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

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 rights...it’s like locking a child in a closet.”  The Boston College professor contends “What kids need instead...is 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.


Friday, July 25, 2014

The Power of Perception. Part One.



“You never miss your water until the well runs dry.”

That adage contains a wealth of knowledge.  As a parable, it informs a simple fact that can be further explored, the extent of which is limited only by the explorer.  The usual interpretation of the adage is to avoid taking for granted something important or essential.  To take for granted would mean to neglect or not cultivate.

Just behind that awareness is a profound observation:  Everything has an opposite.  Often referenced as polarity, there are “two sides to every coin” and so on.  Thus we learn that it is natural for opposites to exist.  Up, down; back, forward; high, low; good, bad; wet, dry; pretty, ugly; gentle, rough...you get the idea.

It is how such insight is used that’s important.  Everything exists as a scale with opposites separated by infinite degrees.  Temperature is a good example.  Where, on a thermometer, does “hot” end and “cold” begin?  That’s not how it works.  For temperature, it’s a matter of atomic activity.  The greater the movement (frequency) the greater heat is produced.  The slower the movement (frequency) the less heat is produced.  In our daily experience we’re fully aware of temperature and its scale.

Love and hate are the same emotion.  Where, on the scale, does hate end and love begin?  It’s a matter of degree and the higher the degree (frequency) the better the feeling (love.)  And the opposite for what is called hate. 

Wealth and poverty.  Poverty is the absence of what constitutes wealth.  What constitutes wealth is relative to culture, but its absence is universal.  Where on the scale does poverty begin and wealth end?  There are degrees of wealth and degrees of poverty.  The measure is elastic; in the USA “poverty” is a very good standard of living in much of the world.  The degree is determined by its frequency – lower becoming more poverty and vice versa.  Opposites exist and will always – that’s the way the universe works – and is why Jesus commented that the poor will always be present.

Ebb and flow; back and forth; light, dark; sharp, dull; flat, round...the list goes on and on.  This is the breathing of the universe.  Everything is in motion, nothing is static and a condition’s frequency determines its nature.  Evolution is a study of this process.  Evolution seeks to understand the movement from a lesser state (lower frequency) to a higher state (higher frequency.)  A lower state of vibration is more dense than a higher state.  Frequency determines how a thing is expressed.  Water is the supreme example.  At its low frequency water molecules move slowly and is expressed as ice.  At a higher movement water flows as liquid.  At even higher frequency water zips around as vapor.  Regardless of its expression, water is still water.

This is a fair analogy to describing the human experience.  The human evolution is generally regarded as the process of moving away from a basic animalistic foundation towards a more dynamic “human” state.  Since we are always in the process, the highest manifestation is unknowable.  We do, however, know about the lower expressions.  Water exists in three forms, all possible three-dimensional expressions at the same time.  So with humans.

Let us ascribe to water, consciousness.  The consciousness of ice may not comprehend liquid water or vapor.  Liquid water may be aware of ice but realizes it is liquid and flows.  It may or may not comprehend vapor.  Vapor, from its higher frequency position, is aware of both ice and liquid.

 Is water self-aware?  Who knows.  Humans are.  Many animals appear to be.  Even sub-atomic particles demonstrate a degree of awareness in a strange instantaneous communication that Einstein called “spooky action at a distance.”  Yet always there is polarity, yin/yang and all of that.  For every thing there is a scale, consisting of infinite degrees, that constitutes perceptual reality.  Perception, then, becomes important.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

FREEDOM!



By tradition we celebrate the Republic on July 4, the date when the document declaring independence was adopted.  Our great experiment continues to confound history.  From the get-go was the debate over primacy – the individual or the government.  The principal factor in the debate is creation of wealth, another way of stating standard of living.  Wealth is created by individuals, We, the people.  Government cannot create anything.  It must take what others create.  In our Republic, this is taxation – a touchy issue that created the House of Representatives and its responsibility to originate all spending bills.  The structure is good.  As always, implementation is the key.


Attitude is everything.  Let’s look at two prevailing attitudes:

1.  Unless it is stated in the regulations, you can’t do it.
2.  Unless it is prohibited in the regulations, you can do it.

Which do you prefer?  In the former, one must have permission to do something.  In the latter, freedom of action is the norm unless specifically prohibited.

Our Republic was established on the latter although through the decades great amounts of personal freedom have  been surrendered to the government.  Once upon a time, travel by flying was a delight and airports were happy places.  And, once upon a time government did not recognize, or impeded, your inalienable rights.  The machinery to amend the Constitution has been used to correct instances where government prohibited or limited freedom for many people.

It is attitude that rules.  There are people on this July 4th who are in mental and emotional bondage.  Rather than enjoy their lives and share that joy with others (a rising tide lifts all boats) they instead dwell upon the “wrongs” and injustices of long ago.  Quite literally, that was then.  A different people, a different world-view, a different perspective from that of the present.  This is now.  Do you wish to be free?  Do you wish to be controlled by others?  The beauty is that you have the freedom and ability to do either.  I would encourage freedom – living in the present and making the present the most enjoyable moment.  (Hint:  There is only one moment, now.  There’s no such animal as past and future as far as experience goes.)

Those who get it, get it.  Those who don’t, can’t.  It took me a long time to fully grasp that.  Yet it’s true.  The Law of Attraction is the example.  Those who understand the Law of Attraction benefit from that knowledge.  There are people who deny that there is such a thing as the Law of Attraction.  It is the working of that law that helps convince such folks that there is no such thing.  Like attracts like, and if one thinks there is no such thing, then evidence of no such thing will come forth.

There are many unhappy people on this Fourth of July.  That is sad.  Let’s help them by having a rollicking good time celebrating freedom and all that is joyous.  You don’t have to convince anyone of anything (because you can’t) but you can demonstrate your joy in Life.  Perhaps, after a while, they’ll get curious.  Once curious, here’s a great place to get some information on how to live happier.

So celebrate!

And, yes, it is quite the right and proper thing to appreciate what a group of amazingly thoughtful men did for us.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

A Reminder of How it Works.


Thus the self-defeating language of "I've GOT to lose weight," or "I MUST eat less," or...well, you get the idea.  Just as you instinctively RESIST being ordered, so do the cells in your body system.  Think the thought of what you WANT - which is to feel good.  See previous post below.

Friday, June 06, 2014

Think What You Want.



I must lose weight!  I’ve got to cut down on (fill in the blank.) I can’t continue doing (something you like)!  I ought to spend more time (doing this or that)!  I should (fill in the blank.)   Or, some version of  “breaking or beating old habits.”  How do you feel having such thoughts (intentions?)

If someone comes up to you and says “You’ve got to do this!” what’s the first thing that goes through your mind?  Your immediate reaction:  The hell I do!” you think.  You didn’t have to work at it.  As soon as those dreadful words “got to” were hurled, you immediately, instinctively, resisted them.  A bit of anger flared at the same instant for protection, didn’t it?  You were prepared to defend your freedom and identity.  That’s part of what makes us human.  Now, where it gets dicey is when this instinctive reaction is directed not at some external threat, but at yourself.

You react to your own thinking in the same way you react to the words spoken by another.  If you think to yourself words such as must, got to, can’t, should, ought, then you  risk resisting yourself.   That resistance becomes your point of attention rather than what you desire.  In a fight against yourself, you lose.

So what to do?  First, practice thinking and speaking to yourself as you would want others to speak to you.  Second, speak and think about what you desire, what you want, rather than what you lack or what your fear.

This is a good time to practice what you want.  Re-consider your intentions.  For example – “I must get up earlier each morning,” or “I must go to bed earlier each night.”  The issue is time.  How about:  “I desire to have all the time I need to do what I choose to do.”

“I can’t eat my treats, I must lose weight.”  The issue – comfort with self.  How about:  “I enjoy everything I eat and everything I eat nourishes my healthy body.”

And, a big one:  “I can’t worry so much.”  The issue – worry makes me feel badly about something I can’t control.  How about:  “Life is Good.  There is Good for all.  I enjoy thinking about Goodness.”

The bottom line is that you select the words you use to speak with yourself.  Are you clearly communicating what you desire?  Or, the tricky part, are you giving more attention to what you don’t want?  Law of Attraction means “ask and you will receive.”  Whatever you’re giving attention is asking.  You have a lot of control over your life experience, afterall.