“Conscience is the inner voice that warns us somebody may be looking.”–Henry Louis Mencken
It would be foolish to assume that conscience can do its job — without its FIRST being the voice of a high dream.
In coaching, a high dream is “alert awareness” recognizing itself. A high dream IS our capacity to stand in the present and recognize what we want in the current moment … because it arises from who we know ourselves to be. We select what we perceive based on our desire for self-recognition.
“Sacrifice still exists everywhere, and everywhere the elect of each generation suffers for the salvation of the rest.” – Henri Frederic Amiel
Theater is full of dramas that exalt “sacrifice” as love. These dramas make the statement that any change is intolerable:
- If balance – once experienced – cannot be restored,
- If love – given freely – cannot survive, OR
- If one’s relational boundaries – as originally experienced – cannot be justly maintained.
And, of course, sacrifice is then both honorable and inevitable. Self-identification requires it. We cannot stand apart from the love which grounds us to meaning and purpose.
“And I saw my reflection in the snow-covered hills / ‘Till Landslide brought me down.” – Stevie Nicks from the song Landslide
I went to visit my 83-year old mother yesterday. She struggles with Parkinson’s, a disease the makes everything harder.
And during our afternoon banter, she asks me: “Do you remember what the 5-year old boy says to his mother when asked to recite the golden rule? — “Do it to others before they do it to you.”
“He drew a circle that shut me out —
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But Love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle that took him in!”
–Outwitted, by Edwin Markham
Consider for a moment the mechanics of eye-sight: a small aperture that lets light in.
Surprising, right? “Love and I had wit to win: We drew a circle that took him in!” There is both metaphoric inclusion and line-of-sight inclusion. What we take in with our eyes is essentially light — a substitute for love.
OK — maybe I’m pushing it. Any act of conscience is a moral evaluation — a decision to see things in a certain way. Not quite the same thing as light (or love really). But still…
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
I don’t know about you, but I grew up in a family where verbal adages and maxims carried a whole lot more weight and meaning than what the words themselves might indicate. And I doubt that I’m alone in that.
As radical as it sounds, families are closed systems. Oh sure, families DO relate to other systems and in that sense they are open – but they are often treated as “closed” by virtue of their membership. The bond of blood creates a dividing line which culturally is hard to overcome. Not everyone can join.
“Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them.” – Albert Einstein
As we have seen over the last three blog entries: creative imagination builds the context for our sympathies and resentments by building analogies from our past (“as if” experience) — which we then use to interpret the present by “living ourselves” into them.
What we haven’t seen is how the power we have can be re-imagined — once we are willing to reclaim the belief in our significance from a new perspective.
“If we had no faults of our own, we would not take so much pleasure in noticing those of others.” — François de la Rochefoucauld
In my last blog (…nature or nurture …), I talked about Freud’s drive theory . And I have more questions now – like “how do you reset your drive?”
Freud’s drive theory has been widely discredited. They say he misses the point. He fails to understand that drives are really the expression of relationship. The dynamic which arises within us (and feeds our drives) is one of attachment and separation. The central question which psychologists concern themselves with is whether our formative relations provide us with healthy and graduated challenges or whether they impede normal development, blocking the cycles of attachment and separation.