Identifying what you want to do and what prevents you from doing it. Recording in Los Angeles in February, 2008.
Where Do You Go Now?Download
An exercise on understanding the distinction between what you actually want and what you’re asking for; particpants’ reaction to exercise; how relating directly to experience through awareness leads to being more awake and alive; What do I stand for?; attend, intend and commit
Now we turn to part three of Living Awake, Making Things Happen. This section is called, Where do you go now? So, want to take a look, a closer look, at what do you want to make happen. And this first section is based on a tool that was developed by a colleague of mine. A woman called Kevin Kreitman. The reason she is called Kevin is because she was originally going to go into music and her mother did not want people not calling her because her name was a female name. Being a very chauvinistic business back then so. But she’s had an interesting life including driving trucks, running a trucking firm, getting a Ph.D. in mathematics, and coming up with what I like to call the Kreitman Uncertainty Principle, which states that if you control the process you can’t control the result, and if you go for the result you can’t control the process. Which is a good thing to keep in mind. If you control the process you can’t predict what results you’re going to get. If you go for a specific result you can’t control the process, you’ve just got to do whatever it takes to get there.
Randye: It’s a very basic scientific principle.
Ken: Yes, but it’s universally ignored in business. People want…well I want to get there—well you’ll have to do x, y, and z. But I don’t want to do that; I want to do it this way. Well, then you’re not going to get there. No, I’m going to get there doing that.
Okay, so we’re going to do this in groups again because I think it’ll be the best way. And the process here, there are a number of different ways you can get at this, but the crucial distinction is between what you actually want and what you’re asking for. So, for instance, a person may say, “I want more free time.” Okay. Anybody here in that category? Yeah. Want more free time. That’s what you’re asking for, but what do you want that free time for? You have a microphone there? If you’re game for this Christina? It’s on?
Christina: It says it’s on.
Christina: I have a long list of things I like to spend my time doing. My thing that I was using today that I would like to accomplish is I would like to learn to play the piano.
Ken: Okay. So there you have the distinction, I want more free time—that’s what I’m asking for, but what I actually want is to learn to play the piano.
Ken: Okay. Now, we could go further and say, why do you want to learn to play the piano, etc., and I’ll get to that one in a minute, but you’ll see there are two other questions here. How can you get what you’re asking for without getting what you want? Like, here’s all the free time, but now you have no piano. Or something. Or you discover that you make the free time and…
Christina: You still don’t play the piano.
Ken: And you still don’t play the piano. Okay?
Ken: So, that shows how you can get what you’re asking for without getting what you want. On the other hand—Diane, yes you have a question? Could you pass—thank you. We have another mic here so.
Diane: I’m thinking back to when you went to New Mexico, and to write a book…
Ken: Yeah, that’s a very good example.
Diane: And you didn’t write the book, but you had another insight so the situation was not wasted. You got more information.
Ken: Yes, because I made the effort, but I got what I wanted, which was the free time to write the book, but I didn’t get the book done. So what this reveals is that free time or lack of time wasn’t the problem. And a lot of the times we’re thinking, oh, that’s the problem, so that’s what the second question goes to. How can you get what you want without getting what you ask for? Well, are you currently taking piano lessons?
Ken: Maybe you could start.
Christina: That’s right. I do have a piano. I got that far.
Ken: You’ve got a teacher right back there.
Student: Not for piano though. [Laughter] I’m in San Diego so…
Christina: No, you’re right. There’s another block obviously because I find time to do all kinds of things in my life that don’t even really need to be done.
Christina: So, that’s what we were talking about here. What is the block, what’s the obstacle?
Ken: Okay, and there’s two ways we can go with these things. One is to be clear about the block, and the other is to be clear about our motivation—what we really want to do. Because another way of looking at this is, for whatever reason, learning to play the piano isn’t very high on your priorities.
Christina: Because if it were high on the priority I would be doing it.
Ken: And when we’re establishing priorities it’s very good to look at what we do, not what we say.
Christina: When Lynea said the thing about not knowing the value system or struggling against the value system, that’s what came up for me very strongly with this. It’s like, I think that’s what I want to do, but I’m not doing it. And somehow it doesn’t feel right to be doing it or okay to be doing it.
Ken: Ah, so that opens up a whole ’nother…
Christina: Yeah, it’s a big mess.
Ken: Yeah. Okay. But you get the picture?
Ken: Yeah, okay. So, is everybody clear about this distinction between what you’re asking for versus what you want? So, what I want you now to do is to break up into groups and actually focus on that going through the same process. There are two techniques. [Ken makes comments about the recording.]
There are two techniques which I’ve found helpful on this, and there are probably more. One is to make this distinction and to ask those two questions: How can I get what I’m asking for and not get what I want—it illuminates a lot of possibilities—and how can I get what I want without getting what I’m asking for, and that often leads to, opens up more possibilities. The other one is the process that I was just starting with Christina, it’s called the five whys. And you ask why five times in a row.
Now, this gets pretty ugly. [Chuckles] Hey, it’s all terrible so you might as well enjoy it. You know, because you ask okay why do you want to do that, and why do you want that, and why do you want that, and you have to keep going down. Now, by the time you get to the fourth or fifth one you [are] usually getting down to some pretty basic stuff, and this is why you find where the real nitty gritty motivation is. People were talking about squirmy, uncomfortable feelings this morning. Well, you can expect to find some squirmy, uncomfortable feelings here.
Now, how do you work with squirmy, uncomfortable feelings? When you work with these five whys you may come to a point where you cannot answer, or all you can say is, I don’t know. But, there will be a palpable emotional feeling, which you may not be able to name, but there will be something there. That’s where you rest. Just be with that feeling to the best of your ability. Because what we’re doing with the five whys is stripping away the layers that keep us out of touch, or keep us separated from what’s actually going on, and the five whys is one way of getting at it. It’s a fairly direct way. So, I’m just giving you that.
Now, if you’re in the role of supporting the person, then when they stop, you stop. You don’t ask any more questions. You just be there with them in attention creating a field which provides support, so they can actually be right in that experience. When I say be right in that experience that means rest in what is arising in the body. It may be quite uncomfortable, it may be unfamiliar, it may be pleasant. I mean there’s no telling. It may be a yearning, it may be a reconnection with an experience which you’ve forgotten, and just like…oh, there’s all kinds of possibilities. But be there in the body. Be there with your emotions, or in your emotions; don’t worry about the stories.
As I said earlier today, the function of the stories is to stop you from experiencing what’s there. That actually is the function of the stories. So, don’t worry particularly about the stories. Just be in the experience. If you can only be at the edge of the experience because it’s too hot—that’s fine, that’s what you can do at this point. You can be right at the edge. So, the process is going to be…a person will say, this is what I want, and then one of the other two people says, okay. For instance, you were saying, I want more free time. Then you start into the five whys. Why do you want that? And they’ll come up with a reason. Well…we’ll just take the piano one. Well, I want to play the piano. Why do you want to play the piano?
Christina: Can I answer them?
Ken: Sure if you’re game.
Christina: Because when I actually do sit down in front of it and play I lose myself in it. Feels wonderful.
Ken: Why do you want to lose yourself in it?
Christina: Well, I guess there are two answers to that. One is it feels good and the other is it’s kind of a little bit of an escape.
Ken: Why do you want to escape? And just whenever you feel uncomfortable you can just say I want to stop here.
Christina: Oh, I’m already feeling uncomfortable right now. Well, because there are some things in life that I wish they were otherwise, and I have a lot of struggles around that actually.
Christina: I find a lot of the struggle in my life is from wanting things to be other than what they are…so.
Ken: Okay. I can ask, why do you want things to be other than they are? You see this gets quite deep quite quickly.
Christina: It’s bottomless. I thought you said there were five whys. Didn’t you have your five whys?
Ken: [Laughter] Yeah, it’s only three so far.
Christina: Oh, it’s only three…it gets worse!
Ken: Now, there’s a feeling there right? Just breathe and be in that feeling. And you don’t have to say anything. Be in your body; be in the emotions. It’s probably a little unfamiliar territory; don’t go there too often. What’s it like to be right there?
Christina: It’s not awful. It’s not comfortable. It’s kind of interesting.
Ken: Okay. So this is how you explore unknown territory. I won’t push you any further with this. That’s good. So you see how the process works. You know, she said it was bottomless. Have you heard about the turtles?
Christina: Yes, I know about the turtle story.
Ken: Okay, you had a question. Give you a mic here. Thank you Christina.
Student: Well, the first thing that comes to my mind is in this exercise, is just through Buddhist teachings I realize that the reason why we suffer, or we’re uncomfortable, is that underlying we all want to be happy, so I can see that the whys are like, kinda like, get down to the basic that all human beings are just like me and want to be happy. And so, and the teachings are that it is through our delusions, that we reach out for these things, that we’re not realizing, like, like, I want to be…
We don’t realize that “I want to be happy,” and so we’re searching for, “I want to play the piano,” because underlying that that will bring some form of…I mean basically escape, and all those things mean…that there’s underlying all of that…is that all human beings want to be happy. And are we stripping away trying to notice these delusions that we’re grasping after that we think are going to make us happy? I mean is that where we’re going with this, to try to realize…?
Ken: That may be where some people end up going. I wouldn’t say that’s going to happen to everybody because I have no idea what is in everybody. I think it’s as you say: everybody wants to be happy. Nobody wants to suffer, but—and these are traditional teachings—but all people accomplish is suffering. People aren’t very good at being happy. But I find there’s a Zen take on this which is very interesting: if you want to be happy, what assumption are you making?
Student: That we’re unhappy.
Ken: Yes, is that true?
Student: Okay, that’s what I was trying to get after here, just because I know I just got the exercise right away, and just for my own personal thing, I’m like okay, well I know that I search after all these things because I want to be happy, and I already know that I live much of my life in delusions, and so does everybody else. Because I’ve been able to teach myself that the things that other people do to me aren’t because they want to make me happy. I’m able to turn it around and say, that that person cut me off in traffic, or that person got angry with me and yelled at me because they want to be happy just like me, and I don’t take it personally. So just for me the question was, Am I supposed to be trying to feel what that feels like? Or…or?
Ken: You know, you take what you want. Okay. And for instance you’ve talked about wanting to establish your career out here okay. And so what specifically do you want in that? Because there are many facets for…that’s a very general thing. And one can take it down to the very basic spiritual principles as you described, but you can also take it to, “Okay, what I want is this,” because we think this is going to do that, and we get into this differentiation between what we really want, which may be a feeling of completeness or engagement. You have, I mean you want to bring your career and your previous experience to bear on your next career. Why do you want to do that? I mean you don’t have to answer me, but that’s an interesting question because some people when they’re making their career change they want to leave everything behind and start something completely new, but there’s a reason there, and I don’t…
Student: Right. Right. That’s why I asked the question, I was wanting to know what I’m, you know in that level, what am I, because I think what the question is a little bit…what was I…what am I aiming at…at feeling okay I’m starting to understand that, okay.
Ken: Yeah. So it’s going to help you, like what am I really aiming at? Because that’s going to be what you want. And you saying, “Well, it’s going to look like this, and this, and this,” but a lot of those are things that you’re asking for, in the way that I’ve been making this differentiation. And by stripping those away through the five whys, you get clearer about what you’re actually looking for. And that may make establishing your career out here a lot more straightforward, because right now you don’t know what’s motivating you. You get clear about what’s motivating you then your intention becomes much clearer. Okay?
Student: Okay. Thanks.
Ken: Okay. Any other questions on this before we start?
Student: Are we using the same topic as this morning?
Ken: That’s what I suggested that you use this to work on a concrete thing that you want to make happen. Now you may find that, “Well that’s what I’m asking for, but what I really want is this.” But that’s very useful. And just as Diane pointed out, I wanted to write this book when I found out well, that wasn’t the sort of book, and I had this same thing going on with this one. Years ago a colleague of mine suggested I write a commentary on the Heart Sutra. I kept mulling it over and mulling it over, and I felt confident enough, and maybe foolhardily felt competent enough, but I was having tremendous difficulty finding my voice. And to find the voice to write a book I usually find that I have to figure out who I’m writing it for, and I had just begun to get somewhere on that when a friend of mine sent me a pre-published copy of Red Pine’s commentary on the Heart Sutra, which is a very, very good commentary, and I read it and went, “Oh, he’s done all the technical stuff and historical stuff and he’s done it way better than ever I would have done it, because he’s a scholar and really knows this stuff very deeply. I can play!”
So, I said now I can start writing because I’m just going to write. I don’t have to worry about doing any of the technical stuff, because I didn’t really want to—don’t want to do the research for the historical stuff. I can just refer them to this book or that book or something like that. Now I can do exactly what I want, which is to take this and write, just go crazy, which is what I did, as you know. And up until I got that copy and looked at that, I didn’t know that that’s actually what I wanted to do. See. And once that became clear to me, that I wanted to do these poetic and crazy logical riffs on the stuff, and just drive people nuts. You know so far it’s been successful. [Laughter]
I mean I ran into a friend of mine who practices in another tradition. He said, “I got the copy from you Ken, and I can only read this a couple of days at a time.” And this person had been practicing for 20 years in Zen traditions so he knows the Heart Sutra very, very well. Good. But now you can ask, turn around and say, why do you want to do that? But that will take into a whole ’nother stuff, but you don’t want to know that. But getting really clear about what we want to do, I find, makes a tremendous difference in our ability to actually do it. And that’s what I’m inviting you to do here. Molly—microphone back to Molly please.
Molly: I just wanted to clarify for my own reasons. Are we saying why to “What are you asking for?” or why to “What do you want?’ Or both?
Ken: No. ”What do you want,“ and that’s going to lead you through probably two or three layers of what you’re asking for. For instance Christina was asking for more—she said, ”What I want is more free time,“—but that’s, ”Why do you want more free time?“ ”So I can play the piano.“ So now what she wanted becomes what she’s asking for and she has a new…
Molly: So it’s clarifying, it’s just a clarifying thing.
Ken: Yeah, it’s a way of clarifying. Stripping away all those layers of ”What am I asking for?“
Molly: What am I really asking for?
Ken: Yeah, what do you really want. Okay? You’re already sweating. Kathy.
Kathy: You’re right. [Laughter] Did I say that really loud?
Ken: I think that was a yes.
Ken: Okay, so break up into groups and we’ll go through the same process. You won’t need a minute to do this. You just need to say, ”This is what I want,“ and the other two people, when you’re in the support role you ask creative questions. I’ve suggested the five whys; you may find some of the questions that we asked this morning, but just be very creative in your question. The purpose is not to pin the person down, but to help them explore their own experience so that they come to it.
Remember to ask open questions. Not closed questions. Don’t assume that you know what they’re saying; you think you know. ”Are you thinking this—x, y, and z?“ Don’t say that; say, ”What do you think about this?“ And so you’re coming from them. So it’s really a supportive role, and it’s very good to learn how to do that with another person, because through that you may actually learn how to do it with yourself. Okay? So break up into groups and we’ll do this.
You spent this time exploring what you really want, not just what you’re asking for. Now, no need to go into what you came to. What I’m interested in here is, what was this experience like for you? What words would you use to describe it? Microphone please.
Student: I feel squished.
Ken: Squished. Some English words really work, you know. [Laughter] Squished.
Microphone over here please. There you go.
Student: A very primary process if you’ll excuse the therapy language there, but primitive will cover it.
Ken: Primitive. [Ken writes on board] Okay. Anybody else?
Ken: Revealing. Two or three more. Lynea you gotta mic back…oh, Randye, and then Lynea. Right behind you Randye.
Randye: I feel empowered.
Ken: Empowered, oh, we love that word don’t we. Okay. Hand that back to Lynea, please.
Lynea: Heart opened.
Ken: Ah. Open heart.
Ken: Connected was another one. Okay.
Student: More clear.
Ken: Vulnerable was it? Vulnerable, okay.
Student: I have a word I want to share, but I don’t know whether it’s allowed and that is, busted. [Laughter]
Ken: Busted. Okay. Do you feel more or less alive?
Ken: More alive. Okay, do you feel more or less awake?
Ken: Okay, so this is always available to you. This is always available to you. You can actually do this with yourself, but we don’t most of the time. Right? We live in sleep. We’ve gone through this a couple of times with some of the other exercises, but we create these exercises, and they have this effect. It’s not magic. It’s not a mystery, particularly. What we’re doing in these exercises is creating an environment in which there is greater attention. In which the energy that is normally dissipated in thinking or distraction or indulgence or daydreaming, etc., the energy that’s normally dissipated in that is brought to bear on your own experience, and what you want, and what is important to you. And you have a couple of other people helping you, but primarily they’re helping you bring your attention to that, and the result is, you feel busted. Which is one way of saying…you see how you’ve been being dishonest with yourself. Squished, ah, challenged, pushed in ways that take you out of your comfort zone.
Not totally a bad thing, is it? Okay. Primitive, like, oh okay this is really basic. You know like fundamental stuff; we’re not dealing with, you know, abstract things, this is very raw and real. Revealing, so new possibilities opening up. Empowered, you know, that’s not coming because somebody says, ”Oh we give you the authority,“ or ”You’re a good person.“ It’s discovering the power that is present in knowing itself, which is very different. Open heart. Same kind of quality as this, the naturally open heart that is actually always there, though we don’t always let ourselves feel it. Follow Lynea? Okay. Connected. You know we have, we go through this life thinking that I am a separate entity, and there are other separate entities out there, but here we create this experience and there’s a feeling of connectedness. There is less separation.
Clearer. Again that’s simply a product of raising the level of energy in our attention so we rise above, aren’t distracted, or our experience isn’t distorted by all the usual projections, and so we just see more clearly. And vulnerable. Like okay, that’s very much connected with the open heart. And like oh, we’re just open and ready and able to receive what’s there. All of these are descriptions of qualities of being more awake, more alive, and it comes from relating directly to our experience through awareness, not through our intellect, not through concepts, not through all of that stuff. It’s very immediate, it’s very direct, and it’s what Buddhist practice is actually about. Okay?
Now we go a step deeper. This goes back to a question…more squirm factors here. We’re basically working with three sections or three questions here. The first one is just what we dealt with—what do you want? We need to be clear about that.
The next question is, what do I stand for? What are my values? And we touched on this already, and the notion here is to know what our values are in fact. Look at what we do, not what we say. And so, you might jot down on a piece of paper the values that you think that you live by. They’re the ones, you know, that are sort of the ideal self there. So, just take a few moments and write those down. Compassion, fairness, justice, all of these great wonderful ideals.
[One student chuckles.] You can see where this is going can’t you Carolyn? [Laughs] The door’s right there.
Carolyn: Still hanging in there.
Ken: [Laughs] Okay. Now in a column beside that—and I’m always reminded of the Peanut’s column. Lucy says to Charlie Brown, “Charlie Brown, I’m going to do you a favor. I’m going to tell you everything that’s wrong with you. Get a piece of foolscap, draw a line down the middle, on second thought get two sheets.” [Laughter] So draw a line down the middle. You know, so you make a second column here. Look at your life. What are the values that you actually live?
A friend of mind had a very bad accident, and had to have emergency surgery, and he was incapacitated in hospital for a while. And he thought of one person in his life who would have the time to attend to him in hospital, but that person happened to be planning to do a one-month retreat, and he wasn’t happy about that. What he overlooked was that he had a tacit assumption with everybody else in his life, and that was that earning money was more important than attending to a friend in hospital. And that’s why he wasn’t asking any of them because they were all busy earning money. That’s a lived value. Which is more important? What do we actually live by? You follow?
Now, when it comes to making something happen, it’s extremely important to know what your lived values are. Because that’s going to determine what you will do and what you won’t do.
I had a young entrepreneur, back a little bit before the dot com craze, as a student, and he said he wanted to make a lot of money. And I said, “So, open a porn site.” He said, “I can’t do that!” Okay, so, there are limits. I wasn’t actually suggesting it, I was throwing it up so that he could see that there were certain limits on what he was willing to do, and what he wasn’t, because he kept saying there were no limits. So it’s very important to become clear: what are we prepared to do, what we are willing to do, what we aren’t. And this is in the area of values. Now there’s a whole thing we could do on values, but I don’t want to go into that. That would take much too long. I just want to point out for our purposes here the difference between what are called espoused values and lived values. And usually there’s a bit of discrepancy between the two. In Tibetan we have a phrase lkog ‘gyur med pa [pron. ko’ jur mé pa].
lkog refers to what we hold internally; ’gyur to what we make public. And a person has reached a stage of understanding, a stage of development in their practice, when there is no difference between what they hold internally and how they live in everybody else’s eyes. So, there is no distinction. Very, very few people are actually like that, but if we do live like that, then we never have any cause for shame in our lives. So it’s very powerful, very powerful.
Okay. The third thing that I want to deal with is a little complicated and may be a little challenging for both of us. You have a chart there [referring to booklets]. Now let’s see if I can explain this. This comes from the observation that we, each of us, operates in different ways. The language here comes from a person called W. Lamb. He’s been out at Claremont, he’s very old, and it comes through movement analysis work; and he was able to determine all of this simply by watching a person move, and he was extremely accurate. But, these are the things that we’re able to do, and also how we make decisions, and everybody’s a little different. The main point of this is for you to become clear on how you yourself operate—not with the sense that there’s anything wrong with it, because we’re all different—but with understanding what you do and what you generally don’t do. Because if what you want to make happen involves doing something that is not naturally part of your repertoire, it’s going to be very difficult.
For instance, there’s one thing I’m just really not good at—it’s being a salesman. You know, I was involved with something or other and I had to make a presentation, which involved a sales component with a focus group, and with a couple of other people, and they did fine. After the three of us sat down there was this silence, and then someone said, “Never let Ken do sales.” [Laughs] Which was fine.
So, this is based on three steps that are involved in doing anything, in making anything happen. The first is to attend. And we’ll be going into this in much more detail in the last section of our workshop. The second is to intend, and the third is to commit, which in this case means do. Attend, if you want to put it in simpler language, is basically gathering information, doing research. But that can be done in a lot of different ways. It may be attending to your own situation. And so we often do that in meditation we just sit and we experience. That’s a form of attending.
Intending arises when we have a certain amount of material, we know the situation somewhat well enough, and now we’re deciding to do something, so we’re forming an intention. It has to do with motivation.
And then committing is how do we actually do it.
Now you’ll notice that there are these pairs [referring to a chart]. The first thing I’d like you to do before we go into the pairs, and these describe different ways of doing each of them, is to consider attend, intend, and commit. And I want you to put a number between 1 and 100 in each of those squares, and they should add up to 100, i.e., they’re percentages. Which is your own estimate of how proficient you are in each of those. How good are you at attending to the situation, gathering information, investigating, exploring, all of that kind of thing. Some people are great at it. Other people are terrible at it. How good are you forming an intention? Getting clear about a direction, and so forth, and how good at doing things. So give yourself a rating. They should add up to 100 so they’re a percentage. Yes?
Carolyn: Is this based on what we want, on this issue, or is this in life in general?
Ken: Life in general. This is how you operate. ’Cause as you suggest in your question Carolyn, there are some people who…you know, they can be extremely functional until they get into another quarter of their life, and then all of that function goes. That’s because there is some kind of reactive pattern operating, which cuts them off from all that natural ability. So. Randye. Microphone please. Do we have a mic anywhere? Okay. Thanks.
Randye: I’m confused. A normal state of affairs for me. These are three separate dimensions?
Randye: Why would they add up to 100 percent?
Ken: Because we’re usually stronger in one than another. It’s just a rough self-rating. Okay. So everybody got some numbers there? Basically you’re just getting a self-portrait here. There are no gold stars. Okay, now we’re going to go through each of these pairs. Now you see at the top of the chart it says, Assertive and Perspective. That’s Lamb’s terminology. One way of thinking about this is particular vs. global. So, the assertive side would be investigate. That is, you get right in there and you find it. Think of the accountant finding where the financial discrepancies are. Whereas exploring is when you stand back from that, and you’re looking at the bigger picture. And you’re just, you know, “Where does this go, and where does this go?” You don’t know where the territory is. You are not necessarily looking for something particular. Okay?
Which one…give yourself a rating somewhere…these should again, other numbers, two numbers, which are percentages, add up to 100. What percentage do you do investigating, what percentage do you do exploring? You know, for myself, in this, I’m much more likely to do exploring than investigating. I’ll only investigate when I have to do it. When I have to find something particular, like I’m making a deposit, and it doesn’t add up, and then I’ll go and actually look for where the problem is. But the rest of the time I don’t do very much investigating. I’ll just explore ideas and see where they lead, and what comes up from that. Whereas other people I know, they will start with an idea and they’ll want to know, “Where is that little bit?” And they’ll go and find that little bit, and they’ll go and find that little bit, and they’re really getting down to a much more assertive way of doing things. So give yourself a rating there. Yes?
Student: Are we still going for…
Ken: Microphone please.
Student: Are we still adding up for the 100 percent, or what are the percentages we’re doing on this…?
Ken: Yes, these two will add up by themselves to 100. So are you like 60 percent one and 40 percent? Or are you 90 percent one or 10 percent. Just to get a picture. And these have to be right to the third decimal place.
Student: Are these both under assertive? I’m kind of unclear on how we do these…
Ken: No, yeah…this one’s assertive, this one’s perspective. Because this one…with the exploring you aren’t as focused on one thing, you’re taking a larger perspective, you’re just going to see where things lead. Okay?
And then the same—with determine, it’s sharply focused, or more sharply focused. With this you’re sitting back and evaluating the situation before you form an intention. So, it’s like, “Okay where are we now?” And what feels right now? Where this is like, “Okay I know where I’m going. I’m going to do x, I’m going to do y, I’m going to do z. I want this to come about.” So, you can think of this as like determination, where this is more a constant evaluation and re-evaluation that goes on. And we find both types of people. People who are able to form an intention which drives at a very specific result, and that can be very effective. And we also find people who, you know, just keep looking at the situation, evaluating, and feeling it…their way through; okay, this is where we need to go now. This we also get…it comes up here a bit in a slightly different way. Yeah?
Student: I’m not clear about determine and evaluate. Could you say more about it?
Ken: Again you can think of determine as more particular, and the evaluate as more global. So one is going to be more sharply focused, and one’s gonna be a broader focus. Okay? Yes?
Student: What I’m hearing, or what I’m concluding based on what you’re saying is that like, for instance, to be more determined would be more kind of concrete thinking…
Student: …versus a more creative type of a feel for evaluate?
Ken: Yeah, that’s basically how I understand it, yes.
Then you come over to committing. This one is about timing, first one, you’re very clear about timing. And that may or may not be the right word here, ’cause this is Lamb’s actual wording…is timing. Yes?
Student: Would that fall under the category of scheduling?
Ken: Yes, that’s right. And this one is you’re not scheduling so much as you’re just going, okay, see what arises, and then you’re going to envision a range of possibilities. Yeah. Lynea? Okay.
Lynea: Is there a difference between what I know I do when I’m more present, and what I do when I’m operating out of fear? Because the percentages change. [Laughter]
Ken: Well, you raise a very, very important point. When are you more effective?
Lynea: When I’m not operating out of fear, when I’m present.
Ken: Yeah. Some people are actually more effective when they’re operating out of fear, but that’s usually because they’ve got other stuff running. But in the bigger picture, in terms of staying in balance, we’re always going to be more effective when we’re not operating out of fear. So take a look at how you are when you’re not operating out of fear, because we want to do this when we’re more awake, not when we’re more asleep. And that’s the idea. Because some people can be very, very good at something when the pressure’s on, but they’re just being driven by their own stuff—it’s not really how they operate naturally—and so they could never be awake doing that. Okay? Basically, when you’re doing stuff out of fear, you’re usually in the animal realm, sometimes in the hell realm. If you’re doing it out of envy, then you’re in the titan realm. And all of those reactive emotional motivations are necessarily imbalanced. Okay?
Ken: Now there’s one more dimension here. Which is the last column. And you can just indicate a preference here. Do you prefer to do these in private or shared? There are certain kinds of decisions that I make, where I make them in private. I may spend a lot of time talking with people, in this stage, getting the information. But when it comes to the decision making—when I’m going to intend, and then move to commitment, I’ll do that in private, which can actually be very disconcerting to people, because they figured since they were part of the information-gathering stage they should be part of the decision-making stage. And then other people, they will think about things very carefully themselves and then want to involve other people in actually making the decision. Or they may want to do it all in private, or things like that. So look this over and see what you want to do in private, and what you want to do in groups. And again, there isn’t a right or wrong here. This is just getting a picture of yourself. About how you actually function. Yes? Sorry?
Student: I was going to ask you to re-explain anticipating.
Ken: The way that I understand anticipating, and I will say that this way of thinking—which I’ve come across before, but I’m still really just assimilating—is and, I think in retrospect, probably adapt is the wrong word there, so maybe cross that one out. Did I put adapt in there or just timing?
Students: Just timing.
Ken: Yeah, because I think it’s more along the schedule versus the unscheduled. So, in this one, since this is the global or perspective one, it’s like you’re going to stand back and try to anticipate things rather than follow a certain schedule. Okay?
Student: For the last column, the private versus shared, you want percentages again like, “My investigate is so much percent.”
Ken: You can do it with percentages or you could do it with preferences.
Student: Oh, just private-shared, private-shared for each of these.
Ken: Each of those things. So you get a picture. This is just for you to get a picture of how you operate; I don’t want to take it any further than that, but it may be helpful for you to understand how you do things and how you make decisions. I mean, when you look at this are there any surprises or any points of interest cropping up for anybody? Kathy?
Kathy: I have to say, when you mentioned, you know, whether I’m acting out of fear or whether I’m doing this in a bit more of an enlightened view perhaps, or less fear, all my percentages changed.
Ken: Yes. So that’s a very interesting point.
Kathy: So, thank you. Yeah.
Ken: Yeah. And so I think next time I do this I’ll do a before and after, because they really do change. Right. And if we’re in fear we’re going to be in one of the six realms, and all of that reactivity. Okay. Now a lot of people, the way they function in the world, is they only know how to function when they’re driven by fear. Which means they don’t have a lot of free attention available, and it usually means that what they’re doing in the world is fundamentally out of balance, which is why people get health problems and emotional problems, etc. The prospect of doing things awake means you’re gonna do things very differently, and a lot of things you would normally do because you were driven by fear, you wouldn’t. You’re much more likely to live the values that you hold when you’re not driven by fear. When you’re driven by fear you’re much more likely to compromise the values.
How many of you…my favorite movie on this is Thank You For Smoking. Which is pure animal realm stuff because these people, you know this reporter, completely exploits this guy, though it never happens in practice, I mean that’s a Hollywood fantasy, and then he turns around and completely embarrasses her. And what is the excuse they both give?
Student: I’m just paying the mortgage.
Ken: I’m just paying the mortgage. Okay, so human value, human connection is of less value than paying the mortgage. That’s the value system that’s being iterated there; this is animal realm. There are a lot of people who live that way. They don’t want to live that way. They don’t want to think that they live that way, but they do. Okay? So, let’s take just a 10 minute break and then we’ll move into the last section, which is putting everything together.