Category Archives: Self

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

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