Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Great Universal Feedback System

It’s great to talk about how our thoughts create our experiences but how can you change your thoughts if they are unconscious? How can I change thoughts or attitudes when I don’t even know I have them? What if my current experiences are being influenced by past lives? What if some of my attitudes and behavior are the result of childhood experiences that I have forgotten or suppressed?

[Please see my article from Venture Inward entitled “Things Are Thoughts.”]

One of the sayings that Seth strongly emphasizes is: “The point of power is in the present.” In The Nature of Personal Reality, Seth talks about this idea and repeats it over and over. It is central to any discussion of the feedback system and it explains why we don’t need to know the cause of our current problems or issues.

I have already mentioned that I see life as a dream. I see it as a dream in the sense that all of our waking experiences are meaningful just as our dream experiences are meaningful. Just as dreams are filled with symbols and metaphors, so our waking life experiences can be seen as symbolic and metaphoric.

If I dream about aunt Maude, then aunt Maude obviously has some symbolic meaning to me. She represents some part of me, perhaps some attitude or behavior I need to look at. Why wouldn’t aunt Maude represent the same thing in my waking life? Why wouldn’t every person and every situation in my waking life give me the same feedback as my dreams? I believe they do.

So it really doesn’t matter if we are being influenced in the present by our past lives, by unconscious childhood experiences, or from any other source, conscious or unconscious. Our night dreams and waking experiences all give us feedback about our thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, assumptions, expectations, fears, worries, etc.

Here’s where spirituality turns physical reality on its head. Physical reality is solidly based on cause and effect. “I am neurotic because of stressful potty training.” “I have a fear of water because of a past life in which I drowned.” “I have abandonment issues because I was adopted.” You can make your own cause and effect list, at least for those things of which you are conscious.

One of the radical views taken by numerous spiritual systems and now by some quantum physicists is that space and time are fictions. Seth says so, Edgar Cayce says so, and quantum physics says so. This puts a whole new spin on the cause and effect universe in which we think we live.

If time is simultaneous, how can I have karma over some incident that is happening right now and continues to happen right now? When time gets slippery, we could end up punishing someone before they commit a crime. Instead of our lives being in a nice neat chronological line, I could end up being reincarnated into the past as easily as the future.

But what does this have to do with the feedback system? The saying that the point of power is in the present gives us a startling insight into understanding our unconscious thoughts as well as the most direct path to changing our lives.

It isn’t necessary to figure out why we feel the way we do, why we act the way we do, why we have the fears, doubts, and blocks that we experience every day. In the spiritual realm there is no traditional cause and effect. I am not the way I am today because of something that happened in my past life or something that happened in my childhood.

My current self-image and behavior represent something I believe about myself right now. The spiritual work we do is to try to change that self-image into a better version of the self. My past lives and childhood experiences are nothing but metaphors I can use to make the changes I wish to make, focusing agents for change. Dreams provide other metaphors for the same purpose. Meditation and visualization can provide symbols and metaphors we can use to change our lives.

One of the most powerful things we can do right now is let go of the energy of our past lives. We can let go of the energy and influence of our childhood experiences. We can recognize that the past has absolutely no power over us. Our current self-image, our current experiences, our current issues and problems are the result of our present beliefs, attitudes, etc. They are not the result of anything from the past or future.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Power of Symbols

In my last blog I made the rather startling assertion that you can heal yourself of any issue in your life without knowing the source of that issue. It is almost universally acknowledged in psychology that most if not all of our issues can be traced back to our childhood. Freud took this childhood impact to a very young age.

In the spiritual realm, many will suggest that our issues are due to our past lives. Our childhood experiences are really just playing out those past life influences. We choose our parents and siblings and all of the surrounding circumstances of our birth based on past life lessons we have chosen to take on.

Still others claim that astrology is the answer to our challenges and their successful resolution. There are many psychological and spiritual systems of thought that are used to uncover the causes of our current issues and tools for resolving those issues.

In my classes, workshops, and private counseling sessions, I have worked with many different methodologies. I have worked with childhood issues, past life issues, and with dreams. I have also worked with visualization. Any and all of these have proven valuable in helping people to understand and heal their problems. Any methodology could have positive results because the results have nothing to do with the methodology.

We tend to feel superior to those primitive peoples who used dancing, chanting, drumming, drugs, and the conjuring of spirits to help the sick or solve other kinds of problems. The thing is, those techniques were often effective. In fact, throughout our known history, individuals have used a variety of methodologies, including prayer and sacrifice to bring about change.

We have a variety of methods for trying to understand the present and predict the future. There is the I Ching, the tarot, rune stones, and many other divinatory techniques. In the past individuals read tealeaves (and still do) and studied chicken guts or the flight of birds.

Regardless of how far out some of these methodologies seem to us today, all of them were effective at least part of the time. I maintain that none of them actually worked. All of them operated as what I call focusing agents. They simply served to focus the attention of the individual on the outcome being sought. In other words they were symbols that opened the doors of the mind so that a solution might be found. They could all be called placebos.

I have seen symbols change a person’s life many times. Some of us are changed by the symbols in our dreams even when we don’t understand the meaning of our dreams or don’t even remember the dream. The thoughts, feelings, and actions in the dream state are as real and meaningful as those in the waking state.

When we exhibit fear in our dreams, the fear is real. When we exhibit courage in our dreams, the courage is real. In fact the dream state is a great place to face our fears because even if we fail, we’re not going to be harmed. I counsel people to ask for a dream that will help them face some fear or block in their life.

Symbols have power. See my exercise #3 for a couple of examples of using symbols to make changes. Here’s another example. My friend in exercise #3, the one who got the black jaguar as a symbol, used a symbol exercise with a young man who was in the hospital because of a motorcycle accident.

My friend was doing a hospital chaplain internship in a San Francisco south bay hospital. The young man was in a lot of pain because of the injury to his back. He couldn’t be given enough medication to stop the pain because of the location of the injury. My friend knew that he was a religious man.

She asked him what the pain felt like. He said it was like someone had driven a nail into his spine. She asked him if there was anyone who could remove the nail. He said, “Jesus.” So she told him to have Jesus remove the nail. In his imagination he saw Jesus come to him and pull the nail from his back. The pain immediately went away.

I will talk a lot more about symbols in the future because I see everything in life as having a symbolic meaning. Just realize that we are impacted by symbols every day, waking and sleeping, and that we can consciously use symbols to help us resolve any issue.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

What Is Real?

In the Seth exercise in my former blog, “Magic and Dreams, Framework 2,” Seth suggests that our thoughts are more real than physical reality. He also suggested that our dreams are more real than physical reality.

For anyone born and raised on this planet, there is nothing more real than physical reality. From the time we are very young, we learn that physical reality can be quite pleasurable or it can be quite painful. In either case, it seems quite real.

We must at least recognize that our physical experience is quite subjective. No two of us experience life in quite the same way. Everything that happens to us every day is perceived through a lifetime of other experiences. We all perceive physical reality through various colored lenses.

We do not see life as it is. We see life as we are. We certainly do not see ourselves with any objectivity. We live according to our thoughts or ideas about ourselves, about others, and about the world.

In the midst of this subjectivity there must be someone that we can call the True Self. If such a self exists, the finding and actualizing of that self could be seen as a common spiritual goal. How do we go about finding that self and how do we go about recognizing what is true or false about the self we currently know?

Seth is suggesting that our thoughts are more real than our physical experiences. While that seems counterintuitive or downright outrageous, there are some analogies for such a viewpoint. The painter is more real than the painting, the inventor more real than her inventions, the idea more real than its actualization.

Nothing exists that was not first imagined in someone’s mind, even if that mind was God’s. The life we experience is the life we have thought up, the life we have imagined, the life we have dreamed.

If we are not happy with that life, we need to have some different thoughts, imagine and dream something better. One of the big problems with that is that much of what we create in life may be the result of unconscious thoughts or beliefs. If our thoughts, imagination, and beliefs are unconscious, how can we possibly change them?

Depending on what you believe, the self that you are today and the life you are experiencing can be seen as the result of your childhood as well as all of the experiences leading up to the present. It is also possible that some of what you are experiencing is due to a past life. How does one disentangle all of that?

I have found over the years that it actually isn’t necessary to understand the source of our current woes, whether it is a physical issue, a relationship issue, a financial issue, or a primarily spiritual issue.

There are those who believe that no one can be healed mentally or emotionally without understanding and healing their childhood. Others may believe that past life work is the only way to understand current life problems. Still others see dream work as the Holy Grail to life healing. In the physical, psychological, and spiritual marketplace there are enough healing methodologies to fill a library.

My belief is that there is no one system of thought, no one healing methodology, no best spiritual system for everyone. The best system for you is the one that appeals to you, the one that works for you. If someone tells you that they have found the truth (especially the capital “T” Truth), run as fast as you can. No one has a corner on the truth for you.

In my next blog I will talk about how you can change your life without ever knowing the “cause” of your troubles. I will also talk about how you can find out what your unconscious may be creating behind your back.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Magic-Making & Dream-Making With Framework 2

The idea that our thoughts create our physical experience including our most intimate creation, our body, moves us in the direction of magic. After all, when you can think about something and it happens, that’s magic.

Another way to look at reality creation is to see life as a dream. This is how I look at life. I see life as a dream because we create our waking life the same way we create our dreams. Our dreams have access to more “stuff” to work with, our past, our future, as well as inner beings and inner experiences. But they are still like our waking life in the sense that they are meaningful.

Whatever else human beings are, we are meaning-makers and meaning seekers. When we think of people who have lost hope we think of people whose lives have no more meaning. Without meaning and the search for meaning, life would not be worth living.

Just as our dreams are meaningful and give us feedback about our thoughts and thought-creations, our waking experiences give us the same feedback. The people and experiences in our waking life give us the same information, the same meanings as our sleeping dreams.

I ended the last blog with a Seth quote in which he speaks of the imagination as being as close as we can get to Framework 2. But our dreams are surely a part of Framework 2 and give us a nightly glimpse into its workings.

I will speak more about dreams when I talk about the Universal Feedback System. This system is how we can find out what is creating negative situations in our lives even when they are coming from our unconscious. For now, we will focus on the metaphor of magic.

It is obvious that if our thoughts are creating our life and all of its experiences, we need to pay more attention to what we are thinking. This includes daydreams and waking fantasies. When we have negative fantasies we are using the power of our imagination. If we focus on negative situations with enough energy, they will attract similar energies in Framework 2 and will eventually pop into Framework 1, physical reality.

The other side of that coin is that we can deliberately spend more time imagining positive outcomes. We can consciously place positive thoughts, positive outcomes, and positive experiences into Framework 2. This is what we are doing when we use positive affirmations or positive self-suggestions.

First, it can help if we try to imagine this process and use that to make it more effective. Here is a quote from Seth about reality creation followed by an exercise.

“You usually think…that your feelings about a given event are primarily reactions to the event itself. It seldom occurs to you that the feelings themselves might be primary, and that the particular event was somehow a response to your emotions, rather than the other way around. The all-important matter of your focus is largely responsible for your interpretation of any event.”1

[For example, when we are frightened or threatened our body goes into the well-known fight-flight syndrome. We are suddenly filled with energy that we can use to fight or run away. What is less well-known is that our decision determines our feelings about the situation.

[If we decide to fight, we will experience anger. If we decide to run, we will experience fear. So we do not experience fear until we choose to run. We can’t say that the experience caused the fear or the anger.

[In another example, it is possible that when someone cuts us off in traffic, they are not the cause of our anger. In the spiritual world things work differently. According to what Seth is saying in the above quote, we do not get angry because someone cuts us off in traffic, someone cuts us off in traffic because we are already angry. The behavior of the offending driver gives us an opportunity to express anger that is already there.

[Seth’s exercise below is designed to help us to experience this way of seeing the world.]

“For an exercise, then, imagine for a while that the subjective world of your thoughts, feelings, inner images and fantasies represents the “rockbed reality” from which individual physical events emerge. Look at the world for a change from the inside out, so to speak. Imagine that physical experience is somehow the materialization of your own subjective reality. Forget what you have learned about reactions and stimuli. Ignore for a time everything you have believed and see your thoughts as the real events. Try to view normal physical occurrences as the concrete physical reactions in space and time to your own feelings and beliefs. For indeed your subjective world causes your physical experience.”2

1The Individual and the Nature of Mass Events, p. 150

The Mechanism of Reality Creation

When we talk about reality creation as a mental or spiritual process, we leave scientific and rational thought way behind. I do not suggest that we leave our rational mind behind. In fact it would be impossible to do so. But we will open doors to the inner self, a self that works in ways quite different from our normal waking consciousness.

One could use many different sources to explain how our thoughts become reality, many different philosophical or spiritual systems. I will use the Seth material primarily because Seth went to great lengths to explain this process.

I will begin, however, with Edgar Cayce, known as the sleeping prophet. Cayce expressed a simple formula for reality creation that is easy to understand and even to apply. He said: “Spirit is the life. Mind is the builder. Physical is the result.”

In this formula, Spirit is the divine, the spirit that animates all consciousnesses, physical and non-physical. Spirit is the energy that drives all creation and it is the same energy that allows us to create our own experiences.

That energy passes through the mind. I think of the mind as the accumulation of our physical experiences in this life. Below the level of the conscious mind are many other experiences. We will speak of these later because our unconscious mind has an impact on our physical creations as well.

So our mind is the sum of all of our experiences. It is our personality, our self-image, all of our ideas, beliefs, assumptions, expectations, desires, fears, and anxieties. It contains what we love and hate, our hopes and dreams, our disappointments and judgments.

The mind is what Spirit travels through to become our life experience. Physical is the result. It is clear that if we do not like the physical result, we need to search the mind to find out what thoughts and beliefs created a negative outcome.

“For mind is the builder and that which we think may become crimes or miracles. For thoughts are things and as their currents run through the environs of an entity’s experience thoughts become barriers or stepping stones.” (906-3)1

Seth provides another way to visualize this process. I will speak in more detail about this in my next blog. Seth speaks of Framework 1 and 2. Framework 2 could be described as the inner self or the subconscious self. All of our thoughts automatically go into Framework 2. In other words, on a spiritual level, our thoughts immediately become “things” but these things are not yet manifested physically.

As we continue to have the same thoughts or similar thoughts they are attracted to one another in Framework 2. These thoughts are sort of like empty balloons waiting to be filled with sufficient thought energy. Any thought that does not receive sufficient energy will never make it to physical reality but it will still be real and have its own existence in the non-physical or inner realms.

When I say “thoughts,” you understand that this includes fears and other feelings that originate in thoughts. So when your thought balloon gets blown up enough, it becomes a full-fledged thought-form and you will meet it in physical reality, whether it is positive or negative. Physical reality is Framework 1. All thought forms are created in the same manner.

I will leave you with a Seth quote that gives a hint at how to consciously use Framework 2 to bring positive things into Framework 1. I will flesh this out in my next blog and include a Seth exercise for creating positive experiences in your life using Framework 2.

“The world of the imagination is indeed your contact with your own source. Its characteristics are the closest to those in Framework 2 that you can presently encounter.”2

1In the Edgar Cayce readings the first number represents the individual receiving the reading. The second number represents the number of the reading. So 906-3 is the third reading for individual 906.

2The Individual and the Nature of Mass Events, p. 144

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

How Far Do Thoughts Go?

The idea that every thought we have impacts our body, possibly in many different ways, is quite powerful. We tend to think that our mood has an impact on our thoughts. What actually happens is that our thoughts affect our mood through the endocrine system.

So thoughts actually create feelings. If our negative thoughts put us in a bad mood, that mood usually causes us to have more negative thoughts. It is easy to see how we can get into an emotional downward spiral of negative thoughts or negative fantasies. We can also get into a positive spiral with positive or optimistic thoughts or affirmations.

All of this is still within the body and the psyche, our thoughts impacting our own body and feelings. How can our thoughts possibly impact the world around us? On the simplest level, our mood affects those around us. Have you ever noticed that when you are in a bad mood everyone around you seems to be in a bad mood? And it works the other way too. Good moods create good moods as well.

But let’s go farther than that. Can our thoughts literally impact other people even if they’re not present? Certainly most of us have had experiences where we seem to know what someone else is thinking or vice-versa. Most of you have had premonitions about something that was going to happen, perhaps from a dream.

We have decades of studies suggesting that extrasensory perception (ESP) is possible as well as studies on psychokinesis and precognition, among others.1 There is strong evidence for distance healing and even prayer could be seen as a means of sending our thoughts over great distances.

Remote viewing, which seems to be something that ordinary people can perform successfully, involves being able to visualize a distant setting through the eyes of someone who is at that site. The military was very interested in this phenomenon and did its own research.

Spiritual teachings for thousands of years have been proclaiming the idea that everything is one. However you conceive of the divine, that divine is one and therefore the creation is also one with the divine and one with all of creation as well.

If we are one with all of our fellow humans (and perhaps all non-physical consciousnesses as well), are we not also in communication (or in communion) with all consciousnesses?

The work of lie detector expert Cleve Backster would suggest as much. Two books were written on his work by other authors: The Secret Life of Plants by Chris Bird and Peter Tompkins in 1973 and The Secret Life of Your Cells by Robert Stone in 1989. Mr. Backster wrote his own book on his experiences in 2003, Primary Perception: Biocommunication with Plants, Living Foods, and Human Cells by Cleve Backster.

My wife and I had the pleasure of hearing Mr. Backster talk about his work shortly after his book came out. Backster claims that plants, cells, and even pieces of steak from the freezer respond to human thought.

Are rocks, oceans, earth, and air also conscious? What do they think about? What do they think of us?

In my next blog I will offer one source’s understanding of the mechanism that turns thoughts into things.

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