Category Archives: Mind Magic

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

Don’t Overthink Stuff, Nor Act on Every Impulse

Created April 21, 2022

Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey Blog.

Flow state is what the human race needs more of. It is super competency, the opposite of what we witness all around us every second nowadays.

Flow state is that condition in which an individual is doing everything perfectly. Which is why I referred to it as super competency.

Some of the other characteristics of Flow state are:

  • The individual has the sense that things are doing themselves
  • It feels like play
  • There is no fear of failure

The public is only vaguely aware of Flow state. Even those who know the state exists do not realize its significance in the context of the current collapse of civilizational institutions. Very few people recognize that widespread Flow state can be achieved and that this can restore robust forward progress toward a cooperative peaceful world.

If this were part of the public narrative, given that almost everyone now agrees that the human race is not in a good place, a lot more action would be taken quickly, like at the speed with which the Covid vaccines were developed.

But can we really get masses of people to change dramatically in time? Yes. 

It’s not as daunting as it seems. Individuals can learn simple principles of action and apply those principles to filter their own impulses before action – and to accurately sense when to not filter them at all.

The existence of this higher state of consciousness is scientifically well established. Neuroscientists have been studying its brain signature for decades. There are many studies with some degree of agreement and the work is progressing.

But we don’t need to wait until science knows Flow state inside and out. That is beside the point. The point is we know how to train people to increase time spent in Flow state and the world needs us all to receive that training right now. Much of the needed training is contained in my book Mind Magic.  I wrote it in hopes of training everyone to get into it more often (maintaining it continuously is very rare). I’ll share a few key takeaways here today.

Flow state happens with authentic non-edited natural response. However, if one takes a black and white oversimplistic approach to getting into the Flow state by going with their every natural inclination, what will happen is generally not Flow state but rapid alternation between egotistical behavior and flashes of Flow state, in which more moments go to ego.

What rule of action can we follow that will allow us to release into Flow, yet prevent us from wishful thinking that we are in Flow when we are not?

You get into Flow state when you are adept at the mechanical behaviors involved and are faced with a challenge situation that is matched closely with your skills but allows for no letting down of your guard.

In a conversation where you are not threatened or nervous you are likely to get into Flow state if you are discussing something you have studied deeply or you are trying to help another person with no thought of personal gain.

The simplest rule for managing your own behavior second to second is to be authentic without thinking about making yourself look good or achieving business aims or any goal other than giving the best of yourself at every moment regardless of the outcomes.

Before you can release yourself to just be you, you must feel unattached to outcomes. Then you get let go and be your self and you will feel the Flow gear engage. It will feel wonderful and you will be doing good in the world. You will be making a positive difference not just in your own interest but in everyone’s. You will be building trust that will develop strong relationships and enable you to do more good each day.

When you are not in Flow you do need to edit your impulses. They often come from ego and will not have long term success. They will not be inspired and will not inspire others. As a general rule you should assume the need to edit your own impulses except at times when you feel positive and letting yourself Flow with your natural impulses is the right thing to do. 

However, we can instantly fall out of Flow because we become overconfident and ego quickly slips back in. Knowing this you can monitor impulses even during Flow to prevent yourself from falling out by simply not acting on certain impulses of which you are uncertain. That slight uncertainty is enough of a clue in Flow to keep your mouth shut and your mind open.

Love to all,

Bill

What Are the Odds Against the Human Race?

Created March 18, 2022

Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey Blog.

Today I gathered by Zoom with a few lifelong friends. One of them a man I’ve always admired and have learned a lot from about the advertising and media business. He’s as much a genius as ever and as much of a realist. And, whereas I’ve almost always been an optimist, he’s still a pessimist.

Today my mentor (I’ve been lucky to have many) argued persuasively about the end approaching. The quality of our leaders willing to put up with being endlessly mocked and slandered has fallen precipitously. Both our political parties taken over by their most radical activists, the parties locked into such hatred for each other as is hard to imagine ever going away. The leaders of big companies hypnotized, like Putin, by their own worldview, and seemingly unwilling to study the relevant facts and the numbers deeply themselves. Everyone below the top afraid to speak up because someone with greater power might be offended by something. 

My friend sums up the problem as The Age of Me, which he perceives came in about a half century ago, replacing The Age of We. Now everyone is so self-focused it’s as if their IQs have been effectively factored way down.

Ahead he sees revolutions, a total breakdown in civilization, only a minority living through it and rebuilding. And then the cycle possibly repeating itself, first rebuilding, and then hubris setting in, and it all falling apart again.

I agreed that we have had a mental illness pandemic for a long time and that the only pragmatic cure for it is for each of us pull himself and herself up by carefully watching and clarifying one’s own thinking. I added that our ability to communicate with one another also allows us to help each other in this process.

My mind flashes back to when I was about five. I always listened to my parents’ conversations and stopped them to ask what was meant by certain phrases. They were very patient and always answered. I remember asking what they meant by “Life Imitates Art”. My father explained that it works both ways, art imitates life (he pointed to one of my mother’s realistic paintings), and life imitates art, people identify with characters in plays and learn from their experiences vicariously.

So, from very early on I was always aware that perceptions make reality, fiction becomes fact as fact becomes fiction. “Thinking makes it so,” as Shakespeare put it.

In Mind Magic I wrote that we tend to perceive what we expect to perceive.

In Connectedness I pointed out that foremost modern quantum physicist John Wheeler theorized that we co-create reality. Jane Roberts’ Seth book series reframed this ancient idea for modern minds in the 1970s. Many people first heard this idea from The Secret, whose Law of Attraction echoes the concept of Karma. People have been considering such out of box yet logical ideas for at least 10,000 years.

All of this is relevant to our moral imperative for the existential threat of today. Regardless of how dire things look right now, it only makes things worse to dwell on problem definition, one must build into one’s own mental reflexes the immediate switch to solution orientation, which presumes hope and not hopelessness. As songwriter and playwright Stan Satlin said on the Zoom today, “We can’t accept defeat.” Every time our mind turns back to concern we must rechannel it into positive next steps we can take that will help even if only in a very small way, help ourselves, our loved ones, everyone and anyone.

Pagliacci knew that a clown’s role was to laugh and make people laugh, even if on the inside he was crying. Calm, patient, empathetic, we can help people creatively clarify their options and optimize their decisions for the closest thing available to a win/win outcome. The more of us take on this attitude and role, the faster we will recover from the brink.

Don’t be attached to success. Whether we collectively pull out of the nosedive is not the point. Another thing my father taught me when I was five was “It doesn’t matter whether you win or lose, what matters is how you play the game.”  

What are the odds against us? It all depends on how we play it. If we tone down the rhetoric and discuss calmly and soberly, the odds in our favor are excellent. If we continue the current raucous and insane behavior, we have to pray for divine intervention, it becomes our best hope.

Best to all,

Bill

Open Your Present

Created March 11, 2022

Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey Blog.

Past, Present, Future. Select the middle one. Now open it.

What would it be like for you to learn how to open your present moment?

You’d have to be so much in the Now that you’d be momentarily less aware of your past and the hold that it normally exercises over you.

Without the past looming you would temporarily free of assumptions and expectations, lenses and filters, and your eyes and other senses would be naked.

What you see in front of you and all around you might not seem as familiar as it always did before.

The stunned silence overtaking your inner dialog might momentarily remove the self-not-self dichotomy so basic to everyone’s perspective. There would just be events flowing and unfolding “within you and without you”. No apparent self. Oneness happening.

Depending on the circumstances, something might happen that could cause you to dart back into your protective shell.

Or, if you were lucky enough the moment could be sustained. If allowed to loll in that return to nature, an idea might arise in your mind but as words form you might dismiss them as incomplete and unnecessary. All words would suddenly seem inadequate, that the real experience of life could not be contained in them, that wherever you are now as strange and miraculous as it might seem would never be something you could accurately bring back and report to humanity and share with your loved ones.

However, if you continued to experience moments like these where the awe and wonder of existence and the universe were more than enough, even without analysis and understanding, to enjoy as if encased in rare music and art of which you are a kaleidoscopic part…

Then that state would become friendly and familiar and you could incorporate the repeated experiences in your life, and maybe even begin to be able to turn on the state at will, opening your present moment and becoming one with it, part of the flow of time, an essential facet of the universe and fully at home and at peace in it.

The Flow state takes many forms. The most popular representations of the Flow state are the performer/athlete instance, being “on”, in the zone, and the scientist/artist form, the “aha” moment, “eureka!” The spiritual levels of the Zone are above these manifestation levels.

In my book You Are The Universe, I write about a theorized five levels of Flow state, four of which I’ve experienced and have memories of. They crystallized in my mind when I read about Oscar Ichazo’s postulated 15 levels of consciousness, said to have been derived from Ouspensky, which would have been influenced by Gurdjieff and perhaps Madame Blavatsky. My map is probably an inaccurate representation of reality and also a distorted view of Ichazo’s thoughts. But it works for me.

Oscar called it level 48 (meaning 48 limitations) when the body goes into Flow and you are moving perfectly and performing perfectly and effortlessly so that everything appears to be doing itself. My friend Eric Mart said that Oscar called this the basic professional state.

In 24, you are in ecstasy, your feelings are in Flow state, Ananda.

12 is the level in which your mind is operating in Flow and every word is a bon mot perfect for the moment, you are thinking in Shakespearean poetry.

6 gives you synchronicity in which you are aware of things that there is no contemporary explanation for, and around you, things are happening which you understand the meaning of, and which benefit you, as if your subconscious is controlling them.

Some years ago, a person I was mentoring had a habit that I tolerated as amusing although it had her stuck in her own evolutionary growth at a certain step. She read in my mind what I was about to tell her but she was not fully getting the point of what I was trying to clue her in on. She was attached to guessing the right answer and so continually interrupted me.

One day at my home on Moonhaw Road with bright sunlight flooding in and not a cloud in the sky, this routine was going on. Suddenly as she opened her mouth to guess my next words there was a clap of thunder drowning out her words. This went on about ten times, perfectly timed to when she started to talk, even though she waited and tried everything to get a word in edgewise. I believe that was level 6.

3, the highest level of Flow, I theorize would make a person capable of willing things to happen and have them happen in reality. Perhaps we all have this and it is merely happening very slowly so that it takes years to accomplish your mission.

The present culture has directed us away from such things as this, lumping under the term “magical thinking” anything that sounds as if it is far-fetched. Instead, we are inculcated into behaving according to the expectations of others, in a typically defensive stance with a sense of dependency on outside crutches, and a need to compensate for our inadequacies of life. My friend John Zweig was saying the other day that this is the way marketing is done now, products and services are there to make our lives worthwhile, we are portrayed as being needy without them. Ads often take the form of problem-solution. However, some ads depict the product or service in terms of the experiential enjoyment it brings, which does not convey any lack in the ad experiencer.

A few years ago, I was an expert witness in a patent case. A very aggressive young lawyer was cross-examining me and hoped to unnerve me by whipping out my book You Are The Universe and asking me what level of consciousness I am now in. I answered that I was in the Observer state, which is the highest state under the Flow state, and the state that my book Mind Magic is designed to bring on. 

We won the case. Not that it had much to do with that incident, which merely illustrates the degree to which our present culture is excessively closed-minded about the further possibilities of consciousness.

But if we open our present, we discover for ourselves that the world is truly a much more magical place than we have been led to believe. Not that “magic’ automatically implies “supernatural”. There is nothing more supernatural than nature itself. It’s all science once we figure it out. We have figured out maybe one percent of all there is in this giant puzzle universe to figure out. We impede our own expansion of knowledge to be so cramped in our implementation of the scientific method.

Opening your present is paying unfiltered attention without going-in locked-down constraints. When you do this, you open yourself up to more awesome experiences by allowing for all possibilities and not assuming that you or even the human race now knows everything.

When you open your present, you receive the gift.

Best to all,

Bill