Tag Archives: Mindfulness

Respect Everything

Created February 23, 2024

Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey Blog.

Open-mindedness is one of the most important principles of metacognition (continuously studying one’s own mind as if from the point of view of an outsider) according to Dr. Gerald Zaltman, who has taught neuroscience at Harvard, and metacognition at Harvard Business School. Without open-mindedness one tends to be locked into positions one has taken in the past, even though there might be new relevant evidence that could be considered.

If one is truly open-minded, then that person can also see the possible truth in positions 180 degrees away from their own. An atheist can see that it is possible that an intelligence created the universe. A progressive can see that there might be useful truth in some things that a conservative says.

How little we know, as Hoagy Carmichael’s and Johnny Mercer’s song tells us (from the 1944 Hemingway-based movie To Have and Have Not). Arthur C. Clarke put it another way, he said that of all the things that we can someday know, what we know now is an infinitesimally small percentage.

We have changed our scientific perspectives many times along the way, and we continue to change them. The wisest among us have this perspective and their epistemology naturally embraces open-mindedness. Although in most of his work a physicalist, the great Stephen Hawking in his final book quoted John Wheeler’s Participatory Principle which states that our consciousness helps create reality. This opens the door to overthrowing physicalism and establishing consciousness as the principal underlying reality.

These are great thoughts from great people. Open-minded to the very end, despite their decades of study and theorizing.

Compare that to the average person. The average person takes very strong stands based on, really, very little. They fall into a very deep rut as to what they believe and the beliefs they hate. Most of their assumptions are not something they themselves learned from their own life experiences, but heard about from others influential in their lives. This reflects an unconscious epistemology of Authority rather than Empiricism. The very selfsame unconscious epistemology that leads to Authoritarianism. Blind followership, in other words.

Without open-mindedness, a person drifts as if by animal instinct to be attracted to types of people, e.g. tough guys, or pretenders of that ilk. This is a survival instinct in many species (e.g. pecking order) and when human beings behave animalistically they are not rising to the occasion of having exclusive cognitive capabilities proprietary to our species.

The lack of open-mindedness impels us to be negatively motivated. We know what we are fighting against. We are less sure of what we are fighting for. This is most apparent in the current political climate. It would be most noble and most fun for governments to spend 100% of their time focusing on creative solutions. Instead, they appear to spend most of their time knocking down the ideas of others. Yet we must respect all of them if we are to be open-minded. Respect does not imply agreement or support. It simply reflects the recognition that we all deserve respect. Even those who do not respect us. Noblesse oblige.

Open-mindedness and respect go together. If one is open-minded, one tends to listen respectfully to the thoughts and feelings of others. If one is respectful, one tends to listen to others with an open mind, and to use metacognitive strength to hold at bay the screaming voices in one’s own mind reflexively denouncing what the other person is saying.

If all of reality is a single consciousness, the larger parent of that part of the consciousness we take to be our own, then respecting everything makes complete sense. We have been conditioned by centuries of majorities of thinkers we respected who could not see how ancient conceptions of God could be squared with the findings of science.

What came out of nowhere in the last half Century were new conceptions of God that fit neatly in with quantum physics and relativity. Just replace the word “God” with “the original consciousness field” and everything makes sense, the Participatory Principle, relativity, quantum entanglement, the Heisenberg effect, Bits Before Its, the jigsaw puzzle falls into place.

What Wheeler called the quantum foam could simply be the original consciousness field. The way Wheeler described the quantum foam, which pre-existed The Big Bang in his theory, was that virtual particles spontaneously arose from it and fell back into it. Sounds a lot like consciousness, with ideas and feelings arising from it and often disappearing back into it before we could grasp them.

Since we cannot prove that point right now, it comes down to being open-minded about it. For some of us who have noticed that our hunches, at least the dispassionate ones, often have great validity, we can decide to run our lives betting on cosmopsychism, as scientists are now calling it. When that struck me as more of a revelation than a hunch circa 1969 I called it The Theory of the Conscious Universe. I had a feeling that everything was conscious, it was an experience, more like a perception than an idea. I also dimly recalled that I had always had that perception as a child but it went away a long time before, slipping away quietly.

If we retain the realization that the world might be a very different sort of place than it appears, and take that possibility seriously, we naturally become more open-minded and respectful toward others, who may actually be ourselves at a different place in the game.

Whatever the truth might be, we can perhaps know it with certainty the next time we die.

In the meantime, if we can all agree that the world needs a bit of a makeover right now, which I think is a pretty pervasive take on things, we can exercise our will to take a stronger hand in the game by rising to a state of open-mindedness and respect for all things, as all things may be a part of our One Self.

This includes respect for our own current self. The popular term “self-esteem” is not quite as healthy as self-respect, because “esteem” implies a vain ego, and “respect” does not.

If we respect others, we shall find that it has increased our level of self-respect. It is a magnanimous position to take. We have taken unconditional responsibility to behave properly.

If we can apply respect in our daily lives, it will automatically tune down the hate. We have not found any other way to effectively turn off the hate so why not try respect?

Love to all,
Bill

Mindfulness

Updated May 1st, 2020

image by Erin Buonocore

In last week’s post we talked about how distracted we have become, and in conclusion we mentioned Mindfulness as one way we can counter the distractions of modern life. Therefore in this post we shall investigate the nature of Mindfulness.

Mindfulness is a form of attention control.

The need to be master of one’s own attention has gotten progressively greater over the centuries as a result of information overload and its distractive effects. We have given this condition the name Acceleritis™, the vast increase in the amount of information needing to be processed by our brains each day. ADD, ADHD, and a fairly obvious reduction in the general population’s ability to stay focused on one problem long enough to solve it, have been the result.

Watch a video about the cure for Acceleritis.

The need for Mindfulness has never been greater.

The Vedas, some of the earliest writings on the planet, recommend three yogic mental/ emotional methods to achieve the conscious and willful control of our attention.

  • Concentration is the focus of the mind on a single object.
  • Contemplation is the focus of the mind on a single subject.
  • Meditation is the contemplation of the Self.

What then is Mindfulness?

We define Mindfulness as the optimal allocation of attention for maximum effectiveness. When one is mindful, attention optimally allocates both inwardly and outwardly at the same time. This helps us understand our own motivations in the moment, to consider not only our needs but the needs and probable responses of others, and to greatly improve what fighter pilots call situational awareness. This is in sharp distinction from our typical behavior, which is to allocate virtually all attention outwardly whenever the eyes are open.

It takes attention and effort to be mindful, but practicing persistent Mindfulness not only allows us to be more present in each moment, it also allows us to shift into a higher state of consciousness to reach the Observer state more often and launch into the Zone or Flow state, the highest known state of consciousness in which right actions seem to do themselves effortlessly.

Mindfulness and Positive Thinking with a solution orientation — overleaping the focus on the problem once it is defined and going right to the focus on the solution — are the cornerstones of what I practice to achieve superior decisions, highest effectiveness, and creative innovation in all aspects of my life. Try this approach for yourself to see if it works for you.

Best to all,

Bill

Read the latest post at my media blog, “In Terms of ROI“ at MediaVillage.com

Step Away from Business as Usual

Originally posted December 8, 2015
Volume 5, Issue 41

Life in general is more complex than ever — we rush through our days trying to keep up and we tend to miss so much of what and who is around us. This is not conducive to being in the moment, open to the opportunities to be more present and engaged in our everyday lives, at our jobs, and with our families and friends.

Being master of our own attention has become progressively more challenging over the centuries, since the advent of written language some 3000 years ago and the resulting information overload. We often do not take time to ponder and instead we charge on, driven by rationalizing assumptions below the level of our own awareness. With hordes of distracting clutter in our daily lives creating a state we call Acceleritis™, most of us believe we “do not have time” to be in the moment, fully enjoying every second.

The need for Mindfulness has never been greater. Mindfulness has been used going back to the Vedas as a tool to remind us to pay attention — but to what? Mindfulness is about paying attention to both the events outside us as well as what’s going on inside — at the same time.

The miracle of another perfect day. Had to pull over to capture this moment. – Phil Howort, photographer

We need to step back from our demanding environments from time to time in order to really figure out our priorities — to fully contemplate and reflect on our lives, our relationships, our passion work, and where we’re heading.

Every moment we face choices. We make these choices in the context of how we view our options, but in our distracted rushed state we usually don’t consider all of our options. We often make random choices on how and with whom to spend our time and where to exert our energy, without realizing we are squandering an opportunity to stop and focus on our real priorities. Being mindful in the moment may allow for something unimaginable and superb to emerge.

We all need to bring mindfulness into more corners of our lives. We might have perfect mindfulness on the basketball court, stage or operating room, but lack it in our living room, bedroom or boardroom. Life offers a plethora of opportunities to learn how to be mindful across the spectrum of life.

The moment is always new, everything starts again now, unencumbered by whatever has gone before. Each moment is an opportunity for a fresh start, an opportunity to connect to the miracle of Life in the present.

My Best to All,

Bill

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Positive Thinking

Originally posted March 17, 2015

People are always saying to me, “Bill, you’re one of the most positive people around.” While I take it as a high compliment, I am always thinking “How do I convey that there’s more to it than positive thinking?”

Positive thinking is an idea all of us know by now, and it is not easy for most people to practice it when faced with perceived threats, disappointments or other mood negators.

You actually do have the power

I actually didn’t set out to be a positive thinker. Like all children I wondered about everything, I just wondered more systematically, and in a bulldog fashion. A philosopher by nature, I really wanted to figure things out. The positive thinking came along with a lot of other discoveries.

As a philosopher I am attracted to pragmatism. This moves the mind toward positive thinking as a side effect. From a pragmatic point of view, one does not start with positive thinking, but with questions like what is our goal or purpose, and then what means will get us there. In the context of pragmatism, anything but positive thinking is an obvious waste of time and energy! Negative handwringing is staying in the problem definition phase when it’s time to move on to the solution phase.

Having been led to positive thinking via pragmatism, I was then able to see the value of projecting positively, pre-visualizing positively, and communicating positively as simply more effective at achieving goals. I didn’t do those things out of a belief in thinking positively; I did them because I saw that they worked.

Here are some other attitudes or strategies that I find work well along with positive thinking:

  • Have fun, because fun is conducive to reaching Flow state.
  • Develop long-term goals and then work toward aligning your short-term goals to your long-term goals.
  • Consider “What can I control or change, and what must I accept?”
  • Take the right action and let the chips fall as they may.
  • Pre-visualize successful outcomes.
  • Non-attachment to outcome is key.

Positive thinking is one of the cornerstones of success, leading to Flow state or Zone-level performance, ability to withstand and meet challenges, ability to be happy. I highly recommend it as a daily practice.

Mindfulness is another necessary component that works side by side with positive thinking. I’ll be sharing my thoughts on mindfulness in the next post.

Best to all,

Bill

Read the latest post at my media blog, “In Terms of ROI“ at MediaVillage.com