Category Archives: Flow State

Favoring Your Better Side

Created June 11, 2021

In the prior post I wrote about Emergency Oversimplification Procedure (EOP), which I hypothesize to be a milder version of Post Traumatic Shock Disorder (PTSD). At the end I provided a few brief takeaways that are effective mind tricks to get out of EOP and into your naturally most effective and happy states of consciousness:

  • Observer state in which you are able to really see your Self, where you have the reins to metaprogram your own behavior with true free will and creativity – vs. EOP where you are inattentive, predictable and robotic and not totally sentient. I hypothesize Observer state to be our state in nature prior to the existence of written language, civilization, culture, and the information overload it has all led to today. Remember, from the standpoint of the 12.1 million years it took to develop our species out of ape stock, the 5000 years since written language began is a relative eyeblink (.004% of the time since we started): EOP could simply be the initial shock reaction of the immense acceleration our species has gone though in only the last 250 generations.
  • Flow state in which, during well-practiced and/or innately gifted behavior, you are so immersed in what you are doing that it appears to be doing itself better than you thought you could, although you are at play and not attached to any outcome.

Readers of my book MIND MAGIC sometimes ask me if there is a way that I can simplify my advice. For example, consider this Amazon review:

“This book is THE owner’s manual for the mind. This book presents nearly impossible challenges to even the most powerful and dedicated seekers. I’ve never known a single person that actually finished the work contained in this book.”
—   Benjamin Zabriskie, Amazon review of MIND MAGIC

For readers of this blog, this post will attempt to release you from your Emergency Oversimplification Procedure by means of extreme further simplification. This would seem to be self-contradictory but let’s see if it works anyway.

The strategy recommended here also judos dichotomania (binary coding, seeing everything as polar opposites) which is an aspect of EOP, doing so by reducing everything to noting the two streams of inner dialog and images/feelings in your mind.

From this moment on, if you agree to try this experiment with me, note what you are thinking and feeling from moment to moment and decide which of your two selves that thought or feeling represents:

  • Your Better Self – Heroic, blasé, confident, positive, constructive, compassionate, loving, kind, strong, determined to always do the right thing
  • Your Frail Human Side – Fearful, worried, escapist, taking refuge in addictive practices, having no faith in happy endings, seeking the easy way out, guilty and remorseful about the past

Without overthinking it (because you could become as indecisive as Hamlet if you wait for rational certainty) steer toward your hero side at all times. Do not blame your other self for having unworthy thoughts or feelings. If you have an unworthy thought don’t touch it. Don’t act on it. Don’t yell at it. Don’t even reject it. Just let it sit there in the wake of your mind contrails and drift away into the past without giving it further attention as you move onto into the next new now. Instead turn to considering testing alternative ways of doing things in the future which ought to soothe and remove the cause of whatever it was that gave you those craven thoughts or feelings.

If this simplified method works for you, it will mean that it is a sound means for you to use to get into the Observer state, where you can see the EOP side of yourself but take away its power over you. Where you can drill down to causality paths that will remove the sadness and bad feelings the EOP mind retains but is unable to terminally process. Your better side will be able to remove all the gunk in your mind. Just hew to your higher self and you will re-become that self you were always meant to be in the first place.

All my best,

Bill

The Whole Human Race Has PTSD

Created June 4, 2021

Post Traumatic Shock Disorder (PTSD) is usually associated with combat veterans, but civilians have also had it after being in violent or dangerous situations. To millions of whites in this country having Obama elected president was a traumatic shock, and to half of Americans the Trump years were a prolonged traumatic shock. On top of these conditions came the pandemic, having to teach your own children what they were supposed to be learning at school, having your home turned into a submarine of compression togetherness, the insurrection, and the escalating publicity about police and domestic violence, the collapsing environment, overstretched national debt levels, threatening signs from other nations, and the ongoing sense of unreconcilable differences tearing us apart.

More than enough to account for the mass PTSD, leading with help from certain media to a degree of mass hysteria.

Maybe we should call it OTSS: Ongoing Traumatic Shock Syndrome.

The first step is to admit the possibility that you have a degree of PTSD. You may feel unmoored lately, unsure of your place in the world, unsure of where the future may be going for you, troubled by frictions within the family that had never existed before, challenged to keep the same level of income coming in. You may not be as certain what you believe in as you always had been. Letting yourself acknowledge such feelings is essential to begin to process those feelings into constructive thought and action.

My theory is that the human race has been in a degree of PTSD for a very long time. In MIND MAGIC I refer to the somewhat milder PTSD condition as EOP: Emergency Oversimplification Procedure. I believe we began to develop pandemic EOP about 5000 years ago when we started to see written language, which did something to our minds that has never been equaled.

The spread of EOP accelerated as written language led us to invent tools, weapons, machinery, media, governments, technology, science, and innumerable other things.

EOP results when we do not feel we have the attentional capacity to deal with the many questions in our minds, and so we decide to short-cut our thinking.

This increases the tendency toward:

  • dichotomania, the predisposition to perceive that everything fits neatly into one of two boxes which are polar opposites of one another;
  • subscribing to and becoming fanatically loyal to pre-packaged notions such as religions and ideologies;
  • increasing power to confirmation bias;
  • avoiding consideration of the largest questions in life;
  • replaying the same tapes over and over in one’s mind and in one’s speech;
  • actually hallucinating that one is seeing exactly what one expected to see and to hear exactly what one expected to hear, although that is not what really happened;
  • hasty closure, making up one’s mind too fast;
  • not thinking for oneself, although one may see oneself as a paragon of individualism and independence;
  • over-generalization: one person of that ‘type’ does X so all of that type do X
  • and a horde of other self-hypnotic, robotical microbehaviors, all of which underestimate the desirability of more objective self-observation, therefore keeping us out of the Observer state, and significantly reducing our chances of getting into the Flow state.

I started to write about EOP nearly half a century ago, and expected that in my readings I would eventually discover that someone thought of this a long time ago. Strangely, despite my wide-ranging reading over the years, I never came across the notion of EOP by any other name.

Until yesterday.

Yesterday I was reading about the work of a fellow marketing/media researcher, Professor Karen Nelson-Field, whom I’ve met a number of times. What never came up in our brief conversations at conferences is that she has observed EOP and describes it using other language:

KNF: I’d like to give the attention economy a bit of background, if I may because it’s quite a buzzword now. Many people don’t really understand the context and its background. We all know that we live in this age of extreme distraction and our capacity to process is very small. What happens is that humans make decision shortcuts, and give little thought to what it is to avoid information overload. They give little thought to researching every single thing that comes past the desk.

The attention economy comes from the concept that taking decision shortcuts when you’re an air traffic controller or when you’re driving a car is not ideal. I think the study of information overload started during the World War II era. What impact does that have on our economic and social systems?

By its nature, the attention economy is a study of inattention and its economic or social impact.

Essentially, we want to understand not only the cause of inattention, the consequences of inattention but also some ethical solutions to correct it. MORE

I applaud Karen’s thinking and am grateful to now know of another scientist giving credence to what I call EOP.

Brief takeaways for countering EOP and thus returning to the more natural Observer state, doorway to the Flow state:

  • Stop moving, breathe deeply, observe your mind as if from afar.
  • Hold off on agreeing with the thoughts and feelings that arise in you, reconsider them from the other side with a fully open mind, reset the basic assumptions to zero just for this interlude.
  • Feel, look and listen for small “voices” (could be feelings or images) that are hunches about something you hadn’t been considering, trying to break through to your attention.

Best to all,

Bill

A Way to Decide How to Live Your Life

Created March 5, 2021

Painful periods in history have always made us stronger. Other than the venom of our disagreements, we now show great promise as a race. We are now advanced enough to come up in less than a year with vaccines that work against novel deadly viruses, and several nations are visiting Mars right now. Think of all the great new tech we are making and using together. If robots put us all out of jobs, governments and businesses will have to sponsor us so they still have someone to sell things to.

On the other hand, everyone is so roiled up by the last few years of callous misuse of media for political and financial gain, including several nations that had taken years to calm down, it could all blow up before we get to ultimate technotopia.

It would sure be a shame to let that happen.

Because if we can keep a steady hand on the tiller, it’s in everyone’s self-interest to not blow it all up, but for national leaders to create win/win trade deals keeping the whole machine going and making it work better year after year.

As nations and as individuals, we’ve all gotta feel for the other “guy” because either we’re one big happy family or we’re one big dysfunctional war hole.

The biggest disagreement that is driving us apart reflects two very different worldviews. One view assumes that the universe is benevolent or neutral, and that everyone is trying to do the right thing. The other view is that the universe is a dangerous place filled with both good and evil beings. Those of the latter view naturally are more likely to exhibit hate and be prone to violence.

Millions or billions of us need to really rethink about how to live the rest of our lives. It might be a whole different worldview than we have lived by until now.

The way I go about thinking about how to live my life starts from looking over what I think the world is.

I find it implausible that the universe is an accident.

The one thing that I am certain exists, is my consciousness. If my consciousness can exist, a God-sized consciousness could also exist. That consciousness might regard itself in some other way than as God per se. That consciousness could be as scientific as a far more advanced version of our science. It could have a sense of self the way we do. It could know itself better than we each know ourselves. It could realize that it is a vast biocomputer, that it processes information the way our minds do.

It could have such immense processing power that it can pay attention to an infinite number of different things at once. In that way, it could be playing a three-dimensional “videogame” through us, its avatars.

If that were the case, our consciousness could live forever, once our current body stops working.

None of this is unscientific. Great scientists differ in their hunches as to ideas like this; one of the greatest physicists of all time, John Wheeler, had an open mind about such subjects. He postulated that consciousness is an essential causal factor in making the reality we experience, exist. (The link brings you to a ten-minute video explaining this in more detail for those interested.)

All religions could be essentially true, including the miracles. Who among us has not experienced miracles such as suddenly knowing something is going to happen, what someone else is thinking, or receiving an incredibly good idea out of the blue? Some of us have experienced more inexplicable things than others. I’ve shared my own strange experiences in my book You Are The Universe.

Paranormal experiences have brought out the spiritual feelings I had as a small child. People who have not had those experiences are highly likely to be skeptical about God.

I was highly skeptical of the things I was told about religion. As life confirmed the predictions inherent in all truly religious ethical statements, I became somewhat more open-minded. I identified in myself a cultural bias which dichotomized my thinking into pro-science/anti-religion vs. pro-religion/anti-science.

I concluded that one must allow for the probability of some sort of God. That had not been ruled out by science. That was when I began to think about how they might both be true.

I see the universe as a single consciousness. The original Experiencer is living through each of us, not just humans but everything. That is my take on what is going on. I invite you to start again to consider what the universe may be, and how your bet in reality is going to guide you to right action, in your future reimagined free of lockdowns your mind may have firmly decided in the past.

Even though we have learned millions of amazing things since we began, we still know very little about the largest questions, who are we, why are we here, and therefore we must bet our lives on some basic assumptions that are relevant to decision making day to day.

My baseline is that everything that has not been ruled out by science is possible. And so, my actions should be optimized for both an accidental material-only world versus a God World in which each of us is God, temporarily self-hypnotized for the zest of the game.

But beyond actions, one also has feelings, and feelings inside of us should also be optimized. If we merely go through life deferring the question of what the whole universe is, we are avoiding one of the most important aspects of being alive, and merely closeting the wonder and awe we were born with.

Aesthetically, I am betting on the God Universe. Pragmatically that also allows me to experience hunches and inspirations and spiritual feelings for all things and beings, which I find to be all very positive feeling experiences.

Since we cannot know definitively, the game is set up that way, we can either bet one way or another or can optimize for all worldviews simultaneously. But we cannot walk around the question of what we feel the universe is. It’s a key part of the journey. From that will come the wellspring of inspiration that will show you your new high road in life.

All my best, Bill

PS – Chapter 12 of MIND MAGIC provides more specific recommendations on how to reopen your mind to the expanded worldview possibilities of consciousness itself, which John Wheeler and other eminent quantum physicists have validated as consistent with quantum theory.

Don’t Fight Yourself

You may not realize it but sometimes you fight yourself. You are desirous of one type of outcome but your actions force you to the opposite outcome.

This is caused by mental-emotional processes that are built in.

How do you know when you are doing this to yourself?

One sure sign is negativity.

Negative emotions are a dead giveaway that you are fighting yourself. You want something very badly and your actions are going to work towards denying you that outcome.

The negativity is impossible to fully hide even if you are a great actor. And when the other person senses your negativity, they are less likely to be persuaded by whatever you say.

Negativity lowers your effectiveness. You are picturing yourself failing and that will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

There is one sense in which negative emotions are a useful tool. Like an alarm clock, they wake you up to a problem needing to be addressed. Just like an alarm clock, to be at your best and most effective, you turn off the alarm before doing anything else.

However, most people find it is virtually impossible to turn off their negative emotions.

Chapter 11 of MIND MAGIC (free links during the pandemic) provides a battery of tools which can enable you to turn off negative emotions, while getting down to creative solution thinking, that will aid you in whatever your outcome quest happens to be at the time.

The first thing to do is to understand where and why you are experiencing negative emotions.

The easiest case is fear. It will be fairly easy to figure out what you are afraid of.

Anger is another type of negative emotion that is a little more difficult to diagnose in terms of the cause. But the secret is to ask yourself what you are afraid of losing or not getting that is making you mad. Anger is always the result of fear of loss of something you have or are trying to get.

Depression or disheartenment are the most difficult types of negative emotions to figure out the cause of. If you feel a dull vague sense of negative emotion it could take a while to determine the cause.

Your feelings might be hurt. You could be frustrated at how long some things are taking. It could simply be the aftereffects of a bad dream.

When it takes more than a couple of minutes to see the cause of your negative emotions, the best approach is to stop trying to figure it out, and to take a break from work, get into an alone space (outdoors in nature is the best), and just goof off. Yoga or meditation would be ideal if you do those things. Otherwise goofing off is a perfectly acceptable proxy. Goofing off is very close to meditation. The main point when you don’t know why you are sulking, is to stop trying to get through your TO-DO LIST. Goofing off is a wonderful cure, because it allows the subconscious mind to send you messages. Ones which would almost never get through while you are enmeshed in your TO-DO LIST.

Once you find out the cause, then a useful tool is drawing schematics of action options, circles with captions indicating what they represent, and arrows indicating what you are feeling the cause and effect relationships would be if you took those actions. Keep going until you feel that you have a plan and a sense of inner clarity.

There is much more useful technique in the chapter at the link above. Here’s a sample:

Transform worries into tasks

 

by distinguishing

the variables you can control

from the variables you cannot control;

 

then set out to control the former variables

and essentially ignore the latter variables.

 

Worrying is negative input

once you have identified the controllable variables

and have set yourself to controlling them.

 

Worrying under such conditions

implies that you should concern yourself

with phenomena beyond your control;

such concern is misplaced,

since you will always have quite enough to think about

as regards phenomena that are under your control.

 

That which is beyond your control

is not your responsibility;

 

whatever happens that is beyond your control

can only be accepted as necessary.

 

Wishing you alignment with yourself and the much-admired capability to keep on smiling through whatever life throws at you.

All my best,

Bill

Identify With The Wisest Voice In Your Mind

Created February 19th, 2021

The average person is controlled by their own mind. This might seem like a very good thing, if we interpret it to mean that the average person acts autonomously, guided solely by their own independent view of things.

Unfortunately, the ruminations of words, images, feelings, and action impulses that we experience as our minds, does not typically represent our own viewpoint, but a mélange of viewpoints that we have been washed in for a very long time, which have worked out their own dissonant coexistence with each other in our memory banks.

In order to get from there to autonomy requires careful weighing of all of what we think we know or believe. That is a wonderful process. Most people succeed in avoiding it all their lives.

And so, the typical mind rambles on, being taken ultra-seriously by its owner. Often it causes us to do something we regret. Sometimes it can literally drive us crazy. All too frequently it exercises its power to make us feel bad, in the midst of a day which could otherwise make us very happy.

When one introspects with concentration, avoiding hasty closure, this brings on a state I call the Observer state. From this state one is able to discriminate between valuable thoughts and counterproductive ones. By filtering the stream, one is panning for gold, and is no longer a slave totally controlled by the inner wordstream.

In MIND MAGIC, Chapter 9 “Disidentifying With The Thought Senate” is filled with phrases that help bring on and maintain the Observer state during introspection and when in action, specifically by remembering the subordinate role of the talking-to-oneself mind and the sovereignty of the generally-upspeaking self who is the observer, the one who experiences.

The chapter starts out:

Visualize the mechanism

which sends you verbal thought messages

not as one speaker,

but as a vast senate of many different speakers.

Each experience you have had

creates a separate viewpoint

from which comments may be made.

Therefore, the first step to take

in analyzing any thought sent to you,

is to determine who is speaking:

which set of experiences that you have had

is expressing its viewpoint to you?

Do not identify with your thoughts. 

You are not the thinker of the thoughts;

 

you are the hearer of the thoughts.

 

The thinker of your thoughts

is a subsidiary mechanism within you,

which attempts to put some of your feelings

into words;

you must then assess the way you feel about these words.

Not looking at the matter this way,

most individuals tend to identify themselves

as the author of the words in their head,

and consequently are biased in favor

of believing and defending these thoughts

In fact, each thought you have

is merely a trial balloon,

a draft from your speechwriter

sent to you

so that you can decide whether you agree or disagree

In many cases, you will realize

that the speaker of the last thought sent to you

is representing the viewpoint

of some other individual(s) you have known,

often in the exact words and tone of voice

used by these other individuals.

Obviously, accepting such viewpoints as your own

would be submitting to mental slavery.

Yet this is precisely what most individuals do,

by identifying with their thoughts.

After you have identified the last speaker,

engage him or her in a dialog

in which you ask the speaker to defend his or her position

by asking the speaker specific questions

which illuminate possible flaws in his or her position.

In this way,

you will always be questioning your own last thought

in a search for objective truth,

 

separated from the conditioning effects

of your experience

and from the influence

of communications you have received.

Recently I was excited to read an article about a psychologist and neuroscientist Ethan Kross, who is developing ways of advising people how to deal with their inner dialogue.

It’s interesting to compare one’s own work to the work of others taking different routes up the mountain. Ethan whose work I respect and appreciate is not distinguishing the different voices in our mind, many coming from ego, the AI, and some precious few coming from The Me That Was Born.

My theory is that we have an unerring compass within us, our highest self, that which came into this world, that says very little in our mind, but when it speaks, what it says has the ring of truth, and turns out to work in the real world. Such events of inspiration occur in the Flow state, where the organism is functioning optimally, a state even higher than the Observer state.

My experiences with Flow and Observer states, as well as spiritual and ESP experiences, form the difference between my work and that of most mainstream psychologists and neuroscientists. I’m glad that as a chorus we psychologists and introspectionists of all kinds are focusing more on where the real leverage to save the human race lives: our individual inner lives.

We live in challenging times. It’s up to each of us to help pull us through and bring us to our highest positive potentials. Whatever works for you, use it. Test my advice, test the advice of others, seek your own inner wisdom most of all. But follow that which works for you in the real world, which makes you and the people around you happy.

One way or the other, it’s undeniable that now is the time to strengthen your self and your mind and body in all the ways that you can. We have chosen leaders who have taken us down paths which are not going to be so easy to switch out of, even with new and better leaders we have now. The one family we were coming out of WWII, the free peoples of Earth, those who believed in Democracy, somehow have of their own choice taken us back into a world in which force and threat rule. It will affect each of us. We have to be our best, better than we ever were.

You can do it. We will do it.

Best to all,

Bill

 

Sense the Meaning of the Moment: Right Now, it is “Fresh Start”

Created January 26th, 2021

Take Advantage of your Permission for Creativity

Everyone had been waiting to see what President Biden was going to say to Russia and to China. I wrote this piece below a few days before President Biden had his first call with President Putin. I wrote:

I hope he and his Team are savoring the moment: they have a chance to make a fresh start.

“In Action, Watch the Timing”

Lao Tzu

Also, there is no rush in certain things. Better to have more time to deeply think and discuss.

There would be no harm in considering a Socratic approach:

  1. Being friendly
  2. Respectful and with dignity and humility
  3. Asking questions relevant to the future direction of the world
  4. As a collaborator
  5. In the same lifeboat Earth together
  6. And with a degree of power
  7. What to do with each other that both will like

This is a more balanced approach than “Love your enemy” but they are both brilliant (being Socrates and Jesus) and can be embraced together.

When one feels that an attempt is being made to manipulate you, dial back on the Jesus and up on the Socrates; at all other times, let your own intuition guide where to set the dial in collaborating with someone who might more accurately be described as a rival.

Now that we know all about the call, my prayer above was answered. The two have made a business-like fresh start, just as I had hoped.

This is The Moment of Reset.

We are not likely to live through another time like this one, the spacetime continuum itself is up for a bit of innovation. You are invited to be creative now. Savor the opportunity and follow your dreams.

It is possible now to change the way the world thinks so that the word “enemy” becomes passé.

Nations and corporations are two versions of the same thing: autonomous groupings of people seeking specific real-world outcomes.

Sane CEOs do not think of competitors as enemies, they think of them as competitors, i.e., rivals.

The same should be true of sane Presidents.

And rivals can enjoy coopetition and being frenemies, and all of the other variations of gradually migrating to partners.

Competition Has the Best Effects When It’s Friendly

Adam Smith made a profound impression upon the world and shaped modern Capitalism. Our American Founders took very seriously the importance Smith placed upon competition in a free market.

In high school at times it seemed the boys were all competing to see who could feel best about himself.

We all love sports and every other form of competition you can imagine – including for some of us, war.

Cancer is a natural form of competition among cells in the same body/mind/spirit.

So, competition can be very, very good, or it can be very, very bad, or in the middle somewhere.

We can choose our kind of competition to be one that’s compatible with partnership. And along the way let’s take our time (Sinatra singing “Nice and Easy”) by going through all the steps of frenemies, coopetitionists, and finally partners.

This is the Meaning of the Moment now.

But let’s zoom back – the moment is always changing. What I’d like to share with you is not just about this moment, but about how you can yourself read the meaning of every moment in which you are involved.

It’s all about Observation. The Observer state.

I can be more specific by using a few quotes from MIND MAGIC:

 

“Opening the senses. Seeing more of what is.”

 

“Imagine what you look like;

imagine that a mirror which only you can see exists on the far wall.

Do not get so involved in your task or role that you cannot see yourself in this mirror.

Catch your facial expressions and hand gestures,

body movements and so forth in this mirror,

and ask yourself

why you have created these manifestations.”

 

“Count the feel of a situation more important than the look.

Remember that the pervasive becomes invisible.

What is motivating each entity in this situation?

How might this have gotten started?

How might I turn this to everyone’s advantage?

Pose the right questions.

Do not screen out or rephrase statements to yourself which utilize models other than the scientific/materialistic.

Why did that happen?

What is it trying to tell me?”

 

These are words out of my book MIND MAGIC. The chapter quoted above is Chapter 6, “Opening the Senses”. These links are free during the pandemic, one to the book itself, and the other to Chapter 6. I hope you enjoy, and can sense the change in yourself, and begin to observe more closely the meaning of each moment in your life.

All my best,

Bill

 

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