keskiviikko 17. syyskuuta 2014

Day 621 - War mode and my inability to relax

I've been on my "war mode" because I've felt that if I don't give everything I have my environment will destabilize and collapse (check this post for more details). This was an understandable misunderstanding as a child -- taking into consideration my history -- but it doesn't make sense now that I am a self-sufficient adult. Still, unfortunately, it stuck with me far into my adult years. 

This fear -- the deeply rooted drive to give my everything to "have my life work" -- made me push myself quite a bit, and it did have it's perks. You get recognition, you achieve, you become competent and you become self-disciplined. The problem came when who I defined myself, and what is meaningful, through these moments. It was here that I started to run more and more after winning and achievements (in hindsight with quite unproductive activities). As I did this I lost more and more of my appreciation towards the simple peace of the moment that is here. Everything had to be something big and special and, as a result, I became restless and frustrated whenever I didn't have anything to do -- and I felt weak and useless when enough time had passed without me "winning any battles". 

I didn't really see the problem with this before I got into a committed relationships where -- as an inevitability of spending a lot of time with someone -- all moments simply cannot be all razzle and dazzle. When I wasn't in a relationship and I had nothing to do I used to play games where I could still compete. Now in the relationship -- when I often had nothing to stimulate myself with -- I noticed that I just didn't know how to relax with another.

Here instead of facing this point and practicing how to let myself just be, I went into fascinating justifications to not face this point. I mean, after years of thriving to "give my best" I've grown to see myself as a competent guy. Instead of simply then doing well with what I put my mind into, I also took this point into ego thinking that I am somehow better. So when I faced moments where I should have only relaxed but couldn't, and where I thus went into that restlessness and frustration (an experience that didn't fit well with my self-definition of competence), I started to think that the circumstances were "holding me back". It took me quite a while to look at the situation from other perspectives than just mine, and I came to realize that I REALLY need to practice this point of stability. I realized that first and foremost it was hurting me to keep myself constantly "on the edge". Secondly I realized that if I'd become a dad without being able to sit on my ass for 5 minutes without getting restless and frustrated, I wouldn't be able to create a stable environment for my kid. And who knows, maybe he'll grow up to be just like me...

More points to come, and, SF & Commits to come about the points that have opened.


maanantai 15. syyskuuta 2014

NOTE: on the "restart"

Yesteday I "restarted my process" of self-change. Well, I talked to some people and I realized that this isn't practically necessary. Everything that I've done up to this point still hold relevance and it is important to let my path show to portray it accurately.

I'll thereby reopen my old posts, but, because blogger is all fun and games, I will have to publish them back all at once. Then the posts will again be there, in order but as if all would have been published on the same day.

I'll have to sort out the actual posts from all the stuff that I've written but never published. I will thus take the opportunity and write tags into my posts -- something that I never did -- because now in order to get them up again I will have to go through them one by one anyway.

I'll re-publish when this is done.

Day 620 - War mode and my sense of obligation

It is very fascinating how a mode of life isn't something that "is just who I am", even though it may appear like that. In reality, when taking into consideration that none of our current qualities of personality or mode of life are present in us as children, everything we are -- as these personalities and modes of life -- is created as our minds develop and structure throughout our lives. They are structures that we create, not realities such as whether or not you have a full head of hair. Just because one has forgotten, or is unaware of, how one became who they are it doesn't matter that it wasn't a process making the quality observed and "integral part" of the person -- something often described with the words "well, it is just who they are", but which is in reality what we accept and allow ourselves to live out.

What then was my mode of life? Obligation. For as long as I can remember I've felt an obligation to carry responsibility for others and, as an evolutionary step, my "sphere of obligation" grew as I begun to understand more about my world. I am not in anyway saying that carrying responsibility for others and for one's world is a bad thing, I actually happen to think the contrary. What I am talking about is how I felt that I was responsible for everything -- to be more specific, how I felt alone with my responsibility.

My own path of becoming a "warrior for life" -- a guy who tries to carry as much as possible by giving myself up -- begun very early. I can say this because I've found the elements of conflict (the origin point) and/or trying to resolve the conflicts/situations (my reaction to the initial point) from the earliest memories that I can find -- apart from a memory that I have from being a baby where I was in a bath and really enjoying simply sitting in the water.

It was from here that I started to view my surroundings as conflict-prone and as unstable. Initially this created fear because I saw quite clearly how my existence was dependent on others. As a child I didn't really have the conflicts in me, even though I had the fear, and thus I concluded that I'd have to do what I can to keep everything stable and my "support-net" intact.

From this early point in my life I've tried to help others. The problem was that I didn't really understand how everything worked -- why people got emotional, why things failed, why people got into conflict with each other, etc. I was unable to asses what I could actually direct and what could I simply support another to solve. I thought that I had to try my best with everything, and often times I saw myself as a failure if I failed -- even if I would have tried to direct something that I in fact couldn't.

Since then I've "tried my best" without knowing what is possible, and I never really stopped to consider the problem in this. I mean, would it be reasonable to try and throw a rock to the moon and become devastated every time you couldn't succeed? Many of my goals were reasonable but, especially when it came to the social world, I tried things that one really can't do -- like fixing/trying to change for another.

The fact that I didn't sort out this point caused a lot of consequences in my life. I created a lot of failure by thinking that it was up to my effort alone (not directly but implicitly) whether or not things succeeded, and this is where my mind came in -- the story that I tell about myself and my life. Instead of really investigating what is possible, I went into judgment and self-judgment. Every failure (instead of being investigated) was either my fault or the fault of someone else. I never saw the misconception of what is possible within my action or the action of others, just falling short. And this made me try to throw that rock onto the surface of the moon even harder.

How situations are justified compress and compound into the story of my life which acts as the foundation for my ego. When I put so much effort in throwing rocks on the moon I inevitably saw how others weren't really trying so hard. Perhaps it was because they thought they couldn't or because they were afraid to fail -- but hey, look at me, I am doing it even though I fail! In any case (and without investigating the possibility that maybe some don't try because it is impossible) I saw others as somehow "less than" me because they didn't even try. I ended up comparing myself to others quite a bit to "make it OK" how I seemed to "have to put so much effort in" in spite of the fact that I faced a lot of adversity. I felt like I "had to" because I originally started to put in effort because I thought I have to -- because otherwise I feared that the instability of my environment would make my life a living hell.

By putting a lot of effort in, I quickly progressed in things that I did. Unfortunately before I got to try out my perseverance in schoolwork I started to face bullying. This was initially by a teacher (by other kids only much later) and this made me take an ego stance towards education. I wanted to learn everything myself and excel so that I wouldn't need school. I did this in spite because I felt very unwelcome -- to turn a phrase, I did it out of spite. But little did I know that what I was in fact doing within myself was to stop leaning on the support that is here in the world for me. Initially with my parents when deciding to help them instead of being helped, and now with the institution that I saw to be here to prepare me for life (school). At that stage I didn't know about the work life or volunteer work, but in time I defined them through my initial stance towards school (just like I defined my stance towards school through my initial stance towards my home life).

I took all of these events pretty hard and for a long time I was adrift. I played a lot of games and spent my time in other nonsense (things that didn't really get me anywhere in life). Though even within games I lived out my sense of obligation. I played team-based games and I usually rose to some position of responsibility -- such as a tactician or a squad leader. Here I took responsibility for how others played. This made me feel a lot of frustration that I took on myself and onto others. When the team failed I blamed myself and usually someone else. I expressed dissatisfaction towards myself and others, and I used both to define myself as "better" (a force to drive me forward) through others and myself as being "not enough" (the goal where to go) by directly judging myself. This inner-conflict stuck with me for a long time, and as a result, I feel that very little that I do is "good enough", that the norm is that people don't give a fuck and that if something is to succeed me, or someone like me, needs to take a leadership position and to "keep others motivated, in check and awake/focused".

This judgment and self-judgment also had an interesting impact on my social life. As a result of how I allowed myself to approach things I saw myself to hold more obligations than others and I saw myself as worthless (as a result of the self-criticism and self-judgment). This meant that I would really have to "go out of my" in social situations because: a) it was my responsibility, or the responsibility of someone like me, to take charge of a situation as someone who is "more able" because no one else will (yea, and I never checked whether or not we have to throw rocks onto the moon in the first place); and b) because I am "worthless" and always falling short, I will have to give something to others to "give them a reason to like me". This drove me to isolation, and I do not necessarily mean physical isolation. Even when I was with others I was so "locked into" the way I saw things that even if there would have been a sign that I really didn't have to "go out of my way" or that "it was OK to relax and be me", I probably would have missed it.

On the surface I appeared to be doing things that are quite alright. I was moving social situations forward, taking charge when it was required and letting myself show instead of hiding myself. The problem was that I didn't really explore the points that I was dealing with, but trying to superimpose my way of doing things in relation to how I thought things to be. A good example of this can be found in my attempts to motivate a team in a game. I didn't realize that many played after a long day at school  / work, and thus they wanted to just relax. They didn't necessarily want to take it all seriously and put everything in, and thus when I thought that they were idiots or untalented, I was way off in my assessment. Here I never realized how wrong of a tool direct confrontation was. Here pride, the certainty that my view of things was correct, made me stick to trying to do the right thing, in the wrong place and for the wrong reasons.

As I learned more and more about my world, I started to feel more and more obligated to "climb the ladder" and to "make a change". The problem was that from the perspective of my ego I saw that not many people would answer the same calling, and thus only a few direct things in this world. The world is big, and thus the few must be big as well, and thus, this is what I'd have to become. I'd have to do everything on my own and I would have to succeed or otherwise my environment would become stable in a way that would make life a living hell. Another cycle of what I've lived out all my life, and, as before, I didn't approach the task as a real and practical exploration of how things work to determine what to do -- I went into competition with others to rise as high as I can so that I can carry the responsibility for as much as possible and for as many as possible.

I find it very very very interesting how starting points -- or ways of approach -- can move with a person in this way. And I am very very very glad that I realized this point. It is an opportunity to really start investigating myself, others and the world I live in, so that I can stop throwing those rocks on the moon and focus on things that I can really achieve.

Writing / study music for ya'll!

lauantai 13. syyskuuta 2014

Day 619 - Restarting a very fundamental starting point

I've come to the end of a road. It is funny how doing the right thing for the wrong reasons will do that -- how the original starting point you embarked on a journey with will be with you, in you, each step of the way, reminding of itself and molding everything in its own image.

What journey?

Five years back I embarked on a journey to make the world a better place. I started to follow this idealistic vision without considering who I was, how I allowed myself to be and how I believed and perceive that I'd reach my goal.

What starting point?

A year after this I wrote the following rhymes into a song: "The universe is calling, to the species that is falling. Which fights the 'evil' it creates, in a war to be 'God' that locks the Heavens gates and creates a hell -- where every soul is a commodity to sell". I ultimately ended up going into war with exactly this 'evil' and in the process I became part of the problem instead of being part of the solution.

Why war; what is the alternative to war?

To give context I would like to make a quote:
I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor. That’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone - if possible - Jew, Gentile - black man - white. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness - not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way. 
Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical. Our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost...

Charlie Chaplin - The Great Dictator's Speech.

The mistake that I did all those years ago was to think that many, if not most, were incapable of change. And in this I made the mistake so common that I had to dig deep into our literature to even find an alternative: I assumed that the world was this hell due to the nature of man, a situation that could only be fixed by force -- that the only way for change is thus to, in essence, "save people from themselves".

And so I went into war with the world to fix the world without realizing that I derived the premise, from which this seemed like a good idea, from my own inability to change -- from how firm I held on to my own idea about myself. I didn't realize that to understand change, I'd have to change, or that, without challenging the doctrine that the nature of man is immutable, I could only pursue change through force.

In these past five years I've looked at change, even managed to change, but I never changed my starting point -- my declaration of war -- and thus I failed to realize that I was living a life where I took on the ultimate task of "fixing the world" while ignoring, and even opposing, who I was building a new world for: myself, my fellow human beings and our children to come.

I justified my "path" with pride and judged anyone who dared to oppose my view -- after all my cause was "just". I failed to change my view even in the face of signs that everything wasn't OK -- for instance the harm I was doing to myself and others. For the most part this was because I didn't meet that many people, and when it came to me I was willing to ignore the harm I was doing to myself within pushing myself to excel.

It was only later -- when I had heard and understood the concept of "being the change you want to see in the world" and after I had considered having a child -- that I realized how my strict "going to war"-attitude would have devastated my offspring, the children who comes into this world full of expectation and wonder, really expecting the best of possible worlds. If I'd allow who I am to imprint into a child, in the absolute best-case scenario, I would recruit a new soldier to this never ending war we call our world (instead of immobilizing him/her completely). It was here that I realized how my ends justified my means; how I was fighting for peace and thus creating more conflict and war. I realized how little even I enjoyed living this out and how what I lived out could thus never be the state towards which I'd want the world and others to go.

It was around these realizations (fairly recently) that my world started to fall apart -- or more precisely my old way of looking at the world started to fall apart -- and from the debris came a new realization. There will be no war that will solve our situation, no singular challenge that will hold as its reward the awakening of man into the simple truths of our existence -- to the fact that "the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone" and that every reason to break the equilibrium of "we want to live by each other’s happiness - not by each other’s misery" is an excuse, an additional justification in this "never ending (horror) story" that we do not in fact have to live. Change won't come through the barrel of a gun, by separation, by opposition or by the actions of a single individual but through the self-realization of everyone. This is a "war" that isn't fought with weapons but within each one's own mind and over the generations. A conflict in which we as a species have already come a long way! Yet time is running out and the next step on this path is a more direct approach: to speak when things need to be said, to stick to how things actually are when faced with lies, to exercise humanity in the face of competition, to be the first to apologize, to lend a hand, to lend an ear, to be real, to be physical, to stop the charade and to be honest. Power might be derived from lies and appearances today but people age, ideas are forgotten, buildings collapse AND, if there indeed is any humanity left in us, we can change our minds and our ways. In this I believe that common sense, self-honesty and truth -- the grand context of the physical reality, what is real and who we are as real beings (beneath these charades) -- will prevail over greed and the inability to distinguish fact from fiction. 

So this is me burying my sword and starting over - this time for real - my process of self-change. I commit myself to do this within the realization that who I accept and allow myself to be is what I give to the world, whether that'd be as a guy flipping burgers at McDonald's or as a CEO of a multinational. I commit myself to do this process within the realization that we are all people, and thus, that we are all equal in life -- and that this involves me too. I've come to realize that humanity is what the world we live in grows out of, and thus, I cannot ignore who I am and what I give into the world through this just because I have a "just cause". But instead I actually must be -- really BE -- the change I want to see in the world.