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Guiding one’s beliefs and actions


I like to think about mindful meditation as a way to center and get connected to both yourself and source, simultaneously.

It’s a way of centering yourself.  A way of creating space in your life so that you can slow down the processing of stimuli and allow for natural and easy connections to happen.  It’s like getting into the flow.

The process of mindful meditation allows for development of a stream of thought that connects source energy or God and self, so that you can see a thread, pattern, or sense of wholeness in the world.

This process could be described as cognitive behavioral modification that you exert onto yourself.  This is a description of conscious paradigm shifting.

It’s a process whereby you can guide your beliefs and actions.

Think of it as a way to re-set where neutral is.

For example, if I am angry and I am thinking about how someone has hurt me, I am using my cognitive abilities to continue to bring up more and more information about how this feeling is justified.

I may use various examples of how this person, or another person, has hurt me before to provide supporting evidence that I am right to be angry and they deserve my anger.  This brings me out of the flow of energy of non-anger or lovingkindness.

If my belief is that lovingkindness and compassion are the best qualities to focus my behavior, then I will feel out of sorts with this anger-promoting behavior.

If I decide to meditate mindfully, my breathwork – breathing in and breathing outjust focusing on my breath – can then allow me to become neutral and apply my cognitive abilities to support a lovingkindness perspective; one where I am taking into account all the different threads of information that may go into the event of the other person hurting me and my feeling anger about what they did/said.

It allows for conscious paradigm shifting, as I am able to view the situation from a 360 degree perspective including figure and ground perspectives.

This is useful when desiring to maintain congruency in beliefs and actions.

If my belief is that anger is a feeling that can increase my awareness of a problem or a breach, but not useful beyond this alarm-system-concept then I would want to have a resource to turn off the anger, to instruct myself on what action is necessary now that I know there is a breach, allowing a congruency between belief and action.

Mindful meditation is just that resource.

It slows the processing of information and straightens out the curves of emotional stimuli so that one can view the experience, feelings, and the actions/words of others, from a more neutral or unattached perspective.

It unlinks the feelings and the behavior, so that one can allow all the threads of the event to help evaluate what action is most beneficial to effect change toward congruent actions and beliefs.

Mindful meditation is a fantastic tool to increase one’s personal awareness about oneself.

It increases neurotransmitters that allow for an increase in connection about social situations and social behavior as well as those that promote a sense of well-being and self-confidence.

It increases a person’s sense of empowerment.  Slowing down the process of stimuli, it  increases the effectiveness of the chosen action to promote the desired outcome.

Practice mindful meditation over the next few days and apply it the next time you feel anger toward another person’s actions, words.

See if you can transform your perception of the situation and the other so that you may act in a way that is more neutral and compassionate.

You may find that you will increase your self-confidence and the positiveness of your personal relationships.  It can be very rewarding.

See you tomorrow.



Developing a style of communicating


The Celestine Prophecy is a book written by James Redfield that came out in the 90s.  It identified a story describing the concept of upleveling consciousness through what I consider to be mindfulness and conscious paradigm shifting.

One theme had to do with energy communication in relationship.  Or the energy exchange in/of communication.  It identified styles of interacting or communicating that had to do with the energy of power as it was dealt with in interaction and communication.  Many people are familiar with this without necessarily knowing it.

The styles were broken down into a passive poor me and  aggressive intimidator pair, and less aggressive interrogator and a less passive aloof pair.  These came in aggressive energy and passive energy pairs and created each other – (figure /ground).

They were described on a continuum from aggressive to passive energy and focused on a style of being in the world to gain power or control over another, or avoidance of the other gaining power/control over you.

The intimidator is a person who uses overt intimidation to gain power over another.  He does so through word choice, inflection, positioning, physical space and tone level of the voice.  The individual in direct relationship with this style of being in the world acts in a poor me passive style of being in the world. Again this would come across through tone, inflection, eye contact, physical space, and level of voice.

An interrogator creates an aloof style of being in the world.  And these go in both directions, creating each other.  The aloof is avoiding the interrogation, feeling it is intrusive, withholding information, avoiding, and not responding.  The interrogator is attempting to gather information or make a connection with an individual who is avoiding, feeling the aloof is distancing and retreating and hiding something.

When you look at them in pairs, as they are described, you can see the energy exchange and how they create the opposite styles of communicating.  You can see/feel the power exchange or dance.

Once the style is set within a person then it seems they continue to create it throughout their relationships.  And the paired groups find each other so as to continue the odd resolution to the identified power struggle.

You can observe this when someone interacts with you in a way that is inconsistent with your intent in the communication interaction.  When they hear what you are attempting to communicate inaccurately but forcefully, or attributes certain inferences to you that are not present from your perspective.

The book describes this concept of developing a style of communicating as based on, or in reaction to, the communication style you witnessed /experienced in childhood.

I have found this to be somewhat accurate anecdotally, that how we relate with others is representative of what happened to us and what we observed.  Furthermore I have discovered that, similar to the temperament types of the Kiersey-Bates, or Myers-Briggs, this can change over time or be different in various social situations, relating to the issue of power in relationship.

Mindfulness and conscious paradigm shifting can assist us in discerning if what we think the other person is saying/inferring/doing is part of our habit reaction pattern of communicating as described  above or something that is part present moment interaction.

Key things that may help you assess that you are caught in a habit reaction pattern style of interacting/communication are the following thoughts, feelings, experiences:

If you feel this is just like a significant other childhood relationship

If you immediately feel anger, fear or frustration or you need space or can’t breathe.

If you feel nausea or panic in your belly.

If you can’t seem to grasp, understand what the other person is saying (not because they are being obtuse)

If you feel that how you are feeling they are acting is inconsistent with who they are – ie:   they seem to be acting very mean but you know they really care about you.

The best thing to do is to try to gather more information as well as identify what you are feeling so that you can begin to get a handle on the paradigm and engage your mindfulness.

Understanding what you learned and why or from whom, regarding power in relationship really helps to develop better present moment relationships where you feel seen and loved for who you are, and can really see and love the other person for who they are.

Take some time to see if you can ascertain what you witnessed between your parents regarding these two pairs and what you may have developed as your operating system in communication style.

Then you can start to apply mindfulness to that and see if you find that you both feel more heard in your interactions and have a sense of connection that is deeper in those interactions.

See you tomorrow.


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Early in my practice I discovered James Hillman”s book called Re-visioning psychology.  I thought it was visionary.

In Re-Visioning Psychology, Hillman focused on the realm of images rather than cognitions.  He focused on psyche and soul, and how we create meaning, rather than what the meaning was.  Within this is the idea that by re-working images, giving them attention and shaping and forming them, the soul seeks to set out meaning and being.

Meaning is part and parcel to the image and soul or psyche is directing the force of one’s life – to the degree one allows that process to take place.  Indeed the act of being drawn to and looking deeper at the images presented creates meaning.

This was similar to Gestalt figure/ground but it incorporated a decidedly spiritual component that I was drawn to and it provided me with deep meaning. His archetypal psychology really spoke to me and my psyche, and it pulled me forward to develop an integration of these two theories in my own personal and professional work.

In Dream and the Underworld, Hillman suggests that dreams show us as we are; diverse, dynamic, taking very different roles, experiencing fragments of meaning that are present on the tip of consciousness.

He saw dreams as placing us inside images, rather than images inside us. This shifted the perspective of figure and ground. The similarities and touch points between this and Gestalt therapy moved me forward toward a spiritual enlightenment and peacefulness that allowed me to fully accept and develop what I saw as a missing element in therapeutic work.

From my perspective, Hillman was re-visioning the structure and paradigm, the lens through which psychology was seen.  So powerful.  Shifting the focus of how and under what conditions various aspects of psychology develops shifts how these outcomes and we ourselves are viewed.

His work brought the psyche and the soul back to the center of the field.  And this re-visioning brings us back into the center of our actions, our knowing – for me connecting the psyche and responsibility.

His later work brought the soul into the center in such a way as to infer that it is the soul that guides us – not an interplay of nature and nurture that had long been discussed – this placed the work squarely in the field of the divine.

For me, work in the therapeutic realm is as much the divine as it is divination; and watching how things unfold in the therapeutic realm does bring out the idea that there is a path that each person follows – something internal guiding one forward.

I believe that early in development one covers over and denies aspects of one self/soul in order to align with the expectations of those important to her.  If after living and developing, she is able to re-align with herself than she is able to allow the blossoming and guidance of the soul or psyche.

I am again in the process of re-visioning my own life – my goals, beliefs, and foci.

Recent loss and change have shown me images and elucidated meaning that is separate, intricate, and diverse.

It is extraordinary to me what elements of who I am that I thought and felt were an integral part of me are actually fabrics that are not integral to who I truly am at all but rather weavings that I have woven around me in an attempt to feel more accepted, less ostracized, safe, in some way cocooned.

As I allow the re-visioning process to proceed, I find I am removing these weavings and viewing them from a shifted paradigm figure/ground perspective.  I notice that although they are lovely and woven quite beautifully they are aspects of myself that need to be gently removed and placed into a loving chest to be held in memory but no longer worn.

The casing needs to be removed so that I may transform more fully into my true self.

There is a sweet melancholy to this task.  I notice that I am not rushing to let go, but am steadily allowing each layer to be removed and set aside to view the fullness of who I am at my core.

Sounds like the divine at work.

Re-visioning is a way of shifting the lens and thus allowing the light to perceptively change that which is seen.

Reminds me of that great saying what the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls the butterfly by Richard Bach in his book Illusions.

See what changing the light shifts in you and allows for a re-visioning of your internal or external structure.  Shedding old habits, old skins and showing off your new form is quite en-lighten-ing.

See you tomorrow.


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Trust is a funny combination of belief, intuition, proof and alignment.

What makes a person trust is sometimes something as simple as a feeling within.  The way a person feels,  how a situation clicks or how something looks right.

For me it’s kind of like a song that’s in key – things are flowing and there is a sense of the direction.

When it’s out of sync it’s like there is a blip in the energy  – like a skip on a cd.

Have you ever listened to someone say something and you knew they were lying or withholding some bit of information – because as they spoke it was off in a subtle way.  I think that is what a lie detector picks up on, these subtle shifts in energy.

That feeling is something that is related to intuition or detailed, close observation.  If you trust that, then you are developing a deeper, cleaner, hyper-awareness that can guide you efficiently in your decision-making.

And trust is a function of what happens when there isn’t a lot of blips in the energy between two people; it builds on itself so that when you have a long time of flow one can weather something being off.

Our senses are connected to our brains to offer a set of stimuli that help us judge which path is correct.  This is true for both mundane and profound tasks.  The more we allow the information from our senses into our decision-making, the more effective our decisions can be.  So when something doesn’t feel right or when it does feel right we know in which direction we need to proceed.

Part of the trick here is to recognize when we are feeling a habit reaction pattern based on fear rather than true stimuli that can direct our way.

Meditation, prayer,  and breath-work all allow quiet, breathing space and time to maintain a strong connection to self, and our center through our sense awareness.  These tools are important to maintain clarity to tell the difference between fear stimuli that are the product of habit reaction patterns and true sense awareness stimuli that offer a direction in our decision-making.

Trust is both trusting oneself and trusting others in relationship.  Trusting oneself is listening to the sense awareness information and taking action on it.  Trusting others is a function of looking for congruency between words and actions.

A wonderful exercise to develop your connection to your sense awareness in real-time is to ask yourself what am I feeling right now.  The best way to develop this is to have an attuned ear to when you are feeling this doesn’t feel right.  This is a subtle feeling like the hair on the back of your neck standing up or an internal sense that something is off.

This is information that is not verbal but feeling in nature.

Our right brains take in information as wholes and within context, like image imprints, which is why we can feel something is off but to describe it verbally, analytically, takes longer processing time.  That’s our left brain activity.

Trust is a right brain activity that is then translated into words and left brain concepts.

It’s our right brains that tell us something is in sync whether it be visual like a painting,  musical like a symphony, olfactory like a lovely perfume, or tasty like our favorite recipes; what makes it work is how we take it in from our right brains.  When something feels off, and we key in on it, then we engage our left brain analytical ability to evaluate what is, and why is, it off.

To increase our speed in interacting often we short-circuit this right brain activity that lets us know something is off, focusing more on the left brain activity of verbal and analytical analysis – until there is an actual break.  We are not trusting what we know and often we pay a price for it.  Then we often can say – oh I should have paid attention to that weird feeling I was having when that person said/did x,y or z.

The more we develop a space for meditation, prayer, breath-work and focus on our sense awareness – the less we short-circuit our connection to our right brain activity so that we can trust our actions and feelings in making-decisions.

Belief, intuition, proof, and alignment are the processes that develop, support and maintain trust. They create and support our actions and responses, our willingness to trust ourselves, others, or to take action to re-align with our inner self.

If you are faced with a difficult decision, using mindful meditation and direct observation skills will help you to make the best decision and trust that it will bring you forward on the best course of action.

See you tomorrow.


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What matters


What matters is connected to a person’s belief system.

If family matters one makes choices to care for family above other things.  If money matters then making and keeping money has a higher priority than relationship.

From an existential perspective, it is a general rule of behavior that people do what they want to do, so when someone says they are doing something they don’t want to do then they are not focusing on what really matters in the situation.  Because we are always acting in our best interests according to our belief systems.  So if a person says I don’t want to do this then you have to say then why are you doing it and then you will discover what  matters or what is the motivation for the behavior.

In a way this is a figure-ground perspective issue.

Knowing oneself is a function of knowing what matters; when one knows oneself then living is easy, it follows a simple set of rules of acting in ways to support and keep close what matters.

When actions do not agree with or are incongruent with what one says matters then I always trust the actions as the actual thing that matters, rather than trusting the words.

I notice that many people in the world mistakenly do the opposite of this.  Often people trust the words rather than the actions and then, when the truth comes out, they are confused, hurt or feel betrayed – when in reality they have betrayed themselves by trusting the words rather than the actions.

For example, If a man (or woman) says I love you and I am loyal to you and will not betray that loyalty and then you see their actions as not loyal and not loving – if you continue to ask do you love me, are you loyal, and trust their answer then you are ignoring the actions – and trusting the words.

This is how individuals stay in relationships that do not serve them by trusting words over actions.  Their relationships are serving what matters in their belief systems but may not be truly supporting their authentic, whole, congruent self.

Developing an understanding of oneself requires an ability to look at figure and ground, stay present in the moment, pay attention to one’s sensory cues – what bother’s us and causes feelings, that something is off or, of anger, hurt, and fear – and be willing to let go of habit reaction patterns, and survivor scenarios as well as be flexible about how one incorporates one’s belief systems into one’s behavior.

It requires a vigilant eye to maintaining internal consistency in actions, words, and beliefs.

Most of us think we are doing that all the time.

How you know you are out of sync is when you find yourself saying that you are doing something that you don’t want to do.  If that is true – if it is against your belief system, stop doing it; if you feel you can’t stop doing it then delve deeper to find what is actually driving that situation so that you can act and speak in a congruent manner.

Knowing what matters and acting from that space allows for self-confidence and increases one’s capacity for success toward their goals.  Getting out of a stuck situation takes a lot of energy but once you are living in a congruent fashion you actually have a lot more energy available to you to live fully and in a fulfilling fashion.

See you tomorrow.


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Interpreting bias in decision-making


Bias has a negative connotation in communication.  Bias is really a view of the world, a perspective, a lens, or a paradigm.  Bias becomes negative if it interferes with one’s ability to see clearly or through a neutral lens.

When information is evaluated it is best done from a neutral perspective.  It’s important to understand how bias affects decision-making.  It can skew the way information is incorporated into a decision and it can weight information in a way that is inaccurate from an un-biased or neutral perspective.

We need perspectives or world views to order or structure our thinking – so we have to be constantly creating and tearing down bias.  This process is dynamic and I think of it as conscious paradigm shifting.  It’s similar to making goals and then re-evaluating these goals as we get new information – – we need to be flexible and we need to be able to be clear or stand in the center of our belief systems – authentic; we need both of these qualities to make decisions in an ever-changing environment.

It is helpful to accept that we each hold a bias and knowing what your biases are helps to clarify the decision-making process and to re-orient you toward neutrality.

The problem is that often our biases feel like reality or truth so we can’t separate ourselves from them – we are blind to our biases.  We have difficulty viewing our personal paradigm from the perspective of neutrality precisely because we see from within the lens of the bias  – so it feels as if the bias is truth. So it is difficult to move out of our biases into a neutral perspective for evaluation.  It’s difficult to separate the bias from our worldview because it is coupled to it.  It usually requires a paradigm shift.

This is where mindfulness is so useful.

The concept of mindfulness includes moving into a neutral perspective and viewing our biases with a perspective of discovery rather than judgment.

Looking at a physical representation of bias or paradigm – figure ground images – helps to elucidate the concept of a paradigm shift.

When you look at this image, do you see a blue vase with flowers or a smiling white bear with blue eyes, nose and smile?  Each view is visible depending on your perspective, focus, lens or bias on figure or ground.

What about this image>  Do you see a man playing the saxophone or the face of a beautiful woman?

And finally with this image:  is it two profiles that carve out a candlestick in the center or a single face with a candlestick in front of the face?

These images allow for evaluation of (at least) two paradigms at once and the experience of paradigm shifting.

So here are some ways to help yo move into neutrality in decision-making and also get a handle on what your bias is and whether you want to keep it.

  • If you feel defensive wait – stop talking, breathe, open your mind, be open to what the other person is trying to say – move into receive rather than send in your communication.
  • If you feel angry, wait – stop talking, breathe, open your mind, try to receive what the other person is trying to say – try to simultaneously discover what is triggering an angry response in you.
  • If you have a block or just can’t understand – or see – what the other person is saying – stop, try to look at it from a different perspective and see if you can identify what perception or interpretation you have that may be blocking your understanding of the other person’s point of view.
  • I am not suggesting that you must agree with their point of view, I am suggesting understanding your bias comes from seeing both perspectives – that is the example of the figure-ground images above.

Increasing your awareness and applying your mindfulness to the situation allows for interpretation of bias in decision-making.  This may result in a different course of action.  It may not result in a change, but in this case you will be able to support that decision through a more mindful, neutral approach.  It may allow for a negotiation that incorporates both paradigms – not a compromise, but a collaboration or blending that meets the needs or perspectives of both parties.

Applying this approach to the word bias helps – try to neutralize your interpretation of that word – be descriptive in your definition rather than adding the extra feeling-charge or connotation that often goes with that word.  It will help you relate to both your own and other’s biases in a more useful and productive way.

See you tomorrow.


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Give and Take in relationship


When dealing with paradigms and working on relationships the most important thing to consider is how to remain strong and connected.  You want to create opportunities for both qualities to be present.

Being strong is both standing up for yourself through identifying and asking for your needs to be met as well as supporting the other person while his or her needs are being met.  The first is more like taking or being on the receiving end and the second is more like giving.  Give and take is the natural flow of energy in relationship.

Being connected is a function of using your five sense awareness as well as your intuition and communication skills to negotiate your own needs and the needs of the other person.  It is a dynamic, ever-changing landscape of primary focus over time.  At any snapshot in time you may find one or the other person on the receiving end of the relationship energy, support, or power – if it always is the same person then the flow of the relationship is off-balance and this may result in problems.

If, in order to remain in a relationship you have to give up yourself or your needs then that is not remaining strong.  If, a person is unable to be involved in both give and take in relationship s/he is not actually participating in a healthful way.  Relationships are a function of give and take in their most healthful form.

If, you find that you are always on the giving end then you need to re-evaluate how you interact with others.  You may be inadvertently diminishing your own power in that relationship.  Here I am using the word power to describe empowerment not power-over.  Some people think that this makes them a better person that they do not have needs in a relationship – or that they are always understanding the other person and giving in. In reality this is not a stronger or better position, (and this is tricky), it is actually a weaker position and also a behavior that will degrade the relationship.

Relationships prosper with boundaries. Knowing where you end and another begins is a sign of health being able to keep a strong sense of yourself and the other person in relationship requires no as much as it requires yes; knowing when to say which is a function of an internal balance as well as the qualities of strength and connection.

This is especially true if it’s a parenting situation, this behavior may actually result in a child not developing their ability to give – s/he may only take because s/he hasn’t been taught to do both.  Children don’t give to the parent in an equal way; it’s about negotiating perspective, time, focus and interaction – developing the skill of paradigm understanding and shifting.

This is not just true in parent/child relationships but partnerships and friendships too.

This concept of energy flow in relationship is similar to balance.

Give and Take in relationship need to be in balance if the relationship is to remain sustaining and growth promoting  over time.  Here balance is the concept of equity, not necessarily equality but equity.  So under certain conditions one person may actually give more, let’s say if someone is sick or in a naturally dependent situation, like an infant or toddler, but if that behavior continues beyond the circumstances then the behavior may begin to skew its energy and throw the relationship off-balance.

It’s good to have a habit of checking on this over time, to evaluate how energy is dispersed and dealt with in all the relationships  your life.  Re-evaluating how to best create balance in each of these relationships based on the idea of balance in give and take, helps to maintain healthy relationships where both strength and connection are valued.

See you tomorrow.