Friend or Foe?

Shortly after starting to use AVS with the clear intent to better manage my mood and personality, I concluded that the usual strategy of trying to beat, coerce and trick a defective and unruly “brain” into submission was not going to work for me.

There is much fun to be had with the eternal mind/body duality. And the brain/mind mish-mash. You know something? I think that is all entirely and completely a waste of time, and stems from the human need to differentiate from “the other”. In the absence of one shred of tangible evidence of an intelligent interconnection with anything (as opposed to the physical connection to everything), and in light of the distributed intelligence employed by our CNS, it seems safe to me to conclude that “I” am defined by the outer layer of my skin.

Working with “me” as an emergent property of the stuff contained by my skin led to the understanding that I have a completely neutral and pliable vehicle with which to experience life. Whatever physical or mental condition my body may be in, its function is to serve the true will of the species, and to a lesser extent, my own will. Herein lies a useful understanding of the abuse of our will that so annoyed Yahweh – it is a quirk of being human that we can so readily act against both our personal welfare and that of our species. As far as I know, there is no other creature that can so deliberately threaten its own existence.

There’s not a huge amount I can do about the results of this quirk on the global scale, but I can, at least, come to peace with myself, and tread lightly in the world.

It turned out that I am one of the people who respond extremely well to antidepressants. Before antidepressants, I simply could not maintain a workable outlook on life. Many things helped, and in my struggles, I did many things that did not help (attempting to dissolve my difficulties with ethanol was worse than futile).

AVS was a very close thing. I think if my circumstances were a little more comfortable and secure, I could have pulled it together with just AVS. As it has been though, family has always found a way to throw a particularly tough curve ball at just the moment when it’s one thing too many.

With my serotonin tweaked just a tiny bit, my threshold of disintegration under pressure has been shifted to just above the level that my life usually delivers, and AVS deals with the extra rough bits, including “first aid” in the case of many aches and pains.

AVS provides a means by which I can better understand my thoughts and responses. I can examine thoughts more thoroughly and carefully than I can in “real-time”, with constant new inputs and the need to keep “doing”. It is this exploration and integration time that I most value. It’s an opportunity to define purpose and to review progress in fulfilment of that purpose. It is an opportunity to look at the resources at my disposal, particularly my own physical and mental capabilities, and decide on the way forward that best suits my purpose.

The part that opposes us is not organic. The organic part is wholly geared to our success as humans. It is the emergent part that can be problematic. It emerges ready to do the true will of the species. Shortly after birth we begin our attempts to integrate information from the world at large. Unfortunately, much of what we get to work with is second-hand and contrived. Even if the experience is personal, our judgements and opinions are influenced by others. Over time we can find our thoughts and actions directed by less and less reliable sources. Garbage in – garbage out.

Everything that we learn can be modified. My goal is to be the best human I can be. That doesn’t mean I have to conform to any external standard of excellence, I just have to have life affirming values and aim to express them consistently.

There is not a part of me that is the enemy. My vehicle is not only neutral/co-operative, it is the current apex of complexity in the known universe – it is the organism most capable of experiencing existence on this planet.

A dualistic outlook is somewhat useful in modelling. It is completely useless in living. I am one, not two. Any system that proposes improvement to self and circumstances that is based on the premise that there are parts of self that need to tricked or forced into compliance is fundamentally flawed.

The basic premise behind all of my AVS session design these days is that I have a good mind that I want to understand and use better. The techniques I use are completely overt. Every element is there to appeal to the workings of the brain – to give it toys to play with, new experiences, to use its many operating modes, and to let it know clearly what I want, what I care about and what it can attend to without calling on consciousness. There’s a whole lot of little snippets we’ve learned about the nuts and bolts of our brains. We know a lot about how we sense the outside world and we can use this information to optimise our training. And training is what it is. Like any animal, we have to learn the ways of the world. The quirks of humanity offer many distractions from that which is good for us, but most of us can quite easily look after ourselves and do a much better job of being human than we do.


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