If getting personal change wasn’t tricky enough, then this post will make it so. And in doing so, will eventually illuminate the amazing hope that is available for all of us to have more of what we want, and eventually feel good about it …
The human construct is a curious thing. As humans, we are famous for feeling horrible (often guilty) about having things be better in our life. We are also famous for feeling horrible (often frustrated and hopeless) about having things stay the way they are.
To put it another way, it seems that all we want to move away from (unwanted experiences) seems to stay, and all the experiences that we want to move towards (desired experiences) seem to drift away. Which pretty much means life is annoying for anybody who is wanting to have things different! Except if you are a sociopath … but they aren’t the focus of this post.
Back to it.
Super bummer? Yes. But there is hope of course. And this post will shed light on it. But first, we must recap on what we have explored in The Art of Personal Change Series to date. Let’s re-look at a few core presuppositions we have explored in this series to date:
- We equally don’t want, and want what we are experiencing now. We explored this frame in the context of our reptilian brain that wants to preserve initial experiences, and the human brain which wants to continue learning and exploring. This is the tug of war that seems prevalent in all human operations.
- We are always doing the best we can with the information we have. Or to put it simply, we only make choices based on what we know (whether we are aware of this knowing or not) will give us the best feeling. Whether that feeling feels good or bad, it is always the best for you. For example, more often than not, feeling lonely is better than feeling heart-broken. So we will choose loneliness. This function is appropriate, because it automates us having better experiences in life, as long as better experiences are made available on our life’s menu. But all too often, our menu is impoverished. Which is the premise for unwanted experiences continuing as they are.
- The experiences we learn to survive, become conditions which continued surviving will depend. That is to say for example, if you survived heart-break at an early age, then your continued surviving will require that heart-break fires off regularly. We see this often when people enter and exit from tragic relationships repeatedly, no matter how promising they seemed at the start. This mode of operation is described by my instructor Carl Buchheit as survival patterning.
- Human beings “Suffer” in tribute to their predecessors in an unworkable attempt to demonstrate their love. This refers to the family constellations work we discussed, and the theme of belonging. Recalling that in a family of thieves, the one who doesn’t steal lives with a guilty conscience. So we often take on all our ancestor’s “yucky experiences” in an attempt to better them in a way that makes us the problem, so we can be the solution. This mode of operation is described by my instructor Carl & Ruth-Anne Buchheit as devotional patterning.
Okay, let’s now build on and extend the theme of guilt, blame, shame, and innocence—to further lower your morale of having things ever get better. I know, it’s a grim series. But the more in rapport we are with the not-so-pleasant stuff in life, the more doors open for greater experiences. No great potter crafts his masterpiece without getting his hands a little dirty.
So here’s the thing—the feeling of guilt is generally a negative feeling. And the feeling of innocence is generally a positive feeling, which comes with a super sweet child-like smile of “having gotten away with something.” In the context of devotional patterning, we feel guilty when we do something that is unlike our predecessors. And we feel innocent when we do something or be something that is just like our predecessors.
This is all a demonstration of loving devotion, which is why it can be so tricky for people to have things be better if we have taken on drastically impoverished experiences from our ancestors. It is a really big thing. Because this is when devotional patterning starts to disrupt and distort our automated function of choosing better experiences that become readily available on our menu.
Give you an example …
Let’s suppose you have beliefs that align you with financial wealth creation. And when you imagine yourself on the journey of attaining and enjoying wealth, you immediately get feelings of; fulfilment, happiness, peace, and gratitude.
So far, things are looking good right? Great! But if that wasn’t good enough for building high morale—let’s suppose that your survival patterning has been adjusted to support this direction—so the innocent 3 or 4-year-old version of you is totally on board with having life be better. At this stage, you would think, “Okay! I’m wired for wealth! Let my system do the rest without me having to consciously instruct it to! Life is awesome!”
After all, the child version of you is on board. So you would think that your system would automatically go nuts about reaching for these new experiences!
But then something tragic happens. Just when you are on the peak point of having these new treasures of experiences unfold before your very life, they don’t. Because just after having the feelings of fulfilment, happiness, peace, and gratitude—a sudden feeling of guilt overlays it like stale icing on a nicely baked cake.
Yech! The guilt of having things be better than your family or friends even, starts to settle in deeply. Suddenly, the vision of you having financial wealth, and the great feelings that come with it, becomes incredibly polished with a top layer of guilt that just feels off.
So the question is, will you reach for that cake of wealth?
Unlikely. Very unlikely. Because your automated system has been steered off that course thanks to the interesting conflict introduced by devotional patterning. Recall, that devotional patterning is an attempt to belong with our family, and making sure we do not have it any better than they did. So this sense of “staying as you are” is very compelling. Because remember, it is driven by the feeling of loving devotion (belonging), which feels divine! This inappropriate but compelling feeling of love trumps almost everything!
So by not having things be better, this is the best choice you are making (recall the presupposition that we will only ever choose the best experience available on our life’s menu):
- You would rather feel innocent than guilty. That is to say, to avoid the negative feeling of guilt.
- You are compelled to have the feeling of loving devotion (belonging), because it is in fact … so much better than the original feelings of fulfilment, happiness, peace, and gratitude that come with the desired outcome of attaining wealth.
Bummer. Just when all the internal work and communication has been done to help you get what you want with ease … Suddenly, that “cake” is thrown out the window thanks to the disruptive aspect of devotional patterning, and the seeking to avoid the layer of guilt that nicely dresses the whole imagining of having the new experience you want.
The intended positive outcome is to preserve innocence and to avoid guilt. I will reinforce this with a statement you are familiar with from the previous post …
“Whenever we are confronted with the experience of moving forward, we are equally confronted with the experience of having to allow others to be as they are.”
So what’s the re-solution?
It’s a simple re-solution. But before we get to that, we have to realize that devotional patterning isn’t wrong. In fact, it helped stabilize our arrival in time and space. After all, you are a product of your parents (and their parents etc.), and without them you wouldn’t be living on this earth.
The feeling of having a group of people to belong to such as family, brings great ease to the trauma of incarnating. It also catalyses certain propensities and talents we inherit from our family members, which can become available for us to express and progress them in our own way. Remember, while you may have chosen to take on their Suffering, you have also within you coded, the many talents that they have expressed across the generations! This is a very big deal!
The solution is to choose your guilt, and surrender your innocence. Simple as that. And to do this consciously in our practice, till it becomes a generalized practice in all our experiences. That is to say, to turn this practice of choosing guilt and surrendering innocence from conscious competence, to unconscious competence.
That way, our system is capable of recognizing where the avoiding of guilt, is limiting us in selecting the better experiences that are already available for our choosing now. Sure, we can do change work to assist with that in a private session. But adopting the daily practice of recognizing where we are addicted to innocence, allows us to choose new experiences we want without subscribing to the game of guilt, blame, shame, and innocence. We can then realize when we are inappropriately avoiding guilt as a way to preserve innocence, and the ways in which it may be limiting us.
Good news is, the opportunities to practice this are present in our daily life and all its aspects. Think for example, when you are invited to two outings by friends you hold of great value. Let’s also presuppose that they are mutually exclusive events (e.g. the outings occur at same time but different place). That is, you have to choose one or another. When you say “yes” to one group, you also have to say “no” to another in that moment. Not forever. But in that moment. That means, connecting with one group, and temporarily leaving another group where they are.
This is a tricky choice! Because you have to choose guilt and surrender innocence. But by choosing guilt, you can at least go to one outing without the guilty conscience of not showing up for the other. This enriches the choice you made. Or in terms of a metaphor, its walking proudly and comfortably in the shoes you have chosen to wear in, and to walk in.
Whereas, for example, if you want to preserve innocence in this situation—you might end up wasting energy trying to come up with excuses, stress about the decision, design elaborate strategies to justify your choice, or simply spending time being sorry.
Choosing where you are guilty frees your energy and focus. It allows us to have what we want, and experience what we want in a way that feels great, not full of guilt. For example, if you are wanting that financial wealth, and you choose the guilt of having it better than your ancestors, you can move on to those better experiences of having wealth that you feel good about.
The practice is about as simple as telling your ancestors (or the group you are separating from), “You stay. I will go.” Just notice how respectful that phrasing feels when you sit with it for a bit. Notice, that you can replicate this phrase towards any party, entity, or group you have to separate from, whether permanently, semi-permanently, or temporarily. For example, leaving a party super early, rather than kicking on. “You stay. I will go.”
In life, we are always coming together with a certain group of people and things, while leaving them for another new certain group of people and things. Whether it is; changing groups of friends, leaving your colleagues for a new job, changing mentors in life, or setting aside family time to spend it somewhere else.
All this transitioning is a natural way of life. The clouds in the sky leave the horizon to join the ocean; perfectly and unapologetically. So, just like the forces of nature flow on in form and function, neither caring for right or wrong—we too can model nature’s way.
This is a huge thing my dear reader!
To be fully alive, in flow, form, and function—we must surrender our addiction to playing the game of guilt, shame, blame, and innocence. When we insist on staying innocent, we force another person or entity to be guilty. It takes two to tango. Therefore, an addiction to innocence, is an addiction to blame.
So this is worth noting if you are wanting to master the art of personal change, and to exercise your right as the creative authority of your life’s experiences. If we continue to play this “blaming and shaming” game, we only end up embracing one side of the coin called life. Not to say that is wrong or right. But whenever we insist on being right (innocent), we insist another to be wrong (guilty). This automatically polarises, and leaves us at the whims of judgement. Rather than granting us hold of its reins.
But when we choose our guilt, we can take a step to the clearing that lies beyond that. This allows us to steer smoothly to all the experiences we want, and that are available on our precious journey called Life. Or as the poet Rumi says…
“Out beyond ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.”
(P.S. This post set us up for the following posts where we will explore the more “woo-woo” aspects of our creation. That is, fun frames such as; the universe as a mirroring construct on time-delay, and there is no failure only feedback.)
(P.P.S. For more on this topic of guilt and innocence, I recommend reading Love’s Hidden Symmetry by Bert Hellinger. Brilliant gentleman. Brilliant book.)
Also! If you want to revise the previous posts in the series, click here.