- Mental Health
There Is Magic in Deliberate Experiencing
Two Modes of Experiencing Available
Our experiencing in life situations is either spontaneous or deliberate, which means either it's chosen unconsciously and without our exercising our preferences in the matter - or it is chosen with a conscious intent, in which case we are interpreting the situation using our updated standards and criteria.
Since most of the people are switched to their automatic mode of functioning most of the time, the question is how really useful are those programs and parameters which are based on reasoning from our past conditioning all the way to our childhood.
Also, could we possibly benefit by reprogramming with a deliberately chosen, new models of experiencing? This is what the following article is all about.
It Takes Someone to Give It a Suchness
Have you ever met a couple who by their appearance were an obvious mismatch? Actually so much so that you heard some whispers around asking :"What did she see in him?"
Maybe some of the others who were willing to learn something from that experience came to the conclusion that nothing is necessarily one way or another until we give it an interpretation, which may be based on our own tastes, opinions, information, or whatever.
That's what makes the world turn, as it insists upon its principle of variety, a world where nothing is uniform, everything teasing everything else to express its uniqueness in the never stopping process of creation and recreation.
That dynamism is also urging us to update and refine our models of functioning and responding to life - with a deliberate act stemming from a spiritual insistence to make life better, and us better.
Life means motion whereas a standstill means life stagnation, so we just can't afford to be led by our automated guidance, letting the life "happen" to us, without a deliberate interference - if we don't want our future to be just a duplication of our past.
Perceiving vs. Interpreting
Whether we choose to think that life sucks, or that it's a glorious and divine story told by gods - we are always "right". It's never a matter of "rightness/wrongness" but a matter of what feels better.
Of course, we are not talking about the factual reality where we should stick to what appears to be the objective perception, but rather about our interpretation of it, which is always up for grabs.
If it's raining, we don't deceive ourselves that it's sunny, but it's entirely up to us to see it as a "gloomy day" or a perfect opportunity to catch up with our chores that have been waiting for our attention for a while, or finally make that long distance call to a friend or a family member.
So, that's where we exercise our deliberate intent to experience the rain as we choose. If we don't, then our automatic pilot will compute for us what a rainy day "usually means to the most of the people", and that's what will be our experience of that rain. Perception will still be the same - one of a rain falling - but it's our interpretation which gives the very taste to our life.
What a Power We Have!
I used to have a friend who was in a habit of turning mostly everything into a joke. In his case, however, it was a defensive mechanism at work, as humor was helping his secretly sensitive nature to cope with unfavorable circumstances and situations.
But, if he had done it just to give a spice to his life, it would have been a beautiful example of deliberate experiencing. Professional comedians and sitcoms script-writers are making a great use of that ability, and as we know, it can turn just about anything serious into a laughing matter - like people that are handicapped, stupid, ugly, blind, dead, kings, beggars, saints and gods, heaven and hell, you name it, a humorist can deliberately make it funny.
On the flip side, we can equally turn life into a soap opera, tragedy, strife, a garden variety of adversities, bad luck, and you name it. Needless to say, there are by far more people who use deliberate experience for this kind of life definitions and descriptions - when it's not their automatic experiencing dictated by their life scrip program possibly running in the family for some generations.
Grudges and All that "Forgiving" Nonsense
I have to admit, I could never quite understand when people would say something like :"I can forgive, but I can't forget". To me it's the same thing, except that now we are "officially" getting over it and moving on with the relationship not bringing it up anymore.
Just being quiet about it doesn't change much, as long as we remember the incident in question the same way. That's where deliberate experiencing shines. Having both psychological and moral aspect of the incident in mind, we could take a stand like "I don't approve of what he said, but he is not a bad man and I don't know what made him say it at that spur of the moment".
Sometimes people have a bad day, they may be going through a rough period in life, or they just can't shake off the image of their mother-in-law from their mind. Just kidding - and this was deliberate.
When it's about forgiving, it also helps to remind ourselves that we are not some candidates to be proclaimed as saints after we die. By using this line of thinking we may start re-qualifying our memory of the incident in question and its original emotional background, at which point "forgiving" doesn't really matter anymore.
Enriched by Deliberate Experience
Deliberate, or "intentional" experiencing, if you like the word better, is the first tool in developing an attitude that nurtures our heart, mind, and body. It's a frame of mind that sticks around in all of our daily responding to demands and opportunities of deriving some fun from life situations.
It also gives us an enormous sense of having a power over our life, along with that flexibility necessary to shift smoothly through the variety of life experiencing. It is not a replacement for our automatic pilot and its programs many of which are serving us well, but rather it overlooks its offerings and chooses either from them, or from a fresh model of experiencing.
So we can amplify a learned, automatic behavior, or dim it down. Like in times of having fun we can insist on liberating ourselves from all inhibitions, leaving memories of work and family issues at home when we go to a party, dimming them down in our mind in favor of playfulness.
There is much freedom involved in deliberate experiences, as we don't feel stuck at a response that's prescribed by collective norms and the sense of the "appropriate" generated by them. We can choose our own way of interpreting life. And that's all that personal sovereignty is really about.
So, folks, maybe you could try to give a fresh taste to life by not sticking to your habitual ways of experiencing things as something that's carved in stone and an unchangeable aspect of your personality.
Go a little more flexible about your "principles", make amendments, update your old worldview with something that intuitively makes a better sense, and feels better. In the theatre of your mind you can be the producer, director, and hero, all in one - and don't hesitate to fire your script-writer if his stories don't contain enough laughter, play, music, humor, that stuff that makes life worth living. I hope this article provided a little of an inspiration to do that.