The second force can be understood in terms of opposition, struggle, intentional suffering, and is experienced as a phenomenon that pushes against an affirming or active force. It may be implemented by us in the form of work on oneself or it can come from the outside in the form of conscious shocks.
There are always two opposing forces, often unnoticed by most unless the resistance is so strong that to have something come to fruition, one must push beyond normal efforts.
To study the effects of these laws within us enables an awareness of a third force which serves as the reconciling factor. The third force is only possible in the presence of the two opposing forces intentionally held present. This is an advanced practice that takes considerable awareness chops.
If the third force does not become manifest, things do not manifest and inevitably change course. This could be seen as a project or a creation that does not get finished or an emotion that does not get felt, for example.
I could list countless examples including several incidents from my solo retreat this summer in which I struggled to get a stove pipe into my glamping tent for hours on end and had to truly push against the resistance I encountered. See my blog: Determination and the Stovepipe. You can reflect on situations in which you struggled to make something happen and how you dealt with the resistance.
To experience the third force is to study resistance and its release within ourselves. We can learn more about what bypassing is and is not through the third force.
When that study is directed toward our inner experience, we have a way of intentionally working toward more freedom.
In all of the courses in the Awareness School, we emphasize the practice of Self-Observation which requires learning certain skills to achieve that goal. Self-observation does not mean being able to articulate and label what is going on inside of us from what we think is an objective perspective. It is learning to see how we are not objective at all. It is integrating necessary parts of us to be able to see from a different part of us. That part of us is then strengthened and we are then able to dismantle much of the conditioned responses we have out in everyday life.
Self-observation in itself is a second force and a way to avoid bypassing.
The initial practice is to learn to stay present with the experience within us and not judge it. Judging is often a byproduct of initially being able to observe and immediately takes us out of observation mode. To really stay with the conditioned state which can often be experienced as elation, pride, shame, guilt among many other states is to apply a second force.
Usually those false emotions mentioned above will take us to the next conditioned state unless we are able to objectively observe ourselves taken up and consumed by the flavor of the moment. Once we are able to observe, we start to have a much clearer picture of how our Ego operates and why we attach quite mechanically to it.
All of this has to do with not bypassing our emotions which everyone is talking about. The ironic thing is that they are not talking about recognizing a conditioned response within themselves.
Not bypassing for most means labeling and legitimizing conditioned reaction as true emotion.
So the general trend is to wallow in self-pity and believe that is what we need to do to “not bypass” this so called emotion. It means holding onto anger as power and blame as the target of that anger.
In our school, which follows in the footsteps of the Fourthway ideas, these are not true emotions but identified states which need to be recognized as such, instead of being indulged in, in the name of not bypassing.
Sound the trumpets.
It goes against the popular belief that we need to feel all this stuff.
Self-observation allows us to actually see what they are. To that effect, it requires not pushing these inner experiences away through distraction. It means struggling to see them, and see them for what they are.
This is how to apply a second force and not bypass.
If we are able to observe this within us, a third force appears as our ability to see. This sparks the next triad of work in which we struggle with the identified state, because we know it is an identified state and not what most people are calling emotion. We start to understand the nature of attachment to ideas, expectations, likes, dislikes, and narratives.
We see the falsehood of the reaction and we begin a new and different struggle.
This next application of the second force requires a solid foundation in the power to see and has the promise of bringing on true feelings that have been buried deep within us. It is the pathway to remorse of conscience, forgiveness, and self-acceptance.
To the general public, the misunderstanding may arise that I am suggesting that we bypass emotion and nothing could be further from the truth.
In order to not bypass our true feelings, we must get past the notion that indulging in states of identification is considered feeling our feelings.
If we begin to work with our own internal struggle to recognize what is going on, we will quickly see that our life is a constant stream of judgement and reaction. Something is good or bad and then we react accordingly. That reaction is not to be considered an emotion in my experience. It is the very thing that keeps us from our true feelings.
May we begin to see that using our own imposed resistance to stay present to what is happening within us and then learning to struggle with that reaction or “false emotion” can bring about a new third force in the form of self-understanding and remembrance of who we really are.
for other articles on The Law of Three and using resistance see: Embracing Resistance: The Third Force
Also: Work, Struggle and Commitment
May the force be with us.
Let me know how you are working with the second force!
Have a great week.