The Domains of Experiencing
There are four ways of experiencing
reality. I call these the domains of experiencing which are body, thought,
emotion and awareness. (Fig. above) Most people are identified with and experience
their world predominantly through the domains of the body, thought and emotion.
Identifying with these domains will lead us to be taken over by endless thoughts
or lost in floods of emotion, a suffering that most of us know well. When
we open to the spiritual world the domain of consciousness or awareness arises.
We start to experience reality more from this domain. In the domain of awareness
we experience reality as ‘I am pure consciousness’. We become detached from
thought, emotions, body. It seems like ‘nothing matters’ because ‘I’ does
not exist. It is an important step to integrate the domain of awareness into
your life but a misunderstanding that occurs is that we then become identified
with this domain. We believe we are being spiritual by holding ourselves in
the domain of consciousness. We become identified with being just consciousness
and cling to the experience which is as much a mistake as identifying only
with the domain of thought or emotion. An integrated person will move freely
from one domain to another. No domain is of higher value than another. When
we are experiencing through the domain of the emotions it would be a mistake
to talk as if we are in the domain of awareness that says ‘nothing matters’
when what I am feeling clearly does matter to me. We have differing needs
depending on which domain we are experiencing our reality through. Each domain
has it’s own needs that are absolutely natural for every being. The consciousness
domain needs the body-mind to exist. The domain of emotion needs love.
The experience of reality through one domain
is radically different to the experience of another domain. The self is the
seer of our experience. I am the seer who sees myself experiencing life through
the four domains. Sometimes I experience life through my thinking, some times
through my awareness. The seer isn’t a watcher, the seer has attitude - its
attitude is that of respect. Have there been times in your life where you
have seen yourself acting in a way that appeared to be alien to who you feel
you are? Or maybe you were acting out a rerun of how one of your parents treated
you? At the time that you were acting that way, you were aware that you would
act differently if you knew how, but this realisation had no influence on
how you were acting at that time. This viewpoint, of seeing what you are doing,
as you are doing it is a valuable faculty. You can learn to identify yourself
as ‘the seer’, as I call this internal viewpoint. When you live your life
identified as the seer of your experience, this view of yourself allows you
to see that at different times you are experiencing life through the filters
of the different domains. An integrated person sees reality from the viewpoint
of the seer rather than identifying with the viewpoint of one of the domains.
The self receives information through these four types of experiencing. How
a person interprets this information will reveal who and what they are.
Our Personality and its Parts
natural tendency to act in a particular way is our character, which is the
individual way in which we use our domains to experience life. Our personality
is formed by storing and reusing ways in which we have behaved. When we give
power to the personality it takes over and starts acting as if it is in charge.
The seer acts as the manager of the personality and we need to give back the
power to the seer so it can do its job as effectively as possible. At different
times we act from different parts of our personality. We have many parts and
voices. We are not just one whole person we are a whole cast of characters.
The personality is not one cohesive whole but an accumulation of different
parts, each created around a core attitude formed from actual ways in which
you have behaved in your life. (Fig. right)
Sometimes we listen to one part of our personality
and sometimes to another. This leads to conflict within ourselves and in our
relationships. So how do we know which is the real part, the real me? Which
part should we listen to? The truth is that when we become totally identified
with any one part of us we have become an emotional hostage. That part of
our personality has taken us over and convinced us of something. You can be
dieting for two weeks when another part of you takes over that says ‘what
the hell, I want to eat cream cakes all day today’. If you then act on that
you have been taken hostage. The part that was committed to dieting feels
completely frustrated and a failure. It happens to all of us we are all taken
hostage at some time or another. The question is what to do about this? What
is the path to freedom? The solution is that we can negotiate our freedom.
All the different parts of us are meant to be there, there is nothing wrong
in it. The part that wants you to eat cakes all day is OK, it needs to have
role is to listen to all the parts of you when they are active, they are trying
to tell you something. The seer within sees all of this going on in you, it
sees the cream cake disappearing into your mouth but may be powerless to stop
it. The seer’s role is to act as the negotiator. From that viewpoint you can
talk to the active part of you and ask ‘what do you need?’ You will probably
find that a certain part of you needs to be loved, needs to cry, needs to
be held. So now you have the chance to give that part what it needs. It wasn’t
really a cream cake it needed, it needed to be held. Take the time to stop
and ask what the active part is really trying to tell you. Then the negotiations
continue, the part that was screaming for cream cakes may be fulfiled by being
held and can agree to continue the diet in alignment with the committed dieter.
(Fig. left) Shows the way in which our parts interact with the domains of
Emotional Energy Communication
is also useful to see that all the different parts of us respond more to the
emotional energy of the person we are relating with rather than to the words
that are being spoken. Seeing that we respond and often react to emotional
energy as well as to what is being said can bring light to the many times
you have felt at crossed purposes with someone and wondered why you were feeling
what you were feeling as it appeared unrelated to what had been said. We have
the ability to project our emotional energy in a way that can affect other
individuals without our needing to speak. Normally how you are feeling emotionally
is communicated to others, whether you are aware of it or not. This force
can be focused and sent to one person, without others close by feeling the
effects. Without realising it we make many of our choices from this unrecognised
element of communication. (Fig. right)
There are two ways of responding to life. One
is a response that is in the present moment, we are being in the present.
Another is a reaction that is coming from the past, something in the present
has triggered us into our past and we start acting from that place in ourselves.
When we become lost in the past I call this being in a ‘script’. A script
is like a ‘frozen in time’ video of how we reacted to a situation in the past.
The scripts are stored within each part of our personality ready to be reused
should a similar situation occur. Scripts lead us into blame and resentment
and so on. Many of our scripts are created during childhood and are actually
part of our emotional defence system. The content gets rewritten or added
to over time without the core attitude being updated. One problem with this
is that ineffective and destructive ways of acting are stored and we continue
to reuse them throughout life. The scripts prevent us from experiencing our
real feelings, which inhibits our ability to mature by processing our emotions
associated with painful situations in our life. Re running these scripts over
and over again results in little true nourishment from our relating with others.
The objective is not to get rid of our scripts, but it is useful
to learn to recognise the qualitative difference between being in a script
and being in the present. Then you can start to catch yourself more and more
quickly when you have been triggered into one of your scripts. One of the
main problems that arises is that your scripts can be reinforced by your friends.
Often they will want to support you when you are in a difficult situation
but what happens is that resentment and blame is often validated and supported.
What is really needed is a friend to help you see that you are in a script.
Friendship becomes more real and nourishing when you can be as honest as possible
and take the risk of not supporting each others scripts when you are able
to see them. Becoming aware of what is actually happening inside of you is
the point of knowing yourself. There are two main areas where you can make
a difference. One is in understanding what is happening within you and the
second is that you can be active in the kind of emotional energy that you
send out. Our needs and emotions are natural, you can learn to distinguish
your actual needs and emotions from the personality scripts which appear to
be our real feelings. So I am not advocating ‘following your feelings’ but
I am saying that you can use your awareness to find out what it is that you
really need. Seeing where you are in your unfolding self discovery will show
you what you can do to live a life of integrity and respect, which is being
in the present.
Living your life now.