue of mastery: you are your average level of performance. And it is that average to which you give your focus and never the distractions of high or low tide.

Chapter 7

Love

Love is an incredibly powerful human experience and not easily understood. We cannot study it or deconstruct it in any exacting or scientific manner, and the desire to do so would only cheapen the rapturous identification and humanity of such an expression. That being said, we can certainly discuss such a topic and develop insights on what it might mean to truly love and how to create and maintain the instinctual architecture around such a concept.

The first point to note is that, while love is a common and utterly conquering human ideation, the actual bones of it, the thrall of it, is identified singularly. Love is shared but it is also considered unique (as it should be). No attempt to cheapen it, broker or disengage with the intimacy of it, or create an opportunistic and complete knowledge of it needs, fundamentally, to be met. All that is required is the willingness for experience, the experience itself, and then, as is disregarded in many cases but utterly unmistakable, the effort of love as something you create and continue to push for, not something that just happens to you. As love, being integral to the experience of human growth and development, is designed within the furnace of discipline and courage; if not it may fall apart. True love should be selfless not ensnaring, never timid or underplayed, not currency or possession. Love should take all of you, every inch of you, not in service of any desire or need, but because that is what is required to grow – to allow growth of the self and growth of the other in the relationship. Love is to exist entirely with another human being, to support them even if that hurts your own needs, to recede from avarice and to always, always commit to development of the self – to better yourself for another person. In this, you grow around each other and even if paths must diverge or sacrifices made, even when there are separations or the cold sting of disillusion, still you must advance and drink in the sunlight together. Love is not static enjoyment: love is commitment to human development. Love is not taking responsibility for another or having them take responsibility for you, but a simple realisation that there is now support.

Stretching from these basic ruminations is the idea of composition. Again, this is not scientific. This is not the hope of conquering the expression: it is just the development of a certain degree of insight. Firstly, the creation and maintenance of love flows from basic human sexuality. Sexuality is the verve and the passion behind physical intimacy. Sexuality sparks attraction in a primal and dependant manner. What I mean by this is that sexuality is a primitive, biological energy. It creates the draw of attraction and the resulting spark of physical and emotional recognition based on the needs of procreation. It is our wiring. Humans, as with all species, need to procreate. Our biological need for procreation is met through the energy characterised by sexuality. As such, sexuality is a form of energy used to create and sustain life. It is chemical and enhances the power and virility of a species. Sexuality is the gate of control, the gate of intimacy and awareness, the fountainhead of desire and attainment. Sexuality is life itself to the primitive human being.

However, while sexuality, desire, and procreation can inspire love, they are not, in and of themselves, actual love. Indeed all of these features bequeathed by sexuality can certainly be present in the absence of love. Sexuality is not necessarily love, it is only the gate of love. Love is characterised more acutely as a mental and spiritual association. Love is first the ego and then the spirit.

The mental association of love is essentially re-creation: when you connect so intimately with another human being, your mind begins to stretch for that human being. The boundaries of your ego become permeable as ideas and associations of another human being become linked effusively with your own character. Simply put, they become a part of you – you identify yourself from a new perspective. You are no longer an “I”, or a single: you are a “we”, or a couple. And in the true contemplation of love this is very much a mind based conception. You cannot exist or remove your understanding of self from another person because they are fundamentally linked with your ego – your self-conception has a new current running through it. Ego-centred and ego-based love contains an almost manic joy. There is nothing more important than that other person: the high they transmit and the value and importance that you feel as someone who has extended themselves for another. This feeling is rarely instantaneous but is found through sexuality. Sexuality is energy directed towards procreation (as well as the entire canon of human intimacy) and all of the attendant desire, attraction, and action that founds. Mental love is glue: it binds a couple and ensures the survival and continuation of the species. It, however, is temporary in the ecstatic, ego-based sense. Following on from this initial enrapture, discipline, courage, and the cacophony of shared effort must eventually find life in any relationship for it to survive.

Somewhere within this swirling concavity of sexuality, mental adoration, spiritual convalescence, and empowered effort, lies the truth of human love. It is not an enfeebling cocktail meant to capture and enslave; it is not a selfish poison; it should not be feared or avoided and you should not torture yourself over it. Love is for procreation, for shared survival, for the intimacy of a shared life, for the selfless heart, for spiritual affinity and magnification, for the effort of evolution and the progressive nature of growth. It only begins with sexuality and the need for procreation, but something far beyond this can be achieved.

From this, then, we can contemplate 4 intrinsic firmaments in the human experience of love. These employ one perspective and are never meant to be considered as absolute. If they can give you greater insight or allow some interesting reflection then that is the solitary purpose. This is not a complete understanding but a soft, glancing touch upon the expanse.

1. Sexuality

Sexuality is another human birthright. It is the characteristic energy of human beings. That is really the truth of sexuality: it is energy. It is there; it resides within; but it can be washed over; it can be ignored or reduced; it can be poured into almost any avenue of expression; it can be depleted and therefore deplete your basic desire, ambition, and ability. Human sexuality is the energy of the thriving world and can find its expression far beyond simple physical intimacy. The world itself is built on human sexuality. It is not such a limited thing, not so empty or one-dimensional.

To become more specific, every human being is built within the cathedral of correct energy formation and use. Depending on the individual, we may have a varying amount of energy to adopt and employ. What is important, however, is that we do adopt and employ our energies. From the entire store of energy which is contained within, which is employed for every aspect of the human experience, there are certain filters. Basic survival and the needs inherent (mental and physical function) adopt a certain slice of your daily energy synthesis and use. Survival, at its most basic level, has come to require a very small segment of our total potential energy output as its basic requirements include vital mental and physical function, eating, and rest to replenish. Given the newfound degree of comfort in the modern age, these needs are quite easily met. Beyond this are the needs inherent in your life situation. How much energy must be consumed by your current work and contribution? This is beyond basic survival: this is independent maintenance of the conditions of your life. Then there are the needs of the body. Additional energy is created by those who would meet or surpass the needs of their physical body. In addition to this, there are the energy needs of the social animal. As human beings, we need to spend a degree of our energy maintaining and developing our social relationships, our friendships, and the bonds of family life. There can then be the energy of ambition. This is the energy you invest in the development of self and is usually attached to some tangible project or filter. Finally, there is the energy of our basic sexuality – the sexual verve, the hunger, and the need of intimacy. All paths diverge from the primal store of energy – the basic reserve. Sexuality is simply one funnel for the expression of that energy.

However you create and employ your energies, there will never be a lack. If you truly wish to develop any area of your life, the capacity for this or the energy for this will be created. You can create all things which strengthen you. The powers for this will be created, enhanced, siphoned, and employed to this end. However, the basic fact is that, as humans, despite the fattening needs and raucous desires, it all comes down to choice. We choose a manner of living and there are consequences. The consequences are to force change and if still we resist, the consequences become more heavily outlined. Your life situation will always offer the perfect conditions for growth but it will always be a choice. Every human aptitude and every human sickness fall out of this condition.

So we exist as a bundle of energy and through choice we define this energy. Through rest, both conscious and unconscious (sleep), and of course through nourishment, we recover spent and invested energies and compound the growth which we have earned previously. And the most important pillar of human existence is that all energy is only borrowed. We exist in this physical form only momentarily. We can pull energy into creation and add to our legacy but, eventually, we will diffuse and leave for others the debris from which they can form themselves.

The idea here is to create a basic depiction of human energy – the energy that creates and re-enforces human life. It is important to be cognizant of how we divide our energies, of how we recover, and of how we grow. And remember, in all things, choice is critical – it is the manner in which we direct our energies.

Sexuality then, exists as a substratum of the entire bulk of energy and we must choose to adopt, maintain, and control that energy which we have been granted. We pour a portion of our basic human energy into our sexuality and following this, more energy is created for future designation. If this, however, becomes a vacuum, it can deplete our stores. The reverse is also true: you can repress this outlet and become stifled or disengaged. The fact remains that it is always a choice. So it may be useful to discuss these two pathways and find a balance.

Sexual Repression

Human beings are naturally sexual creatures and the desire to lure this feeling, to be comfortable within it, to express and to be at peace with it, will always be there. We are also formed within certain socialised constraints and are encouraged towards modesty. This notion is one which is important for the correct functioning of society and should not be voided. However, the idea becomes too heavily ingrained, too idolised, and the life and vigour of our sexuality is turned inwards to that point at which we become removed from it. It is important for the growing human being to consider the correct employment of their sexual energies. It is important to develop a comfort with the notion that you are a sexually charged human being and that is entirely normal.

The idea here is in support of control and not repression. In repression, you pulverise sexual impetus almost to the point of non-existence. This is usually built upon shame, guilt, and a shuddering sense of self-consciousness of a kind that de-values. In control, you admit your sexuality but note that there are times when it is more or less appropriate. The goal is to evoke intimacy and not break the flow of energy.

But sexual repression is not what we are meant for and our desire to adapt to the mannerisms of society too heavily – to be seen as entirely good and virtuous – has, in some cases, come to preclude a sexual identity. We are creatures that cannot entirely ignore our biology. Yes there must be control, there must be best judgement, and you must create of yourself something that can function and thrive within the social medium – that can create happiness and warmth – but do not be entirely mindless of your sexuality. Your sexuality is what creates attraction. Your sexuality is just a funnel for some of your energy and must be naturally maintained and utilized. The idea is to accept that you are man or woman and a part of that is the desire to attract a partner, to develop attachment and to be entirely comfortable with this process, to open up to vulnerability from the standpoint of relationships, to open yourself up to rejection and to letting another person become a part of yourself. Sexuality is the energy that gives you the strength for all of this, for admitting that this is what you want and the acceptance that you will have to make yourself vulnerable in order to get it.

That is what sexuality is: it is firstly the acceptance of your desire as a human being to find a partner and then it is the energy required for the vulnerability of this. Because it has become a frightening process: attraction and expression of this attraction, developing repoire and then intimacy, sex, identification with a person and a monogamous relationship, continued commitment, procreation, forging a life together. At every stage of the initiation and continuation of any relationship there will be a degree of fear. Sexuality is the energy that vulnerability requires, that is especially present at the outset before the full initiation of mental love, spiritual connection, and the shared effort of growth. Sexuality is the energy for vulnerability at every stage of the process. It was given to us so that we could essentially procreate and ensure the survival of the species. However, the highly developed intellectual capacity of the mind may seek to avoid risk, may rationalise and terrify, may essentially isolate you and cause you to devalue your own sexuality as something lurid and shameful. Sexuality is beyond some carnal need: it is the energy for vulnerability at every stage of the process of developing intimacy.

That is why sex sells: even though our neurotic, repressed minds may be aware of a stifling inability to become vulnerable, we are not happy about this. But sexuality is not so dirty or disfigured; it is a very natural part of our make-up – our nature. If the influences in your life have led you to become so uncomfortable with vulnerability – with physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual connections – then you need to re-assess. Why is your blueprint set in this way and how can you change it? More importantly, you will have to admit that you want that intimacy and be willing to take the steps to make yourself vulnerable: to attract and display attraction, to initiate, to develop a connection, to develop intimacy, to build on that and create a relationship, to feel the fear and nakedness at every step – that is what sexuality allows. If the influences in your immediate environment – such as your family, your friends, or your social group – have displayed an inability to become vulnerable, then it will be something you have come to accept. If you have distanced yourself from your sexuality and your sexual needs as human then it will become increasingly obvious as time progresses. At every moment the path to growth is the same: accept who you are, accept that you want a relationship and all of the implications of this, and then give in to the upheaval and discomfort that this could cause – give in to the feeling of vulnerability.

I feel that society has created a structure that denotes the needs of the individual for the sake of stability. Through sexual repression, through the general feeling that our sexuality is something from which we should create distance, it has limited our expression and our options. In the short term this creates more solid, faithful relationships, but in the long term it may create unhappiness as we affix ourselves to individuals who cannot feel our needs, cannot grow with us, and are fundamentally unsuited. Relationships can cause individuals to fall apart if there is a degree of mismatch, but expectation prevents the freedom to discuss this and adapt or separate. We are more afraid to search openly. We have also constructed quite a shallow view of sexuality: that it only extends to the surface when in many cases there may be individuals who are very comfortable with attraction and physical intimacy but are still uncomfortable with their sexuality as they are unwilling to commit and to open themselves up to another person. Sexuality is the energy to open yourself to vulnerability at every step of a relationship and this is evidently something that some people may be afraid of in the long run.

Some of these views may be somewhat cynical and I do not believe that blaming your society, culture, environment, or any other individual is a path to progression. I do, however, believe that if there is an aspect of your life you want to change, you should honestly investigate all of the variables that have created your situation. Attempt to understand yourself, understand why and how you need to change, and then begin to put in the work for change. This is especially pertinent in the realms of sexuality and love. A solid relationship is founded on two forces of sexuality that flow through each other. But sexuality is a force which must be developed and must be consistently re-invoked. It must bubble up throughout any relationship providing the energy for sexual intimacy, for support, for re-working and resolving issues, for the sadness and frustrations as well as the joys. Sexuality is the energy of connection on every level.

Sexual Depletion

Because of the joy and the exuberance to which sexuality grants access, it can create the insatiable desire for conquest and connection with no depth. You can funnel too much of your energy into sexual intimacy and deplete the store. What is critical to remember in these cases is that sexuality is a filter, a funnel for your energies, and that it must be opened. You must accept your desires and allow this energy to flow through you. This gives you the power to make yourself vulnerable to other human beings. This will allow you to create and express attraction, to connect intimately to others, and to follow the natural channels of that attraction to their conclusion. Vulnerability is necessary as you are opening yourself to rejection at every step. You risk rejection when you attempt to initiate a connection and display attraction (do not worry specifically about the mechanics of this as it is a very natural, almost wired pattern in the human mind; all you must focus on is not attempting, so avidly, to distort it through your own unwillingness to become vulnerable). You risk rejection throughout the process of developing repoire and a shared identity. You risk rejection through escalating to, and then exploring physical intimacy together. You risk rejection throughout all of the steps of developing a relationship. The deeper you go, the more such a rejection could damage you. You know this from the outset and so you must have this sexual vigour to take the initial steps despite risk. Your sexuality allows you to be vulnerable in this way.

You may then develop a mechanism of protection in which you avoid intimacy beyond a certain point and desire only shallow relationships. In such a respect, you are unwilling to open yourself entirely and float meaninglessly throughout affairs. What is devastating about this is that it can deplete you. I have stated that energy is created wherein it is required and that there will never be a lack; well there may be a stipulation to this: that you can create almost unlimited energy for that which would strengthen you. If you engage in a series of shallow relationships and spread yourself thin to that point at which there is no benefit, then you are creating a drain. Of course, you will know if there is benefit and it will present differently given the individual. But a series of broken relationships in which you are unwilling to open yourself to another person, in which you are only willing to explore the surface of your sexuality, can leave you dry. You may not realise it but when you pour too much energy into something that cannot and will not strengthen you or support any growth, you may become weak or depleted. To furnish this you must continue to drain energy from other sources. Those sources of energy that are present for the express purposes of survival are maintained while the energy for human growth and development is or could be minimised, as this flow is diverted into the meaningless pool of shallow sexuality – sexuality that will not explore, that will not suffer rejection, sexuality that is all surface and no depth.

Another issue that can develop is that of unrequited impetus for development. Sexuality is the energy for connection: it is conceived and then shared as you develop a bond with another. If, however, you choose to create a connection to someone who is him/herself unwilling to explore, to become vulnerable, to pour themselves into you and allow depth, if the connection is unsuited and that becomes obvious and painful to you but you maintain the destructive relationship, then this, again, may deplete your store of energy; because sexuality becomes a shared experience. Love is a shared experience and requires the stretch, requires you to invest a portion of your energy into another. If this is not returned it can weaken you or draw on your reserves. This will become quite obvious and in many cases the only healthy option will be to create distance – to break-off the relationship. This is easier said than done but such a caustic or even parasitic connection will only cause suffering, will weaken you or detach you from ambition and growth. The impulsion for both individual development and development of any relationship must be shared. I am not saying you must become clinical, severe, or demanding in your examination and execution of relationships; I am saying that when there is a fundamental distance in relationships, when you see some corner of rot or decay, or some simple mismatch, when your colours don’t quite blend, when you just know that that is there under everything else, then it is important to voice your concerns and realise that there may be some inexorable distortion. If it cannot be resolved then accept this. You choose what is right for you but the fact is you will feel this in your gut: that some part of this is broken and that you or the other is suffering slightly. Words mean little when faced with such a challenge.

But sexuality is our cue for attraction. Sexuality is our energy to push through internal resistance when developing intimacy – to re-configure and adapt. Sexuality is our appetite for life and shared experience. To repress our sexuality is to block a channel through which our energy would naturally flow – wants to flow. In such we isolate ourselves and diminish the scope of human experience and an immense medium for awareness. To pour too much of yourself or your energy into a hollow or evasive sexuality in which you conquer the physical expression but never work to develop trust, can likewise cause depletion. Sexuality is the energy for the entire realm of intimate human experience. If you repeat negative patterns and refuse to push yourself beyond comfort then you will not grow. This is as true of sexual growth and the growth of every denominational bond classified in some way as love, as it is of basic human growth of every form. There, of course, is this dimension of exposure, of vulnerability that is somehow more alien and less discrete, but a well developed sexuality will allow you to overcome, to settle into yourself and into the closeness. A well developed sexuality will found that most elemental human source of discovery: confidence. Because confidence is to allow yourself to feel vulnerable wherein the reward for this is inevitably growth. A life of measured risk, of almost righteous vulnerability, is a life lived in the greatest confidence. It may sound empty, until you have risked, have bared yourself unreservedly and moved clear of the fear of what others may think; because you are already there – exposed. And the act of unsealing yourself and the power that this brings is more virile than any rejection or criticism is diminishing.

Sexuality is essential. Repressed, it will limit the powers of creation. Vain, shallow, and underdeveloped in the sense of entire experience and it will drain you. The balance will allow you time, space, and the potency of self-confidence. The development of sexuality, the actual manner in which you develop it, is quite simple in design but demanding in execution.

The development of sexuality stems from two points. The first is an admission (which has too meanings in this case): to admit that you are a human being and that basic sexuality is a part of that; to admit that you have desires that will lead you to connection if you follow them and allow yourself to become vulnerable. To admit what you want in life is powerful; it gives you direction and impels action. Following from admission there must be simple action. Align yourself with unreserved vulnerabilities. Given your stage, given your experience, what is the next step? You know this without question; it is just a matter of assigning the next step and then taking simple action. Each step should push you beyond the borders of comfort just enough so that you can manage, but not so much that you become lost or despondent. Your life is individual and you need to envisage what is needed honestly. Judge what would be both fruitful and manageable and then progress incrementally until you find connection. Explore your sexuality and make small, consistent progressions. The whole experience should be penetrated by a warm sense of discomfort that is vastly overshadowed by the many layers of joy, the sense of feeling for another that melts through your skin. It is this experience that you were born to have. This manner of progression applies equally to those who repress their sexuality to a greater extent and to those who admit it, or the veneer of it, but are unwilling to pierce the entire experience and blunt themselves on repeated contact with the walls they have built.

Sexuality and Balance

Properly controlled and expressed sexuality is a growth culture: it allows for and even incites human development. Beyond this, it is symbiotic. To understand properly expressed sexuality you must be willing to experience it. It is this way with growth. You can never get anywhere in hiding.

We have stated that sexual repression occludes the natural flow of energy; if there is no outlet for energy there will be no desire, no need for its infiltration. The concept is similar to the manner in which electricity will not flow through someone wearing rubber soled shoes: it cannot exist in them because they are blocking the flow. It is this way with sexual repression. You have less energy because you have no use, no opening. Of sexual depletion we can invoke the same idea: that you are aware of this outlet, that you impel its use but only in a superficial sense. As you reach a point at which relationships have no depth, at which you are simply treading water, you begin to weaken. Again, this is because you are pouring your energy over that which will not strengthen you or no longer has the capacity to do so. You are not taking risks. You are wasting the energy you create for a vain or undeveloped connection.

Sexuality, however, is extremely powerful when appropriately balanced. The idea is to accept yourself; the idea is to realise and more importantly take responsibility for your desire for connection and intimacy. Following this, and based on your level of experience, you can take incremental steps towards growth. Be vulnerable, be afraid of this but do it anyway. Take small steps towards growth and eventually you will find someone with whom you can grow, who can share themselves with you and vice versa. You can get a sense of this from basic attraction. This is not simply in a physical sense, but in knowing the person you can just sense that they would be good for you and you for them. It’s a feeling that is beyond (but does not ignore) physicality. And when you sense this type of connection it is important to pursue development through this stream if that is something in which the other person may be interested. In the very least allow yourself to be vulnerable, intelligent, and thoughtful in the expression of attraction and in developing a connection.

A well matched relationship can then support growth. It allows the natural expression of sexuality and removes the occlusion. It allows you to step through the rigours and strain of fear in small phases that are shared with another. It keeps your sexuality active and therefore allows a consistency. It gives you value and the feeling of worth and a strange impression of competence that you can carry forward into the consistencies and inconsistencies of life. Essentially, a well matched relationship keeps you folded into the passages of growth. And to know that this is creating value that presents outside of you – that is also designed for the benefit of someone you have connected with, are deeply committed to, and care about hugely – is to create stability in your life.

That your sexuality and the sexuality of your partner can be expressed naturally through the development of your relationship is primal, is incredibly important. Sexuality is the desire and energy for vulnerability and that, in a meaningful aspect, is not located through the highlights, through the surface and the vanity of self-love and narcissism: sexuality is found through the depth of connecting with another, through shared exploration in every sense – physical, mental, spiritual. That is why, for most, the channel for human development is electrified by a strong, healthy, and growing relationship and not through vanity or isolation. And the pain and vulnerability that may present, the separation that could occur, the risks you take and the rejection you inevitably will feel in searching for this is how you earn it. And remember that others are doing this too so do not harbour resentment when things do not work out, just progress and know that it takes strength to admit things are not right and in the end you will both grow.

So proper development of sexuality is founded by desire and based in experience, and to truly develop you must find someone who will share this development with you. It is the energy that keeps you travelling through the labyrinth. It is important to know yourself, to have worked for growth, and to have orientated yourself with human development before undertaking the challenges of sexual progression. In knowing yourself you can really value others. Relationships have more passion and more resonance if they are tempered by two minds that are in sync, that value themselves in isolation and know that this bond can expedite the growth of that individual value and share it with another. In relation to balance in sexuality, the purpose is to appropriately adapt your energies. Find someone who can heighten the release of that self same energy and not drain you, and then use that invigoration to lend power to those pursuits that would strengthen you. This is not selfish of course, and you must also support the growth of the other in the manner in which you are supported. In that way the connection intensifies, becomes more alive. Sexual repression removes the possibility for this and the search for this. Sexual depletion does not remove the possibility, it just lets all of the energy flow out of the circuit. A true marriage of sexualities creates a sustainable vitality and this allows the breeding ground not just for procreation and the continuation of a species, but for what we would describe as love.

Note: I would like to make note of the fact that basic elements of this discussion should in no case be misconstrued by the more devious natures of man as a justification for the negative treatment of another human being. I would like to take this opportunity to make it perfectly clear that the exploration of your own sexuality should always, beyond and above all other possible considerations, respect the dignity and autonomy of all other involved individuals. I know this should go without saying but sexuality becomes a shared experience and any intent to cause physical, psychological, or any other form of harm, of any severity, to another human being, based on your own desires, is not only psychologically mal-adaptive but morally wrong. Please consider others at all times and act in a manner that absolutely respects their rights, freedoms, and needs as a fellow human being. There is no justification for the mistreatment of another, and this is not limited to sexuality and love, but in a more general sense as well.

2. The Mind in Love

To say that we are “in love” is essentially a pronouncement of subconscious mental state backed by the emotional complexities that this informs. I do not say this in order to be cold or overly analytical. Mental love is beneficent, it is endearing and entire. It causes you to go beyond a closed and clenching possession of self. Mental love is important as it causes the permeation of a new reality. To the closed and unrelenting mind this can prove to be distinctive, necessary even, to allow you to see beyond yourself – to see for another, for their needs, for who they are and what that means. It creates compassion and the powers for deeper understanding of yourself and of all others.

I believe this to be a precious human experience to which we are granted access, if only for a time. But there are certain reservations I would point out. The first is in how you treat others. If you care too entirely for one individual, if all of your responsibility, all of your care and enthusiasm are presented only for them, then this can cause a certain degree of ignorance. Others can drift so far down in terms of intent and perception that they may become obscured. Do not sacrifice the care and maintenance of your bonds with others because of your love or even infatuation. It is important to find a middle ground and to maintain value in those relationships in which you have invested. You touch the lives of many others in more subtle and meaningful ways than you may realise.

The second reservation I would point out is that you must continue to invest in yourself – in your ambition, in your growth, in your mind and body. Continue to invest in yourself because if not, the love you hold for another will be too cloying, too dependent. It must be balanced. However, having pointed out these two seeming stipulations, I would also suggest that the danger of such is principally in the initiation into the thrall of love. Eventually the feelings become normalised (though still somewhat ecstatic). It is important to continue to invest in those areas of your life which have founded the conditions for the love that you feel for another. In stating these simple refrains I would recommit to the idea of finding and fostering this type of mind-based affinity. You can learn a great deal from it, especially when it is placed in someone who is truly dedicated to understanding you and developing the relationship. I would not deride the feeling of mental adoration as long as it is not wholly un-contained – as long as it does not bleach all of the other colours of your life.

Mental love is qualified by self-perception. Within the ego you have a picture of yourself – your strengths, you weaknesses, the internalised recreation of your every outline. The ego builds walls around this picture. This is you and the world exists outside of your walls. Yes, the external world establishes the standards of character formation that align with self-perception to create the ego, but the external world is still something separate – something outside of you. Those who are singular, strong minded, self-inhabited, almost deluded in their confidence, have firm solid walls and are very careful regarding the influences that penetrate into their internal conception. Those who are lingering, wilting, and generally hold the desire to serve, to please, and to conform allow a more probing influence of external will. However, when we “fall in love” our walls of protection, of distance from the outside world, become highly porous to the influences and individuality of one other individual. They become the subject of our combustible affections and as such we allow them to be a part of us. The walls of our psychological control swallow up the idea of another human being and marry that person (or our perception of that person) with our self-perception. We take up their strengths and hold a pride in such strengths. Our perceived weaknesses devolve and there is this form of quivering amalgamation.

There are a number of triggers that cause the incitation of such a process: sexuality bequeaths the desire and energy for this, as you may note that to adapt your internal world so heavily for another is to be entirely vulnerable to their influence. Your general personality also imports influence as some people may naturally adapt themselves for the specific purposes of this process – a mind that is constantly revolving around the hunt, the opportunity for such collaboration. The more easily you fall to this mind based affectation, the less of a grip it may have. The more difficult it is to open your consciousness for another (the firmer you are in your isolation) the deeper and slower the inception.

From a more sterile perspective, this chemical flux, this psychical intermingling may be a pattern created from the ooze of our biological need for procreation and protection. The limbic system implants the desire and calls for the energy for that desire to be met (sexuality); the heartbeat of a surviving species then concocts this glue that promotes shared survival, so there is not abandonment and separation – so survival rates are higher in the fog of the wild. It is the biological glue that holds families together and insures a more efficient line of production. If this type of merging did not exist then there would be no family unit, there would be no consistency; the nature of man would be too pernicious, too changeable and distractible. Babies would be born and a weakened mother would have no means of caring for herself and her newborn in such a weakened state. This is the wild, the veracity of life in the wilderness. Man would be off to the next conquest. Woman, on the other hand, would realise the encompassing vulnerability of such a prospect and would become much less willing to acquiesce to such a volatile and precarious state. With the development of consciousness and the penchant for distraction that that harbours, love was the most devastatingly effective way of ensuring survival, collaboration, and continuation. Genes not wasted, discoveries not lost.

That is why “falling in love” is a biological mechanism of the mind that is seemingly beyond control. Yes, we control our potential to be drawn into it and influenced by it, but once it takes hold – and our limbic system, the natural effervescence of our sexuality ensures that it will – we succumb entirely. Love is the heartbeat of survival – Mother Nature’s masterpiece. Having expressed such a point in this way, do not think I am condemning this as some cruel trick. We naturally disdain that which is beyond our control, however, I feel that the opportunity of love, the power of it, does not need to be and should not be avoided. It should be actively sought out and incorporated into the human experience.

It takes a great deal of courage to even open yourself up to this; it takes growth to stretch your mind-set and cleave through this internal clenching and secure loneliness. However, there are all manner of negative patterns that can inject themselves into the marrow of this experience. We can become too dependent on another, too enveloped by our internal re-creation so that we forget how the world is and who we want to become. There can be abuse and disdain. Love can be given but not received. Love can be used as a mechanism of control. You can distract yourself from your own faults and lose your sense of responsibility. It can become too disabling – manufacturing a deepening lethargy in you or another. It can be withdrawn on one side but not the other and so create an immensity of pain as one makes the attempt to pull the pieces of the other out of themselves before they are ready. Essentially, love hurts. And its corruption or abuse is never or was never the intention: this is something that falls out of human greed, out of possession. You are your most real self in the manner in which you handle this form of love. Everything is exaggerated – faults and virtues.

Mental love can also create so much growth, can be the precursor to such a force of evolution in the individual. We come to feel for that which is beyond us; the idea that we are not so alone begins to gain traction in our lives. This can breed value, ambition, and a positive manner of thinking. It can lift you above all of the toil or let you submit to the virtue of such endeavours. Yes, mental love, the collaboration of love, can create opacity, however it can also stimulate a type of heightened clarity. It can give focus or it can remove focus, it all depends upon the individual. That is why to feel this intoxicating brand of passion is important, because it brings you into yourself and lets you see the truth of self – the exaggeration, the decline, the ascension, whatever it is that we find when we incorporate a new perspective. Mental love is how we manoeuvre the complex machinery of thought and perception to make way for another. This is vital as it issues the current status of who we are – but only if we want to find this.

It is very easy to slip behind the idea of someone else and become comfortable with this newfound layer of infatuation. It is important to be open to this type of bond without forgetting yourself entirely – not just giving way but controlling the flow of connectedness and allowing it to bring focus. That is why it is so important to know yourself, to identify yourself as a growing human being, before committing so heavily to another. If not you may lose yourself in them. First work on yourself, then find a loving connection. And when the distance comes down and the ego separates, as it eventually will, you will still have the centeredness to love without being “in love”. And you change in committed relationships, so it is important to take stock of that if you part ways, to take some time to bring yourself into focus and not just fall back into another connection before you are ready. Give yourself time to re-adjust or it will mean less.

The mind in love, the extension of the ego and the permeation of another will, the illusion or focus that spreads through your mind like a warm current (depending on your mindset going in), the danger of losing or disavowing self perception behind the weight of a new presence versus the possibility of crystalline clarity to a mind that evokes growth and control – these are the realities of our mental perception of “falling for someone”. It is a process and understanding that should not be avoided – in fact it should be actively sought. However, the rigours of growth and the wisdom of prescient selection should light up everything else. Commit to growth. Commit to your sexuality – explore it and develop it as is necessary. Commit to falling in love and the mental jubilation of love and in all things demand to know yourself better with each day, with each breathe. You can find or lose yourself in this, it all depends on you.

3. The Spirituality of Love

One of the greatest joys of love is the presence it allows. Spirituality, to me, is essentially just entire presence within an individual moment. Spirituality is the commitment of everything that you are to awareness: no judgement, no thought of what has happened or will happen, no distraction, no incessant tension – just a completely focal state of being.

There are many pathways to presence and we will discuss this in greater detail in a later section, however, it is undeniable that love for another, and just being with them again and again provides a path to awareness. That is the simple joy of love, of just being there and sharing the over-hanging flow of everything with someone. Spirituality is simply that moment when you are there entirely with another. And it doesn’t really matter what that moment contains because there is no judgement; you are just in it completely. You are taking in every inch of that person – the way they move, the rise and fall of their chest as they breathe, the simple quiet intimacy of their gaze, the way they adjust themselves, the way they react to any and every stimulus, the patter of their thoughts as they speak and unwind in your attention, how their mouth forms and shapes words, the way they make you laugh unashamedly and derive joy from bringing that to you, the struggle they allude to and the buoyancy of determination they emit, every line and crease of facial expression – it is the entire spiritual cloak.

The deep pulsating rhythms of life that make you take notice, that make you direct attention outwards, these are the paths to spirituality. Love for another and commitment to them, to their person, can form a path to spirituality. This is because the need to take in every detail of the one you love forces you to remove focus from everything else and exist entirely within momentary awareness. The joy you feel is the joy of presence. Your loved one allows you to feel this presence through their simple existence and decision to spend time with you. For this, you love them in a deeper way, in a way that is indelibly sutured to your own understanding of life itself. But it’s not just them, in moments of presence you are in harmony with everything. And when you drift down from heightened spaces of awareness and the mind begins to tick, it realises that it is not so dominant, that it is not the root of everything, and that love is not so simple. It is not just love for another you feel – love that is beyond infatuation or mental collaboration – it is the love of existence. This does not mean that love is easy or that spirituality is not a discipline, something that is extended through effort, it just means that this type of intimacy is possible. Spirituality is presence and the self-involved mind can free itself at times when you are just sitting and resting and being with another in all of the simple routines that you share, in all of your shared intricacies and expressions of individuality.

It is the moments of awareness that really clarify what love is, beyond a feeling or emotion, beyond state of mind, beyond validation or satisfaction; it is being there with another without the need for anything else that clarifies for you, that you are in love. But life has come to be built on the many distractions. We plague ourselves with the need to escape awareness; and it’s not just in some things, it’s in everything. There is always another worry, something that can’t wait and that demands our focus. And we see no paradox or internally wired fault between our need to worry about something and our resistance to actually acting, to doing something about that thought, that anxiety or tension. It is as if the thought is enough, as if we are taking care of something when we worry. We are not. This is just the unquestioned misunderstanding – how your mind pulls you further into the haze of confusion. Yes, take note of that which you feel is important or that which must be altered, organise a specific time to focus on it through action and not thought, and until that time arrives just let the feeling disperse. Do not let it distract you. This is especially pertinent in the discussion of love. This is because you need to allow your thoughts to melt away and just exist entirely within the moments you share with your partner. Do not just hope that the spirituality of love will peel through your stream of consciousness: actually create the conditions for this as spirituality is a discipline, even in matters of intimate love.

And then, when you are with that person to whom you are connected, just drink them in entirely. Do not confuse what I am saying: I am not asking you to treat love as a notch in your schedule; I am saying that you should make time for another wherein you can focus on them in an incredibly intimate way. There should be a space and a time for them when you can focus all of your intent on who they are, how they are, the intricate filigree of their design. This is spiritual connection and love draws it out naturally or provides ideal conditions for it, but there is also discipline in this. You simply create the conditions and then there is spontaneity, an unkempt deliverance almost, into the quiet spaces of shared spirituality.

Of course, this need not be all of the time. There are fluctuations within the natural trajectories of responsibility and state. Spirituality is ultimately freedom from the traditional concept of mental awareness, not in a vacant way, but in a quiet and untouched way. This is the manner in which the external environment, and all of its inherent subtleties, flows cleanly through to your subconscious. But there must also be time for involvement of the mind in relationships and the importance of individual progression. You need not spend all of your time quietly blended into this spiritual coupling as there are more layers to successful relationships than just spiritual presence. You must allow for mental connection, sexual and spiritual closeness, as well as your own individual responsibilities and development. It is through this framework that the relationship as a whole can make progress. It is in this that you can see that love is both incredibly joyful but also something for which you have to work. If it is unbalanced or missing any of the internal cogs, it can stall or even break down.

The Joy of Sex

From the above discussion you may have picked up on this idea already but I feel it is important to state that the profundity, the immensity of sex, beyond any physical pleasure, is derived from presence, from spirituality. If you are not familiar with your partner or with yourself in the realm of sexuality this, of course, may be more difficult to achieve. This is because your mind creates the qualms of self-consciousness. You are not comfortable and this tension fills your muscles. Your breathing becomes shallow and rapid. You become submerged in this autonomic nervous response mechanism – fight or flight. And then it is your mind that barrels through the experience. And the feeling of self-consciousness deepens. Instead of relaxing into it you feel this shade of stress. It is a pleasurable stress but it is stress nonetheless, and the greater the tension, the nervous infiltration, the greater the need for relief and decline.

Because of the intimate charge of the experience, your feeling for the moment and your reaction within this is reflected in the person with whom you share the experience. In this way tension and self-consciousness can be shared. However, joy, connectedness, and immersion can also be shared.

And that is why sex needs to be understood for what it is: a state of immersion, a spiritual wash in which all focus is expended for the specific purpose of awareness. You need to fill up the experience with awareness. It is the conscious mind that creates the tension, the desire for prowess, and the hope to impress that is dotted throughout the self-conscious experience of life. That is the mental leak into the spirituality of sex. There is never any need to free yourself of the experience, to rush to any conclusion. Any fumbling, groping desire for form or technique may result in a shared awkwardness. All of this falls out of the mind, of thinking when there is no need for thought.

In the beginning then, you should focus entirely on the other person. Feel that this person deserves your energy – the need for validation does not, the anticipation and the worry does not, the recollection and reflection on the past does not – there should be no energy left or siphoned off for any thought. Of course, this is an easier state to experience if you are more comfortable with yourself (through both experience and spiritual development) and if you are more comfortable with the other (through the development of your bond – physical, mental, and spiritual). There should never be a need for judgement. If you are judgemental then your partner will sense this and will in turn be judgemental. If you are entirely warm and accepting then this too will be reflected. Sex is very much a magnetic experience in which positivity attracts positivity and vice versa.

Slowly ease yourself into the experience with no need for rush and no thought of conclusion. Just delve entirely into momentary awareness without any thought of past or future. If the dread of self-consciousness begins to find voice, do not stumble over yourself to block it out: just recognise it, watch it, and then come back to yourself with that thought floating away and again returning to the submersion in expression and experience.

It is important not to be afraid of the experience; if you are timid then you are self-conscious. You will know what is right and how to entirely connect to this person if you free yourself of thought. Just let yourself go; breathe deeply and let the iron in your muscles melt away in the heat of the experience. Do not worry about tension, do not tolerate thought, just be free in the audacity and possibility of the thing. You are in this moment and there shouldn’t be anything else. And although I have stated that relationships should have a flow, a balance that is conquered by the many aspects of the human condition, sex should always be immersion. Thought should never exist in sex, only shared presence and the idea that you are entirely inhabited by this other person – feeling the waves of pleasure just thudding through every second of the experience of sex. Sexual pleasure is heightened by this manner of acceptance, by a careful build-up and slow burn. Joy sinks into this experience if you immerse yourself without shame or apology.

That is what sex is: it is immersion, and anything that lies short of this can dampen the experience. Of course, there are certain forms of mental stimulus that deepen your desire for another, but beyond that, pure spiritual connection will drive a greater and deeper pleasure than anything the mind can contrive. Sexuality starts in the mind with desire and the decision to make yourself vulnerable, but the actual act of sex and the enveloping ceaseless joy of it is in just letting yourself go and being there.

As you relax into the process you will begin to feel this wrapping sensation wherein you are intimately connected with the other. At first you are just breathing and calming, letting the flush of stress bleed from your body. Slowly the self-consciousness sinks away and thought becomes less relevant. Then you feel a deep comfort within yourself; that you are starting to step into an unreserved space. Throughout all of this or the point of all of this is the slow growth of your relation to another. Your spirituality becomes wrapped into them; the burn of your spirit just connects with them. There is greater focus as you are drawn into another. This feeling increases as the experience persists. As you hold the flow of it you grow into another. This cannot happen if you are shuffling through self-conscious thoughts. This is the true spirituality of sex, the shared spirituality of it. The more pronounced, the more immediate your presence, the more you will facilitate presence in the other. You fall deeper and deeper and there is no vanity; it is all this warm, coiled sense of purpose. This is truly living and there is nothing else.

When you actually reach the point of climax, what do you think about? The answer is invariably nothing. Every time you reach this state, without exception, you never think. At this point, you just dwell in the explosive pleasure welling up inside of you – every nerve ending is ignited, every sinew is electrified, and that thundering, aching pleasure grows organically. There is no need for, indeed no possibility of thought; there is only an awareness of the pleasure you experience. And as you come down off of the sensation, thought begins to creep in again. But for a moment you experienced entire presence. That is a moment or a fraction of a moment of intense spirituality. It is a part of the joy we feel and the more you cultivate awareness, the more you enhance this feeling, the greater your control of your sexual identity. There is no need for thought in sex. In sex, you just exist in the moment, pour yourself into it, be entirely vulnerable and then, beyond this, become increasingly aware and charge your partner with that self-same awareness until there is no distance – simply connection. This is connection with yourself, with your partner, and with everything.

4. The Effort of Love

First there is sexuality – the expression of desire as you align with that which you truly want (and stop hiding) and the resulting energy that brings for action, for vulnerability. Once you learn to express yourself and have fostered a connection in another there is the mind in love. The ego becomes permeable to truths you find in another. There is infatuation and passion. Your mind is filled with thoughts of one other individual and your self-concept merges with that of another human being. In this way, depending on your level of development, you expand to make room for another in your internal arena of thought and identification. You collapse and lose yourself in them; you free yourself of responsibility and life only exists for them. Love, in this way, teaches us who we are. Throughout the development of such a connection there is an exploration of each other. You feel the person entirely, become innately linked with their energy, their spirituality. You extend this exploration to physical intimacy and the joys of sex and the loaded spirituality of that experience tightens the hold of love and connection. Everything becomes firmer – irresistible. This is the design of love afforded by body, mind, and spirit.

Eventually however, there will be friction. This happens in all relationships. If there has been no trace of friction whatsoever then you are still deeply interlinked within the ego bound phases of connection. Slowly, demands will begin to diverge. You will have built up a picture within your walls of yourself and who you are, of your partner and who they are, and of the status and development of your relationship. You are in control of yourself, you have a shared control over the relationship, however you only possess influence with regard to another – not control (and you should never seek subjugation in any relationship).

As time passes there will be situations and circumstances that will divide you. Needs will not be so easily met, things just won’t mesh the way they have. As this finds progress you will meet the need to adapt your internal mental picture of things. You will need to slightly re-adjust your conception of that other person and the relationship as a whole. Routes will not dove-tail so fluidly. There might be unsought, harrying moments of pain and insecurity. Pieces of who your partner is, that do not merge so submissively with your own plans and designs for yourself, must be removed from your ego. As the intermingling of identities becomes more and more unstable, slowly your ego will begin to let them out, so that they are not identified as being a part of you but separate. You still care for their identity, but it dislodges from the ego, from the perception of self. The trick is to allow them the freedom of individuality, while still holding firm to the conception of the actual relationship: seeing your responsibility to contribute to that and investing time into the care, the maintenance. There you will find what it means to love without being “in love” and the importance of this concept.

Relationships will not last if, when the ego begins to separate, you uproot not only your identification with another, but also the relationship as a whole. Depending on the suitability of the partner you have chosen – how well you gel – this may take place very slowly over a longer period of time. It could be weeks, months, or years, but eventually the perception will erode. This is transitional; it happens slowly as action and differing paths and tastes sever the frantic intimacy. However, it is healthy seeing your partner as an individual: someone who you are deeply attracted to, who you love and have an immensity of affection towards, but with whom you are no longer “in love”. In this, you hold the relationship to yourself without needing to possess the identity of another so completely; you see yourself, the relationship, and the other as separate, growing, symbiotic pieces that make up the whole. Growth of any one of these elements benefits the other two.

Relationships will also dissolve if, when this ego separation takes place, one or the other of you fails to adapt: if you find that you or your partner do not yet have the maturity to invest in a relationship that is not so enraptured – if you cannot see the other as individual and still contribute to the relationship. This must be shared. If one or the other fails to love without being “in love”, fails to work on the newly moulded alteration, then the connection can become again unstable. There is accountability to growth, both individual and shared that must be reciprocated.

To be “in love” is something that happens to you, something that spreads through what you know and want to know about life. To be in love is the mental cohesion that breeds survival of any relationship and proliferation of a genetic line. To be “in love” can derail you, can hinder your conception of what life is for because what used to be vital, prolific in your story, can shrink to allow room for that singular focus. To be “in love” can also free you up, decrease the burden and relieve the internal constipation of energies – if you want to grow in it without the absolute need for possession. In this case, it is not so discomfited by an insecure mind and will allow you to see yourself, if that is what you want. For many it isn’t, but relationships provide a medium for growth and a medium for clarity. You will see yourself in this; the good and the bad in your manner will be reflected when you are in love. These elements are simply what already exists in you, only less ashamed or reserved – the more eager self.

Eventually, you will pass through this process of being “in love” and if you have found the value in another, if you have strengthened your own capacity for development and extension of self in resistance and in fear, then you can continue into the guarded truths of love. Real love, lasting love, is always built upon that quiet intensity of effort. You simply identify yourself as who you are, what you are, and how you need to grow to support the relationship. You then create a picture of the other that is unhindered by the variations of idealism or vilification; this is the real truth of who you know that person to be that is not undercut by emotion or turbulence. These are the un-romanticised realities that stave off the haze. And finally, you look at the relationship. What are the strengths? What are the weaknesses? Can you grow in this relationship and can your loved one also grow with your support? Can the relationship prosper and develop? What challenges does it face and are you truly willing to extend yourself (and is your partner truly willing to extend themselves as well) for the growth of the relationship? Is there possession? Is there a sunken distance? You look at the relationship – the importance of it, the value of it, and the fundamental growth and support that it will provide – and assess your ability to invest in it, the ability of the other to invest in it. If you recognise that there will be challenges but you have faith that whatever happens you will grow through these challenges, then you push forward – a little every day. You work on it.

This is the truth of any relationship in the long run: it is effort. There is effusive cohesion in the beginning that belittles the actual scale of such a commitment but as life forces you to untangle, as your egos fall away from each other, there is effort. This is the same effort that you place in your own processes of growth and development. A purposeful relationship requires everything that human growth as a whole requires. It is easier in the beginning but eventually you will feel a bit of individuality set in. When this begins to happen and yet for both of you, the relationship is still something precious, then you will know that it is worth it to explore, to extend, and to experience a life that is shared – a life that re-doubles in power and vitality.

What we Learn when we Learn to Love

If you look at the stages of development of love in this way, you may notice that the processes of love are very similar to the development of any facet of life. In such a conception, the manner in which you develop yourself, the manner in which you develop any skill, the manner in which you develop any “love” that is not limited to an intimate romantic love, is elicited through these self-same processes.

As I have mentioned previously, love is an allegory of life. Do not think that opening yourself up to love is not important to your story or should fade in importance in comparison to the immediate importance of other aspects of your life.

Development of a “Love” or a Skill

Development of any practice, any pronounced aspect of life that you “love” follows the same basic formulation as intimate love. Firstly, there is the desire for development and the energy for this development within the particular skill. You make yourself vulnerable to the challenges you would face – the opposition, the rejection, and the entire milieu of experience and development.

From this point, you become intimately attached to the practice, it becomes a part of who you are and how you identify yourself. You may even begin to describe yourself in terms of this practice. You are a musician, an artist, an athlete, etc. You are this or that profession or vocation. It is not just your job or what you do: it is who you are. In a very real sense, this vocation has protruded through the walls of your ego and melded to your self-conception. You have a new identity, or an upgraded identity. In like terms this will be afforded based on your nature or the natural form of who you are. What I mean is that, depending on your personality, you will have potential to fall in love with some specific skills to a greater extent than others. The better suited you are, the deeper you will love that which you do and the more effort you can expend. This is very similar to the manner in which we are suited to some people but not others given the natural quality of who we are.

Following on from this then, there is the spirituality that is bound to any intimately matched pursuit. In terms of practice this is more accurately described as flow. As we have already discussed flow you should have a familiarity with this concept but it is essentially just entire engagement. Flow is simply when nothing else matters: there is no incessant thought, no groping or straining – it is just perfectly weighted involvement. In flow you exist entirely within a moment as you are just doing and being. Flow is the spirituality of engagement that is found regularly within any pursuit to which you are intimately matched. You are not marred by distraction – you are simply present. And that is truly the point of spirituality or what it really means.

Again there is effort. This may present more readily in your practice or pursuit. It is because your conscious mind is lazy, but your biology sings the song of evolution and will seek to marry you to that which could cause growth, specifically could cause your particular existence to develop. That is why we are all meant to find certain engagements; because it is through these that we will grow. That is a vocation, a call to action. But effort is there because while love can exist for a time as a feeling, as something that just washes over you, you really must engage with your vocation for this feeling to become an enveloping force – you must put effort into the thing for it to matter. You must expend energy. You must take risks. You must blunt yourself for it. There will be many instances of setback and repetition. There will be many instances in which you have to extend yourself through resistance or fear. Failure will prowl around you and hunt you. The effort and the rebuke of failing to involve yourself enough, of being too conservative, is there. You may fall out of love with your profession, but you will still love it in a deeper way and be willing to push for it.

Development of Value

That is the effort which you produce for the love of something: it always reverts back to this concept of loving yourself, investing in yourself, giving up your time for it, your sweat and tears for it. We invest, we stretch ourselves, out of a desire to grow. At a certain level it is survival, it is to provide. But the beating heart of pursuit and engagement can be felt much deeper. The avenues spread out from this initial point and we endeavour through trial and error because we value ourselves. The more we value ourselves – the more value we develop within our self-perception – the more we will let loose the desire to grow; the action, the responsibility, will not be abandoned. This is the state, the time in which the hours of your day become precious. Life comes to be alive with meaning: you can see something in it, or under all of the mundane, all of the formidable hours, the glut, the far-reaching nature of the everyday. It is not so simple, you are investing in this pursuit, this “love”, because you are developing a value within yourself – you are developing a love for yourself. It is not the desire to grow but the action you take in the name of growth that is the manifestation undiluted of how much you value yourself, how much you love yourself, or specifically, how much you love being alive.

We stretch, we grind, and we feel the pain and the isolation because we love life itself. When we learn to love another we again learn to love the life we were given. It is all a part of the same conception: valuing the life you have. In intimate love the processes of developing self-knowledge and a love of existence that radiate out of this single connection are simply another shade of how we grow as human beings. Intimate love is intensified, can teach you the processes of connecting to yourself and incite you to further development. The process we see is always roughly the same or shares the same colours: it is a value you place in the time you are given and your willingness to contribute to the human design.

To summarise, we push through the stages of development of intimate love: from sexuality/vulnerability, to a mind-based connection, to spiritual connection, and to the effort of love. When we examine the stages of growth in any concept, any vocation or profession, we find that these stages link closely to how we develop intimate love for another human being. Given that the stages are very similar (although they may have a different order, a different pattern, or varying intensity) we can draw a connection between the two. The common denominator is that you are extending yourself, your time and your energy, for a positive cause. You are extending yourself to create value: explicit value in the world around you and implicit value in your own model of self-perception. You continually become a more valuable individual who can give back in smaller or greater ways, be that to one individual who you believe in entirely or to many for whom you create this service, this creation, or instruction.

On Giving Back

You invest in yourself so that you can give back. You invest in others so that you can give back. Every time that you stretch yourself, you do it for the explicit purpose of creating value. That is the eventual design. If you cannot see it, even if it is not immediate, even if it will take months or years of quiet focus, you know that to grow is to become a person of greater value. The reason you become a person of greater value is to make a contribution. That is the simple direction of life; the flow of existence has always been on the incline – pushing for evolution. Every diseased thought is just entropy, is the natural suck of chaos and disorder. Evolution brings life into increasing order creating greater and greater clarity of consciousness. We contribute to evolution through action. We create value in great and small ways to prevent the chaos, to evolve. And it is not just singular evolution: you are part of a gigantic project of evolution that exists – if only for a time.

When we look at the evolution of our existence, we see that existence has defied disorder, or, more specifically, that the nature of evolution has the appearance of creating a greater and greater biological order. From the big bang, the fingers of the cosmos extended gradually. Vast open spaces pocketed in the atomic gelatine of unfolding creation. Slowly elements were created; stars formed, imploded, and reformed. Pockets of order coagulated in the chaos. And then there was attraction: how the spatial fabric seemed to bend around these greater clumps of matter and create that rolling form and connection. Slowly the interaction became more complex and there were the building blocks of life and they all formed in proximity – could connect and interact. We had an inscrutably minute piece of unstoppable energy, then we had the universe, and then the galaxies, and then our solar system as disorder became ever more subverted (however on minute scales in relation to the entirety of things). Then we had this planet, this arena of life. The conditions, the distance, the repository of elements were perfect. Could energy not create a seeming disconnection, and become individual and sentient? Would matter, if established in just the right manner, and adapting to conditions that were inherently kind, be able to withstand and control its own division of this energy, or take from the greater body of it?

And so we had single-celled organisms coiling and reeling in the existential soup. In an infinitesimal fraction of time there was a conversion: there was not just the vast blanket of energy and all of the building blocks that had formed out of that self-same energy, there was genesis – creation of life. In the beginning, life was simply a unit of survival in which certain identities of matter, certain molecules, became more prominent in the primordial soup due to their capacity for surviving and utilising the ingredients of survival in a more efficient manner. Stability survived. Eventually however, there was formed a replicator. This replicator was essentially a form of molecule which could create high-fidelity copies of itself. And this need only have happened once. As soon as the replicator was formed, it could forge a dominion upon the physical earth. It utilised the ingredients of its surrounding environment to form a replica of itself. These replica’s spread and compounded. Of course, there were sometimes minor mistakes formed in the replicated copy and so certain products of replication came to have their own unique signature. If such a signature was found to utilise ingredients present in the primeval soup in a more efficient manner, it became dominant. Evolution itself is a by-product of these simple copying errors which produced alternating strains of life that could ingest the resources of their physical environment in a more efficient manner.

Eventually, the replicators submitted to a form of divergence in which it was found that, rather than depending on copying errors producing spasmodic forms of evolution, amalgamations of certain points of identity could create an updated stock of life with an enforced mix of code that would result in a singular organism formed from the building blocks of replication, within a stable blueprint, but with a slight originality or features of an originality that would allow it to better use its external resources and ultimately form copies (or partial copies) of itself. Modern life, the modern human, is an upscaling of this basic formula. Life was eventually informed, not only the need for creation and proximity (as reflects how the universe unfolded) but also of the need for procreation, for the ability of the individual elements themselves to create – that life could plant its own seed of life – life that was not simply an exact replication but an updated stock that could adapt, grow, and reproduce were its individual formula to find success. First there was energy and matter, then an increasing level of proximity and interaction, then the building blocks, then the collision and interaction of these building blocks, then there was form. The whole process echoed on a more intimate scale on this planet and there it begot life: stable molecules that happened to form due to their stability within environment and the chance presentation of elements necessary to form them within the primordial soup. Eventually there was formed replicating molecules which could pass on their code by collecting the ingredients within environment and putting them together to a form a mirror image of themselves. This potentiated while minor errors in translation produced variation in the products of replication. This process was ultimately utilised in a more determined form to give the products of replication an increased adaptability. And you are a product of this process, these copying errors that produced adaptability.

If it were not for this process of variation, everything we know would be stagnant – a cornucopia of mirror images, an expanded reflection of nothingness. The entangling of life, the creation of individuality that took its identity from the inputs that contrived to form it, was the means through which competition for resources bred variation and complexity. There was sexuality that was directed outwards, that fed the evolution of life. As multi-celled organism began to breed and find each other, impetus was given for the exchange of information: that the building blocks could disseminate in a greater array of patterns and life that was founded simply could now spread and exaggerate.

Reckless, angry creatures with the blood of life in their forms swam and bred and stepped out of the oceans. There was the spread of DNA in simple and complicated manners – under the water, in the muck, into the air. Sexuality became our kingdom. As there was a greater possibility and greater variation, there was the need for adaptation. Consciousness derives from that need for adaptation. There was competition between species for resources. There was struggle, death, and conquest. There was evolution that imparted its coding into the genetic lines. Over millions of years these channels of life were electrified. Variation fed into sexuality which fed into procreation. Adaptation and competition fed into survival. In the primitive struggle to survive was to evolve. These processes continued – procreation and survival/evolution – until the point of self-awareness, of greater intelligence.

Intelligence had played its part as consciousness was formed, but the intelligence that was primitive was really a system of impulses that relayed the more complex needs of survival and evolution. The tasks of these species in an ever changing environment must be co-ordinated in some manner so that life could find and give life and the energy would not succumb to confusion and inaction. Intelligence was the greatest mechanism of warfare, of conflict for resources, food, territory, and mates. But as the demands whittled down the opportunities for survival and procreation, it was the cerebral vestiges and manners that were found to adapt. Survival and procreation became the capacity to undergo more complex pathways of understanding. Intelligence, in this way, eventually connected to self-awareness. Evolution led, inevitably, to autonomous thought and understanding: to exist and to plan for future existence, to move beyond simple survival and procreation and the tasks related to that, but to suffer the existential burden as a process of evolution.

Once self-awareness became apparent, no matter the means, the muscle, the girth or distinction of the predator, nothing could compare to the pliability of thought. The apex predator was the most intelligent. Encased in these delicate forms, intelligence could create an absolute and unfathomable dynasty. Thought, awareness, and intelligence became supreme.

This process has informed our past, is inscribed in our genetic formation. We still feel the pressure of greater variation, of procreation, but that process is pushed into the firing line of a highly cerebral processing capacity. We still feel the struggle of survival but that is no longer insipid and devastating – without any insufferable survival rate. We are at a point in which survival has become an almost vestigial paradigm of modern existence. We are at this point in which survival, in and through the fact that the cerebral mind can meet this need with a minimum of expenditure, is no longer the driving force of evolution. Survival and evolution have separated. Evolution is still defined by competition, but it is intra-species competition. And the competition certainly affixes itself with the decoration of greater comfort, a greater proportion of our available resources (however this no longer denotes survival as even a thin share usually imbues survival), however, on a greater scale, the competition is for contribution, for the actual currency of evolution. We, as humans, with the dense and at times unpalatable processing power that we possess, no longer require the carrot and the stick of evolution. We simply feel the need for it as a subconscious impetus that is beyond rationality. We evolve because that is the natural direction energy wants to take.

Evolution, at this stage in our development, is simply evolution of the mind and of giving back. You are at the very tip of the evolutionary scale. There has never on this planet been a more highly evolved organism with such processing power. The widespread dissemination of information has created an even more potent medium for your evolution but the purpose is to evolve. And you understand this - your subconscious mind understands this. And so it is not physical pain or physical danger that plagues those who would not evolve: it is mental pain- it is the disease of upset and disruption. And the mind and body are inseparable - the body is the mind (as is reflected in the processes of emotional control). Mental disease and dysfunction can express themselves in the body’s struggle for existence. Evolution has become an almost self-contained mental game: give back or the mind will suffer.

That is how nature has configured our system. Evolution now exists within the bounds of our collective consciousness. You give back to the consciousness of humanity in ways great and small. The more you cultivate the ability to give back, the greater the evolution of your individual consciousness and all that that entails. You are just a part of the whole function: sentient life that can create evolution only by a sharpening of its own understanding. Variation installs a vast array of mechanisms for this but the end result is always contribution. You plant the seed of evolution of the collective consciousness with your endeavour, however, given this collective nature of humanity, given the increasing connectivity of our species and of our knowledge and the newfound ways in which we share information and achievement on a vast scale, given all that we now know, you cannot understand how deep the routes of your seed will penetrate, when the organism of idea and insight will break the soil, or how tall it will grow. The whole purpose is collective cerebral evolution.

Love and Evolution

Given the above discussion on the development of the species and on the speculative trajectory of conscious evolution, we can begin to disclose the myriad purposes of intimate love with respect to this.

Sexuality

The first facet of love – the point of initiation – is sexuality. Sexuality, from a biological standpoint, is attraction and the energy to act on the impulse of attraction. Sexuality is the energy to form a connection with another. The simple purpose of sexuality is for procreation: that forms of life could be given the spark of recognition to then incite the process of procreation. We have the ability, however, to dampen this desire due to our self-conscious designs on life, but the fact is sexuality is a trigger for eventual procreation. We could not survive if this were not the case. And without sexuality there would be no variation. Our channels would not propagate and flux in such a way as to allow the possibility of greater and more complex forms. If there was no sexuality, there would be no variation.

The Mind

Following from this is the ego based connection: “the mind in love”. From a biological standpoint the reasoning for the mind to fall in love, for you to allow another to become an intimate part of your own self-concept, is for protection. Following on from the process of procreation, in times when survival was not so simple or so easily assured, it was the job of the father to take care of the mother and their progeny simply because if he did not, given the weakened state of the mother following childbirth and the inherent vulnerability of newborn children, there would be many lives destroyed by the humbling ferocity of the food chain – of the wild that preys on the weak. So love was created in the human mind for the mother to be willing to undergo this process, this vulnerability, and for the father to protect his family. Mind-based love is a biological supposition that was instilled for the purposes of survival, not just of the individual family unit, but of the species as a whole. And as such the capacity for love is wired into the DNA of every human and can be ignited even in those cases in which procreation is not possible. That does not essentially matter: it is just the conditions that incite this process. Although the human mind, with its newfound rationality and analytical capabilities, can interfere with the creation of such conditions, it can never succumb to a position wherein love is not somewhere in its make-up.

Effort

So we see, in this, the biological purposes of sexuality in procreation and the enhancing variations of a species, and also the purpose of love from the standpoint of survival; but what of evolution? Well the newly emerging ideation is that the conditions of survival and those of evolution have separated. As humans, the unquestioned dominance that greater intelligence has provided means that we do not have to adapt to survive any longer, from the point of view of the wild at least. For better or worse we have caged the wild and become retrospective, keeping it at a distance and drawing from the stock of things to suit our needs. We are born into these conditions. Evolution is still routed in competition but that competition is an intra-species competition that no longer places the stock of resources in a singular position of primacy.

Evolution is now shaped by control of the mind – the singular consciousness and the collective consciousness. In your own path to evolution you will see that the purpose is to create value. The creation of value in one part of the organism affects the entire organism in two ways: you create the means and you create the knowledge.

What it means to create “the means” for achievement is to create of yourself a person who has surpassed the ordinary: to become an outlier, a master, or someone who has displayed just what is possible. In this you create the human means. The mind of another recognises what has become possible and can then build on that and slowly, over time, we grow. This trickles down from the psychological pre-fixation: we will infer the general from the specific, but not the specific from the general. We do not thrive, feed, or learn greatly from generalities: we learn from specific instances – case studies of individuals with whom we can identify. If you are the example people can connect to you, to what you have achieved, and grow to alter their own view of the pliability of circumstance – any circumstance.

In creating the knowledge we are referring to the process of discovery: that you stretch and you learn about the features of existence in some new manner. In this you elicit some new body of information through your endeavour or some new perspective and it lights up the mind of others. These are footsteps which may be tracked and followed.

In either feature you are extending the blueprint of evolution and adding one new rung on the evolutionary ladder so that others can climb it. The means is how far it is possible to climb, the knowledge is exactly how you made that climb. The amount of human mediums in which it is possible to create value (the means and the knowledge) is vast and unending, but the overall point is greater efficiency as a highly evolved creature that can install greater form into the vast randomness of everything. Whatever you pursue, know that you are creating value in this way. You are creating the means for achievement in others (no matter their level) and the knowledge specific to the path you have found.

So we evolve to affix the collective consciousness with the prospect of greater achievement. But it is just that: it is the mind that grows. The actual pursuits are nothing more than mediums for conscious evolution and that is why it doesn’t matter exactly what you pursue, just that it suits you and that, within it, you could forge a degree of excellence.

This is effort, all of this is effort expended at the level of conscious thought and evocation. Everything that flowers is a process or reflection of the fertility of your mind. The amount of energy you have to expend, your ability to expend, and your capacity for growth in this is all a process of the human mind. Everything that you see around you that is touched with human ingenuity was poured into reality out of the overflowing spaces of mental creation. The effort to create is necessary in love. At some point you will have to extend yourself but then you will see how all good, all joy or, more accurately, all substance comes from that effort. In the same manner that every physical creation speaks openly about this reality, so does the love you create – the love for which you work. So you see that effort and love are so closely linked – intertwined. And the possibility of love expands the capacity for effort and vice versa.

Inclusive in this discussion is the reality that love creates compassion. It creates a connection to existence and a need to serve without becoming fundamentally self-serving. You love your existence and so you give back. You stretch yourself for the cause you possess. In a real way, you love others; you can feel for them and understand them, can be patient and forgiving. The effort you expend on the part of love is the same as the effort you expend on the part of growth: both give you a greater respect for life, both service the same process of evolution in this regard. Effort is love when directed for the purposes of growth (of self and of others). Effort, the creation of value, love, these are all different descriptions of the same subconscious impetus for contribution to the human design. This may sound vague. It is not something in which you can be instructed in any real way, it is something you dig up out of yourself. And the reality is that, although you have goals, markers, you continuously sharpen your trajectory in both life and any relationship, the fact is you may feel that you are fumbling, that you do not know where exactly you are going or how you will find that for which you are looking. That is good: just keep fumbling and eventually you will connect the dots.

In this way love and evolution are inseparable. The effort of love gives a continuous impetus for the push of evolution. It gives compassion, first for one and then for many. Eventually you come to work for a purpose outside of yourself. It can spark the need to create value in one who did not feel that before or can inflame and empower the life of one who is already on the path. The effort of love contributes to the evolution of a species in this way. If it is steady and focused, if it is real, it will empower the mind for the transformation of desire into physical reality. Evolution is the mind. Effort is only expended in the mind – everything else is just a reflection of this.

Spirituality

Finally, there is the spirituality of love and how that contributes to evolution. Spirituality destroys misanthropy, it destroys hate, and it destroys the obsessive self-concept. There is no room for negativity in one who is entirely at peace, entirely focused on the process of simple awareness. This is because spirituality removes the possibility of judgement. All distrust, all disdain and abuse, arise from human judgement. We judge ourselves; we judge our situation; we compare our own self-possession, our own incontrovertible values, to those possessed by others. Everything becomes a procession of “I and them”. All past events feed the current swell of thought, and all of the remaindering space in the mind is left to worry about possible futures. This is judgement. Spirituality is simply no judgement. Not in a meek or ignorant way, simply as a weightless understanding of the shape of things. This is the most undiluted frame through which to view your present experience. And then you may choose to give back from that space and be entirely within what you are doing, how you are acting, and who you are becoming.

Of course, we are born to experience this but eventually we forget. Things are right or wrong, people are good or bad: labels allow us to navigate the delicate wreck and the imperious virtue of that which we see, feel, and experience. We align ourselves appropriately and act out a stoic blueprint. However, there will be times when entire presence breaks through and that can spark the vigour of reality without judgement. It may be found through mountains of pain; it may be found through a profound and permeating effort; it may be found in just simple clarity that is inspired by anything beautiful and transitory. More commonly, more evenly, it is found in relationships. Spirituality is found in the rapture of love in the quiet and in the loud moments.

And when presence breaks in there is counterpoint: knowledge of what it means to be entirely there in something. There is a certain intensity to it, leaving everything else behind and existing within a moment – experiencing all of the flavours of it. And when you see and feel that level of presence it creates the idea that thought, any kind of thought, is not all that there is. We have all been coaxed out of presence from the pressure of existing in the mechanical scheme of things and have found that presence again. The experience of love in any relationship most readily brings that back to us.

We have come to that point at which development of the mind is its own form of evolution. The greatest blight we experience is negative thought. Presence overwrites the possibility of judgement at all and therefore the presence of negative thought. In conscious evolution, what we are attempting to do is to create a clearer and more powerful mind that is not so distractible, that is not so drawn by disillusion. Spirituality is a part of this. Yes we need to plan, to function, to create the scheme of development, but the actual functioning of a healthy mind needs little time to complete the utilitarian tasks of life. Even so, in these times we can be imbued with a presence and a focus that is aligned with awareness. But spirituality, presence, awareness, flow – however you want to understand it – should be dotted throughout your experience of things and slowly take up a greater role in your life. To be aware will never deride function, only enhance it.

The Conclusion

And so, in a long circuitous manner we eventually find that love, the numerous pillars of it, are all relevant. Every stripped back corner of love feeds the knowledge of what it means not only to survive but to thrive. Furthermore, it floats these ideas within the collective. It allows us to tap into the collective framework of things. You can still exist without it, you are who you are, but if it is selfless, if it is wise, if it is enhanced by the variation of growth and feeds its many channels with equal respect, then it can bring about evolution or what evolution really means at this point in our collective path: mental growth.

Sexuality imbues vulnerability. If you are not willing to become vulnerable then nothing will get in, nothing will get through, and life will give you little. The experience of the mind in love creates compassion, creates the wisdom that there exists a whole world beyond your control. The simple human suffering, the hunger and thirst, the virtues and the bleak sorrows, the cruelty, every anguish and every lethargy become something that you can, if not sympathise with, at least understand. You no longer possess that imperious streak. You can recognise that there are many masks, many faces attached to the same unyielding reality and that the only demarcation is greater or lesser awareness, greater or lesser impetus for growth fed through a thousand and one incitation’s to action or distraction. Compassion is necessary for evolution: it is because of compassion that you are willing to stretch yourself for others, to create value and contribute to the collective. The effort of love is how you train the expenditure of energy, is how you come to know what it means to invest your time in something powerful, complex, and rewarding, rather than throwing your time into a drain. You must cultivate the sum of your energies. You must cultivate your ability to fertilise plans of action with that self-same energy and the cunning to identify that which would cause benefit. The effort of love is how you adopt the flow of energy and use it for growth. Then there is the spirituality of love. Every human will experience some moment of spiritual clarity, of presence or awareness at some point that aligns itself with the idea that there is something beyond you. This is found readily in relationships. The trigger for complete awareness exists in that relationship – in moments of intense physical intimacy, in moments of closeness that dissuade any distraction, in moments of adoration in which you completely forget about self. These are triggers, insights into the concept of spirituality which must then be cultivated as a discipline until presence fills your life like water fills a glass.

There we can glimpse how love contributes to evolution. It contributes through survival and variation, through compassion and the willingness to create value for others. It contributes through a renewed ability to harness energy for the purposes of growth in the face of resistance and fear. And, at last, it contributes through the ability to cleanse the mind, to forget the self, to become aware of all things – all colours, textures, and shapes. There are no other moments, no other possibilities, nothing else that really matters but what you are in right now. And all separation is illusion. The composites of love are purely survival and evolution.

Chapter 8

Grace

What is the purpose of my life? This is a poor question. It is poor because it is indefinite and unspecific. A more methodical approach would question the actual parameters of current function. What is it I am to do today? If your actions stem from a specific and pre-set workload you could then re-develop the focus of the question: Why am I going to spend this day the way that I am? If you have a specific function that you must fulfil, a specific vocation or profession then that will manifest in the graceful and simple actions of the day. If not, then the question breeds a lack of assurance.

The hope for all of us is that our daily functions pour themselves into a greater sense of need. This is need that is not immediate but that unravels slowly, that allows us to give some form of meaning to ourselves and to others. The idea, the basic impetus of human life and movement is to grow in understanding, and to a have a sense of meaning attached to what we do and how we do it.

Define Meaning

It is improbable and unrealistic to expect the words written on a page in a book you have read, to expect the mind of another who is speaking in generalities, to apply to the intimate specifics of your situation, what your meaning is to be. However, we can certainly cultivate a growing awareness of the impetus behind human movement, to understand what it is for and how we operate. It is my belief that we all operate from and through the fundamental tenets of a biological force; that we are all propelled to action through an underlying sense of need that we do not quite understand but know we must follow and track indefinitely; that when we subvert the conclusions of such a path we push ourselves into worry and doubt and blame. This biological undercurrent that exists within us exists within all animate life, regardless of the cognitive capacity of such life. The impetus for human movement is the impetus, firstly, for survival and secondly, for evolution. Survival and evolution can be seen through the guise of individual continuation within the game of life and, when meaning is imbued within our struggles and passions and efforts, collective continuation – continuation of the genes of the hungry, human animal on this cold blue dot.

The Three Viennese Schools of Psychotherapy

When I was reflecting upon this idea of the impetus behind human struggle, I came across the three Viennese schools of psychotherapy: namely that of Freud, Adler, and Victor Frankel. These three schools of thought approach the human question in very different manners however they trace a similar outline when the question of human function is examined through a more detached approach.

I will not attempt to explain or examine such modes of thought in any specific detail but will simply provide the general portrayal they elicit of the human will to action and how there is a correlation that does or may exist within the inherent nuances of such portrayals. Also, it is important to note that I am not attempting to provide a novel approach to psycho-analysis and have no credentials with which to do so; I am simply attempting to refine my understanding of the basic will to human action that is contained within my specific picture of my universe, in the hope that it may breed critical reflections in your own.

Freud

In a very broad sense, Freud describes the human will to action, to basic movement, as a search for pleasure. This is heavily related to the human desire for sexual gratification. The stages of human development within the first 5 years of life are related, through the Freudian depiction, as stages of psycho-sexual development of the human animal and in many cases psychotherapy along Freudian lines attempts to relieve the individual of malformation within psycho-sexual development, as human energy is sexual energy that may be poured into other sources and provides the will of a moving human world.

This Freudian conception of the human mind is quite interesting but, maybe, a little shallow. We are not simply human machines devoid of anything beyond the will of sexual energy. We have a greater sense of identity. However, to me, I find this view to be quite consistent with a part of my understanding of the world in which I live. It is not complete – but it does resonate.

I have previously stated that I believe the human mind to have a biological impetus that is driven, firstly, by survival and secondly, evolution. I have also related the basic fact that survival and evolution are first singular and then collective. The Freudian depiction of the will to action is consistent with the picture of individual survival and collective survival.

Individual survival of the physical component of existence is elicited through the pleasure-pain response. The physical body seeks a sense of pleasure which issues the absence of threat, the absence of pain. It is the primary condition of physical life to protect the continuation of such an individual stock of life. Therefore, the roving human animal seeks physical pleasure and the removal of situations that imbue physical pain.

Furthermore, situations that incur a mental/emotion pain response are likewise to be avoided and destroyed within the human canon of experience. Mental/emotional pain, which we will simply define as psychological pain, can inhibit adequate human function and threaten the foundations of human continuation at a most basic level.

It is our mechanical continuation within the physical world that is the most primal need of all human life. And so the will to pleasure, both physical and psychological pleasure, continually removes those mandates of harm that fold in the edges of our human rationality. The Freudian depiction of the human will to movement provides a very clear estimate of the basic needs of the human body and mind which continually distance the threat of individual destruction.

The will to pleasure is also heavily coated with a sexual identity. All animal life, all heterogeneous biological identities desire sexual connection where that is possible. It is our nature, our character, and our identity as an animal with genes to relate. A sexual impetus is necessary for collective survival. If there were to be no sexual impetus behind the movement of life – not simply human life, but all gender based life-forms that precipitated environmental adaptation through the mould and pull of different strands of gene – then nothing would continue in the way it has. Sexuality is collective survival and variation, is the capacity to adapt as is necessary to the conditions of a changing landscape.

In these respects the Freudian depiction of the will to action is an accurate reflection of basic aspects of our singular and collective struggle to survive. This survival, in generation after generation of our ancestral origins, tracing back through millions of years, forced a sporadic evolution as competition- inter and intra species competition - granted continuation to specific genes and distorted or removed the capacity for other genes to flourish. We, however, have ascended to a position of self-awareness, and so such a model can no longer entirely define human evolution as we currently understand it. The seeds of individual and collective evolution are contained within the trappings of mental development and extend to intra-species competition in part, but more completely, they extend to the cognitive distribution of some form of need or lure: to find a fragile, conscious meaning to this time of yours.

Sublimation

We would surely be developing an incomplete model of Freudian thought if we did not touch upon the concept of sublimation. Sublimation relates the human capacity to convert the sexual impetus into higher forms of human action such as creation or physical endeavour that elicit a more general profit for the multi-functional human organism. Sublimation is intimately related to the concept of individual human evolution that cannot depend solely on variations present in our basic wiring that allow greater adaptation to the variegation of present circumstance. Basically, sublimation is how we convert sexual energy into forms that allow us to consciously contribute to our own development within the social medium.

Sublimation is then related, within such a theoretical framework, to the concept of individual evolution. In a certain respect we employ the same sexual energy that, across the expanse of millions of years, was utilised for the sole purpose of survival and procreation, which in and of themselves provided the push of adaptation and the resulting by-product of evolution within the genes of the creature. As a conscious organism within a thriving hierarchical society, we now take up such a stock of energy under the brand of conscious evolution: we are innately responsible for our own path to evolution which is found through heuristic fields of endeavour that contribute to an increasing competence within this vast social chasm.

In a certain respect, all projects of individual evolution are projects of collective evolution as we develop within a social culture. We develop within the collective mind; the format of the physical environment in which our subconscious gestates is touched with the grace of basic nature which is beyond our control, but all that you see, read, learn, and endeavour to build or create or refine is formed and informed by the collective mind. All human creations have their genesis within the mind and are poured out of that mind into the physical environment which you see around you. And all facets of individual evolution are structured upon this need to contribute in some fashion, to form a function within the dynamic human culture that allows a little light to break through.

Sublimation is conscious evolution. Evolution must first be singular evolution. Singular evolution must begin in the mind and then stretch its delicate tendrils into the vast open spaces of the social culture. Therefore, evolution is psychological and then physical. This is closely related, within the previously developed structure of creativity, to implicit development (development of the individual personality) and explicit development (development of the physical and visible exploits of the human mind).

Singular evolution is first within the personality: we struggle and strive to order the mind and create more optimised parameters of function. This is not to be a complete process wherein we can only find any external development in the physical world when the mind is pristine. It is rather more a symbiotic process wherein a development in positive function of the mind is utilised to create something useful or beneficial, to perform some useful function that builds upon the collective mind, which then feeds back into and in fact reinforces the newly found positive inclinations of the individual mind.

It is not as though the basic driving force of the human creature is now deleted and conscious evolution has become a singular force. We, of course, still live within the bounds of instinct: we still seek physical and psychological pleasure within the expanding actions of a lifetime, however this now coincides with the rapidly developing picture of conscious evolution. And there are certainly occasions, many and numerous occasions when specifically psychological pain or discomfort must be the forfeit for evolution, but we have the processing capacity to ultimately understand that this is not of a kind that threatens the continuation of the individual but simply that tempers the individual.

This is my view of sublimation: that we channel energy into occurrences of profit for the individual. We profit first at the level of the personality, of the mind and its basis for function. As we develop a more refined mind, with a broader and more incisive world-view and a more dynamic and wilful self-concept, we in turn develop a life-situation which is increasingly prominent within our social medium. As we do so we contribute to collective evolution, evolution of the species which is demanded by our very genes – our very nature. This is the fundamental driving force which we feel behind our actions. In most cases this form of collective evolution is indirect. With less intent comes less ability to alter the conditions of the social medium. Generally, we are contributing to the mass stability of society. Humanity, as a species, has developed prominence through gross inter-species communication: that we work together to forge a global community, the precision and capacity of which is bolstered by many roles. We depend on many roles. And so the social culture must form individuals who can perform any and every role. It is not simply the fame and grandeur and wealth that indicate value to mass societal stability: it the capacity of that society to form individuals who are willing to effuse their energies into simple actions that afford the global human mind an increased stability. You develop the mind to adapt to the role, whatever role it is you are to perform, and then the physical actions maintain that role which adds increasing value to collective stability and continuation. Collective evolution is predicated on global societal stability, which is, in turn, afforded by the workers of the social culture who must perform that great variety of function upon which we all depend.

That is why individual evolution is usually attached to a specific role or filter. And the capacity to perform such, to perform such over a greater expanse of time, to generate an increased competence within such a role and, furthermore, to adapt the particulars of that role so that it retains a specific relevance within the societal mould, and to pass along the state of your art, which you have cultivated or helped to cultivate, to the like-minds who are drawn to such a role and could see it continue and adapt, the capacity to invest in such a role is based on a certain predilection within the mind – a certain aptitude.

Such an aptitude is uncovered through exploration of the mind – exploration which may be exploited by the subconscious impetus for progression which, if ignored, will lead you to psychological turmoil. As we have said, the basic driving force of the mind is to seek pleasure (within a Freudian depiction of such a mind) and so the desire to find mental pleasure and divest its opposite (psychological turmoil) will ultimately lead to exploration of the mind, as development of the aptitudes that are found within, and the ultimate cultivation of a role that allows compounding development of such a mind that desires certain feeds and the ultimate development of such a role.

We are human. We are interconnected across a vast global network. We have forged systems of governance and systems of war. We require physical maintenance through basic survival and the development and cultivation of our energies. We each develop certain aptitudes based on nature and nurture. We pour these aptitudes into a filter which allows symbiotic development: as our filter (our role within the social medium) develops, the mind of us adapts so that it can perform that role more adequately. As it does so over time it becomes more refined within such a role and can therefore reach the state of the art. Once it does so it can develop upon that. Those individuals who excel within such a depiction are those who have matched their aptitudes very exactly with their chosen projects of development. There must be a certain feeling of emancipation – a freedom to explore the energies of the mind within the profession and not a dull, empty day of toil. This form of development can, of course, be attached to more than one filter, and this helps us to develop knowledge of the mind. In such a form we contribute to the collective mind in an indirect sense and we develop ourselves within that role we have chosen.

This is a basic overview of the Freudian model of development, re-configured somewhat to allow a certain fidelity with my own idea of the impetus for survival and evolution. The Freudian model, however, positions the human creature heavily within the realms of a pleasure/pain instinct. We exist within such an instinct and all action levels up from this instinct. Sublimation allows us to re-focus such an instinct into the chains and trails of evolution that is beyond survival, and so the fundamental driving force of all living things is expressed within a societal framework. The mind moulds itself to give greater expression within this framework and conscious development of such a mind contributes to the development of a specific function within society, which in turn bequeaths progression for the collective mind of us. At a more simplistic level this is a role which solidifies mass societal stability: almost any role contributes to such and allows the ideal conditions for the germination of more complex thought and movement. Beyond that, within the attainment of mastery, we have persistent development of the rules of our game: this is intention based individual evolution and collective evolution.

A final point to note is that, of the four concepts of human progression – individual survival, collective survival, individual evolution, and collective evolution – there is a continuum formed. Individual survival is the most basic need of the human creature, of all creatures, and it, in turn, provides the conditions of collective survival. Individual survival is predicated on the desire to move away from pain and seek pleasure. Collective survival is again allowed only through individual survival and is based on the same pleasure-pain response. In this case, however, it is the expression of sexual energy that allows procreation. Sublimation is the re-development of these energies to form an individual evolution that is, of course, bolstered by genetic formation, but is qualified only through conscious expression. Such expression allows us to fit into a societal structure and provide stability to that structure which demands its roles be met. In this we contribute to mass stability and provide the ideal conditions for collective evolution as the many individuals grow within their roles, develop their mind for the role, develop the practice to that extent which can be attained, and in turn update our culture of conscious evolution.

Instinct is what drives us through such a funnel. Such a funnel, at every level, is first psychological and then physical. Freudian thought focuses most heavily on the point of inception, on the instinctual driving force of humanity that promotes progression.

Adler

The Adlerian concept of the will to action is also quite consistent with such a model; however the principle focuses of such thought converge on higher levels of the funnel. Within the Adlerian concept of the will to action, power is the fundamental driving force of the individual. All human movements stem from the will to power. All action is a by-product of the search for power. Again, this is quite consistent with my experience of conscious life. The Adlerian psychological goal promotes the idea that the human mind retains a fundamental goal. The world of the individual turns and rotates around this goal and the conditions that will follow its attainment.

The Singular Goal

Such a goal allows the individual to continually project themselves into a future time when the immediate pressures and discordances of their situation will dissolve. All current wrongs will be righted and the individual will have ascended to the attainment of a specific goal, which will in turn grant societal power and greater self-esteem.

This is quite consistent with the pre-formed model of human development. At a lower level we act through basic instinct – the search for pleasure and the removal of pain. This promotes individual survival and collective survival. We then re-channel the impetus for survival into conscious evolution. The singular goal is that point at which we re-distribute our energy for progression into a specific filter. The goal is simply progression – to find progression within such a filter.

If there is no established goal system then we feel lost. The conditions of modern society imbue a naturalised capacity for individual and collective survival. We wake up each day with energy to spend within the firmament. We pour our energy into the movements and thoughts of that day. We may become discomfited as we are not granted the capacity to explore our predilections but still we retain a specific goal within circumstance that will lift us beyond our current level. If we can no longer spend our energy in the way we would like, we fall to apathy and the lower level survival response of psychological pain is ignited. We push away from that, however if our energy has nothing to which it can attach – if we actively shunt our development and dwell in the pain – then we fund a destructive existence as our energy must find expression, even if that expression is a mode of self-destruction. Self-destruction pushes the individual into pain while preserving that will to live that is in all creatures. Such a deep-rooted pain will then form the stimulus for evolution or, in severe and untreated cases, the removal of the will to life.

Once we affirm our basic will to life and push out of our basic pain response, the systems of individual survival become active. There may be a seeming paradox in such a model as destructive and abusive behaviour can sometimes provide a shallow gratification, but this is always at the expense of a greater and deeper psychological pain. That is always understood – we have the conscious processing capacity to understand that. Once we desire the removal of that deep and harmful psychological turmoil, we free our energies for a positive filter.

In such an instance we have affirmed our will to life and understand and activate the need for psychological gratification that is bound up in attainment. In this, we establish a goal system and make progress within that system. The will to power is the will to evolution of the singular consciousness.

This system of a will to power, of an ultimate goal of power or progression was the model maintained by Adler and, before him, Friedrich Nietzsche. In this we are constantly in a state of ascension and so all current turmoil and difficulty is diffused by the psychological model of future developments. And all of the immediate pains of effort and diminutive social standing are withdrawn by this ultimate impetus of progression.

Examining such a system we again see how it cross-correlates with a section of the survival/evolution model we have begun to develop. Beyond the attainment of individual and collective survival, we pour that same basic human energy into a filter that imbues individual evolution. We progress within that filter. This progression is firstly psychological. We can again relate to the creative construct in this instance. We take up a new stock of knowledge and it pours into a specific facet of our world-view. We develop knowledge on the topic under study and refine that knowledge. As we do so, the mind of us develops. We take on numerous upgrades in our perception of self as we develop within our vocation or filter. Once we have developed the mind to have a greater understanding of our vocation, and have attained a more lucid and engaging self-concept (and the resulting cross-correlation that develops the human ego) we then have the capacity to evoke a positive change in our external circumstance. As such, the mind of us develops (in both content and personality that wields that content) and then our physical situation develops. Within such a development, utilising energy that, within the Freudian concept was sexual in nature but was simply re-directed into more complete human function, we contribute to our own conscious evolution.

Conscious evolution is the power concept. We progress, with every step, towards a more powerful existence. The power concept is related through ego development and also through the development of our particular life-situation that is sourced from complete development of the human mind. It should also become evident that conscious evolution of the individual indirectly contributes to collective evolution. We develop the systems of human knowledge and we therefore develop the physical culture in which future minds will gestate. It seems that individual evolution begins as a self-centred project of individual development that indirectly impacts the complete human system. Furthermore, the individual who attains singular mastery and a position of respect within the societal hierarchy is, through some intrinsic urge, then compelled to actively contribute to that society in manners that not only reinforce those positive qualities which he/she has cultivated, but which contribute to a seemingly selfless good that bolsters the complete integrity of the collective.

There is also an interesting side note to provide at this juncture. I have already stated that this model is unified or is a continuum within itself. Well the idea of attaining power within this model, which is most specifically related to individual evolution, also develops upon individual and collective survival. It utilises the human stock of energy that was contained as a survival instinct within the survival model. However, the attainment of power bequeaths an enhanced capacity for singular and collective survival as well.

The attainment of power, while certainly providing an element of immediate difficulty within circumstance, is driven by the pursuit of a form of psychological relief. It is a wider and deeper relief than is present in the immediate pains of effort and failure. We project ourselves into a future state that will be pleasurable. The progression towards the attainment of power is qualified by an ultimate sense of psychological satisfaction, both within our life situation and our self-concept. Such a progression is fuelled by the search for pleasure, however, this is more closely characterised as a relief from the degradations of present circumstance. In such, we are progressing based on the laws of this pleasure/pain response. As we are human and have greater processing capacity, the pleasure/pain response is more complex and refined than that possessed by primitive life.

The model of power attainment, while utilising the energy that furnishes instinct and pushed by the cognitive capacity to refine the pleasure/pain response and project it over greater distances, is also a model that reflects intra-species competition. The plight of individual survival is the fundamental driving force of this model and life has always developed and thrived through interspecies (different species) and intra-species (same species) competition. While we are not greatly challenged or threatened, at this point in our evolution, by alternate species, there still exists a level of intra-species competition that pushes evolution. Individual survival and the attainment of power funds a greater capacity for the modern human to promote its survival above that capacity contained by other members of the same species who are further down the power attainment scale. Power attainment bolsters the capacity of the individual to afford itself greater resources and the greater capacity for continued survival and progression. Furthermore, the attainment of power and societal value is an attractive quality and, as such, such a model provides an increasing capacity for the continuation of the genetic line of the individual to a certain extent, and to have a greater selection of possible mates. Thus, such a model funds individual survival and collective survival through generating intra-species competition to a certain extent.

This is the Adler model of the will to power and the plight of a goal within the individual that always promotes progression. The Adler model, within this reformulation, is most heavily focused on individual evolution within this framework however, on examination we see how, in concurrence with the Freudian model, while it focuses most entirely on one level of the funnel, it is in fact present within a continuum and touches upon all levels of the funnel in an indirect sense as has been loosely demarcated within this section.

Frankel

Frankel’s model of psychological analysis focuses on the human search for meaning. The will of human movement in this sense is that self-same search for meaning. Within this model of thought, human action is driven by the desire for a greater purpose to the life of the individual that goes beyond immediate considerations. The search for meaning will again touch upon all levels of the funnel – all levels of the funnel provide the necessary conditions for the seeming need for greater meaning – however the plight of the individual within this model is reflected most entirely by collective evolution. This breach of existentialism into the human experience of conscious life, this need of greater meaning that soothes the wretchedness of pointless struggle and pointless existence is most wholly subsumed by a specific, intention-based demand, within the individual, for a contribution to collective evolution. This is the furthest point of advancement within the funnel.

Firstly, it seems we must discuss this idea that human life, the development of consciousness, is simply a sporadic machination of the chemistry of existence: of the nature of interaction of the many reticent points of matter developing within proximity. It is not as though human existence is so profound as to support and hold up the weight of creation through its own self-involved designs. Human existence is simply a remarkable eventuality within the binds of a developing universe. Human existence is simply that capacity of matter and energy to form a massive compound of many elements that contained such an intrinsic complexity that they could become aware of their own formation. Matter and energy could have a conscious form that could understand the manner in which the universe is constructed, could recognise itself in every blade of grass and every planetary shift. It is the most incomprehensible, impregnable reality in which we exist. We do not perform a specific function through our existence. Do not be so vain. Life is just to see for a while, and to contribute to the evolution of those systems that allowed us to form. We are a by-product of the existence of the great circling anything and everything, and not a fundamental origin of greater creation.

And yet conscious life is spectacular – utterly spectacular. To think that fundamental components of subatomic matter could form atoms. Atoms could differentiate based on the laws of existence and elements could be formed. Those elements could combine and coalesce and forge varying molecules. These molecules could, in their turn, form compounds. Compounds of matter could breed symbiotic relationships and create greater structures – any and every structure you have ever imagined or could ever imagine. These self-same compounds could form organic life. Organic life could develop and evolve over many epochs and find consciousness. And you are that consciousness; you are a store of energy in a compound of organic matter that demands continued evolution. You are energy and matter that understands it exists, that contemplates the existence in which it is contained. The thought is beyond amazing.

The Human Struggle for Meaning

Beyond meaning in a greater existential sense, we can search for an active meaning that develops upon the mandates of our culture. This idea of human meaning is most relevant when it builds upon the machines and thoughts of human culture and allows us to contribute in any simple way to that self-same culture. As we have said, human meaning, beyond existential wonderings, will be provided by an intention-based contribution to collective evolution.

It seems difficult to comprehend the vacillating nature of our very existence. It seems, when we examine it, to be simply a series of interactions that elucidated specific conditions for more intricate variation, while at all times avoiding the threat of extinction. And life must maintain an adaptability as it carries and protects its DNA. All life carries this DNA and the variations within that are housed and altered slightly by the many millions of creatures whose ancestry bequeathed that very same DNA. Human beings are just one of the slight variations to the coding structure of active existence. Maybe our specific map, the map of existence that has existed in all creatures but with slight variations, has allowed a more refined cognitive capacity, but we are the same housing for a map of existence that demands continuation. In the human, conscious organism this is funded through an active contribution to our own evolution. And we possess that capacity to understand our need to consciously evolve and contribute to that map. We also possess that same primitive biological energy of all organic life that must see its actions of profit and negligence realised, must always push forwards because of the energy it houses, which demands manifestation through movement – through action.

At this stage in the funnel, the demand for meaning is simply the demand for collective evolution: evolution that will allow us to safely transmit some element of our variation of the genetic code to the next generation. And furthermore, allow that generation an adaptability within the rigours of circumstance in which they develop. And each generation has this impetus. Life develops within these rulings and the energy that funds the continuation of life sees it actively develop. Meaning, to the human organism, is simply collective evolution, stimulated by the highest refinement of its own imprint which it may transmit both in the sense of physical reproduction and a contribution to the human gene pool, and in the sense of its contribution to an adaptive human culture that is increasingly stable.

Collective evolution begins in the many steps that pre-form it. It is born through a series of correct conditions as with the development of all things. There is firstly the will to life – the will of survival. This is first individual survival that is controlled by the pleasure/pain response. The pleasure/pain response is maintained firstly at a psychological level and then a physical level, as with all steps in active human evolution. The pleasure/pain response is indented with the human capacity for a form of psychological forecasting: we can actively understand that some event may cause a short-term pain which is simply the forfeit for long-term relief (in situations in which that is the appropriate evaluation). The energy that funds the need of the individual for survival is the same energy that funds that impetus of collective survival, which is granted through our sexuality as we are gender based organisms which need to procreate to see continuation in our human stock of life. Beyond that point, we can push for a form of individual evolution. This form of individual evolution utilises the energy that provides survival – both individual and collective survival – and is informed by the impetus of the pleasure/pain response that is filtered by a cognitive capacity and re-distributed into a more intricate understanding of what will breed a greater sense of pain and pleasure. This is a long-term re-distribution of that same pleasure/pain response mechanism. The ideas and projects of individual evolution come in and we adapt ourselves to a specific role. Beyond this fact we develop a culture of internalised development to meet the specific needs of that role. Individual evolution, which always demands evolution of the personality to breed evolution of the specific life-situation in which that personality is invested, is a pre-cursor to collective evolution. It is difficult to see how an individual may contribute to a greater collective understanding if the personality is weak and under-developed in a greater sense.

An Indirect Contribution to Collective Evolution

Collective evolution is then within the human genes. We find our way through to our individual evolution and we, in doing so, find this push of need for a greater contribution. The importance of our individual life situation, the fame, the grandeur and excess, once attained, becomes fickle. Once we have stability there is this seeming need for a greater contribution. Beyond that, we feel we have the capacity to add something to the human design.

Collective evolution is allowed for by individual evolution, firstly, in an indirect manner. When we cultivate a role we are cultivating that role within our physical environment. It contributes to some aspect of the greater human experience in some way. All aspects of the skill you develop contribute to the greater body of society. You contribute to mass societal stability through adopting a role that helps to contribute to that society. This is any and every role. This is an indirect push for continued accomplishment.

The capacity for evolution of the species as a whole is predicated on the stability of the systems of governance of that species. The individual must develop within a specific societal mould and learn the lessons of that society. It must educate itself on the basic operating principles of that society. It must educate itself and learn the lessons of that society. All the actions of a lifetime are based upon the lessons forged within the culture in which the individual is developed. All the maladies and adaptations are taught to the individual. The manner of interpretation of such a series of lessons is predicated on the nature of the individual, but we function and operate within this moving world and all actions contribute to that self-same world.

We are then, based on our development, given to form our active patterns of learning into a specific role. The jobs in which we invest contribute to the stability of the external social medium as we are performing a role that must be fulfilled. If we did not do so a certain comfort or adaptation would be removed from some segment of the machine. So our role conforms, in every sense, to mass stability. It is the freedom of choice within this system that allows the individual to find a role to which they are suited and push for development of the mind. There can, of course, be a sense of repression if the role to which we attach ourselves is unsuited. The whole system of gross societal stability may seem quite constricting when examined in such a sense. But the discussion here is simply contribution to the human design and not conformism. If we do not make a fundamental contribution to some aspect of the system in which we have developed then there may be a form of malaise and/or depression.

This form of filter in which we invest is simply a manifestation of the will to power – the individualised, voyeuristic human goal which constantly issues a psychological image of future state and the positive inclinations of future state. Within such a model we make an indirect contribution to collective evolution: we update our culture with modernised roles and adaptations. We alter the places of development for the many future minds. We also create the means through which achievement can be found: we create the individualised study of progression – singular progression within one individual which feeds the minds of many. Again this links into the psychological pre-fixation that we learn from specifics and not generalities. We learn from individual personalities and the achievements attained by such personalities.

Therefore, we contribute to collective evolution through adding our knowledge and the means through which that knowledge was attained. This is the basic summary of how individualised, even self-centred projects of development fund collective evolution indirectly. Of course, there have been active human contributions to such a system through systems of economic and governmental control.

Economic Stability

We must attach a visceral value to that which we create to fund our imaginations with prospects of grandeur. We must establish a self-perpetuating system of governance that promotes a specific and controlled value within our projects of development. Once such a project has found value within the personality, it can then diffuse within the culture. As in the ultimate goal of mastery, the creation of value must be afforded life in many minds, and such value must be reflected within the individual’s life situation. And so there is an economic system established which stabilises the projects of progression, allows them to accede to a specific value, and reflects such value to the individual.

Furthermore, all projects of individual development, which ultimately illicit the creation of value (performance, creation, and instruction) must be given life within the societal construct. The individual must form a validated value which will be reflected through monetary sufficiency. The system can, of course, suffer corruption and be misled by human greed, but nonetheless it forces mass societal stability as we are forged within a community that is stabilised by a collective value reflected by this prospect of monetary gain. We must give our projects of development to the collective mind and if the collective mind validates such projects of development, such a life role or creation, such a method of instruction, then that value will find reflection in the specifics of our life situation.

Such a system may seem at once repressive, and it is not completely balanced within every case. Who is to say what value represents for each individual? And beyond this, there are certainly mechanisms of contribution that are valued massively by specific individuals, that lie beyond the prospects of monetary gain, however in a general sense such a system establishes and enforces a greater sense of stability and encourages prospects of development.

I am certainly not saying that the purpose of value creation is for financial viability. And the discussion will go deeper that this – meaning is found beyond monetary gain – I am simply suggesting that such a system is in place to establish, in a generalised sense, a form of mass societal stability which must find contribution. Wherein the individual does not contribute they find physical difficulty and psychological angst. It is simply a lever of greater societal stability. It is corrupted at times, it impoverishes those without means, it becomes greatly unbalanced and favours the regulators of such a system, however, in a general sense, it gives mass progression a structure and gives human action a specific validation based upon this value system. We can certainly feel repressed within such a structure but it provides refined conditions for collective evolution which is the fundamental driving force behind our actions.

Systems of Governance

There must, in equal measure, be a form of social accountability. There must be a form of governance that holds at bay the pernicious tendencies of the mind that seeks individual survival beyond the occurrence of any other variable. And we can question this and believe ourselves thoroughly good and without fault, believe that we will act selflessly without the need of individual acclaim. We can hold ourselves in high esteem and viciously deny any refutation of such esteem. But if we reflect on our lives, not simply mass psychological evaluations but intimately specific situations, we see how the need of individual survival and survival of our in-group can utterly dominate the human mind: we can see how our homeostatic mechanisms refute greater collaboration unless the need for that is created within the slowly developed social culture.

A simple example is generated through modern media. If we pick up a newspaper and read of a natural disaster, of hundreds of lives lost and thousands of lives ruined, if we read about the ravages of such occurrences of destruction and ingest those images provided, we feel empathy for those individuals. However, the further from our geographic location (assuming there is no previously established personal connection with such a story or possible involved parties), the less of an impact this can possibly have on our individual situation. We may then move on to the back pages and read of the weekend sport results, or relevant advertisements and sales, and have a deeper psychological and emotional response which stays with us for a longer time. The manners in which our brains are wired push this immediate need for individual survival and move us beyond a greater sense of care. This is not to say that we do not care, this is to say that our social culture is so vast that we could not possibly invest deeply in every possible human struggle. This is the manner in which the human mind is wired. It is wired, beyond all other concerns, for individual survival and survival of our in-group. It will push toward a greater sense of empathy for those with whom we identify, and greater empathy may elicit action, but empathy will be dominated by proximity.

A system of government is then effective for two reasons: it creates a large in-group amongst the governed and therefore breeds a form of mass empathy and control. And furthermore, it allows regulation within such an in-group that is developed and agreed upon by its constituents. Systems of government unify large bodies of individuals and create standards for operation within such an in-group. Such standards are again necessary as such a structure of control benefits mass societal stability without depending solely on the charitable or selfless reflections of the individual character. It is important for the many salient bodies of the social climate to find a sense of identification within such a climate. Their actions are then easily given to the cause of development and maintenance of such an internal climate.

In fact, the development of many such climates of governance serves to create external accountability. This allows a global standard for regulation. The continuous progression of such standards is the progression of the collective mind and what is needed for collective evolution. This system may, again, seem repressive, however it creates a cause and an understanding of those individuals imbibed by that cause that allows us to unite our efforts and struggles into mass stability and progression.

So, in effect, systems of government stabilise the human animal by attaching it to a large in-group. Within such a grouping there are rules but there is also a sense of protection. The government establishes and reinforces rules of conduct and legitimises the moral standards of action and accountability for the individual. It is necessary to form these in-groups as they stabilise the plight of the individual as it pertains to survival, and furthermore it provokes a stable culture in which the individual can actively invest. That is the mechanism through which mass conscious evolution must be granted life: mass stability quantified by the creation of in-groups which maintain an internalised homeostasis through systems of generalised control.

Therein we are not profligate with our creations, we give them to the larger group for validation, and we contribute to the strength of that unit as we must. We live our lives in these in-groups. We invest ourselves in their upkeep and know that they provide a structure for control that utilises the best of us. Without such a series of in-groups conscious collective evolution would not exist. Systems of government allow us to live within standards of what is deemed acceptable living and legitimise the value system we have created so that organisms that are consumed by the need for individual survival are re-rendered by this need of collective survival and collective evolution.

In-groups render our learning patterns, create our knowledge spectrum, and allow mass collaboration. In early ancestral generations in-groups of this type were roving packs that demanded only survival. As our communication systems became more intricate, we came to form larger and more dynamic in-groups. With the development of the written word, human knowledge could expand and be expounded upon. We now exist within a social culture that emanates from this creation of in-groups. We exist within a series of families. When we invest ourselves in a family we identify with that family and are desperate for its maintenance and development. It is simply why the plight of those individuals in war-torn or ravaged areas will certainly provoke empathy but, in all likelihood, less of an ingrained emotional response than the results of your sports team: because, while you attach yourself to these two in-groups or families in a loose manner (the generalised human race and the community of support for the sports team) you are more invested in the latter: they are a more intimate in-group for you. And while systems of government that winnow through the cultural ranking system – from general humanity and a global system of human providence, to nation, to city, to community, to educational systems, to intimate friendship groupings within that community and those education systems, to family – iterate and enforce our standards of behaviour and synthesis of the human experience, which in turn ushers feelings of empathy and ensures that that is the correct response, it also issues the reality that this is a more distant in-group than the family of support for your specific sports team. Even if the event is so much more acute or devastating, your level of identification is reduced, in the instance of disaster within distant in-groupings.

And so, systems of government create a broad structure of in-group which legitimises established structures of economic control. This, in turn, encourages the creation of value within such structure that will be remunerated. It also ratifies moral standards and enforces punitive action wherein those standards are ignored. It also serves to create a hierarchy within such an in-group which allows greater social respect for those who will operate within its economic value systems and standards of operation, and, to a certain extent, degrades individuals who find maintenance within such economic and moral systems more difficult.

As you can see, such a project of human organisation funds our collective evolution by repressing the urge of incorrect action within such systems and promoting contribution to these human systems. Throughout these discussions there is of course an element of repression, but in broad terms we are talking about mass stability that, beyond survival, issues general cerebral evolution through our channels of collective communication. Moral standards are seen through the lens of good-will and decency. In modern society, there is indeed a degree of superficiality that is of growing import, but in a greater sense we are struggling to maintain this system and edge forward our moral standards into greater pockets of human decency. And such instances of greed and harm provoke a genuine disgust within such parameters of moral control.

The economic systems that are again validated by mass in-grouping and operate in service of the stability of those in-groups promote the Nietzsche/Adler model of the will to power, of the singular goal that the individual personality will build itself towards, and the moral control structure then offsets the greed response once power is obtained and pushes the need for contribution to the general health of the in-group of the personality that is formed within such an in-group.

We are not yet balanced within these systems, and human nature may prove to be that pernicious element, but such systems stabilise the mass of us, allow us to adopt correct action (relative correct action), allow us to contribute to our own culture of evolution through contribution to our various in-groups, and provide conditions for our continued collective evolution. Our projects of individual evolution therefore contribute, in an indirect manner, to mass cerebral evolution.

Each in-group is a microcosm. The more heavily we identify with each, the more the standards of operation of each affect us.

Note: The idea of the importance of a sports team to an individual is simply an example to demonstrate a priniciple and certainly not relevent in every case. However, the idea of the graduated importance of in-groupings, from most distant to most intimate, as demarcated above, may be relevent to each individual, regardless of the relevence of the example generated.

A Conscious Contribution to Collective Evolution

A conscious contribution to collective evolution is a difficult concept. The idea that is issued is that the individual is attempting to alter the value systems of the in-groups in which he/she develops. Certain in-groups that develop within the human catalogue of experience and history, for one reason or another, seek to enforce a value system that is at odds with what the individual believes is best for the species. As the value system filters down into the most intimate in-groups of the individual’s experience, they may experience a simple dissonance. Those value systems that he has cultivated and shares with those of his most intimate in-groups are belittled and defied by the greater social medium. And, therefore, the individual must alter those value systems through sacrifice.

The first level at which such dissonance will or could occur is the most intimate in-group that one could imagine: the one person group of the individual – of the mind of the individual. And so such standards of operation are countered as reasonable standards of conduct. The individual creates his internalised mental culture and abhors those standards which belittle his human dignity. And so, all battles for moral standards, for personal standards (within the self-perception model as per creativity) are fought for by the individual, within that individual. This is the first in-group. The impetus for this is that self-same impetus for collective evolution that will see a bee sting and sacrifice its life to protect its queen and its hive. The DNA within us knows that it will not find evolution unless harmony prevails in our mass human culture, and those vicious instincts which create disharmony affect the stability of the human animal as a species. And so we sting in our way, and sacrifice our life for the survival of the human gene and the human culture which must, for safe-keeping, not be dominated by those cruel and murderous instincts that we witness. And whether that is dying with dignity and refusing, at the last, to let those standards of cruelty and harm infect our minds, or whether that is rebelling against the cause of vitriol and mayhem and degradation, and perforating an increasingly large in-group or series of in-groups with nobler standards, we push for the preservation of our genes. And we know what cruelty is. The difficulty lies in relative experiences of cruelty of course, but in a general sense, we understand what will serve the human gene and what will disrupt it.

So, in this discussion, we see the creation of individualised standards of operation, of the singular in-group of the mind of the individual, as the battle ground of mental formation. We create a culture of internalised standards that are unique to us based upon those notices of instruction we have witnessed within our in-groupings. The more intimate the in-group, the more dominant its rules in the formation of the individual. However, we have a spectrum of in-groups that allow us to cross-correlate generalised systems of control and synthesise an individual response. And the purpose behind all of this is mental continuation – continuation of the human DNA signature in the many elements of the human character that possess it.

Once our standards of operation are loosely woven (within our world-view concept), instructed by our intimate in-groups and given variation by the interplay of such groupings and an individual mechanism of mental synthesis, we have an internalised moral standard – an acceptable behaviour doctrine that is constantly refined. From this point, we test our patterns of acceptable action against those posed and then enforced by the social culture in which we function. It is through action that we compound those instincts of our own internal moral culture. Slowly, as we progress, depending on the level of mental refinement, we may begin to harbour a specific dissonance as our internal mental culture clashes with the value system or systems that become increasingly dominant in the external world. The external world fortifies moral standards that may be at odds with what we, as individual, believe.

We may witness the invocation of harm, corruption, and greed. We may witness the actions of the individual dominated by slovenly or superficial pursuits. We may find that the mind we possess suffers from a general sense of repression. The general culture, the greater social culture that exists without, adopts moral standards that are opposed to our individual sense of creation. And therein we interact with the notion of a conscious contribution to collective evolution and a human sense of meaning.

In this discussion the idea of meaning becomes a relative term. To find a meaning in life, to understand the human struggle for meaning, beyond an existential concern, is to find meaning that is relative to the human experience of life – the mass human experience of life. Those who find meaning are those who find the capacity, more than this, the necessity to contribute a means of slightly altering the human value system. Meaning, real human meaning, is relative to the greater human experience – the collective human mind.

We begin within our most intimate in-group which is our individual mind. We then iterate and control our developing standards of moral action. We provoke and develop such standards and compound such standards through action in the social culture. We then experience a form of dissonance as our internalised standards are decried by the generally acceptable standards that we witness in the greater culture. From this point, we seek to perforate our in-groups, from most to least intimate, with the standards which we carry internally. For close symbiotic relationships and friendships, the value systems, the moral systems broadly collate. A sense of meaning can be found through family and friendships, and particularly through parental relationships, as you are cultivating or contributing to the cultivation of moral standards that are based upon your own individual culture of self-creation. Beyond this, a greater sense of meaning can be developed though augmenting the moral standards of larger in-groups within the social culture. The manner in which this is achieved is through action, through undertaking work that allows you to rise through the established system of the social hierarchy within your specific brand of individual evolution: the goal system you establish as has been previously discussed. As your work gains increasing import it can begin to induct a greater in-group in support of such work and the individual alters the value system of the greater community of support. It becomes greater than simply the nature of the work you do which provides meaning, it becomes the individual example you provide as a human being who manifests the moral and operational standards he/she preaches. This is the conscious contribution to collective evolution. Such response is built upon what are already deemed mass societal standards, but adds a level of greater assurance or positive function to such. The growing spread of a positive message through the system of environmental and cultural standards, which provokes greater positive function within a greater body of individuals, is the undercurrent of the human search for meaning. There are instances of individuals who utilise such a system to overcome tyranny and persecution for a great number of individuals. There are also instances in which individuals warp the minds of a mass of followers to find negative, inane, or even destructive behaviour. The idea is to impact the moral standards of the mass culture which, in turn, prevent negative influences from taking hold.

This impetus of the human struggle for meaning is purely to create optimal conditions within the vast human system of connection. It is a model that is pushed from the influence of our very DNA. In this, we can see how creating such conditions as are bound up in economic and governmental control allow stability and reward contribution to this stability within the human experience of life. The search for a more ethereal and unquantifiable meaning cultivates moral standards that inhibit the production of destructive impulses within the human organism. The human mind must adapt from those occasions when savagery provided continuation of the physical experience of life. It is within the mind of us, within the biological impetus of human life to fund a continued and definite survival. This is not simply limited to individualised survival or even survival of our intimate in-groupings (from most to least intimate), this is survival of the human condition – survival of what makes us human: our specific variation of the DNA coding structure.

Deep human meaning is felt when we employ a standard of operation, and indeed knit that standard of operation into the vast social culture, which invokes continual perpetuation of our gene pool and, beyond this, allows for conscious systems of adaptation within environment that continually bolster our capacity to survive. This is not a strange goal. This is the goal of all life. Primitive life seeks continuation of its individual cells. It creates a basic patterning construct of those forces within the external environment that shift along a spectrum from threat to safety. It then forms its individual patterns that allow it to manoeuvre within its physical environment avoiding threat and etching out systems of safe action. The simple reality is that its actions are pushed from a very basic cognitive capacity, wherein energy ignites a pattern seeking mind to find its individual methods of safety. The formation of such a mind was demanded by a blueprint, a double helix of coalescing nucleotides that formulated in such a way that they demanded energy to inflate an organic balloon of life to have a specific physical imprint. It then follows the mandates of that imprint as it imposes itself on the environment that iterated and dominated the formation of such a blueprint. The blueprint, the DNA complex, is the continued variable; it simply has activating gene strands in certain organisms that alter their form or general manners of thought. Once it finds a pattern that seems to enforce continuation within the environment which has blessed it with the prospect of actuality, it attains a state of perennial existence. Such a gene pool is shared among many species with a common ancestor. This common ancestor is referred to as LUCA, or the last universal common ancestor. The form, size, intelligence, arsenal of survival methods varies from creature to creature, and the interaction of varying states of creature within an immediate and encompassing environment sculpt and pressure such over time, but the basic map that elucidates such life finds a form of continuation within the many creatures for which it is the presupposition. It is the DNA patterns of life that demand continuation, and that perpetuate through the physical, organic chemistry within our simple planetary body.

The human machine is a part of this process. Its basic mechanisms of inspiration and activation seem that much more complex because we are a self-conscious and self-actuating organism, however we carry the DNA – the mapping pattern of all life – within us. This DNA demands us to manipulate a specific and exact form, demands the formation of the human animal with muscles wrapping around bone to perpetuate locomotion, as has been found to be a requisite feature of organic life within our DNA pattern. Our DNA pattern also demands that, given the complex series of inputs in the current external environment, we should have a form of signal processing, and so sensory units provide signal input and nervous signalling gestates into a conscious form among a mass of grey matter that provides appropriate response pattern that is learned. This is refined in the human organism as the mass of grey matter, the mass of the human brain as a whole, in relation to the entire physical mass of the organism, allows our method of signal processing to be that much more refined. As a competition construct, this allowed continuation and so exists in a general array of layouts in many forms. The abilities to think, and to read inputs that allow us to manipulate the terrain, and the capacity to process inputs, understand those inputs, forge appropriate response patterns and test those patterns, find failure or success in those patterns, these are not unique traits. Neither is the impetus to move, the impetus to operate our organic machinery. And such organic machinery requires fuel. And so we have various mechanisms of processing and synthesising feeds of this type. Within our DNA there is the pattern for uptake of fuel in the form of oxygen, specifically the manner in which that oxygen is pumped into our organic form and siphoned from the chemical layout of atmospheric content. Within our DNA there is also the architecture for an effective fuel transport system in which oxygen combines with haemoglobin in red blood cells. There must also be developed, over time, an effective apportioning system wherein the varying demands of each tissue type are met, and so there is a subconscious, autonomic processing system that is present in our organic machinery. And of course, as we spend our energies in the firmament, different types of tissue promote the need for increased activation given the specific pressures of circumstance while other systems regress, and so there is developed a varying reaction state in the individual which alters the activation and fuel consumption requirements of the body in moments of perceived stress or threat, as opposed to moments of relaxation.

We also require a more substantial fuel type as is present in food and water. The human organism requires a blend of micro and macronutrient groups to replenish wasted cells and grant continuation to its store of life. We have a cardiovascular system, we have a metabolic system, we have a neural network that controls symbiotic activation of varying tissue groups. At a deeper level this is simply different types of cell categories that combine to form tissue types. And cells themselves must be granted a specific coding so that stem cells can differentiate into a specific cell class and mass to form a tissue type that forms a specific function. And within each cell type there are cell walls that contain the organelles or inherent bodies of that cell. The varying organelles have a specific function within the cell; there are energy producing centres for the basic operations of the cell known as mitochondria; there is the nucleus of the cell which contains this mapping structure we have been discussing; there are protein synthesising bodies known as ribosome’s which allow replication of the coding construct contained within the cell nucleus; there is an endoplasmic reticulum which allows for protein transport and is in a continuum with the cell wall; there is an internal culture within each cell composed of a variety of such organelles which dominate the function of such cells. The actual organelle content of each cell, containing many more complex forms than are discussed here, with highly refined and subtle function as well as more obvious utilitarian properties, are controlled by the basic coding sequence contained within the cell nucleus. This controls how the cells divide, how they interact, how they cluster to form tissues and glands and organs, how they forge symbiotic relationships to form a working machine. The machine has not been formed spontaneously, but slowly and meticulously over time from a single celled organism that had a specific internal structure and created a map of that structure so that it could replicate, to many life-forms of a complex and beautiful world.

The one continual aspect is that map and its slight variations that manifested the creatures of this world. There has simply been a map and the energy for its directions to take physical shape. That energy has perpetuated its movement and spread. That energy has simply desired a continual form, continual adaptation given the pressures and impingements of environment. Our specific mapping is no different. The entire organism that we have evolved to be over these many millions of years is quite complex, but the will behind human movement is no more complex. We want survival and an ever improved capacity to adapt, evolve, and spread that survival through all possible environmental vice and impingement. And so we create the moving human world and seek patterns of action that solidify mass societal stability as that is more conducive to a symbiotic, self-perpetuating species. And through vast systems of communication and accountability we inform a social system that stabilises the prominence of our species. And the value systems we employ that allow first acceptance and then fidelity amongst the many diverse cultures of the singular earth, allow us to continue, allow the DNA pattern to find validity within the current pressures of environment. We spread our human message and seek positive operational standards as that protects our wiring and allows it adaptability. And so human meaning is cultivation of a standard of operation that allows harmony and removes that barbarism and threat of extinction. An active development of standards of operation that perpetuate mass survival in the current environment and social climate, and a spreading of those standards, which are an incremental progression on currently held values, to our in-groupings from most to least intimate, is the ultimate human meaning. We do not need an individual and omnipotent will in this matter, it is the message that is spread through our very DNA as it assesses what will force its continuation, and pushes that into our subconscious mandates through fused energy patterns that manipulate our grey matter, our nerve and muscle cells, our blood and bodily infrastructure, every symbiotic cell of our entire vibrating mass that contains the self-same house of DNA and acquires movement based on the demands of that DNA.

This is an environment dependent model, and we have come this far. The basic will to human movement is to survive, or more specifically, for our human DNA to survive and adapt. Our human DNA contains slight variation that makes it the human signature, but is formed from a common ancestral unit. It contains the instruction for how our body and brain should form. It contains instructions for how the human mind should learn and operate. It ignites the mould of a greater collaborative human structure which enforces the lessons the modern human should learn and know. The one fundamental drive of that self-same modern human is to protect and potentiate its map – its individual drive for formation. At a most basic level this is the common engine that is contained in every cell: human DNA. And meaning, for the modern human, as has always been the case, is to find survival and adaptation. Given our modern network of communication, greater meaning is net survival of the human creature – the human DNA strand. Meaning is contribution to our social cultures, from least to most intimate – mechanisms of operation that allow us to continue and grow as a species, and therefore protect our DNA. Every human action spreads from this. The more we develop as a species the more we develop a collective mind. The conditions for the development of this collective mind are the immediate conditions of our culture. The capacity for survival and adaptation is massively improved when we develop as a collective and not pockets of self-involved singularities. And so we contribute to the human culture with our projects of mastery to add refinement to the collective mind and bolster the prospects of collective survival. In addition to this, we create operational standards – moral standards – and refine those standards so the collective mind will have continued patterns of refinement that are not corrupted by the more ignorant or destructive aspects of the human character. As individual we seek our singular evolution and that may, at times, put us in positions of angst, anger, and opposition, but we must promote and then enforce a harmony amongst the collective mind so that, as the culture develops, there is not a regression that is enforced by the oppositions inherent in human character development.

Human meaning, at the deepest and most visceral level, at the furthest point of propagation of this funnel of human development as we have been discussing it, is based on two sub-structures: a contribution to the machines of the culture, the lessons of the culture, the physical nature of that culture that will inform every aspect of the world-view construct of the individual and a contribution to the moral operating standards of that culture so that we can act in harmony and grow as a collective. That is what gives the human creature the greatest opportunity for survival and growth – that is what gives our specific variation of the DNA patterns of conscious life the greatest opportunity to continue. It provides the push of formation and, given that it instigates all movement within the environment, it forms that self-same environment through movement. It is no more complicated an idea than a virus which seeks constant replication. We are more complex of course, and fund a collective network upon the whole earth which sees us set our plans, the plans of our DNA, in motion, but nonetheless we seek survival as does all life. The DNA contains the map of how we should develop physically and then those physical creations adapt to and in turn manipulate their environment. We form a collective cerebral network and, given the sentient personalities within such a cerebral network, meaning is issued through a contribution to the designs of that network, and to human morality or operational standards which allow a harmony within the collective mind which provoke continual production and refinement of such designs and prevent regression or termination.

Grace

Grace is positive action that is impelled by some unknown source. Grace is a contribution to the cause that is promoted by some underlying impetus. Throughout the entirety of this discussion of meaning we have been discussing an underlying web of incitation to action over which we have minimal conscious control. The body of such a design or composition lies within the subconscious and, to an extent, our entire life is simply feeding into and building action out of this same subconscious mind.

This idea of grace then, is the manifestation of our subconscious impetus in our present day actions. When we reflect on the nature of our every day struggles and actions we see that there is always some underlying drive to movement or distraction of some kind. It is a very difficult and exacting discipline to completely still the mind. There is something, some kind of force in our subconscious that pushes movement and thought to an almost maddening degree. This is the will to life that sits on the fringes of our subconscious and gently pulsates, seeking to penetrate the conscious mind with its story and influence.

In a real way our entire life story is first lived out in the subconscious mind and fed into action through the jolts into our consciousness. The subconscious contains our world-view, contains our self-perception, contains every cue for our decision making process and then, after a manner, actually makes those decisions, which the conscious mind simply articulates. The physical environment then formulates a reaction pattern and this information is again fed through consciousness into the subconscious for the next step to find synthesis. But we do not live in the subconscious; we simply live out of the cues it generates based on the knowledge of the world we have fed into it. The idea is akin, in this respect, to more primitive life forms that lived out of a kind of impulse system. Or further back, out of simpler multi-cellular organisms who had a specific reaction pattern based on environmental stimulus, but did not consciously think in the way we understand thought. Even as far as the most simple and primitive life – single-celled organisms – who have a self-contained boundary and react to the environment that formed them, that have a very basic reflexive operational system, but no brain to process such inputs and diagnose outputs and the effect of those outputs.

Through such a formulation of thought it seems that the human organism has simply retained, through the evolution of its DNA pattern and the active coding sequences of such a pattern, a more complex reflexive action and interaction sequence, so complex in fact that we are consciously aware of our manner of interaction. We could suggest that our reflexive environmental reactionary mechanism has become so profound that it has divided and formed a conscious screen that pulls the reflexive system, the impulse system out of the subconscious operating system and has the freedom to examine it. Furthermore, recognition of the reactions of such impressions on the physical world create self-conscious individuality, individuality which breeds emotion as we are a relative individuality to the set standards of a collective species.

The idea that then breaks through such wondering is this: are we free? Do we possess a freedom that is denied to the single celled organism? At what stage in the development of life does freedom of movement begin? Does self-consciousness and the deviation of the impulse unit of the human mind into a subconscious and a conscious screen, and the resultant creation of a self-concept and emotional fluctuation based on the interaction of that self-concept with any and every external stimulus, do these factors actually illicit the reality of a deeply held freedom? Or are we, in fact, an incredibly refined impulse system? Even with the inherent pressure of self-consciousness and emotion, we still operate on impulse and furthermore the subconscious issues the reality of self-concept and the resulting emotion that should impart in every given moment, which is nothing above and beyond refinement of that impulse based on immediate environmental considerations so that we can exist within the spectrum of advantageous action.

The reality is that this, all of this, all of the above discussion is simply a perception dependent model. Your reality is how you perceive it and you have that right of perception to ultimately consolidate a more advantageous pattern of interaction with the external world. Whichever way you perceive your world, you have the power of perception, and perception dependent realism is, we could say, something beyond the scope of conscious synthesis of the single celled organism. It is only beneficial, any of this is only beneficial, if it empowers conscious function, even if that conscious function is set in motion through stimuli that produce reactionary procedures that are to be predefined by the subconscious mind based on the culture of formation that controls the immediate conditions of that subconscious mind and how it will make and enforce its decisions.

I will be honest with you, in the beginning of this section I sought to describe grace as this fundamental drive of all biological organisms, that is initiated by the DNA sequence and moves from that DNA sequence through the physical body it has formed to then create the drive of action which gives the living, moving world its life and movement and is found in every organism. And the purpose of this, in every organism, is to protect and proliferate its genetic design. In my early estimation, grace was the will to movement that was transmitted through the DNA sequence and was coded into that sequence, above and beyond all things, to find continuation. And the more the species collaborated and grew as a collective, made possible through the environment they themselves helped to shape, the more that grace became a symbiotic tool in which the DNA structure would seek continuation through collective life, and that the patterns of motivation and activation elicited would stem from the need, once individual survival and continuation was assured, for collective survival and therefore collective evolution. This seems, logically, the best mechanism through which DNA could find continuation: through massive collaboration when that is possible, that begins through seeking pleasure and avoiding pain, and then finding procreation, and then the individual goal which directly contributes to individual evolution and indirectly to collective stability and therefore the ideal conditions for collective evolution. And that, once this point in the funnel of conscious development was issued, we would then seek operational standards that reinforced the unity of the species and allowed us to collaborate with an increasing minimum of violence and destruction; and that all of this was simply the self-same energy for continuation as is found in all living things, with our DNA establishing the map for how that energy should inflate – that was the point I wanted to make. That grace could be understood as the subconscious impetus for progression and that all of the complex action and providential decisions and events that sprung from this were simply the human element – the conscious interpretation of this impetus and the shapes it found in our lives.

My opinions have changed slightly, though I still feel that such a model is relevant to me personally in my perception dependent reality. But the alteration I am speaking of specifically involves that very same perception dependent reality. No, it seems likely that free-will is, if not non-existent then, in the least, extremely diluted by exact conditions in immediate subconscious state and how they interact with environment. However, the fact that the impulse machine, our reactionary system has become so complex, based on so many contributing variables, that it must in fact split into subconscious and a validating screen of consciousness that actually attempts to understand the decisions we make, reacts negatively or positively to these decisions and attempts to take on responsibility for these decisions, the fact that we have developed a self-conscious processing core to our interaction with environment, and consciously glean increasingly positive action based on our now conscious vie for progression, the fact that we have developed self-perception and self-perception based realism, that adds a cultured understanding to the way we are fixed, that is what I truly consider to be grace. Grace, as ever, is a relative term to the human experience of life, as are all such ingrained and complex terms as God and Love and Humour, but at least we have the opportunity to consciously perceive such and the wiring for that would come from a helical coding structure contained in our cells, 98% of which is non-coding DNA. And again, the fact that this is based on the formation of organic compounds, that we are a carbon based life-form which contains varying amounts of other elements, and an element is simply a formation of atoms of protons and neutrons, with an outer shell of electrons, the number or which narrate the function and characteristics of such an element, that fact that all of this can be engineered to form a thinking, breathing life, that can then reverse engineer its constitution to actually understand or perceive such an existence as is issued by its perception dependent realism construct: that is grace or something like it - depending on your model of perception.

Chapter 9

Free-will

The extent of the discussion in the previous section on Grace has reviewed my personally held views on the human will to movement, as well as the description of what I believe Grace to be. Of course it is a relative term to a preformed model of human perception. I also expressed this idea that free-will is a human illusion; however we have achieved a state of conscious reactionary function that is so refined as to have a separate processing core that allows for a model of perception dependent realism. The fact that we perceive our own reality and in fact take responsibility for features of that reality which may, beyond relative perception, be absolutely fixed, is the marvellous human separation.

In fact, every opinion developed within this book is simply an offshoot of my individual perception dependent reality; however it is based on the perception dependent realities and creations of countless other minds. But the fundamental counterpoint is this: perception dependent reality is actual reality to the mind that perceives such. The manner in which certain points I have sought to develop have interacted with your perception of reality creates the manner of synthesis and then reaction, positive or negative, to these points. Such a discussion may seem like empty technicalities, some psychoanalytic nonsense that has no bearing on the immediate concerns of daily life and daily function, but the fact is that such an idea is contrived from your individual perception that you have developed.

All scientific formulations deal primarily with perception dependent realism. In fact, the idea of sharpening mass perception relative to the actual nature of such physical constructs as exist in an absolute sense beyond the perception of the observer is the very nature of scientific truth. That is why scientific survey must be observable; theories must have a measurable, reproducible impact on the world to ensure that they are beyond individual perception of the physical world but are, in fact, an actual feature of that physical world. And so, observable results are the actual core of scientific endeavour that begins from our collectively held models of perception dependent realism. I realise that term is repeating so from now on I will refer to it, simply, as PDR.

PDR is essentially just another label on the previously established world-view construct we have discussed. The idea that all truth is relative truth – relative to the observer – is actually of fundamental importance. If you believe that the world is flat, as was believed by some cultures in pre-scientific times (around 2,500 years ago), the actual physically relative inaccuracy of this belief was not of fundamental importance. If you believed it, and it was a part of your construct of the physical earth, then it would sit in your mind as an accurate depiction of your world, and every thought and process you perceived would be carried through with an underlying reality which was steadfast in your individual mind and therefore affected reaction patterns in the world in which you existed. The nature of scientific endeavour is an attempt to sharpen mass PDR so that it is in line with physical or non observer dependent truths (if such a thing as a non observer dependent truth can be said to exist), so that we can unlock greater reactionary function in our physical world.

An Open Mind

An open mind is necessary for such forms of scientific curiosity as the individual PDR model which you hold must not be absolute. In order to internally validate scientific curiosity the individual must have a shifting model of reality. Within such an internal model, there is a level of doubt abounding through certain levels of the construct; or more specifically, certain elements of the underlying PDR framework are not absolute. For example, there are certain truths that are born out in everyday life that reproduce with such ease that you do not question them. You know that if you were to jump upwards at this moment, you would not float continually until you left the atmosphere of the Earth. As such, there is some force of attraction that binds you to the earth’s surface. This is truth that is both physically true (i.e. likely to be true beyond human perception of that truth) and true relative to your PDR and so impacts that manner in which you interact with your physical world.

There are, however, certain ideas that are not absolute but are merely estimations that describe function of independent bodies in the physical universe. The entire above description of Grace could be perceived as such a relative truth (relative to my model of human perception and function). If we can use such ideas or theories to produce specific results, and then other individuals could reproduce those results independently given the same conditions, then they become more stable in our PDR model. However, the world is littered with motivations and interactions that might not be exactly reproducible as the number of inherent variables in every situation impact upon such a situation to the extent that it is more difficult to fashion every aspect of life into an exact and specific science. It is not to say that there is not a specific principle that adorns every movement, no matter how seemingly bizarre or disparate, we are simply suggesting that we cannot perceive of every stimulus or avalanche of concurrent stimuli in a world which is not sterile and simple. So we must pattern a specific theory to explain certain phenomena and then, dependent on the extent to which that theory connects first to previously held experiences which essentially formed the theory, and then to repetitive results in controlled conditions that reflect natural conditions, but are as fixed as is possible, we can install the theory into our PDR. Whether or not the theory represents an exact truth beyond the level of perception is not entirely definitive for two reasons:

1.The human mind cannot be expected to model every possible stimulus and the underlying production points of such stimuli to a level that is exact and without refute – we can only garner increasingly accurate probabilities

2.Once we have accepted a truth within our PDR it will in fact alter our manner of reaction given situations in which that knowledge is relevant, regardless of the ultimate truth of that knowledge (of course, increased relative accuracy of the theory reflects a more potent means of human interaction within circumstance in which the functioning of information relevant to that theory is a consequent variable)

The more firmly we hold a theory within our PDR, the more confidently we will act upon its mandates or argue to for its validity. The collective mind constantly establishes perception dependent truths or, in the case of a level of dubiousness to the nature of the underlying tenets of such truth, approximations that describe the physical universe.

The reason I am discussing this idea with such fervent repetitiveness is because PDR forms not only the basis for scientific understanding, but for all human understanding. And human understanding forms the basis for all human action. The level to which we ascend or descend is based upon the current extent of our understanding, the current state of our perception dependent reality. We build upon our physical knowledge of every aspect of the human experience, we develop models to explain every interaction and repulsion in the entire catalogue of possibilities and our actions begin and gestate within such an understanding. If it is true that free-will is a human illusion that is counterbalanced or made opaque by such a PDR, it should also be evident that the subconscious mind – which issues all action as a manner of extremely complex impulsion and reflexivity – must work to create a PDR that is not at odds with reality but is an accurate replication of that reality so that genuinely positive action with prior knowledge of the operation of interacting variables, can be made. We are units of perception and reaction. Accurate perception feeds accurate reaction which protects the human condition and drives it forward.

A Perception Dependent Model of the Fundamental Components of the Physical Universe

It is then useful to begin to develop, or in this case, reiterate a perception dependent model of the physical universe. We do this sequentially from general to specific, as physics broadly separates into classical understanding – the rules that govern the greater movement of things – and then quantum understanding – the rules that control quantum formation and interaction. We will reverse this paradigm of exploration in this case and move from specific to general and, in a broad sense, use a vague outline of some of these principles to give the human condition a greater sense of place.

It is here that we begin our exploration of the fabric of the physical universe that has been installed and derived from many powerful minds and given a general sense of form from the incremental insights of an entire race of people. This is certainly to be considered an extremely brief and much diluted understanding that will, nonetheless, broaden or coalesce in some manner with your currently held PDR. Of course, the greater the knowledge you already harbour regarding such a topic, the more definitive your views. The less knowledge you harbour, the more you will take to new information to form a relevant model.

The Components of Existence

The term “atom” comes from the ancient Greek for “indivisible”. It was conceived that matter could not be divided indefinitely, but that there would come a point at which an infinitesimal grain of matter would prove to be indivisible: the atom. However, as science pushed towards a continued refinement of the standards of measurement, it was conceived that what we once considered an elementary particle may itself have internal composition. In the early 20th century it was discovered that an atom was not, in fact, indivisible but had internal structure with a nucleus (of positively charged protons and neutrons of no charge) and orbiting electrons (with negative charge). Assigning particles of matter to specific categories of charge was simply a means of describing the inherent force of attraction or repulsion between such particles. The discovery of the electron was credited to J.J. Thomson who found that cathode rays were composed of previously unknown particles of negative charge calculated to have a mass much smaller than that of an atom. In 1911, Ernest Rutherford (the father of nuclear physics) found that atoms do indeed maintain internal structure. He deduced that atoms have a positively charged nucleus around which negatively charged particles (electrons) orbit. He found this by examining the manner in which radioactive particles of positive charge interacted with other atoms contained within a plate of gold foil. The angles of deflection of such positively charged particles as they interacted with the gold foil suggested small regions of concentrated charge within the atoms themselves, which repelled the particle of positive charge at an angle. Then, in 1932, James Chadwick discovered that the nucleus of the atom contained a particle of similar mass to the proton but with no distinct charge: “the neutron”. Today we have this simple, widely understood model of the atom which is composed of a nucleus of protons and neutrons with an overall positive charge, and orbiting electrons of equal but opposite charge orbiting the nucleus in a shell-like configuration.

As technology developed however, we again set about the further subdivision of matter. What were once thought to be elementary particles were again found to have internal structure. Experiments in which protons collided with other protons or electrons elicited the existence of such an internal structure. In 1969, the scientist Murray Gell-Mann won a Nobel Prize for his work on these particles which he called “quarks”.

The discussion of fundamental particles of matter and the forces which bind or repel or are generally found to be responsible for such interaction is related through the standard model of physics, developed throughout the latter half of the 20th century. According to the standard model of physics there are 17 fundamental particles grouped into two basic families: fermions which are the building blocks of matter (of which there are 12) and bosons which transmit charge between particles (of which there are 5). All matter consists of fermion classes and, in accordance with the fact that fermions are the building blocks of solid matter, they follow the exclusion principle which states that more than one fermion class cannot occupy the same position at the same time (which is the fundamental descriptive consideration of tangible matter). However bosons, the theoretical force carrying particles, can in fact occupy the same co-ordinates simultaneously.

Fermions are further sub-divided into two categories: those which must bind together (known as quarks) and those which have the capacity to exist independently (known as leptons). There are 6 particles in each category. The 6 types of quark are the up, down, strange, charmed, bottom, and top. The 6 classes of leptons are the electron, muon, and tau, and the electron neutrino, muon neutrino, and tau neutrino.

Another very important property of matter and force transactions to consider is that of spin. Spin is similar to a form of angular momentum that is intrinsic to matter and force carrying particles. The value of spin equates to a specific attraction between particles. All particles in the universe may be divided into two categories: particles of spin ½ which make up matter particles (fermions) and particles of spin 0, 1, and 2 which make up the force carrying particles. Matter carrying particles of spin ½ emit force carrying particles; the emission of such a particle changes the velocity of the matter particle. The force carrying particle then interacts with a second matter particle and, in turn, alters its velocity. In that way, as a force carrying particle is transmitted between matter carrying particles, they appear to exert influence over each other. If force carrying particles have a high mass there will be difficulty in producing such particles or transmitting forces over large distances. As such, they will only act over short distances. However, if force carrying particles have no mass they may communicate force over longer distances. It is important to note that force carrying particles are virtual particles and it is only the result of their interactions that are important as a descriptive tool. As such, they have individual properties that relate the rules of their interaction but it is primarily the effects of interaction that have any meaning.

So, therefore, without delving too deeply into such a man made model of the sub-atomic description of our universe, we see that subatomic particles themselves have various classes of inherent sub-structure which have rules for their formation and attachment and relate force in the form of these force carrying particles. And all of this is a man-made descriptive tool which allows us to better organise our universe and relate the activation of the forces of nature.

The Forces of Nature

The first of these is the gravitational force. The gravitational force is theorised as being the weakest of the forces; however, it acts over very large distances and, due to the massive size of planetary bodies which emit this force of gravitational attraction, it is responsible for the fundamental shape of the greater universe. It is theorised that the force of gravity is enacted by a force carrying particle of spin 2 known as the graviton. These make up, what are termed, gravitational waves. The strength of the graviton is so minute that this particle has yet to be detected. The standard model of physics is simply a descriptive tool which allows us to understand our universe at a sub-atomic level. However, it has not been able to incorporate the force of gravity into its basic structure and, therefore, it is an incomplete model that does not yet have the capacity to describe our complete universe.

The second of the four forces is the electromagnetic force. This force is responsible for the interaction of charged particles. On a large scale electro-magnetic charge is rarely noticed. This is due to the fact that large bodies tend to have roughly equal amounts of positive and negative charge which cancel each other out. However, on a sub-atomic scale, electromagnetic forces play a large part in structure. Charge is a quantised property. This means it can only exist in definite, fixed amounts. That is why quarks must bind together whereas the other 6 classes of fermions (leptons) may exist independently. The up, charm, and top quarks possess charge of + 2/3 of the basic elementary unit of charge. The down, strange, and bottom quarks possess charge of -1/3. They must form combinations that produce a whole number within the restricted allowances of charge values - neutral, negative, or positive. For example, a proton contains two up quarks and one down quark and a neutron contains two down quarks and one up quark. The electron, muon, and, tau all contain charge of -1. The electron neutrino, muon neutrino, and tau neutrino all possess charge of 0. And so these particles can all exist in isolation. The electromagnetic force between charged particles, such as two negatively charged electrons, is 1 million, million, million, million, million, million, million times that of the gravitational force. The photon is the force carrying particle (of spin 1) which is responsible for the transmission of the electromagnetic force between charged particles.

The weak force is the third of the fundamental forces of nature. It acts on all matter particles of spin ½, but not on force carrying particles of spin 0, 1, and 2. The weak force is responsible for radioactive decay. In 1967, Steven Weinberg and Abdus Salam proposed theories that unified the electromagnetic and weak forces. They suggested the existence of three spin 1 particles (in addition to the photon) known as massive vector bosons, which carried the weak force. These particles were known as the W+, W-, and Z°. Each of these particles were proposed to have mass at one thousand million electron volts (or 100 Giga-electron volts). It was proposed that, what appeared to be separate and distinct particles at lower energies would actually be the same at higher energies. In accordance with this it was suggested that, at energies far beyond 100 GeV, each of these 3 massive vector bosons and the photon (particles of spin 1) would all behave similarly, but that it was the low energy of this expanding universe that caused a diminution of these force carrying particles. In 1983, the three massive vector bosons with correct predicted masses and properties were discovered at CERN. This exposed the symmetry of the weak and electromagnetic forces as theorised by Weinberg and Salam.

The final category of force is the strong nuclear force. The strong nuclear force is responsible for holding quarks together in neutrons and protons, and holding protons and neutrons together in the nucleus of an atom. It is enacted by a particle known as the gluon which has spin 1 and acts only on itself and on quarks. Quarks contain an additional property known as colour, which should not be confused with regular colour but which is simply a descriptive device used to deduce the properties of the particle and the manner in which they are bound by the strong force. The six varieties of colour are red, green, blue, anti-red, anti-green, and anti-blue. A principle of the interaction of quarks is that of “confinement”. This suggests that quarks combine to form a particle with no colour. This is again a descriptive tool that uses the analogy of the human perception of colour, in which red, green, and blue light combine to form colourless white light. As such, red, green, and blue quarks combine through a string of gluons to form a whole particle such as a proton or neutron. Another possibility is the combination of a quark and an anti-quark (red+ anti-red= white). Such combinations form particles known as mesons which are unstable as a particle and its anti-particle can annihilate together.

Experiments with high energy particle accelerators indicate that, at high energies, the strong force becomes weaker and quarks and gluons may behave almost as free particles. In addition to this, it is theorised that the electromagnetic and weak forces will become stronger at high energies and, once the energy is high enough, the strong, weak, and electromagnetic force would behave as different aspects of a singular force. In addition to this, it is thought that all spin ½ particles would behave similarly and therefore matter would be unified according to common laws of behaviour and not the varied particle jungle that exists today. Such energies are impossible to achieve by today’s standards but may have been readily apparent at the moment of universal conception and so, at high enough energies as were present at such a moment of conception, there would have been a unification of the varied forces of nature and the matter on which they acted, which only broke down into varying shades of action and interaction due to the decreased energy available in an expanding system.

The standard model of physics is an incomplete theory due to the fact that it does not incorporate the force of gravity. The ultimate goal is unification of the properties of matter and energy into a singular force that was and is responsible for creation. However, the standard model, as we have seen, is a quantum mechanical model that is successful only within the expanse of an atom. However, gravity is the stitch work of our entire universe that is not limited by quantum mechanical structure and it is this singular plight that is currently limiting our greater understanding.

A further theory has been developed that may have the power to mend this rift and that is super-string theory or M-theory. It is not necessary to create any complete understanding of the basic logic or workings of this theory for the purposes of this text, but simply to describe its most fundamental point. String theory suggests that there is a unit of existence, beyond those described within the standard model, which is the fundamental component of existence. The strings of matter and energy are proposed to be curled up within a multitude of dimensions. In everyday life we experience three space dimensions and one time dimension. However, string theorists propose that, on a much smaller scale, there are a multitude of curled up dimensions within which the string of matter operates. And all matter is composed of this and the forces of the universe are simply due to the properties and vibrational patterns of these fundamental units of existence.

In any case, a complete understanding of the manner of action of such a unit would allow for a greater understanding of the action of all matter and energy and, therefore, would grant a complete understanding of the universe which we currently occupy. However, this is simply a theory, the validity of which has not yet been exposed in its entirety.

The Limits of Measurement

The above is a very limited description of the sub-atomic universe. However, it grants us a basic map upon which we can devise a structure for the operation of the space we inhabit. As we push our understanding ever forward, the truths of the manner of human action, of all action, the individual notes of the great symphony of existence, are revealed. In this manner, science pushes human understanding within the world with a greater ferocity and integrity than any other method we can devise. However, there may be stipulations; there may be limits to what we can know and what we should know, as though we always push upwards within an arc of ascent that simply comes ever closer to ultimate understanding, but never quite reaches such. There are limits to human perception, and therefore the PDR model may never quite reach 100% acuity relative to actual existence.

The particle-wave duality of matter gave us the first inklings of a possible limit to our powers of understanding. And in the manner of all scientific discoveries, it did this indirectly. It is the bizarre nature of the form and function of animation on a sub-microscopic level that makes it difficult to rationalise, or even conceptualise, how we should be formed. And these infinitesimal indentations command our very existence, and so our understanding of such is paramount to basic human understanding of existence at any level whatsoever.

A Fundamental Duality

Light can be argued to possess both wave and matter like qualities. As with all aspects of a relevant PDR model, this is formed from human observation and then theorising the principles at play to explain, within our limited conceptual devices, the impetus for that manner of operation. There is one significant and pre-eminently simple experiment that exposes the apparent duality in the nature of light. The experiment to which we refer here is the double-slit experiment established by Thomas Young in the 1800’s. Within this experiment, a beam of light was directed towards a surface with two slits, and a screen placed beyond this surface revealed the manner in which light passed through the slit configuration (to react with the back screen). First, light was directed toward one slit only with the second slit closed. The light passed through the singular slit to reveal a thin line on the back screen as was expected. We can explain this by suggesting that light is composed of particles that pass through the slit and have a preconfigured manner in which they can interact with the back screen. However, when the second slit is opened and the beam of light is directed towards the two slits simultaneously, a strange manifestation is seen to occur within the configuration. Light demonstrates an interference pattern when passing through two parallel slits. When light is directed towards these two parallel openings simultaneously, the pattern on the back screen is not two concurrent slits of light as would be expected, but an interference pattern in which a number of parallel slits of light are seen to appear. The only manner in which we can pose an explanation, within out relevant PDR framework as has been fed by appropriate cause and effect throughout the duration of our existence, is that there is a duality in the very nature of light: that it behaves as both a particle and a wave.

From this point, we can suggest that the duality does not actually exist within the physical world, or whether the duality exists in the physical world is not of primary importance, we are simply stating that a duality exists, within this moment of time given the data we possess and our current capacity for analysis, within the conscious human appropriation of that physical world – we can only explain an observable feature of the physical world through positing an inherent duality.

What is interesting, however, is that the particle/wave duality inherent in the nature of light actually extends to all matter at a sub-atomic level. Again, for such a suggestion to hold water we must have physical evidence that exemplifies this statement. This comes in the form of an experiment composed by Davisson-Germer during the period 1923-1927. Within this experiment, an electron-gun fired electrons at a crystal of nickel which, for the purposes of explanation, behaved exactly like the barrier containing the two slits in Young’s double slit experiment. It was shown that electrons again demonstrate an interference pattern which relates the fact that they exhibit both particle and wave like qualities. What is fascinating to note is that even individual electrons, when fired in the direction of this crystal of nickel, will demonstrate an interference pattern. The particle/wave duality can be shown to operate within a single electron.

Such an anomaly confounds human rationality. In attempting to understand just how an electron (even an individual electron) could announce within itself a particle/wave duality, Richard Feynman, the famous physicist, came up with the sum-over-paths description. He posited that an individual electron sniffs our every possible path in its journey. What this equates to is that an individual electron, on its particular journey through the chunk of nickel to the phosphorescent screen on which it was captured, travels every possible path simultaneously. The idea that one electron can travel an infinite number of paths simultaneously is somewhat absurd when approached from a typified rational standpoint. The reasoning behind this theory is that the single electron travelling an infinite number of paths simultaneously actually interferes with itself when travelling through the nickel and therefore displays a wave pattern on the phosphorescent screen. In this we can see that the electron sum-over-paths approach gives the appearance of a wave because of the infinite number of paths which it travels. The fact that individual electrons display this interference pattern creates the need for such a radical theory. That an individual electron can somehow interfere with itself when passing through the nickel, and thereby create a wave pattern, is somewhat absurd but it is also an observable fact. It is the bizarre mannerisms of nature that create our need to wonder and explain in equally irrational terms.

The formal basis for this theory in creating a classical description of the physical universe that seems exact and tangible, is simply that the infinite number of paths have a cancelling effect on one and other. The idea is similar to the motion of concurrent wave complexes in which the peak of one wave and the trough of another, upon interaction, will have a cancelling effect. In this manner, electrons, light, all components of sub-atomic matter, through encountering infinite possible means, will reach a specific end. This is the duality that exists within the sub-atomic description of the universe. From these beginnings, the nature of the human limits for acute perception of the physical bounds of the universe, begin to materialise.

Pre-determination and Human Uncertainty

Upon examination of the apparently illogical behaviour of sub-atomic matter, and the theories to describe the mechanisms at play that manifest in such behaviour, we have to admit that there is an element of confusion or distortion. It is as though our human lens is clouded to the facts and we must weave a tangled web of contingencies to elucidate the present state of knowledge. The web of uncertainties that exists, we must admit, exists in our PDR complex. The physical world relates an exact and systematic structure and although we can investigate its manner of operation, unless we have a complete knowledge of variables that seem unknowable, then we cannot fully comprehend the total and unabridged nature of existence. Were we to understand the complete nature of existence, it would seem that we would be developing the capacity for pre-determination. As though every inter-twining variable, when unwoven, categorised, and labelled would allow us to pre-configure our pathways through illustrious existence. This idea of pre-determination (as a theoretical construct of the physical universe) was first introduced at the beginning of the nineteenth century by the French scientist, the Marquis de Laplace. He suggested that, were the exact state of a particle to be known (state referring to the exact position and velocity of the particle in present space-time), the future of that particle could be determined or predicted. As such, that the future of a particle could be predicted by its present state, there was a dimension of predetermination to all events that will occur. If we understand the exact state of particles of matter in present space-time, their history and their relation to each other, future interactions and events can, in concurrence with this theory, follow or reside within a path of pre-configuration – that way leads onto way in a manner that is unavoidable.

This theory, however, was debunked in 1926 by the German scientist, Werner Heisenberg, and his famous uncertainty principle. The uncertainty principle suggests that we cannot determine the exact state of matter in an ultimate and total capacity. In this, I mean that we cannot determine the exact velocity of a particle AND its exact position. In order to determine the exact position of a particle we must shine light on that particle. Some of the light that is shed on such a particle of matter will, in turn, be deflected and so will indicate the position of that particle in space. However, given that light has a specific wave length, the exact position of the particle, on an immensely minute scale, will only be known to within the wavelength of the light that was distributed amongst the mass of the particle. In order for an increasingly accurate measurement, light of an increasingly minimised wavelength must be used. However, the shorter the wavelength of light, and therefore the more accurate the measurement of position of the particle of matter, the greater the energy transmitted to the particle of matter. In other words, in attempting to ascertain the exact position of a particle of matter, we are forced to utilise a process of measurement that will alter its present velocity through the application of an external force. Light of a significantly short or diminutive wavelength contains substantial energy that can, when transmitted to a particle of matter, actually alter its present state. The more accurately we attempt to know the position of matter, the less accurately we can attain its velocity and vice versa. Therefore we cannot determine the exact state of matter. And, following from this, should we be unable to ascertain the present state of our universe, we cannot understand its future state in any diagnostic sense. There exists only the probability of a scope of states of matter and possible eventualities that this indefinite state could incur.

When we examine the uncertainty principle, it seems as though human interaction may be the confounding variable. It seems as though the uncertainty is simply a manifestation of the observer effect- namely that the process of observation, on such finely wrought and inherently delicate states, actually alters physical state within a subatomic spectrum. However, there are two important points to note with regard to this supposition:

1.The physical description of the principle of uncertainty is misleading. The fact is that the uncertainty principle is an axiomatic principle of matter that is intended beyond human interaction with participating variables. On an increasingly diminished scale, it is incorrect to think of matter, such as an electron, as a solid particle. The above description of the wave/particle duality of subatomic descriptions of matter shows that we must apply a wave-function to the nature of such matter. It is impossible to calculate the exact position and velocity of matter with arbitrarily high precision as, when discussing wave-functions (functions that illicit the actual nature of the medium we are exploring) we are discussing the probability of locating this function at any point in space. A perfect sine wave for an electron spreads the possibility of locating that electron throughout the entirety of space. There is a minimum for the product of uncertainty of position and momentum of the electron that is built into the structure of the subatomic universe. Although these are concurrent variables wherein we can increase our knowledge of the momentum of a particle with a simultaneous decrease in the certainty of its position, this is a function of the very nature of matter, the very nature of a wave-function, that is beyond the observer effect, which is a condition of measurement only.

2.Were we to be discussing the observer effect in isolation and not the nature of a wave-function that defies an exact state, but simply manifests the probability of a scope of states, the end product would still be in a continuum. Although uncertainty is built into the structure of the universe, the structure of the universe, or the current human interpretation of that structure, is built into a perception dependent model of that universe. As such, we are developing a picture of uncertainty within our assimilation of the facts of observation. Regardless of a mechanism of description that demonstrates an inherent state that is uncertain, even if there was the possibility of certainty, were this to exist beyond the scope of human perception, then the end product would be this self-same product of uncertainty. However, the only difference is that, within our perception dependent model of the universe, we have deduced that matter has a fundamental wave/particle duality at a sub-atomic level, and furthermore, wave-functions display a necessary uncertainty within the simultaneous measurements of position and momentum. That specific uncertainty is what qualifies matter as a wave and not a particle (or a wave as well as a particle). This is a logical conclusion within our perception dependent model of the universe and so the uncertainty is intact regardless of manipulation of the fundamental nature of matter. However, for consistency it is important to retain a working perception of the components of existence. But even if exact state were to be a reality (which would contort our present understanding of the nature of the physical universe), there would still exist an uncertainty within the human description of the physical universe.

It is important, beyond all things, to relate all knowledge to a fundamental perception dependent reality. We build reality within our heads, based on feedback from our senses and our capacity to memorise that feedback. Within a collective system the acuity, the present state of knowledge can potentiate and thereby achieve constant refinement by the collective, however, in all things and at all times we are discussing states of human perception that guide reactionary thought and function in complex manners. And, when attempting to assimilate knowledge and develop a refined perception that announces what we would regard as truth (though all truth is relative truth within such a model – relevant to current states of collective understanding in their most elegant form), we are attempting to develop reactionary function in profound and simple manners. Developing a uniform and logical expression of the subatomic description of our universe promotes a simple human curiosity for the structure of things. And satisfying that curiosity is what drives human development. Whatever the medium, it is a natural function of our cognitive capacity to explore and attune the products of exploration to a refined human function. Collective reactionary patterns can then become more refined as the tools of exploration become more refined. And this, in turn, guides a more incisive breed of endeavour that maintains and develops the human condition: that pushes human survival and human evolution through constant cerebral refinement. Every development of this kind is a development upon mass human competency through shared knowledge that stabilises our internal constructs and our relation to them, and guides more profitable function.

The Observer Effect

We briefly mentioned the observer effect within the previous section, however it will be useful to develop this concept – with specific regard to previous examples – to a greater extent. The observer effect is the human effect of measurement, or more exactly that the process of measurement manipulates the terrain measured and thereby produces an adapted template of that terrain. Again, on a larger scale the impact of human measurement is marginal. However, when we discuss the subatomic description of the physical universe, the observer effect is not marginal. And we must ask ourselves not if we are developing a description of the universe which is fundamentally distorted by the process of measurement – because we undoubtedly are – but whether there exists the capacity to re-develop our measurements beyond that singular parallax distortion that hides any indelible quantum truth from being known exactly?

These are lofty questions and the reality that we distort our physical universe through processes of measurement must again be borne out by relative observation. The above description of the principle of uncertainty is the only place to begin this discussion. As I have said, the uncertainty principle is an axiomatic principle of the subatomic description of matter that suggests that there is a minimum value for uncertainty within the dual paradigms of momentum and position of a single particle of such matter. The minimum value of uncertainty is a feature of the physical universe. However, as Einstein suggested on examining this principle, there must exist a tangible, operational counterpart for such a theory in physical space, or the theory has no meaning. If a theory has no meaning but is simply a component within an equation with a theoretical basis but no physical manifestation, then it is defunct. Science, as we have stated, is a process of theory and observation. In order to push the principle of uncertainty into the tangible spectrum, the above description of the incapacity for complete measurement was loosely generated.

However, the physical description (of the uncertainty principle) carries with it the element of parallax distortion. It seems that the inability to measure momentum and position simultaneously is built into the human means for observation. While the principle of uncertainty retains its reality beyond human interference as it expresses the nature of matter, the observer effect is not a feature of scientific endeavour we can completely ignore.

If we journey slightly further back in this section, we can discuss the observer effect with regard to the particle/wave duality of matter as was iterated by the double slit experiment and then extended to matter in a general sense (or more specifically the electron) in the form of Davisson-Germer experiments. If an electron beam is focused on a crystal of nickel (which is analogous to the two parallel slits in Young’s light experiment), an interference pattern is generated on the phosphorescent back screen. We can explain this by suggesting a wave theory of matter whereby crests and troughs of matter cancel each other to develop such an interference pattern. If we were to develop a configuration in which there was only one slit through which the electron could pass, then a single slit of reaction would occur on the phosphorescent screen elucidating a particle nature for the electron. We can further extend this wave/particle duality to a single electron, which will pass through a single slit configuration and react with a phosphorescent screen as through it has a particulate nature, but when aimed at a double slit configuration will generate an interference pattern on the phosphorescent screen and therefore illuminate a wave-like nature.

This is the point at which we can introduce the specific impingement of the observer effect. We do this by questioning the point of formation of this duality within the spectrum of the experiment. Is there a moment at which the electron splits? Does the electron approach the screen as an individual particle, and then schism according to the sum-over paths description as developed by Richard Feynman, to develop a wave-function wherein there are two slits available? Does the electron begin as a wave function and continue in that fashion as it passes through two parallel slits to create an interference pattern? We are aware that the electron, passing through one slit only, would display the characteristics of a particle and pass through the single slit to create a narrow zone of reaction on the back screen that mirrors the slit through which it passed. However, why does it alter its behaviour given the configuration through which it must pass? And, furthermore, what happens if we install this same experimental set-up wherein there are two open slits, however we observe the electron before it passes through the slit configuration to monitor its behaviour?

What happens, if the condition of observation is applied before the electron passes through the double slit configuration, is that the electron reverts to a particle form and simply passes through one slit or the other. If this condition is again removed and the simulation begins afresh, the electron re-develops its wave-like property. It is the human act – the deeply human act – of observation that actually contorts the behavioural patterns of subatomic matter. And, therefore, we have tangible evidence that the observer affect alters the conditions which are observed.

From this standing we can then suggest that the observer effect alters our view of the universe and all reality which can be said to exist. There is no reality, to the human apparatus of perception, which is not an observer-dependent reality, because we cannot perceive such a reality. Whether absolute state exists beyond the condition of measurement – whether absolute state could be said to exist at all – bears no relevance on the conditions of cognisant awareness because we know we exist at all precisely because of the capacity to observe our existence.

This does not mean the observer effect is meaningless, it means that we can only develop a relative truth. All truth, the truth of all observed existence that begins with the momentum and velocity of fundamental compositions of matter can only be approximated relative to the degree to which we have the capacity for approximation. We cannot generate, even in a theoretical sense, an exact understanding of the function of our physical universe, because scientific endeavour, in order to be anything tangible and valid, must be based on observation. And there is a limit to the acuity of observation before we start to contort the nature of the physical universe, and perceive the fluctuations that emanate from observation to announce actual truth beyond relative truth, when in reality we are examining the degree of diffraction in our human lens.

Ultimate Truth and Probability

The rules of the game become increasingly distorted on an increasingly minute scale, because the capacity for accurate observation becomes increasingly diminished on an increasingly minute scale. The aim, in this case, is to develop a system of accurate probabilities so that the relative existence contained within perception comes to mirror absolute existence beyond perception to a greater and greater extent. A system of probability analysis helps to protect us from our own distortion. The principle of uncertainty is very insightful in this regard. To develop a necessary scope of states within the nature of momentum and position of the fundamental constituents of the physical universe allows us to counterbalance our own impingement on circumstance.

You see, when we discuss an ultimate theory that will describe all motion and position, and all relative motions and positions, and the very continuity that may exist between matter (related by a specific position and tangible interaction between salient particles of such matter) and energy (as related by relative motion of these positions of matter), we are attempting to discern, with zero error, the absolute state of the universe. We are attempting to know and understand, at a cerebral human level, why features of the universe, on a quantum scale, manifest and act the way they do. Furthermore, when we know exactly how matter and energy weave their concurrent patterns of existence, when we have developed a quantum theory that incorporates the four forces of nature (as discussed above) and exactly coalesces with observations gleaned from increasingly powerful and acute methods of appraisal, then the tiles will begin to generate a picture in the whole of the mosaic. When we understand and quantify sub-atomic behavioural patterns, we can then form theoretical predictions about the classical state of the universe and have an unfiltered why and how to process such descriptions.

From this point, we can come closer to the ultimate shape of everything, the origin of that shape, and the why and how of that shape. It seems however, on evaluation, that there is a fundamental error made within this system of evaluation. Theories are clarified by observation. Beyond this actually, theories are defined by observation, as we have pointed out previously. And we can certainly develop increasingly accurate mechanisms of observation, but we cannot develop an absolute state of observation at the most finite and fundamental levels because, at such levels, we are limited to estimation. And whether absolute state is a reality beyond the fundamental limits of human understanding is meaningless. All that is worth noting is that there is a fundamental limit of understanding that is built into the stitch work of the human universe. And so we can develop a science of calculation to describe increasingly accurate probabilities on a quantum scale, and the principle of uncertainty gives us a lever of description for more accurate understanding, but we simply develop relative accuracy. When we examine subatomic behavioural patterns, we can develop probability ratios to explain predicted behaviour to increasingly refined parameters, but the very impingement of observation means we must work off of a scope of probable outcomes.

However, with this being said, we may develop such a refined probability spectrum as to enable us to describe our universe with only the most fractional error percentage and forever increase the refinement of the design. But we must admit that we are viewing this universe through our human lens, which is an imperfect medium in the end.

The Human Element

From this point it is useful to direct our patter of question and speculative answer not at the nature of absolute truth and relative truth, but at the nature of the human being who concocts such questions and wonders at the answers with such a virulent and singular force. There is always a why and how within the human spectrum of experience. This is what makes us human – applying these questions is what provokes every refinement. And we are creatures of refinement by our very nature. As we have said, it is within our very DNA to seek progression. We are simply a housing machine to protect and transmit our gene sequences. The sequences develop increasingly beneficial compositions to allow us to transmit our physical imprint, the adaptive and therefore beneficial features of that imprint, to successive generations. And therefore evolution may be nothing but unconscious adaptation; and our physical bodies, the physical body of every creature that carries a DNA pattern within the heart of its cells, is simply a protective housing that transmits survival within the cacophony of circumstance. And the human processing capacity, the need to always ask why and how has become the most lucid and engaging mechanism of survival to date. Curiosity was encoded as a rhythm of human existence, and a greater understanding of how to provoke serviceable answers has allowed increasingly powerful relative function within the physical conditions of a world that demanded such adaptation. Our why and how is the most powerful evolutionary lever that we could possess.

And it is not just applied in an existential sense: it is applied to every facet of existence. Curiosity provokes refinement. We exist in a continuum, firstly as a DNA sequence that divides and multiplies, and then as a singular unit of perception and signal processing that builds a relative construct of the world it inhabits, and then within a series of in-groups from most to least intimate. In that fashion, DNA, the fundamental unit of survival, houses itself within a vast carapace of continued function that operates in a greater sense in much the way neurons in our grey matter operate to have their own function but also to work as part of a whole to insure the continued efficacy of that whole. This greater human machine promotes its genetic sequence, its DNA, through singular and then collective evolution. And this is not a uniquely human nature. The basic DNA sequence potentiates in this way in every creature that exists and possesses living cells that replicate. However, within the current climate of evolution, humans seem to have achieved a dominance maybe, over other living creatures. This is not to say that we physically outnumber all other species, but that we possess weapons of survival and adaptation beyond the scope of any other species that currently exists on this planet.

It is the curiosity behind all action, and indeed our capacity to speculate and posit answers, and refine those answers relative to observation that has allowed us to build our kingdoms. It is human curiosity that ultimately developed a perception dependent construct and a level of interconnectivity within the collective that allowed increasingly accurate constructs or components of such a construct to potentiate.

We are simply tuning the why and how of our natures into questions of existence – compulsively mining the data from refined projects of observation to allow us to enlighten the collective internal constructs of an entire species. And so our quantum quest is superseded by our processes of biological warfare.

Fixed State

Moving on from this general discussion, we inevitably come to this idea of human freedom within both the nature of our physical development and human freedom within what we could describe as the manner of operation of the physical universe – the biology as well as the physics of freedom. It is more tractable and digestible to discuss freedom within our biological state – to approach the question of human freedom of will from the perspective of a machine of adaptation that houses its specific blueprint for a physical and cerebral imprint, than to discuss the ultimate predetermination of movement that could exist within the quantum description of the physical universe. However, for our purposes, we must first discuss the nature of existence that spawns the human consciousness, before we discuss the relative freedom of that consciousness. We will break the argument of free-will down according to, firstly, the minute physical parameters of existence, and, following from this, we will discuss free-will as it relates to human nature specifically.

A Fixed State in Quantum and Biological Structure

Ultimately, the previous discussions of perception dependent realism, the theoretical structure of the universe, the wave-particle duality that exists within all matter, the principle of uncertainty, and the inability to develop a structure of the physical universe that does not depend on a scope of probabilities as a result of the principle of uncertainty, all of this discussion was to allow a rational structure upon which to create a critique of the nature of free-will in an ultimate sense. Of course, at the beginning of this discussion it is useful to point out that this is purely speculation and relates the nature of the perception dependent construct of the physical universe which I have developed in my own mind, but nonetheless it may provide a useful frame of reference for your own ideas and therefore provoke an increased curiosity within your nature, which is the whole point in the end.

Does a fixed state exist within the physical universe? We cannot answer this question as it is beyond the current means of human interpretation. We must work within the scope of our knowledge to provide reasonable theory. Does a fixed state exist within the current human assimilation of the form of the universe it inhabits, on the most fundamental level? It does not. Whether we exist within fixed state in an absolute state is irrelevant, as we have stated, as we cannot perceive such a state. The interesting question is this: does the reality of probability relative to our capacity for observation actually free us from pre-determination? Maybe not.

The uncertainty principle suggests that there is no absolute value for simultaneous position and momentum that we can devise, only a dependent scope of probabilities. Although the particle of matter (particle in this sense is used simply as an expression with the prior knowledge of the fundamental duality that exists) can fluctuate throughout the entirety of space and is seen to travel through infinite paths, it does seem to meet a specific end within a narrow band of likely probabilities which is explained by the sum over paths description in which infinite peaks and troughs of the wave-functions of matter have a cancelling effect to illuminate a specific end position. We can extrapolate this idea of fixed probability to create increasingly large particles with increasingly stable behaviour. While the constituent particles of an electron may seem to behave erratically in isolation, they are bound by specific forces (namely the strong force) to form the electron. While the electron can also generate erratic behaviour in specific conditions, it is naturally bound within a shell like configuration by the electromagnetic force to create an atom. The various configurations of atom (number of protons and neutrons present in the nucleus and number of orbiting electrons) creates a specific element that is defined by the conditions predominating at the moment of creation of that element. (The nature of the element is also acted upon by the weak force which produces radioactive decay.) The manner of interaction of various elements is also contorted by the force of gravity which dominates the classic depiction of the universe – the geodesic description of everything that dominates on macroscopic scales.

While the fundamental state of the physical universe seems to fluctuate according to probabilities, and we could theoretically potentiate this discussion to suggest that while matter at a fundamental level does not have a fixed state, matter at a macroscopic level which emanates from these fundamental states does not necessarily have fixed state either, we are glazing over accurate probabilities, and the forces that bind quantum states into more consistent function. The higher up the quantum food chain we go, the greater the level of predictability. And when we reach these massive organic compounds containing billions of fundamental particles all acting with regularity because of their relationship to one another and the forces that bind them, the predictability comes to override our notions of choice and freedom.

To explain this we can suggest that life is both matter and energy. Life is position and momentum. And when energy flows through the system (obeying the second law of thermodynamics in which it is constant but adaptive based on form) it forces relative movement of positions of matter. While these movements can seem erratic as we mine down into the most fundamental levels imaginable, given that there are formed self-regulating forces of relative movement (the four forces discussed above), the manner in which relative movement could possibly occur given the current state of affairs (which become increasingly regular as we ascend from quantum to classical scales) presents the reality that we cannot really lay claim to intrinsically deciding how we interact within such a system.

Your actions emanate from your thoughts, which emanate from the current state of your organic machinery and the internal fidelity of that machinery. Your code for reactionary function is based upon an exact external stimulus, which ignites a signalling pathway through your nervous system, each cell of which contains a specific internal structure and will carry the information through neurotransmitter release and uptake. This signal will reach the grey matter of your frontal lobe to interact with the decision making part of your physical brain, which will uptake signal from cells which contain a specific structure and will release their information in a specific manner and with a specific level of impetus given the sensitivity of signalling pathways which is pre-set prior to the transmission of the incoming signal. And this process will expel a particular reaction and thought. And, extending this notion, cells themselves are large structures containing a number of different bodies or organelles, and the exact state of that cell can be determined at a given time. And from this we can claim to understand how it will synthesise inputs and produce outputs given the immediate state of its external and internal environment.

And the chemistry of the cell is fixed in a like manner, with an organic compound of matter containing many individual bodies with exact state, which are formed of molecules which have patterns of formation to form stable structures relevant to the environment in which they are formed. And molecules, which seem to contain an exact and consistent state in and of themselves, are simply a formation of two or more atoms which create a rigid structure with a definite viability and predictable manner of interaction within environment. And, of course, the fundamental unit of this structure is the atom itself, which may itself have an internal structure which is manipulated by erratic particles, however, the manner of interaction of these particles, the self-perpetuating forces which bind them, give the atom a consistency – a calculable consistency when external cues are considered. And deeper into this structure subatomic protons, neutrons, and electrons, while more complex and more difficult to observe, are bound by forces that act with increasing strength within decreasing circumference. We need not go deeper as, on a micro to macroscopic scale, there is an exact state through the many levels of the mechanism. The number of calculations that would need to be performed to predict behaviour at any given moment is incomprehensible, but that does not mean that there is not a present state and a resultant future state at every level of the mechanism even within the limits of human perception.

Of course, when we elucidate such an opaque thesis that cannot be considered in the immediate pressures of human function you may ask, does all of this matter?

Human Interaction with a Fixed State Concept

When we discuss the possibility of fixed state, we are discussing a theory of existence that does not fundamentally alter human function. It may seem increasingly probable at first a kinetic, quantum level, and then at a gross biological level that we are not in complete command of our patterns of movement – action and reaction. But we cannot see through the illusion in an immediate sense. We can present a theory that may seem to interact with notions of freewill, but does such a theory issue any actual reality of limitation? I do not think it does – if anything it offers an advantage, if you accept this possibility of relative predetermination.

Of course, we must qualify this statement with an explanation. The purpose of delving into greater and greater depths of understanding of our universe is simply to create a sense of place: to understand our origin and purpose as an expression of creation that is still unfolding in every moment of existence. The universe is in a state of expansion. And that expansion is simply an expression of the initial point of creation. As such, everything that we think, understand, feel – every facet of the human experience and everything to which that is attached, all tangible matter and the energy that uses that matter, all of it can be seen as a continuation of the initial force of creation. It is not as if there is a beginning that is separated from us, we are simply an expression of that beginning. And the standard model of physics is a theoretical tool to allow us to understand the extent of that expression, or its current form. Hopefully then, we can track the progression of this universe back into the unknown folds of the beginning – the furnace of creation.

At such a point everything is imagined to be constructed upon infinities – whatever this refers to, I am not sure. Simply a point of existence that is infinitely dense, that is infinitely potentiated, space time of infinite curvature – all of the forces of nature compacting into one singular force of potential that was ready to throw out the vastness of creation, too great to be understood. The normal rules for our understanding break down. We can conceptualise the forces as they act upon the atom, as they compose a specific structure and suture together the basic building blocks of existence built upon such exact ratios and value that, were there to be any variation in such, matter would not exist as it does today – you would not exist to contemplate such matters. Within the extent of the standard model we can understand or at least conceptualise how the forces that maintain the shape and structure of that atom might, at higher energies, condense into a singular force; and how matter would unify within a specific behaviour that is independent of class or variation. Deeper than that, however, we cannot quite grasp how the force of gravity unifies with these other forces.

In the beginning there was a unity: everything was compacted to such a size that the force of gravity was not translated across massive distance, but was in a continuum with these other forces, within a space-time of infinite curvature. Beyond this, there may have been no separation of matter and energy as we currently understand it; there would have been one singular piece of existence in which force and matter took on the same shape, or were derivatives of the same shape. And then there came a point of creation of matter and energy, a point in which there was the possibility of differentiation. And as soon as this was communicated, there was the unleashing of this gigantic expansion and space-time inflated like a balloon – a self-contained boundary that pushed ever outward. The infinite energy flooded outward and differentiated into matter and force. And there were separations as everything spread apart: not just a vast, super-heated cosmic soup, but pockets of decreasing physical density. The force of gravity differentiated as soon as there was a physical size to this universe. As the expansion continued there was less heat, greater pockets of space, the formation of elements, the diminution of the forces and the organisation of matter. And this soup of existence de-compacted. There were still clumps that formed the skeleton of galaxies, planets, and the dichotomy of compounds of matter. And then there was the formation of conditions and environments within planets, the foundation of the properties of life, the continued refinement of life, of evolution, of the conscious organism that can wonder at its own existence, can only describe existence in and of its own position, only relative to itself.

And then we begin to mine existence for a fundamental unit that expels all of the properties of existence; we seek to reconcile the vastness of time and space with the minute quantum mechanical rules and everything comes closer and closer to completion. But can we really see inside the beginning of existence, of why and how it was there? Even if we come closer to a complete understanding, we already accept that we cannot measure present state absolutely. Neither can we see inside an infinity in which matter and force did not exist as separate properties; we can only approximate; we can only form cultured guesses that are built upon this expanding beginning, these rules that found existence but did not govern existence until conception. We may come closer and closer to the beginning, closer and closer to absolute measurement, but we will not know why we are here, we will only wonder until we find that there is no why, no importance, no individuality, there is only an expression of creation that was absolute, that we do not possess but are given the illusion of possession. There may be no greater meaning other than a potentiated beginning, rules that are absolute, expansion and formation within this structure, an exact state, the ultimate creation of life that is born of this state, and every process of that form of life, within conditions that were pre-ordained, was again to be fixed but illusionary. And then it will pass into further expansions until there is greater uniformity across everything. Whatever the case, life is just to see for a while. And this is not satisfactory – it is a picture that is too cold or too meaningless. We must have a description of life that is tied to our self-conception: that the ego can verify as an opportunity for continuation.

And therein lies the human limit: we must contemplate, in a real and obliterating way, that reality is not in service of the human mind. And this seems an obvious conclusion, but we do not really accept it. We delve back into the expounding problems of our lives; we reel in the existential soup and only relate universal circumstance in terms of its relativity to our position – everything else falls behind this precept. If pre-determination is a reality, if the universe is really structured in a manner that is so definite, if, following the creation of separate matter and force, of physical size to the universe, of a process of expansion that proliferated within exact cosmological rules and boundaries and that every formation was definite, was always to find that shape, in the way a working clock will tick from one second to the next as long as there is electricity in that circuit… if this is true, then we are not so central. In this contemplation every thought, every circumstance, every gesture was absolute from the moment of creation. But we possess this capacity to delude ourselves into thinking there is choice. In a real way, the human limit to measurement is acceptance of that – not altering it, not judging it, not deeming what creation should be, born of our cultural desires, not of possession and continuation – and then living happily within this robust and powerful creation and seeing it unfold every second as something mesmerising, as something that brings joy born of simple existence. And still we fall into the condition of the thinking glowing mind that seeks evolution in that manner of all life. But somewhere within our understanding we have an acceptance of the monumental and profound beauty of this expansion of creation.

And under all of this the mind does indeed work towards refinement that it can capture, toward a picture of our universe that is complete, but we cannot generate the energy to recapture the beginning of creation, the heat of it, the singularity of it when there was no mass and no acceleration, just an infinite drop of energy that somehow tilted itself into the creation of matter and force that were singular and then filled out rapidly.

A Gradual Decrease in Order

This massive expansion of our universe can readily be seen as a continuous decrease in the order of our system. At the moment of conception the universe was simply energy and nothing beyond that. And then there was a switch as that energy became available for translation. And we can wonder at this – why this happened, how this happened, whether or not this was the actual manner of creation – but in the end it is simply an illustrative tool. And this was the greatest state of order of what we would describe as a universal system. As soon as there was creation there was the conversion of energy into matter and force. The greater the matter and force production, the less the ordered energy in the system available for consumption; and this is true of the expanding universe that feeds its products with the endless cascade of energy that creates tangible matter and force interactions.

This is true of the human organism as an expression of this system. We are born and we devote a life-time to the conversion of the potential energy in our system into the many products of the thriving, active human cycle. It is not just the dissipation of that energy into less useful and more disorganised forms such as heat and movement, but also the alteration of our surrounding environment. We spend a lifetime of energy in an attempt to bring our lives into order, to appeal to the mind, to create favourable internal and external conditions and, as such, we dissipate the created energy in our universe. This, of course, is an incredibly infinitesimal fraction of the total ordered energy available, but we are mirroring the process of expansion on a massive scale, in our simple human way.

But that is the active universe. That is what you see in everything: ordered energy that is used to form pre-defined matter and force interactions, with a resulting drive towards an equilibrium of heat energy in the system as an entirety. And so the whole universe expands and the ordered energy in the system eventually gives way to its creations until the universe is significantly grand, expansive, and uniform. What will happen as existence propels itself towards this state we do not know – maybe the universe and all of its inherent physical bodies will rip apart as the energy of expansion outweighs the counter-balancing gravitational force. Maybe the universe will wind back up into an infinity of potential and no longer of matter and force, and so form a new beginning – an endless series of new beginnings. If such an incidence were to occur life would simply run along a scale of decreasing entropy. Or maybe, and this seems most likely, the components of the universe will simply stop within the confines of a complete uniformity. Even blackholes would disgorge their densely packed particle reserve due to Hawking radiation. In this case, the universe would succumb to the “big freeze”. Whatever the result this is simply speculation.

The fact is that we relate all of this proliferation of energy to the human problem. We become so self-involved, so fatigued by our own importance that we forget that we are an expression of this energy use – every second, every thought, every ounce of your life is that self-same energy use. And that is not meant as a burden, as a pressure – it is a comfort. To see existence, to push toward a (possibly superficial) evolution that spends the energy in a closed system in the manner that is deemed necessary, and how this unifies you with all creation – as an expression of creation, as a continuation of that creation – this is not a bleak picture. To be too heavily invested in the importance of the individual, in the immense burdens of expectation that litter your days, in the heavy hand of controlled expression, to be too confined by thought and not free to spend energy in a system that affords that with an almost infinite allowance, to create and to play in life and to see it while you are there and not confined in the trap: that is the purpose of life. That is, maybe, a cleaner purpose that is less guarded by expectation – that is more aware.

A Fundamental Unit of Creation?

It is my belief then, following these discussions, that the most basic and fundamental level which we are searching for is not simply a piece of matter that is indivisible and that explains creation, or, in the least, not exclusively that. I believe what we are searching for at the most fundamental level is the point of conversion. This is the point at which energy that exists in this system is translated into matter: is translated from something ethereal, something which we cannot adequately describe but which forms all of existence, into something as recognisable as matter and the forces that operate within that, that contort it and move it. And we cannot possess a source of infinite energy within the system as the energy, its entire sum, is spread across the gigantic universe; so we cannot adequately measure or experiment with the sum of the energies present in our system and achieve a replication of complete unification.

But deep in the bowels of quantum creation is this point of conversion in which energy present in the system finds physical shape. And we believe that, if we can find this shape of conversion, we can explain how everything exists, the rules for our own existence. And when we come to that we can understand our “why?” with a certain lucidity that is based on the results of observation, analysis, correlation, and the explanations and calculations that incorporate our findings. Then we find a God in the results of calculation. But maybe our purpose is to spend our energy, to observe creation in a way that is so clear and unperturbed, to live definite lives but to possess a mind that does not need to obey this as entirely as does inanimate matter; and as such to purvey that further human simulation as we need to, but to always come back to a clarity within the cosmic shape of existence.

Ultimately, this is or could be our reality: that there is an absolute border on the possibility of unification as that is only available if the complete sum of energies in the system can be utilized; so we can only create a theory and an approximation. We may never be sure, however much we refine our approximations, however much they maintain a consistency with observable results. That is our physical limit. And furthermore, we cannot drill down into this point of conversion because it is not entirely of our recognisable world – it is not within a constancy that portrays this physical universe so neatly. It is set apart of the human means for deliberation. We again come to our approximations that mirror actuality. These may be the physical limits of this human organism – the limits in absolute measurement.

How we Live our Lives

We are then to live our lives without the looming shape of predestination. Our current means exists within the mind, in the physical shape of that mind. We live a life of possession and even if such ideas connect to what we believe to be the actual truths of existence, even if the scientific revenue issues this idea of pre-determined human action with greater and greater refinement, we do not live with pre-determination in mind. We breed an increasing awareness of it maybe – of the harmony and connection of experienced life, of a route that must be travelled – but it does not entirely dominate us. We can cross correlate this with the mental interpretations of life to forge a balance.

We do not have to exist constantly within the passage of action that is deemed to have a prefigured shape. Yes, when we come to that it can be something joyful, something which grants us connection beyond an illusion of control, but the mind is our human nature, is where we spend the greater portion of our lives. And it is not necessary to disfigure that, to push it into a widening recess. We operate within a conscious experience of life and a subconscious digestion of that experience. And it is our human nature to have goals, to feed a sense of purpose that connects us to the evolution of natural life, of our species. It is our purpose to find and develop patterns of achievement, to develop the complete human mind, and then in the background to decipher a certain awareness of the completeness of our shape, of the light and unencumbered flow of existence – to maintain a certain poise and balance between existing within a growing mind and having the capacity for total engagement within a system of increasing disorder. And we profit the ultimate purpose of direction of the complete system with our action as we profit the evolution of the human system with our mental development.

So maybe that is what we are pushing towards: that scientific endeavour will illuminate, with greater and greater precision, the idea of pre-determined action, of a source that explains creation – that unifies the forces that enact existence and the tangible matter through which they operate. Maybe science will purvey the reality of complete creation from a fundamental unit of conversion. Ultimately we may come to this point in which we accept that the overarching rules of this universe absolutely control and designate all human action. We may come to accept pre-determinism as a doctrine of our developing universe and all of the inculcations that that announces within our perception of what it means to be human – to have no actual will, no actual control, but to be joyful for that and to accept the passage of life as something joyful. In this conception we are immersed without reservation, with no need to draw hate and separation as we are not protecting a manner of existence but are simply in it all without pause and hesitation.

And the mind of us is still there, is still our nature and a useful mechanism to instil production and focused cerebral evolution – that we can still foster a belief in ourselves that allows us to create and to have a definite uniqueness. The mind doesn’t need to die within this conception.

Maybe there is a duality to this position in which we have fostered a refined awareness of the rules that govern every thought and every action, but still we must act, at times, as if that pre-determination isn’t central; it is just the flow of the universe and though the fruits we bare were always to form, we foster and develop the effort needed to form such as though that were not the case.

It is the possible duality of awareness and acceptance of pre-determinism, of a route that is exact before it is travelled (and all of the immensity of simple existence that can be found when travelling within this conception) and also of the thinking, coursing human mind that possesses a sense of individualism, a need for that which is not built upon definite outcomes but on that which it can control: upon a sense of grace – of being led and not coerced, of defining its own trajectory. It is maybe not so simple: that the evolving human may come to operate within this duality and, furthermore, breed a growing awareness of such a duality. But that is what we might find, should we discover the rules of existence (even should they be limited to approximation). That is why it is necessary to speak of development of the mind with as much vigour as development of awareness. That is the human condition in which we find ourselves.

Chapter 10

Spirituality

Spirituality is presence. That is all it is and all it needs to be. There are no vagaries, no illusions. There is no need for an idol or worship. If that communicates a truth for you then that is perfect but it is not conditional. Spirituality is presence and that sounds a little simple. If you have never felt it, been in it, if you have never broken yourself down for it and built yourself up within it, if it has never filled you, thrived and swelled in your mind, in who you are, then the idea of spirituality is just that: an idea. And that may be the problem. You can never experience spirituality by actually trying to experience it. Trying implies seeking; it implies separation from the eventuality. Presence is just there in every crest of experience. Thinking about it will not suffice, attempting to conceptualise it will not suffice. Having any expectation about what presence should feel like, how you should react and interact when dwelling within presence will only lead you further into yourself – your own self-concept, your own ideas, memories, and thoughts of the future.

Spirituality is commitment to complete awareness of where you currently are and the time which you currently occupy: the here and now. That place in which you exist is simply the melting pot of the senses. It is more than the room in which you sit, the air which you breathe, the things which you can see and feel: it is the dense, bristling, almost palpable connection of all things with which you are in contact. How the chair in which you sit, the walls around you, the air you breathe, the nature of things – all animate and inanimate life – are simply matter interwoven in a place that is in direct proximity to you. Eventually that matter will crumble and decay. It will fall and fade and return to the soil, just as it is with you. And new life will replenish itself with the self-same matter which was once you, was your shape, or was the shape of any other thing that you can see. You will return to the reserve for new things to build, decay, and replenish. Awareness is simply that: awareness of the flux of life; that we are just temporary composites that will fade again, returning that matter which we were given to create the self – with all of our intricacies and problems, with all of the intense importance of ourselves and our days. We will also return the energy, the power of animation, so that it can take shape in different forms. We will return the vibrations of life that create our animation. We are just energy and matter that is collected in this corpus, this form of highly evolved life for a moment and will return everything we are to that. It is the attachment to the temporary that creates pain, the need to standout and hold on to that energy when we know we can’t. And we fear death. Or more simply, we fear transition. Be aware of the present space, the connection of it all; let it spill into you through the medium of those senses that you were given and you will be truly present in the sense of here.

There is also presence in the sense of now. What is important to realise is that time is a man-made creation. Thought created seconds, created hours and minutes and days. Thought created the calendar. Thought aligned particular patterns in our respective climes to aggregate a system of seasons. Thought created the notion of past and future. Thought created remembrance and expectancy. They are not processes of nature. All that exists in nature is the present moment. Not an almost morbid fixation on the past, or an impinging vision of future. There only exists the present moment. That is because you can only act or think or exist in the present moment. Of course, from the point of view of evolution, knowledge of the past and even a recording of past events allowed us to learn – but it became an obsession. Although we can learn from past events, we only learn and apply in the present moment. The present moment is all you ever have. You learn, feel, and do in this moment. You can never operate in a time that is not right now. Do not fixate on what has passed. Always pay homage to the immediacy of your current situation. Neither should you obsess over future events because anytime that you delve into the mental time machine, thrusting your thoughts backwards or forwards, you will have lost touch with yourself. You will have covered up and blinded yourself to this moment and all that exists here. Feel everything that this moment has to give; in the internal (the locus of the mind) or the external, feel that you exist entirely here and now and that anything else is static – white noise. Yes, learn and grow. Yes, develop; but remember that you are doing so in this place and at this time and to think that you must separate yourself from that, that presence is not tractable in relation to your reasonable function, is erroneous.

Present moment and present time are all that can possibly exist for you. There is no other possibility. You can create distraction, a lifetime of elegant distraction that attempts to give you separation, possession, and importance, but the whole point of development is not recognition, it is not seeking anything that is beyond you: it is creating and intensifying the conditions for awareness. For many dwell in self-possession to such an extent that they would refuse and reproach the idea of awareness; so they must develop incrementally. They must experience the pleasures and the pains they seek and in doing so they find their way finally into acceptance: acceptance of impermanence and unity, of the entirety of existence to which they are beholden. In most cases, only through having can we relinquish. Only through blindness can we know what it means to see. Only through ignorance can we know its opposite.

Imagine yourself or your conception as a drop of rain. The rain drop falls from the sky onto a still sheet of water. The raindrop breaks the surface and thrusts its energy downwards into the body of water beneath the surface. At the same time, an equal volume of water is dispelled upwards into a narrow column with equal and opposite force. At the moment of conception you penetrate reality. As the force continues to affect a change, the pillar of water that is temporarily displaced grows upwards. It comes to have its own boundaries. It can see above the vastness of everything. It is still connected to the greater body of water but it seems to have its own dimensions and its own energy that is separate and is manipulated for its own use. It keeps growing and expending the sum of the energy with which it was imbued. Eventually it will come to a point at which it has spent its energy and will feel the pull of the greater body of water as it shrinks to the inevitable return from whence it came.

However, that is only half of the story. Underneath the body of water there is again this shadow of the outward surge. In that the displacement of water underneath the surface corresponds directly to the sprouting of the column above the surface. The two balance each other so that there is symbiosis and dependency. The force of your connection to all that exists beneath you corresponds to the extent to which you grow. Beyond this, the idea that any of this is separation – is individual – is entirely unreal. It is all just water and though the form of it may oscillate above and below the surface, if only for a moment, and therefore create the appearance of individuality, that is an illusion created wherein you don’t want this form to be impermanent. You are just water connected in this way, not just to yourself but to everything else – to the greater body of things. And you will return to that. See this, plunge deeper into the vastness of spirituality and outwardly you will grow to greater heights, have greater force, even if that is decidedly temporary. Because one way or another you will return your individual matter and energy to everything and will come to a state of entire union with all that exists.

1. Creating Centre

When we discuss presence it is necessary to examine exactly what it is that communicates presence. It is important to understand the adaptation – the stimulation of awareness. In this we can follow specific, almost predefined routes. Presence is found by centring yourself and then following the natural strands that spread out from your consciousness to invoke an immersion. There are pathways to presence.

In discussing pathways to presence it is important to fathom this almost incremental pattern of immersion. To use a route, a map that brings you back to yourself. Ultimately the idea, the design, is then to see presence as an absolute discipline, or in the very least, to see the evocation of presence as a specific discipline. This is because we have fed our minds with distraction throughout the extent of our lives. Our mind has become so suffocating: twisting every mediator of presence into something to think about – to digest consciously. We refuse to know the actual present state of anything; we refuse to truly live with anything. Our mind just begins with the picture of self – our thoughts, our opinions, our values, and our judgements. And then the entirety of the day passes in this fashion. We judge, condemn, criticise, or praise internally. We see things as banal or effervescent. We see things as inglorious, timid, spiteful, rash, or brutal. We create the never ending list of opinions and attitudes. Our life is subjugated by taste and mood. Every part of our day has become a procession of judgement stemming from the slowly unravelling mental berserk. We are trapped by judgement and so never really see the value of things: the detail, the endlessness, and the flux of everything animate and inanimate is lost to us – this is good or bad, right or wrong, this pleases or displeases. Everything springs forth from the obsessive self concept.

The point again is that you start from a position of “I” and then you create judgement based on preference. Your preferences might change, you may indeed modify and create greater acceptance, a broader palate, and a more even or stable nature, but in the end everything is to serve or sunder. All of this blots out the present moment. When you look at something you don’t truly see it, you only see yourself in it or what it means to you. This, in a disturbing truth, extends to other people. They are not merely themselves, who they have become through all of life’s trials; they are robbed of this state of unconditional being because you judge them. You create conditions and standards, and then fit others in and around your standards. The world entire becomes a reflection of your own judgement and this does not bring you any closer to truly seeing the condition of things. It creates a stark separation. You are separate from everything and must qualify all of life by standards that have become internalised. These are your walls and you spy on the world from behind them.

True awareness defies these conditions. But it must be continually invoked because you have spent a lifetime building your separation. And there are myriad cues for the ignition and re-ignition of the separated life. This is your environment and the world which exists around you. This is the never ending debris of distraction and the barrage of impersonal stimuli; the world encourages you to judge and deride, to condone or disregard. The conversations we have, the manner in which we communicate constantly reinforces the need to judge, to distance, and to create a stance on things that you apply so heavily as to lose the reality of your situation. There are also the cues of your immediate external environment – your home and all of its distraction, the tangible, the pull of comforting ignorance. There is the internal sweltering heat of emotion that beckons ignorance. These are our cues (these and many others); they embolden and sustain ignorance. You must ignite awareness from beneath the automated processes of suggestion and the bondage of continued judgement.

Do not become too disheartened however, as from a quiet and focused space you can eventually create a state of spiritual integrity. But in this you must invoke discipline. Creating the conditions of awareness, actually setting the wheels in motion, takes staying power – it takes devotion. Awareness, for you, must begin as nothing more or less than a practice, a discipline, a process of mastery that extends into the recreation of conscious function.

Creating Physical Centre

Assuming that you are unused to the process of awareness, the first step is to create centre. Some of this will feel somewhat typified but this has become the case for a solid and impactful reason: it works. First you must create conditions of comfort, conditions in which no distraction is possible. Be that inside or outside – your room, your garden, or elsewhere. The idea is to find a location in which you are entirely secure, in which there is no trace of self-consciousness. Locate a space in which you feel entirely grounded. For ease of explanation we will assume that you are indoors, in a private room – sequestered and cushioned by your surroundings. Herein it may be useful to adapt the conditions to your comfort. Ensure that the temperature of the space is not a distraction. Ensure that the lighting is adequate – neither too bright nor too dim. You may choose to create ambiance through the use of incense or any other method. I will discuss the purpose for this in greater detail shortly. In this regard you have created a space that is calm, peaceful, ideal for the permeation of awareness and free of interference or distraction (if you choose to engage in this practice outdoors ensure the conditions are in turn suitable).

Once your immediate physical environment is appropriately presented, it is useful to consider the conditions of your body. Again the idea is to create a level of comfort that is palatable but not to such an extent that it could induce sleep. Dress in appropriate clothing that is loose fitting or comfortable. Ensure that you feel alert, that there is a certain spur of vividness to your presence. In short, your state must be calm, alert, and open to experience. Then you position yourself appropriately. Adopt a sitting position which is comfortable, which does not create the build-up of tension but neither does it cause you to sink and fade. If you are comfortable sitting in a more traditional meditative posture then do so. Likewise, if you are more comfortable kneeling or sitting in a chair then that should be the mode that you apply. Regardless of the position in which you sit, the basic manner should include: a straight back, chest out, chin parallel to the floor, and the interlacing of fingers with the pad of the thumb of each hand lightly touching. The primary concern at this point is, of course, comfort. There should be no distraction from your body to the process of building awareness.

This assimilates basic meditative practice and the extent of the description will continue to purvey such a declination. The reason for this is that in the beginning, when you are unused to the passage to awareness, I find it is important to create conditions that will not hinder the process; in fact, the meditative rendition of such external circumstance is wholly subservient to the process of creating awareness. But the fact is basic meditation is only a starting point for awareness. It is important to meditate in this way as it can be used as such a starting or jumping off point for spiritual clarity and it must, therefore, be practice – treat it as a discipline. As the mind slowly becomes more adept, more solid in this practice, it can transition into your regular patterns of living. This is the point of initiation and, as such, I feel it is useful to discuss.

Creating Mental Centre

Beyond these processes then, it is required of you to discharge the general colour and composition of energy that you possess. This is akin to the process of returning to emotional neutrality. The fact again is that it is emotion that continues to stimulate the basic levels of consciousness. A feeling is generated in your body and the composition, the passion of this energy continually re-stimulates unwanted thought. In order to move past the instigations of emotion we must discharge it to some degree. The first step is to become aware of such emotion. Recognise in yourself how you are feeling, especially if it is subtle. Admit that feeling, that charge, and respect yourself enough to know that emotion is a perfectly natural human process whatever its countenance; it is a by-product of basic experience that makes you human and does not need to be disparaged. Feeling is important; do not imply shame or guilt because you feel a certain way. Do not over rationalise the way you feel. Just recognise it and then let it go. Let the rising heat of your body cause the feeling to evaporate. Breathe it out of you. Breathe deeply into the base of your lungs and then slowly back out again. Persist with this process until you feel emotionally cleansed to a certain degree, because heightened emotion is a barrier to awareness. But do not rush the process: allow it to occur in a somewhat natural fashion – a slow boil. And throughout the extent of this process maintain slow deep breathing in this fashion.

When you feel that the passion of emotion has become partly distilled, when it no longer grips your psyche so firmly, it is necessary to turn your focus to the internal voice – to actual thought. The process is somewhat similar in that it is not necessary, nor is it particularly desirable, to force thought from your mind. If at any point in your meditation you feel you are trying to create a block, or build a cage for thought, you should reframe your attempt. We are not denying thought in any dismantling or ascetic sense. You are simply creating an awareness of thought. Just observe your thoughts almost as a separate consciousness. Watch your thoughts dance, play, and complain. Recognise them entirely and then slowly let them fade. Let them shrink or become less constant. You will begin to notice a break as you are observing such thoughts – that there are short passages of thoughtlessness, maybe lasting for 3-4 seconds, and then thought peels in again because you are so unused to the absence of thought in this way. Continue to cultivate this process – watch your thoughts and let them fade. Feel the stillness, the vastness of an open mind, with streaks of clarity poking through the meshwork of thought. And as you remove more of the mesh and it fails to grow as an organic thing, or you, for a time, no longer give it permission to do so, you can achieve an ever increasing vigil of such clarity.

The reason we systematise such a process in this manner is that each step affords the conditions for the next. This is particularly true of emotion and thought. It is much easier to observe and disconnect from the constant need to think and doubt if there is a decreased emotional impetus to do so. If you are highly charged with emotion it is commensurately more difficult to remove your focus from these thoughts – to observe them dispassionately. Emotion charges the greater and lesser of your ego. Emotion can inform ability and passion, it can fuel effort but, more commonly, it can fuel distraction. It can create the web of worry, of boredom and restlessness, and it can sever the conditions for peace. What is important is to know how and when to use it and the method through which to manipulate emotion for positive function. This is not done in a way that makes you emotionally disfigured, that detaches you from your reality, but simply in a way that plays off of the best of you and discourages or re-channels the energy for destruction.

In all of this you have created the conditions of stillness; the passage of awareness grows out of such conditions but nature, as always, abhors a vacuum and so simple stillness must be redirected into actual presence. You may find your way to this naturally but it is useful to attempt to illuminate the mediating factors so that the fits of thought and emotion do not immediately resume following the briefest of ventures into the calm.

2. Pathways to Presence

To this point we have been creating the conditions for awareness, and even so we have only accomplished this to quite a limiting extent. But that is important: it is the solid foundation of spirituality which, although it is not entirely necessary (presence is not completely subservient to such conditions), it is certainly useful as a point from which to begin. As you become more lucid, the conditions need not be so stiff. In fact, the conditions for awareness will be found at all times and in all things but this is how we begin – how we should begin.

The next step is to consider the vacuum we have created. Yes, there is stillness, but such stillness will perish rapidly if we do not re-define the channels of engagement. By that, I mean channelling the basic energy of our existence, which has been found so commonly in the aforementioned parameters, into an alternate set of mediators. The pathways for presence will suit some differently than others and, as such, your preference may be different than mine, but the channels are dominantly the same, regardless of preference. The pathways to presence are the natural gates of conscious feedback, what builds the world for us or lets us know that we are in it at all – the senses.

I would like to qualify the following section with two points. The first is that I am highly aware that you do not need to be informed or educated on the operation of the senses. They are yours and you understand them entirely. The goal here, however, is that you inject some love and focus into those senses and do not disregard them or allow them to sicken in the dust of automatic and therefore unconscious function (at least in those times in which you are attempting to connect with awareness). The second is an apology. I would like to apologise in advance for my complete inability to capture the pungency and the vibrancy of the senses in any description. The senses are not meant to be described, only experienced, and given the intimacy and uniqueness of your individual connection with such sensory tuning, it is only experience that can adequately relate the truths they contain and not words, not any attempt at description. Nonetheless, I believe it is important to persist from the hope that such an attempt may incite you towards attempting to experience the innate depths of you own senses.

Sight

I will discuss the senses in the apparent order of strength, or the meaning they convey. Sight is readily the most present of the senses and can be used as the primary mediator of presence in this manner. However, remember that everyone carries a specific preference and in accordance with the levers of incitation working in any given moment this, of course, will fluctuate. But sight is the primary sense: how we truly identify our world. It carries the most weight in general and as such can be thought of as the bulwark of presence. But its power is only real or tangible because of the canvas it creates, or the reference it portrays for the origin of other sensory stimuli.

When you have created clarity, peace, and resonance – when you have created a vacuum – you must fill up the space created. You do this first through the senses. Remember that the senses are to be used as a pathway to presence and are not true presence in and of themselves. They simply communicate the opportunity for presence. When you have created such calm it is important to adopt the senses in a new manner. You must look through your eyes in a way that you may never before have accomplished. You must truly pierce into the heart of the vision you possess. See the truth of what is around you. The shapes, the colours, the vivacity of everything: recall how it is all in flux, how what you see exists in this present moment but that is form from shapeless matter and the vast fields of energy. See the impermanence of it, the nature of the transition of it that gives beauty its depth. See the reality of all that exists around you; pay close attention, not just taking it for granted, really see the internal – how things are forged, how they exist, the softness or hardness, the vastness, the minutiae of detail. Observe the pressure and presence of both animate and inanimate – how they feed each other, grant each other access. See the constant rush and tide of opposites. See the depth of colour, the contrast and the slow bleed. See the hard and soft lines. Pay entire attention – give every piece of yourself to truly seeing the vast ebb of matter that exists around you. That somehow the interplay of unimaginably minute particles of matter, convulsing within this great furnace of energy, have created this picture – this vision in which you are ensconced. How could impossibly fractional, marginal, and almost non-existent points of matter innumerable vibrate, condense, collapse, and reform and that the result would be such a collection – such a formulation? The word beauty entirely fails in its objective of description. Life is formed and you can somehow make out a greater depiction of it. You are in it, everything is the most delicate and wonderful type of art. In fact all art is a poor recreation of the nature of existence in everything except for the fact that it in turn is entombed by the same fingers of life that create the capacity to envision such form.

Really see these things, these features of your environment. If you are just sitting you can see, if you are in a quiet and almost featureless space you can see. The beauty of nature, reality, the symmetry of formation is not limited to classical notions of beauty. Sight defines the symmetry and its presence for you; the fact that there is form and not just a vast sprawl of chaos, that the form is so refined that it can be traversed and so must be seen. It really is hard to define – to encapsulate in words. Any attempt to do so is simply a signpost – a call to action to truly see. Everything announces this elegance, this symmetry. But you must observe that through your own eyes. As feeble as it may sound, there truly is a difference between looking and seeing. Train yourself to be consumed by the beauty of everything; let that sense fill the vacuum entirely. Once you can truly see the inherent beauty of all things, the symmetry of creation – that you have the capacity to see at all and that anything exists to be seen in this way – then you will struggle to find the words for expression yourself. And the word beauty will seem hollow, vanity will seem useless. You won’t have words. Master the art of seeing, the immensity behind it and the resonance of it, how everything reflects the spirituality possessed by the moment in which you see – in what you see. Sight informs spirituality in this way – is a mediator of presence.

Hearing

Were I to re-issue this idea of personal preference, what communicates presence most naturally given my specific flights of variation and taste, sound would be that preference. To me, sound is more entire, more serene, and more immediate. If sight infuses us with the idea of symmetry on epic and minute scales, sound plays off of the power of a seeming irrationality: a more complex and more vague, but equally distinct form of symmetry which is inferred only by the variations. It is because hearing is most widely informed by the complete lack of sound, the suck of silence that reminds us of the dwarfing and complete stillness of existence. It is this complete stillness that reigns down, but is more subtle; you only realise it was there at all when it is broken – some screech, some tear, some delicate tone that echoes and reverberates and eventually becomes swallowed by quiet. It reminds you that everything, every rendition of noise, every defiant upsurge of tonality, every uniquely human passion or flaw, is just a temporary break in the stillness. And those notes may be harmonious, may be flat, may be droning or mellifluous, may play off of each other in a seemingly endless concord or rhapsody, but in the end everything returns to the stillness.

As such the sound, the transitory impact of it, is all the more precious regardless of how it creates its impact. If the sound is creating upset or turbulence then remember it is finite. If the sound is creating a spreading joy or peace then again remember it is finite and it will become all the more valuable. Allow yourself to fall into the tones, the notes, the clarity or the fuzz, whatever it is you can hear. The dull unctuous thump of artificial music, the visceral pangs of nature, any natural or man-made sound, let all of it serve as a call to presence and remember that it is all just a temporary undulation from the unity of potential and silence.

It starts with the ring of silence breathing in your ears, then comes the greater chill of the churning, flooding winds outside. Beyond that is the rise and quell of various points, various identities of sound. All of it slowly becoming uniform. And music will bring with it the feeling of youthful life that spreads through the glowing silence; it is beautiful for that but again will become part of this silence. Sound most readily conveys the truths of life. This extends beyond the completeness, the symmetry of silence from which all things are only a buoyant divergence: this is reconciliation with the fact that you are the upstart, heard by many, loved by some, and will leave behind a small travelling echo.

In all of this, hearing must be exercised as discipline. You must come to know what it means to observe the silence. The symbolic tones of life, they feed everything and cannot be undone. However, they can be offset or distorted by the many variegations of life. As we feed into the phantasm of imagined significance, as every problem of opacity mounts a fresh surge in your mind and the capacity to truly hear what is around you is lessened, sound or hearing becomes an unconscious function and everything you hear is plastered with thought and interpretation. The empty discord of pointless thought blots out the most beautiful conceptions of nature over and over. We have developed the capacity for frenetic thought but not the capacity for silence, not the capacity for the regal disposition of simple notes. Nothing in our character exhibits the beauty and the devastating science of life as readily as the senses. But we do not find it particularly useful or valuable to bathe in the sensory impressions and so we overwrite them. Hearing is not observed consciously, it is only requisite in those moments when it would stimulate pressure or emergency or wherein it would bestow increased capacity for thought or emotion. So listen, truly listen; undergo the processes of stillness and then fill yourself with the silence and the sound that guards every truth and relinquishes the real nature of things.

Touch

The sensation of touch, the first moment of the appreciation of touch, was almost certainly the unique point of differentiation of the individual. The senses communicate the bubbling certitudes of an external world but none create the idea of separation quite as defiantly as touch. No other sense creates the ideation, the realisation that the world, the external, feels differently than you – can cause pain or pleasure that seems fundamentally unique to you and is not felt by the world at large. You feel pain but the entirety of things does not recognise that pain. It is your cloak, your isolation. There is an external stimulus yes, but the feeling of it, the reception of it is only present in your physical body. The sensation of touch or feeling creates fragility, it creates separation and vulnerability.

The point at which you first felt something that was not picked up or noticed by the world around you, something primal and physical, was the moment of collapse – the moment of unique differentiation of the individual. This was the moment in which you condensed into a corporeal form that did not send tendrils of intention to feed the world’s response. Touch not only created the idea of boundaries that must be respected but also the physical knowledge of where those boundaries existed. And so this separation allows us to navigate the space around us, avoiding harm and seeking comfort and pleasure. Touch is physical feeling and the root of separation.

Creating such a theory of touch is certainly valuable in its fashion but it does not deride the actual value presented by such a sense. Touch allows us to protect our physical body, avoid pain that harms us and seek pleasure or comfort that inherently signals regulation of function. It allows us to survive; it is the external coating of our circuitry that tells us what action may be beneficial.

Touch, therefore, has become a background function of our existence. It is not actively regarded except in those instances in which it communicates a specific message. Otherwise it is dormant, as a necessary relic of separation that, when it speaks, speaks only of extremes.

You may think then, that creating such an acute awareness of physical feeling would be counterintuitive: that it would ingrain the separation of forms and create a certain distance from presence. That is not at all the case. Touch is again a part of the filigree of life and to understand the life you live you must have an intimate familiarity with its every design. Touch connects you to your world or brings you back to it. Touch draws you out of the self-conception in a way that is demanding and forceful. Touch is simply the visceral feedback that you are in the vast swirl of things. So, in this way, touch should be considered a bridge or a point of connection with everything. Rather than having a physical body with its own outline, with senses that reinforce this idea of separation, you should see the senses as the point of connection of all things. That it is precisely because you can feel that you are not separate. Touch, then, should draw you further into the awareness of the collaboration of life: how it all flows and moves past itself harmoniously, and that internal regulation and monitoring of the components of life must be maintained. Touch is one of the mechanisms through which this job is accomplished.

The principle idea here is to create an awareness of touch which, of itself, will create a greater awareness of the wholeness, the completeness of things. As you are sitting you should draw attention to the feeling of the soles of your feet pressing lightly into the ground. Feel the points at which you are physically contacting the space you inhabit. Feel every point of physical contact and how it feeds back into your conception. Feel anything, any object, and see how touch creates a bridge, a fundamental link of connection that derides any notion of separation. Realise that this touch represents not only the evolution of a species that can evaluate the possibility of harm or comfort but, greater than this, that this is your link to all things. It is the tangible link, more present than any other sensory conception but also more ambiguous. Do not harvest an awareness of only the extremes but rather sit into the true feeling that exists at all times. See touch as the bridge you travel to awareness, how all things are connected and that you are distinctly connected to your physical environment by the manner in which you feel it. This is not just pain or pleasure: this is the innate subtlety of temperature, of contour, of design and manipulation. Delve into this sense of physical feeling. It may be hard or soft, it may be thorny or cutting, it may be compressive or expansive, it is beyond simply defining the thing: it is recognising it as the raw material of life that is impermanent, just as it is with you. Feel every point of contact with your environment and imbue these points with entire focus.

Through this then, begin to feel internally. Feel the pulse of your heart, the expansion of your lungs. Feel the contraction of your muscles as you are seemingly at rest – like an intricate system of pulleys that balances every facet of your proportions. Feel the entire intrinsic combust. Take the focus, the conception of feeling beneath your skin. Expose your internal environment to the scrutiny of feeling with as much abandon or deference as you do in those cases of illness and upset. Allow yourself to feel this. Your body is not simply the machinery of survival and propulsion, the hollow of function and the tomb of encrusted emotional dormancy: your body is the central point of feeling, of conception and order. Your body is a charged store of tangible life. You can actually feel that life inside you if you take your focus and direct it inwardly. Feel the life inside you, feel how it creeps outward onto your skin, feel how it finds the world around you, manipulates and alters this world. You can physically receive these things if only you will shrink from obsequious thought and come into the seething crush of feeling – feeling that communicates unfiltered awareness, feeling that can be known exactly as it is received as sensory feedback, feeling that is unfathomable and yet entirely familiar.

Begin inwardly and force this procession of feeling to spread outward to your skin, to your sensory interpretation and feedback of stimuli. Feel the world around you and navigate it through feeling. Do not disconnect from it through thought or judgement. Exercise the dedication to this sense of feeling and you will continually draw yourself away from that plagiarism of thought that is simply a dull copy of actuality or eventuality. If you can achieve this the sense of touch will become another conduit of awareness.

Taste

The final two senses are notably more conditional than sight, hearing, and touch. Though touch scrapes the borders of conditional or circumstantial, it is not entirely within this bracket as you can draw your focus into this sense at all times and do not need to rely on extremes. Taste, however, is notably dependant on circumstance. There must be an object, something that allows you to draw your focus into this sense of taste.

As such, it is relevant to practice complete awareness of taste in those instances in which it is relevant. It is important to completely devour the food and drink and love of life, to accept taste as another conduit of presence in those instances in which there is something of life to be found or tasted in this manner. Again, it is a sense that has become almost vestigial. It is a gloss or sheen on specific inputs and can impel addiction. As such, we can see the true power of this sense, but it is largely committed to the raft of mental absenteeism. We attach little meaning to taste with the exception of those cases in which it is extreme.

So you must learn to appreciate the feedback it is giving you, that experience has a flavour, that we can become aware of the sharp, the sweet, the bitter. The taste can be anything and your response to it is individual. But you must let the flavours dance on your palate. Feel the food and the drink and the gush and churn and blend in your mouth. Feel the interaction of such tastes and how they are intensified by the aromatic overtones. Become lost in the seduction of truly tasting your life.

It is so simple to overlook taste, to become lost in the dense brush of thought and discard the feedback of taste – how it makes your mouth water, how it is juicy or tangy or sour or loaded with any other feedback. But it can communicate dedication to the individual moment in which you taste a part of life.

And there is a taste to love as well – a flavour to it. It is the sweat and salt and musk of another person. The light sweetness or the earthy tones, there is an individual signature to the taste of another person. And if that taste is appealing, if the diffusion of such a thrill of sensation and taste would cause your receptors to stir, then there is a physical match to that. Taste can relate a great deal about life. It is not just good or bad, like or dislike: it is the salivating desires, the crumbling textures, the aromatic richness of a taste that grants you access to nothing but the internal borders of that thing which you taste and how you receive it.

In all of this we notice that taste is, maybe, more abstract, more tailored to the specific preferences of sensation, but is powerful in that the food or the drink or the love that you taste can draw you in almost without option and you delve entirely into that taste. But as soon as the taste becomes residual and is no longer attached to the actual processes of devouring and crunching and drinking, it sinks into a distant reverie. We don’t feel it anymore because taste is not entire except in the moment of its ignition. Therein we must proceed along the practice of patience, the stillness of the experience.

Allow the waves of taste to lap and then retreat until they have faded. Do not push them away as soon as they no longer have meaning for you. Eat and drink of life. Allow the feedback of this to draw you into that place of quiet absorption. Every time you fill yourself with the bread and water and the substance of life allow the sensation of that to fill you. You are replenishing your stores and a part of what you are consuming will become a part of you. You are growing in this and it is providing sustenance. Beyond that it is another gate of consciousness. Everything that ignites taste is food for the body, the mind, and the spirit.

Smell

Again, smell is a sense that is predominantly conditional. You utilize this in those times in which it is relevant and it can, of course, become thin or blank in those instances in which it is not distinct. It also succumbs to the quick fade of life. So you must absorb it entirely while it is present. This is somewhat quixotic. How can the sense of smell provide a path to presence? It is simply because the senses draw you into everything that exists in a particular moment. It is to escape presence, to escape the subconscious deluge of meaning and instinct that we succumb to the teeming barrage of direction-less thought. And there is the perfume of any moment to consider. Smell, as it were, is or can be a fundamental context of the moment. Not only can it deliver a truth of the context, it can also deliver a verdict on the panic or the peace of your situation – what emotion should be present.

That is because smell, like the injection of any emotion into momentary awareness, can draw us into the past. There is a certain emotional memory attached to smells. You remember them, especially, or possibly almost exclusively, in those cases in which they grant positive feedback. So the fragrance of a moment can be the fragrance of your past – it can draw you, settle you, and allow you to find a certain exultation and weightlessness as you felt in those realms of quite happiness which the scent recalls. This does not mean that it should invoke distraction – that your thoughts should actually dwell on the past – it simply means that it brings a certain peace or familiarity to the moment that quietly settles you. It is not thought that you are recalling, it is the contentedness of the past and its reconciliation with the present. That allows you to unravel, to drink in the moment and all of its uniqueness without negative obsession. The scents you conceive of draw you in to the moment in which they are found. Your mind works through them, deciphers them, and spills the residue of peace and stillness into the lines of your system. Your mind works through the smell and drinks in the emotion of your past, and then feeds into the calmness of a present that is entirely familiar and does not need to be avoided. The perfumes and fragrances of your present not only provide the internal conditions of peace and soothing that are ideal for creating awareness, the intake of such fragrance can be entire and without the need for conscious processing and therefore act as a medium for presence.

That is why, in the stillness of sitting and becoming present, it may be useful, given your inclination, to use incense. To experiment with that which connects you with a sense of calmness, which you can breathe in and let resonate in your system until all you are doing is sitting and breathing and being still, without need for thought or judgement. You are entirely there, in that moment, and not trying to escape anything – not attempting to flee into the deep fault lines of thought. In this, again, a sensory perception is a conduit of awareness.

A Final Word on the Senses

The presentation of the senses in this way, as mediums of presence, may seem somewhat vague or inexact. But they do communicate presence. They are how we conceive our world – the channels of conception and genesis. If the senses did not exist we would have no window into the world. Nothing would come in to us; we would have no conception of our existence – any existence. There would be no memory, no interaction, and no connection.

The idea of death and transition is the manifold ideation of sensory destruction. When you pass you will have no physical body. You will have no eyes with which to see, ears to hear, a body to feel pain and pleasure and everything in between; you will have no taste to devour and no aromas to take you in. Furthermore, the memories and experiences developed, received, and conveyed from a lifetime of sensory input will collapse into the vast unknowable ethereal consumption and reformulation of all things. Our senses are how we know we exist and yet to even speak of adapting them to a process of conscious registration seems somewhat strange and naive.

But consider this: all you have and all you know as a conscious human being was and continues to be entirely informed by sensory input, and that sensory input is and can only ever be applied in the present. It is the ego, that unconscious dwelling place of humanity, that drags you backwards or forwards, this way or that, creates the need to live in the past or daydream about future events without intent, creates the antithetical furnace of distraction. We, as modern humans, are to balance the processing and thinking capacity of the mind – with just as much self-concept as can keep us ready, tracked, and not bound by delusion – and also to have the presence of our breed that is communicated through the sensory refuge. We are to balance thinking and growing through thought, and also presence which communicates all truth that we have the capacity to endure. That is the body/mind and the spirit in harmony – filling and re-filling each other.

And therein the very determination and infiltration of the senses – to give so much focus to abundantly self-sufficient processes – is not actually so strange. The senses are the pillars of your life. Live each one in turn and then slowly let them blend. This is not so much a return to the primordial instinct of survival – in that keenness of sense allowed the hunt and gather of every creature – as that was sense as instinct, this is sense as consciousness. As ever we return to the ideal of the peak of creation and how to move forward. In returning to such instinctive and visceral inputs, but freshly renewing such with the power to conceive, to create, to dream, and to blend the potential of every facet of our existence, we may just find presence. In fact, it was never lost. Indeed presence is all around you; it is fed into every sense; it is shot through every signalling capacitor creating the electricity of information and awareness that fills synapse after synapse to the point of discharge and propagation; it is finding and intoxicating the brain – the organic matter of thought which forever asks why and only by degrees, allows the sensory revenue to inculcate a growing awareness. The vastness of your window, the might and immensity of creation all transmitted through the sensory pull. Think and you deny this. Thought is necessary at times, it is appropriate to utilise this capacity with which we are blessed, but it does not define you. You are part of the greater scheme of things and that is communicated through the sensory feed.

To put forward a final idea, imagine that you or your existence is simply energy and that energy has been given form. It has spread through matter in its way, and now has a body – has the capacity to sense. And it is those senses that are the window through which energy can conceive creation. Energy can see the dimensions of space around it; it can see how all other formulations of energy and matter sing and dance and play. Energy can see and feel and hear and taste and smell the world because of the organic compound of matter in which it resides. In doing this, it forgets that it is simply energy. It forgets that everything it sees through its window – all points – are simply the self-same energy. And through this window it sees the many complex forms of energy and matter – how they coalesce, how they become isolated, how they forget that they are essentially the same. They begin to shatter each other, to loosen the connection of other points of energy and matter, to expand their ability to hold the world into themselves. As such they become lost and distant. They are no longer points of energy and matter: they are egos. They are realities that are only aware of that which they see through the window as it applies to themselves – their growing ego. And you, being that you are of the same fundamental composition, are drawn to recreate this behaviour: to forget that you were given this immense ability to view and interact with creation, to feel and to be and the immense, baffling wonder of that. It is simply presence that should fill and shock and ignite you. But instead you drift into the fixation on the gritty problems of your situation, on the possession, on the formation of your own ego – your own obsession with self. Because that is how we live for now and why not? – it is common. Is there more joy in creating presence or a dominant ego? Presence is the purpose though, it is why you were given form – to be granted the wondrous capacity for awareness, to peek through the streams of existence, to see genesis, to see the face of creation in all things.

But we forget, we are futile and weak and eternally brash. We forget what we were given and why. We are the hopeless, the sinners, those who will be redeemed in and through the eventual destruction of our senses. The most wonderful gift we could be given was squandered and for what? Was it for possessions, for dominance, for abstraction? Do we yet have the capacity to allow thought and awareness to interlace or will we continue to return to our fugue state. We flee into the interference knowing that it is not, cannot be, all that there is. We will find our awareness again – awareness that bubbles up out of blood and body but is more than those things, awareness that electrifies the corners of thought with its passion for creation but is vastly more dominant and ideal than that. Words are poor measure, we can only be in it – we are nothing if we are not here and are not now.

3. Presence in Sitting

This is the simple complex of standard meditative practice. To first create the conditions and then the actuality of awareness while still – while at rest – it is important to discard any of the pitted distractions that come to you. Your mind is fresh, meagre, or virginal in this aspect and surely cannot bear the discipline to find awareness if there is the infringement of extenuation. You must craft awareness from the silence of a pocket of space that tolerates no distraction.

Of course, this is only a breaking in – a beginning. And without question, awareness is a discipline that will slowly unravel in the textures of your life. But we begin in the fresh and ample stillness. We cannot be imparted with any ounce of incitation, any expectation, anything at all that would require conscious input. As I have said, you must find your space – a space in which you are calm, in which your mind can find emptiness, no need or expectation.

Once you have found this still space you will not find it so simple to train your mind on the above steps. You must have patience with this practice: return to it every day, really begin to know yourself in and through the stillness. Breathe in and out. Let the emotion drain away. Then empty the mind. This is not an attempt to block or dissuade thought: this is seeing the meaninglessness of thought in that particular moment in which you reside. It has no value, no entertainment, and no purpose. You begin to see the internal voices as shallow and self-serving. They tighten up, come at you again, but as long as you do not give them a value they will recede. This is all an act of discipline, of knowing the self, of knowing what is important to you then and there. In all of this, there will be no need for mental exertion or for the paradox of attempting to block thought by thinking that you do not want thought. It seems complex and yet we all come to this time and again. It is when thought just ceases and things begin to click that you know you are finding yourself. This, even when you are used to the practice, may only last a few seconds. And yet it is a beginning. You have a frame of reference. You know what it means to be still and that is more than can be said for most. Again and again this is enhanced by consistency – return to the process every day. Like exercise, the gains you make will be lost if you succumb to disuse.

When the stillness breaks through you like a fresh churning current you then turn to the senses. You see what is in front of you. You take all of your focus, all of the force, the wall, the lightening of energy and direct it all into what you see. And this is not getting up and looking around. You do not move, you are still, with eyes fixed and gaze slightly lowered (in that your chin should be parallel with the ground but your eyes fixed to about a 45 degree angle). And if you have, to this point, been engaging in this practice with eyes closed, open them so that you can see. See all of the colours, see all of the shapes. Let the vision of the world flood in, become attached, a part of you.

When you are comfortable with this (possibly over a few sessions) move on to the next sense. When in the stillness simply listen. What can you hear around you? All around you there is the quiet sting of silence in your ears. There is the greater draft as sheets of wind billow and fuse without. There are the sounds that prick up in the environment around you – footsteps, voices, human sounds, the sounds of animals, the sound of birdsong. These are the sounds of humanity and of the greater swell of nature blending and churning and always, without question, folding themselves back into the silence.

Again you move on, you feel yourself sitting there. You feel the energy within – warm and soothing. You feel all of the internal, the organic infrastructure of your body. There is the relaxation of the moment that melts into your bones. The warmth spreads and extends to your skin. This is your medium of contact and you can feel all that presses on you, all that delivers to you the truth that is there: that you are held up by this world and that is your connection, not a disconnection.

The opportunity to taste the moment will be dominantly finite and will become more prominent in the next phase, but what is there to be tasted you should explore. There is the soft silk of your mouth. There is the taste of water – cool and clear. There is the taste of any and everything that grants life.

And finally there is smell. You may be burning incense. You may have found a scent that soothes you, that sends tendrils of memory back to recall emotions of warmth. You may have found a scent that settles you and then lets you go, lets the emotion dissipate and all that remains is the stillness. In this way, the incense paves the way for awareness – creates soft and not hard emotions that bring a degree of comfort and then pass, less restlessly, into the stillness.

Once you have honed the senses, allowed yourself to pay homage to them in a conscious way, then you can begin to blend them, become alive to the moment, to all of its intricacies. You can begin to put the pieces of awareness together until the picture fills out. And what you find there is lightness, a joy, and a lack of expectancy. More than anything it is a comfort or some distant redesign of purpose. And that purpose is not in striving, in seeking or becoming; that purpose is in sitting and breathing and in being still. Your purpose is to be still, without reservation, without judgement. Your purpose is the moment in which you find yourself.

What you find beyond the senses, how you experience presence, is entirely singular. We cannot understand or explain: we have only experience. We live in that experience. And what you will find will reflect the reaches of everything. There is no picture to paint; there is no simile or comparison; there is only you in a moment and all that you find in that moment. And all of this begins with regular practice, with the practice of removing distraction, sitting, breathing, and being still.

4. Presence in Movement

This is the goal, the push, the point to which we must come. When you build to that point wherein you have ascertained a degree of fluency in your practice, when you sit into it and taste the clarity and the sensory flood with immediacy, when you become proficient, you will need to expand the process. This is where we are heading: the ability to absorb, to fill the features of your day with the touches of awareness. It takes an immensity of practice. There is no weak or derisory feature left; there is simply the wakefulness of every moment.

In this, you leave the practice of quiet sitting and enter the creases of daylight with that fresh, incombustible awareness still pressed into your body and soul. You engage with your day while still connected to awareness. But it is not distraction – it could not be further from it. Thought is distraction, is absent-mindedness. This is presence and as such you will be acutely aware of everything you do, everything that you could possibly do. There is no emotion that could clot the vessels of engagement. There are no thoughts that could portend to a faded focus. There is the feed of every sense. You see every colour and every shape of the task. You hear every note in the external. You feel yourself entirely and know your rising ability instantly, manipulating the world around you with ease. You taste the moment. You inhale the perfume of the environment that fills your mind with a deeper awareness of the state of things, of the condition and mood of others.

With this level of awareness nothing escapes you. You exist entirely in that moment and the thousands of minute delicacies of that moment which are so often clouded or indiscernible (but vital to full understanding) are openly visible, are plain and clear. All of your focus lies in present moment awareness. It could not exist in any other way. You become highly efficient – singularly focused. There is no need to talk about tired or angry or sad: there is the task. There is the monitoring of your condition and an appropriate response. And in all of this there is no sense of mania – that the countless variations are monitored to the point of mental exhaustion. It is simpler than that. It is stillness that cannot be distorted, that cannot feel surprised because surprise comes from expectation which in turn comes from judgement. There is no judgement, there is just acceptance and existence and everything feels light and unencumbered. It is the mind that overloads the moments and creates distraction. But this is no-mind, all clarity. This is flow in its truest sense that is not dependant on the specifics. What you may have perceived as algorithmic and incomprehensibly dull now becomes awash with immersion and the growing knowledge afforded by such an immersion. It is the water of life that flows through many terrains. But mostly there is joy.

Spiritual joy is not emotional joy. Emotional joy is dependent on conditions that will change. Emotional joy is found through judgement. This is judgement of individual circumstances that, at that moment, are found to be heavily favourable, to have been rendered through the perception of gain. Spiritual joy is less involved with the self concept than that. It has no connection to judgement. It is the joy of seeing, the joy of knowing your life. This is the joy of knowing that the window is there and getting this chance to look through it, getting to work and live and commune with others. This is the joy of being a part of the universe – the greater body of things. There is no moment in which you are cold and alone, you are always a part of it. It might not make much sense now. It is judgement of the mind that can lead you to either respect or enthusiastically reject the proposals of finding this form of immersion.

Why are we here? Maybe we are simply here to see and then crumble. Maybe we begin in this fitful daydream of ignorance and then a pain stirs us. And then we begin to develop the mind. And in developing the mind we tumble through the wreckage and the revolt of experience. We find ourselves following an instinct, a voice that is not quite real – maybe it is imagined. But we trust it somehow. And every experience that tears us apart leads us into this one avenue of thought: “I am experiencing this for a reason; there is a reason that I have found the cold or the warmth of this”. And on you tumble through the heightened patterns of engagement. On you fall. You scrape your knees and cry out in pain. You find the treasure of life. You find fresh and entranced states of love. You find bliss. You find doubt. You worry about regression. You drink, you eat, and you feel. You do this every day. Days become similar. You force a divergence of pattern. Experiences are bathed in recognition – you’ve lived this before. Now mistakes and knowledge gained turn into fluidity – avoiding pitfalls, drinking in possibility no sooner than it arrives. You become powerful; you become wise. You wonder, wonder what it is all for. Feel deluded, feel you have given too much value to material, feel you have not given yourself to others in the way that you should. You extend yourself for them. You feel love, different this time, like a worker who loves his workload. Your mind is cleansed. A lifetime of creating the internal conditions, fumbling through experience to become less attached to your role, even if that is important. You provide symmetry yes, but not impetus for life. You are not entire and you remove yourself from this self-serving conditionality of existence. You become quiet, peaceful inside. You become a well of feeling and that fades. You become an ocean of thoughts with no body, no depth; again that fades. You finally pull into your senses and see them clearly. There is something deeper there behind it all, you can almost see it – but you are struggling too much. You realise it is a practice. You become restful in it. You take it into your days. It does not tire or distract you – it ingratiates you. You become invigorated. You act with care and focus – the same old things, done thousands of times, but you are now renewed. And you continue to push into the blanket of reverie. It isn’t even absolution you are seeking now, it is just that sense of the pace of life, rising and falling like your chest. Rising and falling, breathing – suck in and spill out. The awareness is heightened. Life is there in you and you can see it now; and then a pause, and then a cut, and then joy. Was this what you were meant to see all along? Were we ever meant to see? But that peace is there; you are no longer clamouring. It is a peace that is intermittent. And the acres of thought through which you used to run gradually recede – you let them recede. You dwell in peace longer. It is not an absent mind that regresses from duty: it is activation. You see yourself. You see the reflection of yourself in the window, in the still water. You are a part of it. But also separate. And you love others. And every human shape of desolation reverberates, recognises you, because you knew that desolation too. And this is a journey. But the destination is illusion. The past is illusion. The future is illusion. This is a journey that required you to bleed and to sadden and anger. This is a journey that forced you to crawl and then to fly and then to crawl again. This is a journey that began before you and will continue after you. This is a journey of life that flows into higher forms of life. This is against the grain. This is beyond the suck of entropy. This is the journey of existence. And its highest form is that which can think and grow and contribute, can find its place and give light and reason, can build the capacity for uniform thought and action and can – in funnelling through the chambers of thought and witnessing the basic human struggle – truly understand that it is part of existence but not existence entire. This is simple life that can find the window of presence. And in looking though the window can see its own reflection, can see that it is both separate and inseparable.

Chapter 11

Conscious Evolution

When we reflect on the passage of evolution, we see the inherent latch of natural instigation. Species need to adapt and somewhere in the deepening spaces of genetic formation there sprung into life the imprint – the natural means for adaptation. This happened without the conscious instigation of the species. This was shaped by the need of the body for survival. There was some underlying mechanism. Why, if a species were to die off given the censure of its physical environment, given its weakly or sickly nature, why would that not be an end? Why would it not die and therefore the entire species? How could threat and danger and primarily violence and consumption by the rigours of circumstance proposition a change in the very form of the thing? There was no choice here; there was no conscious decision. There was just something unfathomable that required greater order. The ecosystem as a whole must profit. The conditions of circumstance must behave and engage the animal in such a way as to invoke change. Everything must enhance; there is an incline. And yet we know, without constant input, left to its own device, everything tends towards a greater degree of disorder.

1. The Ecosystem

The first denomination of survival which we will discuss is that of the ecosystem as a whole. We are simply one of its many parts. And as such we serve the whole. If the balance of the ecosystem is toppled the conditions for existence will collapse, no matter how evolved is the species who inhabits such an ecosystem. This has always been the case. Animals have survived to allow this corrugated surface of development to spread. Plants have grown out of the soil and into the sunlight; they have converted the raw materials of existence – water, sunlight and air itself – into food and energy. Species that were alive and virile could feed off of this sustenance but were in turn imparted with the task of spreading the seed of life (unconsciously). The ecosystem depended on it. Locomotion was the job of conscious life – spreading the seed. It was the runner that spread existence – the channel through which life could find fertile soil. In this manner life came to be symbiotic: it depended on other forms for continued existence. The pattern still exists. We generate this pattern in the manner in which we harvest or breed our food. It is more mechanical, possibly crueller, but equally efficient and therefore necessary to support a growing human population. We put nature in a pot or in a cage, support its growth, and then take what we need. Although this may seem, to an extent, morally reprehensible – the mechanistic manner in which we kill and slaughter – we have not yet upset the balance. However, greed and overconsumption will upset that balance if we do not regulate.

But the ecosystem is the parent of life. If we are too brazen or indifferent the conditions will alter and drain away the possibility for survival. Life has been shaped, structured, and informed in this way and the soil of evolution, the canvas of evolution, is the ecosystem. The conditions of life evolve with raw material becoming ever more refined and repurposed. The ecosystem supports the complex strains of development of plant and animal life. But deference must always be paid to that feature that spawned us, that grows around us, that supports evolution of more complex forms of life but only as a secondary concern. The primary concern is that of survival of the ecosystem as a whole which, if not respected, if it comes too close to overwhelming desecration, will in its turn subject us to destruction – will remove the conditions that nourish us and again it will replenish, with all things now returning to the soil of potential from which life can reform.

The point here is that deference must always, always be paid to the conditions of life – to the worldwide ecological balance. We are fundamentally the stuff of our environments. It is the environment, the ecosystem, which first evolves. Its evolution, however, is toward actually manifesting the capacity for the support of more complex forms of life. The species themselves, by measure of the sheer intricacy of their form, have come to exist on an inclining curve. But their actual identity is almost interchangeable. All that is really manifest is their level of ability or intelligence. The constant is the environment. As the species of plant and animal develop, so too does the ecosystem. It becomes more innate and alterable. It must constantly rebalance itself so that its resources are apportioned in such a manner as to instil survival and proliferation. But in all things it is the constant. The conditions of it evolve but the actual body of it must remain intact.

Despite our supremacy, we are still the stuff of the ecosystem. The identity of complex life is interchangeable and primarily there as a result of the ecosystem’s ever increasing capacity to support more complex life. If we cannot align ourselves with the appropriate maintenance and care of that environment from which we are cut and shaped, we will fall into the fallow spaces of existence.

We are not so imperturbable as to define our own existence. It is the conditions around us that do so. We inherent the conditions in which we exist. It is our job to encourage the evolution of the ecosystem, to see it divide and replenish, to build and grow, to see the raw materials of life become ever more refined. In doing this we see that we are tasked, simply, with maintenance. There is one simple plight to which we must continually refer: a recession from greed.

The conditions with which we have been granted fund the continuation of life indefinitely, but the stipulation to which this fact is subject is that they must be drawn on in moderation. They must be appropriately acquisitioned, evenly distributed, and recycled. It is simply greed that will destroy the liveable earth. And greed is so jarringly obvious. Evil is found in the perspective on life: to break certain moral objections that exist within the culture and society to which the individual is bound. Evil is contextual and assessed is relative terms. But in all peoples the complete fallacy of decadence and greed is lit by the same internal perspective. Greed is a universal evil and immediately recognised wherein it is produced. The reason for this is the survival of the planet. The reason for the universal recognition of the evil of greed is for survival of the ecosystem which will support its inhabitants but will punish us for greed and the improper share of its resources.

And we do commit to greed to a degree. This is to furnish an ever increasing comfort for those who have found the drainage points. So there must now exist a balance and a fair apportioning of resources. As long as we move towards such a goal the ecosystem will replenish and renew. It will provide for its messengers, it runners, and the life that sends roots into the soil. In this we must admit that we now have the global network and the ferocity of appetite to step beyond a mark, a point which is acceptable for our ecosystem. That point is the point at which the immorality of greed begins to level internal criticism recognised by humanity as a whole; and this must be brought to bear and then righted. We first recognise greed on a global scale, the voices pick up in the mist and eventually a change is forced by the many in the few of power. This process already exists and can be seen; but never think that raising your voice to this is pointless. It is a beginning that can follow the trails of change.

Beyond that caveat then, the ecosystem, once it is not abused, can evolve. Or more specifically, the species that exist within it can mould the conditions in such a way as to force evolution. It is first a certain availability of visible resources that forces competition and dilutes an overzealous field of consumption. Slowly a change becomes manifest. The conditions of the environment not only support life, but the manner in which they aggregate their fund supports competition. Survival, in its most basic affectation, demands competition. And so competition ensues. There must be continued adaptation to overcome the weapons of survival possessed by another. So, in turn, the individual castes of animal develop and evolve. They do this simply to continue to live in an ever changing world.

The changes specifically are that of the other identities of animal and plant life that will wipe away stores of feed and comfort. In this, there is continued enhancement on an exponential scale. The resources exist but it is the life of the world that funnels them into more highly complex and useful means. So the actual ecosystem – the degree of complexity it possesses and therefore its means for supporting higher forms of life – evolves as the competition between species escalates.

Evolution of the ecosystem can, through the newfound differentiation of its resources and raw materials, meet every possible need and whim of higher levels of life. For it to become differentiated in this way life must exist and it must compete. And as life evolves, so too do the conditions which it inhabits. The condition of life, the ecosystem itself, has not always been this complex: millions of years of evolution have made it so. And what is evolution but an increasing degree of complexity that can achieve greater and greater function. In this, the ecosystem as a whole is the first pillar of evolution around which all things are woven.

2. The Constituents of the Ecosystem

From the above discussion we have assessed the argument that the ecosystem itself is a growing thing. In the way the ecosystem evolves, it mirrors the active evolution of life-forms in general. It grows increasingly complex to meet the needs of dynamic and proliferating species whose growth it in turn demands. It is a symbiotic process but as we are discussing the evolution of inanimate matter it is more algorithmic, more bound by eventuality, and more easily understood. That the raw materials of life could become more various and complex based on manipulation by conscious and unconscious life has a ring of simplicity to it. It is the active constituents of the ecosystem whose evolution is noticeably more confusing.

Again we return to this idea of “how?” We do not need to trace the entire history of evolution to know that one species poured its genetic material into the next and the next and the next. There were countless divergences creating what must have been, at first, subtle differences. As these routes of genetic variation unravelled there came about the endless complexity of variation. Species after species slowly gorging themselves on the fruit of life in myriad ways and manners, and always the genetic soup reflected the means for overcoming the competition and instilling continued survival. This is the food chain. And, of course, there must be a top and a bottom – there must be an apex.

We know that competition, that the need to function and coalescence with the conditions of life, has always been what drives survival. And in turn survival begets evolution. It is again obvious that, because of the ever changing external conditions, that life must adapt or die. Life that can survive feeds its message of survival to its young in order to inform an ever expanding blueprint. In that, survival of the fittest is the mantra of evolution. But when these changes, as they inevitably must, occur at a physiological level – when the countenance, the physical means, the appearance, and the resulting function of the species is fundamentally altered to encourage survival – we must ask “how?” We know why and that is simple. But how did this life-form tap into its genetic base? How were the genes manipulated so that offspring would eventually inherit a chemistry that was entirely unique?

The simple answer that has been developed is, of course, that of natural selection. That natural selection is simply a chaos filter; that there is random oscillation from a preset baseline which is marked by the unique genetic signature. For example, at some point in the life-line of a species there exists a parent group and 3 individual offspring. One of these offspring randomly inherits a genetic advantage in that it may have a slightly longer neck. Given the difficulties of the siblings in reaching the ample food supply presented at the higher reaches (because of their randomly shorter necks) they must fight, compete, and die while the animal that does not need to struggle at the lower levels thrives. It, in turn, has a longer life-span and better opportunity to mate and produce more off-spring. In doing so it passes on (or has the greater opportunity to pass on) its random genetic variation to a greater number of the species which in turn benefit from the same advantage. In this way, evolution must have context. It is the conditions of the environment that encourage one of the random variations from baseline to proliferate. In this, the how is simply random undulations that may eventually incur a genetic advantage in those cases in which resources are limited. When this occurs and there is a funnel of survival, the genetic signature that incurs continued survival will inevitably survive. And in this we find that survival has been attained by that species whose genetic favourability randomly oscillated from a baseline and again randomly fit the circumstances in which it was reared.

We have already reflected on the basic idea that the “why?” of evolution is survival and the “how?” is that of random variation within the genetic blueprint bequeathed by the parent group, wherein this variation better suits the needs of survival. This is the discreet resolution we have proffered but there is certainly a beyond – a framework of advancement in which this is a precursor.

The notion of intelligent design is then reasonable only to the extent to which it is tailored to the worldwide development of environment. It is simply this: that the face of God truly can be seen in all things and at all points. Intelligent design is all around you and has always been. Millions of years of development of the conditions of life have moulded the many variations of the species. When energy came to light up the dense clots of matter it found the need for ever increasing order. There was the vast revenue of raw materials and this turbulent electricity of genesis that waited in everything. How it expressed itself was the diminution of the raw materials of life, the formation of elements, the formation of compounds, and the spark of self-actualised consciousness. Slowly the need for greater variation came in and there was sexuality. This installed a certain dynamism into life. And the need always, always, was to survive. The field of survival surged through the canvas of barren, unconscious existence.

Time passed begrudgingly and the changes began to mould and shape. There was the environment that was infused with an overwhelming swell of plant and animal life. The patterns of life slowly differentiated and the conditions of the game changed. The schism into gender and the brevity of attraction that ensued caused there to be variation. And once points of life know what it means to be alive there will only be one goal that outstrips all others. The suffocating need and the very prominence of that need to survive is obvious. There would be nothing at all without this internal wiring. And so the constituents of the ecosystem push and pull and funnel themselves through the gates of continued existence. There is the need to survive that finds all forms of animate and inanimate matter and directs their behaviour, and there is sex and sexuality which informs random variation around which the mechanism of survival can turn and rotate. As the ecosystem as a whole differentiates, so too do the constituents of that ecosystem. There is some primitive desire, some power that sits gently beneath all things and pushes them on. It has always been present. It is felt in your thoughts. It is felt in the energy you possess, in the physical body you possess. It is felt in the energy of others. It is felt in the timorous, roaming animal life. It is felt in the regal and cuttingly slow growth of plant life. It is there underneath all things. It is the face of all things. It is the environment as a whole. It is the greater expanse, the celestial reverie. There is something, some force of continuation, something that, for want of a more fluent means of description we shall simply call the need for existence and progression. It is the very stuff of which energy and matter are composed. It has always existed. It has shaped itself in a characteristic fashion towards greater order. It has been seen so readily, so amorous and dextrous and pointed in the lives of all peoples and in everything you know. The body of existence, of which you are a part, is seen readily but understood not at all or only dimly. The body of existence is clenched in the vague recesses of an ever sharpening capacity of consciousness.

Open your eyes and you will see its work; it has given you senses enough to be aware. It has given us an ever increasing competency and even mastery. It has beset the many variations and is, in itself, the energy for existence that scales steadily upwards. It is the maker but not in a classical sense. It is existence. And when we look at the development of intelligent life, when we look at the development of the inhabitants of the ecosystem, we see the continuation and the progression. We see all things groping through the angular patches of this framework of existence, always converging on higher levels. And to trace it in our shape is a strange human vanity. We can access the effusive void of creation with measured thought and with periods of quiet repose, but we are no more a part of the symphony of existence than is anything else – the air we breathe, the trees, the plants, the earth. They all survive, they all spread growth, and they are all the internal cogs of existence. It is simply to exist and progress that is our plight – the plight of all things. And through the order of greater and greater plots of matter, we disorganise the energy in our system until it reaches an inevitable finality.

3. The Apex

This is the position of our species and with a degree of pride we resolve to emphasis our status – to be prominent. It is this emphatic and absolute state of dominance that is our abuse and our distraction. It is not just in some, it is in everyone. And it is not that the self-concept exists – it would inevitably find existence – it is that it presses itself too heavily into the corners of thought. It comes to have grandeur and composure that outweighs its value. We are at the apex. We are conscious life most supreme and we are too satisfied with that – with simply resting in place. While the mind of us grows – while the technicality, the technology, the systems of governance and war, culture, art, and the piquancy of exceptional individual ability develops – the consciousness, the universal bleating consciousness that is our primal and most important means stagnates, grows slowly, and then recedes again.

The pain we feel, the terror and the boredom, are the unconscious mind striking a cord in us. It controls everything, harbours everything, and we spend our days enforcing the separation through bad habits. Our conscious mind is happily adrift in a frothing sea of complacent thought. We obsess over the nothingness; we focus on the obliterating glut of what is soon to decay. We fill our heads with mass appeal.

It is still the energy in us that vies for expression and continuation. We cannot be happy if we do not give it life. But now it is an option – a conscious option. Evolution is now a conscious choice. It is still defied or emphasised by the self-same factors that have always under-pinned growth: individual variation and environmental regulation. But the dominating input is now the zeal of the species: the choice of the individual to turn attention inwards and then to follow that path. Evolution has become a conscious choice adopted by the few and ignored by the majority.

To an extent, this has always been the case, however it was the random quivering oscillations that made it so. And there was also the bleak and rapid competition for survival – that species knew in their bones that if they did not follow the internal instinct they would fall entirely. We cannot rely on such a trigger because we are dominant. We do not generally compete in the arena of basic continuation. It has become so common and so shared by a radically escalating species that there is little or no genetic advantage in survival. There is no evolution in it.

There is still the human variation, there still exist the talents and divinely laborious abilities to possess and exploit, but we do not have to resort to this as our forebears did. We can be average because average survives. The vindication of evolution is now elicited by choice and found through heuristic fields of endeavour. But the key here is that evolution is found through heuristic fields of endeavour. It is not the thing itself that is evolution but the actual means through which it was achieved. The spectral fog of destination is never real, it simply keeps you moving forward. Evolution, however, as has always been the case, is found in our physiology. Evolution is found in our circuitry. Evolution is found in the growing body, the feasting mind, and the ever sharpening awareness. Evolution is found in the expression and expansion of means which we have inherited.

This refills us with the basic conception that there is an elemental thriving need of life to simply live and find its path clear to evolution. We feel evolution throbbing through our vasculature; we feel evolution in the deepening tides of desire. It is the same force of evolution that gave weight and sufficiency to the ancient veins of life that spread through the growing world. It is what drives us to eat and love. It is what drives us to experience and to continue to push for further experience. But the uniquely human disease has sprung up out of our heightened capacity, out of our ease and comfort: escapism.

With evolution there are growing pains. While these pains were always out-played by the pressure of extinction, the reality is that that pressure has now been partially removed. And so we must exercise the choice that we possess to find what evolution really means to us. We can flee the growing pains but the internal voice that is the instinct of progression will criticize and condemn until we right our behaviour. Within every mental illness, within every complicated spiritual lassitude, is a timid or angry heart in hiding. Understanding only changes anything if it was an understanding that you were hiding from. It is to take the steps you know you must take that holds the cure.

This is our unique human condition. We reside at the apex of existence and looking forward we can see that the evolution of life no longer contains so much distance. In this, I mean that evolution has invariably been a force that grinded through every living thing and sowed the altered and updated culture of life into the genes of every species. This was again made possible through variation given that genes were shared between the paternal and maternal inputs of existence. And it was also made possible through some underpinning sub-culture of need. This is specifically the need for evolution wherein the escalating conditions of environment would kill off that which could not adapt. This is well worn territory of thought.

The newly found variable, however, is that evolution no longer depends entirely on the corporeal venture of continuation. The threat of extinction is not so ready, lurking in every animated fissure of existence. Instead there is the rapid proliferation of comfort. We can simply exist and continue. Evolution, in a certain respect, is a conscious choice. Certainly there is a need that exists in every person – the same need to evolve that in millennia past was simply expressed as the need to adapt to an environment. But we can repress the need to evolve because it is painful. It is no more than that – not confusing or gaunt or deadening. The threat of it is the threat of the many shades of pain and this is the admission price for evolution. This has always been the case. But we as a species can choose to escape, can choose to blind or deaden our senses and only adapt to that point which is most basic. In terms of evolution, we live a minimalist existence.

Of course, the advances of the species, the more explicit advances certainly carry weight; these are the means of communication, connection, and culture. But when we truly ask ourselves what it means to evolve – the implicit evolution of both the individual and the collective on a vastly more intimate scale – we must admit that these feats are not enough; they are too ephemeral, too disconnected from our gene pool, from our circuitry, and from our basic interpretation and synthesis of real human potential.

4. Evolution of the Body/Mind

From this point I will refer to the interlacing concepts of body/mind as simply the mind. The reason I refer to it in this manner is that I would like to emphasise that the body and mind are interconnected and indivisible. We believe that there is a point at which the mind ends and the body begins. That point is an illusion. There is no separation. The body is simply an expression of the mind – the physical stuff of the mind that is intricately connected and not separated. Its deeds, its plans, and its existence are inseparable from the mind. The body is the extension of the mind – the continuation in physical space.

So we return to the concept of evolution of the mind. In this we turn to the order and fluency of cerebral development. The problem that exists is that of disorder – the chaos of the human mind. We give entire reign to free-form thought for the dominant portion of our lives. The mind is allowed to jump and thump and escalate and recede at will. The voice in our head works on whims, fancies, automatic processes of regulation (or triggers), and the striving for acceptance (that is an evolutionary safeguard). The mind of us becomes meek and fragile: open to any influence and unwilling to undergo the pain of differentiation. The interesting conception here, however, is that this, as in all cases, should be thought of as a choice. The mind is actively on autopilot. And there is a choice to remove the unconscious impetus. We know that we can take steps – pain staking steps – to remove the blocks on function. We know that we can remove the limiter and act of a more paining and exhausting volition. We can retrain our mind to advance, to take the steps we know we must take. We can overwrite conscious thought patterns that are negative and degrading.

The first step of implicit human evolution is simply this: to take active control of the mind more and more. We know what this means. You may be immediately familiar with this concept; there is no rule book needed here – everything else foreshadows this point. You must actively re-programme the mind – remove the basic instincts of it that do not serve. You must consciously monitor your thoughts and change the expression of them – how they feed you, how you are nourished by your own will for action. You must tap into your own mind in an active sense and not just let it repeat the same programme of thought and response.

That is what you have inherited; that is what we have all inherited: the basic instincts of survival and growth that existed in the unconscious mind over millions of years and that promoted and ensured survival and, in that way, evolution. The reality is that they are no longer a beacon of evolution and to feed them actively is to regress to primordial states of consciousness. And you can live your whole life in this state. You can be quite successful: get a job, fill your role, live out the mundane workloads of a trepid existence. I am not deriding that – I am not saying that it is wrong or weak or futile – I am simply saying that controlling your thoughts, beginning to overwrite them when they would take something from you and actively initiating re-enforcing processes of idea and escalation is the path to human development. And anything you have, anything that is positive or valuable, was achieved by doing this. The problem is that you do not do it enough; the problem is that you only develop in the ways that you must to live an acceptable life.

We evolve first at the level of the mind. All of the great and influential accomplishments of humanity were found through overwriting the selfish, ignoble, and utterly small utterances of the free-form mind. And that is what we must do to find evolution: over and over we must infuse our mind with form and control. It is a very slow and (let us not undermine the immensity of the task) very draining process. And you must commit to it without failure or delay each and every day that you are alive. Everything else flows out of this. Every success is simply a success of mental conditioning and nothing more. The badges and ribbons don’t matter; the explicit growth is only ever a symbol of the implied growth of mental control. Only a small fraction of us commit to this as anything other than a passing fancy. Eventually the dissuasions become too much to bear; the torrent of emotion repels us; everything seems out to topple our strut of fundamental internal control. That is the way it should be; in the field of evolution there is always competition and the need to vie for your place. This battle is no longer for food or shelter, this battle is for the mind of you: for regulation despite the fluctuations of an ever-changing environment and always the need to adapt.

If you need a blueprint (which you do not) for this, it is simple: monitor thought, remove negative and assert positive. Beyond that then, the destinations of growth that are built into the subconscious mind (that is the fundamental driving power or force of genesis of all things) will communicate the steps you must take. It is very simple though not at all easy.

Any attempt to confuse or embarrass, any attempt to get you off track in any possible way, is negative thought and nothing more. Always remember that everything is simple if you are willing to grind through the chambers of mental control. It will hurt certainly, there will be failure and upset of every variety, but the need in you – the constant rap of the subconscious desire for expression – is enough to overcome any difficulty.

You, in all likelihood, have begun to think, to monitor, and to become aware. The subconscious mind has found its way through to this – to you. You would not still be reading this if that were not true. The need now is to develop that connection by enforcing mental control, first in little pockets, and then slowly swelling and filling out your days. Every achievement will speak of this; every pronouncement of greatness will simply be the filter of mental control in the real world. Commit to the process and you will achieve that much more than is normal, than you could reasonably expect. And slowly the connection between the conscious and subconscious will open so that you have a greater intelligence, a greater understanding, and an ever sharpening mental capacity at your disposal; however, it must be enforced and acted upon.

That is growth of the mind. It will become the genetic signature of the great. And as the world (that is shaped by such minds) comes to be more complex, more powerful, as the ecosystem and the culture are remoulded in time, the survival of the fittest comes to be this new shape of evolution. The many projects of such a growing mind become the landscape and all else will recede to the point wherein we are forced to interact with the complexity of evolution again. It is no longer absolute; we do not unquestionably need to undergo an evolution of consciousness – we can live a normal kind of life. But look at the world around you and think for a moment. See how the more simple and stable tasks of society, those jobs which are basically that much more algorithmic, are coming to a point wherein there is a capacity for automation. Where there is not expressive human achievement formed within the cathedrals of higher level thought and creativity, there is (and we are afraid to actively express this) the nearing possibility of redundancy. In fact, this is becoming abundantly obvious in the world around us. It is because we are changing our human ecosystem. The conditions are undergoing a shift. Of course, there will be support for those who would not submit to the processes of growth, but they will not thrive. We are entering a new evolutionary funnel. This, I would argue, is the case for the very need and purpose of evolution of consciousness – of higher levels of focus and mental capacity.

In this depiction we see how the world around us is evolving; we see how rapidly the changes are taking root and how deep those roots are set; but what of the mind? What of the individual and collective mind? This is where the focus ought to be placed. There will always be the 5%, the early adopters, those who would focus on change and alteration more rapidly than others. These are the people of power, dominance, and sufficiency. Slowly, like a wave, these changes will fill every corner of the earth. The culture will evolve and vacillate with it and this, in itself, will spread the need for this type of evolution in the many. It is not something to be feared, it will happen slowly as is always the stamp of evolution. Those who adopt internal growth, mental control, and seeking the lines and furrows of displacement – the trails of development along which they must track and hunt – are the individuals who will bequeath, not simply the genetic signature, but the psychological, memetic signature of correct mental structure. Turn to mental control, less free-form and more deliberate, and the steps you can take, must take to adopt your role in the evolutionary bind, will become apparent. There will be years of struggle. There will be hurt and despondency. A solid structure is built slowly on meticulously placed foundations. You will have to spend time with your faith. You will have to face every human doubt and the impacting devolution from herd mentality and acceptance. Does that mean you will be alone? At times yes, there is a lacerating sense of isolation that will seek to break you and probably will at times. But you will find those who match you more delicately, who have something in them that is finding expression. And you can sense this. These are the friendships and relationships that you would search for, should search for.

Give life to what you have inside of you. Scythe through the clutter so that you can see it. Step toward it every day. The external accomplishments are simply a reflection. This is not motivation; this is not a call to action; this is simply a hope that you will realise that you know some of this or all this already. You can feel it in your blood and bones – you have felt it for some time now. Even if the outward projections do not yet exist as they inevitably will, the stirring forms are there on the inside. This is evolution; this is human evolution that is first the mind. You are entering the funnel and can act as an early adopter. In future, this will not or may not be a choice. The mind of us – the collective mind – will evolve. We will reach a critical mass and this will become more common; the mass appeal of slovenly or purposeless behaviour will wither. It is in the distance. And it is not to suffer or to castigate, it is un-mistakenly that which will bring you the most happiness: that you feel you fit your skin, that you are right for life, that you will not abscond from that which you must do, that you will not elect to mentally fray the signal of growth and displace one form of pain for another – evolutionary pain for the pains of ignorance.

Evolution is what has made you; it has always been at work in the individual and the collective. Maybe this is the new route of evolution: cultural evolution imparted by those who would intentionally shape their minds for progression. It is not complex; it is simple but expressly difficult in the same way the need to eat and drink and shelter and mate to the primitive consciousness was simple but, depending on circumstance, expressly difficult. You should not rest. You should not want to rest, to be a cycle of humanity that adds nothing. Listen to yourself and find a way to add. As the changes take place in the few, these few will shape the world and in doing so, maybe unconsciously, they will force the changes they have seen in themselves into the masses. They will penetrate collective thought with their message of evolution. This will be the genetic signature that finds its way through the funnel. This is conscious evolution at the apex. You are at the apex.

5. Evolution of the Spirit

The very idea of evolution of the spirit is somewhat false. The spirit does not need to evolve. The spirit is the energy that exists in all things and causes them to be and to grow. It does not evolve; it is constant. However, the conditions it evokes may evolve or differentiate in their characteristic manner. When we discuss evolution of the spirit what we are really discussing is a sharpening of awareness. There is no more to it than that. The point is so that you can see the truth in all things, so that you can have a certain engagement with immersion. And this does not need to be understood consciously. All words are symbols of meaning. Sub-cultures of meaning are vowed and expressed with words: they are so effusive and innumerable that it can be hard to convey the real subtle lines of what should be experience. Simply, in this case, they are meant as symbols of ignition: that you should take to the process of growing into awareness. You do not do this because you are asked to do it, but because you know in your bones that you could see the reality in all things, but only through the venture of expression and knowing to which you commit yourself. And because it is fundamentally right and good that you should find the world in your eyes, hear it in your ears, smell it, taste it, and touch it – be fundamentally a part of this world and at the same time able to experience it.

If mental control, growth of the mind, is what gives rise to all things, all active patterns of our now conscious human evolution – that explicit growth is the reverberation of implicit growth – then spiritual growth (in this semantic dilution) is simply context. Spiritual growth is seeing these things that you do, these ways that you grow and the importance and paradoxical lack of importance of them. It is seeing how you contribute to the picture but are not the entire picture. Spiritual growth is seeing how everything is infused with the energies of creation that have come to animate you – how the face of God is not a face, it is this and that and everything. You will never understand this in thought – your link to creation – it is something you just have with you and understand without understanding. When you are entirely present with no thought: that is when you understand it. You understand this type of growing awareness in those moments of communion wherein there doesn’t need to be anything other than existence. This is what underlies everything else. And you can contribute in the ways that you must. The body/mind can venture into the channels of evolution as they should – as they are called to do. But you come back to this awareness, this understanding, this repose, and it gives everything a qualifying sense of place. We are stepping into a balance.

The balance is that of the mind which actively strives for greater order, higher levels of thought, processing and synthesis, and the spirit which is simply awareness and which calls everything to greater order.

The spirit is you, is the blood and guts of you, is your heart, and is the heart and mind of those you love. The spirit is what you see when you look out the window, is the dreary or sallow skies, is the melting rain, is the evocative sheaths of electricity that course through the world. It doesn’t need to be understood or thought about: simply be there, where you are now, with no foreshadowing compunctions. This is what we are for: to survive in the visceral sense, to evolve as the world evolves, as the mechanics of a struggling species evolves, as the mind of us evolves, as our cultures evolve, and then to come to a point of impactful awareness – everything seems to lead to this.

Indeed all of the portions of life seem to flow into this – to become aware. It is not all, it is not the only purpose for your life, but it is ineffably in everything – every spoken word or trace of beating life. And when we understand that we have the immensity of joy which is not emotion, which always existed and does not come from us or our snarling thoughts, when we understand that, we can push through the bleak lines of growth. We then come to acknowledge that every moment we live means something – is another opportunity to see and feel. That is the zeal of creation.

And maybe conscious evolution is leading to this very thing, leading us to see ourselves in perspective and be able to actively focus in on the powers that made us and that give us the freedoms of movement and thought in those times when we feel most ashamed. There are times when life will tear you apart and that is true of every growing human. There are times when you will not, cannot, and are not able to hold back the throbbing convulsions, the dissolution and heartbreak. There are times when everything feels wrong and disordered and there is no way up. There are times when you are deathly tired. The beginnings of awareness can be found in those times – can fill those times. You feel that there is a reason to push, a reason to move forward. The force of genesis is still there living in you. The fact that you can see, hear, feel, taste, and smell means that you are still flowing through the rivulets of existence. It is not cold or distant – it is right there in front of you, behind you, and everywhere.

Maybe that is it: that it gives us capacity because when we flush through the channels of growth, carrying with us our delicate psyches, our distortions (our bluntly human distortions) that evolution has created and demanded, maybe the influence of greater existence – a vague interpretation of the maelstrom of origin that is under every stone – is what allows us to continue. Beyond that, it is what changes us, what invokes continuation beyond the unbelievable pain of comprehending a past and a future that may invoke the more cowardly of our impulses. Because we can and actively do understand life, and our vanity quenches the idea of purpose. Purpose for the human mind is omnipotence and eternity; and if that is not our heir, our rite of passage, if we are really so meaningless then why live frugal and be crushed? Why not disorder, mayhem, violence, vitriol, obsession, and the gravel ridden tracks of evil? The reason we do not resort to these various forms of disorder is because we are both mind and spirit, we are mental order and spiritual order, both of which impel and demand collective evolution.

Maybe you are meant to follow the form and plan of evolution and find what that means for you; but in this, as in all things, the meaning is in the overtures, is implied by the events – the seemingly formulaic, the bizarre or exaggerated, the gluttony and the discomfort of altercation. Maybe everything just is. That at times you fall out of yourself and realise there is not possession, no invaluable selection, no great or small: there is just a moment in time that you get to see. Whatever it contains doesn’t matter; whoever you are and how you relate to it doesn’t carry a specific meaning. You don’t idealise the passage into presence. You are just a human, living, firing thing caught up in the ever quietening infinite turmoil. Everything begins and ends in it. And the more you seek the repose of this, the more you can live – be alive truly. These things, these ways that you cut yourself open, are nothing but experience. Yes it is important to feed the entire spectrum of human endeavour, to really live your life the way you need to, and to become a person of intelligence and clarity. It is important to feed your evolution everyday because that is fundamentally you: what you were designed to do as all things were designed to contribute to their own evolution, the collective evolution of their species, and the evolution of life and the incomparably gigantic continuation of all of this; but streaked through everything is the vanquishing spark of spirituality or awareness. God is everything – is you, is me, is in your thoughts right now, is always, and has always been. God is simply a human word, a representation of the underneath of everything. God is concept, is an ideation, a manner of expressing something that really can’t be expressed but exists in everything – is the skin on your bones and the blood in your heart. God is something that can be known most wholly through presence because that is when you are in things entirely – that is when you know God or yourself.

What of evolution then? How is the opening of awareness attracted to this anticipation of growing life? Well it does not serve a specific purpose in this way. We grow into this capacity for awareness and context as the mind of us grows. We come to be able to loosen ourselves from the internal cogitations, the stricture of accomplishments and vanity. We live the human life and the human experience and it slowly opens upon us: that we are here in the immense turning everything. And the times when we were wounded we turned to this. The times when we felt joy we turned to this. The times when we were not battered or broken but felt called into the quiet, disciplined spaces of our days we were called to this – the underneath. It always gave us a reason or a sense of hope. But we realise that it was not something that we were working towards but something we were moving through. It was there invisibly at times and brought us tears or laughter, or it was there in deft and underdone measure at times and we felt lost. But all that was ever true was that we live a life and had these experiences and it was our state, our ability to see and how we worked towards that that was all that ever suffered alteration. It is everything that breathes second by second. When we grow we face the experiences of life and get the chance to see how they touch our awareness and open it up. And evolution spills from this in ways we will never consciously understand. But the more time we spend in ourselves and growing, the more we venture into this awareness, the more the shapes of life seem simple and necessary. And whatever you need to do you will find a way to do it. And what is, what happens, is simply our reality, regardless of our contextual awareness of right or wrong.

You are most simply you. What you decide to feel, how you decide to think may be dug up from the grave of memory. There is no trepidation; there is the frame, the reverie, and the removal of this everlasting caustic indifference. We see something underneath it all and we call it god; we call it the creator or the unknowable and all distraction is Maya or illusion. But maybe everything has a purpose. Maybe we can come to admit that just because these thoughts or feelings about the world around us do not match our colours does not mean that they should be vilified. Maybe all things are the same; all things are brought together by the same undercurrent. There is existence and we evolve and there is something, some universal compounding energy that stimulates all things. And it is our wish to come closer and closer to this at the level of consciousness. But we cannot in the way that we would like. We can only live life as our evolving mind tells us we must, and enter moments of vast deepening presence in the refrains. And always the sense of this makes us abhor destruction, makes us refuse evil, makes our vigour indomitable, and makes us push through every failure. The sense of this gives us reason and life and most love. And we come to find that we do not need to understand in the way we thought we did. We do not need to dominate understanding. It is just almost palpable in the mists of experience, almost immediate, and then closer, and then spilling through the walls and the curtains, and then the veil is lifted just enough. You have the capacity to see but only to the extent that you can handle it and not fall apart. And this is evolution, not capricious chance nor elegant design that outwits even the greatest minds, but simply the energy to live and do what life does: move forward.

Wake up each day and breathe in the air that wants to fill your lungs. Live deliberately, love as you can, and always come back to the measured spaces of silence wherein you don’t think: you simply are and have always been. More and more we move towards this. As a species this is our allotment, our velvet rope collapsing, entrance to the many: not to try to see, not to explain or understand, but simply to be, and to have that right and no other.

A Note from the Author

The purpose in all of this is not to be wrong or right. The purpose of this text is not to attempt to assert a complete or even partially complete understanding of life or our life situations. The entire purpose of this text is contemplation or the beginnings of contemplation. We live our lives in a world in which serious thought is mostly disavowed. We distract ourselves with the popular inferences of culture. We become too absent from the interior where all potential remains. And we follow these dogged routines of ours, never questioning or straining our existence more than we must. At least that was my life.

But the more pain you experience, even if it is the simple pain of disconnection – that others do not understand you fully and you do not want them to – the more it can make you sick. But only a little bit, and then compounding, and then you need a way out of it. You can describe it only in terms of ignorance. We live our lives in states of greater or lesser ignorance. And extreme ignorance bears down on the territory of evil in which our views are so absolute that we must impugn the progress of others. When we feel our own ignorance however, there is the beginning of change. What we want comes into view – who we want to be and how we want to become. And the internal narrative switches gears. We begin to move forward, not simply in the ways that social wisdom or logic dictates, but in the way our own beating heart understands and loves.

The idea of this book, or what was initially never meant as a book but simply as a stream of catharsis that expanded, was to relate those changes in me – in my worldview. And thereby, in the (what will be at times) lonely and desperate explorations of growth, to offer some perspective. This was my experience but it does not belong entirely to me. It was just a means of communication – the continuation of a conversation on human development. Some of the views are esoteric and I relied on repetition in a purposeful manner to slowly ingratiate certain ideas. Mostly I expressed myself in the order of experience and then deeper exploration of those experiences. It was a successive process – writing reflecting life. But at the end of it, all I really wanted was to express a part of who I have become and hope any piece of this mirrors your journey or allows a bit of solace. Or even more than this gets you going or keeps you moving.

It is not an understanding that we need (or an entire understanding), it is a willingness: a willingness to feed effort and struggle into the products of a growing consciousness; to find value in yourself; to work on yourself despite the opinion or inclination of any other; to really love and to let yourself love and be vulnerable. These are the parts of life that I hold in regard and more and more I hope you do to. I want to thank you for being in this with me – for feeling it as I do, in your individual respect.

Acknowledgments

While there are a great many people who have contributed to this book in ways they may not realise, I would like to keep the acknowledgments section simple and brief. To my mother, for always encouraging me in the small and loving ways borne of her own nature; without her this text would not exist. To my father, who was always a strong presence in my life and is undeniably knitted into this text in ways I might not even realise. To my sister, who always puts others before herself; she is the most big-hearted person I know. To my close friends, who continue to set and exceed my environmental standards, and push me to do the same. And lastly to you, the reader: everything I have written, I have written for you and because of you. I am eternally grateful.

A Final Request

If you have read this text, if you are still reading it, then you have done more for me than I could reasonably request and I am so grateful. However, should you permit it, I would like to make one final request. Whatever your opinions on what you have read, I would appreciate it if you could leave a rating or even a short review at the location wherein you purchased/acquired this book. Thank you again, and I wish you all the very best of luck.


My Human Condition

Not your average self-help book. In this guide the author creates a framework for the experiences of life, be they bad or good, which will allow you to boost your productivity, passion and fulfillment. The author discusses topics such as: what it means to live with courage and overcome fear, how to develop love and intimacy in relationships, the source of creativity in our lives, and more. This new understanding will help you to work towards prosperity and be free at last from what is holding you back.

  • ISBN: 9781370707515
  • Author: Charles Bear
  • Published: 2016-11-21 13:35:19
  • Words: 132667
My Human Condition My Human Condition