Allow Mode

My definitions and usage of various terms in the following essay (e.g. “waking up,” “leap-frogging,” “The Force”) are found in the initial essays in this blog collection. See the entries posted as Front Matter and Introduction, Waking Up and Leap-Frogging. 

Allow Mode

            There’s an old saw that goes, “Don’t just stand there! Do something!” The subject of this essay is almost the reverse of this: “Don’t just do something (mindless action)! Stand there (mindfully)!” Note the parenthetical additions. Most Second Wave activity, especially in response to crises or pressing circumstances, is mindless: not reflective, not well thought out, not based on sound principles. There is a marked denigration of inaction/non-action in the Second Wave world, as if not doing is to be equated with passivity or an inability to take action. “Allow mode” is part of Third Wave reality in its assumptions, goals and effects. We will examine what I mean by this, but first I need to define the concept, and within this, examine the connotations of “allow.”

Definitions of “Allow”

            Dictionaries define “allow” in terms of letting, giving, admitting, acknowledging, and “permitting to happen, especially through carelessness or neglect.”[1] Note the negative implication. We are not using “allow” in this negative sense in this essay. Rather, we are drawing more on the classical Greek senses of “allow.”

            The ancient Greeks thought of “allow” in terms of giving, granting or offering something to the gods, or devoting oneself to something (worthy of such devotion).[2] They put stress on a yielding or subordination of ego to something higher, a higher force, power or principle. This inclusion of a higher power is central to the concept of “allow mode.”

Definitions of “Allow Mode”

            “Mode” is a way of being or responding. I am thinking now of the current computer techno-jargon, “sleep mode,” when a computer is not fully functional, but is “resting” in an energy-conserving state. Similarly, “allow mode” is a way of being or responding to life.

            The term is not my creation. I was introduced to it when I studied energy healing at the Barbara Brennan School. It was used there to refer to one of several possible ways of working with energy. “Push,” “pull,” “stop” and “allow” are four ways energy healers can handle energy. “Allow mode” is the mode in which the healer simply holds the energy field with the conscious intention not to “do” anything. That is, the ego mind is not in control. The logical left brain is not trying to diagnose, prescribe or “make” a cure happen. Rather, the healer, by holding the field, creates a “space” for The Force to work, to bring the patient whatever he or she needs. By non-doing, the healer gets his/her ego out of the way and serves as a conduit for a higher wisdom to work. In my experience, allow mode is the most powerful of all the modes of energy work.

            Note that allow mode is not pure passivity, because it requires a certain type of action. This action takes the form of mentally setting an intention. It focuses the will to be fully present, attentive, responsive and responsible (i.e. able to respond to the patient). The healer consciously puts his/her skills, talents, time and energies at the disposal of The Force, and deliberately resists the desire to intervene. A further form of action is the courage required to move into that psychic “space” where we (ego mind) don’t know when, where or how we will be put to use.

            Allow mode also requires trust, because we don’t know. We operate, when in allow mode, relying that we will be guided, at the right time, to the right place, to connect with the right people. We trust that we will be given all that we need to do the task we are given.

            The opposite of allow mode is “making it happen.” The Second Wave world is addicted to “making it happen.” The Second Wave world insists on control, being in control, staying in control, because of its illusion that we are in control and can control the world. The Second Wave world believes not only that it can “make it happen,” but that it can know what it should do or make happen. This is the cause of many, if not all, of the problems in contemporary life.

How Allow Mode Relates to Waking Up and Leap Frogging

            A key facet of waking up is subordinating the ego to the Self (our Divine core). This is difficult because the ego doesn’t like to relinquish control. Every such experience feels, to the ego, like a defeat. To become conscious of the Self, to become aware of how our ego operates, and to place the ego under the Self takes effort.[3]

            Jesus spoke of this effort when he talked of those worthy of him taking up their cross and following him, and “losing their lives for his sake.” The consequence of such loss is finding one’s life. This paradox bears a bit of examination.

            Spiritual reality is paradoxical. Jesus knew this. He often confounded the priests, scribes and teachers of the law with his habit of talking in paradoxes. The one in Matthew 10:38-39 is classic:

“…anyone who does not take his cross and follow after me [i.e. use my life as a model] is not worthy of me. Whoever invents/creates his life [on the material plane], will ruin/destroy it [on the spiritual plane] and whoever gives up his life [on the material plane] for my sake [i.e. to follow Divine guidance] will gain it [on the spiritual plane].[4]

Allow mode is closely connected to crucifying the ego and making the conscious choice to use Jesus as a model. Doing so involves giving up or “losing” one’s (ego-driven) life. When we make this sacrifice, we “find” life on the spiritual plane. With his repeated deference to Divine will,[5] Jesus is a model for us of living in allow mode.

            When we set our will consciously to “lose” our life, we give up trying to make happen what we think needs to happen. Thereafter we begin to get guidance, through dreams, through intuitions, through synchronicities (meaningful coincidences) in daily life.

            Part of being awake is being attentive to these ways that The Force directs us to our mission, how we are to serve others, and what specifically we are meant to do. This then leads to leap-frogging.

            Part of leap-frogging is allowing ourselves to be conduits for The Force. We do this recognizing that we are “God’s love with arms on it.”[6] We function very much as messengers (the original Greek for which, aggelos, has taken on a lot more associations: we think of “angels” as much more than simple “messengers”). But we are meant to be messengers of Divine love and caring to others.

            To be such messengers, we cannot operate out of ego, trying to control. We cannot be “attached” to some outcome. We cannot be “invested” in helping others.[7]

            To function in allow mode, we must not be afraid of being regarded as different or unconventional. We must not hesitate to try something new, or to question convention. We must not hold back from challenging or questioning traditions, especially those that disempower, harm or limit groups or individuals.

            Living and working in allow mode clearly is not easy, or comfortable. It challenges much of what the Second Wave mind-set holds dear. And it will often tax our patience and challenge our faith. But to do otherwise—to try to “make it happen”—sets us on a sure-fire course toward disaster.

Questions for Further Reflection

Can you recall a time when you acted upon an intuition without knowing why, or without having logical reasons to do so? If so, how did you feel? What was the result?

Do you live in an environment that recognizes and supports intuitive ways of thinking and living? If not, how might you make your environment more supportive of intuitive modes of living?

What is your reaction to the idea of “losing your life” for the sake of serving The Force?

Can you recall a time in your life when you acted in “allow mode,” as described in this essay? If so, what did it feel like?

For Further Reading

Hitchcock, John (1991), The Web of the Universe: Jung, the “New Physics” and Human Spirituality. New York: Paulist Press.

Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching (The Way of Life), trans. R.B. Blakney. New York: New American Library.

Smith, Huston (1991), “Taoism,” The World’s Religions. San Francisco: Harper.



[1] World Book Encyclopedia Dictionary, I, 55.

[2] Liddell & Scott (1978), 199. The verb is didomi.

[3] Hitchcock (1991), 152.

[4] For a translation of this passage from a Jungian psychological perspective, see ibid., 216.

[5] E.g. Matt. 6:10; 26:39; 26:42.

[6] I saw this phrase emblazoned on a banner in Holy Redeemer Roman Catholic Church, Bar Harbor, Maine, in 1979. It has stuck in my mind ever since.

[7]See the essay in this collection on “Why Helping is Not Appropriate” for the differences between helping and supporting.