Practical Psychology – ZapOracle.com https://zaporacle.com Home of Jonathan Zap's Image Oracle Mon, 29 Apr 2019 23:24:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.1 https://zaporacle.com/wp-content/uploads/cropped-zaplogo31-32x32.jpg Practical Psychology – ZapOracle.com https://zaporacle.com 32 32 18772393 Hey Woke Folk: You May Not be as Awake as You Think https://zaporacle.com/hey-woke-folk-you-may-not-be-as-awake-as-you-think/ https://zaporacle.com/hey-woke-folk-you-may-not-be-as-awake-as-you-think/#respond Tue, 09 Apr 2019 17:04:05 +0000 https://zaporacle.com/?p=22214 “I Stood Upon a High Place”    I stood upon a high place, And saw, below, many devils Running, leaping, and carousing in sin. One looked up, grinning, And said, “Comrade! Brother!” — Stephen Crane (1871-1900)   This was provoked by a Tweet a friend reposted on his Facebook Timeline: Reminder to Woke Folk:  You …

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“I Stood Upon a High Place” 

 

I stood upon a high place,
And saw, below, many devils
Running, leaping,
and carousing in sin.
One looked up, grinning,
And said, “Comrade! Brother!”

— Stephen Crane (1871-1900)

 

This was provoked by a Tweet a friend reposted on his Facebook Timeline:

Reminder to Woke Folk:  You will continue to mess up due to pretentious and self-righteous ideologies that cause you to think yourselves entitled to correct others from an elevated minority status that empowers you to correct anyone not privileged (in woke subculture) by a special status (however oppressed historically and in the present day). So, take off your unearned merit badge that you think entitles you to be on the prowl to call out the supposed micro-aggressions of others without ever turning such critical scrutiny on yourself.

If you, “transmasc thot,”had substituted “we” for “you,” your post might not have broadcast this sort of “woke” arrogance and ignorance. Your naïve assumption is that a non-white person need never worry or work continually to check their racism and prejudices. Any statement beginning with “black people,” “white people,” “men,” “women,” “straight people,” “gay people,” as in the “white people:” of this post will be wrong, ignorant and stereotyped because any group of people will be wildly divergent and varied.

Let’s take me for example, an older white guy.

I am not descended from slave masters, nor were my ancestors here during that era. My grandparents barely escaped anti-Semitic pogroms in Eastern Europe. My dad was a socialist and both parents were active in the civil rights movement. When New York public school teachers, like my dad, went on strike in the late Sixties it was a bit of a shock when we found black folk ( who were protesting the strike for bogus reasons) were passing out copies of the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” the notorious anti-Semitic forgery created by the Czar’s secret police, the very document that had been used to incite the violent pogroms my grandparents had to escape.  It was part of the growing phenomenon of black anti-semitism and reverse racism. 

I grew up in a very multi-racial Bronx where I had the opportunity to get beaten up by children of all races, creeds and colors. When I was twelve, my parents, who believed in public education (where they both worked, and later so did both of their children), allowed me to be sent to a Junior High in the South Bronx to further integration.  For two brutal years that have resulted in lifelong PTSD symptoms, I was, on a daily basis, subject to violent abuse, mostly by black kids who tormented me for being one of the few white kids in the school. Then it got worse. I was specifically targeted by a group of black Nation of Islam kids who all had “X” in their name, as in Malcolm X. 

Malcolm X was told by his leader, Elijah Muhammad, that whites were “blue-eyed devils.” Malcolm, unlike so many of the present woke folk, decided to educate himself outside of his rigid box of conditioned beliefs and diverged from Nation of Islam ideology. He went to Mecca to see the source of Islamic culture  for himself and discovered that there were blonde-haired, blue-eyed Muslims because Islam (though “woke” people call those who critique Islam racists) is not a race, as Elijah Muhammad had led him to believe, but a religion.  He was also shocked to find that children belonging to the extended Saudi royal family were often accompanied by black slaves carrying their school books.

 Historical fact: Muslims have owned and sold far more slaves than Caucasian Christian folk and they are the primary group trafficking slaves today (and in all-time record numbers). For example,  by 750 AD, “ Islam’s African empire cover (ed) roughly six million square kilometers,  and the multi-continental Muslim trade in African slaves would uproot over 112 million blacks from their homes, would kill 84 million of them, and would put over 28 million blacks on sale in slave markets from one end of the empire of Islam to the other. This outdid the Western slave trade’s appalling 11 million black Africans displaced and a million killed by a staggering multiple of more than ten to one.”

Source: Bloom, Howard (2016-11-21). The Muhammad Code (p. 142). Feral House. Kindle Edition. (Also see the thousands of footnoted sources in this exhaustively-researched book.)

When Malcolm X’s education made him no longer woke enough for rivals in the Nation of Islam, they assassinated him. Malcom’s widow, and many others, believe the current leader of the Nation of Islam, Louis Farraakan was responsible. https://www.nytimes.com/1994/03/13/nyregion/widow-of-malcolm-x-suspects-farrakhan-had-role-in-killing.html

 Nevertheless, the reverse racist kids I went to school with, and many others, blamed Malcom’s assassination on white folk like me who had nothing to do with it.

This is too un-PC to ever have been publicly talked about, but for a few years, including when I went to the junior high in the South Bronx, the date of Malcom’s assassination became an informal public-school holiday known as “kill whitey day.”  On that date, New York City public schools were closed based on a bland statement that “disturbances were expected.”  Just now I finally found a public reference to kill whitey day from someone else who was in the Bronx public schools of that era: https://mrbellersneighborhood.com/2008/04/kill-whitey-day

 And no, this wasn’t a day when white kids would be subject to linguistic microaggressions if they showed their face in the wrong hoods. A girl I knew who had been out sick for a couple of weeks, and didn’t know it was Kill Whitey day, was pulled out of the public bus she had taken to school and was beaten and gang-raped.

 I barely escaped the viciously racist and anti-semetic black, Nation-of-Islam kids with my life. I was thrown down iron staircases multiple times. One of them threw an M-80 at my face—I ducked, but the explosion permanently affected my hearing. When my father made a complaint, the school became concerned with their liability because of how I was being treated, so an assistant principal walked me to the front door every day after my last class so that the beatings would occur off school property.

 Several years later, I went back to the scene of my childhood torment and became an English teacher and the building security coordinator of a public South Bronx high school  (Samuel Gompers Vocational H.S. on 143rd Street and Southern Boulevard) at the epicenter of blocks and blocks of burned out apartment buildings. When president Jimmy Carter gave a speech on urban blight  against the post-apocalyptic backdrop of burnt-up South Bronx hellscape, he was standing a block away from Gompers. This was in the 80s during the crack epidemic. As dean and building security coordinator I patrolled the hallways of that school to make sure other kids (nearly 100% black and Hispanic) weren’t bullied the way I was. Though I was a short white guy, I was respected and liked by inner city kids because I didn’t listen to the sort of ignorant perpetual-guilt advice given above. I wasn’t afraid to get in their face when that was necessary and didn’t feel apologetic because of the color of my skin. I also took many of those inner-city kids—some of whom had rarely been to Manhattan let alone outside the city—-on backpacking trips to Harriman State Park at my own expense.

 While I was working at Gompers, I finally met someone who really knew what it was like to get violently bullied on a daily basis—not some woke-snowflake type subject to supposed micro-aggressions and various linguistic insensitivities, but someone else subject to macro-aggressions such as getting the shit kicked out of you for your race or religion. This was my late Palestinian brother-in-law Jamal who grew up in Palestine where he was also brutalized by Muslims (he was an Arab Christian Palestinian).

 So, Woke Folk: Be careful when you self-righteously tell whole groups of other folk who they are and how they should behave—they might be more diverse and hard to categorize than you think.

PC/Woke culture has pathologized into an over-correction of valid past and present abuses of various groups, and now has become a set of blinders, a template that encourages shadow projection onto some groups while practicing shadow denial with other groups. Notice that stripped of the group names, this is exactly what white supremacists do.  But here’s a woke fact for your consideration—every individual and every group has a shadow. White folks have shadows, black folks have shadows, gender-fluid folks have shadows, you, me and all of us have shadows. If you are always talking about a “they” and their shadow and are not examining your own, then you are dangerously asleep.

So, being “woke,” if such a thing is even possible, would mean a moment-by-moment struggle to be vigilant about your shadow and all the biases and prejudices that everyone one of us has (racist, reverse racist, inflating aboriginal cultures, dissing Western patriarchal cultures—though you are more likely to die a violent war death in a rainforest aboriginal culture than at any point in Western history —etc.) Every group, every person. has a shadow, and no one is more non-woke than self-righteous irate folk calling out the shadows of other individuals and groups without scrutinizing their individual and group shadows.    

So, Folk of Any Kind:  As Goethe said, “If you want to clean up the whole world begin with your own doorstep.”  Or as Jung once said, if you want to undo all the oppression and violence of history, “begin by reclaiming your own shadow from the world.”

 

Hey Woke Person—Are you a Zen Goddess or an Uptight Church Lady in Drag?

An epilogue to my article Hey Woke Folk—you man not be as Woke as you Think—-two videos of John McWhorter, a black Columbia University linguist, talking about how anti-racism now functions as a religion.

I found McWhorter’s analysis extremely interesting because for decades I’ve noticed a proliferation of secular fundamentalist religions. For example, I wrote a long paper in the 80s about how diets and eating disorders functioned essentially as obsessive religions. (A wonderful recent book, Diet Cults, expands this theme). Multi-level marketing schemes have a revival tent hysteria with a charismatic preacher, promises of salvation, etc. New Age women commonly refer to themselves as “goddesses” (e.g. an ad in this week’s Boulder Weekly for an acupuncture service has the headline: “BE A ZEN GODESS”) While, of course, it would be heretical, for men (even young male hotties with cool tattoos) to refer to themselves as gods.

Increasingly I am noticing that woke subculture functions as a rigid and self-righteous fundamentalist religion where you will be instantly excommunicated for stating heretical facts or ideas.

Be Woke, it’s much easier than Thinking

For example, I was having a pleasant conversation with a lesbian undergraduate, who was majoring in gender studies, when I included Islam amongst regressive patriarchal forces. With perfect Woke adamant and self-righteous certainty she stated flatly, “Islam is not regressive!” Whereupon she instantly shut down the conversation. Of course, from the point of view of belief conservation, she was right to do so, because given an opportunity to respond I would have pointed out that the treatment of half a billion women under Islam is by far the greatest human rights disaster on the planet with nothing even a close second, that Islam enslaved ten times more Africans than white Europeans, that according to the Hadiths and Muhammad’s Sacred Biography the prophet personally, and with avid enthusiasm, beheaded several hundred surrendered Jewish men, women and children, and that this “religion of peace” has always been a world conquest ideology which 70 years after the prophet’s death had conquered a land mass 7 times the size of the USA and 3X the size of the Roman Empire at it’s peak, etc.

But Woke fundamentalist cannot hear or be told such historic facts because they will brand you an Islamaphobic racist (though Islam is a religion, not a race) before you can speak any amount of heretical facts.

So, at this point, though they may have dreadlocks and tattoos, etc. I have come to see that a great many young Woke folk are actually a bunch of uptight, rigid, righteous church ladies in drag.

How Anti Racism Hurts Black People – John McWhorter discusses the harms of anti-racism:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3POpubeoIc&app=desktopJ

Columbia University linguist John McWhorter on the Jussie Smollett hoax, Donald Trump, and “antiracism” as a new secular religion.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mT2rlJe9cuU&app=desktop

Also, everyone should see this Youtube—a highly intelligent debate on the “woke/pc” subculture and ideology—it’s called The Battle Over Free Speech—Are Trigger Warnings, Safe Spaces and No Platforming Harming Young Minds? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wpGd5DZ_K5w Exceptionally informed and articulate speakers on both sides—though, of course, I feel that the two Jewish professors (both named Jonathan) who argued against the abuses of woke ideology overwhelmingly won the debate.

 

 

 

 

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Is Emptiness Overrated? https://zaporacle.com/is-emptiness-overrated/ https://zaporacle.com/is-emptiness-overrated/#respond Thu, 22 Nov 2018 20:03:28 +0000 https://zaporacle.com/?p=22115  Walking into the empty sanctuary of his synagogue, a rabbi was suddenly possessed by a wave of mystical rapture, and threw himself onto the ground before the Ark proclaiming, “Lord, I’m Nothing!” Seeing the rabbi in such a state, the cantor felt profoundly moved by similar emotions. He too, threw himself down in front of …

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 Walking into the empty sanctuary of his synagogue, a rabbi was suddenly possessed by a wave of mystical rapture, and threw himself onto the ground before the Ark proclaiming, “Lord, I’m Nothing!”
Seeing the rabbi in such a state, the cantor felt profoundly moved by similar emotions. He too, threw himself down in front of the Ark, proclaiming, “Lord, I’m Nothing!”
Then, way in the back of the synagogue, the janitor threw himself to the ground, and he too shouted, “Lord, “I’m Nothing.”
Whereupon, the rabbi turned to the cantor and whispered, “Look who thinks he’s Nothing!”  (from realnothings.com)

My friend Daniel W. Pailas posted the following on Facebook a few days ago:

I wrote this after a morning practice:

Remember that the healing breath work and meditation will catalyze the recognition of and connection with the empty awareness from where you are able to witness thinking. In doing this, one is able to much more effectively and consistently be present, with deeper awareness, and an enhanced ability to self reflect and watch oneself with care and compassion.

Over time, with these regular practices, one is able to gradually re-orientate one’s identity to the silent empty awareness itself; an identity that is aware of thinking rather than an identity invented by thinking; helplessly and unconsciously drowning in thinking. This is where and when the arrival of deep abiding inner peace in one’s life manifests. It’s a shattering of the illusion that thinking is who we are. Rather, who we are is the silent empty awareness that is aware of thinking.

I replied to Daniel’s post:

  Emptiness may be overrated. I agree that a state of mindful, metacognitive self-awareness is a higher level of development as compared to someone who uncritically identifies with their thoughts, but I’m not sure if breath work and meditation and abiding in emptiness are the only ways to get there. 

Using myself as example: I’m usually aware of my thoughts as a language product that I am generating, or that are emerging from different levels of my unconscious as voices.  Instead of emphasizing muting the inner voices, I evaluate the reliability of the various narrators that  speak in my head and have Socratic dialogue with various of the propositions they offer. I’m also aware that thoughts are just one of the products emerging in this inner space—there are also images arising or that I am actively creating—and there are intuitions from various levels—which may begin as  deep, global feelings and hunches that my mind or unconscious will translate into words and images. I’m aware that none of this varied, interesting and evanescent content is “me,” that I am what Jung called “the Self,” the totality of psychic structures and that this varied, ever-changing content is no more me than the usually relevant, ever-changing content on my computer monitor.

 I’m more interested in working actively with my inner contents—-which I find entertaining and creative and out of which I am able to create products I can export to the world—like these comments. Instead of being one more in an endless lineage of proselytizers of the virtues of emptiness, I  find it more fulfilling (emptiness not all that filling or fulfilling) and of benefit to myself and others to be a “content provider,” which seems a more desirable profession than “purveyor of emptiness.” By emphasizing individuation over empty oneness, I have more unique content to provide. In general,  I see more value in engagement with life, the temporary opportunity of human incarnation, rather than being detached and in a state of empty abiding —though I get it that a daily meditation practice can help with mindfulness and focus.

A fellow Jungian, Arnold Mindell, has a theory that a lot of the therapeutic benefit of meditation is not emptiness, but that in trying to achieve emptiness people slow down and notice what is actually going on in their inner space. I think a lot of suffering neurotic people are experiencing what Jung called “psychic entropy,” a state of inner fragmentation characterized by looping negative thoughts. see: Dealing with Psychic Entropy. Most people experience only “passive imagination” —an unstable, often toxic montage of images reflective of their state of psychic entropy, whereas I practice “active imagination” where I edit and direct my imaginal process in ways that I find entertaining and revealing. Western neurotics who are oppressed by psychic entropy are often seduced into what James Hillman calls “going eastern.” They nonsensically think that they need to get rid of their ego and thinking function. This is like someone whose computer is infected with malware thinking that answer is get rid of their computer and all software.

What they may actually need is to develop a stronger, more conscious ego and to get better at thinking and imagination. They also need to learn something about the hierarchy of psychic functions and that their ego and thinking functions are indispensable, but must not be in the ruling position (see section on the hierarchy of psychic functions  in A Guide to the Perplexed Interdimensional Traveler).  The ego and thinking function need to work under the guidance of the Self which can direct them via deep, global intuitions. Most people have an ego-mind alliance in the ruling position, a role these functions are not competent to fill, and that leads to psychic entropy.

I think there are a number of key flaws in emphasis in many eastern modalities especially: a one-sided emphasis on vertical transcendence over horizontal psychological development. One of the consequences of this one-sided emphasis: abusive gurus who have had transcendent experiences and falsely conclude, and persuade others, that they are permanently enlightened while they are blind to their shadow, thereby empowering it to act as a ruking autonomous complex via “crazy wisdom path”  rationalizations, while they commit endless abuses related to power, sex and money.

Emptiness is also sometimes referred to as “oneness” and there are some eastern influenced and/or New Age folk who will monotonously insist on the oneness of everything no matter what is being discussed, and use this obvious reality as a way of leveling all difference, distinction and discernment. This point of view can be even more limiting than the tunnel vision of the reductive thinker, since at least the reductive thinker is still thinking about and investigating something, no matter how much they miss the infinite, interrelated context of the something.  Some however use oneness and emptiness as a you-can’t-top-this truism that relieves them of the need for thinking, discrimination and discernment.  They will  pull emptiness or oneness out of their hat, like the most tired of magician’s rabbits, believing they have conjured the ultimate profundity that answers any challenge, question or proposition.  More than a century ago,  William James wrote that besides the oneness of things, anyone who glances at the phenomenal world should also be struck by the eachness of things. We see a world of unique individual trees and people, for example, and not an homogenous mass of treeness or undifferentiated pool of humanity.

The one-sided emphasis on emptiness and oneness over content and eachness results in a diminishment of individuation and creates a boring, one-size-fits-all goal for everyone. 

See: Lessons for an Entity Incarnating as a Mammal  and Dynamic Paradoxicalism—the anti-ism, ism  for more on why oneness doesn’t trump eachness, but that both are better worked with as what I call a “dynamic paradox.”

You can find my analysis of why eastern modalities so often create abusive gurus (with a special focus on Adi Da, Chogyam Trungpa and a few other toxic gurus) here:

A Spiraling Eye-Encrusted Overview of the Art of Alex Grey.

  I’ve used myself as an example, but I am not offering a one-size-fits-all formula that assumes that what works for me is suitable for everyone. Tastes vary. I like to prepare, for myself and others, nutritious meals with varied, interesting tastes while the next guy might like to feast on the vacuum of emptiness while sitting alone in their room.

Abiding in emptiness once in a while can be a restful relief from psychic entropy,  but overall I prefer interesting, entertaining, developmental content, content providing, individuation and engagement with inner and outer life.

Also, on the level of psychological realism, I can’t think of a single time I’ve run into you (Daniel Pailas) where I felt that you were coming from a place of abiding emptiness. Quite the opposite—you always seem to be thoroughly individualized, with a strong ego highly focused on an agenda related to your practical goals and passionate interests. And I think that is a good thing. I like intense, highly individualized people who are passionately devoted to creative pursuits rather than hollow folk who live on a monocultured, eastern diet of emptiness.

If I wanted emptiness, I would buy a ticket for  a slower-than-speed-of-light solitary space sojourn to any star. I don’t recommend this, even for an emptiness enthusiast such as yourself—after the first thousand years or so, I think even you will find the emptiness of space to be overrated.

Note: the above was written as a comment to a friend’s Facebook post and was meant as a humorous provocation aimed at my friend Daniel, who often promotes eastern practices and gurus, rather than as a serious critique of the Buddhist concept of emptiness. Some parts are meant seriously, but I won’t say which ones since all parts emerged from the oneness and the emptiness within.

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Eclipse Emergence https://zaporacle.com/eclipse-emergence/ https://zaporacle.com/eclipse-emergence/#respond Thu, 22 Nov 2018 14:26:42 +0000 https://zaporacle.com/?p=22086   (All photos taken by the author in the last 48 hours while driving to the 2017 Eclipse Festival in Oregon. Click on images to expand. ) I’m not an astrologer, so I don’t have a universal meaning to assign to the total solar eclipse running through this country on August 21. I do, however, feel …

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(All photos taken by the author in the last 48 hours while driving to the 2017 Eclipse Festival in Oregon. Click on images to expand. )

I’m not an astrologer, so I don’t have a universal meaning to assign to the total solar eclipse running through this country on August 21. I do, however, feel free, as you should, to project my own personal meaning/mythos onto it. That’s the essential position of chaos magic. Why inherit someone else’s ritual or magical system when you can spontaneously invent your own?

I did hear one astrologer say that the last solar eclipse to run across the whole country was in 1776 and that Donald Trump was born during a lunar eclipse. I’m not sure how the astrologer connected those dots, but I would ceratainly like to see them as a harbinger of doom for the Trump administration, the fall of the “Lucky Rat” currently infesting the White House.

"Lucky Rat" hot rod in front of house in rural eastern Oregon
“Lucky Rat” hot rod in front of house in rural eastern Oregon

But emerging from the shadow of the clown is not so easy because Trump personifies shadow aspects of the American psyche which will linger past his presidency and which I was even able to take photos of during the drive to the eclipse.

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Bullets and Payday candy bars for sale in a gift shop in rural, eastern Oregon
Bullets and Payday candy bars for sale in a gift shop in rural, eastern Oregon

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I Ching hexagram #36 is called “Eclipse” and it is about recognizing what is blocking your connection to the light. I would like to suggest that it may be more useful to project a personal, rather than a collective, mythology onto the eclipse. It’s hard, as an individual, to dramatically alter the collective shadow, but as Goethe said, “If you want to clean up the whole world, begin with your own doorstep.” Consider mythologizing the eclipse as a moment to intensify your efforts to emerge from personal eclipse.

What is blocking your connection to the light? What eclipses your spirit? What would allow you to emerge from your own eclipse? Most of us have at least one addictive tendency to a substance, a pattern of relationship or emotional reactivity that at least partially blocks our connection to the light. But remember that emergence, like transcendence, includes that which is emerged from or transcended. The work on the shadow is not about eliminating the shadow, but learning how to integrate and live with it in more creative and life-affirming ways.

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Consider the text of the Zap Oracle card, “Mutant Emerging from Eclipse“:

What is blocking your connection to the light? Usually, there is some sort of negative inner script that frames life and/or yourself negatively. Negative frames are often just below the surface of consciousness and act as filters through which perceptions pass and are distorted. For example, “Life sucks and then you die. I never get my fair share. I can’t do anything right.” etc. These negative frames constrict life energy and operate as self-fulfilling prophecies.

We can easily perpetuate the eclipse by regret and feeling bad about feeling bad. Consider for a moment how many other human beings must be in similar straits right now. Pray for compassion and healing for yourself and others who are similarly afflicted. Remember that real change usually comes out of the dark night of the soul. Alchemically, one needs the descent into chaos to create new forms.

As the Dylan lyric puts it, “He not busy being born is busy dying.” The eclipse comes when your soul feels like it is busy dying. Receiving this card means it is a propitious time to get busy being born.

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Resources for dealing with inner eclipse follow, but it is also possible that the eclipse is more outer. This card could indicate a time where you are in an environment that is not receptive to what you have to offer. If so, consider this text related to I Ching Hexagram #36,” Eclipse”.

From Brian Browne Walker’s The I Ching or Book of Changes: A Guide to Life’s Turning Points

Darkness reigns in the external world now,
Disengage from negative feelings and
maintain your inner light.

This is a time when darkness and inferior energies surround you. ..The only light left is that inside your own heart, and you are counseled to return to it, maintain it, and quietly nourish yourself with it.

It is in dark moments that a correct attitude is most important. If we fight against the darkness, we are swallowed by it and suffer great misfortune. If we react to the lack of visible progress with despair and negativity, we extinguish our own inner light and block the aid of the Creative. If we try to persuade others that they must return to the light, we exhaust ourselves in vain now.

In a time such as this, it is wise to adopt a stance of outer disengagement and inner perseverance. Do not focus on or interact with the negative influences around you; this only strengthens their grip on you. Step aside, yield, let go, allow people and events to pass without attachment. Direct your attention inside, to your inner light, your devotion to what is right, your conversation with the Higher Power.

Progress may be slow, but there will indeed be progress. Remember that much of the work of the Higher Power is hidden from us, and that we enable and assist it by remaining detached, accepting, and reserved in the face of negative influences.

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For many in our culture, eclipse takes the form of mild to severe depression. If you are struggling with depression, consider the text of the Zap Oracle card, “Awakening from Depression.”

“Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them.”
— Tolstoy

Subclinical depression is almost the norm in our society. Many people go through their days burdened, their gaze lowered, suffering under a generalized feeling of oppression. Although it is easy to attribute much of this to fractured, alienated lives, environmental toxins and poor diet, research indicates that the primary causes are negative thought forms, often occurring just beneath conscious awareness, which frame perception negatively so that one lives in a darkened reality tunnel. For example, “Life sucks, and then you die…I never get my fair share…I can’t do anything right…” etc. The negative thought forms trigger negative emotions that in turn trigger physiological changes, and the process feeds on itself as a vicious circle. This card indicates that this is a propitious time for you or someone close to you to awaken from depression. There are many ways to go about the awakening, but the will has to be there for recovery to occur. Depression is a yin condition, associated with lowered energy and a murky wateriness. Take deep breaths, stand up straight with good posture and get going, get active, raise fire, the yang principle, by doing useful stuff! Don’t feel like it? Excellent, that is the sure sign of how well getting active will work. Start simple and pick tasks that give definite results — cleaning up your home, for example. Shift to a high vitality diet with more live and raw food. Do a fearless moral inventory and ask yourself what you will remember well on your deathbed and prioritize doing that.

Depression is often suffering that is neglected and not confronted. For this reason I prefer anguish and the dark night of the soul because these are more dynamic states capable of transformation. Confront what haunts you.

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While I was driving through Eastern Oregon, I stopped to email a friend I had just visited with in Utah who has been struggling with subclinical depression for a long time. Here is what I wrote:

Just a quick intuition while driving through beautiful Eastern Oregon back country and listening to a book on the Lewis and Clarke expedition. I have a hunch that we should stop using the clinical word “depression.”
Although on the greatest physical voyage of discovery of any American, Meriwether  Lewis suffered from what we now call “depression” during the journey. As captain of the Corps of Discovery, he could not let it paralyze his actions or let it leak through and affect the morale of the people he was leading.
In the 19th  and earlier centuries, depression was called “melancholia” or melancholy. In 1621 Robert Burton published an exhaustively thorough book about the condition called The Anatomy of Melancholy (available free online as a PDF).
I feel you need to make friends with your melancholy as a crucial part of both your shadow and of the human condition.
Currently, you are using your melancholia to reinforce your profound misanthropy. You can reverse that by realizing how much it connects you to humanity and even the “hollow folk.” (see the Zap Oracle card, Beware the Hollow Folk.
There is a Buddhist technique of prayer where you pray for release from your suffering “and for all those who are similarly afflicted.”
View your melancholy as meaningful rather than meaningless suffering.
Ultimately, it may prove to be heliotropic, a crucial form of spiritual pain guiding you out of eclipse and toward the light.
Become a patient and careful observer of the ebb and flow of melancholy in yourself and others, monitoring its waxing and waning cycles. Learn how to live with it without becoming maddened or paralyzed by it. It may be deepening your soul.
That’s the end of the email, but here are some additional resources if you currently feel eclipsed:

If you are in a situation where your value is not being recognized consider the following:

Keep secret work secret. We live in a cult of confession society where people go on national television to spill out their personal lives. But consciousness work, esoteric work, is depotentiated, loses power, when you share it with those who haven’t earned access. As Aleister Crowley said, “If I tell a man something he isn’t ready to hear, it is the same as if I told him a lie.” Don’t spill your pearls before swine, save them for your spiritual allies, those that share a deep commitment to consciousness.

Often it is safer and in a variety of ways advantageous to be cloaked and to evade unnecessary attention. Deng Ming-Dao, a modern Taoist sage points out:

Useful trees are cut down. Useless ones survive. The same is true of people. The strong are conscripted. The beautiful are exploited. Those who are too plain to be noticed are the ones who survive. They are left alone and safe.

But what if we ourselves are among such plain persons? Though others may neglect us, we should not think of ourselves as being without value. We must not accept the judgment of others as the measure of our own self-worth… Thus, to be considered useless is not a reason for despair, but an opportunity. It is the chance to live without interference and to express one’s own individuality.

If your eclipse is inner (in addition to or instead of situational) the following card texts contain a whole toolbox full of field-tested techniques for emerging from inner eclipse. The first tells you how to deal with psychic entropy and the second is on how to awaken from depression.

Dealing with Psychic Entropy

Psychic or psychological entropy is a state of inner fragmentation where you feel oppressed by repetitive, negative inner thought loops. It was first written about by Carl Jung.

See: Dealing with Psychic Entropy

Dealing with Zones of Inner Jeopardy

Could you be addicted to pain? See: Rebelling from the Pain Body Matrix

Are you unhappy about being in your body? This is the core of much neurotic torment and takes the form of dissatisfaction with looks/weight/aging/health.
Read: The Glorified Body

Are you unhappy about romantic relationships?
Read: Challenging Thoughts on Love
Stop the Hottie!
Casting Precious…

Having trouble finding a path of meaning and creativity in your life? Much depression is caused by a deficit of meaningfulness. Read: 
The Path of the Numinous

For more on discovering the core meaning of your life and facing some of the tough existential realities of human incarnation read:
The Capsule of Intentionality… and read all parts of A Guide to the Perplexed Interdimensional Traveler If your depression is related to a devastating loss or shock, the last part of the guide, “Dealing with Shock,” will address that directly.

Worries have you down? Read: An Antidote to Worry

Feel like there’s something wrong with this entire plane of existence? Read: A Splinter in your Mind

Too much focus on the social matrix compromising everything else? See:
Confessions of a Self Aware Starship

Want an effective life stance that will hold up to the darkest moments? Consider the path of the warrior: 
The Way of the Warrior

Warrior Quotes
The Taoist Path
Taoist Quo

Finally, if you’ve looked into all these other possibilities and feel that an outside force is depressing you, read the documents in the mind parasite category of the writing section or order a copy of the Mind Parasite Matrix.

Use these resources and summon your will to emerge from eclipse!

See also: Eclipse Eyewitness Report

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https://zaporacle.com/eclipse-emergence/feed/ 0 "Lucky Rat" hot rod in front of house in rural eastern Oregon DSC05593 IMG_1452 Bullets and Payday candy bars for sale in a gift shop in rural, eastern Oregon DSC05604 DSC05609 DSC05607 DSC05625 DSC05623 DSC05612 22086
Why Having it all Doesn’t Work and What does Work https://zaporacle.com/why-having-it-all-doesnt-work-and-what-does-work/ https://zaporacle.com/why-having-it-all-doesnt-work-and-what-does-work/#respond Thu, 22 Nov 2018 06:06:35 +0000 https://zaporacle.com/?p=22060 cover image from the article linked above, all other photos by Jonathan Zap Great Huffpost by someone who knew Anthony Bourdain (who committed suicide a couple of days ago at the height of his career) The article  debunks a delusion almost all of us fall for at times—that those who have “more” must be happier than …

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cover image from the article linked above, all other photos by Jonathan Zap
Great Huffpost by someone who knew Anthony Bourdain (who committed suicide a couple of days ago at the height of his career)
The article  debunks a delusion almost all of us fall for at times—that those who have “more” must be happier than we are, and that we would certainly be far happier if we had more. Statistical studies have shown that after a few months, both lottery winners and quadriplegics are about as happy as they were a year before the life-changing event.
From Zap Oracle card # 332:

One of the most potent of spells or enchantments that can bind you into the matrix is to live under the compulsion of always having to imagine getting more in the future. Under this spell, you become a donkey forever hypnotized by an imaginary carrot just up ahead. The carrot, the “more”, that ever glitters in your mind’s eye like a ring of power, could be many things—–sex, money, power, fame, looks—-often the imagined more is a vision of that more perfected life just up ahead, the one in which you have realized your ideal weight, made your first hundred million, and have an amazing lover with whom you live in a house featured in Architectural Review… The phrase in the cigarette ad— “Imagine getting more…”—- is meant to encourage you in the profitable belief that cigarette smoking leads to getting more sex. The warning label, black and white and boxed in, reminds the alert mind that what you will be getting more of is cancer. What you get more of when your eyes are bedazzled by the imaginary carrot just up ahead is more cancer of the soul. Your vision, your consciousness, is misdirected away from the present moment where it could have more power and life right now.

Most people on the planet experience scarcity in one or more key areas of their lives. Some scarcities are related to needs and others to wants. Common areas of perceived scarcity include money, physical resources, social status, youth, looks, sex, physical health, fulfilling relationships, inner resources, and meaningfulness. Most lives involve strange and tense combinations of scarcity and abundance. For example, a tan and sleek billionaire walking off the tennis court might be dying of a famine of meaningfulness. Our vision of scarcity is often highly distorted and one-sided. Perceived scarcities range from delusory toxic wants to what would be genuinely fulfilling if we had more of it.

Scarcity comparisons with other people are almost always unreliable and highly distorted. Typically we compare our area of most irritating scarcity with someone else who seems to have that area filled to overflowing. We never look at the whole portfolio of scarcity and abundance in the other’s incarnation. We can’t look at it, we’d have to know how their whole life turned out. We see tall, handsome Christopher Reeve galloping on his thoroughbred horse, we don’t necessarily see up ahead where he gets tossed to the ground a quadriplegic and goes through a life phase of horrendous scarcities as he becomes more soulful and compassionate and discovers new forms of fulfillment.

“Imagine getting more” and “envious comparison” are intertwined spells that bind us into neurotic suffering. These spells promise fulfillment in the future but create hollowness in the present.

Hollowness is the mindset of the ringwraith as it withers the present while it forever reaches toward that glittering precious just up ahead.  Hollowness is the state of one who forever reaches toward the future to be filled up.

Don’t wither the vitality of the present by looking at it with the eyes of scarcity and victimhood. All too easily you can build a reality tunnel defined by your view of the present as the time of scarcity before you have an abundance of money, or before you have the perfect lover, the perfect body…whatever you covet getting more of. This is the time that counts right now, this time with its strange and tense combination of scarcity and unrecognized abundance, the time that gives you everything you need to work with in the present moment. Break the spells, become disenchanted and more powerful, work with what you got right now.

See Kill the Time Grid and Fire up your Life

Before we get into some ways to deal with the negative thoughts and feelings that afflict so many people, we need to know what does make people happier and to understand that we must first quickly reveal the secret of life:

(from my Guide to the Perplexed Interdimensional Traveler)

The Secret of Life

In the Sixties, aspiring young travelers set out to “look for the meaning of life.” Unfortunately, as someone once pointed out, they got the question backwards, because it is life that asks you in a challenging tone: “What is your meaning?” and you had better be able to supply the answer. Meaningfulness is what we need far more than survival; and anyway, as Don Juan put it, “There are no survivors on this earth.” Or, as a wise older man once told me, “Don’t do anything you won’t remember well on your death bed.” — a razor-sharp way to cut out the trivia and superficialities to get at the meaningful marrow of life. Concentration camp survivor/existential psychologist Victor Frankel created a whole school of psychology (Logotherapy) based on the innate drive for meaningfulness. The ones who could psychologically/spiritually survive the camps, Frankel observed first hand, were the few who could find meaningfulness in their experience. A frequent theme reported by those who have had transcendent near-death experiences is a revelation of a deep and unexpected meaningfulness in even the mosaic of small, seemingly unconnected experiences of life. Also revealed during many NDEs and other mystical epiphanies is that this plane of existence is something like a school where we signed on for extremely challenging learning experiences. (See Life Lessons from the Living Dead) This brings me to what I believe are the two sides of the “Secret of Life” magic coin. The first side is self-development — to grow, develop, evolve, become more self-aware and conscious in every way possible. This innate will toward self-development was apparent in you even when you floated in the dimension of the womb-world. The other side of the magic coin is to help others, especially with their development. There it is, both sides of the secret of life. And notice that, unlike so many other things in life, this magic coin is always available. But don’t take my word for it, go to the East and seek out a guru (who will probably hit on you and want you to sweep up around the ashram for twenty years), do whatever you have to do, but this is the secret of life that works for me and feels solid. I would also like to point out that the life stance I am espousing here in this guide, is not my original fabrication (much though my narcissism might want to take credit for it), but is largely based on my thirty-year study and practical application of the I Ching, the five-to-six- thousand-year-old Book of Changes, on which Taoism (and much of Eastern philosophy, martial arts, medicine and culture) is based. And the I Ching doesn’t want you to have faith in it (uncritical belief) or doubt, but recommends an open, neutral stance. Take what resonates with your inner truth sense, what works for you, and leave the rest. Returning to the two sides of our secret of life coin, notice that self-development and helping others are two sides of a single, integrated whole. But the first side, self-development, is the foundation, and it is only by developing yourself that you have the option and capability to help others with their development. In fact, from the point of view of the I Ching, you have only one obligation in life, which is to get your relationship to yourself right. Fulfill that obligation and your relationships to others, to time, money, sex, power, food, mortality, career, politics, and the universe will all take care of themselves. But neglect or distort any part of your relationship to yourself and all these other relationships will accordingly be distorted and diminished.

Inner Independence

At the heart of healthful relationship to yourself is a stance known as “inner independence.” You (but not necessarily your ego) are the center of your own vortex, your own ever-changing equilibrium. Whenever you fall into dependence — grasping for Precious like an obsessed Ring Wraith, your center collapses and you become an enslaved puppet of the Babylon Matrix. A classic example of this is grasping for the “hottie” — that all attractive person out there burning holes in your mind like Sauron’s one ring to bind them all. Quentin Crisp put it this way: “The consuming desire of most human beings is deliberately to plant their whole life in the hands of some other person. I would describe this method of searching for happiness as immature. Development of character consists solely in moving toward self-sufficiency.” Codependence or inner independence? The first step on the path of seeking another to complete you is a supreme betrayal (the betrayal of your own soul) so don’t be surprised if betrayal remains a central theme of that path.

The Inner Marriage of Yin and Yang

Getting your relationship to yourself right means working to evolve the inner marriage of yin and yang, feminine and masculine within yourself. Get that right and as a whole person you have the ability to have spiritually transforming, life-affirming relationships. Look to another person to complete you, however, and you become a wraith forever grasping for a Precious that forever eludes your grasp. And of course Precious doesn’t have to be a Hottie, it can be consumer goods, money, power, career, or whatever the Babylon Matrix can tempt you with that you believe you can’t live without. But I particularly mention the Hottie because this ravenous craving, which most of us know so well, is a pillar of the Babylon Matrix. In Plato’s Symposium, Aristophanes states that before we were in our present, gender-specific bodies we were spherical beings containing both genders. Jealous gods, wishing to punish and disempower us, fractured our spherical bodies so that we would lose touch with our androgynous inner wholeness. In this weakened state, we were easily conditioned to follow gender stereotypes which reinforced the ravenous delusion that we needed sexual/romantic union with others to complete ourselves. Break the power of that ancient ruling ring (which in the darkness binds you) and you reclaim your own center of power, self-actualization and ability to love others as a whole person. For more on this theme see: Stop the Hottie!, Casting Precious into the Cracks of Doom—Androgyny, Alchemy, Evolution and the One Ring, Lessons for an Entity Incarnating as a Mammal, and No Tristans Allowed Beyond this Point—Debunking the Western Myth of Romantic Love.

Meeting Halfway — The Touchstone for Relationship

At the center of relating well to others, cautiously moving outward from your center of inner independence, is the I Ching principle of meeting halfway (Hexagram 44). Less than halfway would be, for example, to neglect others to whom we are connected by inner ties. More than halfway would be, for example, giving unasked for advice, proselytizing, self-important intervening, lifeguarding others, etc. So if you go to a party and see someone you’re attracted to, but you’re so shy that you hide in a corner and never approach him or her, then you have met less than halfway. Hitting on him or her (without some obvious encouragement from the other) would be meeting way more than halfway. Even in the course of a conversation one needs to apply this principle of meeting halfway by keeping attuned to the moment, aware of the subtle minutiae of openings and closing in the other person. With the openings we advance, with the closings we retreat and yield space. When the other transgresses, invades boundaries or comes at us with false personality, we should never go along with it, should never do anything that compromises our inner dignity. We should withdraw energy from the person who is coming from their false self. This can mean anything from breaking eye contact (a withdrawal of energy), ending the conversation, or in some cases, going our own way for a lifetime. When we do withdraw we should do so lovingly, giving the other space to come to his senses on his own. We do not, in I Ching terms, “execute” this person in our minds, which would be to view him as hopeless and unable to improve. This would only help to keep him imprisoned by doubt. We also don’t indulge excessive optimism that assumes he will become more conscious in this lifetime, or that extends trust where it is being abused. We step back to allow the creative to take its zigzag course. And for our own sake, as well as the other, we try not to carry ongoing grudges against someone. From the I Ching point of view, we are responsible not only for what we say or do to the other, but also for our thoughts, because these are communicated on the inner plane.

Psychic Filters and Inner Voices

Speaking of our thoughts, we need to watch them constantly. We need to recognize that different voices, often generated by distinct subpersonalities, speak in our heads, and we need a central, witness personality that observes those voices/subpersonalities without becoming them. Hexagram 27 reminds us not to nourish ourselves on negative, unnourishing thoughts and fantasies. Yes, that’s easier said than done, but here are a couple of psychic filters to keep online that are guaranteed to catch all the psychic allergens (the negative thought forms) that all too easily pervade our inner world. We’ll call the first of these the “tone filter.” As you listen to the voices of your inner world (or the voices in your outer, interpersonal world) refuse to believe any voices that aren’t calm, compassionate and centered. Listen to them, understand where they are coming from, but don’t become them, don’t identify with them or believe them. If a voice is nagging, carping, bitter, mechanically repetitious, whining, angry, self-pitying, hypercritical, etc. then it is not to be believed! By tone, you can easily distinguish the voices of false subpersonalities and the still, deep voice of the Self.

Gerund Filter

A second filter involves a list of categories of thought that are indicative of the ego nervously trying to control the Tao. The position of Taoism (based on the I Ching) is that the universe is unfolding as it should. But the ego, like a nervous backseat driver clutching an imaginary steering wheel in its sweaty, white-knuckled grip, never trusts the nonlinear path of the creative so completely out of its control. Categories (presented as a list of gerunds) that indicate the ego resisting the Tao and/or trying to assert imaginary control over it include: WANTING, WISHING, WORRYING, HOPING, FEARING, DREADING, DESIRING, ENVYING, COMPARING, SUPERVISING, LIFE-GUARDING, JUDGING, COMPLAINING, SELF-PITYING, STRIVING, ANTICIPATING, EXPECTING, PRESTRUCTURING, CONTRIVING, FORCING PROGRESS, HEDGING, RATIONALIZING, CLINGING AND DOUBTING. Yes, this is an intimidating list! It is an embarrassing revelation of just how often we default to the ego dominating our psyches.

Next, we’ll get into some of the nuts and bolts of how to change patterns of thought and the afflictive emotions that ride into town with them.

Emotional Alchemy, Dealing with Afflictive Thoughts and Feelings

Earlier I promised that we would get more into the nuts and bolts of how to deal with negative thoughtforms and the afflictive emotions associated with them. The most comprehensive and effective approach I’ve found is in a marvelous book entitled Emotional Alchemy by Tara Bennett-Goleman. Tara, a Zen Buddhist psychotherapist, and her husband, Daniel Goleman, wrote the best-selling book entitled Emotional Intelligence. They’ve also collaborated with the Dali Lama on a book about overcoming afflictive emotions. If you like this approach, I would certainly suggest reading Emotional Alchemy, which is now available in paperback at almost any large bookstore. The book is rather repetitive, however, and in a few pages I can probably tell you 80% of what’s in it. The Golemans bring together Buddhist psychology, cognitive psychology and some recent findings from neuroscience into their groundbreaking work on afflictive emotions. “Afflictive emotions” is a Buddhist term that describes a general phenomenon that most of us are all too familiar with — the suffering, the affliction of negative emotions. There is nothing new about this problem, but it has also never been timelier with depression and anxiety disorders dramatically on the rise in the West, particularly in the U.S.

Through a synthesis of the three disciplines mentioned above (neuroscience, cognitive psychology and Buddhist psychology), we’ll examine how afflictive emotions work and how they gain hold and easily dominate our inner experience. Then we will discuss the alchemy part, how to transform our relationship with afflictive emotions through methods that can dramatically reduce suffering. (I can testify from my own personal experience to the effectiveness of this method.)

Neurological Materialism

Part of the reason that afflictive emotions are so virulent, and so hard to change, may have to do with our neural architecture. I say “may” because neurology is in its infancy and has never been able to successfully explain the association of consciousness and the brain. A terrible delusion which I’ve written about elsewhere, and which I wish the Golemans had acknowledged, is the philosophical and pseudoscientific position known as “neurological materialism.” A neurological materialist believes that consciousness (if they admit consciousness exists at all — many don’t) is an epiphenomenon (a secondary effect) of biochemical processes in the brain. Neurological materialism dominates the psychology departments of most colleges and universities in the U.S., and many ordinary citizens have picked up on this and taken it as a given, proven by “science.” But it has not been proven by science, quite the contrary. There is much scientific evidence pointing away from neurological materialism. Part of the problem is that in the “soft” sciences of biology and psychology, many have not been able to integrate the findings of quantum mechanics and are still pretending to do science while inhabiting an archaic Newtonian universe where everything is governed by causality. Physicists like Danah Zohar, Roger Penrose, Amit Goswami and Fred Alan Wolfe have proposed quantum mechanical models in which neurological process is a correlate, an analog, an acausal parallelism to a consciousness that is hyperspatial, nonlocal, not “in” the brain. Those who have had OBEs (out-of-body experiences—I’ve had numerous) and NDEs have experienced that consciousness can exist outside the body and is actually greatly enhanced by being out of the body. (For a highly detailed case history of an NDE that is inexplicable via neurological materialism see: Life Lessons form the Living Dead.)

Neural Architecture and The Emotional Body

You do not, however, have to buy into the fallacy of neurological materialism to recognize that neurological realities — such as neurotransmitter levels and neural architecture — are huge players in human experience. So after this long disclaimer about neurological materialism, let’s take a look at what neuroscience can tell us about afflictive emotions.

The Low-Resolution Amygdala

Now that we have the technology to do real-time body imaging of live people, scientists are able to map out activity levels of different brain structures moment-by-moment. What’s been observed is that when people are exposed to an emotional trigger event, the amygdala, a brain structure somewhere behind the frontal lobes, goes “hot.” When a strong emotional response is aroused, the amygdala lights up on the computer screen as its metabolism intensifies. Neuroscientists believe that the amygdala evolved as an environmental threat-detection monitor. They believe that it stores threat patterns (such as snakes, spiders, fire, predators) and when a trigger event occurs, when something is perceived in the environment that matches or seems to match these patterns, the amygdala turns on and triggers fight-or-flight readiness throughout the body. The amygdala, however, is no rocket scientist; its pattern recognition ability is primitive and low resolution. As a survival strategy, it’s safer to get a lot of false positives rather than to miss a single actual hazard. Better for a scaredy-cat (a domestic cat with overly strong startle reflex) to jump away from imaginary hazards than to miss one car. (The big cats I used to work for at the Prairie Wind Wild Refuge didn’t have this type of startle reflex because no one sneaks up on a six hundred pound tiger…) So, for example, an animal or person could have a powerful startle response to, say, a piece of rope dangling from a branch at the edge of peripheral vision that the speedy but imprecise amygdala may read as a dangerous snake. Also, to put the amygdala in the context of neural architecture, it has strong neuronal connections to the neocortex in human beings. This may explain how the amygdala, which is fast but low-resolution in its discriminations, can easily dominate our higher thinking, which has higher resolution but much slower reaction time. Therefore we experience a second or two when we actually think we’ve seen a snake until our neocortex can reassert itself and reinterpret the sensory information with higher resolution discrimination. It is also believed by neuroscientists that in this phase of evolution, where most human beings are more threatened by emotional trauma in early childhood than by snakes or fire, patterns of emotional trauma are now what is primarily stored in the amygdala.

Schemas: Stereotyped Patterns of Emotional Reactivity

Following that glimpse at the amygdala from neuroscience, we switch to cognitive psychology, which holds that there are classic, stereotyped patterns of emotional reactivity known as “schemas.” These schemas (and here you would do well to go to Emotional Alchemy, where they are individually discussed) include very familiar afflictions such as: abandonment fear, low self-esteem, deprivation and entitlement. When trigger events occur, these engrained patterns of emotional reactivity take over and we typically have disproportionate, inaccurate, stereotyped responses, while the higher resolution discrimination and more reflective aspects of higher thinking are overridden by an intense emotional funk.

Trigger Events And Storylines

Let me ground this approach in a specific example. Our case involves a young woman, an office worker, who was raised by narcissistic, rather unloving parents. As a consequence of her early childhood experience, she is especially governed emotionally by the deprivation schema with generous helpings of the low self-esteem and abandonment schemas thrown in. One of her coworkers goes out on a coffee run for everyone and when he returns, as a random accident, her coffee was forgotten. This minor accident is a trigger event for her deprivation schema. Almost instantly, in less than a quarter of a second, her amygdala lights up and catalyzes a cascade of pronounced physiological changes — her face flushes as capillaries dilate, heart rate increases, body temperature elevates and breathing becomes fast and shallow. The amygdala sends strong signals to her neocortex causing her thinking to fall into line with disproportionate, inaccurate, stereotyped thoughtforms that coalesce into a storyline which helps to perpetuate the trauma and reinforce the schema: They forgot mine on purpose. I’m always left out. No one ever gives me my fair share. I knew they didn’t like me. He’s just like my father… This funk could continue for hours, or continue almost perpetually in the background, especially as internal perturbations — traumatic memories, negative thoughtforms and fantasies—are internally generated as trigger events that perpetuate the misery.

The Law of Dependent Causation

Buddhist psychology now comes into play with suggested methods of self-liberation from afflictive emotions. The Buddhists have a concept variously translated as the law of “dependent origination” or “dependent arising.” There is a chain of dependent, causally related events that creates the suffering of afflictive emotions. In the case of the schema attack described above, we have trigger event linked to neurological response linked to physiological response linked to cognitive response (the storyline). Break any part of this chain and you can break the whole cycle.

Breaking Inner Tape Loops with Numbers Exercises

An elegantly simple method to break the cognitive link involves occupying your mind with simple numbers exercises. This method is not in Emotional Alchemy, and these particular numbers exercises come from a book of psychological techniques and exercises designed to support a Gurdjieffian approach to consciousness. Use this method especially when you find that your mind is “looping” — playing the same negative storyline tapes again and again — “he said, she said” etc. When you focus your mind on the numbers exercises, you will stop the looping, stop the storylines stone cold dead in their well-worn tracks. True, numbers exercises may not be very entertaining, but I’ll take nonentertainment over looping storylines that create the suffering of afflictive emotion and thereby degrade bodily health as well. The first numbers exercise is to count up by 2s from 1, and down by 2s from 100 in an alternating sequence: 1, 3, 100, 98, 5, 7, 96, 94, 9, 11, 92, 90, 13, 15, 88, 86, Etc. This gets a little tricky when the two streams of numbers cross, but you’ll find that you get into a rhythm with it and it gets a lot easier with practice. Your mind will want to default back to storylines, daydreams or other distractions, and if it succeeds, it will break the numbers exercise at which point you just pick it up again, from the beginning if necessary. The second numbers exercise is much easier and can be done partly on autopilot which presents a great temptation for your attention to wander and for you to lose track of the numbers. It’s designed that way to train you to maintain focus, to have power over the default mechanism that wants to switch you back to storylines, daydreams, etc. It also trains you to divide attention, as you can easily do this exercise while doing laundry, driving, manual chores, etc. This time you count up by twos in an ascending/descending sequence that keeps growing like a ladder that you climb up and down while adding a new rung with each ascent. The top number is always repeated and is 2 higher than the last top number. It looks like this: 1 3 3 1 1 3 5 5 31 1 3 5 7 7 5 3 1 1 3 5 7 9 9 7 5 3 1 1 3 5 7 9 11 11 9 7 5 3 1 Etc. One more part of this easy sequence is that whenever you hit the number 11, coming up or down the ladder, you do some sort of bodily movement — snapping your fingers, blinking an eye, etc. You’re doing well with this exercise if you can make it into the 70s without losing the number stream by defaulting into tape loops or daydreams. Like push-ups and sit-ups, numbers exercises may not always be fun, but they are an effective and direct way to become stronger.

Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle And Self-Observation

Now we’ll return to the Emotional Alchemy approach that centers on the Buddhist practice of mindfulness. I’ve been practicing mindfulness techniques for years and have found them to be very effective in everything from dealing with bodily pain (mindfulness pain management), every day tasks and even getting more enjoyment out of eating food. We know from physics (Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle) that to observe a thing is to change a thing. The maximal case of this effect is when the human psyche is observing itself.

Mindfulness Pain Management

Mindfulness involves sustained investigative awareness, a persistent witness consciously observing what’s going on (inner and/or outer) with great moment by moment presence. To practice mindfulness pain management I focus in on the pain sensations. The pain I feel in my recently dislocated thumb seems to radiate outward in pulsing concentric waves from the center of the knuckle. I observe and map out its periodicity, its ebb and flow, when it is peaking and when it is subsiding. I don’t shrink from it, I welcome it into perception and carefully observe its modulations. When I do this it becomes an interesting energetic phenomenon happening in my perceptual universe. Emotional funks and negative thoughtforms can also be studied with this careful, impersonal observation.

Mindful Self-Observation

When I hear a voice speak in my head I can welcome it into my perceptual field, the inner theater of my mind, and ask it to step into the spotlight of attention and show me who it is and what it really wants. By mindfully observing the emotions and storylines, we cannot be identified with them. We become an outside witness to them, so they cannot think us, as they did to the young woman office worker in her schema attack. You can observe them with a cool, neutral, compassionate stance. Instead of shrinking from them, welcome them into attentional space. The metaphor I’ve used for myself is that I am a butterfly collector in the Amazon, where a rare, interesting butterfly has flown into my net. Aha, here’s a live one I can study. As you work with this practice you will find that your mindfulness will have less discontinuities and you will catch schema attacks sooner. At the early phase of the practice you might notice that you had a schema attack after it’s over. Why did I get into that silly argument? Oh, I see, it was my deprivation schema triggered when she said… Another time you might catch a schema attack while it’s happening, while the butterfly is in the net. If it is happening just internally (not an interpersonal argument) you can observe without direct interference and learn something about what type of schemas you have and what type of subpersonalities come forward to speak for them. See how long the schema attack lasts. When does it peak? When does it start to taper off? What was the trigger event? How is your body being affected — breathing, muscle contractions, etc?. After you have felt that you’ve sufficiently studied who the voices are and what they want, you can choose in a later stage of the practice to actively intervene. The numbers exercise is one way to do that. The frightening-looking deities seen outside of some Buddhist temples are supposed to be entities of “wrathful compassion.” At this phase of the practice you can be wrathfully compassionate and intervene with a ferocious act of will. I used to visualize a glowing magical sword hovering above an old reel-to-reel tape recorder I used to have, the moving reels of tape playing the annoying thoughtforms. When I summoned my will the sword would come slicing down into the tape, cutting it in two so that the reels would begin to spin quickly in opposite directions. Another visualization I’ve used comes from the first two Lord of the Rings movies where we see Gandalf facing down the Balrog on the Bridge of Kazadum. I see Gandalf activating his staff and luminescent sword, Glamdring, and saying with all his might, “You cannot pass. I am a servant of the secret fire… You cannot pass.” A simpler technique I recently came up with that seems quite effective is that when I notice my mind picking up a dumb tape loop I just say to myself in the tone of an irate, protective mother watching her two-year-old pick up a dog turd and begin to put it in his mouth, DROP IT!!! DROP IT!!!!! Get creative and use whatever works for you.

The Magic Quarter Second

Finally, if you really want to go for the Olympic level of this practice, you will try to derail a schema attack in what neuroscientists call “the magic quarter second.” If you were able to recognize that a trigger event is catalyzing your amygdala to launch a schema attack in the first quarter second, before it has gained a physiological hold on you, then you could knock it off its tracks, nip it in the bud before it can do any damage at all. Usually you don’t know if a trigger event is coming. But in some cases you do, let’s say you have to make a phone call to that difficult parent or problem person you know is likely to trigger you. I had a great opportunity to try the Olympic version when I was canvassing for a wildlife refuge. In certain yuppie neighborhoods I knew there was a high probability of getting a nasty response. As a former, recovering New Yorker, who was also a school teacher for fourteen years, six in the South Bronx, my whole being is conditioned for the high-speed come back. I might have needed that skill back then, but when canvassing, such a reaction can get you and your organization into trouble. So what I would do is ring the bell, take a couple of deep breaths, center myself in my body and wait like a tennis player for the ball to come across the net and a golden opportunity to catch the magic quarter second. But even though I knew the trigger event was coming I often couldn’t help but to react anyway. It should go without saying that what you especially don’t want is to allow a schema attack to control your actions, decisions or spoken words. There is a well-known Samurai story where the Samurai has a duty to assassinate the assassin who killed his master. Methodically he stalks the assassin and at the right moment approaches with drawn sword. The assassin spits on him. The Samurai sheaths his swords and walks away. The idea is that he became emotionally agitated when he was spit on and now if he used his sword it would no longer be a pure, impersonal act. Words are often swords. When we are emotionally agitated we should sheath our tongues and hold back from actions and decisions.

Awakening from Depression (from Zap Oracle card # 305)

“Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them.”
— Tolstoy

Subclinical depression is almost the norm in our society. Many people go through their days burdened, their gaze lowered, suffering under a generalized feeling of oppression. Although it is easy to attribute much of this to fractured, alienated lives, environmental toxins and poor diet, research indicates that the primary causes are negative thought forms, often occurring just beneath conscious awareness, which frame perception negatively so that one lives in a darkened reality tunnel. For example, “Life sucks, and then you die…I never get my fair share…I can’t do anything right…” etc. The negative thought forms trigger negative emotions that in turn trigger physiological changes, and the process feeds on itself as a vicious circle. This card indicates that this is a propitious time for you or someone close to you to awaken from depression. There are many ways to go about the awakening, but the will has to be there for recovery to occur. Depression is a yin condition, associated with lowered energy and a murky wateriness. Take deep breaths, stand up straight with good posture and get going, get active, raise fire, the yang principle, by doing useful stuff! Don’t feel like it? Excellent, that is the sure sign of how well getting active will work. Start simple and pick tasks that give definite results — cleaning up your home, for example. Shift to a high vitality diet with more live and raw food. Do a fearless moral inventory and ask yourself what you will remember well on your deathbed and prioritize doing that.

Depression is often suffering that is neglected and not confronted. For this reason, I prefer anguish and the dark night of the soul because these are more dynamic states capable of transformation. Confront what haunts you.

Zap Oracle links that can help if you are feeling down:

Could you be addicted to pain? See: Rebelling from the Pain Body Matrix Are you unhappy about being in your body? This is the core of much neurotic torment and takes the form of dissatisfaction with looks/weight/aging/health. Read: The Glorified Body Are you unhappy about romantic relationships? Read: Challenging Thoughts on Love Stop the Hottie! Casting Precious… Having trouble finding a path of meaning and creativity in your life? Much depression is caused by a deficit of meaningfulness. Read: The Path of the Numinous For more on discovering the core meaning of your life and facing some of the tough existential realities of human incarnation read: The Capsule of Intentionality… and read all parts of A Guide to the Perplexed Interdimensional Traveler If your depression is related to a devastating loss or shock, the last part of the guide, “Dealing with Shock,” will address that directly. Worries have you down? Read: An Antidote to Worry Feel like there’s something wrong with this entire plane of existence? Read: A Splinter in your Mind Want an effective life stance that will hold up to the darkest moments? Consider the path of the warrior: The Way of the Warrior Warrior Quotes The Taoist Path Taoist Quotes Finally, if you’ve looked into all these other possibilities and feel that an outside force is depressing you, read the documents in the mind parasite category of the writing section or order a copy of the Mind Parasite Matrix. Use these resources and summon your will to awaken from depression!

Dealing with Psychic Entropy  (from Zap Oracle Card 550)

Psychic or psychological entropy is a state of mind first written about by Carl Jung and later developed by  Mihály Csíkszentmihályi in his concept of Flow. A state of psychic entropy is characterized by anxiety, sadness and boredom and typically includes looping negative thought tapes. Psychic entropy is a state that leaves us hampered in our ability to deal with complex external tasks or useful inner contemplation. We all know what this feels like — that all too familiar state of being frazzled, fragmented and unraveled, paralyzed by inertia and self-conflict, worried thoughts gnawing our mind like a chew toy. So what can we do about that?

One answer is to use such times to do easy mechanical tasks like laundry and dishes that can be done even if your attention is a bit fragmented. Entertaining, not too dense audiobooks and podcasts on headphones can be a way to fill the chaotic inner space with better quality content. Psychic entropy is more likely to occur in solitude so if there is a positive social interaction available you can try that. Focus on external considering — on others’ needs rather than your own — as psychic entropy is based on internal considering. Alternatively, you could go all the way in the other direction and sit down in solitude, perhaps with a journal open, and carefully observe, or even record, all the fragmenting thoughts as they loop through your mind and see what subpersonalities they come from and what their issues are. If the state of psychic entropy comes from a general deficit of meaning in your life then see what you can do to increase meaningfulness.

Consider Csikszentmihalyi’s “5 C’s” of a Complex Personality as summarized by Maryam:

“The Complex Personality knows how to integrate a variety of experiences into its overall experience, making the dullest moments interesting. Being in Flow leads to Complexity for when you experience Flow, you want to experience more of it and construct your world to pull you irresistibly towards experiences within the Flow. Focus on these to craft your world:

1) Clarity – Know what you want to do in your life every day. Have clarity of goals, listen to feedback and adjust yourself to the feedback you receive from the world.

2) Center – You are in Balance. Your goal is to focus, to know how to avoid distractions, to become at one with what you’re doing, with all of your attention under your control.

3) Choice – Knowing there are a variety of possibilities around you, that you’re not determined by outside events but have choice and can move within it. Whatever you do, you do “at Choice”.

4) Commitment- Care for what you’re doing at all times. Remain conscious of what you care about. Commit to it.

5) Challenge – Keep upping your challenges as you master a certain level. Always make life more challenging.”

Working through a Glass Darkly — Adapting to the Difficult Conditions of the Babylon Matrix  (from Zap Oracle card #570)

Often we set standards and expectations for ourselves that would be more realistic if we lived in a world redesigned by our egos where the first law of thermodynamics tended toward efficiency instead of entropy. Many of us apply standards of perfectionism to ourselves, our lives and others, that do not take into account the often darkly distorted and backward conditions of the Babylon Matrix. When you do take those conditions into account, you may find perfectionism replaced by compassion.

For example, whenever I plan out how long a certain chore or project will take, I have found that it often takes two to four times longer than I think it will. When I attempt to plan, I put on my ego’s glasses. With my ego’s glasses on, the fisheye, backward, darkling distortions of the Babylon Matrix flatten out into a chessboard-like landscape. The ego sees how it can checkmate the chore or project in three or four moves. Through the ego’s glasses, I conveniently forget to see the dark, distorting fields of the Babylon Matrix, the laws of mechanical resistance, the strange and sometimes chilling winds blowing through my psyche, and through the whole species, so that we make our moves quite often against the wind, and in a landscape where gravity is unstable, and the blowing sheets of rain are laced with psychoactive substances altering our moods and perceptions. And when you make your moves against the wind, in a landscape where gravity is unstable, and the blowing sheets of rain are laced with psychoactive substances altering our moods and perceptions, then you will find that many chores and projects take two to four times longer than you thought they would when you were wearing ego glasses that saw the world as a nice, neat chessboard.

My point is neither complaint nor discouragement, quite the opposite. We learn and develop more in the Babylon Matrix than we would in a chessboard world. Also, it is encouraging to realize that we may be doing better than we think we are given the conditions that we labor under. For example, we may marvel at the wonderful novel or painting or invention someone made. But if you read his biography you may often marvel all the more at how he got anything done, even taking out the trash, given the problems and conditions he labored under. Look again at Van Gogh’s <a href=”http://www.moodbook.com/wallpapers/vincent-van-gogh-wallpaper-starry-night.jpg”><i>Starry Night</i></a>, and as you gaze at its cosmic magnificence, try to also hold in your mind the horrendous life conditions Vincent labored under, his strong genetic tendency toward bipolar disorder, the failure to sell any paintings to anyone but his brother while he lived, his woefully deficient diet, and so forth and so on, and see if the star of <i>Starry Night</i> doesn’t seem to glow even brighter in your mind as you realize the darkened sky under which he labored.

The night before I wrote this card, I had ended the evening feeling like I wasn’t getting enough done, and went to this oracle and the I Ching looking for answers. The oracles didn’t seem to cooperate with my agenda. I was in a self-help mode; I wanted the five steps to an effective and efficient life, but the Zap Oracle was emphasizing the shadow aspects of life. In the “What to prioritize…” place I drew the card “Beautiful Friendship,” yet I had been thinking that key relationships were what was getting in the way of my accomplishment. The I Ching gave me “Inner Truth” and “Difficulty at the Beginning.” Not satisfied with what seemed to be oblique answers, I attempted some dream seeding, inviting my unconscious to manifest dreams that might address my questions about efficiency and effectiveness. In the dream that followed this request, I am a new recruit in a kind of boot camp. I’m aware in the dream that I am fifty-one (my age in the waking life), but I know that everyone else in boot camp is struggling too, and no one is going to want to hear about my age or how special I think I am. My attitude in the dream is one of modest acceptance and diligence. During the basic training session — and it seems we are in what appears to be a school classroom rather than an outdoor training field — we are told that a psychoanalytic program is available to us that takes about forty-two years. When I awoke from the dream, I realized that I’m about thirty-one years into that program in the waking life, so I have about eleven years to go. Now that I know what’s involved much better than I did when I was twenty, I realize that those will have to be eleven very highly developmental years indeed if I’m going to finish so soon. The message from the unconscious, in response to the questions from my ego about how to live my life more effectively and efficiently, was that life is like a cross between boot camp and a classroom, and the psychological development part of the program, if you choose to engage it, is a bit more than the expected ten weeks of boot camp, about forty-two years more. Also, rather than complaining about these conditions, my focus needs to be on modest acceptance and diligence.

Also last night, during the same hour when I was resisting what seemed like oblique answers from the oracle, I was skimming the news via internet and a few sentences in a news story about obesity in women caught my attention. I had an uncanny sense that those few sentences contained a more direct answer to my questions about efficiency and effectiveness. Here’s what I read:

“Inappropriate restraint was a third major factor tied to women with excess weight in both of these recent studies. Restraint seems to have two different faces, since it has been linked with lower calorie consumption and lower weight, but also with weight gain and overweight. The European study of middle-aged women adds important insight by differentiating between the two types of restraint. Rigid restraint involves strict eating rules and a downside that it may promote binge eating once you break a rule. It was linked with greater short-term weight loss, but after two years was unrelated to weight. However, flexible restraint, a habit of moderate self-regulation and compensation for occasional high-calorie choices, was one of the strongest predictors of weight loss at two years.

“To encourage flexible restraint while avoiding overly rigid rules, experts urge us to create stable eating habits to meet nutritional and hunger needs without fostering a sense of deprivation. The Center for Mindful Eating recommends mindful eating that honors our food and our body’s hunger signals, portions that make sense and attitudes free of depriving rules and unrealistic expectations.” Source: “The Reasons We Eat”

In other words, under the difficult conditions of being an obese middle-aged woman trying to lose weight, perfectionism was counterproductive, and a more realistic, tolerant, flexible approach to discipline was effective. Working through the difficult conditions of the Babylon Matrix, in general, is helped by letting go of perfectionism and creating stable, flexible habits of discipline that you can live with. You allow for slip-ups and compensate for them rather than punishing yourself or trying to tighten the screws of control.

Last night I also went to sleep early, and set an alarm, even though it was a day off, for six hours later. Often I only need six hours of sleep, but this morning I found myself turning off the alarm and sleeping for an additional three hours. I woke up feeling discouraged that I slept so long, but I also realized that it was in the three hours after the alarm that I had the dream. I also found that I felt incredibly well rested and that I was in just the right state to write this card. The flexibility to sleep longer seemed to have worked out.A couple of years ago, I was feeling really discouraged about the same efficiency/effectiveness issues and tackled the problem in an all-day writing session that became an essay entitled <a href=”http://www.zaporacle.com/textpattern/article/115/mechanical-resistance-matrix”>”Mechanical Resistance Matrix”</a>. In the course of writing this essay, I consulted with the I Ching which helped me to enumerate principles for dealing with a mechanically resistant matrix. Those principles paralleled what I found in the news story last night, and added a few more principles like attention to detail. I recommend reading that essay if this card seems relevant to you. Also extremely relevant are Path Finding/Day Mapping and other documents in the Warrior Stance section of Zap Oracle.

Consider this a propitious time to heal the way you work through a glass darkly.

Finally, let’s end on a positive, proniac note ( from Zap Oracle Card # 305)

Pronoia/ Good Things are Going on

Good things are going on, but don’t expect to see that reflected in newspaper headlines! Our minds, adapted to a hazardous existence, nervously scan our world for signs of impending disaster. We often overlook the far greater signs of good things going on.

This is an abundant universe. Put quotation marks around the voices in your head that are endlessly worried about scarcity of money, resources, opportunities, romantic partners, etc.

Look up at a clear night’s sky and think about how much real estate is out there — ca. 100,000,000,000 stars in just our galaxy, and by some estimates 500,000,000,000 galaxies in the universe with many physicists now saying that our universe is just a tiny bubble in an ever expanding foam of multiverse. The universe has created 50,000,000,000,000 cells just to sheath you in a corporeal body for this one difficult incarnation where apparent scarcity and other hardships are part of the abundance of developmental forces.

My friend Rob Breszny wrote a book entitled Pronoia. According to the book, Pronoia is a term “…coined in the mid-1970s by Grateful Dead lyricist and cofounder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, John Perry Barlow, who defined it as the opposite of paranoia: ‘the suspicion that the universe is a conspiracy on your behalf.’ ”

It is easy to view life as a catastrophe, a catastrophe we can head off only by a white-knuckled grip on our body, money, possessions and relationships. But maybe your life is more of a “euchatastrophe” than a catastrophe.

From Wikipedia:
Eucatastrophe is a term coined by J.R.R. Tolkien that refers to the sudden turn of events at the end of a story that result in the protagonist’s well-being. He formed the word by affixing the Greek prefix eu-, meaning good, to catastrophe, the word traditionally used in classically-inspired literary criticism to refer to the “unraveling” or conclusion of a drama’s plot. It could be said that the ending of The Lord of the Rings is a Eucatastrophe. Though victory seems assured for Sauron, the One Ring is destroyed beyond all hope. Essentially a bad situation suddenly turns good.

For more on Pronoia, go to Rob Brezsny’s site, freewillastrology.com, and/or read my review of Pronoia:
Is the World Spiraling Toward Eucatastrophe or is that just my Pronoia? The latest edition of Pronoia was available on 9-22-09.

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There are many more key secrets of life and ways to avoid darkness and feel more fulfilled at zaporacle.com where you can find A Guide to the Perplexed Interdimensional Traveler (which is both free document and Youtube) as well as

the free 664-card Zap Oracle and hundreds of other articles and Youtubes (see Zap Oracle You Tube Channel) as well as 140 articles right here on Reality Sandwich

 

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Lights Through the Veil of Darkness—Setting Solstice Intentions https://zaporacle.com/lights-through-the-veil-of-darkness-setting-solstice-intentions/ https://zaporacle.com/lights-through-the-veil-of-darkness-setting-solstice-intentions/#respond Mon, 10 Oct 2016 17:35:47 +0000 http://zaporacle.com/?p=18172 (Winter Images from Boulder, Colorado, photos copyright Jonathan Zap) Since this is the turning point when the light principle is going to emerge from the darkest day of the year and begin to grow, this is an ideal time to consult your intuition and possibly the oracle of your choice on what needs to be brought …

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(Winter Images from Boulder, Colorado, photos copyright Jonathan Zap)

Since this is the turning point when the light principle is going to emerge from the darkest day of the year and begin to grow, this is an ideal time to consult your intuition and possibly the oracle of your choice on what needs to be brought into the light and given more life in the new year. You can consult the Zap Oracle for free: http://www.zaporacle.com/online-image-oracle

The text of card #466,  “Lights Through the Veil of Darkness” is related to the solstice:

Even in the midst of veils of darkness, points of light may be seen. If you are open to them, you may notice moments of compassion amidst the noisy business of human transaction. There are moments when the world reveals its inner beauty and novelty and categories like good, bad, natural and artificial fall away as you behold the beauty of suchness, the implied magnificent precision of the whole phantasmagoria of light and dark forms coming at you throughout human incarnation. If you see only darkness then your vision is woefully incomplete. The scintillations of light all around may be offset more brilliantly by the surrounding veils of darkness.

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Too Much Info Bro – Even if You are a Superstar, Giving Away Too Much of Yourself Can be Humiliating https://zaporacle.com/too-much-info-bro-even-if-you-are-a-superstar-giving-away-too-much-of-yourself-can-be-humiliating/ https://zaporacle.com/too-much-info-bro-even-if-you-are-a-superstar-giving-away-too-much-of-yourself-can-be-humiliating/#respond Sun, 09 Oct 2016 18:23:13 +0000 http://zaporacle.com/?p=18148 Social media poses temptations to disclose too much to people in general, but even private messages and conversations with friends can also be cases of “meeting more than halfway” as the I Ching  puts it. As a narcissist with obsessive interests, and sometimes obsessive interest in certain people, I’ve been learning my own lessons about this. …

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Social media poses temptations to disclose too much to people in general, but even private messages and conversations with friends can also be cases of “meeting more than halfway” as the I Ching  puts it. As a narcissist with obsessive interests, and sometimes obsessive interest in certain people, I’ve been learning my own lessons about this. A close friend of mine (but who does not always share my degree of obsessive interests) very diplomatically reminded me that he is careful about imposing himself on the time and attention of others who may have “more important stuff to do than to listen to all my great ideas.” I agreed, and told him I should probably have his statement tattooed on the back of my hands as a reminder. Just last night it was international news that U2’s Bono had to publicly apologize for the free automatic iTunes download of their last album, which many complained about.  Even though he’s an actual rock star, and even though come of the songs on that album I found to be some of their best work and brilliant, U2 humiliated themselves by meeting more than halfway and sending out their creative work unsolicited to millions of people.

The lesson is, even if you are an actual rock super star, and even if you have just done your best work, and even if you are giving it away for free, other people may have better things to do with their time than to listen to what you think is your greatest work, most fascinating secrets, confessions and so forth. What the I Ching/Carol Anthony advises is that even in the course of a live, mutual conversation you should monitor the other’s level of interest, the minutiae of their openings and closings revealed by changes in eye contact and body language, so you know when to advance and went to back off. If in doubt, the I Ching advises reticence (holding back). This reticence is recommended to people from the East. Western egos are far more likely to plunge ahead with too much disclosure and some will do it publicly, revealing their deepest secrets on Oprah’s couch, etc. While it is easy to see the toxic potential of public disclosure, it can also compromise inner dignity, and depotentiate inner work, if we one-sidedly disclose too much to an individual friend who we feel is on our wavelength. The other may be preoccupied with their own obsessions and resent the imposition of ours. I’m in no position to criticize anyone else for this as I’ve been guilty of this more times than I care to remember.

A problem with social media, email, texting, etc. is that there is no body language to read and it is all too easy, as I have often found out, to impose on the attention of the other without realizing it, and this only creates resistance in them and compromises our inner dignity. Even with live feedback it is easy to make this mistake (and I have). The I Ching advises that we err on the side of reticence. “A master first reveals himself in his ability to hold back.” —Goethe

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Dealing with the Mechanical Resistance of Everyday Life https://zaporacle.com/dealing-with-the-mechanical-resistance-of-everyday-life/ https://zaporacle.com/dealing-with-the-mechanical-resistance-of-everyday-life/#respond Sun, 09 Oct 2016 03:28:59 +0000 http://zaporacle.com/?p=18131 Image: Goya, The Forge, 1812-1816 Oil on linen The Frick Collection, New York City A subject that seems to rarely be discussed in counter-cultural circles, and yet is all-pervasive, is how to deal with the fragmented frustrations involved in daily life. I woke up predawn as usual to write and a new computer monitor that worked …

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Image: Goya, The Forge, 1812-1816 Oil on linen The Frick Collection, New York City

A subject that seems to rarely be discussed in counter-cultural circles, and yet is all-pervasive, is how to deal with the fragmented frustrations involved in daily life. I woke up predawn as usual to write and a new computer monitor that worked perfectly until this morning was now flatly refusing to recognize the signal it should have been getting from my CPU. I messed with settings on it and on my laptop, tried a different cable, etc. feeling the precious predawn zone I prefer for writing (see Pre-Dawn Window Zone) slipping away as I dealt with obnoxious, mundane, mechanical resistance. As the frustration with it rose, I also thought about all the “open loops” (unfinished tasks) crowding around the next couple of days. I knocked off a couple of big ones last night and then drove off to complete another and found that the engine light had come on in my vehicle—another open loop to deal with today. I pushed the monitor issue aside (and yes, I realize these are first-world hardships) and wrote from my laptop. It ended up being a good writing session anyway. And then I wrote a bit in my journal, that spirit voice, the voice of the higher self, whatever you want to call it advising me on how to deal with such typical frustrations: This morning is a good example of what you need to do to fulfill your mission in the Babylon Matrix. Details. Details. Details. There are always going to be mechanical resistance and loops opening or lying open at your feet ready to trip you up. You are going to feel the imcompleteness of that, the wrongness of it, the inappropriateness of it in a world where the inappropriate is appropriate. As someone put it, “life is just one damn thing after another.” You know what to do. You just have to deal with the one goddamn thing after another, without letting yourself get hung up too much or distracted by open loops when you are working on an open loop or something of higher value. Relax into full engagement with the one thing you are focusing on right now, because that’s the most you can do. Focus on your stance. If you keep focusing on the one thing at a time, the leaky boat stays afloat, and the mission progresses. Loops will keep opening. Things that were working perfectly will keep breaking. Accidents and mishaps will happen. Petty tyrants will appear. Friends will become estranged and polarized and outcomes with them cannot be controlled.

Don’t focus on any open loops except the one you are focused on at the moment. If you think of or notice others, add them to the list. Start the day with majors, then work on some minors, exercise, do a few more minors perhaps, take time for social and other higher value opportunities. Bailing out the leaky boat, closing open loops as others open is the daily struggle.

You will usually feel stressed or celebratory. Don’t let that be an excuse to abuse your body or slacken healthy disciplines. Keep moving through the weeds doing the one damn thing after another. You are guaranteed to get through it, one way or another.

For my major work on this topic see Mechanical Resistance Matrix—available in document form, as a podcast and a Youtube and follow the links within it for more on perfecting your stance toward the daily frustrations of life.

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Problems with the Conspiratist World View https://zaporacle.com/problems-with-the-conspiratist-world-view/ https://zaporacle.com/problems-with-the-conspiratist-world-view/#comments Thu, 03 Oct 2013 01:18:18 +0000 http://www.zaporacle.com/?p=14193 The conspiraitist world view---the belief that a unified cabal of elitists is manipulating world events, mind controlling the population, that we already live in a police state and a New World Order, etc. has become ubiquitous in global culture. It is the premise of so many facebook posts, viral memes, websites, radio shows and movies. It transcends red and blue and is as likely to be heard amongst the far right and the far left. It is a perspective widely held in Europe, Central and South America, the Arab world, Australia, New Zealand and almost any place you can think of. Typically, the purveyors of this point of view think they are daring revolutionaries waking up the sheeple, etc. and don't seem to notice that they are actually just one more of a vast and growing multitude who hold this perspective. Many of these people are close friends of mine. My challenge to them is to listen to this talk and consider whether this worldview actually represents an awakening rather than a distorted perspective riddled with problematic assumptions and reality testing issues.

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The conspiraitist world view—the belief that a unified cabal of elitists is manipulating world events, mind controlling the population, that the main stream media is nothing but lies and that we already live in a police state and a New World Order, etc. has become ubiquitous in global culture. It is the premise of so many Facebook posts, viral memes, websites, radio shows and movies. It transcends red and blue and is as likely to be heard amongst the far right and the far left. It is a perspective widely held in Europe, Central and South America, the Arab world, Australia, New Zealand and almost any place you can think of. Typically, the purveyors of this point of view think they are daring revolutionaries waking up the sheeple, etc. and don’t seem to notice that they are actually just one more of a vast and growing multitude who hold this perspective. Many of these people are close friends of mine.  My challenge to them is to listen to this talk and consider whether this worldview actually represents an awakening rather than a distorted perspective riddled with problematic assumptions and reality testing issues.

Correction: The way I mentioned a colleague of Alex Jone’s appearing on Coast makes it sound like it was John Wells, who was the host of the show, not the guest.

Although conspiratists usually claim that the mainstream media serves only to brainwash “the sheeple” etc. they never seem to notice that mainstream corporate movie studios/ television networks, etc.  are always making popular high-budget movies and TV series that cater to their all-too-common worldview. There are so many movies that portray a ruling elite as a demonic force that people need to defeat. Another really obvious example is The Hunger Games. Lesser known, but with an intriguing premise is In Time with Justin Timberlake—read the first paragraph of the Wiki to see how it mythologizes the same theme.  Outside of fantasy and sci-fi there are even more movies where corporatist elites are the evil ones that a group or individual protagonist must bring down. Michael Clayton with George Clooney is an excellent example. All these shows, the X Files, Mr. Robot, etc. are made because these corporate entities are not part of an Illumanati conspiracy they are part of a vast nonconspiracy—-the desire to make money. They do what will sell and bring in quarterly profits.  If they wanted to make sheeple, the wouldn’t make The Hunger Games but only movies that depicted heroic young people who were loyal soldiers of the government, etc.  When I point this out to conspiratists I get  classic circular, delusion-conserving, responses: “They make those so you won’t think they are brainwashing you.” etc.  Nazi propaganda minster Joseph Goebbels and other purveyors of Nazi culture, who really were masters of brain washing people did not make anti-Nazi films to convince people they weren’t being brainwashed. Everything they made was on-message and pulled in the same direction.  You don’t brainwash people by spending hundreds of millions of dollars making Hunger Games movies that portray good-looking, charismatic young people taking down the 1% who are portrayed as corrupt, decadent, cruel, sadistic and as using their mainstream media to brainwash people!

The conspiratist world view is part of a larger problem of scorn for reality testing which is also quite common in the New Age, amongst religious fundamentalists and also  militant atheists and debunker types as well as many other subcultures: See Reality Testing is Politically Incorrect

Conspiratism typically involves many of the blind spots and pitfalls of other types of esoteric study: See:

Carnival 2012—A Psychological Study of the 2012 Phenomenon and the Twenty-Two Pitfalls and Blindspots of Esoteric Research

Much of what seems like a vast conspiracy are actually different permutations of the culture of psychopathy that characterizes many spheres of power. See:

Foxes and Reptiles—Psychopathy and the Financial Meltdown

Focusing on an Evil “They” can actually empower evil. See: How to Empower Evil: Keep Talking about They

Are there unseen forces manipulating the human domain to promote strife and negative emotions? The idea of a parasitic species manipulating mankind goes back (at least) to the ancient gnostics if not earlier. 2,000 year old Gnostic texts were the major inspiration for the movie, The Matrix. Although this perspective is considerably stranger than the conspiratist world view, and although I regard it as speculative, I actually think it has more merit than the idea of a unified cabal of human egos puppet mastering the world. See the Mind Parasite Category of this site where you will find a number of documents, You Tubes and podcasts on this subject. Mind Parasites, Energy Parasites and Vampires is the introductory work.

Great video on problems with the Truther view of the collapse of the Twin Towers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=mmIjDfpTeMc

My friend Jordan Lejuwaan just sent me this. He is the creator of High Existence a beautifully done website full of great insights and suggestions for living a better life. The following post, which could relates chaos theory to the conspiracy view could have been entitled “You are the Illumanati (and a snowflake)” It is brief, beautifully done, deep, wise, and cooler in the sense of less heated as my rhetoric tends to be, and snowflakes are less divisive then dissing Alex Jones, etc. http://www.highexistence.com/snowflakes-and-the-illumanati-how-chaos-theory-debunks-the-new-world-order/

And for people who say that steel buildings don’t fall down due to fire—-how many are hit by jumbo jets with full fuel tanks? Jet fuel causes steel to bend like wet noodles. National Geographic demonstrated that and in this article/video a black smith demonstrates it in his forge: http://www.addictinginfo.org/2015/12/16/sorry-911-truthers-this-new-video-totally-destroys-your-stupid-jet-fuel-conspiracy-theory-video/

 

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Ego’s Last Words https://zaporacle.com/egos-last-words/ https://zaporacle.com/egos-last-words/#respond Sat, 10 Aug 2013 17:36:16 +0000 http://www.zaporacle.com/?p=13872 “I’m Losing.” ----Frank Sinatra’s last words, May 14, 1997

I’m really not trying to diss the grand old crooner, and really hope some goombah out there doesn’t break my legs for writing this. This is more about Sinatra as a mythological personification of the ego rather than a personal diss. It’s business, not personal.

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“I’m Losing.”    —-Frank Sinatra’s last words, May 14, 1997

       I’m really not trying to diss the grand old crooner, and really hope some goombah out there doesn’t break my legs for writing this. This is more about Sinatra as a mythological personification of the ego rather than a personal diss. It’s business, not personal.

  If we wanted to pick a celebrity that would perfectly personify the ego, obviously Donald Trump would be the #1 choice, but, tragically, Donald Trump has yet to utter his last words. But even if  he had, Sinatra would still be a major contender, and if the ego were ever to be honored with its own, ultimate, emblematic, cosmic swan song, I think we would all have to agree that it would have to be Frank Sinatra singing My Way. Some excerpts:

And now, the end is here
And so I face the final curtain
My friend, I’ll say it clear
I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain
I’ve lived a life that’s full
I traveled each and ev’ry highway
And more, much more than this, I did it my way

Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew
But through it all, when there was doubt
I ate it up and spit it out
I faced it all and I stood tall and did it my way

For what is a man, what has he got?
If not himself, then he has naught
To say the things he truly feels and not the words of one who kneels
The record shows I took the blows and did it my way!

[instrumental]

Yes, it was my way

Paul Anka, who wrote My Way, and also an autobiography entitled My Way, was one of the original members of Sinatra’s Rat Pack. Frank nicknamed him “the kid.”  Sinatra, like many an ego personification, was a notorious boozer and womanizer who according to Anka, “was just as willing to sleep with a hooker as any of his wives.” Sinatra wanted badly to seem a tough guy, and a sign on his front door said, “Forget the dog, beware the owner.” According to Anka,  “Frank was tied up with the mob to the degree where he did favors for them.” “He liked the thrill of being involved with gangsters. Jules Podell, the owner of the Copa, told me that he acted as a bagman for the Mafia a number of times, but they eventually stopped using him because he always got caught.”

What the ego wants is to always be the winner, the holder of the ring of power,  and what it always hates is to lose and be a loser. As reported in The New York Daily New’s review of My Way:

There was the night in 1967 when he ran up a $500,000 gambling debt at the Sands, where he was headlining, then disappeared for the weekend. He certainly didn’t come back apologetic. 

Sinatra seized one of the golf carts used for luggage, plunked his wife, Mia Farrow, in the passenger seat, and drove it into the glass entryway, shattering it. Anka says Sinatra wasn’t angry at the moment, just very, very drunk. So drunk he kept trying to set fire to curtains in the lobby but couldn’t manage to start a blaze.

But soon afterward, Anka writes, Sinatra was furious enough to call for a hit on the manager of the Sands, Carl Cohen. Howard Hughes had taken over, and the game had changed. Sinatra was being refused his gratis markers, and he was used to getting $50,000 worth of free chips.

As Anka describes it, Sinatra jumped on a blackjack table, bringing all the action in the casino to a halt as he raged and cursed. Anka and Rizzo got him into the coffee shop, where Cohen showed up to make peace.

The first thing Sinatra did was hurl a chair at Cohen’s security guard. Still, Cohen tried to calm him, explaining that Hughes was in charge and certain things couldn’t be done. Sinatra responded by ripping away the tablecloth, spilling scalding hot coffee into Cohen’s lap.

So Cohen punched Sinatra in the face — and the singer’s dental caps flew out of his mouth. Anka helped hustle Sinatra out before the cops arrived; he was quickly on a Learjet to L.A., where he got his teeth done and plotted revenge.

“He puts the word out to the boys he wants Carl dead,” Anka writes.

But the boys said no.

“You have to understand, the mob still ran the place, and Carl was one of the boys from Cleveland,” Anka writes.

“Frank was a singer, who may have all these mob connections but he wasn’t a mob guy. He was an entertainer.”

Sinatra started talking retirement. He was fed up and done. There would be one more album. Over dinner, he reminded

Anka that long ago he had promised to write a song for him.

So with a dispirited Sinatra ready to cash in his chips very much on his mind, Anka wrote “My Way,” using the melody to a French song that he’d bought the rights to. Sinatra released it in 1969 — and Ol’ Blue Eyes was back.

By the end of Sinatra’s career, according to Anka, things got really sad:

The show was definitely coming to an end, and the last act was sad. It got to the point where Anka stopped going to see Sinatra perform since it was too painful to watch him fumble for lyrics or forget to put on his wig as he did one night.

“It was a tragic end to a brilliant career,” he writes.

One of the last times they had dinner, Sinatra told him how much he had wanted to play Marlon Brando’s role in “The Godfather.” Sinatra got very worked up about it. “He had become a lost soul,” says Anka.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/music-arts/book-sinatra-drunken-violent-sex-crazed-article-1.1303479#ixzz2baOmer00

Frank-Sinatra

And so this is why I think Sinatra’s last words are the greatest ever spoken, the ultimate coda to the path of My Way, a path that in just two words captures the essential stance of the ego: My Way. And then, in his last moment, and also in exactly two words, Frank reveals, with total frankness, the ego’s experience of death, the ultimate conclusion of the My Way path.

For what Jung called the Self, death is an emergence, but for the ego it is the ultimate emergency, the loss of all the toys, the cashing in of all the chips, the grasping will reaching for the gold ring and coming up empty handed—nada, nothing, the big, fat, ultimate and everlasting zero, the gilded winner become the eternal loser, grasping one final time for the Precious as it falls in slow motion,  irresistibly,  ineluctably, irrevocably, irretrievably, irreconcilably, irreparably, irreplaceably, irreversibly, into the volcanic magma at the bottom of the Cracks of Doom.

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Reflecting on your Legacy—Zap Oracle Card Anthology—Part III https://zaporacle.com/reflecting-on-your-legacy-zap-oracle-card-anthology-part-iii/ Sun, 04 Aug 2013 21:19:40 +0000 http://www.zaporacle.com/?p=13556

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