Trinity: Investigating a New Life Structure

Print This Post Print This Post May 27, 2009 on 9:26 pm | In Awareness, Balance, Consciousness, Creativity, Energy, Failure, Fear, Fulfillment, Integrity, Intent, Love, Power, Purpose, Spiritual, Toltec, Truth | Comments Off on Trinity: Investigating a New Life Structure

Over the past few months I have been examining and experimenting with the underlying structure of my life.  This investigation took on a new urgency and came to the forefront of my personal development efforts as the result of a ceremony I took part in on Maui, and I have truly been surprised by the depth of the revelations that this investigation has brought to me.  That ceremony involved the creation of an energetic structure very similar to the structure illustrated above – three nested triangular rings, each with a specific function within the structure.  Explaining the entire structure would take me much more than a single article, and in addition I am still working to understand the relationships that form the overall structure; as a result, this article will focus only on the structure of one of the triangular rings (specifically the outer ring) and how this structure has impacted my life.  That outer ring was comprised of three people (including me), each of which embodied one of the elements of the overall structure.  By using this structure as a model for my own life and working to balance the elements within that structure I have made some major shifts both in how I view and how I live my life. 

Since the entire concept of a \”life structure\” may be a bit fuzzy at the moment, let me begin by describing my previous \”default\” life structure, which was almost entirely the product of cultural conditioning.  Perhaps by coincidence, but much more likely by design, this life structure also consists of a trinity of life modes.  As I describe this model I think what I mean by the term \”life structure\” will become much clearer. 

I refer to my previous life structure as the \”Success\” Structure, and it was comprised of the following three elements: Doing, Getting, and Having.  The basic premises of this life structure are:

  • The goal of life is to by happy
  • In order to be happy you need to be successful
  • Being successful essentially means earning lots of money, but tangentially also includes having status and respect within the general community
  • Doing: You earn money by achieving specific goals in terms of career advancement, which generally entails progressing into positions of increasing responsibility and authority
  • Getting: Earning lots of money in turn allows you to purchase things (houses, cars, boats, champagne) and experiences (vacations, cruises, lessons) that will make you happy
  • Having:In order to remain happy you need maintain the possessions that you have and continue to acquire new things and experiences to fuel your continued growth

I\’m sure as you read this you are thinking \”How could anyone subscribed to a belief system this shallow?\”  Of course, when I was living within this model I would not have articulated this structure as I just did, and I would undoubtedly have denied that this structure defined my life.  In terms of intellect and theory I have never subscribed to this philosophy.  But in terms of how I actually lived . . . I was caught hook, line, and sinker.  And if some of you take an honest look at your own lives – in terms of what you actually do, not what you say you do, or what you mean to do – I think you will find that it is quite easy to slip into a structure that keeps you playing at the shallow end of the pool.

This structure could have just as easily been termed the \”Consumer\” model of reality, as consumerism – that mighty engine of the world economy – to a large extent supports this model through a vast array of social and cultural assumptions and practices.  Indeed, I have found that it takes amazing vigilance to keep this model from insinuating its way into our lives.  Not only overt advertising, but more insidiously unconscious assumptions such as the need to \”earn\” value or worth through success and achievement, the equivalence of success and monetary wealth, the linkage between wealth and happiness, the desirability of social status and public admiration, creep in and color our perceptions in ways that are often difficult to detect, but profound in their influence on our thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors.  In talking with friends and associates, it is clear that the foundational idea that one must do something of value in order to obtain worth, in order to merit love, is a very pervasive assumption that underlies many of our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.

The above analysis notwithstanding, I don\’t want to paint the picture that this structure above is inherently bad or evil.  Indeed, even after becoming aware of this structure operating in my life, there are many valuable outcomes that I have enjoyed as a result of embracing (albeit unconsciously) this particular worldview.  Champagne, for example, is something that I truly do love!  Seriously, though, the predisposition of this life structure towards Doing – physical activity – is a very positive feature of this approach to life.  No, the \”problem\” with this structure in my case is not that it is inherently bad or evil; rather it is that this structure is incomplete – lacking in vital elements that allow one to move beyond so-called \”success\” and \”happiness\” into the more expansive realms of fulfillment and joy.  Moreover, the core principles that correspond to these three modes of living leave a lot to be desired in terms of capturing the full spectrum of human possibility, given that we are much more than consumers and exchangers of resources:

  • Doing                   Core Principle: Power
  • Getting                Core Principle: Acquisition
  • Having                 Core Principle: Possession

The incompleteness of this structure is what leads to the malaise of the achiever – that nagging sense of \”is this all there is?\”  That subtle but ever present yearning for a deeper, more expansive meaning to life beyond the mere acquisition and enjoyment of possessions and experiences.  It was precisely that yearning that eventually led me to pursue a spiritual path in an effort to find meaning beyond the confines of my material existence.

The new life structure that I have been experimenting with over the past few months is what I refer to as the \”Fulfillment\” Structure, which also comprised of  three elements: Being, Doing, and Connecting.  Although this structure shares the common element of Doing, the replacement of Getting and Having with Being and Connecting has a profound impact on the life choices one makes from within this new structure.  Moreover, the core principles that correspond to these elements result in a much different dynamic within which activity occurs – one that is focused more on the \”spiritual\” values of intrinsic worth and sharing rather than the material values of acquiring and possessing.  Those core principles form the foundation of my new life structure:

  • Being                Core Principle: Truth
  • Doing                Core Principle: Power
  • Connecting        Core Principle: Love

The basic premises of this Fulfillment Life Structure are:

  • There is no specific pre-defined goal to life, in the sense of something to be achieved or some state to be attained.  Rather, our purpose is something that we create.
  • Fulfillment is essentially our natural state – not something to strive for or to achieve.  By balancing the elements that form this life structure that fulfillment is revealed as ever-present. 
  • Being:I am intrinsically valuable and worthy – this is my natural state; there is no need to \”earn\” love as I am naturally loving and lovable.  At my core I am a manifestation of the Divine, and most (actually all) of the suffering and drama in my life are the result of my failing to recognize this identity.
  • Doing: Once my survival needs have been met, my doing is based on the creative desire to manifest that which I have imagined by bringing it into reality.  This type of doing is done for the intrinsic joy of bringing that which I desire into being, and not as a means to an end.  Although my doing may result in accumulating wealth, that wealth does nothing to increase or decrease my intrinsic value – which is a given.  All that wealth does is provide me with a means to bring more of what I have imagined and desired into being, provided I allow that wealth to flow into and out of my life.
  • Connecting: Connecting with others, my self, and the Divine is my ultimate joy and play – amplifying my experience of life by allowing me to see reflections of my own nature in others while simultaneously amplifying their experience of life by sharing my nature with them.  In this sharing both aspects are enhanced and enlivened, with the resultant outcome being much more than the sum of the individual elements.  In its ultimate expression connecting it is the recognition of the unity of self and other – the reality that there is no other, that we are all simply facets of a divine, inseparable whole.

In experimenting with this life structure I have found a number beneficial outcomes in terms of practical, everyday issues.  First and foremost is a massive reduction in worry, stress, and anxiety.  Because this model operates from the assumption that I am already whole, worthy, valuable, lovable, and divine – in other words that I have already arrived, that there is nothing for me to prove or achieve in order to merit the blessings I experience – there are not many issues for concern so long as my physical well-being is intact.  And even in cases where my physical well-being is compromised (tired or sick), a few moment\’s reflection reveals that although there is a desire to restore my level of energy and well-being there is no need for additional stress or frustration which would only serve to further compromise my state.

An even more noticeable change is in the motivation for my doing.  In the Success or Consumer Structure the motivation for much of my doing was based on fear – fear of failure, fear of being found to be inadequate, fear of not living up to my potential, and a whole host of other concerns associated with the underlying assumption that I am not intrinsically whole and worthy.  In the Fulfillment Structure the motivation for Doing is always love – a desire to move towards or realize a desired state of affairs rather than a moving away from an undesirable state of affairs.  In psychological terms the Fulfillment Structure uses the carrot of joy and delight rather than the stick of  fear and control.  The sense of flow that results from this new structure is a pleasure that fills increasingly larger portions of my day.  Ironically, by focusing less on Doing, and spending more time Being (sitting, meditating, day dreaming, resting) and Connecting (in person, by phone or email, through prayer and intuitive perception) my Doing has actually become much more focused and effective.  It turns out that I spent a lot of my time Doing worrying and fretting rather than actually accomplishing anything, and my not-doing has helped to reduce this wasted effort dramatically.

I still have a long way to go in fully exploring this new structure, and indeed I feel I am really just seeing the surface manifestations of a much deeper and fuller structure.  But even that surface glimpse is extremely enticing and exhilarating!  What\’s more, this new structure fits in beautifully with the Toltec teachings I have been working with over the past few years.  I am certain that it is not a coincidence that the elements of the Fulfillment Structure also correspond to the three Toltec Masteries:

  • Being                Truth             Mastery of Awareness
  • Doing                Power            Mastery of Transformation
  • Connecting        Love              Mastery of Intent

Letting Go – A Leap of Faith

Print This Post Print This Post March 26, 2009 on 9:40 pm | In Adventure, Awareness, Courage, Death, Emotional, Energy, Fear, Spiritual, Toltec | Comments Off on Letting Go – A Leap of Faith

My Bungee Jumping Adventure


Last week was my daughter\’s Spring Break, and I took this opportunity to load up the minivan with my wife and daughters and drive down to central Mexico for a family vacation.  Our destination was a resort called Hotel Hacienda Cola de Caballo, just south of Monterrey in Neuvo Leon.  The setting that surrounds the hotel is nothing short of spectacular and the weather during our stay was ideal – cool mornings and evenings and warm afternoons, with breezes winding their way through the Sierra Madres that surrounded the hotel.  Our only complaint was the overabundance of insect life – especially gnats and mosquitoes – which made sitting out on our balconies a bit of a nuisance, although the abundance of butterflies and songbirds more than made up for this inconvenience (at least for me they did; I\’m not so sure that my wife would agree!).

This hotel advertises itself as an eco-adventure destination, and although I knew that there would possibly be an opportunity to participate in bungee jumping nearby I did not realize that the facility they advertised was at the hotel itself (just above the restaurant attached to an observation deck overlooking the forest below).  As one of my short term goals over the past several months has been to face my fear of heights, it was clear that this was an opportunity that I could not pass up.

Since one of my previous posts highlights my recent experience with tandem skydiving, you may be wondering \”What\’s up with this guy anyways?\”  Is it midlife crisis? Is it a death wish?  Well, not exactly – let\’s just say that although my current path does have elements of both of these, fundamentally what I am trying to do is explore my limits, find my boundaries and determine the extent to which I can move beyond them.  Hopefully I\’ll get a chance to expand on my ultimate goal in future posts, but for the time being let\’s just say the objective of this exercise was to embrace my fear.

One of the main things that really compelled me to pursue this experience was something that was lacking in my skydiving experience – the experience of facing my fear alone.  On my tandem skydive I was strapped to my instructor, and he not only controlled the parachute but also our exit from the plane and our landing.  At all times he was in control, and I could rely on his expertise and experience to safely guide me through the experience.  Don\’t get me wrong – it was still an exhilarating, adrenaline filled adventure!  But something gnawed at me due to the fact that I was not the one that let go and made that leap into the void.  And so it seemed inevitable that I would need to take the plunge and experience letting go on my own.

Now that I have had the experience of bungee jumping I must say it was completely different from my skydiving experience.  I can truly say that skydiving was incredibly exhilarating, exciting, and fun – a wonderful sense of freedom and spaciousness.  My experience of bungee jumping was something altogether different.  For one thing, I just need to come out and admit that it was a terrifying experience – although you may not be able to tell it from the video, my legs were shaking almost uncontrollably as I was perched on the launch platform prior to jumping.  My body had a very visceral reaction to the entire process.  Unlike skydiving, where I was jumping from a height of about 2 miles, my bungee jump was from a height that my body could comprehend and fear – there was no question of an experience of flying . . . I would be falling!  Letting go and leaping off of the platform was an incredibly intense experience (I can assure you that I screamed the whole way down!), and in some ways I am still amazed that I managed to do it.  My body seemed to want to be at two places at once – safely secured to the diving platform and down on the ground below – but the one place it most definitely did not want to be was falling in between!

During the jump I had an extremely unusual experience as I fell towards the trees – when the bungee cord reached maximum extension and began to pull me back up towards the platform it felt as though a part of me (centered right below my navel) continued downwards toward the forest canopy to the ground below.  Being pulled back up by the bungee cord resulted in an odd sensation of being torn in two as my \”center\” projected itself down to the ground while my body moved upwards, and this phenomenon repeated itself each time I bounced up and down.  Each time that I bounced back it up it almost felt as if I was simultaneously watching myself from the ground below and the platform above – a very disquieting and disorienting sensation!

When I finally made it back up to the platform and the safety of terra firma, the first question my daughters asked was: \”Was it fun?\”

Well, no – not really.  It was most definitely awesome – in the full sense of the word (bordering on awful).  Despite the extreme \”body fear\” and intense anguish involved in making the leap, I certainly didn\’t regret the experience.  But I could not honestly characterize it as fun, which is in some ways unusual as I could see that many of the younger people who partook of the experience most definitely were having fun – indeed, they were having a blast!!!  Perhaps I just need more practice???   

It took the better part of the day for me to get \”re-integrated\” after making the jump – I kept rubbing my belly just below the navel to help calm myself and ease the \”hollow\” feeling that lingered after my \”pull apart\” experience during the upward bounces.  By the following morning I was fine, but I must say that the experience of letting go was much different than what I had expected. 

It felt as though the whole universe held its breath as I made that leap, and the scream that followed . . . was like a supernova.

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