Category Archives: Self

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

Applying the Scientific Method to Life

Created April 8, 2022

Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey Blog.

Of all human endeavors, which are the most successful? Love, education, and art are certainly up there. One branch of education, science, has been spectacularly successful. Science is the form of education in which we plumb the mysteries of life from the ground up, before we know enough to teach others.

Why do I say “spectacularly” successful? If we had no science, Covid probably would have killed most of us by now. How else could hairless apes fly to the moon, or fly at all, or even build and drive cars?

Technology stands on the shoulders of science. Without science, our supreme technology might be fire, the wheel, and rudimentary weapons. No, that’s not true; without science, our supreme technology would be language. The transition from language to mathematics is where true science begins.

Einstein said “All of science is nothing more than the refinement of everyday thinking.”

We might unpack Einstein’s word “refinement” into the operational steps which turn everyday thinking into science.

Step 1 might be the “Elimination of Bias”. One must start from an open mind, without attachment to proving something, intent only on discovering the truth. One must be always on guard for one’s own subconscious biases and by making them conscious, overcoming them and attaining a real sense of objectivity. I play a game with myself as to how I will feel if the truth turns out to be A, how will that affect my emotions, if it turns out to be the opposite, how will that affect my emotions? In this way I can gain a degree of insight into my own remaining degree of subconscious bias.

If I still laugh nastily to myself when considering it might turn out to be the opposite of my hypothesis, I know that I’m still biased, and still consider the opposite of my hypothesis to be such nonsense that it could never turn out to be the truth.

Step 2 might be “Recording of Observations”. This is the inductive reasoning which leads to the formation of experiments, wherein deductive logic takes over. In an experiment (Step 3) there is a comparison of two matched events in which only one variable is different, such that if the outcomes are different, the cause of that difference had to be that one variable.

In this post I’ll focus on Step 2. In a later post we’ll get to Step 3.

What do I propose we observe, and why? What truth do I seek to have you discover?

The Answer to The Ultimate Question. That’s what I’d like you to discover for yourself, by using science to refine your everyday thinking.

The Ultimate Question is whether Consciousness is the main field, or whether the main field is Matter, or whether the truth is both at the same time.

Why is this The Ultimate Question?

Because if Consciousness is the main field, or if they are equally primary and came about together at the theoretical beginning of the universe (although Time may be a secondary detail added later and the primary elements have always existed), then things like God, telepathy, precognition, and divine inspiration could be scientific realities.

However (without evidence) the current culture has overwhelmingly decided in favor of a bias toward Matter being the substrate of the universe, and consciousness something that is created when Matter accidentally falls into the exactly right configuration to produce Consciousness in a select few of the objects in the universe.

Given this bias, we are indoctrinated subconsciously into not experiencing God, telepathy, precognition, and divine inspiration.

This does not stop us from joining in approved religions, where we may sometimes feel things that border on the experiencing of God, etc.

However if those things exist and we are not making full use of them in our everyday lives, then that is a loss.

Perhaps an unnecessary loss, if we can open our minds and keep unbiased records of our observations for later cogitation.

Here’s how it could work. You would keep a scientific journal in which you would be observing what might be your own hunches/intuitions – internal messages you receive from yourself or from somewhere, including messages that you might be getting in dreams.

You put that in your journal – which might be this format – recording when it happened, what the hunch was, whether you seemed to be reading someone else’s mind at the time or not, whether you had a feeling it might be the universe trying to tell you something or not, whether you sense your own emotional preference for it being true or not, whether you sense your own negativity while thinking about this hunch. These could be simple checkmarks for yes and X’s for no. Or you could add details to remind you of what the hunch was, whose mind you might have been reading, etc.

Subsequently you would add in the Validation column the evidence that the hunch was proven true or false.

I would expect that in the absence of negativity you would find most of the hunches to be validated.

The advantage of using a method like this is that you are making up your own mind about the most important questions in life. Not being a follower accepting authority’s answers. Seeing what your own experience tells you.

I suspect that you will be surprised at the degree to which you experience these so-called “supernatural” powers, although the word “supernatural” is an oxymoron since nature is what is.

Resistance to these possibilities has been so deeply ingrained it could take some time before you feel the effects.

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

Beware of Your Own Involuntary Reactions

Created March 25, 2022

Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey Blog.

Treat them as coming from your brutish heritage. Not worthy of humankind today.

Let’s take a simple example. When someone transgresses against you in some way, no matter how subtle or unintended, a part of you is ready to move faster than your self-control, to equalize. Equalization is an instinct hard-wired into our autonomic nervous system.

Gotta strike back. Get even. Make fair. Justice.

Overcoming this hard-wired animal instinct is a sign of being a mensch.

We are grateful for our autonomic system, without it we would have to remember to breathe, digest, and a host of other things that ought well to have been made automatic.

And the higher-order robotics in our brains, far more advanced than the AIs we create today, which observes events and metatags them and creates networks of them enabling free association and cross-fertilization, as well as building up tendencies for and against certain types of stimuli. This latter higher class of internal robotics is what we have to guard against. Because in an accelerated and divisionary culture such as we live in today, these automated internal responses we unreflectively take as our own, are getting us in a lot of trouble.

Considered responses are much more valuable than impulsive kneejerk reactions, however the latter are so deeply ingrained only the most self-controlled among us are able to conceal the manifestation of automatic reactions, let alone stop ourselves from blurting out retorts.

Daniel Kahneman won the Nobel prize for his work on what he calls “Thinking Fast” vs. “Thinking Slow”. In that lens, what I am saying is that thinking slow ought to be leaned upon much more than it is by the average person.

However, the reality is more complicated. If all “thinking fast” is thrown out the window, there goes Flow state out the window too.

Here’s the litmus test. Go with your own flow without overthinking when you sense your own inner peacefulness. If you can detect a kernel of vindictiveness or any hint of negativity, tension or fear in yourself, switch gears into keeping your mouth shut and your body immobile and focus on seeking inner clarity before taking any kind of action. (Obviously this rule does not apply if you or someone nearby are under physical attack at the moment. But that is the only exception to the rule.)

No need to hesitate like Hamlet if on the inside you are totally positive and not nervous. Let yourself flow without self-editing but pay attention to your own hunches so you stop yourself before saying something you got a last second “hit” might not land right. Follow those hunches and analyze it all later.

Involuntary reactions are not expressions of your true self. They are autonomic, conditioned, Pavlovian, robotic, other-directed, conformist not individualistic behaviors. In many cases nowadays they were purposely brainwashed into you. Stop all kneejerks now. At least the ones you can stop (literal kneejerks can be stopped but that requires yogic practice).

Example: you wake up in the morning and find yourself in a bad mood. You’re not really feeling up about the day that is upon you, the events that you’ve committed to, it’s not inspiring. That is one of the involuntary reactions I’m talking about.

Even though this is likely to be accompanied by (and perhaps partially due to) time pressure, take five and focus on attitude adjustment. The day will go much better if you are interested in the challenges and take the time to achieve clarity in advance about your own intentions, reasons for those intentions, feelings about those reasons, and you totally get why today is a day worth turning into a positive turning point, and the gamelike aspects of dealing with the obstacles with your own creativity.

You might find that your negativity reflects a sense of being unprepared. You’ll have to prepare yourself in a very efficient way then. As a general rule you might start preparing yourself for the next day as you put your head on the pillow – that would be the “last minute” in terms of waking up ready to face the day. Best to prepare for the next day a few hours earlier, so you can fall asleep more quickly and deeply.

You could wake up in a bad mood and as you study yourself to discern the cause, you might realize it was your dreams. Take five and guess what the dreams were trying to tell you. Take a totally wild guess out of nowhere. It is quite likely to be accurate. Something you are afraid of happening in the next day or week that could happen at any time. Once you’ve decoded the dream a lot of the negativity will fall off you automatically. Then predream the event actually happening and how you will deal with it if it does happen – what you will say and how you will say it, what if any other actions you will take. This will knock off another large chunk of the bad mood. After that it will be your standup courage and resolve that will take you the rest of the way into a right frame of mind and mood to succeed.

Related post: https://www.humaneffectivenessinstitute.org/billharveyblog/things-we-do-automatically-that-do-us-no-good/

Best to all,

Bill