Understanding choices and behaviour
[Excerpt from the book SANE]
Self-control. Will power. Determination. Commitment. Dedication. Restraint. Mind over matter.
All ways of describing the power that this apparent self of ours has or should have over what this body does or does not do.
It looks like this control is not just possible, but necessary for every aspect of life.
To succeed, we have to persevere.
To be happy, we have to banish negative feelings.
To be in good shape, we have to resist the bad food and do the exercise.
To be free, we have to give up all addiction and bad habit.
And all of this seems to be managed and controlled by this self right here.
It is all on the shoulders of the self. All of it.
But let’s get very still here.
Who or what is controlling the reading that is happening now? Who dictated that the eyes would follow the words or gaze off in the distance for a moment and then return to look at the screen or page again? What is translating black shapes into words and meaning appearing in an inner space. What is creating understanding of those words? What is reflecting on those words.
The self would say, ’Me Me Me. I am doing all this’. But is it really the self doing that? Or is reading just happening? Understanding just happening?
If we asked the self ‘How are you doing that? How are you reading? How are you making meaning arise from those apparent words? How do you distinguish whether a word is spelt right or wrong? How does an image arise? How do the words create feelings?’ there could be no answer.
‘How are you doing all that?’ No answer.
And as it is with reading so it is with writing, speaking, listening, cooking, walking, singing, typing, dancing, jumping, catching, swimming, loving, breathing, digesting, healing, choosing, deciding, going to sleep, waking up… Everything.
The self doesn’t know how these things happen. Because the self is not doing them. These things are happening. Just as the idea of self is happening. They are happening because they have been programmed in. Just as the idea of self is happening because it has been programmed in.
And again, this is an enormous shift. It leads to the realisation that behaviour is essentially the programming of the software, the automatic response according to what has been learned and acquired.
If it is not the self that decides what happens, then what does? Where does change come from?
Behaviour comes from the operating system in place.
Change can only come from a different operating system.
Change comes when the old software of behaviour is no longer compatible with the new understanding. With a new platform in place, old patterns, beliefs and habits automatically disappear.
The self is not making the change. The self is not doing anything ever.
The new understanding of who we are creates automatic alignment. Behaviour is no longer driven by the insanity of separation, desperation and insecurity.
Instead, the sanity of integrity, wholeness and ease starts to run the show.