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welcome

Feel free to enjoy and use all the articles you find here.   They belong to all who find them useful for their living.  That is the only price to pay!  Use in your living, is the only reason for this blog.   And if you want to, you can buy my book “Perceptual Intelligence” from Authorhouse.com or buy it as an ebook at Authorhouse or other online booksellers.   tom

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SUICIDE

SUICIDE

We again have had some high profile suicides in the news. I think this gives most people some pause, some pondering, some reflecting and simply wondering how this happens. For me, this is probably the most powerful example of what I say often on this blog. “The word is not the actual”.

I will give you a moment to see if you can make that connection. How is the “word” essential to suicide? How is actual not an actual death? And NOT is the key here to my little koan.. Did you get it? We humans are perfectly willing to kill our physical being when our “worded” being is depressed. Most don’t even know that they are different. We mostly do not feel that the “word” is different from the “actual”.

I can already hear some folks decrying my insensitivity to the pain of anyone who decides to kill themselves. These are people who also cannot separate the actual physical being who is always in the present, with the made up, conceptualized, imaged, version of our living. That “ego” being, with all it’s pain and suffering and angst, is not a real being. And yes, to the person suffering in that ego form, that is the only reality. I get that. They don’t get, that being alive is not a matter of being a past image.

This is not a disparity of people who kill themselves. It must be an awful internal pain to end your physical life. And isn’t that also amazing that your made up life, and yes, it is totally made up, is willing to sacrifice the actual physical being that carries that made up life. We do not understand that “the word is not the actual”. Our physical being, always only in the present, is much less valuable than the past image, ego, carried pain, horrible memories, etc. that we carry in our head. Not that past pain did not happen, but that we continue to carry it, is the issue.

“The word is not the actual” is a call to be present in your living. To let go of the past and show up in the moment of this life. We humans do not do this, even though the fact that “the word is not the actual” is so apparent to all of us. We cannot drink the word water. We cannot taste the word sweet. Life is only right now in front of us. If you bring the past in, in whatever way, you lose your life.

Maybe that is why people can commit suicide. They have already lost the thing they named as their life, have already dismissed the actual physical life they live, and therefore it is not hard to end that physical being. Some will say that is the only way out of significant mental pain, and maybe they are right. But, if no one accepts that the ego state is not real, then we are condemned to this mental pain. And then, the only option for ending the pain, is to end the body that carries our ego.

The sad thing, is all of humanity values the “ego” above actual life. This is how we kill in the name of religion, nation, ideology, race, gender, etc. All that is bullshit ego stuff. So if you are in ego pain, and cannot awaken to the illusion of that, I am glad you kill yourself before you become a mass murderer, a serial killer, or the worst, a national leader that is willing to kill anyone different than him/her. This is the history of human life. The word, dominating the actual. None of this I write, is actual. Only what is in front of you, with you, in you right now is actual. If it is of the past, drop it. Tlane 6/10/18

WHY WE CAN’T KNOW LIFE

Do you have an intuitive resistance to someone who claims that “they know how things are”? You know those folks who are so self-assured that their answers are “the” answers to life’s issues. They usually proclaim them loudly or at least smugly. (maybe you see me that way. Yikes) You can’t know life. Simple as that. And there are 2 basic reasons for that.

The first reason is complexity. Think of all the “experts” we have in economics, sociology, government, medicine, ecology, biology, electronics, manufacturing, investing, and on and on it goes. All these experts studied long and hard to try to grasp a small slice of what all of life is about. They try to put it into context (at least the best ones do) and still it is only a fraction of what actual life is about.

Then the theoretical experts try to go to the essence of life. The physicists, the philosophers, the theologians, and a few others who want to look at the “big” picture of life. It is too complex for any explanation that can coherently explain much of anything. But, they soldier on, trying to find the “holy grail” of understanding. There is not one.

And if that complexity wasn’t hard enough, then there is the problem that each of us comes at our understanding with a complex past that filters, shapes, biases, distorts, excludes, and attempts to find an answer that fits the end we have in mind. We do not show up trying to understand the world we are confronted with, we show up with all our past, and try to fit the world we find into that preconceived box. Ahh, such a paradox of boxes.

So why do we continue to do this impossible task? Our conditioning to “know” is relentless. We each sincerely believe that life (maybe not BIG life, but our little life) can be figured out and known. And why do we want so desperately want to know. To know is to complete the illusion of being in control. We humans do not like being vulnerable to the “fates” as they used to be called. We want to know and control. And we cannot.

We live in a world of massive complexity and we can not even show up with a clear mind to observe how it is working in front of us. We manage to add to the complexity with all our past believing. As if it were not complex enough, we each add more complexity with the irrational distortions of our individual pasts! And that becomes part of the complexity of this world we live in. Good grief!

What is the answer? Of course, the answer is “give up your need to know”. But that is no answer at all to you who want an answer. The only way to understand life is to show up, pay attention, clear your own head, let go of the past, be with what is, and do it all over again. Tlane 6/7/18

I AM SPOILED

I AM SPOILED

For the last 20 or so years of my career, I had the privilege of being able to set the tone of a long conversation. I was paid to go into companies to teach them how to duplicate the Toyota system of making cars/things. To do that, I had to create a new framework for them to look at their organization and work process. We normally do not get that opportunity in our everyday living. It spoiled me to most social interaction.

We all work from frameworks of how we understand the world around us. And we mostly do not have a consciousness of those frameworks. It is the fish in the water, if you know that analogy. They do not realize they are under water. To begin a conversation in a social setting about what frameworks we each come from is a complete “non-starter” of a discussion. We want to talk about the content of our framework. Do you understand that. “the content of our framework”? Most do not.

We humans show up with other humans and have conversations that are totally based on some framework about how we view right/wrong, good/bad and much more. We assume that those we are talking with have the similar frameworks. Sometimes that works, and a nice coalescence happens where we confirm the views of our fellow talkers, and they confirm us. It is a great way to cement our paradigms of reality.

Now, try to have a conversation about what I just wrote with your friends. Because it is what happens all the time, but at an unconscious level. To have a conversation about the unconscious level of how we work, is very hard. It sounds too abstract, too psychotherapy, too philosophical, and just too much. But, it is the way we each understand the world we live in, construct our relationships, form the basis of our very life! But, we have no energy for this. We simply do not want to understand our own living. Ah, what a dilemma.

To my point here, I was given the opportunity to have normal people do that around their livelihood. They had never considered that before and I had a chance to explore that for a day or sometimes two days. When you are given that chance, it is really an amazing deal. Most go along, but a few always had a little “aha” moment in that. When they realized that they had not simply “looked” at how their day to day operation ran, they were a bit shocked into a new awareness.

That is what spoiled me. I can’t just go talk to most people who do not grasp that they have a paradigm, a framework, an unconscious belief system, a bias, a preconceived reality, an illusion of what life is about, and hold such a profound dedication to keeping all that alive and well. So, I now just mostly shut up. I look for little opportunities to raise a question, but it mostly goes nowhere. So, I write, fully knowing that, you the reader will simply dismiss this as an idea you do not agree with. Or, even worse, an idea you agree with, and just move on. Like this is an IDEA! It is not an idea, it is an awareness of how you work in your head. And mostly we work by maintaining our ideas of life and not looking behind the curtain of all that. Tlane 6/5/18

SLAVERY OF THE MIND

There is a recent book about the coming of the last black slaves to America. They arrived illegally right before the Civil War, and, did not fit in with the slaves who had been here for decades or centuries. When they were freed with the Emancipation Proclamation, they had no where to go, even more so than the slaves who had acclimated to living in America. They created a town called “Africatown”.

What struck me, was that even black freed slaves, had already developed a “bondage” of the mind. When Lincoln freed the slave, he also set in place a new bondage of the white population. A bondage of bigotry and bias. Historians detail the physical enslavement, but always overlook the mental slavery that affects all of us. Yes, physical bondage and torture is awful, and so is mental bondage.

My point is that it affects everyone. It is so easy to look at the Confederate flag waving, truck driving, country music loving, gun toting, bigot, and think we are above them. We are not. They are a slave to just a different kind of master. Their insecurity is to a certain bias. We all have some master we are a slave to, in our own mind.

And the most difficult thing is, we are both the master and the slave! We hold the keys to our freedom, but we are so conditioned, that we deny that we are even enslaved. Make no mistake, you live your life enslaved to your past. You were handed that as a young person, and now defend with all your energy. You are the keeper of the chains and victim to the chains. Except we do not see our living as being “victim” to anything. Hey, it is just the way we are.

That is the beauty of being the master and the slave at the same time. You think you run your own life. You think you have free will to do as you wish. To act as you wish. To show up as you wish. Can you do that. Can you show up as a totally different person tomorrow? You may say you can, but can you really? You are a slave to your past.

The proof of this is right now. Do you have any reaction to this? Where does that reaction come from? Can you stop that reaction and just let it go? Or do you really want to justify your reaction and try to clarify why you do not live this way? All bullshit. You are a slave to the past and refuse to accept that you are your own keeper.

I saw this analogy as I was pondering this. Our life is a train rolling down the tracks, and we sincerely believe we are in control of where it goes. We cannot see the rails that have been so carefully laid out in front of us. We think we can go anywhere we want, but we will always follow the rigid rails. Our life is not free until we completely let go of the past. Tlane 5/24/18

EMPATHY AND POWER

EMPATHY AND POWER

Just reading an article about sex offenders and it struck me that they are all people who desire power over another (in a sexual way) and who lack empathy toward the other. I think this is a common process in our society. People (mostly men) who seek power in many ways beyond sexual and have no empathy for the people they seek power over.

Maybe, we should have a rule that anyone seeking power in any way, should demonstrate a level of empathy commensurate with that. That would eliminate Trump as President. He has shown no empathy at all, except in the false statements of how he “tells it like it is” and “feels for the little guy”. Nothing else in his demeanor shows empathy. But this is not about Trump, he is just a good example.

Power can be pretty simple. Like power over your own living. Power to manage your own life. Power to master a skill or task. All that is very useful and helpful in life. When power extends beyond that to “power over others”, we have a problem. Power over others without empathy is destructive.

Power, as I am talking here, is control of others, outcomes, context, environments, and situations. It is exerting your personal desires over the needs of others. (power in governing is another issue). To discount the personal situation of others, their needs, wants, concerns, fears, etc., is to make them nothing more than an abstract idea. It is to objectify them as only here to satisfy my own needs. All sex offenders do this. All the abusers, gropers, rapists, pedophiles, and discriminators fit this. They want power and control more than an understanding of another.

Empathy, is the ability to get into another’s shoes. To sense and feel and experience, as much as possible, the world of another human being. It is not only “men to women” in this, but anyone in power to anyone without power. When anyone acts from a power place without some empathy towards others, it is an abusive being. An unconscious being. A self centered being.

All of us have some power over others, to some extent. Well, not really, but they do grant us that now and then. So, this is an issue for all of us. Women brandish their own form of power. Race has its own method. Money does too. Power is control, and control is not inherently bad. Control over other’s lives without any empathy, is a disaster.

To fix our social issue with this, means to have a different conversation. It is clarifying why is empathy important, how do we understand that in our self and others, and how do we understand power. We are a sleeping humanity. All this happens very unconsciously from us and to us. If you do not like the way we function as a society, look to yourself first. You are the world. Tlane 5/23/18

EGO FACADE

EGO FAÇADE

In my last paper, I mentioned the experience of Mr. Pollan who used mushrooms to experience the illusion of the ego in his living. He realized that he is a being separate from that ego as it dissipated in front of him. So, what is it like to live this way? Do you discard your ego entirely? No. It does not work that way.

Realizing that you are not your name and identity and all the other conditioning we have stored up in our being, is truly an awakening. Once you fully realize this, reality sets in. You live in a world dominated by ego, by identity, by attachment, by meaning, by rightness/wrongness, etc. Showing up in that world without all that is not some easy thing. Well, it is, and it isn’t.

If you show up without any ego at all, you just observe and smile for the most part. Think about how that looks to people demanding a reaction, a response, an agreement or at least something!! The world is asleep in this ego based construction, AND we expect everyone else to show up like we do. We want people we engage with, to have some sort of the same reality we do. We want them to “believe in something”. We want them to agree or disagree with us, but not to just smile at us. It makes us uncomfortable. And we do with that, is to make the “smiling person” as someone out of it.

So, to live in this insane ego world, I decided to sustain my ego façade. As an executive, I pretended, to some extent, to worry about the concerns of the company. As a son/family member, I acted like a good son should. As a friend and lover, I often pretended to say the right things. Only the ones that got close to me, would I let done that façade. And that is not many. As Jane would say, “you gotta sleep with him”. It is a term of endearment and closeness.

You may be wondering if it is hard to sustain a lifelong façade of this ego pretend state. It is not. When you live in that quiet place behind ego, all that becomes like an automobile. It is a tool to get from place to place, and when driving you should not ever forget that you are driving a vehicle that is not you. It is a tool, and like any other tool, it is useful in this world.

But, the amazing thing is, you realize that everyone else is truly believing in that tool. They live their lives like the façade is really them. This puts them at a great disadvantage to someone who knows it is just a façade. They take the game very seriously, while I did not. But, I did play. After all, you have to pay the bills and this is the only game in town.

My life was effortless after I realized that I am not my ego. Some of my more astute associates realized that I was playing by different rules. But in that, they also knew my goal was not to get ahead, but to support them. Getting ahead was easy, supporting others who you thought may get it, was sometimes a struggle. But it was not a win or lose game with me. I just did my life playing in this game. And now I write from behind this façade, and it is still great. Love to all .. tlane 5/17/18

MICHAEL POLLAN’S PSYCHOLOGICAL TRIP

I have watched several interviews with Michael Pollan and his new book about the various experiments with psychedelic drugs. He is serious about finding out if these have some therapeutic effect on depression and other mental conditions. I found one comment truly comforting.

He was describing one moment in a drug induced awareness with mushrooms. He described it as realizing his “ego” was broken into pieces and just floating away from him. On the Colbert show he described this as “paint spilling out before him”. And the great realization was that he was still aware and alive WITHOUT his ego!! Imagine that. He went on to explain how we are conditioned to think we are our ego being. That we are all the names and identities. How cool for someone to see that we have a being behind the ego.

I hope you are getting that this is what all this blog is about. We are a “being” that is separate from the names and conditions of our life. We all are a quiet being living behind the noise of our ego mind. Maybe some of us have to do drugs to get that, but I am not sure he really gets the power of what he has been shown. To stay in that quiet place and see how we have made up such grand crap that causes war and racism and conflict, is to change the world. One person at a time.

Some drugs can break down that wall of perception that has convinced us that we are simply an idea and an identity. Behind the wall is nothing. The greatest thing in life. NOTHING is everything. Ah the paradox of that. When you have nothing to defend, nothing to promote, then you are at peace. Peace is nature. Peace is life. We are an aberration.

Human life is an aberration of actual life. All the rest of living things do not have all the ego stuff to make wars about. They simply try to survive the best they can. I am reminded of the story of the fox and the bunny. The fox sees the bunny eating some succulent grass and gives chase. The rabbit runs off and zigs and zags thru the woods, and once sure that he/she is safe, stops and nibbles on the grass. There is no concern and worry about the fox. Only the obvious need to eat. We carry stuff because our ego thinks things should be different. When we “be”, then we do what is obvious. When “WE” are as an ego, we think things should be different. We fight our own life. Tlane 5/15/18