How a Subtle Shift Can Be Useful

Originally posted May 5, 2015

The peachy-purple-gold sunset reflects with pink iridescence on the wet sand where the sea recedes from its last sally onto the beach. Soundlessly a squadron of hunting pelicans glides past my writing hand. These two-day escapes to the seashore reinvigorate my excitement at life.

beautiful sunset on the beach

Simply clearing the decks of our mind and its latest obsessions, stepping back as the Observer and seeing the richness there is to be observed around us, we can attain peace anywhere.

When I was very young, somehow I became inspired by the notion that a slight shift in the way I look at things could have enormous effect. Now decades later, the number of times I have applied this principle must be in the millions, firmly installing it in my neurons, making it second nature for me to shift my point of view.

What I’ve learned

The thinking part of the mind and the feeling part both represent potential obstacles of different kinds.

The feelings do not want nor seek solutions. Specialized in expressing themselves, the feelings therefore wish to simply find more and better, increasingly dramatic, ways of expressing whatever they are feeling at the moment, kind of an inertial momentum (i.e. an object in motion tends to remain in motion kind of thing).

Reasoning with the feelings, using thinking to change unwanted feelings, is not inherently a strong strategy. Telling oneself to feel joy, and that happiness is a choice, so go ahead and make that choice, be strong, be positive — this sometimes worked for me, because I liked the idea of being indomitable and of not allowing anything to have power over me or my mood. At other times some part of me is clearly relishing wallowing in sulking, rage, guilt, anxiety, or whatever, as if a part of me is coming from a separate reality and visiting here on a trip specifically for the experience of such an operatic-size dramatic expression of emotion.

The strategy that works best for me is more intuitive, neither straight thinking nor straight feeling. It is through the intuition that we can make a creative and altogether indiscernible slight shift in the way we look at things, which will both fill us with the happy anticipation of effecting positive change, and enlighten us with light cast in from a new angle to reveal amazing insights.

Engaging the intuition this way has first a positive impact on hope and secondly a positive impact on curiosity. I find myself looking around in my mind for the perspective that will create the shift. I start from the assumption that my thinking mind accepts: there will always be an angle on the situation that will bring relief. So far, that prediction has always come true.

Finding that mental switch inside that leads to this subtle shift in feelings may not be so easy the first time you try it. Keep practicing.

Wishing you all a strong and agile new mind muscle, giving you the ability to seek and grasp the hidden gearshift to indomitable happiness.

Best to all,

Bill

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Originally posted 2015-05-05 07:50:35. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Do what you’re moved to do.

Originally posted April 28, 2015

One of the challenges of our current reality is the pervasive condition we call Acceleritis™ wherein we feel we never have enough time to do all the things we feel we ought to do.

Don't overthink it.

Do you feel like you are always behind and have too much to do? Do you speed up your actions to the point of increasing errors that require fixing (which then slows you down and makes you feel even more behind with no apparent hope of ever catching up)?

You are not alone! We have a natural drive for closure, and the seeming impossibility of ever reaching closure on everything the mind desires closure on makes us uneasy at most times — but we have gotten used to that feeling.

During your work day or at play, are you often not sure what to do next? Try to not overthink it…

Do what most inspires you at that moment. Why? Because the chances are higher that you’ll be doing it in the Flow state, which never occurs when you are doing something because you should do it. I call that “doing it to get it out of the way”. Flow state only occurs when you are enjoying what you are doing, and doing it solely or mainly for its enjoyment.

If you’re in the grip of Acceleritis and therefore not in the Observer state, you may not know what inspires you more, X or Y or Z. The solution here is to just let your body go and watch what it does. The body often makes decisions before the mind is consciously aware of making the decision.

Don’t be driven by email/text/social media.

It has become all too easy to become driven by incoming email, texts, Tweets, Facebook and Instagram posts — meaning you don’t decide what to do next, you react to the ubiquitous digital input stream. This goes on all day and you become a willing slave to others’ priorities rather than your own. Instead, practice setting aside a time each day to deal with and catch up with emails and texts and whatever else is queuing up. This puts you in charge of what you do for the better part of your day.

Create a practice to step away from the to-do list.

What works best for me is meditation — where the mind observes itself, watching thoughts as they come and go. I find this is the most effective way to allow assimilation and closure of the most salient “anti-closures” bugging my mind subconsciously at any given point in time.

Like trying to remember a name, meditation does not work by “trying to do it”, it works by letting go of everything going on inside, and continuing to let go of thoughts/feelings/ images/hunches as they arise, watching them float away (or whatever imagery works best for you). From this effortless place comes clarity that often moves you closer to closure.

Next time you are overwhelmed, step back, and do what you are moved to do!

Best to all,

Bill

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Originally posted 2015-04-28 11:53:07. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Being a Friend

Originally posted April 21, 2015

When someone frustrates you or otherwise pulls you out of your good mood, what do you do? Play the blame game?

Next time, consider first how you played along with the event and therefore that both of you contributed to the bad mood. This perspective will get you more quickly to the levers you can pull to work on that relationship effectively.

open up possibility - Bil Harvey

Open Mind, Open Heart

Resist the temptation to demonize the other person. Realize they got to where they are through a series of events that were perhaps unfortunate and be glad the events in your life left you with more visibility, perspective and perhaps less closed-mindedness. Be open to all possibilities including that your behavior was the instigator for the events that frustrated you.

Resist also the temptation to teach other people — that is not what they want. If they want your advice, they’ll ask for it. What they want the most from you is simply and truly to be their friend. So what does that mean?

  • Warm, good feelings (love) — from the heart;
  • Be honest — in a way that helps not hurts;
  • Let them know you want them to succeed — even if they succeed ahead of you;
  • Share fairly with them;
  • Encourage them;
  • Help them see the brighter side if they’re stuck in the downside. People want to be in a good mood — bring yours and they will join you — that is leadership.
  • Brainstorm with them to creatively explore options that might lead to more success than their current route.

Being a friend is the optimal foundation of any relationship, including relationships with co-workers and relatives. It helps allow the Zone to happen for you, your friends, and sometimes among whole teams of people. And the best way to carry out a long-term plan to create more positive relationships is as a friend, not as an adversary or a distant party.

Best to all,

Bill

PS — Several years ago Ed Keller and Brad Fay of KellerFay came out with THE FACE-TO-FACE BOOK: WHY REAL RELATIONSHIPS RULE IN A DIGITAL MARKETPLACE. The revelation of the book is that face-to-face conversations still rule in terms of volume and in terms of credibility, despite all the press about social media and all of the other options now available to us. The practical application is about how to use not only social media but everything else that has been proven to work to drive positive conversations including face-to-face. The lessons here still apply to all of us today — learn what works.

Read the latest post at my media blog, “In Terms of ROI“ at MediaVillage.com

Originally posted 2015-04-21 09:39:13. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Are you getting enough pleasure out of your life?

Originally posted April 14, 2015

If you’re not, you’ve got to fix that. No one else is going to do it for you.

ability to re-create ourselves

All that exists is now, this moment, so you can’t be putting off fun to some hoped-for future. If you’re not getting it right now, this very day, you’re not playing to win at the game of life; you’re trapping yourself in illusion and accepting second best.

What’s stopping you from seizing the day and living your dreams, right this very moment? Very likely it’s the deep dark repressed (or expressed) belief that you don’t have the power to change your life into the ideal vision you had for it. Especially now, when so much time has passed, and you’ve got negative momentum leading away from the goal.

If everybody sees you one way, how could it ever be even imaginable that the consensus reality could ever change that dramatically? It’s a deep and true intuition we feel in our gut that when so many minds are tuned to one way, getting all those minds to change very much is literally unthinkable. Yet it is truly miraculous how much those minds can change once you’ve changed your own.

The Ouroboros, a Greek symbol that Carl Jung said was the first symbol used by humanity, is a snake holding its own tail in its mouth, forming a circle. It has many meanings, some “good”, some “bad”. The positive meaning is that we have the ability to constantly re-create ourselves.

The “bad” interpretation refers to the fact that when we have a mental block, like believing we cannot live our dream, the belief comes true only because of the belief itself. The intellect alone cannot get itself out of such traps by understanding them. The whole self working together has to turn the great ship in the water with ever building strength and momentum. Without unity among all parts of oneself, the negative belief will unfortunately be borne out.

You get to unity inside through the Observer state, which makes you more creative and effective at changing the conditions that cause negative emotions or perceptions.  To get to the Observer state you meditate on your own self, observing your mind’s machinations in minute detail perhaps for the first time with such sustained energy. This causes a breakthrough in which the Observer state becomes second nature and you find yourself slipping in and out of the even higher Flow state — higher in the sense of higher performance, greater effectiveness and more creative thinking.

In these higher states you can unravel the Ouroboros and make sure the energy is flowing in the right direction, consuming minutiae thoughts and low-level feelings as they arise, like a rising phoenix burning the worthless dross to reveal the gold of your inner genius.

Best to all,

Bill

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Originally posted 2015-04-14 11:06:24. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

What Is Your Summum Bonum?

Originally posted April 7, 2015

As a philosophy major I learned to say “The Highest Good” in Latin: Summum Bonum, but long before, even as a toddler, I had begun thinking about the same subject, vaguely noting that my inarticulate intuition could not accept anything I was told as an absolute, even from those two beloved gods Ned and Sandy (my parents). Without innate acceptance of authority as absolute, I was required to develop my own ideas.

Live in line with your higher good.

Before receiving my degree I had developed my own “philosophy”, ideas that had jumbled natively in my mind before formal study. When I contemplated Summum Bonum, I decided to choose aesthetics as my touchstone to determine what for me would be The Highest Good. “With or without God, what did I intuit/feel/decide to be the most beautiful way to handle each moment? And which would be a more beautiful universe — the one with or without God?”  That’s how I decided which hypotheses I would base my life upon.

This was my rational mind at work, yet my intuition was really leading my thought process. My definition of intuition is the ability to sense what is going on, to make connections and put things together, sometimes leaping wildly across intervening logical steps. Sometimes someone asks me why I did something and it takes a while to provide an adequate answer because I was driven by my intuition more than pure rational reasoning. In Jung’s four functions of consciousness (thinking, feeling, sensation and intuition), I’m an intuitionist, among other “-ists”.

Being a pragmatist at heart, The Highest Good to me is the best conscious approach to any situation, which I see as love — omnidirectional, unconditional, and nonattached love*. Such love creates the greatest long-term happiness for the greatest number, which I find to be the most philosophically beautiful approach.

What is The Highest Good to you?

Best to all,

Bill

*Nonattached love means accepting the losability of the things one is fond of, and thus being free from addictive dependence upon the objects of our affection.

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Originally posted 2015-04-07 12:59:58. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Moving Beyond Fear to Happiness

Originally posted March 31, 2015

The two biggest blocks to the Zone/Flow state are distraction and attachment.

Release Attachment - Let it go. - Bill Harvey

Attachment is also the only block to happiness, joy, delight, fun, ananda (or bliss, from Hinduism and Buddhism) — the natural built-in target state for all of us.

Attachment blocks happiness because one is fearful of losing the things one associates with happiness and tacitly assumes are requirements for happiness. When we are attached, we are also angry at whatever is suspected or known to threaten or take away those precious happiness-causing things.

“I am really attached to Pippin” (one of my cats) is a true statement for me because I love her. To experience love is not necessarily to be attached, though. To avoid confusion and getting lost in wordplay about whether attachment is a good or bad thing (because the word “attachment” is associated with the word “love”), I am using the term attachment to mean the inability to separate love from attachment and the resulting anger/fear syndrome.

The difference comes from the importance we give to keeping the “things” that give us happiness. If we truly appreciate the joy that has been created by our loves, joy that has been creating other good things through spontaneous Flow state creativity (which emerges naturally from joy and from love) it is still possible to not worry about losing any of those “things”. In fact, when we are in that state of not fearing loss, we are truly free.

A Process for Releasing Attachment

A powerful contemplation technique offered in Mind Magic involves burning out one’s attachments by intensely envisioning and feeling the loss of each separate thing one is attached to. This requires setting aside alone time, without a sense of time pressure. It requires immersion, concentration, patience as you go over the same material again and again. It’s probably best to focus on one object of your attachment at a time.

Give your imagination free reign like in a daydream. Imagine and see yourself go through the experience of the moment you lose something you are deeply attached to and visualize how it might happen. See it vividly from the inside, the way you experience life. Feel the feelings. Watch yourself in the daydream, the things you say in that situation, and the way you say them, and how the other person responds if the particular attachment involves another person. Let yourself actually feel the loss as if it is really happening.

Each time you go over the same imagined loss experience, you give the situation a more intelligent response. In your later iterations of the exercise you will start to act like the hero you are in the daydream of the loss. You will begin to feel differently about yourself from that moment on — more confident, more self-respectful, more courageous, in fact less prone to fear and anger.

Through this process, you realize you are no longer attached to a particular outcome, because you now know how you will respond if what you had feared ever happens.

Release attachments. Let them go. Happiness is the off-the-scale self-evidently best state one can experience in the emotional dimension.

 

Alone Space VideosWatch short videos on cultivating Alone Space Contemplation.

 

Happiness to all,

Bill

P.S. It can take some time for you to feel the effects of this technique internally, due to the interconnections among various ego circuits in your head. Be patient and persevere. And be happy. smiley

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Originally posted 2015-03-31 11:30:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter