I haven’t written for a few days, I guess because of life’s natural order of importance, and as I sit down to put blue tooth pen to red delicious page, it seems like I have forgotten how to do it. Has this ever happened to you? So writing about forgetting how to write seemed to be the place to start. I guess we could call it the present moment priority. There, that feels better!
In my office, on the phone, on the internet, with friends at home; I often find that people flounder, or wander aimlessly. Like a ship without a rudder, or a plane with no wing lift, like a car without its steering, or a zeppelin left to drift; without priorities we lack direction, and circle shift. ‘Round and ‘round and ‘round we go, floating from one random, meaningless cycle to another; orbiting loops we try to make seem somehow meaningful. Depending upon our mind, and its issues; our past, and its ghosts; our brain, and its wiring; or our health, and its hosts; we may face more or less resistance when making choices. Regardless of the challenges encountered while striving to establish them, clear priorities provide a mapping app to guide us.
Understanding and Establishing Priorities
So just what are priorities, anyway? We all know that they have to do with establishing the order of importance of things in our lives. But how do we know what is important, and where do we start? This can seem like a surprisingly complex and confusing process, depending upon how we approach it. I believe that our priorities are determined by the level of consciousness we have attained. I believe that things like ego issues and their supporting defenses, level of differentiation from our family of origin, neurological wiring, grounding to truth, needs satisfaction, and level of self acceptance; influence our perception of what is important and what is not. I believe there are three general levels of priorities: 1. Survival Mode, 2. Safe Mode, and 3. Spiritual Mode. I believe that the priorities at each of these levels is relevant, but that the spiritual priorities, when we are aware of them and able to realize them, are the highest and clarify all others. If we are stuck in Survival Mode, then survival-related things are the only things we will perceive as important. If we are in Safe Mode, but have not yet risen above it to the spiritual realm, then its priorities will determine what seems to matter in our lives. If we are mentally ill, or neurologically unique, then we may even have trouble knowing what is real (which could keep us stuck in Survival Mode).
Spiritual Mode Priorities
For me, the highest priority is truth. As the highest possible vibration, when it determines our other priorities, they, too, vibrate at the frequency of truth. For instance; if love, joy, and peace; three prominent spiritual powers; are determined by truth; then they become true love, true joy, and true peace — maintaining the vibration of truth in their realization. If they are priorities, but not in the spiritual realm, then they would not carry the higher consciousness of truth. They would be lesser forms of love, joy, and peace. These are my spiritual priorities — truth, love, joy, and peace — and they determine all things for me. Each of us needs to establish our own, based on our core beliefs, values, and passions. We could choose from a list of possible spiritual priorities, such as truth, love, joy, peace, patience, compassion, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, and self control. Another spiritual set could include non-resistance, non-judgement, and non-attachment. For me, truth, love, joy, and peace; realized at the frequency of truth; incorporate all others. Spiritual priorities are not determined by our mind and emotions, but rather by higher consciousness, which can then bring their realizations back to the mind, from which they can be directed into our material world experiences.
Safe Mode Priorities
Safe Mode is the state within which our brain believes we are safe from eminent danger, where we have access to the full range of thought, possibilities, and courses of action available to the mind. Its priorities could include things like happiness, marriage, family, health and wellness, career, and hobbies. Happiness, here, is like truth among the spiritual priorities. It vibrates at the highest frequency in the non-spiritual realm. When we are aware of spiritual priorities, and truth is the determiner of our lives, then we experience true happiness; and truly happy relationships, truly happy families, and truly happy lives. When in this situation, our happiness vibrates at the frequency of truth, as do all other priorities. If we are limited to Safe Mode (not having attained higher consciousness), then happiness is the highest possible vibration. When realized, it can create happy relationships, happy families, and happy lives. Since, at this level, things are not vibrating at the frequency of truth; some or all of our priorities could generate, or be the result of illusion (e.g. happy relationship, happy family, happy life). In such situations, it could seem like we have these things, but it might not really be the case (e.g idealistic illusion). Safe Mode priorities are established by the mind and emotions.
Survival Mode Priorities
Our brain shifts into Survival Mode when it believes we are under threat. Negative emotions, such as anxiety and depression, along with actual danger; create this condition. It is an actual physiological state in the brain that limits our range of thought, perceived possibilities, and courses of action to those associated with survival (fight, flight, or freeze). While in this mode, we experience increased stress, anger, aggression, fear, a desire to run away (either literally or figuratively), avoidance, denial, or withdrawal. The only priorities our brain will allow us to focus on, while in this mode, are those related to survival. So our priorities would consist of things like hope, food, sleep, winning an argument (which symbolizes winning the fight against our assailant)), proving ourselves, avoiding discomfort, and being liked by others (so our brain knows we have others to help us survive against the perceived threat). The highest vibration in Survival Mode is hope. So, while in this mode, if we are experiencing hope, then we would experience hopeful eating, hopeful sleeping, hopeful arguing, hopeful running, etc. If we are unable to realize the vibration of hope, then we would pursue the other priorities without the presence of hope. While in this mode, we are unable to consciously access either our Spiritual or Safe Modes. If there was an actual life-threatening situation, which rarely occurs in reality, then when it was over, our brain would shift us back into Safe Mode, where we would again have access to higher things (either Safe Mode priorities, or both Safe and Spiritual, depending upon our level of consciousness). If we are in Survival Mode because of distorted thoughts or negative emotions, then, for as long as we are experiencing them, we will remain there — and will be limited to the priorities that exist in this mode. Some people spend most of their lives here, and may not realize that there is anything else (like Plato’s cave). Survival Mode priorities are created by the mind and emotions.
Truth, Happiness, and Hope
Priorities determine our choices, whether we realize it or not. When we live according to the priorities of our true nature, then things will flow more naturally, peacefully, and effectively. When we don’t, things will be unnaturally complicated, chaotic, and ineffective. In order to be happy, we must first be hopeful. In order to live in truth, we must first be happy. Happiness, here, does not mean that our life is without pain or suffering. It means that, no matter what happens, we are able to maintain an inner state of happiness. Our priorities influence the entirety of our lives. It is important to understand, establish, and live them in an increasingly effective manner. By doing so we will experience a healthier, happier life.
Photo credit: Josh McGinn