Posted by: spiritthrive | October 8, 2012

Ego or Spirit: Who’s the Boss?

I believe we are born with spiritual purity and little ego.

As we grow, our environment encourages ego development from an early age, much more than spiritual awakening.

This is not necessarily a bad thing.

Our egos play a central role in our physical survival.

I believe that, for humans, our egos are the chief component of our “fitness for survival,” in the Darwinian sense.

Our egos initially bring us great happiness—eating, sleeping, engaging in sex, earning money, etc.

Often, though, people sense a void in their lives as they approach middle age, the famous “Mid Life Crisis.”

Perhaps what is happening is that, while our egos have continued to develop and be rewarded, we have matured spiritually by an even greater measure, and what our spirit is quietly saying to us is shouted down, overwhelmed and vetoed by our ego, which is accustomed to being in control.

Our ego wants nothing more than to maintain the status quo, because making a change—even to increase our happiness—might be a sign that we’ve been on the wrong track, and the ego hates any thought that it might be wrong.

Of course, it’s not so much that there is a right or a wrong involved—that’s a petty, distracting, delaying argument unworthy of much, if any, consideration.

It’s simply that who we actually are—a spirit being—has now awakened within our human experience, and is calling to us to live a life beyond our flesh.

When these callings are acknowledged our ego (our fittest survival tool up until now) feels threatened.

Making the shift from ego to spirit as the primary driving force in our life fills the void, engages our full being, and brings lasting peace, joy and happiness.

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Posted by: spiritthrive | September 10, 2012

Who Am I?

I doubt dogs wake up in the morning wondering who they are.

The question of self-identification seems irrelevant to all but us humans.

We teach children to think about this concept from an early age.

We point to ourselves and say, “Mommy” or “Daddy.”

We point to the baby and say, “Kirsten” or “Chad” or “Amy” or “José.”

A little older and we teach children their family name, what state and country they’re from, maybe their ethnic heritage: “Stevinson, Minnesotan, American, Scots-Irish.”

We may go on to encourage a child to identify as a member of a certain religion, a sports team, a political persuasion, and other demarcating identities: “Christian, Yankees fan, Libertarian, etc.”

Why do we feel it’s important to do this, and to pass it on to the next generation?

Does this thorough, tedious taxonomy make us feel we’re one of a few dozen instead of one of a few billion?

Does it invoke separation instead of unity?

Does it encourage us to feel right or proper or benevolent towards our tribe, and wrong and even malevolent towards others?

Is this marking process left over from a meaner, more physically competitive time, and perhaps should be jettisoned for life in the 21st century?

What if—instead—we all thought of ourselves with the singular label, “Child of God”?

Posted by: spiritthrive | August 31, 2012

Where Do You Fit In?

Because our world appears to be changing so fast, particularly economically and technologically, I have heard many people question where, if it all, they fit in.

Are they still relevant? Can they be relevant once more? Can they keep up?

Because if they feel they can’t, then they feel lost.

And desperation soon sets in.

I assert the modern revolution is about connection, with technology only serving as its enabler, and further assert that, to the extent you desire to authentically connect and are able to do so, then you have no worries. Does this mean that soul-searching, meditation, retreats, prayer, yoga and other practices are necessary to further my connection capabilities?

Perhaps.

But that’s a lot of work and worry. And it’s also a focus on “How,” which I don’t believe profitable.

I believe the surest path to happiness and connection is to only think about “What.”

What do you want?

What do you want to feel?

What do you want for your life?

What do you want to satisfy your needs?

If things aren’t working out too well for you lately, perhaps it’s times to forgo the How and the Why, and simply focus on the What. (You can get back to How and Why later.)

The magical part is, of course, that when you are fully enmeshed in the What, the other aspects of Life so often take care of themselves.

Does a loving Universe see to those gnarly details?

Does your attention to your Whats cause the Hows and Whys to align themselves without your micromanaging and tinkering?

Here’s an idea: If your life isn’t working out too well at the moment, give the “What Only” method a try.

Just think about What you want in a loving, whole way.

Don’t be sad because you don’t yet see the What.

Don’t be jealous of others who have their What.

Simply revel and rejoice in your What.

Imagine what it is like to have and hold your Whats forever.

Make a decision that Why you need them and How you will get them will be put on hold for now (and probably, magically, forever).

Let me know how it turns out.

When we meet, I’ll recognize you by your shiny countenance and the huge grin on your face.

Posted by: spiritthrive | August 23, 2012

We Are All Connected — Part 2

When you look at the successful technology companies of the past 10 years, what do they share in common?

Google and Yahoo help people connect with millions of websites by organizing them and allowing visitors to search their contents.

Facebook, Twitter and Linked-In help people connect within their social and business circles.

To say, “Hi, how are you?” And, “Here’s what I’ve been up to. And you?”

Also, “Here’s some things I can do, and some things I need done.”

Finally, “I find this really interesting. Maybe you would as well.”

Microsoft, Oracle and others make products that help remember how people are connected to events in their lives.

So it is with TED and Kiva and Kickstarter.

The former spreads the ideas about current goings-on that many find interesting and would perhaps like to connect with.

The latter two assist in connecting projects to funders through the small amounts raised from crowd-sourcing.

All three connect people who need something (money, information, ideas) with people who have those things.

Wouldn’t we all like to start the next Facebook or Google? What — you say you didn’t go to Harvard or Stanford?

Well, you DID go to life didn’t you?

It’s not nearly as much about where one did or did not go to college as it is this: Are you paying attention?

Do you see benefit from people connecting?

In what ways could people connect that are not now being facilitated?

Answer these questions and you are on your way to being the next successful connection creator.

Then, connect with a few others who share your passion and vision, as well as your dream and work ethics, and begin to step out into the space the Universe has laid out for you.

Be prepared to be amazed at the results!

Posted by: spiritthrive | August 23, 2012

We Are All Connected — Part I

What is Facebook? What is Google? Yahoo? Twitter? Linked-In?

What are churches? Small groups? Stores? Marketplaces? Homes? Telephones? Emails?

If you believe that we all emanate from a singular source of creation, wave-particles having a particularly concrete-flavored phase along our matter-energy continuum, then you also believe we are all connected.

What purpose, then, do our edifices, artifacts, gadgets, apps and other connectors serve? Why would one need to connect elements that are already connected?

Could it be that, although we are connected, we forget?

Or maybe, while remembering we’re connected, we still like to reinforce our connectedness as a regular practice nonetheless?

A harmless homey habit.

Perhaps lending further explanatory power to this seemingly redundant connection fixation may be humans’ capacity for abstract thinking.

That is, maybe we outsmart our sense of connection and trick ourselves into believing we are not connected, but separated.

Then as we rush back into our reconnection practices we also induce a bonus pack of relief hormones.

We could call this one the Connection Junkie Theory.

The connections so many of us make in the year 2012 are not, primarily, about technology.

Technology merely increases their possibilities while decreasing their cost. It did not and does not create the desire or motivation.

Egyptians and others from the Cradle of Civilization did not receive a message from technology causing them to desire freedom.

Those who would be freely connected employed mighty electronic pens over their oppressors’ swords.

The high vibration of freedom and its messenger widgets utilized technology to triumphantly topple the antiquated low vibration of angry forged steel, once again proving the adage of reasoned liberation winning over obtuse violence.

Some have suggested humanity cannot successfully adapt to more than one disruptive innovation within a seven to ten year period, and that we now live in an era producing serial, and often simultaneous, cataclysms at an alarming pace.

That is certainly one valid assessment.

Let me offer another.

Could it be that instead of a continuation or even acceleration of decennial disruption cycles, perhaps we are now engaged in a transformational paradigm shift of heretofore unknown character and scale–an era of continuous connection of all, as one.

An age where technology has offered up both the ideal platform and the most apt metaphor for the connection we already possess as created beings in a Universe of infinite possibilities.

Maybe technology is simply enabling our remembrance and facilitating the practice of our interconnectedness, not providing or creating it.

And this is why companies like Facebook and Google can simply not grow fast enough.

The self-accelerating, geometric attraction of the new connection paradigm far outpaces any human attempts at modeling its tools.

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

Over fifty years ago, when the futurist Arthur C. Clarke uttered his famous pronouncement, I imagine that Clarke was, among other purposes, trying to assuage non-believers when he would astound them with any one of his ideas, such as artificial, earth-orbiting satellites.

Are we on the cusp of humanity, possessing connection-enabling technology sufficient to make our everyday lives “indistinguishable from magic”?

Did the Cradle of Civilization formally christen the Cradle of Connection?

Posted by: spiritthrive | August 23, 2012

Phony or Authentic?

Some say a nation is in trouble if it doesn’t make things anymore.

Real things.

Cars, trains, automobiles, appliances, computers, clothes.

As opposed to creating, composing and controlling how bits—ones and zeroes—are flung about the place.

Others observe that the social media paradigm somehow seems inauthentic to them.

Anonymous people making irresponsible comments in virtual reality spaces with little to no accountability.

One thing is certain—this is not our grandparents’ our even parents’ way of doing business!

Marshall McLuhan taught us a message and its medium form a “symbiotic” link, and possess inseparable essences.

Does this mean tangibly genuine truths cannot be imputed by virtual media?

I don’t think this is the inference or conclusion McLuhan would have us draw.

The wisdom around facts, beliefs and truths is timeless and of universal applicability (and inexplicably sounds more authoritative in Latin): caveat emptor. Let s/he who is purchasing any and all goods (even message goods) be wary and aware, become as educated as necessary for due discernment, and guard their heads and hearts irrespective of source.

Is new media phony or authentic? Yes, it is.

Posted by: spiritthrive | August 23, 2012

Are Smarter Devices Good?

Technology is enabling people to connect in more ways than we could have possibly previously imagined.

Within the first world, and in many other places as well, we are increasingly “wired up” much of the time.

Wedging a Bluetooth transceiver behind one’s earlobe may prove a surprisingly small step away from technological singularity, wherein the demarcation between machine and master is rendered moot.

Is this a good thing?

As machines increase their facility to understand our thoughts in semantically-appropriate ways, executing tasks for us that are labor-saving mentally and physically, will we like this anthropomorphizing shift?

Will our silicon substitutes be satisfied cooking dinner, solving calculus equations, diagnosing illness and vacuuming the carpet, or will we submit to the temptation to imbue them with our spiritual, emotional and psychic qualities as well?

Can smart devices be too smart?

Posted by: spiritthrive | August 23, 2012

Is There More Than Building It?

The adage “if you build it they will come” asserts that one can follow her dream, construct a business, and expect customers.

But does it hold?

I had breakfast at a newish restaurant downtown Sunday morning.

It was my second visit there in as many months, and it was fabulous each time.

This tony, monosyllabic eaterie seats about 100, and by 8am had a wait list in the double digits.

There is nothing groundbreaking about their menu.

The requisite eggs, breakfast meats, various potatoes, salsas and pancakes were present, along with rich coffee and other morning drinks.

The way the items were prepared was special, though.

Slightly larger than normal quantities (mixed emotions), unusual hash brown shapes, freshly-spiced corned beef hash, and so forth. A quirky, fun decor, along with extra-helpful wait staff all combined for a delightful gastronomic experience.

From what I can tell, this restaurant is part of a small chain out of a larger, near by city.

I have never seen an ad for them in any media, and only know of their existence from word-of-mouth, and personally witnessing the wait line out the door while eating at a competitor’s across the street.

Did they rely on “if you build it they will come” for their sales and marketing plan?

Sort of.

What this establishment did was exactly that — they “established” themselves, quickly and reliably as a high quality breakfast joint that was worth a 45 minute wait. Word spread across our city, and soon I would overhear one or two conversations per week about them.

I believe you can mostly count on the adage “if you build it they will come” as you guarantor of success, with a few additions.

One, what you build needs to be excellent.

Two, the product you make or service you offer needs to be of great value and consistency.

Three, add enough quirky flairs to noticeably stand out and be memorable.

And, finally, four, trust that you can only do your best, and that faith in the process will meet you halfway, gathering into your coffers the proper dues of a just and honorable human.

Posted by: spiritthrive | August 23, 2012

Scales of Connection

It is often noted than humans can hear sounds with frequencies from 20 vibrations per second (called a “Hertz”, abbreviated “Hz”) to 20,000 Hz.

As we age, the high end of this range falls off precipitously, such that a middle age adult generally has a range of 20Hz to 12,000 Hz.

As human-generated music evolved, people found it convenient to define a subset of discrete frequencies called scales within this continuous audio spectrum, which allowed composers a controlled degree of expression.

(Another way to think of this convention was that it allowed some degree of control over an otherwise infinitely variable, and perhaps, therefore, uncontrollable, resource. )

The most common subdivision of the audio range was from doubling to doubling of frequencies, known to musicians as an octave, since this doubled subrange was further divided into eight evenly-spaced notes.

(I’ll save the arguments about whose concept of “evenness” won out for another day. Also, this discussion is primarily about Occidental or Western music)

In the 19th and 20th centuries, composers more fully embraced the octaves’ divisions into 12 evenly-spaced notes (an idea only dabbled with in earlier centuries), allowing for even greater melodic and harmonization choices.

Given this rather cold analysis of the development of music, doesn’t it seem miraculous that the product of its rather capricious restrictions is often beautiful, moving and affective?

What may be the greater lesson offered by the musical subdivision of the audio spectrum?

I suggest that because the Universe has infinite resources to offer us, this concept is incomprehensible to us, and therefore unused.

Had we not partitioned out the audio resource into manageable bits would we be currently denied of music?

Friends of mine were listening to one of my compositions recently, after which I solicited opinions.

One said, “it tugs at your heartstrings.”

It was written in the key of C, as many of my compositions are, the simplest of keys.

(By the way, a key is the selection of beginning and ending notes on a scale, along with a few other rules, within which to further restrain the subset of frequencies.)

How could one human (me) choose a few notes on a scale, record them, and play them back to other humans (my friends) and elicit deeply felt emotions?

We may never fully understand the “how” and “why” of the concept of applying limitations to limitless resources.

But understanding the “what” should not be lost on us.

Posted by: spiritthrive | August 23, 2012

How Will You Connect Today?

Everyday humans connect in dozens—even hundreds—of ways.

When your alarm clock sounds you press its off button (or, for many, snooze button).

This connects you to the people who designed, manufactured and sold you the clock, as well as those similarly waking to their alarms.

As you shower you are connecting to the many who made your shower possible — the faucet suppliers, the installing plumber, water resources staff and so forth.

Continuing your morning, many people are involved in your breakfast, your commute, your work and even your coffee break.

A Buddhist meditation asks one to consider the gifts all these people graciously gave to make for a better life, regardless of whether they felt they were giving to you.

How will you connect today, and who do you have to thank for it?

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