Political Scene 2016

I don’t think I’ve posted about politics since the first Obama term when I still believed Obama’s rhetoric was based in actual potential.  Since that time I have repented my support of Obama, observing his lack of courage to act outside of the “permitted” arena of executive actions approved by the controlling fascist corporatocracy.  Americans are awakening now to sobering historical facts, for example that Operation PaperClip of post- WWII resulted in Black Ops in U.S. government including mind-control experiments, infecting and damaging America’s spiritual and moral foundations.

In my opinion we must faithfully participate in a vision-based revolution, a non-violent movement demanding government and corporate reform.   In the current political arena I favor Senator Bernie Sanders, Democrat, as well as Governor Gary Johnson, Libertarian. Political parties are not important. The integrity and strength of an individual committed to benefiting humanity as a whole deserves my support and global resources.  Transitioning to a new practical and moral paradigm requires ideals based in spiritual insight transcending religious dogma stuck in graven images.   That means moving beyond old habits and fearful ideas about different cultures or faiths or different countries. We now are graduating from adolescent egocentric behaviors and developing courage to embark in cooperative endeavors in brave support of progressive global projects, one example being to bring advanced energy technology to the world.

It is a wondrous time to be alive and participating in a thriving civilization becoming a cosmic member of other civilizations.

I add one additional link for an example of those working for a new paradigm. Thrive is also criticized for being a cult.  Use your discernment to evaluate to the best of your ability those organizations that can move us forward without hidden agenda.

I choose to peer deeply through the facade of those who present concepts of fear aiming to keep us bound to old ways of thinking and acting.  I have forgiven their ignorance, and  I am choosing to build with like-minded others a world based on love and generous support in all areas of human growth and spiritual blossoming.

Please join in this movement, using your unique insight and talents. Use the Internet to inspire us and teach us.  Help us grow to our best expression of divine presence. Now.

NAMASTE

More Books About Happiness!

Over the last year I have written about books on the subject of human happiness. I wrote about Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Todd Gilbert, a psychological and medical attempt to track happiness. Basically, as the title implies, one stumbles upon happiness; it cannot be predicted nor can one actively plan to be happy; but rather it is a matter of being receptive and stumbling upon it. Rather discouraging, I thought.

In January of this year, I wrote about Tony Hsieh’s inspiring book, Delivering Happiness, in which he describes efforts to bring happiness to the workplace and to clients. I was so struck by the results Mr. Hsieh brought to his co-workers in serving clients, and making them happy, that I joined the “Delivering Happiness” website. [You will perhaps note that in my October 2010 post I also briefly mentioned one of many books I read last year on servant leadership. The thread of thought is harmonious: service to others, co-workers and others leads to real happiness.

I’ll just add here that if you are interested in developing your happiness and your strengths, and those of your co-workers, you may find books by Tom Rath superb sources for detailing how to bring natural talents to the fore resulting in well-being for oneself and others. I may write later in another post about one or more of Tom Rath’s books.

But for now, I want to focus on two books that have come to my attention this year, each giving more clues for bringing happiness into our lives.

First, The Ultimate Happiness Prescription: 7 Keys to Joy and Enlightenment by Deepak Chopra. Quickly, here are the seven keys: [Most of my notes are Chopra’s words or my thoughts and summaries as I read through the book.]

1. Be aware of your body; in Hindu concepts practicing this awareness leads to Sat, Chit, Ananda, or in English, Truth, Being, and Bliss.
2. Find true self-esteem: This refers not to self-image or others’ view of you, but a connection within to All That Is. The qualities identifying self-esteem include being creative, fearless, and experiencing an unlimited connection to life that is enhanced by synchronistic and serendipitous activities and events, an effortless connection to the flow of life.
3. Detoxify your life, not just your body, your life: take responsibility. Release and forgive, and love.
4. Give up being right: [In my notes I find the following:] “Ask, ‘Am I awake? My goal is to be happy rather than being stuck on being right.'”
5. Focus on the present: Constant renewal. In timelessness is True Self. Again, Am I awake? Bliss. Things change, yet I AM remains. [My collection of Eckhart Tolle recordings comes strongly to mind.]
6. See the world in yourself: loving kindness, compassion, joy, equanimity, and beholding the wellness & success of others.
7. Live for enlightenment: “A human being is a creature who has received the order to become God.” –St. Basil

Here are some summary notes from Chopra’s description of someone living a happy life: Life flows; love motivates; your are creative and imaginative; you are guided; your choices benefit all.

The Purpose of Life: Expansion of happiness, the goal of very other goal.

Chopra gives us a formula: H = S+C=V which translates to Happiness equals your set point plus conditions of living plus voluntary activities.

I leave it to you to locate this book and give it the thoughtfulness it deserves. In most all cases, the books I describe can be found in your local library.

The second book I want to discuss is Happiness Genes: Unlock the Positive Potential Hidden in Your DNA, but James D. Baird, with Laurie Nadel. In this book we return to a medical investigation of happiness, and one that is a delight to read. Let me start out with this phrase from the book: “Ask yourself how good can it get?”

The authors lead us to understand that rather than being at the mercy of a more or less whimsical chance at happiness, indeed we can actively cultivate happiness. You will read that emotions are stored as molecules in the limbic system and you can cultivate new thinking and acting that will elevate your baseline emotional state. p.71

For those interested in the scientific details of our genomes in relation to environmental impact, and our experience of happiness, you will find this book a treasure. As you progress in reading about the blueprint of our genes, to the cultural medium of our blood, to the “central voice” of our mind, and the magnetic field of the heart, I promise that you will think differently about happiness and your capacity to nurture it.

As a start to building one’s happiness, it is helpful to learn that a Mayo Clinic study concluded: “Those activities you choose intentionally, mindfully, and proactively, are likely to improve your baseline happiness…” p.58

I felt that sense of recognition one experiences of knowing the words are true as I was reading this: “Happiness is the word most frequently associated with unconditional love and compassion.” And, though no one finds it easy to live in dire poverty or illness, at the bottom of the Maslow hierarchy, after basics are met happiness is not reserved for the rich: “Sense of well-being is not likely to change much with a higher standard of living.” p. 111

“…love, compassion, and a universal sense of responsibility are the source of peace and happiness.” Dalai Lama p.118

The authors include a 28-day program to promote natural happiness that can be summarized with these key words: Release, Reboot, Relax, and Rejoice.

After reviewing Maslow’s hierarchy, the authors list characteristics of the peak experience, a state of transcendence, to remind us what is our potential: unconditional compassion; unconditional love; inner peace; detachment; living in the moment; peak experiences; universal unity.

Sounds good to me.

Reminds me again of those Eckart Tolle purchases I made and why I need to revisit them.

Winter Reading

My recommendation for a wonderful book I listened to on CD this winter is Tony Hsieh’s Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose. I had been looking for secrets and keys to personal happiness by reading various popular psychology trade books and came across this gem that I almost didn’t check out of the library when I read the subtitle and thought it was only a book about employee motivation.   But I decided to give it a go.  And I am grateful that I did.  I have found this business book gives practical answers for personal lives too.  So inspired by completing it, I have  joined the Delivering Happiness Movement which is a way to reinforce the practice of spreading the happiness to others.

I think those of us whose eyes have been opened about the deplorable and depressing state of world affairs, and who realize that political activism only increases polarization and hyperbole,  are choosing instead to actively envision and create for ourselves the world we prefer.  Tony Hsieh has written a book that not only shows how to lead a business to profit, but to help individuals grow and spread happiness.  Every little bit makes a difference.

Obama & Biden

After supporting Ron Paul in the Presidential Primaries, all for the sake of an honest politician telling us the truth about our economy and foreign policy, I did support and vote for Obama/Biden.  They have been in office about a year and a half, facing the most complex set of challenges I believe any Presidential team has faced, and handling themselves with dignity and perseverance in the face of spiteful opposition. I have concluded that the opposition is not simply a difference of concern or position, but is the result of unwillingness to cooperate with this President or to serve the American citizenry in goodwill.

Those who are overzealous capitalists, or who are idealists still placing trust in our leaders regardless of the obvious brokenness of Washington D.C.,  cannot comprehend the abuses of global corporatocracy or separate global corporations from small business owners across this country.  The fact is the global corporatocracy and the cartel of banksters have taken this country down the road to ruin, while they are laughing all the way to the vault.  However, it appears that now even their security is in peril as the world economy approaches complete collapse.

Several months ago, I switched my focus from following the mainstream media and fretting over politics to envisioning a better world and placing my energies toward creating another reality.  I am now nurturing a more mystical, spiritual paradigm .

With a parting note about Caroline Kennedy, then, I will move onto other interests.   I saw the media storm arising around Caroline and respected her sensibilities in choosing to reconsider her run for the Senate.  I think she chose the wiser part for herself and her family.  She chose quiet dignity.

Summer Reading more

After this section of book summaries, I stopped reviewing books for a while.  However, don’t despair, I shall pick up the reviewing again later this fall.
The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life, c 2008, by Alice Schroeder.
To start with, if you’ve ever had a little curiosity about Warren Buffett, The Snowball will more than satisfy you.  If you don’t know who he is you will still enjoy this speedy, entertaining story.  If you’ve grown up in a dysfunctional family —  no, I take that back and replace it with “If you’ve grown up with a neurotic, perhaps psychotic family member; and especially if that member was your mother” —  you will be amazed at Warren Buffett’s story.  I found it fascinating, shocking, enthralling, appalling, confusing, sad, and magical.   Get on with it!  (Get a copy and read it!)

The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century, c 2009, by George Friedman.
Do you remember Alvin Toffler’s best seller, Future Shock?  Mr. Friedman takes on the same challenge, focusing upon the United States primarily, and providing a general sense of global geopolitical power for the next 100 years.  With all the current dismay and fears about the U.S. losing its way, you will get a strong dose of inspiration from reading The Next 100 Years.  To get to the point, Friedman sees the U.S. right now as just entering its ascent.  No one can ultimately harm the U.S. during the next ten decades although it most likely will be attacked by a coalition of two or more countries in about 2050, but will survive and thrive and be the dominant power in space and on the oceans.  Friedman believes that the world will definitely change, that Turkey, Poland, and Mexico will be rising powers, and that Japan and the UK will still be strong.  He foresees bases on the moon (several nations), and U.S. space military bases, “Battle Stars.”  Except for the war which Friedman lays out in general scenario with imaginative details, the U.S. will primarily be challenged by changes in population (decrease) and shortage of labor, immigration (increased at first to satisfy labor, and then blocked as technology is infused with robotics), and challenged by technological growth (robotic developments, communications, solar space power,) and black ops that will allow U.S. to prepare in the coming decades to situate itself clandestinely to fight off such a surprise space attack (from earth nations)  as Friedman describes.    The only thing I notice about Friedman, Toffler, and the like, is they don’t mention much about the silent growth, or movement, going on in people’s evolution —  spiritually or emotionally.  Everything is military, social issues, practical challenges.  However, I suppose those things are easier to project forward in time.  While I find the book stimulates thinking and imagination about the future, I also found it rather depressing to keep reading about wars and war technology — even though it is through them that we get some (not all –Black Ops)  technology passed down to we the people.  It is a shame that war is the venue for human advancement.  I’m envisioning that we will eventually turn a corner and become more civilized and advance technologically, socially, spiritually, because it is fulfilling and thrilling.  But, if we must war, then yes, I hope that humankind does benefit  materially.  But isn’t it like getting scraps from the tribal chief’s table?

If you are concerned about your children and grandchildren, read these two books and you will have hope again.  Not only because of the cycles of growth that Friedman describes (a golden opportunity begins in the 2070’s) but also the story of Warren Buffett holds a huge amount of both faith in human versatility and solid, principled investing while firmly standing in one’s margin of safety.

I’d like to mention The Essentials of Real Love Workbook by Greg Baer.   Or, the regular non-workbook,  Real Love.  I may as well add a companion title, Real Love for Wise Men and Women: the Truth About Sharing Real Love also by Greg Baer.  I’ll keep this short and just say that these titles are complementary to the book I wrote about a while back called The Servant Leadership Training Course by James C. Hunter.   All of these books help us to change our perspective in relationships in work, school, family, all of life, to become more concerned about others than ourselves.   The realistic principles include boundaries and free choice, which together mean one is not a doormat; and the choices one makes are not out of obligation, guilt, or shame; and all that stuff, all that baggage we can freely leave behind.  These books describe adult maturation as always working on strengthening both one’s own self-love and  self-interest, and serving others from a position of inner love being-ness.   Being in love is not infatuation, but standing abundantly and vibrantly in self-love, with such overflow that one loves life and others with no expectations of being loved in return.  However, one does hold faith that love is available constantly, one resides in that faith, swims in it; it is always around you. More importantly one acts upon that.  It is  being in a state of god’s grace and love inwardly.    A  goal in learning Real Love is to grow up and grow out of the pursuit of getting love or seeking love from others,  to move away from “getting” behaviors and “protecting” behaviors, and rather to move toward nurturing  the growth of others. And this is something one does all of one’s maturing years; it is never accomplished, but rather a state of being a person continually learns and refines.  The author calls these people “wise” men and women; and he says that we should have contact with them in person or by other means every day, especially when we are starting out on this journey.

Summer Reading continued

I want to continue publishing comments I wrote to friends and family this summer as I was reading.  This is summary number two:

I’m following up on my response to reading Susan Jacoby’s book, The Age of American Unreason.  Last time I wrote I had just started it and was looking forward to learning a lot.   Sad to say it, but I cannot recommend wading through this academic tome.  Dry. Convoluted. And not all that accurate.  For instance, she thinks it ludicrous that anyone would question the safety of medical vaccines or that newspapers would treat such concerns with objective coverage.  I suppose Susan Jacoby has not read about the cancer-contaminated polio vaccine that most all youngsters received in the 50’s and 60’s… [and some say up into the 90’s before all the tainted serums were depleted? ] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10472327 http://www.enotalone.com/article/10714.html

She also continuously criticizes conservatives and republicans, but rarely finds sloppy thinking among democrats or liberals?  (I find both sides equally biased in their arguments, and their blindness to their opponents’ stances, or in their willingness to engage in a sincere search for truth together.)

Jacoby doesn’t like new age belief any better than fundamentalist Christian beliefs.  I’m not particularly fond of fundamentalism, but having grown up in fundamentalism, I think her conclusions about why people develop fundamentalist thinking lack understanding or appreciation; nor does she allow for the numbers of people who mature out of fundamentalism through the course of living and growing.

And of course, I, being a new-ager, am not really very patient when people lump all new age thinking in one foggy clump.   Also, she pooh-poohs prayer or mind / observation having effects upon people or events, and ignores advances in new physics and entanglement theory and the effect of the observer on events.

I thought it funny that she made great efforts to belittle Dan Brown’s novels, like The Da Vince Code, and the book I recently read, The Lost Symbol, because she is dismayed Mr. Brown does not do enough research worthy of historical novels, contrasting his work with the biographical novel, The Agony and the Ecstasy that exemplifies good research in her view.  I may have misinterpreted Dan Brown’s intent, but I don’t think his books are written to provide a historical treatise but rather a historical conundrum, to get people to develop more curiosity and interest in history, spirituality, symbology and mythology. And they are fun fiction!  Not meant to be matter of fact, but rather a challenge.  He throws down a gauntlet to the accepted beliefs of the times.

Susan Jacoby, Catholic-raised, (and I am not clear if she is atheist now?)  has a healthy disregard for irrational thinking, but shows a dismal lack of curiosity and no use for metaphor, serendipity, wonderment or the like.  She has little room to stretch her imagination, play, or turn something inside out to see if she can learn another viewpoint or test a viewpoint she holds.  She may snort at Dan Brown’s novels, but I don’t think she can tell anyone, having read The Lost Symbol, that going to the United States Capitol Rotunda and looking at the ceiling to see Washington’s Apotheosis does not give them a new appreciation of our Founding Fathers, and and a new appreciation and wonderment about all the symbology of Washington D.C.

On the other hand, she does say that most historians and narrators of the 60’s are incorrect about using the boomers as a whipping post.  And that I am glad to hear, as I am also very tired of everything wrong in America being laid at the feet of the hippie generation.  She claims the main transformation the 60 generation did bring was the social impact of youth/celebrity/media as a cultural mix.  That I suppose is true; and not particularly healthy.  And, come to think of it, did the boomers themselves create it or did the older generations take it to their board rooms for monetizing?    I think the boomers failed to persist to change things, to challenge the status quo;  we boomers gave up too easily.

There are some good reasons to read Jacoby, if nothing else than for getting a refresher of events and movements in America’s history since the second world war; but you must be someone who appreciates repetitive and laborious dissection of abstract thought — and that is not me.  I suppose I would fail Jacoby’s test of the rational, thoughtful adult.  There were 12 discs in the book on CD.  I made it  through 8 and one-half of them.  I’m moving on to something else.

By the way, I did listen, in the interim,  to In Defense of Food:  An Eater’s Manifesto, by Michael Pollan.  Recommended to me by one of you.   And it is terrific!  Wry, entertaining, and informative.  I’m becoming  subversive  — planting my own food.  Shopping for the raw, real foods.  This is a great book (or CD version) and it is worth every moment of your time.  “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”