Mind Cobwebs

Mind Cob­webs  —  We’ve been con­di­tioned by our fam­i­lies and tribes to ‘fit in.’ Mak­ing pos­i­tive change is there­fore difficult…

Want to learn more about liv­ing a full and mean­ing­ful life?

Want to have the best rela­tion­ship ever?

Check out my books

The Mind’s Cobwebs

We’ve been con­di­tioned by our fam­i­lies and tribes to ‘fit in.’ Mak­ing pos­i­tive change is there­fore dif­fi­cult, as many changes go against our ‘trib­al’ rules. We explore how we set our val­ues, and how to begin the process of ques­tion­ing everything.

Patterns of Development  —  dealing with the mind’s cobwebs

Let’s look at emp­ty­ing the mind. But before we can explore a west­ern take on the east­ern idea of empti­ness and how to use mind­ful­ness, I want to talk about how fear and anger con­tribute to blocked or stunt­ed growth.

There are a cou­ple of human devel­op­ment mod­els that I agree with. In this arti­cle, I want to dis­cuss three. Next arti­cle, as we explore Mind­ful­ness, I’ll pull it all together.

Maslow, Myss, and Peck

Sounds a lit­tle like a law firm, right? Some years ago, I cre­at­ed to fol­low­ing chart:

Crown Chakra, # 7Top of HeadTran­scen­dence  — 
help­ing oth­ers to actualize
Self Know­ing
wis­dom, knowl­edge,
Brow Chakra, # 6Bridge of Nose,
upper brow,
per­son­al growth, self fulfillment
Self Per­cep­tion
psy­chic per­cep­tion,
accu­rate inter­pre­ta­tion
clear see­ing
Throat Chakra, # 5Throat, neck
jaw, low­er face 
Aes­thet­ic Needs
beau­ty, bal­ance, form,
expres­sion of true self
Self Expres­sion
Clear com­mu­ni­ca­tion,
cre­ativ­i­ty, resonance
Heart Chakra, # 4Heart,
upper chest,
upper back
“Pur­pose” Needs
self-knowl­edge, self-aware­ness,
Self Accep­tance
Bal­ance, com­pas­sion,
healthy rela­tion­ships
Solar Plexus Chakra, # 3Solar Plexus,
upper bel­ly, mid-back
to pelvis
Esteem Needs
achieve­ment, sta­tus,
respon­si­bil­i­ty, reputation
Self Def­i­n­i­tion
Vital­i­ty, spon­tane­ity,
strength of will, pur­pose,
Bel­ly Chakra, # 2Bel­ly from navel down,
sacrum, pelvis
Belong­ing­ness and Love Needs
fam­i­ly, affec­tion, sex­u­al­i­ty,
rela­tion­ships, work group, etc.
Self Grat­i­fi­ca­tion
Flu­id­i­ty, plea­sure,
healthy sex­u­al­i­ty,
Root Chakra, # 1Tail­bone
per­ineum, legs,
sci­at­ic pockets
Bio­log­i­cal, Psy­cho­log­i­cal and
Safe­ty Needs
basic life needs, sur­vival instinct
Self Preser­va­tion
Sta­bil­i­ty, ground­ing,
phys­i­cal health,
pros­per­i­ty, trust

Now, in a sense, the chart ought to be the oth­er way around, as we move ‘up’ from ground to ‘heav­en,’ and of course that’s how it looks in Maslow’s hierarchy.

In both Maslow’s hier­ar­chy and in Chakra The­o­ry, we begin at the low­est lev­el and devel­op (or not!) from there. 

Why Most are Stuck at Level Three

The first three lev­els are phys­i­cal, and are each about safe­ty, belong­ing­ness, and escap­ing aban­don­ment. Infants learn from the start to do what is nec­es­sary to keep the food flow­ing and the phys­i­cal con­tact com­ing. Most peo­ple are high­ly ‘phys­i­cal real­i­ty based,’ in that they fear actu­al, phys­i­cal loss and/or abandonment.

A per­fect illus­tra­tion of this is how quick­ly peo­ple will aban­don their ‘selves’ when some­one threat­ens to leave them. Or they might think they are going to be fired. Prin­ci­ples fly out the win­dow as the per­son seeks to save the relationship.

We learned to do this as children — staying a mem­ber in good stand­ing of the tribe seemed to be ‘life and death.’

The Flavours of Fear

The two main flavours of fear are ‘fear of loss’ and ‘fear of change.’ Aban­don­ment, for exam­ple, could fit into either cat­e­go­ry. Now this might be obvi­ous but think about adver­tis­ing. Vir­tu­al­ly all adver­tis­ing tar­gets one or the oth­er of these fears. We’re con­di­tioned to use the same prod­ucts and the same meth­ods for gain­ing safe­ty and secu­ri­ty. When in doubt, buy something!

The Marketing of Fear and Lack

Mar­ket­ing is direct­ed at the largest demo­graph­ic and caters to what “moves” them. We are thus bom­bard­ed with lack, loss, and fear-based ads, movies, TV shows, etc. We are told that if only we will buy in to the west­ern con­sumerist lifestyle, we will have it all. We will be safe, pop­u­lar, and smell nice. 

Yet, it just does­n’t seem to work out. 

The ‘voca­tion­al’ demo­graph­ic, above, starts at the tran­si­tion point between ‘phys­i­cal’ and ‘spiritual’ — and it’s sim­ply a change of focus, ori­en­ta­tion and direction.

Now, know­ing this and doing some­thing about it are two dif­fer­ent things. I’ll soon spend some time look­ing at Bud­dhist con­cepts for deal­ing with the fear mes­sages that occu­py our minds at all hours of the day. For now, I just want you to “get” how they are implanted.

M. Scot Peck and the Stages of Faith

Peck, best known for his amaz­ing book, The Road Less Trav­eled, pro­posed four faith or devel­op­ment stages in his lat­er work, The Dif­fer­ent Drum.
Here they are:

Peck said that every­thing fol­lows these stages — physical, psy­cho­log­i­cal, men­tal, and spir­i­tu­al development.

He sug­gest­ed that chaos is so unstruc­tured that it breeds an intense desire for order and rules, and fun­da­men­tal­ism is the per­fect “cure” for this. There are always peo­ple around that want to tell oth­ers how to live, after all.

For most peo­ple, fit­ting in and fol­low­ing the rules is all they want. Any­thing else is just too scary. There­fore, their effort is put into buy­ing a house, hav­ing kids, get­ting rais­es and mov­ing up the lad­der at work. At the end of their work­ing lives, most are exact­ly as Thore­au described: liv­ing lives of qui­et desperation.

The stage beyond fun­da­men­tal­ism is doubt. This is the stage of ques­tion­ing our beliefs, norms, goals, and direc­tions. It’s the stage of mov­ing from home, mov­ing out of town, doing some­thing dif­fer­ent and chal­leng­ing every­thing. Many peo­ple get just a taste of this in Col­lege or Uni­ver­si­ty, before they set­tle back into Fun­da­men­tal­ism, sell out, and buy the Beemer.

Doubt is the Exciting Stage

Doubt leads to ques­tion­ing and mistrust — just the oppo­site of what soci­ety wants of good, loy­al sheep. 

Doubt that is informed and guid­ed by mys­ti­cism does not seek to change the sys­tem. It seeks to redi­rect the atten­tion of the indi­vid­ual to the only thing any­one can do any­thing about — him or her­self.
Gand­hi, for exam­ple, did not change Eng­land or India. He changed him­self. He sat, he spun yarn, and he talked and he walked. He said, “You must be the change you want to see in the world.” and “Always aim at com­plete har­mo­ny of thought and word and deed. Always aim at puri­fy­ing your thoughts and every­thing will be well.”

I sus­pect you’ve read this far because you are sick and tired of being bored, con­fused, angry, and turned off. In the end, there is only one way out, and it is the path of doubt lead­ing to a change of heart, mind and direc­tion. Our next arti­cles will address these changes.

Scroll to Top