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

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Crab Bucket

(Hmmm, now may be a good time to revisit the Crab Bucket effect)

Pierre and his cousin from New York went crabbing in the lush waters of Louisiana. The cousin was amazed how Pierre would haul up the crab net and empty the crabs into a large bucket in the boat. Pierre then tied another piece of chicken to the net and lowered it back into the water. They moved on to the next net.

After dumping dozens of crabs into the bucket, the cousin became concerned that Pierre never covered the open bucket. He was sure they would have quite a time chasing crabs around the boat when they crawled out.

Pierre lit a cigarette and leaned back in the boat in a moment of reflection. “My cousin, look into the bucket.” He did. “What do you see?” asked Pierre.

The cousin noticed that every time an enterprising crab attempted to scale the side of the bucket to freedom, the other crabs would stir, seize it, and pull it down to the bottom.

“No one escapes,” noted the cousin.

“Now you know,” added Pierre, as he hauled in the next net.

Not only does misery love company, it thrives on it. Just as crabs will not permit one of their ranks to escape, many people grab, claw, and pull down those who would flee the collective misery. You see it all the time.

No escape!
The student in school who makes the good grade is castigated by his/her peers in the classroom bucket. “How dare you attempt what we will not!” The crab-bucket form of resentment infects great numbers of potential achievers and robs them of a better life. It is the rule of the lowest common denominator.

It’s a curious paradox: More knowledge, access to all forms of education, and more opportunities for personal improvement, are available to virtually everyone than at any moment in our nation’s history. Yet, the crab bucket continues to stifle many who would take advantage of such opportunities.

There is the thought, “I could do this or that, but it would upset my family, friends, or co-workers.” The image of the crab bucket— stay where you belong—is observable in many areas. In politics it’s called Gerrymandering—a voter lives in a certain district and is expected to remain there and vote a certain way.  Moving out of the district is discouraged and opportunities to do so might be sabotaged.  
This kind of thinking rules many innocuous situations that are found in the workplace, school, and even the family. Are there three cheers from the family to support a loved one improving themselves? Or, are there grumbles of “how dare you!”

The great mischief, of course, is the person who controls the bucket and knows crab behavior.  The crabs will fight among themselves, maintaining the social status quo, right up to the moment they all go into the boiling pot.

Saturday, October 04, 2014

Deepak Chopra's Challenge

Enough, already, says Deepak.  Yo!  Randi and others - how about  some proof?
Peer reviewed publication = $1,000,000.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Changing the Thought

The process is simple.  Change the channel.  That’s what you do when watching a boring or offensive program on television.  When you surf the myriad of stations beaming into your radio you move past those that irritate your ears.  Rather than listen to a station that aggravates your senses, you simply tune in to another station more pleasing.

It is natural to seek similar company.  Birds of a feather do flock together.  Whatever has your attention will increase.  Even Facebook knows that.  Of course, if you continue to “like” things that disturb you, then you’ll encounter more disturbing things.  Being aware of your attention is a magnificent tool – it allows you to change the channel and tune-out irritations.  It allows you to give attention to what you like and desire, rather than what disturbs and angers you.

By being aware of how/what you are thinking, you have the power to direct your thinking.  In effect, you are in control of your life.  This is in stark contrast to those who have a meager awareness of how/what they are thinking.  The former acts, the latter reacts.  The former allows others to choose for themselves, the latter feels victimized.  The former can change the channel.  The latter is stuck in one position on the dial.

Thoughts define what we call Consciousness.  The absence of thinking is a state of un-consciousness.  Marginal awareness of thinking results in semi-consciousness.  A conscious decision is a powerful thing.  Thought is energy.  Thought has power to attract similar thoughts and to influence thought creation.

It is a form of inductionThe process by which an electrical conductor becomes electrified when near a charged body, by which a magnetizable body becomes magnetized when in a magnetic field or in the magnetic flux set up by a magnetomotive force, or by which an electromotive force is produced in a circuit by varying the magnetic field linked with the circuit.  Radio.  Television.  Smart phones.  The same electro-magnetic process works with thoughts.

You’ve experienced it.  You entered a room, or a building, where people were gathered and “sensed” the atmosphere.  Uplifting.  Oppressive.  Whichever thought was dominate among the people is what was induced to you, a.k.a. sixth sense, intuition, hunch, and so forth.  It’s a fine and subtle communication, much like looking at your phone a split second before it sounds.  Perhaps you found yourself staring at something but didn’t know why.  Later, there was a reason for that earlier attention (sometimes finding a lost item, realizing that you really should have taken that umbrella.)  These sensations are not magical or supernatural, they are perfectly normal aspects of variations of induction.

How best to manage this powerful force that is thought?  Be aware that you are thinking and that you have both authority and ability to shift your thoughts (attention) to anything.  Your thoughts attract similar frequency thoughts.  Since every thought, ever thought, still exists in the Universe, your thinking has a great alliance.  The alliance is neutral – your attention will increase whether you’re focused on something pleasing or something distressing.

If you do not believe that thoughts attract similar thoughts, then you will discover lots of instances to validate that thought.

Get it?

Friday, August 08, 2014

Polarity Goes to School

I’ve been thinking and writing about polarity of late which means, of course, that I will find a lot of it.  Polarity, the presence or manifestation of two opposite  principles or tendencies, is similar to a dichotomy - a difference between two opposite things.  The point is that everything has two expressions and an infinite scale of points between the opposite expressions.  Love and hate are the same emotion but have an infinite number of degrees.  That’s the way the universe is constructed.

So, it’s not a total surprise to come across in the space of two days, two dramatically different expressions of education.

First, was an intriguing feature by Ben Hewitt titled “WeDon’t Need NO Education” appearing in the September 2014 issue of Outside Magazine.  As capsuled on line:  We Don't Need No Education.  Thanks but no thanks, say Ben Hewitt and a growing movement of unschoolers. Dissatisfied with classrooms that leave kids staring out the window all day, they want to set our little learners free. PLUS: How to rewild your child.

Unschoolers?  Rewild?  Hewitt chronicles how he and his wife approach the education of their two sons.  Not home-schooled.  “Perhaps the best way to explain it is that all unschooling  is homeschooling, but not all homeschooling is unschooling.”  I get that.  Unschooling’s guiding philosophy is that school, especially traditional schooling, diminishes the natural love of learning inherent in all children.  Traditional schooling stifles a child’s natural curiosity about everything.

Cited in the article is psychologist and author Peter Grey:  “Children are forced to attend school where they are stripped of their’s like locking a child in a closet.”  The Boston College professor contends “What kids need exploration and play without supervision.  It is this that allows them to develop self-determination and confidence.”

Granted, the Hewitt lads romp freely on their northern Vermont farm, an environment not available to every child, but the thinking holds.  “This is what I want for my sons:  freedom.  Not just physical freedom, but intellectual and emotional freedom from the formulaic learning that prevails in our schools.”

Ouch.  Formulaic learning that prevails in our schools.

Michelle Malkin pounced on that, big time, in her August 8, 2014 column:  Readin’Writin’and Social Justice Agitatin’.  Watchdog for creeping statism, her lead paragraph wastes nothing:  It’s back-to-school season across the country. But in an increasing number of districts, “back to school” doesn’t mean back to learning. Under the reign of social justice indoctrinators, academics are secondary to political agitation. Activism trumps achievement.

In her usual way, she documents several schools where “social justice” guides the curriculum.  For instance:  At the Paulo Freire Social Justice Charter School, also in Massachusetts, students won’t learn math. They’ll be taught “social justice math.” (Freire was a Brazilian leftist who wrote a social justice teacher’s Bible called “Pedagogy of the Oppressed.”) His acolytes explain the push for radicalization of math: “Math is an instrument for detailing social justice issues and developing critical consciousness.” In the hands of progressive teachers, math “becomes an analytic tool to bring awareness to important world issues.” In other words: One plus one equals “That’s unfair!”

There are schools and homeschoolers all over the scale between these two approaches.  The question is which one would you want for your child?  Or, wish you had when you had to “go to school?”   Trust the state or trust the instinct for learning?

Monday, August 04, 2014

The Power of Perception - Part Two

The point of attention, focus, on the scale of anything determines whether something is considered a problem.  A great deal of time and energy is spent “fixing” or solving problems.

What’s a problem?  The dictionary definition is any thing, matter, person, etc., that is difficult to deal with, solve, or overcome; a situation, matter, or person that presents perplexity or difficulty.  

First, the Good news:  You have the ability to change your mind.  The Bad news?  There is no bad news.

The only way to “solve a problem” is to change your mind, which is to change your point of attention.  It is the only way to allow a solution to happen.  A solution to a problem is always a change – it has to be, otherwise, it is not a solution.  Nothing new about this.  Long ago a Greek Philosopher, Epictetus, noted that “people are not disturbed by things, but by the view they take of them.”  Good insight there.  Shakespeare  continued this knowledge in Hamlet:  “There is nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so.” 

You are in control of your thinking, not the problem.   Don't think about the problem.  Think about something else instead.   Any pleasing thought will do.  If you want to solve problems, think about something your enjoy thinking about.  How does that work?

Sometimes people will create a situation which continues to re-create itself over time.  Because it is created over time (chronic) the process may habituate and thus occur outside of usual consciousness.  Thus, some folks might complain of being in a rut.  A “rut” is nothing more that habituated thinking recreating a situation/circumstance over and over and over…  The good news is that a “rut” is not a hole in life, but a result of chronic creative thought.  One doesn’t “climb out” of a rut.  One recreates, or, re-thinks it.  I call it shifting perspective.

A rut is not the same thing as a routine.  Generally, we are aware of our routines – patterns of behavior (usually) that we create in order to achieve some task, usually something we encounter frequently, such as going to work each day.  We realize that we can modify our routine of doing-things whenever necessary.  It may take some time to adjust to the new perspective.

For instance, a couple of years ago I moved a prominent clock in the kitchen.  It’s still in the kitchen, just in a different location.  I’m just now getting used to looking at the clock WHERE IT IS rather than where is used to be.

For any change in our experience to occur, there must first be a shift of perspective.  We need to observe, and thus think, about something in a different manner.  Move the clock, so to speak.  When the thinking changes, so the environment and experience changes.

Throughout our history there have been master Teachers and Guides presenting "perspectives" to assist us in co-creating a more satisfying Life experience.  We'll look at some of these in a moment. 

But first, let's re-visit our thinking.  When we think about something, anything, we are giving it our attention.  When we give something, anything, our attention, we are, in fact, asking the Universe for MORE of whatever it is.  It's subtle, but crucial.  What we think about, what we focus on, what we give our attention, is what we draw into our view and experience.

July and so far August have been remarkably cooler and wetter.  I suspect a number of folks thought or said "I'm grateful for such a lovely summer."  That's an expression of gratitude.  Another person might have thought, or spoke:  "I appreciate this beautiful summer!"  That's an expression of appreciation.

Although considered similar, gratitude and appreciation are not the synonyms.  When one is grateful, one automatically contrasts the desired thing with the undesired.  The thought/statement "I'm grateful for this lovely summer" contains the thought imagery of very hot, dry, uncomfortable summer days.

When one appreciates someone or something, there are no pre-conditions.  It's an in-the-moment recognition of a delightful state of being.  And that's the image given attention.

The Law of Attraction does not distinguish between thoughts.  It merely brings together thoughts of similar vibration.  Practicing appreciation and giving thought to what is desired (and giving less attention and thus energy to undesired) takes awareness.  It's necessary to pay attention to what we're paying attention.

Let's look at one of the most profound teachings in its variants and see where the attention is directed.

Ancient Egyptian:  Do for one who may do for you, that you may cause him thus to do.  Circa 1800 BCE.  One of the earliest known versions of the teaching.  Where's the emphasis? 

Baha i Faith:  Ascribe not to any soul that which thou wouldst not have ascribed to thee, and say not that which thou doest not. 

Brahmanism:  This is the sum of Dharma (duty):  Do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done to you.

Judaism:  ...thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.  (Leviticus 19:18)
                        What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow man.  (Talmud)

Hinduism:  This is the sum of duty:  do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you.  (Mahabharta)

Buddhism:  ...a state that is not pleasing or delightful to me, how could I inflict that upon another?      ...hurt not in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.

Confucianism:  Do not do to others what you do not want then to do to you.  (Analects)

Christianity:  Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them...  (Matthew 7:12 KJV)
All of the teachings are correct.  Those that can hear, will hear.  A person, or a people, giving their attention to pain/suffering may only hear and understand a teaching in that vernacular, hence the number of teachings from what we'd consider the "negative" - if it hurts you, don't inflict it on another.

The great shift in perspective is with the Golden Rule as it’s referred.  The thought comes from within FIRST - how do I wish to be treated?  That is how I shall treat others.  This is an awesome concept.  It's appreciation.  It is using thinking to create what is desired – how I wish to be treated.  Think about it.