The swinging pendulum of polarity strategies or Staying Still
I recently heard the comment that it is often hard to see the play of ego – my reply is that is not actually the case. That sentence, those words, are just the minds way again and again of keeping you locked in survival mode, so that ‘you’ survive. We may not see the play of ego or the survival drive in the way we might expect, or imagine we should or ought to, however we are certain to experience a glitch in our body or emotions that says ‘something is off, something is not quite true’ – So you actually know the truth, that there is always a clue pointing you back to be still, to be this endless self that is always untouched by any need or requirement of the body, the desires, or the survival of this life form.
Let is take some time to examine what this survival drive really is.
As a living form we are governed by an instinctual genetic programming impulse to survive. The genetic imprint is very strong. Like that of all species it is coded into our DNA and cells. It responds to any threat and garners everything at its disposal to guarantee the survival of the form, or of the species.
As a human being we are no different to any other form in regard to this genetic survival imprint. We do have however an added layer of genetic programing – as well as the sensory, or animal instinct, there is also the emotional and mental responses. As the survival of our species originally depended on these responses, you can see that they were actually extremely valuable. However when we are willing to examine both what is driving our conditioned behaviours, and explore what is untouched by them – we are confronted by another response – the swinging polarity strategies A dear friend and colleague of mine Kevin Billet terms these polarity survival strategies the double bind ( dammed if you do, and dammed if you don’t ). The emotional and thinking overlay, creates a polarity strategy so that we avoid the perceived threat or danger zone.
What is termed the ego or identity has many strategies for survival, so it is useful for the purpose of self inquiry to take a look at this response and how it ‘seems’ to keep us trapped in an endless swinging pendulum between two poles, two extremes – all driven by the original threat and fear of non survival.
I will share some examples of how these polarity drives show up. We may be faced with many difficult encounters or experiences in life, which are perceived as a threat in some way – we then react in ways in order to protect – we either move away ( in fear or shame ) we move towards ( in order to be lovable, nice, harmless ) or we move against ( in order to be tough, strong, the fittest, in control ).
So let us say that for an example that we experience fear, humiliation, or shame, this is an act of moving away and actually a cover for what is more deeply feared. This fear or shame has us be in a defensive retreating mode, abdicating any sense of rights, power, or control so that we wont be seen as a threat, or we wont be abandoned, or left to die. This movement away becomes so intolerable as we realise that we are not actually safe as someone who is vulnerable and weak and so there is a swing to an opposite polarity strategy – that of either towards or against, the towards strategy is one of being nice, placating, pleasing, doing – the against strategy is one of being strong, in control, dominating, righteous, judgemental, blaming, threatening. This swinging back and forth is an endless cycle. At one moment seeming to avoid the threat, and then seeming to be the cause of threat, and so you move again.
Let us take a look first at what is beneath it all. Beneath all the movement is emotion – if we use the example again of the shame, fear , withdrawing, retreat, abdicating, supplicating oneself, or showing up as weak – it is a deeper fear that who we are will not survive the threat.
The same is true for the other polarity that unless we are showing up as strong, controlling fierce etc. then we could risk being attached or killed, then suddenly we fear being strong will have us attract the very threat and we move again, being nice ( towards ) or ( away ) being weak and in fear.
ALL of these movements are a form of protection based in instinctual survival mechanisms – however there is no real threat, no real danger , we are not at risk of physical death.
This endless movement is tiring, this endless movement is futile, this endless movement is continual suffering.
If we are willing to see this movement, and that it is futile, we get to open to a new possibility – one that is not based in survival response.
What if you were not to move from one, or to the other ? What if you were to stay still ?
If you didn’t move what would you have to meet? Feel? Experience?
You most likely will experience some form of risk – a risk, a razors edge, something that feels uncertain, unfamiliar, unknown, again the word risky to not move arises – this fear of the Risk is what has you habitually moving from one polarity to the other.
What if you were to discover what this risk really is ? What is it made of, what is it really? What is actually at risk?
You may discover that what is at risk is the dying of the identity, the holding on to being a someone who is a someone – sound familiar?
If we are really willing to stop and meet this risk itself ( not the story of what has us move ) but this that is risk itself , we discover our deepest fear is of total exposure, excruciating vulnerability, we fear that who we are will not exist. And then when you continue to open and allow this – what is discovered? Without all the frantic movement you can now allow the quiet, the space, to permeate all and you discover that risk is imagined, risk is mind, all that is here is endless self with no-one, no somebody, no agenda – just freedom.
Whilst this examination may have taken some time to write and some time to read – the penetrating inquiry itself can take just a moment – all that is required is that you are willing to be still – as my beloved teacher Papaji says, to stop, stop the movement of mind and discover your own self, already always free ~ Namaste Yantra-ji