Thoughts on Thinking

"When somebody persuades me that I am wrong, I change my mind. What do you do?" John Maynard Keynes

"If you're unhappy with your life, change your thinking." Charles Fillmore

"The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it." Eckhart Tolle

"People are not disturbed by things, but by the view they take of them." Epictetus

"The unexamined life is not worth living." Socrates

"Consciousness is a terrible thing to waste." PunditGeorge

Monday, March 02, 2020

The Art of "in a few words describe..."

For me, one of the most difficult parts of writing is coming up with a snappy description of the book (or play) in a couple of sentences.  But it can be done, at least for A Turn at the Point.  Now, it wasn’t penned by yours truly, but some obviously enlightened person going by the handle “Etienne”.  Here’s what he wrote:

That says it all.

Digital artist Timothy Higgins captured the same with the cover art

More thoughts on the process of creating the book can be found here.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

The MAGIC WORD (returns...

...for those who may have missed it before.)

I’ve discovered the magic word.  It’s not abracadabra, it’s not a secret.  It’s not a mystery wrapped inside a symbol.  The long sought magic word – the utterance of which brought immediate reward to the speaker – has been found.  By me.

 I’ll tell you exactly how I found it.

Driving to work one morning, one of those idiot motorists clustered around me, lane-hopped near my rear bumper.  The idiot then challenged other drivers as he (maybe she, it was dark) then darted back into my lane, inches from my front bumper.  My ego first impulse was to let loose a string of verbal (or at least mental) descriptions of the idiot’s clearly errant consciousness.

 But I didn’t.

Although suspecting the driver was an “accident looking for victims” I didn’t go there, so to speak.  This was a time when I was practicing these principles in my real-time daily living:

·         That there is One active Presence in the Universe and my Life – God;
·         Everyone and everything is the essence of God, and that’s Good;
·         I co-create my Life with God with my thinking;
·         Through thoughts, words and deeds, I live the Truth I know.

I was developing a habit to say and think what I desired in every moment, despite appearances.  Did I desire for the idiot to cause an accident?  Of course not.  Therefore I thought and spoke to him/her “May you arrive safely at your destination.”

I thought that pretty good, and felt a bit of relief.  A few more consciousness-challenged motorists wandered into my path, and I managed to send each along his way with the affirmation “May you arrive safely at your destination.”

Yet there needed to be a closing, an “amen” conclusion, to the thought lest I continue my attention on the behavior of the driver I’d rather not encounter.  Hey, I’m a slow learner, but even I understood that attention given = attraction to – the Law of Attraction.   I certainly didn’t want more distracted drivers on my drive.

Then flashed into my mind the magic word – the conclusion to that moment which would free my thinking and attention, and make it available for what I desired in my morning drive, rather than attract more idiots in my experience.  I appended the thought:  “May you arrive safely at your destination.  Ashalli.”  That was it.  End of drama.  The lanes cleared and I drove happily on my way.

I repeated the affirmation and magic word every time I drove and encountered idiots.  It was evident, after a couple of days, that there were less idiots on the road.


The question was, naturally, would this magic word produce the same effect off road?  One  morning some staff were complaining about various ailments and such.  Not wanting to add my attention to their discomfort, I affirmed for them “may you enjoy good health and comfort.  Ashalli.”  That might not have assisted them at that moment, but I did tell them how I appreciated their doing their work for the benefit of the clients.

A few days later I picked up a couple of items at the neighborhood grocery store when a patron with a basket cart full of stuff beat me to the “10 Items or Less” express checkout.  What?  You’ve never had such an experience?  (Liar!)  Ego impulse was to scowl at the offending person (I had a flashback to the road idiots).  But, determined to practice what I preach, as it were, the thought was offered “may you move quickly with your tasks to your desired end.  Ashalli.”

The super clerk managed to scan the entire cart in record time – and with a quick payment from the person.  I liked this magic word.  Then the same super clerk struggled with the bar code on one of my items.  I could sense the glare from the fellow in line behind me.  The laser scanner finally behaved and I was quickly beyond reach of what I imagine were less-than-Unity invectives from the fellow.  Well, why not?  I thought for him “may you have a pleasant day.  Ashalli.”  I went on about my business.

I’ve used the magic word frequently and I like the results.  There is a caveat, however.  It works only as the conclusion to a thought desiring a positive outcome for a person or situation.  I say that because I desire to give my conscious attention, as best I’m able, to what I would like.  Nothing new about that – did someone say The Golden Rule?

Do I want others to condemn my goofy moments to hell?  Or, do I desire that they treat me as I desire to treat them?  That’s Ashalli.

Now, there is a difference between “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” and a variant that goes like “Do unto others as they would have you do unto them.”  Let’s examine these two approaches, which are 180 degrees apart.  “Do unto others as they would have you do unto them.”  It sounds okay on the surface.  It smacks of consideration and kindness.  Yet it requires that you adjust your behavior and interactions to please what others want from you.

We respect everyone and especially desire to interact with friends and loved ones to create harmony and joy.  Hmmmm…isn’t that how you would want to be treated?  To do unto others as they wish accepts the obligation to act according to their rules, which may or may not coincide with your values and feelings.  In effect, you focus on what others want you to do.  If they are satisfied, they may respond kindly.  If they are not satisfied, well, they’ll let you know, so you can try harder.

If you’ve ever spent time on that merry-go-round you know that it can’t be done.  You can never achieve joy this way.  But you can attempt to do so and work really hard to please others for five, ten, fifteen, thirty, fifty years or more.  It’ll never happen because you can only treat others as you wish to be treated.  Would your life be more joyful and less entangled if you focused on treating everyone as you wished to be treated?

That approach places creative power in your hands and you’re no longer dependent on the good graces from pleasing others.  It’s nice to be loved and appreciated – but there’s a huge difference between Love and Appreciation and conditional “love” and “appreciation.”  Checkpoint:  How do you reconcile demands to treat another in a way that makes you feel badly?  The bad feeling is your indication that you’ve got the equation skewed.  The best guide is to always treat others the way you want to be treated and in this you are more likely to feel good.  It’s not about what other people do or don’t do.  It’s what you truly desire for them – as what you would desire for yourself.

The more I practiced the magic word the more relaxed many daily tasks became.  Then, one morning driving to work, another idiot zipped around.  At once  I thought “May you arrive safely at your destination.  As Shall I.”

The Golden Rule…there’s a reason we continue to pay attention to it, even when we don’t quite “get it.”

As Shall I.  Ashalli.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Comes the Dawn...

(A tale from "Habits, Patterns, and Thoughts That Go Bump in the Night")

Habits, Patterns, and Thoughts That Go Bump in the Night
Dawn fed her cats, the primary ritual of her return to the apartment each evening. She enjoyed giving the cats her full attention when returning from another miserable day at the office. Whatever grief she endured making a living, there was solace at home. It would be nice, of course, to buy a townhouse where the cats could romp up stairs. So when she learned of an open position at another company, she applied.

Not that she expected to get it, but like her weekly purchase of the lottery ticket, one has to play in order to win. The problem was that the telephone rang.

“Hello?” she answered.

“Is this Dawn?” asked the voice on the other end.


The cats scurried as she gasped in delight upon learning that the company wished to interview her for the new position. Accommodating, they scheduled the interview for Saturday morning.
This was Thursday, so time was short to prepare. A mental list of a hundred things to do raced across her mind. She kissed the cats goodbye and dashed to the Mall—a new outfit was in order for the interview.

Then came Friday. She counted the plants in her cubicle at work— how many would be permitted to make the move? She looked around at her co-workers—each equally miserable. There were no promotions to be had, of that she knew. Now she had an out, a prospect. The glances from others implied that they knew she might escape. And, they didn’t approve. Friday was a long day at the office.

On the way home her car stalled. It wouldn’t start—at least not until the frantic fifth try.

The cats sniffed her rather than race to their food bowls. It wasn’t even dark, yet problems of perception were assembling in Dawn’s world.

Her new outfit, purchased for the interview, hung outside of her closet door—an icon to her hopes and dreams. She settled in bed, for the good night’s sleep. Yet the wardrobe loomed as her thoughts began to race around her anything-but-sleepy mind.

At midnight she calculated the cost of a full wardrobe. Further calculations projected the increase in salary with that cost—a good six months to recoup.
At one a.m. she had to buy a new car.

By two a.m. her co-workers knew of her interview and were insanely jealous. One was married to a policeman. Could he be enticed to stop her on the way to the interview?

At three a.m. she lost her vacation. She could at least count on two weeks vacation each year. It often made the difference in showing up for work. At the new job, she’d surely be at the bottom of the pole—at best a week off to live her life the way she wanted.

By four a.m. she had calculated the loss of taking the new job. The perceived costs and grief mounted with each minute. She would lose the pay increase for at least  year, just to pay off the new clothes she would have to have—and no vacation time to enjoy the benefits, which by now she was sure didn’t exist anyway.

At five a.m. it was time to sleep. But the alarm clock took care of that.

At six a.m. the hair dryer broke. The cats were wailing for a dawn feeding—usually they waited until seven.

Resentment gnawing in her stomach, Dawn left her apartment at eight a.m. for the drive to her nine a.m. interview. The fact that the city had overnight decided to tear up an important intersection was not lost on her as she turned into the parking lot.

A suspiciously pleasant receptionist ushered her into the interviewer’s office. The door closed as Dawn ruminated for a final moment on her agonies. The Interviewer entered the office and went to the coffee pot.

“Thank you for coming. Coffee?”

Dawn rose and glared at the wicked person in front of her. “I wouldn’t take this lousy job if you offered me twice as much!”

With that, she stormed out of the room, out of the building, and back into the crab bucket.*

Chances are, in your own way, you’ve pulled a Dawn—maybe several times. It’s called sabotage, also-known-as negative self-fulfilling prophecy. Your gut feeling said this or that, then somehow your actions made sure that whatever you feared, happened.

Perception = Reality in action. The interviewer may have been prepared to offer Dawn the job. The new job might have been the best place for her. But (an entire book will be written about “BUT...”), Dawn didn’t allow it to happen. Life may have presented her a good thing, but she couldn’t see it, and thus couldn’t take advantage of it. If you’re thinking “been there, done that,” then you’re more likely to think about how you feel and react to situations now than you did in the past. Nobody is doomed to continue making the same mistakes over and over and over.  But they certainly can.

* Another tale in Habits, Patterns, and Thoughts That Go Bump in the Night

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Friday, December 27, 2019

Happy New Year 2020!

Do you mean it?  A happy 2020?  It’s not a wish.  It’s a matter of intent.

One simple declaration could make all the difference.  Attach the declaration to the beginning of every thought and you’ll be astonished.  Okay, ready?

“It is fun to ________________________________.”

Simple.  Uncomplicated.  Heck, it’ll even make pleasant those traditional dreaded New Year’s Resolutions:

“It is fun to plan to lose weight.”  It’s not necessary to “wait” until the weight is lost to have fun.
“It is fun to choose what I eat.”  If a healthier diet is in the plan, then have fun with it now.
“It is fun to de-clutter the office.”  Think about how much better it is without the mess rather than fixating on the mess.
“It is fun to have the car serviced.”  It’s fun to be able to drive where I want to go.”
“It is fun to pay more attention to_____.”  Fill in the blank.
“It is fun to be around healthy, happy people.”  Duh.
“It is fun to pay the bills.”  Well, for each bill you received some service or item.  Enjoy that!

You get the idea.  The more you do it, the easier it becomes.  In fact, if you really intend to have a fun 2020, and you begin using this declaration January 1, by the beginning of March you’ll think this way automatically.  You won’t pay much attention to that fact because you’ll be having so good a time.

Of course, if you don’t really believe that you could/should/ought to have a continuous good time, then you won’t.  It’s the intention that rules, a.k.a. expectation.   If you look for the fun in anything, you’ll find it.  If you look for something else, you’ll find that.  What is consistent is that you will find and experience what you expect, what you look for, what you give your attention to.
If you truly want a fun 2020, use the magic word  as well.

How much delight can you have in 2020?  All you want.

Those who get it, get it.  Those who don’t, can’t.

Happy New Year!  (If you want it.)

Saturday, December 07, 2019

Merry Christmas!

(Re-posting for the Christmas Season)

The Winter Solstice continues to be one of the most enduring moments for reverence and celebration.  The darkest day of the year has come and hence forth each day shall be filled with more sunshine.  I'm not aware of any civilization that did not make a big deal of the turning point of the year.

So, of course, this became the season to celebrate the birth of Jesus who became the Christ.  It's likely that Jesus was born not in winter, but in the spring and six years earlier than our calendar suggests.  Since Pisces, the fish, was an early Christian symbol, I'd surmise that the birth occurred under that astrological sign.  This is all irrelevant, of course.  The historical Jesus Christ was one of a handful of master teachers known to us, and his instructions on how to live a more wonderful life have proven themselves repeatedly.

Mischief arose when the teachings of this Master were edited, blended, codified, and otherwise rendered theological and political.  All the latter are man-made.  Some of the recent history of organized Christianity is not pretty - the Albigensian Crusade, Spanish Inquisition, and burning witches come to mind, and of course the modern scourge of ISIS.   But this is man acting against man and not reflective of Jesus' teachings, principle of which is to do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

It is fashionable now to minimize the impact of Jesus or even seriously question his existence.  I distinctly recall through the years the "absence of evidence" of an historical Jesus.  Why, if the teachings and movement were so profound, many ask, does the principle source for historical information in the region shortly after the death of Jesus, mention him in only a brief paragraph? 

The source is Josephus, who wrote a voluminous history of the Jews called "Antiquities."  Recently I purchased the complete works of Josephus, because I like history, and because I was curious to read the rare, fleeting, mention of Jesus in the decades following his death.  It is a brief paragraph.  But what a paragraph! 

3. (63)  Now, there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works - a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure.  He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles.  He was {the} Christ; (64) and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principle men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and then thousand other wonderful things concerning him; and the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct to this day.

That's an account given when many who knew Jesus were still alive.  He must have made quite an impact to earn that paragraph so quickly.  Note:  It is possible that various translations of the paragraph may have embellished the telling.

The history is irrelevant.  It is the teachings that shifted much of human consciousness and continues to do so.  Jesus taught that thinking (prayer) was the road to a wonderful life.  Thinking is very personal, therefore the relationship to God that Jesus taught, had to be personal as well.  That, of course, didn't go over well with Priests or any positioned person to whom obedience and, well, worship were required.  Radical stuff, actually.

So, to celebrate the Christ Mass, is a good thing.  It is a Merry Christmas.  It is a Happy Holiday.  It is as pagan as it gets, for the celebration is ancient.  Adjacent to Christmas, in our modern calendar, is the New Year!  Really, rejoice that the great Teacher came to teach us joy, then embark on a fresh, new year that uncluttered with the mistakes (and erroneous thinking) of the previous year.

Why, there's even a host of robust celebratory music to accompany the season.  Joy to the World!  Happy New Year!