Most of us look at struggle as one or more odious tasks that must be completed on a regular basis. Our bias is a dislike of struggle. Psychological theory tells us that humans are pleasure seeking or at least avoidant of displeasure. The dislike of struggle builds a resistance to which our physical body is a receptacle for this tension.
The purpose of struggle is creating energy
Besides dislike, resistance to struggle is the second rationale to let odious tasks lay fallow and undone.
The Physical Body
Our physical or corporeal bodies represent a bank where all habits that we deem as good or bad are held in deposit ready for our use. When we are younger we tend to ride roughshod over the limits our body presents us with by employing our intellect and our will. A youthful body is quite flexible growing and changing. A plateau of growth is reached in middle age. Entropy accelerates with increasing age.
Without seeking truth, a higher ideal or employing inner work we may, using our dominant processing facilities; our prefrontal cortex/ cognitive brain to ignore and/or objectify our body as a projection of our minds. If we follow this rational to the exclusion of somatic knowing then we may miss the memories our body holds and the wisdom therein. We may also miss the speed in which our body learns and remembers actions especially gross physical actions such as riding a bicycle, dance steps or hang-gliding for example. By allying body memory with a neutral cognitive observer learning motion-oriented activities can be accelerated. Our culture is overly focused on the actions produced in the prefrontal cortex so body knowing is often discounted or objectified. This constitutes a loss and produces illusions that the cognitive self or ego uses to obfuscate somatic knowing and memory.
The battle between “yes” and “no”
Many memories that are forgotten, suppressed or repressed are recorded in the body and may never enter consciousness or may return to consciousness as isolated or fragmented snapshots of memory. Almost all experiences are recorded by the body and may be recalled as memories through associative thinking. Associative recall includes memories of actions that have become habits stored in body memory. When we execute habits our conscious attention recalls the actions stored in body memories which flits across our cognitive realms. Body memory associated with olfaction and other sensory organs allow quick access to our to interpretative cognitive faculties.
The Core of Struggle
All struggle is felt on a physical level via stress, anxiety and ending with resistance because we dislike and sometimes loathe struggle. The backstop of struggle is the physical body. Struggle itself is the battle between “Yes” and No”.
The third force in a battle of opposites is invisible.
The purpose of struggle is creating energy, but most of us get caught in a battle between “Yes” and “no” or the back and forth of dislike versus like. The result of this dichotomous battle depletes us so that no energy is created or goes unnoticed and is wasted.
Cultivation of the neutral observer is key
The battle between “yes” and “no” like any fight between opposites must have an out or endless squabbling is the unresolved end result. This is the nature of compromise. However most struggles don’t create energy are analogous to obsessive thinking patterns or circular thought. The third force in a battle of opposites is invisible. Just as atoms contain many waves and/or particles there are positively charged particles, negatively charged particles and particles that have no charge. The no-charge position could be referred to as neutral.
Cultivation of the neutral observer is key to recognizing the struggle between “yes” and “no” and the energy that is created. Energy that is is created once recognized is usually spent by the automatic process of habit. If the energy is saved then it may be used for further work in effective struggle.
Using the body as a starting point to cultivate the neutral is a way to dispassionately observe our self
Effective struggle begins with noticing its effects in how our bodies react to the battle between “yes” and “no”. If the neutral observation of struggle is not observed in the body then the mind / ego makes the struggle into illusion and fantasy. Detaching struggle from the body where ultimately all struggle is felt and remembered somatically allows the experience to float into the illusory “likes” of the mind/ego allowing whim and tangential / associative thought to run wild without a grounding to the body.
Autogenic Training is the place to begin cultivate the neutral within ( see End Notes below).
Using the body as a starting point to cultivate the neutral is a way to dispassionately observe our self and begin to gain information without opinion or judgment attached. As information is gathered and struggle observed then energy may be tracked and utilized more effectively in our quest for truth and evolution in consciousness into higher realms.
Guidelines for work with Struggle
- Remember that struggle is felt in the body. Staying in the present moment is important in working with Struggle because our physical bodies exist only in the present.
- Any beginning in the work with Struggle is best done with simple acts of the body. Without working from the body struggle becomes lost in an intellectual exercise or emotional fantasy of the past and future and is lost in terms of its ability to generate energy.
- Most of our awareness in the present moment is caught up in attachment. This awareness cannot aide in the work with Struggle.
- Choose a simple action-oriented task to in which to struggle. Organize struggle, in other words keep it simple don’t take on too much. Be persistent. Repeat the struggle often.
- Do your best. This is especially important when we experience doubt.
- Let go of regret when you experience failure. Regret and analysis of regrets removes us from the present moment and can become a trap.
- Emotions change, intellect is often wild jumping from one topic to the next. By employing Autogenic Training, we can allow a neutral territory for out body to grow in knowledge.*
Learning and struggle belong to the mundane realms of linear reality and work. Work effectively and advancement can be expected given a relationship with a Teacher, guide or instructor.
- *Transformation by J.G Bennett p. 37-38, published by The Claymont Society for Continuous Education copyright 1978.
- for further reading: A Primer – Autogenic Training