Universal Love, Said the Cactus Person
It’s amazing to occasionally get the chance to take a couple steps out of the car. Here’s some things I’m thinking about it:
You’ve got Heart/Body and you’ve got Ego/Mind. (Not sure if Heart and Body are the same, but they feel like it; same with Ego and Mind.) Usually, at least in my experience, Ego is in charge 100% of the time. It’s almost comically difficult to get ego to stop being in charge. By the time you say “I’m going to do X to get ego to chill out”, you’ve already lost; that’s ego talking.
Ego is probably there to protect you, evolution etc, if we’re watching out for threats constantly then we won’t get eaten by a tiger. But in the modern world, it makes you miserable. It’s like an overzealous teacher who’s been given an order to “control” a classroom of kids; yeah, it can do it, by sheer force if need be, but nobody’s having a good time. (including the teacher!) For this reason, it’s important to be kind to ego. You can’t force it out of the way; it’ll fight back harder, and it’ll probably win.
(why will ego win? notably, it’s got control of attention - which is like controlling all the input/output devices on your computer. imagine trying to make a computer do what you want when a hacker adversary can make the monitor show whatever they want and can make your mouse/keyboard do whatever they want. good luck! better befriend the hacker instead.)
What happens when ego does take a break, though? Then heart gets to lead, and wow, whole different ballgame. Heart lives in a whole different world. Here are some things that are true about heart world:
- logic, as ego knows it, doesn’t apply
- you have really nonlinear power. something that would crush ego, like the death of a close person, becomes manageable. (not easy! but like… given that something like that death is probably pretty high on the logarithmic scales of pleasure and pain, ego cannot fathom how you’d handle 2^10 pain, while heart can take it. maybe, heart operates on exponential scales?)
- heart loves everyone, including ego. This is asymmetric, because ego does not love heart. Ego “loves” differently: it loves winning. Its “love” is manic and exciting and conditional. Heart’s love is slower and stronger and unconditional. But this asymmetry makes me wonder, why would I ever let ego drive? Why feel conditionally loving/loved when you could feel it unconditionally? (well, because it’s not a choice, of course.)
- worry is just gone. Heart cannot even worry.
- depression is just gone. Why be depressed? I mean… universal love! Transcendent joy!
- you act “authentically.” (In fact, I’d say this is the definition of “authentic.” I understand this term better now.) People can tell when you’re acting “authentically” or “from the heart” vs when you’re not.
So, how do you let heart lead? … ok, that’s the hard part. Certain technologies in ceremonial spaces do help, though it’s certainly not guaranteed. Some things that might help in regular life:
- deep breaths; the ego gets extra clingy when the nervous system is on high alert
- orienting like “hey ego you’re working so hard, feel free to rest now” more than “ego, you asshole, stop making me miserable”
- relaxing and being slower, generally
- not feeding the mind candy. I assume that checking twitter is just 100% the mind taking over.
- more body oriented things
I think it’s like growing a garden. You can’t make it happen; you can just create the conditions for it to maybe happen on its own.
But when it does, it’s magic. It can be life changing just to get out of the car for a few hours or even minutes, because then you have a sense of what to aim for in the future. Instead of a list of “not"s (it’s not “looking at the dials in the car”, it’s not “driving the car very fast”, it’s not …) you have something that it is, and that makes the search seem so much easier and more hopeful.
And then maybe you try to go back to work on Tuesday and try to write emails and code reviews without saying “have you considered, universal love? transcendent joy?”
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