Tag Archives: Meditation

Make the Best Use of your Fine Brain

Originally posted October 20, 2011

Even Bill Gates could not afford to buy this supercomputer. That is, if we could make one. The more science discovers what our brain can do, the more respect one has to have for the “random forces” that supposedly “collided” to make this brain.

On the other hand, those forces might not have been random, and may have been far smarter even than this fine brain you and I have.

As the ancient texts of India, all religions and esoteric schools, Jung and many others have postulated, we all appear to be connected somehow. Perhaps where we are all connected is the sum of everything, itself a brain made out of energy, manifesting to our senses as a three-dimensional material universe. But perhaps if our senses were cleansed of cultural conditioning, they might be as remarkable as our brain is, in the more complete universe they might then show us.

Although our cultural perceptual filters keep us from noticing, our fine brain gives us foreknowledge of certain events. Recently replicated experiments have shown that samples of college students, and occasionally other/broader population samples, can guess what the next image on a screen is going to be, even though that image is randomly generated. In other words, nobody can know in advance what that next image is going to be, not even the computer which is selecting the image, were that computer self-aware, even it wouldn’t be able to know which image is going to pop up next.

Typically a choice of perhaps five classes of images is offered, and the subject has the task of guessing which of the five categories the image is going to be in. If the guesses were entirely random, studies like this would show that the average subject is right 20% of the time, in the six-figure sample sizes now cumulated for this kind of research. Instead of 20% right guesses the average is 21-22% in the typical study, and with certain population segments such as meditators and monks the levels go higher.

Read Dean Radin’s The Conscious Universe (yes he came up with the same phrase as I use in The Theory of The Conscious Universe) for science’s current tallies of sample sizes, numbers of studies, and exact odds against the results being a result of chance, for the main classes of ESPtelepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, and telekinesis. In short, the evidence is in and the odds of these phenomena being explainable by chance is in the millions to one and sometimes higher. Major universities are involved in this research, as well as the military.

You too have these powers. But you probably ignore them all too often, goofing when you knew an instant ahead not to do a certain thing but ignored the hunch, and thus goofed.

Meditation, contemplation, and any other form of focusing the mind appear to be associated with success rates across the studies higher than the 21-22% average.

Some of the techniques in my book are gamelike. For example, here are some ways to enjoyably get the highest performance out of your fine brain, not only in terms of getting a lot more out of your intuition as we have just been discussing, but in every area of your functioning — intuition, intellect, feeling and perception (Jung).

It’s Always a Good Time for a Mind Cleanse

When you have nothing else to do, enjoy an interesting mind cleanse.

Give your self a report (I know “yourself” is one word, but you look at it differently when it’s two words.) How are you feeling? Everything great? Any complaints? Good. The fun is in the complaints. That’s where it’s interesting, and we can use the fine brain for its supreme problem-solving prowess.

Start to enjoy the way you no longer waste time on your supercomputer. You appreciate the great feats of which it’s capable therefore you wouldn’t think to burn minutes of its time in simple whining, playing old tapes, running on unconscious autopilot rather than the conscious Flow state kind, or whatever else diminishes the functioning of your fine brain.

It aids the focus to have paper and pen/cil, feeling free to draw or write whatever one feels like without having to make it neat or to conform to any rules whatsoever.

Sometimes you see your self drawing schematic diagrams with arrows and circles to depict some phenomenon that you would rather not have in your life. Let your self go, knock your self out — you will definitely learn something practical out of contemplating whatever is going down on paper or just flowing through your head. Pay close attention as if you were a detective studying someone else, not your self, someone you had never seen before — look with new eyes, willing to strip away all the old rhetoric about your self and opening your mind to reconsider everything — no buttons locked down on the keyboard.

Another thing that will happen is that you will start making a list. This is when there are so many things going round and round in your head they just are dying to leap through the ink onto the paper, so you let them. You may see a mix of relationship challenges and shopping lists. That’s okay, all of them have some level of importance in cleansing your mind. Just when they stop flowing freely for a minute, put priority numbers next to them and eventually you will have it as a list in your computer that will be in priority order, and probably in categories to keep the shopping lists out of the life changing hypotheses.

Go into it with the conviction that there are always solutions — even if you are acting to some degree, do it experimentally to see what the true results are in your case. Your fine brain got you into this, it can get you out of it.

On the other hand, also leave open the possibility that this thing you are trying to get to stop happening in your life, make believe for a few minutes that you could get to like it if you looked at it differently and performed differently when it is happening, and that it might be happening for a good reason — perhaps you even caused it by something that you wanted.

Look at the situation from as many points of view as possible, keeping an open mind.

Recognize your own powers without exaggerating them. How can you use whatever control you do have over the situation to gently nudge it a step at a time into the comfortable sustainable zone?

You don’t have to solve every challenge in one sitting. Just keep creatively attacking your list with strong intention and solution orientation every day — glance at yesterday’s list and then put it out of your mind. Go do something else until you feel a flow of ideas and then if possible get writing implements and seal your self off from any possible interruption to the extent that you can do so even for a very short time — take a biobreak if necessary to escape from the world for a few minutes.

Today’s flow of ideas might or might not have anything to do with yesterday’s list. If you find your self impatient for instant dramatic solutions, add that subject to the list. The highest part of you knows intuitively that dramatic sudden improvements are rare, and that some lower part of you is being childish. The goal is to move your center to the highest part of you at all times.

Let’s take the happy assumption that you, my special friends to whom I send this weekly missive, already know all this and therefore you don’t have anything to complain about. These same mind techniques apply to you too, because you have a purpose in life, currently expressed as a job (or sideline), in which these techniques of focusing make you more effective and give you more pleasure while you creatively make a success out of your business/profession, volunteer work, parenting, lovegiving, caregiving work, or other life activity.

In that sphere, the same sense of solution orientation applies just as strongly. Most companies and the people in them, and most other teams as well, spend too much time in problem definition, which is not as much fun as shifting more time to solving the problems (which is of course also more productive). Solving problems is fun. When they are not your own problems it is even more fun.

I was a consultant for many years. It was tremendously enjoyable. Always being creative about someone else’s problems — and even getting paid for it! However you do it, solving problems is fun. Because of Acceleritis™, we often have to remember to enjoy it. We get sucked into “our problems” like a horror movie, as if morbidly fascinated, and then hypnotized into taking it all too seriously, getting too attached to certain outcomes, generating that unhealthy and torturous thing called negative emotions.

As a consultant and in whatever position you’re in professionally, your fine brain yields the best results if you “think about the client’s whole business, not just the one department he/she wants your help on.” Broaden your perspective as much as possible while focusing all of your attention on it. As you get better at this, singlepointedness comes easily and naturally to you, words in the mind come infrequently and this speeds up the flow of ideas as you see in your mind’s eye fleeting images that race by and change much faster than you could explain the logic to your self by use of words in the mind.

It’s in this wordless observer state that you’re likely to experiences periods of Flow state. In these higher states that Accelertitis suppresses, hunches are far easier to pay attention to, because the Acceleritis-driven words in the mind no longer distract attention from the subtle and often fleeting appearance of a hunch in the mind. I use the word “fleeting” repeatedly here because it is a genuine characteristic of the phenomenon. Hunches and Flow state ideas both come at speeds that in any other state you would have an impossible time keeping up with. This suggests they are probably always there — even in EOP — except they are drowned out from attention by being too subtle for the grosser state you are in when in EOP.

Another key point of these techniques is prioritization, mentioned briefly above and deserving of more emphasis. You cannot be singlepointed if you are distracted knowing you might not be working your fine brain on the optimal thing at the moment. So always know the optimal sequence based on how much of a positive difference you can make in the world at any given point in time. You might be seen as a person who takes a lot of bio breaks, but there are worse things. 🙂

Best to all,

Bill

Originally posted 2011-10-20 08:12:57. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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,

Bill

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Originally posted 2015-07-14 10:41:30. 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,

Bill

Follow my regular media blog contribution, In Terms of ROI at MediaVillage.com. Here is the link to my latest post.

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

The Second Cornerstone: Mindfulness

Originally posted March 24, 2015

First you must still the mind - Bill Harvey

In last week’s post, 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

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

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

Rediscovering that Ancient Territory: Your Own Mind — Revisited

Originally posted February 10, 2015

All of us are naturally curious about our own selves. When someone who knew us when, someone older, tells us a story about something we did when we were too young to remember it, we are raptly attentive.

Looking inward at oneself is the first step toward clarity.

If it were not for the culturally ubiquitous time pressure, we would have the same curiosity if offered a searchlight method to see more deeply into our own mind than ever before. Here we offer just such a searchlight.

This posting is a brief exploration into the architecture of inner experience and offers tools to look into your inner Self, through observation and experience. Why bother? Because in order to get into the two higher, most effective states of consciousness — the Observer State, where we can really see what is going on inside ourselves rather than being puppeteered by software in our heads, and the Flow state (Zone), where we are spontaneously doing everything just right — we need to become experts in the empirical study of our own minds and inner life.

What Is the Architecture of Our Inner Life?

Carl Jung defined the four functions of consciousness as perception, feelings, intellect and intuition — the latter referred to in day-to-day life as “hunches”. These are four kinds of events that can go on in consciousness.

Within consciousness, what we experience first is something inside that motivates us and moves us toward or away from something. Those are feelings. Instincts — hardwired genetic carryovers inherited before birth — are partly responsible for some or all of our feelings. The rest arise from motivations we accumulated during our lives, stuff we learned or decided to want or not want as a result of our experiences since birth.

So what are these things you call your thoughts, your feelings, your hunches, your perceptions? Consider, or reconsider, all of the experiences you have had of your own mind, your own inner life.

When I watch what goes on inside of me, it often starts with a feeling that is also somehow an image at the same time. Another part of me then takes that feeling/image and interprets it as a conscious thought — putting names, categorizations, and other specific recognizable details onto the original amorphous feeling/image.

I think that’s what a thought is. An interpreted feeling/image. Diverging from Jung, I posit that thoughts and feelings are the same thing, at different stages of development.

Thoughts add details to feelings/images, turning them into specifications, bringing out additional information that had somehow been packed into the feeling/image.

Possibly feelings are the most substantial and primary actor, coming out of our most intimate connection with our self, and arising to be transmuted into intuitions and/or thoughts and/or emotions and/or images/visions.

Perceptions coming in from the “outside” accompanied by an equal stream of feelings from “inside” suggests that feelings are another sense, like seeing and hearing. In which case, we simply perceive, and the rest of the functions are what evolves from our perceptions. In other words, feelings are inner perceptions, and what we call sense perceptions are outer perceptions. Inner and outer perceptions are the raw stuff of experience, and as we turn them over in our minds, those perceptions turn into thoughts and/or intuitions.

I suggest that perceptions evolve into what Jung classified as thoughts (intellect) and/or hunches (intuition). Outer perceptions — the five physical senses — are what Jung called “perceptions” — and the inner perceptions are what Jung called “feelings”. In my own experience, the raw stuff of my inner life is comprised of feeling/image arisings that I then articulate internally as thoughts, with either words or not, or observe as hunches, without inner words.

Intellect and intuition have always been seen as similar functions. Intellect reaches new conclusions step by effortful step. Intuition gets there in one leap, involuntarily, all by itself. Sometimes when the intuition or hunch is particularly credible and important and came out of nowhere, we call it inspiration, suggesting help from some outside invisible source.

The Searchlight to Our Inner Self

We need maps to study consciousness. We also need meditation to concentrate on seeing what really goes on inside by understanding the basic building blocks of all inner experience — thoughts, feelings, intuitions, and perceptions.

Try this. Find five minutes when you can’t be interrupted and there is nothing dragging you away like a deadline. You might not find time to try this until the weekend, so leave yourself a note somewhere you’ll see it Saturday or Sunday morning.

Sit with your eyes closed and back straight, with your head drawn up toward the ceiling. First, still the mind by experiencing your breath going in and out, without trying to control the breath in any way. After a half-dozen breath cycles or whenever you feel as if your mind is relatively still, begin the exercise.

Now simply watch for what happens at the very beginning of a thought or feeling. A thought or a feeling is going to arise. You are in a state of concentrated sharp attention and the game is to see that arising as quickly as possible, identify what it is, and be able to remember the experience of it as accurately as possible.

This is not as easy as it sounds because we tend to get so instantly caught up in the thought or feeling we forget that we are doing this exercise. That is, until through exercises like this, we find that we have gained true control of our minds in a gradual process that we get better and better at over time. By looking inside, we can begin to cut through dogma and other people’s beliefs, and see for ourselves who we are in our inner worlds.

Best to all,

Bill

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

Originally posted 2015-02-10 12:51:34. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Which voices do you listen to?

Originally posted September 8, 2015

Volume 5, Issue 27

Most of the time, we are not aware of the layers of louder and softer voices constantly going on within our mind. Most of us have found that the subtlest part of our mind speaks in the softest voice, while the most negative part of our mind speaks in the loudest voice.

Quiet the mind - let the softer voices be heard

By being in the moment, we can actually choose which stream to switch our attention to. We can actively choose at any moment to switch to a subtle channel or to a negative channel. One reason we switch to a negative channel more often is that the negative channels are essentially screaming at us and typically contain a much higher emotional content than the subtle ones whispering under that din.

Not all of the voices in our head are equally smart. When we take action based on a screaming voice, we are less likely to take effective action than when we act based on the quiet voice.

If we listen to the small quiet voices, we find them to be ethical in nature, disciplined, courageous, having good judgment, honest, and somewhat detached from outcomes. The small quiet voices do not have a powerful emotive component.

The accumulated knowledge about brain function related to structure gives at least some reason to infer that the soft and loud voices are playing upon different parts of the brain in different ways. All of the other parts of the brain chorus might also be chiming in, filling in the chords below the melody perhaps.

How do we more often tune into the sound of our softer voice?

We all have experienced quieting down for a moment and suddenly having a deep inner realization that’s been trying to make itself heard for ages. By quieting down the screaming voices, the softer ones can be heard.

To listen in more closely I have found that a regular meditation practice serves me well. The benefits are bountiful, many stemming from getting in touch with the wisest part of our self.

This meditative process of listening to the subtler voices can be practiced during the hubbub of our daily life experience and not just in get-away moments. The benefit to the human race would be enormous if everyone on the planet started meditating for at least a half-hour every day. This is where cultivating a meditative process begins, with a single step, followed by another and another.

Best to all,

Bill

Follow my regular media blog contribution, In Terms of ROI at Media Village, Myers new site. Here is the link to my latest post, “A House Divided Cannot Stand.”

Listen to this new podcast in which Nate Rackiewicz interviews me about the common ground just discovered that could heal the rift between pro- and anti-Trump (first 5 minutes summarizes the later portion). Go to podcast.

Originally posted 2015-09-08 05:58:46. Republished by Blog Post Promoter