Tag Archives: Consciousness

The Role of Feelings in Decision Making

Originally posted July 14, 2015

Negative feelings not only bring us down, medical evidence shows they also weaken our immune system, making us more prone to disease, and they distract our cognitive concentration, thereby reducing our effectiveness.

Bad feelings can also serve a positive function — as an alarm system to quickly get us to pay attention to a problem. Ironically, if bad feelings continue unabated while we are grappling with a problem on a rational level, it will take longer to solve the problem because we are stuck in a cycle of negativity. Most of us have experienced this cycle.

Are you more driven by thoughts or feelings

Are we generally more driven by our feelings than by our thoughts?

Freud established that thoughts are more likely to be rationalized in support of feelings, rather than our being able to use our thoughts to control our feelings. And yet, how valuable it is to be able to do just that — to have the mental self-discipline to focus our thoughts effectively even when our feelings are in an uproar?

Feelings are urges that arise within us, within our minds and within our bodies. Feelings are experiences, states of consciousness resulting from our motivations, sentiments, preferences or desires. These terms all really mean the same thing: what we value, what we want, what we are trying to get, what we want to avoid.

Feelings are how we respond internally to outer and inner events, based on what we are trying to get and avoid, and how current events can help or threaten our desired outcomes.

We feel positive if current events appear to favor our targeted outcomes, and we feel negative if events seem to be heading away from what we want to have happen.

Positive feelings are valued universally. There’s no argument: we all like them, and would like to have more of them!

Generally speaking, feelings are also a manifestation of our motivations colliding with the external world. What would we feel if we had no motivations?

You can discover this by meditating. While there are many meditation techniques, all of them have a mind/gut mirror effect of showing us what our motivations really are, where they have gotten us, and why we have each of our experiences. Through practicing meditation we can achieve this objectivity, turning off certain motivations at least for the moment and seeing what that feels like. What visions of future possibilities arise now that X motivation is gone?

The perspective we gain through meditation can give us a unique vantage point on our feelings and our motivations. Meditation helps us consider deeply our own feelings and their consequences in the world. It also generates positive feelings, so it’s good for our overall health and well-being. Practicing meditation and becoming aware of the role our feelings and motivations play in our lives allows us to better understand the value of both in our decision making process.

My best to all,


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Originally posted 2015-07-14 10:41:30. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Ten Minutes in a Life

Originally posted December 20, 2012
Volume 2, Issue 36

He looked up from the gas pump to where a moment before he had an intimation she would be, and high in the sky was the moon behind a pale shimmer of cloud, one day past full. Down and to the left was an American flag. Trees were all around. He suddenly realized the time was pretty good now. There was nothing to be concerned about that he could feel at the moment, no time pressure, everything was going fine. Then it came to him that he always assumed there was something wrong, some unrightness he would constantly have to steer against. He was thrilled at having uncovered a bad lens he could discard.

A minute later, starting up the car, the lyrics of a song on the radio triggered a vision.“The dearest thing in all the world is waiting somewhere for me” (“Waiting Somewhere For Me” by Rodgers and Hammerstein). He saw a scene of indescribable beauty, something between a fractal and a huge mural, a panorama of infinite detail and intense color, the parts in constant unfolding and rotational movement everywhere. He couldn’t hold it all — it was overwhelming, filled with light, luminous, numinous. The words “Oh my God” began in his mind but all wording was pressed out by the overwhelming emotional wave enveloping him in awe, love, victory, beauty. His feelings united with the scene so that he was the scene, the beauty, the happiness, the realization that not “he” — now “it” — was past the need for words forever, past the possibility of unhappiness forever.

He contemplated the vision as he drove to catch his train. Several minutes later on the cold train platform he watched himself hurriedly extract a mint, his body still assuming time pressure, always assuming the need to get done an important job that had to be done at top speed because suffering would be relieved for more people faster that way. He knew this assumption was also a bad lens to be removed. More good would be done without that lens, too. And besides, in his day job he was not relieving suffering directly, more like paying for the time spent in nonprofit work.

That was the ten minutes.

An hour and forty minutes later in Manhattan he wondered if the shock — that is, the heightened sensitivity — he was feeling would incapacitate him. Being in Manhattan with its concomitant information pressure could pull him into some ineffective state of consciousness if his skills were not all available. He did not worry yet as he was merely curious about it at this point. Next he automatically told the cab driver where to go before he could miss a beat. The rest of the morning unfolded that way, with actions being taken in natural confidence. Soon he stopped being concerned that he might be in a degraded effectiveness state.

What was it that he had seen? It couldn’t be the whole of what the consciousness of the universe sees, since that perspective would include what was going on inside each of the parts he had seen from the outside. He had been seeing some abstraction of the whole of what there is to be seen, but he had seen people striving, other life forms striving, the very cosmos striving, its movement the necessary means to some end. The dimensions of error/evil had been visible as wrong turns taken out of synch with the rest of the whole, there were great movements in history explained by the turnings of the wheels inside the driving bio-mental Platonic Forms gearbox whose meshing appeared to be a higher reality underlying the explicate order visible to human eyes.

Would science classify this as an hallucination? It was a vision, its complexity and the intelligence of its designs far beyond the negative connotations of the word “hallucination”. Also it was not seen with the external eyes, so if it were a hallucination, it would have to be classified as an interior one. Is that what science thinks a vision is? Or did I actually see something real?

Perhaps cutting-edge science would say that ideas long evolving in my head combined intuitively by themselves to present me with a visual representation. If so, this is a testament to the power of our subconscious minds, and to the function we call intuition, when for ten seconds we find ourselves in Flow state.

Best to all,


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Originally posted 2012-12-20 13:48:06. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Are you balancing activity and stillness?

Originally posted June 16, 2015

If we are always pushing toward our goals, we are inadvertently setting ourselves back from reaching them.

There is a stage in the creative process in which it is wise to turn away from the challenge and do other things, for it is during this turned-away phase that the Aha! moment comes.

not creating may be essential to creativity

Certain batteries get recharged when we take ourselves temporarily off the wheel that is always driving us. This can happen when we are entertained — on our screen devices, reading, watching stage or other performances, spectator sports, vacations, making love, being with family and/or friends.

The subtlest batteries, however, only get recharged when we are alone with ourselves. This can take the form of sitting meditation but it doesn’t have to. We can be alone in nature, alone at home, alone on an airplane, anywhere. As long as we are not working down the TO DO list, there is a greater chance that we will slip into the Observer state (the precursor to Flow state) effortlessly.

To help bring on Observer state — a mindset in which you are able to simultaneously observe and analyze your emotional reactions to situations somewhat impassively — this works for me:

  • Look more closely at the place from which thoughts/feelings arise.
  • Don’t add to what you observe inwardly/outwardly, i.e. stop interpreting everything.

If we spend too much time doing, our conscious mind will block the functioning of our subconscious mind, and we’ll interfere with the stream of consciousness. If we spend too much time not doing, we will under-actualize our own goals. The movement associated with creative energy is a good thing, but stillness in body and mind is also valuable.

Balancing movement and stillness is optimal for maximizing effectiveness toward all our goals in life for love, creativity, and ultimately spiritual fullness, intuitively knowing and feeling connected with all beings and all things.

Strive to achieve the right balance between times spent doing versus time spent not doing.

L’chaim! (Hebrew toast “to life”)

Best to all,


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Originally posted 2015-06-16 14:04:43. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Visualizing 2018

Visualize the whole universe as one thing

Originally posted January 5, 2016Volume 5, Issue 47

As we leap into 2018, with clear intentions and resolve, let’s keep this visualization in the forefront of our minds to guide our thoughts and actions:

Visualize the whole
Universe as one thing
Every individual

of every species
Every idea
Every event
Every moment of time
Every percept
Every lump of matter 
and energy
All parts of one thing*

Then, each day, realizing your connection with the Universe, play your hand as best you can:

You are a Musician,
You are an Actor,
You are Real,
don’t pretend.
You are in Time,
don’t hurry.*

May we all reopen our minds to the existence of all possibilities, as we rediscover the unique experiment that Nature has designed uniquely for each and every one of us on our branch of the Tree of Life.

Happy New Year 2018!

*From Mind Magic: Doorways into Higher Consciousness

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Originally posted 2016-01-05 08:54:35. 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,


*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

The Win/Win Principle

Originally posted March 3, 2015

So many writers have impressed me with at least one thing, if not everything, they have written. Aleister Crowley for example in Liber Aleph makes the point that there are no rules, just principles to balance in every given situation. Yet just a few principles come closest to being rules that they should probably be applied in virtually every circumstance. Pondering this, it occurs to me that Win/Win is such an important principle it comes near the top of the list if not at the very top.

Your View of Reality

The intention and actuality of only making agreements that will benefit all parties is the essence of the Win/Win principle. It ideally permeates to the minutest level of each almost invisible tacit agreement going on every second of our social interactions. In my cosmology we are all holograms of the One Consciousness or more precisely facets of the one Conscious Hologram, so it follows logically that we would do unto others as we would do unto a reflection of our very own self. This is truly enlightened self-interest. It is then the most palpable form of omnidirectional unconditional love. Even in a humanistic materialistic worldview such as some of my best friends have, the Win/Win principle follows logically from their chosen noble stance. My lifetime favorite writer F. Scott Fitzgerald notes in The Beautiful and Damned that such a stance is even more meaningful if it is taken with no moral imperative to do so.

Maintaining the Win/Win intention is not always easy. It’s hardest perhaps when we believe we have a score to settle with someone. We want them to lose so they learn a lesson and they stop behaving the way they are. Take for example two Win/Lose players I met years ago. Mr. Z humiliated Ms. Y in front of others. I had a feeling and said to another onlooker later, “She is going to find a way to get even someday.” Sometime later there followed an unrelated Lose/Lose lawsuit, set in motion by a quiet remark from Ms. Y to her boss, which ended with both Ms. Y and Mr. Z being negatively affected.

The Biblical directive, “Let vengeance be mine”, gives us permission to not carry the burden of corrective punishment, absolving us from that task and enabling us to continue to act for the ultimate Win/Win even with folks who have harmed us. More good is ultimately achieved by this strategy than by any other. We benefit more long-term and often short-term, even when dealing with the most recalcitrant adversary. It comes down, as so many things do, to searching for a more creative solution. We then make it possible to achieve a Win/Win outcome even when up against a Win/Lose “opponent”.

It is a glorious fact of existence that each of us is a far more powerful player on the stage of this world than we ever suspect based on appearances. Words or even facial expressions can escalate things disproportionately. Win/Win as a deep-seated attitude in all situations is not only the best way to “win” — achieving the most benefit for all and therefore doing the most good in the world — it is also the best protection against forgetting our own principles even in a careless or tired moment.

Best to all,


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Originally posted 2015-03-03 11:31:32. Republished by Blog Post Promoter