The Friday Dose #138: Dan Gilbert

A lot of people think that it was the swing smashing a hole in my head and a near-death experience that lead to the understanding that I share with students. While that may be true, and while my memory from age five isn’t vivid, I personally believe the reason has far more to do with what that accident made me aware of; namely thinking.

When I first meet a student I do a little talk not unlike this one, wherein I explain the fundamentals of how a brain works. I’ll usually use things from people’s lives rather than experiments (because Dan’s a psychologist and I’m just someone who for 45 years has watched what people said and did super-closely). But essentially the point is the same: reality is flexible, happiness is negotiable.

My “course” is 12 hours long. If you can’t see me, but you’re interested in that what the first hour conveys, I’d suggest giving this talk a listen and it’ll give you a taste of how you’re like everyone else. The rest of the course would then be about how these general truths impact your specific life. What’s most important to take away from this is that, if you aren’t enjoying life, you can learn to.

Have a great weekend everyone!

peace. s

Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organizations locally and around the world.

The Friday Dose #89

805 FD Relax and Succeed - We are all visitors to thish placeToday we get cool real-time pictures that will fascinate travellers and the science-minded alike, we’ll delve into sleep and how you might be healthier than you think, and we’ll end on a once-banned TED Talk about the places where science and the quasi-paranormal are meeting.

Maybe it’s because you’re from or have relatives in other countries. Maybe you’ve travelled a lot or maybe you’re interested in astrophysics or cartography. For a little of all of those reasons I just find it cool to be able to watch the world’s weather and sunrises and sunsets in real time:

World Sunlight Map

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Next we’ll link to an article in National Geographic about the sleeping habits of people who still live much as they did hundreds or even thousands of years ago. They teach us that maybe you are getting enough sleep but maybe it would be easier to fall asleep if your bedroom was colder. Calmer certainly helps. Since I have lived with a quieter mind I went from chronic insomnia to falling asleep in moments and I find it natural and comfortable to live on about five to six hours sleep.

People Without Electricity Don’t Get 8 Hours Sleep Either

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And we’ll finish with the banned then half-unbanned then half-permitted TED Talk by Rupert Sheldrake. Sheldrake has a lot of critics in science and I don’t blame them–he’s blasphemous. Interestingly the scientists don’t seem to notice or feel the same way about Robert Pirsig, who wrote Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. In the biggest selling book in philosophical history, one of its key points is when Pirsig demonstrates that science is itself an accidental but very subtle self-referential system and its bible is mathematics, (which in turn branches off into all of the other sciences). That’s what people have against Sheldrake. But science and consciousness studies end up struggling because as science itself proved, everything really is subjective when you get right down to it. That makes science simultaneously true and not true. Near the borders of our knowing are common feelings everyone’s had, like the feeling of someone staring at them, or we all know people with a commanding presence, so clearly there are many forces in nature that have yet to be defined. And if they weren’t in the realm of where science brushes against the paranormal where else would we discover our latest set of misconceptions? We always have them. What are they today? And isn’t it exciting not knowing?

Have a wonderful weekend everyone.

peace. s

Scott McPherson is a writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and nonprofit organizations around the world.

The Scientific God

692 Relax and Succeed - I searched for GodCan I find a place in the universe where someone who believes in God and someone who believes in science could both see the world and each other entirely comfortably? I believe if people were open to it I can. But I have to take them to a very special, very specific place. Paradoxically it is also every place. And that’s what makes it Godly.

Forget the idea of an old guy with a beard who is separate from you and judgmental toward you. I’m not talking to religious people. Very few of them believe in Michelangelo’s metaphor or that anyone flew into the sky for three days. He was a weak translation for what in the original Hebrew was a word something like Is-Be. But most religious people aren’t tortured by a fear of a supernatural God, they’re tortured by their egos just like non-religious people. Scientific people too-often have overly condescending attitudes toward religious people. They assume they’re entirely unscientific when there’s lots of scientists who are also religious. It’s the logical person will make the mistake of believing that the most outrageous newsworthy examples on TV mean that every religious person thinks that their religion’s metaphor’s are to be taken literally.

692 Relax and Succeed - People don't realizeSo starting with a blank slate, with no one judging anyone’s dedications, what would a religious person want God to be? That’s pretty easy. Everything. All-powerful. Nothing happens without God. God is the creator. Okay. So is there a scientific place or thing in the universe where creation begins, somewhere or something that is everything and all-powerful? Ooh. Turns out there is.

There is a moment you’ve heard a lot about. It’s called Now but as much as you might watch the former physicist Eckhart Tolle’s talks and read his books, most people wonder if they’ll ever experience the sensation of living in that moment. But you have felt it. You just didn’t have a way to account for it while you were in that state of mind. No one’s taught you to call that feeling Now. Any time you lose track of time you’ve experienced Now. When you get a great idea out of seemingly nowhere—again, that’s Now. That’s where all those answers are.

You know when you’re with friends and someone says something in a delicate conversation and everyone’s silent reaction is, Oh dude, no. That was not the thing to say. Everyone can feel that the guy shouldn’t have said whatever it was. They know. How? Because they have let themselves be close to God. They have let themselves be close to Now. They know.

692 Relax and Succeed - You are the universeBoth scientists and religious people are quite comfortable with an infinite universe, so clearly our future is infinite. If the future is infinite then how did everyone know the dude shouldn’t have said what he said? He had infinite choices. How can they all be sure that’s the right one? Because in the Now you have the only place in the universe where two things are—the past and the future.

The only place you can find 100% of the universe’s history is Now. Any time before Now and you’re missing some information. And Now is also where you are right on the edge of your infinite future—where you have access to anything. But how can you possibly choose? Fortunately, the world before us chose certain mathematical patterns and we unwittingly chose to live within them. That’s why Fractals exist. We thought math showed us that everything made sense but then modern math and physics started to suggest other universe’s with different rules. So what makes a choice feel right—the reason the friends knew the dude shouldn’t have said what he said—was it’s misalignment with the universe we’re currently living in.

692 Relax and Succeed - The most beautiful thingSo in this strange sense there is no such thing as good and bad as we tend to think of it, but that alignment with the universe still has what Robert Pirsig called Quality, and that definition can easily fit inside most religions. Likewise the science of Now—the place you find this alignment with God—is where creation begins. It is where the waveform of potential collapses into the a particle of existence. Meaning every part of the universe is actively being the universe. Including you.

I’m not sure if that’s completely confusing to you and that it just seems remarkably sensible to me because I already know what it means, but that description feels like a pretty straightforward explanation to me. I’ll let you judge for yourself, but in the end you don’t really want an intellectual understanding of it anyway. You don’t need a description of enlightenment you want enlightenment itself. And so you have to surrender wanting to know. Knowing is a verb, there’s no way or place to go get it.

Every truly talented fashion designer, architect, musician or industrial designer would know the feeling of Now. That is precisely where they try to hover… not settling on any reality… living with the infinite nature of wave potential until they feel drawn toward something that they will use to convert all of those waves of possibility into a particle of existence within the logic of the universe of our understanding. If it wouldn’t fit our understanding we simply wouldn’t perceive it.

692 Relax and Succeed - We are one speciesOnce a creation exists it immediately becomes a study-able, historical thought (or sometimes eventually even a thing, like a paint colour) that you can revisit and re-analyze and improve. The moment after an artist discovers their creation it becomes a part of the past, locked and solid and unchangeable except to be a wholly new version of itself as a revised draft, in a new Now. So your ego lives in the past and discusses creations and it and tries to wish things turned out differently but that’s crazy. You can’t fix the past. Life is out front in the Now—where creation happens. There you can act to change your life so that your new past can look more like a record of the Nows you were really looking for. But all of those choices—all of those prayers get answered in the Now.

What lies behind you is unimportant. The out-of-sync decisions made from an ego headspace do not hinder the infinite nature of your future. God is all-powerful and has infinite choices available. No matter what has happened any future is possible. You just have to be willing to not-know so that you can feel you way toward knowing. Like a scientist looking for a hypothesis, you need to trust the universe that something of value is out there for you so that you can grab it when you recognize it, and through you it can realize creation.

God is all things. The universe is all things. Everything has its origins. But everything is both from the past as well as being from the infinite future. But the Present Moment is the only place where both sources exist. That is why it’s where creation happens. That is where you use the power of the God-Universe to snap the reality of your choice into existence within the world of your consciousness. And so goes the miracle of your life.

Much Love.

Or, if you’re the scientific type:

Much Dopamine, Oxytocin, Vasopressin and Testosterone. 😉

peace. s

Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and nonprofit organizations around the world.

The Friday Dose #47

563 Relax and Succeed - Creativity is a drug

This week’s Friday Dose is all about stirring your insides. And to do that stirring I’ll use three different kinds of music with three different groups. It may not appeal to everyone but it should get your blood pumping for a good percentage of you. We’ll start off with Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars doing Uptown Funk. I didn’t do some deep lyrical analysis on it, it’s just got a great beat and a very addictive bass line. In showing it to people I find it makes them happier as they watch the video and listen to the song so let’s hope that’s your experience too!

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Next we’ll jump to Nigel Stanford and Cymatics, where science and music meet in nature. It can be a bit mesmerizing to finally see sound waves made real through their effects in the material world. The longer the video goes the more dramatic the examples are until they eventually find themselves in Faraday Cage Suits. It truly is a great toe-tapping science experiment. Enjoy:

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And we’ll finish off with some class by including 2Cellos, featuring Luka Sulic and Stjepan Hauser. This Smooth Criminal—based Michael Jackson tribute is loaded with artistry and flair. Both men know how to work an audience and the director makes good use of that in this video, which features very simple but very evocative production design.

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And as a bonus, I’ll add another piece by Sulic and Hauser—this time we’ll listen to their version of AC/DC‘s Thunderstruck, and in this case their production design is decidedly not simple:

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You go have yourself a stupendous weekend. Big hugs.

peace. s

The Friday Dose is a collection of cool, interesting and surprising things that are chosen for their potential to distract you away from any painful thought loops that may currently be disrupting your sense of perspective. Focus on these and change your mind. Enjoy.

Who Do You Think You Are?

139 Relax and Succeed - A man is but the productGandhi was raised as a Hindu, but Buddha said the same thing, and so does Christianity–and even science too. The Christian version of this would be, God created man in his own image. People always think that the “own” is God’s image but it’s actually the man’s image. So God created man in his–the man’s (or woman’s)–own image. Their image of themselves.

Using the religious perspective, this means an all-powerful intelligent energy created a man, and now that man–like a projector–is free to be whoever he believes himself to be. If he thinks insecure thoughts, he will be insecure. If he thinks confident thoughts, he will be confident. So to rewrite the phrase, it would be: God created mankind and gave them the power and freedom to choose the characteristics that will enact their lives.

If you prefer science, then let’s define God. You’ll know that biology is ultimately chemistry, which is ultimately physics. So if you took the body, and went down to the cell, and then down to the protons and electrons and the logic that make up the cell–if you took all of the energy and logic that makes up the man, just call that energy and the laws of nature, God.

139 Relax and Succeed - People don't need to be saved
So now there’s this Being, and all of the cells would still be there whether it was alive or dead, but there’s this extra energy–this ATP electricity–that inhabits more than just the cells. This energy is what brings a being to life. And that life-energy appears to us as consciousness, which in turn is a performance space in which we can enact whatever psychological thoughts we choose.

We can invest our power of thought in creating an image of an insecure man or a confident one and the Being will believe it either way. The energy of life will be used to tell the Being a story about itself and that story is who the Being will be.

So whether you believe in God or science, the answer is still the same. Knowing how powerful you are, and knowing you will enact whatever narrative you tell yourself; be prudent and intentional. Quiet your critical, judgmental mind. Instead, engage with the energy of the universe around you, whether that’s a rock, a tree, some water, a friend or even a total stranger. And when you do, do it with great confidence. For you are ultimately made up of the very same energy as every enemy and every hero you’ve ever known.

Now go Be a hero.

peace. s

Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organizations locally and around the world.

Creative Living

Do you have a scientist, artist or an otherwise creative person in your life whose motivations mystify you? Do they seem unfocused, or unrealistic, or unprofessional?

51 Relax and Succeed - If there is light in the soulA large percentage of the working people in the world have jobs involving art—but the art itself is not what they do, —whereas with an artist what they do is what they are.

Truly original creations come from someone having a calling, not a job. Whether it is a writer looking for just the right word, or a painter looking for just the right tone, or even a lawyer looking to create a new interpretation of a law, they are all much like the paleontologist uncovering a new skeleton. They are looking to discover or introduce something fascinating, so stopping before they’re done seems insane. But since other people don’t have the vision to see the objective that motivates them, that leaves the creative person often appearing to others to be unfocused, unrealistic, or unprofessional, when in fact they are open, focused, dedicated and ultimately very healthy.

51 Relax and Succeed - To practice any artIt would do us all good to recognize the valuable mental health that comes through creativity. We are naturally creative creatures. Whether it is through our daily work, our charity work, or even via dedicated hobbies, everyone should pursue opportunities to exercise their creativity because that state of mind is the closest thing to pure childhood any adult feels. Anyone is capable of creating, but as a life’s work it’s ultimately very challenging and so it only attracts a particularly resilient type.

Creative people already carry a heavier than average load so try not to use judgments to snuff out the light in an artist’s soul simply because you cannot see the source of that light yourself. That is like talking them out of mental health. Instead, try understanding the head-space they are in while creating and you might just expand in a healthy way yourself.

Enjoy your day.

peace. s

Scott McPherson is a writer, mindfulness instructor, coach and communications facilitator who works with individuals, companies and nonprofit organizations around the world.