Thursday, April 11, 2019

The Gambler's Bane

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness



A lack of self-worth.

This is the gambler’s bane.

There is nothing more damaging to a gambler than believing he’s unworthy of prosperity.

Indeed, this type of gambler might as well quit while he’s ahead. Because, no, he may not have won anything yet, but in believing that he’s unworthy, well, it can only go downhill from there.

Self-Sabotage: A Self-Activated yet Inadvertent “Death” Sentence

One of the most significant issues that pairs with a lack of self-worth is self-sabotage.

But here’s the thing: In a great many cases, most people don’t know they’re about to self-sabotage when they’re about to self-sabotage or that they’re self-sabotaging when they’re in the midst of self-sabotaging. Sometimes they know and stubbornly speak or act anyway, but usually not.

In general, most gambling is a form of unwitting self-sabotage. It’s people believing I’m unworthy of prosperity and then unconsciously acting out this belief—and losing in return.

Scratch-offs

When it comes to playing the lottery, consider the ticket machine at the local grocery store. You can get scratch-off tickets for $1, $2, $3, $5, $10, and $20 denominations. The odds of winning (at least here in Pennsylvania) are approximately 1 in 4.5, and the higher the ticket denominations, the greater the prizes. (To note, many of the winners at lower denominations are “free tickets”… So, even many winners are basically losers.)

Now, instead of the vast majority of people thinking, I’m feeling like a winner, baby! and then dumping in, say, $500 dollars they’d saved up to buy 25 consecutive $20 tickets all on the same roll, they’re more like, Hmmm… I’ll spend $40 this week, and I’ll buy a bunch of $1, $2, and $3 dollar tickets from an assortment of rolls. The $10’s and the $20’s cost quite a bit considering that, gosh, I could only get a few tickets, and if I don’t win anything, what a waste of money.

So then, after purchasing tickets in such a way as to offer nearly the lowest possible probability of winning, they scratch their tickets off and, except for maybe a small win here or there, the vast majority are losers. (The top prizes go higher, but even $20 to $100 wins on lower denomination tickets are quite rare.)

Wash, rinse, repeat. And repeat. And repeat. Week. After week. After week.

If people would have straight up bought the 25 consecutive $20 tickets all on the same roll, they’d most likely have won back a significant amount more money than they’d put down. This not only because the potential winnings are a lot higher and because 25 consecutive tickets with a 1 in 4.5 win potential makes winning virtually guaranteed, but because doing as much would imply (at least in most cases) that the buyers believe they are worthy of winning.

Take note:
  1. The buyers believe they’re worthy and so resonate with winning,
  2. they’re willing to take a bigger financial risk, and
  3. and they have a win-oriented strategy.
Life rewards those who align themselves with the rewards they seek.

Now take this idea a step further and imagine if everyone played like this. If everyone who plays the lottery decided tomorrow that they deserved to win and only played the $20 tickets. I can’t help but think that the governments (the ones who run the game) would be f-u-c-k-e-d in a hurry. They’re depending on people to act like worthless victims, to self-sabotage and thus buy cheap—and then lose—repeatedly. Cheap is largely where they make their money.

Oh, and they’re totally banking on the fact that the low-stakes ticket buyers are going to continue buying cheap tickets because they know people of perceived low self-worth don’t have the most thrilling lives and will get addicted to the dopamine hits they get every time they have a ticket to scratch. What did I win!? What did I win!? They will lose repeatedly, and losing sucks, but, oh, the feel of anticipation!

Casinos

Casinos work just like the lottery. In the high-stakes areas people have to gamble with higher amounts, but they can also win much more.

In the low-stakes areas, however—where the vast majority of gamblers play—is where the casinos really make their money. That’s where thousands and millions of people play who believe they’re worthless and therefore aren’t willing to bet big to win big. They go sit at the penny slots and collectively gamble away countless billions of dollars.

Psychologically, “poor lil me” gamblers can’t imagine going to the casino and spending, say, $400 or $1000 but only having a couple of pulls. They thus stick to the lower stakes games thinking that with a few hundred more pulls their chances of winning big are higher… And soooo many dopamine hits!

The chances of periodically winning a few bucks may be increased compared to the higher stakes games, but the design—especially nowadays when everything is rigged electronically and can be ultra-easily monitored and manipulated—is such that the players are more likely to go home empty-handed.

That said, once again imagine if everyone abruptly cleared out of the low-stakes areas and instead spent big money on the high-stakes games. The house would be in deep s-h-i-t.

Penny slots may be penny slots, but with many thousands of people pouring in millions of collective dollars per day and winning far lesser amounts, that’s a lot of frickin’ dough the casinos are raking in.

Distortion-driven

What’s interesting about all this is that most gamblers actually gamble because they believe they’re unworthy.

If they felt worthy, they wouldn’t self-sabotage and therefore wouldn’t play the games the way they do. In fact, most gamblers would cease being interested in gambling at all.

If they felt worthy, rather than imaging that I’m not making big money any other way, so hopefully I’ll get lucky, they’d go out and make “luck.” This is to say, they wouldn’t have such self-demoralizing beliefs, and so they would naturally be empowered to make money in a legit, growth-oriented, satisfying way.

By all means, if some people really do enjoy gambling, so be it. If they’re not using it as a tool of escape or self-destruction or some such thing, I haven’t any argument against it. (My sense with this being that the people who stay would be much more so those who play real games, not those who sit at slot machines while mindlessly pulling levers and drinking cocktails for 8 hours straight.)

The trouble is in the distortions carried by most people who are currently involved in gambling. They use gambling as a way out and harm themselves and others, if only indirectly, in the process.

The Bigger Picture

While we’re here, it’s worth taking a minute to look at the situation from a wider perspective.

The more one wishes to win (or to simply be prosperous in life in general), the more they’re going to have to believe in themselves and their inherent worth.

However, this is not to say that winning is directly correlated to self-worth.

For example, the stories are plentiful in which people live humdrum lives (a common sign of beliefs of worthlessness) and win mega super millions—only for their lives to go to complete shit. Sure, on the news just after their win they’d said a bunch of nice things they’d do with the money. But time and again winners’ lives nosedive into oblivion.

Even if these people truly believe they deserve big money, maybe they don’t believe they deserve the abundance that would naturally follow; maybe they believe money is bad and selfish people are going to hate them and attack them for it; maybe they believe mo’ money, mo’ problems.

Generalities can be given as I’ve done here, but specifics are something that each person must discover within themselves.

Maybe someone hadn’t had any positive beliefs at all but they’d made a soul choice to experience a large financial gain and then a total collapse. Or maybe in a different lifetime they’d been a successful bank robber and this lifetime is their returned karma.

So while internal resonance with worthlessness does play a significant role in a gambler’s behavior, winning and losing, on any scale, can certainly have other implications.

It’s Up To You

I don’t feel there’s anything inherently evil about gambling.

If no harm results and it gets peoples’ jollies off to play high-stakes Texas Hold’em, so be it. If no harm results and some friends want to get together every Friday night, throw in a few dollars each, and play Blackjack, so be it.

Gambling is not the problem, nor is money.

The problem is the pervasive, low self-worth distortions within individuals and the collective and the way the gambling industry takes excessive advantage of this.

If you’re honest with yourself, I’m sure you will be able to figure out how you fit into this, assuming you do. As always, it’s up to you, the individual, to discover and heal your own self-destructive programming.

Maybe gambling gets you a few extra bucks, but at what cost?

Surely, your wallet isn’t the only thing feeling a pain of lack…

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Pain: Sign Language from Life Itself

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness



Have you ever been in pain?

Has your life ever been a pain?

Yes and yes, I’m sure.

And why do you suppose this pain has existed?

Because...
  • ...your pain is penance for your inherent sinfulness?
  • ...pain is what you get for being stupid?
  • ...pain is simply a part of life?
  • ...there aren’t enough OSHA regulations to keep us safe?
  • ...we don’t pay enough tax money to create effective enough government programs that would bring about greater well-being?

These may all be true in their own way, so take your pick, if any seem particularly resonant with you. For regardless, you’re going to perceive your experiences of pain as the results of whatever reasons you believe their causes to be.

If you have any wish, though, to consider that one of the most frequent causes of pain is entirely different than anything you’ve probably ever been told, then read on.

Providing Value

Still here?

Great. I guess that means I now have to provide you with something of value.

Here it is. Here is the truth about pain that makes all other causes of pain nearly irrelevant:

Pain is an indicator of what not to do.

Whoa! Captain Obvious at the helm!

Surely, there’s must be something more, something of value, right?

Hmmm. Well, that’s quite valuable, but if you insist on something further…

Rules of Engagement

Here are 3 very important details about life:
  1. Life is inherently positively-oriented, wants the best for you, and helps you to experience the best.
  2. You create your life experience using a combination of conscious thinking and subconscious programming.
  3. Life cannot directly interfere with your choices.
Item number 1 is very, very hard to see if you believe, for example, that pain is penance for your inherent sinfulness, because of too few OSHA regulations, and other such things.

Your sight of the truth will be nil because all of these lines of thinking imply either that you’re a worthless sack of crap or that life is inherently dangerous and you must protect, protect, protect if you want to be safe. In other words, all you will see are your own false beliefs and fears, and neither are positively-oriented.

As for item number 2, if you’re conscious thoughts are negatively-based, it means your subconscious programming is negatively-based. (You wouldn’t perceive falsely or jump to fear unless prior programming were telling you to do so.) You are thus going to continually create a life experience in which what you see “proves” your false beliefs and is a trigger for your fears.

Mind you, this will be your experience. And it is one that is purely perceptual.

Consider: It is not unsafe to drive without a seatbelt. Many, many people perceive that it is, but it is not. Because the fact of the matter is, unless someone is in a car accident or driving so wildly that they can’t stay seated, driving without a seatbelt is 100% harmless. (Even in untoward circumstances, being in a seatbelt has not always guaranteed the least harmful outcome.)

So while one person may ride without a seatbelt in total panic and fear for their life, another may be in a state of complete calm. The experience each has, no matter how seemingly real, is about what’s inside.

In terms of item number 3, you’re choosing what is false and negative, consciously and subconsciously, and Life is not allowed to directly wake you from your slumber. You may not like what you’re dreaming, no, you may hate it passionately. But it is of your choosing, and as long as you chose it the better part of Life will remain in abeyance, unable to show you item number 1, that it really does have your best interest in mind.

Luckily for all those who cannot be shown what’s up directly, Life is allowed to show them what’s up indirectly.

The questions then become: Who has eyes to see? Who has ears to hear?

Success and Failure

People are so willing to acknowledge their successes.
“Ahhh. Would you look at this? I’ve done some nice work.”

“Finally, I have a college degree. Now I’m a worthwhile human being.”
But their perspective very much changes when they fail or when ends don’t meet.
“Dammit! It broke again! They make shit so cheap these days.”

“Why the hell did she tell me to meet her here if she wasn’t even going to show up?”
So, too, do people often get miserable when situations aren’t about success or failure, per se, but, in a different way of saying it, whether or not life is easeful or painful.
“Oh, I did it again. I am such a freakin’ idiot.”

“For cryin’ out loud! This is the third time today that I banged my elbow! This house is too damn small.”
Do you see what I see? Do you see how when “the good” occurs people are willing to claim themselves as the creators of those experiences, but when “the bad” occurs people want to either place the creation of that pain on someone or something else or blame themselves merely as incompetent?

When was the last time you heard someone say,
“Ouch! I bit my tongue! But maybe my Higher Self is using my body to guide me to avoid speaking the angry thoughts I’ve been thinking about saying to the neighbor.”

“Oh, hell, the rearview mirror just fell off the windshield when I tried to adjust it. Maybe Life is telling me I need to take more time to look into my repressed past in order to heal the cause of the problems I’ve been having lately.”

Pain’s Value

What I’m saying here may seem ridiculous to you, but I can assure you it is not fictional.

Read that one again about the bitten tongue. The next time you bite your tongue, ask yourself what you were thinking either when it happened or just prior. Most likely, you were not thinking, Ahhh. I’m so happy and in love with life; more likely, The next time I see him I’m going to give him a piece of my mind!

Maybe you won’t get it the first time, but if you put in a little effort, I’m sure you’ll see that I’m not making this stuff up.

And be sure to use the wittiness of Life to your benefit.

We commonly use the saying, “Bite your tongue,” when telling another not to say the negative thing they want to. Life, your Higher Self, God, or whatever you want to call The One Who Makes It Happen is neither stupid nor some aloof entity that doesn’t know anything about you. It knows everything and will spontaneously manifest experiences for you, through you, using metaphors, to tell you almost exactly what is up. Again, It can’t tell you directly, but if you’re thinking, I’m going to curse him out, and then you bite your tongue, the message really can’t get much more obvious.

Or consider this next example. You'll notice the connection isn't as obvious as the previous one, but, as a signal of warning, it's not that far from:

You’re going the wrong way. Maybe you’re consistently eating poorly and developing an illness, maybe you’re working on a project that isn’t aligned with your better judgment, or maybe whatever. The point is that what you’re doing is not in your best interest and you would do well to reverse course before the accumulation of your thoughts, words, and/or actions reaches a critical mass, a negative “event” results, and not only has your effort failed but you’ve been set back severely.

During the development period, were you aware enough, you might notice that you hear an increase in car horns and alarms, even insofar as the frequency of your hearing them is in proportion to the rate with which you move along. Or maybe you’re trying to design your own website and since beginning your computer has repeatedly been flashing virus warnings.

Unaware, you might think that horns beep and alarms woop excessively because people are crazy or that virus warnings keep arising because your computer is a dumb piece of garbage. While there might be some truth to such thoughts, the greater truth could well be that Life is trying to warn you that, should you continue on your current path, you will end up in significant pain.

And if you’re already in pain?

Nothing changes. Ask about it. Figure it out, whatever “it” may be.
  • “Why are my teeth so sensitive?”
  • “Why does everyone blame me for their woes?”
  • “Why do I have so much trouble with money?”
  • “Why did I fall off my bike today?”
Whatever your pain is—physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, circumstantial—it’s not an accident. (Not even car accidents are accidents.) Your pain is a reflective guidepost waiting for you to “read” so that you can heal old, internal wounds and realign yourself with who and what you truly are.

Pain’s Other Uncommon Purpose

In saying all this, I would like to make a distinction.

When we do things in life that are worthwhile, it’s not uncommon that we manifest crappy (and sometimes obscenely crappy) experiences in attempt to block ourselves from success to “prove” our ego’s perception of unworthiness. Yet they are these very obstacles we must overcome in order to move forward.

There is a difference, then, between manifesting hardship when burning out old egoic programming and hardship manifesting as Life’s way of saying, “No!”

An example of manifesting hardship could be going out to live your dreams and then having several major incidents arise that seemingly deny you access. These incidents are more or less of a right-of-passage that allow you to quickly overcome limiting aspects of your ego so your endeavor can be successful.

You may or may not need to ask why these things are happening in order to move beyond them. (Although, personally, I would ask since I ask the cause about everything that pains me.) Assuming you don’t reject the experiences and go into a depression and give up on life, your very passage through is the overcoming.

I note these egoic events as “manifesting hardship” because they come about due to lower, humanly, self-causation. Although you don’t do it consciously, you (egoically-identified) are manifesting your hardship.

On the other hand, an example of hardship manifesting (note the word reversal) might be you desiring to sell your car (imagining the public bus will serve just fine) but then a tire goes flat, the windshield cracks, and the E-brake light in the dashboard won’t turn off (“STOP!!!”).

I note these as “hardship manifesting” because they are provided by a higher, spiritual power. These are not caused consciously but superconsciously. Although uncomfortable, pain—and, moreover, it’s oft-consequent suffering—is the best tool Life has for waking us from asleep.

Be aware that in giving these two types and examples of hardship I’m not attempting to offer any definitive line by which to define one type of hardship versus the other.

It’s always possible, for instance, that someone could believe they’re going to work their dream job, experience a few setbacks, and, lacking self-inquiry, also believe that the setbacks are their right-of-passage. The truth could be that the setbacks are actually Life attempting to block their passage because their “dream job” is founded on a desperate need for parental approval.

The development of intuition and the practice of regular self-inquiry are therefore most useful tools. Opening to the guidance Life provides is one thing, but being clear as to what the signs mean is another, and both require inner-clarity.

Hardship Is a Circumstance; Pain Is a Perspective.

The suggested causes of pain that I'd offered at the start (i.e.: pain is penance, etc.) are quite relative. Were a believer to remove those beliefs and any associated guilt, unworthiness, etc., they'd see that there'd simply been nothing to their seeming reality but external life reflecting their internal state. Their whole experience would change because they had changed.

Other situations may lean more toward an “absolute.” For example, suppose a child is born with a birth defect that causes great hardship. The cause may be something such as past-life karma or the desire of a soul for that experience. Although these sorts of circumstances don't fit with the examples given at the start, the fact remains that there is something to be learned by all who're involved through the pain. Unlike the relative, belief-related pains, although the hardship may never subside, the pain and suffering can subside when the perspective about the pain is altered for the positive.

Ready?

You might now see the tragedy of our world culture in seeking every means imaginable (and unimaginable) to allay our pains by external, artificial means: our pains are the very things that, given adequate attention, will allow us to heal their causes and thus reduce and often even end them forever.

So, what do say? Do you want to carry on as you've been, or are you willing to at least give this a try, to take a deeper look into what your pain may really be about?

What have you got to lose, anyway, but pain—and a falsely-identified ego that takes pleasure in it?

Monday, April 1, 2019

On Pseudohumanism

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness



“In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few.”
--Shunryu Suzuki

What Is It?

Pseudohumanism is the path of life walked by the pseudohuman.

The pseudohuman derives his name—well, I have derived his name—from his unshakeable need to label all inconvenient and non-“authority”-conforming areas of life as “pseudo-”, or fake. He is thus labeled as he labels.

To elaborate: A pseudohuman is an individual who maintains all the seen and unseen physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual characteristics of the rest of humanity (for, of course, he cannot do otherwise) yet is so willfully stubborn in his limited intellectual malaise that he imagines all non-“authority”-conforming ideas to be ignorant, if not completely asinine. He lives as though the factuality, or any potential factuality, of many of the experiences and much of the knowledge of his fellow man is utterly erroneous.

The pseudohuman clings ardently to the mainstream: sometimes to the experimental scientific method, sometimes to the mysteries of religious dogma, and sometimes, in utter cognitive dissonance, to both. Whatever the case, he praises “the acceptable view” and rejects, sometimes wantonly, any alternative fields and their proponents.

(Ironically, a phrase the pseudohuman likes to use toward those who offer open-minded suggestion is, “Think for yourself.”)

“Pseudosciences,” They’re Often Called

Shamanism is one such field the pseudohuman abhors.

The majority of Western man has imagined the shaman—“an uneducated, bush-dwelling, old man”—to be a crackpot for claiming he can talk to spirits. Mainstream science won’t acknowledge the validity of such things—indeed, they’ll touch nothing whatsoever related to consciousness or “life beyond”—and religions will only accept such notions, if at all, to the extent that these notions align with the their highly questionable, cherry-picked dogma.

Likewise, the numerologist, the psychic, and the astrologer are rejected.

Even should the pseudohuman dare to read one such a practitioner’s report and notice that aspects of it align with their life, the report may be seen as “strikingly similar” or “weirdly coincident” yet without any legitimacy. The religious pseudohuman’s ignorance is further revealed in his inability to perceive the metaphorical passages of scripture that relate to these very topics (of which there are countless).

Then there are those with whom one might reasonably think a pseudohuman would associate with more kindly, such as physicists, lovers of thinking and the scientific method.

But they’re not always kind. Indeed, sometimes they’re fantastically mean-spirited because some of these physicists speak of such things as the electric universe theory and quantum physics. Granted, the alternate theorists don’t have all the answers; yet when the conventional theorists choose to lash out at the former they seem not to notice that they themselves haven’t all the answers either.

A Lack of Essential Abilities

Certainly, some of the people who practice in any of these alternate fields are quacks. These areas are no less immune to skewing than any other field since the results are a matter of the practitioner’s inner state, and thus perception, and their willingness—or lack thereof—to pursue the truth at any cost.

The pseudohuman doesn’t seem to have the ability to decipher between the quack and the honest practitioner, however, because his skills are poor in balanced skepticism and discernment.

To be skeptical is lean toward disbelief but to consider something with equanimity while seeking further evidence before drawing a conclusion, if drawing one at all. To be discerning is to call on every resource available from intellectual knowledge to experience to intuition and then make a judgment, all the while acknowledging that any given judgment may be inaccurate.

Pseudohumans can’t use either of these tools because their deliberate ignorance blinds their perceptual capacities from seeing any potential plausibility in other ideas. Truth or no, alternative ideas are minimally entertained, if at all, and so the formulation of well-rounded hypotheses and conclusions is completely inhibited.

Spoon-Fed Minds

The information required to devise reasonable theories can often be obtained with relatively minimal effort. Meaning, evidence and facts are, not always but commonly enough, either experiential upon a little bit of experimentation or can be found in prior documentation.

Yet the pseudohuman won’t do the research or self-experimentation. Maybe some, maybe enough to justify, say, “I read about it,” but hardly enough to challenge their beliefs. They then drop on any fields they see as inconvenient the willy-nilly label of “pseudoscience” (and some other less kind words) in order to justify that further research would be a waste of time and energy.

But again, in many cases there is documentation available to explain phenomena being discussed. Or if the collected data does not provide cold, hard proof, at the very least it may well still be adequate enough that no counter-theory can adequately debunk the evidence given.

If you’re not a pseudohuman and you talk to one, they might argue something like, “You’re wrong. After all, what you’re saying is contrary to what that Harvard Ph.D. recently said regarding the subject.”

With all due respect to those who are well-educated and do good work, at the same time it’s sometimes like, “Why do you need a Harvard Ph.D. to tell you what is or is not true that countless other non-“authoritatively”-validated and -promoted individuals and groups have been providing data on for years or decades or centuries?”

And what ever happened to experience? How has human experience become a marginal scribble to the dictates of “authoritative” intellectualism?

Newton didn’t get hit on the head with an apple and say, “This is bullshit! No one has discovered gravity yet, so how can this apple fall on my head?” To the contrary, the apple fell on Newton’s head and it caused him to realize that there is a property of nature that expresses itself as gravity. The ultra-obvious fact of the matter has been smothering us since Day1.

Pseudohumans are so busy waiting for “authority” to spoon-feed them the intellectual answers to everything that, not only do they thrust away so many of the truths of life that are already right before them, they remain blind to all the inconsistencies and contradictions within the information they already accept as “true.”

Causation and Life Path Choices

The most significant cause of pseudohumanism is an individual’s desperation for love, approval, validation, etc. that he’d
  1. never had (e.g.: absent parents),
  2. had to struggle for (e.g.: parents giving far more attention to their work than their children), and/or
  3. had for a time during childhood but then lost (e.g.: upon the birth of younger siblings).
In any case, the child would imagine that he is unworthy unless he can prove himself to “authority,” or “they who know” and “they who have the power to give me what I most need.”

In this culture of “authority” worship, the child becomes drawn to prominent figures within science and/or religion (“father”), the two fields claiming to know everything. (Note that I’m focusing on information-based love, approval, and so on. There are many more areas where a child might look for the same, an example being a child who seeks to prove his manliness by becoming a fireman or a soldier.)

The ultimate aim is to receive “authority’s” approval, attention, etc., and this is done by following their lead. But of course all gains are transitory and so there must be a constant effort to remain worthy.

As this individual follows this path, ever is he forging his perceived identity, false though it is. Eventually he might well come to be in the position of “authority” himself, having both peers and followers who place their expectations upon him of “who he is.” Now he has become like an approval magnet—at least as long as he doesn’t change his mind!

Culture and various institutions further support the pseudohuman’s need of identity. Should he receive, for example, academic tenure at a university, although the claim of tenure is to promote free thinking, it seems the truth is quite contradictory: tenured staff are effectively beholden to the status quo and the desires of the biggest financial powers behind the institutions.

Passive Pseudohumanism

What I’ve not yet mentioned is a more passive kind of pseudohuman. This type of individual still desires love, approval, etc. and carries a perceived lack of self-worth, but he is not quite so ferocious in his beliefs or in defending them.

I’ve been no stranger to this, myself.

One way this manifested for me is that if something had come up in conversation about, say, a shaman talking with spirits, I would have laughed it off and said it was a silly thing.

However, I really had no idea. I’d never done research, I hadn’t any experience, nor had I talked to anyone who had themselves experienced or witnessed such things. I was basically nothing more than a parrot repeating whatever those around me were saying and what I thought they would like me to say in attempt to fit in.

The passive pseudohuman seems to be more expressive of the unworthiness trait than the active trait. What I mean is that although the aggressive types necessarily carry a lack of self-worth, their dominant behavior is “leveling up” in the world, unlike the passive types who lean more into the “I’m too much of a failure to achieve” victim mentality.

The passive pseudohuman is so overwhelmed by his perceived unworthiness that he simply can’t muster up the motivation to achieve, whereas the active pseudohuman is quite forward, if not at times belligerent, in attempt to hide from view any conscious awareness that his true fuel is, likewise, a belief of unworthiness.

Self-Made

This is the pseudohuman and the way of life that is pseudohumanism.

Unwilling to allow one’s self to be fully human in the context of the Complete Reality of Life, one labels small and large chunks of Reality (if potential) as “pseudo-” and thus removes them from his or her field of awareness. The pseudohuman willfully chooses ignorance and limitation.

As life is naught but a mirror, the one who labels becomes the labeled.

Why the Explanation?

As I wrote this I got wondering, Why am I writing this? Few pseudohumans will probably even read it. And as I wrote further I noticed I wasn’t offering anything solution-wise. I kept writing, nevertheless, because something seemingly needed to be said.

(Interestingly, although I’ve written much of this feeling uncertain, shortly after I’d begun two instances unexpectedly came up in my life related to Newton, the apple, and gravity. My above comments about the same were actually a primary trigger for this whole article, so I assumed those occurrences to be synchronicities telling me to “keep going.”)

What I’ve come to see is that maybe this isn’t written for pseudohumans. Maybe, rather, it’s for those who are open-minded and can accept alternate lines of thinking but haven’t been able to wrap their minds around pseudohuman behavior.

Dealing with these people can be very frustrating—especially with the active types—but awareness as to their game and why they behave as they do makes handling situations involving them easier. Seeing them as they are can help foreshadow likely trouble prior to interacting with them; for this reason, the feeling that conversation is necessary will subside and walking away if conversation begins becomes a much more reasonable option.

We must always pay heed, though, to the particulars of our own reactivity to these people. I’ve personally come a long way in being able to better deal with the more active/aggressive pseudohumans, but I find that from time to time an aspect of the “Listen to me because I know I’m right and you’re wrong (dammit!)” programming comes up. In these cases, there’s little if any desire for validation from “authority,” but there is a general desire for the validation of my self-worth by being “right.”

Whether you or I, we can learn this, that, and the other thing about how people operate, but if we ourselves are screwed up, we’re going to repeatedly find ourselves engaged in reactivity. Becoming aware of and purging out every internal trigger is the only path to true resolution.

-----

If you’re interested in reading a rant I wrote about this topic prior to coming up with the idea of pseudohumanism, you can read “Selective Ignorance: A Rant”. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Pray Like You Mean It

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness



The other day I saw on a religious document the suggestion to pray to God for an increase in understanding, wisdom, and so on.

This reminded me of the Serenity Prayer:
God,
grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
I think these prayers are good in theory and intention, but it seems most people remain unaware that such prayers must be accompanied by some type of action. These prayers must parallel a willingness to see and accept the truth, whatever it may be, and a willingness to change, whatever the seeming cost.

Similar is how people say, “Why worry when you can pray?” all the while worrying even though they pray regularly.

The reason for the similarity is that, in the vast majority of cases, prayer doesn’t automatically alleviate worry—or bestow understanding, wisdom, or whatever else might be prayed for.

If we want something, by all means we can pray about it—praise, request, affirm, be grateful—whatever feels right to any of us as individuals. But we must realize that we also have to make sure that we are making ourselves open and worthy of deserving our request.

Understanding

Let’s say you feel ignorant and would like greater understanding.

You might begin by seeking intellectual growth. This isn’t inherently a problem, of course, for the intellect is an excellent tool of learning.

But maybe a year or three-quarters of a lifetime (or twenty-seven lifetimes) thereafter, you might come to realize that the intellect is quite limited and cannot provide you the understanding you seek.

You realize the physical world cannot give you what you want and feel compelled toward the spiritual. Here you decide to pray for understanding. But let’s hope this is not all you do.

For it is here where you must also do something. You can’t just sit on the laurels of your former lifestyle and pretend that God is going to drop the secrets of the universe into your lap because you’ve decided to regularly pray for as much.

If you want to understand life, then you must first understand yourself, from which true understanding will be given in equal measure.

This means you must self-inquire, meditate, heal old wounds, and so on. You must quiet your mind and develop impartiality. Otherwise you will be too overwhelmed by an endless cacophony of thoughts and too filled with judgments and false ideas to perceive what is really going on.

Your cup is already full, so you must empty it out before you can fill it anew.

Wisdom

Much the same could be said about wisdom as understanding except, so I feel, that understanding is more related to the mind while wisdom is more related to experience.

In this Western culture of ours, many people have come to believe that wisdom comes with age. A little wisdom is likely, but what is gained is mostly street smarts and knowledge. Because if wisdom came with age, this planet would hardly appear as it does to be going to hell in a handbasket. (More on that in a minute.)

Many have also come to believe that wisdom is gained through book learning and by listening to book-learned teachers. I’ve had a fair bit of experience with Roman Catholicism, and I can tell you that they say virtually nothing about personal experience. They might use phrases such as, “Receive Holy Communion and feel God dwelling within you,” but all such talk is empty; clergy speaks as though they have any idea what it’s like to feel God within them and as if any “good Catholic” can just receive Communion and have some blissful, loving feeling of God-oneness. Catholicism is so very much about the intellectual gathering of religious information, as though God is something to be conceptualized and categorized.

Unfortunately for all those who are hooked into this game, wisdom is not an intellectual knowing. You could read every book and scientific article and every piece of scripture on the planet but be none the wiser.

Wisdom is a spiritual quality, and it is born of self-awareness and the lessons learned from hard life experience. Intellect will be useful along the way, but so will be smarts, intuition, and the plain old struggle of trial and error.

To acquire wisdom, you must be willing to see all that is distorted in your thought, speech, action, and life circumstances and be willing to change yourself and your circumstances appropriately—and then do just that.

Such work is very difficult for most people because they’re generally quite stubborn and reluctant to take personal responsibility for the woes of their lives.

Vernon Law said, “Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterward.” If you want wisdom, or “the lesson,” it is in passing the tests that life places before you.

How will you know when you’re being tested? You already know the tests. Maybe not all of them, but that hardly matters; you’ll come to each test at their appropriate times. I don’t doubt, though, that, perhaps with very few exceptions, people have some idea, “I have a drinking problem,” or, “I’m too critical of others,” or, “I’m lazy at work,” or, “I take too much shit from my wife.”

Wisdom begins just beyond where you are, but you have to take the first step, and then the second, and then the third, and so on, onward and upward.

All that being said, pray as you will for increased wisdom. But you must necessarily resolve the distortions, recognized by their discomfort and the dis-ease of your own conscience, contained within your daily life experiences, for these are the stepping stones toward a wiser you.

It Isn’t Easy

The process of getting what you pray for will probably not be easy. At least not in the beginning.

This is for the reason that the extent to which you want what is ever more real and true is the extent to which you must let go of whatever is false, no matter how dearly you hold it to be otherwise.

For example, you might be super religious and you might pray for understanding regarding a certain tenet put forth by your religion. If the truth is that the tenet is false and has been professed by a corrupt leadership, you must be willing to accept this. And not only this, for if religious integrity has been broken once, then it’s most likely been broken repeatedly.

New understanding comes not so much like choosing dinner from a menu but more like the menu choosing dinner for you. You may at times pick the restaurant, but what you are served is at the whims of life rather than personal desire.

Furthermore, understanding is not like intellectual growth. With the latter you can be very selective about whatever it is you wish to learn about. Understanding (and other such qualities) comes more often from unexpected places and at unexpected times.

If you’re looking to understand that religious tenet but it’s false, you’re not then going to get the understanding you seek by searching deeper within the religion you hold so dear. Instead, in some form you’re probably not going to expect and in one you may not like, you are going to be shown an alternate path. You’ll be somehow shown that the tenet is wrong (to whatever degree that may be), and you’ll be shown (as appropriate) what is correct in its place.

In a different example, let’s suppose you want “the serenity to accept the things [you] cannot change.”

You recognize that all too often when you don’t get what you want you freak out about it. You may start using the Serenity Prayer and think that that alone will help you to become more serene.

I really can’t say to what degree the prayer is going to help you, but there’s a “hidden” yet critical rule that you must obey here: you simultaneously have to do the inner work of figuring out and resolving what makes you so imbalanced and reactive.

By all means, keep up the praying. But know that the praying alone cannot remove from you the false beliefs you’d learned in your childhood about how to act when you don’t get what you want; prayer alone cannot release you from numerous fears telling you that there’s a problem if you don’t get your way; prayer alone cannot replace the care of a healer who may be required to help resolve any repressed, inhibiting traumas.

Your prayers may afford you some greater yet minimal level of serenity by virtue of your mind’s focus on serenity and your belief in the power of the prayer. However, your prayers will act more prominently as a light to reveal any internal obstructing darkness so that you can, with attention and intention, heal and become more self-aware, and in consequence arrive at the serenity you seek.

This path is highly rewarding, but it’s scarcely for the faint of heart.

Pray Right or Go Wrong

I spent the first 23 or so years of my life as a Roman Catholic (going to weekly mass, 12 years of Catholic education, etc.). Being religious, following one of the most significant religions on the planet, it might be assumed that I’d been taught how to pray effectively.

Well, I wasn’t.

I was taught some prayers, yes, and I was told to say them before bed or before dinner or whatever, but no one ever told me how prayers actually work or how not to pray lest my prayers go unanswered. No one ever told me that praying in fear and worry negates the act of praying. No one ever told me that I would do well to do something in tandem with praying, as though what I requested would more or less miraculously come to me with no further effort on my part.

I’ve no doubt that billions of people have been educated (or not) in like manner.

For it doesn’t seem, to me, remotely possible that if even a bare majority of all the religious people in the world have been praying effectively for the last few centuries or millennia while simultaneously living in alignment with their prayers that our world could be in the shape it is currently in—it’s a reflection of each of us collectively, after all.

How many people pray for wisdom but deal with uncomfortable experiences and feelings by complaining, going to the bar, or getting lost in their cellphones?

How many people pray for understanding but shun alternate lines of thought?

How many people pray for peace but support war?

How many people pray for health but smoke or drink or eat junk food?

How many people pray for truth but watch reality TV and mainstream news?

How many people pray for kindness but insistently criticize their fellow man?

How many people pray for transparency but allow their “authorities” to get away with crimes against humanity?

How many people pray for serenity but blame others for their anger?

How many people pray to little if any effect whatsoever because they want change but they really don’t have any desire to be the change they seek?

Monday, February 18, 2019

Shifting with the Ages

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness



----------
FACT:
Evolution implies advancement from the lower and coarser to the higher and finer;
from darkness to light; from ignorance to intelligence; from fragmentation to wholeness.

Life is an evolutionary process.
----------

Transitions

The world is changing.

Within the last century alone, humans have been witness to a pace of advancement unparalleled in all of recorded history.

With each new development has come an overturning of “the old” and a movement into “the new.”

These transitions away from “the old” can be very unsettling for some people.

What they had once perceived as “how life is” and “the truth,” they see crumble before their eyes.

A Shifting Spiritual Paradigm

While this concept covers all fields of human experience, the one I would like to focus on is that of our shifting spiritual paradigm.

Undoubtedly, all is changing, and all change poses difficulty to those who would put up resistance. Within this overarching change, the spiritual paradigm shift is, it seems to me, the most prone to upset and resistance due to the magnitude of its implications.

When we look at automation, for example, although we can potentially get quite invested in it, few of us would ever get that invested because, well, it’s just automation. Unless our name is Alexa or Siri, it's quite self-evident that this field does not hold the answers to life, the universe, and everything.

The spiritual paradigm shift is different in that what we’ve been calling “spiritual” or “religious” is our center of existential gravity.

Our religio-spiritual beliefs, whatever they may be, dictate to us “who I am,” “why I am here,” “what my purpose is,” and so on. How any of us may answer these questions are extremely powerful determinants of how we live every moment of our lives and how we perceive death and the afterlife.

This area is therefore no small cause of upset and resistance, driven by fear, when “the old” that we hold so dearly is challenged, if not overturned.

If you find yourself struggling in this arena, I here offer you a few alternative perspectives and recommendations that may help you to better understand your situation and navigate the transition more easefully.

Waves Break, Yet the Ocean Remains

Like many people, you may be bothered by the arising of the New Age Movement.

Since the onset of monotheism, major religions have seen their splits this way and that. However, there may never have been as big of a religio-spiritual shake-up as has happened within the last several decades with the arising of the New Age theme.

People (of the West, anyway) had accepted as true that there is a singular God and that this is an external, mysterious, and vengeful God who will save only the “Chosen Ones.” Then the New Agers (however loosely related) came along and held to a singular God but claimed that this God is internal, knowable, unconditionally loving, and runs creation by the Law of Karma, under which each human must save his- or herself (and has the divine power to do so).

Now, to be clear, there’s as much garbage within the New Age agenda as in any other way of life. But you would do well to note that there are still plenty of great concepts and practices—many of which are actually quite ancient.

For how long has the vast majority of Western man acted as though practices such as yoga and meditation were some shade of “dorky” or “evil” or “strange” or what have you? And yet now, as if the experiential fact wasn’t good enough testament, there are scientific studies being released all the time touting the holistic benefits of these practices.

Here’s something else: In the Bible Jesus says on many occasions that the kingdom of God is within us, that we are gods, that we will do even greater things than he (Luke 17:20-21, John 10:33-38, and John 14:12, respectively), and so on. For whatever reasons, Christianity has utterly ignored this and taught otherwise. Yet the words are right there. New Age-types are merely restating what Jesus had stated himself over 2000 years ago.

The point is, the deeper concepts of the New Age are really no different than most any other religion, Eastern or Western. At their foundations, these are all large-scale attempts to understand and share who we truly are and why we are truly here.

It’s important that you see that whatever way humanity evolves, we are evolving as a whole, and we are all, as we have always been, attempting to discover the same thing.

The means will change over time, but that’s not a definitively bad thing.

Scriptural Reinterpretation

At the heart of religio-spiritual tradition is scripture.

For this reason it’s important that you make an attempt to reinterpret your preferred scriptural passages to fit humanity’s latest understandings in various fields, from spiritual to scientific to experiential. In whatever forms the truth may take, they must necessarily be coherent across all fields.

You could take the scripture upon which your preferred tradition is based and interpret it for yourself. If you favor the Bible, compare the phrasing of various translations and educate yourself a little bit (or a lot) on the transliterated differences from Greek or Hebrew to English. Not all is as it seems.

Stop giving all your power away by leaving this work to other people (“authority”) and then expecting them to humbly tell you precisely “what it all means,” “what is true” for you specifically, and “what God is saying.”

It’s important that you seek to discover the right interpretations.

To say “right,” I don’t mean to suggest that any one person holds “The Only True Interpretation.” Any given passage probably has a variety of valid meanings. I’m encouraging you to seek solid answers for yourself.

Do your own research and feel into what you discover.

Same Stuff, Different Day

Take the information you gather and really chew it over. Be willing to expand your awareness. Look for alternate meanings and see how ideas may fit in with other ways of life.

For instance, consider Moses' use of a staff to command water out of a rock while in the desert. Time and again this has been considered a miracle.

Is this true? I would argue not.

Among other subtle and layered meanings, this passage could well be alluding to Moses' knowledge of the art of dowsing, or divining, by which one can receive divine guidance using the movement of any of a variety of tools. With little effort and training, virtually anyone can perform the most basic of dowsing techniques. People use this practice now, and people used this practice several millennia ago.

In a second instance, consider the concept of reincarnation. Although Easterns have long accepted this, the West has mostly rejected it like the plague. Does this rejection, however, equate with a lack of validity?

I can’t help but think of Matthew 11:14 wherein Jesus states: “And if you are willing to accept it, John [the Baptist] himself is Elijah, who was to come.” For someone who usually speaks in cryptic parables, this is fantastically direct. The fact is right there yet the very religious leaders who hold this scripture as true continue to deny this meaning.

Otherwise, the accounts are plentiful of people who claim to remember aspects of past lives (birth location, hidden possessions, family members, etc.). While it is impossible to verify the validity of all accounts (some date to lifetimes thousands of years ago), many claims are made of lives just prior and have had numerous aspects verified as true. (See, for instance: Many Lives, Many Masters by Brian L. Weiss, M.D. and Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation by Ian Stevenson, M.D.)

As you make these connections yourself you’ll come to find that, although appearances change, the foundation of the messages remains the same across the board.

The Truth Arises in Nakedness

You may see your beliefs being challenged, maybe your religion declining, and imagine it to be the end of the world.

Is this what is really happening? Did the passing away, say, of the Greek pantheon spell the end of the world? Of course not. Humanity simply took a giant leap forward by recognizing that God is one, not many.

We don’t resist and mourn every time we take our clothes off before getting into bed. Paradigm shifting is no different. Actually, as long as we can detach, we see that what’s happening is resulting in something even better.

When we change our clothes we remain the same people, yet as our religio-spiritual traditions change, especially during a paradigm shift such as the one we’re now going through, we move so much closer to the truer answers of our most life-defining questions.

Traditions are merely a kind of dramatic clothing—appearances—under which all of the deepest truths of life, the universe, and everything reside.

Bound to Tradition

Another recommendation is to take a closer look at what your attachments to your tradition are actually bound to.

If you’re a Catholic, although you might tell yourself and others that following Catholicism is “the right thing for me to do,” you might well use such ideas to cover up that you feel a significant amount of guilt when merely thinking about doing anything the Church doesn’t approve of.

There’s no quick fix for this, but you can begin by acknowledging that this guilt and all the beliefs and fears that give it life were learnedthey are not innate to you.

Again, you might reevaluate scriptural passages. One that comes to mind is Mark 2:27: “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.”

Claiming justification under the third commandment, the Catholic Church adamantly demands that people go to church every Sunday lest they go to hell for eternity. Not only is this ultra-guilt-inducing, it’s as if the Church doesn’t even care that Jesus, the one who neutralized the weight of the Old Testament by ushering in the higher and lighter New Testament and around whom the whole religion is based, specifically says that this “day of rest” is not mandatory.

You must learn to see what is rather than what the Powers That Be want you to see. If you believe the words of Jesus, then believe the words of Jesus, not the Church’s interpretation of the words of Jesus.

Bound to Childhood Programming

For many of you, you’re probably not as bound to your tradition as you imagine.

Your resistance to change may well stem from a fear of breaking family expectation and a desire for parental and authoritative love, approval, and so forth.

You avoid turning down your tradition, and in turn your parents and authority, because you fear the absence of their love. But what can be said of this love, anyway? You have to work awfully hard to earn and maintain it, do you not? How extraordinarily conditional it is.

And do you even realize what you're seeking? The love, affection, and so forth that you desire is that which you vaguely recall your parents giving you when you were just an infant. Is that what you want, for your parents to dote on you as though you're a baby?

Perhaps you fear the wrath of your parents or perceived authorities for disobedience.

How old are you? Are you not, most likely, well beyond an age at which your parents need reign over your life?

Unfailingly obeying the fourth commandment of “honoring thy father and thy mother” is hardly appropriate when thy father and thy mother threateningly and forcefully dishonor your individuality by manipulating you so that they can avoid facing their inner discomforts and distortions.

At this level one’s religio-spiritual tradition is effectively irrelevant; it’s merely a backdrop in front of which greater psycho-emotional disturbances play out.

As with the previous guilt issue, there’s no quick fix for this. But I would have you consider these 2 vital points:
  1. What if the commandment to “Honor thy father and thy mother” is not so much about unconditionally honoring your parents as it is about honoring and balancing both your male and female “parent” energies?

    Men, for instance, so often act like “tough guys,” but the truth is that this is a facade. When a man is centered and true to himself, he also exhibits female characteristics of profound empathy, compassion, etc. He may never be able to exhibit these traits to the degree women can, but he does carry them and he must integrate them to be and feel complete. Women, remaining true to their womanhood, must integrate their male energies.

  2. You already have the love you so dearly thirst for.

    If you did not, how would you know such love exists to desire it at all? If you think because your parents had originally given it to you in childhood but then stopped, what about those who hadn’t received much if any love in their childhoods yet still seek it? Is not love known by its resonance within?

    And what, exactly, resonates? Surely you inherently resonate with and yearn for unconditional love. But simultaneously, being that your parents had carried their own psycho-emotional distortions which you had picked up and labeled “love,” is not this “love” merely some lesser energy-form that resonates with their distortions?

Stinking Herd Thinking

Due to humanity’s profound self-insecurity, one of the biggest inhibitors to change is the herd mentality so prevalent in religio-spiritual traditions.

I was talking with someone recently about the Catholic Church’s major pedophilia scandal that’s come to light recently in Pennsylvania (and other states).

What really grinds my gears about it (beyond the obvious) is how, rather than clergy members who are personally responsible coming out and personally apologizing for their personal misconduct, it’s seemingly acceptable practice for them, whether deacon or Pope, to continue hiding behind “The Church.” “The Church apologizes for…”

In the conversation, I said something like, “It would be so powerful if some average Joe Congregant would stand up and say to the preacher, ‘Dude, would you personally apologize already!? Stop hiding behind the Church! We come here every Sunday to learn the Word of God, and there you are, a bishop who it has been proven helped cover up the child sex crimes when they’d originally happened, and now you’re preaching love and salvation like you’re not guilty as sin!’”

The other person replied to me by saying that lots of people are probably thinking the exact same thing but won’t stand up and speak up because they’re afraid of what the other parishioners will think of them.

I agreed. It’s pathetic. That “God-seekers,” of all people, would rather repressively listen to unrepentant hypocrites than stand up for the truth and for the innocent, victimized children—long now traumatized adults—who the Church has spent decades overpowering and covering up. They would rather allow the guilty to walk free—even preach to them!—because they’re afraid of how the rest of the herd would judge them if they spoke up or walked away in disgust.

If you’re involved in this, you really need to make some adjustments. It’s like when someone asks, “Who polices the police?” or, “Who fact checks the fact checkers?” If you follow someone in a position of power, it is your responsibility to demand transparency, honesty, etc., and if they don’t give it to you, throw them out. It is only by your power, after all, that they have their power.

You need to take a deep look at what you really want. You may say you want love and peace and all that, but that’s clearly not what you’re getting which means that your actions, intentions, and strongest beliefs are not aligned with your words. And now, because we’re in a paradigm shift, you’re being forced to see all the suppressed evils so that they can be healed.

The more forcefully you refuse to acknowledge the truth and act upon it, the harder this change will be for you. Should you choose to act upon what you already know to be true, the change will likely still pose a challenge, but it will become far easier.

Life Is Change

It’s reasonable to sometimes show reluctance toward change; to feel uneasiness when moving into the unknown. But if you experience dread toward “the new” and reject those who align (or appear to align) with change (or merely what is “different”), your reaction is hardly reasonable.

This latter reaction indicates that something within you is calling out to be healed.

Again, keep in mind that the causes of your reluctance to change are all learned, for what is written into your very nature is change, is evolution.

Such is the way of all existence.

Is it not silly, then, to be so adamant about standing still?

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Fighting Fire With Fire

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness



If we want to learn how to build a birdhouse, we would go to someone who builds birdhouses and have them teach us. We would then be able to build a birdhouse.

If we want to learn how to formally set a table, we would go to someone who knows how to formally set a table and have them teach us. We would then be able to set a table formally.

If we want to learn how to succeed in life, we would go to someone who has succeeded in life and have them teach us. We would take the knowledge and practices acquired and work our way toward success.


There’s a very logical cause and effect process to learning:
  1. We don’t know something.
  2. We decide to learn about it.
  3. We find one or more teachers in the field.
  4. We learn from them.
  5. We do what we’ve learned on our own.
Whatever we may wish to learn, whatever we may seek guidance regarding, this is the general process of how education works.

It’s a one for one deal. For instance, we don’t spend four years doing college-level coursework in engineering only to leave with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts.

This is the way it works in absolutely every area of life. We’re bound to pick up some information outside of our main area of focus, but again, we get out the equivalent of what we apply ourselves to.


As obvious as this concept is, or so it would seem, what’s strange is that in practice many people see violence toward children as an appropriate, even right, teacher of qualities such as “good behavior” and “non-violence.”

If anyone has ever done it, I would really, really like to know: Have you ever put out fire with fire?


There is a significant portion of people who come from the old worldview that believe violence is the answer.

I’m not referring, here, to warmongers, gang members, etc. I’m referring to average people: average people who even when they say they don’t believe violence is the answer, they do.

This is proven by their reactivity (offensive-/defensiveness) when interacting with others, their carelessness of how they treat their bodies (willfully poor eating, dis-ease, etc.), their disregard for other life forms (e.g.: “So I cut down a tree. I’m still breathing,” or, “They’re just dumb animals.”), and so on.


This is most pertinent in the area of raising children.

This is for the reason that the root of violence in any area of life stems from what one had learned in their earliest years as a result of the behaviors (words mean little if actions don’t align) of their primary authority figures.

Let’s assume, as occurs most commonly, that the authority figures are a child’s parents. If the mother and father had experienced a heavy hand when they’d been children, absent healing (which is almost always the case), the mother and father will place the same heavy hand on any children they may have.

Each of their children will experience this to greater or lesser degrees, and generational shifts will naturally ease the intensity of negative interaction. Still, the issue persists. Parents, like anyone, will rarely do other than what they’d been programmed to do.


So let’s say that parents would like their child to behave. Their son seems “too wild.” They tell themselves (and likely the world suggests the same) that, “We must teach our son good behavior.”

The problem is, the parents don’t know how to properly educate their son on good behavior because they’d never learned it themselves. They believe they had, but to some greater or lesser degree they are wrong.

When the parents had been children, they’d also been perceived as “too wild.” Their respective parents had used violence such as spankings, belts, slaps to the face, etc. to get them to behave. When they eventually ceased misbehaving, their parents ceased using violence, and both parents and children perceived the new behavior as “good.”


What passes completely under the radar in this scenario is that the children being abused did not learn “good behavior” merely because, by parental standards, they’d ceased to “misbehave.”

Fantastically to the contrary, this “good behavior” is rent with fears, false beliefs, and traumas; this “good behavior” is an external effect which is the result of a psycho-emotionally repressed personality.

The ones doing the damage only see the child as having “good behavior” because this personality reflects their very own psycho-emotionally repressed personalities.


By all means, some of these same parents may well have imparted positive behavioral traits to their kids. But this could only be because the parents taught those traits by active example.

It is in no way possible to teach true good behavior (whatever that even means) by way of violence. Such a “fire fighter” may like to think of him- or herself as having “good behavior,” yet by their very use of violence as a teacher they prove of themselves the opposite.


Please contemplate this. Please work this concept into your understanding of life and see how it may apply to you.

If you have kids, if you wish your kids to truly have good behavior, you must first integrate this awareness within yourself and then adjust your parenting methods accordingly.

Whether you have kids or not, when you are in the presence of children who seem to be “misbehaved” and you compulsively think, “That girl should be slapped,” or, “If I were that boy’s father, I would take him home and belt him,” please, self-inquire as to the distortions within your own consciousness that would have you willingly violate a child, or endorse the violation of a child, for the sake of easing what is actually your personal, inner pain.


I feel it’s such a cliché to say, but children are the future of this world. It’s thus imperative that the kids who are now coming here are influenced as minimally as possible by our old, broken programming.

We must stop fighting fire with fire. We must stop using violence as a means of teaching “good behavior.”

If we want our children to truly exhibit good behavior, if we want a positive future for humanity, then it’s on us, those who are here right now, to resolve our internal distortions—the one’s we’ve been carrying since long before any subsequent generations have come along—and be role models for these children.

Monday, February 4, 2019

The Staleness of Status Questions

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness



While I was sitting in a waiting area a few months ago, a customer came in who knew the worker who was standing just a few feet from the door.
“Hey, Tim! What’s up?”
“Danny! Not much. What’s up with you?”
“Not much.”

[Five silent seconds passed as the customer took a seat.]

“So what’s up, Tim?”
“Not much, Danny. What’s up with you?”
“Not much.”

[End conversation.]
Then there was this other time…
“Hey, how are you?”
“I’m doing okay. How ‘bout yourself?”
“I’m doing alright. How are you?”
Uhhh… What?

Me No Likey

I’m not much of a fan of asking people questions such as, “How’s it going?” and, “What’s up?”

I ask sometimes. Sometimes I genuinely care, and sometimes it’s the arising remnants of a bad habit. But mostly it’s irrelevant to me what people respond.

Don’t get me wrong. I wish the highest and best for everyone and do my best to interact compassionately with them.

But to me this bit of introductory conversational programming typically seems forced and shallow.

Here’s why…

8 Reasons

Reason 1: Programming and expectation.
My sense is that asking “How are you?” kinds of questions is something that everyone does because everyone else does it.

And at least by my perception, it seems people expect you to ask them, at least as a follow-up if they’d asked you first, lest you be judged “rude” or “uncaring.”

Reason 2: Self-validation.
I think a lot of people ask these status questions just to hear their gums flap. Unconsciously they want to create an opportunity to prove to themselves that they exist.

They may care about the people they ask, but more than that, they want to start a conversation so that they can reaffirm their own voice, opinions, beliefs, fears, experiences, behaviors, mannerisms, and so on.

Reason 3: Lying.
Plenty of people lie when asked how they’re doing.

We’re taught, sometimes harshly, that we’re supposed to be happy and agreeable all the time. We’re taught, if not through word then action, that if we’re unhappy and disagreeable then we don’t deserve love, affection, approval, etc.

With this sort of programming, people tend to either say they’re doing well even when they’re not and then maintain a facade, or they say they’re doing well only to break into a Negative Nancy sobfest as though it’s not completely contradictory to their claimed wellness.

Alternately, consider an experience we’ve probably all had a time or two in which someone responds to our inquiry by smiling and saying they’re well but are obviously feeling some kind of negativity toward us.

Maybe they resent us, maybe they’re jealous of us, or maybe whatever. The point is, they force a smiley, “all is well” exterior, but some cue they reveal unwittingly screams, “I’m only doing this to be agreeable! I hate you!

Also, think about some of the less common situations this lying issue could come up in.

A job interview is one. Most likely you would be welcomed with, “Hey. How are you doing today?” Even though you might be unsettled because your kids were misbehaving, you’re in the middle of a divorce, and you forgot to put deodorant on, expressing any of this would provide a poor first impression.

You’d like to be honest, it’s right to be honest, but sometimes people don’t accept that “life happens.” It’s a catch-22.

Reason 4: “Poor Me.”
I don’t want to open myself to a Negative Nancy sobfest.

If I start off by asking someone how they’re doing and they tell me they’re lousy, it seems to me that there’s an expectation that I should take the bait, put on a frowny face, and ask, “Oh, you poor thing. What’s wrong?” Since the forthcoming response is often evident in some way prior to the question being formed, I usually don’t even ask the question.

Once again, I wish people the highest and best. But in my experience, the majority of the time people are lousy it’s because they don’t bother making any true, positive changes in their lives. Why do I want to listen to other peoples’ stories of he-did-this, she-said-that, self-victimization?

The “Oh, you poor thing. What’s wrong?” response may sound compassionate, but this is far more sympathetic than empathetic: a person offering sympathy falls into the other’s issue and becomes trapped in the victim’s negativity, while a person offering empathy remains detached and allows the issue to be as is.

I’m not a sympathetic person. I will offer empathy, but to the victim empathy is dissatisfying because it doesn’t energetically support their “poor me” programming.

Reason 5: Attempted proof.
If I ask, “How are you?” there’s an expectation that you should care about me as I seem to care about you, and so you should reply with an inquiry as to how I am.

I feel that “How are you?”-type questions are sometimes therefore used, unconsciously, as a way for people to attempt to justify either that they’re helpless, powerless victims or that “all is well.”

By playing this tricksy inquiry game, I can be sure that they will ask me how I’m doing if I ask them first. This will provide me an opening to “legally file a complaint.” Or, They’ll feel guilty if I ask them how they’re doing but they don’t ask me, so they’ll certainly ask, and then I can tell them I’m doing okay. If I keep telling everyone I’m okay, then surely I must be okay.

Reason 6: I don’t like shallow or forced conversation.
I generally don’t like when people ask me status questions.

On one hand, I see certain of these inquiries as useful as conversation starters. For instance, if I see a friend, I don’t have an issue with him or her asking what I’ve been up to; I have no problem asking them the same.

On the other hand, these inquires more often seem like a useless nicety. How many times do you meet an acquaintance and offer hellos followed by status questions as the sum of the conversation? The former piece acknowledges one’s existence which is fine, but what function does the latter piece serve?

I’m reminded here of my occasional experience at the grocery store. I get in the checkout line and the cashier mournfully says, “Hi. How are you?” She is so unhappy and seemingly couldn’t care less, asking the question likely only because it’s company policy. These people would probably be incrementally happier by the mere removal of this must-ask constraint.

Is a simple, “Hello,” or a, “Good morning,” and a smile that inadequate?

Reason 7: I’m not so sure others like being asked, either.
Maybe sometimes. But think again of the cashier. When she desolately asks me, “How are you today?” Does she really want to hear, “I’m great!”? Does she really want to hear, “I feel lousy”?

And does she really want me to reciprocate by asking how she’s doing? Maybe. I don’t know. But I can see how she’s doing. She looks like she might leave her shift only to go jump off a bridge. It almost seems to me like asking would be a sarcastic cheap shot. Far better off, maybe, to say something silly to lighten the mood.

Otherwise, I’ve had plenty of encounters where the “How are you?” part of the conversation just seems “off.” It’s as though everyone knows the claimed “okay-ness” is no reflection of their respective realities, but no one wants to acknowledge it; in a way people feel like they’re having their lives pried into by more or less of a stranger who they don’t wish to divulge any information to.

Reason 8: It may be nosiness and privacy-denying.
Consider situations when you see an acquaintance across a parking lot and they yell to you, “HOW ARE YOU!?” Or maybe you’re leaving your house and someone sees you and loudly asks from halfway down the street, “HEY! WHAT'S UP? WHERE ARE YOU HEADED!?”

Like, really? “I'M OFF TO THE DOCTOR! I'VE BEEN HAVING SEVERE TESTICLE INFLAMMATION AND MY WIFE SAYS I LACK ENERGY IN THE BEDROOM!”

I’m the kind of person that will share a fair amount of personal information. Just look at this blog—I probably won’t ever know most people who read it, but I’ve not exactly hidden many of the woes and wonders of my life. Yet I've written these things willingly and, 99.9% of the time, in an appropriate time and space.

It seems not everyone has the filter needed to recognize what is and what is not appropriate based on factors such as the closeness of their relationship to the one in question and the environment they’re in. People lack both situational awareness and adequate respect for the privacy of others. Trouble is, they don't see this, as this requires that they've first developed internal situational awareness and self-respect.

Add to this that people generally give a lot more attention to the negatives than the positives.

If I feel lousy, whether I like it or not, to tell many people my truth that I feel lousy causes them to attach negatively to me. This creates an appearance, inadvertently and undesirably on my part, of a request for sympathy. It’s also, apparently, a call for the other to ask, “What’s wrong?” (Which is rather biased considering that when you tell someone you're doing well they don't ask you, “What's right?”)

But I don’t want any of this. I’m not asking for sympathy or a pity party or to give away TMI health information. I simply answered the question because I was asked.

Life as a Rollercoaster

Taking a different approach, a worthwhile question to ask is: How realistic, how practical, is asking someone how they’re doing, anyway?

A man is super happy at 4:00 because he just bought a new car. By 4:02 he’s pissed off because someone cut him off on the highway. On arriving at home he’s happy again because his wife had a delicious dinner ready. Then shortly after dinner he is unhappy again because his wife insisted on watching CNN.

When someone asks us how we’re doing, we don’t always go to the same place for the answer. One time we might answer based on our overall disposition, another time we might answer based on a recently suffered trauma, a third time we might answer based on how we’re feeling in the moment, and so on.

This makes the source of our answers to the “How are you?” question so very variable and flimsy. Include in this all the drama mentioned above, and, well, how much value can our answers really have?

The Truth Is Within You… And in Plain Sight

As we do inner-healing work and spiritually-oriented practices, significant portions of life become irrelevant to us. This is not necessarily to say that we don’t care about them—we still may—but we increasingly see people, places, things, and situations in both the proper context of our life paths and the greater scope of existence itself. We cease grasping for drama and so enable ourselves to see what is with compassion and detachment. We expand our conscious awareness to the subtleties of life that reveal the truth beyond the superficial.

Let me rephrase two particular points:

Firstly, since significant portions of life become irrelevant, we cease to invest ourselves in what all of our neighbors are doing or what our father’s brother’s friend that we think might be in the next aisle over at the toy store has been up to since we last saw him 23 years ago.

By all means, friendliness is great—this isn’t about having an apathetic attitude. But when we open up to what is true for us, as individuals, we can’t help but see the extraneous as extraneous and thus irrelevant (unless it becomes relevant). Rote acts of meaningless data collection such as habitually asking status-type questions become undesirable.

Secondly, the opening created through self-decluttering allows intuitive insights to come to us internally about the people, places, things, and situations we could once see only coarsely and believed we had to seek answers about by external means. With intuition, the truth is often presented without any need for overt inquiry.

Facial tension is noticed, voice nuances are noticed, energy fields are noticed, facades are noticed, bodily posturing is noticed, breathing patterns are noticed, and on and on and on. Sometimes intuition zaps information directly into one’s mind with no apparent reference to external details.

This information speaks volumes compared to the emptiness shared through most status-based interactions.

Conscious Conversation

I once watched a clip from a Mooji Satsang in which Mooji responded to letters.

(For lack of better recall on my part…) Somehow tying it in to the validity of Mooji as a spiritual teacher, someone had written in saying that Mooji always seems to be followed around by attractive, young women; what’s the deal? Is he dating them or something?

(Again, as I roughly recall…) Mooji replied that he’s not “with” any of them and that he barely even knows them. He operates an ashram/retreat center and the women feel intuitively guided to help him. Maybe some are in relationships, maybe some are not. Same could be said about whatever else their lives entail. He knows almost nothing personal about any of them.

In a much more overarching way, this bit with Mooji is the epitome of what I’ve been getting at. People talk so much about so much, but ironically, were we to look at the true value of what we’re saying, we’d find that we’re often saying very little about very little: we’re repeating the same things over and over again and most of them add little-to-no real value to our lives.

In saying this I’m not suggesting that we should all become Moojis or hermits or take vows of silence or anything like that. This is about being self-aware and making conversation conscious.

When we’re living in a state in which our conscious awareness is enamored by trivialities, our attention is scattered and shallow. This makes us unable to discern and focus on the things of greater import that can only come to us when silent and still within.

And this is pivotal, not simply because, hey, look at the benefits, but because these benefits are the very things we’ve been unwittingly seeking in all of our unconscious interactions with others.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Black and White in a World of Color

by John Boodhansingh of Zero Mindfulness



“I’m a nice person,” he says.

Is he right in saying this?

He thinks he is. But it might be worth his while to do some self-inquiry as well as ask for a second opinion.

Maybe a third and a fourth.

And consider these opinions seriously.

The Partiality of Polarity

Consider these dualistic poles:
  • nice/mean
  • smart/dumb
  • good/bad
  • selfless/selfish
  • saint/sinner
  • pretty/ugly
Can anyone really be described in such simple terms?

In certain cases it may be subjectively so.

I can think of a number of utter psychopaths within the U.S. government, for example, who are phenomenally “mean” and “selfish” and are basically walking definitions of these words (and worse) in every way imaginable (and unimaginable). Every move they make is an attempt to benefit themselves while harming the rest of humanity. Even toward their own kind, they would stab each other in the back in a heartbeat if they deemed it for the best outcome.

But regarding the average person, judging ourselves and others in such a polarized manner isn’t very useful.

After all, we’re more or less choosing one word to describe a whole; we’re choosing a single, intensely polar descriptor to define someone who very most likely exhibits a variety of characteristics depending upon his or her circumstances.

Circumstantial Evidence

There’s a guy I used to work with who had made me (read: who I had allowed to make me) utterly miserable. I’d held a hard set judgment that this man was nothing but a self-serving jackass. Almost a decade after I’d left the job I happened to have a brief conversation with a stranger who also knows the guy. The stranger said to me, “Oh, you know [So-and-So]? He’s a real friendly guy. I know him from [such-and-such].”

To this I just sort of smiled and nodded. I didn’t quite know how to respond. A few years prior I’d let go of my resentment and anger toward the guy from work and acknowledged his authentically friendly and well-meaning side; but knowing his shady work ethic and having had some less-than-kosher intuitions about him, toward the stranger I was left feeling like, Well, if that’s what you think…

Their relationship and the circumstances under which the guy I used to work with and the stranger interacted were completely different from those of the guy from work and myself. Due to this, the stranger and I had both come to very different assessments of the man.

I imagine that you’ve had this experience: If you’ve not eventually broken down after holding a strong judgment of someone—this “someone” possibly being you—and then seen them in more detail, then you’ve at least judged someone for better or for worse only to talk to somebody else who judged the opposite.

My early judgments against the guy from work were heavily skewed toward the negative. I’ve heard many other people in my days who have exhibited similar: every time a certain person’s name comes up, they get grinding away at that person as though he or she is evil itself. Conversely, there are those who may judge positively—way overly positively as if the ones judged are without flaw.

To this we need to ask: What makes us so “sure” that those we judge have no other noteworthy traits, positive or negative, that would expand our narrow viewpoints?

Seeing More of Less

Some folks might answer this question by saying that they acknowledge both the positives and the negatives of others. This claim could be valid, but caution is advised.

For instance, I’ve had many experiences in which people have acknowledged my positive traits, yet only when acknowledgment was convenient to them.

In other situations, for whatever reasons any given person may have had, although they’d acknowledged my positive traits, they were still subconsciously carrying a cover-all notion of them as “better than” and me as “less than.” This inhibited them from truly accepting the fullness of both my positive traits and the totality of me as a person. Their view was like looking at me outside on a sunny day but with sunglasses on—I was seen, but dimly.

Similar can be said of racism, classism, partisanism, theologism, and so on. These are internal filters that strongly skew our ability to see life realistically. This can be so even if we haven't subscribed to such ideologies but our parents or grandparents had. Generational separation offers some of its inherent time-based healing, but as children we're likely to still find remnants of these programs within ourselves.

So just because any of us may seemingly see more clearly than those who are magnetized strongly to either pole doesn’t mean we’re free of thorough perceptual distortions. Indeed, our perceptual dimness may be so all-surrounding or subtle that we don’t even realize the dimness exists.

Self in Every Other

To generally answer the above question differently, we’re so “sure” that those we judge lack other noteworthy traits—positive or negative—because we perceive others as we perceive ourselves. We cannot do otherwise.

For example, if someone deludes themselves with ideas of “all is love” and “everything is perfect” because they fear facing repressed inner turmoil, they’re necessarily going to see others as “loving” and “perfect.” Although others hurt them, their mind distorts their perception in order to justify non-action since calls for action require the uncomfortable inner notice of I hurt and am afraid to stand up for myself.

Sometimes fear-based naiveté may be the cause. Politicians and citizens are a great example of this. Everyone knows that most politicians are scumbags who can’t help but destroy everything they touch. And yet, every year, people still vote for the same idiots who don a smile while lying through their special-interest teeth and trash-talking others during their campaigns. “They mean well, but we’re all flawed,” some may rationalize. Or, “It’s a tough job.” No! These people are sick, and the common man is still self-victimizing and savior-seeking.

A third potential (and the final one I’ll mention but not the last) for polarized judgment is the fear of change. To the extent that we’ve built our lives on faulty ideas is the extent to which we will have to change our lives in order to accommodate what is true for us. For instance, we find that we’re much “safer” when we judge ourselves “good,” “nice,” “loving,” etc. while judging others by their resonance or dissonance with this bogus polar-positive self-image. This allows us to deny what is in the mirror, so to speak, and thus evade our fullness.

Due to this same fear: By denying ourselves the space to change, we cannot but be offended when others change. “How dare you not be the person I’ve identified you as in my mind! How dare you do your own thing and unwittingly shine light on my faulty beliefs!” In extension, when others change contrary to our beliefs about them, for fear of having to change our own thinking, we may stubbornly maintain them as the statues of gold or stone that we’d initially made of them in our minds. Or, because we’re simply unable to occupy a space of variability, we may flip completely from one judgmental extreme to the other. “You don’t want to eat meat and drink beer the American way anymore? Well, eff you!”

Should you look within, I’m sure you will see what I describe here. You will see that the way you perceive others is simply an extension of your own inner world. You create self-judgments just as you’d been taught, and you project them, or some derivative thereof, out into the world around you.

Universal Blame

I have to stress that this topic very much concerns the average person.

I don't doubt that many people would read this and quickly think, Me? Nah. I'm not that extreme. Perhaps you're right. But it's also quite possible that your non-contemplative denial is your unwitting admittance.

Aside from the other strongly dualistic judgments as noted here, several times I've heard people go to an even greater extreme. When speaking of humanity and global events of the last few centuries or so, people have made despairing comments such as, “God needs to just drop a bomb on everyone and start life all over again.”

This phrase may sound socio- or psychopathic, but the people who I've heard say these things are not hellbent on evil, as such—they're just average people who have very poor, powerless/helpless self-images and thus see all of humanity in the same tragic way.

Which means that God doesn't need to drop a bomb on everyone and start life all over again. We simply need to stop imagining that people are who we imagine them to be.

We can accomplish this by ceasing to imagine ourselves to be who we imagine ourselves to be.

Polarized Education

We’ve come to inhabit a state of consciousness in which intense polarity of judgment is a defining trait. Yet because we’ve had to repress to get here, our perceptual distortions are unconscious to us: we see and judge accordingly, but we have no actual awareness as to what our perceptions are according to.

This polarization begins with what we’re taught by “authorities” when we’re children.

If we pitch a fit or don’t do our homework, “You’re a bad girl!” or, “You’re a failure.” On the other end of the spectrum, if we get good grades or do just as mommy and daddy say, “Oh, you’re so smart,” or, “You’re such a good boy.” We’re blessed and cursed in such a dualistic way.

Not that this is any better, but it’s not like we ever hear either, “You got a ‘C’. You’re such a mediocre boy.” Or, “This is our 8-year-old, Stephen; our most par-for-course child.” Indeed, at least by my own perception and as one who struggled through school, my sense was always that a “B” is reasonably acceptable—but you better keep studying!—while a “C” is effectively an upper-level failure—you’re “maybe sort of okay-ish,” but your worthiness of love and your potential to not be a complete failure in life just took a major hit.

Tack on to all of this the influence of issues such as sibling rivalry and other potential childhood traumas and the result is an intensely repulsive force pushing one’s thoughts and perceptions far out of balance.

Left unchecked, this aberration of awareness perpetuates as all I’ve just described and then some. It hangs around our whole lives and clouds every interaction (direct or indirect) that we have.

In this state, it’s difficult-to-impossible to accurately evaluate one’s self, and thus equally or more difficult-to-impossible to accurately evaluate others.

Seeing Real People

By all means, we can all have a subjective view of life: we are each the subjective eyes that experience our individual worlds and we will remain that way however we may change.

But we would be very wise to separate the wheat from the chaff within our minds.

First and foremost, this will remove the mental shroud of sharp polarization that we've been perceiving life through for so long. With continued cultivation our perceptions will clarify and the less we will have any desire or apparent need to judge others at all.

We will come to know a balanced subjectivity with a strong, non-judgment-based foundation of objectivity. This will provide us with both a well-honed discernment and the ability to compassionately see other people, not as black and white, but as the colorful beings they truly are.