Unconstraining28 Feb 2017
You believe that you are your mind. This is the delusion. The instrument has taken you over.
The more you are identified with your mind, the more you suffer.
There is one thing we can actually control—the mind-set with which we respond to the events around us.
It is the purpose of the training to allow people to see that the circumstances of their lives and that their attitudes about the circumstances of their lives exist in a context or a system of knowing, and that it is possible to have exactly the same circumstances and attitudes about these circumstances held in a different context, and that, as a matter of fact, it is possible for people to choose their own context for the contents of their lives.
They no longer are their point of view. They have one, and know that the one they have is the one they chose, until now, and that they can, and probably will, choose to create other points of view. They experience, that is, that they are the one who defines the point of view, and not the reverse. They experience the intended result of the training, which is a shift in what orients people's being from the attempt to gain satisfaction - a deficiency orientation - to the expression of satisfaction already being experienced - a sufficiency orientation.
Each time we try to prove we are not fools we reinforce the belief that we must prove that we are not.
And yet, the experience of responsibility for one's own experience is the awareness that I am the source of my experience. It is absolutely inseparable from the experience of satisfaction.
When you first start learning, early in life, there is a bottleneck in the amount of information you have access to. You soak up everything like a sponge, because you are open and there is relatively little to absorb.
But very quickly, in elementary school, your access to information stops being the limiting factor. You take home a few giant textbooks, and suddenly the bottleneck moves to ways of structuring and contextualizing the information.
In high school, you learn a variety of methods to structure information — outlines, diagrams, underlining and highlighting, reports, essays, notebooks and binders. The bottleneck moves to your ability to synthesize this information, to turn it into new ideas.
In college, if you make it that far, the bottleneck moves to insight generation. You start questioning the world as given, and find that the juiciest intellectual rewards are ideas that shift how you view it. You start hunting for the revolutionary, the controversial, steering your learning toward the red pills of paradoxes and contradictions.
If you are lucky enough to go beyond this, the bottleneck moves once again: to your assumptions. They constrain your view, what you are allowed to see, and thereby the thoughts and actions available to you. You start getting a kick out of unearthing new assumptions, shining a light on blindspots that, by definition, you didn’t know you didn’t know about. This process is unbounded, because with enough examination, all your beliefs are revealed to be assumptions.
There are many ways to reveal assumptions. Interesting experiences, traveling, genuine conversation, and reading fiction all help you question your own point of view.
The interesting thing about constraints is that they are never on you. They are constraints on your context, shaping the space of possibilities you allow yourself to consider.
Sources: Eckhart Tolle, Robert Greene, Werner Erhard, Tiago Forte
Warning: Greene and Erhard require a hefty pinch of salt.
For a practical roadmap to unconstraining, read Tiago Forte.