When we put on our ‘doing good’ head we set ourselves up for a fall or at least a trip or two. The ‘doing good’ head wants to be rewarded. That’s what happens when you put a head on rather than have that transparent sense of observing the self doing stuff, being ‘aware’. You can put on a ‘busy head’ or an ‘action head’- and these tactics work- but you have to pay the piper, you have to reward the head with some kind of obvious non-subtle result. When I put on my ‘production head’ for writing I reward this head by printing out my pages and riffling through the sheets and telling the head- ‘look at that, 3000 words, well done etc etc’. Don’t be subtle with a head. It’s wasted. Subtlety only has value when applied to perceiving things with a ‘transparent head’ on. This is why lots of successful people are really unsubtle, kind of dorky in fact. They have learnt what lots of intellectuals have missed: the various ‘heads’ you wear speak a debased and simplified language of reward and punishment.
But you need to get beyond this. A friend wrote to me the other day about the pitfalls of following a path to some kind of greater understanding. A thought came to me: you have to stop putting yourself out of the way of wisdom. A lot of what we do isn’t ‘wrong’ in the ‘doing good’ sense of wrong, but it puts us out of the way of wisdom. It decreases our necessity – after all, if you live a life that doesn’t need wisdom then where’s the evolutionary pressure to develop it? Of course this doesn’t mean simply turning up the pressure and making life tough and complicated- these things can very easily put us into ‘fight or flight’ mode- pure stress. It actually means something worth contemplating for a while- look at what puts you out of the way of wisdom.