Being On-Dilemma


Being On-Dilemma

Most of us would like to believe that decisions in life are made on a simple, linear basis. There is a problem, and there is a solution to that problem, yes? If it were that simple, why do we often feel anxious or depressed? Here is one reason:

In moment-to-moment thinking, we experience the classical “damned if I do, damned if I don’t” double-bind of a “present, persistent conflict that has a potentially lose-lose outcome.” It is this frontal lobe dilemma of whether to go forward or wait, attack or retreat, express or inhibit, etc. You look at your “to-do” list, and although it might be simple and straight-forward, it presents a myriad of options that create ongoing dilemmas.

Typically, we tend to hang out on one end of the dilemma. Say, a simple example, of expressing your anger to a loved one or inhibiting your emotional reaction. To do an adequate risk-assessment, we want to assess, “What is the risk?” – on either side. What is the risk of stating explicitly and in sharp terms what you are feeling? Is this something you typically do? Is it common for you to be outgoing and expressive with your anger? Is expressing anger costing you the relationship?

Or we can hang out on the other end of the polarity of, What is at risk in inhibiting your strong feelings? What will that cost you in terms of bottled up feelings? Not a particularly good option for the classical warrior. Bottled up feelings? Not a chance.

Being “On-Dilemma” your spontaneity is affected and unless you are experienced at containing your feelings, there is bound to be some internal conflict, even bordering on some neural, synaptic battle going on. Gradually, the dilemma drifts back in our brain from our frontal lobe of decision-making to our limbic system of the anger/sad experience.

So when we work on a person’s dilemma, we get them to see the cost-reward or either side of the dilemma. And we also evaluate what is their typical tendency in reacting that is consistent as a “winning formula” or strategy. That is, “What has typically worked for you?” Most people keep looking for the proverbial nail to use their hammer-type of thinking. This is being On-Burden, the unconscious old ways of decision-making.


In reading Will Power by Roy Baumeister and John Tierney, it became apparent to me that most of us run out of physical and psychic energy in pursuing our missions in life. Americans work longer days and exhaust themselves more at record pace than any other western country. They found that actual drops in glucose and performance fatigue caused most people to drop in their performance.

It is not only glucose that we need but more spiritual juice. Most of us set these huge Big Rock/Big Hairy Goals and then watch as our performance rates rarely exceed 80%. Certainly “Getting Things Done” in David Allen’s book of the idea of identifying, labeling, filing and charting “next steps” can be vitally helpful. But why do we work so hard? Is it for the ego satisfaction? Is it to please others and win their love? Is it to have a high achievement/power motive and best others?

We find that the mission work of NWTA has a function of being in integrity with oneself. If it is about health and happiness or accepting children for who they are. Mission statements allow one to acknowledge and accept one’s present behavior. Mine, for instance, is about “I care enough to challenge myself and others to be spiritually awake in living missions of love and service.” It reinforces who I am and why I do what I do. It is my Spirit-Mission in that it is a mission that is spirit-driven by what “Gifts” that I have to make a “difference in the world.”

Being On-Dilemma means that we have an immediate option of not resorting to the “old ways” which we describe as On-Burden. “This is the typical way that I show up.” It’s the now proverbial – “Doing what I’ve always done and expecting different results.”
What is Spirit calling you to be? When the going gets tough and it will, what can you call on to allow you to fulfill your motives? What will give you the spiritual muscle that you need to live your mission? Does your mission drive you to fulfill you on an ongoing basis?

What if we stay in the moment, Surrender and Accept what is going on for what it is? Most of our F.E.A.R. (False Expectations Appearing Real) is a defense about the fear of simply being in the moment. We can learn to devote that moment to asking Spirit for the path to follow and ask, “What is Spirit calling me to be?” This is what true integrity is meant to be.

One of the conclusions of the Strategic Coach program offered by Dan Sullivan is that high-end successful entrepreneurs are more successful when they schedule more “Free” days than “Focus” days. “Free” meaning devoid of any work demands and free to explore refreshing activities that feed the soul. And “Focus” as days when you are pumping away on the bottom line of making money. Most of us don’t have the opportunity to “take time off” but it is a fact that “taking a break” increases success. “Free” time allows you to build up restful energy and be more focused when you need concentrated attention. Most people are emotionally depleted and unable to give their full attention to more important tasks.

Does taking “breaks” and allowing for stillness in a spiritual way, i.e. a meditation practice increase performance and promote getting the “big” goals completed? Does asking for spiritual guidance? “What is spirit calling me to be??? get your spiritual/emotional juices re wired for success? Can simple mantras assist you in thwarting the breakdown from being “On-Dilemma?”
By using a mediation practice or using mantras allows one to transcend your energy “beyond-dilemma” and see the possibility of being in relationship with the “other.” And then by merely stopping our judgments and being the place of focusing on the empathy for others, a multitude of options appear.

David Lindgren
Path to Spirit-Warrior

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