A.I.R., Speed or Endurance

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Speed or Endurance

This entire Inner Work is about self-discovery, and self-discovery is not always a pretty or easy experience. Today a lot of self-help teachers advertise that you can go on their road of discovery and gain "enlightenment" without much work all within a very short amount of time! Just follow this diet, or repeat this daily mantra, or merely think of money over and over, and you'll be rich! It is true that one can experience a dramatic shift in one's perspective and the circumstances of their life in a rather short time by going through such blitz classes. However, the question must be asked: Are these changes and altered outlooks sustainable transformations or are they merely temporary adjustments? To use more alchemical terms: are they fixed, or are they volatile? For a small subset of the population the shift will indeed be permanent, but for the vast majority it is but a temporary change.

The question now becomes why is this so? If you think back to your old high school chemistry class we can find an analogy that will help you to understand. Think of your nervous system and its habitual state as being like the normal configuration of electrons orbiting about a particular atom. Like the electrons, your nervous system exists in a particular energetic level or state a vibratory state created by your beliefs about life, ingrained expectations about the outcome of social and business interactions, and of course your fears.

While the overwhelming majority of these assumptions on your part are false, they have nonetheless become second nature. They represent the set of parameters which determine your "resting state" or default nervous system configuration, and they also determine how the system will react in the presence of certain stimulation. To shift the analogy to computer science, when a particular situation or circumstance arises, these erroneous assumptions boot-up like a computer program without conscious interaction on our part. Too often our programmed reaction or judgment is based in irrational fear or erroneous reason.

Like the electron configuration which orbits about an atom, under the right circumstances your nervous system can be excited by an outside stimuli and move up an energy level. The self-help blitz courses produce this sort of effect. This situation is unstable though and almost immediately the nervous system reverts itself back to its original state, releasing the energy gained during excitation. This reversion causes a release of energy that brings about a temporary shift in consciousness and perhaps even in physical circumstance. However, as the nervous system has lost its heightened energy level, it reverts back to its long trained homeostasis, and while a slight purification may be fixed, the system for the most part remains unchanged.

If we want to make the change permanent we must do certain things, and do them repeatedly. We must make the volatile fixed, and the fixed volatile and we must do it again and again and again. If we think of our thoughts as being the electrons orbiting about an atom, we can through repeated practice bring into consciousness an alchemically "fixed" new way of thinking. This is chemically analogous to creating an ion, and in our case we want a cation or positively charged atom. Remember however, that this change is first only in the mind we have grasped things intellectually, but we have not incorporated that change into our nervous system. This takes time. It takes repetition. In order to do this we must bring about change in the nervous system which at first would correspond to the atoms going through a chemical reaction to form new compounds. In time, a full transmutation of our being occurs, one which is analogous to the super-high energy reactions taking place in nuclear chemistry and fusion.

To bring about such profound changes to the self indeed requires not only patience and repetition, but preparation. At first, as with any new discipline, things happen slowly almost imperceptibly. But as we volatilize our thoughts again and again, a new mode of thinking begins to become not only purified, but more and more "fixed" into our nervous system and its defaults. Change after change in the self, body, and being occur, and a chain reaction gets generated which truly does liberate a person from the ingrained habitual reactions of the former nervous system.

As practical advice, it is good to remember: The paradox about all endeavors in human life is that we appreciate more those things we had to truly apply ourselves to master and obtain over those which required minimal effort. Rarely does anything worth having come to us overnight. Even Mozart and Beethoven, both child prodigies had to practice, to hone their innate skills. The spiritual adepts who walk the earth today have previous lifetimes of work behind them so that this incarnation might be manifest. Even the legendary Philosopher's Stone, which can in an instant transmute base metals into gold, heal the sick, and give extreme longevity, has behind it all the decades of work and study sacrificed by the Alchemist. This is after all your Hero's Journey into your Inner Spiritual Realms. And like those heroic journeys told in ancient Greek mythology, the Hero is lead from home and comfort (sometimes for years) to be tested, confronting erroneous self-limitations of the mind before being able to return home as the transmuted human being the Hero.