I’ve selected the following goal as something to aim for regarding how I use words: connect my words to reality, to life, as directly as possible, both in thoughts to myself (self-talk) and in communicating with others.
As a selection, I regard this aim/goal as having no morality behind it, no good/bad, no right/wrong, no succeed/fail. It has no “you did it!” and no “you screwed up again!”
It’s a goal without consequence.
I want to experience taking the sting of continuous assessment out of this goal by removing consequences. What would happen if I held the goal without evaluating myself, without concern about whether or not I make progress or “achieve it”, without the thought that it must be brought to completion?
Well, I am trying it. And I repeatedly remind myself that even if I talk for hours without connecting to life, it doesn’t make me a failure. At the same time, it doesn’t make my aim any less desirable. I can hold to the benefit of connecting my words and thoughts to life, even when I don’t act in accordance with that goal.
I’ve found that judging my progress slows me down, while allowing myself to grow into an aim makes me bloom.
If I sense I’m talking too long without connecting to life, which is a form of being lost in concepts, I usually shift some attention toward remembering the benefits of the goal. This in turn can help rekindle an interaction between what I’m saying and what is real. What is real is the whole of the person I’m talking to; my mind chattering is less real. So when I remember again the benefits of the goal, I naturally shift attention from my mind to the whole of the person in front of me. Rather than talking at them, I am now talking with them; I am listening to the other person rather than placing most of my attention on my mind-chatter.
“Indirect Not Direct” is about why I view life-supporting goals as not subject to our direct control. It fits here too. Since we don’t control outcomes in the direct ways our word-tools lead us to believe, harshness about meeting goals doesn’t work. Of course the best way for you to see this is not by reading this material, but by looking within yourself.
Judgment and comparison disconnect me from life. I find rigid use of goals to be just another form of disconnect, another form of being lost in concepts. Judgment, comparison, and rigid use of goals are a consequence of me holding word-tools as the dominant way to view and interact with reality.
Ahh, perhaps you are hearing the same voice I am. Mine is telling me that a goal without some muscle behind it, a goal without a threat, will not be reached. How can I be motivated without something pushing me? To make it real, something unpleasant has to happen. I have to feel bad in some way if I fail or else the goal is of no use. Is this just me or did you pick up on this message too?
I’ve tried motivating myself with this punishment mentality for most of my life. It creates resistance, rebellion, and immobility. As I continue to repeat this mistake, I see that my attempt to use goals to “make things happen” works only in a short term way and in the simplest of circumstances. So I aim to dethrone my punishment mentality.
I’m aiming to set aside punishment and move toward a nurturing approach that allows growth in a way that goes with nature rather than fights against it, a way that does not create resistance and immobility.
Perhaps there are ways to use goals to motivate enjoyable action. But for most of my life, I’ve experienced goals as powered by threat of a negative or by the tension of a promise withdrawn if I fail to achieve the outcome. By using a goal without consequence, I’m exploring the possibility of another way.
When I remove threats, I open up the field of enjoying my goal of connecting words to real life, doing it as it flows naturally and watching for opportunities to be part of that flow. There is no need to create a threat of measurement and failure to make me want to do it. The goal started in the first place because I chose it and want it. Choosing and wanting do not necessitate measuring progress; only the inadequacy of my egoic surface self requires measurement of this kind.
To evaluate and judge is to put symbolic tools that don’t exist except as tags above life itself which does exist. Word-tools are not “what exists”, they represent what exists. What makes my goal worth having is that when I catch myself not connecting words to reality I can, without blame and without the word “failure”, remember that allowing myself to grow into connecting my words to reality is what will bring it about. The allowance to grow, not the force of evaluation, keeps my goal connected to what is and avoids misusing word-tools as if they are more than mere representations that indicate a general direction to look in.
But, when I set firm goals backed by evaluation and judgment, my me-vs-them superiority rises up from where it was lurking in the background. When I look deeper I find the reason behind wanting to use goals this way is my own feeling of smallness. Stuck in my surface self, I am in need of a boost because the disconnect caused by viewing words as all powerful leaves me with a sense of inadequacy. My growing self has become buried under layers of limited word-tools as I have forgotten the Source from which those tools came.
When I measure against some socially accepted standard, it’s even worse – now I have an entire society approving of me taking a superior position. Then when I catch myself evaluating the street person as undesirable because he does not earn his own way, I’ve got crowds of people supporting my evaluation. Perhaps many of us have some form of this faulty reasoning. Why doesn’t this street person set goals and then make sure he accomplishes them so he can be like most of us? Why doesn’t he evaluate and threaten himself with failure like we do?
I’ve found I can work to undo this jump to evaluate by shifting attention to a description more connected to reality: He appears to be without a home and job, and is essentially a human being like me, someone who grows best without threat of punishment and blame. With that description, I use words in such a way as to highlight the Connectivity from which they come rather than the separations to which they lead.
For me, goals are attained more effectively without the comparisons, threats of punishment, and superiority involved in continuous measurement. I view these negatives as a way of misusing concepts that insulates human beings from the whole of Connectivity that is life itself.
The internal organs of my body function without consequences for “failing” to meet goals. They keep going and even adapt and self-repair without comparisons, threats, or superiority. They move toward positive states naturally and with the flow of Connectivity that allows whole-self growth and whole-self being. That’s a “movement toward” that I can enjoy for its own sake. And that’s what it feels like to have a goal without consequence.