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Daytime sleep-walking


Sleep-walking is an activity where an individual, usually in the middle of the night, gets up, walks around, talks, even interacts while seemingly awake but actually is asleep.  It is a strange experience for both the sleep-walker and the observer.

Incidents of sleep-walking may be described by the observer but  tend to not be available in the memory or wakeful experience of the sleep-walker.  It’s a bit scary, but for the most part harmless. It is understood that the sleep-walking individual is in a “hypnotic-like state”.  If fully awakened he will be surprised by his circumstance and deny the activities ascribed to him, as he has no memory of them.

I think the style in which people move through their lives, automatic and without conscious attention is quite similar.  People are pulled along by an habitual system and a lack of questioning acceptance.

It is as if they are sleep-walking through their lives.  In this way they are not wholly conscious of their behaviors, the effect of their behaviors and actions, or the foundation of their habitual reactions.  When they are questioned they respond similarly to the sleep-walking person in the middle of the night, denying they did the event ascribed to them.

In order to awake from this daytime sleep-walking state, a person needs to increase his awareness and attention to all situations in a mindful present moment fashion.

You cannot change your behavior until you are conscious of it.  First there needs to be an understanding that you are indeed sleep-walking.  This requires a detached perspective and a willingness to observe the whole of the situation.

Consider how you may not be fully conscious of your actions, and what you may need to do to wake up and fully respond in the moment to your life and situation.

The best way to see  if you may be in this kind of state is to notice the responses and behavior of those around you with whom you feel close, whom you trust.  If there is a bit of information or a snag between what you think and what you hear them saying, try to see if you can get into the present moment to get a full picture of what they are trying to communicate.  This can be painful.  This can be enlightening.

The idea is to awake to the full experience of living responsibly and ethically.

One of the things that impedes this is a group-mind.  This is the experience that you need to agree with the group perspective and not question whether it is a full and true representation of what is happening.  Often the group-mind has a set of true or real experiences that are interpreted in a way such that it supports a paradigm of thought but not necessarily a true representation of the situation or problem.

Group-mind requires agreement.  But mindfulness allows for understanding of the group-mind perspective while perceiving all the elements in the situation, so that a true understanding can result.

Group-mind requires daytime sleep-walking.

Mindfulness, perceiving fully in the present moment and then acting from that perspective is a way of staying awake and living in a responsive, mindful, ethical, fully connecting, and joyous way.

It reminds me of the line in the movie  Moonstrucksnap out of it! 

Life is full of so much stimuli and so many different paradigms that are inconsistent with each other, it seems like an onerous task to remain mindful – but in reality it is less difficult to simply be open to all the possibilities and calmly, with neutrality, lovingkindness, and compassion be open to perceiving the paradigms and shifting your perspective.

This mindfulness in the present moment is rejuvenating, freeing, and  empowering.  Holding on to past habitual reaction patterns is limiting, stagnating, and constricting, and a bit like sleep-walking through life – which feels better to you?

See you tomorrow.


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Seeing through seductive logic to truth


I am struck by the barrage of incongruence that is offered as truth or the way. We all have these amazing organs called our brains why do we not use them?

Seductive logic that pulls on your neurotic structure makes you want to believe but that is just the con-artist manipulating you, through reactive stimuli and reactive nerve pulse firings.  It’s not the truth or the way.

Trust yourself, use your brain and sensory system, if it isn’t going in straight then there is probably something crooked about it.

This is tricky, because for a lie to be believable there has to be an element of truth in it.  It’s the interpretation of the meaning or the truth that is at issue.  Use of vague or heavily laden with emotion, terms and information allows someone to infer meaning without really saying what they mean.  So that they can mean something very different from the inference.  It is through this inference they can manipulate the other to agree, follow, or believe him.

This is the tricky part of language, advertisers, marketing agents, and politicians use this ambiguous aspect of language to manipulate the listener, or target audience to hear just what they want but not necessarily the whole picture.

The target audience has to be willing and responsible to use their mindfulness and whole experience of the situation to make the best decisions in purchasing, voting, and action; use their thinking, feeling, and whole sensory guidance system.

There is a fun television show called The Mentalist.  The mentalist character divulges the mechanisms in which con-artists work to identify truth and manipulation.  He is outside society in a way, so like your enemy he isn’t willing to ignore what you’re hiding – he sees it and uses it to see the other characters more clearly and fully.  In the show this is used to find the real killer or the guilty party.

Therapy is like that.  The therapist is outside another’s system such that he can see the story shared and that which is hidden, the story not shared verbally but in other unconscious ways, to get the whole picture.  He uses mannerisms, word choice, gestures, silence, intonation, and other non-verbal cues to divulge what the unconscious is trying to communicate. He is outside the other’s system, he observes and interacts in a present moment fashion in response to the client, but  his being is unimportant really; it is only the information shared by the client that matters.  Therapy isn’t an equal sharing relationship – it is a facsimile of relationship where only the needs and assumptions of the client are evaluated and addressed.

This is useful, because our habit reaction patterns keep us caught in a loop and therapy is supposed to question assumptions and turn things upside down to shift those paradigms and allow a person to really respond in the now in a mindful way so that the person can live more happily and more fully.

For years I wouldn’t tell people at cocktail parties what I did for a living – because as soon as I mentioned that I was a therapist they would stop talking as if a little afraid that I might be able to see right through them to what they were hiding.  And rightly so because therapists can do this that’s how they help.  But also wrongly so because if you are a good therapist you have the ability to manage this skill and not intrude into others’ private spaces at a cocktail party.

Politicians, and other con-artists and some religious leaders use this knowledge to manipulate you to act against your own interests.  This is powerful.

At a smaller level managers, teachers, and parents do too, in the same way that therapists do to move the employee, student, or child forward in a positive way in their development.

We need to practice responding from that whole and heart-centered place, the instinctive emotional sensory guidance system with mindfulness to act in an empowered and truly connecting, collaborative way.

The truth will set you free.  What comes with freedom is response – ability and responsibility.  In order to create what you want, you need to own it – be responsible for it – you need to know what it is, who you are, and who you are truly working with, to create it.

Seeing through the seductive logic allows you to see what the person is trying to communicate from a manipulative perspective as well as what the potential outcome of the information may be.  This allows you to increase your clarity about a situation and act with integrity.  The mindfulness and neutral evaluation of the information detaches the emotional meaning from the words so that you can determine whether you actually agree with the information and how you want to respond.

Congruent information and actions increase trust.  Incongruent actions and verbal statements decrease a sense of trust.  It’s that feeling that you are listening to a seductive argument that just feel off somehow, that you don’t trust it.  This is what Malcolm Gladwell described as a Blink response.  It’s when your brain is responding to the incongruent information or some non-verbal element that says this doesn’t feel right.  when you are using your brain in this way you trust the inner sense that something is off, your sensory guidance system that includes intuition.

In order to see through seductive logic to the truth you need to be willing to have your own sensory guidance system and mindfulness lead in your evaluation system rather than the power of the outside source providing the information.

Trust yourself, use your brain and sensory system, if it isn’t going in straight then there is probably something crooked about it.

See you tomorrow.


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Pushing the river


In Buddhist thought there is something called pushing the river.

It relates to going with the flow.  When  a flowing river moves rapidly and with force, going against the flow, is not suggested; you use up all your energy fighting the force of the current and don’t get very far.  That is pushing the river, it brings discontent and is an unproductive use of energy.

Going with the flow allows for ease in movement, the river current glides you down without much effort on your part except to perhaps guide your way and avoid obstacles.

Flow and movement through life follows the same course.

An example of pushing the river in the flow of life occurs when the difficulty in flow is through delays or difficulties, and you get angry, anxious, and try to push through the problem.  Often the outcome is a complete block and non-movement with feelings of anxiety and frustration (inner feeling of being blocked).

Not pushing the river means accepting the delay and allowing the flow of the situation to Flow.  So if you are speeding in traffic and you keep getting red lights rather than speeding up to try to get to the green light, you slow to the pace of the cars, the flow, and through this you will begin to get the green lights.  It’s getting into sync.

Sometimes the delay is because of an attachment or an unmet expectation in that case communicating about what you want may result in you getting in sync, and that is like allowing the current to take you down the river while you guide your course and avoid obstacles.

Other times, no matter what you do the Flow is delay and interruption, in that case it is a mindset of pushing, that may need to shift to get into the flow.  This happens when you keep getting red lights and to get into the flow you relax and look for hawks in the sky or listen to music you like and trust that the situation is going to turn out ok.

To assess whether you are pushing the river, notice your attitude, feelings inside, and the energy around you.  Pushing the river is stifling, and generally carries a pushing and irritable or frustrated feeling.

Allowing, going with the flow, and getting in sync have in common the feeling of ease, comfort, and relaxation.

Being mindful, focusing on perception, and shifting paradigms as well as applying a compassionate lens are useful ways of being in the world to remain in the flow.

See you tomorrow.



Using humor to shift paradigms


Humor is the most useful tool in your bag of tricks when it comes to paradigm shifting.  It allows for the shift to be non-threatening.  It has the same energy as an epiphany but less drama.

Humor creates a conduit for the perception to be seen and released simultaneously.  This is especially true if you are attempting to assist someone, or yourself, in seeing an over-reaction.  Humor can help you see silliness in your thinking or behaving, without negative judgment.

I use humor all the time to shift energy.  It is the perfect response when I want to  lighten a situation that is getting too serious.  The seriousness can create a block to the needed shift.  It’s really helpful with children when you want to side-step a negative interaction that is steamrolling down a course to opposition and  a flat-out stalemate.  Using humor can result in an instantaneous shift in energy, especially if you choose just the right maneuver.

Laughing at ourselves when we need to lighten up is an important part of de-stressing, and it helps us get into a mindful state; it’s like a mini-paradigm shift into the humorous nature of events, that opens the doorway into real insight and epiphany.

The mindfulness component to humor is especially evident when used to deal with resistance.  Resistance can look like a NO or just a distraction; it can be really strong and obvious or just dawdling and delaying.  All of these actions can be a form of resistance and can interfere with the smooth flow of events.  Often resistance is actually a cover for something else that is underlying the situation.  This could be a way of dealing with unwanted pressure, or expectation, or structure that feels stifling, like our time schedules or an event we are required to attend.  By bringing humor into the equation you can uncover the cause of the resistance without getting into a power struggle with your child or the other person.  If it is your own resistance with which you are dealing than humor makes it more tolerable to look at yourself and your actions.

Humor lightens.  It makes the change feel less heavy or more obvious and it allows the shift to be embraced without negativity.  Lightening both the weighty-ness of making choices, decisions, and change as well as lightening with respect to increasing the degree of mirth, spirit, and luminosity involved in living and evaluating.

When my daughter was just working on moving from pre-team to team in gymnastics her energy changed.  Rather than being relaxed, attentive, self-confident, and strong, her intensity shifted; she started to be a little uptight and anxious about who was going to move up and where she was in the line-up of her peers in skill and talent.  She began to get discouraged and this affected her capacity to do the work.  She tried harder but it had the effect of making her too conscious so that she was pushing rather than allowing her skill to shine through. It resulted in her getting stuck.

I tried having a serious, mindful discussion about how her attitude was getting in the way, but she became adamant that she just couldn’t do it; “I can’t” she said.  I calmly and lovingly talked with her about how she needed to say “I can” because her words had power.  She said they only had power in one way if she said I can’t then she couldn’t but when she said I can it didn’t change the outcome.  She was trying to tell me how discouraged she was, but I wasn’t listening with my third ear (my inner mindfulness and attention), I just  kept on with my efforts to shift her perspective, describing how the “I can” made it a neutral space so her mind/body could work together to go through the motion of the skill with ease that she had been practicing.  I was talking to her rather than listening to her and responding, even though I thought I was being reasonable my efforts helped to create a block and she dug in her heels because she felt unheard and invalidated.  The more I tried to be calm, and mindful, and clarifying the more adamant, angry, and resistant she became, until we were at a block, a NO, a lost opportunity for learning.

Then I decided to explain how it worked by acting as her confused muscle that she was sending two messages to, one message of I want to do it, and the other message of I can’t. The result was a jerkiness that depicted her muscle trying to respond to both an action of follow through on the skill and an action of miss the skill.  When there are two opposing messages the wires get crossed and there isn’t any clarity about what action to take.  The inner confusion would assuredly result in a mis-step and diluted action/skill.   As I was describing this, in simpler terms, I acted it out,  with silly facial gestures and a crazy looking jerkiness of my arm.  It was so silly she spontaneously laughed out loud; I looked so silly that her first most natural reaction was to laugh and that broke up the energy so that she could both feel heard and listen to my explanation.

Through the use of humor, the words got in, then she had an opportunity to integrate the concepts.   The humorous picture also became a visual mantra/or visual imprint she could use to re-focus herself in the future, so that she could find her own neutral place and shift the energy when she felt discouraged.

It lightened everything.  It allowed for a paradigm shift, and it was a strong image that was beneficial in the future.  The next practice she moved with ease and self-confidence, she got her skill; and in her being was the memory of how funny her mom looked and the information behind the humorous action connected to it that you have to give one clear message and allow you natural ease to flow through.

So mindfulness needs a little mirth sometimes to get the job done.

Humor is a little tricky, it can really backfire when used incorrectly or at the wrong time.  This is especially true with certain ages that have a hypersensitivity to being laughed at.  In these circumstances it’s most useful to allow yourself to be the canvas or conduit for looking silly, allowing your child to laugh at you and through that, to see their own silliness, on their own and in their own time.  If you make the connection too quickly and they are not ready then you may find that you worsen the situation.

It takes a feel to know when to use humor and how, that ability to listen with your third (inner paying mindful attention) ear, in conjunction with knowing your child and what actions are covered messages.  When used efficiently humor is the most effective tool in your toolbox for shifting paradigms and getting to aha experiences.

Next time you feel your blood pressure beginning to rise, or you feel stuck in your interactions, apply a funny, humorous face to the situation.  See if you can create your own paradigm shift with humor.  The lightening up of the situation goes far to instill the needed information, and it does so with fun, ease, and efficiency.

See you tomorrow.