Probably one of the most difficult aspects of evolving awareness and consciousness is values. These pesky things are strongly held energies, paradigms or beliefs which are running behind the scenes in our lives. We rarely stop to consider them. Yet when in conflict they rear their heads in our energetic being and off we go trying to justify our behaviors. What is so incredible about values is we often don’t consider our core values when we make decisions. The average person acts and only if there is a conflict will there be a question as to the values behind our actions. It is only with an awareness of core values that moral strength and a compass, so to speak, can be developed.
The dominant organized religions are always touting values, necessary ones for life and survival. So often we don’t consider values without our religious beliefs involved. Yet, values can be clarified without as much as a peep from our religious institutions. In fact, I would argue that to clarify ones core values allows a level of real freedom of choice when it comes to the herd mentality of many cultural/religious movements. Once deep into value clarification and discussion with the self, it becomes obvious where our inconsistencies in behavior arise. They arise from conflicting values.
Take for instance the value of life… if we also have the value of justice in strong energetic relationship to life, then there could be some serious internal conflict there. When wronged, say someone murders your child, then is it possible to uphold the value of life and justice advocating the death penalty? Realize, I am not suggesting a solution to this problem, rather the needling aspect of internal conflicts that arise from not being clear about our value structure and our personal system of energy. We may react and want revenge, then justify that as justice, and ultimately obliterate our standard value of life. These are positions that no one wants to be put into…yet people are placed in these situations all the time.
Here is some examples of values which we may or may not hold dear…. Life, justice, peace, education, awareness, freedom, evolving, love, happiness, mystery, strength, honor, thoughtfulness, vision…. A longer list can be found here: http://www.stevepavlina.com/articles/list-of-values.htm But critical to any list, especially when we realize that we value many of these abstract energies and ideas… is our core values. Like a hierarchy, we get to choose with reflection what is central to our core list. Value clarification is an exercise where we sit and evaluate what is critical and most important and what is not important… And as we develop a hierarchy, I think we become more aware and conscious of our actions. Notice how individuals will speak or argue for things. If they are not consistent it is probably because they are not clear about what core values they hold as most important. This exercise is one of the most amazing ways to reflect upon our lives, clean up the old stuff and move forward as I noted in Making Death an Advisor… we can get to the front of our train and drive our engine (energy) forward more efficiently.
This recapitulative exercise is simple, consider the list of values and begin to put them next to each other. On the first run through, just eliminate all the values that you don’t even feel called to… and I mean feel, not think is right or wrong. Values are not about right and wrong. Consider actions or decisions that you have made with respect to the values that are left on the list. And then consider which one was more active than the other. Many can be simply thrown away after further energetic consideration. Others, with meditation and reflection, will start to rise to the top of the list. As they do, place more and more important ones next to each other. Using cards with the word written on them will help this step of the process. When one value is more important than another, just write a 1 on the back of the important one and a 0 on the lesser important one. This can go on for a while. But the exercise is worth the work. It starts to add up and a hierarchy begins to emerge. The one with the greatest total is becoming more core than others. It is important to compare the strongly held ones with significant reflection on actions or memories that were taken surrounding them. This action releases the energy and is recapitulative in nature. One or a few will be left at the center or core to which all others compare and are lesser than that one or few.
As this becomes more and more clear and core values start to emerge, then we can look clearly at what we are really advocating. I have found this clarifies my writing, awareness and interest in things. My core values are simple. And as I have considered this exercise and done it on several occasions in my life, they have become really clear and simpler. My root core value above all others is freedom. As an artist and watching the way things just work in the universe, freedom and change are behind all things. By aligning my energies with this core value and clarifying the actions and thoughts that are associated with it, so many things dropped away from my energetic field of concerns. It was very liberating to see the energies that I was devoting to other areas of my life that did not serve my core values. Like wealth. Wealth and consumerism for me and the pursuit of it is an immense distraction to freedom. It requires time, energy and space to have a lot of wealth, stuff and protection around that stuff. When freedom took precedence in my life, it became easy to let go of the cultural programming around stuff and simplify the details of stuff in my life. Priorities shifted to travel and experiences in freedom.
My second core value is life. Life is precious in all its forms. This is rooted in the earth where all energy arises and surrounds all the energies of all people. Justice for me moved away from my center. There really is no justice… so much inconsistency in the application of it. But the value of life means I am anti-death penalty. It is just murder and revenge. Nothing just is occurring there, not in an enlightened society. The act of sitting in a jail for the rest of life reflecting on actions taken against another is more cruel and just than giving a spirit a free pass out to another place… no matter what you think or believe of that next place.
Watch the writings of others, the speech of others… if you have done the exercize, you will see the values beneath the surface of the storm of energy they put into their work. You will see their inconsistencies, where they are really coming from. It does not matter what values people hold as core…again it is not about right and wrong… but I experience greater integrity from those that take the time to clarify and know their values and they tend to hold themselves accountable to those values. And evolution occurs so much easier when the core is not at war with itself…. Peace!