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quiXilver

Voluntary vs Involuntary

30 posts in this topic

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Horta
32 minutes ago, quiXilver said:

I need to revisit Julian Jaynes and his work on the Bicameral Mind and Consciousness after reading your response.  What a wonderful way with phrasing you have.  Thank you for sharing!

Jaynes isn't an easy read (at least not for myself lol), though I still feel it is some of the most thought provoking work ever written on the subject. I still find it influential, as you rightly noticed. The ideas of Graziano seem intriguing also though I'm not as familiar with them as yet. Regardless of anyone's ideas, this is one of the most fascinating subjects ever IMO.

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RoseDancer
17 hours ago, quiXilver said:

Actions I used to consider conscious, voluntary choice under my total control, are increasingly experienced as conditioned responses arising involuntarily.  And it often only becomes a choice at all, if and when I go back and analyze it to explain it, or mull it over.

I have mulled this over myself from time to time. To keep a long story short, I struggled for control of my life in my twenties and thirties after surviving a difficult childhood. I almost drove myself crazy, reading everything I could get my hand on, exploring the occult, joining groups. Until one day (standing in my kitchen alone), feeling at the end of my rope, I said aloud, "Enough is enough! I have had enough! I'm done! I surrender" Then I waited for the sky to fall... It didn't. Instead this amazing peace came over me bringing tears to my eyes. I do feel I surrendered to something, some part of myself that knows more than I do and can take better care of me than I do. I'm not a religious person. 

 

Edited by RoseDancer

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quiXilver
2 hours ago, RoseDancer said:

I have mulled this over myself from time to time. To keep a long story short, I struggled for control of my life in my twenties and thirties after surviving a difficult childhood. I almost drove myself crazy, reading everything I could get my hand on, exploring the occult, joining groups. Until one day (standing in my kitchen alone), feeling at the end of my rope, I said aloud, "Enough is enough! I have had enough! I'm done! I surrender" Then I waited for the sky to fall... It didn't. Instead this amazing peace came over me bringing tears to my eyes. I do feel I surrendered to something, some part of myself that knows more than I do and can take better care of me than I do. I'm not a religious person. 

 

:wub:  Wow.  Thank you for sharing that.  It resonates deeply with me.  My wife was raised by two abusive narcissists.  One neglectful and resentful of her, the other, psychologically and physically abusive (and creepy touchy).  The unrepression of deeply buried memories caused a full melt down of her mental, emotional and physical self.  But she came to sort of critical mass and said 'enough!'.  I'm alive, I'm here now.  This is my life.  It starts now.

Her last six years, have been a process of letting go in a similar manner, after cutting them out of our lives once and for all.

The memories still arise from time to time.  But they have lost their teeth.  She (and i too) are no longer pulled into the storylines of the old memories when they arise.  We've come to realize the natural state of mind, is akin to the sky.  The thoughts and emotions are clouds.  They come and go, but leave no mark on the sky in their passing.

Our lives are more and more unfettered by the cloying claws of memory as time plays out, and expansive joy, radiant love naturally arise where once there was obsessive, unrelenting replaying of the past in the search for 'why' and 'what could i have done differently to make it not happen'.

edit to add:  the point for the response lol... We spoke about this at length and her experience of this 'final release' was that it was not voluntary.  She also has the distinct feeling that the arising of the repressed memories was timed by her unconsciously.  When the tools and life experience, along with the conditions of life (living thousands of miles away from the source) all coalesced in the subconscious, the gates opened and she was able to wade into this bog.

She said over and over while it played out 'why?... i didn't ask for this.  This is not my doing.'  Utterly involuntary.  But what was voluntary was her willingness to not run and hide from it, to sit with it when it arose, but to not feed it to make it into a bigger thing.  Eventually this process unfolded and she came to recognize her true nature, her core essence was untouchable by these memories. 

Just as we cannot drive a nail into the sky to hang a picture.  Just as a bird leaves no trail after it passes.  Storms may rage, but the sky will clear.  Our core nature is spotless, unlosable, untaintable, clear, expansive and bouyant.

We now sit in simple joy and silence.  And when thoughts of her parents arise... there is no longer anger, rage or pain.  There is a sadness at what was lost... the opportunity they had for joy.  But we live now, for now and with our son.  Our life is like a flower made of light.  And flowers do not unfold in great effort, striving or skills learned from the past. 

They unfold in their natural state, in response to conditions... and our conditions are love and simple beingness.

Edited by quiXilver
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RoseDancer
6 hours ago, quiXilver said:

She also has the distinct feeling that the arising of the repressed memories was timed by her unconsciously. 

A therapist told me not to be afraid. "It might seem like your world is falling apart but it's quite simply a part of the healing process. And it's surfacing now because something in you has decided that you are now strong enough to deal with it." Without this wonderful advice recovery may have taken much longer. 

 

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quiXilver

How little of life, we have conscious interactions with... and even less, that we control.

 

As children we control almost nothing of our lives.

 

What part of the world and when we are born. 

The shape and working efficiency, or the mishapen and inefficiency of our bodies and minds.

What we eat.  What we wear.  How our hair is cut and when it is combed.

Where we go to school.

What we are taught in school.

What language we will speak and think in.

We don't voluntarily choose our family.

One may say we voluntarily choose our friends... but think about it... do you?

Do you choose the feelings that arise that make you rejoice in another person and seek out their company?

I experience it as compulsory... I give in to the impulse voluntarily perhaps, but the impulse and from whence it arises...

not in my conscious control...

 

As we grow we gain some tiny modicum of seeming choice.

yet even as adults... how much of the following are voluntarily under our conscious control?

 

our feelings... we fall in love, we fall out of love, infatuation, obsession, rage, worry, doubt, joy, exuberance... these arise spontaneously. 

our own minds... they tend to think compulsively about whatever senses are being triggered, or if no major senses are triggering, then they tend to ramble on endlessly with stream of consciousness chains of thoughts unless we've undertaken years of study in the pacification of mind, even then... it's rare to encounter a human who can voluntarily stop thinking for minutes, or even seconds on end.  I've traveled the world to meet with masters and sat on the mat for tens of thousands of hours.  The monkey still rises unbidden, unsought, often.

our reactions to situations... how often do we do something, react to stimulus and then wonder 'where did that come from?'

I've spent decades pursuing more influence over my emotional reactions, my verbal and physical responses to emotions and the quality and quantity of my thinking mind. 

 

While it seems there is no direct control over the source of where thoughts arise from, nor the emotions that coincide with response to stimuli; it does seem there is a modicum of voluntary control over how much I feed my responses and emotions after they manifest.  But so far, there seems no voluntary controling what emotions will arise and which thought I will think next.

 

 

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