Making Conscious Choices

Today our world is changing so fast. It seems almost impossible to keep up. It seems as if our social and cultural environment is evolving so quickly that a year is like a decade used to be. Let’s take all this down to the personal level. If a person is not on his or her toes and ready to move with the changes he is likely to find himself unemployed. Then the person winds up sitting at home blaming the system and wondering what happened. What happened was that that individual made a mistake of assuming that the world was going to continue in the same way, and it didn’t. We can make that mistake in the relationship areas as well. People change. What if your spouse grows in certain ways that you don’t acknowledge? Your marriage will founder. You can’t assume that your relationship is going to stay as it was on your wedding day. And yet if you’re a baby boomer who was brought up with the set of romantic notions prevalent in the 50’s you might be assuming exactly that. On the deepest level you can make the mistake of not acknowledge the changes in your own self. We age and we may not want to see that. But look, aging isn’t all bad. When I talk about reversing the age process, I am talking about undoing unnecessary damage we’ve inflicted on our cells and organ systems, because I believe that suffering premature degenerative disease is bad. But aging as a concept has its good aspects. You can even be improving physically: I know peple who are in better shape in their seventies than they were decades earlier, because they worked at improving their fitness. You have to work with change, as opposed to ignoring it. There is something ridiculous about people its as if they haven’t bothered to open there eyes and ears. People whose eyes are open are always asking questions: Where am I right now? What’s happening out there in the world? What’s ahead, and how do I want to fit in to it? Or not fit in to it? What exactly is my plan and why? Here are some home-related questions and ideas.

Some things in life are permanent. Many are not. Do you acknowledge this?

We like to think that permanency is a big part of our lives. We want constancy, stability, we want out jobs, love relationships, and friendships to last forever. The trouble is, most things in life are not permanent, and change is the norm. So if we try to hold on to something, we usually only create stress. There are people and things in out lives that we most recognize from the beginning are only temporary.  Other things can be maintained on a more permanent basis. Lets look at some important part of life.


There is no such thing as a permanent relationship. Although some people stay with us through our lives, we should not feel that they must. As long as we can enjoy pleasure  and beauty in a relationship, we should maintain it, but once that is no longer  happening, it maybe time to let go. Here is a key question to ask yourself  about any relationship: what would I do differently if permanency wasn’t an assumed part of the relationship?  You would appreciate every moment together. You would honor one another. You would look for the best and you would share it.


As a life force, should be permanent because it is central to life. If love is not a permanent factor everything else becomes transient. When you are filled with love you are in touch with your true nature. You simply see things how they are through love comes reconciliation. Love heals.


People tend to think they are healthy. If they have not been diagnosed with a clinically recognized disease. That’s a mistake, because if you are making unwise lifestyle choices, you could be well on your way to developing a serious condition that just has not reached a crisis stage yet. Sometimes there are not any until it is too late: when it comes to your health you have to be a very savvy traveler.


We look for permanent security and then become dependant on it. Then we start dishonoring our true nature. People afraid to take risks want permanent security. As a result, they will not challenge their inner demons or unjust authorities. Maintaining security is more important. We become prisoners when we seek permanent security.


The first time you look in the mirror and see yourself aging, you don’t accept it. You believe the first wrinkle and first gray hair will go away. It’s a way of denying what is happening. Both men and women suffer angst about their appearance and aging process. Accept your appearance as temporary.


Although you need not feel passionately all the time, it is possible to find passion in everything. You can feel passion as you see some ones face looking through a little bag of belongings, which is all they have in the world. Suddenly you sense injustice in the way we live: some have so little and others have so much. In the moment you feel humility. You realize that you’ve ignored those who have nothing, and complained at not having enough. The passion of the moment connects you to what is real and right about life. Passion is an immediate bridge between the superficiality of our conditioning and the essence of life.


If you grow up insecure, then you are going to look for things that are absolute and provide you with absolute security. In so doing, you will tend not to look at the contradictions and the limitations. Rather, you will accept something because it provides you with a secure place. Insecurely does not become secure because it has found a safe haven. People stagnate went they hold on to security, even as they go through the emotions of growth. These individuals are neither here nor there. They are in a psychic spasm. They are the spiritual people who think they are growing because they experience something. They are the spiritual materialists, people who think they are growing because they experience something. Experience, however, does not equal knowledge or growth. You can go to a million workshops. You can even seat at the feet of Buddha, Christ, or Confucius. Then the experience can be used as a way of growing. Other wise, its just another experience.


Sometimes we make our experiences more important then they should be. Our experiences directly effect our beliefs. Think of how many times we make judgments and form beliefs based on limited experience.


We like to think we wake up each day feeling how we want to feel. This is only partially true. We may adhere to a clean, vegetarian diet but be around emotionally toxic people. We’re taking in pure food, but we’re also ingesting negative thoughts from people. One’s going to undo the benefits of the other. One reason we may be taking in negative thoughts is because our belief system has taught us to be tolerant of other people. We just accept things as they are instead of questioning them. How many things do we do that really make no sense? Realize that you’ve got a choice. Ask yourself, “is it old belief system serving me, or do I create a new reality?” Creating a new reality can be scary. So most people rely upon the old belief system and hence the old pattern of behavior. If your mother was used to dealing with people by just turning them off, the likelihood is that you’ve learned to turn off, too. But you’re not going to acknowledge that she was the reason for this. It will simply be a natural part of your life. Many of these things weren’t traumatizing while we were growing up. You are simply little kids watching our mother and father. We watched how they dealt and adapted. We observe a pattern of behavior. Now we begin as adults to take on the same pattern. Of course as adults, we think that we have created this and this is normal.


You don’t know what it is. You eating right, your exercising, your trying to do everything right, but it just does not fell as if its come together. There seems to be something missing. When we do everything we are though we where supposed to do to gain acceptance and we still don’t feel that we are acceptable, then doing more of the same is not going to make a difference. How may time in life how you repeated patters of behavior only to find yourself right back where you started? How in the word do you expect something to change if the process is never different? If I keep putting the same ingredients in to a recipe and it keeps coming out bad, I have got to change the ingredients. How many times in interpersonal relationships have you gotten angry, and then said something knowing you where going to hurt some one? You knew what to do to get a response. But did you realize that what you were doing was getting the exact kind of response you did not want? At some point your going to have to have the courage to stop everything that you are doing in life and reevaluate the whole life process. That’s not easy for some people. Think of what we have committed to our life process: our education, our knowledge, our acceptance by peers and family, our acquisitions, our homes, our positions in society, our standing.


Change is part of life. When we feel the need for change, we can be in control of it, or we can wait and let circumstances force change upon us. The stress results in disease. Or you feel that you have outgrown your job but remain there instead of moving on. You get fired and are unprepared for a transition. When you procastinate and say, “I’ll make a change later,” you’re saying, in effect, that you do not want to be in control of the changes that occur. You are saying that you will let them happen to you. Isn’t it better to just deal with the moment?


We have 28 million Americans living in gated, well-manicured, guarded communities. Now let’s take a look at life energies. At least 85 percent of people have what I call adaptive supportive energy. They work in the post office, as sanitation workers, and as secretaries. They plow your corn, milk, your cow, and cut your hair. These people are the support system of the world. If they weren’t doing their jobs consistently, society would dissolve into anarchy overnight. I’m suggesting that we put our energies into committing ourselves to something. We should look at one thing that needs changing, and then focus upon that, using our intellect and resources. I’m not saying, “Change the world.” We like to think that we can’t help anybody because there are too many people out there who need help. Why bother at all? But that’s faulty thinking. Without dynamics energies, all systems fail. No business can succeed without a dynamic energy. Don’t just think about yourself. Don’t just ask, “What’s in it for me?” Stop and think in a more integrated way. We want it now; we don’t want to sacrifice. We don’t look at long-term planning. Then we wonder why we’re fat, why we get a heart attack or stroke. These things happen because we look only at immediate satisfaction, at the short term. We keep postponing fundamental changes to integrate our life, to get away from temporary, piecemeal solutions that don’t work. It means that you have to acknowledge what parts are falling away and pull them back into the integrated whole.


Our parents sacrificed everything for us. To give us a future, they gave up alot of theirs. That’s an enormous thing to do for someone. That kind of sacrifice takes alot of love and commitment. In contrast, our generation has sacrificed nothing. We’ve been the greediest bunch in history. We want it now, not tomorrow. So, while our parents didn’t have control over society, they at least had some control over their own lives. They lived well within their means, and they knew how to save. They found their meaning in smaller issues then we did. We tackled the big issues. We started our idealistically. We wanted to share wealth and save the world. But we forgot about that when we started getting rich. Then we didn’t want to give the wealth to the poor. We thought if we could make it, so could they. We forgot about our liberal views and became self-absorbed. At first we had a sense of commitment to greater ideals, but one day we woke up and we didn’t believe in a whole lot. Many people’s idea of freedom was to get high, be promiscuous, and drop out of everything for awhile. We would get angry, but not use our anger constructively. Much of the time we turned it against our own parents. We were insensitive and thoughtless. How do you think they must have felt knowing they did everything they could to raise us by the conventions they respected, only to have us condemn them? “What’s the difference between you hating someone and them hating you? None. Hate’s hate. I wanted to be part of a healing process. So I took a look at all that my family was: the best that it was and the worst that it was. And I saw that what they believed in that it was and the them to feel whole or fragmented came from their families or what they had been taught. They believed in some things that made sense and some that did not. Even many people in the so-called alternative movements of the time weren’t integrated. They would eat vegetarian foods and then do drugs. Nor were they part of the political process. A relatively small percentage of Americans protest against any political situation. At the height of the Vietnam War, for instance, only half a million people were out there protesting. Even many of those who did protest soon went right back into the very society they loathed and became a part of it. So they didn’t learn alot from their experience. They became what they feared. They became their parents, but with an attitude.


Anger starts at the point where the real self gives up its identity and takes on a false identity, the persona, in order to exist. If your father wants you to be a tough little athlete, and you take on the mantle, of your father’s ego, you become terrified inside. You deny your terror and your fear. but there is anger behind those. As you get older, you continue to hold on to that anger. You are living other people’s images of you and losing touch with who you really are. That creates anger.


There comes a time when you’ve got to have some courage, to stand up, to say, “I don’t like what you are. What you are is not nice. You’re a murderer, an anti-Semite, a racist. You represent everything that’s deadly and bad about life. The facts that you mow your lawn and pay your taxes and go to church don;t mean anything. Hitler petted his dog. So what? What are you? It’s what you are and how you manifest it that count.”

We live in a lethal time and it’s becoming more lethal. That’s all the more reason to accelerate your growth. You need to understand the crisis around you so that you don’t become enmeshed in it. It’s easy to become immobilized, demoralized. That’s why I have respect for many people who are self-employed. I don’t usually see them sitting around complaining about how bad things are. Rather, they go out and do something about it. They trust in themselves and their own abilities. You see, i can spend all day blaming everyone else for why something doesn’t work, or I can go out and try to change something to make it work, and make my life work. My life works because I make it. If my life doesn’t work, it’s because I make it not work. I can’t expect to win if I haven’t trained as a champion. How can I expect to live healthy and others that are garbage? When I am honoring what I do, my actions become congruent with my expectations. When what you do is also what you expect, then you have a unity between spiritual self and conscious self. I’m integrated with all life. Therefore, it wouldn’t matter to me if you were a Muslim, or black, or white, or old or young, poor or rich, educated or not. Universalists thinkers are connected to everything. Everyone, everywhere, anyplace, anytime-they are in balance. You can’t shake them. They’re always in the rhythm of life. The universalist thinker is the person who doesn’t engage in artificial conflict and blame. Just remember, when you start to blame, you’ve already taken the lower position.


Ask most people if they want to get healthy and they’ll say, “sure I do. I don’t want heart disease, arthritis, hemorrhoids, depression, cancer. I don’t need that.” Fair enough. But putting a time frame on when they’ll begin to make the necessary changes is another thing. what you say is immaterial if it doesn’t match what you do. What you do tells me who you are. if what you do and what you say are the same, then you’re in balance. But most people say they want to be healthy, yet they do unhealthy things. Well, if you do something that’s immoral, then you’re not moral. If you do something that’s unhealthy, then you’re not healthy. We’ve got to stop deceiving ourselves. Over one third of the American population is chronically ill. And that’s an understatement, because that figure is based on the assumption, which we mentioned earlier, that you’re only ill after you’ve been diagnosed with a classically defined disease. That figure doesn’t take into account the idea that you can be 80 percent unwell before the first symptoms manifest. It may take twenty years for a mammogram. At the time of the diagnosis, then, you’re at the end stage of a healing crisis, not the beginning. In addition, we have another 50 million people-bringing us up to 90 percent of the American population-who have the early stages of disease. These are our youth. Take 100 ten-year-olds at random and you will find that 50 percent of them already have some development of the diseases of old age. they already have the beginings of coronary heart disease, arthritis, or loss of smell, sound, or taste, due to overstimulated lives. Many of today’s children eat junk food at every meal. Many are almost totally sedentary. And they live in an overly excited, toxic environment. That’s why their health is so much worse than the health of those of us who grew up in earlier times. Still, only a small percentage of the American population is making those kinds of changes. Are you part of that group? If you are, you know that you have to work on health as you have to work on disease. They’re both processes based upon the choices we make.


You can listen and just be on information overload and do nothing with the information, or you can do something about your intentions. Breaking old patterns of behavior takes courage. Stop thinking about everything else that’s a distraction. You’ve got to do something, not think about it. We’re a society that overthinks. We’re all waiting for someone to provide us with a perfect answer instead of looking for adequate answers ourselves and then acting. It’s better to act on many ideas that ultimately don’t work then to wait and wait for the one ideal answer to present itself. Perfection does not exist anywhere in the universe; everything is imperfect. For instance, you want to be a part of a pastoral scene in the countryside where people collect wild flowers. Well, they’re probably contracting Lyme disease at the same time. We intentionally blur the difference between what we need to see and what is actually there.


When is the right time to learn? Right now. When do most people learn? Later. What happens between learning and being where you’re at now? What’s in between? Sameness. There’s a fimiliarity with what you know. You don’t know how you’re going to feel about something new. People spend their whole lives trying to guard against uncertainty. We insure ourselves against uncertainty. That’s why we want only certain people in our lives, certain communities to live in. We don’t want people saying anything that makes us feel  uncomfortable. We exclude anyone who challenges us intellectually, emtionally, spiritually, sexually, nutritionally, and ecologically. we’ll give them a name that discredits them, and thus excludes them from the dialogue. I used to do that kind of thing. i was the only person in my home town who held a strike to protest local corruption. I walked right around the high school one day with a little plaque saying this town’s politician are corrupt. After that incident, that seemed to be all people talked about for a year. Sometimes I wonder if any of those people, later in life, said, “Yes, I should have been there, too.” The likelihood is, they’ll spend their lives hiding behind the protective barriers of their conformist belief system, watching corruption, knowing it exists, and denying responsibility. When you really begin to learn, you connect with everything and everyone else. Suddenly a whole window opens up and you see people whom you never knew. It’s very easy in our society not to care about anyone but yourself. We’re conditioned to do that. We’re very moralistic, which I’m absolutely opposed to. I’ve never met a moralistic person who was a humane person. Moralistic people are self-righteous, mean-spirited, condesending, judgemental, and always establishing criteria that even Christ, Buddha, or Mohammed couldn’t meet. Then they condemn you for not meeting these standards! What’s lacking is humanistic value, compassion, sensitivity, and joy. Have you ever met a moralistic person who knows how to laugh?


We must surrender the old in order to let in the new. But many people are too inflexible to understand this. Egotistical people, inparticular, don’t like to surrender. They use control as a way to measure their lives, their values, their worth, their positon, and their power. Look at how many people in positions of power in corporate America and in government refuse to take responsibility for having harmed individuals. You never see a CEO standing up to say, “Yes we did it wrong.” None of that allows you to grow. whenever you’re not willing to surrender, you’re keeping yourself in the same place. You stay fragmented. If you’re fragmented you’re not integrated. If you’re not integrated, you’re not harmonized. without harmony you open yourself up to a chronic conflict and discontent. We must surrender old beliefs and old patterns of behavior. We need to say, “this is how I used to think, act, and be. I’m letting this go.” In effect, this is tantamount to a hero who takes a journey, embraces his fear, dies in the process, comes back, and is reborn with a new sense of awareness, a new sense of life. That’s the process of surrender, and it is in the surrender we gain.


Gary Null, Ph.D.

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