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[Added February 12, 2011]

Are You Being Asked to "Rework the Problem?"

Unlike the failure mechanism I documented in the previous section, this particular "failure mechanism" showed up fairly quickly when my success rate, after going back up to about 96%  began to go back down again in early January of 2011.  The real interesting aspect of this "failure mechanism" that blocked me from initially seeing it is that it is neither "failure" nor a "mechanism"!  This is not to say that what I said on the previous page about the side-effects of Manipulation-as-Suppression was not true because it did not help me return to my previous success rate nor stay there.  Rather, it was a necessary truth to learn before I could move beyond it.

What do I mean by us learning a truth so we could move beyond it?  This is not to say that truths are temporary or changeable, but that some truths are more applicable to a specific situation and problem than other truths: if you have a problem with your plumbing, the truths about electricity and electrons are of lesser pertinence to resolving the problem than the truths about plumbing and water, even though they are truths in themselves.  And if you're working on an electrically powered water pump rather than on the piping, then both sets of truths become relevant, only in different ways based on one's progress in solving the problem.

Thus, it should probably have been expected that, having considered the failure mechanism of "side effects", that the obvious question arose as to whether there is another methodology that would side-step those "side effects".  After all, when it came to combatting germ-based infections, sulfa drugs came before antibiotics and were equally effective, but were suppplanted by antibiotics because they had more undesirable side-effects than antibiotics.  About 5 to 6 years ago, there was a scare about germ immunity to a very popular pediatric antibiotic.  As a temporary replacement, I and other adults were being given sulfa drugs, and I distinctly recall reading a caution on the label against staying in the sunlight too long! 

After some thinking, I realized near the end of December of 2010, that what I had been calling "suppression" was not really "suppressing" any thoughts as much as a form of Indirect manipulation via "stimulation" of the appropriate neurons containing the required counter-neurotransmitters.  Suppression, in the real sense of the term, would act on the offending neurons secreting the offending neurotransmitters directly.  That form of suppression would avoid the side-effects of the counter-neurotransmitters by simply not using them, in the same way that the bad side-effects of sulfa drugs were avoided, not by giving me a different set of drugs to counteract the side-effects, but by administering an entirely different medicine that lacked the side-effects in the first place.  In addition, since there were no counter-neurotransmitters being secreted, they would never "run out" at the end of the day.  

Well, no sooner had I figured that out that my success rate started plunging again!  I kept asking the Spirit to "suppress" the temptations the usual way, but never seemed to get relief, succumbing to porn twice.  Finally, in frustration, I used Illumination to ask why the Spirit apparently was "not doing anything", and the answer I got was "Do it directly."

Well, Duh!  Of course.  The moment real doctors had antibiotics available to prescribe, who'd be idiotic enough to prescribe the now-obsolete sulfa drugs?  A bit of thought finally revealed something that I should have deduced: Suppression via indirect manipulation (suppression by stimulation of counter-neurotransmitters) is inherently weaker than direct manipulation because the power of the Spirit is necessarily limited by the limits of the intervening mechanism!  An infinitely strong person could lift a weight directly by picking it up, or indirectly by pulling on a pully attached to the weight.  However, the amount of weight being lifted in the latter case is limited by the strength of the rope , not the greater strength of the person pulling on it.  If the weight was being lifted via a lever, the weight would be limited by the breaking strength of the material composing the lever.  If God deliberately was limiting Himself to suppressing my temptations via indirect manipulation, then even He would be prevented from helping me the moment the counter-neurotransmitters ran out. 

Of course this immediately leads to asking the question "Then why did the Spirit start off with you using indirect manipulation in the first place?"  The answer was that I was not spiritually mature enough to trust the Spirit with direct manipulation, since indirect manipulation has more places where I could intervene and stop the process if I got uncomfortable with the direction it was going than if direct manipulation was used.  Experience and time eventually helped me build up to a level of trust where I no longer needed the security blanket of what amounted to a "panic button" whose design was meant to limit the power of the Spirit in my head, in the same way that a fuse or circuit breaker is put into a power circuit to protect the equipment and wiring attached to it.  Clearly, if the wiring is sufficient to conduct the needed power from what is essentially an infinite power source, then one will be limited in the equipment one can power from a circuit whose current carrying capacity is limited by a fuse.

The transition from indirect manipulation to direct manipulation proved to involve only a realization that I now trusted the Spirit's good will a lot more than when I first started, so giving permission to transition to the more powerful methodology was very easy to give. 

That worked for about two weeks, but when I began to get temptations that asking the Spirit to suppress directly didn't seem to work, I didn't dither as long wondering what the problem was now, but again used Illumination to ask what the issue was this time.

And I got back the answer "Now use Unification."  (It would probably help to understand that, while all this was going on, I was independently exploring unification as I saw it being used in other religious traditions and experiences, and was getting frustrated that those experiences were mapping very poorly to my understanding and experience, as well as being very difficult to evaluate.)

The use of Unification to suppress temptations is clearly a subject for a different essay, since the methodology that is required to do so appears to be of a different kind than simply giving permission.  My first few tries have been a mixed bag, while my more recent experiences have been more uniformly successful, despite obviously still being in the debugging stages of this latest capability, so I'm not planning to write anything about it until I'm back up to, or have surpassed, my success rate.  However, the subject of this page in this essay is to point out that our driving toward zero tolerance for sin in our lives doesn't only mean learning how to use the tools provided by the Spirit more efficiently and skillfully, but sometimes it requires that we change out the tools we use, which necessarily forces us to "reclimb the learning curve." 

Hopefully, you now understand why I put this as a "Failure mechanism" in quotes, because the unacceptability of "failure" (sinning) was merely a goad used by the Spirit to push me to "more advanced technology": in theory, direct manipulation is more powerful than indirect manipulation, and unification is more desirable than direct manipulation since it is an improvement in relationship as well as capability.  Refusing to suppress my temptations using Indirect manipulation was the Spirit doing what a good calculus teacher does when he assigns to his class the task of deriving the equation for the volume of a sphere, but "now do it using integration": the point is not to find out the volume of a sphere (we already know that), but to force us to re-solve a problem using a more powerful method, and checking our solution against the solution we already know to confirm we're applying the more powerful method correctly.  Once we are confident that we can apply the new method correctly, then we can tackle problems whose solutions are difficult to get using the older methods by using the new methods with the confidence that the solutions we get will be correct. 

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