About Survival and Devotion: What’s Wrong With Us
by Carl Buchheit
When I first began learning to do change-work (this was more than thirty years ago now), as I was learning to work with behavioral and belief-related issues both, I was struck by two ever-present, apparently contradictory realities: 1) that personal, conscious choice was the most important factor in creating and allowing growth and change, and 2) that personal, conscious choice didn't seem to affect much of anything at all-not really. I mean, how many millions of times a day do humans say, "I want to be happy," or, "I choose to be well," and how often did/does this seem to make a difference?
Of course, this was not an original observation. Human beings have been steadily experiencing what they do not want, and steadily not experiencing what they actually do want, seemingly forever. As a result, all cultures have some elements of things they try out-stories, religious dogma, hierarchies of worth and achievement-to try to deal with this ever-present problem. Throughout millennia, people have always wanted to believe and know that somewhere there were sorcerers-unique but real individuals who can make choices and then, magically, manifest outcomes that are directly the consequences of those choices. If a culture couldn't offer itself full-on sorcery, it would at least try to provide access to sympathetic saints-powerful, venerable individuals whose intervention might help change the mind of God or the Gods.
Absent convenient (or bracingly inconvenient) access to saints of one sort or another, the culture could at least offer itself the consolations of philosophy and the philosophers who provide it, or perhaps inflict upon its the tonic exhortations of religious and moral scolds, those who stand apart with authority to make it clear that our general powerlessness to create, change, or heal is a consequence of our much deeper, even more significant failings. Strangely enough, by telling us about our shortcomings and our sinful, fallen natures, the religious judgers have always served to provide us some hope-hope that maybe we might find a way to reform and to improve ourselves enough that our choices can count, so that we may cause some good, observable, confirmable effects for ourselves and those we care about the most.
More recently, our own culture has become attuned to the message provided by personal growth gurus, charismatic figures with enough good advertising, stagecraft, and dental bleaching to say compellingly to their audiences, "Your main problem is that you are not like me. You are not as conscious / committed / plant-based / courageous / driving / dreaming / giving / grasping / sustainable / ascetic / aerobic / peace-loving / forgiving / warrior-like / amplified / abundant / etc. as I am. But I can teach you how to be more like me, and when you are more like me, you will be a better you."
There is some attractiveness in this newer approach, as long as the answers are simple, which means that the questions must be simpler still. We have all experienced this end of the personal growth spectrum. It can be helpful in its way, as can the traditional approaches that employ the sorcerers, saints, philosophers, and the various messengers of Divine Displeasure. Because we all cannot help but continually reach for something better, we all frequently want to know what it is, specifically, that is wrong with us.
I do have my stories about all of this, and I have been sticking to them, as I said earlier, for some considerable time now. It is my impression that there is nothing wrong with us, AND, we have created and chosen to live and learn in an environment that contains a host of contradictions and seemingly unhelpful obstacles, (much like miniature golf, actually, but surely that is an unworthy analogy).
I use the terms Survival Patterning, Devotional Patterning, Pre-selected Life Catalyst, and Random Nuttiness quite a lot when training people to do NLP. Let me explain these categories very quickly. They are simple terms to over-simply name processes of incredible creativity and complexity.
Survival Patterning is what I call the learning that occurs within our physical selves-our body-based and physical selves. The operation of "Survival Patterning" can be described this way: "Whatever it is that we learn to survive (when we are very young and first learning is all learning) becomes necessary for continued survival, for the rest of our lives, until we revise the settings in this level of Patterning." This level of things is private to our individual brains, basically.
Devotional Patterning is what I call all of the complex learning that is not private to us, but that involves and transcends multiple family generations. The operation of Devotional Patterning can be described this way: "Whatever it is that is most disastrous and unresolved in earlier generations of our family, that is what we will seek to experience in our own lives, now, in an unworkable effort to bring healing and dignity to events that may have occurred before we were conceived." Devotional Patterning is my term to summarize all the operation of distorted love in our lives. My main teachers about this have been Kaskafayet, Bert Hellinger, and the hundreds of people who have asked me to work with-and learn from-their Family Soul.
For me, the term Pre-selected Life Catalyst, the concept of which is described in many places, comes from the work of Carla Reuckert most especially. The operation of Pre-selected Life Catalyst, can be described this way: "As we came into this incarnation, we all selected certain events, constraints, limits, conditions, etc., with which we would have to deal, for purposes that are/were transcendently important to us. We can complete the learning we seek, but we cannot cancel the operation of the Catalyst(s) until we do. That is how we have arranged things." Interesting.
Random Nuttiness is my term for everything in life that is not covered by one or more of the previous three terms. Random Nuttiness is most of everything, actually. It is life material and events that can be useful for our learning, but we are not betting the whole incarnation on what we do with it, or how it comes out.
By the way: we do all of the above on a planet that is designed to provide maximum (or nearly so) contrast between how things are and how they could be or should be. Hmmmm! All of this is adjustable, with the exception of selection of "original" Catalyst, but even that is available for big change, in terms of the speed and ease of learning and completion. For example, if a soul selects birth into an impoverished family, this choice-the fact of being born to impoverished parents-is not changeable. However, all the meaning-level consequences of this selection are available for change. It not what happens that counts for us, it is what what happens means! We do always choose our meanings, even when we cannot re-choose the facts themselves.
To spend our time and intelligence to mainly locate that which is wrong with us-to specify just exactly how we are creatures living in a fallen condition-is really another way to dodge truly creative responsibility and possibility. The experience of being human, in all of its obvious and not-so-obvious causes and effects, is a very complicated undertaking. We are all doing pretty well with the learning.