Monthly Archives: February 2012

You Are a World Changer

Start activating change where you are now

What’s my evidence that you’re a world changer? You read my stuff. That’s my evidence.

I get an interesting if fuzzy picture of who reads this blog from the people who thank me for it. And from some indirect measures, such as how rarely people leave public comments, instead emailing me; what does this tell us: private types who read in this blog information that is also kind of private. It’s about the inner life. Inner, not outer, means that it isn’t something people talk about. If they’re going to talk to me about it, they don’t want to do it publicly.

Aristotle considered the inner life the most important thing to Humanity. If he saw what Acceleritis has done to shrink the inner life down to the smallest part of one’s existence, he would become depressed.

But somehow in my readers that inner life is strong. Why else read about it?

Another indirect measure is how I picked the list I started with when I launched this blog. Out of some 8000+ people in the contact list I culled about 1600 whom I see as game-changing people. People who have already visibly changed the industries I touch. People I resonate with because they too are on another plane, looking in at life from angles that are open to change every instant, to triangulate all the hidden corners. This is what the Flow State is like. People like us who flash through the Flow State spend a lot of time getting back there from the lower states that capture us, usually through distraction and attachment coming at us both at once. One of the universe’s trickier sparring partner moves.

So, given that you’re a world changer, what to do about it? It’s not as if you haven’t been asking yourself this continuously all your life. Therefore my answer may not be new, as you may have already said it yourself. Wherever you are now, whatever job you are doing or trying to get, that’s where to change the world first.

Pretty much the only way to do it anyway. Getting out of your current situation into one that affords you more power to do good is as you know an uphill battle. Where you are is where you are. Change things there. Make it better there.

Then it can roll out as a sphere of integration, all the 3D iron filings working together in harmony around a magnetic intention, a plan, a feedback loop, through moment-to-moment Flow State actions. Get that to work in your company — or even your department — first.

How do you do that?

  1. Start to take notes as if you’re seriously going to do this thing. You are serious.
  2. The first notes — all will flow naturally, no need to push, just wait and be ready to jot — will be problem/challenge conditions you’re out to fix. Don’t attach the usual negative emotions — you’re the consultant here, the cure, not part of the bad weather. Just write trigger phrases — a small number of words, often just one or two — that will remind you of a whole train of thought and the feelings and images that go with it.
  3. Later make a clean table with the smallest cluster of problems organized to the left and large spaces to the right to fill in approach directions toward the solutions of each challenge cluster. You don’t have to rush to jot down the approaches; just let them come naturally and write them in.
  4. When the time is right, contemplate the filled-in table. Be alone and uninterruptible. Critique the solution approaches and note their weaknesses and strengths because this is a springboard to fresh ideation. Add more ideas as they come. Start a new clean table and fill it in with the high points of the new ideas that come to you at this step in the process. Let the old ideas fall away — you can add them back later if merited.
  5. While on the private front you are undergoing this process with notes and ideas, in your public self, become unpredictable.

Is that all there is in the way of technique? No, there’s a rich body of technique to convey; the universe — life — is the most complex game ever invented. But that’s enough to start.

What does being unpredictable mean? And why be unpredictable?

Within your organization you have found a certain footing, a certain platform. It is your basis for leverage and it limits your leverage, which is held in place, i.e. limited, by the perceptions others have of you.

If they can predict what you are going to say next, it has limited throw weight. If you’re going to change the world you have to become unpredictable. You have to look past the answer you always give. Include those ideas in what you finally do say, but go to the next level. What other factors are relevant that you could include in your response to a situation?

As you become unpredictable, your perceived biases will stop being your driver, and so people will notice that and think more carefully about what you said. Right now they apply Kentucky Windage to what you say based on what they think your bias is in the situation. Remove the Kentucky Windage factor and you can move people and the world further each day.

Becoming unpredictable is only one principle, which has to be balanced with all the other principles on a situation-by-situation basis. There are no black-and-white rules. Every principle has situations that are exceptions to the rule. You can’t let your company make a wrong move, for example, just because you’re changing your image.

Then, follow your plan, and evolve it with changing circumstances and new information. Don’t get stuck in the first plan. Let it be the plan du jour until there is such solidity to the success trend that you know it’s the right plan.

If the success trend is not there, you have to keep varying the inputs — try new stuff, start the ideation process described above, all over again from scratch.

If you don’t feel the world changing around you within 30 days, email me and let me help. Let’s face it, the world needs changing. We see world-class threats at all levels — military, economic, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, environmental… In my 9-5 life, I see the first solution in 50 years to make companies more profitable — yet it can only in the most brilliantly-led companies make it quickly through the thicket of confusion and lack of communication. This is all due to Acceleritis. Changing the world means tackling Acceleritis. Getting people to think more clearly and to reach the right decisions more quickly, scraping aside the emotional historical perceptual baggage.

This requires releasing people from Emergency Oversimplification Procedure (EOP) so they can spend more time in the Observer state, where they can slip through into Flow.

Perhaps you want to change the world in ways that seemingly have nothing to do with changing people’s effectiveness levels, but I submit that your desired change will occur all the more easily if your audience of co-workers is at a higher level.

If they are in EOP, scared to come out of the meeting having lost something, good luck getting the best decisions.

How do you get your colleagues out of EOP? One on one. Take them to lunch or coffee or drinks and just talk — but mostly listen. You’ll find out what they really want and what you have that can help them. You’ll also see how certain of your ideas are not yet covered on some particular flank, which is pivotally helpful. Are you doing enough reconnaissance? Are you doing it in the right spirit — nurturing, guiding, mentoring, listening, being a friend and/or ally?

The number one thing everyone is feeling is fear. One of the biggest fears is that the game is going too fast to keep up effectively. This is a rational fear, because it is true that the game is going too fast. That’s Acceleritis for you.

However it is not rational to hold onto that fear. Fear is an alarm clock, and you turn off the alarm clock once you get its message. Move on from fear to dealing with the challenge slope such as it is. Fear only degrades your performance on that slope. Rationality therefore dictates removing the fear as a preliminary step to functioning at all.

A contemplation for burning out fear is to dwell on it until you hit bottom. Since this doesn’t usually happen overnight, schedule times for this contemplation over the course of days, preferably when you are alone. Visualize the worst possible outcome in the most complete detail possible, actually feel it as if it is happening. When the “so what?” feeling comes over you, you know you have burned out that circuit. If the feared scenario ever happens that way, you won’t seem to care as you simply deal with it, and you will have a great chance of turning the whole thing around just by your state of being in that moment.

You won’t be able to talk to all of your associates about the inner life, as some will not be ready. Follow your intuition. You don’t have to address these subjects directly to communicate the essence of attitude adjustment — people see it in you. Just hanging out and being a friend is more than enough to get the entire process to work perfectly.

You certainly don’t want to become manipulative and try to brainwash people. That’s what got us here. We’re trying to go the other way now.

Ultimately you want everyone to make up their own mind. You just want them to do it in the Flow State.

As we all work together to change the world, one situation at a time.

Best to all,


It’s Possible

How Little We Know About the Nature of Reality, and the Technique for Remembering This

On February 17, 2012, this blog is a year old, with this our 52nd post. In reviewing what we have attested to over the past 12 months, here’s a recap of some of the possibilities that we put forth — for the benefit of all who want to ply into whatever might be valuable for the greater good. We have said It’s Possible that:

  • All religions may in a sense be right. Looked at a certain way, Religion and Quantum Mechanics and our own experience converge on what reality is. The common thread is that the Universe is a single conscious object. If that is the model then all is explainable — the prophets and saints who channeled today’s major religions; the behavior of subatomic wavicles; what John Wheeler’s information-is-substrate physics really means; the tendency for justice to be done in the long run; our own transcendent experiences — love, bliss; the benevolence of the universe, obvious when we are cleansed of the things that bring down our minds. All these phenomena make sense in a Conscious Universe. Nothing is left unexplained. Although the rest of time remains for physics to fill in the blanks, the overarching nature of reality can be intuited long before science knows about how the system is sustained (we might say, how the illusion is projected) at micro-to-macro levels.
  • All we have to do to tune in our own intuition as a guide to further exploring the nature of reality from the inside, is to stop making believe we know something. The Human Effectiveness Institute is not about issuing dogma. Our basic methodology is to admit that most of what we think we know as individuals is hand-me-down “knowledge” biased by traumatic experiences in our forebears and ourselves, catchphrases from movements that captured us into their statistical meme waves. In other words, very little of what we say to ourselves, and then habitually emotionally and bodily assent to as the truth on which to base decision making, is actually solid knowledge assimilated into wisdom of right action and/or understanding/forgiveness of self and others for missing the right action. How little could be proven in a court of law, or proven to a team of scientists. How many questions are actually being avoided. How many assumptions are made that rationalize subconsciously that we are being sensible to not ponder questions.
  • Acceleritis is the reason we do not ponder, and instead charge on, driven by rationalizing assumptions below the level of our own awareness. Fear of not performing in the accelerating stream of this culture and thus the awful consequences of poverty, unaffordable ill health, rejection/loneliness, an abject sense of zero self-worth, and guilt — all of which makes us keep up the rat race in a way deeper and more dangerous than at the obvious level. The very way we use our minds is different because of the racing culture.
  • Visible language is possibly what started the acceleration of information per day. Writing brought language into our vision, which is our dominant sense as primates. Until written language just 6000 years ago, for millions of generations our ancestors — just as dependent on our eyes as we are* — communicated by signals and noises, and in thousands of recent generations before writing, had turned these sounds into sophisticated language. But how it blew our minds when we were able to see this sophisticated language. To make an analogy, sex is very important to us. Just like seeing is. What if sex carried language i.e. telepathic words heard automatically from the sex partner during the act. That’s the kind of thing that happened to us 6000 years ago. The admixture of two potent sides of our being — language and seeing. It immediately made our minds race with questions and ideas. These continue to accelerate for each generation to this day, and will be even more accelerated for our grandchildren’s grandchildren.
  • We need techniques to contend with Acceleritis better than we currently contend with it. Evidence for the “possibility” of our Acceleritis hypothesis abounds so I won’t belabor the point. Failure of governments to be effective, corporations whose left hands and right hands do not even know the existence of each other, individuals living generally way below the level of constant bliss, although it is an inch away all the time. We offer techniques in our book and DVD, and in excerpts in this blog. Steal this book. Share it. We want everybody to have these techniques.
  • There are measurable levels of being. Our experience can be ennobled by techniques that aid our ascent out of Acceleritis into the Observer State where our minds are clear and courageously self-honest to an absolute degree. And further, into the Flow State (aka the Zone) where everything seems to be doing itself perfectly (and observers agree), because we are no longer living our lives separated from the universe but are experiencing being in that universe and somehow the same with it. The identity issue has faded and it is as if you are the Universe acting naturally without feeling like you have to worry about how it is going to come out. The innocence of “not thinking you know something” is a conducive launching pad. Thinking you know everything and acting rapidly as if always under time pressure is not conducive to Flow.
  • Democracy was one theme last year in this blog. Working together (Gung Ho!) is obviously very aligned with joining into oneness with the universe. Democracy is a good idea because it reflects the nature of reality — we are all one so it is logical that the One would want to benefit from the collective wisdom of all of its parts — this too is a possibility.
  • Readers have thanked me for not writing about the media business. Last week someone said to me “What a relief — something I like to read that has nothing to do with the media business — I read enough about the media business!” Yet in the past year there were some thoughts about all business and how they use media. Looking across articles about custom content, clashboards, and building human relationships with customers, the main theme has been breaking out of the “TV commercial” genre into new forms that fit the inventory avails but have more short- and long-term positive effect on the relationship of a brand and its customers. Such as 30-second and other length units that give good advice (e.g. in such product categories as beauty, pet, baby, home, financial, etc.), report good corporate citizenship activities in interesting and personal ways i.e. stories of real people affected, and pure entertainment such as we see once in awhile on Youtube, brought to you by the brand in the same way that the brand would do this for full-length program true sponsorship. Thus having the same Gratitude Effect that lifts sales, trust and loyalty.

Those are the main possibilities we have been chatting about here. As to your technique, we are not suggesting you believe any of these things, just accept them as possibilities to be cautiously tested along with your cautious testing of all other possibilities. We especially suggest that you cautiously re-test all the possibilities you now take for granted that are welded into your life and your instant-by-instant interior life — the guidance system of feelings, images, thoughts, rationalizations, analyses, syntheses, hunches, and so on. which constitutes your inner senate and resolves its turbulent symphonies into your instant-to-instant outer actions.

Now is the time to step away from Business As Usual when you take counsel with yourself. That is our suggested technique for the week. When you realize and remember that you have more choice than you typically exercise, stop what you are doing and check in with why you are doing it. Watch as if from a third-party position the way your mind deals with this and other questions that will then arise. See if you can change the process to one completely different, if only to explore other possibilities. Don’t be stuck in your own usual way of doing things. Live in the moment and the moment is always new, everything starts again now, unencumbered by whatever has gone before, a fresh start, rebirth.

Best to all, and thank you for a great year,


*Information processing in the brain drops significantly when eyes are closed, shifting brainwaves down from high-speed beta to slower alpha.

The Door to Enlightenment Is Always an Inch Away

I’ve just read Kant’s definition of “Enlightenment” sent to me by a friend:

Enlightenment is man's emergence from his self-imposed immaturity. Immaturity is the inability to use one's understanding without guidance from another. This immaturity is self-imposed when its cause lies not in lack of understanding, but in lack of resolve and courage to use it without guidance from another. "Have courage to use your own understanding!" — that is the motto of enlightenment.

Laziness and cowardice are the reasons why so great a proportion of men, long after nature has released them from alien guidance nonetheless gladly remain in lifelong immaturity, and why it is so easy for others to establish themselves as their guardians. It is so easy to be immature. If I have a book to serve as my understanding, a pastor to serve as my conscience, a physician to determine my diet for me, and so on, I need not exert myself at all. I need not think, if only I can pay: others will readily undertake the irksome work for me. The guardians who have so benevolently taken over the supervision of men have carefully seen to it that the far greatest part of them regard taking the step to maturity as very dangerous, not to mention difficult. Having first made their domestic livestock dumb, and having carefully made sure that these docile creatures will not take a single step without the pull-cart to which they are harnessed, these guardians then show them the danger that threatens them, should they attempt to walk alone. 

Now this danger is not actually so great, for after falling a few times they would in the end certainly learn to walk; but an example of this kind makes men timid and usually frightens them out of all further attempts. Thus, it is difficult for any individual man to work himself out of the immaturity that has all but become his nature. He has even become fond of this state and for the time being is actually incapable of using his own understanding, for no one has ever allowed him to attempt it. Rules and formulas, those mechanical aids to the rational use, or rather misuse, of his natural gifts, are the shackles of a permanent immaturity. Whoever threw them off would still make only an uncertain leap over the smallest ditch, since he is unaccustomed to this kind of free movement. Consequently, only a few have succeeded, by cultivating their own minds, in freeing themselves from immaturity and pursuing a secure course. 

The idea of a social conspiracy was so prevalent at the time Kant was writing ideas like these, he spoke of the “guardians” who consciously and with specific effort kept the human livestock in ignorance. This Age of Enlightenment was above all political, and only scientific as a side effect; Kings were the principal bad guys in the drama. Capitalists and usurers too. The idea of a social compact was created to replace the social conspiracy that had been ultimately exposed.

Today we need not posit a conspiracy to understand how self enslavement has occurred, and continues apace long after Kant wisely explained our true situation. It was not that those benefitting had to keep us down with active effort and malice aforethought — it was easy enough to just depend on the green monkey effect.

Ghastly experiment that it was, someone once painted a monkey green and observed the effect on the monkey in context of its tribe — it was shunned, attacked, driven away. Nauseatingly, they replicated the experiment to make sure of the results. This is what keeps us from stepping outside of the sheep herd. We sense that we will be attacked and isolated defenselessly if we move too far away from the central tendency of our group. This is why Belongers are such a large segment of the population according to SRI VALS I&II, and why Belonging as a human value is prominent across all segments. All VALS segments describe the human condition prior to Enlightenment — the smallest of all segments today as always throughout history — standing above even Self-Actualization (see prior post).

It is fear of non-belonging that keeps us from risking loss of social position, riches and fame, from maturely seeing that there is something more to Life than those objectives. Fear of losing those things, an immature fear, keeps us immature.

And yet the potentiality is there to cross the great divide into Enlightenment in any instant.

This is uncommon. More common is getting there for a few instants but then slipping back. Both are good things and worth being open-minded to the possibilities.

You initially slip back because although you may have broken from the attachments to finite, immature things — fame, riches, many lovers, self-esteem — in your intellect, but this has not yet permeated all of your cells and processes. Before you know it, an habitual feeling within you has once again tripped a cascade of bodily and other responses that you can only realize later was the moment you slipped back into entrapment. Major parts of you have not yet given up what your intellect thought it gave up, your intellect apparently imagining that it actually controls all parts of you.

Even though you may slip back millions of times before you no longer slip back, every time you become infinite if only for a moment, you pile up neuronal probability of establishing yourself permanently being there sooner rather than later. Therefore it makes sense to consider activation of techniques for slipping across the wave front into infinity, even though they may initially yield merely momentary glimpses. More on such techniques below.

Digressing here to chord-resolve an incomplete thought train in last post. Commenting on the last outpost of finitude, the life of a world saver, I now see we left the impression that once Enlightened, a being would not spend a lifetime serving humanity, as the Buddha, Jesus, Saint Teresa and many other saints did. Huston Smith points out that in India the one who returns to help others, although already freed, is called a bodhisattva. Worldwide this being is also known as a saint. My reliable editor Yana Lambert of course tried to point that out to me, and in a moment of Acceleritis I missed the point the universe was making to me through her. Synchronistically a few days later Huston reminded me in The World’s Religions, as the Universe is kind in making needed points any way it can.

Noia is my word for the suspicion that the universe is secretly out to help you and is always sending you clues if you can but be sharp enough to notice and decode them. The opposite of paranoia.

In the context of my Theory of the Conscious Universe (TOTCU), we are like neurons carrying messages across the universe by the passing on of information (memes) to other places in the cosmic brain where, from the Universe’s point of view, that information should go — keeping the whole universe moving toward greater perfection of understanding at all levels, in a sense upgrading the health of the whole. Each neuron also benefits in the process by getting information it is grateful for (if it is awake enough to notice and/or helped by the technique of Noia). By visualizing the universe as a biomachine, the cost in language is a step away from accuracy since “what is” awesomely exceeds the reductionism to any sort of machine. Yet this is the price we pay to be able to convey the theory to the present age where logical positivism would otherwise dismiss TOTCU as meaningless.

Acceleritis is notorious for banana-peeling you out of Flow and way out of its highest manifestation, Enlightenment.

What I had meant to say was that the bodhisattva/saint is not attached to saving the world. He or she will still do it with the same degree of eager zeal knowing that he or she will never get credit for it. Not even doing it specifically to please God. Even that takes one out of infinity. More on that in a moment.

It’s okay to be a saint, in other words. It doesn’t mean you are NOT Enlightened. It simply depends on why you are acting saintlike. If there is any trace of ego motivation, you are merely in the highest attachment area before Enlightenment, which is not bad at all. Especially today when Acceleritis has us on the brink of our own mass destruction and already practicing it actively against other species of fauna and flora. If you count insecticides that have caused awful cancers and brain diseases, we are already practicing mass destruction against our own species, so caught up in Acceleritis are we.

So if you want to be a world saver, or caregiver, or an otherwise unselfish actor, consider that a degree of Enlightenment already; go ahead and give in to it. We need more of it anyway. It will lead you all the way.

And so as to technique: what techniques can be engaged in order to have these brief epiphanies of Enlightenment?

Why would a saint be taken out of Enlightenment if primarily motivated by the desire to please God?

Because this takes one out of the moment — doing the moment for something outside of the moment — something that exists in the future. Flow, which contains Enlightenment at its top end, does not work that way. If one is doing something for any outcome, one is out of Flow.

One is even out of Flow if one is grading one’s own performance. This is one of the biggest blocks to Flow. This is part of the herd mentality. You are only worth what others think of you. Each moment you have to be attached to what they think of you. This is drilled into us with reward/punishment (“Good Billy! Bad Billy!”).

This goes deep and starts at the first moment of dissociation, the first descent from Flow singularity/pointedness into a divided sheaf of self — the moment Freud referred to in Civilization and its Discontents when the Ego (manager-intermediary) first forms. Freud saw the id (the self that one is born with) as being a primitive, animal-like tabula rasa (a blank state) rather than being the single Consciousness of the Universe — the pure state of Selfness — the singularity of experiencing  — the Observer.

Whatever the parts of consciousness that exist when one is divided, as has become the endemic (and to Freud, natural) state of our race — the point is that a divided mind is the opposite of Flow. Our hypothesis is that our race could have existed mostly in Flow at some point far back enough in time, before Acceleritis set in.

Not being divided inside manifests as there being no distinction between your self and the moment. It is all one piece. You are not observing it from outside. You are experiencing it from inside while being totally immersively aware of the moment. You are not rating your own performance. You are not focused on success. You are not trying to remember technique. You are not narrating your own life novel. You are not making smart alecky comments although they may occur to you wordlessly. Feelings and ideas are happening quickly without being seized upon by the muscle of the mind. They do not take away attention from Flowing with the moment. You are not trying to figure out why you are doing this, or what techniques you are using — you are just doing what comes naturally.

When in EOP, we are living as though watching a rear view mirror, facing backward all our lives, with breaks to look forward. Only once in a while are we lucky enough to see/be the moment as it happens, not seeing ourselves and the moment as different things. This is to be cultivated.

The looking backward is all about slave mentality — judging your own performance in sublimated attachment to what others think of you. Such attachment is a form of dilemma perception — seeing everything to always be in a world of permanent dilemma, imperfection, hence the need to strive for something outside of the moment.

The word dilemma is all about being divided — “two postulates” is the Latin root meaning. Of course if there is more than one postulate there is the potential for a conflict between them, hence the uneasiness of having a dilemma. Dilemma, dissatisfaction, striving, attachment, all of these are the same thing — EOP. The state the great majority of us are in virtually all of the time. Our leverage to get out of that state and into Flow state is through these little windows that are only an inch away.

Here’s a recap:

  • If one is doing something for any outcome, one is out of Flow.
  • Grading one’s own performance is one of the biggest blocks to Flow.
  • A divided mind is the opposite of Flow.
  • In Flow, there is no distinction between your self and the moment. It is all one piece.
  • In Flow, you are not trying to figure out why you are doing this, or what techniques you are using — you are just doing what comes naturally, in the moment.

Jump through!

Best to all,


Upon Enlightenment, One Stays Infinite All of the Time

Growing up in a Western culture, one hears and reads the phrases, “seeking Enlightenment” and “the path of Enlightenment”, sees movies like Lost Horizon and The Razor’s Edge, and eventually questions whether maybe there is something real going on.

What is this Enlightenment they speak of so often and so seriously in the East, and which comes up in Western discourse more humorously and as part of entertainment fiction? Is it something real that we in the West ought to wake up and discover?

Enlightenment is a stage in a process. Sages in antiquity observed human beings going through a progression during their lives. Enlightenment is the stage most rarely reached, and self-evidently to those reaching that stage, the final stage in the process.

In other words, the idea of Enlightenment is derived from observation, just like the observation of modern science.

All of the earlier stages in the progression end in dissatisfaction, and are characterized by chasing after a different something in each stage. In this final stage of human personal evolution, Enlightenment, there is no longer any chasing and no longer any dissatisfaction.

Modern Western science in fact has rediscovered the progression. Maslow was the first to crystallize thinking in the West about this built-in human pattern, which he expressed as “The Hierarchy of Needs”. One born in extreme poverty for example seeks satisfaction of his/her physiological needs all of the time, until somehow working oneself out of that extreme poverty. When this happens the physiological needs start to get taken care of easily and the individual begins striving for the next needed thing which is safety and security according to Maslow’s model. Stage three is belonging/social/love needs, then self-esteem, and finally self-actualization. As each need becomes more automatically satisfied in a person’s life, the person expands the sphere of wants to include these new areas, in these various stages.

Maslow was aware of the ancient sources, and his five-stage model was his own intuitive and observation-based attempt at a more scientific reintegration of the seven-stage chakra system of ancient India. Yet it is possible the latter original system could be the more precise. We shall come to it in a moment.

More recently than Maslow, SRI International (originally founded by Stanford University as Stanford Research Institute) used a survey and statistical clustering techniques to discern 23 underlying factors driving human behavior, i.e. values. (The study of human values is called axiology.) From further reclustering they developed a scale similar to Maslow’s but with more levels and two ways to get to self-actualization — a Westernized reduction of Enlightenment — at the top.

One recent interpretation of Maslow’s description of self-actualization lists these words: Vitality, Creativity, Self-Sufficiency, Authenticity, Playfulness, Meaningfulness. These are some of the characteristics that in the East would be attached to Enlightenment, but they are not the essence of it.

The essence of Enlightenment is that one no longer strives for anything. It is no longer necessary. One no longer sees any lack, therefore no need for desire. Love is strongly present, and the intuition is working at such a level as to cause ESP/Psi researchers to note statistically significant above-average accuracy rates. The Enlightened being brings a sense of peace wherever he or she goes, affecting others as iron filings around a magnet. Such a being appears to be continuously in great joy, and this is also infectious to those around. These observations have been replicated time and again by scientific/journalistic/scholarly Westerners who have traveled to the East and have seen and met such Enlightened human beings, some of whom are now in America. Some of us have experienced those states but the condition has not become permanent. That is not yet Enlightenment.

The first known system for reaching Enlightenment, embedded in Hinduism — one of the earliest institutionalized schools of thought — has four stages through which an individual passes as he/she evolves personally. Huston Smith in his classic The World’s Religions  describes these four stages as Pleasure, Success, Duty, and the pursuit of Enlightenment. The latter stages may not be reached in a lifetime, and Hinduism allows for the self to come back again and again to complete this course. Huston significantly describes the fourth stage as the attempt to make oneself “superhuman”. Indeed the Enlightenment stage that is sought appears to be a stage above the human both when one is experiencing it — even if for impermanent flashes — and when one is observing it in someone else.

Flow State as we have described here before has its own sub-stages within it, the highest of which corresponds to Enlightenment. All stages of Flow State appear to be super-human when one is experiencing them. In martial arts, one appears to have become invulnerable. In performing arts as well as martial and athletic arts, everything seems to be happening perfectly without any effort on one’s own part. During Flow State, the Universe appears to be favoring you. More than luck, it feels like the fix is in. This has a supernatural, numinous feel to it.

At the highest stage of Flow State, i.e. Enlightenment, one is no longer seeking Enlightenment, service/duty, success, pleasure, or anything else. All of those are finite and would require stepping down from the infinite, from the sense of letting go, having let go, long past trying to control, stopping oneself from the endless flowing with the Universe in a love relationship, that is Enlightenment. And in fact there is no going back, because by definition Enlightenment is when the world can no longer suck you back down into dissatisfaction with some element of it and re-attach you egoistically to striving to save the world, reduce suffering, one of the last of the finite attachments from which one reaches through to the permanent state of Enlightenment.

Back in the day, I had my own interpretation of the natural stages of personal evolution, which I had based on the seven major chakras. This Sanskrit word meaning “wheel” and “turning” refers to seven intuitively perceived organs of a subtle nonphysical body within each of us. Perhaps the Enlightened sages/saints of ancient India, Tibet, China and the rest of the Far East were actually able to see something that really exists, a body of consciousness within our body of matter, and perceive its organs — and perhaps not. In any case, inspired by this model, I conjectured a progression of personal evolution in, naturally, seven stages.

Those seven steps along the way being: Security (physical safety as well as money), Pleasure (including sex), Power (including consensual validation), Love, Creativity, Self-Knowledge, and Service. When I conceived this model I was not thinking clearly about Enlightenment actually being the eighth stage, and I confabulated it with the seventh or Service stage. But as I’ve since found, trying to be of service to the world is not yet Enlightenment. One still gets caught in EOP while in the seventh stage. The ego still brings you down out of Flow State while you are caught up in the drama of trying to make a positive difference in the world.

There are other esoteric traditions in which I perceive ideas similar to those of Hinduism, Maslow, and SRI, i.e. the idea of there being a characteristic sequential pattern of development for human motivations. Although I’ve not read any other student of Kabbalah as making this same interpretation, in studying the Tree Of Life I see a progression as follows:

  1. Until one gets one’s love and work in balance, one does not rise from the mask/persona/personality/projected image to others (“Yesod”) into one’s essence/truth with oneself (“Tif’eret”).
  2. Until one balances severity and mercy, one is not enabled to have flashes of insight/intuition/inspiration coming as if from above or from some hidden wellspring of wisdom (“Da’at”).
  3. Until one balances wisdom (knowing what’s right) with understanding (forgiveness), one’s consciousness will not be able to rise to transparency with the One Consciousness (“Keter”) — aka Enlightenment.

Recall that these ideas going back thousands of years — and still being reinterpreted and reinvented by new minds today — have also been validated by SRI’s field research: surveys reveal the same underlying axiological structures as predicted by Hinduism and Maslow, and possibly by the Jews in Kabbalah. There are people just motivated to survive physically from one day to the next (“Survivors”), and there are Belongers, Achievers, and Self-Actualizers. This is no longer just theory. In the last century science has rediscovered some ancient principles and validated them. Or perhaps re-validated them, since wise people long ago were convinced by the ability to make good verifiable predictions (“science”) regarding the innate progressive nature of human motivation.

As Huston Smith says, for all the harm religions have done, there is also all the good. And he refers to the wisdom wealth of the world that is stored up in religions. In fact, one does not have to be religious to reach Enlightenment, but it may help, if only by gaining contact with good ideas that are more practical and psychological/philosophical than theological.

We may look back and say that Hinduism for example was not a religion after all, but an observation-based science focused on the life of the self. Hinduism also postulates that the Infinite is within each of us, a statement Logical Positivism declared meaningless gibberish but which The Theory of The Conscious Universe re-words in terms of information theory so as to thwart dismissal by Logical Positivism. We may look back and say that Abraham was in an Enlightened flash of Flow State when he heard the One Self and made a covenant with It. In other words, it may all be true. What all religions believe may actually be real, in a way that denies none of the essentials of any religion, but which reflects the simple fact that there is only One Consciousness, and the rest is detail.

When the One Consciousness fully realizes Itself as The One Consciousness, within the life of one of us, that is what Enlightenment is. It is real, and yes, we ought to wake up and discover it.

Wishing you Stay Infinite,