Tag Archives: Tipping Point

Saving the Best for Last

Over the past weeks, I’ve been enjoying The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? In its 37th of 40 chapters, Rick Warren, founding pastor of Saddleback Church, explicitly states:

Sharing your testimony is an essential part of your mission on earth because it is unique. There’s no other story just like yours, so only you can share it. If you don’t share it, it will be lost forever.

I have always had reservations about writing on Christ. On the one hand, over history, extraordinary damage has been done in his name. How could I hope to make a positive difference in a noisy field so filled with misunderstandings and confusion?

On the other, I am so much in awe of Christ’s sacred sacrifice that it seems presumptuous to dare speak of him.

But, in case it might make a difference, even if to just one soul, in the spirit of the saying, “To save one life is to save the world entire,” excerpted from Rethinking Survival,  is my personal testimony.

CHRIST

SAVING THE BEST FOR LAST: The Wait Was Worth It

I came to the New Testament relatively late in life. This was fortunate in many ways. Whenever I had the opportunity to learn about Jesus, my inner radar said, “No. Wait. Not yet.” This was something very special, something that had to be done at the right time, in the right way.

I did everything else first, as if creating a foundation upon which to build. I did my music years, my yoga years and university years. In each time frame, I closed out everything else to focus entirely on the discipline at hand.

So when it finally came time to focus on The New Testament, I was ready and well prepared to appreciate it. It hadn’t been spoiled by being introduced too early, before I was mature enough to relate to the teachings as an adult.

No one had spoiled the teachings for me with prejudiced opinions or by bad example. There was no social or authoritative pressure put upon me to either believe or not believe. It was my choice.

I came to the teachings, especially St. Matthew, with an open mind and uncluttered brain. I Ching and yogic backgrounds put the life and times of Jesus in perspective. Many of his teachings and so-called miracles were built on tacit understandings generally accepted at a time when people lived far closer to nature than most of us city-folk do today. This bedrock of common understanding has since, for the most part, been lost or forgotten.

His story didn’t seem like hocus pocus to me, as intellectuals often assume. In the context of Chinese sages and Hindu yogis, it was plausible and wonderful.

Here was an extraordinarily great master who choose to arrive on Planet Earth at a tipping point in history. Civilization had reached critical mass.

This rare, great being had the compassion and power to influence the fate (survival versus extinction) of the human race. His demonstrated love, courage and personal sacrifice changed the course of history.

Not coincidentally, it seemed that at the time I was making friends with St. Matthew (the early 1980s), humanity was slowly approaching another tipping point, another time when, again, human survival cannot be taken for granted. There was a message here for those with “ears to hear.”

It later influenced me to write Rethinking Survival for the purpose of giving people worldwide the means to see Christ’s power and purpose with fresh eyes. The Positive Paradigm of Change offers a context within which his life, death and transfiguration are understandable.

It gives us an opportunity to rethink the example of his life, teachings and sacrifice. It’s a means to save the hope of the Christ child from the bathwater of false distortions. It offers a way out of narrow-minded strife in political and religious arenas alike.

Saving the Best

Bottom line: I found that the heart of the Old Testament and the New Testament which completes it both work for me.

What goes on at the surface, cultural level of institutional religions is a different matter. Sadly, too often, it’s apples and oranges. Disconnected universes.

So it bears repeating: distortions at the ephemeral surface cannot negate the power and validity of the scriptures.

Accordingly, whatever unfortunate baggage and associations have accrued to the teachings, release them. However jaded you’ve become, get over it. However tragic the past, forgive it.

Go back and rethink the teachings. See them like a genius, through child-like fresh eyes, as if for the first time, new again. It’s infinitely worth it.

Rethinking Gladwell’s Tipping Point

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 The Call to Positive Action

 Malcolm Gladwell, author of David and Goliath, earlier wrote The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference. In the language of Einstein’s atomic physics, it’s called critical mass. In the world of ideas, it’s the trigger point of a paradigm shift. Gladwell describes it as magic:

 The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire. . . A precisely targeted push can cause a fashion trend, the popularity of a new product, or a drop in the crime rate.

His book identifies the catalysts which precipitate a tipping point. Psychological studies are analyzed to name the key elements of social change. At the right time, a handful of people with the right idea and the right messaging can make huge waves. With three key ingredients in place, what seems to happen spontaneously, almost mysteriously, can be deliberately replicated.

Three special kinds of people are necessary to precipitate a paradigm shift. Gladwell profiles the personality types whose combined effort makes the difference. He calls them mavens, salesmen, and connectors.

Mavens are the experts who know their subject in-depth and in great detail. They delight in sharing their knowledge to help others. They have no agenda other than to be of service, so people trust their information. In this case, the information being shared is the perennial philosophy embodied in the Positive Paradigm. It radiates from the center of the wheel.

Salesmen have a knack for tapping into what the public wants. They’re keenly perceptive about human nature and are therefore persuasive in getting others to buy what they have for sale. Salesmen are in touch with the middle level of the wheel. They connect with human motivations to energize basic hopes (namely, for survival) and fears (of extinction).

Connectors take joy in building extended networks of acquaintances. They’re the matchmakers who introduce friends to other friends. They’re the doers who spin the wheel round at the surface of the rim. In this case, they have the ability to spread the Positive Paradigm message worldwide to everyone with the common sense to hear.

Put these three special kinds of people together and there’s magic in the making. The levels of creation can be linked and unified. A powerful idea presented persuasively to the public and carried around the globe by word-of-mouth can travel faster than a speeding bullet.

Rethinking Survival is the work of a maven. I’ve spent a lifetime refining these ideas. I’ve worked hard to express them in a simple, clear and hopefully entertaining way. I take delight in the possible good that could come from sharing them.

But, true to life, there’s always a down side. The lifestyle optimal for writing such a book disqualifies me from wearing the hats of a connector or a salesman. My strength in one context is a weakness in another. I’m a deeply private person. Knowing my limitations, I’m calling on the strengths of my readers to balance out my weak spots. I’m not independently wealthy. (Joke!) I have no support network of family, friends, agents and publicists. I need you to ACT as salesmen and connectors on behalf of the Positive Paradigm. Together, we can work miracles.

What Gladwell describes in terms of psychological studies also expressed in Chinese philosophy. Here’s the tipping point idea from Lao Tze’s perspective:

Passage 78

 Nothing under heaven is as soft,

receptive or pliant as water;

but when amassed,

nothing withstands

its tidal wave impact.

 As water penetrates and dissolves the hard,

erodes and absorbs the rigid,

those who yield and encompass their foes

prevail long after evil doers

have disappeared.

Like water, the sage absorbs the world’s suffering,

endures its hardships,

and responsive to the times,

becomes the catalyst

of collective action.

So it is that the low and high trade places,

and the forceful lose their influence;

this is known by many,

but practiced by few.

 This passage applies to promoting the Positive Paradigm idea in the following way. A solitary writer is like a single drop of water in the ocean. But an idea whose time has come, when spread by word-of-mouth and owned by the masses, can take on the force of a social tsunami.

I have no political clout or social standing. But I’ve allowed nothing to discourage me in my determination to be a catalyst of collective positive action. I’ve experienced my share of hardships. I identify with the world’s suffering. So I trust that, having done my best, it will be enough.

This book will survive by surfing the tidal waves of Titanic times. Because there is a mighty zeitgeist stirring the air. Its force is obliging everyone on the planet to make critical choices. Its power is driving us to take action.

It’s a question of which worldview will prevail. Everyone must choose. (Failing to choose consciously is also a choice.)

Do we cling to dysfunctional paradigms that have brought us to the brink of Titanic disaster? Or do we opt for Einstein’s new way of thinking? Do we choose to be, or not to be? To survive or perish from the face of the earth, that is the question.

So if you’re ready and willing to tip the balance in favor of human survival, BE PART OF THE SOLUTION. SPREAD THE WORD. Urge everyone you know who stands to benefit from Rethinking Survival to read it and then act on it. Do so with passionate conviction. Now! Fill the all-important roles of salesmen and connectors.

And may the Force be with you and your friends, Now and into the New Year!

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Rethinking Christ at Christmas

RETHINKING SURVIVAL

 Excerpts

No matter what your beliefs, you’ll find Rethinking’s explanation for Christ’s enduring influence both fascinating and persuasive.

I came to the story of Jesus fairly late in life. When it finally came time to focus on The New Testament, I was ready and well prepared to appreciate it. It hadn’t been spoiled by being introduced too early, before I was mature enough to relate to the teachings as an adult. No one had spoiled the teachings for me with prejudiced opinions or by bad example. There was no social or authoritative pressure put upon me to either believe or not believe. It was my choice.

I came to the teachings, especially St. Matthew, with an open mind and uncluttered brain. Further, I Ching and yogic backgrounds put the life and times of Jesus in perspective. Many of his teachings and so-called miracles, it seemed, were built on tacit understandings generally accepted at a time when people lived far closer to nature than most of us city-folk do today. This bedrock of common understanding has since, for the most part, been lost or forgotten.

His story didn’t seem like hocus pocus to me, as intellectuals often assume. In the context of Chinese sages and Hindu yogis, it was plausible and wonderful. Here was an extraordinarily great master who choose to arrive on Planet Earth at a tipping point in history. Civilization had reached critical mass. This rare, great being had the compassion and power to influence the fate (survival versus extinction) of the human race. His demonstrated love, courage and personal sacrifice changed the course of history.

Not coincidentally, it seemed that at the time I was making friends with St. Matthew (the early 1980’s), humanity was slowly approaching another tipping point, another time when, again, human survival, cannot be taken for granted. There was a message here for those with “ears to hear.” It influenced me to write Rethinking Survival for the purpose of giving people worldwide the means to see Christ’s power and purpose with fresh eyes. The Positive Paradigm of Change offers a context within which his life, death and transfiguration are understandable.

It gives us an opportunity to rethink the example of his life, teachings and sacrifice. It’s a means to save the hope of the Christ child from the bathwater of false distortions. It offers a way out of narrow-minded strife in political and religious arenas alike.

Bottom line: I found that the Old Testament and the New Testament which completes it both work for me. What goes on at the surface, cultural level of institutional religions is a different matter. Sadly, too often, it’s apples and oranges. Disconnected universes. So it bears repeating: distortions at the ephemeral surface cannot negate the power and validity of the scriptures. Whatever unfortunate baggage and associations have accrued to the teachings, release them. However jaded you’ve become, get over it. However tragic the past, forgive it. Go back and rethink the teachings. See them like a genius, through fresh eyes, as if for the first time, new again. It’s worth it.

The 19th century poet William Wordsworth likened the paradigm’s center to “life’s Star.” Einstein’s earliest glimpse of eternity came from a compass. It gave him his first experience of something powerfully magical hidden behind the world of things. The True North center is the source of all-encompassing compassion, the Buddhist equivalent of Higher Love. It’s the fountainhead of Christian “charity.”

The Positive Paradigm model answers Bill O’Reilly’s implicit question. During a 60 Minutes interview on CBS, Norah O’Donnell asked for his take-away from Killing Jesus. His response: “The Christian savior was able to attract a following and a level of popularity that nobody to date has replicated.”

O’Reilly’s phenomenal success rides on technology earlier unknown. “He had no infrastructure,” O’Reilly marveled. “. . . He had no government, no PR guy, no money, no structure. He had nothing, yet he became the most famous human being ever.”

How can this be?

The level from which Christ broadcasts explains his extraordinary influence both then and now. His consciousness originates deep within the Life Wheel. It radiates from a place beyond time and space in all directions, permeating the entire field of creation, touching everyone everywhere. This explains the literal truth in his promise, that he would be with us always, even to the end of days.

0 CHRIST Permeates

The Positive Paradigm also gives us a picture of how disciples’ reports of Christ’s death and resurrection can be literally true. Accomplished meditation practitioners withdraw attention from the physical body and then return to ordinary consciousness on a daily basis. A true master of the change process controls the in-breathing return to the creative source and out-breathing reemergence into the material plane of physical experience. Proof of this mastery is the demonstrated ability to die to the physical body and then return.

Yogic literature is full of stories about masters who chose the time of their physical departure as well as the time, place and circumstances of their next incarnation. In this, Christ’s example is not unheard of.

It’s motive and magnitude of effect that make his story unique. His was an act of supreme self-sacrifice and compassion for self-doomed humanity. He had the power and will to buy humanity one last hope of survival — a final opportunity to WAKE UP in time to prevent ultimate extinction — being erased from the cycle of life altogether.

What’s critically important to remember here is that the example of his sacrifice speaks to everyone, everywhere. Jesus did not perform his apparent miracle to set himself above and apart from humanity. Quite the contrary. He did it to set an example of what’s possible, with the command that each of us should follow in his footsteps. “Ye must be perfect like your father.”

The Positive Paradigm is a model of potentials within each of us which make this command plausible and viable. The dynamic, creative process is on-going. The pattern of continuous regeneration is the deepest heritage of every individual. Whether aware of it or not, we continuously, daily, with every breath, release and die to the old in order to regenerate and be reborn to the new.

By extension, Christ’s example of mastering the change process applies not only to individuals but to the civilization as a whole. The world as we know it seems threatened, as if coming to an end. Yet those who hold the key to life and the universe, like modern day Noahs, have the opportunity — and responsibility — to ride the tide of the times and begin again, not just for themselves, but for the sake all life on Earth. They are the ultimate survivors who have it in their power to reseed the next generation, following Christ’s example to perpetuate the wheel of life.

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