Tag Archives: Albert Einstein

What Is YOUR Worst Fear?

Stay just the way you are,” pleaded a friend. Another graduating pal scribbled in my 1964 year book, “Stay as sweet as you are.” A third warned, “Don’t ever change!”

Looking back, the strange and impossible expectation that we live the rest of our lives frozen in time, forever unchanged, was at best, unrealistic.

What lurked beneath the surface was fear of the open-jawed monster – the Unknown – looming ahead, threatening to swallow up this class of bright-eyed but poorly prepared graduates, changing each of us forever in unforeseen ways.

Back then, we were as cocky-confident as the youthful Luke Skywalker who boasted, “I’m not afraid.”

Little did we suspect then, as savvy Yoda warned, “You will be.”

Had we been cavemen, our dreads would have been limited to the instinctual fear of loud noises or falling off sharp cliffs.

But we were born in the year nuclear bombs ended WW II with horrifying finality. The list of fears we grew up was quite different from those of our earliest ancestors.

Even so, following the example of our elders, most of us have continued to engage in daily tasks, hiding behind a hedge of busy-work to fend off the unacknowledged terrors that lurk on the furthermost edges of awareness.

Today, international leaders and the rogue terrorists of shadow governments continue to flirt with Einstein’s dreaded nuclear destruction. Horrific headlines have become so familiar that we’ve become numb to bad news. Likely outcomes of nuclear war are so horrific that the mind refuses to wrap itself around the possibility of a world suddenly changed forever.

We say to ourselves, “If we deny the possibility, refuse to even think about it, it can’t happen.”

But according to Plato, we’ve got it backwards. “We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” For, seeking light on all levels – literal facts, metaphysical truth and inner illumination – leads us to recognize what inevitably changes as well as what does not. It secures triumph over petty fears and victory over illusory death.

Yet, rather than acknowledge danger and take decisive action to avert it, we continue to fend off awareness of the monster of all fears – total annihilation. Instead, we fritter away precious time and energy sweating over inconsequential “small stuff.” We allow ourselves to be seduced by the trivial and irrelevant . . . until, finally, inevitably, calamity strikes and finds us unprepared.

What is the greatest fear you allow yourself to be aware of?

Do you categorically dread any change to your comfortable (or at least familiar) status quo?

The list of specific possibilities is virtually endless. Fear of abandonment, of failure, of success, of poverty, of rejection, of ridicule. There’s the death of loved ones and finally one’s own decline and departure from the physical.

Importantly, are you aware of what you DO about your fears? For, in fact, you do have a wide range of options to choose from.

You can unconsciously project them onto others and make them happen. Or take responsibility to face and overcome them.

You can deny them, bury your head in the sand and hide. Or go to the opposite extreme and overcompensate: adopt a fatalistic hedonist “Eat drink and be merry” attitude. Or choose one of gratitude, focusing on and appreciating the good things of life now, while they last.

As ever, there are two sides to this coin. On the one hand, fear attracts danger. Dwelling on fears can make them come true. But, on the other hand, denying the existence of one’s fears invites danger as well.

Timing is also a important. Now versus later also factors into end results.

Where’s your balance point? It’s a puzzlement.

From Conscience, here are a few thoughts to help sort it out.

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Essay 34. FEAR

Tao does not seem to be something we need to acquire. We are already a part of it. We can, however, do a great job of blocking its manifestation within us. We primarily block the Tao through fear and tension. . . Fear is the source of blockage; it underlies our painful, negative emotions, even though its presence is usually hidden.” — Wolfe Lowenthal, There Are No Secrets

Ninety-five percent of the beliefs we have stored in our minds are nothing but lies, and we suffer because we believe all these lies. In the dream of the planet, it is normal for humans to suffer, to live in fear, and to create emotional dramas . . . If we look at human society we see a place so difficult to live in because it is ruled by fear.” — Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements

Fear is an essential part of our nature, installed in our DNA, no doubt for very good reason. Fear is an alarm system. It is there to push us in one direction or another, out of harm’s way. . . it is part of our intelligence, part of an ingenious guidance system to help ensure our survival — as individuals, as communities, and as a species.” — Thom Rutledge, Embracing Fear and Finding the Courage to Life Your Life

THE FRONT

An Old English root means sudden attack, ambush or snare. Webster’s first definition is a feeling of anxiety and agitation caused by the presence or nearness of danger, evil, or pain. It suggests doubt, timidity, dread, terror, fright or apprehension.

Alternatively, fear is defined as a respectful dread, awe, or reverence. Fear of God is often a combination of both types, including both awe for the majesty of God’s creation and guilty anticipation of punishment for wrong-doings.

Fears are part natural, part the result of cultural conditioning. Those which are unreal are best dispelled by analysis and understanding. Those which are justified are best faced by correcting and atoning for one’s own mistakes as well as preparing to meet and overcome external dangers.

Working with the I Ching helps us discriminate between appropriate fears which require positive action and illusory fears to release and forget. It is an invaluable aid in the process of cultivating self-honesty for the purpose of self-correction. It is equally useful in the process of articulating immanent dangers and deciding on the best strategies for effective response.

Primal fears are associated with correlative chakras. At the first chakra level, the fear is of physical death. At the second, loss of sexual prowess or family support. At the third, the fear is of losing of material and financial accumulations, along with social connections and influence. At the fourth, failure in love relationships. At the fifth, fears turn to losing face or being judged wrong or inadequate in intellectual matters. At the sixth, one fears loss of connection with the creative source.

As one ascends the evolutionary ladder, emotion-based fears lessen, seen in larger perspective. Integrating and balancing the levels reduces the influence fear has on decision-making.

Some fears have physical causes. For example, habitual muscle tension packs lactic acid into the fascia, producing chemically-induced anxiety. Relaxation and stretching exercises which release tension and reduce acid levels relieve tension anxieties.

Fear is also stimulated by abusing internal organs. Excessive sugar and/or alcohol intake causes metabolic imbalances. The kidneys and liver are stressed by the burden of excess toxins and fluids. The nervousness, anger and fear associated with imbalance in these organs is corrected by improving lifestyle choices.

Cultural conditioning causes still other kinds of fear. Authorities who use terror as a means of control instill a sense of inadequacy and helplessness. Hitler, for example, was the product of an authoritarian, fear-based culture as well as the embodiment of its shadow opposite, destructive megalomania.

Fears denied or unresolved undermine self-confidence, sabotage love relationships, and turn life against itself. They manifest in the physical body as heart disease and cancers.

Fear of God, meaning awe, on the other hand, is life-protective. Direct experience of divine connection (the timeless heritage which everyone everywhere shares in common) overcomes ephemeral fears with the larger light of wisdom and higher love.

Awareness of unseen benevolent powers standing by us on all sides though danger and distress restores strength and courage. It is also the ultimate deterrent to wrong-doing.

THE BACK

Ignorance is the root of fear-caused suffering. Its antidote is confidence gained through inner knowledge and direct experience. Trust that deep within, we each hold the answers to every question and solutions to every problem is the beginning of wisdom.

Terror is a perversion of natural fear. Terrorists may believe playing on fear is the best way to control subordinates or get the attention of unjust leaders. However, unlike math, where two negatives make a positive, two wrongs don’t make a right.

Healing the Past

I highly recommend Brain Longevity by Dharma Singh Khalsa, M.D. with Cameron Stauth. They explain how meditation-as-medicine (the “magic bullet”) opens windows to personal transformation. It’s relevant to my LinkedIn post on the nature of Time. So I’ll give you an example of how medical “matter over mind” leads to its compliment, “mind over matter.”

People get “stuck” when they constantly relive the traumas that occurred when they really didn’t have much control over their lives. Specifically, many people can’t “get over” their childhoods, mostly because they suffered painful events then that they really couldn’t control.

Many continuously revive past traumas by recreating similar situations throughout later adult life. However, rather than “acting out” painful memories, some choose to confront their fears under the safe supervision of a therapist. The goal is to recognize unconscious negative patterns and replace them with intentional, positive action.

Meditation, however, takes healing the past to a whole new level.

. . . mind and spirit can heal. . . the space between our thoughts – what the Asian healers “the sacred space” – is where most spirit-directed healing originates.

They continue:

When you meditate and elicit the relaxation response, your mind stops racing with thoughts, and there are longer spaces between your thoughts. The space between thoughts usually feels timeless.

The concept of a fourth time/space dimension is familiar from Chinese yoga as well as Einstein’s physics. It repeats in the 1913 classic Sadhana: The Realization of Life by Indian mystic, musician, poet, novelist, painter, teacher, political activist and Einstein contemporary Rabindranath Tagore.

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He wrote:

Yes, we must know that within us we have that where space and time cease to rule and where the links of evolution are merged in unity.

Here then, is the original article:

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ALTERING TIME

The pattern repeats. Three strands emerge and merge to show how the apparently abstract and universal can be importantly relevant in an immediately personal way.

The subject of Time isn’t new. I’ve approached it twice before, both “times” from a practical point of view. Since then, however, I’ve been looking at Time from another perspective to find out how Einstein, experienced sages past and present, as well as science fiction writers describe its nature. Their views are in some ways similar, but in others importantly different.

Above all, what does all this mean to every day people like you and me? And why does it matter NOW?

If matters a great deal, for example, whether what we regard as the past is immutable/unalterable as if cast in stone. Or if, instead, as some say, it is possible to alter – even heal – a fluid past and thereby create a more hopeful, alternative future. If this truly is possible, HOW can we – you and I – alter at least a few minuscule threads in the fabric of time?

Strand ONE. If we compare Einstein’s comments regarding time, it seems he was of two (or more) minds about it. In his last years, consistent with ancient scriptures, he concluded that past, present and future exist simultaneously. In his 1952 book, Relativity, he wrote:

It appears therefore more natural to think of physical reality as a four dimensional [time-space] existence, instead of, as hitherto, the evolution of a three dimensional existence.

This conclusion, however, is the objective overview of a reflective senior scientist. In contrast, and not necessarily a contradiction, he earlier described a highly subjective and situational aspect to perceived time:

When you sit with a nice girl for two hours, you think it’s only a minute. But when you sit on a hot stove for a minute, you think its two hours. That’s relativity.

Strand TWO. In the context of writing an invited article for the international journal Prabuddha Bhrata, I was so bold as to speculate about the prophecized End of Times:

. . . We are now enduring the decline described as the Kali Yuga. Christ similarly foretold the End of Times. . . . [Yet] Time does not exist for accomplished sages who dwell in the changeless center of the Life Wheel. To enlightened beings, it is but an illusion. They experience themselves as eternal, at one with the Creator. For them, life will go on whether or not the world as we now know it continues.

To the point, in an post to my personal website, I quoted a marvelously articulate and entertaining book, The Tao of Meditation:Way to Enlightenment, by Tsung Hwa Jou. Experienced practitioner as well as author of a balanced tripod of books on Tai Chi and the I Ching as well as meditation, Mr. Jou describes the difference between three- versus four-dimensional experiences of time in terms of tadpoles and frogs.

A mother frog, so the story goes, answered her babies’ questions about sunlight, trees and land by telling them they must wait until they mature, shed their tails and swim to the surface of the pond to experience the beyond for themselves:

We who philosophize about time, we who are limited to three dimensions are like a school of tadpoles wondering about another world. Until we too are able to “drop our tails” and step into that dimension, time must remain a subject of speculation to us, as a drinking glass is to a shadow. Until we can experience time as a dimensional context, it must remain a flat reflection to us as the upper world is to the water-bound tadpole.

With Einstein at the end of his years, Mr. Jou agrees that time cannot be measured in discrete units, but rather, is a unified a fabric, a continuum in another dimension complete unto itself. But whereas Einstein arrived at his conclusion through abstract deduction, Mr. Jou was an experienced practitioner.

In sum, he agrees with other accomplished meditators. The concept of beginnings and endings is the subjective perception of limited, three-dimensional experience. Without making claims, he modestly asks:

What is the shape of life from a four-dimensional point of view? . . . Suppose there are sentient beings who have a natural capacity to see the four-dimensional shape of things. They could tell us what the shape of our life is; that is, they could see all at once what to us is separated as past, present and future.

Why does he bother to share this information? Mr. Jou’s Motive, his WHY appears to be a kindhearted desire to share wisdom received from direct experience, for which he is infinitely grateful. His Purpose, the HOW is to detail in a book the methods and benefits of meditation along with the supporting science which explains its effectiveness. His Intended end result, the WHAT, is to give readers a time-tested way to improve the quality of daily life for both individuals and their social combinations:

If people began to think past [sic. beyond] the limitation of three-dimensions, there would be more respect between men in the business of living together for the common good. Three-dimensional tensions would dissolve, and a spirit of cooperation and mutual generosity would spring up in human affairs.

To repeat, as Einstein warned, “We shall require a substantially different manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.” Perhaps that manner of thinking requires the courageous willingness and competence to enter an entirely different dimension of experience — a Star Trek-like journey through inner rather than outer space. This requires not only acquiring the theoretical concept of four-dimensional time which Einstein held, but further, its immediate, direct experience as consistently reported by accomplished meditators.

To take this the next step, however, even immediate personal experience is not enough. For completion of the infinite loop, inner attainment then requires application of awareness to the outer world of experience, changing relationships and even institutional governance for the better. Sound like science fiction? For the most part, Yes. Which leads to:

Strand THREE. By coincidence (if there is such a thing), I was recently lent a science fiction book, Beth Benrobich’s The Time Roads. I chose to read it simply as a diversion.

Science fiction generally treats time travel as a hybrid of three- and four-dimensional experience. Past, present and future are understood to be happening simultaneously. However, the characters are only capable of being in one place “at a time.” Moving from a current time location to a different one requires machines.

The premise of this particular story was familiar from Amelia Pond’s dilemma in Dr. Who episodes, where dangerously expanding cracks in Time threaten to shatter and END it altogether. Scientists specializing in math and physics explore the mechanical possibility of traveling to either the past or future by moving along tears in the fabric of time. Political motives to alter history contaminate scientific inquiry. Madness, grotesque murders, bazaar explosions and scrambled perceptions of violent events follow. So far, nothing unusual to this genre.

But then, an unexpected surprise. (Spoiler alert!) A reconciliation occurs. A brief visit to the future allows the heroine to discover a plot in time to confront would-be traitors and redirect their plans. For reasons equally compassionate and astute, the red-haired Queen of Ēire extends mercy instead of retribution, and in so doing forges new pathways to a hopeful future. Long story short, in the end, the murders and violent upheavals never happened. Time lines are healed. In the process, both past and future are altered.

This surprise ending is a filled with fascinating implications, suggestive of radically important possibilities, directly relevant to the immediate discussion.

NOW, how do these strands weave together, and how might this information be usefully applied on a personal level? How can tadpole-like humans limited to three-dimensional consciousness bridge the illusory disconnects of time without the aid of high-tech machines?

I confess that, although familiar with political and fiction fascination for travel through both time and outer space, I find the very real inner possibilities closer to home much more interesting. For time as a quantifiable third-dimension experience remains plastic insofar as that, by changing subjective perceptions of the our personal past, we each have the possibility to heal that past and thereby alter the future.

In this, forgiveness is an important key. I know, for example, that whenever I hold a grudge, it distorts and even fractures the fluidity of present time. The baggage of fear, resentment and negative expectations layered onto an initial awful experience locks me in the time of the perceived injury. This seriously distorts my possible futures.

By letting go of injuries (naming them would only confirm and magnify the undesirable “reality” to be left behind), I can return my exclusive focus to the present moment and thereby expand the range of my possible positive futures.

Is this possible on larger scales of magnitude as well? I suspect so. Skeptics ridicule dire End of Times warnings. Repeatedly, disasters seem to loom, only to elude us as deadlines pass without catastrophe. But – just may be – white magicians are continuously working behind the scenes in the fourth dimension to heal the past- present-future as did the Queen of Ēire in science “fiction,” unrecognized and unrewarded except for the satisfaction of having ensured human survival – at least for a short while longer.

I think perhaps, just perhaps, every time every one of us forgives, releases the past, and alters our attitudes for the better, we are contributing, one person at a time, to an extension of the future we’ve been mercifully granted in which to improve our ways, thereby entering the fourth dimension before it’s too late and Einstein’s warning is fulfilled for those who fall between the cracks.

What do you think?

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Overcoming Limitations

In writing an invited article for the international journal Prabuddha Bhrata, I was so bold as to speculate about the prophecized End of Times. In retrospect, I’m having second, third and fourth thoughts.

Here’s what I wrote:

. . . wherein is consolation to be found during the present difficult times? For Hindu sages foresaw them. We are now enduring the decline described as the Kali Yuga. Christ similarly foretold the End of Times. It lies in this. Time does not exist for accomplished sages who dwell in the eternal center of the Life Wheel. To enlightened beings, it is but an illusion. They experience themselves as eternal, at one with the Creator. For them, life will go on whether or not the world as we now know it continues. If even for this reason alone, seeking inner enlightenment is an urgent priority.

How can one really know about such things? Such opinions are necessarily based on hearsay, albeit the testimony of sages is consistent on such matters.

To the point is a description of time as a fourth dimension in the marvelously articulate and entertaining book The Tao of Meditation:Way to Enlightenment by Tsung Hwa Jou. He writes:

Like the shadow, which cannot perceive something above or below its plane, we live in a three-dimensional world, able only to experience reality in segments of time.

According to Mr. Jou, Man’s epistemologies and methodologies are all right from a three-dimensional point of view, and since this is our only possible viewpoint, they constitute the best means to the truth about our reality. Every religion, philosophy, or science is right in three dimension. . . with this caveat: these partial approaches to truth are like different windows in a large building. Each affords us a different view of the outdoors. A unified perspective, however, is gained only by leaving the building.

He continues:

What is the shape of life from a four-dimensional point of view? . . . Suppose there are sentient beings who have a natural capacity to see the four-dimensional shape of things. They could tell us what the shape of our life is; that is, they could see all at once what to us is separated as past, present and future.

Likewise, he assures us that in the fourth dimension, birth and death are not separate, discrete experiences, but rather part of an ongoing, continuous whole. Our birth and death are just another transformation of one form to another.

In sum, he agrees with other accomplished meditators who regard time as we experience it as but an illusion. The perception of beginnings and endings is the result of human limitations – being capable of seeing in only three dimensions.

Why does this matter to us NOW? Look at it this way. Mr. Jou’s Motive, his WHY appears to be a kindhearted desire to share wisdom received from direct experience, for which he is infinitely grateful. His Purpose, the HOW is to detail in a book the methods and benefits of meditation along with the supporting science which explains its effectiveness. His Intended end result, the WHAT, is to give readers a time-tested way to improve the quality of daily life for both individuals and their social combinations:

If people began to think past the limitation of three-dimensions, there would be more respect between men in the business of living together for the common good. Three-dimensional tensions would dissolve, and a spirit of cooperation and mutual generosity would spring up in human affairs.

But he also admits that describing direct experience of the fourth dimension is like describing the taste of an apple to someone who has never eaten one. Similarly, he describes a mother frog who answers her babies’ questions about sunlight, trees and land by telling them they’ll have to wait until they mature, shed their tails and swim to the surface of the pond to experience what’s beyond for themselves:

We who philosophize about time, we who are limited to three dimensions are like a school of tadpoles wondering about another world. Until we too are able to “drop our tails” and step into that dimension, time must remain a subject of speculation to us, as a drinking glass is to a shadow. Until we can experience time as a dimensional context, it must remain a flat reflection to us as the upper world is to the water-bound tadpole.

The question/challenge for us as tadpole-like humans is HOW do we get from here (three-dimensional, conflict-driven either-or thinking) to there (fourth-dimensional awareness within and beneficial, harmonious relationships with others in the world).

Training the mind to expand awareness has been the systematic task of monastic Asian traditions throughout the ages. At the current “time,” the benefits of meditation – significantly improved awareness and effectiveness – may well be a matter of both individual and collective survival.

To that end, I’ve been looking through an assortment of books, each of which opens a different window on the subject of Spiritual Intelligence. In the PB article, I placed this term in the larger context of the two-directional, multi-layered Life Wheel:

In terms of clinical psychology, intelligence at the outermost level is described as IQ, at the middle level as EQ (emotional intelligence) and at the third as SQ (spiritual intelligence)..The levels, which actually flow along continuum, neither separate nor totally distinct, are linked in an infinite loop. The one who succeeds in joining them, living here and yet there, in the world but not of it, enjoys the experience of enlightenment – Christ Consciousness.

Each of the books on SQ (or SI) has its own point of reference, for example quantum physics, Christianity, etc. Interestingly, there’s also a forthcoming book on SI by and for Muslims based on teachings from the Koran. While a detailed summary is beyond the parameters of the current discussion, suffice it to say that although each author defines spiritual intelligence differently, they share a common intent.

Unfortunately, another thing Spiritual Intelligence books share in common is than none have gotten much traction. A quick tour through Amazon books shows that very few have been reviewed or purchased. Spiritual intelligence as a concept isn’t sexy. It is as if the concept is outside the “hearing” range of the general public. Why this remains so and what might be done to change this is yet another subject worthy of investigation and ACTION.

I do know, as do the authors of SI books who repeatedly call for “change,” that the future depends on such a reawakening. In the context of End of Time concerns, I’m reminded of Hexagram 49 of the Book of Change:

Day and night replace each other in endless cycles of CHANGE.

The same natural law generates flux in human events.

The unprepared see change as a threat,

but the well-prepared face the unknown calmly.

They know that after degeneration reaches critical mass,

regeneration follows.

In other words, one way or the other, preparation on every scale of magnitude will definitely make a great difference in the outcomes of as yet unforeseen futures waiting to be born. Overcoming the limitations of our current either/or way of thinking is an important first step. For, to repeat, as Einstein warned us, “We shall require a substantially different manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.”

For starters, thinking about this admittedly limited linear Essay on limitations may be helpful.

globeEssay 10. LIMITATIONS

The Chinese concept of change, which gives the I Ching its validity, has found its echo in chaos theory. The concepts presented by this theory give us vital information about how the I Ching functions. Understanding this may help us cross the bridge between determinist rationality and chance, and go further toward our comprehension of this age-old system, which could have a profound influence on the rest of our lives”. — Cyrille Javary, Understanding the I Ching

Let me not to the marriage of true minds

Admit impediments. Love is not love

Which alters when it alteration finds

Or bends with the remover to remove.

Oh no! It is an ever fixèd mark

That looks on tempests and is never shaken.

— William Shakespeare, Sonnet 116

The Bible encodes all the possibilities, and what we do determines the actual outcome. . .The only thing that can be predicted is the probability of different events. Yet quantum physics is a highly successful branch of science. It works. Perhaps because it recognizes uncertainty as a part of reality. In the same way, the Bible code works . . . because it recognizes uncertainty as part of reality.” — Michael Drosnin, The Bible Code

THE FRONT

A limit is a point, line or edge where something ends or must end, a boundary or border beyond which something ceases to be or to be possible. A limitation is something that limits, as some factor in make-up which restricts the scope of a person’s qualifications, activity, or accomplishment. In law, it’s a period of time, fixed by statute, during which legal action can be brought, as for settling a claim.

On the positive side, we limit ourselves consciously by choosing how to allocate our attention, time and effort. This is called discipline and commitment. On the negative side, we unconsciously diminish our potentials, tying them up in knots of insecurity and doubt. Attitude limitations are as debilitating as physical handicaps. Often they’re unconsciously acquired, internalized by cultural conditioning and negative suggestions. Identifying and correcting these attitudes, overcoming unnecessary limitations, is essential to personal growth and fulfillment.

Rules of empirical science limit the field of knowledge to tangible things. Yet when we exclude the data of extra-sensory experience, we impoverish our lives. Instinct is a survival mechanism built into animals and humans alike. Dogs and horses, however, are sometimes more savvy about people than we are; they’re not fooled by false appearances. Intuition, however, is a gift exclusive to humans. It flashes on inventive thinkers when they see new possibilities or dream of futures not yet born.

The I Ching supplies a method for revitalizing instinct and intuition gone numb through suppression or lack of attention. It helps us link the middle octave of reason with the lower and higher octaves of experience, expanding our range of hearing and awareness.

People raised exclusively on empirical science limit their concept of love and joy to tangibles — physical beauty and sex appeal. When youth fades, marriage partners who lack wisdom are tempted to break their vows. Using the I Ching, however, helps fine-tune awareness of what changes, as well as that which remains constant. Using the I Ching as the foundation of realistic relationships, we build the inner consistency necessary to sustain commitments and complete long-term goals.

But just as an individual’s time on Earth is limited, civilizations and even planets pass in due course. At each stage in history, wisdom appropriate to the times is revealed to those who seek. Drosnin speculates that Newton’s intuited but evasive Bible code was purposefully hidden until the time that computers were invented to unlock it. Similarly, Einstein’s Unified Theory eluded him because he lacked yogic I Ching wisdom. In turn, it may well be that the extraordinary value of this text has been hidden for centuries, waiting for public understanding of binary-digital computer code, energy chakras and DNA genome theory to revolutionize our approach to the Book of Change.

THE BACK

The opposite of limitations is the unlimited. We call this infinity or the unknowable unknown. We are told we have unlimited potentials, but on the material plane they are framed by choice and the structure of whatever language we speak. Only the unfathomable, unnameable essence referred to as the timeless Tao or God — the alpha-omega source of creation — is truly without limitation.

When humans defy natural limitations of time, space and form, they are said to be delusional. When they behave in reckless, unrestrained ways, in defiance of their mortality, acting as if they were invincible and above the law, this is arrogance and sheer ignorance. Knowing one’s place in the universe is wisdom; resisting it is futile.

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Rethinking HOPE

New years are traditionally welcomed as a harbinger of fresh hope and the opportunity for new beginnings. In these perilous times, I have searched my heart for the most realistic approach to fulling the eternal hope for love, unity and survival which everyone everywhere shares in common – a way that acknowledges escalating world challenges while balancing them with their inherent potential for renewal.

Because it rings true as the vision of realistic hope, I have chosen to return to this simple essay, written in the year 2000, included in Conscience: Your Ultimate Personal Survival Guide.

May your New Year be filled with the blessings of your dearest heart’s desire.

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ESSAY 63. HOPE

Ephesians

Here the people could stand it no longer and complained of the long voyage; but the Admiral cheered them as best he could, holding out the good hope of the advantages they would have. He added that it was useless to complain, he had come [to go] to the Indies, and so had to continue it until he found them, with the help of Our Lord.  — Christopher Columbus, Journal of the First Voyage

We live at a particularly perilous moment, one in which self-deception is a subject of increasing urgency. The planet itself faces a threat unknown in other times: its utter destruction. . . The splitting of the atom, said Einstein, has changed everything, save how we think. And thus, he observed, “we drift toward unparalleled catastrophe.” — Daniel Goleman, Vital Lies, Simple Truths

We are seeing a health care system in pain, people in pain, and a world in pain. I believe that something can be done to make it better. — Patch Adams, Gesundheit!

THE FRONT

Webster’s defines hope as a feeling that what is wanted will happen. It is a desire accompanied by expectation. It can mean that which one has a hope for. It can mean a reason for hope. A meaning listed as archaic is to trust or rely.

In I Ching context, hope transcends short-sighted wishing and emotional wanting. It is a trust that one has the wherewithal to respond appropriately to every change of fortune. It’s not total self-sufficiency, but awareness that one’s efforts are met half way. When one does the best one can, the rest is supplied in the right way, at the right time.

Daniel Goleman emphasizes the direct relationship between honest self-awareness and survival. Like Einstein and like Strauss & Howe (authors of The Fourth Turning), Goleman is a messenger of awareness we’re often trained to block out. His vision is in synch with The Book of Change philosophy in this: ignoring dangers, deceiving ourselves that all is well when it isn’t, doesn’t make problems go away. It only renders us powerless to recognize early warning signals in time to prepare and ameliorate the worst that might come.

In The Fourth Turning, Strauss and Howe emphasize that declining resources will necessitate major changes in healthcare delivery. Anticipating that the cost of health-care will continue to rise and become increasingly unaffordable, they recommend that cost-effective, affordable alternatives be in put in place now. Forward-looking health practitioners are therefore now turning to inexpensive, preventive self-maintenance practices like Tai Chi, Qigong and yoga.

There are hidden benefits to timely austerities. Though it is unfortunate that people see fit to return back to self-responsible methods only as a last resort, if the prospect of hard times returns people back to their more simple and beneficial roots, it serves as a blessing in disguise.

In his epistle to the Corinthians, St. Paul wrote of hope in the context of faith and charity. His hope isn’t Webster’s hope of wanting and expecting. Like I Ching hope, it is trust that human events which make no sense in the short-term fit into the larger pattern of life, and that God’s will does in the long-term prevail.

THE BACK

The opposite of hope is despair. Seeing one’s situation as hopeless is a self-fulfilling prophecy. So long as one places hope in externals, one feeds the illusion of powerlessness. Turning the focus of hope inwards makes all the difference.

Self-deception is a perversion of hope. Lacking a concept of cyclical change, linear thinkers hope to control time. They defy the aging process or pretend change can’t or hasn’t happened rather than adjusting and benefiting from new opportunities that arise to replace the ones which pass away.

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I Want To Know What Love IS (& Isn’t)

There was a time when, wherever I’d go, the popular Foreigner tune “I Want To Know What Love Is” was playing in the background. I shopped to it at Woodman’s grocery store. At Gold’s gym, I showered and dressed to the sound of the same music. While I waited in line at the local Subway for my six inch sandwich on honey-oat bread with tuna, provolone cheese and veggies . . . again, the same song.

Now this mountain I must climb
Feels like a world upon my shoulders
And through the clouds I see love shine
It keeps me warm as life grows colder.

If it wasn’t that, then it was the Jennings/Winwood song, “Higher Love.”

Think about it: There must be higher love
Down in the heart or hidden in the stars above.
Without it, life is wasted time.
Worlds are turning and we’re just hanging on..

We walk blind, we try to see,
Falling behind in what could be.

I took it as a cosmic hint. Pay attention to this universal need, and the ways we sing about our searchings.

We look everywhere for this illusive, life-sustaining essence (albeit sometimes in the wrong places). Is it above us, hidden in the mountains tops, or still higher, shining from the stars? Does it dwell deep within the human heart?

Or all of the above, like the all-pervading force Yoda honors in Star Wars.

Here’s what I came up with as a result of my personal searchings – a picture of Love’s full-spectrum possibilities:

Want to know

Used as a diagnostic tool, the Life Wheel shows how words shift meanings at each successively inward level. It applies to the full spectrum of value words, from Action to Virtue, including Love.

Positive and negative expressions of love take on different forms at each ascending (or descending) stage of the Life Wheel. We each experience our personal, unique variations on the same basic themes. But the idea isn’t that complicated. It looks like this:

LoveLadder.sized

Scientists limit their search to the outermost tangible, measurable surface of the Life Wheel. Because they look exclusively at physical manifestations, they find different (though complimentary) answers. Take, for example, the Youtube series on “The World’s Most Asked Questions.”

SciShow surveyed Google and Youtube for the most frequently asked questions searched on the web. According to them, the world’s #1 burning question is, “What Is Love?”

The video on the #1 question is hosted by an unidentified, fresh-faced 20-something presenter — gravity-defying hair, sporting a gray hoodie. Reading from a teleprompter, he waves his hands with the confident gestures of an expert. Flashing in the background, bolded scientific terms along with colorful brain-scan images reinforce his message.

“Love,” the unnamed anchor starts out, “is the number one question that keeps poets and philosophers up at night.” But, he claims, it’s no mystery to scientists. “They have good explanations.” Several in fact. The answer changes depending on which kind of scientist you ask.

A biologist would say it’s all about reproduction, evolution and the survival of the species. [Issues associated with the first three centers (“chakras” or “wheels”).]

A psychologist would say it’s all about togetherness and our need for acceptance. [Issues associated with the fourth, heart chakra.]

But, no-name continues, “It’s really about chemistry – brain chemistry to be exact.” Aha! This is where the preamble was leading. “It’s incorrect to associate love with the heart,” he says. “It’s all about the brain. We know this because we can see the brain in action in brain scans.”

What follows is a discourse on brain science. “In fact,” he claims, “the early stages of love look an awful lot like a brain on cocaine.” When a person first “falls” in love, at least a dozen different brain parts light up, releasing powerful chemicals, hormones and neurotransmitters that trigger “feelings of excitement, euphoria, bonding and butterflies.”

Research also shows that the unconditional love between a mother and child activates slightly different regions of the brain, he says. (That’s interesting, but no details are supplied.)

The video ends where it started, “Love may seem like a mystery to poets. But to science, love is within the realms of the comprehensible.”

Oh well. If you’ve been following my earlier posts, you’ve seen the hollow-shell diagram of the exclusively materialistic, empirical science worldview. According to the Rules of this Knowledge Game, information received by intuition and con-science at the inward levels of the Life Wheel is excluded as off-limits.

But scientists don’t have all the answers about love. Some perhaps, but not all. Research science (as Einstein knew) is a “necessary but not sufficient” piece of the knowledge puzzle.

From experience, I know there’s much more to higher, unconditional love than meets the measuring eyes. Nor does everything done in the name of love partake of this universal essence. Quite the opposite.

The love we seek and sing about isn’t motivated by chemicals. Hormones aren’t causes, only response mechanisms. Nor can love be contained or explained by analyzing the brain. People come and go. The legacy of love they leave behind endures. The temporary physical receiver can’t be equated with its mysterious, eternal source.

“Re-search” = “Look again.”

Human Survival Cannot Be Taken for Granted

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AXIOM FIVE of the Positive Paradigm states, “History Is Neither Progressive or Linear, Nor can Human Survival Be Taken for Granted.”

This concept runs deeply against the grain of progressive beliefs. It’s so apparently threatening to even consider that many are unwilling and/or unable to wrap their minds around these basic facts. However, denial doesn’t change what IS. It only leaves the fearful unprepared – unable to make the in-formed, correct decisions necessary to meet and survive immanent dangers.

The dangers are no surprise. Einstein warned, “We will require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.” In answer to his call, the methods included in the Handbook embody that substantially new manner.

Survivalists have warned of a Near Extinction Level Crisis (NELC). Some say it’s already under way. We’re already in its midst. Others speak of a catastrophic “deep well die off.”

Be that as it may, in Positive Paradigm context, some things never change. Others do. Knowing the difference between absolutes and ephemerals is a matter of life or death. The center of the Wheel is changeless. Those in the know depend on this. But the Wheel’s rim spins in endless circles of repeating, patterned change. Therefore, survivors anticipate the predictable, cyclical changes of nature.

They know far better than to take immediate appearances at face value. They’re not fooled by wishful thinking into the false belief that what can be seen is permanent.

Lao Tze, author of the world-loved Tao Te Ching (The Way and Its Power), knew this and tried to warn the world. Sun Tzu, Chinese author of The Art of War — a manual used by successful military leaders for hundreds of years — taught savvy strategists how to exploit the knowledge of human dynamics to win their battles.

Today’s international business leaders have adapted this wisdom, as well as spin-offs like the 36 Stratagems, not with an eye to human survival, but only to capture markets, maximize corporate profits and beat out the competition.

These various texts all draw on the wisdom encoded in the Chinese I Ching, the venerable Book of Change to steer the decision-making process. They rely on applications of the laws of subtle change to stay ahead of the curve. Knowing that surface appearances are deceptive can be used either as a protective, self-defense measure or as a means for taking advantage of the less informed.

Those who love life and take human survival to heart have passed on the basics of how the world really works to those with ears to hear. In contrast, others hoard this knowledge as if to prosper themselves at others’ expense. They deny or even ridicule it, keeping perceived enemies “in the dark” to prevent their success.

In the dark ages, Europeans were taught to believe that the world was flat. The fact that the globe of spinning Planet Earth is in fact round was received as life-changing information that dramatically changed the way people thought and lived.

Similarly, today some still continue to think of history as a flat, perpetually forward-moving straight line. But they are as sadly mistaken as were the ancient seafarers who guided their ships on the assumption that the world was flat.

In fact, the dynamics of human history resemble a multi-layered clock whose second, minute and hour hands continuously return to the same starting point at different rates of speed. Rethinking the paradigm of history to align with known facts would give future leaders an edge on survival.

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Hegel and Marx had a partially correct, but disastrously hollow view of historical change. They pictured it as a rectangular-shaped grandfather clock with a pendulum that swings back and forth, repeatedly moving right and then left of center.

Their concept of a dialectic prescribed an eventual synthesis of both sides in an upwardly moving, progressive direction. The partial truth in this model is obscured by its inaccuracies and politically destructive applications.

It’s important to note that the interrelated, interconnected fabric of life pictured by the Positive Paradigm Wheel isn’t limited to this particular planet or even one solar system. As a universal model, it literally has applications to how the universe, or even multiple universes, work as well. This possibility is not completely foreign to our human history.

For example, the Anastazi, a highly sophisticated culture of eco-savvy cave dwellers located in Mesa Verdi, Colorado, thrived and then mysteriously disappeared. Like the Inca civilization located in Peru, and ancient Egyptians who built the pyramids, their detailed and accurate understanding of astronomy led archaeologists to conclude that they came from, were in correspondence with, and might eventually have returned to destinations far beyond Earth.

Just as humans continue to navigate their ships in the waters of Earth’s oceans, there may have been — and may again be — times when star travelers operate on paradigms that allow them to travel the oceans of distant space. The wheel-shaped Star Gates of the science fiction series by the same name are suggestive of imagined (or carefully kept) secrets.

In sum, there’s far more to human origins and history than people dream of. Science fiction teases us to think outside the limited historical paradigm. There’s truth in supposed “fiction” that would enrich our possible futures if we use it to expand our knowledge paradigm to match the facts of what has been and could yet still be.

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Corollary A: The seasonal, cyclical model of history applies equally to personal lives and the dynamics of organizational and even dynasty life-spans. Knowing the current time, as well as the direction in which its going, is important information to be taken into account in any decision-making process.

Corollary B: Just as the hour hand returns to its beginning point and then continues on to start the next hour, our lives do not end with one span, but continue on. This accords with metaphysical and religious views on reincarnation and immortality. These are not mutually exclusive beliefs. Reincarnation occurs on the surface of life’s wheel, while immortality resides at its center.

Corollary C: Facing the prospect of human extinction may be threatening. But refusing to consider and act on the possibility doesn’t make the danger go away. It renders us unprepared to meet and mitigate danger, preventing the possibility of re-charting the course of history for the optimal use of available options.

Keeping the subjects of magic and space exploration secret, relegating them to the genres of so-called fantasy and science fiction is form of denial. It limits our options for meeting whatever is to come fully and optimally prepared.

When life transitions are anticipated and wisely prepared for, they can be faced without fear and navigated successfully. Elizabeth Kübler-Ross’ research on death and dying has equally useful applications to both individual experience and the history of civilizations.

Corollary D: Nothing on Earth lasts forever. Accomplishments in the fields of science, humanism and spiritual enlightenment cannot be taken for granted. In Positive Paradigm context, the creative source resides eternal at the center. While there’s evolution on the outward path, there’s also the opposite and equal potential for devolution on the return path. This includes not only physical dis-integration, but also corruption. This leaves savvy leaders with important choices to make, for themselves as well as the followers who depend on them.

Corollary E: An apparent death sentence makes time remaining all the more precious. In biblical terms, awareness of impending disaster is motive and opportunity to repent (meaning to change one’s heart and ways), and to atone (meaning to realign with the center), using the gift of whatever time is left gratefully, wisely and well.

Some will actually defy medical/historical prognosis and survive to carry on, whether it be here, in other dimensions or even different universes. (Science fiction fans of TV’s two-hearted, regenerating time traveler Dr. Who are well-acquainted with these possibilities.)

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The Law of Karma Is a Key to Success

AXIOM FOUR of the Positive Paradigm is the practical foundation of functional ethics. It states, “Consequences of Actions Are Inevitable; Those Who Respect the Law of Karma Succeed.” Were it taught earlier in schools both public and private as the survival basic which it is, today’s world would be very different indeed.

For in an exclusively materialist, linear worldview, it seems possible to “get away with murder.” Unethical leaders mistakenly continue to act on the false premise that they can avoid the consequences of their actions by hiding selfish motives and evil deeds behind a mask of false appearances.

But ultimately, they deceive no one but themselves. (Remember the fate of ponzi racketeer Bernie Madoff and his two tragically unfortunate sons?)

Oscar Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Gray dramatizes the horrific consequences of hiding hideous deeds behind an unnatural mask of eternal youth and physical beauty. Just as Dorian comes to an awful end, in the circular and richly textured fabric of the Positive Paradigm worldview, attempts at evasion and deception are ultimately futile. The concept of a “perfect crime” is an oxymoron.

0 Axiom 4

The Old Testament describes the karmic law of return in agricultural terms. “As ye sow, so shall ye reap” and “For everything there is a season. . . ”

In modern parlance, the saying that underscores the circular dynamic of poetic justice is, “What goes around comes around.”

In the New Testament, Jesus speaks the Law of Karma as practical advice: “Do unto others as ye would have them do unto you.” This rule holds true as axiomatic. It has been observed for a very long time that in fact — even if not immediately, or directly — what is done does, for better or worse, returns in kind.

This code is neither self-righteous nor moralistic. It’s simply a practical fact, an observable law of nature. Because we are all interconnected, good deeds return exponentially, while harm intended becomes harm received.

There’s nothing personal about the Law of Karma. It’s simply how the world works. The dynamics of natural law are similar to computer logic. “If this, then that.” If one respects life and treats others with kindness, then others are likely to respond with gratitude. If one disrespects others, then all but wisest will feel threatened and react with fear, hatred and vengeful retaliation.

This is good news for those content to do the right things for the right reasons. It’s exceedingly bad news for those who choose to intentionally hurt and harm others, whether for immediate financial gain or petty ego-satisfaction.

It’s also incentive to become as knowledgeable as possible about the natural law encoded in the Book of Change. For the more deeply one understands the operations of this law, and the more skillfully they’re applied, the more likely it is that success will follow wherever attention is focused.

The law holds true for relationships on every level and in every avenue of daily life. Family members who honor the law bring blessings upon their loved ones as well as themselves. Those who are ethical in the conduct of their business and political lives succeed accordingly.

This dynamic is central to martial arts and the conduct of war. At the middle level, there are no reservations attached to energy manipulation. In a vacuum, out of context, motives are irrelevant. The playing field is open to all who know the territory.

To the extent that we’re not conscious of the energies that drive us at this middle level, we’re easy prey to behind-the-scenes puppet masters. American journalists see U.S. politicians’ abysmal ineptness at this level (in contrast to their Russian and Chinese counterparts) as putting Americans in grave danger.

Those who go with the grain, being truthful and trustworthy in their words and deeds even (and especially) when the going gets rough, find life ultimately abundant. Those who choose to go against the grain, preferring to get whatever they want however they can get it with as little effort as possible, find the opposite.

The popular riddle asks, “Why do con artists do shabby work, charge unreasonably high prices, and get away with murder.” The cynical answer: “Because they can.” However, this cynical half-truth tells only part of the story.

They can, because there’s free will. They can, because they’re ignorant, or else incredibly stupid. Choices have (all too often unforeseen) consequences. Whether one believes in God or not, whether one respects the natural law or chooses to be blind to it, these consequences are the same. In modern parlance, “Do the Crime. Do the time.” Or, as it’s also said, “Pay back is a bitch.”

Punishment for unrepentant wrong-doing can take many forms. The consequences of breaking human laws include fines. jail-time, and in the extreme, death. Over time, retribution for violating the natural law is visited in many forms, from mental or physical disease, to personal, professional or financial misfortune

Consequences of misdeeds often return on the psychological level. Carl Jung, the Swiss analyst who popularized the concept of archetypes, also wrote the introduction to the Wilhelm/Baynes version of the I Ching. He noted the unintended kickback from rejecting the basic axioms of religion and natural law with mere reason. There are consequences not only for decision-makers, but also those they influence.

In sum, Jung noted that modern thinkers have made a fatal mistake. The facts of inner life can’t be driven out of existence by arbitrarily banishing them from the decision-making equation. Saying God doesn’t exist doesn’t make it so. It just leaves the unbeliever at the disadvantage of being cut off from the center.

According to Jung, denying the facts of inner life has the effect of burying rejected aspects of the whole in the “unconscious,” where they continue to reap havoc on our daily lives. Politicians and journalists under the influence of unacknowledged emotional demons “unwittingly let loose psychic epidemics on the world.”

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Corollary A: Free will allows that no one’s fate is irreversibly cast in stone. Destiny is the result of many choices made over a very long time. But even at the eleventh hour, consistently better choices can ameliorate and redirect the outcomes of history, on a personal and on up to national levels. The Law of Nature allows that everyone can change. This is the eternal and best hope of even the seemingly worst among us.

Corollary B: The intricate workings of karma are unfathomable to the human mind. Asking why events happen is productive only insofar as it’s instructive as to how personal beliefs, attitudes and behavior can be improved to generate better results. Then, the most practical question to ask is, “What is the best way to respond to immediate events now?”

Corollary C: It’s best to forswear ignorant meddling. Life is infinitely complex. Humans can’t possibly fathom the far reaching effects of their actions. The best results come from listening to and acting on conscience without imposing selfish ego.

Corollary D: The atheist uses personal suffering as proof that either God does not exist, or that God is so cruel and unjust that this being deserves no trust, respect or allegiance. The answer is, that human suffering is a consequence of consistently poor choices made over a very long time. The opportunity inherent in suffering is to take responsibility for making better choices, beginning with an acceptance of and realignment with the basic axioms of life.

Corollary E: The Law of Karma operates without exceptions. Ignorance is no excuse. Violate it only at your own peril. Nature and Nature’s God cannot be fooled or circumvented. There’s no way to cheat. Nature can’t bet bribed. Conscience can’t be bought off.

Corollary F: A best-selling shaman book advises that it’s okay to go full bore after whatever you want. If others get in the way, it’s their problem. If they hurt you, it’s your fault for letting them. His answer to God, like Cain’s, is, in effect, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Implying, “No way.” But in Positive Paradigm context, the correct answer is, “We’re more than our brothers’ keepers.” We not only share the same seed origin in common. We’re inextricably connected. The pain and suffering we inflict on others returns, magnified, as our own – as do the kindnesses we compassionately provide along the way.

Corollary G: Justice belongs to the Creator, the all-seeing eye and all-knowing heart that resides at the center of the Wheel. Since everyone’s misdeeds are accounted for, there’s no need for revenge. Why try to even the score? It’s already been taken care of. Besides of which, who are we as short-sighted mortals to presume to judge? It’s far more beneficial to focus on personal karma and dharma.

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