Sunday, December 24, 2006

A stack analogy for being spontaneous

A friend of mine told me the following story(paraphrased to suit this entery): He was in a hurry to get to a meeting and was leaving his son at his grandfather's house. His son started crying "I don't want to go to grandpa!". His first impulse was to say "stop! I don't have time for this!", he observed that impulse run through him said to himself "I don't want this, next, what else is in here?". The next impulse came, it was to pacify the child, "Oh, come on, will get you some icecream and you'll have a great time!" he observed that impulse run through him said to himself "I don't want this, next, what else is in here?".
And then he felt the desire to just sit with the child and listen to him.
He wrote a song about this 'a child's cry' in his blog:
http://blog.myspace.com/pomerus

A stack is a storage device with the 'last in first out' property. For example,
if you have an empty stack, and you first put a red ball inside of it, and then put two black balls inside of it you are going to have to take out the black balls
first if you want to reach the red ball. The red ball is the deepest inside and is covered by the black balls that are on top of it.
Imagine you have a stack of impulses for action. In this stack there are two basic kinds of impulses: Spontaneous and Compulsive. More suggestive names to the way I'm thinking about this is: 'I want to' impulses, and 'I have to' impulses. Once in a while, an impulse is shot out the top of the stack and runs through the body. If you choose to act on the impulse, an impulse of
the same kind is put again on the top of the stack.
So, if you act out of compulsion, out of 'I have to', a new 'I have to' impulse
is put on the top of the stack.
Suppose that, for a long period of time, you always act on the 'I have to' impulse. Then, in all this period an 'I want to' impulse has never been
on the top of the stack. So, for all this time an 'I want to' impulse
has never been shot through your body. As time passes, your memory of
what it's like to want something from a natural spontaneous place grows dim.
As in the story above, by simply observing the compulsive 'I have to' impulse
run through your body without acting on it, a new deeper level will arise at the top of the stack and new options arise.
As an example: When talking to people in various contexts I have an instinct
to justify my behaviour about something, and when I don't get into the justifying, when I just basically say "Ye, that's how things are" a new level of
more honest communication immedatiliy opens up.

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