“Drawing hands” by M. C. Escher. This drawing demonstrates the paradox of the “self creating itself”. We experience reality through a filter that we create. This enables a certain experience of reality, which enforces the self, which again creates a specific experience. The external world mirrors the internal world. 

I trust life, why use models and make it complex?

People who have discovered a deeper essence of life might indeed question why bother and learn different, sometimes pretty complex models to grow oneself. Why not just be in the flow, trust the magic of life and everything will take care of itself? To a certain degree, they are right. It is indeed important to let go of the tension that is caused by the need to control – ergo, *trust Life*. BUT, and this is a big but, *our experience, understanding, and interpretation of life are shaped by the magnitude of our ego-filter, in addition to the state of our being*. We might be “at peace”, but the magnitude and impact of that peace will be limited by our understanding. We might feel total unity but our capacity for what “total” is will be limited by our self-structure. That is, both the state (sense of unity, oneness, love) and the structure (capacity, understanding, multidimensionality) are needed to mature.

We don’t have to use models, just like we could pound a nail to the wood using our bare hands. But why would we not use proper tools? To build your “structure” efficiently, you would want to explore different options and be smart in choosing the ones suitable for the job. Some amount of complexity is needed to find clarity on the other side. Otherwise, we are stuck in one particular way to see, which inevitably causes tension within and between others.

Static vs Living (evolving) models

There’s some value in “static” models (many of the overly simplified psychological models popular today) which label the characteristics of an entity (individual, organization, etc). These models help to see the world a certain way, paint a specific view and help understand the current snapshot of the self and others (what “type” are you, what are your strengths/ weaknesses, what are exercises that are beneficial for you, etc.). This can be good for starters but has hidden problems beneath the surface. There’s a problem with this approach as life is constantly changing, deeply interconnected, vast, impossibly complex, etc. Very quickly do the overly fixated labels become a hindering factor because they create a way to see and associate the self. If we get stuck to a specific lens we block our continual growth. We start judging, making assumptions, protecting our views, and even fighting, instead of realizing that we and everyone else are on a path that continues going onward.

So, instead, it is smart to (also) use DEVELOPMENTAL MODELS, which project a full path from the beginning to the (open) end. Or provide a reasonable path in a specific context, for example narrowing the focus on the many developmental phases of the baby’s first year. Everyone can be placed in developmental models, so everyone can use them to illuminate their inner (potentially forgotten) layers, understand their current approximate level of maturity, and get some sense of the next level of growth. 

A mix of developmental models

Art of Self Academy embraces the evolutionary model to develop and heal oneself through food. Interestingly, astonishingly, food can be yoga, food is the guru, food is the path – from the primal to the magical, to the most subtle forms of reality and everything in between. Food exists in all layers of being (from the micro, to the many layers of the individual, to the community and collective beings, to the whole world and beyond). 

We don’t, however, insist that this is the only model to use for personal growth. It is but one, albeit extremely powerful tool to use. To achieve maximum benefit, it is useful to explore many avenues/ verticals to develop a rich self-structure and to pick tools depending on the current need of the self. For example, we could focus on health, and find a rabbit hole of different narratives, world views, manipulations, blindspots, and an opportunity to self-heal oneself and the world. Or we could look at money and dive deep into the history, meaning, and evolution of value. If we go far enough we might find that today’s financial world is built on suboptimal ground which creates unfair advantages for the few at the expense of others. If we look long enough, we can also find ways to counter this unfair system. An occurring theme can be realized of a narrow/ surface-level view of the mainstream that applies to all topics.

There are also subtler meta-layers to investigate and integrate into our self-structure filter. We could develop our mental model of the Universe. Here, again, are different angles with corresponding layers/ dimensions that we can explore, and the further we grow, the richer our understanding becomes, which in turn will influence our experience of life itself. For example, we could slice the Universe into dimensions (e.g. Zero/ infinite potentiality, duality, 3D spacetime, 4D infinite mental space, etc) to provide a grand view of Reality. We can try to find a single commonality – the so-called unified theory of everything – to help make sense of why anything exists at all (e.g. Ervin Laszlo’s quantum theory of everything, Thomas Campbell’s “My big TOE”, etc). We could try to construct the guiding principle with maximum signal-to-noise ratio (e.g. Integral Wizard: Love-based O.S). We could define universal principles (e.g. 7 Hermetic Principles – polarity, correspondence, rhythm, vibration, etc) to guide our understanding of life on a principle level. Or even go so far as to try and define an inclusive model of all models (e.g. Ken Wilber’s AQAL Integral Framework). These, and many others, are all different but complementary approaches. Playing around and developing oneself with many tools is the essence of the integral approach. No single path is The One, but all paths provide a unique glimpse of the One, and thus it makes sense to be open and try many of them as they reinforce each other.

There are no limits to how we define and build our self-structure. It is truly an open game. We are all unique individuals carving out our cosmic journey. We can say with certainty, however, that whatever we experience is *filtered*/interpreted by the structure of our minds. The quality/ magnitude/ reach of the self-structure impacts our experience of life. It is with the utmost respect we feel towards all people willing to remain open/ free, and keep on expanding and defining their structure of the self. You are the game changers. You are creating your reality and shaping our collective experience. To help you further, we have created an integration guide for the evolutionary 8D Food. A supported course that you can use to build a unique, deep, multidimensional, and expansive relationship between food and the self. Check it out here. 🙏