The Power of Belief

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I Believe in Life after Death

 

So many of us have stopped seeing the world as the beautiful place it really is. Our words and thoughts are filled with negativity. Having lost our Spiritual roots, we see death as final and tragic and something to be feared. It is all a matter of perspective. Yes there is pain, and the pain is real, but we can still heal our pain through the power of the belief – the belief that we have the ability to create and live a life of peace and joy.

I recently attended a Life Celebration for a ninety year old friend who had lived a full and rich life. As in so many funerals, thoughts turned to a hoped for afterlife. We all wished that he would fulfill his dream to rejoin the love of his life, his wife of sixty-two years. I know that beliefs in a heaven and hell are based on Christian mythology, but myths are just stories that reveal a hidden truth. I believe that this body is mortal but we also have an essence that is pure energy. We are spiritual beings cloaked in a human body. Since this energy can never be lost, I believe it is simply transformed into pure spirit.

I believe that death is not to be feared. There is no hell. I believe that there is an afterlife or another life, and this life will be free of pain and suffering. I believe that the power of belief is a gift from the source. It is the essence of faith and hope. It is the essence of out being.  It is the shoulder we can lean on when life seems too hard to bear.

 

     I Believe In Life after Death

 

Knowing all there is to know and being all there is to be,

It is now time to celebrate the last day of the last life

That I will ever live.

 

However, there are still these last few years to savor,

The thrill of sensing all that my eyes can see,

And hearing all my ears can hear.

 

And as I caress the substance of all my hands can touch,

My soul transforms all these gifts of my senses

Into feelings that expand into ecstasy.

 

As my souls captures the joys of this divine present,

It molds this ever expanding divine source of energy

Into a shape I know will last forever.

 

 

Auto-Suggestion and Bisexuality

SHIRT & TIE [small] (final)(This is the fourth in the series on applying Napoleon Hill’s principles for financial success to how we can shape our bisexuality into creating a life that we would truly love to live.)

According to Napoleon Hill, auto-suggestion is “the agency of communication between the part of the mind where conscious thought takes place, and that which serves as the seat of action for the subconscious mind (higher self).” [1]

Most of us live continuously within our conscious mind. Biologically, it is the constant process of sensing, turning senses into perceptions, and then processing the new information in the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC). The OFC does this by referring to past mind sets involving memories and emotion. It then sets plans of action and carries them out. Once we have completed the task, the new information is connected through creating neural pathways to past mind sets. Thus we continue to experience and grow. But is that all there is?

Hill suggests that there is another part of us that functions apart from the conscious mind. He refers to it as the subconscious. However, we now know that the subconscious is merely mind sets, or neural pathways, involving implicit and explicit memories attached to strong emotions. Frequently these emotions are based on negative experiences and fears that serve as guides or blocks to taking actions into the unknown. However, we do not grow unless we are willing to take some risks. This leads to my thesis that we have a higher power that drives us on to become better and better human beings. It operates in the realm of imagination and by taking steps into the unknown. It wants to experience and grow.

We can perceive life then as a battle between our conscious mind with its subconscious fears and our higher self with its desire to grow. According to Hill, the way to move from the conscious mind to the higher self is through the power of Auto-Suggestion.  Hill states that we do this by forming a plan under the intuitive guidance of the higher self and developing a procedure to bypass the fears of the conscious mind. He suggests that we put this plan into writing, and repeat it over and over again until a clear picture of the plan is formed in our conscious mind, thereby removing the fear of the unknown. This includes the pleasure feeling of what it would be like to obtain our desires. Instead of fear of failure or the unknown, the conscious mind now has a desire and an expectation for the hoped for outcome. But we still have to battle against the old paragigms of the subconscious mind.

Hill suggests that our ability to use the principle of auto-suggestion will depend upon our ability to concentrate upon a given desire until that desire becomes a burning obsession. Once that obsession is in place we can expect the higher self to connect with the Infinite Intelligence to intuitively provide the conscious mind with a step by step plan. The law of Attraction will then come into effect whereby The Universe will provide everything that is necessary to bring our desires into material reality.

According to Hill we employ the following three-step process for auto-suggestion:

  1. Make a plan including the goal, time limit, and what you will give in return
  2. Create a written copy and post it where you can see it and read it just before retiring and upon arising, until it is memorized.
  3. Repeat this plan vocally day and night until you can see in your imagination the money (desire) you intend to accumulate.

For example, here is the plan on which I am now working:

By June 30, 2019, I will have sold 1000 copies of my latest book, The Room, which is about the emotions and feelings associated with depression. In return I will give readings, book launches, and whatever service needed to market my book. I will then submit my book for provincial and national contests and receive the Governor General’s Award and the twenty-five thousand dollars that goes with it. 

Here are my five suggestions for bisexuals:

  1. We call up our higher self by getting into a state of mindfulness and dreaming up what it would be like to live the life of our dreams. We stay in a state of mindfulness allowing our higher self to formulate a step by step plan  to achieve our dream.
  2. We write and post that plan where we can see it and recite it day and night until it is memorized.
  3. We continue reciting this plan until we can feel what it is like to have the desires fulfilled.
  4. We will begin to receive hunches on what we have to do to achieve our desires, and we immediately act upon them.
  5. We follow these intuitive suggestions step by step until our desires and dreams become a reality.

[1] Hill, Napoleon. Think and Grow Rich. Dover Publications Inc..2015. (page 57)

Bisexuality and God

SHIRT & TIE w.out white background (final)Strange title isn’t it? Seems like those two words just don’t go together. That may be because of our concept of God as the Ultimate Patriarch of the Islamic/Christian/Judean faiths. We have been taught to think of God as the judge and prosecutor of the family unit, where the man is the protector and guiding force, and the woman is the keeper of the hearth. There is no room here for the person who is not sure of their gender or is experimenting with same sex relationships.

Because of these foundation beliefs, we are taught to fear God and to attune ourselves with the traditions and beliefs of our parents, and through them, to the community of believers, and to our society at large. The result is either conformity and peace, or shame and anxiety. The tendency for us bisexuals, who just cannot conform to these beliefs no matter how hard we try, is to say “there is no God” and “I will live my life with my heart and my gut as my only judges”. We rule out the possibility of God because we can no longer carry the shame and the pain of being isolated from our biological, social, and spiritual families.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.  Each morning when I wake up, I light the fire in the hearth and then go out onto my front deck to watch the sun rise over the Salish Sea. I slide into my meditation sanctuary and experience the beauty of the colors melting into the clouds, framed by the silent silhouettes of the giant fir trees, and I listen to the barking of the sea lions and the songs of the twees, robins, and loons, and I somehow feel a part of something grand and powerful.

This is my God, the Presence that is in me and all around me; the Presence that is Life itself.  This Presence is part of me and I am part of it. It is masculine and feminine, male and female. It is the God of bisexuals as well as the God of gays, lesbians, and  heterosexuals. It is the God of the Christians, Jews, and Muslims, yes and even the fundamentalists. If I want to relate to this Presence as my Father, than he is my Father; as the Tao then it is the Tao; as my Mother Earth, then she is my mother earth. It, he, she – is everything. There is no gender; there is no condemnation based on race, religion, or sexual orientation. It is what connects me to you and you to me. It is the source of all that is, of every thought, of every spark of energy, including our powerful drives.  It is even part of my sexuality, my desire and joy in being a bisexual man and a Father, my ability to know and love lovers and friends sexually and/or platonically.

Anyway, that is my own personal belief, and this belief makes life easier and sweeter for me. It gives me a foundation for love. It gives me a reason to get up each morning and love the life that is in me. And yes, it is even there at the basis of my sexual desires. It is what transforms having sex into “making love’.

Here are my five applications for bisexuals:

  1. We do not have to give up on God; he-she-it, by its very nature, has not given up on  us. Remember our beliefs provide the guidance and the power for our feelings and emotions. We have to believe in something so we may as well reach for the sky and believe in this wonderful power of love and beauty that is the foundation for all that is good in this life. Believing we are part of this presence, and it is part of us, opens the door to unlimited power. We can create miracles.
  2. Even if we cannot believe in a personal god, or even a presence in the universe, we can believe in something. We can believe in love. We can believe that we are beautiful powerful creatures, and yes we can still create miracles. This presence, this energy, can still work for us subconsciously.
  3. We can see the presence in others. This will prevent us from falling into hate with all its negative emotions and consequences. We can see others as powerful and beautiful people who are struggling with their own identity.
  4. We should never be ashamed of our bodies. They are a gift. They are beautiful. They are what binds us to Mother Earth and to the Universal Presence.
  5. We should never be ashamed of our sexual desires. They are a gift of the Universal Presence through our bodies. Through sexual relationships we can connect with others on a deep spiritual as well as physical level. We can know that love is the essence of life.

Sex and the Mind

SHIRT & TIE [small] (final)I think we would all agree that any problem with sex originates in the mind. Our bodies are just answering nature’s call, and the higher self is only concerned with relationships. When we look at the functioning of the brain, the genetic based sexual impulses seem to work at the autonomic level. It is only when the impulses go to the prefrontal cortex for second appraisal do we begin to second guess what our bodies and old brains are telling us. To understand how this works, we can view sexuality as two separate functions: arousal and desire. Adams et al. in their thorough review of brain and hormone activity defined sexual desire as “the behavioral drive that motivates individuals to fantasize about or seek out sexual activity.” In contrast, sexual arousal is defined as “the autonomic physiological processes that prepare the body for sexual activity.” [1] For the purpose of this blog we will be mainly looking at desire.

[1] Adams, Kristian; Favaloro; Dundas, Brendan; Dillon, Aaron; Nixon, Daniel. The Neuroscience of Sexual Desire. (http://neurosciencefundamentals.unsw.wikispaces.net/Sex+and+the+Brain.+What+parts+are+involved%3F)

But first, let’s take a brief look at the nature of arousal. Arousal is an old brain/body function. The activities of the tests and ovaries are regulated by a complex chain of events known as the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis. Sexual arousal is controlled by the autonomic nervous system which interacts with the sex organs creating an increase in steroids, body heat, and heart rate.  Male arousal is largely controlled directly by emotion through the limbic system, particularly the amygdala, with limited interaction with the rest of the brain.  Males on average have a 16% larger cortico-medial which is the area responsible for steroid uptake which, among other effects,  regulates flow of blood to the genitals. The activity of the limbic system precedes and triggers penile erection, sexual feelings, sensations of extreme pleasure, and memories of sexual intercourse. This creates a dopamine rush similar to a shot of heroin.

Female arousal appears to be more of a whole brain activity. A woman’s brain literally lights up when viewed in brain scans during stimulation of the brain via the vagus nerve.  Increased activity was noted in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN) (sympathetic nervous system – increasing  the dopamine rush –  and regulating blood flow), midbrain central gray (GABA and increased sexual reception), amygdala (emotion), hippocampus (memory), anterior cingulate (blood pressure, heart rate and reward anticipation), frontal parietal (body sensations), temporal and insular cortices (sensory processing and memory), anterior basal ganglia (psychomotor behavior), and cerebellum (motor movement). This results in a complex interaction between the brain and body. It also results in increased lubrication and enhanced touch sensation.

Through the technology of improved use of brain scans, we see that desire on the other hand increases brain activity in both males and females . The center for sexual desire appears to come from the amygdala; however, it does not function in isolation. The amygdalofugal pathway connects the amygdala with the thalamus, median hypothalamus, brain stem and nucleus accumbens. The nucleus accumbens is a large cluster of dopamine generating neurons which produces extreme feelings of pleasure as well as motivation to pursue sexual behavior. The anterior commisure is also activated connecting the left and right amygdala combining left brain (thought) and right brain (visual imagery) stimulation. One theory states that the anterior commisure may be responsible for gender orientation with gay men having am anterior commisure more similar to a woman’s (left brain dominant); however, this has not yet been established by neuroscience. Oxytocin seems to be a major player in sexual desire serving both as a stimulus to arousal and a neuromodulator to the flow of information through the neurotransmitters in the brain. All this happens in a blink of an eye where arousal and desire seem to interact simultaneously. This creates a yo-yo effect with our sexual drive system with constant interplay between thought, emotion, and hormonal arousal.

A review of the literature on neuro-sexual activity by Carl Zimmer[1] leads to some interesting additional information. One study observed that the medial orbito frontal cortex (OFC) was active in desire-impaired  but quiet in the normal men.  The OFC’s connection with the hippocampus  produces emotional memories which create states of mind. Through the interaction of states on mind, the OFC mediates reward and punishment, creates personal assessment, and manages expectations. It is also responsible for  understanding the thoughts, emotions and intentions of other people. It weighs action and consequences thereby influencing sexual desire. The OFC also connects to the neocortex particularly in the lobes involved in sensory integration including all somatosensory (body sensations) modalities.  The OFC also connects to the anterior insula, which is what we use to reflect on the state of our own body sensations. This interplay between the OFC, the anterior insula, and the neocortex may produce the good or bad feelings we associate with sexual arousal. Another set of studies noted that information not only travels from the visual cortex and the emotional centers to the higher regions of the brain, but also goes from the top down. Therefore, the higher regions may be instructing the eyes on what looks sexually desirable. The brain regions that handle self-awareness and understanding others may also be telling the emotional centers what to feel.

The two main disorders relating to sexual desire are hyposexual desire disorder (HSDD) and hypersexuality. The causes of sexual desire disorders vary, but some may include a decrease in the production of oestrogen in woman or testosterone in both men and women. HSDD is characterized by low levels of sexual desire and fantasy. This may be due to genetic predisposition or brain damage to the medial orbitofrontal cortex or the limbic structures of the amygdala, hypothalamus, or the temporal lobes. Hypersexuality can be considered as increased desire for sex that makes it difficult to meet social commitments and/or personal development. Evidence has been found that hypersexuality occurs‍ more often in the right hemisphere of the brain with far more cases in males. Studies also indicate that genetic predictors of homosexuality are associated with increased “risk taking” behavior (hypersexuality) due to irregularities of the serotonin production gene and over stimulus of the dopamine drive system.

I think we can conclude that sexual desire is the culmination of several different neural mechanisms, neural pathways, and states of mind, each of which is controlled in different areas of the brain and is activated at different stages of the sexual experience. In other words, arousal cannot be separated from desire. It is part of the bottom up process but almost simultaneously meets and meshes with the top town approach from the prefrontal cortex. Emotions, impulses and hormonal activity seem to pinball among various areas of the brain once arousal takes place.

Here are my five applications for bisexuals:

  1. Since sex is a whole brain activity, we can learn to control our mind and then use our mind to control our sexual impulses. We can do this through meditation and dealing with the pain stimuli coming from the ego (OFC). We can restructure our neural circuits through the wisdom of our higher self, affirm our desires as natural sources of pleasure, and rewire our mind with positive feelings of self-acceptance.
  2. Our sexual impulses are, by their nature, healthy. If we are attracted to men or women or both, it is merely part of our arousal system. We are free to indulge. However, before we can truly enjoy our sexuality, we must also heal the feelings coming from the prefrontal cortex (ego). We can do this by repeating step one whenever we experienced negative thoughts about our sexuality.
  3. I do not believe that hypersexuality is a legitimate problem except in rare cases. I do not believe it is due to a damaged limbic system. A strong sexual desire system is a sign of a healthy human body. The so-called addiction problems are a result of   developed mind sets that involve implicit and explicit memories connected to negative emotions. We simply have to change the circuits and remove the unhealthy inhibitions which are usually based on shame induced structures from family and religion.
  4. Hyposexuality is a problem, but it is not usually centered in the physical brain  structures. It is more likely an inhibitor from the orbito frontal cortex. We have to remove those inhibitors in order to enjoy our sexuality so that we can have fuller and more passionate relationships.
  5. Gay and bisexual men often have amazingly powerful sex drives. This is natural. We have to learn to enjoy it without shame or blame. When our sexual behavior involves a significant other, we have to be sure that he/she understands our drive, and we have to work out a general understanding that involves both of our needs and desires. We have to open up the doors of communication to take away the potential shame and blame.

[1] Zimmer, Carl. Discover, 2009. (http://discovermagazine.com/tags/?tag=carl+zimmer)

 

 

The Mind and Relationships

SHIRT & TIE w.out white background (final)As humans, we have a great need for intimate connections with other human beings. Somewhere around fifty thousand years ago, mankind saw the need to belong to a larger social group for the purpose of hunting and survival. Those who had the genetic and mental skills to adapt to social settings became alphas in the group and passed their genes on to the next generation. Those who did not were separated from the group and died out. Through natural selection, the human brain has developed a process where one mind can directly interface with another through the transfer of energy and information and thus create a super system between two or more individuals.

So how does this social ability work? At conception, we receive a genetic code that fashions a region in the brain known as the prefrontal cortex. At the center of this is the orbitofrontal cortex which is believed to be responsible for emotional and social processing. The right side of this region seems to be able to create an emotional state and then  send signals that  directly shape the emotional mindset of the receiver. This is perceived subconsciously through facial expression, voice tone, and other types of body language. This activates the emotion system of the receiver through the amygdala and the anterior cingulate thereby orienting attention and creating arousal. Through verbal response, the sender and receiver  begin to share information from one mind to another creating similar representational processes, appraising meaning, and influencing individual or group behavior.

This process begins during infancy. The function of the developing brain is shaped by the parent’s more mature brain. There is an alignment of states of mind between parent and child. When this attunement is conducted in a warm supportive manner, the child understands and feels what is perceived to be right or wrong. This process eventually leads to the child self-regulating its own behavioral impulses. Shame is the emotion evoked when the child’s arousal state is not confirmed or attuned to by the parent. When this attunement is accompanied by a parent’s anger or some other form of disconnection, the parent fails to soothe the child’s sense of shame thus resulting in a deeper negative sensation that we can refer to as humiliation. The way to cope with humiliation is for the child to experience self-loathing or to strike back in anger to protect the self.

I did not receive good parenting. I was neglected as a child because my single parent mother with nine children was unable to meet my need for loving and supportive attunement.  As a result, I  developed a personality disorder which made it very difficult to relate to others, particularly members of the opposite sex. On the outside, I was a handsome, athletic, and intelligent guy who attracted a lot of female attention, but I was not sexually aggressive or assertive. I was able to maintain heterosexual relationships and eventually married and had four children, but sexually, I found it much easier to relate to men.

In my case, the processes begun during childhood continued into adulthood. Because the emotions constitute the fundamental value system of the brain, I not only subjected myself to the positive or negative energy of others, but I also opened myself up to absorbing their value systems. This led to self-loathing because I could not control my gay impulses which were in direct conflict with my heterosexual and religious family relationships. I  lacked awareness of internal pain or dissatisfaction with my relationships which otherwise might have served to motivate change. I  became very skilled in providing what I thought others wanted, but I did not take care of my own wants and needs. This eventually led to a mental breakdown and divorce.

The good news is the orbitofrontal cortex remains plastic throughout our life time. We cannot change what we have received in the way of parenting, but we can change the way our brain works. The most important relationship we can develop is with our higher self. This creates an internal attunement with our own positive spiritual guide which will always be gentle and will never seek to shame or humiliate. Through the higher self, we can overcome early damage by being aware of our thinking patterns. We ask our higher self to verbally respond to the child within. This allows us to make left hemisphere sense out of right hemisphere emotional feelings and create a sense of order out of our own chaotic  processes. By focusing in on our pain and the cause of our pain, we can bring in the vibrations of our higher self to soothe and rewire those circuits.

By analyzing our relationships, we can then begin to function consciously instead of just reacting subconsciously. We avoid negative relationships and nurture positive ones. Because we are subject to an intense sense of vulnerability and loss, we learn to recognize these feeling and reconnect them to the higher self for soothing. Because we tend to over compensate and recreate ourselves to please others – the chameleon effect – we learn to recognize our own needs, and love, respect and defend ourselves. Because we may have a profound fear of annihilation or abandonment, we recognize our strengths instead of our weaknesses and take time to just be alone with ourselves.

I have learned to attune to my higher self.  Above all I have learned to parent the ego or child within. In the process, I have established the following guidelines that I would like to pass on to you.

My five applications for bisexuals:

1. We look in the mirror each morning and establish loving eye contact.

2. We use our tender voice for self-talk, never condemning or being disappointed in ourselves.

3. We only allow good touches from others.

4. We practice focused attention with ourselves by choosing some activity each day just for us. We create our own sense of purpose and set aside time and space to do the things we really want to do.

5. Above all, we shape our own present and future by developing prospective memory which allows us to imagine, create, and remember a set of future feelings and goals and then set our will or sense of purpose to creating the life we would love to live.

Emotion, Three Types of Energy, and the Self Function of the Mind

SHIRT & TIE [small] (final)In this blog, we continue to search for the self within the mind. Neuroscience suggests that the answer may lie within the emotional energy of the brain which is a function of the limbic system and the prefrontal cortex. I am suggesting that the answer lies in “the mind within the mind” that I have been referring to as the higher self, or what others may refer to as soul or spirit. The question we have to ask is, “What is the energy source that drives the mental functions of the mind?”.  I believe that this is probably the most important question we can ask ourselves. When we discover the source of this energy, we can then develop a paradigm that will direct all our beliefs and subsequent actions.

According to neuroscience, the flow of brain or mind energy is generated by the hind brain and mid brain which then flows through the thalamus, hypothalamus, and amygdala. It is then regulated by the orbitofrontal cortex and the anterior cingulate which direct the flow of energy to various neural networks that manifest as states of mind. Importance at any point in time is assigned through emotional intensity thereby regulating the number of neurons that fire and the amount of neurotransmitters released. In essence, this energy then attaches meaning, focuses attention, and activates the appropriate mindset to deal with a given situation, thus creating consciousness. With each new experience the energy is directed into combining this new information into the mind state through an increase in complexity, or an expanded neural network. In other words, this flow of energy directs the self, or it is, in fact, the “self” itself.

This flow of energy through and in the mind is known as emotion. The first type of emotion is primary emotion which regulates arousal and controls the flow of information. The second type of emotion is called categorical. It is what we commonly recognize as the typical emotions like fear, anger, joy etc. These emotions are now at the conscious level and we can name them and describe their associated feelings. We can categorize all the emotions as positive of negative. They seem to operate on a continuum. For example, at one end you may have despair, at the middle primary emotion, and then at the opposite end joy.   The negative emotions involves the sympathetic system which activates the hormones of the body, chief of which are adrenaline and cortisone. The inability to regulate the emotions through the activities of the brain is the source of most of our mental and physical problems.

This takes us to the question of the nature of mind energy itself. The negative energy that comes from negative categorical emotions is destructive and paralyzing. The positive energy that comes from primary and positive categorical emotion is enjoyable and constructive. According to neuroscience, these two sources of energy control and regulate all the other functions of the brain. We seek the positive (joy) and avoid the negative (pain). On first glance, this seems preposterous, that brain energy, the mere transfer of electrochemical impulses, could be the essence of self.  I am suggesting that this emotional energy based function of self does indeed exist within the mind sets of the brain, but it does not function on its own. I believe there is an third type of energy that controls this energy.

Recent scientific studies using space age technology have identified  a low frequency electromagnetic energy (similar to light and sound waves) that emanates from the whole body.  I believe that this energy is the essence of life itself. I believe that this energy controls the electrochemical processes of the brain including the flow of emotion and information. I believe it is the mind within the mind  that activates the conscious state of mind that seems to control and regulate the other states of mind. Above all, this flow of energy is the essence of “will”, the desire and ability to choose. It is not just the brain combining states of mind to forge new pathways, it is the energy of self directing the brain to choose new courses and to make new choices that the brain can then encode in the neural pathways for future reference.

Now the question is, “Why is this so important?’ if we believe that the self is merely an electrochemical flow of energy and information then we are extremely limited in our ability to expand. The idea of self then is a bottom up approach. We are a result of our previous experiences and resulting mindsets, which become rigid and limited over time. We have to battle with those previous mindsets and hope for semi-random combinations regulated by emotion to expand and grow. However, if we believe that we have an energy based spiritual self beyond the confines of the brain then the sky is the limit. We now have the ability to create new neural pathways and to make choices based on our  highest feelings and dreams.

My five applications to bisexuality:

1. Our brains are definitely influenced by past states of mind, many of them containing negative reactions to our gender realities. These reactions have tended to control our ability to a accept ourselves the way we are and to expand and grow. We now have an opportunity to bring our higher self into the picture for healing. We attune with our higher self which is always gentle and supportive.

2. We ask our bodies and our minds to bring up old issues. We then call upon and ask for the support of our higher self. We rest there until we feel the positive energy flow into those memories thus rewiring them with positive feedback. We keep doing this over and over again until those old vibrations of negative energy disappear and are replaced by the positive energy of our higher self.

3. We dream new dreams. We plan a life that will fulfill all our hopes and desires. We make this plan real by providing the minute details of what this life will look life.

4. With the help of our higher self, we allow ourselves to feel what this life will feel like. We hold that feeling and rehearse it daily until the dream becomes a reality.

5. We but aside the old patterns of the brain. I am powerless becomes I am powerful.  I am a worthless failure becomes I am am a beautiful being and I deserve to live the life I want. And above all, I loathe and hate myself becomes I love, and yes, I even like myself. We keep reminding ourselves that we deserve to live the life of our dreams.

The Creative Function of the Mind

SHIRT & TIE w.out white background (final)In exploring the functions of the mind, I had it all backwards. We do not start with the simplest and go to the more complex (from the bottom up) we start at the top and work down. In everything in life, we do not start at the bottom and think upwards, we start at the top. I am beautiful. I am powerful. There is greatness in me. I have a gifted mind that can create what it desires.

During meditation this morning, instead of just trying to remain silent without thought, I allowed the universe, or if you prefer, my god (perhaps my higher self), to speak to me. I opened up my soul and asked whoever is out there (or in here) to speak. The message was loud and clear; it was to create, to employ the power of my thoughts to create. Instead or completing my book on developing virtues, it was to show the power of virtues. Instead of intellectual prose, I was to use creative prose and the power of poetry.

But the power of creation has to be more than just writing poetry. So what is the intrinsic nature of creativity and how is it manifested by the human mind? What immediately came to mind was the moment my son was born. My wife had gone into labor and we had hurried to the hospital for the delivery. The doctor arrived, examined my wife, and proclaimed that the baby was turned the wrong way, and it would be several hours before he was born. He said he was going home to sleep and would come back in the morning. Feeling the guilt of putting my wife through this incredible sequence of unending pain, I placed my hands on her abdomen and asked god to turn the baby. At that exact moment, the baby turned. The doctor had just enough time to return to the hospital and cut the umbilical cord.

So what had happened? Out of the power of extreme emotion came the thought and then the words. The words had the power to create, to change the physical world around me. Words bring thoughts into clarity and therefore in reality. Words have power. Where does this power come from? I could go into the neurobiology and explain how the activities of the amygdala, the orbitofrontal cortex, and the anterior cingulate create energy which we refer to as primary emotion, and how these emotions then are regulated by the prefrontal cortex to create the categorical emotions we know as fear, sadness etc., and these emotions then give the power to put these thoughts into action. But we do not need to know all that; we just need to know that when we add feeling to our thoughts, we can change the world. This is what I mean by the creative function of the mind.

The Power of thought is much more than the few amps of electrochemical energy produced by the brain. All the combined energies of brain, body, and heart do not have the power to create things in our environment. Even if we add the electromagnetic waves that emanate from the whole body, which researchers suggest is evidence of an aura or a human soul, we still do not have enough energy to turn on a light bulb, let alone cause a baby to turn in the womb. So then where does this energy come from? It has to be that we are more than just brain/mind and that we must have an additional dimension of mind/soul that serves as a link to the life power around us. We need this infinite source of power to turn a baby or cause the Red Sea to part.

This power of thought/word/life energy is the power of creation. We have the power to create by thinking with emotion and purpose. We can heal our minds and bodies. We can dream dreams and make those dreams become reality with the power of emotional thought put into words that then are turned into action.

My five applications to bisexuality:

1. Be creative. If we do not like our present circumstance, all we have to do is think the right thoughts, put our full power of emotion into them, and speak them into reality. I am a hopeless failure becomes “I am a beautiful powerful being.” We keep saying it louder and louder until we feel the enormous power of our thoughts.

2. We believe in the power of our thoughts. We look for evidence that our thoughts are being manifested. The world will begin to change one small step at a time. The key is to look for and find the evidence of that change. This will reinforce our belief, which in turn will energize our emotions, which in turn will enhance our ability to create.

3. As bisexuals, we will begin to believe in ourselves. We will design the life we love and we will begin to love the life we live. We will not be satisfied until we actualize the full power of our dream.

4. We will visualize the perfect mate and bring that person into our lives.

5. We will use our sexual energy to build our relationships and enhance all our sensory experiences, including enjoying great sex.

Self-Actualization, Sex, and the Virtues

SHIRT & TIE w.out white background (final)We have come to the end on our study of the virtues, and we have developed our body, mind, and soul to the point that we can truly say that we are on the path to self-actualization. The journey is not complete, only because it is never complete; self-actualization is a process, not a destination. Each of the virtues are to be visited over and over again as our knowledge and wisdom spirals ever upward and onward towards self-actualization.

The first stage to self-actualization is the cluster of five virtues involved in grounding. First we become aware of our higher self. We are aware of the power and beauty of our bodies, minds and souls. We accept ourselves just the way we are, and we love ourselves because of the endless capacity, power, and beauty within. We are able to listen to the voice of our higher self as our source of truth. We have learned to feel when something is right or wrong for us. We have learned to appreciate our self, others and the path we are on. We now have a bridge between our physical (body) and spiritual (soul) parts of our being. It enables us to connect our physical and spiritual strengths and energies. It opens up the door to virtuous living.

The second stage is centering. One of the definitions for centering is “a temporary framework for supporting a masonry arch during construction until it is able to stand by itself”. I like this one for two reasons. First because we are indeed building a framework for virtuous living, and secondly, it is part of a process for a higher and majestic structure that often has connotations of spiritual holiness (I use the term spiritual to denote our human spirit which in itself is sacred). As we build these virtues, they are not an end in themselves but a platform on which we can live a higher life. The first of these is assertiveness. It is the ability to express our thoughts and feelings from that inner strength which we all potentially possess through our higher self. This leads to fortitude which is the virtue that allows us to overcome fear and to remain steady in the face of all obstacles – physical, mental, and spiritual.  This leads to the virtue of contentment.  We are not just hopeless victims of our body and ego desires, nor do we have to let go of all desires. We simply have to understand where they are coming from, consciously analyze them through our higher self, and either let them go or indulge and enjoy. This leads to gratitude. We are thankful for everything that comes into our lives. We remind ourselves that there is always something good if we look for it. We see difficulties as opportunities to learn.

We are now ready to reach out to others from a solid base of self-love. We enter what the Greeks called agape love. Agape love is a feeling that comes from the higher self. It is the love energy, or universal positive energy, or the god energy that flows through us when we are interacting positively with other human beings. This takes us to the love virtues. The first love virtue is forgiveness. Forgiveness is an act of love, mainly for the self, but also for others. We merely acknowledge that these things have happened and that we wish to acknowledge the past but live in the present. Next is kindness. Kindness comes from the heart. It flows from and is rooted in love. It involves a three way resonance of vibration from the higher self, another’s higher self, and the external universal flow. This leads to passion. We get to a new kind of love-pleasure based on the energy flow of our combined body, mind, and spirit energies. We are fully charged and motivated to indulge in what we feel is good and right. As we walk solidly along the path of love, we now become aware of the needs of others which leads to empathy. This is the ability to experience the emotional, mental, and spiritual vibrations of another. But we go beyond empathy to compassion which ushers us into the desire to experience life together and to assist others in finding their own true path. It is about overcoming the sources of pain and then sharing this knowledge with others.  When we are  living a life of love,  we seek pleasure through our senses for no other reason than the pleasure itself. We intuitively know whether the pleasure is in harmony with our higher self and we can sense when we are sharing these pleasures with others.

Grounded, centered and living in the universal flow of love, we are now ready to move on to true self-actualization. This begins with trust. First of all, real trust is not about anyone else; it is about the interaction between the ego-self and the inner or higher-self.  We trust ourselves to know, understand and live according to a blend of the ego and the spiritual self. We live in harmony with ourselves. We have sensitivity. We have awakened our natural sensitivity and developed and perfected it so that we can use our feelings for guidance. We are gentle. We realize that positive interactions are part of the flow of universal love and negative ones come from a person’s body of pain. We react to love with love and to pain and anger with gentleness. We embrace uncertainty. We live each moment as if it were the last. We seek the truth and the joy that life presents to us every moment of every day. And finally, we live a life of joy. The virtue of joy is wrapped up in the feeling of expansion. It is living a life each day where all basic and mental needs are essentially fulfilled and our full personal potential takes place. This includes being fully alive and finding our own personal true meaning in life.

My final five applications to bisexuality.

  1. We are grounded in the beauty and power of our higher self. We can choose the life we want to live and live it in harmony with our inner self without having to worry about what others think of us.
  2. We are centered. We know who we are. We have a two-spirit or rather a whole spirit approach to life. We understand our feminine and masculine qualities.
  3. We are not afraid to love. We seek true relationship with other people who are also aware of their higher self. Our sexuality becomes part of the higher function of  making love and living a truly caring and loving life.
  4. We seek self-actualization. We are more than just sexual beings; we also have a spiritual presence that we can share with others.
  5. And finally our bisexuality is meant to be enjoyed. It includes good clean sex, and loving relationships with both or either men or women. We live to enjoy.

The Virtue of Living a Life of Joy

SHIRT & TIE [small] (final)

 

“Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.” [1]

The virtue of joy is wrapped up in the feeling of expansion. It is living a life each day where all basic and mental needs are essentially fulfilled and our full personal potential takes place. This includes being fully alive and finding our own personal true meaning in life. It is an emotion but it is more than an emotion; it is a feeling but it is more than a feeling; it is a state of being where we are constantly growing and expanding. Jack London in The Call of the Wild expresses this beautifully when Buck claims his true wild nature: “He was mastered by the sheer surging of life, the tidal wave of being, the perfect joy of each separate muscle, joint, and sinew in that it was everything that was not death, that it was aglow and rampant, expressing itself in movement, flying exultantly under the stars.” It is the ultimate sense of power, beauty and freedom we experience when we are who we were meant to be.

Like Buck, we have to escape the bonds of civilization to experience our true nature. Maslow in this hierarchy speaks about reaching our human potential in what he calls self-actualization. He associates this with using our gifts as in art or music, or perhaps rising to the top of our career choices, or perhaps excelling due to some major achievement. But all these things are merely an extension of our egos. It is striving for and reaching a goal set and achieved in the mind. It is an expansion of the mind which is a good thing but only part of true self-actualization. As Buck experienced his true animal nature, in order to achieve a state of joy, we have to experience our true human nature which means existing beyond the confines of the mind.

Our personal potential is much more than what we achieve or what we do. It is coming to terms with our true nature as powerful and beautiful human beings with body, mind, and soul. Like Buck, it is learning to be in and enjoy our bodies, the movements of our muscles, exploring the treasures to be experienced through our senses, experiencing the pure joy of each breath. It is using our minds as an extension of our bodies to plan and enjoy our achievements, to being in control of our life path, and using it to provide experiences where we are constantly expanding.  But it is still much more. It is living by the heart, choosing to love and connect with others for the pure joy of knowing them and experiencing their lives with all their joys and sorrows.

But it is till more than just mind and heart, it is spiritual, which means we sense the energy patterns that surround us and learn to flow with them, soaring and expanding on the lifts of pure clean energy. We experience our own energy as something that contains the threads of eternity that hold us and bind us to life itself. We then become aware of the energies of others and can feel and experience their vibrations, helping them when there is need and simply enjoying them when they, too, are full and whole.

The virtue of joy is bliss and ecstasy with and within ourselves. It is being at peace with ourselves and learning to just be ourselves without striving to be something else. It is the ability to be completely content with who we are and to enjoy the life we live. This is the purpose and meaning to life. It is expanding in vibrational energy, love energy, and body energy until the day we die. Our true purpose is just to live, expand, and enjoy. In the words of Percy Bysshe Shelly, it is being able to say when each day is done “I have drunken deep of joy,/And I will taste no other wine tonight.”
My five applications to Bisexuality:

  1. We simply enjoy our bodies and our sexual experiences as a true expression of ourselves. It is celebrating the animal in us.
  2. We explore the full circle of masculinity and femininity allowing ourselves to experience our full range of potential sensations and feelings.
  3. We seek sexual partners and life partners with whom we can experience the gifts of the mind, where we can share our life path and expand in knowledge and wisdom.
  4. We seek soul mates where we can share the gifts of the heart including love and compassion. We strive to continuously expand and grow our relationships.
  5. We seek kindred spirits where we can sense their love vibrations and life vibrations and the joy of combining their vibrations with ours to experience, expand, grow, and vibrate with pure joy.

 

 

[1] ― Thich Nhat HanhPeace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life

The Virtue of Discernment and Human Sexuality – Revisited

SHIRT & TIE [small] (final)Fear is the chief emotion that keeps us from reaching for self-actualization. It creates coping mechanisms that are subconscious in nature. These fears and mechanisms eventually become ingrained to form our belief systems. These are extensive neural pathways that subconsciously are activated by stress that impede our natural body and soul desires. To live with fear we create group and individual stories to make sense of our chaotic world. Once we understand our own story and how we use that story to survive, we can begin to understand how everyone else is living in their own illusions and fears. Thriving is this environment is not easy, but once we master the virtue of discernment, we can actually enjoy living in the chaos.

Animals are so lucky.  They mainly live in the moment through instinctual reactions to their senses.  They have some memory, particularly for smells, faces, and some rudimentary signs, but they simply respond according to their instincts. They do not have to evaluate and judge before making a decision. We humans, however, have a control mechanism in the frontal cortex that we can refer to as the administration center, the mind, or the ego. The mind directs the brain to create neural pathways in our amazing cerebral cortex, linking new sensory information with past memories to create a platform for interpretation of the information coming from the senses. Important new information that is needed for survival or excelling is then linked to emotions and stored in memory.  The accumulation of information leads to the forming of concepts which we link together to create beliefs, attitudes and values. In our own reality, every thought is grounded in a collection of experiences and memories that create a story and as such is more like a fantasy novel than a real life experience. This has been a good thing for surviving and avoiding saber-toothed tigers, but too much of a good think can become a bad thing, and perhaps even a curse.

In a sense, we are no better than the animals in that we automatically respond through our subconscious beliefs. Because we live in a complex society with complex relationships and feelings, the mind is forever on the alert, always judging and deciding the best route to avoid danger, and forging the best path to becoming alphas in our pack. Because of the immense anxieties related to our new roles, we have lost the ability to act and adapt. We are stuck in the circle of thought that is governed by our beliefs; we are living in an on-going fiction novel. We no longer have the ability to perceive reality naturally, let go of the mind, and just experience life through our senses. We now have to find ways to do this consciously while avoiding the saber-tooth tigers in our minds.

The hardest part about discernment is being able to discern between the truth and the fiction coming from our own minds.  The only way we can do this is through developing the powers of discernment. In order to live contented and peaceful lives we have to stop the insanity of the never ending story. To do this we simply stop the mind and open up all our senses without judgement or the need to react.  We just let ourselves relax into the moment. Only then do we begin to perceive reality.  Only then do we begin to see ourselves as beautiful creatures endowed with tremendous physical, mental, and spiritual power and beauty. Only then are we able to decipher between the chaos of the story and the order and peace of reality, and only then are we able to judge and make decisions based on this true reality.

The key then is to use the power of discernment to become aware of these negative feelings and vibrations coming from within, and from others, and take measures to understand and counter balance them with positive vibrations from our higher self. The rational mind cannot be trusted as it will inevitably channel its decisions through the emotions and through memory of past experiences.  We cannot trust our emotions. When we are branching out to new territory there will always be an element of uneasiness and even fear. At times like these, we have to rely on the tools of the higher self which are imagination and intuition or discernment. We can learn to trust our “gut feeling” by listening to our feelings.  Our feeling are always binary in nature. We will either have a positive or negative feeling about a situation. If it is negative we should examine it to be sure that it is not just the work of our mind and its emotions. We subdue our emotions then ask our higher self for clarity, empty our mind, and wait for a response. If it is still negative we stop or put the decision on hold. If it is positive we forge ahead with power and confidence thereby setting out with our whole being (body, mind, and spirit), towards the next challenge in our never-ending process towards self-actualization.

Discernment and Sex.

Once we have mastered control over our own story, we can begin to understand our sexuality and our sexual relationships. But before we do that, we have to realize that we are also a part of a group story.  Society is composed of group stories and fears resulting in a group mind-set designed to desperately hold onto the safety of the status quo. To maintain the status quo, society depends on control and power exercised through the institutions of family, church, education, the media, and the government. When our sexual desires threaten these basic structures of society, we can expect a negative reaction in the form of prejudice and discrimination. Fear will turn to shunning, marginalizing, or anger and hate for anyone that threatens that security.

There are two views coming from society and neither is true or healthy.  Society’s views on sex, especially from the media is one of sexual freedom regardless of the effect on the soul. We are encouraged to explore sex just for the pleasure without seeking deeper levels of intimacy. Having multiple partners is not only accepted but held up as the natural standard of human behavior. This sexual freedom suggests that all forms of pleasure can be indulged in without thought of consequence. This includes pornography, prostitution and the wide range of fetishes. If we use our power of discernment and rely on our gut feeling, most of us would feel uneasy in indulging in some of these behaviors.

The second comes through family and religion and is based on the need to control sexual behavior for the good of the group. It is based on the concept that sexual freedom is dangerous and unhealthy. It relies on the church to establish guidelines that we can refer to as mores or morals. The key is to restrict sexuality which usually becomes the responsibility on women to control where and when sexual relationships are allowed. The idea is often conveyed that sexual behavior is somehow dirty and should be reserved for human procreation and preferably under the confines of family values. If we use the power of discernment, we realize that human sexual experiences are also the property of the mind and soul as well as the body. There is an element of pleasure for the body, happiness from the heart, and intimacy from the spirit. These forms of joy may be experienced in isolation or together. There are no restrictions from the body on the number of relationships or experiences; however, we only arrive at true bliss through a combination of all three.

Because society’s obsession with sexuality, members of the LGBQT still face discrimination and hate. Because hate has now been stifled by popular opinion, it has gone underground and resurfaced in inappropriate humor, indifference, or even pity, all of which contribute to our feelings of isolation and helplessness. We are even willing to accept the label of “queer” out of defiance and misplaced pride. The gay movement, however, has made huge inroads in the basic institutions, to the point where the external fight appears to be basically over. Most families have accepted their gay children, most of the churches have welcomed us back into their folds, the media is trying to exorcise its demons by giving us special treatment, and the laws have been changed. However, the suicide and depression rates are actually increasing.  We have won the right to marry but our divorce rates for lesbians (gay men seem to do better than heterosexuals but there is some controversy about the results) are twice that of the heterosexual population [1].  We are still suffering from extreme loneliness and many (and perhaps most) of us feel or have felt some degree of helplessness and hopelessness. Why?

I think it is probably because we are being tolerated and not really accepted by society. The fear often turns to indifference and even pity, both of which tend to make us feel isolated and misunderstood. This includes those we love the most.  Our loved ones tend to avoid the issue of our gay or lesbian side or they question us as if they are trying desperately and unsuccessfully to understand our behavior. The uneasiness, intricate voice tones, and the body language that we perceive subconsciously are wearing us down. In one article I read, our mental-emotional state is being compared to soldiers who are suffering from PTSD.  Subconsciously we are in a battle for survival. It is not one big trauma but a lifetime of small traumas that have worn us down. We are constantly receiving negative vibrations from our heterosexual friends and family, and even from our own tortured gay and lesbian companions. These vibrations wear on our nervous systems until we crash.

Here are my five steps on developing the power of discernment:

  1. We take time to build up our self-image and self-esteem before going to work, or church, or visiting members of our family. We take time to stay physically and emotionally healthy through diet, exercise, and scheduled quiet times. A healthy body and mind will make discernment and clarity mush more likely.
  2. We have to be 100% sure that we are indeed beautiful and wonderful spiritual human beings. This provides a constant flow of positive energy that can balance the negative energy coming our way throughout the day.
  3. If we have trouble changing the story, we persist. We use repetition until the new story replaces the old story. We need time to do this. After mediation I like to take time (while my mind is at rest and my spirit is active) to contemplate, challenge, and change, if necessary, my belief systems.  I like the mornings. I simply review my  experiences and beliefs of the previous day. I then set a new course for the new day.
  4. It is usually not a good idea to ask others about our beliefs as they will respond from their own mind set. It is better to trust our inner self which will respond to our own needs out of genuine self-concern and self-love.
  5. We seek knowledge. We become a student of life, especially our own life. If there is an area of concern, we find reliable information from books and other programs. We learn to discern where the authors are coming from with their own traits and biases. We try to integrate this information into our own new belief systems.

Here are my five suggestion for discernment and sexuality:

  1. We acknowledge that our sex drive is a good thing. It is healthy and natural. No ifs or buts. No blame or shame. If we do not have a healthy and enjoyable sex life it is probably because we do not have a good healthy story. We do not destroy the story; we simply rebuild it with checks and balances. In other words we control it; it does not control us.
  2. We seek those who are like-minded and like-souled for intimate relationships. It can be sexual or nonsexual, but it has to be within the higher self, beyond the urges of the body and the sorrows of the ego.
  3. We shut down the control center to step outside the story and just respond to the beauty and the energy of our sex drive. We set out to deliberately live an active and satisfying sex life.
  4. W realize that sex  is not just the sensuous pleasures of the body  but also includes the oxytocin bonding that forms the happiness feeling from the heart, and those wonderful spiritual feeling s of joy that we can feel as we lie in close contact with our lover after orgasm.
  5. And finally, we enjoy! The purpose of life is to enjoy, to be spontaneous.

 

Here are my five suggestion on discernment for the LGBQT community

  1. We are not just “queers”; we are  beautiful people. We are the ones who can see both sides of the equation. We are the ones with answers to some of life’s most difficult questions. We are the ones with the genes that need to be passed on to the next generation if this species is to survive.
  2. We have to see and understand the reality of our sexuality. It is a biological process of copulation and reproduction, and yes, if we take our cues from the animal kingdom, that includes same sex attraction. But we have made it part of our story. We have created theories of orientation and gender. We don’t need it and if we employ the powers of discernment we will come to the conclusion that we don’t want it. It robs us of our ability to be spontaneous and to enjoy the wonderful senses associated with sex and relationship.
  3. As members of LGBQT community, we have developed a very complex story in order to survive. We can stop the story. Whenever we hear the cues like, “I will never be good enough”, or, “it’s no use”, or, “it’s all my fault”, we stop the story immediately, recognize the belief or lie, and then state the true reality: “I am a magnificent human being”, “I am always good enough”, “I can do anything worth doing”, “there is no fault, there is only trial, error, and the accumulation of knowledge and wisdom”.
  4. Because our sex drives are different, the straight population will experience some degree of uneasiness when we are around them or their children.  We must understand that their uneasiness is based on fear and is subconsciously a threat to their beliefs and mindset, and therefore to their ego’s sense of survival. We must recognize their struggle and conflict of beliefs and emotions. We accept the uneasiness and try to eliminate the fears. We send our positive energy to them in the form of love to balance the negative energy of fear. We continue our relationships and perhaps even increase the time we spend with them. We use the time to naturally express our own feelings and encourage them to express and unconditionally accept theirs, while maintaining the positive flow of love energy from the higher self. Eventually the fears will break down allowing genuine bonds of love.
  5. If we are bisexual with a heterosexual partner, we have to understand they may be struggling to understand and accept us just the way we are. We have to be patient with their struggles and realize they are trying to settle some of their subconscious fears. We respond gently and lovingly. Sometimes we or they may break down because of the triggers that may reopen old wounds. We have to accept that these will happen and that they are an opportunity to heal and even to go deeper in the relationship.