Tag Archives: Contemplation

Rising Above Negativity

Original post November 17, 2015

Most of us assume there is nothing we can do about negative emotions — they come as they will, and we must just suffer through them. However, we all know someone we’ve seen rise above these feelings. With the world facing so many unprecedented challenges, it is vital that we increase our ability to rise to the occasion and surmount negative feelings.

Rise Above Negative Feelings

It’s difficult if not impossible to overcome negative feelings while remaining in our everyday “waking” state of consciousness. We can say, “I am going to put those emotions aside and get down to the business at hand”, but many of us don’t seem to have the willpower to do it. The trick is to rise out of the “waking” state of consciousness and move into the Observer state, where we are able to more easily turn off unproductive feelings.

The first step is to turn down all distractions. Create an alone space where you can’t be interrupted, where you can’t hear voices in the next room, where there isn’t a TV or some other device playing, where you’re not under time pressure. Have writing tools handy, or a sound recorder. Begin to try to understand why you are in a negative state. Be patient and wait. Once your mind knows you are focused on just one thing, which is to diagnose why you feel the way you do, it will soon start to give up answers to the question. They may be obvious or not-so-obvious. You may find yourself writing down the not-so-obvious aspects or simple phrases that are now suddenly more revealing and meaningful than you expected, which cast new light or simply state things you already knew but in much sharper and more useful language than you had access to before.

What you are doing is called contemplation.  You are flying higher, getting above the weather, so whatever weather disturbance or turbulence you experience must be rejected. Put aside whatever feeling or thought is familiar, like you have been there before. Reject ordinary thinking and feeling. Say to yourself, “That’s not constructive, it’s not getting me anywhere, and it doesn’t lead to a solution. I need something NEW.”

Strip it away as it arises and see what is underneath.

Where is it coming from?

Where did the whole pattern start?

What did I want that led me to this negative mindset?

What is really happening?

What is IT trying to teach me?

How can this situation possibly be something that can make me better and stronger?

Get creative. Generate out-of-the-box ideas. Visualize what someone you look up to would do. Come up with ideas that will not engender resistance, where you go with the flow and not against it. In Taoism it is called getting into the rhythm of the Tao, linking into the underlying force of the universe.

Best to all,

Bill

Follow my regular media blog, In Terms of ROI at Media Village. Here is the link to my latest post.

Originally posted 2015-11-17 10:06:51. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Moving Beyond Fear to Happiness

Originally posted March 31, 2015latest Great Being post

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. Continue reading

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

The Second Cornerstone: Mindfulness

Originally posted March 24, 2015latest Great Being post

First you must still the mind - Bill Harvey

In the post on June 2nd, we made the point that better decision-making and higher performance is achieved mainly through Positive Thinking and Mindfulness. We included tools to increase Positive Thinking, which we also call Solution Orientation. We promised to investigate the nature of Mindfulness in this post.

Mindfulness is a form of attention control.

The need to be master of one’s own attention has gotten progressively greater over the centuries as a result of information overload and its distractive effects. We have given this condition the name Acceleritis™, the vast increase in the amount of information needing to be processed by our brains each day. ADD, ADHD, and a fairly obvious reduction in the general population’s ability to stay focused on one problem long enough to solve it, have been the result.

Watch a video about the cure for Acceleritis.

The need for Mindfulness has never been greater.

The Vedas, some of the earliest writings on the planet, recommend three yogic mental/emotional methods to achieve the conscious and willful control of our attention.

  • Concentration is the focus of the mind on a single object.
  • Contemplation is the focus of the mind on a single subject.
  • Meditation is the contemplation of the Self.

What then is Mindfulness?

We define Mindfulness as the optimal allocation of attention for maximum effectiveness. When one is mindful, attention optimally allocates both inwardly and outwardly at the same time. This helps us understand our own motivations in the moment, to consider not only our needs but the needs and probable responses of others, and to greatly improve what fighter pilots call situational awareness. This is in sharp distinction from our typical behavior, which is to allocate virtually all attention outwardly whenever the eyes are open.

It takes attention and effort to be mindful, but practicing persistent mindfulness not only allows us to be more present in each moment, it also allows us to shift into a higher state of consciousness to reach the Observer state more often and launch into the Zone or Flow state, the highest known state of consciousness in which right actions seem to do themselves effortlessly.

Mindfulness and Positive Thinking with a solution orientation — overleaping the focus on the problem once it is defined and going right to the focus on the solution — are the cornerstones of what I practice to achieve superior decisions, highest effectiveness, and creative innovation in all aspects of my life. Try this approach for yourself to see if it works for you.

Best to all,

Bill

Follow my regular blog contribution at MediaVillage.com under MediaBizBloggers called “In Terms of ROI“. Here is my latest post.

Originally posted 2015-03-24 12:35:08. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Extending Stay in Flow State

Volume 2, Issue 32

Flow state aka the Zone is when you are functioning perfectly without effort. Everything is flowing along as if doing itself and the reaction at large to your performance is ideal.

When you are there, what often happens is that you let out the clutch a little bit too far on the edit rate for your impulses — and out pops an action that fails in the real world and suddenly you are not in the Zone any more.

Anger at self then impulsively arises, ensuring that re-entry to Flow will be impeded.

The way to re-optimize this edit-slackening program is for you to realize that you are going strong so you have naturally started to assume that every arising in your mind is certain to be brilliant and so you should do it right away. Staying stoically unattached to your great performance without letting it go to your head or bring you into a state of overconfidence is a delicate balancing act that should go on as automatic background menschness. This can be aided by a sense of humor and loving distance from your own ego.

All of this head action is optimally executed sans words in the head. To the extent that you hear inner vocalization you might be in Observer state but not Flow. Observer state is the valuable entry state for Flow, characterized by vivid inner attention so you see your ego for what it is and can reprogram your own actions rather than acting robotically — to some extent.

When that lens is operating one can easily slip into the Zone doing something in which one is well practiced, so long as there is no attachment to outcome, and so long as you are doing the thing because you like to do that thing, it’s your thing.

Attachment to other people’s opinions of you can keep you out of both these states, especially Flow. Yet even people with high detachment — fatalists resolved to take whatever comes stoically — give up this attachment last. We are social beings. Death is not as poignant as shame.

The lens of utter detachment can be put on and worn. It doesn’t just sit lightly on your nose, it sinks into your being, you feel it bodily, your breathing is easier, you’re comfortable in your skin, secure, liking your self, the character you play on the stage of life.

This is effortful today. Acceleritis did not exist in Jesus’ day or he might not have gotten to such a high level (leaving aside divinity for the sake of argument).

Every time a challenge to your sense of self arises you need to write it down and come back to it in contemplation until it is solved. You take action items and implement them. Doing this systematically leads to a sense of being secure with who you are. It is essentially the methodological root of stoicism. One cannot muster the strength to embody stoicism (not just being stoic in one’s mind) unless one has worked out the antagonistic voices in one’s head that pull you down. This unglamorously cannot be done without lists. And time alone for contemplation. Blank pads laying around come in handy for drawing automatic situational schematics and jotting trigger words.

Negative outcomes one is desperately trying to avoid can lose their force if one vividly imagines those outcomes actually happening and how one would ideally deal with them. This contemplation of the corpse* burns out fear of dreaded outcomes. In knowing oneself and relative fearlessness, one can act in freedom, whereupon the Flow state is just the natural next stage in the process.

Best to all,

Bill

*Contemplation of “horrible” things is an ancient technique for “burning out” their apparently (but not truly) inherent “horribleness”.

P.S. Have you heard about “Giving Tuesday”? It follows Black Friday and Cyber Monday and is much more uplifting.  On Tuesday, November 27, charities, families, businesses and individuals are coming together to transform the way people think about, talk about and participate in the giving season.

“Join a national celebration of our great tradition of generosity” at http://givingtuesday.org/.

Optimizing the value of feelings in decision making

What are feelings? How are feelings optimized?

Besides the input from the five physical senses, human consciousness receives feelings. Upcoming posts will offer experiments focused on this input stream, which you can conduct yourself. These experiments will establish whether you can achieve measurable improvements in your own effectiveness stemming from better channeling or processing of feelings-type information.

To prepare for the experiments, let’s contemplate: what are feelings?
 Here you can contemplate this question if you wish, or just go on.
The Orion Nebula

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

Feelings are the way we respond internally to external and internal phenomena, based on what we are trying to get and avoid, and how current events can help or threaten our desired outcomes.

Therefore feelings generally come in two valences, positive or negative. The feelings are positive if current events appear to favor our targeted outcomes, and they are negative if events seem to be heading away from what we want to have happen.

Positive feelings are valued universally in themselves. We don’t need to argue in favor of them, we all like them, and would like to have them all the time.

Negative feelings not only make us feel bad (by definition), they lower our immune system thus making us more prone to disease, and they distract our cognitive concentration thereby reducing our effectiveness. These bad feelings can also serve a positive function as an alarm system to get our attention to the problem fast. Ironically, if the bad feelings continue while one is grappling with the problem on a rational level, it will take longer to solve the problem.

When a problem arises and is sensed partially by the bad feelings within oneself, alerting us to focus on the challenge, it’s easy to say, “Turn off the alarm and get on with solving the problem.” However, it is not so easy because of attachment and Acceleritis.

Acceleritis, the unending acceleration of information entering the human brain each day, simply overloads the average human being’s capacity to do effective mental work of any kind. One kind of mental work we are supposed to get better at as we truly mature and “grow up” and become a “mensch” is to be able to sanely and in a balanced way take our feelings into account in our actions, without being stampeded or reduced to hand-wringing by those feelings. Acceleritis therefore also escalates the power of other mental subsystems that push in the direction of closure, black-and-white thinking, snap decisions, self-consistency and self-imitation — anything to simplify. Complexity is tacitly perceived as the main threat and pain causer. Acceleritis therefore lays many of us low with attachment — if Acceleritis were not present, we would actually have the mental and emotional maturity to cope with the situation without attachment.

What then is attachment?
Here you can contemplate this question if you wish, or just go on.
Whirlpool Galaxy
Attachment is the excessive dependency on something. It is actually love carried too far. You love something so much (a wonderful thing) you cannot do without it, and so you fall prey to fear of losing it, and this distracts the mind so that Observer state and Flow state are impossible. Your mind tends instead — in the Acceleritis-induced state of Emergency Operating Procedure (EOP) — to go around in circles wallowing in the fear of loss or the sense of loss, or the anger and bitterness related to the loss or threatened loss, or the hopeless defeated depression of having lost it with no hope of regaining it. No useful mental work is achieved, no problem solving, no creative new leaps rising to meet the challenge sideways, as would occur in the higher states of effectiveness, namely, the Observer and Flow states.

As discussed in earlier posts, these effectiveness states are posited to be real physical states in the brain, differentiated from one another in measurable ways. Our Theory of Holosentience is based on the hypothesis that the primary dimension determining the state of the brain and consciousness is the degree of harmony among functional areas of the brain (inhabiting our entire sentience at once) — wherein thoughts, feelings, motivations, and the other aspects of self achieve a synchronous integrity in both the experientially measurable consciousness domain as well as the scientifically measurable biometric material domain.

This brings us back to feelings. Feelings have always been less studied and talked about than thoughts. Descartes did not say “I feel, therefore I exist.”

The word feeling originally may have related (Wikipedia says) to the sense of touch, and then its meaning expanded to include the ineffable internal sense that brings us more bits (information) than the five physical senses in terms of the way it affects our actions.

What evidence is there that we are 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 people being able to use their thoughts to control their feelings. And yet, how valuable it is to be able to do just that — to have the mental self-discipline to focus one’s thoughts effectively even when one’s feelings are in an uproar.

In a nutshell, feelings are a manifestation of our motivations colliding with the external world. What feeling would we have if we had no motivations?

Here you can contemplate this question if you wish, or just go on.
Cassiopeia Galaxy

You can actually discover this for yourself, by meditating. While there are many specific methodologies for meditation, all of them have this mind/gut mirror effect of showing you what your own motivations really are, where they have gotten you, and why you have each experience you ever have. You can also achieve such objectivity that you can, as it were, turn off certain motivations for the moment and see what that feels like — what visions of future possibilities arise now that X motivation is gone, how are you breathing, how do you feel?

This gaining of perspective through meditation makes you feel good. In other words, it not only helps you inspect deeply your own feelings and their consequences in the world, it also generates a feeling, and a very good one.

What is that very, very sweet feeling? Is it happiness? Is it ecstasy? Yes, it’s all those things and more. Then what is it?

It’s love. A word that provokes instant uneasiness all round. It’s a word that makes us all feel silly. The guy has lost it. You don’t talk about such things. Verboten. Just for family talk, not public talk. What an interesting word to have such an effect.

The F-bomb has become popular in meetings with both males and females, at least in certain businesses I have moved through in the last decade. It is more acceptable than the word “love” in such venues.

Beyond getting the author in hot water, what is love?
Here you can contemplate this question if you wish, or just go on.
Pink sheer heart shape, computer generated fractal abstract background
It is the master feeling, the one all the others come from. Love is white light whereas each feeling is a color.

Love is the residue that is left when motivations are tuned down into conscious perspective, in light of an open-minded empirical philosophy of demanding proof for everything, dropping every bit of information one has heard onto a trial workboard in the consciousness storage bin, and taking it offline in terms of decision making. This is the perspective of yoga. Zen. Meditation. Contemplation. Focused singlepointed attention. A way of life for millions of people today and throughout human history. These multi-strands of movements see themselves as part of a whole, although to those outside they seem like a bunch of cults that are all different. They are all the same in achieving perspective, distance from motivations that the bodymind otherwise assumes are immutable, non-negotiable. These methods are among those crystallized into simple steps in our book Freeing Creative Effectiveness.

Why does love remain when one has achieved objective distance from one’s motivations? What evidence do we have for that assertion, and what explanation do we have for it?

As an individual my only evidence for any assertion here are my own experiences. Every time through meditation I clear away the built-in locked-in powerful sway of my own motivations, I discover that I am content, every tiny aspect of what I am experiencing is enjoyable and interesting, I simply love it, all of it, I love myself, and everyone. Others have reported similar experiences, enough so that I know I am not an isolated case. In the next post we will offer a meditative experiment whereby this may also happen to you.

Why should it be so? Why should we feel love when we are not being driven this way and that by irresistible motivations?

In my cosmological Theory of the Conscious Universe (TOTCU) we are all dubs of the master consciousness, like MP3 copies of a master recording of a song, each of us a microcosm of the whole universal consciousness. When we rise above the petty motivations that seem so all-important to us in our daily lives down here on this one planet, we partake of the carrier wave motivation we share with the master consciousness, the one that is always there under all the other motivations, from which they draw their power. Love that is omnidirectional is the wellspring, the source from which we splinter off love of money, love of power, love of sex, love of the idea of getting that big job, and so on. All other motivations are modulations of love. So when the splinter motivations are quieted, the background radiation that differentiates itself into these “local” motivations becomes visible. This is how I explain it to myself, that I have this omnidirectional love experience whenever I am centered and immune to the compulsions to protect and seize what I feel I must have.

Acceleritis makes it very difficult for me to communicate this so that it is widely credible, because Acceleritis works against the stopping of the momentum of the mini-mind —so it seems ridiculous to assert that we already have an abundance of love without having to get anything we don’t already have. And yet, if you allow the possibility of a universal consciousness of which we are all a part, what motivation would it have to be doing this universe if it did not love the doing of a universe as a game in itself, the master game, the master art form, the ultimate form of self-discovery.

Acceleritis makes it much easier to deal with information overload by focusing on differences and categorization into buckets mostly on a single continuum from good to bad. This goes on constantly below our conscious awareness. Making automated decisions that are often the wrong ones. This leads to all sorts of feelings, many of them bad. Clouding over the master feeling that exists already, unbrokenly from beginning to end. It is there underneath all this debris. It comes out when we clear off the rubble.

Now that we’ve explored “feelings”, the next post will describe an experiment you can carry out yourself on the optimization of feelings.

Best to all

Bill

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PS – Humorously, Wikipedia says that feelings are the conscious subjective experience of emotion. This is funny because psychology defines emotion as the aspect of feeling that can be measured in the body, such as glandular secretions, muscle tensions, breathing rate, brainwaves, perspiration, etc., and you could just as easily say that feelings cause emotions as you could say emotions cause feelings. The leftover behaviorist psychology way of looking at it would be to make emotions more important — in fact 100% important, with feelings relegated to the trash bin of mind as epiphenomenon, a sound track that actually has no control of what the body is doing.

Such behaviorist Pavlovian thinking is now almost a century out of date, yet remnants of that thinking still creep into the generally excellent Wikipedia (which needs our donations incidentally to stay alive, and someone should tip them off to using advertising to support themselves, doing it in a PBS-like manner to the side all the way down from top to bottom, with true sponsorship tonality). Behaviorist ideas permeated so much of our thinking as a culture when they held reign that growing up we each got a dose of such ideas in the background conversations of adults we overheard. This is where we got the idea that we can just let the mind and body do their thing the way we always do and the way other people do, without any stopping to check out what the hell these operational action decisions are being based on.

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Psychotechnology for the 21st Century

This post will overview the Institute and our work. As a media researcher I’ve analyzed large databases, done surveys, measured brainwaves, tracked eye movements, absorbed a vast amount of information, and thought for the past 40 years about the way media affect the mind.

I started using computers in the 60s and was on the Internet in 1980 when it was called Arpanet. My exposure to computers during this period as they ascended to a major role in our culture got me to think about how the mind and the computer work in similar ways.

In my childhood my showbiz parents put me on stage from age 4 onward. The pressure of being on stage gave me the experience of “flow state” – almost an out of body experience, watching myself perform as if from the outside. These experiences made me intensely curious about what was going on in my head not only at these times, but all the time.

I have always been a meditator and contemplator, having discovered the techniques myself, under pressure to perform at above what I thought was my ability. What do these words mean to me? Contemplation is immersive observation, and can be focused on any subject. Meditation is when the focus of contemplation is one’s own self. You observe your self without identifying with the feelings and thoughts that arise, observing them as if from afar.

All of these currents in my life coalesced into a set of theories that are the basis for my nonprofit work, which is the Institute.

THEI as I call it for short has the Mission of disseminating useful psychotechnology – tools for internal information processing optimization – similar in a way to the media optimization tools I’ve helped invent for the marketing industry. Tools for sublimating negative emotion into learning and into action items. Leaving only positive emotion.

The Vision is that one day, maybe pretty far in the future, the whole human race will be using such psychotechnology on a continuous basis. Because this will avert war at the individual level and cause a shift from competitiveness to cooperation and mutual nurturing. May it come as soon as possible.

The history of the human race is uplifted over and over again by the introduction of bits of such psychotechnology, which in the past has manifested as yoga, Zen, religion, mysticism, philosophy, science, psychology, morality/ethics, aesthetics, and many other good things.

THEI’s psychotechnology is in the realm of science and specifically relates to translating ancient and self-discovered practices into the language of information processing so that it may be considered objectively by all parts of the population including people normally biased against such possibilities.

My book FREEING CREATIVE EFFECTIVENESS is an experiment to see if this personal psychotechnology (it has been proven to work in my own life, or I wouldn’t pass it on) could actually be transferred to anyone else. About 2000 letters, cards, and emails indicate that the original  version worked at least for some people. Including a range of well-known folks from Norman Cousins to John Lennon, Ram Dass and Daniel Goleman. Also some bank officials, corporate executives, Army Generals, Colonels, Navy Captains, et al, people in jail, teenagers, seniors, without any known group excluded.

Why do we need psychotechnology? It helps reduce stress, improve health, increase emotional intelligence, maximize performance, make you able to enjoy moment to moment Life even during downturns. It is speed learning. The element that it controls is attention – where you place it, where you don’t, and how to withhold the autonomic response that gets you stuck in every feeling and thought you have before you can apply quality control.

Some free samples of THEI psychotechnology are being offered in these blog postings and on our site. We hope you get something valuable out of THEI psychotechnology and give us feedback to help us make it better.

All the best,

Bill