Tag Archives: magic

Fate or Free-Will?

Our life is such a curious mix of givens and decisions.

St. Francis of Assisi captured the eternal give-and-take dance between what we can and cannot change:

Now. Let’s take these three God-given variables – SERENITY (peace, calm composure), COURAGE and WISDOM – and put them in I Ching perspective.

For it has been my experience that using The Book of Change as a wisdom-fulcrum tips the balance in favor of what can be changed.

I’ll give you a dynamic example from recent experience.

In an unsettled state of mind, I queried the book asking, as I often do, “What should I be aware of NOW?” The result was Hexagram 47 with a changing line in the 4th place.

The description was right on, matching my mood exactly. It was a chicken-and-egg-like situation. Which came first, the economic or mental stress, I do not know.

But reassurance that “the time will pass” was what I needed right then. It gave distance to seemingly endless difficulties. The advice, “use hardship to develop inner strength” reinforced St.  Francis’ SERENITY option.

The critically important insight, however, was embedded in the dynamic changing line:

Line 4: Placing trust in unreliable people puts your goals in danger.

Aha! I was letting difficult people and their on-going circus dramas distract me from my goals. I let them push and pull me down, forgetting my True Self. A host of spiraling problems all stemmed from that single basic mistake. Correcting that fault had the potential to turn many things on many levels back in a positive direction.

The first step was to take this important hint to heart and have the courage to act on it. The key point of interception was to refocus on my values, on whom I love and whom I serve. Put first things first.

Coincidentally,” identifying the root cause of “danger” indicated in Line 4 resulted in Hexagram 29, DANGER, which offers further advice on the right way to proceed.

I was especially impressed by the resonance between the two readings. Both highlight the importance of holding fast to goals and avoiding negative thoughts/emotions.

 The I Ching WISDOM-fulcrum changed emphasis from SERENITY to the COURAGE option of the St. Francis prayer, tipping the balance away from passive acceptance of what cannot be changed towards that which can.

So it is that magical transformations on many levels begin with changing negatives to positives. Again, almost sage-like, espousing the way of spiritual alchemy, St. Frances gave us a key to positive change:

Please. Do take a minute or so of your precious time to think about this. Let it resonate with you. Ask, Where is your focus? Are you able to tip the balances in your life, giving weight to the positive side of the seesaw?

Maybe, just maybe, if you’re not already friends with the I Ching, it would be well worth your while to try something new. Working with The Common Sense Book of Change might just give you a new way to leverage the balance between fate and free-will in a positive direction.

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A Magical Day

magic

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

Today offered one of those rare and precious times for me, bringing up basic life questions important to us all – about the quality of life and very purpose for surviving.

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

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

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

The second was triggered by the first. I thought back to my grandmother, Ellie West, who gave up a promising singing career to marry my grandfather, Hubble.

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

It won her heart.

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

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

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

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

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

The first stanza of Robert Browning’s poem begins:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The poem concludes:

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

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

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

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

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

IF

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Human Survival Cannot Be Taken for Granted

Utopia.sized

AXIOM FIVE of the Positive Paradigm states, “History Is Neither Progressive or Linear, Nor can Human Survival Be Taken for Granted.”

This concept runs deeply against the grain of progressive beliefs. It’s so apparently threatening to even consider that many are unwilling and/or unable to wrap their minds around these basic facts. However, denial doesn’t change what IS. It only leaves the fearful unprepared – unable to make the in-formed, correct decisions necessary to meet and survive immanent dangers.

The dangers are no surprise. Einstein warned, “We will require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.” In answer to his call, the methods included in the Handbook embody that substantially new manner.

Survivalists have warned of a Near Extinction Level Crisis (NELC). Some say it’s already under way. We’re already in its midst. Others speak of a catastrophic “deep well die off.”

Be that as it may, in Positive Paradigm context, some things never change. Others do. Knowing the difference between absolutes and ephemerals is a matter of life or death. The center of the Wheel is changeless. Those in the know depend on this. But the Wheel’s rim spins in endless circles of repeating, patterned change. Therefore, survivors anticipate the predictable, cyclical changes of nature.

They know far better than to take immediate appearances at face value. They’re not fooled by wishful thinking into the false belief that what can be seen is permanent.

Lao Tze, author of the world-loved Tao Te Ching (The Way and Its Power), knew this and tried to warn the world. Sun Tzu, Chinese author of The Art of War — a manual used by successful military leaders for hundreds of years — taught savvy strategists how to exploit the knowledge of human dynamics to win their battles.

Today’s international business leaders have adapted this wisdom, as well as spin-offs like the 36 Stratagems, not with an eye to human survival, but only to capture markets, maximize corporate profits and beat out the competition.

These various texts all draw on the wisdom encoded in the Chinese I Ching, the venerable Book of Change to steer the decision-making process. They rely on applications of the laws of subtle change to stay ahead of the curve. Knowing that surface appearances are deceptive can be used either as a protective, self-defense measure or as a means for taking advantage of the less informed.

Those who love life and take human survival to heart have passed on the basics of how the world really works to those with ears to hear. In contrast, others hoard this knowledge as if to prosper themselves at others’ expense. They deny or even ridicule it, keeping perceived enemies “in the dark” to prevent their success.

In the dark ages, Europeans were taught to believe that the world was flat. The fact that the globe of spinning Planet Earth is in fact round was received as life-changing information that dramatically changed the way people thought and lived.

Similarly, today some still continue to think of history as a flat, perpetually forward-moving straight line. But they are as sadly mistaken as were the ancient seafarers who guided their ships on the assumption that the world was flat.

In fact, the dynamics of human history resemble a multi-layered clock whose second, minute and hour hands continuously return to the same starting point at different rates of speed. Rethinking the paradigm of history to align with known facts would give future leaders an edge on survival.

compass clock

Hegel and Marx had a partially correct, but disastrously hollow view of historical change. They pictured it as a rectangular-shaped grandfather clock with a pendulum that swings back and forth, repeatedly moving right and then left of center.

Their concept of a dialectic prescribed an eventual synthesis of both sides in an upwardly moving, progressive direction. The partial truth in this model is obscured by its inaccuracies and politically destructive applications.

It’s important to note that the interrelated, interconnected fabric of life pictured by the Positive Paradigm Wheel isn’t limited to this particular planet or even one solar system. As a universal model, it literally has applications to how the universe, or even multiple universes, work as well. This possibility is not completely foreign to our human history.

For example, the Anastazi, a highly sophisticated culture of eco-savvy cave dwellers located in Mesa Verdi, Colorado, thrived and then mysteriously disappeared. Like the Inca civilization located in Peru, and ancient Egyptians who built the pyramids, their detailed and accurate understanding of astronomy led archaeologists to conclude that they came from, were in correspondence with, and might eventually have returned to destinations far beyond Earth.

Just as humans continue to navigate their ships in the waters of Earth’s oceans, there may have been — and may again be — times when star travelers operate on paradigms that allow them to travel the oceans of distant space. The wheel-shaped Star Gates of the science fiction series by the same name are suggestive of imagined (or carefully kept) secrets.

In sum, there’s far more to human origins and history than people dream of. Science fiction teases us to think outside the limited historical paradigm. There’s truth in supposed “fiction” that would enrich our possible futures if we use it to expand our knowledge paradigm to match the facts of what has been and could yet still be.

globe

Corollary A: The seasonal, cyclical model of history applies equally to personal lives and the dynamics of organizational and even dynasty life-spans. Knowing the current time, as well as the direction in which its going, is important information to be taken into account in any decision-making process.

Corollary B: Just as the hour hand returns to its beginning point and then continues on to start the next hour, our lives do not end with one span, but continue on. This accords with metaphysical and religious views on reincarnation and immortality. These are not mutually exclusive beliefs. Reincarnation occurs on the surface of life’s wheel, while immortality resides at its center.

Corollary C: Facing the prospect of human extinction may be threatening. But refusing to consider and act on the possibility doesn’t make the danger go away. It renders us unprepared to meet and mitigate danger, preventing the possibility of re-charting the course of history for the optimal use of available options.

Keeping the subjects of magic and space exploration secret, relegating them to the genres of so-called fantasy and science fiction is form of denial. It limits our options for meeting whatever is to come fully and optimally prepared.

When life transitions are anticipated and wisely prepared for, they can be faced without fear and navigated successfully. Elizabeth Kübler-Ross’ research on death and dying has equally useful applications to both individual experience and the history of civilizations.

Corollary D: Nothing on Earth lasts forever. Accomplishments in the fields of science, humanism and spiritual enlightenment cannot be taken for granted. In Positive Paradigm context, the creative source resides eternal at the center. While there’s evolution on the outward path, there’s also the opposite and equal potential for devolution on the return path. This includes not only physical dis-integration, but also corruption. This leaves savvy leaders with important choices to make, for themselves as well as the followers who depend on them.

Corollary E: An apparent death sentence makes time remaining all the more precious. In biblical terms, awareness of impending disaster is motive and opportunity to repent (meaning to change one’s heart and ways), and to atone (meaning to realign with the center), using the gift of whatever time is left gratefully, wisely and well.

Some will actually defy medical/historical prognosis and survive to carry on, whether it be here, in other dimensions or even different universes. (Science fiction fans of TV’s two-hearted, regenerating time traveler Dr. Who are well-acquainted with these possibilities.)

globe

Rethinking FREEDOM

 

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40. FREEDOM

“The natural laws of the universe are inviolable: Energy condenses into substance. A person who neglects to breathe will turn blue and die. Some things simply can’t be dismissed.

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“It is also part of the cosmic law that what you say and do determines what happens in your life.” — Brian Walker, Hua Hu Ching : The Unknown Teachings of Lao Tzu

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“Especially for those of us who lived in single cells, we discovered that sitting down just to think is one of the best ways of keeping yourself fresh . . . to address the problems facing you. You could stand away from yourself in the past and examine whether your behavior was befitting to a person who tried to serve society.” — Nelson Mandela, Interview, Larry King Live

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“When employees trade love, soul and freedom for maximizing profits, corporations lose their human center, and that’s as deadly for corporations as it is for us. The unhappiness and suffering that trade-offs create suggest that the paradigm is the culprit. We’re using bad software, and it’s distorting our concepts of what’s going on. We need all three together to be creative. When we’re destructive, it’s not because our nature is destructive, but because the trade-off paradigm is destructive to us.” — Breton & Largent, Love, Soul & Freedom: Dancing with Rumi on the Mystic Path

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THE FRONT

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Freedom is the state or quality of being free, implying exemption or liberation from the control of other people or arbitrary powers. It means liberty and independence. It implies exemption from arbitrary restriction or a specified civil right. It can mean exemption or release from imprisonment, or being able to act, move or use without hindrance or restraint. It means being able of itself to choose or determine action freely, at will, implying ease of movement performance or facility. It means being free from the usual rules or patterns. It can also mean easiness of manner, or sometimes an excessive frankness and familiarity.

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Like the words peace, love and unity, freedom is a state attained on the inside first, only then reflected in external circumstances. In I Ching context, freedom is a state of in-dependence, depending on inner resources for guidance, protection and peace. The freedom sages seek is the cessation of negative, involuntary patterns of behavior. Breaking the chains of destructive cause and effect is a function of focus combined with self-correction, forgiveness and atonement (at-one-ment) in positive action.

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Those secure in themselves dedicate their lives to extending the freedom they value for themselves to others without prejudice. Abraham Lincoln, for example, had the soul of a sage. He intuitively knew the basics of magic, and recognized the difference between black and white rules. He wrote, “As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master.” As if direct from the Treatise on Esoteric Ethics, Abe delivered a speech in Wisconsin where he said, “Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith do our duty as we understand it.”

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Yet legal prohibitions cannot end of slavery. Saying and doing whatever one wants as a puppet of blind impulse isn’t true freedom. Seeing through negative filters of fear, pride, or apathy is as limiting as literal blindness. Even in a society that calls itself democratic, to the extent we’re unaware of inner wisdom and the laws of natural change, we’re not really free.

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Soul is like the in-breath of life. Love is like the out-breath. Freedom is the intertwined marriage of soul and love in balanced, rhythmic exchange. When we can’t breathe freely, we slowly starve from within, and wither mysteriously even in the midst of apparent prosperity.

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Breton and Largent, quoting the Sufi mystic Rumi, write, “Whatever we do, we do from our inner compass. That’s free:

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Take someone who doesn’t keep score,

Who’s not looking to be richer, or afraid of losing,

Who has not the slightest interest even

in his own personality: He’s free.”

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In I Ching context, the self-mastery attained by thinking and acting consistently from a positive paradigm that’s simple, complete and correct is the most precious, inalienable freedom.

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Nelson Mandela’s life is proof that it’s not circumstances which enslave.

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THE BACK

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The opposite of freedom is imprisonment or slavery. This includes not only external, physical incarceration, but internal, self-imposed limitations. Bad attitudes, negative emotions and self-destructive habits can be as addicting as tobacco, alcohol or drugs, undermining personal freedom.

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Recklessness and heedlessness are perversions of freedom. If a mistrusted authority says not to drink, smoke or drive too fast, for example, the first thing a rebellious teen will do to assert “freedom” is disobey, regardless of the consequences. Sadly, this is the hard way to learn the connection between foolishness and disaster.

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Brian Walker, Hua Hu Ching: the Unknown Teachings of Lao Tzu. (HarperSanFrancisco: New York, 1992.) #40.

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Nelson Mandela, Larry King Live Interview, aired May 16, 2000. cnn.com/transcripts.

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Denise Breton & Christopher Largent, Love, Soul & Freedom: Dancing with Rumi on the Mystic Path. (Hazelden: Center City, Minnesota, 1998.) p. 7.