The Plastic Paradox: ReWilding The Self -5
I am at a dangerous point in writing about this rewilding of the self. The perfectionist parasites of self-judgment inside tell me, “Shut up!” Old patterns war against desirable new patterns of being; loyalty to the fear of self-expression would kill loyalty to the freedom and joy of trusting one’s self.
The entangled complexity of these threads that weave a self into construction also threaten to overwhelm with vagueness and generality whatever I would write. And it is not simplistic thinking that is sought here but the clear perceiving and presentation that arrives with a willingness to see courageously ‘what is.’
I write of this rewilding of the self because I seek to expose elemental movements and flows within Life’s spiral of transformation—when Life is allowed its natural attraction and affection for itself, its thrivability.
This impulse of attraction and desire for expression is innate and shared among all Life and so drives entire cycles of evolution: Life wants to happen. The impulse is ‘hardwired’ into the neural circuitry and hormonal flows of our physiological being at cellular levels. It is what gives Life its organic capacity for adaptation and transform-ability, plasticity. And therein lies the neuro-plastic crux of the paradox we find ourselves in. Daily. In small and big ways.
Norman Doidge, M.D., writes of this crux in The Brain That Changes Itself, where he calls it, “the plastic paradox.’
…neuroplasticity isn’t all good news; it renders our brains not only more resourceful but also more vulnerable to outside influences. Neuroplasticity has the power to produce more flexible but also more rigid behaviors—a phenomenon I call “the plastic paradox.” Ironically, some of our most stubborn habits and disorders are products of our plasticity. Once a particular plastic change occurs in the brain and becomes well established, it can prevent other changes from occurring. It is by understanding both the positive and negative effects of plasticity that we can truly understand the extent of human possibilities.
So it is that our resilience, or the ‘neuroplastic’ capacity and power of the human for adaptability, can orient toward rigidity and fear and externalized power. Our resilience, the plasticity of the brain, can serve our personal and cultural self-destruction, our domestication and subjugation. There is a balancing power of orientation within however that is yet more primal, and that we can choose to orient by the way one can find water in the desert by sensuously attending to ones senses.
This is the power of Life to awaken to itself—the power residing within Life to attend to its attraction for flexibility and learning and growth, for biophilia and authenticity of being and the creative nurturance of thrivability for all our relations. This power of the Life force residing within us is capable of celebrating the individuality and diversity of humanity and Life while honoring the Oneness of the thread of which we are all woven.
Turning toward Life is this way, when you have been raised to orient toward separation and self-censorship as strategies of preserving life, is to rewild yourself. It is to turn toward freedom and claim that which is your birthright.
Here is a small piece of how the freedom of self-creation looks from within the plastic paradox: to judge yourself or another with condemnation, for orienting toward fear and greed and power or jealousy… is to strengthen those forces on the planet. Such judgments strengthen the forces of duality and separation and is why war cannot create peace.
To rewild ourselves from within a culture that is fundamentally oriented against Life is to attend to the impulse within to move toward your own wholeness and creative being, in the service of Life’s wild joy.
Let that be enough. The gap between here and there is never larger than it is in the moment of Now.
Where in your life do you serve authenticity and wholeness? And where do you serve separation and fragmentation? Therein are our loyalties revealed.
The bad news is that we are culturally entrained toward loyalty to living inside the coral. The good news is… there is a deeper itch yearning to be scratched.
Resources of the Moment:
Anima: Lifeways and Herbal School
michaelmanners10105/20/2010 at 1:08 am
“I write of this rewilding of the self because I seek to expose elemental movements and flows within Life’s spiral of transformation…”
Larry, Exposing these movements and flows you are! Thank you for serving in this capacity!
April 7, 1910
The masses seem to be moving up, whilst the classes, their monitors and inspiration, are in a measure being sacrificed. Yet there is a wide perceptible gain, and there will always be light-bearers, certain choice spirits of culture to carry on the nobler traditions and best thoughts. Perhaps they are commonly not prized, but they have their secret recompense. They are the very salt of society and do indeed savor and retrieve the mass. Alas when one looks afield! Such a general level and aspect, such a rush for the necessary and obvious; so little appreciation of pause, envisagement and personal distinction! Yet these things are but phases and relative; the whole is divinely moved and needs but the sounding mood, the penetrating eye, to divine its high and sufficient purposes. The life is justified of its being……Edwin Manners
david kay05/20/2010 at 4:26 pm
(from “The Plastic Paradox) “…I seek to expose elemental movements and flows within Life’s spiral of transformation—when Life is allowed its natural attraction and affection for itself, its thrivability.”
(from Edwin Manners quote) “….there will always be light-bearers, certain choice spirits of culture to carry on the nobler traditions and best thoughts. Perhaps they are commonly not prized, but they have their secret recompense.”
How do we scratch this deeper itch which is yearning? This is the question which I think remains unanswered and requires the presence of a teacher, one of those”certain choice spirits”. I would like to proffer for your consideration the work of a relatively unknown “light-bearer” who over the past sixty years, and as originator of Eidetic Image Psychology, has presented an imagery approach which dramatizes the mythic nature of the mind and breaks the spell of “stubborn habits and disorders” with new vision. His name is Akhter Ahsen. He has written more than forty books, both fiction and nonfiction, in several languages. I would like simply to quote from a workshop he gave some years ago and reprinted in the Year I, Workshop I manual for the Eidetic Imagery Training Program.
“All your senses are related to the forest and , therefore, you are implicitly connected with it, even when the city has taken it away from you, come back to it in your psyche and see yourself running wild in a forest with a thunderstorm or a clear blue sky, as you like. Make that world as you like it because it has many seasons. It has many places. if you like the shore, go to the shore. If you like the ocean, go to the ocean. if you like the desert, go to the desert. If you want to go to the mountain, the mountains are there in your mind. Go there. And if you want to change the feelings, change the type. Go and be a hunter. This world is free for you. It was gifted in you and that is the greatest message from this therapy, from the image approach, that the image is gifted in you. It is a gift for you. It’s all inside
Imagery relies on the billions and billions of years of contact with nature. It has that relationship in it through the senses and it has also that wisdom in it, to dramatize for you the most essential nature of experience. What is that? The most essential nature of experience is the experience itself. Just open your senses to the forest and you will feel good. What is mind? It is the history of pictures. You are a final summary of that history as a human. You are a compendium; you are the whole encyclopedia; you are the Universe. I assure you that I have been long in this Universe and I have enjoyed my freedom in it. And I have never felt that anyone could ever take me prisoner. I was born free and I shall die free, and maybe I will live elsewhere, that’s freedom, and that you cannot get expect in this knowledge. The images are a great, great gift. It is the Universe itself.”