1) The ‘unique psychological’ suffering humans experience is an emotional sense of disconnection caused by an illusion of separate self which our delusive world of thought induces. The only counterbalance to this seems to be a connective world view (spiritual?), along with as much emotional acceptance (faith?) as we can muster.
Most, if not all, of us have some connective world view (which I’ll call CWV for short), yet, we stop short of ‘owning’ it. We intellectually know, but can’t emotionally embrace it. It’s like we’re up on a high dive but afraid to jump. We hold out for the ‘perfect answer’ or the ‘perfect moment’ (tomorrow, the new year, etc…), waiting until we’re emotionally ready to jump. The question is, when will we?
2) Why is it so hard to jump? CWVs challenge our sense of self (ego driven by the survival instinct?). The resulting emotional conflict (fear?) limits us to accepting just enough CWV to feel ‘okay’. ‘Shifting’ in the ‘now’, without perception of time, emotion compels us to rationalize our way around CWVs. Consequently, thought holds out for a ‘tomorrow’, when ‘it can all come together’. Then it’ll be safe to jump.
Unable to emotionally settle down and surrender to (‘own’) whatever CWV we’re able to realize leaves us mentally and emotionally tossing about as we react to the ebb and flow of life. Such instability only exasperates our ‘unique’ sense of disconnection. We long for continuity and connection.
3) All this underlies our ..holisms (e.g. alcoholism) which we all have to some degree – from the more personal ..holisms like alcohol, sex, food, work,… to more tribal ..holisms like religion, sports, politics… As long as our holism works, we hold on to it, despite any negative consequences that may follow in a holism‘s wake. Our favorite ..holism allows us to cope with ‘now’ so we can make it to ‘tomorrow’. ..holisms are irresistible for they impart emotional meaning (continuity and connection) to life. Only when we reach rock bottom, where the illusion of ‘tomorrow’ collapses and meaning is lost, are we able to let go, surrender and jump.
Research with rats shows that a rat will do ALL it can to get away from stress situations, i.e., a difference between what the rat wants and what the rat has. It’s only when a rat knows there is no way to get what it wants, does it accept and surrender. Likewise, we hold out for what we want ‘tomorrow’ until we know we only have ‘now’. Then, we jump, either off a bridge—or—into enough faith (emotional acceptance and surrender) to make our CWV more meaningful.
4) Thus, the quality of our relationship to life is determined by what we’re willing to give up to jump (emotional acceptance and surrender). It’s down there at the gut level where we really live. All else is afterthought.
5) So now we jumped. Now what? Jumping is a continuous experience, like trying to balance while walking on a rail. The moment you forget the ‘bottom’, you’ll float upward to ‘tomorrow’. Of course, this is not to imply that this is avoidable.
Psychologically, we can keep track of about seven unrelated fields of information at a time. As your mind fills up with desires, you’ll loose your sense of the ‘bottom’, and up you’ll go. If staying grounded is important enough to you emotionally, you will be more likely to set aside some mind space for a continuous ‘thread of reflection’.