Thursday, February 25, 2016

Letting Go of the Adult Blankie

     Abraham Maslow's "law of the instrument" is about the common tendency to overly rely on the most familiar tool: If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to treat everything as if it were a nail.
     Most of us, including mental-health professionals, don’t realize the extent to which we overuse & even identify
(cognitive fusion) with linear discursive thinking & it’s constant echo, “self-talk”.
     As a result, we subconsciously erect roadblocks between our superficial self-concept & a much deeper reality. Such resistance comes in many forms: from
tending to resist meditation practice, trivializing such practices, fearful distrust, all the way to aggressive antagonism towards anything (esp meditation) that may loosen our (ego's) fearful grip on what we (incorrectly) assume to be our one & only reliable cognitive tool by which to control life.
     ALL of us, including yours truly, at some level, resist releasing this tool since it’s firmly tied to the ego. Our linear discursive conditioned egoic level of consciousness believes that releasing exclusive reliance & identification with this superficial level of consciousness is death! But of course it isn't. If it were, we'd die each time we made love - "la petite mort" refers to a brief weakening or release of egoic sense of self. Optimal health involves learning to hold our sense of self ever so lightly, not clutching it in terror like a drowning victim clings to a small piece of wood.
     Hence the incredible patience, gentleness, skillfulness, & persistence needed for us to discover, & learn to trust, our deeper post-symbolic intelligence. See:!What-Lies-Beneath-our-Thick-Armour/c17jj/56cc59920cf24bcda4714415

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Ways of Knowing - Depths of Perception

     “In the early part of the twentieth century, IQ became the big issue. Our intellectual or rational intelligence is what we use to solve logical or strategic problems. Psychologists devised tests for measuring it, and these tests became the means for sorting people into degrees of intelligence, known as their intelligence quotient or IQ, that could allegedly signpost their abilities. The higher a person’s IQ, the theory went, the higher their intelligence.
     In the mid-1990s, Daniel Goleman popularized research from many neuroscientists and psychologists showing that emotional intelligence (EQ) is of equal importance. EQ gives us our awareness of our own and other people’s feelings. It gives us empathy, compassion, motivation and the ability to respond appropriately to pain or pleasure. As Goleman pointed out, EQ is a basic requirement for the effective use of IQ. If the brain areas with which we feel are damaged, we think less effectively. 
     Now, at the end of the century, an array of recent but so far undigested scientific data shows us that there is a third ‘Q’. The full picture of human intelligence can be completed with a discussion of our spiritual intelligence (SQ). By SQ I mean the intelligence with which we address and solve problems of meaning and value, the intelligence with which we can assess that one course of action or one life-path is more meaningful than another. SQ is the necessary foundation for the effective functioning of both IQ and EQ. It is our ultimate intelligence.”

        Danah Zohar. “SQ - Spiritual Intelligence - The Ultimate Intelligence.” Bloomsbury Paperbacks, 2012. 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Not Quite It - Keep Letting Go, Opening, Letting Go, Opening, ...

     Our current self-concept & worldview, based on default egoic (personal–verbal, linear discursive) thinking, is not factual. What we think we know about ourselves & the world, is, like all current scientific understanding, is just a paradigm - the best, for now, simplified model of infinitely complex reality.
     Those who have spent decades meditating, contemplating, & embodying wisdom traditions have a surprisingly similar view:

     "We could regard enlightenment as the complete experience of fearlessness. The samsaric kleshas, or conflicting emotions - passion, aggression, and ignorance - are what prevent us from being fully awake. They are the product of the fearfulness of ego, which constantly tries to maintain itself and to run away from any threats that might reveal its non-existence. The Lion's Roar is the proclamation of non-existence that cuts through these conflicting emotions and allows us to experience the indestructible quality of wakefulness."
       Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. "Living the Lion's Roar. How to Practice Fearlessness." Lion's Roar, March 2016.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Between & Beyond Words

     “ ‘Teach a child the name of a bird,’ writes Jesuit author Anthony DeMello, ‘and she’ll never see that bird again.’
     DeMello means that language, by labeling phenomena, exacts two injuries. First, it obscures uniqueness: the mystery of this bird, this night’s moon. And second, it also fractures the unified field of mystics and physicists. … 
     So we wonder: How to create a family culture with abundant spaces beyond words? How, in such spaces, can we learn from Clea (18-month-old daughter) how to be part of nature’s web, both as individuals and together? … 

     In her book Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves, family counselor Naomi Aldort encourages parents to refrain from reacting when our kids push our buttons. Buddhist teacher Jonathan Foust has a wonderful acronym for it: WAIT (Why Am I Talking?). 
     I use it a lot. When I’m about to either put a label on a mystery or try to make a situation right, I WAIT. I sink into the sky, a breeze … and also into my inner weather. Something interesting usually happens: The moment aligns. Life doesn’t need my brain.
     After a year of using Aldort’s practice, I realized part of why it’s effective. Instead of anthropocentrically narrowing reality, WAITing allows us to be biocentric: Clea and me both. It allows me to tune in to how attuned she is to surrounding sensory stimulus. She’s noticing a hawk overhead, wings stiff as kites. She’s stopping to pick daisies for Mom. She’s here, now: a plume of smoke, the coarse lick of our kitten Boot’s tongue, a crescent moon. Clea’s in a place of peace. It’s not the nervous, more-is-better place that fuels overconsumption and creates the divide between ourselves and the rest of nature. Clea is nature. Or, rather, she has yet to find out she’s not.”

       William Powers. “Child of Nature.” Lion’s Roar, March 2016.

Photo: David A. Lovas

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Not One, Not Two

     "That oneness is the true feeling of who you are. You are not the personality, or any particular aspect of essence. You are the whole thing, including emptiness and space, and you experience everything in complete harmony. When this happens, there is a sense of intimacy, an exquisite, personal intimacy, the feeling ...that you are you, with nothing excluded, nothing rejected. You also feel that you are both a person and a universal existence, that what is personal and what is universal are completely harmonious and can coexist. When your whole organism is in harmony on all its levels, there is no conflict. The expression and radiance of that harmony is love. You become a channel of love, a manifestation of love. You feel completely yourself and not separate from anything. It is possible to be you, completely you and not separate from the other at the same time. This is the action of love. The action of love is to unite, to reveal the connectedness. A loving person doesn't love you - a loving person is love. Love isn't given. It overflows. It's not even your love - it's everyone's love interacting. Love emanates from us like the scent from a rose."                A.H. Almaas

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Beyond the Personal–Verbal or Discursive Frame of Mind

     A "fundamental shift in consciousness from preverbal to verbal processing" occurs in young children. 
     A "second, similarly monumental transformation from the personal–verbal to transpersonal–postsymbolic processing" can potentially occur in adulthood. 
     "People at the high end of ego development (can potentially) become aware of ... the language habit. They describe how the personal–verbal or discursive frame of mind prevents them from remaining in the open, nonevaluative witnessing stance they enjoy during peak moments and altered states of consciousness.

     Briefly, the language habit has the following attributes: 
          • It constitutes a universal, all-pervasive dimension of human existence. 
          • It is innate but needs activation and modeling by expert speakers in early childhood to emerge. 
          • It is a learned behavior that becomes automatic and unconscious once acquired. 
          • It bundles the flux of sensory input and inner experience into labeled concepts shared with one’s speech community.
          • It is so deeply engrained that speakers of any given language are not aware of the reality construction imposed on them by their language. 
          • It can become a barrier to further development if it remains unconscious, automatic and unexamined.

     Thus, the determination of how high-end ego development stages fit into a full-spectrum model of consciousness depends in part on whether people can become aware of the language habit and on the possibility of postrepresentational ways of knowing."
       Cook-Greuter SR. "Mature Ego Development: A Gateway to Ego Transcendence?" Journal of Adult Development 2000; 7(4): 227-40.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Why Spiritual Growth is Painfully Slow

     "Our egos are naturally reluctant to relinquish the familiar mode of functioning. We do not want to give up the illusion of our enduring separate selfhood, which we so laboriously learned to define, cultivate, and rely on for most of our conscious lives. Even if we understand that letting go of our attachment to the known will bring freedom from suffering, attempts at doing so deliberately and on one’s own are mostly ineffective and always lead to intractable paradoxes. The more one becomes attached to the idea of non-attachment, the more firmly one remains fettered. The more one is conscious and proud of one’s psychic powers and ego-transcending quest, the more clearly one’s ego is still enthroned."
       Cook-Greuter SR. "Mature Ego Development: A Gateway to Ego Transcendence?" Journal of Adult Development 2000; 7(4): 227-40.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Clarity & Appropriate Response

     "I think the Dalai Lama and Suzuki Roshi are coming from the same place, and offering the same Buddhist recipe for going beyond our discouragement. Even when a situation seems hopeless it’s important to keep a calm, clear mind. That is something Buddhists can offer the world, to remain relatively clear-eyed when everyone else has gone crazy. If we can do that, then we are actually doing something. Is it enough, is it effective, will it work? Don’t worry about it, I think Suzuki would say. Keep your mind clear, your eyes open, and watch for an opportunity to do something, anything. Large or small is not important. In a real crisis, when there is no choice, people can suddenly wake up. We never know when that might happen. We should be ready."

       Lewis Richmond