Category Archives: Unconcscious Mind

Always Have The Wind At Your Back

Make It Easy

I used to go on these long bike rides a couple days a week after work, and even some longer ones on the weekend. After work I didn’t have much time, so I’d to either go on a loop, or go on a long up and back trip to some particular destination that was interesting enough to go to. Usually the beach. What was cool about riding to the beach was that by the time I got there, the winds were just starting to pick up, giving me a pretty good push on the way back. I had one of those digital speedometers which measure average, max and all that. Not only was my average speed on the way back much faster, but also I exerted much less effort, as I had a strong wind at my back.

Of course there was an occasional weather pattern that would really mess things up. Coming back was really difficult, which made it hard to plan my energy exertion. Usually on the way down, I’d go all out, knowing coming back would be pretty easy. But to go out all the way down (about twenty miles) and then turn around only to find I’d messed up, and going back was going to be much more difficult that going down, that wasn’t too much fun.

I remember I took this really cool NLP seminar once. The last day we spent a large portion working on setting up our timelines. If you have never done any first hand time line stuff, it can be pretty powerful. To get a rough approximation of how your own personal time line is set up, imagine some things from your recent past, your medium past, and your far back past, and figure out where you keep them around you. For example, if you think of something you did yesterday, how do you represent that picture? Where is it? In front of you? In back of you? Above you? Below you? Likewise with something that happened a couple weeks or a couple years ago.

If you take the time to figure out where you keep things, it can have an impact on how well you do on projects you take on, and how well you get over things you wish you’d done differently.

For example, say you have this big goal of cleaning your garage. If you picture a clean garage as some big huge picture that is ahead of you, but far off in the distance, and way up high, then you might respond with stress or anxiety when you think of cleaning the garage. Not only is it far away, but it’s a long hill as well.

On the other hand, if you picture your clean garage as up close, and slightly down, then it might be easy. Anything that is close and downhill is easy to get to. Also, you may picture your clean garage kind of off to the side, almost behind you, so when you visualize it you have to strain your neck to even be able to see it. In this case you’d likely not even ever start. You’d only have this vague idea of wanting (or needing) to clean your garage.

One metaphor we tried at that seminar was going out into our future, using various hallucinations. Time machines, magic hot air balloons, floating lawn chairs. And as we went into our own futures, we placed presents for ourselves so that we could find them as we went through time toward our choices and goals. Both as encouragement to find along the way, and as proof that we were along the right path.

One trick you can do is to imagine your future goal, way out there. Maybe six months or a year. Then come up with five or ten things you’ll find along the way that will let you know that you are absolutely on track. The cool thing about this is they can be vague. You only need to give them certain colors and feelings. Your unconscious will work the details out later. You can also think of things that will help you along the way. Maybe chance encounters with strangers, or random occurrences with people you don’t know. Come up with five or ten of these as well.

Then imagine that you have these ten or twenty pictures, and fling them into your metaphorical future, and watch them sail out ahead of you. Some will go out only a little ways; some will go out almost to the end.

Then days or weeks later, when you are out cruising along, you’ll find one of these instances that you gave yourself from your past, and it will remind you how important your choice is, or give you proof that you’re already well on your way.

Of course, this is all a hallucination, but a useful one. If you come across a strange looking cat, you can interpret it to mean nothing more than everyday randomness. Or you can interpret it as aliens spying on your from planet Xexok, or you can interpret it as proof, given to present self, from your past self, that you are well on your way to achieving whatever it is you want to achieve.

Another way to use timelines is to go into your past and change your history. You can grab some resources from the present, hop onto your magic lawn chair, and float back into your past when you had some particular troubles before. Then you can float down just before the trouble happened, give your past self some of the resources from the present, and then step back and watch your past self go through the scenario again, but this time with more resources. And when I say resources, I don’t mean some magic sword to stab that third grade bully in the throat, I’m talking about a broader perspective, to give your past self much more understand of what was going on, so your past self can have more choice in giving meaning to whatever situation it was that used to give you trouble.

Then after you give your past self the resources, you can go back and relive the experience, only this time remember your present self (back then your future self) coming from the future to give you resources. Then go into the situation with those resources so you can get a better handle on things. Maybe your second grade teacher yelled at you, and at the time your only conclusion was that you were an idiot. Only when you go back to give yourself some resources, you might let your past self know that people are generally goofballs, and don’t always have a handle on how they talk to people. That way when you go back and relive the experience, instead of judging yourself an idiot, you can just write off the incident as your second grade teacher having an episode of less than appropriate behavior, for whatever reason. Maybe she backed over her cat on her way out of the driveway that morning. Whatever works. Your brain is pretty cool, and when you start to play around with it, you’ll find that you can do much more than you think you can.

To find out more on this subject, click the link below:

Success with NLP

Success with NLP

Plan For Luck?


I wasn’t sure how this was going to work out. It sounded like such a good plan when we’d laid it all out. On paper. In the safety of our hotel room three hours earlier. Now it didn’t seem so easy. Not that we had any chance to back out. We had committed. We had to follow through, or else pay the consequences.

Charles had thought of this plan back when we were in Tucson, three months earlier. We had been working on this hotel, construction. The three of us had been doing odd jobs for the past several years, ever since the incident. Nothing more than a few months at a time. Trying to stay ahead. This was supposed to put us over the top, but you never know. Sometimes things have a way of backfiring, and ending up not quite like you’d expected. But then again, sometimes everything goes perfectly, and you end up coming up much better than your wildest dreams.

That had only happened once before. About halfway through, I thought that everything was going to go quickly to hell, but suddenly everything turned around, and all the pieces magically fell into place. It was perfect. The most beautiful thing you could ever imagine, unfolding right before your eyes. Something like that can spoil you, if it happens to early. It’s like you get a taste of perfection, and you spend the rest of your life chasing after something that only has a probability of happening once every three or four lifetimes. Only they don’t tell you that until it’s too late.

Something told me that this was one of those times.

You never know. Even when it’s too late, even when it’s obvious you should just cut and run, people tend to ignore the obvious and hold out for a miracle. I’ll never forget how it went down that one time before. We had been planning it for about six months, everything was detailed out, every last angle was sketched out, and planned for, and rehearsed. Every contingency was brought up, acted out, role played to death. Everything.

Then that kid showed up when he did.

I mean, what the hell are you supposed to do when that happens, just ignore it? You can’t do that. I mean there he is, right in the middle of everything, you can’t just not pay attention to something like that. So we hesitated, and tried to blend him into our plan, to make sure everything turned out ok. At first it looked like we might have a chance, a real shot at success.

But then they showed up. Like they were expecting us, almost as if somebody had tipped them off. But that was impossible, wasn’t it? We’d been so careful. Maybe the kid had something to do with it.

Then all hell broke loose. People screaming, alarms going off, tires screeching, everything you didn’t want to happen, happened. And just when we thought we were done for, that guy just showed up out of nowhere, with a solution so obvious, yet so outstandingly bold, we jumped at the chance. The kid and everything. And before you knew it, we were in the clear. Everything was just clicking, like it was all planned out.

Only it wasn’t planned out. We were just making it up as we went along. And the funny thing was, it was working out much better than our best plan. There we were, with this total and complete stranger, why he was helping us I still don’t know, and we were completely making things up as we went along, and it was going better than our best laid plans.

Nothing was ever so easy after that.

Every other job since then was never as perfect as that one time. We tried everything, but you just can’t plan for things like that. Sometimes we planned as much as we did that one time, other times we relied on chance, but never did we have such an easy follow through as when that guy showed up.

And we never even figured out his name, or where he was from, or anything.

Just as quickly as he showed up, he was gone. No advice, no words of wisdom. He only lent a hand, and then split.

So there we were, things looking like they might collapse at any second, but not nearly as worse as they’d been before. So we kept pushing, and hoping.

But not praying. Never praying.

That was the one thing that we were forbidden to do. Not that we argued. It seemed a good enough reason when the edict had been handed down. We’d readily agreed, given our options. Sure, sometimes, some of us secretly wished we’d never struck that bargain, but we held fast to our agreement.

No prayers.

It was almost time to make the move. I checked, made eye contact with the other two that were within sight, and they both checked the two they could see. We all gave each other the signal. It was time to move.

Now or never.

We burst through, with as much hope and force as we could muster, given the circumstances.

We had no idea what was waiting for us on the other side…

To be continued….


To unlock the powerful secrets that are hidden just below the surface of your awareness, and to quickly turn life around to get exactly what you want, click on the link below, before it’s too late:

Success with NLP

Success with NLP

Darwin In Action

A Lesson Learned

Once upon a time there was a gang of crows. They were adolescent crows, and had they lived in a “decent” neighborhood, they likely would still have been under the tutelage of their parents, teachers, and older siblings. But these crows were not. These crows had long been given up on by the rest of crow society, and as such, they had formed an alliance of terror.

Getting food was easy. Unknown to most people, crows are a particular timid species of bird. They are highly social, and rarely engage in tribal warfare. Because of this, it is particularly easy for any one crow to chase any other crow away from a food source. Because they are so timid, they rarely do this.

Similar to mountain gorillas. Mountain gorillas are extremely shy when it comes to confronting other mountain gorillas. They only will attack if they meet up with somebody half their size, like non-silverback gorilla’s and hikers who wander into their troupe. For this reason, mountain gorillas live very far apart from each other.

But these crows, these delinquents, were much more aggressive than regular crows. Getting food was easy. Just their small gang, which only numbered between ten and twenty, could easily frighten off a much larger group who had found a particularly rich food source, like a garbage dump or an overturned Pringles truck on it’s way to the convenience store.

So getting food wasn’t a problem for these crows, as it was for most other crows. And because it wasn’t a problem, the constant anxiety most crows feel about getting their next meal didn’t occupy their heads. And as such, they quickly became bored.

So they hatched a plan to bring terror onto a local farmer. This particular farmer had a huge corn farm, and crows of all sorts were swooping in and eating corn until their bellies were full. And because this farmer didn’t have any scarecrows to speak of, he was well liked among the crow community. Which made this group of delinquent crows very angry. So they set their sites on the best way to terrorize this poor farmer, and subsequently show their viciousness to the crow community at large. These young crows wanted to make a name for themselves.

So the plan was to wait until first light, when the farmer would come outside of his house to perform his daily farming routines. They crows, of course, had no ideas what these daily routines were, they just knew that he was outside for several hours. They decided then that they would terrorize him, and inflict as much harm as they could.

They crows were gathered, close to the house, waiting for the farmer to come out. Had they been able to understand English, or any other farming language, this is what they should have heard:

“What on earth are all those crows doing out there? They never come this close.” The farmer’s wife said, looking out the window. The farmer came to the window to see.

“Hot Damn!” he said, running to the closet. The farmer’s wife shook her head in playful disgust.

“You and your toys,” she said, getting back to finishing up breakfast. She scoffed when the farmer picked up the phone.
“Yea, call Jack and Alfonse, tell them to get on over, the crows are just sitting their, waiting for it.” The farmer hung up the phone, a big smile spreading across his face.
“You be careful. I don’t want to spend another week without a phone. Last time you and your fool friends did this, you wrecked the phone lines.”
“Yea, yea, we’ll wait till they’re clear,’ said the farmer.

Meanwhile, the crows were wondering what was taking so long. They also became curious when a couple pickup trucks showed up. They got excited when the saw the plump figures get out of the cars.

“This is gonna be fun!” said one young, ambitious crow.
“Just wait until they’re outside before we strike. Aim for their eyes.” Said the oldest crow. The others smiled in evil consent.

“Dang, they sure are just sitting ducks, ain’t they?” Said Alfonse, loading up his semi automatic Remington 12 Gauge. It had been modified to hold twelve shells.

The farmers came outside, smiling, and slightly worried about not shooting the phone lines, like they did last time.

“Let’s go!” cried the lead crow.

They didn’t get far. One by one the farmers gleefully picked them off, as they swooped down. Soon they were surrounded by dead crows that thumped to the ground, their weight slightly heavier than normal due to the buckshot.

“Wow, that was fun. Thanks for the call Elmer,” they said, and climbed back into their trucks.

Far off in the distance, two older crows sat atop a scarecrow that had seen better days.

“Darwin at work,” said one.
“Ain’t that a fact,” said the other.

Then they both returned to the great feast that lay before them.

What Happens When You See The Light?

Self Interference Patterns

Once I was walking down the street, and I bumped into this guy with this big, purple hat. It was kind of a fedora, but not quite. It was a very nice looking purple hat on an otherwise unremarkable wardrobe. The interesting thing about it was how it reflected the light. If you looked at it from different angles, it appeared to sift between purple and a kind of green. When I asked him where he got the hat, I was surprised at his answer.

I had a shirt like that once. I bought it with one of those professional shoppers they have in department stores, for guys like me that couldn’t match colors to save their lives. I had this shirt that was purple, but had this kind of sheen to it that made it look different colors depending on how you looked at it. The great part was that the tie she picked out matched the color regardless of which direction you looked at the shirt. Needless to say, I always wore that tie with that shirt. For my current job I don’t need to wear a tie (thank goodness) so I’m sure what happened to that odd combination. I’ll never forget how that shirt helped me to make a very large sale, earning me a very large commission.

I was reading this interesting essay about the mysteries of physics the other day. I was talking about light, and all of its strange behaviors. To make the essay accessible to people without PhD’s in advanced optics, it was written in a very clear to understand form. It was talking about light waves and light particles as if they had a conscious mind of their own. Like when beam of light enters into a translucent material like glass, water, it will “bend” to match the particular density of the material. The question is how does the light know which angle to bend? As much they can tell, it bends automatically when it enters into the material, as if it has some previously learned information about the material. I don’t know about you, but I don’t usually know which way I walk into a room until I get inside and look around for a little bit.

Another strange thing about light is how it refracts with itself. If you send light through two different pinpoint holes, it will refract with itself. That is the light waves coming out of one hole with eventually meet up with the light waves coming out of another hole. And they behave just like waves of water do. When two peaks meet, they reinforce each other. When two troughs meet, they also reinforce each other. But when a peak meets a trough, they cancel each other out.

So for one hole, you’d have a bunch of concentric circles emanating out. But when you get two holes, the two circles form a specific pattern. And when they put some film on the far side, the pattern emerges when the interfering light crashes up against the film. There are lines where the peaks meet up, and where the troughs meet up, but when a trough meets a peek, there is nothing. So you get a bunch of discreet lines against the film.

So far, this is easy to understand. But what happens when they turn down the energy of the light, so that instead of coming through in waves, it comes through in particles? One particle of light will go through one hole, then a second later another particle will go through the other hole. What is the pattern that emerges on the film?

You’d expect that it would be a big blog of hits downstream from each hole. A photon, or light particle, would go through the hole, and then smash into the film in front of the hole. Likewise for the other hole. After a while, you’d expect two big collections of dots in two relatively small areas.

But that isn’t what happens. Each photon, as is goes through the hole, immediately changes course and hits a specific point on the screen. When they let the experiment run long enough, they eventually make the exact same pattern that the waves made. A bunch of discreet lines.

So how does each particular photon know where to go when it goes through the whole? It’s like it can look into the future and see what would happen if it were a high energy wave, and go there. It’s like it interacts with it’s future self to figure out where to go.

I took a seminar in goal setting once, and that’s one method that the teacher suggested. Imagine yourself in the future, having achieved all the goals you want to achieve in life. Then just sit down and have a conversation with your future self to figure out how you got there. The only rule is that you have to have got to where you will be only by doing things on your own. Like you can’t win the lotto, or be discovered by a movie producer. You’ve got get in on your own steam. I don’t know if you are into setting goals or anything, but that seemed to be a pretty interesting way to look at things. You can also talk to your future self whenever you run into troubles, and ask yourself advice. Since they’ve already accomplished what you are about to accomplish, they should know what they are talking about.

Light interference patterns have always been an interest of mine. It has been said that Einstein came up with most of his theories by imaging really bizarre and abstract interactions with himself and a beam of light. When you get down to it, light is a really strange and cool thing.

So I was wearing my shirt, and this guy came into the car dealership where I worked. Maybe I was feeling good, because it was the first time I’d worn that shirt/tie combination and had received a bunch of compliments, but the shirt somehow made the guy feel comfortable asking me a bunch of questions about this car he wanted to buy, and eventually bought, making me nice commission.

And the guy wearing the purple hat said he bought it at the goodwill store downtown, for a dollar. He was surprised that nobody else had snatched it up. We got to talking about how you can really find some good stuff all around you if you only keep your eyes peeled and your mind open.

日 月 火 水 木 金 土









These are the seven Chinese characters used to depict the days of week, starting from Sunday. I find it interesting that the character for Sunday in Chinese, and the root word for Sunday in English both mean “The Sun.” Likewise for Monday, (moon day) and “The Moon.” After that I’m not sure. I never cease to be amazed by the various naturally occurring elements in nature, which appear in various cultures.

For example there are ancient traditions in both Eastern and Western belief systems and mythologies surround giant evil reptiles that pose a danger to humans. In European mythology, these “dragons” appear as giant fire breathing lizards. In Eastern mythology, the dragons look more like snakes, sometimes with legs, sometimes not. That they are both reptiles is interesting.

I suppose that ancient man discovered that some reptiles, such as snakes and certain lizards, were much more dangerous than their size and speed would indicate. I can see how primitive man would somehow imagine them to have evil, supernatural powers that would fill stories for generations. From that standpoint, it’s no mystery that both cultures, separated by huge oceans and continents, turned out to be the same basic bad guy in various mythological stories.

Another interesting similarity is the number twelve. Western astrology has twelve different zodiac signs, as does Eastern astrology. It’s no coincidence that if you count the number of full moons in a year’s time, you’ll usually end up with twelve.

There are, of course, several different theories as to why there are so many things in common that cross cultural boundaries. Christians will tell you it is because we all come from Adam and Eve. Jungian philosophers will tell you its’ because we are connected by a massive unconscious, or superconscious brain that feeds our dreams with the same archetypes.

However, there are those that suggest the answer lies in the fact that we all share similar experiences, regardless with what culture we come from, what era we live in, and what language we speak or what god we worship.

For example, the universal signal for no is a shake of the head. Back and forth. No. Every culture, same motion. Even in cultures that have done their best to avoid contact with “civilized” society, they share the same headshake for no.

Why is this? Is it programmed in our genes? The best answer I’ve heard says yes, but from a completely indirect reason. There is no gene that says shake your for no. But there are genes that build our muscles and the shapes of our head and the rate of our growth as children. And our limited body size and control of our muscles lead us to our first ever “no” motion. And because that first ever “no” fulfills it’s purpose, that is the thing we say “no” to stops, we learn right away an effective strategy that works. What is the situation?

We are breastfeeding, and we get full. We think (obviously without words, since we’re about a couple hours old at most) “I’m full. No more. Stop. No.” And the only physical movement we are capable of doing is to turn our heads to the side.

The very first gesture we learn, strictly by trial and error, is how to say “no.”

It’s easy to see then, how every human learns this simple gesture. As far as nodding our head for yes, I’m not sure how that works, but it might have something to do with tilting out heads back and opening our mouths.

Here in Japan it’s a tradition to get up and watch the sunrise on New Years Day. A new beginning. A fresh start. Set the scorecards to zero. One more trip around the sun.

Something to think about as you look at your calendars, and see 1/1/10. When you realize that all around the world people are looking at the same calendars, with the same numbers, and feeling the same thoughts. Another year. Another shot at getting what we want, and getting rid of what we don’t want.

Another trip around the sun on this big ball of dirt filled with people chasing after their dreams. Another year filled with cycles of the moon, the sun, the seasons, and the weather. Another year filled with countless opportunities waiting for you to pounce and make them yours.

Have fun.

Ever Expanding File Cabinets and Brain Flexibility

Stretch Your Mind

I met a friend for lunch the other day. Not really a planned thing, we had bumped into each other a couple days earlier and had made tentative plans on the spot. Kind of like “I’m gonna be here, at this time,” kind of thing. So anyway, he was telling me about this neighbor of his who recently moved in next door. Kind of a weird guy, but not in a bad way. Sometimes when you get a new neighbor, especially in a small apartment complex where you know you are going to run into this person on a regular basis, it can be a little interesting at first. Everybody wants to see who the new guy is.

It’s kind of like when you start a new semester at school. You have a whole bunch of new classes, and you aren’t sure what your classmates will be like, or any of your teachers. And you know that the first week of school you usually don’t do much anyway, so there aren’t any worries there. So you are pretty much free to let your curiosity roam and imagine some possible futures. Of course, that usually only last a couple of days, until you realize that it’s just another set of classmates, and another teacher.

Of course, sometimes you get lucky and sit next to a really cute girl or guy, or your teacher is particularly entertaining, somebody that actually enjoys their job. But more often than not it’s simply a matter of getting to know new people that turn out to be pretty similar to the old people.

So anyway this guy was into all kinds of exotic artwork from various different countries. He had traveled quite a bit and collected little pieces from here and there. When my friend saw him moving into his apartment, he couldn’t figure out exactly what the guy was all about. He saw him carrying in these different carvings and stuff, and had to come up with a story of what the reason was behind him. Maybe he was into voodoo, or maybe he was a professor. Every time the guy would go downstairs to his moving van, he’d bring up another box of stuff. And my friend couldn’t help but watch the whole time. His moving van was parked underneath his window, and when he walked to his apartment, he had to pass his big front window.

I was reading this book once on hypnosis. It was a hard book to read, or at least to pay attention to. It was written to give an objective overview of hypnosis and what it was, but the author also wanted to give the reader a subjective experience of what if felt like to feel the first hand effects of hypnosis. But he did it in an odd sort of way. He would be writing about some clinical aspect of hypnosis, then he would switch right into to a firsthand experience of it. What made it so interesting was that he never let the reader know when he was switching. So you’d be reading this, following along, and all of a sudden you would stop and wonder exactly what this was, and where this was going. Like you are sitting there, trying to remember what it was you were reading before you got to this part, and although you thought there was some sort of connection, you aren’t exactly sure what it is, now, reading this. But because it’s easy to find things like that interesting, you just keep on reading.

He was saying that when the mind looks at something that is unfamiliar, it is much easier to put it into a category that already exists. Some experts believe that there is a discreet time in a person’s life, when the categories aren’t completely labeled yet. This is up to about 7 years old. Not that we can’t create new categories after the age of seven, but around that time, the brain switches into “put it into it’s appropriate category” mode from “make a new category mode,” which can make for some interesting hallucinations, like my friend experienced when seeing this guy bringing all those weird things into his apartment.

The fun stuff happens when the brain finds a couple of possible categories, but there is nothing else that suggests what category to put something in. If you’ve ever had the experience of eating or drinking something, and getting one thing while you are expecting something else, you can understand this. Like if you grabbed what you thought was a bottle of ice water, and it turned out to be seven up, there’s be a brief pause while the brain figured out what in the heck was going on. You see the water, you decide that it’s water, so the brain already prepares and taste buds, and everything to receive water, but when the seven up hits your mouth, the brain has to back track and switch all of it’s reference information. That can take up to a second, and during that second your brain is temporarily off line. It’s actually pretty cool.

But after he talked to him, he did turn out to be a hobbyist. He liked to travel, and he would just pick stuff up at random, usually on his way to the airport out of wherever he had visited. If he were into furniture, he would have all kinds of different furniture pieces. If had been into music, for example, he may have had different musical instruments from different countries.

But because he’d picked up all his stuff in a completely random method, none of it fell into the same category, which made watching him move in so interesting. He was just some goofball who collected a bunch of random stuff from bunch of random places.

The interesting thing is that he told me that after watching this guy move for a couple hours, and just feeling his brain be sent in all different directions as he tried to figure out the connection between all this different stuff, he said he had this weird feeling for a couple of days afterward. Like he somehow felt he had more room in his brain or something, like it was stretched out somehow.

He said that he was able to remember things that he’d thought he’d forgotten, and was able to remember other things in ways that were different than he had originally experienced them.

Flower Power

Why You Should Stop And Smell The Roses

I was reading this essay the other day. One of those things where you start to read this, and the more you read, the more you get interested. But then when you finish reading this you aren’t really sure what you just read. Which is why I’m having trouble remembering now the exact topic this essay. It was kind of like that. I think it was about recycling or something.

Anyway, there was a section where it was talking about how flowers are good. That some scientific studies have shown that flowers actually elevate people’s moods, creating some chemical in the brain that is associated somehow with happiness and good moods. One of those chemicals that if you could sell to people you’d make a killing. I believe it is the same chemical that is a by-product of some narcotics. But with narcotics you get all these other horrible side effects, like physical addiction. When this chemical is naturally produced, it is not nearly as strong as injecting heroin, but it doesn’t have the addictive side effects.

It reminded me of this book on evolution I was reading. I believe the author was Steven Pinker. Evolution is much more complicated than most people think (including me.) There are several different overlapping systems that benefit as they grow and mutate over successive generations into better and more successful organisms. No organism evolves on it’s own. It is always dependent on how its new mutations interact with the environment, rather just how well it can exploit he environment.

Take bees for example. They take the nectar from the flowers, and in turn spread the pollen around, so the flowers can reproduce. It is a win/win scenario. The flowers get to make more flowers, and bees get food. Now if some generation of bees evolved some more efficient way of getting nectar from flowers, but they didn’t spread the pollen, it’s success would be short lived. Say for example, instead of going from flower to flower, each bee just hit up one flower, took its nectar, and went back to the hive. Pretty soon there wouldn’t be any more flowers because they would suddenly have lost their reproductive abilities thanks to the greedy bees. So the bee’s ability to take nectar from flowers is dependent on their habit of spreading the pollen around. Of course the bee doesn’t look at itself in the mirror every morning and try to pump itself up with affirmations of how great it is to create win/win relationships. It just does its thing.

Nature is filled with examples like this. Seemingly selfish behavior that somehow benefits various different species through their interaction.

Which brings me back to the flowers. Why do they make us feel so good? Why do numerous studies show that patients in hospital rooms recover quicker when their rooms are filled with flowers?

A botanist will tell you that wild flowers often grow in conjunction with edible fruit. If not on the same plant, at the very least in the same area. The existence of wild flowers also show evidence of water being around someplace.

Some imagine a couple of different tribes of people, wandering around couple hundred thousand years ago. One group had this peculiar reaction to flowers. They liked looking at them. They liked the smell. So what happened when they were out wandering around and saw a patch of wildflowers? They went to take a closer look. And the likely saw a stream or several fruit bearing trees. What a discovery. Sweet tasting food and plenty of water.

Now consider the other wandering tribe. They didn’t particularly care one way or the other at the sight or the smell of flowers. So when they saw a patch of wildflowers, or a meadow filled with wildflowers off in the distance, they ignored it, and kept looking for something to kill. Sometimes they found something sometime they didn’t

Now which group do you think would produce more people over time? The group that had a built in response that allowed them to find free food and water? Or the group that didn’t?

They group that stopped at patches of flowers, and subsequently found more food and water that was pretty safe to eat (compared to the other group that was always running after zebras) had lots of time on their hands. And I don’t think I need to tell you what primitive people would likely decide to do when they were hanging out in a place surrounded by water, sweet food, and pretty flowers.

Make more people.

So it’s easy to see that the group that had a natural inclination to enjoy flowers, both the sight and the smell, quickly out populated the group that didn’t. It may also explain (one explanation among many I suspect) why having color vision is much better than black and white.

And just like the bees helped out the flowers by spreading their pollen, these primitive peoples helped out the fruit trees by spreading the seeds through their waste. The more people ate fruit, the more the particular tree spread.

So when you hear the old saying “stop and smell the roses,” you now know that it has much deeper meaning that just to goof off and enjoy yourself. It is proof that mother nature, God, or whoever, has equipped us with various built in strategies that make us feel good when going after something that is actually beneficial to our survival.

So go out and have some fun. Enjoy yourself. Mother Nature wants you to.

Beware Of Mind Viruses

What’s In Your Head?

I was listening to the radio the other night, on the Internet. I wasn’t sure what station it was, I was kind of flipping through the channels while I was doing other things. A song came on that I hadn’t heard in a while, “Tom Sawyer,” by Rush. The particular album cover was pretty clever, from a linguistic standpoint. The name of the album is “moving pictures” which most people would take to mean movies. In the old days they called a movie a “picture” as in “moving picture.” which is where the word “movie” comes from, the root word (verb) “to move.”

But on the album cover, it showed a bunch of guys “moving” stuff out of a house an into a moving van. What were they moving? Several paintings. So they were “moving pictures” of a different sort. The “pictures” were being move by other people, as compared to the “movie” meaning given above, the pictures themselves are moving. For those language geeks out there, the verb “move” is an intransitive verb in one example (a verb that doesn’t require an object) and a transitive verb in the other (a verb that requires an object).

Where was I? Oh yea. The song I listened to, Tom Sawyer, has a verse that says:

“Though his mind is not for rent
to any god or government
always hopeful yet discontent
he knows changes aren’t permanent
but change is”

The first line got me thinking. Mind is not for rent. What exactly does that mean? What does it mean to rent out your mind? If you rent out a room, you let somebody stay there for a certain amount of money for letting them sleep in your house every night and store their food in your fridge and use your plumbing to bath and take of their waste. Is it worth it? Usually. Most often the biggest drawback is having somebody in your house. The additional financial burden of an extra person are usually not very much, certainly not close to the rent you’d likely charge. It’s usually a good deal for somebody that has an extra room and wants to save a considerable amount of money every month. Many people make a living by buying houses and renting them out. It can be very lucrative, even despite recent real estate and financial nightmares.

Back to the song. What does it mean to rent out your mind? Take thoughts that aren’t yours, and give them residence inside your brain. This can be very helpful, but it can be equally be as dangerous and destructive. Let’s first consider some of the benefits.

Unless you want to reinvent the wheel, Euclidian geometry and certain tasks like how to drive and how to hook up your cable TV, you’re going to have to accept those thought collections or mental instructions from other people. Humans are very social creatures, and the bottom line is that almost all of our thoughts come from others. Your name, phone number, driver’s license number, most of the facts and information you know (unless you are an independently wealthy research scientist living on a island studying esoteric biology) come from others.

Basic survival information, and useful things like how to do your job right, so you can earn a steady paycheck are welcome additions to our mental house. We hope those thoughts never check out, otherwise we’d be left babbling in the corner like idiots.

But just unhelpful and potentially harmful thoughts can enter into our brain and take up residence just as easily. Most of us are carrying around baggage from childhood without even realizing it. That statement from that second grade teacher who said, “Can’t you do anything right” may still echo whenever we try something new.

That statement by that child psychologist that you may have overheard when you were four years old that said, “Girls just aren’t wired to be as good at math as boys are,” may still reverberate whenever it comes time to calculate the tip at a restaurant.

Without getting into too much detail, suffice it to say that there are a lot of factors (due to long ago evolutionary elements) that let certain thoughts slip into our brains without much resistance. Authority is one. Social proof is another. If an authority figure tells us something (like that idiot third grade teacher or that moron on TV) we are much more likely to accept it as fact without questioning it.

Social proof is another powerful convincer. If a lot of people believe something, it can be a difficult thought to resist. (Purple kool aid anyone?)

The point is that we have evolved past the point of need to follow the herd, or listening to authority figures for our every day survival. Be like Tom Sawyer, in that song by Rush. Take inventory of your brain and kick out the thoughts that are doing you more harm than good.

Your brain, and your thoughts are the most important thing that you have. When was the last time you cleaned house?

It’s time to collect the rent, and evict the freeloaders.

The Parable Of The Migrating Birds

Why It’s Ok To Lose Your Way

Once there was a group of birds. They were the kind of birds that migrated quite a long distance every year. They crossed oceans, rivers, mountains, and large flat areas that took several days to cross. They would instinctively leave their homes once the cold air of the winter signaled it was time for their departure. Once they arrived in the warmer areas, the boys and girls would hook up and make baby birds. Of course birds don’t pop right out fully formed, like people do.

They are not quite done when they come out, they need a little bit more work. So they finish cooking in the next inside their protective shell. When they are ready to face the world, they break out of their shells, and start to make noises. Usually these noises mean, “Give me food!” but sometimes they just like to make noise. It’s fun to learn to do things and watch how the world reacts to you.

Then, if all goes well, when everybody can fly on their own, and not get lost, they all pack up their stuff and head back home when the weather starts to warm up.

Now here is the curious part. While they’ve been studying the migration patterns of birds for quite some time, they aren’t exactly sure how they remember how to go back and forth. Some argue that because many birds make the same trip several times in their lifetime, they follow others the first time, and then remember if from there. But that would mean that bird have some kind of long term memory. While possible, some argue that that is unlikely. Another problem with that theory is that after the new birds are hatched and learn to fly, they can find their way back “home.”

It’s important to remember that “home” is sometimes several thousand miles away, and over various different terrains. How in the world do the baby birds know where to go? The most accepted theory is that they follow all the grownups.

But if you are like me, I can ride along shotgun with somebody several times and not remember how to get there. The idea that birds that get it right the first time on their own is mind-boggling.

But however it works out, this story is about one small bird who had some troubles his first couple of trips. His first trip was no problem. He just stuck with his group, did what he was told, and got back to his home (for the first time) safely. The next year came, and it was time to return and mate and nest.

That’s when the problem started. He was the kind of bird that was easily sidetracked. He couldn’t really focus on where he was supposed to end up. He kept noticing all the scenery around him. Several times he would be watching the hills rolling below him, only to look up and find that he was all alone. This panicked him, of course, and he flew as fast he could until he could see his group. Usually he found them within a couple of days, but sometimes he flew for several days without seeing anybody. This was terribly distressing for him. He would always chastise himself for being so stupid, and not paying attention.

When he finally caught up with the group, he felt happy again, and forget his mistakes. But then a couple days later, the same thing would happen. He’d be lazily watching the scenery pass by, and lose his way again. And the would yell and curse himself for being stupid, fly around in all directions out of fear for a few days until he caught up with group again.

Finally they arrived at their winter home. He, like all the other male birds, found a suitable female and knocked her up. When the eggs came, he started feeling a deep, gnawing fear in the pit of his belly. As they day of the great hatching came closer, the fear became bigger and bigger. One of the older birds noticed this and came over to speak with him.

“What seems to be troubling you?”
“I don’t know. This just doesn’t seem fun any more.”
“What doesn’t?”
“This whole thing,” he said motioning to all the expectant mothers sitting on their eggs.
“I mean,” he continued, “what if I get lost again, and people are following me? We could all die.”
The old bird paused.
“I suppose you could,” he finally said.
The young bird looked at him, his fear growing.
“Do you remember how you got here?” The old bird asked.
“Well, I remember when I got lost, and all the places I tried to find the group, and ..”
“No.” The old bird cut him off.
“How did you get here? Not how did you get lost. How did you get here? What do you remember?”
The young bird stopped, thinking. Suddenly his mind flashed with all the landmarks when he was overcome with joy at being reunited with the flock. He suddenly understood.
“All those points. Of course. Just go from one of those points to the next. It seems so easy now.”
“That’s the secret,” the old bird said, smiling (insomuch as birds can smile).
“You have a memory filled with many different events. Some are bad, some are good. Simply focus on the good memories, and you will always remember your way.”
“Will he lose his way?” the young bird asked, motioning towards his young sons and daughters, still wrapped in their protective shells.
“We all lose our way.” The old bird said.
“That is the only way we can learn.”

With that he flew off, and the young bird never felt fear again.

The More Clearly You Define Your Destination, The Quicker You’ll Get There

Do You Know Where You Are Going?

I remember once me and a friend of mine decided to go hitchhiking. Neither of us had ever hitchhiked before, and we thought it would be fun to go camping that way. We both lived in the dorms, and our college was about fifteen miles away from the coast. Between the college and the coast were several businesses, industrial and residential areas. But on the other side, it quickly turned into pretty much nothing. A few rolling hills here and there, and small pockets of residential neighborhoods, and then desert.

Our plan was to hitch hike east until we found a place that didn’t have very many houses, and then camp out. Of course we prepared ourselves with plenty of water, food that didn’t require cooking. And beer. Lots of beer. After about three hours of hitchhiking, we finally found a suitable place to camp. Or drink until we passed out. Our only requirement was that it was relatively flat, and that it was far enough away from any houses so nobody could see our campfire and call the cops.

I took this seminar once on a weird type of speed-reading. It was called photoreading, and it taught you how to read an entire book in about 3 or 4 minutes. You slowly flipped through all the pages, and let the information soak into your brain without consciously reading it. Of course, you weren’t reading it consciously; you were reading it with your unconscious mind. Then later you could dig into your unconscious memory and pull out any required information that you needed. This was particularly useful for studying, or reading a bunch of books to do a report on something.

One of the things we needed to learn was to state a clear purpose for reading a book.

“I want to read this book to learn specific skills to improve my public speaking.”

“I want to learn specific techniques to nineteenth century Spanish architecture into my building designs.”

“I want to improve my fluency with daily use of French verbs.”

That way when you photoread the book, the elements that addressed your particular needs would stick better, and be easier to retrieve later when you needed them.

A particularly useful skill that we learned was photoreading a bunch of books on one subject, and then allow your unconscious alone to figure out how to incorporate those skills into your daily life. You never had to go back and try to “activate” some of the information if you were going to take a test or write a report. The new skills and behaviors would kind of just “show up” wherever you needed them.

There were a few people at the seminar that were repeat participants, and had used this technique with wild success. One lady photoread a bunch of books on painting techniques, as she was a beginning painter. After that her friends started commenting that her paintings were looking much better, and assumed she was taking lessons, or learning some advanced technique from some master or something.

In reality, all she was doing was photoreading a bunch of books on painting techniques, and the new techniques were just showing up in her paintings. She merely continued to paint as she felt, and the results spoke for themselves.

But before we learned how to do any of this stuff the instructor told us the importance of setting your intention before reading a book. What most people do is they read a book with only a vague hope that it can help them some way. It’s no wonder they have trouble applying what they read. They don’t really know what they were after in the first place.

He told us a funny story to emphasize this point.

There used to be this airline that was really cheap. You didn’t need reservations, and the planes always had seats available. They had several flights a day, so you could pretty much hop on a flight whenever you wanted. They were more than willing to sell you a ticket. The only problem was you never knew where they were going. The reason the tickets were so cheap was that the airplanes navigation systems were messed up. The pilots didn’t know how to program the destination. They sort of fiddled around with the buttons, and hoped they ended up somewhere decent. Sometimes they did, but other times they ended up in the middle of nowhere, and the passengers were left stranded on some frozen cornfield.

Of course, the airplane is you, and the pilot is your goals and choices. If you sort only know where you are going, with some vague hope that it will turn out ok, then maybe you’ll be ok, or maybe you’ll end up stranded on some frozen cornfield. Which we can all agree would pretty much suck.

I learned a lot from that seminar. They do have a book you can get at Amazon, called “Photoreading,” or you can get the home study course from Learning Strategies Corporation. Or you can take the whole seminar, like I did. It cost about three or four hundred bucks, but it was well worth it. Once you take it, you can take it as many times as you want after that, for free. If you Google “Photoreading,” you’ll find lots of pages to help you.

And probably the coolest thing about my hitchhiking camping trip is that after we finally got to our spot, and camped out without any problems from the cops, we started hiking back towards the highway to see if we could hitch a ride home. And this guy in limo picked us up. No joke. He had just dropped off a client, and was driving his limo back to his shop, and picked us up along the way. That was a fun trip. You never know how you’re going to end up with you start out like this.