Category Archives: Conscious Universe

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

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

The Untalking Self

Created August 31, 2021

Did anyone ever say to you “You’ve changed!” We’ve all had that experience. It’s true, we are all constantly changing, very strongly affected by every single thing that we experience. The me you are today is not exactly the same as yesterday’s.

Some aspects of ourselves change very slowly over the years – those attitudes and behaviors which psychologists classify as values, and those classified as character and personality traits – in some people they can last a lifetime without changing at all.

Just as stars have a standard sequence, human beings do too, and it’s pretty well described in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (a six stage model), in texts of Ancient India referring to seven chakras, and my own field research at scale which suggests fifteen stages in an individual’s development from a selfish, self-defensive being to a mensch (a person of integrity and honor).

All three of these theories imply that a certain amount of change is to be expected during a person’s life, and that the development for whatever reason seems to suggest teleological design – individuals tend to become more ethical. This may be due to a conscious creator or to species survival mechanisms.

As we change when growing up, suddenly one day for perhaps the first time, we find ourselves thinking about how we are thinking. We might not take special notice of the fact that our inner vocabulary is very similar to the way we talk to our closest friends, not so much similar to the way we talk to our parents or teachers. We are sure to notice how powerfully it runs on by itself in fact it’s impossible to turn off. We might worry for a second about that but then we’ll notice that we are having ideas tumble out one upon another so it’s hard to pay attention to all of it, you have to pick and choose.

You might, as I did, ask myself – without using words in my mind – which of these selves is me? Am I the babbler that is saying all this stuff, or am I the quiet listener hearing it all? I am both, I answered myself. But then which is more representative of the true me? It would have to be the older one – the original one I was before I learned to talk. The Me That Was Born.

How much you’ve changed, one might say to oneself, waking up to the possibility that you are your Untalking Mind, encountering your talking mind. Yes, most changes are for the better, always, but now that you are able to see the difference, you’ll be able to be far more perspicacious in your metacognition. Best to keep journal handy for the rest of your life now. Your life will be full of revelations about yourself you will want to write down and perhaps date.

In the video, the narrator implies that the Robotical Talking Mind has taken over like some dreaded invader (maybe like a “mental Covid”), perhaps raising excess fears, but fear not, the “Robot” image is intended only as a humorous way of thinking about it.

Prepare your children for a joke so they are not alarmed if you show them that video, and then let them explain what they think the video means.

The human race turned a corner when it got to the third and fourth cycles of inventiveness and that’s when our minds got so taken over by the “Robot”.

The first wave was crude facial, oral and sign language. The second was tools including weapons and fire as well as art. Third was written language which triggered inventions of all kinds including mechanical technology. Fourth was electronic technology including atom bombs and media.

Trouble started in that third wave, where weapons got so much better, but we were never so distracted before as we are today here in the fourth wave.

I believe we kick off a fifth wave by taking metacognition/Observer/Flow inside. It will be the first wave to focus on improving us human beings ourselves beyond body building.

Acceleritis is my word for how we got taken over, it’s inforush paralysis and emergency oversimplification procedure (EOP), caused in the human race by the human race, by our blessed gift of inventiveness. We’ve invented ourselves into a corner existentially and psychologically and you dear reader are now part of the noble comeback. We dig ourselves out first psychologically, then existentially. Thanks for being part of the solution!

Best to all,

Bill

Metacognition Versus Public Disenchantment with Science

“I do not like that man: I must get to know him better.”

–Abraham Lincoln

How is it, one wonders, that tens of millions of Americans can believe and echo absurd fantasies, while showing signs of disbelieving in science?

It clearly has something to do with hatred.

For most of my life, I would have associated disbelief in science with throwback cultures, as contrasted with one of the most advanced places on the planet.

To see it happening here is a shock.

Some of it has been accurately explained as confirmation bias, the insular lives many of us live, in which we only read, listen to and watch sources that tell us what we want to believe.

People whose lives have fallen short of aspirations naturally have fear and anger over that. Some of them who are white fall prey to white supremacy thinking because they fear that non-whites are gradually taking away their livelihoods. Many would simply rather believe that, than take responsibility for the consequences of their own actions.

Thus, racism could start from a shifting of blame – from blaming oneself to blaming others.

How ironic, in that there isn’t any value in playing the blame game in the first place! One shouldn’t have to shunt it outside, a metacognitive mind will see in advance where something leads and can stop the degenerative process far sooner. And reverse degeneration, by adjusting future predispositions consciously. That transmutes blame into better preparation.

Every event is a product of multivariate causes, so the blame has to be allocated, and having done so, one decides how to adjust one’s future action and moves on without the overt act of blame or even the covert clinging inside to the feeling of blame. This becomes clear to a person in a state of metacognition or Observer/Flow states.

One could blame it all on the money system itself, which historically creates a disadvantaged segment who can see the way the advantaged segment lives, producing a potential disequilibrium, which will come to be potentiated in one cranky way or another. And in a way, Marx did that, conceptualizing a radical new system to replace capitalism which was to never work as it was supposed to in the real world. It just made things worse.

Fear of communism and socialism naturally struck hard at American values of rags to riches by hard work, independence and small business, property rights, individualism, liberty, ideologies at the time being peddled via the violence of revolution. When I was growing up the whole environment taught me as an American patriot to loathe those systems.

That still exists today, and that fear instilled in all of us for so many decades is still being used by politicians today, even though our potential enemies abroad are no longer practicing communism except symbolically, everyone is doing capitalism this year.

No reason to make such a big deal about socialism anymore. Authoritarianism is still a valid cause for concern, not to mention the environment, the need for massive new clean energy resources, the mutating virus, mounting levels of violence, inflation, American schism… we have enough prime challenges today and cannot let ourselves be distracted by last century’s woes.

We ourselves are good people. My hunch/hypothesis (estimate of the situation, rather than article of faith) is that all human beings – all beings – are innately good. Hume called this universal instinct “sympatico”. The reason that is my hunch is that, like Will Rogers and similar to Abe Lincoln, I have never met a person I didn’t like, at least sometimes.

Fear causes anger and anger causes the world we now live in.

The digital media and even some traditional media have amplified our fear and our anger. So has the replacement of jingoism for journalism. The decline of journalism is also connected to the rise of digital media through the agency of money: as newspapers were largely replaced, so was a lot of journalism, thank God still not totally extinct and hopeful of a full comeback once we all come to our senses.

What makes me think we can ever come to our senses?

Metacognition.

What is metacognition? The term literally means “Above cognition”.

It’s a term coined by distinguished American developmental psychologist John H. Flavell in his 1976 article “Metacognitive Aspects of Problem Solving” – the same year my manual on how to achieve metacognition and the two states above it, MIND MAGIC came out.

Flavell defined “Metacognition” as “Cognition about cognition, or, more informally, thinking about thinking.” If we pay attention to our own mental/emotional processes (metacognition) we become practiced at it (Observer state) and eventually begin to have experiences of Flow state (what athletes call the Zone) – intuitive effective performance.

It’s my hypothesis that we can as homo sapiens “come to our senses” and overcome the present unstable state of global civilization, by accelerating the widespread education of practices proven to increase metacognition – and two even higher states of consciousness that metacognition is a precursor for, Observer state and Flow state. That automatically includes pragmatically being open to new evidence, and having the skills to weigh evidence logically and dispassionately.

QAnon zombies and extremists of all stripes can be cured by their achieving metacognition and Observer state. People who today believe things for the wrong reasons can untie the knots in their mind by the ability to weigh evidence dispassionately.

Metacognition and Observer state also enable detachment from long-accepted precepts. Metacognition is exactly what is missing from the present culture. It is not being taught in any public schools that I know of.

In order for the science of psychology to have its maximum positive social effect, people must be able to translate and apply findings to their own lives.

Today’s possibly most valuable psychology remains largely focused on the detailed mechanics of how the brain works, without relating such findings to the mind and the experience of the individual (qualia), the fancy name for our subjective inner experiences).

Tying scientific findings to a person’s experience would be valuable because it enables teaching and learning. The individual would have a map for dealing with his/her qualia, able to achieve metacognition/self-observe something by the use of operational methodologies taught in history by sages, and today condensed into my manual.

If science stops translating its findings for greater understanding among the people – which understanding has tangible positive effects – science remains valuable for its own purposes of knowing, but science’s disconnect from most people’s lives leaves a dangerous vacuum which is presently being filled with baseless argumentation of science versus fantasy, to no good end.

Hypothesis: An increase in the public’s ability to maintain a state of metacognition will cause a decrease in anger, hatred, class warfare, depression, mental illness in general, addiction, crime, war, terrorism, partisanship, misinformation, and other negative phenomena.

This is a hypothesis worth testing. My manual is one way to test it on yourself and on your employees. The U.S. Army and Navy have tested it and then requested/received workshops for high-ranking officers, as have some large corporations, and 34 universities. Thousands of readers of MIND MAGIC have written positively about its effects.

In the next post I’ll give you a pre-experience of what the manual teaches. That will be a special edition on Monday.

Best to all,

Bill