There is little suffering greater than that of an individual who deems him or herself powerless to effect personal change. In someone who is consumed by harmful behavioral patterns, this feeling of helplessness, of inadequacy, exhibits itself in anguish, despair, shame―even grief. One major dysfunction of many standard behavioral recovery programs is their adoption of powerlessness as an acceptable catalyst for growth; others focus on eliminating negative behavior without compensating the loss.
The perception of impotence―the belief that we are not the stewards of our own behavior, our values, our well-being―is an unhealthy misconception that severely inhibits our potential for growth. Reconciliation with and recovery from immoral and maladaptive behavior is achieved only through unequivocal acceptance of our condition, a commitment to the rigors of rehabilitation, and our willingness to forgive.
In order to regenerate our condition of moral inadequacy to positive value we must accept full responsibility for our actions. We are the agents of change, of transformation; assigning responsibility to an other for self-created, impaired behavior is impediment to recovery. The only ‘higher-power’ that needs to be acknowledged and accessed is extant within each of us. The program of ReChanneling is designed to illustrate methods to replace negative addiction and maladaptive behavior through studied and applied methodologies, and auxiliary learning techniques―mechanisms constructed to realize our innate greater goodness through human potential. ReChanneling is an innovative and successful program of recovery and revitalization for those who struggle for self-affirmation and meaning.
Through this program, rather than embracing every negative emotion, behavior, and perception as an entrenched element of our being, we learn to recognize it as opportunity for revitalization. Through ReChanneling, we refine the inherent goodness resident within us, redefine that goodness into greater goodness, and reinstate that greater goodness which is an innate component of our being.
ReChanneling is a program of positive behavioral modification that adopts contemporary cognitive and behavioral remedial theories utilizing the entirety of the Integral Human Complex while recognizing that any loss or diminishment of maladaptation must be compensated by superior adaptation. Simply stated, ReChanneling drives the individual to consciously replace the maladaptive behavior with one of positive and superior value while analyzing the impact of the integral components of the mind, body, and spirit.
Cognitive theory assumes that maladaptive behavior and neurosis (components of dis-ease) are the results of inappropriate or irrational thinking patterns caused by ingrained reactions to situations and conditions experienced by the individual. Cognition addresses the restructuring of the mind―the physical rerouting of our neural networks―by disputing these irrational thoughts and beliefs and substituting rational ones in their place through repetition until they become automatic and permanent replacements. The behavioral component of CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) involves participation in active, structured therapy groups, training the individual to modify negative tendencies by means of positive repetitious activities commensurate with standard therapeutic methods.
Most remedial programs focus on the elimination of negative habits, which leaves a psychological emptiness that demands compensation―and we find ourselves seduced into filling this emptiness with immediate gratifications that may or may not be beneficial. There is an energy flow that accompanies every action, including all habits―fruitful and destructive―and when we eliminate a negative or immoral behavior without providing a positive replacement, we run the risk of embracing analogous negative behaviors to fill the void. Rather than feeding the emptiness, randomly, ReChanneling prompts the client to identify a superior replacement, accessed through the natural metanormal capacity for evolutionary goodness. Those of us who have hurtful tendencies that demand rectification do not eliminate the problem by simply and arbitrarily eliminating the negative impulse (which in-and-of-itself is far easier said than done). That negative expression, that flawed disagreeable habit, must be rechanneled into a positive one―one with superior force and positive energy―to fill the void left by the elimination of the maladaptive behavior. Simply put, we phase out poor behavior while replacing it with a better one. The sense of loss from the disposition of the negative condition that we have held onto for years is mitigated by the positive energy that accompanies the acquisition of the better behavior. With ReChanneling, negative habit and maladaptive behavior is not replaced with similar defeating modes of expression but is consciously rechanneled into superior conduct that is conducive to positive, productive living. Through the strength and determination of our individual willpower, we control and facilitate the transformation―and this dynamism becomes the foundation of recovery.
ReChanneling has been shown effective in the resolution of multiple behavioral neuroses including social and other anxieties, coping with loss or a stressful situation or condition, depression, and other symptoms of distress and dis-ease. In addition, by committing to revitalize our being with positive values through the inherent fusion of the Integral Human Complex, we initiate a formidable force of positive motivation.
Too often, we address mental anxiety without involving the somatic and spiritual. We search for pharmaceutical relief for a condition of the physical without taking into account the emotional catalysts and how they affect and are affected by our inner being. The Integral Human Complex is the interconnectivity, plasticity, and shared responsibility of the mind, body, and spirit as it strives for balance (homeostasis). It is the totality of a human person, reflecting the involution of the conscious, and the manifestation of the body, which facilitate the mental progression of consciousness. Each constituent overlaps, influences, and interdepends upon the others, the gestalt containing the intellect, emotions, the physical, as welspiritual initual in its more conscious complexities. Take any incident―traffic congestion, for example. Physically, your stomach constricts and your breathing intensifies; irritation drives out positive thought; frustration and condemnation of the other drivers fill us with negativity. It’s an integral and correspondent activity.
MEMORY RETRIEVAL AND RETENTION
Constantin Stanislavski honed behavioral techniques to train his students to engage the integrality of perception, the somatic, the emotional to foster a genuine interconnectedness, parting the curtains to reveal the genuine character of a person in relationship to others. In ReChanneling, getting to the root of the cause can be difficult, our thinking can be distorted as we attempt to rationalize our condition, our memories latent. We repress certain memories “in the archives of our memory [with] divisions and sub-divisions. Some are more accessible than others. The problem is to recapture the emotion that once flashed by like a meteor. As all the world is a stage, and we its actors; the revelation of our true character and intention establishes the foundation for authenticity in presence and communication. Abhidharmic mindfulness or awareness is the psychological faculty that forms an essential part of Eastern practice; the scientific, data-driven application which facilitates the eightfold path of right practices.
ReChanneling’s programs do not consider a client or participant, a victim nor patient. A victim, by definition, is someone who attributes responsibility for his or her condition to an other rather than taking personal accountability. A patient is someone who relies on others for remedy, again assigning responsibility for recovery rather than assuming ownership. A person-in-practicum is one who applies theory or methodology in response to a situation or condition. A person-in-practicum trains to be the steward of his or her own condition, the custodian of self-behavior.
When Philosopher Emma Goldman wrote, “the idea of God implies the abdication of human reason and justice,” she was merely advising that the potential for greater goodness is predetermined, and adopting god (or anyone else for that matter) as excuse for our own behavior usurps our ability to take full ownership of our condition and, even more importantly, of the magnificent person we have the potential to become―the person who recognizes the capacity to expand the boundaries of normal life into one of extraordinary vision and courage.
Those who dismiss our innate ability to transform, who believe a leopard can’t change his spots do not have the requisite perspective to fully benefit from the program. The inherent potential is there, but what is lacking is access to the creative capacity that can be embraced only through an enlightened awareness of human ingenuity. The leopard evolved from the same subfamily as did the tiger. Change the leopard’s spots to stripes and it is a tiger―make the stripes more ornate, and behold―it is a jaguar. Transformation is change; evolution is change. Change is hope. Hope is a primary factor of our humanness, along with imagination, and self-reflection. Humanity is unique in its ability to change through deliberation. We hope, we aspire, we change, we transform. While said change can be good or bad, transformation is positivity.
Creator and facilitator of ReChanneling, Dr. Mullen holds a doctorate in Comparative Studies with a concentration in morality and behavior. His upcoming book and Blog highlight his extensive work with behavioral addiction―rechanneling moral turpitude into positive self-affirmation. Academic scholars access Dr. Mullen’s published articles in over 40 countries. His most recent contribution, “How an Honorable Psychobiography Embraces the Fluidity of Truth” from New Trends in Psychobiography is due out this fall from Springer Publishing. Dr. Mullen’s dissertation was on advanced human potential―the capacity that resides within all of us to harness that special aptitude for extraordinary living, the inherent capacity to lift the human spirit. He facilitates online and classroom workshops and seminars on positive motivation and the modification of neuroses. He presents before numerous academic organizations, reviews scholarly works for the American Psychological Association, mentors cognitive behavioral workshops (including one currently hosting 300+ participants), and lectures about ReChanneling at every opportunity.
As director and teacher of Stanislavski’s method of authentic presence, Dr. Mullen incorporates method behavioral control technique into the program of ReChanneling, focusing on the practice of mindfulness enhancement based on the Abhidharmic eightfold path and its scientific applications. Dr. Mullen possesses one additional asset: his recovery from his own battles with moral depravity and maladaptive behavioral addiction.
WHAT IS OUR SIGNIFICANCE?
THe philosophical enigmas that have perplexed humanity since the onset of cognitive reasoning is the following: How did we get here? What is the meaning of life? What is our true purpose and what is the significance of our perceived insignificance? Dr. Mullen provides the following hypotheses. First of all, to conclude that humankind is the end-product of cognitive development is, perhaps, a bit shortsighted and egocentric given evolutionary evidence. Darwinism suggests (actually determines) that if humankind is the successor to a species or series of species then it must also be the forerunner. So maybe this is the validity for which we search, the significance of our being―that of our advanced species laying the groundwork for an even superior one as a conduit of consciousness. This is not a novel concept. Plato spoke of his Guardians or philosopher-kings. Philosopher and scientist, Teilhard de Chardin wrote of super-personalization, a radical advance on all forms of life that have gone before and will succeed humanity. Aurobindo Ghose, one of the most influential cross-cultural philosophers of the past century, envisioned a new race, a new culture, a new world as the result of the natural processes of cosmic evolution. He once wrote, “it may well be concluded that the aspiration, the urge, the persistent endeavor in man is a sure sign of Nature’s will for a higher way to fulfillment, the emergence of a higher status.” Perhaps then, we are the precursor to a mutation of consciousness, one that evolves from our best qualities yet more advanced. Not only is the concept more substantial than apocryphal celestial beings, it is one that should inflame us with pride and humility because it offers the possibility that our indispensability is as the architects of a more perfect consciousness, thus endowing humanity with an extraordinary and significant purpose. Father Teilhard wrote, “to judge from the rapid developments of thought in the short period of a few dozen centuries, [humankind] bears within it all the indications of an entirely new biological cycle.”
Or, rather than the infinite endurance of our personal consciousness, perhaps it is the quality of our moral character―our goodness, our compassion, our love―that is the validation of our significance. Perhaps it is the aggregate of our best qualities that constitute an evolving collective consciousness. And perhaps it is this consciousness, ever-expanding as we embrace our innate potential for greater goodness, that will give birth to an advanced intelligence and spiritual awareness. And even if this doesn’t come to pass, Dr. Mullen reasons that, no matter our beliefs, our philosophy, or our spirituality, if rediscovering all the things that make us good and subsequently happy―all of the intrinsic and beautiful qualities of our true nature that contribute to our own well-being and that of the community―than isn’t that time well spent?
In the currently known universe there are over one billion trillion stars, and quantum science suggests other universes as well. How does humanity maintain even a perceived manifest destiny within such a great and formidable reality? Is there significance in our insignificance? “The answer is an unequivocal yes,’ Dr. Mullen believes. ‘It lives in our innate potential to improve our condition, to expand and evolve, to refine, redefine, and reinstate our virtuous and loving natures, and to share these qualities with others.” Sartre tells us that, “when we say that man is responsible for himself, we do not mean that he is responsible only for his own individuality, but that he is responsible for all men.” Perhaps it is enough to be happy and good in our lifetime on this earth and to share that passion with others―and let the future resolve itself, as the future is wont to do.
With the help of ReChanneling’s time-tested behavioral modification techniques, we can relearn to radiate our inner strength and determination, and change any negative behavior into positive self-affirmation. Do we not strive to be better and happier, and to share this instinctive probity with others―to make a better world for ourselves, our children and those who follow? Do we not want to stop the sadness and destitution that confronts so many of us and so much of humanity on a daily basis?
It is recognition of our moral infirmities that motivates us towards transformation. Do you really like who you are now? Are you truly satisfied with the person you believe you have become? Yes, as a child you were susceptible to the wishes, demands, and beliefs of your caregivers. So thank them for their good works, and forgive them for their failings but do not let them hold your spirit forever hostage. It imperative to not use god or any other as excuse or savior for our condition because if we truly believe the power to change is resident within is, then so must be is the responsibility for our condition.
While not liable for events beyond our control, we are responsible for how we react and interpret those events. As the cliché goes, while we do not have control over the cards we have been dealt, we are responsible for how we play the hand we have been given.
Willpower: The second condition for recovery is the rekindling of the tenacious vitality of positive willpower―the commitment to withstand the rigors of rehabilitation. Whether willpower is used to establish and maintain a system of maladaptive behavior or one of positive growth is entirely up to us. We all have vast reserves of willpower; it’s like a muscle―the more we use it, the stronger it becomes. Yielding to temptation is not being unwillingly overpowered; it’s a lapse of the courage and conviction to do what is right. We choose what to choose, and a poorly chosen option that leads to pain and suffering reveals its wrongness in psycho-physiological complications that have the power to harm every fiber of our being, and those of others with whom we are inextricably intertwined. Willpower is a formidable tool and can as easily be employed for things detrimental or beneficial to being. ReChanneling thrives on the premise that humankind strives for excellence in the fulfillment of purpose which, to good thinkers throughout history, is the act of living up to one’s full positive potential.
It is through the power of our will that we learn to embrace change rather than fear it. Recovery demands change. ReChanneling is change via replacement. Transformation is change. Even if our initial choices may be less-than-perfect, our good intentions provide foundation for recovery. The road to hell is not paved by good intentions but by inaction; without intent, there is no deliberate action, without thought, there is no deliberation, and without action, there is no progress. Every decision we make is determined by who we think we are, and what we can and should become is determined by what we believe we can become. Our potential is formidable thanks to the natural consequences of creative evolution. Willpower allows us to attempt new ideas, to risk taking that first step towards transformation. The ability to direct our thinking as we choose is provided by the power of our will. But permanent remedy to immoral and maladaptive behavior does not come overnight. Our neurons have been modified by years of abuse and it takes time for our brains architecture to restructure. Overnight success is not an option; remedy is a long and difficult work-in-progress and ReChanneling establishes the groundwork and illuminates the path.
Forgiveness: We cannot hope to function as fully conscientious beings without absolving our own transgressions as well of those of others whose behavior contributed to our moral dereliction. This forgiveness, which underscores the attributes of compassion, love, and tolerance is indispensable to the revival of our inherent goodness. The ability to forgive is essential for transformation so that we can disencumber ourselves of the unresolved antagonisms of resentment, bias, and intolerance which eat away at our very souls. Forgiveness requires opening our hearts―letting go of our stale and stagnant identities, expectations, and beliefs; it opens us to new possibilities filled with enormous potential. Forgiveness is essential, even for those acts deemed unforgivable, because dwelling on past transgressions overwhelms our capacity to transform. When we keep these feelings inside us we remain broken; forgiveness is the catalyst to the healing of this brokenness. It is important to recognize that forgiveness is not an act of condoning the behavior of those who have harmed us, or our consequential reactions and actions. Even though such conduct may seem perceptually indefensible, forgiving them cleanses our soul of anger and resentment. We forgive in order to promote change within our self. Forgiveness is the disposition of the bitterness and anger that permeates our mind, body, and spirit, freeing up space for things beneficial to our transformation.
The act of self-forgiveness is even more demanding because we treat our own inadequacies with more rigor. Self-forgiving is the letting go of our guilt and the abandoning of the things that fill us with so much negativity, we leave little room for possibility. Our psyches are splintered by the internal clash between the self that wants to change, the consciousness that innately realizes its evolutionary potential, and the self that impedes and obstructs. Self-forgiveness begins when we reach the conclusion that our disconnectedness, brought on by our unwillingness to confront our condition, becomes so fundamentally discomforting that resolution is essential for the homeostasis of the Integral Human Complex.
Dr. Mullen’s personal rehabilitation from a lifestyle far from exemplary, along with the recovery of those who have used this program, underscore the efficacy of this program and the power of the advanced human potential―the innate ability of the individual to refine the inherent goodness extant within, redefine that goodness into greater goodness, and reinstate that greater goodness, independent of condition or circumstance.
Dr. Mullen’s personal journey towards redemption is vivid illustration of the dynamic potential inherent in all of us. His compelling recovery from a lifestyle of amoral and decadent exploits illustrate the potential resilience of anyone who truly desires renewal, underscoring the formidable strength of individual inner determination.
“GOOD GOODNESS is the deliberate preference of right to wrong―the evolution of altruistic social impulses, primary instincts for survival. GREATER GOODNESS is more complex decision-making through experience, reflection, and inner-discourse, underscored by option-oriented decisions made through cognitive analysis. Greater goodness is accessed by humankind’s innate advanced human potential via evolution and enhanced through demonstrable, data-driven methodologies. GREATEST GOODNESS is values that should be, and ought to be sought. They reside in the realm of the desirable but are, as yet, unattainable. Greatest Goodness is a quality with which individuals flirt without consummation. It is perfect moderation, the state of consistent equilibrium.”
Habit versus addiction A habit is not an addiction; an addiction is a habit. A bad or negative habit can become an addiction based on abuse. There are good habits and bad habits; addictions remain pernicious. To many, addiction over negative habit equates to mortal over venial, potentially pathological versus neurotic, eternal damnation or three Hail Mary’s, reincarnation as a fine human specimen or an incontinent sloth. But it’s not quite that cut-and-dried. It’s a matter of intent and degree; they are different rungs on the same ladder.Mullen, R. F. (2017). A Habit is Not an Addiction; an Addiction is a Habit. ReChanneling. BLOG, Retrieved from http://robertfmullen.com/Blog/2017/06/29/addiction-is-a-habit-a-habit-is-not-an-addiction/
For purpose of this essay, ‘spiritual’ is defined as virtuous intangibility.
Stanislavski, C. (1949). Building a Character. New York City: Routledge/Theatre Arts Books.
A person of authenticity, being true to self, is one who lives in accordance with his or her better desires, motives, ideals, or beliefs, and whose sum of intents and actions is thus manifest as beneficial to self and society. Mullen, R. F. (2016). The Art of Authenticity: Constantin Stanislavski and Merleau-Ponty, Journal of Literature and Art Studies, Vol. 6, No. 7, p. 3. New York: Davis Publishing Company.
Although the common Western perception of Buddha’s principle tenet is ‘all the world is suffering’, reason dictates modification. Suffering connotes a psycho-physiological disease, which is counterproductive; the more prevalent condition of humanity is a state of distress or dis-ease. While most translate the word dukkha as suffering, there are multiple options including anxiety, discontent, stress, etcetera.
Eightfold Path: 1. Right view/understanding, 2. Right intention/thought, 3. Right speech, 4. Right action, 5. Right livelihood, 6. Right effort, 7. Right mindfulness, 8. Right concentration.
Goldman, E. (1910). The Philosophy of Atheism. In Anarchism and Other Essays. New York: Mother Earth Publishing Association.
“Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots?” Jeremiah 13:24, Old Testament, King James Version
Mullen, R. F. (2015). Evolutionary Panentheism and Metanormal Human Capacity: A Psychobiography of Michael Murphy. Ann Arbor, MI: ProQuest.
Ghose, A. (1939-40). The Life Divine. As quoted in Krinsky, S. (2012). Readings in Sri Aurobindo’s The Life Divine, Volume 1. Oakland, CA: Lotus Press.
Teilhard de Chardin, P. (1955). The Phenomenon of Man. New York: Harper Perennial.
The Gaia spacecraft is currently pinpointing the positions of approximately one billion stars in the Milky Way alone.
Sartre, J. P. (1989). Existentialism is a Humanism. From Existentialism from Dostoyevsky to Sartre. W. Kaufman (Ed.). New York: Meridian Publishing Company
Recovery is, by no means, an immediate gratification but a lifetime work-in-progress.