Category Archives: Uncategorized

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. Both the chapter and the whole are book are free to everyone during the pandemic.

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.

The links above provide the whole chapter and the whole book respectively, free during the pandemic.

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

 

Improving Personal Timing Is the Lowest Hanging Fruit

Created February 11, 2021

Sometime between 600 BC and 400 BC, Lao Tzu advised “In action, watch the timing”.

Sometime between age 4 and age 6, a showbiz celebrity advised me after seeing my act “Timing is everything”. During my teen years operating the spotlight for shows at Hotel Brickman I carefully observed how the greatest acts used timing. It was almost imperceptible. Later I read that science refers to micromomentary gestures as part of how we subliminally communicate with each other. Those little gestures are all wrapped up in timing too.

Jack Carter hit the mic twice with his ring before each punchline. Except when he went into Flow (he called it “being on”) which was most of the time he was on stage. I asked about the ring thing and he said it used to be his way of managing his timing and now it was just an old friend.

As a society, the left and right political classification scheme reflects different attitudes toward how quickly to move from good things we have already created, into new things that impassion their creators and could be even better things than the ones we have now. That is a timing issue.

Most of us wish the vaccines could move faster to our arms. Another kind of timing issue.

I’m actually referring to each of us as individuals and the way we use timing in our lives. Sometimes we move too fast – and then make mistakes and everything we were trying to speed up just got slowed down. Sometimes we move too slowly – such as after recognizing our own mistake – but every moment is different and there are only a small set of minimalist rules to help you regulate the speed you are attempting to go at, at the moment. These clues comprise Chapter 8 of MIND MAGIC – free during the pandemic.

The chapter starts with an exercise the reader performs in the moment while interacting with that page. The exercise brings on a different state of consciousness which most readers who write say they find intriguing and different from their normal introspective experiences.

“Act only when you decide

That the loss in value associated with delay

Is probably greater

Than the gain in value associated with thinking further

About the motives, possible consequences,

And alternatives to such action.

 

Start now.

Do not move any part of your body

From the position it is now in.

Regard any such movement

As an action to be evaluated prior to action.”

 

The chapter spends some time diagnosing why you may be rushing. Fear is usually involved but one is not conscious of the fear, but rather projects it as righteous duty and keeping agreements and not letting down the team or the CEO.

In all cases it pays to stop the clock and block out all distractions and focus on the stuff that’s got to get done, what the real priorities are, and reschedule a lot of it, then focus on the one lowest hanging most pressing fruit that will do the most good at the moment.

The chapter suggests that the voices and feelings which take us over and get us to rush out of subliminal fear, are actually AI remnants of the conditioning we received as we were growing up. “AI” is a metaphor of course, we are natural creatures, not artificial in that sense. But the robotical part of the mind which I associate with Ego as defined by Freud acts just like all those “helpful” popup suggestions on our screens and keeps us out of the Flow state.

You will only get into the Flow state if you can immerse yourself in one task at a time and do it for the enjoyment of doing it well. If you don’t get into the Flow state the work you will be giving your client or employer will not be at the genius level. Why do it then?

The same with what you give your loved ones and friends and people you meet. If you are going to be driven like a stampeding animal by remnant feelings and voices in your head, without becoming self-aware and the master of your self, the potential joy you could bring to those people will be sharply reduced.

If you happen to be in government, please stay there, we need you! Of all people you should know how to help yourself get into the zone.

I’m saying it’s possible for each of us to be geniuses. Artists. Philosophers, Renaissance People. We each have that potential within us and it isn’t miles away. It starts with a few simple rules and then you start to get your own inspirations.

It’s not only possible, it’s necessary. The human race is being severely challenged. It’s a special time. We must rise to the occasion, like WWII but more so. Back then you had to have a liberty garden and do the right thing to pitch in and win the war. Now you have to train yourself to be able to give your best 24/7.

Take the course. It’s free during the pandemic. If you don’t like it, you wasted 5 minutes. But I suspect you’ll spend more time with it and thank me.

We all need this. Let’s do it.

Best to all,

Bill

Decode the Universe’s Lesson

February 3rd, 2021

An “As-If” viewpoint opens the mind. You don’t have to believe that the Universe is conscious. But, just because it is possible, and it is of practical value (more about this presently), you can choose to allow yourself to play the game of trying to see the universe’s lesson in whatever happens.

You can regard this as a stimulus to creative thinking.

As an example, take the cancelling of the Keystone XL Pipeline. For environmental reasons, many of us support that move. Yet there are people who have been living that project as their dream, and are heartbroken at the disappearance of their passion work.

The Universe’s lesson is that each decision must consider every possible fallout, and legislation must provide for innocents harmed.

Are we THAT good, where we can aspire to a system in which legislators are THAT sensitive to their many constituencies?

Definitely it’s demanding more of ourselves when it seems we have already overborrowed at that bank.

Here’s the catch. It might truly be impossible with minds continuing to be used in old fashioned ways that no one has seriously questioned in thousands of years.

But we have always had available to us keys to reaching more effective and exalted states of consciousness. Thanks to William James, Abraham Maslow, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Richard Davidson and Daniel Goleman, these peak experience states are now accepted facts of science, at least as regards the exalted state called Flow and known colloquially as the zone.

Each of us in life rediscovers these Perennial Keys to the higher state but the average person captures very few of them.

They appear in the Bible, vastly in Indian literature, and in every culture on the planet.

You already own more of these keys than you realize.

They are tricks of the mind, hence the jocular title of our book MIND MAGIC.

Rediscovering these oft-rediscovered keys and bringing them down from puzzles in the mind, and from reading the metaphors and exhortations in ancient literature, we’ve distilled and field-proven modernized techniques to learn. You know, because you already read this column.

This mental change is no longer a nice to have.

The game has been stacked so far against us we now must take the leap into self-testing these methods – and all others you deem useful.

In MIND MAGIC where the entire first course is found, there are hundreds of these “viewpoints”. Each one is its own lens. Several appear on the typical page.

Each chapter is one key, and is made up of many diverse viewpoints all of which give you tools with which to achieve that chapter’s key.

Chapter 7 is about – of all things – multitasking.

It’s not the way to get into the Flow state where attention is single pointed and merged with the experience bubble – no separation of subject and object.

But it has become our way of life at least during working hours including domestic duties. Media are virtually ever-present, on top of people speaking to you, and there might be several people talking to you and each other at once, and you may be driving, plus you just had an interesting job breakthrough thought now what was that…

The chapter is about the reader being in exactly that situation, and yet he keeps up with it (in the story) by rotating his attention so as to pay attention to each person and especially the road without losing that big idea.

Rotating one’s attention is not only a strategy for dealing with multiple job streams, it is also a strategy to use within the imagination, for examples, for legislators to plan the cancellation of the pipeline with ability to foresee having to help certain people out who didn’t do anything wrong.

There’s going to be a lot of this.

The Universe’s lesson is that we have to jump level in our use of the mind, or struggle to survive in a much nastier game than we thought we were permanently entitled to.

Look around, see your brethren, help each other simply try to do the right thing. Let love in. We can enjoy the rest of our lives without having to live immersed in vicious rancor. We make our own reality. Take responsibility for the reality you are creating.

If the insurrectionists had all learned that last line, internalized and embodied it to their bones, there wouldn’t have been an insurrection.

We have shown that it is very hard to change political opinions.

It is far easier to change mental emotional self-management. I may be wrong, but spreading these techniques seems to me the best thing I can do for the good of the lifeboat.

Here’s the link to Chapter 7.

Here’s the link to the book, free during the pandemic.

We can do it. We can Be It.

My best to you all,

Bill

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.