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Control…..You Don’t Have Any.   Leave a comment

Before reading on please hear what Sensei has to say;

 

Illusion of Control

 

 

 

“Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun.”

― Alan W. Watts

Control: The Illusion of Control or “How I learned love to have faith in the glitch”

Being a human has many wonderful and detrimental qualities; curiosity breeds innovation and destruction; empathy breeds compassion and gullibility. Control is one of those qualities, both helpful and harmful at the exact same time, a dichotomy. One must believe they have control and yet the very faith used to maintain control is the exact faith that is necessary to free oneself from that burden of control.

Now you may be thinking, “I control many things in my life! You cannot tell me I do not have control”, yet as you go down that list of things you control something happens. One begins to see the levels of control and yet the inverse becomes amazingly apparent. Stop!!!

Ha! Control. Such a beautiful illusion. If you will notice the last sentence is not grammatically correct. It is not “controlled by the norms of literature”. This is the beauty of the post. Throughout there will be many examples of break in control, “glitches in the matrix”. Why, because to perceive an illusion one must “see” a flaw.  Control is the same way, to perceive the “loss of control” you must first see the flaws in your “levels of control”.

So let’s start at the beginning. You have no control. Take a deep breath. Are you breathing because you choose to or because of the directions given or even the bodies need to receive oxygen? Which of these responses do you really have control over? Starting at the basics of control one can start to see where the illusion becomes faint. Now this illusion is not present in our early years due to many factors. We as children understand innately that we are the world and the world is us and there is no controlling either. We eat when we are hungry, sleep when we are tired, and play when we feel stimulated. As we mature, the illusion starts to manifest almost like a spell, cast by our predecessors.

We become aware of the “controlling factors” society and culture. We must conform our thoughts, actions, and being into something that fits the definitions of those factors. We began “to clothe” ourselves in the illusion that we must “control ourselves for the betterment of ourselves” to better society and culture. As an example let’s examine personal relationships.

Most would agree that personal relationships are an aspect of life that we, as individuals, control. The idea of determining whom the individual surrounds themselves with is considered deeply personal, yet in reality it is not. Many sociological studies have shown that personal relationships are usually defined by compatibility, communication, time, openness, and emotional investment. All of those 5 characteristics cannot occur within a vacuum, that is to say multiple factors are in place to facilitate their development. Most of, if not all, of those factors are not within an individuals’ sole control, yet anxiety and other negative emotional factors arise from the “perceived lack of control”.

An example would be the “meeting of someone special”. Two people meet and develop a bond. Now most would say there is control in that meeting, but if you look closely at the illusion you realize that “controlled meeting” isn’t controlled at all. Either person could have chosen to do something else, the weather, transportation, or any myriad of factors had to align to bring those individuals together. Even after meeting multiple factors outside of their control will determine whether or not a relationship will develop and in what form it may take. Yet, most people do not account for these factors when assessing why a potential situation “did not go as planned”. Most will develop an anxiety based upon the “perceived lack of control”, when in reality given the number of contributing factors there was never any “control” in the first place. The same arguments can be made for what we consume (nourishment/information) and how we devote our personal resources.

As a person matures, the illusion of control comes to symbolize the unknown. The myriad calculable factors that contribute to every moment of our being are compressed into a miniscule idea that “I am in control of X”. It’s a comfort mechanism designed to contribute to conformity within the society and culture. Those that embrace said idea are perceived as paragons and elevated to higher positions within society and culture. They are the “Chiefs” the leaders and bosses, while those that eschew said ideas are seen as “Outcasts, Rebels, or Renegades”. Oddly those individuals often times become the “Shaman” or advisors of society and culture, innately due to their ability to separate themselves from the illusions.

The “Outcasts” see that the “emperor isn’t wearing clothes” because they understand that control is an illusion and that to even attempt to maintain it is humorous. Much like in the video, the Sensei sees his pupil trying to achieve something that is impossible. Not because the task is unobtainable, but because the very idea of the task is futile.

Now that you can perceive the glitches in control the beauty of the illusion becomes apparent. The release of burden comes from the understanding that “if you have no control, it is not your fault; if it is not your fault, you should not be worried about the results”. Loss of control is the quintessential step in the concept of “faith”, it is the ground work for which faith (as the foundation of all religions) can grow and connect us to our higher purpose. In the video the Sensei, does not instruct the pupil to do anything but “believe”.  Belief highlights our inner knowledge that through all of these myriad calculable factors affecting our lives, everything will work out.

So in conclusion, you have no control and in having no control there is freedom. Therein lays the ability to believe in anything and everything possible, because you are no longer bound by illusionary limitations that were never there. When you are stressed or feel anxious just remember that there are factors outside of your control that are influencing your situation and just because it may seem negative in the moment just “believe” and that moment, like the illusion of control, will fade away.

“You only lose what you cling to.”

― Gautama Buddha

Stay peaceful

 

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From topcounselingschools.org: Tell It To a Telepsychiatrist: Online Counseling and Psychiatry   Leave a comment

topcounselingschools.org published a great infographic, Check it out below and visit their site directly at

http://www.topcounselingschools.org/online-counseling/

 

telepsychiatry

Posted February 10, 2015 by Robert Morse, Psy.D., B.C.C. in Uncategorized

Change – The Sleeper Must Awaken   Leave a comment

“Change” is a word that often reminds one of the political campaign of President Barack Obama. His campaign focused on offering a beneficial and refreshing change away from the status quo which, as clearly demonstrated by the results of the 2008 General Election, was something United States citizens were yearning for.

Politics aside, how important is change? What is its role in our lives? How can one manifest the change he or she so desire’s in their own life? What are the consequence(s) of inertia?

The important of change is eloquently described by Duke Leto Atreides himself. For those who are unfamiliar with Duke Leto, he is a fictional character from the novel Dune by Frank Herbert, produced into a movie in 1984.

The following video shows Duke Leto discussing the importance of change to his son Paul, the heir to House Atreides. For it is at this time that they and the rest of their noble house are about to leave their home planet, the ocean planet of Caladan, to assume their new role as governors of the desert planet Arrakis.

Quite a change indeed.

Duke Leto’s Wisdom

There really is little need for me to continue this blog post after watching that clip because Duke Leto expresses the concept of change as I too perceive it. However, elaboration may shine even more light on it, so, I dutifully continue on.

As we grow into adults we often become habituated to the experience of our lives. We develop routines to stabilize the passing moment and so the passing moment becomes a routine. Day after day passes by and do we ever ask ourselves the question, “What new experience(s) am I going to have today?” I know that I have never consciously asked that question until I thought it fitting to type it just now. However, I have had an underlying striving to have new experiences and have often contemplated experiencing new experiences. It is not until now though, that I am going to make it a daily practice to ask myself this question so that I can have a new experience every single day, if I so choose of course. See, I am changing already.

I’m sure there will be times I find myself answering this question with “No, not today, today I am going to relax and experience the time-honored tradition of rest.” Still, I’m actually choosing to change from more activity to less activity. Thus, in this particular refusal to change, I am still changing………………yea, more on that later.

The importance of change is that it is a catalyst for our growth. Just as Duke Leto said, new experiences connect with something deep inside us, by allowing it to grow we can discover more about not only our reality, but most importantly, of ourselves. Who are you?

Change allows us to tap into and reveal things about ourselves that we may never previously conceived to be possible, and, if we nurture these previously latent aspects of ourselves we improve the likelihood of expressing our full potential and achieving self-actualization.

There are countless accounts of individuals who uncover motivations and desires to engage in experiences they wouldn’t have considered in their past, yet the present moment ultimately reveals the unconsidered to be a major part of oneself and life.

Carl Jung perceived the self as a combination of all of the conscious and unconscious factors. He believed Neurosis results from a one-sided personality development, therefore, self-realization (Jung’s preferred term) could only occur when a person reached into the unknown depths of oneself.

Ahhh yes, the unknown. How do human beings usually react to the unknown? Well, often with fear because the unknown may just happen to be beyond control, or could be something we consider undesirable. What if that which is beyond our control and undesirable could be the very thing(s) that give us the greatest learning experiences and level of self awareness in our lives?

Anyway,

Change is probably the greatest developmental component in reality, of which the individual is a part of and participating in always. New experiences facilitate our psychological evolution as human beings, learning and understanding comes about from it. To resist change can literally be an effort to resist oneself and life itself. I would argue that each of us could probably spend a great deal of time pondering on all the “what if’s” we allowed to pass us by in the past when neglecting the opportunity for new experience. However, the past cannot be undone and excessive emotional attachments to the memories of the past are more likely to lead to greater resistance to change now, so what are you getting out of using your precious moment and energy doing so? Unless of course you have a time machine, then perhaps it might be worth it.

So, you want to have new experiences, you want to embrace change, but you don’t know how to use it to your own developmental advantage in your own life? Well, consider this for a moment…….

You cannot resist change, it is physically impossible (You are physically a new human being every 7 years as every cell in your body has been replaced with new ones), and it is a constant, a law of reality. Whether or not you choose to change and have new experiences is irrelevant for you will experience change nonetheless. It is one of those aspects of reality our free will cannot impose upon, leaving the only real choice for us to make choosing between being an active or passive participant within change. Inertia simply puts you in position to be changed by the will of others, but, make no mistake, you’re changing and will continue to change for as you live now so too will you die. So, what are you going to do in the meantime?

What is it that is stopping you from steering yourself along the endless current of change? Doing so may direct you to wonderful experiences you cannot foresee at this moment, it could teach you so much more about yourself and others, it has the potential to lead you to remember, to revel, in the wonder and mystery that is life. As for the anxious changers, ponder this — Even though everything changes, nothing is truly lost.
The 44th President of the United States, love him or hate him, said it best

“We are the change we have been waiting for.”

Great everybody, we’ve figured it all out! The wait is over folks, now we get to decide to be the change or be changed. I know which one I am going to choose.

Happy changing and awakening the sleeper within.

Posted November 24, 2014 by Robert Morse, Psy.D., B.C.C. in Uncategorized

Action and Reaction: Free Will   Leave a comment

Nothing is without consequence. Every single choice and action we make has an effect on our individual and consensus reality. There are no exceptions to this natural law. So long as one accepts the premise that he or she as a human being has free will than one is already better prepared to; examine themselves and the events which have occurred and are occurring in their life, forgive themselves for their own transgressions and the suffering one’s words or deeds may have imposed upon themselves and others, recognize the more adaptive and appropriate choices one must make to break away from the patterns of choices and actions that have led to said suffering, and ultimately make those choices and actions that will heal themselves and the world around them.

But what if one does not believe in the concept of free will? What if we are organisms that are responding to our environment and are controlled by external events? To a certain degree this is true. Rather ,we are influenced by the external world, Almost entirely so as an infant and child. Philosophically speaking the absolute truth of belief or dis-belief in free will is probably not going to be decided in one blog post. However, one who does not believe in free will risks conceding a great deal of personal power and may fail to recognize their role in their own suffering to support this belief, while one who accepts free will is more likely to recognize their role and becomes empowered. Regardless of belief, one is still subject to the natural law.

By influenced I do not mean control.

The natural law of action and reaction is in fact our primary basis for learning as we grow into adults and live out our lives. The child who places his or her hand on the hot stove top will be burned. He or she may not know this at first out of sheer ignorance, but the experience of burning their hand will greatly influence the child’s subsequent choice in the future. But, he or she is still free to make that choice no matter how much they are influenced by direct experience or by the instruction of a parent. This highlights the importance of a child having nurturing parents for obviously the child lacks experience living in the world and is almost entirely ignorant of it, but the child still has free will despite this ignorance.

Then there are people who are physically and psychologically handicapped. Some who have great difficulty in expressing their will. They too are subject to the natural law and have the ability to cause or not to cause their own suffering. For example, suppose a delusional person believes that demons have infiltrated his or her body and have congregated in their left hand. Then he or she cuts their left hand to remove them. This is still an expression of free will despite the misperception/belief to which the person is using as a template (as we all do) to perceive and interact with reality. It is that person who expressed their will, not the influencing delusion. They are still subject to the natural law and have made the choice to cut themselves with the consequence being the experience of pain and a wounded left hand.

The natural world exists in a manner that supports our existence, supplying oxygen in every breath, food, water, and materials for shelter. Human beings are much better equipped technologically and medically to survive the external world. Only a massive catastrophic natural event could truly threaten the survival of a large number of people or the species. With these basic needs met many of us are able spend time in reflection, have time for leisure, and be free to move about as we please without immediate attention required to survive in the moment.

This is why we as human beings are often the cause of our own suffering. Regardless if these choices and actions made and done out of ignorance, false beliefs, or irrational thinking it is still the expression of ones will that creates the resulting effect. As Carl Jung said “The gigantic catastrophes that threaten us today are not elemental happenings of a physical or biological order, but psychic events. To a quite terrifying degree we are threatened by wars and revolutions which are nothing other than psychic epidemics. At any moment several millions of human beings may be smitten with a new madness, and then we shall have another world war or devastating revolution. Instead of being at the mercy of wild beasts, earthquakes, landslides, and inundations, modern man is battered by the elemental forces of his own psyche.”

Now take for instance the person who’s seaside property is damaged by heavily rising tides off the ocean because of a powerful storm system out at sea. One may not be surprised to hear this person proclaim that he or she is a victim and question “How could this happen to me?” What seems like a person who is a victim of a random external event is nothing more than a human being suffering as a result of choices he or she has made. For he or she had made the choice to invest their energy and build their home so close to the sea and as a result when a large storm system came and caused the tides to rise their property was damaged. Whether such a person was or was not aware of the increased risk of such an event happening to them by having their property on the ocean is irrelevant. He or she made the choice to live there.

Now, after reading the above example one may be thinking. “Aren’t you a clinical psychologist?” “Don’t you have empathy for people and want to care for them when they suffer?” To which I would reply “Yes!”, by offering empathic support and understanding along with guidance towards recognition of the natural law and the empowering realization of the expression of ones free will.

What about people who experience traumatic events such as rape, or suffer from criminal violence, was this also the result of a lack of free will expression? No, these events are the result of people violating another person’s free will. However, the continuation of the effects of the trauma by the victim themselves through prolonged failure to resolve their present maladaptive perspective of the experience eventually becomes an expression of their own free will and continues to be so long after the persecutor committed the violation.

The goal of resolution for people who suffer from violations of their free will is to have the person stop attributing so much power to the memory of these experiences so that it they don’t restrict their own free will. (desire for a trusting relationship with the opposite sex, desire to travel to new places, etc) Also, bear in mind that people who violate another person’s free will and inflict suffering upon others will bring suffering upon themselves, Rapists and those who commit other forms of criminal violence usually end up living out their life locked in a cage.

Not all traumatic events are a violation of one’s free will. Take the example of the mercenary. If a mercenary is suffering PTSD as a result of their actions in hostile environments the mercenary has created their own suffering with their choice to be a paid killer. Still, the same goal applies for the repentant mercenary, to learn to reduce the power given to their memories and feelings of self-guilt. To express their free will and forgive themselves.

Still, many people will externalize their suffering and become defensive when confronted with the alternative that they are responsible for their own suffering. For they are using the belief/template that they are perpetual victims or that it is the “others” responsibility, etc. etc. This thinking highlights perhaps the greatest misconception of therapists and therapy in general, that one goes to therapy and the therapist “fixes” their problem (psychologically speaking) when in reality the therapist is a facilitator who can help the client recognize the problem in order to establish potential solutions. But only the client him or herself can carry it to fruition. When the therapists fails to properly address, challenge, and change this belief client’s will often be disappointed in the therapy when this expectation is not met.

An acceptance of the concept of free will is incredibly empowering. When one truly understands that the value of the opinions and actions of others, whether directed towards them or not, is only as great as he or she deems them to be, and that one is free to do as he or she wishes (with the natural law in mind) it is a very liberating experience.

You are your own savior and destroyer.

 Stay peaceful.

Seasonal Affective Disorder   Leave a comment

For those living in the Northern Hemisphere the temperature is dropping and the days are getting shorter and this signals the return of Seasonal Affective Disorder. SAD is a form of depression that occurs in relation to the seasons, most commonly winter.

Many people find themselves spending less time outdoors and receive very little sunlight. A moderate amount of sunlight each day, about 30 minutes, is very important to our well-being. Sunlight nourishes our bodies and supplies us with Vitamin D, which promotes the absorption of calcium in the body helping our bones become stronger. Sunlight also inhibits the body’s production of Melatonin, a sleep related hormone that has been shown to be correlated with SAD.

Other benefits to receiving adequate amounts of sunlight are

  • Strengthening of cardiovascular system

  • Normalizing blood pressure as well as blood sugar

  • Increased metabolism

  • Aiding in weight loss

  • Ensuring proper functioning of kidneys by eliminating wastes

  • Enhanced liver function

  • Improved digestion

  • Above all, sunshine can alter your moods and cheer you up, thereby preventing anxiety and depression

SAD becomes an even more relevant issue today because more and more people spend their entire working hours in cubicles or other places with few, if any windows. With the shorter days upon us these people leave the offices shrouded in the darkness of night only to repeat the process again the next day and the days after. Over time this can take its toll on some people and they can become fatigued, anxious, socially withdrawn, and even unable to concentrate.

However, even with the sunlight limitations of modern living there is a technological aid that exists to treat SAD. A simple contraption known as a Light Box can be used to alleviate the symptoms of SAD and allow your body to receive an adequate amount of light comparable to receiving sunlight. Known as a light box, it takes up very little space and can be kept on ones night stand or even at the work desk. For more information about SAD, light therapy, and light boxes visit the

Mayo Clinics Website on SAD