Category Archives: Enlightenment

What Does the Real You Want?

Created January 21, 2021

As I started to write this, Sammy Davis Junior simultaneously began singing “I Gotta Be Me” on the Sinatra Channel. This is the kind of synchronicity that occurs in peak experience.

This series of posts entitled “On the Road to Flow” started out aimed at helping you stay in the peak experience states (Flow and Observer) for more of your life. That’s still our aim. But the world events stirring during the past 5 weeks has reminded me that the aim of all of my writings since I was 30 has been to help people free themselves of their conditioning, so that they become clear in their own decision making for themselves.

The conditioning has come down on all of us from well-intentioned parents, others who care about us, teachers, media, politicians, celebrities of all kinds, and from thinkers and writers who influenced us. And more.

In the Normal Waking State of consciousness which I also call “The Robot”, all of these memories and predispositions vie and the result is the action we take. Some of it comes from the You That Was Born – the real you – and some of it comes from the conditioning.

In this post we focus on one of the most important decisions any of us faces in life: deciding what we really want. Not what we have come to assume we want, but stripping away conditioning, what does the original me want.

This does not invalidate valuable learning you gained between birth and now, things you discovered for yourself to be true, based upon evidence that could be called scientific or at least empirical, and could stand up in court. That’s part of the real you. Each of us is constantly changing, hopefully growing emotionally, ethically and intellectually. I’m not intentionally glorifying the condition of your mind at birth. My repeated reference to the original you, is a reference to you when you are in the peak experience states. This reflects my hypothesis that peak experience states are our natural states, we are born into those states. Life’s events are what bring us down, by getting us to become dependent on bringing about conditions over which we have only partial control. What I’ve called an AI – the Ego circuit in our minds – is the accumulation of those addictions.

So, separating out the wants your true self wants, from your addiction wants, is not an easy thing to do. Chapter 5 of MIND MAGIC at this free link contains a procedure that makes it much easier. It’s like a Wizard that takes you through the process step by simple step:

  1. Listing things you think you want
  2. Remembering when you started to care about each want, and who/what else had been involved
  3. How much happiness and how much unhappiness this want has caused you?
  4. Do you want to be the sort of person who wants this thing?
  5. How to deal with bodily wants
  6. How to deal with the wanting the approval of others
  7. How to deal with wanting self-approval
  8. Considering certain higher wants you might not have listed
  9. Prioritizing the wants of your deepest, truest self
  10. Setting goals and making plans based upon the new set of wants and goals.

Quotes from MIND MAGIC Chapter 5:

“Listen respectfully therefore to every communication,

Whether from inside or outside of you,

And evaluate its cause;

Strive to understand its cause; respond accordingly.”

“Be gentle with all who communicate with you,

Including your own mind.”

“Give each part of the universe

The respect you give the whole.”

“Listen with respect, then make your own decisions.”

What the Real Bill Harvey Wants

I want to do everything in my power to share whatever is right about my methodology, and to accomplish this more by staying in Flow and Observer states more.

Although I’m not attached to achieving my wished-for outcome, it’s to see all of us thinking clearly and for ourselves, reaching empathy with each other, so as to bring about a Flow state culture where we are all empowering each other constantly.

In that Empathutopia the designations “far right” and “far left” will cease to be badges of honor, as they work against consensual freedom for all. Instead, conservatives and progressives will value each other’s inputs as complementary and incrementally additive, inputs for even more perfect holistic solutions. When the Ego circuit is not suffering and the rugged individualist is in peak experience states, it’s easy to give credit and respect to people who have different views than one’s own.

It’s virtually impossible when locked in identification with one’s own Ego AI to not see vast numbers of other people as enemies. The Ego phenomenon has classically been linked to neurosis, but this is just a word. The word psychosis might also be applied. Sanity and insanity are not perfectly defined words. But the current state of the world has veered much more into the red zone than its average state across recorded history. Many people nowadays use the word “crazy” to describe what is going on. It may be technically a correct term.

All I can say is that the techniques of careful self-discussion do work for me, and thousands of readers have told me they work for them too. Over 35,000 copies of MIND MAGIC have been sold, mostly for $20, and today until we lick this pandemic you can still get the same book free. I hope you take it and use it and that the world moves inward toward its holy spiritual universally empathetic center.

Best to all,

Bill

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

Re-Open Closed Switches Inside

Created January 8, 2021

HAPPY 2021! Wishing all of us a fresh start – pull up the transparent screen and erase 2020 and before – and you are new again, the world is new again – all hurts forgiven.

In my December 22, 2020 post I cautioned against hasty closure – the habit of making instantaneous choices reflecting ancient decisions. The objective is to reassert your true self – the you that was born – and to deny power to the Ego conditioning you received without having chosen it. Of course, if you are reclaiming your castle, you must be suspicious of anything inside you that moves you to immediately decide something new, the same way you have always decided that sort of thing before.

Each new moment is a new moment by definition. Treating it as an instance of a type of moment you have long since decided how to deal with, has zero potential to aid you in detecting as-if-traitorous inner habits. Considering alternatives that appear inconsistent with who you were is a worthwhile activity at this time. You may come back to where you were before on the subject, but do not assume that automatically. Automaticity is a sign of the inner robot at work – not the true you that was born, but the mechanical AI built out of protein neurons in your brain – your Ego.

In other words, as much as you may have appreciated the value of consistency as an abstract principle, you now, in recreating yourself anew, need to put a pin in that. You need to broaden your range of creative possibilities. It is a new world, a new day, you have paid off your mental mortgage to the past. Start right now. Be willing to reconsider everything, reopen all possibilities, take your time. Beginnings are not a time for haste. And even years from now, start life with a clean slate each moment. The you who was born, the observer that you are, inherently knows how to integrate all of your learnings to apply them to the present moment, and presents one impulse toward action for your motor control to adopt and activate.

With nearly equal speed, your Ego AI computes an impulse to action which is more likely to represent selfish goals.

Each moment you get to choose which of these impulses to act upon. It may not be obvious which is which. That’s why it makes sense to give yourself time before reacting instantly – except in the rare emergency situations.

Choosing what is the Right thing to do is the safest bet even in emergencies. That is more likely to be coming from your “heart” (essence, true self) rather than from your conditioning.

When you have given something adequate consideration and are sure of how you wish to be from now on, watch yourself create that intention and make that resolution. Act in small ways on that resolution immediately thereafter. Remember that resolution as an accomplishment in itself. Honor it upon going to sleep and upon waking up. The momentum of your robot will not make it easy to stick to new resolutions made by the conscious self, watch for trickery to cause you to lapse into pre-resolution modes of behavior. Note these objectively and redouble cautions against premature closure.

Avoid describing yourself, even to yourself. Remind yourself “That is how I used to be. I now seize the right to be differently if I so choose.”

Avoid mimicry. Do not submit to the prevailing worldview, while continuing to show it due respect.

Do not let yourself get carried away by the momentum of others.

Our expectations create perceptual screens. Tear away such screens by having no expectations. Look at what is actually there. See things as they really are by studying everything much more closely, as if you have never seen such a thing before, although it is old hat.

Ignore usual concepts of what is beautiful or ugly. See what is really out there. It was all put there by the same Artist.

Do not look at a situation and say that it is bad. Ask yourself instead, How might good be brought out of such a situation.

To read the full chapter of MIND MAGIC on this subject please click here.

To get the whole book free please click here. (Free offer expires upon herd immunity to Covid-19.)

Wishing you a 2021 that stands out as far upward in your memory as 2020 stands out downward in your memory.

All my best,

Bill

De-Robotizing Your Free Will

Created December 30th, 2020

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!! May 2021 be the year we all learn to fully appreciate the lives we had before, and now are able to have again – sometime during the year.

In prior posts, I’ve hypothesized that we come into this world as an experiencer, and from our very first moments, our being’s very essence is that original witness. Free, and in bliss, until disturbed. That is our true Self.

However, now, in the waking state of consciousness, we associate a lot of other content with that true self: all the stuff in our Ego memory which has conditioned our current inflexible reactions. All of that memory (according to Freud, and which rings true for me) involved learning from instances of disturbance.

All memory, physically, consists of neuron networks that the brain has built as result of all the experience undergone in this life. The Ego is that part of the neuronal structure that relates to craving perceived deficiencies, self-esteem, and the approval of others.

Disturbance, learning, building of Egoic neuron association pathways. Creation of a protein castle in the head which gradually assumes more and more political importance in relation to the original witnesser, and to all other memories.

Some of the Ego’s “automatic pilot” programs in our head were punched in by our “conscious mind pilot”. But the great preponderance of our Egoic automatic-pilot programming appears to be of the Pavlovian variety, whereby we were addicted as we grew up to certain types of shallow rewards, without this being anyone’s conscious intention.

These shallow rewards cluster around the concepts of gaining approval and the support of others. This is easy to understand when we look at it this way: we know that the earlier in our lives something affected us, the more power it has. Psychologists have concluded that the first five years sets the keel for the person. Per Freud, again, the Ego (this mass of neurons, this robot bio-AI) first appeared at the moment the baby’s needs were not immediately met. By extrapolation, the function of building the adult Ego was a process revolving around first getting the parents to do what baby wanted, and then by further extrapolation, gaining the favors of everyone we met after that, using what we had learned from the Ego’s negotiations with one’s parents.

I’ve hypothesized that the latter mass and its functionality have welded themselves onto our sense of self. We always react to the same types of situations in the same ways. The programs are going through their steps while we sleepily look on, along for the ride.

In peak experiences such as Maslow and Csikszentmihaly wrote about, we escape the welded state and are able to see everything, including the machinations of the internal bio-AI in us, which I identify as Freud’s Ego principle. This neurons and associations produced by the experience since birth, I also call the Robot, my name for the same thing.

How do you get into the Observer state – your “Me That Was Born”? All of these posts in the “On the Road to Flow” series are aimed at answering that question. Today’s post specifically relates to the removal of conditioning from oneself.

Step one is to observe one’s own inner and outer behaviors, which of course, has the added benefit of putting you right into the Observer state (at least momentarily; you will see that your ability to stay there for longer and longer periods does itself).

Observe your Self as if studying another person, so as to be able to truly register things which have become too familiar to notice. Particularly study when you sense yourself experiencing emotions. Trace the source of the emotion. Something very important to you either got trampled on or caressed with a velvet glove. What was that thing so important to you as to have these emotions well up automatically, a la Pavlov’s dog?

Why was that thing so important to you? What is your earliest memory that could be related to you wanting that thing so very much?

Do you still care that much about that thing in your conscious mind? Or is that kneejerk reaction something you have outgrown and can live without?

What is more important to you now, being a person whose Will can overcome anything else inside, a person who is Master over self, or a person like the great mass of society, who has been conditioned into being a rolebot, and doesn’t even know it?

When you begin this guiltless housecleaning of your psychological innards, make sure you are not frustrated, angry and scared when you find that you cannot turn your own mind on a dime. It has habituated those behaviors repetitively for so long the psychic momentum is enormous. Your deciding to change 100% instantly would not be realistic. You must accept that the Ego will fight as if a living mind parasite to maintain control of you. But it isn’t a parasite, it’s a symbiote, all it ever wanted to do was help, and it’s autonomic, mechanical in its functioning, it isn’t a separate mind and will, although it seems that way at times. Don’t divide yourself against yourself by getting mad at it. Sense of humor is one of the highest most practical senses we have; use it. Be patient. Take a long term view. If you never give up, you will get there. That is the right course of action.

For the MIND MAGIC chapter providing more in-depth tools on this subject please click here. Remember, until the herd is immune to Covid-19 you are able to get the whole book free.

All my best,

Bill

Click here for our New Years gift, a song from Stan Satlin.

Observerness

Created December 11, 2020

Happy Chanukah, commemorating the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, the one that Jesus loved! Wishing you a glorious Festival of Lights!

This continues from the prior post. We are discussing how you can reach and stay longer in the higher states of consciousness, real states whose existence have been reported throughout history, and by distinguished scientists such as Abraham Maslow and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.

In the chart above I immodestly put myself on the same page as two of the greatest psychologists of all time. Not to seek to elevate myself to their class, but simply to compare what developed in my own worldview from my own experiences during a period in my life when I had heard of neither of these wonderful people.

To me what is interesting is how similar the three worldviews are!

As an applied scientist in the field of marketing and media science, such consilience is a suggestor that some objective truth is out there underlying three such similar although independently developed models. There is a higher state of consciousness, and probably a ladder of them, although the ladder idea is implicit in Maslow, and not mentioned in Mihaly’s work (or I missed it).

Maslow had said that the highest state available to humankind is self-actualization. And then, later in life he amended that to state that there was a higher level of self-transcendence. Peak experiences he said are the moment to moment manifestations of being in those upper states. For the average human, in the average moment, life was not a peak experience but a relatively drab one, laboring at tasks not selected by one’s own passionate interest but which pay the bills, and rescue one from penury, disdain, rejection and a sense of failure and worthlessness. The needs the average person experiences in the average moment are driven by the desire to avoid unwelcome outcomes and are pervaded by a sense of needing to compensate for one’s own deficiencies.

What does this mean for you? It points to a simple way you can check on your own state, as often as it occurs to you. The more your heart yearns for peak experiences and a life of fulfilment, the more often you will naturally check in on your own state. These states can fluctuate very rapidly, as you may have experienced yourself.

Maslow took the long view whereas both Mihaly’s work and my own are phenomenologies rather than typologies in that we focus on moment to moment changes. For example, the moment when one realizes one is in Flow state, can be the moment that kicks one immediately out of Flow state, so it is important to not let that happen by avoiding the reflex of gloating.

Mihaly focuses on how Flow arises when there is an equilibrium between the challenge and one’s own skill set. Psychologists Yerkes and Dodson found that the degree of arousal (how much one cares about winning) when at a midpoint causes maximum performance. Mihaly and these other folks were on the same page. In my own self-taught methods I found that I performed best when I had “burnt out” attachment to winning and was just watching to see what would happen when I just played the game for its own sake.

Takeaways so far from this post:

  • Check in on your own state.
  • If you find yourself having a Flow state experience beware of patting yourself on the back and just keep focused on what you are doing.
  • If you are in a situation where you would like the highest performance from yourself, remember to focus on the doing and not on whether you will score high or low.
  • Prepare yourself for this neutral, detached state starting well before the event, if possible. Visualize how you will act nobly whether you win or lose, literally visualize each outcome separately, and how you will behave if that moment comes.

As you can see from the chart above, my model is a bit more complex than the other two. I suspect that what Maslow referred to as spiritual or self-transcendent experiences, I refer to as Spiritual Flow. Under that the next level down in my model is Flow, where one is performing at one’s best effortlessly and without attachment to how well or poorly one is performing. Next step down is the Observer state, the doorway to the states above it.

You know when you are in the Observer state, not when the kibitzing narrator mind turns off, but when you can observe its workings and its fears and angers, without getting sucked into them, as if they are outside oneself.

In the state of normal waking consciousness, one tends to play tapes, say the same things over a lifetime, like a mechanical robot, and to be subject to irremediable lifelong pain depending on how others react to us – Maslow’s reference to “deficiency”, what I have always thought of as defensiveness or self-protectiveness.

Added takeaway:

  • Note when you are in the Observer state. You may not be doing everything perfectly as in the Flow state, but you are keeping your detached witness identity and seeing what your lower mind is doing without be carried away by it. It’s highly conducive to Flow to happily remain in the Observer state for longer and longer periods of time.

You’ll also note that in the schema above I introduce the work of another philosopher of psychology by using the word “Ego” in the context of normal waking consciousness. Let’s start there in the next post.

My best to all,

Bill

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

The Quest for Peak Experiences

Created December 4th, 2020

Abraham Maslow described peak experiences as “sudden feelings of intense happiness and well-being, with an awareness of ultimate truth and the unity of all things.”

Have you had such experiences? Even if it doesn’t exactly fit Maslow’s definition, can you select one experience that might have been the best moment of your life so far? If you can, relive it now as best you can. It might help to close your eyes and take your time to let the memory fully form.

One of the reasons why Maslow thought so much about “self-actualization” as he called it, is because of the link he intuited between being a self-actualized person, and having larger numbers of peak experiences.

It wasn’t just his intuition, he himself was aware of how over the course of his life he graduated from being driven by the things that drive the mass of humanity – such as insecurity, the need to belong, money, lack of self-esteem, the desire to be held in high esteem by others – to a state in which those things were no longer important (because he had them all), and he was doing the work he loved and adding to the science of psychology each day. He had become self-actualized – understanding his own individuality and his gifts, and was expressing them every day, having the time of his life, replete with frequent peak experiences. His work in those years was an effortless mission to share these things with other people, so that they too could experience what he was experiencing, but in each case centered around the individual’s own personal potentials.

Owing to my parents having me perform on stage starting when I was four, I had peak experiences very early in life, and they caused me to become fascinated with my own consciousness and its various states. This became the through-line of my life. I wanted to learn how to bring these peak experiences about, and once I found some ways that worked, I kept a “scientific” journal of the methods that worked. Later I would write MIND MAGIC to share some of these methods life had taught me, quite a few of which I had identified before I was twelve, although my understanding of them continued to grow day by day. (The book is free during the pandemic at the preceding link.)

I thought of those peak experiences rather differently than Maslow. To me, what was remarkable about the experiences was not that feeling of well-being and unity, but the fact that my stage performances were doing themselves at a level of expertise which I had never experienced before. Later, studying both philosophy and psychology at the college where Abe had been head of the psychology department (Brooklyn College), although loving Maslow’s work, the connection between his and my models of experience did not strike me. By contrast, many years later, when I discovered the work of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, head of the psychology department at Chicago University, and his term “Flow state”, I had a peak experience and a thrill of recognition that my lifelong project wasn’t something that only happened to me.

Recently, a social science colleague of mine, Judy Langer, invited me to give a Zoom class on Maslow at The Center for Learning & Living in Manhattan. It gave me an opportunity to ruminate for the class on how my own self-taught methods and ideas related to both Abe’s and Mihaly’s work (I never had the privilege of meeting Abe, but did have that honor in Mihaly’s case, and he agreed to be an advisor to my nonprofit The Human Effectiveness Institute).

Here is the slide that I used:

This slide tells you how I view the work of Maslow, Mihaly and myself, and how we are all describing the same things, but organizing our data differently.

In my way of looking at things, introspection with concentration – you can also call it meditation – is what gets us into the Observer state and then into the Flow state. I believe Maslow grouped the Observer and Flow state experiences into what he called peak experiences.

To all three of us, normal waking consciousness is a state in which our behavior and our sense of experience is highly dominated by outside forces, we are trying to fit in, be accepted, get along, move up, and do not feel disposed to much self-examination. When we do notice our inner experience it is largely one of anxiety to one degree or another, unable to break away from what negative events could befall us.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs postulated that we would be obsessed by a given need until it was satisfied, at which point we became obsessed with a slightly “higher” need. We move up from being dominated by insecurity to being driven by a need to feel that we belong, and once having achieved that, it was self-esteem and the esteem of others that caused our behavior and our experience of life.

This series of posts will continue and the aim ultimately is to provide a condensed set of recommendations aimed at freeing you, the reader, from the conditioned motivators in your subconscious, so that you can enjoy more peak experiences, become self-actualized (if you are not already), and then self-transcendent, in a steady state of Flow and peak experience where what happens to everyone around you is more motivating than what happens to you, because you are already complete and feeling the unity.

I think of this series of posts which start here as “On the Road to Flow”. In the next post I will unpack the slide above.

My best to all,

Bill

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

 

The Door to Enlightenment Is Always an Inch Away Part 2

Originally posted as the second part of February 9, 2012 blog post

In the prior post, Part 1, we analyzed the concept of Enlightenment and some of its meanings from Kant to SRI VALS to Eastern philosophy, and pointed out that it is not an attainment but a maintainment, as one keeps slipping back out of it, with very few making it a permanent state. In this post we’ll focus on the practical steps one can take to beat the odds of spending more time in that state.

It’s okay to be a saint, in other words. It doesn’t mean you are NOT Enlightened. It simply depends on why you are acting saintlike. If there is any trace of ego motivation, you are merely in the highest attachment area before Enlightenment, which is not bad at all. Especially today when Acceleritis™ has us on the brink of our own mass destruction and already practicing it actively against other species of fauna and flora. If you count insecticides that have caused awful cancers and brain diseases, we are already practicing mass destruction against our own species, so caught up in Acceleritis are we.

So if you want to be a world saver, or caregiver, or an otherwise unselfish actor, consider that a degree of Enlightenment already; go ahead and give in to it. We need more of it anyway. It will lead you all the way.

And so as to technique: what techniques can be engaged in order to have these brief epiphanies of Enlightenment?

Why would a saint be taken out of Enlightenment if primarily motivated by the desire to please God?

Because this takes one out of the moment — doing the moment for something outside of the moment — something that exists in the future. Flow, which contains Enlightenment at its top end, does not work that way. If one is doing something for any outcome, one is out of Flow.

One is even out of Flow if one is grading one’s own performance. This is one of the biggest blocks to Flow. This is part of the herd mentality. You are only worth what others think of you. Each moment you have to be attached to what they think of you. This is drilled into us with reward/punishment (“Good Billy! Bad Billy!”).

This goes deep and starts at the first moment of dissociation, the first descent from Flow singularity/pointedness into a divided sheaf of self — the moment Freud referred to in Civilization and its Discontents when the Ego (manager-intermediary) first forms. Freud saw the id (the self that one is born with) as being a primitive, animal-like tabula rasa (a blank state) rather than being the single Consciousness of the Universe — the pure state of Selfness — the singularity of experiencing  — the Observer.

Whatever the parts of consciousness that exist when one is divided, as has become the endemic (and to Freud, natural) state of our race — the point is that a divided mind is the opposite of Flow. Our hypothesis is that our race could have existed mostly in Flow at some point far back enough in time, before Acceleritis set in.

Not being divided inside manifests as there being no distinction between your self and the moment. It is all one piece. You are not observing it from outside. You are experiencing it from inside while being totally immersively aware of the moment. You are not rating your own performance. You are not focused on success. You are not trying to remember technique. You are not narrating your own life novel. You are not making smart alecky comments although they may occur to you wordlessly. Feelings and ideas are happening quickly without being seized upon by the muscle of the mind. They do not take away attention from Flowing with the moment. You are not trying to figure out why you are doing this, or what techniques you are using — you are just doing what comes naturally.

When in Emergency OversimiplificationProcedure (EOP), we are living as though watching a rear view mirror, facing backward all our lives, with breaks to look forward. Only once in a while are we lucky enough to see/be the moment as it happens, not seeing ourselves and the moment as different things. This is to be cultivated.

The looking backward is all about slave mentality — judging your own performance in sublimated attachment to what others think of you. Such attachment is a form of dilemma perception — seeing everything to always be in a world of permanent dilemma, imperfection, hence the need to strive for something outside of the moment.

The word dilemma is all about being divided — “two postulates” is the Latin root meaning. Of course if there is more than one postulate there is the potential for a conflict between them, hence the uneasiness of having a dilemma. Dilemma, dissatisfaction, striving, attachment, all of these are the same thing — EOP. The state the great majority of us are in virtually all of the time. Our leverage to get out of that state and into Flow state is through these little windows that are only an inch away.

Here’s a recap:

  • If one is doing something for any outcome, one is out of Flow.
  • Grading one’s own performance is one of the biggest blocks to Flow.
  • A divided mind is the opposite of Flow.
  • In Flow, there is no distinction between your self and the moment. It is all one piece.
  • In Flow, you are not trying to figure out why you are doing this, or what techniques you are using — you are just doing what comes naturally, in the moment.

Jump through!

Best to all,

Bill

Follow my regular media blog contribution, “In Terms of ROI“ at MediaVillage.com under MediaBizBloggers. Read my latest post.