Recovering from the morning-after hangover from the global money party

Monetary systems have been developed in the context of a primitive survival brain, and the rules that govern monetary processes reflect this.  By its nature, it helps to maintain reliance on these survival instincts in the wider population.  The modern money system is not currently functioning that well, is highly unstable, and is having the effect of becoming a major cause of stress among a lot of people.   This is not to say that money is inherently evil, but it does need a lot of reforming at every level, of that there is no doubt.

Meeting our needs in a balanced way is the fundamental basis of feeling happy.   The true function of money is a useful tool to help us get our needs met, and it should be there to serve us, not control us.  Fortunately, understanding what our needs are and how to get them met does not require much, if any money, and once we have that knowledge we can help free ourselves from the limitations and toxic effects of modern money and use it to best advantage. This is not to say that we need to reject money, or will not have as much as we need.  On the contrary, we are more able to embrace it and get what we need it to help us when we put our mental health and well-being centre stage.

Where were you and what were you doing when the global money party kicked off?  Speaking in 1957, the British post-war prime minister Harold Macmillan famously told the British public benefiting from the post-war economic boom that 'Britons have never had it so good'.   Carried away by the confidence of post-war economic growth, leaders of the Western World in the 70's pushed for, and succeeded, in taking down controls for international finance in a systematic program of liberalisation.  50 years on we are seeing the effects of this unwieldy, enormous and sudden growth in the global money supply to levels that have never been seen before in history.   This monetary expansion has been based on the age old monetary rules of a system based on money as debt and charging interest which is inherently inflationary and mathematically impossible to reconcile.  

The only way people can keep up with the pressure to pay back the daily mountain of debt that the global money supply demands us to pay is to sell more and more stuff as fast as we can, making consumers of us all.  This has amplified the ancient global race among people, friends, families and communities to achieve power and supremacy for their benefit at the expense of others.  This is fundamentally destroying community and love and the connection between people everywhere, which is a fundamental human need.  Money is still dividing men and women.  At every level of income, men have more financial wealth than women and women borrow more than men so women are in effect arguably paying men for the privilege of living on Earth as they pay the interest on their loans en mass to men. (13)

The greed and hubris of modern bankers who are now running the global system work and live in a rarefied world of extreme financial wealth and power and are not really helping us deal with this situation.  It has become almost an act of heresy to question what is apparently the unalienable right of everyone to make money hand over fist. Anyone who does question this is a loser to be ignored!  With eyes firmly planted on the bank balance, people everywhere either look on with glee or glumness and despair feeling a whole cocktail of extreme emotional states from rapture to depression and worse.   There is nothing psychologically balanced about the world of money.  We can look to governments to try and moderate the more extreme effects of this system, but many in the system know it's a forlorn hope.  The private banks now have such an enormous political and economic power it’s hard to see how any government could deal with this unless there is a globally unified approach, which seems unlikely.

This might sound all a bit doom and gloom, but at almost every turn modern money systems and the way they are managed are flying in the face of good mental health practices.  Therapy and mental health services are creaking at the seams with the fallout from the toxicity of this system in what is apparently a fundamental breakdown in the architecture of the global money system.  In a secular society where religious organisations would have previously offered emotional comfort to the masses, modern scientific psychotherapy is taking its place. Record numbers of people are going to therapists.  It may be that there are relationship problems, bereavement, illness and other issues, but financial issues are now a massive cause of mental distress and are often intertwined with these other issues.  Let’s face it, money has become a bit of a distraction, to say the least.

In 2014 in the UK nearly a quarter of the population sought therapeutic help and the numbers are going up year on year.(1)  'Seventeen and a half million working hours are lost as a result of employees taking time off work because they are experiencing financial stress. Even if they make it into work, they can’t get their jobs done to the best of their abilities; 55 per cent say financial pressure distracts them from fulfilling their roles. And their relationships with colleagues and line managers are damaged because of the financial pressures employees are concerned about.' [Neyber - The DNA of Financial Well-being 2016].   Growing numbers of parents everywhere are having to raid their savings to pay for their often adult children who are in financial trouble (2).  This creates further pressure in human relations and individual stress caused by feelings of guilt, shame, loss of status and other negative emotions.  The age of financial independence for many children is not coming until their 40's or beyond, if at all.   Indeed, record numbers of people are defaulting on personal debt as they simply cannot afford to pay it back and have no way to foresee doing so. 'The number of defaulted federal student loans in the USA hit a new high in 2016: about 8 million borrowers have given up paying on more than $137 billion in education debts.' (3). 

People, naturally seeking security, desperately cling to jobs in what they feel are safer larger scale corporations and public sector organisations only to find that job security is weak and the financial pressures on these organisations are more intense than ever.  Few organisations pay heed to their employee's mental health (4) Work-life balance goes out of the window for many.  According to a recent report, 25% of the UK working population are unhappy with their work-life balance.  (5).  Fear dominates the media and is the fundamental way news is sold, exciting emotional arousal, keeping people entranced with negativity and confusion, only adding to the depression of people everywhere. (6)   Furthermore, as if these societal pressures were not enough to contend with, money is actually like a drug and is highly addictive, and this toxicity has to be managed very carefully (7).  It triggers dopamine release even by holding it, easily distorting the functioning of our natural reward systems. (8) A recent report details how 'As the online business of gambling approaches the £2bn mark and bookies seek to lure in new punters, the number of Britons at risk of becoming addicted is growing rapidly.' (9)

An explosion of self-help, spirituality and psychotherapy has taken place as people everywhere are undergoing what some feel is a spiritual transition as never experienced before.  Not so much as a breakdown but a breakthrough.  New expressions of old forms of spirituality are growing globally as people seek an internal abundance and happiness in the face of the half full glass of monetary chaos.  25% of the titles in the New York Times best seller list are on the subject of spirituality. (10). A whole new generation of people is teaching others to understand their internal powers to 'attract good fortune' and live in 'abundance'. However, we need to be careful that these forms of teachings are not used by people to prop up their deep monetary conditioned beliefs in exponential growth and expansion and ever increasing bank balances.  Indeed, many of these teachers have themselves become very wealthy teaching others to be 'abundant'.  Like the established churches before them that can compete for financial wealth with some of the world’s richest businesses (11), there has always been a somewhat delicate balance between worldly and other-worldly wealth. 

In the modern world guiding people towards spirituality is big business.  'Guiding people toward that goal can be quite rewarding — and not just in the spiritual sense. One mega-seller, Stephen Covey's The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, is so massively popular that it gave rise to a publicly traded corporation. Last year, Franklin Covey, which is in the business of providing "integrated training and performance enhancement solutions to organisations and individuals," recorded sales of $333 million.' (12).  These teachers often claim that it’s possible to have the dream of both financial and spiritual abundance.   Perhaps in time, we can generate a win-win financial system and we just have to keep acting as though it is already achieved.  But we might do well to remember the words of Idris Shah who points out in his Caravan of Dreams: “You will never reach Mecca, I fear: for you are on the road to Turkestan.” 

In the case of the global ‘money party’, the organisers, as well as the participants, are all feeling the pain of the hangover.  Some of us held back from too much excess but others it seems went to extremes at the height of the party.  Some of you might feel the smug satisfaction that you held back, some the shame of going too far. However, you came out the only way to recover for us all is to help each other, and not cower in shame or condemn in self-righteousness.  Don't forget that the ‘money party’ is a win-lose game and it could easily have been you who lost and winning isn't as much fun as it’s cracked up to be either.  We need a new party.  We don't need to stop drinking entirely but just, well treat it a bit more cautiously and have a lot more internal mechanisms for enjoying ourselves whilst not going crazy.  After all, who doesn't like a good party and why not, but perhaps we can get by on super health drinks rather than 7% beers.

In a world of such unbalance one thing stares is in the face.  Imbalance is not good for us.  Balance is good.  It's not actually that hard to see this really, though the simplest of truths is so easily hidden by a mind clouded by anxiety.  Balance is the key.  We know that if we get carried away by our emotions and too attached to desires they can lead us away from this balance.  If we allow our emotions to get the better of us we can easily become greedy, angry, tyrannical, depressed, selfish and aggressively competitive amongst other things.  That is, all the things we associate with forms of behaviour that, shall we say are not the hallmark of happy and stable civilisations.  On the contrary, soon we find ourselves living in the unhappy declining civilisation.  That's not to say emotions are negative.  They are the very processes that lead us to happiness though they need to be managed (like all resources).   It seems the ancients knew it all along.  Don't get too attached to desire.  Keep grounded in need.  Breath, keep calm and ensure your needs are met and you should maintain the balance that will allow you to work out how to manage your money and other things a bit better.  Money is an incredibly useful tool when used by a person whose needs are well met and is grounded in those and seeks to help others to do the same.  In that situation money will really support the most amazing psycho-economic growth ever seen in history.   The 'secret' is to keep focussed on what we need first and use money to support this, rather than put money first and our needs second.  As policy makers consider their reforms of the financial systems they would do well to remember this and stop trying to create a global casino instead of financial system fit for purpose.

Freyja Theaker

May 2016.

(1) http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/features/britons-are-going-to-therapy-in-record-numbers-9593217.html
(2) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2178066/More-4-4m-21s-rely-parents-financial-help.html
(3) http://time.com/money/4701506/student-loan-defaults-record-2016/
(4) https://www.fastcompany.com/3045927/5-signs-that-your-workplace-may-be-toxic
(5) http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/a-quarter-of-uk-professionals-are-unhappy-with-their-work-life-balance-survey-finds-10071994.html
(6) https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/two-takes-depression/201106/if-it-bleeds-it-leads-understanding-fear-based-media
(7) http://www.themoneyenigma.com/monetary-base-expansion-the-seven-stages-of-addiction/
(8) https://hbr.org/2010/10/dopes-and-dopamine-the-problem.html
(9) http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/addiction-soars-as-online-gambling-hits-2bn-mark-8468376.html
(10) https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/199411/desperately-seeking-spirituality
(11) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_wealthiest_organizations
(12)http://abcnews.go.com/Business/story?id=86594&page=1 

(13) https://www.socwomen.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/fact_2-2010-wealth.pdf 

Your money and your life

Financial stress is ruining lives and costing the UK economy £120 billion a year. But research shows a look at our real needs could bring relief.

When the finance start-up Neyber commissioned research  (http://blog.neyber.co.uk/blog/we-have-a-great-opportunity-to-get-financial-wellbeing-right) on the cost of employee financial stress in July 2016, its aim was to get employers to buy into its loan scheme for workers. The report, which surveyed 10,000 employees, showed that 17.5 million working hours were lost in the UK to money-related distress. 70% of those surveyed admitted to spending a fifth of their working hours worrying about finances, “costing the economy £120.7 billion pounds a year”.

Neyber, an alternative lender working with employers to offer decent finance deals to workers, wanted bosses to see how much they had to gain by alleviating money stress.  But a growing body of research shows that cash-flow problems and budgetary management are only part of the picture when people get into difficulties.

The BBC’s LabUK’s Big Money Test (http://www.friendsprovidentfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Open-University-Analysing-the-Big-Money-Test-Summary.pdf) , a large-scale survey of 109,000 people in 2011, looked at people’s emotions and attitudes towards money, and found that they outweighed financial capability in their impact on outcomes.  Four key money attitudes, which map onto fundamental needs defined by psychologists, were identified: security, power (status/control), love/generosity, and autonomy/freedom.  It found that ‘those who associated money with power were more likely to experience adverse financial events,’ whereas for those who associated it with security, the opposite was true.

The way we project our needs onto money can and does have a significant impact on our financial management.  Managing our money is only a part of the battle – more important is how we manage ourselves, and our needs.

Does money make us feel safe and in control? A secure home, food and clothing are fundamental to our survival, and to getting our other needs met. But what when it goes wrong, and leads to hoarding, living behind locked gates for fear of being robbed, or using money to control partners and children?

This is the power/control association, which the BBC survey showed led to poorer financial outcomes.  In the scenario above, it’s an obstacle to fulfilling our need for social connection and corrodes intimate relationships.

Does money help us to gain status and feeling of competence? How far is that damaged when financial crisis hits? Do people who get a sense of purpose and identity from unpaid activities like charity work suffer less if they lose their job because they’re getting their emotional needs met elsewhere?

The picture emerging through psychological studies is that money has conditioned us to locate our needs in consumer culture, when in fact that is not always where they lie.  The pursuit of money has also led to the erosion of space for other essential needs, according to Dr Edward Diener, quoted in the American Psychological Journal (June 2004) (http://www.apa.org/monitor/jun04/discontents.aspx ) : ‘a strong consumerist bent… can promote unhappiness because it takes time away from the things that can nurture happiness, including relationships with family and friends.’

So why are we going so wrong in locating our true needs? Dr Alan Kanner, author of Psychology and Consumer Culture, believes it’s down to the way we have been conditioned by money. 

"Corporate-driven consumerism is having massive psychological effects on people and an impact on the planet as well. Too often, psychology over-individualises social problems.  In so doing, we end up blaming the victim, in this instance by locating materialism primarily in the person while ignoring the huge corporate culture that’s invading so much of our lives."

The true purpose of money is to enable us to meet our needs and it’s only by understanding what those are and how to get them met that we can manage our relationship to money well.

Authored by guest blogger Laura Haydon

Laura Haydon worked as a Belfast-based journalist for the BBC, The Guardian, MSNBC.com and Deutsche Welle for 20 years. She is now a journalist and educator based in France.

 

Power To The Currency Cranks!

As H G Wells commented writing in 1932, “Circumstances have recently stirred up in the general intelligence to the main factors of the currency situation. It has never hitherto been a very attractive subject. People have avoided it if they could, because it made them feel slightly uncomfortable and had an air of being highly technical and inconclusive - it was at once as intimate and as unconvincing as talk about one's liver - and general discussion has been further burked by dubbing anyone who raised the question a "Currency Crank". Still, there may come a time when a man will be obliged to look his doctors in the face and consider the state of his liver, and the time has certainly come for mankind at large to consider the working of its monetary organisation”.  This year the London Times writes that 80% of the UK population is worried about their finances.  The history of money is the history of a new global commons of information exchange technology that has the potential to bring about the next positive step of human social evolution.  However, it has to be noted that the software currently operating the system is based on out dated violent notions of human exploitation that are clearly now not serving human development.  A metaphorical line in the sand has been crossed and its time to update the software or crash the machine.   We can clearly see that the history of money has been characterised by ever faster and more widespread information flows that have been intimately connected to technologies available that have been driving ever-greater dematerialisation of money.   From shells to precious metals to sources of power now we see that 97% of it is generally pure information that is becoming ever more sophisticated enabling the ‘backing of money’ to move away from scarce commodities to human capacity itself and bringing into question the need for centralised issuing authorities at all.  The fundamental bio-psychological purpose of money is to enable the meeting of human needs and intrinsically this requires regard to community, the need for which is fundamental to all humans.   So far money functions have focussed on physical and some personal emotional needs and by neglecting social and higher developmental needs humanity is being left in an ever poor state of mental health.   The relationship between the growth of global money supply and the growth in depression is almost identical.   To quote Glynn Davies “Conversely, only the most loose-fitting (but none the less useful) garment could possibly cover the variety of models [of money].  One such simple theory does, however, emerge: the quality–quantity pendulum; although it must be borne in mind that its repetitional swings become discernible only where a long period of time is taken into consideration.”  Its time to swing the pendulum back in the direction of quality.

Freedom From I.

In a world driven by ‘I’ let us not forget that the only way to help others is to drop the focus on   ‘I’.   Those working in the realm of consciousness in particular are the messengers not the originators and their power is the power of something far greater than themselves and those seeking their council will be well advised to observe how much such people use the word ‘I’ when they talk to you. 

Our aim is not to create a world of spiritual ego to replace the world of material ego.  That is completely defeating the object.  The commercialisation of spirituality and consciousness development is a perennial issue and one that all too often has been won by Mammon.  We only have to look at how the Roman Empire adopted the grass roots Christian church to see how easy it is for an entire spiritual tradition to become entangled with secular power. 

Humanity's ability to ensure that consciousness and spirituality trumps materialism is the hallmark of the great transition we are now in as we move towards the age of light.  Our core beliefs are now changing about the nature of materialism and the entrancing flickering colours of that realm are thankfully no longer gripping a growing minority.  

Freyja Theaker

Using Money To Create A Global Culture Of Humanity

As time has gone on technology has made our lives easier and safer and opened up our potential further.  The development of mass technology has necessarily required an evolution of hierarchical social power structures.  The technology of money itself is no exception to this. 

However the end game of this evolution is the true liberation of humanity and not its enslavement.  In the final analysis technology is subservient to this goal and where we forget that we go wrong. 

We need technology and that includes the technology of money to facilitate, not just the creation of more technology (very left brain and logical activity), but more than ever the creative elements of humanity (very right brain and imaginative activity).   

However many people on the planet are very confused as to the true purpose of technology including money technology and they are entranced and entrapped and addicted by its mesmerising power instead of seeing it as tool to develop wider aspects of human development.

This has led to the creation of a culture of hierarchy, control, power and materialism.  It takes a while to change mindsets and this mindset is particularly deep.  Change it must though, if we are to evolve, for it is only by developing the wider aspects of our humanity that we will survive and thrive and reveal the true purpose of our individual and mass humanity.  Failure means we will be, as we currently are all too often already experiencing, at the mercy of the values of technology over those of humanity. 

So technology and particularly money technology needs to focus more than ever of creating systems of human health including more than ever mental health and self-development.   Money needs to facilitate lives of balance, emotional health, clear and creative thinking.  The current model of hierarchy and inequality will not do and are not serving us any longer.  This model is now becoming self defeating and intelligent people everywhere are waking up to this. 

Even though there are individuals who benefit from the current culture and processes and feel they are better off, this culture is not beneficial to human culture as a whole as it is creating enormous bottle necks of creative energy and wasted opportunity, illness, negativity and mental stress.  Those people cannot be left to control the agenda, no matter how powerful they are for they are acting out of self-preservation only and clearly not in the wider interests of society, even though they would have us believe otherwise.

However we cannot easily rely on political and economic public authority, either, to instigate this great shift in human culture as vested interests are very powerful and they will slow things down wherever they can.    That is not to say that we do not need to use these vehicles wherever we can though from an enlightened perspective.

We must, fundamentally however, take matters into our own hands and learn the simple processes of good mental health and spread these ideas as widely as possible in the general population. This is the fastest way to bring about massive cultural change. 

These processes need not any longer be dressed in esoteric language.  Nor are these methods of mental health are not based on ideology and ‘shouldism’ or rule bound morality.  They are universal, democratic and straightforward and explained in a language everyone can appreciate.

These processes are based on simple and non esoteric self motivating methods of mental health that inevitably lead people to the self determined conclusion that lives based on balance of material and non material aspects, self and others, and true needs rather than untrammelled desires bring the greatest health, happiness and fulfilment and allows them to give full play to their talents and creativity for themselves, their families and their communities.

Freyja Theaker

March 2016

 

You’ll be amazed as to the benefits of achieving balanced emotional arousal

  • Amongst many benefits achieving balanced emotional arousal....
     

  • Improves physically relaxation and physical health and energy
  • Allows calm and clear thought
  • Enhances creative, positive and detailed imagination 
  • Enables greater objectivity about feelings, thoughts and situations
  • Improves emotional awareness (Emotional Intelligence)
  • Improves cognitive awareness
  • Improves behavioural awareness
  • Improves awareness and overcoming of logical fallacies (False belief)
  • Improves goal clarity
  • Improves task breakdown
  • Improves focus
  • Improves concentration
  • Improves learning
  • Improving the ability to switch between focus and non focussed attention
  • Lowers resistance to taking clear and decisive action (Movement)
  • Enhances motivation (Clarity over needs)
  • Improves mood
  • Improves relationships with others (Rapport)
  • Improves positive memory (and feeling) recall (Life Resources)
  • Improved propensity to reframe negative experiences
  • Improves intuitive awareness (REM)
  • Open’s the mind to higher states of consciousness (REM)
  • Improves your ability to meet your emotional and physical needs
  • Improves your ability to build a successful and happy life
     

You’ll be amazed how simple it is to lower you emotional arousal!

Try..

  • 7/11 Breathing
  • Muscle Tension & Relaxation
  • Count down & visualisation to a relaxed place
  • Mindfulness
  • Walking and exercise
  • Listening to relaxing music
  • Reading
  • Yoga and other similar pursuits
  • Absorbing hobbies
  • Helping others
  • Establishing meaning and purpose
  • Expecting the best
  • Art
  • Nature
  • Pets
  • Completing tasks
  • Putting things in perspective
  • Taking action
  • Being with friends

And many other free pursuits.  Notice how its possible to achieve all these remarkable benefits without spending a penny! 

Freyja

Feb 2016

 

What's your story?

According to the psychologist Michele Crossley, depression frequently stems from an “incoherent story,” an “inadequate narrative account of oneself,” or “a life story gone awry.” Psychotherapy helps unhappy people set their life stories straight; it literally gives them a story they can live with. And it works. According to a recent review article in American Psychologist, controlled scientific studies show that the talking cure works as well as (and perhaps much better than) newer therapies such as antidepressant drugs or cognitive-behavioral therapy. A psychotherapist can therefore be seen as a kind of script doctor who helps patients revise their life stories so that they can play the role of protagonists again— suffering and flawed protagonists, to be sure, but protagonists who are moving toward the light.

What's your story

What you focus on is what you get

This latest scientific experiment could demonstrate important principles we teach in psychotherapy. Namely that a basic vital skill in learning is the ability to focus and defocus and that what you focus your attention on is what you get. (So make sure you focus on positive things and have a balance between focussing your attention and not) It seems when you focus on something it literally stands still in the glare until you let your focus go. Change happens in the interval. It reminds me again of the inextricable link between inner consciousness and world (apparently) out there. Its all one really.

http://phys.org/news/2015-10-zeno-effect-verifiedatoms-wont.html

To The Me In You

To all the me's out there.... a little thought process to help the me in you...

'I want to know me. I want to love me. Please let me see me. I am beautiful. every small piece of my dream is me. I need to know me if I am to be able to show true love to the world. even if I am frightened to really be me I will do it anyway because I am finding not being me too stressful and I know I am hurting myself. I know that I must be me if I am to serve the world. I love discovering me. it feels beautiful and the more i discover me I find you too.

Coping with an Ocean of Information

Perhaps one on the most important coping skills we can teach people is that of how to process and handle digital information. This article does not even include the trillions of units of money created every minute across the world in bank accounts (which is another form of digital information). The whole world is now an ocean of overwhelming amounts of information being downloaded from individuals all over the world ever minute in exponential amounts and being amassed in computer memory banks everywhere. So called 'Big Data'. Our little rowing boats were not designed for the oceans of information that have now been created, we need to develop a better ocean going models!

http://mashable.com/2012/06/22/data-created-every-minute/#:eyJzIjoiZiIsImkiOiJfMjRnOWtkZDI1N3EwZnpjNyJ9

We need a new battle ground for politics

Capitalism has adapted and its hard edges which prompted the evolution of socialism been softened but its greed and materialism are causing problems for our world yet the old socialist parties have not been successful in finding a new more fertile ground of human consciousness to appeal to and have the problem that the wealthy have the biggest propaganda marketing machine the world has ever seen . The battle ground is not just economic security but also other vital underpinnings of mental health and wellbeing and we have enough scientific evidence to firmly show that a society run on grounds that support excellent mental health is a far more successful society. This is not a matter of subjectivity. We now know the basis of good mental health and can develop policies that clearly support it. The language has to be found that people can understand but I believe it has been in recent years with contributions to this debate from the Human Givens and a few other notable institutes. People care about their mental health it seems to me and the price of modern hyper capitalism is deteriorating mental health. We all know it. Money has moved from being a thing that makes us free into something that just makes us stressed out. There is an opportunity for political parties to take up this core human issue. Only those that do will succeed in making the next evolution in politics happen. It time to make a political stand for mental health.

The Fact Of The Matter

We are all faced with issue of meeting our needs.  Meeting our needs is indeed the very fundamental motivational force that drives our lives forward.  If our needs are not met consistently we cannot be happy for these needs define us as a species.   We all have them.  Society is about dealing with the task of enabling people to meet their needs.  We may not have them all met all the time yet in the course of our lives, in a beautiful and moving way, looking back from the point of our passing, we will note that all we have been and all that we have done amounts to meeting these needs. 

We can categorise these needs if we want to, but rather like the “two but not two” insights of quantum mechanics they all interweave in a beautiful intricate pattern.  How we manifest the fulfillment of them, nature has left up to our individual consciousness, which is how it should to be to create a robust ecology of life, but she has guaranteed a beautiful unity by ensuring we all have the same fundamental needs.  How successfully we fulfill them depends on how well we use the tools or resources nature has endowed us all with. 

For the most part, due to the inherent beauty and magnificence of nature we have the most amazing tools each one of which is beyond comprehension in its power but combined offers us infinity in our hand.  A brain and body and physical environment that is beyond words in its beauty and potential all integrated by a universal heart beat that pulses deep in each of us mystifying the boundaries between our individuality and life as a whole.

 Yes we’ve been damaged and have damaged others.  Yes we have battle scars.  Yes we have to learn to manage our minds rather than let our minds master us.  All this however is possible.   A new global democracy of spiritual and self -development growth has never been more readily available.  The sophistication of understanding has never been more exciting.  We do not need to suffer, at least for very long.  We have the tools to transform hell at our fingertips. 

With a little work and the right kind of help we can soon learn to fly, fulfilling these amazing needs, which reflect our infinite mental and physical capacities as a species and which, through their global fulfillment will create the most beautiful tapestry of life the universe has ever seen.  To help us along we can give name to these needs.  They are lovely to meditate on and you will find give answer to so many questions you have about your life.  Enjoy!  In these observations are the answers to all human suffering and flowering.  The world’s problems are the failure to meet these needs.  Think about it for a while and it is so obvious it will bring a smile to your face.

Security — safe territory and an environment, which allows us to develop fully

Attention (to give and receive it) — a form of nutrition

Sense of autonomy and control — having volition to make responsible choices

Emotional intimacy — to know that at least one other person accepts us totally for who we are, “warts 'n' all”

Feeling part of a wider community

Privacy — opportunity to reflect and consolidate experience

Sense of status within social groupings

Sense of competence and achievement

Meaning and purpose — which come from being stretched in what we do and think.

 

Don’t take the metaphors too literally when working on self-development and certainly when it comes to being in a tribe.

What we know about all good teachers is that they realise, because we understand through patterns or metaphors, the best form of teaching is to use powerful metaphor to represent and communicate insights into life.  However, all to often people have a frustrating habit of taking these metaphors quite literally (despite often being warned not to by the more ethical of these teachers).  Entire religious and self –development processes are often formed around a subset of the original intentions (often the aspects that are easier for people to understand).  This always results in a simplistic approach.  This is particularly the case as far as social groups are concerned.

There is not a group on the planet that will not contend on some level that they have the truth and others do not.  If this was not the case then why practice their path and not another?  People like what is familiar and they also need community.  This can often lead to a more extreme idea emerging of being somehow the chosen people which we know throughout history has been a very damaging notion and of course is always utterly illusory.  At some level or another anyone who does not adopt the chosen path may either go to hell or at the very least be worse off.   This is a complete misdirection however of the intention of true teachers of consciousness to unite and help all people.

Instead of interpreting the language and metaphors of their teachers in the way they were intended, as part of a wide range of metaphors taught to encourage self-development, people superimpose their tribal needs onto the teachings and narrow them down.  This is reinforced through the creation of specific ritual and rules and language, further accentuating the difference between those in the club and those outside.  

This outcome has to be a lower level of spiritual development than was originally hoped for, as it is self evident that the universe is not a definable a set of overt rules or rituals and that its essence is unfathomable.  That is not to say that we cannot come to a common understanding of how to approach the challenge of living a life as part of this universe in which we live.   Indeed if we look closely at the religious, spiritual and psychological teachings throughout the ages from a less partisan perspective, we soon have to tacitly acknowledge that they have more in common than perhaps we would like to admit.   Indeed, for example, the self-development ideas of shamanism, western and eastern spirituality and modern scientific psychology all indeed, arguably do have a lot in common. 

Modern psychology, backed up by recent significant developments in neuroscience, brings a more up to date approach to these issues, devoid of many of the flowery and abstruse linguistic nominalizations of ancient religions and sects.  It speaks to a modern audience of people seeking self-development more effectively and in this respect has things to teach the older traditions. (Whilst respecting what those traditions can teach it - the much in vogue notion of mindfulness comes to mind for example).  Its methods of self development involve accessing and using metaphor, cognition, behaviour as well as deeper conscious states such as the REM state and the observing self, to effect self development.  These mirror the same techniques, rebranded in a modern parlance, that many of the ancient spiritual schools and faiths teach.  The benefit of the former however is that one does not have to wear certain clothes, adopt certain rituals so beloved by the older consciousness raising traditions which are often hampered by being an “ism”. 

“Ah but”, one can here the members of such orders saying, “the modern methods are not as effective”.  Well the jury, I would argue, is out on that one and certainly I think we would all be dubious of a one-size fits all approach to consciousness development that claims to be the supreme way.  Certainly if there was such a truth, then the organization propagating it would have the constant internal threat of managing the achievement of so much secular power that it could collapse under its own weight of internal policing at any moment.   Nature, in her wisdom, has designed an eclectic mix of paths precisely because she understands the sustainable power of poly cultures and not monocultures.  The major change, I would argue, that will help the world more than anything is for all consciousness development traditions old and new to take and immediate decision to stop wasting energy on claiming the high ground and start actively supporting each other.  

In the meantime whatever methods one chooses, I suspect one will find there are very similar methods and ideas in any half decent approach being taken by other groups. It would do us all well to see consensus rather than division because in the final analysis, we, and life are all one - aren’t we?  Isn’t that the point?

Joanne Theaker HG Dip P, MHGI, FRSA

January 2015.

Are we addicted to bad news?

Is there still a media conspiracy to keep us in a constant state of fear about the world? Is our innate evolutionary tendency towards focussing on negative emotions and thinking drawing us to doom and gloom? Is bad news easier to stomach? Is good news too saccharine for our hardened pallet? This is an old article but the ideas are still relevant. Modern media news covereage still is too often a montage of bite sized misery, cynicism and doom. Its not so much what is reported but the manner in which it is reported. Perhaps all media people should have to study philosophy, positive psychology, the principles of the positive development and evolution of human consciousness and take some kind of public oath to always seek to make the positive development of people and society the heart and soul of their work before they are allowed to start printing their notions to a wider public....

http://www.theguardian.com/…/media-misery-nation-of-whingers

Don't be frightened of how you feel.

How the world turns out in the next 24 hours depends on how we feel right now. Yes us! If you feel angry - use it positively, if you feel sad, take time to learn about achieving calm as a fundamental skill, if you feel hungry, take the time to learn the joy of appreciation, if you are scared, take the opportunity to learn strength to watch your thoughts flicker through your mind whilst not allowing yourself to cling to them and keeping your focus, if you feel great, share the love! What ever we feel let's use our feelings intelligently to drive positive change in the world today.