Photo above by Clark Little; http://www.clarklittlephotography.com.

Hi. Thanks for visiting this site; a spiritual blog from a Taoist perspective. This blog is not strictly chronological as past entries are updated as appropriate. If you follow a different tradition, don’t let the Taoism turn you away. All legitimate paths lead to the one source. There are myriad similarities between Taoism and the other major world religions, particularly if you more or less, ignore the intellectual/academic stuff, and the specific beliefs/rituals, and focus on the mystical aspect, or the proper way of relating to God, yourself and the world around you.

The intention of this blog is to share Truth that you may use to align yourbeing with the eternal, living way (God); if that is your intent. There are three, primary levels of spiritual attainment: actualization, enlightenment, and immortality. This blog is intended to help you reach the first two levels. Thus, it is intended to help you effect change in your life, create outcomes that are more satisfying, and deepen your union with the creator. Part of this process is centering and outgrowing ego. I have been engaged with Taoism since 1987 and adopted it as my religion in 2005. I am not an enlightened teacher, I consider myself a student. I advise you to be careful with terms I may use, as many are used in a very specific way with a specific intended meaning. For instance, when I say “mybeing” this is what most people mean when they say “myself.” When I say “myself” I am talking about self, as one of several layers or levels of existence that comprises my complete being, which includes, ego, body and consciousness. I attempt to define these terms as I use them, or refer to previous definitions in other entries, but you may have to jump around to find the meanings/definitions.

I have started a YouTube Channel called TaoistSkater and have begun uploading videos there, which are essentially excerpts from my forthcoming book, much like the content here. Here is the link to the mobile web: http://m.youtube.com/channel/UCLZVZAECzpYtgDJS692jphw

The most recent post in this blog always follows directly below this one and if you are not using a mobile browser, you can find it listed in the upper right of this page at the top of the list of “recent posts.” I apologize in advance for grammatical, spelling and other errors, as I have not been diligent about editing it. I also apologize for occasional lack of diligence when making references and any clumsiness when referring the reader to other posts for terms I have already defined or subjects I’ve already covered. I have not gotten to the point where I am taking this endeavor seriously in terms of the formality of presentation as I would if I were publishing this content in a book, which is ultimately my intention.

If your comment did not make it through my spam filter I apologize. For a long time I did not realize I need to check those comments before deleting them en masse. 98% of the many comments are spam, but it has come to my attention that I have likely deleted many sincere comments and for that I am deeply sorry.

I disclose that I am not an academic Taoist, nor do I fully ascribe to all “orthodox” Taoist teaching, in fact, I am likely to be considered by many as somewhat irreverent. I am laser focused on HOW I can  BE or RELATE to TFB (God), myself, others, and the world around me, so as to realize the divine within and successfully demonstrate that in this life. I want to express TFB or be an energetic valve for TFB through the unique self that is me. Everything else I basically toss out and really don’t care about. I would consider this blog a success if it helps you to deepen your connection to TFB (God) and live a more satisfying life. TFB is how I refer to “God,” which I consider a Truth you can learn about mentally, a Force you cannot avoid willfully, and a Being you can relate to emotionally.

Lastly, I would advise you to consider that you and everyone else in the world, including every other living being (plant or animal) is attempting to “feel good;” to avoid pain and experience pleasure. This is the mechanism from which you cannot escape and motivates your every action. Every single person you know and observe is subject to this mechanism 100% of the time. Nature uses pleasure/pain to govern her creatures (including us on a physical level) and TFB uses it to govern us non-physically. Therefore, deepening your experience (understanding and appreciation) of TFB should (and does) lead to a deep, subtle peace and joy that is unassailable and forever, so long as you chose it. I highly advise you to discover about what accepting and exploring your spirituality holds for you.

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The Power of Joy

Joy is a pivotal factor in spiritual growth and in success in life. Joy is the only motivation that can be counted on in the long term to drive behaviors and achieve success in endeavors. As in all discussions about human beings, one must differentiate SELF and EGO and it is the selfish joy rather than ego-desire or pleasure, that is being described in this post. (Some aspects differentiating self from ego are described In the post, “The Four I’s.”) As you read this and think about it, YOU are EGO. But as you feel pleasure or pain as a result of reading this and thinking about it, YOU are SELF. As the eastern traditions so poignantly teach us, ego is the root cause of all suffering. Ego separates us from God (TFB, or truth force being as these are the three realities of God or ways one can experience God, God is a Truth you can know, a Force you cannot avoid, and a Being you can relate to) and cuts us off from what Catholics call The Holy Spirit and what I call WIND or energy. Please see the video on “Sailing” for further explanation, which can be found on the TaoistSkater YouTube channel.

In any event, if you relate (you as ego) to self and ultimately TFB, in a positive way, you are blessed with energy that has the feeling of joy. The only way to do this is to subordinate yourego to yourSELF and ultimately TFB. This has an aspect of subordinating the external or physical reality of your life to the metaphysical reality or Truth of TFB. What I mean is you begin to see the inside of yourbeing (yourbeing meaning your complete being, which includes Self, Ego, body, and Consciousness- complete post and description will follow eventually) as more significant than what is outside of yourbeing and you begin to see your Self as more significant than yourEGO.

So if you can subordinate yourEGO to yourSELF, you will begin to RELATE and BEHAVE In a manner congruent to SELF and ultimately TFB or “The Way” as described in Taoism. You will begin to create situation-realities that are satisfying and gratifying of SELFish needs and wants. This situation will bring you JOY. This post is about the “power of joy.” Joy is highly significant as nothing else can be counted on to drive long term behaviors.

It was Tony Robbins who first brought a powerful concept into specific relief for me. I believe it was in an interview or a paid advertisement for his books where I saw him say that everything we do is an attempt to feel good. At the time, I did not recognize the significance of his statement, and like so many profound truths, it took years for me to arrive at my own understanding, which is as follows. There is one mechanism that governs all life. Mother nature governs all her creatures with it (including homo sapiens at the physical level), and God (higher power, or the creator) governs homo sapiens (and other species?) with it non-physically or spiritually. This mechanism is utterly inescapable for everyone and affects even the most advanced spiritual beings, such as Jesus Christ or Budha. It is in effect every single moment and is the primary directive governing our behavior. The mechanism is pleasure and pain. We all seek to experience pleasure and seek to avoid pain. Spiritual growth will help you feel good. Specifically, it will help you experience more sublime or higher, spiritual pleasure. God has made it such that a union with God offers a human being the most sublime and profound pleasure we can experience. Ego is what separates us from God, so outgrowing or transcending ego is part of the process. That we all want to feel good, that a union with our creator makes us feel the best we can feel, and that ego prevents this, is the central thesis of my forthcoming book.

Joy is the only thing that can over time, reliably drive behavior. Ultimately the power of joy is the power of your very life force. People say “follow your bliss,” and this is true. If you can find out what you SELFishly enjoy, what your SELFish enthusiasm is, and you follow it, you will find your life unfolds naturally, the way it was intended to. I don’t want to imply there is a master plan, as that gets into fatalistic views and begs the question, “Why go through life anyway?” I will just say that there is a WAY implied in life due to the fact that you are a unique SELF. SELF has an agenda in life. So part of the power of joy is getting into the natural flow of your life rather than fighting it, thus increasing your longevity, or insuring your best longevity.

Another power of joy is the power of sustained effort and achieving lasting success in life. When you’re EGOcentric, you essentially fight The WAY (TFB) as you must use effort and will to produce the behaviors you desire as an EGO. This exhausts our life energy. So you should expect lasting success via sustained, targeted effort, if you can tap into the power of joy. JOY also helps insulate you from EGO desires, like recreational or empty sex, drugs (including alcohol), and other spiritually destructive or even physically dangerous behaviors. When you feel SELFish JOY, you are far less inclined to engage in the pursuit of EGO desires. This will protect you karmically.

Lastly, JOY is it’s own reward. LOVE, PEACE, and JOY are the three greatest blessings we can experience in this life. Obviously, physical health supports all three of these and is also a significant blessing. While JOY is it’s own reward, the power of JOY is in plugging into an energy and WAY that will sustain you in life, insure the success you SELFishly want, including vocational and relationship success, and help insulate you from destructive behaviors. JOY is critical to a spiritual path.

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One powerful thing to remember/ponder

here is something to remember and explore that is very powerful.

Everything you and anyone else does, is an attempt to feel good. Every living thing on this planet (and beyond(?)) is subject to pleasure and pain. This is the context from which we cannot escape. From a spiritual perspective, TFB (TFB = truth, force, being, which is what most people refer to as God) has created this dynamic and uses it to get our attention and to bless us. From a life perspective, nature uses this context to order and govern all her creatures, including us. As people develop themselves spiritually, i.e., increase their awareness, deepen their center, become empty, etc., they are still subject to pleasure and pain, but what changes is the type of pleasure they engage and the way they engage it. One moves from the base pleasures of escape with various recreational drugs and recreational sex and escaping into media and television, to the more mature pleasures of family and intimate loving relationships, to the more sublime pleasure of a deep connection to TFB that is so powerful, that mammon (or things of the world; physical reality) loses it’s meaning and the only pleasure one get’s from the physical world is from teaching/helping others to grow and live spiritually aware lives.

This is not a strictly linear process, and as in so much of spiritual learning, cannot be rationalized perfectly into black and white boxes. However, the process as described is real. What happens as you grow is you become attracted by different things, enjoy things differently, and things that used to attract you become less enjoyable. One way to gauge yours’ or another’s spiritual progress is to ask how one expresses one’s love/intimacy/sexuality with the opposite sex (or same sex in the event one is homosexual).  How one relates to others in this type of intimate relationship is a clear indicator of one’s growth. Are you/they codependent? Are you trying to dominate the other? Are you looking to be dominated? Are you able to give and receive joy/pleasure? Do you support the highest of your lover’s nature? Is your beloved’s well-being greater with you? Do you balance and harmonize with each other energetically? Etc.

When you observe others, or observe yourself, remember all action is an attempt to feel good. Remember, the type of pleasure you’re seeking to enjoy and the type of pain you’re seeking to avoid say a lot about your growth.

Lastly, remember the most significant point of this essay, which is that growth is possible and that spiritual growth will reward you with the most powerful, sublime, and inexhaustible pleasure you can experience. One you never knew existed and one that you’ll want to share with everyone you meet. Growth can be unpleasant and painful, but it does have a payoff. One that cannot be taken away and will last forever.

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A Room

There’s a room you may stumble into. It’s where you are just be-ing, not try-ing, and yet everything is getting done; everything is moving along. Being in the room is somewhat exciting, but only slightly, like maybe the level of excitement you feel when you anticipate going to lunch during the workday. But this excitement is how you feel about life and everything therein. You cannot achieve this room, it’s really not anything you would pursue anyway, yet when you’re in it, you realize it’s significance or value. Ironically, you could not find yourself in it if you weren’t capable of realizing it’s value.

You find yourself in this room after you essentially give-in to TFB (truth force being = what many call, God. I say TFB as God is a truth, a force, and a being. Much more on this in previous posts.) You cannot “try” and give in to TFB, you can only give in. This means, you cannot do it intentionally. A good analogy to this is falling asleep. You cannot force yourself to fall asleep through effort, you fall asleep naturally when you’re tired and you lay down with the intention of going to sleep. You will find that you fall asleep when you let go or when you forget about falling asleep and let your mind wander around. This is similar to meditation. You cannot try and get into some kind of “deep, meditative state.” You can only sit or stand with the intent of meditating. At that point, whatever happens is meditation. This is not to say there is not a quality to your meditation, but you cannot force or effort this quality into being. The difference between falling asleep and going into a meditative state is that you don’t let your mind wander in the latter. Obviously, there are other physiological differences.

But this is all a tangent. Back to the room. You cannot try and get into the room, you find yourself in there, or not. In this room, you are using TFB as your guide and your impetus. Much like the sailing analogy (described fully in previous posts), you use TFB to push you forward in the optimal direction, determined by TFB. This is why you aren’t really doing anything and yet everything is getting done. The dumb thing to do is to make a big deal out of the room or cling to it, as you’re liable to kick yourself out of the room, but this is ok. This is all part of the room. It is wise to just sit in the room and “let the world go by,” although that’s not really what happens as you’re still engaged, just not controlling or trying to control things.

The key to getting into the room is to exhaust yourself of all your egotistical machinations. So you really have to find yourself in there “by the grace of God.” In fact, in fighting with God, you may be closer to the room than someone who is “putting on airs” of spirituality or someone “very religious” who goes to church a lot and donates money or whatever and wears this like a badge, or even someone who does these things and is very self-effacing about it, but wears the self-effacement like a badge. You see? In traditional/historical China, there are people who try to be humble and secretly look down on others who are not humble, or consider themselves advanced due to their humility. All these people might as well be in another galaxy from where the room is, as they are so far from it. It’s better than this to just be sincere and argue and fight with God if that’s what’s in your heart. I tell you, there is no way to read this and deliberately decide to go into the room. You will find yourself there after you cycle through many, (lifetimes of) ego machinations.

Having faith is not something you can try to do either. The faith you feel you have when you’re trying is not true faith. Faith happens to you after you struggle with faith/TFB for a long time. Faith is like a gift from God. Being in the room is having faith. Losing faith is “trying” to do what “you think you should” do, or what you think is “right,” or “moral,” or anything else. I think the only person in the bible who had faith (besides Christ) was Abraham in the Old Testament, as Abraham was ordered to kill his only son for God and followed that order until it was withdrawn. I am not a Bible scholar, so I do not know how many others proved their faith to this degree, but I do know that God will push you to your absolute limits. God will take nothing less than you’re complete surrender, faith and devotion. When people claim to have faith, or if you think you have faith, ask yourself if there is anything you wouldn’t do or give up in order to follow God. If there is, you have no faith. Having faith is complete and total, like being pregnant. A girl cannot be partly pregnant or somewhat pregnant, she either is, or she isn’t. Faith is something you have (or has you) or you don’t. I realize in saying these things, some will think about jihad or other things God supposedly asks people to do or might ask you to do. To this I can only say, God speaks into your heart via your conscience. I use the yejing (I Ching) to pray and communicate with God, but you can hear God speaking to you in your inner voice like a radio station playing faintly in the background. You have to learn to tune into the correct channel. Everything else on the radio is crap, but a lot of it sounds pretty good so you wind up being distracted by the stations. You will eventually learn, when it’s time, to tune into the only one that matters. Anything you hear on this station is the Truth.  The point is that you will not find yourself in the room until you have given up your fight with God, until you cease to live ego-centrically, until you give in. God may test you intensely or push you to your limit before you give in. You may even feel you’re going to “go crazy.”

When you’re in the room, you have let go of your own mind and rationality in favor of TFB’s mind and rationality. You are in a state of not rationalizing through life like it’s a chess game, but sailing through life like a sailor. (See previous post for complete explanation of sailing analogy.) You don’t know ‘where’ you’re going to go, or even ‘who’ you are. You may have ideas about these things, but you don’t attach to them. You are “going with the flow,” taking life “one day at a time,” not attached to the past or future, but “living in the now.” The issue here is, you are comfortable not knowing everything or trying to know everything, or believing you know everything, about yourself and your life and what you’re supposed to do or should do. You’re not rationalizing through life, you’re following TFB.

The best thing to do with this post is to just think about it. Being in the room could only be considered “desirable,” if you’ve essentially given up on all the other things you thought were “desirable.” There is peace and joy in the room. There is energy and love in the room. In fact, an inexhaustible supply. So think about the room and realize there’s another WOB (way of being – mentioned in previous posts and described fully in future post), or way of living, that is 100% different than anything you’ve ever tried or experienced before. Remember, the first step in growth is not a step at all, it’s to STOP stepping. STOP. Stop and ask questions. Then live the questions. This is part of what “you” ego can do to eventually find yourself in the room. If you’re reading this post, it’s likely you have a chance to get in there. Meditation is advisable because it helps you to STOP. It’s your mind that must stop and this is difficult to accomplish without physically stopping.

The room is really quite amazing and bizarre in a wonderful way. Yet, truly, it is nothing to write songs about or make an infomercial about or get on late night TV and try and sell “books and tapes” about. Well, I suppose books and tapes would be ok.🙂

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Joy is my Redemption

I have been working on an upcoming post about the power of joy in a spiritual path.

In the meantime, I am moved to comment about a blessing I’ve received that is kind of a saving grace.

Joy is how you invite God (TFB) to “enter.” You get joy from God, but joy is also a means to invite God “in.” Ultimately, God is energy (God is Truth, Force, Being- explanation in other posts), and the energy you channel, the vibration you give off, will cause a corollary vibration from the universe (and God; or from God, through the universe), so that ultimately, if you generate joy, you are inviting joy via this energetic-vibration reverberation.

I can get angry pretty easy. Very angry. I can also be serious to the point of brooding. When praying tonight, using the yejing (IChing) I was reminded of the lesson in #10, which is in part, that joy is how you invite God in. Joy is significant. Like everything else, it’s not this simple; the Truth is almost always nuanced. However, it is a wonderful blessing to be reminded that joy is an important part of spiritual growth. (Joy is also a result of spiritual growth.)

Please look for an upcoming post, which will give joy a more complete treatment. Thank God for joy.

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one foot in the grave, and the other on a banana peel

My grandmother attended her high school reunion and was joking about guys hitting on her. It was her 40 yr reunion or thereabouts and she was married, so I teased her about why she wasn’t interested in any of the men. She said they all had “one foot in their graves and the other on a banana peel,” which we all found pretty humorous.

In life, if you are a person with spiritual intentions, you must walk around with one foot in the spiritual or metaphysical realm and the other in everyday life or the physical (space-time) realm. Having one foot in the metaphysical realm is like having one foot in the grave. Samurai would contemplate death daily so they would not fear death in combat. They had “already died” in various ways through their contemplations and were prepared to go out honorably at any time. (There’s more to it than this, but that’s beyond the scope of this blog.) Thinking about death can be a healthy endeavor for us too. Embracing our mortality makes life more precious and lends a seriousness to the spiritual aspects of life. Many don’t “get spiritual” until they begin to feel their mortality at old age. The problem with this is there is not as much time left to do spiritual work.

Walking with one foot in the metaphysical realm and the other in the physical can be a tricky endeavor. Sometimes you may focus too much on one or the other, and bouncing back and forth can be painful. Life is meant to be lived. There is nothing we can avoid; everything must be lived through and eventually outgrown. One never outgrows the basic, selfish wants and needs, (there are 2 other posts that explain “selfish” “wants” and “needs”) but one does grow and changes the ways one satisfies and gratifies those wants and needs and may change the magnitude of those wants/needs. One must embrace life fully and be fully present while engaging all the realities in life (see the posts on “realities”), while at the same time, fully embracing the metaphysical realm and the Ttruth there. (Another post defines “Ttruth”) There is a completeness and wholeness in the metaphysical realm that is sublime, peaceful and joyous. Not “happy” (see posts on happiness and “the tao of skate” post), but deeply peaceful and joyous. Leaving this realm and engaging the physical realm can be painful. The Tao Te Ching says “keeping to the main road is easy, but people love to be sidetracked.” Maybe leaving the metaphysical realm at all is a sign that one needs more growth. I realize there is a fine line here that must be drawn and walked. Ultimately, the metaphysical and physical sort-of merge in that one sees the metaphysical in the physical and although one relates to the physical, one never loses sight of the metaphysical. Said another way, one relates to the metaphysical via the physical. “The 10,000 things carry yin and embrace yang.” We can never lose sight of either. My path has involved times where I have had to focus on the physical realm and focused less so on the metaphysical and times when I’ve forgotten the physical as I’ve focused on the metaphysical. So when I describe “bouncing back and forth” as “painful,” it’s very likely this is not ultimately how an enlightened one sees it. I don’t think there are any enlightened ones looking for Truth on this blog (not that it’s not a Truthful blog, it is Truthful) and I also know all of us intending for spiritual growth will likely experience what I am describing here, so the pain of bouncing back and forth is a valid point.

This point comes into specific relief for me in two ways: romantic relationships and jobs. It all comes down to how much meaning it’s appropriate to project or see into these two areas of life. I have legitimate selfish wants/needs for both, but how I gratify/satisfy those wants/needs is the issue and an indication of my level of development. I have had very profound experiences of the completeness and wholeness of a deep connection with TFB (truth-force-being or God, see other posts). One time was so powerful, I realized how Christ must have felt. I may post on this another time, but you simply cannot imagine the utter peace and joy he experienced every moment. It was like being dead and yet alive. Death is so permanent-feeling. When your number is called, you will be surprised how final it is. There is nothing you’ve ever experienced, as FINAL as the call by death. (I know this from a dream, when I died, and that may be the subject of another post) But Christ felt this finality in a very positive, wonderful way. He was utterly, totally, completely, at peace, as if he was dead, and yet he was alive and utterly, totally and completely joyous. There was nothing the EW (external world- see other posts for definition) could offer him. The world held nothing for him. The most he could do was teach and heal. That’s all the meaning he could get. This was all the meaning he wanted, anyway. He was filled with the holy spirit. He felt it from his toes to his lips. Anyway, when you experience this type of profound connection to TFB, you lose interest in things that before were deeply important or meaningful. So I have spent a lot of time, not being concerned for my career or money, or not needing a relationship with a girl, or romantic love. The problem comes when, for whatever reason, I shift gears back into the EW or the physical realm and lose the peace and joy of the metaphysical connection. You see, ultimately, you have to choose one over the other. Most of us choose the physical because we don’t even know there’s a choice. Even if I look for romantic love and find it, I still see it through the lens of the metaphysical. I see it as an opportunity to experience a joyous reality and gift of living, but I also see it as an opportunity for growth. Hopefully I’ve described a little of the pain and ‘trickiness’ of going back and forth between the metaphysical and the physical. I doubt it’s anything anyone can skip over on their path towards enlightenment or realizing the way as Taoists put it. Walking with one foot in the physical and the other in the metaphysical requires one to reconcile these two realms.

So I feel a want/need to do something for money that makes sense and feels right; to engage a vocation rather than just a job. I also feel a want/need to be financially secure, which is something I wasn’t concerned about until a couple years ago. I also love girls and would love a relationship with someone special, which is something I’ve realized isn’t necessary for me to do, in order to grow spiritually, i.e. realize the way and achieve immortality. I could intend to not worry about a vocation or romantic relationship and focus on the metaphysical world and my inner work, but Taoism teaches integration and sublimation as well as non-reification. So long as I feel an authentic (sincere) want/need for a romantic relationship and a vocation, I must (necessity) respond to it. My challenge is I have wavered on feeling a want/need for these things. Sometimes I have and other times I haven’t. I’ve concluded personally, that I must integrate the physical and metaphysical on these two things as the downside risk of ignoring them and hoping when I die that I won’t have any regrets is too great. So long as I know I can complete my spiritual work while engaging these two realities (which I can), I must do so.

Remember that every challenge is a lesson that contains an experience and resultant perceptions/attitudes that change the way you relate and your WOB (way of being- see another post for definition). Remember that ultimately, we are “here” (perceive ourselves as physical) in order to learn to relate to ourselves and the EW and related realities in a certain way, first positively and then via emptiness. Part of growth is changing one’s “worldview” and seeing life as much as an opportunity for growth as it is anything else. There are several main stages to growth which I believe I outlined in another post. If not, leave a comment and I’ll make sure to post them.

It’s very likely that others may not feel this push-pull between the physical and metaphysical as strongly as I have. Notwithstanding their level of development, they still may not feel it as strongly because they may simply be different than me. In my astrological chart, (natal charts and astrology is the subject of another post on “the who context”) I have a lot of conflict or opposing forces. While everyone has some, they may not have as much as me, or as much as I do regarding spirituality. In any event, everyone with spiritual intentions will have to learn to walk in the metaphysical and physical realm and reconcile these two realms. Hopefully, some of this helps.

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operating levels: “when is anyone doing their best?”

I was recently involved in a conversation about someone and whether or not they were “doing their best,” that is, the person I was talking to was convinced the person in question was not doing their best and that this was somehow “bad.” Although “bad” was not terminology used in our discussion, the implication was obvious and I was inclined to share this post.

I believe it was Toni Robbins in his book “Awaken the Giant Within,” who said that “everyone does their best.” He further said that people are like calculators who only make mistakes when they have bad inputs, so if you push 2 + 2 =, you will always get 4, but if you hold down the 3 key while pushing 2 + 2 =, you will get something else.

In my forthcoming book, I have a discussion of what I call “operating levels.” Everyone has 2 operating levels:
1-their comfort operating level, (COL) and
2-their true operating level (TOL).
Their COL represents their current, practical ability at a given time, and their TOL is their potential ability, which can be looked at as God-given, but is also affected by their accumulated growth and karma from past lives. In any event, their TOL is determined at conception (their creative event, or when they were created) and their COL is a function of their TOL and their way of being (WOB).

WOB will be described in detail in an upcoming post on the “what and where-when context,” but essentially, it’s a construct in consciousness, a set of experiences and associated perceptions and attitudes, that affects how people relate to themselves and the world around them. If a person had (-) (negative, destructive) experiences, their WOB is (-). If they had (+) (positive, creative/nurturing) experiences, their WOB is (+). If their WOB is (+), they tend to project (+) energy into the world and at themselves, and if their WOB is (-), they tend to direct (-) energy out into the world and at themselves.

Someone with a (-) WOB has a COL far less than their TOL and a person with a (+) WOB has a COL closer to their TOL or only somewhat less than their TOL. Someone who is “actualized,” as Maslow described, has a COL = TOL. This is someone who is doing their potential best. A person with a COL < TOL is doing their practical best, but not their potential best, i.e. they are not living up to their potential. I have determined that knowledge and will, which are a function of ego, are not enough to determine behavior consistently over time. A person’s WOB (interpreted loosely as their experiences) is a far more reliable predictor of behavior over time. (See the post on the difference between knowledge and experience.) Of course, we are all unique at the selfish level (selfish means “of the self,” not “someone who doesn’t share”) and this uniqueness affects our behavior too.

The point is that most of us are doing our best (practical or COL) and not doing our best (potential or TOL). In order to engage our TOL and do our potential best, we must engage the growth process. This involves 1-being still inside and aware, (ego still and aware) 2-asking the right questions, and 3-living the questions until the answers present themselves, and we will 4-automatically behave accordingly. Behaving accordingly may involve slight application of ego (ego being active). Ego is part awareness and part will. (See full description in upcoming post on what, where, when context.) This slight application of ego involves ego 1-practicing awareness and stillness, and asking questions, and 2-focusing on habit and necessity. Practicing awareness and stillness is practicing watching what is going on inside and outside, while not judge-attaching to any realities. (There will be a more complete explanation in the what, where, when post.) This means being fully aware of one’s thoughts, feelings and impulses and what energies are affecting one, while not being attached to outcomes, or judging things as “good” or “bad.” Focusing on habit and necessity is realizing that these two things are major drivers of behavior and watching them and gently pushing to create (+) habits while gently pushing to resolve what’s necessary for you, but in a (+) fashion. Necessity is essentially our subjugation to pleasure and pain on a few levels and how this affects our behavior. We seek pleasure and seek to avoid pain. This is quite simple, but there are a few levels to our being and different types of pleasure and pain on these levels. There are other posts that explain this further, but necessity is primarily determined by selfish wants and needs, (described in another post) and physiological impulses like: 1-maintaining a constant body temperature within a specific range, 2-sexual release, 3-food, and 4-sleep.

So ego (awareness and will) has a role, which is to push gently towards (+) habits and the resolution of necessity in a (+) way. This means “you” (ego) “have to try” in some form. You have to be engaged in life. On one hand, you don’t let go completely as if you were a ping-pong ball, bouncing around through life. On the other hand, you don’t (can’t) control everything as if you were playing a game of chess, where you know all the factors and are rationally directing the outcome. This is a fairly tricky concept to grasp. I can hint around at it. The best analogy I can derive is that of sailing. Ego’s role is akin to a sailor. A sailor learns to use the sails, how to rig them, how to use the rudder, and most importantly, how to use the wind, currents and weather. The sailor must be very skilled if he wants to come back from the sea safely. But he cannot control the wind, currents or weather. These he must learn about and follow. For the sake of this analogy, let’s assume God is the wind, and currents, and let’s also say the sailor must do his best to go where the wind takes him (where God guides him). So on the one hand, there is something “you” (ego) must do, and on the other hand, there are things you are unable to do. Further, if you try and do the wrong things, or relate in the wrong way, you will create immediate and/or future difficulty and pain for yourself. There is an aspect of faith involved here. In another post, (meaning of life) I outlined my ideas as to why we are “here” or what the meaning of life is. If you read that, you may see that God would never allow us to “prove” his/her/it’s existence scientifically, but would always require a choice to have faith in him/her/it. This faith is a requirement for anyone who intends to attain enlightenment, or outgrow ego. The faith aspect of this discussion applies here because to follow God, that is, to refrain from taking control rationally of your life as if you’re playing a chess game, requires faith, or a confidence in God’s guidance. (Faith will be more fully defined in an upcoming post. Faith differs from belief.) Faith also implies an openness, to where God directs you or what God implores you to do. God can be found beyond the edges of the universe (or multiverse?) and can be found in the deepest recesses of your heart. (Further discussion on this in the what, where-when context post) So being faithful or open to God’s guidance is very similar to listening to your heart and being open to whatever is in your heart or where your heart guides you.

Ego gently pushing or “trying” is largely only effective when someone already has perceptions and attitudes that support the “desired” behavior. For instance; if someone really wants to lose weight and believes they can, and accepts themselves as they are, and doesn’t have any perceptions/attitudes that support them being overweight, then they can use the application of ego to break certain habits that support overweight-ness and instill others that support leanness. However, their ego will be useless to overcome the perceptions/attitudes that support obesity. Often times, obese people have invested in the obesity and believe it’s who they are to some degree. They may feel and think they don’t deserve or aren’t capable of, success or friends or whatever meaning they assign to being lean. They may have a very low perception/attitude of their worth, and/or perceive that food and eating is a primary way of feeling good about themselves. There may be any number of experiences they had when they were in developmental years and supporting ones after that, which created this relationship with food and a self image that includes them being obese. This person will not benefit from “willfully trying to change habits,” in fact, this may make them feel worse as they fail once more. They need much more work. They must go much deeper. Knowledge and will can help engage specific behaviors, but only when other, more significant things are already present.

So, it may be beneficial to realize that when you see someone behaving in a way that is destructive to them, they may see mentally what they’re doing wrong, but they are incapable of changing their behavior solely with that knowledge and the application of their will. When any of us behave, our behavior does not occur by accident or in a vaccum. It occurs due to perceptions and attitudes we hold in conciousness (our heart-mind), which are there due to experiences we had during our developmental years (conception to adolescence).

This subject deserves a fuller treatment, but the main point is that 1-most people are not practically capable of living up to their potential, and that 2-a person’s behavior is not a function of knowledge and will, it is a function of a complex process that begins with life energy coming from God, which is then given a unique spin at the selfish level (selfish=of the self; self is what others refer to as spirit or soul), then travels through consciousness via a construct called a WOB, and then is accordingly reflected back by ego and projected out by ego. Self has wants and needs, (explained in another post, but a want is an impulse towards pleasure and a need is an impulse away from pain) and these wants/needs create necessities or “must have’s” or “must do’s” which influence the flow of the aforementioned energy. (Self is what experiences pleasure and pain.) To expect ego (awareness and will) to force a behavior consistently over time is unrealistic. Only the most superficial behaviors can be reliably produced this way. Truly, most of us don’t realize that we do what we do, largely because of experiences we’ve had, and due to the corresponding perceptions and attitudes we hold.

For example, I had a motorcycle that I used to love to zip around on. People told me it was dangerous and I “knew” that, but I was enjoying it too much to stop and my perception was that I was a decent driver and my attitude was that I felt safe. One day, I crested a hill on a country road and a row of cars went by and I felt the force of the air pressure as they went by. It occurred to me that if they crossed the line, I would be road pizza and this was enough for me. I never rode the bike again and sold it several weeks later. I realized it didn’t matter how good a driver I was; someone could kill me by doing something stupid. If you told me before, “it’s dangerous, you shouldn’t ride,” that would not have been enough for me to stop. But as soon as I had an experience, with the corresponding perceptions and attitudes, my behavior reflected this.

As a matter of growth, what to do with the information in this post is to: 1-realize your potential is not limitless, but you probably aren’t living up to it, 2-engage the growth process and you may find an untapped reservoir of energy and motivation, and find yourself behaving in new ways that are more satisfying and gratifying (Needs are satisfied; wants are gratified.) as you bring COL closer to TOL, and 3-also realize that other people’s behavior is not as simple as them “knowing what they should do” and “doing it.”

I believe when your COL = TOL, this is supremely satisfying/gratifying; this is what Maslow called “self actualization.” You may find you’re not outstanding in certain areas (impossible to be so in all areas), but you will not be bothered by this.

Clearly, this post can be expanded upon, and maybe I will later. Some expansion will happen in the upcoming post on the “what, where-when context.” I hope this makes some sense, and apologize for the lack of any editing. I do these posts on my blackberry. Thanks for reading; I welcome comments.

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