Category Archives: Politics

Paradigms Are a Matter of Life or Death

Jordan B. Peterson, psychologist, truth-sayer and rock star of recent months, said the most important work that can be done is establishing the relationship between belief systems and the outcomes they generate. I agree.

BECAUSE:

It doesn’t help to tell people to follow their dreams, to be the best they can be, or that nothing is impossible with the right attitude. When they live in societies that enforce limiting, false beliefs, they are (so to speak) paddling upstream in a leaky canoe without oars.

If you thinking you can wish on a star and get what you want, whenever you want it, with no concept of history, you’re in for a rude shock or two. Easy times are over.

If you think it’s possible to eliminate irrational hatreds and eradicate self-serving prejudice with logic and love alone, you’ll have as much success as a man pissing on a forest fire.

Here are (just a few) examples of disastrous results that flow from static, incomplete and incorrect paradigms:

People who live in the poverty of a flattened, empirical science belief system are being told, in effect, by their parents, educators and political leaders that they don’t (and shouldn’t) exist. That only their physical appearance, social status and material possessions matter. Wonder why suicide rates are so high? Or that respect for authority is at an all time low? Or that government corruption is rampant? Or that underworld violence is escalating over the top? (Surely you can add to the list.)

Deny inner emotional levels of the Life Wheel. Suffocate innate impulses to play and seek adventure. Ridicule innermost intimations of immorality and highest aspirations. Starve people of meaning and joy in the name of duty and obligations to serve the collective. That’s the sure recipe for destruction of highest magnitude. It begins one destroyed individual at a time. And ends with the collapse of whole civilizations.

The only way out of this madness is to restore a complete and accurate paradigm. Acknowledge the multi-dimensional quality of life – the inherent pattern of perfection – which is everyone’s inalienable birthright.

Further, the Life Wheel doubles as a time clock. You need to know not only who you are, but where you stand. The precise point in the cycles of history you’re in right now tells you the specific dangers and opportunities open to you NOW.

For example, the biblical stories which Dr. Peterson recommends as Maps of Meaning show repeating cycles of events. Which of these stories apply to us NOW? More specifically, which point in time within those stories is relevant?

Dr. Peterson is looking to Abraham right now, possibly because he was the progenitor of three major religions currently engaged in mutual self-destruction.

But I’m more interested in King David, who, like Christ, was born in Bethlehem, and who as a young shepherd was anointed by the prophet Samuel to be future king. The point in time that’s appropriate to us now, I think, is the confrontation between the boy David and the giant Goliath. Today, this might represent individuals of good will in the face of impending totalitarian global government.

What’s important here is that David exemplifies acting from a complete and accurate paradigm. He acted fearlessly on the belief that “God is with me.” With a single shot to the center of the giant’s forehead (not coincidentally seat of the third eye), he brought the monster down.

David trusted that he was not alone. He “knew” exactly where to aim. His vision was clearly focused on his target (light). He had the vigor (energy) and physical strength (mass) as well as coordination (unity) to overcome the fearsome obstacle that threatened to annihilate him and enslave his people.

There are other biblical figures who at critical points in their cyclical (hero’s journey) experience, are being picked up upon as useful role models. One is Noah anticipating the flood. Another is Joseph at the time he foresaw and was allowed to prepare for times of famine.

There’s Moses at the critical time when the Angel of Death upon the Land of Egypt passed over the homes of the faithful.

And then there’s Job, the model of faith enduring to the end and being restored, even better than before. The phoenix image.

Here’s the secret to be gleaned from this story, illumined by the infinity symbol that links the levels of the Life Wheel. Job says, “The Lord giventh.” This is the outward, materializing movement from center to surface of the Wheel. “And The Lord taketh away.” This is the receding path of return to center. In all, “Blessed be the NAME of the Lord.” The Logos. Think Indy Jones in the Grail movie, the Last Crusade. The receding steps leading to treasure are marked with the Hebrew letters that spell out the Name of God. The creative Name. Remember his “Leap of Faith.”

Also remember that he’s not the only one seeking the Grail . . . power-hungry Nazis are close on his heels, seeking immortality not for love of human/divine fathers, but for the fatherland.

Phoenix - sized

The 11th hour we’re now approaching was foreseen in 1998. I continue to write in this mode, most currently in As Conflict Escalates, What Can Be Done Now? Here is summary and conclusion:

In the past, monasteries arose as islands of hospitality, learning and civility during Europe and Asia’s so-called dark ages. Once again, as another dark age looms on the horizon, intentional communities dedicated to preserving the essential teachings will naturally arise. My best hope is that future leaders will meet the responsibility of shaping hopeful new beginnings; that they will succeed in transmitting the wisdom of the ancients to future generations along side the complimentary technical know-how of today’s sciences.

In the Positive Paradigm reality map, future educators have a versatile self-awareness tool with which to teach the basics of leading an integrated, self-responsible life. Building on the seven basic axioms which flow from it, tomorrow’s leaders have a viable model upon which to structure healthy social organizations.

Conclusion

Resolving conflict necessarily occurs one person at a time, and from the inside out. For this reason, however complex and overwhelming world problems may seem, we each have the option and responsibility to improve that which is closest to home: ourselves. By reducing internal conflict within, each of us has the potential, if only in modest ways, to reduce the conflict without. . . .

Angel Calling

Keep It Together

star of david

Although it seems there’s no longer much more to be said, yesterday’s Aha moment is an exception.

Here’s the back story.

Over Thanksgiving week-end, for the benefit of those who hadn’t seen The Walking Dead series, we spent several hours here watching back-to-back episodes of the first two seasons.

For me, this second go round had an even greater impact. The content speaks on many levels, in many ways, to our increasingly dangerous times.

Like life itself, the series is a complex counterpoint of relationship drama, political intrigue, philosophical ponderings and soul searchings. It’s intense: not for the weak of stomach or for lovers of sentimental fluff.

Beyond the surface story line, however, it is poignantly symbolic. Perhaps in a very deep way, it’s prophetic. Which explains why a simple pilot unexpectedly took off to become a sensational success. For those with ears to hear, it resonates straight to our very core.

How, you might ask, does a story about a world overrun by hoards of cannibalistic zombies apply to current events and leadership issues?

Well, let’s see.

In The Walking Dead, zombies are mindless corpses that carry on after humans die. All but the primal, limbic functions of the human brain have been disease-destroyed.

When you think about it, it’s not such a far cry from the end result being achieved (perhaps intentionally, perhaps not) by manipulating humans (programming them in the name of education) based on brain science.

Neuro-marketing, for example, stimulates the same vestigial, animal part of the brain that drives zombiesintentionally bypassing rational cognitive functions involved in critical thinking and rational decision-making.

An academic website defines neuro marketing as : the formal study of the brain’s responses to advertising and branding, and the adjustment of those messages based on feedback to elicit even better responses. Researchers use technologies such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and electroencephalography (EEG) to measure specific types of brain activity in response to advertising messages. With this information, companies learn why consumers make the decisions they do, and what parts of the brain are motivating them to do so.

It increasingly seems as if walking dead hoards include not only fictional zombies, but average consumers and citizens — even the college professors, marketing professionals and politicians who direct their communications to these same animal brain functions.

Economists and politicians have jumped on the marketing bandwagon, exploiting brain science. Earlier, I expressed strong reservations about the ethics and consequences of applying brain science research to marketing and policy making.

Intentionally targeting instinctual, animal functions of the brain with subliminal messages represents an intentional effort to control and dehumanize the general population. The results could be scary indeed.

In a LinkedIn article that points out serious problems with Thinking, fast and slow, Kahneman’s book on behavioral economics, I concluded:

To continue sleep-walking on the shallow surface of life as most of us do now plays into the hands of madmen and tyrants, some of whom, if it seemed to further their ambitions, would have no compunction whatsoever about plunging the entire world into nuclear war.

But back to The Walking Dead. As a commentary on leadership options in this scary new world, it triggered my Aha on the importance of “keeping it together” as a devolving world militates to tear us apart. The answer I came up with is part mystical, part medical for those with the training and diligence to practice yogic breathing and concentration methods.

The primary questions this series challenges us to think about are, “Who is going to survive in such a chaotic future, How, and Why?”

The protagonist, Rick represents the voice of reason. His words and actions show him to be more evolved than most. He’s a “natural leader,” if you will. This former sheriff’s deputy knows weapons and can handle himself in a fight. But in balance, he is also a “righteous dude.”

Rick earns farm-owner Hershel’s respect by showing him respect.

Hershel – a religious optimist who chooses to deny the existence of danger closing in on all sides – wakes up the hard way, losing all he owns in the process. He’s highly evolved, but out of balance. The practical street smarts were too late coming. At least in the beginning, he was extreme yin, out of balance.

And then there’s the opposite side of the coin. Shane. His exudes extreme yang energy. This treacherous shake in the grass, ruled by animal appetites, rationalizes his lusts and takes whatever he wants however he can.

Shane dogs Rick’s every step, working to undermine him, scheming to take everything – Rick’s wife, son, and leadership role in their small community. Shane operates from the solar center, with little heart awareness and no functional conscience. He has no concept (much less respect) for higher levels of consciousness. Mercy is outside his range of awareness. To Shane, Rick and Hershel seem weak.

Shane seduces whomever he can with the argument that, civilization being destroyed, he is the wave of the future. Only he is qualified to protect the group. But, depending on the rest of us, that vision remains to be seen.

How to deal with the Shanes of the ugly new world? I’m reminded of Lao Tze 41:

120115 2 Sides 41

In thinking about what combination of leadership qualities will succeed in steering small communities through both the internal and external dangers they will face if/when “civilization” breaks down, I was amazed at how skillfully the leaders in The Walking Dead adjust to change. Like the ancients, they keep their balance by adjusting to the fluctuating demands of a dualistic world.

For in duality, as Solomon wrote:

120115 ecclesiastes

In the future, those in small communities who persist in old ways of thinking, clinging to one extreme or the other, either rational or animal, rigidly ignoring the complex demands of an altered, endangered new world, risk forgetting Henry David Thoreau’s warning: “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of feeble minds.”

Certainly Christ knew this. He taught, “Love one another as I have loved you.” Yet his was not an example of foolish sentimental permissive “tolerant” love. Certainly he had no use for the money changers and demonstrated fierce anger towards hypocrites.

It was at this point in my thinking that the Aha happened. The Star of David, traditionally worn over the heart, is the perfect symbol of balancing the polar qualities future leaders will need to keep civilization from devolving into the exclusively animal realms of a zombie-like existence.

This Star is housed in the “secret place of the Most High” described in Psalm 91. It is associated with the heart center located in the middle Dan Tien. It is the seat of compassion, the place where the upper Tan Tien’s mental light and lower Tan Tien’s solar fire join, blend and balance.

This joining is mirrored in the meaning of Ha-tha (sun & moon) yoga = union.

This six-pointed Star is formed by the intersection of two equilateral triangles. According to Chinese medical notation, the upward pointing triangle represents the quality of yang energies. The downward pointing triangle represents yin.

It is no accident that equilateral triangles are the strongest, most stable of geometric structures. Those who internalize and actualize these realities have the practical means to keep themselves and their communities together.

In the Hindu tradition, the Sri Yantra is similarly constructed of nine interlocking triangles that surround and radiate outwards from a central point.

Sri Yantra

These variations are each based on the same subtle geometry. They express the same inner experience of a central, underlying reality.

To repeat, while on one hand, the universal secret of these interlocking triangles is a profound mystery, on the other, for those familiar with yogic breathing and concentration methods, they are the foundation of practical disciplines with physical, mental and spiritual results.

Given time to refine what is written here, the ideas could be better expressed. But the substance remains as a Christmas gift offered to those prepared to receive it as such.

Arguing and nit-picking would miss the point. The better choice is to bring your own understanding to an urgently important subject and make it your own. It is a key to not only personal survival, but the hope for a better future.

 

When Leaders Can’t Be Trusted

In ancient times, seasons of drought were foreseen by the prophets and prepared for by the leaders they advised. The best known example is Joseph, who correctly interpreted the Egyptian Pharaoh’s dreams. Working together as protectors of their people, they succeeded in storing sufficient supplies of grain during times of plenty to outlast years of famine, saving countless lives.

Today, Obama’s reign up-ends the story of Joseph in Egypt, weaving a tangled, dangerous legacy designed to outlast his years in office.

Now, vulture-like, presidential strategists who “never let an emergency go to waste,” lie in wait for opportunities to further the incremental process of world domination by administrative fiat.

Executive Order 13603 is a blatant case in point.

What it boils down to is that federal agencies have been given free license to take anything from anyone, including virtually ALL privately owned resources. All it would take to trigger this social-economic disaster waiting to happen is a dramatic crisis – a convenient excuse to declare a national state of emergency.

Does escalating race-baiting and violence against urban police ring a bell? Inciting massive Muslim retaliations with cartoon contests in the name of “freedom of speech” would also do the trick. Surely you can easily come up with other likely triggers.

Sounding the alert, M.D. Creekmore, author at TheSurvivalistBlog.net, writes:

Over the years I’ve read many articles and books which suggest that the biggest threat to your survival post collapse are refugees fleeing the cities or your neighbors coming to take your preps. While they maybe a legitimate concern, as you can see by reading the except from executive order 13603, they probably won’t be the biggest threat to your survival.*

Following up, I looked for other descriptions of EO 13603. Wikipedia sanitizes it entirely.

The National Defense Resources Preparedness executive order (Executive Order 13603) is an order of the United States’ President signed by President Barak Obama March 16, 2012. The purpose of this order is to delegate authority and address national defense resource policies and programs under the Defense Production Act of 1950. Executive Order 13603 provides the framework and authority for the allocation or appropriation of resources, materials and services to promote national defense.

Contrary to a few initial claims otherwise, the Order appears to update long-existing directives that have been issued as far back as the Truman Administration and makes no claim to allowing the federal government to confiscate private property or declare martial law.** [emphasis added]

In stark contrast, according to MinutemenNews.com:

The EO includes all of Obama’s out-of-control agencies and they would have unlimited power if the president declared a “national emergency.” Executive Order 13603 — National Defense Resources Preparedness allows the government to completely control our lives through the “industrial and technological base,” should the president declare a national emergency.

EO 13603 gives Obama the power over all commodities and products capable of being ingested by human beings and animals; all forms of energy; all forms of civil transportation; all usable water from all sources; health resources; forces labor such as military conscription; and federal officials can issue regulations to prioritize and allocate resources.*** [emphasis added]

Rather than encouraging and supporting individual initiatives to prepare for seasons of natural disaster, the federal government is systematically blocking such efforts, jealously taking unto itself the exclusive role of “protector” – quite the ravenous wolf in faux-sheep clothing. Home farming is banned in favor of huge corporate monoliths. Second Amendment rights, a basic premise of the Republic, are under fire while the feds are simultaneously arming local police to the teeth.

Which leads me to ask, “What recourse is available to sincere leaders at smaller levels of organization? How are they to fulfill their responsibilities to sustain and protect themselves and those they care for, especially from the onslaught of regulations imposed, ironically, in the name of protection?” For all empty PR, feeble gestures and false pretenses to the contrary, world leaders are part of the problem, not any viable solution.

When, far from being trustworthy, those in positions of authority can be relied upon to be self-serving and deceitful regarding the very real dangers we face from the environment and national enemies alike, where do we turn?

Although I’m never given to know more than what I need to function in the moment, I do know this. The “interesting” times we’re going through now were long foreseen by the prophets. Further, the more extreme external dangers become, the more urgently, in balance, we are obliged to turn to the internal, eternal resources which no government can confiscate with the excuse of exercising “emergency powers.”

Unfortunately, those who riot, protest and return violence for violence play into the hands of their enemies. Those who survive and succeed in protecting those they care for know better.

For far greater subtle powers have always protected those who hear and heed them. In an earlier post, I described Joseph, husband of Mary and protector of the baby Jesus, as a wondrous example of “knowing” where to be when to avoid persecution and ensure his family’s survival.

The earlier Joseph, before becoming Pharaoh’s advisor, also miraculously survived the attacks of jealous brothers, the unjust accusations of his owner’s spiteful wife, and years of imprisonment.

With or without the intercession of religious authorities, the living presence of Christ endures as the ultimate source of guidance and protection. I take his words quite literally. He said he was before, is now, and will continue after the End of Times. As such, his universal presence pervades the essence of all true wisdom traditions. He promised he will be with his followers always, even to the End of Times. When humans leaders prove untrustworthy, this is the deeper promise I implicitly trust.

The challenge inherent in extreme times, a blessing in disguise, is that they force us to return to the basics and draw upon the inner strength too easily forgotten when life on the Wheel’s surface is easy. To repeat, Christ’s essence (call it the Force, or the Tao, as you will) pervades the matrix of creation. It broadcasts from the center of the Life Wheel, ever available as the unfailing fount of strength and help to those listen and trust.

Christ Broadcasts-sized

* http://www.thesurvivalistblog.net/executive-order-13603-and-what-it-means-to-preppers/

** http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_Order_13603

*** http://minutemennews.com/2013/06/executive-order-13603-how-dangerous-is-it/

Who Is Qualified to Know What – and How?

Have you ever thought about how the organizations you were born into – family, communities, governments – society in its many interdependent forms and interrelated facets – came into being? Or are you concerned about where they might now be headed?

I certainly do. Often.

Nor are we alone. Over history, serious thinkers have pondered the subject. A LinkedIn connection recently asked for my thoughts on the possible relationship between awareness and responsibility. He framed his question in the context of social contract theory.

Though initially the subject might seem academic, it’s the basic stuff of human survival. The quality of our lives – even, ultimately, our existence – depends on the level and quality of awareness leaders bring to their organizations.

In turn, their success as leaders depends on the trust, integrity and loyalty of their followers. For in fact, rights and responsibilities on both sides – leaders AND followers — are a two-way street. And when the delicate balance of expectations and obligations is violated, social fabric unravels.

contract

Yet the subject doesn’t get the serious attention it urgently deserves. The consequences of taking for granted what we have inherited, with too little awareness of dangers risked by squandering the fragile blessings we enjoy, need comprehensive rethinking NOW – before it’s too late.

I responded to the question with a LinkedIn article, “Natural Leadership or Authority – Where in the Wheel Do YOU Stand?” (See www.linkedin.com/pulse/natural-leadership-authority-where-wheel-do-you-stand-patricia-west.)

A comment on that post by Lloyd Amogan sparked this extension of the subject. With his permission, I’ll quote:

Yes, there is a relationship between social contract and awareness. The awareness has to involve both our physical levels and our Spiritual levels of Awareness/Consciousness, and not many are familiar with the Spiritual Levels, hence very few are qualified to teach.

I responded:

Your premise poses an interesting question, Lloyd. If the relationship “HAS to involve” full-spectrum awareness, yet many are NOT aware, how does lack of awareness impact of the status of the contract? Some theorize that the contract is “understood” or “implied.” Is this sufficient? What consequences follow from a lack of conscious, intentional involvement in the social contract?

An after thought, if Hobbes was unfamiliar, was he unqualified to write on the subject?

Hobbes, by the way, was famous for his view that, without the overseeing rule of a leviathan ruler, human life is necessarily “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” Spiritual awareness, in his world view, was NOT a factor on either side of the leader-follower equation.

In contrast, trusted advisors to the rulers of long-lived Chinese dynasties depended on a high-level of awareness to maintain social-political stability. The Book of Change, the leadership manual upon which they depended, instills a comprehensive understanding of the human dynamics which drive social-political organizations.

The applications of the following Essay on Knowledge offer an approach to leadership awareness that might have a positive influence on the future directions of existing organizations:

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Essay 20. KNOWLEDGE

Lao Tzu believed that intuitive knowledge was the purest form of information. For that reason, he expressed his philosophy in the form of thought experiments — mental exercises designed to enhance and evolve the intuitive skills. In the Tao Te Ching, he compels us to use intuition as an equal partner with logic.” — R.L. Wing, The Tao of Power

There is a stream of transcendental, information power flowing into the DNA. . . The I CHING, which, by this hypothesis, is coincident with the DNA system, is perhaps the textbook for this cosmic force, the static tension and dynamic flux flowing into the matrix of the DNA.” — Martin Schönberger, The I Ching & The Genetic Code

Modern science tells us that the human organism is not just a physical structure made of molecules, but that, like everything else, we are also composed of energy fields. . . We, too, ebb and flow like the sea. We, too, are constantly changing. How do we, as human beings, deal with such information?” — Barbara Ann Brennan, Hands of Light

THE FRONT

Roots of knowledge mean both acknowledgment or confession, as well as to play, give, or move about. Webster’s first definition is the act, fact, or state of knowing, specifically direct acquaintance or familiarity with a fact or place.

It can mean awareness or understanding. It can mean acquaintance with the facts, range of information grasped by the mind, or enlightenment. It can mean the body of facts, principles accumulated by mankind. An archaic meaning includes carnal knowledge.

Epistemology is the branch of philosophy which defines the rules of knowledge at any given time/place, setting limits by its answers to these questions: What can be known, how, and by whom? Answers have political overtones, often assigning roles according to class, race, age or gender. They influence cultural decisions about the distribution of wealth, power, social status and access to legal protections.

Empirical science respects only information known through reason. Universities train students to dissect and analyze with quantitative and verbal skills. At its best, reason is a tool of constructive discernment, capable of articulating both tangible and intangible information.

With proper training, it can be used to harness the sub-rational, serve the super-rational and link the two, balancing their extremes. As such, reason is a harmonizing function.

Using reason to rule out, avoid or even demean awareness of sub- and super-rational experience is an abuse of the critical faculty.

One overlooked knowledge matrix is ingrained in our very DNA. Many striking resemblances between the structure of DNA and I Ching hexagrams suggest at least one fascinating explanation for how/why this information source resonates with inner knowing. For example, it can’t be accidental that both are both based upon a binary-quaternary code that generates a system of 64 possibilities.

The chakra system of energy transformers which traverse the spine is another knowledge matrix that affects how we process and transmit information. Each chakra filters perception. Each influences the way we interpret experience. Their existence explains how/why the inspired ideas of every religion or science change over time, being diluted and narrowed to fit the thinking of less evolved followers.

One proof of this process is the wide array of Western psychologies, each relevant to a specific chakra issue. Skinner’s is a first chakra psychology based on behavior. Freud focused on sex, a second chakra issue. Adler thought in terms of power, the third chakra. Fromm wrote about love, the fourth chakra focus. Jung was interested in literary symbols and self-actualization, which are fifth and sixth center interests.

Asian sciences, however, have recognized the interactive relationships amongst these concerns. They provide practical methods for integrating the chakras to pave an optimally functioning two-directional highway of continuous energy and information.

Chakra filters also explain why some users interpret the I Ching through the filters of the sub-rational, using it as an oracle of divination. Farmers rely on it to predict the weather and agricultural yield. Others reject such use, preferring to regard The Book of Change as a rational manual for personal improvement and professional advancement.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners refer to it as a psychological and/or medical diagnostic instrument. Still others view it as a super-rational code book, giving it spiritual interpretations. For example Taoist masters interpret it as a yogic manual detailing the alchemical process of inner transformation.

Because it encompass the whole of human experience, the I Ching actually accommodates all of these perspectives – and more.

THE BACK

Ignorance is the opposite of knowledge. It can be the innocence of an inexperienced child, or the result of being kept in the dark, deceived or misled. Some people know, but deny who they are and what they know. The social price of being different seems too high. Others fail to use love and creativity to bridge the gap between inner knowledge and outer experience, and succumb to madness.

Delusion is a perversion of knowledge. It’s a belief that things are as one wants or fears, not as they actually are; or thinking one knows everything there is to know, when one doesn’t. Untrained mediums are sometimes misguided either by their own fantasies or dark angels posing as benefactors.

Therapists & Business Trainers as Mindfulness Teachers – Implementing Kahneman’s S2

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Comments added by Tony Ayaz, Business Trainer, to a recent LinkedIn article* deserve a post in themselves, not only for the important points he raised, but also as reminder of the mindfulness skill he calls “read-listening.”

Rather than speed-reading, skimming through articles for key phrases and/or surfing in search of attack points, he advocates a thoughtful reading between-the-lines. What does the author, deeper than words, really mean?

On first reading of the original comment, out of all that was written, alas, I focused only a single part, overlooking the rest. Out of context, I answered only the final paragraph. He wrote:

I think we expect too much from our brain, we have a choice, we either slow down our pace or keep going till we drop off and no retirement, except to retire in a grave, I live to work.

I responded: If you live to work, I sincerely hope it’s because you love your work and find enjoyment/ fulfillment in what you do.

But that didn’t do his comment-as-a-whole justice. I’d failed to “read-listen” to his words. He corrected me:

Patricia, I have never worked in my life, it has always been an employment and/or running a business and now teaching at uni . . . I have always found what they call as work as learning, teaching is just imparting what I learnt myself and from others like you too. I just prioritise my listed routines so my brain is kept in check, while I observe what is around me from outside my body (have you tried that, it guides your heart and mind together in sync!).

In rethinking his read-listen attitude, I connected it with lessons learned from ethnology research interviews. Here’s the description of how it works from RS:

Simply put, the researcher goes into the “field” and gets to know the people. Either formally or informally, she gathers information about the system from different insiders’ points of view and puts it together to form an overview. From this, the researcher can draw conclusions and, when appropriate, make recommendations regarding change options.

At that time, I found that all the skills previously acquired along the way served me well as an ethnology researcher. It was a living example of a favorite maxim, “Nothing is ever wasted.”

From youthful musician years, I gained listening and technical keyboard skills. Playing the piano eventually translated into typing at computers. This in turn found other applications. For example, when I paid the rent by working as a legal secretary, plugged into a Dictaphone, I transcribed dictated words faster than a speeding bullet.

All this, in turn, came in useful as a researcher. With permission, before beginning an interview, I set up a tape recorder. That way, rather than scramble to take sketchy notes during an interview, I could give the subject my full attention. I was free to observe body language, maintain direct eye contact, give non-verbal as well as verbal cues and gently keep the conversation on track.

But what a shock, when I later transcribed, word-for-word, what had been spoken! Of all that was said, I remembered only a small part. I thought I was listening carefully. But much went over my head. And of what I did hear, I often remembered it inaccurately. Only re-listening and quoting directly from transcripts allowed me to accurately report the information collected.

From this experience, I learned that, when we’re able to slow down and listen really carefully, we find out how much is missed during the rapid-fire pace of everyday communications, be it conversation or reading.

When Tony read-listens, he’s slowing down the pace, much as I should have done in reading his comments.

Read-listening is a form of practicing mindfulness, which is exactly to the point of the article in question. It compared full-spectrum awareness (repackaged in contemporary language as mindfulness) to the empirical research findings of Nobel prize winner, Daniel Kahneman.

As Tony corrected me, in his own way, he practices what might be called “meditation-in-action.” I observe what is around me from outside my body (have you tried that, it guides your heart and mind together in sync!).

Other of his comments raise thoughtful concerns. I missed their full implications on the first go round, and definitely must slow down to read-listen better in the future: I do believe no one understands the brain, it is like finding the black hole or looking for GOD particle. And, I believe it is not only outside the research it is outside the human capability and will always remain a work in progress or humans will become the creator.

These are exquisitely important questions.

But now, an A-ah! Here’s another relevant Tony-clue: To fast and slow decision making of the mind S1 & 2 could simply be linked to time and stage of life and the environment one lives in.

Historically, changes have been observed to occur in repeating patterns on every scale of magnitude. That is to say, the seasons of one’s personal life are writ large on the pages of human history. Just as, on a personal scale, the applications of listening and keyboarding shifted from music to law firms and then to ethnology research, weaving a pattern of unforeseen but consistent adaptations, so also meditation sciences shift. They remain essentially the same, but at the same time are continuously renewed to suit immediate circumstances.

No matter how often things change, nothing of real value is lost. Not possible.

By repackaging ancient sciences as Mindfulness, Jon Kabat-Zinn has adapted the timeless essence of meditative teachings, making them suitable to the pace and aptitude of today’s fractured and fracturing world.

Earlier I described therapists as agents of positive change. Now I would add, so also are thoughtful business trainers. By adopting the language of empirical research science, which has arguably reconstituted yin and yang in the contemporary terms of S1 and S2, they too are helping the next generation of decision-makers to slow down, become more self-aware and thus – one can only hope – improve the outcomes of the decision-making process.

 

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* See: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/re-search-look-again-patricia-west

Rethinking COMMUNITY

For years now, the same familiar pattern repeats. Whenever I decide I’m finished with writing, something comes along to make me rethink my decision. Two such events triggered today’s post. One was a thought-provoking article, “Mindfulness, Behavior and Social Change” by Mark Leonard, Director/Mindfulness Trainer at the Oxford’s Mindfulness Exchange.

I responded with a question: I’ve often thought about the possibility of building intentional communities, despite the evidence that experiments in the past have not always worked out well. Any thoughts on the subject?

In fact, I had mentally sketched but not followed-through on an article about intentional communities based on my connection with Spring Green and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin Fellowship. It was an example which, for many important reasons, I would not recommend following.

He replied: I suspect an intentional community needs a suite of conditions including contemporary analogs of functions which hold traditional societies together. I think that mindfulness meditation could play a part here.

The basic axioms listed in The Positive Paradigm Handbook are my recommended contribution to this cohesive foundation. They were fatally lacking in the Spring Green experiment.

Coincidently, these axioms were the reason for accepting an invitation from Swami Narasimhananda to submit an article to Prabuddha Bharata, a journal devoted to the social sciences and humanities started by Swami Vivekananda and in continuous publication since 1896.  [See When Conflict Escalates, What Can Be Done NOW? ]

Timing being everything, I had decided a few hours earlier to list them there in the context of rethinking leadership, family and community based on timeless wisdom traditions.

My interest is based on the observation made in The Age of Heretics (Charles Krone) that when chaos enveloped the civilized European world, monasteries appeared during the dark ages as islands of purposeful community — centers of learning, healing and hospitality. Similarly, monasteries of refuge from barbarism appeared in Asian lands during particularly harsh historical times.

This dynamic seems highly relevant today, for, as Mark Leonard details in his article, the world is surely sinking into another dark ages. Intentional communities may once again become the necessary counter-balance of positive change — the means for ensuring human survival, which, as Einstein warned us, can no longer be taken for granted.

So for starters, from Conscience: Your Ultimate Personal Survival Guide, here are my original thoughts on community. It forms a hopeful basis for rethinking intentional communities. Although my frame of reference for thinking about the dynamics of change is the Chinese Book of Change, resonance with the immediately popular mindfulness movement will be immediately apparent.

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Essay 14. COMMUNITY

We can create communities and relationships that are based on love and intimacy rather than fear and hatred. We can learn from the suffering of others. Awareness is the first stage in healing. . . Likewise, we can create a new model of medicine as we move into the next century that is more competent and cost-effective as well as being more caring and compassionate.” — Dean Ornish, Love and Survival

As we accept the smallness of the world, the density of the population, and the myriad influences on individuals and families, someday we may recognize the community and even the whole society as the patient. Imagine, then, what a “doctor of society” might do, what kinds of diseases he or she might treat!” — Patch Adams, Gesundheit!

Each celestial body, in fact each and every atom, produces a particular sound on account of its movement, its rhythm or vibration. All these sounds and vibrations form a universal harmony in which each element, while having its own function and character, contributes to the whole.” – Pythagoras, quoted in The Healing Power of Sound 

THE FRONT

Community stems from a root word meaning fellowship. In English, the word refers to all the people living in a particular district or city. It can also mean a group of people living together as a smaller social unity within a larger one, and having interests or work in common, such as a college community.

Alternatively, it can refer to a group of nations loosely or closely associated because of common traditions or for political and economic advantage. It also covers similarity of tastes and preferences. The last definition Webster’s gives is the condition of living with others in friendly association and fellowship. The last definition has come full circle back to original meaning.

Communities are founded on a common cause. It can be as practical as survival or idealistic as freedom. Often, community cohesion is artificially stimulated by fear and hatred of a common enemy. Hitler inflamed passions against Jews and foreign bankers to mobilize his war-weary country into a second world war even more devastating than the first. Then Americans rallied behind the common goal of defeating enemies of democracy on two fronts, Asia and Europe.

In Common Sense, Thomas Paine wrote about the relationship of divine, natural and human law in a way that inspired readers at the time of the American Revolution to fight for freedom from tyranny. Winning that war did not, however, automatically secure freedom for all times. Democracy isn’t a static achievement that can be passed on unchanged from one generation to the next. It must renewed and earned again, one individual at a time, each generation at a time, continuously redefined in the context of immediate circumstances.

Nor can the structures of American-style democracy be imposed by force, whole, from the outside, on peoples whose beliefs are shaped by vastly different cultural influences. It is the common respect of life and liberty, not external forms, which is universally translatable. The music of life that moves every organization, smallest to largest, is the basis of harmonious fellowship. Approaching natural law and social organizations from the deeper understanding of the ancients could inspire a new, more humane and effective approach to international relations now, one based timeless values which the human community shares in common.

Sages say that freedom from tyranny begins with dispelling ignorance and overcoming negative emotions. True freedom and stable communities begin with the self-awareness and self-mastery which can be gained by diligent use of wisdom tools like the I Ching. First remembering the core of compassion and caring within, we can then extend and expand this good-will into healing society as well.

Put another way, it’s useless to fight for a democratic world before one cleans out the inner swamp of negative emotions. Since inner life projects into external experience, fighting tyranny in the turmoil of anger and hatred reaps results in kind. Therefore, working to establish positive community relationships before attitudes of good-will and willing self-discipline are established is a futile exercise. As Covey reminds us, first things must come first.

Conversely, the more individuals free themselves from personal problems, the more they become open to the calling to community and able to play their part in the harmony of the natural whole.

THE BACK

Street gangs, terrorist groups, religious cults and secret societies are subgroups within the larger community. To the extent that their goals oppose and even endanger the community at large, these organizations are antithetical to the general good.

Pariahs, nomads and outcasts [heretics!] are individuals excluded from society, either voluntarily or by edict. Whether justified or not, their attitudes and behavior are out of harmony with accepted norms. If enough of them find common cause to band together, they form alternative groups which become the foundation of new communities.

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Put Terrorism in Larger Context

Recently, much commentary has been focused on the Charlie Hebdo murders in Paris. Most are asking the wrong questions. Many look to place blame. There are exceptions however. Looking for lessons to be learned which might lead to hopeful solutions is the rare but positive approach.

Why do either/or-thinking journalists fixate on assigning or denying blame? Like spoiled children, they squabble and point fingers. “He started it.” “No, it’s their fault!” It’s time to grow up! Expand our way of thinking to recognize the all-inclusive pattern in which everyone is partially culpable and equally responsible for positive change.

The prevailing materialistic paradigm of empirical science limits the questions which can be asked, which in turn limits the places where viable solutions are to be be found. If the middle and innermost levels of the Life Wheel are ruled out, analysts are functionally blinded to the dynamics on all sides which perpetuate back-and-forth bickering, throwing self-righteous excuses for hatred and violence. When underlying motives which drive these dynamics are ignored, the parties on all sides of escalating world conflict place human survival at risk.

Terrorism is a surface symptom of much deeper problems. Attacking symptoms of disease without correctly diagnosing root causes can quell specific symptoms. But the cause, unseen and untouched, simply mutates into even more dreadful symptoms. Destroying terrorist cells is like surgically removing cancer from an affected organ, only to cause its spread throughout the body.

Intent is the WHAT, the outcome or end result that resides on the outermost level of the Life Wheel. In this case, the Paris murders and kidnappings are only the visible end result of a much larger and more complex process.

Deeper than intent is purpose, the HOW. Purpose resides at the middle, energy level of the Life Wheel. For example, one purpose of terrorism is to use violence as an instrument of economic or political upheaval in the name of “social justice.”

Still deeper than purpose is motive, the WHY that leads to violent methods resulting in death and destruction. In some very twisted way, the motive may include setting perceived wrongs right, asserting self-respect and restoring violated human dignity.

Then the questions become, What is justice? Wherein lies valid self-respect? What is the basis of true human dignity? Can these valid motives possibly be served through acts of violence that destroy lives on all sides? Sounds like a fundamental contradiction to me.

If the deepest, underlying motive is to set wrongs right, that opens many doors for alternative approaches to satisfying these motives, ones appropriate to the basic human needs crying out for expression, ones with some valid ways for actually fulling them, instead of the self-defeating methods and results we see now.

World leaders, and each of us as the leaders responsible for doing our best within our limited spheres of personal responsibility, would do well to rethink recent Paris events by putting them in larger perspective. Use the MPI (Motive-Purpose-Intent) standard to look deeper into the heart of terrorism as the first step in making positive responses leading in new directions.

Here as food for thought is an earlier essay on motives. It seems timely and may prove useful.

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ESSAY 18. MOTIVES

Although the feelings mentioned above [sadness, pessimism, guilt, emptiness] may accompany a depressed mood, the most prevalent effects usually involve low energy and lack of motivation . . . An effective way of lifting these moods involves using music to activate our resources.”  — John M. Ortiz, The Tao of Music: Sound Psychology

It occurred to me that the only way to figure out what had happened at a crime scene was to understand what had gone on inside the head of the principal actor in that drama: the offender. And the only way to find that out was to ask him. . . If we could give the law enforcement community some insights into the process, the internal logic, of how violent offenders actually decide to commit crimes and why they come up with their choice of crimes — where the motive comes from — then we could provide a valuable tool in pointing investigators toward what for them must be the ultimate question: Who? Stated as simply as possible: Why? + How? = Who.” — John Douglas, The Anatomy of Motive

On some level, you are meditating all the time. One goal of meditation practice is to become aware of that. Another is to extend that awareness to more and more areas of your life. . . It takes practice and conscious effort to restructure the mind and move it from habitual patterns.” — Andrew Weil, 8 Meditations for Optimum Health

THE FRONT

The root of “motive” is “to move.” Webster’s single definition refers to “some” inner drive, impulse, or intention that causes a person to do something or act in a certain way. It’s an incentive or goal.

Motive, purpose and intent explain human behavior. Unless viewed as a whole, what we see is taken out of context and misunderstood. You see a man take someone else’s car. That’s intent, the WHAT. You see him grab the keys and drive off. That’s purpose, the HOW. But unless you know his motive, WHY he did it, the picture is incomplete. Was he desperately racing to save his beloved child’s life, escaping from vengeful gang lords, or simply lusting after a fancy new car?

We are fascinated by crime. Mystery novels, detective movies and sensational murder stories on TV news are big business. We stretch our minds to second-guess the ending, figure out who committed the crime, and why. We look for the mistakes that reveal dark secrets and lead to the criminal’s undoing. We’re satisfied only when truth is revealed and order is restored by justice.

At heart, what we’re really trying to understand is ourselves. We’re haunted by a pervasive sense of wrongs committed against us, or by us. We can’t quite bring ourselves to recognize what they are, or to admit our own mistakes. But a nagging sense of unfinished business leaks out as voyeurism.

Ultimately, it is the stifled voice of conscience that persistently calls us back to our neglected dreams and deepest longings for fulfillment. Those who allow themselves to be defined by others, who live in habitual fear of people’s opinions and fail to honor their inner sense of calling commit a soul-searing violence akin to suicide. The crime they commit is against their own true selves. Failing to be true to oneself can be the hardest crime to detect. Finding one’s true calling can be the greatest mystery of all.

People who march to others’ drums, unconscious of their motives and what moves those around them, live in painful confusion. Only those who know how to listen and dance to the inner music of their soul’s desire live in joyful harmony with themselves and the world around them.

The I Ching is a means for turning the camera around, focusing in on ourselves. Uncovering hidden motives might cause initial discomfort. But it can lead to positive changes. After analyzing them, we have the option to decide on better ways to accomplish intentional ends. Our What and How isn’t always appropriate to our Why. Other solutions may accomplish our goals without committing crimes against ourselves and others.

THE BACK

The opposite of motive is motiveless, to be without awareness of calling, any conscious purpose, or impulse to action. This condition is sometimes an extreme reaction to an extended period of frenzied, excessive, forced action. People experience it as apathy, shell shock or burn out.

When crazed criminals go on sprees, kill strangers and wreak havoc on public property, their acts are regarded as random and senseless. To all but the most highly attained, the subtle laws of cause and effect are incomprehensible. There’s wisdom in accepting the unfathomable as Job did, saying, “The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away.“