Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Feeling Like You Are In Charge Of Life
Feeling like you are in charge of life … having a sense of control … is never easy … sometimes it’s painful.
In the long run, Optimal Experiences can add up to A Sense Of Self and more importantly to A Sense Of Mastery Of Self. These are different places in the psyche and when they are in a healthy ratio … very complementary.
The sense of Optimal seems to be influenced directly by the sense of, and again, the degree of or intensity of, one’s participation in life.
The participation and intensity factor being a determin¬ing factor in the recipe for contentment. Again paradox, because participation in combination with intensity seems to be as close as we can come to actually having happiness in any objective form.
Through my practice I tried to understand and appreciate as exactly as possible how people felt when they most enjoyed themselves, and more importantly, why they were enjoying themselves. My practice involves people from all walks of life, some who could be considered as "experts in their field" … artists, athletes, musicians, chess masters, mothers and heart surgeons, people who seemed to spend their time in precisely those activities they preferred and in the fashion that they preferred. After listening to their accounts of their lives … what it was like for them to do what they were doing, it became apparent that for some, happiness and optimal experiences were interchangeable and formed the basis for an individual’s innate ability to be in sync with the deeper, unseen, spiritual or esoteric aspects of life … The Way Of Things.
There is a quirk that comes along about here in my observations that those who seem to possess this facility of being connected to the Greater Way Of Things do not make it an overpowering overt practice of attempting to be connected. It seems that they just get on with what they are doing, in fact, it seems that whatever it is that they are doing hardly ever gets noticed as being the spiritual but the sense of it seems to be that spirit is ever present in what ever it is that they are doing. For some reason they have it or it has them. This facility is considered by mystics and theologians as the essence of life and sometimes referred to in esoteric literature as the processes of the soul.
An Optimal Experience can be described as that state of mind, body and soul in which the individual is so involved in what he or she is doing that nothing else seems to matter; the experience itself is so amenable that individuals will do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of the experience of doing the thing.
Conversely: An addiction is an activity or substance we repeatedly crave to experience, and for which we are willing if necessary to pay a price or negative consequence .
There are pretenders to the Optimal Experience and by this I mean that they don’t seem to have depth of heart. Those who seem to fall under the category of pretender are often defined as being addicted, or being compulsive or obsessive. They seem to be striving for the Optimal Experience but without the sense of soul or without a perception of the spiritual connection. Again Horvath’s definition of addiction rears its head, because it is almost the right recipe but … the soul or the heart aspect is missing. The motivational factor of why we do this … searching out the optimal or searching out the addictive experience … seems to be the same … it is done for the sheer joy of doing it and nothing else seems to matter.
Ask any heroin addict.
So over the past 20 or so years I sat with well over a thousand souls from many different walks of life and I simply observed. My time in the trenches suggests that it does not seem to matter; men and women, young and old; regardless of cultural differences, describe Optimal Experiences in the same way. It somehow has for them the connection to or with a deeper, inner, mystical or esoteric experience; this connection is always reported as being an essential for the process to be complete or full … oddly enough, it does not seem to matter the language or the culture that are used to frame the description of the experience. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, Office Worker, Housewife, Trucker, it usually is described in a similar fashion.
I have read and been in contact with other therapist worldwide and they report similar findings. I also understand that a formal research paper was done at University of Chicago and in conjunction with the University of Milan on this topic. The concept of spirit in the therapeutic process has been discussed and argued many times. The concept being a part of the Greater Way Of Things or Being Hooked Up To Spiritual seems to be an intrinsic part of a recovery process. The Introduction Of Spiritual has been found useful by therapists who study the human dilemma … it seems to help people search out their own forms of happiness quotients, life satisfac¬tion formula(s), and fundamental motivation; by anthropologists or recovery counselors who are interested in the phenomena of collective sparkle and rituals. The problem is; the spiritual connection is not just an academic subject; it is a process that needs to be experienced.
The Business Of Any Therapy Practice Is To Provide An Opportunity For The Individual To See Themselves Differently … Thus A Secondary Object Of The Process Is To Provide An Opportunity For The Individual To Be In A Place To Improve Their Quality Of Life; Spiritual Connectedness Seems To Want To Point That Way.