“What is not included controls us.” – Rodney Smith
This quote from Rodney Smith’s book Awakening: A Paradigm Shift of the Heart struck a chord with me this morning. But what does it mean?
To me, it speaks of those thoughts in our mind that we choose to omit; pieces of our daily experience that may be unpleasant or imperfect. These are the things that bubble to the surface but don’t match the view we’ve chosen to create of ourselves; the person we want to present to the world. Human beings are amazing at labeling negative and positive traits, and this talent extends to editing our daily thoughts.
What would be the benefit of our brains automatically labeling this kind of information? It’s all about the survival of you, that is, your ego mind.
Smith’s book is all about learning to understand the true nature of reality, which extends beyond the idea of self (Ego) and includes a whole rainbow of perspectives and feelings, good or bad. Using Buddhist terminology, it’s about distinguishing Form from the Formless whole.
We live in a world of Form. Our brains like to name things all around us as solid objects, including ourselves. It then categorizes the entirety of the world as either good, bad, desirable, or repulsive. You can begin to understand the usefulness of this trait when going out into the wild. We don’t have time to take in the entirety of what makes up a lion when moving, vulnerable, across the savannah. All our brains have time for is lion, teeth, fast, bad, and RUN.
Beyond just living and breathing, however, this trait has evolved to also work against us and our true natures. We tend to create a shining vision of ourselves to present to the world. This vision includes all of the best traits. Every single one of our thoughts is used to bolster the idea of “us.” Our thoughts are broken down into solid nuggets and assigned the labels true or untrue about ourselves and the world.
Problems begin to appear when those bad thoughts, the supposed untrue parts of ourselves, get pushed aside, buried, and unacknowledged. They are far from sight, but they still exist.
The book gives a great example of this problem. Let’s say you consider yourself to be a kind, generous person no matter what. Recently, a neighbor has started asking for your help regularly. You oblige every time they ask. Soon, you begin to feel somewhat annoyed whenever they call because deep down, you think they might be taking advantage of your generosity. But, you ignore those feelings, because you know you are a helpful person and should not feel annoyed. Right?
Finally, the neighbor calls again, and you burst out that they are taking advantage of you, and you can’t help them anymore. Too bad that this time, they were only calling to offer some fresh tomatoes from their garden.
The point is, those negative thoughts we all have, the ideas that don’t fit who we think we are still live somewhere inside. All thoughts require acknowledgment, and by blocking off and pretending these parts of ourselves don’t exist, we create a sort of subconscious shadow version of our preferred personality. If we don’t express these feelings, they tend to express themselves, and at inappropriate times.
What this quote is telling us, is that the moment we include ALL of ourselves; good, bad, “untrue” or otherwise, and we begin to see ourselves as part of a whole, even outside of our thoughts. Then the power struggle we’ve created in our minds is over. What is not included controls us, what is included becomes apart of the whole, and conflict naturally disappears.
Moving perspective from Form to Formless first includes this realization about ourselves. It requires a hard look at who we think we are and forgiveness, acceptance, and making peace with all aspects, good or bad, that make up the complex human mind.