…resourcefulness and skillful means…

“Inspiration could be called inhaling the memory of an act never experienced.” – Ned Rorem

It doesn’t take much to put power into our comfort zones. 

As we saw yesterday, our egos inflate or deflate whenever we are put into or removed from the safety, care, and comfort of knowing we are well cared for.  The power of our comfort zones is synonymous with their predictability.  No one ever claimed comfort from the unpredictable. 

But … I might be wrong.  Not everyone is addicted to the predictable. 

Today, I want to look at resourcefulness and skillful means.  Resourcefulness, as we have seen, is not simply the willingness restore mobility through integration nor is it the ability to place trust where ever we choose (although these are both important qualities of a resourceful person).  Rather, resourcefulness is a test between complexity and simplicity. 

Complexity integrates and makes us larger.  Simplicity narrows and makes us comfortable. Our egos resist complexity and integration because we want to know that we are well cared for.  Our comfort zones make it difficult for us to move past the familiar and the already-tried-and-true.

So how do we shake off the lethargy of comfort zone addiction?

According to Marsha Sinetar, author of Do What You Love the Money Will Follow, if you want more resourcefulness, you must:

  1. Have faith in your problem-solving ability.
  2. Support independent thinking and decision-making.
  3. Demonstrate determination.   

Returning to a comfort zone is problem avoidance.  It says little about your problem-solving capability.  Ego stroking (and its resulting inflation) is not thinking; neither is deflation and doomsday demise.  Whenever we are unduly swayed by any demand for comfort, we are indulging in distorted reasoning.

Lastly, any confirmation about a problem resolution cannot be backward focused; to demonstrate determination you must be forward focused and solution-seeking.

This last point about “demonstrating determination” deserves a bit more elaboration.  If you are only seeking after some known confirmation, then no inquiry or discovery about the problem is taking place.  And if you go back to a previous condition of comfort, you are inviting the comfort zone inertia that I  described earlier. 

“Business as usual” does not afford much learning or discovery – even – or most especially when – we expect a different result from the very action that we’ve already tried, and tried, and tried. 

And what’s more … a driven, or ‘stern’ determination (a “might over flight” style of determination), puts most of your resourcefulness in jeopardy.  The “nose-to-the-grindstone-no-matter-what-the-cost” mentality is simply an invitation for misery. That type of knee-jerk reaction to discomfort is the very reason why we desperately want to retreat to a place of comfort in the first place. 

The critical distinction with regard to determination (and how not to put resourcefulness in jeopardy) is to be convinced that new strokes will come your way.  Essentially, it’s part of your problem-solving faith.

Properly applied, resourcefulness and determination unleash a spontaneous, flowing energy – one that generates it own kind of stroking, along with its own kind of satisfaction and contentment.

“Skillful means” is a Buddhist term that describes how to meet the stress of confronting a problem. “Skillful means” requires the resourcefulness we have been talking about.  It is the ability to take responsibility and transcend the circumstances of fear and loss of control that often overwhelms us. 

“Skillful means” is a by-product of resourcefulness: it is a cultivated willingness to restore mobility through integration and place trust where ever we choose. 

And that only happens if we are challenged, if we are asked to demonstrate and develop our resourcefulness.

The opening quotation might shed some light on how we are challenged to move past our previous conditions of comfort. 

“Inspiration could be called inhaling the memory of an act never experienced.”

Our willingness to restore mobility through integration and place trust where ever we choose — is well-served by inspiration –well-served by that all-knowing, but unexpected breathing in of memory and comfort.

Here is the “skillful means” for being larger than ourselves:  noticing and acting upon the inspirations which invite us to be more empathetically alive and connected to others. 

Thanks for listening!

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