Category Archives: Consciousness

You Can Revolutionize Your Thinking

Created May 6, 2022

Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey Blog.

What good would that do you? It would give you a whole new vista on your choices in life. You stand to lose nothing by trying it. If you love everything about your life already, I’d say stand pat. Otherwise, here’s how to revolutionize your thinking.

Disadvantages of conventional thought processing

  • Tends to create ruts which can go on for a lifetime
  • You tend to ignore inner sixth sense trying to warn you or give you just the right words to use in a conversation
  • The awe and electricity of the way life can feel – the zest – trickles off
  • The Flow state (Zone) experience doesn’t happen to you as often as you’d like

One level deeper – the technical flaws in conventional thought processing that make it the most self-limiting are:

  1. You too often fly into following whatever your inner impulse seems to be at the moment 
  2. You are not paying attention to your subtle guidance system – your intuition – so that valuable ideas you need remain “subconscious”

Let’s take these two things one at a time. 

Going with your ego flow (better stop doing it!)

What’s so wrong about going with whatever you feel at the moment? Isn’t that what Flow is all about?

No. That’s not Flow state, it’s the momentum of ego, the built-up viral load of all unassimilated experiences, the robot, the predictable persona that masks as the real you even to you. You may tell yourself it’s Flow state but unless it meets the following description, it’s not, it’s your ego overclaiming as usual.

Flow state is about your ego disappearing, you feeling as if The Force is moving you, your actions are perfect, there is no sense of self versus other, there is no attachment to outcome, you are enjoying yourself, your mind is moving much faster than events.

In Flow state – while it lasts – and especially as you are starting to slip out of it – you will have some terrific thoughts, and then you will actively add afterthoughts that are your ego trying to keep up with your intuition, and the thought packets will not have labels on them to allow you to easily separate the imitative ego from the Flow-inspired giant thought of a moment earlier. Learning the trick of being especially skeptical of follow-up thoughts will help you stay in the Flow state.

Leaving the special case of Flow state aside for a moment, in the non-Flow state most people are in most of the time, it’s a terrible strategy to act on every impulse, or even to take ownership of every thought and feeling you have as being something you totally believe in. Many thoughts we have are autonomic nervous system tapes playing in our heads, reinforced by how often we have played those tapes before. If we do not watch ourselves like hawks, we will stay in the same place for a lifetime, stuck at a certain level.

Not all of your thoughts (and feelings) are equally smart. Most are automatic involuntary reactions like the mental version of kneejerks.

Learn to suspend judgment about each thought and especially each feeling that you have. Pay more attention to the feelings that come upon you suddenly, especially the negative ones, and do not tolerate the immediate giving in to feeling deflated. Pause. Return to neutral. Study what has just happened. Diagnose what caused it. Question why you should allow yourself to not to choose joy right now, in every now. Resist these automatic impulses, do not cave to them instantly anymore. Discriminate carefully before movement and before acceptance of a specific negative mood. Refuse to continue to be a manipulatable creature of habit. Start your life over with a clean slate. Forgive yourself and everyone else for all of history to date and start over in each moment. There is nothing to be gained from carrying along the wounds of the past other than understanding the point of the lessons they taught you so you can apply those lessons going forward.

Making your subconscious conscious

Daniel Kahneman has given us a new linguistic tool that helps in describing The Human Effectiveness Institute (THEI) methods: Kahneman’s System 1 is thinking fast and System 2 is thinking slow, as he describes them. We see subdivisions in his two Systems which we’ll go into in future columns but for now let’s use his apt descriptions another way. Your subconscious can get through to your conscious when you are in System 1, but not doing anything. You might be meditating or just sitting around or walking in the woods, but you are not trying to figure anything out. 

Most people at most times when they are not in any activity requiring focus are daydreaming or letting their minds go anywhere they might based on free association. That’s one way to use System 1 but it won’t lead to revolutionizing your thinking process. The other way to use these times of taking a break is to simply observe your own mind as it were someone else’s. Don’t let it catch you up into any of its dramas. This is surprisingly hard to do the first hundred times you try it, but it starts to get easier after the first session if you keep it up. Question every thought, even if it is a thought you consider to be one of your most important values.

But don’t encourage yourself to debate each item at the time, jot it down in a log of your experiences for later inner debate, and as soon as possible return to taking a vacation from thinking, or to use the technical term, meditating. This is the state most conducive to detecting your normally-subconscious thoughts and feelings.

This brief article attempts to summarize my entire book Mind Magic in fewer than a thousand words. It obviously leaves a lot out, but I hope it helps.

Love to all,

Bill

Erasing Preconceived Notions

Created April 1, 2022

Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey Blog.

As we live our lives, every moment means something to us, gives us certain feelings, has a certain influence on the balance of power in our minds of different ideas to which we have been attracted along the way. Most of this is unclear and subconscious as if we are drifting along in dream state management of our lives.

Over time we start to reach clarity on some things. We form aspirations of what we’d like to do in our lives. Meanwhile we must keep up with whatever life has thrust upon us.

As we look back now, we find it impossible to remember details of certain scenes, and we unconsciously recreate our memories based on the way we’ve told our stories in the past.

In the hodgepodge of memory engrams we’re able to access and manipulate awake or in dreams, there is an underlying layer of motivations in the residue of time within our own self. Things that still propel and compel us in our involuntary and voluntary actions.

We have some glimpses of our own motivators and every now and then focus on making our subconscious conscious so that we might debate within ourself what shall be the meaning and direction of our life. How we shall strive to use our time to make our mark on the world, to leave it with some trace of our brushstrokes on the great canvas.

Meaning is one of the subconscious motivators we all have. We want to understand what this is all for. Why we are doing all this. We feel the urge to make some sense out of life.

Before we became so smart, we automatically developed systems which gave meaning to our lives, and these systems tended to romanticize the world as a living thing. We felt a kinship with nature and every living thing. It did not occur to us that this might be a wrongheaded idea because it was so obviously true to us. Romanticization was part of our natural process, and did not mean that it wasn’t true and accurate to the real world. Our subjective perspective was to us the realest part of the real world, without denial that the other beings and things with which we interacted were not equally real. It was all real to us on every level.

Romanticizing was not a distortion it was a layering of our innate love for life, a natural reaction to being in life. From this root as we learned to use symbolic communication where sounds and gestures had agreed meanings, we wove myths and created art. These co-creational activities arose naturally and led to philosophical speculation and ultimately to scientific experimentation about that speculation.

Then, only a few hundred years ago, science began to feel embarrassed about the notion of God, the idea that there is consciousness greater than the sum of universe parts we are built to perceive. Gradually from one generation to the next this embarrassment built in intensity. We couldn’t prove God exists. We couldn’t disprove it. But we were made to feel like we believed in Santa Claus if we gave in to the natural intuition that there must be something greater than we can detect with our instruments that had something to do with concocting this amazing universe. This idea has been culturally flogged out of most of us.

There are people who do still believe on some level in God, generally a predefined God with rules and rituals that in their own positive way unintentionally train us to also accept authoritarianism from other less innocent directions. These views of God are each compelling, and what arises within us are beautiful feelings of satisfaction at the glory of their testaments. It may or may not be allegory or history or revealed truth but it feels like all of those things and gives us the meaning feeling that we need and always had when we were primitives.

The Protestant, Hindu, Taoist and Native American idea that we can each have our own direct relationship with God could actually be a return to the past in that living sense of a natural system of romanticized love of the spirit behind everything.

And there could be another unsuspected layer in all of this: that we each have innate intuitive powers which are ruled out by scientism (the sense that accidentalism, materialism and science are all locked together into a Truth Molecule which forbids sane adults from the stupidity of magical thinking and superstition).

These last few hundred years of the dominant world culture ruled out the fact that we have uncannily accurate hunches sometimes, and enforced exclusion of our noticing that sometimes the simplest explanation for things is that we are reading each other’s minds.

So while we live generally wonderful lives with astounding technology that is beyond our wildest cravings as children just a few decades ago, there is a general emptiness feeling, the anomie of meaninglessness, arbitrariness, the loss of infinity, the dwarfing of possibility. We do not use all of our faculties and deny that some of the best of those capabilities exist at all.

A trickling back in of what has been lost has been happening in the West, carried back from the East and from native aboriginal cultures everywhere. Our media showing athletes and performers in Flow state brings back the magic although we have not been noticing these phenomena that way, because the word “magic” itself like the word “God” tends to raise eyebrows in skepticism.

As Arthur C. Clarke told us, “Any technology sufficiently advanced would appear to us as magic.”

Erasing our preconceived notions and simply observing reality with an open mind is the way to Flow state and to empirically studying the degree to which you can use your mind in ways beyond what you now consider to be your design limits. Leaving you with this 91-second video meditation:

 

Love to all,

Bill

How Can One Say That There Is Good in Everyone?

Created March 4, 2022

Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey blog.

Each of us is, at the core, a consciousness. My hypothesis is that at point of origin, consciousness is interested in the flow of its own experiences. It has no interest in destruction. It would be logical to say that at this point in its career, it is good.

Everyday we meet people – including ourselves – in whom it is easy to see that some aspects are not so good. We hope that we are all working our way back, with effort, to our original goodness, to the purity of our unique nature experiment.

Evil, in my worldview, is error.

This is not a new thought. The word “sin” in Hebrew derives from the idea of “missing the mark”.

We all make mistakes, and learn even more from them, than from the experiences where we did not make mistakes.

This cosmic process constantly brings us back toward our original goodness, to the pure selfness within each of us.

The Bibles, all three of them including the Quran, explain the sins of the world as being the consequence of the Noble Experiment, the giving of free will to inexperienced creatures.

The argument between the existence of real free will vs. the mechanistic determinism of the universe gets hung up when God’s omniscience runs up against true free will. “Well, if God already knows what I’m going to do, how can you say I have free will?” 

I have never heard an answer to that which I liked, until this one came to me. The First Self of which everything else in existence is an avatar, knows in advance all of the different paths that you can take in every instant, and delights in being surprised at seeing which one you did choose, whether it pinned the needle or missed the mark, and if so, by how far.

It would be awfully boring for any God to never be able to enjoy surprise. And by definition, the Absolute has no limitations, and so God must be capable of being surprised, by choosing to set up the game the way SheHe did.

You can say anything you like about this world, but the least plausible thing you could say is that it’s boring.

So, each of us accumulates certain dings in our consciousness and that leads us down this path instead of that one. As we gain experience if we are lucky, we start to see how it all works, process out the dings, and become menschen.

Even Putin is in this process right now. No question that he is one of the most dinged-up we know. But still with a more than zero possibility for fixing himself.

If he feels the hot breath of axe-wielding murderers around him – how could he not, KGB was famous for use of that weapon – he probably right now has a higher chance of going straight than he has had since he was a teenager holding hands with his first girlfriend Elena.

Not saying it’s the outcome to bet on in Earth Roulette. Lower probability but not zero. And higher than it was before he stubbed his toe on the Ukraine. Because now there is real risk that his cronies may see this as their chance to become supreme leaders themselves, even more privileged and rewarded than they have been as henchmen. That is the first circle of danger around Vlad.

So, what scenarios could his mind be thinking?

My friend from junior high school through college and to this day, John Chico, and I used to play board games. Sometimes when I was winning, he would flip up the board and the pieces would go flying.

Putin might have decided that having mutual assured destruction might not be satisfying. It might feel good in terms of getting even with all of us, but then slowly dying of radiation poisoning would leave a lot to be desired.

Being (when his mind is clear) a realist and a pragmatist, he might have already realized that there are innumerable scenarios in which he could reset the game back to where it was a week ago. Or even further back to before détente started to erode.

He’s extremely unlikely to do the following, but it would be the best way out: he could man up to it and admit it was a mistake.

The most sophisticated analysts are writing now about “finding Putin an offramp”.

I say, Vlad, show your best stuff, admit you are capable of making a mistake, and man enough to fess up to it.

I don’t presume to write a script for you, but you could say that you have for a long time been thinking about it all wrong. All you wanted to do – all you still want to do – is to make Russia great again. 

Because of many factors, including years of your life spent in intelligence organizations within a dictatorship, you could only see things one way. 

But now the strength of your own parent culture’s countrymen – the ones you sent into battle and the ones you were attacking – have shown you something you could never see before. They didn’t want to hurt each other. Even though all of them knew that defying you was a really dangerous thing to do, their concern for each other was greater than their own concern for themselves.

You can say – hopefully it is true – that this opened your heart and opened your mind to new ways of looking at things.

You can still make Russia great – first of all, it already is great, what could be more inspiring and noble and great than the stand the Ukrainians are taking – and by uniting peacefully with each other, Russia can take its place in the world with all the other nations and be appreciated for its contributions.

I can imagine Vlad reading this and saying “But what do we have? Oil and H-bombs. The human race is trying to cut down on those things. If I don’t leverage that, what else do I have?”

I would remind him of the things that made Russia great before. Amazingly resilient passionate people. Dostoevsky, Rachmaninoff, vast natural resources, a thousand other things. The ability to envision big and to build big. Russia can do everything the USA and China can do. I’ve engaged Ukrainian software developers, they rival India’s and America’s. We’ve all witnessed the mischief your cyber scientists are capable of, what if that were turned toward the good? 

Picture Russia with its cousins in the Ukraine and the other states that had been in the USSR re-unified as partners not vassals – their own NATO, their own EU, with each state able to create the system they want, Democracy or Autocracy.

Where do I feel that voluntary organization of peoples that have always been closely tied to one another could make the greatest contribution to the world’s future?

Sputnik is a clue. Russia can be a big part of the leadership in taking us into space, in which every country can participate together. They have been building some of the biggest rockets. Let’s channel those talents into obtaining Earth peoples’ fair share of the resources of the universe, and face the challenges that will bring out our most accelerated scientific and perhaps human development. Let’s all do it together, in unity.

You can’t force people to work together effectively. You can create a context that enables people to work together effectively. We all have to do it together. 

Putin could start to think and talk and be this way and remain the leader in Russia (the reparations would be costly but if he does it in time the final compromise could leave him in power if his buddies and his people still want that) and make Russia great again. Even greater than he was imagining, having a share in the priceless resources of the universe, along with others of all human and inhuman races.

That’s the offramp I would use if I were him.

************************************************************

In last week’s post, I wrote:

What’s the best positive outcome of the situation?

The hopeful possibility that this will bring all Americans together.”

Watching President Biden’s State of the Union Message, I felt and still feel that this positive outcome is unfolding, in reality. The USA is moving into unity to face a common foe, with the inspiration of watching another nation whose courage reminds us of the roots of our nation, of what each of us holds inside ourself. It’s now time to let that good stuff inside, out.

I also sense more new unity than within the USA, all of the people in the world who yearn to be free – to have as much of that free will stuff as possible – are united with each other through their stand with the Ukraine.

I feel that this week redolent of WWII has been a stark reminder of how thin is the veneer of civilization indeed, how quickly we could snap back into deep darkness, and how much each one of us, in the nugget of central goodness, yearns for peace and freedom and cessation of hatreds and vendettas.

And how willing to die each one of us is, in that center of goodness within us, “so that honor and justice may live.”

I had never thought about it before, but events brought this mirror up to my face: my mother’s parents came from Kyiv (her father) and Odessa (her mother). My father’s parents came from Poland. I’m half Ukrainian in descent, a proud citizen of the USA and of the human race. It feels good.

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The first words of one of the earliest manuscripts on the planet, the Rig Veda, say:

“Assemble, speak together: let your minds be all of one accord.

As ancient Gods unanimous sit down to their appointed share.

The place is common, common the assembly, common the mind, so be their thought united.

One and the same be your resolve and be your minds of one accord.

United be the thoughts of all that may happily agree.”

Rodovoi! (“United” in Russian)

Tongyi! (“United” in Chinese)

My great friend, songwriter Stan Satlin offers us a song.

Love to all,

Bill

Things We Do Automatically That Do Us No Good

Created February 4, 2022

Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey Blog.

We take certain things for granted because everyone else does these things, and we find ourselves just “naturally” doing them as well.

One example is hating. It has no beneficial effect on our own lives to “hate” specific things or people. If we don’t want those things or people in our lives, we can simply avoid them, not think about them, fill our lives with what we do want.

Hating doesn’t add any more efficiency or effectiveness to our own life. Like all negative emotions it has deleterious effects on our physical and mental health. It might give us bad dreams. It might be entangled with other thoughts and emotions in ways that are not obvious. It’s a waste of time. It’s a waste of precious mental emotional resources. It doesn’t add anything positive to our life. And yet we do it.

Habit. Conditioning. Imitative behavior. Fitting in with everyone else by doing what they all do. These are some of the reasons why it never occurs to us to think rationally about hating.

Hate comes from fear. We are afraid that this person or these people are going to do things that will harm the lives of myself and my loved ones, but we feel powerless to stop that from happening, so our robotical mind leaps to the hasty conclusion that our only recourse is to hate them. Hate therefore is an inner subconscious admission of powerlessness. It is better to retain a footing of having some actionable power that merely needs to be figured out and then carried out. Hate excuses us from thinking creatively about actions that might be taken. Even if such actions seem unlikely to make a difference, there is honor in focusing on action, there is dishonor in giving up and simply hating.

The other thing that stops us from thinking about stopping something like hating, is that we may assume that it’s impossible to stop an emotion, it just arises by itself, that we have no control over it.

That’s untrue. In the Observer state and in the Flow state, we can make decisions and keep to them. We are in a higher state of functioning when we are in in those states. They are apparently our natural states, and our crippled state in which we have no control over ourselves is not our natural state. We have wound up in this dwarfed version of ourselves by collectively drifting into a society that does not support our self-expression in our passion work, nor even enable us to discover what our passion work is. An accelerating society that cannot keep up with its own inventiveness.

It is never too late. We are in a position to lift ourselves out of substandard conditions. First of all, we all want it, that will help. However, we’re not in a state of unity, the kind of unity felt by billions of freedom-loving people during World War II. In that state of unity, and coming from the right place and from the good, we prevailed. We need that same unity today in order to set things right, to wind up even better than we ever were before, doing our favorite “work” which to us is “play”, not having strife with others, not having fear nor hate nor all of the other negative emotions which are so rampant today.

You are the only one who can find the hidden switch in yourself to decide to give up over reacting to everything and everyone, to forgive yourself and everyone and start fresh with everyone.

All the world needs now is forgiveness. We have drifted into hate by our loyalty to one group or another. Loyalty is a good thing. Too much of a good thing is where bad things come from. If we wish to express ourself by the groups we belong to, that’s good, but we should think big. Like loyalty to God. Like loyalty to the human race. Like loyalty to the United States of America.

Once we get stuck on loyalties of a more fragmented nature, the likelihood that it can cause harm to our lives begins to increase. The things that made us join one political party may have been right at the time, but things change, the people involved change, the agendas change, and inflexible loyalty under those conditions isn’t fair to ourselves, it’s not thinking rationally about what really moves us forward as an individual.

Judgment of others is not necessary. One can leave them to what they want to be. Hate is preceded by judgment. Neither one is necessary to our own evolution. They are both a waste of time.

Jesus said, “Judge not, lest ye be judged.”

Your mind can be cleansed by you yourself and it will perform better when released from irrelevancies and poisons.

If you find yourself unable to forgive yourself, ask yourself, have you learned the lesson from the situation about which you can’t forgive yourself? If the answer is no, you must figure out the lesson, and then forgive yourself, knowing that you can react the right way the next time such a situation arises. (Not forgiving yourself after learning what to do next time is a waste of time and evidence of neurosis.) This is rational self-management, like you would expect a manager to exercise over a business. This is where the higher states of consciousness operate.

If you can’t find it in your heart to forgive Republicans, or Democrats, you can’t apply the same procedure. You can’t guarantee that all Democrats or all Republicans have learned their lessons from whatever it is you hold against them. You need to forgive them in advance of such reformation. This is simply because you can only take responsibility for yourself, you can’t control others. Then what is the justification for forgiving them? Because judgment is not yours to pass. “Judgment is mine,” saith the Lord. Live and let live. You know how hard it is to be a human being in this world as it is now. You can help others by forgiving them. If you run up against someone who is unquestionably doing terrible things, and you feel it’s up to you to stop them, then do that, while still forgiving them and stopping hating them because those things don’t help.

“Even forgive a murderer? Even forgive a mass murderer?” Yes, why not, all you are doing is cleansing your own heart, mind, body, and soul, it will make you more effective, and forgiving does not require condoning.

Why make such a profound change in your behavior now, after all these years of life? Because the world is in terrible danger. Civilization is fraying. Species becoming extinct one after another. We need two things to change fast: Unity to work cooperatively and respectfully with one another, not wasting time with insults. Unity within our self, finding our ideal self and sticking to it to the exclusion of old habits. It’s the Supreme Test.

Who could be placing us into the situation of a Supreme Test? It could only be a Supreme Being.

Let’s rise to the occasion and take action toward unity instead of making little excuses, blaming and hating others, and dodging the work we have to do on ourselves to become the Supreme Self within us.