Category Archives: Skillful Living

Wisdom From 1400 Years Ago

“Attend to these instructions.  Listen with the heart and the mind;  they are provided in a spirit of goodwill.”

“These words  are addressed to anyone who is willing to renounce the delusion that the meaning of life can be learned; whoever is ready to take up the greater weapon of fidelity to a way of living that transcends understanding.”

“The first rule is simply this: live this life and do whatever is done in a spirit of Thanksgiving.”

“Abandon attempts to achieve security, they are futile.”

“Give up the search for wealth, it is demeaning.”

“Quit the search for salvation, it is selfish.”

“Come to comfortable rest in the certainty that those who participate in this life with an attitude of Thanksgiving will receive its full promise.” ¹

¹ A modern paraphrase of the beginning of The Rule of Saint Benedict, by John McQuiston II, in Always We Begin Again, ISBN 0-8192-1648-8

Our Shadow Sides

“Unless we come to terms with our shadow side, we are condemned to become its unwitting victim.”

                —Carl Jung

Once again I’ve been dealing with a disruptive work schedule and ongoing health challenges which sharply limit time to research and to post.

In an effort to post regularly during these episodes, I offer a link, this time to an article offering insight into development of personality.


A Trip Down Memory Lane

In early childhood I once fell in with naughty little boys behaving in naughty little ways, with no great evil resulting from our juvenile pranks.

Nevertheless my mother could see that first steps had been taken on a road that could in future lead to more seriously negative results.

She admonished me gently, noting that although it might seem easier to do wrong than to do right, always choosing the hard-seeming right over the easy-seeming wrong was the best way to live.

“Why, Mommy?”

In essence she replied that although I was too young to understand, she wanted me to trust her, and always to choose the hard-seeming right over the easy-seeming wrong.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered years later that no less a luminary than Maimonides, (1135-1204, Spain),¹ wrote in a way that closely harmonizes with my mother’s admonition:

¹ “Prefer the truth and right by which you seem to lose,

  to the falsehood and wrong by which you seem to gain.”

For your wisdom, Mother, across the grave, respectfully, I thank you.


Mental Housecleaning

Last week’s post didn’t happen, swamped as I was with a combination of work and health related pressure.

This week is a bit better.  I have time to squeeze in a brief post.

That having been said, lets talk about negative thinking, one way or another a subject of discussion for literally millennia. 

Instead of rehashing ancient commentary, I offer discussion from the viewpoint of modern neuroscience which you can read by clicking on the link below.

Living the Indian Way

With the exception of certain documentaries its fair to say that Hollywood productions are unreliable sources of accurate information about almost anything, particularly indigenous cultures found anywhere in the world.

Having for years been steeped in Hollywood representations of American Indians, imagine my surprise when, as a young adult, I discovered writings by highly literate, acutely perceptive Native Americans, describing their histories, cultures, traditions, religious beliefs, and more.

Cultural differences notwithstanding, it seems that at one point in recent time, an inter-tribal council of elders agreed upon a code of ethics suitable for Native Americans of whatever tribe. ¹

The main points are presented below—

1- Each morning upon arising, and each evening before sleeping, give thanks for the life within you, and for all life and for the good things the Creator has given you and others, and for the opportunity to grow a little more each day.

Consider your thoughts and actions of the past day and seek for the courage and strength to be a better person. 

Seek for the things that will benefit everyone.

2- Respect—Respect means ‘to feel or show honor or esteem for someone or something with deference or courtesy.’  Showing respect is basic law of life.

  • Treat every person, from the tiniest child to the eldest elder with respect at all times.
  • Special respect should be given to elders, parents, teachers, and community leaders.
  • No person should be made to feel ‘put down’ by you; avoid hurting others as you would avoid a deadly poison.
  • Touch nothing that belongs to someone else (especially sacred objects) without permission, or an understanding between you.
  • Respect the privacy of every person.  Never intrude on a person’s quiet moments or personal space.
  • Never walk between people that are conversing; nor do you interrupt people who are conversing.
  • Speak in a soft voice, especially when you are in the presence of elders, strangers, or others to whom special respect is due.
  • Do not speak unless invited to do so at gatherings where elders are present (except to ask what is expected of you, should you be in doubt).
  • Never speak about others in a negative way, whether they are present or not.
  • Treat the Earth and all her aspects as your mother.  Show deep respect for the mineral world, the plant world, and the animal world.  Do nothing to pollute the air, the water or the soil.  If others would destroy our mother, rise with wisdom to defend her. ♠
  • Show deep respect for the beliefs and religions of others.
  • Listen with courtesy to what others say, even if you feel that what they are saying is worthless.  Listen with your heart.

3 – Respect the wisdom of the people in council.  Once you give an idea to a council or a meeting, it no longer belongs to you.  It belongs to the people.  Respect demands that you listen intently to the ideas of others in council and that you do not insist that your idea prevail.  Indeed, you should freely support the ideas of others if they are true and good, even if  they are quite different from the ones you have contributed.  The clash of ideas brings forth the spark of truth.

  • Once a council has decided something in unity, respect demands that no one speak secretly against what has been decided.  If the council has made an error, that error will become apparent to everyone in its own time.

4 – Be truthful at all times, and under all conditions.

5 – Always treat your guest with honor and consideration.  Give of our best food, your best blankets, the best of your house, and your best service to your guests.

6 – The hurt of one is the hurt of all; the honor of one is the honor of all. ♠

7 – Receive strangers and outsiders with a loving heart and as members of the human family. ♠

8 – All the races and tribes of the world are like the different colored flowers of a field.  All are beautiful.  As children of the Creator, they must all be respected. ♠

9 – To serve others, to be of some use to family, community, nation, or the world, is one of the main purposes for which human beings have been created.  Do not fill yourself with your own affairs, and forget your most important task.  True happiness comes only to those who dedicate their lives to the service of others. ♠

10 – Observe moderation and balance in all things.

11 – Know those things that lead to your well being, and those things that lead to your destruction.

12 – Listen to and follow the guidance given to you your heart.  Expect guidance to come in many forms: in prayer, in dreams, in times of quiet solitude, and in the words and deeds of wise elders and friends.

Not bad for supposedly ignorant savages !

♠ The following Shinto saying dating from 6th century Japan hints at a similarity of world view across ancient cultures:

“Regard Heaven as your Father, Earth as your mother,

all things as your brothers and sisters,

and you will enjoy the divine country that excels all others.”

It seems also to hint at harmony with a finding of quantum physics—that everything is interconnected—that everything affects everything else.

¹ Sacred Tree – Reflections on Native American Spirituality, ISBN 0-941524-58-2, is the source of the code of ethics.


Disclosure statements: 

I am not a Native American.

I have no financial interest in any publication cited anywhere on my blog.

Reality Check (13th)

In the early 20th century, a couple traveling by car on a rural road discovered that they were about to run out of gasoline.

At that time, gas stations were few and far between unless you lived in a city.

One could travel for miles without seeing a house, and telephone service in rural areas was spotty at best.

The situation they faced was thus fairly serious.

They decided to practice what they had learned in lessons offered by a metaphysical school to the effect that “Thoughts held in mind produce after their kind.”

They held steadily to the thought that “Divine order is at work in our lives, bringing forth perfect results in perfect timing.”

They drove on. And on and on. The gas gauge reached empty.

It stayed there.

As we say, the car was running on fumes, and continued to do so long after anyone could reasonably believe there was still gasoline in the fuel tank.

Eventually they reached a gas station and weren’t surprised to find that their fuel tank was empty.

Having refilled their tank, they finished their journey, resolving to tell their metaphysical school teacher about their successful demonstration of the power of right thought.

The teacher smiled, was silent for a moment, and then asked, “Why did you stop?”

The couple had an experience of higher consciousness.

For a time they were free of the limitations of mortal thought regarding quantities and values.

The sight of the gas station triggered their old beliefs and habits of thought, and they jumped right back to a lower level of consciousness.

Anyone sincerely walking a spiritual path will sooner or later have experiences of higher consciousness.

This is only to be expected.

The trick is to become stable in that higher consciousness.

“Excellence is not a gift given but a skill perfected. The key is self-discipline.”

Quotation from a motivational poster seen in a variety store

Concerning Integrity

Commonly, integrity refers to someone’s honesty—to the fact that his or her word can be trusted.

Integrity can also signify that a person’s values and life style form an integrated, harmonious whole.

No conflicts.

No inconsistencies / conflicts among beliefs, work, diet, politics, relationships, use of money / free time, goals selected and pursued, any part of life.

For most of us, this is a tall order, requiring persistent self-examination, self-correction.

Regarding the above…

“Patience obtains all things..”—Ancient Egyptian wisdom

“There is no defeat so long as there is effort.”—Eastern wisdom, specific source forgotten.

“Excellence is not a gift given, but a skill perfected.  The key is self-discipline.”—Motivational poster seen in a variety store.

“Do you have yourself in your own power? Than truly you are more powerful than the one who conquers a city.”—Source unknown

A common definition of courage—aggressive self-assertion.

An uncommon definition of courage—absolute self-control.

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”—Mahatma Gandhi

Is God A Verb?

This post, likely to rank as the most abstract, theoretical effort so far, is an invitation to read, draw no conclusions, let the contents rest easy in your mind, and see what comes to you.   

All major religions agree there’s no limit to The Almighty.

No limit = beyond all categories because any category implies limit; if you’re tall, you’re not short, if you’re rich, you’re not poor, if you’re unconditional love you’re not judgement and hate, etc.

Stating that The Almighty is infinite means not merely “beyond all limit”, but also that The Almighty is everything.

So it would be true that what we call “God” is both noun and verb, more accurately all nouns and verbs. 

Equally true, “God”, (“The Almighty”, whatever you want to call “it” ¹), is all cause and all effect, as well as the Creator, the creation, and the container of creation.

If you really want to torque your head, try this:  If “God” is beyond all limit, then it logically follows that “God”, (“The Almighty”, whatever,) is both limitless and limited, simultaneously. ²

Parts of various scriptures, philosophical writings, and some poetry seem to hit all around this notion of God as The All without scoring bulls-eyes.

If history reveals anything it is that dissolution and growth have been aspects of the same phenomenon.  Growth has not occurred anywhere without involving dissolution.  Every major cultural change throughout history has involved the two-fold process of death and emergence.” ♥

“Die and Become.

Till thou hast learned this

Thou art but a dull guest

On this dark planet.” ♠

“The seed that is to grow

must lose itself as seed;

And they that creep

may graduate through

chrysalis to wings.

Wilt thou then O mortal,

cling to husks which

falsely seem to you the self?” ♦

“A death blow is a life blow to some

Who till they died, did not alive become;

Who, had they lived, had died, but when

They died, vitality begun.” ♣

“Oh, let the self exalt itself,

Not sink itself below:

Self  is the only friend of self,

And self Self’s only foe.

For self when it subdues itself,

Befriends itself. And so

When it eludes self-conquest, is

Its own and only foe.

So, calm, so self-subdued, the Self

Has an unshaken base

Through pain and pleasure, cold and heat,

Through honor and disgrace.” ◊

“I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: ³  I the Lord do all these things.”

¹ If “God”, or “The Almighty” or whatever, is everything, then labels such as He/She/Father/Mother, all limiting, are all equally inaccurate.  On the other hand “it”, while gender neutral, strikes English speakers as insultingly disrespectful.

On the other side of the world, Indians have a similar attitude.  Both cultures choose respect over strict accuracy, assigning masculine pronouns to refer to an Ultimate Reality freely acknowledged to transcend all limiting categories.

² Paradox—A statement that seems contradictory, unbelievable, or absurd, but that may in fact be true.  So…”The Almighty” as resolution of all paradox? Make up your own mind.

³ Tanakh, The Jewish Bible, reads: “I make weal and create woe…”

Bernard Eugene Meland—1899- ?, American philosopher, professor of religion, from an article in The Personalist.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe—1739-1832, German philosopher, poet,  in Selige Sehnsucht

Wu Ming Fu—Chinese philosopher, poet, in Patterns in Jade

♣ Emily Dickinson—1830-1886, American poet.

Bhagavad-Gita—The “New Testament” of Hindu Scripture, first century B.C.

Old Testament, KJV— Isaiah 45:7


Symptoms and Causes

”   If you have made many efforts, as you probably have, to set things right, but without any real success, the reason is to be found just here:  You have been tampering with symptoms and leaving your mind, the real cause of the trouble, untouched.

     You have been wrestling with circumstances, with people, with things, and leaving your mind unchanged; and it is just this mind of yours that is causing all the trouble all the time, and will continue to do so as long as it remains in its present state.

     You have been struggling to transform yourself by renewing your conditions, whereas the Law is that we are transformed by the renewing of our minds.

     If you want perfect health; if you want abundant prosperity; happiness, a good home, congenial friends, beauty, joy and thrilling interest in life, you can have them, if you really want them; but you must want them enough to take trouble enough to find the only way to get them.  You must want them enough to take trouble enough to learn how to think, because thought is the only cause! ” 

                      —From the writings of Emmet Fox

Thoughts on Abortion (2nd)

Is some of the uproar over abortion, birth control, etc. an attempt to regain lost power and influence?

These days religious freedom, that is, freedom to practice one’s own religion, does not give one the right to tell others what to do.

T’was not ever thus.

In past time, conservative religious groups held considerable power over the population as a whole, as well as over their adherents.

Consider these examples of power lost:

   ◊   Control of family life by banning abortion and birth control.  In disagreement, many people, and not just the irreligious, quietly, (or not so quietly), ignore the bans.

   ◊   Control of family life by banning or penalizing divorce.  In disagreement, people for the most part pay no heed to this.  They divorce at will for reasons such as infidelity, infertility, or infelicity, among others.

   ◊    Control of society through imposition of their views on human sexuality, which were encoded in secular law, which punished perceived moral infractions, and/or sexual activities that religious dogma found to be sinful, such as homosexuality.

   ◊   Let’s talk about influence on culture in general.  For long years conservative religious groups had sufficient influence to dictate what literature, movies, stage plays, and elements of fashion and even of speech were morally acceptable.

Exercise of these powers was defended with reference to perfect (?) infallible (?) sources of divine guidance: sacred books, sacred persons, etc.

On the other hand, exercise of these powers can be described as coercion of conscience—and as an example of spiritual pride—the notion that The Almighty, however understood, speaks exclusively to one’s group.

Exercise of these powers seems to be based on an assumption that freedom to make personal moral decisions, (and to live with the positive/negative consequences thereof), exists only to the extent that such decisions align with certain groups’ notions of right and wrong.

Is this real freedom of conscience? ¹

Some conservative groups seem to pay lip service to freedom of conscience, while denying it in policy and practice.

Is this hypocrisy? ¹

Does great moral urgency ² ever justify coercion of conscience—that is, compelling people to live their lives in obedience to someone else’s moral standards?

I sincerely believe that practice of one’s particular religion does not give one the right to tell others how to behave, still less to use any means, overt, covert, direct or oblique to compel specific behavior.

¹ These questions are not sly propaganda designed to lead readers to a specific conclusion. Make up your own mind.

² As found in the “pro-life” position, for example.

Thoughts on Abortion (1st)

Being against abortion means you’re pro-life ?

Consider the following:

I do not believe that just because you’re opposed to abortion that that makes you pro-life.

I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed.

And why would I think that you don’t?

Because you don’t want any tax money to go there.

That’s not pro-life.

That’s pro-birth.

We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is. ” ¹

The crux of Chittister’s ¹ point is that there’s a difference between advocating for birth and advocating for that child’s entire life.

If antiabortion proponents are truly ‘pro-life’, then those same legislators would not argue for defunding programs like those that provide school lunches or health care.

Many people who oppose abortion also oppose access to contraceptives (!)

Antiabortion congressmen have consistently also advocated for defunding Planned Parenthood, which provides women with birth control options.” ²

¹ Sister Joan Chittister, O.S.B., a Benedictine Sister of Erie, Pennsylvania, is an international lecturer, and award winning author of over 50 books.  Her multiple degrees include a doctorate.

² Quotations in this post appeared in: Author: Eleanor Sheehan—first published 02/01/17, republished 05/17/19

Concerning Evil

Philosophers have consumed much air and ink expounding on evil—likewise theologians.

My take on evil is that it’s not an objective reality so much as a misperception, the direct result of individual and mass ignorance.

Ignorance of what?

Glad you asked. 

It seems that we humans are in the midst of a paradigm shift.

A paradigm is the totality of how a person, a group, or an entire culture views reality.

A paradigm shift occurs when previously unnoticed truth is recognized.

This truth isn’t new.  It always existed but was unrecognized because purpose and attention were focused elsewhere.

I nominate Newtonian philosophy as our “about-to-be-replaced” paradigm, and quantum physics as the “previously unnoticed truth”, the discoveries (and practical implications) of which are working their way into the mass consciousness at an ever-accelerating rate.

“The Western scientific community, and actually all of us are in a difficult spot, because in order to maintain our current mode of being, we must ignore a tremendous amount of information.”

                   —Cleve Backster, plant researcher and former CIA agent

“To be a true explorer in science—to follow the unprejudiced lead of pure scientific inquiry—is to be unafraid to propose the unthinkable, and to prove friends, colleagues, and scientific paradigms wrong.”

                   —Lynne McTaggart, author of The Field

Paradigm-shattering experiments published in peer-reviewed journals reveal that we’re bathed in a field of intelligent energy that fills what used to be thought of as empty space.

Additional discoveries show beyond any reasonable doubt that this field responds to usit rearranges itself—in the presence of our heart-based feelings and beliefs.  And this is the revolution that changes everything.—(italics mine)

                   —Greg Braden, author of The Spontaneous Healing Of Belief

Let’s talk about this field of intelligent energy.  It “…rearranges itself in the presence of our heart-held feelings and beliefs…”

To what end?

Ancient wisdom states that “moment by moment, the Almighty / The Field ? is taking shape in (our) lives according to the exact pattern of our thoughts, words, and deeds.”

Continuing…many people believe that The Almighty is opposed by Satan.

Said another way, many people believe in two opposing forces.  We might call them spiritual dualists.

Others believe that “there is but one Presence and one Power in all the universe; God the Good Omnipotent.”  We might call them spiritual monists.

If The Field / The Almighty ?, makes our sincere beliefs manifest in our lives, the answer to the question, “which of the above two positions is right” is astounding.

From the viewpoint of The Field / The Almighty, both are right.

The Field makes our true, sincere beliefs manifest in our lives unconditionally—the exact pattern of our thoughts, words, and deeds, whatever it may be, no exceptions.

So everyone is building his/her own world/experiences knowingly or unknowingly, simply by thinking.

Now, finally, back to evil.

If we believe that people are out to get us, or that everyone is dishonest, or that life’s a bitch and then you die, or that all cops are corrupt, etc., that’s what we’ll experience.

We make the good.  We make the evil.  Our world exactly mirrors our thoughts.

Our ignorance of this process causes our belief that evil has objective existence, because bad things happen to us and we don’t know why.

Whatever we experience of “good” or “evil” is somehow first birthed in our minds.

Truly, what we birthed we can kill.

Said more mildly—change our (sincere!) beliefs = change our world.

“There is no such thing as destiny.  We ourselves shape our own lives.”


Concerning Breath (3rd)

Navy SEALs and oriental monks agree…?

“Most of the workings of our bodies are driven by unconscious intelligence. . .With the breath however we discover something of great importance.  While breathing can well be a completely unconscious process,. . . it  is also possible to consciously control the flow of breath.  This unique quality of the breath—that it can be both conscious and unconscious—makes it a link between the conscious and unconscious aspects of our being.” —Breathing by Michael Sky, pages 21-22

Breathing, something we take for granted, has been the subject of much commentary in past centuries.

Monks / Nuns of various religions have discovered much about conscious breathing which remains, for the present, under-investigated by mainstream Western science.

While digging into this topic, I chanced upon a discussion of “box breathing”—a stress relief technique practiced by United States Navy SEALs.

SEALs ?  That pack of cast iron hard asses relieve stress using a conscious breathing technique that could well have been developed in a Hindu / Buddhist monastery?

SEALs are too strongly results-oriented to pay attention to something that doesn’t work.

For skeptics, that might be an incentive to take the whole topic of conscious breathing seriously.

Click on the link below to read a discussion of “box breathing.”

More on breathing later.

Navy SEALs Use a Technique Called “Box Breathing” to Relieve Stress and So Can You

Concerning Breath (2nd)

Every cell of the human body is, at its core, an atomic reactor of the most exquisite design that is continuously engaged in the conversion of matter into energy and energy into matter.

The material constituents of this dual conversion process are carried to the heart of each cell via physical systems that are well understood by Western science; however, free-flowing universal energy is carried to the heart of each cell as well by a subtle circulatory system that Western science has yet to describe.

Our breath is the…mechanism that drives this subtle circulatory system.

The primary way…humans convert energy into physical form is through the breath.

With every breath we take, we are gathering and transforming the raw material of our bodies and minds.

The degree of consciousness…we bring to our breathing determines the nature of our physical and mental manifestations.

The rate, rhythm, depth, intensity, physical manner, and mental attention of each breath contribute precisely to the movement and embodiment of (subtle) energy within our lives. ” ¹

¹ The text of this post is quoted from Breathing, by Michael Sky, ISBN 0-939680-82-3

More On Environment

Click on the link below to read a truly astounding article.

Although the reporters take a small swipe at the Trump administration, given the facts presented, it seems to me utterly irrelevant.

The fact that it’s happening at all grabs my attention—also that neither party can spare time from inter-party strife to do anything about it. ¹ ²

¹ “Only fools fight in a burning house.”—(Paraphrasing) a line from Star Trek

²  For contrast to the above described pollution, someone who claims to know what he’s talking about once stated that 3% of all the ice in Antarctica is actually frozen penguin piss.

Food For Thought

An imbecile habit has arisen in modern controversy of saying that such and such a creed can be held in one age but cannot be held in another.

Some dogma, we are told, was credible in the twelfth century but is not credible in (the twenty-first).

You might as well say that a certain philosophy can be believed on Mondays, but cannot be believed on Tuesdays.

You might as well say of a view of the cosmos that it was suitable for half-past three, but not suitable for half-past four.

What (a person) believes depends on ( his/her ) philosophy, not upon the clock or the century. ” ¹

¹   G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, ISBN 978-0-385-0156-3

Concerning Breath (1st)

” Religions are numberless

sects many

yet all follow only two ways:

one takes you to knowledge

and the other to love.

Reaching the goal

one discovers with surprise

that there is no knowledge

separate from love;

that, truly, love is knowledge

and the secret gate to both is one:

the breath.” °

“It has been known for centuries that it is possible to induce profound changes of consciousness by techniques which involve breathing.

The procedures that have been used for this purpose by ancient and non-western cultures cover a wide range from drastic interferences with breathing to subtle and sophisticated exercises of the various spiritual traditions.

Thus the original form of baptism as it was practiced by the Essenes involved forced submersion of the initiate under water, which typically brought the individual close to death by suffocation.

This drastic procedure induced a convincing experience of death and rebirth, a far cry from its modern form involving sprinkling of water and a verbal formula.

In some other groups, the neophytes were half-choked by smoke, by strangulation, or by compression of the carotid arteries.

Profound changes in consciousness can be induced by both extremes in the breathing rate—hyperventilation and prolonged withholding of breath—or a combination of both.” ¹

“Respiration has a special position among the physiological functions of the body.  It is an autonomous function, but it can be easily influenced by volition.  Increase of the rate and depth of breathing typically loosens psychological defenses and leads to release and emergence of the unconscious (and superconscious) material.” ²

As the foregoing quotations indicate, controlled breathing can work changes in our lives.

For most of us, the first thought in our minds would be, “Who knew?”

No special knowledge is required for what we’d all call “normal breathing.”

It just happens. 

But when we begin to practice controlled breathing, its helps to know some of what our ancient ancestors knew about using such techniques and what results they expected.

More on this later.

° C. M. Chen as quoted by Frederick Leboyer, The Art of Breathing, (London, Element Books, 1979, pg 1

¹ Stanislav Grof, The Adventure of Self-Disccovery, Albany, State University of New York Press, 1988, pg 170

² Grof, The Adventure of Self-Discovery, pg 171

Reality Check (12th)

In various ways, in eleven previous installments, Reality Check (1st through 11th), I’ve discussed what I know of the power of thought, and for a time I toyed with the notion of moving on to other topics. But truth to tell, I’m drawn to this topic repeatedly.

It’s long been said that the power of thought was known to some of our truly ancient ancestors for at least 5,000 years.

Usually, such knowledge was passed from mind to mind in deep secrecy.

Why the secrecy—the usual mix of human frailties ?

Or perhaps a “socially responsible” desire to keep great power from people too unevolved to use it wisely, much like parents locking firearms in a gun safe to keep them from the hands of a naive four-year-old?  I really don’t know.

I do know that humanity is experiencing a rebirth of awareness of the power of disciplined thought, and, however slowly it may be seeping into the mass awareness, rate of penetration is accelerating and seemingly unstoppable.

Curiously, the usual interest groups just don’t exist to be tracked by any who might find this universalisation of personal power inconvenient for the maintenance of their own selfish agendas.¹

Usual interest groups?

Members of a typical interest group have more than one common interest / characteristic—they’re some combination of ingredients: rich, poor, white, Black, Native American, oriental, christian, atheist, republican, democrat, veteran, skilled crafts-person, alcoholic, divorced, thin, fat, hypochondriac, healthy athletic, computer nerd, conservationist, industrialist, anarchist, optimist, pessimist, cop, robber, “…doctor, lawyer, Indian chief…”  The list could go on forever.

Groups investigating the power of thought are all too often, with the sole exception of this interest, heterogeneous.

Members gather for study / encouragement then go their separate ways, returning to their usual settings, for the most part having nothing else to do with each other.

These groups are not here today, gone tomorrow.  They’re stable.

My conclusion?  Anytime something cuts across racial, ethnic, political, and socioeconomic class lines in such a fashion you can bet the farm it’s touching people in a deep way.

This “something” is evidently worth more to them than the exercise of their typical group prejudices.

Some sharp inner hunger is being fed?

Are these folks reconnecting with a long-forgotten aspect of true human nature and, perhaps, for the sake of this benefit they’re motivated to suspend usual reactions to certain groups? ²

¹ For example, as more and more of us learn to heal ourselves through the power of disciplined thought, will stockholders in “big pharma” rejoice?

² Animals do something similar during forest fires.  Prey and predator alike race for water, taking refuge, side by side, on any convenient island, sand bar, or rock pile.  The prey / predator game is suspended for the duration.

A Book Review

In 2017, Thich Naht Hanh, an internationally known Zen teacher, published a little gem of a booklet titled How To Fight. ¹ 

A Buddhist monk discussing fighting tactics!?

Not to worry.  The venerable monk does not offer us ways to win a bar fight. 

The “battle tactics” relate closely to this old saying:  More powerful is he who conquers himself than he who takes a city.

A sample quotation follows.


When we want to prove a point, we may be tempted to twist the truth or say something that is only partially true.

We may exaggerate by intentionally making something out to be greater or more extreme then it is.

We may add, embellish, or invent details to prove we are right.

This kind of speech can lead to misunderstanding and distrust.

We have to practice speaking the truth and speaking it skillfully.  If we’re not skillful, we may say something that we think is truthful but it still might make others suffer or despair.

Just because we have observed or experienced something doesn’t mean we should speak about it if doing so will make others suffer.

When we see someone suffer because of something we have said, we might say, “Well, I was only telling the truth.”

It may have been the truth, but it may also have been unskillful and hurtful.

Loving speech requires telling the truth in such a way that it benefits others, the world, and ourselves.

When we tell the truth, we do so with compassion; we speak in such a way that the hearer can accept what we’re saying.

¹ ISBN 978-1-941529-86-7

Please note:  I have no financial interest in any book discussed in any way in my blog.

Reality Check (11th)

While cleaning out old files I chanced upon a letter I sent many years ago to a third degree Wiccan high priestess regarding a health issue she had mentioned on her coven’s web page. ¹

As I reread it, it occurred to me that it might be of interest to those who are following my Reality Check series, because it touches directly on the power of thought.

With names and addresses omitted, here it is.

Respectful greetings, (name),

On (your website) you mention having hereditary grand mal seizures.  Please consider the following line of reasoning which may prove helpful in eliminating this challenge from your life.

The primordial All-Mother /  All-Father may be thought of as: life, love, intelligence, substance, omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence.  No combination of these properties will produce disease. The primordial All-Mother /  All-Father is our true heredity parentage.  Therefore we cannot inherit disease.

The subconscious mind has a powerful “lifeward thrust”, which it makes manifest in our lives, subject to the limitations of mortal thought accepted as true by the conscious mind.

The subconscious mind never argues with the conscious mind, so whatever we believe to be true is what the subconscious mind makes manifest in our lives.

It is always fully aware of what we really believe.

It contains the perfect blueprint for our physical bodies, and can regenerate or recalibrate any parts or processes at any time, at any speed, in the teeth of any so-called insurmountable obstacles.

The subconscious mind can instantly heal, provided that such healing is not inhibited by the limitations of mortal thought regarding what is/is not possible, (such as false beliefs about the immutability of hereditary conditions).

There is no limit to what the subconscious mind can make manifest in our lives, although getting out of its way may take patience and persistence if a false belief has become deeply rooted.

In view of the foregoing, logically, our mental diet is one of the most important aspects of our lives.

The limitations of mortal thought cannot bind us without our consent.

Our freedom exactly matches that of our true heredity parentage, our primordial All-Mother /  All-Father.

Blesséd be!

(signature added)

¹ At the time of writing, this was a private letter (to a complete stranger).  I didn’t include footnotes, but now, having published it on a blog anyone can read, I feel compelled to do so.

However, I’m having difficulty remembering just what I was reading so many years ago. After much consideration the sketchy list below is, for now, the best I can do.

Sources:  Joseph Murphy, Ph.D., D.D.

Emmet Fox

Unity Institute.