Tag Archives: leadership

Rethinking AUTHORITY

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

Authority, they observed, is shifting.

I agree.

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

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ESSAY 7. AUTHORITY

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

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

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

THE FRONT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE BACK

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

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

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

 

I’m Writing To . . .

 

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Like magic, hints about the baby steps to take next have been coming from all directions.

Today, I’m writing in answer to a comment made on Two Out of Three Isn’t Enough:

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.

For a split second, I went on the defensive.

What??!! Just mental masturbation? Focus on making money?

This particular LinkedIn connection has followed my posts from the beginning. He should know me better by now.

To state once more what I’ve repeatedly said, I write because — like so many men and women – my lonely, early years were haunted by unspeakable specters of suicide and abuses of power. If what helped save me could, paid forward, make a difference in even one life, it would, for me, be enough.

To save one life is to save the world entire.” This is the mantra that keeps me going late nights, after daily tasks are completed, even when my physical body urgently wants rest.

Though surely not intended, what “a target audience” conjures in my mind is the image of armed game hunters dressed in orange and camo garb, scouting for animals to snuff the life out of and eat for dinner.

Not that I haven’t given conventional writers’ wisdom – “know your audience” – some thought, thank you anyway. I have. A lot, in fact.

Here’s part of the problem. The Life Wheel is universal. It offers a scientific underpinning to support humanistic calls to live in peace. As written in Sages and Scientists Can Agree on This, it has the potential to restore awareness of the common humanity everyone everywhere shares in common.

On the opposite, shadow side, today’s lack of a universally accepted, complete and accurate paradigm answers the plaintive question, “Why can’t we all just get along?” Limiting, misleading paradigms are a root cause of widespread conflict and suffering in today’s dangerously volatile world.

Everyone is fascinated by both sides of change. On the one hand, we yearn for positive improvements. On the other, we dread the unknown. That’s because no one taught us the survival basics in school. We never learned how the dynamics of duality drive relationships in the world. We don’t know how to balance yin-yang opposites to maintain stability, first within, then without.

So we remain conflicted – on all levels. Ambivalent. Paralyzed. In fact, lack of survival basics has become our Achilles Heel – our fatal flaw.

Change is a word on the lips of CEOs, politicians, radicals, therapists, pastors everywhere. All use it. But very few have an in-depth understanding of what it’s about, much less have the methods and means to act as effective agents of positive change.

That’s one reason why I have a problem with niche thinking. The current trend of carving humanity into smaller and smaller, mutually exclusive either/or interest groups is a symptom of the fragmented, isolating thinking we desperately need to overcome. . . . which the Life Wheel has the potential to heal.

Fortunately, however, this coin has a flip side too. Being universal, the Life Wheel can be brought to life – animated and applied to illumine each and very tiny corner niche.

So, I’ve done my bestest to go with the flow of common wisdom.

For example, for a time I focused on MILLENNIALS. Being tech savvy, I thought, they are especially well qualified to resonate with the digital technology of the Book of Change — The I Ching. Further, they’re the ones most disillusioned of the “American dream.” Being less invested than their elders in prevailing, dysfunctional paradigms, I thought they would “get it.”

In When the Lights Go Out, Who Will Millennials Call? I wrote what still reads to me like a wake-up tour de force.

I continued with Good News and Bad News for Millenials.

Did any one get it? What more can I say? (Perhaps, I sometimes think, someone else might say it differently and better.)

Nevertheless, I tried again, suggesting what could have been billion dollar game and app ideas in An Inner Compass App for Millennials

Response? Instant contact from a venture capitalist. He wanted to pick my brain; tried to coerce me into signing a non-competition agreement that would, in effect, block further blogging. So sorry. No can do. (Reminded me of Hannibal’s words, “When the lamb cries, the wolf comes. But not to help.”)

Next, in frustration over the foolishness of a self-proclaimed millennial leader who didn’t get it whatsoever, I wrote What the Generations Share in Common.

So, moving on to other audiences.

The I Ching has been the primary decision-making tool used by LEADERS in every walk of life – government, military, monastic, medical, mercantile . . you name it . . . for thousands of years.

So I applied the Life Wheel, as the next generation Book of Change, to address a host of leaderships issues. For example, in response to a direct question, I wrote How Bad People Become Leaders; and then Savvy Leaders Go with the Flow.

In True Leaders Trust Their Inner Compass to Over Come Confusion, I introduced the Life Wheel to Authentic Leaders who already accept the importance of following their North Star.

In The Positive Paradigm Handbook: Make Yourself Whole Using the Wheel of Change, I’ve shown how THERAPISTS and SELF-HEALERS can turn the Life Wheel into a diagnostic and a decision-making tool. I have a special fondness for Jungian analysts, and said so in Therapists as Positive Change Agents.

For those who chose to frame their truth in the language of PHILOSOPHY, I wrote Change the Rules of the Knowledge Game. Here I focused the Life Wheel on the field of epistemology – the (politically charged) study of who can know what, and how.

The list goes on.

But . . . I still ask myself, how does one “target” the diverse and widely scattered audience of readers who hide painful dark secrets under the facade of their ordinary lives as housewives, students, soldiers, athletes, priests, poets, politicians, CEOs, entrepreneurs and on and on. . . ?

How does one “target” the hidden army of loved ones so poorly equipped to win the war to rescue sons, daughters and spouses from quiet desperation?

How does one effectively extend compassionate hope to the multitude of isolated, face-saving power abusers in high office — addicts driven by psychological forces outside their conscious awareness, rendered taboo by current dysfunctional paradigms.

How do I tell all of them, that like me, with the I Ching as a confidential best friend, they would find out that they are never, ever truly alone. And that everyone can choose to change for the better.

With its wisdom and support (explain its magic as you will), I have brought myself back from every temptation – from hated, the impulse to revenge, from self-pity and despair.

With its help, I’ve gleaned the benefit of lessons to be learned from adversity.

It has inspired me, instead reacting against abuse and succumbing to the danger of becoming an abuser myself, to live and to serve as a healing beacon to others.

What follows is a personal example of desperation and life-saving help excerpted from Rethinking Survival:

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The scriptures were inspiring. [the swami] cynically perverted them. A pundit disciple based in Minneapolis initiated gullible students in the rituals of guru worship. This aristocratic charmer held Western seekers in contempt and dummed the teachings down.

The powers of this smooth, flamboyant “holy man” were foreign to Western sensibilities. He flaunted a repertoire of magic tricks. He could change blood flow in his feet. He read minds and hypnotized students.

He reportedly bilked American students out of thousands of dollars for nonexistent hospitals in India.

By his own admission, disciples in India would have burned his ashram to the ground had they known he was habitually performing sexual tantra (rape) on unsuspecting American women. . . .

At his ashram in Rishikesh, India, three women he’d seduced got together and traded information. We realized none of us was a “special exception” to his vow of celibacy.

When we blew the whistle, he flipped out. Tantric teachings, he raged, were sacred teachings. Exposing them would damn us forever. We were terrified and backed down.

To the detriment of other relationships, I obeyed his command, “Keep still!!”

Covering his backside, the swami informed his psychologist henchmen that I was “mentally disturbed.” Protecting vested interests in their careers, they treated me as if I were crazy.

It took years to get over the pain, anger and confusion caused by their betrayals.

But I healed. I used yogic introspection to get over it mentally. To repair emotional damage, I turned to Traditional Chinese Medicine. For solace and hope, I looked to the New Testament.

But my best friend and advisor throughout was The Book of Change. I didn’t dare talk with people who knew the swami. They would have turned against me, not helped.

His powers were outside the experience of university-trained therapists. There were no qualified professionals to turn to.

Confiding in family was out of the question. If I went to them with one problem, I’d end up with two.

But with the I Ching, I could be completely honest. It has no agendas. Opening my heart to ask my questions was like talking with my True Self. Its answers rang true. Instead of tearing myself apart by warring against abuse of power, I used it to turn inward to the higher authority I could trust: my own conscience.

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Put the Common Core Back in Common Core

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Restore the Common Core” is packed with implications for education and, ultimately, human survival.

For those who haven’t been following articles posted on rethinkingsurvival.com over the past year, here’s a brief summary of the concepts embedded in the Life Wheel.

arrow bulletThe Positive Paradigm of Change is a model equally compatible with the perennial philosophy embodied in the world’s enduring wisdom traditions and with modern science. It serves to bridge the gap between religion and science.

arrow bulletThe Life Wheel with its concentric circles and central, unifying hub pictures the multi-level structure of creation. This form is repeats throughout nature, from smallest to largest. It pictures the organization of snowflakes, each unique in form but identical in basic structure. It pictures the rings which orbit the nucleus of each atom as well as the planets which circle our sun.

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These circles correspond with the three variables of Einstein’s formula, e = mc2. Ironically he had the Unified Theory, but for lack of yoga background, didn’t know it. Briefly, the levels include the material outermost level of observable, measurable, tangible objects, then a middle level associated with energy (chi, prana) and emotions. Still deeper resides a level associated with light. It correlates with the experience of intuition or guidance. All three depend on the Source of Light – the unchanging silent Eternal, beyond duality and therefore beyond words.

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These levels are not actually separate. They function as an interrelated and interdependent whole, linked in an infinite, two-directional in- and out-breathing loop. Those who experience this whole succeed in integrating the levels of daily life with conscience. Those who separate the levels, who ignore some at the expense of others, prioritize levels incorrectly, or place them in conflict, will eventually find themselves in deep trouble.

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This universal concept can be pointed like a laser beam in any direction to illumine the field. For example, the three levels of the Life Wheel correspond with three levels of law: human, natural and divine. This relationship is acknowledged in the Declaration of Independence, which refers to the laws of Man, Nature and Nature’s God.

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A second example explains differing types of intelligence. On the surface, intelligence which divides and argues (using and/or abusing the tools of reason and logic) is measured by the standard of IQ. More recently, it has become fashionable to speak of EQ, or emotional intelligence associated with the middle, energy level. Deeper still is the intelligence described as intuition or inspiration. All these center around a common core which can be called “Conscience.”

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A third example is the use of the Wheel as a linguistic tool. Most words shift meanings depending the level of experience they describe. In the example shown here, the popular concept “Common Sense” shifts meanings with each level of the Wheel. When the levels are linked and experienced as a continuum, Common Sense partakes equally of intuition, gut feeling and sound reasoning.

Now, how is it that this Unified and potentially Unifying Theory gains so little public traction? It begs the question to simply say that many people, for a multitude of reasons, are too highly invested in the status quo. Given the life threatening circumstances that confront us, why is there still such powerful resistance to a return to what the wisest among us have consistently taught from the beginnings of time? Where is the method to the madness?

In partial answer, I offer excerpts from earlier works. The first spells out just how important paradigms are. They make the difference between success and failure, ultimately between survival and extinction. The second excerpt suggests there are deeper dimensions at play. After these two excerpts, I’ll apply all of the above to the restoring the true, eternal Common Core to the progressive/Marxist political/educational curriculum inappropriately called Common Core.

globe bullet sizeWHY PARADIGMS MATTER

Ideas drive results. People’s beliefs color their feelings, triggering basic emotions which in turn drive their actions.

Actions that stem from a simple, complete and accurate paradigm result in personal fulfillment, harmonious relationships, and economic prosperity.

Actions based on false, incomplete and inaccurate paradigms, however well intended or passionately defended, are the cause of widespread misery, suffering and deprivation.

A fatal information deficit explains the worldwide leadership deficit and related budget deficits.

In a dangerous world where psychological and economic warfare compete with religious extremism and terrorism to undo thousands of years of incremental human progress, a healing balance is urgently needed.

Restoring a simple, complete and accurate paradigm of leadership and relationships now could make the difference between human survival on the one hand, and the extinction of the human race (or the end of civilization as we know it), on the other.

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ALIEN INVADERS

Alien invaders infiltrating Planet Earth, weakening humans to eventually take over and enslave them, is a familiar theme in science fiction. For example, in his various incarnations, Dr. Who — television’s time traveler — continuously detects nefarious alien plots and rescues heedless humans from annihilation.

Current events indicate there’s considerable truth cloaked in that science “fiction.” Starting with the premise that hidden alien enemies are covertly scheming to undermine humanity, ask, “How would they set about to destroy us?” Logically, they’d create chaos, setting everyone at each others’ throats. They’d trick humans into mutual self-destruction by stirring up dissension and fragmenting their governments.

It’s an absolute priority for evil aliens to attack the mind. Their agents will do whatever it takes to pollute your mind. They confuse it with false paradigms. They clutter and distract it with the ongoing media circus. Every doubt planted in your mind, causing you to forget who you are, to disbelieve in your ultimate origins and creative potentials, is a victory for the dark side.

To totally undermine humanity, atheism is a must. The unifying beliefs which hold families and nations together and fortify them in times of adversity must be destroyed at all costs. Again, how would this be accomplished?

For one thing, language which makes communication and community-building possible would have to be polluted beyond repair. In the English language, for example, every value word has devolved to mean both one thing and its opposite. So people often talk at cross purposes, unaware that they’re missing each other coming and going.

Divide and conquer. Pit each group against the others. It matters not to them which side wins. Let Sharia law advocates, members of Putin’s Eurasian Union and American exceptionalists squander their precious resources duking it out. If they destroy each other and no one’s left, so much the better.

Alien invaders delight in cheating. They stack the deck, gumming up the works with lies and disinformation driven by dysfunctional paradigms.

If you accept the game and its rules as alien agents define them and proceed to rebel against uncivil authorities, mindlessly hating and resisting, YOU LOSE. (Alien invaders win.)

If you give all your attention to what other guys are doing wrong, playing the role of contrarian, YOU LOSE. (Alien invaders win.)

If you quit on humanity and live only for yourself, leading a life of self-centered indulgence, YOU LOSE. (Alien invaders win.)

If you persist in thinking narrowly in terms of political interests and institutions, not human survival, YOU LOSE. (Alien invaders win big time.)

The only chance of winning — ultimately, surviving — is to demand a new, clean, unmarked deck, one with all the cards. In other words, make a fresh start based on an accurate, complete Positive Paradigm.

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My younger brother once riddled me, “How many legs does a donkey have if you call it’s tail a leg?”

His solution: “Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.”

Even so, tacking the label “Common Core” on a curriculum doesn’t guarantee that the substance includes the basics on any level of the Life Wheel. Logic and reasoning skills are deficient; emotional intelligence is insulted, not enhanced; the existence of divine law is excluded, if not ridiculed, as an option.

It’s a matter of human survival to take back the language. Then restore accepted access to the true, eternal Common Core as part of a genuine, complete and accurate education in the true meaning of the word – “leading from darkness to light.”

Conform: Exposing The Truth About Common Core And Public Education by Glenn Beck & team places the political/educational monstrosity called Common Core directly in the camp of the evil aliens described above. They start with the premise, “Information is power. Those without it have nothing. Those with it will always have CONTROL.” They state:

The dumbing-down of America is good for one group and one group only: those who currently have all the power and control. By maintaining a failing system they are forcing a collapse that will have only one “savior”: the federal government. And that’s exactly how they want it.

They continue:

We now stand at the precipice. On one side is the complete nationalization of education and complete loss of local and parental control. On the other side is a complete educational revolution – one that is rooted in individuality and that follows the principle of “maximum freedom, maximum responsibility.”

Sadly, 180 + pages of Conform are dedicated to argument and expose. Less than 30 pages are dedicated to solutions. And these, unfortunately, are limited exclusively to political measures. The most fundamental problem, the lack of a complete and accurate, unifying paradigm is neither acknowledged nor addressed. Deeper underlying origins of conflict as well as the source of genuinely positive solutions are overlooked.

Yet restoring the unifying basics of the perennial philosophy – the True COMMON CORE experienced as COMMON SENSE – an experience equally available to everyone, everywhere – is what might (just might) turn the tide of human history, tipping the balance in favor of human survival.

What Glenn Beck & company has exposed is a radically dangerous situation that calls for opposite and equally radical (truly radical) solutions.

Herein lies the opportunity hidden in dangerous times. In larger context, material resources aren’t that significant when compared with the intelligence, inner strength and inexhaustible vitality available to those whom circumstances oblige to return to the less tangible but very real levels of inner experience.

The disenfranchised (whose numbers increase exponentially with each passing day) experience the results of the prevailing materialistic, conflict-paradigm as catastrophic. They no longer have vested interests in the status quo to protect. They are the ones most likely to find the courage to move forward once again into the past, recovering the timeless treasures buried deep within the perennial philosophy of the world’s enduring wisdom traditions.

Now, as when Christ walked the Earth, the true fundamentalists and radicals (both words mean the same thing!) aren’t members of conflicting extremist groups who meddle with events on the material surface of life’s wheel. They are highly motivated individuals with the vision and determination to change themselves from the inside out. Their shining examples have a ripple effect, gaining momentum through time and space.

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* N.B. The current trend towards disempowerment of the masses is prelude to oppression and tyranny on an unprecedented scale. Co-opting education in the guise of Common Core, turning public school children into Nazi-cloned, obedient zombies, is one piece of a much larger puzzle. Attacks on Second Amendment rights is another. See: http://writerbeat.com/articles/4737-Should-civilians-be-allowed-quot-military-style-quot-guns-

The Evolution of My Aspirations

Leaders can’t be defined by a standardized, one-size-fits-all list of traits. This is the premise of True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership. Instead, authors Bill George and Peter Sims found that authentic leaders consistently define themselves in terms of their unique personal stories.

Naturally, they got me to asking myself, what’s mine?

There definitely have been defining moments. Looking back, there have also been consistently recurring themes.

But it took a recent direct message from a new twitter follower to put my answer into focus. Chelsea Hanson, a Business Growth Coach from Green Bay Wisconsin tweeted, “Great to connect . . . I love learning about how people got started in their work. . . how did you get into what you are doing?”

I tweeted back, “Likewise! 🙂 Step by little step. Pieces of mosaic fall into place to form the patterned picture recognized only with hindsight.”

It’s been my consistent belief that, of all the things I could do with my life, I should choose that which does the greatest amount of good for the greatest number of people. With that standard in mind, my aspirations have been shaped and transformed, expanded and focused with each new experience.

The autobiographical section of Rethinking Survival describes early influences. It started with Miss Elson, my senior year English teacher.

Though I didn’t take her seriously at the time, Miss Elson told me I should be a writer. My answers to her essay questions showed the marks of an original thinker. In contrast, she let me read a batch of classmates’ papers to demonstrate the mindlessness she labored to shake up.

What is life?” she asked. Like wind-up toys, most regurgitated definitions memorized in biology class. Catholics added their church credo to the mix. From her I learned that there’s more to being human than the ability parrot others’ words. It includes the capacity to reason and articulate clearly.

Later, while I was earning an M.A. in English M.A. at the UW-Madison, my aspiration was to be like Miss Elson. Without the tools of language and logic to analyze experience and express one’s concerns, how could people name, much less solve their problems? At the time, the highest calling I could imagine was to teach students how to think — really think — for themselves.

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

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

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

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

In retrospect, it was as if she’d reinvented the yogic disciplines which sitar and tabla students are taught in India, where music technique is balanced with breathing and physical exercises. Her gift inspired a change in my career goals.

Rather than teach technique, I could help many more musicians by becoming an exercise-and-therapy coach in one, like her. She was much too busy to consider writing about her methods and results. I would do this for her with a book called The Body as Instrument: How to Tune It.

Still later, ratcheting up another notch, I aspired to build schools to facilitate an entire generation of coaches like Frau Lehru. A primary purpose for earning the Ph.D. in Educational Administration from the UW-Madison was to hold the credential required to build an accredited alternative school. My envisioned School-Without-Walls was intended to serve the unmet needs of other boundary-spanners also seeking to fill in the gaps of our failing educational system.

Each new experience has continued to lead to the next. Many steps later, I’ve come full circle to fulfill Miss Elson’s early prediction. Today, I’m a writer because I’m certain that I’ve succeeded in putting my finger on the pulse of a critical information deficit. It explains the excruciating painful, potentially fatal world-wide leadership deficit.

Further, I am certain that the Positive Paradigm of Change not only fills a critical information gap in the way we train our leaders, but that, like a laser beam, it illumines every field of endeavor towards which it’s pointed. This includes not only leadership and governance, but also education, the arts and sciences.

Today my aspiration is for this information to reach the greatest number of people possible, in order to do the greatest possible amount of good. The stakes could not be higher, for I take Einstein’s prophetic warning deeply to heart: “We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.”

If you agree, and if you can help, let’s talk!

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Use the Wheel as a Linguistic Tool

According to AXIOM SIX, “Used as a Linguistic Tool, the Positive Paradigm Wheel Promotes Clear, Accurate and Effective Communication.”

Like humanity itself, the English language is an endangered species. Clear and effective communication can no more be taken for granted than any other aspect of the civilization.

In tracking the meanings of words, their devolution is found to be systematic. In some cases, the same word means not only one thing, but its exact opposite as well. The inherent danger is that people often talk at cross-purposes. They think they understand each other when in fact they’re missing each other coming and going, only vaguely aware of the disconnect.

It’s well worth taking the time to pay attention to what’s meant by specific words in common use. Working with the Positive Paradigm Wheel explains the dynamics of shifting definitions. The same word takes on different meanings at different levels of the Wheel.

Here is one example of how the single word “discrimination” changes meanings depending on where in the Wheel it’s used.

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Another example is the word “positive.” Webster’s Dictionary lists seventeen (!) different uses. They span the continuum from center to surface, with many gradations along the route. At the core, “positive” refers to that which is absolute, unqualified, and independent of circumstances; that which has real existence in itself.

At the middle, energy level, the term is used describe an electrical valence. As an attitude, positive can mean either confident or dogmatic. At the surface, positive may mean showing forward progress or increase, making a constructive contribution.

As this one example serves to indicate, it’s extraordinarily difficult to communicate so as to be understood as intended. The “Tower of Babel” factor issue is addressed both in Rethinking Survival and Conscience. This excerpt represents ongoing concerns:

The Tower of Babel Factor

The gift of language sets humans apart from animals. It provides the building blocks of communication. It’s the foundation of civilizations and the necessary glue of cultural continuity.

That being said, humans are the only creatures capable of using language to rationalize greed, lie to others about their actions and deceive themselves. . . .

That’s was quite the opposite of the language 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 reveal the mysteries of life and the universe.

Turned inwards, used with self-honesty, language becomes an essential means of introspection and cultivating self-awareness. For the truth-seeker, language is the necessary vehicle of information both on the inward quest and on return journey to share its benefits.

“Leadership” and the related concept of “power” are two words whose meanings require careful attention. They shift depending on the level that they’re associated with. “Power” is a word often associated with “lust” and “abuse.” But it’s also a key component of “democracy” defined as “power to the people.”

At the center of the Wheel, all-powerful is an attribute assigned to God the Creator. Omnipotent. At the middle level, power is associated with energy. High-energy people are said to be magnetic. Attractive. Sexually potent. Forceful. Vigorous.

Socially, towards the surface, powerful people are influential. Effective. They tend to dominate others and control material resources, whether formally (institutional authority) or informally (behind the scenes).

Lao Tze’s Tao Te Ching, translated as The Way and Its Power, hints at the possibility of linking the levels of power. Failing to do so results in dangerous either-ors. For example, a leader whose power depends on controlling material resources, but who has neither compassion for others nor a viable connection with the center, is likely to rule as a tyrant, bringing poverty and misery to unwilling subjects.

A leader who holds the power of middle level charisma over followers may dazzle. However, cult leaders whose connection to the center is unstable (claims to the contrary notwithstanding), can seduce, but not truly lead from darkness to light.

Those whose connection to the center is secure, but whose grounding in the practical skills of day-to-day governance is tenuous, are also incomplete and undependable as leaders. Regardless of how inspired or well-intentioned, they may be forced to rely on staff who are less than loyal or honest, and find themselves undone because of misplaced trust.

Ideally, the true leader links the levels, balancing enlightened vision with compassion, charisma and practical administrative abilities. Plato recommended the total leadership of a philosopher-king, and training aspirants to be equally competent on all levels of the Wheel, able to integrate and balance them.

It’s especially important to define another pair of complimentary words. “Virtuous” and “moral” are often used interchangeably, with misleading results. Technically, “virtue” is an energy concept best used in the context of the middle level of the Wheel. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), compassion is a composite of complimentary virtues that includes empathy, courage, kindness, calmness, gentleness, and joy.

Each of the virtues is associated with a specific internal organ. When circulation is unobstructed and the internal energies are full and balanced, the mind is clear and virtues are present. When the circulation is blocked or stagnant, in excess or deficient, negative energy expressions present themselves as toxic emotions: anger, fear, cruelty, hate, anxiety, and grief.

Virtues are natural and inherent. They’re common to everyone, everywhere. The potential for positive expression of the virtues is primarily a function of good health, meaning, in Positive Paradigm context, unified wholeness. Conversely, the opposite, negative expressions (vices) are the result of poor health. Appropriate responses for healing them rest with medical interventions, not judgmental social sanctions.

In contrast, morality is a social construct, a relatively superficial layer of cultural conditioning that may or may not be compatible with the expression of deeper, inherent natural energies. Moral codes vary from place to place, and shift over time. Codes of conduct in subcultures, from medical and religious to military and underground gangs, are uniquely context-specific.

Some would say that moral codes are useful, even necessary for maintaining order within a social unit. However, when they’re enforced with harsh sanctions, including an unwholesome admix of self-interest, self-righteousness, and hypocrisy, they’re at best a mixed blessing.

It’s possible to be moral without being virtuous, and vice versa. It’s instructive to ask, How moral are we, and by what standard(s) of conduct? What about our leaders? If there’s a disconnect between virtue and morality, what are the consequences? What’s to be done about it, by whom?

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Corollary A. Using the Positive Paradigm model as a standard, the current worldwide leadership deficit and related budget deficits can be explained and (with good will and training) corrected.

Corollary B: In Positive Paradigm context, “good” and “evil” (as well as “friend” and “mortal enemy”) are defined in terms of those who honor versus those who violate or even intentionally tear the universal pattern of life apart. By this standard, those of good will in every land are friends of truth, while evil doers, whether at home or abroad, are the common enemies of humanity.

Corollary C: Politicians who would set nations against each other and who flirt with nuclear holocaust for the sake of petty ego satisfaction and personal power are evil-doers. Even when they cloak evil actions in moral terms, their rationalizations are a danger to us all. The ultimate good requires unmasking their double speak and rescuing the language in the interests of human survival.

Corollary D: Just as the basic genetic structure of all mankind stems from a few original strands of DNA, universal ideas and archetypes are inborn and inherent to our psyches. They’re not restricted by political or national boundaries.

The basic axioms of the archetypal Positive Paradigm pattern and its use as a clarifying linguistic tool offer a foundation upon which to build upon a common sense discourse, reestablishing the universal basics common to everyone, everywhere.

Corollary E: The Wheel gives us a model for redefining love, authority, science, crime, stress, and a host of other key concepts whose meanings are con-fused (lumped together inappropriately), making it difficult to communicate. The 64 Essays on Change in Conscience are a start in this direction.

Corollary F: The chief strategy of the “alien invaders” described in Rethinking Survival is to paralyze the populace by polluting the language and corrupting the paradigms. They prevent people from recognizing the difference between true friends and enemies, between true dangers and boondoggle distractions.

Restoring the Positive Paradigm to general use now is a powerful way to undo this damage, forge better alliances, and prepare to meet whatever dangers are to come.

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Where in the Wheel Are We NOW?

Utopia.sized

Comments on my last post, A Philosopher’s Response to Boomer & Millennial Blogs, are the logical springboard to a series. This the first installment.

Jerry Pociask (Life Coach | Inspirational Mentor | Author | Speaker) remarked, I have seen this diagram many times in the past.

Of course. This archetypal, mandala structure repeats in every civilization throughout history. It’s a map of the basic internal dynamics that make everyone, everywhere tick. It’s present throughout the records of cultural anthropology and embodied in the creation stories of the world’s enduring religions.

What IS news here is that this perennial diagram is also the stuff of modern physics, as well as the foundation of an inclusive Self-Awareness psychology. Rethinking Survival correlates this universal pattern with both the ancient Chinese Book of Change and Einstein’s famous formula of energy conversion.

It describes the universal pattern:

The Positive Paradigm’s Synthesis Wheel mirrors the micro-cosmic structure of atoms as well as the macro-cosmic structure of planetary systems. At the microscopic level, its concentric rings mirror the structure of atoms around a nucleus. It equally mirrors the symmetry of the planets orbiting around an organizing star, the sun. On the largest scale of magnitude, it reflects the in- and out-breaths of perpetually expanding and contracting universes.

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 — a continuity of experience deeper than individual lives or transitory cultures.

This structure continues to take on new expressions to meet the unique needs of immediate times. Today is no exception. Star Wars and the Indiana Jones movies are examples of how a timeless fascination with the war between good and evil is being retold using modern technologies. Today, a worldwide audience relates to archetypal adventure stories reenacted by dynamic action heroes.

Similarly, The Positive Paradigm Handbook gives new clothes to the timeless perennial philosophy. It is intentionally designed to meet the needs of decision-makers in every walk of life. Its practical methods and examples show how to personalize the timeless pattern, first bringing one’s individual life into alignment with the universal pattern and then restoring harmony to a chaotic environment.

For example, the universal pattern has been modified to use as a method for restoring mindfulness to the decision-making process. It emphasizes the critically important relationship between self-awareness and effective leadership.

Be Aware.sized

The Life Wheel in pristine form is complete. The levels are all present, correctly prioritized, and in balanced proportion. Were our lives so complete, we would be called “perfect.” Were our society equally whole and balanced, it would be called “Utopia.”

Few of us are there now. Although originally created in the image of the Creator, as a consequence of our own choices and actions over a very long time, our personal Life Wheels have become fragmented and “bent out of shape.” Like Dorothy stranded in the Land of Oz, our dearest, deepest wish is to find our way home again.

Getting there requires a map, methods and proactive discipline. Converting the abstract Wheel into a practical diagnostic tool is a first step. The self-healer can use it to diagram the immediate situation, design a better future, and then decide on the steps necessary to get from here to there. Initially, the levels and sectors of one’s own life are drawn into a Wheel template. Then, taking a sequence of steps one-at-a-time leads towards the experience of an increasingly full and satisfying life.

For example, here is the diagram of an intermediate Life Wheel. It pictures the “state of the art” of an individual whose life is a work in progress. The X at the center represents the conviction that there is no God. The possible existence of a vital center has been ruled out. The innermost level of light (intuition, guidance) is therefore missing.

fagmented

Nevertheless, this improved personal Wheel a represents a major step forward from the starting point. New sectors have been added. Excessive focus on the Professional sector has been reduced and brought into relative balance. The sliver of a missing Family sector has been restored to the picture. An honest NO to the question of whether life is experienced as fulfilling has resulted in the decision to expanding the Entertainment sector to include time for self-improvement.

Redrawing the map can become a daily morning discipline. Ask yourself, “Where in the Wheel am I NOW?” And, if you don’t like it, “What am I willing and able to do about it NOW?”

In addition, however, there’s plenty more work to be done. This is just the tip of the iceberg of what’s possible.

Jerry Pociask’s comment hints at what’s next. He concludes, The diagram can be applied in so many ways . . . unfortunately it probably isn’t available on mobile phones!

That’s where I’ll begin next time.

Unity & Diversity Are Necessary Compliments

AXIOM THREE of the Positive Paradigm of Change is now “Unity and Diversity are Necessary Compliments.” Although the idea isn’t necessarily fun or sexy, understanding this essential relationship will significantly improve the quality of both your personal and professional life.

Taken out of context, the second axiom is subject to distortions and misunderstandings. Resulting confusion can generate conflict in family relationships and on, all the way up the life chain to conflict amongst nations. That’s why Axiom Three is an such important extension of the second.

According to Axiom Two, “We are Each a World Complete, Containing the Potentials of the Universe.” This inherent inner similarity is the realistic foundation of common understanding. However, the fact that we each have the same inner structure does not mean that everyone is identical and that we should act as if we’re all the same.

Like snowflakes, humans are identical in their basic structure. Each, however, is a unique expression of the universal pattern. Personal abilities and needs are the result of an infinitely complex set of variables.

And just as an integrated balance of energy centers is necessary to the overall health of an individual, a balance of complimentary abilities and interests promotes the general health of society at large.

We share the potential for perfection in common. However, in balance, innate potentials are filtered by cultural conditioning. Each of us has an overlay of education and personal experience which tends to distort and even mask that common core.

Each of us has a long history of decisions, not all of them good. We live with the consequences of past actions as well as our hopes for the future.

Further, while our inherent structure is identical, within the evolutionary chakra scale, at any given time and place, most individuals are narrowly focused on only one or a small combination of the seven centers and their specific issues. The roles which meet our immediate learning needs and simultaneously best serve the whole are the outcome of these combined influences.

Bottom line: diversity on the surface is an inevitable, necessary and beneficial compliment to unity at the center. So long as the levels of the perfect pattern are understood and correctly prioritized, there is no conflict between unity and diversity.

0 Axiom 3

When the levels are not prioritized, problems follow. Unity at the surface — meaning regimentation, uniformity and coerced one-size-fits-all thinking — is antithetical to life, just as diversity is at the center is impossible.

So it’s essential to prioritize the levels correctly. Be clear and correct about what is absolute and unchanging. Conversely, worldly success depends on accepting what is ephemeral, non-essential, subject to change and short-lived for what it is . . . and is not. Recognizing the difference is critically important to maintaining both personal and institutional stability.

For example, when alliances are formed on the basis of surface appearances — whether it be immediate self-interest, perceived attractiveness, race, gender, age or other biological markers — the connection is weak and likely to be short-lived.

In contrast, relationships remain stable when they’re based on a personal connection with the unchanging, universal center – that which everyone shares in common and upon which everyone depends. They withstand the tests of time and prove to be mutually beneficial.

For eight-thousand years and counting, Chinese sages operated on an understanding of how the world really works based on The Book of Change. This explains the longevity of dynasties which were steered in alignment with the fundamental axioms of change.

To the extent that ancient societies understood and were governed in accordance with the universal pattern, their leadership choices mirrored this organization. At the family level, the leadership role of the biological father was regarded as a natural reflection of the divine pattern.

In increasingly larger levels of organization, in each case the greatest among the group was designated as its natural leader, seated at its center, and entrusted with the grave responsibility of maintaining stability and balance in the best interests of the whole.

Although rarely honored and only imperfectly implemented, the universal pattern pictured in the Positive Paradigm Wheel remains the organizational model which best accords with reality, and has the most likely chance of generating beneficial results.

Just as we dearly need to depend on the center of our personal lives for inspiration, wisdom and stability, we need to be able to look to the leaders in our lives – families, schools, business, and governments – as stewards of our trust.

When leaders at every level, worldwide cannot be trusted to maintain stability or protect the common good, the times grow exceedingly dangerous. In such times, personal balance and ultimately survival depends ever more greatly upon an unshakable connection with the unchanging center within.

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Corollary A: The levels of the Positive Paradigm Wheel are interrelated and interdependent. But they are qualitatively different and should be prioritized accordingly.

The surface is transient. Hurt it, and it can heal. Have a bad day, and there’s always tomorrow. This is “the small stuff.” The center, however is absolute and absolutely necessary. “With God, all is possible.” But without a conscious connection to the center, nothing of enduring value can be accomplished. Violate this connection with impunity long enough, and eventually there will not be another tomorrow.

Corollary B: Looking for completion and stability on the surface, where none exist, is a sure formula for disappointment. Creating false expectations and failing to teach realistic attitudes towards inevitable changes on the surface of the life wheel (as well as where to turn for wisdom and solace in the face of life’s disappointments) is bad for mental health and long-term relationships.

Corollary C: Unrealistic, dysfunctional paradigms are the root cause of addictions. When people are cut off from their center or deny their emotional/physical needs, they feel starved. Not knowing why, they turn to substitutes which don’t truly satisfy. When mental escapes aren’t an option, self-destructive alternatives present themselves.

Corollary D: Bigotry, discrimination and violence of every stripe are a function of ignorance in regard to Axiom Three. We are different on the outside, but eternally the same on the inside. Look past appearances which are often deceptive for the foundation of enduring relationships of value.

Corollary E: Reason is necessary but not sufficient. When used to link the material surface with the middle and inner levels of the Wheel, it is a powerful tool. When turned against the life force, elevating itself as if it were the exclusive way of knowing, it presumes to judge what is beyond it. This is hubris, the catalyst of tragedy. Rationality in the extreme changes into its opposite, producing desperately irrational results.

Corollary F: Forgetting (or denying) the existence of a nucleus at the center of our personal atomic structure along with fighting over the illusion of superiority and possession of ephemeral assets is a sure recipe for personal suffering, relationship problems and professional failure. On an international level, it leads to atrocities and genocidal wars.

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Let Me Be Clear

What does “Positive Paradigm” mean to YOU? I have to wonder, because the word “positive” has 17 (!) discrete definitions which span the Life Wheel’s continuum from center to surface.

The word “paradigm” is becoming equally diluted and compromised. For example, Francisca Moors recently tweeted me from the Netherlands: “What’s todays paradigm about your self?” Her question implies that paradigms are personal filters (not culture-wide agreements) that can be changed like clothes from day-to-day to suit immediate whims.

In response, to clarify, I drew a picture showing the shifting levels to which the same badly abused word “paradigm” is applied.

 

0 Def of Paradigm

Please. Let me be very clear. When I use the word “positive,” I’m referring primarily to the core: “that which is absolute, unqualified, and independent of circumstances; that which has real existence in itself.” [See wp.me/p46Y5Z-9R.] Whether the effect of religious beliefs, social theories and economic policies is beneficial depends on the extent to which leaders and their followers are functionally connected with the eternal center. To the extent that they’ve lost their mooring, they’ve forfeited inherent power and validity.

Positive thinking becomes delusional when taken to mean “I can have whatever I want.” Positive Paradigm thinking humbly accepts that “With God, all things are possible.” The emphasis is on with. And all includes everything, hard and happy lessons in balance — not just whatever it is one wants.

Let me also be clear about how I use the word “paradigm.” It’s comprehensive and stable, foundational and basic beliefs — not something personal one can change on convenience, shifting with current fashions. What I call the “positive paradigm” is an inclusive, complete and correct worldview. It answers Joseph Campbell’s call for a universal “myth” (creation story), capable of recognizing the humanity of those living on the opposite side of the planet.

The Positive Paradigm of Change embodies what Aldus Huxley called the “perennial philosophy” — the core reality which the world’s great teachings share in common. For just as the sun is the center of our solar system and as there’s a nucleus at the center of each atom, there’s a central timeless experience of life which everyone everywhere shares in common.

Put the other way around, any belief system that’s not founded on eternal wisdom will inevitably, like the sands of time, be blown away. It cannot endure through the variable seasons of change. An incomplete, false paradigm, like the biblical “feet of clay,” will crumble when struck with the iron mallet of destiny.

The poet Yeats wrote “the center does not hold.” But that is the subjective experience of those who deny or forget their center. Nevertheless, acknowledged or not, the center remains, unchanged and eternal. It’s the true “common core” that (misleading label aside) is dangerously overlooked by the current, politically-driven educational fad.

Restoring the Positive Paradigm with its potential to outlast Titanic Times is an urgent matter of human survival. How urgent? Let’s see. The past week’s news alone offers several terrifying examples. Putin is saber-rattling again, doing a repeat of the Khrushchev-Kennedy death dance. “I want to remind you that Russia is one of the leading nuclear powers,” he threatens.

On other fronts, terrorists are planning to build missiles capable of spreading bubonic plague. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia issued a dire warning: “Jihadists could reach Europe and America in a matter of months.” The chaotic Texas/Mexico border is increasingly feared to be a likely entry point for terrorists. Not to mention the “chatter” of a significant event to “celebrate” the approaching 13th anniversary of 9/11 in honor of the 13th Imam, possibly involving “home grown” American terrorists.

Adding insult to pending injuries, America’s fund-raiser-in-chief announced that America is safer than it was twenty years ago. In response to this statement, two references from earlier blogs come to mind. One is the pictured definition of sheer evil in Positive Paradigm context. [See “How Bad People Become Leaders,” wp.me/p46Y5Z-9B.]

The other is the game show described in “To Tell the Truth.” [See wp.me/p46Y5Z-dA.] In that scenario, the rules of the game are that impostors have no rules. They can lie, deceive and misrepresent their intentions. Alinsky-like, their ends justify any means. An Obama observer on Glenn Beck’s website TheBlaze gave me a new word that describes Obama’s otherwise mystifying behavior exactly: TAQIYYA. It means religiously sanctioned deception. Its purpose is to infiltrate enemy organizations, undermining them from within.

In the face of all this “bad news,” I refer back to Mike Lehr. He’s the one who asked for my explanation as to how bad people become leaders (along with its implicit solution). In addition, he wanted to know whether dangerous circumstances result in the selection of better leaders. My answer: different faces won’t make much difference.

Leader-selectors (both formal and informal) have long since identified, trained and placed look-alikes to follow in their footsteps. Anyone who threatens that status quo has long since been driven off or otherwise destroyed. So insiders from the available candidate pool will continue to operate on the same variety of false paradigms.

There may be a few experienced but disenfranchised survivors left, ones who tenaciously hold to the timeless truth embodied in the Positive Paradigm. But as Old Avatar observed, it’s because they’ve had the good sense to hide out (like Yoda), perhaps to reemerge should another Luke Skywalker come forward. My best hope still remains with the as-yet untested Millennial Generation. From their ranks may emerge a handful of visionary leaders with the combined wisdom, courage and endurance to rise from the ashes of the approaching NELC.

It will be their blessing/responsibility to make the urgently needed Fresh Start clearly foreseen by the biblical dream-reader and prophet Daniel — the one who told the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but.

 

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How Will Millennials Benefit?

At the end of “Influencers Cut Through the Noise” I resolved to ask The Common Sense Book of Change how to present the I Ching to the Millennial generation. I did so recognizing that Einstein’s warning doesn’t seem to get through. It’s urgently necessary to find out what will.

Einstein warned, “We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.”

So I queried, “How do savvy influencers translate this imperative into Millennial terms? What relevant key can cut through the layers of noise (assumptions, prejudice, distractions) that cloud perception?”

The hexagram (six-line shorthand graph) answer to my query was COLLECTIVE ACTION with a single changing line in the fourth place. It looks like this:

7 CollectiveAction

Here’s the reading which represents the basic situation:

The foundation of successful COLLECTIVE ACTION is three-fold.

It requires clearly-defined, worthy goals,

effective organization and

willing self-discipline on the part of all involved.

Respectful awareness of others’ needs

will bring grateful cooperation.

Keep the larger purpose for action clearly in mind.

Avoid selfish exploitation of good-will.

Despite similar sounding words, the Collective Action referred to here ultimately has nothing in common with Marxist-derived approximations. Essential components of SUCCESSFUL Collection Action have been glaringly absent: worthy goals, willing self-discipline, and respectful awareness of others. So if Millennials are currently being drawn towards socialist/communist/progressive belief systems, oblivious to inherent dangers, that requires change.

When a reading has changing lines, the original one is taken to represent the immediate situation. The changing line is taken as a warning, which, if heeded, brings about a new situation.

What strikes me immediately is that this recommended approach is antithetical to the hippie, “do your own thing” attitude of the Baby Boomer generation that turned to the Book of Change to reinforce rebellious, antisocial individuality.

Paradoxically, there is no conflict. Thankfully, the I Ching is universal. The Introduction to the CSBOC observes:

Because the I Ching’s diagram of the universe is so complete, it is regarded as a valid tool by people with many different points of view. For example, Lao Tse, a Taoist, used the Book of Change. He viewed the world as an artist and free spirit. Confucius, however, who was mainly concerned with duty towards family and state, also had profound respect for the Book of Change.

The two-directional, infinite loop of the Unified Theory explains how this can be. Introspection on the inward path of individuation and social responsibility on the outward extension are ultimately compatible. Each extreme compliments and completes the other. Conversely, each out of balance and lacking the other, is incomplete.

No Conflict

Moving forward, however, the recommended approach of COLLECTIVE ACTION isn’t static. The fourth place associated with the heart center of yoga anatomy is a changing line. It contains a warning, which, if heeded, has the potential to transform the immediate situation into a new one. “When dangers are too great to handle, retreat. Try later.”

This caution is certainly reason to pause and consider. What dangers? Perhaps there’s an automatic-pilot animosity, a reflexive rejection of an unfamiliar book assumed to be foreign, unscientific, or just plain weird.

Then again, perhaps Millennials harbor an intense, angry mistrust for the I Ching as a book they associate with their irresponsible elders.Then again, perhaps the dangers of Collective Action are inherent in the warning. Remember the outcomes of Russia and China’s unnatural, failed Marxist, Socialist, Communist experiments.

If the warning advice is heeded and thoughtful pause is taken before pushing forward with promoting the Book of Change to Millennials, then what is the likely outcome? The new pattern that results from heeding the warning is Hexagram 40, FORGIVENESS:

Through FORGIVENESS, old debts are canceled and harmony is restored.

Free yourself from outgrown habits. Don’t be afraid to let go of the past.

Releasing tensions will produce health. Mental blocks will be resolved.

New clarity of vision will lead to important decisions.

Peace of mind will follow. Avoid anxiousness.

The consequences of reconciliation that could result from this improved approach to generational strife deserve a major blog in itself. For here it must suffice to say that what both Millennials and their elders have to gain from working intelligently with the I Ching is a healing of destructive misunderstandings. This brings me back to the basic point made in Dangerous Times Call for True Radicals:

My best hope for Millennials is that they’ll benefit from the lessons of history and NOT mindlessly perpetuate the pattern of yo-yo swings between opposite and equally dysfunctional extremes on the surface, disconnected from the timeless center.

There’s a shared benefit for all generations alike in using The Book of Change. Contrary to popular misconceptions, it’s not a manual to use for the purpose of stirring up change for its own sake. The primary purpose for working with the I Ching is to maintain balance. The more confusing and desperate the times, the greater the benefit.

Individuals consult the book to preserve mental-emotional equilibrium throughout life’s ongoing personal challenges. Leaders depend on the wisdom of the I Ching to steer a steady course towards their goals despite all obstacles and upheavals.

More specific benefits for the Millennial generation will have to be continued another time.

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Early Adapters Are Most Likely To Survive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All Best!

Savvy Leaders Go with the Flow

We’ve all familiar with the phrase, “Go with the flow.” It’s another way of saying, “Timing is everything.” But how does it apply to the leader selection process? That’s the final, forth factor Mike Lehr of Omega Z Advisors invited me to comment on. Earlier, he wrote:

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When I look at events, I see four major forces: circumstances, flow, people and leader. From my perspective, you wrote about the last two. [See “Scientists and Sages Can Agree on This,” wp.me/p46Y5Z-8W and “How Bad People Become Leaders,” wp.me/p46Y5Z-9B.] I’m asking about the first two.

The third factor has already been covered in a responsive blog. [See “Do Circumstances Influence Leader Selection?” wp.me/p46Y5Z-be.] That leaves the fourth major force influencing leader selection – flow.

Though I often describe flow as timing, my view is more from the I Ching on this. So, my question to you is this: Would being at different points in the I Ching cycle produce different leaders?

To summarize, I often ask people this question: If everyone suddenly awoke not knowing who they were and not remembering how they came to be where they are (if we could reset life), would the same leaders arise that we have now?

In fact, the Book of Change was traditionally consulted as a method of telling time. According to Conscience: Your Ultimate Personal Survival Guide:

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. . . the I Ching works like a cosmic clock, telling us the time. In the Old Testament, King Solomon expressed the natural, rhythmic alternations of time in poetic form: “To every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.”

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The Book of Change puts its users in touch with these pulsating, alternating rhythms of life. It connects them with inner knowing – call it intuition or conscience – that anticipates approaching changes, the better to prepare for what is to come.

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The Common Sense Book of Change explains it this way:

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This text is called the Book of Change because its readings sum up the natural laws of change. They reflect stages through which daily events evolve in predictable cyclical patterns.

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These patterns can be drawn on any scale from smallest to largest. For example, they might express the seconds which add up to a minute, or the minutes which complete an hour on the face of the clock.

compass clock

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What most leaders fail to take into account, however, is that the different hands of this cosmic clock return to the twelve o’clock alpha-omega compass point of True North at different rates of speed. By analogy, successful leaders have an overview of the complex point in time where their organizations currently stand, as well as the ultimate direction in which they’re headed.

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Unfortunately, short-sighted leaders see only the second- or, at best, the minute-hand of the clock, mistakenly assuming they see the whole picture. They remain sadly unaware of the larger context, oblivious to the long-term hour.

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For example, the fast-moving second-hand of the cosmic clock may point due North towards the zenith point of twelve o’clock and the intermediate-speed minute-hand point to 12:15. All the while, unobserved, the slowest-moving hour-hand may point towards the nadir, due South at six o’clock.

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Short-sighted leaders miscalculate. Their timing is dangerously off. For example, when they act as if prosperity is never-ending (or else just around the corner) when in fact a depression of unprecedented proportions is looming ahead like an “unforeseen” iceberg, they’re unwittingly leading unprepared followers into a disaster of Titanic proportion.

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To continue with Plato’s earlier “leader as charioteer” image, successful executives must be capable of harnessing the opposite forces of expansion and contraction, the yin-yang pair of white and black horses. If these energies are not reined in and balanced, they can tear whole nations apart, steering them off-course into self-destruction, either consumed by the sun or else smashed to smithereens below. [See “Know When to Mistrust Inner Voices,” wp.me/p46Y5Z-aR.]

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Those versed in the dynamics of I Ching yin-yang opposites know that each extreme generates its polar opposite. For example, extreme inflation inevitably triggers an opposite and equal extreme of deflation. Extremes of extravagant waste on the part of a few predictably lead to wide-spread deprivation and misery for the many.

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But how do the basics of flow apply to leader selection today? As discussed earlier, it depends on who the selectors are. For example, in biblical times, when the Egyptian Pharaoh had disturbing warning dreams which he couldn’t fathom, he had the humility (prudence) to seek out those wiser in such matters. He took the advice of a cup-bearer, formerly a prisoner, whose release and good fortune was foretold by an unjustly incarcerated fellow prisoner named Joseph.

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Joseph not only recognized the meaning of the Pharaoh’s warning dreams, but proved to be a skillful administrator. During the sunny cyclical time of prosperity, he advised on how best to meet the approaching shadow cycle of downturn with its specter of drought, famine and starvation. Given the responsibility to oversee collection of grain during times of plenty, he steered his people towards survival. (Joseph was what in modern parlance is called a “prepper.”)

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Unfortunately, most leader selectors have less humility. When they have bad dreams, they’re less likely to seek out the modern day equivalent of a Joseph to reap the benefits of inner signals. [See “Therapists as Agents of Positive Change,” wp.me/p46Y5Z-bA.]

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Disregarding disturbing signals coming from every direction, they’re more likely to listen to feel-good gurus who get rich by telling them whatever they want to hear. “Everything will be okay. Be Happy. Don’t Worry.”

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Unfortunately, repeating positive mantras can’t alter the patterned flow of events. As irresponsible leaders across the globe continue to lead their followers into war, playing political chess from their plush, comfortable offices, eating, drinking and making merry at others’ expense, the Titanic ship of Planet Earth continues on its fateful collision course towards disaster.

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In fact, as Old Avatar warns, at this late date in the flow of time, we’re not only approaching a Near Extinction Level Crisis (NELC). We’re already in its midst. The extreme outcome will surpass even the dangers foreseen by Plato or dreamed of by Pharaoh — more along the lines of the four-horsed apocalypse of biblical prophecy.

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Today’s savvy and responsible leaders — those with the prudent humility of a Pharaoh to recognize that they aren’t equipped to analyze warnings and prepare to survive approaching dangers — would do well to seek out and select those wiser than themselves and heed their prepper advice. The survival of their beloved children and grandchildren (which, as Einstein warned us, can no longer be taken for granted) hangs in the balance.

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Mike asked, hypothetically, If we could reset the clock to the zero hour and make a clean start, would the same leaders emerge? The ones he’s hoping might arise are already there, allbeit waiting in the wings. I’ve been hinting as much in recent tweets. “The presence of true masters is only suspected. Lao Tze 17.”

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The introduction of Two Sides of a Coin: Lao Tze’s Common Sense Way of Change quotes Passage 18, which echoes the Bhagavad Gita’s premise that at the nadir of historical cycles, true leaders come forward for the instruction and deliverance of troubled truth seekers:

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When countries degenerate into strife, / anarchy sets in.

When danger peaks, however, / heroes emerge / and come forward.

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In this context, the more realistic question is, Would a better leader selection process produce better results? That’s the immediate challenge facing today’s leader selectors.

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As for how timing influences leader selection, Lao Tze gives this answer:

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78.

Nothing under heaven is as soft,

receptive or pliant as water;

but when amassed,

nothing withstands

its tidal wave impact.

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As water penetrates

and dissolves the hard,

erodes and absorbs the rigid,

those who yield and encompass their foes

prevail long after evil doers

have disappeared.

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Like water,

the sage takes the world’s suffering

to heart,

endures its hardships,

and responsive to the times,

becomes the catalyst

of collective action.

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So it is that the low and high trade places,

and the forceful lose their influence;

this is known by many,

but practiced by few.

Do Circumstances Influence Leader Selection?

Continuing our conversation about the leadership selection process, Mike Lehr of Omega Z Advisors forwarded another set of questions:

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The Premise

When I look at events, I see four major forces: circumstances, flow, people and leader. From my perspective, you wrote about the last two. [See “Scientists and Sages Can Agree on This.” wp.me/p46Y5Z-8W and “How Bad People Become Leaders,” wp.me/p46Y5Z-9B.]

I’m asking about the first two.

Mike’s Comments about Circumstances

In regard to the conditionality of leadership, I welcome your thoughts on the influences circumstances have on leadership.

For example, just as terrain influences the type of battle to wage, there are market forces, technological influences and timing issues at play. All of these influence the selection of leaders.

For example, I often ask folks this question: Which dog would you prefer, a collie or a pit bull? Most usually indicate a collie. However, when I add the qualification that you now live in a very dangerous, crime-ridden neighborhood, they tend to revert to the pit bull.

Relating this to business, a firm in high-growth mode is a different situation than one in trouble or growing incrementally. Market forces and competition are also circumstantial influences.

My Response

The leadership selection process depends largely upon who the selectors are. The formal process in small business and corporate sectors varies, depending upon ownership, mission, size and by-laws. Similarly, who many participate in the selection of political leaders differs by location across the globe.

What all have in common, however, is the principle of natural selection. As Mike suggests, people instinctively gravitate towards those best suited to protect the flock and ensure group survival. For example, during war times, women prefer mates with mechanical, farming and martial arts skills over impractical, unskilled intellectuals. Conversely, during prosperous peace times when basic survival items like food, clothing, and shelter are widely available, intellectuals with the high earning power to purchase them are favored.

Here, observations made by a mentor at the Wisconsin School Board Association serve as a useful example. He told me that the selection of a school district administrator starts with the search for a harsh disciplinarian to force teacher unions and unruly students to “toe the line.” This works for a while. But then heavy-handed administration gets old. Abuses of authority are resented. So opponents mobilize to “throw the bum out.” They search for a mild-mannered replacement who is who is teacher-friendly and soft on discipline.

However, in due time, this lax approach starts to rub other factions in the community the wrong way. Yet another selection process is initiated to bring in a tougher new leader who will restore “law and order.” Opposite and equal challenges continue to generate an ongoing succession of new faces in the administrator role.

The senior School Board Association officer had witnessed this process long enough to recognize a repeating pattern. Elected, short-term school board members in local communities probably didn’t.

These pendulum swings between extremes are natural, but not optimal. Instead of repeated, disruptive shifts between between contrasting leadership styles, it’s possible to sustain cultural continuity by harmonizing contrasting opposites. An alternative, I Ching-savvy approach balances the demands of different groups within the community.

In this worldview, the sought-after leader is keenly attuned to fluctuating economic / political as well as technological changes in the environment. Such a leader isn’t driven by circumstances, but rather has an overview of the directions in which they continuously change. With an understanding of natural law, this leader has the ability to steer followers safely through every stage of the organization’s life.

Thus, in the Tao Te Ching, Lao Tze advises leaders to adjust with the times to maintain long-term tenure as well as organizational stability in all circumstances:

Adhere to principle / while adjusting to circumstance.

Goals are secured / by remaining flexible and open.

Caveat: When working with the I Ching, it is essential to keep its place within the larger scheme of things firmly in mind. Otherwise, it is subject to dangerous abuses. The abode of Natural Law in the Positive Paradigm Context is the middle level of the Unified Wheel. It stands as the gatekeeper between Human Law (legislation and custom) on the surface and Divine Law at the center. Its powerful applications are equally effective regardless of whether the user’s motives be for good or evil.

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While good (meaning responsible, competent and compassionate) leaders are sometimes wary of working with the I Ching because of its potential for abuse, bad (meaning irresponsible, selfish and cruel) leaders who have no respect for either Human or Divine Law feel free to use their understanding of human dynamics to manipulate others for antisocial purposes. [See “Know When to Mistrust Inner Voices,” wp.me/p46Y5Z-aR.]

For example, I have warned repeatedly about the disaster looming ahead in the next U.S. election cycle. Extraordinarily extreme abuses by the political left may have been deliberately orchestrated by behind-the-scenes puppet masters, as if to precipitate an opposite and equally extreme reaction. [See “To Push a Man Right, First Push Him Left,” wp.me/p46Y5Z-9K.]

I’ve also hinted at the urgently necessary antidote to this potentially deadly outcome. [See “What’s More Important–-Nature, Nurture, OR . . ,” wp.me/p46Y5Z-8k.]  In that blog, I conclude:

Leaders who intentionally live true their conscience and succeed in linking the levels of life are key to a viable future. The rest of us will depend on them to out-think, out-maneuver and succeed long after pretenders with no substantial connection to the center of life have been blown away like dust in the wind.

To Be Continued:

The next installment will include responses to Mike’s comments about the fourth factor, “flow,” as well as what he calls “non-cultural” issues.

 

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The Only Way Out Is Through

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Know When to Mistrust Inner Voices

A recent misunderstanding taught me a well-deserved humility lesson. Millennial spokesperson RhinoforDinner had challenged me: “What leadership quality do you think is most important for young leaders to learn?”

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Like a thoughtless Rhino, I jumped in feet first with an enthusiastic response. “I’d say Confidence, meaning ‘with faith’ in their True Selves: having the courage to hear & follow inner voice of Conscience.” Further, in a blog, Dangerous Times Call for True Radicals, I elaborated on why Two Sides of a Coin: Lao Tze’s Common Sense Way of Change is dedicated to the Millennial Generation.

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In retrospect, I recognize my answer came straight from my own world view, failing to take Page’s background and beliefs into account. So I didn’t anticipate his response. Instead of answering me back, he cut off our Twitter connection.

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I felt surprised, baffled and more than a little hurt. But when I expressed my disappointment to a close friend, he showed no sympathy.

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In essence, he reminded me of the obvious. I still have a lot to learn. In particular, he pointed out that to people of faith who read the Bible, my response might have seemed New Agey. The responsibility is on my shoulders to be far more careful, considerate and clear in the future.

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I did my homework. Page Cole is co-author of The Character-Based Leader: Instigating a Leadership Revolution…One Person at a Time. The book’s sub-title “one person at a time” resonates with the Positive Paradigm of Change and its motto, “Change from the Inside Out, and One Person at at Time.”

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However, whereas I’m a respecter of the world’s great religions, with an eye to the timeless, universal basics they share in common, Page is firmly grounded in the Baptist faith. I have greatest respect for the Bible and regard Christ as the ultimate universal teacher. But my answer failed to reflect this acceptance and respect. He had no way to recognize my answer as being completely in harmony with his beliefs.

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He had tweeted, “We believe in a Leader with Character, who acts with Integrity/Trust/ Respect for People. What do you stand for?” What he probably wanted to know was where I stand in relationship to other people.

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After healing my wounded feelings and doing an attitude adjustment, I invited Page to connect via LinkedIn. He quickly accepted, so I sent this message:

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Thanks for the connection, Page. I’d deeply appreciate your feedback. Rather than guess, I’d like to know from you why you responded to my Twitter answer to your leadership question by cutting me off. My head says to let it go. My heart says there’s something important to learn from you. There’s so much good will on this side. Why the disconnect?

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He responded charitably, re-following my Twitter account immediately. Later he emailed a detailed response. The cut-off was an unintentional error, he wrote, adding , . . “your comments were insightful and genuine. I loved the blog post.” But he also added a hint: “I’m not as versed in the writing you mentioned. . . “

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He continued, “I come from a distinctly Christian background.  I believe that ‘inner voice’ is the character within me that is being shaped by many factors, among them culture, family, relationships and of course Scripture and my personal relationship with God.”

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So far, it was merely a language disconnect. For him, “character” is a highly value-ladened word, one that by his definition spans the surface, middle and center of the Life Wheel, linking them. What I call a Philosopher-Warrior-Ruler, he calls a Person of Character. So far, no substantial disagreement. 

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Here’s how I picture our common understanding:

0 leader ruller

 

BUT then came the heart of the disconnect. He continued,

 

I’m not convinced that the “inner voice” is always a good thing to listen to, as evidenced by the actions of destructive and evil people throughout history.

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This is a seriously important reservation. It’s my boundary-spanner job to reach across the divide with a response that connects us in common understanding.

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The unique contribution of the Positive Paradigm of Change is that it speaks to this issue. It pictures a reality map that draws clear distinctions between rational, sub-rational and super-rational levels of experience. It’s not a new model. But it rephrases the “perennial philosophy” in terms of Einstein’s physics, linking historical wisdom with modern experience. It gives a way to articulate the important difference between misleading, deceptive voices that imitate conscience and the “real deal.”

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It follows in the footsteps of psychoanalyst Carl Jung, who was instrumental in introducing the Wilhelm/Baynes version of the I Ching, the venerable Chinese Book of Change to the English-speaking public. He worked to define the common thread of human experience that links wisdom traditions throughout human history, as did comparative religion teachers, notably Joseph Campbell and Huston Smith.

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Universal stories they focused on include one told by the Greek philosopher Plato. His psychological model pictures a chariot drawn by a pair of horses that pull in opposite directions. A white steed tries to pull the chariot off course, striving upward so close to the sun that it risks catching fire and being consumed. The black one pulls downwards, threatening to crash the chariot and driver into the ground. The driver’s challenge is to rein in and coordinate the team, steering a steady middle course that avoids danger-filled extremes. In this way, he succeeds in reaching his intended destination.

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[Regrettably, this poetic model, while psychologically accurate, has been taken literally and harmfully misconstrued as if it had racist implications.]

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A similar chariot story from the Hindu tradition is told in the Bhagavad Gita. Arjuna, a warrior driving his chariot into battle, grows faint of heart. At this point, Krisna, a god representing conscience, makes his presence known. As the passenger seated behind Arjuna, Krisna advises with encouragement and wisdom, giving him the heart to prevail in fighting the good fight.

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The Positive Paradigm Wheel is true to these poetic traditions. All account for the interdependent facets of awareness. The rational mind (driver) of the chariot (physical body) must skillfully harness the horses (energies, emotions) that power the vehicle, while heeding the guiding voice of conscience in order to meet ultimate goals.

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In addition, however, the Positive Paradigm, also accounts for the actions of destructive and evil people throughout history which give Page pause. Despite claims to the contrary, such actions are not the result listening to the Inner Voice of Conscience. Evil actions are the mark of unbalanced extremists who have been misled into following the seductive voices lodged within the middle, sub-rational level of the Wheel.

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Destructive leaders are heeding not the innermost voice of Conscience, but the clamor of the Seven Deadly Sin-Demons — starting with Pride, followed by (and often in combination with) Anger, Avarice, Gluttony, Lust, Envy and Sloth. Modern day demon off-spring include Separatism, Exclusiveness, Arrogance, Ambition and Competition.

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What’s dangerously missing from the prevailing, exclusively materialistic paradigm of empirical science — a glaring gap which the Positive Paradigm of Change fills — is a universally acceptable reality map which includes the sub-rational middle level with all its dangers, but in its complete and correct context: contained by the super-rational level of intuition on one side and by the rational level of practical experience on the other.

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Herein is the common thread which continues the earlier blog, the Fateful Fear of Self-Awareness. I will shortly post a description of the reality map with emphasis on the too little known and greatly misunderstood, danger-fraught middle level. Character- based leaders in every walk of life and therapists as positive change agents can use it as a reference to realistically navigate the temptations of Seven Deadlies and their off-spring in order to prevail in fighting the good fight for themselves, and then for those those who place trust in them.

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In the meantime, dear Page, I heartily encourage you to read your Bible faithfully. I’m remembering Old Testament words burned into my mind from a performance of Mendelssohn’s Elijah long ago. It’s a tenor solo, the scripture-based words being, “If with all your heart ye truly seek me, Ye shall ever surely find me. Thus sayeth our God.” It’s as good a guide for sincere leaders as one would wish for in this dangerous world.

 

All best.

Dangerous Times Call for True Radicals

At 7:07 a.m. on Tuesday, July 2nd, a tweet from RhinoforDinner popped into my email inbox. “Thanks for the follow! I’m Page! What leadership quality do you think is most important for young leaders to learn?”

I tweeted back, “Great Q, Page! I’d say Confidence, meaning “with faith” in their True Selves: having the courage to hear & follow inner voice of Conscience.” I double-checked Page’s avatar – a seriously disgruntled cartoon rhino.

Here’s the description: “What is real leadership? A rhino in a restaurant is no doubt powerful… But he has no authority! Helping leaders lead with authority!” So I followed up, “Conscience is the connection with ultimate inner authority.” Then, on second thought, an hour later, “Con-science = with science, the true meaning of which is ‘with knowledge.’”

I have enormous compassion for Millennials . . . as well as great hope, which is why the 2014 edition of Two Sides of a Coin: Lao Tze’s Common Sense Way of Change is dedicated to them:

Though it may seem as if they’ve been economically disenfranchised by their elders, material misfortune on the surface of the Positive Paradigm Wheel contains within it the hidden seeds of humanity’s long-term survival.

Ours isn’t the first time in the repeating cycles of history that leaders have squandered national resources. But in the context of Lao Tze’s larger reality, material resources aren’t that significant when compared with the intelligence, inner strength and inexhaustible vitality available to those whom circumstances oblige to return to the less tangible but very real levels of inner experience.

Millennials are the ones for whom the results of the materialistic, conflict-paradigm are so catastrophic that they have no vested interests to protect. They’re the ones prepared to move forward once again into the past, recovering the timeless treasure of the Positive Paradigm buried deep within the Tao Te Ching‘s wisdom.

  They’ve been given the greater opportunity to dig deep,

rediscover their inalienable inner resources, and

become the truly radical agents of substantive, positive change.

In the repeating cycles of generational pendulum swings, their 1960’s grandparents (indiscriminately) embraced all things change – on the surface. Religious, sexual and cultural norms went by the board. Hippie flower children dropped out of “the system” and tuned in to drugs, hard rock and doing their own thing.

Working with less-than-perfect translations of the I Ching, they popularized the misunderstood Chinese Book of Change to rationalize (predictable) rebellion against security-obsessed elders, who (as survivors of the great depression and World War II), had reacted in opposite and equally extreme ways to the extremes of the generation before them. (And so on, and so forth, round and round again.)

My best hope for Millennials is that they’ll benefit from the lessons of history and NOT mindlessly perpetuate the pattern of yo-yo swings between opposite and equally dysfunctional extremes on the surface, disconnected from the timeless center.

We now recognize that different visions of timeless truth are, necessarily, inherently the same. Looking back in time, the Tao Te Ching (along with the I Ching worldview it expresses) is remarkably compatible with Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. Looking forward, it is equally compatible with the teachings of Christ. Most recently, the correlation has been made with the three variables of Einstein’s famous formula. He had the Unified Theory, though lacking familiarity with ancient teachings, didn’t know it.

Now, as in the time when Christ walked the Earth, true fundamentalists and radicals (both words mean the same thing) aren’t conflicting extremist groups that meddle with events on the material surface of life’s wheel, but single individuals with the courage and vision to change themselves from the inside out.

Millennials, along with the parents and grandparents who dearly wish them well, can benefit from a hard-earned, deeper understanding of change. They’re becoming aware that times of adversity and extreme danger offer opportunities for self-transcendence. They can anticipate hidden blessings (however well-disguised) and prepare according to The Common Sense Book of Change view of CHANGE:

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.

 

This, in turn, however, leads to a whole new subject.

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