Tag Archives: Einstein

Psychology’s Blind Spot

In his free-association-style Bible Series lecture on Jacob’s Ladder, JBP pulled just about everything out of his hat except the one relevant personal experience he could have brought to bear on Jacob’s dream. Let me tell you what I mean.

What Dr. Peterson did bring to bear on the Old Testament story – the one that inspired the rock song “Highway to Heaven”included the psychological sufferings of Freud, Jung and even Darwin. He drew on his favorite Russian writers — Dostoevsky and Solzhenitsyn, the Kwakwaka’wakw people (he’s an initiate) and a potlatch he attended, as well as research on administering hallucinogenic mushrooms to dying patients to induce mystical experience. The implication: Jacob’s vision might have been a chemically induced shamanic journey.

Wow. For me, that’s more than quite a stretch.

Here’s the experience I hoped he would focused on. It grabbed my attention as a valid confirmation of Eastern meditation traditions. Sadly, just as Einstein missed the unified theory implicit in his famous formula, Dr. Peterson missed the significance of the glimpse he’d been given. He persistently by-passes it, which puzzles and frustrates me. Hard to say whether the problem is cultural bias, wariness of “new age” distortions, deliberate denseness, or “professional” qualms.

Jupiter

I’m drawing from memory of a video interview, so the details may not be perfect. In any case, the substance is correct. The interviewer asked Dr. Peterson about the mystic experience he had while listening to classical music. I’m pretty sure it was Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony.

In the Greek pantheon, Jupiter was king of the gods. He ruled over the affairs of gods and men from his throne on Olympus, akin to the way God is said to reign in heaven.

Dr. Peterson said in his mind, it was as if the gates of heaven opened up before him.

heaven opening.jpg

The imagery of a stairway leading to heaven is universal and no coincidence. It bears an unmistakable resemblance to the ladder of Joseph’s dream.

Blake’s artistic depiction of the ladder below was included in the lecture. JBP pointed out that the spiral effect is suggestive of the DNA helix. The transformative implications are implicit.

blake JL

The best way he could describe his personal experience of the heavens opening, he said, was that it seemed like a lotus flower unfolding. I instantly thought of the crown chakra lotus.

crown lotus

JBP’s finest moment (from my point of view) came in his answer to the last question of the lecture’s Q & A session. He came very close to touching on the tradition which explains his mystical experience as well as Jacob’s dream. Almost.

People who are interested in grand narratives have pointed out that there’s a set of common mythological themes across many cultures. They can be the same on one level, different on another. But humanity coalesces on what’s the same over a reasonable period of time.

. . . there’s this constant force [literally, energy structure] that makes our ethical presuppositions converge. And then that’s automatically expressed in those stories.

In one way, he is correct. But in another, significant way, not. Stories take on the images of each specific culture. In that way they are different. What they share in common, however, is not myth or archetype but SCIENCE, meaning “with knowledge.” Jacob’s ladder is certainly a striking example.

Lacking this universal, underlying science, humanity cannot be properly, completely understood. Psychologies remain incomplete and inaccurate. They have grievous blind spots.

Put another way, Huston Smith, premier comparative religion teacher and devout practitioner of what he calls “timeless wisdom,” wrote:

Twenty years ago I wrote a book, The Religions of Man, which presented the world’s enduring traditions in their individuality and variety. It has taken me until now to see how they converge. . . .

What then emerges is a remarkable unity underlying the surface variety. When we look at human bodies, what we normally notice is their surface features, which of course differ markedly. Meanwhile on the insides, the spines that support these motley physiognomies are structurally very much alike. It is the same with human outlooks. Outwardly they differ, but inwardly it is as if an “invisible geometry” has everywhere been working to shape them to a single truth.

This “invisible geometry” is literally the snake-like intersections of energy path ways criss-crossing and intersecting at the spine. They link the seven centers in a pattern strikingly similar to the DNA double helix represented in the Caduceus, the healing staff of the messenger god Mercury, familiar now as the symbol of modern medicine.

In Yes, AND . . . I underscored that chakras are NOT merely myths or stories.

Ancient Himalayan sages mapped the internal energy transformers knows as chakras (“wheels).” Know how to activate them, they taught. You’ll experience enlightenment.

. . . Though recorded in ancient scripture, sages experienced vibrant spinning wheels of energy in deep meditative states as a fact of inner reality. Their reports are not the same as poetic symbolism, mythology or parable. Chakras exist as literal fact, integral to inner life as an experience which can and has been replicated by countless practitioners over time.

Chakras as energetic concept are key to the process of psychological transformation. I address the middle, e = mc2 level of the universal Life Wheel in The Gatekeeper and the consequences of psychology’s blind spot in Paradigms are a Matter of Life or Death. In The Highway to Heaven Is a Two-Way Street, I put Jacob’s Ladder in this larger context.

Bottom line: mystical experiences and genuine psychological transformation are not accomplished by mental speculation or even acts of sheer will power. They occur in the deeper layers of the Life Wheel which have, disastrously, been made taboo in Western civilizations. Einstein called the blind spot “the fateful fear of metaphysics.” The fateful-fear of self-awareness comes in its train, sometimes justified, most often times NOT.

Descriptions of heaven’s gates opening and unfolding lotus flowers come straight out of the ancient Vedas. The seventh chakra located above the head is described as a Thousand Petaled Lotus. To mystic vision, it looks something like this:

crown chakra x 4

Chakras, again, are “spinning wheels of light.” Seven basic ones are aligned along the human spine. In ascending order, each is associated with an increasingly more sophisticated developmental stage, state of consciousness and related psychological issues. Here is a brief description of the crown chakra:

The 7th or crown chakra is located at the top of the head and is related to the induction of spiritual energy into the body. Said to control every aspect of the body and mind, it is associated with full enlightenment and union with God. This chakra is normally not fully opened in most humans, although pictures of saints and other spiritual beings with”halos” are depictions of activated crown chakras.

Here’s a picture of all seven, putting the heavenly ruling seventh center in context:

chakras

In the creative process, the non-physical precedes and drives the physical. Western psychologists therefore would benefit greatly from understanding the correlations of each subtle energetic center with resultant mental and biological conditions. Put the other way, lacking this foundation, their understanding of human nature is seriously skewed.

The other six are briefly described:

  • The 1st or root chakra, located at the base of the spine, is involved with the physical process of elimination and the organs that work with that function. It is the chakra associated with the emotional energy of survival, as well as with grounding to the physical plane.
  • The 2nd or sacral chakra is located about three inches below the navel. This chakra corresponds to sexual energy and the reproductive organs. It is also associated with creativity and intrinsic life force.
  • The 3rd or solar-plexus chakra is located at the navel and several inches above. Its energy is associated to digestion and the digestive organs, personal power, and self mastery.
  • The 4th or heart chakra it located in the center of the chest. On the physical level, it works with the lungs and heart. On the emotional level, it works with the energy of compassion and love.
  • The 5th or throat chakra is located in the throat area, at the base of the neck. It is the chakra that is involved with the process of communication, speech, and hearing. The ears are associated with this chakra, as well as the vocal apparatus.
  • The 6th or brow chakra is located in the center of the forehead, between and slightly above the eyes. Often called “the third eye,” it is associated with imagination and psychic abilities, along with mental activity and brain function.

We are not completely out of tune with the effects of chakras, although due to taboos on conscious awareness, we experience them for the most part subliminally, sometimes at the hands of skillful, unscrupulous exploiters.

For one thing, differences amongst therapeutic approaches is proof of differences in chakra orientation. A lateral view of chakras aligned along the spinal column reflects the qualitative differences in focus (Dr. Peterson calls them temperaments) amongst well-known  psychologists.

invisible geometry sized

In addition, as described earlier:

. . the Western way of ignoring and denying the reality and influence of chakras makes life’s journey far more difficult than need be. But it can’t and doesn’t cause them to cease to exist. Despite scientific prohibitions, most of us still have glimpses of transcendent experience, most often through the arts.

For example, music moves us because its sound sets the chakras in sympathetic vibration. Inspired music has a healing, uplifting affect on the nervous system, the emotions, and the soul. It is not coincidence that the seven notes of the Western chromatic scale correspond with the vibratory rates of the seven major chakras. Indian ragas intentionally draw on chakra correlations to soothe emotions or lift the spirit. In the West, similar effects of inspired music have been described as The Mozart Effect.

In addition, the (albeit too-often unconscious) effect of the chakras on human experience is particularly strong in the visual arts, including the full spectrum from fashion and home-making to interior design, architecture and fine arts. This in due in large part to the fact that the chakras are associated with geometric shapes, as well as with specific colors of rainbow spectrum.

closing

JBP’s Jacob’s Ladder Part I lecture compels two spin-off blogs. One will expand on the effects music has on health on each of the seven levels. Being composed of vibrations, it resonates with and activates the chakras, for better or worse. The other will address literary criticism, which Western civilization has backwards.

 

 

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Life is Eternal

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

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

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

I continue:

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

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

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

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

Further:

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

book header bird

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

Higher Love, Unity and Inclusiveness

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

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

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

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

Wordsworth

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

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

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

inner-compass-sized

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

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

Phoenix - sized

The Mystery of Death and Rebirth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Entering this paradox is the beginning of magic.

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

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

In Passage 16, Lao Tze goes even further:

16

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

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

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

I Ching # 49. CHANGE. Day and night replace each other in endless cycles of CHANGE. The same natural law generates flux in human events. The unprepared see Change as a threat, but the well-prepared face the unknown calmly. They know that after degeneration reaches critical mass, regeneration follows. Welcome the new. Avoid short-sighted fear.

Angel Calling

A Magical Day

magic

Did you ever have a magical day – one that stands out 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 times for me, bringing up basic life questions important to us all – about the quality of life and very purpose for surviving.

So I’ll share with you what happened and why, in the seemingly endless blur of discouragements and doubts, it shone like a confirming ray of hope, strengthening my resolve to complete the book now listed on CreateSpace as The Phoenix Response.

Today’s story begins, once again, by connecting the dots between two seemingly ordinary events leading to an extraordinary outcome.

The Longevity Book by Cameron Diaz sparked the first. My eyes halted over it while scanning the bestseller bookshelf at Walmart. The hunch flashed that it had an important message for me. I should look into it.

The second was triggered by the first. 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 white-haired 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.

Until today, however, I hadn’t thought carefully about her disappointment. Although I remembered the first two lines of the poem, I’d forgotten the name of the poet and never knew the context of those lines, much less the name of the poem from which they came.

Nor had I wondered what she hoped living to old age would be like, or how and why her expectations were left unfulfilled.

Thinking further on these things now brought magical gifts that answered doubts as to my own future directions.

With a little effort, I recovered the poet’s name, the context of the lines and the poem’s name.

The first stanza of Robert Browning’s poem begins:

Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made:
Our times are in His hand
Who saith “A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid!”

I also searched out a link to the complete poem in which the stanza appears, Rabbi Ben Ezra

This, of course, led to further questions, as well as an Aha! Who was Rabbi Ben Ezra? When did he live? How are his personal story and life work relevant to us now? More specifically, how does his history and Browning’s poem matter to my immediate question – whether or not to complete The Phoenix Response?

Long story short, the good Rabbi born and died in in northern Spain, 1089-1167distinguished himself as a poet, philosopher and astrologer. Between earliest and end years, persecuted for his beliefs, his restless wanderings took him through North Africa, Israel, Italy, England and France.

His ideas outlasted him to influence Browning. Remarkably, the longer poem is interspersed with phrases that could as easily have been drawn from my own writing: I see the whole design, Perfect I call Thy plan.

There is a hint of the phoenix legend: Leave the fire ashes, what survives is gold.

And a foreshadowing of Christ’s enduring presence throughout human history:

Earth changes, but thy soul and God stand sure:
What entered into thee,
That was, is, and shall be:
Time’s wheel runs back or stops: Potter and clay endure.

Not only are there references to a divine Potter and “earth’s wheel” but actually, in conclusion, the WHEEL of LIFE itself. He names the very image (Platonic Idea, meme, archetype – call it what you will) that serves as the substantive foundation of the Positive Action response.

The poem concludes:

My times be in Thy hand!
Perfect the cup as planned!
Let age approve of youth, and death complete the same!

At first reading, I cannot begin to fully understand this poem, much less the philosophical works which inspired it. The writing is complex and terse — more than a little bit difficult. But this much seems clear. There is a succession of ideas being handed down through the generations. Each writer starts up where the last left off, competes the next piece, and hands the work forward for another generation to pick up and continue.

I was comforted to think that my work is interwoven within a larger pattern, connected in the world of ideas with forerunners. Surely I am linked with a larger whole and charged with contributing to the evolution of an ongoing heritage.

On a personal level, Grandma Ellie handed down her unfinished aspiration for me to take the next step. John Philip Sousa auditioned and invited her to travel as a soprano soloist with his band during their European tour. Because she decided to marry instead, she saw in my life the completion of her early aspirations. She was delighted when she heard that I was studying and performing as a violinist in Europe.

And just as Grandma Ellie left me unfinished work to complete, so my writing on holism and the Life Wheel may fulfill fellow violinist Albert Einstein’s heartfelt desire. He intuited the existence of a Unified Theory. Ironically, he’d already received it, but lacked the yogic training to recognize it for what it is:

IF

Returning, however, back to the first strand — the book that sparked this line of thought. Diaz’s best-seller  promises to address a holistic life view. Its description claims: “The Longevity Book offers an all-encompassing, holistic look at how the female body ages —and what we can all do to age better.

There’s so much that could be better accomplished by applying the multi-dimensional Life Wheel model to the claim of being” all-encompassing.” This includes the concept of Einstein’s beloved compass and his call for compassion. For those unfamiliar with the work to which I’m referring or who would like a reminder, here’s a link to bring you up to speed on The Positive Paradigm.

Among reviews, I found a comment supporting my first take that The Longevity Book begs for a sequel – one which I’m eminently qualified to supply. The Phoenix Response fills many gaps crying out for completion. As the reviewer points out, Diaz wrote one book for young women, and now this second for those entering middle age.

The 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 of us in our 60’s, 70’s and 80’s have had to find out on our own – sadly.”

My basic message for everyone, up to and including baby-boomers of both genders: it’s never too late. It’s not over til it’s over. Even for those of us who’ve let go of self-care and are now paying the price, there’s always a second chance. There’s always the Phoenix Response of regeneration – going back to the magical creative process of genesis embodied in the Life Wheel.

With this knowledge, it’s possible for self-healers to repair not only original the DNA of the physical body, but also the more subtle pattern of the soul, restoring wholeness by healing literally — as the infinity pattern shows — from the inside out.

So yes, without a doubt. Not only is this work dearly needed. The way for it is actually being paved and readiness created.

So – I’m especially grateful for life-confirming days like this one when the ever-present magic speaks with exceptional clarity.

So my best wish for you is the same. May you have a magical day as well!

Two Out of Three Ain’t Enough

 

Eight months that seem like a life-time ago, I wrote the LinkedIn article I’m sharing below, along with excellent comments made to the post.

At the time, I was rethinking the empathy aspect of writing about the Positive Paradigm. Now, I’m about to launch another approach, one focused on healing on all three levels. Again, unless the three are present in a balanced, integrated way, it’s not sufficient.

As an intriguing book I’m reading explains, wholeness and holiness are necessary compliments. It expands on the Phoenix Response as my comprehensive approach to transcending adversity, when mere physical survival is not enough.

I’ll explain as I go what I mean. But, for today, for starters, here’s a recap of the basic concept, the spring board of what’s to come.

It concludes with questions that invite your feedback, the better to adjust to meet your specific needs in future articles. What do you think? And thanks.

 

pinnacle-sized

Two Out of Three Isn’t Enough

Some leaders are satisfied to sing along with Meatloaf, “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad.”

But Authentic Leaders know better. It ain’t enough.

As I’m learning the hard way, when any part goes missing, everything suffers.

Bear with me. I’ll share why three-out-of-three is a must for me – and for effective leaders in every walk of life.

The Life Wheel — the Positive Paradigm based on the Unified Theory Einstein had, though he didn’t know it — is the personal Truth I’d dearly love to share with the world – starting with you.

IF

From Rethinking Survival:

This familiar atomic structure repeats smallest to largest in the patterns of nature, from snow flakes and intricate flowers to spiders’ webs and sea shells. Similar symmetrical patterns repeat worldwide in the art of every culture — including the prayer wheels of Native Americans, the colored sand mandalas of Tibetan Buddhists, the stained glass windows of European cathedrals and the intricate geometrical patterns that cover Muslim Mosques, to name but a few. They offer proof of the universal awareness of a central inner reality, of an inner structure common to all humanity, and to a continuity of experience deeper than individual lives or transitory cultures.

The Life Wheel reflects the perennial philosophy shared in common by the world’s enduring wisdom traditions – free of historical baggage. It is equally compatible with yoga and modern physics. It converts easily into a method for introspection and decision-making. Like a modern day Book of Change, it has the potential to become the best friend of change agents everywhere.

The value unique to the Life Wheel is, because it highlights the innate potentials we share in common, it serves as a foundation of common discourse.

Just as importantly, from personal experience, I’ve found the Life Wheel to be a great tool with virtually universal applications. Point it like a laser beam in any direction. It illumines the field.

In Authentic Leaders Depend on the Center I presented a variation on the Wheel – the MPI (Motive-Purpose-Intent) Standard – used to increase self-awareness.

One LinkedIn connection really got it! After a back-and-forth exchange, he commented:

I can also see how the MPI can work in a variety of contexts, both religious and secular. In fact, I think it could have virtually universal application – – – I hope it catches on!

BUT – it hasn’t. Not yet. For that I take full responsibility.

I have yet to demonstrate how I use the Life Wheel for introspection and goal setting. I have yet to show how it can be adapted as an analytical tool for virtually any purpose.

I haven’t effectively explained that this picture answers the plaintive question, “Why can’t we just get along?” Namely, very few of us work from a unifying concept of our common humanity. We were never taught the basics of natural law, much less how to live in harmony with it and each other. )

I’ve failed to communicate powerfully enough the connection I see between the Life Wheel and its potential to relieve human suffering. Those who’ve been taught to look for fulfillment on the shallow surface have been set up for a world of hurt. Joy returns when we know where to look, when we finally return our focus to the center, where eternal love resides deep within the heart of hearts.

The Wheel explains today’s pervasive sense of loneliness, a result of living exclusively on the noisy, frantically busy surface. It offers a hopeful, alternative life picture. When we reconnect with the center, we know that we are never, ever truly alone. Not possible.

SO – why hasn’t all this vitally important stuff been successfully communicated? In retrospect, I’m recognizing I have yet to live up to my own “three-out-of-three” standard!

For one thing, I’m still building the technical skills needed to do the Life Wheel idea justice.

For example, my first LinkedIn article, Boundary Spanners Connect at the Center, isn’t illustrated. In September of 2014, I didn’t yet know how to create images with photo-shop software. Though I’ve come a far distance in the ten months since then, I am still picking up necessary skills on a daily basis.

Just as importantly, I’m getting important feedback that my communication skills need work. Which is different from language skills. In fact, past academic background sometimes gets in the way. I’ve been faulted for seeming so precise and confident that I’m intimidating. Makes me very very sad. Not at all what I intend.

For this, the recent process of writing a guest post for authorunlimited was good medicine. I submitted a draft on the suggested subject: The important difference between knowledge and knowing. Cathy Presland emailed back an edited version.

Ouch!

Fortunately, I had an inkling as to why she made changes. I already saw her most excellent article Writing with Empathy and taken it to heart. I also followed the link to Seung Chan Lim’s video, How empathy fuels the creative process. Like magic, on that particular day, his message was exactly what I needed to hear.

My sheepish Aha. In my rush to get from “here to there,” from surface results to common understanding, I’ve been leap-frogging over the linking, middle level of empathy.

So I can tell you from sad experience, two out three – ideas and technical skills without empathy –ain’t enough!

Cathy’s quote reminded me:

In the words of George Bernard Shaw, “Do not do unto others as you would have them do unto you—they might have different tastes.”

In other words, I have been writing as if LinkedIn connections all understand and agree that everyone, everywhere shares the same center in common. But “it ain’t necessarily so.”

True, boundary spanners, no matter where they start on the surface of Planet Earth, meet at the universal center. But not everyone sees the value in being a boundary spanner. It’s on me to accept this, adjust and improve accordingly.

So back to the drawing board. As part of the Under Construction operation, I promised to restore empathy to the larger picture, accepting that not everyone is boundary spanner. And remember, respectfully, that many are not only asleep but perhaps a bit afraid of waking up.

Yet my worst worry remains. Unfortunately, it usually takes a horrific wake up call to shake people out of their complacent slumbers. From Rethinking Survival:

While we all have the option to remember who we truly are, most of us are like Lambert, the sheepish lion. It takes a smack with a two-by-four upside the head before we’re finally ready to wake up. Often it takes the form of life-threatening danger to those we care for. A personal health crisis will also do the trick. So will job loss or a run-in with natural disaster.

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

My preference, which I’d dearly love to share with you is this. Rather than wait for inevitable shocks, when it might be too late to survive, I’d rather you be proactive. Use the tools for anticipating change I have to offer.

As I urged in Being Proactive in the 21st Century, make yourself ready to meet whatever unknowns life has in store, coming around the next bend or two.

Working with Life Wheel maps helps mindful, authentic leaders link the levels, making the three-out-of-three option possible. With it, we can choose to be true to ourselves and realize the vision of a positive future.

Bottom line: Change is inevitable. We can experience it as resisting, passive victims or as proactive agents of positive change. I’ve given you tools to put the choices for change in your hands.

Am I communicating yet? Questions? Comments? Please let me know how I can better meet your needs.

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COMMENTS

Mark Hayward st Head of Sales at TheSmallPicture.biz | NIKKEN Independent Consultant: Helping people to take control of their Wellbeing

 

No worries Patricia West, you made an instant fan out of me 😉

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Peter Fellingham sVice President of Engineering and Co-Founder at ProtoStar Inc

Hi Patricia, I enjoy your writing style. That said, one must write with a target audience in mind; at least commercially. Otherwise you are just writing for yourself.

Patricia West AUTHOR Blogger; Author of Books on Change, Einstein & Human Survival

When writing for authors as a guest of authorulimited, I welcomed the opportunity to write for a specific audience. Here, am focused on authentic leaders, albeit in every walk of life. If you (or anyone else) has another audience in mind, I’m open to your suggestions. : )

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Bob Hemmerle Senior Zen Practitioner/Baseball Umpire

If you get 1 world leader with nukes to understand this then when he sits down with the others he will have something worthwhile to share, Bravo

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Richard Lipscombe THE MEMES MAN

Patricia: This is a great post. I first read this quickly last night. I had an immediate reaction. You can not, we can not communicate with someone who does not hold to their ‘truth’. I re-read it now and listened to TED talk.I still think the same. Inside all of us is mass, energy, and light as a combination – it is what I call my ‘truth’. I can deny it. I can avoid it. I can run away from it. But I can never hide from it. Most people conceal it.

So most people can never ever admit to hearing your message. It is too painful. In simple terms they can not hear that change is your choice and to choose well for yourself you have to listen to your truth.

Most posts on LinkedIn help people to consider ‘change’ as a surface ripple, a mere happening, an entertainment, a dynamic shift without meaning, and so on. They can do this because this is a place for collectives, cliques, false wisdom, fashions, and fads. They welcome all that because it does not challenge the essence of who they are and thus it can never change them. Change their ‘truth’. Truth can be changed easily if you know what it is and embrace it. Truth is continuity – we cling to it even if we do not acknowledge its existence within us. Change to truth sets up a new continuity for us. Richard.

Patricia West AUTHOR Blogger; Author of Books on Change, Einstein & Human Survival

Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Richard. That courageously mindful folks are in the minority, everywhere . . . not just on LinkedIn. . . is the stuff of tragedy. But deep within we all harbor the latent seeds of heroism. As I said, Sooner or later comes the inevitable wake-up call. Last night, after posting this, I came across an excellent example of how 9/11 changed one leader forever. I highly recommend reading – and heeding – this article: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/crises-changed-what-i-expect-from-leaders-gerald-hassell

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Cathy Presland Strategist, Trainer, and Editor-in-Chief at Author Unlimited

Patricia this is such a thoughtful piece — I love it! And the concept that we need all three of ideas, technical skills and empathy — I will take that to heart.

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Catherine Hamrick Communications Manager at the School of Agriculture & Natural Resources at the University of Delaware

On target–as usual. Thanks for shakin’ up my brain.

What IS Your Calling

Angel Calling

A timely message from Charles Caro, a senior LinkedIn expert who was most generous with his knowledge when I was a social media newbee, sparked this post. He wrote:

Patricia, You are on my list of the top people I want to contact related to my new book titled “Job Seeker’s Faithful Guide” . . . The book is targeted to job seekers wanting a resource to sustain themselves mentally and spiritually during their job search journey.

I was hoping you would share information on my new book with your connections either by message or simply sharing my posted Pulse article.

I immediately emailed back congratulating him: You’ve found an important blind spot in the job-seeking canon, and trust you’ve filled it admirably.

And forthwith posted this update:

I highly recommend Charles Caro’s work. I owe him a debt of gratitude which I’m very glad to repay in any small way possible. Please see https://lnkd.in/bX–TjH.

After further thought, I added:

You’ve got me thinking. These are times that test us all, serving to separate the wheat from chaff — those who will hear and survive, from those who have hardened themselves and will thus fall by the wayside. Perhaps I will write a post to rethinkingsurvival.com to this end that mentions your book as its trigger. Your words could well make a positive difference to those who choose to “endure to the end.”

Now where was the perfect timing – the synchronicity – in this exchange? His job-search approach touched on a burning question of my own, a follow-up to my last post confirming the personal decision to endure, Choose LIFE II.

Although the basic decision was made, I was finding it not sufficient. I was filled with grave doubts about the future. As the vitally urgent next step, I had just journaled my burning question as an I Ching query. “Why am I still Here? What is My Calling?”

A review of past LinkedIn correspondence underscored my discouragement. In a professional environment where carving niches is the norm, resonance with my boundary-spanner idea was sparse to nil.

In our earliest exchanges, what I asked Charles was how to connect with like-minded thinkers. By this I meant interdisciplinary innovators who span and link professional disciplines (sciences, religions, and philosophies) by recognizing the universal source that underlies and sustains all life, on every corner of the globe. This was the thought behind illustrating Einstein’s quote in Rethinking Survival.

circle compass of compassion

As good fortune would have it, Charles himself is a boundary-spanner, demonstrated by his ability to recognize the relevance of Chinese wisdom to his Christian worldview. As a practicing Christian, his connections support his approach. For example, he wrote:

Timothy Tobin, who is one of my 1st level connections, lives in Peoria, Illinois where Caterpillar has cut 30,000 employees of the past couple years. Tim has predicted I will sell a million copies in a year. He has let his wife know she can stock the book in their Church bookstore.

In turn, the Life Wheel which is equally compatible with ancient yogic scriptures and modern physics is also compatible with a profound reverence for Christ.

Although coming from very different traditions, what we share in common is a recognition of basic human concerns. For example, my published work focuses on creating awareness of the natural laws of change as well as their relationship to their unchanging source. In describing his new book, Charles choses to call change “transition.”

The “Job Seeker’s Faithful Guide” targets everybody involved in a career transition regardless whether they are unemployed, underemployed, seeking a new opportunity or launching a new business on their own. 

So later I added this observation:

I find repeatedly when researching that two out of three levels of experience are covered — the mental and physical (“think” as in strategize and action/behavior), but the central, driving core — which depends on hearing (“knowing,” trusting, believing in the creative source) is overlooked.

Now, as to the answer to my query, the main text I consulted to examine the implications of my answer was the Jack Balkin version of the I Ching (Book of Change).

Balkin is another, formidable boundary-spanner. As underscored by his title choice, The Laws of Change, Balkin is Knight Professor of Constitutional LAW and the First Amendment at Yale Law School. (As an aside, I urged him to write on a question that fascinates me: the relevance of the Book of Change to Constitutional Law. Sadly, he responded that other work is prohibitive – for the time being.)

Like every other version, being the product of a human mind, this version is limited by the constraints of duality. Yet it is a brilliant contribution to the field and clearly a labor of love. While some might complain that he lacks the traditional linguistic and/or yogic background which Asian translators bring to the subject, in an intuitive way (perhaps exactly for that reason), his understanding rings true.

Be that as it may, to repeat, I asked, “What is My Calling?” In my case, the I Ching Answer was Hexagram 30, Li (double Fire), with no changing lines. Balkin translates Li as RADIANCE, and lists these Key Words:

The Clinging; Interdependence; Synergy; Understanding connections and interdependencies; Fire; Brilliance; Clarity; Shedding Light on Things; Enlightenment

Ah. I instantly recognized the relevance to my boundary-spanner quest.

The text explains:

The two great themes of Li are enlightenment and interdependence. Fire sheds light on everything as its radiance extends outward; but it burns brightly only as long as it has fuel to draw on. As long as the fuel lasts, the fire lasts. Whatever gives light, clarifies, and enlightens depends on something else to which it clings, something whose persistence and perseverance allows the light to shine.

My intuitive response clicked on the image of the burning bush of Exodus, from which the voice of God called out to Moses.

Burning Bush image

Balkin continues, applying these themes to relationships:

So it is with human life. The life of human beings is not free and independent. It is conditioned on circumstances, and, in particular, other human beings. If you wish to gain clarity in your life, you must understand who and what you depend on, and who and what depends on you.

Balkin advises:

Enlightenment means accepting the world for what it is, recognizing one’s connection to others, and taking care of what needs to be taken care of. This is the path to clarity and peace. Acceptance does not mean pessimistic resignation. It means facing up to the facts. Only when we can accept the world can we begin to work with it to improve it and our situation within it.

Relevant to job seekers attached to past successes (or failures), he admonishes:

Do not cling to the past, for it is gone and it will not return. Accept change. Be open-minded and adaptable. Don’t bemoan your fate. Consider how you can change things for the better, given the situation you now face. Nurture others and you will nurture yourself.

His summary states:

Fire is an apt symbol of enlightenment because the power of truth is increased when it spreads to other minds. One candle lights another, and the amount of illumination is doubled without anyone’s light being diminished. For this reason, superior people do not hoard their knowledge or their wisdom, but share it with others who are willing to accept it. In this way enlightenment eventually can reach “to the four corners of the world.”

Food for thought indeed. What do you make of it?

And, as I continue with my own reflections, I encourage you to ask your Self, what is YOUR calling?

As Conflict Escalates, What Can Be Done NOW?

As Conflict Escalates, What Can Be Done NOW? originally appeared in the August edition of Prabuddha Bharata, or Awakened India – an English-language monthly magazine of the Ramakrishna Order. Founded by Swami Vivekenanda — a disciple of Ramakrisha who traveled to the West — it has been in publication since July 1896. With the kind permission of Editor Swami Narasimhananda, I am reposting the full-length article here.

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by Patricia E. West, Ph.D.

The Creator’s most miraculous and precious gift is often the least appreciated. In fact, in the midst of hectic daily life, it sustains everyone – friend and foe, good and evil doers alike – virtually unnoticed by all. Increasing strife and conflict bombards us from every direction. Yet we have very close to our hearts the elusive means of reconciling illusory differences and restoring original unity, first within and then without.

The priceless gift of which I speak is, of course, the breath.

Magically and mystically, every breath each person on the planet takes is infused with prana, that which links the individual being with the Universal Life Source.

Swami Vivekananda defined prana as “a manifestation of the universal power, indefinite and omnipresent.”1 Riding on the vehicle of the physical breath, prana is the most basic, potentially unifying aspect everyone everywhere shares in common.

In Meditation as Medicine, Dharma Singh Khalsa, M.D. writes, “According to the ancient masters, prana is the mystical force found in all living physical entities. It is in the air without being air. It is in water without being water. It is in food without being food.”2

This commonality repeats on every scale of magnitude. Thus Vivekananda quoted, “I am the thread that runs through all these pearls.” According to him, “Each pearl is a religion or even a sect thereof. Such are the different pearls, and God is the thread that runs through all of them.”3

He continues, “most people, however, are entirely unconscious of it.”

So how has it come to pass that most people remain unaware of the energizing life force that breathes through them every minute of every day, and even dare to deny its single origin? How is it that so many pass through their lives ungrateful for the waves of potential abundance they move through like fish in the ocean, seemingly starving for what is so close and so freely given?

As a possible answer, let me tell you a favorite story. It seems that long ago, there was a very old man who took his lunch every day at the same restaurant. He often complained about the service. So, one day when he called the waiter over, the waiter asked impatiently, “What is the matter this time, old man?”

The answer: “Taste the soup and find out for yourself.”

All right,” said the waiter. “Where is the spoon?”

Aha,” exclaimed the old man, delighted. “Now you see!” There was a delicious soup, but no spoon for taking it in.

Which is to say, most people have the nourishment of their heart’s desire everywhere about them, but no means or methods for accessing it. Medical research finds that, for many reasons, very few humans get enough oxygen into the body to fuel the brain or move the muscles properly. Although many are learned and accomplished in intellectual matters, the basics of practical breath control are often ignored. All too few have learned basic paranayama exercises or benefited from the profound insights gained from regular practice.

Workers who slouch long hours at their desks cut off their wind. Tight-fitting clothes force shallow breathing that fills only the top part of the lungs. Habitual tension and chronic anxiety further reduce the limited portion taken in. Attitudes of boredom, apathy and depression produce postures that strangle and suffocate the lungs. Pride stiffens the neck and twists the spine, strangling air circulation. Anger hardens and explodes the heart. Terror causes panic breathing and paralysis in the face of crisis, exactly when full powers are most urgently needed.

In such ways, sadly, many people ultimately cut themselves off from that Universal Source of blessings which everyone everywhere shares in common. So here we have a “chicken and egg” question. Which comes first? Does escalating religious intolerance and extreme violence cause people to increasingly forget their common humanity? Or does lack of fundamental awareness and oxygen deprivation increase the sense of alienation, illusion of lack, and rush for retaliation? Perhaps each feeds the other, causing a downward-spiraling disaster.

The Universal Key

To address the related question of why leaders at every level have failed to correctly identify and heal the root causes of conflict, first within and then without, I will draw contrasting pictures. One is the complete and accurate world view I’ve called the Positive Paradigm. Another shows distortions of the Universal Life Wheel responsible for today’s worldwide deficit of inspired leadership.

Here is the Life Wheel described in Rethinking Survival: Getting to the Positive Paradigm of Change.4 It embodies Einstein’s dearly sought Unified Theory. Ironically, he had already received it, but, for lack of yoga training, didn’t recognize what he’d been given. Being universal, its applications are seemingly infinite.

Utopia.sized

This multi-directional, mandala-like pattern of interdependent wheels-within-wheels is equally compatible with the world’s enduring religions, the teachings of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, and modern physics.

It is universal key, the answer to Shaunaka’s question, “What is that, knowing which, all else is known?”

This structure mirrors the pattern of each cell, where electrons and protons spin around a single nucleus.

It likewise pictures our solar system’s organization of planets circling the sun. As written:

This well-familiar atomic structure repeats smallest to largest in the patterns of nature, from snowflakes and intricate flowers to spiders’ webs and sea shells. Similar symmetrical patterns repeat worldwide in the art of every culture — including, to name but a few, the prayer wheels of Native Americans, the colored sand mandalas of Tibetan Buddhists, the stained glass windows of European cathedrals and the intricate geometrical patterns that cover Muslim Mosques. They offer proof of the universal awareness of a central inner reality, of an inner structure common to all humanity, and to a continuity of experience deeper than individual lives or transitory cultures.”5

The “m = mass” level at the surface correlates with daily experience and tangible, physical objects measured by empirical science. The “e = energy” level corresponds with subtle energies which, though invisible, are experienced by their effects. Prana and electrical energy reside here. It is the field of motion and e-motion. The level of “c = light” is associated with intuition and guidance. Deeper still, within the stable hub of the Wheel, beyond the duality of polar opposites, resides the changeless eternal source.

According to medical brain science, the vibrational speed of the levels slows with inward progression. Beta waves correlate with the busy, cluttered surface of the Life Wheel. Alpha waves associated with relaxation and then theta waves produced in revere or meditation rest increasingly deeper within. Delta waves are slowest of all. Measurable brain waves, in turn, match closely with the states of waking, dream and dreamless sleep described in the Mandaka Upanishad.

In clinical psychology, intelligence at the outermost level is measured by IQ tests. At the middle level it is described as EQ (emotional intelligence) and towards the center as SQ (spiritual intelligence). The levels, which flow along a continuum, neither separate nor totally distinct, are linked in an infinite, two-way loop. One who succeeds in joining the levels, living here and yet there, in the world but not of it, enjoys the experience of enlightenment – Christ Consciousness.

Integrating and balancing the levels of the Life Wheel produces health in every aspect of life – personal, social, economic and political. The executive equally capable of both inspired decisions and effective action embodies Plato’s ideal of the Philosopher-King. Such accomplishment is the goal of Raja Yoga and of holistic leadership. Masters of the creative in- and out-breathing process hold the key to Life itself. For teaching purposes, they occasionally demonstrate their ability to perform apparently miraculous feats of magic.

The Life Wheel is especially useful because, in a clear, simple way, it shows the critically important distinction between 1) what is absolute, eternal and real at the center hub and 2) that which is ephemeral, transitory and subject to change on the surface rim. A very early version the Life Wheel shown below pictures where genuine Unity is to be found as well as where it is NOT.

062514 Balanced World View

The “Pleasure and Pain” level includes the pairs of opposite sensations/ emotions, hot and cold, anger and fear.

The “Right and Wrong” level includes not only competing religions, but also the social/political and economic “-isms.”

The surface, material rim of the Life Wheel is the abode of fashions and fads as well as power and ego contests. Generational swings are reflected on the surface. Enduring, timeless values abide at the eternal center.

Distortions of the Universal Pattern

Those who focus exclusively on the material surface of the Life Wheel cause themselves and those obliged to depend upon them untold amounts of unnecessary pain and suffering. Sometimes, calling it “unity” – whether in the name of God, the common good, or world domination – they seek to impose unnatural social regimentation and political conformance upon others. This naturally stirs up violent reactions from those who have different ideas about such things.

Now, why is it that international leaders have brought the world to its current state of violence and fragmentation? Put another way, why — given the demonstrated and documented benefits of something as basic and simple as mindful breath awareness – is this not taught to every school child and to every medical patient suffering from degenerative diseases and mental disorders? Where is the method in such irresponsible madness?

One hint can be gleaned from the description of a basic pranayama exercise, the Complete Breath. Benefits listed include increased calmness, reduction of toxins, increase of pranic intake, enhanced oxygenation of the blood and even synchronization of personal breath rhythm with universal vibration. However, another benefit is “increased consciousness of unconscious acts.” 6

Sadly, for a host of different reasons, most are unwilling to increase conscious awareness of matters “conveniently” tucked out of sight. They lock themselves in uncomfortable, rigid postures that freeze out self-awareness. There is too much they prefer to hide from themselves and others. Further, monied elites and tyrannical governments have no interest in the education of a self-aware, self-responsible public capable of throwing off the chains of functional slavery.

Like the protagonist of Oscar Wilde’s Faustian tale The Picture of Dorian Gray,7 many choose to focus exclusively on the surface of the Life Wheel. They strive to maintain the physical appearance of youth and beauty, while concealing the internal ravages of ill-spent time from public view. They delude themselves into believing that the paltry profits gained by saving face while heartlessly exploiting others are worth the ultimate price.

It appears as if many world leaders today, the ones we should be able to depend upon to help improve our lives, have themselves chosen the fragmented path of self-deception, cutting themselves off from conscience and inner truth. As educators, such leaders cram youthful heads with hypnotic information to make them passive yet useful workers. They deny followers the basic knowledge of who they truly are, thus preventing access to the Universal Source from which infinite intelligence and power flows.

The following illustration shows how levels become fragmented by living inauthentic to Life, cutting oneself off from the Creative Source. This is but one suggestive version of what it looks like to distort the natural, complete pattern of Creation. Those who themselves are cut off in turn enforce this sorry state on others.

world gone mad.sized

In the extreme, individuals dissociated from their inner lives become psychopaths capable of committing horrific crimes with no apparent remorse. Out of touch with their True Selves, they remain insatiably hungry, thirsty, afraid and very, very angry. No addiction can satisfy. No amount of wealth or worldly success can compensate for the loss of inner connection.

Sages Transcend Conflict

Now then, wherein is consolation to be found during the present difficult times? For Hindu sages foresaw them. We are now enduring the decline described as the Kali Yuga. Christ similarly foretold the End of Times.

It lies in this. Time does not exist for sages established in the eternal center of the Life Wheel. To enlightened beings, it is but an illusion. Because they experience themselves as eternal, at one with the Creator, their inner peace cannot be disturbed by outer violence. For them, life will go on whether or not the world as we now know it continues. Even if for this reason alone, seeking enlightenment should be a top priority.

To the point, a modern day Chinese meditator acknowledged the seamless continuity connecting his tradition with Einstein’s vision:8

Truly, Einstein was an exceptional man, not only because he proved the theory of relativity, but because he took the chance of pursuing the goal of his enlightenment. The important point is that although we might not reach enlightenment through meditation, it is a grand enough aspiration for us to make the effort.

In this, the wisdom of Jou, Tsung Hwa reflects the teachings of the much earlier, world-loved Lao Tze, who knew that true survivors ride the crest of repeating historical cycles to carry on.

Passage 42 of the Tao Te Ching describes the experience of sages who have purified, integrated and mastered the elements of their animal nature. Like the numerous watercolors and ink drawings which depict Lao Tze riding his ox, sages of all times harness instinctive impulses to the service of intentional goals to reach their metaphorical mountain top destination.9

PB LT 1

Wisdom is Lao Tze’s antidote to the instinctive dread of death. He assures us that merging with the Source, the unchanging Tao, overcomes the illusion of mortality. Passage 16 illumines the apparent paradox that death cannot change the sage:10

PB LT 2

For those of us who are less attained, the best efforts made to improve and preserve Life at all levels NOW are noble and worthy in themselves, as valuable as for the experience of the journey as for the end result of achieving immortality.

What Can We Do NOW?

Now then, wherein is consolation to be found during the present difficult times? For Hindu sages foresaw them. We are now enduring the decline described as the Kali Yuga. Christ similarly foretold the End of Times.

It lies in this. Time does not exist for sages established in the eternal center of the Life Wheel. To enlightened beings, it is but an illusion. Because they experience themselves as eternal, at one with the Creator, their inner peace cannot be disturbed by outer violence. For them, life will go on whether or not the world as we now know it continues. Even if for this reason alone, seeking enlightenment should be a top priority.

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.

As described in The Positive Paradigm Handbook,11 these basic axioms are:

1.  A complete and correct paradigm is the key to personal well-being and success.

2.  We are each a world complete, containing the potentials of the universe.

3.  Unity and diversity are necessary compliments.

4.  The consequences of action are inevitable; those who respect the law of karma survive.

5.  History is neither linear or progressive, nor can human survival be taken for granted.

6.  Used as a linguistic tool, the Life Wheel promotes clear, accurate and effective communication.

7.  With a correct paradigm, practical methods and useful tools, you can make yourself whole.

Herein lies another discussion, complete in itself.

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. By remaining ever mindful of the breath and the Divine Source from which it flows, self-selected survivors will surely find from deep within the answers to every question along with sufficient intelligence, courage and power to overcome and outlast every challenge.

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References

  1. Swami Vivekananda, quoted by Dharma Sing Khalsa, M.D. and Cameron Stauth in Meditation as Medicine: Activate the Power of Your Natural Healing Force. (New York: Pocket Books, 2001), 55

  2. Meditation as Medicine, 55

  3. Swami Vivekananda, quoted at http://izquotes.com/author/swami-vivekananda

  4. Patricia E. West, Rethinking Survival: Getting to the Positive Paradigm of Change. (Wisconsin: +A Positive Action Press, 2014)

  5. Rethinking Survival, 104

  6. Meditation as Medicine, 64

  1. Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray. (originally published in England, Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine, 1891)

  2. Jou,Tsung Hwa, The Tao of Meditation: Way to Enlightenment. (Scottsdale, AZ: Tai Chi Foundation, 1983), 71

  3. Patricia E. West, Two Sides of a Coin: Lao Tze’s Common Sense Way of Change. (Wisconsin: +A Positive Action Press, 2014), 31-32

  4. Two Sides of a Coin, 70

  5. Patricia E. West, The Positive Paradigm Handbook: Make Yourself Whole Using the Wheel of Change. (Wisconsin: +A Positive Action Press, 2014)

Where Is the Unity in COMM-UNITY?

Working with words mindfully is an interesting challenge.

For example, have you ever wondered about the names United States and United Nations? Why did Founders choose to describe their country as United? United on what levels and in what way(s)? By common principles? Common interests, commitments, or vision for the future?

What did charter members of the international organization intend by using the same word, United? Pursuing common goals, pooling resources and/or standing firm against common dangers? Does the word hold the same meaning today as it did earlier? What does it mean now, and to whom? Does United mean the same thing to insider elites as to the rest of us? Why does this matter?

The use of the word United is ironic with overtones of tragedy, given the current fragmented and contentious condition of both entities.

It part, current problems were inherent from inception, a consequence of failing to be philosophically correct in foundations. This single picture shows wherein unity can truly be found, and where not.

0 Def of Paradigm

Looking for unity in the wrong places was fraught with potentially dangerous consequences which are still bearing poisonous fruit today.

It’s especially important to rethink the meaning of Unity in the context of building intentional communities, for the chain of individuals bound together by common purpose is no stronger than its weakest link. The foundation of viable, sustainable communities begins with the integrity of each participating member.

The following Essay from Conscience provides food for thought along these lines. It offers a holistic perspective on unity, both within and without. This comprehensive view offers a useful understanding for building effective communities, as well as diagnosing past failures experienced as a consequence of limited vision and follow-through.

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Essay 60. UNITY

An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity. — Martin Luther King, Jr., The Words of Martin Luther King, Jr. 

The scientist or the artist takes two facts or experiences which we separate; he finds in them a likeness which had not been seen before: and he creates a unity by showing the likeness. . . . All science is the search for unity in hidden likenesses. — Jacob Bronowski, quoted by Todd Siler in Think Like a Genius

I have always felt that one of the simplest and most apt metaphors for an organization as complex as the United Nations is the Rorschach inkblot test. What one person sees as the hope of a world free of war, famine, poverty, and disease, another interprets as a global boondoggle comprised of uncaring civil servants threatening the cherished concept of state sovereignty. — James Holtje, Divided It Stands: Can the United Nations Work

THE FRONT

The Latin root of “unity” means oneness. Webster’s first definition is the state of being one, or united; oneness, singleness. It means something complete in itself, single, or separate. It can be the quality of being one in spirit, sentiment, purpose; harmony, agreement or concord. In contrast, it can also mean uniformity.

It can refer to an arrangement of parts or material in a work of art or literature that produce a single, harmonious effect. It can refer to constancy, continuity, or fixity of purpose or action.

The difference amongst these definitions reflects a general cultural confusion as to the optimal relationship of the individual to nature, society, and their creative Source. Effective, consistent action depends on an integrated concept of self and a comfortable relationship of each part with the whole. Therefore, thinking carefully about what unity means — as well as what it doesn’t — is a necessary prelude to ultimate success in life.

Accepting the I Ching view that accomplishments begin with the smallest unit, unity is first to be attained within. It’s common to say, “My mind’s not made up” or “Get it together.” The familiar saying, “The right hand doesn’t know what the left is doing,” could also be phrased, “The left brain doesn’t know what the right brain is doing.”

When Westerns say, “I’m of two minds on this,” it reflects confusion, ambivalence or lack of discipline. However, the martial arts advice to have eight brains and eight hearts refers to the height of attainment. It suggests ability to intentionally shift internal gears to meet any situation. From the totality of unified mind, the ideal I Ching master focuses from above while acting through each of the energy centers according the immediate need at the time.

According to the MPI Standard, the Motive, the WHY of psychologies and meditative practices is the same: to unify fragmented, antagonistic functions of mind, personality and behavior.

The Purpose, the HOW they accomplish this is diverse. Some practices start from the outside with behavior and work inwards. Others start with the mind, ideas and attitudes, and work outwards. Still others work on both simultaneously, which is possible in comm-unities where work and self-awareness training go hand-in-glove.

The Intent, the WHAT, ranges from personal self-mastery to inner peace and/or functional relationships.

As pictured above, in a holistic world view, external diversity complements inner unity. The core of life’s concentric circles, like the hub of a wheel, remains still as the outer rim revolves, constantly changing and in motion. Meridians, like spokes of a wheel, link center to surface, connecting and organizing the Wheel of Life in a dynamic unity.

It hardly matters how the goal of inner unity is attained. Once one is focused and all the facets of inner energy are coordinated by a single-minded purpose, the pieces of life’s mosaic fall into place, forming a coherent picture. Then life becomes a work of art, like a poem or a song.

Albert Einstein — equal parts musician, philosopher, physicist and world citizen — searched lifelong for a Unified Theory. The Book of Change embodies the universal code he sought. We’ve failed to recognize the clues hidden for centuries in a venerable text that have the potential to lead us to solutions desperately needed NOW. Restoring this treasure to the general culture would provide a fully functional paradigm from which positive, life-sustaining results can be generated across-the-board.

THE BACK

Regimentation and conformance are perversions of unity. Nature flourishes in diversity. Like snowflakes, each individual is a unique variation of its kind. Yet, in extreme social contexts, variations are suppressed and punished. While this unnatural state might be appropriate to unnatural situations like war, it’s antithetical to personal well-being.

Technically, because all things are connected, it’s possible to dabble in the dark worlds of demons and departed souls. However, though these realms do exist, it is dangerously unwise to explore them without a specific, positive purpose (“know the enemy”) and a white magician’s guidance.