Tuesday, October 28, 2014

No one really dies from disease...

living I remember when I was kid in school back in the 1950s in health class they were warning about the dangers of smoking. They rolled out the famous picture of the man with no teeth sporting a rather gruesome looking laryngectomy hole in his throat. On top of that, a local man was invited to speak to us who also had had this procedure done because of the smoking. I did vow then and there never to smoke, but what I really focused in on was the age of the man in the picture. He seemed really old.

In class they emphasized that smoking causes premature aging and early death from such maladies as cancer, emphysema, or heart disease. But that old man in the picture was happy, smoking his cigarette through the laryngectomy hole. Besides being the poster child for addiction, my young mind saw a contradiction in the argument that smoking causes early death.

Some years later, as a teenager, I read an article in the newspaper about Mrs. Green who had lived to be 100 years old and had smoked every day of her life since age 10. That reminded me of all the education I had claiming that smoking shortened your life. One of the statistics touted as a "scientific study" was that for every cigarette you smoke it shortens your lifespan by 10 minutes. I brought this up to one of my teachers. How could Mrs. Green have lived to be 100 years old and gotten there smoking every day since age 10? My science teacher, Mr. Reichert, retorted, "Well, think how long she would have lived had she not smoked the whole time?" I thought, 150? 200? I'd heard that there were people that live that long in places like Bulgaria and China, but no one actually believed it to be true.

Statistical improbabilities aside, I came to a startling conclusion back then, that I spent the rest of my life confirming: Mrs. Green died because it was her time to die. Stated more clearly: Death is independent of any physical cause.

I got into many debates with people on this subject, but as I headed into my 50's, I began to find others who had come to the same conclusion. I'm a touring blues musician, and you'll find many of the hardest-lived lives in this profession. Blues guys who've done drugs, smoked two packs a day, ate copious amounts of unhealthy food on the road, and led terribly dramatic emotional lives. Then you hear they finally died at 87 or 92. In fact, Pinetop Perkins, the famous blues piano player died in March at age 97. He was no angel, lived life to the fullest, including smoking and drinking and eating plenty of ribs.

Are these people some sort of genetic supermen? Genetic anomolies? If you graph their lives and behaviors against longevity norms of an entire population, you might find they lived longer than would be expected, but they certainly are not exceptional--as any casual look at health statistics will show.

On the other hand, what about those people who took care of themselves their whole lives--eating right, exercising, managing their stress, with strong family support--dying at age 52? Jim Fixx comes to mind--the running guru, who helped make jogging a national pasttime in the late 70s. He died at age 52 of a heart attack. Because he seemed like the picture of health, autopsies were performed, and it was found that he had severe atherosclerosis, leading many people to the faulty conclusion that jogging was harmful. Two years after his death, another researcher put together a string of additional conditions and maladies that pre-disposed Fixx to his early death, such as being a former overweight smoker with congenitally enlarged heart. Thus, his early death was explained away.

And there's Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, where an infant simply dies for no apparent reason--this is unexplained by science. In fact, there are thousands of unexplained deaths every year around the world, where there are no medical reasons for the deaths. They just died.

A former girlfriend of mine from the 70s died recently at age 52. It was a complete shock to the family (as well as to me), because she had been just fine physically, went to bed one night and didn't wake up.

An Alternative Explanation

yin-yang As my blues touring buddy says every time somebody he knew dies, "Well, it was time to go." To me, this contains a profoundly spiritual truth. It is that only the soul determines when a person dies. This is a decision made at the time of incarnation, and everything that happens in that life leads to the inevitable moment of death at the prescribed time.

This is not a "new idea." Buddhists and Hinduists have maintained that incarnation of the soul into a physical body is ONLY determined by the soul and its karma. This is a big statement. It is the soul that is outside of space and time. There is no "beginning" or "end" from the viewpoint of a soul--only CHANGE. Any "decision" a soul makes to incarnate into the linear bounds of physical existence inherently contains a beginning and an end, because that is the nature of physical existence.

We get focused on the end of life, because of our fear of it. We fear it because it is "unknown," and there are so many conflicting dogmas, memes and beliefs surrounding the subject. How do we really subjectively know what happens at death? We don't until it happens. Yet, there is much known about the subject, and even some pretty sophisticated neuro-scientific experiments attempting to capture the moment of death.

Tibetan Buddhism is famous for its re-incarnational beliefs--they choose the next spiritual leader to replace the old one by finding that exact some person again in a new body. Hopi Indian beliefs include strong statements of pre-destination and "fate," as do many Western religious beliefs. Reincarnation and pre-destination are ideas possible only with a conscious agent existing outside the bounds of linear time and finite space. That agent is the soul.

Metaphysician, Alice Bailey, in the book, Esoteric Healing, makes the supreme point that healing only occurs with the soul's permission. In this view, Bailey says that factors such as karma and the pre-destined date of death affect whether or not a healing takes place.

We have all heard about or experienced first-hand a miraculous healing--a spontaneous remission of cancer, or an impossibly fast mending of a broken bone--these are examples of evidence of a higher power determining physical outcomes. Bailey instructs that at the end of a life, when attempts at healing fail, it is because they are supposed to fail, or that the person is using the disease or condition in order to leave the body.

In observing this heart-wrenching process first hand, every time I have, it has been obvious to me that the person was trying to die. It was time to go, and this is how they were choosing to do it. In fact, culturally, it is the accepted, normal way of dying--by disease or accident (or suicide). This is not necessarily the belief or process used by every culture to die.

Chief In the 1970 movie, Little Big Man, starring Dustin Hoffman, his character's adoptive father--Chief Dan--tells him, "I must go now to die." He then hikes up a nearby hill chosen specifically for this purpose, and lays down, ready to die. In the movie it took a few attempts, but finally he was successful.

Many Indian yogis and gurus die consciously often times in meditation, as did, famously, Paramahansa Yogananda. He was only 60 years old, but left his body in meditation. His body did not decompose, leaving the scent of roses lingering until his internment.

In all of these examples, the common denominator is CHOICE. We chose to come into this world--we also choose to leave it. The illusion of pre-destination is simply a failure to go earlier in the sequence of events to when the soul CHOSE how long a life to have and even how to leave it. If this remained unexamined, it very well would seem like "fate".

As we are all infinite beings, we ultimately have infinite power over our experiences, whether incarnated or not. As my guide, Anttarr, once said, "Dying is simply a tradition with you humans. It is not necessary, but you seem to like it." He went on to expound upon the psychology of social "entrainment", where we all learn what is "right" and "appropriate" behavior in the particular culture we choose to enter. Such concepts as "karma" are another way of saying that incarnation into the physical world has certain rules and laws, and you musn't violate these. Why, as infinite beings, we accept all that may be simply how the game is played, or perhaps a way to create intensities of experience. Whatever it is, we all can CHOOSE to change it, should we want to.

In its current level of choice and decision, Western views and traditions around death make it a "sloppy procedure," as said by one of my gurus. "The moment of our own death is known ahead of time by all those coming upon it. We err in the fear of it--in the denial of it. It is liberation. Why so scared?"


immortality I say, first, let us remove the automatic connection of death to the diseases and conditions that people normally die from. Yes, people seem to die from cancer, heart disease, infections, etc., etc.--but then, they also don't, and they also die from measles, falling off a ladder, and flu--things that most people recover from... because it was their time to die, and that's how they chose to accomplish it. We should respect these choices, instead of insisting the dying person stay and using technology to artificially prolong a life not ours.

Within the dying tradition is a sort of "death psychology" in the culture that has us embracing "longevity" as if we had anything to do with it. Again, health is independent of longevity. What we do have control over is our quality of life during the time we are alive. Thus, I can justify getting behind such concepts as a "healthy lifestyle." We may choose to be here "X" number of years, why not be healthy and feel good while we are alive; and not try to "live healthy" in order to postpone death. It not only takes the fun out of life, but is a falsehood as well. Not only that, it completely ignores the moment of choice by an Infinite Being. Want to live longer, then choose to do that. Want to live to a "ripe old age"? Then choose to do that. Want to live forever? Well, an infinite being is already immortal, so, that's not really a stretch, either...

Friday, October 17, 2014

Everything you need to get what you want...

keys Last week I endured two ordeals that confirmed a theory I've had that everything we need is available right now to get what we want. Now, I have come across this theory many times in my life, and have had it confirmed often enough to keep it on my back burner of Useful Ideas.

Usually, when "stuff" happens to me is when I'm in a hurry. And this was one of those times. I had a drumming gig at the local blues festival, and due to a customer phone call that went longer than I thought it would, I was starting to run late. I quickly gathered up my backpack, grabbed my wallet, and cell phone, coaxed the dog out of the house, locked the door and started to bolt for my truck. Then it hit me. I didn't have my keys.

My mind raced through all the different ways I might have to get into the house, when I remembered I had just given the nextdoor neighbors copies of the house keys in case of an emergency. Whew! So I hiked over there, rang the doorbell. Rang it again. Not home.

My mind went back to racing about how to break in to the house, when I remembered I'd left one of the side windows open on the family room bay window. I just might be able to squeeze through there to get in. I removed the screen, and spied my keys waiting expectedly on the kitchen counter. I hoisted myself up into the window and tried to squeeze in, quickly realizing I was about 50% too big. A small child could probably do it, but not a full-grown 200 lb. man. Oh. Okay.

So now it became a matter of extending my reach through the window to snag the keys on the counter. I found a bamboo pole in the garage and tried it... too short. I then remembered there was a longer one staking the raspberry bushes in the front yard, so I ran over there, snatched the pole out of the ground out of the clutches of the raspberry bush, and wa-lah! Reaching the key chain, I manuevered the keys onto the pole and easily retrieved them. I then replaced the screen went back in the house, locked the window, locked the door on my way out, and made it to the festival without further incident.

As I reflected on what happened, my old theory popped up. I HAD to get to my destination, and everything I needed to get there was available to me even if I locked my keys in the house. The window was open, the bamboo poles were there (even if the nextdoor neighbor wasn't), and I was struck by how many immediate opportunities there were to achieve that objective of getting to the festival on time.

drum parts The next "ordeal" was a few days later, and once again involved a music gig. I loaded my drumset into the venue and began setting up when I noticed that the pedal for the bass drum had come apart. But on further inspection, it turned out that the post anchoring the spring for the pedal had been broken off completely, rendering the pedal useless, and I needed to be ready to play in 10 minutes.

Since my "Need Theory" was still fresh in my mind, I relaxed and just nodded to myself, "I've got the part I need to fix this." I looked through my tool bag where I keep various equipment odds and ends collected over the years, tried a few things, but to no avail.

I then flashed on my RV that I'd driven to the gig, and one of the kitchen cabinet drawers. I looked in the drawer, and in the back was a single likely-looking black screw about an inch and a half long. I tried it on the pedal, and it fit perfectly. It fit so perfectly, I was flabbergasted, since drum equipment screw threads can be very non-standard. In fact, using the screw in this way was actually better than the stock part, since it was longer and because it was a simple screw it had a head on the end that kept the spring from falling off, where the stock part had another part for that function.

I spent several minutes in profound gratitude for this resolution, and thought back on the incredible series of circumstances that allowed this outcome. It goes way beyond statistical probability, and enters the realm of quantum synchronicity. These thoughts were accompanied by the Rolling Stones anthem, "You Can't Always Get What You Want," but you just might get what you need...

As I mulled that over it occurred to me that there's a disconnect in the physical world between one's preferences and what we see in front of us. Rather than noticing what is not matching our preferences, why don't we notice what is. The strength of this option is based on quantum physics where something changes when it is viewed. The more attention given to something, the more it changes. And in practical life, the more attention is paid to something, the more life reflects back what it is being paid attention to. It's some sort of principle of focussed attention.

om Therefore, if attention is focussed on how the external world is accurately reflecting internal preferences, desires, needs and wants, the more and more examples show up of how the external world is the same as the internal world. Usually, the habitual process of noticing differences supercedes the noticing of similarities. By noticing the differences, they amplify. So instead, by noticing similarities to an intention (desire, need or want) after placing that intention, the similarities begin to amplify in the external world.

My guru has repeatedly told me that there is actually no difference between what is "in here" and what is "out there." That it is one continuum with an arbitrary border that we place there in order to define ourselves.

Hand-in-hand with this self-definition strategy is the ingrained habit of noticing what is different between the outer and inner worlds. As this process continues it becomes clear why. If you did NOT notice any difference between outer and inner, then you would have no need for ego-gratification to prove you existed, you would have no need for anything other than what you had, and that would eliminate most economic games, and other processes of desire fulfillment. You would simply BE everything to yourself. This defines the Eastern spiritual state of Self-Realization--one realizes that Self is Everything; or, Self is God.

Author Dr. David Hawkins, M.D. in his book, Healing and Recovery tells ths story of his near-death experiences and his spontaneous states of self-realization. In them, he says that there was really nothing to do, but just be. He found himself seeing clients and performing miraculous healings and a filled appointment book, yet he could remember little of what occurred because he was operating from profound states of divine joy and ecstasy. He reports that eventually he came to be able to control the "episodes" so that he could live his life in a more or less linear fashion, but that these states are always available to him.

Hawkins' whole life has been about studying the effects of the inner world on the outer world, and as he became healed himself (from a myriad of traumas, conditions and diseases), clients, friends and family became healed as well. And as he experienced the profound states of ecstasy, his life rearranged to allow for more and more of that.

It is truly as if life itself simply wants to give you what you want. It's just a matter of opening up to the truth that everything you need for what you want is already at hand.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The more things change...

peace A Progressive's Lament

I'm not by nature a political person. The closest I've come to being classified pretty accurately by someone it was by a channeled entity, Anttarr, through the late Levi Longfellow. Anttarr delivered a long diatribe about how I was a "Psycho-Social Naturalist."

I've mulled that over for years, and have finally come to a definition that relaxes me. Although I consider myself pretty much a social hermit, when I am out "in the world," I enjoy just letting people be who and what they are. I've never felt it was my place to judge or want to change someone. I may have a response to a person's behavior, but I would much rather have them continue to be themselves, despite my responses.

It's because of this view, I think some political analyst somewhere would say I was a "progressive"; perhaps interpreting my "liberal social tolerance" as such. Of course, metaphysically speaking, everyone is really a projection of my own mind, so to judge or criticize somebody else, is just me talking to myself. And that is what becomes what I call the Progressive's Lament. Isn't it just human nature to have a helpful, caring, loving society?

I'm a fan of John Perkins, a lecturer and activist shaman, who now and then presents workshops and seminars. His banner is "Shapeshifting Strategies for Positive Change." Anyone familiar with shamanistic practicies is familiar with shapeshifting. It's where you simply change your shape to change the world. This can mean anything from changing a thought form, to literally changing the body's appearance.

One of Perkin's associates is a fellow named David Korten, who has a very interesting take on global politics. His book list reveals some of his ideology: Agenda for a New Economy: From Phantom Wealth to Real Wealth, The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community, and When Corporations Rule the World.

Korten's whole approach is presenting a worldview where shamanic wisdom of ancient cultures is applied to economics. What he comes to is a world where wealth is shared, and where values of increased awareness, shared consciousness, and earth rituals have trumped corporate acquisition and individual power mongering. In a cooperative village setting, no one owns more than anyone else, and everyone's needs are met.

Obviously, this is an old utopian idea shared by such ignominious visionaries as Marx or Mao, and by the way, by most children. It isn't until direct attempts to manifest these high ideals that modern societal programming ultimately leads to utopian failure.

empire This isn't to say it can't be done, it's just that, as Korten would say, because corporations own most of the humanity's resources (including mass media, the educational system and health care), there can be no such thing as "sharing everything with everybody." And it's why I believe corporations were invented in the first place.

No one human being could betray their own natures as completely as a corporation can. A corporation can only expand, otherwise it ceases to exist since the stockholders would no longer be getting returns on their "investments." Corporations are a way of dodging social responsibility under the "moral" banner of "shared profits" for the stockholders.

And this is where it all goes off track. Sure corporations share, but only amongst their stockholders, which is why governments have to intervene on behalf of the rest of us. Of course, the people in government are stockholders, too, so that neutralizes much of the "push back" from the government.

What Perkins, Korten, and crowds of others are saying, basically, is that because earth is made up of finite resources, there can be no such thing as an "ever-expanding" corporation. And, by allowing human nature to re-express itself without corporations will ultimately lead to a cooperative, sharing society.

In her book, The Bond, Lynne McTaggart proves that "hard-wired" into the DNA of all humans is the impulse to share, the impulse to help (without reward), and the impulse to take turns. These are not learned behaviors. These are behaviors we are born with. Exhaustive studies over many decades have proven this, and disproven the long-held belief that the best life strategy is a self-serving one--that competition is good for society in general, and that progress would never happen otherwise. This sounds like a corporation talking, doesn't it? The truth is, the corporate premise is diametrically opposed to basic human nature.

This is not only true of humans. Many species from chimpanzees to elephants to birds exhibit similar cooperative social behaviors. I see it in my cat, Ralph, and dog, Wookie. Ralph never eats all his food, because he wants to share it with Wookie. After Wookie eats, Ralph is back at it, schmoozing me for more food for him.

When political Progressives talk about change, what they are basically wanting to change is the fundamental economic basis of society--corporate power. This is a futile exercise, because it doesn't get to the true root of social problems. I would venture to guess that society exists at all only because of caring, helpful people, and despite the greed and inherent corruption of inhuman corporations, or as Korten calls it, The Empire. Because The Empire is not a person, it doesn't care about people, only itself. Sure, people own parts of it, and run most of it, but they are operating on only one premise: monetary profit--a narrow and dangerous premise indeed.

basic nature What is it within ourselves that disconnects us from our family, our community, our nation, our world--the earth itself? That disconnected thing within us is what allows all manner of behaviors and outcomes betraying our basic natures. This betrayal is where we lose our faith, where we begin to fear life, harbor suspicions of our fellow humans, and maintain that tried and truly cynical "dog-eat-dog" world view.

When in fact, we are hard-wired to be selfless, to share, even to experience others as ourselves. We all fundamentally embrace the Golden Rule, and automatically want to help others. What if The Empire did that? What a different world that would be!

The next time you hear that old cynic's saw, "The more things change, the more they stay the same," just remember to re-connect to your true nature, and through that re-connection, the world can become one again.

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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Earth Wants to Connect

barefoot Today it was a warm, luscious morning, so I decided to eat my breakfast outside. I had moved one of the patio chairs yesterday onto the grass to make way for the sprinkler, so I decided breakfast would be nice sitting in that chair.

I walked onto the lawn with bare feet. I hadn't been barefoot yet this year because the weather here had been so cool and wet, so the sensation of bare feet on grass was, well, odd. I suddenly felt like I had stepped onto the back of a vast animal--a gigantic living, breathing creature.

I felt my heartbeat slow, my back relax, and I took a big, deep breath. It was the Earth greeting me in all her bio-electric power. As I sat eating with my feet planted in the grass, it felt like I was feeding the world. After all, I had completed the circuit and plugged in my humble feast to everything hungry in the world.

So, I decided to write this article with my feet on grass-laden earth, in hopes that enough of what Mother Earth has to say to me I can hear and put into words.

She immediately reminded me that it was She who healed me from an extremely stressful and soul-numbing encounter with what I have called the "Metaphysical Marines," otherwise known as Scientology. Yes, I was in a cult, but at the time I joined up, I was a tenderfoot 20 year-old, with world-changing visions and a rebel's heart. But after 10 years of power playing in a group where talk of God was literally considered a dramatized implant, I slowly became aware that I was missing something.

Soon my rebel ways were turned back on the group, and I found myself not only out of a job, but out of a place to live, with hundreds of enemies who thought nothing of wishing me dead. At least, that's the way it felt as I pitched my tent in a state park, hiding from larger-than-real adversaries who could at any moment lunge out from behind a tree, eyes red with anger and felonious intent.

I remember how re-assuring it felt to lie down on the earth. There was something telling me everything was going to be okay. I now know it was Mother Earth.

My wife and I moved from park to park, since the time limit was one week; but during that time, and I think mostly unbeknownst to me, I was being repaired--healed of obvious emotional traumas, and those I didn't know I had.

Nature reaches us even through concrete. We met up with itinerant cable company workers installing the first cable TV wires along Highway 101 north of L.A. There were big bonfires on the beach at night, rough language, but lots of laughter and open hearts. We all lived with Nature--it was just part of the scene.

The time came to follow an opportunity. I heard from one of the campers that there was a great music scene up in Portland, and she even was offering her house up there till we could get on our feet. So, we packed up the rickety old Toyota with a blown head gasket, and made our way slowly to the promised land.

After we arrived, things started to look a whole lot different. The generous "friend" turned out to be a coke head, who was prone to outbursts of rage, and as things proceeded downward in our relationship, it wasn't too long before my wife attempted suicide, and as I returned from the hospital, all our stuff had been strewn about on the front lawn.

As night fell, I stuffed everything back into a bag, set up a tent several hundred yards from the house, near a potato plot, dug up some spuds, cooked them over a small fire, and laid down to sleep in very black darkness. I laid there on Mother Earth, remembering recently read words from James Clavell's Shogun. Something like, "When the Samarai reaches his lowest point, he rejoices--for the only way is up." I knew I was at my lowest point.

The next day, I was strangely energized. I hoisted the stuff over my back and grabbed a bus back to the hospital. I spilled my guts to the social worker there, who performed what I consider magic. Within eight hours, we were in an apartment, had food for a week, and after a call to Kelly Services, I had a job starting the next day.

We eventually got our own cottage up near Mt. Hood in the forest. I got a car and commuted two hours each way to Kelly jobs. Each day, as I drove home and reached the forest line, my body relaxed, I took a deep breath, and gave thanks for Mother Nature--for I was sure if it weren't for Her, my life could have very easily ended badly.

Ever since then, I've made it a point to make Mother a part of my experience. I believe there is a true intelligence and love emanating from Earth, and we all can literally plug in to that love and intelligence by simply taking off our foot coverings, and making contact.

For the book, Earthing by Dr. Stephen Sinatra, there was considerable research done about using physical earth contact as a healing modality. What Sinatra has consistently found is that the simple act of going barefoot on the ground, or lying on the ground: Human circle

  • Defuses the cause of inflammation and improves or eliminates the symptoms of many inflammation-related disorders.
  • Reduces or eliminates chronic pain.
  • Improves sleep in most cases.
  • Increases energy.
  • Lowers stress and promotes calmness in the body by cooling down the nervous system and stress hormones.
  • Normalizes the body's biological rhythms.
  • Thins blood and improves blood pressure and flow.
  • Relieves muscle tension and headaches.
  • Lessens hormonal and menstrual symptoms.
  • Dramatically speeds healing and helps prevent bedsores.
  • Reduces or eliminates jet lag.
  • Protects the body against protentially health-disturbing environmental electromagnetic fields (EMF)
  • Accelerates recovery from intense athletic activity.
Because we are so intimately connected with this cosmic individual, rotating leisurely around a star, the mere act of noticing what we notice when in direct physical contact with Her, can lead to profound insights into ourselves, our society and the state of the planet.

It's time--more than ever--for everyone to go BAREFOOTIN'!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Values or Memes?

flag salute The word meme (meem), has only been around since 1976, first discussed in a book by Richard Dawkins entitled, "The Selfish Gene." He took the Greek root of “mimeme" and shortened it to meme, to be more suggestive of gene and how genes seem to transmit information. It hasn't been until the last few years that meme has broken out of more esoteric scientific circles and into the mainstream. The word, in effect, is doing what it means by becoming viral...

A meme is an idea that is also a replicator. Think of it as a word or symbol that causes people to think a certain way, believe a certain thing, or take a specific action. A catchy jingle or slogan is a meme. You hear it, you play it in your head, and then you "infect" other minds by sharing it. Viral advertising slogans are memes, because they get passed around within a culture, and in many ways define culture.

Awareness of memes is a valuable self-development tool, because so much of a society's culture is transmitted by memes. How a person is "supposed" to act is a meme. Family traditions are memes; political and religious beliefs are usually expressed as memes, or meme complexes, so they can be more easily passed from person to person, group to group, generation to generation.

I like to think of memes as attractive packages of information that hook your attention, and then cause you to adopt that entire package of information as your own without any critical analysis. This is why memes are so important in politics, religions, or social movements--a motto or slogan is attached over a packet of complex information, making it extremely easy to be absorbed and repeated, even if the person transmitting the meme doesn't really believe or accept all of it.

This is how rumors or superstitions get started and build into "facts" or "truths," even though the initial packet of information behind the meme contains faulty information or outright lies. How many of us have actually avoided cracks in the sidewalk because of the meme, "Step on a crack, break your mother's back." I can remember as a young boy suddenly realizing how ridiculous this was, but not after avoiding sidewalk cracks for many weeks.

KKK Because memes are basically packages of un-examined information that we adopt as truth, they lend themselves splendidly to be stored unconsciously, and can quickly become the modus operandi behind thinking about our behaviors, opinions and beliefs about ourselves and others.

Here is where values come in. To me, a true personal value is an ideal we cherish that explains who we are, what we do, and where we're going. True values are never unexamined. They are borne out of life lessons--things we have come to believe are true; not things that society, our parents, or our friends say is true (these are most often memes).

So I'm making a distinction between values and memes in that values are critically analyzed conclusions about how we should best lead our lives based on life experience. The meme is an unexamined, unconsciously adopted belief. Where we get into trouble is mistaking memes for values. And, in fact, the discovery of lies within memes often leads to the critical analysis needed to form values.

For example, the meme, "Father knows best." Taken at face value, this meme contains all those feelings and beliefs about parental respect and childhood adoration. To question this meme has emotional consequences, but as any teenager can attest, it falls apart in the face of life experiences. The child who has adopted this meme now must face the truth of it, and in so doing, must develop a way of being with the information that Father doesn't necessarily know best.

Apostasies are all about memes breaking apart--when whole religious belief systems tumble down as the result of life experience. Religion is famous for memes because so much of religious training is based on absolutes--a prime territory for memes. As life experience disproves the lies within memes, critical thinking can return and a more nuanced view of the world emerges.

Such biggies as, "All sinners go to hell," can break down into hundreds of parts, revealing deeper levels of truth through questioning the basic assumption of the meme. What is a sinner? What is hell? What is sin exactly, and why does that necessarily lead to hell? As the meme breaks down, it no longer has the power to alter behaviors or be transmitted. With critical thinking restored, true values can be determined and immunity to similiar memes established.

Another area rife with memes is in politics where memes are used to replace words. Remember the meme, "Weapons of Mass Destruction," eventually became, "The reason we're going to fight a war on terrorism." Now all "weapons of mass destruction" involves terrorist activities. This is different from 30 years ago, when the same phrase referred to national defense weaponry.

Whole political belief systems can be hijacked using memes. Nowadays if you are conservative in your beliefs about social issues and economics, you are a Republican. If you are liberal in your views you are a Democrat. This is a far cry from 50 years ago when there were "conservatives" and "liberals" in both political parties. This hijacking of definitions is used to create polarization, stacking "good" and "evil" memes on top of other buzz words and phrases, such as, "intolerant Republicans," and "irresponsible Democrats," leading to such conclusions as, "only Republicans are good for business," and "only Democrats are humanitarian." Such absolute statements--as in religion--make memes attractive and viral in the culture.

Using an awareness of memes can help lead to personal transformation by spotting where in your self-definitions are there identifications with memes. Such phrases as "it was good for my dad, it's good for me," if taken literally (and memes usually are), really makes no sense. Your dad was a separate person from you, had a completely different experience from you, and has a completely different set of values and decisions about his life than you. By de-constructing memes in your own thinking, you can find out what programming is preventing you from getting to where you want to go with yourself.

Most importantly, if you spot a meme, the meme no longer has power. They only have power when they are unexamined. Once deleted, they can be replaced by thoughtfully considered values from which smart and heartfelt decisions can be made.

How to spot a meme

Interestingly, spotting a meme can be as easy as asking yourself what your values are:

  • What do I value about myself?
  • What do I value about my job?
  • What do I value about my life?
  • What should be the most important things in life?
  • What inspires me?
  • What is important to me?
  • What motivates me to get better?

All these questions will not only reveal memes, but will help reveal existing values and help form new ones.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Your Thoughts, Your Body

Click for disturbing full-size image... The one key idea now mainstreaming into Western culture, mainly from Chinese medicine, is the concept of "the whole person." The holistic approach to health is to include all the factors making up an individual: physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, environmental, cultural, etc., etc. This "alternative" approach to health seems to be closer to the mark as the testimonials roll in of miraculous healings and longstanding chronic conditions actually resolving (much to the chagrin of "organized medicine").

But the truth of the matter is that what we unconsciously intend, think and feel affects our bodies. As a child, I wondered if being afraid was bad for my health. I mean, after all, fear caused my heart to beat frantically, made the hair stand up on the back of my neck, sent cold adrenal flushes to my legs and arms, and made the blood run away from my brain. Could that be good for you? Likewise with depression, and all its affiliated physical symptoms. How could anyone think that feelings, intentions and thoughts DIDN'T affect your body?

Also, as a child growing up in the 50's and 60's, all I found out about nutrition was the "four food groups" (later amended to the "food pyramid" with the introduction of SUGAR & FATS, fergawdsakes!). It seemed like eating wasn't really connected to personal health very closely. You could eat just about anything, and if you got sick it was because of germs. This pretty much sums up the extent of health knowledge when I was in school. Sad to say, that pretty much sums up general health knowledge even today among grownups.

Later, as a tie-dyed-in-the-wool hippie, teen angst gave way to young-adult cynicism and the discovery of "commercial interests," and how (oh, my gawd!) they actually manipulated what people ate. They sold fast food that would surely lead to disease, and then sold the medicines to give "instant relief" by masking symptoms, which then came back later so the medicine would have to be purchased again. Shame, shame, I cried, and became a nutrition activist, discovering and campaigning for Ann Wigmore, Viktorus Kulvinskas, and Arnold Ehret's Rational Fasting.

1,000 Fast Food Restaurants23,000 Fast Food Restaurants
$6 billion spent on fast food$100 billion spent on fast food
1/3 of mothers work outside home2/3 of mothers work outside home
75% of meals eaten at homeOver 50% of meals eaten away from home
All children eat 4-5 servings of fruits and/or veggies20% of children 4-5 servings of fruits and/veggies
It took me well into my mid-life to get over the sheer outrageousness of the food and medical industry's closely guarded alliance, because I realized that everyone has a choice. Not only that, now into the 21st Century, there are worlds upon worlds of resources available to anyone striving for better physical health, improved wellness and quality of life. Check out the Quantum Health Newsletter archive for a small sampling of modalities available to those who are actively changing their health level.

Extensive scientific research has been done over recent decades on the mind-body connection, as well as the food-wellness complex, so even the most skeptical cereal-box-HMO hugger may be enlightened. Of course, the free market being what it is, a lot of this scientific research has been harnessed to the service of profit-making often to the point where anyone attempting to figure out what route to wellness to take is going to have their head spinning. Throw in the Internet, and it's usually information overload.

The key, as always, is to find those things that work for YOU. With all the thousands of effective approaches to healing and vibrant health, any individual can find at least one or two things that are real to them, and that will make a difference for them in particular. For example, yoga works for me, along with a fairly light omnivorous diet, supplemented with enzymes, a few vitamins, and lots of water. I'm also a big fan of the Pure Energy Rx products and homeopathic cell salts, since both are an easy system to remember, and they just really work for me. Of course, I've TRIED just about everything, but a few of those things stuck, and are serving me well.

Once the heart-and-soul decision has been made and an intention has been set about a health condition or fitness level, there are general guidelines that seem to show up for most people, based on lots of scientific research and common sense (see chart below). Observe any thoughts and conclusions provided you from commercial interests. Experiment, and make your OWN decisions about what works for you. Assume full responsibility for your body, and it will respond happily.