As human organisms we are defined by our capacity for self-reflection and higher consciousness. At the same time, we are the inheritors of a 30,000 year old neurophysiology/brain which predisposes us to scan for threat and negativity. We are sensitive creatures, and we derive our learned responses and self-meaning from our early life conditioning and associations. We are often guided not so much by our conscious, integrated choices but by our unconscious (fear-based) drives.
Why is this so important to understand? For one, we operate at our best when we connect our identity and thus the meaning of our lives with an open, curious and compassionate state of mind/being. The aforementioned pervasive state of threat and defensiveness presents a difficult foundation from which to embrace a ‘groundless’ way of being and thus interact directly and neutrally with our subjective reality.
Ultimately, what serves us best is to be mindful of these unconscious patterns, to work with them, and see that in transcending our own perceived sense of limitations and ‘stuckness’ that we can have a purposeful, spiritualized life. By spirit, I don’t mean anything ethereal or mystical. I mean that we might engage the world in the myriad ways it moves us–with the intrinsic knowledge that we are inextricably part of the universe, of the matter and energy of stars, galaxies and light particles. When we get a glimpse of being able to transcend the sensory biases that, though necessary for functioning as a physical organism in the world, keep us ‘stuck,’ then we get out of our own way, let ourselves vibrate with being. We are more open to possibility, to limitlessness, to love.