Trojan Horses and Gordian Knots

No strings attached?

Look that gift horse in the mouth and examine every strand of hair in its mane and tail looking for threads which may inextricably bind you before accepting unsolicited gifts. Or unsolicited acts of service, for that matter.

Generosity is an aspect of sincere compassion but like all behaviours can be used for control. Extricating yourself from negative billing on an uninvited gift or service can be incredibly tricky. Have you ever sat on the phone navigating the layers of red tape required to cancel that free trial you signed up for on a whim…and you knew what you were getting into there!

Providing unexpected gifts or services is a common behaviour in those struggling to reach emotional stability. It is a way to secure connection without a risk of personal rejection – our society tells us it is churlish to turn away someone bearing gifts or who does nice things for us…until the moment where the words ” After all I’ve done for you…” come to haunt you.

There is no shame or dysfunction in choosing to involve yourself with someone who engages in dysfunctional behaviour if you do so with conscious compassion and joyful intent. Just like accepting an offer of a free trial book of the month club gives you a chance to see if you like what you get, if it meets your needs.

A gift horse does have value even if long in the tooth. A Trojan army can only overrun your boundaries if you are unprepared or weakened. Every interaction, unsolicited or not, with another human being is a bid for contact, an attempt to get a need met, an effort to find stability. Greeted with receptive curiosity, these threads of connection can weave beautiful patterns not possible without the tension created by the variance in personalities.

Understanding yourself and your needs and motivations will allow you to examine the details of Trojan horses to determine if acceptance is worth the cost. Awareness of your strengths and defenses will provide you with certainty as you decide to allow entry or reject the offering presented to you.

Knowledge of the patterns and personality of the gift giver will inform your decision; don’t trust anyone but love them anyway by having hopeful assumptions. Trust Synergy to keep you satisfied and in balance as you endeavor to meet your needs while being of service to others.

Even if they seem to be trying to pay you in advance.

That behaviour, being generous, is sincere, as is the motive, getting needs met. What makes the interaction insincere and thus unsatisfying is the lack of clear expectations. Perhaps because of a history of rejection and manipulation, they feel they must use passive means to meet their needs. Maybe they’ve experienced helplessness or hopelessness and are attempting to cultivate relationships in advance so when they need support they already have a line of credit with you.

With all unsolicited bids for contact, especially those involving gifts or acts of service, you are able to make an intentional and deliberate choice to accept the gift and its possible knot of hidden obligations, or choose to block access to your energy by turning the gift away at the door. Feel no shame or guilt in saying no because your boundaries still apply even in the face of apparent acts of generosity. Since Synergy gifts us with what we need each day, we are programmed to receive and resistance goes against our very nature!

You will feel the Moment a truly compassionate gift or act is bestowed upon you, and anything less than that sensation will have some degree of transaction involved, some measure of score keeping. When in the Presence of sincere compassion, the taste of satisfaction and gratitude will be unmistakable and you will feel compelled to accept out of sheer joy.

Money in the Now

Cash rarely has Presence in the Moment

Because a Moment is rooted in our Wise mind, which is not grounded in the physical world, rarely does money have relevance. Money is a tool to be used in the quest for satisfaction, and it of course offers leverage when prying open puzzle segments in the escape room which is your life, but it does not meet your needs in and of itself.

Except the sensations of security, power and control.

Those are actually sources of imbalance because if you surrender to the moment you are living in total insecurity. You dwell in Schrodinger’s Box where all possibilities exist simultaneously until the Moment of choice comes where you have a chance to commit to one option. You relinquish control to the universe and allow its power to course through you as it will rather than attempting to bend it to your will or resist it.

Money is not something you need. It is a resource to be used at the right time. Were you to receive five million dollars right this instant in your bank account, it would require action on your part to convert that financial windfall from digital delight into satisfaction.

Think about it.

What would it translate into? And how long would it take to bring actual change in your level of satisfaction and contentment? Paying off your mortgage doesn’t change your home and the only time you really need that money is the day the bill is due. Otherwise, a need for money is a feeling, and feelings are not facts! So, paying off a mortgage only affects the Moment of payment, which is one or two days per month. If today is not that day, then thinking about your mortgage or rent means you are not living in the present.

Need a car? Is that what you would do with the funds?

Why?

If you need need to get to work, THAT is your need, not the car. Truly understanding what the problem is – getting to work – as compared to obstacles – lack of a car – will open your eyes to opportunities for meeting your need that get overlooked because you are only seeing obstacles. You focus on getting the money to buy the car and lose the opportunity to connect with your interesting neighbour who works on the same street you do and would love your company on the drive to work.

Visualize how you would spend every last dime of an unlimited bank account. And then examine the underlying need behind each purchase. Understand yourself better.

And realize that it is not lack of money preventing needs from being met. Everything you need will always be available to you in the Moment you truly require a specific resource.

Today, right this instant, what need is not being met? Our basic need for food and shelter is actually subservient to the need for psychological safety.

Emotional homelessness, the sensation where it is more comfortable to be without an address or a family or contacts, can happen even amongst those with copious funds in the bank. Freedom from the perceived injustice of social expectations can drive someone from the comforts of home into apparent privation but the safety of the mind overrides the safety of the body. An extreme example of living in the Moment, where feelings of imbalance turn a life upside down yet the person living it feels more stable in the uncertainty of the street than the certainty of a unsatisfying life

The universe gives us what we truly need but we tend to get wrapped up in or distracted by what our emotional and judgemental minds tell us we want.

We may feel like we want money and think that we need it but we know we don’t.

Behaviour Blame Shifting

An exit strategy

Receiving a no, with or without explanation, can lead to a battle of wills as the person seeking to meet a need attempts to obtain it from someone who is not offering to do so.

Leave judgement behind and forget about wrong and right. In the Moment, there is no such thing. There is only need and satisfaction. This is how the defense of temporary insanity arises, when the emotional monster overwhelms a wise mind for a moment and seizes control attempting to overcome an obstacle in the way of an unmet need. Needs are valid, but forcing someone to meet them against their will is not.

When you remove the lense of judgement from evaluating behaviour, and accept that unmet needs are the driving force regardless of your personal opinion on the veracity of the need, then you will be better able resist attempts to dominate your will since emotionality and judgement are not part of the operations of a wise mind.

But resistance is necessary when your boundaries are at stake, and understanding your needs and boundaries gives stability to your defenses.

Some people will try to smash those walls, breaking themselves in the process. They may go to great lengths, driven by uncontrolled thoughts and emotions, to bend you to their objective. They may become someone they don’t even recognize in their efforts to make you into what they need.

And then they’ll blame you.

Upon reflection, in a convoluted way it is your fault. You did not follow the script in their head and they responded to your failure to meet their need. Your boundaries drove them to greater heights attempting to scale them. If you hadn’t been so strong in the face of their desperate need, they would never have gone to such lengths to win you.

Understanding this rationale will allow you to recognize how and why blame shifting happens thus letting you accept it without defending yourself, justifying your boundaries, or arguing how you actually did nothing wrong!

What you did was watch as a scaffold was constructed right outside your door. You listened as the rope was strung. And you waited as they mounted the blocks telling you you’d put the hangman’s noose outside your boundaries. Telling you if you don’t let them in they are going to die. Telling you they are in distress and only you can fix it. You didn’t stop them from building their own downfall. Because you held your boundaries, you were to blame for letting them hang themselves. Using Fear, Obligation, Guilt, and shame they shroud the scaffold in a FOG smokescreen and convince you it doesn’t exist and your walls are to blame for their distress.

We are not truly responsible for the actions, thoughts or feelings of another and our own past emotions have no relevance to the presence. We are not obliged to stop them burning their own bridges or jumping under busses. We do not need to surrender to their needs any more than they are required to meet our expectations.

Back to our WWF friends. They have a need. It is to earn money. They are exploiting an opportunity to connect with potentially vulnerable targets, in an effort to redistribute wealth. The need is real but the ends do not justify the means. In fact, were these Scammy Sammys given the opportunity to put their energy toward a legitimate enterprise, their obvious wits and flexibility would make them incredibly successful. Leaving judgement aside and meeting them with curiosity, you develop compassion for the situation they are in while also recognizing it is not ok to take advantage of people.

And they are aware. They know exactly what they are doing and take pride in a job well done until they feel judged or ashamed. Although we often hide the truth from ourselves, we all know what we are doing. We all make choices. We all have moments of clarity where we sit inside our wise mind and hate what our monsters have made us do. Then we either embrace change…

Or we shift that hate onto the person who made us look in the mirror.

“Look what you made me do.”

Relevance

What matters right now in the escape room which is your life?

There are countless things to think about. Yesterday’s events. Tomorrow’s promise. Where you are. Where you’ve been. Where you’re going. Where society’s been. Where it’s going. All very important.

But are they relevant?

Do you need to consider these things right now, in this moment? Does the identity of the person who keeps stealing your lunch from your work fridge matter on Saturday afternoon? Will pondering the global economy make a difference in your spending habits today?

Filtering important thoughts from necessary ones protects and focuses your energy and grounds you in the present. Putting topics on the back burner is not dismissing them; in fact the most delicious scents emerge from simmering pots and you know they’re ready to be enjoyed when the smell gets so tantalizing you can’t resist opening them up.

We have all we need in front of us each day. But we are bombarded with stimulation from the larger world. Whether our street, our municipality, our region, our country or our planet, very few of us actually have an impact at any given moment. If we dedicate our time and energy on finding solutions in our very own limited present, ideas for the future will percolate through our wonderful mind all on their own.

That is what acceptance does. Resistance is futile.

When you accept everything – including the worrisome, the painful, the toxic – then you stop worrying, you stop feeling pain, and you stop acting toxic. Our world is what it is today. It was something else yesterday. It will be something different tomorrow. You can make a difference only by living in the Moment and taking action that is available right here, right now.

In taking action to meet our own needs we ensure we have the strength and stability to meet the needs of others. Place your own oxygen mask before assisting others with their survival lest you suffocate while saving them.

You can be an anchor thread which changes the global picture but only by whittling away distracting thoughts and irrelevant feelings to leave behind a clear perspective on what is possible in this Moment.

Servitude verses Service

The distinction is in the mindset.

Being of service is a fundamental impetus in all of us. To be useful. To be necessary. To be part of something larger. To serve a purpose.

The smallest of acts serves a purpose but so often gets dismissed and ignored because of the apparent insignificance. Yet for want of a horseshoe nail the kingdom was lost. Finding the comfort of meaning in the minutiae lends courage on the path to larger acts of service. Taking pleasure in the daily routines of maintenance or rituals of support brings satisfaction to the most menial of tasks. Never more than in our present global situation has the importance of service been so clear.

Servitude is a mindset where the person being of service, or the one being served, feel entitled to the interaction in some way. Either the person receiving feels they are above doing the deed, that they deserve to be waited on, or the person providing the assistance feels in some way obliged to do so. Truly, they both may BE deserving and obliged but choosing to occupy the feeling of obligation or entitlement is to lose an opportunity for intimacy. Obligation and entitlement are states not conducive to making Moments, but every second of every day in any role in any place is an opportunity for a Moment. Serving is an incredibly fulfilling experience if you choose to embrace it as the powerful and necessary role it is.

Even if you perform the same act one thousand times each day, you are what determines if it is an act of service or an act of servitude. You can choose to find meaning and satisfaction in the sameness while watching for opportunities to get what you need, since Synergy makes sure you have available to you the resources you need when you need them.

Finding satisfaction in service brings pleasure to both sides of the equation and opens doors to opportunities for greater service. Sincere service floods both parties with gratitude for the service rendered and the opportunity to serve.

Have you felt it?

Have you experienced a Moment when someone made you truly feel blessed as they completed an act on your behalf, like it was their honour to be a part of your journey?

Or the reverse, feeling humbled as you gave support to someone whose authenticity and character made you feel you would do anything for them?

Be the horseshoe nail. Take pride in being of service knowing you may seem insignificant or invisible yet Synergy knows your worth. Every act we do is important and an opportunity to share a Moment with ourselves, with Synergy, or with others.

Children, Chores, and Choices

Our children are temporary passengers on a train they never chose to board. We bring them onto our life journey, intentionally or without thought, but our destination and even our route is not by their design.

How we treat these involuntary riders determines the way their own lives unfold once they disembark from our carriage. If they even do! And if we derail while they’re still aboard, the fright of that experience can inhibit their delight in laying their own tracks.

In reality, when we purchase a ticket for a destination, do we expect to be put to work aboard the machine? If we are offered free passage, no strings attached, do we feel misled or exploited when once en route we are given no choice but to shovel coal into the boiler to keep the engine chugging? A mutiny would quickly arise were passengers turned unwillingly into crew.

Yet many parents do not hesitate to put their children to work keeping the family train operational. Chores are encouraged and applauded by almost all. So why do so many children resist their responsibilities, challenge their chores and undermine the expectations put upon them?

Choice. Free will. Fairness. Hypocrisy.

Children are not slave labour nor serfs. Regardless of how convenient their presence and how accessible their hours, to demand unnecessary contributions and unwilling labour is to invite mutiny no different than how passengers with tickets would resist serving in the dining car. A treasured guest is not ordered to work for their keep yet children get the mixed message they are loved but must earn their place in their home.

Were the train in real trouble, and the passengers given the opportunity to understand the situation and to volunteer to assist, many would go above and beyond. Knowing their own skills and abilities, the riders would offer what they could and do their utmost to help. Especially if they have seen the crew in action so truly appreciate the effort that goes into running the system.

We bring children into this world without their consent. To make them pay fare for riding with us is unfair. To force expectations and responsibilities on them when it is arbitrary or contrived is to leave them feeling used and exploited. They learn that love requires involuntary sacrifice and family feels like work. That home is where the servants are.

To invite them to labour beside us when we need their help, coming from a place of vulnerability and sincere need, is to show them how to step up when really needed. Or to ask them what they are interested in joining us with, to create bonding through shared labours, is to teach them the profound intimacy of common goals and experiences.

Leave the curriculum and artificial expectations in the classroom and make home a safe place to grow, free of exploitation, servitude or hypocrisy. They will offer help when they are ready, and learn when there are Moments to do so. As passengers on our train, they may want to explore it with us but sometimes they are simply along for the ride and won’t come to life until they start their own journey and that is just fine. But the more we enjoy our own ride, the more inspiring our pleasure, the greater the chance they will want to see what excites us.

The Culmination

Mindfulness and faith propose that every moment is exactly what was meant to be and that you should surrender yourself to each moment and accept the reality of it. From that acceptance, peace will flow, satisfaction will arise, and joy will blanket you.

But if we follow that philosophy outwards from our limited perspective as an individual, we must also accept and embrace ALL circumstances as having purpose, as being necessary, as part of our requisite circumstances to grow as human beings or the human race.

Mindfulness and faith espouse not judging what is, simply acknowledging what is and reflecting on how that reality influences your satisfaction with the moment and how in turn this moment can be influenced by you.

So, to truly and completely embrace this concept, we must embrace and accept what is present in the world. Without judgement or fear or thought or emotion. And act only upon what we can do in this instant, in this immediate environment, with the tools present and available to us. To do anything else is to leave the moment.

An example is to see the conditions of 2020 without emotional trauma. Yes, the conditions have victimized many and are not peaceful, pleasant nor desirable. But feeling victimized, traumatized, or devastated does not change the circumstances of this moment. Judging any of the political, social, environmental or biological circumstances of 2020 does not make this moment better.

Today’s world is the outcome of cumulative events. Although the impacts of these events are profound and far reaching, which can be overwhelming to consider, the most important focus is here and now. The causes of our situation are irrelevant in this moment, but awareness of the imbalances that led here may be important for you.

Or not.

You are exactly where you need to be. Regardless of how you got here or where you are, you also have everything you need to get where you want to be.

Look around you. What do you need TODAY? What is essential to your survival in this moment and what action can you take today to obtain it. Not future actions or future goals. Here and now is all that counts and is perfect to take you into your next moment.

Our decisions and the impact of the decisions of others creates our situation. But Synergy puts in front of us the tools to change our situation and opportunities to do so if we are patient, present, and persistent.

She’ll be with you in a Moment if you quietly wait, watch and believe.

Intimacy and Glass Houses

The sensation generated when you share a Moment with someone is a visceral intimacy. Electrifying and intense, it can change a simple exchange of pleasantries into a lingering mood of togetherness. A random encounter with a stranger in the produce section can fuel a desire to maintain the sensation beyond the grocery store.

Intimacy is a driving force in human nature. We want to bond, but more so, we want to share with others. True intimacy involves baring your deepest core self and allowing someone to see that which makes us who we are. Vulnerable and terrifying, true intimacy is rare and exhilarating.

Other types of intimacy emulate it but are only poor approximations of the communion of two souls. Physical intimacy, commonality intimacy, and emotional intimacy generate intense connections but those bonds only last as long as the conditions which generate them, unless an underlying spiritual bond scaffolds the superficial intimacies and gives them stability.

Physical intimacy is an easy fix for those lacking spiritual connections. The Moment generated by sensual merging and the delightful distraction of erotic pleasure approximate the profound wonder of souls in resonance. But the Moment is fleeting and leaves behind a saccharine aftertaste because the calories are empty thus lacking the nurturing sustenance the soul craves. When sensual intimacy occurs between bonded souls, the Moment lingers long after the act has ended, and the substance of the bond provides fodder even when the souls are apart. Sexual intimacy is not necessary for spiritual connection but certainly heightens it and conversely, gets mistaken for it.

Having a commonality generates a deep sense of connection which can easily be mistaken for authentic intimacy. Joining with someone in striving toward a shared goal provides kernels of closeness that grow as time passes until harvested when the goal reaches fruition. Although positive and mutually beneficial, there still exists a beginning and end for this type of bond thus it is superficial no matter how lasting. Same with the more insidious Common enemy bond. Uniting against a foe is intensely satisfying and feeds the need for balance and justice but again is a counterfeit connection with a start, process, and finite ending. Common goals and common enemies enhance the richness of a spiritual bond because growth happens via both of these processes but if the goal or enemy are the only connections then after the enemy is vanquished or the goal is attained, the souls lose their link and are left wondering where the intimacy went.

Emotional intimacy most closely emulates a true spiritual bond but because it is rooted in the fleeting emotions of the physical realm and unreliable emotional brain, these Moments also are not enduring. Trauma brings emotions into the Moment and carries them past their shelf life into the future where they don’t belong. Emotions are meant to inform about present social conditions and drive change, but get confused with identity and values. Emotional bonds form during shared Moments of fear or joy or satisfaction but the source of the bond was the environmental atmosphere generating the emotional response which forged a bond, rather than a bond forming between compatible souls which then was tempered like steel by the intense flames of trauma. Again, true intimacy can and does benefit from emotional connection but when the emotional bond forms first, under duress, before the spiritual bond has taken root, then the connection has a finite end when the emotional trigger is removed.

The search for intimacy is why so many people seek, knowingly or subconsciously, the emotional patterns of their past, to feel intimacy in any way they can. Or why gossip is so common and activism so popular. Or why casual sex is frequent.

We all want to connect. To bond. To belong with and to someone or something. It is part of our programming. But most our bonds are finite, task based or situational which is why they do not feel satisfying or sustaining.

Absolute intimacy requires absolute vulnerability. Baring the soul with no goal, no enemy, no emotional trigger, no sex and no gain is an act of pure compassion. Looking out at the world with open invitation, loving all comers, is to generate intimacy. Even so, there are still ways to protect yourself while being vulnerable.

Glass houses still offer shelter and comfort and protection. And those allowed to see the view from the outside are inspired by such graceful openness. Rather than cast stones, they will choose to build a glass house too.

Don’t trust anyone. Build walls. But love them anyway. Make those walls out of glass with large doors and a welcome mat.

Contempt, Compassion, and Empathy

Empathy really is a buzz word nowadays. It’s held up by many as the standard of excellence in emotional functioning and the antidote to contempt. Empathy is seen as a higher level of awareness and the solution to social ills. But there is a problem with this ideal.

Empathy is feeling someone else’s emotions as if they are your own. Although on the surface this would seem a noble and compassionate thing, especially when held up in contrast of contempt which is judgement of someone else’s emotions, to feel someone’s emotions is…well…immature, selfish and in fact a form of contempt!

This is not to say understanding someone’s feelings is inappropriate, not in the least. That is the root of compassion, which is a healthy respect for and awareness of the emotions of others.

But in its truest form, empathy is an example of someone with poor boundaries who is unable to distinguish between themselves and others thus feels a strong need to fix the problems for others in order to find peace themselves. Many empaths talk of being overwhelmed and taken advantage of, which is a way of blaming others for their failure to protect themselves by establishing healthy boundaries. To act to change someone else’s circumstances can often be a form of contempt because the message is you know better then they, the victims, do.

Contempt and callous disregard for the feelings of others is an easy target to disparage and the narcissist easy to blame for society’s ills. The person exhibiting contempt is demonstrating rigid boundaries with complete distinction between themselves and others, which is viewed as toxic and dysfunctional. True, there is an imbalance present in this way of coping and to reach authenticity and enlightenment a shift needs to happen away from a focus on the judgemental coping mechanisms into wise and compassionate processes. Yet empathy is not the answer either.

The empath is also often toxic and dysfunctional yet in a way deemed acceptable to society because the appearance of helpfulness and caring, yet the drive is just as internally motivated as the actions of the narcissist. There is an imbalance present here, too, and a shift away from the emotional coping mechanisms into wise and compassionate processes needs to happen.

Compassion does not mean your are suffering with the people you feel compassionate towards. They are not you and you are not them, their emotions are not yours to feel. But compassion does elicit discomfort when imbalance, injustice, or negativity is witnessed. Compassion involves the desire to see balance restored, in whatever form the victim might feel it needs to take. As soon as you decide what form restitution or balance must take, you are no longer being compassionate, you are being contemptuous. To demand anything on anyone’s behalf except your very own, is to show contempt of that person’s or groups’ ability to determine their own needs. And unless they asked for your help, you disempower them by taking up their cause unless you yourself are directly affected by the imbalance.

Don’t mistake activism for compassion and empathy for support. Those without voices do need to be heard, but unless you are one of the voiceless, your sounds will drown out the meaning of their silence. Speaking from a place of experience is the only way to drive change, and listening from a place of compassion if you are not the victim, is the only way to support change.

Monsters Within

All of us have monsters inside. Some people keep them on tight leashes, harnessed to pull them through the drifts and banks of stormy environments and haul them out of ruts.

Others hide their monsters so deep within they forget they have them until the creatures escape, wreaking havoc as they rampage out of control on the unsuspecting people who happen to be nearby when the walls crumble.

Yet others have caged them, letting the monsters see all the world but not allowing any freedom to work off the energy fed to them. The monsters shake those bars, and grumble and howl, but rarely do they get satisfaction thus neither does their master no matter how well the person seems to master their world.

A final group of people hide behind one or both of their monsters, never letting their true selves show so all the world experiences is the fierceness with none of the authenticity of the spirit within.

Monsters are a part of each of us. They need feed and care because their purpose is to protect us and work for us. There are two kinds of monsters inside our two material brains but none live inside our wise Eternal mind. Our true selves need their protection while tied to the Mattersphere and shed those skins when we leave the material world behind.

Logiticus, the cold, cruel calculating robot, lives inside our logical brain. Lacking emotions, this terminator comes out to defend perceived wrongs, avenge betrayals, and correct imbalance. When harnessed properly, Logiticus is an effective tool to operate successfully in our physical and social environment with its rules, laws, customs, and norms.

Moodasaurus, the wild animal, resides in the emotional mind and runs rampant in response to threats, fears, and pain. When harnessed properly Moodasaurus keeps us safe from danger, protects us from exploitation, and helps us navigate our physical and social environment with its rules, laws, customs, and norms.

Both exist for a reason, to help us. With proper training and exercise, they can be man’s best friend but mistreatment can lead them to bite the hand that feeds them. The first step in responsible ownership is to acknowledge their existence and become familiar with their needs. And then a productive partnership of mutual respect and admiration can begin.

Monsters are only monsters when you don’t understand them. Once you know them, you begin to love who and what they are and embrace them. The beast within has a beauty of its own.