“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” – Leo Tolstoy
Self-awareness is a difficult skill. Yesterday’s post looked at how we intuitively know the “game-we’re-in” because we build on our experience. One of the hardest parts of accepting our self-awareness is getting over our need for certainty. If we know the”game-we’re-in” because we have experienced something very similar or identical to it, then we are loath (that’s right, loath … a strong, but necessary word meaning to detest anything contrary to our tradition). We are loath to give up the certainty that we have intuitively established over our lifetimes. If you find you are only willing to trust first … and engage second, then you are operating from a strong need for certainty. The problem of course is that certainty is a fool’s errand. Nothing is certain. (Maybe death and taxes, but that’s about it). So … if nothing is certain, then how do we trust anything? By adopting a fearless trust in ourselves.
I know what you’re thinking: “A fearless trust in ourselves … isn’t that what led to my need for (and belief in) the certainty of my own perspective?” Yes and no.
“A fearless trust” depends 1. on our willingness to see the “pied” color of trust and 2. on the quality of fearlessness that can accept what it’s afraid of (and not run away).
Let’s look at #1: The willingness to see the “pied” color of trust.
Trust is what give your world emotional color. I talked about his earlier (see …our pied associations…). One definition for “pied” is patchwork, anything mixed with bright colors. We have so many feelings about the world that trusting them all feels burdensome. To ease the burden, we make certainty agreements. I will accept this as true and certain because I want to feel this again. Equally, I will accept that as false and certain because I don’t want to feel this again. These certainty agreements conflict with our willingness to see the “pied” color of trust. We cannot control the “pied” nature of trust. And when you are having a pied experience, you are unsure, exactly, if you created the experience, or simply participated in it. Try too hard, and you are the creator of what you get. With every certainty agreement, you accept more and more colorlessness. A certainty has no color, the agreement is about avoiding the emotional edges. With certainty agrements, you live based on a program, and not based on what’s there in the moment.
Let’s look at #2: The fearlessness that can accept what it’s afraid of (and not run away).
So often courage is equated with fearlessness. And that misses the point. When you do something courageous, you accept the fear and you don’t run away. Fearlessness (like courage) takes the “full color value” of what it fears and then values something else EVEN MORE. That’s fearlessness. In contrast, certainty avoids the fear. It does the EVEN MORE part but without accepting the “full color value” part. “Fear” is assumed away by the certainty. The odd thing about this trick is that we actually believe we become MORE fearless because of our certainties. We don’t. We become less human, less genuine and less real. So why do we do it? Because it is efficient; it saves time; it’s less messy; it’s convenient. It’s by far easier to be wrong (and ask for forgiveness) than to deal with the messiness.
So … A fearless trust in oneself? Embrace the messiness, be bigger than you expect, and then intuitively you will know that the “GAME-YOUR-IN” really is the one you were meant to play.
Thanks for listening.