Volume 2, Issue 40
Many people ask me how my books compare with the flood of self-improvement books crowding the psychology/philosophy shelves nowadays. When my first book appeared there was not so much of a glut of such titles and the question rarely came up. Instead people told us they had never seen that kind of book before. Funny how things change. And it’s great that writers and publishers are filling so much bookstore shelf space with books to help people master the art of life — arguably the single most important practical topic imaginable from the standpoint of the pursuit of happiness.
My first book Mind Magic is still unique in the sense that it’s a set of techniques that came out of trial and error in my personal experience. Some of you know that my showbiz parents had me on stage at age 4 and my ensuing early experience of Flow state is what caused my concentration on learning to “control” and/or trigger desirable inner states. Mind Magic is a collection of what worked for me. Originally written just for myself as my “Book of Programs”, friends insisted I publish it because it worked for them too. Over 2000 readers have written that the book changed their lives, which encourages us to go on and add to the body of techniques we make available as widely as we can, in hopes that someday Flow state is a common occurrence, and its lead-in Observer state even more common.
Other books sitting near Mind Magic on the shelves are not so precisely focused on bringing on these two states. More generally, books “like” mine are aimed at making people feel better about themselves, and handling stress in their lives in a more effective and peaceful manner. Some are excellent condensations of latest psychological science or of ancient Eastern psychologies/philosophies, and some blend these together. Ram Dass and Daniel Goleman are two of the best in the world in this genre. Both have written endorsements of Mind Magic. Ram Dass and Dan aren’t just condensers and reporters, they teem with their own brilliant creative insights.
A long time ago Dan, his fellow former Harvard psychobiology professor Dr. Richard Davidson, and I were partners in a pioneering and successful brainwave research venture in the advertising industry. Dan and Richie coined the term “hijack the brain” to describe what happens when the limbic system and the amygdala in particular become energized to produce extreme attachment and cognitive distraction. This is exactly what I write about when describing the fall from Observer/Flow states into what I sensed as a child, EOP for Emergency Oversimplification Procedure, an ineffective involuntary bodily “strategy” for dealing with challenging external situational and/or internal mentation challenges.
Another friend and exceptional brain-trainer-psychiatrist/author/artist is Dr. Phillip Romero, who uses the term “triggering” to describe the brain’s program of switching into a limbic-system-control state. He created Logosoma Brain Training, a consilient algorithm that integrates theories of Buddha, Darwin, and John Bowlby for his patients. Logosoma training helps people master Relationship Stress, the most powerful stress trigger that hijacks our capacity for mindfulness, creativity, connectedness and compassion. Where Phillip is focused on training people to liberate themselves from Hostage Relationships and Reconnect with compassionate creativity, my colleagues and I at the Institute are focused on helping people achieve the exceptionally higher states of consciousness above normal waking consciousness.
Phillip has taken me to task for creating my own language that I find useful in inner space, where I find that I am dealing with parts of myself that respond to metaphor and imagery. As noted above, some 2000 people have reported that the heuristics presented in Mind Magic, even if more symbolic than scientific, are useful to them in attaining more creative and effective states. Phillip is right in that agreement on terminology will be critically important in pulling together the work of many people in order to turn the art of life into more of a science to the degree that is desirable.
My vision is that techniques for increasing personal success in dealing with all of life’s challenges will someday permeate the syllabi of the public education system. The books, audios, videos, television programs and movies that we envision for the future are aimed to be a resource for when the culture becomes even more attuned to this dimension of inner space navigation.
Best to all,