2020-12-06 Two Universes: Untilitarian and Appreciative
6:53PM Dec 6, 2020
Sometimes I like to think that we have a choice of living in two different universes. The universe is at least of our own experience. And we have some choice between these two. But there really can be at one end of the spectrum, each, each end of the spectrum of these two ways, are very, very separate from each other and lead very different ways. And one is conducive to support the world of clinging and attachment. And the other is much more conducive to freedom and compassion. They represent two forms of action of how we can live our life in the world. And so, you know, then suddenly, there's kind of a divide between these two places, I wonder, lay out these two sides of this dichotomy. And maybe at the end, remembering we don't want to live in this world that's so separate between these two, they don't have to be so separate, there's actually a way of holding them together, where they work together, they don't have to be opposed. It's just that if one side is emphasized, too much, either side emphasizes too much can be a problem. But especially the one I'm going to call the first side, is probably the one that's most problematic for this world that's often difficult and challenging. So these two modes of action modes of being most modes, the first I call it utilitarian, and the second I call appreciative, we can live in the world, mostly with utilitarian attitude towards everything. Or we can live in the world more with an appreciative mode for everything. And it makes a huge difference which of these you choose. And maybe in different contexts, we choose different ones. But really to understand that there's this capacity of these two different capacities, and to be wise with them. And and probably the second, the appreciative mode, is maybe really the beneficial one for really trusting emergence of this Dharma life that we have. So do you tell it harrion mode is pragmatic, focusing on a goal and looking at what is of utility what is beneficial? What has the greatest good as a as a consequence of what we're doing. And in this regard, the often the goal is more important for people in this utilitarian a direction, like, what's what's important is how we get to the goal. And whatever is useful for that is, is what we're focusing on. And often, then there's no sense, there's a way that the means that the goal should be represented in the means. But the means is independent from the goal. The appreciative mode is not so much focused on the goal. But it's more focused on the process of how we are. Whereas the utilitarian mode is focused on the future, usually about where we're going, how we're going to get there. The appreciative mode is more focused on the present moment. And with the experience of the present moment, independent of where we're trying to get. The utilitarian mode is more focused on product productivity, product, the result consequence that we want to have. And the appreciative mode can also focus on something growing and developing and being coming different. But it's not from being productive, but rather through enhancement. How do we enhance what's really good here? How do we make room for things to emerge and to flow in their own their own way, as opposed to trying to be most efficient with what's going on. And that the utilitarian mode is more about a goal and direction what we want to get, there can be failure, we can fail to get to that goal we put a lot of effort in, and then it can be a lot of regret that we didn't attain it. The appreciative mode. Rather than focusing on failure, the tendency is to focus more in satisfaction. It could be Wow, that didn't work out. I didn't manage to do what I was trying to do. But boy, was it satisfying to do it. That the focus on the present moment appreciation, the enhancement of something that's really good in us.
Maybe it makes a prison for many things, not everything, of course, but for many things that we do That maybe it's less important that we succeed, then the way how we did it was really satisfying and meaningful, we might still have the sense that we failed, or we didn't manage to do what we hope to do. But it's eclipsed by that tremendous joy and delight in the doing itself in the satisfaction of being engaged. And so there's no regret that we did it. Because the outcome maybe wasn't isn't as important as how we do it, that if the engagement and the process the utilitarian mode is more about becoming something, making something come into being and appreciative mode is more more about being itself, just what is here and how am I be, how am I in the emptiness of us of us rather than the future of us. Whereas utilitarian mode is maybe more centered on wanting, wanting something to happen. The appreciative mode maybe is more centered in loving, loving what is. And of course, with loving, it's possible to want something to be different. But the center of gravity, the home base, is in the loving, not in the wanting. And certainly we meet people who have as their home the place where they're rooted or place which really is the operating volcano of their life is their desires. Their sometimes we say some people their neediness of other people needed as neediness is a very intense desire that is projected onto someone else's going to help us attain it or to get it. Maybe utilitarian mode is maybe more has to do with hope, and longing for something because we're hoping and longing for something different than what we have. But then in the appreciative mode, maybe it's more aspiration, inspiration. And the difference being that the hope and longing is more focusing on again on the goal, the outcome, and at least in my vocabulary, aspiration. Inspiration is but you know, almost because it comes from the word spirit or respired, the breathing itself. aspiration is what this emerged in us a desire, a wish, a vision that has bubbled up from the inside, out of the goodness of who we are the wholesomeness of what's here, that would be great. And aspiration doesn't have to be fulfilled in the way that a hope has to be fulfilled. And aspiration is just kind of a love for this as possible. This is a vision. This is worth working towards. But let's work towards it in a way that's satisfying that how we are with this aspiration. Let's stay close to this nice breathing, this nice sense of breath, this place where things emerge in a wonderful free way. I associate the utilitarian mode with acquiring, wanting and getting. And I think of the appreciative mode as being tending to things, wanting things to be well, but then tending to them, supporting them, supporting them to grow, supporting, enhancing them, letting them develop and the best and that thing or that person or thing to come out, not wanting them to be a certain way but tending to what's already here. So that though, what's, what's wonderful can develop. It's kind of like gardening, tending to a garden, you might take out the weeds, so the flowers can really grow the vegetables can really grow. utilitarian mode, I think of as much more than fixing mode, fixing things, fixing people, for people involved in spiritual care, pastoral care, like chaplaincy and hospital. One of the really important tools or attitudes or approaches of a chaplain is, when it is whoever we meet, is we don't try to fix them. But rather we nurture them, we and we support them, we trust their emergence, we meet them, to appreciate them to value them and to listen to them and to accompany them. And it can be very hard for chaplains not to want to try to fix the problems of suffering, we meet with people. And you know, and sometimes that misses the point to fix. Sometimes that does actually disservice for people. But sometimes it is a whole other appreciative mode, which is an affirmation and an opening and it really allows something much deeper connection for people to have
with their inner life with their spiritual life. That in the long term, sometimes it's more Much more beneficial than the fixing of a particular problem. So instead of fixing on related to attending, the appreciative mode is nurturing, we want to nurture what's there. And the utilitarian mode because it's pragmatic, pragmatic and focusing on an outcome and sometimes wanting to be efficient, there's often a strong need to know. And those people who just want to get things done, just want to know how to do it, the appreciated mode, there's less need to know. And, in fact, there's an appreciation of the value of not knowing of showing up with beginner's mind with not knowing mind, showing up without knowing a lot. Which means can mean that because I'm there with not knowing, I'm not bringing my preferences, my projections, my bias on and putting it on the situation, that has to take my expectations, my desires on it, I'm here just to be open not to know and to trust emergence to trust what's here, and to learn what's here, to take in the circumstance situation and the person in their fullness. Rather than being ahead of what's happening with my, my, you know, my own agenda. So the utilitarian mode is more about efficiency. And often, excluding what is unnecessary, we think is unnecessary. I would like to think the appreciative mode is more about cooperation than efficiency, more about inclusion and community than it is excluding anything or anybody. And cooperation is often slower in the short term, than sometimes just getting the job done for oneself. When I was working in the monastery kitchen, I was the kitchen manager for a while with a crew of maybe nine people. And, and in many ways, I was a better, more skilled, maybe better and more skilled, more competent cook than most of the people who are new to the crew. And so I could do many of the things that needed to be done, I could do, you know, three people's job, you know, I could do it myself as much more efficient for me to do it. And so it was very hard to let you know, assign things to other people, I just wanted to do it, I could do it, you know, a third of the time. And it took me about three months to learn. I'm a slow learner, that the best thing I could do in the kitchen was not do any work myself at all. But just go around and nourish support the firm supply everyone else in their jobs. And then the kitchen works so much better than a sense the doing the particular thing that had to be done in the kitchen that I whatever the item was, happen, maybe slower. But the whole kitchen works so much better, when I kind of enabled the cooperation not cooperating, supporting everyone to do things. So the cooperation and inclusion, the utilitarian mode, focusing on the future, focusing on getting things done focusing on being efficient, and doing just the right thing. It can sometimes make no room for the inner muse, for the inner heart, heart or spiritual or depths of who you are, to listen to them. The music of the heart is how the heart sings, or the deepest kind of wisdom and understanding connectivity that only you can only tune into if we kind of slow down, open up and allow something to deeper to kind of manifest and respond to what's going on. I associate the utilitarian mode very much with being in our thinking mode and fixing mode and planning mode and arranging mode and being efficient mode, which doesn't really connect us with this deeper place of knowing that we can have. So in the appreciative mode, there is slowing down, there is a receptivity and openness. So there's room for the Muse for the heart for the spirit, for our fullness of our being to operate together. And then finally, I think of the utilitarian mode is often being fueled by need. But the appreciated mode also can do things, but it's more maybe inspired by possibility. And so there's less less kind of
drive or clinging it's more like okay, let's open to this possibility. Let's reveal this possibility. Rather than let's make it In a quick acquisition a way and so some metaphors are kind of for this two different modes that we can maybe see a little bit better, you know that there are we have these two modes to be. So one is that in a utilitarian weigh in the evening, when we're ready to go to sleep, we can, ourselves put ourselves to bed in an efficient way. But we can't in the same way, I mostly I can't put myself to sleep, sleep, something I make room for my fellow, I have to kind of get out of the way, but I can't lay there in bed, okay, now I'm going to be the most efficient going to sleep person ever. And like coming to the race to sleep, that doesn't really work. Sleep is something that comes upon me that not something that I do efficiently. And acquiring knowledge is something we can do pragmatically and utilitarian ways. But we can't become wise, just by getting knowledge. Wisdom has a different source that is not often so efficient, not often, with acquisition about the means and getting something. But it's more like allowing again and being present, and paying attention in a careful and full way that allows this deeper parts of ourselves to respond and to process and digest what's happening. So we can allow some deeper source of wisdom knowledge to arise rather than just only practical knowledge. Maybe a good a good comparison to these two different modes, is pleasure and happiness, that it's relatively easy to do something that's physically pleasant, we can get food, we can get a massage, we can go outside, we can do pleasant things. We can, but happiness, you can't just kind of do something to make yourself happy. But the appreciative mode, makes room for happiness. Turns out there's much more things much more joy available, much more happiness available, any given moment than most people allow for most, or most people avail themselves for in the appreciative mode, there's time space to take in. And notice how many wonderful things there are as well as all the challenges in this life. And to switch the mode and how we are to live in a more appreciative mode. It's amazing how we live in a different universe. And the rules of the universe are the understanding the universe, the information we take in information upon which we build our understanding of ourselves in the world changes radically which of these two kind of approaches we take in our life. The utilitarian mode, if that's all we do, I think we're really limiting so much what you know, how much happiness and joy that's actually possible here, also, limiting how much love and compassion Finally, the another kind of metaphor, I guess, for this two modes, is praise. It's possible to do things to get people to praise you. But if you can't pragmatically get people to admire you, admiration is something that comes from inside of people may be more private than them. Whereas praise is just what they say to please you or to. to somehow get from you what you would like and, and you can they know that we want praise and so they give it to us. But But admiration, that's more something imprinted in the privacy of their own inner life that arises and something deeper inside. So to combine these two worlds, to not see them as separate, there can be a goal. But the goal but the process of how we get to that goal is such an important part of it, that maybe we bring them together. And often it's the process in which the best qualities of our life have a chance to flow and come. The goal itself is it a little bit abstract because it's in the future, if the limits of what we're focusing on, but if we focus on the goal, but remember, the process is important. We bring along so much more of who we are and and what's possible, and it's possible then to discover wellsprings of satisfaction inside that,
that we can enhance well wellsprings of, of wholesomeness and goodness that we can enhance and nourish and tend while We are pursuing what we want what we hope for, maybe what we want to get to what we want to become. So these two modes are not I'm not opposed, they can be integrated together. But I think for people interested in Dharma practice, it's really important to really useful. It's a utilitarian to focus on the appreciative mode, it's actually quite productive in a spiritual way, to not focus on productivity, but to focus on enhancement and nourishing, intending this life of ours here. And so how do we allow for this appreciative mode, the appreciative mode is something that we have to give time for, we have to allow for certain inefficiency, slow down, open up, look around, take the time. And it might be in the beginning, that it's helpful as a practice, to practice greater appreciation to spend more time with your world yourself, what's going on, not to push away or deny the difficulties, challenges and the things which are off. But maybe make it a practice, to begin appreciating more, what's already here and what is good about here, there are thousands of things to appreciate in any given day. And what happens to you if as you go to bed at night, and laying there waiting to fall asleep, you go through and appreciate so much of what is of that day, to think about the things that were valuable and the things you're grateful for, which is kind of to the definitions of appreciation, to value something and be grateful for it. So to spend time, practicing appreciation, focusing on appreciation, and, and then more deeply than thinking about all the things we appreciate, in the present moment. What we have way of being, what kind of attention, what kind of way of holding oneself and being present allows you to soak in what is appreciate the ball. So not just think about it, but to let what what you can appreciate, be there to nourish you, support you tend to you, bring you satisfaction, bring you a sense of inclusion, all things included, all things have space here. And perhaps you'll come to appreciate that the ability to be open and receptive to what emerges what's happening, that allowing to be a things register and feel, eventually will become one of the most satisfying things to do way to be. It's the doorway to deep satisfaction, deep appreciation and deep loving and compassion. So two different universes you can live in the appreciative world. appreciative mode leads to one universe. The utilitarian mode alone leads to another universe. And then the third universe is where we really want to live is really integrating these two together so that we get the most from Beth best worlds. And, and we're here to benefit this world as best way we can, with both perspectives supporting each other. Thank you very much and I look forward to our next time together.