Habits, Patterns, and Thoughts That Go Bump in the Night – the Summary

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So, What Do You Have?
• There is a real, physical, sensation which accompanies change. Fear and anxiety may result when you are not aware of what is occurring.
• People are able to habituate. This frees the conscious mind for creative pursuits.
• Habits of activity, thinking, and feeling are created. Habits can be positive, negative, good, or bad. The process is neutral.
• Patterns are the cyclical events which are driven by the collected habits over time. Patterns may be difficult to notice at first—similar to not seeing the forest for the trees.
• Managing fear results in a positive experience. It’s true. Learning how to manage fear, even if not overcoming it, enhances self confidence. Fear never completely exits your life, for no other reason than there are always shadowy corners in life, and you don’t know what’s on the other side. It’s a great motivator.
• Expectations are created when thinking habits meld with feeling habits over time. Expectations are extremely powerful. In a battle of what one expects versus what one desires, expectation wins.
• People are created free and instinctively resist being forced to do something. The more free a person, the greater the sense of identity. The greater the sense of identity, the greater the demand for freedom. Sadly, the converse is also true.
• Words are important. Using the correct word, when you speak and think to yourself, is vital to avoid creating unnecessary internal conflicts. You listen and respond to your own thoughts. Become your “best friend” and not your “worst enemy.”
• Time will pass. Use it, it’s your friend. A part of human growth and development is to look back in time and assess your life. Perspective.
• If you know what is important, the rest is simple.
• Simple does not equal easy.

Useful Tools in your Personal TOOL BOX:

• HANDS. When in doubt, clasp your hands one way, then the other. It’s a good reminder that much discomfort and unease is a result of some re-arrangement, or change in your life.
• The Problem is not the Solution. If the problem never seems to go away, or if nothing really changes despite your hard work, then mentally step back and see if you are, in fact, wanting the problem to stop being a problem. Especially if the problem is a person.
• An irrational idea, passionately held, is still an irrational idea. Use this tool often. Are you demanding that people, or the world, get its act together in order for you to feel good? This is a path to insane behavior.
• Do I want to wreck my neighbor’s car? A handy thought to use whenever you feel angry or resentful. What do you want? Happiness for you, or for others to suffer? The two are not synonymous. Your energy should benefit you, not the S.O.B.s out there.

There are a number of ideas that go well with sticky notes on your refrigerator, computer monitor, or other special places:

• Habituation occurs whether you are aware or not.
• Stubborn is not a virtue.
• Don’t break a habit; replace it.
• Words mean things.
• The freedom of the word “choose.”
• Good Grief—using the spiral of time for healing.
• An irrational idea, passionately held, can cause weird behavior.
• Strong emotions are associated with memory. Forget about being able to forget.
• Perspective—cause and effect and delayed gratification.
• Don’t try, do something. Or don’t do it.
• Consciousness is a terrible thing to waste.
• Worry feeds on indecision.

Tried and True

Don’t discount the rich cultural history and wisdom that has been passed along as adages. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel of knowledge.

• Humans are creatures of habit.
• Birds of a feather really do flock together.
• You really can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.
• A stitch in time saves nine.
• Making a mountain out of a mole hill.

The Bottom Line: Power.

The concepts and tools presented in this book can help you develop a greater sense of personal freedom and confidence. This is achieved by learning to become more aware of what you think, how you feel, and what you are doing right now. You may have developed a habit of not paying attention to these matters.

Your power to change is in this moment. Time won’t back up for you. It will not skip forward so you can see the results of today’s decisions and behavior. Of course you can devote your time and energy in those attempts. But why?

Nobody says that you must continue living with habits and patterns that no longer work for you. You have the power to choose what you do. The only obstacle to gaining more control over your life may be a reluctance to invest the time and energy to make a change. Perception is reality.

In every situation, at any instant, you can ask three questions:

• What am I thinking, right now?
• How am I feeling, right now?
• What am I doing, right now?

Once those are answered, ask three more questions:

• Am I thinking the way I want to think?
• Am I feeling the way I want to feel?
• Am I acting the way I want to act?

If the answer to any of the above is no, don’t fret. Right now, this moment, you have the power and the ability to change the thought. Change the feeling, or at least manage the way you respond to the feeling. Change the behavior, or at least stop acting in a way you do not like. You can do something to manage your life.

You can practice asking those questions several times a day. It’s okay to leave yourself sticky notes. It’s not necessary to rely on your memory to do this, because much of that is already a habit. Use reminders in whatever manner works for you. The important thing is to do it.

The only way to get rid of an unwanted habit is to replace it with another one. You simply can’t jerk a habit out of your experience— nature abhors a vacuum! That’s the same thing as “trying to break” a habit. Unproductive habits need to be replaced. There is no shortcut. Once you are aware of the habituated activity you can, at that instant, replace it. The new action won’t stick immediately, of course, it’s not yet a habit. But with practice and persistence, it will.

If the idea of replacing a habit is a little scary, then use another term. Supplant means for one thing to gradually take the place of another. Supplant is a gentle process. No sudden shocks, no dramatic shifts, just quiet, steady, consistent work, with a minimal of “Hands” type of discomfort. If you are prone to break habits, you may wish to supplant them. Don’t want to supplant them? Supersede them. Supersede means to set aside something obsolete and replace it with something new. Use that word and style if it works for you.

Life is a great adventure for those who choose to participate.

 

All Those Trees are Hiding the Forest!

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   It is said that the best place to hide something is right in front of whoever shouldn’t find it.  How often have you searched and searched for something and, finally, discover it at the end of your nose, so to speak.  The experience is often regarded as a DUH! moment.
   As we approach a new year, 2014, and our beloved Earth passes our starting line for another trip around old Sol, many of us search for that special something, that magical ingredient, or lottery number, that will bring more joy.  Some declare intentions by means of Resolutions – a resolve for some change in behavior that might result in an improved life.
   Let’s take a look at some ways to have a fulfilling and enjoyable 2014.
   First, the trinity:  Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.  So well phrased, and in working order.  Life is – you’ve already got that.  Liberty – got that, although liberty can involve surrendering or trading freedom for some other presumed gain.  Think giving up your freedom of movement and privacy to get on an airplane – supposedly made safer.  For most, it is the Pursuit of Happiness that gets action.
   So how does one pursue happiness?  This is the important second step – how is your happiness defined?  Do you determine what is best for you, or do you defer to what someone, or something else, decides is best for you?  This is important.  It does not matter how much energy, treasure, and effort you put into meeting someone else’s idea of what is good for you, you will not be happy.  You will be confused and likely irritated (no good feeling payoff for all of your sacrifice.)  There is only one person who knows what is best for you, and that is you.  This is a simple aspect of life that may take an entire lifetime to realize.  The frustration comes from realizing near the end of a lifetime that the knowledge was always present – the firmness of a two-year old declaring “you ain’t the boss of me!” or some similar declaration of independence.
   A greatly misunderstood belief is that it is wrong (bad!) to be selfish, to think of yourself, when you ought to be thinking of others and making sure you give them much of your stuff.  That’s a thinking pattern born of materialism.  Materialism is based on a zero-sum formula – anything that you have means someone else will have less.  It is false, but widely held and thus kept in momentum.  Have you ever met a materialist who was actually happy?  I haven’t, not really.
   An extension of materialism is finding something external, outside of self, that influences or causes some physical or other change.  This thinking does not, and cannot, recognize the authority of the individual – the mind.  Not the brain, the brain is an organ designed to process a multitude of energy frequencies into sensory applications.  The brain is a tool for the mind.  And, mind is safely regarded as consciousness.  Consciousness is not confined or limited, since it is not “material.”  Thus, consciousness can include so much more than a physical, material, experience.  Once that’s recognized, then the pursuit of happiness really gets going!
   Or not.  It is true that “those who get it, get it.  Those who don’t get it, can’t get it.”  For example, there are those who decry “wishful thinking” as silly, and getting in the way of the work necessary to get something.  In their view, that is correct.  Wishful thinking is not a substitute for the hard work necessary to achieve something.  What these people call “wishful thinking” is the best description they can come up with for others who give their focused  attention to what they wish for and not on things undesired.  A huge difference.
   The pursuit of happiness is possible when the person has a good idea of what he/she desires.  Then, it’s a matter of keeping focused on that desire and not wasting thought, time, energy, on things that are unwanted or undesired.  It’s not complicated.  And, it works.
   But even when it works, it may not be recognized.  The more materialistic a person, the more he/she fails to see the forest because of all those trees in the way.
   I was reminded of this the other day while reading the January/February 2014 issue of Discover Magazine, one of my favorite reads.  In the issue, writer Ed Yong interviews psychologist Brian Nosek about Nosek’s efforts to systematize reproducibility of psychological studies.  A very worthy goal.  Let me quote Nosek’s answer to Yong’s opening question:  “When did you first become aware of the problem of reproducibility?”
            When I was an undergrad, I read a paper that evaluated claims about subliminal mood      tapes, which supposedly improved your memory if you played then while you slept.  When  people tried to replicate these claims, they found that only the subject’s expectations mattered:  If you thought the tape increased your memory, your memory was better.  This was my first insight that not all scientific claims are valid or reproducible.
   There was no viable way to “prove” that the memory tapes were the factor that improved memory.  Okay.  But, what was clearly evident? …only the subject’s expectations  mattered:  If you thought the tape increased your memory, your memory was better.  To me, at least, this was the component that begged for further study rather than considered a corrupting factor.  Alas, an “expectation” is considered an internal thing, a conditioned response of the brain, and not a real factor, such as the tapes.  There’s the forest,  unseen due to belief trees.  Ergo, those that get it, get it.  Those that don’t, can’t.  It’s a matter of belief.  Which is a matter of thought.  Which is a matter of thinking.  Which is the activity of the mind.  Which is the nature of consciousness.  And so on…
   This line of thought is where materialists get headaches and often become tempermental.  Consciousness is non-physical and, try as hard as they might, it simple won’t fly as an effect of brain chemistry.  Yet, if you expect to find Consciousness as a product of brain activity, then you will find it.  Thus someone who rejects Consciousness as anything outside of chemical interactions is satisfied.  Expectation is neutral – it reveals to the person whatever he/she desires or intends.  This is what is meant by “those that don’t get it, can’t get it.”
   What do you expect for 2014?  Not a superficial thought or parroting the wishes of others, but on a gut-level (the power realm) what do you expect for yourself during this next trip around the sun?  The knack is to align desires with expectation (a.k.a. faith) and that’s where Consciousness comes in.  One way to do that is becoming more aware of the “thought behind the thought.”  The thought “behind” is usually the expectation.  Such as:  “I will be healthy, happy and prosperous this new year” but growling behind that desire may be the expectation “but it really won’t happen.”
   Why not? you may ask.  A mental listing of reasons why it is unlikely that you would be healthy, happy, and prosperous unfold.  Attention to these factors doom the desire.  It really is a matter of attention.  One exercise is to mentally add a comma at the end of any statement, then fill in with what is viscerally expected.  That awareness provides the moment for change.  Replace the negative thought behind the thought by reaffirming the genuine desire and intent.  It takes practice (you’re supplanting a habit) but it can be done.
   “This year I’m going to lose fifteen pounds” COMMA , “And it will be fun!”  Affirm what a delight the intent will be rather than give attention to the struggle, past failure, etc.  “I’m going to enjoy my job more this year” COMMA , “And that will be fun!”  I mean, isn’t anything you want and desire fun?  If it’s not fun, then do you really want it?  Or, do you trick yourself into “wanting it” to please someone else?  This is about you, not them.
   A mental check for other sabotaging “thoughts behind the thought” are motivations from ought to, should, must, and got to.  Anytime and everytime you have the thought that you must do something, or should do something, or that you ought to do something then you are resisting yourself.  Now, if the whatever it is that you “should” do is truly something you desire, then use your consciousness and replace the word “should” with “It is fun to…”  All the difference in the world.
   Expectations are accompanied by feelings.  The nature of the feeling is an accurate indication of the expectation.  If the expectation feels good – then you’re aligned for fun.  If the expectation feels bad – despite the “good” desire, then you know that you don’t really expect the desire to manifest but something else, undesired, will come into your experience.  This is another opportunity to use the COMMA and substitute the expectation with “and it will be fun”.  Or, change the “desire” if it really isn’t what you want, but instead something you feel obligated to want – like the end of poverty, or world illness, or unhappy people.
   The best way to truly help anyone is to be healthy, happy, and prosperous yourself all the while having fun!  Enough exposure to you in that state is the only experience that may, finally, help them look beyond the tree in front of them, and view the grandeur of the forest.
   Happy New Year!

Whence Intuition?

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Intuition:  the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning.

That’s quite a definition.  Also known as a hunch, gut-feeling, and conscience, the information experience we call intuition is remarkable.  That it exists is undeniable – everyone has hunches, even if not abided.

“Why did you take that way home?”  “Something just told me too.”  You know the experience.  It seems as if some external voice or personage was providing  guiding information or feelings which, if acknowledged, resulted in obtaining something good, or avoiding something unpleasant or even dangerous.

Okay, but whence intuition?  Where does it come from?  Some will chalk it up to angel whispers, which is a pleasant way of describing such otherworldly guidance.  Some will minimize the experience as a “brain fart” or some chemical aberration in synapse firing or whatever – a side effect of some activity of the brain organ.  Notice that hunches and gut feelings are, well, feelings – rather than conscious data processing via the brain.

I have a hunch that the experience called Intuition is a vestige of a more direct access to universal information.   Where does knowledge come from?  It is a fine distinction between intuition and an idea.  “Where’d you come up with that idea?”  “I don’t know, it just came to me.”

You keep looking at something.  You don’t mean too, but for some reason, your attention is called over and over to  something, say a desk drawer.  Later, it’s time to go.  OMG!  I’ve lost my car keys!  Guess where they are?  You’ve had that experience in some form or other.

Where does such information come from?  It’s not coincidence – it happens too often.  It’s not accidental – the information is invariably correct.  A sculpturer describes seeing the final work inside the raw stone.  Now, what the heck is that?  An artist gazes a blank canvas and envisions the scene.  Einstein explores time-space perched on a beam of light.  How’d he come up with that idea?  You look at the phone an instant before it sounds.  You think of someone just prior to their calling, sending an email, text (or, in the ancient times, a letter.)  Or you call someone and they say “I was just thinking about you…”  What’s going on here?

This is communication.  It’s not language, it’s a knowing.  It is a sense.  I suppose it could be considered Extra-Sensory Perception, or ESP, although ESP is popularly considered mind-to-mind communication.  Or, as the Baptist preacher said at the end of his sermon on the wickedness of such things as ESP, “Now, let us pray…” Illusion window

It’s real, it’s universal – in that it “happens” to everyone, all the time, and, as Jiminy Cricket says “always let your conscience be your guide.” or, follow your intuition.

The Pursuit of Happiness

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As is said, it’s the journey, not the destination, that’s the fun (and important.)  Which is good – since each of us is on a journey, like it or not.  Many people do not like their journey.  Mischief ensues when they get the formula, the equation, for happiness, backwards.

It’s always useful to define the subject before discussion.  So, what is happiness?

Feeling, showing, or expression JOY.  We recognize JOY as the highest positive emotion in the emotional scale humans experience.  So, we can speak of happiness as a synonym for Joy.

Is Happiness the emotion felt when a person sees someone else experiencing misery?  Of course not.  However, there are some people who are so unhappy, so miserable, that their definition of “happiness” is but another degree of misery.

There’s the old joke:  A Russian, an Englishman and a Frenchman were walking along a county road one day when they spied a lamp in the ditch.  The Frenchman retrieved it and cleaned it up.  Poof! The Genie appeared.  Grateful for her liberation she offered all one wish.  The Frenchman said “Genie, I wish to be a famous movie star with beautiful women all around me.”  POOF!  He was a famous movie star.

The Englishman thought:  “Genie – I wish to be a Lord over a grand estate with enormous revenues and a loving family.”  POOF!  He was now a wealthy Peer.

The Russian thought deeply about his situation.  “Genie – my neighbor has a new car and I do not.  Wreck my neighbors car!”  POOF!  His neighbor’s car was destroyed.

Which of the three experienced Happiness?

The Russian may have experienced a curious relief that his neighbor was now as miserable as he was, but is that happiness?  Is that Joy?

That is getting the formula, the equation, for happiness backwards.

Emmet Fox summed it up:  People are trying to change outer conditions but leaving their consciousness unchanged, and it cannot be done.

In the joke the Frenchman changed himself  in order to have more joy; the same with the Englishman.  The Russian wanted change in his neighbor’s status – an outer condition – to share the misery.  Somehow, he imagined, his neighbor’s increased misery would lessen his own.

It is the essence of materialism that the environment – which means outer conditions. people around you, the “time” you live in, and such – is the primary influence, or cause, of your happiness or misery.  Therefore, it is the environment (other people, situations, circumstances) that must change before you are able to experience relief and get on the journey to happiness.  Much of history is the account of this effort.  Too many lives, sadly, are stories of the effort.

Materialism, as a formula, is flawed as a personal approach for joyful living.  It simply does not work; it does not produce the desire result.  Never has.  Never will.  Why?  The materialism formula is based on controlling other people, events, situations, and circumstances.  That’s way too many moving parts to succeed. And, it’s impossible.

Why, you could go insane trying to corral all those people and situations into something you could live with.  Come to think of it, isn’t that a definition of insanity – doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different result?  Why is this?  Because you cannot think for another person!  You might bully, bribe or cajole them into temporarily acting in a way you want, but you have to keep at it.  The instant you let up, they act like, well, they act like themselves.

No one can think your thoughts.  You can, however, surrender your judgment to another’s thinking (the bully, bribe, cajole)  – which may or may not end well for you.  Your thoughts, your thinking, ARE you.  The only force, authority, power, energy (use your favorite descriptor) that can re-direct your thinking is you.  Period.  End of formula.  At the end of the day, your manner of thinking (a.k.a. your beliefs) determines how you experience your life on this marvelous planet.

There is remarkable resistance in many people to grasp that they hold the key to their personal comfort and delight.  Much of this resistance is learned behavior, pounded in from day one (if not before).  Indeed, for the infant, his/her survival and well-being is dependent on what others (mother especially) do.  Childhood is a learning experience of family and social structures and “norms” that define approved behavior and behavior that is not approved (often labeled selfish.)  Throw in contemporary technology and exposure to a theme of “you’re not important” and approval by others becomes a measure of success.

At some point many folks mentally step-back and assess their situation.  Many times it is a variant of 1) Spending money I don’t have, to 2) buy things I don’t want, to 3) Impress people I don’t like.

The aha moment for some is when they realize that they’ve been working very hard for other people, and very little for themselves.  Fully institutionalized it’s called slavery, and it’s still practiced these days.  Once a sense of freedom is grasped – freedom to think for oneself and hence to determine what is best for oneself – then begins the pursuit of happiness.  There is a sequence:  Life, Liberty, Pursuit of happiness.  It’s a powerful formula that works and has been proven over and over.  And fought, over and over.

Entrenched materialism is opposed to individual freedom, since control is the soul of materialism.  Individuals, freely thinking, are difficult to control.  The history of Mankind is the record of this struggle of thinking.

This is not a matter of right or wrong, good or bad.  Such definitions are relative.  They are the same thing, measured by degrees.  Consider prohibiting by law a person’s possession of a 32 ounce soft drink.  Is this good?  Bad?  Right?  Wrong?  For the person desiring a big, cold drink, it’s clearly a bad law and definitely wrong in that it prohibits freedom of choice.  From a materialists perspective limiting the “right” of a person to indulge in what is decreed an illegal act is both good and right.  What kind of environment is likely to result in a greater sense of happiness?

The Law of Attraction is universal.  That which is like unto itself is attracted.  This applies to things great and small, upon every degree of energy from dispersed to condensed, and very much to thoughts and their creative process – thinking.

You know this.  There are places where you simply have no interest in going – or when near you get an intuition or hunch, that you shouldn’t be there.  And visa versa.  That doesn’t mean that other people aren’t going there – they are comfortable in such circumstances.  Comfort doesn’t mean happy, just familiar and of similar frequency.

Some people are very comfortable in their misery and are very resistant to alternatives.  They aren’t happy, but they are unable or unwilling to begin changing their thinking in order to introduce in their experience an improved feeling.  The resistance is the manifestation of a belief that their wellbeing is dependent on circumstances, environment, other people’s behaviors, etc. – materialism.  As long as that belief is active, then their experience IS dependent on external forces.  Like attracts like.  Unfettered.  Belief in powerlessness results in lack of power – that’s the way it works!  “I don’t believe in the law of attraction,” one may state.  And the Law of Attraction will provide more evidence to that person that there is no law of attraction!

This is why changing thinking can be difficult.  It’s a simple truth and process, but inertia, habit, and continual reinforcement of materialism weighs heavy.  It can be subtle, however.

Years ago I met up with a high school pal living in another state.  He was quite cheerful, as usual, and enjoying his life, wife, dog, and job (yes, in that order.)  I inquired how he managed to remain so cheerful and he replied “I don’t watch the news, and don’t get involved in other people’s problems.”  At the time I considered that to be selfish.  (See, subtle!)  Why was he avoiding his civic responsibility to keep up with the news and doing his part of make life better for others?  He explained, in effect, that news (by this he meant newspapers and television – it was some time ago) was by design negative and depressing.  Watching/reading about what’s wrong in the world, society, etc., made him feel bad.  How could he be of any service to another (he was a social worker) if he felt miserable?

He had a point.  It took a couple of years for his position to sink in – if I’m unhappy, how can I be of any assistance to another?  I intellectually grasped the Law of Attraction but had yet to have it viscerally understood.  The more I considered my friend’s decision, the more I understood its benefit.  And the more sensitive I became to “news,” complaining, blaming and whining.  Those frequencies on the scale of human feeling were a bit more distant and thus more discordant.  The result was that unhappy people tended to recede in my experience and what I’d describe as more comfortable people showed up (or I engaged in activities that brought me near them.)  That’s when Emmet Fox’s statement proved to be a formula, an equation.

Finding your point of attraction, the usual manner of thinking, is a good exercise.  But, regardless, simply changing the focus of a thought will produce relief.

So, let us look closer at this universal constant – the Law of Attraction.

It is best described as the universal manager.  It is the operation of all that is that allows, well, all that IS.  It is not a matter of belief – it IS.  Of course, as mentioned a moment ago, if you do not believe there is a Law of Attraction it will see to it that similar thoughts/experiences come to you that support your belief that there is no Law of Attraction.

We are energy Beings.  At present conscious in a human form.  Energy vibrates and the frequency of the vibration is what attracts.  A fair analogy is broadcast television and radio.  The music or program is issued at a certain frequency of vibration.  That frequency will not interfere with other energies.  There are hundreds of radio signals, television, cell phone, and all manner of radiation zipping through here at this moment.  They don’t bother us nor we them because of the difference in frequency.  But, with technology (machines) we can tune a radio to the specific frequency of the program we want, and, voila!  We can hear it.  In a sense we have “tuned in” to its frequency and thus its energy and offerings.

Consider then our daily experience as a radio.  We are tuned into a certain energy frequency with the beliefs that we hold.  A belief is a thought, an idea, held in mind over and over until it is automatic and becomes a default state of mind.  This is often called our “disposition.”It is our state of mind that seeks, and is sought, by similar thought energy.  This is the origin of “birds of a feather flock together.”  So, in this cosmic sense, we influence what we experience by our primary thinking.

“Well, George,” I hear, “I’m not pleased with my situation so what about that?  I wouldn’t wish to be unhappy!”

Of course not.  Don’t forget our Russian friend who could only interpret his “happiness” in terms of misery for his neighbor.  His thinking, thus his dominant vibration, was misery.  And that’s what he continued to experience.

Dis-satisfaction indicates that you are ready to move your thinking up a notch (octave) in frequency.  This is totally normal and natural.  In Creation nothing is static, everything is in constant motion and motion is movement towards a higher frequency.  So, to be aware that your situation isn’t all that you’d like is a good thing!  It means that you are also AWARE that your Being is ready to increase your Life experience by raising your thinking, or consciousness as often called.

When you raise your thinking you access a greater vista.  If your current experience is bumping around a mess of trees (in a forest you can’t see) then by literally raising your consciousness you become aware of the forest and – most exciting – the horizon.  Your interests will quickly move beyond a bunch of trees and into a broader, more exciting, landscape.

Unhappiness is the result of having that discomfort with a circumstance but not knowing what to do about it.  Doing the same old things – and thinking in the same old manner – will only recreate the same-old-same-old – that’s the Law!  An improvement – the pursuit of Happiness – is all about changing thinking.  Attracting a higher frequency of experience.

The Day the Word Stood Still

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Actually, words don’t stand still.  Words are symbols, accepted concepts which, when written or spoken, transfer information from one person to another.  They can’t stand still.  I stood still, or rather, gripped the steering wheel of my car as I groused very loudly, “what?”

I was listening to the radio when a well-meaning public service announcement asked people to donate their old cars to a charitable organization which, in turn, would sell the vehicles and use the proceeds to help “…the victims of homelessness.”  What?  Not homeless victims of mental illness, drug addiction, or disaster, but for victims of homelessness itself.  One can be in a state of homelessness (be homeless, am homeless, are homeless), I thought,  but cannot exist as a victim of homelessness.

Homelessness itself had suddenly become a primal force of nature.  Some unsuspecting Fred and Jane might be out shopping when suddenly, without warning, the beast Homelessness could snatch them from the mall and do its worst.

The subtle mischief in the use of those words presents an image in the mind of the unsuspecting listener of a great danger racing throughout the land, wrenching innocent people from their pursuit of happiness.  The mental seeds were being sown to institute homelessness as a causal force, rather than as a symptom or consequence of other factors.

For decades society has been concerned about the problem of teen pregnancy.  I don’t know anyone who endorses children having children with the ensuing problems and burdens for all, especially for the truly innocent child, er baby.  Yet there has been a consistent word play to redefine the “problem” of  teen pregnancy from a case of immature sex, perhaps statutory rape, to a malevolent condition that lurks in the school hallways and on the streets, waiting to leap out and afflict some unsuspecting twelve year old.  No child is safe.

Major efforts have been made in the social arena (a.k.a. Government funded) to solve the problem.  Curiously absent in many of these is the question of barely pubescent girls engaging in sex with (usually) older males (a.k.a. predators.)  No – teen pregnancy is considered, by many, as another childhood disease.  Some kids get it, some don’t.  It just an evil something that could happen, like HIV, to anyone.

Reflect on how this genuine social concern is addressed and treated in the media and government funded programs, especially school-based.  The causal factors are minimized and the symptom/condition is given a disease-like status.  The onset of the “disease” is capricious.

Like the proverbial Camel’s nose  (if allowed to slip under your tent, it is followed by the rest of the smelly beast), words are the vanguard of political mischief.  And, like the Camel, once the concept has been hammered enough and accepted by the rank and file, there will be a large and unsavory occupant in your once happy environment.

Dr. Josef Goebbels took this fundamental psychology of human behavior and institutionalized it – tell the big lie, over and over, in all places, in all forms, and after a while, the lie is accepted as a fact.  It’s a playbook that has been used constantly.  It’s called conditioning.  It’s called propaganda.  Whatever its form, it is not truth.  But when the concept (the lie) is accepted as truth, then freedom is at risk.  Did somebody say, Trojan Horse?

The biggest killers of the twentieth century were governments.  More specifically, communism and fascism.  Lenin, Stalin and Mao killed far more of their own people than any enemy in the dreadful wars of the late century.  Yet preceding the carnage was the corruption of words and phrases.  The propaganda, the social conditioning to cower and accept the killer Camels into life’s tent, always preceded the legal (unchallenged) genocide.

What?  You dare speak outside the politically accepted mantra (which means you must think differently)?  Only an insane person would do so, or something equally idiotic, such as smoke a cigarette, or sip a 32 ounce Coke.  Off to the asylum, the political hospital (or Gulag, or Concentration camp) to be pumped full of drugs or hammered until you parroted the appropriate language.  Get it right, and you can play ball, Comrade Rocker.

That’s why the day came when the words stood still.  Stopped, in motion, for a critical examination of what was actually being communicated.  History does repeat itself, but only because succeeding generations lose the ability to think about what is being said, and done, and why.  In 1923 a young Hitler and the budding Nazi party attempted an armed takeover of the local government in the infamous Beer Hall Putsch.  Herman Goering soothed the citizens saying they should not be concerned, after all, they had their beer, they had their sausages (while behind the doors guns were drawn and death threats made.)

The subtle seduction of the hammered word or phrase is the vanguard of the mischief.  The remainder of this epistle looks at some words and phrases that have entered the lexicon and morphed into elements from the sinister playbook.  The playbook works.  For instance:

Pay for a tax cut.  If that phrase makes sense, then already you’ve accepted this subtle demon.  What store do you go in order to purchase a tax cut?  I am baffled by the casual acceptance of this Camel’s nose on the part of the media, politicians on both sides of the aisle, and voters who should know better.  The inference is that the government (federal, state or local) must pay for a tax reduction.  Let me get this straight – the government takes your money then buys you a tax reduction.  Not.

Lost in this concept is the fact that in the United States – by authority of the Constitution – government has no wealth other than what We the People (a nice phrase in the preamble to the Constitution) give it.  It’s called taxes.  Not donations, not contributions, not investments, but taxes.  Unlike much of the world, and certainly in history, no armed warlord or dictator extorts the wealth you produce by your talent and energy under penalty of death

As a rational government “We the People” choose from amongst our selves those representatives whom we bestow the authority to take a portion of our personal property to use for the common good.  It’s a Republic and it can work very well – we have a marvelous system of highways, a supremely effective military (at least for the moment), wondrous scientific and technological advances and a social safety net to boot.  Great value!

But “pay” for a tax cut?  Absurd!  Government spending money to pay for a tax-cut?  Ridiculous.  Tax revenue is a future event.  A tax repeal (like removing the telephone tax to finance the Spanish-American war) means only that “we the people” will surrender less of our wealth to the government.  (Yet even the repeal of that tiny tax was vetoed by a previous President who, I presume, wished for citizens to pay for all times, that long settled conflict.)

The mischievous concept lurking behind “pay for a tax cut” is the conditioned acceptance that Government owns all wealth and benevolently dispenses it to the serfs (at least those who are behaving.)  History is a terrible thing to waste.  Unless, of course, those in power can manage to rewrite history into whatever track record is needed to maintain power.  In our Republic, the national government derives power only from those matters the sovereign states have yielded it.  The remainder, rests with We, the people.  Unless, of course, most people can be conditioned to think otherwise.

Commercial sex workers.   If you haven’t bumped into this phrase yet, you will.  It is the politically correct replacement for that old word, prostitution.  Consider the implied differences between the two.  Both involve sex-for-hire, but a prostitute is engaging in a practice that is not condoned by history or religion.  A commercial sex worker, on the other hand, is engaged in a commercial business, and, being a “worker” probably should be part of a union.  To use and embrace the term Commercial Sex Workers is to legitimize sex-for-hire sans legislation (excepting, of course, Nevada.)  As a libertarian, I have no issue with consenting adults engaging in any commercial enterprise.  But that’s not what this is about.

The Camel’s nose of this phrase is the gradual inclusion of minors into this “legitimate” way of making money.  Minors – you know, children.  Do you think there is a market for sexually exploiting children?  A “homeless” 14 year old boy or girl turns a few tricks per day or appears in a porn video to “survive.”  How honorable.

“Commercial sex workers” seeks to remove any limits to sexual behavior.  Watch this one.

Self-esteem.  This venerable phrase has been long abused and is now void of any  meaning.  It means whatever the word is means.  Originally, the phrase was applied to persons who didn’t have any, or very little,  self-regard.  It classed a group of people born into economic or social isolation who could not envision succeeding in life because of the accident of their birth.  Great programs heaped lots of money in efforts to teach them self-esteem.  Get some esteem, and get rich.  Or, at least feel good about yourself.

Everyone and anyone can benefit from encouragement and each of us benefits from learning that in this nation a better life IS possible (although not guaranteed).  Self-esteem was marketed and sold to the public with this in mind.  Not any more.  Self-esteem rode the Camel’s back of corruption to a new implication and manner of thought – feeling good about yourself regardless of what you do or do not do.  Prisons are full of dangerous people who have high self-esteem.

Genuine self-esteem is not something that is taught, it is something that is garnered from experience – I met the challenge, faced it and succeeded (to some degree) – I have confidence of my ability to live my life.  Once, it was synonymous with self-confidence.  Regrettably, “low self-esteem” has devolved into another social disease.  The Camel mischief is that vulnerable people are taught that they are forever bound to their miserable birth state with no real hope for improvement other than along the lines of a certain program or political action.  Self-esteem no longer frees a person from a caste, but conditions him/her to accept it – and embrace whatever empowerment is dangled by the rulers of the public purse.

(My favorite Self-esteem moment was decades ago when I was invited as a Prevention professional to address the subject to the faculty of an area High School.  Prior to the continuing education session, I asked the participating educators to write on a piece of paper their main issue with low self esteem.   I managed to present the class as planned – ignoring the issues on the papers:  Students lose their books, don’t do their homework, skip class, don’t respect the teacher – problems not of “self-esteem” but self-control.)  Heck, if the teachers were clueless about “self-esteem” then no wonder the students were confused.

Gun violence.  This is a fairly recent entry into the arena of corruption of language.  Pay attention to how often you hear and read this term.  What’s the problem here?  Violence, of course, you think.  We the People need to do something about violence, especially by youth.  Wrong.  The problem is  the gun.  By linking two words as one, and repeating them a zillion times, people begin spouting “gun violence” to describe assault.  The solution?  Remove the gun in gun violence and everyone lives happily thereafter.  The recent Boston bombings give the lie to this.

Guns are not the problem in violence, people are the problem – the person who is convinced that he/she will not suffer any negative consequences by beating, shooting, stabbing, raping, and yes, bombing.  Remember that most of the insidious conditioning phrases are founded in well meaning emotional responses.  Personal belief and behavior is the real social  problem.  Does anyone support violence?  (Careful now, you’d be surprised how many do support violence to improve their lives.)  This Camel’s nose implants the idea that a person is not responsible for their violent behavior – that damned gun came along and made them do it.  (Notice how avoidance of personal responsibility for personal decisions and behaviors links most of the nefarious words and phrases.)

How often do you see the headline “Gunfire erupts…”  Or hear the news intro “Gunfire erupted today…”  A new demon has been unleashed!  Lord Gunfire.  Presumably, Gunfire lurks deep in the fiery bowls of Earth, randomly bursting forth to the surface (hence, eruption) and spewing hot lead into innocents.

Angst causing as it may be for some, the reality is that a resting gun will not, on its own accord, fly around the neighborhood then randomly fire at someone.  It’s a machine.  It must have a human hand (and mind) to operate it.  Guns are pointed and triggers are pulled.  That is NOT random violence nor is it the evil appearance of Lord Gunfire.   (Random violence – that’s another social disease in the works.)  Want to get serious?  Lose the guns component and deal with the personal notion that violence is acceptable – or has minimal negative consequences.

At-risk.  The corruption of the original meaning of this phrase, a sibling of self-esteem, is sad.  At-risk is a term prevalent in the context of youth born into situations where life’s deck of cards are stacked against them, and causing them to do drugs, shoot guns, get pregnant, steal, and commit all sorts of evils.  Oops, I’m sorry, the bad hand makes them more vulnerable to eruptions of Lord Gunfire, sudden onset of pregnancy and… Tons of money has been poured into programs to help youth at-risk of bad behavior.  Has it worked?  Since the numbers of at-risk youth seem to grow, I guess not.  (Did someone once say that throwing money at the problem is not a solution?)  Of course, if the problem is kept alive, then the need to continue feeding solutions persists.  One Wag remarked that, in many states, the number one industry is poverty.  An industry that would collapse should there be no impoverished.  The Wag further aggravated gentle souls by noting that 21st century “poverty” in the USA was a middle-class lifestyle in the late 1950’s, early 1960’s.

Like the other words and phrases, at-risk was sold to the public as a way to identify and help those kids needing help to rise above the insidious forces (and the new capricious social diseases and eruptions) rampant in their ideological ghetto.  Although a family situation may be mentioned or even listed, little is done to address the causal factors.  Family dysfunction, in this sense, stereotypes the single mother (a.k.a. never married) household where mom can’t or won’t do right by the kids.  Junior shows up at school filthy and hungry, but mom has great nails and hair.  Solutions can’t address mom’s choice to have children outside of marriage, nor her spending priorities, since to do so might damage her self-esteem.  Don’t even think about discussing the missing father part of this failed equation.  Daniel Patrick Moynihan noted quite some time ago the predictable effects of such welfare on families.

That’s the stereotype.  The truth is that all youth are at-risk of getting sucked into the victim-me mentality of irresponsible behavior.   More vulnerable than the scrappy youths from the barrio are the well-heeled youth of the monied class.  The truly rich have always had the problem of bad-behaving Junior or Sis, so it’s not a case of environment or social status.  It is, however, a case of corrupt values, decisions and consequences.

Tolerance – the capacity to endure pain or hardship – so says the 10th edition of Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.  For all times people have tolerated conditions and situations that were painful and difficult.  The key word is endure – to remain firm under suffering or misfortune without yielding.  Public education (in school, in media) promotes tolerance as a form of good citizenship.  No longer does tolerance mean enduring some offensive circumstance, but accepting and condoning objectionable behavior by others.

Once upon a time a loud-mouthed, push-cart shoving bully in the super-market check-out line was looked upon with disdain, but tolerated, because sooner or later the offensive person would leave.  Not anymore.  In the politically correct world the obnoxious person has a right to do what he/she is doing and your job is to accommodate them (lest their self-esteem be damaged.)  And don’t you dare express disdain (especially to writers for certain magazines.)  As stated in these convoluted times, don’t bully the bully.  Or, the anti-bully movement is to make sure you don’t object or resist your being bullied.

Co-dependency.  Remember that wonderful term from the hey-day of the 70/80’s?  Co-dependency is a descriptive word for a family/relationship dynamic associated with drug addiction.  The co-dependent arrives at a state of thinking/feeling/behavior that is totally concerned with the behavior of a drug-addicted person.  It is a legitimate condition that is destructive but that can respond to a re-ordering of thinking/feeling and behavior.  The Camel’s nose snorted, however, that “it’s not my fault…I’m co-dependent.”

A clinical definition that just about anybody could embrace,  once the syndrome was expanded beyond drug addiction to include just about anything.  In fact, it reached the goofy proportion that if a person wasn’t co-dependent, then they were suspect!  Emotional health was viewed with suspicion.   Emotionally healthy people usually have high self-esteem/confidence, make decisions and accept the consequences, are tolerant but do not surrender their values to accommodate what they must tolerate.  They are considered dangerous people in this politically correct era.

Addiction.  What’s good for co-dependency is good for an addict.  Addiction is a malignant disease characterized by an over-whelming obsession to continue using mind-altering drugs (or some other behavior) despite chronic, serious, negative consequences.   It’s a nasty disease that is terminal and wildly destructive.  Persons addicted to gambling kill themselves at a much higher rate than drug addicts.  The Camel’s nose sniffed this and liked the sweet smell of “the devil made me do it.”

Once again, consequences were separated from decisions and behavior (which, by the way is the what enabling means – the chief perpetuating component of addiction.)  It’s not my fault.  So, now people are victims of their addiction to chocolate, television, computers, wrestling and ________(fill in the blank.)  These are habits.  Habituation is not addiction.  The misuse of the word addiction makes it more difficult for those suffering to access relief.

Multi-culturalism – reflecting diverse cultures.  A nice word that is as American apple pie.  This is really a case of a good idea and good term gone to hell in a hand basket.  Although the phrase has been around a while, it’s only in modern times become a movement.   People travel, move around, and re-locate more than ever.  Geography, whether national or neighborhood, no longer confines a particular race, culture or ideology.  It is a small world.  No longer do most people live and die within ten miles of the birth place.  Cars, airplanes, ships, trains, telephones, internet, faxes, satellites – it’s not only foolish to promote mono-culturalism, it’s impossible.  Competing ideas will get out, as in Tiananmen Square, Yeltsin on a tank , Matt Drudge, or #twitcher.

The United States is a nation of immigrants.  Even the titled Native Americans themselves supplanted older cultures.  Everyone came here from somewhere else, and everywhere else had a different culture and custom.  The Constitution provided a government and society whose membership consisted only of obeying the common law.  Commerce and social interaction would produce a “melting pot” to catalyze the best from the diverse.  E Pluribus Unum –out of the many (states) one (nation.)

Multi-culturalism began as a movement to counter the narrow focus of ethnocentrism with an appreciation for the values and heritage of other citizens.  Who would disagree?  Nobody, really.  Identity is not lost.  In it’s genuine practice, multi-culturalism sparkled with just how much diverse people have in common and how that common enriched the society.  Regrettably, this expansive and unifying concept is regarded as anathema by the Camel herders.

Multi-culturalism has devolved into a buzz word for mono-racial ideology.  Rather than celebrating what is held in common, multi-culturalism demands “tolerance” of divisive cultural behaviors often disdained by others.  Embedded in this is also the concept of “it’s not my fault.”  This is the thinking that persists in seeking a “why” did the Boston bombers kill and maim people watching an exciting footrace?

Binge.  For some reason the Camel leaders have slipped this word into the language regarding alcoholic beverages.  Historically, a binge described the actions of a person who shirked his/her family, responsibilities, job, whatever, for a period of time – time devoted solely to doing drugs/alcohol/gambling.  It’s not a pretty sight and often ended only when the person was too sick to continue or some other bad result.  A binge was not a pretty picture.

The new “binge” refers to someone drinking a few drinks in one sitting, whether at a party or bar (sitting is often ill-defined – one hour, four hours, one day…).   Granted, people can  manage to get smashed mixing drugs and alcohol regularly enough and occasionally with fatal results.  But that’s not what the new binge describes.  Its purpose is to stigmatize people.  It doesn’t matter that they haven’t vanished, dropped out of sight, neglected their families/jobs/studies/drive drunk/act stupid, they are viewed by the Camel as social outcasts.  (Déjà vu – it’s the attack on “big tobacco” again!)  Irresponsible drinking is one thing.  A bona-fide binge is something else.  Why the blur?  Keep an eye (and nose) on this one.

Finally, let me revisit an old favorite.

Gender.  Where biological creatures have a sex, language has gender.  In certain languages words are masculine, feminine or neutral.  Gender is not a biological identifier.  Animals and humans have a sex – male or female.  Yet the word is routinely used to identify the sex of a person.  Why would anyone want to reference such a distinction as gender?  Sniff…sniff…

Neutral?  A neutral, or third sex?  My neutered cat is listed “N” on its medical chart.  Could this be?  Could the Camel’s nose of years ago employed this subtle change to prepare public acceptance for a third sex?  One replete with a new order of rights and protections?  Naw, that’s just too preposterous – creating a new sexual identity by words alone?

Then again, what would be the consequences of striking out the word gender on a form, and writing in “sex” before answering it?  Indeed, what would that do?  Nothing.  Unless there is mischief with the Camel’s nose.

-30-

Well, why not? Thanksgiving.

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Thanksgiving.  How wonderful that we, the people, give thought each autumn to the prosperity and bounty in our lives.  Thank = express gratitude.  Thanksgiving = the act of giving thanks…a celebration of divine goodness.

On the grand scale of emotions, gratitude comes in just a bit below appreciation.  Appreciation is a notch beneath love (in frequency.)  Love (however experienced) is the pathway to Joy, the highest emotion we experience in 3-D.  It is said that God is Love.  Appreciation is kin to love and gratitude kin to appreciation.  High energy thoughts, all.

The month of November is a time for appreciation, a season to look at what is right in our lives rather than what is lacking.  It’s a time to focus on the bounty, thus making it more a part of our experience.  It goes something like this:  Gratitude – I am thankful to be free of the lack of ____(fill in the blank.)  Gratitude still carries with it the concept of the lack.  Appreciation – I appreciate all that is a part of my life.  I am a child (thought) of God and all is wonderful.  No lack or negative aspect embraced by appreciation.  Love – I love myself and all that is.  I am a part of this magnificent universe.  Joy is my experience.  Pretty close to God, Source, whatever name preferred.

Thanksgiving is a moment on this emotional scale.  It’s an opportunity to shift focus, at least for a moment (and that’s often all it takes) to how much is good and wonderful.  Gratitude, appreciation, love, joy – not a bad menu for a thanksgiving feast!

A Lesson from Water

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Just as there are only two emotions – good and bad – there are two ways of considering Universe.  The first considers all that is as matter; life and the universe are material and by manipulating the material, improvements can be made so the brain can interpret the five senses as good.  The second considers all that is as Conscious force using a meme of energy to create what is perceived as the material universe; thoughts are the creative energy that construct the three dimensional world the brain can interpret as good (or bad) from the senses.

As one wag put it, the first is an outside job, the latter an inside job.

Those who hold the materialistic construct have a belief that hard work, sweat, and a degree of suffering, is the only means of altering the material world for personal satisfaction (a good feeling.)  This approach has been taught for untold generations – no pain, no gain.  A classic example is JFK’s explanation of why the USA should go to the moon and return – “…because it’s hard…”  This belief observes obstacles to a desired goal (a range of good feelings) and, like boulders, the obstacles must be moved, crushed, or otherwise manipulated.  This is hard work.  An outside job.

Those who hold Consciousness as force have the belief that thinking (thought selection) is the creative energy that determines the construct of the perceived universe.  If the desire is to feel good, then thinking is directed (this is the consciousness element) to those similar energies and matter that the brain interprets, via senses, as good.  For many people engaged in that great adventure of lunar exploration, the whole thing was fun – that is, the feeling of satisfaction, exhilaration, achievement (all degrees of good) that resulted in physically getting to the moon and back.

Granted, the lunar example is flawed because of so many moving parts, but JFK did clearly state it would be done because it was hard, not easy.  On a daily level, the issue is to “do something” the hard way or the easy way.  Well, of course if one opts for the “easy way” then somehow he/she is cheating, or taking a short cut, or some other diversion from doing the “hard work” that is required to earn (be worthy) the desired goal.  At least that’s the way a materialistic thinker views it.

The distinguishing thoughts go something like this:  1) “I’ve got to make this happen,”  2) “What’s the best way to do this?”  The former grits teeth and puts the shoulder of thinking against the challenge/obstacle.  The latter relaxes and allows information to flow to reveal the solution.

Water doesn’t flow up hill.  That’s the hard route to the ocean.  Water lets gravity do the work and carry it to the desired result.  Hence the wisdom of “go with the flow!”

Since humans are materialistically mostly water, then why not consider the wisdom of water and  take the path of least resistance to the desire end?

Heck, even the dog gets it…

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