Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Analyze This

My scientific education taught me to value the so-called power of analysis.  The corporate world taught me the concept of analysis paralysis, when the data didn’t provide a compelling reason to move in any specific direction.  Of course, in that world, the decision was made by certain people who had their own agendas and the analysis was either misunderstood or ignored to prove a point or another.  Today in medicine most physicians will agree that in certain treatments, it is hard to predict what will happen with any given patient.  There is an expected outcome based on past data from lots of people and then there is what might happen in the now with a specific patient.  Even a dermatologist treating acne will give you the data and let you know that you might fall into the two to five percent of the population that the medication would be ineffective in.  Yet, as patients we hear what we want which is, “give me the pill that will fix this problem” and we walk out either hoping that we don’t fall into the small percentage that the drug didn’t work in or we didn’t even hear the doctor, because we were too obsessed with getting fixed.

ACIM (Chapter 11, V. The “Dynamics” of the Ego, v. 13, P. 205) states: “The appreciation of wholeness comes only through acceptance, for to analyze means to break down or to separate out.  The attempt to understand totality by breaking it down is clearly the characteristically contradictory approach of the ego to everything.  The ego believes that power, understanding and truth lie in separation, and to establish this belief it must attack.  Unaware that the belief cannot be established, and obsessed with the conviction that separation is salvation, the ego attacks everything it perceives by breaking it into small disconnected parts, without meaningful relationships and therefore without meaning.” 

I am using the example of medicine or science to demonstrate the separation that ACIM talks about.  The same concept can be applied to all areas of our lives.  Our need to understand and over-simplify by breaking down into pieces has gotten us to become overly myopic and we’re missing the big picture, hence the need for holistic therapies, yoga, spiritual coaching, etc.  And then there are so many who are disinterested in understanding their disease or dysfunction or even take responsibility for healing.  They put their trust in the doctors, the drugs, the whole system to fix them so they can go about their business as usual.  This lack of curiosity feeds into so many things including the consciousness of separation.
I have had to learn the hard way to change my attitude towards getting things “fixed”.   I have been so myopic that all I ever did was put out fires and fix what seemed to have been broken.  That was the mode I operated on and I was quite good at it.  It all changed when I couldn’t put out all the fires or when nothing was ever solved by my putting out the fires.  In fact, it seemed that for every small fire I put out, there would be bigger ones coming at me or worse yet, no one appreciated the fires I had put out.  In other words, I had to change my attitude and realize that what I was doing and the way I was going about my business no longer served me, if it ever had.  I had to step back and look at the big picture.  That is what the term “spiritual” means to me.  It is about seeing what is from the biggest perspective possible and with all of the connections to everything else.  Unfortunately or fortunately life is not one small incident disconnected and disjointed standing all alone, it is indefinable in every sense of the word.  It includes everything.  If I hear the news before I step out of the house, and if that news happens to be about some massive oil spill in the gulf of Mexico, I can know for sure that I will have a headache, feel sad, be impatient, etc.  So, how can I say that an event that does not affect me directly cannot make me feel sick.  Now, if I go to the doctor demanding that she fix this headache I’ve had for a week now without her knowing about the times that my head ache comes and what I was doing when it happened, etc. she might not know what is causing my pain.  She might order a whole bunch of diagnostic tests, pain killers, etc.  Does that sound like a sound approach to treatment?

What happens when we see ourselves as connected, is the failure of the need to blame.  It also places the responsibility for whatever it is we are looking for, on us.  We are no longer looking for a quick fix, a pill, a partner, a job, etc. to fix the problem.  In fact, when we do it consistently, it takes away the need to look at the situation as a problem.  The spiritual in spiritual life coaching is about the practice of observing ourselves as connected to all of life and from that perspective making any changes that we would like to experience.
Questions to ponder:
1)    What or when do you see yourself as separate from all that is?
2)    What do you try to do when you feel separate?
3)    When have you felt connected with all that is? What was that like?

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