Depending on how someone handles fear is how humanity can ultimately belong to two groups.
We could also look at anger as a divider, but let’s stick with fear first.
99% of fear is not justifiable… it is not a productive fear.
Productive fear makes you do something to avoid the threat. Unproductive fear perpetuates itself.
The size of the fear and the size of the threat are not in the same dimension… The fear was ‘invented’ years, decades before the situation. A person invented it when the person was little and defenseless. A baby, or at best a toddler.
The fear is about loss. Loss of belonging, loss of attention, loss of love. At that age that loss means loss of life.
So the child reacts their own way… and all those ways carry over to adulthood… even though the ways the child invented to get what was lost never worked. They never got the person what they wanted, belonging, attention, love, regard.
Most children react to the potential loss of their support with fear. Other children react more like a psychopath.
What is a psychopath in this context?
Someone who will lie, pretend, deceive for gain. It’s a strategy. The strategy of vengeance.
None of these are bad people… What they have in common is that they have more attention, more energy on protecting themselves and that they are right than on what makes life enjoyable: producing results. Work.
Some of my story
When I was 18 I wanted to spend time in England. But of course I had no money. I was from a ‘communist’ country. So I worked as a sort of au pair… worked a little for lodging and food… Ironing, cooking, cleaning. The family had a daughter. Later they had a houseguest (who paid) from Germany, about my age, slightly older.
Once I went to visit my old classmate in London, and on my way back I took the wrong train and I got lost… My ‘master’ slapped me.
Later they had another houseguest, a died in the wool communist hater colonel who was retiring from some British colony. I experienced a lot of verbal abuse from him.
A few days before my stay would be over they sent me to the store. On the way back I saw police cars in front of the house. They were searching my room… My hosts accused me of stealing a pocket watch. They sent me packing, even though the watch was found in the colonel’s car… I didn’t steal anything.
I spent decades after that angry, channeling my anger into wanting to steal.
Did I? No, I didn’t need anything, I didn’t want anything… Instead I became a liar and a gossip… Had I measured my psychopath score then, I would have gotten 70%… High.
It took a caring coach 40 years later to wake me up to the ineffectiveness of the strategy… and another decade to completely rid myself of lying and gossiping.
- The fearful is afraid of loss of attention, loss of love, loss of esteem.
Or alternatively they try to earn what they said they didn’t get: attention, love, esteem. And to their surprise they won’t… they can’t.
- The angry is actively avenging the wrong they say was done to them.
When I talk about humanity being wretched…
When Thoreau says: the mass of men live in quiet desperation… we are both talking about the behavior. The behavior that is the result of the unexamined and misunderstood first incident. A child’s decision about life, about themselves, about people. And a sentence they passed on themselves.
The only thing that would REALLY work to remove the quiet desperation is to remove the ‘wrong’ from the original incident(s). Some people, have several incidents.
I have removed the wrong from my incidents to a degree… 91%.
But just because I did it, it doesn’t mean you’ll do it.
So far I have been ineffective at taking my students to that ‘nothing wrong’ place. Why? It seems that giving up the wrong feels like death, death of who you consider yourself to be, your identity. And my students haven’t been able to see, haven’t been willing to see, that they are not their identity.
Identity is the prison that you need to break out of if you want a life you love and live it powerfully. You can see that you have mighty little to say about anything as long as the identity is calling the shot.
How did I do it?
- Interestingly my first prison break had seemingly nothing to do with identity.
Back in 1977 in a moment of clarity I saw that the system of society I lived in was not good for anyone. Not for the people at the bottom, and not for the people on top. In hindsight: a system is part of one’s identity… Just ask those SJW’s… Social Justice Warriors…
I’d just won a national architectural competition, and enough money to buy my first car. And, of course, I gained notoriety… and yet.
I wanted full self-expression… and I felt that the profession limited my self-expression. That is when I decided to defect. It was 1977.
- My second stage of my prison break was in 1985. In a moment of clarity I saw that I said something when I was a child… and that had kept me miserable and in a waiting mode. What I said was ridiculous and horrible, so I laughed and I cried… but I, again, got through another prison wall.
- I had another prison break in 1987… I could see that what I was done to (sexual abuse) was just what happened… but soon I was returned to the prison. It didn’t last.
- I attempted another escape in 1988… and that didn’t even get me over the walls. That was about reclaiming my right to be alive…
- I had another successful escape in 1989: I decided that my customers were supposed to behave like assholes… so when it happened I didn’t get angry, didn’t get hurt… and I didn’t get victimized. I was prepared.
I won’t bore you with the about 20 successful prison breaks… that finally took me to where I am reasonably free to be, where I am able to love my life 70% of the time. Where I am at peace, where I am productive but not overly so, where I enjoy reading and laugh a lot.
There is more work to do for me.
I don’t think I’ll be able to completely free myself… but you know what? 70% is wonderful. Compared to the near zero I used to have.
So what is the technology that is underneath, hidden, in every successful prison break?
If you are afraid of the dogs, if you try to run from them, or force them, or react to the in any way, they’ll stop you.
But if you manage to say: they are supposed to be there. They are supposed to be the way they are… and just walk, they won’t stop you.
Whatever you allow to be, will allow YOU to be.
Why does it take many breaks to get closer to freedom?
When we do the digging for what is at the core, the innermost circle, we also need to go through many different things that you said… and they are still there.
The walls of the circles each have a sentence, some words, that unless you can own that you said that and with saying that you sentenced yourself, like a judge would, for a life of servitude and misery, you can’t get over the wall.
When you fully own that you said those words, when you stop obeying them, or stop resisting what they mean, you essentially take their power away.
That is what allowing is.
If your core sentence is, the tightest prison, ‘I am bad‘ and you can say: I am bad, so what? And do what you haven’t dared doing because you didn’t want to be bad, you step out to the next bigger circle… If you can do it enough time so it’s automatic, then you can stay there…
Then you’ll find what the essence of that circle of hell is… another sentence… maybe ‘I am not smart‘. And if you can embrace ‘I am not smart‘ and own it, and take actions that you haven’t been able or willing to take so people don’t find out that you are not smart enough… And you do it enough times to make it easy and natural, you can stay in the bigger circle. If not, you will go back.
There is no order to the sentences…
in essence you can start at any of your sentences. So much so, that I myself haven’t dealt with my innermost issue: ‘I am not worth keeping‘. It still saddens me… and some of my unproductive behaviors, if I want to be really honest, are fighting that. Overeating, for example.
Every time you get over a prison wall and get to stay outside, your vibration rises… because less of you is involved with your self-concern, and more of you can just look around in the world and see.
I know you’ve hoped that it is an at-once thing… somebody can wipe away your misery. Some energy, some divine intervention.
I wish, I wish… but that is not how it works.
It takes energy to do this work.
In the Starting Point Measurements I measure if you have the energy to do the work. When I find someone who can, I rejoice. It’s rare.
But just because someone has the energy to do the work doesn’t mean they will.
If their self-concern is very strong, they won’t be able to allow it, won’t be able to embrace it. Remember, the self-concern, the sentence is the guard dogs. If you can’t allow them to be, you can’t get through the wall.
You’ll be stuck in your prison. The prison of your own sentence.
This coming Saturday I’ll have the first session of a workshop where we go and attempt to take all the steps of digging, identifying the sentence, and allowing… or not.
If nothing else, you will get an insight about your prison.
Can you live in the prison knowing that you could get out? Of course. In fact you have been. The less you resist your sentence the less miserable you can be.
To completely get out, you need to allow. It is like a rope that the more you fight with it the less freedom of movement you have.
You actually can do anything, albeit slower than a person who is not in chains. What limits your freedom is not the chains, it is you fighting them.
So what if you are stupid…
I have seen hundreds of stupid people who were rich, who were powerful, who lived a good life… so there must be nothing wrong with being stupid. You can do anything…
- So what if you don’t matter to anyone. If you matter to you, then you can do anything. You can have anything. You can be happy. I promise, other people will come around… or not. Who cares?!
- So what if you are bad? Be a badass… and start using your badness for good… you can, unless, of course, you are trying to be good. But who gives a flying fig… really?
Yesterday I watched a pole jumping champion beat his own world record. What? You can’t pole jump? You can’t even jump high enough to reach your high cabinets? So what? Who said only world champions have the right to live. Who set the bar that high? You?! Oh, I see… You are miserable because of what you said: Unless I am blah blah blah, I am nothing… Don’t make me laugh… my ribs hurt… ugh.
Or here is another one, also one of my students’
- You said ‘I can’t have what I want‘ you said. And you have been continuing to want what belongs to other people, what you have no right to want. In reality when you want something, you work towards it. But your ‘I can’t have what I want‘ sentence prevents you from actually working and obtaining what you want. Do you wish the world be different? Good luck with that. Reality is a cruel master… and unless you are willing to be a full blown psychopath, a criminal, you’ll have to obey reality to get what you want.
Stupid as the stupid does.
I guarantee that you will… you will discover exactly that.
Can you be with that? Can you embrace it like you embrace a child?
If yes, maybe you can do the work. No? You can’t? You don’t want to? I am so sorry… you are out.
OK, decision time. There is only room for two more people in the workshop… It starts in a few days. Saturday at 11 am EDT. That is New York Summer time.
Let’s look at the whole work in six hours