Society is an construct of the ego and as such it will perpetually prompt us to join its frameworks. It cannot exist without our participation. If we stop participating, that’s generally a moment in history.
When subjects began seeing themselves as citizens was when many of the world’s frameworks shifted ‘The Divine Right of Kings’ to the ‘The Rule of Law.’ Even #metoo is another example of a framework being disassembled (soon to be replaced by a new framework).
The reason it is helpful for us to watch for framework’s is that, the more of them we find, the greater sense we get for what a framework is, in principle. Our soul can move through life much more fluidly if it can remain aware of itself, and our identity, within the confines of a framework.
For example, the South African government of the day may have put Nelson Mandela in the framework of a jail. And the jail may have required his compliance on a great many daily tasks. But his spirit was still able to also seep out of that framework. In doing so, the jail became the basis of operations for a movement that replaced the government that then freed the prisoners from the inside out.
It’s like how the character, Captain Kirk on Star Trek, got famous. (The Kobayashi Maru concept was actually created by a dear friend of mine, Jack Sowards.) When faced with an unwinnable computer simulation, Kirk reprogrammed the computer. When a spirit defies a framework, we tend to see them as either a meaningful leader, or a genius.
What we see as genius is their defiance of a thought-based barrier, whether it is Einstein discovering Relativity, or a child pointing out that the Emperor really has no clothes.
To make frameworks easier to spot, we can watch for framework-specific labels. We have the sort of personal labels that are unique to us, like who we call ‘friend,’ or who we call ‘uncle.’ But there are also fixed, public-facing labels that travel between egos, like ‘doctor,’ or ‘electrician,’ ‘parent,’ or things like ‘divorced,’ ‘skinny,’ or ‘criminal.’
We apply internal labels to ourselves and to others, but all transferable labels come from external sources. We can’t make ourselves a ‘lawyer,’ nor a ‘graduate,’ and we even need the help of a baby to become ‘a parent.’ This means these are also labels that we can have taken away from us, and they are also ones we cannot shake.
As an example, even a retired doctor is still enjoys some benefits of being a doctor, and going the other direction, someone may find it cumbersome to be a member of the Royal Family of Britain, but that does not mean that the world will stop seeing and treating the person as Royal. In this way, public labels both open doors and close them.
While the peasants of old slaved to give most of their labour to a King or Queen, at the same time those Kings and Queens lived and died by who they married. Even their clothing and human interactions were all impersonal forms of language for communicating power, rather than for comfort or personal satisfaction.
If anyone thinks the wealth and privilege of a King saves them from the vagaries of living as an ego, they should look at how confined the King and his court are in the film A Little Chaos. There, the Court envies the peasants who are permitted to feel the sun on their faces. In fact, that entire film is about people stepping across the boundaries of their frameworks for love.
To function effectively, our ego must learn to flow, use, and shift its frameworks as an original-thinking genius would. If we’re suffering, it’s usually because we are refusing to accept or destroy the boundaries that comprise a framework.
Nelson Mandela may have been fighting for a just cause, but under the rules of the framework he started in, he was a prisoner. That meant that any efforts to act like a free person were treated very harshly. Examples like Mandela’s demonstrate the value of acceptance and surrender in maintaining our psycho-spiritual health and worldly power.
By giving up the idea of fighting against the jail, and by shifting to the idea of fighting for a new government, Mandela pulled the original Captain Kirk and reprogrammed the problem from being: how does the government keep Nelson Mandela in jail? To: why is society allowing these people to form the government?
Geniuses may permeate the boundaries of a framework, but our goal should not be to evaporate them from our existence altogether. Again, they are a cooperation of egos, and they exist to allow egos to function in an external world. That is what we’re here to do, so as damning as they can feel at times, our life is weaved thanks to the boundaries formed by the frameworks.
While it will help us within a framework, we should not assume that working hard in a framework will pay off spiritually. Working hard in the framework of a university, to become a lawyer in the framework of the legal system, can all pay big dividends in the financial system. But each of those benefits will carry associated responsibilities, and this is how yin and yang enter every vocation, chosen or forced.
By learning to better recognize these frameworks, and to see how our role works within them, we can often not only suffer less, but we can also often find more peaceful paths to even more meaningful success or acceptance.
All this being the case, as we move through life, it behooves us to watch for the frameworks we live within. It is by remaining aware of them, and by assessing how to behave with the clear vision of our soul, that we can balance our egos role and our souls awareness. And that, is a balance we all know as ‘wisdom.’
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.