Tag Archives: natural law

Gandhi’s Way Out of Madness – IC – 100820

Before going further, rest assured. I’m not a politician. I’m not politically motivated. What follows flows from a profound sense of responsibility.

That being said, here goes.

During 2020’s polarizing time of conflict and loss, the last thing that appeals is the urgently needed counterbalance. People are upset — angry, afraid and worried about the future. No one wants to hear about focus and meditation.

But it’s exactly when things fall apart, when it seems as if “the center does not hold,” that voices of reason telling us to stay calm are most needed.

Practical tools which help us “keep it together” don’t hurt either.

We need ways to cut through the noise of distracting, propaganda news.

We’ve got important decisions to make. As top priority, we need to know what our choices really are — what’s ultimately at stake for the future.

For example: missing the mark by a long mile, BLM’s violent agenda is anti-family, anti-freedom, ultimately anti-survival. Neither positive nor progressive, members fight no-holds-barred to shift public thinking to the extreme far left, dangerously off-center.

It’s a far cry from the vision of Martin Luther King, Jr., whose birthday is celebrated by us in the U.S. as a national holiday.

BLM’s goals are antithetical to King’s. Where MLK would uplift and unify, they polarize and fragment.

Now. Borrowing from You Are Already Enough!, this is what the madness of fragmentation looks like from the Unified Field perspective. The levels of the Life Wheel are thrown off balance. They’re out of synch:

MLK gave the world a remedy. In Pilgrimage to Nonviolence, he wrote:

Nonviolence is both an attitude and a strategy. MLK learned it from Gandhi, who was credited with showing the world “a way out of madness.” Gandhi, in turn, got the idea from the Yoga Sutras of Pantajli.

Yoga philosophy calls it ahimsa: nonviolence in both thought and action. It’s a commitment to not causing pain, mental or physical, to any living being.

Gentleness, the final outcome of today’s reading, is the I Ching equivalent.

It’s important to understand that the middle level of the Life Wheel where Natural Law operates is impartial. Unlike humans, energy doesn’t have values.

Energy simply IS. It doesn’t care who uses it, how or why. Anyone can harness it to any end. Like a docile ox or a red Ferrari, it takes the driver, without question, wherever told. Whether it’s used or abused depends on the driver.

Mao Tse-Tung is a real world example of abuse. He says in On Guerrilla Warfare:

Careful planning is necessary if victory is to be won in guerrilla war, and those who fight without method do not understand the nature of guerrilla action. . . Even in defense, all our efforts must be directed toward a resumption of the attack, for it is only by attack that we can extinguish our enemies and preserve ourselves . . .

With an instinctive understanding of Natural Law, Mao brilliantly outmaneuvered his enemies to become China’s ruler. The strategy was effective. But it was driven by shallow ambition, not love.

BLM street fighters have much in common with Mao. Using his strategy of guerrilla warfare, they’re gaining ground. But their ends are similar.

So at the crossroads of 2020, humanity faces a choice. Which path will it be? MLK’s way of understanding and cooperation? Or Mao’s road to genocide and tyranny? (BTW: Quitting in confusion — being paralyzed into inaction, is also a choice. It too has consequences.)

Think about it. Carefully. What future are we choosing for ourselves, our children and grandchildren?

The I Ching Reading

Because The Book of Change isn’t taught in schools, it remains unfamiliar to most. Like other knowledge arising from the “taboo” inner levels of the Life Wheel, it remains a mystery. That’s why I’ve chosen to bring the book to you. The goal is to make what was once unfamiliar now familiar.

FRESH START is the original answer to today’s question, “What should we be aware of NOW?” It reads:

Even when it seems that all has been spoiled, it is possible to make a FRESH START. Be willing to face your faults. Find out how to correct them. The situation will gradually improve if you are sincere and work hard. Be sure you know what you want. Avoid delay.

Spot on!

Right now, it seems virtually everything has been spoiled. The economy, the healthcare system, school schedules, our social lives . . . even the course of the U.S. election.

The prospect of a Fresh Start is a breath of fresh air!

But hold on. Fresh Start may be the original reading, but it changes. It’s not the final outcome. Getting from here to there won’t be instant. Nor is it guaranteed.

Middle steps are involved. Two were introduced on September 28th in At-one-ment. The first is recognizing mistakes: owing up to the ways we miss the mark. Repentance. The second is self-correction: overcoming conflict and shifting gears to the Unified Field paradigm.

A third is Clarity, the final outcome of We’re At Critical Mass. Going forward, we’ve got to be crystal clear about our goals.

With this in mind, the advice of today’s changing 5th line is: “Demonstrate the ability to improve yourself. This will earn respect.”

Good intentions aren’t enough. Follow-through and results are required. The end goal is earning respect. (That would get a thumbs-up from MLK. ☺)

If the warning is heeded, Line 5 changes to GENTLENESS:

As the wind moves clouds, shapes mountains and stirs the trees, so GENTLENESS has a powerful influence. Quiet, steady gradual actions win respect and cooperation. Find out what concerns the people you work with and speak in those terms. In this way, you can reach their minds. Avoid noisy conflict.

Like Gandhi’s nonviolence, Gentleness is both an attitude and a strategy. Again, respect and cooperation resonate with MLK’s goals.

Now, don’t confuse being gentle with being a wimp. Far from being weak, Gentleness is a reflection of deep inner strength.

Gentleness is inspired by love. It blends thoughtful kindness with patience. Unlike Mao’s “attack and extinguish” guerrilla warfare, Gentleness avoids conflict. Instead, it wears down resistance and overcomes misunderstandings, gradually changing conflict into peace.

NB: On a final, hopeful note: today’s Fresh Start is at the beginning. It reappears as a final outcome at the end of 2020. Twice. First on December 21st, date of an exceptionally powerful winter solstice. Then on New Year’s Eve. So keep the faith. There’s a light at the end of 2020’s dark tunnel.

Collected posts will be published as The Lessons of 2020: Using the Wisdom of CHANGE to Build a Better Future. Look for it on amazon in January of 2021.

If you’d like a copy of the CSBOC, or extras to give others, click here.

To orderTwo Sides of a Coin: Lao Tze’s Common Sense Way of Change, click here.

Okay, then. That’s all for now. Talk with you again soon. Take care, all.

We’re at a Crossroads – IC – 100120

On the day of 2020’s fiery harvest full moon, the I Ching tells us direct, in its own clear and simple way, what professional astrologers have also been saying.

The initial reading CREATIVE POWER, gives new meaning to the slogan, “Power to the People.”

The first hexagram consists of all straight lines, representing the influence of heaven. It reads:

The source of life is CREATIVE POWER. It gives the clarity, determination and energy to endure over time. The thinker’s greatest ideas, a warrior’s strength and a father’s love are three examples of creative power. Another is the sun, which sheds its light equally over all, bringing seeds to life.

The I Ching’s first reading refers to the Source which abides in the Center of the Life Wheel. It’s the deepest meaning of the word power, lending its influence to expressions at the outer levels.

This image gives you the whole picture. It’s worth 10,000 words. A full book couldn’t begin to do it justice. The time and attention you give it will be the measure of value received.

The last time patterns now in the sky appeared was one of “power to the people.” Earlier, their gift of revolutionary change included giving ordinary people direct access to the Bible. Scripture had been exclusive property of the church. But now, the rest had direct access to knowledge-as-power.

With Martin Luther’s translation, they could read and decide for themselves. Acquiescing to established powerholders as the price of access was no longer necessary.

In 2020, the “power to the people” pattern is widening in scope. Monopolies on knowledge-as-power are being further by-passed. For example, Joe Dispenza is giving the methods and powerful results of meditation — formerly reserved to monasteries – straight to ordinary people like you and me.

Psychologists, notably Marisa Peer, are popularizing rapid, effective methods of self-healing.

We can research medical information online.

Less complicated, more understandable forms of astrology are arising.

Even the I Ching, once regarded as taboo or impossibly esoteric, is becoming available. The Common Sense Book of Change along with a yoga-consistent version of its off-shoot, the world-loved Tao Te Ching, are public-ready.

The reading below is an excellent example of how the CSBOC yields useful information, without the clutter of a symbol-filled zodiac chart.

For starters, here’s what astrologers say. Today’s harvest full moon is in Aires, a martial fire sign. The proof is a world is on fire, in more ways than one. The next four to six weeks will escalate to the dramatic peak of this extraordinarily intense and turbulent year.

WE’RE AT A CROSSROADS.

They see a choice.

Either we can get sucked into the drama. Play out the anger. Drown in despair.

Or . . . we can use the opportunity of chaotic times to shift gears. Take a deep breath. Go within. Shift our minds to a higher level of consciousness. Change the way we think. Get better results. The Wheel above shows the meditative path which can reconnect us with our inalienable, innate power.

Right now, intensely toxic times are surfacing the dark underbelly usually ignored. Astrologist Pam Gregory calls it a time of “deep purging.” The undeniable presence of ugly elephants in the room is challenging us to clean out the emotional, energetic – and political — swamp.

The clearing will happen, astrologers say, whether we choose to do so consciously or prefer to suffer through the process unconsciously.

The following reading shows that it’s possible to arrive at the same conclusion, on your own, using just a simple book written in plain English.

——

FYI. Full moon research took on a life of its own. Reporting at length here would have missed the mark. So I’ve published a spin-off. It lists links to a generous sample of harvest full moon videos along with comments.

The I CHING READING

Because we’ve never been taught about the Book of Change, it’s unfamiliar. Its ways remains a mystery, its value forfeit. As a remedy, I’m bringing the book to you. Accept these bi-weekly readings as an opportunity to make what was unfamiliar now familiar.

CREATIVE POWER, the original answer to the question, “What should we be aware of NOW?” changes twice to produce a second outcome.

The advice and outcomes of the two changing line along with their combined result is so rich in meaning that I’m taking a new approach here. I’ll make only the few points that stand out. Let them serve as a springboard to your imagination.

Advice of the bottom line reads, “Working quietly will bring best results now. Avoid showing off.” Flaunting one’s gifts is a bad idea, especially now.

When the advice is heeded, the line changes to TEMPTATION:

If unethical people or ideas enter the situation, recognize the possible danger of giving in to TEMPTATION at once. Taking a disciplined stand against evil can prevent it from taking over. Not every temptation brings harm, however. Decide whether cooperation would produce creative growth or destructive chaos.

I’m understanding that today’s world is rife with danger. We’re at the crossroads of which astrologers speak. The time to choose between chaos or inner growth is NOW, before it’s too late. Acquiescing to evil is NOT a viable option.

The advice of changing line 4 is, “Choose worthy work that expresses your own abilities and deepest aspirations.” I take this to mean, Remain true to your Self. Don’t squander the blessings of Creative Power. Honor them in all you do.

Heeded, the 4th line changes to FRUSTRATION:

External factors you may not even be aware of will cause FRUSTRATION. New projects will not work out now. This cannot be avoided. Arguing will not influence those who could help. Your choice is either to wait patiently or to leave the situation. Pay attention to details.

Echoing astrologers, I take this to mean, Engaging in current chaos is futile. Keep your powder dry. Pick your battles wisely. This is a time to focus on inner growth. Wait patiently for the time when your actions can make a difference.

Combined, the changing lines result in GENTLENESS:

As the wind moves clouds, shapes mountains and stirs the trees, so GENTLENESS has a powerful influence. Quiet, steady gradual actions win respect and cooperation. Find out what concerns the people you work with and speak in those terms. In this way, you can reach their minds. Avoid noisy conflict.

Here, I’m reminded of a favorite maxim: “Resist not evil. Persist in the good.” Be like the wind. Flow like water.

I’m also reminded of an early post, Rethinking Power. Its Lao Tze quote underscores the importance of GENTLENESS as an antidote to strident conflict. In the end, it’s the most effective power available to ordinary people like you and me, who aren’t rich, powerful or connected on the surface of the Life Wheel:

Nothing under heaven is as soft, receptive and yielding as water. / Its gentleness dissolves the hard, erodes and absorbs the rigid. Thus, those who bend endure long after the unbending have snapped.

Last, I’m reminded of the invitation (veiled threat) repeated in Exodus. “Return unto me and I return unto you.” This is the dynamic, two-way process of the Life Wheel, first returning to Source, then completing the pattern by extending outwards, expressing Creative Source in the world.

Staying stuck on the surface is the first choice foreseen by astrologers. Turning inwards, returning to Creative Power, remembering who we truly are, owning and living it, is the second option open to us at this 2020 crossroads.

Collected readings will be published as The Lessons of 2020: Using the Wisdom of CHANGE to Build a Better Future. Look for it on amazon in January of 2021.

If you’d like your very own copy of the CSBOC, to answer your unique questions at your own convenience, or want extras to give others, click here.

Two Sides of a Coin: Lao Tze’s Common Sense Way of Change is a yoga-based version of the Tao Te Ching, the ever popular, poetic and practical expression of IC Natural Law.To order a copy, click here.

Okay, then. That’s all for now. Talk with you again soon. Take care, all.

Keep It Simple – IC – 092420

I’m going to get ahead of the story by telling you up front: the outcome of today’s reading is WISDOM.

But it’s a very special kind of wisdom. The kind that comes from direct experience.

It’s not about traditional customs. It’s not about the dictates of authority.

It IS about connecting with the inner authority of conscience.

I said as much as early as 1975 in the Introduction to The Common Sense Book of Change:

Those who have become disenchanted with sexist, authoritarian and culture-bound sources of guidance find that The Common Sense Book of Change offers a viable method for getting in touch with the authority of inner conscience.

Between then and now, I’ve discovered a lot about the method in its magic. I intuited the connection between Einstein’s formula and the universal, yogic Life Wheel. This image serves to show how working with the Book of Change links the noisy, everyday mind with its central, eternal Source.

I also became certain that absence of WISDOM is the cause of so much that goes wrong in our lives, despite the best of intentions. We’re never been taught about Natural Law, most especially the Law of Karma. Operating “out of sight, out of mind” in the “taboo,” middle, e = energy level of the Life Wheel, they function as the gatekeeper between ordinary experience and inner conscience.

In Rethinking Survival,” I called this blind spot in public education a “fatal knowledge deficit.” Ignorance of Natural Law has led to the worldwide leadership deficit and related budget deficits.

There are NO comprehensive remedies to 2020’s madness other than returning to Wisdom. You can’t get from here to there except through that middle, energy level of the Life Wheel, the domain of the I Ching.

Since this isn’t the place for detailed explanations, I’ve supplied links to more information.

Before going to today’s reading, however, I will tell you a bit about why I wrote The Common Sense Book of Change and the unique value it offers you.

Countless versions of the I Ching are already out there. However, I had a problem with them. They layer universal laws with cultural agendas. They cloak simple truth in flowery poetic language, esoteric symbolism, and unnecessary sexist assumptions.

To my way of thinking, truly important ideas can and should be expressed with utmost simplicity. Einstein said as much. Occam’s Razor, don’t ya know.

Which isn’t to say the basic book is simple-minded. Quite the opposite. It’s oceans deep. It’s pure science, but in the original meaning of the word, “with knowledge.” Its wisdom is more inclusive than science of the limited, empirical sort.

For example, did you know that the hexagram’s open and closed lines correspond with the lower chakras of the subtle energy body? Or that they preceded calculus and binary-digital computer code?

Or that the Chinese pictogram of the book’s name closely resembles the DNA double helix? In fact, researchers correlate the 64 hexagrams directly with the 64 basic DNA strands.

In combination, these tidbits hint at why the book has had such a powerful affect on human consciousness for eight-thousand years and counting.

But, for most of us, it’s enough just to experience that it works!

So begin with the easy-to-read Common Sense Book of Change. It strips away irrelevant cultural trappings, expressing the essential ideas clearly and simply.

Granted, like other ancient books, it has suffered abuse. Sometimes it’s turned to selfish ends. But it wasn’t meant to be used to get what we want, or find out whether we’ll get it.

It can’t possibly tell us what the future will be. The future hasn’t yet been decided. It can, however, advise on the best ways to prepare for the future, whatever it may hold.

But the basic purpose of the I Ching is to return us to our true selves, to reconnect conscious Awareness with inner Wisdom. It’s pure divination, in the sense of invoking divine presence.

One final thought before proceeding. My teacher long ago warned me. I had a choice. Either write what people want to hear or tell the truth. The first will be popular. The second won’t.

Today, I see a third option. Give readers a user-friendly method for connecting with their own truth. Some will. Others will hear what they want. Either way, the door remains open.

Here’s the progression of the reading. Be warned. Synchronicities abound. : )

With the exception of an additional changing line, today’s reading is IDENTICAL to the 1975 Introduction, where I asked “What does The Common Sense Book of Change have to offer its readers?”

In both cases, the original answer is:

Fascinating!! From the very onset, the CSBOC’s self-introduction included the three variables of the Unified Field Theory: creative source (light), the patterns of natural change (energy) and the end results of linking the levels of the Life Wheel (matter).

The advice of the bottom changing line is, “Narrow-minded self-interest is not enlightened. Broaden your views. Include others.”

I understand it to mean that the universal patterns of nature are eternal. Awareness of them is to be shared; they can’t possibly be the exclusive property of a single group. Hoarding knowledge for personal advantage is a grave mistake. So is denying, defying, distorting or burying it.

The line changes to GAIN, which looks like this:

Now. What’s new to this pattern is an additional changing line in the second position, which results in a different final outcome. The message of the extra changing line reinforces and expands on the first. It reads, “You won’t benefit from using new learning for selfish reasons.”

It changes to:

It highlights the potentially healing effect of the arts in melting selfish resistance and opening hearts to wisdom.

Whereas the 1975 outcome emphasized GAIN, today’s final outcome focuses on the I Ching approach to WISDOM:

In sum: today’s reading reinforces the powerful benefits of increasing AWARENESS. “Human relationships will become smooth.” There will be a flowering of friendships, community, and restored respect for the UNITY of all beings inherent in the Unified Field Theory.

Wisdom honors the unshakable knowledge of inner experience and its gift of compassion.

The potential outcome is PEACE, first within and then without.

Every day the world is becoming more fragmented, chaotic and crazy. More than ever before, we urgently need restore simplicity, wisdom and unity to our lives.

Early in 2021, collected readings will be published as The Lessons of 2020: Using the Wisdom of CHANGE to Build a Better Future. What better place to announce this than with a reading on WISDOM?!

If you’d like your very own copy of the CSBOC to work with, to answer your own unique questions at your own convenience, or want extras to give others in need of insight, solace and support, it’s available here. : )

Okay, then. That’s all for now. Talk with you again soon. Take care, all.

Bringing Balance – IC – Sept. 21, 2020

Today’s reading is a perfect example of timing – synchronicity, if you will. Because BALANCE describes the equinox energy of Friday, the 22nd of September.

Spring and fall equinoxes occur when the sun crosses the equator, making day and night equal in length.

In the northern hemisphere, September’s equinox marks the first day of fall, a momentary crossroads of balance before beginning the gradual decline into winter.

Many meanings are assigned to the change of seasons. On a practical level, autumn is the time of harvest – and storage, preparing for the winter ahead.

Spiritually, the fall equinox is seen as a time for gratitude and internal reflection. The cycle of seasons is associated with the cycle of human life, birth to death, as well as the eternal struggle between light and darkness.

Natural Law recognizes the world as a place of duality. Day opposes night. Summer’s heat and abundance stands in contrast to winter’s cold and hardship. Infinite pairs of similar opposites repeat everywhere, on all levels. Love – hate, peace – war, wealth – poverty, success – failure.

In this context, BALANCE emphasizes the vital importance of knowing when and how to moderate extremes.

Mind you, moderation is NOT non-committal, middle-of-the-road, boring blandness!

It’s disaster prevention.

Sages were keenly aware that, as a law of nature, every extreme changes into its opposite. Extreme passion lapses into disgust and aversion. Extremes of power, whether physical or social, change to impotence. Violent anarchy triggers opposite and equal repression.

They knew for a certainty that in duality, nothing is endless or timeless. So, those close to nature respect the survival implications of the equinox. They live moderately in times of plenty to prevent future times of hardship. Similarly, effective leaders exercise their power wisely to prevent future revolt.

Today’s Book of Change Reading

Whenever working with the Book of Change, to assure protection and attract benevolent guidance, we begin with an invocation. Next, we quiet the mind and focus intention. In fact, to get the most out of today’s dynamic reading, you might want settle the noisy mind a bit before continuing.

BALANCE is the original answer to the question, “What do we need to be aware of now?” But it’s qualified by two changing lines. In combination, these result in a second outcome, DEVELOPMENT.

Here’s the initial hexagram:

Given the intense toxicity of current events, the final warning, “avoid extremes,” is right on point!

For the consequences of polarizing extremes are upon us, full force. We’re reaping the rewards of imbalance — in the economy and in politics. The repercussions of unbalanced attitudes and lifestyles reverberate everywhere around us – starting with our personal relationships and social lives.

But at this pivotal moment, the equinox offers an opportunity to recognize the benefits of bringing balance back into our lives. . . . restoring harmony to our beliefs, actions, and relationships.

Next, the changing lines offer further insight. Heeding them opens possible avenues of change. In the notebook, they’re marked this way:

(If you have questions about changing lines, here’s a helpful link. In particular, see Section 11 – Method and Section 13 – Sample Reading.)

The advice of Line 5 says, “Do not confuse humility with weakness. Act decisively when necessary.”

On a personal level, I take it as a reminder to stand my ground with folks who take advantage of my gentleness. (“Don’t mistake this gentle Leo for a wimp!”)

On a national scale, it resonates with U.S. politics. For example, owning up to past racism isn’t grounds for allowing rioters to destroy inner cities. Two wrongs don’t make things right. Pitting hate against abuse of power doesn’t balance the scales of justice.

Line 5 changes to RESISTANCE. This dynamic repeats through to the end of 2020. I’ll let you decide how it applies to your own experience.

Then, the top line warns, “Take steps to remove flaws in your character. Exercise self-responsibility.”

This advice reflects a basic law of nature. Positive change happens only from the inside out, and one person at a time. Put another way, I can’t expect others to act responsibly towards me unless I first take responsibility for my own attitudes and behavior. That’s why Gandhi told us, “Be the change you want to see.”

This line changes to STILLNESS, another recurrent theme through the end the year:

Again, in perfect synch with the season, STILLNESS plays a central part in equinox celebrations. Practicing meditation is universally recognized as an important step to take towards removing personal flaws.

Also, though STILLNESS is the flip-side of RESISTANCE, both are offshoots of the same rule. Change happens from the inside out, and from smallest to largest.

For this reason, I commented on a video where Pam Gregory describes hellacious astrological influences over the next few months:

. . . after receiving “change” readings from now to year’s end (especially in light of this video’s info), I urge anyone involved in organizing worldwide vigils praying for peace to schedule as many group meditations as possible before the US election.

Rest confident. Even when there’s no physical way to change the world, by stilling the mind and achieving inner peace, we always have the power — individually and collectively — to make a difference.

Finally, when the advice of both changing lines is heeded, the end result is DEVELOPMENT. It looks like this:

In sum: nothing’s going to change over night. There’s no “magic pill.”

Take things one day at a time — consistently, calmly and gently (another recurring theme). Bringing balance back, first inside and then out, is the necessary way out of 2020’s madness.

Again, to repeat from We’re At Critical Mass: During times of polarizing extremes, we need the stabilizing influence of the Book of Change more than ever.

Working with this enduring, time-tested compendium of natural law brings calm reason and measured hope to apparently impossible situations. It shines clarity on current events, restoring perspective during times of painful confusion and doubt.

If you want your very own copy of the Common Sense Book of Change to work with, to answer your own unique questions at your own convenience, or want extras to give others in need of insight, solace and support, it’s available here. : )

Okay, then. That’s all for now. Talk with you again soon. Take care, all.

The Ultimate Gatekeeper

Phoenix - sized

Lately I’ve been fully engaged in absorbing the remarkable work of Dr. Joe Dispenza, including his recent Becoming Supernatural. I have the yoga background to greatly appreciate just how skillfully he has translated and then integrated ancient science (defined as “with knowledge”) with cutting edge modern sciences, including Einstein’s quantum physics.

The Life Wheel I often refer to meshes perfectly with this work, as does its ancient ancestor, the Book of Change. Both of them compliment and have the potential to further enhance Dispenza’s work. For example, an early post, Sages and Scientists Can Agree on This, pictures the layers and levels of Dr. Joe’s message, in particular his instructions to “become aware of what you are doing and why.”

be aware

Dr. Joe systematically precipitates “miraculous” healings, teaching students how to “change” their lives by raising their energy — focusing awareness on the energy centers . . . blessing them, if you will. In Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself, he reminds readers: Einstein said that no problem could be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.

Here is an image of the chakras (energy centers) spanning the levels of the Life Wheel. It pictures the levels of awareness residing at the center of the Wheel where access to higher orders of consciousness generates positive new solutions.

Wheel2

Another point of convergence is the concept that meditation can “upgrade” DNA. The 64 changes of the Book of Change have been correlated with the 64 basic strands of DNA. Nor is it coincidence that Chinese ideogram for I Ching bears a marked resemblance to the double helix of DNA.

side by side

The Preface to The Ultimate Gatekeeper which follows opens still further avenues to links and possibilities.

book header bird

The Ultimate Gatekeeper:

Restoring the Book of Change to the World

PREFACE

In the millennial year, 2000, the title of this book was The Ultimate Personal Survival Guide. It came out of a brainstorming session with a business consultant. We were discussing how to market The Common Sense Book of Change. Suzanne was totally unfamiliar with the I Ching.

We went back and forth with questions and answers about its use and value. Finally, she sat back and blinked. “It sounds like the ultimate personal survival guide,” she concluded.

She’d hit the nail right on the head. She got it!

What I learned as she drew me out with her questions was that I had taken my answers to her valid concerns for granted. Surely many others had similar doubts.

So a further step was necessary. A follow-up book was required, one which would lead people to draw the same conclusion that she had. I had to dispel myths and misconceptions which prevent this gravely misunderstood and underrated treasure from getting the international acceptance it so richly deserves.

For this is a book that truly belongs to the world. It transcends, in its essence, the limitations of time and space. Used correctly, as intended, it leads the ordinary mind towards experiences of self-awareness and transformative transcendence.

Over the years, I had grown absolutely certain that the worldwide leadership deficit (and related budget deficits) are explained by an underlying knowledge deficit. For lack of what The Book of Change has to offer, people everywhere remain perplexed as to how and why so much continues to go so horribly wrong, despite the best of intentions.

It seemed urgent to clear the decks. Making this compendium of Natural Law — the premier leadership training and decision-making manual in China for thousands of years — widely accessible now is necessary in order to fill in this fatal knowledge gap.

Mainstreaming this vitally important information is the first, necessary step towards the positive change which many call for, but remain unable to achieve.

Fourteen years later, after completing a trilogy on change, I found myself in the same predicament. How does one shake up the sleeping public? What will it take to make people worldwide aware of how important this information is, and how gravely we’re at risk due to its absence?

The extraordinary value of the I Ching is that it reveals the secrets of dynamic Natural Law. Working with its changes opens up access to the middle level of the Life Wheel, the “e = energy” layer of Einstein’s Unified Field Theory.

Gatekeeper

This middle level of Natural Law serves as mediating, two-directional gatekeeper between the ever-changing surface rim and the universal, timeless center. You can’t get from here to there and back again, except through the middle “energy” layer which, in Western thinking, is effectively taboo, buried deep within the inaccessible “unconscious.”

To the extent that the Natural Law of energy dynamics remains a blind spot in the prevailing, linear and exclusively empirical paradigm, we are left powerless to move beyond the surface level of experience.

To compound the loss, when stuck on the surface, the realm of light and conscience which rests beyond, on the far side of the dynamic energy level, remains functionally inaccessible.

Only by becoming intelligently competent in managing the subtle energies of the middle level does it become possible to travel further inwards for the direct personal experience of not only Light but even deeper still, its very Source.

Unfortunately, the middle level is too often clogged with painful memories, negative emotions and repressed, socially taboo urges. It becomes a barrier to deeper knowing.

For eight thousand years and counting, the Book of Change has served as an indispensable tool for resolving this dilemma. Used as intended, it can restore the unnecessarily “unconscious” to conscious awareness, reopening the levels of human potential so they can be aligned and unified.

In this context, genuine survivors fit to prevail in today’s increasingly dangerous times aren’t those with the most material wealth, possessions or political power. They’re the ones who’ve successfully navigated the middle realm, reached the far shore of enlightenment and returned to the surface with their new information intact.

Those who succeed in linking the levels of experience are genius-leaders in whatever fields they choose to engage. They’re the fortunate ones who have acquired the inner wealth necessary to both hear the still voice conscience and act effectively on the guidance they receive.

Patricia E. West, Ph.D. 

Wisconsin, U.S.A. 2019

 

How Much Do You Know about the Book of Change (& Why Should You Care)?

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Listed below are eight common myths and misconceptions shrouding the perennial, venerable Chinese I Ching. Answers to these commonly asked questions give good reasons why you would benefit greatly from working with it.

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ONE

Q. What does an ancient book from a foreign land have to do with me, here and now?

A. Everything. The I Ching as a compendium of Natural Law is neither time nor place-bound. It speaks to the questions we all ask about the human condition. For over 8,000 years, with good reason, it has endured as the foundation of Chinese healing, governing and military arts alike. No equivalent exists in the West. Most importantly, it fills a fatal gap in the way Westerners have been taught to think.

TWO

Q. If it is so important, why isn’t it taught to young people in schools?

A. Good question! Probably because the assumptions described below are taught as if fact.

THREE

Q. Isn’t the Book of Change unscientific – just hocus pocus? Primitive or New Age superstition?

A. Like any other wisdom tradition which has endured over time, the I Ching has inevitably been subject to misuse. This doesn’t, however, reflect on its inherent value. In fact, this compendium of Natural Law is so highly sophisticated that Western science is just beginning to catch up with it.

For example, in the 1800s, Leibniz acknowledged that its mathematical foundations long preceded his calculus. The single and broken lines of the hexagrams are analogous to binary-digital computer code. Further, its 64 hexagrams have been directly correlated with DNA structure.

FOUR

Q. Question: Is the I Ching a sacred book, like the Bible? Is it part of a religion?

A . Answer: Yes and no. Taoists, Buddhists, and Confucians, despite their differences, hold the I Ching in highest regard. It is used to connect with inner knowing, on the one hand, and consulted for practical advice regarding every aspect of daily life, on the other. To them, the sacred and secular are inseparably intertwined, interwoven as the warp and woof of the fabric of life.

This book maps the dynamics of the Law of Karma – the foundation of practical ethics. Much has been written elsewhere on this subject.

FIVE

Q. Isn’t The Book of Change pagan and therefore off-limits to Christians? Doesn’t it contradict or oppose the teachings of the Bible?

A. There is no conflict. Natural and Divine Law are two different subjects. The Book of Change is a compendium of Natural Law. The two are compliments. As such, Chinese sages respected nature as a manifestation of the Tao, or God. As described elsewhere, both the Old and New Testaments show an understanding of the nature compatible with the I Ching worldview. This is quite different from pagans who by-pass Divine Law, worshiping nature instead.

In fact, many people with the best of intentions find their lives going terribly wrong for lack of the understanding (call it emotional intelligence) cultivated by working with Natural Law. Ongoing sexual and financial scandals which plague hierarchies secular and religious are directly linked to this ignorant lack of awareness: a fatal blind-spot in our education.

SIX

Q, Is the I Ching used to predict the future, like a crystal ball? Is it meant for divination, meaning to get what one wants or locate missing objects?

A. Advanced sages who understood numerology used it to produce astonishing results. But the I Ching is most often used as a method for making better decisions, in part because it serves to make the unconscious conscious. Truer to original meditative intent, people often use it to practice mindfulness. Working with The Book of Change helps quiet the mind, increase self-understanding, and then better understanding of others.

SEVEN

Q. Can the I Ching be fully understood or appreciated without knowledge of the Chinese language?

A. Hindu’s are attached to the exclusive value of the Sanskrit language, Jews to ancient Hebrew, and Muslims to the original language of the Koran. However, the source of truth is beyond language. Its cultural expression at a particular time and place varies, but the basic essentials are necessarily the same.

EIGHT

Q. Isn’t it better to learn about natural law from the European philosophers Locke, Hobbes, and Rousseau, as America’s founding fathers did?

A. No. Their philosophy is intellectual speculation. Although they use the same words, that is where the similarity ends. The I Ching is based upon thousands of years of experience by leaders trained in the meditative arts to observe their inner states. They recognized exact correlations between inner and outer experience. Through careful observation, they detailed the operations of nature and the dynamics which drive human relationships.

What IS Your Calling

Angel Calling

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

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

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

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

And forthwith posted this update:

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

After further thought, I added:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So later I added this observation:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The text explains:

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

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

Burning Bush image

Balkin continues, applying these themes to relationships:

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

Balkin advises:

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

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

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

His summary states:

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

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

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

The I Ching and ME

A guest blog I’ve enjoyed writing focuses on using the Book of Change to experience the difference between KNOWLEDGE (information) and KNOWING (introspection). Maintaining a balance between the two is a survival priority.

The article’s section headers include Lao Tze and the I Ching, Jung and the I Ching, and The I Ching and You.

After submitting it, this thought flashed into mind. A section was missing: The I Ching and ME. So here it is.

For me, the Book of Change is a gateway to magic. On this side, it has been a close companion, good friend and advisor through the years. On the far side, perhaps remembered from lifetimes past, it speaks to me from a place beyond time and space.

With it, I was never alone, even and especially when I was loneliest in crowded rooms. When the world impelled suicide, it brought me back to a deeper, all-pervasive love of life.

So I will share a few sections from Rethinking Survival about how I met the book, and how it has grown on me.

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First Introductions

. . . I’d had a hunch about [the I Ching] for a very long time. Ellsworth Carlson, who lived in Shansi, China during WWII, was a classmate of my parents at Oberlin College. When I was nursery school age, he bounced me on his knees at Harvard.

As Freshman student, I took Dr. Carlson’s course in Asian History at Oberlin. What stuck with me how vast an influence the I Ching had on China for 8,000 years and counting.

So, when I left the U.S., all I took with me was my violin and one small suitcase. Of that, half contained clothes. The other half held sheet music and one small book: the Legge translation of the I Ching.

It made no sense to me. I could barely get through a page or two before giving up. But I kept coming back to it. It led to something important I had to know more about.

When I happened upon the Wilhelm/Baynes edition in Düsseldorf’s International Bookshop on Konigs Allee — Finally! — I had a version I could relate to. It literally became my teacher. It gave me a whole new concept of how the world really works.

Not just this family or that institution or the other county. Not arbitrary and capricious, fluctuating fashions, but the constant anchor over time.

From it, I could deduce the fundamental energy dynamics of action and reaction which drive behavior, internally at a psychological level, and externally in relationships and day-to-day events.

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

For example, If you kick people, they kick back (if they can) or otherwise resist. If you are kind, you inspire love and trust in others. If you violate natural law, nature bites back — your mental health suffers; relationships deteriorate; your behavior becomes erratic and social/physical survival is imperiled.

Asian cultures call this “the law of karma.” Its operation is also described in biblical terms: “As ye reap, so shall ye sow,” and “to everything there is a season.”

In sum, its 64 permutations map a progression of the AC-DC energy changes which constitute the natural law of repetitive, cyclical change.

Value

From my point of view, this ancient, timeless science fills a critical blind-spot in Western thinking, lacking which, all efforts are partial and incomplete. Put another way, the glaring absence of this information explains why so much goes so wrong, despite even the best of intentions on the part of politicians, priests, coaches and leaders of every ilk.

The Book of Change combines the best of many worlds. On the one hand, it’s pure logic and math. Its binary-digital code long predates both Leibniz’s calculus and computer science. On the other hand, it leads inwards, serving to link the material world of physical experience (empirical science) with its ultimate source (the realm of con-science).

Working with it, one starts with immediate, practical experience, with the option to travel with it to the opposite end of the reality scale that merges with the apparently mystical. This interactive book, regarded by some as magical, depends on the phenomena of synchronicity to link person, time and events in the decision-making process.

The longevity of ancient Chinese dynasties is attributed to sages who advised their emperors on ways to balance and thus survive historical yin-yang cycles of decay and regeneration. By working in harmony with the laws of nature, rulers succeeded in maintaining social and political stability, riding out the predictable, alternating pendulum swings between extremes.

Even the Communist Chairman Mao, an avowed atheist, owed his success to the I Ching. Its influence permeated both his moving poetry and highly successful, if unorthodox, military strategies.

When I described the many benefits of working with The Book of Change to a business consultant, she summed it up for me. “It sounds to me like the ultimate personal survival guide.” She was exactly right. So I used her description as the title of a book describing its many virtues (as well as answering the unfortunate prejudices/assumptions which have kept the book too much in the shadows).

What You See Is What You Get

The I Ching‘s value, I’ve finally come to understand, is measured by the quality of focused attention, self-honesty and positive intention with which it’s used. Those who dismiss it, who “believe” it is superstitious nonsense, fulfill their expectations. In a way, the book has its own fail-safes. Those who approach it with arrogance or evil motives get little from it.

In my case, it has provided ongoing, life-confirming support, most especially when humans failed me totally. Probably any truth book approached with concentrated attention and an open heart connects the personal mind with the guidance of the Universal Mind. Truth is timeless, so whether the catalyst that triggers inner knowing is ancient or modern doesn’t much matter.

But for me personally, working with The Book of Change is an especially powerful form of introspection. It’s a favorite mindfulness practice, if you will. Best translations link magic with science to satisfy head, heart and soul.

I admit that, as with any good friend, it took a while to break the ice and get to know it. For example, once, when I was relatively new to the book, on an early winter morning in Spring Green, I woke up with a bad feeling and consulted the I Ching for feedback. Its advice, in essence: “Don’t move. Don’t go anywhere. Anything you do now will go wrong.”

Friends were skeptical. I was scheduled for a job interview that couldn’t be missed. Even when the bald tires on my vintage Buick skidded on the ice, spinning me into a snow bank along Willow Gold Farm’s long driveway, they refused to quit. They drove up the tractor and jammed a curved metal hook under the front fender. It punctured the radiator, emptying its yellow-green fluid onto the crystal white snow.

I wasn’t going anywhere that day. Or, after their “help,” even the next.

This was definitely a book to be taken seriously!

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But enough for today. There’s much more, of course. Will have to wait for later.

The Evolution of My Understanding

A post-Thanksgiving exchange with a LinkedIn connection (I’ll call him Dave, a favorite name) made me realize I owe it to readers to describe from personal experience why I’ve come to place so much importance on Natural Law. It’s critically important to be fluent in its operations. It’s equally essential to understand how it’s related to, though different from, Divine Law. As I’ve learned from personal experience, a little knowledge can get you in a lot of trouble.

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Dave and I have never met. He hasn’t, to the best of my knowledge, read any of my books, so isn’t familiar with the autobiographical account written in Rethinking Survival. So other than candid answers to his frank questions, his impression is based on posts I’ve written.

We originally hit it off in an exchange of comments. In response to “Boundary Spanners Connect at the Center,” posted September 10, 2014, he wrote:

Wow and thanks Patricia! That was Profound and easy to read. Writing such articles take real skill and something of real value to communicate. I especially liked the hors d’oeuvre at the beginning that made me want to read the rest. Half way through I said out loud, “I think I love you”. I certainly enjoyed reading your article very much. I just clicked “follow”, although I hate the concept of “leaders” and “followers” because I am fiercely independent. I think of it instead as “subscribe”; as in “offer me some more of your tasty wares”; rather than tell me what to think…

I can relate to independent. Mom didn’t call the toddler-me an “independent critter” for nothing. So I answered back:

In-dependent = depending on the True Self deep within. Fiercely = connected with the passionate energy of the middle level. Love you too! Thanks for the subscribe, Dave. : )

Dave’s 80-something parents, who live in South Africa, flew to California, where both he and his brother now live. He dedicated the duration of the Thanksgiving holiday season to family. After they left, he wrote:

I told my mother about you and she asked me if you were a Christian. I said that you were aware of God and often reference Christian tenets in your writing, but that your belief system seemed much wider than that. I did not feel the need to try and label you, but said that you are driven by natural law that springs from the Creator; and that is enough for me.

But that got me to thinking. How would I have answered if she had asked me directly? Then one thing led to another. Later I wrote back:

I was thinking of how to answer your mother’s question, and remembered a post from last December, “Rethinking Christ at Christmas.”. . . I’ll include the link so you can forward it to her – in case she would like to see it.

I continued:

In terms of her asking if I am Christian, the correct answer is that I love, respect and do my best to follow Christ. I’m not sure that’s the same thing as being a “Christian.” (I was not born/raised in a Christian family.)

But, having reservations about his description, I continued.

However, I am not driven by natural law. Rather, ignorance regarding the relationship of divine, human and natural law is a fatal blind spot in our education. It prevents us from understanding and connecting with Christ. (The blog will show you, literally, what I mean. If we can’t recognize/navigate that middle, energy level of natural law, we’re left stuck on the material surface.)

My belief system is “much wider” than Christian tenants, but, then again, so is Christ.

My understanding is that the essence of Christ is vastly greater in time/space than institutionalized Christian religions. Again, the illustration in the blog shows how this must be so. Christ told us he was before the world, is with us always, and will continue to exist long after the world does not. So, if his presence permeates all time and space, in effect of his presence permeates all religions.

Dave’s lengthy, astute response is too long to quote in entirety. Two paragraphs relevant to the critically important distinction which is the purpose of my blogging today (12-13-14 is an “interesting” date – perhaps the right time to make a breakthrough, finally get across the all-important sequence I’ve been laboring to define).

Religions have too much dogma. For me, the only absolute truth is that every individual is responsible directly to God for their own decisions and actions. No human intermediaries are required. Any person can communicate directly with God. Not only can they; they should.

I could not say it better!

But here’s where the conversation became murky, and needs clarification:

My remarks about natural law may not fit your definition exactly, but to me, natural law is God’s law. That said, I use the term more often in the context of physics and chemistry, without declaring who the author is.

From my point of view, two critically important distinctions must be emphasized. First, Divine Law is the Creator’s law. It rules that which is timeless, unchanging and eternal. It pertains to the source of (but cannot be equated with) the created world measured and quantified by human sciences. I don’t quibble about names. The Creator is an essence beyond words. Call it the Tao. The Universal Mind. The Divine by any other name is still eternal.

Second. Natural Law is a related but distinctly different subject. The Book of Change, the Chinese I Ching codifies the 64 permutations of alternating, cyclical change. It is the binary-digital code of duality, the blueprint of DNA – that which has a beginning and an end in time. It maps the dynamics by which creation emanates from the hub at the timeless center of the Life Wheel, and then recedes, being absorbed back into the stillness of original silence.

That’s a lot of big words and still bigger, mind-boggling ideas. But, in simple language, I’ll want to tell you why this distinction between Divine and Natural Law is so critically and personally important to me.

In the evolution of my understanding, I began an as agnostic. As described in Rethinking Survival:

The silver lining to being uprooted early and often is that assumptions others take for granted weren’t deeply ingrained. I was raised by adults from different religions who held conflicting political beliefs. Not all of them could be right. It was my responsibility to sort things out, make sense out confusion and choose for myself. “Take the best and leave the rest.”

As to the existence of God, I had no opinion. I didn’t know whether or not God existed. I didn’t really care. It didn’t seem to make a difference in the conduct of my daily life one way or the other. I was quite content to live according to the maxim,“The reward for a good life is a good life,” which appealed to me as sensible and satisfying.

But then things changed. I began to have experiences which were outside the boundaries of anything I’d thought possible, unlike anything I’d learned from anyone anywhere. One day at the downtown YWCA, a yoga teacher intoned, “When the student is ready, the master appears.” And the very next day, as I was hitch-hiking to a concert, violin case in hand, out-of-town yoga disciples stopped their VW bug to pick me up. They were in Madison to attend a seminar. I was invited. Their teacher picked up on me. I ended up in India, and doors to a new life opened.

In retrospect, there was nothing in my training that gave me a frame of reference to help put this swami in context. He was a con artist. He performed cheap magic tricks that impressed gullible physicians and therapists, and seduced vulnerable women.

He had a modest degree of attainment, mistakenly assumed to be “spiritual.” He could read minds and manipulate material objects. He knew just enough about Natural Law to seem powerful to naïve Westerners. He cynically claimed to be a man of God, a celibate monk and penniless renunciate. But he wasn’t.

What was lacking in my education was an understanding that Natural Law exists. With simple mastery, anyone can do magic tricks. (They’re called sidhiis, or powers.) My pesudo-logic went something like this: “The Swami is powerful. Power comes from God. Therefore he is a man of God. God is good. Therefore the Swami can be implicitly trusted as good.”

His hapless students had never been taught to discriminate in the positive meaning of the word. We didn’t recognize the importance difference between holiness and magnetism, between sincerity and smooth-talking charisma.

Here’s the bottom-line, the extremely important point I want to impress, the lesson learned from this sad experience, to be passed along as a cautionary tale. Divine Law and Natural Law are NOT the same. One is an off-shoot of the other. But there is nothing sacred about Natural Law. Depending on the motive, purpose and intent of the user, power can be used to serve and heal. It can also be abused to exploit and even destroy. It can be turned to serve good or evil. It expresses in the extremes of black and white magic, was well as intermediate shades of gray and yellow.

Tony Silver’s rules for an unfair fight (remember the Karate Kid?) sum up the disadvantages of limited and limiting education:

A man who can’t stand, can’t fight. So break his knees.

A man who can’t breathe, can’t fight. So break his nose.

A man who can’t see, can’t fight. So gouge out his eyes.

In effect, education which doesn’t teach us how to take a stand, breathe deep and see life for what it is, complete and whole, cripples and suffocates us. It blinds us to the dangers inherent in our immediate circumstances. It renders us powerless in the face of dark-side puppet masters who practice black magic to dominate and control unsuspecting innocents. It renders us unable to protect ourselves and those we care for. It sets us adrift, unable to recognize the difference between shadow and substance, between lies and truth, and between illusory, false teachers who distract with cheap magic tricks versus true leaders who offer genuine hope.

In the evolution of my understanding, here’s my take-away from the swami experience. Just as the biological process of metabolism is essential to physical health, so also the process of mental metabolism is equally important to psychological well-being. We take in experience raw and whole. But then it’s imperative to digest it. Take responsibility to decide what is beneficial and healthy. Put it to good use. But eliminate the rest before it festers, causing disease and decay. Release release poisons from the system completely.

In the case of the swami experience, the beneficial effect worth keeping was that it shook me out of my culturally-induced coma. It gave me first-hand experience of invisible forces which bad guys manipulate with impunity to get whatever they want, at everyone else’s expense. It also led me to other experiences. There are protections. Working with the Book of Change, for example, was a life saver. It gave me the leverage to recognize danger, put it in perspective and protect myself from it.

My choice was to honor and maintain connection with the life-sustaining eternal center. I released as poisonous the anger/pain which causes many to react to unfortunate experiences with false teachers by rejecting the Creator whom they only pretend to represent. That would be to choose starvation rather than taking responsibility to process life’s challenges intelligently.

As a child, I thought the question of God’s existence didn’t matter. Now I recognize that operating on the basis of a complete and accurate reality map makes all the difference. There’s more to life than our materialist teachers taught us. Seeing life whole and complete is the starting point of clear thinking and effective, positive action. It’s imperative to recognize that there is an eternal center which abides deep within, regardless of whatever abuses of power are perpetrated in the name of God. It continues to exist whether or not we choose to be aware of it.

In the evolution of my understanding, I’ve come aware that bad guys succeed in wielding temporal power by abusing natural law with impunity. They succeed only by keeping the rest of us in ignorance, the mother of slavery and seed of suffering. I’ve become convinced that the way out of mortal danger is for good guys to open their eyes, breathe in their courage and take a stand. Human survival will depend upon the leadership of those who exercise their God-given free will, who choose to wake up to the magnitude of the danger we’re in, and who are capable of wielding their natural powers/potentials in the service of the larger good.

What’s Your Definition of GOOD?

In duality, there are two sides to every coin. It’s a basic law of nature. “Whatever has a front, has back.” Further, “The larger the front, the larger the back.” This explains why surface appearances are often so deceiving.

I mention the Two Sides Law here because I’ve been following a LinkedIn discussion group called The New Philosophy Network. The subject of the particular “thread” is HOW DO YOU DEFINE EVIL?

Not to worry. You haven’t missed much. Philosophy isn’t what it used to be. If there was any “love of wisdom” (the definition of philosophy), it got lost in the one-upsmanship jousting of an extraordinarily uncivil ego contest.

But it got me to thinking about the opposite, shadow side of evil. Did the negative approach influence the quality of conversation? Has anyone asked lately, HOW DO YOU DEFINE GOOD?

Come to think of it, I did awhile ago. So here, for the sake of balance, is the three-part Essay on GOOD from Conscience: Your Ultimate Personal Survival Guide.

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Essay 30. GOOD

“The true genius of living is to carry the spirit of the child into old age. And what is the spirit of the child, but that of wide-eyed open wonder, excitement and zest, the optimistic attitude that nothing is too good to be true, that the world is literally a wonderful place?” — Norman Vincent Peale, Enthusiasm Makes the Difference

“We all want the good things in life; we all desire to be surrounded by friends; but we have no right to expect to attract any of these things except when our own lives have earned us the right to be honored, respected, and admired. . . .” — M.P. Hall, Magic: A Treatise on Esoteric Ethics

“It’s the one characteristic that connects all the defendants: a genuine incapacity to feel with their fellow man. Evil, I think, is the absence of empathy.” — Medical Officer, Nuremberg

THE FRONT

The roots of good mean to unite, be associated, or suitable. The term goes through seventeen permutations in Webster’s Dictionary alone.

The first definition is a general term of approval or commendation. Good means suitable to a purpose or effect. It means efficient, producing favorable or beneficial results. It can mean fresh, unspoiled, uncontaminated. It can mean valid, genuine, or real, as in good money or a good excuse.

Good means healthy, strong or vigorous, as in good eyesight. The word is used to mean financially safe or sound. It means honorable, worthy, or respectable. It is used to mean enjoyable, desirable, pleasant or happy, as in the good life. Good can mean dependable, reliable or correct, as in good advice. It can mean thorough or complete, as in a good job of cleaning.

Good can mean excellent of its kind, as in a good novel or considered the best, as in her good china. It can mean morally sound or excellent, virtuous, honest, just, pious, devout, kind, benevolent, generous, sympathetic or well-behaved and dutiful.

It can mean proper, becoming, correct (good manners) and therefore socially acceptable (a good family). It can mean able, skilled, or expert, as in a good swimmer.

It can mean loyal or conforming, as in a good Democrat. In law, it means an effectual or valid title.

The Ten Commandments that Moses gave to the people of Israel, enumerated in the fifth chapter of Deuteronomy in the Old Testament, are a generally accepted code of right conduct. They prescribe what we should and should not do to live a good life. Though the cultural context is different, in principle they are consistent with I Ching philosophy.

Revisiting them from an I Ching point of view enriches their meaning. For example, the seventh commandment has become the focus of special public attention, taking on political overtones. “Neither shalt thou commit adultery.” This one-sentence commandment has depths of meaning which span the energy continuum.

For example, at first chakra level, it includes refraining from contaminating air, water and food with pollutants. At the second, it includes not violating marital or parental responsibilities.

At the third, it includes not tampering with legislation for antisocial purposes. At the fourth, it includes not mixing compassion with sentimentality or greed.

At the fifth, it includes not misconstruing scriptures to suit political agendas. At the sixth, it includes not adulterating conscience with the ego impulses.

In addition, each level’s “shalt not” implies a positive shadow: “thou shalt.” At the first chakra level, this includes taking active responsibility for cleansing air, water and food of pollutants.

At the second chakra level, it includes fulfilling family commitments. At the third, it includes adjusting corporate and government practices to serve the common good.

At the fourth, it includes quietly serving those in need without public fanfare. At the fifth, it includes aligning personal and political goals with natural and scriptural law.

At the sixth, it includes practicing self-awareness methods to purify ego.

THE BACK

In I Ching context, evil violates divine and natural law. It is antithetical to the life process, tearing the pattern apart. Good and evil cannot be equated with yin and yang. Good is inclusive of the harmonious whole, both yin and yang, attainable by males and females of every race without limitation.

In moralist context, violating codes of generally accepted social or sexual conduct is regarded as bad, the opposite of good. Sages, however, define correct or incorrect behavior in terms of context and results. Right or wrong action is defined in terms of the immediate situation and the actor’s deepest, underlying motives.

Good News & Bad News for Millennials

In duality, every gift has positive uses as well as opposite and equal abuses. The two-edged consequences of working with the Book of Change are no exception.

So when an ambitious millennial marketer of digitized experience – simulated sex, happiness and good mood “music” – tweeted me that his software products are based on the binary-digital code of the I Ching, I cringed. What?? Not possible. The primary purpose of this discipline is to quiet the emotional mind-body as a necessary first step in listening to conscience and making better decisions.

After a review the business website (I won’t embarrass him by naming it), I tweeted back indignantly. “This is an abomination. No connection. Don’t compare.” He quickly backtracked, replying he only intended personal respect for the book.

Why such an intense response? Let me refer back to the Old Testament, which repeatedly mentions the laws of nature codified in the I Ching in their correct, larger context. Many are familiar with King Solomon’s verses about natural change:

For ever thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.

Here, nature is placed between reason (purpose) on the one hand, and heaven on the other.

But how many recall the prophet Daniel’s vision of nature in necessary relationship to the unchanging Creator. From the King James Version:

2:20 . .  Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his:

2:21. He changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and seteth up kings:

and giveth wisdom unto the wise . . .

The Book of Change can be instrumental in the mindfulness practice of slowing down, regulating and reconnecting an individual’s noisy mind with the intuitive, True Self. Correctly used, it is compatible with timeless Truth. But in the larger scheme of life, it serves as a gatekeeper. Nothing more.

Here’s an illustration worth 1000 words that pictures the valid and necessary place of the natural law codified in the I Ching.   It shows both what it is – a two-directional gatekeeper – as well as what it is NOT.

0 Only Way Out

Worshipping nature instead of God is upside-down. Stimulating senses with the effect of obliterating reason and blocking out the voice of conscience is an abomination. It is neither mind-expanding nor “spiritual.”

Daniel the prophet dream-seer interpreted important end-time visions for King Nebuchadnezzar (more on “the feet of clay” another time). He also interpreted the fatefully ominous message of handwriting on the wall for Nebuchadnezzar’s son, King Belshazzar, who indulged in natural sensations to the exclusion of nature’s God. (See wp.me/p46Y5Z-cm.)

It would be well worth the Millennial entrepreneur’s time to revisit the larger context of 2 John 1:11. “For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.”

This is why it’s so important that I take a stand. Indulging the senses out of context is seductive but desperately foolish. It is a choice for the dark side. I cannot silently allow the claim of connection with this precious gift to anyone who abuses it.

Similarly, in larger, holistic context, math-based, computerized sciences are gifts bearing opposite and equal potentials for good or evil, depending on how and why they’re used, and by whom. They can facilitate friendships and connection, educate and spread useful information – OR – lull the sheep into deadly sleep . . . simultaneously facilitating the ends of genocidal murderers who wage wars of mass destruction.

Life, time and attention are all precious gifts. The gift of free will grants each of us the personal choice of whether to squander them or use them wisely.

So, there’s good news and bad news. The choice is up to you. Failing to choose is also a choice.

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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.

What’s Most Important – Nature, Nurture, OR . . . ?

The other day, I encountered Ivan Goldberg on LinkedIn. A Chair at Vistage International, his formal title is Executive Mentor and Coach. But it’s his personal handle I find irresistible. He describes himself as an “Enthusiastic Agent for Change, Wise Old Sage, Great Listener, and Author of ‘Leading to Success.’”

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I’m an author of books on change based on the book ancient sages have depended upon for eight thousand years and counting. So I had a hunch that I’d found a kindred soul. I sent an email to find out.

When he accepted my invite, I wrote back: “Thanks for the connection, Ivan– Your blogs look terrific. Maybe you’d like mine as well. Here’s one that’s just been retweeted. Thanks for your great work. All best, Pat West”

Sure enough, he answered me, “Hi Pat. Many thanks for the link. Your blog is certainly more academic (that is a compliment BTW) than mine and is very thought provoking. Hope that you like today’s post on Leadership. Best regards, Ivan”

Being an academic (though also much more), I did my homework. On his website, Ivan asks “Are Leaders Born or Made?” He also answers the question: “It is Nature, Nurture and Much More!”

One good blog deserves another. So I answered back:

Hi Ivan. Yes, I liked the Nature, Nurture AND More blog. I also liked the ones on motivating and daring to be different. Seems to me that you do in fact have the soul of a sage, and know a thing or two about change. The Chinese don’t have a monopoly on wisdom after all. Now I’m motivated to write you an answering blog on the subject of nature, nurture, and More. I’ll alert you come mid-week, if you like. All best, Pat”

What follows is my response to Ivan’s blog. He concludes, “Is it a matter of nature or nurture?  It is both.  Leaders need to be aware of their inborn abilities and how they can develop them, which is, essentially, an auto-didactic exercise.”

What? “Auto-didactic?!” I can’t resist a friendly tease here. Ivan, who doesn’t really have much use for academics, uses a pretty fancy word that I (the presumed academician) had to look up. Turns out, it means self-analysis. As a noun, it means self-taught.

Agreed. Self-responsible learning and experience are essential. Potential is necessary but not sufficient. However, the wisdom of sages (not the same as academic theories) can make a useful difference. I’ll give one example here using the Positive Paradigm Wheel of Change which is true to the original, the I Ching. This picture talks to the right brain to balance the left-brain discussion which follows.

It places the relationship of nature, nurture and “much more” in prioritized context.

NatureNurtureWheel

For those as yet unfamiliar with the Unified Theory of Einstein’s heart’s desire, let me explain briefly. The model of concentric wheels-within-wheels is equally compatible with modern atomic science, the world’s great religions, and yoga philosophy.

The surface level that corresponds with MASS includes everything tangible and measurable. It’s the realm of empirical science. That would be “nurture.”

The middle ENERGY level corresponds not only with electricity, but with subtle but measurable energies that yogis call “chi” or “prana.” It’s the level associated with DNA, emotions and “gut” feelings. As detailed below, that’s the level of “nature.”

The innermost level of LIGHT is associated with intangibles. That’s the “. . . and Much MORE.”

On the surface, intelligence is measured by IQ. It’s also the realm of human laws and social codes, including morality.

The middle level is the domain of the natural law encoded in the venerable Chinese Book of Change. Competence at the middle level is popularly called EQ – Emotional Intelligence. This is the realm of native virtues, including but not limited to courage, kindness and calmness. Compassion is the balanced composite of intrinsic virtues.

Still further inwards, deeper knowledge is experienced as intuition, sometimes called guidance. Most notably, the New and Old Testaments speak to this level.

At the hub of life’s Wheel, the unchanging center holds the radiating spokes and rim together. This eternal source of life and light is associated with the silent voice of Conscience. The Chinese call it the Tao, the Way which cannot be named.

Here’s how Ivan’s comments on nature vs. nurture fit into the Wheel. The surface of the Wheel is the level of daily experience, which includes on-the-job and classroom training as well as expert mentoring. This is the level of nurture – leadership development.

Even so, depending on what (or whether) they choose to learn from it, experience shapes different leaders differently. (Academics who are heavy on theory but light on experience are understandably frustrating to leaders whose common sense is highly developed.)

The middle level of the Wheel is where some leaders fall short. This is what Ivan calls nature – innate potentials. Leaders may or may not be self-aware on this level. Some trust their gut feelings more than others. A fortunate few, like Mozart, for example, are born already in-formed. But a deficit can be improved by relevant training, especially when reinforced by practical experience.

The innermost level of the Wheel is where more leaders are gun shy. This is the “And MORE” factor. Deeper than either surface nurture or middle level nature, only the most successful are in-formed by intuition (which is different from gut instinct.) Creative change agents regarded as visionaries receive their inspiration at this level.

The center of the Wheel is, by definition, absolute. The other levels emanate from and return to this creative source. The very best leaders are those who focus here and link the hub all the way to the surface. They’re equally competent on all levels in a balanced way. This is the ideal towards which to strive. It’s also the standard for deciding which leaders to follow, and which ones to promote.

In Positive Paradigm context, the three levels radiating outwards from the central hub are prioritized. For this reason, a highly proficient but insensitive and uninspired technician isn’t yet qualified to lead others. An enthusiastic, high energy leader may attract followers. But a charismatic speaker whose ethics are shaky or whose connection to the center is unstable needs work. Wherever there are deficiencies, once identified, they can be corrected. This is the purpose and value of the The Positive Paradigm Handbook.

The relationship amongst the levels explains the extraordinary success of leaders who start with few material advantages, but succeed far beyond many who begin with more.

Scriptures tell us, and the best leaders affirm, “With God, all things are possible.” That is to say, from a strong connection to the center, entire empires can be spun. Leaders who demonstrate the courage of their convictions make up for early social disadvantages through native intelligence, hard work and the not-coincidental luck this generates.

Detractors may doubt the necessary connection between material success, emotional intelligence, intuition and conscience. They ask, “What explains the success of the fabulously rich and powerful men on the planet who, as outspoken atheists, get whatever they want, however they want, with no regard for the harm they cause to anyone who dares stand their way?”

Well, there are many stories about bad deals with the Devil. Satan promises – and for a short time, can sometimes deliver – ephemeral success in the transitory world. But never the lasting peace which comes from following conscience. Disciples of Saul Alinsky, an admitted follower of Lucifer, can deliver worldly success to political organizers (you know who they are) willing to deceive, fragment and exploit the masses they pretend to serve.

But 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.

So here’s my ongoing call to sages world-wide. Unite in the vision of Einstein’s Unified Theory. As he warned us, this “substantially new way of thinking” is a matter of human survival.

 Angel Calling

 

Discovering the Missing Link

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

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

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EUROPE: Discovering the Missing Link

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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