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

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

The Good News

Yes, there is a lot of good news that is under the media radar (because bad news sells).  Here's a summary of the good thoughts that go bump in the night...

 

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

A Shift in Consciousness

 There is a lot of buzz in many quarters regarding a shift in human consciousness, specifically a raising of that frequency.  Such an event has been long predicted and now, it seems, to actually be occurring.  For some, a statement like “a shift in consciousness” is a woo-woo crystal up the nasal out-there nonsense.  It’s not.  The low tide of human consciousness for thousands of years is now rising.

A rising tide lifts all boats.  Even those that don’t want to float.

That can be stressful and is the source of dis-satisfaction, dis-comfort, disturbed feelings and so on.  Not “going with the flow” takes a lot of energy.  Learning how to rise with the incoming tide is the shift, for many.  It is possible, especially if we consider a few things.

Upon seeing someone (usually for the first time) it seems instinctive to immediately assess the person and notice everything that is “wrong” with him/her and counter with a solution of what he/she should do to correct the “wrong.”   Sound familiar?  That’s a focus on someone else and what that person needs to make you feel better, more comfortable.  Now add to that response the same evaluation of everything encountered – that yard needs to be mowed, who chose that color of paint, what moron designed this parking lot, you need to lose about fifty pounds, what an idiot...  It’s a long list - a long list of noticing (giving attention) to things, situations, and conditions you don’t like.  Your attention to such guarantees that you will see more and more of the same.  The Law of Attraction always says “yes!” 

Observing so many people, places, situations and conditions that displease you results in, well, not very good feelings.  And, a curious logic suggests that “of course I feel lousy, look at what I have to put up with?  If only those people would get their act together, then I’d feel better.”  If someone has “mortgaged” their happiness (feeling good) to the behavior of others, then feeling good “ain’t gonna happen” as they say.  Some people work very hard and devote tremendous energy and resources to make others do what they “ought” to do.  Heck, you could even spend a lifetime at it.  And you won’t feel any better because that way you feel isn’t about what others are doing (or not doing) and so forth.

What’s happening here is not an instinctive assessment of everyone you meet and the situations you encounter.  Instinct is an immediate reaction to something that comes from the most basic part of the brain – the reptilian brain  It is a fight or flight preparation.  That does happen.

Assessing what’s wrong about someone and what they need to do to correct it is not instinct.  It is a habit.  You can’t change your protective instinct for survival, fortunately.  You can change a habit.  Like instinct, a habit is unconscious, or automatic.  You do something (including a manner of thinking) and you are not aware of it.  That’s what a habit is – something you’ve established that you’ll do without having to give thought to it (a very clever method of freeing up your mind for other things!)

And those people who have the habit of assessing (a.k.a. taking inventory) of everyone around them probably came by it honestly.  That is to say, there’s a good chance that as children they watched the adults around them do the same.  Children are hard wired to learn.  Regardless, right now, IF someone who makes snap judgments about people/situations around them wants to feel better, relief can come quickly.  Habits can be changed.  A habit that no longer works for you can be replaced by one that does.

And that, in the proverbial nutshell, is what this shift in consciousness is about – people are going to elevate (change) the way they perceive the world around them.  If you wish to live a happier, more satisfying life, this shift will move you in that direction.  But you must be willing to release old ways of thinking to allow a new manner of thought.  It’s the classic definition of insanity – continuing to think/act/do in the same old manner but expecting different outcomes. 

Take the habit of making snap judgments of people as an example.  First, it takes an awareness that one is making snap judgments of people.  Gaining that awareness is a major step – remember that a habit operates without awareness, but practicing real time awareness of what one is thinking will reveal the habit of thought.  A desire to feel better is the reason to replace snap judgments with another thought-action.  One method is to replace the “judgment of what is wrong” with a desire to see something good about the person, situation, or condition.  This isn’t making up something, or pretending that something is present that is absent, not at all.  It is a desire to see what is good.  The desire becomes the mental action and, cueing the Law of Attraction, you will begin to notice pleasant things.  They didn’t suddenly show up, just that the previous thinking was too focused on judging that it couldn’t notice the good.  The circumstance or situation doesn’t change, what you are allowing to see is the change.

That is a shift in consciousness.  A personal shift that can become habituated such that the default thought in any moment is the desire to see the good, the pleasant, the uplifting, the positive and so on.

If you’ve ever entered a room (or situation) where everybody is angry, pissed off, or depressed, then you know what is meant by “atmosphere” when describing something.  The atmosphere was gloomy and tended to smother whatever your disposition.  Vice versa for entering a room filled with happy, joyous folks.  You can’t help but feel good with them.

The shift now occurring on a global scale is an elevation of the “atmosphere.”  The base line thinking is going up a notch (or more for some folks) to allow a greater perspective of Life and the planet.  It’s a better perspective that will find more people feeling better about their lives and the lives of all. 

It’s happening.  Go with the flow and enjoy a better perspective.  You can choose not too.


Tuesday, August 04, 2020

August. The coddiwomple month.

It’s the only month without a formal Holiday, and, August is H O T.  Many folks this time of year begin their annual longing for September when, you know, Autumn officially arrives.  The Equinox is a wonderful thing, but it doesn’t mean COOL, at least around here.  Cool doesn’t arrive until mid-October.

Years ago I took note of the general aberrant behavior of otherwise sane folk towards the latter part of summer.  The only variable was the unrelenting H O T, no Holidays, capricious and teasing rain, and more hot.  Therefore such odd behavior was christened “August,” as in “She’s got a case of August,” or, “He’ll survive, it’s a case of August.”  It does seem a coddiwomple, a nice term describing that you have no idea where you're going, but you sure as hell want to get out of August.

So, in order to assist in getting through August (especially August 2020), I hereby declare Sunday, August 23 to be universally recognized as THE Dog Day of August.  Appropriate celebrations may include brats, hotdogs, any number of sausages, and whatever cool refreshments are handy.  And, as a bonus, after The Dog Day, it’s only a hop and skip into Labor Day...which gives thought to Halloween...which gives thought to Thanksgiving...then Christmas, and, at last, the conclusion of 2020.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Words Mean Things (unless you aren't allowed to use them)

Thoughts That Go Bump in the Night come in many forms.  Who better than a successful author to understand the use and misuse of language and words?  This guest post is by Dan Baldwin from his weekly commentary on the life of a writer.

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Writing Tip of the Week

 “God damn you all; I told you so.” H.G. Wells’ suggestion for his epitaph.

    In 1984 Wells wrote of Big Brother’s newspeak, a complete revision of the English language.

   In the novel the ruling party of the nation of Oceana established Ingsoc (English Socialism). To enhance its control over the population the ruling Party created a controlled language of simplified grammar and restricted vocabulary and called it Newspeak. The new vocabulary was designed to limit the freedom of thought—personal identity, self-expression, free will—that threatened the ideology of the rĂ©gime of Big Brother and the Party. Freedom of expression was criminalised and the concept of thoughtcrime was created to insure adherence to Ingsoc orthodoxy. In other words, you just couldn’t say certain things.

   You know – like “the n-word” or the “b-word” or the “f-word” or the other “f-word” and… and… and….

   Today’s version of Newspeak is Political Correctness – PC.

   People go to ridiculous lengths to adhere to the PC mindset. For example, the last time I worked with a traditional publisher – which will most likely be the actual last time I work with a traditional publisher – the company’s editor objected to a direct quote from a historical source. The quote from Allie Earp (Wyatt’s sister-in-law) was about Wyatt’s abandoned common law wife, Mattie Blaylock. Allie said that Mattie was “… as fine a woman as ever lived. She worked like a nigger.” Neither I nor my co-authors used the ugly word. Allie did. The publisher wouldn’t hear of it because that vague someone-out-there-somewhere might be offended. We again noted that the publisher wouldn’t be using the term. Allie would. No go. We changed it to “she worked (hard).”

   The sneaking evil here is that people and organizations in power will sacrifice history, truth and their own integrity on the altar of political correctness. Writers who buy into this “s-word” have to continually fear crossing a politically correct line. The problem is that the line keeps moving. Banning Huck Finn because of its use of … that word … inevitably leads to banning The Biography of Malcom X for its use of … that word …and then the movie Malcolm X and The Autobiography of Malcom X  for the use of … that word… followed by banning then Denzell Washington, Richard Pryor, Jamie Foxx and Quintin Tarantino movies and then…. Where does it stop?

   It doesn’t.

   Make no mistake about it. Political Correctness is censorship. It is the suppression of freedom of speech. Regardless of any well-intentioned motivation, the use of political correctness is an assault on freedom of expression. Period. End of discussion. That’s all, folks.

   As one of Orwell’s characters said in 1984, “Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed, will be expressed by exactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten… Every year fewer and fewer words, and the range of consciousness always a little smaller.”

   Think about it.

   While you can.

Quote of the Week: “The one essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shockproof, shit detector.”

Recommended Reading: The Autobiography of Malcom X by Alex Haley

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For More Dan:   www.danbaldwin.com   Some of Dan's books are here.   

 


Monday, June 08, 2020

Conundrum


What is true? 

How does one know what is good and what is not?  Deceit is used to minimize what is true and bolster what is untrue.  The practice of deceit in the human experience is ancient, well studied, and constantly applied.  Simply because something is touted over and over as “true”, or “untrue” (which ever is to the benefit of the deceiver) does not make it so.  Yet if an unsuspecting person accepts the deception as true, it increases the weight of “evidence” that the lie is, in fact, the truth.   "Figures often beguile me," wrote Mark Twain, "particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: 'There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.'"

But what of people?  How can I know what is true about someone, anyone?  That’s a questions I suspect most people have mused at some point.  Over forty years ago I was confused about politics and government.  The Gnome conjured a verse that set me straight:

A man of peace
cannot bring harm
to another.
A man of liberty
cannot trample
the rights of others.
It is totally impossible
for such to happen.

The conundrum is hardly limited to our current times.  Awash in social media, countless internet sites, “traditional media”, 24/7 “news”, it is all too easy to merge into a groupthink rather than hone the mental skills to examine and evaluate.  Especially if the individual has little, or no experience in critical thinking.  Once a primary focus of education, critical thinking appears to have been replaced by “talking points” party line.  Rewards are for those who conform to the prevailing “truth.”  There is nothing to debate.  One either toes the line. or is considered enemy.  This was the case thousands of years ago, when many wondered whom they could trust.  How can one know if another is truthful or deceitful?  They received an answer:

Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”  Matthew 7:16-20.

By their fruits - what they do and what are the results - reveal all.  Worked then, works now.

So what the hell is going on with the world now?

It appears to me that Mankind (that’s all of us homo-sapiens) and in an evolutionary process of raising consciousness.  I like to call it spiritual evolution – moving to a greater awareness, and hence utilization, of Consciousness.  That’s Consciousness with the big C.  Life is ever improving and advancing, it’s inescapable.  The one constant in the universe is motion.  Motion is relative and not everone/everything is moving in sync – although created from the same, each human being on Earth is an individual and no two people are alike.  Some people move quickly, some plod.  Some people are happy.  Some are unhappy.  They’re not the same and it’s foolish and self-defeating to attempt any one size fits all approach to anything.  (Can you say Covid-19?)


These times of spiritual evolution will produce a variety of reactions, since everyone is affected, an everyone is different.  Those who have some degree of awareness of this raising of consciousness will benefit for they will apply their greater vibration (which is the essence of this evolution, an increase in vibration) for a more satisfying life as they gain more control over their thoughts, deeds, and hence experience.  And, there are those who are clueless and have little or no awareness of spiritual evolution.  In fact, they may be barely conscious of their identity.  The movement will proceed regardless, but these people will be disturbed and have no idea why.  They are unhappy and don’t  know why.  A great deceit ensues placing their discomfort as your fault.  The more they believe this deception, the further they recede from the pursuit of happiness.

Fortunately, a rising tide lifts all boats.  The aphorism is appropriate for what Mankind is experiencing.  Some measure of heightened vibration of spirit will envelope everyone, even those unaware.  Their movement towards happiness may be much slower than others, but we live in an eternal universe so there is time.

How best to assist those wailing and gnashing their teeth?  Once again, there’s nothing new with this desire:

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”   Matthew 5: 14-16.

This isn’t showing off, it’s letting the sometimes literal glow of consciousness flow.  You probably know or have met someone who seemed to “glow”.  Usually smiling.  You probably felt pretty good in their presence.  You might even have become curious about their ease and how you could obtain the presence of mind.

As is said, you can’ become sick enough to make someone else more healthy.  You can’t become poor enough to help someone gain wealth.  It is not a zero sum universe.  Whatever good you have is not good someone else is denied.  Granted, the grand deceit of ‘there’s only so much of anything’ demands that a central control be in place to ensure that everyone has ‘their fair share’.  Sounds nice but it’s a deception.  Observe the fruit of its practice.

The rising tide will float off victimhood as a belief system, liberating great numbers of unhappy people clinging to that old deceit.  They’ll make it.  Be yourself, and rise with this tide.  It’s the best thing anyone can do, for everyone.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

What a Spring!

Okay, 2020 so far is a mess for so many reasons.  Making the rounds on social media is the most worthless purchase of 2019 - a 2020 Planner. There will be some very useful and good results from the attack of the China Virus on the world.  Not being overwhelmed by events "beyond your control" is a skill many have.  Much is in the perspective.  Here's a post from a decade ago regarding the marvelous opportunities available to us each spring:


It’s easy to see, and appreciate, the marvelous world we inhabit this time of year.  In fact, you’d have to make an effort not to see such a vibrant expression of Life all around.  And some of us do just that - work very hard to keep our gaze on what we interpret as wrong with someone/something/everything.  The price of such focus is a skewed perspective.  Why on Earth would anyone, surrounded by such wonder and beauty, give their attention and energy to disagreeable situations?  Well, because inherently we know that discord, disharmony, pain and suffering, are not normal states.  Such conditions and experiences are out sync and thus draw attention.  On a very local level, we wouldn’t last long if our bodies were bereft of “pain” to alert us to maintain ourselves.  We pay attention because we want to fix or correct the errant situation and bring it into the natural, harmonious, whole.  However, too much attention may be counterproductive.

A confounding premise of quantum theory is that the mere action of observing (measuring, or watching) sub-atomic actions affects the observed reality.  In essence, the action/state of the particle/wave/vibration conforms to the observation.  That inferes a great power of the mind.

On a philosophic level this begs the question - do we view the universe because it is there?  Or, is the universe there because we view it?  The universe is a really big space/time and it would necessitate a really “big” observer to bring it into “reality.”  That’s the element that gives a lot of scientists and other folks the willies - the prospect of Consciousness as the determining force.  It’s much easier to speak of Mother Nature, evolution, natural law, or whatever.  By any name, it’s a marvelous reality.

Yet this curious premise helps explain how our attention influences our experience.  Which is to say, whatever we give our attention, we see/experience more of.  This is self-evident.  What’s on your mind is what you’re seeing and dealing with.  It’s the chicken or the egg conundrum.  How often have you heard (or had the experience) of thinking/saying “I knew that was going to happen,” usually – but not always - about something dreaded or unwanted?  Or something to the effect “Well, yes, I’d like _____ (fill in the blank) but...” (then assert a contrary expectation!)

The question is what do we want?  To feel good and enjoy Life, now?  Or, something else?  It does look more and more like a natural law that what we want (give attention to, think about, have strong emotions about) is what we experience.  For years I’ve made it a point to hand-signal “time out” when someone makes a statement to the effect “Life is too short to ...”   Whoa!  Why cut short Life?  Rephrase, state what is desired, which results in something like “Life is too important to ...”

Spring provides us so many sensory experiences to help direct our attention to what we want - which is generally considered a good and happy life.  It is easy to appreciate spring - the warm sun, the rain, the budding trees and plants, the myriad of birds, (and at our house, the appearance of the rabbit and non-appearance but evidence of the resident armadillo), sights, sounds, smells - all the essence of Life.  The Pareto Principle applies - 80% of your life is likely pretty good and only 20% “needs improvement.”  Which gets the most attention?  Of course, the 20%.  Why does the 20% never seem to go away?  Observing the problem increases awareness and thus experiences of the problem, and visa versa.

Be radical in 2020.  Give attention - appreciation - to the 80% and experience more of the good Life.  Who knows, maybe at some point you’ll be on a “rampage of appreciation” and oblivious to aches, pains, misery, resentment, jealousy - all of those unpleasant experiences.  Other folks might want to grow their unhappy 20% but that doesn’t mean you must.  And, your increased appreciation and delight can not diminish another’s potential for good.