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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Be Careful What You Hope For

Danger on multiple fronts. But on Friday, September 8, 2017, during a calm at storm’s center, an extraordinary conversation took place.

Here I’ll tell you the context, the content, and implications for what follows next.

On that day, Hurricane Harvey, a devastatingly destructive storm, was winding down in Texas. Hurricane Irma, an unprecedented Category 5, was wreaking havoc in the Caribbean, headed towards Florida. At the same time, Mexico experienced a 8.1 earthquake. Given other news, that one received relatively little attention in the States.

Another potentially deadly event got zero media attention. Careful research on the part of science savvy folks here had us on high alert: solar flares are emitting coronal mass ejections (CMEs). Were one headed towards Earth to strike close to home, electronics would be fried. Computers, TVs, radios, kitchen conveniences – all toast.

So the morning before, the ordinary list of tasks and errands were instantly scrapped. Shift into crisis mode.

Make the rounds, turning off and unplugging major electronics.

Bring a large metal trash can in from the garage. Empty and bring up two smaller ones from the basement. Get out the bubble wrap and a box of heavy-duty aluminum foil. These are the makings of low-cost, home-made Faraday cages designed to insulate radios, computer tablets and medical equipment from radiation.

Despite a recorded history of CME events, little predictive science is available. Apparently it’s not known how to calculate their rate of speed and therefore exact arrival time. Nor can the path from sun to Earth be accurately traced. So where impact will occur is, at best, uncertain.

On the one hand, it could be a false alarm. On the other, it could be ruinous. So – better to be safe than s***-out-of-luck. We hunkered down to out-wait danger.

Even for this rural setting, the house was unusually quiet. No humming computer fans. No beeping microwaves. Ah.

With nothing else to do, I took out my sewing kit and began altering a $3 pair of resale pants. The one we respectfully call “Old Avatar” busied himself with a black ink pen, working to solve one of the mind-boggling math puzzles in his Second Degree Black Belt Kakuro book.

The circumstances offered an unusual opportunity for conversation.

Most times, OA is busy “Other-where.” Though physically here, he’s preoccupied, mentally computing and warrioring on multiple dimensions, far beyond my comprehension. The times when he’s fully HERE are rare and precious.

So I tested. “May I ask you a question?”

What is it?” he asked.

I said, I am increasingly concerned by the direction Jordan Peterson seems to be taking. Is he correct that the foundations of Western culture are essentially valid? Perhaps more to the point, can a viable future be built on that foundation?

I pointed to the cascading events that had just shut our computers down. How can careful thinkers persist in hoping their work will reverse the tide of irrational events? Sometimes it seems as if nature and humans are racing to see which of them will destroy us first.

He nodded. We’re just getting started. What’s going on today is only Act One. This time has been predicted in the foundational scriptures of which Dr. Peterson speaks for thousands of years. The war is already going on – it has been for a very long time. Christ described it, as do the prophecies he came to fulfill, as a battle for hearts and souls. Read Ezekiel again. And Isaiah.

Yes, I nodded. I think often of Ephesians. The battle going on is not only against flesh and blood, but against rulers of darkness – against evil in high places. The realms of the fearsome battle OA has waged his entire life, at terrible cost to himself, are invisible to humans. But their affect on human lives is very real indeed.

I wanted to know, What will come after the shit hits the fan, when we start to rebuild after the collapse of the world as we know it? Will there still be Bibles? Will people still be able to read?

Yes. You have a Bible, don’t you?

Of course. The same one I’ve been working with for thirty years or more, though we have yet to purchase a waterproof box for its safekeeping.

So the foundation IS valid? Yes. It will prevail? Yes.

But this doesn’t mean the familiar past we’re attached to will remain. The problem, OA said, is that people have been taught never to give up hope.

But people urgently need to rethink and define their hopes. What is your Motive, Purpose, and Intent? What is your WHY? What motivates your hope? Is it intuition or laziness? Love or fear? What is your HOW? What are your action plans for fulfilling your hopes? And WHAT precisely do you intend to achieve as the results of your actions?

Certainly, hoping it is possible to prevent conflict is a false hope. Refusing to take sides, refusing to take a stand and fully engage in the war we’re already in the midst of, is a choice for the wrong side. That’s the problem with people of peace. And those who have been led into believing Christ was a man of peace are gravely mistaken.

To the contrary, Christ stated plainly, I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against mother, and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. It is a matter of having to make basic choices. Which side of the war between good and evil are you on? Even those closest and most dear to you make wrong choices. The choice to serve truth requires leaving those who oppose it behind.

Now, Christ commended peacemakers, OA continued. That’s different. They are his children. But someone has to have their backs. That’s why there are righteous warriors. Think of Archangel Michael . . . protector of innocents.

People forget.” And here OA’s voice trembled with emotion, as if remembering a painfully personal loss. When they arrested him, to be taken away and killed, Christ instructed disciples without swords to sell their cloaks and use the money to buy a sword.

Then OA took a different tack. He described the necessary role of a “righteous warrior,” one who has the back of true peace makers. A farmer plows his field, plants and harvests his crops. He teaches his children, loves his family, and mends his fences. Day in and out, he does whatever it takes to support those he loves. And when an enemy approaches his gate, he defends them with his life. It’s all woven into the single fabric of life.

Yes, I nodded. “A time and place for every purpose under heaven.” No stick-figure either/or stereotypes.

I remembered an earlier conversation we had about false hopes generated by “people of peace.” What’s needed now, he told me, isn’t pacifists. Trying to reason with an evil enemy is like pissing on a forest fire. What we need now is a generation of warrior monks. Though they serve wisely, with peace in their hearts, at the same time they’re ever alert – competent to protect against intruders, whatever the level.

OA continued, People misconstrue the words, “He who lives by the sword dies by the sword.” No fault or prohibition is implied. A soldier who fights for a living hopes to retire and die in bed. A righteous warrior, however, fights the good fight right up to his last breath. It isn’t a reproach to say he’ll die by the sword. Standing firm in his truth even to the very end earns him an honorable and worthy death.

Here, I flashed on another unanswered question. But we were interrupted by a pair of thirsty, winded dogs let in after a walk. We took a brief break. Getting a snack of red wine and cheese curds from the kitchen, I gathering my thoughts for the second part of our conversation.

When we settled in again, I brought up the article just finished for Prabuddha Bharata, a premier yoga journal, one in existence for over a century, dating back to the introduction of yoga to the United States in the 1800s. The Editor’s suggested topic: “It would be nice if you could address the issue of increasing polarisation across the world.” The time frame: “as early as possible!”

Writing it was intense, I told OA. I felt inspired . . . as if it were writing me. I watched as it flowed through me. Wow.

Part of the Wow was that it flashed on me how this article meshed with Jordan Peterson’s work. In essence, my approach offers a yin compliment to his yang presentation. Put another way, Dr. Peterson is necessarily – skillfully – treading across a very narrow tightrope. He is a professor teaching inside an traditional institution – the University of Toronto. As a practicing clinical psychologist, he’s a member of a socially accepted, highly valued profession. Devoted to his wife and children, he’s a complete insider. As such, he’s obliged to be exceedingly careful as to how he presents himself, especially in controversial matters. Accepting certain roles in society requires acting within their boundaries. His effectiveness depends, at least in part, on being acutely careful not to exceed them.

I have no such constraints. Though I earned a Ph.D., the system could not contain me. I can’t say the sacrifices were optional on my part. Character, as they say, is fate. But they did leave me free to explore and develop along lines that can’t be contained within the limiting boundaries of empirical science-based institutions and professions.

When I first started following Dr. Peterson’s work, I kept adding posts to this website, rethinkingsurvival.com. No matter what his topic, the conceptual model I work with – the meta-map of reality maps – confirms his ideas, at the same time adding strength, clarity, depth and perspective to them. This article, on the other hand, was an opportunity to go beyond that which he has developed. It completes what he has started. The yoga tradition has no problem with subtle energy sciences or with metaphysics. For this reason, Editor Swami Narasimhananda welcomed my article. He understands quite well where I’m coming from.

OA was skeptical, of course. He holds me to a very high standard. “We’ll see,” was his only response. I reminded him of an earlier post (one of the few he’s taken time off from his Other-where sojourning to read). Also invited, it’s called “How Bad People Become Leaders.”

His comment on that one: “Not bad for a human.” That’s an okay recommendation, coming from an exceedingly ancient Old Avatar.

So, I told OA, Here is what flashed on me. I should complete and compile these blogs into a book. Because of sacrifices I’ve made, I’ve been free to go places Dr. Peterson hasn’t. As a result, I am able to supply missing puzzle pieces in support of the valid tradition he defends. As as outsider, I am free to say things that need to be said, things he understands which are outside his boundaries.

Maybe he’d even write an introduction. Perhaps promote it on his Patreon website. That would be an outstanding win-win for everyone.

Again. We’ll see.

So, obviously the computers are back up here. The CME did hit. According to the single article I found, a coronal mass ejection aimed toward Earth had been projected to cause auroras in the U.S. as far south as Ohio and Indiana. As it turns out, the biggest solar flare in a decade did cause radio blackouts – but in Brittan.

So I’m left asking, Where do we go from here? We dodged the bullet for now. So I’ll continue to write as remaining time permits. But without false hopes for the future. I’m reminded, after all, that hope is one part of a triad. It’s best balanced by equal parts of faith and charity. That is to say, continue to hope for the best (whatever that may be), but prepare as we did, for the worst, with complete faith in the will of a loving God who has his children’s backs, no matter what is to come.

book header bird

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).

The two-way gate keeper role of Natural Law in relationship to Divine Law and Human Law is pictured on the back cover of Conscience:

gatekeeper.jpg

 

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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 suicide, or at best, underground. Many “sensitives” survive by channeling socially banned, unacceptable awareness and longing for self-fulfilling adventure into the arts: music and literature, including romance, murder mysteries and science fiction.

This is a great loss to society. The world would be 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 om 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 not 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 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 has been called “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.

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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In Why Our World is Hell, JBP comes close to I Ching awareness. On 08-19-2017, I responded:

28:35 “Your nervous system is evolved to tell you when you’re in the right place at the right time.” This is Lao Tze’s definition of “virtue,” the Te in Tao Te Ching, a book permeated by the wisdom of its ancient, foundational antecedent, the I Ching.

Respectfully, the science (meaning “with knowledge”) of cyclical nature of change has been masterfully encoded, if not articulated, in the seriously underrated, misunderstood I Ching, The Chinese Book of Change. See Common Sense Book of Change (CSBOC) shown on rethinkingsurvival.com.

Hint: ideograph for I Ching looks like DNA strand, not coincidentally so.  

Also — urgently — please see last 5, soon to be 6, posts directed to JBP which describe use of Life Wheel as another, more accessible I Ching derivative. All this offers the KEY to canon of your map work. Consider it the meta-map — the ultimate map of maps. All best, Patricia West

Later, Jordan Peterson describes Nietzsche’s take on the consequences of scientific materialism:

32:45. Nietzsche said that the destruction of [a world view] with God in the center, replaced by materialistic science, was a CATASTROPHE and we would pay for it with millions of lives.

In response, I posted this second comment:

NB. Another “catastrophic” consequence of hollowing out (flattening) the multi-dimensional Life Wheel into the exclusively materialistic paradigm of modern “science,” was that the value and proper use of the I Ching was ruled out. It reduced a mystical magical decision-making manual into a trivial, superstitious sort of divination, fortune-telling game.

In fact, it resonates at the e = energy level of the Wheel, and in its two-directional Gate Keeper function, has the potential to help make the unconscious conscious — to lead from confusion to non-physical guidance experienced as intuitive “knowing” and then direct experience of the Source of that knowing. [This is followed by completing the circuit, returning to the world as a visionary capable of positive action.] Jung, who wrote famous introduction to Wilhelm/Baynes translation of the I Ching, sensed this.

See https://rethinkingsurvival.com/2017/08/07/the-gate-keeper/

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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.

globe

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.

globe bullet size

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:

————————————————————————————————–

Influencers cut thru the noise

———————————————————————————————-

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