Setting a new course…

IMG_1995For the next few weeks, months, years (?), I am going publish short commentaries on what’s happening in the world rather than longer essays.  My goal is to publish one a week, on Saturday mornings.  I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to read, “liked” and/or commented on articles on my blog!

 

A lot of (most?) people in the U.S. have played “Monopoly” at some time. The board game that’s designed to produce a winner and losers in an imaginary battle to acquire wealth. There is maneuvering for advantage, developing properties, lucky and unlucky roles of the dice. In the end someone bankrupts everyone else and owns it all. Then everyone can put the game away and head to the kitchen for snacks. That’s the part that’s missing in real life.
As in the game, in real life most (all?) people contribute in some way to building up and maintaining our communities. Most contribute throughout most of their lifetime. Building, serving, performing tasks meant to help keep the community vibrant. Unfortunately, these days it is happening within a system that is increasingly resembling the board game: designed to produce a relatively few big winners and lots of losers. Because we live in a finite system, there cannot be unbelievably extravagant winners without a whole lot of losers.
In the U.S. it hasn’t always been this way. Regulations against monopolies, a progressive tax system, wages and benefits people could thrive on, social safety nets and other safeguards kept the playing field more balanced; viable for the majority of, if not all, people. Then, those with more wealth began to find ways to manipulate the system. The regulations and safeguards which previously existed to protect the well-being of the whole have been, and are being, dismantled. This is leading to increasing economic imbalance with all the attendant debilitating effects on the general population that one can expect, even predict. We’re now seeing individuals with more wealth than millions of others. Others who have also been contributing.
The system needs repair. We need to restore lost safeguards. We need greater community mindedness. We need greater recognition of our inherent interdependence.

Respecting our individual developmental imperatives.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
Why do I use Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs so often in my articles? Because it informs us of a universal key to a successful life as an individual and as a culture.

Culture.  We all need one to live.  However, if and when that culture becomes too rigid, too intolerant, it stops being the supportive, nurturing, positive context we all need for whole, healthy lives.  We human beings are complex in our make-up, in how it is that we experience our world, our environment, and in how we, as individuals, want to respond and behave within it.  Each of us, while we do all share an essential common core of basic needs: water, food, air, shelter, love…, as complex beings are also very different in many ways.

We all experience and relate to our world in a somewhat different manner.  Some people are more oriented toward an auditory experience of the world.  Some the visual, or the tactile.  And there are many other aspects of our lives which we all approach in different measure, with varying degrees of passion.  We all have available to us the realities of logic, mathematics, healing/medicine, art, architecture, music, taste/food, physical capabilities; balance, strength, motion, sensuality.  There are so very many aspects of our lives and our world which we all can and do find ourselves drawn to, interested in, to varying degrees.  And they are all equally valid*What we find ourselves naturally drawn to is the path we need, as an individual living organism with both physical and spiritual components.  The path which will lead us to realizing our individual developmental journey in this life.  It is, in fact our developmental imperative.  And, again, they are all equally valid*.

This reality, of individual developmental imperatives, while so common sensical and simple at it’s base, has profound implications for us within our cultures and interpersonal relationships.  Currently, in many cultures, there is an expectation, sometimes a quite rigid expectation, that within the culture we should all follow a highly regimented common path.  This can, and often does, apply within our interpersonal relationships and especially marriages.  It can, and often does demand, that one party accept a subservient relationship to the other.  Often, but by no means always, the subservient role is expected of the female.  It is hard, real hard, (all but impossible?) to get in touch with and express one’s individual developmental imperative in such a situation.  Someone may want to attempt the argument that then the subservient person is experiencing that difficulty then that is their developmental imperative at that moment (to learn it is impossible to experience self-actualization while being rigidly held to someone else’s expectations and rules?).  What do you think?

Within healthy interpersonal relationships we often take on obligations.  Couples take on the obligation of maintaining a household, raising children, working together toward common goals.  Honoring one’s own developmental imperative does not mean being defiantly independent and resisting all cooperative efforts and arrangements in our lives.  It does mean being in touch with and honest with ourselves.  Honoring what we know to be our essential orientations and needs.  When partners recognize this reality within their own and their partner’s life, and when the individual orientations and needs are not incompatible with the needs that exist within the partnership, then all’s well.  As a matter of fact, it’s better than well, it’s excellent.

The only way it gets any better is when partners within a relationship not only recognize and honor one another’s individual developmental imperatives, but take an active interest in seeing one another succeed in expressing them.  

Today in the world at large we see individual developmental imperatives being honored, or neglected, to varying degrees.  Some cultures all but totally reject it.  When a brutally enforced totalitarian expectation of conformity is present, individual developmental imperative hides in fear.  Or there may be martyrs in it’s name.  The individual developmental imperative seems to most often demand our attention by being gently insistent.  However, if continually repressed there can be pressure that builds up behind it.  It can cry out within our being for recognition and expression.

The same is true within families, or interpersonal relationships and marriages.   It can require determination and personal effort in developing knowledge and reason for individual developmental imperative to find fertile ground.  Personal insecurities can get in the way of one’s own ability to express one’s developmental imperative and it can cause us to try to repress it in others.  Within close relationships knowledge of one another combined with trust and reliability are important.

We don’t come into this world “blank slates”.  We arrive with a developmental imperative already well underway.  Our spirit, our mind, our nervous system are already geared for the path that will serve us the best.  And, if we are happy and accomplished at a skill which brings enlightenment, joy, and increased turn-on to life and well-being to others…then it is a win-win-win situation.

Again, there is work involved, and discipline.  Work and discipline are not bad things when applied to the expression of that which we deeply love and seek to honor with our being.  In that context work and discipline feel right and we recognize the value they can add to our achieving that which we desire.

*So why the asterisk, the caveat?  Because there is something we need to acknowledge and honor in order to preserve our individual ability to access, explore and fulfill our lives.  It is really very simple:  we need to acknowledge and honor the basic needs and lives of everyone else as if they were our own.  Which means if we perceive our developmental imperative as requiring us to harm others, to inflict physical, psychological and/or spiritual harm:  mutilation, deprivation, destruction, upon others, then we need to rethink how we are interpreting our perceptions.  It is likely that if we find ourself having such thoughts that they are an expression of anxiety and fear.  Emotions often stemming from, at sometime in our past, our having been harmed, significantly physically, psychologically and/or emotionally mistreated.  And/or quite possibly that we are suffering from a neurological impairment resulting from an insult to our brain.  Possibly from a physical or chemical insult, or resulting from experiencing significant prolonged stress.  What is needed is an experience of pervasive healing:  and that experience will not manifest by harming others.

 

 

 

 

 

The Problems with the Answers

Problem AnswersWe now know our world, our planet (or those who are paying attention know) is one single, large, system.  When we tweak the system, for better or for worse, there are systemic consequences.  For centuries we have had examples of the systemic effects altering a single component of a system can have.  If a person’s liver stops functioning: the person dies.  The whole person, not just the liver.  As human beings we are all sub-systems within, what we undeniably now know is, the larger, unified system which is the Earth.  The danger we face is in continuing to think and behave as if each seemingly separate free-standing entity, whether a person, cow, tree, continent or ocean is an independent entity unaffected by the other seemingly free-standing entities around it.

As a video which used to be shown before movies in the U.S. said:  “There is no non-peeing section of the pool”.  Our environment is like a large pool, it’s all connected and there is no “non-peeing” section.  What happens to the ocean off New Jersey affects Shanghai, and vice-versa.  With some events proximity makes some difference; the closer a place, a people, are to the event, the greater the impact.  Yet even small doses of a poison, continued over a long enough period of time, are going to affect the whole system.

Therein lies the problem with so many of the answers that industries and governments (and those controlling them) want to hand to the rest of us.  So many, if not all, of the answers are lacking in adequate consideration of the systemic consequences of what is being proposed.  Or, if the systemic consequences are being considered, there is a Machiavellian agenda afoot which gives little or no weight to the health and well-being of the majority of people on the planet.  It is the cognizance of this latter possibility that underlies many, if not all, of the “conspiracy theories” we encounter.

The “mainstream” culture in the U.S., the government, industry, media, seem to want us to view the systemic reality that is our planetary ecosystem only one component at a time.  We’re supposed to believe there is no critical interconnection between the components (seemingly independent entities).  We are supposed to ignore the system as a whole.  In actuality, each part, each component, of our planet is in constant energetic, chemical and/or physical interaction, communication if you will, with every other part.  Just as our body is a whole system with each part in constant communication, via energetic, chemical and physical affects, with every other part.  What happens if our planet’s “liver” fails?

This consequences of this interconnectedness has been referred to at times as the “butterfly effect”.  That is an extreme, but not unfounded, conceptualization of the systemic reality we live within.

It’s time we not only face this reality but alter our thinking and behavior to properly take it into account.  Air pollution in China affects us all.  The radioactive water leaking from the Fukushima reactor in Japan is poisoning the whole ocean.  The inordinate materialism being promoted in advertisements, movies and other media from the U.S. is affecting the collective psyche around the world.  You see, it’s not just about air, water, or soil pollution, it’s about everything.  Including the physicality, mentality and spirituality of all people, everywhere. 

Some want to see our Earth as a being named “Gaia”.  I have no problem with that.  Whether our planet, our home is a sentient being or not really should make no difference in how we treat it (her).  Our undeniable reality is that the Earth is our home, our only life-support system, and we need to give much, much greater respect and consideration to that reality than is being shown at this time.

We Need a Culture That Can Care For Body and Soul

img_0502-2What are our natural resources?  Essentially they are the inherent qualities of the planet we live upon.  None of us created them or contributed to their existence.  However, as we know, many if not all of them are necessary for our lives.  Without the air, water, food, shelter, medicinal substances, that our provided by our natural resources we would die.  Without the beauty and recreational opportunities inherent in our natural resources our lives would be much less enjoyable, if even tolerable.

Natural resources include the plants that grow and the animals that inhabit the Earth.  Natural resources are the source of all the raw materials that all products are made from.  Even what scientists require in order to create “synthetics”.  Without the naturally occurring  base materials there would be no synthetics.  We come to the Earth with nothing and everything we have while we’re here has essentially been provided to us by forces beyond our control.  Everything.  That makes the naturally occurring resources of our planet (and others) pretty valuable, doesn’t it?

It is true that humans very often take a natural resource, add some ingenuity and work, and thereby create something more useful to human life than the raw material alone.  Clothing, houses, automobiles, medicines, works of art, musical instruments, books, computers, jewelry, beer, wine!  Humans have bred some plants to produce more or better food products than they did previously.

However, it’s worked the other way with plants also, nutritional value has been reduced in some strains.  And similar claims can also be made for about every natural resource.  At some time one or more human beings have tried to create something with one or the other natural resources which has ended up being of less value than the raw material.  Trial and error, we humans seem to do a lot of that.

Somewhere along the line some people decided that because of some arbitrary situation in their life they actually own one or more natural resources.  Maybe they were born into a “royal” family with a longstanding (but never the less arbitrary) claim.  Or maybe they had friends within one or more governments that were ready and willing to pass laws that proclaimed they now have ownership of certain natural resources.  In any and all of these cases, assertions of ownership have only worked because there were sufficient other people ready to support that assertion.  All such assertions are arbitrary in that they are devised and implemented solely out of the volition of the human beings involved.  In other words, if I say I now own New York, and if I can get enough people in positions of power and a sufficient army to support the claim, then I own New York.  That’s how it works.  We all came with nothing, everything that is, every single solitary natural resource on Earth, has been provided to us freely by forces beyond our control.  Every product that exists is produced from these resources.

Whether by design or default, currently we are allowing individuals or small groups of individuals to claim ownership of massive amounts of the Earth’s natural resources.  Is this really how we want to conduct ourselves?  This type of practice, among other things, leads to competition among the individuals and groups vying for ownership.  It has led to wars and will undoubtedly lead to more if the practice is continued.  It leads to inflationary, greed based pricing of the resources and works toward the impoverishment of the general population.  The psycho/emotional effects of a competition/greed based culture in general are to be seen within populations around the world:  fear, anxiety, disenfranchisement, depression, or vanity, narcissism.

When enough people wake up to the reality that private ownership of natural resources, and all similar cultural structures, can only exist with the cooperation of the general population, then we will see significant change within systems take place.  In the past this has often just meant that the group controlling the resources changes and the same greed/competition model stays in place.  We need something better.  We need to realize that as a species that our fates are inextricably intertwined.  We need to realize the mutuality of our plight and then to act upon that realization.  We need to utilize, to apply the magnificent body of knowledge that already exists within the disciplines of psychology, physiology, sociology, medicine, anthropology, ethics, and spiritual studies in the design and maintenance of our social and industrial systems.  Economically we don’t need socialism, communism or capitalism.  We need a hybrid born in knowledge and reason with the well-being of all of humanity as a goal!

A key foundational piece of wisdom comes when we realize that, in general, looking at the basics of our biology and spirituality, what is good for one person’s body and spirit provides us with a model of what is good for the body and spirit of humanity as a whole.  

Energy, Frequency, Amplitude and Us

1 hzFor a few years I employed neurofeedback therapy (also called EEG biofeedback) in my private practice.  The only reason I stopped is that I closed my practice, for a while anyway.  Neurofeedback is an amazing therapeutic tool.  I can attest that it can be very effective in treating PTSD, ADD/ADHD, and many other maladies.  Essentially, it assists the person undergoing treatment to be able to change the pattern of vibrational frequencies their brain is employing, or may be stuck at.  Neurofeedback doesn’t change a person’s brainwave pattern itself, it just provides a tool for a person to be able to do it themselves.  It employs our innate knowledge of what we need for our own health!

Two basic terms needed in understanding our energy/vibrational functioning are frequency and amplitude.  

Frequency, according to Merriam-Webster, is:  “3:  the number of repetitions of a periodic process in a unit of time: as   a :  the number of complete alternations per second of an alternating current   b :  the number of complete oscillations per second of energy (as sound or electromagnetic radiation) in the form of waves”, in short, the number of complete (up and down) waves per second as shown in the graphic.  Frequency is measured in cycles per second or hertz (hz).

Amplitude, again according to Merriam-Webster, amplitude is:  3:  the extent or range of a quality, property, process, or phenomenon: as   a :  the extent of a vibratory movement (as of a pendulum) measured from the mean position to an extreme   b :  the maximum departure of the value of an alternating current or wave from the average value”  In neurofeedback practice one can think of the amplitude as representing the amount of energy the brain/being is putting into that particular frequency.  It shows up as the height of the wave on the graph.  Looking at the graphic above, if there were a red wave line with two complete up and down movements within the 1 second time frame but this wave were twice as high as the blue wave line;  the red (2 hz) wave line would be the dominant frequency.  The frequency of higher voltage.  (Conversely if the blue (1 hz) wave line were higher on the graph it would be dominant.)   The dominant frequency is the one with the most amplitude.

For me learning about and seeing the powerful reality of neurofeedback was my introduction to our reality of vibration/frequency/amplitude and how important these three aspects of our reality are to us.  Our health, our mental acuity, our mental/emotional stability, our ability to exist at all as human beings, are all part of and affected by the electromagnetic reality, the various frequencies and amplitudes which underlie our existence and that of everything else.  The electromagnetic waves in our environment matter because the frequencies in our environment affect/influence the frequency of vibration of our bodies, our organs including our brain, and can enhance or disrupt our ability to function as healthy, whole human beings.  

When I go to websites that purport to provide information on the frequencies of our bodies, of human beings what I routinely find are listings of frequencies in the hundreds of hertz.  But not all, this website contains frequencies all below 100 hz.  Both of these listings are very strange to me and what practitioners of neurofeedback deal with.  When we have a person connected to an EEG machine we see ongoing frequencies of vibration occurring between .5 and 45 hz.  The frequency of the highest amplitude is the dominant frequency and primarily defines the state of our conscious functioning.  For the most part, when awake, our brain puts most of it’s energy into activity between 9 and 18 hz.  Relative to the frequencies of commercial radio these are very low frequencies.  Relative to musical tones these are very low frequencies.  In fact, these frequencies are called Extremely Low Frequency (ELF).  If a practitioner were to try to train a person to raise their brainwave activity to, say, 25 hz., that person would become a nervous wreck with real problems sleeping.  That is, if their brain would even allow itself to be trained to such relatively high frequency.  A person may just “tune out” the training because it would probably be uncomfortable.  Our frequency reality is one in which higher is not always better. 

Where do the authors who give human vibrational frequencies in the high double digit or triple digit ranges get their data?  I have no idea.  I would be interested in knowing.  Does the human spirit body, ethereal body, subtly vibrate at higher frequencies but at too low an amplitude to be detected by EEG equipment?  If so, how do we know what those frequencies are?  And, because we are essentially energy beings, is the physical reality of our cellular make up vibrating at a much higher frequency than our brain wave activity occurs at and at too low an amplitude to affect EEG equipment?  Again, if so, how do we know what those frequencies are?

The frequencies we encounter in our environment do affect us.  Vibrations around us which are at a higher amplitude (not frequency, amplitude) will affect us more than those at a lower amplitude.  Some people report being affected by fluorescent tube lighting.  The music we listen to can definitely affect us.  The colors around us can affect us.  In essence:  vibration affects us!  Tone of voice, even the color of the text has an affect.  After all, we are energy beings.  This is I think one of the most important areas of study there is at this time:  learning more about our energy/vibrational make-up and how to care for ourselves on this foundational level of our existence.  I can tell you there are people within governments that are interested in it!  The power and control oriented among us have already designed and employed manipulative tools/weapons that operate by affecting human vibrational frequencies.  Some devices with weapon potential, such as HAARP, have the potential to affect weather as well as the mental state of human beings, even at a long distance.  Conspiracy theory?  No, just plain fact.  HAARP can affect the weather because, if for no other reason, by affecting vibrational frequency of the air, the air temperature can be affected.  Even a 1 or 2 degree shift can make a difference.  With people it’s essentially just as simple a process.  

In neurofeedback practice sometimes we encounter a client who is stuck within certain frequencies, unable to shift their functioning to work primarily on a different frequency.  In these cases a practitioner can employ a vibrating cushion or pillow.  Inside the cushion or pillow there is a device which will produce a vibration at the frequency which is the “target” frequency of the training.  Say, if you’re trying to help a client produce brainwaves at a frequency of 12 hz, the cushion/pillow will vibrate at 12 hz.  The vibration of the cushion/pillow will, in effect, “drive” the client’s brainwaves to the desired frequency.  Then, once they have experienced 12 hz and become familiar with what 12 hz feels like, the cushion is no longer needed and the client’s brain can go there on it’s own.  The client has added another frequency of mental activity to their thought/focus repertoire!  

Now think for a minute, what if you’re not an honest, ethical neurofeedback practitioner?  What if you’re a person with an agenda who doesn’t care about the health and well-being of others?  What is there to prevent such a person from directing electromagnetic waves at specific frequencies at high enough amplitude to make a difference at another person?  (This would work in the same way as the cushion/pillow to “drive” another’s brainwaves.)  If such a person or group possesses the relatively simple equipment it would take and has an ample power source, at this time there’s little to nothing to stop them from affecting other people or even communities.  What can be accomplished by doing such a thing?  At very low frequencies (approx. 9 hz and lower):  drowsiness, lethargy would affect most.  Paradoxically some might show symptoms of anxiety and paranoia.  At higher frequencies (19 hz and above):  anxiety, fearfulness, anger, paranoia could be induced.  I don’t think I need to go into a lot of explanation at why someone might want to induce these symptoms.  Use your imagination.  

Because the waves can be broadcast over as large an area as the person doing so has the equipment and power source to accomplish, there are implications for population manipulation involving whole cities.  This reality conjures up thoughts of the “disrupters” the crew of the Enterprise used in Star Trek episodes.  The commonly cited range for human hearing is between 20 hz to 20 khz.  So we may or may not be able to hear such electromagnetic wave activity.  Even if the “target” frequency wasn’t outside the realm of day to day functioning, having our mind induced via high amplitude wave bombardment to constant activity within the beta range, at 17 or 18 hz, would over time (a matter of hours or days depending upon personal stamina) become quite tiring and would wear us down. I suspect it would eventually drive us quite mad.  As with many things a slight difference in our brainwave frequencies over time can be just as devastating (or beneficial) as a large difference happening suddenly.

So for better or for worse humankind has woken up to the reality of the energetic foundation of our reality.  It is really no different than all the other discoveries humankind has made;  fire, tools, gunpowder, dynamite, electricity, jet and rocket engines, atomic/nuclear power, solar power, lasers.  They are all just things.  Things that can be used to our benefit or our detriment.  And that is how it is with our burgeoning knowledge of our energetic foundation.  What will make the difference is what is inside us:  our motives, dreams, desires, intentions.  Will we move into our work in this area with mutuality and harmony in our hearts and flourish?  Or…

In closing I want to reinforce that neurofeedback is about training a voluntary shift in brainwave activity, not compelling a person to conform.  Also that meditative practices can and do affect the frequencies of our brainwave production.  Having a meditative practice which either calms and relaxes us or one that teaches us improved concentration and focus can be very valuable.  Here are a couple links to related articles:

How Meditation Changes Your Brain Frequency

Brainwaves and Meditation

We are composed of energy, we are energy beings.  The frequency and amplitude of our being and the electromagnetic wave reality of our environment are inherently important aspects of our lives!  Facts and logic inform us that having a healthful environment in terms of the electromagnetic wave reality around us is as important as clean air and clean water!

Don’t Play The Victim To Circumstances You Created

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

“Don’t play the victim to circumstances you created.”  I saw that statement on Facebook and it hit me like cold shower.  Wow.  So simple yet so profound.  I would alter it some to read;  “Don’t play the victim to circumstances that you helped to create.”  The latter statement sums up what is going on with the issue of illegal immigration to the U.S.  The U.S., as a nation, is experiencing the consequences of decades of supporting tyrants and greed in Mexico, Central and South America and elsewhere.  Everyone who believes it is too much trouble to  pay attention to politics needs to wake up, politics can and will affect your life!

What do we expect when the U.S. government, and U.S. corporations, have spent hundreds of millions of dollars supporting leaders and methods which render countries unlivable for vast numbers of the populations of those countries?  

We cannot as a people continue to ignore a simple reality;  we need to be working to build a culture which is supportive and nurturing of whole and healthful human life.  And we need to support such efforts elsewhere.  What we are doing now, as a matter of national policy and culture is worshiping the “bottom line”.  It’s all about the money.  We have become a species in which too much of what we, as a species, are engaged in seems hellbent in destroying our environment…and ourselves.  Often or always in the name of corporate and/or personal “profit”.  It seems human kind these days has narrowly defined “profit” to include only monetary or material gain.  This is proving to be a very costly error in reasoning.

In order to correct things one thing is certain, there needs to be balance brought back into our economic reality.  There is an absolute need for us, as a species, to recognize our mutuality and keep each other’s well-being in mind.

Why focus on something so mundane as money rather than lofty sentiments about love and/or spirituality?  Because what is happening with the material wealth we possess is a visible measure of what is happening with our spiritual reality.  No matter all the high platitudes being written and spoken, the truth of our internal state is apparent in our external state.

We usually think of external/worldly change happening as a result of an internal change, however, the reverse can also be true.  Sometimes when we realize the absolute need for an external/worldly change, and act upon that realization, the dynamics precipitate a fulfillment of the change within our psycho-emotional make-up.

So, as we look around at the increasing poverty and suffering of the many on one side of the scale and the extravagant, inordinate wealth of the few on the other, isn’t it obvious what needs to be done?   The only question is how is it going to happen?  Because when things get too far out of balance, the natural tendency toward a viable balance will assert itself, that’s as inherent a reality as gravity.  (As above so below, as below so above.) Will it happen in a caring, thoughtful manner or in a chaotic, traumatic series of events?  Like so much else that happens in this world, it’s all up to us.

July 2017: I need to add that the predatory exploitation of developing and/or “third-world” countries has not been limited to the United States or corporations headquartered in the U.S.  Also, the problem of refugees and immigrants is not limited to the United States.