Excerpts from Changing Your Stripes
The Heisenberg Effect. German physicist Werner Heisenberg, founder of quantum mechanics and winner of the 1932 Nobel Prize, maintained that it is impossible for a scientist to observe any living organism without necessarily changing it; observation alone changes the behavior of the observed. "The Heisenberg Effect" means that no one does, or can, enact the same performance before an audience, compared to unobserved rehearsals. Further, people need only imagine they are under observation, and the perception of being observed will inevitably alter behavior.
William James, who wrote the first American psychology text book in 1890, recognized that social relations inherently promote perpetual impact, stating that a person "has as many different social selves as there are distinct groups of persons about whose opinion he cares; he generally shows a different side of himself to each of these different groups."
Contemporary philosopher Chauncey Riddle also acknowledged this human tendency to adjust responsively to each particular life-context; he maintained, "We create ourselves in every relationship." Again, this responsive influence of behavior occurs not only through the passive physical presence of others, but also the imagined presence of others. And when relations become proactive, the impact increases commensurately. In both active and passive scenarios, behavior is mutually influenced and altered.
This means that all communicative and physical impact will necessarily land on either side . . . of a moral divide. Every expressive meaning-full moment supplies influence that is felt in two fundamental ways: Impact that furthers personal fulfillment, or impact that impedes personal progress--felt between self and others reciprocally. Recognition of this moral context of inevitable impact is reflected in the marital vows that bring two together "for better or for worse."
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Self and others are intrinsically tied in communicative bonds that breathe meaning and purpose into Life. Because linguistic relations are ever impact-full, human beings are further bound to one another in bonds of moral obligation. Human beings cannot NOT communicate in every waking moment. Every act communicates; every communication carries impact. Human Life is a mutually-impactful context where decisions of moral influence are made continually. (Changing Your Stripes, page 2-14)
Understanding Emotions. Because "emotion" is a multifaceted phenomenon, this is why so much confusion surrounds defining "it." The whole of "emotion" is manifest through these aspects of Who You Are:
1) Conscious Awareness: The way we Perceive the emotional moment.
In a typical way of talking, notice how I refer to emotion as an "it." Compliments of the limits of language, there is built-in distortion when it comes to conceiving emotion. Our very language constrains us to write about, and talk about, "emotion" as if it possessed the typical characteristics of a noun/thing.
Most nouns represent tangible realities like "rocks" or "chairs." There are actually many words in the English language that are nouns and do NOT point to tangible things, and "emotion" is one of those words. Thus, emotion is talked about as if "it" . . . were an "it," and conceptions of "emotion" naturally gravitate to a thing-ish state.
Now, . . . for the really bad news: By talking about "it" as a noun-form, people tend to reify emotion into a "thing" with a life of its own--including power of its own: "I was overwhelmed by my emotions!" (Changing Your Stripes, page 2-29)
When emotion is correctly conceived, people are the subject of an emotional moment, and emotion is a noun-word to represent an activity, or verb-phenomena, . . . of people "being emotional."
The direct experience of "being emotional" will mean different things to different people, . . . depending upon "how we are being" in that moment--whether we are being true to our own sense of truth, . . . or betraying that inherent harmony.
This is why the Sioux Indian holy man Black Elk said: "It is in the darkness of their eyes that men get lost." C. Terry Warner adds "When we cannot see our way, we think darkness is shrouding our pathway, when really the darkness is in ourselves."
When we betray our own sense of truth, we see the world differently, . . . we see the world through darkened eyes; hence, we bring to particular situations our dark definitions, not because the situation is dark, but because we are dark. We get lost in shadows of our own creation, and it follows that dark emotions flow from impure perceptions. For this reason "emotions" should NOT be followed.
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The Looking Glass Self. In the early 1900's, social psychologist Charles Horton Cooley proffered a theory called "the Looking Glass Self." This self is different from the self previously characterized: The self manifest as both body and being; a self that is tangible, touchable, and lives in particular earthly locations, . . . and is expressed within specific human relations.
In contrast, the Looking Glass Self is the emergence & maintenance of self-identity— or who you "think" you are. Self-identity is not tangible or touchable; instead, . . . it is Imaginary. Not in the sense that it is pure fantasy, for mental imagery does reflect living reality; yet, all conceptions of Self-Identity are the machinations of mental imagination.
Human relations entail continual communications, where motive and meaning move back and forth in responsive dialogue. Self-Concept is acquired and shaped in this communicative context; it is formed in the reflected images of an interactive mirror:
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As Chauncey Riddle reasoned, "the self is a myth to the self," meaning, every person develops a theory of who they think they are based upon feedback from others. In his pithy statement, Riddle uses of the word "self" two times. His first mention of "self" refers to self-identity, and the second mention of "self" refers to the tangible, touchable self of body and being. It is self-identity, . . . or who you imagine yourself to "be," that is a myth to the self. The word "myth" comes from a Greek word meaning "tale, talk, or speech" and is defined as:
1) A story of such a nature as to explain certain customs, beliefs, or natural phenomena;
People indeed develop a "story" that wraps around and supports who they think they are; a story that helps keep a personal sense of identity and worth in balance. This story about self is what forms and justifies one's self-identity (self-worth, and/or self-esteem), which in turn is a product pieced together in one's imagination using fragments of meaning-full feedback from others.
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Einstein's Mind Bind. Impaired perceptions inevitably lead to flawed solutions. Such a bind of the mind . . . was acknowledged by Einstein:
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Thinking that you can solve Life's most important problems with your "thinking" . . . is itself a problem. Using your head is a good approach for solving problems of algebra, but not for solving problems of anguish. Indeed, the mental mindset used to create a problem cannot be used to solve it!
Being blind in the mind is a condition I like to call . . . and so I do: "Einstein's Mind Bind" OR "The Migraine Mental Block"--an ailment of a Head that pays no heed to the Heart. Being Blind in the Mind means: The head that thunk its way into a tangle cannot be used to think its way out of a tangle.
But from whence comes a mindset capable of creating problems? It could be a function of shear ignorance, that's one possibility. The other possibility is that the mind bind is a function of betrayal. When caught in the trap of betrayal, we encounter the connected consequence of diminished vision; betrayal and blindness always occur together. Clear vision only comes with harmony of heart.
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Feelings that are False: BRIAR Emotions. When people are not embroiled in betrayal, they display peaceful emotions in their bodies and upon their faces. Their integrity of character is evidenced by a calm and contented countenance--an absence of agitated emotions. In betrayal, Justifying, Accusing, & Resenting is most often outwardly expressed, but what brews beneath the accusing, self-excusing words are always anxious and unsettled emotions:
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While the lies from our lips are more obvious, lies can also be "told" without words. Resentful and accusing emotions are nonverbal lies that we live, . . . wordless emotional lies that are more subtle and insidious. As we harbor irritated and tense emotions, we are caught in the BRIAR.
B = Bothered Blaming & Bitter
These unsettled emotions show in our very countenance; they reveal our betrayal of Truth. Because these feelings are false, . . . we are Being False as we harbor them. BRIAR Emotions are yet another set of tell-tale signs that signal the loss of Life's inherent harmony.
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The Light of Innocence. When I am physically cold, if I move from the shadows of darkness into the rays of the sun, I become warm again . . . naturally and consistently. When cold, the Sun warms me as I walk into the Light.
When my soul is cold, chilled with the bitterness of resentment and blame, I can move from the shadows of dark emotions into the Light of Inner Innocence, and there I find a gentle contentment that melts my cold emotions. Like the shining rays of the Sun, the Light within illuminates the way. The Light of Innocence guides me to the warmth of Inner Peace.
The way to healing and happiness requires the development of discernment, . . . a quiet sensitivity. Only when I hear and heed the gentle whisperings of the Light within can I find the path of Recovery.
Walking in darkness makes me deaf: In the shadows of darkness, the chill of agitated emotions grow colder; and worse, I cannot clearly hear the whisperings of the Light, for they are muffled by the confusion of my own mind--drowned out by a relentless inner dialogue of figuring, reasoning, and rationalizing.
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As I align myself to my own sense of what is good--my Intuitions of Innocence--I restore harmony and balance to Life, I return to the way I began. Being True means I am aligned to the Light of Innocence. Coming into that warm and peaceful Light naturally relieves me from the chill of darkness, . . . cold emotions depart . . . clarity enters in.
Telling Stories: Anxious vs. Honest. People who betray their intuitions of innocence have a story to tell!
But not all who have a story to tell are betraying themselves. Some stories are just . . . stories. With no inflamed emotion, some stories explain events and occurrences with straightforward frankness; no blame, no irritation, no resentment exists in the telling of an honest story.
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Because the anxious story yearns to appear convincing, it seeks to be backed by facts; it needs to be lined with logic. The anxious story clings to factual evidence to compensate for the inner insecurity of the storyteller. The anxious story requires airtight logic to make secure, an inherently insecure story.
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The Honest Story will BE, whatever it IS because "that's the way things happened."
Discerning between Fact & Truth. Facts and truth are commonly equated, but there is an important and practical difference between the two: Consider the way facts are used in courts of law to bring about injustice; on this basis alone, Truth needs to be more than a synonym for fact; . . . "Truth" needs its own identity apart from "fact."
Facts are technically correct words, both spoken and written; they are accurate statements made by the mouth or penned by the hand. Sometimes the word "fact" is used to mean "reality:" The way things ARE . . . the way the world IS.
But then, what word should represent the legal evidence that is used to mislead? In legal arenas, "fact" is often far from a truthful representation of "reality." Since we already have the word "reality" to represent "the way things are," . . . let's use the word "fact" to represent "technically accurate statements" regardless of inward motive of heart.
In contrast, the word "Truth" symbolizes a larger "statement" . . . a holistic "statement." Truth is not just factually accurate, . . . but it is also utterly honest; Truth is the whole "statement" of one's total being: A unified expression of word, thought, deed, motive, and emotion--all of which ARE True. Should "the Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth" be anything less?
When a clear distinction is made between facts and Truth, we realize that words can be factual, . . . yet untrue at the same time; in other words, a person's words may be technically correct, but if the inward intent is not true, then only fact speaking can occur, . . . as opposed to Truth telling. This is the very meaning of empty rhetoric: Words expressed without wholeness of heart.
Facts can be conveyed regardless of inward intent of heart; and this means that on the surface words can be technically correct, and at the same time, the heart of the messenger can be incorrect. Part of the rhetorical game of "fact speaking" is picking out certain aspect "from the whole," and just exposing the "the part" that gives a factually accurate appearance in support of an dishonest agenda. Thus, "facts" can be used in the service of lies, while the Truth cannot.
Truth is whole: heart, might, mind, and soul. Of course, included in this truthful wholeness is being filled with the bright white energy of true emotion! Thus, a person who is caught in the BRIAR may make verbal claims to truth, but as dark emotions seep to the surface, it becomes conspicuously clear that "fact-speaking" is all a person can do . . . while caught in the thorny trap of Briar Emotions!
When Truth is understood and embraced in wholeness, a different way of thinking and seeing the world opens up--a new paradigm is understood. Distinguishing between facts and Truth is vital to Recovering the You . . . that is completely and utterly True. It is essential to the project of "Changing Your Stripes."
Changing Your Stripes. The Saying goes, "You can't change a tiger's stripes!" That may be so, as long as a tiger remains a tiger. But what if that striped animal could be changed into a new kind of creature? What if people could change who they are fundamentally, and not just superficially or cosmetically . . . what if people could change their stripes?
The truth is you will be who you are until you become someone different. Until you Change Your Stripes, you will bring the old animal with you wherever you go! And as you encounter new situations, you will tend to act according to the old patterns of the old creature, . . . repeating old ways that may not work and may not bring happiness.
The common cure for dealing with a tiger-like disposition, explosive and ferocious, is to ship the ornery animal off to a different place--relocate to a new zoo! Or if the tiger is especially tenacious, another cure is to simply leave the cranky creature. Either way, as long as that tiger remains a tiger . . . cutting claws are liable to leave their mark upon new prey . . . in a future day, and the false remedy of relocation will eventually be repeated.
When stubborn creatures resist fundamental change from their core, . . . root problems will remain the same even though superficial scenery and appearance may change. You can try to run from your troubles, but you cannot run from yourself. Wherever you go, . . . you will bring yourself with you.
Within each of us are unresolved problems waiting to happen. Old unresolved issues that are like land mines longing to be stepped on, . . . anxiously waiting to explode. And the same old issues arise because of Who We Are! All our problems are portable; we bring them with us wherever we go! Without a fundamental change from our core, . . . a change from the heart, our built in troubles will eventually surface as we face future situations we have yet to master.
Mastering a challenging situation is ultimately a matter of mastering yourself! Challenges are to be met head on, . . . for it is directly "in" our challenges that we find our ultimate destiny. In the ever-appearing adversities of life, we can increase in strength of character; a character that at mortal death is the only possession of which it can be said: "you took it with you." What you will take into the eternal world is . . . what you become!
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