Category Archives: Mindfulness

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.

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.

 

Mindfulness

Updated May 1st, 2020

image by Erin Buonocore

In last week’s post we talked about how distracted we have become, and in conclusion we mentioned Mindfulness as one way we can counter the distractions of modern life. Therefore in this post we shall investigate the nature of Mindfulness.

Mindfulness is a form of attention control.

The need to be master of one’s own attention has gotten progressively greater over the centuries as a result of information overload and its distractive effects. We have given this condition the name Acceleritis™, the vast increase in the amount of information needing to be processed by our brains each day. ADD, ADHD, and a fairly obvious reduction in the general population’s ability to stay focused on one problem long enough to solve it, have been the result.

Watch a video about the cure for Acceleritis.

The need for Mindfulness has never been greater.

The Vedas, some of the earliest writings on the planet, recommend three yogic mental/ emotional methods to achieve the conscious and willful control of our attention.

  • Concentration is the focus of the mind on a single object.
  • Contemplation is the focus of the mind on a single subject.
  • Meditation is the contemplation of the Self.

What then is Mindfulness?

We define Mindfulness as the optimal allocation of attention for maximum effectiveness. When one is mindful, attention optimally allocates both inwardly and outwardly at the same time. This helps us understand our own motivations in the moment, to consider not only our needs but the needs and probable responses of others, and to greatly improve what fighter pilots call situational awareness. This is in sharp distinction from our typical behavior, which is to allocate virtually all attention outwardly whenever the eyes are open.

It takes attention and effort to be mindful, but practicing persistent Mindfulness not only allows us to be more present in each moment, it also allows us to shift into a higher state of consciousness to reach the Observer state more often and launch into the Zone or Flow state, the highest known state of consciousness in which right actions seem to do themselves effortlessly.

Mindfulness and Positive Thinking with a solution orientation — overleaping the focus on the problem once it is defined and going right to the focus on the solution — are the cornerstones of what I practice to achieve superior decisions, highest effectiveness, and creative innovation in all aspects of my life. Try this approach for yourself to see if it works for you.

Best to all,

Bill

Read the latest post at my media blog, “In Terms of ROI“ at MediaVillage.com

Originally posted 2015-03-24 12:35:08. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Step Away from Business as Usual

Originally posted December 8, 2015
Volume 5, Issue 41

Life in general is more complex than ever — we rush through our days trying to keep up and we tend to miss so much of what and who is around us. This is not conducive to being in the moment, open to the opportunities to be more present and engaged in our everyday lives, at our jobs, and with our families and friends.

Being master of our own attention has become progressively more challenging over the centuries, since the advent of written language some 3000 years ago and the resulting information overload. We often do not take time to ponder and instead we charge on, driven by rationalizing assumptions below the level of our own awareness. With hordes of distracting clutter in our daily lives creating a state we call Acceleritis™, most of us believe we “do not have time” to be in the moment, fully enjoying every second.

The need for Mindfulness has never been greater. Mindfulness has been used going back to the Vedas as a tool to remind us to pay attention — but to what? Mindfulness is about paying attention to both the events outside us as well as what’s going on inside — at the same time.

The miracle of another perfect day. Had to pull over to capture this moment. – Phil Howort, photographer

We need to step back from our demanding environments from time to time in order to really figure out our priorities — to fully contemplate and reflect on our lives, our relationships, our passion work, and where we’re heading.

Every moment we face choices. We make these choices in the context of how we view our options, but in our distracted rushed state we usually don’t consider all of our options. We often make random choices on how and with whom to spend our time and where to exert our energy, without realizing we are squandering an opportunity to stop and focus on our real priorities. Being mindful in the moment may allow for something unimaginable and superb to emerge.

We all need to bring mindfulness into more corners of our lives. We might have perfect mindfulness on the basketball court, stage or operating room, but lack it in our living room, bedroom or boardroom. Life offers a plethora of opportunities to learn how to be mindful across the spectrum of life.

The moment is always new, everything starts again now, unencumbered by whatever has gone before. Each moment is an opportunity for a fresh start, an opportunity to connect to the miracle of Life in the present.

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.

Originally posted 2015-12-08 12:00:43. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Visualizing 2019

Visualize the whole universe as one thing

Originally posted January 5, 2016Volume 5, Issue 47

As we leap into 2019, with clear intentions and resolve, let’s keep this visualization in the forefront of our minds to guide our thoughts and actions:

Visualize the whole
Universe as one thing
Every individual

of every species
Every idea
Every event
Every moment of time
Every percept
Every lump of matter 
and energy
All parts of one thing*

Then, each day, realizing your connection with the Universe, play your hand as best you can:

You are a Musician,
harmonize.
You are an Actor,
detach.
You are Real,
don’t pretend.
You are in Time,
don’t hurry.*

May we all reopen our minds to the existence of all possibilities, as we rediscover the unique experiment that Nature has designed uniquely for each and every one of us on our branch of the Tree of Life.

Happy New Year 2019!
Bill

*From Mind Magic: Doorways into Higher Consciousness

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

Originally posted 2016-01-05 08:54:35. Republished by Blog Post Promoter