I’ve seen an odd conflict coming to the surface recently for a lot of people, and a little exploration might help. Our internal and external communication isn’t always very conscious, and as we’ve seen with the pebble and its ripples, there’s an unbreakable relationship between the two. An event is followed by its repercussions. This is why I love the image of the pebble hitting the water and ripples emanating outward. The way we talk to ourselves internally invariably affects the way we talk to others externally. Those ripples keep going as the way we talk to others then affects them, and they in turn affect others in their surroundings, and so on.
So let’s start with that first pebble. As an example, internally we often berate ourselves when we make mistakes or forget something. This becomes a kind of “normal” way for us to react, so we don’t think twice about doing this when others make mistakes or forget things.
Reverse engineering, if we add a little consciousness to the mix, we can make an enormous difference in our external communications by how we talk to ourselves.
Look at motivation. It’s more common for us to kick ourselves in the butt than to ask ourselves for something nicely. We don’t have evidence that being a “drill sergeant” is necessary or even useful, so let’s look at one of the roots of this behavior.
Almost every one of us is taught from childhood that our primary way of taking in and processing the world around us is either wrong or somehow inferior to someone else’s way. Although we’re born with our own primary processing center (in its own way quite perfect) external indoctrination sets up a hierarchy, and in the majority of cases puts your natural way down a notch or two. This is what I’m calling internal prejudice.
A very common example of this would be the hierarchy that states: “clear, detached thinking is better than emotional feelings.” Someone who is feelings-centric can be convinced that their “pain” is a result of their chaotic feelings, and that they “should” control these feelings with detached thinking. Two problems arise with this: a self-denigrating program is put in place, and it doesn’t work.
Either in rebellion or from a stronger sense of self, a faction of feelings-centric processing types will assert feelings over thinking in a different hierarchy. Their rationale will usually invoke authenticity, presence, and a sense of unique identity.
This is the familiar “flaky-artist versus the robot” argument, and we haven’t even introduced the intuitive, gut-driven, “I just know it” people. Three variables (heart, brain, gut) increase our possible combinations to nine hierarchies. There’s clear thinking over feelings, and then intuition, intuition over feelings, and then thinking, and so on. These hierarchies that we’ve put in place are nothing more than belief systems about our own ways of processing, and aren’t rooted in fact.
Limitations or Resources
How we regard aspects of ourselves in hierarchy; judging, rating, and so on, is also an extremely limiting belief system. It fragments us, rather than integrating us, and it sets up needless inner conflict, where cooperation would serve us better.
We all have at least two of these processing centers naturally (usually all three) and they each take in different information. The free flow of that information without judgment from one part of you over another part offers you a fuller, richer experience. Your decisions can be better (more informed) and you can take action more easily, without the internal filibustering and power struggles.
The difference between these extremes of limitations or resources is entirely dependent on your beliefs. You’re ultimately in charge of this. If you believe cool, detached thinking is a superior form of processing, or the opposite, you’ll set up internal conflict and filter the information coming in. If you acknowledge each of your processing centers as taking in its own forms of information, all equally valid, you eliminate the internal conflict, and take in much more information. You fully use your own resources.
Equal But Not Separate
Another way to look at these different processing centers taking in and processing different information would be comparing them to light or sound. There are frequencies that are below and above our ability to observe them, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t there or aren’t valid and important. Emotional information, including empathy, feelings, and so on is processed differently than the logical, linear data our brains are equipped to process, not to mention devoid of the threat model analysis our Brain-First processing favors. Likewise, our gut intuition is neither logical, nor a feeling, but more of a sensory experience. This doesn’t devalue the information. We just need to add all three kinds of information together to get a complete picture. No one of these three is more important than the other two.
Even without a hierarchy, each of us still has one processing center that’s primary. When you throw a ball into a room, it hits one surface first, before bouncing to the others. This isn’t superiority, it’s merely sequence, and our primary processing center is just that first surface encountering life. If we’re taught that this isn’t valid, we spend our lives invalidating ourselves. If we raise it above the others, we filter and miss information.
By shifting our beliefs about the false hierarchies and prejudices we create with our very abilities to take in and process, we can facilitate a smooth integration of our best aspects. We can eliminate the internal conflicts that block us when we want to take action. And because these beliefs are about false hierarchies, they’re not so difficult to shift, with just a little extra.. say it with me: “consciousness.”