December 11th, 2016
We are looking at the end of another annual cycle with hopefully time for review and reflection. A good theme for my last blog this year and a chance also for completion with a task. It has been over a year past since I had a request to comment on emotions. As a teacher I try to avoid talking about that subject, not because it is any more complicated, but because folks have strong beliefs that they are more than willing to defend. I tend to think differently than most of my peers, and that is fine with me and them. I don’t expect anyone to accept my views and I appreciate their courtesy in hearing me out, but with emotions, most folks are closed minded. Growth is the process of overcoming the safety of familiar to discover potential. Here is a very short overview of my thoughts on emotions; consider this your Holiday gift.
I interpret emotions as an awareness of energy flow through the body. There is never a point in time in a living human being where there is not a flow of energy; normally a level of flow produced by a combination of elements with different responses to the increases and decreases of the level depending on its proximity to threshold. There are at least two main categorizes in this conversation: requested energy and triggered energy. When you perceive a value in the world and wish to act on that perception, either positive or negative, based on your cognitive evaluation the request flows energy to produce the demonstration. A triggered flow is a reaction from your nervous system which is structured in two parts. The somatic nervous system has to do with our senses; it takes in information from the world outside and acts on the world around us. The autonomic nervous system is the one that produces the stimulated responses that many associate with emotional. The “hot” responses are sympathetic or high expenditure of energy and the “minimal” responses are parasympathetic or conserving. I like the theory put forth by George Mandler, Professor of Psychology of the University of California that this phenomenon is keyed by a discrepancy between one’s expectation and the actual evidence from the world—an interruption. Whenever an expectation is interrupted, whenever an action cannot be brought to completion, whenever a plan is not quite brought to its end, or to its goal, this emotional arousal seems to occur. Emotions are not something that people have, they are constituted of people’s states, values and arousals.
Again, we have our preferred labels for how we feel emotionally and we perceive the experience as singular; one emotion, mood or reaction. I believe there is always a stack of emotions in the queue and your reactions vary by the content of the mix more than by a specific emotion. Emotions are very important and mark our relationship with the energy that produces life. Joy to you and yours for the Holiday.
November 21st, 2016
I still get queried about opening another center with the vision of teaching grounding, Gold Sun, Center of Head and edge of aura again. Some of you remember those days. I have no plans to ever open another center or teach basics again. I’m retired and playing with “larger concepts.” Larger not meaning more complex or even more important. In fact, I am still teaching the same old essential elements for embracing change but at a more abstracted level.
The idea of discovering your body’s potential to house a more accountable expression of you in demonstration is still valid. I now refer to the process as securing the idea of “no” in your life practice; entertaining the idea of being “done” by securing and relinquishing the past; and embracing the idea of fully attending to another person without your bias (field) veiling the experience to encounter a plural “I”; a “we.” No threat or fear, within a few seconds both parties automatically start to identify with their uniqueness and energy starts to surge up independently in both bodies. So much for basic tools but faster and more connected. We all appreciate a healthy immune system and no one really wishes to live in the past. Another human is an opportunity to connect in a very friendly way and initiate energy running through your body, as a creation and not as a reaction.
I’m more concerned today with developing practice (discipline) around attention and presence. As you mature in your relationship with power (the ability to exercise choice) the shadow effect (operating without being present) billows, increasing opportunity for error. Discernment flowers faster than discipline but in a few short years it stabilizes. A caution is wise for this time slot. Next to emanate is the awareness of demand from guidance systems like culture and social expectations. Humans operate by creating symbols and states. A symbol is any external reference outside the “space” of you and a state is a template for efficient human operation. State templates may be stored and managed external within a created symbol. Higher states (higher brain functions) are created in symbols, update regularly, communicate in metabolic time and have wider bandwidth. Culture is such a system and I think we can improve it. Way too much demand and expectation on one side and very slow migration on the other end. Learn to convert a demand to a request and you reaffirm your power. This refresh establishes your autonomy and the seed for a less stressful guidance.
It is my intention in 2017 to establish a monthly on-line discussion of these “larger concepts.” If you subscribe you get to listen to me espouse on an assigned topic for an hour plus; send me an e-mail with your questions, concerns and comments which I will answer; and the videos will be available for you to ponder repeatedly. Now that sounds like fun.
October 23rd, 2016
What if the trends in our culture were more than an opportunity to react on Facebook? What if this stream of data was a type of guidance or, at least, a suggested direction for the group? This concept is part of an emergent system based on value put forth by Dr. Graves in what became known as Spiral Dynamics. I incorporate my interpretation of Dr. Graves work with memes in the model I teach. To grasp the nature of this concept you need to zoom out for a much larger view of life and time.
Two hundred years past, perhaps the first existentialist, Soren Kierkegaard pointed out the basic insight that man is a union of opposites, the physical body and the self-consciousness. Near unlimited potential but not enough time in form to bring it all into fruition. Faith in spirit or potential may not be enough and thus back then man needed an all powerful external symbol to balance the tension. At that time we were thick in a meme that suggested an immortal deity that oversaw humankind with a promise of a reward after death to balance the inadequacy.
About one hundred years later, Freud perceived that the religious meme was coming to an end and he put together a system to prepare for the next coming step—the moment now. He changed the old term soul to self with the goal of training the new self defined in humans to be cognitively present now. His system has matured and expanded along with a plethora of teachers and authors contributing over the next one hundred years (Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now, etc; Ken Wilber is presently training folks for the next two memes after this cycles). This year’s Presidential election was a demonstration of this new meme but to see this I may need to point out some components of this meme.
I like to term the moment now as the “beloved”—the state of being loved or being preferenced now. The range for humans unsecured would be from total narcissism (I love me) to near phobic obsession with a project or a service (my work is very important). A secured individual would be a resource (a go-to person) due to their presence and their secured state of being. To be in the absolute moment now you would need to lose your past and future. Say goodbye to ethics, integrity and morals (all based on past performance). I think it is difficult to trust a person with no past or future and therefore, sadly, gossip and assertions will tend to rule the moment for the unsecured. A secure person will need to perpetually walk-their-talk and get accustomed to no expression of gratitude and very little acknowledgement from their unsecured counterpart. We are seeing strong samples of that in our culture today and all these points were demonstrated in the recent election.
This is not a bleak picture, we have had over one hundred years to prepare and we have done our work. Losing the old story is always the difficult part. For a time, unsecured folks will be running around hoping someone will bail them out. Of course, if they haven’t figured it out in the last hundred years, the next hundred will clear their concerns. The art we need to develop over the next hundred years is how much energy we assign to the elements comprising now. For the folks that can’t discern, we will continue to legalize pot and whatever else they need to distract them until their time runs out. The ultimate accountability is what you are doing right now. Be present, pay attention and secure the concept of you.
October 16th, 2016
Next year we have scheduled more time at home to support the “Work Camp” program. Come for a visit and I will work with you on whatever topic you wish for five days plus feed you. Cost is $650 for the focused work, room and board. Out of one “work Camp” type conversation about the “orange meme” a guest wrote a report attached:
“Contrary to what Freud suggested, we humans operate less out of instinct and more in the realm of expectation and projection. We are aspirational beings who always have a story about ourselves and a goal or a vision in front of us. In past times, that aspiration was God. In modern times, we might call it Beloved. Psychologically speaking, Beloved is anything that is “out there” that we crave and aspire to whether it is money, property, power, relationships, beauty, charisma, health, spirituality, success, ideals, knowledge—literally anything. Whereas in past times, the Absolute was never an attainable goal for mortals. In modern times, a desire, an infatuation, or even an obsession is always assumed to be obtainable by some means. The funny thing about obtaining something is, once we do, the throne from which Beloved once was seated becomes vacant. The object is no longer “out there.” It has become something that is known and familiar — part of us – and therefore must give way to allow some other manifestation of Beloved to take its place. In the case of devotion, the venerable status of Beloved is always maintained and preserved. Either way, the operating principle is projection. And since nothing of limited origin can possibly be complete or absolute, there’s a story we must constantly tell ourselves about that which we have assigned Beloved status. Most of it centering on managing our unfulfilled expectations. Nevertheless, to be human is to always have something “out there” to aspire and stretch towards that we might expand our range. Such is the paradox on which our lives find meaning. And so, on with the show”. Mark L.
September 12th, 2016
No idea who or what the “I” is in “I am.” No clue who or what “you” are and I believe I can feel something in the dynamic “we” but not sure what that is. David Eagleman, a neuroscientist at Baylor College of Medicine, states that he likes science because science is good with “I don’t know.” Most folks need a story to fill in the blanks. Worse yet, their stories are believed by other folks and occasionally these fans borrow the same story. They call that faith. I grew up happy with “I don’t know.” The mounting curiosity that produced allowed me to explore mental models that didn’t need to be approved or ever proven. Some generated demonstrations and a few positive demonstrations more than once. I fell prey and created a bunch of rules. Some were useful for a time but most required far too much effort to maintain. I still hold sacred a list of most probable outcomes but expectation can be a powerful demon.
I don’t believe you are your biology or your personality. I can witness me from a reference outside the bio-mass. Not sure what that reference is but the report is powerful (may produce an effect) and accurate (compared to reports by other observers). With attention on “the energy of me”, or the energy associated with any living thing, data is revealed. Again, surprisingly accurate but all very subjective. Stories may be the software we operate from but the quantum of energy associated to what I bear witness appears more location based; sort of like a URL with web pages. The intensity, compression or distortion from the energy frequently generates an observable torque. I have experience with meta patterns and I think they are a random assortment programmed into the mass with particle spin. Crazy perhaps but no worse than some of the stories we are led to believe. Remember, I’m happy with I don’t know but data can be useful for creating demonstrations. We all wish for achieving potential in life.
Personality is a personalize expression but it can easily be altered by booze or drugs. Not much real credit to anchor on to except as an interface. Here is why I read material based on research by scientists like Eagleman. Do you know how your personal interface works and trust the wisdom it provides? Scary if your need to know quashes your curiosity. A potential is something you could perhaps do or become but, by definition, you don’t know very much about the how or why. I recommend you read at least four books a year and learn a new word or a deeper meaning for a familiar word each month. These are tools to enrich the interface. You don’t need to believe you could be wrong or misdirected but you don’t need to know everything is true and correct. To invoke a new potential in your life you need to learn how you operate and what movement to trust. A new potential state of being is a modification of the unknown package called you. What if life is not predetermined and you just create it on the fly? That would be a fun game. Curious?
August 28th, 2016
I’m retired and travel with my wife. My blogs are inspired by questions from friends, former students, books and self reflection. I like to believe, by design, I’m responsible (respond to) myself, my wife, and elected friends; redundancy in life however bears the nature of trance. Any level of certainty, less yet an absolute, would require 100% of my attention to being present 100% of the time. Not a very normal human feat.
How often do we find ourselves in an event where our “knee jerk” reaction exacerbates the situation instead of resolving the tension? We may “know better” but still habitually fail to consciously adhere to the wisdom in that awareness. A learned reaction doesn’t need your presence to activate. It seems that with some training a secure no would become a habit that could replace the running alternate. Perhaps in a moment of clear logic—life steeped with triggers and the default of familiar—the intended replacing response is quickly overturned.
I’m not addressing addictions where blood chemistry is affected. With sugar, alcohol, pot and drugs you will need assistance to develop range in your unattended potential. Obsessions and compulsions at the phobic level may also drive you away from such lofty goals. My discussion is with simple oversights from living a life of habit and trance. A promise to be on time, to pay more attention, to be more thoughtful and/or remember special events or plans.
On vacation I’m exposed more to “the news.” Research indicates that we humans, perhaps police and politicians also, weigh expectation more than real observations. I was in law enforcement for a time and it seems that folks don’t realize that police encounter the same habitual criminals frequently. As an officer I was prepared to kill an armed assailant in defense of life. I was accountable for my decisions but I carried a hidden “throw away” gun as a safeguard. The “eraser on the pencil rule.” Glad I’m not in law enforcement today. Yes, I’m talking about the news. We all agree that voting is important and I recommend we all show up and vote. I will vote but my uninformed perception is that we have a “narcissistic circus clown” and an “ambulance chasing” lawyer running. I don’t know which should be president but I’m glad that neither is in local law enforcement. Just the news and in time none of this may be important. But your participation and not your decision is very important and that is the news of your future. Is your tomorrow grounded in a plan or just an expectation?
July 16th, 2016
You are not in Euclid’s world of squares, circles and triangles but you could, with some effort, build cubes, spheres or pyramids to move into. In a three dimensional world you are a location in space that can move or change over time as a task; a continuous action to support a story (in this case a move to a different location). In a four dimensional world all possible versions of you are in a state of being somewhere in time with your attention preference to the one you are participating in now. Move your attention to a version of you being at a different time spot and you discover a refreshed you now but not quite the same you or same now. Einstein and Minkowdki presented this concept 100 years ago. And more fun, if at the “end of the day” you don’t measure up as having been present at some point during the day (a particle) you are perhaps just a disturbance and don’t count as valid (a wave). The shadow of you producing no demonstration. I don’t teach geometry, calculus or physics but I do shadow and attention retreats.
Is daily life for you about what you are doing, what you did or what you need to do? Are you too tired to keep up the pace or feel abandoned? Are you over stimulated most the time and struggling with threshold? The parameters of three dimensional space—somewhere else will be better. But every move diminishes our limited supply of resources and time. The promise is that we will get a reward in the end—when we get to the absolute right location. Did you get your ticket to heaven punched? In a three dimensional world each location may be uniquely different but change is the only “absolute.” Why, because once a location is defined (mine) it becomes objectified and entropy begins. Have you noticed systems, structures, organization and even folks wearing down? I still do some consulting but I’m retired.
Can you move into the fourth dimension and discover a time for you to be? I just gave you a clue; I’m retired. If you learn to secure the reaction to past and the expectation of future you may step into any time expression of you. Anchor a time as home and not a location; you keep the familiar form of you but alter the perception. You will need to learn to value a moment instead of a location or an object that represents a location. Our history does not support this process. Our language semantics does not provide direction. Our intuition guides us to familiar—it feels safer. We need to trust discovery instead of knowledge, preference attention over distraction, be present full time for life and define those special moments as attainable (but perhaps not repeatable) and an enriching element for a happy life. I do retreats on securing time distractions and improving your ability to pool resources for time value.
Next year I may start a series of online chats, say once a month, to present some of these concepts. If you have an interest in making a change, with time instead of location, please e-mail me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
June 27th, 2016
Last year in the Fall of 2015, Deborah and I, along with a dear friend, made a six week pilgrimage to India. I was not very inspired with the trip proposal at first due to all the cautions for tourism in India but I’m glad I had the opportunity and enjoyed the experience. What I appreciate in travel is food, architecture and culture. I do enjoy all the interactions with locals and time spend with friends but you don’t need to venture so far away to find those encounters. Ill health from food quality aside, the flavors of Indian cuisine were exotic, the architecture outstanding (although mostly British) and the culture more passive than I have ever witnessed anywhere in the world. All the magnificent colors and gracious people were the trip highlights but the bonus was quality time spent with my wife and our friend.
Armed with the desire to continue with the theme of quality time traveling together; Deborah and I planned a trip this year to Nova Scotia, Canada. Another six plus weeks encompassing a road trip through twenty three states and four Canadian Provinces. We did city excursions in every major city, all the major tourist sites and a nine day bus expedition in Nova Scotia. The sites were breathtaking and all the architecture superb but most everywhere congested. Meals with friends and relatives along the itinerary were all scrumptious. We have departed from dining in corporate restaurant chains due to what we perceive as a overall drop in the quality and we never indulge in fast foods. Every evening in the hotel rooms we examined reviews of the next day’s find for an exquisite local eatery. The resort style hotels often offered eloquent dinning and they were all good, some exceptional and all pricey. One “steak house” next to one of our hotel picks had three vegetable side dishes on their menu and we sampled the entire selection; only $5.50 each. The first was bok choy, small portion but hot and tasty—followed by an offering of broccoli that was barely warm and five undercooked asparagus with limp bacon bounding them. We are spoiled from living in the Pacific northwest; we only experienced two places while traveling that offered organic produce and one served grass fed beef. Most of the restaurants offered potatoes as their only vegetable adjunct to their salad selections.
Most of the meals were a mixed bag; from delightful to pathetic. Most of our fellow travelers, likewise, were somewhere in the range of “healthy” in appearance to very overweight and physically not fit. Perhaps this sample was a product of our focus of travel on tourist locations frequented by retired or older folks. I’m not attempting to be unfairly critical; I am part of the retired older folk set. The unhealthy food options are congruent with predominance on the overweight and unfit condition of the group observed. This is not a tactless blog called “my summer vacation” but an invitation to envision a larger representation to what just got reported. What if culture, our human group guidance, was suggesting a change in values and a shift to a different state of being? Should we abandon the old standards and all the tasks to update it (none of which worked) and discover how to integrate into this new epoch? Nothing we knew or know could be of assistance. To engage in this era you need to raise your bar with a new sense of values, become passionate and disciplined in this endeavor and share your enthusiasm. Creation is not the act of becoming but the act of being.
May 23rd, 2016
We are retired and on vacation which yields lots of time for reflection. I have posted over one hundred blogs since Deborah and I stepped down from operating a “spiritual” center in Southern California. I have lots of questions about the content of what I have blogged and why I have blogged about what appears a wide unconnected array of topics. I believe I have answered all those inquires personally but at this point it might be appropriate to generate a blog review to clarify the array of topics presented. A style I developed from facilitating classes for many years is to present concepts and allow the students to find their own conclusions. These conclusion mature and change frequently as the students develops in potential and cognition. If you present the material as a collection of fragments or pieces it is simpler for the students to refine one small chunk at a time and connect the bits later when they have developed the bandwidth to support a larger span (vision).
When you were birthed family gave you a name and a story or role. If you learned the meaning of the word “no” and could secure that concept in your life as a demonstration (walk your talk) you gained greatly from the childhood coaching. As a young adult if you could be done with the drama of youth and redefine your role in life as a productive adult and a member of a community with a realized potential to contribute as a family unit and a professional you have implemented securing done. If you didn’t get it at first your life will fall apart on some or many levels until you become skilled with the concept of done with past drama. Old story is done and you now get to create a new story and a new life. This level of success in life is greater than luck (random) but being redundant with the past story offers nothing. Securing “no” and “done” are essential steps before you may fully realize a new potential or create a new story for you.
Securing “no” and “done” is not difficult but we get distracted critiquing our story and testing it as a valid truth, a respectable presentation and/or a peaceful solution. These three tests are demanded by our cultural guidance meme; I would imagine an effort to enforce its guidance standard (tasteful, correct, fashionable, appropriate, etc.). Finding someone to take your side or which side to be on does not offer autonomy. People that take sides are stuck in a belief (I believe I’m right) and have not secured done. And frequently structure or rules are an attempt to compensate for not having a secure no.
Instead, validate your new definition by securing the concept of “we”—a plural “I”—as an authentic sample of human but a variation unique to you. If you can entrain, that is accept someone’s presence without your bias, you will discover in a few moments a flow of energy independently up through both your bodies. The flow of energy that is creating you both, now. Is creation not a valid act? May take a little practice and even some instruction if any of this is important to you. Enjoy the blogs.
April 27th, 2016
We define objects that we encounter in life by our reaction to them. Our reaction may include size, weight, location, density and any other perceivable attribute that we associate with the objects. This is an attempt to make the objects consistent, predictable and thus real even thou cognitively we understand that nothing is really as stable as we perceive it to be. We report our reactions with phrases like: look out for the low ceiling, watch your step, this is heavy, the table is too big, this shirt is too small, etc. We often layer this reaction template on other humans as in: she is overweight, he is very tall, they are loud and obnoxious, etc. We accept these perceptions as truth and call them reality.
Any point of reference is just a point within a range of possible points. We may believe “our point” is absolute or the true correct perception but all that is only a preference. A larger sample in agreement weighs a preference but it is still just a point in a range. Zoomed in on a range we may see our point as truth but if you allow the range to broaden you discover choice. Truth is a point in a range of possible that we fully identify with as our true preference—only a choice. When the range becomes greater than our span of attention we are forced to choose a point and a period of time to attend. This step leads to new levels of discernment and the possibility that our truth may just be a limitation of possible and nothing more. With new levels of discernment we can pick a reference point that is useful now and that is the nature of what we call respect. If the range expands more we may feel the overwhelm and filter out the extra stimulus. With the focus on the most familiar we gain an unchallenged perspective that is very peaceful. Culture is a designed guiding system that offers truth, respect, and/or peace. This does offer a relationship to the flow of reactions by wise choices and perfect timing but this level of conscious attention feels like a lot of effort and tons of deadlines (familiar to some).
Author A. Miller, in his famous psychology paper “7 plus or minus two” , recommends that we attend to the stimulus instead of the reaction. If you pause for a moment and attend to the stimulus, options start to be revealed. Attention to your reaction reveals only urgency because its draw on time is limited by a shallow perception of value—no solution. What if a stimulus was an opportunity to select a different state of being? Be someone different and not the same person defined by the same reaction. The new state of you would emanate from the inspiration of discovery and you would be living the solution.
We cannot avoid our learned reactions but we can pause and move our focus of attention to the stimulus. It will take some practice to identify the stimulus and hold our attention on it until it starts to reveal and inspire. Habit is our strongest distraction and the results predictable—objectified life is the drama of objects bumping into other objects. Saying no to taking events personal is difficult but conscious attendance to what triggered the events offers a refresh to the personal and the creation of a new you now. Welcome to the act of creation.