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May you have a great 2010

Thursday, 31 December 2009 by

Just a short note to thank you for reading this blog and for being a part of Centerpointe. I so appreciate the opportunity to play some small role in your life, and to hear your feedback.  I hope that what I’ve shared this year (along with your use of Holosync) has made you more aware, helped you think

So, in our last episode, we were talking about “seeing things the way they really are.” We could also say, “Don’t see things in a deluded way.”

This is a fascinating topic, so let’s dig into it a little more.

Seeing things the way they really are includes dealing with some key existential problems, which I’ve written about before. You could call these problems the Problem of Cause and Effect, and the Problem of Impermanence. The Problem of Cause and Effect results from the fact that there are many forces in the world–other people, the weather, earthquakes, the sun, your spouse, that rocks are hard, and so on–that we have little or no control over.  As a result, sometimes we don’t get what we want, or we get what we don’t want, both of which create frustration and suffering.

The Problem of Impermanence results from the fact that even if we do get what we want–either by accident or because we skillfully exercised what influence and control we do have–it eventually falls apart, is used up or, in some way, ends. And, of course, the most disturbing example of impermanence is that we eventually end, too. Everything in this world is impermanent–including us.

A thoughtful person, then, in addition to dealing with the problems of food, shelter, friends, and something meaningful and fulfilling to do, eventually asks certain questions: What’s going on here? Why is there so much suffering? Is there something I can do about it? What does all this mean? What should I do with my life? Can I do something about the fact that my body doesn’t always work right? Am I really going to die? Is there anything I can do about it? And, so on.

I do my best to stretch you in these posts. I’m trying to describe life and the human condition in a way that might be new and different for you, hopefully expanding your perspective. Unfortunately, people use much of what they read or hear to reinforce what they already believe, cherry-picking the parts that confirm what they already think and ignoring or misunderstanding the parts that don’t fit their current view.

Some of what I share isn’t easy to express, or get, using the written word. I try to write in a way that might in some small way help you have an experience of what I’m talking about, or lead you to do something on your own that helps you have the experience. This isn’t always possible, though.

What I write about almost always comes from my personal experience. A full understanding requires a similar experience, in the same way that a full understanding of Mexico comes from having been there. Just hearing about it might be informative, but incomplete. Since I’m talking about some rather rare and esoteric experiences, with no foolproof recipe for making sure you have the experience (much less fully embody it) writing in a way that gives you the experience is difficult. In that case, the value comes in at least having some context for understanding the experience if you ever do have it.

Sometimes merely knowing about something is almost useless. If I tell you about my experience of emptiness you end up wondering what the hell I’m talking about because no written or verbal description can adequately describe it, any more than you could adequately describing to a child what it’s like to have sex (not that you should do that), or describing to a child what it’s like to be an adult.

Whether the experience is profound or mundane, you have to experience it for yourself in order to really know about it. Understanding this, for most people, is an entirely new way to look at life. Almost all people decide what is true and real based on what someone else tells them or on something they read. Though you’re reading something I’ve written, I don’t want you to use it as a source of information that you just swallow whole, but rather as an impetus to find out for yourself by sitting with it, and by trying on the perspective I suggest.

I recently had my mind blown by an incredibly profound experience of what Buddhists call emptiness, or “dropped-off body-mind.” In such an experience “how it all is and what it’s all about” becomes stunningly obvious. All ideas dissolve–ALL ideas. Ideas, premises, beliefs, theories, maps of reality, are seen as inconsequential, insubstantial, uninteresting, beside the point. Instead, there’s just an infinitely deep peace, a vast expansiveness, a deep and profound knowingness about the essence of it all–and, the realization that all of this is who you are.

Someone asked me a great question regarding my post titled, “More about the power of awareness”. Though I gave a quick reply, I’m writing an expanded version here.

Here’s the question, and then my (expanded) response.

Hi Bill,

I’m convinced that watching with awareness will integrate any shadow material, but I don’t understand why Ken Wilber in his many books is stating otherwise. Terry Patten, Adam Leonard and Marco Morelli wrote in Integral Life Practice [a book recently published by Integral Institute]: “If I meditate, and meditate very deeply, what can happen? I can watch my fear and sadness arise as objects in my awareness. I can relax my ‘identification’ with them. (…) But unless I do shadow work in addition to meditating, I probably won’t truly face my shadow.”

In one of the editions of Mind Chatter [Centerpointe’s now-defunct newsletter/magazine, which was replaced by this blog–hence the name, The Blog that Ate Mind Chatter] you said that you were going to ask Ken about Shadow work versus Watching with awareness, aka witnessing. You wrote that your own experience and many others showed that witnessing can resolve shadow material.

Have you ever asked that question to Ken. If you did, what was the answer? If you didn’t, will you ask it? I’m just curious about this topic. I know that shadow work can be useful, but the method you are proposing is a lot faster, easier and more effective than 3-2-1 process [a process taught by Integral Institute for re-owning shadow material] or any other type of therapy.

This is a great question. Here’s how I see it. [If you aren’t clear on what a “shadow” is, you might want to read my previous post, “What’s Hiding in Your Shadows”.]

Awareness, as I’ve said before, is your best shot at a solution to life’s problems–at least those problems that have a solution. With enough awareness, you either see how you’re creating a problem, or you see that there’s nothing you can do about it. Both are valuable.

There are certain problems you can’t do anything about. There’s no way to change the fact that everything in this world is impermanent and will eventually come to an end or fall apart. You also can’t escape from the web of cause and effect that you’re a part of. The solution, if you want to call it that, is to stop making these things into problems. In other words, stop resisting what cannot be resisted.

You can, however, avoid or minimize some of the problems of life, and awareness is the key to doing this. If you’re aware, you can exercise choice regarding the way you enter into and engage the world of cause and effect. Though you can’t control everything raining down on you from the world of cause and effect, you can exercise enough control to substantially improve your life.

There are two ways to approach life: you can live automatically, on autopilot, or consciously, with awareness. Unfortunately, nearly all people live with little awareness, on autopilot. What’s more, if you’re living on autopilot, you won’t even know you’re on autopilot, unless someone tells you. That’s why they call it autopilot.

News flash: There’s no escape.

Thursday, 02 April 2009 by

Stop for a moment and think of all the people you know–friends, relatives, people you work with, people you play with, and people you see from time to time as you go about your business, but don’t know well.

Also think for a moment about all the people you know about, but don’t know personally–politicians, celebrities, leaders, and so on.

All these people have one important thing in common: they’re all doing their best to make sense of what it means to be a human being.

Think about it. Here we are, on this spinning rock ball, in the middle of endlessly vast space, in a thin and fragile protected environment absolutely necessary to us if we’re to stay alive. We come into the world, and then, after an undetermined amount of time, we’re gone. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

(Actually, if you think about it, it would be more accurate to say that we come OUT of the world, like an apple comes out of an apple tree, but that’s another story, for another day.)

When you think about it, doesn’t it strike you that this whole business of being a person is quite weird? I mean, what’s it all about? Why is it happening? Is there any purpose to it? If so, what is it?

“You are worthwhile. “

“You are full of promise.”

This post is going to be a bit different than the others you’ve read or listened to here. I want to tell you about a friend of mine–an amazing man, Bob Danzig. This post, more than any of the others, is a must-read.

Because of Centerpointe’s huge success, I’ve been fortunate enough to meet many amazing people. Bob Danzig is certainly one of the top two or three. Just spending time with Bob Danzig leaves you feeling good about yourself and more confident about your own value and what you can accomplish.

One reason why Bob is so amazing has to do with his sad and difficult childhood–and his amazingly successful and inspirational adult life. For twenty years Bob was CEO of the entire Hearst Newspaper Group, a multi-billion dollar company, working his way up from office boy in a small newspaper in Albany, New York. Considering where he started, his story shows how anyone, with the right encouragement from people who care, can create a life that matters.

Bob never had a family. Instead, he grew up in a series of foster homes. In one home, he slept in an attic with no lights. The family he lived with would leave his dinner on the bottom step of the attic stairs. He ate in the attic, alone, in the dark.

Self-fulfilling prophecies and you…

Saturday, 17 January 2009 by

In all the posts I’ve made here, I’ve emphasized that awareness is the key to improving your life, whether that improvement is spiritual, emotional, or practical. To the degree that you are unaware, you respond automatically, based on certain beliefs, premises, habits, and so forth, most of which you developed as a child.

This “automatic response” way of living often creates outcome you don’t want and didn’t intend. It limits, or even eliminates, choice. The more aware you are, however, the more choice you have—and the less likely you are to unconsciously create or attract people and situations you don’t want into your life.

Unless you’ve been with me for a while, the idea that increased awareness provides the solution to life’s problems might be a new and foreign idea to you. Using Holosync and the other courses and resources we’ve created here at Centerpointe, we’ve helped nearly a million people in 173 countries all over the world expand their awareness. As awareness increases, emotional problems fall away, mental abilities improve, stress diminishes, well being increases, and unwanted people and situations stop showing up in your life.

Meditation is the most powerful way I know of to increase awareness, and Holosync meditation increases awareness even more quickly than traditional meditation. If you then use that additional awareness to observe the part of your mind that generates your feelings and behaviors and causes you to attract or become attracted to certain people or situations in your life, you gain a tremendous amount of choice over your life. The more aware you become, the more difficult is it to do something that doesn’t serve you.

Post before last, we looked at the internal representations you make, primarily your internal dialog and the internal pictures you make. I suggested that you practice observing these internal representations because they (along with a few other internal mental processes) directly create your feelings and other internal states. These internal states then generate your behaviors and the people and situations you attract into your life.

Watching these internal processes is challenging at first, as you may have discovered if you tried to do it. You won’t master the ability to do it in just a few weeks, so keep working on it. As you get better at it, you’ll see some incredible positive changes in your life. (My Life Principles Integration Process online courses will take you, step-by-step, through this learning process. You can hear a free preview lesson at www.centerpointe.com/life/preview)

In my last post, I asked you to become aware of your shadows, aspects of yourself you’ve disowned or pushed down into the basement of your awareness because someone taught you that they were wrong or bad. Many, if not most, problems in life are actually an unconscious expression of these disowned parts, and becoming aware of them and re-owning them allows you to end the most stubborn life-long problems.

In this post, I want to look at another aspect of how your internal processes create most of what happens to you in your life, and all of your experience of and reaction to what happens—beliefs. A belief is a collection of internal representations about something you think is true in a certain area of life—a generalization you’ve made about life, about people in general, or about yourself.

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