Author Archives: Kristin Dragos

We Have Become Overwhelmed, But There’s a Way Out

Created October 15, 2021

All living things react negatively to prolonged periods of stress. That’s part of the explanation for the dramatic increase in negativity being expressed all around us and in us.

Negativity is catching. The more negativity we hear, the more likely we are to have negative thoughts and feelings, and the more likely we are to go off negatively when we least expect it, at the slightest provocation.

Defeatism is what happens when the challenges multiply and complexify and we feel daunted by the prospect of trying to solve our way out of it.

At such moments, a self-meta-programmed person who is in Observer state or Flow state, may think “It only seems daunting because you choose to make it seem daunting in your mind,” and feels an instant sense of relief, and starts to chunk the problems into manageable pieces as a start to solving them in priority order.

You’ll know when you’re getting into these higher states when you all of a sudden realize you are getting really good advice from what you hear in your mind, and that it all sounds moderate and kind, and not negative but instead, encouraging to your creativity to enjoy solving and conquering what had seemed daunting a moment ago.

There are really two flavors to life, and on a moment-to-moment basis, we may shift from one to the other.

One flavor is unnatural, it’s a pandemic condition we have suffered for a very long time, since the beginning of recorded history. I call it Acceleritis. It’s not having enough time to answer all of the questions that occur to you. It started a long time ago, but it accelerated when we began to use written language, and accelerated again when the printing press became global, and accelerated again and again with each new wave of media technology. Marshall McLuhan defined media as the extensions of Man. All of our media of expression and communication form a network with our own minds and emotions. The media shape the way we form ourselves internally which determines how we act internally and externally.

Today the intensity of our media womb has long passed the PTSD (Post Traumatic Shock Disorder) level. The covert and overt manipulation of those media for political and perverted purposes has heightened the degree of damage each of us does to ourselves, each other, and the planet. Now we will argue over the silliest things at the drop of a hat.

The other flavor of life is natural. In our natural state, before the existence of a ubiquitous media culture, we had time to consider every question until we reached a comprehensive answer, or at least a protocol for behavior based on the best estimate of an answer. When we self-meta-program ourselves we create a feedback loop in our conscious minds where we notice how often our thoughts and feelings go off the deep end, and find ways to rise above those internal self-defeating behaviors. When fully functioning, this brings the individual into the Observer state as an equilibrium condition. Prior to that point one flashes in and out of Observer state.

This graduates in stages to spending time in the Flow state, starting in one’s passion work. A person who has reclaimed their natural state and armored against falling back into the everyday win/lose ego thinking is capable of making objective decisions with care and integrity, patiently absorbing all the relevant information, studying, meditating, contemplating, reaching solutions and carrying them out meticulously.

Today the whole world faces emergencies that add to our stress and aggravate our tendency to fly directly to negativity, do not pass go do not collect $200. Instead of cooperating to overcome the threats we waste time blaming each other and getting no closer to solutions than the day before.

The only way out is for us to go inside and move from the unnatural flavor to the natural flavor. We can’t fix the world mess from the dysfunctional condition. We have to all rise up to our better selves and get our politicians and leaders there too, and quickly. That’s what this course is all about and hopefully you are feeling more girded by the week, and practice the useful ways from post to post. That’s how we can win it, no matter how bad it looks now. We have it in us. We made the mess, we can mop it up. But not by mopping up the floor with each other: that IS the mess.

Please take 101 seconds to experience this video. It’s an attic-cleansing of the old and the beginning of a new you:


Go forth, knight, to help the world within the experience bubble you bring around you. I see many more of us getting to this point soon, not just from my writings but I also see many around me who are writing too, sharing in other words, images, and languages what I’ve been saying: it’s all in our minds, we can control our minds and spirits, because we ARE them, a shift in perspective is all it takes to break away from those still infected by Acceleritis, or what most people call The Ego. To me they are the same condition, a pandemic stress condition caused by inventing faster than we can assimilate.

The Ego is a defensive stance. We feel threatened and inadequate to fend for ourselves against the impossible odds. The real self hides and deals with the world through a persona designed to achieve the desired ends of the hidden self. But the situation becomes dysfunctional when the persona begins acting on its own desired (robotically programmed) ends. The real self becomes submerged even to itself and the body and mind of the individual is on robot pilot. That is the Ego. It arises as a defense mechanism to the Acceleritis. The Ego is not a natural condition. The natural self likes to cooperate and have everyone win.

We have to recognize chronic ego condition as a mental disorder, a sickness. It could have arisen before Acceleritis but it has thrived under the ascendancy of Acceleritis. It’s what most of us consider to be normal.

Stay in this upper state at all times and feel the inherent joy of being an experiencer, alive and creative.

Cooperate and harmonize. All of us singing a single note forever would get boring. Chords are made of dissimilar notes and aren’t chord changes beautiful?

Have a canary switch that alerts you to any arising negativity in yourself at any given moment. Realize at those times: I AM MORE THAN MY NEGATIVITY.

We all have a survival instinct, it’s natural, and a good thing. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to survive, and nothing wrong with appropriate self-defense without over-reacting. But Ego is over-reacting as Standard Operating Procedure. It’s being so self-defensive that it seems like cowardice to a person operating from natural mind.

If you catch yourself acting craven in your own mind, remind yourself of your courage and heroism. Remind yourself of your determination and your Mission in life, whatever that may be. Remind yourself that giving yourself too little credit becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

March forth with self-belief.

Love to all,

Bill

Courage and Honesty are The Highest Virtues

Created October 8, 2021

Winston Churchill said, “Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality that guarantees all the others.” In other words, if you don’t start from courage, how will you always have the courage to state the truth? How will you always have the courage to be objective, to be fair and just, to be kind, to be giving, to forgive, to trust, and to love? What human virtue does not depend upon courage at its base?

Siddhartha Gautama the Buddha is said to have told his son, “Honesty is the fundamental virtue because a person who would tell lies would also be inclined to fake the other virtues.”

These twin foundations form the base upon which all other aspects of integrity depend.

You might say that Love is the highest virtue, as the Beatles did in the song “All You Need Is Love”, which has the feeling of truth to it, and as an emotional pathway into the universally-desired future world, that song is definitely a tool to use. Music has always been a way to help people reprogram the emotions and mind to attain the Good, and so shall it remain forever.

At the same time, the ability to love depends on trust, and trust depends on courage.

Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is the quality which makes us capable of dealing with our fear as one input to the equation we are solving.

As one watches one’s own mind – metacognition – with an eye to improving its functioning so as to obtain the desired outcomes from life – metaprogramming – eventually we realize that negative emotion must be used constructively, or else it uses us, owns us, controls us, and keeps us out of the higher states of consciousness – Observer state and Flow state – in which our effectiveness is maximized.

Fear and anger and all other variations on the theme of negative emotion keep us from solving what is causing those exact same emotions!

If we continue to be childlike all our lives, we give in to that down cycle, whereas if we summon our courage and honesty, we pull ourselves out of it and creatively realize the necessary actions, and take those actions with honesty and courage.

The robotical, conditioned, hypnotized, slavish part of the mind will seek to trick us into deviating in little ways, to get us back and keep us in the same old habitual tracks. We must not let even tiny slip-backs occur. Once the door is allowed to open just a crack, momentum makes it harder and harder to prevent it from widening its opening.

If at first, we find this impossibly difficult, there are positive tricks that can get around this. One of them is acting – Stanislavsky’s famous “Method” acting – in which we act so well we become the character we are portraying not only externally but also internally. Stanislavsky meant this only for the stage, a temporary becoming of the character, but in our methods, we apply the same principle to overcome the robot mind’s evasive maneuvers.

Please experience what we are talking about with this short video exercise:

You will become who you want to be by always acting like that person. It may not seem to be totally sincere at first – because of the mental/emotional stains that you have accumulated by unassimilated experiences – but your mind will eventually unravel those knots for you and you will become who you really are without those holdouts.

It will always be truly sincere from the standpoint of your true self – the you that was born – so there is no real dishonesty although you may temporarily feel that such acting is duplicitous. It isn’t. That is the real you, internally divided for the time being, but it’s the side of you to which you cling eternally, not the part of you you’re ashamed of. That’s the real sincerity, although under the strained conditions of accelerated life, it feels like you are lying when you act like the person you want to be – the you that was born, who you truly are.

The mind is the most complicated thing we have. In the current historical period of Acceleritis, our minds have wound themselves up in knots. It takes really clear thinking to unwind our mind’s knots. It takes time to attain really clear thinking. I hope this course, my weekly inputs, shorten the time you need to reach dependable, steady equilibrium in the Observer and Flow states.

Love to all,

Bill

Accept What Has Been and Focus on Action Options

Created September 29, 2021

If something is upsetting you, as soon as you realize you’re not in your best headspace, excuse yourself and go out for a walk or lock yourself in the bathroom or get away from the rest of humanity as best you can for five minutes. Bring something to write with and something to write on just in case. Relax your body as best as you can and take slow deep breaths.

Put your finger on what is bothering you. Then before you get yourself mad or scared or both again, accept that is reality, that situation is what it is, you can’t change the past.

Once you accept that the bothersome scenario is part of reality at least until now, focus on what you can do about it. Don’t expect that to be one quick easy answer that you can immediately cause to happen which will turn the situation around 100% overnight. More likely it will require patience, preparation, waiting for right moments, adapting to changes in your initial plan.

There will be some things you can do immediately, such as not showing that you are affected by the ongoing troublesome situation. That requires fine acting which you will find that you become good at the more your practice it. That is very disarming to people who may have been trying to get your goat and who revel in your discomfort, if that syndrome is part of your particular focusable challenge at the time.

That’s the devilish thing about negative emotion: it makes you less capable of solving whatever caused the negative emotion. Picture anything or anyone that bugs you as some kind of poisonous animal that stings you with a paralyzing toxin so it can take its time having its way with you. You’ll find that it still bugs you but if you can turn off the warning signal (negative emotion) like an alarm clock, you neutralize the paralyzing toxin, because with your rational mind, courage and determination, you can think more clearly and creatively, and find ways to either befriend the poisonous creature or get it out of your life.

You will be paralyzed and uncreative as long as you continue to not accept the situation, and over and over in your mind and emotions wish it away by dwelling on it without effective thought of solutions.

In light of all that, please experience this 36 second video for a method that will allow you to more quickly get past negative reaction into positive constructive creative action:

 

My father Ned Harvey (the larger person in the picture) was fond of sayings that had impressed him during the course of his life. One was “What cannot be cured, must be endured.” I looked it up and found that it was from a book called The Anatomy of Melancholy by Oxford don Robert Burton in 1621.

Whatever situation you find yourself in I define as “The Given”, in the sense of a mathematical puzzle in which you start from some fundamental empirical data you have gathered and are trying to make sense of. If you can’t press a button and simply turn it off, you have to heroically accept that it is what it is, and get past all whining to a courageous facing of the task of dealing with it. That’s when you fatalistically stand above the crowd and can see the creative possibilities for you to judo the situation, to make the best of it or even to wrest victory from the jaws of defeat by a flash of inspiration that takes the very stuff of the problem and turns it into a great new discovery that can help not only you but others too.

For this, you need to always be on your own side, looking for the positive handle, and rising above your own negativity, defeatism, and melancholy with more ability to do that than the average person. You need to be in touch with your own determination. You need to forgive yourself for anything you may still be punishing yourself for, admitting that you may be the Universe itself expressing itself through you at this outpost in the multiverse, and standing up to life like the champion that you are.

Love to all,

Bill

Constructively Judo Your Dissatisfaction

Created September 23, 2021

Dissatisfaction is rampant. It has never been as dominant a theme before in the USA. We descendants of tough colonists and immigrants with the guts to leap into the relative unknown are a hardy breed. We have always overcome, at least until Vietnam. That was kind of a turning point. It wasn’t our fault. We were acting idealistically, continuing the world leadership that had come to us during the world wars. Over the succeeding half century, we learned again and again that our success with force can only be counted upon to work when we use it in self-defense and deterrence. As soon as we project it in other ways – even with the best of intentions – it’s like the tar baby in the Disney classic “Song of the South”: every punch and kick only get us more stuck in the trap.

At an individual level Covid and politics and climate change and “losing world leadership” – if that has really happened – are nothing compared to our own personal life dissatisfactions. Like Edward G. Robinson’s character in the movie “Key Largo”, who always wants “MORE!”, our minds are always comparing what we have now to what we once had or to our dreams of what we must attain or we shall be sad and bitter all our lives (that is the way we blackmail ourselves – one of the negative tricks of the mind discussed earlier in this free Course).

Comparison is one of the negative tricks of the mind we must watch out for. When we stop comparing what is happening in the moment to our expectations, we can really enjoy life.

That doesn’t mean giving up one’s dreams – in fact it makes us more effective so the chances of our dreams coming true are increased. It means to turn down the volume knob on the melancholy that we are not there yet and that we don’t seem to be making fast enough progress – not as fast as so-and-so – there’s those comparisons again.

The positive tricks of the mind are superior in every way to the negative tricks of the mind.

“Tricks” is often used as a pejorative word. Scientists, who tend also to be highly creative people (all of us are much more creative than we typically realize), make up much better words. “Metacognition”, coined by John H. Flavell now of Stanford, means being cognizant of one’s own thinking patterns, and implies the ability to thereby take better control of those thought processes (that taking over was named “metaprogramming” by John Lilly in the same era as Flavell’s coinage – 1960s-1970s).

The job of the Human Effectiveness Institute is to compile empirical generalizations for the most prevalent applications of metaprogramming – or in lay terms, compile positive “mind tricks”. Hence our first book being called MIND MAGIC although it is empirically based science, proven to work (see a small sample of our testimonials to the right on this page). Collectively, our suggestions enable users to become better and better at metacognition and metaprogramming so that they rise into semi-permanent “altered states of consciousness” described by William James and called “peak experiences” by Abraham Maslow.

I say semi-permanent to mean that as we grow into true human maturity – become menschen – we all go through our ups and downs, but the long-term trend is to greater resiliency in the face of upsets, less tendency to dwell upon our dissatisfactions, far greater tendency to make real, positive changes in our lives that remove those dissatisfactions.

In the last few posts of this Course you are taking with me, we talked about finding your own determination, likening it to a hidden switch inside of you. Determination is a constructive judo-ing of your dissatisfied energies. Finding the hidden switch is discovering that you can channel (find a positive outlet for) your dissatisfaction, despair, heartbreak, hate, anger, envy, outrage, passive and active aggressiveness, and all of the other negative emotions into a titanium Will, and you can apply that Will constructively and positively in ways that keep you from sinking into the pits, and make you uplifting to yourself and to the world around you. Reach around inside yourself wordlessly right now for that subconscious hidden switch while you watch, experience, and internalize this 82-second video, please:

I’m not going to take it anymore, go ahead and dish it out, it won’t affect me. I’m going to have my own joy no matter what you do to me… that’s the attitude best suited to going through life – especially through this dramatic period we are now passing through.

Hang on to that joy – if you don’t feel it yet, try counting your blessings, thanking God or the Universe for all the things you possess right now, that you have not lost, that would leave terrible holes in your life and in you if they were to depart. Enjoy those things while you have them! If you are emanating the opposite of joy – as we see people all around us doing right now – you are wasting the good things you have in your life right now. That you take for granted. Revel in the good things in your life whenever you feel yourself slipping back from determination, courage, and the Will to grapple against all odds to do the right thing and to help the world back on course.

Metacognition implies the Will to take over one’s own life. You are always at a perfect age to do that.

Love to all,

Bill

You’ll Know You Are in the Flow State

Created September 17, 2021

You’ll know you’re in the Flow state when your mind sees the futility of saying anything to itself, because words can never tell the whole truth about what you are already sensing and need no words to sense.

When it first happened to me, I was merged with the audience, with my father, the band, the stage, everything was me dancing together and doing itself perfectly as I watched and enjoyed the experience mightily.

Interestingly, the moment was captured by a photographer:       

My mother Sandy was watching from the wings. You can see her to my right where the curtain to backstage is slightly open.

Flow state as first named and described by Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has of course been around in the human race since as far back as we go, and we see that animals get into it too, such as when we see squirrels playing 50 feet above the ground jumping confidently from branch to branch. The Flow state is one of the things we love to watch during the Olympics or any TV live sports. Incredibly perfect performances account for a goodly percentage of the most watched and shared Youtube videos.

As Mihaly (he had been an advisor to The Human Effectiveness Institute) spelled out, the Flow state happens when one is not emotionally attached to (dependent on) winning, but is simply playing for fun.

Echoing the Buddha’s exhortation to attain nonattachment. This is not just coincidence. Buddha was one of the many saints in history who knew of the higher states of consciousness as real phenomena, and compassionately spent their lives trying to get as many people as possible to take the idea seriously.

We have never needed more for people to go inside and take themselves over. And it has never been less likely that we can accomplish this at the mass level at which sanity is needed quickly.

I link sanity and the higher states of consciousness – Observer state and Flow state – on purpose. All around us today we see high degrees of irrational behavior, in the U.S. higher than ever seen before in my lifetime at least. Psychology as a nascent science has never drawn a bright line where sanity ends and insanity begins. Neurotic behavior is not as extreme as psychotic behavior, and people in public office can apparently stay in office no matter how far from rationality (enlightened self-interest) they stray, as long as we can write them off as neurotics and not psychotics. We forgive neuroticism because we acknowledge to ourselves in moments of clarity that we ourselves and possibly everyone has some degree of neuroticism.

Attachment is certainly one of the driving factors in neuroticism. People become irrationally attached to something while they are young and impressionable and then it becomes so much a part of who they think they are that it can become invisible to themselves, even as it causes obsessive compulsive, paranoic, manic depressive, and even schizophrenic behavior. Belonging is a deep motivation, so is power, so is social acceptance, and any of these and more are among the mechanisms which take away our Flow state and our Observer state and turn us into Devoted Followers.

Attachment is the main blocker of our feeling the innate joy of being alive. Theoretically, like those nearly-flying squirrels, just the fun of all the things we can choose to do each moment by being alive should make us incredibly grateful and happy. It’s all a creative game. It’s the most exciting movie of all: LIFE. Yet count the long faces as one walks down any street.

A part of us inside is purposely blocking joy. It is attachment. It is saying: “No I won’t let you feel joy because I want X and I may not get it!” Please let this 87-second video experience flow into your open mind:

Once you have found the hidden switch of your Will, you will have the determination to not waste time working against your own best interests, such as by wallowing in shame, guilt, fear, anger, blame, hate, or any other alarm system. Those systems, like an alarm clock, have a very valid function, and they call our attention to something that we need to deal with intelligently, and like an alarm clock, it is not intelligent to proceed without turning them off first. We must use these negative feelings exactly like an alarm clock. They have called your attention to a real-world challenge you have. Okay, how are you going to solve it? What is it in your realistic power that you can actually DO to win in the situation? It isn’t by wallowing in the alarm clock.

Be on your own side. Get to the solution stage and don’t get stuck in the problem recognition stage. This is enlightened self-interest. This is sanity. This is rationality.

Help your children learn this trick. Show them the video. Get themselves to take their own side using their intelligence and their courage to face the world’s challenges as creative challenges. Get them to see the potential fun in looking at everything that bugs them, that new way. Constructively. Not pausing to take potshots at others, wallowing in blame or other excuses. Teach them to take responsibility not only for themselves but for the people around them. Make it better, tell them. Like the lyric in the Beatles’ song “Hey Jude” – “Take a sad song and make it better.”

Tell them about the Flow state. They will like that part. They will make that part of their bucket list. Remind them not to get attached to getting into the Flow state, because that will block it. Just take each moment as an opportunity to make things better and to enjoy the fun of every challenge. Then Flow will come on its own.

My best to all, Bill

It’s Never Too Late

Created September 10, 2021

The most constructive aspect of the pandemic is that it drove us inside. Not just inside our own homes, but inside our own selves.

We hadn’t had an opportunity to do that in ages. Not to that degree.

On vacations, there are so many new diverting experiences to enjoy, we tend not to spend too much vacation time introspectively, which could have given us a life changing experience.

But Covid gave us the time and place and for many of us it has already happened. I know a few people whose lives have changed for the better – as a result of being closeted away for long time periods with the same situation. They have decided to make a major life change in favor of the kind of work they have always really wanted to do.

Being cloistered away is really a wonderful way to catch up on life. If you use some of the remaining pandemic time to go inside and reconsider your life, you will have the satisfaction of having “judoed” (made the best use of) a bad situation. Gotten some good out of it.

Too bad we are having to pay such a high price for this introspective opportunity. But let’s stay focused on what is constructive.

My hunch is that someday all of us can work at our passion work. If everyone in the world was doing the work they enjoy the most, they would be much less likely to spend their time hating, arguing, faulting, blaming, killing, cancelling, or in any other ways hurting each other.

I could easily be wrong but I’m linking today’s rough world with individual frustration as one originating cause. Add on top of that the pandemic, negative media, negative politics, weather change, it’s making all of us more frequently peevish and testy.

Most likely individual frustration is just one of many psychological factors causing us to pollute ourselves and each other and the environment with such endless negativity. Attachment to belonging to groups we have become deeply identified with, is one such factor. But again, let’s stay focused on where we can see opportunities for positive change, rather than dwelling on the hardness of today’s situation. Dwelling on the mess is a herd compulsion and in a warped way it even brings us all together on some level. But it is a downward spiral and not conducive to finding ways out. It’s wasting time rather than getting to the solutions, not a good idea in emergency situations.

The people I know who are changing follow a pattern so far. They are leaving good paying jobs that are the same every day and risking penury to try to do something they would really like to do.

Maybe we should all have done it from the start, but don’t get to thinking that it’s too late, you should have made your move in your 20s, right out of school, and instead you took a job that gave you a sense of security and a journey to all wonders ahead. In retrospect, that was probably the right first step, a reconnaissance in force, and then steering toward your own vision, your own mission, your own dream.

Maybe we all start out that way. Perfectly justifiable decision at the time. And maybe what we’ve been doing up until now hasn’t been so bad and we really enjoy it too, just that we are even more motivated by other interests.

Without Covid, maybe we would go on that way without any strong enough reason to change.

Covid gave us all a good strong enough reason to change.

Change isn’t easy. But it can be easy. You just have to find that hidden switch inside.

That applies not only to changing your life’s work, but to making any changes that will make you happier. It’s hard to change because just saying you will change in some specific way does not have much impact on the complex programs which determine your behavior. The switch you have to find in yourself is not made of words at all.

The hidden switch that enables you to become fully self-actualized lies somewhere deep inside you, behind, underneath, between you and the words in your head. You can get in touch with your Self, which is deeper inside you than the words going through your mind. Your Self is much more than your verbal mind, your Self is all of you, like an ocean, and the words are just ripples on the ocean’s surface.

Your feelings and even your body can give you insights that you won’t always get from the words in your mind. The hidden switch is in there, in that wordless part of you, and the reason it’s hidden is because most of you is the subconscious. Things going on inside of you that you are likely to notice in your conscious mind are the things that became obsessive to you early in life and just got more and more locked in after that. You tend to ignore a vast number of other clues each day. Your subconscious is trying to signal you and this can show up in many ways, often something you say without thinking first which causes upsets. Only introspection with concentration can lead you to that hidden switch where you have power to take control of your Self.

One thing about the hidden switch that is not mysterious is that it involves the Will. Your ability to be firm in matters important to you, even firm with yourself, self-disciplined, able to keep your word to yourself. When you’ve flipped that hidden switch there will be no division between the words in your head and your feelings, you will understand yourself and be able to articulate great truths about yourself to yourself. Best to write those down in your journal. You will have Will and your vows will be unshakeable.

It’s never too late to start to live what Aristotle called the examined life. He famously said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” That might be a bit hyperbolic but is, in my experience, much more true than false.

Once you do find the switch, it may or may not change your life’s work. You may already be in the line of work you love. What finding the switch will always do is to make you more effective at whatever you do in life, because identifying yourself with your total experience and not just with what you tell yourself in words in your inner dialog will lead you into the higher states of consciousness – Observer state and Flow state.

If you would like to speed up this free course, here’s a link to more free videos we will be discussing in future blog posts. The book mentioned in the video above, Mind Magic, is our most powerful tool so far developed by The Human Effectiveness Institute, and is inexpensive, try a free Kindle sample. Your own meditation and contemplation are free and can get you to the same results although may take longer. Please use all of these free and paid-for experiences you like, and stay on the path to self-actualization, you will never regret it.

I’ll leave you with my love and a song.

Best to all,
Bill