Tag Archives: education

Magic Is in the Eye of the Beholder

eye of the beholder

What we know as science today would have been considered magical in the days before the operations of electricity were discovered and harnessed. Automobiles, airplanes, and computers we take for granted today would have seemed phenomenal in days passed.

Much of science fiction depends on tricks of changing technologies over time. For example, I remember the story of a hero who saved the day by astonishing the natives with a solar eclipse. When the critical moment arrived, with a flamboyant gesture and incantation – “hocus pocus” – he vanquished enemies by the apparent power to make the sun go dark.

Now, it seems, we have magic in reverse. We have so much come to depend on technology, that the inner workings of our potentially powerful psyches and our connection with the forces of nature seem like “magic.”

We are haunted by distant memories of who we once were and could be againthat deeper, truer intangible part of ourselves. Modern “education” rules out our latent, subtle powers and potentials, as if whatever cannot be measured and quantified cannot and should not be.

Yet we are enchanted by fantasy and science fiction which tease and lead us to remember.

hist of magic

The science (meaning “with knowledge”) which explains the magic of synchronicity demystifies this method for reconnecting with our larger mind and its place in the universe.

When people use a term like magic, they give little thought to the full range of possible meanings it might have. It might be a good idea to rethink what we see as magic – all the uses and abuses which have accrued over time.

To that end, I offer the following Essay on Magic.

image - harry potter

ESSAY 37. MAGIC

Magic is the art of manipulating the unseen forces of nature. A white magician is one who is laboring to gain the confidence of the powers that be. A black magician is one who seeks to gain authority over spiritual powers by means of force rather than by merit. The white magician’s motto is: “right is might.” The black magician’s motto is “might is right.” — M.P. Hall, Magic: A Treatise on Esoteric Ethics

One must distinguish between ordinary magic and consciousness of the harmonic relationships of nature — the philosophy of magic — which is the right gesture at the right place at the right time. Its applications, often excessive, and falsified by popular greed and ignorance, have given birth to superstitious magic and crude sorcery. — Isha Schwaller de Lubicz, Her-Bak: Egyptian Initiate

Taoists say, “Know magic, shun magic.” They mean that through the cultivation of knowledge, you can know precisely how natural calamity and human enmity can be avoided. You can know all the ways in which you might be affected and be able to meet crisis on the challenger’s own terms. The Taoists do not mean that you should learn the ways of others in order to be like them, only that you should learn the ways of others to avoid being manipulated by them. — Deng Ming-Dao, Scholar Warrior: An Introduction to the Tao in Everyday Life

THE FRONT

Webster’s defines magic is the use of charms, spells and rituals in seeking or pretending to cause or control events, or govern certain natural or supernatural forces. It can refer to anything mysterious and seeming inexplicable, or to an extraordinary power or quality (the magic of love). It refers to producing baffling effects or illusions by sleight of hand or use of concealed apparatus. Used as a verb, it means to cause change, or to make disappear.

Of all dictionary definitions, magic is the most incomplete. Little is known of its pristine meaning. The word occult explains why the public knows so little about true magic. This knowledge is intentionally withheld from the unprepared.

Occult” is defined as hidden, secret, beyond human understanding and therefore mysterious. (Webster’s shows empiricist bias, saying occult designates alleged mystic arts, such as magic, alchemy or astrology.)

In fact, as Hall’s Treatise details, magic is a systematic discipline based on natural law. Practitioners are competent to direct natural energies at will. However, few have the courage and compassion to make the personal sacrifices required to pursue this path of knowledge.

Even fewer attain the wisdom to use such power wisely. Prudent masters therefore keep their traditions as carefully guarded secrets, safely away from unqualified seekers who, as Hitler wanna-be’s, would abuse what they could.

For the general public, it suffices to know that such powers do exist, so that when they are used, the possibility of what’s going on is recognized. An appropriate question to consider is, “What color is the magic?” According to Hall, there’s not only positive white and negative black, but yellow and gray as well. It depends on how intentional and extreme the capacity for either good or evil.

Patanjali’s yoga sutras outline the preliminary stages of magician training. The I Ching, the text of natural change, is the necessary complement of all such self-awareness disciplines. Exercising conscious awareness of and control over one’s own internal energies is the necessary first step in white magic schools.

With time, mastery over nature comes of its own accord as a by-product of self-knowledge. Because one’s potentials mirror and resonate with those of the entire universe, as one becomes competent to change one’s own internal states at will, one spontaneously begins to have influence over nature and with others.

By his own admission, Aleister Crowley is a black magician. His teachings bear distorted resemblance to occult knowledge. However, his credo, “Do what thou wilt” is the antithesis of the white magician’s prayer, “Thy will be done.”

Witchcraft is incomplete. Practitioners take natural law out of context, seeking occult powers rather than self-mastery, sometimes without social conscience, sometimes in defiance of Divine Law. Seductive claims aside, being incomplete, no witch practices white magic.

Rarely do white magicians announce their presence. They don’t have to. They quietly think, and, as Lao Tze put it, all is accomplished. Christ was an exception to the rule. He was competent to change water to wine. He also performed the ultimate miracle, resurrecting the dead. Such acts, however, were not self-serving. They were done to serve the Father, to teach and quicken faith.

THE BACK

Miracles are events without natural cause. They are different from magic, which operates within the bounds of natural change. Miracle is defined as an event or action that apparently contradicts known scientific, natural laws, and is therefore attributed to supernatural causes, like an act of God.

Special movie effects, card players’ sleights of hand and illusionists’ feats are accomplished by cleverness, manual dexterity, or computer technology. Though they’re irrelevant to bona fide magical powers, they tease the imagination and stir forgotten knowledge of latent potentials and what is truly possible.

We are Team Humanity

I was challenged tonight to think deeply about promoting my books. Is it just to make money? In marketing efforts, have I gone sideways, forgetting larger, fundamental purpose and goals?

How can I express how deeply the conviction goes, “To save one life is to save the world entire?”

As a young girl, in a world where adults failed me entirely, books kept me alive. Years later, I wrote intending to put on the shelves that for which I earlier searched but could not find. I wrote to help confused, bewildered young people like the young woman I once was survive.

It is to pay forward what authors ancient and modern gave of themselves to me . . . solace, hope and faith. That is why I write. And that is why I will to fight to cut through the clamor of competition to be heard.

Along these lines, I remembered an article written in December of 2014. It says the same thing in a different, maybe better, way. Then, I had given up the fight and left. But kind words and second thoughts led me back into the fray . . on my terms.

Discourse sized

Richard Lipscombe hinted I would have second thoughts about leaving WB. He also said exactly what (he probably knew) would tempt me back:

Patricia, thanks for your intellectual efforts in your posts – you made me think about stuff that I otherwise would not have ever really contemplated. Good teachers make us think, they make us challenge the essence of who we are in the process, they are gift bearers, they are rare, and most of all they are not out for themselves but for us the students.

In writing what follows, it became clear to me that you guys are my teachers too. The process of writing Fresh Start II made me really think, for which I thank you all. Richard. Tony. François. SEF. TerryAM.

I was quite the poker fan for a while. Take-aways include the maxim, “Don’t explain. Don’t complain.” That is pretty much how I operate. But this time, I need to make an exception. To prevent future misunderstandings, I will (without complaining), explain why I decided the effort to make a Fresh Start is worth it.

For starters, I was trained as a musician. My social metaphors are harmony and cooperation. An orchestra comprised of talented soloists playing inspired music under the direction of a single conductor is my ideal community.

I swim like a golden fish in music, scriptures and things metaphysical. Competition is not only foreign to me. It is anathema.

In duality, there are two sides to every coin. Granted, without a doubt, there are some benefits to competition. But in today’s political/corporate world, the law of diminishing returns has pushed the pendulum to the opposite extreme. In an either/or world that pits winners against losers, losers are continuously scrambling to beat out the winners. Winners can never relax. They’re obliged to be constantly looking over their shoulders, wary of losers scheming to overtake them.

Is that really necessary? Are we nothing more than Darwinian animals, surviving at others’ expense? What about Survival of the Wisest, Jonas Salk’s alternative approach?

For example, look at American sport through the eyes of an uninitiated foreigner. The story goes that in the early 1960’s, a Jewish immigrant recently arrived in New York City attended his first football game. But the spectacle of grown men racing up and down the field, butting heads, competing to take possession of a ball seemed ridiculous. He shrugged, “How much cost a ball?”

Keeping our eye on the ball — the life-fulling goals everyone everywhere share in common – is what’s too often forgotten in the heat of ego competition. That’s why it seemed time for me to part ways with WB. Competing for ratings is not conducive to building a community of like-minded, purposeful writers. The pressure to comment for its own sake too-easily leads to empty ego-assertion – one-upsmanship — rather than contributing to the substance and purpose of each particular post.

I’m sure many guys have fond memories of participating in team sports. Politics, I suppose is the real world application of rivalries harnessed to social ends.

But my memories aren’t fond at all. Years spent in the UW Department of Educational Administration were an eye-opener as to what has gone so terribly wrong in education. Former football coaches and military vets were in charge of dictating how schools are run. Professors’ attitudes were saturated in violence and competition.

Where I defined “administration” in terms of its root, “ministry” (meaning service), the prevailing definition was “the allocation of scarce resources.”

The difference goes far deeper than gender or cultural preferences. It is a matter of human survival. The competitive attitude is a primary cause of world conflict, the reason we’re in such a terrible mess. Nor (as Einstein observed) are solutions are to be found in the same mode that has generated the problem.

In other words, it is exactly because my musician, yogic perspective is so different from the “norm” that I have a lot to offer to the WB community.

For the record, be assured I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth. Life hasn’t been any easier for me than for anyone else. Nor do I think I’m better than others. Metaphysically, that’s not possible. Students and teachers are warp and woof of the same fabric, giving and receiving in an infinite loop through the generations. We’re in it together.

In my world view, reverence for life is fundamental. Non-negotiable. This is why I recently took such exception to a comment made in the personal attack mode, with name-calling and overt disrespect. Again, it was symptomatic of all that has gone wrong in this world.

If I sometimes seem harsh (as one LI connection accused), the impatience has to do with my sense of urgency. The stakes are too high. Time is too short.

Also, although I sometimes speak in philosophical terms and use scriptural references, it is not to show off (as another LinkedIn detractor charged). It’s my reality. It’s simply who I am. I don’t write to impress or intimidate. It’s a calling. It’s my life work and heartfelt desire to put what I’ve learned (often the hard way) and who I am (for better or worse) at the service of those willing/able to benefit.

So, please, rather than faulting an imperfect messenger, focus on the message. We are Team Humanity. The ball worth fighting for is human survival, which, as Einstein has warned us, can no longer be taken for granted.

Namaste2

The KEY That Reconciles Science & Religion

In Potential, a TEDxUofT presentation, Dr. Jordan B. Peterson pinpoints the historical cause of current mayhem: the rise of empirical science and its “shattering” effect on religious belief systems. As a result, our current definition of “reality” is dangerously skewed. He draws on Western poetry, psychology and the philosophy of religions “developed over thousands and thousands of years” to argue the case that there’s much more to “reality” than current assumptions allow:

If you follow the follow the thing that manifests to you as interesting, it will lead you through adversity, lead you to do things that are difficult [the hero’s journey] . . .

What will happen is that as you hit yourself against the world pursuing what you’re interested in, you’ll tap yourself into alignment. . . Your internal structure will become non-contradictory like the internal structure of a jewel, which is something that reflects light. It makes you hard and durable and able to bear the terrible conditions of existence without becoming corrupt.

He includes all the main elements of the Life Wheel. The “inner structure” consisting of conscience, light, strength, and unity of alignment – are all described in his linear description.

What I contribute to this vision is the picture of ever deepening concentric circles unified by an endlessly infinite loop that traverses and links them, center to surface and back to center.

In Scientists and Sages Can Agree on This, I describe the Wheel. It is not “new” nor is it arbitrary. It embodies the timeless healing solution to the relatively “modern” rift between materialist and philosophical definitions of “reality:”

The archetypal Life Wheel formulated as the Positive Paradigm of Change is a modern day descendant of the time-tested Book of Change which leaders in every field of endeavor have consulted for over eight-thousand years.

While true to the ancient teachings of India and China, it abstracts their essence in a simple and complete manner accessible to us today.

It places the three variables of Einstein’s famous formula, e = mc2 mass, energy and light, on increasingly deeper levels within the Life Wheel. The result is the Unified Theory which Einstein already had, though didn’t know it.

PPoC gold

The three outer levels are interrelated and interdependent. Each is necessary but not sufficient. Their existence depends upon the unchanging hub of the Wheel. The true SELF — also called Conscience, the Tao or God — holds the spokes together as events on the Wheel’s surface rim change continuously. Creation in the form of primal consciousness emanates from and returns to this silent alpha-omega center.

This wheels-within-wheels model

is equally compatible with modern physics, yoga philosophy

and the world’s great religions.

It is a reality map upon which scientists and sages can agree.

Complete and accurate, it meets the Occam’s Razor standard by explaining the totality of human experience with maximum inclusiveness and utmost simplicity.

In Rethinking Survival, I connected with the idea that the Life Wheel is the answer to the ancient Upanishad question: “What is that, knowing which, all else is known?” In essence, genuinely understood and implemented, it holds the KEY to Life.

The Positive Paradigm of Change can be personalized to facilitate positive personal change on all levels. Applied on increasingly larger scales of magnitude (to relationships, families, communities and organizations) it carries social implications in its wake.

According to Dr. Peterson:

Nietzsche said, “The person who has a Why can bear any How.” That’s a really useful thing to know. Because you think, well, we’re very vulnerable creatures. And our life ends catastrophically. Terrible things happen. How can we bear that?

The answer to that is, and always has been, that you have to be in synch with something that’s beyond you. Because that synchrony gives you the strength that you need to bear your terrible limitations.

The Life Wheel pictures the seat of Why and the place of How. It shows the eternal connection between individual, physically fragile life on the surface and the eternal Source within. However, the source of strength is not so much beyond as it is deep within:

The WHY at the center shines through every HOW, conforming WHAT on the surface to its inward vision:

  • Intuition fits within the WHY level of the Wheel. This innermost level of Light is associated with conscience, spiritual guidance and flashes of genius. Unless integrated with the ability to strategize and implement, however, vision and insights fail to manifest as practical results.
  • Emotions (including empathy) and strategy belong to the middle HOW level. The Energy layer is associated with action, street smarts and Emotional Intelligence. Magnetism and charisma emanate from this level, but unfortunately aren’t always integrated with integrity, intelligence or practical organizational skills.
  • Outcomes belong to the surface WHAT level associated with tangible, measurable results. The Mass layer is the realm of quantifiable IQ as well as biological family and social/political connections. Persona (mask) and personality are surface appearances. They don’t necessarily reflect actual motives and feelings. (This is why merely imitating the words and actions of great leaders doesn’t have the same affect).

Phoenix - sized

DYSFUNCTIONAL BELIEF SYSTEMS

Please stay with me. What follows isn’t necessarily sexy or fun. But it IS a matter of life or death. And the life it saves could be your own.

Technically, this subject comes under the philosophic umbrella of “epistemology” – the (highly politicized) rules of the knowledge game that prescribe who may know what, and how. Today, empirical science dictates that experience which is intangible and can’t be measured doesn’t exist – it isn’t real. In effect, conscience, intuition, compassion and gut feelings of the Life Wheel are ruled out. People who depend on those modes of knowing are invalidated and socially excluded.

Of course, saying inward modes of experience don’t (and shouldn’t) exist doesn’t make it true. As Carl Jung pointed out, repressing these intrinsic parts of the human psyche only has the effect of putting them outside of conscious awareness. Relegated to the “unconscious,” fragmented parts continue to operate out of reach, wreaking havoc on mental health, relationships and social systems.

Dr. Peterson is clear that our current course, driven by skewed belief systems, is fraught with dangers up to and including annihilation. In this, he echoes Albert Einstein, who, dreading the possibility of a nuclear holocaust, warned, “We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.” Again, the Unified Theory and substantially improved (holistic) manner of thinking is hardly “new.” But it urgently needs to be restored to wide-spread, generally agreed-upon conscious awareness.

This urgency is underscored by Dr. Peterson’s point that competition between scientific and religious viewpoints resulted in large numbers of confused thinkers turning to substitutes for religion, especially to mass movements that are “erroneous in every way.”

Since the scientific age began, we’ve lived in a universe where the bottom strata of reality is considered to be something that’s dead like dirt. It’s matter. It’s objective. It’s external. There isn’t any element of it that lends reality to phenomena like meaning or purpose. That’s all been relegated to the subjective, and in some ways, to the illusory.

However, grave dangers flow from decisions and actions based on erroneous belief systems:

It really matters what you assume is most real, because you base the decisions you make that. You run the entire course of your life on those assumptions — whether you recognize it or not. And if you get the assumptions [basic axioms] wrong, or even if you leave them incomplete, you’re going to pay a big price for it.

Trade-offs have huge consequences:

The assumptions we use in our culture, although they’ve enabled us to develop a tremendously potent technology, are incomplete in ways that have cost us and that are extremely dangerous. . . A fair number of pathologies stem from assumptions of the systems they use to define reality.

Here is my visual representation of the hollow, incomplete reality brought about by empirical science. It rules out the middle and central inward levels of a complete and accurate belief system.

MaterialistAthest

And here is a representation of resulting pathologies. The levels are out of synch, fragmented and disjointed. In “The Second Coming,” the poet Yeats mourned, “the centre cannot hold.” In fact, it is the other way around. The eternal center is, was and will always remain steadfast. It is we who have distanced ourselves from truth, blinded ourself to awareness of the unchanging. At terrible cost.

Stress

CONCLUSION

In the right hands, championed by well-known truth-speakers like Jordan Peterson and by the legion of folks who have grown to know, respect and love him through his good work, the KEY concept offers the world a way out of madness, an alternative path to the current course that leads to destruction and hell.

The question remains, how many truly want a positive, healing reconciliation of science and religion? How many are closed and committed to the path of ultimate destruction?

The worst case scenario is that members of fragmenting, polarized, warring factions world-wide are content to remain “conveniently” blind and deaf. They salivate at the visceral excitement of conflict, not to mention the greedy side-benefit of violence – looting (think Nazis dispossessing the Jews, Stalin robbing Russia’s Orthodox Churches, and Chinese warlords filling their coffers from the spoils of Tibetan temples). Heedless of the ultimate consequences, all-too-many are committed to killing each other off in uncivil wars, reducing the structures of civilization to oblivion.

My best case scenario and remaining hope is that those with the foresight to prepare will prevail. May they stay safely under the radar as long as possible. May the Angel of Death pass over their dwellings. And may they also be ready to fight and WIN when the time calls for them to take a stand. For God will be with them as they were with the psalmist/healer King David in battle.

Angel Calling

Paradigms Are a Matter of Life or Death

Jordan B. Peterson, psychologist, truth-sayer and rock star of recent months, said the most important work that can be done is establishing the relationship between belief systems and the outcomes they generate. I agree.

BECAUSE:

It doesn’t help to tell people to follow their dreams, to be the best they can be, or that nothing is impossible with the right attitude. When they live in societies that enforce limiting, false beliefs, they are (so to speak) paddling upstream in a leaky canoe without oars.

If you thinking you can wish on a star and get what you want, whenever you want it, with no concept of history, you’re in for a rude shock or two. Easy times are over.

If you think it’s possible to eliminate irrational hatreds and eradicate self-serving prejudice with logic and love alone, you’ll have as much success as a man pissing on a forest fire.

Here are (just a few) examples of disastrous results that flow from static, incomplete and incorrect paradigms:

People who live in the poverty of a flattened, empirical science belief system are being told, in effect, by their parents, educators and political leaders that they don’t (and shouldn’t) exist. That only their physical appearance, social status and material possessions matter. Wonder why suicide rates are so high? Or that respect for authority is at an all time low? Or that government corruption is rampant? Or that underworld violence is escalating over the top? (Surely you can add to the list.)

Deny inner emotional levels of the Life Wheel. Suffocate innate impulses to play and seek adventure. Ridicule innermost intimations of immorality and highest aspirations. Starve people of meaning and joy in the name of duty and obligations to serve the collective. That’s the sure recipe for destruction of highest magnitude. It begins one destroyed individual at a time. And ends with the collapse of whole civilizations.

The only way out of this madness is to restore a complete and accurate paradigm. Acknowledge the multi-dimensional quality of life – the inherent pattern of perfection – which is everyone’s inalienable birthright.

Further, the Life Wheel doubles as a time clock. You need to know not only who you are, but where you stand. The precise point in the cycles of history you’re in right now tells you the specific dangers and opportunities open to you NOW.

For example, the biblical stories which Dr. Peterson recommends as Maps of Meaning show repeating cycles of events. Which of these stories apply to us NOW? More specifically, which point in time within those stories is relevant?

Dr. Peterson is looking to Abraham right now, possibly because he was the progenitor of three major religions currently engaged in mutual self-destruction.

But I’m more interested in King David, who, like Christ, was born in Bethlehem, and who as a young shepherd was anointed by the prophet Samuel to be future king. The point in time that’s appropriate to us now, I think, is the confrontation between the boy David and the giant Goliath. Today, this might represent individuals of good will in the face of impending totalitarian global government.

What’s important here is that David exemplifies acting from a complete and accurate paradigm. He acted fearlessly on the belief that “God is with me.” With a single shot to the center of the giant’s forehead (not coincidentally seat of the third eye), he brought the monster down.

David trusted that he was not alone. He “knew” exactly where to aim. His vision was clearly focused on his target (light). He had the vigor (energy) and physical strength (mass) as well as coordination (unity) to overcome the fearsome obstacle that threatened to annihilate him and enslave his people.

There are other biblical figures who at critical points in their cyclical (hero’s journey) experience, are being picked up upon as useful role models. One is Noah anticipating the flood. Another is Joseph at the time he foresaw and was allowed to prepare for times of famine.

There’s Moses at the critical time when the Angel of Death upon the Land of Egypt passed over the homes of the faithful.

And then there’s Job, the model of faith enduring to the end and being restored, even better than before. The phoenix image.

Here’s the secret to be gleaned from this story, illumined by the infinity symbol that links the levels of the Life Wheel. Job says, “The Lord giventh.” This is the outward, materializing movement from center to surface of the Wheel. “And The Lord taketh away.” This is the receding path of return to center. In all, “Blessed be the NAME of the Lord.” The Logos. Think Indy Jones in the Grail movie, the Last Crusade. The receding steps leading to treasure are marked with the Hebrew letters that spell out the Name of God. The creative Name. Remember his “Leap of Faith.”

Also remember that he’s not the only one seeking the Grail . . . power-hungry Nazis are close on his heels, seeking immortality not for love of human/divine fathers, but for the fatherland.

Phoenix - sized

The 11th hour we’re now approaching was foreseen in 1998. I continue to write in this mode, most currently in As Conflict Escalates, What Can Be Done Now? Here is summary and conclusion:

In the past, monasteries arose as islands of hospitality, learning and civility during Europe and Asia’s so-called dark ages. Once again, as another dark age looms on the horizon, intentional communities dedicated to preserving the essential teachings will naturally arise. My best hope is that future leaders will meet the responsibility of shaping hopeful new beginnings; that they will succeed in transmitting the wisdom of the ancients to future generations along side the complimentary technical know-how of today’s sciences.

In the Positive Paradigm reality map, future educators have a versatile self-awareness tool with which to teach the basics of leading an integrated, self-responsible life. Building on the seven basic axioms which flow from it, tomorrow’s leaders have a viable model upon which to structure healthy social organizations.

Conclusion

Resolving conflict necessarily occurs one person at a time, and from the inside out. For this reason, however complex and overwhelming world problems may seem, we each have the option and responsibility to improve that which is closest to home: ourselves. By reducing internal conflict within, each of us has the potential, if only in modest ways, to reduce the conflict without. . . .

Angel Calling

Take the Best

grain

In reading opinion and even “how to” pieces, I recommend the 30/70 principle. With careful attention and a little bit of luck, it’s possible to extract the thirty-percent value from the 70-percent rubbish in which its embedded.

At Oberlin, where I had the good fortune to attend college, this process was described in agricultural terms: “sifting and winnowing.” Founders probably had a biblical allusion in mind: the end-time sorting of wheat from chaff.

Were it not so over-used, “discrimination” in its original meaning would be another way to put it.

I tell you this because I just now revisited the premise of Rethinking Survival, written in 2014. By mid-2017 it seems like a life-time ago. Then, I wrote:

I’ve come to recognize that it’s ideas — usually unconsciously held in the form of automatic-pilot, programmed assumptions — which drive decisions, actions and ultimately, survival options. Even with the best of intentions, people who operate on incomplete, inaccurate and conflicting beliefs undo themselves and harm others .. .

Like passengers on the ship Titanic, we’re approaching ever closer to disaster, not recognizing that we’re steering in a collision course towards extinction.

Though fundamentally the same person I was then, so much has changed that I find myself applying the 30/70 principle to that distant piece of writing.

Yet, the basic concepts are not only valid. They are urgently timely. We are in a world of hurt for lack of their practical applications. So I humbly ask that you read the following excerpt mindfully, take the best, and forgive me the rest.

Still further, if the value of the concept, however imperfectly expressed, touches your heart-mind, then please – for everyone’s sake – take whatever action you can to share them them those who stand to benefit.

flower

PART ONE

GETTING THERE: WHO I AM TO SAY

PREFACE

“Survival” is a primal word. It means to LIVE, the alternative being extinction. Survival is the bottom line. In a life or death situation, the natural instinct is to survive at the cost of everything else. The basics must be secured first. If you’re dead, thriving isn’t an option.

However, as the title suggests, the focus of Rethinking Survival isn’t on “how to” survive. Here, survival implies that there’s more than martial arts skills, back woods know-how and environmental smarts to staying alive. It requires self-knowledge and a connection to one’s deepest roots of origin, as well as a powerful, clearly defined and positive purpose for living. It also requires an educated sense of timing: an acute awareness of alternating cycles — natural pendulum swings between extremes of expansion and contraction — along with the will and patience to ride them out.

This view of survival is the end result of many rethinkings. When answers at home weren’t enough, I searched abroad. Europe. India. Much had to be unlearned as better information replaced cultural conditioning and the -ism filters that distort common sense experience.

Over my lifetime, in the host of different situations described here, I’ve seen the same, increasingly familiar dynamics play out, predictably, comically, were it not for the tragic consequences for individual lives, businesses and even nations.

I’ve come to recognize that it’s ideas — usually unconsciously held in the form of automatic-pilot, programmed assumptions — which drive decisions, actions and ultimately, survival options. Even with the best of intentions, people who operate on incomplete, inaccurate and conflicting beliefs undo themselves and harm others.

Logically, if corrupted ideas are the root of the problem, then restoring a complete and accurate, consciously-held knowledge base is the necessary starting-point of positive change. Our tragedy is that we continue to look for solutions in the wrong places. We depend on experts who, themselves products of a skewed educational system, are not only unable to help. They’re actually part of the problem. Like passengers on the ship Titanic, we’re approaching ever closer to disaster, not recognizing that we’re steering in a collision course towards extinction.

Rethinking concludes that the way out of this terminal confusion begins with shifting to a complete and correct worldview. We need to start over with fresh deck. All the cards have to be there, and none of them marked.

Answers I found in my personal quest reside in the simple eternal truths which people everywhere share in common. Return to these too often forgotten basics heals confusion and paralysis. They’re the foundation of the Positive Paradigm of Change described in Part Two.

I tell my story with the understanding that all of us face the same basic survival questions. They’re common to all humanity, however different the settings and challenges (opportunities) that drive them home. I was raised with America’s myths and got stuck in their misconceptions. I’ve labored to get free of them. It’s my hope that my story will stimulate others to rethink their options as well.

I tell about my journey to make other people’s lives easier. Ultimately, it’s done to tip the scales in favor of human survival.

 

 

 

 

Friends Coming Full Circle

book header bird

Thursday, April 20th of 2017 wasn’t an ordinary shopping day. Once every two weeks, I routinely make the hour plus drive into Madison to buy groceries. But this day became a one-year book-end to last April’s Magical Day. That day, two parts woven into The Phoenix Response appeared. This day, given hints as subtle as two-by-fours, I clicked on the missing third part.

I look forward to these drives as a time to collect my thoughts and make plans. Truth funnier than fiction, a few days earlier, our teething brindle hound puppy dog trotted off with my reading glasses and thoroughly mangled them. So part of this day’s errands was an optometrist appointment to get new ones. I always take incidents affecting vision as a cue that it’s time to start seeing things differently.

As I drove, enjoying the rural Wisconsin spring greenery, one thing led to another. It started with mentally composing an email about the puppy to Lynn, my college roommate and dear friend.

We go back a long way, Lynn and I. On the surface, we couldn’t be more different. Tall and short, blond and brunette, scientist and musician. Yet, to my mother, we looked alike. The similarity she saw was the same expression on our faces. In some intangible way, we were on the same wavelength.

Back then, our unknown futures lay ahead of us.

Over time, we lost track of each other. But just before Christmas, Lynn found me again through this website. Since then we’ve been writing back and forth, reminiscing and catching up on the last forty years.

Lynn says she’s not a dog fan, so, thinking to entertain her, I was mulling over memories of different dogs I’ve known — the point being that, as with humans, some are definitely more likable than others.

In the process, it dawned on me that our renewed connection was the missing piece that ties The Phoenix Response together.

A year ago, I blogged:

Did you ever have a magical day – one that stands out even amongst the countless miracles that abound, most often unnoticed and unappreciated, in the midst of daily life?

Today offered one of those rare and precious moments to me. It had to do with basic life questions important to us all – about the quality of life and our purpose for surviving.

It was an encouraging day . . .[that] shone as a confirming ray of hope, strengthening my resolve to complete the book listed on CreateSpace as The Phoenix Response.

The initial cue came from finding The Longevity Book on a bestseller store shelf. Carmen Diaz’s first book was written for young women. This, her second, focuses on women entering middle age. But where’s the third?

An amazon reviewer’s Re line states “Wish she would have taken it to a woman’s age when she’s elderly.” The comment continues “There are so many things mothers did not tell daughters that many many of us in our 60’s, 70’s and 80’s have had to find out on our own – sadly.”

I observed: The Longevity Book begs for a sequel – one Im eminently qualified to supply. The Phoenix Response fills many gaps crying out for completion.

That day, however, thoughts about the aging process triggered personal memories. I wrote:

I thought back to my grandmother, Ellie West, who gave up a promising singing career to marry my grandfather, Hubble.

Late in her life, Ellie told me about the day he proposed. During a walk in the local park, he stopped in front an enormous sun dial set in granite and pointed to the attached plaque. Engraved onto the metal were the words of poet Robert Browning. “Grow old along with me. The best is yet to be.”

It won her heart.

As she described the event, now gray and ill, she shook her head. If not cynical, she seemed at best remorseful. For her, life hadn’t turned out the way the poet promised.

Her story left me with questions to ask in The Phoenix Response. Why did the poet associate growing old with the best yet to be? Why wasn’t this Ellie’s experience? What are the implications of her disappointment for Lynn and me as we come full circle, now even older than Grandma Ellie was when she told the youthful me about Hubba Hubba’s proposal?

Over time, the phoenix concept has expanded. In the blog with that title I wrote:

. . . 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 is an example for each of us to follow, at any time, as a matter of personal choice, commitment and dedicated follow-through.

Later I added:

My message for baby boomers: it’s still not too late. It’s not over til its over. Even for those of us who’ve let go of self-care and made mistakes along the way, there’s always a second chance. There’s always the Phoenix Response of regeneration – returning to the creative process of genesis itself, repairing not only original DNA of the body but of the soul.

Not only is this book dearly needed. The way for it is actually being paved and readiness created.

This April, I was receiving powerful hints from the powers that be that it’s time to start writing again. Further, I should seek out whatever assistance it takes to assure the widest publication possible.

I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome of the eye exam. My long-distance vision has actually changed for the better! And because I was from out of town, it was arranged to have the new reading glasses ready within an hour. I was able to take them home and start working the same day.

There was also a special cup I “knew” was waiting for me to find at the grocery store. A month earlier, I splurged on one with a geometrical blue-gray-violet Native American design. It bears this hopeful omen: “Give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way.”

This day’s companion cup pictured a scene reminiscent of ancient Asian landscape paintings. A bridge connects a valley in the foreground with distant mountains disappearing into a vast sky. The cup’s quote confirmed my experience: “Some days have God’s fingerprints all over them.”

The cup now sits directly above my computer. As I continue to gaze on it, the bridge image grows on me. For we both are inevitably approaching life’s completion in death. Lynn has had bouts with breast cancer. I’ve had my share of physical health scares as well.

But I am of a certainly that death is a bridge to another dimension, whereas fatalistic Lynn probably thinks of it as a dead end, an abrupt full stop, a dark extinction.

This, then, has become the central challenge of The Phoenix Response. How do I lovingly, persuasively communicate to her, to our whole generation, and for that matter, her daughters and their children, about our marvelous but sadly forgotten, neglected and denied potentials.

What practical, proactive methods can we bring to our life and death questions while there’s still precious time left to make positive changes?

How can we make friends with the opportunity inherent in our ultimate transformation, accepting physical death as integral to the larger pattern of repetitive, cyclical change?

How do I bypass tenaciously held prejudice and culturally enforced taboos to help reconnect others once again with the innate birthright we all share in common?

bridge sized

The Tower of Babel Dilemma

tower-of-babel

There was quite a while when I didn’t speak with people, other than to exchange empty greetings and conduct routine business. I was so disillusioned, attempts to communicate about anything of substance seemed futile.

During this time, working with the Book of Change kept me in touch with the deeper, better side of myself and the universe. As this work led me to reestablish meaningful connection with others, my aspirations turned towards seeking ways to share this life-saving gift with others.

If the best I had to offer humanity was the same book which had served to keep me whole, how could I persuade others of its value? Whether intentionally or not, what I have come to call “The Tower of Babel Dilemma” – the degeneration and fragmentation of the English language – is a formidable obstacle to effective communication. Glib labels and false assumptions associated with the book led to out-of-hand rejection. “Foreign.” “Ancient.” “Unscientific.” “Unchristian.” “Pagan.” “Superstitious.” “Difficult.”

It seems to me that language has devolved into quite the opposite of the English I’d learned to love and respect in high school. There, we were taught to regard language as the premier tool of logic. When used with Sherlock-like diligence, applied the powers of keen observation and heightened awareness, it could solve mysteries — not only to detect the crimes of evil-doers and the nefarious plots of national enemies, but to unravel the mysteries of life and the universe.

Turned inwards, used with self-honesty, language is essential to cultivating self-awareness. For the truth-seeker, language is a necessary vehicle of information both on the inward quest and on the return journey outwards to share results.

But even people with the best of intentions use the same words to mean very different things. They miss each other coming and going, only vaguely aware of the disconnect.

Tracking the meanings of words, I was fascinated to find that their devolution is systematic. In some cases, the same word actually means not only one thing, but its exact opposite as well.The “positive” word is an important example. Webster’s dictionary lists seventeen (!) contradictory uses.

Instead of being used as a means for unifying human beings, language is often degraded into chaotic paralyzing noise – a weapon for stirring up animosities, division and confusion.

So I set about to build the all-important groundwork for communicating about The Book of Change. I needed to rescue the language – restore it from its debased status as a smoke screen spun to camouflage self-serving intent. To this end, I outlined chapters for The Yoga Dictionary: Answering the Tower of Babel Dilemma.

As a reminder, the biblical story describes defiant humanity’s fall from unity into confusion and separation:

In Genesis, a united humanity speaking a single language and migrating eastward, came to the land of Shinar שנער‎‎. There they wanted to build a city and a tower “tall enough to reach heaven;” God, however, disapproved of such behavior as disrespectful, scrambled their speech so they could no longer understand each other and scattered them throughout the world.

The Sixty-Four Essays found in Part Two of Conscience are an off-shoot of this project. They’re meant to be used, as is the Book of Change itself, to cultivate mindfulness. They bring attention to the complexity of basic words we too often take take for granted and the critical importance of establishing a shared common ground of understanding.

Three-Part Format

Like the 64 images of the I Ching, each of the 64 Essays in Conscience: Your Ultimate Personal Survival Guide is self-contained – a miniature world complete. Each invites the reader to slow down and think carefully, taking the time to examine current beliefs and apply timeless wisdom to immediate personal experience.

There’s a method to the order of the Essays. Originally they were placed in a logical progression that seemed to tell a story. However, there’s no need to read them in sequential order. Using the Alphabetical Table of Contents is another option. If a particular subject stands out as immediately relevant or interesting, choose that one.

A three-part format gives each Essay structure-within-structure:

Part One. Though the Book of Change is dismissed as inaccessible and rarely taught in public schools, the number of influential thinkers whose ideas intuitively resonate with its timeless wisdom aren’t limited by either time or place. Quotes from the work of well-known figures serve as a springboard and bridge linking the familiar with the new.

Contrasting voices speaking to the same universal concerns highlight the yin-yang, old-new, East-West dynamic which everyone everywhere, deeper than deep, share in common.

Quotes from Chinese philosophers inspired by working directly with the I Ching include Confucius, Lao Tzu (The Tao Te Ching) and Sun Tzu (The Art of War).

Quotes from the Old and New Testament which resonate with I Ching wisdom include the Psalms of the musician/poet/ healer/warrior King David and the words of his direct descendant, Jesus Christ.

The Muslim tradition is represented, as are modern day medical practitioners, healers and teachers. Countless martial arts disciplines are based on I Ching science and philosophy, as are Tai Chi Chuan and Qigong. Bruce Lee‘s Jeet Kune Do is one well-known example.

Also included are voices of Westerners in synch with I Ching wisdom, from Plato and Christopher Columbus to William Shakespeare and Albert Einstein; from Abraham Lincoln and Sir Winston Churchill to Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nelson Mandela; from Norman Vincent Peale to Peter Drucker, Scott Peck, Steven Covey, Jim Loehr, Norman Cousins, and Tony Robbins.

Voices of creative women in harmony with I Ching wisdom include those of Emily Dickinson and Virginia Woolf, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, Naomi Judd and Oprah Winfrey.

Part Two. “The Front” examines a specific word’s meaning in depth, giving examples with emphasis on its use in I Ching context, elaborating on implications of the quotes. Quite often changes in meaning correlate with the evolutionary path of the chakra system, reflecting an increasing level of maturity and self-awareness.

Part Three. Just as the coins sometimes used to derive I Ching readings have two sides, every idea has its shadow, opposite side. Accordingly, a brief section called “The Back” balances The Front side of each Essay to round out the picture. It briefly describes each universal idea’s mirror opposite, as well as inversions and perversions.

angel-sized

Revisiting these concepts at this particularly dangerous window of time would be a particularly helpful investment of energy and attention, as the gap between an historical election and projected inauguration stands in the balance.

Let those with an ear to hear and heart to understand take heed.

Put the Common Core Back in Common Core

restore common core

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.

arrow bullet

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.

arrow bullet

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.

arrow bullet

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.

arrow bullet

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.”

arrow bullet

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.

globe bullet size

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.

globe bullet size

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.

globe bullet size

* 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-

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

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

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

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

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

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

The following is one example: the word ORDER.

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

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

globe

29. ORDER

Principles of the Order of the Universe:

1. Everything is a differentiation of ONE Infinity.

2. Everything changes.

3. All antagonisms are complementary.

4. There is nothing identical.

5. What has a front has a back.

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

7. What has a beginning has an end.

8. Nothing is solely yin or solely yang.

9. There is nothing neutral.

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

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

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

— Michio Kushi, Natural Healing through Macrobiotics

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

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

THE FRONT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE BACK

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

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

The Law of Karma Is a Key to Success

AXIOM FOUR of the Positive Paradigm is the practical foundation of functional ethics. It states, “Consequences of Actions Are Inevitable; Those Who Respect the Law of Karma Succeed.” Were it taught earlier in schools both public and private as the survival basic which it is, today’s world would be very different indeed.

For in an exclusively materialist, linear worldview, it seems possible to “get away with murder.” Unethical leaders mistakenly continue to act on the false premise that they can avoid the consequences of their actions by hiding selfish motives and evil deeds behind a mask of false appearances.

But ultimately, they deceive no one but themselves. (Remember the fate of ponzi racketeer Bernie Madoff and his two tragically unfortunate sons?)

Oscar Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Gray dramatizes the horrific consequences of hiding hideous deeds behind an unnatural mask of eternal youth and physical beauty. Just as Dorian comes to an awful end, in the circular and richly textured fabric of the Positive Paradigm worldview, attempts at evasion and deception are ultimately futile. The concept of a “perfect crime” is an oxymoron.

0 Axiom 4

The Old Testament describes the karmic law of return in agricultural terms. “As ye sow, so shall ye reap” and “For everything there is a season. . . ”

In modern parlance, the saying that underscores the circular dynamic of poetic justice is, “What goes around comes around.”

In the New Testament, Jesus speaks the Law of Karma as practical advice: “Do unto others as ye would have them do unto you.” This rule holds true as axiomatic. It has been observed for a very long time that in fact — even if not immediately, or directly — what is done does, for better or worse, returns in kind.

This code is neither self-righteous nor moralistic. It’s simply a practical fact, an observable law of nature. Because we are all interconnected, good deeds return exponentially, while harm intended becomes harm received.

There’s nothing personal about the Law of Karma. It’s simply how the world works. The dynamics of natural law are similar to computer logic. “If this, then that.” If one respects life and treats others with kindness, then others are likely to respond with gratitude. If one disrespects others, then all but wisest will feel threatened and react with fear, hatred and vengeful retaliation.

This is good news for those content to do the right things for the right reasons. It’s exceedingly bad news for those who choose to intentionally hurt and harm others, whether for immediate financial gain or petty ego-satisfaction.

It’s also incentive to become as knowledgeable as possible about the natural law encoded in the Book of Change. For the more deeply one understands the operations of this law, and the more skillfully they’re applied, the more likely it is that success will follow wherever attention is focused.

The law holds true for relationships on every level and in every avenue of daily life. Family members who honor the law bring blessings upon their loved ones as well as themselves. Those who are ethical in the conduct of their business and political lives succeed accordingly.

This dynamic is central to martial arts and the conduct of war. At the middle level, there are no reservations attached to energy manipulation. In a vacuum, out of context, motives are irrelevant. The playing field is open to all who know the territory.

To the extent that we’re not conscious of the energies that drive us at this middle level, we’re easy prey to behind-the-scenes puppet masters. American journalists see U.S. politicians’ abysmal ineptness at this level (in contrast to their Russian and Chinese counterparts) as putting Americans in grave danger.

Those who go with the grain, being truthful and trustworthy in their words and deeds even (and especially) when the going gets rough, find life ultimately abundant. Those who choose to go against the grain, preferring to get whatever they want however they can get it with as little effort as possible, find the opposite.

The popular riddle asks, “Why do con artists do shabby work, charge unreasonably high prices, and get away with murder.” The cynical answer: “Because they can.” However, this cynical half-truth tells only part of the story.

They can, because there’s free will. They can, because they’re ignorant, or else incredibly stupid. Choices have (all too often unforeseen) consequences. Whether one believes in God or not, whether one respects the natural law or chooses to be blind to it, these consequences are the same. In modern parlance, “Do the Crime. Do the time.” Or, as it’s also said, “Pay back is a bitch.”

Punishment for unrepentant wrong-doing can take many forms. The consequences of breaking human laws include fines. jail-time, and in the extreme, death. Over time, retribution for violating the natural law is visited in many forms, from mental or physical disease, to personal, professional or financial misfortune

Consequences of misdeeds often return on the psychological level. Carl Jung, the Swiss analyst who popularized the concept of archetypes, also wrote the introduction to the Wilhelm/Baynes version of the I Ching. He noted the unintended kickback from rejecting the basic axioms of religion and natural law with mere reason. There are consequences not only for decision-makers, but also those they influence.

In sum, Jung noted that modern thinkers have made a fatal mistake. The facts of inner life can’t be driven out of existence by arbitrarily banishing them from the decision-making equation. Saying God doesn’t exist doesn’t make it so. It just leaves the unbeliever at the disadvantage of being cut off from the center.

According to Jung, denying the facts of inner life has the effect of burying rejected aspects of the whole in the “unconscious,” where they continue to reap havoc on our daily lives. Politicians and journalists under the influence of unacknowledged emotional demons “unwittingly let loose psychic epidemics on the world.”

globe

Corollary A: Free will allows that no one’s fate is irreversibly cast in stone. Destiny is the result of many choices made over a very long time. But even at the eleventh hour, consistently better choices can ameliorate and redirect the outcomes of history, on a personal and on up to national levels. The Law of Nature allows that everyone can change. This is the eternal and best hope of even the seemingly worst among us.

Corollary B: The intricate workings of karma are unfathomable to the human mind. Asking why events happen is productive only insofar as it’s instructive as to how personal beliefs, attitudes and behavior can be improved to generate better results. Then, the most practical question to ask is, “What is the best way to respond to immediate events now?”

Corollary C: It’s best to forswear ignorant meddling. Life is infinitely complex. Humans can’t possibly fathom the far reaching effects of their actions. The best results come from listening to and acting on conscience without imposing selfish ego.

Corollary D: The atheist uses personal suffering as proof that either God does not exist, or that God is so cruel and unjust that this being deserves no trust, respect or allegiance. The answer is, that human suffering is a consequence of consistently poor choices made over a very long time. The opportunity inherent in suffering is to take responsibility for making better choices, beginning with an acceptance of and realignment with the basic axioms of life.

Corollary E: The Law of Karma operates without exceptions. Ignorance is no excuse. Violate it only at your own peril. Nature and Nature’s God cannot be fooled or circumvented. There’s no way to cheat. Nature can’t bet bribed. Conscience can’t be bought off.

Corollary F: A best-selling shaman book advises that it’s okay to go full bore after whatever you want. If others get in the way, it’s their problem. If they hurt you, it’s your fault for letting them. His answer to God, like Cain’s, is, in effect, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Implying, “No way.” But in Positive Paradigm context, the correct answer is, “We’re more than our brothers’ keepers.” We not only share the same seed origin in common. We’re inextricably connected. The pain and suffering we inflict on others returns, magnified, as our own – as do the kindnesses we compassionately provide along the way.

Corollary G: Justice belongs to the Creator, the all-seeing eye and all-knowing heart that resides at the center of the Wheel. Since everyone’s misdeeds are accounted for, there’s no need for revenge. Why try to even the score? It’s already been taken care of. Besides of which, who are we as short-sighted mortals to presume to judge? It’s far more beneficial to focus on personal karma and dharma.

globe

Boundary Spanners Connect at the Center

Recently I posted what follows on LinkedIn. Because it reached a different community of followers, I’m reposting the substance here for the benefit of WordPress followers.

globe

Several LinkedIn experiences sparked this blog. Here’s the initial back and forth:

Me to John K. Dunston: I’m writing a LinkedIn blog that speaks about the importance of “‘boundary spanning.” I’d like to mention your name as a great example. Am asking your permission to do so.

John K. Dunston to Me: I’m flattered that you would consider me an example. What is your idea and why am I a good example?

Me back to John: Basically, your profile and answer to my question are a great example of how love of wisdom (the definition of philosophy) is surely linked to your success at work. Also, coming full circle in an infinite loop, your work — surely done with love and keen intelligence — has been a great wisdom teacher. This is the short story. Do you agree?

John back to Me: I concur and would be honored to participate.

The story behind our connection is this. When John originally initiated contact a few months ago, giving him the benefit of the doubt, I accepted his invitation. But I was baffled as to why a Master Plumber/Project Manager would seek out an Author of books on Human Survival, Einstein and the Positive Paradigm of Change.

So I asked, and got back this humbling response:

“I’m a student of positive change and having an impact in life. I have studied the masters from Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, John Maxwell, John Kotter, Viktor Frankl, etc. Your profile seemed interesting. I hope I have answered your question. I have also studied Dr. Einstein.”

Though there’s no quick way to recognize it from his profile, John has balanced technical and leadership responsibilities with philosophy to become a master of not only plumbing but of life as well. His profile does show the broad range of abilities that are the mark of an interdisciplinary boundary spanner.

His competencies span a wide range from project estimation and scheduling to construction code compliance, from material ordering and installation to direct supervision of journeymen and apprentice plumbers. And much more.

I can relate. I started as a musician, but. as described in I’m a Boundary Spanner. Are You? , technical skills weren’t enough.

“As a musician, I wasn’t satisfied with training limited to violin technique. I wanted to know everything about everything that goes into music from every point of view.

“I wanted to know about the physics of sound vibration and the science of violin making. I needed to know about the history behind composers’ biographies, the literature they read, about psychology and the religions that inspired their music. Eventually, my search included kinesiology and yoga, the fundamental disciplines of movement and breath- awareness practiced by musicians in India.

“Traditional schools didn’t help much in this quest.”

It seemed to me that the benefits of specializing, taken to extreme, have opposite and equal drawbacks. This narrow approach to expert-education has an isolating, “divide and conquer” effect. The right hand has no idea of (or interest in) what the left hand is doing. Nor does the right brain coordinate optimally with the left.

Personally, I was fascinated by human nature. I didn’t major in psychology, however, because research-oriented departments didn’t seem relevant. History, literature and philosophy better satisfied my curiosity. Applications to leadership issues were an inevitable extension.

But when I recently sought to reach outside the “author” box on LinkedIn to connect with like-minded therapists and leadership coaches to share the value of my ideas, I found that the shoe was now on the other foot (so to speak). Just as I initially couldn’t compute a person with John’s background having much in common with my work, some didn’t appreciate my invitations. In fact, I found myself blocked!

This experience reinforced key ideas which I’d like to share with LinkedIn colleagues. First, it’s critically important to cross disciplinary lines to become fully competent in the many aspects that impinge on any particular profession. Second, in balance, “well-rounded” success depends on moving increasingly inwards through the levels of the Positive Paradigm Wheel associated with emotional intelligence and intuition to the eternal silent core called “conscience.”

We urgently need to restore an approach to education, especially leadership training, that enables social and physical scientists as well as business and government leaders to first link the multi-faceted aspects of everyday experience and second, balance the outer rim of their Life Wheels with the deeper, full-spectrum levels of emotional-spiritual self-awareness, linking these levels in an mutually reinforcing, infinite loop of intuition, passionate aspiration, intelligent planning and effective action.

Positive Paradigm of Change

No matter where we start on the surface rim, the deeper we dig into the mysteries of any profession (whether in the arts and sciences or business-government-military leadership), the closer we come to our common core — the eternal center which everyone everywhere shares in common. Connection with that center is the foundation of authentic communication and viable community building. Lacking it, we remain, as most of us find ourselves today – disconnected and in a world of hurt.

—————-

P.S. In fairness, I should add the “happy ending” to this story. Yesterday, when I asked Victoria Ipri, a savvy and generous LinkedIn expert, if there was anything I could do about being blocked, she advised that I could contact customer service. If I promised to do better, they would lift their restriction. I contacted, promised, and the restriction was lifted. She’s one of the good guys!

The Only Way Out Is Through

The back cover of Conscience: Your Ultimate Personal Survival Guide sums it up:


con_bak_cov

The Positive Paradigm Handbook — a practical, bare bones work book — offers the following, abbreviated description of the middle, energy level of the Positive Paradigm Wheel of Change. **

The dangers of this level cannot be underestimated. Understandably, without a reliable road map and a keen sense of purpose and commitment, the middle level seems frightfully laden with traps to ensnare the uninformed and reckless. Hence the Fateful Fear of Self-Awareness. (See wp.me/p46Y5Z-aK.)

However, its value cannot be underestimated either. Armed with the skills and insight to use the necessary powers associated with this level wisely, courageous pioneers of the inner worlds can achieve success in every area of their lives.

To avoid the dangers of getting stuck in the middle level, mired in the traps of delusions and negative emotions, it’s critically important to have an accurate and complete reality map. The purpose of pushing through this level is ultimately to reach the far side, the abode of intuition and light, the storehouse of infinite treasure. But, as told of The Chapel Perilous, “The Only Way Out Is Through.”

—————————–

e. Energy. Much ignorance, misinformation and confusion surrounds the energy level of the Positive Paradigm. The state of chaos into which the world has degenerated attests to this deficiency, as well as the urgent need to correct it. Only the basics are described here, suggestive of further exploration.

The middle level is the domain of natural law, whose dynamics are mapped in the Chinese I Ching, the Book of Change. This body of knowledge has evolved over eight thousand years as sages continue to observe the operations of energy and document the repetitive patterns of change.

Natural law maps the energetic underpinnings of the dynamic, physical world. It is experienced as the patterned recurring cycles of seasonal change, and is equally applicable to humans and their cyclical life changes: birth, growth, decay and death.

The middle layer is the realm of less tangible but still measurable states of energy, including electricity. More subtly, it is the chi, ki or prana described by Chinese, Japanese and Indian traditions as the life force which animates all living beings. In Greek and Christian contexts it correlates with the breath, the psyche.

These subtle energies influence internal psychological states and drive external human behavior, which in turn affects social relationships. Knowledge of these dynamics is essential to personal survival.

Effective leadership and the quality of life within organizations hinge on the quality of awareness brought to dynamics at this level. While some leaders understand the dynamics of change at a gut level as a matter of common sense, systematic logic and deliberate understanding would significantly improve the results of the decision-making process.

Those denied access to material and social resources are often forced inside. Of necessity, turning inward, they develop and depend for survival upon strengths drawn from the middle and center of the Wheel.

At times, material deprivation and hardships yield the opposite and equal blessings of in-sight and emotional fortitude. At other times, however, excessive investment at the middle level results in delusions, latent with the potential for erupting into violence.

In any case, making a virtue of necessity by rejecting the material world prevents completion of the pattern. It can’t correctly be equated with spirituality.

Cultures which enforce an exclusively materialistic worldview and deny the experience of everything not tangible and measurable place severe hardships on those whose inner lives are especially active. The Handbook gives ample opportunities to diagnose such imbalances, the better to remedy them.

Societies that deny their citizens practical outlets for articulating and harnessing inner energies creatively can literally drive people crazy, to suicide, or at best, underground. Many “sensitives” survive by channeling socially banned, unacceptable awareness and longing for self-fulfilling adventure into the arts: music and literature, including romance, murder mysteries and science fiction.

This is a great loss to society. The world would be far better off if high-energy, creative individuals were identified as potential leaders, trained and given employment options accordingly.

** Educators, therapists and theologians interested in detailed applications to their particular professions are referred to the more complete description provided in Rethinking Survival: Getting to the Positive Paradigm of Change.

Scientists & Sages Can Agree on This

Today’s effort started with a most excellent blog tweeted out by Mike Lehr of Omega Z Advisors: “The essence of #leadership in a single word blog.omegazadvisors.com/?p=2696.

It looked interesting, so I clicked on the link.

Yup. The major puzzle pieces are there. Vision. Strategy. Idea. Inspiration. Speaking directly to my subject, he states, “Leadership is about change.”

So I tweeted back, “I totally agree about inspiration and change, Mike. But then, how do we train such leaders?? I have a few suggestions. All best.”

Within a day, Mike tweeted back,“Post them somewhere, Pat . . .”

So here’s my short version of how to train leaders who are equally inspired and effective — a picture worth a thousand words.

The BEST LEADERS ARE SELF-AWARE

061614 Wheel

BE AWARE of

What You’re Doing and Why

The Life Wheel (also described as the Positive Paradigm of Change) is a modern day descendant of the time-tested but gravely misunderstood, underrated Book of Change which leaders in every walk of life have consulted to cultivate self-awareness, make better decisions and get better results for over eight-thousand years.

It places the three variables of Einstein’s famous formula, e = mc2 mass, energy and light, on increasingly deeper levels within the Wheel. The result is the Unified Theory which Einstein already had — consciousness factor included — though, sadly, lacking yoga background, didn’t recognize. This archetypal wheels-within-wheels model is equally compatible with modern physics, yoga philosophy and the world’s great religions. It is a reality map upon which scientists and sages can agree. It images the in-depth experience of the quantum spacious NOW, abiding beneath the surface waves of rational thinking and everyday sensory experience described by Eckhart Tolle.

  • The intuition Mike describes fits within the WHY level of the Wheel. This innermost level of Light is associated with spiritual guidance and flashes of genius. Unless integrated with the ability to strategize and implement, however, vision and insights fail to manifest as practical results.
  • Emotions (including empathy) and strategy belong to the middle HOW level. The Energy layer is associated with street smarts and Emotional Intelligence. Magnetism and charisma emanate from this level, but unfortunately aren’t always integrated with integrity, intelligence and practical organizational skills.
  • Purpose and outcomes belong to the surface WHAT level associated with tangible, measurable results. The Mass layer is the realm of quantifiable IQ as well as biological family and social/political connections. Persona (mask) and personality are surface appearances. They don’t necessarily reflect actual motives and feelings. (This is why merely imitating the words and actions of great leaders doesn’t have the same affect).

The three outer levels are interrelated and interdependent. Each is necessary but not sufficient. Their existence depends on the unchanging hub of the Life Wheel. The true SELF — also called Conscience, the Tao or God — holds the spokes together as events on the Wheel’s surface rim change continuously. Creation in the form of primal consciousness emanates from and returns to this silent alpha-omega center.

Inspired leaders are Self-aware. Positive leaders link inner vision with compassion to generate practical results. They serve as organizational catalysts, bringing out the best in others by example. Like stringed instruments, we resonate when true leaders strike a universal chord, set in motion by a deeper music.

This paradigm of completion is “positive” because all the levels of experience are included and correctly prioritized. None are excluded. None are out of place. The levels are harmoniously linked in an infinite, two-way continuum of creative balance. (This is the holistic picture of unity or “yoga.”) Mindful of Einstein’s warning that problems cannot be solved at the same level they are created, it pictures the deeper levels where we can first get unstuck, and then travel deeper to where the genuine solutions we dearly need and seek can be found.

Prophetically, Einstein warned about the dangers of inverted priorities: “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” Today, more than ever, the world urgently needs leaders who remember their gifts and use reason correctly.

An important first step in training better leaders is to convince educators/executives/politicians and their students/employees/supporters of the grave dangers inherent in prevailing, incomplete and inaccurate paradigms. Then, it requires rousing sufficient courage to make a paradigm shift.

What could be more powerful motivation than the pending threat to human survival?! For today’s un-in-formed leaders are undeniably steering planet Earth towards a catastrophic disaster that dwarfs the Titanic’s collision. Einstein wasn’t exaggerating when he observed, “We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.”

Decision-makers and leaders in every walk of life can make themselves whole by using the method outlined in The Positive Paradigm Handbook — currently under revision. In addition, it gives a practical standard for assessing leadership potentials, training better leaders, and choosing which ones to follow.

All best!

globe

Discovering the Missing Link

This afternoon, as an after-thought, my author-journalist LinkedIn connection emailed me, “On another note, your years living in Europe and your other international travel sound interesting. Must be a good story there. Would love to hear more when time permits.”

As a matter of fact, a section in Rethinking Survival describes the highlights of living in Europe. So I’ll share some of them here.

globe

EUROPE: Discovering the Missing Link

“If you love your children, tell them how the world works.” — Dr. Phil

According to the people who raised me, the way the world worked was this. If you “pleased” them, then they would take care of you: feed you, house you, pay the bills for your clothes . . . let you live. If you didn’t, they’d disown you, cut you off, write you out of their will. The end. Survival depended exclusively on being very good at pleasing those who controlled the money and the material resources which come from it.

In my case, this was a problem. What pleased one adult didn’t please the next. And what pleased me didn’t necessarily please any of them. It was, at best, a con. Bottom line: I had no idea of how the world really works, only that mine at the time didn’t work for me. When conflicting survival demands came to a head, I had to split. “Get out of town, Tonto. Pronto.”

The year Nixon was elected president, a poster hanging in my dorm hallway said it all. It showed him wearing Uncle Sam’s pin-stripe suit and top hat, finger pointing to recruit. The question posed:  “Would you buy a used car from this man?” My answer was, “No way!” I wasn’t in a position to change the country, so I changed my location. At the invitation to join up with a touring Brazilian chamber orchestra, I left for foreign lands.

Living abroad began the process of divesting the cultural conditioning I’d taken for granted. Being the only English speaker in the group made me rethink communication, getting down to the basics. When it took an effort to find the words, it was amazing how little really needed to be said. Accompanied with suggestive body language and facial expressions. a few words went a long way.

However, I found that change of scene, of language and cultural settings, changed nothing of substance. “Wherever you go, there you are.” In Sandor Vegh’s violin master class, students from around the world agonized over the same dilemmas I thought I’d left behind. They too thought they could escape problems just by walking away – but nothing is so easy.

Nao, a darkly mournful Japanese violist, described the shock of discovering her older brother’s dead body hanging limp in his clothes closet. Chiao, a bright shining extrovert, grieved over love lost. When she beat him to take first place in a violin competition, Alberto chose a less threatening lover as his companion.

My German hosts, who’d survived WWII, however, had much to teach. They didn’t take survival, as I had up to that point, for granted. A cellist friend with whom I stayed in St. Georgen, located in the Black Forest of South Germany, told me her mother’s story. To save her starving children’s lives during the Russian occupation of Berlin after the war, Frau Hass changed from oppressed housewife to heroic protector. In contrast, Herr Petersen, a 75-year-old portrait painter – my Düsseldorf landlord – recalled war time as “the best years.” It was only then– albeit of extreme necessity– that formal, inhibited Germans came out of their shells and actually talked with one another.

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

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

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

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

In retrospect, it was if she’d reinvented the yogic disciplines which sitar and tabla students are taught in India, where music technique is balanced with breathing and physical exercises. Her gift inspired a change in my career goals. Rather than teach technique, I could help many more musicians by becoming an exercise-and-therapy coach in one, like her. She was much too busy to consider writing about her methods and results. I would do this for her with a book called The Body as Instrument: How to Tune It. (Still later, ratcheting up another notch, I aspired to build schools to facilitate a whole generation of coaches like Frau Lehru.)

Even more influential than people, however, were two books I discovered in Düsseldorf’s International Book Market on Königs Allee. In combination, they substantially broadened my life’s horizons. One was the Wilhelm/Baynes English translation of the Chinese I Ching, the Book of Change. The other was Carl Jung’s autobiography, Memories Dreams and Reflections. This Swiss analyst also wrote the introduction to the Wilhelm/Baynes translation.

I’m now aware of much that’s been written about Jung’s darker side. But in 1970, I resonated with his descriptions of self-discovery. In particular, I related to the story about his quickest cure. A young woman, the daughter of wealthy, stylishly atheistic parents was instantly healed of her neurosis upon learning of her heritage. Her grandfather had been a Talmudic scholar. Though an embarrassment to her parents, he was regarded by peers as a saint. This knowledge gave her permission to know what she “knew,” and released her psychological suffering instantly.

As it happened, I’d just been contacting my grandparents, asking them to write me about their history. I did so because Herr Oswald Peterson, my portrait painter landlord, insisted I was not American. “Who are you?” he wanted to know.

I’d already known that in her youth, my father’s mother, Grandma Ellie West, had a gorgeous soprano voice. What I learned from her letters was that she’d auditioned for John Philip Sousa’s world tour and was invited to join his band as a soloist. But she decided to stay home instead to marry my grandfather, Hub. She heartily approved of my European music jaunt. “Good for you!”

I was fascinated to learn from Grandpa Dave, my mother’s father, that his father came from Russia. He was a “very good” tailor by profession and a Talmudic scholar as well. A-ha. Who would have guessed? It opened a door of new possibilities in my mind.

Because Jung experienced dreams as the winged messengers of key insights, I began paying attention to mine. The dream I remember best was of climbing the third-story stairs of Herr Peterson’s building. He’d never repaired the roof after the WWII, so the top flight led to rubble and open air.

In my dream, however, I discovered a new floor that hadn’t been there before. It was dimly lit and full of draped furniture, covered with cobwebs. As I brushed away the dust, details of this new room began to emerge. It was as if I were entering into a new level of personal awareness.

As for the I Ching, I’d had a hunch about it for a very long time. Dr. Ellsworth Carlson, who lived in Shansi, China during WWII, was an Oberlin College classmate of my parents. When I was nursery school age, he’d bounced me on his knees at Harvard. As Freshman student, I took his course in Asian History at Oberlin. What stuck with me how vast an influence the I Ching had on Chinese thinking for 8,000 years and counting.

In fact, when I left for Europe, I carried only my violin and one small suitcase. Of that, half was filled with clothes and personal items. The other half contained sheet music and one small book: the Legge translation of the I Ching. It made no sense to me. I could barely get through a page or two before giving up. But I kept coming back to it. There was something important there that I had to know more about.

Finally, with the Wilhelm/Baynes edition, I had a version I could relate to. It literally became my teacher. It gave me a whole new concept of how the world really works. Not just this family or that institution or the other county. Not arbitrary and capricious, fluctuating fashions, but the constant anchor over time. From it, I could deduce the fundamental energy dynamics of action and reaction which drive relationships, internally at a psychological level, and externally in terms of practical, day-to-day events and their long-term consequences.

It was an extension of the logic my English teacher Miss Elson impressed on my high school brain. But more. It gave me a map of logical consequences, as inevitable as computer language. “If this, then that.”

For example, If you kick people, they kick back (if they can) or otherwise resist. If you are kind, you inspire love and trust in others. If you violate natural law, nature bites back (your mental health suffers; relationships deteriorate; your behavior becomes erratic and social/physical survival is imperiled). Asian cultures call this “the law of karma.” Its operation is also described in biblical terms: “As ye reap, so shall ye sow,” and “to everything there is a season.”

In sum, its 64 permutations map a progression of the AC-DC energy changes which constitute the natural law of repetitive, cyclical change. From my point of view, this ancient, timeless science fills a critical blind-spot in Western thinking, lacking which, all efforts are partial and incomplete. Put another way, the glaring absence of this information explains why so much goes so wrong, despite even the best of intentions on the part of politicians, priests, coaches and leaders of every ilk.

. . .  [an understanding of natural law], the practical, middle (energy) level of three-part experience, is essential to the whole. It’s a sorely missed link in our functional knowledge base. Without wisdom and skill at this middle level of experience, spiritual aspirations cannot be realized nor can political policies be effectively implemented. Ongoing sex scandals which plague high-level military leaders, politicians and Christian clergy give a hint of what’s missing from their training, causing them to fail miserably at great expense to those they should be serving.

I’m a Boundary Spanner. Are You?

Last Saturday, a LinkedIn connection traveling in the Middle East sent me a delightful email. It started, “Just read some of your essays in your new handbook and it left me wanting to read more. I like your holistic approach to problem solving and living life.”

globe

He followed with comments and questions you may have too. So I decided I’ll answer them here.

An author and journalist, he wrote, “Your background, with a Ph.D in Educational Admin, seems so ‘traditional’ that I was taken by surprise when I discovered that you’re an innovative thinker.”

This surprise is no surprise. Most who’ve survived the credentialing process have been flattened and homogenized beyond recognition. They’re rewarded for becoming “experts” inside a narrowly defined field and only on a specific subject within that limited area. Professional survival depends on pleasing gatekeepers who rigidly define what can be known and said.

In Rethinking Survival, I describe my personal experience of this process. Not pretty. My purpose was to build an accredited School Without Walls that would allow self-responsible students to create career-specific degree programs.

For example, a golfer whose dream was to build a world-class golf course could pick and choose the subjects essential to achieving his goal. Classes on how to run a small business could be combined with architectural courses to engineer golf greens, agricultural courses to maintain them, education classes to teach beginning golfers, and marketing classes to attract new customers.

Another aspect of the School Without Walls solved the dilemma of highly educated graduates entering the job market with zero job experience. A supervised internship program was intended to link students with mentors inside government institutions, non-profit agencies, corporations, hospitals or small businesses. Experienced insiders would be given the opportunity to share valuable experience in return for the assistance of a highly-motivated intern.

I’d come to the idea of building the School Without Walls from personal experience. As a musician, I wasn’t satisfied with training limited to violin technique. I wanted to know everything about everything that goes into music from every point of view.

I wanted to know about the physics of sound vibration and the science of violin making. I needed to know about the history behind composers’ biographies, the literature they read, about psychology and the religions that inspired their music. Eventually, my search included kinesiology and yoga, the fundamental disciplines of movement and breath awareness practiced by musicians in India.

Traditional schools didn’t help much in this quest. Even so-called interdisciplinary studies were timid in their scope. Not to be discouraged, I patched together what I could from every possible source, eventually studying in Europe and India to learn what wasn’t taught in American schools.

So by the time I entered graduate school at the UW-Madison, I’d already traveled far beyond traditional boundaries, both physically and philosophically. I returned fully motivated to earned the degree in Educational Administration which could be used to make the journey easier for others than it had been for me.

Therefore, my answer to his next question probably isn’t what he’d expect. He wrote, “I would think there is a niche for your writings in schools that teach Eastern philosophies and with educational institutions that are progressive thinkers and open to new ways of teaching.”

The main point of The Positive Paradigm Handbook is that the basics are universal. They’re shared in common by everyone, everywhere. They’re not the exclusive property of this or that culture or cult. In fact, the narrowing fragmentation of knowledge into increasingly smaller niches is a dangerous symptom of dark times. In the Handbook, I put it this way:

In a world seemingly intent on fracturing experience into smaller and smaller niches, the Positive Paradigm provides an urgently needed counter-balance, applying an opposite and equal weight in a unifying direction.

The change series answers Einstein’s call: “We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.” Those who succeed in returning to the universal basics are most likely to survive whatever dangers are to come.

The Positive Paradigm of Change embodies the Unified Theory which Einstein already had (though didn’t know it). The Handbook’s presentation of the basics is new and appropriate to the times. However, the basics themselves aren’t new. Just neglected. It would be a contradiction in terms to relegate the Positive Paradigm of Change to a niche, nor is the concept “progressive.”

The timeless Unified Theory is universal. Like a laser beam, it illumines the field wherever it’s pointed. The difference today is that modern physics now confirms the same Unified Theory which ancient teachers called yoga (which means “union”).

From this standpoint, the necessary interconnectedness of every field of knowledge is apparent. Hence, in Rethinking Survival, a full chapter is devoted to boundary-spanners as leaders. There’s even a favorite riddle that makes the point. Question: “How does an elephant play bridge?” Answer: “It puts two feet on one side of the river, and two feet on the other.”

In the 1980’s, there was an encouraging trend towards reunifying fragmented bodies of knowledge. For example, a Department of Interdisciplinary Studies at the UW-Madison led by Reid Bryson coordinated the physical sciences related to climate change – geology, oceanography, meteorology, etc. What it didn’t include, however, was social, political, and ethical studies. The interdisciplinary department facilitated coordinated data collection. No thought was given to training decision-makers about making responsible, effective use of that information.

In addition, in Positive Paradigm context, there’s still more. We urgently need to restore leadership training that enables social and physical scientists to link the surface of their daily lives with the deeper levels of human experience. These include the middle level of the Wheel associated with emotional intelligence and functional ethics, the inner level associated with insight and intuition, and the eternal silent center called “conscience.”

In the never-ending School of Life, we are each self-responsible for acquiring this knowledge and putting it into practice as best we can. The Positive Paradigm sums up the basics of what Huxley called the perennial philosophy common to the world’s great religions. The Handbook not only pictures and explains the paradigm, but gives practical methods for implementing it.

Appropriately mainstreamed, it has the potential to tip the scales in favor of human survival. It’s that starkly simple.

I’m a boundary spanner. Are you? If not, let’s give new meaning to the famous warning of a beloved American president: “Take down those walls.”