Category Archives: Observer State

Powerful Mind Pt. 9

Created May 5, 2023

Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey Blog.

To read Powerful Mind Pt. 8, click here.

EOP=Emergency Oversimplification Procedure. Corresponds to a mild panic reaction which can be sustained for a lifetime.

Ways to Enter the Observer State at Auspicious Moments

  • Waking up, just before you open your eyes. Catch yourself if you start the EOP inner dialog. Observe the thoughts and feelings that arise without taking ownership of them. Treat them as coming from elsewhere, not as true expressions of your own positions on things. They are ideas you may or may not decide to accept after due consideration.
  • Whenever you are alone during the day. On buses and trains and planes, while driving (with your primary attention on safety), and during bio-breaks.
  • If at all possible, a daily meditation period. Twenty minutes at the end of the business day for example, or whenever works for you. The other moments described here are especially valuable if you cannot manage to squeeze in these twenty-minute daily vacations, which are however of even higher value.
  • When you close your eyes to go to sleep.
  • Any time during the day when you feel challenged. Before responding, take as many moments as possible to breathe, feel the ground under you, and observe yourself and what is going on around you. Even if you feel negative emotions, phrase your responses as impartial objective observations of relevant fact, without seeming to care about outcomes. “Pretending convincingly” is a way to accelerate actually becoming the person you are, since your ego in EOP does not believe in your authenticity and tends to dwarf your spirit.
  • As many other times of the day as possible when you remember that the objective is to stay in the Observer state. Don’t beat yourself up for forgetting, just observe yourself and what is happening around you. Beating yourself up would just be more EOP activity.

Our work is motivated by the hypothesis that as more of us are able to stay longer in the most effective states of consciousness, all of the other problems of the world will tend to be solved as a result. If you think this is a stretch, look at what Gandhi was able to accomplish in India, a bloodless revolution that cast off British rule and softened the conflict between Hindus and Muslims; or what the Rev. Martin Luther King achieved in the South through the power of peaceful protest. These are just two examples of what can be attained with more powerful uses of mind.

Special Case of the Observer State

Buckminster Fuller, a celebrated Twentieth Century innovator and free thinker, wrote that his life really began on the day he decided to commit suicide.

He had been very much in love with a woman who did not feel the same way about him. After trying to forget her and trying many things to start his life anew, without success, he finally decided to end it all.

Then a strange thing happened. As soon as he knew that he was really going to go through with it, suddenly he found himself in a good mood. There was no rush to do the deed. Nothing worried him anymore because he had given up everything in his own mind — in the East they would say in his own heart.

Nothing worried him anymore.

This special case of Observer state, worth reporting here, happens when you hit rock bottom and simply cannot take it anymore, and you give up totally. You surrender.

In those rare moments, if one ever happens to you, take advantage of it.
Don’t miss the opportunity. Feel around inside yourself and see how changed you really are. Note the absence of crippling dependencies, attachments. You have lost that which you were most attached to keeping, and though you’re not happy about it, you are now free of that attachment.

You may have lost several things at once — your job, your new car, your house, your spouse or partner, or some other set of attachments. Whatever it was you lost, what you have gained is more valuable. Especially if you capitalize on it.

When you are down and out, start your life anew. Get your “new” more conscious life off to a good start, and enjoy every moment of it fully. And if you’re feeling fine and want to feel, well, just finer, meditate and use the Powerful Mind techniques described throughout this book whenever possible. Feeling finer is guaranteed.

Details to follow in the subsequent posts.

Love to all,



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Powerful Mind Pt. 8

Created April 28, 2023

Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey Blog.

To read Powerful Mind Pt. 7, click here.

Observer State

The Observer state is a state most commonly experienced today by meditators. When a meditative state has been achieved, a person is in the Observer state. In this state, the usual background assumptions are not being made. They have been placed on hold. It is as if the person has agreed to set them aside for a while, during which meditation will be practiced.

In the meditative state, when thoughts or feelings arise, the meditator does not take ownership of these thoughts or feelings, but observes them as if they were outside himself or herself. Similarly, if one of the usual background assumptions comes into consciousness, it is observed but with the same kind of detachment. Meditation can be seen as an oasis or taking a mini-vacation from the usual “stuff”.

In this state, one “sees things as they are,” stripped of the usual interpretations of good, bad, or fear-producing. Often this allows brief moments of Flow state in which there are wordless realizations of what causes us to have certain types of recurring dissonant experiences, e.g. being victimized by a boss, hurting one’s spouse, not getting deserved recognition, causing ourselves to fail just when we are close to succeeding, not enjoying each day, doing tasks just to get them over with, and all of the other ways in which we stop ourselves from being happy — along with an awareness of how we invite that recurring experience. These “Aha!” moments are Flow state and could not have reached conscious attention if the person had not created a blank slate on which the mind could write. That in a nutshell is the Observer state.

 The core message of Powerful Mind is that the Observer state need not be limited to periods of meditation, and that it is better to spend as much time as possible in the Observer state, which leads to spending as much time as possible in the Flow state. 

We are not content to merely impart this message, as important as it may be. We are even more concerned with imparting the techniques that will get you there. 

Our assertion is that we all can and should make attaining the higher states of consciousness (Observer state and Flow state) a way of life. Doing so makes us more effective, more creative, makes us more of the individuals that we really are and less like programmed robots, puts us more in touch with love and the life of the spirit, more engaged and present in the moment. We enjoy living large, not in the sense of being materially rich showoffs, but in the sense of being enriched by the moment-to-moment wonders of being alive.  Making the attainment of higher consciousness a way of life leads to success in everything else. That’s why placing higher consciousness in the forefront of our moment-to-moment attention is so valuable.

The Chattering Mind Is Not The Whole Self

Chatter in the mind is another differentiator between EOP and the Observer state. In EOP, the inner dialog is more or less constant. In the Observer state, this talking to oneself attenuates and eventually disappears completely. In its place arises a process of thought that is much faster and much more attentive to subtleties. Ultimately, one can see each thought or feeling as it arises, before it is turned into words, and so there is no longer the necessity of turning it into words to explain it. 

Often in discussions of how to meditate one hears “first you must still the mind”. This is not bad advice, but those words alone do not automatically equip the meditator to achieve such stillness. In Powerful Mind, you will learn simple methods to achieve such stillness. For example, instead of trying to force stillness directly, you will be guided to observe your mind as if from outside. This has two effects: firstly, it provides a certain detachment or distance: you are looking at the mind’s content more like lab specimens under a microscope. Secondly, as you start to use words in your mind you notice it immediately and stop in mid-sentence.  Our technique is operational, action-oriented. The reader is equipped with an actionable strategy that in the end achieves the stillness so difficult to achieve directly, except by experienced meditators. 

What does the Observer state have to do with creative effectiveness? We hypothesize that the Observer state is a more efficient and effective information processing mode. It is characterized by no delays caused by putting things into words. Instead, the mind gets the point of each thought while it is still an unformed feeling or image in your mind, before the energy of translating it into words is expended. The intellect races ahead on an accelerated basis and everything in our internal and external experience is apprehended simultaneously and in relative perspective. Wisdom is more likely to occur. Wisdom is the tendency to right action. Right action is effectiveness.

In this state we call Mindquiet — an aspect of the Observer state — the mind moves from idea to idea so much faster that one often feels the desire to write down a “breadcrumb trail” (the metaphor in the Hansel and Gretel story) so as to remember the many important discoveries made. Whether you call this “journaling” or simply “taking notes”, the best way to do this is to use the fewest possible words, or else you will lose the Observer state and wind up back in EOP. We call these “trigger words”, the one or two words that will bring back the whole idea. 

Because you are likely to have many new and valuable ideas about yourself while reading Powerful Mind, and especially in applying its techniques in your own life, we suggest you always carry a writing implement, whether paper and pen or an electronic device.

In the Observer state, one has temporarily suspended preferences about outcomes. Again, it is like a vacation. You may still care a lot (perhaps too much) about making more money or whatever, but you have parked those desires for a while. It is like re-opening your mind for the sake of a temporary experiment, a “what-if” period, a game that you are playing. You reserve the right to come back later and re-instate the drive to make money, or whatever, but for now it is “unlocked” instead of “locked in”.  

With the chronic dilemmas set aside, fear and the mantle of self-protectiveness — the egocentric “defender” state — drops away in an autonomic cascade. One is simply observing without classifying good vs. bad, keeping an open mind, giving oneself permission to make decisions later. The usual unconscious kneejerk reactions are unplugged. 

And with the intellect no longer using up all its energy in self-chatter, and the feelings no longer set to kneejerk reaction mode, the chances of slipping into Flow state are multiplied many fold. These appear to be among the underlying mechanisms by which Observer state potentiates Flow state. 

Although the objective is to be in the Observer state whenever you are not in the Flow state, as you start the process of breaking out of EOP, it is especially important to take advantage of special opportunity moments during the day, which you will thereafter always want to benefit from.

Details to follow in the subsequent posts.

Love to all,



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Powerful Mind Pt. 4

Created March 31, 2023

Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey Blog.

To read Powerful Mind Pt. 3, click here.

Chapter 2

The Observer State

A clearer, more effective state of consciousness —
only seconds away from your daily state of consciousness.
Just knowing it exists can benefit you

This entire book is about states of consciousness. In this chapter we will focus on one particular state of consciousness we call the Observer state. The Observer state is more powerful than the state most of us are in most of the time, and leads to the Flow state, which is more powerful still in terms of your ability to make an impact on others around you and on the world. We speak about both states as being “The Upper Mind”. The purpose of this book is to show you the simple yet easily missed doorways into the Upper Mind.

Why is it important to think about consciousness at all? Because life is all about consciousness. We do not exist without consciousness. While modern science has made brilliant progress in almost every other sphere of reality, too little is known about consciousness.

Yet all the ills of the world are rooted in ignorance of how consciousness works. We have made the world we see around us. It all started in our minds. Every day we do things we regret because we listen to and act on whatever our minds dish up to us. We need our minds to perform better, to become powerful, to gain insight into ourselves and others, to come to better decisions on a moment to moment basis.

The extreme anti-heroes who have become powerful on the world stage, who have driven much of our history so far, might not have chosen paths of destruction if their genius had been creatively channeled, if they had not lost touch with their compassion and love.

If we collectively knew our own minds better we would not go to war but rather we would find creative win/win solutions — the ones we get to in the end anyway after all the bloodshed. The path to a better world lies through the terrain of consciousness. One day when we all really do know our minds better the world will be a relative paradise compared to the way it has been throughout all recorded history. As the great science fiction pioneer H.G. Wells said, “History is a race between education and destruction.” If we can make our minds powerful now, we can gain the maturity as a race necessary to not destroy ourselves, given the extreme weaponry we have now at our disposal and our habitual disregard of our destructive effect on the environment (the air we breathe, the water we drink).

Because war is a pattern repeated throughout recorded history, we tend to assume this is the way it has to always be. And yet, “recorded history” literally means since the onset of written language. In short, written language and the thinking processes that go with it have led to acceleritis, information overload and Emergency Oversimplification Procedure (EOP), which blocks upper mind and leads not only to war but also to crime and personal cruelty born of our disconnection from innate compassion. Our minds need to become more powerful in order not to be confused by the information overload so much that we are easily led and manipulated into a life nearly devoid of positive feelings, squandering the opportunity of life.

Each of us knows intuitively that the only thing we can change is ourselves. This is the only way we can make a better world.

Powerful Mind seeks to reveal specific information and techniques for attaining specific states of consciousness. We will be talking about waking states of consciousness, not about sleeping states. Sleeping states are important too, but in the interest of focus we’ll leave these to another book.

A Broader View of What Science Is

Around 400 BC, in the Golden Age of Greek philosophy, one branch of philosophy called “epistemology” focused on understanding “how can we know”? Over time, different schools of thought evolved about how we can know: rationalists believe that we can know things directly through our intellect; authoritarians believe we know by listening to authority figures who tell us what we know; empiricists believe that we know by direct experience, by testing things in the real world; intuitionists believe we can know directly through a mysterious faculty.
Science developed out of empiricism, basing what we consider to be “truth” on factual experience, testing and validation. In the case of science as practiced in the West, especially in the last few hundred years, that “experience” is usually the taking of measurements using instruments with dials and displays from which one takes readings. The person taking the readings is the “observer” often mentioned in relativity and quantum mechanics, the latest forms of science. In the East, science is also based on experience, and there the experience can often be inner experience where dials and displays are not involved. This is still science and still based on empirical experience.

This Eastern willingness to accept internal evidence explains why science in the West has not validated the existence of the more effective states of consciousness. Starting toward the end of the 19th Century, inner experience or introspection fell out of favor in psychology, after William James, the last of the giants of psychology to accept inner evidence directly. The more externally-oriented culture of the West created a blind spot. In psychology, work shifted to behaviorism, the focus on externally quantifiable actions, along with the study and social application of conditioning to alter these actions.

Eastern epistemology actually fuses empiricism and intuitionism. No conflict is seen between these ways of knowing because they both involve experiencing reality for oneself.

Although based on empiricism, Western science became authoritarian and elitist in its epistemology: the common person was excluded from “knowing” by the reduction of all science to mathematics, a difficult language to master. Science at its cutting edge moved out of the sphere of something the common person could totally visualize and comprehend.

Science and States of Consciousness

Regarded academically as a “soft science”, traditional Western psychology recognizes only three states of consciousness: dreamless sleep, dream sleep, and waking consciousness. Eastern psychology since the fifth century B.C. recognized ten states of waking consciousness: the normal everyday waking state, the access state which precedes meditation, and eight progressively deeper states of meditation. Oscar Ichazo, a modern student/teacher of consciousness techniques and founder of the Arica Institute in 1968, fuses ideas from consciousness explorers throughout history (plus his own) to propose fifteen waking states of consciousness ranging from psychosis, through six levels of neurosis, three levels corresponding to the Eastern access state, and five levels of higher consciousness.

It is revealing that Western psychology reduces waking consciousness to a single state. William James was the first prominent Western psychologist who warned against “prematurely closing the book” on the existence of other states of waking consciousness. More recently, Mihaly Czikszenthmihalyi (pronounced “cheek-sent-me-high-ee”), former head of the University of Chicago Psychology Department, coined the term “Flow state” (known in show business as “Being On”, and in sports as “The Zone”), and conducted valuable research into this state, which was published in his 2008 book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience.

Details to follow in the subsequent posts.

Love to all,



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We All Need Optimal Competition to Supplant the Unhealthy Kind

Created February 17, 2023

Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey Blog.

The optimal use of competition is to set it up to be good-natured. As if in a debating game. The way the Founders of the Constitution thought about it. Without fierce fear of failure, megalomaniacal attachment to power and political money, without hatred, gaming the system, or violence. The Founders knew there would inevitably always be political arguments along the way, but felt confident that with the checks and balances and good will, we would be able to work things out.

The Constitution itself never mentioned political parties. Jefferson and Washington both warned against the rise of political parties in America. They had seen what happened with the Tories and Whigs in Merrie Olde England. Wigs on the green. At the time, in the American Colonies, being the government was just a particularly hard and risky job without a lot of perks. Like being anything in the Colonies at that time.

In any situation where the lust for winning and the fear of losing has become obsessive, human effectiveness drops sharply. Different brain processes take over. Yerkes-Dodson experiments and later work by others proved that when we care too much about an outcome, we reduce our own power to get that outcome.

Too many of the human beings involved in the process of governing us are now showing their worst sides most of the time because they are so ignobly and obsessively motivated. I say ignobly because a public servant worth his or her or their title serves the public regardless of personal outcomes for themselves. They do the necessary for the good of the people. They keep their solemn Oath. Such were the Founders. If we had them today none of this would be happening. Which is not to say that all of our public servants today are ignoble. But the ignoble ones are showing off blatantly because they have used unfair tactics and are still getting away with it, so they appear at the moment to have the upper hand over the noble ones. 

What if anything can we do about the present disappointment many of us feel when we think about our beloved nation with its high ideals? Firstly, we ought not vote for ignobles. Secondly, smaller degrees of change are easier to achieve, so let’s see what can be done to moderate the behavior of those in government. They should be held to a higher standard. Lying, hate talk, attacking the other party, extolling one’s own party, damning the proposed solutions put forth by others without offering any solutions of one’s own, openly gaming the system (gerrymandering, filibustering, appointing of politically motivated judges) so as to gain and keep power, accepting inappropriate monetary rewards, there are specific guidelines which could be put forth as a new Code Of Conduct Standard for the country’s government decision makers at Federal, State, and even local levels.

That is only a surface change but it will have inner feedback loops that will help people break their conditioning. We’ve been all been conditioned and it’s hard but not impossible to break conditioning. Our conditioning began early and we had nothing to compare it to so we took it all for granted. Later we felt in our comfort zone to stay within the herd of people who received similar conditioning to ourselves, and we might not have even been conscious of doing it. This conditioning resides within brain neurons created by our experiences and affects us strongly. The repetition of reinforcement over decades enforces a self-image which is too much made up of what other people think and too little created by our own fully reconsidered clear-eyed contemplation.

In order for the governments of the world to perform optimally, and nations to be led to peaceful coexistence and compassionate cooperation, authoritarian (will take longer) and democracy/republic leaders need to evolve themselves by knowing themselves better, and by reinvigorating their true individuality. Becoming liberated from conditioned intense attachment to money and power and replacing those drives with loftier inspiration to make a better happier world. We all need this but we all need it to happen for world leaders as much as we need it for ourselves. Without inner changes in all of us, especially those who are supposed to lead us, the species might not make it in time to avert the many ticking timebombs our overwhelmed minds have created.  

Witness the recent slide of a perfectly humane and smart American party into what it is now. But the Republicans I know are nothing like that. Those in highest offices may be acting crazy, but the ground truth is quite different, very few Republicans I know who are not in the government are anything like crazy. It’s not the people; it’s a relative handful, a few thousand mis-motivated people that have arrogated unto themselves a great excess of power already, and they have made clear that they are not at all interested in keeping their oaths to protect the American Constitution. This is a domestic threat to our way of life. It’s un-American. It’s a return to what we sought to replace with Americanism. Because the atavistic governing style staging a comeback runs on bribes, maybe we should call it Bribalism.

The Business of the United States Is Business 

Republican legislators when acting sanely (before the extreme attachment to personal outcome hypnotized them) were pro-business before. Now their core is more the lesser educated, their concern for businesses could be manifesting as good advice and programs for small businesses in this era in which small businesses are arising more rapidly due to the internet. Meanwhile, businesses have transcended the pure profit motive for enlightened self-interest (buzzword: Purpose), which empowers them to take up good causes and aim to make people’s lives better. 

Although this is authentic to US business today, the party which used to cleave to business is not exactly doing that kind of thing as much. Now the GOP is saying only what will hold together the tens of millions of people who keep it in power. This is analogous to milking a brand that is on the decline: it will not avert the decline, but in the short term before that decline is finished, “get as much out of it as you can.” It would be far better to avert the decline by returning to its original brand identity as the Party of Lincoln, the party of business especially small businesses, the party demanding proofs and safeguards from those bringing progressive proposals, the party which completes a healthy optimal competition with the more change-oriented party.    

Republicans rise up to take responsibility for your party. You are true Americans; there are a few thousand people terrorizing the country and they unfortunately turn out to be all too many of the people we together elected, and unluckily for you most of them right now are of your party – but not of your mind, nor of your character. You have to rise up collectively to peacefully take back control of your party and bring it back to the center. No one else can do it but you. Step up, step forward, take responsibility. It’s the right thing to do.

Love to all, 


PS – How to take advantage of the “Yerkes-Dodson Law” (and more) to improve your own performance: 

PPS – I’m not saying bribes are limited to one party. Remember, I’m an Independent. As I’ve written here many times, I see fixed going-in conditions such as progressivism or conservatism to be biases, things which distort objective judgment and obscure and confuse objectivity. Biases block Observer state and Flow state.