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 an 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.

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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.