Subjective Reality and Politics

Media sources have plenty to say about the political climate these days. But what’s the Subjective Reality angle on political events?

If you look at this reality through the lens of a dream world or a simulator, what does that say about what’s happening politically right now?

I’ll give you some pointers and share my own interpretations, but since the SR angle is relative, what you gain from this exercise may be very different than what I gain from it. So please ask these questions from your own perspective, and don’t give too much weight to mine here. You’ll usually run into trouble with SR when you try to apply it from someone else’s perspective because then you’re corrupting the model by objectifying it.

I often like to think of reality as being a training academy for consciousness. While I do think this reality allows room for some randomness, when something surges in my external reality, I like to ponder what it might mean and what effect it can have on sculpting my consciousness. I also think about where the path of alignment is.

What’s the Meaning?

A good place to start is to review some events and see how they look from the SR perspective. What do those events mean to you?

I recommend describing some events aloud that have been on your mind lately. It’s helpful to hear the words you use to describe them.

Here’s an example:

Donald Trump is using the migrant caravan to stir up fear and anti-immigrant resentment, even though the people in that caravan are fleeing an untenable situation in the hopes of seeking asylum. CNN recently refused to run one of his paid ads, claiming it was racist.

Now also look at your inner reaction to the event. Here’s how I might describe that:

I watched Trump’s anti-immigrant ad online yesterday, and it was so ridiculous that I wondered who’d be stupid enough to believe it. It looked more like one of John Oliver’s spoofs than a real ad. It reminded me of the ads from the movie Starship Troopers.

Trump is an obnoxiously bad leader, an embarrassment to the country, and a prime example of what happens when you never detoxify your brain. I feel some disgust when the label American is applied to me now. We deserve better, not just for the sake of the USA but for the sake of the rest of the world. I hope he quits or gets impeached soon, so I don’t have to deal with that feeling of having stepped in chewing gum for another two years. It would be so refreshing to have a real leader. His entertainment value has long since run its course, and I think we deserve better than a Twitter troll in the White House.

On the other hand, I also feel he’s been a good thing for the country and the world. I think that due to how shamelessly awful he is, it’s giving rise to a strong counter-reaction. There’s still much anger and resentment in this reaction, but I think it could bring forth a resilient demand for honest and honorable leadership eventually. He serves the purpose of reminding us what atrocious looks like. That makes me appreciate even a modicum of actual leadership, certainly more than I did before.

I do feel sorry for the guy though. With so many people against him, and even his own staff trying to marginalize him, he must have to deal with a ton of stress, which can’t be easy. Sometimes he seems like a pawn being manipulated, trapped in a situation he can’t easily escape. I’ll bet that lashing out with anger gives him some reprieve from facing more difficult feelings. Perhaps that’s what he provides for many others as well – riling them to anger to get them past frustration and hopelessness.

I’m sharing this for the sake of example. You may have a completely different inner reaction to the same event, which is fine. Heck, maybe you even have a reaction to my reaction – also fine. But for now, focus on your reaction to whichever event you chose to ponder. Speak it aloud, or write it down. Let your feelings speak for themselves, and don’t worry about justifying them to anyone. You don’t have to share this publicly. Just get clear about your feelings in private.

Now if you look at your event through the SR lens, what do you see? If this is a dream or a simulator, what might these events mean to you? Pay special attention to your reaction to the event as part of your interpretation.

This is where things can get difficult because wherever you’ve been projecting feelings onto an outside event, you must now consider that it’s all inside of you, and that there’s an invitation to grow here as well.

Here’s what I came up with:

Just as a nation must determine how it will manage its borders, we must do the same as individuals.

I’ve sometimes had a hard time finding the proper calibration when it comes to managing boundaries, and the migrant caravan situation speaks to that. Having a totally open border doesn’t seem wise, nor does turning away good people who are seeking a better life. What’s needed is a solution that seems fair and win-win, if possible. Demonizing people for trying to come here doesn’t make sense. I’d probably do the same thing if I were in their shoes.

As much as I hate to admit it, I’ve been guilty of some of the same attitudes that Trump has exhibited, not towards immigrants but towards people I consider misaligned in various ways. I can see him as a symbolic representation of some parts of myself when it comes to my feelings about having my boundaries violated.

Secondly, there’s the leadership angle. Trump reminds me that it’s possible to draw strong support from one’s base, even in the face of great opposition. He does that in ways that I consider dishonorable, which points me in the direction of connecting with people honorably but while still maintaining my boundaries.

When you do this interpretation, I encourage you to write it down. It’s okay if it’s a bit stream of consciousness. Don’t worry about making it super tight and clear. When I read back what I wrote, it feels fuzzier than what I’d like to see, but that’s what came through. Quite often you’ll have a sense of understanding the SR side, but it may be hard to express it clearly in words.

At this point the meaning may seem a little nebulous, so I think it’s wise to ask a few more questions to turn your insights into something actionable.

What’s the Invitation?

If you think of your dream world or simulator as akin to a training academy, then what is it trying to train you to do or to be? What’s the invitation to grow here?

Here’s how I answer that:

In this case it feels like an invitation to explore what leadership means to me, especially when it comes to alignment and managing boundaries. Since Trump’s approach is so juvenile, this could be framed as an invitation from reality to see if I can do any better in how I lead my life. What’s my offer to the universe when it comes to leadership? If Trump is so bad at this, what does good leadership look like?

What does leadership mean in a dream world? It’s about how we’re creating this dream reality. Trump’s example of demonizing many people to elevate his connection with his base doesn’t seem like genuine leadership to me. That approach will only creates drama and disharmony in the dream.

I’d love to see more leaders who were honest, ethical, and who promoted purposeful visions that could create positive ripples beyond their bases.

This invitation to further explore leadership lands strongly with me because a while back, I went through a process of essentially retreating to my base. I dropped social media, including deleting Facebook and Twitter accounts. I mainly wanted to focus on serving the people who were already aligned with my work. I also went through a personal transition, getting married in April – to an immigrant no less. I think this was an important phase to go through.

To me this SR interpretation represents an invitation to explore leadership with integrity and inclusiveness but also with balance and alignment. It’s an invitation to recalibrate some of the more subtle notes instead of swinging the pendulum so far one way or the other like I’ve done in the past.

How Will You Apply This?

When you figure out what the invitation means to you, that’s another good step, but please don’t stop there. Decide how to turn your invitation into action, and then take action.

It can help to clarify the vibe of the change you’re looking to make before you identify the actions. Then you can come up with actions that align with that vibe.

Here’s how I’d describe the vibe I’m looking to create:

The new vibe involves feeling more energy flowing through expanding social connections, but not haphazardly. I’d like to extend the scope and depth of my work, connect with more people who will appreciate it, and attract more mutually supportive relationships, especially in business.

In the past I’ve gone through social expansion phases that ended up draining me too much, so I want to do a better job of favoring win-win connections this time. Think of this as a more cautious social expansion with more selectivity than before.

Once you clarify the vibe, bring it down to earth by specifying concrete actions you can take. Here are some of mine:

  1. I’ll gradually dip my toes back into social media, but cautiously and with stronger boundary management. I recently created a new Instagram account (@steve.pavlina – see the News update for details), and I accepted an invitation to claim control of a Facebook page under my name that someone else had been running since 2012. So if you’d like, you can now follow me on those services. Just be aware that I may not be the one personally managing these accounts.
  2. To upgrade my own feelings of alignment with other services, I’ll be spending some money on Facebook and Instagram to further promote my work, especially new deep dives we’ll be doing. I want this relationship to be win-win for these services, so I don’t feel like I’m mooching off them. I also want to invite more people who already use those services into win-win customer relationships over time. For me this is an exercise in reaching out, seeking more win-win connections, and still maintaining good boundaries and alignment. If you’re not aligned with any of this, please don’t participate in these groups.
  3. I’ll continue developing more products and services in alignment with what our customers want and need, and I’ll start investing in advertising to promote these more extensively. Our recent Deep Abundance Integration has done a lot of good for hundreds of participants, so I’ll be putting some money behind it to promote it further.

When you go through this process of interpreting an event through the SR lens and then taking it all the way to action steps, you connect the dots between what’s happening in your world and what’s happening with your own path of growth.

One reason we have strong reactions to certain political events is that they stir something within us that desires to be awakened. If we lash out at the externals, we ignore the invitation to grow. Usually that’s due to harboring some resistance for the growth challenge.

In my case it’s difficult to accept an invitation for another round of expansion when I’ve been so cozy in my work lately. I have my concerns as to how that may play out, so I’m proceeding cautiously. But I know that if I put the brakes on, I won’t be aligning with where my story wants to go.

There’s an odd linkage between SR and objective reality. Based on my previous experience, I know that when I solve a problem subjectively, it tends to resolve itself objectively too. There are many ways that could play out. I think the most probable is that my concerns about Trump’s behavior will diminish. In the objective world that may be because he changes his behavior, he gets replaced, or he gets marginalized even more and can’t really do anything other that tweet. There will likely be some shift in the story happening, at least from my perspective. But when I don’t accept and integrate the meaning of such events, they tend to amplify themselves. Events seem louder in the objective world when you’re not listening to them subjectively.

Another facet of this linkage is that when you solve a problem subjectively, you tend to contribute to the objective solution as well. What’s the solution to a politician who demonizes people seeking asylum? Well, one solution is to try to replace the person, but that’s a collective solution and hard to turn into personal action steps. I think a more personal solution is to see this as an invitation to become a better leader in your own sphere of influence. Seek to become a beacon of the opposite of this misaligned behavior. This framing is actionable. It invites us to become part of the solution.

My interpretation of events may not mean much to you. It’s more important that you go through the process and do your own interpretation. As Bruce Lee shared, “It’s like a finger pointing to the moon. Don’t concentrate on the finger, or you will miss all that heavenly glory.”

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Steve Pavlina

Steve Pavlina is an American self-help author, motivational speaker and entrepreneur. He is the author of the web site and the book Personal Development for Smart People.

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