Tag Archives: suicide

How To Create a New Future

A new manner of thinking creates the new way of feeling and acting you need to build a better tomorrow. Einstein gave us the way to begin.

The practical applications of his intuited Unified Field Theory transform it into a powerful self-awareness tool for picturing the present, setting intentional goals and then creating a deeply desired future.

Einstein home page

How’s that for a big idea?

be aware

Please stay with me. I’ll unfold the implications one step at a time.

For starters, we need to decide whether self-awareness a desirable goal. For those programmed into the old paradigm of empirical science – a limited and limiting view of reality – it isn’t.

The modified Life Wheel shown below represents the hollow shell of this obsolete world view. Only the outermost level of the Wheel, the things which can be measured and quantified (mass), are accepted. The middle level of emotional intelligence (energy) and inner level of intuitive knowing (light) are both ruled out, functionally relegated to the “unconscious”.

MaterialistAthest

In fact, according to research from the University of Virginia, most people would rather do something external — even hurt themselves — than sit alone with their thoughts. Why?

Because social sanctions impelling self-avoidance are incredibly powerful. If you believe there is nothing more to life than the material surface and to expect that taboos on inner experience will be enforced with ridicule and rejection, then the blessing of quiet time becomes a threat.

This makes life especially painful and difficult for empaths. As Dr. Judith Orloff explains, emotional and intuitive awareness experienced at the inner levels of the Wheel are their functional reality.

For sensitives, restoring a complete and correct paradigm of reality can be a matter of life or death. . . suicide is the logical outcome of a narrow world view which enforces the belief that anyone whose experience draws primarily on the inner levels of the Life Wheel doesn’t – and shouldn’t – exist. (Just ask me. I’ve been there.)

Even for the rest of us, shifting to the more expansive paradigm – one that corresponds with Einstein’s quantum reality – offers multiple benefits across the board. . . improved physical, emotional and mental health, better relationships, and increased abundance, to name a few.

How exactly does all this work?

It looks like this:

Create a New Personal Reality

Open your heart to infinite possibility. Replace fear with fearlessness, resentment with gratitude, and self-doubt with infinite Self-trust. Integrate positive feelings with a clear intention for the future firmly in mind. Embed this vision into the “unconscious” mind with consistent repetition until it becomes a memory strong enough to erase and replace the past. To accomplish this, be patient, persistent, determined, and consistent in your practice of meditation.

That’s the short version.

CHAPEL PERILOUS

Chapel Perilous

Now, I’m not saying the shift is easy. If it were, everyone would be doing it.

But the process of increasing self-awareness isn’t for the faint of heart. Social taboos aren’t the only obstacle. For most, the middle level of the Life Wheel is congested – a frightful mine-field of buried traumas, painful associations and toxic emotions. It effectively clouds the inner level of intuition and blocks enlightenment.

So, if increasing self-awareness and reaping the countless blessing which follow is your goal, the work of releasing stuck, negative energy can’t be avoided. The dangers of Chapel Perilous (dark night of the soul) have to be faced and heroically overcome. The only way out is through.

That’s the bad news.

The good news, however, is that the intelligent, full-hearted practice of meditation as Dr. Joe Dispenza has associated it with quantum physics offers a safe way out of this madness. It isn’t necessary (or even advisable) to reopen wounds or relive partially-remembered old injuries to clear out the swamp.

In the same way that it is possible to delete obsolete computer software files without opening them and replace them with new information, meditative practices can reorganize the energy field without having to agonize over the past.

Phoenix - sized

Moving along, now. Activating a personalized Life Wheel is another, complimentary method for setting and actualizing a positive intention, visualizing how to move from a difficult past into a better future. It starts with creating a “Where I Am Now?” Wheel.

Here’s an example:

How My Life Looks Right Now

This personalized Life Wheel represents an introvert’s immediate experience. She has limited material resources. The outer rim of the Wheel reflects this state, being narrow and undefined. In contrast, the e=energy level of her emotional life is wide — full and rich. She has sectioned her Wheel to show how and where she currently invests her time and attention.

There’s a question mark at the center of the Wheel. She’s chosen this symbol rather than an atheist’s emphatic X, because as an agnostic, she’s open to new possibilities, though also has doubts.

When she’s ready, she can take the next step, creating another Personal Wheel to image her thoughts about what a better future looks like along with the action steps she’s willing to take to alter the old snap-shot in time. She can repeat the process as often as necessary, mapping measurable changes as she progresses.

FRAGMENTATION

The levels of our personal Life Wheels expand and contract over a lifetime. Their relationships and interactions are different for each of us. But often the levels aren’t in synch. Here, the Life Wheel is distorted to represent a fractured, incoherent state of being. When we (and our families, business organizations, government institutions and even the world) get bent out of shape, the fractured, fragmented result looks something like this:

Where is LoveThis modification of the Life Wheel shows levels out of alignment. They intersect only in part, manifesting in negative, destructive ways. Love is eternal. But remains a remote possibility, hovering outside of but detached from direct experience.

The first responsibility of the self-aware self-healer is to bring personal levels back into synch, reestablishing balance and harmonious alignment. Restoring Love to the center of one’s life is always a powerfully effective place to start.

Then, without effort, synchronous “opportunities” to extend healing on increasingly larger scales of magnitude are likely appear.

book header bird

A comment posted to an earlier blog on the Life Wheel concluded, The diagram can be applied in so many ways . . . unfortunately it probably isn’t available on mobile phones!

Any takers?

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The I Ching and ME

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

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

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

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

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

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

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First Introductions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Value

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

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

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

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

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

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

What You See Is What You Get

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

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

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

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

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

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

This was definitely a book to be taken seriously!

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

To Survive, Change Your Rules

Expanding Rules of the Knowledge Game would give problem-solvers greater leverage over a wide range of social-political malfunctions, from budget deficits to crime (legalized theft included).

A wider field of accepted information options would give a broad new range of diagnostic tools for pinpointing origins of unjust discrimination, inequitable wealth distribution, work-place violence, addictions and mental-emotional depression. It would give a new face to healing PTSD and preventing suicide.

What these personal, social and political ills have in common is a fatal knowledge deficit.

But before defining Rules of the Knowledge Game (epistemology), I’ll share two examples from personal experience. They’re comical, but they demonstrate the basic mistakes people make on limited information.

The first occurred when I was 6 and my brother David was 5. We were living in Tuscon, Arizona at the time. A blond-haired playmate age 3 who lived down the street adored David. Jason pleaded with his mom for a hair cut just like David’s. He expected the change to transform him into the likeness of his idol. But he came home from the barber streaming tears of childish disappointment.

The brush cut didn’t change his hair color from blond to David’s dark brown, nor did it transfer any of the desirable qualities associated with his hero to Jason.

The second happened when I was in my mid-20s. Rooming with a yoga student in Madison, Wisconsin, I was increasingly troubled as more and more of my stuff – kitchen utensils and even clothing – went missing. When I asked Mukit (her initiate name) if she knew anything about this, she explained why she felt free to take whatever she wanted.

“We are all One,” she said. By her logic, it followed that my stuff was hers too.

These are just small examples of the twin mistakes that continue to repeat when our reality maps aren’t complete and accurate. Writ large, they generate crimes and tragedies in every area of life, on every scale of magnitude.

What is lacking is the two-directional, in- and out-breathing reality map which accounts for all dimensions of personal experience and puts them in prioritized perspective.

Today’s prevailing Rules of the Knowledge Game exclude vitally important components of the human condition. Here, “Rules of the Knowledge Game” refers not to philosophical inquires into truth, but rather punitively enforced social-political taboos which prescribe what can be known, by whom, and how.

These rules stipulate what kinds of knowledge are allowed as well as others that are prohibited. Knowledge is sometimes made off-limits to second-class citizens (low income people, for example). Subtle ways of obtaining information (intuition, conscience) are written off as non-existent or invalid.

Here’s the tacit logic behind limiting the field: “Knowledge is power. IF I want to hoard power (and the resources it yields) in order to control others, THEN I must deny others access to knowledge that would empower them.”

To heal the harm incurred by limiting what can be known (ruling out the senses, intuition and conscience as valid information sources), it is imperative to reintegrate these decision-making influences into the rules of what is acceptable.

Currently, rules of empirical science dictate that only knowledge about material, tangible, observable and quantifiable objects is valid. Only university educated, degreed and certified “experts” using standardized research methods are qualified to obtain and disseminate knowledge. Here’s the picture of the hollow shell allowed by these rules.

material rules sized

Please don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying this approach to obtaining information is invalid. In its place, on the surface of material appearances, it is an important piece of the knowledge puzzle. It’s a necessary balance to the opposite and equally exclusionary “religionist” mistake of elevating inward experience to the exclusion of the material world.

BUT, however necessary, it is not sufficient.

Throughout his lifetime, both in personal experience and professionally, the pioneering Swiss analyst Carl Jung dealt with the suffering caused by squeezing the richness of life experience into this hollow mold. As a matter of personal sanity and social health, he advocated “individuation” as a process for reintegrating all the layers and levels of life into conscious awareness.

The Life Wheel compliments Jung’s work. It can be used as method to assist in this process of making the unconscious conscious, of restoring access to inner knowing that has been repressed by socialization, including education.

Here is a picture to show you what I’m getting at:

Wealth.sized

On the outward path, the individuation process differentiates the individual from the universal center. It integrates timeless unity with the outward layers of idea, energy, action and results. This was the reality check Mukti needed – a correct picture of where my personal boundaries began and hers ended. We are one at the center, but not on the surface. It was NOT okay for her to take my things.

On the inward, return path, the individuation process reintegrates personal, separate identity with awareness of the timeless, universal source. This is what Jason lacked – a concept of his own inherent value, independent of the people. events and circumstances around him. The qualities he admired in David weren’t defined by physical attributes. Looking on the outside for the inherent self-worth he already had on the inside was a sure recipe for disappointment.

What is needed to change the Rules of the Knowledge Game is access to a useful reality map, one that includes the whole of human experience, one that is easily converted into a practical diagnostic and decision-making tool. That is the purpose of working with the Life Wheel. It can easily be personalized to ask, “Where in the Wheel Am I NOW?” — “Where Do I Intend To Be?” — and then decide – “How Do I Get from Here to There?”

Expanding Rules of the Knowledge Game to match the whole of life can be a matter of life or death. For example, just as 3 year-old Jason tried to acquire my brother’s virtues through imitation, David, in turn, copied his dad. As a Yale grad, David chose to become a physician, following in the footsteps of our Harvard-trained cardiologist father.

David too accepted the scientist’s belief that exclusively empirical science can explain everything. He dismissed other approaches to knowledge as ignorant superstition. He rejected as quackery my quest for deeper knowledge about the origins and purpose of life.

I dearly hope when when faced by extreme adversity, he’ll not, for lack of inner awareness, make the same choice his medical role model did.

When we first found out in the year 2002 – 50 years after the fact – that Kirby hadn’t died of a sudden heart attack (as we grew up believing), that he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the back of the head, my younger sister Annie was instantly reminded of a haunting poem by Edward Arlington Robinson.

Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean favored, and imperially slim. . . .

. . . he was rich – yes, richer than a king –
And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine, we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.

So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without meat, and cursed the bread.
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head.

This poem dramatizes the saying, “Appearances are deceiving.” The key difference it illustrates is this. Those who endured external adversity by patiently waiting for the light survived. Whereas Cory, who seemed to “have it all,” lacked awareness of the inner resources needed to cope with hidden suffering.

Without the confidence that comes from inner wealth, all the riches in the world cannot withstand the despairing, dark of night of the soul.

In sum: the first front against suffering remains knowledge. Knowledge – complete and correct – is the beginning of empowerment. Ultimately, changing the Rules of the Knowledge Game is matter of personal as well as human survival.

I’ve shared a few examples from my own experience. What are yours?

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What the Generations Share in Common

Before writing on ways Millennials might use an Inner GPS App to decide where they want to go and how to get there, I searched the web for similar posts. There are tons of researched opinions on what Millennials want and need.

Marketers survey Millennials asking what they want to buy, from whom, and why. Business experts list the leadership qualities Millennials need.

But this particular approach is more inclusive. It goes a bit deeper.

Even in a world gone mad, as members of the human species, our basic wants and needs remain the same. On the surface of the Life Wheel, we all need food, clean water, shelter and clothing to survive. Some sleep also helps.

In a civilized world, we need the means to purchase these basics: income and/or a job. Respect in the larger community also helps.

At the middle energy/emotion level of the Life Wheel, most of us want to be accepted and supported. We want to feel secure. We want to enjoy the pleasures of life and, whenever possible, to avoid pain. In sum, we want to share our lives with fellow human beings.

At the innermost level, we crave answers about the purpose and meaning of our lives. We seek value. The boldest and bravest even aspire to know Truth. We want to know what Love IS. We crave unity, the stuff of Einstein’s Unified Theory, but continue to look for it in all the wrong places. (That, however, is the subject of another post still on the drawing board.)

The question here, however, is Where in a high-tech, polarized world gone mad, where the levels of the Wheel are fragmented and out of synch, can Millennials go to fulfill these universal requirements?

world gone mad.sized

Behind Millennials’ bravado and superficial social masks, their woes aren’t much different than they’ve ever been. The Buddha put suffering in perspective by promising to bring a dead child back to life if the grieving parents could find any household in the local village that had not been visited by death.

But of course, they could not.

The recent public revelation by movie star, political activist and philanthropist Jane Fonda translates universal suffering into today’s familiar terms. Her mother, Frances Ford Seymour, committed suicide at age 42 when Jane was 12. Only recently did the facts come out which led to closure. At age 76, to write her memoir, Jane looked up her mother’s medical records. There she found the key to understanding her mother’s behavior. From age 8, Frances had been the victim of sexual abuse.

Nor has life exempted me. My father, William Kirby West (named for his ancestor William Kirby Brewster, one of the earliest pilgrims who sailed from England to the New World on the Mayflower), committed suicide when I was 6. Since the subject was taboo in my dysfunctional family (a mirror of the dysfunctional society at large), no one told me the truth. I grew up believing my heart surgeon father died of a sudden heart attack at age 33. Only when I was 50 did my failing mother finally “remember” the facts surrounding his death.

This isn’t my only personal story. For example, (if you’ll pardon a bad pun), Swami Rama was one of the first to introduce yoga to the West. His front was that a celibate monk who’d taken vows of poverty. But appearances were deceiving.

Behind the scenes, he was a bold-faced hypocrite, liar and sexual predator who betrayed the trust of his students. A Yoga Journal author called his abuse of Tantric teachings “spiritual incest.” Translate: rape. In the hands of this opportunist, the teachings (a priceless heritage) were a convenient “product” that thirsty, naïve Americans wanted. He used them to make himself (for a short while) very rich and somewhat famous.

Oh well. “Something’s lost but something’s gained in living every day.”

The point here is that I haven’t allowed the slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune on the Wheel’s surface to define me. Instead, I’ve chosen to live by my mottos. First, “Take the best. Leave the rest.” Second, “Resist not evil. Persist in the good.”

I’ve repeatedly healed – made myself whole again – thanks to my inner apps (in this case, based on the King James version of The Bible and the Chinese Book of Change). I trust that nothing that happens on the surface can touch or change the essence of who I truly AM.

This blessing, the Inner App, is what I would love to share with millennials, as well as the parents and grandparents who dearly wish them well. It necessarily starts with a complete and correct reality map that puts the whole of life into perspective.

Here’s a picture of universal needs, wants and aspirations and the ways many millennials seek to fill them:

MILLENIALS.sized

An aside to millennials. The world of hurt we’re in today was foretold by Christ and foreseen by yogic seers long before that. It has been a long time coming. Today’s mess cannot be taken personally. Nor is it appropriate or helpful to blame your elders. (If you believe in karma, consider that, even if for reasons unknown to you now, you’re the one who picked the time and place of this particular incarnation, maybe to fulfill an important purpose).

Be that as it may, put things in perspective. You think your elders let you down; but they were equally disappointed by theirs. On the opposite side of the coin, each generation of elders continues, for the most part, to sincerely do the best they know how, often in the face of terrible odds.

So let’s cut each other some slack.

Millennials as well as their elders are welcome to come aboard the Inner App project. After all, it’s in everyone’s best survival interests.

For if we taught ourselves to think holistically, in concentric circles, and if we organized / prioritized our lives accordingly, we’d begin thinking like Einstein, like geniuses.

If enough of us tuned in to the universal inner compass and began treating each other with compassionate respect, we’d fulfill Einstein’s dearest wish and start getting along. It might even tip the balance of history in favor of human survival.

Because that truly is what’s at stake.

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Rethinking MOTIVES

One Essay on Change is posted each consecutive Sunday. The choice of which is decided either by requests made on the Contact Page and/or immediate relevance to current events.

Tonight, 03/23/14, I’m following through on a promise made in answer to the question, “Crime, Is It Natural?” I told Barrister Brendon Moorhouse, a reported Sherlock of the Courtroom, that I’d respond to this important question on this website with my perspective. After all, CRIME just happens the very first of the 64 UPSG Essays. However, I’ve waited until the following week because the companion Essay on Motives speaks more closely to the subject of investigating crimes, white collar as well violent ones.

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18. MOTIVES

“Although the feelings mentioned above [sadness, pessimism, guilt, emptiness] may accompany a depressed mood, the most prevalent effects usually involve low energy and lack of motivation. . . An effective way of lifting these moods involves using music to activate our resources.” — John M. Ortiz, The Tao of Music: Sound Psychology

“It occurred to me that the only way to figure out what had happened at a crime scene was to understand what had gone on inside the head of the principal actor in that drama: the offender. And the only way to find that out was to ask him. . . If we could give the law enforcement community some insights into the process, the internal logic, of how violent offenders actually decide to commit crimes and why they come up with their choice of crimes — where the motive comes from — then we could provide a valuable tool in pointing investigators toward what for them must be the ultimate question: Who? Stated as simply as possible: Why? + How? = Who.” John Douglas, The Anatomy of Motive

“On some level, you are meditating all the time. One goal of meditation practice is to become aware of that. Another is to extend that awareness to more and more areas of your life. . . It takes practice and conscious effort to restructure the mind and move it from habitual patterns.” – Andrew Weil, 8 Meditations for Optimum Health

 THE FRONT

The root of motive means to move. Webster’s single definition refers to “some” inner drive, impulse, or intention that causes a person to do something or act in a certain way. It’s an incentive or goal.

Motive, purpose and intent explain human behavior. Unless viewed as a whole, what we see is taken out of context and misunderstood. You see a man take someone else’s car. That’s intent, the what. You see him grab the keys and drive off. That’s purpose, the how. But unless you know his motive, why he did it, the picture is incomplete. Was he desperately racing to save his beloved child’s life, escaping from vengeful gang lords, or simply lusting after a fancy new car?

We’re fascinated by crime. Mystery novels, detective movies and sensational murder stories on TV news are big business. We stretch our minds to second-guess the ending, figure out who committed the crime, and why. We look for the mistakes that reveal dark secrets and lead to the criminal’s undoing. We’re satisfied only when truth is revealed and order is restored by justice.

At heart, what we’re really trying to understand is ourselves. We’re haunted by a pervasive sense of wrongs committed against us, or by us. We can’t quite bring ourselves to recognize what they are, or to admit our own mistakes. But a nagging sense of unfinished business leaks out as voyeurism.

Ultimately, it’s the stifled voice of conscience that persistently calls us back to our neglected dreams and deepest longings for fulfillment. Those who allow themselves to be defined by others, who live in habitual fear of people’s opinions and fail to honor their inner sense of calling commit a soul-searing violence akin to suicide. The crime they commit is against their own true selves.

Failing to be true to oneself can be the hardest crime to detect. Finding one’s true calling can be the greatest mystery of all. People who march to others’ drums, unconscious of their motives and what moves those around them, live in painful confusion. Only those who know how to listen and dance to the inner music of their soul’s desire live in joyful harmony with themselves and the world around them.

 The I Ching is a means for turning the camera around, focusing in on ourselves. Uncovering hidden motives might cause initial discomfort. But it can lead to positive changes. After analyzing them, we have the option to decide on better ways to accomplish intentional ends.

Our what and how isn’t always appropriate to our why. Other solutions may accomplish our goals without committing crimes against ourselves and others.

 THE BACK

The opposite of motive is motiveless, to be without awareness of calling, any conscious purpose, or impulse to action. This condition is sometimes an extreme reaction to an extended period of frenzied, excessive, forced action. People experience it as apathy, shell shock or burn out.

 When crazed criminals go on sprees, kill strangers and wreak havoc on public property, their acts are regarded as random and senseless. To all but the most highly attained, the subtle laws of cause and effect are incomprehensible. There’s wisdom in accepting the unfathomable as Job did, saying, “The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away.“

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John M. Ortiz, The Tao of Music: Sound Psychology. (Samuel Weiser: ME, 1997.) p. 7.

John Douglas, The Anatomy of Motive. (Scribner: New York, 1999.) pp. 25-26.

Andrew Weil, 8 Meditations for Optimum Health. (audio cassette, Upaya,1997.)

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Illustration from Conscience: Your Ultimate Personal Survival Guide

 

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Rethinking Suicide at New Year’s

globeTonight I’m remembering the year I worked as a legal secretary for a divorce attorney. His income was seasonal. Before the Christmas, business was slack. He shrugged it of philosophically. He knew he’d make up the difference and then some after New Year’s.

 Then, people who’d gone into the holiday season with unrealistic expectations crashed with opposite and equal disappointment. After all the anticipation, a let down was sure to follow. That’s when they decided to call it quits, in droves.

 Sometimes, calling it quits takes an even more drastic form. This is when Rethinking Survival becomes a must. Here are relevant sections.

 RETHINKING SURVIVAL – Excerpts

 Stability in the Midst of Change

Working with the Positive Paradigm of Change gives the thoughtful person a realistic perspective on what changes and what doesn’t, of what to depend on and what not. The eternal center, deeper than change, is impervious to time. It’s changeless.

In stark contrast, on the surface, natural elements are continuously combining, separating and recombining. Matter is continuously composing and decomposing. Human organizations are inherently unstable.

Human relationships are continuously evolving. Only the power of higher love and disciplined long-term commitments override the natural process of death and decay.

For those securely established at the hub, the center holds eternal. With a correct and complete model of change, survivors are able to the maintain inner stability necessary to cope with unstable circumstances. But when people forget, they get stuck on the surface and then complain that “the center does not hold.”

Those attuned to the center don’t identify with surface changes. They know better than to take them personally. They don’t kill themselves when the stock market crashes. They adjust. They don’t kill others to revenge themselves on outrageous fortune. For the sake of their own sanity, they simply forgive and remain open to new opportunities.

From a limited human perspective, experience sometimes seems just, the logical consequence of past behavior. Other times, life seems to make no sense whatsoever. Most unjust. But that’s life as we know it on Planet Earth. “Shit happens.”

TO BE OR NOT TO BE: Beliefs and Information Make the Difference

“To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?

Shakespeare. Hamlet

The specter of suicidal thoughts haunted my up-bringing. It’s taken me over fifty years to track this demon to its lair and tame it. In retrospect, in simplest terms, I was raised in a family, reinforced by a culture, which disconfirmed my very existence.

A girl who in no way matched demeaning stereotypes — who had no desire to either cynically exploit or fearfully cave into them — was simply a non-being. She could not and should not exist. The tacit message: “Make yourself gone.”

At first I coped with less catastrophic compliance — denial. I reasoned like this: “Women are stupid, fickle and helpless. If I’m not stupid, fickle and helpless, then I’m not a woman.” I disowned the labels associated with gender and escaped into music and books.

Only later, a yogic energy understanding of the difference between feminine essence and cultural molds allowed me to rescue the baby from the bath water, reestablish an identity in harmony with the facts.

Shakespeare studies as well as reading and re-reading Faulkner’s masterpiece, The Sound and the Fury, helped clarify my dilemma.

So did Ph.D. dissertation research that explained the scarcity of women in school administration. It brought to my awareness the programmed stereotypes, antithetical to competent behavior, that I had to root out of my unconscious mind.

In Europe, I clicked with an “A-ha!” moment when a boyfriend put me down with the cliché, “Es gibt nicht so was,” which translates roughly as, “You’re impossible.” Literally, the words mean, “There is no such thing,” or “You don’t exist.” My angry answer was immediate. “Hier bin ich!” I pointed to myself with the literal retort, “Here I am!”

Surely no one intended by such mindless language to harm me, or Marilyn Maraffe either. Yet she is still dead and the lives of those affected by her suicide changed forever. This gifted young cellist, belittled and pushed to the sidelines by condescending males who knew not what they did, dropped out of Oberlin’s Music Conservatory.

She fell into depression, closed herself in her garage and turned on the ignition of her black VW Bug. She left a copy of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet on the passenger seat beside her, opened to the death scene.

She didn’t intend to die. It was cry for help. But crying wolf can backfire.

By an unfortunate quirk of fate, the neighbor who arrived home from work punctually at the same time every night, who should have opened garage doors in time to rescue her, had an errand to run that night. He didn’t find her in time.

. . . In an inhospitable world that continues to disconfirm my true identity, pushes to wipe me off the map, cram me into the narrow molds of other people’s convenience, I practice the positive phoenix response that’s open to everyone, everywhere. When outrageous misfortune impels to suicide, I die to the old, but only to continuously recreate myself new and better.

“Hier bin ich!” I am here still yet!

Einstein’s Energy Variable

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

Societies which enforce an exclusively materialistic worldview that denies the experience of everything not tangible and measurable place severe hardship on those whose inner lives are especially active. Denying high energy people’s drive and failing to provide practical methods for articulating and harnessing inner energies creatively can literally drive people crazy, to suicide, or at best, underground.

Many “sensitives” survive by channeling socially banned, unacceptable awareness into the arts: music and literature, including romance, murder mysteries and science fiction.

Humor provides another outlet for releasing the pent-up emotional tensions which cause illness. The Positive Paradigm gives credence to the Norman Cousin’s belief that “laughter is the best medicine.”It validates the healing wisdom of Patch Adams, the paradigm-breaking physician who’s earned international fame for clowning with patients.

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 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. Murder. Suicide. Usually it’s slower — atrophy and self-sabotage.

This is why it’s imperative to recognize and root out the assumptions based on dysfunctional paradigms that tie us in knots. They tear us apart. They drive us crazy.

To survive intact, we must cleave to the essence of the perennial philosophy. The Positive Paradigm of Change 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.

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Alien invaders delight in cheating. They stack the deck, gumming up the works with false information driven by dysfunctional paradigms.

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

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

LET THE NEW YEAR BE THE TIME OF YOUR START FRESH.

All best! Pat West

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Answering Chrystina’s Question

globeToday, December 30th of the waning year 2013, Chrystina Trulove-Reyes posted a question about Rethinking Survival.

She wrote: “I would like to know more about the book. Is it about survival, the human condition, or mythology.”

Hmm. I answered back, “Good question. The short answer is, All of the above. The long answer deserves a post.”

Here I must caution, as I do in Rethinking, about the flexible nature of the English language. We often miss each other coming and going because the same word can mean many different things. This makes clarity in communication challenging — at best.

My answer as to whether Rethinking is about survival, the human condition, or mythology depends on what you and I mean. And it’s not really an either-or choice.

This isn’t just a quibble.

For example, take the word “mythology.” In the full spectrum use of “mythology,” it can simply mean fiction. But sometimes the slang use implies unscientific and therefore utterly false.

In a certain way, Chrystina, you’re creating a mythology with Cleopatra Stevens at survivingthezombieapocolypse.wordpress.com. But your story, though fiction, also speaks to the human condition.

Joseph Campbell, the famous comparative religion buff, used “myth” to describe the creation stories of the world’s great religions. These stories may be fiction, but they have served to answer our deepest questions. How did we get here? What is humanity’s place in creation? They define our common purpose and suggest possible futures.

From Campbell’s perspective, Yes. Rethinking is about mythology and the human condition. It’s basically one and the same subject.

“Paradigm” is another word for myth. It’s a structure for how we define ourselves, the operating rules of the world we live in, and humanity’s possible futures. Paradigm is used interchangeably with world view and belief system. Rethinking is, most importantly, about the importance and effect of paradigms.

In this context, Rethinking is also about survival. My point is that our belief systems — paradigms, world views, mythologies — shape our experience. To the extent that they’re false — don’t correspond with the facts — they can drive us crazy, push us to murder or even suicide. They can endanger our very existence.

When Einstein said we will need a substantially new way of thinking if humanity is to survive, he was referring to the dangerous effects of limited, separatist thinking. According to him, we must to expand our circle of compassion to get free from the prison of limiting world views.

Rethinking answers this urgent need.

So, Yes. it is about human survival. Yes. It is about mythology insofar as the term is interchangeable with paradigms and belief systems. And, Yes, because paradigms have a great impact, for better or worse, on the human condition, it is about this as well.

Thus my short answer: All of the above.

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