Finding Manageable Causes
by Harry Palmer
In the foregoing article, I made the following points: EXCUSES are responsibility limiters (blame avoiders) that convey the message that one is not at fault. The most acceptable excuses are explanations that people will find plausible. MANAGEABLE CAUSES are beliefs, thoughts, and actions that you can do something about; you can control them.
A situation is a non-optimum condition. Unhappiness, loneliness, failure, exhaustion, and despair are typical personal situations. Also, so are being broke, being ill, or feeling overwhelmed. Also, so are not being the person you would like to be, and not doing the things that you would like to do.
Situations are usually the result of multiple causes. Think of a lake that is fed by multiple streams of water. It is true that some causes have a quality of fate, but other causes are manageable. And managing just one cause can affect an entire situation. If you focus on the “fated” causes, there is little that you can do other than continue to suffer and make plausible excuses. However, if you focus on finding the manageable causes and controlling them, you can change the situation.
What you believe is the most powerful contributing cause to any personal situation. Diet, health, influence of the environment, influence of associations, and habits may also be contributing causes to a situation, but each of them stands a good chance of being managed just by managing your beliefs. This is why the Avatar Materials are so valuable, they teach an effective belief management system.
What you believe is the most powerful contributing cause to any personal situation. ...This is why the Avatar Materials are so valuable, they teach an effective belief management system.
If your life goes flat, you can blame fate or you can examine the situation (honestly) and look for manageable causes.
Now there is one very obvious thing you have to do in order to find a manageable cause. You have to look! You have to look at the situation you are in, realize it has multiple causes, and discover at least one cause that is manageable. You have to confront the situation as it is. That means developing an ability to set aside emotions, assumptions, expectations, and discouragement. These are skills honed early on in sections of the Avatar Materials.
For some people, the first response to a situation is assignment of blame. Who did it? (“I’m unhappy because Mommy was mean to me.” Maybe that’s true, but it is certainly not the only cause of their unhappiness.) What they are missing is that situations have multiple causes including predispositions. The same people may consider that a question has only one answer. This is very narrow- minded thinking, and inevitably causes situations to persist.
There is an instinctive temptation to protect oneself with excuses. It may be the fatal flaw of our species. To survive, successfully, you have to take control of this mental process, otherwise the mind will seek plausible excuses rather than manageable causes.
Here is how it works. Something has gone wrong in your life. Something didn’t work out. You find yourself experiencing something other than an optimum state, something darker or even painful. Recognize, you have a situation. You can take the easy route, be a victim and blame it on someone else, or you can concentrate on discovering (and presumably changing) causes that you can control. Failing to find a cause you can manage is a recipe for continued suffering.
The only sound advice is don’t give up. Look hard enough and long enough and you will find that there is something that you can do that will positively affect the situation that you are in.
Okay, time for some painful honesty. Ask yourself, am I looking for a manageable cause that I can control to resolve the situation, or am I looking for a plausible excuse that will confirm that it’s not my fault? More often than not, you will find what you are motivated to find.
The next question, and this is really a whack on the side of the head, is: “Do you really want to resolve the situation?” If a situation serves you, you might not want to resolve it. It could be the excuse you are looking for to justify running away. It could be holding off something worse. It could be getting you extra attention or some goods and services. It could be something that you subconsciously feel that you deserve. We’ve all known people who get bailed out of a problem and go right out and create it all over again. Using your mind to keep you in trouble rather than solving your problems, is called self-sabotage. Self-sabotage afflicts more people than you might imagine, even entire nations.
Some prejudices are so fixed by repeated indoctrination or painful experiences that a person will just outright refuse to inspect them. The person’s behavior will appear stupid or even bizarre. Take a close look at any hate group and you will find their thinking is severely flawed. Their common denominator is blame. They are unable or unwilling to find any manageable cause for why they feel like angry victims... That would require personal responsibility. The thing they are most certain of is that the situation they are in is not their fault. They blame minorities, governments, or even extraterrestrials for their oppression. Their situation never resolves, and the causes they blame grow stronger.
When you examine a situation, your ability to admit that you don’t already know cannot be overvalued. It allows you to look beyond fixed ideas and excuses and find a manageable cause that you can do something about. It takes a measure of courage to look without expectation, to trace something unpleasant back along its route of development, and to determine what step in that development you could be responsible for.
A big part of the Avatar training is teaching a spirit (you) how to operate a mind efficiently.
It’s easy to become fixed on what you can’t change, but that’s not what you are looking for. You are looking for manageable causes. Finding them will determine whether you go through life making excuses for your problems or finding solutions. This lesson by itself is a major step in self-evolvement.
This article was excerpted from The Avatar Path: The Way We Came, by Harry Palmer.