I remember living with a girlfriend in my twenties who was a big reader of self-help books. Our walls were filled with posters of affirmations and her vocabulary was filled with self obsession. I put up with it because she needed whatever help she could get and it kept her focused away from destruction; but self help for men, that a whole new kettle of fish.
There is undoubted a huge market out there of self-help products. While I don’t disagree that there is a great number of outwardly facing people who could do with a bit of introspection, pumping up their ego and telling them they are princess snowflakes will only amplify their self obsession leading to more problems. Don’t look for someone else to remove your problems; reading the mainstream types of self-help books is only going to shift blame from one external party onto another.
What I want to introduce in this post is not the new age capitalist consumer version of self-help but the thousand-year-old sense of connection to the universe that leads you to the path to freedom.
Whilst the modern day focus on pumping yourself up (ego inflation) may work well for modern slaves to society it certainly does not work well for men wanting to regain their freedom. The difference is biology.
If you have read many of my other posts here you here probably heard it before, “biology makes men different from women”. These differences also make huge differences to your sense of self.
The Modern Day Sense of Self
I don’t think it is too much of a stretch to say that our modern lives are the most comfortable, most relaxed and least strenuous of all history. This spare times gives humanity a lot more opportunity to indulge in the frivolous pursuits of life because our food, shelter and security is all automatic with no effort required. Politics is one of these pursuits, also collecting shiny new things (cars, houses, jewelry), bureaucracy, law, socialism, education, philosophy, competition, criticism and a multitude of activities we fill our day with pass the time.
This has also brought with it a massive increase (comparatively over the last hundred years) in the popularity of thought. Yes that is right your heard it thought. Imagine being alive when the dinosaurs were around, try to imagine just how much of time would be devoted to doing mundane things automatically as opposed to using the brain/imagination for complex thought processes.
My bet would be that back in the day of dinosaurs humans didn’t have the luxury of time or comfort that allowed intellectualizing their lives. Today is a different story though. We have far too much time and intellectualize far too much. Ever heard the term paralysis by analysis?
Autonomy is Selflessness not Self Worship
I wrote an article about Peter Pan Syndrome (click link here to read it) in which is written that to reach adulthood you had to become an autonomous human.
Social development to the point of proper autonomy needs high self-esteem, self-motivated tendencies, positive self-concepts, self-initiating behaviors and self-regulating behaviors gained through long term good mental health.
For me the origins of self assessment began around 400BC with the emergence of philosophies by Buddha, Socrates and Confucius all very close to each other.
Do yourself a big favour and check out a three part series by BBC called “The Genius of the Ancient World”. It discusses the works of these three great men and the parallels between them.
What’s all this got to do with me you say?
It’s got everything to do with you but also nothing to do with you. Keep with me.
Connection To Something Inifinitely Big and Minutely Small
To rid yourself of this unhealthy sense of self that seems so common we need to go back to our teachers from the past and actually take heed of what they spent hundreds of years and probably hundreds of generations of people working out for us. There are two points I want you to take with you from here there will undoubtedly help you put your life into perspective.
The Origin Of You (The Physical You)
All the physical particles that have been miraculously intertwined to make up You come from the same place as the particles that make up Me. Scientists have proven that all the particles that make up Earth and that make up You originated from the one singular point of space which exploded and made the universe. Stars were created, stars exploded, the particles were propelled through space and solar systems were formed, planets were made and life as we know it followed on from there.
You are a unique collection of space particles, same as the rest of us, don’t try to make yourself out to be anything greater. This makes you intertwined, connected to and part of an infinitely large universe.
The Connection Between Us (A Microscopic Playground)
The Second concept I want to implant into your brain now is the way in which all these particles interact with each other. The modern scholars refer to this concept as Quantum physics, Buddha referred to it as Sunyata, (Hindus have similar beliefs that I am not as aware of. Help me out if you know them) these are very complex philosophies that I have spent more than half a lifetime fascinated by now. I will try to do them justice here and try to explain to you very simply why these fields are relevant to your mental state.
Each particle vibrates and has a favorite frequency it likes (speed). The vibration of these particles changes and influences other particles as they interact with each other. Interactions can be both constructive and destructive.
On a very small scale (sub-atomic) these particles are also all made up of very similar building blocks and bound to each other by an energy field (modern scientists call this dark matter, Buddhists have different translations but commonly refer to either voidness or emptiness) that interconnects the entire universe.
Real Life Microscopic Example – Mirror Neurons
Neuroscientists have found neurons (part of our brain) they called mirror neurons. Basically it is a connected state between two peoples brains that are interacting with each other on a cellular level. The way your brain neurons fire can change the way someone else fires their neutrons. Neurons are microscopic particles that are just one of the building blocks of the universe spoke about earlier.
Real Life Microscopic Example – Your Five Sense and the Brain
Your entire perception of reality can be concentrated down to five things; Sight, Sound, Taste, Touch and Smell.
These five senses are transformed into a labyrinth of neurons firing down the pathways of your brain (the neural pathways). The interested thing is the brain filters out a lot of the things it determines to be irrelevant to the current situation and focuses the external information (your sense) to build up a consistent version of your reality.
Consistency is the key to sanity. If the brain didn’t do this, we would go insane.
Real Life Micoscopic Example – Neural pathways, Emotions & Your Memories
As mentioned above the brain creates its favorite filters and its favorite pathways to build your unique and consistent perception of reality. Over time our brain develops automatic reactions to certain senses; when these neural pathways are common enough to make the guess it comes automated (also known as intrinsic).
Emotions can be thought of as just one of the automatic reactions.
A predefined array of neurons and neural pathways built up by your brain as a result of your past and in response to the current situation. If you let it go by unsupervised, you could end up in all sorts of mess. For Example if you don’t observe closely then intervene every so often to make a redirection you will become a mirror reflection of your past, internalizing all those negative life experiences with no control of your own internal workings.
I think this is what gives way to the constant criticism of others, bitching, moaning and whinging that a lot of seems to define themselves by.
The very important concepts mentioned above were:
- The entire universe (stars, suns, planets, water, gases, people, animals etc.) are all made up of a fixed number of elements that are all identical in nature to each other and all originate from the same source. Therefore, you have a shared Origin with every particle in the universe.
- These particles that you are built from are all interconnected to each other through an all encompassing energy field. Both modern science and ancient religions share this concept of the interconnection. This energy field is the micro climate that impacts the nature of interactions between you and the other parts of the universe.
What have these concepts for to do with jack fruit?
Hopefully you can use these concepts to better understand your self, your emotions, your paradigms, your perceptions of reality and start to challenge your ego, make that connection with nature again and put yourself onto a path away from slavery.
If you want to delve deeper into the subject matter here are two books well worth your time.
- “Tao of Physics,” by Fritjof Capra
- “Parenting from the Inside Out,”by Daniel Siegel & Mary Hartzell.
Don’t leave the page without making your mark, leave a comment and prove to you are not one of the above mentioned slaves.