Tag Archives: Bible

What the Generations Share in Common

Before writing on ways Millennials might use an Inner GPS App to decide where they want to go and how to get there, I searched the web for similar posts. There are tons of researched opinions on what Millennials want and need.

Marketers survey Millennials asking what they want to buy, from whom, and why. Business experts list the leadership qualities Millennials need.

But this particular approach is more inclusive. It goes a bit deeper.

Even in a world gone mad, as members of the human species, our basic wants and needs remain the same. On the surface of the Life Wheel, we all need food, clean water, shelter and clothing to survive. Some sleep also helps.

In a civilized world, we need the means to purchase these basics: income and/or a job. Respect in the larger community also helps.

At the middle energy/emotion level of the Life Wheel, most of us want to be accepted and supported. We want to feel secure. We want to enjoy the pleasures of life and, whenever possible, to avoid pain. In sum, we want to share our lives with fellow human beings.

At the innermost level, we crave answers about the purpose and meaning of our lives. We seek value. The boldest and bravest even aspire to know Truth. We want to know what Love IS. We crave unity, the stuff of Einstein’s Unified Theory, but continue to look for it in all the wrong places. (That, however, is the subject of another post still on the drawing board.)

The question here, however, is Where in a high-tech, polarized world gone mad, where the levels of the Wheel are fragmented and out of synch, can Millennials go to fulfill these universal requirements?

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Behind Millennials’ bravado and superficial social masks, their woes aren’t much different than they’ve ever been. The Buddha put suffering in perspective by promising to bring a dead child back to life if the grieving parents could find any household in the local village that had not been visited by death.

But of course, they could not.

The recent public revelation by movie star, political activist and philanthropist Jane Fonda translates universal suffering into today’s familiar terms. Her mother, Frances Ford Seymour, committed suicide at age 42 when Jane was 12. Only recently did the facts come out which led to closure. At age 76, to write her memoir, Jane looked up her mother’s medical records. There she found the key to understanding her mother’s behavior. From age 8, Frances had been the victim of sexual abuse.

Nor has life exempted me. My father, William Kirby West (named for his ancestor William Kirby Brewster, one of the earliest pilgrims who sailed from England to the New World on the Mayflower), committed suicide when I was 6. Since the subject was taboo in my dysfunctional family (a mirror of the dysfunctional society at large), no one told me the truth. I grew up believing my heart surgeon father died of a sudden heart attack at age 33. Only when I was 50 did my failing mother finally “remember” the facts surrounding his death.

This isn’t my only personal story. For example, (if you’ll pardon a bad pun), Swami Rama was one of the first to introduce yoga to the West. His front was that a celibate monk who’d taken vows of poverty. But appearances were deceiving.

Behind the scenes, he was a bold-faced hypocrite, liar and sexual predator who betrayed the trust of his students. A Yoga Journal author called his abuse of Tantric teachings “spiritual incest.” Translate: rape. In the hands of this opportunist, the teachings (a priceless heritage) were a convenient “product” that thirsty, naïve Americans wanted. He used them to make himself (for a short while) very rich and somewhat famous.

Oh well. “Something’s lost but something’s gained in living every day.”

The point here is that I haven’t allowed the slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune on the Wheel’s surface to define me. Instead, I’ve chosen to live by my mottos. First, “Take the best. Leave the rest.” Second, “Resist not evil. Persist in the good.”

I’ve repeatedly healed – made myself whole again – thanks to my inner apps (in this case, based on the King James version of The Bible and the Chinese Book of Change). I trust that nothing that happens on the surface can touch or change the essence of who I truly AM.

This blessing, the Inner App, is what I would love to share with millennials, as well as the parents and grandparents who dearly wish them well. It necessarily starts with a complete and correct reality map that puts the whole of life into perspective.

Here’s a picture of universal needs, wants and aspirations and the ways many millennials seek to fill them:

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An aside to millennials. The world of hurt we’re in today was foretold by Christ and foreseen by yogic seers long before that. It has been a long time coming. Today’s mess cannot be taken personally. Nor is it appropriate or helpful to blame your elders. (If you believe in karma, consider that, even if for reasons unknown to you now, you’re the one who picked the time and place of this particular incarnation, maybe to fulfill an important purpose).

Be that as it may, put things in perspective. You think your elders let you down; but they were equally disappointed by theirs. On the opposite side of the coin, each generation of elders continues, for the most part, to sincerely do the best they know how, often in the face of terrible odds.

So let’s cut each other some slack.

Millennials as well as their elders are welcome to come aboard the Inner App project. After all, it’s in everyone’s best survival interests.

For if we taught ourselves to think holistically, in concentric circles, and if we organized / prioritized our lives accordingly, we’d begin thinking like Einstein, like geniuses.

If enough of us tuned in to the universal inner compass and began treating each other with compassionate respect, we’d fulfill Einstein’s dearest wish and start getting along. It might even tip the balance of history in favor of human survival.

Because that truly is what’s at stake.

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Therapists as Positive Change Agents

During a critical transition point in my life, books by Swiss analyst Carl Jung had a magically powerful, formative influence. After leaving the United States to tour in Italy and Austria with a Brazilian chamber orchestra, I auditioned to join the master violin class taught by Sandor Vegh at the Robert Schumann Konservatorium in Düsseldorf, Germany.

The following year spanning 1970-71 was one of self-discovery and reinvention. [See Discovering the Missing Link, His autobiography Memories, Dreams and Reflections provided the clues I needed to reexamine my relationships and purpose in life. In conjunction, his introduction to the Wilhelm/Baynes translation of the Chinese I Ching initiated a life-long relationship with the text that continues to validate intuition and in-form important life decisions.

The Book of Change has been applied to countless disciplines for every imaginable purpose for over eight-thousand years. Leaders have respected the fundamentals of human dynamics to guide their businesses and nations. Military strategists have avoided no-win conflicts and won necessary battles based on the same principles. Healing sciences based on this wisdom, notably Traditional Chinese Medicine, balance extreme emotions to alleviate symptoms of physical disease.

 

Jung explored the universal experience of the dynamic inner-life which influences human behavior. These intangibles lie outside the parameters of empirical science, which deals exclusively with tangible, measurable experience. So he looked elsewhere for clues, including not only dreams, but ancient scriptures which can explain formerly taboo subjects. For example, both ancient Egyptians and Tibetans recognized the existence of the “bardo,” an intermediate level of existence to which departed souls travel. In each case, a Book of the Dead gives instructions on how to facilitate the process of “crossing over.”

More “A-ha” moments followed during the decade spent making acquaintance with the scriptures associated with yoga practice. I began to see the intimate connection between the Book of Change and yoga philosophy/science. Each informs the other. Conversely, each without the other is insufficient. It seemed that, throughout history, mosaic pieces of universal truth have been placed in different cultures, waiting to be reassembled into a larger picture.

 

Yoga scriptures included not only Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita, but also the Upanashads. Yoga anatomy, including an evolutionary scale of subtle energy centers, is an invaluable concept for psychologists and healers. Whereas Chinese medicine focuses on internal organs and three energy centers — the lower, middle, and upper Tan Tiens — yoga anatomy names seven basic centers located at intersection points along the human spine. Their correlation with the repeated number “7” in the Old Testament is not coincidental.

 

But it was the premise posed as a question in the Manduka Upanishad that haunted me for years. “What is that, knowing which, all else is known?” I repeatedly asked myself that question, and applied it to everything I learned.

 

When I recognized the correlation between Einstein’s famous formula, e = mc2 and ancient teachings from around the world, I used the Positive Paradigm of Change to picture their common understanding. Then came another Aha! This Unified Wheel is fact That, Knowing Which, All Else is Known. It puts the mosaic pictures together in a way that is larger than the sum of its parts.

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Why then, I continue to ask, if this information is readily available, do people balk at the marvelous possibilities inherent in the Positive Paradigm of Change, refusing to go through the doorway it opens for those with the courage to enter? I addressed this briefly in The Fateful Fear of Self-Awareness, This blog contrasts the hollow shell of the prevailing empirical science paradigm with the universal, complete paradigm of diversity on the surface with timeless unity at the center. Bottom line: incomplete, inaccurate paradigms generate resistance to the unfamiliar.

But there’s more. Additional blogs expand on that fateful fear: “The Only Way Out is Through and Know When to Mistrust Inner Voices, The Chapel Perilous journey through the middle level of the Wheel takes soul seekers on what comparative religion legend Joseph Campbell called the Hero’s Journey. Not everyone is equipped to face and survive that dark night of the soul alone.

 

Here’s where feedback from others more experienced and wise than ourselves can be invaluable. Those whose understanding encompasses a complete and correct reality map (Jungian therapists and self-aware Christians who adhere to the Bible, for example) serve as the agents of positive change, one person at a time.

 

With the combined tools of reason, empathy and intuition, they are the most qualified to help those willing to face their fears. Understanding discrimination in the full meaning of the term, they can skillfully steer us safely through the danger-fraught middle level of irrational prejudice, fears and delusions, to attain fuller Self-Awareness. They can lead us on the road to recovering the infinite store of treasures available on the far shore of life, ever present and waiting for us in the innermost center of the life wheel.

Here’s the picture of full-spectrum discrimination in Positive Paradigm context. It includes not only the rational and sub-rational definitions, but also the super-rational. In the Buddhist tradition, discrimination (buddhi) is defined as the ability to see through illusions and recognize the eternal at the center of change.

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In the past, those in psychological pain, suffering from self-doubt and looking for a better way to live, would have turned to sages or kings for guidance. At this stage in history, however, therapists as healers (meaning “to make whole”) are often the best secular refuge.

Rethinking CHANGE

Natural change on the surface and middle levels of the Life Wheel is ongoing and inevitable. In addition, ignorant and/or irresponsible people superimpose additional layers of unnatural change to the mix, products of cultural conditioning and human agendas. So the best hope we have for maintaining inner and outer stability in the midst of chaos and suffering is to focus on the unchanging center. Otherwise, working consistently to achieve worthwhile long-term goals would be impossible. Hence, from the Introduction to the Common Sense Book of Change:

Ancient sages looked to The Book of Change primarily to discover ways to maintain balance and stability in the midst of change.

Advisors to long-lasting dynasties in China observed how to adjust with the winds and waves of time just as a ship pilot shifts the sails or a surfer rides the cresting water to reach a far shore safely.

They knew that temporal wisdom depends on the existence of a timeless essence deeper than change, the same at the heart of the universe, the individual and every atom.

Here, then, is an Essay on natural change from an I Ching perspective:

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Essay 11. CHANGE

We have always thought of the Bible as a book. We now know that was only its first incarnation. It is also a computer program. Not merely a book that Rips typed into a computer, but something that its original author actually designed to be interactive and ever-changing.  — Michael Drosnin, The Bible Code

 

For the last eight years, I have been studying all the various ways that people can heal, and I have integrated all the integrative medicine approaches, and I have learned how to change my lifestyle. . . I can honestly tell you that the one thing I never questioned was the fact that there is divine order, that there is a supreme being behind the universe. I’ve always known that. It’s as if it’s in my DNA. [The “Power to Change” Tour] — Naomi Judd, Larry King Live Interview

 

The responsibility for [improvement strategies] rests at the top, as in everything that has to do with the spirit of an organization. And so the executives who run innovative organizations must train themselves to look out the window, to look for change. The funny thing is, it’s easier to learn to look out the window than to look inside, and that’s also a smart thing to do systematically. — Peter F. Drucker, Managing the Non-Profit Organization

 

THE FRONT

Webster’s gives seven definitions of change. Root derivations include exchange, or bent and crooked, suggesting the image of a curved, wavy line. The first definition of the verb is to substitute, replace or transfer one thing for another. The second is to give and receive reciprocally, exchange or switch. The third is to cause to become different, alter, transform, convert, or undergo a variation. The fourth is to give or receive the equivalent of a coin in currency. The fifth is to put on other clothes. The sixth, used as a noun, describes the place where merchants do business. The seventh is the pattern in which bells are rung. By extension, jazz musicians use the term to denote chord progressions.

Translators call the dynamic natural law mapped in the I Ching “change.” However, if we think of the word as its regularly used, we miss what the book’s really about. Change isn’t synonymous with political reform, for example, which results, literally, in different forms. Rarely does it bring about qualitative change. Revolution is closer. Just as the minute hand of a clock revolves once an hour back to its starting point, governments revolve over time from reactionary to revolutionary extremes and back. Rarely, however, is long-term qualitative change is achieved in the process.

Evolution is another word used to mean change. Often it implies improvement. However, life is not like a mechanical clock which always runs forward. Over time, poor choices and destructive behavior change us for the worse. The life clock can be turned counter-clockwise. Humans have equal potential for both evolution and devolution.

No one can take for granted either that change is automatically good, or that no matter what one does or doesn’t do, improvement is inevitable. The I Ching helps careful thinkers to relate wisely to change, to ensure through their choices that they actualize their potentials for positive growth.

As Drucker indicates, leaders too often think of change as external, something imposed from the outside upon others. They too often forget about the personal, internal changes that must precede any qualitative, long-lasting external change. Repent is defined as an awakening of conscience that stimulates regret for past mistakes and determination to improve. The warning “repent before it’s too late” on one level refers to a change of heart. On another, it indicates, as Einstein warned, the urgent need to change the way we think and therefore respond to life’s challenges.

In The Bible Code, a challenge was found in proximity to a pending assassination: “Can you change it?” Drosnin took the question literally and made a futile attempt to warn Prime Minister Rabin, as if to change the course of history.

Perhaps on another level the question implies other challenges. Maybe we are being asked to change our relationship to the timeless teachings we take for granted, to look again with fresh eyes and change not external events, but rather our hearts and minds, to change from the inside out.

THE BACK

The opposite of change is stasis. People who feel threatened by change and think they can benefit from resisting it try to freeze time. This results not in perfection, however, but in stagnation and decay. While natural change is vital and life-enhancing, obstructing it is counter-productive and ultimately self-destructive.

Anarchy is a perversion of natural change. Nature is exquisitely ordered and therefore, to those who observe carefully, predictable. Political radicals impatient with corrupt governments leap to opposite and equal abuses of power. Lacking wisdom, their violence abruptly shatters existing order, but fails to improve the quality of life. On subtle levels, attempts to destroy natural patterns results not in desired freedom, but in annihilation.

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* From Conscience: Your Ultimate Personal Survival Guide. See the UPSG Essay Page for a description of the structure-within-structure format of the Essays, an overview of CONSCIENCE: