Author Archives: John Maerz

About John Maerz

I'm an author, professional speaker and coach with a specialization in psychological study. Having worked as a counselor and as a case manager with teen substance abuse and in social services in child protection I'm a seasoned personal coach, adviser and lecturer and have a diverse background in the human potentials field incorporating personality influences, shadow work, nutritional needs, creative expression and personal desires while uncovering innate abilities and hidden potentials for my clients. I'm dedicated toward raising awareness and share my own unique understandings and perspectives about life’s journey and meaning. I, also, recognize the need for balance and accountability on our mental, physical and emotional levels as well as fulfilling our spiritual potential through our individual experiences.

With advent of the media’s blossoming controversy about fake news and the rendering of misinformation by them and private sources we have felt a growing frustration in attempting to find out what’s really happening in the world and obtaining a fair and honest rendering through journalism and news reporting. With the added intensity over the differences in our political landscape and those utilizing it for manipulation, our belief and trust in what we are now being told has diminished significantly. Do we believe what we hear? Who do we trust? Do they have a vested interest in what they’re telling us? Who owns the media? Are they politically biased? Prejudiced? Are they giving us the facts? “Alternate” facts? Misinformation? Who should we put our trust in? The answer has finally and essentially come to the fact that, more than ever, we must now trust ourselves.

This may seem simplistic but it’s been a long time coming. With our social structure being flooded with so many authorities, experts, pundits, licensed providers, vetted officials, approved representatives, isn’t it only natural and inevitable that we must eventually reach a saturation point in our dependency on other people for advice and permission to do only what’s generally accepted by our peer group? Doesn’t it seem like there are so many conflicting edicts presented by so many groups we’ve come to trust, yet, they almost all tell us that we must be or do something other than what we feel? Today salt is good for you. Tomorrow it’s not. Today, one politician is a criminal. The next, they’re a hero. The majority of doctors say this drug is a miracle. The next day we hear of class action lawsuits levied by lawyers on behalf of people who have been irreparably damaged by them. Who do we believe? Who can we trust? The writing on the wall begs for us to begin relearning to trust ourselves. Relearn you say? How can this be? Aren’t we a self-sustaining and self-responsible culture? Haven’t we been trained to listen to and trust our own intuition and feelings? The answer is no. We’ve been trained by our parents and the media to seek outside of ourselves for the answers to all of our important questions.

Through being browbeaten into believing that all the important answers about how and why we are to live our lives comes from an outside authority, through omission it’s been strongly inferred to us that our feelings and intuition can’t and won’t be validated, proven, vetted or authenticated by others. We’ve been trained to put all of our faith into the scientific community and the proofs that it requires. There is a perpetual drive for evidence, evidence and evidence. We must only accept proof, validation and verification by others giving us permission to act even if it doesn’t feel right. Why have we allowed ourselves to believe this? It’s safer. We can be accused of less if we can validate who we are or what we are doing by following the rules and requirements of the social status quo. The underlying expectation is, and to most of us this is unconscious, that in doing so we won’t have to be responsible for the outcome of our choices. If we do something that someone disapproves of, all we have to do is point the finger at the accepted authority and we become vindicated and faultless. We’ve done what we’re told was proper. We’re blameless. We followed "the rules." We can now expect to be loved.

If we view the universe as a self-correcting system, we must understand that all things change and evolve. The snowballing of fake news and misinformation is simply occurring as a self-correction that the universe has been slowly and naturally energizing  as a re-balancing much like a market correction. Not that it is in any way intended, although there are many of us that believe in intelligent design, but that, according to its own nature, energy “seeks” toward simplicity and conservation of itself. Our focus outside of ourselves has reached such an extreme that the pendulum must now swing toward the side of personal and internal judgment simply in order to re-balance itself. The "rub" is that it must also return us toward being accountable for our actions and inactions. We will no longer be able to remain blameless and will now risk the possibility of not being loved or included in our chosen groups, clans or families.

Moving from being externally aligned toward being internally self-directed will seem foreign to many of us and even frightening to some. We have been so indoctrinated into listening to what comes from outside of ourselves that trusting our own feelings and intuition has come to seem unnatural and even treasonous toward the society and culture that has trained us toward, essentially, remaining subservient and obedient to itself. We’ve been relentlessly bombarded with the belief that we are responsible for the welfare of others over our own…even if subconsciously. This outlook heralds all the way back to colonial times when we actually needed the help of others simply to survive. Then, this easily fell in line with Christian principles claiming that we are our “brother’s keeper.” But circumstances change over time and so do the prevailing traditions that evolve from them. So now, when it comes to our contemporary emotional and psychological health, nothing could have evolved further from the truth. Although we claim to be self-sufficient, we do need others to see ourselves “objectively.” We have gravitated so much toward a selfless and personally sacrificial extreme that we are now all in perilous danger of losing ourselves totally simply to obtain the approval and acceptance of our peers through acquiescing to their parroted and, now, obsolete traditional judgments. Yet, this makes us feel safe and blameless. The ironic part of this is that everyone is looking toward each other as an authority which amounts to only each others opinions gathered from everyone else… No longer does anyone actually have or know the necessary truths. Through accepting this mindless echo as our standard for well being, we have simply become the blind leading the blind.

The breakdown in the media is simply one more superficial indicator of how over-invested we have become in the opinions and judgments of others. The recent assertion by our new president promoting “America First” exemplifies a tacit undercurrent moving us toward returning to a sense of balance nationally. We are in dire need of bringing our feelings and intuition back into play as being a valid form of information used for our choices and direction. Our blind acceptance of the need to validate everything scientifically has obliterated the awareness and validation of our own worth except in the context of social service and responsibility. We need to begin to allow ourselves to be selfish at least to the extent that we are able to regenerate ourselves before being subjugated to the socially expected demand of service to others. “Doctor, heal thyself!” We must regain a balance between being responsible to ourselves before we can become effective in being of service to others. A drained social worker is of little use to anyone.

So, now, the recent explosion and exposure of fake news and misinformation is, essentially, providing us with an unexpected side effect and open door encouraging us to reacquaint ourselves with our own feelings and intuition while showing us the necessity of giving ourselves permission to trust our own judgment in spite of the historic and overwhelming pressure levied on us by external authority. Isn’t it funny how life always brings us back to trusting our own heart and intuition? Yet, building the courage required to live according to them is, more often than not, ignored or even buried under the fearful possibility of being socially outcast for non-compliance.

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Politically Correct is a term which is relatively new but stems from a perspective eons old. To put it simply, being Politically Correct is when you refrain from speaking from a perspective that might offend a social or political group even if your perspective is a fundamental principle that you ardently believe in. But then we must look at what might be considered offensive and determine if preventing someone else’s feelings from being hurt is actually our responsibility. We now must question where we draw the line between being actually assaultive or damaging and merely being expressive. What now happens to our right to be expressive? Does someone’s right to feel safe or secure now supersede our right to be expressive? There are many factors that contribute to how this may play out in our daily lives such as mixed company, political settings, proximity of children, vulnerability of participants, laws, customs, traditions and a whole host of other venues that may be used as a premise for the demand of its support or negation. Where do we begin? How did we arrive at this point? Probably the best place to start is our culturally progressive evolution toward tending to looking outside of ourselves for validation and approval through putting the importance of the feelings and opinions of others over our own. In this, self-effacement has become a required norm rather than an option. Here an example would be best in keeping with clarifying what we’re dealing with.

In my recent participation in a primarily spiritual group I encountered a circumstance that exemplifies the dilemma we face in understanding Political Correctness and how it can positively or adversely affect the participants in a situation.

The scenario occurred in a weekly meditation group that usually begins with good spirits, playful bantering, discussion of political and social events and relating personal encounters from the previous week before our sessions begin. The moderator was already present as I entered. No one else was present. Greetings were exchanged and a discussion ensued replaying some of the political and social issues and perspectives that had highlighted popular concerns during the week. Our discussion progressed to potential alternatives to actions that might be taken to ease some of the concerns people generally felt. At the peak of an engaging part of the discussion an older gentleman entered the room and shuffled to a seat. He listened for a few moments and then commented that the conversation was upsetting to him. He then stated that “the good lord had put us here to love one another.” I answered that that is just his opinion. He then stated that he didn’t want to be in this vibration and left the room. The moderator said he was sorry as the man left and then others entered the room. The usual bantering and joking ensued and we soon moved into silence for the beginning of our session. Before we began the moderator told the group that he’d like to apologize for his part in upsetting one of the participants who had left the room and asked that in future sessions the participants restrain their energies and expression as they entered the room to prevent disturbing other members in the group. The request was met with silence. It was obvious that this had put a damper on the elevated energy that usually permeates the group. We conducted our session and the group broke normally at its conclusion. I left very quietly while being pensive about what I had experienced. It had disturbed me but I couldn’t quite figure out why. It was a while before I came to understand what had actually transpired.

Let me first start off by saying that it is my choice to be either insulted or complemented by what someone else says. I must take responsibility for my own reactions. I really can’t blame anyone else for what I internally feel or generate myself. Therefore, I have no right to complain that someone has verbally hurt me even if I let myself buy into what they’ve said to me or about me. What I feel is my responsibility not a function of what someone else does or says. This being said, I am also not responsible for what anyone else feels as a result of what I say. They also have no right or room to complain. There is an old childhood saying that says, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never harm me.” That alone says we either have or should have control over our own feelings and well being short of any physical contact. Let’s move a little deeper.

Our culture has become infected with a trending feeling that we must “dumb ourselves down” so others may feel comfortable and secure around us if we even think that they might feel frightened, jealous or intimidated by how we express ourselves. This perspective can very quickly become a slippery slope. It is a type of suppression that lends itself well to manipulation from within the cloak of political correctness and social etiquette. Psychologists call this the tyranny of the weak; those who use helplessness or infirmity as a guilt inducing tool evoking the relinquishing of our personal control and self-preference. In a crude fashion I can liken this type of behavior to someone dressing up as a beggar to panhandle in order to prevent having to get a job or a person who feigns sickness in order to evoke sympathy and special favors. Their behavior and assumption is geared toward us giving them deference in a number of ways. Currently, in our culture, we have become so brainwashed into believing that we are responsible for everyone else that when we do what’s good for ourselves we’re viewed as selfish or narcissistic.

I’m not promoting emotional anarchism as there are many instances where kindness for the frailty of another may be called for. But there are those of us who use that frailty as a tool for manipulation. Hypochondriacs are a prime example. And there are those of us who use the frailty and helplessness of others as a platform for their self-interest and our manipulation. We see this through guilt inducing tactics in blood drives, charity organizations, pet rescue commercials, feed the children commercials and more all insinuating that it is our responsibility to take care of those “less fortunate” while encouraging us to feel guilty if we don’t donate. A political example of this is “affirmative action;” the manipulation of one group to the advantage of another. The pendulum of who we should feel responsible for has swung way to the “others are more important than we are” side. In politics, I believe this is a stark reflection our population’s reaction and cheering on of Mr. Trump’s “America First” over the continued draining of our own country’s resources supporting every country who “whines” at us complaining about their woes and needs for rebuilding after they’ve done irreparable damage to their own resources themselves.

Now that we’ve done some exploration and laid some groundwork for how and what political correctness might encourage, let’s move back to my group experience expressed previously.

Was the older gentleman wrong in expressing his discomfort in remaining at the session? Not at all. He said what he felt and took action that reflected his feelings. He acknowledged his feelings and acted according to what he thought would be best for himself. A mature and commendable action.

Was the moderator wrong in apologizing for his part in the elder gentleman’s choice? No. He also made a decision based on what he felt and took action by informing the group of what he wished for his group in future sessions.

Were my feelings about what occurred wrong? No again. Although it took a little while before I clearly understood the dynamics of what had occurred. None of us had ill will at heart. Just preference based on what each of us had felt and decided based on our own previous and individual experiences. I doubt any of us felt manipulated or pressured toward any kind of action beyond our own choice as conditioned by our own historical experience.

I have not gone back to the group. I feel that if I can’t freely express myself there that it would not be a place for me to flourish or feel comfortable. But again, that was my choice based on my own preferences about how I’d like to live, whom I’d like to interact with and to what degree of freedom I’d like to have in doing so.

The important part of all of our individual decisions is that we didn’t take the actions of one another personally. Had we done so, blame, insult and all the other imagined insults would have led us toward taking immature and insecurity based manipulative action in order to exercise control or save face. Since we all remained responsible for our own feelings, the experience simply resulted in our individual choices leading us to put ourselves on an individual path comfortable for each of us.

If we are honest with ourselves, political correctness becomes unnecessary. In my opinion, political correctness is simply a manipulation and self-deception under the guise of needing a required personal sacrifice or suppression of one’s expression…yours or someone you’re “acting on behalf of.”

So the next time you hear the words politically correct, take a closer look. Is someone or something being shielded from the light of day or the truth? Is someone benefiting from the suppression of someone else? Odds are, most likely there is.

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fear-1Quietly sitting in a meditation group, a question was posed by one of the members. The question asked what significance fear has in our lives. At first it seemed like a simple question but upon deeper consideration I realized that it held tremendous influence over the way I and others felt. This led me to attempt to, first, define the feeling.

Most sources defined fear as sensing and reacting to danger. But now this led me to search out the meaning of danger. The earliest meaning I could find comes from the 12th century French dangier meaning “the power to harm, mastery, authority and control.” So, essentially, fear and perceived danger are a sense or belief that we are somehow out of control or in a Fight or flightposition where life and others have power over us. Why would being out of control evoke such an intense feeling? Granted, fear is a primal feeling and involuntary reaction innate to our animal natures. But that only relates to the immediate and impending physical consequences of survival. We as humans know fear as having a much wider and more powerful influence over our daily lives. So, where then does this power come from? I believe that it is trained into us beginning with our earliest ability to think.

As children and before our metal capabilities to think are developed, we have not yet developed the discrimination between self and other so what we feel deprived of or  assailed by only seems to register as a feeling of pain or discomfort to which we simply react by crying. At that point the fear response, other than concerning our primal survival, has not yet formed as we need to have the experience of pain or discomfort, pair it with the perception of a threat coming from outside of ourselves and then create a retrievable memory of it. Memory is solely a function of the mind existing in linear time. Until we develop the capacity to think, that dimension has no relevance to us yet and hence no memory. Yet, at that age, having the experience of pain or deprivation creates a future trigger response in our animal natures to its next occurrence. Once the mind is formed and time is perceived, fear can now have a solid perceivable reference point for which it can generate feelings about future circumstances. So what are we actually saying? That animals gain an instinctual bad-feelingfear through the experience of immediate circumstances and that humans gain this too but we also develop ability to project far into the future and create fear based on “wouldn’t it be horrible if” through the power of our minds. In short, animals can feel fear in immediate circumstances but we humans have also learned to project it way into the future.

Our next question, logically, must be “how and why would we learn to do this?” I believe that our tendency to do this comes from being trained to believe that we must control ourselves and our circumstances if we are first, to stay “safe,” and, second, keep our personal world in a static state through the belief that circumstances can remain unchangeable. Even in light of the fact that we honestly know that security is an illusion, and this is still an unconscious knowing for most of us, we still consciously hold an irrational belief that the world can be animal masteryheld in a static state and that we should be able to control the rest of the world and others in it. But now, we have to ask “where did this irrational belief come from?” The answer is that we’ve been taught by our parents to expect to be able to control our circumstances. As children, how would have been able to know any different? At that age, we simply accept it as fact because our parents tell us it is so. What’s sad and disconcerting is that many of our parents still believe that this is so as they were taught to believe this by their parents.

At this point you’re probably asking yourself what fear has to do with eclipsing the heart. Right? To understand this we must first recognize that the heart uses feelings and intuition as its medium of exchange for communication. We first feel and intuit and then thinking is used to put it in a comprehensible form we can recognize, explain, create a judgment about (preference) and then commit it to our memory. What we think is an afterthought. While feelings and intuition are innate to humans, thinking, or our mental facilities, are all learned. This occurs after we are born through our exposure to the physical world within the landscape of time (past, present and future). In other words, we come into this life with feeling and intuition fully in operation already but skill in thinking must be acquired and developed before it can be used.

Feeling and intuition, the heart’s non-descriptive form of bringing our attention to something, is forever delivering us urges and impulses that are neither comprehended nor explained until they are subjected to the separative discrimination of the mind. Feelings arise in a moving wave and intuition occurs in a flash. It is not until the mind springs into action that they become “solidified” as a judgment of preference specifying whether we’d like to approach or avoid the experience expressed by them.

strategy-1As our mental capacity develops more and more and our childhood physical world begins to take dominance over who we are and what we pay attention to, our feelings and intuition slowly become submerged under the monumental weight and emphasis on thinking. Thinking gradually becomes the strategic and dominant force determining virtually all the choices we make. When our mental functions change the channel to fear, it short circuits all of our considerations for how we choose to act…or not with “wouldn’t it be horrible if.” Our feelings and intuition no longer even have the opportunity to have an influence other than the fear generated by the mind through “wouldn’t it be horrible if.” In this way fear totally eclipses the heart. Other feelings and our intuition are still there but essentially crushed under the weight of our fear invoking mental gymnastics.

Granted, the fear that’s triggered by fight or flight encounters (innate animal survival instincts) is essentially unavoidable. But the fear that’s generated by our “wouldn’t it be horrible if” is something that can be reprogrammed. Remember, it’s only a mental perspective that has been trained into us. It can also be replaced by reprogramming ourselves to say and feel “wouldn’t it be great if.” All we have to do is consider the beneficial aspects of whatever circumstances we feel intimidated by. It’ll take work and time but in the long run the physical and emotional benefits far outweigh the tension, anxiety and stress triggered by the “wouldn’t it be horrible if.”

self-doubt-7With every endeavor on untried ground there rises within us some measure of doubt as to whether we will be up to the task, accomplish what we desire or how we will appear to others as we conclude our efforts. But what is doubt? Where does it come from? Is it something that we’re born with or is it something that is learned and acquired? My belief is that it is learned and acquired.

When a baby begins to walk, talk or eat, these activities occur naturally, without effort or concern. Why? The thought processes that qualify or judge what we are doing have not been formed yet. Ask yourself this question. Have there been activities like painting, cooking, sculpting, reading or running that you have become so involved in doing that time, environmental circumstances and your concern with other issues never came to mind? It’s like you’ve been out of phase with the world, taken out of the loop, out of touch. What’s truly interesting is that after such an experience you end up feeling recharged, refreshed and more grounded and centered than you were before you started. Why? It’s because the mind and it’s judgments didn’t interfere with what you were doing.

Our judgment of the world comes from the workings of the mind. This is something that we were taught whether by our parents or from the feedback we get from others assessing our activities. These judgments come unhindered and are quietly incorporated into our beliefs about ourselves and who we are and then slowly and easily submerge into our subconscious. As children we become so attuned to what pleases our parents and family that we ultimately either transfer their authority and opinions to other significant people in our lives such as relationships, friends, enemies, neighbors and more or attract others to us who embody those same standards. As humans, we seek to create familiar circumstances over and over in our lives so we can feel security in the continuity of things. As children, and often as adults, we’re trained to take to heart what other say and feel about who we are and how we perform. As a result we go through a constant process criticismof comparing what we want to do with our perceived opinions, needs and requirements of others. Then, as we consider doing things that others may disapprove of or believe that we are incapable of, our mind very slowly begins to rationalize the validity of their opinions and judgments to the point that our own internal conversation begins to convince us that what we’ve chosen to do is unreachable or self-defeating.

Our doubt comes from two places: personal experiences that didn’t measure up to our expectations and learned internal dialogues that echo our parents and the opinions of others over our own. The first view necessitates the garnering of courage just to try again what we’ve attempted but from, perhaps, a different approach. This scenario is usually manageable and easy to overcome since this type of limitation is completely under our own control. However, if our doubt was initiated by training from others, it’s a bit more difficult to overcome, especially, since we had no control over the forming of what we now believe about ourselves before we even knew that we had a choice in such matters. Children almost always carry on their parents’ assessment of them throughout their lives, if not consciously, most certainly unconsciously. If their parents taught them to not believe in followtherulestheir abilities but to trust others over their own judgment instead, doubt will be a predominating influence in everything they do. What makes this so difficult beyond the fact that it has been incorporated into our belief system is that we also have no control over the doubt reinforcing feedback we receive from others. Because it’s ingrained in us, we tend accept those limitations at face value never questioning their validity.

If our investment in the opinions of others about whom we are and what we’re capable of is strong, doubt will be the primary limiting factor in every activity we consider doing throughout our lives. It acts like a hidden virus coming from a small seed, growing and overpowering our lives. Our self-worth will be sabotaged at every turn and we will feel powerless and insignificant at our core rationalizing that our perceived ineffectiveness comes from the world and the obstructions provided by others. In that light we never realize that our limitations came to us through our own early training. To extricate ourselves from this perspective we must first come to the understanding that doubt is a product of our own minds and training and that we must learn to trust our own feelings rather than the opinions of our parents and others in spite of our fear of their possible negative judgments and assessments. This is the hardest scenario for us to overcome.

If our faith in the judgments of others over our own is not as strong, our doubt may creep in intermittently depending on the circumstance triggered. There may be some situations where in we feel confident and others that we don’t. We must sort out which are which and work on the ones that are the most limiting through asking questions of ourselves as to where our doubt about them is coming from. Once the source is recognized, we can consciously take steps to intentionally create new experiences within the same issues thereby reprogramming our attitude and trust after Pic-The Thinkersuccessful completion creating a new assessment of ourselves and removing any potential for doubt. Restoring confidence can only come from personal experience regardless of whether it is spontaneous or planned. No amount of coaching or positive affirmations can substitute for the personal inner work that must be done. How we feel about ourselves is our own choice. Even as a child this is true but subject to much more difficulty since, as a child, we don’t know yet that we have a choice.

Doubt is odorless, tasteless and invisible. It is probably the most lethal opponent to our ambition and self-confidence. It is a viral agent capable of sabotaging every effort an infected person is able to muster. But it can be eliminated with care, patience and keen observation of how we feel when we choose to invest in any endeavor.  If you doubt its potency, simply consider what microscopic entity saved our hides in the movie War of the Worlds. It was odorless, tasteless and invisible to the naked eye. Yet, it annihilated an entire invading force…and they never knew what hit them.

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Css-SubcssHow many times have we heard this or a similar statement? With the progressive advance of psychotherapy and analysis becoming part of our ordinary culture we have been given a convenient excuse for not being responsible for our actions. Or have we? Are we really not responsible for what our subconscious urges us to do or are we just acquiescing to the assertions of modern psychology that we may ease our conscience? There are many conflicting viewpoints but perhaps in order to have a clearer understanding we need to take a fresh look at the workings of our mind and it’s potential from a different perspective.

Css-subcss-uncssWhen we look at the origins of the word subconscious it is quoted as being a mental state that exists without consciousness. Since consciousness is defined as a state of being aware and sub means under, it would make sense to assert that the subconscious means the mental workings of the mind that are below our threshold of awareness. I think that most of us can agree on this. But wouldn’t it also be logical to assume that the experiences and incidents that exist in our subconscious were at one time conscious? That at some point we had an awareness of them? If that is so, then why would they be now unconscious or below our threshold of awareness? I think the scope of what the mind is able to focus on at any one time would be a deciding factor as to what is consciously available to us. Let me explain what I mean.

Close encountersIf I asked you to close your eyes and hold a number of pictures in your consciousness, you would probably be able to hold a small number of them until you reached a number of pictures beyond your capability. The mind has limits and can only hold focus on a certain number of things at the same time. Some of us may have better concentrative abilities than others and be able to hold more but we would all eventually reach a saturation point where it grew past our personal limits. In this way our mind and brain operate very much like a computer. The total of what we can hold in focus at any one time can be compared to computer RAM (Random Access Memory). RAM is like a workbench Control-1that is immediately accessible and workable. Most everything else would be in drawers or cabinets (memory) until something else was needed. Our mind is just like that workbench. Once we’ve reached capacity, the workbench becomes full and it becomes necessary to eliminate some items from the bench to make room for what else we’d like to include in our immediate work area or focus. So, there would be objects and tools (past experiences and emotions) that would be out of sight or below the threshold of our awareness until we were made aware of their need and then brought them into the light on the workbench switching them with something we’re finished with. In an even simpler comparison, if we were eating a pizza, we could only eat one slice at a time unless we switched bites between slices and then the rest of the pizza would remain on the table. Yet, we’d still smell it.

Although our previous experiences, emotions and judgments would remain below our threshold of awareness, they would still be triggered by environmental and personal stimuli, but be unable to surface into our awareness if our workbench (immediate awareness) was full with other issues. Even if we multi-task like a computer, which many of us have learned to do, we would all still have to reach a saturation point where new stimuli would be unable to be perceived.

So how does this relate to our subconscious and the perception that the result of our reactions are caused by a part of us that is perceived as unavailable and not attributable to us? Here, the old statement out of sight out of mind is eminently attributable. In other words, if we can’t see or sense it, it isn’t real for us. Basically, many of us never even acknowledge something that’s beyond our immediate awareness. This being the case, anything that css-subcss-3triggers a reaction from our subconscious will be seen as not related to us and therefore, having no culpability for us. In other words, we believe that we’re not accountable for the reaction to it that we produce. Based on this, many of us claim that we “didn’t know” or “we were unaware” thereby justifying our lack of accountability where, in reality, it was our own minds that we overloaded with so many other issues that we never even sensed that there was something else going on outside of our focus.

Our subconscious works with or without our acknowledgement. This being the case, how do we prevent such actions and reactions from taking place without our conscious approval and accountability? The problem lies with us always keeping our mind full. The solution rests in our ability to regularly clear the mind of as many concerns as we are able as often as we are able. But with our fast pace and demanding culture, this seems almost impossible to accomplish at any given point let alone to keep space open for the arrival of any unexpected triggers and influences. If we look at our prior computer example, if our RAM is full (the work bench) and we don’t make room for the pending data, our computer will give us a message 404-errorsaying “not enough memory.” Older computers without safe guards will often crash before such a message is broadcast. This is also the point where humans mentally “crash” and, in extreme cases, encounter a nervous breakdown. Institutions are full of people whose subconscious has overwhelmed their conscious ability to handle an overloading saturation of influences. This is, also, one of the factors that have contributed to dementia and Alzheimer’s. For many, our energy seems to diminish with age and we lose the ability to keep control of all the things that we have held together for so many years and our mental faculties’ crash under the lack.

css-subcss-mazeGenerally, when we’ve completed a task, it is usually easy to drop our focus on it. But when we have many tasks which all seem to be irresolvable and/or are attended by a feeling of overwhelming, we tend to be unable to let go even when we know that it would be in our best interest to do so. Our culture has very effectively trained us into being obsessive with the need for control coupled with the instilled belief that if we give up on anything, we will be viewed as lazy or cowardly. This is tremendously compounded when our self-judgment is coupled with our social and familially expected responsibilities and required accomplishments. Multi-tasking may extend our ability but ultimately crashes even if just a little further down the road.

So, back to “my subconscious did it.” Did I really do it? Yes. Am I just unaware that I did something without cognizance. Yes. Am I still accountable for my actions? Yes, even if I claim that I didn’t know or were unaware. Why? Because I didn’t clear my mind properly in order to stay open and ready for new life experiences, especially when they trigger old and In a bubbleinappropriate responses. I didn’t allow the new experience to come to my awareness because I was tunnel focusing and obsessing over other issues keeping my workbench full. Remember, they are still my reactions. Of course I’m responsible for them. We all need to remember this the next time we think “my subconscious did it” and we have the urge to use unawareness as an excuse for not being accountable. Even man-made law says ignorance is no excuse for transgressions. We don't live in a bubble...although we might wish to...

Everything youve ever wantedWith every action that we initiate or participate in we will approach that action from a perspective that will set the stage for how the resulting circumstances will present themselves and play out. For most of us we will choose either for the completion of something or for having an experience of some kind. For the western mind, the goal is usually comprised of a resolution of some concern or an arrival at some anticipated place. Since we are, essentially, a problem solving culture based on practicalities and material concerns and governed by tangible validation, a resolution or destination almost always becomes the intended purpose of our goal. With the influx of other cultures and with the progressively expanding spiritual movement, the journey as opposed to a destination has been taking on much more importance. More and more of us are accepting that choosing the importance of the journey over the destination is becoming the most appropriate perspective for our approach. However, there is an even more subtle dynamic that sets the stage for what circumstances we draw to ourselves that altogether goes unnoticed. The manner in which we approach that journey or destination defines whether we end up aligning with the best focus for making the energy applied supportive for our assumed objectives or if we align with setting up our own resistance thereby preventing our objectives from coming to fruition. This agrees with the principles of the Law of Attraction.

CrushedCulture_ForbesThe difference is quite obvious to those of us who are aware of how energy operates. If we focus on what blocks our way to being successful, we add momentum to the force impeding the accomplishment of our intention. If we focus on what is needed to manifest our intention, we almost invariably accelerate conditions leading to its accomplishment, sometimes, even with an advantageous twist in our preferred outcome. This often seems counter intuitive to us.  It seems like focusing on what could be is irrational in light of the fact that we are predominantly so materially directed. Not wanting to risk being irrational or seeming to look impractical to others, we almost always focus on what is there rather than what could be. To us, what could be is judged to be Pollyanna like. That is, our contemporary culture assumes that a what could be focus rather than what is focus is immature, irrational and impractical. This is simply a function of our having been trained into always attending what is already present rather than on any potential beyond our observed limitations. Over emphasis on this is often a lethal hazard to what we wish to accomplish through having been ingrained in our childhood training and supporting a materialistic view on things. It exemplifies our modern day obsession with needing to be and feel practical. Our culture has been deceived into believing that we must behave like scientists by putting our trust and faith only in what we can see, feel, smell, touch or hear. Unfortunately, the result is the sacrifice of any viable vision that only exhibits potential without supporting evidence for the assumed guarantee of the accomplishment our goal. In this view we are blocked through paying intention only to what is rather than what is needed or possible. Even you, the reader, now would most likely also align your trained belief with a practical approach believing that it must be used to be successful. But problem solving, the idiosyncratic obsession of our western culture, The Outsideralmost always focuses on what is and in the way of what we want, often focusing on what prevents our success rather that what accelerates it and prepares us for its arrival. But this approach always fails us and flies in the in the face of how energy naturally and universally operates. The truth is that energy follows thought. It is mindless. It simply goes where we direct it. If we direct our attention (energy) toward limitations, it accelerates their strength and momentum. If we direct our energy toward our vision and what would, conceivably, manifest our intention, momentum is built toward creating it. Again, a principle primary to the Law of Attraction.

The crux of what we’re speaking about boils down to whether we believe that circumstances control our fate or our own will and intentions do. In this, we have to ask ourselves which is stronger, what is or what could be? To which do we give our power and expectations over to; the actions of the external world or our own will and intentions? Which moves us? Which perspective holds dominance with us? Are we the controlled or the controllers? Are we the creators or the created? If we are predominantly the created, we will spend the rest of our lives Odd man outdoing and being what we’re told. We’ll feel snug, secure and like we have a prepared and secure place in the world (dictated by others). If we are predominantly the creators (dictated by our own heart), we might feel insecure about our place in the world and are likely to be shunned and ostracized by those who are afraid of growth and change by having to readjust the way they relate to us. We will have little support and even less feeling of belonging. An independent path often starts on a lonely road…until we attract those of similar interest and those who have also developed the courage needed for independent choices and action.

There needs to be a balance between our heartfelt actions and intentions and what the world sees as our place in it. We need to have a modicum of both perspectives in order to maintain our momentum toward our personal growth while maintaining our ability to integrate what we’ve learned with the world of what is. Others will see us as their external world and they are compelled to make the same choice for balance as we do.

Please understand that I am not promoting anarchy, simply more of an even balance between what we want and what is expected of us by the world around us. Our culture has become so over weighted with evidence based values based on our assumed expectations of what is that we have been trained into and all but forgotten that each of us have just as much a right to pursue what we want without being accused of being selfish through ignoring what the world attempts to bully us into believing. We are not scientists. We are human; a combination of what is and what we could become. Do you want to keep repeating the same old patterns producing the same results? Relative to world changes, it is vital that we include more of what could be rather than only repeating evidence of what is…our past. Great dreams are all based on what could be…the future. They are the driving force for expanding our awareness and evolution as a species. Don’t be bullied into believing that the world knows best for us. Don’t contribute to the Peak-Successfear and ignorance of the “sheeple.” The world around us simply shows evidence of what has already been tried. Be curious. Be playful. Be creative. We are also part of that world that determines how our growth will progress. We participate in both directions. Listen to your heart first, then synthesize it with the world and its need for security in maintaining their status quo. Balance your dreams with the practicalities, yet, still follow your dreams. Look at them in terms of potential and preparation not as a measure of prevention for what we’ve learned to believe we might lose if we step outside the envelope.

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soulmates-2I’ve written previously about soul mates and past life connections. But I’d like to cover more deeply the characteristics, dynamics and flavor brought to us through the recognition of our past connections. I‘d also like to clarify a major misconception about what soul mates are and how best to recognize them. Whether you believe in reincarnation or not is not as important as the effect these kinds of feelings and connections may have on you regardless of your beliefs about it let alone dealing with the dynamics of any type of recognition.

Before I begin it would be prudent to give you my take on what a soul mate is as distinguished from a simple past life connection. A soul mate is a past life connection with whom we’ve had a profound experience. It could be as lovers, enemies, parents, children, mentors or anyone with whom the experience shaped our lives and attitudes in an important way. Upon meeting in this life there is a depth of “knowing” them with a strong sense of familiarity as if we’ve known each other for years usually including unexplained feelings of safety, comfort or trust. They often come into our life during a crisis period giving us grounding and support and then leave when the worst is over. Yet, our arch enemy will also fit the bill but with an unexplained sense of danger, discomfort and a distrust of their actions and intentions. Simple past life connections are similar but without the profundity, intensity or unexplained qualities that are elicited when meeting our soul mates. There is simply recognition of having an indescribable feeling of familiarity as if we should have something in common through the connection but being more nebulous and much less defined in terms of our personal feelings and intuition. Past life connections may also be family members other than nuclear, personal associations and connections coming mostly from peripheral past life experiences.

The most common misnomer is that soul mates are impassioned lovers that reconnect in a current life and that once found all aspects of the new relationship will progress without incident. This is a frequent belief held among westerners in that our mindset sees life as a series of challenges needing resolution and that once these challenges have been met, difficulties will cease and the rest of life will end as in a fairy tale. But we must remember that life is a process and not a destination and that if our life continues, there are bound to be more challenges simply by virtue of the fact that we all continue to grow and evolve.

samurai duelAlthough soul mates can be returning lovers, this is not as often the case as we might think. The intense connection felt by the impassioned lovers can also be felt between arch enemies. In this we need to understand that arch enemies are just as tuned in to each other as impassioned lovers are. This tuning in occurs through intensely, even obsessively, directing an abundant amount of our attention to our lover or our enemy. Energy builds just like money in a growing investment. It must also be realized that if our attention occurs within a setting of emotional immaturity, the lovers can shift to being arch enemies on a dime and vice versa. The soul mate connection is one of energy and feeling not of circumstance. Yet, circumstances are simply the medium for the energy to express itself through. The recognition we sense between people is through our feelings and can range between tsunamically overwhelming feelings or simple impressions that are brought to the surface of our awareness. And those feelings are usually triggered through a simple act or circumstance.

It’s common knowledge that if we have an immediate reaction to someone upon meeting them that our feelings will always give us an accurate measure as to how good or bad they will be for us in the long run. We’ve all, at one time or another, found ourselves saying “I have a good (or bad) feeling about this.” From that point, and if our mind believes that our original assessment might be in error or that it threatens our personal image or security, the mind will come up with Rationalizeany number of rationalizations to either confirm or deny the validity of those first impressions. In this case and more often than not, when we let the mind have the final say and it disagrees with our first impression, we almost always end up regretting our final decision. But here, we’re not too concerned with how good or bad they are for us but if the impression triggers a past life connection. The biggest difficulty for most people is in separating animal magnetism from past life recognition. Most people assume that the magnetism is somehow a past life connection. This usually occurs with people who are not subtly tuned. But, if we’ve done sufficient work on ourselves and have learned to discriminate the coarser vibrations from the subtler ones, we usually can tell the difference.

In lieu of the fact that so many levels of information are presented on our first meeting with someone, I think it’s safe to say that it’s easier to determine past life connections after the initial acquaintance has taken place and the relationship has had a little time to become comfortable and familiar with both people. Once this occurs it becomes easier to discriminate subtler differences in the impressions and feelings we pick up while relating. Essentially, the more intense and often overwhelming energies have settled and an emotional equilibrium has stage set-2returned putting the discrimination of feelings on a much more refined basis. This sets the stage for the actual dynamic that occurs triggering past life reflections. I use reflections instead of the word memories since memory usually refers to the storage of mentally assessed experiences. Spontaneous past life reflections happen in the much more subtle and intangible field of intuition while sometimes coupled with a feeling. Because of the subtlety of the connection, our combined physical senses, which usually determine if an experience is real for us or not, are not involved in the recognition of past life experiences resulting in our wondering whether we are simply making up what we perceive or if it had actually occurred. Past life recognition usually occurs through only one sense at a time. This enables clarity. The key to working with these impressions is to prevent the mind’s involvement and its tendency to combine our physical senses, thereby, reading only our intuitive and feeling perceptions through one sense. Once the mind becomes involved in the process we tend toward “fleshing out” the impression with what we think the meaning or experience must be according to our standards for assessing physical reality.

Past life regression-1When working with a hypnotherapist and regression, keeping us free from embellishing what we recognize is one of their jobs. This way the image remains true to the original impression. Linear thinking is antithetical to intuition and feeling. Yet, the human mind will always struggle to put what we know and what we perceive into linear terms so it will be able to use it in the processing of our physical world. This now leaves us only with the possible avenues for triggering past life impressions and feelings.

The dynamic is simple. The link occurs between our current relaxed awareness, often in an alpha state, with the past experience. It can and usually comes by way of one sense like a touch, a word (vibration), a phrase, a scent, a sound, a tune or any other perceived stimulus that somehow resonates with circumstances encountered in the past life experience. This is often Deja Vuperceived as what many call déjà vu. But déjà vu usually arrives through a combined sensory trigger.  The past life reflection usually occurs only through one sense. The trigger works the same way a memory is triggered but with the mind out of the picture, deeper impressions are more able to come to the surface. For example, if one person is caressing another and a very relaxed state is induced for one or both, an impression may come to the surface of either one or both the caresser and person being caressed. The act of caressing reverberates or echoes the past life experience and a resonance between this life and the past is enabled through the caressing. In the same way that a combination of flavors may bring us back to memorable times in our childhood, that same combination of flavors may also enable the surfacing of a past life experience attached to those same flavors provided our mind is briefly “out of commission.”

Any singular sensory experience may be enough to trigger a past life impression but we must be in a state where the mind and our current world doesn’t intrude or overshadow the impression with earthly qualifications and mental rationalizations. Similarly, it is like being in a crowded room with everyone loudly talking making it virtually impossible to hear a whisper. But if everybody is whispering, it is much easier to perceive more subtle sounds.

ScrutinySo, in assessing soul mate potential, we must be careful in our discrimination so we don’t fool ourselves or talk ourselves into believing that any feeling of familiarity is an indication of a soul mate when perhaps it is simply a past life connection. As with anything else, clear and concise discrimination is the key to our inner awareness.

I want, I need I desire..They're such small words for such large and multi-leveled meanings. We all speak of what we want, need and desire, but so little attention is ever given to where the urges come from and how they originated in our perception in the first place. Why do we desire? Why do we want? Why do we need? I believe the answer is very simple but we get so mired down in the details of those feelings and what they’re attached to that we never see the larger picture. The larger picture is the key to our understanding but it will take a little perceptual shifting on our parts to fully comprehend the paradigm.

on the path-2Let’s begin first by saying that a desire is a direction finder for following our hearts and our inner paths. It is this directing engine that drives the experience that we’ve come here to have. To understand this in the proper context we have to put ourselves in the position of “where” we were in before we created and entered our current bodies. I believe at the very root of this understanding is that we were not put here by anyone for any reason foreign to us. However, there is a universal energy of which we are all a part of. Call it God, the Tao, the source, our essence, regardless whatever name you choose to represent the larger part of us that we are striving to become aware of our part in. Essentially, we are a small splinter of a much, much larger force.

In this state, which we might call spirit, soul or essence, we are aware that to become aware of the larger whole of what we’re part of we must have experiences that awaken qualities within us that will make us able to comprehend and understand our connection and belonging to that larger force. To that end we create an intention for which experiences we believe will expand our awareness and understanding to do so. This is partly what is meant when many of us say Bunker familyand believe that we choose the family to which we will be born into. The type of family and circumstances we enter will train us into a perspective that will create desires and needs within us that, if followed, will eventually lead us to personal choices that will produce the experiences that will enliven our pre-birth intentions. In a sense, we’re setting the stage for how we will perceive and approach the world to serve as an impetus toward the experience(s) we’ve chosen. Once we’ve been trained into family views and perceptions, our attention will find gaps in or qualities missing in our earthly self-assessments and life circumstances that we feel must be filled in order that we may feel “whole.” For example, if we’ve chosen to experience personal accomplishment and what the world calls success, we will be born to a family that lacks opportunity, prestige, resources, and recognition. Feeling this lack we will be impelled to overcome those limitations, and hopefully, establish an awareness of those qualities within ourselves. Older esoteric organizations describe this dynamic as being a thrust block akin to how a swimmer would use the resistance of the pool wall behind them to propel themselves forward through the water. More examples would be the psychologist who comes from a dysfunctional family seeks and gains inner balance or an abused person finds and builds the internal respect to become assertive, confident and self-respecting in their life choices of partners. It has been my experience to find people who have come from exceptionally difficult childhoods to eventually excel in those areas in their lives that had provided the most difficulty. Then, their worst deficits are turned into their best assets through seeking to overturn them. Yet, not every soul “accomplishes” the earthly experience they intended. Just around the cornerWhat we call “fate” sets the path but free will allows us to choose our earthly direction based on the forces we find here. Many of our choices are not aligned with what our heart intends for us. Yet, even in missing the intended goal we acquire experiences that lead to our greater awareness. Nothing is wasted. This is one of the factors included in the Law of Conservation. Hence, we pull back and reestablish our intention. This is one of the purposes for meditation and practices that return us to our center. If not done during our incarnation, we may reassess after returning to our source.

So, now let’s return to I want, I need, I desire. Where do these desires, needs and wants come from? They are activated by the circumstances we choose to insert ourselves into before birth. By our pre-birth choice, we choose and set the stage for our growth ourselves through the family we enter ingraining in our psyches differences in culture, religion, social standing, prosperity, physical attributes, mental and emotional capacity, etc. Our perceived lack in any or all of those areas serves as the engine that drives our urges and desires for our originally intended experience.

In this light we can see that if we faithfully follow our inner most urges and desires, we will enable and manifest the worldly experience we’ve have chosen to have before we were born. The process is simple as long as we are able to listen and follow what comes from our hearts. But the world neither understands nor approves of selfishly following our own desires and urges regardless of the reasoning behind it. The world sees being selfish and following our own Vatican Rulingurges as indicative of our exhibiting negative behavior, despicable self-centeredness and assumes lack of compassion for others. Our religions have done a stupendous job of making us choose to believe that we are responsible and accountable to the world rather than our own souls, spirits or essences even though it claims to have the truth about our existence. To serve ourselves before serving others is seen as a perversion of human values. Our materially driven world sees humanity as having to be accountable and responsible for the world existing outside of our hearts. Hence, we allow ourselves become dismally distracted into believing that others are the reason to which we’ve been put here by a deity outside of us while under its threat of excommunication, ostracization and rejection. In short, we’re blackmailed through being prohibited from receiving love and belonging unless we behave in ways that only serves the religion which proposed them. Perhaps this is what one of the perspectives that Jesus meant when he said to simply be in the world rather than of it.

When we say I want, I desire, I need... they're simply the tip of the inner iceberg indicating pied-piper-1where our attention should be. We must not only listen to and follow them but look beneath the surface of those desires to be assured that our choices are not the manufactured product of a worldly Pied Piper seducing our egos and tempting us away from the inner path we have truly intended for ourselves.

Guru-1The lure of someone who appears to have mastered what we’re struggling with seems to be an overwhelming attraction for us. Often, being unaware of the attraction but still feeling its pull adds to our urge to become something more than we are. To this end we find ourselves actively seeking people with those abilities to improve our abilities, our spirituality, our knowledge and our awareness. People who have or are the things we long for are also attracted to us simply through the dynamic of being different from what we are and what they are and seek. This difference creates a natural and irresistible draw for us toward each other. In this way we can know that our inner guidance system is working well and that our lack of what we think and believe we need or want is producing a magnetic pull toward someone whom we believe has what we need or want. This simply follows the Law of Attraction. Since the universe “abhors” a vacuum and is always “seeking” to fill the gap, this attraction enables us an opportunity to fulfill or neutralize what we seek.

Used car salesman-1This dynamic is all well in good in that it brings to us to what we need to grow, but it also has its pitfalls. Depending on our orientation toward how we believe the world works, it can make us extremely susceptible to being used by others. The question we have to ask ourselves is where do we draw our authority from? Who gives the final judgment on what we feel we are allowed to do or partake in; us or the external world? This difference in approach is explained by psychologists as our dominant locus of control.

To understand this, all we have to do is ask ourselves, “Does the world determine our fate or are we in control of our lives?” In other words, do we seek validation and permission to do and be what we want from the external world and what it values or do we have an internal authority that validates our own beliefs, experiences and choices rather than the world’s?

locus_of_controlAccording to the field of psychology, having an exterior locus of control says that the world determines what our life will be like. Our permissions and life direction comes from what is external to us. Having an interior locus of control says that we will determine how our life will go. Our permissions and life direction comes from an internal authority. At this point you might be asking your selves, “What does this have to do with our susceptibility to being used by others?” The answer is simple. The more externally directed we are, the more easily we can be led by those who are users and opportunists. This makes us eminently more manipulable by those who profess to have or be what we believe that we need. Conversely, if we are internally directed, we will be much less likely to be influenced or manipulated by others since our value system comes from within us. We also need to understand that we may be more externally directed in some issues and more internally directed in others. For example, if we’re involved in work or family ethics we may more defer toward what our family says is appropriate. However, if we’ve been trained in an area of science and have developed proficiencies, our family will have little say in what we believe is right or true because we’ve had our own extensive training independent of our family and now trust our own inner guidance. So we can easily say that some areas of our lives we will believe that others determine our fate and in other areas we do. This leaves us with the understanding that we are a mix of both internal and external authorities. So now we have to ask what is it that makes us more one than the other?

Because I said so-1So the next question we have to ask ourselves is has our childhood training allowed us to trust our own judgment and experience? Did our parents encourage us to make our own decisions or were we given a laundry list of rules, expectations and behaviors to live by based on what they thought were “right” and important? Did they tell us what we should be, want and feel or did they leave that determination to us? The more we were encouraged to make our own decisions, the less likely we are to be used by others. The less they encouraged our independence and the more they taught us to look to them for validation and permissions, the more susceptible we become to being used by others. Why? Because now, after we’ve grown up and left home, we will tend to seek an external substitute for our parents. They now become our new “authorities.”  Those surrogate parents can take the form of mates, mentors, bosses, gurus, shamans and masters. Herein lays the danger in blindly trusting gurus, shamans and masters.

Whats right-1If we’ve been raised to believe that our parents knew (and still know) what is best for us without our being allowed to develop any independence, we are far more likely to accept at face value what any external authority, gurus & shamans & masters included, tell us is true and right for us. This makes us eminently susceptible to the lies and misdirection by any shyster, user, opportunist, salesman, politician, news reporter, priest, pastor, rabbi, doctor, lawyer, advertiser, and many more people and positions established as board certified, accredited, approved of, sanctioned, and so much more.

So, what is the solution? There is nothing wrong with taking into account our world’s circumstances. However, to have a solid basis for our own truth and values, we must begin with what we feel. We must consider first our own experience. We must develop our own standards for what we believe to be true. For each of us, the only reality there is, is what we perceive. Essentially, all reality is subjective. If we don’t perceive it, it really doesn’t exist for us. The difficulty in knowing this and the challenge for our confidence is that when we do and accept this, we are taking responsibility for our own awareness and choices. For most people, it is easier and harbors less responsibility to let someone else to tell them what they should do and Choose for yourselfhow they should be. Is your fate determined by others or do you make up your own mind? The choice is always yours. It takes courage to be ourselves. Being so is a primary measure for our emotional maturity and spiritual growth. We all must choose.

Outer Limits-1With all the talking that goes on about thinking outside the envelope, there have been very subtle, if not important, changes happening to the envelop itself. If we understand the concept of the envelope, we recognize that it represents the usual limits or boundaries to which people think or perceive within. When we speak of someone thinking or working outside of the envelope, we assume that their thoughts and actions occur outside that of the average person’s awareness and comfort zone. They are out of the ordinary. They tap into a little know current of thought and awareness.

shoes-too-small-1But, what if those outer boundaries change? What happens if the field of what is considered normal shrinks into a smaller range of potential; a smaller range of what is acceptable as being usual or common to our mental and spacial capacities? Minimizing the field of choice may make it simpler or easier to see and understand what is considered normal but it also makes anything seen as unusual or creative to be perceived as being more remote, father away from possibility and more outrageous as compared to what we’re used to and comfortable with. The further away the choice, the less likely we are to be aware of it let alone choose it for our action.

With life becoming more organized, automated and programmed, we find ourselves becoming much more dependent, complacent, lazy and more prone to allow ourselves to be led by those who establish “new” technological limits. We are gradually being “farmed” into a headspace where we will readily expect less and be complacent enough to accept only what is offered by those doing the programming. If we know and expect less, we are much more manipulatable in areas that we are unaware of. Let’s examine this premise from another perspective.

strict-teacher-1Our educational system is becoming much more regulated and stringent in terms of what is “necessary” to fulfill our idea of being educated enough to successfully live and work in our rapidly changing world. Fifty years ago children in elementary school only had to contend with a few aptitude tests, IQ test and general testing for academic proficiency upon leaving elementary school. The general consensus of thinking by teachers then was that they were “crystallizing” a child’s innate abilities lying dormant in each by teaching them reading and math in order that they might have a common language with the rest of the world to share their individual creativity. Since then, things have radically changed. State testing of our children now occurs beginning in the second grade. This seems innocuous enough but when we more closely examine what is being tested, it becomes acutely obvious that technological skills and their testing far outstrips the humanities and all but eliminates truthful knowledge about our history and the history of the rest of the world. This, in itself, is alarming enough, but when we then consider that most teachers, having only a limited amount of time to teach and too many students to service effectively, resort to only teaching Robots-1children what is necessary to pass the test rather than developing their innate talents, all of our internal alarms must now ring off the wall telling us that children are now selectively being channeled and programmed into becoming specified cogs in a technological wheel depending on their tested ability to regurgitate facts and knowledge. It becomes distressfully apparent that individuality and creativity are no longer valued by the educational administration unless they promise to enhance or improve the existing proficiency of wanted and expected performance and its ease in being tested. Despite the rising percentage of children being home schooled and enrolled in private schools due to fears of unwanted potential violence, undesirable social influences and a desire for their increased physical safety, creativity and humanitarian education are still being kept alive even in its wake. Based on our current financial structure and the powerful influences presented by consumer and manufacturing lobbies, its continued evolution towards its technological end shows no signs of retreating. In this light, maintaining humanitarian values in our children is a task that rests solely and squarely on our shoulders; their parents.

portrait of stressed teacher and blackboard backgroundIt should not be assumed that blame for the outcome of our children’s lack of humanitarian awareness rests within the responsibility of our teachers. There own survival as teachers is included in the coercive dynamic. We can see this in the fact that teachers themselves are “graded” on their children’s ability to perform well on the state testing and their tenure or continued services in the educational community depends on how high their quotient of effective performers compares to other teachers. Those who accelerate the effectiveness of children performing well on state testing are the ones who are retained by the schools, especially, since funding for public schools comes almost exclusively from the state.

TV-lockupThe shrinking envelope can also be evidenced by what appears on television now and what was programmed fifty years ago. Current programming which is banal, inert and corporately owned is geared to effectively enable and monitor a public mindset which does not questions, counter or threaten the validity and effectiveness of our currently existing political administration. In the same vein we can also see a stark absence of programs that support our curiosity and our TV-cooking showattention toward examining our feelings and circumstances with an eye toward improving the depth and richness of our own personal lives. What have taken their place are reality shows, cooking shows, a larger variety of “cops and robbers”, survival shows, forensic shows, crime investigations, “Judge Judy” shows, “lockup” shows, and many other shows espousing the prudence of focusing on and aligning with popularly known systems of living and conformity. The media has effectively directed our attention away from what we feel within ourselves and is refocused on the TV naked & Afraidcircumstances surrounding others who we’re encouraged to believe have it worse than we do. If that’s not enough to discourage us from “listening” to our hearts and our conscience, the onslaught of extreme and offensive advertising insists that we buy products or services validated by an underlying implication that we are somehow less desirable and less efficient to others than we have an assumed responsibility to be and that we need their assistance to regain the appropriate power and dignity. What is so ironic is that it is we who are not being listened to or considered by others when it comes to our needs, our opinions and our individuality. Our culture, religion and family beliefs systems are responsible for making us capitulate and become susceptible to accepting less for ourselves by TV NCISmaking us believe that others’ welfare should come before our own and that we are somehow responsible for fixing their needs and comforts before even considering our won. Our value system has been totally turned upside down. Why do we talk about self-improvement when the end result is only to be coerced into believing that it is our responsibility to give those same self-improvements over as advantage to others coupled with the enabling of a guilt generated feeling of neglected obligation when we don’t? When we allow this to occur, our “envelope” of what we consider normal and acceptable shrinks even further.

WebAs a culture, this change has been perceived by very few since its progression has happened over a long period of time. Similar to the old analogy of the frog and hot water, if the frog is immediately thrown into hot water it will immediately feel the sudden change of temperature sparking their awareness spurring them on to struggle feverishly to escape. But if the temperature starts to change at body temperature and  rises slowly, it will take much longer for them to become aware that it has become unbearably hot. In the slower change, the frog will even notice the change much later than when it occurs in the moment. Most people are notorious for not noticing or sometimes ignoring changes that occur right under their noses. Others will be afraid to mention what they feel out of fear of offending others or believing that “this is the way it’s supposed to be.” Those of us with a longer memory, like our elders, may notice simple things like actors no longer having the refinement they had “in the old days” or “We never had to do that in school when we grew up.” And because these observations of change come most often from those who are retired or aging, they’re observations are chalked up as their being “stuck in the old days” or “going senile and living in the past.”

Rose-Colored-GlassesAs technology and the media have evolved to growing and changing faster, and as we as consumers have had to chase “progress" simply in order to survive, the process has become an all encompassing  distraction from looking at our human values and considerations from the perspective of what our hearts need simply to feel peaceful and relaxed. But now with the Shrinking Envelope, and as we slowly lean back into that well deserved peace and tranquility, we can’t help noticing that our world has lost a bit of its color, its individuality and the things that spark our curiosity and interest in feeling the awe in recognizing how we and nature are and have been so superbly intertwined.