SIMPLICITY

Ever since teeing up that first golf ball with Mom and Dad at the age of seven, golf has been a patient life coach; and as the years have sped by, the sport continues to coach and counsel. Recent experiences have offered that if open and psychologically ready for the infinite messages, “simple” in golf and life can be discovered beyond sport and life’s complexities.

Christian Larson’s (The Great Within) message is clear: we are reflections—thinking, personality and character—of the language we live-in.  As Abel Leighton Allen contends, “Our todays are the result of our past thinking, our tomorrows the result of our present thinking. We have been our mental parents, and we shall be our own mental children.” How would Woody and Birdy Ball, Golf as Guru, use this taste of philosophy on every shot or putting stroke on the golf course? “Too complicated for us: Just learn to program and trust the subconscious to hit the golf ball to an intended target.”

Step One: Create a clear, conscious vision of the ball at the desired target; and feel what is required to place the ball at the target: body mechanics, club mechanics, swing motion and ball position.

-Club required.

-Immaculate set-up: grip, aim, stance and posture.

-One piece take-away.

-No hurry to transition for full torque turn.

-Smooth transition.

-Accelerating forward swing and release.

-Club face square to ball-target line at impact.

-Extension of club to target.

-Complete finish.

Step Two: Go to the breath and program the subconscious with the vision of the what and the how—breathe it, think it, deeply feel it, see it, taste it, smell it, and touch it.

Step three: Proceed with the pre-shot routine and ritual for the desired shot or stroke.

Step four: Celebrate!

As Birdy offers, “Yes! We are thinking, personality and character reflections of the language we live in. Let’s live in the language we desire! Not the swing thoughts and whims of the monkey mind that keep us mired two shots from insanity.”

 

TWO WOLVES

As campaigning for 2022 mid-term elections and the 2024 Presidential race unfolds, it should come as no surprise that the strategy for political parties is “strategic extremism” based on identity politics: we-they, us-them itus. This is nothing more than two wolves destroying a beautiful country from within. As campaigning moves forward, note that there is limited discussion about policies and issues that make a difference; and notice the inflammatory nonsense in a deliberate effort to manipulate and mobilize right-wing voters. Culturally liberal mainstream media will happily take the bait—it boosts ratings—and make Trump’s cultural “illiberalism” a big issue. Because morality is relative and voters like it, it is an easy tool with which to manipulate voters. Every time we are emotionally upset, we are deliberately being set up, and we may not want to acknowledge it at the time.

Americans are better than this! We can remain in our seats and watch the show and realize that what is unfolding in front of us is part of a play and that the actors are only emotionally triggering us because they know how to manipulate us. As Michael Brown contends, “…life is a complete setup…When we learn to laugh at how well and how often we get set up and how we react unconsciously to these experiences, we will then have access to endless laughter.” (The Presence Process, 152)

DUEL OF WOLVES

Nathanael Blake offers a pearl of insight,

Self-righteousness infects all sides of our politics, and makes us ridiculous. For many, politics is a way of showing oneself to be smarter, more enlightened, more compassionate, and more attuned to injustice than others. If correct politics confers moral superiority, then the wrong political views confer wickedness, and the wicked deserve to be punished. This view allows people to find in politics a socially acceptable, even applauded, outlet for cruelty and malice, as well as absolution and indulgence for that cruelty. (Mending America’s Political Divide: What Science Tells Us About Solving the Political Hatred Between the Left and the Right, Dr. Rene’ H. Levy, 105)

American identity and empathy have simply disappeared from the political arena, and the country has two wolves fighting an internal civil war. One wolf is right wing tribalism that is tearing the country apart; and one wolf is left wing tribalism that is tearing the country apart. And with continued nourishment of tribalism the associated political hatred, division, loathing, aversion, and rancor will continue; and deepened loss of empathy and absence of American identity will follow. Eventually, one of the wolves will win!

Yes! Political party sorting has divided the country, is dividing the country, and will continue to divide and deconstruct this country unless “we the people” make a definitive course correction. We the people are the problem! We need to move forward and begin to deliberately select and elect genuine leaders who are objective, not self-serving and make decisions that are in the best interests of Americans; are aware, understand, and confront the perils of partisanship; and who have a track record of leading, healing, transcending, and including, and uniting diverse groups of folks…teams and coalitions unify. We are all humans and have needs and wants and together we can make those needs and wants become reality. Each of us needs to stand in the face of power and tell the truth. Let us elect politicians who are masters of the self—healthy, unhealthy, true, and authentic—and who model the way as persons, in relationships, institutionally, socially, and by helping others and caring about others. We need values and virtue. Let us not re-elect or elect deranged idiots who manipulate followers to grow personal income, to retain power, and to deepen divisions and hate.

An opinion is that cultic-tribal addiction—political party sorting—is simply unresolved discomfort within the emotional body, or as offered in Integral Life Practice: A 21st Century Blueprint for Physical Health, Emotional Balance, Mental Clarity, and Spiritual Awakening (Wilber, Patten, Leonard, and Morelli, 2008, Boston, MA: Integral, page 41, 92-93),

…the shadow or dark side of the psyche, those aspects of ourselves that we’ve split off, rejected, denied, hidden from ourselves, projected onto others, or otherwise disowned…repressed unconscious…because we’ve pushed or pressed it out of our awareness, and unconscious because we are not aware of it…But the fact that we are not conscious or aware of the shadow does not mean that it has no effect: it just expresses itself through distorted and unhealthy means-or what is typically called neuroses…safety and security are sought by bonding together and identifying (fusing) with a tribe in order to persevere and protect against outsiders. Allegiance and admiration are given to the chief…emergence of a sense of self (ego) distinct from the tribe, although it often acts impulsively on behalf of its favored group.

Undoing and reintegrating this repressed and denied unconscious to improve psychological health, individually and collectively, is process and is not easy; however, the work can free energy that has been spent shadowboxing with the self and waging an American civil war. An initial step is simply a sense of openness and a commitment to detect and root out causes, acceptance of 100% responsibility, face everything and fear nothing, and just sit in the flames of the unresolved discomfort, individually and collectively. Yes. Simply, a good dose of mindfulness, awareness, and self-restraint to unleash empathy and compassion. Let us not permit one of these ugly wolves a win.

Some resources:

  • Integral Life Practice: A 21st Century Blueprint for Physical Health, Emotional Balance, Mental Clarity, and Spiritual Awakening, Wilber, Patten, Leonard, and Morelli, 2008.
  • Mending America’s Political Divide: What Science Tells Us About Solving the Political Hatred Between the Left and the Right, Dr. Rene’ H. Levy, 2020.
  • We the People Are the Problem: How Americans Betrayed America, Peter Magistrale, 2020.
  • Peril, Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, 2021.

 

 

 

GOLF as GURU

The mind is a remarkable gift; however, a single, errant golf ball in the pond on the right of the fairway can rapidly orchestrate a disruptive, conscious mind ramble of swing thoughts. As Voltaire reminds, “The perfect is the enemy of the good.” Perhaps trusting the subconscious mind can enable us to avoid two errant shots from insanity. Let’s peek at a recent journey into the subconscious mind and the opening of a new area for awareness: the part of our mind where 90% of life’s experiences reside.

Interest in the subconscious was inspired by a frustrating journey of “rightitus and pullitius.” The trek started with the coach:  we uncovered 32 symptoms that were practiced and taken to the course; and the push right, pull left continued. After reflection and study of literature, a conclusion was that perhaps the root cause was “timing” that was not allowing the clubface to arrive square to the ball-target line at impact. Sounded simple!

Study quickly revealed that timing was a process: synchronous, one piece take-away; back swing to transition (unhurried, 45-degree hip turn; 90-degree shoulder turn; shoulder tilt); smooth transition; accelerating forward swing launched with left hip and knee turn and unwinding upper torso; followed by arms, wrists and hands gripping the golf club arriving with a clubface square to the ball-target line at impact; hands pointing to the intended target. Not an easy fix! Even attempted writing a song to facilitate smoothness, rhythm, timing and tempo.

Enter the concept of trust the subconscious to perform: with passion burning, the captain of the ship squeezes the auto-pilot button and trusts the carefully programmed subconscious to creatively deliver a ball to an intended target. Tiger Woods commented, “I have learned to trust the subconscious, and my instincts have never lied to me.” Joan King offers, “When you are playing at your peak levels, you are trusting your game to your subconscious mind and allowing your swing to happen automatically.”

Perhaps there was nothing wrong with the swing except that the conscious mind “thought” there is something wrong. The “ah-ha:” thinking about mechanics results in jerky, inconsistent, off-balance, out-of-tempo, and off-line shots; and If pieces of the swing are practiced, the on-the course result is pieces of the swing. What pre-shot routine and ritual are working?

  • SMILE!! DEEP BREATHING!! INTEGRATE HEAD, HEART (subconscious) and HARA (center).
  • MASTER of MIND”FULL”NESS MANTRA: inherent in essence is the power-conscious mind, subconscious mind and superconscious mind-to manifest a desired result through the personality, character and mentality.
  • Select club.
  • See and deeply feel ball at target.
  • Feel initial hip turn; width of arc; shoulder tilt on take-away, release from transition; shoulder tilt at impact; and clubface square to ball-target line at impact through release-turn and pull to extension and finish (right heel showing).
  • Deeply feel trust of subconscious to manifest the desired result.
  • Immaculate set-up.
  • Be mindful; relaxed focus; be one with environment, club, ball and target; pull trigger.
  • CELEBRATE! And remember to check Xlibris.com for Golf as Guru: Mindfullness, Awareness and Self-Restraint. You will be pleased to meet Woody and Birdy Ball.

Some subconscious literature sources:

  • Allen, D. (2017). The Secrets, Mysteries and Powers of the Subconscious Mind.
  • Bargh, J. (2017). Before You Know It: The Unconscious Reasons We Do What We Do. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.
  • Fried, K. (2019). Subconscious Power: Use Your Inner Mind to Create the Life You’ve Always Wanted. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.
  • Hill, N. (2019). Think and Grow Rich: The Secret To Wealth For The 21st Century. DeMarque. Amazon Whispernet.
  • King, J. (2017). The Heart of Golf: Access Your Supreme Intelligence for Peak Performances. Amazon Whispernet.
  • Murphy, J. (2019). The Power of Your Subconscious Mind. DeMarque. Amazon Whispernet.
  • Sternberg, E. (2016). NeuroLogic: The Brain’s Hidden Rationale Behind Our Irrational Behavior. New York, NY: Random House.

 

A STEEP CLIMB

America is at a crossroads, a fulcrum, a tipping point, between a democratic republic—freedom—and autocracy—control. As Americans, we each need to decide what type of country we desire; and what each of us can do to facilitate the strategic, competitive, common sense battle with our principle global competitor, China. Some folks will pitch-in and make things happen; some folks will watch what happened; and some folks will wonder what happened.

There are a bunch of strategies and stuff that needs to get done: non-political voting rights management, technology building, infrastructure maintenance and improvement, jobs creation, healthcare, childcare, immigration reform, countering systemic racism, LGBTQ rights, minimum wage, climate control, confronting home grown, white supremacy, terrorism, fair share tax reform, sanely evolving through COVID-19 and preparing for future pandemics, education re-tuning and funding, sane gun control, policing in communities, foreign policy, et al. As the two Japanese characters for crisis offer on the tattoo, with danger comes opportunity. The danger is continued and expanded division and autocracy; and the opportunity is to work on our unhealthy personal and collective issues, participate in interactive dialogue and coalitions, and get done what is good for all Americans.

An opinion is that cultic-tribal addiction—political party sorting—is simply unresolved discomfort within the emotional body, the unhealthy self, or as offered in Integral Life Practice: A 21st Century Blueprint for Physical Health, Emotional Balance, Mental Clarity, and Spiritual Awakening (Wilber, Patten, Leonard, and Morelli, 2008, Boston, MA: Integral, page 41, 92-93),

…the shadow or dark side of the psyche, those aspects of ourselves that we’ve split off, rejected, denied, hidden from ourselves, projected onto others, or otherwise disowned…repressed unconscious…because we’ve pushed or pressed it out of our awareness, and unconscious because we are not aware of it…But the fact that we are not conscious or aware of the shadow does not mean that it has no effect: it just expresses itself through distorted and unhealthy means-or what is typically called neuroses…safety and security are sought by bonding together and identifying (fusing) with a tribe in order to persevere and protect against outsiders. Allegiance and admiration are given to the chief…emergence of a sense of self (ego) distinct from the tribe, although it often acts impulsively on behalf of its favored group.

Undoing and reintegrating this repressed and denied unconscious to improve our psychological health is process and is not easy; however, the work can free energy that has been spent shadowboxing with the self, making excuses, spinning, blaming, and telling stories. An initial step is simply a sense of openness and a commitment to face everything and fear nothing, just sit in the flames of the unresolved discomfort and give birth to penetrating insight and skillful means. We are merely witnessing the evolution of the human condition, and with patience, persistence, education, compassion, learning, and spirituality, we can move forward together, not further divided, and closer to autocracy. Individually and collectively, we can grow mindfulness, awareness, and self-restraint, and quiet the insatiable, unhealthy ego; and the dampening of anger, egotistical pride, jealousy, envy, doubt, ignorance, attachment, and fear can begin to free energy to nurture peace-of-mind and a sense of happiness and joy. Let us get this job done for all Americans, not just a select few. Casts, conflicting political messages, and deliberate, negative words that separate, attack, and divide are simply wrong. If open to the challenge, ready for the opportunity, and in need of a boost to get started: 1) In her Mindfulness Journal, Catherine Price recommends, Buy a pack of small stickers—any kind will do—and place a dozen or so around your home and office in noticeable places, such as your bathroom mirror, your computer, the back of your phone, the wall behind your kitchen sink, your alarm clock, or the cover of (your) journal. Every time you see one of these stickers, STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING, BREATHE, AND BE. 2) Locate a credible meditation instructor and learn to meditate. 3) Three questions for reflection: What unlocks compassion? What manifests happiness, joy, and peace-of-mind? Why do I believe what I believe?

SIMPLY TELL THE TRUTH

Truth and trust matter; and truth and trust are an inseparable duo!

Truth connotes in accordance with fact or reality, or belief that is accepted as true; and trust is about reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, and surety of a person, place, or thing. Moreover, it is about confidence in a person, place, or thing. A personal contention is that trust is a result and is earned; and   it seems to be intimately related to honesty, respect, and one’s capacity to influence others to willingly move toward common purposes. In a discussion of leadership for the twenty-first century, Rost (Leadership for the 21st Century, 1993, Praeger, 102) suggests that leadership is a trust-based, influence relationship between the respective leader and the self, and among leaders and followers who intend ethical changes that mirror their common purpose.

During a stint with corporate America, a beautiful person by the name of Hyler Bracey, president of the Atlanta Consulting Group, became part of my life. When Hyler was twenty-eight years old, he drove stock cars. One evening during a race, he was in a serious wreck, and his car exploded into flames. He suffered burns over 40 percent of his body. Today, Hyler is severely scarred, his face is scar tissue, and his deformed hands with stiff bent fingers remind one of brittle burned twigs in a campfire. The amazing thing about Hyler is that in moments after meeting him, one sees through his scars and trauma and is connected to his heart.

All this is by way of sharing that Hyler helped me appreciate that building trust is hard work and a result of action and that single violations of trust by the self and others are difficult to repair. His teaching was that trust is the fruit of a three-step process. First, over time, the parties in relationships make agreements and commitments and keep these agreements and commitments. Second, the mandatory critical first step in relationship maturation leads to the development of credibility and respect; and third, steps one and two create an environment of openness, honesty, and space for willing transformation and change. The fruit of these three interdependent steps is trust, a vital ingredient for quality relationships, honest dialogue, and transformation. Absent truth and trust, trust becomes conditional.

Yes, truth and trust matter; and truth and trust are an inseparable duo! Hyler and three of his consulting associates and friends—Jack Rosenblum, Aubrey Sanford, and Roy Trueblood—have written and published a wonderful book, Managing from the Heart (1990, Atlanta, GA: Heart). The power of positive, heartfelt choice is infinite and can clarify intention, unlock facing everything and avoiding nothing and beckon accepting 100% responsibility for evolving environments on all levels. Listening to the conscience and telling the truth are wonderful gifts; and trust is the earned result.

 

 

 

AUTHORITARIANISM

Today’s media platforms reveal that America’s three-legged democracy stool is missing its third leg. Economics and politics are thriving; and the missing third leg, morality, is blatantly obvious. In the rear-view mirror are ethics, character, decency, common good, honesty, integrity, probity, rectitude, righteousness, rightness, uprightness, virtue, virtuousness, values, and common beliefs. Witness suppression of voting rights, COVID-19 pandemic turned political, media untruths, cyber and space warfare, infrastructure decay, inequitable wages, healthcare and childcare shortcomings, systemic racism and casts, LGBTQ rights questioned, environmental degradation, untreated mental health, home grown terrorism, immigration overload and inhumanity, thriving white supremacy, education state-of-the art and funding deficiencies, insane gun control, and the list continues. The danger is continued and deepening division, fear, and autocracy. The opportunity is to improve common good and caring as individuals; and merge and participate in interactive dialogue and collectively manifest the missing third leg of the stool, morality, or common good and caring, for America, Americans, and the globe. As Jonathan Sacks offers in Morality: Restoring the Common Good in Divided Times,

Recovering liberal democratic freedom will involve emphasizing responsibilities as well as rights; shared rules, not just individual choices; caring for others as well as for ourselves; and making space not just for self-interest but also for common good. Morality is an essential feature of our human environment, as important as the market (economics) and the state (politics), but outsourceable to neither. Morality humanizes the competition for wealth and power. It is the redemption of our solitude. (20)

Authoritarianism has gotten us where we are; and unless we do something different, we will stay where we are and eventually destroy ourselves. In The Passionate Mind Revisited Joel Kramer and Diana Alstad offer “Authoritarianism has two basic traits: a person or ideology that claims to know what’s best for others; and second, the authority is unchallengeable-not open to feedback and change when shown to be wrong.” (15) If the old, traditionalist worldview wins there is little likelihood the species will survive.

Yes, it feels like the country is a mess and that post truth, and consequently mistrust, is bubbling with conspiracy, spins, lies, partial truths, and more lies! Simply unhealthy ego, work-in-process human condition and shortcomings that are offering platforms for tomorrow’s challenges, opportunities, and evolution. An analytical glance reveals a least common denominator to be polarization, nurtured by festering, unhealthy selves that unleash pain and suffering in many forms.

Meditation and collective, interactive dialogue offer a breath of evolutionary optimism and hope for Americans to have productive, interactive, authentic dialogue to build coalitions, work together, create evolutionary beliefs and values, nurture and build visions for generations of children and experience compassion as the antibiotic to confront a nasty infection. No one needs to suffer, and no one wants to suffer. We need to evolve and not undermine the human desire to evolve and survive.

Joel Kramer and Diana Alstad offer,

Humanity has displayed great creativity in most domains, except for relationships. Most of our problems are a function of unworkable relationships between people, groups, religions, regions, and countries, and humanity’s relation with the Earth. Because killing, or the threat of it, is and has been the bottom line of power, and has given the nature of power and wealth to coalesce and expand, and given that children need lengthy nurturing, humanity has not yet constructed a social system that can sufficiently promote the general wellbeing of large populations…We need an evolutionary leap in relationships to match our extraordinary recent leaps in science and technology and the resulting juggernaut taking us we know not where. Developing our relational and social capabilities must include the global dimension by replacing traditional unlivable, authoritarian ideals with more viable pan-cultural values that can flexibly meet accelerated change. We must learn how to be global social animals at last, through deepening, exploring, and building on the untapped potential in our nature, broadening our awareness, and emotionally maturing-all of which are possible if we care enough about surviving. (357)

Simply, we all need to grow our individual and collective awareness and put “care” into all we think, say and do.

 

 

 

GOLF as GURU

Why write Golf as Guru: Mindfullness, Awareness and Self-Restraint? WOW! What a learning journey golf has opened for a student of life and the game of golf, all the way from growing up in Northwestern Ohio playing golf with Mom and Dad, circling the globe and arriving here in Arizona continuing to play golf, year-round with my wonderful wife of almost 50 years. As the title and subtitle offer, the sport of golf has been a great coach and teacher; has evolved a concept of mind”full”ness; has breathed a peek at how awareness really differentiates professional golfers from average golfers; and has been a mighty fine instructor when it comes to the learned skill of self-restraint. It really is fantastic to remain sane after two shots in the lake to the right of the fairway! Everything is OK the way it is!

A significant experience has been that if a golfer is open to new learning and is psychologically ready, golf offers infinite messages: at practice on the range; on the golf course; while perking reflections about the sport and relishing golf literature; and just sitting in silence and solitude to experience personal behavior in life and on the golf course. Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse, a widely read English author and scriptwriter, nails it: “To find a man’s character (and personality), play golf with him.” Woody and Birdy Ball, Golf as Guru’s entertaining characters, chuckle on every page as they think about playing partners and continue to dream about set-up, ball position, turn and tilt, the backswing, transition, forward swing with turn and pull, release, impact, extension and finish; and contemplate smoothness, timing, tempo and rhythm on every putt.

Golf as Guru is simply a thank you to golf as coach and therapist. It is indeed integral and reminds of General Douglas MacArthur, in the context of football at West Point, when he remarked, “Upon the fields of friendly strife are sown the seeds that at other times and places reap the fruits of victory.”

TEEPEE

For every shot the golfer needs to evolve a Ritual for creating a personal teepee where the mind becomes clear and quiet [Shoemaker, F. (1996). Extraordinary Golf. NY, NY: Pedigree] and the programmed subconscious is given absolute trust to deliver a shot. In 1929 legendary Bobby Jones remarked,

 The golf swing is a most complicated combination of muscular actions, too complex to be controlled by objective conscious mental effort. Consequently, we must rely a good deal upon the instinctive reactions acquired by long practice. It has been my experience that the more completely we can depend upon this instinct—the more thoroughly we can divest the subjective mind of conscious control, the more exclusion of all thoughts as to method—is the secret of a good shot…After taking the stance, it is too late to worry. The only thing to do is to hit the ball. [Gallwey, W. (1998). The Inner Game of Golf. NY, NY: Random, 19-20]

It could be argued that pulling the trigger to make the shot is the most critical of all elements of the shot cycle; and it may be the simplest, and yet, possibly the most difficult because it must be done without thinking and with absolute trust of the subconscious to perform to expectations. As we settle to create the space bubble—the state of quiet presence—we are deliberately breathing. The Ritual is automatic and is the one distinct stimulus that will trigger and coordinate all the elements that facilitate potential emergence of the peak performance state. We are empty, become one with the environment, the club, the ball and the target, and the trigger is absently pulled.

This evolving master skill is individually unique and is the state of being present, tension-free, with that which is intended, for as long as intended. [Shoemaker, F. (2007). Extraordinary Putting, NY, NY: Penguin, 8-10] Summon the inner artist for a remarkable and often indescribable zone experience of spiritual oneness; and be witness to freedom and an intuitive unleashing of a unique, creative, synchronous flow of human physical activity. Simply relax and put your awareness where your deepest natural breathing originates—sensed image approximately 1½ inches below your navel. Let breathing be deep and full, shake loose any tension in the muscles, and trust that as center is experienced—seamless unity of body, mind and spirit setting the stage for “sweet impact” and zone performance—well-practiced actions will result naturally without effort. A “quick and dirty,” Ritual checklist might include:

  • Take a couple of deep, elevating breaths and visualize energy circulating between your feet and the earth below you. Feel static and dynamic balance and sense a balanced and solid foundation; and connect with the environment surrounding you.
  • Take three-five short, explosive breaths into the upper chest to activate the sympathetic nervous system, increase oxygen and intensify subtle energy currents. Charge the whole body, physically and emotionally, preparing for the exertion to come: make a final visual touch of the target.
  • Become one with the environment, the club, the ball, and the target. On an out-breath, one-pointed concentration on the point of impact of club with ball—mindfulness—channeling all body energies into a laser beam of relaxed, focused concentration, letting go of everything—self-restraint—and sensing the synchronous, flowing swing to impact with a ball creatively floating to the target—awareness.

Squeeze Trigger: With passion burning, the captain of the ship squeezes the auto-pilot button and trusts the programmed subconscious to creatively deliver a ball to an intended target.

A good athlete can enter a state of body-awareness in which the right stroke or the right movement happens by itself, effortlessly, without any interference of the conscious will. This is the paradigm for non-action: the purest and most effective form of action. The game plays the game; the poem writes the poem; we can’t tell the dancer from the dance. [Mitchell, S. (2006). tao te ching. NY, NY: Harper, viii.]

Don’t forget to check-in with Woody and Birdy Ball, Golf as Guru, www.johnedwindevore.com.  

 

 

 

CROSSROADS

America is at a crossroads, a fulcrum, a tipping point, between a democratic republic—freedom through action—and autocracy—control through manipulation of fear. As Americans, we each need to decide what type of country we desire; and what each of us can do to facilitate the strategic, competitive, common sense battle with our principle global competitor, China. Some folks will pitch-in and make things happen; some folks will watch what happened; and some folks will wonder what happened. Grumblers are not rowing!

There are a bunch of strategies and stuff that need to get done: pandemic response, re-build foreign policy and relations, lead and manage conclusion of 20-year war in Afghanistan, rebuild the global intelligence network, non-political voting rights management, technology building, infrastructure maintenance and improvement, jobs creation, healthcare, childcare, immigration reform, countering systemic racism, LGBTQ rights, minimum wage, climate control, confronting home grown, white supremacy, terrorism, fair share tax reform, education re-tuning and funding, sane gun control, policing in communities, et al. As the two Japanese characters for crisis offer on the tattoo, with danger comes opportunity. The danger is continued and expanded division and autocracy; and the opportunity is work on our unhealthy personal and collective issues, participate in interactive dialogue and coalitions, and get done what is common good for all Americans. No one wants to suffer, and division and self-grown hate are destructive, depressing and absolutely no fun.

An opinion is that cultic-tribal addiction, political party sorting, including the Taliban with commander Akhundzada-is simply unresolved discomfort within the emotional body, the unhealthy self, or as offered in Integral Life Practice: A 21st Century Blueprint for Physical Health, Emotional Balance, Mental Clarity, and Spiritual Awakening (Wilber, Patten, Leonard, and Morelli, 2008, Boston, MA: Integral, page 41, 92-93),

…the shadow or dark side of the psyche, those aspects of ourselves that we’ve split off, rejected, denied, hidden from ourselves, projected onto others, or otherwise disowned…repressed unconscious…because we’ve pushed or pressed it out of our awareness, and unconscious because we are not aware of it…But the fact that we are not conscious or aware of the shadow does not mean that it has no effect: it just expresses itself through distorted and unhealthy means-or what is typically called neuroses…safety and security are sought by bonding together and identifying (fusing) with a tribe in order to persevere and protect against outsiders. Allegiance and admiration are given to the chief…emergence of a sense of self (ego) distinct from the tribe, although it often acts impulsively on behalf of its favored group.

Undoing and reintegrating this repressed and denied unconscious to improve our psychological health is process and is not easy; however, the work can free energy that has been spent shadowboxing with the self, making excuses, spinning, blaming, and telling stories. An initial step is simply a sense of openness and a commitment to face everything and fear nothing, just sit in the flames of the unresolved discomfort, and give birth to penetrating insight and skillful means. We are merely witnessing the evolution of the human condition, and with patience, persistence, education, compassion, learning, and spirituality, we can move forward together, not further divided, and closer to autocracy. Individually and collectively, we can grow mindfulness, awareness, and self-restraint, and quiet the insatiable, unhealthy ego; and the dampening of anger, egotistical pride, jealousy, envy, doubt, ignorance, attachment, and fear can begin to free passionate energy to nurture peace-of-mind and a sense of happiness and joy. Let us get this job done for all Americans, not just a select few. Casts, conflicting political messages, and deliberate, negative words that separate, attack, and divide are simply wrong. If open to the challenge, ready for the opportunity, and in need of a boost to get started: 1) In her Mindfulness Journal, Catherine Price recommends, Buy a pack of small stickers—any kind will do—and place a dozen or so around your home and office in noticeable places, such as your bathroom mirror, your computer, the back of your phone, the wall behind your kitchen sink, your alarm clock, or the cover of (your) journal. Every time you see one of these stickers, STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING, BREATHE, AND BE. 2) Locate a credible meditation instructor and learn to meditate. 3) Questions for reflection: What unlocks compassion? What manifests happiness; joy; and peace-of-mind? What is the origin of beliefs; desires; ambition; pleasures; and fear?

The personal choice: manipulation of fear or awareness elevation.

 

 

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