Is absolute psychological safety possible? | Meditative Diaries

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Is absolute psychological safety possible?

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People urge for safety. There is a necessity for physical safety.. we need a safe place to live, well sheltered from cold, animals, or brutal people. We also need some food and water. This does make sense, no? There is also a need for psychological safety. What is psychological safety? It’s not quite obvious. Many people confuse psychological with physical safety. It seems that psychological safety refers to the future, psychological safety involves time.

I am in a safe house but I install an expensive alarm system in order to make sure that bad men won’t invade during a dark night. I make some good money now but i worry about my financial future and put extra effort to make sure in the future i will be secure. I have a son that is now safe and healthy but i will be always worrying about his well being. We plan a holiday but who says it will be as great as i am expecting? I have to arrange as many things as possible to assure we will have a really good schedule. I am having a great time with my girlfriend but i can’t stop worrying whether she will abandon me or not so i try to control her. There is a head ache and i worry if i suffer from brain cancer, thus i am having an MRI to make sure i am ok.  I crave for same stable habits that should continue to happen or else i enter an unsafe, unknown future that looks very scary.

What is common in all efforts to seek psychological safety? Isn’t it the fact that i can’t predict the future? Isn’t it that the future is unknown? Having to face an unknown, unsafe, unstable, unpredictable future is something that i am not comfortable with. So i am working intellectually to turn future to a dead, stable, known situation that won’t bring any unpleasant surprises. The question is, is it ever possible to make future predictable, to turn the unknown to known? We need to seriously ask this question. I may earn 10k every month, i may have a reserve of 1 million or 10 million, but then the banks collapse and suddenly there is nothing left. I live in Syria and i have a happy family, i am almost sure everything will go right and then war bursts and i lose everything. I neurotically follow a super balanced diet combined with the greatest work outs and the very next moment i discover i suffer from cancer. No matter how much i worry, no matter how hard i struggle to make sure the future will be safe, i won’t never ever succeed to make it really, genuinely secure. I wonder if we all see this? If we actually see this, not only intellectually, won’t we quit all effort, won’t we deny all this intellectual drama, this anxiety, this neurosis? Knowing that the only thing that exists is the Now, knowing that the very next moment is essentially unknown, that its possible for me to even cease to exist, won’t i completely abandon this stupid game of seeking safety?

And then what happens once i actually cease to seek psychological safety? Isn’t it that then, there is instantly a feeling of complete psychological safety? I was working hard my whole life to conquer psychological safety.. the very moment i saw the futility of the whole movement, the very moment I abandon this struggle,  is the moment i feel completely safe. And in such atmosphere, isn’t love, freedom, compassion possible to flower?

PS: It’s not implied here that people that fall in this trap should blame themselves, feel self pity or anything similar. This diary, as most of the writer’s diaries just want to raise doubt. This diary is just asking an essential question. Why do we seek safety at all? Can we live beyond this struggle?

PS 2: Is it implied here a leap of faith,  that everything will be fine once i don’t care about what will happen psychologically? I think no, this would rather sound like.. hope. There is another quality in this negation of seeking safety, but i can’t find the right words for it..

Comments

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Jorge Kapa

The speaker is never important but you may examine the message, if you wish

78 Comments

    • Lee Daley I’ve heard many people refer to the crisis, the challenge, the sorrow and how it can change the whole mind.. can you say anything on why they claim that?

    • They claim it because its absolutely true…now trying to describe it practically and in words is a whole other thing. In short it can come down to changing how the mind works or losing it…

    • The taste of death whether physical or psychological has a habit of destroying the fear of death by revealing the illusionary nature of it. Nonetheless the cycles of death and rebirth within life is an ongoing process.

    • You live in Greece, Jorge? Both past Greek friends and the media portray Greece as a country in severe crisis. I imagine you and those around you feel into this matter deeply.

    • Philip Davies yes, Philip, I live in Greece and there is huge crisis..all these things we discuss about here, are part of our reality. I think K was right in this point.. the crisis is inside us. People perpetuate the crisis on their own..

    • Yes. It is abundantly clear. Even in a wealthy nation like Germany, the tension between people is palpable, not far beneath the surface of societal (dys)functioning. It’s a blessing that you reach out in this way…

    • yesterday my friends were discussing about the issue with refugees.. so much irritation, complains, on how the whole system is brutal, how the interests of big nations play an important role, conspiracy (or not conspiracy) theories, a mixture of irritation and pleasure for putting responsibilities to somebody else… i was pointing out that this discussions leads nowhere, that the only thing we need to do is to support refugees (of course if we are willing to do this) instead of discussing, complaining..

      friends continued in this convenient escape.. discussing, feeling annoyed and satisfied

    • Had just that today, same subject, around a table with my partner’s family. I could hardly understand the language, which probably helps to not snag on the thought content. It is totally and completely nothing more than cinematic diversion, popcorn opinions, while seated firmly in and nourishing one’s own centre. An escape from intimacy…

    • There is something to this psychological crisis. It seems to me that there is a potential within those types of crisis for the system to come to some sort of harmony. If we take an example of losing someone dear to us, we may see that our hopes and dreams for a future with this person/partner/friend/relative were very much in the imagination. Perhaps some insight can arise into seeing that these fears, and hopes are in the imagination.

      Some may require an extreme crisis, and for those that are perhaps sensitive, perhaps each small conflict may be an opportunity for an insight into nature of that which creates these fears.

    • Jorge, the “heavy trauma” as mentioned above may assist in revealing the nature of fear, hopes and security however I wouldn’t will it. Having my mother pass away when I was thirteen would have been an opportunity to look into this. But I expect at that age one is not looking too far into the future and has not created too many ideas, so too much of a psychological crisis may not occur. We are perhaps also guarded and kept secure by our parents and family, and may live not too far in the future as compared to adults….perhaps. I have wondered how I would deal with such a situation again…..I now think that if a close relative was to die, as I’ve not placed too much reliance on people, and projected relationships into the future, I don’t think it would have the same potential. For me, I think daily occurrences of conflict or psychological suffering have a potential to open up this thing up to see it for what it is….. :)

    • great approach double chan! Thank you so much.. you think its possible that daily conflicts can bring a holistic understandint? not just an understanding of a fragment?

    • Philip Davies what i experience is daily, limited conflicts that reveal a few fragments (partial insights) and there is this analogy which i don’t know if its valid, that if there is huge conflict/suffering, probably this will lead to a holistic insight? Its only speculation

    • Jorge, do i understand you rightly? There is either a fragmentary-partial insight/ understanding, or total-holistic perception; and the speculation concerns connections with daily conflict and life trauma – or the size of the challenge?

    • i speculate and say.. probably traumas/conflicts/sorrow of limited size can bring about a limited insight while if i feel that almost the whole structure of my life is collapsing a total insight may happen

      .. a friend of mine was searching for enlightenment for 23 years (this struggle was almost the essence of his life) when he deeply understood he was trapped in this struggle and abandoned it.. then strange things happened.. for 2 weeks he was in a very strange situation which can’t be described very clearly.. gradually he came back in the previous situation, but for 2 weeks something very strange was happening?

      do i make clear my point?

    • Generally we may view a death as the greatest of traumas. However anything can be as such, however I think this depends upon how much the sense of self is involved. There perhaps has to be a threat to the very sense of self, and this for some could occur due to deaths, or to others perhaps from financial collapse, or a relationship coming to an end or smaller conflicts. For some people, their whole sense of self may be challenged in smaller conflicts…

      [Perhaps one may also look at fragments and their relationship to the whole…]

    • Yes, Jorge. Makes sense. The structure of one’s life is certainly a psychological construct. The struggle you describe was dropped in your friend for 2 weeks-the structure of his life collapsing- only to return. So it was a limited insight. What Chan Chan has to say fits my view as one with low self-esteem. Sensitivity is surely key and we are all different.

    • Jorge….in answering your question I would have to say “I think it is possible”. Again this would be a limited perspective. From personal experience I would say that in these minor conflicts I can see the potential for it being able to reveal more than a fragment…….[the fragment is also part of the whole……in each fragment is the whole…..is that so…….I don’t really know…….but it seems to me that the fragment can reveal that it is a fragment……and that may be enough to know of the whole….] [perhaps the foregoing works or doesn’t… :)]

    • Philip Davies yes it was proved partial (while the self returned), but during these two weeks there was not signs of the self, at least this was implied by his words.

      Philip, you say that there is no such thing as minor or major conflict, its just conflict? Do you imply that any kind of conflict is possible to reveal the whole self? And Chan Chan do you say the same?

      I am really sorry to ask again and again the same question, i just want to fully comprehend your comments, hopefully i don’t bother you?

    • Jorge….in answering your question I would have to say “I think it is possible”. Again this would be a limited perspective. From personal experience I would say that in these minor conflicts I can see the potential for it being able to reveal more than a fragment…….[the fragment is also part of the whole……in each fragment is the whole…..is that so…….I don’t really know…….but it seems to me that the fragment can reveal that it is a fragment……and that may be enough to know of the whole….] [perhaps the foregoing works or doesn’t… :)]

    • ‘Anything’ is possible so there is no black n white here…in regards to a difference between major and minor trauma there is a big difference. Financial struggles thru bad politics/economics doesnt carry the same energy as living thru a military coup and being faced with a distinct possibility of death. Being shot and held hostage not knowing whether you will live or die carries a different energy to say breaking your leg and being inconvinienced for a couple of months. Losing your wife and children carries a different energy to losing your wealth. For me there is a distinct difference between major and minor trauma

    • And it seems the deeper the surrender the bigger the shift…so the bigger the trauma = the deeper the surrender = the bigger the shift…and its all relative so what may seem like a major trauma to one may be a minor trauma to the next…i.e. A stranger being shot and killed infront of a soldier who has killed many and seen many killed infront of him will not be effected by it the same way someone who has lived a ‘sheltered life’ would be…so the one who has not seen death in this way may experience a dramatic shift where as the soldier is likely not to…

    • Many a returned soldier suffers PTSD , and there are high suicide rates apparently. I can only agree and acknowledge what’s been said, and still question thought. What is thought trying to accomplish here? It is an ancient question, the old religion calling it salvation, redemption, baptism, and metanoia. It’s an ancient question that boils down to grace: in other words, not in our control. Now we call it transformation, or shift? The psychological self IS conflict. Is thought here a subtle form of conflict? Perhaps from here, directly, we can together see whether all conflict is a window to the totality of the system of thought.

    • Friction has a habit of causing tears/openings…friction is also the basis of creation so i would agree, the degree of friction/conflict to the individual seems to be what regulates transformation/shifts/transmutation.

    • fff my english again! probably i am losing something important here..

      what exactly do you mean with “we can together see whether all conflict is a window to the totality of the system of thought.”

      and.. is always thought a subtle form of conflict? guess you refer to thought in the sense of becoming, measuring, comparing, recognizing?

    • Can only thank you, Jorge, for your amiable model of dialogue. What is thought looking to achieve in this conversation? Not my thought, or yours? I’m asking myself: why does thought concern itself with the matter of partial or holistic insight? It’s similar to the recent question about parameters of enlightenment, i believe. What is the need here?

    • I wonder if the question simply reresents that movement of thought which seeks to know, which is a form of control. It is at least a form of assessment. Having read through Eva’s question on the relevance of K’s words, it seems to me that thought, whilst it may align and represent the actual, is nonetheless separate from it, so a form of friction or conflict. Not that this is bad either. So we’re looking directly into thought now. Whether it took a heavy trauma to get here or not is perhaps potentially distortive or a distraction.

    • Lee. Yes. Here’s the carousel, isn’t it? Is thought separate from the whole, something to be suppressed, controlled. Or does it arise out from the whole, simply to be understood? Which engenders that true feeling of order or safety?

    • Innerstood…Nice one. Likewise, it’s been pointed out that to understand something means to stand under it. Mythically speaking, it seems to mean being swallowed and going into the beast, rather than a battle against a separate thing.

  1. Yes, as you say, a feeling of complete safety seems to arise in understanding the psychological struggle. In my homeland, i met with many crises. The false self-system revealed itself, but i had many handholds, many supplies to feed on. On moving to a foreign country into circumstances which have brought me face to face with formative traumas and lifelong coping patterns, the false self is almost transparent. I liken it the Old Testament story of Daniel being thrown into a den of lions. The sense of being Something comes into direct encounter with Nothing. As Lee said, either the mind changes, or it’s lost. Insanity and revelation are closely linked. It is a capacity to be with negation, pure destructive negation, the psychological discomfort, it seems, which underpins growing feelings of safety. But i can already observe in ongoing situations how revelation turns stale and contraction again takes place. This is the greatest feeling, to love totally, gives the greatest safety, no? Moment by moment meditation, between something and nothing. What worlds arise when people meet in this?

  2. another thing that comes in mind regarding this is whether all this sounds like a leap of faith.. whether to abandon all worries about psychological future is like a leap of faith.. i think no, this would be of the quality of just hoping..

  3. witnessing only choiceless observation is all that is possible if one can say anything, all knowing is noverbal of any order, the voices in the head is not you! re-membering nd forgetting is the game, attention awarejness, and to act in the world appropriately, contextually in terms of probababilities..then ‘intelligence takes over followed by words of the ‘me’ which begins to take credit for being the knower and doer..to see as insight as false is to ‘see’.nowhere to go just BE

  4. It simply means to be without the separate self.
    … And not knowing yourself as a real separate entity.

    It is ‘the me’, as ‘I am the body idea’, which gives the sense of psychological insecurity; it is this ‘me-sense’ that has insecurity, and also that which seeks security.

  5. Psychological security is a sense of location, definition, solidity, continuity. I know who i am, i know what i’m doing. It has a structure and content like a physical house. It draws upon resources to construct, maintain, repair and develop itself. It’s architect is satisfaction, sigificance and security.

  6. Yes.

    This is the false, ‘psychological self’, which is primarily responsible for all the mischief and destruction. It is the ‘me-doer’, but try as it may for security, its very activity only engenders insecurity.

    You must come to know yourself as:
    ‘A dimensionless point of pure Awareness.’
    … And Directly recognize that:
    ‘You are nothing you can perceive or conceive’. (Niz)

    The security is in being nothing and nobody.
    Just simple, Empty, Passive Awareness,
    … And Natural, Selfless, Spontaneity; as Compassion.

  7. ναι , σε φυσικό επίπεδο είναι όντως ανασφαλής ! ψυχολογικά όμως ίσως μπορούμε να νιώσουμε τελείως ασφαλείς και τότε ίσως δεν σκεφτόμαστε ούτε την φυσική ανασφάλεια παρά μόνο όταν είναι απαράιτητο

  8. δεν υπάρχει τίποτα να κάνω, με τη διανόηση μου, να προσπαθήσω να δω, να προσπαθήσω να προβλέψω, να προσπαθήσω να αναλύσω πιθανότητες.. τίποτα! και ξαφνικά απλά υπάρχει αντίληψη ότι αγωνίζομαι για μια ασφάλεια που δεν πρόκειται ποτέ να έρθει.

    Ευχαριστώ πολύυυυ Χρήστο!

  9. i would like to think that underneath all existential anxieties and overall fear of physical and psychological safety, lies the fear of Death. Many wise men have said that we need to die in order to live and enjoy the moment of our life.

  10. Marina Kalorides to me its clear i am shaking in the idea i will abandon my attachments my habits, my casual pleasures, my hopes, my identification and tags.. its not the unknown i am afraid

  11. Jorge this is exactly what i said above only with fewer words : yes abandoning earthly attachments and going into the big unknown . When i said that i am working on it, i was referring to my attachments. This is the main problem that our ego has a hard time to let go. Basically, we are saying the same thing..

  12. in the Tibetan book of dead, there is a cruel exercise to be practiced daily and it has to do with visualizing your death on a daily basis. i have thought a lot about it and for a while i followed it but i noticed that although is an eye opener, it did give me unnecessary sadness and sorrow therefore at this point i am taking a break … :-)

  13. Marina Kalorides i question whether we need exercises to die to our past… you think method, system, exercise, itself may work? or the abandonment of each intellectual approach may lead somewhere completely different

  14. my own feeling reading the exercise was the opposite as i think the purpose of it is to die to our current life/situation. the hardest part for me it was to willingly die on my precious earthly attachments and this was the reason for the sadness experienced while doing it.. extremely hard for me to feel at peace leaving behind all that i love the most. In your case it might be lot easier as you are so very young therefore you do have the luxury to just think about it in a kind of intellectual level. At my age, is much more difficult and it takes a lot of guts to freely abandon attachments and feel at peace with it..

  15. it is the damn ego.. i feel so good about ” my now ” . i have accomplished a lot of the things i wanted to accomplish, i am centered and the thought of giving it up , is making me lose sleep therefore i decided to do it only in an extremely structured way.. maybe it is enough for tonight about the subject ? :-)

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