Tag Archives: Dr. Phil McGraw

. . . Tell Them How the World Works

teach-sized

In writing this post, I surprised myself and took a different direction. I intended to pick up where the last left off, completing Dr. Phil’s sentence: “If you love your children, tell them how the world works.”

There, I quoted an exchange between Dr. Jordan B. Peterson and a radical student on the subject of identity.

Student: My question isn’t about [the article], but more about identity. . . . Maybe nature lends itself to creation of arbitrary structures within society. But then people self-identify with these categories. . . . How do people reckon with the parts of their identity that may or may not contribute to environments where people feel more estranged, more alone?

JBP: That’s why you educate . . to separate the wheat from the chaff. Because you’re a historical creature. And it’s outside of you and inside of you.

Well. He’s right . . . but only partially so. For we are more than mere “historical creatures.”

What I would add to the mix is a deeper, more comprehensive component of identity. For that, I rely on the gravely misunderstood and underrated I Ching, the Chinese Book of Change, along with its more accessible and familiar spin-offs: Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching and Sun Tzu’s classic Art of War. Together, they represent a blind spot in Western thinking, a glaring deficit in our knowledge banks responsible for dangerous deficits in every aspect of today’s civilization.

The I Ching and both spin-offs detail how the world works. They are especially useful when dealing with conflict.This is the gift of love I’ve labored long to restore to common knowledge.

To the extent we applied this knowledge to questions of identify and social structure, we’d have a hope of restoring common sense and sanity to our lives.

Earlier, I spend hours putting together pictures of shallow circum-stance and the biblical answer to suffering. However, instead, what I decided to do here is share three related essays. Each applies ancient wisdom to current confusions.

Essay 15 on Roles offers a broader view of gender and social identity. Essay 13 addresses how roles are learned in the Family. This in turn builds into rethinking the structure of Community, Essay 14. This is a lot to take in, I know. But please stay with me. It’s well worth taking the time to give these tried and tested truths your careful consideration.They could well make your New Year go much better.

Also, by the way . . . Dr. Peterson repeatedly states his respect for Taoist philosophy. Everything below is in harmony with and supports his view of how the world works.

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Essay 52. ROLES

Traditional business concepts of organizational structure and management technique often condition managers to classify and measure everything and everyone they are responsible for. Organizational charts assign names to little boxes in hierarchal order. . . Not that there is no value in all these charts and systems; on the contrary, they offer a worthwhile way of understanding the fundamental structure. But the structure should serve, as chords do in jazz, as a basis for innovation and improvisation. — Autry & Mitchell, Real Power: Business Lessons from the Tao Te Ching

Leaders must be people who will not fight change but who will anticipate it, and can be challenged enough by it to enjoy it. . . We need a new kind of human being who can divorce himself from his past, who feels strong and courageous and trusting enough to trust himself in the present situation. — Abraham H. Maslow, The Farther Reaches of Human Nature

THE FRONT

Role refers to a part or character that an actor plays in a performance. By extension, it refers to a function or office assumed by someone for limited duration to fulfill a particular purpose. We wear roles like clothing put on by day, shed by night.

Success in the world depends on the ability to choose a suitable part and play it with sincerity and skill, aware of how that role fits into the larger pattern of family and business organization. When studied, practiced and performed to perfection, a well-defined role provides a structure from which to relate to others and serve a useful function within the whole.

Knowing one’s particular place in the universe at any given time, in specific contexts, is an important part of self-knowledge. It’s possible to wear an array of “hats,” suitable to many complimentary roles, even during the course of a day.

In Shakespeare’s tragedy, MacBeth laments, “Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more.”

When we live unconsciously, we identify not with our essential true selves, but only the roles arbitrarily assigned by accidents of birth and later, by chance.

Though there are exceptions to the rule, and many variations on the theme, gender is a primary dictator of roles. In the West, girl children are traditionally dressed in pink and trained for reproductive and housekeeper roles with no preparation for transition to a productive middle or old age. Boys are dressed in blue and expected to participate in contact sports, fight wars, earn a living and support a family, also with little thought for what else life may have in store.

For the most part, one’s wealth, business and social opportunities are largely determined by whom one’s parents happen to be. Likewise, religious beliefs and nationality traits are mind-sets usually fixed by place and time of birth. In The Taoist I Ching, the sum of these factors is called cultural conditioning.

A life thus lived on automatic pilot, running on programming that has never been examined, is barely human. One cannot say such a life measures up to God’s gift of free will. There’s no conscious choice involved in the way it’s lived.

The goal of I Ching-based, Taoist training is to

release us from bondage to arbitrary, unnatural conditioning,

so that the mind is freed to return to its universal, pristine nature.

The purpose of overcoming cultural conditioning is not to withdraw from life, but rather to live it consciously and intentionally, to the full. Those who truly know how to act, do so with heart and soul. Rather than merely going through the mechanical gestures of scripted parts spoken without understanding, they play out a changing succession of roles over a lifetime with full awareness and conviction.

Taking on and letting go of roles is either growth-productive or traumatic, depending on one’s philosophy of life. In I Ching context, ephemeral change is natural, not subject to moral judgment as good or bad.

But, to the extent we live unconsciously, we’re but tragic shadows of our true potential. We’re poor players because we know not what we do. The more we become conscious, the more we are able to bring vitality, depth and meaning to the roles we choose, and the more radiant our lives become.

Those in leadership roles with I Ching awareness carefully prepare followers for change, equipping them to meet challenges and survive adversity. People who depend on leaders stuck in the past, unwilling or unable to change, are in deep trouble. Their survival depends on listening to the warnings of conscience in combination with gut instincts, finding positive ways to work around and overcome the dangerous consequences of mismanagement.

THE BACK

The opposite of roles is to be without a part to play. Jobless and/or homeless people are excluded from the give and take of productive daily life, as are incarcerated criminals and those institutionalized with mental or physical health problems. So are slum dwellers whose extreme poverty results in lack of education, skills and access to the work world.

The value of roles is perverted when they’re frozen into masks and performed without authentic involvement. When people identify with roles (or hide behind them) to such an extreme that they forget their true identity, they become disconnected from life. People who think of others only in terms of their roles stereotype them, disrespecting their essential humanity.

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Essay 13. FAMILY

Confucius

The nature of the chakra cords that you build in your first family will be repeated in all the following relationships that you create later. . . As an adult, you will most likely grow dependent child/mother cords between you and your mate. As you move through life and mature, you gradually transform the child/mother cords into adult/adult ones. Barbara Ann Brennan, Hands of Light

In the family we learn love, patience, respect, nurturing, affirmation, and health. The family also teaches us about competition, domination, selfishness, and deceit. The family is thus a relatively efficient learning system for the development of mind, spirit, and body. It involves the whole self. — Tom Chappell, The Soul of a Business

For whosoever shall do the will of My Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother. – Jesus Christ, St. Matthew 12:50

THE FRONT

The Latin root of family means household establishment. An obsolete usage refers to all the people living in the same house, including servants and slaves. A later definition refers to all the relatives living in the same house, including extended family. Only recently has it come to mean a nuclear unit, the traditional set of parents (one husband, one wife) and their off-spring.

A family can mean a group of people related by ancestry or marriage, including relatives. It can be all those claiming descent from a common ancestor, tribe, or clan — a lineage. A crime syndicate under a single leader is also called a family.

The extended Kennedy clan is a shining example of family cohesiveness. Yet, in an interview with Larry King, Maria Shriver described lessons her family never taught her. The “real world” lessons in her book, intended to spare others from learning the hard way, are strikingly similar to I Ching basics. For example, she observes, “Behavior has consequences.” This, of course, is the Law of Karma.

Ideally, children should learn the basics within the family. If we trained ourselves and our children in I Ching ways, there’d be no need for each generation to reinvent the wheel over by repeating the same mistakes. Sheltering them from the “real world” isn’t a kindness.

A better way to protect them is to provide the wisdom tools

to give them the practical edge,

help them meet the challenges of adult life

with intelligence and self-confidence.

As Brennan indicates, first family bonds are instinctual. As we extend outwards, we unconsciously tend to replicate parent/child dynamics in later relationships. However, if we succeed in maturing and evolving over time, we can put childish ways behind and succeed in forming adult relationships based on conscious choice and commitment.

As Chappell indicates, within the nuclear family as in the family of man, everything, both positive and negative is possible. As we learn to articulate what we see and respond wisely to experiences in the family environment, we become increasingly able to apply these skills in school, business and extended political situations.

In I Ching context, however, as Confucius indicates,

the goal of improving and sustaining family relationships

isn’t achieved by extending ever outwards.

It requires looking inward.

Efforts to improve personality lead to the necessity to know one’s mind. This in turn leads still deeper into exploring one’s innermost awareness. Then, in due time, inward movement cycles outwards once again, incorporating the benefits of inward journey into one’s personal and practical everyday life.

Within families of every size, whether communities, religions, corporations and governments, some live the law while others do not. As Christ taught, those who love and choose truth form the nucleus of his ultimate extended family.

Those who love life, who seek truth and understanding and do their best to help others as they can, have more in common with each other than with evil-doers within their own groups.

THE BACK

Opposites of family include strangers in our community whom we’ve never gotten to know, foreigners raised abroad who speak languages and practice customs we don’t understand, as well as others we’ve been taught to mistrust and dislike.

The antithesis of family is foe, including competitive opponents and military enemies. Whereas families are ideally founded on common beliefs, goals and mutual support, those who threaten or sabotage others undermine healthy relationships. Gratitude and hope build communities. Mistrust, hostility and abuse break them down.

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Essay 14. COMMUNITY

We can create communities and relationships that are based on love and intimacy rather than fear and hatred. We can learn from the suffering of others. Awareness is the first stage in healing. . . Likewise, we can create a new model of medicine as we move into the next century that is more competent and cost-effective as well as being more caring and compassionate. — Dean Ornish, Love and Survival

As we accept the smallness of the world, the density of the population, and the myriad influences on individuals and families, someday we may recognize the community and even the whole society as the patient. Imagine, then, what a “doctor of society” might do, what kinds of diseases he or she might treat! — Patch Adams, Gesundheit!

Each celestial body, in fact each and every atom, produces a particular sound on account of its movement, its rhythm or vibration. All these sounds and vibrations form a universal harmony in which each element, while having its own function and character, contributes to the whole. – Pythagoras, quoted in The Healing Power of Sound

THE FRONT

Community stems from a root word meaning fellowship. In English, the word refers to all the people living in a particular district or city. It can also mean a group of people living together as a smaller social unity within a larger one, and having interests or work in common, such as a college community.

Alternatively, it can refer to a group of nations loosely or closely associated because of common traditions or for political and economic advantage. It also covers similarity of tastes and preferences. The last definition Webster’s gives is the condition of living with others in friendly association and fellowship. The last definition has come full circle back to original meaning.

Communities are founded on a common cause. It can be as practical as survival or as idealistic as freedom. Often, community cohesion is artificially stimulated by fear and hatred of a common enemy.

Hitler inflamed passions against Jews and foreign bankers to mobilize his war-weary country into a second world war even more devastating than the first. Then Americans rallied behind the common goal of defeating enemies of democracy on two fronts, Asia and Europe.

In Common Sense, Thomas Paine wrote about the relationship of divine, natural and human law in a way that inspired readers at the time of the American Revolution to fight for freedom from tyranny. Winning that war did not, however, automatically secure freedom for all times.

Democracy isn’t a static achievement that can be passed on unchanged from one generation to the next. It must renewed and earned again, one individual at a time, each generation at a time, continuously redefined in the context of immediate circumstances.

Nor can the structures of American-style democracy be imposed by force, whole, from the outside, on peoples whose beliefs are shaped by vastly different cultural influences. It is the common respect of life and liberty, not external forms, which is universally translatable.

The music of life that moves every organization, smallest to largest, is the basis of harmonious fellowship. Approaching natural law and social organizations from the deeper understanding of the ancients could inspire a new, more humane and effective approach to international relations now, one based on energy dynamics which the human community share in common.

Sages say that freedom from tyranny begins with dispelling ignorance and overcoming negative emotions. True freedom and stable communities begin with the self-awareness and self-mastery which can be gained by diligent use of wisdom tools like the I Ching. First remembering the core of compassion and caring within, we can then extend and expand this good-will into healing society as well.

Put another way, it’s useless to fight for a democratic world before first cleaning out the inner swamp of negative emotions. Since inner life conditions attract corresponding external experience, fighting in anger and hatred reaps results in kind.

Working to establish positive community relationships before personal attitudes of good-will and willing self-discipline are established is futile. As Covey reminds us, first things must come first.

Conversely, the more individuals free themselves from personal problems, the more they become open to the calling of conscience. They then become increasingly fit to participate as members of a viable community, able to fulfill their part in the harmony of the natural whole.

THE BACK

Street gangs, terrorist groups, religious cults and secret societies are subgroups within the larger community. To the extent that their goals oppose and even endanger the community at large, these organizations are antithetical to the general good.

Pariahs, nomads and outcasts are individuals excluded from society, either voluntarily or by edict. Whether justified or not, their attitudes and behavior are out of harmony with accepted norms.

If enough of them find common cause to band together,

they form alternative groups

which become the foundation of new communities.

Angel Calling

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What Is YOUR Worst Fear?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Essay 34. FEAR

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

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

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

THE FRONT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE BACK

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

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

Use the Wheel to Make Yourself Whole

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s your inalienable birthright. A given.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Rethinking CRIME

Today, I’m fulfilling a promise made on a LinkedIn thread in answer to the question, “Crime, Is It Natural?” I responded to look here for my perspective on this very important question. After all, CRIME just happens the very first of the UPSG Essays.

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1. CRIME

 “Our time has committed a fatal error; we believe we can criticize the facts of religion intellectually . . . The gods have become diseases; Zeus no longer rules Olympus but rather the solar plexus, and produces curious specimens for the doctor’s consulting room, or disorders the brains of politicians and journalists who unwittingly let loose psychic epidemics on the world.” — C. G. Jung, The Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Vol. 13.

“Nature itself has a pulse, a rhythmic, wavelike movement between activity and rest . . . We are capable of overriding these natural cycles, but only by summoning the fight-or-flight response and flooding our bodies with stress hormones. We can only push so long without breaking down and burning out.” — Loehr & Schwartz, The Power of Full Engagement

“Your life is created from the inside out, so you must get right with you on the inside — and that takes time and focus on you; not your social mask, but you. . . You are uniquely equipped for a mission in this world, and to fail to commit to finding that mission and then achieving it is to wither the mind, body and spirit.” — Phillip C. McGraw, Self Matters: Creating Your Life from the Inside Out

THE FRONT

Linguistic roots of crime indicate a verdict, an object of reproach, or offense. According to Webster’s, crime is an act which the law prohibits. Conversely, it is failure to act as the law orders. Crimes are variously punishable by death, imprisonment, or the imposition of fines and restrictions.

A second kind of crime is an offense against morality, called sin. More loosely, this word is used to refer to something regrettable. “It’s a crime you didn’t finish school.”

What’s significantly missing from Webster’s definitions is reference to violations of natural law. Over millennia, Asian practitioners evolved sophisticated sciences which map the subtle laws of energy movement and study the effects of natural change on human physiology, behavior and institutions. For thousands of years, health sciences, social structures, business practices and the education of monastic, government and military leaders alike were based on this practical understanding of human dynamics.

Westerners, in contrast, have little functional understanding of natural law and violate it with impunity. We experience subtle energy shifts as emotional reactions or the erratic ups and downs of daily life. Because Western cultures are historically out-of-tune with energy dynamics at this level of law, it is often referred to as the unconscious. Crimes of passion and self-sabotage are proof of this bind spot.

The focus of Conscience: The Ultimate Personal Survival Guide is the I Ching, the Chinese Book of Change. It embodies a time-tested method for making the unconscious conscious. As the repository of natural law, it fills a gap in the way we’ve been taught to think about life.

Restoring its ancient wisdom to current awareness could correct mistakes in the ways we think and therefore act, revitalizing virtually every field of endeavor, from the healing and entertainment arts to the political and social sciences.

In I Ching context, the worst crimes are those we commit against ourselves when we accept and act on limiting suggestions. When we block out the lower octave of sub-rational intelligence (the middle, energy level of the Life Wheel) as if it didn’t exist, we fail to recognize and release the buried fears that sabotage our rational decisions.

When we disown the higher octave of our super-rational awareness, (the center of the Wheel) we block out intuitive access to the Book of Life, written in our very DNA — the universal source of creative solutions, the means of healing every disease, and hope of ultimate survival.

Those who dismiss, demean or control children with fear condemn them to empty lives of masked conformity on the material surface of the Life Wheel. Instilling extreme ideas about death, as if it were either a reward or ultimate punishment, one’s only hope or worst enemy, results in living inappropriate to reality.

 The more moderate, I Ching view accepts mortality as a natural change. Sages use keen awareness that time on Earth is limited as motivation to live authentic to their true selves, making the best possible use of every precious moment here and now.

To keep people in ignorance, lulling them into inaction by minimizing future dangers or the opportunities inherent in them is irresponsible. To withhold the information we need to be effective in meeting and surviving immanent challenges is most certainly the ultimate crime against humanity.

For a timely wake-up call would serve to shake us out of self-denial and shatter the prisons of narrow thinking. It could rouse the courage to face up to the unknown, to slay the demons that lurk in the sub-rational mind. It might also open us up to our super-rational potentials and the distant calling of eternal life.

 THE BACK

The positive resolution of crime is atonement. In social relationships, it’s accomplished by setting wrongs right. At a personal level, it’s accomplished by returning to a lifestyle compatible with natural law. At the deepest level, at-one-ment is attained by overcoming separation and restoring one’s original at-one connection with conscience and the creative source.

The negative consequence of unrepentant wrong doing is punishment. Breaking human laws, as Webster’s enumerates, precipitates punitive results. Over time, the natural law of karma returns actions in kind to the doer. Retribution can be visited in many forms, from mental or physical disease, to personal, professional or financial misfortune. The biblical admonition holds true: As ye sow, so shall ye reap.

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Carl G. Jung, The Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Vol. 13.Alchemical Studies. (Princeton University Press: Princeton, NJ, 1967.) p. 36.

Jim Loehr & Tony Schwartz, The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal. (Free Press: New York, 2003.) pp. 30, 31.

Phillip C. McGraw, Self Matters: Creating Your Life from the Inside Out. (Free Press: New York, 2001.) pp. 12, 13.