Val is a life-long practically oriented student of effective emotional and attitudinal responses to the many challenges of life.
-- to live by choice, not by chance
-- to be motivated, not manipulated
-- to be useful, not used
-- to excel, not compete
I choose self-esteem, not self-pity
I choose my inner voice
not the random opinion of others.
What I am Calling Subjectness and Objectness
Back in early seventies, just for the hell of it and without any academic ambitions, I completed a home study course in psychotherapy. Some said it was a diploma mill course, and others were tactful enough not to say anything.
As for myself, I got a taste of how the textbooks in that line of study were differing from those over thousand books that I had read on some dozen different aspects of human nature.
But then I got an unexpected, indirect benefit from if, while forced to write a thesis on some original topic. Brainstorming over what I had been using intuitively in my own course of mental evolving, I came up with something that I called "subjectness".
Only as I was writing it did I become increasingly aware of how it was actually a common denominator of everything in that genre existing on the culture market. Now, decades later, I am still witnessing new approaches, heavily perfumed by academic cosmetics with some fancy terminology -- all merely elaborating on subjectness, albeit not making it recognizable in its simplicity.
So here I go about to share something that -- although not given a name through all those young years -- transformed my mind from a caterpillar into a butterfly, as the title of this post is announcing.
Some may see it as way too simple to make any substantial changes in their mental or even physical landscape, but if they choose to try it, they may quickly realize how simple doesn't necessarily mean easy.
What makes it hard is people's mental addiction to the flip side of subjectness, which I coined as objectness. For a short definition, subjectness is a sensation of a willful energetic force stemming outwards from our personal space -- and objectness is the opposite sensation of a force invading our personal space. The former makes us feel as doers, subjects, hence the name subjectness; and with the latter we feel as objects of some outside doings or conditions, defining it as objectness.
By the way, some years back I already wrote my "first edition" of it. What prompted me to write this second one is the notion how I often read new books from same authors talking about the same thing -- just from a different angle. Many a time something in that new approach helped me to experience the author's ideas deeper on the gut level.
The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.
-- William James
The Gut Ratio of Subjectness and Objectness
I am a pragmatic dude, and from all that shitload of books that I have read I picked only those tenets which were somehow applicable in my life. To me life means doing -- not being done unto, and no amount of smart phraseology can sound impressive enough if it would only make me a smart ass at parties.
So, let it suffice to explain my affinity to subjectness as a principle of doing the living, as opposed to life happening to me.
It's a simple matter of gutsiness or a lack of it. You may not be into energy medicine, so something like "energy centers" in our personal energetic body will be just another expression avoiding to be called "chakras". But I am not asking you to pay much respect to any of it, except to agree that somewhere in your solar plexus there is that anatomically proven "second brain", a network of nerve fibers, that we call "guts".
Also, it may help in understanding subjectness if I mention another fact of anatomy that some over 80% of your "feeling good" neurotransmitter, serotonin, is not produced in your brain, but in your guts.
So, let's build it from there. Let's agree that our guts are responding to life in a primordial, primitive fashion, interpreting our environment as either an available source of means of our psycho-physical survival -- or as a source of unfriendly and unfavorable influences.
We just can't escape the conclusion that there is an individually assembled "ratio" of subjectness and objectness polarized in our guts out of all those favorable and unfavorable impressions. Thus we are either predominantly going after and getting it, or we are caving-in heavily impressed by what the world is doing to us.
It's that personal ratio that spells out the "voltage" of our will to live. Thus, whatever is happening out there, or even within our personal space is bound to be polarized to the dominating force in our guts.
Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.
-- Joseph Campbell
As Within -- So Without
Anything that we think, feel, and do, including our attitudes and our beliefs, has an energetic charge of either subjectness or objectness. It's in our guts that we find our limitations or our creativity in all aspects of life, from intellectual, attitudinal, professional, philosophical, you name it.
Which reminds me of a Tibetan saying:
It depends on the tiny hinges to which side some big doors will open.
Being loved, respected, promoted, celebrated -- although grammatically sounds like "being done unto" -- is only appreciated if it's a result of our going after and getting it, one way or another.
A depressed person can be given attention, and gifts, and promotion, but they are already feeling predominantly filled with objectness, and now they are merely feeling more of it as others are "doing something to them" -- even if it's positive. They may unconsciously feel undeserving and even guilty for receiving all those nice things.
An angry person will sense in their guts all outer "reasons" to be angry, because objectness-filled guts are craving for impressions that will make them pissed. How many people these days don't realize that it's in them that they have those political hates, not in the objects of that hate. For, whatever they are hating -- others are cheering about, so there is no objective truth about it, everything being just mental constructs emotionally charged by guts.
Indeed, we seek outer realities which will reflect our intimate realities. In that respect we are being re-active, not pro-active, while on a lookout for events and appearances to which we can give our played-in gut reaction.
Objectness-filled folks are a sort of "calibrated" by their gut ratio to have only the kind of thoughts which are in a sync with it. As I am writing about that sensation of life-promoting subjectness here, I can imagine some readers who won't be able to relate to it. Because their guts, while in their present state, can't produce a quick sample of that pro-active, willful sensation with which they would be in charge of everything they think, feel, and do.
The most beautiful thing you can wear is confidence.
-- Blake Lively
Why We Have to Impress Ourselves with Our Subjectness
Which brings us to impressions, that most important and relevant word in all of this. Are we impressing ourselves as doers, or as objects of some outside doings? For we can't become aware of our true power without giving it attention and recognizing it at work.
As kids we were thrilled after mastering a new skill, whether walking, reading, riding a bike, or playing a new game and getting a taste of winning. Then life became more and more repetitive, turning into one ever lasting routine, in which we stopped impressing ourselves with our doings.
Our subjectness, slowly, and in some cases radically, turned into objectness, as the world kept bombarding us with new influences that in our guts got polarized as "victimhood". In-laws, bosses, nagging spouses, not listening kids, traffic, Republicans/Democrats...all in a conspiracy to make our life one miserable routine.
Then such guts started dictating to our brains how to process anything new -- be it a new job, car, home, vacation site, which all quickly depreciated, since our very capacity for enjoyment got minimized on gut level. We are literally not allowing ourselves to enjoy more of life. How many of those jackpot winners succumbed to the shock of becoming rich and kept working, because their guts didn't allow brains to create any ideas how to enjoy a new life style.
Metaphorically speaking, they didn't want that big cash because their wallets looked too small.
Many others wonder why their positive thinking, or law of attraction is not working for them. They start the process of attaining the desired from the wrong end.
For unless we impress our guts with some persistent elevated emotions belonging to those desired end results, we can keep thinking positively until we turn blue in face. Remember, guts only understand the primordial language of emotions, while Fred Flintstone was hunting for his dinner or being hunted to become a dinner.
Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.
-- Andre Gide
Subjectness in Practice
Intuitively, I was practing subjectness even as a teenager, when in a hot summer night I sneaked out, took a streetcar ride to the foothills of the mile high mountain and climbed it to the top.
Why? Just to prove to my guts that I could do something "irregular", something not suggested by the routine which was defining nights like "exclusively for sleeping". My subjectness did not express itself only through my actions, but also through the intentful choice of my thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, and emotions.
These days, during this current pandemic I am totally convinced that my immune system is strong enough to deal with coronavirus, should I get infected. It's working like a charm, with my minimum protective measures practiced. Please note, I didn't say "so far", because that would imply that I am allowing a possibility of my "luck changing".
It's like with those fire walkers, who have to believe 100%, because with 99% their feet would be terribly burned as they are walking on a bed with red hot coals. It's been a long motto of mine:
If anything is worth doing, a self-sabotage is not an option.
From the time I open my eyes in the morning, I am aware it's only up to my choice how I want to feel, what significance I will give to the factual events and appearances. Feeling as a doer, a subject, I treat my reality as an object -- while seeing other people as responsible subjects in their own lives. That saves me a ton of nerves, as I am not playing a normative ass expecting the world to be more to my taste. I can't experience my own mental freedom without appreciating others' as well. Maybe that's why I am a political cynic, deriving fun from it, but not emotionally engaged in living a nation's life. Let others decide for themselves, I am doing the same.
And I have no words to describe intensity of joy as I am guided by my guts into a daring thinking out of the box, de-hypnotized from the cultural paradigm, using my own mind. Always feeling at the source of my experiencing, never at the end of a receiving line.
So, every day is for me like a holiday celebrating life, Just like I described it in more words in my article "If I Felt Any Happier, Religionists Might Call It the 8th Deadly Sin". Life is good, folks, because I say so, and I say so because I have a say about the way life is.
It's that spark of subjectness in my guts that's igniting this will to live, and will to choose.
Self - conquest is the greatest of victories.
Requalifying Objectness Into Subjectness
This paragraph may only make some sense to those whose guts have enough subjectness in their ratio to allow for a proper understanding, if not for an inspiration. To those others it will merely look like some New Age crap -- even though it's solidly based on New Edge fields of studies like epigenetics, quantum mechanics, and brain engineering, with its main principle of neuroplasticity.
But it will be stripped of all academic esthetics, while leaving only few fancy words here and there.
"Brain cells that fire together -- wire together", repeatedly says Dr.Joe Dispenza, one of my several modern times mentors, echoing some less scientifically based, but spiritually sound ones of the seventies and eighties.
For an old fart of my pragmatic intellectual breed it's more than enough to be put to use.
You see, it was our brain's repeated impressions of either kind, constructive or destructive, that programmed into our guts the ratio of subjectness and objectness that we got.
From that point on it turned into a vicious cycle where it became hard to tell apart the proverbial egg from chicken, brain feeding toxic crap to guts, and guts supplying the same crap to the brain in form of a weakened will to live.
That chain has to be broken if we would contemplate a change, and it would be done by something like re-qualifying objectness into subjectness. Which means simply -- although not easily -- interpreting everything in our experience as our own make.
Particularly those lousy feelings.
Thus, if we are feeling bored -- it's we who are boring ourselves. If someone/something is pissing us off -- it's we who are using those appearances and behaviors to make ourselves pissed off. If we are sad...the same applies, and so on -- not stopping even at feeling sick and seeing it as our own make. And if the whole life inventory is itemizing most of it into a final balance of a mess -- it's we who messed it up.
And, if in the process of doing it we get an inspiration to hate ourselves for doing it to ourselves -- then we take responsibility for that self-beating as well.
What happens as the result?
By assuming responsibility for all our experiencing, we shift the weight of life from the positionality of "life happening to us" -- to "ourselves doing the living".
The more we do it, the more we get a gut-identity of doers, subjects. New brain cells are firing and wiring into new neural pathways making the opposite ones obsolete -- which sends a new sets of signals to our guts to requalify themselves as well.
New synchronicity, or coherence between brain and guts results with new beliefs spelling "I can", with emotions of daring to explore the unknown models of experiencing. Even the law of attraction starts working, because what we are seeking is now seeking us.
Then a day comes when on a gut level we realize how it's so much easier to stop doing what we are doing, than to stop someone or something from doing it.
Suddenly the whole intimate and outer reality becomes a different ball game.
Anyone willing to play it? Come on, join me! It's a fun of creating -- almost of a divine kind!
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© 2020 Val Karas