Roach Creative

Media & Film Production

The Thorny Path: Barriers to Transformation

gray asphalt road surrounded by tall trees

Who really wants to change? Who really knows how? How Pollyannish to feel in control of your life because you can paint your toenails a new color? Less direct, are people being honest with you, polite or just following a pattern ingrained in them? Is your son a “good” son because he takes out the trash without having to be told? Is the therapist a “good” therapist because they encourage you to cry or be yourself for that 50 minute session before you return to the real world? Or that feeling you get watching the TV series or a feature film – you find yourself feeling more engaged with yourself, alive? Or maybe understood as you prefer to feed your anger and despair?

That segues from the therapy session or watching a feature film transitions toward considering the contrast between change and transformation.  Most of us experience changes of state as we face the people and circumstances that we encounter (or attract?). We’re bombarded by influences. Sometimes there are too many to choose. We run away or tune into one strong and isolated experience we can control. We binge. Maybe we just feel better when we’re following along, maybe watching a sporting event or entertained by a show contrived to hold our attention. And maybe you are indeed well balanced! You know those temporary escapes help make the realities of your own life more tolerable. You need that friend with the shoulder to vent and cry on. And that’s certainly okay. Maybe best.

Now if you are strongly defending these realities suggested here, you observe and experience them as your own and defending them perhaps violently from your gut at this point of the read, identification may indeed be feeding that vibe – which is fine, especially when noticed and understood.  It’s natural. Neuroscience is mapping it. Guru’s, film studio’s and entertainers have made fortunes from it. Advertisers and politicians, even the tech platforms, are mining this function for profit and power. They lure you from your mobile phone into their, what they’ll call YOUR CHECKOUT CART, tempting you with that extra deal or add-on purchase – that candy bar or magazine or those cigarettes still visible from the checkout aisle of the super friendly grocery store clerk.

Now if you gain the, this awareness of identification, which may well define the divide between the minions and the masters, you may just get to choose – or find which color best suits you, i.e. which choices you make are aligned and supported by the fundamentals, your higher self or true authenticity – which some may argue or question as to whether or not such a “Holy Grail” actually exists.  For some it may come easily. Some don’t care. Others seek but fail to find it – it falls beyond their reach (or view).

In actuality, it may be a stepwise process in a practical sense for many of us. We engage in something that suits us for a while, then notice it’s not actually as healthy – or producing results as we once thought or hoped. So we try something new and move on. We look back and see it for what it was and don’t beat ourselves up for getting it “wrong” from our current perspective, because it led to forming who we are today.

So in this way, from this new enlightened perspective, we see ourselves as different than we were at a reference point in the past. We’ve moved on and separated. We’ve grown, or in some cases, backslid. But whatever the case, we’re telling ourselves we’re more in control of the now or terrified we are out of position for a battle. We feel in jeopardy. We somehow have a sense of where we really need to be to feel safe and happy. Could that be a trusted destination? How do you know?

Yes, this seems like a lot of work and mental anguish. And that’s precisely why we stop watching and tell ourselves we’re okay with the sporting event or the movie or the affair or the drink or the joint or the vacation that makes the place we spend most of our time, our lives, more tolerable. This is where the rubber meets the road. “Pick your poison”, right?

This divide between the peace and tension, is key. If it seems like a lot of work, you must be paying attention. The mere fact that you notice indicates your psyche is walking through the conditioning of life you’ve encountered.  Something, maybe your dignity, is pulling or pushing you forward toward something more honorable. But your life is your own. It’s your own puzzle. It has your own colors and textures, hills and valleys and mountains and streams, it’s own characters and your role is your own. It’s your movie in a sense. Your screenplay. You even get to choose the audience! Or not! You may choose to keep it all to yourself.

Transformation may differ from change in a sense of looking back and realizing knowing what you now know about yourself honestly, authentically, will never be the same as it was. You somehow own this new ground, this perspective, this sense of yourself. But if you allow or find a way to forget, then you may fall back without a remembrance of who you really are (or were).

Obviously, as we look back at the history of mankind, seeing the ruins of ancient civilizations, one thing is very clear – we do forget. Our stories are interrupted and we debate over explanations that would help us understand the past operations between mankind, HIS AND HER creations and the physical world, jointly in Nature, as it now stands before us as a picture or as an actual site on earth we can touch, smell, feel and explore, (taste?) – experience all of our known senses and maybe even pick up vibes and influences that are so profound, they compel or move us in ways we allow that we cannot yet break into words or lists (yet?).

So current scientific research shows we have multiple characters operating in our psyche’s, we have biases and preferences from our early life, we have changes in state due to our surroundings, we are quick to find easy alternatives to the unresolved pains and fears we encounter, and finally, we are vulnerable to the narrative and identity we form as we tell ourselves and others who we are. We define our story, narrative and identity with great vigor – in some cases it may appear we are indeed the Hatfields and McCoys, fighting for some reason we really don’t understand, can’t even explain why other than it just seems like we are supposed to be doing this. We can’t imagine life any other way.

Therein is the seed of so much that divides us. We, if we step back to see, notice today – the hypocrisies and bizarre contrasts. It is alarming. And I’ve been struck before – literally, physically, struck by a small, undersized, ignorant young bully who sucker punched my as he ran by me one day. He backhanded me. He lacerated my face and drew a steady stream of blood. To top it off, this occurred before a large audience of my schoolmates, back in the day when I was just coming into my own manhood.  Somehow I was struck by the hypocrisy of that moment as everyone looked on to see what Mark was going to do next. I walked away. It wasn’t my battle. I was troubled by a whole lot more than this kid. This event does define me in some way, however. Better if it makes a point to you, today, in the now, as you are reading this, that somehow enriches your life.

Today’s science also shows how we like to believe we are in charge. That everything we think and do come from a place worth defending. The neuroscience says that’s not so.  They’ve learned through physical stimulus, biology and by using influence of “story” that they can tap into the vulnerable areas of your psyche to trick you into believing who you really are, that you are deceived as you live your life defending that narrative, that identity, that story which we all look for consistency, integrity and trust – which if exposed would give us a glimpse into the everyday failures we hold away in those secret places. In this way, the “beneath” of our psyche feeds this illusion of separateness in each of us, is fueled by pride and vanity to hide our failures to conform to some Pollyannish narrative we were conditioned – that narrative binds us together in an illusion of safety that we are now seeing through. It looks like hypocrisy.

The interesting GOOD NEWS mentioned in these new scientific studies of neurology reveal that the state of mind when one is making a deliberate effort to recall who they are, possibly Carl Jung’s “shadow”, “self-remembering” per Gurdjieff, “emotional preparation” per Meisner, the “incarnated, sub-conscious body” per The Voice … and I could go on, but the point is that mystics, spiritual leaders, yogi’s and even some of our accounts of the masters we accept in our modern day spiritual practices – dare I say “Christ” or “Buddha” – give us hope that it is indeed possible to experience transcendence in our lifetimes – with some work on ourselves. As our hero’s become transparent, we see their flaws, which are in some cases much greater than our own, but fail to realize it’s within our range, our reach.

And as we look around at the great contrasts, maybe the gift of seeing all the hypocrisies in the world today that by and large evolved from a Pollyannish narrative around control, knowing and telling others what’s best – all the while we forgot who we really are, or were – and maybe realize there is indeed a way to transform ourselves in our access to this “self-remembering” state pointed out now more clearly for the masses by the new science, the transparency granted by the media, and even the vanity and arrogance of these want-to-be guru’s vying for your granting control. Seeing all this, shining YOUR light upon it, hints toward your tapping into these ancient secrets modeled by the masters – pointing you, the individual, toward your own Holy Grail, that leads to owning your own divinity and power in the temple that is all you.

Copyright: Mark Roach


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