Rebecca Silverblade is another one of my inner characters. She embodies such traits as presence, precision, discernment, and the ability to handle situations without reacting to them. And one thing where precision can serve an important purpose is in discerning the truth from falsehood. This doesn’t just include facts, but also things like the truth of what’s important, the truth of how to act, and the truth of the basis for one’s own emotions and emotional responses. For example, on an inner level, I’ve found that she’s been able to give invaluable perspective at times of confusion or self-doubt.
Like was explained in Creativity’s Guide to Problem-Solving, the below guide was written by way of me trying to let the perspective, embodied by Silverblade, speak on the subject of how to discern the truth. This topic was the prompt, basically, and what follows is my sense of how “she” handled, or would handle, speaking on it.
So you want to discern the truth, do you?
I suppose you expect me to give you some hint, or proffer some guidance, is that it? This is called a “guide”, after all – I would hardly expect you to expect any less.
And here it is – the question of the truth. An inquiring mind, looking for it. And what truth are you looking for, pray tell? Continue reading →
As the possibilities increase for why what’s happening actually is, so too can ideas about what will happen as a consequence. Without being able to narrow things down, we can become overwhelmed by trying to handle all possible outcomes
Sometimes, in trying to prepare for the future, we may find ourselves contending with a large number of possible outcomes. Some of these may be easy to handle, but others might seem like an incredible challenge. And, while we might be up for such challenges, it can be impractical, sometimes, to try and prepare ourselves for all the many outcomes we might feel ourselves anticipating. Reality can end up feeling like it could go many different ways. What, then, do we prepare ourselves to face?
One of the things that can be important to remember in moments of overwhelm, is that there may be many explanations for why things are as they are right now, but that some, or many, of those explanations may be false. After all, say someone is late to a dinner party. It could be that they were late because they don’t like the host. Or, maybe they got caught in traffic. Or, maybe they had an accident. But, without access to more information, the people at the party don’t what’s actually happening, and thus, how best to respond. They could end up thinking its one thing, then recognize the reality of another, then be caught between every imagined possibility, and become frozen, overwhelmed, and unable to act. However, if they knew this – there is always the response of trying to gather more information. And if they had more information, they might be able to handle the situation much more effectively.
The importance of information and learning
One of the important things about information is that it helps us to narrow down the possibilities. Instead of wondering what is actually going on, we then know it, and can respond to it more directly.
Imagine you see a person in distress and you want to help them. Without information as to why they are in distress, how would you know what to do? If you tried too many things, you might do more harm than good. But let’s say you talked to them and they were able to tell you that they were hungry – yes, it might still be a bit of a task for you to help them, but at least you’d be able to form an effective plan for action: to get food. You won’t have to spend time wondering, urgently trying to figure out the situation before something happened to this person, if in fact they were in danger, which is something else you might not know.
The above example also shines some light on how possibilities can lead to anxiety – when a situation is such that it might be urgent, you may find yourself scrambling to either address it or to find out enough so that you know whether or not it is urgent.
That said, here are a few of the ways we can gather information in life and help ourselves narrow the possibilities:
testing, trial-and-error, or experimentation
continuing our experiences
beliefs (more on this later)
and, in general, learning
One of the ways we can reduce our sense of overwhelm in life, and to try and narrow for ourselves the possible explanations for reality and our experience, is to try and hold beliefs. That is to say, we can claim something is true without actually knowing whether or not it’s true – beliefs don’t have to involve learning. In a way, beliefs protect us from feeling overwhelmed – but at the same time, it may limit our openness to learn and to be curious about what the truth behind our experiences actually is. And it may inhibit us from being able to make more informed choices in life.
Sometimes, then, questioning the things we thought were true – our beliefs – can be a distressing process. If what we thought was true might not be, then what else might be true? How might it change our lives? How do we actually figure it out at all? What if we continually fail to figure it out? What if it’s something we can’t necessarily figure out? How do we conduct our lives? What choices do we make? How do we move forward? – These kinds of questions could come up if a belief is questioned, and it may be difficult to deal with the even just the uncertainty of those questions, never mind how difficult it might be to find the answers.
But, over time, through questioning and opening ourselves up to the process of looking for the truth, we may find ourselves not only getting a better understanding of life, but also being able to make better choices, and perhaps solve problems that we may have been stuck on before, because we’re freeing up room in ourselves to look for the truth of how to resolve the problems in our lives. Possibilities, in that sense, can not just be overwhelming, but also empowering, because in exploring the possibilities, we may also find the truth. We can narrow down the possibilities, and reduce our overwhelm without having to lean on beliefs.
Despite trying to find out the possibilities in life, we may never fully eliminate certain ones. The nature of something in our lives may indeed be something we write off at an earlier point, thinking we learned that it wasn’t true. But by testing things against experience and remaining open to the challenge that comes when multiple explanations and possibilities emerge, we can still refine our sense of what is true. And while we may not always be able to say what the truth for sure is in every aspect, we can still gain a better and better sense of what is strongly probable, or of how things seem to be. And this can help us with things like the practical matter of what choices we will make, and to be a little more at ease with that process, and with taking action.
So, that’s all for now ^^ Drawing out this structure helped me gain some understanding of my own overwhelmed feelings, so I thought I’d share. Good luck to any of you who are going through something similar, and just in general, I hope this may be of help to you if at any point you feel overwhelmed or afraid, and would just like to have a better sense of what’s happening and how you might be able to respond to it. That’s not to say that what I wrote is 100% accurate, or that it captures complexities, of this issue, that I may know nothing about right now, but all the same, you can weigh this for yourself, and this perspective may prove to be helpful to consider as you’re finding your way, and feeling things out for yourself.
Take care, and be well,
Fear – The above structure seems integral in terms of what it tells us about how fear operates. We can fear the future possibilities due to our theories and ideas about why things are as they are, and about what they are.
Anxiety – Anxiety also seems illuminated by the above structure, because one can see how one might become anxious when it’s possible that there are urgent situations in the present with us. The more possibilities are open, the more anxious, and then overwhelmed, we might become, as we can seem to be at least potentially threatened from many places at once. And it can be hard to adequately prepare for all eventualities when the possible situations are not only complex, but demanding in terms of how much work it takes to be prepared for them in a way that we find satisfying.
Stress – Stress can also be seen as a form of overwhelm. The solutions in this article may help to inform positive ways of handling overwhelm: by reconnecting with that which is experienced within our in-the-moment awareness, and is at peace with not knowing for sure the reasons for any of it, but just takes note of everything it can.
By increasing our awareness, we can improve the effectiveness of our choices
When do we make one choice vs another? In life, we have lots of choices, and we can learn about a greater variety of choices all the time. But then, what do we choose? We have lots of options – even in typing something, we can type out one word, or another – it’s our choice. So how do we know what choice to make?
Take for a moment this example: you’re blindfolded at a table with knowledge of a fork, spoon, and a bowl of some kind of food in front of you. How would you know whether to use the fork or the spoon? Now, you might try the spoon and run into salad, and find out through experiment what’s there. But the very act of doing so increases your awareness. By increasing your awareness of what kind of food is in front of you, you’re able to know better which choice to make in order to eat the food in front of you in a more optimal way. Knowing it’s salad, you can then choose to use the fork.
So awareness can help in the realm of making choices. The more aware you are of the situation you’re in, the more informed your choices will be. Another way of putting it is that awareness helps establish the context in which you make your choices.
While awareness can be increased through things like gathering information through the senses (such as in the food example), there’s also awareness of one’s feelings, thoughts, emotions, and the situation one is in internally. For instance, inner dilemmas may be felt, but they can also be ignored, or be more slight and go undetected. By looking for feelings of dilemma and trying to become more aware of what that dilemma is all about, you may ultimately learn about the situation you’re in, as well as be able to develop choices that can better respond to that situation. This, to me, seems to speak to the importance of inner awareness for inner well-being. The more aware we are of our inner situation, the more informed our choices can be as we look to positively influence ourselves on that inner level.
This is also one reason why being honest and sharing what you’re aware of can help other people. Sharing your sense of what’s true can help them to make more effective choices for themselves, because they then know more about the context in which they’re making choices. Now, not everyone may handle your sense of “the truth” very well, but there are ways to handle this as well, such as not claiming certainty or authority, being tactful, being gentle, and being respectful.
Anyway, I just thought I’d share that little connection between awareness and choices. It seemed to me like a simple, perhaps obvious, but important distinction. Because of how important choices are, in that they govern how we respond to and can influence reality, consequently this shows how important awareness is. After all, while we can make uninformed choices, how much more effective might we be if we’re able to make informed choices? Thus by becoming more aware, the quality of our choices can become improved. Yes, perhaps one could become obsessive about awareness, but that’s also something one could become aware of, and respond to.
That said, take care, and all the best ^^
Explore Your Inner World – all the techniques described here have to do with both increasing inner awareness and assisting the process of making choices that can affect us on an inner level.
Denial – denial seems to directly have to do with the tendency to try and limit one’s awareness in order to avoid problematic situations or feelings. This can nevertheless cause big problems, because the quality and effectiveness of one’s choices is diminished with denial
Find Yourself: A Quick Self-Discovery Activity – an article going over a fun little technique for meeting a part of yourself. These kinds of inner forces play a part in our lives, even if we’re not aware of them, thus, exercises like this that increase our awareness can help to better inform our choices with respect to such forces
Negativity towards a conflicting feeling seems like it can keep an inner conflict from getting resolved. Above is an example of two such situations, where negativity shuts down a feeling due to its own priorities, refusing to listen.
Let’s say that a person is in an inner conflict, where one side of them wants to do one thing, and another side is resisting this direction. If this resistance is ignored, it won’t necessarily go away, but may linger even as choices and decisions are made. Essentially, this practice involves shutting down a side of one’s self that is creating resistance.
But by shutting down any one side of an inner conflict, one may be shutting out whatever those feelings have to say. Even if a feeling ends up being supported by false reasons, that doesn’t mean you can accurately assume that from the start. Until you hear what a feeling has to say, how can you know whether it’s worth listening to or not? Continue reading →
It can be easy to be interested in making progress in any area of life – it can feel like our stockpile of riches is growing, and this can seem very exciting. However, there are also times when making progress can feel like a chore, instead of a joy.
This is not a post about how one might go about changing one’s feelings about progress so that it isn’t a chore, but rather how this kind of feeling can be understandable. Continue reading →
Instead of looking at our actions, if we look at the feelings we have about our actions, we might be better able to change those feelings
Sometimes it seems like we can fret and worry as we try to be a certain kind of person. Maybe we want to be wise, or kind, or friendly, or calm. Maybe we want to be playful, or to feel like we always have something to give. But, when we are worried about these things, how can we get anywhere but to a state of being worried? Maybe we get angry, frustrated, restless, impatient, demanding, or fearful. Maybe we get upset at how we’re not where we want to be.
As you can maybe see, we can’t necessarily get to the feelings and states we prefer just by wanting to get there. This want can even take us further away! We can end up in a more negative state just from our desire to be in a positive one. It’s like the problem of being annoyed at being annoyed – it just doesn’t work like that, except maybe as a motivation to look into the issue, since it’s proving to be such an annoyance.
So if wanting a better inner state doesn’t work for feeling better, what does? Continue reading →
Sometimes when feelings change direction, our mind can remain fixed on where we thought we were going to go. This seems to be one of the main ways we exit flow. That said, returning our attention to our feelings can help us return to flow.
Ok, first of all, what is flow? I’d say that when I talk about flow, I’m talking about a kind of experience, one where it feels as though we’re fluidly moving along, rather than in starts and stops. But what is moving fluidly? Well, perhaps it is one’s mind, since the mind can also become fixated or get stuck on one topic or another. It seems to me, though, that one thing that is always flowing fluidly, even as we fight it mentally, is our feelings. Why is this? It seems as though feelings seem to flow from one moment to the next because they change in response to what’s going on in the moment. One moment to another…
Well speaking of which, my feelings just changed on this topic, because it feels to me like I’m trying to describe things I don’t fully understand. The thing is, I had a strategy in that last paragraph, in terms of what I was going to talk about. I was going to define flow, and how feelings flow and how the mind can get stuck… but truth is, I’m not positive on those details. But what I do know is that feelings can inspire unexpected changes in direction, and that when I talk about “flow”, what I’m really talking about is the ability to flow with those unexpected directions. Maybe you don’t always take those directions, but perhaps there is something to consider in the way one’s feelings change. One can observe feelings, be aware of them, and strive to better understand them through techniques like expression of those feelings.
Staying in the flow, for me, amounts to staying close to one’s feelings. That experience is like a flow, and we, present to our feelings, can flow along with them.
Many times, though, we can get stuck. We stop flowing. Why?