Tools to Open Minds
These biocognitive tools facilitate incidental access to the mindbody code that can shift personal paradigms rather than merely modify behavior. The experiential questions and suggestions presented here have a contemplative component that revisions challenges without intellectualizing the solutions: intuiting the path rather than reasoning the goal. Although these tools are deceptively simple, they are powerful agents of sustainable change. But rather than replace behavior, biocognitive methods recontextualize mindbody premises that sustain behavior. The information provided here should never replace professional help.
From False Humility to Humble Brilliance
If you could be profoundly honest with yourself and overcome your fear of being misunderstood, you could accept your brilliance when others see it in you. But to acknowledge stellar compliments without false humility, you have to find evidence in deeds that confirm your nobleness.
Self-sabotage is not masochistic. It is a learned strategy to avoid the turbulence of good fortune. When we fail to recognize our worthiness, moving out of known misery is as threatening as confronting a wild beast. Shifting mindbody states, whether for better or for worse, causes turbulence. Thus, rather than giving pathological labels to our misery, biocognition offers wellness tools to navigate chaos with uncertainty as your guide.
Why Not a Quick Fix for Our Deep Suffering?
Because we acquire the causes of our suffering through complex mind-body-culture processes with collateral damage to our worthiness, confidence, and faith. How can we then expect to fix our pain with simplistic platitudes that entice our hopes and eventually add to our disillusionment? Biocognitive science provides tools rather than well-marketed enticements. Transformation requires courage, patience and commitment. But you need practical methods to access these agents of lasting change.
Commitment in Relationships
Committing to a relationship can be a pain in the neck, not committing to one can be a pain in the heart. But before attempting to change anything in a relationship, commit to discard your reruns - otherwise you will only be changing the location of your pain. Response patterns become reruns when they lose their effectiveness in having our needs understood and validated. So why continue patterns that do not meet our objectives? Because reruns confuse our needs by placing greater value on being right than on being happy. Once the reruns are relinquished, then commit to learning from your relationship what you were unwilling to teach yourself.
The Spanish word "traición" means treason or betrayal: it does not differentiate between deceiving a cause and a heart. The healing field for deceit is loyalty to a worthiness mindfulness that resolves the helplessness of disillusionment. Join our biocognitive revolution and defy the cultural myths that deceive your worthiness.
What would happen if you begin to see yourself as brilliant, beautiful, and deserving of all the good fortune that could come your way? Very little would happen if you leave those considerations in your head. Why? Because your brain needs to confirm the credibility of your wishes based on evidence from your embodied history. But what if you can’t find evidence? Then you begin to create it in your infinite present: Live your brilliance with humility and your beauty with gratitude so that you can accept your good fortune without fear.
Healing Questions for Despair in Spiraling Relationships
What would happen if we begin to acknowledge each other’s pleas, and honor what we are with the same conviction we had when we respected each other? What would happen if we begin to see us with beginner’s eyes to express the same admiration we felt when we lived in discovery? What would happen if we harness the love we achieved, to give us deeper understanding, patience, and tenderness when we confront our demons?
These contemplative lessons from Guardians of the Heart can heal despair if our ego is given a rest, and our compassion is welcomed with open arms. Guardians of the Heart is an embodied biocognitive model that views relationships as opportunities to heal the archetypal wounds of abandonment, shame, and betrayal that we rerun when love comes our way. By offering our hearts for reciprocal safekeeping, a guardianship is established to coauthor healing fields of commitment, honor, and loyalty.
Navigating Uncertainty with Chaos as your Guide
The uncertainty of turbulence can be navigated with a chaotic compass. What is a chaotic compass? It’s a variability guide to navigate the complexity of your turbulence. It disconnects you from reruns by shifting from confirming to discovering.
What is your turbulence today? Fear? Despair? Surrender?
To Navigate Fear
Point your chaotic compass to evidence of when your courage served you well, and then embody its empowerment field: experience the felt meaning of your mindbody memory.
To Navigate Despair
Point your chaotic compass to evidence of when your patience served you well, and then embody its empowerment field: experience the felt meaning of your mindbody memory.
To Navigate Surrender
Point your chaotic compass to evidence of when your commitment served you well, and then embody its empowerment field: experience the felt meaning of your mindbody memory. Your heaven and your hell live in your mindbody archives - choose what to access.
The Chaotic Compass
The chaotic compass works because it is coherent with the hidden order of suicide logic:
There is sequential order in preserving life when it's endurable, and there is disordered order in ending life when it's intolerable suffering. The compass has hidden order (chaos theory) because, rather than focusing on the stability of preserving life, the objective is to navigate the turbulence of fear, despair, and surrender. Why navigate? Because storms cannot be prevented, they can only be sailed with the right tools.
Using the chaotic compass in addition to seeking professional help:
Example, You are in a deep state of existential and/or spiritual depression and are entertaining suicide as an option. The option remains open for the future, but for now, you do the following:
Ask, is my turbulence coming from a sense of fear, despair, or surrender? You can always find that one is figure and the other two are background. Let’s assume it is fear-turbulence: Identify where it’s manifesting in your mindbody: thoughts, sensations and emotions. Breathe deeply and slowly from the stomach as you observe the manifestations. Let your body respond with its own healing wisdom: it is not an intellectual process.
The portal to enter during a fear storm is courage: recall a time when you experienced courage in your life and let the memory manifest in your mindbody. Breathe deeply and slowly as you observe the manifestations. Let your body respond with its own healing wisdom: it is not an intellectual process.
Recall another time when courage served you well and follow the same procedure. For the rest of the day build your courage mindfulness by engaging in small courageous acts: getting out of bed, preparing and drinking a cup of hot tea, going for a walk, doing something pleasant for someone, and so on.
While you’re experiencing mindbody courage, the suicidal thoughts and intentions may intrude. Let them in, and respond with the following conviction: The option for suicide remains open in the future, but now I choose to enter courage drawing from my past evidence of courageous moments. Take a deep breathe and let your mindbody absorb your choice to experience courage. You will find that as you delay rather than deny your decision to self-destruct, 100,000-year history of preservation mindfulness will begin to replace your suicidal logic. But you must also gradually replace the living hell conditions you rightfully do not want to rerun, with the preservation mindfulness you experience when you practice courage, patience, and commitment during storms of fear, despair, and surrender.
Although the objective of suicidal logic is to end a life of hell, the option can be redirected with the following premise: You can always end your life tomorrow, but see if using the chaotic compass today can identify the type of storm you’re facing, and enter the right portal to navigate its turbulence. This approach works with suicidal logic because it respects the option to self-destruct rather than dismiss the living hell. Of course, this option should not be available for someone in a delusional state. There, psychotropic medication and suicide watch are the appropriate intervention. It’s important to note however, that more suicides occur during existential and spiritual despair than from psychotic delusions.
If suicidal individuals can come out of their self-destructive mindbody processes using chaotic tools, then they can stop trying to avoid the storms from hell, and redirect their focus: the exhausting energy invested in avoiding storms shifts to becoming better sailors.
Using the Chaotic Compass to Navigate Suicidal Logic
No one knows why people commit suicide because the act of self-destruction is a personal hell accessible only to the victim. Therefore, we can only speculate – Yes, substance abuse, bipolar disorder, and clinical depression are certainly major contributors. Yes, childhood emotional abuse can destroy self-worthiness. Yes, success can be dangerous if you do not feel deserving of your good fortune. Yes, once you reach your desired dreams, there’s nothing else to conquer. Yes, there is genetic predisposition. And I can go on indefinitely with contributing factors. But, what can we learn from those who meet all the criteria and do not commit suicide?
Those outliers go unnoticed because their resilience makes them a silent minority. What can we learn from these outliers? We need the chaotic compass to navigate the turbulence of overwhelming hopelessness. Any major disturbance to our preservation mindfulness can be confronted with the chaotic compass proposed: it points to three portals – courage, patience, and commitment. The turbulence of relentless fear requires entering the portal of courage; the turbulence of intolerable despair requires entering the portal of patience; and the turbulence of exhaustive surrender requires entering the portal of commitment. But it would be quite simplistic on my part to assume that’s all we need to prevent suicide.
Before going deeper, let's recognize what does not work very well in preventing suicide: reasoning, cajoling, threatening, and inducing guilt. Why not? Because these methods are based on preservation logic: very different from suicidal logic. Why would one want to remain in a living hell? That is the fundamental question in suicidal logic. More important, it’s a question that cannot be answered with preservation logic because it assumes the suicidal person has the mindfulness to see beyond their living hell.
Clinical Value and Caution for this Method
Depression with suicidal ideation and intention requires competent professional help. Be assured that, although there is more than one path to freedom from self-destruction, this method has worked well for many suicidal patients, and there’s no reason why it should not work for you. But do not try any of these methods without professional help.
Celebrate your life, when you’re ready.
Warnings from an Imperfect Teacher
Beware of False Gurus . . .
. . . who tell you to find stillness. Nothing, from the chains of amino acids to the present-moment experience of mindfulness, remains still. Movement is life: the embodiment of perception and confirmation that you are in synchrony with all that exists and transcends. Unless you’re dead, even your deepest serenity has movement. Rather than embracing the illusion of stillness, explore the movement of discovery. It was tribal control of wonderment that turned abundance of curiosity into “attention deficit disorder.” Health gurus medicalize living conditions they fail to understand, and medicalizing is a form of hegemony. In anthropology, hegemony means domination of one cultural belief over another, with such insidious power that the dominated fail to see the dominator's impositions
. . . who tell you to give up your ego. Ego is the cultural self you need in order to participate in, contribute to, and learn from your world. To retreat to a cave for life while others suffer is to trade your contributions to the world for a life of spiritual selfishness. Of course, withdrawing from your world is your option, but not one I recommend. You should especially question the coherence of gurus with titles such as “venerable,” “exalted,” “revered,” and other superlatives while instructing you to give up your ego.
. . . who tell you being mindful is to be passively present. Mindfulness is an engagement with the present to explore the new and to detect mistakes. One of imperfection’s lessons is to recognize that perfection implies no new learning. Can you imagine how boring you would be if you were perfect? There is much misunderstanding about the practice of mindfulness. In fact, calling mindfulness a “practice” is like saying “I am going to practice being alive.” Meditation and other contemplative methods are some of the paths to mindfulness.
. . . who tell you to be one with the universe. Asking you to be one with anything other than yourself assumes you can be separated from your own existence. And although there is merit in metaphorically seeing union with the universe, it is more productive to sense your belongingness in this union. You don’t have to be a tree to participate in the ecology of a forest. You can learn the finite to speculate on the infinite, but find your world before you get lost in metaphors.
. . . who tell you they are enlightened, or who entice you to believe that their spiritual narcissism is humility. We all have wisdom to gain from our imperfections, and little to offer from our delusions of grandeur.
. . . who entice you with winds of hope that cannot be harnessed. The responsibility of a teacher is to provide you with practical tools rather than platitudes. What is the use of wisdom that vanishes when you apply it to dissipate your fears and refine your love? While there is little benefit in spoon-feeding you instructions for every step of your explorations, it is equally impractical to leave you entirely with poetics when you need substance.
Anthropology of Sustainable Change:
The Construction of Cultural Time and Space
Why is lasting change so difficult to achieve? Why are there so many people who are invested in killing your dreams? Why do you feel awkward when you enter a space of personal greatness? Because we live in a fishbowl where we learn cultural premises to see the world with blinders to our horizons of possibilities beyond the pale. But this awareness is not sufficient: You have to know how your cultural editors molded you before you can defy the myths they taught you to believe.
You have to accept your limitations.
Not everyone can succeed.
Geniuses are born.
You’re a slave of your genetics deterioration in aging is normal.
Expanding Your Ceiling of Abundance
We learn success, failure, and how to atone for our digressions from our cultural editors – people with contextual power in our tribes such as doctors in hospitals, teachers in classrooms, parents at home, and clergy in religions. These living lessons are delivered by observation and direct teaching. Most important, the symbols conveying the meaning of the lessons are contextualized in our mindbody process. A symbol becomes a biosymbol when it activates our physiology.
The success and love that you embody determine the level of good fortune you accept without mindbody detriment, whereas your admonishments and fears set the limit for the abundance that you permit yourself to assimilate as your worthy right. If disappointment and fear were your teachers, when you’re exposed to good fortune beyond your ceilings of abundance it registers as stressors to mitigate.
Disciples of pain mitigate the “stress” of their good fortune by returning to their known misery. Masters of abundance welcome the novelty of their good fortune and accept it as their birthright. However… The shifting from disciple of pain to master of abundance is not simply an intellectual process of wishful thinking. It requires mindbody work that experientially resolves the archetypal wounds (abandonment, shame, betrayal) that were used to control you when your heart was young.
The Healing Fields of Archetypal Wounds
Honor for Shame – Loyalty for Betrayal – Commitment for Abandonment.
Example: You get the job promotion you wanted, and initially feel elated. Then slowly you notice generalized anxiety and a drop in mood. What to do to avoid self-sabotage?
Identify where you experience the negative reaction in your mindbody. Breathe slowly and deeply as if you could send oxygen to that area of your body. This process allows you to stabilize your mindbody awareness so you can move to the next step.
Search for a memory of disappointment when you attempted to express your worthiness. Identify the archetypal wound associated with the painful lesson.
Experience how shame, abandonment or betrayal may manifest in your mindbody. Breathe slowly and deeply as if you could send oxygen to that area. That process allows you to stabilize your mindbody awareness so you can move to the next step.
Search for a memory when you were honorable, committed or loyal to yourself. Identify where you experience the positive reaction in your mindbody. Breathe slowly and deeply as if you could send oxygen to that area of your body. That process allows you to stabilize your mindbody awareness so you can move to the next step.
Commit to accept your new job promotion as an opportunity to honor yourself in the new position, and to be loyal to the agreements you make with the coauthors of your good fortune.
Since the archetypal wounds may be interconnected, the healing fields resolve that complexity when they are applied together.
The Terrains of Empowerment
Empowering Premise: A limitation is a portal where you are invited to enter helplessness.
Obstacle from cultural editors: If you don’t believe you have limitations, see if you can fly.
Defiance: Because you can’t fly does not mean you can’t do anything exceptional. Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, and Mother Teresa could not fly.
Empowering Premise: Failures are approximations to your worthy goals rather than flaws.
Obstacle from cultural editors: Look at all the times you’ve tried and failed.
Defiance: Your evidence of failures is overwhelmingly biased because you learned to overlook your moments of greatness; we all have them but they go unnoticed in the cultural fishbowl.
Empowering Premise: Wealth does not corrupt.
Obstacle from cultural editors: Look at all the scandals and abuses of the wealthy.
Defiance: There are honorable wealthy and corrupt poor. Money is a neutral instrument waiting to be used for good or evil.
Empowering Premise: Genius is learned as you perfect your passion and compassion.
Obstacle from cultural editors: See if you can be an Einstein.
Defiance: I choose not to be like Einstein because he never succeeded at driving a car, and I am a good driver.
Empowering Premise: Family genetics is only a propensity to be triggered by your cultural beliefs and the contexts you choose to engage.
Obstacle from cultural editors: Look at how many illnesses run in families.
Defiance: Look at how many families share cultural beliefs and life styles. The causes of health are inherited and illnesses are mostly a product of mindless rituals that teach you how to gradually self-destruct.
Empowering Premise: Conventional gerontology studies diseases of aging rather than healthy growing older.
Obstacle from cultural editors: Look at all the nursing homes, hospices, and costs of health care for the elderly.
Defiance: Evidence from healthy centenarians show that only 25% of their longevity can be attributed to genetics. Healthy longevity can be learned at any age. Centenarians outlive their doctors.