Tag Archives: Book of Change

Rethinking Change

March 24th marks the launch of my YouTube Channel, RETHINKING CHANGE.

Here, I’m sharing with you the link to the Premier video, as well  as the script which appears below.

Rethinking Change Banner

Hello and Welcome to Rethinking Change. I’m Pat West.

So. Let’s start right in with a riddle. Here’s a list of thought leaders in fields like:

  • Finance – Napoleon Hill. Robert Kiyasaki.
  • Science – Gregg Braden.
  • Healing – Joe Dispenza.
  • Energy Work – Donna Eden, Jeffrey Allen.
  • Hypnosis – Marisa Peer.
  • Martial arts — Bruce Lee
  • . . . . the  list goes on

But here’s the question. What do they have in common? By the end of this video, you’ll have the answer to that question, as well as an appreciation for the value Rethinking Change has to offer you  and those you care for.

As a special bonus, at the end, I’ll share with you what the Book of Change has to say about the COVID-19 pandemic. As you’ll come to find out, the I Ching is the foundation of energy medicine and Tai Chi. It’s the missing link we need NOW to survive and thrive in this intense time of extremes. I think you’ll find its message . . very interesting.

You’re probably wondering by now, who I am to be saying all of this. Well, there’s a long version, because I have plenty of stranger-than-fiction stories to share with you in good time. But here’s the short version.

I was trained as a musician. I played piano and various string instruments — guitar, a bit of sitar, but primarily violin. I shared this life-saver in common with my man, Einstein, who was also a violinist. It led me to yoga and to the magical, marvelous I Ching, the Book of Change, which maps the laws of nature, the repeating cycles of change which everyone everywhere share in common. For more than 8,000 years, it’s been used as a decision-making tool by leaders in every walk of life, all over the world. It’s used to bypass danger, optimize opportunities and to maintain balance in the midst of change.

Psychologist Carl Jung wrote an introduction to the Wilhelm/Baynes translation. He taught us to use it as a tool for making the unconscious conscious.

In 1975, I wrote my own version. It still works for me. My idea was, it shouldn’t be so tough . . and it should be made available to everyone. You can find it on Amazon. It’s called The Common Sense Book of Change.

I’ve been growing with the book for over 40 years now, taking it with me through every imaginable situation to understand the dynamics that drive human behavior. It’s become a good friend and mentor. More than once, it’s saved my life. If you want to know more, you can check out my website, rethinking survival.com. You’ll find several related posts. One is “The I Ching and Me.” Another is “How the Common Sense Book of Change (CSBOC) Came To Be.

In the late 1970s, I earned a Ph.D. in Educational Administration. From writing books to fill the shelves that weren’t there when I needed them, I went on to earn the credential to build schools to fill what I call the fatal knowledge gap in what we’re taught in schools.

Basically, though, what you need to know about me is summed up in my latest book, You Are Already Enough: How Would Your Life CHANGE if you really Believed It? There, I give you my personal Why, How and What.

Basically, though, what you need to know about me is summed up in my latest book, You Are Already Enough: How Would Your Life CHANGE if you really Believed It? There, I give you my personal Why, How and What.

My WHY is to pay forward the extraordinary blessings I’ve received over a lifetime. I experience it as a calling. My HOW has been to write books, blog, give an occasional class, and now, to create content for this YouTube channel. My WHAT, the end result I’m aiming for, is to restore sanity to a badly fractured world, one person at a time.

Okay then. The Book of Change is one self-awareness tool. The second is a spin-off. And here things get even more interesting.

I came to it by applying yoga sutras to Einstein. Take the archetypal Life Wheel that repeats through all cultures and all times, well known to meditators. Then take the variables of Einstein’s formula – M = mass, E = energy, C = light – and plug them into the increasingly deeper levels of the Life Wheel. The result is the Unified Field Theory – including the elusive “consciousness factor.” Einstein had already received it, but for lack of yoga training, he missed it.

02a. Unfied Field Theory

Now. . . . just like the Ching’s repetitive cycle of hexagrams, this quantum pattern of creation also repeats throughout nature, on every scale of magnitude . . . smallest to largest, from atoms to solar systems. It repeats in every cell of our bodies. In Already Enough, I give pictures of this pattern repeating throughout nature and world art.

But what’s important to emphasize here is that this isn’t just an interesting, abstract idea. The formula e=m2 has powerful applications, for destruction – the atomic bomb – as well as creation. We can personalize the Life Wheel to make it real in our own lives. We can use it to assess how we’re doing, to identify what’s missing, decide what we intend to change, and then to plan how to get from here to there. It’s a powerful tool. It can bring us back from an incomplete, fractured lifestyle into full alignment with our true complete nature, the original design of creation.

Here’s just one picture of what wheel-work looks like:

happy face

And here’s my Why, How and What prioritized inside the Life Wheel structure.

My Why, How & What

So. The answer to the riddle I asked at the beginning . . is this. What all those thought leaders share in common is an intuitive fidelity to this basic structure, the quantum reality embodied in the Life Wheel. It explains . . for example. . the effectiveness of Napoleon’s Hill Think and Grow Rich formula. And so on. . . In You Are Already Enough!, I show that, just as Einstein’s formula plugs into the Life Wheel, so do the ideas that get the powerful results each of these thought leaders has achieved.

Before moving on to the COVID-19 section, I briefly want to tell you this. When I was brainstorming for future video content, the list got huge . . . because the Life Wheel truly meets the Occam’s Razor standard of greatest simplicity with maximum inclusiveness.

Once you start rethinking change, seeing how the dynamics expand and contract from the inside out, and how the levels of the Life Wheel link up . . the possibilities become infinite. It’s like, anywhere you focus the laser beam, it illumines the field.

Here’s a short list of potential subjects:

  • The MPI standard – motive, purpose, and intent. (Being aware of what you’re doing and why.)
  • Abundance. Magic. Manifestation. Wealth.
  • Change. Change agents. Affirmative action. Positive Action.
  • Unity. The United States.
  • Conflict. Common sense. The law of Karma. Ethics.
  • Creativity. Intuition. Self-awareness. Self-actualization.
  • Relationships. Empaths and narcissists.
  • Interdependence. Cooperation.
  • Communication. Community. Intentional community.
  • Education. Higher Education. Paradigm shifts. And opportunity.
  • Authority. Inner authority. Conscience.
  • Medicine. Healing. Mindfulness. Meditation.
  • Codes. The Emotion Code. The Healing Code.
  • Stress. The suicide epidemic and its prevention.

So, if you have any preferences among those topics or other related questions you’d like me to address, please comment below and I’ll do my best to respond. And please do take the time to like, share and subscribe, so we can get this urgently needed information out to a badly fractured world that – for lack of it – is in SUCH deep trouble.

Now, here’s the COVID-19 bonus I promised you.

There are many ways to approach the Book of Change. It starts with finding a quiet place and settling down the noisy mind. After deciding on a question, there’s a process for arriving at an answer. I’m saving the technical side for later. Today, I’m going straight to the answer I got on March 14th to this written question: “What advice does the Book of Change have to offer the general public about the COVID-19 pandemic?”

The initial outcome was 14, SELF-POSSESSION. It looks like this:

14 Self-Possession

It seems to me that the general public expects leaders to demonstrate calmness, integrity, and fairness. We want them to give us a clear picture of what’s going on. Deep down, we really want leaders who inspire us.

However, the initial answer was dynamic. It had two changing lines that offer warnings or advice. These combined to result in a different outcome.

The advice from line four is “Do not compete with others. Use your skills to build.” It advises restraint and to avoid careless waste. So I would be concerned that precious time is being wasted, that this crisis is being used BY SOME as a political football, and that it’s possible resources being mobilized might to some extent be misdirected.

The advice from line five reads “When you prove yourself responsible, others will trust you.” The shadow side here is that unless leaders prove themselves trustworthy, people won’t trust them.

But even when there’s restraint and responsibility, the second outcome remains FRUSTRATION. This makes good sense. We have expectations that aren’t always being met. It’s related to the leadership issue, but just as importantly . . . we need to be aware that there’s a lot going on – hidden – behind the scenes. Things aren’t exactly what they seem.

Number 9 reads: External factors you may not even be aware of will cause FRUSTRATION. New projects will not work out now. This cannot be avoided. Arguing will not influence those who could help. Your choice is either to wait patiently or to leave the situation. “

So it seems to me that right now we’re in for a waiting game. Getting emotionally caught up in the upheavals that have been set in motion would be counter-productive. To the extent that worry is a waste of time, refocusing attention . . . rethinking the change going on all around us . . . is a better option.

So, the next question that arises is Where should we turn our attention? For one thing, I would look for the opportunities hidden within current dangers, because it’s a rule of Natural Law that in duality, there are two sides to every coin.

It’s quite possible we’ve been looking in the wrong places for IMPORTANT answers. And that the Book itself is welcoming the pandemic as an opportunity to reintroduce itself as an inspirational way to access the deeper energy and light levels of our Life Wheels for a better understanding what’s truly going on – within ourselves . . . as well as in the world around us.

NOW this opens WIDE the door to a whole new world. I will continue this thread in my next video, which I’m calling “Blessings in Disguise.”

So, here’s what you can expect from now on. In each Thursday video, I’ll balance discussion with a hands-on reading from different versions of the Book of Change. The plan is to illumine key issues in terms of the Life Wheel pattern, supported by readings to make the Book of Change increasingly more familiar.

Again. Please comment below. Like, share and subscribe. Hit the bell to be notified each time I publish a new video. And I’ll see you again next time. Until then, do take good care of yourselves.

The I Ching Works Like a Cosmic Clock

Among other things, the I Ching works like a cosmic clock, telling us the time.

In the Old Testament, King Solomon expressed the natural, rhythmic alternations of time in poetic form:

To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted. A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down and a time build up . . . a time to love and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

The Book of Change puts its users in touch with these pulsating, alternating rhythms of life. It connects us with inner knowing – call it intuition or conscience – that anticipates approaching changes, the better to prepare for what is to come.

It serves as a reminder that our lives change like the seasons of nature. Fall follows summer. Spring follows winter.

It lends perspective to the current times and what is likely to come next.

In I Ching context, faith is akin to trusting a highly refined sense of timing. It is an atunement with the same inner clock which guides migrating birds and informs heroic displays of virtue.

Some people experience this inner knowing as a sense of personal destiny or keen sensitivity to the zeitgeist direction of the times.

Faith guides our feet, not only towards good fortune, but away from danger. An example from the New Testament is Joseph, husband of Mary, protector of Jesus. He accepted Mary and her child on faith.

When a fearful King Herod was intent on killing new born males to thwart the prophecy of his downfall, Joseph “knew” it was time to escape from Jerusalem, thus saving the infant’s life. He also knew when danger had passed, and it was time to return the boy to his homeland.

Using the interactive Common Sense Book of Change (CSBOC) is a powerful way to get in touch with the native common sense we are all born with, but too often forget under the pressures of hectic daily life.

The text maps the natural patterns of change which trigger predictable passages from one stage to another in our lives.

Those who live close to nature are instinctively closer to their own natural rhythms, something city dwellers too often lose touch with. For those who long to remember who they truly are, but have forgotten, working the I Ching is especially rare and precious blessing.

 

Rethinking HOPE

hope

Paradoxically, the following Essay on Hope compliments the one on Death shared in The Phoenix Response. Tellingly, it reflects beliefs significantly different from those held by my grandparents, Ellie and Hubble West. It might explain, at least in part, their experience of old age.

Nor is the subject merely academic. As I currently face unanticipated health challenges, like many baby-boomers of my generation, I’m being challenged to face and rethink my personal survival expectations.

I’ll explain all this at length later. But for now, here are my earlier thoughts on Hope, for your thoughtful consideration.

Essay 63. HOPE

That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Glory, may give unto you wisdom the spirit of and revelation in the knowledge of him:

The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power. . .

— St. Paul, 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’s 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 is 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 and Howe (authors of The Fourth Turning), Goleman is a messenger of awareness we’re often trained to block out.

His vision accords 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 along the lines of Adams’ work be 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 is a (however well disguised) blessing.

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 inevitably in the long-term prevails.

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.

I’m Writing To . . .

 

globe

Like magic, hints about the baby steps to take next have been coming from all directions.

Today, I’m writing in answer to a comment made on Two Out of Three Isn’t Enough:

Hi Patricia, I enjoy your writing style. That said, one must write with a target audience in mind; at least commercially. Otherwise you are just writing for yourself.

For a split second, I went on the defensive.

What??!! Just mental masturbation? Focus on making money?

This particular LinkedIn connection has followed my posts from the beginning. He should know me better by now.

To state once more what I’ve repeatedly said, I write because — like so many men and women – my lonely, early years were haunted by unspeakable specters of suicide and abuses of power. If what helped save me could, paid forward, make a difference in even one life, it would, for me, be enough.

To save one life is to save the world entire.” This is the mantra that keeps me going late nights, after daily tasks are completed, even when my physical body urgently wants rest.

Though surely not intended, what “a target audience” conjures in my mind is the image of armed game hunters dressed in orange and camo garb, scouting for animals to snuff the life out of and eat for dinner.

Not that I haven’t given conventional writers’ wisdom – “know your audience” – some thought, thank you anyway. I have. A lot, in fact.

Here’s part of the problem. The Life Wheel is universal. It offers a scientific underpinning to support humanistic calls to live in peace. As written in Sages and Scientists Can Agree on This, it has the potential to restore awareness of the common humanity everyone everywhere shares in common.

On the opposite, shadow side, today’s lack of a universally accepted, complete and accurate paradigm answers the plaintive question, “Why can’t we all just get along?” Limiting, misleading paradigms are a root cause of widespread conflict and suffering in today’s dangerously volatile world.

Everyone is fascinated by both sides of change. On the one hand, we yearn for positive improvements. On the other, we dread the unknown. That’s because no one taught us the survival basics in school. We never learned how the dynamics of duality drive relationships in the world. We don’t know how to balance yin-yang opposites to maintain stability, first within, then without.

So we remain conflicted – on all levels. Ambivalent. Paralyzed. In fact, lack of survival basics has become our Achilles Heel – our fatal flaw.

Change is a word on the lips of CEOs, politicians, radicals, therapists, pastors everywhere. All use it. But very few have an in-depth understanding of what it’s about, much less have the methods and means to act as effective agents of positive change.

That’s one reason why I have a problem with niche thinking. The current trend of carving humanity into smaller and smaller, mutually exclusive either/or interest groups is a symptom of the fragmented, isolating thinking we desperately need to overcome. . . . which the Life Wheel has the potential to heal.

Fortunately, however, this coin has a flip side too. Being universal, the Life Wheel can be brought to life – animated and applied to illumine each and very tiny corner niche.

So, I’ve done my bestest to go with the flow of common wisdom.

For example, for a time I focused on MILLENNIALS. Being tech savvy, I thought, they are especially well qualified to resonate with the digital technology of the Book of Change — The I Ching. Further, they’re the ones most disillusioned of the “American dream.” Being less invested than their elders in prevailing, dysfunctional paradigms, I thought they would “get it.”

In When the Lights Go Out, Who Will Millennials Call? I wrote what still reads to me like a wake-up tour de force.

I continued with Good News and Bad News for Millenials.

Did any one get it? What more can I say? (Perhaps, I sometimes think, someone else might say it differently and better.)

Nevertheless, I tried again, suggesting what could have been billion dollar game and app ideas in An Inner Compass App for Millennials

Response? Instant contact from a venture capitalist. He wanted to pick my brain; tried to coerce me into signing a non-competition agreement that would, in effect, block further blogging. So sorry. No can do. (Reminded me of Hannibal’s words, “When the lamb cries, the wolf comes. But not to help.”)

Next, in frustration over the foolishness of a self-proclaimed millennial leader who didn’t get it whatsoever, I wrote What the Generations Share in Common.

So, moving on to other audiences.

The I Ching has been the primary decision-making tool used by LEADERS in every walk of life – government, military, monastic, medical, mercantile . . you name it . . . for thousands of years.

So I applied the Life Wheel, as the next generation Book of Change, to address a host of leaderships issues. For example, in response to a direct question, I wrote How Bad People Become Leaders; and then Savvy Leaders Go with the Flow.

In True Leaders Trust Their Inner Compass to Over Come Confusion, I introduced the Life Wheel to Authentic Leaders who already accept the importance of following their North Star.

In The Positive Paradigm Handbook: Make Yourself Whole Using the Wheel of Change, I’ve shown how THERAPISTS and SELF-HEALERS can turn the Life Wheel into a diagnostic and a decision-making tool. I have a special fondness for Jungian analysts, and said so in Therapists as Positive Change Agents.

For those who chose to frame their truth in the language of PHILOSOPHY, I wrote Change the Rules of the Knowledge Game. Here I focused the Life Wheel on the field of epistemology – the (politically charged) study of who can know what, and how.

The list goes on.

But . . . I still ask myself, how does one “target” the diverse and widely scattered audience of readers who hide painful dark secrets under the facade of their ordinary lives as housewives, students, soldiers, athletes, priests, poets, politicians, CEOs, entrepreneurs and on and on. . . ?

How does one “target” the hidden army of loved ones so poorly equipped to win the war to rescue sons, daughters and spouses from quiet desperation?

How does one effectively extend compassionate hope to the multitude of isolated, face-saving power abusers in high office — addicts driven by psychological forces outside their conscious awareness, rendered taboo by current dysfunctional paradigms.

How do I tell all of them, that like me, with the I Ching as a confidential best friend, they would find out that they are never, ever truly alone. And that everyone can choose to change for the better.

With its wisdom and support (explain its magic as you will), I have brought myself back from every temptation – from hated, the impulse to revenge, from self-pity and despair.

With its help, I’ve gleaned the benefit of lessons to be learned from adversity.

It has inspired me, instead reacting against abuse and succumbing to the danger of becoming an abuser myself, to live and to serve as a healing beacon to others.

What follows is a personal example of desperation and life-saving help excerpted from Rethinking Survival:

globe bullet size

The scriptures were inspiring. [the swami] cynically perverted them. A pundit disciple based in Minneapolis initiated gullible students in the rituals of guru worship. This aristocratic charmer held Western seekers in contempt and dummed the teachings down.

The powers of this smooth, flamboyant “holy man” were foreign to Western sensibilities. He flaunted a repertoire of magic tricks. He could change blood flow in his feet. He read minds and hypnotized students.

He reportedly bilked American students out of thousands of dollars for nonexistent hospitals in India.

By his own admission, disciples in India would have burned his ashram to the ground had they known he was habitually performing sexual tantra (rape) on unsuspecting American women. . . .

At his ashram in Rishikesh, India, three women he’d seduced got together and traded information. We realized none of us was a “special exception” to his vow of celibacy.

When we blew the whistle, he flipped out. Tantric teachings, he raged, were sacred teachings. Exposing them would damn us forever. We were terrified and backed down.

To the detriment of other relationships, I obeyed his command, “Keep still!!”

Covering his backside, the swami informed his psychologist henchmen that I was “mentally disturbed.” Protecting vested interests in their careers, they treated me as if I were crazy.

It took years to get over the pain, anger and confusion caused by their betrayals.

But I healed. I used yogic introspection to get over it mentally. To repair emotional damage, I turned to Traditional Chinese Medicine. For solace and hope, I looked to the New Testament.

But my best friend and advisor throughout was The Book of Change. I didn’t dare talk with people who knew the swami. They would have turned against me, not helped.

His powers were outside the experience of university-trained therapists. There were no qualified professionals to turn to.

Confiding in family was out of the question. If I went to them with one problem, I’d end up with two.

But with the I Ching, I could be completely honest. It has no agendas. Opening my heart to ask my questions was like talking with my True Self. Its answers rang true. Instead of tearing myself apart by warring against abuse of power, I used it to turn inward to the higher authority I could trust: my own conscience.

globe bullet size

History Repeats Itself – Renaissance or Another Dark Ages?

A recent post described the unfortunate end of Abelard, the medieval philosopher best known for his tragic love of Heloise.

Out of synch with his times, this celebrated cleric taught that men gain knowledge – including faith – through reason. For this, he was convicted by his monastic superiors of heresy. Abelard’s books were banned and burned. He died shortly afterwards in prison.

St. Augustine’s exclusively faith-based Rules of the Knowledge Game were balanced with Abelard’s opposite approach only after St. Aquinas harmonized the two extremes. According to the new Rules, no matter where you start, each approach leads to and reinforces the other.

This broad-based approach to knowing as a two-way street set the foundation for the flowering of arts, sciences and commerce known as the 12th Century Renaissance.

But, I suspect you’re wondering by now, is medieval history relevant NOW?

It’s highly relevant, particularly when taken in the context of patterned, repeating cycles of human behavior. Learning the basic lessons of history is an important way of leveraging the future.

Back to the 12th Century Renaissance. It was during this time of creative balance that universities evolved to replace monasteries as centers of learning.

I’ve thought about this a lot. The Origin and Future of Universities was the dissertation topic of my choice. In my proposal, I drew a bell-shaped curve that cycled above and below a median-line that represented historical times of creative balance between extremes. It looked like this:

bell curve sized

In the late 1970’s, when I wrote my proposal, universities were at a critical point of intersection. There was still a window of time left during which to mitigate a predictably dangerous direction of change, before a narrow window of opportunity closed.

Humanistic psychology and holistic health movements were leading the way towards another reintegration of faith and logic — a reconciliation of intuitive and rational ways of knowing. On the one hand, I held hopes that another creative renaissance was on the horizon. On the other, I foresaw the possibility that the curve would cross the median balance point and continue its downward slope, plunging the world into another dark ages of fanaticism and intolerance.

Departmental politics prevented me from writing the dissertation of my choice. (That story and its implications, however, are a different subject.) What’s pertinent here is the outcome. The window of opportunity has closed. Proof abounds. For example, during the Arab Spring, disillusioned Muslims who at first had welcomed violence as an opportunity for positive change were horrified at the repressive results. One Egyptian commented to a reporter that his country had entered a new dark age. News here and abroad continues to confirm that downward trend.

What remains are the mitigating possibilities open to I Ching users. The Chinese Book of Change keeps self-honest seekers in synch with the times, giving them survival insights and hints as to where to look for respite from the worst that might yet come. It keeps hope for the positive change we persist in holding dear to our hearts alive.

Here’s the key. Patterns codified in The Book of Change repeat on every scale of magnitude. That is to say, the same seasonal cycles repeat in an individual’s life. They also repeat in families, in the work place, in governments and even in the history of civilizations.

So even when the times are dangerously out of joint, individuals can still change for the better. So can intentional communities. So long as there’s this hope, it’s never to late. In the early dark ages, for example, monasteries were islands of hope, civility and sanity in a violent, barbaric world. Their equivalents might again serve the same purpose.

Further, personal, organizational and historical rhythms aren’t necessarily in synch. This explains why the same view is welcome at one place or time, but not in others. Abelard’s emphasis on reason, for example, would have been in synch in 17th century universities even though they were fatally out of harmony with beliefs held in the monastic circles of his day.

This information holds good or bad news, depending on whether it’s recognized and how it’s used. On one hand, acting as if personally preferred realities are fact, regardless of whether or not they’re in synch with the times, is unrealistic. For example, New-Agers who ardently believe the near future promises a widespread renaissance of human upliftment are quite probably mistaken. Worse, they may be misleading followers who will find themselves unfit and unprepared to survive in an increasingly intolerant, dark ages environment.

But on the other, positive side, it’s still possible, even as a dark age of fanaticism is gaining ground, to maintain personal balance. Personal renaissance – literally re-birth – is possible at any split second in time. Even when social trends are devolving into extremes, individuals aren’t required to forsake the ideal of personal integration just to fit in. In fact, personal and community survival may well depend on the capacity to maintain stable balance even in the most unbalanced of times.

Of a certainty, heightened, intentional balance will be essential to personal survival, even and especially as dark times cloud collective reason and threaten to extinguish faith.

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.

Now Needed: An Army of Arjunas

Sometimes it seems the magic is gone forever from my life. All that remains is chores, living like an unwelcome fugitive, dodging the condescending cruelties of householders who bring in more money. Pretty grim.

But suddenly that changed. Today the magic is back, full force. Coming out of the blue, encouraging messages from strangers sparked me back into the writing mode.

It started this morning (Saturday, April 18. 2015) with an email notice. A recommendation had been voluntarily added to my [now cancelled] LinkedIn profile. “Insightful, ground breaking, immensely important.”

Shortly afterwards, a delightful, koan-like message (re: Humanity) appeared: “Very acknowledgeable am smiling please carry on.”

That me jolted out of my funk. After thanking these messengers of the Universe (no naming names, so as not to offend anyone), I continued, responding to overlooked messages I earlier hadn’t had the heart to answer. One simply said, “Hey Patricia, Thanks for the new post.”

Another wrote, “Patricia, Good morning, I trust you are doing well. Take good care.”

After that, I checked an abandoned blog site to see how old friends are faring there. I was delighted to find a post from an earlier commenter whom I thought I’d offended beyond repair. Resonance with my work showed he’s following through in his own way. He wrote:

We tend to miss that our immediate environment is part of a much bigger ecosystem whose dynamics and ramifications extend far beyond our limited grasp of space and time.

Though delighted, I kept my response short: Well said. Agreed. : )

But I still had questions about writing. If I should I continue, in what in direction? I’ve been stuck on the topic of intentional communities, which has stalled on the drawing board for months. The content continues to elude me. Outlines only generate more questions.

Further, one LinkedIn connection who’s now occupied elsewhere rejected the topic, assuming communism is what I have in mind. (No way!) Another connection with enormous potential to do great good has taken a different direction, choosing to engage in a family-run start-up.

I considered listing my doubts and inviting comments. But that didn’t click either.

So now, in thinking about the “interesting” timing of encouraging emails, I remembered that today – April 18th – – is a new moon, traditionally associated with new beginnings. Before checking for a description of the day’s potential, I “knew” I should first consult my old, best friend, the Book of Change.

That’s when the magic kicked in big time.

Granted that the I Ching (especially useful as a vehicle for entering the fourth dimension of time-space where synchronicity comes into play) is outside the comfort zone of some professionals. Nevertheless, please stay with me. After all, it has also been the enduring, practical foundation of leadership training in Asian cultures for many thousands of years – with good reason.

Be that as it may, I queried for direction. The resulting hexagram COMMUNITY was directly to the point of my concern. The CSBOC reading for #13 is:

IC 13

A changing line in the second place reinforced the concluding warning against selfishness: Avoid special interest groups. Selfish and corrupt motives bring downfall.

The resultant change, were the warning heeded, is #1 – CREATIVE POWER, which further reinforces the text.

The changing line in the fourth place reads: If you have become isolated, understand why and correct yourself.

This warning line pin-points a major problem. If heeded, the resultant change would result in # 37 – FAMILY, the cornerstone of community. I take the concluding warning very personally: Avoid roles not suited to your nature.

This returns full circle to my immediate dilemma. As a writer, my topic – the uncertainty of human survival – puts me in the role of a Cassandra relative to the larger, defiantly oblivious society. Being the messenger of an unpopular warning, though it seems my calling, can be isolating, not to mention unrewarding. It results in lifestyle issues with no immediate solutions in sight.

Nevertheless, I persist in believing that as increasingly more people find themselves in desperate social and economic straits, readiness will increase and my time eventually will come. The funding needed to support the intentional communities I envision will eventually materialize.

The situation reminds me of the dilemma faced by the warrior-charioteer Arjuna in the Bhadavad Gita. Those who opposed him were corrupt relatives, which posed a great conflict. Was it morally right to take sides against family, even if they were in the wrong? Forced to make an apparently no-win choice was paralyzing. On the battlefield, overwhelmed, he put down his weapons and refused to fight.

But at this crisis and turning point, his chariot driver, Lord Krsna, revealed his true identity. With inspirational encouragement, he encouraged the warrior to take heart, stand firm and win the righteous battle against evil.

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Similarly, the communities which timeless scriptures encourage, of which Einstein wrote, and of which I am thinking, are not based on biological or even cultural kindred, but rather on resonance of heart and mind. Communities connecting kindred souls, if you will. And in this, the exceedingly dangerous times in which we live hold magical seeds of opportunity. From Two Sides of a Coin:

Whereas most rulers suffer the unanticipated consequences of ignorance, pride and greed as shock, humiliation and undoing, sages intentionally harness the forces of nature to positive ends. Thus it is, that throughout history, at the right time, in the necessary circumstances, leaders of ordinary and humble beginnings have catapulted to extraordinary levels of accomplishment, effecting broad political and social change.

By voicing the collective yearnings of the suffering masses, perennial sage-leaders shed the light of eternal hope on times of greatest darkness. By inspired words and living example, they recreate ever-new the Gita’s vision of opportunities hidden within the outward experience of hardship.

For as sages know, “when social degeneration reaches critical mass, regeneration follows.” From Passage 78 of the Tao Te Ching:

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Returning to this morning’s magical COMMUNITY reading: another next bend in the road occurred. Surprisingly, the changing lines combine to produce a most inauspicious outcome: # 9 – FRUSTRATION, which begins:

External factors you may not even be aware of will cause FRUSTRATION. New projects will not work out now. . . Your choice is either to wait patiently or to leave the situation.

It concludes by advising, Avoid major commitments.

So, turning to what I saved for last, I asked, What is the nature of the frustration in building intentional communities? The answer, when I checked the astrological description of today’s new moon was this. Timing. Major planets of communication and reform are currently going into hibernation, so to speak. Retrograde.

According to the calendar, the correct decision for me personally is to wait until the end September and into October. For the time being, continue to patiently endure unavoidable frustrations.

For others, for many other reasons, there will be other choices. What is consistent across the board is that building effective intentional communities will depend on an army of Arjunas, each of whom listens to the inner voice of conscience represented by Lord Krsna rather than to the dictates of their particular biological families or immediate social, political and religious prejudices.

Sometimes I wish I could win the largest lottery in history, as if that would end current frustrations. Yet I know bringing in money that way cannot solve the deeper problems. It would not influence hearts or minds, persuade the public of the wisdom needed to ensure human survival. For this, patience is required. So it is no accident that first three letters of PATIENCE are also the first letters of my name.

Today’s magic provided the immediate encouragement now needed to keep writing . . . balanced with acceptance of long-term timing. May my telling of it encourage fellow Arjunas-in-waiting, those who also will, when the time is right, God-willing, be ready to build on common ground.

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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The Evolution of My Understanding

A post-Thanksgiving exchange with a LinkedIn connection (I’ll call him Dave, a favorite name) made me realize I owe it to readers to describe from personal experience why I’ve come to place so much importance on Natural Law. It’s critically important to be fluent in its operations. It’s equally essential to understand how it’s related to, though different from, Divine Law. As I’ve learned from personal experience, a little knowledge can get you in a lot of trouble.

dragon

Dave and I have never met. He hasn’t, to the best of my knowledge, read any of my books, so isn’t familiar with the autobiographical account written in Rethinking Survival. So other than candid answers to his frank questions, his impression is based on posts I’ve written.

We originally hit it off in an exchange of comments. In response to “Boundary Spanners Connect at the Center,” posted September 10, 2014, he wrote:

Wow and thanks Patricia! That was Profound and easy to read. Writing such articles take real skill and something of real value to communicate. I especially liked the hors d’oeuvre at the beginning that made me want to read the rest. Half way through I said out loud, “I think I love you”. I certainly enjoyed reading your article very much. I just clicked “follow”, although I hate the concept of “leaders” and “followers” because I am fiercely independent. I think of it instead as “subscribe”; as in “offer me some more of your tasty wares”; rather than tell me what to think…

I can relate to independent. Mom didn’t call the toddler-me an “independent critter” for nothing. So I answered back:

In-dependent = depending on the True Self deep within. Fiercely = connected with the passionate energy of the middle level. Love you too! Thanks for the subscribe, Dave. : )

Dave’s 80-something parents, who live in South Africa, flew to California, where both he and his brother now live. He dedicated the duration of the Thanksgiving holiday season to family. After they left, he wrote:

I told my mother about you and she asked me if you were a Christian. I said that you were aware of God and often reference Christian tenets in your writing, but that your belief system seemed much wider than that. I did not feel the need to try and label you, but said that you are driven by natural law that springs from the Creator; and that is enough for me.

But that got me to thinking. How would I have answered if she had asked me directly? Then one thing led to another. Later I wrote back:

I was thinking of how to answer your mother’s question, and remembered a post from last December, “Rethinking Christ at Christmas.”. . . I’ll include the link so you can forward it to her – in case she would like to see it.

I continued:

In terms of her asking if I am Christian, the correct answer is that I love, respect and do my best to follow Christ. I’m not sure that’s the same thing as being a “Christian.” (I was not born/raised in a Christian family.)

But, having reservations about his description, I continued.

However, I am not driven by natural law. Rather, ignorance regarding the relationship of divine, human and natural law is a fatal blind spot in our education. It prevents us from understanding and connecting with Christ. (The blog will show you, literally, what I mean. If we can’t recognize/navigate that middle, energy level of natural law, we’re left stuck on the material surface.)

My belief system is “much wider” than Christian tenants, but, then again, so is Christ.

My understanding is that the essence of Christ is vastly greater in time/space than institutionalized Christian religions. Again, the illustration in the blog shows how this must be so. Christ told us he was before the world, is with us always, and will continue to exist long after the world does not. So, if his presence permeates all time and space, in effect of his presence permeates all religions.

Dave’s lengthy, astute response is too long to quote in entirety. Two paragraphs relevant to the critically important distinction which is the purpose of my blogging today (12-13-14 is an “interesting” date – perhaps the right time to make a breakthrough, finally get across the all-important sequence I’ve been laboring to define).

Religions have too much dogma. For me, the only absolute truth is that every individual is responsible directly to God for their own decisions and actions. No human intermediaries are required. Any person can communicate directly with God. Not only can they; they should.

I could not say it better!

But here’s where the conversation became murky, and needs clarification:

My remarks about natural law may not fit your definition exactly, but to me, natural law is God’s law. That said, I use the term more often in the context of physics and chemistry, without declaring who the author is.

From my point of view, two critically important distinctions must be emphasized. First, Divine Law is the Creator’s law. It rules that which is timeless, unchanging and eternal. It pertains to the source of (but cannot be equated with) the created world measured and quantified by human sciences. I don’t quibble about names. The Creator is an essence beyond words. Call it the Tao. The Universal Mind. The Divine by any other name is still eternal.

Second. Natural Law is a related but distinctly different subject. The Book of Change, the Chinese I Ching codifies the 64 permutations of alternating, cyclical change. It is the binary-digital code of duality, the blueprint of DNA – that which has a beginning and an end in time. It maps the dynamics by which creation emanates from the hub at the timeless center of the Life Wheel, and then recedes, being absorbed back into the stillness of original silence.

That’s a lot of big words and still bigger, mind-boggling ideas. But, in simple language, I’ll want to tell you why this distinction between Divine and Natural Law is so critically and personally important to me.

In the evolution of my understanding, I began an as agnostic. As described in Rethinking Survival:

The silver lining to being uprooted early and often is that assumptions others take for granted weren’t deeply ingrained. I was raised by adults from different religions who held conflicting political beliefs. Not all of them could be right. It was my responsibility to sort things out, make sense out confusion and choose for myself. “Take the best and leave the rest.”

As to the existence of God, I had no opinion. I didn’t know whether or not God existed. I didn’t really care. It didn’t seem to make a difference in the conduct of my daily life one way or the other. I was quite content to live according to the maxim,“The reward for a good life is a good life,” which appealed to me as sensible and satisfying.

But then things changed. I began to have experiences which were outside the boundaries of anything I’d thought possible, unlike anything I’d learned from anyone anywhere. One day at the downtown YWCA, a yoga teacher intoned, “When the student is ready, the master appears.” And the very next day, as I was hitch-hiking to a concert, violin case in hand, out-of-town yoga disciples stopped their VW bug to pick me up. They were in Madison to attend a seminar. I was invited. Their teacher picked up on me. I ended up in India, and doors to a new life opened.

In retrospect, there was nothing in my training that gave me a frame of reference to help put this swami in context. He was a con artist. He performed cheap magic tricks that impressed gullible physicians and therapists, and seduced vulnerable women.

He had a modest degree of attainment, mistakenly assumed to be “spiritual.” He could read minds and manipulate material objects. He knew just enough about Natural Law to seem powerful to naïve Westerners. He cynically claimed to be a man of God, a celibate monk and penniless renunciate. But he wasn’t.

What was lacking in my education was an understanding that Natural Law exists. With simple mastery, anyone can do magic tricks. (They’re called sidhiis, or powers.) My pesudo-logic went something like this: “The Swami is powerful. Power comes from God. Therefore he is a man of God. God is good. Therefore the Swami can be implicitly trusted as good.”

His hapless students had never been taught to discriminate in the positive meaning of the word. We didn’t recognize the importance difference between holiness and magnetism, between sincerity and smooth-talking charisma.

Here’s the bottom-line, the extremely important point I want to impress, the lesson learned from this sad experience, to be passed along as a cautionary tale. Divine Law and Natural Law are NOT the same. One is an off-shoot of the other. But there is nothing sacred about Natural Law. Depending on the motive, purpose and intent of the user, power can be used to serve and heal. It can also be abused to exploit and even destroy. It can be turned to serve good or evil. It expresses in the extremes of black and white magic, was well as intermediate shades of gray and yellow.

Tony Silver’s rules for an unfair fight (remember the Karate Kid?) sum up the disadvantages of limited and limiting education:

A man who can’t stand, can’t fight. So break his knees.

A man who can’t breathe, can’t fight. So break his nose.

A man who can’t see, can’t fight. So gouge out his eyes.

In effect, education which doesn’t teach us how to take a stand, breathe deep and see life for what it is, complete and whole, cripples and suffocates us. It blinds us to the dangers inherent in our immediate circumstances. It renders us powerless in the face of dark-side puppet masters who practice black magic to dominate and control unsuspecting innocents. It renders us unable to protect ourselves and those we care for. It sets us adrift, unable to recognize the difference between shadow and substance, between lies and truth, and between illusory, false teachers who distract with cheap magic tricks versus true leaders who offer genuine hope.

In the evolution of my understanding, here’s my take-away from the swami experience. Just as the biological process of metabolism is essential to physical health, so also the process of mental metabolism is equally important to psychological well-being. We take in experience raw and whole. But then it’s imperative to digest it. Take responsibility to decide what is beneficial and healthy. Put it to good use. But eliminate the rest before it festers, causing disease and decay. Release release poisons from the system completely.

In the case of the swami experience, the beneficial effect worth keeping was that it shook me out of my culturally-induced coma. It gave me first-hand experience of invisible forces which bad guys manipulate with impunity to get whatever they want, at everyone else’s expense. It also led me to other experiences. There are protections. Working with the Book of Change, for example, was a life saver. It gave me the leverage to recognize danger, put it in perspective and protect myself from it.

My choice was to honor and maintain connection with the life-sustaining eternal center. I released as poisonous the anger/pain which causes many to react to unfortunate experiences with false teachers by rejecting the Creator whom they only pretend to represent. That would be to choose starvation rather than taking responsibility to process life’s challenges intelligently.

As a child, I thought the question of God’s existence didn’t matter. Now I recognize that operating on the basis of a complete and accurate reality map makes all the difference. There’s more to life than our materialist teachers taught us. Seeing life whole and complete is the starting point of clear thinking and effective, positive action. It’s imperative to recognize that there is an eternal center which abides deep within, regardless of whatever abuses of power are perpetrated in the name of God. It continues to exist whether or not we choose to be aware of it.

In the evolution of my understanding, I’ve come aware that bad guys succeed in wielding temporal power by abusing natural law with impunity. They succeed only by keeping the rest of us in ignorance, the mother of slavery and seed of suffering. I’ve become convinced that the way out of mortal danger is for good guys to open their eyes, breathe in their courage and take a stand. Human survival will depend upon the leadership of those who exercise their God-given free will, who choose to wake up to the magnitude of the danger we’re in, and who are capable of wielding their natural powers/potentials in the service of the larger good.

“Promise Them Anything, But . . .”

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The state-of-the-political/marketing-art is to conduct surveys to determine what people really, really want — what they feel they can’t live without – and then promise them exactly that. Frame (disguise) whatever you have for sale in terms of those most basic, deepest needs. After they’re hooked, then switch.

Here’s the upside of this dismally deceptive state-of-the-art: The empty promises are a well-researched, accurate gauge of peoples’ valid needs and deepest desires. A partial check-list includes: Change we can believe in. Hope. Accountable, transparent government. Authentic leadership. A paradigm shift. Compassion. Collaboration. Opportunity. Freedom. Justice.

But the burning question remains. How do We-the-People (whose desires are exploited by false leaders/teachers to make themselves rich and powerful), get from here to there?

How do we get from cynical promises (which self-serving, irresponsible opinion-pollsters have no intention or ability whatsoever to deliver) to the real deal?

This is a pervasive, many-faceted problem. I keep making unpleasant encounters with new variations. Two recent examples include a book on the future recommended by a LinkedIn connection who claimed it resembles mine. The second was a CEO’s LinkedIn post about Ferguson issues (which is also the focus of “Beware of Disinformation” shown below.)

Naming names would miss the point. It’s the dynamic, not particular individuals, I’m targeting. Besides of which, only counter-productive rounds of retaliatory accusations would result from being specific.

In both recent examples, dilution/co-opting of language/ideas is the constant. I’m learning that this dynamic is as pervasive in the knowledge industry — universities and publishing corporations – as it is in politics. The formula seems to be, take all the most sacred words in the language and turn them into buzz. That way, whatever you have for sale takes on the aura of the sacred. Conversely, when those with authentic ideas which could actually deliver on those deepest needs use these sacred works – people who represent a serious threat to status quo power-holders – can’t be recognized. Because the powerful words have been co-opted, it’s next to impossible to distinguish genuine and sincere leaders from the glut of false gurus on the market.

In my two recent examples, a futurist and a CEO have poured as many as buzz words as possible into a single glass. “Positive. Change. Revolution. Collaboration. Paradigm. Unity. Equity.” Then shake, do not stir.

The futurist comes highly recommended from the small community of back-scratching, best-selling new age gurus who promote each others’ books. He spins a vague vision of “quantum interconnectedness” to predict what one reviewer calls a future of the “spiritual-Borg:” collectivists ruled by and dependent on community consensus. He takes an ancient, scriptural reference to akasha and turns even that into a glamorous but meaningless buzz word.

But there is a glimmer of hope. Every once in awhile, an authentic voice arises which stands above the rest. Someone recognizes that personal self-responsibility rather than collective action is the first line of positive action. Someone, who, like me, insists that positive change necessarily takes place one person at a time, and from the inside out.

Let me introduce you to John Williams, who posted a LinkedIn blog called “Principles We Can Take Away From Ferguson.” At last count, there were 53 views and 3 likes (one of them mine). No buzz. No empty promises. But solid, first-rate, practical recommendations.

However, in contrast, sadly but predictably, at last count the self-promoting CEO had 91,528 views and 2,278 likes (as well as very mixed-reviews). His article reads like the carefully manicured product of a focus-group process, full of empty, shop-worn buzzers – “positive” being the worst offender. All the changes he recommends depend on experts and groups conducting empty, tried-and-disproven committee efforts guaranteed to accomplish nothing much.

My take away is that the knowledge industry promotes and protects the Agents of Disinformation. It marginalizes, when it can’t entirely exclude, other voices. It feeds on the demands/expectation that we be told (whether it be true or not) only what we want to hear.

Below, in “Beware of Disinformation,” I acknowledge Edward Bernays as the inventor of public relations, known in Hitler’s time as propaganda, and today as spin. The remedy available to We-the-People is genuinely Positive Action.

To this end, let’s rename the dragon and snake described below.

Because he’s been tied in a knot, turned upside-down and headed due South, I gave the dragon the pet-name DRAG. Let’s uncoil our energies and desires, turn them right-side up and redirect them True North. Let’s put paralyzing fears and confusion behind, take heart/courage to deserve a new name, GET IT ON.

Similarly, uncoil the American Revolution’s mascot, the rattlesnake on the Tea-Party flag that warns, “Don’t Tread on Me.” I nick-named him DON’T because he resists oppression, but hasn’t as yet generated authentically positive alternatives. Let him show us his true value and take a new name: CAN DO.

Let’s breathe life into our representative mascots, allow them the full-spectrum colors of their energetic potentials, rather than letting them see (and be seen) in black and white extremes only.

BEWARE of DISINFORMATION

An entangled dragon completes the earlier picture, “Hidden Danger Eludes Us.”

drag-sized

This suggestive image surely has as many meaning as there are viewers. However, this time, I’ll tell you a few of the things “Drag” (my pet name for him) means to me – in this context.

In Chinese mythology, dragons represent the invisible power associated with spirit – universal intelligence, the psyche or soul. They’re somewhat similar to the coiled snake called Kundalini in the Hindu tradition. In latent form, she rests unconscious at the base of the human spine, but gradually uncoils to rise through the energy centers called chakras as human consciousness evolves.

Another close relative is the coiled red-on-black rattlesnake pictured on the yellow flag flown by colonists during the American Revolution. “Don’t” is my pet name for him, short for “DON’T TREAD ON ME.” In recent times, Don’t has been given second life by Tea Party members, sending the message that like their ancestors, they’re fed up to the boiling point of rebellion with government abuses.

However, in this particular illustration, Drag appears (to me) to be in trouble. He’s uncoiling, but he’s tied in a knot. He’s stuck. Further, he’s not rising. His head points not True North, but due South, which (to me) means BIG TROUBLE.

Here’s the segue to the earlier picture of teeter-tottering adversaries engrossed in murderous enmity, oblivious to the live grenade beneath them, threatening both with extinction – the final oblivion.

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There are several different directions this can take. I’ve narrowed the choices to three. Because I’ve already written on this in Rethinking Survival, I’m just summing up major points here. In each case, ongoing Ferguson events and the escalating outpouring of opinions make my point – in spades.

1. Most of us are ignorant of the natural law encoded in the Book of Change. We are (almost as if intentionally) left in ignorance of how we tick at an energetic/emotional level. By extension, we act in ignorance of the human dynamics that drive human relationships, from families to governments and international conglomerates. For this reason, we fail even in sincere efforts to create the positive change everyone wants, many promise, but few deliver.

To me, the invisible ticking time-bomb (threatening both missile-throwing rivals without prejudice) represents volatile unconscious energies. Politicians, marketers and their handlers know how to set them off. They intentionally fuel and harness mindless animosities to enrich military armaments industries and their stockholders, to the danger (and impoverishment) of the rest of us.

2. Especially in the case of Ferguson, the volatile mistrust and empty slogan throwing are grist for escalating police-state dynamics which threaten the freedom of ALL of us. We’re pointed, goose-stepping towards the creation of another fascist state, all in the sentimental double-speak names of freedom, human rights and “justice.” Ironically, the USA is tied in knots. Bottled up long enough, the inarticulate, volatile aspirations and frustrations of the coiled rattlesnake explode, heedless of what targets they destroy –or what the long-term consequences. Oppression of an even more nightmarish form is in the works, being fueled, ironically, in the name of resisting and ending oppression.

3. A critical key is the prevailing dysfunctional empirical science paradigm to which most of pay token lip service. It disallows the existence of not only the subliminal level of emotional content that underlies rational thought and action, but also the deeper core of True North reality called conscience, or the True Self.

Without the Positive Paradigm of Change, we’re stuck, operating blindly without a complete and accurate road map. Even when we have the intuitive experience of the middle and innermost levels of the Life Wheel, we don’t have permission/confidence to know what we know.

We haven’t been educated to recognize the sleeping dragons that move us. We remain ignorant as to how to effectively harness them so they take us in the direction of the positive change we ardently desire.

Further, we don’t recognize when/how others intentionally manipulate our unconscious drives, and NOT in our best interests. We don’t have the means for protecting ourselves from manipulators and their dark intentions.

Nor is this lack of a functional, positive paradigm and its related methods/protections an accident. The information is available. But creative, useful work is systematically banned from public awareness. A positive paradigm is our best interests, but NOT in the interests of those who profit hugely from systematically manipulating the public.

I warned about Bernays and the illusion of democracy in Rethinking Survival. As yet, no one has paid attention. Why not is explained in an eloquent blog (to the same point) by Charles Cawley called “Americans: happy to be manipulated?” posted 11-25-14 on writerbeat.com. It’s but a small leap to connect the dots between dishonesty (disinformation, manipulation, culturally reinforced ignorance) and the outcomes, like Ferguson and its ripple effect in all directions.

Cawley writes, in part:

The principles of Behaviorism developed by BF Skinner and Bernays are key to the foundations of modern advertising, business practice and politics.. . Cosmetic politics have created a generation of reactive politicians who second guess what will appeal to voters and say what is needed to get people to vote for them. This can include significant dishonesty. This process is reactive and marginalizes or even excludes new ideas, policies, and creativity to provide solutions to current economic and political issues. . .

The issue of propaganda is immense and desperately needs urgent attention. However, vested interests have heavily bought into the manipulative dishonest approach to propaganda (a la Bernays and Skinner) and they are a major barrier to engaging with the future. . . . they appear to be destroying democracy. How much more serious can you get than this?

Cawley repeats my frequent warning, WAKE UP!

If we do not wake up and replace manipulation to engineer obedience with stimulation to work well events will crush us all.

It is as serious as that.. . . We have the choice to end this delusional activity ourselves or let events do it for us. The latter will be an immeasurably more costly, painful and bitter experience. This is the dark negative heart of behaviorist manipulation.

I go one step further.

It’s not enough to pinpoint the dynamics of manipulators and their smoke screen of disinformation. A remedy in the form of correct and positive information – a complete and accurate reality map – is also required. False information must be rooted out; it must then be substituted with a practical, useful replacement.

In sum, we’re sitting on a time bomb and fail to recognize it. We’re distracted by dramatic, polarizing events which mask the deeper dynamics and inherent danger to us all. To repeat Einstein’s warning, “We shall require a significantly new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.” I agree with Cawley. It’s that serious. Human survival is at stake.

dragon-green-sized

Authentic Friends Are Rare & Precious

 

 

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When I asked myself what I’m most grateful for this Thanksgiving season, a recent walk through the Hill Top woods in Spring Green, Wisconsin instantly came to mind. Sunny but crisply cool, the fall weather was perfect. Colorful turning leaves were at their brilliant best.

I hadn’t seen long-time friend Janelle Fritz for thirty years and counting. But it could have been yesterday. Authentic friends are like that.

Why did we come together again now? Long story.

On the surface, the catalyst was a note I sent while she and husband Ty were still wintering in Arizona. I had expressed my thanks to his father, Herb Fritz, in the dedication of Rethinking Survival, I told her. Further, in the autobiographical section, I wrote about his being the sole survivor and witness of the 1914 Taliesin massacre, as well as about performing string trios at Hill Top with Herb and his sister, Frances Caraway. I wanted Ty and Janell to know about the dedication first, from me.

On that October day, there was much catching up to do. Words came easily on both sides, punctuated, of course, by spontaneous bear hugs.

I was fascinated to find out that she too is a good friend of the I Ching. Or perhaps, better put, the Book of Change has been a good friend to her. Like me, she has repeatedly turned to the Wilhelm/Baynes edition over the years to survive seriously challenging, tough times. It has served to keep her pointed steadfastly towards her inner True North.

Though I never doubted the outcome, still I rejoiced to see that she’s weathered her personal storms wonderfully and has become even better for them. It’s apparent that this tiny woman (even smaller in size that I am) is the true backbone of her family. And I said so! (Sometimes it helps to hear it from a friend.)

Since our walk, I’ve been reading Bill George’s books, including True North and Authentic Leadership. They describe Janelle to a Tee. She’s centered in her True North. In direct, simple terms, she’s an exemplary authentic leader. Her beliefs, words and actions are consistent across the board. She’s devoted to her family, becaring not only Ty, their sons and now grandchildren (WOW!), but also her sprightly mother-in-law, Eloise Fritz, who’s now 89 years-old.

Janelle was a dancer. In Arizona, she told me, she owned and ran a dance studio. Like Eloise before her, who ran a girls camp at Hill Top, Jan’s purpose was to encourage and bring out the best in young women. Horse riding and dance were incidental to the deeper, soul purpose of their businesses.

We both, Janelle and I, have given up our early avocations. She couldn’t understand, at first, how I could give up music. It was only when I explained it in terms of her releasing the dance studio that she recognized the common thread.

I explained the change in I Ching terms. “The larger the front, the larger the back.” And “Every extreme turns into its opposite.” The benefits – the front side – of the music were enormous. As a child, I lived and breathed in continuous joy. Immersed in music, I was shielded from the dark side of living in a dysfunctional family on a dysfunctional planet.

Music taught me many important life lessons. As Einstein observed, discipline learned through violin practice came much easier than it would have through harsh obligation. Playing in string ensembles and orchestras was a model for cooperation as well as for following the single lead of a conductor.

Music eventually led me, via Menhuin students, to yoga, complimentary medicine, and the scriptures which teach methods for actualizing the Unified Theory reformulated by Einstein. Like every discipline studied with love, focus on music led me deeper, first to the physics and then to the origins and mysteries of sound.

Sufi Inayat Kahn, the great sarod player, explained how this can be. In Music, he wrote:

The art of music has been especially considered divine, because it is the exact miniature of the law working through the whole universe. For instance, if we study ourselves we shall find that the beats of the pulse and the heart, the inhaling and exhaling of the breath, are all the work of rhythm. Life depends upon the rhythmic working of the whole mechanism of the body. Breath manifests as voice, as word, as sound; and the sound is continually audible, the sound without and the sound within ourselves.

Inayat Khan became a role model. As a teacher and author, he himself became the instrument. From his example, I recognized that, like him, I had to give up that which I loved most, my brown-blond,1776 Mathias Thier violin, to go beyond it.

It was necessary because the back of the coin was as great as the front. Over time, the blessing had changed into its opposite. Once the lessons had been learned, holding on to their vehicle would have held me back. I was not only shielded. I had become oblivious to the rest of the world and the responsibility to serve. Music had become an addiction and an obstacle to further, necessary growth.

But, as Janelle was quick to point out, Nothing is ever lost. Only changed. Everything cultivated as a musician is now funneled into the writing. I’ve become the instrument of the ideas that kept me focused True North even during confusing, difficult times. Now I weave in the music of language using the medium of a computer keyboard.

Similarly, Janelle and Ty have dedicated their Hill Top inheritance from Herb and Eloise to building a community center where people gather to honor the passages of their lives. They come to celebrate weddings and return to commemorate their milestones, including anniversaries. Life continues to evolve. We change, yet the True North of constant friendship remains the same.

For that I am abundantly, infinitely grateful.

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Survival Basics We Didn’t Learn in School – But Should Have!

Thinking – really thinking – about way the world works and how we fit into it is essential to human survival. This, in large part, depends upon careful, conscious use of the primary tools of logic and language.

Digging deeper than programmed assumptions to understand what we truly mean is one of the basic skills we never learned in school, but should have! Being able to clearly express our concerns and insights is equally important.

This includes knowing the precise definitions of words – how we intend them, as well as the many ways they can be misconstrued by others who use them differently.

Each of the 64 Essays in Conscience: Your Ultimate Personal Survival Guide addresses the Tower of Babel dilemma, where it’s shown that the words we use every day have devolved to mean one thing as well as their opposites. Each Essay highlights the many different meanings assigned to a single, key concept in the English language. Each then focuses on the word’s use in the context of the natural law encoded in the Chinese I Ching.

Westerners, for the most part, remain ignorant of the order implicit in dynamic natural law, as well as the critically important, two-way role it serves as the “middle man” gatekeeper between human and divine law. We suffer the adverse consequences of this blind spot in every aspect of our lives. Unfortunately, even many urban, “modern” Asians seem to have become disconnected from their wisdom roots.

The following is one example: the word ORDER.

As with each of other 64 key terms, its meaning is illuminated by placing gradations within the levels of the Life Wheel. The first principle of Dr. Kushi’s “Principles of Order of the Universe” acknowledges the ONE which resides at the timeless center hub of the Wheel. Infinity is represented by its creative extension process, with its alternating, rhythmic expansions and contractions. The outline below could be expanded and elaborated upon in volumes, and still barely touch the surface of the implications.

Forthcoming blogs will elaborate on the basic principles of universal order which we should have learned as the basics in school and need to know NOW, as an urgent matter of survival.

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29. ORDER

Principles of the Order of the Universe:

1. Everything is a differentiation of ONE Infinity.

2. Everything changes.

3. All antagonisms are complementary.

4. There is nothing identical.

5. What has a front has a back.

6. The bigger the front, the bigger the back.

7. What has a beginning has an end.

8. Nothing is solely yin or solely yang.

9. There is nothing neutral.

10. Large yin attracts small yin. Large yang attracts small yang.

11. Extreme yin produces yang, and extreme yang produces yin.

12. All physical manifestations are yang at the center and yin at the surface.

— Michio Kushi, Natural Healing through Macrobiotics

In the secure, high-synergy societies, wealth gets spread around, it gets siphoned off from the high places down to the low places. It tends, one way or another, to go from rich to poor, rather than from poor to rich.  — Abraham H. Maslow, The Farther Reaches of Human Nature

When evil men plot, good men must plan. . . When evil men shout ugly words of hatred, good men must commit themselves to the glories of love. Where evil men would seek to perpetuate an unjust status quo, good men must seek to bring into being a real order of justice. — Martin Luther King, Jr., The Words of Martin Luther King, Jr.

THE FRONT

Roots of order mean straight, row, or regular series. The first of Webster’s seventeen definitions is a social position or rank in the community. Order means a state of peace or serenity, observance of the law, or orderly conduct. It can refer to the sequence or arrangement of things or events, a series, succession. [As in, “Order in the court room!” or “It’s time to put your affairs in order.”]

Order can refer to a fixed or definite place, system or law of arrangement. It can refer to a group or class of persons set off from others by some trait or quality. It can mean a group of persons constituting an association formed for some special purpose, like the Order of Knights Templars, or a community of monks or nuns following a rule.

Order can refer to a group of persons distinguished for having received a certain award or citation. Order can mean a general state, as in “not in working order.” It can mean a command, direction or instruction, usually backed by authority. It can mean an established method or system, as of conduct or action in meetings or worship. It can be a request or commission to make or supply something, such an order for merchandise or services.

In I Ching context, order refers to the sequence in which straight and divided lines are placed in the three-line trigrams which represent the eight building blocks of nature. Alchemical interactions amongst these primal natural forces are mapped by pairing trigrams in every possible combination. The 64 six-line hexagrams which result are placed in ordered matrices, sometimes encompassed by a circle. Different sages place these figures in different order with different effect.

However, any or all of the lines within each six-line configuration can change to its opposite. So the myriad possibilities inherent in any circumstance have the potential to shift in an infinite number of directions.

The implication (and opportunity) is this: Despite appearances, nothing within a given situation is static, nor can the fluid, dynamic permutations of change be controlled or foreseen. Put another way, those who understand how to work with the laws of change can use them to advantage, accepting that no situation, no matter how dire, is either hopeless or without useful possibilities. Order lies in the process, not immediate specifics.

Cutting edge physicists continue to probe the order of the universe. In The Elegant Universe, Brian Greene builds on violinist Einstein’s vision, describing the string theory which “can heal the breach between gravity and quantum, unifying all of nature’s ingredients.” His book is recommended to those who “want to get a real appreciation for the amazing miracle that the universe is.”

The I Ching is recommended for the same reasons. Its advantage over modern physics is first that it is time-tested and proven, second that its careful use over time can bring abstract intellectual theories closer to home, making them applicable to immediate, practical concerns. For it is only with a profound understanding of how the world works, that these dynamics can be applied to establish communities like those envisioned by Maslow and King, where equity and justice prevail.

THE BACK

In biblical context, the shadow side of order is chaos, the primordial state which predates manifest creation. This is different from the chaos physicists study, which refers to turmoil or dynamic instability within which humans have not yet recognized inherent order.

In social context, rigid caste structures based on blood lines or material possessions are perversions of the dynamic natural order. Pigeon-holing or excluding people by race, age, gender or economic status is a competitive strategy; it has nothing to with inherent divine order, human potentials or functional competence.

Gatekeepers & the Knowledge Industry

The following open letter to physicist/author/media personality Dr. Michio Kaku virtually wrote itself. I was attempting to work on a very different, scheduled blog, but it nagged at me until it was finally posted on LinkedIn.

It leaves me with questions and second thoughts. Some, for example, have to do with the many levels of gatekeepers who guard the doors of the knowledge industry. Colleges and Universities grant degrees. Federal and state departments of education regulate curriculum and license those deemed qualified to administrate and teach in public schools. Professional associations certify members to practice in specific fields. Until recently, the publishing industry held yet another monopoly on the content and distribution of knowledge.

In all cases, the front side of the gatekeeper coin is “quality control.” The public interest is being protected,” is the rationale. But the opposite, back side of the same coin is the vested interest of insider power-holders in maintaining a status quo that operates to benefit a few at the expense of the many.

An overriding survival question looms large. Who protects the interests of the public from the multitude of self-interested gatekeepers? I speak with the authority of experience. My statistical research dissertation inadvertently proved with .99% significant results that the selection of principals in Wisconsin public schools is a closed shop, decided in an informal pre-selection process by existing administrators.

To discredit the messenger bearing this unwelcome news, professors used punitive grades to guarantee that I’d never teach at the university level. Just an example. It’s water long since passed under the dam. No real loss.

The point here is that the public loses big time when the knowledge industry devolves to the status of a power fiefdom. Nor do I post blogs with the expectation of winning popularity contests now. There’s far more at stake. Human survival hangs in the balance.

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An Urgent Open Letter To Michio Kaku

Dear Dr. Kaku:

Recently I received two messages apparently prompted by books on Einstein, Human Survival and the Positive Paradigm of Change. They deserve your attention. One claims to have found the Holy Grail of Physicists for which you’re also searching. The other asserts that I must submit my work, which if correct, would “revolutinate” physics, to the test of mainstream scientists. Both were sent by LinkedIn connections I’ve never met personally.

Someone of your stature and professional qualifications is best qualified to answer them. I can, at best, make a few personal comments from my point of view.

The first message was sent by a researcher educated in Madrid, now residing in Argentina. Jorge Barcellos lists Portuguese and Spanish as languages of proficiency. English isn’t on the list, though he seems to do okay.

In light of earlier blogs on Millennials, his avatar choice is especially interesting. It’s an Einstein photo and quote: “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.”

I responded to his original invitation with another Einstein quote, the premise of Rethinking Survival. “We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.”

Here’s what he wrote back:

Dear Patricia.

I finished this year’s work of uniting the whole physics.
I managed to complete the dream of Einstein.
The theory of everything is a theory of information.
which clearly demonstrates the existence of a creator.
Continuity of Awareness after death.
Board quantum mechanics and relativity theories about the same algebraic theory and simple.
Resolving the apparent paradox between time-space between the two theories.
And also 100% compatible with the classical mechanics and electromagnetism.
In general the theory unifies all the physics goes beyond allowing join the religious understanding of the existence of the universe!
However it is not very different from the final agreement would be imagined by physicists in the past!
The grand universe is a quantum computer that uses strings on your hardware!
And it creates in its interior a holographic structure that is called reality!
What I am describing here all the math supporting structure is not philosophy!
It is the result of a string theory in 5 dimensions!
Thank you for listening.

Jorge Barcellos.

WOW!

His closing, “Thank you for listening,” is poignantly simple and humble for someone who has accomplished a work with potentially huge historical impact. Why?

After taking a few days to think this over, I sent back a brief message thanking him for contacting me. I asked if he had published his findings, or is planning to. (It would seem that if Jorge has truly accomplished what he claims, his name would be worldwide news, well-familiar to everyone.) So far, no response.

Is he, perhaps, relatively unknown, as am I, because his work has necessitated working alone (as did Einstein’s until his discovery was completed and confirmed), sheltered from the slings and arrows of outrageous academic-publisher politics?

I have no doubt that all that he claims is possible. Even so, giving him this benefit of the doubt, I still have reservations. Most importantly, it’s this: Sages throughout time have discovered the Unified Theory of which I’m speaking, but experientially – not intellectually. This inner knowing transformed their lives, exponentially improving the quality of their personal relationships and physical health, as well as giving them supernatural, seemingly magical power over the forces of nature.

This inner illumination is not unique. It’s the essence of the perennial philosophy that pervades the world’s enduring religions. Everyone, everywhere shares this same innate potential for transformation in common.

So many questions. Why did his choose to share his discovery with me? Was it because his work confirms and reinforces mine?

Does Jorge intend, as do I, to use the Unified Theory which completes Einstein’s work to facilitate the new way of thinking which might – just maybe – ensure human survival? Would it be used to protect us from the consequences of poor decisions made by leaders by whose technology exceeds their humanity?

What does he foresee as the consequences of his work, for himself and for others?

Has he remained in the shadows for fear that his work will fall into the wrong hands? This scenario is far from impossible After all, Einstein’s work was not used (as it might have been and still could be) to unify and lift humanity, but rather to build atomic bombs. Could this knowledge be used against humanity again, for example, to build high-tech, genetically engineered robots like the death-dealing “Sentinels” envisioned in the latest X-Men movie?

On a lesser scale, could Jorge be anticipating the vengefulness of professional rivals? The possibility is not unheard of. For example, it has been suspected that Mozart’s early, unnatural end was orchestrated by the jealousy of a lesser composer, Antonio Salieri,

Does Jorge dread the consequences of truth-seeking like those suffered by the medieval philosopher featured in last week’s post, Abelard? Power holders accused him of heresy. He was obliged to recant. His books were condemned and burned. He died in prison shortly afterward.

Or is it possible that Jorge dreads the competitive politics of mainstream academic scientists, who have a vested interest (on many levels) in preventing his ideas from getting into the hands of those who would use the information to change their lives – even society – for the better?

After all, tyrants hate truth and go to extraordinary lengths to bury it, discredit its messengers, and use the legal system (via exclusive contracts,non-competition agreements, dead-end patent lawsuits, the IRS . . . whatever dirty tricks work) to prevent life-saving ideas from reaching the public.

Can I help ensure that Jorge’s work reaches the new breed of humanistic corporate leaders described by Art Kleiner in The Age of Heretics – those who can and will put his ideas to good use? With the little clout I have, I’ll do my best!

I devoutly hope, Dr. Kushi, as a wielder of far greater clout in the fields of both physics and public opinion, that you too will give him the benefit of the doubt, do whatever it takes to bring these potentially scale-tipping ideas to the public, and protect their creator from the slings and arrows of outrageous academic politics.

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The second message I mentioned came Roberto Neves Silva. It’s copied to an intimidating list of scientists (much longer than the message itself). Their names suggest worldwide membership.

Roberto lists Portuguese as his native language and claims proficiency in English. He gives his location as Brazil and occupation as Prefeitura do Municipio de Sao Paulo –1993 – Present (21 years).

He lists the acronym EPCAR to represent his education, which he apparently assumes is meaningful to others. I searched several places, but the only EPCAR that comes up on the web is the East Polk County Association of Realtors. I don’t think that’s what he means.

Here’s what he sent:

I have read your ideas on your website
I see that if you are right it would revolutionate physics.
It must be tested by physics mainstream scientists, how many of them agree on test your theories ?

An extraordinary number of assumptions are packed into this brief communication.

First, it’s doubtful that he did little more than scan. Had he read thoughtfully, he would know for a certainty that he’s addressing someone who doesn’t agree with his faith in empirical science as a method for arriving at Truth.

Second, he assumes that he and/or his mainstream peers have the authority to require that my ideas be submitted to their validity tests. (Does he believe I am held to this standard as an absolute, regardless of whether or not I agree with it?)

Third, he assumes that my ideas aren’t valid until/unless a certain number of scientists test and validate them. From my point of view, Truth is not a matter of consensus. It certainly doesn’t require a stamp of approval from mainstream academic authorities (some of whom may be far afield from Truth themselves). I trust, Dr. Kushi, that you would agree.

The kindest response I can muster is simply to repeat, the Unified Theory of which I speak is first and foremost experiential. Its origins rest deep within each of us, at the center of the Life Wheel – something taboo and outside the narrow, constricting parameters of empirical science. Like Einstein, I’m advocating, as a matter of human survival, a substantial rethinking of this incomplete, dysfunctional paradigm.

Nowhere do I claim that the ideas I’m presenting are revolutionary. Though presented with a model that meets the dual standard of Occam’s Razor – utmost simplicity with maximum inclusiveness – the basic concepts are not news.

Nor is revolution in my worldview a positive value. According to the Chinese Book of Change, revolution simply implies revolving back and forth in cyclical pendulum swings over time, accomplishing little of substantive value.

In contrast, the Positive Paradigm of Change which embodies Einstein’s Unified Theory reflects the unchanging essence of eternal Truth as it has been consistently experienced by the deepest thinkers of every generation.

Truth itself is not revolutionary. Rather, time and time again we fall asleep. When inspired teachers or sudden shocks have the effect of reawakening us to who we truly are, we only imagine that it’s new and for the first time.

My bottom-line response to the verification demand: Truth is not subject to the whims of power-holding gatekeepers or rules of democracy, where the most influence and/or votes win the day. Consistent with Gandhi’s worldview, One with God is a majority.

What’s Your Definition of GOOD?

In duality, there are two sides to every coin. It’s a basic law of nature. “Whatever has a front, has back.” Further, “The larger the front, the larger the back.” This explains why surface appearances are often so deceiving.

I mention the Two Sides Law here because I’ve been following a LinkedIn discussion group called The New Philosophy Network. The subject of the particular “thread” is HOW DO YOU DEFINE EVIL?

Not to worry. You haven’t missed much. Philosophy isn’t what it used to be. If there was any “love of wisdom” (the definition of philosophy), it got lost in the one-upsmanship jousting of an extraordinarily uncivil ego contest.

But it got me to thinking about the opposite, shadow side of evil. Did the negative approach influence the quality of conversation? Has anyone asked lately, HOW DO YOU DEFINE GOOD?

Come to think of it, I did awhile ago. So here, for the sake of balance, is the three-part Essay on GOOD from Conscience: Your Ultimate Personal Survival Guide.

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Essay 30. GOOD

“The true genius of living is to carry the spirit of the child into old age. And what is the spirit of the child, but that of wide-eyed open wonder, excitement and zest, the optimistic attitude that nothing is too good to be true, that the world is literally a wonderful place?” — Norman Vincent Peale, Enthusiasm Makes the Difference

“We all want the good things in life; we all desire to be surrounded by friends; but we have no right to expect to attract any of these things except when our own lives have earned us the right to be honored, respected, and admired. . . .” — M.P. Hall, Magic: A Treatise on Esoteric Ethics

“It’s the one characteristic that connects all the defendants: a genuine incapacity to feel with their fellow man. Evil, I think, is the absence of empathy.” — Medical Officer, Nuremberg

THE FRONT

The roots of good mean to unite, be associated, or suitable. The term goes through seventeen permutations in Webster’s Dictionary alone.

The first definition is a general term of approval or commendation. Good means suitable to a purpose or effect. It means efficient, producing favorable or beneficial results. It can mean fresh, unspoiled, uncontaminated. It can mean valid, genuine, or real, as in good money or a good excuse.

Good means healthy, strong or vigorous, as in good eyesight. The word is used to mean financially safe or sound. It means honorable, worthy, or respectable. It is used to mean enjoyable, desirable, pleasant or happy, as in the good life. Good can mean dependable, reliable or correct, as in good advice. It can mean thorough or complete, as in a good job of cleaning.

Good can mean excellent of its kind, as in a good novel or considered the best, as in her good china. It can mean morally sound or excellent, virtuous, honest, just, pious, devout, kind, benevolent, generous, sympathetic or well-behaved and dutiful.

It can mean proper, becoming, correct (good manners) and therefore socially acceptable (a good family). It can mean able, skilled, or expert, as in a good swimmer.

It can mean loyal or conforming, as in a good Democrat. In law, it means an effectual or valid title.

The Ten Commandments that Moses gave to the people of Israel, enumerated in the fifth chapter of Deuteronomy in the Old Testament, are a generally accepted code of right conduct. They prescribe what we should and should not do to live a good life. Though the cultural context is different, in principle they are consistent with I Ching philosophy.

Revisiting them from an I Ching point of view enriches their meaning. For example, the seventh commandment has become the focus of special public attention, taking on political overtones. “Neither shalt thou commit adultery.” This one-sentence commandment has depths of meaning which span the energy continuum.

For example, at first chakra level, it includes refraining from contaminating air, water and food with pollutants. At the second, it includes not violating marital or parental responsibilities.

At the third, it includes not tampering with legislation for antisocial purposes. At the fourth, it includes not mixing compassion with sentimentality or greed.

At the fifth, it includes not misconstruing scriptures to suit political agendas. At the sixth, it includes not adulterating conscience with the ego impulses.

In addition, each level’s “shalt not” implies a positive shadow: “thou shalt.” At the first chakra level, this includes taking active responsibility for cleansing air, water and food of pollutants.

At the second chakra level, it includes fulfilling family commitments. At the third, it includes adjusting corporate and government practices to serve the common good.

At the fourth, it includes quietly serving those in need without public fanfare. At the fifth, it includes aligning personal and political goals with natural and scriptural law.

At the sixth, it includes practicing self-awareness methods to purify ego.

THE BACK

In I Ching context, evil violates divine and natural law. It is antithetical to the life process, tearing the pattern apart. Good and evil cannot be equated with yin and yang. Good is inclusive of the harmonious whole, both yin and yang, attainable by males and females of every race without limitation.

In moralist context, violating codes of generally accepted social or sexual conduct is regarded as bad, the opposite of good. Sages, however, define correct or incorrect behavior in terms of context and results. Right or wrong action is defined in terms of the immediate situation and the actor’s deepest, underlying motives.