Monday, January 29, 2007

How to Always Win

How to Always Win

A stellar characteristic of Americans has always been their ability to compete, indeed to win. This zeal to achieve has accomplished many wonderful things for our country and its citizens, including major medical discoveries, unparalleled economic success, even liberty itself. But after the extremely negative campaigning of the recent elections, and the endless nightly debate about whether or not we are winning the war on terror and who's to blame for what's right or wrong in our country, I can't help but ask if our need to compete has gone awry. It doesn't seem to be enough any more to succeed. What worries me is people's need to take it a step further to prove they are right, and sometimes, to prove they're right no matter what. You can be sure that a win-at-all-costs attitude does not contribute to good relationships on a global scale or, as concerns me here, to personal relationships, which are, after all, the bedrock of a person's emotional and physical well being.

For insight on this painful problem, I talked with Lauren Zander and Meredith Haberfeld of Handel Group Private Coaching ( Lauren points out that in every conversation, people have an agenda. It might be to inform, to amuse, to get to know each other better or just to pass the time -- there are lots of reasons for verbal exchanges. But when the agenda includes ensuring that you are right, by definition it means establishing that the other person is wrong. There isn't a conversation in the world that doesn't ultimately come to a screeching halt if one or both parties have the attitude that "I am right, you are wrong, now get used to it." This is incredibly destructive to any relationship -- in the Middle East, in the workplace, with your in-laws, or in the bedroom -- because it slams the door on any real possibility for a dialog. In fact, Lauren says the battle to be "right" is at the base of all dysfunction, be it wars between countries, conflicts at work or closer to home -- marital or parent-child conflicts.


There is a simple truth at play here. It is possible to be right -- look out the window and if you see water falling from the clouds you can rightly announce it is raining... or that the sun is shining... or that it is night or day. While some philosophy students may debate this, obvious facts of this nature fall neatly into a right/wrong category. But just about everything else in the world is far more complex and dwells in the world not of black and white, but of gray. This is the realm of relativism, says Lauren, which means that what is right to me is shaped by my point of view and isn't necessarily right to the other person. Meredith explains that often our own point of view is shaped by misunderstandings or misinterpretations that we assume to be hard fact. If you want a relationship to work, she continues, the most important thing you can do is understand that virtually every thought and opinion you have is based on personal perception, not on fact.

Couples may argue that one spouse was being rude or unfair but the so-called offending spouse doesn't see it that way. In fact, that person no doubt thinks the other one was being unfair. Perspective is behind the difference and determines why you both think you are right.

It is crucial to understand and accept that your perspective is not fact and that both parties have a valid point of view. This is how contradictory opinions can exist in a relationship without causing disharmony. The problem is that most people are invested in their own interpretation and perspective and are disinterested in the other person's. Deep inside, people believe that by making themselves right and their "opponent" wrong they'll "win," but this form of winning is not necessarily the key to happiness or success. Once people are willing to accept the existence of contradictory "truths," it changes the dynamics of the discussion because no one is any longer trying to win. Lauren calls this insistence on being right a manipulation, which is a common human trick. People dress their opinion up in self-righteousness -- you have to accept what I am saying because I am right! I am reminded of a couple I know who have different religious beliefs. When he tries to open her thinking to even entertain the idea that others see things differently, she responds "but I know I am right." That ends the conversation -- and much to her frustration, ends her attempts to convert him and win.


While the need to win creates continuous and deep-seated relationship dilemmas, it is possible for anyone to pull out of this emotional quagmire and, in so doing, immediately improve interactions with others -- including with those who are closest to you. It is no longer about having one person right and one wrong. Rather, Meredith explains, it is listening to each other's "truths" completely so you have all version(s) of the situation and accept that another person can have a different opinion. Here is what Lauren advises to make this important change...

  • Accept that most discussions, including yours, are not based on fact but rather on a relative point of view.
  • Always evaluate if you are discussing fact (weather, the time, the color of your new car, etc.).
  • Ask yourself if you are treating your platform as fact when it is actually your opinion (and if your discussion has become a battle, you can be sure opinions are the subject).
  • Frame your conversation in words that convey not "this is how it is," but rather, "when you said this, what I meant was... " or "this is how it seemed to me" -- in other words, that you accept that your "truth" may be based on important misunderstandings that you believed to be true, and that each view of the situation as it was or is, not as an absolute truth.
  • After someone speaks and shares their point of view, before you give yours, first say theirs back to them so they feel heard and understood. And be open to correction, because if you say something that didn't accurately capture their perspective, they should make sure you get it correctly.


You may now be thinking that this is great for you, but what about the other guy? If he won't change his position, what good will this do? Take heart -- Lauren observes that when one person assumes responsibility for accepting that his/her perspective is relative and understands that aiming to "win" leaves everyone as losers, it is sufficient to turn a discussion around. You have put one fact on the table and that is there are two different points of view going on. Who can argue with that? You allow the other his/her right to his view of the truth -- but you also claim the right to yours. This acceptance surpasses the need to win, allowing a peaceful negotiation of the situation -- if not immediately than in the near future... and that is truly winning in a far more constructive way.


How to Always Win

  • Meredith Haberfeld, co-founder and CEO, Handel Group Private Coaching ( and Lauren Zander, principle, Handel

Friday, January 19, 2007

medical cartel

"The United States Government and governments of the world have colluded together with international drug and pharmaceutical companies to create a 'medical cartel', a virtual monopoly on what is the 'truth' regarding health, and the treatment of illness and disease. Individuals around the world have been charged criminally for stating their opinions regarding the best ways to prevent and cure disease. This oocurs when these 'opinions' go against what the 'medical cartel' has already established as 'truth'. Therefore, I must write a disclaimer. There is no freedom of speech or freedom of expression in the world when it comes to health. Like it was in Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia, if a person says something that the government, in its supreme infinite wisdom, deems detrimental to society, that person will be severely ridiculed, debunked, discredited, attacked, and in many cases persecuted and prosecuted beyond the wildest imaginations of even the most ardent conspiracy theorists." - from page 15 of "More Natural Cures Revealed" by Kevin Trudeau, published by Alliance Publishing Group, P.O. Box 207, Elk Grove Village, IL 60009 U.S.A. www.naturalcures. com www.kevinfightsback .com

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Eckhart Teachings Newsletter - Issue 10 - December 2006

“What does it profit you if you gain the whole world and lose yourself?”

It has been said: There are two ways of being unhappy: not getting what you want, and getting what you want.

When people attain what the world tells us is desirable — wealth, recognition, property, achievement — they’re still not happy, at least not for long. They’re not at peace with themselves. They don’t have a true sense of security, a sense of finally having arrived.

Their achievements have not provided them with what they were really looking for — themselves. They have not given them the sense of being rooted in life, or as Jesus calls it, the fullness of life.

The form of this moment is the portal into the formless dimension. It is the narrow gate that Jesus talks about that leads to life. Yes, it’s very narrow: it’s only this moment.

To find it, you need to roll up the scroll of your life on which your story is written, past and future. Before there were books, there were scrolls, and you rolled them up when you were done with them.

So put your story away. It is not who you are. People usually live carrying a burden of past and future, a burden of their personal history, which they hope will fulfill itself in the future. It won’t, so roll up that old scroll. Be done with it.

You don’t solve problems by thinking; you create problems by thinking. The solution always appears when you step out of thinking and become still and absolutely present, even if only for a moment. Then, a little later when thought comes back, you suddenly have a creative insight that wasn’t there before.

Let go of excessive thinking and see how everything changes. Your relationships change because you don’t demand that the other person should do something for you to enhance your sense of self. You don’t compare yourself to others or try to be more than someone else to strengthen your sense of identity.

You allow everyone to be as they are. You don’t need to change them; you don’t need them to behave differently so that you can be happy.

There’s nothing wrong with doing new things, pursuing activities, exploring new countries, meeting new people, acquiring knowledge and expertise, developing your physical or mental abilities, and creating whatever you’re called upon to create in this world.

It is beautiful to create in this world, and there is always more that you can do.

Now the question is, Are you looking for yourself in what you do? Are you attempting to add more to who you think you are? Are you compulsively striving toward the next moment and the next and the next, hoping to find some sense of completion and fulfillment?

The preciousness of Being is your true specialness. What the egoic self had been looking for on the level of the story —I want to be special —

obscured the fact that you could not be more special than you already are now. Not special because you are better or more wretched than someone else, but because you can sense a beauty, a preciousness, an aliveness deep within.

When you are present in this moment,
you break the continuity of your story, of past and future.
Then true intelligence arises,
and also love.

The only way love can come into your life
is not through form, but through that inner spaciousness that is Presence.
Love has no form.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Physics, Mysticism, and the New Holographic Paradigm

The ripple did forget the Self, to be sure--but it was a ripple of the Self, and remained so throughout the play. Thus, this movement from the higher into the lower--which is involution--is at once an act of pure creation and effulgent radiance (on the part of Atman), and a tragic tale of suffering and epic unhappiness (on the part of the self-ripple attempting the Atman project). The ultimate aim of evolution--the movement from the lower to the higher--is to awaken as Atman, and thus retain the glory of the creation without being forced to act in the drama of self suffering.

During the course of our universe's history (and science helps us here), we have evolved from level-1 (which began approximately fifteen billion years ago with the Big Bang) to level-2 (which occurred several billions of years later when matter awakened into some realization of life) to level-3 (which so far has been reached fully by humans only). Evolution is, as it were, half completed. "Mankind," said Plotinus, "is poised midway between the gods and the beasts."
But in the past course of human history, some men and women, through the evolutionary discipline of higher religion, succeeded in pushing their own development and evolution into level-4: that of saintly religion and the first intuition of a transcendental reality, one in essence lying above and beyond the ordinary mind, self, body, and world. This "beyond" was poetically called heaven; this oneness was called the one God.

This intuition did not fully occur until around 3000 B.C., with the rise of the first great monotheistic religions. (Prior to that time, there were only polytheistic realizations--a god of fire, a god of water, etc. This was really sympathetic magic, stemming from a simple manipulation of level-2, emotionalsexual energies and rites.) By the time Of 500 B.C., however, certain evolutionary souls pushed their development into the causal--Christ, Buddha, Krishna, the great axial sages. Their insights were drawn out and extended to produce what the Tibetans called the Svabhavikakaya path--the path of level-6, or already realized Truth, the path of Zen, Vajrayana, Vedanta. What remains is for the world to follow suit, via evolutionary or process meditation, into the higher realms themselves.

According to the perennial philosophy, not only does this whole process of involution and evolution play itself out over centuries, it repeats itself moment to moment, ceaselessly and instantaneously. In this moment and this moment and this, an individual starts out at infinity. But in this moment and this moment and this, he contracts away from infinity and ends up reduced to the level of his present adaptation. He involves to the highest point he has yet evolved--and all the higher realms are simply forgotten, rendered unconscious. This is why all meditation is called remembrance or recollection (Sanskrit smriti, Pali sati, as in satipatthana, Plato's anamnesis, Sufi zikr--all are precisely translated as "memory" or "remembrance").

This whole panoply of higher levels generating the lower moment to moment, and of the dazzling interpenetrating of each level with the others, and of the extraordinary dynamics between the levels, all occurring in a field of effulgent radiance--all this is meant when the mystic-sage speaks of multidimensional interpenetration with nonequivalence

"whole in every part" nature of memory storage

In a series of landmark experiments in the 1920s, brain scientistKarl Lashley found that no matter what portion of a rat's brain heremoved he was unable to eradicate its memory of how to performcomplex tasks it had learned prior to surgery. The only problem wasthat no one was able to come up with a mechanism that might explainthis curious "whole in every part" nature of memory storage.

Then in the 1960s, Pribram encountered the concept of holography andrealized he had found the explanation brain scientists had beenlooking for. Pribram believes memories are encoded not in neurons,or small groupings of neurons, but in patterns of nerve impulsesthat crisscross the entire brain in the same way that patterns oflaser light interference crisscross the entire area of a piece offilm containing a holographic image. In other words, Pribrambelieves the brain is itself a hologram.Pribram's theory also explains how the human brain can store so manymemories in so little space. It has been estimated that the humanbrain has the capacity to memorize something on the order of 10billion bits of information during the average human lifetime (orroughly the same amount of information contained in five sets of theEncyclopedia Britannica).