Tag Archives: Positive Paradigm

What You See Is What You Get

This post continues the threads, “If You Love Your Children . . .” and “. . . Tell Them How the World Works.”

Tragically, schools have been being co-opted by ideologues who promote the false belief that the way to end human suffering is to destroy unjust social structures. This brainwashing poses a grave danger to young people. It is more likely to end human life on the planet than to end suffering.

In thinking how to best counter destructive lies, I recalled these lines from Essay Sketches on Positive Action:

WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET.

Life is whatever you choose to make it.

I also remembered the words of a mentor at the Wisconsin School Board Association. Shaking his head, Senn Brown told me, “You are ahead of the times.”

Well, as the song goes, “Something’s lost but something’s gained in living every day.” Though I was already on track, I’ve learned a bit since then.

In If You Love Your Children . . , I described Dr. Peterson’s advice for withstanding unfairness and suffering. It’s summarized in 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos:

Essentially, his book advises people to “man up.” All of us have the potential to be much better than we are. Before criticizing the world, our first responsibility is to improve ourselves with discipline, carving out meaning in our lives as a bulwark against the chaos of life’s inevitable hardships.

Certainly this is excellent advice for coping with circumstances, literally standing on the circle’s rim.

But there’s much more to life than circumstances experienced on the surface. And the origins and solutions to most of our problems lie hidden beneath that surface.

For positive solutions to current circumstances, we have to look deeper. We need to remember the fabulous inherent inner resources whose very existence is denied by believers in shallow, exclusively materialistic science who give us permission to know only that which is tangible, measurable and quantifiable.

In contrast, the wisest among the teachers of any other time and place than our immediate circumstance have consistently told us that we are far more than a physical body.

The rules of this deeper wisdom are summed up in The Positive Paradigm Handbook: Make Yourself Whole Using the Wheel of Change. It lists Seven Axioms which compliment and complete Dr. Peterson’s 12 Rules. They give depth to his assertion that all of us can be much better than we now are.

Consistent with its predecessor, the Book of Change, The Handbook holds:

  • Dysfunctional paradigms tie us in knots. They tear us apart. They drive us crazy. They push us (first individually, then collectively) to murder and even suicide.
  • To survive intact, we must cleave to the essence of the perennial philosophy. The universal Life Wheel is a snapshot of the essential truth which the world’s great religions share in common. It offers us a way out of global madness. It gives us a means for restoring sanity to our world outlook.
  • Peace and positive change necessarily begin one individual at a time, and are accomplished from the inside out. So long as dysfunctional paradigms put individuals at war with themselves, general ignorance will continue to escalate into worldwide conflict.

The Seven Axioms, along with basic corollaries, are based on the multi-dimensional, two-directional Life Wheel that looks like this:

levels of law - sized

These are the axioms:

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

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

AXIOM 3.  Unity at the center and diversity on the surface are necessary compliments.

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

AXIOM 5.  History is cyclical, not linear or progressive; nor can human survival be taken for granted.

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

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

book header bird

Here is how I would apply these axioms to answer the radical student’s question to Dr. Peterson about unfairness, alienation and loneliness.

Taking up where I left off in “ . . Tell Them How the World Works,” I mentioned creating images to illustrate written text. This is important, because words function in the analytical (yang) left-brainer mode, while pictures speak to those of us who function primarily in the creative non-verbal (yin) right-brainer mode.

What you do or don’t see, through which ever side of the brain you favor, depends on you. If you’re fortunate to have both sides active, balanced and cooperating harmoniously, all the better.

To refresh your memory, a primary excuse ideologues use to rationalize overthrow of the established order is “thrownness:”

. . you’re a certain race and you’re born with a certain level of intelligence. You’re born in a certain culture with a certain language and in a certain socio-economic class and with a certain degree of attractiveness. And those are all things that are handed to you.

As Dr. Peterson paraphrases their argument:

The talents and catastrophes of life are by no means equally distributed. From the perspective of the standards of human justice and perhaps human mercy as well, there is something intrinsically unfair, unjust about the structure of existence itself.

Here is my picture of the catastrophes that result from living exclusively on the surface, ignorant of the workings of our inner universe. Both center and middle levels of life are repressed to comply with exclusively materialistic rules of the knowledge game.

As an aside, let me emphasize that suffering of the natural world is magnified and twisted beyond recognition by the unnatural, unnecessary overlay of ignorance humans add to the mix.

Unfair-sized

What do you make of it?

At first glance, it makes me think of PTSD victims, suicidal drop-outs, violent protesters and serial killers. At second, it reminds me of Pastor Joe Fox’s survivalist advice. “If you believe you are helpless, that whatever you do makes no difference, that there’s no hope, it’s true.” Believing it makes it so.

To name just a few who rose above harsh circumstances – What if Nelson Mandala, born black in an apartheid nation and incarcerated for dozens of years, had acted on this world view? Or Anne Frank, who hid in an attic from Nazi oppressors until betrayed, and died at age 15 in a concentration camp? Or Helen Keller, left deaf, dumb and blind after an early disease?

In contrast, here’s a picture of life completed by inner wisdom. Mandela, Frank and Keller drew on these resources to overcome harsh circumstances. So can each of us. The image gives new meaning to Dr. Peterson’s repeated advice, “Go deep!”

Life is Mysterious

It reminds me of Solomon’s words, “To everything there is a season.” In a complete world view, through the times friendship, love, work and conflicts, the full spectrum of emotions is in-formed by self-aware introspection and, at the deepest level, the abiding stillness of inner peace.

Based on this world view, I would ever so briefly suggest that each of our present circumstances is the result of a long history of past actions. And our futures depend upon the choices made and actions we take NOW.

Also, as concluded in If You Love Your Children. . . :

What if (like Christ born in a filthy stable) you came here on a soul mission, given challenges perfectly matched to your unique calling – perhaps life lessons to be learned? What if life is complex and mysterious, but inherently just? It’s quite possible.

Phoenix - sized

But this is plenty to absorb for now. Another set of pictures shows an alternative, wisdom response to life’s suffering. But it will wait.

Closing where I started today, my School Board Association mentor, Senn Brown, told me I was ahead of my times. He said this because I warned out of the gate that Affirmative Action legislation missed the point. Not only was it unenforceable. It would trigger inevitable backlash.

I’m one of Camille Paglia’s generation. Toxic, irrelevant universities could not contain creative thinkers. She told Dr. Peterson her peers dropped out, overdosed and disappeared off the radar.

But I chose a less traveled path. Though having no illusions about the University, I completed the Ph.D., committed to earning the credential required to build relevant schools which DO meet students’ needs.

Deeper still, I held fast to the belief that relevant sciences and teachers are still available to those who sincerely seek them. And in that I was not disappointed.

I continue to write, sustained by the hunch that the day is soon coming when I and the times will finally come into synch.

In any case, you might find the rest of the Essay Sketch I opened with interesting:

WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET. Life is whatever you choose to make it. Make cultural heroes of people who pride themselves on their ability to beat the system and stand above the crowd — eager-to-please imitators will strive to replicate that model.

What would the world be like if, instead, value were placed on good will, friendship and cooperation? Not leveling, mind you. Communist experiments in China and Russia have proven that starving personal initiative doesn’t work any better than the everyone-for-himself approach.

Try the middle road. Give Positive Action a chance, and see what you get. Start small, with what can be done in your own personal life and inner circles. The ripples will spread in all directions.

Angel Calling

The Highway to Heaven Is a Two-Way Street

jacob's ladder

Balance yin and yang approaches to solving your problems. It gets better results.

Jordan B. Peterson gives a good example. Early in their marriage, when conflicts arose, he wanted to argue. His wife, however, would turn over and go to sleep. When she awoke, she reported insightful dreams which helped resolve their issues.

Dreams, as you’ll recall, are associated with the middle, Gatekeeper level of the Life Wheel which links the yang surface with inward, yin levels of intuition and conscience.

I’m well familiar with her problem-solving method, as well as how it compliments his.

Here’s an example from my graduate school experience. An Educational Administration professor wanted to know, “Why are there so few women principals in school administration?”

To me, the answer was intuitively obvious. Women teachers get no support. If they received support from family and school administrators, I told him, more would be promoted.

Two years later, after an extensive review of the research literature and a statistical study yielding 99 percent statistically significant results, these yang methods confirmed my yin intuition. My stats prof was amazed at the high probability correlations. Most of his students got garbage results. How did I manage to get significant ones, he wanted to know. And how did I explain the unusually high response rate?

Well. For one thing, because I already “knew” the answer, I knew where to look and what to ask. All I had to do was design a study that allowed the evidence to come forward. In addition, in the statistical portion of the questionnaire, I limited myself to the kinds of questions which statistics can measure. To obtain information about subjective values, I asked open-ended questions requiring written responses.

Finally, the form itself was non-threatening, attractively presented on light blue paper. I used plain language. I intentionally made the content intriguing —  even fun.

Now, for me, empirical methods are an unnecessarily complicated way to arrive at an answer. But we got to the same place, just the same.

The difference between these yin and yang approaches explains the particular value I have to offer in matters philosophical. My yin perspective compliments Dr. Peterson’s yang presentation.

We share in common a desire to understand human nature. In college, my question was, what educational discipline was the best route to answers. Psychology might have been the logical choice. But a discipline that categorizes using statistical methods (often based on rat and monkey research) left me cold.

B.F. Skinner’s presentation as a guest lecturer at Oberlin decided the issue. In his general presentation, he described toilet-training his daughter using music, so her associations would be pleasant. In the question and answer session that followed, a student asked, “What happens the first time she goes to a concert?”

No answer.

Skinner’s work has an important place, no doubt. But as teachings acquired later confirm, it focuses exclusively on behavior – a first chakra center issue. There had to be more! In addition to inhabiting physical bodies constrained within socially conditioned environments, humans have rational minds, hearts capable of empathy, creative aspirations, and, yes – souls.

So for my understanding of humans, I opted to major in comparative history rather than “science,” rounded out in equal parts by philosophy and comparative literature courses.

The places I looked for answers gave me different approaches to the devastating division between faith and empirical science. The Life Wheel described in The Key That Reconciles Science & Religion came both before and after the history course described below.

Critics have complained that its wheels-within-wheels geometry is “too abstract” and unaccessible. In thinking it through, however, I’ve concluded that the problem lies not with the concept. Rather, alienated yang intellects obscure the yin mind which intuitively grasps non-verbal truths.

From personal experience, I know that the Life Wheel is natural and intuitive. Going through puberty, I spontaneously started drawing wheels with multi-colored pencils. Without naming a reason or purpose for doing so, I filled notebooks with mandala-like geometric flowers circling outwards from a center, building layers upon layers.

childish

My step-father thought I was an artist. But it had nothing to do with professional calling. I was going through a natural change. My consciousness was blossoming, expressing itself in the non-verbal language common to native cultures from the beginnings of time. Native Americans draw prayer wheels.

Native American

Buddhists create intricate mandalas with colored sands.

buddhist

Medieval architects built radiantly multi-colored stained glass windows into their cathedrals.

Mandala1

Later, I felt compelled to return to the Life Wheel. As I applied left-brain reasoning to penetrate its meaning, it continued to develop, changing into a diagnostic and decision-making tool, a means of linguistic analysis, a zodiac-like measure of time, and more.

It’s not concentric circles that are too abstract. Quite the contrary, this primal way of understanding has been forgotten by isolated intellectuals out of touch with their universal roots.

In The Key that Reconciles Science & Religion, I showed how the Life Wheel reconciles the conflict which Nietzsche, later Jung and then Dr. Peterson, describe as devastating. I quoted Dr. Peterson, who assures us that “there’s much more to ‘reality’ than current assumptions allow.”

What follows is taken from an earlier post that draws on my history background. Snippet quotes are a spoiler alert intended to intrigue you into reading the rest.

closing

  • Professor McGill beamed his approval of the solution to the either/or conflict between science and religion. Historians, he said, call it “The Great Reconciliation.”

  • According to St. Aquinas, It works both ways. Observing the world leads to faith. Faith leads to effective behavior in the world.

  • As Albert Einstein put it, “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.”

  • At the 11th hour of human history, few people have time to learn much less apply the lessons of history. For the sake of simplicity and immediately useful applications, The Great Debate’s outcome is pictured by the Positive Paradigm of Change in the form of a multi-dimensional Life Wheel.

  • Why have we forgotten this? Why do either/or controversies continue to rage as if the solution had never been articulated? Who perpetuates this unnecessary separation? Why? Who benefits? Who pays the terrible price?

book header bird

The GREAT RECONCILIATION

Like Romeo and Juliet, Abelard and Heloise are remembered in as tragic lovers separated by the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

Here are the highlights from medieval history. Abelard, a monk, was rich-girl Heloise’s tutor. He seduced her. Their affair outed when she became pregnant. Her uncle exacted poetic justice: the offending lover was attacked in the night and castrated. Afterwards, the lovers exchanged celebrated letters, but were never reunited.

The low lights are usually overlooked. In fact, Abelard married Heloise. But to protect his reputation as a cleric, kept it secret. He urged her to take monastic vows, which she did, but under protest. She felt no calling. For her, living a cloistered life was most unfair.

Why is this story is relevant to the ongoing discussion about the Rules of the Knowledge Game? Because Abelard later distinguished himself a participant in The Great Debate of the Middle Ages.

During my Freshman year at Oberlin College, Professor Barry McGill presented the debate with style and passion. Tall, pencil-thin, graying and bespectacled, he dramatized the effect of pendulum swings on history.

Ideas, he insisted, have great power. They alter the course of human events. In particular, philosophers’ beliefs profoundly affect the forms governments take and the way leaders treat their people.

Long before Hegel wrote about dialectics, which in turn influenced Marx. a triad of medieval scholars — St. Augustine, our sadly altered Abelard, and St. Aquinas — completed the classic example of contrasting beliefs about What Can Be Known, How, and By Whom (epistemology).

St. Augustine sat on one extreme of the philosophical see-saw. Abelard perched on the other. The intellectual world was at odds until St. Aquinas came up with the balancing fulcrum.

see saw

St. Augustine’s approach was faith-based. He depended exclusively on his belief in God. In his worldview, knowledge is the result of divine grace. His credo: “I believe that I may know.” Faith in God is prior and necessary to human endeavors.

In Life Wheel context, Augustine’s primary reality rested at the center of the Wheel and extended outwards from it to include the surface of the physical, manifested world.

Abelard took the opposite approach. Man, he held, depends on observable things and tangible experience to acquire knowledge. This approach, taken to the extreme, results in the exclusively superficial, materialistic paradigm of research science.

Importantly, however, Abelard never denied the existence of God. He held that experience of the world leads the thoughtful man to deduce the necessary existence of God. In Life Wheel context, he started at the Wheel’s surface and pushed inwards to complete the circuit.

It took St. Aquinas to complete the loop. He concluded there is no conflict between the other two approaches. Knowing is a two-way street. No matter where you start, each position leads to and completes the other, reconnecting heaven and earth, center with surface. Complete knowledge flows continuously along the path of an infinite loop.

According to St. Aquinas, it works both ways. Observing the world leads to faith. Faith leads to effective behavior in the world.

Professor McGill beamed his approval of the solution to the either/or conflict between science and religion. Historians, he said, call it “The Great Reconciliation.”

Why have we forgotten this? Why do either/or controversies continue to rage as if the solution had never been articulated?

Who perpetuates this unnecessary separation? Why? Who benefits? Who pays the terrible price?

CONCLUSION

Allow me to point out a relevant conclusion from the sad story of Abelard and Heloise. Today’s exclusively rational philosophers are as sterile as was he. And Heloise’s feminine counter-parts, isolated and cloistered, are equally unfulfilled. Just as yin and yang yearn for unity and the fulfillment of creative balance, so also faith and reason depend upon one another for completion.

As Albert Einstein put it, “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.”

At the 11th hour of human history, few people have time to learn much less apply the lessons of history. For the sake of simplicity and immediately useful applications, The Great Debate’s outcome has been summed up in the Positive Paradigm of Change and illustrated in the form of its multi-dimensional Life Wheel.

Here’s why it is so critically important to reconnect the surface with the center of the Life Wheel in an infinite two-way loop, joining the material surface with its innermost source. The times in history when the rules of the knowledge game allowed creative thinkers to access both sides of the infinite, two-way street were times of renaissance that saw huge outpourings of invention, commerce, arts and learning.

The renaissance at the end of the middle ages, first in Italy and later in England represented by Elizabeth I’s Shakespeare, were times of paradigm shifts. The origin of universities took place during this time. The rules were in flux. It was fair game to access both sides of the coin, so to speak. There was no perceived conflict between faith and reason. Separation of church and state was a non-existent issue. The result was a time of creative flowering in both the arts and sciences.

Our future may well depend upon

whether or not there’s a similar Positive Paradigm shift now . . .

It will take a reconciliation and reawakening

to the full spectrum of human potentials

to generate a flourishing of creative problem-solving

sufficient to tip the scales of history

in favor of human survival.

Phoenix - sized

N.B. “Re-nasissance” = “rebirth.”

Phoenix rising from its own ashes. Got it? : )

The Gate Keeper

Responding to a conversation between Jordan Peterson and Stefan Molyneux, Sorting Yourself Out, I wrote:

Practical tools I’ve acquired and developed could well serve to fortify your intellectual arsenals in the ongoing media battle for the hearts and minds of the general public.

. . . my work identifies an overlooked but fatal blind-spot in Western thinking. (I will elaborate on this at length in a post to be called “The Gate Keeper.”) Suffice it to say here that unless/until we restore a complete and correct paradigm to common understanding, the downward spiral of history will continue on its course unchecked.

This, then is The Gate Keeper post.

Phoenix - sized

The middle level of the Life Wheel is the missing piece of the knowledge puzzle, lacking which one cannot get from here (daily experience) to there (inner peace and truth).

Here is the description of the e = energy level of the Life Wheel from The Handbook:

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 Life 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 which deny their citizens practical outlets for articulating and harnessing inner energies creatively can literally drive people crazy, to murder and 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. (Substance abuse and food addictions are also turned to for escape, as are violent video games.)

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

Phoenix - sized

Awareness of the middle energy level equated with emotions has recently been brought back into fashion in the guise of “emotional intelligence.” But why has the middle, Gate Keeper level for so long been relegated to the realms of the taboo and banned from conscious awareness?

Certainly laziness is one problem. Cleaning out one’s personal emotional swamp can be very hard work.

Furthermore, untamed and unharnessed, it can be very dangerous. When polluted, the middle energy level  houses the inner demons of terrifying, repressed memories. It is the storehouse of our socially unacceptable worst fears and imaginings.

This leads to a fateful fear of self-awareness. For there are times when one shouldn’t believe or follow one’s inner voices. Disciplined, discriminating thinkers (in the pristine meaning of the word) know that not all of them emanate from the Source of truth and light:

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

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

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

Phoenix - sized

An important reason why the middle level has gotten such a bad rep and is rejected by religionists is that, taken out of context, it becomes the stuff of nature worship, paganism and worse. As guest of an extended family of Frank Lloyd Wright apprentices in Spring Green, I heard their stories of how romanticizing nature while rejecting its Source can end in murder, mayhem and untold miseries.

This is why in The Handbook, Axiom One emphasizes the importance of living according to a complete and accurate paradigm. The shadow side, the caveat, warns of the risks which follow from distorting that paradigm:

AXIOM ONE

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

The empirical, measurable physical world of tangible objects and daily experience has its origin and end at the creative center of the Life Wheel. The unseen drives the seen. The invisible precedes the visible. Inspiration precedes actions which in turn produce results.

Therefore, the quality of daily life depends on the quality of belief systems. If the paradigm held is complete and accurate, it leads to consistent action that yields successful, beneficial results. When paradigms are incomplete and inaccurate, however, they generate inconsistent actions which lead to failure, pain and suffering.

Phoenix - sized

ADDENDUM

The Life Wheel model formulated as the Positive Paradigm of Change is NOT an arbitrary mental confabulation, as are the highly toxic, relatively modern ideological -isms: Marxism, Communism, Socialism and the like. The consequences of fractured, dissociated ideologies begin with personal fragmentation but have the potential to escalate into genocide. The fractured Life Wheel looks something like this:

World gone mad

Significantly, the root of the word “sin” comes from an archery term meaning “to miss the mark.” If the center of the Life Wheel represents the ultimate goal of enlightenment, than any belief system which rules out that center, or attempts to subordinate its power to personal agendas, misses the mark indeed.

The complete and accurate paradigm (belief system) embodied in the target-like concentric circles of the Life Wheel is simply a fact of life, known and taught by the ancients for thousands of years. (Violate it at your own risk.)

It’s no coincidence that yogis describe inner experience in images that evoke the Life Wheel. They speak of increasingly deeper layers as “sheathes” and the process of getting to the core as “peeling away the layers of an onion.” Nor is it coincidental that the word “yoga,” which means union, refers to linking and prioritizing the levels of the Life Wheel so that all are present, balanced and operate harmoniously.

But, of course, arrogant academics will ask, “Where is the proof?”

The yogi’s answer: “In direct experience!”

This is the accomplished meditator’s answer to the skeptical agnostic and antagonistic atheist’s challenge: “The bad news is, it’s like trying to explain what colors look like to a blind person, or how chocolate tastes to someone who’s never had any.

The good news, however, is that inner truth can be known by direct experience. And there are means and methods for getting from here to there.”

Were you to ask a Zen master how to achieve enlightenment, the simple answer you’d probably get is: “SHUT UP!”

In gentler form, the Yoga Sutras of Patajani offers the same solution.

The yogic process involves going step-by-systematic-step deeper into the Life Wheel. The preliminary stage is to heal and strengthen the physical body which correlates with the material surface of the Wheel. This is called Hatha Yoga. Here, the object of physical exercise is not to make oneself attractive to potential mates, but rather to stabilize the physical body so that distractions of pain and disease are eliminated and the body is sufficiently stable to sit somewhat comfortably for prolonged durations of time in meditation.

The next two steps, called the five yamas and five niyamas, (sometimes compared to the Ten Commandments) are disciplines of social behavior. The point is that one’s character must be sufficiently developed in relationship to others to assure that the knowledge and subtle powers which accrue in advanced states of development will be used constructively, in harmony with the greater good.

Significantly, Pranayama, exercises for regulating the breath (prana) are then introduced to link the surface with the middle energy level of the Life Wheel. Breath control practices relax the body, calm the emotions and quiet the mind. [Building on this tradition, mindfulness therapists instruct stressed clients to take a deep breath.]

Only then are the next steps of contemplation and introspection prescribed. (It is at this point of inner development that querying the I Ching for the purpose of increasing self-awareness becomes an especially helpful discipline.) Finally, meditation is prescribed.

It is important to note that the deeper one delves into the Life Wheel experience, the quieter the mind becomes. Thoughts become less fragmented and noisy. Brain waves become harmonized and increasingly slower until the mind achieves the rest of complete stillness. Hence, by the disciplined practice of intentional, systematic methods, one achieves the inward state of grace which scriptures prescribe: “Be still and know that I AM God.”

So western sciences serve to confirm what yogis have taught from direct experience. The following illustration shows how the science of brain waves experienced by meditators (and musicians!!) can be plugged into the Life Wheel. The increasingly deeper states of awareness which sutras describe are the waking and dream states which then slow and relax into the REM state of dreamless sleep. These correlate with bio-feedback measurements of increasingly slower vibrational patterns: the beta, alpha, theta and delta states.

 

brain waves

As an aside – here’s a topic that bears investigation by Western psychologists, particularly those with a Jungian bent. This geometrical construct is consistent with, and may even explain, the fact that careful observers of human experience, especially who aspire to self-knowledge and self-actualization, are persuaded of the significance (sometimes helpfulness) of dreams.

Freud, for example, held that daily events are nested within an encompassing dream state – a field rich in information beyond ordinary access. Small wonder. For, as shown here, the dream state is foundational to the material world. Located within the middle Gate Keeper layer of the Life Wheel, it resides at a deeper level, therefore closer to the experience of light and illumination than the waking state which is invested in primarily tangible, measurable experience.

Be that as it may, the accomplished yogi, one who experiences what is described as “Christ consciousness,” links the levels into a single continuum of awareness called “turyia,” living both here and there. Awareness of the silent core is consciously present while fully awake. One’s daily reality is clear and consistent with one’s dreams as well as with deepest knowing.

Now, although a few come into this world already blessed in a state of Christ consciousness, most of us achieve it through choice and determined, dedicated, disciplined work — the product of consistent positive attitudes, right choices and good deeds. Surely faith and trust enter in. Also in the mix, however, knowledge makes a difference. As stated at the start, it is important to have a clear, correct and complete paradigm – an accurate road map – to steer by. “Every little bit helps.”

 

Phoenix - sized

On a personal note, as someone who grew up saturated in classical music, I experienced an easier time than most in relating to yoga sciences. String music served as my particular bridge to inner realms of experience.

The following is a description (my emphasis added) of a book that speaks to how this might be so, another example of applying western brain sciences to confirm ancient wisdom: Don Campbell’s The Mozart Effect: Tapping the Power of Music to Heal the Body, Strengthen the Mind, and Unlock the Creative Spirit:

Anyone who has ever seen a two-year-old start bouncing to a beat knows that music speaks to us on a very deep level. But it took celebrated teacher and music visionary Don Campbell to show us just how deep, with his landmark book The Mozart Effect.

. . . The Mozart Effect has a simple but life-changing message: music is medicine for the body, the mind, and the soul. Campbell shows how modern science has begun to confirm this ancient wisdom, finding evidence that listening to certain types of music can improve the quality of life in almost every respect. Here are dramatic accounts of how music is used to deal with everything from anxiety to cancer, high blood pressure, chronic pain, dyslexia, and even mental illness.

. . . Campbell asserts that the kind of noise to which one is exposed can have important effects on mental and bodily health. As a trial, try protecting your hearing for a few days from the continuous barrage of noise in a typical urban environment; it really does seem to improve one’s attitude and fatigue levels.

Where Campbell’s ideas become more provocative is in the realm of music. Supported by much anecdotal evidence, he proposes that Classical music with a big “C” (the music of Mozart’s period) can reach out to those who are mentally isolated from their fellows, like the autistic, and can help infants react and think better. In addition, the music of Mozart contributes to the improved functioning of the higher cerebellar functions, including the ability to deal with logical and mathematical concepts, while contemporary rock actually decreases mental acuity.

Phoenix - sized

Cordial Greetings

Hello to Stefan Molyneux and Jordan Peterson.

This post, along with the companion blogs linked below, are my heartfelt response to Stefan’s passionate call for creative positive action, specifically in the most excellent discussion, Sorting Yourself Out.

I certainly agree with you that, world-wide, civilization as we know it is reaching the point of critical mass.

Not coincidentally, I have been working in parallel on the subjects of ethics, epistemology, personal freedom, and introspection – as well as their urgent relevance to human survival – for a very long time.

My particular contribution to your effort is a model that expands on your invaluable research, adding urgently needed depth. Practical tools I’ve acquired and developed could well serve to fortify your intellectual arsenals in the ongoing media battle for the hearts and minds of the general public.

Put another way, my work identifies an overlooked but fatal blind-spot in Western thinking. (I elaborate on this at length in a post called “The Gate Keeper.”) Suffice it to say here that unless/until we restore a complete and correct paradigm to common understanding, the downward spiral of history will continue on its course unchecked.

By way of introduction, I should tell you that though this contact may seem sudden and rather late in the game, in fact, I’ve foreseen the state of critical mass a long time coming, patiently waiting for the right time to come forward.

Proof of the timing is written into the concluding chapter of Rethinking Survival’s memoir section called “Who I Am To Say.”

I chose the introductory quote to underscore the fact that I’m not alone in subscribing to the premise of Rethinking Survival:

Curiosity, awareness, attention — those are the tools we need if we hope to avoid our worst mistakes — and indeed if our children are to have a future on this planet. We have come to a pass in our evolution where we all must, to one degree or another, be scientists at heart or be victims of forces we don’t understand. I am certainly concerned about our survival as individuals. But I am also concerned that if we don’t know the rules of our world — both the human and physical rules — we will be in danger collectively as well. Laurence Gonzales. Everyday Survival: Why Smart People Do Stupid Things

Between 2008 and 2009, I worked over-night third-shift hours at the Wisconsin Relay Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing as a Communications Assistant. Quiet times gave me the opportunity to outline a book proposal for Surviving Titanic Times:

It seemed ironic that the general public in some ways is as of hard of hearing as the deaf community. What, I wondered, will it take for the “conveniently” hard of hearing to open their ears, hear warnings of threats to their survival and build lifeboats in time?

I decided that before readiness is there, it’s smartest to keep a low profile. When immediate danger is actually on the front doorstep, it will finally become convenient for people to rethink their assumptions. Only then will the general public have an vested interest in heeding the warnings of boundary-spanners, making it safe for “non-traditional” thinkers to come forward. . . .

This is the upside of dark times. Extreme danger is a 2’x4′ sufficient to get people’s attention, wake them up to their true greatness — “the giant within.”

Most news reporters, along with the politicians and experts they interview, are products of the skewed educational system that has brought us to the brink. However, according to the maxim, “The larger the front, the larger the back,” times of gravest danger are when greatest opportunities for change arise.

Heroes emerge when the time calls. A new readiness to see what before was invisible can open new avenues of Positive Action. As Gonzales details, survivors remember their best qualities and have eye-opening epiphanies.

Quite possibly there’s a whole generation of true leaders, ruined professionally to shut them up, patiently biding their time. They’re hidden in society’s woodwork, waiting quietly with the patience of Chinese sages for the right time and opportunity to come forward, to tell their stories. They’ll educate those with an ear to hear about the fundamental rules of our world, as Gonzales calls them — not just social standards, but more fundamentally, the laws of nature — and help us find the way out of self-destructive madness.

I’ve taken the experience of journalist Dorothy Thompson, “the American Cassandra,” to heart. Reporting from Germany in the 1930’s, she found no one in the U.S. wanted to hear about Hitler’s menace . . . until Americans were galvanized into entering WWII. Then it became convenient to listen to her.

With patient forbearance, I heed the I Ching wisdom of Stillness:

52 Stillness

I remain confident that over time, quietness inevitably changes to its opposite. Stillness is fecund. It bears within it the latent seeds of future action. So it’s important to know when to be quiet, to listen to inner guidance that warns against danger. Then, when the time is right, you’ll know to be in the right place and how to take the right action.

Phoenix - sized

Here I will briefly tell you my basic premise, describe the Life Wheel in abstract, and then show how it can be set into motion and applied to specific situations. Out of infinitely possible examples, I refer to the youtube conversation to demonstrate how the Wheel works.

Here is the basic premise as stated in the Introduction to Rethinking Survival:

The Danger

Programmed assumptions too often drive our decisions, actions and ultimately, survival options. Even with the best of intentions, misinformed people operating on conflicting beliefs destroy themselves and others. Sometimes the process is quick. Suicide. Murder. Usually it’s slower — atrophy and self-sabotage.

The connection between skewed thinking and disastrous results is mirrored in the global disconnect between policy and practice. Knowledge deficits are directly responsible for bankrupt economies, personal and international alike.

In the United States, politicians of both parties use psychological scare tactics to polarize the public. They warn with phony threats, at the same time, putting all of us at risk. Like Nero who fiddled while Rome burned, leaders alienate us with disgraceful partisan bickering. At the same time, they avoid the real dangers which threaten to burst the bubble of illusory progress with excruciating finality.

In sum: Just as the Titanic’s designers failed to recognize the ship’s fatal flaw, today’s religious and political leaders, acting on misinformation, are steering the planet ever closer to the brink of destruction. Presented here for the first time, the Positive Paradigm of Change offers the hopeful opportunity to rethink our collective future, shift away from the current collision course towards disaster and ensure human survival.

Building on this premise in The Positive Paradigm Handbook, I continued:

WHY PARADIGMS MATTER

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

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

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

As detailed in Rethinking Survival: Getting to the Positive Paradigm of Change, a fatal information deficit explains the worldwide leadership deficit and related budget deficits.

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

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

Phoenix - sized

Here then is the universal Life Wheel implicit (as detailed at length elsewhere) in the world’s enduring wisdom traditions. It is equally compatible with the discipline of yoga sutras and with modern physics. Formulated as the Positive Paradigm of Change, it meets the Occam’s Razor standard of utmost simplicity with maximum inclusiveness.

PPoC gold

If gives us a complete and accurate model with which to sort out – articulate, organize and improve upon –- the levels and directions of our very complex lives. For, in fact, life – both personal and historical – is neither flat nor linear.

Here is a very early picture of how the interdependent but qualitatively different dimensions of life experience are related, prioritized and linked in the abstract.

II.05 Unity & Diversity

 

Phoenix - sized

In Sorting Yourself Out, Jordan Peterson compares the biblical example of Abraham’s “call to adventure” (and promise of exponential reward) to his intentional Self-Authoring process. It’s one example of what legendary comparative religion teacher Joseph Campbell called the “Hero’s Journey.” The cyclical, alpha-omega (but also inward) journey is also detailed by Clift and Clift in The Hero Journey in Dreams.

They tell us that journey starts with a call to adventure, followed by departure and initiation. These lead to sacrifice and suffering which in turn yields wisdom, then transformation and finally return to the world. We are told:

Dreams present one with symbols of transformation – the opportunity to expand one’s horizon. Painful experiences can be a great teacher – if one lets them. The hero is someone who has learned something, gained a new perspective.

Here, the stages of the Hero’s Journey are plugged into the Life Wheel, showing this multi-layered, dynamic process in motion. (N.B. This is not simply myth, but rather psychological necessity. We are each at one time or another in our lives – whether we choose to heed the call or not – invited to follow and complete the universal pattern.)

Hero's Journey

In essence, the Life Wheel is a Meta-Map. It forms the geometry of all Maps of Meaning, including the stories of not only the New and Old Testaments, but also Greek mythology and, significantly, the Bhagavad Gita.

A few examples of archetypal heroes from scriptural/literary history include Odysseus, Arjuna, Moses and Christ. Here (expanding on the narrow perspectives of secular atheists and religionists alike), is the dynamic Wheel which explains the ongoing presence/influence of the extraordinary teacher who told us, “Ye must be perfect like your Father.”

Saving the Best

The Positive Paradigm Handbook: Make Yourself Whole Using the Wheel of Change shows the way to use the Wheel as a multi-purpose tool of self-analysis and positive, personal change. We can apply it as a diagnostic and decision-making tool on any scale of magnitude – personal, organizational, or societal — marking investments of attention, time and effort over time (epochs) in various life sectors.

 

Phoenix - sized

Disastrously, the levels of the Life Wheel are becoming increasingly fragmented and out of synch in myriad ways. Here is just one example. It pictures what Stefan Molyneux repeatedly refers to as the increasing “hollowness” of communications. It equates with the incomplete paradigm of scientific materialism that recognizes only the reality of what is tangible and measurable.

Atheists rule out their awareness (though certainly not the functional existence) of inward levels of energy/emotions and intuition/light.

MaterialistAthest

Phoenix - sized

For the sake of brevity, additional applications must be addressed elsewhere. One post is already complete. Both Stefan and Jordan emphasize the importance of reasoned, critical thinking. This subject includes the highly political field of epistemology.

They also question of how to communicate their ideas to followers with Libertarian leanings. So a post on the interior level where innate Free Will resides as well as interrelated but qualitatively different levels of “freedom” is on the drawing board.

Stefan is a notable champion of ethics as foundational to viable civilizations. I agree heartily, and the post on the little known and gravely underrated Natural Law codified in the Chinese Book of Change (along with the implicit Law of Karma) supplies the insight/ammunition necessary to WIN this argument handily. Essentially, Freedom of Choice does not guarantee a free lunch. Far from it, it bears with it the responsibility to accept the inevitable Consequences of one’s choices. In this context, I’ve briefly introduced the MPI Standard for increasing self-awareness. The basic formula: Increase Awareness of What You are Doing, How and Why. Use the Wheel to articulate, prioritize and align the levels of Motive, Purpose and Intent.

CONCLUSION

I know this is a lot to take in. How can I be of help? Do you have questions or comments for me? If so, I’ll gladly respond to the thoughtful ones.

And, in balance, how might you help me? Let’s see. Value for value is the stated exchange. I used my 72nd birthday to write this post. As of now, writing is a low-priority hobby and working late hours takes a lot out of me. Lifestyle constraints are frustrating indeed. As food for thought along these lines, please take a peek at the mind-map of what could be materialized with this work if resources were made available.

With thanks for your kind attention and response, All best – Patricia West

 

What Do YOU Think?

confusion

I have an important question for you. Your thoughtful answer(s) are greatly appreciated!

Here’s the problem, wonderfully put in The Art of Growing Old – Aging with Grace by Marie De Hennezel:

. . . the worst is not inevitable. The keys to a fulfilling old age do exist, and it’s up to our generation to discover them and pass them on. It’s up to us, the baby boomers, to invent a new art of growing old – which is a paradox, as it means accepting the inevitablity of aging without becoming “old.”

She continues:

. . . we can grow old intelligently; we can accept what we cannot change, and look toward all that has yet to be discovered.

I totally agree. But there are issues. First, although she states the challenge (opportunity!) wonderfully and touches on important responses, she doesn’t really have The KEY.

Second, I do. It’s what The Phoenix Response is about.

Why is that an issue? That’s where YOU come in.

In 2014, I wrote about “The Key to Everything” in Rethinking Survival – from my point of view. For me, it explains “The Mystery of Death and Rebirth.” Looking back, I was clarifying my thoughts for me.

Now the burning question remains, How do I bridge the gap between where I stood then and where you are NOW? For me, The Key and it’s implications for ultimate survival are breath-taking. How could I present them better, in a way YOU can usefully relate to and enjoy?

Or is all this something you’d rather not think about? If so, Why not?

Please tell me. And while you’re at it, it would help to know your (relative) age, gender, and location along with any comments on what shapes your current needs.

So, what do YOU think about “The Key to Everything” and “The Mystery of Death and Rebirth?”

The KEY

The Key to Everything

My “take away” from yoga years was the parable of a young boy who asked his teacher, “What is that, knowing which, all else is known.” The implication to this question, put forth in the ancient Sanskrit Mandukya Upanishad,41 is that, with the right key, everything can be known.

It reminded me of the medieval masterpiece in the Prado Museum that grabbed my mind earlier, the one which showed me that it’s possible to see with a larger point of view, beyond time, where all history is like a static painting and everything is actually going on at the same time.

I ardently wanted that key to life and the universe. I asked myself this question over and over and compared everything I read to this standard.

Years ago, I put the question to a wise friend, “What is that, knowing which, all else is known?” His cryptic reply: “Look it up in the encyclopedia.”

“Huh?”

I parsed this one-liner for every hint and clue. What does this riddle in answer to a riddle mean? “Look upwards?” And “en-cyclo-pedia?” That which encircles (cyclo, cycles). Pedia meaning feet. The foundation? The fundamental base which supports the whole body. Perhaps the functional impetus of movement and action.

According to Webster’s dictionary, “encyclopedic” means “comprehensive in scope.” All-encompassing view. Aha! I got it!The Positive Paradigm is the answer to the riddle. Look there.

I’m now convinced that the Positive Paradigm of Change is the ultimate answer to the ancient ultimate question. It’s the literal proof that humans are made in the image of the Creator — the microcosm resonates with the macro. I AM that I AM.

Put another way, “God don’t make no junk.” In this context, the exhortation, “Ye must be perfect like your Father in Heaven” makes perfect sense.

Just as Einstein had the Unified Field Theory, but didn’t know it, each and every one of us on the planet is perfect in potential: made in God’s image. But we’ve forgotten.

And tyrants want you to sleep on. They’ll do anything to prevent you from remembering that you’re inherently okay. Because once you do, as Einstein did, no one can intimidate, control or dominate you. You’re aware that nothing anyone has for sale can make you more perfect. Nor can anything that anyone threatens to take away alter your essential okayness.

It’s your inalienable birthright. A given.

The Positive Paradigm is the viable basis upon which to build valid self-esteem. It’s the key to personal freedom — freedom from ignorance, freedom from fear.

One minor caveat: it all depends. While we all have the option to remember who we truly are, most of us are like Lambert, the sheepish lion. It takes a smack with a two-by-four upside the head before we’re finally ready to wake up. Often it takes the form of life-threatening danger to those we care for.

A personal health crisis will also do the trick. So will job loss or a run-in with natural disaster.

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

Innocence

The Mystery of Death and Rebirth

The yin-yang mysteries of life and death are embedded within every in- and out-breath of our lives. They alternate, however unappreciated, inside each unit of time: from minute-to-minute, day-to-day and season-to-season. They repeat on every scale of magnitude, from the individual, to families, corporations, nations, whole civilizations and even planets.

Buddhist teachings reflect these mysteries, compatible with the Positive Wheel model and its central hub. For example, in Being with Dying: Cultivating Compassion and Fearlessness in the Presence of Death, Roshi Joan Halifax explores the transformative power of the dying process, advising readers to be still, listen and open to the unknown.

Indian film actor Rajini captures the Rethinking concept succinctly in his review: “This book helped me touch that divine part that we all share; it is the Deathless, eternal part of us that will never die because it was never born.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

01

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

II-8 rev

(Reminiscent is God’s promise in Genesis, “Return unto me, and I return unto you.”)

In Passage 16, Lao Tze goes even further:

16

Here, Lao Tze’s sage not only repeats the vision of the hero’s journey. The methods of the journey are given — the meditative practice of stilling the mind and emptying the heart, followed by contemplation from the detached observer’s perspective. Lao Tze also details the consequences of failing to complete the life pattern: misfortune, pain and suffering.

Those who attain the source, however, (usually with the guidance of an enlightened teacher) achieve the overview which leads to acceptance, compassion and omniscience. Those who survive intact, merge with the eternal source and begin anew, like the New Adam and Christ in The New Testament. (See Figure II.9.)

II-9 rev

Preparation makes the difference, deciding who is most likely to survive coming transitions, emerging better than before through the experience. Here is the root of Positive Change, described in Hexagram 49 from The Common Sense Book of Change:

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

Please Help Me.jpg

So, now it’s your Turn. Please tell me what YOU think about all this. And, thank You.

thanks.jpg

Two Out of Three Ain’t Enough

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

pinnacle-sized

Two Out of Three Isn’t Enough

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

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

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

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

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

IF

From Rethinking Survival:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ouch!

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

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

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

Cathy’s quote reminded me:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

=============================

COMMENTS

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

 

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

——————–

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

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

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

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

————————-

Bob Hemmerle Senior Zen Practitioner/Baseball Umpire

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

————————-

Richard Lipscombe THE MEMES MAN

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

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

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

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

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

————————————

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

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

———————————–

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

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

What IS Your Calling

Angel Calling

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

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

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

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

And forthwith posted this update:

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

After further thought, I added:

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

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

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

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

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

circle compass of compassion

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

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

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

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

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

So later I added this observation:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The text explains:

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

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

Burning Bush image

Balkin continues, applying these themes to relationships:

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

Balkin advises:

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

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

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

His summary states:

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

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

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

As Conflict Escalates, What Can Be Done NOW?

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

globe bullet size

by Patricia E. West, Ph.D.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Universal Key

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

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

Utopia.sized

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

062514 Balanced World View

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

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

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

Distortions of the Universal Pattern

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

world gone mad.sized

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

Sages Transcend Conflict

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

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

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

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

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

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

PB LT 1

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

PB LT 2

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

What Can We Do NOW?

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

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

In the past, monasteries arose as islands of hospitality, learning and civility during Europe and Asia’s so-called dark ages. Once again, as another dark age looms on the horizon, intentional communities dedicated to preserving the essential teachings will naturally arise. My best hope is that future leaders will meet the responsibility of shaping hopeful new beginnings; that they will succeed in transmitting the wisdom of the ancients to future generations along side the complimentary technical know-how of today’s sciences.

In the Positive Paradigm reality map, future educators have a versatile self-awareness tool with which to teach the basics of leading an integrated, self-responsible life. Building on the seven basic axioms which flow from it, tomorrow’s leaders have a viable model upon which to structure healthy social organizations.

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

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

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

3.  Unity and diversity are necessary compliments.

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

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

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

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

Herein lies another discussion, complete in itself.

Conclusion

Resolving conflict necessarily occurs one person at a time, and from the inside out. For this reason, however complex and overwhelming world problems may seem, we each have the option and responsibility to improve that which is closest to home: ourselves. By reducing internal conflict within, each of us has the potential, if only in modest ways, to reduce the conflict without. By remaining ever mindful of the breath and the Divine Source from which it flows, self-selected survivors will surely find from deep within the answers to every question along with sufficient intelligence, courage and power to overcome and outlast every challenge.

globe bullet size

References

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

  2. Meditation as Medicine, 55

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

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

  5. Rethinking Survival, 104

  6. Meditation as Medicine, 64

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

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

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

  4. Two Sides of a Coin, 70

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

Truth or Consequences

truth or consequences

Have you ever wondered what Truth has to do with TV game shows? I have.

Follow along, if you will, and I’ll entertain you with what I’ve learned.

It started with an earlier post using as its title the name of a long-running show: To Tell the Truth. I had to wonder, what did Truth mean in this setting?

There, celebrity panelists were challenged to identify one from among three guests. One was authentic, presenting personal facts correctly. The others were impostors who pretended to be the first. Their goal was to deceive the panelists about the Truth.

So Truth was being defined exclusively at the material surface level of the Life Wheel – accurate representation of the facts. Truth of the middle, energy level of the Life Wheel – honesty about feelings and behavior – wasn’t a factor. At a still deeper level, Truth -– meaning honesty about underlying motives — was irrelevant. For impostor guests, lying to hide one’s true identity was highly valued — an accepted part of the game rules.

If you recall, in To Be or Not To Be PC, I used the story-line of Karate Kid III as an example of why awareness on all three levels – three-out-of-three – is essential to survival. In that movie, until the end, Daniel-san fails to understand who is truly his best friend and who is, in fact, his worst enemy.

Judging only from surface appearances, Daniel is deceived into believing Terry Silver is teaching him how to win. What he doesn’t know is that Silver is acting as the agent of an old enemy. This false friend’s underlying, hidden motive is to destroy Daniel as a way to get revenge on Mr. Miagi.

Mr. Miagi, in contrast, appears to be unhelpful, but only because he has Daniel’s best interests at heart. His deepest motive is to protect Daniel, whom he loves as a son.

Now this is an important point for all of us, because the war between Truth v. Deception is pervasive and ongoing. First, we experience conflicts internally. Then, externalized, they are mirrored in the politics of personal relationships, and continue to expand with an ever-broader ripple effect into the conduct of national and global affairs.

I’m not finger pointing. Just saying: For those concerned with survival on any or all of the Life Wheel’s levels, it’s something to think about very very carefully.

Moving on, the second Truth-named game show I’m remembering was called Truth or Consequences. It started as a radio show in the 1940-50s, followed by several television versions into the late 1980’s.

As ominous as the game name sounds, content was strictly light-hearted entertainment, often with an emotional “feel-good” component. Contestants were asked questions of fact –-  usually ones with no clear answer. If contestants could not correctly tell the “Truth” in short time, there were “Consequences,” usually involving a hilarious or embarrassing stunt.

In many broadcasts, stunts included a heart-warming surprise for the contestant. It could be a reunion with a long-lost relative or with an enlisted son or daughter returning from military duty overseas. When the military person was based in California, spouse or parents were flown in.

So here again, the game concept of Truth was shallow and incomplete. The idea of Consequences was similarly given short shrift. (For those interested, the Essay on Consequences offers a comprehensive view.)

Next, please stay with me and I’ll take the notion of Truth or Consequences to the next level.

For this, I need to tell you a story from childhood. It images much the same lessons Daniel-san learned the hard way.

The year would have been about 1953. It was after my father died, but before Mom remarried. That made me between six and seven years old. For that short time, we lived in a run-down old apartment building on Buffalo’s show-case Delavan Boulevard.

The incident I’m recalling involved a neighbor lady who lived all alone in an attic-like room on the top floor. To me, she looked very old and seemed terribly sad. Being a friendly and curious kid, I tried to get to know her.

Not so easy. I pestered her with childish questions. She wanted no part of it. Instead of speaking, she diverted my attention, pointing to a chipped and faded plaster-of-Paris nicknack on her shabby dresser that said it all.

I picked it up and examined it closely. On the water-colored figurine sat three monkeys. The first covered its ears with its hands. The second held both hands over its mouth. The third held both hands over its eyes. This motto was carved into the base: “Hear no evil. Speak no evil. See no evil.”

Three wise monkeys

This childhood experience made such a powerful impression because it was loaded with contradictions that left me bewildered. I had no idea what evil was. Why did she feel compelled to point out non-verbally that recognizing it was taboo? Most importantly, why was she so . . . now it seems . . . yes, afraid.

I remembered this experience while writing about Terry Silver’s three rules for winning an unfair fight. He advised Daniel:

  • If a man can’t stand, he can’t fight. So break his knees.
  • If a man can’t breathe, he can’t fight. So break his nose.
  • If a man can’t see, he can’t fight. So gouge out his eyes.

Granted, I appreciate what the monkey prohibitions were getting at originally. It has to do with the meditative discipline of Stillness. If the bans are a warning not to get entangled in negative situations that poison mental clarity, not to speak impulsively or slander others, and not to project dark side urges onto others, then fine. Otherwise not.

First off, humans are not monkeys. Unless drugged, lobotomized or otherwise incapacitated, the faculties of reason and intuition compliment and complete the animal part of our being.

Today, repressing the sensory faculties of awareness is proof of an increasing sense of helplessness. Looking back, I understand that my neighbor lady was telling me without words that her life was unspeakably difficult and painful. She survived by not being aware. The battered wife syndrome fits here, as does the slave mentality – passively accepting an unfulfilling life of toil and misery.

Second, genuine evil does exist. To deny that it does makes one powerless to deal with its effects, opening the door to a world of hurt. I’ve defined what I mean when I use the word elsewhere. Here are quotes:

Evil in Positive Paradigm context is defined as “destructive acts or intentions which violate the integrity of the whole, with the aim of destroying the life pattern itself.”

And again:

In Positive Paradigm context, the intentions and actions of any person (or group) that destroys its own and/or threatens to annihilate enemy groups, devoid of respect for the inherent sanctity of life, are defined as evil.

Tai Chi Tu - sized

One final point about Truth or Consequences. This article initially came to mind over concern for LinkedIn readers who gladly gobble up superficial articles written by polished prosperity-consciousness authors to promote purchase of their books. In one place, I was actually moved to comment:

I’ve found the formula for this author’s content. To make yourself popular and rich, tell people whatever it is you think they want to hear. End of story.

Was it unkind of me to say this? In the same way Mr. Miagi seemed unkind, maybe so. But I was motivated by good will. I have readers’ long-term interests at heart. I have, for a long time, had a survival issue with gurus who make themselves rich by selling abundance consciousness masked as spirituality. (Sketches below explain why.)

In essence, going full bore for whatever it is you want lacks realistic balance. In a natural world view, there is a time for every purpose under heaven: a time for gain and a time for loss, a time for prosperity in the cycles of history and times of inevitable adversity as well.

Remaining blind to the cycles of history – pretending everything can be however we want it to be because we really really passionately want what we want, is, well . . . unrealistic. In the real world, pretending everything is rosy even when it’s not is disempowering. Buying into the temptation to seemingly pleasant self-deception doesn’t change the way things are. It only renders those who choose to remain unaware at extreme disadvantage, unable to make situation-appropriate, effective decisions.

Put another way, positivity has become the new opiate of the masses. It prevents starry-eyed dreamers from seeing the world as the gravely dangerous place has become. It prevents them from recognizing and responding wisely to protect themselves and those they care for from genuine evil.

Bottom line: What I’m hoping you’ll gather from all this is: 1) Truth embodied as keen, alert awareness on all levels is life sustaining; and 2) today, in the real world, Truth or Consequences is NOT a game. Ignoring the facts as they are, refusing to hear warnings and failing to take positive action is having disastrous CONSEQUENCES.

If you’ll forgive me for repeating myself once again, human survival hangs in the balance. It is that serious.

Just saying. Food for thought.

globe bullet size

Although it never happened, I originally planned to expand thumbnail sketches into full chapters to include in a book called Essays on Positive Action. They were written in the year 2000, but are as relevant now as they were earlier. The following four address the prosperity-consciousness issue.

WHO TURNED NAPOLEON HILL UPSIDE DOWN & WHY? At Andrew Carnegie’s request, Attorney Napoleon Hill undertook a 20-year research project to discover the common denominators which explain the effectiveness of highly successful businessmen. The upshot, Think and Grow Rich, has had vast international influence and inspired a small army of imitators to build a lucrative “prosperity consciousness” profession. Perhaps coincidentally (perhaps not), his findings are reminiscent of occult teachings. An organization claiming to further Hill’s work continues to publish new titles using his name, including Napoleon Hill’s Positive Action Plan. Something’s been seriously distorted in the translation.

NATURAL LAW VERSUS UNNATURAL GREED. A host of imitators jumping on the lucrative prosperity consciousness bandwagon, each selling seductive feel-good half-truth formulas for material success, are misdirecting pristine natural law into the twilight zone of insatiable greed. The ancient law is that every extreme changes to its opposite. In The 10 Dumbest Mistakes Smart People Make and How To Avoid Them, Dr. Freeman correctly observes that “an overdose of positive thinking can produce negative results.” Economic euphoria driven by a misleading paradigm of science at end-century will inevitably cycle past unnatural expansion to opposite and equal contraction in the next millennium.

THE QUESTION DETERMINES YOUR RESULT. “Ask and it shall be answered. Seek and ye shall find” — but only what you have the heart/vision to ask/seek. Ask along with Dale how to win friends and influence people. Ask with Napoleon how to become a millionaire. Ask Deepak how to use spiritual laws to get worldly success. Ask Anthony how to awaken the giant within. But the will of God? To know it? Serve it? Who asks this? Who asks what is right? What is wise? Could current human condition be result of failure to ask wisely? Shallow questions yield paltry results. So in wishing, remember the law of karma and be very careful what you ask for. Long-term payback for greedy goals is frightful to behold.

NO MATTER WHERE YOU START, THE GOAL IS HERE & NOW. Though cultures East and West begin from opposite ends of the planet, in striving for wisdom they join as one at the center of life’s wheel. The financially rich at apex and poor at nadir of life’s arc are same in inner origin and ultimate destination. So also, those of every persuasion who do their best to live with uncompromising courage, heart, wisdom and strength find common home at day’s end. Like Job who endured unimaginable torment but remained steadfast in faith, like Noah who listened and followed through regardless of heedless/scornful contemporaries, those who hold to fast to center actualize promise of safe passage to new beginnings.

A Birthday Gift to YOU

 Gift

I’ve been busy working to keep promises made to you earlier.

In Under Construction, I outlined changes to rethinkingsurvival to occur over the summer months and into the fall.

Today, August 3, marks my 70th birthday. Yesterday, I was spontaneously offered a photo shoot to mark the occasion. Paying the birthday gift forward, I’ve made the results available to you. Along with comments, they are now posted on a new page called, logically, NEW PHOTOS. So that’s one promise kept. : )

The evening before that offer was made, I worked through the night to make good on my promise to make content of books about positive change available on the website. As a result, for starters, another four value-filled pages have been added for your viewing.

Each includes content from the keystone of the change series: The Positive Paradigm Handbook: Make Yourself Whole Using the Wheel of Change.

  • The second lists the Seven Axioms and Corollaries which follow from this complete and accurate but deceptively simple world view.
  • The third puts the Wheel into motion, showing how to create personalized Life Wheels that take you “from here to there.” It gives the practical tool and a step-by-step method for becoming an intentional agent of positive change, first in your own life and then in the world.
  • The fourth reveals the Mind Map that pictures where the work leads, including building intentional communities and saving as many lives as possible in Titanic Times.

This is just the start. Please stay tuned. There’s more to follow.

globe bullet size

MY Worst Fear

When I posted What is YOUR Worst Fear, I intended to follow the next week with a sequil, MY Worst Fear. But it has taken a full month of soul-searching labor to deliver. The outcome – a yin-yang re-birthing of this website.

062115 embryo

The original sequel would have expressed the persistent fear described in Rethinking Survival:

The greatest personal obstacle I listed was pessimism, an attitude embedded deep in my upbringing, which crops up from the reservoir of inherited weaknesses from time-to-inconvenient-time. . . . the demon that surfaces when things get especially rough, taunting that all I’ve learned has been in vain, all the books I’ve written were for naught.

I feared the fate of Cassandra. I feared that I’ll fall short in warning that we urgently need to recognize an unwelcome elephant’s presence in civilization’s room – the hovering uncertainty of human survival.

Then doubts crept in. I decided to learn more about Cassandra, sung of by the bard, Homer, in The Iliad. I knew she was a priestess gifted with foresight. I knew her warnings went unheeded. Her prescience failed to prevent the destruction of her people.

But research uncovered another side to her story. According to legend, she received her gift from the Sun god Apollo in exchange for promises which she failed to keep. The curse of disbelief was attached to her prophetic abilities – so it is said – as punishment for deceiving the gods.

Obviously, I hope there’s no similarity between us on that count. Also, Cassandra died a hideous death, a fate which isn’t included in my particular fear portfolio.

So I searched my memory banks for a more accurate image of my worst fear. Immediately, one came forward.

As a teen, I spent two wonderful summers at Interlochen, the National Music Camp. One night, as was my habit, after the bugle sounded taps and the lights went out, I hid, wide awake, completely covered under my heavy olive drab army blanket and turned on a flashlight to read in the dark.

My borrowed book chronicled atrocities of the WWII holocaust. The powerfully horrifying image that remains with me was an enforced still birth. Enroute to death camps, Nazi guards responded to calls for help when a Jewish woman went to labor by chaining her legs tightly together at the ankles. Suffering oceans of agony, she died together with her unborn child.

Over the years, this is the repeating image of agony that comes to mind whenever the constellation of conspiring events seems to prevent me from bringing my writing into the world.

But again, rethinking led to doubts. I put this fear to Plato’s test, remembering his standard:

We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.

I decided, figuratively speaking, to turn the flashlight formerly hidden furtively under my youthful pillow for secret night-time use to submit my adult fears to the daylight of reason. Knowing that fear invites danger, I asked myself, “Am I allowing festering fears to become a self-fulfilling prophecy?”

So I named my immediate fears, one-by-one, and took responsibility for allowing them to influence my decisions, yielding a new array of options for correcting old mistakes. I can now proceed to direct future choices toward better outcomes.

For one thing, I decided to take on the paralyzing web of Catch 22s that plague a writer’s career. This is not the place to digress into war stories and bitter complaints. Suffice it to say that trusting authors are all-too-easy prey for members of the established publishing profession who specialize in eating them for their lunch.

But then, the alternative – to do everything alone, wear the many diverse hats required to bring a finished product to the general public – has just as many pitfalls. Marketing especially has been an issue. I took this position in The Positive Paradigm Handbook:

To my way of thinking, a person with something of extraordinary value to offer should be eagerly sought out and welcomed.

This is the book I dearly wanted for myself, the one that wasn’t on the shelves no matter where I looked. I’d have given everything I had for the knowledge in the Handbook. It’s the sum of what I’ve searched a lifetime to find. I’ve sacrificed a great deal to write and make the information usefully available. I’m offering it whole, on a silver platter, to those with an ear to hear.

So courting readers seems inappropriate and undignified, even embarrassing. I’ve accepted the necessity of marketing as a humbling, character-building opportunity. I can gladly swallow personal pride for the sake of human survival. The trade-off is more than worth it.

In some respects, however, I stand my ground. When marketing standards go against the grain of the Positive Paradigm, I draw the line. One fashionable marketing concept is called branding. “The author is the brand.”

Here I disagree wholeheartedly. It’s not about me. I’m just an imperfect messenger, not the message. I am but a transient visitor, briefly here, soon enough gone. The universal structure of the Positive Paradigm is the brand and its center hub is forever.

In this, yet another Greek myth is relevant. Again, from Rethinking Survival:

The Titans were gods sired by Kronos (Father Time). Fearfully jealous, as each was born, Kronos stole the male infants from his wife Gia (Mother Earth), swallowing his sons whole. This story is a metaphor for the Law of Karma. Our deeds may seem to be swallowed up by time, but in fact they never die.

In the cyclical course of natural events, they come back, as did the Titans, returning to conquer and replace the old gods.

Suffice it to say this self-assessment has resulted in a total rethinking of my attitudes and approach. These will be mirrored in the redesign of this website, to take place gently and gradually over the summer months. I’ll save the transformations of specific fears into action plans for a future post, “Under Construction.”

Nothing of substance – the archetypal ideas presented here – will change, but presentation will improve dramatically.

In sum, facing my worst fears for the purpose of writing this post has had a marvelously healing effect. Just so, I remember the Bene-Gesserit fear mantra from Frank Herbert’s Dune:

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

062115 eye of the tiger

The Evolution of My Aspirations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

globe

Hidden Giants

According to the world-loved Tao Te Ching, when the times reach critical mass, leaders arise in response to the deep-felt heart-cries of the suffering masses for deliverance.

This assurance is repeated twice, first in Passage 18. “When countries degenerate into strife, anarchy sets in. / When danger peaks, however, heroes emerge and come forward.”

It appears again in Passage 78. “Like water, the sage takes the world’s suffering to heart, endures its hardships, / and responsive to the times, becomes the catalyst of collective action.

This is the underlying thought in the following rethinking of the David and Goliath scenario. The upcoming anthology, The BEST of WEST will include this excerpt from Rethinking Survival. It’s taken from the section called “We’re Never Alone: Gladwell’s Misfits and Giants in Perspective.”

globe

When Malcolm Gladwell’s David and Goliath came out in October of 2013, I had to read it. The subject promised to be a perfect fit with the vision of Rethinking. After all, King David is my ideal: musician, psalmist, warrior and king in one.

It turns out this book is a perfect example of how sorely the Positive Paradigm of Change is needed. “We need a better guide for facing giants,” Gladwell wrote. I agree. Here it is.

As far as it goes, the book is a good read. What’s lacking is the Positive Paradigm to put David and Goliath in context. From this viewpoint, Goliath was stuck on the surface. Despite his physical size, he was ultimately powerless. David, on the other hand, was connected to center. That gave him the advantage.

Using this Einstein-inspired model of concentric circles linked in an infinite, two-directional loop, we can place the source of David’s strength as well as his strategies and his deadly slingshot.

Resting in the innermost hub of the Life Wheel associated with light was the source of little David’s confidence — the timeless God of Israel.

His strategies, however, belonged to the middle, dynamic level associated with energy.

His prowess as a straight-shooter depended on physical strength, visual acuity and years of experience. Those have their place on the outermost material surface associated with mass.

In other words, the levels of David’s life were coordinated. They were in synch. Unified.

If David had drawn a blank on any one of the three levels, he wouldn’t have succeed then. Nor can anyone succeed today. Vision that’s not backed by a good plan and technical competence is incomplete. Cunning strategies lacking equal competence to execute them are lop-sided. Without a direct connection with the creative center, all the physical resources in the world aren’t enough.

There are several reasons, however, why the story of David and Goliath isn’t the best model for coping with adversity today. For one, we’re at a very different point in history. This is end stage. Civilization was relatively young back then. Different times call for different responses.

Further, confronting a single foe face-to-face was one matter. The tangled mess of corporate-faced, alien-driven evil which little guys are up against now is a much different threat. Different dangers call for different protections.

Another point: Gladwell’s subtitle refers to underdogs and misfits. It’s not a good idea to romanticize misfits. Not all are creative geniuses. Timothy McVey and Charles Manson were also misfits. They too didn’t fit in with mainstream society, but with good cause.

It’s the telescoping mistake. Extremes on both sides of the bell-shaped median are lumped together and written off as “deviant.” But spiritual geniuses and murderous psychopaths don’t belong in the same category.

Further, not all giants are enemies of the people. There are corporate CEOs who treat their workers decently and genuinely serve the public. When I searched my memory banks for a good example, I thought back to Glenn Beck’s billionaire philanthropist friend. What was his name?!

It took me a couple days to find it. Strangely, he doesn’t get much media attention. (Why not is an interesting question!)

But Jon Huntsman, Sr. is living proof. A corporate giant can be as much a part of the solution as the underdogs. Sometimes even more.

A web search comes up with several sides to his story. He gained his wealth by climbing the corporate ladder of success. In 1974, Huntsman Container Corporation created the “clamshell” container for the McDonald’s Big Mac. It developed other popular products, including the first plastic plates and bowls. This led to the 1994 founding of the multi-billion dollar Huntsman Corporation. He continues to expand into new business ventures.

As a philanthropist, Huntsman has given away more than $1.2 billion to both domestic and international charities. His humanitarian aid includes help to the homeless, ill and under-privileged. He holds that the very rich should give not half, as Gates and Buffet say, but a full 80 percent of their wealth to worthy causes. It should be through voluntary choice, however. Not taxation. In this, he agrees with Thomas Paine’s Common Sense.

His goal is to give away everything before he dies. But this isn’t an easy task. He keeps making too much money.

On the personal side, Huntsman not only lost parents to cancer, but is himself a four-time cancer survivor. His response has been to turn adversity into opposite and equal good. The Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City accelerates the work of curing cancer through human genetics. It also focuses on providing humane care to cancer patients.

Huntsman has been married to his wife Karen for over fifty years. He’s the father of nine children. The eldest son, Jon Jr. is a public servant. He was the governor of Utah, and later an ambassador to China. (Small world.) The second son is a corporate executive who carries on his father’s business.

Come to find out, Jon Huntsman. Sr. is also an author. One of his books is Winners Never Cheat – Even in Difficult Times. Amazon’s editorial review calls him “one of the finest human beings, industrial leaders and philanthropists on the planet.” His book drills down on “ten timeless, universal values” for business and life. The review concludes that Huntsman’s work edifies, inspires and motivates all of us to model his common sense lessons.

Timeless? Universal? Common sense? I like it!

Moving on, Gladwell also says little guys need to redefine power. I’ve done that too. In Positive Paradigm context, true power comes from within. Goliath, who drew strength primarily from the physical plane, was puny compared to the force behind David’s sling.

Gladwell notes that a single smooth stone to center of Goliath’s head probably destroyed the pituitary gland. He quotes researchers who theorize that the giant had a glandular disorder which explains his huge size. This same pituitary disease would have caused eye problems. That’s probably why a slave had to lead him into battle. Presumably his vision was failing.

But from a holistic perspective, the same story has a deeper meaning. David’s single shot went straight to the third eye, the ajna center located in the center of the forehead. It correlates with the pineal gland, a close neighbor of the pituitary. In yoga anatomy, this center is associated with spiritual vision.

David’s projectile put out the giant’s lights. It was poetic justice for an enemy who was closed to inner truth. That was the giant’s weakness. It remains the weakness of bad guys today as well. A single shot is all it takes, when you know where to aim.

Here’s yet another point. David and Goliath has one take on the giants of the world. But there’s also another way to think about giants. The reverse, shadow side – the opposite side of the coin. Early on, for example, I was inspired by Awaken the Giant Within. I founded the +A Positive Action Press in response to Tony Robbins’ book. From a Positive Paradigm perspective, his words take on new meaning:

If we want to discover the unlimited possibilities within us, we must find a goal big enough and grand enough to challenge us to push beyond our limits and discover our true potential. . . The answer to our current energy challenges will lie in the imagination and resourcefulness of today’s physicists and engineers. And the resolution to our social crises, like the alarming spread of racial hate groups, homelessness, and hunger, can only be addressed with the inventiveness and compassion of dedicated individuals like you and me.

The threat of evil giants in the world serves to awaken the true giant that resides deep within each of us. That’s the blessing hidden in adversity. It’s the opportunity latent in Titanic Times. The Greek Titans, the giants sired by Kronos, survived his murderous envy and returned to claim their heritage.

Similarly, as Lao Tze assures us, there are surely sleeping giants are among us now.

It’s time for them to WAKE UP!

Are you a sleeping giant? Do you work or live with one? What will it take for you (or them) to wake up?

You Can Have It All

A most excellent article recently brought to my attention on LinkedIn by Frank Feather serves as springboard to this rethinking of pinnacle experience.

For starters, since “you can’t leave a place you’ve never been,” I searched the web for current definitions and uses of “pinnacle.”

In geography, the highest elevation point of a rugged mountain is called its pinnacle. In architecture, the spire or steeple that tapes to a point at the top is called the building’s pinnacle. In athletics, the peak of success (playing in the Olympics, for example), is called the pinnacle of achievement.

Because it’s entertaining, I also searched for clip art images. Icons include a victorious athlete grasping his gold trophy cup, banners proclaiming WINNER, and business-suited people crawling and racing up stairs towards the top. I even found a quote saying that his physics formula “catapulted Einstein to the pinnacle of fame.”

Graphics portray a figure in hiking gear standing on a mountain top, planting a flag signifying his presence. The also picture organizational charts with a larger-than-life CEO dominating diminutive subordinates.

Applied to government and corporate dynamics, these images imply the elevation of a single, unique and exclusively outstanding individual. By current standards, the pinnacle of achievement glorifies personal ego and winning at everyone else’s expense.

But there is an alternative way to look at the pinnacle experience. In Rethinking Survival, the illustration the illustration called PARADOX places the illusion of separateness in Positive Paradigm context. Here, each of us occupies only a tiny sliver of space in the integrated matrix of the Life Wheel. The broad base of the hierarchy rests on the outermost material level of ephemeral appearances. The apex, the pinnacle of life and leadership, rests deep within the unchanging center.

Here — reminiscent of the first LinkedIn post, “Boundary Spanners Connect at the Center” — illumined minds meet at the universal point which everyone everywhere shares in common looks. It looks like this:

Illusion sized

Unlike conventional wisdom, a holistic pinnacle of experience is neither the most visible nor a winner-takes-all position gotten through ruthless competition. Here, the apex of experience is universal and inclusive.

This is where the article recommended by Frank Feather comes in. Just as a holistic vision of pinnacle experience shapes a new standard for success, so does Shane Snow’s most excellent post,”The Counterintuitive Trait That Will Make You Significantly More Successful.”

Shane finds that crossing a horizontal base line with a complimentary vertical axis yields a useful picture of the relationship between attitudes and outcomes. He starts with a horizontal axis that locates Faith in the center. The extreme of Optimism is placed on the right-hand side, due East. The extreme of Pessimism is on the left-hand, due West.

Next he adds a vertical axis that intersects the horizontal line through the central point of Faith. The extreme of Credulous is placed to the North. The extreme of Skeptical is placed due South.

Positive change, he found, is a paradoxical balance between contradictory attitudes:

The most counter-intuitive quadrant is the one where the most breakthrough success can be found: Optimistic, but Skeptical. This is where the innovators reside, where inventors who dare to doubt the status quo ask the questions that need to be asked in order for the world to change. They need a healthy amount of optimism to believe that the world can change for the better, and that drives them to make transformative things happen.

In this case, to complete the Positive Paradigm picture, an additional illustration is needed. “Success” has its shadow side, “failure.” Redefining one necessarily redefines the other. In the same vein, “achievement” also has an opposite, necessary compliment.

What’s needed to complete the pattern is the distinction between two words frequently used interchangeably, but which have diametrically opposed meanings: “achievement” versus “attainment.”

Technically, “attainment” is best used in the context of inward growth. An enlightened sage is said to be spiritually attained. In contrast, “accomplishment” is correctly used to describe the tangible results of sustained effort on the surface rim of the Life Wheel.

Anti-social mass murderers are highly accomplished at what they do. So are highly successful financial geniuses who “make a killing” on the stock-market — at horrific cost to others. (Surely a few names come instantly to mind.)

In the following illustration, Attainment is placed on the vertical North-South axis. Achievement is placed on the intersecting horizontal East-West line. Positive, creative and unifying achievement is placed on the right-hand side, East of the eternal center. Negative, fragmenting, destructive achievement is on the Western, left-hand side.

pinn sized

Is “the pinnacle of achievement” an oxymoron, meaning a combo of mutually exclusive terms? Sometimes, but not always. When the levels of the Life Wheel are linked in an infinite continuum of Do-ing and Be-ing, we experience what Loehr & Schwartz call “The Power of Full Engagement.”

The seated figure with the levels (chakras) activated and unified is the image of a philosopher-king — a leader capable of balancing inspiration with wise decision-making and decisive action. Attainment in-spires and fuels achievement. In turn, professional achievements express and complete the spiritual journey.

Put another way, in a holistic worldview, attainment and achievement aren’t an either/or choice. Seen in this perspective, it is possible to “have it all.”

It would benefit power-seeking over-achievers to keep this picture in mind. For when the levels aren’t balanced, prioritized and integrated — when power isn’t motivated by good will and implemented with self-aware competence — drastically destructive consequences follow. Up to and including atomic bombs. The destruction of nations. The end of the world as we know it.

In a recent post, a Millennial marketer gushed that she “wants it all.” But her extravagant wish list includes only the things she wants to accomplish — things of the economic-political world. No mention of aspiration for wisdom, compassion or enlightenment.

I confess that in the heat of momentary outrage, I commented that Satan offered the whole world to Christ. Perhaps if she approached him, he’d cut her the same special deal offered to the rich and infamous political leaders of every generation.

To the politically correct, this may seem extreme. Probably so. But everyone has their own personal limits. Expressing personal opinions is one thing. Presuming to represent and lead others in a disastrous direction is quite another. Especially when it comes to young people.

As written elsewhere, I have a special place in my heart for Millennials. I regard them as the children and grandchildren I never had. I’m protective as a mama bear towards the generation from whose ranks tomorrow’s best leader-followers will emerge.

In balance, I assure you, the comment wasn’t intended to demean or offend anyone. It was meant as a proactive warning. Ambitious wanna-be leaders who operate on dysfunctional paradigms are, even if unknowingly, a grave danger to themselves as well as the rest of us. History repeatedly confirms the maxim, “Good intentions pave the road to hell.”

On the other hand, human survival will depend upon fully engaged individuals — even if only a handful — who operate on the basis of a complete and accurate reality map, one with an inner compass (or GPS, if you will) at the center.

globe

An Inner Compass App for Millennials

In a LinkedIn post, MC wrote We’re strongest when we stand together.

I agree whole-heartedly. So here’s a high value, practical project which tests our mutual willingness / ability to push past apparent differences and take a common stand. Together, we have a unique and powerful opportunity to bridge the generation divide in a way neither of us, separately, can.

The project idea was confirmed by a response made by Tom Richards [Brand Builder for Bass and Guitar Manufacturers] to my earlier Response to Millennial and Boomer Blogs.

For starters, Tom wrote, My metaphor is the map.

Yes. The map is my metaphor too. From Rethinking Survival:

Chances of success in life are slim to none without an accurate reality map. It’s imperative to have a complete picture of your potentials along with a correct understanding of the world around you, and what’s required to survive in that world.

Basing decisions on a worldview that’s distorted, incomplete or otherwise out of synch with the way things really are seriously diminishes chances of survival. In times as dangerous as these, it’s more important than ever to make sure you’re operating on complete and correct information.

Intellectual smarts and material resources on the surface of the Wheel aren’t enough. Lacking competence at the middle, energy level of the Wheel (street smarts) and a functional connection with the inner core (conscience), you can’t get from here (a world in desperate need of positive change) to there (the better world we passionately long for).

However, without an in-depth, comprehensive awareness of what change (natural vs. man-made) is about, and — most importantly — the unchanging creative source of all creation, it’s nigh unto impossible to achieve the personal and social change everyone wants, many promise, but few succeed in achieving.

Moving along. Tom complained, This generation looks for an app to tell them how to go. They do not even attempt to learn directions, understand where towns are in relation to each other, do not ever attempt to really learn their local surroundings, or how to navigate without the old GPS.

Earlier, I placed the seafaring navigator’s compass at the core of concentric circles to image the inclusive, universal nature of the Positive Paradigm. It correlated this technology with Einstein’s beloved compass and his plea to live by the all-encompassing inner compass of compassion which everyone, everywhere shares in common.

Inner Compass.sized

But, as Tom continued, My step-daughter refused to listen to me when I told her she needed to learn how to read a map and basic orienteering skills to navigate with it. She stated she had a GPS and an app.

I wrote The Positive Paradigm Handbook to supply a user manual for successfully navigating the ultimate reality map. It’s seven basic axioms translate roughly as “The Operating Rules of the Game of Life.” Mercy abides at the center of the wheel. The dog-eat-dog Law of the Jungle often prevail on the surface. But what most of us are missing is the middle link between those extremes: the Law of Karma – translate as the Law of Consequences. Those who live mercifully receive attract mercy to themselves. Those who live like animals die like animals.

Lao Tze, who knew a great deal about Natural Law, put it this way:

There’s always a terminator who destroys.

There’s always a place in nature’s plan for predators

who prey on the weak and defenseless.

However, those who serve this purpose

rarely escape annihilation.

Those who don’t know the Rules of the Game (or are foolish enough to think they can be outsmarted) inevitably find themselves, like Tom’s Millennial step-daughter, lost and in a world of hurt:

When I got a call from her an hour later because she was lost and the location her GPS gave her was wrong (and actually off by about two miles because of a paper road that did not exist in reality but was in the GPS map) there were literal tears.

In the long-term, most of us would benefit greatly from rethinking our reality maps (paradigms). In the short-term, however, as a useful step in that direction, it would help to go with the flow of available technology.

Earlier, in “Where in the Wheel Are We NOW, I wrote, The universal structure of the archetypal Wheel continues to take on new expressions to meet the unique needs of immediate times. Star Wars and the Indiana Jones movies are examples of how a timeless fascination with the war between good and evil is being retold using modern technologies.

The Positive Paradigm of Change could easily be programmed as a computer game with the structure of cause and effect consequences, featuring all the action drama of the war against good and evil, the hunt for lost treasure, and whodunit mystery.

To bridge today’s generational gap, we need to give Millennials an app that includes a method for mapping their lives — one that confirms and restores access to the ultimate guidance system of their inner Global Positioning System. This app could be used on a daily basis to answer the personal questions, “Where in the World Am I NOW?” And, if it’s not where one intends, “What am I willing and able to do about it NOW?”

Here is an updated version of the Wheel. The old-fashioned compass has been replaced by the GPS icon (same concept, next generation technology).

GPS.sized

MC, here’s where you and I, by putting differences aside and working together, could accomplish seeming miracles. What I have to offer is a lifetime of truth seeking, as well as a bit of writing. It is the work of a very private person content to live quietly in rural America. But to take this work the next level, it has to be placed it in the hands of future generations.

If you’ll forgive me, it reminds me of an example of teamwork from my undergraduate years at Oberlin College. Sitting around a bar table on a late Saturday night, drinking beer with a group of close friends, my boyfriend told a joke about a chimney sweep. It ended with his throwing a priceless golden brick up into the air. Fritz laughed hysterically. No one else saw the humor. They shrugged and we moved on.

Then it was my turn. I told a joke about a mountaineer who, at the pinnacle of his climb, reached up for a flying object as it sailed past and caught . . . the golden brick. Groans around the table.

The point here is that as a Millennial with peer credibility and social media savvy, you have the ability to access the game-programmer and investor resources needed to develop this Inner GPS app. You also have the proven marketing skills to make it go viral. This is an opportunity to make all the wonderful, valid hopes for positive change you placed in a political election really happen!

I emailed the app article idea and mentioned my intention to invite you on board to PF – the one who commented on your post, saying You don’t need to belong to a group to achieve something of lasting value or temporary glory (if that’s what you’re after), because you are already significant as an individual.

He replied, I like your GPS reference. If MC is a genuine person she may be eager to get on board.

Is he right? Are you in? What about the rest of you?

Oh. In case you’re curious, I’ll tell you. I’m 69 years-old and counting. I was born in August of 1945 within days of the atomic bomb explosions over Japan that blasted an estimated100,000 shocked souls out of their bodies, scattering them screaming, screeching and howling in pain and rage into the upper atmosphere.

My parents were horrified, as was the world at large. Not to mention Einstein, who as a violinist and humanist like myself, was later my childhood hero. I’ve taken his words to heart and made them my motto: “We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.”

Although I’m an early Boomer, I never identified with my generation. MC grew up listening to the music of Boomer parents – Bonnie Raitt. the Stones, Jefferson Airplane and Carly Simon. But I was sustained by Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and lesser knowns including Tartini, Vivaldi and Vitali.

In fact, I have greatest compassion for millennials. I never bought into the dysfunctional paradigms responsible for the dangers of today’s world (and have paid the price). I’ve always thought that, as the ones with the least vested interest in the status quo, they’re the ones most capable of making the positive paradigm shift which might – just might – ensure human survival.

That’s why this maven has summoned the courage to call upon an accomplished connector with ties to the salesman community. Standing together, let’s Tip the Balance of history in favor of a genuinely positive paradigm shift.

One final note. Folks in my household think blogging is a waste of my time. No one is listening. No one cares. I’ve promised that if there’s no response soon, I’ll desist. But I’m betting that millennials (as well as the parents and grandparents who dearly wish them well) will prove them wrong. Like the Nazi-spawned Hydra (if you’re into Capitan America Marvel movies), today’s world leaders may mistakenly think they stand to profit from nuclear destruction of holocaust proportions. But I must trust that We the People won’t allow it.

globe