Beginning again … and staring anew …
A little more than thirty years ago last month, September 2020, I began a journey that I didn’t fully understand as I took the first steps on the path that led me to where I find myself today.
Truth be told if I properly unwind the spiral of time, tracing back the tendrils enfolded within to the source, the journey began long before … and I can’t actually tell that story because I don’t really know it.
That story began before I was able to track what was happening, or how, let alone having any consideration of why.
The story I refer to, that must remain unknown, is common to all … the story of our becoming before we know ourselves to be, at least in any truly conscious way.
“My people” … those who cared for me, raised me, instilled me with my earliest beliefs and examples of how to be in the world … set me up to become who I know myself to be today in ways I doubt could ever be fully unpacked.
I believe myself to be who I know myself to be, and it sure seems and feels that this is ‘me’.
At the same time I am astute enough to know that many aspects of ‘me’ are actually remnants of my upbringing and of hundreds or thousands of subsequent experiences that have embedded themselves on and within the ‘me’ I know myself to be … which seem from the inside to be aspects of my own creation, because I’ve long ago lost the source of how they came into being in the first place.
So I’ll ask you to indulge me and allow me to begin my story much later this time, around the age of 30 give or take a year or two either way.
BEGINNINGS: The MythoSelf Process
For the years since then I’ve both unofficially and officially been practicing what I call the MythoSelf Process, or when first conceived originally, the Mythogenic Self.
Most of all this is an idea, a concept or notion, if you will, that points to a way of knowing ourselves to be, that places us at the center of the Universe.
Now it’s important to state that this particular way of referencing and organizing one’s self doesn’t preference you to be uniquely at the center of the Universe, but places anyone who is contemplating their place in the Universe simultaneously and without cessation at the center of the Universe … so you and everyone else is at the center of the Universe by virtue of the simple consideration that makes it so.
This idea, of being at the center of the Universe, is not the most complex idea in the model I’ve been practicing, the MythoSelf Process model, but until it’s grasped … or better groked … it remains a bit confusing to most who are used to Cartesian thinking and especially Cartesian graphing.
THINKING … in more than one dimension
That’s largely because most people have been trained to think in only two dimensions … for example …
This and That, or, Here and There, or, Then and Now … and so on.
Rarely you have someone who can actually process in three dimensions …
This and That or some other thing, time place … and so on.
And, damn few who ever ever consider living in relation to four dimensional thinking …
This and That or some other thing only now and then not now … because the Universe is both dynamic and fractal by all evidence we have at our disposal.
So let’s change the language and labeling just a bit to avoid some of what might otherwise be confusing.
Let’s call the first kind of thinking, two dimensional, This and That, binary thinking
Let’s call the second kind of thinking proposed above, This and That or some other thing, multidimensional thinking.
And, let’s call the third proposed pattern for thinking, This and That and some other thing only now and then not now, fractal thinking.
THINKING … Part 2: Why Bother?
OKAY … if you made it this far you might be asking “WHY?” … “Why bother with all this Joseph?”
Fair enough, because when you upgrade your thinking you improve your life. That simple.
For the entire thirty plus years I’m referencing that’s been my focus …
How do I upgrade my thinking and the quality of my life, and subsequently, how do I help others do the same themselves?
That essentially is what the MythoSelf Process work is all about, so I’m starting at the core, not necessarily the beginning.
I’ll assume for argument’s sake that you’re beginning to grok even more than you think about the MythoSelf Process and why I believe it’s so valuable to myself and others.
Let’s start again with more of the early story, and I think that will make all this much easier to grasp.
In late 1980s I participated in Werner Erhard’s “The Forum” … as he described it then, a conversation that we are in even when we don’t recognize that we have been engaged in it for as long as we know ourselves (my phrasing, not his).
That experience was transformational for me, and led me to study NLP, meet Roye Fraser, start training people, develop the MythoSelf Process, and build and international training and consulting organization, and coaching and facilitating thousands of people in the essential fundamentals of the Process.
Quite frankly, the beginning was so pretty, because it began when I was largely out of sorts about myself and my place in the Universe, not feeling much like I was at the center at all.
Unbeknownst to me at the time, I was coming to the end of my first marriage, I was struggling to make ends meet financially because I’d just walked away from a lucrative role as partner in an Interior Architecture and Design firm I helped to found with two other partners, I had just begun training dogs full time in transition to I don’t know what, and soon I’d be living back at “home” with my parents for a few years …
What I did know was that I was unsettled, and the source was internal and not external. I had to come to terms with something about myself that was unsettling, but I didn’t quite know what it was, or in reality even where to begin looking for it.
I’d already done a lot of self examination and searching. I was a product of the 1970s, and the near universal quest to “find oneself.”
I’d read all the pop psychology and spiritual books that were prominent at the time. I practiced meditation, tried yoga, fasted, followed a path of Christian contemplative mysticism, read a lot of the books on Zen translated into English at the time, even tried ‘sitting’ for a while … but my mind had been trained in a Western form of thought, and while all those things continued to fascinate me, they were “The WAY” for me personally.
But in my late teens I’d come across some reading that opened another possibility to me, including Carlos Castenada’s “Don Juan” books and a particular book by W.D. Norwood, “The Judoka.”
Finding the 4th WAY
The difference in these books was that the main protagonists were active, not sitting still contemplating their internal world, and I had an innate sense that “The WAY” for me was about being in the world, not apart from it.
That led me to G.I Gurdjieff and the idea of a ‘4th WAY’ … rather than profound meditation, contemplation, prayer or yoga, I could move in the world and use that movement and the interactions that arose as a result as the grist for the mill of deciphering the meaning of life.
This suited me greatly at the time … so I began going further into the idea of living meditation as I thought of it, seeking to extract meaning from the day to day living of my life.
I think that the main thing I was seeking was a purpose for my life, a reason to wake up and get going, but I still lacked an essential quality … directionality.
Pursuing DIRECTIONALITY & Discovering EFFORTLESSNESS
That’s a word I got from my years studying with Roye Fraser … DIRECTIONALITY.
It’s a quality of mind that organizes action in a direction that is aligned with one’s being.
It’s about knowing where and how to direct yourself to take action that supports both who you are and who you intend to become by virtue of where and how you place your attention, and then how you act in relation to what you perceive and intend.
The result of operation with DIRECTIONALITY is that you build a level of precise focus of attention and the action that flows from it such that you’re ability to create outcomes becomes effortless for you, regardless of how difficult the tasks involved.
EFFORTLESSNESS shifts radically when you’re operating out of profound DIRECTIONALITY, because it no longer references how difficult or hard something is to do as most people might measure effort.
For example, imagine a world-class athlete performing at the very top of their game, and engaged in competition in a state of pure flow … in that performance there is no effort.
Or, you might imagine an A-List entertainer … an actor or musician … engaged in a particularly demanding performance, even one that is physically draining or exhausting, but again you’d find their experience while in the performance to them might seem truly effortless.
“… there is no time.”
There is a great scene in the movie Surviving Picasso where Anthony Hopkins playing the character of Picasso is approached by Natascha McElhone who’s playing the character Francoise Gilhot, Picasso’s lover at the end of his life.
In this scene Gihot approaches Picasso who’s been working non-stop in his studio for nine hours and hardly eaten or drunk anything and implores him to take a break because he must be exhausted she thinks, especially because of his advanced age. He refuses, and she reminds him that he’s been at it for nine straight hours. As I recall, in the movie scene I’m referring to here, Picasso simply replies, “When I am working there is no time.”
This is the essence of what EFFORTLESSNESS means within the model I’m beginning to describe and share with you here.
I hope to share a bit more soonest …
Joseph Riggio, Ph.D.
Architect & Designer of the MythoSelf Process and SomaSemantics
Sarasota, Florida 2020