How to Create A Straightforward Earth-Bound Approach to Transcendence
Instincts, feelings and conditioning live in biology and they pressure the subjective character of each moment of our lives. At the behest of a mass of chemicals, we can feel up. Or down. Scared or comfortable. Hungry or sated. Immediacy is the name I have given to this process. It happens to us in just the way that it does — involuntarily, uncontrollably and reflexively and without any initial mediation or intervention.
We do have an advantage that other species don’t have. In our case, biology, coalescing with human-made history and language, gave rise to thinking. As a result, we can, to some extent, intervene upon the immediacy. We can even mediate random thoughts. We do this through the process of transcendence. The ability to transcend immediacy is at the heart of autonomy.
When I talk about transcendence, it’s not about something magical or out-of-this-world. It’s an earth-bound and active process built of discipline. Said another way, transcendence is getting over ourselves, a taking of action — a rising to the occasion — that must often transact under intense and immediate pressure and conflict, from within and from without.
The hardest part of transcendence is wanting to do it. In the main, when we’re outraged, disappointed, disturbed and discontent we don’t “feel like” getting over ourselves. We want someone else “to pay for” what made us angry or unhappy. Or if we really have no one or no thing to blame, we think no harm will come of indulging our discontent. However, when we see the folly in such an approach, we can initiate transcendence, that is, we can get over ourselves.
Transcendence is the first step out of the mess we’ve made, a powerful determining choice enabling us to begin anew and to recreate and leverage our ways and means of being in the world. (Of course, we may have to make amends, “swallow” our pride, beg for forgiveness, pay for the damage, etc.) Happily, transcendence is also a talent, a genius that we can learn to grow, trust and invoke in the best of times and the worst of times. It’s ours to initiate.
How well you are able to get over the brute fact of immediacy and use its pulsing energy to your own larger purposes is a keystone to building a satisfying life. It is in such transcendent space that you will find love, compassion and kindness; the confidence born of inspiration, resource and effectiveness; and peace. Moreover, your ability to get over yourself through the most troubling personal or disastrous times is your best means to be taken seriously. The display of resilience, courage, generosity and honor in the face of challenge always commands my respect.
I’ve been teaching classes on autonomy and life for over 30 years. These classes offer a unique and powerful governing philosophy for practical living. They stand firmly on America’s promise of freedom, justice and equality and the opportunity to a life of our own design. More information is available on my website: autonomyandlife.com.