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86 Nervous about being relaxed
Today I discuss three
systems that promise to reward users generously. Each has an
undercurrent flowing away from the intended result. The
unconscious mind receives a message opposite to the stated
purpose of each system. Each proposed cure is a barrier to
While in high school, I read an article
about controlled sleep. That was a routine to establish complete
relaxation all night long. It began with strategic placement of
four pillows: one under each elbow, one under the head, and one
under the knees of someone lying on zir back. The subject was
instructed to repeat this rhythmic mantra until falling asleep:
“going to sleep relaxed the whole night through,” coordinated
over three breath cycles. There was great emphasis on becoming
conscious of healthy circulation through the resting limbs. I was
positive that I was feeling the blood flow in my fingers and
toes, a pleasant tingling sensation.
After some months of applying this
system, I was thunderstruck by a fresh realization. For no
obvious reason it suddenly occurred to me that relaxed people do
not live in this regimen. What I had been doing impressed on my
subconscious that I was not relaxed. My mind had made me into a
special needs person requiring an exceptional routine to reach a
state that should be my normal condition. The treatment had
perpetuated the problem.
The blazing insight did not transform me
suddenly into a relaxed person. I still had anxieties and
concerns that detracted from my performance. What changed inside
me was my approach to those negatives. Instead of applying an
artificial panacea, I undertook to apply analytical thinking
instead. Surely there were causes for my discomforts, and I
pursued identifying and alleviating those causes. To this day I
investigate myself in a spirit of scientific investigation to
program logical steps that address my needs and improve my
Many devotees tearfully testify to the
sweetness of being saved. They express only the encouraging
emotional state that they are experiencing. It is pleasant and
beneficial, like the tingling in my fingers and toes. They
perceive it to be the foundation of everything right in their
These personal experiences of diverse
individuals holding different beliefs fall short of establishing
their self-generated confirmation as incontrovertible fact. These
people do not explain what they are saved from—that is, why they
need saving. Conscious praise for relief reveals unconscious
uncertainty. An induced sense of inferiority hungers for overt
medication. People are conditioned to declare themselves dirty
(fallen) so they will want soap (saving). Neither aspect is
I have asked a Sunday School class, “Does
Christ’s atonement make you less guilty?” It was painful to
witness the grimaces as people declared that they felt more
guilty because their sins had increased Jesus’s suffering. They
had been conditioned to praise relief while being secretly
infected with destructive self-loathing from which they had to be
relieved. There was superficial surface happiness hiding the
overpowering undercurrent that carried them away from healthy
self-appreciation. Just as the “relaxation” routine diverted me
away from a relaxed state, the salvation-from-depravity syndrome
blinds people to their innate goodness from which they could
genuinely radiate love.
There was a temptation to
respond to a YouTube “salvation” video by commenting, “When you
are saved enough, your attention will turn to serving the needs
of others.” Unselfishness is to blend self and other
so that we solve our problems.
Focusing on saving humans from depravity is depreciating them
instead of appreciating their goodness. This misunderstanding of
the human condition is the root of our current social gridlock.
People use the metaphor “fight for …” instead of sharing their
innate capacity for love. When we understand our own priceless,
positive nature, we will naturally cooperate with each other.
Fighting for justice is based on sin. Being just is our unspoiled
First, I had to
appreciate my own goodness. Although my parents brought me to
Sunday School class that taught self-abnegation, they also taught
me that I am good inside. I have previously (articles 33, 47, especially end
of 84) praised my parents
for their unwavering teaching that I am good inside and that I
realize my joy when I share that. Evil is not a creation to be
overcome. Religion is useful to the extent that it finds and
promotes the light within which makes social darkness disappear
To facilitate my career
change, I have devoted many hours per week to learning new
skills. That has included sharing my email many places, the way I
ask you to share your email with me. As a result, my inbox is
always full of offers of training. Most of them are free. Common
business practice is to give away the “what” and charge for the
“how.” Because I’m an avid self-learner, the free portion is
almost always just the dose I need.
The conscientious vendors
clearly disclose that you can learn the material on your own by
doing enough research in enough places and practicing
diligently—the same as they have done themselves. The sales pitch
is that they have condensed and packaged the material for you;
you will do better if you follow their advice.
The legal profession once
accommodated self-learning when one could become a lawyer by
apprenticing for years in a qualified law firm. Currently the
field has developed to the point that comprehensive exposure is
deemed necessary. There is a basic curriculum of required
instruction. Understandably, that is never free.
In a major university,
questions arise that go beyond the sum of all textbooks. One
special professor was talented in starting his answers at first
principles and developing them with life experience. He
efficiently reconstructed the material in the textbooks and then
applied the extra insight of a practitioner. My law and physics
degrees are worthwhile because they are rooted in this kind of
The informal knowledge
industry that I am joining is prone to exaggerating its benefits.
Many programs consist of swipe files (pre-composed
plug-in-your-details copy) and made-for-you packages
(article 47). However, business judgment grows
through experience. No matter what pattern I copy, if I don’t
understand why it is the way it is, I will sooner or later be
unprepared for a real-life situation the pattern doesn’t cover.
Effective “how” must include the “why,” which is learned by
practice. The hatching chick example represents that we must
overcome some hardships by ourselves.
Here I consider
legitimate courses, workshops, webinars, and summits. I have
enjoyed hundreds of hours of them, almost all free. Typically,
you have to pay to join a mastermind, a study group where
students encourage each other and compare progress. Often the
verbal content is not the value of the course. I get more out of
observing the instructor’s thought pattern and teaching methods
than I do out of the useful list of facts. As I recognize the
same principles appearing from different viewpoints, I am
starting to relax with confidence in my learning. I recognize the
tingling in my fingers and toes.
That is exactly when it
hits: real writers don’t spend all their time in courses,
workshops, webinars, and summits.
Some composers and
writers challenge each other in group retreats. Others are
complete loners. Both types interact as professional colleagues.
I realized that I am instead running from class to class
expecting each one to be the magic bullet that does my work for
me. It is like the controlled sleep experiment of my youth; every
class teaches me unconsciously that I am not a writer yet. By
pretending to be indispensable, further classes take me
unconsciously away from the confidence to write. Course vendors
are giving me the disease so they can sell me the
After so many classes, I
am starting to say the next step in the training before the
teacher does. I am falsely reassured when I anticipate the
correct answer. Once said, the answer is not always obeyed.
Frequently I disagree with the wisdom of the course because my
goal or my style is different.
Right now, I am swimming against the current and telling you that
my value is uniqueness. It is why I write. It is what I write.
That cannot be taught.
Think of the sales
resistance I have! Politely I tell the course vendor that the
offer is generous and inviting. Then without buying, I retreat to
my office and do what I am going to do with or without training
to the contrary. It is not meeting my expenses, but I know it is
the substance of my value.
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