Posts Tagged ‘Stress’

Life after stress: practices, introspection, & mentoring

April 26, 2015
“Simple stress solutions: use easy secrets to relieve stress and manage it well.”

The 3 treasures:

Practices- These are reliable methods of a few kinds: first to calm the body and then to relieve chronic tensions that have social origins.
Mentoring- Because some of the most important practices can be unfamiliar and challenging to most people, mentoring with competent guides can be essential for promoting effectiveness and avoiding imprecision.

Introspection- Ultimately, one can develop sufficient calmness, focus, and clarity to notice any rigidity of body and mind, then understand the underlying issues to resolve them independently of reliance on mentors. Mentoring of others can even accelerate one’s own competence.

Practices- The simplest practice for relieving stress is calm breathing. Here is the simplest form of that practice: take a slow breath in, then pause for a comfortable period of time, then slowly exhale, and then briefly pause again before inhaling.You can quickly experience that practicing a calming breath does in fact produce a calming effect. Next, you can learn the simple background of exactly how this practice works so well. Note that understanding how it works is entirely optional, although comprehension can be very useful as a source of commitment to applying the method consistently.

Notice that there are two common reflexes related to breathing: the startle reflex of holding the breath and the panic reflex of rapid, shallow hyperventilation. While these reflexes can promote survival temporarily, they are unfavorable as long-term adaptions or habits. When startled, it is natural to take a single sudden breath in and then hold it. If the fright is very brief, then the body’s next reflex often will be to calmly sigh.

However, when there is a longer period of caution or alarm, such as a startled inhalation followed by fleeing or fighting or freezing (holding the breath longer), then a singlesigh is not enough to return breathing to normal. At some point, a panting reflex will begin.Again, in many circumstances, the rapid, shallow panting contributes to the well-being of the organism. However, when there is lasting stress of certain kinds, a brief period of panting will not return the organism to calm alertness. In cases of distress, there will be the initial startle reflex of a sudden inhalation and hold, then that will resolve in to a sequence of gasping called hyperventilation.

The problem with hyperventilation is that instead of returning the organism from temporary alarm to calm, the organism will experience lasting anxiety (a semi-hysterical state on the edge of panic). Hyperventilating creates a deficit of carbon dioxide in the bloodstream. That state is called hypocapnia by medical professionals. It is a very common problem and can be very serious.

Basically, for a molecule of oxygen (O2) to be carried from the red blood cells to other tissues adjacent to the bloodstream, a molecule of carbon dioxide (CO2) is required (among other contributing factors). Hyperventilation starves the brain cells of oxygen not because of a lack of oxygen in the bloodstream, but because of a lack of carbon dioxide to transport the oxygen from the bloodstream in to the adjacent tissues.

There is only one primary ways that carbon dioxide gets in to the bloodstream: from out of the cells of the organism. Cells produce CO2, sometimes in small amounts and sometimes in large amounts.

Even in the deepest sleep of hibernation, there are biochemical reactions happening inside of living cells. These reactions often produce CO2 inside of cells, which can be then released in to the adjacent bloodstream. When there is physical exertion, such as walking, stirring, or sawing, that produces CO2 at a higher rate than when there is no exertion.

So, there are two major ways to increase the CO2 levels in the bloodstream. They can be used in isolation or together.

The first method is to slow down the rate of breathing (to slow down the release of CO2). The second method is to increase the intensity of physical exertion (to increase the production of CO2).Note that if someone increases physical exertion and then also increases the rate of exhalation (panting), that will reduce or eliminate any benefit from the increased physical exertion. The point is to put enough extra CO2 in to the bloodstream (and keep it there for long enough) that tissues will  receive an increased supply of oxygen.

Are there real consequences of increasing or decreasing O2 levels in brain cells and other tissues? Yes, such as in the case of sleep apnea in which the brain is getting so little oxygen that it may produce a nightmare to wake up the body and force an interruption to the hyperventilation of the organism while asleep.

When people talk about anxiety attacks or panic attacks, they are referencing the predictable effects of chronic hyperventilation (“over-breathing). They experience “shortness of breath” (mild choking) because of breathing too fast.

When there is a chronic deficit ofCo2 in the bloodstream, that will always produce a chronic deficit of O2 within the cells (including brain cells but also in many other tissues). We can call that chronic anxiety.

In that case, a relatively mild startle reflex from an external trigger (which would not produce much more than a sigh from an organism with sufficient Co2 in the bloodstream) can produce a severe enough diminishing of bloodstream CO2 (and intracellular O2) that we would call that an attack of anxiety or an attack of panic (or an attack of asthma).

Anxiety, panic, and even asthma can be reliably produced by chronic hyperventilation. Of course, because of the diminished supply of CO2 in the brain among so many people, the simplicity of this mechanism is unfamiliar to most people. They are in a state of chronic alarm, paranoia, and hysteria.

They may be easily fatigued (quickly depleting the constricted supply of oxygen that is actually getting in to the brain and other tissues). If they attempt to exercise, they may overexert themselves and then pant, eliminating the potential benefit of the exercise to increase co2 levels in the bloodstream.

They may even experience despair. What can they do to resolve this? To frequently practice the calming breath, perhaps in combination with a moderate increase in physical exertion, has been established as a reliable way to eliminate the effect known as asthma (over the course of several weeks).

Not only is it quite easy to produce anxiety and hysteria through hyperventilation, but quite easy to reverse. Of course, there may be other health issues besides the supply of oxygen to the brain cells, but the vast majority of modern populations have chronic deficits of oxygen in their brain cells (leading to early death of brain cells), which is due to chronic deficits of CO2 in the bloodstream, which is due to excessive breathing (as in too rapid- not enough delay between inhalation and exhalation).

Why all the frightened breathing? Because the stress of modern life can be nearly constant. Even when people are not driving huge metal containers at high speeds, they may seek out a steady supply of stressful stimulation, such as dramatic soap operas, intense action movies, and news reports about disturbing scandals (sometimes featuring exchanges of antagonistic hysteria between two bickering fanatics).

In addition to frequent practices to keep CO2 levels in the bloodstream sufficient (through the calming breath and moderate increases in physical exertion), there is one other very simple practice that is easy to use. Before sleeping, someone can put a piece of tape over their lips. This can be loose or, if appropriate, tight.

What is the benefit? While sleeping, many people will typically breath poorly (as in excessively). This includes any snoring.

By greatly reducing the amount of air that escapes through the mouth (or blocking the mouth completely), this allows CO2 levels in the bloodstream to remain high for the entire period of sleep. Sufficient CO2 in the bloodstream results in sufficient O2 in the cells (including brain cells).

Why do so many people wake up groggy (and yearning for coffee, sugar, or other stimulants to create a flood of adrenalin and invigorate their blood chemistry)? They did not get much O2 while sleeping, so instead of their brain being clear and alert, they wake up foggy.

They find it hard to concentrate. Those ignorant of biochemistry may call this “an attention deficit disorder.” It is a deficiency of oxygen in the brain cells due to over-breathing / chronic hyperventilating / a deficiency of CO2 in the bloodstream.

After a few years of poor breathing and poor sleep, the brain can begin to accumulate toxins that normally would be cleaned out every night while sleeping. After a few decades, not only are they foggy, but they begin to physically stiffen. Depleted oxygen to the cells of the body is also known as suffocation. Some people have been suffocating for years and some for decades.


There are two basic categories of stress: future-related and past-related. We will quickly review them both.Future-related stress is of two general types: worry and hope. Both can produce stress. Neither is always “bad” (and stress is not always bad either).

In simplest terms, worry and hope both refer to ways of relating to a particular possible future outcome. There is recurring focus (as in “pre-occupation”) on at least one possible outcome. One’s current activities can be organized in reference to that future outcome. That can be very functional.

However, the “problem” with hope is that hope can lead to disappointment, which people may be seeking to avoid hysterically.  The “problem” with worry is that worry can lead to despair, which people may also be seeking to avoid hysterically.

In other words, the real problem with the future-oriented stresses of worry and hope is not the actual future possibility. The underlying issue is present hysteria (distress) as a foundation for relating to future stresses.How can that underlying distress be resolved? See the “practices” section for a simple solution.

As for past-oriented stress, we can call those guilt and shame. Those can be internalized and then externalized.

Guilt is about pre-occupation with something that happened but related to with a hysterical idealism condemning that event as something should not have happened. What happened is not the source of the guilt. What happened is the trigger for exposed a hysterical ideal that has already been internalized through a process of social distress or indoctrination.

Guilt can be projected at others in the form of contempt. Someone else did something they should not have done, according to some linguistic ideals of hysterical fanaticism/ present distress.

Next is shame. Shame is about what did not happen. When we already have an internalized anxiety about what should happen, but then that does not happen, we call that experience shame. It is a chronic tension of desiring to hide the terror of failing to conform to a perceived social essential.

The only way to block the display of physical gestures that signal terror is through chronic tension of the face, neck, shoulders (etc). Shame and guilt involve the same physical tensions.

Also, shame can be projected at others (a common strategy to distract others from noticing one’s own shame) and that can be called resentment. We resent others when we are terrified that they did not do something that we hoped they would do, but we do not have the internal resources to flee in terror. So, we fight. We repulse. We resent and then present passive aggression or open condemnation and antagonism.

That shameful aggression is very distinct from violence that is designed to kill prey, to openly intimidate/deter disobedience, or produce a redistribution of some kind of wealth (as in robbery or warfare). The shameful aggression is intended to destroy someone socially (as in their reputation).

We are jealous of their results. We hysterically assert that we should have had better results. We blame them for our disappointing results. We attack them (socially or physically or both).

This projection of internalized shame does not resolve the internalized shame. It does not relax the distress and chronic tension. It can be very dangerous.

In the case of a past history of contempt or resentment towards others, we may consider that we value an increase in social affinity with a particular individual or group. In that case, an explicit apology may be helpful.

We state to them (in whatever way fits best, considerate of their own input) that we wish to apologize. We apologize for first being in distress, then we had particular hopes and/or worries (specifying them with enough detail to produce comprehension in the other party but without so much detail to trigger a surge of hysteria in them). Then, we related to them as violating our preferences (which terrified us), then we panicked, condemned their action or inaction, and then ongoingly practiced contempt and/or resentment toward them.

We state next that we withdraw our condemnation of their action (or inaction). We respect them and their choices. We admit that our expectations or preferences are the ultimate source of our reaction, not their action or inaction. We apologize for our general distress and our particular animosity.

We may also make a symbolic offer of goodwill. We may make a request or invitation. We may make a promise (in exceptional cases).

We are primarily interested in their comprehension of the basic details of our apology. We are not expecting anything from them and we are not groveling. We may withdraw from interaction.

Usually, there is no stressing of anything that we owe them or that they owe us. The communication of the apology is ideally distinct from any other “negotiations” and, until the apology is completed (with a sense that the other has experienced relief of any concerns about the past condemnation), other communications may be halted.


There is much more to the issue of introspection. What is above is simply a general framework for additional exploration.The issue of exactly how the masses are programmed with specific social anxieties and hysterias can be addressed next (unless there is an immediate interest for mentoring first). Mentoring, briefly stated, is the practice of introspection with the assistance of one or more other people who are competent enough in the practice of introspection to increase the efficiency and benefits of introspection for someone else.

Idealism as a cause of distress

April 16, 2015
Idealism as a cause of distress

These 3 questions below could be asked from calm curiosity. In that case, the questions simply express open-mindedness.

However, when there is a background of distress (anxiety), the same questions can be used to forms dilemmas (rather than to launch exploration and brainstorming). After creating a dilemma of a rigid “either/or” pre-occupation, that fixation is the foundation that can be built on to eventually spark an avalanche of agonizing. After we review these 3 questions briefly, we will then explore the root issue underneath all 3 common forms of distressed agonizing.

What I should do?


Who should I trust?


How I should be?


Here, we could review some specific patterns of how people use those kinds of questions to cultivate distress. The short version is that they rehearse “fantasy” scenarios that frighten them.

(Note that the “fantasy” scenarios typically begin by rehearsing actual memories that trigger a distressed “brainstorming.” I use the term “fantasy” scenarios because they are not being directly observed in that moment, but are being pondered or recalled or invented. This can be a very frightening way of brainstorming.)

So, rehearsing the scenarios that are frightening then justifies a state of near-paralysis (or explosive hysterias). In an ideal circumstance, that can lead to a very isolated “cry for help” toward someone perceived to be capable of helping and willing to help discretely.

In moderate distress, there will need to be an expectation of receiving help before someone will display their distress signal. Because that is often not the case, the distress can be crippling.

However, in the most extreme distress, the typical resistance to drawing attention will be irrelevant. Help will be directly and explicitly invited from most any possible source of assistance.


Am I safe?

If someone is in distress, then their perception is that they either are not safe or might not be safe and cannot easily find out if they are safe. That creates an urgent dilemma.

So, in an extreme case of perceived threat, they do not perceive fleeing or fighting as attractive methods for coping with the perceived threat. Instead of the more active responses of fight or flight, they freeze and fake (which are relatively passive responses to a possible threat).

The specific kind of faking includes an attempt to block the display of facial expressions and gestures that could be interpreted as signalling distress. That requires physical tension. That tension can be held chronically (locked in).

They maintain the frozen physical state of locked muscular tensions. They may cling to their familiar routine and habits (so as not to do anything unusual that might draw unsafe attention to them). Not only do they “lock in” their own routine, but they also may begin to lean toward activities that are extremely common within their social setting. They seek to blend in. They hide not by being literally invisible, but by being as unremarkable as possible.

Desperate dependency on the familiar
So, how well does that actually work? In some cases, locking in a routine can be very functional as a method of simplifying everyday life. However, when major circumstances change while there is a rigid, anxious clinging to old familiar routines, that can create ineffectiveness or at least inefficiency. Results may be consistently produced, but they are just not the results that are now relevant.

That naturally leads to disappointment with the results of the familiar methods, but when there is a reflexive suppression of the display of all disappointment, that means no talking about it directly. Instead, in moderate states of distress, people tend to keep doing the same old habits that used to work effectively. They may complain that they are not getting the results they expected or they may complain that they are getting the results that they expected, but they just do not value those results as much anymore.

Before they would say anything so direct and clear, they will likely experience frustration. The bigger the chronic tension or pretense in the background, the bigger the frustration will need to get in order for them to independently recognize the real source of the dilemma.

In many cases, people may seem blind to their own familiar presumptions as being presumptive. They are creating dilemmas and distress out of habit (inattentively). They are not calm and clear. They are not focused.

They are approaching panic, but hiding it. They are desperate. The root of desperation is despair, as in hopelessness. Instead of hope, they may be growing a terror.

Again, they are not just making careful, calm measurements of safety. They are operating from distressed presumptions of idealism. They are preserving their idealism at the expense of admitting that any of their presumptions might be presumptive. They may furiously dismiss the idea that they have any participation in

They may attack suggestions that they have authority as threatening. They may deny that their panic attacks involve any habitual interpretations or practices.

Instead of thinking about how to assess their own methods and revise them, they think about how to retreat from distress. Retreating certainly may be favorable and satisfying on occasion.

However, in actuality, there may be no dilemma between either retreating from some trigger (such as a person or a job) or changing one’s own methods. Often, people simply brainstorm about how to best flee (while maintaining the “holding pattern” of maintaining familiar routines). Or, people may crumble in to shameful agonizing over identifying the perfect method before taking any new action.

Again, either of those extreme responses could be valuable in a particular circumstance. But they often are ineffective.

Plus, when there is a distress and a chronic tension to hide the distress, then people may not relax on their own to the point of exploring how they can BOTH alter their own thought process AND explore moderate levels of withdrawing (rather than total retreat). When a possible threat is sensed, then caution can be increased, momentum can be interrupted, pace can be slowed, and more precise assessments of safety can be made (including by people considered unusually perceptive). Further, distress can be admitted and relaxation can be targeted as a possible priority.

So, we can avoid the dilemma of “either this is a problem caused solely by my own misinterpretation or this is a problem solely of external factors.” Maybe there is a problem and maybe not. Maybe it involves some degree of actual threat. Maybe it involves some degree of misinterpretation and invented distress.

The value of inventing stresses

Why would people ever invent distress? Inventing justifications for stress can be an effective method for testing other people in regard to their willingness and ability to handle stress (like stress in general or a particular kind of stress).

Do you value knowing how specific other people respond to stress? Then expose them to some stress! (Exactly how much feedback do you want to receive?)

If the stress is a stress that you make up, that may be ideal because then there is no real trigger for stress, but just an invented stress for you to display to them (as an over-reaction, even if sincere). You can practice displaying stress without any actual cause for stress being present. You may even know that the whole thing is a pretense.

Assessing responses to stressYou can assess their willingness to respond to the stress you present. Do they retreat? Do they ignore? Do they question skeptically and calmly? Do they condemn harshly? Those various responses may all be signals of different levels of willingness to process stress.

However, willingness to process stress is not the same as ability. Some people may be very willing to assist others with processing stress (whether specific other people or absolutely anyone). Sincerity is no guarantee of effectiveness.

Maybe a person is eager to assist anyone with process stress because the prospective savior wants to compensate for a sense that they need some justification for existing (like their mere existence is somehow a problem or a crime). Or, maybe they do not have a savior complex of massive, heroic reforms.

Perhaps they are simply willing to assist specific others in order to promote specific priorities for them. Maybe they are cultivating partners and allies. Maybe they are creating bonds and networks. Or, maybe they are just professionals at managing stress and are earning a salary or an hourly fee.

Note that professional success is typically measured simply by cash profits. However, a professional may be extremely successful financially without being unusually effective.

Maybe they are quite happy in their own lives or maybe not. Maybe they are consistently effective with others and maybe not.

The various social valuations of stress management skills

In some circumstances, life may be orderly and stable such handling stress is rarely a challenge. Maybe only the poorest or least mature people have an interest in managing stress better.

In other conditions, there may be sudden, large changes for entire populations of people and then the ability to handle stress well is a rare and precious skill. Immense advantages may be accessible through a skillful and perceptive approach to managing stress.

Further, in conditions of lasting instability, handling stress well may be a very common focus because it is essential. Everyone may be interested and only those capable of mastering stress will survive.

Those different phases can form a cycle. Out of instability, order forms. Then order stabilizes. Then order destabilizes. Moderate amounts of order may destabilize gradually. Rigid orders may rarely destabilize without sudden and massive disruptions.


It can be useful to recognize which stage of that cycle fits for your current circumstance (in terms of culture and economy). While predictions can be challenging, measurements may be easy to make.

If you know both what your own internal feedback is and know what the social reality is, then that perceptiveness can promote effectiveness. With that in mind, I like to make an analogy to sailing on a boat.

Sometimes, it is easier to adjust the sails than to change the direction of the wind. Also, it could be very useful to accurately assess the actual direction of the wind before adjusting the sails. Any familiar presumptions about how the wind should be may be obstacles to adaptiveness and effectiveness… unless they are recognized as being mere presumptions.

As for identifying the destination of value to you, that can also be an important issue. If that is not clear and yet your sails are up, you might value taking them down to reduce your speed (or even find a dock).

A mature view on the function of emotions

March 4, 2015

Imagine the most mature and wise person that you know. How does a mature person relate to emotions?

A mature person does not compulsively hide from certain emotions as “too disruptive to maintaining certain perceptions about their social persona.” However, it can be favorable to repress the display of certain emotions temporarily (like in the middle of a business meeting). Temporary repression of the experiencing of an emotion can also be attractive (like while driving on the way to catch a plane or while in the middle of performing surgery). Likewise, it can also be favorable to actively pursue the depths of each emotion, perhaps in seclusion or perhaps with a companion or chaperone.

Some groups of people will gather to encourage each other in their suppression of certain emotions, especially anger and fear and grief. Grief may be the most welcome of those three. As long as someone does not display too much anger or fear, grief may even be encouraged.



However, what if someone is grieving a specific incident that involves the suppression of their display of fear or anger? There may be intense stress placed on repressing certain experiences. In other words, some experiences (or the display of some experience) may be distressing.

How does distress arise? Is the distress a signal for an attraction to some new circumstance, such as a new social dynamic?

If someone “just needs to get away” from something or someone, is that experience something that for some reason should not ever happen? Why is it that certain developments are ever labeled as something that should never happen? Who places such labels and when exactly?

When in the midst of people who are actively repressing certain emotions of their own, then they may be terrified of even the smallest displays of that same emotion, for certain emotional displays can be contagious. Notice the contagious nature of laughing, of yawning, of crying, and even of startled screaming. Notice that in an antagonistic argument, there are at least two people who escalate from frustration quickly toward blame for their own frustration.

Why do people blame others? Blame is related to a perception of a threat.

Why would two people who perceive each other as a threat do something other than withdraw from each other? In some cases, both parties may perceive themselves to be trapped. Note that the perception may be quite accurate.
Antagonistic arguing is a type of activity that is repulsive (like two opposing pressures will repel each other). Blame may even be absent and yet still the antagonism or frustration is obvious. We can call that “passive aggression.”

Two parties may engage with each other in a dynamic of mutual derision or condescension, each one attempting to attack the other however subtly or overtly. Even if unstated, there may be a message in the tone of voice indicating “you should not be like that and I am angry that you are” (or disappointed, etc…).

Note that when two people habitually repress certain emotions and then interact with each other casually and frequently, such as in a marriage, then their repressed emotions may surface in that unusual, private context. They may even state their own surprise at the experience, like “I am not normally like this at all- this is not the real me” or “this never happened when we were dating, right!?!?”

The distress of habitual repressions can surface suddenly and in disorganized, disruptive ways. However, one of the greatest benefits of personal relationships may be their capacity to give us access to emotional functions that we have learned to repress.


Note that I used the term functions. Emotions are functions. Emotions are coping mechanisms.

Even conflicted emotions (such as the fear of displaying fear) have their value and functionality. The idea of “dysfunction” is about mismatch: when the emotion that one is “using” does not work well to produce whatever result is attractive.

Repression of emotion is the source of mismatches. When one experiences total freedom to display emotion, that is a relaxed state (in contrast to a state that is distressed, contracted, tight, frightened, paralyzed, etc…).

There are many ways to develop emotional sensitivity and emotional intelligence. Respecting all emotions as functions (or even skills) can be a sign of ripening maturity. All hysterias about “how the world must be for me to be okay” or “how life should never be” are just emotional conflicts that are constructed as habitual coping mechanisms for distress.

Emotions are sudden movements of electrical energy (like a flush of hormones). Emotions are motivation. The repression of emotion is the repression of motivation.

The two basic types of emotion are emotions of approach as distinct from withdrawal (or of attraction as distinct from repulsion). In a very general sense, all the attractive emotions are within the “family” of hope, as in openness or optimism. Note that the word hope has historical roots similar to the words optimism and openness.

On the contrary are emotions of repulsion or withdrawal. Those include fear, fright, terror, anxiety, resentment, contempt, grief, and many others.
All of these patterns or processes have value. If you are open to learning the value or purpose of all of the variations of emotion, then you are ripe for a rare level of maturity. I can help. Let me know if you are interested.

Is there “life after stress?”

January 11, 2015

Today, we are going to witness a few different levels of stress. We will explore the relaxation, stress, distress, and many things in between. We will frequently focus on the alert, focused state that is between total relaxation and stress.

We will observe that different patterns of  behavior reliably produce different results (in terms of stress levels). The first behavior that we will focus on is the use of language in communication.

As for the different results that we will witness, those will range from what we categorize as a normal level of stress on up to elevated stress , distress, paranoia, and total panic. We will also notice the extremes of withdrawal, exhaustion, resignation, and denial.

So, we will study a variety of things that are not the alert, focused state between total relaxation and stress.  In short, those sub-optimal states can be called “being out of focus.” Then, we will explore that contrasting state, which some have called “being in the zone.” That state is famous for it’s efficiency, it’s precision, it’s coordination, and it’s giant leaps in productivity, creativity, and innovation.

On our journey, after we establish a foundation of radical clarity about the nature of language, then we will also encounter a rich history of similar explorations which have been led by some of the most famous personas in the last few thousand years. Through the entire process, we will notice various levels of sub-optimal stress in others and in ourselves, then return over and over again to the simple alertness of a child. We will also explore how we can assist others in experiencing the focused, alert state that some people have referenced as “the straight and narrow gateway that leads to the realm of heaven.”

Here are a few examples of different patterns of language:

1) However you are could be very interesting.

2) However you are is not as interesting as how you should be and, by the way, you are not how you should be… at least not yet.

3) However you are is generally irrelevant except for the inevitable fact that you are how you should not be.

These different statements can correspond to different levels of stress. In particular, the statements can correspond to the perception of a threat by another person. If someone says any of these things to you, how you experience their statement could depend on who they are and how you relate to them.

If a small child that you have never seen walks up to you in public and then points directly at you and says in distress “you are not how you should be,” then turns and runs away while giggling, you would probably be moderately curious at most. That is probably not a familiar experience to you, so you might wonder what is going on with the child. But would you feel threatened in any way?

What if you receive a bulk email in which some sender that you do not recognize sends to dozens of addresses the message of “you are not how you should be and so, because you have not met my expectations, I am never going to email you again!” Would receiving that email in any way upset you?

People in their interaction with you are displaying whether they are actually attentive to you or to some extent are fixated on their ideals and expectations. This can be useful to know.

If someone says “you are how you should not be,” then that is a language pattern that we could call rejection. In many cases, the consistent rejecting of others corresponds to a pattern of linguistic self-rejection: “I am not how I should be.” We could call that shame or the state of hell. It is a highly stressed state.

How would someone shame another? When someone says to another person that “you are not how you should be,” that is a language pattern that MIGHT be what is called shaming. When someone says “I am ashamed of you,” the first three words of their statement are “I am ashamed.”

Next, if someone says “you are not how you should be… not yet,” then that is a language pattern that we could call “purgatory.” If someone frequently relates to other people from behind a “wall” of fixating on ideals of “how people should be,” that pattern may also correspond to a state of moderate stress. They may experience their life as “not how it should be… not yet” and if that is how they identify their life, then they could also identify themselves as “not how I should be… not yet.”

How do they typically identify others in that state of moderate stress: “not yet how they should be.” This is actually a state of being “out of focus” or inattentive. It is naive. By focusing on some ideal with desperation, we can notice a few things about someone and then anxiously presume that, because of a few details or events that fit our ideals, then they SIMPLY MUST BE a perfect fit for some set of ideals that we already had about “that special person who would make our life change from not yet how it should be to finally being how it should be.” When we find out inevitably that the reality of that person is not a perfect match for those ideals (that the ideals are not a perfect match for them), then we may react with a sense of terror and cover our recognition of our prior naivete with accusations of betrayal.

Of course, it is also possible that someone intentionally misled us about being a perfect match for our ideals. Maybe they did deceive and betray us. Have you ever noticed that, in purgatory, people often say things like “people should never deceive me?”

Did one specific person alter my language patterns from purgatory to hell? Did they stop me from saying “I am not yet how I should be” and train me to say “I am how I should not be?” There is an entire culture or sub-culture of people who worship ideals in ways that correspond to a shameful rejection of themselves for any contrast between their experience and whatever ideals they have been programmed to worship.

snake eating itself

Note that the focus is not directly on the actual reality of anything itself, but only through the filter of the ideals.  Ideals do not need to be used in that way. That is relating to ideals from idealism (from a state of stress).

Further, there is even some functionality to relating to ideals from stress (or a highly cautious state). When a small child is taught a few ideals about “what kind of people are safe,” then it is okay to have a set of ideals ready so that we can test whether others behave in ways that we will categorize as “presumed safe” or “presumed dangerous.”Ideals and presumptions are very useful. That is why they exist. However, it is most useful to know that presumptions are always presumptive. Sometimes, our initial presumptions might be established as currently inaccurate (and maybe never were accurate).

So, ideals can be related to just as values or preferences, such as “I especially value people who ____.” That is not “stressful language.” That is not distress.

Distress can also be useful. For instance, through distress we can come to notice the contrasting quality of alertness (and to greatly value alertness).

Only after coming to appreciate the rarity of calm alertness would one consider the possibility of investing time in to developing attentiveness to the relationship between various patterns of linguistic behavior and the experience of calm alertness. Who is further along that path of clarity that might assist you in promoting calm alertness?

If you are reading this now and recognize the clarity demonstrated in this presentation, you can request additional assistance. How can you create relationships and a lifestyle that promotes relief from stress and distress as well as the developing of calm alertness?

Stress: a powerful source of motivation

June 1, 2014

Stress: a powerful source of motivation


Stress: What is it?

How is stress useful?

What causes stress?

How can stress be relieved and managed?

Stress: what is it?

Stress is a label for a broad category of physical responses. A few types of stress response can be normal temporary increases in stress, occasional episodes of hysterical over-reactions, chronic elevations, as well as the other extreme, like when an organism is unusually unresponsive because of using prescription drugs to impair the body’s normal response of stress. If you are open to relating to stress as an important and even beneficial process, this material is for you.

Let’s begin now to calmly explore stress. Have you ever seen someone and thought “that person looks very stressed! Usually they are much more relaxed than they look now. I wonder… what is going on?”

We can think of stress as a measurable physical pattern. That pattern involves chemicals that we can call “stress hormones.” Further, specific patterns of physical tension (in muscles) are involved in stress and relaxation (stress relief).

knot of stress

Imagine a cat experiencing stress. The distressed cat may want to make itself look bigger by extending it’s hairs, arching it’s back, and even raising it’s tail. The cat intentionally displays the signals of a threat.

It is through electrical changes in skin produce that we produce results like “hair raising” when scared or  goosebumps due to cold. Electricity from within the body or outside of the body can produce the raising of hair.

If you have ever heard of a “lie detector test,” those tests actually measure specific physical changes, like changes in the electrical properties of skin and other tissue. Different stress tests can precisely measure changes in skin voltage, sweating, chest breathing, abdominal breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure.


The tests measure the stress response of the person who is being questioned while connected to the measurement device called a polygraph machine. With some questions, stress levels may be notably higher (or lower).


For instance, in the test result displayed below, the test subject was asked “did you ever lie about someone to get even?” At the time of that question, the red line jumps way up, indicating a sudden change in blood pressure.

polygraph test shows stress response to question

In the image below, the circles on the chart indicate where the polygraph specialist detected a tightening of a certain muscle. The contraction of muscles can block the flow of breathing, thus blocking or slowing down the display of distress.


In fact, polygraphs and other devices can measure physical tension of someone whether or not they are being asked questions. Even someone who is sleeping will have changes in physical tension, such as while having a nightmare.

Other situations in which it is typical to carefully monitor stress levels are during surgery or in other extreme medical emergencies. Of course, stress levels can also be monitored while someone is watching different kinds of presentations, like a new horror movie, a classic comedy, or an instructional program on landscape painting.

So, what is stress? Stress is a label for a broad category of physical responses. By the word “response,” we mean a way of responding to a particular perception which is identified as important. Next, let’s explore how stress can be useful in recognizing what is important to us.

How is stress useful?

Which is more important: to identify potential risks or potential opportunities? Imagine driving a car on a crowded highway. Maybe you know that you are close to the entrance of the business that is your chosen destination. However, suddenly you see a flash of brake lights, then the sound of a siren. Which is more important: potential risks or potential opportunities?

(to be continued…)

Relaxing stress (AKA “fear”)

May 8, 2014

Everyone experiences some variation between relaxation and stress. The normal range of human experience includes both of the two extremes of relaxation and agitation (as in arousal or stress) plus everything in between.

For many people, there is a persistent experience of stress (which they might like to alter through exploring relaxation). We can measure stress by such indicators as the rate of breathing (like in hyperventilation), heart rate, physical tension, and of course the levels of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenalin.
The stress response is otherwise known as fear. Stress hormones increase the capacity for a sudden shift to “fight or flight” (as well as for freezing and faking and so on).

There are two general ways to relate to fear (AKA stress): either as a solution or as a problem. Both are understandable.

When a social animal relies on it’s society for survival, then “too much fear” can be labeled a problem by those who benefit from the participation of many others. For instance, for a disabled retiree, it is natural that they want to have lots of people working hard and paying lots of taxes in order to support the survival of the disabled retiree. If there was an interruption to the work done by farm workers and delivery truck drivers and so on, the disabled retiree might be unable to survive more than a few weeks without assistance.

To that dependent person, it is a problem for other people to have “too much fear.” Only through the cooperation of others do the privileged receive a constant flow of resources coming from hard-working productive people. In contrast, primitive subsistence farmers who are self-reliant are not likely to complain if millions of people a few hundred miles away simply stop working.
In other words, the fear of the priviliged people may be projected on to those who serve the interests of the privileged. The privileged may train the masses to avoid “too much fear” (to fear relaxation).

Any amount of fear that leads the masses to relax is a threat to the fragile privileges of the privileged. To the privileged, a moderate amount of constant fear is ideal for the masses, while so much stress that the masses relax is unfavorable. In the event of “too much stress” (indicated by such things as illness), the privileged elite benefit from the masses suppressing their immune system, ignoring the signal to relax, and continuing to dutifully provide for the privileges of the privileged.

Consider a case like “mandatory health care coverage.” Why would the privileged want to impose on to the masses mandatory participation in a system that supports medical interventions that mostly just interrupt the functioning of the immune system? Such a system reduces the number of days that the masses take off from work due to sickness.

So, naturally the privileged may be willing to support such a system and even to invest huge amounts of other people’s money (taxes) in to influencing public opinion about such programs.
So, it is understandable that the privileged may wish to force on to the masses certain health care practices, right? By subsidizing or even requiring certain medical procedures, the privileged can also reduce the profitability of other methods and approaches. By manipulating economic demand in favor of medical interventions that benefit the privileged, then economic demand for all other things drops (whether within the health care industry or not). Simply put, for every dollar spent on suppressing immune systems, that is one less dollar spent on something else.
In the field of marketing, it is the role of the marketing specialists to influence public demand. In the marketing of health care programs, the ideal outcome from the perspective of the marketer is that the public has so much emotional investment in a particular method that the public will be not just uninterested in rational discussion of alternatives, but terrified and even outraged by rational discussions.
The intense loyalty of the masses to the marketed practice is not just the target when marketing health care practices, but in general. For instance, when marketing financial investment alternatives, the intense loyalty to certain highly-publicized methods (and opposition to rational discussion) is the ideal outcome as well.

So, an immense amount of marketing can target producing the outcome in the masses of an irrational fear of admitting to the experience of fear. In the “new age” community (and the “new thought” churches), the demonization of fear is notably popular.

“Avoid negativity” is the ironic, hypocritical mantra of the naive practitioners of reverse psychology. Why are they so stressed about fear? Because unless they are programmed to experience intense guilt and depression at the first hint of the public display of fear, they may begin to relate to fear as valuable (and then, to make things much worse for the privileged, they may even begin to relax).

Who will cater to the privileged if the masses relax when they experience stress? Instead of allowing for the masses to relax, the marketers comne to the rescue of the privileged and promote more exertion: “if you are stressed, you probably just need to work out for an extra 5 hours per week!”

How is it that more physically stressful activity could be promoted as a remedy for too much stress? Well, marketers can be quite creative.  Further, the general public can be quite naive. As long as the emotions of the masses are powerfully triggered, they can be indoctrinated with a huge range of reflexive reactions by effective propagandists.
“If I am interested in relaxing, what is the best way to do it?”
That question is already a venting of stress. The person who is already stressed asks “what is the right way to stop being stressed?” They may be coming from a context of frightened perfectionism (a pattern of chronic tension).
So, what is a good way to relax? Simply reverse all of the signs of increased stress.

For instance, slowing down the pace of breathing is typically a very easy thing to do. The normal breathing activity of the highly-stressed modern masses is technically already within the range that could be medically classified as hyperventilation.

However, because the masses are so familiar with their own hyperventilating, they think nothing of it. Asthma, for instance, is simply a form of chronic hyperventilation.

There are many other factors related to stress, such as nutrition and pH (as in acidity or voltage). The same way that a very extreme pH concentrated in small area would be stressful enough to destroy tissue, very extreme pH distributed throughout an organism is also quite stressful.

To learn more about our stress management programs, leave a comment on this article.



evolutionary medicine vs addiction, inflammation, & oxidative stress

December 12, 2013

(A letter to a functional medicine practitioner):

I value specific goals that are measurable. Over time, the priorities of the goals WILL change as each new goal is attained and a new goal rises in to the spotlight. Overall, our target is optimal health, not just “treating” for an isolated remedial recovery.

Infected ingrown toenail showing the character...

Infected ingrown toenail showing the characteristic redness and swelling associated with acute inflammation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In my reading, the subject of inflammation has seemed interesting, especially as an INDICATION of stress. The migraines and so many other symptoms are all forms of what can be called localized inflammation (or auto-immune distress). Generally, we know that in a healthy person, inflammation stimulates pain signals. So, reducing inflammation reduces pain.

English: Post waxing inflammation of a males torso

English: Post waxing inflammation of a males torso (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What causes inflammation? First, inflammation itself is a not disease or a demon that possesses people, like “gastritis” or “gastralgia” or “humanitis.” That is the  voodoo witchcraft of mainstream remedial practitioners who are not relating to physiology from deep roots of comprehension.

Inflammation is simply a biochemical effect. In fact, inflammation appears to be a less technical word for “oxidative stress.”

Once we are clear on how WE have been causing inflammation, we can ask “how can the production of inflammation be decreased/ reduced?” (For instance, if we find that H. Pylori populations are high, then why? Are we throwing wood and gasoline on to a fire while trying to turn up the air conditioner in a desperate panic to reduce the heat?)

English: Photograph of typical, mild dermatitis

English: Photograph of typical, mild dermatitis (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The most startling thing I have read about inflammation is in the grounding literature, which I will get to in a moment. First, inflammation can be from “injury,” like in the case of sunburn (or exposure to intense radiation, a lightning strike, etc). Other “injuries” can be high-carb diets which are fuel for the burning of fires (pathogenic fires), as well as from other toxins and medications like hormone-based birth control pills (if I understand correctly).

English: Taken by me, no usage restrictions. I...

English: Taken by me, no usage restrictions. Image for tonsillitis page which does not have a photo yet. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Because of “environmental stress,” resources that would be used to heal inflamed (injured/stressed) tissue may be redirected elsewhere. So, stress (like loud noises and a new marriage) can worsen inflammation (or slow the healing of it). Biochemically, cortisol seems to PRODUCE stress, and that is why light exposure at night is such a factor in sleep/insomnia.

On a biochemical level, when there are available electrons, there is no inflammation. Anti-oxidants are “anti-inflammatory” because they provide 1 electron at a time, including those consumed in diet (like turmeric or resveratrol) or those that can be produced within the body like glutathione. The CDS we are taking apparently provides 5 electrons per molecule of CD. [Correction: CD is an electron stealer, but a very selective one, which turns out to have some very favorable results, which are especially well-documented for children experiencing the symptoms labeled autism.]

Even better, grounding to the earth provides a constant current of electrons from the earth. That’s not an electron converted from fat or carbohydrates through “expensive” metabolic processes. That is just a freely available electron.

The use of grounding relieves local inflammation and, with sufficient hydration to allow the electrons to move throughout the body, relieves inflammation anywhere in the body. That is the big deal about grounding. Even someone with a good diet will typically produce some systemic inflammation unless they do what humans have done for millions of years and at least occasionally make an electromagnetic connection directly with the earth.

An infant with mild blepharitis (inflamed eyel...

An infant with mild blepharitis (inflamed eyelids) on his right side (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

However, all of that still does not address the question of how we have been producing so much inflammation. What I have read recently on “SIBO” (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) is that eating carbs is what feeds the bacteria at the top of the small intestine. Thus, people that MIGHT have a SIBO situation can STOP eating carbohydrates for a few days (for instance) as an experiment.

I also remember reading a long time ago that eating carbs floods the blood with glucose, so then insulin is flooded in to protect the tissues from the toxicity of so much glucose (like the one Halloween when I ate so much candy that I got sick, had intense pain, and eventually threw up… to my great relief). Then, what I did not know is that the body dumps adrenalin in to the blood to clear out the insulin. THAT is apparently “sugar high” from eating carbs, which is not a high from sugar at all, but from adrenalin.

So, I am getting more related to the issue of hormones. However, I am clear that I do not know much about them. What I have read in the last few days about birth control pills (and alternative methods of contraception) seems quite simple. Clearly, birth control pills are not part of a paleo/evolutionary protocol.

Electron micrograph of H. pylori possessing mu...

Electron micrograph of H. pylori possessing multiple flagella (negative staining) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But parasites have been around a long time. In studying the cures of autism (and malaria) relating to the cleansing of parasites, I also read a list of symptoms of parasitic infection that is extremely consistent with my wife’s list of symptoms.

Parasites are the one situation that does generally correspond to the “demonic possession” model so popular in remedial medicine (of “having rickets” rather than “not having sufficient access to an important hormone called Vitamin D“). By the way, I did not know that Vitamin D was a hormone until the last few months. Anyway, I’m concerned about parasites because I’ve seen the pictures and videos about kids who totally recovered from regressive autism (and all of the neurological inflammation and dysfunction) through a protocol to (1) stop feeding the parasites and (2) remove them slowly, because of the potential toxicity of removing them too fast (“die off/herxheimer effects”).Again, I also have an “evolutionary medicine” perspective, so I respect that humans evolved with parasites. There could be symbiotic interactions. I respect the very clear VALUE of having SOME presence of parasites, like in Helminthic therapy, which I had never heard of until last week when I was researching online. I addressed that here:
Foot deformed by inflammation of the joints

Foot deformed by inflammation of the joints (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By the way, I have not seen my wife drink coffee in weeks. Drinking coffee was one of the practices that, according to our reading, was connected to some symptoms that she would like to stop producing. She stopped eating eggs and dairy and corn. Why? They were identified as potential sources of inflammation (oxidative stress).
It is appropriate to think in terms of addictions. People may be addicted to aspartame, gluten, grains, dairy, coffee, and even birth control pills (as in an emotional dependency rationalized by a concern for a very heavy detox/menstruation). These addictions are stressful to maintain and can be stressful to interrupt.

So, it is valuable to have someone involved who is familiar with typical sequences in the interrupting of addictive habits. Detox/withdrawal symptoms may be monitored and slowed down (or perhaps even sped up).

In closing, we are dealing with CHRONIC inflamed oxidative stress, which I will give the diagnostic label “oxygenitis.”
That means inflammation of the oxygen (AKA combustion, burning, irritation, dehydration, heat, fever, rash, redness, etc…).

That oxygenitis is the product of specific actions. We do not have to stop all of the actions that produce SOME oxygenitis if we are just trying to reduce the oxygenitis to a moderate level. Or, we could stop the various creative actions to make oxygenitis all at once. Of course, we could only stop a few of the reliable ways to create oxygenitis and then see how that goes.

However, in severe cases of chronicoxygenitis, it is good to know lots of possible causal actions, stop them all, and then, once a SPECIFIC set of targets has been reached (such as HS-CRP below 4) we can begin re-introducing one or two of theoxygenitis-causing behaviors in moderation to assess the optimal long-term practices. That is my plan generally.I know that I can look here to find support for this:
I also think that this is a great opportunity for our current doctor to move towards being on that list (which is a rather short list so far of exactly one physician).

Helicobacter pylori bacteria

Helicobacter pylori bacteria (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Beyond guilt to grace: the sacred function of emotions

August 28, 2013

Beyond guilt to grace: the sacred function of emotions

English: Miley Cyrus plays in concert Polski: ...

English: Miley Cyrus plays in concert Polski: Miley Cyrus podczas koncertu (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Your emotions are sacred. They are holy. They are also very powerful, so unless you respect their power, their power can lead to challenging surprises.

Imagine driving a big, heavy semi truck for the first time and then going down a steep, winding mountain road. Do you know what will happen?

The momentum of the semi truck is greater than the momentum of a small sports car. To make it safer to drive a big heavy truck down steep, winding roads, a truck driver can change the gears of the vehicle so that the speed of the truck stays in a range that is easy to manage.

Since it takes a lot of braking to stop a heavy truck, keeping speed moderate is important. Also, a heavy truck cannot change direction with the ease of a sports car, so weaving down a winding road will be very challenging unless the pace is kept moderate.

Handling emotions can be a lot like handling a big heavy truck while driving on a steep, winding mountain road. The word emotion is related to motion, movement, and momentum.

When we have only a small amount of awareness about the power of emotion, then new circumstances in life can lead to challenging surprises. We can experience stress, like the experience that things are going too fast and getting out of control. How do we relate to stress?

Many people relate to stress as if stress simply should not exist. This can be called repression or suppression or simply denial. This can even be called terror.

I also call that guilt. Guilt is relating to something as if it should not be however it is.

So, if we relate to emotions as things that should not be how they are, that that is being guilty about them. We can relate to them or label them as emotions that should not be how they are (or “negative”). That can lead to desire and other emotions manifesting in sudden, erratic, and chaotic ways.

What do we do when we relate to something as if it should not be how it is (when we fear it and it’s power)? We hide it. We protect it from attention. We suppress it. We criticize it in other people and hysterically fear those who spark in us the thing that we sincerely perceive as a threat.

“In breaking news, today Miley Cyrus denied emphatically that exhibitionism is a call for attention and publicity.”

We may also passionately condemn whatever we identify as what should not be. We may protest reality as a threat to our ideology of what should be. We may even campaign for political solutions to offer us salvation from the “hell” of emotional stress. We can be foolish and stubborn and, most of all, terrified.

So, one common behavior is to label our emotions as negative or what should not be or threats or terrors. Of course, terror is an emotion, but when we suppress terror, then any emotional charge may tend to capture some of the charge of the latent terror, so we may end up repressing lots of emotion in order to keep the terror from surfacing.

Our terror of facing guilt leads naturally to avoiding it, though it may still come out rather explosively, like in a tearful burst of rage. Further, to face guilt or terror can be a stressful process. So, sometimes we may value partnering with an ally to assist and guide us in combing out the tangles of guilt.

We may also feel an impulse to simply unload our guilts by revealing them to someone who is not terrified of emotion. We may value confessing to a trusted listener who does not relate to emotions as terrifying threats and who reliably keeps all the personal details confidential.

Confidentiality is important because the terror of being vulnerable functions to protect us from the perceived threat of unwelcome attention from others. Those who are even more stressed than us might target us and punish us for revealing things that may be to them quite terrifying, disturbing, threatening, humbling, and related to shamefully as “what should not be.”

So grace is related to the word gratitude. What if rather than be fundamentally terrified of so many powerful emotions that we may claim should not be so powerful, we were respectful of their power or even grateful?

What if we respected that other people may be terrified of particular emotions, like a baby that is almost asleep but is easily disturbed? What if emotions were allies that we could use to recognize what matters to us?

Is it realistic to expect to never be disappointed (to experience grief)? If we are terrified of grief, then it can be very frustrating to stress over how to hide our grief. That frustration can take a trigger for grief and multiply the grief in to a grievance, then in to resentment, contempt, and so on.

We can relate to people and groups as if they should not be how they are. We can complain that they are too powerful or not as generous as they should be (according to us). We can argue over what should be and then fight over how to fix reality so that reality is made in to how it should be.

Then there are all the details. Who should pay for it (and how)? What private contractors should be hired to do the research and the planning and the implementation?

Reality can be related to as a problem. Who presents themselves as the solution? Who treats reality as a problem? Could that just be a marketing program?

But should those who sell us salvation (political salvation or otherwise) concoct problems just to promote their planned policies and their ritual sacraments as solutions to the invented problems? Haven’t we been trained to parrot hysterically an ideal that “they just should not do things like that?”

Would they tell us what should be just because they know that training the masses in what should be is a great mechanism for hiding things, for monopolizing certain methods, for terrifying the masses in to keeping quiet and focusing elsewhere, like on the latest scandal involving Miley Cyrus or some controversial politician or some exciting development in professional sports? Wait- exactly how much more did the CEO of my company make last year than what should be?

That is the spirit of divisiveness (inner conflict). That is the projecting of guilt. I can relate to life as if life should not be how it is, and as if I also should not be how I am, but then in order to distract myself from the desperation of my guilt, I focus on something more socially acceptable as a target of my condemnation and contempt (or I condemn myself and withdraw in to depression).

“Those people SHOULD feel so guilty,” I say, vilifying those who appear to me to act without regret. I am jealous of their lack of shame about their lack of physical tension and stress in regard to emotions.

“Did you see how ANGRY he got? People should not get so angry like that. I could just punch him in the mouth and then report him to the authorities for getting so angry. He is always trying to intimidate everyone! He is really just a big bully and that is just wrong. If he does not stop threatening people, then soon we are just going to have to threaten him, don’t you agree? It’s only right!”

When I insist that reality should be how it is not, then I may be guilty for not having fixed it already. The right thing to do is to fight for what is right, right? I invest my life in a stressful conflict with reality, opposing all people who are sincerely fighting for whatever version of “how reality should be” that they worship.

I protest what it is only right to protest. I pity the sincere idiots who fight for what is obviously not right. How can they be so naïve and angry and immature and confused? How?!?!

“In breaking news later the same day, Miley Cyrus again screamed even more hysterically that exhibitionism is NOT a call for attention and publicity!”

I support the bombing of the people and places that it is only right to bomb. I support the political solutions that it is only right to support. I condemn the current events that it is only right to condemn.

I am only doing what is right (according to whatever program of right and wrong that was instilled in me early in my impressionable youth). I am only right. Only I am right.

Reality should not be how it is and if you do not believe me, which you should, than I will defensively and hysterically point to someone else and then identify something about them that is not how it should be. If you get too close to what I insist that I should hide because it is not how it should be, then I will condemn you for not doing what you should do, for doing what you clearly should not have done. It is only right, right?

For one thing, you obviously cannot handle your emotions. You are like an out-of-control semi truck on a steep, winding mountain road.

Other people are frustrating me. That reminds me: you and I really need to talk about how I insist that you need to change. I know I just told you recently, because I am such a good person, but you obviously have not changed yet. So, in order to distract me from my own grief and my own desires, all of which should not be how they are, we need to talk about how you need to change.

Or maybe you are willing to question the momentum of all of that hysterical terror. Maybe you are willing to question why your emotions could be sacred and holy.

How can your emotions be sacred and holy if you are not sacred and holy? How can they be how they already should be if you are not how you already should be? How can you experience gratitude for the way things are already without fixing everything first? It’s only right, right?

Life is a big problem, right? I can even list out a bunch of  problems for you, right? Or, I could list a bunch of priorities for you.

Which realm do you choose now to invest in as your future: desperate struggle with problems that should not be how they are or courageous explorations of what could be but may not be yet? Which do you choose as your mode of relating to life: desperate condemnation (because it is only right, even if it does not actually work according to the fantasy ideals programmed in to the masses through widespread indoctrination) or courageous exploration (because that actually works)? Choose: either focusing on who is guilty and why or experiencing gratitude?

Stress, Dis-Ease, and Spiritual Rebirth

March 23, 2013

Stress, Dis-Ease, and Spiritual Rebirth


Stress (journal)

Stress (journal) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Light splitting

Light splitting (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Have you ever identified something to reject or resist and then focused on removing it whenever it is present and preventing it whenever it is not present? We could call that process by many names, such as an obsession, a preoccupation, a fixation, or an agonizing. We could also call that the experience of stress or dis-ease, as in a contrast to the experience of ease, contentment and relative relaxation or release or relief. 
Similar to opposing some possibility is identifying something to produce or promote and then focusing on cultivating it whenever it is present and preventing it whenever it is not present. We could also call that process by many names, including the same set as above: a preoccupation, a fixation, an agonizing, or a dis-ease. However, we could also use terms like a priority, an ideal, a dream, a goal, a value, or a commitment.
Briefly, hell is the experience of desperately repressing a particular possibility (which we could also call things like denial, agonizing, or even psychosis). Purgatory (neurosis) is the experience of obsessing over a single particular possibility as if it is the only method for hypothetically avoiding hell and earning one’s way in to heaven. (Note that purgatory is clearly still a state of stress or dis-ease, and those in purgatory speak in terms of “the only way” and “the only true doctrine” and so on.) Heaven (enlightment, salvation, spiritual rebirth, wisdom, maturity, etc) is recognizing that heaven is not earned. Heaven is a natural state which is available simply by grace, by inheritance, by faith, by a proper perspective. In other languages or traditions, the realm of heaven may be called paradise or Eden or nirvana or satchitananda.
El Purgatorio (1890). Óleo sobre tela 339 x 25...

El Purgatorio (1890). Óleo sobre tela 339 x 256 cm. GAN.Cararas – Venezuela. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sympathetic (red) and parasympathetic (blue) n...

Sympathetic (red) and parasympathetic (blue) nervous system Русский: Аанатомия иннервации вегетативной нервной системы. Системы: симпатическая (красным) и парасимпатическая (синим) Українська: Аанатомія іннервації вегетативної нервової системи. Симпатична (червоним) та парасимпатична (синім) гілки Polski: Układ autonomiczny: czerwony – sympatyczny, niebieski – parasympatyczny. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now, what is unusual about all of the above is just the way that language is being used. In the case of hell and purgatory, there is an implicit identifying of what should be and what should not be, which is the ancient model called “the knowledge of the tree of good and evil,” which is a reference to the branch of the nervous system called the sympathetic nervous system (the branch for dealing with stress). When the sympathetic nervous system (or the obsession over duality of either good or evil, either right or wrong) is prominent, that is a state of stress or dis-ease or mild panic or hysteria or paranoia or what ancient philosophers referenced as “sin.”
That is a normal stage of development. It is not itself evil, but is the perception of the power of some evil as being a real threat. In other words, there is the constant experience of a perceived threat ( areal experience of threat).
That is a state very vulnerable to delusion. Metaphors for that state of delusion (or “maya”) include sayings like “do not be afraid of the forces of darkness, for darkness has no power in the midst of even a single candle.” Darkness is just a word for the capacity to see along with the absence of any light waves in the visible spectrum. Darkness is not a presence of some “threat” to light. Darkness is a convenient linguistic contrast to the presence of certain wavelengths of visible light. 
Light always “dispels the darkness” because there never was any darkness except as a label in language. Darkness has no physical reality. It is just a convenient label. It has no power over actual light. It is merely a categorical label.
sRGB rendering of the spectrum of visible light

sRGB rendering of the spectrum of visible light (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Naturally, anyone in a state of delusion, trauma, or severe dis-ease cannot properly recognize or interpret the language of spirit or spirituality that is displayed here. They will twist words in to justifications for the perpetuation of their experience of hell and purgatory. Again, that is totally natural and normal.
What is interesting is that there is such a thing as blindness. The presence of light does not dispel blindness. So, ancient metaphors reference things like “those who have the eyes to see, let them see” and “the blind who lead others who are also blind” and “in the land of the blind (the realm of the spiritually dead), the one-eyed man is king.”

Blindness (Photo credit: Community Eye Health)

Darkness is not a threat to light. Blindness however is label for the inability to perceive the difference between the actual presence of light and the relative absence of light (“darkness”). One who is  blind cannot speak with any authority on darkness or light. Likewise, the spiritually blind cannot speak with any competence on issues of sin and salvation (or the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems). 
They are blind to sin, but of course they do not know that they are blind. Their sin leads them to say of others “look at them other there: they should not speak like that; they should remove the beam from their own eye before arrogantly presuming to remove a speck from the eyes of others!” They experience persistent contempt, animosity, jealousy, condemnation, and so on. They may speak of forgiveness, but without authority or comprehension.
They are typically anti-ego, which is the extreme of egotism and self-consciousness. They are often anti-negativity, which is the extreme of negativity. They may be hysterically anti-selfishness, which is the total absence of compassion and the extreme presence of resentment and contempt and animosity and arrogance.
Complete spectrum of electromagnetic radiation...

Complete spectrum of electromagnetic radiation with the visible portion highlighted (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Here is the kind of thing that the spiritually mature say: “One can refrain from presuming to remove darkness from the eyes of another, and instead remedy the blindness of  one’s own vision, instead developing the capacity to precisely perceive.” In those words, there is no panic of opposing darkness hysterically. There is simply the recognition that there is such a thing as the capacity to perceive clearly and there is an interest in developing that capacity is the practical, functional issue. One does not need to obsess over “removing sin.” It is a normal stage of development. There is a commitment to clarity, not to conformity to any doctrine or tradition.
An ancient teaching of the Hebrew Prophet Isaiah references the idolatry of worshiping tradition over clarity (sincerity over precision). In the New Testament of Christianity, there are several references by Jesus to Isaiah of “naive, arrogant, vain people worshiping their own sincerity with only their lips,” while their hearts and spirits are far from purity. Such people will argue and defend with animosity and ill will and terror, showing their spiritual development by their symptoms, their results, the “fruit” of their practices.
Darkness is no threat to the wise. Light will not be of any value to those who are blind. In the metaphors and parables of spiritual poetry, those who are “blind” to their own “inner darkness” will not have the capacity to recognize the light of spiritual maturity any more than a blind person would be able to identify red or blue or yellow.
For them, they must go through the experiences of hell and purgatory, obsessing over what should not be (but is) and what should be instead (but is not). That stress and dis-ease is how they will develop humility (through humiliations, disappointments, frustrations- the spiritual or metaphorical “death” of their ego fixations, which are simply natural stage of development). From humility, they will develop a new curiosity and from curiosity they will develop a new clarity, or what is called in the language of spiritual poetry by this label: a “rebirth.”
This shows The Virgin and The Child being pres...

This shows The Virgin and The Child being present while souls awaiting purification are brought out of Purgatory and into Heaven. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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