Personal Growth

Do Some People Live an Acausal Life?

By Suzanne E. Harrill

Observing human behavior has always intrigued me. I have learned so much through the years about choices people make based on belief systems and repeating patterns handed down through the family of origin, as well as suffering emotionally from trauma. When working with clients that are motivated by insight, I am like a detective looking for clues as to how an individual got themselves into negative situations and life challenges. My curiosity allows me to help others figure out blocks preventing each from getting new results in their lives, building new skills, reaching their goals, and solving their problems. Wanting to move away from pain and suffering motivates many to do the inner work necessary to change. Most people that I have guided live from a position that they could affect future results in their lives by repatterning beliefs and actions.

Currently my curiosity is focused on understanding and accepting individuals that do not live this way, who find it difficult to learn from their experiences or make new choices when experiencing negative consequences. I am viewing such individuals through the lens of living life from an acausal perspective, meaning not governed by or operating by the laws of cause and effect. This would be opposed to people who are results oriented, living with cause, believing they have free will choice to improve their situations, solve problems, and grow in awareness. Causal individuals believe they have something to do with what happens to them and want to learn from mistakes and poor choices to get new results in life.

Those living life from an acausal life position are not thus motivated, living more in the moment as life shows up. Many repeat patterns over and over that do not give the results they say they want. Behavior or choices do not improve after repeatedly experiencing pain and suffering from their mistakes, actions, beliefs, emotions, and choices. Their unwise actions, communication style, or thought patterns keep them stuck in a holding pattern of inaction many times. Some appear childlike, having trouble planning, seeing possibilities, visualizing results for the future, or seeking help to learn new skills. They worry about a problem today as it comes up, not foreseeing ahead of time there may be a way to solve a problem before it becomes unmanageable.

From my observation, many people living from an acausal perspective feel they are victims of life and other people, trapped with little or no power. They do not see consequences of their choices and belief systems as having anything to do with them, and therefore do not make changes with their choices that could benefit them.

I see a continuum between acausal and causal life positions. Someone in the middle has some of both. My own position is to be on the causal side of the continuum, therefore it is part of my curiosity to understand individuals different from myself. Either side can get caught judging the other extreme and may have been frustrated in trying to help or accept them. How do we understand someone with a different orientation without judging them, making them wrong, or thinking we have to change them?

Awareness is the key. Having words to describe someone different from ourselves allows us to see another perspective. It is helpful to be curious how another operates, thinks, and acts when it is different from the way we live life. Living with cause, goals, and self-improvement, by the way, is emphasized in our culture and rewarded. I, for one, have been taught this is normal and the best way to live a life. Consider, it is a way, not the way.

To accept those different from ourselves there are new ways for us to think and act. We can do exactly what we want people different from ourselves to do -- change, see things differently, and make different, wiser choices.

Let us continually remind ourselves that we are mature adults, growing in awareness. It is a choice to accept all people, including those different from us.

Accepting someone with traits that annoy us does not mean we have to have an active relationship with them. It is perfectly okay to set boundaries. Obviously if someone is an acquaintance, we can accept them and choose to never see them again. It is a little more difficult when it is a family member. Here again boundaries are in order. You can limit how much time you spend with these individuals once they are grown up. If you have a child with a position different from yours then it can be more challenging. It is a good idea to teach children to see other ways of viewing life and to build awareness of choices. It is also helpful to be curious about how they operate, how their life position serves them. You can even learn from them and possibly incorporate some of their traits in your personality, rather than only focus on helping them change to do life the way you prefer. Say for example you are a driven, goal-oriented person and don't easily enjoy living in the moment. You may benefit from slowing down and experiencing a non-goal-oriented day and even choose it sometimes to balance yourself. Another important thing to do is notice what you like about one different from you. Find something positive about their way of living life. This helps stop our judgmental mind. In the end all you may be able to do is accept them just the way they are.

In summary. Some people appear to live an acausal life, where they do not live life the way many of us are conditioned in our culture. Many of us are conditioned to be cause driven, to strive, grow, do inner work, change and get new results in the future. Instead of judging each other or thinking we need to change each other, we can choose to learn to accept and understand each other. It is up to each of us to choose a more mature path.





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