Thursday, May 8, 2008

To validate or not to validate?

I'm reading some Eckhart Tolle and loving it. It hit me today that there are three basic modes of living. First there is the ego driven life that requiree validation constantly. I used to think that validation was important for happiness and success. I though that some individuals were destined to continually seek for acceptance to fill the void created in their early years from not being vaildated by parents and caregivers. I felt validation of core identity was the key. I now think differently. Validation is still important, especially in the first half of life. We want to be seen to be successful, pretty, competent, 'identified'. After reading Tolle I realize that it is just the ego that needs the validation and will indeed continually seek it. Marketers love the ego. Fashion, smelly candles, clubs, holidays, shoes (my ego loves shoes), houses, all validate the ego and create a sense of belonging through ownership or involvement. Without the ego and its constant need for satisafaction, capitalism would struggle to survive.

The second mode of living is the conscious mode that Tolle talks about. It is akin to 'second level' stages of the Spiral. This mode develops through the second half of life (I am speaking in generalities since all lives evolve at their own pace and some people seem born into conscious existance, while others live through their ego to the bitter end). As the first mode declines, and the ego becomes more observed and therefor emore under control then conscious living takes over. It seems the two oscillate with ego winning at first, and consciousness taking over for the latter half. Perhaps the time the balance shifts from ego to consciousness is what we view as the 'mid-life crisis'. If so, I hope one day we will learn to welcome the crisis, working through and then above it, through to enlightenment. I'd recommend Tolle's books. To me they represent a fundamental truth that I have always known but not always understood.

The third mode of life is familiar to many in the US, and paid my salary for many years. It is the medicated life. This is the life that disturbs me the most, I have nothing against medications for the most part; just last week my mother's life was saved by a high dose intravneous diuretic that was in essence, a miracle cure for the acute condition she found herself in. However, we turn too readily to drugs to calm and soothe, energize and stimulate. We expect to find solace and health in a pill. If enough of us continue to live this way, our culture will hit a very real hurdle in its evolution. However, I do sense a scepticism about medicines that could lead to a more healthy application of them. Hopefully, over time we can become more conscious in the way we diagnose and treat illness, making use of all available therapies from across the traditional and complementary spectrum. I think Tolle has a unique way of expressing the duality that causes us so many problems as we wrestle a demon we often do not even know exists. I wonder if it is most usefully applied to this third mode of life where have become so disconnected from our own healing mechanisms.
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