Category Archives: Mind Magic

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

Feeling Happy

Created March 19, 2021

The Pursuit of Happiness. It’s one of our inalienable rights.

But do we exercise it enough?

What percent of our thoughts does happiness get?

Before Covid, probably our own happiness did not get much of our attention at all on the average day.

Since Covid, I hear from my friends that the constant video calls are keeping them busier than ever, and I’m certainly experiencing that myself. That might mean that we are giving even less thought to happiness, our own and that of others.

Those of us on the front lines, still moving around outside the home, may have even less time to self-contemplate. Although there are times in everyone’s day that can be stolen moments, when the priorities are remembered.

The trick is not just to remember to think creatively about how to make oneself and others happy. It’s also, even more importantly, to simply remember to be happy.

Not that we all can turn that off and on like a switch. Most of us have little talent for switching over to being happy. But with practice, like with everything, it actually is something that all of us can learn to do.

The way it works with me is:

  1. First, I create a minute or two of alone space. No one can interrupt or distract me. That may require slipping away and locking oneself in a bathroom.
  2. Long slow breaths help establish a certain calmness.
  3. I’m prepared to take notes with pad and pen in pocket. Just in case I get a flow of inspiration.
  4. Am I happy? If not, why not, what activity can I undertake when I rejoin the world that I’d rather be doing, and can I put off what else I’ve been doing, and if so, to when? I’ve written here before about the importance of working on what you feel like working on at the moment – it’s conducive to Flow state, on top of making yourself happy.
  5. I put on a smile to help others and leave my hideout.

You might find other ways to switch yourself to the happy channel. If there are seriously painful things going on, that’s a whole different situation. Still requiring creativity, alone space to focus. The only constructive question is always What can I do about it? You can’t control the outcome of certain painful situations but you can identify where you can exert creative effort to make a positive difference. Sometimes the only thing you can control is the impression you make on others, showing how a mensch can stand up to anything, supporting others, still able to have an apropos type of smile on your face, calm and working toward the good every moment.

All of us can be refreshed and reinvigorated by a daily dose of a few minutes’ contemplation on our happiness. Or the whole day, it’s the one thing worth double-tasking. While you go about your day, remember that you are responsible to yourself to enjoy every moment of the gift of life.

Bring able to keep that criterion within every moment is one of the most important priorities of life.

It might seem selfish but on a practical basis it is not. Your being happy will actually make people around you happier than they would be if you are unhappy instead.

All my best,

Bill

The Human Race Needs to Go Inside

Created March 12, 2021

By not being observant, we miss out on information that would have helped us if we had only noticed it.

The information we miss might be from events happening around us. It can also be information we miss that is going on inside of us.

Distraction is the usual cause of inattention. There are too many things going on around us and inside us. This is a cultural condition. Acceleritis is the word I use to describe what life has been like for the average citizen of Earth since we started writing things down: an ever-accelerating maelstrom of curiosity-attracting events occurring almost constantly.

My theory is that it is written language that caused Acceleritis, by changing the ways we use our minds in the direction of abstraction, chunking of information, and analysis; which cascaded into invention of weapons, tools, machines, media, science, and technology. As this upward curve progressed its speed accelerated exponentially and continues to do so. The amount of information entering our minds each second has never been as higher in the past and it will be even higher in the future.

The way most of us handle it is willy-nilly. Hence, we are often distracted and miss information.

The most valuable information that we miss is happening inside of us.

The Acceleritis culture demands and compels our attention outward. We are hypnotized by the sensory overload. We can’t get enough of it. Many of us are multitasking during almost all waking hours.

This tends to reduce introspection to lower and lower average levels as each century passes by.

That is why we miss so much of what is going on inside of us.

The reason why it matters is that without introspection we will not know ourselves. We will live and die with a superficial image of ourselves that is of little value in guiding our lives toward peak experiences, Flow state, self-actualization, doing our passion work, having a lasting love affair with our true mate, self-knowledge and self-transcendence.

The experiencer within us, which is our true self, The Me That Was Born, finds it hard to slip us its invaluable inspiration amid the melee of automatic reactions going on inside of us, associations from our various memory banks triggered by new percepts pouring in, often less than ecstatic feelings that we would prefer to not have but never stop to examine and dispel them forever. Those negative feelings are happening just because of memory associations happening below the level of self-noticing.

Once we start to get better at noticing internally, we discover a level of self-mastery we never suspected was possible for us. We are actually able to nip negativity in the bud, turn it into creativity. Our hunches can be effectively divided into ones we successfully take advantage of, versus ones we leave as tentative for further study. Our Flow state experiences happen more and more frequently.

Because internal visibility is so important, Chapter 10 of Mind Magic focuses on methods to develop strong internal visibility.

The attraction of attention outward and its constant fragmentation into distraction after distraction has caused us to become ineffective decision makers. We see this clearly in our world leaders. We see this in our hero and heroine celebrities who in most cases eventually disappoint us. We see it in ourselves but repress it as much as we can, assuming it is what it is and there is no changing it. We pass up the opportunity to make positive changes because we assume those options are all as “full of it as everything is”.

Metaphorically, having experienced so much counterfeit, we subconsciously conclude that there is no real money. But both the real and the counterfeit exist, and it would be better for you to experiment cautiously to see if you can find things that actually work for you.

Concentration within introspection – what I call the Observer state – really works; it is written about by all of the great sages in history, using metaphorical language whereas Mind Magic is explicitly operational in its language. As the great direct response copywriter John Zeigler said about the book and the method, “It works. You don’t.” It doesn’t add stress to your life, it gradually removes it.

The human race needs to go inside. Being so outward-focused is a big part of what got us into the mess we’re in now. It’s become hip to be cynical and pessimistic. This is one step away from hating, rage, threats and violence. Integrate your inner and outer worlds. Dare to wear your heart on your sleeve, unself-protectively, with unguarded eyes, dare to show your love and affection for others. That is the true courage, the true manliness, the true woman-ness, the meaning of mensch.

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