Vertical Development

Letting Go of Control

In my last post, I mentioned about Carol Sanford talking about how to cultivate an “inner witness” which seemed to relate to triple-loop awareness. Specifically she mentioned about “self-observing” which is “separate from ongoing mental activity, that allows one to objectively observe this activity.”

For myself, I don’t think I’ve fully been able to achieve this, specifically in the moment that is, but more and more I’m become aware of myself reflectively, as I seem to be able to step back farther from myself. For example, today I had an epiphany that I began laughing at because it made my life feel like a tragic comedy.

Two decades ago, I began questioning my life and the way that work worked. Due to that questioning, I became increasing aware of how society often tries to force and control us to change, so as to fit in and conform to its expectations.

Discovering a different path to life from that experience, I wanted to help and “save others” from this crushing conformity, only to realize that I myself was trying to control and force others to change and conform to my own expectations, regardless of my own path feeling evolved.

In effect, I was no better than those people I was previously frustrated with because I was doing the exact same thing as them but just in a different context.

Today, in the process of stepping back further, I’m realizing now that I’m doing the same thing again but on another level. In wanting to create a development community, I’m again putting expectations on other people who I’d consider my peers which is bringing flashbacks of my experiences on Google+ again, where I felt like I was trying to “disrupt the disruptors.”

All said and done, I’m sick of this merry-go-round. I sick of trying to control people to “help” people…which when I say that reminds me of something I read a while back. A quote from The Handbook of Adult Development and Learning which refers to Susanne Cook-Greuter speaking about people at the post autonomous stage (although I most definitely don’t think I’ve achieved the construct-aware stage mentioned in the quote).

In what she calls the postautonomous stage (or at other times the construct-aware stage), people are described as changing in two significant ways: with respect to attitude toward language and with respect to ego as a mechanism of self-control. Regarding the new attitude toward language, in earlier stages of development, language is valued because it allows communication between people, enabling us to cognitively package reality into discrete entities placed in conceptual maps. In later stages, by contrast, language is experienced as filtering the underlying reality and detracting from much of the richness of experience.

People take a new attitude toward their egos at higher stages. Whereas in earlier stages, people take pleasure in thinking about their complexity and contradiction—that is, in thinking about themselves—at the construct-aware stage, people question their “objective self-identity” altogether, no longer wishing to be in control in the ways they have been by means of concepts and thinking (what I refer to as simulations). Self-control requires being too concerned with the image of self. People at the construct-aware stage yearn for a mode of being based on noncontrol, a mode of existing not requiring effort, grounded in “radical openness,” a mode not grounded in ego at all.

Handbook of Adult Development & Learning

In effect, the more aware I become of myself, the more distaste I have of what I’m becoming aware of that I’m doing.

All said and done though, I think I’ve reached a point now where I just need to focus on my own development going forward and primarily just on this site (since it allows me to have deeper discussions with my “self”). That’s it. I know I’ve already mentioned this once before but I think I need to take this seriously to heart this time.

By Nollind Whachell

From playing within imaginary worlds to imagining a world of play.

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