Introductory MindFitness Traning
“Try to develop models which are not arbitrary and man-made but organic and natural. The difference is in the intention. Arbitrary man-made models have as their intention manipulation and control. Natural, organic models have as their intention resonance and reverence.” Margaret Mead
– Table of Contents –
- What do you mean by MindFitness® and The Process®?
- What is the best way to learn and to teach these kinds of concepts?
- Brief description of the nine modules of The Process training.
- Is MindFitness and The Process simply another name for Raja Yoga in our time?
- What background is required in order to benefit from this training?
- What do you mean by practical strategies, principles and techniques?
- Is MindFitness Training mostly physical or mostly mental?
- What role does biofeedback play in all this?
- What is neurofeedback?
- That sounds complicated. Can you explain?
- Is neurofeedback electronic meditation?
- Is it really possible to understand how the mind works well enough to make a difference?
- I can’t tell from what you say whether MindFitness is science, philosophy or mysticism. Which is it?
- Are we talking about a blending of science, psychology and philosophy?
- Where does religion come in?
- Why are you putting so much effort into introducing and developing these concepts of Mindfitness and the Process?
- This all seems so philosophical. It seems like hard work. Is it really all that practical?
- What is the best way to get started on this journey?
- What role does stress management play in all of this?
- How is this training different from other Life/Performance Enhancement training programs?
- Why is it needed?
- What is meditation?
- What is attention learning?
- Words, words, words. What role does silence play?
- After finishing Module One of this course what are next steps?
This free online e-learning course should take about one to two hours to complete, and should give some insight into how we are approaching the extraordinary opportunities and problems inherent in life and performance enhancement learning. Our intention is to develop and present accelerated heuristic learning strategies and insights in the most time and cost effective ways we can. Our book, MINDFITNESS TRAINING: Neurofeedback and The Process by Adam Crane and Richard Soutar Ph.D. was published in 2000, and is available through Amazon.com or our website. You may find it a useful tool for increasing your learning curve and making these concepts work for you. The book contains the script of an early seminar. We are in the process of creating a new training program and learning tools as this way of working and teaching is constantly evolving as you would expect. You can monitor our progress by subscribing to our free ebulletin and visiting our website.
In order to provide information and insights for you, we are using the method of answering as best we can, a series of questions that have emerged as this work unfolds itself. We invite your comments and suggestions as to how we might improve this free Life and Performance Enhancement elearning opportunity.
You may also find our free Biofeedback and Neurofeedback courses helpful in deepening your understanding of the science underlying strategies integrated into the Mindfitness Training.
"The most invisible creators I know of are those artists whose medium is life itself. The ones who express the inexpressible - without brush, hammer, clay or guitar. They neither paint nor sculpt - their medium is being. Whatsoever their presence touches has increased life. They see and don't have to draw. They are the artists of being alive." J. Stone
The short answer is that there are possibly an unlimited number of actions (and non-actions) that can make the mind more fit, and The Process is as practical a combination of some of the best of those Mindfitness strategies as we can present in a seminar of about 20 hours.
What is the long answer?
Settle back. This could take awhile. First there are many opinions about what mind is. Many scientist, including Einstein, believe that there is a 'Universal Mind'. MindFitness Training teaches heuristic learning strategies which are intended to assist individual minds in achieving a more harmonious, more synergistic relationship with 'Universal Mind' - assuming the term 'Universal Mind' works for you. If Universal Mind is a problem for you, hang on; we will look at this from different angles by using 'new science' terminology and understanding. We prefer the classical notion that the human mind includes the body. The holistic saying, "All of the body is within the mind, including the brain, but not all of the mind is within the body", has merit and is consistent with quantum theory. Some neuroscientists are coming around to this view, especially the ones who are integrating quantum theory, chaos theory, field theory, systems theory, etc.
The next concept to get hold of may seem rather romantic. For at least thousands of years there have been individuals who believed that life is an incredibly precious, sacred opportunity; therefore, the wisest attitude to have about day to day living is to use every moment one has, every ounce of energy, every resource one has to actualize one's human potential to the maximum possible - sort of like "Taking heaven by storm". Some of these gifted, energetic 'artists of living' lived in India thousands of years ago and spoke Sanskrit, which apparently was a language particularly well adapted to teaching about subtleties of consciousness. They called this all-out approach to life Raja Yoga, which means The royal road to union (integration) and to maximizing one's unique potential. But there have been many names applied to this notion of using everything one has to live as fully as possible. It is a simple concept really. Rather obvious, don't you think?
David Bohm, one of the most extraordinary physicists of the twentieth century, was a teacher and friend to me. He spent much of his career in physics helping set the stage for a shift in science that is now underway. Scientists are realizing we have to start from wholeness in order for science to go forward in wiser less dangerous ways, as opposed to the traditional tendency of science to look at nature in reductionist, fragmented, often biased and even corrupted ways. The Cartesian models of science seem to be waning because they are too fragmentary. This notion of union, wholeness, and the electrifying possibility that you, I , we can learn to live richer, more creative lives seems to find a way to explode in each new age with force and beauty. Yet each time the explosion occurs it carries with it the sense that it is happening for the first time ever.
The fundamental principles are sometimes referred to as the Perennial Principles because they have been understood and taught for thousands of years, and the human mind itself seems to have changed very little, if at all, even though technology has changed immensely. The challenge is how best to learn and apply these principles of mind within the context of the time and culture in which one is living. So the underlying principles of MindFitness and the Process are as true as we can make them to our own understanding of the original principles as taught by countless wisdom teachers, including in our time J. Krishnamurti, David Bohm and many others. The list is really quite long. We are richer than most of us realize with wondrously gifted mind/body teachers.
MindFitness is a word I coined as a way of communicating what I believe to be a simple, yet potentially limitless approach to the challenge of being the best artist of living possible. The concept of MindFitness came in response to asking myself the most profound questions I could. Questions like, given my strengths and weaknesses what can I do or stop doing in order to maximize the quality of the life I am living? Assuming I have learned a little or a lot about enhancing the quality of life, how can I assist others in learning for themselves in their own ways the principles and strategies that have made me wealthy in terms of what I think matters most in this world? I am not referring to monetary wealth; although, since our needs are simple, it seems we have enough of that as well. I could go on with the perennially great questions for a long time but perhaps it is better to weave them in as we go.
For admittedly selfish reasons I have been obsessed all my life with the notion that it would be possible for me to have a truly wonderful life if I could just learn how to live wisely and recover from my many mistakes. I believed that there are principles (laws if you will) which when sincerely applied result in the acquisition of virtually unlimited psychological, physical and spiritual prosperity. Again, let's be clear that we are not referring to money; although, economic order is one of the principles that must be aggressively addressed. I have already received so much in this life that I long to find a way to say thank you - to 'put something back in the pot'. And while trying to express my gratitude, life seems to be getting even better.
That is one of the greatest questions of all and the seed of decades of meditations. I am immersed in research stemming from that question. It is one of the most interesting things in life to me. Educational psychologists claim that most of us learn:
- 10% of what we read
- 20% of what we hear
- 30% of what we see
- 50% of what we see and hear
- 70% of what we discuss with others
- 80% of what we experience
- 95% of what we teach someone else
So, the best way to learn and apply these concepts to oneself is to learn them so well that you are able to teach them to someone else; which seems to have brought me to the realization that the best way I can learn more myself is by being the best heuristic teacher I can (given my strengths and weaknesses). George Leonard said in his book entitled EDUCATION AND ECSTASY that true learning produces ecstasy in human beings more than any other activity. So one of the best ways I and almost anyone can have more fun is to teach, because heuristic teaching increases the learning curve of the teacher as well as the student.
One enthralling aspect of this work is the insight that there really are tangible, practical, common sense, universally affordable strategies and principles that any natural man or woman can teach himself or herself. And the application of these principles and strategies will almost certainly result in a profound enhancement in the quality of day to day life. The book I wrote with Richard Soutar did its best to describe those insights that are working for us as of 2000.
The Process refers to the life long learning that every human being goes through in order to maximize the quality of his or her life. The live seminar/worshops which teach these principles and integrates as many of them as possible into the daily lives of the participants are a part of The Process as we see it. The Process also alludes to the notion that teaching oneself in this way is a process that continues throughout life as well as the notion that The Process Project itself is a work in progress which is intended to evolve and adapt indefinitely.
MindFitness programs presently consist of all or selected episodes from the following list as briefly described below. The didactic material takes about an hour. Then we offer participants the option of doing thirty minutes of neurofeedback training, or meditation, or taking a walk or whatever works to deeply quiet one's mind. After that we do thirty minutes of 'Bohmian' Dialogue. We do a thorough introduction to the use of neurofeedback for Life/Performance Enhancement during the MindFitness training. Of course, neurofeedback is always optional.
Some of the MindFitness Learning Episodes include:
ONE: THE RENAISSANCE EMERGING AND TRANSFORMING PSYCHOLOGY AND LEARNING
One of the first things to see is that life enhancing changes are possible, and furthermore there is a substantial and growing amount of scientific support for this concept. It is also important to see that there is a practical, natural, relatively easily achievable process for bringing about these changes. How do I see for myself that these life enhancing treasures are possible for me?
TWO: THE INQUIRING MIND, THE PERSONAL SENSE OF MISSION
A 'sense' (following one's heart - one's passion in old fashioned terms) of mission is critical to success. But all senses of mission are not equal. How do I make sure I have the right one for me? How do I make sure it is aligned with my own highest, intrinsic values?
THREE: THE PHYSICAL EQUATION, HOW THE BODY INFLUENCES THE MIND. THRIVING ON STRESS (CHANGE)
Most of us can make encouraging, even exhilarating progress by applying stress science principles and working with the body. If speed is important, implementing the right physical activities can produce results virtually immediately. It is especially valuable and fun to see how working with the physical can influence the mind.
FOUR: PRACTICAL WAYS TO UNDERSTAND THOUGHT / FEELING - ITS POWERS AND LIMITATIONS
"As you think, so you are" really is true. One of the tenets of the 'new psychology' ('Fourth Wave Psychology) is that thought does not just have a powerful effect on our reality - it is our reality. Understanding how to improve the quality of day to day thinking is perhaps the most important skill anyone can learn. It is also critical to realize that there are orders of intelligence beyond thought that are available to most if not all. Attention to thought activates these 'higher' orders of intelligence.
FIVE: PROFOUND ATTENTION
Most of us have often become discouraged because actually producing the quality of change we long for is much more difficult than expected. One of the major causes of this is because most are not leveraging their natural intelligence by aggressively learning all they can about enhancing their powers of attention. One of the easiest and most effective ways to bring about quality change is by attention to attention. This process vastly increases flexibility and brings more dimensions into the perception and thinking processes.
SIX: AWAKENING TO SLEEP
Sleep researchers are trying their best to make us realize that almost everyone in our culture is seriously sleep deprived. One of the simplest, most effective ways to enhance personal creativity and health improvement is by improving the quality of sleep. Again, this is relatively easy to achieve for most of us once it receives the high priority it must have, if enhancing the quality of day to day living is the goal.
SEVEN: THE TRUE 'NEW ECONOMIC ORDER'. FINANCING QUALITY CHANGE
Freedom must be funded. There is a science and psychological art to bringing about economic order.
EIGHT: VOLUNTARY SIMPLICITY. WHAT ARE YOUR ACTUAL RESOURCES?
Most of us have far more resources than we realize, but we do not understand how to simplify and open our mind to resources which are hidden to us because of mental / emotional barriers. We often have to give up some of those things which are unnecessary in order to have physical and mental health, and to achieve our missions. Thought shifting can allow the discovery of formerly hidden resources which can be used to achieve the kind of personal and professional freedom necessary to live more fully.
NINE: 'LA VIA NEGATIVA'. ELIMINATING THE UNNECESSARY
The key to happiness is surely living creatively. The key to creativity is contact with the truth. The key to contact with the truth is eliminating the untrue. Easy to say. But how do I actually teach myself to do it?
TEN: INSIGHT, THE CREATIVE - LIFE PROCESS, PSYCHOLOGICAL FREEDOM
Is there a way of living, of using the mind, of meditation and contemplation which can increase insight, the individual creative process, and unfold psychological freedom? We say there is and it is relatively easy to learn for those who are motivated enough.
ELEVEN: AWAKENING 'EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE'. A MIND FIELD BEYOND THOUGHT
The ultimate motivator, creative energy enhancer, healer and foundation for the maximal life is surely the ability to love. It is extremely challenging to talk about. We often hear about things that are easier to talk about than do, but in the case of love I think it is easier to do than to talk about it in a way that is truly useful. So in eleven we take on the challenge of understanding love and compassion in common sense practical ways; and then integrating these most fundamental of all principles into day to day living. This is an ultimate challenge. We do our best.
MINDFITNESS TRAINING® AND THE PROCESS®
The relationship of physical fitness to mental acuity has been well established scientifically. Improving physical fitness is one of those strategies which contributes enormously to the greater whole of MindFitness. An effective way to learn and teach principles and strategies is through the use of simple, informal, easy going one on one discussions in which we strive to tailor learning to the learning style, strengths and weaknesses of each individual. I love to work one on one. However, most are unable to avail themselves of this kind of personal coaching. Therefore, we also deliver the training through structured seminars, informal dialogue groups, the book, and, of course, e-learning. Training strategies are changing as we learn better ways to assist people in gaining practical insights.
As we mentioned, in the eleven two hour episodes that make up our training program, we also integrate dialogue, and usually offer the participant the option of doing brainwave training. There is one hour of presentation. Then immediately we go to about one half hour of neurofeedback training or other form of silent, mind quieting strategy. Then we do a half hour of dialogue modeled on David Bohm's dialogue style. Then we have a short break and go right into the next module. The brainwave training (or meditation or deep relaxation) substantially influences the way the dialogue goes, as well as the learning curve of the participants.
We are developing new presentations, a new seminar, and intend to also make it available in DVD form. Meanwhile, for those who want to get started we suggest that reading the book, taking the e-learning courses and doing at least 50 hours of brain wave training is likely to produce results for learners. These programs are quite flexible and can be readily adapted to specific groups from children to the aged. We are usually able to modify the training so that it applies to the actual challenges faced by the group we are working with.
You know the problem is language. We have to be very careful. I see Yoga differently than most Yoga scholars and teachers. I mean no disrespect, and I have learned much from some of them. However, to me the original Raja Yoga was not an esoteric secret teaching for the elite, but rather a natural series of heuristic (self learning and teaching) life events that can come to any natural man or woman regardless of education, economics, physical gifts etc. It is what all of the world teachers lived and taught their own versions of. There is the modern scientific version, the perennial philosophic version, the Christian version, the Islamic version, the Buddhist version, The Zen Version, The Taoist Version, Path of No Path version, the agnostic version and on and on.
I don't think there is any particular background required. I suppose that a relatively open mind is necessary because many of the concepts run counter to cultural conditioning. Then there is this rather old fashioned notion of concern for others. Surely, even relative compassion is one of the most powerful of all motivational and educational influences. We feel the principle of Profound Attention to 'What Is'. That is why we focus so intensely on attention in the training. We must go carefully with language if we want to travel far together. 'The word is not the thing. The description is not the described.'
A practical strategy might be making time to be quiet and teach yourself your own system of coherent thinking, or meditation, or deep attention or whatever word works for you. Such mind work clarifies your vision, clarifies the facts of your current reality, and in so doing leads to improved motivation to take the action steps necessary to move from your current reality toward your vision. An example of a practical principle might be that exercise, working with the body, can have a huge payoff and is often easier than doing advanced mind work. In fact, improving the health and conditioning of the body usually naturally leads to increased mental clarity. So it is a very physical way of doing advanced mind work. A technique might refer to activities like enhancing breathing, neurofeedback, journaling etc. The point I'd like to emphasize is that they can all be done by virtually anyone. These strategies can produce substantial benefits and they can be implemented on a minimal budget.
There is no separation between the physical and the mental. Dr. Elmer Green established the famous mind body principle which describes the scientific foundation for biofeedback : "For every physiological event, conscious or unconscious, there is the appropriate and corresponding mental-emotional event, conscious or unconscious; and conversely for every mental-emotional event, conscious or unconscious, there is the appropriate and corresponding physiological event, conscious or unconscious." Using quantum theory, David Bohm demonstrated that there is not even a separation between meaning and matter.
An entirely optional one. The principles underlying the MindFitness Training must be true and useful regardless of learning aids such as biofeedback that one may utilize. For example, doing this introductory program is a learning aid for some. The study of all of this has been going on long before biofeedback was invented, and will continue long after all current technology is ancient history. The concept to grasp about biofeedback is that it is the use of electronic learning aids, instrumentation that can dramatically accelerate the process of gaining self - knowledge for most individuals. It is a kind of technology which, in my opinion, qualifies as what Einstein called a 'time/space demolisher'. What might take a long time to learn can be learned much more quickly according to many scientists, clinicians, educators and our own personal experience working with thousands of clients and training thousands of health care and educational professionals.
Neurofeedback is one of the forms of biofeedback which can enable the user to learn how to increase the power and even coherence of some brain waves and when appropriate, reduce the power of other brain waves.
Understanding neurofeedback in particular is one of the issues we address in the training, and it takes most people a little time. In brief, it seems that training certain kinds of brain waves seems to enable many people to relax much more deeply and skillfully under virtually all conditions, and this appears to enhance brain flexibility. It becomes easier to think and perceive in multidimensional ways. The individual becomes more sensitive. One of the best definitions of intelligence is sensitivity. Insight or creative thinking is enhanced when the brain can become quieter, and most people who benefit from neurofeedback experience the ability to quiet the brain more often and more effectively. There is much more to brain wave biofeedback; however, we offer a free ecourse on neurofeedback for those who want to go into more depth.
Remember, if we want to have the maximum fun together, and make the most progress, we must be careful about language. Meditation is like the word love. It is so general that it can easily be misunderstood, and we can suddenly find ourselves in an unnecessary semantical argument. Could we say that properly done, neurofeedback assists some people in improving the quality of their attention? I think attending deeply leads to meditation - the real deal - as different from all those efforts which pass for meditation learning, but apparently do not help much or lead the learner very far.
This notion that it is possible for the natural man or woman to understand enough about how their own mind works to make a difference - all the difference - is surely one of the most valuable insights possible, and certainly one of the highest aspirations we are capable of. We assert that it is not necessary for the learner to be able to understand neuroanatomy and physiology like a neuroscientist does in order to gain great self knowledge about the powers and limitations of his or her own mind. We are presenting something that is certainly as old as mankind and simple in it's essence. Is it possible that you, I, we can learn enough about the way our mind works to transform the quality of our day to day life, to lose ourselves irretrievably in the art of being more fully human? Obviously, I think the answer is yes for most of us, if not everyone. Mindfitness and the Process Project aspire to assist individuals in the seizing of that opportunity.
It is amazing to me that learning how the mind works is not the top priority for every human being. The pay off is so big for even a relatively small effort in this direction. No matter. Mind knowledge and mindfitness is becoming a top priority for a growing percentage of the population. But just saying it is possible is not enough. It must be proven, demonstrated. That is one of the goals of this training.
One of the fundamentals of Mindfitness is this notion that a mature consciousness (nothing to do with age) has this quality of fourth dimensional awareness to it (very much focused on the now). A loose interpretation of one of Einstein's famous quotes is that a scientist without a sense of the mystical is not a true scientist. He may be a useful technician of sorts but we assert that the truly scientific mind has a very strong sense of the mystical. Indeed, Einstein and a great many other leading scientists have said that such a mystic sense is the root of all true science. I like the second Webster's definition of philosophy; "The serene wisdom that comes from calm contemplation of life and the universe." A healthy, holistic science naturally flows from that. The Greeks considered psychology the highest of all the sciences because it is the understanding of the mind, and the quality of all of the other sciences are dependent on a healthy, balanced mind.
Psychology is a branch of science. Science is one way of getting at the truth, and we must use it with all our might. In fact, there is disagreement among many scientists as to what the definition of science really is. In any case, we must see that, like thought itself, science is limited; and just as there is unhealthy, incoherent thought - so there is unhealthy, incoherent, fragmented and destructive science. We must do a better job of discriminating between quality and contaminated science. The field really is the sole governing agency of the particles, as Einstein taught. We, you and I are that field. Understanding how our minds work enables us to better discriminate and nurture healthy science. We must see that all of these areas are interconnected and interdependent fields within greater fields. It may be uncomfortable for some to see clearly the interconnectedness of everything (which, by the way leads to meditation and love - the real deal). The Process asserts that kind of seeing naturally happens in what we term 'fourth dimensional (4DC) consciousness'. Ancient, as well as contemporary scholars saw the understanding of the mind and body as necessary, achievable and utterly choiceless if one is to have a truly full life. The hunger for a deeper quality of life is the genesis of all of this quest to understand how the mind works. I'm not sure how I feel about calling this philosophical because many people think of philosophy as being a bit airy and impractical. I see this work as the most practical endeavor I can imagine.
I became deeply interested in religion and the comparative differences and similarities between religions when I was about eight years old. However, the Mindfitness training is designed to work regardless of one's religious orientation. It is about clearing, strengthening, balancing the mind and body and making both as healthy as possible. It is about seeing in an unconditioned way so one can go to the truth of things without depending on outside authority. It seems to me that such a mind becomes extremely tolerant and respectful of all honest paths including agnosticism and those who say they are not religious at all. I think the truly religious mind is deeply compassionate, and refuses to be drawn into silly, dogmatic arguments about which religion is God's favorite.
I believe that if one does one's best to live according to the principles which we are striving to get across, then one will almost certainly have a rich life. One of the greatest privileges is to be able to assist others with insights that have given me and many others so much. Most anyone who develops skill in almost anything you can think of takes delight in passing what (s)he can on to someone else. In fact, there probably comes a point in which you cannot learn more without teaching what you know to others. So in the end it is rather selfish. I get more of what I want for myself, including learning by reaching out as best I can to others. Also, it is critically important to see that this kind of 'teaching' actually assists the learner in realizing and developing skill in the process of being both teacher and student. It's called heuristic learning.
What could be more practical than enhancing the quality of one's life, consciousness, and therefore performance? It is hard work but this kind of hard work is, to most, great fun and immensely rewarding. There is absolutely no point in all of this unless it substantially improves the quality of day to day living. Understanding something about how the brain, the body, and even something about how the mind (more than the brain) works is like learning how to read a map. Let's call it a treasure map. But reading a map doesn't make much sense unless somewhere along the way one slips the map into his knapsack and hits the road.
Harvesting the treasure of self knowledge requires digging deep. It is work, but something is probably wrong if it does not have the thrill of adventure arguably the ultimate adventure. 'Leyla' is a Greek word meaning roughly "games of the gods". I think there was a hidden meaning. I hypothesize that the 'Leylas' could also mean the work, the odyssey, the adventures entered into by those who succeed in acquiring self knowledge and substantially actualizing their personal potential. Instead of referring to deities, some teachers were using the Leyla concept to bring insight into the potential for truth and creativity latent within all of us.
Simply, begin. Realize that you already are in the middle of it, and must do the best you can with what you have to work with. Once peace is made with that actuality, most minds will usually clear and motivation is likely to grow. There is an elegance to simply working from the easy to the more difficult, from the gross to the subtle, from the outside in. Of course some can move more quickly than others. However an important principle is to reduce or eliminate comparisons. Each person must learn for him/her self in her own way and in her own time. We strive to work as specifically as needed. For example, one important strategy is to write. Journaling and drawing can help most of us clarify thinking - saying to yourself what you want to change, what your vision is, then being clear what your current reality is.
Next, setting up action steps and having fun achieving them is an exciting and deeply satisfying process. One of the factors is often realizing where you need assistance and finding out how to get that assistance. The doing is the learning. Another example is learning how to thrive on stress. We seek to take stress management to a much higher, deeper, more profound level than most are aware is possible.
"Until one is committed there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffective concerning all acts of initiative (and creation). There is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and inspirations. That the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves also. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would come his way. Whatever you can dream, you can - begin it. Boldness has genius, power, magic in it. Begin it now". Wolfgang Goethe
Most people believe that stress management is something you do when you are having a mind/body crisis because of stress. Actually, skill at managing stress is the foundation of performance enhancement. Managing stress is a continuum. Learn a little bit of it and you can reduce many (if not almost all) symptoms. Learn a tremendous amount about it, and apply what you have learned, and you cannot help but breakthrough into substantially enhanced mind/body performance, consciousness and day to day living. One of the most vital insights most need to achieve is the relationship of stress to spirituality. That is one of the reasons we call our stress management training 'Learning How to Thrive on Stress'. Stress is change. Life is change. So we are learning how to thrive on life.
I assert that it is critical to understand that stress actually means change. So some stress is unhealthy and some is healthy. The technical jargon expressing this fact is 'distress' and 'eustress' (from the Greek euphoria). We have begun using the terms extreme and radical stress science and stress training. We are trying to break through and correct the mistaken image most people have about stress science and stress managment. Most think about stress managment as a kind of boring, distasteful medicine, like cod liver oil, that you only take when you are feeling bad. We are striving to assist people in understanding that the deeper one goes into reduction of the maladaptive stress response, the more one learns about it, the more homeostatic (balanced) the body/mind system becomes, the greater the energy increase. Increased consciousness, creativity, coherent thinking, accomplishment of any kind requires increased energy, balance and a relatively quiet, calm mind.
"Although stress is defined as a perceived threat, the implications of stress go well beyond physical well-being. In the words of Carl Jung, 'Every crisis is a spiritual crisis'. Western science, so strongly influenced by the Cartesian Principle of Reductionism, has ignored the essence and significance of human spirituality in the health and healing process. Holistic healing honors the integration, balance, and harmony of mind, body, spirit and emotions where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Stress (unresolved issues of anger and fear) chokes the human spirit, the life force of human energy, which ultimately affects the physical body. From the perspectives of both physics and metaphysics, stress is a disruption in the state of coherence between the layers of consciousness (we prefer the term dimensions of consciousness) in the human energy field. The emerging paradigm of health reunites mind, body, and spirit, and considers health as a function of coherence among the energy levels of these components." Brian Luke Seaward - AAPB keynote speaker. We suggest he is using the term stress to mean unhealthy stress (change) as different from healthy stress (change).
"The human being has a natural orientation to spirituality. Indeed, our early ancestors saw spirit in everything and as the ultimate source of everything. Almost everything that is done in society is mechanical or mechanistically oriented, but we try to bring spirituality in to other areas of life on special occasions. This demonstrates a lack of coherence. Incoherence means that we are working against ourselves, wasting energy and being counterproductive." David Bohm in a paper for the Fetzer Institute 1991. Note coherence is also part of the vernacular used by neurofeedback practitioners. The hypothesis is that increased brain wave coherence, in general, correlates with increased coherence of thinking.
I have respect for many of the life enhancement programs that are commercially successful today. Such programs are often developed and delivered by extraordinarily gifted teachers, coaches and influencers. Having studied these programs, and sometimes learned valuable lessons from them, I feel that most such programs do not teach some of the principles that we feel are most important. Probably no training program can or should take us all the way to some ideal of 'enlightenment' (no matter how you define enlightenment). Our perspective is that most established performance enhancement programs are based on commonly accepted psychological principles.
The current status quo in psychology was described by the ground breaking psychologist, Abraham Maslow as "Third Wave Psychology". He predicted that "Third Wave Psychology" would give way to a more advanced perspective, and he termed this scientific evolution "Fourth Wave Psychology". We believe this paradigm shift in psychology is as significant as the shift in physics at the turn of the century when the Newtonian model gave way to Quantum theory.
This psychological renaissance is producing learning opportunities which can carry the mind further than ever before. If that is true, and we assert it is, then it is almost incomprehensibly good news. We have accepted the challenge of doing our best to make these emerging learning opportunities as available and affordable as we can.
Another relevant consideration is that usually the developers of these kinds of learning programs do considerable market research in order to determine what the marketplace wants. We are not taking that approach. It seems a more interesting challenge to us to try and develop the highest quality learning opportunities we can regardless of whether market research indicates that they will be much in demand or not. Most people do not realize the potential of this kind of educational strategy. There is already a small and growing market for what we term advanced heuristic (self knowledge) training, but we believe the demand will grow enormously as people become more aware of the relative ineffectiveness of most of the programs that are currently popular. Even if the demand does not grow, I intend to make the adjustments necessary to continue this work as best I can.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead
In my opinion humanity has arrived at a crisis - a 'liminal moment'. Something old is dying and something new is being born. There are many thoughtful people including scientists, philosophers, politicians, historians, futurists and others who hold this view. The underlying principles we are investigating together have not changed for millennia. The challenge is making them understandable and applicable to those of us heavily conditioned by contemporary culture.
To me it is one of the most important aspects of life - perhaps the most important because of its effect on all relationships. But talking about it in a truly useful way can be challenging. One of the problems is that there are so many definitions - so many opinions about what it is or isn't. There are some who believe meditation is not the best use of time and mind, and to those I would say that perhaps substituting the word contemplation or intense concentration would help us understand each other better. That which we refer to when we use the word is nothing less than a time honored strategy for maximally enhancing intelligence and self knowledge.
The research and training we do is intended to assist people in discovering for him or herself his own unique way to understand, in a practical way, his own mind. One of the definitions of meditation is "to go beyond all that is measurable and rest in the sea of unknowing, the timeless present". Another is "to take the measure of, to ponder over, to go deeply into the issue". Other definitions imply learning how to bring order to the measurable while keeping one's mind and heart thriving within the filed of the immeasurable. Then there are all kinds of 'power' meditations in which particular goals are set, up and these deep resources of the mind are focused on the materialization of these goals. This use of the mind, though powerful, could be a problem if the goals are not healthy.
In my view, in English, meditation includes (but is not limited) to concepts such as contemplation and prayer, but the highest orders of meditation seem to go beyond the limitations of thinking and even contemplation as I understand and employ them. When I use the term meditation it carries the quality of being inclusive of all the things a person might do or not do, which result in the unfoldment of the highest orders of intelligence ( not different from love) possible for any given human being. It is the art of being the best you can be according to your own intrinsic values.
The concept of meditation carries with it the notion that it emerges from some primal spiritual source when the individual is ready. Meditation also has the quality of being learnable by just doing it. By learning we mean heuristic, self-teaching.
In the mid seventies I began to use the terms attention learning and meditation interchangeably. I felt that it was a good way to reduce the semantical problem. What seems true to me is that a way of understanding meditation which is useful is to think of it as the ability to deeply attend with both the brain and the heart to 'what is'. Further there is the sense of deeply attending with the heart as well as the brain. That understanding eventually gave rise to the term 'profound attention' in an attempt to clarify the differences between standard conditioned orders of attention, and the attention characteristic of those extraordinarily high orders of consciousness - mindfulness that we would call meditation.
Both words and silence are critically important. It takes a lot of silence to come up with useful words. What is not said is sometimes more important than what is said. That is one of the reasons we do brain wave training (or other methods of quieting the mind) for a substantial amount of time during the MindFitness training programs. Beyond that, I think for most of us there is some kind of ratio between the amount of deep silence one has in one's life and the amount of intelligence and love one can muster. Most of us require a great deal of silence in order to clarify thinking adequately, and to collect and focus our energies. In fact, I believe there is sometimes a need to avoid silence - because we are subconsciously avoiding letting that energy build up - because it may force us to see things differently. Conditioned consciousness may feel threatened by the changes implied by creative shifts in consciousness which are likely to occur if inner energy builds.
The purpose of this free Module One course is to provide insight into what Mindfitness Training and The Process is, and the direction of it's evolution. If you wish to pursue this way of learning further, you can attend one or more of our seminar/workshops, or arrange one-on-one coaching. Coaching may be done in person, on the telephone or online. We are also developing e-learning versions of our programs. We are looking into doing a group telephone coaching program as well. We are collecting the names, email addresses, phone numbers etc. of those who may be interested in these strategies. Please phone or email us if you would like to be on the list.
"If you listen quietly without fear you will find out for yourself whether you should obey... every form of authority. You see, we have been educated in a most absurd way. A lot of information is poured into our heads and we develop a very small part of the brain which will help us to earn a livelihood. The rest of the brain is neglected. It is like the cultivation of a corner in a vast field and the rest of the field stays overgrown with weeds, thistles and thorns." Krishnamurti, BEGINNINGS OF LEARNING
"I wish that life should not be cheap, but sacred, I wish the days to be as centuries, loaded, fragrant." Ralph Waldo Emerson
As you realize, there are two other free e-learning courses on our website. You can also, sign up for our free e-newsletters and review old ones on our website. We invite you to call or email us with your questions and allow us to assist you in achieving your goals. Thank you for your attention. e-learning staff: Adam Crane BCIA Senior Fellow, BCIA EEG, NRNP Diplomate; Harry Campbell BCIA, NRNP; Marilyn Wexler, administration; Edwin Johnson, webmaster.
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We realize that you already know what these words mean but we provide herewith definitions which when read may enhance our communication and reduce unnecessary semantical misunderstanding.
Arcane from the Latin, hidden or secrete, relating to arcanum, arcana, meaning secret, mystery; a secret remedy; elixir.
Archetype the original pattern or model after which a thing is made.
Art to join, to fit together, making or doing of things that have form and beauty. A subjective definition that makes sense to me is - putting things in their right place.
Ascetic one who practices extreme self denial, especially for religious reasons.
Attention The act of applying the mind to anything; consideration or regard for any person or thing (dictionary). We suggest attention is a condition of relative neural silence in which perception and sensitivity (intelligence) are enhanced.
Attention learning enhancing and nurturing the ability to attend deeply to 'what is'.
Biofeedback life (bio) feedback. Information which comes back to an organism about itself.
Cohere to stick together; be united, hold fast, as parts of the same mass. In physics, to be united within a body by the action of molecular forces. To be naturally or logically connected.
Coherence the act or state of cohering. Natural or logical connection. Correspondence, harmony, agreement, rationality.
Coherence theory The theory of truth that every true statement, insofar as it is true, describes its subject in the totality of its relationship with all other things. Pragmatic theory.
Consciousness the state of being aware especially of what is happening around and within one. Having a feeling or knowledge of one's sensations, feelings, etc. Being able to feel and think, awake. Aware of oneself as a thinking being.
Dysponesis from the Greek meaning inappropriate and, or unnecessary use of energy.
Empyrean the highest heaven, among the ancients the sphere of pure light or fire, the abode of God,
Epistemology Theory or science of knowledge, treating of its origin, validity, and relation to human experience.
Heuristic the method of learning in which the student is encouraged to learn for him or herself with as little dependence on past experience or outside authority as wisdom deems appropriate.
Hypnogogic hypnopopic imagery refers to that imagery which emerges as one shifts toward sleep (hypnopopic) or comes back from sleep to consciousness (hypnogogic).
Hypothesis from the Greek hypothesis meaning groundwork, foundation, supposition. Literally 'to place under' (hypotithenai). An unproved theory, proposition, supposition, etc. tentatively accepted to explain certain facts or (working hypothesis) to provide a basis for further investigation, argument, etc.
Intelligence from the Latin intelligere - to see between the threads finely woven. Therefore we suggest sensitivity is intelligence. From the dictionary - the ability to apply the mind effectively to any situation, study or problem. Clear thinking plus good judgment.
Liminal a moment of equilibrium, charged with promise, when the old has not quite passed and the new is just being born. The border, or at the threshold of which, in psychology and physiology implies the least degree of stimulation that produces a response.
Meditation the art and science of evoking the highest orders of intelligence and wisdom possible for a human being. See FAQ What is meditation?
Mutation an alteration or change. Any heritable alteration of an organism.
Mysticism the belief in a direct, intimate union of the soul with God through contemplation and love.
Profound Attention is a term (inspired by Edwards Deming's concept of profound knowledge) I coined it in order to indicate there are extremely high orders of attention which are not usually recognized in traditional 'Third Wave' psychology. Also, psychology recognizes a variety of consciousness phenomena as attention (such as Molholland's 'data-capture-and-hold' type of attention). Some of these consciousness phenomena we view as orders of thinking rather than attention. Profound attention includes feelings and leads to the unfoldment of what has come to be known as emotional intelligence (EQ). There is the sense that the heart enters into the brain.
I believe that neurophysiologically the brain must be extremely quiet and in this quietness it can observe thought, thereby increasing the quality of thought. Such deep attention 'draws' the potential out of the moment. It might be said that this quality of attention nurtures, or causes the implicit to unfold itself and become explicit, and it does so in true real time. Meditation and love require this Profound Attention as well as evoke it. Profound attention, meditation and love may actually be the same phenomena, quality or force (similar to the space - time continuum). I believe Profound Attention can be developed, nurtured, enhanced in most human beings.
Profound Knowledge As taught by Edwards Deming it meant the capacity to see the whole (business, organization, person, a life, ecological system etc.) system as a system. This enables the right questions to be asked. Profound Knowledge carries the notion that one must invest one's energy and resources in solving those problems which really count, as opposed to wasting one's energy and resources solving problems which do not matter much or are even irrelevant. One of the best ways (perhaps the only way) to gain Profound Knowledge is through the exercise of Profound Attention.
Ontology a branch of metaphysics which studies the nature and meaning of existence.
Philosophy the serene wisdom that comes from calm contemplation of life and the universe (Webster's second definition).
Psychology the science dealing with the mind and mental processes, feelings, desires etc. learning, the acquiring of knowledge or skill.
Renaissance to be born, to be born anew, rebirth, revival.
Science from the Latin sciens, to know. The state or fact of knowing. Systematized knowledge derived from observation, study, and experimentation carried on in order to determine the nature of principles of what is being studied.
Transform to change the external form or the inner nature, to change the personality or character of.
Synchronous moving at the same rate and exactly together.
Ubiquitous being everywhere, especially at the same time.