Section I - Chapter 6 -- Self Control
In learning about "Who Am I?” we are learning about life, and life is basically nothing more than a learning process. You may wish to add to this explanation; however, you will not delete learning as life's main function. In the last chapter, we actually learned about the learning process itself. That is, we identified the elements of the learning process, what they are, how they function, how they relate to one another and how understanding holds everything together. What I did not explain is how one sets this learning process into motion. What really starts it?
It was also stated in the last chapter, that knowledge and possession control the individual in a specific relationship. Our chair example and subsequent explanation of this learning process indicates that this specific relationship is primarily a process of selection or self control based upon understanding. That means that the individual must first be exposed, drawn and/or take an interest in something, then he must focus in on that thing by a selection or value process which narrows one's reality and limits actions that are initiated to reach or accomplish the hoped for end results. Sometimes, these limitations are already set by that of another individual, a previous selection, or the consciously known information caused by our environment. In any case, the selection process is a system designed to accumulate knowledge and posses more understanding, so that the individual can, in a sense, enlarge his triangle, or to grow.
The actual selection process is a mental conscious process of knowing and understanding relationships. However, in order for this mental process to be effective, one must be able to visually see the results of these mental processes take form in physical matter. This manifestation of thoughts into matter gives the mental energies or efforts a certain form of predictability and reliability. In short, it makes everything fit, form and function. One has extreme difficulty making decisions when there are so many options or alternate means available to achieve the same desired results. Therefore, the manifestation of thoughts into matter limits the options and narrows the choices so that the individual can more clearly function in this reality.
The conscious key or motivating force behind the individual and the learning process then is selection. To make a selection, means that there are more ways of achieving the same hoped for or desired end result. Therefore, to make a selection requires knowledge and understanding of certain relationships based in a linear time sequence. Knowledge is the source of the choices or options available to the individual; however, man has limited himself in knowledge, so he has also limited his conscious selections. That is, knowledge is somewhat limited or fixed to some degree by each individual; therefore, each individual will respond based on predictability of his knowledge and understanding of relationships. Again, conscious understanding is still limited by the individual's efforts and energies to see and identify similarities and differences.
One might ask at this point, if there are so many ways of achieving the same desired end result, then why is there all this concern about the learning process, selections and limitations anyway? The reason for this concern has to do with position and side effects. That is, most people primarily think of themselves first in relationship to others; therefore, their efforts usually create side effects, reactions and counter responses to actions one sets into motion in order to accomplish his end result. An individual, who is just self centered in regards to his needs and wants, rarely accomplishes an end result without affecting the environment which is shared by others.
Each individual, in his journey through life, leaves a trail or path behind him somewhat like a motorboat through water. That is, the results of that person’s behavior and actions spread out and continue to do so long after that individual has passed that same point in time and space. The individual who is basically self centered or oriented in this position, is usually unaware of the effects that his decisions or selections have on the world about him. This is true, so long as he continues along in a straight line and never looks back. Should the individual turn around or reverse his course, the wake or waves are quite noticeable and have enough energy to affect even the swiftest boat. Therefore, care should be exercised in making selections, because their relationships affect more than just self, they affect everyone.
It is the conscious linear time selection process that gives direction to one's life. It is by this means that man progresses and grows in this physical reality. It is his choice to select knowledge or possessions when and where he chooses. His selection determines his growth and understanding or lack of it. Selection is the force that makes the learning process work and allows one to grow and expand his awareness of all there is. There is nothing wrong with creating waves and/or rocking the boat so to speak, so long as you are willing and able to help those who are affected or floundering because of these waves. Don't forget a very important rule of science which states, "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction". Again, care should be taken when and where possible to make the most practical selection.
Perhaps I should define the word, "practical" stated above; however, I think that this is another one of those words where value is in the mind of the beholder. That is, it is like the word, "best" that we used as our first example to explain relationships. In that example, we said that it is a word that is related to the individual's experiences, efforts and consequently, his idea of values. It is his experiences in the visible physical world that he draws on to make his next selection. It is a process of elimination whereby the individual purposely takes specific actions designed to lead to or achieve a specific end result or understanding of new relationships and purposely avoids other non-linear alternatives.
You might better call this selection, strictly a process of elimination; however, it is both a positive and a negative process. The actual selection process requires a value judgment. This judgment is the conscious or unconscious act of selecting, determining or forming of an opinion about something based upon known facts available to the individual concerning that person, place or thing. Supposedly, this judging requires the individual to think things through as far as he can or wants too, in order to decide on a specific course of action designed to achieve a benefit to that individual and possibly all concerned or affected. Unfortunately, the individual exercising free will, will often forget to include the part about "all concerned". That's because his value of others, all concerned, is not the same as that which the individual places upon himself.
If you are able to pay attention, you may have noticed that I have just used the word value in slightly different context than that which I have used twice before. So far, I have used the word, value, to denote efforts and energies used and given to achieve some end result; however, in the previous paragraph, I have used value as that meaning importance. Therefore, let's take another look at this word. The official definition of the word value means, the quality of a thing in relationship to importance. Very interesting! Isn't it? Again, I am dealing with a word that denotes a position. Just like our words, "understanding" and "meaning". However, unlike these words of position, this word denotes extremes or a variable location. The individual is still within the learning process triangle; however, his selection will fix his location somewhere closer to one of our five learning elements. Somewhere off center.
This selection process or judging of values then is actually a positioning process. That is, the individual mentally reviews in his mind the positive and negative known relationships and understanding of both linear and non-linear actions that can or will affect certain wanted or desired results, and then selects from non-linear reality that which he thinks is the best possible way to accomplish this want or desire. His selection then, moves him off center and leads or directs him to where he wants to be consciously within the learning process.
The selection process and/or value judgments take place on the subconscious level in unmanifested non-linear reality. These alternate realities bring up the question as to whether or not all of these selections are based upon a conscious evaluation or value judgment basis, but based on emotion or emotional ties to the subconscious level(s) of unmanifested reality. However, although subconscious emotions play a part in making selections, it is the individual who made the previous conscious decisions and selections that put him into a strong emotional relationship or position to begin with; therefore, the individual believes he makes the selection based upon reasonable consciously known data or his knowledge of relationships based upon physical reality. Whatever the end result or action is it is the individual who makes his own reality! He is in control of this positioning process both consciously and unconsciously. IT IS NOT A CAUSE AND EFFECT SITUATION OF RANDOM COINCIDENCES OR IRRATIONAL THOUGHT.
In making selections, man makes a commitment and embarks upon a type of imaginary subconscious journey. But, before this, you might say that man is basically at rest in a passive state of being, until some stimulus arouses something within the individual sufficiently to create wants and desires. Then, the individual somehow ( I will explain that latter.) activates the use of energies to overcome the inertia or the natural force to center one's self around a nucleus or home position somewhere within our learning triangle. in order to reach the outer edges, or that which one is seeking. This outward movement or journey is a process of growth that allows the individual to enlarge his learning triangle. However, once the individual achieves the end result or gives up the quest or desire, he then returns near his point of origin or center point or home position from which he started. That's because man likes to surround himself with that which is familiar to him. There is a great deal of comfort and assurance in familiarity or certainty, and man always seeks to return to the security and safety of this home position.
It may be difficult for some to imagine, but each selection is a process of growth that allows the individual an opportunity to reach out mentally. That is, the making of a selection is like the exercising of the physical body. However, instead of toning up physical muscles, one is toning up the mind. To exist, in this physical world of matter, one must constantly use that which is given or available to him to build or create, so that he does not degenerate and/or is overcome by the natural forces of resistance or gravity. That which is inactive tends to be dense, heavy and slow; whereas, that which is active tends to be light, airy and fast. THEREFORE, ONE OF THE MAIN PURPOSES OR FUNCTION OF MAN IN THE PHYSICAL WORLD OF MATTER IS TO LEARN THE USE AND CONTROL OF ENERGY. This will be explained in depth latter in this book.
The last statement about purpose and function does not necessarily contradict my opening comment in this chapter that says, "....life is basically nothing more than a learning process". In fact, this latter statement tends to explain the learning process and clarifies the true purpose of life and/or learning and growth. It seems rather inappropriate that such important matters of life can be explained in so simple and few words. This brevity, in fact, tends to make such simple statements inappropriate and unbelievable. Life seems so much more complicated that it almost seems to need a lengthy complicated explanation similar in fact to the trials and tribulations that one encounters daily. I'm sorry if I disappoint you; however, it just isn't so. But perhaps my explanation later on may help to relieve some of your doubts and anxieties as well as to put you back on the path to your being or becoming.
Getting back to our subject of energy, it is energy that provides the stimulus or motivating power to seek or reach out and grow in the learning process. Through the application of energy, one overcomes the natural forces of gravity and resistance of matter to seek its nucleus or center. One rarely thinks of energy as a means to bring about change, or for that matter, an entity in itself which has a being or existence in mind and matter that can affect our physical reality. Energy is that one common unit found in all things. It has the latent powers to affect unbelievable drastic changes or so subtle changes as to be imperceptible. The understanding of relationships is the understanding of energy, and this knowledge provides the tool to alter, change or influence all things in ways different from their original qualities.
My explanation about life and its stimulus, energy, may be difficult for many people to accept. There isn't much written about this matter or life force, nor is it thought of or spoken of often. Given years and years of parental guidance and conditioning and maybe religious matters, and experiencing for one's self the knowledge of physical and biological sciences, one seldom encounters any correlation to energy as the most important aspect of one's physical life. This is probably due to the inability of anyone is properly define, separate or isolate that which is called energy. Everyone knows how it works, but no one really knows what it is in and by itself. Therefore, why would anyone try to explain something they don't understand?
The definition of energy is “the capacity to do work or perform an action and overcome resistance”. Today we are probably more familiar with electrical energy than any other form of energy, except maybe atomic energy. Man no longer relies primarily on animal or water power to ease his physical energy labor burden. Man uses his mental energies to relieve him of many of the time consuming physical chores and old energy conversions of days gone by. Energy has the ability to change things or get things done, but man still cannot isolate it sufficiently to define it better than to say that: it is a force or power. Maybe now you can appreciate this general lack of concern or interest in explaining energy.
I think a better explanation of energy might be; it is the ability to change, expand and/or transfer in a sequential manner, the expansion and contraction of atoms through a similar cohesive bonding force. The regulation of such an energy force would be controlled by a point or position in proportion to that which one is trying to energize. That is, if you wish to accomplish something, you must use energy. To do this, you must transmit a force to that which you wish to accomplish either mentally or physically in order to overcome its position, or non-position. The speed, with which this task is to be accomplished, depends on the force or position from which one is controlling the transmitting of this energy. This new definition still does not isolate the substance known as energy; however, I believe, it may better explain how it works.
On second thought, I would like to take this explanation one step further. The ability of energy to expand and contract, also has the ability to draw or move more dense matter out of its center or in any direction so desired. You might compare this motion to that of an oscillating cycle or an ocean wave that moves or is activated by environmental conditions. The motion depends upon the area that is activated or the point or position of the force. This force is then transmitted through a media or special conversion units to affect certain specific results. These results will differ depending upon where the energy is applied. You might better be able to observe the results of this center point by watching a piece of equipment designed with an eccentric shaft to produce vibrations in a limited area. Such a machine will produce different patterns, routes, or directional flow depending upon how and where the eccentrics are placed and where the resistance is, because this in effect, actually changes the center point of the energy flow outward into physical matter or reality.
Perhaps another item that should be clarified is the use of the word, "energy" in relationship to the individual and this thing I call a center point or position. It may be better that I discontinue the purely scientific analytical language to that of a more compatible common street type language that may relate to more people, if I haven't lost most of you already. Because of word associations and a certain prejudice that is conveyed in such language, this explanation will be brief and I will again revert back to the language of the text.
In speaking about this thing called energy and the center point, I am talking primarily of that which is known as one's “Will”. So that we are all in agreement, the word will, is defined as: the power of self direction or self control in a relationship or the direction of deliberate action or attitude toward others. Will is the ability to mentally and physically control energy. Will, is the movement of this center point and the application of energy from this point to any direction so desired. Nothing is impossible! It is only the ability of the individual to properly orientate his being or center point to achieve the desired results. The problem is not in the application of energy so much as it is the ability of the individual to focus in on the location of this center point and this ability is related to one's understanding of relationships and intensity or value on both a conscious and subconscious level. The factor of time and space in the growth process also tends to make it more difficult and confusing for one to properly orientate themselves and locate their center point.
In referring to the center point or position with our learning triangle, the individual rarely seeks nor does he ever achieve returning to the exact center of this process. That's because, in reaching out, the individual learns about himself and the world about him and temporarily alters the shape and size of the learning process and its limitations. But, within the existing framework of this process, he develops certain tendencies or likes which he finds useful and beneficial to his being and uses these more often than other alternatives. These likes and dislikes might be referred to as his characteristics, because the individual favors these patterns and is somewhat predictable in his actions and/or behavior. That is, the individual attains and uses special skills or knowledge of patterns which are valued to achieve certain desired result. All of this is nothing more than the understanding of the relationship(s) of beginnings and endings. This is known as behavior.
Behavior then is the favoring of certain paths or patterns. In actuality, these patterns tend to serve as familiar landmarks or markers along a path that one can trust in his coming and going in the growth process. One's favoring or likes and dislikes would then be considered a biased point of view or position which the individual has taken in regards to his new center of focus or point within the learning process. These patterns are what make each individual different from one another. It is this point of view or characteristic that in turn tends to stimulate this reaching out and growth process. Therefore, you might want to compare this center point to that of trying to find the North Pole. In order to locate that point, you have to decide which pole you are seeking. There are in fact, the magnetic north pole and the geographical North Pole and/or true north. Each serves a purpose and function.
In determining this center point, we are also talking about two opposing forces. One is that of resistance and the other is that of motion or energy. Both forces are necessary for stability. Together, they act or perform a positioning process similar to that of the "X" and "Y" axis found in geometry and is the basis of computer technology applications and/or Computerized Numerical Control systems that operate machinery. In order for a machine to perform a task/ movement, one must program a series of numerical binorary commands which the machine reads and follows. In relationship to the individual, one uses energy force to create or focus upon wants and desires by the positioning process.
The amount of the force used to achieve a new position is determined by the individual and is equal to his efforts, which are activated by willpower, through the selection process. These efforts or energies used are in proportion to the position or degree of importance one places upon the end result. That is, the value of anything is dependent upon positioning which controls the efforts of the individual and vice versa. Self control is then a major key to life and growth, and few people realize this fact or power of the self in making or determining one's own reality.
The exercising of self control is not really understood by most people and it may appear meaningless and of no value to many people. The reason for this is this thing called free will. That is, the individual has virtually total control of his being, except for self imposed limitations or those powers which he has given to others. However, this total freedom also creates the illusion of total chaos or disunity. That's because all of these options or alternatives originate in intangible alternate levels of unmanifested non-linear reality. When one has access to an unlimited environment, self control appears not to have any importance and seems more like a negative resistant force and not something needed for a desired end result. It is important and it does help one achieve an inner knowing or center point of unity and balance.
One of the problems encountered in discussing life and/or the virtues of life is that one normally thinks of one's self in relationship to other people. Therefore, most people are preoccupied or obsessed with the dominate characteristic of life which are the physical sensations of one's being. I have already indicated earlier, that most people tend to dwell on end results and possession as the most important thing to one's happiness or fulfillment. However, let me remind you again, that this is only one aspect of the learning process. There is a great deal more to life than the accumulation of objects and sensations.
The manifestation of life in this reality is expressed mostly by the corners of our learning triangle or pyramid; therefore, people tend to dwell on these outer limitations. Occasionally, the individual will seek some guidance from within, which is the bases of non-linear reality, but more often than not, he tends to look or seek his answers from the outside world. That which is composed of physical matter seeks comfort in physical matter. But matter is a form of energy, and energy is the common unit found in all things of the physical outside world of matter and the inner world of spirit. Therefore, there is a bridge. It's just a problem of understanding relationships. In section II of this book, I hope to make this relationship become clearer.
So long as the individual chooses or selects an equal balance of motion/energy and resistance he will remain healthy and grow. However, if he should choose to position himself constantly on the outer edges or any extreme of our learning triangle, his growth will be poor and deformed. However, the biggest problem involved here is that the individual is usually unaware that he is in fact caught up in a routine or pattern which does not permit real growth. You might say that before you can solve a problem, you must know that a problem exists. The answer to this situation is simple; however, I am sure it's so simple that most people will not agree with me that this is the proper answer. The answer is in seeking this thing called the inner content or understanding. Remember, that's what holds the learning elements together. If you possess many more negative thoughts about life and/or people in general you are out of balance, The human entity is a marvelous thing that projects interesting manifestations of health and general well being to one's physical self in an out of balance situation as another means of getting one's own attention. What is meant by that last statement is that intangible mental thought can create conditions of physical illness.
A very common mistake that most people make in this growth situation is this concentration on physical manifestations. To dwell on one of our learning elements is to put one's self at the extreme limitation of the learning process. This is O.K. so long as one does not constantly choose to stay at this position. Should one, in fact, select this point, one enters into a form of possession, and to possess totally is a form of greed. Greed is the accumulation of anything in excess of one's needs, or a form of positioning dealing with self imposed limitations. Greed is a negative form of creativity that impedes growth. Greed may achieve positive or monetary goods up to point, but it soon loses its value and requires more and more motivating powers to satisfy the individual. Consequently, the individual may gain from greed over a relatively short period of time; however, in the long run, such a position imposes more limitations than it actually achieves in relationship to the well being of the individual.
As you may be able to see by now, by making a selection(s), one takes a position and sets into motion certain actions which result in specific counter responses or actions that in turn continuously sets in motion a process of change or growth in a specific direction. You create your own reality! These selections then set limitations in a progressive linear direction, which may or may not be predictable, depending upon the position of the individual. The relationship(s) of the selection process to the individual is a matter of self control and results in a type of patterning system or responses. That is, the individual learns to associate a certain selection pattern, meaning a series of beginnings and endings to that which will usually produce a certain or predictable result; therefore, that person will more often than not select that pattern because he knows what to expect within certain acceptable limitations. These patterns or patterning then becomes, in a sense, part of our behavior or characteristic of that individual. This is just like our cultural identification analogy. The individual accepts limitations for his greater well being and seeks comfort and assurance in a stimulus-response type selection process or behavior pattern.
I would venture to say that not one of us, as an individual, thinks about or considers ourselves to be pattern oriented or to be controlled by a predictable routine type behavior. However, I will also agree that all of us are, to a greater degree than we care to admit, very pattern oriented and predictable. If you can be truly objective about this matter, and really take a look at your own life and analyze it, you will discover that you are in fact a bundle of patterns. So much so that one appears to be almost programmed to do and perform basic pattern routines the greater part of one's conscious life. For a little variety, one seems to trade off certain frequent routines for ones that are less frequent, but just the same they are routines that vary in cycle and are only disguised by time and space.
I am sure you're going to want an explanation of this last statement, so here it goes. To begin with, let's take a look at some of the more simple identifiable routines that are performed daily. One begins the day with what we call the awakening of the conscious mind. Simple enough. Everyone does that. Next, nearly everyone tends to his own physical being. That means, he tends to all the bodily functions and makes sure everything is in working order to begin the day. Next, he concerns himself with his identity or personal grooming. He does certain things which he feels makes him look and feel like that which he wants to be. Next, he pursues those things which perpetuate his physical conscious being. That is, he partakes of physical nourishment, then pursues that which will provide for his security and/or shelter for himself and well being of those whom he is related to physically and mentally. At the end of the day, he retires to a state of rest or to identify with his spiritual unconscious self and grows.
With the exception of that last sentence, I am sure you will agree with everything I said about daily routines. However, you may still take offense to the idea of patterning, because you may think that patterning requires one to do something exactly as one did it before. This is not true. One does not mean duplication when confronting a pattern. All one requires is an outside framework or limitation to qualify as a routine. That is, there are certain things which are required in duplicating or an identical state; however, there are still options that can be exercised even within a routine. You may not wish to acknowledge these basic functions as routines, but just the same, they are.
Without sounding too fatalistic, you might say that man is destined to perform like robots. However, I think this too is carrying it a little too far. Remember, I have repeatedly said that you make your own selections and/or routines. You have a choice! You make your own reality! Repetition is not altogether bad. Remember the saying that: "practice makes perfect". To become proficient at anything, one has to experience that thing many times before he masters that extension of himself. That is, through identifying with the mental and/or physical process(es) that one is learning, that individual in a sense becomes one with that tool or process and therefore, is able to accomplish tasks much faster by knowing and understanding that thing which then becomes a possession to some extent. But as I have cautioned before, even the simplest and the most complex routines can become detrimental after a long period of time. The key is the learning process. You will continue to grow so long as you are in control of this process and not become a slave to it.
It is not necessary to sit down and analyze every action to determine if it is a pattern routine or not. It is more important what you can learn from routines that might help you grow. That is, do not question if an action is a routine or not, ask why this action is necessary. Where is it leading me? Is there another way which has better benefits for all concerned? Etc, etc. If you undertake an action, make sure you are aware of its desired end result, and try to make that result happen in the most proficient and/or effective way possible. You can make a difference! Your actions influence others in some way, shape or form, just like our example of a motor boat passing through water. You do leave a lingering trail behind you.
It may seem to you that after a thorough analysis of yourself that you are left with few major selections that are not routines but this statement is also not true. You might say that man is a very creative being that constantly builds structures in which he dwells. Man limits or controls himself! These limits are either mental or of physical substance that determine one's growth. How the individual fills these structures is comparable to his selection process or free will that he exercises outside these self imposed limitations or routine structures. You might also like to compare one's life to that of watching a black and white movie or TV picture. Free will lets you convert this picture into color as you think it should be.
Don't get me wrong about routines or patterning per se; except, remember my statement about absolutes. To remind you, I said that an excess or extremes of anything is a form of greed or negative growth. It leaves no room to expand or grow. One is locked into a confining location and surroundings of his own choosing. The limitations are absolute and totally confining. But there is also another side of growth that should also be explored. That is, the abandonment of total limitations is also detrimental.
One can embark on a journey outside the world of physical matter and mentally lose his way, because he has a tendency to lose his reference(s) or markers along the way. One is relatively secure within the learning triangle, or close by it. But if one should stray too far without proper cautions or references, one may soon perish or lose one's self and/or never again return mentally to that position known as our physical reality. In the latter case, there is a point of no return. Or is it..."no deposit, no return?"
So you see, everything that we have been talking about indicates that the ideal situation is a relative balance of motion outward and that of resistance in the outside and inside realm of the individual. Growth constitutes that area in which the individual can function effectively within specific limitations or a known environment of his own choosing. The world of physical matter gives him that opportunity to work out problems in a linear progressive manner without too much confusion of absolute freedom. Self control is the way and means by which one grows in this progressive manner. The speed of this growth is determined by one's ability to understand relationships and to use energy and free will to the benefit of all concerned.
We are not done with talking about the functioning of one's self and his being; however, we have explored and may have found out, or at least we have a little better understanding of, how the individual works or operates in this world of physical matter. We have not really discovered exactly, "Who I am", but we know how the "I" functions. It may be of interest that the explanation of "Who I am" is a continuing ongoing process. In the meantime, before one can really explore one's own being, he must also know what belongs to him. That is, you have discovered that you are related in so many ways to so many things, that it is difficult to determine what it is that really makes up you and your environment or that of the society in which you live.
We have discussed limitations in regards to our own being; however, we have also talked about growth. You see, we seem to be always talking about balance. Again, life is a marvelous, fantastic thing that offers so much or so little. It depends on each individual. You make your own reality. Through self control, you determine your growth mentally, physically, spiritually and socially, or the lack of it. Your center point or position is the controlling factor, but how you position this point depends on will power and self control, which seems to be greatly influenced by emotional relationships which cannot be easily identified.
You may have also noticed that all of the foregoing discussions refrained as much as possible away from words that indicate extreme conditions. I have purposely stayed away from all statements that say this is true in all cases, or that it is the best way, or that it is right or wrong. And yet, I indicated to you that this was a book about our reality and morality. Up to this point, little reference was made to this subject. However, we need to set some ground rules before we discuss the subject of establishing morality and the concept of good, bad, right, and wrong after we agree upon a common foundation. It is hoped that such a long prelude might help you better understand the concepts that are involved in these determinations and the effects upon the individual. It is also hoped that you may better understand the limitations of these artificial borders and how to control them or live within these limits and still maintain your balance and grow.