Transform Myself Inc.

Transform Myself Inc., a nonprofit subsidiary of Unity Ministries, has contracted with ReChanneling™ to produce a series of cognitive behavioral restructuring workshops for persons with social anxiety. The second pair of practicum’s, scheduled in San Francisco and Oakland early next year, is for gay and gay-friendly men. Later meetings will broaden to include men of all persuasions. It is estimated that around 32 million Americans have been afflicted with social anxiety. That number doubles for the LGBT community. As per guidelines by the America Psychological Association, each 10–hour Workshop is limited to twelve participants.

Transform Myself Inc. is founded on the principle that all persons are possessed of the inherent human potential to expand the boundaries of normal life into that of extraordinary vision and determination. To this goal, the Bay Area-based nonprofit group provides the tools for renewed self-reliance, transformation, and emphatic interaction. Established by a coalition of dedicated professionals committed to giving back to the community, Transform Myself Inc. is uniquely qualified to provide support for those individuals and organizations who wish to achieve self-fulfillment and prosperity through a variety of diverse and compassionate programs including Unity World Wide Ministries, ReChanneling™, and Death Cafe.

transform

Unity Ministry. Unity World Wide Ministries is a positive, practical, progressive approach to Christianity. With well over 80,000 participants, Unity honors the universal truths in all religions and respects each individual’s right to choose a spiritual path.
 Classes
 Guest Speaking
 Support and Assistance to Other Ministries
 Workshops and Lectures on Spiritual Economics

Neural
Our complex neural network can be easily manipulated through repetition.

ReChanneling™ addresses behavioral issues through enhanced cognitive behavioral restructuring of the neural pathways that have been distorted by years of neglect and mismanagement.
 Workshops
 Social Anxiety
 Speaking Engagements
 Personal Development Seminars
 Corporate and Nonprofit Training Motivational Seminars

Death Café is an international movement that continues to grow since its inception almost a decade ago. It focuses on providing and facilitating informal gatherings that encourage those who wish to explore the many issues around death and dying to do so in a safe, confidential, and non-judgmental setting. Such exploration may allow individuals to enjoy an expanded view of dying while enabling them to make helpful decisions that will positively affect their (finite) lives. To date there have been approximately 7000 such gatherings worldwide.

Individual and Group Counseling
 Psychological
 Social Anxiety
 Workshops on Grief

In this era of complexity besieged with social discomfort and spiritual malaise, Transform Myself Inc. is dedicated to supporting and guiding those who aspire to recapture awareness of their potential to find purpose and to lift the human spirit.

Embrace the Possibility

The following draft is my opening salvo to my upcoming book,
Confessions of a Profligate:
A Philosophy of Revitalization and Human Achievability.

If you don’t believe a leopard can change its spots then this book will serve you well. You have the ability but lack right perspective―an empathetic receptivity to divergent points of view. You deny the creative capacity that flourishes in the enlightened awareness of human ingenuity. Stretch the leopard’s spots to stripes and it is a tiger. Spruce up the spots and poof―a jaguar. Can you not see the possibilities? “It’s not scientific,” you argue. You mean the science that is the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment? Observe the Jaguar over its lifetime; the spots expand as it matures, diminish as it molts, degrade as it ages, and disintegrate after death. And what is experimentation but a means to prove the validity of possibility?

Your resistance is formidable. “It’s not logical.” But isn’t logic simply a particular way of thinking about or understanding something? “No,’ you argue, ‘logic is an undeniable resolution to a problem.” But logic is an inexact science, subject to unbridled fluidity, contingent on experience, emotion, virtue, intuition, instinct, perception, ad infinitum. This is a study of human experience. Your thoughts flicker endlessly, assumptions and conclusions compromised by every occasion. Is it not plausible to claim that a jaguar does, indeed, change its spots, if utilizing the element of human imagination and hubris? I could go on but you are shaking your head in frustration. You cannot dispute the evidence given the conditions imposed. It’s argument by manipulation, nonetheless, I have proven my point. You are Adhemar in The Knight’s Tale―Adhemar, the fallen jouster, who lies defeated at young Thatcher’s feet. “You have been weighted, you have been measured, and you have been found wanting.”

In my proclivity to pat myself on the back, I have neglected the most important aspects of argument―a willingness to entertain conflicting perspective, and the element of persuasion. By defining the parameters, I controlled the argument, limiting your capacity for reasonable discourse. You may have unenthusiastically deferred to my premise, but I did not capture your heart and mind. I have not lifted Adhemar from the dirt, brushed him off, attended to his wounds, and paid the appropriate respect. I have been found wanting. Both you as reader, and I as purveyor of possibility must agree to a novel participation, a being with and within the other, the resulting osmosis experiencing the other’s physical, emotional, and even spiritual presence.

I offer you a journey into the moral justifications of a profligate―a modest tale, not of the prodigal son’s return, but of the battles endured. My justification for revealing an unexemplary past manifests as you step into these pages. Vicariously, you may relish the tragicomic repercussions of ill-advised exploits; comparatively, you will observe the mirror’s reflection.

Contrary to opinion and the anonymous programs, epiphanies are a dime-a-dozen; the universe provides an unending supply of opportunity for reflection and rejuvenation. We are remarkably adept at evading what’s best for us. But when your disconnectedness, brought on by your failure to confront your inner-demons, becomes so fundamentally discomforting that resolution is essential for survival, it doesn’t take a genius to conclude action is warranted. So when I found myself at yet another proverbial fork-in-the-road, for better or worse, I was faced with that same nagging decision: choose what’s best or choose what’s easy.

To my left, a luminous walkway full of the familiar beckoned. The alternative path was obscured by shadows and apprehension, its odor a mix of decay and blossom. It seemed like a ‘no-brainer’ but, as I ventured down the path of complacency, I was met with a ghostly phalanx of the cheated, manipulated, and abandoned. My self-loathing steered me away from the mundane and led me down the trail of most resistance. The only road I could have taken was the road I took.” But let me be clear, my conversion was no miracle, but a metanormal occasion caused by an intentional choice of what I considered the lesser evil, an event that led me to this narrative.

Fork

I will not suffer anything in this book be construed as cutting-edge, scintillating new thought. It is methodological revisionism assembled from multiple sources and disciplines―yet another metamorphic shift in consciousness. The foundations of this book did not originate with me but with collective experience and theorem provided by better thinkers than I who have helped shaped my philosophy of human potential.

The principles adapted for ReChanneling are not esoteric, mysterious, or ‘religious,’ but part-and-parcel of every enduring social philosophy and ethical system. They are self-evident, easily validated by any individual who pursues rightness. The guidelines illuminate the potential that resides within all of us to harness that special aptitude for extraordinary living, the inherent capacity to lift the human spirit.

It is my fond wish that all readers entertain these theories with certain and benevolent suspicion. Skepticism, where gainfully employed, is a useful tool. A former professor defines skepticism as “the chastity of the intellect …The mind that seeks the deepest intellectual fulfillment does not give itself up to every passing ideal.”

You will not be empowered by practices outlined in this book. Methodologies, no matter how certain, do not capacitate but provide the means for empowerment. The creativity resides within you and the commitment is yours, alone. My assignment is to furnish the bricks and mortar, yours is to build the structure. The overarching premise of this book is that the secrets of the universe have been thrust into human consciousness but remain veiled until grasped through the cooperation of evolution and metanormal access. I challenge you to erect your noble edifice with the multitude of tools provided. I will assist you.

Innumerable proprietary and unique qualities underscore your humanness. Your awareness of being aware, the primary factor of your sentience, offers hope, piques your imagination, and enables self-reflection. It is recognition of this awareness that is human consciousness as we know it, an underdeveloped and feared acquisition that underscores your mistaken perception of inadequacy. It is your over-compensating egotism that overwhelms the inner voice-of-reason that substantiates your universal significance.

All the world is suffering, many say―but they are misinformed. Suffering connotes a purgatorial existence of physical torture, which is counterproductive in its gravity of message. The more reasonable condition of humanity is a state of distress or dis-ease. The word dukkha or ‘suffering’ that underscores the Four Nobel Truths can be translated multiple ways including anxiety, constraint, distress, and so on. Let me paraphrase in a more constructive yet lawful manner. We live in a world filled with discontent. We take responsibility for this discontent. To remedy is to cease doing what it is that generates this discontent. Through strength and determination, we can ameliorate this discontent. To put it another way, your life sucks―it’s your fault your life sucks because you keep doing whatever it is that makes your life suck. Maybe if you stop doing what it is that makes your life suck, it won’t suck as much. Carpe diem!

“I’m afraid I’m a hopeless case,” you protest, secretly concluding otherwise. Resistance is an annoying trait of indiscriminate conditioning. Your condition is your current state of being as consequence of your reaction and adaptation to experience and circumstance. Each of you is blessed with the qualities and uniqueness of your conditioning. It is these sensitivities that dictate your beliefs, peculiarities, fears, aspirations, and so on. They define who you are and you are defined by them. Now it’s up to you to redefine them. It’s realizing your condition that underscores your indefatigable thirst for a better life. Nietzsche writes, “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how;” that how is underscored by hope and resolution.

Reconciliation with your inherent goodness is crucial to your transformation. Time is of the essence, procrastination an ill-fated alternative. We have since passed King’s urgency of now. Humanity has entered the sixth epoch of complexity, the one in which the universe wakes up. The higher the degree of complexity, the more substantial the consciousness. Maslow has expanded his stages of human motivational development with the penultimate self-transcendence. So what is this metanormal act of which philosophers and mystics wax poetic? Commonly, an existence or experience beyond the normal or physical level. It is attained through a deliberate metanormal occasion; an event that rarely materializes in a display of sugarplums but is the outcome of years of dedication. To attain something means you have achieved something by actually working for it.

Does this mean the world as you know it is coming to an end? Is humanity’s shelf-life due for expiration? I don’t pretend to know and that’s not the matter before us. “Then what’s the rush,” you challenge? To which I respond, “why put it off?” The road to excellence is long but each step brings you closer to the magnificent person you have the potential to become―the person who recognizes the capacity to expand the boundaries of normal life into one of extraordinary vision and determination. You say why bother, I say it’s the rational thing to do. 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?

It is yourself, and only yourself, over which you have complete control and the ability to restore that inherency of competence which has been misplaced. This should not be a worrisome struggle but one that fills you with pride and eagerness. In the film Bridge of Spies, Rudolf Abel, the Soviet agent faces the possibility of the death penalty. His lawyer, befuddled by Rudolf’s impassive demeanor, whispers, “Aren’t you at all worried?” The convict shrugs. “Would it help?” Don’t worry, be audacious.

Change is inevitable. The person you are today is not the person you were yesterday. The life you lead before entering a room is not the life you embrace upon leaving. Your body perpetually modifies, cells reproduce and die, and your neural network readapts incessantly. Your perspective shifts, and what was concrete yesterday is fluid today. Every new occasion provides an awakening and a reevaluation of what you thought you knew prior to that moment. I realize the concept of spirituality can be daunting or annoying to some so, for the sake of clarity, let’s narrowly define it as the deliberate aspiration towards and participation within virtue and inner consciousness, anything else being justifiably enigmatic. There can be no argument there.

Change is a naturally occurring dynamic, a constant and inevitable modification of what is. While most change is merely a happening within a system of happenings, you are unique in your ability to deliberately change. This change is transformative because you can only intentionally change for the better. The road to hell is not paved by good intentions but by inaction; without intent, there is no deliberate action, without thought, there is no deliberation, and without action, there is no progress. Every decision you make is determined by who you think you are, and what you can and should become is determined by what you believe you can become. In Goethe’s words, “Treat a man as he is and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he can be and he will become what he can and should be.”

Transformation is liberation, fluidity and flexibility, acceptance and embracement. Transformation is creation. It absolves you of your tired identities, preconceptions, expectations, and so on; it exposes you to possibility. Don’t be afraid of change, dearest reader. Exploit your potential and grasp the uncharted. In the memorable words of Yogi Berra, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

A friend once asked me, in his loving but annoying way, “Are you happy?” I responded as I always do when avoiding an issue. “Define happiness.” Moralists throughout history have pondered this conundrum. Happiness is harmony. The secret to happiness is freedom. Happiness is giving up all worldly goods. There is no satisfying universal answer, only pithy slogans to bolster personal ideology. Nothing in life is absolute except in mathematics, and quantum is challenging that. No blacks or whites, only depths of gray; no excess or deficiency, but degrees of moderation. “Death is absolute,” you say, very pleased with yourself. However, my statement was, nothing in life is absolute. “God is absolute!” To which god(s) are you referring, and are you absolutely sure? Everything exists in varying intensities, in waves, in gradations.

The universe abounds with possibility. Possibility is the compost of art and ideas, companionship and collaboration, hope and promise. Open your heart and mind and let the possible play havoc on your senses. If your shutters are closed the sunlight can’t penetrate. I spent many years mucking about in fear and ignorance; I know well the prison of stagnancy and hopelessness. To quote Cat Stevens, “I was once like you are now, and I know that it’s not easy.” Resistance is not only futile, it’s destructive nature can crush any chance of rejuvenation. It is my fervent wish that something in this book will shatter your resistance because I remember the unbearability of solitude. Deliberate ignorance is the loneliest and most unforgiving consequence of weakness; it is capitulating to your perception of inconsequentiality. It doesn’t have to be so. You are anything but inconsequential.

Your life is an exquisite work-in-progress, an integral and creative force of nature. You are a conduit of creative energy, of the information that creates the universe. You are an active agent of all future becomings. You are creativity itself, responsible for capturing, preserving, and passing along the entire history of the universe! Science and philosophy have determined that you are not a useless, forgettable being, autonomous and alien, passing others like a ship in the night; you are integral and interrelated to all things, the life’s blood of being, the ultimate, dynamic, creative ground of the universe(s).

“Why are you writing this book?” The question was put to me by an aggressive young programmer in one of my practicum groups. Overtaken by a rush of hubris, I blurted, “because I can.” The truth was, I hadn’t yet put into words, my vision for this enterprise, my philosophy of revitalization and human achievability. Why did I write this book? Because I have something important to share. This is about addressing the injurious and maladaptive behaviors that shadow your condition, the accumulation of discontent and lack of self-esteem that leads to pain and suffering, revealing its wrongness in psycho-physiological complications that have the power to harm every fiber of your being―and those of others with whom you are inextricably intertwined. To reiterate, your life sucks―but it’s your fault your life sucks because you keep doing whatever it is that makes your life suck.

There is no instant gratification in behavior modification; it is an often-grueling, life-long work-in-progress. After all, it took you years to create your condition. But there is the element of exponential gain. A single seed yields a single plant, which germinates two more; one succumbs to nature while the other thrives. You have doubled your output. Four plants become eight, eight, sixteen, ad infinitum. Nature is infallible; you are of nature, goodness is your nature. Your potential is like a muscle, the more you use it the stronger it becomes. So be fearless and headstrong, dear colleagues. Your neural network is a tireless computer; program it properly, fill it with positive data and let the damn thing do what it was created to do. Philosopher Matshona Dhowayo writes, “Roses do not bloom hurriedly; for beauty, like any masterpiece, takes time to blossom.”

You are created in perfect homeostasis, your neural network a cohesive unit, your brain chemistry harmonic. Throughout your life, you acquire all the ‘stuff’ that cramps your condition, hurling your Integral Human Complex (mind, body, emotion, spirit) into a tailspin. As you struggle to regain balance, your metanormal capacity for moving on to a better condition reawakens. To make the most of this potential you must take unequivocal responsibility for your condition. “But not everything is my fault,” you protest. “True,’ I concede, ‘you are unaccountable for events beyond your control but you are responsible for how you react and interpret those events. You may not have control over the cards you have been dealt, but you are responsible for how you play the hand you have been given. The perception of impotence―the belief that you are not the steward of your own behavior, your values, and your well-being―is an unhealthy misconception that severely inhibits your potential for growth and change.

Neurons are the core components of the brain and the facilitators of memory, thought, emotion, and consciousness. Sensory neurons respond to touch, sound, light, and all other stimuli affecting the cells of the sensory organs. A synapse is a structure that permits a neuron (or nerve cell) to pass an electrical or chemical signal to another neuron. Your brain picks-up all the mental and external stimuli of the senses. As your network adapts from each experience, your synapses reconstitute, giving them greater or lesser excitatory or inhibitory effect. Repeated exposure to an addictive substance or behavior causes nerve cells to restructure to accommodate the impulse. In a nutshell, the neurons readapt continually in response to the stimuli. Everything good, bad, and indifferent is coded. In order to recover from low self-esteem, maladaptive behavior, addiction, and so on, your neural network must be allotted the time to reassemble its architecture.

Neural

The sanctioned method of behavior modification, endorsed by the American Psychological Association, is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, a methodology that addresses mental and behavioral issues but does not directly facilitate the emotional and spiritual. It’s insufficient by half. ReChanneling addresses the entirety of the Integral Human Complex, the totality of your being. It utilizes enhanced cognitive and behavioral procedures, Stanislavski’s emotional comprehension, and the Abhidharmic concepts of ethical governance

Cognitive theory assumes that your discontent is the result of inappropriate or irrational thinking patterns caused by deep-seated reactions to situations and conditions. It addresses the physical rerouting of your neural networks by disputing your irrational thoughts and beliefs, substituting rational ones by means of conscious mental repetition until they become automatic replacements.

The central core of your mental activity consists of certain repetitive and persistent thoughts, emotions, and reactive patterns that establish the behaviors you identify with most strongly. When the negativity is such that your outlook on life becomes warped or intolerable, the behavioral component of CBT aids in replacing old patterns of self-defeating behavior with new patterns and thoughts that underscore your value and self-worth.

To incorporate the spiritual element of the Integral Human Complex, ReChanneling focuses on the Abhidharmic teachings, which promote the virtue of right-living as guidelines for revitalization and transformation. You modify your aberrations by consciously redirecting your life to benevolent action.

Have you ever, in the heat of passion, said something you regret? Do your emotions dictate your behavior, or are you able to manage their volatility? Stanislavski’s practices evidence how simple, learned techniques assist in understanding your emotions as they relate to various stimuli. Rather than succumbing to emotional instability, this awareness prevents reactionary outburst and inconsistency due to lack of foresight and proper perspective. Just as kind words are creative and affirming, bitter words spoken in the heat of passion can generate incalculable damage.

ReChanneling addressees your totality by providing you the means to consciously replace negative addiction, maladaptive behavior, and any accompanying anxiety and dis-ease with positive and superior aspects of self-affirmation. Why a replacement? If you have dug a hole for yourself, stopping the digging does not remove the hole. In order for you to not recidivate (fall back) into the hole, it’s prudent to replace the dirt. Why superior? You’re less likely to dig the same hole if you have planted a prize-winning rosebush in its place. A particularly enthusiastic young actor tried substituting NoDoz and a Red Bull chaser for his crystal meth habit. He knew his efforts defeated the purpose but he was desperate to cold turkey―another example of the predisposition for a quick fix for a perennial problem. It is crucial to compensate for the sense of loss from the disposition of a harmful habit with a positive and superior replacement, not one of proportionate destruction.

And what is this ‘metanormal’ potential, I so strongly endorse? It’s simply your inherent ability to do great things, to evolve beyond the status-quo to a higher level of understanding and productivity. It’s a deliberate, evolutionary nudge that is within your power to engage. You have extraordinary potential which you have yet to fully understand or utilize. While some tout the advantages of enhanced performance or creative ability, I believe this evolutionary capacity can best lead you to a better awareness of your potential for living an extraordinary life and for sharing that vision with others. Your ability to act on this potential is exponentially amplified as you rediscover your authenticity and accept your innate self-worth, significance, and value.

Rather than ‘therapy,’ ReChanneling encourages you to think of these seminars, sessions, and workshops as, ‘practicum’s,’ because it is you who takes control, performs the work, and assumes responsibility. In therapy, you are a patient delegating credit for your recovery to your therapist. It’s not supposed to work that way but that is the nature of the beast. However, you are neither victim nor patient. A victim, by definition, is someone who attributes responsibility for his or her condition to an other rather than taking personal accountability. A patient is someone who relies on others for remedy, again assigning responsibility for recovery rather than assuming ownership. A person-in-practicum is one who applies theory or methodology in response to a situation or condition. You are the architect of your own condition, the custodian of your own behavior.

Embrace that within this book which fulfills your needs or expectations. As in life, take care to not discard what does not seem worthwhile but compartmentalize it in the possibility that it may be of value in the future. The methods, anecdotes, and personal histories are illustrations of the philosophical and psychological mechanisms I and others have employed to rechannel our moral turpitude, address dis-ease and discontent, and embrace the potential for revitalization and metanormal transformation. Life may be short but it is profoundly consequential, as you are all endowed with the awesome ability to lift the human spirit.

Let’s get to work.

THE FLUID PARAMETERS OF RESPONSIBILITY

SOCIAL ANXIETY DISORDER

In publications and workshops, we emphasize that anyone committed to positive change must shoulder unequivocal responsibility for his or her condition. While not responsible for the cards dealt, we are responsible for how we play the hand given. Those of us resolved to modify our behavior or condition cannot abrogate responsibility to another. That being said, there are limits to this responsibility. Let’s explore this using social anxiety as our point of reference.

Social anxiety is the fear of social situations that involve interaction with other people. It is the debilitating fear and anxiety of being negatively evaluated and judged. It is a pervasive disorder that affects multiple areas of a person’s life. It keeps people in self-initiated solitary confinement. Fittingly, its acronym is SAD (Social Anxiety Disorder). SAD is chronic because it does not go away on its own―but it can be remedied. Since less than 37% of those suffering choose to receive treatment, the nickname, SAP (Socially Anxious Person) suggests that a person with SAD is, indeed, a SAP if he or she chooses to avoid successful methods of recovery and continues to wallow in misery and isolation.

Anxiety disorder is the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults or about 18% of the population. In the LGBT community, somewhere between 30 and 60 percent deal with anxiety and depression at some point in their lives. That rate is 1.5 to 2.5 times higher than that of their straight or gender-conforming counterparts. Our San Francisco based, gay social anxiety workshop generated over 300 participants in the first year. You are not alone!

SAD 3

SAD Defeatism

Let’s assume you are a person with SAD. When you enter a social situation, you are affected by the unsubstantiated criticisms of others. These feelings are aggravated by your own self-defeating narratives. You worry about your appearance, what you might say, how you are perceived by others. Your Integral Human Complex (body, mind, and spirit) is overwhelmed by self-doubt. Physically, you may hyperventilate, your stomach in knots, as you avert your eyes and sidle to a safe zone. Emotionally, you’re consumed by self-doubt and hesitancy; spiritually, depression and isolation overcome any sense of belonging. The irony is, you have far more to fear from your own distorted perceptions than the opinions of others. Your imagination takes you to dark and lonely places. Upon leaving an event or situation, different self-esteem issues emerge as your imagination creates false scenarios and you obsess about your prior behavior.

Your neurosis underscores a degree of self-absorption that borders on narcissism, the psychoanalytic definition of which is self-centeredness arising from failure to distinguish the self from external object―from the reality of the situation. This is a common characteristic of SAD. Narcissism does not have to be a disorder, however. To clarify this abstract assertion requires an understanding of classicist definitions of love.

The Greeks’ delineated eight types of love including sexual passion, brotherly love, puppy love and so on. Philautia describes a type of love that can be either selfish or selfless. The adverse is self-centeredness―a destructive preoccupation with the perceptions of others. Healthy philautia, on the other hand, is the kind of self-affirmation produced by an inveterate sense of inner-worth and value―the emotional competence that allows you to embrace your capacity to empathize. It is extremely difficult to accept love unless you have the ability to initiate and reciprocate, and that ability is generated by your own sense of self-assuredness. In the throes of your illness, you immerse yourself in the selfish aspect of philautia. As you recover from SAD, recollection of your own suffering encourages you to become increasingly sensitive to the needs and conditions of others.

Perceptions

Conditioning is an individual’s current state of being as consequence of his or her reactions and adaptations to experience and circumstance. Each of you is blessed with the qualities and uniqueness of your conditioning. It is these sensitivities that dictate your beliefs, peculiarities, fears, aspirations, and so on. They define you and you are defined by them. They unremittingly adapt to, and are augmented by new experience and circumstance. No individual can truly grasp at your totality because you are in constant flux. You are subject to your unique conditioning. Perceptions are, at best, uninformed and biased speculations. We emphasize this to illustrate that opinions are specious and inaccurate reflections of individual, singular fears, prejudices, affections, disappointments. They are perpetually flawed and not worth a proverbial tinker’s damn. Only your opinion of you is an opinion worth examining.

SAD 2

It is your own negative self-worth that permits you to be negatively affected by the opinions and thoughts of others. Accepting their impressions and opinions as certainty is a self-defeating existence. It is your uniqueness and individuality that is of import and, if your condition is flawed or distressed, then it is up to you to seek remedy for your own self-mortification.

Not Your Problem!

When we expose ourselves to others in social situations, we subject ourselves to three correlating forms of feedback: first impressions, reactionary opinions, and post-impressions

First Impressions are meaningless. Initial reactions are prejudicial and gratuitous consequences of an individual’s condition. No one can make a well-informed assessment of someone they see for the first time. Yet, it is your own stuff, your personal negative narcissism that legitimizes these non-constructive impressions corrupted by another’s experience and circumstance. You may physically remind someone of an abusive ex-lover or an annoying teacher. An obese person may be affronted by your figure. In any case, one thing remains constant. An assessment generated by first impression is meaningless. It is Not Your Problem!

Reactionary Opinions are assumptions made during or immediately following interaction with a person or group. Best-selling teen author, Simone Elkeles writes “Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one but they think each others’ stink.” They are emotional reactions to scattered aspects of your presentation. Your presentation is the way in which you present yourself and any reaction to this presentation is perverted and distorted by condition. Your personality may conjure images of a mother-in-law or a teenage bully. The tenor of your voice may bring an unconscious memory, your race a bias, and so on. It is imperative that you recognize that you are not responsible for someone else’s uninformed and meritless opinion. If you are attempting to be as authentic as you can be in your current condition, there is no reason in-the-world to assume responsibility for unsubstantiated perceptions. It’s Not Your Problem!

Post-impressions: once you have left the event or situation you, obviously, have no control over what people think. What’s done is done. You can’t revisit the past. You can’t change it. Yet, more often than not, this is when your fragile psyche subjects itself to the greatest damage. Why did I tell that joke? Did I drink too much? Why didn’t I talk to him? Did I wear the wrong color socks? It’s called Second Guessing Neurosis (SGN). SGN is defined as retroactively changing the construction and outcome of a situation or event. In colloquial jargon, it’s fantasizing a different result. So you made a mistake, called someone the wrong name, said something inappropriate. Join the club of this too shall pass. Learn from it and move on.

One more piece of irony. Not only does your insecurity seduce you into rewriting reality, it compels you to subvert the positive. In other words, because you doubt the probability that you made a good impression, you dwell on your perceived gaffes and errors-in-judgment. No matter how good an impression you make, you pervert the experience by tearing it down. It’s characteristic self-destruct by the SAP. You have the choice between darkness and light and you choose to blindly walk into walls.

Overall, you worry too much about what someone else thinks of you. In the film Bridge of Spies, Rudolf Abel, the Soviet agent faces the possibility of the death penalty. His lawyer, befuddled by Rudolf’s impassive demeanor, whispers, “Aren’t you at all worried?” The convict shrugs. “Would it help?”

Rather than bemoaning, why did I do that, rechannel the emphasis. Why did I do that? What persuaded me to react or respond in that way? Everyone makes errors-in-judgment, says something inappropriate, tells a bad joke. A good comedian will take the ‘bomb’ and turn it into humorous self-deprecation. A teacher who is not getting though to a student will instinctively try a different approach. A politician will change the subject. Although they make it appear spontaneous, they have rigorously trained themselves to do so. Rather than obsessing about your mistakes and miscalculations, use them as learning tools. You’re only allowed to blame yourself for your mistake if you ignore the lesson―if you don’t learn from it. You’re not stupid or an idiot or a jerk for making a mistake or acquiescing to your fears―you’re human! (You are a few fries short of a Happy Meal, however, if you don’t attempt to fix the problem.)

Change Your Focus

Your being, your totality is blessed by three separate yet complementary components―mind, body, and spirit. It’s important for your health to find a balance amongst the three, and to learn to use them in support of one another. For example, when you perceive yourself being attacked, learn to rechannel that sinking sensation with something positive. Mentally replace the injury by going to a familiar place of confidence. Rechannel your emotional reaction by intellectually affirming that unjustified criticism has no validity. Temper your angst, spiritually, by closing your eyes, breathing deeply, or taking a short walk. Simply stated, train yourself to instinctively replace the maladaptive behavior or reaction with one of positive and superior value. Rather than feeling persecuted, control the situation.

SAD 5

Step outside yourself in your tiny world, and visualize the situation as an outside observer or film director. Analyze your presentation from an intellectual perspective. Study your behavior, evaluate it. Compliment the things you did well and work on what you perceive are deficits. That’s cognitive behavioral therapy in a nutshell. In simpler terms, know yourself.

You are unique. You have distinctive DNA, different experiences, beliefs, sensibilities, tastes. Some of you are great at math, some nature lovers, some like astronomy, some are intuitive. There is no one like you, you are one of a kind. That makes you special. Reexamine the qualities that celebrate your uniqueness and rechannel any perceived lack of self-worth into pride of your individuality. If you are doing your best and truly desire to tap the kindness and strength resident within you, then you have nothing to be ashamed of and nothing to fear.

ReChanneling is a method of recovery and revitalization for those who struggle for self-affirmation. It is a program designed to assist in developing ways to replace negative addiction and maladaptive behavior caused by your neurosis through cognitive-behavioral therapy and auxiliary learning techniques―mechanisms constructed to teach you to rediscover your innate value and self-worth.

Creator and facilitator of ReChanneling, Dr. Mullen suffered from SAD for many years. His recovery is illustration of the dynamic potential inherent in all of us.

ReChanneling
ReChanneling@yahoo.com
robertfmullen.com
415-305-5895

ReChanneling

Butterfly

There is little suffering greater than that of an individual who deems him or herself powerless to effect personal change. In someone who is consumed by harmful behavioral patterns, this feeling of helplessness, of inadequacy, exhibits itself in anguish, despair, shame―even grief. One major dysfunction of many standard behavioral recovery programs is their adoption of powerlessness as an acceptable catalyst for growth; others focus on eliminating negative behavior without compensating the loss.

The perception of impotence―the belief that we are not the stewards of our own behavior, our values, our well-being―is an unhealthy misconception that severely inhibits our potential for growth. Reconciliation with and recovery from immoral and maladaptive behavior is achieved only through unequivocal acceptance of our condition, a commitment to the rigors of rehabilitation, and our willingness to forgive.

In order to regenerate our condition of moral inadequacy to positive value we must accept full responsibility for our actions. We are the agents of change, of transformation; assigning responsibility to an other for self-created, impaired behavior is impediment to recovery. The only ‘higher-power’ that needs to be acknowledged and accessed is extant within each of us. The program of ReChanneling is designed to illustrate methods to replace negative addiction and maladaptive behavior through studied and applied methodologies, and auxiliary learning techniques―mechanisms constructed to realize our innate greater goodness through human potential. ReChanneling is an innovative and successful program of recovery and revitalization for those who struggle for self-affirmation and meaning.

Through this program, rather than embracing every negative emotion, behavior, and perception as an entrenched element of our being, we learn to recognize it as opportunity for revitalization. Through ReChanneling, we refine the inherent goodness resident within us, redefine that goodness into greater goodness, and reinstate that greater goodness which is an innate component of our being.

ReChanneling is a program of positive behavioral modification that adopts contemporary cognitive and behavioral remedial theories utilizing the entirety of the Integral Human Complex while recognizing that any loss or diminishment of maladaptation must be compensated by superior adaptation. Simply stated, ReChanneling drives the individual to consciously replace the maladaptive behavior with one of positive and superior value while analyzing the impact of the integral components of the mind, body, and spirit.

Cognitive theory assumes that maladaptive behavior and neurosis (components of dis-ease) are the results of inappropriate or irrational thinking patterns caused by ingrained reactions to situations and conditions experienced by the individual. Cognition addresses the restructuring of the mind―the physical rerouting of our neural networks―by disputing these irrational thoughts and beliefs and substituting rational ones in their place through repetition until they become automatic and permanent replacements. The behavioral component of CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) involves participation in active, structured therapy groups, training the individual to modify negative tendencies by means of positive repetitious activities commensurate with standard therapeutic methods.

Most remedial programs focus on the elimination of negative habits, which leaves a psychological emptiness that demands compensation―and we find ourselves seduced into filling this emptiness with immediate gratifications that may or may not be beneficial. There is an energy flow that accompanies every action, including all habits―fruitful and destructive―and when we eliminate a negative or immoral behavior without providing a positive replacement, we run the risk of embracing analogous negative behaviors to fill the void. Rather than feeding the emptiness, randomly, ReChanneling prompts the client to identify a superior replacement, accessed through the natural metanormal capacity for evolutionary goodness. Those of us who have hurtful tendencies that demand rectification do not eliminate the problem by simply and arbitrarily eliminating the negative impulse (which in-and-of-itself is far easier said than done). That negative expression, that flawed disagreeable habit, must be rechanneled into a positive one―one with superior force and positive energy―to fill the void left by the elimination of the maladaptive behavior. Simply put, we phase out poor behavior while replacing it with a better one. The sense of loss from the disposition of the negative condition that we have held onto for years is mitigated by the positive energy that accompanies the acquisition of the better behavior. With ReChanneling, negative habit and maladaptive behavior is not replaced with similar defeating modes of expression but is consciously rechanneled into superior conduct that is conducive to positive, productive living. Through the strength and determination of our individual willpower, we control and facilitate the transformation―and this dynamism becomes the foundation of recovery.

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ReChanneling has been shown effective in the resolution of multiple behavioral neuroses including social and other anxieties, coping with loss or a stressful situation or condition, depression, and other symptoms of distress and dis-ease. In addition, by committing to revitalize our being with positive values through the inherent fusion of the Integral Human Complex, we initiate a formidable force of positive motivation.

Too often, we address mental anxiety without involving the somatic and spiritual. We search for pharmaceutical relief for a condition of the physical without taking into account the emotional catalysts and how they affect and are affected by our inner being. The Integral Human Complex is the interconnectivity, plasticity, and shared responsibility of the mind, body, and spirit as it strives for balance (homeostasis). It is the totality of a human person, reflecting the involution of the conscious, and the manifestation of the body, which facilitate the mental progression of consciousness. Each constituent overlaps, influences, and interdepends upon the others, the gestalt containing the intellect, emotions, the physical, as welspiritual initual in its more conscious complexities. Take any incident―traffic congestion, for example. Physically, your stomach constricts and your breathing intensifies; irritation drives out positive thought; frustration and condemnation of the other drivers fill us with negativity. It’s an integral and correspondent activity.

MEMORY RETRIEVAL AND RETENTION
Constantin Stanislavski honed behavioral techniques to train his students to engage the integrality of perception, the somatic, the emotional to foster a genuine interconnectedness, parting the curtains to reveal the genuine character of a person in relationship to others. In ReChanneling, getting to the root of the cause can be difficult, our thinking can be distorted as we attempt to rationalize our condition, our memories latent. We repress certain memories “in the archives of our memory [with] divisions and sub-divisions. Some are more accessible than others. The problem is to recapture the emotion that once flashed by like a meteor. As all the world is a stage, and we its actors; the revelation of our true character and intention establishes the foundation for authenticity in presence and communication. Abhidharmic mindfulness or awareness is the psychological faculty that forms an essential part of Eastern practice; the scientific, data-driven application which facilitates the eightfold path of right practices.

Eightfold

ReChanneling’s programs do not consider a client or participant, a victim nor patient. A victim, by definition, is someone who attributes responsibility for his or her condition to an other rather than taking personal accountability. A patient is someone who relies on others for remedy, again assigning responsibility for recovery rather than assuming ownership. A person-in-practicum is one who applies theory or methodology in response to a situation or condition. A person-in-practicum trains to be the steward of his or her own condition, the custodian of self-behavior.

When Philosopher Emma Goldman wrote, “the idea of God implies the abdication of human reason and justice,” she was merely advising that the potential for greater goodness is predetermined, and adopting god (or anyone else for that matter) as excuse for our own behavior usurps our ability to take full ownership of our condition and, even more importantly, of the magnificent person we have the potential to become―the person who recognizes the capacity to expand the boundaries of normal life into one of extraordinary vision and courage.
Those who dismiss our innate ability to transform, who believe a leopard can’t change his spots do not have the requisite perspective to fully benefit from the program. The inherent potential is there, but what is lacking is access to the creative capacity that can be embraced only through an enlightened awareness of human ingenuity. The leopard evolved from the same subfamily as did the tiger. Change the leopard’s spots to stripes and it is a tiger―make the stripes more ornate, and behold―it is a jaguar. Transformation is change; evolution is change. Change is hope. Hope is a primary factor of our humanness, along with imagination, and self-reflection. Humanity is unique in its ability to change through deliberation. We hope, we aspire, we change, we transform. While said change can be good or bad, transformation is positivity.

Creator and facilitator of ReChanneling, Dr. Mullen holds a doctorate in Comparative Studies with a concentration in morality and behavior. His upcoming book and Blog highlight his extensive work with behavioral addiction―rechanneling moral turpitude into positive self-affirmation. Academic scholars access Dr. Mullen’s published articles in over 40 countries. His most recent contribution, “How an Honorable Psychobiography Embraces the Fluidity of Truth” from New Trends in Psychobiography is due out this fall from Springer Publishing. Dr. Mullen’s dissertation was on advanced human potential―the capacity that resides within all of us to harness that special aptitude for extraordinary living, the inherent capacity to lift the human spirit. He facilitates online and classroom workshops and seminars on positive motivation and the modification of neuroses. He presents before numerous academic organizations, reviews scholarly works for the American Psychological Association, mentors cognitive behavioral workshops (including one currently hosting 300+ participants), and lectures about ReChanneling at every opportunity.

quote parker

As director and teacher of Stanislavski’s method of authentic presence, Dr. Mullen incorporates method behavioral control technique into the program of ReChanneling, focusing on the practice of mindfulness enhancement based on the Abhidharmic eightfold path and its scientific applications. Dr. Mullen possesses one additional asset: his recovery from his own battles with moral depravity and maladaptive behavioral addiction.

WHAT IS OUR SIGNIFICANCE?
THe philosophical enigmas that have perplexed humanity since the onset of cognitive reasoning is the following: How did we get here? What is the meaning of life? What is our true purpose and what is the significance of our perceived insignificance? Dr. Mullen provides the following hypotheses. First of all, to conclude that humankind is the end-product of cognitive development is, perhaps, a bit shortsighted and egocentric given evolutionary evidence. Darwinism suggests (actually determines) that if humankind is the successor to a species or series of species then it must also be the forerunner. So maybe this is the validity for which we search, the significance of our being―that of our advanced species laying the groundwork for an even superior one as a conduit of consciousness. This is not a novel concept. Plato spoke of his Guardians or philosopher-kings. Philosopher and scientist, Teilhard de Chardin wrote of super-personalization, a radical advance on all forms of life that have gone before and will succeed humanity. Aurobindo Ghose, one of the most influential cross-cultural philosophers of the past century, envisioned a new race, a new culture, a new world as the result of the natural processes of cosmic evolution. He once wrote, “it may well be concluded that the aspiration, the urge, the persistent endeavor in man is a sure sign of Nature’s will for a higher way to fulfillment, the emergence of a higher status.” Perhaps then, we are the precursor to a mutation of consciousness, one that evolves from our best qualities yet more advanced. Not only is the concept more substantial than apocryphal celestial beings, it is one that should inflame us with pride and humility because it offers the possibility that our indispensability is as the architects of a more perfect consciousness, thus endowing humanity with an extraordinary and significant purpose. Father Teilhard wrote, “to judge from the rapid developments of thought in the short period of a few dozen centuries, [humankind] bears within it all the indications of an entirely new biological cycle.”

Or, rather than the infinite endurance of our personal consciousness, perhaps it is the quality of our moral character―our goodness, our compassion, our love―that is the validation of our significance. Perhaps it is the aggregate of our best qualities that constitute an evolving collective consciousness. And perhaps it is this consciousness, ever-expanding as we embrace our innate potential for greater goodness, that will give birth to an advanced intelligence and spiritual awareness. And even if this doesn’t come to pass, Dr. Mullen reasons that, no matter our beliefs, our philosophy, or our spirituality, if rediscovering all the things that make us good and subsequently happy―all of the intrinsic and beautiful qualities of our true nature that contribute to our own well-being and that of the community―than isn’t that time well spent?

In the currently known universe there are over one billion trillion stars, and quantum science suggests other universes as well. How does humanity maintain even a perceived manifest destiny within such a great and formidable reality? Is there significance in our insignificance? “The answer is an unequivocal yes,’ Dr. Mullen believes. ‘It lives in our innate potential to improve our condition, to expand and evolve, to refine, redefine, and reinstate our virtuous and loving natures, and to share these qualities with others.” Sartre tells us that, “when we say that man is responsible for himself, we do not mean that he is responsible only for his own individuality, but that he is responsible for all men.” Perhaps it is enough to be happy and good in our lifetime on this earth and to share that passion with others―and let the future resolve itself, as the future is wont to do.

With the help of ReChanneling’s time-tested behavioral modification techniques, we can relearn to radiate our inner strength and determination, and change any negative behavior into positive self-affirmation. Do we not strive to be better and happier, and to share this instinctive probity with others―to make a better world for ourselves, our children and those who follow? Do we not want to stop the sadness and destitution that confronts so many of us and so much of humanity on a daily basis?

It is recognition of our moral infirmities that motivates us towards transformation. Do you really like who you are now? Are you truly satisfied with the person you believe you have become? Yes, as a child you were susceptible to the wishes, demands, and beliefs of your caregivers. So thank them for their good works, and forgive them for their failings but do not let them hold your spirit forever hostage. It imperative to not use god or any other as excuse or savior for our condition because if we truly believe the power to change is resident within is, then so must be is the responsibility for our condition.

While not liable for events beyond our control, we are responsible for how we react and interpret those events. As the cliché goes, while we do not have control over the cards we have been dealt, we are responsible for how we play the hand we have been given.

Willpower: The second condition for recovery is the rekindling of the tenacious vitality of positive willpower―the commitment to withstand the rigors of rehabilitation. Whether willpower is used to establish and maintain a system of maladaptive behavior or one of positive growth is entirely up to us. We all have vast reserves of willpower; it’s like a muscle―the more we use it, the stronger it becomes. Yielding to temptation is not being unwillingly overpowered; it’s a lapse of the courage and conviction to do what is right. We choose what to choose, and a poorly chosen option that leads to pain and suffering reveals its wrongness in psycho-physiological complications that have the power to harm every fiber of our being, and those of others with whom we are inextricably intertwined. Willpower is a formidable tool and can as easily be employed for things detrimental or beneficial to being. ReChanneling thrives on the premise that humankind strives for excellence in the fulfillment of purpose which, to good thinkers throughout history, is the act of living up to one’s full positive potential.

It is through the power of our will that we learn to embrace change rather than fear it. Recovery demands change. ReChanneling is change via replacement. Transformation is change. Even if our initial choices may be less-than-perfect, our good intentions provide foundation for recovery. The road to hell is not paved by good intentions but by inaction; without intent, there is no deliberate action, without thought, there is no deliberation, and without action, there is no progress. Every decision we make is determined by who we think we are, and what we can and should become is determined by what we believe we can become. Our potential is formidable thanks to the natural consequences of creative evolution. Willpower allows us to attempt new ideas, to risk taking that first step towards transformation. The ability to direct our thinking as we choose is provided by the power of our will. But permanent remedy to immoral and maladaptive behavior does not come overnight. Our neurons have been modified by years of abuse and it takes time for our brains architecture to restructure. Overnight success is not an option; remedy is a long and difficult work-in-progress and ReChanneling establishes the groundwork and illuminates the path.

Carlini

Forgiveness: We cannot hope to function as fully conscientious beings without absolving our own transgressions as well of those of others whose behavior contributed to our moral dereliction. This forgiveness, which underscores the attributes of compassion, love, and tolerance is indispensable to the revival of our inherent goodness. The ability to forgive is essential for transformation so that we can disencumber ourselves of the unresolved antagonisms of resentment, bias, and intolerance which eat away at our very souls. Forgiveness requires opening our hearts―letting go of our stale and stagnant identities, expectations, and beliefs; it opens us to new possibilities filled with enormous potential. Forgiveness is essential, even for those acts deemed unforgivable, because dwelling on past transgressions overwhelms our capacity to transform. When we keep these feelings inside us we remain broken; forgiveness is the catalyst to the healing of this brokenness. It is important to recognize that forgiveness is not an act of condoning the behavior of those who have harmed us, or our consequential reactions and actions. Even though such conduct may seem perceptually indefensible, forgiving them cleanses our soul of anger and resentment. We forgive in order to promote change within our self. Forgiveness is the disposition of the bitterness and anger that permeates our mind, body, and spirit, freeing up space for things beneficial to our transformation.

The act of self-forgiveness is even more demanding because we treat our own inadequacies with more rigor. Self-forgiving is the letting go of our guilt and the abandoning of the things that fill us with so much negativity, we leave little room for possibility. Our psyches are splintered by the internal clash between the self that wants to change, the consciousness that innately realizes its evolutionary potential, and the self that impedes and obstructs. Self-forgiveness begins when we reach the conclusion that our disconnectedness, brought on by our unwillingness to confront our condition, becomes so fundamentally discomforting that resolution is essential for the homeostasis of the Integral Human Complex.

Jose

Dr. Mullen’s personal rehabilitation from a lifestyle far from exemplary, along with the recovery of those who have used this program, underscore the efficacy of this program and the power of the advanced human potential―the innate ability of the individual to refine the inherent goodness extant within, redefine that goodness into greater goodness, and reinstate that greater goodness, independent of condition or circumstance.

Clark

Dr. Mullen’s personal journey towards redemption is vivid illustration of the dynamic potential inherent in all of us. His compelling recovery from a lifestyle of amoral and decadent exploits illustrate the potential resilience of anyone who truly desires renewal, underscoring the formidable strength of individual inner determination.

ENDNOTES
“GOOD GOODNESS is the deliberate preference of right to wrong―the evolution of altruistic social impulses, primary instincts for survival. GREATER GOODNESS is more complex decision-making through experience, reflection, and inner-discourse, underscored by option-oriented decisions made through cognitive analysis. Greater goodness is accessed by humankind’s innate advanced human potential via evolution and enhanced through demonstrable, data-driven methodologies. GREATEST GOODNESS is values that should be, and ought to be sought. They reside in the realm of the desirable but are, as yet, unattainable. Greatest Goodness is a quality with which individuals flirt without consummation. It is perfect moderation, the state of consistent equilibrium.”

Habit versus addiction A habit is not an addiction; an addiction is a habit. A bad or negative habit can become an addiction based on abuse. There are good habits and bad habits; addictions remain pernicious. To many, addiction over negative habit equates to mortal over venial, potentially pathological versus neurotic, eternal damnation or three Hail Mary’s, reincarnation as a fine human specimen or an incontinent sloth. But it’s not quite that cut-and-dried. It’s a matter of intent and degree; they are different rungs on the same ladder.Mullen, R. F. (2017). A Habit is Not an Addiction; an Addiction is a Habit. ReChanneling. BLOG, Retrieved from http://robertfmullen.com/Blog/2017/06/29/addiction-is-a-habit-a-habit-is-not-an-addiction/

For purpose of this essay, ‘spiritual’ is defined as virtuous intangibility.

Stanislavski, C. (1949). Building a Character. New York City: Routledge/Theatre Arts Books.

A person of authenticity, being true to self, is one who lives in accordance with his or her better desires, motives, ideals, or beliefs, and whose sum of intents and actions is thus manifest as beneficial to self and society. Mullen, R. F. (2016). The Art of Authenticity: Constantin Stanislavski and Merleau-Ponty, Journal of Literature and Art Studies, Vol. 6, No. 7, p. 3. New York: Davis Publishing Company.

Although the common Western perception of Buddha’s principle tenet is ‘all the world is suffering’, reason dictates modification. Suffering connotes a psycho-physiological disease, which is counterproductive; the more prevalent condition of humanity is a state of distress or dis-ease. While most translate the word dukkha as suffering, there are multiple options including anxiety, discontent, stress, etcetera.

Eightfold Path: 1. Right view/understanding, 2. Right intention/thought, 3. Right speech, 4. Right action, 5. Right livelihood, 6. Right effort, 7. Right mindfulness, 8. Right concentration.

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

“Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots?” Jeremiah 13:24, Old Testament, King James Version

Mullen, R. F. (2015). Evolutionary Panentheism and Metanormal Human Capacity: A Psychobiography of Michael Murphy. Ann Arbor, MI: ProQuest.

Ghose, A. (1939-40). The Life Divine. As quoted in Krinsky, S. (2012). Readings in Sri Aurobindo’s The Life Divine, Volume 1. Oakland, CA: Lotus Press.

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

The Gaia spacecraft is currently pinpointing the positions of approximately one billion stars in the Milky Way alone.

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

Recovery is, by no means, an immediate gratification but a lifetime work-in-progress.

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

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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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Dr. Robert F. Mullen
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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