In any given moment, we have choice. But what are the factors that allow us to see that there is choice, when our conditioning drives us to hold ourselves harmless and pawn off consequences to external factors beyond our control?
One critical factor is being able to tolerate multiple states within our own experience. Even if we can only tolerate this for a split second, it can be long enough to be able to make conscious choices. Making conscious choice is the essence of agency.
Gaining agency translates to feelings of being in control of one’s experience.
Agency is the foundation of personal responsibility.
We achieve agency and the capacity to assume responsibly for the quality of our lives when we can enter the liminal spaces of our existences with curiosity, and rest there, between conditioned reactions and rational objectivity, for as long as it takes to assess and be comfortable with the outcome of our choice.
Agency exists at the intersection of linear and non-linear time. It is one fixed moment that is fully self-contained but that also exists on the continuum of our experience.
Did I lose you? Agency is mostly a somatic experience, and only once gained can we enact cognition into service. So you can see why it’s one of those concepts, like empathy, that many have a hard time gaining access to.
In my work, we explore the concept of value neutrality in our somatic experience of ourselves, and we work from that place to build in agency. It’s pretty powerful stuff. I’m building my method from my personal experience and from the data I gather from the world around me. Through every client interaction I add to my database. And it stuns me to see how, at the core of it all, every road leads back to this place.
Agency. What does it mean to you?