Tag Archives: Change

Put Terrorism in Larger Context

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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ESSAY 18. MOTIVES

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

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

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

THE FRONT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE BACK

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

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

Put the Common Core Back in Common Core

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Restore the Common Core” is packed with implications for education and, ultimately, human survival.

For those who haven’t been following articles posted on rethinkingsurvival.com over the past year, here’s a brief summary of the concepts embedded in the Life Wheel.

arrow bulletThe Positive Paradigm of Change is a model equally compatible with the perennial philosophy embodied in the world’s enduring wisdom traditions and with modern science. It serves to bridge the gap between religion and science.

arrow bulletThe Life Wheel with its concentric circles and central, unifying hub pictures the multi-level structure of creation. This form is repeats throughout nature, from smallest to largest. It pictures the organization of snowflakes, each unique in form but identical in basic structure. It pictures the rings which orbit the nucleus of each atom as well as the planets which circle our sun.

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These circles correspond with the three variables of Einstein’s formula, e = mc2. Ironically he had the Unified Theory, but for lack of yoga background, didn’t know it. Briefly, the levels include the material outermost level of observable, measurable, tangible objects, then a middle level associated with energy (chi, prana) and emotions. Still deeper resides a level associated with light. It correlates with the experience of intuition or guidance. All three depend on the Source of Light – the unchanging silent Eternal, beyond duality and therefore beyond words.

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These levels are not actually separate. They function as an interrelated and interdependent whole, linked in an infinite, two-directional in- and out-breathing loop. Those who experience this whole succeed in integrating the levels of daily life with conscience. Those who separate the levels, who ignore some at the expense of others, prioritize levels incorrectly, or place them in conflict, will eventually find themselves in deep trouble.

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This universal concept can be pointed like a laser beam in any direction to illumine the field. For example, the three levels of the Life Wheel correspond with three levels of law: human, natural and divine. This relationship is acknowledged in the Declaration of Independence, which refers to the laws of Man, Nature and Nature’s God.

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A second example explains differing types of intelligence. On the surface, intelligence which divides and argues (using and/or abusing the tools of reason and logic) is measured by the standard of IQ. More recently, it has become fashionable to speak of EQ, or emotional intelligence associated with the middle, energy level. Deeper still is the intelligence described as intuition or inspiration. All these center around a common core which can be called “Conscience.”

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A third example is the use of the Wheel as a linguistic tool. Most words shift meanings depending the level of experience they describe. In the example shown here, the popular concept “Common Sense” shifts meanings with each level of the Wheel. When the levels are linked and experienced as a continuum, Common Sense partakes equally of intuition, gut feeling and sound reasoning.

Now, how is it that this Unified and potentially Unifying Theory gains so little public traction? It begs the question to simply say that many people, for a multitude of reasons, are too highly invested in the status quo. Given the life threatening circumstances that confront us, why is there still such powerful resistance to a return to what the wisest among us have consistently taught from the beginnings of time? Where is the method to the madness?

In partial answer, I offer excerpts from earlier works. The first spells out just how important paradigms are. They make the difference between success and failure, ultimately between survival and extinction. The second excerpt suggests there are deeper dimensions at play. After these two excerpts, I’ll apply all of the above to the restoring the true, eternal Common Core to the progressive/Marxist political/educational curriculum inappropriately called Common Core.

globe bullet sizeWHY PARADIGMS MATTER

Ideas drive results. People’s beliefs color their feelings, triggering basic emotions which in turn drive their actions.

Actions that stem from a simple, complete and accurate paradigm result in personal fulfillment, harmonious relationships, and economic prosperity.

Actions based on false, incomplete and inaccurate paradigms, however well intended or passionately defended, are the cause of widespread misery, suffering and deprivation.

A fatal information deficit explains the worldwide leadership deficit and related budget deficits.

In a dangerous world where psychological and economic warfare compete with religious extremism and terrorism to undo thousands of years of incremental human progress, a healing balance is urgently needed.

Restoring a simple, complete and accurate paradigm of leadership and relationships now could make the difference between human survival on the one hand, and the extinction of the human race (or the end of civilization as we know it), on the other.

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ALIEN INVADERS

Alien invaders infiltrating Planet Earth, weakening humans to eventually take over and enslave them, is a familiar theme in science fiction. For example, in his various incarnations, Dr. Who — television’s time traveler — continuously detects nefarious alien plots and rescues heedless humans from annihilation.

Current events indicate there’s considerable truth cloaked in that science “fiction.” Starting with the premise that hidden alien enemies are covertly scheming to undermine humanity, ask, “How would they set about to destroy us?” Logically, they’d create chaos, setting everyone at each others’ throats. They’d trick humans into mutual self-destruction by stirring up dissension and fragmenting their governments.

It’s an absolute priority for evil aliens to attack the mind. Their agents will do whatever it takes to pollute your mind. They confuse it with false paradigms. They clutter and distract it with the ongoing media circus. Every doubt planted in your mind, causing you to forget who you are, to disbelieve in your ultimate origins and creative potentials, is a victory for the dark side.

To totally undermine humanity, atheism is a must. The unifying beliefs which hold families and nations together and fortify them in times of adversity must be destroyed at all costs. Again, how would this be accomplished?

For one thing, language which makes communication and community-building possible would have to be polluted beyond repair. In the English language, for example, every value word has devolved to mean both one thing and its opposite. So people often talk at cross purposes, unaware that they’re missing each other coming and going.

Divide and conquer. Pit each group against the others. It matters not to them which side wins. Let Sharia law advocates, members of Putin’s Eurasian Union and American exceptionalists squander their precious resources duking it out. If they destroy each other and no one’s left, so much the better.

Alien invaders delight in cheating. They stack the deck, gumming up the works with lies and disinformation driven by dysfunctional paradigms.

If you accept the game and its rules as alien agents define them and proceed to rebel against uncivil authorities, mindlessly hating and resisting, YOU LOSE. (Alien invaders win.)

If you give all your attention to what other guys are doing wrong, playing the role of contrarian, YOU LOSE. (Alien invaders win.)

If you quit on humanity and live only for yourself, leading a life of self-centered indulgence, YOU LOSE. (Alien invaders win.)

If you persist in thinking narrowly in terms of political interests and institutions, not human survival, YOU LOSE. (Alien invaders win big time.)

The only chance of winning — ultimately, surviving — is to demand a new, clean, unmarked deck, one with all the cards. In other words, make a fresh start based on an accurate, complete Positive Paradigm.

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My younger brother once riddled me, “How many legs does a donkey have if you call it’s tail a leg?”

His solution: “Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.”

Even so, tacking the label “Common Core” on a curriculum doesn’t guarantee that the substance includes the basics on any level of the Life Wheel. Logic and reasoning skills are deficient; emotional intelligence is insulted, not enhanced; the existence of divine law is excluded, if not ridiculed, as an option.

It’s a matter of human survival to take back the language. Then restore accepted access to the true, eternal Common Core as part of a genuine, complete and accurate education in the true meaning of the word – “leading from darkness to light.”

Conform: Exposing The Truth About Common Core And Public Education by Glenn Beck & team places the political/educational monstrosity called Common Core directly in the camp of the evil aliens described above. They start with the premise, “Information is power. Those without it have nothing. Those with it will always have CONTROL.” They state:

The dumbing-down of America is good for one group and one group only: those who currently have all the power and control. By maintaining a failing system they are forcing a collapse that will have only one “savior”: the federal government. And that’s exactly how they want it.

They continue:

We now stand at the precipice. On one side is the complete nationalization of education and complete loss of local and parental control. On the other side is a complete educational revolution – one that is rooted in individuality and that follows the principle of “maximum freedom, maximum responsibility.”

Sadly, 180 + pages of Conform are dedicated to argument and expose. Less than 30 pages are dedicated to solutions. And these, unfortunately, are limited exclusively to political measures. The most fundamental problem, the lack of a complete and accurate, unifying paradigm is neither acknowledged nor addressed. Deeper underlying origins of conflict as well as the source of genuinely positive solutions are overlooked.

Yet restoring the unifying basics of the perennial philosophy – the True COMMON CORE experienced as COMMON SENSE – an experience equally available to everyone, everywhere – is what might (just might) turn the tide of human history, tipping the balance in favor of human survival.

What Glenn Beck & company has exposed is a radically dangerous situation that calls for opposite and equally radical (truly radical) solutions.

Herein lies the opportunity hidden in dangerous times. In larger context, material resources aren’t that significant when compared with the intelligence, inner strength and inexhaustible vitality available to those whom circumstances oblige to return to the less tangible but very real levels of inner experience.

The disenfranchised (whose numbers increase exponentially with each passing day) experience the results of the prevailing materialistic, conflict-paradigm as catastrophic. They no longer have vested interests in the status quo to protect. They are the ones most likely to find the courage to move forward once again into the past, recovering the timeless treasures buried deep within the perennial philosophy of the world’s enduring wisdom traditions.

Now, as when Christ walked the Earth, the true fundamentalists and radicals (both words mean the same thing!) aren’t members of conflicting extremist groups who meddle with events on the material surface of life’s wheel. They are highly motivated individuals with the vision and determination to change themselves from the inside out. Their shining examples have a ripple effect, gaining momentum through time and space.

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* N.B. The current trend towards disempowerment of the masses is prelude to oppression and tyranny on an unprecedented scale. Co-opting education in the guise of Common Core, turning public school children into Nazi-cloned, obedient zombies, is one piece of a much larger puzzle. Attacks on Second Amendment rights is another. See: http://writerbeat.com/articles/4737-Should-civilians-be-allowed-quot-military-style-quot-guns-

“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.”

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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.

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The Evolution of My Aspirations

Leaders can’t be defined by a standardized, one-size-fits-all list of traits. This is the premise of True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership. Instead, authors Bill George and Peter Sims found that authentic leaders consistently define themselves in terms of their unique personal stories.

Naturally, they got me to asking myself, what’s mine?

There definitely have been defining moments. Looking back, there have also been consistently recurring themes.

But it took a recent direct message from a new twitter follower to put my answer into focus. Chelsea Hanson, a Business Growth Coach from Green Bay Wisconsin tweeted, “Great to connect . . . I love learning about how people got started in their work. . . how did you get into what you are doing?”

I tweeted back, “Likewise! 🙂 Step by little step. Pieces of mosaic fall into place to form the patterned picture recognized only with hindsight.”

It’s been my consistent belief that, of all the things I could do with my life, I should choose that which does the greatest amount of good for the greatest number of people. With that standard in mind, my aspirations have been shaped and transformed, expanded and focused with each new experience.

The autobiographical section of Rethinking Survival describes early influences. It started with Miss Elson, my senior year English teacher.

Though I didn’t take her seriously at the time, Miss Elson told me I should be a writer. My answers to her essay questions showed the marks of an original thinker. In contrast, she let me read a batch of classmates’ papers to demonstrate the mindlessness she labored to shake up.

What is life?” she asked. Like wind-up toys, most regurgitated definitions memorized in biology class. Catholics added their church credo to the mix. From her I learned that there’s more to being human than the ability parrot others’ words. It includes the capacity to reason and articulate clearly.

Later, while I was earning an M.A. in English M.A. at the UW-Madison, my aspiration was to be like Miss Elson. Without the tools of language and logic to analyze experience and express one’s concerns, how could people name, much less solve their problems? At the time, the highest calling I could imagine was to teach students how to think — really think — for themselves.

My aspirations continued to evolve as a music student in Düsseldorf, Germany. For me, the highlight of studies at the Robert Schumann Konservatorium wasn’t the music teachers, but a modest, insightful kinesiology instructor. Frau Lehru wasn’t a musician herself. But vocal and instrumental teachers alike sent students beyond their help to her.

The pianist whose lessons were scheduled the hour before mine told me her story. Herr Dreschel had given up on her as either lazy or untalented. But Frau Lehru diagnosed the real problem — pinched spinal nerves. Recommended visits to a chiropractor worked “miracles.” Elated, she was a “new person.”

I went to her studio and asked Frau Lehru to coach me. Her lessons were wonderful. She saw timidity in my posture and tension in the way I held my violin. She gave me exercises to correct not only my posture, but the underlying attitudes which bent me out of shape.

“Platz machen,” she encouraged me. “Make room! Don’t crowd me!” And, “Auf wiederstand waschen.” Figuratively, Grow upwards. Stand tall under the pressure of resistance and adversity.

In retrospect, it was as if she’d reinvented the yogic disciplines which sitar and tabla students are taught in India, where music technique is balanced with breathing and physical exercises. Her gift inspired a change in my career goals.

Rather than teach technique, I could help many more musicians by becoming an exercise-and-therapy coach in one, like her. She was much too busy to consider writing about her methods and results. I would do this for her with a book called The Body as Instrument: How to Tune It.

Still later, ratcheting up another notch, I aspired to build schools to facilitate an entire generation of coaches like Frau Lehru. A primary purpose for earning the Ph.D. in Educational Administration from the UW-Madison was to hold the credential required to build an accredited alternative school. My envisioned School-Without-Walls was intended to serve the unmet needs of other boundary-spanners also seeking to fill in the gaps of our failing educational system.

Each new experience has continued to lead to the next. Many steps later, I’ve come full circle to fulfill Miss Elson’s early prediction. Today, I’m a writer because I’m certain that I’ve succeeded in putting my finger on the pulse of a critical information deficit. It explains the excruciating painful, potentially fatal world-wide leadership deficit.

Further, I am certain that the Positive Paradigm of Change not only fills a critical information gap in the way we train our leaders, but that, like a laser beam, it illumines every field of endeavor towards which it’s pointed. This includes not only leadership and governance, but also education, the arts and sciences.

Today my aspiration is for this information to reach the greatest number of people possible, in order to do the greatest possible amount of good. The stakes could not be higher, for I take Einstein’s prophetic warning deeply to heart: “We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.”

If you agree, and if you can help, let’s talk!

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Happy One-Year Anniversary

October marks the one-year anniversary of the +A Positive Action Press WordPress website, RethinkingSurvival.com. Looking back, I’m amazed at the way daily, incremental baby-steps have added up.

With the help of (sometimes) forbearing computer savvy friends, I’ve gone from cut-and-paste technology to working with a photo-shop clone to produce illustrations. Starting with no marketing skills and less interest, I’ve swallowed my pride and actually gotten interested in the process. From being overwhelmed by Twitter, I now really enjoy direct messaging with savvy, fun new folks. Certainly limiting myself to messages of 140 characters or less has significantly altered my writing style for the better. : )

So tonight I thought I’d take a break from my current projects to revisit the Essay on Practice from Conscience. Written in the year 2000, it’s not in my current voice. But it speaks to my immediate appreciation for the benefits of daily discipline.

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27. PRACTICE

Each T’ai Chi movement is related to a particular hexagram of the I Ching. This relationship holds vital clues to a deeper understanding of Chinese thought which, like all valid world-views, is based on knowledge of the self gleaned from the practical experience of meditation. — Dal Liu, Tai Chi Ch’uan and I Ching: A Choreography of Body and Mind

Practice is essential. Through regular practice, you will become familiar with the feeling of being relaxed. You will find that you can achieve results with shorter and shorter practice sessions. You will become like a pianist who is ready to play a beautiful Mozart sonata as soon as her hands touch the keyboard. — Kenneth S. Cohen, The Way of Qigong

One should never rush in entering Taoism. . . One must proceed step by step, never advancing to the next stage until one is ready. One need not fret. If one discharges one’s tasks and proceeds with training perseveringly, then the transitions are virtually automatic. — Deng Ming-Dao, Chronicles of Tao

THE FRONT

Practice means to do or engage in frequently, make a habit or custom. It means to do repeatedly in order to learn or become proficient; to exercise or drill oneself. Practice is using one’s knowledge, as in a profession. To practice is to adhere to beliefs or ideals. It means to teach or train through exercise. An archaic definition suggests intrigue, trickery, or scheming.

Practice is closely related to the words discipline and preparation. It implies the ability to anticipate the future and make decisions about how best to make ready for it. It was the practice of Chinese emperors to consult ministers and sages for information on how to prepare for the future. They, in turn, consulted the I Ching to decide the best ways to adjust to alternating seasons of hardship and plenty in order to maintain social, political and economic equilibrium.

By biblical account, Joseph was sold into slavery by jealous older brothers and taken to Egypt. Thus, he found himself in the right place at the right time to fulfill his destiny. By correctly interpreting Pharaoh’s dreams, he saved countless lives, including those of the brothers whom he forgave.

He foresaw coming changes in nature and drew conclusions as to how prepare for the future. The practice of disciplined conservation during seven years of plenty allowed Pharaoh to feed his people during the seven years of drought which followed, thus preventing starvation, mass suffering and social upheaval.

Applications to current economic practices should be abundantly clear. Squandering resources during times of abundance is a sure recipe for famine, widespread misery and unrest when the rhythmic pendulum of history swings, replacing times of plenty with times of hardship. Wishing and hoping current “good” times will last forever because we want them to, refusing to heed clear warning signs that they never do, foolishly puts everyone at risk.

Music is a demanding discipline which emphasizes the importance of regular practice, preparing in advance to perform well. Similarly, martial arts instill respect for regular practice, cultivating the ability to adjust quickly and skillfully to sudden danger. In this case, the body itself is the instrument and tuning it a fine art. As Chuck Norris says, “Practice, practice, practice! Practice can save your life.” God forbid you’ll ever be attacked. But be ready.

Through the daily practice of meditation balanced by Tai Chi meditation-in-action, it is possible to make teachings real through experience, fulfilling the maxim “Learn by doing.”

Then, with sustained focus and loving attention, everyday activities and relationships are transformed into spiritual and martial arts training. Practice becomes a way of life, an ongoing proof of commitment in action. It’s not just a few hours set aside from the rest of the day. Nor is it to be flaunted, foolishly attracting envy and vengeance.

In Cleary’s translation of The Taoist I Ching, meditation and action alternating in rhythmic sequence are described as equally important complements. Inner stillness develops the abode of rest. Action completes and tests the abode of rest. Progress achieved by steady, gradual, consistent efforts accomplishes far more than dramatic spurts of activity that can’t be sustained over time.

Understanding the philosophy and science of the I Ching intellectually is relatively easy. Putting it into practice is more of a challenge. It’s not like something memorized for class, and then you’ve got it forever. It requires consistent attention and renewal, applying the readings to myriad kaleidoscope changes during the ongoing process of a lifetime.

THE BACK

The opposite of practice is lack of foresight and disciplined preparation for the future. Aesop’s fable of the race between the tortoise and the hare captures the difference between making steady progress toward a goal and the lazy assumption of inevitable victory, sleeping until it’s too late.

Enforced drilling is an inadequate substitute for intelligent practice. Mechanical repetitions without understanding and involved commitment are pointless. Repeating affirmations instead of taking positive action doesn’t produce quality results.

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Use the Wheel to Make Yourself Whole

AXIOM SEVEN of the Positive Paradigm states, “With a Correct Paradigm and Useful Tools, You Can Make Yourself Whole.”

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The Handbook’s preface starts with a caveat. Everyone is already intrinsically whole. Put another way, “God don’t make no junk.” This is the wisdom behind the biblical admonition, “Ye must be perfect like your father.”

However, just as Einstein already had the Unified Field Theory but didn’t know it, each and every one of us on the planet is perfect in potential: made in God’s image. But we’ve forgotten.

Worse, many have been deceived into believing they’re inherently not-okay. The Handbook confirms inherent wholeness. Its structure provides a practical, hands on method for waking up. The goal is to re-member (“get it together”) and actualize in-born potential. It initiates the on-going process of making and keeping ourselves FUNCTIONALLY whole, over and over again.

The subtitle Make Yourself Whole Using the Wheel of Change isn’t intended to suggest that this or any other book can magically or literally make anyone whole, or that once through the book, you’re done. It requires not only initial work, but on-going follow-through. It’s personal intention and consistent effort that produce results. This is just a really useful tool.

But it is tremendously important to start this life journey with a reality map that accords with the way things really are. As written in Rethinking Survival:

Chances of success in life are slim to none without an accurate reality map. It’s imperative to have a complete picture of your potentials along with a correct understanding of the world around you, and what’s required to survive in that world.

Basing decisions on a worldview that’s distorted, incomplete or otherwise out of synch with the way things really are seriously diminishes chances of survival. In times as dangerous as these, it’s more important than ever to make sure you’re operating on complete and correct information.

Unfortunately, many have been led to believe, not only that they’re no-okay, but that they have to look outside themselves for permission to be okay, usually at a stiff price. There’s a method to this madness.

. . . tyrants want you to sleep on. They’ll do anything to prevent you from remembering that you’re inherently okay. Because once you do, as Einstein did, no one can intimidate, control or dominate you. You’re aware that nothing anyone has for sale can make you more perfect. Nor can anything that anyone threatens to take away alter your essential okayness.

It’s your inalienable birthright. A given.

The Positive Paradigm is the viable basis upon which to build valid self-esteem. It’s the key to personal freedom — freedom from ignorance, freedom from fear.

It’s the rock-solid foundation of functional democracy. It’s grounds for rethinking what the word really means and how to implement its promise.

One minor caveat: it all depends. While we all have the option to remember who we truly are, most of us are like Lambert, the sheepish lion. It takes a smack with a two-by-four upside the head before we’re finally ready to wake up.

Often it takes the form of life-threatening danger to those we care for. A personal health crisis will also do the trick. So will job loss or a run-in with natural disaster.

But, like Dorothy stranded in the land of Oz, when you want dearly enough to return “home,” you can click your heels whenever you chose — and come to find out, you’re already there.

Useful tools do make a difference, however. Part Four of The Handbook gives examples of putting the Wheel into motion. Part Five supplies instruction on how to modify the Wheel with virtually limitless applications to suit personal interest and needs. Forms supplied in the Appendices help complete the process.

For example, Rethinking Survival shows my personal, evolving uses of the Wheel:

Over time, I began sectoring the circles into quarters, giving it North-South, East-West compass directions. I cut out a single eye from a graphic tiger and pasted it into the center of my template Wheel to represent an all-seeing eye.

I plugged the aspects of my daily life into the model. I chose major categories: work, personal life, social life and public service. I used it to analyze where sectors had changed to take too much or too little space within the wheels, where the layers had grown too thick or thin, or how sectors or levels were coming into conflict.

I repeatedly worked with this information to bring the various demands on my life back into balance, to continuously reintegrate the aspects of daily life.

Later, I found it necessary to break the quarters down into smaller subcategories. The concentric wheels began to look oddly like the twelve-sectored zodiac used by astrologers to diagram the placements and interactions of planetary energies.

I used the model not only to organize the sectors of my life, but to plan for alternative futures. I used it to picture not only where I was, but where I intended to go and what changes were necessary to get from here to there.

Another time, I used the Wheel to record my life history. I used compass North to mark my beginnings. On the surface I noted the date and place of my birth. On the middle level, I plugged in the names of my parents and grandparents. I created new sectors (pie-slices of experience) for each move, from Peoria to Boston to Tucson to Buffalo and so forth.

Inside, I drew significant events and people associated with each time in my life. I used stick figures striding along the surface to represent me in the role I played at that time. I drew happy or sad faces to indicate my state of mind during that particular period.

Personal work with the Wheel over many years has evolved into the inclusive method presented in the Handbook.

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Corollary A: The Positive Paradigm of Change is the ultimate answer to the ultimate question, “What is that, knowing which, all else is known?” It’s proof that humans are made in the image of the Creator — the microcosm mirrors the macro. It’s the universal confirmation that everyone everywhere is inherently okay. The purpose of working with the Wheel of Change is to remember who you truly are, to repair the pattern and make yourself whole.

Corollary B: The Wheel can be used to discriminate between absolutes and ephemerals. The “small stuff” goes on the surface. Unrealized hopes, dreams and plans fit in the middle level. Basic commitments are placed close to the center, next to guidance and connection with Conscience.

The Wheel can be used to separate the signal from the noise. Used as a meditative practice, it is a discipline for quieting the mind, withdrawing from draining distractions, eliminating bad attitudes and healing negative emotions.

The Wheel serves to prioritize the levels. By placing first things first, you can see what’s irrelevant and weed it out of the picture. Once Conscience as your ultimate personal survival guide is placed at the center, then everything that gets between you and your conscience is recognized as antithetical to ultimate survival.

Corollary C: Those who’ve done the hard, honest work of mental house-cleaning not only understand themselves better, but also others as well. You can’t leave a place you’ve never been. But once you’re been there and prevailed, you’re in a much better position to empathize with and serve others humanely. Nor can you be easily fooled. Compassionate, skillful leaders/therapists have earned their in-depth worldview through experience.

Conversely, those who block out memories or reject some sectors and levels of experience find it difficult to relate to the needs and experiences of others which they’ve rendered invisible to themselves.

Corollary D: Especially in dangerous times, changing the world is an overwhelming, seemingly impossible prospect. But that’s not your job, nor do you need to be overwhelmed. It doesn’t matter how much is going wrong “out there.” As your primary responsibility, the one manageable unit is the one closest to home: yourself.

The premier self-management method for linking and balancing the levels of the Wheel is the Motive + Purpose + Intent formula given in Chapter Five. Using the Wheel, you can map out and balance the Why (motives) at the center with the How (strategies/actions) in the middle level and the What (results) on the surface.

With this process, there are always choices. Hence the motto, “Because I can’t change the world, I change myself.” The world is a great motivator. The time to remember and wake up is NOW, while there’s still precious time left!

In the face of daunting odds, there’s comfort in the wisdom of quantum realities. The beating of a single butterfly’s wings can change weather patterns continents away. The same is true of personal change. The long-term effects of personal improvements and good deeds may never be known to the doer. But as a simple law of nature, good karma returns over time, exponentially.

Corollary E: Unity is accomplished through personal effort, one person at a time. Attempts to enforce global unity through world organizations operating at the surface of the Wheel are unnatural, unrealistic and no matter how seductively presented, “scary bad.”

Corollary F: Numerous authors have written about to the necessity of changing from the inside out. They include, but are not limited to, Stephen Covey, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz, Dr. Phil McGraw, and Julie Morgenstern. The Positive Paradigm Handbook is a useful compliment that gives a memorable picture of the dynamic process which they advocate.

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Where in the Wheel Are We NOW?

Utopia.sized

Comments on my last post, A Philosopher’s Response to Boomer & Millennial Blogs, are the logical springboard to a series. This the first installment.

Jerry Pociask (Life Coach | Inspirational Mentor | Author | Speaker) remarked, I have seen this diagram many times in the past.

Of course. This archetypal, mandala structure repeats in every civilization throughout history. It’s a map of the basic internal dynamics that make everyone, everywhere tick. It’s present throughout the records of cultural anthropology and embodied in the creation stories of the world’s enduring religions.

What IS news here is that this perennial diagram is also the stuff of modern physics, as well as the foundation of an inclusive Self-Awareness psychology. Rethinking Survival correlates this universal pattern with both the ancient Chinese Book of Change and Einstein’s famous formula of energy conversion.

It describes the universal pattern:

The Positive Paradigm’s Synthesis Wheel mirrors the micro-cosmic structure of atoms as well as the macro-cosmic structure of planetary systems. At the microscopic level, its concentric rings mirror the structure of atoms around a nucleus. It equally mirrors the symmetry of the planets orbiting around an organizing star, the sun. On the largest scale of magnitude, it reflects the in- and out-breaths of perpetually expanding and contracting universes.

This familiar atomic structure repeats smallest to largest in the patterns of nature, from snow flakes and intricate flowers to spiders’ webs and sea shells. Similar symmetrical patterns repeat worldwide in the art of every culture — including the prayer wheels of Native Americans, the colored sand mandalas of Tibetan Buddhists, the stained glass windows of European cathedrals and the intricate geometrical patterns that cover Muslim Mosques, to name but a few.

They offer proof of the universal awareness of a central inner reality, of an inner structure common to all humanity — a continuity of experience deeper than individual lives or transitory cultures.

This structure continues to take on new expressions to meet the unique needs of immediate times. Today is no exception. Star Wars and the Indiana Jones movies are examples of how a timeless fascination with the war between good and evil is being retold using modern technologies. Today, a worldwide audience relates to archetypal adventure stories reenacted by dynamic action heroes.

Similarly, The Positive Paradigm Handbook gives new clothes to the timeless perennial philosophy. It is intentionally designed to meet the needs of decision-makers in every walk of life. Its practical methods and examples show how to personalize the timeless pattern, first bringing one’s individual life into alignment with the universal pattern and then restoring harmony to a chaotic environment.

For example, the universal pattern has been modified to use as a method for restoring mindfulness to the decision-making process. It emphasizes the critically important relationship between self-awareness and effective leadership.

Be Aware.sized

The Life Wheel in pristine form is complete. The levels are all present, correctly prioritized, and in balanced proportion. Were our lives so complete, we would be called “perfect.” Were our society equally whole and balanced, it would be called “Utopia.”

Few of us are there now. Although originally created in the image of the Creator, as a consequence of our own choices and actions over a very long time, our personal Life Wheels have become fragmented and “bent out of shape.” Like Dorothy stranded in the Land of Oz, our dearest, deepest wish is to find our way home again.

Getting there requires a map, methods and proactive discipline. Converting the abstract Wheel into a practical diagnostic tool is a first step. The self-healer can use it to diagram the immediate situation, design a better future, and then decide on the steps necessary to get from here to there. Initially, the levels and sectors of one’s own life are drawn into a Wheel template. Then, taking a sequence of steps one-at-a-time leads towards the experience of an increasingly full and satisfying life.

For example, here is the diagram of an intermediate Life Wheel. It pictures the “state of the art” of an individual whose life is a work in progress. The X at the center represents the conviction that there is no God. The possible existence of a vital center has been ruled out. The innermost level of light (intuition, guidance) is therefore missing.

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Nevertheless, this improved personal Wheel a represents a major step forward from the starting point. New sectors have been added. Excessive focus on the Professional sector has been reduced and brought into relative balance. The sliver of a missing Family sector has been restored to the picture. An honest NO to the question of whether life is experienced as fulfilling has resulted in the decision to expanding the Entertainment sector to include time for self-improvement.

Redrawing the map can become a daily morning discipline. Ask yourself, “Where in the Wheel am I NOW?” And, if you don’t like it, “What am I willing and able to do about it NOW?”

In addition, however, there’s plenty more work to be done. This is just the tip of the iceberg of what’s possible.

Jerry Pociask’s comment hints at what’s next. He concludes, The diagram can be applied in so many ways . . . unfortunately it probably isn’t available on mobile phones!

That’s where I’ll begin next time.