The Circle of Existence: Chapter 3 – Truth, Near Truth, Untruth

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by DCH Park

Truth Near Truth Untruth

“The glory which is built upon a lie soon becomes a most unpleasant incumbrance. How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and how hard it is to undo that work again!”
– Mark Twain

“The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived, and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic.”
– John F. Kennedy

“If you have to lie, cheat, steal, obstruct and bully to get your point across, it must not be a point capable of surviving on its own merits.”
– Steven Weber

Consider a many faceted jewel. The truth is like a jewel. You cannot take the whole thing in at once. You can only see a part of the whole at a time, even in your mind’s eye. Indeed, in a single lifetime, you are currently lucky to be able to recognize and accurately convey just one facet of the jewel.

However, even though we each have a different facet to work with, there is only one jewel. Each facet fits with the others. You can go from any one facet to any other, because both are in the same jewel. In other words, the truth is the truth. Everything true is connected to everything else that is true. Every truth is connected.

This connection is one of the foundation principles in science and mathematics. In mathematics, a major way to prove something is true is to connect from something which is demonstrably true to the proposition and back again, from the proposition to that thing you know to be true. By building these chains of equivalencies, you are saying that the proposition is equivalent to the known truth. If one thing is true, they both must be true. Science works the same way. (There may be other ways. I am not a mathematician.)

This connection includes major facets or arcs as well as minor ones. “Size doesn’t matter.” “Small” truths are connected just as “big” truths are connected. What is true is true. This means that you can start with a “minor” truth and follow its connections to other truths. If something is found to be inconsistent, something is going on. Most likely, something is misunderstood or its appearance is misleading or one or more observations are in error or incomplete.

Untruths also exist. Leaving aside why they exist (which is a separate question and a worthy one), untruths all share the property that they are unconnected from truth. Usually, they are also unconnected from each other. Nevertheless, certain untruths are widely accepted and form the cores of fundamental beliefs in society. This is not as crazy as it sounds. Network theory provides a good way to think about it. Imagine two separate networks. Each network is internally consistent, as demonstrated by its interconnections. However, only one network is consistent with observed reality in every part of reality.

In other words, an untrue network may be consistent with reality in one or several nodes but it will be inconsistent with reality somewhere. Only the truth is consistent with reality everywhere. To the extent that reality is true, it must be consistent with and connected to the network that is true and disconnected with the network(s) that isn’t(aren’t) true. However, each network is internally consistent. You may not know that a given network is untrue until you find a disconnection. The standard that all of the sciences use is that of observed reality. Using this same standard, you may not know that a network is untrue until you try to connect with observed reality. Notice that this is consistent with the mathematical technique of proving the truth of something.

(Some people may assert that if there is a conflict between a belief and observed phenomena, the observation(s) must be wrong. In other words, they assert that belief or faith is never wrong. The process I am describing, of testing the connections between things and defining truth in terms of those connections and of physical reality, is the process by which science and mathematics have advanced throughout history. It is the process by which the entire race has been advanced countless times.

Besides, it seems to me that if there were a Creator (for argument’s sake), physical reality would be part of Creation. It would have to be consistent with the non-physical parts of Creation. Anything which is inconsistent with Creation would be untrue. It would ultimately not be useful in further advancing the race, which is, I think, the same thing.)

“Problems” arise due to the manner in which the network is untrue. The network is predicting consequences to actions that are not born out. Different consequences result from the actions taken. Problems arise.

There is no judgment or determination of one thing being better. In fact, there are many such networks possible. The only thing that distinguishes one from the rest is that it is consistent with observed reality. We call this the truth. Everything else is an untruth, a partial truth, or a deliberate lie. Examples are found in the parable of the Cave and the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes (In the original version of the story, after the little boy points out that the Emperor is parading down the street with no clothes on, he’s beaten and thrown in jail and the Emperor’s parade goes on.) but they also exist in society. (Finding those institutions is left as an exercise for the reader.)

You can’t get to an untruth from the truth and you can’t get to the truth from an untruth unless you accept a lie. This means that we have a way to “easily” distinguish truth from untruth – we just have to notice the disconnection. It’s a giveaway. That’s why those untruths and the institutions that are built upon them try very hard to distract you or cover over their state of disconnection. Nevertheless, that disconnection is there.

This applies to the implications of a truth (which give rise to expectations) as much as it does to the truth itself. It is also how scientists and mathematicians work. That us why Ernest Rutherford was so surprised to find alpha particles scattered at large angles by passing through a thin layer of metal foil. He was expecting them to have only minor deviations based on the prevailing theory. Since the observed scattering of alpha particles was verifiable and repeatable, it was presumed to be correct. The theory that led to the erroneous expectations had tobe wrong.

Rutherford is one example (“as if you fired a 15-inch shell at a piece of tissue paper and it came back and hit you.”) but the history of science is full of individuals exploring the implications of theories to either continue to accept them or to modify or replace them. The fact that the theory’s expectations were not met meant that the implications that gave rise to those expectations were not true. This meant that the theory, as it was understood, was not true. If the theory could not be adapted to fit the new observations, a different theory would be called for. This is exactly what happened. (The new theory has its own implications and expectations in turn. These expectations give rise to predictions which can then be measured against observations. To the extent that observed experimental results agree with predicted expectations, the theory is considered useful and is retained. As soon as observations differ from expectations (assuming the difference is verified) the theory is either altered or a new theory is proposed.) This process is common to all human endeavors (Ghiselin, Brewster (Editor), The Creative Process: Reflections on the Invention in the Arts and Sciences, University of California Press, 1985). In addition to being found in the sciences and mathematics, it is found in various arts. Any endeavor that relies upon creative insight to further the field relies on this process.

This is the way that we have been able to discern truth from untruth. It is commonly seen to take courage to honor the truth you see and to be open to hearing truth from others. But the “courage” that is seen in those instances is brought in to overcome problems thrown up by Ego.

Ego gives rise to secrets and hiding the truth. Sometimes, fear comes into play. These things can often come from personal pride. Economic considerations also come up. People have constructed some economies in such a way as to confound these Ego-based considerations with real world considerations. Others have worked to make these distinctions clear. (See, for example, alternative views on economic systems and the nature of value as it is recognized in various countries, most notably in Europe, and the declaration of the King of Bhutan to maximize “Gross National Happiness” instead of GNP. See also the economic consequences of the King’s announcement.)

Such artifacts of Ego, indeed, the Egos themselves, come from the wounds that you carry. If you heal a wound, you are free to eliminate the Ego that comes from it, and you are free to embrace the truth a little bit more. No courage is needed. In fact, once the wound from which Ego springs is at least recognized, if not healed, it becomes clear that it is easier to honor the truth than to continue to hold with an untruth.

Nevertheless, many of the things we find in life are not true. The disconnections between what we do (and what society teaches us to do) and the truth show up in our lives as problems. At first, they are small and easily overlooked or ignored. As time goes on, these problems or disconnections have consequences that are bigger and bigger. Eventually, what started out as a gentle tap on the shoulder becomes a 2×4 to the back of the head. We are at the 2×4 stage as a race, now.

This is perhaps the greatest, most important step to take in this life. It is important to realize that some things are true and others are not. Even more remarkably, some of the things that our society and/or our economy want us to accept are not true.

Discerning and honoring what is true from what is untrue is important. If we are to survive, we need to be able to do these things. However, to make matters muddier, a common practice is to confound the truth with untruth. The hope is that you will accept the untruth along with the truth. This can happen if you fail to notice the untruth or if you accept that you must take the untruth in order to have the truth.

However, experience shows that truth is like a fish. In cleaning a fish, you cut away the guts and other unwanted organs, the scales, tail and fins, and perhaps even the bones. In making a fillet, you cut away anything you don’t want to eat. Even if you leave the bones in, you don’t eat the bones.

In the same way, you can separate the truth from untruth and “clean” it. You don’t have to “swallow it whole.” Each part must be separated from the others and its truth or untruth determined separate from any other part. When the untruth is discarded, the truth that remains will be whole as parts of the many faceted jewel. The parts you don’t have yet will be revealed through their connections with the rest of the jewel.

###

More of the book, The Circle of Existence can be found at www.smashwords.com.

© 2015, David Park. All Rights Reserved.

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”The Circle of Existence: Chapter 3 – Truth, Near Truth, Untruth” by DCH Park is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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The Big Storm

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by DCH Park

monsoon-390944_1280Kiran woke to the sounds of rain and wind. He was still a little guy – much smaller than he would be as a full grown human – but it was obvious that the storm was a bad one. It had been raining for seven days and who could tell when it would end? Through his window he could see that the sky was dark and grey. Thick clouds hung very low and an unbroken pall hid the sun. There was rain and mud everywhere. It even obscured the roadway as water flowed over the roads. He guessed it emptied into the river. They said on the radio that the reservoir was completely filled. He eyed the hills above the town nervously.

He ate a hearty meal of crackers and peanut butter which represented the last of his food. “At least,” he thought to himself ruefully, “there’s plenty of water!” He quenched his thirst with a long, deep drink of cold water, relishing the feeling of refreshment and aliveness that sparked through him. Then he busied himself packing some clothes and rain gear, still tasting the water in his mouth and relishing the sensation of wetness.

“How ironic,” he thought.

He would have to seek out shelter at the nearby school. It was on a hill so it probably wouldn’t be flooded. The various animals and humans from the town all knew to go there in an emergency and this was shaping up to be one. He remembered how strange the sky had looked just before the storm. It had been green and clouds had slowly filled the sky, blotting out the sun. Then the rain started.

He brought himself back to the present moment and finished packing his pack. The school promised plenty of food, blankets, and cots. Surely the different creatures from the town wouldn’t eat each other. There wouldn’t be a need to hunt because there would be plenty of food. Besides, they needed each other. The storm made that abundantly clear. He doubted they would fight but he wasn’t sure. He would have to go to the school to see.

It was just as well. He had been getting a little anxious waiting for the storm to end. There had been nothing to do about the house. This way, he could get out and maybe help others. He finished with his bundle, made sure all the lights were off (even though the electricity had gone out the first day of the storm), blew out the candles, and strapping the pack on his back, headed into the storm.

It was wet and blustery but not as bad as it had been a few hours ago. Then the wind had raged and rain blew sideways. Now it was still windy but it wasn’t as windy as it had been. He could negotiate the walk to the school.

Crossing the road was another matter. The water wasn’t as swift as some rivers that he had seen but it was fast and muddy and the road beneath it was slick. He had to walk carefully so that his feet stayed under him. When he finally reached the other side, he sighed with relief and was glad that he didn’t have to cross more streets on the way up the hill. After crossing, he was on the same side of the street as the school and an unbroken sidewalk led up to the school property. The raised sidewalk was relatively clear since rain spilled into the street.

When Kiran got to the school, he was checked in and someone showed him to the cot that was assigned to him. He dropped his dripping pack and headed out to the communication center to see if he could help anyone. He quickly found a group that was headed out and attached himself to it. Apparently Lion had gone out by himself some time ago to rescue a stalled bus.

The bus had been headed for the school when it had gotten lost a few hours ago. Apparently it had gotten swamped or stuck in the mud. Lion had gone out to rescue the bus passengers, which apparently included some children, but no one had heard from him for a couple of hours. The rescue group that he joined was composed of Wolf and a few of his pack-mates and Frog. Being amphibious and a keen observer, Frog naturally led. Wolf and his pack-mates were content to follow Frog. Kiran was, too.

Frog had noticed the direction Lion had headed off in, so he knew which way to start in but moved slower and slower the farther they moved into the storm. It wasn’t that the storm itself was fighting them. In fact, it was gentler than it had been when Lion had gone out. What slowed him down was that following a trail through the storm was hard. It would have been impossible to make any progress at all if they didn’t know the general area that the bus was going through.

None of the others complained. Nevertheless, after a particularly long stop, Frog turned to the others and admitted that he didn’t know which way to proceed. Wolf said, “Don’t worry. We’ll take it from here. With all this rain, smells are pretty faint, that is, the ones that haven’t been washed away completely, and you have to get your snout really close to anything to pick up a scent but we have eyes and there are a few of us. We’ll find him and the passengers, including the little ones.”

With that the wolves spread out, being careful to keep each other in sight while they searched for any clue. There weren’t many wolves in the group but they separated to increase their search area as much as possible. Without a further word they swept first left and then swung right, covering the entire field.

Finally they all came back to the porch they were using to get out of the worst of the falling rain (though it did nothing for the wind or splashes) and Wolf said, “We don’t know where he is. We’ve looked everywhere.”

Kiran said, “We can’t give up on him! He wouldn’t give up on us!”

Frog replied, “No one is suggesting that we should but what else can we do?”

Kiran said, “I don’t know.”

They all sat, cold, wet, and miserable, staring at the rain in silence. After a while Kiran said, “Let’s spread out and listen.”

Wolf said, “We listened, too, of course. We heard nothing. Besides, the roar of the rain and the wind and the thunder makes it hard to hear anything.”

Kiran said, “Is there anything else you can think of? Anything else to do?”

“I can’t think of anything.”

So they formed a circle around the porch and spread out. As each one sat down in the rain, he closed his eyes and concentrated on the sounds that came to him.

They sat that way for a long time, listening to the sounds and rhythms of the rain and the wind. They got soaked through and Kiran gave up all hope of keeping even his underwear dry. They accepted this in stoic silence. They sat and listened some more.

When they were shivering and so chilled that hypothermia was looming, one of Wolf’s pack-mates raised his paw to beckon them over. They silently gathered around him and he said, “Do you hear that? It’s faint but I can just make it out.”

Kiran listened. He could hear nothing but the other wolves could. Wolf said, “Good job, brother!” He loped off in the direction of the hills. The others followed, happy to be moving because of the measure of warmth it promised.

As they followed the sound, it grew louder. Eventually even Kiran could hear it. It was definitely Lion roaring to be heard.

They eventually found a deep ravine but could see no bus. The roaring was definitely coming from the ravine. Kiran looked at it. He could see signs of a recent mudslide, which wasn’t too surprising given all the rain. He said, “It looks like the bus fell or was washed into the ravine and then was buried in mud.”

Frog said, “How do we get to them?”

Wolf said, “We dig them out!”

So they started calling for Lion. Once he had indicated the best place for them to climb out, they started to dig through the mud. Luckily it was relatively soft and a lot of the water had drained out of it so out was fairly solid.

Still, it was hard and dirty work. When they reached the window and had pulled the youngsters and other passengers and Lion to relative safety, they felt like celebrating. They did a quick headcount and after verifying that everyone was present, they headed back to the school. When they got there, everyone was dried off, given a blanket, and hot soup to eat. They could feel the warmth spreading through then as they ate.

Soon they felt much warmer and the children felt gratitude for the efforts of their rescuers and the rescuers felt grateful that they could help everyone feel more secure. It was the best time ever even though the children couldn’t hear a thing. They were nearly deaf from all the roaring.

###

© 2015, David Park. All Rights Reserved.

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”The Big Storm” by DCH Park is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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The Circle of Existence: Chapter 2 – The Ultimate Mystery

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by DCH Park

mystery

“The glory which is built upon a lie soon becomes a most unpleasant incumbrance. How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and how hard it is to undo that work again!”
– Mark Twain

“The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived, and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic.”
– John F. Kennedy

“If you have to lie, cheat, steal, obstruct and bully to get your point across, it must not be a point capable of surviving on its own merits.”
– Steven Weber

Consider a many faceted jewel. The truth is like a jewel. You cannot take the whole thing in at once. You can only see a part of the whole at a time, even in your mind’s eye. Indeed, in a single lifetime, you are currently lucky to be able to recognize and accurately convey just one facet of the jewel.

However, even though we each have a different facet to work with, there is only one jewel. Each facet fits with the others. You can go from any one facet to any other, because both are in the same jewel. In other words, the truth is the truth. Everything true is connected to everything else that is true. Every truth is connected.

This connection is one of the foundation principles in science and mathematics. In mathematics, a major way to prove something is true is to connect from something which is demonstrably true to the proposition and back again, from the proposition to that thing you know to be true. By building these chains of equivalencies, you are saying that the proposition is equivalent to the known truth. If one thing is true, they both must be true. Science works the same way.

This connection includes major facets or arcs as well as minor ones. “Size doesn’t matter.” “Small” truths are connected just as “big” truths are connected. What is true is true. This means that you can start with a “minor” truth and follow its connections to other truths. If something is found to be inconsistent, something is going on. Most likely, something is misunderstood or its appearance is misleading or one or more observations are in error or incomplete.

Untruths also exist. Leaving aside why they exist, untruths all share the property that they are unconnected from truth. Usually, they are also unconnected from each other. Nevertheless, certain untruths are widely accepted and form the cores of fundamental beliefs in society. This is not as crazy as it sounds. Network theory provides a good way to think about it. Imagine two separate networks. Each network is internally consistent, as demonstrated by its interconnections. However, only one network is consistent with observed reality in every part of reality.

In other words, an untrue network may be consistent with reality in one or several nodes but it will be inconsistent with reality somewhere. Only the truth is consistent with reality everywhere. To the extent that reality is true, it must be consistent with and connected to the network that is true and disconnected with the network(s) that isn’t(aren’t) true. However, each network is internally consistent. You may not know that a given network is untrue until you find a disconnection. The standard that all of the sciences use is that of observed reality. Using this same standard, you may not know that a network is untrue until you try to connect with observed reality. Notice that this is consistent with the mathematical technique of proving the truth of something.

“Problems” arise due to the manner in which the network is untrue. The network is predicting consequences to actions that are not born out. Different consequences result from the actions taken. Problems arise.

There is no judgment or determination of one thing being better. In fact, there are many such networks possible. The only thing that distinguishes one from the rest is that it is consistent with observed reality. We call this the truth. Everything else is an untruth, a partial truth, or a deliberate lie. Examples are found in the parable of the Cave and the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes but they also exist in society.

You can’t get to an untruth from the truth and you can’t get to the truth from an untruth unless you accept a lie. This means that we have a way to “easily” distinguish truth from untruth – we just have to notice the disconnection. It’s a giveaway. That’s why those untruths and the institutions that are built upon them try very hard to distract you or cover over their state of disconnection. Nevertheless, that disconnection is there.

This applies to the implications of a truth (which give rise to expectations) as much as it does to the truth itself. It is also how scientists and mathematicians work. That us why Ernest Rutherford was so surprised to find alpha particles scattered at large angles by passing through a thin layer of metal foil. He was expecting them to have only minor deviations based on the prevailing theory. Since the observed scattering of alpha particles was verifiable and repeatable, it was presumed to be correct. The theory that led to the erroneous expectations had tobe wrong.

Rutherford is one example but the history of science is full of individuals exploring the implications of theories to either continue to accept them or to modify or replace them. The fact that the theory’s expectations were not met meant that the implications that gave rise to those expectations were not true. This meant that the theory, as it was understood, was not true. If the theory could not be adapted to fit the new observations, a different theory would be called for. This is exactly what happened. This process is common to all human endeavors. In addition to being found in the sciences and mathematics, it is found in various arts. Any endeavor that relies upon creative insight to further the field relies on this process.

This is the way that we have been able to discern truth from untruth. It is commonly seen to take courage to honor the truth you see and to be open to hearing truth from others. But the “courage” that is seen in those instances is brought in to overcome problems thrown up by Ego.

Ego gives rise to secrets and hiding the truth. Sometimes, fear comes into play. These things can often come from personal pride. Economic considerations also come up. People have constructed some economies in such a way as to confound these Ego-based considerations with real world considerations. Others have worked to make these distinctions clear.

Such artifacts of Ego, indeed, the Egos themselves, come from the wounds that you carry. If you heal a wound, you are free to eliminate the Ego that comes from it, and you are free to embrace the truth a little bit more. No courage is needed. In fact, once the wound from which Ego springs is at least recognized, if not healed, it becomes clear that it is easier to honor the truth than to continue to hold with an untruth.

Nevertheless, many of the things we find in life are not true. The disconnections between what we do (and what society teaches us to do) and the truth show up in our lives as problems. At first, they are small and easily overlooked or ignored. As time goes on, these problems or disconnections have consequences that are bigger and bigger. Eventually, what started out as a gentle tap on the shoulder becomes a 2×4 to the back of the head. We are at the 2×4 stage as a race, now.

This is perhaps the greatest, most important step to take in this life. It is important to realize that some things are true and others are not. Even more remarkably, some of the things that our society and/or our economy want us to accept are not true.

Discerning and honoring what is true from what is untrue is important. If we are to survive, we need to be able to do these things. However, to make matters muddier, a common practice is to confound the truth with untruth. The hope is that you will accept the untruth along with the truth. This can happen if you fail to notice the untruth or if you accept that you must take the untruth in order to have the truth.

However, experience shows that truth is like a fish. In cleaning a fish, you cut away the guts and other unwanted organs, the scales, tail and fins, and perhaps even the bones. In making a fillet, you cut away anything you don’t want to eat. Even if you leave the bones in, you don’t eat the bones.

In the same way, you can separate the truth from untruth and “clean” it. You don’t have to “swallow it whole.” Each part must be separated from the others and its truth or untruth determined separate from any other part. When the untruth is discarded, the truth that remains will be whole as parts of the many faceted jewel. The parts you don’t have yet will be revealed through their connections with the rest of the jewel.

###

More of the book, The Circle of Existence can be found at www.smashwords.com.

© 2015, David Park. All Rights Reserved.

Creative Commons License
”The Circle of Existence: Chapter 3 – The Ultimate Mystery” by DCH Park is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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Dad’s Watch

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by DCH Park

Montauk Point Lighthouse taken in the early morning hours of 12/10/2005

by Wolfgang Wander (GFDL 1.2)

My dad died ten years ago. I still have his watch. It’s a heavy thing, gleaming and golden, with a raised square on the crystal over the date. It sits, quiet and weighty. A silent communion with ghosts.

I’m sure it still works, though I’ve never tried it. Never wanted to. I remember seeing him adjust it on his wrist years before he was injured by the strokes, before his long slide into shadow.

As he told it, on the morning of his first stroke, he woke up feeling odd. He wanted to go to the doctor but my mother objected. She told him to take some aspirin or a nap. When the next morning came and he was no better, they did go to the doctor but by that time, the damage was done.

Years later, long after they had both passed away, I told that story to my brother. To my surprise, he had heard the same story, but in his version our mother wanted to go to the doctor and our father had objected. I assume that he had gotten his story from our mother. Two versions of the same story but with the roles reversed. Since they were both long gone, there was no way to tell which one had been telling the truth. Maybe it didn’t matter.

In the final analysis, we judge by the feeling we have. Whether feeling leads to belief or belief leads to feeling is immaterial if it ends there. However, it rarely, if ever, does. Beliefs can be adopted from the people around us regardless of how we feel. Which path we follow has effects that continue to ripple out from the initial decision, like a stone thrown into a calm lake.

After his first stroke, dad began to give his life up a little bit at a time. He shuffled about with a cane at first. He laughed as I teased him to keep him working and walking. My mother and I would take him out for lunch or to be among people or just to get some air and sunshine, even though it took thirty minutes or more to get him dressed and out the door. I didn’t notice at first how trying the whole process was for him but it grew minutely more arduous over time. Eventually, he gave it up altogether.

He stopped wearing his watch after that first stroke. It was heavy and he didn’t have a reason to know the time. He always intended to put it back on after he got better but he never did. Instead, his hand withered into a claw. His whole left side became a remnant. A golden watch dial had little meaning, no matter how much it gleamed. Time was marked instead by his creeping descent into disability.

I am left to remember two fathers. I know they are both the same man, but they seem like different people. One is resigned to dying. The other is busy living. One is letting go of life by degrees and the other is remarkably robust. They hardly seem like the same man. Yet at the end of his slow fade, he held onto the final shreds of life with the same fierce tenacity that marked the living man.

I remember one time, when I was a young teenager, I asked him directly why he stayed with my mother. They seemed like a mismatched pair. He was calm and nurturing, if a bit exacting and proper. She seemed harsh and demanding. She literally yelled at him for days whenever they argued or something didn’t go as she’d expected it to. When she yelled, he would sit silently, close his eyes, and listen to it all, even if it went on for days.

He responded to my question without hesitation, as if he’d been thinking about it every day with no one to talk with. He said that she had an ability to do amazing things. Her energy and joy were incredible. He loved that about her. In fact, he had fallen in love with her because of it. This was a side of her that I had rarely seen. His voice shook with the intensity of his feeling.

But he also said that she was afraid. She couldn’t always reveal that energy and joy because of her fear and she most feared those closest to her. He hoped that one day she would feel comfortable and safe enough with him to share her energy and joy again, so they could both revel in it and dance together again. He cried. We held each other for a long time afterward.

Listening to him, I flashed on a memory from years before. I couldn’t have been more than four or five years old. Both of my parents were doctors and we were living on the grounds of a sprawling hospital complex in a separate building for the doctors’ families. My parents had to drive a couple of miles to get to work.

One day, it snowed so hard that the hospital shut down early. My parents were stranded at work. They had to walk home. I remember eagerly watching for them through the window and how happy I was to see them tramping through the snow. They were walking with a neighbor of ours, apparently enjoying themselves. They were talking and laughing. My mother seemed animated.

For me, that helped to explain a lot. It explained the infinite patience he showed her and the countless moments he spent with her, listening to her rant. I don’t know what passed between them in their private moments, but in the end, he literally gave her power over his life. He gave her what she asked for.

When his time came, the doctor called from the hospital saying that we should get there immediately. I don’t think he realized that we were a continent away. I notified my brother and we got the next flight to New York. I hadn’t even known that dad was in the hospital. It happened that quickly. We had left him in a nursing home to get better so we could move him to the west coast to be with us. When we left, he was getting stronger, or so we thought.

We had barely gotten back from our initial trip when we got the call to return. We flew over night to get there and drove straight to the hospital from the airport. He looked shrunken and alone in the sterile room. Everything seemed unnaturally white and bright. He was silent except for his breathing. On top of the bedclothes, his hand was warm but stiff.

He had acute kidney failure. The nurse in the home had said that he’d stopped eating and drinking. “Come on, Dr. Lee,” she had said. “You’re a doctor. You know what’ll happen if you don’t drink.”

He’d looked at her and nodded.

He’d stopped trying to live. He had chosen to die. He had shared the last fifty years of his life with our mother. After she was gone, he had nothing to do, or so he thought. So he went about dying.

He had a clause in his living will against intravenous feeding, so none was provided. By the time we arrived at the hospital he was unconscious. We set up a vigil. We took turns alternating between sitting with him and trying to catch some sleep in the second bed. He was alone in a semi-private room so there was no one to distract us.

When my turn came, I was exhausted and laid down but sleep was impossible in that room, even after the flight. I don’t think either of us found the room very hospitable. After the first night we gave up trying to sleep.

I had one sided conversations or silently remembered with him for hours. Sometimes I sang to him. I remembered the way he used to sing Korean love songs when we were out driving. I was no more than ten or eleven years old. I had no idea what the words meant but they sounded sad. It made him feel happy to be able to share them. Afterwards, I always felt closer to him, like we shared something that only we knew.

Sometimes we would talk or argue on those drives but most of the time he sang or we listened to financial news radio or sat in silence. At such times, he would often raise his hand and slap me on the knee, once, twice, three times. It stung. He always had a big smile on his face. It was his way of saying, “Thank you for being here with me.”

I remembered those songs and knee slaps as I sat with him in the hospital. I said, “Thanks, dad. I know you’re tired. Thanks for everything. You can go now. It’s alright.”

He visibly relaxed. The talking and singing helped. He was comforted by our presence. But he didn’t die. After thirty-six hours at his bedside we were exhausted. We decided to go to their house to get a few hours of rest. The nurses promised to call us immediately if anything happened.

The drive to their house was no more than thirty minutes long. As we were pulling into the driveway, we got the call. He had passed. My brother hung up the phone.

“I guess he wanted to be alone,” I said.

“Yeah. It happens that way sometimes.”

“It’s funny. We come all this way and go through all this so he wouldn’t be alone and in the end, he waits for us to leave.”

“Some people want privacy.”

“Hm. I don’t feel sleepy now. I think I’m going to go the watch the sun rise over the water. Do you want to come?”

“No. I’m exhausted. I just want to sleep.”

“OK.” I restarted the engine and he got out. “I’ll see you in a few hours.”

I drove with the windows down and the heat up as the winter wind rushed past. Without thinking about it too much, I found myself at the easternmost parking lot of the little island that protected the big island from the ocean. The small island was little more than a large sand bar but it held a gorgeous beach. Surprisingly, the parking lot wasn’t deserted, though the inhabitants of the few cars were not in evidence.

A lighthouse was set back from the water. A sandy path snaked through the tall grass, connecting the lighthouse with the beach. Small patches of snow were scattered about on the leeward sides of dunes. A few intrepid gulls wheeled about in the rising sun, searching for scraps.

The ocean was choppy. I had never come to the beach with my dad in winter before, but he loved the water. He’d been a champion swimmer in high school. I remembered watching him swim at the beach. He’d go out in a straight line for about a mile. Then he’d turn and swim as far parallel to shore before turning again to swim back into shore. He’d walk the distance back to us from where he’d landed. A huge square. He used to make the lifeguards nervous.

I laughed at that, remembering the man. He didn’t solve problems, he dissected them. We would often spar with each other late into the night. It didn’t really matter what the debate was about. We debated on any topic that came up. We even argued about debate.

It was such an odd way to have quality father-son time. I challenged him on it. He explained his belief in Hegelian dialectics. He said that each side had a sacred duty to argue as forcefully as possible. If he was so forceful that he happened to steamroll over an opponent, that wasn’t his problem. It was his duty. It was his opponent’s duty to be even more forceful if he could be.

Arguing as forcefully as he could was his way of honoring his opponent. Arguing with him was like standing up in gale force winds. He debated with religious intensity. And he was always debating. He loved debate. But that meant that he also loved his opponent. To him, it was obvious that debate and love were bound up together. He loved fiercely. He debated fiercely, too.

He loved ballroom dance. He would escort my mom to the dance floor and together they would amaze everyone. They moved with a lightness and flow that carried them around the floor effortlessly. It wasn’t just that they moved so well, it was that they enjoyed it so much. I never saw her look happier than when they danced. I never saw him look more elegant and poised. It was as if they became magical incarnations of dance itself. But, of course, that all ended.

As his horizons shrank to the size of his bed, we expected each Christmas would be his last. Yet every year, he would go on to see another. He survived over eleven years that way. In the end, he survived my mom, which surprised us all at the time but perhaps it shouldn’t have. She took care of him but in a way, he was also supporting her. They both took ill one January with pneumonia. He survived and even put on weight. She did not. She never woke up. He accepted the news of her death in silence. He died less than two weeks after she did.

The wind had penetrated my coat and left me thoroughly chilled. I left the crashing waves behind and hurried back to the car. I looked at the sand and the hardy, salt-loving plants growing beside the wooden planks that defined the path. Looking up, I saw that the sun had risen a fair distance into the sky. It wasn’t red any longer. The stony lighthouse overlooking the parking lot stood, resolute and apparently unchanged.

I suddenly realized that being the older brother, I was now the “patriarch” of the family. It was a strange and unnatural feeling. It felt like a set of too-baggy clothes.
As I played with this, I climbed back into the car, turned the heat on high, and headed back to the house, the windows closed this time. I wanted to get some sleep before I turned to the tasks ahead.

© 2015, David Park. All Rights Reserved.

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The Circle of Existence – Prologue

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by DCH Park

A mother comes home from the hospital with her new child. She is met at the door by her 4 year old son. He’s excited to be an older brother and she’s happy.

As the days go by, she notices that her 4 year old is spending a lot of time with the baby. He watches her change it and feed it. He sings to it. He spends hours every day silently watching it sleep.

At first, she attributes this attentiveness to his excitement but his behavior doesn’t change. She tries to be patient but finally asks him why he’s spending so much time with the baby.

He replies very matter-of-factly, “Mommy, I’m beginning to forget the face of God.”

Whether you call it “God,” or not, whether you see it as an impersonal force, something intimately involved in your personal life, something else entirely, or whether you discount the existence of a divine being at all, it is undeniable that something is going on. Children are born joyful and in the moment. They are completely present. As soon as their concerns are addressed they stop crying and return to their peaceful, joyful state, the upset completely forgotten.

Scientific evidence now shows that the child psychologists’ standard lines about object permanence – one of the first set of expectations that babies have about the world – the age at which it develops, and how it develops are, at best, incomplete. There is a form of object permanence that occurs before conventional “wisdom” says object permanence is supposed to develop. This form of object permanence has to do with trends. Perhaps “trend permanence” would be a better name. Perhaps we are born with it. Not only that, this “trend permanence” persists throughout life. It can be seen even in adult decisions. (See Baillargeon R , DeVos J., “Object permanence in young infants: further evidence”, Child Dev. 1991 Dec; 62(6):1227-46, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1786712, retrieved 2 JUL 14.)

Is it possible that the same is true of things like joy and silence later in life? Might joy and peace be natural states that we are all heir to, just as we are all heir to breathing? Is it possible that we have it backward, or more correctly, that what we thought we knew, the way we have been characterizing things somehow distorts things? Could it be that joy and silence are not hallmarks of childish silliness but instead are reflections of an inexpressible wisdom that transcends life itself?

I remember hearing the little boy story for the first time. It’s not that I recall all of the physical details but I recall how powerful it was, how the teacher cried, and how I felt when I heard it. I wasn’t alone in feeling that, either. I suspect that I’m not alone now.

When stories evoke such powerful feelings, it is because they touch upon something true. Our challenge is to discern and to live by that truth.

Such discernment is not a static thing. It is not something that you can do once and expect it to never change. On the other hand, it is definitely amenable to pulling together with others. By this, I don’t mean to say that you need to go along with the crowd, but you do benefit from really hearing other people’s points of view. Remember the parable of the blind men and the elephant? None of them was wrong but none of their descriptions was complete either. The whole truth of life encompasses everyone’s observations, just as the whole truth of the elephant encompassed all of the blind men’s observations.

Until you are willing to listen to others, learn from others, and enlarge your sense of the truth to encompass everyone, you are bound to be incomplete in your experiences of the truth. Such openness starts with healing the wounds in yourself. It is necessary first to recognize and heal the wounds in yourself because as you heal the wounds in yourself, you are naturally more flexible and open – you have fewer sore spots. This allows you to be more open to the truth and more ready to accept it regardless of where it comes from, even when it comes from someone else.

Until we can do that, each person remains literally separate.

###

More of the book, The Circle of Existence can be found at www.smashwords.com.

© 2015, David Park. All Rights Reserved.

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Leaders Are

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by DCH Park

Two things come to mind for me right away when the subject of what makes a good leader comes up. One is the idea that “eagles don’t flock.” The other is the notion that in order to be good leader, you have to be a “good follower.”

Certainly, these two things sound like they express different, even polar opposites. How can you be a “good follower” and do whatever is asked of you if you go your own way because “eagles don’t flock?” Nevertheless, both are true. Military leaders are trained in both.

In fact, the US military, arguably (some would say “unarguably”) the finest military force the world has ever known, prides itself in and relies on the excellence of its leaders. How can a leader not “flock” and at the same time be a “good follower?” What do these things mean?

Taking the last one first, note that “follower” does appear in the dictionary. It leads to what you might expect – several definitions that all revolve around the idea that the follower subscribes to the directions of or copies a leader.

There is a symmetry argument at work here that relies on the idea that the leader in a person is balanced by the follower in that person. In this regard, the person benefits by always being aware of how he or she fits into the organization or nation that he or she is a part of. This speaks to the true nature of humility, which is the topic of another meditation.

Nevertheless, without this context, the relationship between a leader and the people that he or she leads may become distorted or lost altogether. The debt that a leader owes to the led may be lost. Both can lose sight of the fact that each is reflected in the other. Without this reflection, one side of the equation can be easily lost.

Beyond symmetry, you can argue that without followers, it is easy for a leader to forget the community from which he or she springs. Without this context, a short step can descend into a slide down to ultimately defining the community as the led and seeing the leader as bulwark against chaos. To wit, the leader can lose sight of moral action and justice and begin to define those things as whatever he or she wants them to be.

Similarly, the led can lose sight of their role in closing or defining the circle. They can forget that they are the origin of justly derived powers and see all power as flowing from the leader. When they see things as a one-way flow – going from the leader to the led only – they can easily forget justice and fall into the same trap as the leader.

Perhaps greater insight can be gained from consideration of what it means to be “good,” whether you are playing the role of leader or follower at the moment. More than simply being effective, being good also implies that there is a moral or ethical standard that applies to effective actions that ideally does not change with circumstances.

It does not work the other way around, as some might have us believe. We do not derive our idea of morality or ethics simply from what is effective or from what seems to work in the short run. What works in one moment may not work in the next or what works for one person or in one situation may not work in the next. Inconsistency and arbitrariness are usually indications that there are deeper truths at work.

When I find that deeper truth and live by it, inconsistencies tend to disappear and what is ethical, what is right, and what is effective tend to converge. Most importantly, not everything that we can do are things that are good for us to do. There are some things that are not “right” but that we are encouraged to do by everyone else, even though our consciences, our senses of what is “right,” tell us otherwise. We can choose to shout down our senses of what is right or we can listen to them and do the right thing.

It seems to me that this is how being a “good follower” and eagles “not flocking” can converge. It sometimes takes courage to do the right thing precisely because everyone else may seem to be doing the same thing and that same thing is something else. There is pressure to conform with everyone else but this is not necessarily what the “good” person does, whether that person is a leader or a follower.

Sometimes, the “good” person is called to do exactly the same thing that he or she is called to do by the group. Such things happen more often than not in moral organizations. However, the morality of an organization is not determined by its strength or how often it is effective or even if it claims to support “good” things by committing “bad” deeds. Its morality is decided each moment by the people who make it up and the people who are affected by it.

Each person may be a leader in the organization – even the lowest person. Every follower may be a leader. That cannot be clear though unless everyone decides for him or her self whether the organization is acting morally. This means that every person owes it to him or her self to be aware of what that morality is outside of what the organization is doing.

We owe it to ourselves to speak up and question when things don’t add up or when we don’t understand something. We owe it to ourselves to act in accordance with our own senses of what is right. We owe it to ourselves to listen when others talk. speak responsibly, and to act responsibly. Remember – eagles don’t flock.

© 2013, David Park. All Rights Reserved.

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Combing The Cotton

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by DCH Park

I am sometimes asked if it’s truly necessary to become aware of the workings of our own minds and emotions in order to transcend them. Isn’t it possible to simply avoid certain subjects and focus on creating success, love, harmony, or happiness and enjoy those creations without delving into the muck of unwanted anger, fear, comparison, etc.?

To be fair, there are disciplines that promise release of such emotional blocks without having to deal with them directly or even consciously knowing what they are. Many teachers, including Napoleon Hill and Abraham Hicks, have advocated doing exactly that – focusing on the positive creation of what you prefer in life and eclipsing focus on what you don’t want.

Both of these approaches favor putting new energy where we want it instead of continuing to blindly send it where we don’t want it This encourages the former and leaves the latter to languish. Eventually, as the positive grows, the negative will tend to diminish, either through starvation or the natural process of losing relevance as life circumstances change. As we grow older and more experienced, how much energy do we devote to the intrigues of our lives in fifth grade?

However, Hill admitted himself that the path he taught was slow, it being typical for someone to strive for 20 years or more before fully realizing goals and dreams. Abrahams’ advice is more subtle but it goes to the same place. Both simply ignore or resist focus on negative thoughts. Rather than dwelling on how frustrating it is that your desires haven’t manifested yet or how hard it is to continue to slog through the daily grind en route to the golden circle, more positive things are emphasized.

Of course, this makes perfect sense – “whatever you resist persists.” Avoiding or actively suppressing certain unwanted experiences or expectations will only make them stronger. But there is a thin line between choosing to focus on positive creations and avoiding (which is the thin edge of resisting) one thing in order to focus on something else.

However, those who embrace these approaches often find themselves confronted by the same issues again and again. Like a weed that grows back if it is pulled up but the root is left intact, the blocks that are handled with such indirect techniques often re-emerge. As long as such re-emergent blocks are smaller and more easily recognized and dealt with over time, progress is moving in the right direction. Is this the best we can hope for?

Perhaps more is possible. By developing a habit of witnessing the emotional roller coaster you find yourself on without resisting the ride itself, you can notice your experience of the emotion becomes less sticky. Eventually, you are free to release the emotion altogether. This can be the first step in witnessing the block and its emotional baggage very deeply – all the way to it roots. Releasing the block from its roots eliminates it entirely, just as digging up a dandelion by its roots will eliminate it from your garden forever.

Imagine raw cotton. Freshly picked, it is full of seeds, sticks, stones, and dirt. In fact, cotton was so notoriously full of foreign debris and hard to clean by hand that it was considered largely useless commercially without slaves to provide free labor. This is why the cotton gin was so important historically. By combing out the seeds and other debris, the natural softness and strength of the cotton fibers could be appreciated.

It might be possible to use cotton in some way without combing out all of the debris first, but it’s unlikely that you could use it to spin thread or weave cloth. If you tried, the result would likely be poor and unsatisfying. How many sticks, seeds, and tiny rocks would you tolerate in your shirts or underwear?

Combing the cotton allows the natural qualities of the fibers to come through, enhancing its beauty, versatility, and strength. In the same way, combing out your body, mind, and spirit to remove emotional debris uproots blocks and allows the full truth, beauty, and creative strength of your being to come through.

The natural state of a human being is joyful and creative. To witness this, you need only look as far as the nearest healthy child. When we don’t see this in ourselves it is because our emotional attachments and ego drama get in the way of our realization and expression of our creative power. One way to understand or characterize spiritual work or growth is in terms of combing out the cotton of our beings. Our creativity and power shine into the world naturally and effortlessly once the blocks are released.

© 2012, David Park. All Rights Reserved.

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Positive (or Negative) Expectations

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by DCH Park

It is popular in some circles to embrace juicy displays of excitement and joy as part of the creation process. Perhaps partly due to a widespread misunderstanding or too literal interpretation of lessons in The Secret and other texts, the notion that joy, gratitude, and excitement about your creation should be strong and palpable is very popular.

If this is your natural mode and it works for you, then by all means, continue. Some people are very joyful and excited. They veritably vibrate with excitement and appreciation. Their energy seems almost tangible. They are able to pass that excitement on to others, which can be a powerful motivator for action.

The emotional impact of such individuals is almost physical in its effect. In fact, the Huna view of such raw emotion is that it is felt through the Basic Self, which is associated most closely with the body and subconscious. Huna also suggests that since the Basic Self is equally capable of feeling negative emotions, these same people are as prone to strongly feel and radiate their negative emotions as they are their positive ones.

However, there is a full range of emotions and wide variety in the ways that people experience and express them. Notice that there is another way to feel the reality of a new creation even before it is ready to be experienced in the physical world. Notice the sense of certainty you have in taking a step in the dark. You can’t see the floor before you, but you step out with a sense of surety that it is there. Beyond that, you have a sense for what it feels like and where it is. On those occasions when the floor wasn’t where you expected it to be, the moment your foot passed through the space where you expected to find the floor, your sense of surety instantly passed into alarm.

By the same token, if the floor was where you’d expected but felt different than you’d expected (for example if it was carpeted instead of hardwood or if it was wet), you probably felt surprise. Not alarm to be sure, but the swiftness and dynamics of change in your emotional state was probably nearly identical.

This sense of certainty is a subtler thing than the keen, body-felt excitement of the Basic Self. It is also very powerful, arguably more powerful than the excitement. Napoleon Hill identifies this sense of certainty as the single most powerful emotion in creating new experiences. Hill calls it Faith.

The story is told of a man familiar with the Law of Attraction who had befriended a powerful Native American shaman in the southwest. They were experiencing a drought, having already gone many weeks without rain. The shaman announced that he would perform a rain ceremony to bring rain.

The man asked his friend if he could come to witness the ceremony. The shaman agreed. The man was very excited. He was eager to see how the shaman, who was well known for his ability to bring rain, would pray for rain. Would there be long meditations, chanting and drumming, exotic rituals?

They walked up onto a high plateau. After a long time the shaman announced that they had arrived at the proper spot. He drew a circle in the dry dirt and took off his shoes. Then he stepped into the circle and stepped out again. He put on his shoes and motioned for his friend to follow him back down the slope. The ceremony was over!

The man was startled. Had he missed something? Was his friend pulling his leg? Maybe they would do the real ceremony after they’d both had a good laugh.

He asked the shaman what had happened. The shaman answered that he had pictured in his mind the rain falling and felt the mud between his toes when he stepped into the circle. He believed that the mud was there instead of the dust. That was the creation.

The next day, it rained.

This quite certitude is characteristic of the High Self in Huna. In contrast to the broad flush of excitement and joy that are like blunt instruments powerfully wielded by the Basic Self, quiet certainty and faith are like a fine instrument – a surgeon’s scalpel. When handled with deftness and precision, it can do much more in less time and with less effort than the blunt instrument can. It doesn’t take a gigantic effort to bring down a giant. It only takes a small stone applied to the right spot in the right way.

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Forming Powerful Resolves

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by DCH Park

Consider the manner in which powerful resolves are made. Also called manifestations or creations, resolves are statements about what you desire and choose to call into your experience.

Whether you embrace Abraham and the Law of Attraction, Napoleon Hill, Wallace Wattles, and the principles of success, Huna, or any other philosophy of success is immaterial. The ability to compose powerful statements about what it is that you intend to create in your life is useful, even if it’s only to firmly set your goal in your mind so that you don’t waver as you proceed.

Of course, many schools of thought and philosophies of success recognize the importance of taking action to reach your goals. The ability and readiness to recognize and act on opportunities when they arise is a vital part of creating success. You can never know ahead of time from which quarter a new opportunity may arrive and often situations that present themselves at first as burdens, disappointments, or distractions lead to or morph into huge opportunities later on.

Action in the world is no doubt a key component in successfully realizing your creation(s) in the physical world, however, the creation of whatever it is that you may prefer begins with your resolve. Napoleon Hill was neither the first nor the last person to note that “thoughts are things.” All success and all failure have their beginnings in the thoughts that we cultivate long before either success or failure are realized.

There are several principles or guidelines that may prove useful to keep in mind as you form your resolve. In no particular order, these are:

  • Be clear and definite.
  • Be simple and direct. Use as few words as possible.
  • Define your desire in positive terms.
  • Be aware of the feeling tone that accompanies your recitation of your resolve.
  • Believe it. If you don’t or can’t believe it, it won’t happen.
  • Begin with baby steps – “Crawl, Walk, Run.”
  • Use images. Images that evoke strong felt experience are best.
  • Powerful words that evoke images are good. Excessive verbiage disconnected from images is poor. Language can actually impede the creation process.
  • Express your resolve in the present tense.
  • Include yourself in the picture.
  • Relax. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It is yours. You can refine it, restate it, or change it altogether at anytime as you learn and grow.

Clarity and definiteness sound obvious, but in practice, achieving them can be challenging. Generally, it is better to be as specific as possible about the desire while at the same time releasing all notions about the manner in which your desired creation will appear in your life in the physical world.

The classic interpretation of this principle emphasizes specificity about worldly details, so instead of saying, “I have lots of money,” the principle is taken to be a recommendation to be specific about the amount, “I have $10M in the bank.” Extraneous details about the desire, especially about how it might be achieved, are revealed in this way as being counterproductive.

However, as worded, the desire that “I have $10M in the bank,” in its focus on the physical details, entirely misses the context which gives that $10M significance. For example, $10M in the bank sounds good unless you owe $20M. Alternatively, consider that 50 years ago $10M would have seemed like an impossible sum and 50 years from now, $10M, though still a lot, may seem more like what $500K seems now or what $100K seemed like in the past.

One common response to this shortcoming is to add more words to describe the context, but this rapidly deteriorates into long, wordy statements that would be more appropriate in a legal contract than in powerful manifestations. This practice is reminiscent of trying to reason back to the object that casts shadows on a wall from nothing but shadows. To even have a chance of being accurate about the object, you have to take into account any imperfections and irregularities in the wall as well as in the light. Is the light bright, steady, dim, or flickering?

Even after adjusting for all of that, you still have no way to knowing from just the shadow if the object is a dog or someone casting a shadow that looks like a dog or even if there are several objects that line up to cast a composite shadow. You may not have any idea at all of what the nature of the object is.

In a similar vein, perhaps the statement “I have $10M in the bank” is definite but not clear. The focus on the $10M might be like focusing on the shadow. Is $10M really what you want to enjoy or is the $10M simply a familiar cultural proxy for something deeper, truer, and more personal? Incidental details shift as the context changes, just as the shadows on a cave wall shift as the fire dances, but the inner truth is constant, just as the object casting the shifting shadow remains unchanged.

The unchanging truth that you might be reaching for through the proxy of $10M might be a sense of wealth and ease firmly rooted in the felt knowing and embodied experience that when you need or want something, it is there for you. That, in other words, the experience of privation and self-denial that characterizes a lack of resources is as abstract for you as the temperature on the far side of the moon might have been to the Ancient Mariner.

Embracing clarity and definiteness about this deeper reality – the personal, felt experience of wealth and ease – not only makes your resolve much more powerful and immediate, it opens up possibilities through which you can enjoy its realization that you would probably have otherwise remained closed to. Letting go of your focus on $10M allows you to explore and appreciate the true abundance and variety of your wealth and the richness of the universe.

It is best to state your resolve so that your desire is directly identified. Stating your desire in terms of its opposite actually defines the opposite more than the desire. One person, tired of always fighting with his spouse, focused on “not fighting all the time” rather than something like “I love and appreciate my wife.” They ended up divorcing each other. Although divorcing his wife did ironically provide a means to realize his resolve of “not fighting all the time,” it was precipitated by continued and escalating conflict with his wife. By focusing on “not fighting,” he actually manifested more fighting.

To understand this, most success and attraction gurus content themselves with hazy statements like, “the universe doesn’t understand (or respond to or accept)‘not’ and ‘no.’” Although these statements are accurate observations, they have very little or no power to illuminate. They merely articulate another rule to remember and follow from the mysterious rulebook of life.

I have personally always had a hard time accepting that. In my experience, when rules are put forth with little, weak, nonsensical, or absent explanation, it indicates that someone is hiding something (like an agenda or ignorance) or that I am missing or misunderstanding something. Happily, Huna provides a philosophy of success that illuminates the situation.

As mentioned above, images are very powerful. Huna makes clear that images are the means by which messages are sent and received outside of and beyond what people commonly experience as physical reality. Thus, the resolves that you formulate are communicated to your High Self and the universe beyond in the form of images. Notice that it is impossible to negate an image. If you picture something, say an apple, and then try to negate the apple, you end up with the apple or something else instead. There is no negative apple.

Negation is a function of language (the trope of a circle with a slash is culturally defined and thus a linguistic artifact). Since spirit communicates with images, there is no negation in communicating with spirit and resolves defined in terms that negate something actually convey a desire for the thing being negated.

As with anything, you must crawl before you walk and you must walk before you run. It may be too much of a stretch to go directly to your ultimate goal. In that case, it can help to start small and build up a track record of relatively smaller successes. For example, if you are very ill or badly injured, it may seem like nothing more than wishful thinking to resolve to be fully healthy with full use of arms and legs.

However, smaller goals, such as not feeling so achy, being able to eat and hold down a meal, or just sitting up in bed may be good places to start. As successes mount, your expectations will naturally shift so that bigger and bigger things become possible. Soon, things that once seemed impossible become natural.

This is an interesting subtlety. The emotional tone with which you state and hold your resolve is critical. If you are negative and pessimistic when you embrace your resolve, the net effect is to delay realization of the goal or in fact to create the experience of lack, which naturally engenders greater pessimism. You can ride the spiral down as easily as you can ride it upward. Some people take this to mean that feelings of joy and exuberance are important in making resolves. However, others note that the feeling of certainty or faith is the most important and powerful feeling tone.

When you go to a distant place full of beauty and wonder, especially if you have been anticipating being there for some time – for example the Grand Canyon or Disneyland – there is a sense of reality to the place that only serves to underscore the impact of being there. It is akin to the knowing that water is wet and fire is hot.

This is the faith or knowing that can transform a resolve into reality. Emotionally, it is already real. From this point of view, it makes no more (or less) sense to be exuberant or bubbly over your resolve than it does over the fact that fire is hot or that Disneyland is. Holding a resolve in such faith has amazing power. It can instantly transform your perspective. Actions can suddenly seem possible, even matter-of-fact. Success can become as inevitable as the morning sun.

As Annie sings, “tomorrow is a day away.” It tends to be self-defeating to resolve that you will have, be, or do something “some day.” It can be equally frustrating to resolve that you “want to” be, do, or have something. Resolving to want something is immediately self-fulfilling. You already want it. Ta-da! You’re successful. You created what you desire.

Instead, state your resolve in the present tense. Rather than “I will create a fortune,” state “I have a fortune.” What is even better, focus on the experience of having the fortune. What does it feel like? This also has the virtue of putting yourself in the picture. It does little good to picture piles of money if you aren’t there to enjoy it. Similarly to creating in the present, picturing piles of money, a new house, new car, or new spouse without including yourself in the picture is easily realized. These things all exist in the world. Focus instead on your experience of yourself enjoying these things.

In conclusion, remember that words are generally not the best vehicle for making or stating your resolve. They can be helpful as tools to explore how you want to define your resolve and for accessing it quickly. However words are a poor vehicle for capturing and conveying your resolve. Images and body sensations are far more powerful. Beyond the emotional and physical solidity of faith and belief, body sensations can help make the resolve more vivid and immediate.

For example, if you desire a vacation in Hawaii, an image of a white sandy beach may be potent but compare that to imagining yourself on that beach. Feel the weight of your body as you sink into the sand, the warmth of the sun and sand on your face and back. Smell and hear the ocean.

If you are having challenges in forming your resolve, begin with what you have and be aware of what does and does not work well or feel right. Use it. State it. This is often quite helpful in uncovering lacunae that you don’t see because a conceptual blind spot hides it. If this happens, you can always refine or change your resolve. It is yours.

For example, one person felt that she had a good idea of what she wanted because she had always had a sense of what success would be like or look like and she felt successful, at least on paper. However, when she did an exercise that called for her to state her resolve clearly, she discovered that she did not have a succinct, powerful statement. She had only vague and poorly defined notions of what she wanted.

Yoga Nidra is an excellent practice for this sort of realization. The name translates as “the sleep of the yogis” and it is a means for putting the body to sleep while remaining awake in order to gain conscious access to the creative imaginal mind. More information about Yoga Nidra and other practices will be available in these pages shortly.

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“Forming Powerful Resolves” by DCH Park is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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Renew and Refresh In Place

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by DCH Park

A short while ago, I asked our meditation circle about their sense of and feelings about the energy and change in transitioning from summer to autumn. One or two were dreading the coming of cooler weather and already mourning the loss of summer heat but most felt that the coming shift was a welcome change and felt a charge of excitement and energy.

It might seem strange on the surface that the prospect of autumn – the beginning of the end of the annual cycle – should be so full of excitement and activity, but the fact is that even though the end of the growing season is upon us, the metaphorical party is nowhere near ending. Traditionally, of course, autumn is the time of harvest, which is a very busy time of year, and harvest festivals, celebrations, and holidays abound. So the “party” is far from over. In fact, it’s just getting into full swing!

In this context, it makes sense that there would be a sense of energy and excitement in the air. People have returned (and/or recovered) from their summer vacations and feel recharged and fully immersed in work. Longer, cooler nights are supporting better, deeper, and more healing sleep, which also contributes to the overall sense of well-being, flow, and readiness.

Underlying all of that, there is a subtle but growing sense that the party season is ramping up. Various harvest festivals and holidays including Oktoberfest, Canadian Thanksgiving, Halloween, and Thanksgiving are all in the air and their energies can be felt. Along with cooler weather and longer nights, autumn brings fall colors and the shift from escaping summer heat to anticipating (or dreading) winter snow.

In the midst of all of this change, excitement, and foment, remember that it is easy and never more than a breath or two away to feel fully embodied and grounded. There is no reason that you have to allow yourself to become swept up in all of the bustle. You have a choice. You always have the option of enjoying it without trying to control it – like surfing a wave instead of paddling your board through the water. Surfing moves you along very quickly and effortlessly. Paddling is slow, hard work. Are you flowing or exerting effort?

It can be helpful to remember that you always have the option to enjoy the pageant without getting completely immersed in it or attached to it. You can enjoy it and observe yourself enjoy it at the same time, creating a metaphorical distance, like taking in the crashing waves of the raging sea from the shore. It’s loud and the sounds and smell of the sea penetrate your being but you stay dry.

In the midst of your bustle and scurry, take time out to breathe and notice yourself in the midst of your activity and focus. Simply noticing yourself experiencing life can be enough to return to the imperturbable calm within. Create a quiet moment at your desk or in your car, before starting the engine, at least once a day. I have a friend who retreated to the handicapped stall at work for five minutes each day to practice being grounded and centered. Another made it a practice to walk a mile or so each day at lunchtime for the same reason.

As with any human ability, with practice, it becomes easier and more immediate and profound. The contrast between being at peace in your inner silence and losing touch with yourself as you allow yourself to be swept up in the bustle becomes clearer and more distinct. As your ability to discern when you are getting lost in ego drama grows, you realize more and more that you have a choice. You can be at peace, enjoying your inner calm even in the middle of a chaotic world.

At some point, you realize that it is possible to practice being grounded and at peace as a meditation even while your eyes are open and you manage the electric buss of your day and that you have been doing this more and more gracefully for some time. What better time to practice becoming grounded? Autumn, with all of its activity, is a gift. It is a wonderful opportunity to practice moving through life while being (or returning to being) grounded, eventually without even breaking stride. The harvest theme of the season is very earthy, after all.

As with anything else, re-grounding yourself in that calm inner silence will become easier the more you do it. With diligent practice, the need to create a quiet space or retreat to a private area will fade. You will be able to recognize very quickly when you are getting swept up in the bustle and with no more than a deep breath or a shift in your perspective, realign with your deepest self – even in mid-scurry.

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“Renew and Refresh In Place” by DCH Park is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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