Lay Down Your Shields – Happiness is Vulnerability

on April 6 | in Affirmations, Individual Improvement | by | with Comments Off on Lay Down Your Shields – Happiness is Vulnerability

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In a lot of three-dimensional games, usually at the top right corner of the screen, there’s a little map to help you understand where you are in relation to your goal and to help you know where you’ve already been. Usually, those little maps have icons to indicate danger and loot. Your ego is a tool with the same ultimate purpose, and that’s both good for success and bad for happiness. Success isn’t happiness, while happiness is vulnerability.

Planning, comparing, interpreting, choosing, and fulfilling are all purposes of our ego maps. These purposes are about recognizing objects and patterns so that we can work with them to gain security and stability. They are your relationships to the world and the duality of the ego self in a landscape of space or time. When we isolate the pieces of the game board, we can see how they can be moved and ultimately how the game can be won.

Ego is a military advantage.

Our understanding of the game rules are the filters we use to plot our moves. The roles and expectations we give our pieces underly our standard reactions. These filters and routines are the very programming of life- programming that we give ourselves as our most basic human advantage. Humans are not the strongest or the fastest on this planet, but in our mental constructions and automatization we have a significant military advantage.

In struggle, victory goes to those who are mentally most separate from everyone else – those who are most capable in analysis and prediction in the imaginary game board. If you become lost in the wilderness and need to acquire food and shelter while avoiding predators, the imaginary game board is your human advantage. Causality and recognizing patterns in the environment is your pathway to victory. The same goes in the urban zoos, where the ability to pass on your genes ultimately boils down to economic and political victory. The programming of life, isolation and duality, is critical for competition.

The shields of reactions and expectations drive our loneliness and our madness, yet enable us to succeed. Most of self-improvement is all about this tool, strategies and plans to reach an imaginary designated spot on an imaginary map of our lives. Usually, we don’t examine it carefully and think the spot is called happiness. But happiness isn’t even on the map – that spot is where we expect sufficiency and stability. When you have enough and are reasonably secure, playing the game more intensely gets you nowhere nearer happiness. It simply gets you more security and a bigger advantage while increasing your alienation, anxiety, and greed, because that’s what self-programming is ultimately for.

Happiness is demilitarization.

The hallmark of spirituality and ultimately enlightenment is the defeat of duality and isolation. When we let go of the need for victory, we forget our contrived checkerboard for a time by temporarily forgetting about ambition, fear, and judgment. When all of that is suspended and life isn’t a competition, we become simply creatures of the earth once again. We’re fully present and alive but ultimately unarmed and unprepared. Our programming is how we have risen to dominate this planet. To rediscover the basic truth, that there is no difference between ourselves and others and that we are the world and the world is in us, means becoming vulnerable. Spirituality is, in a sense, about deactivating shields.

Mindfulness is about dropping the mental map of relationships and terrain, dropping our expectations and fears so that we can fully perceive this moment in this place. In spiritual mindfulness, we let go of the history and plan of our private game. It doesn’t mean living in the current moment while you scan the bushes for snakes; that’s the ego advantage of survival. It means trusting that there are no snakes or that any snakes will not harm you. Spiritual mindfulness is about trust in the world even as we stand in it unarmed. When that’s impossible, people have a fear of happiness.

Spiritual liberation starts in the demilitarized zone we are at right here, right now. The work involved in the spiritual path is about gaining control over whether our automatic offense and defense is engaged. Our reactions happen faster than thought, and we program our reactions because they’re a critical advantage in the wilderness. The wisdom of uncertainty means bliss in every day existence and certain death by predator in life-and-death scenarios.

All habits, good and bad, are about programming. All plans, hopes, desires, and expectations are about programming too. So is jealousy, anger, fear, and anxiety. Anything that comes from a mental map of relationships, ultimately, is bound up in the ego self and automatization. Underneath all that mental mapping is the current moment, and right here there is simply what is. When we meditate and passively observe our thoughts, we see the automation we’ve built at work. When we let that go and revel in the freshness and stillness of the morning, when we see a newly awakened and glorious world all about us… we haven’t gained or added something. Happiness is vulnerability. We’ve just lowered our shields and become unfiltered.

Blessings and may you find times of vulnerability,
-M

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