Author Archives: Emily Ohlhoff

Thanks For the Memories

Created November 23, 2021

This time every year I write a column about gratitude.

Gratitude has a lot going for it as an emotion and as an attitude. The mood of gratitude encompasses both an attitude mix (gladness and recognition of a benefactor) which can be expressed in words, as well as emotions which can only be spoken of metaphorically or described physiologically. The whole package not only makes us feel good, it emanates outward to those around us and makes them feel good too. According to the Mayo Clinic , a daily gratitude practice boosts the immune system and improves sleep.

We are spoiled by life. It is so taken for granted that we cease to realize we might never have existed, and so we see no need to feel gratitude just having had life for as long as we have had it.

Spoiled brats that we are, we never put two and two together: how can we be so intensely attached to continuing to live, without seeing how that implies how much we worship living.

Perhaps for many of us who have taken on the multi-century pandemic doubts about a Supreme Creator, since we doubt that there is anyone to be grateful to, we assume that a generalized gratitude feeling might be irrelevant. But that is short sighted: rationally we can direct gratitude to the people that raised us, shaped us, helped us get to where we are today.

Science of any stripe would not go so far as to prohibit feelings of gratitude toward Nature, most scientists would say that it’s none of their business, has nothing to do with science, and humanist scientists would say that to deny loving Nature and being part of it is anti-life.

When I was very young and thinking about these things – childishly siding with science and the Yankees, rather skeptical about God at the time – I could not rule out the possibility of God. A moment came during these contemplations when I had admitted to myself that God could exist and might be listening in to my thoughts right now. Strangely I felt a huge sadness descend upon me and I felt that God must feel very sad and rejected to see how lost His creation is, as if I were to turn and slap my mother, how would she feel, that must be how God feels, if He exists, I thought. In my mind I comforted Him before laughing at myself and moving on.

I’m grateful for all my memories including my worst moments, they have taught me so much. If I hadn’t made those mistakes then, I’m afraid to think about who I would be now, still driven about by mechanically conditioned behaviors. Learning from our own mistakes is salvation from being a robot.

I’m grateful for all the people I’ve meet and am to meet.

Most of us reading this ought to be more grateful that they are living in a democracy. We proud Americans savor the fact that the USA was one of the significant leaders in bringing democracy to what is now one in five human beings alive on Earth today. Pretty lucky you made it into the one in five this time around.

To you readers who are not living in a free country, what are you to be grateful for? You are living. You are in some degree of equilibrium with your environment. If you are a warrior, you remain free inside. If you are truly to win over the situation you must not let your own principles be corrupted by it. Be grateful you have the strength and adaptability to survive. Be grateful for all of these things, and for the things to come. Be grateful for these amazing younger generations we all share, the young are a global community, they see the truth, they see what must be done, and they will free us all.

Be grateful for all that.

A song which comes to mind:

Happy Thanksgiving!

Love, Bill

Message For Rescuers

Created November 19, 2021

How did QAnon and yoga get together? What can we learn from this to do a better job of rescuing?

In rare times like these, all of us want to come to the rescue.

If we were in better control of what goes on in our heads, we would act like adults and try to keep voices down and talk out the solutions in an efficient manner.

But we are typically motivated by so many conflicting demands that the “adult” part is supplanted by the impatient black and white judging, oversimplifying ego. Everything is quickly classified into one of two categories, and the response is either loud support or loud attack. The ego is a binary system, a neural net of the coping systems we built growing up (Human Effectiveness Institute theory).

Now in rebecoming our true selves we need to replace that neural net with a new one that is conducive to Observer state and Flow state, where we are each maximally effective and happy. Each weekly dose here is intended to help you get there.

You can think of it as taking off the training wheels to life. The ego got you through this far but it won’t take you the rest of the way.

Famously a worldwide spiritual grassroots movement began to break out into the open around 1969, the Summer Of Love. For a while it was called the human potential movement. One of my merry friends Marie called it “weirdness”, perhaps prophetically. Later it wore the label New Age.

Today it’s become one of the biggest growth categories in the economy, mostly related to physical wellness and fitness, nutritional supplements, environmental sustainability, doing good, reaching higher states of consciousness, marijuana, psychedelic medicine, higher performance, social justice, attitude adjustment, and seeking spiritual enlightenment.

Most people participate in this to lose weight, learn the right foods to eat, get chiropractic adjustments or therapeutic massages, learn to meditate, learn yoga, be counseled by a guru or coach, and because their inner instincts draw them toward this positive magnet. These people affect the rise and fall of specific product categories more and more each year.

So how did some of these wellness rescuers get on the side of QAnon?

It was the hidden assumption of binaryism which comes along with the ego. Everything in one of two buckets, period.

Therefore: the enemy of my enemy is my friend. To many of us intenders to be rescuers, the big pharma companies got locked in the bad box a long time ago and that key is stuck down on the keyboard. So, some spiritually motivated yoga teachers and alternative healers assumed that QAnon which attacked big pharma must be a good thing. And since they also spoke about aliens and saucers and God, “it sure sounds like they are one of us!”

Only for the first second, for most people who take closer looks at things. But most of us don’t take closer looks, because we are locked in the grip of the Emergency Oversimplication System which is our coping mechanism for dealing with information overload, the hidden pandemic I call Acceleritis.

There is a more worrisome connection as well. The God connection. QAnon tend to be fundamentalists but represent all beliefs. The wellness movement is also spiritual, also representing all religious heritages. One of the ideas that has popped up from time to time since antiquity, is the idea that we create our own reality, that our perceptions are biased by our prior beliefs and expectations. Jane Roberts’ Seth books brought this idea back writ large, suggesting that we literally create our own realities, that our hopes and dreams and nightmares are projected from us into the mindstuff around us, shaping it into events which then occur because of what we wanted to happen or not happen, drawn to us by what was later called The Law Of Attraction.

A substantial portion of the American citizenry today accept the possibility of such forces at play, while an equally substantial portion dismiss that as magical thinking. Epistemologically one ought to keep an open mind on that subject. But this was another link that drew some of the wellness rescuers into lockstep with QAnon. QAnon consists of people who believe that they can make it so just by saying it often and loudly enough, they they can create their own reality, because today we are unmoored in utter relativism, a period of “it is true because I said it.

So, to a person involved in the wellness movement, a person in the QAnon movement might seem to be walking the walk of “manifesting their wills” in our consensual reality (mind controlling future events).

When actually what QAnon was doing was more like propaganda and “perception is reality” manipulation.

If some of the QAnon had actually been attempting to use magic or perverted religion to predream the coup outcome they wanted on January 6, those experimenters hopefully now realize that they have been over-estimating their own degree of evolution egotistically, and fell into the trap of believing their own wishful thinking because they wanted to believe it. Their mind techniques were not validated in that experiment.

Maybe the wellness rescuers who aligned with QAnon have learned from their mistake. One takeaway would be to learn not to make oversimplified generalizations like assuming that every single big pharma executive is unethical.

How do we prevent this sort of thing from happening again?

Wellness agents and conservative rescuers (and I don’t mean QAnon) must hold themselves to a higher standard. People may be deifying them and taking their every word as truth. That carries a heavy responsibility to not make firm declarative statements outside of one’s field of study, without intensive study in advance. While everything Seth said may be true, science has proof of many things and such evidence ought to be treated with respect.

The most important thing for the wellness rescuers and the conservative rescuers to do, in order to first do no harm, is to transcend their own egos. This can only be achieved by internal investigations. One must go inside and see what really happens in there. How do I actually function? Which of my thoughts and feelings and impulses appears to be coming from ego? Which of my inner experiences appear to be coming from a higher place?

The environment is very threatening and robs us of confidence, we are frustrated hence angry and repressing fear, redirecting the fear venomously outward as cutting remarks against the people one is blaming for all these bad inner feelings. When actually one can only blame oneself for those bad inner feelings, because by rising above the ego you can transmute those bad inner feelings into positive, constructive action that arouses no resistance from anyone.

Those are the innovative solutions we need now. That’s your assignment, all you rescuers of every stripe. Filter out ego and negativity and then do what your spirit moves you to do.

Now is the time for all good people to come to the aid of their country.

May you experience much Flow state ahead.

Love, Bill

Drops of Kindness When the Chips are Down

November 12, 2021

Don’t be afraid to step out of character.

If you play your character the same way every day, you’ll bore everyone, especially yourself.

And that ultra-consistent predictable behavior will keep you out of Flow state.

Flow comes when your pure authenticity is coming out all by itself.

Not when you’re adhering to automatic pilot script.

You may recall that in my psychological theory, the Ego is a construction of a self-protector as a neural net in the brain. A net that was not there at birth.

That construction is what manifests in your mind as Ego. It is a natural AI, a robot. It’s all the programs you wrote growing up, especially at the worst moments in your early life.

These programs tend to be binary, flying to one extreme or the opposite.

Taken together they are a disastrous guidebook to life.

Yet they rule most of us most of the time.

In the Observer and Flow states we rise out of this hysterical self-hypnosis.

We are a warrior race.

And it’s got nothing to do with fitness. Our old and infirm can be just as tough as the rest of us when the chips are down.

And the chips are definitely down.

That’s why our Egos have all run to the angry side of the boat.

Human beings have felt weak and helpless since the beginning of the race. Surrounded by animals much tougher than ourselves.

We sure showed them didn’t we?!

The Ego strives to reassure itself that it is tough enough.

We became a warrior race first by training against edible carnivores, and then driven by the Ego tendency to take as much advantage as possible of others.

This behavior does not lead us to happiness, nor to Flow, and certainly not to self-knowledge.

Self-knowledge comes when we fully realize the wrongness of our actions and pull ourselves out of the Ego back into our Observer, the true self, the me that was born. Pure consciousness without conditioned flinches.

Don’t be afraid to step out of character and let kindness come out of you. People need it now. They are keeping a stiff upper lip because, after all, we are a race of warriors.

Each person you meet now is angry covering scared.

It’s a fruitless uncontrollable reaction until a person becomes self-disciplined about staying above the Ego.

They need your help. Sometimes you can hear them subtly asking for it as they express some wish or sadness. They are subconsciously leaving an opening for something that will encourage them and make them feel that life is still good. You can be creative so long as you stay authentic. Answer them in a way that helps everyone, so they can pass it along in the same spirit to others.

All life is connected. Science has not yet discovered all of the forms of energy that exist in the universe.

Pebbles in the pond radiate and influence the entire pond more than you may realize the power of your own words. Power to heal that is in your heart and hands and eyes, even when your mouth is silent. You just feel an impulse to goodness and do nothing to block it. It will happen of itself and you will feel better for it as will they.

Because humans fear powerlessness they join things. They thus belong to some larger movement in which they believe, and which is stronger than they themselves. Like the United States of America. That gives them a feeling of collective strength, people on their side who will protect them.

If we can bring back that good feeling here in the States, we will actually be justified in feeling a lot stronger!

We also join parties for the same reason. In the two-party system, the binary nature inherent in the system tends to inflame the always-binary Ego.

“Haves and Have Nots” is the form civilization takes when it is driven by the binary Ego.

Individual human beings are a spectrum with infinite diversity in thinking, feeling, creativity, beliefs, worldviews, values, passions. Thank God for that.

When that diversity has to be crammed into a binary model, precious details are lost. The data lose their granularity and all of life seems to depend on simple slogans.

We will know we are decidedly NOT in Flow or even Observer state the next time we say (even to ourselves) ANYTHING that fits the binary model of either party.

If we value Flow more than anger, it would be the thing to do to catch oneself each time about to go over that cliff again. Be patient for the first few months, keep up cutting it short, and you’ll become free. Your mind will truly be freed. You will hear yourself think big thoughts, good advice. You’ll feel your heart open up and let the love in and out. You’ll have will power to cut down on whatever is slowing you down.

The more of us let out the good within us more palpably every moment, the more that will spread faster than Covid.

I seem to be leaving you with a song nowadays. This one applies to more than just man-woman relationships.

Love, Bill

 

 

 

A Time for Love, Forgiveness, and Flow State

Created November 4, 2021

In the prior issue, taking a page from Freud’s id, ego, superego division of consciousness, but altering it to suit my own experience, I defined three places you could be at any given moment:

  1. Seated in the essence of your Self, the experiencer, enjoyer, observer, taking it all in without excessive caring, in a state of high indifference, accepting what is and gleaning whatever pleasure you could get out of it (Freud characterized the id quite differently, more like an animal)
  2. In the current normal state of win/lose consciousness, instantly judging, always comparing to the ideal state and feeling cheated (Ego)
  3. Beating yourself up for some perceived failing (Superego)

In the prior post we provided an exercise to help you discern which state you are in.

Now, to take it a step further, let us reveal that Flow state is when your Self (the #1 state described above) is in control of your entire being.

In my psychological theory, it is the proclivity to spend time in those other two states which is responsible for keeping us, as a race, out of the Flow state.

Come with me at least provisionally and see if it doesn’t help you experience Flow more frequently, including right now as you read this.

Spurn mundane consciousness, the life we have all been living, sucked into such attachment to conditioned target objectives that in today’s multi-challenged world, we are angry and disappointed nearly all the time, because it covers our fear of even more tragic losses ahead.

Choose the mind that is different, that is above the madding crowd, the perspective of a Plato or Aristotle or Buddha or Jesus The Christ.

Whether you “believe in” God or not, the thoughts and words of people like these have come down to us through the ages and continue to sparkle with eminent truth. Let’s take Jesus as their exemplar for the purpose of achieving Flow state as Jesus did.

We call ourselves a Christian country, and seeing the hand touch of Biden on Macron it feels like we are what we say. There is love and shared humanity in that touch, humility in the gesture and kindness in the response. These qualities are not exclusive to any one group of human beings, in my worldview everyone, in their Self (#1 above), reverberates with these loving, forgiving values.

United we stand, divided we fall, has never been more true than today. Forget parties, who did what to whom, let’s forgive it all at once, one big forgiving, and get on with it, working cooperatively to overcome the numerous threats to our existence which we ourselves have created by spending lifetimes in states #2 and #3.

World leaders, readers, I’m not saying to stop what you’re doing, by all means, keep up the great work, just be sure to always do it in the spirit of true love, friendship, and forgiveness, so as to evoke the Flow state in yourself and in all of us. The more of us in the Flow state, the easier it is for the rest of us to get there, because we’re all connected.

No man is an Iland, intire of itselfe; every man

is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine;

if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe

is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as

well as if a Manor of thy friends or of thine

owne were; any mans death diminishes me,

because I am involved in Mankinde;

And therefore never send to know for whom

the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.

–John Donne

Let’s each of us make ourselves and the people around us happy by staying in loving forgiving Flow all the time. We can do it. It’s just a matter of learning attitude control.

Like in an airplane. The rudder and ailerons are the control surfaces, and we have controls in our hands and feet. Except you are the airplane, and the control surfaces are inside you, you have to learn to use them.

Nothing else, I predict, is going to get the human race out of this befouled nest of our own making. It will be an upsurge in understanding that the solution lies within each one of us, that it isn’t just talk, it’s science.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi just passed away very recently. He coined the term Flow. He proved it was real by training the University of Chicago (where he was head of the psychology department) hockey team to win by inner attitude control. He was an advisor to my nonprofit Human Effectiveness Institute, which puts out this free course in a blog.

Beware of darkness, as George Harrison wrote, don’t let the world get you down, when you sense anything making you feel bad realize that you have slipped into either state 2 or 3, and get back into 1. Don’t make it bad, as the Beatles wrote in Hey Jude. It is what it is. Labelling it bad immediately lowers your effectiveness and your energy level. Don’t label it at all, just let it go and spring back to 1. That is the only thing you ever need to remember.

Let me leave you with a song that is just right for the moment, sing along below.

 

Love to all,

Bill

Get Together

Song by The Youngbloods

Love is but a song we sing
Fear’s the way we die
You can make the mountains ring
Or make the angels cry
Though the bird is on the wing
And you may not know why

Come on, people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another right now

Some may come and some may go
He will surely pass
When the one that left us here
Returns for us at last
We are but a moment’s sunlight
Fading in the grass

Come on, people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another right now

Come on, people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another right now

Come on, people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another right now

If you hear the song I sing
You will understand, listen
You hold the key to love and fear
All in your trembling hand
Just one key unlocks them both
It’s there at your command

Come on, people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another right now

Come on, people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another right now

I said come on, people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another right now
Right now
Right now

 

Believe In Yourself

Created October 29, 2021

What do those words mean?

The underlying precept is that, even under rare conditions of constant parental attention, life still tends to wound us.

Incidents in which we underperformed abound.

No matter what good we do, somehow, we have a tendency to never forgive ourselves for those times we caused our own eternal shame.

What is it that makes us take the side of the accuser against ourselves?

Conscience.

Freud classified Conscience as a societally-induced phenomenon. “SuperEgo” is the name he gave it.

What I call “The Me That Was Born”, Freud calls the “id”.

What I call “the Robot”, Freud calls the “ego”.

What I call conscience, Freud calls the “SuperEgo”.

In Civilization and Its Discontents, Freud intuits deep causal connections between societal change and inner acculturation conditioning, and he calls out the ultimate interference of newer mental/emotional aspects with the original experiencer.

That idea of inner structure where three different centers of power exist has implications that have never been fully explored by later science. The Human Effectiveness Institute has brought this back to light.

If you are beating yourself up on a subconscious level, you are raising huge frictional resistance against your achieving peak experiences.

Try this mind experiment. Take Freud literally for a moment and see if you can actually experience that there are at least those three points of view within YOU.

The YOU that has always been there taking it all in.

The YOU that is your own press agent and protector.

The YOU that is constantly critiquing your performance after the fact and even during action. And especially before action. Just always critiquing you, putting you down, ya got nuthin.

Coming from someone who knows you better than yourself, because it IS yourself, you are strongly affected by it.

It is wounding.

Therefore, you repress it.

That makes it subconscious. The dwelling ground of the suppressed.

But it is your drumbeat. Every breath you take, every step you make. Constantly bringing down your estimate of yourself.

The only way to battle this internal demon is to call upon facts. Your noblest deeds. Your tendency to learn over time, albeit slowly.

You cannot continue to filibuster. You must agree to talk with yourself about the most internally divisive issues that undermine the collective YOU.

Don’t wait for the government to make psychiatric treatment free for everyone. Do it yourself.

One way or the other, don’t get caught in the trap of stepping on the gas and the brake at the same time. You have to be on your own side. Otherwise, you’re just going to spin your wheels and get stuck in the mud.

You do have to forgive yourself. Whatever incidents still cause you to beat yourself up, write the list down, and don’t lose it.

One at a time, when you feel like it and life lets you, just deeply relive the one on the list you feel like attacking at that moment. Give it a whole day or three days or a week, however long it takes, until you totally realize what decisions you made later in life that you made better, because you had been taught that painful lesson at that time.

When you’ve gone through the entire list, you will feel initially drained. When you recover from the strong cathartic, you will be wonderful and feel every bit of it.

Best to all,

Bill

Courage and Honesty are The Highest Virtues

October 8th, 2021

Winston Churchill said, “Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality that guarantees all the others.” In other words, if you don’t start from courage, how will you always have the courage to state the truth? How will you always have the courage to be objective, to be fair and just, to be kind, to be giving, to forgive, to trust, and to love? What human virtue does not depend upon courage at its base?

Siddhartha Gautama the Buddha is said to have told his son, “Honesty is the fundamental virtue because a person who would tell lies would also be inclined to fake the other virtues.”

These twin foundations form the base upon which all other aspects of integrity depend.

You might say that Love is the highest virtue, as the Beatles did in the song “All You Need Is Love”, which has the feeling of truth to it, and as an emotional pathway into the universally-desired future world, that song is definitely a tool to use. Music has always been a way to help people reprogram the emotions and mind to attain the Good, and so shall it remain forever.

At the same time, the ability to love depends on trust, and trust depends on courage.

Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is the quality which makes us capable of dealing with our fear as one input to the equation we are solving.

As one watches one’s own mind – metacognition – with an eye to improving its functioning so as to obtain the desired outcomes from life – metaprogramming – eventually we realize that negative emotion must be used constructively, or else it uses us, owns us, controls us, and keeps us out of the higher states of consciousness – Observer state and Flow state – in which our effectiveness is maximized.

Fear and anger and all other variations on the theme of negative emotion keep us from solving what is causing those exact same emotions!

If we continue to be childlike all our lives, we give in to that down cycle, whereas if we summon our courage and honesty, we pull ourselves out of it and creatively realize the necessary actions, and take those actions with honesty and courage.

The robotical, conditioned, hypnotized, slavish part of the mind will seek to trick us into deviating in little ways, to get us back and keep us in the same old habitual tracks. We must not let even tiny slip-backs occur. Once the door is allowed to open just a crack, momentum makes it harder and harder to prevent it from widening its opening.

If at first, we find this impossibly difficult, there are positive tricks that can get around this. One of them is acting – Stanislavsky’s famous “Method” acting – in which we act so well we become the character we are portraying not only externally but also internally. Stanislavsky meant this only for the stage, a temporary becoming of the character, but in our methods, we apply the same principle to overcome the robot mind’s evasive maneuvers.

Please experience what we are talking about with this short video exercise:

You will become who you want to be by always acting like that person. It may not seem to be totally sincere at first – because of the mental/emotional stains that you have accumulated by unassimilated experiences – but your mind will eventually unravel those knots for you and you will become who you really are without those holdouts.

It will always be truly sincere from the standpoint of your true self – the you that was born – so there is no real dishonesty although you may temporarily feel that such acting is duplicitous. It isn’t. That is the real you, internally divided for the time being, but it’s the side of you to which you cling eternally, not the part of you you’re ashamed of. That’s the real sincerity, although under the strained conditions of accelerated life, it feels like you are lying when you act like the person you want to be – the you that was born, who you truly are.

The mind is the most complicated thing we have. In the current historical period of Acceleritis, our minds have wound themselves up in knots. It takes really clear thinking to unwind our mind’s knots. It takes time to attain really clear thinking. I hope this course, my weekly inputs, shorten the time you need to reach dependable, steady equilibrium in the Observer and Flow states.

Love to all,

Bill