Tag Archives: Christ

Rethinking AUTHORITY

A conversation between Joe Dispenza and Gregg Braden touched on the challenges of increasingly dangerous, polarizing times and what I’ve described as the leadership deficit.

Authority, they observed, is shifting.

I agree.

As prelude to a deeper look into what this means for us, I’m posting here a 2000 essay which explores the full-spectrum potential of the authority-word. Although my writing style has evolved since then, the substance remains well worth your attention.

King

ESSAY 7. AUTHORITY

Christ was one of the greatest mystics of all time. He knew everything that has been ever said in the Eastern traditions. When Moses asked God, who are you? God said, I AM that I AM. Christ in the Gospel of John says, “Before Abraham was, I AM.” The very word Abraham comes from the Eastern word Brahman, which means the primordial being. . . So when you start looking, as paleo-linguistic anthropologists do, at the common roots of the various religions and traditions, you find that it’s all universal. Truth has to be universal. It can’t be your domain or my domain. Deepak Chopra, transcript, Larry King Live

Those who are adept in social intelligence can connect with people quite smoothly, be astute in reading their reactions and feelings, lead and organize, and handle the disputes that are bound to flare up in any human activity. They are the natural leaders, the people who can express the unspoken collective sentiment and articulate it so as to guide the group toward its goals. — Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence

Archibald Garrod risked a conjecture that would reveal him to be a man far ahead of his time, somebody who had all but unknowingly put his finger on the answer to the greatest biological mystery of all time: what is a gene? Indeed, so brilliant was his understanding of the gene that he would be long dead before anybody got the point of what he was saying. — Matt Ridley, Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters

THE FRONT

Definitions of authority span the Life Wheel continuum from mundane to sublime. We therefore get meanings mixed up and speak at cross-purposes. The ancient derivation refers to the Creator, the author. In English, the meaning shifts to the power or right to give commands, enforce obedience, take action or make final decisions.

It changes again to mean the power delegated to another. Further diminished, it becomes a quote supporting an opinion or action. In government, authority refers to those with the power or right to enforce orders and laws. It can also mean an expert, someone with knowledge in a specialized field whose opinion is reliable. Lastly, authority means assurance coming from personal experience.

It’s important to know what standard justifies each type of authority. Which authorities may legitimately exercise what kinds of influence, and by what right?

Traditionally, biological parents, the first authors of our physical form, are the original human authorities, taking responsibility for instilling values and governing childish behavior. After coming of age at 18, however, each adult is responsible for choosing which authorities to accept and follow. For the fortunate, bonds of gratitude, affection and mutual support sustain family ties.

In addition, however, we begin to look to other authorities for education, leadership and support. Communities grounded in commitment to common beliefs, goals and friendship can enlarge or replace family circles. Command of a particular subject qualifies the expert.

In the United States and other democratic countries, popular vote gives legislators authority to write laws. In bureaucratic military and government agencies, as well as in private corporations, rank — regardless of character or motives — legitimizes power over subordinates.

Deeper than credentials and social sanctions, however, is the inner authority called conscience which is deliberately invoked by working with the I Ching. It’s the innate sense of timing within each of us. It warns when and how to act and when to keep still, when to seize and run with opportunity and when to side-step danger.

In sages, authority is the fruit of self-discipline and direct experience. As Daniel Goleman suggests, “natural” leaders possess a cultivated knack for knowing what others need along with the ability to effectively coordinate individual gifts to meet group goals.

The gift for insight doesn’t, however, translate automatically into leadership ability. Those like Archibald Garrod – brilliant but lacking the communication skills to help their neighbors “get from here to there” – may inspire admiration.

But it takes a true teacher to bring the next generation of followers along. This requires a marriage of words, competence and consistent action, the ability to speak with clarity and live according to one’s beliefs. Christ is the ultimate example of such a teacher.

Most of us cherish the memories of authority figures whose lives have touched and improved our own — respected leaders whose accomplishments, example and encouragement have inspired us to honor and lovingly live the law.

THE BACK

The flip-side of authority is unauthorized abuse of power. To the extent those with delegated decision-making power are unqualified by inner experience to represent the ultimate author, the true spirit of authority is violated.

The murderous MacBeths in Shakespeare’s play are a famous example of tragic lust for power. Misled by dark-side mediums into violating the code of hospitality, they kill the sleeping king within their castle walls to usurp his throne. In so doing, they bring down both the kingdom and themselves.

Authority and responsibility are necessarily linked. When power is sought and used without genuine regard for the intrinsic value and practical interests of those governed, a divine as well as secular trust is violated. The scales of justice are knocked off balance, and misfortune for all concerned ensues.

 

What about Love?

Love is the heart of life. Naturally, life-long, I’ve sought to understand what on earth (and in heaven) the love-word means.

I’ve already posted earlier thoughts. For example, in Rethinking LOVE I wrote:

Love is the ultimate mystery. It sparks and keeps the life process going, more to be accepted and honored than psychoanalyzed. Plato described seven stages of love. Each is a rung on an evolutionary ladder which leads from a child’s love for parents, to erotic love, to friendship, and eventually the pinnacle of divine connection. These seven stages correlate exactly with the seven energy centers of yoga anatomy.

In I Want To Know What Love IS (& Isn’t), I wrote:

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

I wanna know what love is.
I want you to show me.
I wanna feel what love is.
I know you can show me.

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

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

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

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

Attempting to comprehend how people can possibly apply the same love-word to such a broad range of contradictory behaviors, I located what I’ve experienced within the spectrum of energy centers. Plugged in to the Life Wheel of Einstein’s intuited Unified Field Theory, with the crowning pinnacle being Divine Connection (Higher Love), it looks like this:

 

LoveLadder.sized

You might find it useful to know a bit about the personal experiences that led to this understanding. I count five significant love relationships, each a stepping stone to the next.

First there was Beecher. I was a high school senior. He had already graduated college as a physics major and worked at a prestigious research firm. He had plenty of money to spend on fun dates, a fancy sports car, and a suave manner about him. He found me fascinating, which I found flattering. Near the end of the school year, after I’d already been accepted at Oberlin, the college of my dreams, he asked me to marry him. I didn’t need time to think about it. I told him flat out never to ask again. I had an inner sense of destiny — of an as-yet unknown calling. Forfeiting college for an early marriage wasn’t it. That was easy.

Within the Life Wheel, this experience fell on the positive side, primarily on the material level. Kindness and consideration were present, though not its focus. Encouragement was lacking, nor did I feel protected. The possibility of higher love never occurred to either of us.

Second was David. From the start, I was stuck on his name. My hero grandfather, beloved younger brother and two cousins were all named David. It was the name of my idealized biblical figure, King David, who combined the aspects of healer-warrior-king all-in-one.

This David, a dazzlingly gifted pianist and conductor, came into my life during my Freshman year at Oberlin. He was a blond, lion-maned, flamboyant Leo. I was his compliment, a gentle and quiet brunette — a Jungian “dark” Leo. We set each other off like fire-works. He courted me with red roses, music and poetry. We adored each other.

Sadly, he was damaged by childhood abuse, seemingly beyond repair. I met him at the time of a prior girlfriend’s horrifically hurtful suicide. Then a scheming female got her hooks into him. She seduced him into a marriage which he instantly regretted. But I would not take him back.

There was an element of fate at work. Even after college, David kept reappearing. He instinctively found ways to locate me, and always at a vulnerable time of transition.

I agonized on and off again through many twists and turns over the span of more than twenty years. Only through repeated self-analysis did I come to recognize the power he held over me, the lessons to be learned, and finally get free for good. In essence, I had projected all my gifts onto him. The lesson was to take back my power, and however modestly, own in myself the virtues I saw in him.

Within the Life Wheel, despite its emotional highs, this experience fit predominantly on the left, negative side — a mix of romance, sentimentality and violent possessiveness.

Third was George. He came into my life after David’s marriage. It was a rebound swing to the opposite extreme. He was balding, bland, and boring. He offered stability. Although we talked about love and marriage, there was no spark. The major up-side for me was that his presence in my life kept my parents off my back. They liked him.

It ended when I was awarded a NDEA Title III Fellowship to complete a Ph.D. in English Literature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I phoned him up with the news, ecstatic. He broke up with me on the spot, saying it meant I was smarter than him, which he couldn’t bear. After initial shock came relief. No great loss.

Within the Life Wheel, security-based love was focused on the material outermost rim though, to his credit, he was always kind to me.

The greatest disappointment from George-time came from a conversation with Mom a few months after the break-up. She commented that she hadn’t heard much about him lately. I told her why. She actually sneered. “Good for him,” she said. “Serves you right.”

That relationship didn’t even register on the chart. Though she went through the motions, her heart wasn’t in it. Was her harshness a factor in my father’s suicide? I was only six at the time, so only God knows for sure. My ultimate solution to that loss: turning to God, as Christ did, as my true Father.

Fourth was Swami Rama. The training in yoga science and philosophy was invaluable. However, he wasn’t what he seemed. The world saw a highly accomplished performer. But behind the mask of a celibate holy man. he was a serial rapist, financial con artist and ruthless deceiver — living proof of the maxim, “The larger front, the larger back.” For too long, he got away with abusing energy sciences to exploit unsuspecting students. Bottom line: I learned valuable, undoubtedly necessary life lessons and was then released to move on.

Where would I place this experience within the Life Wheel? Despite the swami’s seductive promises of love and help, it registered exclusively on the left-hand side, fluctuating between lust, domination, lies and oppression.

Fifth. By comparison, earlier relationships heightened my appreciation of OA. No status and adventure. No flaming, heart-breaking romance. No social stability. No two-faced “spirituality.” He was the real deal. Magical – full of healing, wisdom, wacky humor and an incredible, unearthly sweetness. He too loved God as his Father and, like the good angels, acknowledged Christ as his lord and master.

OA breathed a natural genius into whatever he touched. Some praised his incredible memory, but I suspect he was dipping into akashic records with the same intelligence he applied to physical computers, instantly retrieving whatever information he called forth. Words cannot express the gratitude I feel that such a soul ever walked this earth, much less that I was allowed the opportunity to make his last days easier.

His influence spanned the entire field, on the right-hand, positive side of the Life Wheel. As I told Old Avatar, in him I’d won the lottery of life. He knew and showed us what Higher Love IS.

Angel Calling

 

Rethinking LOVE

Tonight, September 4th, when I looked for prior posts on the subject of love, I found that one of them had been published elsewhere and wasn’t available on my website. I’m correcting that oversight to complete the record. It started this way:

This post is for Tony iWiz of Ozzi and Mark Henry Smith. Tony had the courage to post an article Men in LOVE, asking Is It Real or Mother’s Love. Marko posed his questions about truth and love in his comments to TIME for a FRESH START.

I’ll hassle Tony from a woman’s point of view on his post. But since love is a human thing, not just a guy or gal issue, I decided, in addition, to post an essay from the collection written in the year 2000.”

Rose

ESSAY 38. LOVE

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord; And thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. – Moses, Deuteronomy 6:4-5

As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you. . .This is my commandment. That ye love one another, as I have loved you. — Jesus Christ in St. John, The New Testament

In Taoism, we say the heart is the seat of love, compassion, joy and happiness. This is what people are looking for. But they are looking outside. We don’t know that joy and happiness is seated INSIDE our heart. We’re running around the whole world. Going to the amusement park, night club, theaters, all kinds of places in search of happiness, peace, joy. But the peace, joy and happiness are within us. — Mantak Chia, The Inner Smile

THE FRONT

Roots of love mean to be fond, or to desire. Webster’s first definition is a deep and tender feeling of affection for, or attachment to. It can be an expression of one’s affection. It can mean a feeling of brotherhood and good will towards other people. It can be strong liking for or interest in something (a love of music). It’s a strong, usually passionate affection, partly based on sexual attraction. In theology, love refers to God’s tender regard for mankind, or mankind’s desire for God as the supreme good.

Love is the ultimate mystery. It sparks and keeps the life process going, more to be accepted and honored than psychoanalyzed. Plato described seven stages of love. Each is a rung on an evolutionary ladder which leads from a child’s love for parents, to erotic love, to friendship, and eventually the pinnacle of divine connection. These seven steps correlate exactly with the seven energy centers of yoga anatomy.

Plato traces the attraction between males and females to jealous gods who severed a complete, content person in half at the navel. Ever since, each part has chased after the other, longing to become whole again. Unfortunately, rather than seeking to integrate male and female energies internally, most Westerners persist in externalizing this desire for reunion.

In contrast, I Ching-related healing arts provide methods for restoring inner wholeness, attaining the ultimate level of Platonic love. The new law Christ taught fulfills the law of Moses.

Further, the Old Testament command to unify the three levels of soul, heart and might into a single-minded love of One God resonates with yogic practices which coordinate upper, middle and lower tan tiens, the Chinese equivalent of Sanskrit energy centers.

These methods give people of every faith practical means for actualizing their religious ideals. Put another way, only by integrating and harmonizing the levels of mind, body and emotions can love of God be actualized and the universal law be fulfilled.

Healing gender, race and religious splits calls for fluency in the complete energy spectrum of love. Even in grimmest times, love is the omnipresent, underlying bedrock. In Rocky IV, for example, Sylvester Stallione scripted an I Ching-worthy East-West reconciliation of opposite cultures. A nature-trained David not only defeats a technology-mutant Goliath with love and relentless grit. He wins the hearts of a hostile crowd. His victory message to international TV viewers: “If I can change, and you can change, we all can change.”

Those who turn love into a commodity exploit what people out of touch with their true selves crave most. There’s a push-pull between those greedy to get what they’ve been fooled into thinking they lack and those who exploit this misconception.

The ultimate Tai Chi push is to persuade someone they’re incomplete and not-okay. Further, you’ve got a life-changing product that can fix them. If they buy it, do what you say, turn over their power and money, you will transform them, make them okay.

Those grounded in reality, however, know better.

The question then arises, what happens when one becomes focused and centered. Does all interest in the external world and motive to accomplish cease? Actually, it’s the opposite. As one becomes more secure from within, fear-built barriers come down. New, more authentic motives arise to replace artificial desires. As one pares away the illusion of need, the native impulse to serve with generous compassion arises.

THE BACK

Hate is the opposite of love. Where love grows upwards from childish attachment through degrees of maturity to altruism, hate descends to the depths of destruction. It obliterates connections, shatters hope, and in the end destroys those it consumes.

Fear-based insecurities generate a host of love perversions. Possessiveness, envy, jealousy and rivalry are variations on the theme of illusory insufficiency. In all cases, it’s the result of looking outside for what can neither be bought nor stolen, as love is the timeless, abiding state of one’s innermost life.

 

Life is Eternal

In JBP at his best, I wrote A great deal of suffering comes from ignorant fear of death. Many have been deceived into doubting the existence of the immortal structure that supports the mortal frame.”

Here, due to time constraints, it must suffice to expand on my meaning by drawing from earlier work. In Contemplation of Mortality, I quoted from Essay 2 on DEATH.

Dying patients went through the five stages, but then after “we have done all the work we were sent to Earth to do, we are allowed to shed our body, which imprisons our soul like a cocoon encloses the future butterfly,” and . . . well, then a person had the greatest experience of his life. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, The Wheel of Life

I continue:

Webster’s definition of death is the act or fact of dying — the permanent ending of all life in a person, animal or plant. Personified, death is pictured as the grim reaper, a hunch-backed, black-robed skeleton wielding a scythe. The term refers to extinction, as in the death of hope.

These definitions, however, represent an extreme cultural bias with important effects on behavior. They reflect the materialistic belief that the physical is all there is. When the body fails, there is nothing else. There is no essence which survives to travel on.

The I Ching embodies a more inclusive, comprehensive view. Like the learned amongst most ancient cultures, Chinese sages regarded birth and death as natural changes, complementary stages of an ongoing cyclical life process.

Sages continue to regard death not as extinction, but the culmination of a winter season most wisely spent preparing for the coming spring. They teach that a soul, having learned the lessons and completed the work of one life cycle, separates from its used up shell. The shell, once the spirit moves on, collapses. The life essence, however, simply migrates, possibly to take on another form.

Further:

Fear is the natural outcome of limited materialistic beliefs equating the end of physical life with total extinction. Those who experience the True Self as immortal and indestructible are not plagued by fear of mortality. No doubt the courage and solace which sustained Socrates as he calmly accepted his death sentence — not as an escape, but an affirmation of principle — came from the depth of his soul awareness.

book header bird

Also to the point are the following sections from Rethinking Survival. The first is “Higher Love, Unity and Inclusiveness.” The other is “The Mystery of Death and Rebirth.”

Higher Love, Unity and Inclusiveness

The Positive Paradigm Wheel is the image of wholeness and completion: Higher Love. It pictures the inclusiveness which Campbell and Einstein believed essential to planetary survival. All parts are present, each in right relationship to the others. No part of life’s experience is lacking. No part is distorted or out of place.

This is the harmonious unity each one of us, by birthright, has the potential to experience. Poets describe the joining of the center with the surface as the Marriage of Heaven and Earth.

Given today’s paradigm malfunctions, the bliss of Higher Love seems like a distant dream. Yet we each have memories, however distant, mirrored in our art and sacred symbols. The mandalas and stained glass church windows are just a few of the countless examples. We each have persistent longings for “home” and romance that remind of us of what’s possible.

These longings are captured in the often quoted “Ode on Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood.” The 19th century English poet William Wordsworth lamented the socialization process that represses early awareness of divine origin:

Wordsworth

Like Wordsworth,  Einstein had glimpses, notably at the beginning and at the very end of his life. As chronicled by Walter Isaacson:

The great awakening that happen in childhood are usually lost to memory. But for Einstein, an experience occurred when he was 4 or 5 that would alter his life and be etched forever in his mind:

The catalyst of this lasting impression was a compass his father gave him. He remembered trembling and growing cold in excitement, awed by the “mysterious powers” of a magnetic needle that behaved as if influenced by a hidden force field. As he recalled later, “Something deeply hidden had to be behind things.”

inner-compass-sized

At about the same time, his mother introduced to him to music. It awakened awe before the magic and mystery of nature. “Mozart’s music is so pure and beautiful that I see it as a reflection of the inner beauty of the universe itself,” Einstein wrote.

For him, “love [of music] is a better teacher than a sense of duty.”

Phoenix - sized

The Mystery of Death and Rebirth

The yin-yang mysteries of life and death apply to experience on every level, from the individual, to families, nations and even planets.

. . . “The strange thing about growing old,” Einstein wrote, “is that the intimate identification with the here and now is slowly lost. One feels transposed into infinity . . . ”

In the year before his death, commenting on the passing of colleague Michele Besso, Einstein wrote, “He has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. It means nothing.”

Making an observation that could have come directly from the Yoga Sutras, consistent with the Positive Paradigm, he consoled Besso’s family, “For us believing physicists, the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubborn illusion.”

It is said that in the middle ages, Carmelite nuns retired to their cells each night to sleep inside the wooden casket in which, when they died, they would be buried. Taken out of context, this may seem morbid. But in fact, they had it right. They were aligning themselves with the patterns of nature, the better to ultimately survive them. For each in- and out-breath repeats the cycle of release and renewal. Each night that we sleep, we let go of bodily awareness and return refreshed the next day.

On every scale of magnitude, the pattern is the same. Paradoxically,survivors who have released unfounded fears of death are freed to live to the full, here and how.

Lao Tze’s work, which breathes I Ching wisdom, illumines this paradox. He describes the relationship between the Creator and creation in the first passage of the Tao Te Ching. From Two Sides of a Coin: Lao Tze’s Common Sense Way of Change:

Unmanifest and manifest are two sides of a coin, seamlessly joined, though apparently opposite.

Entering this paradox is the beginning of magic.

Figure II.8 shows what this vision looks like when the words are properly placed within the Positive Paradigm Wheel. To the uninitiated who live exclusively on the surface of the Wheel, the eternal may seem illusive. However, the inner vision necessary to accomplish goals is found only by daring to let go of the familiar surface to travel true home to the center from which blessings then flow outward.

In the words of the God of Moses, “Return unto me, and I return unto you.”

In Passage 16, Lao Tze goes even further:

16

Here, the sage not only repeats the vision of the hero’s journey. He also describes the methods of the journey — the meditative practice of stilling the mind and emptying the heart, followed by contemplation from the detached observer’s perspective. He also describes the consequences of failing to complete the life pattern and the blessings of succeeding.

The ignorant, through inattention and willfulness, generate misfortune, pain and suffering. Those who attain the source, however, (usually with the guidance of an enlightened teacher) achieve the overview which leads to acceptance, compassion and omniscience. Those who survive intact, merge with the eternal source and begin anew, like the New Adam and Christ in The New Testament.

Preparation makes the difference, deciding who is most likely to survive coming transitions, emerging better than before through the experience. Here is the root of Positive Change:

I Ching # 49. 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. Welcome the new. Avoid short-sighted fear.

Angel Calling

The Phoenix Response

Phoenix - sized

In a recent post, Choose Life II, I wrote:

I was increasingly motivated by dread of facing a future based on past experience. Subconsciously, I had succumbed to a death sentence suggested by people far too “nice” to kill me outright, but all too capable of driving me to slow suicide.

Since then, going a few years back in my notebooks, I found my response to a scary conversation. At least ten years ago, we were in a car, on the way home from running an errand as I recall. The driver was flawlessly made up, as usual. She was wrapped in an ankle-length, black fax-fur coat.

I gently suggested in a general way (nothing personal, of course), that sometimes, surely unintentionally, some people push those they can’t control to self-destruction.

She shook her head, No. It was definitely intentional, she objected.

Horrified, I searched my mind for the right survival response. (My belief in reincarnation rules out suicide. At best, unfinished business would just reappear.)

As the issue continued to come up, here is the solution recorded in notebooks over the years. Whenever circumstances or people push me to suicide, I will die – but only to be reborn in this lifetime, over and over, each time better than before.

I called it The Phoenix Response.

I associated this intentional positive decision with the death and resurrection of Christ, whose archetypal pattern represents a possibility for each of us, at any time, as a matter of personal choice, commitment and dedicated follow-through.

This was, in part, the thinking behind the following essay from Conscience: Your Ultimate Personal Survival Guide. I include it below for the benefit of those who, especially given the pressures of our “interesting” time in history, may be pondering similar choices.

phoenix b&w

ESSAY 2. DEATH

Quotes

merging

Patricia E. West, Two Sides of a Coin:Lao Tze’s Common Sense Way of Change

Tai Chi Tu - sized

Dying patients went through the five stages, but then after “we have done all the work we were sent to Earth to do, we are allowed to shed our body, which imprisons our soul like a cocoon encloses the future butterfly,” and … well, then a person had the greatest experience of his life. — Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, The Wheel of Life

Tai Chi Tu - sized

Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished.

If you’re alive, it isn’t.

— Richard Bach, Illusions

Tai Chi Tu - sized

Some day, maybe, there will exist a well-informed, well-considered, and yet fervent public conviction that the most deadly of all possible sins is the mutilation of a child’s spirit; for such mutilation undercuts the life principle of trust. — Erik Erikson, quoted by Jonathan Kozol in Death at an Early Age

Tai Chi Tu - sized

THE FRONT

Webster’s definition of death is the act or fact of dying — the permanent ending of all life in a person, animal or plant. Personified, death is pictured as the grim reaper, a hunch-backed, black-robed skeleton wielding a scythe. The term refers to extinction, as in the death of hope.

These definitions, however, represent an extreme cultural bias with important effects on behavior. They reflect the materialistic belief that the physical is all there is. When the body fails, there is nothing else. There is no essence which survives to travel on.

The I Ching embodies a more inclusive, comprehensive view. Like the learned amongst most ancient cultures, Chinese sages regarded birth and death as natural changes, complementary stages of an ongoing, cyclical life process.

Sages continue to regard death not as extinction, but the culmination of a winter season most wisely spent preparing for the coming spring. They teach that a soul, having learned the lessons and completed the work of one life cycle, separates from its used up shell. Once the spirit moves on, the shell collapses. The life essence, however, simply migrates, possibly to take on another form.

Meditation practices are instrumental in reconnecting the alienated rational mind with the life principle, restoring trust. They can prepare advanced souls to depart the physical form consciously at the auspicious time of their choosing. They also induce the changes of heart and mind that the Bible alludes to as rebirth. To be born again isn’t necessarily an emotional self-deception. Technically, from I Ching perspective, it’s very possible.

As described by healer/teacher/author Barbara Ann Brennan, total transformation and rebirth can also take place within the same body. She describes spending two years of prayer and intense discipline. By the end of that time, as a result of her efforts, every aspect of her life had changed for the better.

Going through stages similar to those described by Kübler-Ross, she released her old life, so that new attitudes, better relationships, and a significantly more satisfying lifestyle replaced that which had been outgrown and put away.

Country music star Naomi Judd, another example, refused to accept the death sentence placed on her by a short-sighted medical establishment. Instead, she chose to accept her illness as a challenge and blessing in disguise, taking the self-responsibility to restore her health.

With a combination of faith and true grit, Naomi educated herself in a broad spectrum of healing arts traditions and succeeded in regenerating herself from the inside out. She not only survived, but became healthy enough to endure the rigors of another music tour. She called it “The Power to Change,” using it as a platform for urging fans to rise to the challenge of change as she had.

THE BACK

Fear is the natural outcome of limited materialistic beliefs equating the end of physical life with total extinction. Those who experience the True Self as immortal and indestructible are not plagued by fear of mortality. No doubt the courage and solace which sustained Socrates as he calmly accepted his death sentence — not as an escape, but an affirmation of principle — came from the depth of his soul awareness.

Permanent extinction, however, is possible. Real death is not dissolution of a temporary form, but the annihilation of the soul itself. According to learned traditions, a soul beyond redemption by its own repeated wrong choices can be extinguished forever. Even the thought is cause for horror, powerful incentive to make right choices.

globe

When Leaders Can’t Be Trusted

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

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

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

Executive Order 13603 is a blatant case in point.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In stark contrast, according to MinutemenNews.com:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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-

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 ELEVENTH HOUR

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In drafting “Do You Have the Time?” I brainstormed all the possible ways this seemingly simple question can be taken (and mistaken). Different interpretations yield significantly different answers.

I also browsed for clip art clock faces to illustrate my point. Coincidentally, the one I chose adds yet another perspective, giving the question a deeper, philosophical meaning: “Do you know what time it is in your life?”

What stage of personal evolution / growth are you going through now? From a larger, historical perspective, what point in its life cycle is your business, nation or even the world experiencing today?

The pictured clock face shows the stage many say the world is now in: its eleventh hour.

Even then, there are different views as to the best way to respond to being at the eleventh hour in human history. The cliché is currently used to mean “running out of time, at the very last minute, or almost too late.”

But biblical origins of the cliché offer an alternative viewpoint. In Matthew 20: 2-16, laborers hired at the last, eleventh hour worked for only an hour. But at the end of the day, they received the same reward as those hired early in the morning, who had worked all day.

Christ’s parable of the eleventh hour epitomizes the hope humans have in God’s compassionate mercy. It’s never to late to change. It’s not over til it’s over.

(Of course, there is no such thing as coincidence.)

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Do You Have the Time?

Early this morning, I was startled awake by a cell phone alert. The power was out – for a second time. The first outage occurred over night. I was still asleep, so didn’t know the difference.

Roommates who commute long-distance to work got started just before the electric garage door came to a standstill. (They don’t know how to open it manually.)

Emergency protocols immediately kicked into place. I reached out in the dark for my wind-up flashlight. It was where it should be, on top of the disabled alarm clock. It supplied enough light to find a second, larger LED flashlight. It too was where I expected, on my work desk next to the powerless computer. I made my way carefully down the pitch black stairwell.

Next: get the battery-run lanterns out of storage. In one, the D-cells had gone dead. Look for back-ups.

Fortunately, there’s a battery-run wall clock by the main office door that keeps accurate time. Which is the subject of this post. “Do you have the time?”

Have you ever thought about how many different ways there are to answer this seemingly simple question, “Do you have the time?” My smart-mouthed high school friends, for example, would have answered, “If you have the nerve.”

The most straight-forward response is to look at a time-piece and give a literal answer. It’s 6:30 in the morning.

Alternative answers go along the lines of, I don’t have enough time . . . . to get the many tasks that need doing done well . . . to take care of my health . . . to check in on elderly relatives. Etc. etc.

Philosophical answers might include regret for the shortness and uncertainty of life. “Here today. Gone tomorrow.” Or, as the carved and painted wood plaque over my Grandfather’s fireplace mantle put it, “We get too soon old, and too late smart.”

Which brings me back to the point where I left off in the last post, “Rethinking Our Common Humanity:”

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.

Most of us live as if today will last forever. We prefer to live in the moment. In part, this is a good thing. The mindful focus of a “Be here and now” attitude allows us to savor our immediate blessings.

However . . . on the other hand, heedless lack of foresight can have extremely dangerous consequences.

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow add up, inevitably sneaking up from behind like a thief in the night when least expected. (And not just a temporary power outage like this morning. Think Pompeii.)

Impending disasters, even those right before our eyes like handwriting on the wall, can catch the unprepared off guard, robbing them of the precious time which could have been used to wake up from their deep soul sleep and re-member who they truly are.

I understand. Given today’s economy, many have little choice but to live hand-to-mouth. Check-to-pay-(or welfare)-check. Even the well-off who could afford to prepare are besieged with putting out day-to-day fires — or by other glittery distractions.

There’s no time or energy reserved for assessing possible risks. It’s not a priority to think through “If / Then” preparedness scenarios.

I find it most peculiar that even Millennials, who have grown up fluent in computer-driven technology, usually don’t apply if / then computer logic to their personal decision-making and daily behavior. This makes them even more ill-equipped than their elders to cope realistically with sudden change.

For example, in a personal email sent in response to “Give Millennials an App for Their Inner Compass,” Tom Richards detailed his frustration with Millennials:

I live in NJ where Hurricane Sandy hit dead center. Devastation like you would not believe. No power in most of the state for over 8 days. Here are actual examples which I came across immediately following the storm . . .

1. An hour after the storm ended, early in the morning, a car load of kids in their mid-twenties got stuck in a washed out piece of road in front of my house. No power, of course, and trees down everywhere. When the kiddies came to my door to ask to call for a tow truck, I had to laugh. When I asked them why the hell they were out on the roads, in their PJ’s none the less, immediately after the storm of the century, I got this. “We don’t have power and want coffee and breakfast. We are going to WaWa to get some.” Didn’t even dawn on them that if they have no power, and the state has no power, the WaWa doesn’t have power. Nor did it dawn on them that with the storm and devastation, that the people who work at WaWa would not be able to go there and open it for them.

2. Three days later the local farmers market opened, even though they only had power to keep the refrigerated items going. No power within 3 counties at this point. A young couple who lives two doors down needed food. Went to the market and came home empty handed. They had no cash, and the store was obviously only able to take cash. They pay for everything with their debit cards. Never dawned on them to have some cash around for emergencies and things like this. They were mad that the store wouldn’t sell them anything nor that they couldn’t take the debit card. It also is interesting that they never even thought to prepare even though warnings were given over and over.

3. My daughter and her friends were hungry. Her friends hadn’t had a hot meal in days. Plus, it had gotten cold and most had no heat. They came over to our house. Saw we were using my wood stove in the music studio to cook on and stay warm. It never dawned on them (or their parents, which frightened me) to use their BBQ propane grill or make a fire to cook with nor to build a fire in their yards to at least get a bit warm.

4. Just about every traffic light was out, and roads were blocked by either police or downed trees. I cannot tell you how many younger people stopped in front of my house when they saw me there to ask me how to get to a certain place, and also how many could not understand when I gave them road names where those roads were. . . .

What most amazes me is that repeatedly, after each disaster, whether natural or man-made, in media interviews, the “victims” chant the same mantra. “It was a WAKE UP CALL.” But life goes on. After the initial shock wears off, people get mired once again in the routines of daily living. And they forget. They go back to sleep.

We aren’t changing! And time is running out. As the late computer leader-innovator Steve Jobs poignantly observed:

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

Time is a blessing and a luxury. None of us knows how much time we have left to WAKE UP, think, prepare, and perhaps survive whatever is to come.

Commenting on “Change the Rules of the Knowledge Game,” Peter Fellingham gave his opinion:

Another reason why people avoid critical thinking is because it usually results in significant introspection. Introspection tends to make clear the responsibility the individual has for the resolution of their own troubles.

I answered back:

Peter, you’ve pinpointed the blind spot in curriculum — the information deficit of which I speak. Clear & critical thinking isn’t often taught in schools, nor are problem-solving tools provided as essential basics. They should be.

Then there’s the question of motivation. Requires a carrot & stick approach. The stick is awareness that laziness comes with horrific consequences. The carrot is assurance of the benefits which accrue to living a self-responsible life.

In part, people often avoid issues they find too fearful to face. If there truly are no better options, and only dangerous consequences, keeping still is an understandable choice. However, if better options ARE available, then making them known and available is an important first step in positive change. That’s what I’m working to accomplish.. . .

So, if you and/or those you lead and care for have been avoiding introspection, if you’ve been ignoring the warning signs and denying fears for the future, waiting for dangers to miraculously disappear and problems to be solved without effort, it’s time to take the striking two-by-four hint from escalating wake-up calls worldwide.

It may be a matter of survival to rethink priorities while there’s still precious time left to do so. Ask, If not now, when?

And consider the likelihood that the life / family / organization you save may be not only yours, but those of generations to come.

Early Adapters Are Most Likely To Survive

With one exception, responses to recent blogs have been gratifying.

In response to “Therapists as Agents of Positive Change,” Brent Nichols, M.A., C.S.W., a Jungian Psychoanalyst located near Berlin, Germany, wrote, “Very nice piece. . . I very much appreciate your lovely thoughts about the Jungian therapeutic process.”

John Romig Johnson, Ph.D., NCPsyA., a Jungian Analyst at Body and Soul International near Charleston, South Carolina, wrote “Marvelous blog. I want to read them all when I get a chance.”

Candace Kleven, PhD., a Psychotherapist in the Jungian Tradition wrote from Redondo Beach, California, “Thank you Pat! I am looking forward to reading your blog and staying connected with your much needed work.”

In response to “Savvy Leaders Go with the Flow,” from Toronto, Canada, Frank Feather at StratEDGYInc. wrote “That is a wonderful and very sage article, Pat. . . . I fear for America. The paradoxes in its political and socio-economic way of life are astonishing and self-destructive. The so-called dream is in danger of becoming a nightmare. . . . Please keep writing, and thanks again for connecting. You are extremely wise.”

But, in balance, lest I get overly-impressed with myself, Brian Chernett, Founder and Chief Executive at ELLAFORUMS CIC in Harrow, U.K. responded, “Its interesting but a little Academic for me.”

Ouch. But, okay. This is an important turning point for me. It’s time find a new, more effective way to communicate. So this is for Brian.

I checked out ELLAFORUMS and learned that it’s a “leadership development programme specifically designed to inspire and develop the leaders of Social Enterprises and Charities.” I listened as Brian explained that ELLA stands for Experiential Leadership Learning Academy. Ah. His direct, interactive approach to leadership training explains, at least in part, his objection to a one-sided monologue.

But to be honest, there’s more. I read “Savvy Leaders” again, thinking how it must look from Brian’s view point. Sure enough. Though I swim like a golden fish in the lore of world scriptures, taking joy in linking the patterned echoes of truth that repeat throughout, to a reader without the background of my chosen path, allusions to Plato and the Old Testament, not to mention Lao Tze, are a stretch. [Understatement.]

So I’m challenging myself here to get straight to the point of “Savvy Leaders” without depending on the authority of unnecessary outside sources. The timing of this decision is critical because I’ve chosen from now on to focus my work towards Millennials (as well as the parents and grandparents who dearly wish them well).

Twenty-somethings swim like golden fish in computer technologies which I find as challenging as my academic waters are to them and their practical hands-on mentors. It’s my responsibility a boundary- spanner to reach out and bridge whatever gaps interfere with effective communication, be they professional or generational.

So here’s my point, straight up. History repeats itself in intricate but predictable cyclical patterns. To stay ahead of the curve, successful leaders depend for survival on timeless wisdom — both innate and educated.

The basic point of Rethinking Survival is that human survival will depend upon decisions based on a simple, complete and correct paradigm. Currently, world leaders operating on the basis of incomplete, extreme and dysfunctional paradigms are making decisions that endanger us all.

The way out of current madness must begin with restoring a complete and correct paradigm, one that is consistent with both the world’s great religions and with modern physics. I’ve presented it as the Positive Paradigm of Change and published two books, one an autobiographical and personal approach, the other a bare bones, practical user’s manual.

I’m advocating a Positive Paradigm shift, regarding it as urgent to rethink priorities and retrain our minds. Historically, power holders with a vested interest in the status quo met calls for change with fierce resistance. It takes a new generation, one for whom old solutions to challenging situations no longer work, to take up the banner of a more functional, hopeful paradigm.

This is why I dedicated Two Sides of a Coin to the Millennial Generation. Seemingly disinherited by their elders, they have little vested interest in protecting the dysfunctional paradigms that have brought us to the current mess we’re in. The Positive Paradigm of Change, a descendant of the Book of Change that remains true to the original, gives them the means to actualize the opportunity hidden in adversity. Namely, survivors must, albeit of necessity, fortify inner strengths and restore forgotten wisdom.

In 1975, I wrote an easy-to-read version of the timeless Chinese I Ching called The Common Sense Book of Change. In fact, it was written exactly to rescue the timeless essence from unnecessary baggage in a non-sexist, non-flowery form that readers of every age with basic language skills and an open heart could relate to.

I cannot speak highly enough of this treasure. This interactive book serves to connect sincere users with their deepest core. When I was dealing with issues which couldn’t be spoken, it was the best friend that got me through tough times. It was the therapist I couldn’t afford, but in some respects better.

It resonates in ways that seem almost magical, though the modern sciences of atomic physics, computer binary digital code, and DNA now give intriguing explanations as to why it works on a cellular or even atomic level. (Hint: It’s no accident that the universal Positive Paradigm model is reminiscent of the rings surrounding the atom’s nucleus as well as the planets revolving around our solar system’s sun.)

Once Millennials start connecting the dots and seeing the larger picture of how the Book of Change resonates with their own computer and game addictions — as well as the enormous implications — there’s a hope for the future. (To those of Christian background who resist its wisdom as if there were a conflict, let me assure you: There is none. Christ told us he existed before the world and will continue after. He presence permeates the field. The wisdom of all human times necessarily partakes of that essence.)

Jesus foresaw the times we’re now enduring. The Book of Change confirms what he foretold and gives those with an open mind the wisdom needed to navigate successfully through dangerous times. Regardless of naysayers who wish to believe otherwise, the world is currently at a nadir point in its history. We are already in the midst of what Old Avatar calls a Near Extinction Level Crisis (N.E.L.C). Recent events in the Near East, North Korea, and the former U.S.S.R, not to mention those closer to home on the U.S. Southern border are merely the visible tip of a vast iceberg.

Historically, at the critical mass of decline and chaos, visionary leaders equal to the times have come forward. They will surely arise from the amongst the Millennial Generation’s ranks as well. They may not have the material advantages earlier available to me. But there’s a trade off.

I’ve had the instructional blessings of international travel and a good education, as well as the luxury of a lifetime to turn knowledge and experience into wisdom. This is my legacy, handed over across the bridge of the generation gap. Millennials are the children and grandchildren I never had. The Positive Paradigm of Change is the sum of all I’ve learned, an inheritance now entrusted to their use, to pass on to their children in turn, if and when that time comes.

Bottom line: history is not a straight line. Those who live as if it were are in deep trouble. Those of vision, while living in today’s world, are quietly preparing for inevitable shocks waiting around the bend. They’re savvy enough to avoid calamity whenever possible, and when the inevitable must be faced, they’re ready meet it, adapt and survive as best they can.

The self-aware who sense and respond to the changes “blowing in the wind” are called “early adapters.” They, along with those who heed and follow them, are the most likely to survive whatever challenges may come.

All Best!

How Bad People Become Leaders

In response to my last blog, “Scientists and Sages Can Agree on This,” Mike Lehr of Omega Z Advisors posed a question: “It seems many leadership models characterize leadership as a universal good . . [but] it’s hard to give much credence to any model that can’t explain how ‘bad people’ become leaders. What thoughts do you have on this?”

I answered back: “I love a challenge, Mike. I’ll post my thoughts by Monday, and tweet you the link. Many thanks for asking.”

And it is a very challenging question. The subject is vastly complex. Making matters worse, the English language is so compromised that it’s difficult to answer simply and clearly.

For one thing, Mike, you’re not alone in looking for answers to this question. Earlier on LinkedIn, I was following a thread in the Leadership Think Tank discussion group. Five months ago Milan Grković, who heads the MUI Centar in Croatia, posed the question, “Why We Have So Many Bad Leaders?” At last count, there have been 1529 comments.

Mike’s question is framed in terms of “bad people.” Milan calls them “bad leaders.” It’s an important distinction. Both are valid. There are good (meaning ethical, responsible, compassionate) people who function poorly in leadership roles, and vice versa – not-so-good people who in measurable ways function effectively as leaders.

Unfortunately, good people who are also effective leaders are rare, while bad people who function terribly in leadership roles are all too common.

From childhood on, authoritarian educators brainwash the masses with a “respect” for authority figures, a word experienced somewhere along a continuum between “high regard” and “terror.” So most of us assume we’re obliged to comply without question.

We also been taught to expect that non-conformance has life-threatening consequences. (The tyranny of “experts” is a related but different subject for a future blog.)

Many individuals are placed in leadership roles. Very few have the combined aptitude and practical experience to actually lead. On the other side of the coin, some individuals are highly influential even without an organizational title. Their outstanding ideas and/or example suffice. Einstein is an excellent example.

Further, the description of a “bad” leader ranges from “well-intentioned but ineffective” to “incompetent, toxic and destructive.” Some people placed in leadership roles are hapless puppets.

On the other extreme, some crave power for its own sake, take pleasure in dominating others cruelly, and are quite intentionally evil. (Although business consultants, understandably, hesitate to use the word, the existence of evil is an important, unavoidable subject. A functional definition is given below.)

Different qualifications are required to lead in different situations. We each fill leadership roles at some times and in some areas of our lives. So the definition of an effective leader also changes on a sliding scale.

On the largest scale of magnitude, a universal leader is an educator in the pristine meaning term: one who leads from darkness to light. Christ was the ultimate leader. He instructed students to call him Rabbi, which means teacher.

All of this, however, begs Mike original question of how (meaning the process by which) bad people become leaders. Outside of sheer brute force, HOW are unethical, inhumane, and/or incompetent people selected to fill leadership roles?

I addressed part of this question in an earlier blog on the leadership selection process. (See Democracy Is a Myth.) My doctoral research study proved with 99 percent statistically significant results that an informal pre-selection process precedes the formal one.

Innovative, creative candidates are screened out by current power holders with a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. No one is identified, groomed or nominated who doesn’t mirror the values or otherwise suit the agendas of existing (sometimes not-so-good) administrators.

For another perspective, refer back to the Positive Paradigm Wheel model. The previous blog, Sages and Scientists Can Agree on This pictured this holistic, integrated reality map. According to this model, a good leader is one who is not only self-aware on all levels, but is able to link, balance and prioritize them.

Both books on the Positive Paradigm, however, include sections that describe the extraordinary amount of pain, suffering and loss that results from basing decisions and actions on incomplete, incorrect paradigms.

Here, two illustrations must suffice. First is a picture of the prevailing, exclusively materialistic empirical science paradigm. The center is ruled out. Intuition is denied. Emotions and energy aren’t accounted for. All that matters are concrete tangibles and physical image. A leader’s motives and intentions are known only when it’s too late – after the selection has been made and the (sometimes regrettable) results come in.

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A “scientific” leadership selection process takes into account only that which is measurable, for example academic IQ. Intangibles like the presence or absence of cultivated Emotional Intelligence (street smarts) fly under the radar, as do ethical intelligence, creativity and a capacity for visionary insight.

When selectors judge only by appearances, it’s easy to deceive them. As Lincoln said, “You can fool all of the people some of some of the time, and some of the people all of the time.” Those are pretty good odds for an ambitious con artist.

In a second variation, all levels of the Wheel are operational, but they operate intermittently and out of synch, each disassociated from the others. The smallest circle which represents Conscience floats outside, detached from daily experience.

Stress

On one side of the continuum, this is the picture of a hypocrite, for example a person who operates on one standard with close family, but on another with strangers or at work. It represents someone who presents one image to the public, but acts quite differently when others aren’t looking.

Hitler is a familiar example on the far opposite extreme. This is the picture of evil, meaning anti-life: intentionally shattering and fragmenting the creative pattern. In Positive Paradigm context, the intentions and actions of any person (or group) that destroys its own and/or threatens to annihilate enemy groups, devoid of respect for the inherent sanctity of life, are defined as evil.

The empirical science paradigm has no language or structure for recognizing such malfunctions. In contrast, the Positive Paradigm is designed to diagnose inner dynamics. Use it to identify bad people and prevent them from being given leadership roles.

Again, my thanks to Mike Lehr for this opportunity to respond. Hope this helps.

All best!

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WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET

After months of over nights engrossed in writing Rethinking Survival, the kaleidescope has turned. Time to put on another hat. It’s now or never. Give form to thought. First I produced the Kindle version and now the paperback edition. Quite a strenuous project. A friend likened it to giving birth.

Tonight, Friday, December 27th of the waning year 2013, I’m waiting for final approval of the submitted book. How, then, do I announce this new arrival? It’s full of hope for the New Year, yet so fragile in its uncertain future.

When I draw on my memory banks for the best way to describe my concern, I’m remembering a powerful experience from Oberlin years. It was the mid 1960’s. I was a college Freshman. The occasion was a performance of Brahm’s A German Requiem.

I was seated towards the back of the upper balcony in Finney Chapel. This 19th century, church-like assembly hall was fitted with wooden pews and a large front stage. The Conservatory Orchestra and College Choir were seated up front. The chapel was filled to capacity with a mix of students, faculty and “townies.”

The Requiem wasn’t new to me. As a member of the Festival Choir at Interlochen’s National Music Camp, I’d actually participated in an earlier concert. So the power of the music was reinforced with memories of intense rehearsals.

The unforgettable, dirge-like opening weighs on the soul with its ponderous message of mortality. ” . . . all flesh is as grass, and the glory of man like flowers. The grass withers and the flower falls.”

But at Oberlin, I had the misfortune to be seated behind a clique of music students. (Conservatory students called their building the Con. We called them “Connies.”) They were remarkably oblivious to the solemnness of the Requiem. Throughout, they showed off their cleverness by critiquing the performance. In stage whispers, hissing derogatory remarks. A soloist’s pitch was off. The conductor’s tempo was too slow.

However, right next to them, ignoring the Connies entirely, sat a single listener, engrossed in his attention to the music. His right elbow rested on the pew before me, his hand resting on his chin, as if deep in thought. I could actually hear his wind-up wristwatch ticking in time to the morbid music. It took my breath away. It seemed as if the watch was in synch with the Brahms, confirming the shortness of human life on Earth. The countdown clock was ticking for those with an ear to hear.

Were the Connies rude? That was the least of it! They’d totally missed what Brahms had labored to communicate to us from an earlier century. What a loss.

Were they correct in their technical assessments? Maybe, so far as it went. I wouldn’t know. Because I was listening for the music, not the mistakes. This was my choice.

I made this decision at Interlochen while attending student concerts there. On the one hand, I realized, I could listen with my physical ears, focusing on the limitations of amateur musicians. But that approach would have driven me crazy. I’d have made myself miserable.

On the other hand, I could listen with the heart. I could open myself to what the composer heard with the inner ear and done his best to express in the language of music. I could admire the energy of enthusiastic, sincere students who loved the music and were doing their very best, however imperfectly, to measure up to it. That was the beneficial path of gratitude and enjoyment.

In the English language, we use the same word for both the piece of paper upon which physical notes are printed . . . the sheet music . . . and for the music itself. In contrast, in the German language of the Requiem, two different words are used to distinguish between the notation and the actual sound.

Just so, I agreed with myself not to worry so much for the technical notes, but instead to focus on the actual music. I chose to listen with the inner ear to hear what the composer intended and what merely human musicians labored to recreate. Here Brahms was reminding us with his dark, brooding music that mankind, as numerous as blades of grass on the face of the earth, is perilously mortal. Like flowers, all human greatness ultimately comes to naught.

But the Connies missed it in their chit chat, hearing only with their physical ears.

This memory serves to illustrate the choices available for approaching Rethinking Survival. It’s my best hope that readers will meet me half way — that they’ll focus not on the book’s technical mistakes but on its substance and value. This book is about survival in the very literal sense of the term. And like the Requiem, it balances short-term warnings with long-term hope. Brahms completes his reminder of mortality with the confirmation of immortality: “The word of the Lord endures for eternity.” Rethinking Survival mirrors this balance.

In short, what I’m offering is the very best I could do given limited time and finite resources. For the sake of the message, I urge readers to forgive an imperfect messenger for the sake of the message. Because what you see is what you get — either a powerful paradigm or a less than perfect physical book. Your choice.

 

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Rethinking Christ at Christmas

RETHINKING SURVIVAL

 Excerpts

No matter what your beliefs, you’ll find Rethinking’s explanation for Christ’s enduring influence both fascinating and persuasive.

I came to the story of Jesus fairly late in life. When it finally came time to focus on The New Testament, I was ready and well prepared to appreciate it. It hadn’t been spoiled by being introduced too early, before I was mature enough to relate to the teachings as an adult. No one had spoiled the teachings for me with prejudiced opinions or by bad example. There was no social or authoritative pressure put upon me to either believe or not believe. It was my choice.

I came to the teachings, especially St. Matthew, with an open mind and uncluttered brain. Further, I Ching and yogic backgrounds put the life and times of Jesus in perspective. Many of his teachings and so-called miracles, it seemed, were built on tacit understandings generally accepted at a time when people lived far closer to nature than most of us city-folk do today. This bedrock of common understanding has since, for the most part, been lost or forgotten.

His story didn’t seem like hocus pocus to me, as intellectuals often assume. In the context of Chinese sages and Hindu yogis, it was plausible and wonderful. Here was an extraordinarily great master who choose to arrive on Planet Earth at a tipping point in history. Civilization had reached critical mass. This rare, great being had the compassion and power to influence the fate (survival versus extinction) of the human race. His demonstrated love, courage and personal sacrifice changed the course of history.

Not coincidentally, it seemed that at the time I was making friends with St. Matthew (the early 1980’s), humanity was slowly approaching another tipping point, another time when, again, human survival, cannot be taken for granted. There was a message here for those with “ears to hear.” It influenced me to write Rethinking Survival for the purpose of giving people worldwide the means to see Christ’s power and purpose with fresh eyes. The Positive Paradigm of Change offers a context within which his life, death and transfiguration are understandable.

It gives us an opportunity to rethink the example of his life, teachings and sacrifice. It’s a means to save the hope of the Christ child from the bathwater of false distortions. It offers a way out of narrow-minded strife in political and religious arenas alike.

Bottom line: I found that the Old Testament and the New Testament which completes it both work for me. What goes on at the surface, cultural level of institutional religions is a different matter. Sadly, too often, it’s apples and oranges. Disconnected universes. So it bears repeating: distortions at the ephemeral surface cannot negate the power and validity of the scriptures. Whatever unfortunate baggage and associations have accrued to the teachings, release them. However jaded you’ve become, get over it. However tragic the past, forgive it. Go back and rethink the teachings. See them like a genius, through fresh eyes, as if for the first time, new again. It’s worth it.

The 19th century poet William Wordsworth likened the paradigm’s center to “life’s Star.” Einstein’s earliest glimpse of eternity came from a compass. It gave him his first experience of something powerfully magical hidden behind the world of things. The True North center is the source of all-encompassing compass-ion, the Buddhist equivalent of Higher Love. It’s the fountainhead of Christian “charity.”

The Positive Paradigm model answers Bill O’Reilly’s implicit question. During a 60 Minutes interview on CBS, Norah O’Donnell asked for his take-away from Killing Jesus. His response: “The Christian savior was able to attract a following and a level of popularity that nobody to date has replicated.”

O’Reilly’s phenomenal success rides on technology earlier unknown. “He had no infrastructure,” O’Reilly marveled. “. . . He had no government, no PR guy, no money, no structure. He had nothing, yet he became the most famous human being ever.”

How can this be?

The level from which Christ broadcasts explains his extraordinary influence both then and now. His consciousness originates deep within the Life Wheel. It radiates from a place beyond time and space in all directions, permeating the entire field of creation, touching everyone everywhere. This explains the literal truth in his promise, that he would be with us always, even to the end of days.

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The Positive Paradigm also gives us a picture of how disciples’ reports of Christ’s death and resurrection can be literally true. Accomplished meditation practitioners withdraw attention from the physical body and then return to ordinary consciousness on a daily basis. A true master of the change process controls the in-breathing return to the creative source and out-breathing reemergence into the material plane of physical experience. Proof of this mastery is the demonstrated ability to die to the physical body and then return.

Yogic literature is full of stories about masters who chose the time of their physical departure as well as the time, place and circumstances of their next incarnation. In this, Christ’s example is not unheard of.

It’s motive and magnitude of effect that make his story unique. His was an act of supreme self-sacrifice and compassion for self-doomed humanity. He had the power and will to buy humanity one last hope of survival — a final opportunity to WAKE UP in time to prevent ultimate extinction — being erased from the cycle of life altogether.

What’s critically important to remember here is that the example of his sacrifice speaks to everyone, everywhere. Jesus did not perform his apparent miracle to set himself above and apart from humanity. Quite the contrary. He did it to set an example of what’s possible, with the command that each of us should follow in his footsteps. “Ye must be perfect like your father.”

The Positive Paradigm is a model of potentials within each of us which make this command plausible and viable. The dynamic, creative process is on-going. The pattern of continuous regeneration is the deepest heritage of every individual. Whether aware of it or not, we continuously, daily, with every breath, release and die to the old in order to regenerate and be reborn to the new.

By extension, Christ’s example of mastering the change process applies not only to individuals but to the civilization as a whole. The world as we know it seems threatened, as if coming to an end. Yet those who hold the key to life and the universe, like modern day Noahs, have the opportunity — and responsibility — to ride the tide of the times and begin again, not just for themselves, but for the sake all life on Earth. They are the ultimate survivors who have it in their power to reseed the next generation, following Christ’s example to perpetuate the wheel of life.

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