What Motivates Us

Fears and Desires motivate us to try to keep everything in its place. Without realizing it, people become things to be managed. With associative thinking, our capacity to take in new information is limited, as we become pre-occupied with the past and our place in it, as well as its meaning to us. This emphasizes a scarcity mentality where we view ourselves as victims overcoming adversity. Many of us become a hero in our own mind for overcoming past adversity (sometimes merely by surviving) and are not anchored in our current experience. We use objects (like houses and cars) to mark progress in overcoming adversity. The more we see ourselves in terms of the things we own, and build our identity around items of perceived safety, the more we are shocked when our good, instinctive intentions in relationships are thwarted. We may see ourselves as a great catch, only to be astounded when others do not see things our way. Most of the time, this reflects differences in values where our evolution from scarcity to abundance creates a different reality and time orientation.

We tend to feel safe with individuals who are idealizing, adoring or admiring us in the ways we wish our  parents would have. We seek reassurance from others because we have denied the powerful creative connection within ourselves. We value those individuals who are willing to ignore our weaknesses because we do not wish to confront our inner Truth. The more we educate ourselves about both our differences and similarities, the more we discover the freedom that comes with not judging them or ourselves. Instead of reacting, which commonly means something is wrong, we need to learn to embrace our differences and uncomfortable similarities and learn more about our Self and others. Every reaction indicates that we are not yet complete or balanced in our own understanding. Ultimately, we will recognize that reactions are the unconscious internal triggers that indicate a difference or similarity with another. Since it is unlikely that anyone else will change to accommodate us, it makes sense to work on these issues internally so that we are comfortable with how others perceive us.  At a deeper level, we discover that when we can express ourselves freely, we can be indifferent to others’ perceptions. Instead of envy (where we compare ourselves to others), we manifest graciousness. Understanding differences and uncomfortable similarities are greatly facilitated in Higher Alignment’s Creative Uniqueness class.

On the first level, Pleasure is the only goal that matters. Objectifiers count on their appearance to provide the power and attention they seek. The more we Objectify ourselves, the more we ignore our aging, pretending that Pleasure will not be denied to us. When this no longer works, everything becomes about being younger. We use Pretenses (Expectations, Romantic Mythology, Control, and Seduction) to keep others interested in us. Some of us can use our looks for years without having to grow up. As an Actor, we keep looking for fun scenes to play out our fantasies. What we do not realize is that our Attachments to Pleasure and Comfort slow us down and drain our energy and growth. Since we are not growing, we seek others like us who are Objectifying themselves. This safety zone becomes more constricted as our increasing fears permeate our lives. We become more rigid and frozen in the past, no longer able to keep up with the changes happening around us.  

This leads to our Pretenses becoming crystallized, where we try to take certain qualities and make them important for others so we can provide something to them. Pretenses are the result of learning what others would appreciate about us, so we can project the appearance that we can deliver these qualities. While we are never as good as we think we are in delivering these qualities, over time we get better, but at a huge cost. It takes a lot of effort to do Pretenses, and it naturally limits our authentic development. When we do Pretenses we are searching for ways to make up for perceived deficiencies in our relationships. In each Pretense there is a belief that we can contribute to others by doing certain activities when in actuality, we are attempting to build a stronger connection wanting to believe that they need us. These patterns become fixed when we get caught in and remain at this level.

There are four Pretenses we can use to superficially connect with others

  1. Expectations individuals use assumptions to determine if others are like us. When others respond to our expectations it increases the familiarity we experience and can indicate that we have a similarity with them in the way their families treated them. We interact, believing that our partners would do the same things we would do in a given situation. We seek agreement and attention and are not happy unless our partners affirm our contributions. When we operate from Expectations, we tend to see options in a simple manner, as either choices we made before (which is easier), or new choices (which can be difficult). The innocence of this Pretense tends to make us targets for Seducers. We may not realize it but our isolated or reserved qualities are like catnip to Seducers. Seducers seek challenges, and the more seemingly unavailable a person is, the more they want them. Seducers also develop their mastery by telling others what they need to hear, indicating that nothing will cause them to second guess their own desires.

  2. Romantic Mythology individuals see the potential of another as a way to build their self-respect by acknowledging others. We seek to add value by encouraging others to be all they can be. We need others to see their positive possibilities and to acknowledge our insight into what is needed. Sometimes this gets out of hand and we attempt to push others to do things we consider to be right. We call this process Romantic Mythology because it comes from an archetypal framework where we see ourselves as a hero or heroine who can make things better. This can devolve into a rescue program. However, we often find it difficult to take consistent action. We are optimistic and playful, with the intent of bringing out passion in others. We seek acceptance and adoration and want our partners (usually individuals with a Control Pretense) to lighten-up.

  3. Control individuals often conclude that the capability of others is limited by a lack of self-discipline and therefore endeavor to bring order and structure to add value to others. Our goal is to increase others’ self esteem so they will be better partners. The key issue, from our perspective, is that we need to provide information and expertise that we see is required for our partners to be effective. We tend to view others as lacking time orientation and focused too much on relationship connections rather than the task at hand. We expect them to listen to us and take action without argument. We are also known for our timeframes and decision dates. Sometimes this feels like overkill to Romantic Mythology individuals who want greater flow. We tend not to trust Emotions or Feelings, usually because they were used to manipulate us as children. Controllers want to make sure that our partners know that without us, they would be in different circumstances.

  4. Seduction individuals are composed of two different levels: Playful Seducers and Serious Seducers. Playful Seducers want to build the self-respect and self-esteem of partners so they do not in any way undermine them. Playful Seducers employ flirting behavior and attempt to build anticipation for their conquest. We seek others to be foils, so that we are seen and appreciated by them. Serious Seducers seek to sow doubt, confusion and self-hatred by breaking the spirit and personalities of our partners. Behind this is a self-generated sense of competition where power struggles are the norm. We use flattery, mixed messages and Excitement to initiate the seduction process. This is how we encourage others to rely on us, so we become the person that indirectly guides them. We do this to get others to acknowledge how good we are. We milk the process until the challenge our conquest represents diminishes, at which time we move on, leaving the now insecure partner in the dust. We do this for the anticipation of crushing those who initially seem arrogant or unavailable to us. Serious Seduction indicates that we have a terrible lack of connection to ourselves, generating a large amount of self-hatred toward others. We want others to share our pain by experiencing it themselves. Serious Seducers use others’ weaknesses and fears to make themselves feel stronger and more together.

Many of us grow up learning about Pretenses in terms of Expectations. In some families, there is a greater diversity of Pretenses being used by our parents, which allows us to practice various Pretenses. This enables us to quickly determine which Pretense will work with different individuals. As we become more fixed in our Pretense identities, we tend to assume that these are elements of our own personal development. Actually, they are coping mechanisms we have learned to deal with partners who are insecure. Since the purpose of Pretenses is to be able to affirm our value in some way to our partner, the first three Pretenses (Expectations, Romantic Mythology and Control) are usually seen as positive. Seduction is the ‘hard sell’ Pretense where we believe we know better than others about what they need. From HA’s perspective, if we have to seduce someone to convince them to be with us, we are not with the right person to begin with. Seducers do not believe in free choice.

Pretenses work due to associative thinking. We try to build (within others) strong memories by offering something they do not tend to provide for themselves. We view these common behaviors as gifts that support our partners. Pretenses are, in fact, performed to protect the image of our Personality self. We use Pretenses not only to buffer us from our own fears, but also to use our friends to protect us from a chaotic world. Pretense roles allow each individual to believe we are contributing to our partner when, in fact, it is mostly for show. This relationship paradigm involves doing things for others to demonstrate our value so they will like and need us. The value of a friend becomes not only to agree with our notions of support, but also to provide reassurance that we are okay. We do this for our friends in return. We try to rescue or bring structure and follow-through with people we like, ignoring and discounting those we do not. To our dismay, this superficial way of connecting does not guarantee a return of our interest and attention.

As years pass, we see that our possibilities have greatly diminished. We become distracted by our Separative Desires. These Desires are what build up our Personality's sense of power. Since we do not know who we are, we seek to be better or different than others. Separative Desires are imposed perceptions about who we are that differentiate us from others in a way that builds us up and actively diminishes the importance of others to us. To the degree we succeed at this, we become more isolated. This is why we become addicted to possessions as substitutes for knowing who we are. This reassures us, particularly when we cannot trust people. What this reveals is that we use Separative Desires to create a false sense of self, creating an unconscious belief that we are our possessions. This is why we think we need the latest cars, a great house and to be engaged in impressive work. The problem is that we get caught up in this false Personality-building process that never ends unless we break this instinctive cycle.

When we are caught in these addictions, we revert to role-playing, hoping that no one will notice that we are not being present with them. We also become hypersensitive when others drag us down, as we do not possess easy ways to regenerate ourselves. This lack of regeneration is due to our focus on outer behavior at the cost of the expression of our inner Passion. Some people do not even realize how small they are playing in their lives. This makes it clear that without taking risks there is no Aliveness. So we seek artificial stimulation with others to make things appear great. We hope others will provide the safety we need that we were not able to provide to ourselves. Unless we wake up to the possibility that our destiny (including our Safety and Security) is the result of affirming our Creative Nature, we will continue to sleepwalk through life.

We fall in love with their expectations of us, since we are looking for the best-looking partner we can stand to be with. Excitement indicates the degree of compromise we experience between our Fear and Desire for our partner. The more Fear and Desire we experience with our partner, the less we are able to consciously connect through Aliveness. Aliveness is the Attention, Acceptance, and Approval that arises when we energetically align with a partner. This is about congruence. With Aliveness, we become bonded. We do not need to prove our value to our partner. Otherwise, we get caught up in Pretenses, which prevent bonding. Pretenses further distract us from the actual state of our relationships. They provide false assurances that our partner needs us, when actually they do not. Eliminating Pretenses not only frees up energy to be more creative, but it effectively prevents us from getting attached to the role and appearance of our partner, allowing us to experience creative bonding.

Another indication we are at the Body Image or Instinctive Development level is jealousy. When what we want from someone does not match what we are getting, it creates a disconnect between our Sensations and Feelings. Sensations are the various stimuli we take in physically through our Senses. Feelings reflect an acknowledgment of our Sensations as an integrated whole. Jealousy scares us into hiding our Feelings or denying our Sensations. It is about someone else, to whom we have an attachment (for instance, a partner), paying attention to another individual (over us). Since what we want on the Instinctive level is Safety, we attempt to reconnect in a complimentary manner by mirroring our partner’s strengths and weaknesses. This means that when we are unconscious, we create a merged reality of being strong in either our Sensations or Feelings and weak in the opposite in order to provide to our partner what is missing. On the Instinctive level, we feel threatened when our partner’s interests are directed to someone else and we doubt that our connection will survive. Due to these threats, we end up attacking our partner, further compromising the relationship.

Jealousy is often interpreted as a positive development because we think it means someone actually wants or needs us. What it really means is that someone is attached to and counts on our Sensations or Feelings to complete them. Confusing the issue is when a partner plays either hard to get or keep when they actually need us the most. Common in a fear-based response is to pretend to be indifferent when you have the most to lose. Most unconscious people do this. We eliminate Jealousy by mirroring both Sensations and Feelings simultaneously, recognizing that we do not have a true choice unless we create our own internal Safety. For some, it requires recognizing we have both masculine and feminine sides that, when they come together, allow us to operate in a more independent manner. We eliminate Jealousy by acknowledging our in-the-moment Sensations and declaring them as Feelings to ourselves. We want to bridge the gap of denying Sensations and Feelings so our body awareness becomes available to us. 

The main problem on the Instinctive level is that we have an Attachment to appearances, which keep us stuck in old representations of ourselves. This particular distortion is called Objectification, where we are addicted to our mother or father patterns of relationship. The more we externalize Beauty, and make appearances more important than the quality of connection with someone, the greater distortion we experience in our choice of partners. We can validate this by how much we use Excitement as a guide to our relationship choices. Feeling Excitement when meeting a potential partner, we are in fact experiencing Attraction based on our opposite gender parent (or same gender parent if we are gay or lesbian). Here we are seeking to improve the relationship we had with that parent.

If Excitement is what we seek, then our Instinctive Attractions are guiding us to relationships where distortions cover up the pain and disconnection of not being seen and fully appreciated by our parents. In other words, we choose a person similar to our parents because they are familiar to us, and we are Excited that this relationship will be better because this new person will love us better and more completely. The familiarity of these choices stems from a false belief that our partners can heal us (and our relationships with our parents) with their love and appreciation. The problem is that love is difficult to accept from others if we deny it in our Self. We choose Excitement to experience how responsive others are to our Fears and Desires and how that compares to what we know from relationships with our parents. We use Excitement to gain their attention and see if we can get them to respond to us. Otherwise, we have no knowing of how we relate to them. (It is all about Safety). We can recognize this pattern by how much we want and need others to keep us safe (because we inherently do not believe we can keep ourselves safe). We transcend this limitation by letting go of our Safety Attachments and, instead, seeking Aliveness.

Our Attachments are preprogrammed associations to previous body experiences, which in the past have made us feel safe. For example, perhaps we have an Attachment to people wearing glasses because we believe they must be smart. This keeps us from noticing when these individuals do stupid things. We are more preoccupied with our association of how something looks than the actual experience of what is happening in the moment. Attachments come in many forms and sizes; physical characteristics, environmental sensory experiences (like being in a hot tub) or associations about physical objects that anchor our past experience (like cars, Rolex watches, certain perfumes, particular songs). The problem with these distortions is that they keep us from processing our full experience and ultimately limit our growth.

Attachments can also be based on Sensations and Feelings. We come to crave certain physical experiences, particularly when they soothe us or increase our sense of Safety. This can be easily seen in our choices of food, where we seek certain textures, flavors and sensory experiences, even if they are not good for us. We also are repulsed by certain smells, which affect us on both Sensation and Feeling levels. It is easy to fall into the trap of using sensory distractions to keep our selves from acknowledging and dealing with our Fears. Desires reinforce addictions to certain Feelings at certain times. Many of us have experiences of feeling comforted by being touched or hugged. When we seek comfort only by being touched or hugged by someone, it highlights how a Desire for connection can become an Attachment to others. In this circumstance, we can see how both Sensations and Feelings can amplify the experience in our body.

A boundary is a line we draw where our choices hold sway. Most individuals become overly identified with either their Sensations or Feelings. When we perceive ourselves as being one or the other, it means that we are at the effect of the world around us. For a boundary to hold and be effective, it needs to unify two different perspectives and provide the flexibility to declare a complete response. A response is complete when it addresses all the issues and works with what is true in the moment. At the first (Instinctive) level, the first boundary we develop requires unifying our Sensations and Feelings so we can take appropriate action. It requires honoring our Aliveness and Life energy by responding to the whole situation versus a superficial idea of what would protect us.

Every boundary has a masculine and feminine expression. Without both being affirmed simultaneously, we possess no mastery over our responses. On Level 1 (Instinctive level), our domain is our body experience. Unless we can tune into what our body is telling us, we cannot effectively make a choice, because we are always reacting to others (without the benefit of our body awareness). On Level 2 (Intellectual level) our domain is about who we are in our personal identity. The challenge is to not get attached and comfortable in our self perception sacrificing our creative growth and expansion. In Level 3 (Idealized level), the domain is about how we passionately contribute (to ourselves and others). Until we reconcile our personal Desires with our Transpersonal Desires, we do not know how to smoothly move forward. Each of the three boundaries helps us manage Energy, Time and Space. They are the key developmental processes that empower us to be our Authentic Self.

Some people can believe they are operating on Level 3 when in fact they are operating on Level 1. This is because Level 3 does have a lot of vulnerability and receptivity that can provoke Anxiety, similar to the fears of the unknown we had on Level 1. We also get caught up in the possibility that our partners can, and do, see us for our creativity. Actually they are seeing our Imprinting. One difference is that the infatuation of Level 1, where we fall in love, almost always blindsides us. While on Level 3, we knew that there was a possibility the relationship would not work out. This is because there is acceptance that things may not work out on Level 3, as a result of many previous experiences. This leads us to throw ourselves into relationships in Level 3, even if we do not anticipate that they will work.

All appropriate action arises from balancing our masculine (Sensations and Thoughts) with our feminine (Feelings and Emotions). The main problem is that we tend to define masculinity or femininity on the basis of gender identity. This narrow framework creates multiple internal polarities because we have both masculine and feminine aspects unrelated to our gender identity, and these internal polarities create unexpected consequences. Every human being has many different levels of expression; we each have different percentages of masculine and feminine ways of being. On Level 1 (Instinctive), this duality is expressed as either taking action from our Sensations (masculine) or our Feelings (feminine). Until we integrate the two (become aware of how they interact within us), we are always at the effect of those around us. More importantly, we possess no strength to declare our physical boundaries, which can result in becoming a victim of our circumstances.

Conditioning (where we deny either our Sensations or Feelings, or both) undermines our Life balance and we perceive ourselves as weak (needing others to ensure our safety). We never affirm ourselves with others by talking about both our Sensations and Feelings, which (by default) invites our partner to attempt to care-take us by speaking to what they perceive of our experience. This is a compromise that generates larger Fears and Desires, confusing us and creating Inertia. When we are unable to make decisions about our physical needs, it reflects the experience of being compromised or driven by someone else’s needs, causing us to either stand apart or accept their input. Both positions are limiting and weak because they are not based on our own experience and do not integrate the masculine and feminine of our authentic Creative Expression.

Conditioning focuses us on superficial experiences that we think will be fulfilling, but in reality, only produce more internal separation. We become polarized when our likes and dislikes conflict. Most of the time, this has to do with our Fears and Desires. What is missing is an integrated experience of our Sensations and Feelings that allows us to assimilate our Fears and Desires and respond rather than react to others. This preoccupation with our Attachments (Fears and Desires) keeps us from taking in the larger picture. It reduces us from a coherent body-experience to a weak, fragmented connection where we feel vulnerable. This makes us sensitive to projections and comments from others, producing constant reactions in us. These reactions cause past areas of compromise to flare up, so we turn to conditioning to protect us and give us comfort. Instead of losing ourselves in Sensation or Feeling patterns of repression, such as denying Fears and Desires, we want to accept that our need to exist is beautiful.

Our whole body system is an exquisite design; incredibly well-proportioned and seeks to balance itself. Yet our Attachments keep us from benefitting fully from the tools we have. The Intent is to support the full expression of Life, Light and Love so we can make our contribution. The purpose of our body is to provide a foundation and interface with the Universe; our sensory tools support us in understanding the realities around us. If we cannot own our Sensations and Feelings, we cannot then individuate ourselves from others. With Objectification patterns, denying others makes us deny our own Sensations and Feelings. The result is confusion, as Excitement (an imbalance of Fears and Desires) becomes a false substitute for knowing what we want. Excitement promotes reactions and limits the exploration of Fears and Desires. This becomes distracting in unconscious, parental-substitute relationships — we trap ourselves in reaction and limit the exploration of our Fears and Desires. In our ignorance, we try to fix others and ourselves with limited tools and conditioning, when things would naturally come into balance on their own if we experienced our Sensations and Feelings simultaneously.

Excitement attracts internally disconnected people. It reflects the fact that we are in a chaotic state that is only modulated by an Objectification pattern (where we make appearances more important than the quality of the connection). Objectification makes others attractive to us, because we feel confident they can be controlled by their needs. Excitement is a combination of Greed and Arrogance, both of which create blind spots that those who Objectify can use to their advantage. Ultimately, Excitement produces a completely artificial experience where our beliefs (and conditioning) are acted out regardless of how the other person responds. We create our own virtual fantasy spaces when we Objectify others. In the Higher Alignment work, we have no argument with people using the word ‘excitement’ to indicate interest, passion or enthusiasm; the actual experience of Excitement is far more limiting and negative.

We establish a boundary by reconciling opposite impulses. One impulse is to go inward and clarify our needs. The other impulse is to address someone else’s needs and forget our own. Until we can unify our needs and take care of ourselves while responding to others, our boundaries will have no power. When we affirm our Sensations, but deny our Feelings. We take action to satisfy external requirements without taking care of our inner needs. When we affirm our Feelings and deny our Sensations, we take action to satisfy our inner needs but ignore external threats. This creates the need to have partners with opposite Defensive styles for us to be safe.

It is gender identity fixations that drive the imbalance between internal and external dualities. Until we take responsibility for both our Sensations and Feelings, we experience no energetic boundaries and falsely believe we need others to be safe. Affirming our boundary and energetic balance begins by recognizing that we maintain our Safety by acting appropriately to a situation. It is our ability to respond, rather than react, which makes us real and our actions appropriate. Reactions consume energy and keep us from forward momentum. Responding helps us resolve dualities by being able to see our options at a larger and more integrated level. We call this process of integrated reflection on our physical state ‘Presence’.

Presence is what allows us to know where we are in a process and provides the option to respond in a more inclusive way, even though we may find that ours and others’ reactions are upsetting to us. This requires clear communication of what works and what does not work for us. It means declaring in no uncertain terms when we feel violated, and the consequences if the reaction continues. By caring for ourselves we learn to honor both our inner and outer indicators, not relying on others to care for us. For some who deny that they need anyone for anything, this is a major re-evaluation process. Until we are able to distinguish and respond to our authentic Fears, our Desires will not matter. It is also true that fixating on Desires, at the cost of not paying attention to the red-flag warnings of our Fears, is also a compromise. This is why our gender identity seems so Paradoxical. On one hand, we are masculine or feminine on the physical level, and it indicates some behavioral tendencies within us. On the other hand, many of us find that other parts of our masculine and feminine identity can overwhelm and confuse our obvious gender identity perspectives.

One example of gender identity perspectives is how undeveloped men seek freedom at the cost of connection. They believe that keeping their options open will lead to finding better partners. What validates this premise is when relationships turn out to be not as good as they imagined and they escape feeling they have dodged a bullet. Women, at the gender identity level, feel vulnerable and seek to create reasons why a particular partner will be right for them. The more they connect these reasons to an integrated framework and focus only on the upside possibilities, the less they are prepared when their partner disappears. What the man experiences is the pressure to live up to his words and her desires. When this becomes too much, he decides the relationship is not right and moves on, not realizing it is his lack of flexibility that is causing the pattern to be repeated. Ironically, when the woman assesses her options at this point, she gets the message that she has to be clear and more demanding up front so she will not be hurt. This reveals that everyone at this level is operating in a superficial manner, not engaging each other in ways that are appropriate to the circumstances (each person has become more entranced by his/her own Desires).

The main shift to better relationships is learning to make choices from a range of options, which we create anew in each moment. As a result, many of us do not operate this way and miss out on opportunities. When we adopt a CNG, there is an acknowledgement of who we are based on choices not on reactions. The more options we create, the more we scare away individuals who are not comfortable operating outside of their conditioning. This is because we see through the false promises of Safety being delivered by unconscious groups or individuals. The more individuals do role-playing to manage their interactions, the less present and more scared they are that others will see this for what it is. When we act in alignment with our Motives, we attract others seeking continuity or attempting to calibrate to what people say and how they act. These are the individuals who also seek greater Aliveness, which makes them natural allies when we operate in alignment with our True Nature.

In Unconscious Entanglements, sexuality confirms our attraction. On this level, we jump into sex because we do not want to examine too closely the possible obstacles to the relationship. From a conditioned view, being propositioned and having a partner that is committed to being sexual with us is perceived as a key element to feeling safe. This opens the possibility that we can suspend our fears and just engage our desires. The more the partner lives up to our Expectations that they are doing what we need them to do in order to engage this process, the easier it is to surrender to it. While Romantic Mythology or Seduction can heighten this delusion, they do not have to convince the partner, they only need to say what the partner expects to hear. This programming is a biological expression meant to guarantee procreation. Most of the time, we are not thinking very clearly. Instead, the body language and the clarity of the Intent impresses the partner to go along with the process. As a result, a lot of Excitement-based partners go along just because it is expected of them and is a response to their out-of-balance state. Of course, it does help if one person is repressed in their Feelings and the other person is repressed in their Sensations. This creates a circumstance where they need each other to create a connection to themselves.

Our experience of Beauty is based on Harmony, which is a shared human desire. It particularly reduces chaos and makes our apparently random choices bearable. We can see the degree to which we are aware by our appreciation of Beauty. First, there is outer Beauty, then the inner quality of Beauty, and finally, the purpose and the degree of inner connection between the two. True Beauty calls to us and we open up. Beauty shifts our perception so that we see with greater wholeness. Beauty encourages us to reorganize our way of seeing so that our response and self-reflection becomes part of the experience. In this process, the Personal becomes the Transpersonal as we shift into a state of connection with others. All other forms of energetic connection are just visiting. Through Beauty, bonding occurs. Our taste expands and we experience greater connection to life itself.

When we identify with our appearance, we deny our natural Life Energy. The irony is that the more we are imbalanced in our Sensations and Feelings, the more we rely on physical beauty to establish a connection. In this circumstance, we seek a partner who appears Safe, but can only superficially bond with us. When we agree that both parties are safe, or at least will act in a safe manner with each other, this is what Instinctive individuals call ‘having a connection’. The more we choose partners that seem familiar to us (because they fit our parental pattern) the safer they appear to be. The problem is that over time, our false projections of Safety obviously are not as true as we hoped. Our fear of making a mistake means that we seek Attention, Acceptance and Approval without getting locked into the sharing of Life Energy. Instead, we trigger our Imprinting and Pretenses to take care of our partner so that we can artificially reinforce the Safety pattern, which only lasts until we become exhausted. After about three months, these false perceptions cannot be sustained and we discover whether the partner will accept us as we are, or whether we will need to leave the relationship to keep from being hurt.

What will happen is that as we lose our self in the pursuit of Pleasure, Pleasure will become more elusive. This is primarily a result of affirming our Sensations and denying our Feelings or vice versa. This requires us to find partners doing the opposite in order to affirm our Pleasure (or complete the circuit). We need both Sensations and Feelings to experience Pleasure, if not within us, then with others. We can block or limit our connection internally by avoiding Sensations or Feelings or only acknowledging them in certain circumstances. Our religious conditioning typically defines our expectation framework. One of the biggest examples of this is how self-enforced sexual repression limits our ability to connect unless we consider it a long-term, religiously appropriate partnership. By externalizing Pleasure (needing a partner to complete us), we deny or limit our experiences of Pleasure. This means that we cannot individually engage beauty or pleasure outside certain boundaries, as it actually repulses us if it is not in alignment with our upbringing.

Another way of describing Attractions is that individuals with strong Feelings attract those with strong Sensations, or vice versa. In fact, the more imbalanced we are, the more we experience Excitement. This is because we really Desire something, but, at the same time, we really Fear that it will not come to pass.  This creates both anticipation and a desire to escape. We may want something, but also fear it will be taken away if we relax about it and accept it in our lives. When we have these imbalances, we cannot bond with our partners because they cannot meet us in both Sensations and Feelings, simultaneously. Because of these imbalances, we experience relationships that drain us or take too much effort to even maintain. What we are actually seeking is a partner who is more self-sustaining so that we do not have to provide them with energy on these levels, or expect them to take care of us when we are down.

Sometimes we have mixed programming and need polar opposite instinctive types to engage relationships. These individuals allow us to complete the Pleasure circuit if they are strong in the area of our weakness and vice versa. When we finally realize that we also compromise Pleasure by choosing parental substitute patterns, it often becomes too much to comprehend. What we are denying is that Excitement does not promote Pleasure; it only inhibits it. Aliveness and sensory body awareness promote Pleasure. If we are committed to Pleasure, we will be more open, alive, and willing to fully connect to our partner. Otherwise, we tend to approach new partners as if we are giving them a test of how good they will be with us. Another part of this dilemma is that Excitement energy diminishes over time in any relationship, so the sex quickly gets worse. Until we confront these issues, we will not fully move to Level 2.

When we do not synchronize with another energetically they repulse us. When we shift in some way that our partner cannot comprehend, it creates an opportunity to engage our partner anew or leave them. The primary cause for breakups at this level is unexpected choices made by one partner without consulting the relationship (unilateral actions). Unconscious conditioning is the primary motivating energy at the Instinctive level. It is manifested by attractions and repulsions that we seem to have no control over. When we are partners operating on this level it makes the relationship unpredictable and chaotic. The irony is that what we seek most is stability, reliability and consistency. This type of unconscious associative thinking keeps us stuck in the revolving door of choosing parental substitutes as partners (to create the feeling of safety and familiarity), which leads nowhere because the future is random and uncertain. This is also why safety and superficial mutual neediness is so rampant and important. We want to learn to be undaunted by others’ preoccupations with themselves (which typically enchants us at this level).

The more we are attracted to outer appearances indicates that we have not yet accepted our inner and outer Beauty. Excitement is the main indicator, although the Instinctive Motives of Lust, Greed and Arrogance are also primary indicators, that we are not present with our body awareness. Our lack of body awareness robs us of confidence and distracts us from making the best life choices. We end up living in a state of mediocrity, not wanting to be an example others look to, and not wanting to be someone others ignore. When we Objectify others, we typically fantasize about possessing them, which is the result of not being clear about our own Intent. Instead, we compromise our Intent by doing things for others that cumulatively can exhaust us. Creative Imprinting is one of the main ways we distract ourselves from taking action in a natural way. Creative Imprinting is where we imagine that taking certain actions will make others feel safer being with us. What we do not understand is that every attempt at people pleasing actually reflects that we do not own our natural body awareness. Every time we resort to convincing others that we are some way that we are not, we demonstrate how Excitement has a hold on us.

Most of us have at least three or four major Creative Imprints that prevent us from being clear about our natural course in life. These Imprints are named after the seven Creative Expressions. Each parent could provide three or four Imprints that have to do with their Primary, Secondary, Mental Body Expression, or their own Imprinting. We measure the strength of the Imprint on a zero to three scale, with three meaning that we believe we are a particular Imprint. In the worst-case scenario, we end up denying our natural Creative Expressions in favor of our parental Imprints. The biggest problem with this is that others will not respect us for these false Creative Expressions because they will sense that the imprints are not authentic. As a result, they will become irritated, frustrated, or even repulsed by these ways of interacting.

Let’s imagine that our father is an Inventor Investigator Visionary with Implementer and Storyteller Imprinting. Our mother could be a Visionary Investigator Inventor with Compassionate and extra Investigator Imprinting. In this situation, the main Imprints that we would get from our father, since he was not doing his Inventor well, would be Investigator, Visionary and Implementer Imprinting. We would probably get some Imprinting around Storyteller and Inventor, but it may be compromised or even negative Imprinting (which would repulse us). The main Imprinting we would get from our mother would be Visionary and Investigator with a dose of her Investigator Imprinting. We also might take on a lot of care taking beliefs from her Compassionate Imprinting. Overall, the Investigator Imprinting would be the most convincing. We might believe that we are an Investigator, even when we are not. Confusion will continue as an impact of this until we can separate out the things we attempt to demonstrate from our natural ways of being. The main issue is that that by being entangled in our parental imprinting we choose partners that are the most difficult for us. Harville Hendrix has conclusively demonstrated this.

Another lesson learned at this level is that the more we attempt to be liked, the more difficult it is to maintain our reputation. It takes effort to keep others engaged and appreciative of us. Initially, we attempt this by doing our parental Imprinting. For example, if we have Compassionate Imprinting, we have difficulty separating our problems from others’ problems, and we keep attempting to make the lives of others better even if it compromises us. This Imprinting has diminishing returns and even repulses others if it mimics their natural way of Being. The more we do Creative Expression Imprinting, the more it isolates us from others; we do not actually realize why we have to work so hard to stay in someone’s good graces. It also focuses us on only seeing and accepting the superficial desires of others to make things better. Underneath this facade we are faced with the startling contrast between what we are trying to live up to and how we consistently fail to authentically support others. We do not even realize that this split – between the facades and authenticity - is the source of our doubts and our fears about being phony. It is also the reason why individuals exhibit so much guilt at this level. We end up recognizing that much of our activities are actually inauthentic.

Every time we do Imprinting, there will some Excitement about whether or not we are pulling it off. When the Imprinting is heavier and we need to prove ourselves more, there will be some Intensity as well. The worst Imprinting will usually have an overlay of Anxiety because we are not sure we are convincing, always doubting that other people believe in us. While Imprinting usually results in our checking out or ‘going unconscious’, it focuses us on superficial behavior where we think others believe in us. Others of course, particularly when they are doing their own Imprinting, will want to believe in us. This pushes us to develop mutual support agreements so that no matter what happens, we will back them up. Some people would say this agreement is a simplified Instinctive form of co-dependence, which actually requires greater justification or Anxiety.

The seven types of Creative Imprinting are:

  1. Orchestrator Imprinting is about demonstrating our insightfulness and clarity about what needs to be done and how it needs to be done. We want others to automatically defer to us and just do whatever we tell them. We see ourselves as great implementers, even though we may not have a track record to prove how effective we are. We present ourselves as strong and forceful so others will not question us. We tend to know a little about everything, which we turn into being Renaissance people. We are always surprised that people do not trust us. We see ourselves as politically savvy, even though others may not believe we are.

  2. Compassionate Imprinting is about demonstrating that we care more than anyone else. We want to be seen as the cool and calm ones in a crisis. We like to talk about what will make a situation better or more peaceful even though we are not being peaceful within ourselves. We beat ourselves up if we are not being nice, protective or supportive of others in difficult situations. We believe that being sympathetic is the same as being empathetic (Not!). We even fall into the trap of sacrificing ourselves or being a martyr if it will get us more street cred. Ultimately, we need to prove that it is our duty to be the one that makes sure everything works out for others, even if we are cringing in the process.

  3. Implementer Imprinting is about demonstrating our capacity to do things succinctly, precisely and completely to a time frame. This Imprinting is more about looking strong and being valued for what we can accomplish. We see ourselves as organizers, managers and doers, even though we may have times when we are not clear or focused. We like having rules but if we do not have a true Implementer expression, we do not apply them to ourselves. We believe that we always keep our agreements and are loyal, except when it is not convenient or practical. Being able to meticulously work through an implementation plan should get us bonus points, right? We sometimes overdo our activities and come up with many excuses why these circumstances are different that what we normally do. We always have excuses as to why we are not performing at our optimum.

  4. Inventor Imprinting is about demonstrating that we are unique, better, or different than anyone else we have ever met. We want others to acknowledge our uniqueness and appreciate our ideas immediately. When this does not happen, we feel unseen and unvalued. We may also not be as socially comfortable, so we focus on why our ideas would make a difference in the lives of others. Another way Inventor Imprinting shows up is in our exaggeration of certain skills such as music, photography, interior design, computer programming, falsely believing that these skills demonstrate our unique capabilities. While Inventors love tattoos, Inventor Imprinted individuals also use tattoos to distinguish themselves from others.

  5. Investigator Imprinting is about demonstrating that we know what we are talking about. This can promote a form of arrogance and superiority as we constantly seek ways to show that we are the expert. We also get hooked into proving our analytical skills and how well read we are. When questioned, we come up with great fronts or facades that divert people’s attention from what we do not know, giving us time to study a situation and read about it in the background without them realizing it. We also complain about inconsistencies or lack of logical completeness and yet always end up doing what we complain about.

  6. Visionary Imprinting is about demonstrating how great we are to others. We are always advertising how much we have done for others or how much they count on us to forward their own lives. We like to see ourselves as the center of a network of people helping others to be the best they can be. If we do not have any true Visionary element, we do not typically tune into the emotional pain they feel or the reason that they have the problems. Instead, we fixate on giving them exactly the right advice in a perfectionistic way because we want to make sure they can differentiate good from bad. This criticalness is one of the things that distinguish Visionary Imprints when they are stressed or unhappy.

  7. Storyteller Imprinting is about demonstrating that we are fun-loving comedians, able to entertain and get the best out of any group. In truth, we may think of ourselves as funny, but usually, our jokes fall flat. While we want to be seen as the life of the party, we need to do pretty crazy things to get this type of attention. We believe that others find our voice endearing, the truth is that others find us more boring or irritating because we do not shut up. We also believe that we are great salespeople because of our natural personality and smooth style. Most Storyteller Imprinting, when we do not have a real Storyteller element, falls on deaf ears because people do not know if they can trust us.

The more Imprinting we are doing, the less authentic Creative Expression we have time for. Some individuals could consume as much as 20 to 30 percent of their energy doing Imprinting. While there are many ways to release and heal Imprinting, nothing prevails as much as a commitment to be more natural and real. Any time we are exerting a huge effort to demonstrate who we are, it indicates that we are caught in a lot of Imprinting. The more we reduce our Imprinting, the more our natural expressions will emerge.

Sensations are the basis of our physical and sensory experiences. This not only involves the five sensory frameworks, but also how we integrate our experience into a single recognizable whole. For example, we might have a stomachache, a sore throat, and simultaneously feel stressed and tired in our head. This could be an indication of sickness, but it also could be an indication of nervousness because we are preparing for a race. It is our Context or feelings in this situation that inform our experience. What we are looking for is a way to be present enough with our Sensations so we can recognize what our experience means moment to moment. For example, does the speed at which we eat cause us to overeat because we cannot sense when we are full? Unless we are paying attention to our body experiences, our body will not be able to support us.

Feelings are how we interpret our sensory framework. It has to do with acknowledging what is true and sharing it with ourselves and others. In this way, Feelings are a sensory feedback program letting us know that we are okay. The key thing to know about Feelings is that they are always present moment to moment. This distinguishes them from Emotions, which are often projected through time. Another differentiator is that Feelings are simple, while Emotions are complex and intellectually framed. This means that we frequently try to explain our Emotions, but do not know how to explain our Feelings. When we are down, the benefit of sharing Feelings is that we create a reflection of what is going on, with a partner, in order to improve our general well-being. This does not mean that we are pulling our partner down, but that we know when they are down.

When we become bonded with each other through a mutual sharing of both Sensations and Feelings, it creates greater Aliveness and freedom of expression with each other. This is the opposite of the previous conditioned states of being. In this situation, our heart energy plays a greater part, allowing the interactions with each other to flow from our natural ability to see the inward and outward beauty of our partner. Bonding on a physical level requires this sharing. Otherwise, the partner is a parental substitute that serves some need to feel Safe. Mostly, we use role-playing to determine the limits of trust and see how much energy it takes us to engage and meet partner expectations. We usually limit our participation and isolate from our partner, especially when their expectations are difficult to meet.

The main problem is that we mostly experience creative dissonances with our companions because we are usually attracted to parental pattern partners who are afraid of bonding. We fall in love with their expectations about us, as we are looking for the best-looking partner we can stand to be with. Excitement indicates the degree of compromise we experience between our Fear and Desire for our partner. The more Fear and Desire we experience with our partner, the less we are able to consciously connect through Aliveness. Aliveness is the Attention, Acceptance, and Approval that arises when we energetically align with a partner. This is about congruence. With Aliveness, we become bonded. We do not need to prove our value to our partner. Otherwise, we get caught up in Pretenses, which prevent bonding. Pretenses further distract us from the actual state of our relationships. They provide false assurances that our partner needs us, when actually they do not. Eliminating Pretenses not only frees up energy to be more creative, but it effectively prevents us from getting attached to the role and appearance of our partner, allowing us to experience creative bonding.

Objectification is one of the three ways we disconnect from others. The more we see and use others as objects, the more it opens the door for them to treat us as objects. When we Objectify others, appearances matter more than the truth of our circumstances. It means we fixate on how things look and not on what they actually mean. A great example of this is one of my clients who, after telling me of his desire for blondes, could not understand why I did not see that blondes tend to be more cuddly. When I turned this around and asked him directly if any of the previous twenty blondes he had been in relationship with were actually cuddly, he replied, after thoughtful reflection, that he had to admit they were not. Until this point in time, he did not realize this. He had not realized he was projecting this quality of ‘cuddliness’ on them, and yet, his mind made up the idea that they were cuddly to make it easier to accept them. The patterns of women he had chosen all had Dynamic Defense Styles that, with the other factors he was choosing, almost guaranteed he was never going to find cuddly. This is why we are so often confused when our partners turn out to be different than what we initially thought. This distortion, where he believed a physical characteristic would make a relationship easier, was an Objectification pattern that sabotaged his choices and denied reality. The larger issue is that when we end up believing superficial perceptions, it creates a denial where we trust our self and our actual experience less over time.

When we live in this artificial way, we seek external Attachments (to things, people and places) to anchor an apparently safe, albeit false reality. We use Expectations to see everything as we wish it would be, hoping that circumstances will bring us what we Desire. We become very sensitive when others do not accept or affirm our distorted perceptions, creating relationship friction. It drains our energy when we repress something when it is similar to others or when others are different from us. These conflicts create an energetic burden because we need to either ignore them or push them away when it gets to be too much. Conditioning is an unconscious protection mechanism that drives us to neutralize conflicts by denying they exist or by keeping others far enough away that it will not matter. In this artificial world, familiarity allows us to instinctively know when each strategy will work. This promotes automatic reactions that push us to do one strategy or another, without thinking about it. We can observe many examples of this when love–at-first-sight initially leads to complete agreement, yet five months later we cannot stand being around that person.

There are three ways we can relate or manipulate Excitement to hide its negative impact. We can Avoid it, Control it, or Idealize it. When we Avoid it, we deny self-interest and selfishness, and the sorrow they cause. The effect is that we use cruelty against ourselves and others to maintain our distance. We also fall in love with our appearance as a way to compensate for when others are better looking, which then makes us comfortable by comparison. We can alternatively Control Excitement to push others’ opinions away, or to reenact past losses to distract us from asserting ourselves when we are afraid to be at the effect of others. We accomplish our objective to distract others by making them less interested in challenging us. We can use cleverness, stubbornness, and criticalness to distinguish ourselves or punish others who step out of line. Finally, we can Idealize Excitement, which is where we internalize it as a necessary evil because we need the stimulation or the anticipation of Excitement to eliminate the boredom of our lives. Excitement is the fantasy that we will experience Pleasure by doing something, when more likely, our actions bring us pain.

By examining some of our unconscious relationships, we see how our pursuit of Excitement persistently ends in pain. Over time, we cease to believe that there is cheese down the tunnel. We start acting out the self-hatred and primal suffering as jadedness (where we lose all trust that what we do will lead to Pleasure), Derision (which is projected outward as anger) and Inertia (where we refuse to do anything that requires effort). Objectification is not dead until we realize that Pleasure is the embodied experience where inner and outer Beauty become balanced.

© Copyright 2016, Larry Byram. All Rights Reserved.

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