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Posts Tagged ‘epiphany’

Sarcastic Epiphany

April 19, 2011 1 comment

During a multi-technology product development project that I worked on in the past, a non-software engineer stated: “it’s all about the software“. When I heard this, I temporarily entered a dream world where the sky is pink. I thought: “this dude gets it – she’s had the epiphany“. A millisecond later, I exited my delusion and returned to the world where the sky is blue (this one?). That initial, self-serving thought was quickly replaced by: “she said that sarcastically“. D’oh!

Open, Closed, Inquiring

October 26, 2009 1 comment

“Every man, wherever he goes, is encompassed by a cloud of comforting convictions, which move with him like flies on a summer day.” – Bertrand Russell

Out of the chute, so to speak, we’re all born with open minds. As we age and accumulate one experience after another, we naturally start forming beliefs based on those experiences. The experiences of other individuals (like our friends and parents) and institutions (like our schools, our corpocracies, and our government) are also impressed upon us. The more similar our new experiences¬† to our previous experiences, the more attached we become to our beliefs. Unknowingly, we’ve started to construct our own very personal “unshakable cognitive burden” (UCB) from the ground up.

Closed Mind

As our attachment to (at least some of) those beliefs hardens through exposure to more and more confirming evidence, our minds close up and we start suffering more and more. We tend to conveniently ignore, or violently reject,¬† disconfirming evidence to the contrary in order to preserve our hard earned sense of safety and security. Each subsequent experience causes a nearly instantaneous transition out of, and back into, the closed mind state. Once a core belief (the earth is flat, the sun revolves around the earth, “they” are always right, “—-ism” is infallible) has hardened, intellectual and spiritual growth stops. Stasis sets in. Bummer.

Attachment And Suffering

So, how does one break the infinite loop of self-transitions out of, and then back into, the closed UCB mind state? Does another more flexible state exist? I think one may exist- the “Inquiring Mind” state, but I don’t have a clue on how to make the jump to get there. In this state, beliefs still exist but our attachment to them is not absolute. Our level of attachment is fluid and ever changing. As a consequence, our suffering, and more importantly, the suffering of those around us, decreases. The world becomes a kinder and gentler place to live in. We start to recognize our connectedness to all “things” and we empathize with people who still hold fast to their core beliefs.

The state machine below shows one speculative way out of the closed mind state and into the inquiring mind state – the experience of an instantaneous, life-changing epiphany. It’s speculation on my part because I don’t know squat and it’s just a belief that is a brick in my UCB.

Inquiring Mind

A Shift In Perspective

May 5, 2009 5 comments

At birth, everyone is egoless. We are pure awareness, a manifestation of universal consciousness. We have no agenda and no desire to make ourselves look good at the expense of others. We don’t get into zero-sum games and our outer purpose is directly synchronized with our inner purpose. When we get labeled with a name, start accumulating “credentials” and “expertise”,¬† and we begin to internalize the human-made concepts of “I” and “me”, our heads expand in order to accommodate ego growth. As ego expands, consciousness contracts and we lose touch of the infinite source of energy that comprises our inner core. Our behaviors and actions become increasingly dominated by the artificial need to selfishly accumulate “things out there” and consume way more than we need. How do I know this? Because like you, I’m a perfect example of ego-domination. Give “me” more, “I” need more, it’s all about “me”, “I’m” smarter than “you”, “I’m” better looking than “you”, “I” have more and nicer things than “you”, “you” should want to be like “me”, to hell with “you” and to heaven with “me”. Duality and separation settle in.

shift-in-perspective

As the lower graph in the above figure shows, some people may, by an unknown and humanly-uncontrollable act of grace, experience a shift in perspective at some point in their lives. The ego starts to deflate, consciousness starts rising, and the artificial mode of good/bad, dual thinking starts dissolving. For some people, the slope of the ego curve instantaneously flips to negative infinity at the point of transition and an “epiphany” occurs. Jill Bolte Taylor, Eckhart Tolle, Byron Katie, Sydney Banks, and the Buddha come to mind as examples of people who’ve experienced epiphanies.

Becoming aware that one is ego-dominated is not enough to trigger a transformation back to our true nature and a realignment of our outer purpose with our inner purpose. How do I know this? Because I’m aware of the fact that I’m dominated by the constraining, finite, and toxic force of the ego. The ego is brilliant in that it can argue with anything at any time and rationalize any action, no matter how horrendous the end result is.

So here “I” am, recognizing the fact that I’m a slave to “my” ego and hoping that an instantaneous shift in perspective will happen to “me”. Since I don’t have a clue on how to trigger the shift, I’m on a constant intellectual search for enlightenment. However, feverishly accumulating intellectual understanding is not the way to realize and experience “the peace that passeth ALL understanding”. Bummer.

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