This dimension is very important for the Intrinsic Practice, as reflected in the name of the practice. It describes the mode in which experiences originate. There are two modes of experience: the “intrinsic” mode in which experiences originate from within you, and the “extrinsic” mode in which experiences originate from outside. The modes can also be labelled in terms of the directions they represent: the intrinsic mode being an “inside-out” mode, and the extrinsic mode being a “outside-in” mode, respectively.
As such, the Intrinsic Practice asserts that happiness already exists in you and that its experience can be enhanced with a practice carried out by you. Thus, it is all intrinsic to you; it is all from within you.
More concretely, this dimension helps you recognize the mode you use to experience happiness. In the intrinsic, inside-out mode, your experience of happiness is determined by your choices and control over your thoughts, emotions, notions, etc.; in the extrinsic, outside-in mode, your experience of happiness is determined by choices and sources of control that come from outside of you. This applies to any situation you may be in: in the intrinsic mode, you would draw upon your own attributes, emotions, thoughts, values and purpose to experience happiness, while in the extrinsic mode, you would draw upon those of others. Likewise, in the intrinsic mode, you would bring experiences to situations, while in the extrinsic mode you would attempt to get experiences from situations. In the intrinsic mode, your anchor for happiness would be your own attributes, emotions, thoughts, values and purpose, while in the extrinsic mode you would expect those around you to make you happy. Similarly, in the intrinsic mode, happiness can be brought with you to situations, whereas in the extrinsic mode you expect it to derive from situations.
Keeping the two modes in mind is useful as a tool of observation and knowledge because it gives you more clarity not only about the nature and origin of what you experience, namely being intrinsic or extrinsic, but also about the nature and origin of control over these experiences. In the intrinsic mode, the control over your emotions or thoughts is yours, coming from within you. In the extrinsic mode, the control comes from outside and is no longer yours. In any situation, when in the intrinsic mode, you have more control over what you feel and think because you believe that emotions and thoughts come from within you and can be modified by you. However, when in the extrinsic mode, you believe that what you feel or think depends on what happens around you, what people think or do, the way they act toward you, and so on. The control is not so much with you but with factors real or imagined outside of you.
An important point to understand is that intrinsic or extrinsic modes are closely related to the types of mechanisms used. We have seen in the previous part on mechanisms that attributes, purposes, ethic, emotions and thoughts characterize us and originate from within us. We have also seen that we can apply supporting mechanisms to these elements and dimensions and experience them with more harmony and comfort. When this happens, the experiences are from within us, in the intrinsic mode.
Let’s look at an example to illustrate the relationship between mechanisms and modes. Let’s use assets such as intelligence or talent. When we support intelligence or talent, we experience them, express them and use them. We bring them with us into situations. We are then in the inside-out, intrinsic, mode. The experience is empowering and pleasant. On the other hand, when we oppose those assets, we do not have access to them and do not experience them, express them or use them. The resulting experience is disempowering and unpleasant. Furthermore, we may deal with the unpleasantness and conflict of opposing intelligence of talent by compensating with substances, by rationalizing and procrastinating, by blaming others, by striving to prove ourselves to others, by seeking their reassurance about our intelligence or talent, etc. We are then in in the extrinsic mode. Strive to understand this relationship between mechanisms and modes by doing similar a similar with other elements or dimensions.
When you think you understand the relationship, move on to the last dimension, Notion.