Tag Archives: Yoga

Love IS . . .

Dr. Jordan Peterson says, “Love is the desire to see unnecessary suffering ameliorated.”

I say, “Yes . . and much, much more.”

Here’s what I mean:

Essay 38. LOVE

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord; And thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. Moses, Deuteronomy 6:4-5

As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you. . .This is my commandment. That ye love one another, as I have loved you.  — Jesus Christ in St. John, The New Testament

In Taoism, we say the heart is the seat of love, compassion, joy and happiness. This is what people are looking for. But they are looking outside. We don’t know that joy and happiness is seated INSIDE our heart. We’re running around the whole world. Going to the amusement park, night club, theaters, all kinds of places in search of happiness, peace, joy. But the peace, joy and happiness are within us. – — Mantak Chia, The Inner Smile

THE FRONT

Roots of love mean to be fond, or to desire. Webster’s first definition is a deep and tender feeling of affection for, or attachment to. It can be an expression of one’s affection. It can mean a feeling of brotherhood and good will towards other people.

It can be strong liking for or interest in something (a love of music). It’s a strong, usually passionate affection, partly based on sexual attraction. In theology, love refers to God’s tender regard for mankind, or mankind’s desire for God as the supreme good. Love is the ultimate mystery. It sparks and keeps the life process going, more to be accepted and honored than psychoanalyzed.

Plato described seven stages of love. Each is a rung on an evolutionary ladder which leads from a child’s love for parents, to erotic love, to friendship, and eventually the pinnacle of divine connection. These seven steps correlate exactly with the hierarchal seven energy centers of yoga anatomy.

Plato traces the attraction between males and females to jealous gods who split a complete, content person in half at the navel. Ever since, each part has chased after the other, longing to become whole again – another yogic priority.

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Unfortunately, rather than seeking to integrate male and female energies internally, most Westerners persist in externalizing this desire for re-union. In contrast, I Ching-related healing arts provide methods for restoring inner wholeness, attaining the ultimate level of Platonic love.

The new law Christ taught fulfills the law of Moses. Further, the Old Testament command to unify the three levels of soul, heart and might into a single-minded love of One God resonates with I Ching-related practices which coordinate upper, middle and lower energy centers.

Practical methods give people of every faith practical ways to actualizing their religious ideals. Put another way, only by integrating and harmonizing the levels of mind, body and emotions can love of God be complete or the universal law fulfilled.

Healing gender, race and religious splits calls for fluency in the complete spectrum of love. Even in grimmest times, love is the omnipresent, underlying bedrock. In Rocky IV, for example, Sylvester Stallione scripted an East-West reconciliation of opposite cultures.

A nature-trained David not only defeats a technology-mutant Goliath with love and relentless grit. He wins the hearts of a hostile crowd. His victory message to international TV viewers: “If I can change, and you can change, we all can change.”

Those who turn love into a commodity exploit what people out of touch with their true selves crave most. There’s a push-pull between those greedy to get what they’ve been fooled into thinking they lack and those who profit from this illusion.

False prophets profit from persuading followers that they’re incomplete and not-okay. Further, there’s a life-changing product that can fix them. If they buy it, do whatever they’re told, turn over their power and money, they’ll be transformed and made okay. Sages grounded in reality, however, know better.

The question then arises, what happens when one is focused and centered. Does all interest in the external world and motive to accomplish cease?

Actually, it’s the opposite. As one becomes more secure from within, fear-built barriers come down. New, more authentic motives arise to replace artificial desires. As one pares away the illusion of need, the native impulse to serve with generous compassion arises.

THE BACK

In duality, hate is the opposite of love. While love grows upwards from childish attachment through degrees of maturity to altruism, hate descends to the depths of destruction. It obliterates connections, shatters hope, and in the end destroys those it consumes.

Fear-based insecurities generate a host of love perversions. Possessiveness, envy, jealousy and rivalry are variations on the theme of illusory insufficiency. In all cases, it’s the result of looking on the outside for what can neither be bought nor stolen, for the completion of Higher Love is the timeless, abiding state of one’s innermost life.

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In this context, I say to the definition of Love as “the desire to see unnecessary suffering ameliorated” . . YES. With this modifier: Love is an absolute. In duality it manifests in a multitude of ephemeral desires, altruism being one of the highest.

Angel Calling

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

 

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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.

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Rethinking HOPE

hope

Paradoxically, the following Essay on Hope compliments the one on Death shared in The Phoenix Response. Tellingly, it reflects beliefs significantly different from those held by my grandparents, Ellie and Hubble West. It might explain, at least in part, their experience of old age.

Nor is the subject merely academic. As I currently face unanticipated health challenges, like many baby-boomers of my generation, I’m being challenged to face and rethink my personal survival expectations.

I’ll explain all this at length later. But for now, here are my earlier thoughts on Hope, for your thoughtful consideration.

Essay 63. HOPE

That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Glory, may give unto you wisdom the spirit of and revelation in the knowledge of him:

The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power. . .

— St. Paul, Ephesians

Here the people could stand it no longer and complained of the long voyage; but the Admiral cheered them as best he could, holding out the good hope of the advantages they would have. He added that it was useless to complain, he had come [to go] to the Indies, and so had to continue it until he found them, with the help of Our Lord.  — Christopher Columbus, Journal of the First Voyage

We live at a particularly perilous moment, one in which self-deception is a subject of increasing urgency. The planet itself faces a threat unknown in other times: its utter destruction. . . The splitting of the atom, said Einstein, has changed everything, save how we think. And thus, he observed, “we drift toward unparalleled catastrophe.” — Daniel Goleman, Vital Lies, Simple Truths

We are seeing a health care system in pain, people in pain, and a world in pain. I believe that something can be done to make it better. — Patch Adams, Gesundheit!

THE FRONT

Webster’s defines hope as a feeling that what is wanted will happen. It’s a desire accompanied by expectation. It can mean that which one has a hope for. It can mean a reason for hope. A meaning listed as archaic is to trust or rely.

In I Ching context, hope transcends short-sighted wishing and emotional wanting. It is a trust that one has the wherewithal to respond appropriately to every change of fortune. It is not total self-sufficiency, but awareness that one’s efforts are met half way. When one does the best one can, the rest is supplied in the right way, at the right time.

Daniel Goleman emphasizes the direct relationship between honest self-awareness and survival. Like Einstein and like Strauss and Howe (authors of The Fourth Turning), Goleman is a messenger of awareness we’re often trained to block out.

His vision accords with The Book of Change philosophy in this: ignoring dangers, deceiving ourselves that all is well when it isn’t, doesn’t make problems go away. It only renders us powerless to recognize early warning signals in time to prepare and ameliorate the worst that might come.

In The Fourth Turning, Strauss and Howe emphasize that declining resources will necessitate major changes in healthcare delivery. Anticipating that the cost of health-care will continue to rise and become increasingly unaffordable, they recommend that cost-effective, affordable alternatives along the lines of Adams’ work be put in place now.

Forward-looking health practitioners are therefore now turning to inexpensive, preventive self-maintenance practices like Tai Chi, Qigong and yoga.

There are hidden benefits to timely austerities. Though it is unfortunate that people see fit to return back to self-responsible methods only as a last resort, if the prospect of hard times returns people back to their more simple and beneficial roots, it is a (however well disguised) blessing.

In his epistle to the Corinthians, St. Paul wrote of hope in the context of faith and charity. His hope isn’t Webster’s hope of wanting and expecting. Like I Ching hope, it is trust that human events which make no sense in the short-term fit into the larger pattern of life, and that God’s will inevitably in the long-term prevails.

THE BACK

The opposite of hope is despair. Seeing one’s situation as hopeless is a self-fulfilling prophecy. So long as one places hope in externals, one feeds the illusion of powerlessness. Turning the focus of hope inwards makes all the difference.

Self-deception is a perversion of hope. Lacking a concept of cyclical change, linear thinkers hope to control time. They defy the aging process or pretend change can’t or hasn’t happened rather than adjusting and benefiting from new opportunities that arise to replace the ones which pass away.

Stillness and Peace

Sometimes words fail me. Keeping quiet seems the better way. To share my immediate preference for silence, I’m offering two earlier approaches to Stillness. The simplest comes from the Common Sense Book of Change. The second elaborates on the first, and as a compliment may prove helpful.

Hexagram 52. STILLNESS

Peace within and harmony without come from STILLNESS.

When immediate answers to important questions

cannot be found,

sometimes keeping still is the best way out.

Burning desires produce chaotic thinking.

This only clouds the issue

and makes life painful.

Meditation is a valuable method for finding stillness.

Avoid useless activity.

Essay 47 from Conscience offers alternative perspectives on the meditative tradition, practiced throughout the ages around the globe.

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Essay 47. STILLNESS

Knowing where and how to settle the mind, one will become calm.

Having attained calmness, one will be undisturbed.

Having attained an undisturbed mind, one will have peace.

Having attained peace, one’s mind will respond correctly to all situations.

One who responds correctly to all situations will find the way.

— Confucius, Great Commentary. [emphasis added]

I suggest you begin with such a primary procedure as simply the practice of keeping physically still. . . In developing a calm control it is necessary to think calmness, for the body responds sensitively to the type of thoughts that pass through the mind. It is also true that the mind can be quieted by first making the body quiet. That is to say, a physical attitude can induce desired mental attitudes.” — Norman Vincent Peale, The Power of Positive Thinking

Taoism advises us to try neither to win nor lose, to seek neither resolution nor impasse, but to study the rising and falling of the way as it moves through the field of our conflict. . . At all times, we search for the center, the fulcrum that creates balance. We stay within the eye of the hurricane. We look for the center, for that is where truth is to be found.” — Brian Muldoon, The Heart of Conflict

THE FRONT

The root of “still” means immobile. By extension, the quality of stillness means being without sound; quiet, silent. It means not moving, stationary, at rest, motionless. It is characterized by little or no commotion or agitation, being tranquil, calm, and serene, like the still water of a lake.

The “where” Confucius refers to in the Great Commentary is the point of focus, called the ajna center, known as the third eye – Muldoon’s “eye of the hurricane.”

The “how” refers to meditative breathing and exercise practices which direct the flow of energy (chi). The intent is to circulate chi freely throughout the subtle nervous system and energy centers, thus linking and harmonizing the interrelated functions of mind and body.

Peace” refers to inner equilibrium, regardless of whether the external world is in harmony or conflict. “Correctly” refers to behavior in accord with natural and divine law. “The way” refers to the unfathomable Tao, the undivided source of creation.

In the Bible, we’re told, “Be still and know that I am God.” Similarly, in Asian traditions, meditators cultivate a quiet heart through physical stillness to experience the supreme ultimate, Tai Chi.

The practical methods outlined in Patanjali‘s Yoga Sutras are helpful in this regard. This classic lists sequential stages of development, as well as obstacles to be avoided. When the beginner first starts the process of calming and disciplining the mind, temptations arise.

One, for example, is the quicksand of astral experience. Others include “siddhis,” or “powers” – sometimes offered by the “dark side of the force.” The beginner is warned to recognize the important difference between between the multitude of seductive astral voices and the quiet, still voice of conscience.

During initial stages of training, distracting voices are silenced. Discrimination is cultivated. helping meditators recognize the difference between fantasies, old mental impressions and genuine intuition. The goal is to penetrate the clouds of the middle astral/energy level of the Life Wheel in order to access the still, timeless center.

THE BACK

Information overload is the opposite of stillness. Visual and audio clutter pull attention in thousands of fragmenting directions, diminishing personal integration and mental cohesion. In extreme situations, the mind and nervous system shut down in self-defense, going catatonic to close out mind-shattering external influences.

Rigid tension, blocking out whatever was seems threatening or inconvenient, obstructs the relaxed, receptive attitude of genuine stillness. Those who ignore the still voice of inner calling and the good advice of true friends can’t receive help. Impervious minds, deaf ears and hard hearts are perversions of stillness.

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It Is Possible to Make A FRESH START

I started “A Fresh Start is Urgently Necessary” by saying two coincidental things happened that day. I described the first, the internet being down. (Turns out a heedless farmer severed a fiber optic cable.) The second had to wait until today. Namely, I connected the dots between an overnight YouTube music search and the challenges inherent in presenting the  timeless I Ching to the Millennial generation in a way they can identify with and own.

For starters, here’s the Common Sense Book of Change version of Hexagram 18.

hex 18

FRESH START

Even when it seems that all has been spoiled,

it is possibleto make a FRESH START.

Be willing to face your faults.

Find out how to correct them.

The situation will gradually improve

if you are sincere and work hard.

Be sure you know what you want.

Avoid delay.

The unfamiliar graph is called a hexagram. It’s an ancient short-hand method for expressing countless generations of experiential wisdom about the correspondence between chi (energy) flow in the human mind/body (the microcosm) and in the universe (the macrocosm). In yogic philosophy, these six lines correlate with six basic chakras (wheels, or subtle energy centers) located at intersections along the human spine. Each of the centers is associated with specific developmental stages. A primary purpose of yogic practices is to awaken, balance and integrate these levels of experience.

The straight and broken lines of the hexagram are a binary-digital way of expressing alternating, expanding and contracting life rhythms. In the Book of Change, any or all of the six lines can change into its opposite. This results in 64 possible permutations. It’s not coincidence that the ancient I Ching and modern DNA patterns are exact correlates. This is one explanation for the healing effects of medical sciences based on the I Ching hexagrams.

Admittedly, the specifics are beyond my comprehension, for the most part because I trust from experience in the practical results. Just as I use my computer without a deep understanding of how it operates, I have benefited greatly from working with the I Ching and its off-shots. Both sciences, modern and ancient, for many of the same reasons, simply work.

To carry forward the question — When the Lights Go Out, Who Will Millennials Call? (see wp.me/p46Y5Z-cm) — consider this. If/when today’s hospitals are rendered inoperable by grid failures, and/or healthcare as we know it is made unavailable due to social-political malfunctions (like Obama un-care, for example), where can we turn for practical health sciences that maintain health and heal dis-eases? Modern medicine as a profession and a social-political corporate conglomerate has become, for many people, for many reasons, a nightmare. We especially need a Fresh Start in this important area of our lives.

My short answer: long after grid-dependent lights go out, the same basics that work seeming magic with the I Ching will still be available to those familiar with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) methods — including Chi Kung and Tai Chi. The sooner people become fluent in the self-healing arts, the better off — for countless reasons — most of us will be.

I’ve been emphatically told by the one I most trust that “The mind will play any tune you ask it to.” When he speaks, I unpack every word. (He doesn’t waste them.) There is more meaning to this key than simply “Mind over matter” or “Beliefs generate results,” though in terms of self-healing these are included. Training the mind as a musical instrument to skillfully, deliberately apply the I Ching‘s 64-permutations of dynamic “if-then” consequences (analogous to existing computer-driven chess games) would greatly enhance one’s ability to recognize prevailing self-defeating tunes. Further, one could discover better tunes, decide which to play when, and learn how to “ask the mind” to play them.

Advanced meditators describe hearing a celestial “music of the spheres.” Just imagine, if you will, what wondrous music is available to those with “ears to hear.”

Much of I Ching-based philosophy focuses on understanding how fluctuating energy patterns affect human behavior, as well as how they can be used to create harmonious relationships and orchestrate viable institutions of governance. Much has been spoiled by lack of awareness of these patterns (tunes) and ignorance as to how to steer institutions effectively. By reintroducing this vital information, correcting what I have repeatedly described as a “fatal information deficit,” the damage resulting from such ignorance could be repaired and a Fresh Start initiated.

Unfortunately, much of this tradition has a very bad “rep.” It’s been spoiled by a complex mix of misunderstanding, misapplication, and misrepresentation. For example, when I went on YouTube looking for music (the second coincidence I mentioned earlier — see wp.me/p46Y5Z-cJ), what I had in mind was chakra/DNA healing ragas. What I found instead was a commercialized, psychedelic offering of “feel good” audio engineering. Comments likened listening to taking psychotropic drugs that induce the illusion of mind-altering experience. They raved about hallucinations experienced while tripping and listening at the same time.

My Aha: So much of what has been spoiled and cries out for a Fresh Start is the I Ching itself. Today it needs to be approached from the modern science of mind-exploration. It needs to be repackaged as a delightful, game-oriented Lumosity experience, but founded on a profoundly motivating purpose: human survival. Not unlike the Christian tradition, which has suffered greatly in the wrong hands for centuries, the timeless wisdoms must be “reinvented” and approached as if new: First time, every time.

compass clock

It’s the 11th hour, for sure. But, as it has been written, With God all things are possible –including, even, at this late hour, a Fresh Start. But the clock is ticking. God — the Tao — is infinite. Time is not.

Influencers Cut Through the Noise

To change the world for the good, the multiple authors of Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change recommend a three-stage process. As author of multiple books on change, I was eager read about the new science whereof they speak.

However, their content confirms what a Jungian analyst reminded me of in response to a recent blog on Therapists as Positive Change Agents. Namely, there’s nothing new on leadership under the sun – just infinite variations on a few important themes.

In fact, with the exception of a single random remark debunking the role of intuition in the decision-making process, their worldview is remarkably compatible with the Positive Paradigm of Change. Here’s how it translates into the Bible-, Yoga- and Einstein-compatible Unified Theory Wheel:

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Influencers cut thru the noise

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Authors Joseph Grenny, Kerry Patterson, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler speak to our common challenge. “How can the leader as alarm sounder cut through the noise to effectively wake the unaware up from their slumbers?”

Their solution, like the Positive Paradigm of Change, recognizes a necessary relationship between motivation and action (ability). However, I see the two as residing on qualitatively different, interior levels of a two-directional life wheel. They posit three paired levels of influence – personal, social and organizational. This yields a total of six areas which can either impede or accelerate positive change. The key is to harness all six and focus them like a laser on a finely tuned purpose.

In Positive Paradigm context, the universal atom-like structure repeats on every scale of magnitude. The individual is a complete unit. By extension, so is the family. The ongoing units of business and government organization are all multi-level organisms, each with its unique motives and action abilities.

But rather than side-track deep into academese, I’ll focus instead on applying the concept of Influence (focused, effective leadership) to my ongoing discussion of survival and Millennials. As the generation apparently disinherited by their elders, Millennials have little ego-investment in the dysfunctional paradigms that have gotten the world into its current political-economic mess. So they’re the most likely to welcome and champion a Positive Paradigm shift.

Here’s the premise: While marketers are correct in selling Millennials as the best hope for the future, as of yet, the hope is only potential. In “When the Lights Go Out, Who Will Millennials Call?” the very real danger – along with its hidden opportunity – is explored. Millennials are fluent to a fault in all things digital. But there’s an inherent risk in lopsided over-investment. What would happen if, overnight, their iPads ceased to work and they were cut off from their social networks? They might suddenly become as helpless as fish out of water.

The hidden upside to their imbalanced addictions to things digital and social remains to be realized. To actualize this potential, the correlations between the ancient science of change and modern binary digital computer language must be drawn. To repeat, when they recognize that they contain in their innermost DNA the very same potentials that drive computers, that their brain functions are limitless beyond even the most powerful digital instruments, then there’s real hope.

In response to the blog When the Lights Go Out, D.R. Baker wrote a complimentary comment, calling it my best, most relevant work yet. He complained about relatives whose addiction to their gadgets seemed mindless and asked for suggestions as to how he could control the situation.

My response was that, in general, it’s better to focus on self-control rather than controlling others. Since D.R. is familiar with the Book of Change, I suggested that he query the book for insight into his specific situation.

His question, however, got me thinking. I should do the same with my compassionate concern for Millennials. It’s not enough to tell them they have marvelous, latent potential but are at risk, or to suggest wherein the positive future lies. I’ve written books on change and survival. I’ve repeatedly tweeted Einstein’s warning, “It will take a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.” But that’s apparently not the alarm that suffices to wake sleepers up.

I would have thought Einstein’s wake-up call was powerful and sufficient motivation. But that’s my point of view. What’s theirs? In a future blog I’ll present the results of asking, “What benefit does the Book of Change offer the Millennial generation?” In addition, I’ll ask, “How should this answer be presented? What’s the right, most influential approach for me to take?”

Phoenix - sized

Am I Still Ahead of My Times? Not Really.

A book reviewer (Lisa says she holds my work in highest regard) reluctantly agreed with a former School Board Association mentor. I am ahead of my times. But that was 1977.

In light of current events, is this snippet from Rethinking Survival: Getting to the Positive Paradigm of Change really ahead of the times? Sadly, methinks the times have caught up with me — and then some.

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ALIEN INVADERS

In the 1980s, when the Affirmative Action legislation described in Part One was a subject of hot debate, one commentator made an astute observation. If foreign enemies had wanted to undermine the United States, they would have designed exactly this legislation. Valid goals — the window dressing — were buried in burdensome regulations and punitive economic sanctions. Rather than bringing people together, it was alienating, causing an opposite and equal backlash across the board.

Alien invaders infiltrating Planet Earth, weakening humans to eventually take over and enslave them, is a familiar theme in science fiction. For example, in his various incarnations, Dr. Who — television’s beloved two-hearted time traveler — continuously detects nefarious alien plots and rescues heedless humans from annihilation.

Current events indicate there’s considerable truth cloaked in that science “fiction.” Starting with the premise that hidden alien enemies are covertly scheming to undermine humanity, ask, “How would they set about to destroy us?” Logically, they’d create chaos, setting everyone at each others’ throats. They’d trick humans into mutual self-destruction by stirring up dissension and fragmenting their governments.

As discussed in Part Two, the Old Testament and yogic scriptures both maintain that we’re made in the image of God. Each individual mind is a complete miniature of the Universal Mind. When open, receptive, and aligned, everyone everywhere mirrors the wisdom and potential power of the Creator.

Therefore, it’s an absolute priority for evil aliens to attack the mind. Their agents will do whatever it takes to pollute your mind. They confuse it with false paradigms. They clutter and distract it with the noise of an ongoing media circus. Every doubt planted in your mind causing you to forget who you are, to disbelieve in your ultimate origins and creative potentials, is a victory for the dark side.

To totally undermine humanity, atheism is a must. The unifying beliefs which hold families and nations together and fortify them in times of adversity must be destroyed at all costs. Again, how would this be accomplished?

For one thing, language which makes communication and community-building possible would have to be polluted beyond repair. In Part Two, this ongoing process is described as the Tower of Babel factor. In the English language, for example, every value word has devolved to mean both one thing and its opposite. So people often talk at cross purposes, unaware that they’re missing each other coming and going.

. . . Next, by every means available, alien agents would strive to pollute the idea pool. Make access to the law impossible and simple truth seem complicated. Because ideas have consequences, introduce false beliefs with predictably disastrous results.

Then evil aliens would systematically destroy trust, the cement of human relationships, at every level of organization. How? Make deceit the political norm. Convince people that no one’s motives can be trusted. Demonstrate that no one’s words can be believed. Make it “common knowledge” that no one’s actions, however apparently innocent and well intentioned, can be taken at face value.

Diversions would be a must. Rile the public with non-issues to distract them from very real dangers. Using lame-stream media shills, manipulate the masses with the weapons of psychological warfare. Insult them with the lie that they’re not okay. Sell them on the belief that they’re helpless “victims” of oppressors who must depend on tough guys to rescue them (and pay the heavy price of obligation at the voting polls).

. . . in the first chapter [of Rules for Radicals], Alinsky [chief agent of the evil aliens] stated his exact purpose, namely to coach those who “want to change the world” from what it is “to what they believe it should be.” In I Ching context, this assumption-packed premise is an extraordinary feat of tragedy-fraught hubris. Building on this false premise, Alinsky then fueled the undermining alien arsenal with a full battery of destructive tactics. In essence, political radicals should feel “free” to violate the ten commandments. The ends (getting what you want) justify any means.

His version of social change is engineered by stirring up conflict. Use fabricated information to bear false witness against inconvenient neighbors. (Herman Cain’s character assassination is one of countless examples.) Alinsky advocates scapegoating, not unlike the dynamic which propelled Nazis to power. Create the illusion of an outside enemy as the way to unify your base. (How is that for the ultimate double-speak? Conflict is the opposite of unity.)

Divide and conquer. Pit each group against the others. I can almost see alien puppeteers behind the scenes clapping their hands in glee over Alinsky’s contribution to escalating worldwide conflict. It matters not to them which side wins. Let Sharia law advocates, members of Putin’s Eurasian Union and American exceptionalists squander their precious resources duking it out. If they destroy each other and no one’s left, so much the better.

. . . 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.)

If you give all your attention to what other guys are doing wrong, playing the role of contrarian, YOU LOSE. (Alien invaders win.)

If you quit on humanity and live only for yourself, leading a life of self-centered indulgence, YOU LOSE. (Alien invaders win.)

If you persist in thinking narrowly in terms of political interests and institutions, not human survival, YOU LOSE. (Alien invaders win big time.)

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 . . .

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[to be continued.]