Sporadically, I've unintentionally triggered an over-the-top, enraged reaction from more than one long-time friend. What horrible offence did I commit? I questioned their worldview!
The surprising intensity of their reaction was that of a trapped creature fighting for its life. Their verbal response voiced their adament resistance to change.
I surmised their worldview from their chronically pessimistic outlook, cynicism, aversions & nihilism. Most people seem to lack training, knowledge & interest in psycho-social-spiritual matters, but this outburst suggested a real gut-level aversion to spirituality, philosophy & worldviews in general.
So why would anyone defend, as SERIOUSLY, as if their life depended on it - what appears to be a sad, hopeless worldview?
An old taboo cautions against 'discussing money, politics & religion in polite company.' Even today, some still quickly avoid such topics by labeling them, 'Too deep!' At the same time, some (wiser?) cultures maintain that these are the only topics worth discussing!
Then there are well-known cases of children being removed from abusive homes by child-care services. But when offered the choice between going to a foster home or returning to their abusive home, these children most often choose 'the hell they know' - at least in part due to fear of the unknown (foster home).
In the same vein, one of the reasons we resist change is due our tendency to cling to an 'identity' - even one that's (mostly) miserable & heading for disaster. "But if I'm no longer 'the drunken party animal,' who will I be?" No matter how vague, uncomfortable & confining a self-concept & worldview is, 'it's how & who I am, so don't mess with what ain't broke - broke real bad!' - reminiscent of, "My country - right or wrong!"
I'm always excited to see something I’ve been teaching in my MBSR courses for a long time, expressed in a more easily accessible, and hopefully more widely credible language.
I'm also happy to see the clearest explanation for my friends' violent reactions to my attempts to point them towards imho a far healthier worldview & wellbeing*** :
"Since 2006, Jeffery Martin PhD & his team have collected data from thousands of people across six continents who have extraordinary levels of wellbeing, trying to figure out what makes them so different from everyone else. What this first of its kind global academic research project has revealed is nothing short of remarkable. Outwardly, these individuals form a true cross section of humanity."
Dr. Jeffery A. Martin. “The Finders.” Integration Press, 2019.
"The gist of Fundamental Wellbeing (Awakening, Persistent Non-Symbolic Experience, etc) is a shift in the human nervous system away from what we think of as a kind of old, outdated wiring.
So if you’re sitting in a café and a bird lands near your table, and you toss it a crumb, what happens? Well, the bird generally looks around first and makes sure it’s not going to get killed; and then it pecks at the crumb; and then it looks around again to make sure it’s not going to get killed; and it takes another peck at the crumb.
As humans, we think, ‘Ah, what primitive behavior. Look how the bird is so jittery.’ What we don’t realize is that we have the same wiring inside of us. All animals have the same wiring, we have the same cycle playing out in our nervous system that is in every moment – in our case, at least every 90 seconds or so – basically checking in & making sure, ‘Hey, is the ceiling I’m under right now, raining plaster – do I need to run for my life?’ or whatever else, right? So there’s the sense that something is just not quite right in this moment, or potentially not quite right in this moment. And that’s at a very foundational level of the nervous system. That’s in birds, and everything else, in those old parts of the nervous system, and it’s been built on, layer over layer over layer, as our nervous systems modernize, as our brain grew, as new structures grew on top of old structures, to a point where now, when we live relatively safe lives. I mean, I’m not really thinking the roof is actually going to fall in while I’m sitting here. You’re probably not worried about some wild animal ripping your arm off or somebody rushing in with a gun and killing you where you are. We live safe lives, our food is safe, right? I’m not worried about food poisoning from my next meal, or anything like that.
We are living fundamentally safe lives, with the programming that says, ‘Wait a minute, you might not be safe in this moment,’ right? So what happens, this program basically maps over other areas of our life. So when your boss says, ‘You’re fired,’ or your spouse says, ‘I’m leaving you,’ it feels like a tiger is ripping your arm off, or somebody emptied a shotgun into your chest. So we have these inappropriate nervous system responses that are all based & grounded in survival.
[[[ *** THIS is how my friends MISTOOK mere questioning of their sad worldview (about which they seamed to know little) for a DEADLY SERIOUS ATTACK!*** This must be the same primitive reaction pathway by which merely "looking at someone the wrong way," especially in a bar, can result in being severely beaten, or worse! As Michael Singer suggests, we tend to take simple preferences far too seriously. ]]]
What happens in Fundamental Wellbeing is that there’s a shift in that. So instead of the nervous system cycling through & saying, ‘Hey, something might not be right, right now; something might not be right, right now;’ with the corresponding cascade of worry & anxiety, and all the things that are kind of endemic in normal human society building & sitting on top of that rising to conscious awareness, and so on; instead, you have a sense that everything is fundamentally okay, even if your boss did just say, ‘You know what, you’re fired, and I’m going to make sure you never work in this industry again,’ or your spouse says, ‘I’m leaving you, and I’m taking the kids, and I’m taking everything.’ These things that would normally, at a surface level, understandably produce concerns, fears, worries, sadness – it’s not that they can’t still do that in Fundamental Wellbeing, but deep down, instead of it feeling like a tiger is ripping your arm off or a shotgun just went off into your chest, somehow, paradoxically, things seem okay. So even in extreme situations, there’s this peace if you go and look for it.
At its core, Fundamental Wellbeing is basically a rewiring in the nervous system in how it looks at & deals with survival, & how it makes us feel in the moment.”
Dr Jeffery Martin on A Scientific Approach to Awakening and Fundamental Wellbeing: Part 1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmsLdIH8nzU&t=1881s
So how does one acquire this exceptional level of wellbeing, so we won't need to bite a friend's head off for trying to help, and perhaps not starting all those bar-room brawls? Well, immersing oneself in Michael A. Singer's book, “Living Untethered" is a superb practical start.
|"Seek Stillness" - by Molly Hahn www.BuddhaDoodles.com