Underdeveloped regions of experience

Emotional baggage dwells on past history. Like the Wall Street banks, baggage gets too big to fail. It expands with attention paid to it and then demands too much attention from us. It cannot be kept in proportion with other regions of experience when it outgrows it's usefulness. It becomes a burden that is stuck in the past and showing familiar signs of bureaucratic stagnation. It says "no" to progress, creativity and responsiveness to other's interests. It obstructs innovation and defeats inspired initiatives.

To put our baggage in its proper perspective, it's helpful to consider three other regions of experience: the future, the present moment and the realm of meaning.
  • In our future, we explore new possibilities, imagine improved versions of our current lifestyle and maintain goals to achieve. Whenever we experience our future, we are anticipating changes, looking forward to surprises, and welcoming unforeseen challenges. These experiences require confidence in our abilities, freedom from reliving past setbacks and courage to face unfamiliar situations.
  • In our present moment, we explore our five senses. We notice what we're looking at with greater powers of observation. We listen to nuances in the sounds we hear and touch with greater awareness. We taste and smell with heightened sensitivity. These experiences require inner stillness, freedom from categorizing everything and an outlook of innocence.
  • In the realm of meaning, we explore different ways to frame the past, present and future. We try out different points of view, theories and rationales. We wonder about the symbolic significance of what happens, a possible lesson for us in it and connections we can make to other issues. These experiences require a feeling of playfulness, freedom from literal interpretations and creativity to redefine the established facts.

Emotional baggage dominates our experience when we neglect the other three regions. It becomes overdeveloped while experiences of the future, present moment and realm of meaning fall behind. We can reduce and eliminate the costly effects of baggage by taking attention off of our past history and putting it on these underdeveloped regions of experience.

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