The Significance of Our Insignificance

We have determined that recovery from immoral and maladaptive behavior is achieved only through unequivocal acceptance of our condition, and our willingness to change. 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? 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.

Our adamancy―fomented by religion and ego―that humanity is supra-special because of perceived hierarchal dominance is a consequence of three very human considerations. First, it is our awareness of being aware―the primary factor of our humanness―that offers hope, piques our imagination, and enables self-reflection. Second, it is recognition of this awareness that is human consciousness as we know it, an underdeveloped and fearful consciousness that compels the rationale that we are the chosen, and we resent our conditional discontent because we believe, as chosen, we deserve better. Finally, we have convinced ourselves that humanity is the apex of cognitive development, and that nothing supersedes our species except ethereal forms we create in our image and likeness.

Darwinism determines, if humankind is the successor to a species then it must also be the forerunner. Since 99% of all species that ever lived on our planet have been consumed by nature, logic dictates that homo-sapiens also has a shelf-life. In the current known universe (approximately 4% of total) there are over one-billion-trillion stars. Where, in this vast expanse of space and human nescience is the significance of our being? How does humanity maintain its perceptual superiority within such a great and formidable reality? Is there significance to our insignificance? The answer is a resounding yes. Our significance is sustained in our innate potential to improve our condition, to enhance, expand, and evolve, to embrace our virtuous and empathetic natures, to share these and other qualities with others―to lift the human spirit. Teilhard de Chardin (1955) hypothesizes we are entering the sixth epoch of complexity, the one in which the universe wakes up. Evolution guarantees accelerated complexity.

The only higher-power that needs to be acknowledged and accessed is extant within each of us, as all things have consciousness due to the consequences of involution-evolution, which logically claims that it is impossible for some-thing to evolve from no-thing.

Humanity’s evolved state of complexity demands reevaluation of its primitive concepts. We are children of the universe(s). Our god’s are earth gods. We were not created in their image and likeness. The origins of morality determine that we created gods in our image and likeness―only of intangible stock. They are our egos, endowed with the powers to which humankind aspires and does not believe is worthy. Promises proffered by our gods are manifestations of our own fears and desires. When we attempt to personalize what we call god, we minimize it with mundane language.

gods_of_rome_by_pelycosaur24-d5qhwgk Courtesy of www.crystalinks.com.

Our impartial awareness of what little we know does not devalue our significance, it compliments, because it illustrates the premise of evolution, much like the bud anticipates the bloom of the rose, its awareness resident in the seed. Our higher power is reciprocal energy, reciprocity confirms our necessary participation; may the force be with us. Energy is the measurer of that which passes from one atom to another in the course of their transformation. We seek to transform and cannot help but do so. It is nature.

Let’s embrace the speculation that, rather than the infinite endurance of our egoic consciousness, our good moral character is validation of our significance―the immortality of our spirit that is passed between generations, the ever-evolving reconnaissance of our minds. Where would humanity be without the broad shoulders of those upon whom we stand, and where will that same humanity or its successor be without the formative actions of each generation on the one before and after? We are not useless, separate entities passing each other, autonomous and alien, like proverbial ships in the night; we are integral and interrelated to all things, the life’s blood of being, the ultimate, dynamic, creative ground of the universe(s). “I am in heaven, in earth, in water, in air; I am in animals, in plants, in the womb, before the womb, after the womb, everywhere.” Whitehead’s (1978) Philosophy of Organism states that the actualities of the world are fundamentally interdependent—every actual entity is present in every other actual entity, while his Principle of Process determines that the composition of an actual entity is a constant process of becoming, its being constituted by and the result of that same process. We belong to all things and all things are part-and-parcel of our being. We are, as all entities, active agents of all future becomings. Our conscious moments of experience are products of all past experiences of occasion and conduits to all in the future. As human beings, we are creativity itself; we evolve from creative occasions and all our present occasions of experience preserve and pass along the entire history of our universe. This perpetual act of creation is another example of the validity for which we desperately search: that of our advanced species laying the groundwork for a superior one.

The dynamic role of the future is being systemized by our present existing selves. With little asked of us other than participation in being, we evolve as increasingly complex things and, science informs, the higher the degree of complexity, the more substantial the consciousness. Self-consciousness evolves in organisms with increasingly complex brains. It did not first emerge with humans. Awareness of self-consciousness emerged. Humankind is no longer recognized as the center of the universe anymore than is our planet the centerpiece around which our tiny solar system revolves.

Too often we substitute complacency for contentment, grateful for brief moments of serenity but forgoing any hope of durable happiness because we have been instructed that such a phenomenon is only attainable in a spurious afterlife, an enigmatic supposition which values our existence in an ‘incredible’ world in lieu of the one we currently inhabit. Rather than accepting commendation for the hard work and obligations achieved by maturation, we condone this prevalence of despondency because we believe suffering is the predetermined causal to post-life fulfillment‒a destructive and psychologically counterproductive assumption. We worship sacrifice and interpret dukkha as suffering when it is more reasonably translated as discontent. Suffering denotes a predestined condition; discontent is something over which we have control. Rather than re-informing our perception of prevalent miserableness, we sheepishly embrace it! We cling to our illusions because it is easier than confronting life as we know it, even though life as we know it is our experiential state-of-nature. We loudly display our misconceptions of eternal consciousness, persuaded that it represents our being, our memories, our intelligence, our bodily organs, as they are supernaturally transported whole to an otherworldly plateau, one replete with joy and reconciliation.

To understand our reason-for-being, our niche in this vast wilderness of speculation, perhaps we should pay closer heed to those spiritual masters upon whose wisdom we precariously rely in attempts to see beyond the knowable horizon. They tell us to divest ourselves of the ego, of the desire for worldly goods, of our arrogant belief that humankind, an ignorant, childish, and childlike species, is the final, evolutionary apogee of consciousness.

Charlie

As humans, we are inherently motivated to search for answers, yet ignorance of the events and circumstances that underscore the structure of our being promotes discontent and agitation. A certain calm urgency is required to grasp at the things that encourage homeostasis, a state-of-being achieved through transformation. We are energy. We are potential.

The acquisition of good moral behavior is easily impeded by the attractiveness of the old lifestyle, and it takes continued restraint to avoid repeating the same mistakes. The struggle for excellence does not eliminate the influx of triggers that have the power to alter our perception of personal value; the temptations flourish but, through a clarified understanding of the consequences of pandering to baser enticements, we make more profitable decisions. Again, “if we believe we know what the good (the best) thing to do is, and it is accessible to us, we will do the good” (Brody 2015). Through the elimination of any outside source as scapegoat, we accept full responsibility and continue our commitment to society as a contributing member to the evolution of excellence.
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Full acceptance of one’s humanness involves an awareness of one’s connection with others and the world. Life may go on more or less as usual, but there is a deepened, intimate sense of involvement. … One no longer has to betray one’s true self, or the darker aspect of oneself, in order to feel in community with others. (Bauer et al. 1992)
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Upon commitment to remedy, the conditions responsible for our maladaptive behavior loosen their destructive hold. The initiation to effect recovery underscores our desire for and transformation towards the greatest goodness.

Sources
Bauer, L., Duffy, J., Fountain, E., Halling, S., Holzer, M., Jones, E., Leifer, M. & Rowe, J. O. (1992). Exploring Self-Forgiveness. Journal of Religion and Health, 31 (23), 149-160. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/27510687

Brody, A. (2015). Addicts, Mythmakers and Philosophers. Philosophy Now, 90. Retrieved from https://philosophynow.org/issues/90/Addicts_Mythmakers_and_Philosophers

Dewey, J. (1994). The Moral Writings of John Dewey. J. Gouinlock (Ed.). New York: Prometheus Books.

Erickson, E. H. and Erickson, J. M. (1988). The Life Cycle Completed (Extended Version). New York City: W. W. Norton & Company.

Kurzweil, R. (2005). Journal of Evolution and Technology, 20: 1, p. 15. Boston, MA: Institute for Ethics & merging Technologies.

Hanegraaff, W. J. (2005). Human Potential Before Esalen: An Experiment in Anachronism. On the Edge of the Future. p.21. Eds. Jeffrey J. Kripal and Glenn W. Shuck. Indiana: Indiana University Press.

Piaget, J. (1971). Psychology and Epistemology. (A. Rosin, Trans.). New York City: Grossman Publishers.

Steinhart, E. (2008). Teilhard de Chardin and Transhumanism. Quoting Kurzweil (2005: 15). Journal of Evolution and Technology, 20: 1, pp. 1-22. Boston, MA: Institute for Ethics & merging Technologies.

Teilhard de Chardin, Pierre. (1955.) The Phenomenon of Man. Tr.: Bernard Wall. New York: Harper Perennial Modern Thought.

Trimbur, C. (2015). Theories of Developmental Stages – Stages of Development. Psychology Encyclopedia. Retrieved from http://psychology.jrank.org/pages/183/Developmental-Stages-Theories.html

Whitehead, A. L. (1978). Process and Reality. New York: The Free Press (Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc.).

Addiction is a Habit; a Habit is Not an Addiction

It’s easy to conflate ‘bad habit’ with ‘addiction’: they are both behavioral mechanisms, both evidence an inability or unwillingness to abstain, and both manifest themselves in cravings that involve periods of remission and relapse. Take that morning ‘cuppa joe’, for example. Caffeine provides an adrenalin rush and a feeling of warm comfort but, unless abuse leads to pathological displays of aberrant behavior, moderate, repetitive consumption of coffee is a habit. A habit is not an addiction; an addiction is a habit. A bad or negative habit can become an addiction based on abuse over use. There are good habits and bad habits; addictions remain pernicious. It’s confusing because “we speak of ‘addictions’ to all manner of behaviors that would have been called ‘choices’ just thirty years ago” (Hoffman 2002).

Equate that caffeine fixation to a line of cocaine; both indulgences are guaranteed to stimulate the desired effect, but one is more detrimental to the overall well-being of the consumer. So let’s clarify while simplifying the differences between a negative habit and an addiction. Rather than professing to have a bad habit if, by bad, we mean significantly detrimental or pathologically injurious, let’s call it what it is―an addiction. If we purport to have an addiction to chocolate because we very much enjoy an occasional hormonal stimulation, let’s call it something else―an urge, an intermittent habit that occasionally wants gratification. 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.

confused kid

I have a bad habit, I like to skin pet calico cats
. That, my readers, is not an annoying habit like leaving your dirty dishes in the sink overnight, but is a unsettling, onerous dysfunctional behavior. Both bad habits and maladaptive addictions are addressed through ReChanneling and other cognitive-behavioral programs, each immoderation requiring a certain due-diligence of recovery work because it have disrupted our psycho-physiological growth for an extensive period of time. The deficiencies didn’t appear overnight, but are assiduously cultivated through reactions to input and conditions, desires and appetites. While the brain’s chemistry is a major component to addiction, any habit can alter our neurological structure. Scientific evidence focuses on one dimension of brain adaptation, ostensibly ignoring the sociological implications of the situational inconsistencies, contradictions, and anomalies that addicts and those with habitual maladaptive behaviors confront as part of the human condition. This is where motivational and recovery programs can be most helpful. Your thinking, the content of your mind, is conditioned by the past: your environment, upbringing, culture, experiences, and so on. “The central core of your mind activity consists of certain repetitive and persistent thoughts, emotions, and reactive patterns that you identify with most strongly” (Tolle 2005).

Are all addictions destructive? What about addictions to meditation, exercise, healthy eating? There is an argument to be made about positive addictions and it is important to provide clear distinction. Glasser (1985) makes the claim that addictions can “strengthen us and make our lives more satisfying.” Positive addictions can enhance our confidence, creativity, health, and overall life. Glasser also claims that a “positive addiction does not dominate one’s life; it stays confined within a time frame” (O’Conner 2014). The definition of addiction provided by experts in addictive medicine states that addiction evidences an inability or unwillingness to abstain, and an advocate of daily prayer and exercise certainly has the ability to refrain for a day or two should he or she desire. However, the definition goes on to say that addiction is characterized by
impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response. Like other chronic diseases, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission. Without treatment or engagement in recovery activities, addiction is progressive and can result in disability or premature death (Addiction 2011).

The concept of habitual negative dependency being of positive value contradicts the assertion that addiction evidences itself in “impairment in behavioral control [and] … diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships.” Also, the letters ‘dys’ or ‘dis’ prefixing functional or ease negates the meaning, i.e., dysfunctional means not functional and disease actually implies ill-at-ease. The more accurate translation of the Latin prefix includes such words or phrases as ‘apart,’ ‘asunder,’ and ‘having a privative, negative, or reversing force.’ O’Conner wonders why “healthy behaviors that contribute to happiness” should be considered positive addictions? “What is gained by naming them addictions?” For our purposes, an addiction is a psycho-physiological ‘dysfunction’ that, in no way, contradicts positivity. Both bad habits and addictions are repetitive maladjusted behaviors―activities or emotions that facilitate desires or needs, which become habitual through repetition―that interfere with ordinary life obligations such as work, relationships, or health, affecting singular growth by subverting good goodness and thus impeding expansion into greater goodness.

GOOD, GREATER, and GREATEST GOODNESS

Let’s briefly illustrate the three primary degrees of goodness. 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.

Recovery from habitual or addictive maladaptive behavior is difficult. CBRT―Cognitive Behavioral ReChanneling Therapy (Mullen 2017) addresses the restructuring of the mind―the physical rerouting of neural networks―by disputing irrational thoughts and beliefs, substituting more judicious ones by means of cognitive repetition until they become automatic, habitual replacements to the irrational thoughts. The behavioral component of CBRT requires the individual’s participation in an active, structured therapy group consisting of people with similar distress or neuroses. These individuals are habituated to modify their negative tendencies through exercise and repetitious behavioral activity geared to address the cause and consequence of the dis-ease.

Stanislavski’s authenticity method (Mullen 2016) teaches the protagonist (self), to foster a genuine interconnectedness with the antagonist (other) through attentiveness, perception, physical and emotional analysis, and so on, in order to open the curtains to reveal the genuine character of both self and other as they interrelate. In theatre, there is commonly a single protagonist; in life, both participants are protagonist and antagonist, reflecting and responding to each other.

Abhidharmic mindfulness is the scientific data-driven application of the eightfold path of right practices. Mindfulness is the proactive partner to Stanislavski’s learned reactive ‘method’ as they co-facilitate the self’s ability through relational emotional cognition and practice, in order to improve the authenticity of the interaction. In a perfect world, both self and other would mutually drop pretence and interact with authenticity, but this is not a perfect world. However, any attempt at personal interaction delivers, to variable degree, a positive outcome. A person of authenticity, as used herein, is one who lives in accordance with his or her desires, motives, ideals, and/or beliefs, and whose sum of intents and actions are thus manifest as beneficial to self, other, and society.

The cessation of a compulsion insinuated into day-to-day operations is a formidable and time-consuming task, a life durational work-in-progress. Lao-Tse (1988) informs that “the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” ReChanneling is designed to be more practicum than therapy, providing methodological avenues of recovery while allowing the participant (client) to control the pace of the journey. (We don’t know the extent of the Chinese prophet’s travels but legend has it he remained in his mother’s womb for eighty-years so he was arguably restless.)

Not only must we diligently apply ourselves to ameliorate a bad habit or addiction, but we have to be sure we are prepared to compensate for the emptiness left by that which has been eliminated. Rather than simply replacing the negative tendency with a comparable, positive one, ReChanneling encourages a superior replacement, accessed through our natural metanormal capacity for growth. Metanormal (extraordinary, supernormal, supranormal, transformative, etc.) is evidence of upward human ability, accessible through practice, which surpasses the typical functioning of people under normal circumstance (Leonard 1992). There are multiple methods to motivate and activate this functioning, many of which surpass what is contemporarily understandable. As Augustine (2014) said, “Miracles are not contrary to nature, but only contrary to what we know about nature.” I urge you to peruse Michael Murphy’s (1992) The Future of the Body for a number of data-driven examples. Without upward mobility, humanity would still be huddled in damp caves wondering how to harness fire. We are creatures of evolution, capable of wonderful things; we need only reactively participate in evolution and proactively tap our inherent metanormal potential.

Those of us who have hurtful tendencies that we have determined 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 preferably superior components―to fill the void left by the elimination of the maladaptive behavior. For example: perhaps your particular poor behavior―your negative habitual inclination, if you will―is a craving for harmful gossip. The loss of that behavior must be aptly compensated (replaced) by a positive, superior one. A suggestion might be to rechannel the gossiping into volunteer work: being kind and attentive to people rather than denigrating them. Another example: say you are prone to falsehood or self-exaggeration (overcompensation for perceived lack of). It might be of value to re-examine the qualities that underscore your uniqueness, and thus rechannel any lack of self-worth into pride of your positive accomplishments and individuality. The generated self-esteem would hopefully refocus your attention to the needs of others, rather than your own perceived deficit of character.

In clinical and motivational sessions, I share with participants the eight categories of love, delineated by Greek sophists, that are natural constituents of human-nature. The first is celebrated EROS―the clinging of romance novels, songs, and films. Eros is a precarious and ephemeral love that overwhelms the senses: the wistful longings accompanied by deep sighs and obsessive behavior. It is the irrational and mundane type of infatuation that underscores the phrase, Mom, I’m crazy about him. I’m madly in love. Eros is an exhilarating and arguably universal experience of ambiguous endurance.

The second type of love is PHILIA or brotherly love, the friendship of a good friend or comrade-in-arms. It embraces that robust youthful bond of a football team when collectively facing opposition, or grunts who battle to the death as a cohesive unit, or even the instant familiarity of a thousand people protesting what they believe is social inequity.

STORGE is the natural love between parents and their children, and PARMA the endurance and loyalty we cultivate to adapt to our partner in a marriage or long-term relationship. LUDUS is the puppy love of adolescence, the flirtation in the bar, prick-teasing, dancing with strangers. It is not an intimate sharing of affection but a suggestiveness that reinforces a trivial but self-important aspect of identity.

AGAPE is the love one has for humanity which, unfortunately, rarely supersedes nationalism, race, religion, or political affiliation. We are consistently susceptible to cliques, mobs, and organizations because they provide that much-needed sense of belonging. Mistakenly construed to be the highest form of love, agape is primarily reserved for the heavenly embracement of god by man and, in instances, man by god. Agape embraces a universal, unconditional love that transcends reality, and ostensibly persists regardless of circumstance.

The remaining two forms of love are the binary aspects of PHILAUTIA which, negatively possessed, is obsessive narcissism. Notoriety, self-aggrandizement, and the preoccupation with ‘success’ take precedence over affection, intimacy, and philanthropy. One who dwells in this fanciful self-adulation cannot authentically embrace another because the pond is only large enough for a single reflection. The depravity of the narcissistic self overshadows the value of the other, effectively subverting any altruistic motivation.

HEALTHY PHILAUTIA, on the other-hand, is the kind of self-love that is the product of an inveterate sense of inner-worth and value―the emotional competence that allows us to treasure our deep capacity to share. It is extremely difficult to accept love unless we have the ability to initiate and reciprocate, and that ability originates with the respect generated by our own sense of self-assuredness. It is this form of love that generates empathy and compassion. As we cumulate, more and more, the formidable aspects of healthy philautia, we experience true compassion and empathy, and become increasingly aware of the needs and conditions of others. It is this innate ability that is promoted and facilitated by the program of ReChanneling.

MODES OF LISTENING

Like the actor on the stage, through authentic listening and attentive interaction, the protagonist (self) transmutes to unitary being with the antagonist (other) and begins to ‘feel’ the other, which is the foundation of empathy. Jacque opines to Duke Senior, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players” (Shakespeare 2005) a meritorious concept. The program of ReChanneling utilizes Stanislavski’s stage method of emotional awareness to generate authentic interaction in the world-at-large.

Empathy: “the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner; also :the capacity for this” (Merriam-Webster, 2017).

Conversation: informal interchange of thoughts, information, etc., by spoken words; oral communication between persons; talk; colloquy.

Empathy is not sympathy. In the latter, we feel sorry for someone; when we empathize, we vicariously experience someone. This entails opening ourselves to a novel participation, being with and within the other, the resulting osmosis experiencing the other’s physical, emotional, and even spiritual presence. Empathy is generated through robust attentiveness, and an interactive and heightened method of ‘listening’ which involves the verbal, the physical (gesture and spatial), the intuitive (moods, and attitudes), and the experiential. Empathetic listening is the most respondent and conscientious form of listening.

IGNORING LISTENING is an apathetic type of listening, what Covey (2004) describes as “not listening at all.” It is calling attention to ourselves without consideration for the other(s). In Ignoring Listening, the only thing we listen for is a break in the conversation where we can intervene to promote ourselves. Any pause, any inadvertent intake of breath is a cue to jump-in with whatever we feel like saying. Our only use for the other(s) is his or her accommodating presence so that we can invade it.

Example: Your companion(s) are discussing ramifications of the Republican’s assault on ‘Obamacare.’ Without acknowledging the issue, you jump in with an enthusiastic description of your home run in the recent game of gay team baseball.

COUNTERFEIT LISTENING is ingratiating ourselves into a conversation without contributing to it. We pretend to care about what the other(s) think or say by imitating or mimicking their emotions so that they like us. We nod when they look profound, we smile when they smile, laugh when they do. We pander ourselves into the good graces of the other(s), without contributing to the conversation. Counterfeit Listening is an obviously blatant and disingenuous act of deception.

Example: The discussion is about a recent episode of the TV series Transparent, which you have never watched. Discussing a scene, the others laugh and you join in, later nodding you head in agreement at the mention of the brilliant writing, adding, “What a terrific show!”

In SELECTIVE LISTENING we only hear what we want to hear, what suits our needs. We’re not as interested in what the other(s) is saying as we are of making a good impression. We wait for topics to which we personally relate, ignoring anything that doesn’t have the potential to make us appear accomplished. Afraid of appearing ignorant or boring, we only hear things that allow us to display our astuteness. Essentially, we display contempt for the other (s)without knowing it. We come off as self-serving and arrogant.

Example: The conversation/discussion centers around the politics of the Republican party and their commitment to defunding social organizations including Planned Parenthood. You immediately jump in and talk about something cute your son did at breakfast that morning.

Peanuts

HOSTILE LISTENING. Participating in a conversation with a defensive or insecure attitude can generate subconscious or intentional hostility. Finding ourselves uncomfortable in our surroundings— the office party, a gathering that our partner insists we attend—we subvert conversations through ignoring, counterfeit, and/or selective listening. When under the stress of an uncomfortable situation, we often defer to our baser instincts; resentment easily leads to hostility

ATTENTIVE LISTENING is an honest attempt to pay attention to what the other(s) is saying. We listen carefully to the words but neglect to analyze the motivation expressed within and between the words. We strive for content over context. “Words alone can be misleading … we fail to grasp the speakers’ intentions and the various social positions from which the words and intentions emanate” (Hollan 2008). Attentive Listening is an honorable attempt at authentic communication, and if we have reached this level of listening, we should take credit for a conscientious and caring effort. There is one form of listening that surpasses this, however—a holistic interaction that takes into consideration the inner motivation of the other(s), the desires, fears, apprehensions, intent, and so on.

Example: You attempt to engage a young man in conversation. He responds appropriately to the standard introductory questions. You lead into a discussion of a film you both have seen. He responds with verbal appropriateness yet is distracted and keeps looking about the room. You assume he is not interested in continuing the conversation or establishing a friendship. You assume he is unenthusiastic about your presence. You walk away without the knowledge that his father died the day before.

EMPATHETIC LISTENING is engaging with the other(s) with intent to intuitively and intellectually grasp his or her holistic being, willing to embrace the depth of motivation to cultivate a genuine interaction. Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Experts estimate that ten percent of communication is represented by words, thirty by sounds, and the balance by body language. Our use of words is intentionally ambiguous because we need a means-of-escape should they be misconstrued, misappropriated, or exploited. The sounds we make―the grunts, the sighs―have meaning beyond words. As do the gestures, the facial expressions, the physical stance. Moods, perceptions, desires, feelings, intentions, ambitions―all are expressed through subtle physical signals. Empathetic Listening is understanding through participating within the other.

Example: Following-up the conversation with the young man in the “Attentive Listening”—during the discussion, you become aware of his shuffling of feet, lack of enthusiasm, difficulty with direct eye-contact. Rather than assuming it is because of you, you direct your attention to his urgencies. You recognize the possibility that he has something else on his mind. Perhaps you ask, “Am I making you uncomfortable?” If he shows interest in continuing, you might comment, “You seem distracted, What’s on your mind?” In any case, you have directed the emphasis away from you onto him. Yes, there is the possibility you will be rejected but you have already won. You have revealed a genuine empathy for another human being.

With ReChanneling and other revisionist methods of growth and recovery, we reclaim that goodness forever extant within, anxiously awaiting for reaffirmation. Experiences, circumstances, conditions cloud and distort our perception of who we are meant to be, and supersede our innate good goodness, shrouding it in apathy and ego, audacity and envy, buffoonery and self-indulgence. Goodness is never absent, never lost; it merely needs to be retrieved and brought back into the light. Once we reacclimatize to our good goodness, and begin to eliminate the selfish impediments to our growth, we rediscover that pleasurable feeling of strength and determination to do and be better, an acquisition that transforms the temerity of the reactive into the profound and formidable character of proactivity. It is during this process of recovery that our greater goodness begins to replenish our grace―not of religion but of inner quality and self-awareness―and that invigoration reanimates our aspiration to reach for the brass ring of greatest goodness, said aspiration catalyst to metanormal evolution. Although inaccessible in our current condition of wisdom, greatest goodness pre-conditionally makes itself available to the occasion of humanity’s collective ascension to the next level of consciousness, that excellence of being of which prophets, poets, and philosophers longingly speak.

SOURCES

Addiction. (2011). Definition of Addiction. American Society of Addiction Medicine. Rockville, MD: ASAM. Retrieved from https://www.asam.org/quality-practice/definition-of-addiction

Augustine of Hippo (2014). The City of God, 21.8. Pickerington, OH: Beloved Publishing LLC.

Covey S. R. (2004). The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, p. 253. New York City: Simon and Schuster. Covey provides the basic concepts for the types of listening discussed.

Glasser, W. (1985). Positive Addiction. New York: Harper Colophon Books.

Hoffman, M. B. (2002). The Rehabilitative Ideal and the Drug Court Reality. Federal Sentencing Reporter, 14 (3/4), 172-178. From “Drug Sentencing: The State of the Debate in 2002.” Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/20640422.

Hollan, D. (2008). Being There: On the Imaginative Aspects of Understanding Others and Being Understood. Ethos, 36:4, 479. San Francisco: Wiley for the American Anthropological Association. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/20486593.

Lao-Tse. (1998). Lao Tzu: Tao Te Ching : A Book About the Way and the Power of the Way. Ursula K. Le Guin: editor and coauthor. Boulder, CO: Shambhala; New edition.

Leonard, G. (1992). How to Have an Extraordinary Life. Psychology Today, 25:3, p. 2. New York: Sussex Publishers.

Murphy, M. (1992). The Future of the Body. Explorations Into the Further Evolution of Human Nature. New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam.

Mullen, R. F. (2016). The Art of Authenticity. Journal of Literature and Art Studies, July 2016, Vol. 6, No. 7. New York: David Publishing. Retrieved from www.davidpublisher.org/Public/uploads/Contribute/57426420547ed.pdf.

—– (2017). ReChanneling: Refining, Redefining, and Reinstating your values through the infinite fusion of mind, body, and spirit. Academia.edu, pp. 4-6. San Francisco: Academa.edu. Retrieved from https://www.academia.edu/32545782/ReChanneling.

O’Connor, P. (2014). Are There Positive Addictions? Psychology Today. New York: Sussex Publishers. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/philosophy-stirred-not-shaken/201411/are-there-positive-addictions. It is O’Conner’s article that alerted me to the erroneous findings of William Glasser.

Shakespeare, W. (2005). As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII. From William Shakespeare: The Complete Works. Stanley Wells, Editor. Oxford New Shakespeare, Oxford University Press, 2nd edition: Oxford, England.

Tolle, E. (2005). A New Earth , p.60. New York City: Westminster, London: Penguin. A Plume Book.

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© 2017 ReChanneling
Dr. Robert F. Mullen
robertfmullen.com
ReChanneling@yahoo.com
415-305-5895

ReChanneling: What is it?

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, can exhibit 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 the negative behavior without providing positive replacement. 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 can severely inhibit our potential for growth and change. Reconciliation with and recovery from immoral and maladaptive behavior is achieved only through unequivocal acceptance of our condition, and our willingness to change. In the tradition of Platonic elegance, we are all innately drawn towards the desire for excellence―for qualities beyond our grasp that become more accessible through evolution.
In order to change our condition of moral inadequacy to one of virtue we must accept full responsibility for our actions. We are the agents of change, of transformation; the only higher-power that needs to be acknowledged and accessed is extant within each of us. Assigning responsibility to another for our own impaired behavior is clear impediment to recovery.

ReChanneling seminars and workshops are designed to illustrate methods to replace negative addiction, maladaptive behavior, and the accompanying anxiety and dis-ease with the innate greater goodness accessible through human potential. Through this methodology, rather than embracing every negative emotion, behavior, and perception as entrenched elements of our being, we recognize them as detrimental and opportunities for ReChanneling. We refine that goodness extant within us, redefine that goodness into greater goodness, and reinstate that greater goodness which is an innate value of our being.

How does the program of ReChanneling facilitate transformation from maladaptive behavior to recognition of our value as a vital contributing member of society? ReChanneling is a program of positive behavioral modification that combines contemporary cognitive and experiential remedial theories with the authentic presence and emotional recollection of Stanislavski, and the Abhidharmic concepts of mindfulness governance. Most remedial programs concentrate on the elimination of negative habits, which leaves a psychological emptiness that needs to be compensated, 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 cease a negative or immoral behavior without providing a positive replacement, we run the risk of embracing comparable negative behaviors to fill the void. Rather than simply replacing the negative tendency with a comparable, positive one, ReChanneling encourages a superior replacement, accessed through our natural metanormal capacity for growth. Those of us who have hurtful tendencies that we have determined 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 preferably superior force and energy―to fill the void left by the elimination of the maladaptive behavior. Simply put, we phase out poor behaviors by replacing them through the process of ReChanneling. The sense of loss from the disposition of the maladjusted conduct that we have held onto for years is mitigated by the energy that accompanies the acquisition of the positive behavior. With ReChanneling, negative habits and maladaptive behaviors are not replaced with similar defeating habits but are consciously rechanneled into positive and potentially superior comparable aspects of positive and productive living. Through the power of our individual will as the initiator of ReChanneling, we control and facilitate the transformation―and this dynamism becomes the foundation of recovery.

ReChanneling examines methods to refine, redefine, and reinstate our better values, which supports the firm belief that we all aspire to the greatest good through moral inculcation via survival altruism, and the involution of consciousness. (The concept of involution-evolution posits that some-thing instills (thrusts) its force or being into the depths of matter in order for consciousness to evolve. Involution is required for evolution because some-thing cannot evolve from no-thing.) This aspiration towards the greatest goodness is easily subverted by the consequences of life. The methods within ReChanneling can be 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.

ReChanneling addresses our psycho-physiological imbalance by helping to refine, redefine, and reinstate positive values through the infinite fusion of the mind, body, and spirit which
constitute the integral complex of being (the Beingness Complex). Too often, we address mental anxieties without involving the somatic and spiritual. We search for pharmaceutical relief for a condition of the physical―mental and bodily― without taking into account the emotional catalysts and how they affect and are affected by our inner being. The Beingness-Complex is the integrality of the mind, body, and spirit as it strives for natural 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 feelings, emotions, and intellectual thoughts in its more conscious complexities.

ReChanneling easily incorporates the primary elements of cognitive behavioral therapy. Cognitive theory assumes that maladaptive behavior and poor self-image (components of dis-ease) are the result of inappropriate or irrational thinking patterns caused by ingrained reactions to situations and conditions experienced by the individual. It 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 by means of cognitive repetition until they become automatic or habitual replacements to the irrational thoughts. The behavioral component of CBRT (Cognitive Behavioral ReChanneling Therapy) involves the individual’s participation in an active, structured therapy group consisting of people with similar discomforts or neuroses, and training these individuals to modify their negative tendencies by means of activities that address the injurious behavior with alternate repetitious exercises and behavioral activity called ‘experiments’.

ReChanneling encourages the individual to consciously replace the maladaptive behavior with one of positive and superior value while addressing the integral components of the mind, body, and spirit. ReChanneling emphasizes the homeostasis of the Beingness-Complex through the combination of contemporary cognitive, behavioral, and experiential remedial theories, the authentic presence and emotional recollection of Stanislavski’s method, and the Arbhidharmic concepts of mindfulness governance.

Constantin Stanislavski honed behavioral techniques to train his actors to engage the integrality of perception, the somatic, and the emotional in order to foster a genuine interconnectedness, opening the curtains to reveal the genuine character of a person as he or she relates to other individuals. As all the world is a stage, and we are its actors, the revelation of our true character and intention establishes the foundation for authenticity in presence and communication. Abhidharmic mindfulness or awareness is one of the seven spiritual or psychological faculties that forms an essential part of Eastern practice; the scientific data-driven application of which facilitates the seventh element of the eightfold path of right practices (insight, resolution, speech, conduct, livelihood, effort, mindfulness, and introspection).

When philosopher Emma Goldman wrote, “the idea of God implies the abdication of human reason and justice” (Goldman 1910), she was merely advising that the potential for the greater goodness is preexistent, and adopting god (or anyone else for that matter) as excuse for our own behavior usurps our ability to take full ownership of our current 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 claim that we cannot change, that we’re too firmly ensconced in our behavior (that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks) have either failed in their own endeavors, resigned themselves to their condition, or truly believe that their moral behavior is beyond reproach. Let me assure you, my personal journey towards redemption is vivid illustration: if I can change, anyone can change. My prior obsession into amoral and decadent exploits and subsequent recovery illustrate the potential resilience of anyone who truly desires renewal, underscoring the formidable strength of individual inner determination. Recovery from my own degenerate lifestyle underscores the personal motivation and crux of this methodology, and the power of human potential and the innate ability of the individual to transform, independent of condition or circumstance.

Among the philosophical enigmas that have perplexed humanity since the onset of cognitive reasoning are 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? Let me offer a couple of 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” (Ghose 1939-40). Perhaps, then, we are the precursor to an advanced mutation of consciousness, one that evolves from our best qualities yet even better. 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 an advanced and 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, this youth [humankind] bears within it all the indications and the beingness of an entirely new biological cycle” (Teilhard de Chardin 1955).

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 constitutes an evolving collective consciousness. And maybe it is this consciousness, ever-expanding as we embrace our innate potential for goodness, that will give birth to an advanced intelligence and spiritual awareness. And even if this doesn’t come to pass, I suggest to you 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? 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” (Sartre, J. P. 1989). 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.

Continuing essays will provide an overview of what program of ReChanneling provides in workshops and seminars. They are intended as a guide to transformation through the ReChanneling of our negative behavioral issues into positive and greater aspects of self-fulfillment. With the help of these time-tested psychological, philosophical, and spiritual behavioral modification techniques, I believe that we can relearn to radiate our inner strength and determination, and change any negative behavior into positive self-affirmation. Do we all 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?

There are three conditions which must be addressed as we take on the endeavor of transformation through ReChanneling. First, we must take full ownership of and responsibility for our condition―the person who we think we are and upon which we want to improve. The second action is the rejuvenation of our innate, positive willpower, which has been so seriously damaged by our maladaptive behavior. And the final condition that must be addressed is that of forgiveness, not only for the persons who influenced our behavior when we were a child, but we must also forgive ourselves. That self-forgiveness addresses both transgressions against others as well as self-transgression.

RESPONSIBILITY. To recap: recovery from immoral and maladaptive behavior is achieved only through unequivocal acceptance of our condition, and our willingness to change. 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 not let them hold your spirit forever hostage. 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.

Why is it imperative to not use god 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. No matter what humanity purports to believe, it has no viable concept of what constitutes omnipotence, nor the ability to achieve it. We were not created in god’s image and likeness. Social Darwinism proves that we created gods in our image and likeness. God is our ego, endowed with all the powers to which we aspire but cannot attain, and of which we do not think we are worthy. The promises given to us by god are mere manifestations of our own desires. It is our belief in god that sustains our hope of immortality. It is no small wonder that the idea of a divinely-linked soul has carried so much cultural weight throughout history. Due to our megalomaniacal assertion of specialness, it is difficult to accept that our species is logically finite. Science allows for the existence of anatomically correct, homo-sapiens for two-hundred-thousand years, while the complex symbolic and creative activity that underscores humanness traces back to less than half of that. Dinosaurs endured for one-hundred-and-sixty-five million years! It is estimated that ninety-nine percent of all species that ever lived on our planet have been consumed by nature. It is obvious that homo-sapiens also has a shelf-life. We persuade ourselves we are created for a reason, that there must be a grand plan, but suffer in the ignorance of what that plan might be. There has to be a point for our existence, we plead. What is our legacy?

We create gods that look like us because that is the only way that we can even touch on an understanding of that incomprehensible enigmatic. We fear the unknowingness of the unknown, we’re terrified of change, and we despise and are bewildered by the extent of our ignorance. We worship gods like us because our narcissism demands we be special, and the reality of our condition and our perceived smallness terrifies us. Gods provide sanctuary for our fears. I’m not entering the pros and cons of the probability of a creational and inconceivable force, a genesis to everything, and it seems apparent that of whatever that inconceivable component consists, like cosmic dust, it ostensibly resides within each and every one of us even though we are incapable of grasping what that incomprehensible component is. But when we personalize what we call god, we trivialize It. It’s time to reevaluate our primitive concepts. Our gods are earth gods. In the current 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. 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.

WILLPOWER. The second condition for recovery is the rekindling of the tenacious vitality of positive willpower―the strength and depth of our inner determination. 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. It is through the power of our will that we learn to embrace change rather than fear it. Recovery demands change. ReChanneling is change. Transformation is change. And even if our initial choices may be imperfect, 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 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 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.

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. (Please refer to the previous Blog, Dealing with the Loss that Accompanies Recovery, for a more extensive overview of forgiveness and self-forgiveness.)

Future essays will address tried-and-true, cross-cultural methods that facilitate the ReChanneling of negative behavior into rewarding, positive thoughts and extraordinary actions that lend themselves to the reacquisition of our authenticity. I realize we have already covered a lot of territory, a lot of seemingly divergent themes. I guarantee you it all comes together, intersects beautifully, as we continue down this path together. Life is short but it can be phenomenal, as we are all endowed with the profound ability to lift the human spirit.

SOURCES

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.

Goldman, E. (1910). The Philosophy of Atheism. In Anarchism and Other Essays. New York: Mother Earth Publishing Association.

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.

Sartre, J. P. (1989). Existentialism is a Humanism. From Existentialism from Dostoyevsky to Sartre. W. Kaufman (Ed.). New York: Meridian Publishing Company

Teilhard de Chardin, P. (1955). The Phenomenon of Man. New York: Harper Perennial.

Dealing with the Loss that Accompanies Recovery

One major factor of Rechanneling is addressing the perception of loss that occurs at the elimination of the negative behavior. A common consensus is that the replacement of the bad behavior with an honorable, preferably, superior one generates enough positive feedback to mitigate any feeling of loss, and the accompanying feeling of emptiness; this is a false assumption. It is human nature to grieve the absence of a behavioral attachment that has been part-and-parcel of your being for years. However, as the godfather of human potential assures us, “…the loss of illusions and the discovery of identity, though painful at first, can be ultimately exhilarating and strengthening” (Maslow 1968).

How is the transformation from anxiety, dis-ease, and maladaptive behavior to recovery affected by Kübler-Ross’ stages of denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance? The dynamic that detriment-lost is compensated by value-acquisition does not eliminate the sense of loss. While adjustment is contingent upon adaptability to change as well as the subject’s personal dependency, the stages of grief-in-recovery, be they Kübler-Ross’ or amended models, provide the transforming subject a clearer recognition of the feelings of uneasiness that arise upon commitment-to-recovery and its corollary perception of loss and emptiness.

WHEN WE CHOOSE TO REMAIN IN-DENIAL, WE RELEGATE BLAME TO ‘OTHERS’―PERSONS AND CIRCUMSTANCES THAT OFTEN HAVE NO TANGIBLE RELATIONSHIP TO OUR CONDITION

DENIAL
Prior to transformation, we dwell in a false reality of self-deceit and delusion. Reconciliation with, and recovery from immoral and maladaptive behavior is achieved only through unequivocal acceptance of our condition, and our willingness to change. As the foundation for action is established, this new awareness negates denial. When we choose to remain in-denial, we relegate blame to ‘others’―persons and circumstances that often have no tangible relationship to our condition. Our personal duplicity remains so ingrained, it challenges our potential to change out of fear of losing our illusory complacency. Unequivocal acceptance of our condition, a necessity for ReChanneling, encourages and facilitates the dissolution of denial.

ANGER
Although Weber (1919) advises that “bearing the (foreseeable) consequences of [our] actions,’ requires that [we] be able to face realities ‘with inner composure and calm’” (Williams 2008), the discomfort caused by our fractured Beingness complex (mind, body, spirit) often expresses itself as anger directed at self, friends, strangers, loved ones, speculative entities, family―even irrelevant associations. It is all too easy to deny situational reality through blaming, nagging, and shaming ‘others’. The substance-abuser will blame the intoxicant―I was so high, I didn’t know what I was doing―rather than taking personal responsibility. Remedying a life consumed by dis-ease demands personal accountability; our anger a positive ramification as it instigates self-analysis necessary for recovery. Once we accept our condition, this anger, turned inward, can be a catalyst for deeper introspection and self-examination. Animosity is thus rechanneled to deliberation.

BARGAINING
Many anonymous programs appeal to values based on religious beliefs where the bargaining stage is characterized by an attempt to negotiate with a ‘higher power’. Arbitrarily subordinating our will to that of another is a stultifying impediment to self-improvement. Scapegoating as substitution for personal accountability is a capitulation of the extraordinary power and will of the recovering individual. The only ‘higher power’ required for transformation is extant within us. Bargaining is a natural component of our defense mechanism. However, Rechanneling is less a negotiation than a positive acquisition towards transformation.

DEPRESSION
Depression manifests by an overwhelming sense of futility. Symptoms include the inability to function in a current job or family environment, emotional instability, and feelings of overwhelming hopelessness that often lead to thoughts of suicide. Depression is a conspicuous consequence of recovery because change is difficult, and loss formidable. This stultifying condition will linger even as we commit to recovery and conduct ourselves accordingly. Depression can reveal itself in lethargy, apathy, dispassion, anger, sleep deprivation, poor eating habits, a sense of isolation, guilt, inept social engagement, issues of execution, and substance-abuse. Robust self-evaluation of the cause(s) of our injurious behavior will assist in the amelioration of depression.

ACCEPTANCE
Acceptance is honestly taking full responsibility for the existential, behavioral reality of our condition―who we are, why we have become who we are, and why we persist to be who we are in light of associative feelings of uneasiness.

IT IS RECOGNITION OF THE CAUSES(S) AND CIRCUMSTANCES(S) OF OUR CONDITION WHICH MOTIVATES OUR WILLINGNESS TO CHANGE

Until we begin the necessary steps towards transition, we remain dis-content. Contentment is a stasis of happiness, of satisfaction, synonymous to the fulfilling of purpose. Commitment to renewal is underscored by the acceptance of what can be altered, and what cannot, both fundamental to transformation. We cannot change the harmful actions of past events and circumstances, but we can confront them, analyze them, and place them into proper perspective. We can do likewise for things for which we are responsible, commit to not repeating them, and rechannel them to more worthy pursuits. Acceptance allows us to move beyond; it is recognition of the cause(s) and circumstance(s) of our condition which motivates our willingness to change that which is destructive. Acceptance leads to a renewed life with new potential, the breach to new possibilities.

Acceptance determines that we recognize the need and the means to confront and evaluate our current existence and its accessory behaviors. Whining that we want things to be different does not make them different. Rather than flailing about in our self-created, emotional morass of self-delusion and illusion, we need to clarify our role in our discomforting condition through introspection and inner-discourse, and strategize methods of reconciliation.

Acceptance is not acquiescence, resignation, or condoning. It is acceding to our ability to transform. We are endowed with a formidable capacity for change―the potential, no matter our disposition, to rechannel and modify issues that are psycho-physiologically detrimental to our innate goodness, thus granting accessibility to greater goodness.

FORGIVENESS
In addition to the stages-of-grief proposed by Kübler-Ross and subsequent revisionists, there is another element or stage indispensable to resolution―that of ‘forgiveness’. We cannot hope to function as a fully conscientious being without absolving both our self and others whose behavior contributed to our negative behavioral addictions. This forgiveness, which underscores the attributes of compassion, love, and introspection, is indispensable to the revival of our innate goodness. The ability to forgive is essential for transformation so that we can disencumber ourselves of the unresolved antagonisms of resentment and hate. The manifestation of maladaptive behavior is a consequence of choice. By adolescence, we have been made aware, either by example, cultural maturation, or instruction, that behavior no longer hinges on the actions of others but remains, primarily, a function of our own cognitive decision-making. The realization of our need for accountability is facilitated by a deep awareness of self and its interconnection to others as we recognize our “humanity and [commit to taking our] place in the human community” (Bauer et al. 1992). This requires opening our hearts and letting go of our misplaced identities, expectations, and beliefs. It opens us to new possibilities. It encourages us to “break out of the old and rigid patterns of thought” (Paranjape 2007) and opens us to nerw possibilities. The act of forgiveness yields a future undetermined by the past, granting us the wherewithal to access our innate greater goodness.

THE ACT OF FORGIVENESS FALLS TO THE FORGIVER AND, AS FORGIVER, WE REAP THE BENEFITS.

Forgiveness is a virtue that must be embraced in order to promote a homeostasis within our Beingness complex. Forgiveness is imperative, even for those acts deemed unforgivable; recovery is severely inhibited when we allow past transgressions to overwhelm our capacity to transform. Forgiving is purification; forgiveness of others cleanses the forgiver more than the offender. Forgiveness does not excuse or forget the act but absolve us from fixating on the perpetrator. Forgiving is the overriding of bitterness with positive feelings, thoughts, and behavior. We forgive in order to promote change within our self; the act of forgiveness falls to the forgiver and, as forgiver we reap the benefits. It is not an easy task―to forgive. Our innate drive for vengeance can be formidable, and even offenses unremembered, subconsciously cry out for retribution. That is why, when we forgive, the rewards are considerable. Forgiving is the disposition of the bitterness and anger that permeates the mind-body-spirit complex, freeing up space for things beneficial to our transformation.

SELF-FORGIVENESS
The act of self-forgiveness is more demanding than forgiving others because we treat our own perceived abominations more rigorously. An important aspect of the self-forgiveness process is experiencing the grief that accompanies the loss of an obsession that has, for so long, permeated our being.

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. (Mullen 2016)

In efforts to facilitate recovery, we must initiate inner-discourse by pitting our self as interrogator against our self as responder until we reach a unifying consensus. Self-forgiveness begins when we reach the conclusion that the disconnectedness, brought on by our unwillingness to confront our condition, becomes so fundamentally discomforting that resolution is essential for emotional survival.

It is imperative to realize that we are not alone nor are we bad; we are lonely, fractured, and ignorant. Acceptance of our condition and commitment to remedy initiates reparation. “Everything that is good, then, is good to the extent that it is unified in a balanced and harmonious way, and its being good is explained by its unification” (Kraut 2010). Errors in judgment are merely experiences when we commit to rectification. Vitz and Meade (2011) propose the following, inherent to the “healing aspects to self-forgiving which are said to explain its effectiveness”: Accessing our innate ability (a) to make self-reparation to atone “for that crime’s bad effect on the self”; (b) to reintegrate after splitting; in other words, to incorporate the core integrated person that results from the collaboration of our gain of our good self with the loss of our bad self; and (c) to self-transcend, which is the purpose of forgiveness and subsequent transformation.

References

Bauer, L., Duffy, J., Fountain, E., Halling, S., Holzer, M., Jones, E., Leifer, M. & Rowe, J. O. (1992). Exploring Self-Forgiveness. Journal of Religion and Health, 31 (2). 149-160. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/27510687

Kraut, R. (2010). What Is Intrinsic Goodness? Classical Philology, 105 (4), Special Issue: Beauty, Harmony, and the Good, 450-462. Chicago: The University of Chicago. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/657030

Kübler-Ross, E. & Kessler, D. (2104). On Grief and Grieving. New York: Scribner.

Maslow, Abraham H. (1968.) Toward a Psychology of Being. New York City: D. Van Nostrand Company.

Mullen, R. F. (2016). ReChanneling. Academia.edu. Retrieve from https://www.academia.edu/32545782/ReChanneling_ReChanneling_Clinical_Motivational_Seminars_Workshops_Education_ReChanneling_Refining_redefining_and_reinstating_your_values_through_the_infinite_fusion_of_mind_body_and_spirit

Paranjape, K. (2007). Creativity in Arts and Science. Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, 88, 219-243. Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute: Pune, Maharashtra, India. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/41692095

Vitz, P. C. & Meade, J. M. (2011). Self-forgiveness in Psychology and Psychotherapy. A Critique. Journal of Religion and Health, 50 (2), 248-263. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/41349785

Weber M. (1919) Politik als Beruf [Politics as a Vocation]. In Gesammelte Politische Schriften. Potsdam, Germany: Potsdamer Internet-Ausgabe, Universität Potsdam. Retrieved from http://www.uni-potsdam.de/u/paed/pia/index

Williams, G. (2008). Responsibility as a Virtue. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, 11 (4), 455-470. New York City: Springer. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/40284254.

© 2017 ReChanneling
Dr. Robert F. Mullen
robertfmullen.com
ReChanneling@yahoo.com
415-305-5895

Refining, Redefining, and Reinstating Our Values through ReChanneling

There is a prevailing falsity that, while some of us seem environmentally prone to psycho-physiological dis-ease, others better reared or parented, are relatively immune to inadequacy. This inaccuracy, perpetuated by those who purport to have a more stable upbringing, be it liberal or fundamentalist, sets the standard for the us versus other estrangement, an illusory and unhealthy divisiveness. It is prudent and essential to realize that we all suffer from certain incapacities and ineffective productivity. None of us is immune to anxiety and uncertainty; bewilderment and ineptitude. Our search-for-happiness, acceptance, and meaning is ubiquitous. Accepting this universality can make great strides in eliminating any stigma of less-than.

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But I was never abused as a child. I had wonderful, caring parents.

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The primary, all-inclusive, and ever-prevalent cause of moral turpitude, maladaptive behavior, and dis-stress ostensibly stems from childhood abuse, a generic term used to describe a broad spectrum of offences. Patterns of abuse, perpetrated by the parent, caregiver, or respected authority are subsequently embraced by the recipient agent as adolescent and adult. But I was never abused as a child. I had wonderful, caring parents. What is rarely taken into account is the relevance of ‘perceptual’ abuse for which no one is necessarily responsible. The American Psychological Association (1993) revised their definition to categorize child abuse as “nonaccidental verbal or symbolic acts by a child’s parent or caregiver that result, or have reasonable potential to result, in significant psychological harm to the child”. In a paper published by the American Bar Association, Steele (1995) expanded these abuses to include

any non-accidental events that interfere with the optimal physical, cognitive, emotional, and social development of the child.  It is subdivided into physical, sexual, and emotional abuse and various forms of neglect, all of which can occur alone or in combination.

Childhood abuse through even minimal and unintentional detachment, exploitation, and/or abandonment can cause the recipient to experience chronic depression, and feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and unworthiness; repetitive patterns of shallow relationships; a general disregard or apathy for the feelings, rights, and welfare of others; an inability to trust; enhanced aggressiveness; and the “persistent need for human relationships coupled with a tragic inability to be intimate and make a commitment to an enduring relationship” (Steele 1995).  Add to these, manifestations of debilitating anxiety, codependence; feelings of insecurity, isolation, the loss of control over life, and a resistance to new experiences.  We are all affected by some degree of emotional turbulence; no one is immune.

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The common perception of child abuse is that it is something that only affects a small percentage of children and adolescents.  Social science dwells on the flagrancy of such actions―physical violence, sexual misconduct, the deprivation of nutrition―and ignores emotional exploitation as insignificant.

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Maslow’s (1943) original hierarchy of needs listed five stages of human motivational development: physiological, safety, belongingness and love, esteem, and self-actualization. (In later wisdom, he added self-transcendence.) In order to reach a homeostasis of self-actualization, the child must be able to experience basic physiological safety, which includes a requisite amount of sleep, food, and exercise.  The subsequent psychological realms of belongingness and love require a physically and emotionally safe and stable environment.  Achieving true self-actualization is a utopian endeavor but that should not deter us.

The common impression of child abuse has been that it is something that only affects a percentage of children and adolescents.  Social science dwelled on the flagrancy of such actions―physical violence, sexual misconduct, the deprivation of nutrition―and ignored perceptual exploitation as insignificant. In true fact, all of us suffer from some form of child abuse, whether consciously imposed through pathological perpetuation, unconsciously as a result of normal or ambivalent parenting, or perceptual as result of childhood innate selfishness and neediness.

Children who are emotionally abused and neglected face similar and sometimes worse mental health problems as children who are physically or sexually abused, yet psychological abuse is rarely addressed in prevention programs or in treating victims, according to a new study published by the American Psychological Association. (Childhood 2014)

This is not a generic implication of parental intent or action yet none of us is perfect.  We impose our own immature behaviors on our children.  We ignore them when they interfere with our solitude; we vent our exasperation; we blame them for our own disappointments; we demand they compensate for our own inadequacies; we belittle them when they do not live up to our expectations.  We raise our voice in anger when under stress, or for emphasis.  We teach them survival skills through negative reinforcement.

Demands which cannot be met or no demands, suppression of conflict or sidestepping of conduct, refusal to help or too much help, unrealistically high or low standards, all may curb or underestimate the child so that he fails to achieve the knowledge and experience which could realistically reduce his dependence upon the outside world. (Baumrind 1966)

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Child abuse factors itself onto the perceptual reality of the child, no matter the intentionality of the  parent, caregiver, or respected authority; it is a normal consequence of child-rearing. 

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The phrase ‘child abuse’ implies intentionality, and the APA emphasizes this with its emphasis on the term “nonaccidental”.  I posit that child abuse factors itself into the perceptual reality of every child, no matter the intentionality of the  parent, caregiver, or respected authority; it is a natural consequence of normal child-development.  A child who has been perceptually slighted will experience a sense of abandonment or separation, insignificance or inconsequentiality, deprivation, humiliation, feelings of unworthiness (four of the five major fears of humanity).  Even rarer is the child who comprehends the justifiability of discipline, which is often just educational or conditional restraint―necessary components of child-rearing.  In other words, what may not constitute abuse by the parent or authoritative figure can easily be perceived as such by the child.

Baumrind provides three types of parental authority. The ‘Permissive Child Authority’ that allows the child to be self-regulated can result in apathy and impulsiveness.  The ‘Authoritarian’ provides strict boundaries that often produce defiance and retribution, while the ‘Authoritative’ method can manifest a child of low moral virtue.  None of these authorities connote intentional or nonaccidental child abuse; yet the results of such rearing effects can be devastating.

A child’s retaliatory, compensatory, and imitating responses to abuse develop into adolescent maladaptive behavior―lapses of moral virtue evidenced by acting out, white-lying, filching, and other venial aberrations.  Recipients of child abuse are subject to meanness, non-cooperation, impatience, disrespect, and irresponsibility.  Any sense of fairness is jeopardized, trust becomes uncertainty, empathy lost to indifference or hate―all feelings cognitively incomprehensible to the pre-adolescent yet often prevalent behavior in the adolescent and adult.

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There is an important distinction between the actions of the child and those of the adolescent―that of intentionality.  Ironically, it is the younger subject whose preoccupation (albeit implicit) with retaliation and compensation impels reactionary impulse.
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While Sartre’s (1989) view of existentialism asserts that the human person is responsible for everything he or she does “from the moment that he is thrown into this world”, it is not until the passive child matriculates into the active grade of cognitive, emotional, and social development … when the now adolescent develops “the ability to think logically and systematically and to understand abstractions and the concepts of causality and choice” (Trimbur 2015) that the developing agent can be held accountable.

There is an important distinction between the actions of the child and those of the adolescent―that of intentionality.  Ironically, it is the younger subject whose preoccupation (albeit implicit) with retaliation and compensation impels reactionary impulse.  These impulses are considered “states with respect to which [the child is] passive”, and “are to be contrasted with other motivations that are directly up to us, such as choices and decisions” (Wallace 1999).

So when and under what circumstances does the agent acquire the level of comprehension necessary to make appropriate decision-making?  At what stage does the individual become the responsible party? The age at which one is considered mature is rooted in a mix of culture, language dependent perception, psychobiology, and historical precedent.  Understanding the concepts of casualty and choice is the foundation for an appropriate understanding of one’s personal liability to self and society.

To iterate, I do not claim that all children suffer from intentional child abuse generated by parent, caregiver or respected authority. I posit that all children are subject to perceptual realities of abuse, including those youngsters in Piaget’s ‘formal operational stage’, when the adolescent has acquired the freedom “to choose between various actions depending on a desired outcome” (Trimbur 2015).

In any case, a healthy subject-in-maturation must eventually assume personal responsibility for personal conditions. It is mandatory that her or she, in order to determine the cause(s) or circumstance(s) of the reactive behavior, take personal accountability for choices made, which―unlike the abuse for which the child cannot be held responsible―are the responsibility of the adult and, to variable extent, the adolescent. As Berkeley philosopher Wallace (1999) concludes, “We have departed from the simplifying assumptions that addictive behavior is non-voluntary and that the impulses generated by addiction are irresistible”. Moral impairment and subsequent behavioral idiosyncrasy instigates, to degree, a withdrawal from the norms of society, intolerance towards the well-being of others, a predilection to assign blame, avoidance of or inability to confront the truth of the impairment, and the continuance of the behavior despite efforts otherwise.

In order to accommodate transformation, the subject must address the primary cause(s) of the abuse that led to adult reactionary behavioral difficulties.  As humans, we are inherently motivated to search for answers; ignorance of those events and circumstances that underscore the structure of our being promotes internal discontent and agitation.  A certain calm urgency is recommended in order to grasp at the things that instigate moral inadequacy. This requires ambitious and confrontational determinations of the situational causes(s), which provides us with knowledge, experience, and understanding of our psycho-physiological status.  Our grounds for behavior are so intrinsically interdependent and intertwined that the precedents, seemingly separate and distinct, must become recognizable as cumulative associations that affect each layer of our behavioral trajectory model.  It is not the delayering of the artichoke to get to the heart, it is analyzing the seemingly inexhaustible seeds within the pomegranate.

Long story short; we are all subject to the natural infirmities that affect the body complex―the harmonious homeostasis of body, mind, and spirit. Not only is there no shame in addressing our natural, prevailing imbalance, it is a comforting and necessary panacea for living-well with pride, empathy, and self-affirmation. We must continually strive for our purest identity because it is our very reason for being.

 

SOURCES

Baumrind, D. (1966).  Effects of Authoritative Parental Control on Child Behavior.  Child Development, 37(4), 887-907.  Retrieved from http://arowe.pbworks.com/f/baumrind_1966_parenting.pdf

Maslow, A. (1943). A Theory of Human Motivation  (originally published in Psychological Review, Vol. 50 #4. Washington, D. C.

Sartre, J. P. (1989). Existentialism is a Humanism. From Existentialism from Dostoyevsky to Sartre. W. Kaufman (Ed.). New York: Meridian Publishing Company.

Spinazzola, J. (2014.). Childhood Psychological Abuse as Harmful as Sexual or Physical Abuse. American Psychological Association. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2014/10/psychological-abuse.aspx

Steele, B. F. (1995). The Psychology of Child Abuse. Family Advocate, 17 (3), 29-23. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/25805697

Trimbur, C. (2015). Theories of Developmental Stages – Stages of Development. Psychology Encyclopedia. Retrieved from  http://psychology.jrank.org/pages/183/Developmental-Stages-Theories.html

Wallace, R. J. (1999).  Addiction as Defect of the Will: Some Philosophical Reflections.   Law and Philosophy, 18 (6), 621-624. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/3505095

 

MORE @ “robertfmullen.com” and “rechanneling.com”

ReChanneling is a positive motivational program that encourages the individual to consciously replace maladaptive behaviors with those of positive and comparable value while addressing the integral influences of the mind, body, and spirit.

Refining, redefining, and reinstating your values through the infinite fusion of mind, body and spirit.

In a memorable Peanut’s cartoon, Pig-Pen enters a room filled with his young colleagues.  He is spotless, his face scrubbed, cheeks rosy, hair impeccably coiffed, dressed in clean shorts, a starchly ironed shirt, and a perfect bow tie.  In the second frame we witness him mingling with his astonished friends.  A frame later he turns to leave and displays the dusty, unkempt imp we know and love: clothes frayed and torn, hair disheveled, neck grimy, mud caked on the back of his shoes, the cloud of dust enveloping him.  Charlie Brown questions the dichotomy. Pig-Pen responds, “I care what people think of me when I enter a room; I don’t care what they say when I leave.”

Those with social and other devitalizing anxieties do not have Pig-Pen’s self-assurance and insouciance.  Although born with the strength and determination to surmount the obstacles thrown at us through normal exploitation, perceived abandonment, and the natural consequences of life, we experience chronic depression―feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and unworthiness.  Pig-Pen’s ability to shrug-off the outrageous fortunes-of-life is an unreliable fantasy.  As participants in the human condition, we are often negatively affected by the demands of life and begin to accept what other people think of us, anticipating the harsh glare of less-than-adequate. We become Adhemar the fallen jouster, laid prostrate at the feet of young Thatcher: “You have been weighed, you have been measured, and you have been found wanting.”

 

1. Our Innate Desire to Improve Our Condition.

There is little suffering greater than that of an individual who deems him or herself powerless to effect change.  In someone who is consumed by anxieties and harmful behavioral traits, this feeling of helplessness, of inadequacy, can exhibit 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 the negative behavior without providing a compensating and positive replacement.  The perception of impotence―the belief that we are not the steward of our own behavior, our values, our well-being―is an unhealthy misconception that can severely inhibit our potential for growth and change.  Reconciliation with and recovery from dis-ease, stress, and immoral and maladaptive behavior is achieved only through unequivocal acceptance of our condition, and our willingness to change.

In the tradition of Platonic elegance, we are all innately drawn towards the desire for excellence.  Through ReChanneling, we refine that goodness extant within us, redefine that which has been distorted or falsified, and reinstate that which has been lost or misplaced.  The methods found in ReChanneling are effective in the resolution of multiple behavioral neuroses including social and other anxieties, coping with loss or a stressful situation, depression, and other symptoms of discomfort and dis-ease.

 

2. GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder).

GAD affects 6.8 million adults or 3.1 percent of the U.S. population.  GAD is characterized by persistent and excessive concern which can materialize in anxiety, depression, panic, phobias, social anxiety, stress, bulimia, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other neuroses.  GAD can express itself in anger, a low opinion of self, and physical health problems, like pain or fatigue. Individuals with GAD find it difficult to control their anxiety.  They worry more than seems warranted about actual events or may expect the worst even when there is no apparent reason for concern.  People with GAD often anticipate disaster and may be overly concerned with everyday, typical life circumstances, worrying even when there is nothing wrong, or in a manner disproportionate to actual risk.

 

3. SAD (Social Anxiety Disorder)

The essential features of Social Anxiety is a marked and persistent fear of social or performance situations in what may ostensibly result in embarrassment or perceptions of rejection and ridicule.  Those with this disorder recognize that their fear is excessive or unreasonable ―but that doesn’t stop it from being and affecting our quality of life.  In these feared situations, individuals with Social Anxiety are afraid that others will judge us to be anxious, weak, inadequate, inefficient, dull, stupid, ad infinitum.  Symptoms of anxiety can include palpitations, tremors, sweating, gastrointestinal discomfort, diarrhea, muscle tension, blushing, confusion, etc.  The fear or avoidance that results from social anxiety can wreak psycho-physiological havoc to our normal routine, occupational or academic functioning, or social activities or relationships.

Common associated features of SAD include extreme sensitivity to criticism, negative self-evaluation, perception of unworthiness, preconceived rejection or dismissal, unassertiveness, timidity, and low self-esteem or feelings of inferiority.  Social Anxiety can control your life.  Many individuals with SAD desire companionship but their fear of looking foolish or rejection is so severe they avoid social situations altogether or engage in substance-abuse. SAD is especially prevalent in the LGBT community.

Remedy is achievable once we unequivocally accept our condition and engage the willingness to change.  It takes concerted effort (self-analysis and repetition) in order to rewire the neural networks so firmly established from years of negative thinking.  This doesn’t happen overnight―the neural network that memorializes our habitual actions must physically realign themselves.  We don’t have to change all 80+ million nerve cells but we have to reroute those that produce the anxiety and that takes time.

 

CBRT (Cognitive Behavioral ReChanneling Therapy)

Cognitive theory assumes that anxiety, maladaptive behavior, and poor self-image (components of dis-ease) are the result of inappropriate or irrational thinking patterns caused by deep-seated reactions to situations and conditions.  CBRT addresses the restructuring of the mind (the rerouting of our neural networks) by disputing these irrational thoughts and beliefs and substituting rational ones until they become automatic or habitual replacements to the irrational thoughts.

The Behavioral component of CBRT requires the individual’s participation in an active, structured therapy group consisting of people with similar distress or neurosis, training these individuals to modify their negative tendencies through activities that address the discomforting behaviors with alternate exercises and repetitious behavioral activities.

ReChanneling encourages the individual to consciously replace the maladaptive behavior with one of positive and comparable value while addressing the integral influences of the mind, body, and spirit.  ReChanneling emphasizes the homeostasis of the beingness-complex through the combination of contemporary cognitive and experiential remedial theories, the authentic presence and emotional recollection of Stanislavski’s method, and the Arbhidharmic concepts of mindfulness governance.

 

CBRT is a powerful tool used to address emotional challenges. In terms of anxiety, some of the everyday issues or behavioral problems that are addressed include:

  • misperception of ourselves in terms of appearance, ability, and self-worth,
  • feelings of guilt and embarrassment arising from past social situations,
  • anger arising from past situations,
  • self-assertion strategies to rid us of passive-aggressive expressions,
  • the illusion of perfectionism and the perils of pursuit,
  • procrastination due to anxiety worries and doubts,
  • techniques for coping with stressful life situations,
  • emotional awareness and management,
  • resolution of relationship conflicts through effective communication,
  • coping with grief or loss.

The CBRT programs typically train you to:

  • Identify troubling situations or conditions in your life. These may include such issues as a medical condition, divorce, grief, anger, or other symptoms of dis-ease or distress.  You and your mentor will identify what problems and goals you want to focus on.
  • Become aware of your thoughts, emotions and beliefs about these problems. Once you’ve identified the problems to work on, your mentor will encourage you to share your thoughts about them.  Through discourse and introspection, you will be able to identify the causes and discover solutions
  • Identify negative or inaccurate thinking. To help you recognize patterns of thinking and behavior that may be contributing to your problem, you and your mentor will analyze the contributing factors and triggers through the analysis of the integrality of the mind, body, and spirit.
  • Redefine maladaptive or inaccurate thinking. You and your mentor will discover whether your view of a situation is based on fact or on an inaccurate perception of what’s going on.  This step can be difficult because your neural pathways have become static due to long-standing ways of thinking and acquired habits.  With practice, helpful thinking and behavior patterns will become a replaceable habit and your neural networks will begin to realign appropriately.

 

Through ReChanneling, you will master the integral fusion of the mind, body, and spirit as it is refined, redefined, and reinstated through:

1) Cognitive restructuring, which involves correcting your inappropriate or irrational thinking patterns.  Clients with psychological disorders have incorrect beliefs about the dangers that situations pose, and these patterns are addressed and restructured.

2) Exposure, which consists of role-playing activities designed to get clients to confront comparable situations.  It is part of the behavioral aspect of CBRT where attention is paid to stressful conditions through safe and careful experiments.

3) Homework.  It is recommended that the client spend about 30-minutes daily, practicing certain exercises.  Much can be accomplished through the conscious application of positive and comparable replacement behaviors.  In the evening it is suggested that the client mentally revisit the day’s events and evaluate what worked and what could be improved upon.  These homework assignments are specifically designed towards the individual needs of each client.

4) Introspection (inner-discourse) is simply conversing with yourself about the day’s stressful events and how they affect your quality of life.  For those things for which we do not have immediate answers, the client is encouraged to let-it-go (relax, sleep) and allow the internal computer do the work for you.

5) Journaling.  Memorialize your thoughts and conclusions in written form.  Many people avoid this element because it seems repetitive, annoying, and time-consuming.  Yet, how many times have we thought of something significant and forgotten it within seconds because something else replaced the thought?  A brief notation on a notepad, or transmitting it into a tape-recorder or your cellular phone will memorialize the thought until you later disseminate it in the journal. These thoughts are essential for the client-mentor discourse.

 

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© 2017 ReChanneling
Dr. Robert F. Mullen
robertfmullen.com
ReChanneling@yahoo.com
415-305-5895