Archive for October, 2010

How to Get Free From Fear – 5 Practices

What are you afraid of?

Nothing, you say? Bologna, I say.

We all have some degree of conscious or unconscious fear impacting our lives.

How can you verify when fear is in the mix? Words like “can’t”, “shouldn’t”, and “won’t” often indicate unconscious fears. What topics, people or places do you avoid? Hesitation, procrastination or avoidance often indicate unconscious fears. Judgments also indicate unconscious fears. We’re always only doing love (opening, curious, being present and in joy) or we are doing fear (contracting, resisting, avoiding). If you’re in a moment where you’ve lost your sense of humor, your ability to appreciate, your open heart or your curiosity, or your eager joy, unconscious fear is very likely in the mix.

If there’s any area of your life where you’re not experiencing what you want to experience, odds are, fear is part of the picture. With fear, we are living a fraction of our highest potential and whole health. Without fear we are at full choice and powerful to generate the kinds of experience we want.

Here are 5 practices you can use in the moment to transform conscious or unconscious fears to freedom and powerful action.

1. So what, then what?

Sometimes, freeing yourself from fear comes when you look the paper tiger in the eye.  Here’s one way you can do that:

Name your worst case scenario. Imagine it in vivid detail. Really try on that coat, fully, and then ask, “If this happened, so what, then what?” Don’t think about an answer, wait to experience the answer in your body. When you get an answer, ask the question again, “If that happened, so what, then what?” Beware of any draw to change the subject, take a nap or “step out of the fire”; lean in to the experience as deeply as you can. If you stay on track and do the exercise sincerely enough, the explosion of opening and freedom at the end of the exploration will stun and amaze you.

2. Try SORTting It Out ™.

SORTting It Out(tm) is a practice I created that taps the wisdom of your mind, body, heart, gut (unconscious core values) and action to transform fear to powerful steps and fulfillment.

First, with your hand on your head, (S)ay whatever thoughts or fears you have about this issue. Second, (O)bserve the heart and the gut behind those thoughts. What is the emotion and the core value behind the voice of your mind?
When you find those, you’ll feel a shift of relief. Next, (R)elease the emotional charge of the fear so that all you’re left with is the power of your clarity about your core values. There are many ways to do release work, any one you know that actually produces “shift” for you (not emotional bypass) will do just fine. Next, (T)rack your shift. If you started at a 10 of fear and beliefs of “can’t, won’t or avoidance”, where are you now? Continue the SORT until you reach a 0 or 1 of fear or emotional charge. Finally (t)ake generative action. Ask yourself, what request can I make of myself or others that would contribute to feeding the core value(s) I just discovered? If you’re SORTting It Out ™ accurately, you will have a full shift into freedom and power in under 20 minutes, or in as little as three breaths.

3. Do a Focus Wheel.

A Focus Wheel is a visual way of exploring your fear that results in freedom and a shift of consciousness.

At the top of a blank peice of paper, write the end result that you want but fear. Maybe you’ll write, “I can talk to women with absolute ease,” or “I speak in public with absolute delight,” or “Asking for what I want is easy.” (You’ll find pictures  below.) You’ll know if you have a good opening statement when you can barely write it without feeling nauseous. Next, draw a circle in the center of the paper, large enough to write this phrase when you’re done. Then draw a long thin arc about 1 inch wide and two inches long, starting from the rim of the circle, going away from center two inches, then returning to the rim of the circle an inch from where you started. It’ll look like a flower petal.  Now, on the side of the arc that moves away from center, write the first fear or reaction you have to the opening statement.  Maybe your reaction is, “No I can’t, I never have been able to do that.”  Write it on the arc away from center.  Next, ask yourself, “What truth can I find within me that brings me back to center”?  Maybe you’ll realize that, “What’s also true is that I’ve accomplished anything I set my mind to.”  Whatever truth you have that brings you back to center, that helps you regain your sense of power, write that on the side of the arc that returns back to the center rim.  Now reflect on that truth for at least 90 seconds. Really feel it.  Next, draw another arc that goes away from center and back to center. Reread your opening statement, and write the next reaction you have on this new arc, on the side going away from center. Then find the truth that brings you back to center, and write that on the other side of the arc.  Let yourself feel that truth for 90 seconds.  Repeat this reaction-truth-sit cycle of drawing arcs and writing on them until you have no more reactions left when you read your opening statement.  Usually reactions run out in 7 tries, plus or minus two. You’ll know you did the exercise properly if you feel at ease and peace when you re-read your opening statement. When this happens, re-write your opening phrase, but this time write it in the center of the focus wheel.  You’re done!  Now you can then keep or safely burn the focus wheel – you’re free!

4. Deepen Your Needs Consciousness.

Deepening your needs consciousness is a practice is uncovering the core values behind core values behind core values. When you get to the root, you find a liberating peak experience that transforms your sense of Self, showing you the power that you most deeply are.

To do the exercise, first notice what you’re afraid of. Let’s say you’re afraid of marketing your products.  Ask yourself, “What core value am I trying to protect or care for in my fear?”  Maybe you’ll discover that what you most yearn for is confidence that people will like you after you tell them what you’re selling. The core value is “to be liked/loved”.  When you find the core value behind the fear, close your eyes and vividly imagine experiencing it for at least 20 seconds. If your core value is “to be loved”, then imagine yourself abundantly cherished and appreciated by a crowd of people surrounding you.  Whatever your core value, imagine it in detail and feel it.  After the 20 seconds or so, ask yourself, “If I got that, what would it bring me?” In this case, it’s, “If I were loved, what would that bring me?”  Find out what gift are you trying to give yourself, or others, by seeking the first core value.  Maybe you’ll discover, “If I’m loved, then it would give me opportunities to hang out with other people (play).”  Now that you have a 2nd core value, vividly imagine experiencing THIS one for at least 20 seconds. Continue this cycle of core value – what would it bring me – sit with the one you find, by asking “If I got THAT, what would it bring me?” and “If I got THAT, what would it bring me?” In each round, be sure to let your body FEEL the experience of having the core value fed. As you go, notice any shifts in your body posture, sensations, or breath. Eventually you’ll reach a point where you feel enormously open, powerful, and peaceful. Sit with that sensation for at least 90 seconds; you’ve now started to connect with your Highest Self.Keep going, is there something more?  If not, ask your Highest Self what it thinks about the thing you’re afraid of. If you’ve done the exercise properly, you should experience a surprising shift, experiencing a new part of you that is utterly free from fear.

5. Sit in the fire.

Here’s another way to “look the paper tiger in the eye”.  In this exercise you’ll sit THROUGH the discomfort of feeling fear, until the burning discomfort simply evaporates itself, leaving nothing left but a purified you who is free from that fear.

To do this exercise, name the thing you’re afraid of.  Maybe it’s a situation you’re afraid of.  Maybe it’s a kind of loss, or a kind of pain that you’re trying to avoid.  Often, fear is about resisting something, bracing to try desperately to avoid the situation.  Whatever it is, vividly imagine it, and feel the discomfort of the situation.  Really feel it.  If you feel it only at a 6-out-of-10 or less, then imagine more vivid detail until you feel it at a 9-out-of-10.  Stay with it.  Don’t go to sleep, don’t try to fix the problem, don’t try to escape it and don’t surrender into acceptance, just sit in the fire.  When the discomfort begins to lessen, find the next most distasteful or scary aspect.  Stay with it.  You may experience biochemical release of the toxins of fear – burping, crying, shaking, and yawning are examples of release that show you’re on track.  Stay with it.  Keep painting the picture that stimulates your fear.  If you do the practice successfully, in 20-90 minutes you will experience a radical shift.  Suddenly it will feel like the clouds have parted and the storm is gone.  Revisit the original topic that scared you.  How do you react to it now?  Clients who have done this practice successfully with a coach report shifts like, “Wow, that just doesn’t phase me anymore,” or simply shrug saying, “I know I started with that but it seems kind of silly to me now.”  On the other side of the fire of fear is a wide open, easy, spacious freedom.  Find it.

Not all of us can both follow the practice instructions AND go deep in the work.  If you need, hire a coach who will hold the process for you and help you stay on track.

When you complete any one of these practices, do gentle movement like stretching or take a short walk, and be sure to drink at least 20 ounces of water within 20 minutes.  This helps the body to metabolize the biochemistry that was stimulated and flush it out of your system.

Do any of these practices once a week.  It will increase your freedom, power, choice and peace of mind.

Here’s one final (bonus) tip on freeing yourself from fear:

Sometimes fear comes out of speculating what will or won’t happen.  Enjoy cultivating curiosity. Beware of thinking you “already know all about it”. Maybe there’s a nuance or opportunity you do NOT know about. Tell yourself, “Maybe it’s possible that I don’t yet know what I don’t know,” or “It’s possible that there’s something I am not aware of that WOULD work.” Explore.

And be free.

To overcome fear in your life, or to get help using one of these practices, call 1.877.535.5438 (Mon-Thurs, 12pmET to 4pmET).

Among the other areas of professional, spiritual and personal development, Maya Gail Taylor coaches individuals, couples, families, parents, leaders and professionals on whole health and increased freedom. Get measurable results! For more information, or for help to get the kind of life experiences that you most deeply want, call to schedule a Free 1-Hour Consultation – 1.877.535.5438 Mon-Thurs 12pmET-4pmET.


Apology To Politicians

We want a government that works.

What would it take to turn a bickering, partisan government to a bipartisan, cooperative one?

Try this on for size:

  1. Bipartisan Cooperation – Require legislation behavior that generates win-win solution from agreements around root core values instead of attachment to particular strategies.
  2. Behavioral Accountability – Directly address inconsistencies; discount behavior (and votes) not congruent with immediately prior agreements or sound reason.  Require behavior out of core values instead of out of vendettas and party-line temper-tantrum tactics. Cooperate with win-win solutions that you helped generate based on your stated values, or you will be replaced.  Period.
  3. Restorative Justice – If you break something, you contribute to fixing it.  If you cost Americans billions in money taken by fraudulent means, you are responsible for contributing to repayment.

Then try this on for a laugh:

Apology to politicians:

“We would like to apologize for the way in which politicians are represented in this programme.  It was never our intention to imply that politicians are weak-kneed, political time-servers who are concerned more with their personal vendettas and private power struggles than the problems of government, nor to suggest at any point that they sacrifice their credibility by denying free debate on vital matters in the mistaken impression that party unity comes before the well-being of the people they supposedly represent, nor to imply at any stage that they are squabbling little toadies without an ounce of concern for the vital societal problems of today.  Nor indeed do we intend that viewers should consider them as crabby ulcerous little self-seeking vermin with furry legs and an excessive addiction to alcohol and certain explicit sexual practices which some people might find offensive.  We are sorry if this impression has come across.” — Monty Python

And might I add: infantile-behaving fear-mongering propaganda-repeating brats with an inability to sustain factual representation of reality without villainization, labeling, or behaving like a bunch of drama queens.  I am sorry if this impression has come across.

10 Essentials For Whole Health

If you think about health only in terms of mind, body and spirit, you’re missing vital areas of the whole that is you. Worse, you’re missing opportunities for a healthier family, healthier relationships, communities, and more.

Below you’ll find a brief introduction to exploring 10 aspects of you that are absolutely vital if you want to experience more health.

Use these 10 Essentials For Whole Health to:

  • Maximize your health, healing and growth by paying attention to the entire system of who you are, not just one or two areas
  • Recognize and attend to contributing factors to get the measurable results that you want
  • Customize (tailor) your practices to your most effective health, healing and growth opportunities.

What are the 10 Keys to Whole Health?

10 Aspects of Whole Health

1. Mind – The Mental – We all know that our beliefs can make or break us. Thoughts become things; our beliefs affect our actions. Our mental chatter can be destructive, like an inner critic, or productive, like an inner supporter. You may know that it’s important to reach for a healthy mind, but what practices do you use to do that? One key practice for a wholly healthy mind: focus attention on what you actually observe, rather than just what you think, speculate, believe, or assess.  Another: cultivate conversation about the yearning you do want, and find the yearning (of what you do want) behind the things you notice you don’t want.

2. Body – The Physical – We often talk about diet and exercise. But are you aware of what it takes to have a wholly healthy body? Calm, balance, strength, flexibility and endurance all depend on each other to give us a fully resilient body. Are you working on growing in all five areas? One key practice for a wholly healthy body: consider Functional Medicine as a complement to your normal daily vitamins and your regular visits to your allopathic family doctors.

3. Spirit – The Causal – Have you ever had a peak experience where you suddenly experienced absolute, pure equanimity, resourcefulness and peace, utterly unlike your normal state of mind? If not, it’s time to meet your infinitely powerful, infinitely capable transpersonal Self. Key practices for a wholly healthy relationship to your Spiritual body abound. Try a simple walk in nature and see if you can feel your connection to the All and Everything that is bigger than just you. Or try a Big Mind or meditation practice that takes you into the experience of the Higher Self. Build a daily relationship to this part of you, and you build a path to ease, power and Grace beyond imagination.

4. Heart – The Emotional and The Subtle Body – The heart isn’t just about feelings. Did you know your body is not only physical, but also made up of energy centers? Science has measured a toroidal field of energy radiating from the heart as well as from the brain.  For a wholly healthy body, consider adding energy work like tai chi, qi gong, reiki, core energetics or cranial sacral work to your monthly massage schedule. Another key practice for a wholly healthy emotional body: increase your emotional intelligence. What core values give rise to which emotions?  Where does each emotion show up as a sensation in your physical body? Practice some form of daily “release work” that helps you quickly to attend to, instead of bypassing, conscious and unconscious emotional charge. More key practices for a wholly healthy emotional body: daily gratitude, appreciation, celebration and play.

5. Gut – The Core Values – We all have stories, beliefs, assessments and judgments. To find the power behind them, look for the core values they are trying to reveal. What are the innocent, benevolent, universal needs behind them? What are the deep yearnings, or the gift you’re trying to give yourself or others? Respond to and strategize only to feed core values, and you respond from a wholly healthy gut. One key practice for a wholly healthy gut: ask yourself, “If I got the perfect scenario I want, what would it bring me?” When you get an answer, ask the question again, “If I get that, what will it bring me?”. Eventually you’ll get to the core values. Prioritize actions that feed those.

6. Action – The Behavioral – You are not fully you until you can express yourself and what you want in practical, rubber-to-the-road ways. What does it take to have a wholly healthy body of action? Key practices include: setting measurable goals, making iterative steps toward your goals, and making doable requests in the ‘now’ to help you fulfill your core values. Make your strategies immediate, with short chains of action to get to the need being fed. If you’re not experiencing what you want in your life, work or relationships, you could probably use some help improving your “effective action” body.

7. Environment – The Interactive – No one is an island; you impact and are impacted by your friends, family, society and more. For a wholly healthy environment, look at your relationship to your physical and social environments. One key practice for a wholly healthy environment: dialogue. You may be able to voice your thoughts and concerns, but do you also remember to ask about and integrate concerns around you?

8. Higher Self Work – More Power – Make your Best, highest Self a part of your daily life. When you do, you’ll more easily overcome any issues, problems, or obstacles you face. One key practice for powerful Higher Self work: Appreciative Inquiry. Where have you succeeded before? How could that apply to what you want now? Another fun Higher Self practice: cultivate the rain dance of vividly experiencing the joyful, fulfilling experience you want, in as deeply vivid 5-senses detail as you can possibly imagine, right now, for a multiple of 17 seconds.  Just as your gentle finger on a vibrating wine glass can make it sing, watch the surprising synchronicities and “miracles” that happen when you combine vivid imagination, intense yearning, right action, Self-trust and integration of incoherences. How fast can you turn desire into reality.

9. Lower Self Work – More Release – Fear, pain, trauma, shadow, judgments and contractions all consume energy. Aspiring for health or growth is like an inhale. If you don’t exhale fear, pain, trauma, shadow, judgments and contractions, eventually your body will break down. Give care to your conscious and unconscious shadow aspects, and you not only free up subtle and emotional resources for what you really want, you also create powerful internal alignment. Three key practices for Lower Self work: SORTTing It Out(tm), 3-Column Release Work, or Crane’s Release Technique.

10. Middle Self Work – More Effective Habits – If you keep doing what you’ve been doing, you’ll keep getting what you’ve been getting. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results.  Do you practice connection to your multi-dimensional Self?  Do you exercise the truth that You are the creator of your experience. If you’re not getting the experience or outcomes you want, find out what you’re doing (or not doing) that contribute to that. One key practice for Middle Self work: ask, “How might I be contributing to this experience?” Or ask, “In what unconscious ways might I be trying to care for myself or others by choosing this experience I don’t want?” Another key practice: hire an integrated coach who can see perspectives and recognize practices you may not be aware of. 😉

When you cultivate practice in these 10 Essentials for Whole Health, you have a system of “what” and “how” to turn any opportunity into a fully thriving reality.

Maya Gail Taylor coaches individuals, couples, therapists, community leaders and professionals on whole health and wellness. Get measurable results! For more information, or for help to get outcomes you want, email mayagailtaylor at gmail dot com or call 1.877.535.5438 Mon-Thurs 1pmET-4pmET.

5 Ways To Replace Conflict with Cooperation

Do you think you know what it takes to reduce conflict, or to replace conflict with cooperation?

While you may think you know what you know, if you recently felt frustrated about someone’s behavior, left a community group or ended a romantic relationship, argued with a family member or colleague, or thought someone was “being a pain in the a**”, then your experience shows that you may NOT have mastery here.

You may not know what you DON’T know, or have not yet embodied, in effective, competent, powerful habits of conflict resolution. Even the partisan split in our country is a testament that, in our country, we are not embodying these skills.

Transforming conflict to cooperation takes more than I-statements and a willingness to boldly confront each other. It only takes one round of, “I think you’re being a jerk,” or “I think you’re just trying to control everything,” to turn I-statements and “respectful confrontation” into a resentful divide.

How do we address issues in ways that result in sincere cooperation instead of conflict?

Most of us are trained that, when we are frustrated, scared or experiencing pain, we should look to see what is causing our dis-ease and do whatever it takes to stop the offending party from perpetrating the offense again. We’re trained to diagnose the perpetrator. Why is he or she the villain they are?

Finding the source of a problem is useful to help fix it.

However, when we finger-point, blame, label and diagnose why people do what they do, the result is conflict and divisiveness. People get defensive, or return the finger-pointing. Frustration, resentment and distrust escalate.

Or worse, instead of being WITH each other and coming to win-win outcomes, we often choose “the law of two feet” and just go somewhere else.

How can we have both WIT-ness and WITH-ness? How can we both objectively see issues with equanimity and also find win-win resolutions that support us staying WITH each other?

Here are 5 ways you can replace frustration, drama, conflict, opposition and divisiveness to easy, drama-free, win-win solutions:

1. Discuss facts, not conclusions. Conclusions, diagnoses, assessments and labels provoke debate. “He’s just controlling,” “No he’s not.” To help get the experience you want, focus only on the facts, “He didn’t do what he said he’d do.” Here is another example: “You’re being uncooperative,” “No I’m not!” Instead, name just the facts, “I noticed you arrived at 8:10am instead of 8am.” Here’s another example: “She’s being vindictive,” Maybe, maybe not. Try instead, “She voted ‘no’ after saying she would vote ‘yes’.” What actually happened? What did you physically see or hear? Stay with that, and then go on to numbers 2 and 3.

2. Focus on what you most deeply value; don’t talk about the other person or what they should be or do. Instead of, “Stop arguing with me,” try, “I want more cooperation between us than this.” Instead of, “He’s testing me,” try, “What I really want is more support around the house.” Instead of, “You should stop complaining and get a job,” try, “I want confidence you will get what you need.” What is the benevolent core value underneath your thinking? What does your heart most yearn for, for yourself? Name it.

3. Make an action-request, right now, that would feed what you most deeply want, right now. Instead of, “Stop arguing with me,” ask for something that CAN be done right now. “I really want confidence I’m heard, could you please take two breaths after I speak?” or “I want to trust my point is received, could you tell me what you value about what I said before you respond to it?” Instead of, “He’s trying to test me,” try, “I really ache for more support around the house, could you help me fold clothes for 10 minutes right now?” Instead of, “You complain all the time,” try, “Could you tell me what you would prefer instead?”

4. Understand and reflect core values before responding or trying to fix anything. If cooperation isn’t happening, odds are the other person is not getting the felt-sense that you’re on the same page with them. Can you name 3 of the other person’s innocent, benevolent core values? Can you actually feel the benevolence and innocence behind their behavior? If not, go back and reflect the other person’s heart until you really feel it. “If you got your way, is it that you hope it would protect your family?” “Is it that you’re worried and want your own space?” “Are you upset because you want care for your concerns?” What beautiful core value is most deeply motivating them right now?

5. Reach to get your core values reflected and felt before trying to fix anything. Can the other person accurately name 3 of the core values behind what you said? Do you have the felt-sense that they experience the benevolent innocence of your values right now? If not, go back and ask them to reflect your heart until you feel them open to your concerns. “Before we try to solve this, I want hope that we’re on the same page. Could you please tell me what I want that you think is worthwhile?” Or, “I want confidence that you’re holding my concerns equally. Could you tell me 3 things you hear I care most about?” Remember to stick with core values, not the strategies to fulfill those values!

When we’re in debate, conflict, argument or opposition to each other, we inadvertently reach to protect ourselves and fortify our position. In our emotional charge, we drift into our thoughts, beliefs, and assessments of other, trying to find the right path to fix the problem. The problem is, these habits aren’t very effective.

Instead, when we simplify conversation to just the facts, core values, do-able requests, and a mutual felt-sense of the true value in each other’s benevolent concerns we increase the likelihood of connection, compassionate cooperation and win-win resolutions. When we walk together toward a mutual point of joy, I call this, “Procession”. Walking together is as much about heart and heart-connection as it is about intelligent insight and awareness.

Who are you in conflict with, quietly or not-so-quietly? What core value would you like to experience more of? What can be done in 10 minutes that would feed that core value?

Where can your embodiment of these skills bring greater cooperation and less conflict?

For more information, or for help to resolve a situation you’re facing, call to schedule a Free 1-Hour Consultation – 1.877.535.5438 Mon-Thurs 12pm-4pm.

Among the other areas of professional, spiritual and personal development, Maya Gail Taylor coaches individuals, couples, families, parents, leaders and professionals on generative thinking and win-win communication skills. Get measurable results! For more information, or for help to resolve a situation you’re facing, call to schedule a Free 1-Hour Consultation – 1.877.535.5438 Mon-Thurs 12pm-4pm.

Hopeful Future

“Our goal is a delightfully diverse, safe, healthy and just world, with clean air, water, soil and power – economically, equitably, ecologically and elegantly enjoyed.” William McDonough on creating a hopeful future.

And also, on keeping some design humility, remember, “It took us 5000 years to put wheels on our luggage.”

I love TED talks 🙂

Attention 1 and 2 – Where Are You?

Quoted article – fantastic way to open conversation about “subtle field energies”.


— CLIP —

How the First and Second Attention Work

Copyright © 2008 Antero Alli

What we pay attention to informs the content of our minds; how we pay
attention informs the quality of that content. Two types of attention will be
addressed here to demonstrate these ideas. The first attention is that
awareness linked to language, thinking and the automatic assignment of labels and meaning; referred to hereafter as “first attention”. The second attention is not linked to language, thinking and/or meaning but to presence, energy, phenomena. The first attention looks but cannot see; the second attention only sees. Most people know the feeling of being looked at, as if on display; far fewer know the feeling of being truly seen. Or of seeing. Both first and second attentions are important and necessary for differing reasons.

The underlying purpose of the first attention is survival; to figure out
how to stay alive.

The underlying purpose of the second attention is creativity, of directly
engaging the autonomous forces of creation. These two attentions can
function separately and/or together at differing degrees and consequences. Left alone, the first attention fixates awareness on survival issues — such as security, status, analysis and problem solving, social needs — with minimal
access to the “post-survival” luminosities of rapture, clairvoyance, telepathy, and the various powers of dreaming.

The first attention expresses a function of physical sight and intellect;
the second attention conveys a function of the energetic body and intuition
with biological correlation in the Central Nervous System. The sense of
sight (first attention) is linked to insight (second attention) by way of
stimulation of the light-sensitive, serotonin-rich pineal gland via the optic
nerve. This stimulation occurs naturally during the onset of sleep,
resulting in the hypnogogic state of shifting imagery that bridges waking and
dreaming states. Though both attentions are linked, their mutual interaction
remains for the most part latent and rarely made conscious during daytime
waking hours. Developing meaningful interactions between both attentions
expresses a function of the power of dreaming (more on the power of dreaming in Part Six).

The first attention is stable and stabilizes awareness; the second
attention is unstable and destabilizes awareness. First attention stability is
maintained by the pursuit and attainment of certainty with such certitudes as
fixed beliefs, ideas, preconceptions, assumptions and dogmas. The unstable
second attention is maintained by permitting more uncertainty, residing in
silence and being unknown to yourself. The first attention closes the mind
as a cocoon; second attention opens the mind as a butterfly taking flight.
The mutual regulation of both attentions dilate and/or narrow the mind
according to each person’s anxiety threshold, of how much uncertainty can be
permitted before static nervous energy contracts and closes the mind.

A message is the ordering of a signal.

Both attentions can be strengthened through different types of
concentration. First attention concentrates by fixating on an idea, image or concept; second attention concentrates by merging with the energy. First attention creates a picture and assigns a story, message or meaning to it. The second attention attunes to the signal, frequency or vibration of the energy before its organization into a message. A message is the ordering of a signal. Second attention gets the signal, first attention organizes it into a message.

This process already happens by itself, unconsciously without our control,
and it happens at the speed of light. The second attention absorbs
luminosity and is light sensitive; the first attention translates energy (light)
with pattern recognition and is form-sensitive. The second attention acts
like a radar dish receiving raw signals from outer space and the first
attention is like the computer program that outputs incoming signals as readable data.

The first attention can act as an anchor to the second attention, as the
second attention can act as a catalyst or shock to the first attention. The
first attention anchors the second attention when we can learn to find
words, images and ideas that best serve the authenticity and truth of the
signal. The second attention shocks the first attention as we can learn to
permit enough uncertainty to experience the unknown firsthand. If the second
attention fails to anchor itself in the first attention, its absorption of
luminosity can overwhelm the individual ego; all lit up with nowhere to go.
Not unlike an overheated electrical wire without a ground, the forces of
creation are engaged but sputter, disperse and fail to manifest in time and
space. If the first attention consistently avoids the shock of uncertainty and
unknowns, the thinking processes can rigidify, grow brittle and turn
dogmatic and paranoid. Both types of attention need each other; both are
necessary to increase the power of dreaming.

In much of the educational systems of western civilization, the first
attention has gained powerful a priori status which has regretfully inflated
its sense of importance. This inflation has resulted in a kind of mental
tyranny over the body/psyche by the mechanism of over-thinking. This compulsion further complicates itself by nonstop, dualistic comparisons and associations of this image with that, or that system with this one, etc. etc. Over-thinking turns any psyche into a tool for an inflated, arrogant intellect until that psyche begins using the intellect as a tool; something becomes a tool when it can be put down after its use.

The first attention can be called “the knowing mind”, as the second
attention can be called “the not knowing, or unknowing, mind”. Our public
education systems have sanctioned over-thinking by assigning the highest grades and status to what can be proven, justified and known. We are not assigned high grades for not knowing. However, without the cultivation of the second attention — the unknowing mind — the psyche remains severely limited and tyrannized by the agendas of the mundane survival-oriented first attention. Claustrophobia sets in as the first attention dominates the psyche with its compulsive data and proof gathering habits, filling up more and more inner space with the cluttered detritus of random information.

Without an active second attention, the intellect’s insatiable appetite
for proofs and certitudes continue to mask deeper, unmet survival needs for
more security, status and territory. If basic survival problems remain
unsolved, the first attention can begin thinking in absolute terms as a
misguided and unconscious attempt to alleviate the underlying survival anxiety. This can manifest as a fixation with trying to make sense of everything, nonstop rationalizations, and trying to solve problems created by the very mechanistic mindset trying to solve them. This type of mental looping expresses first attention out of control. The mad, mad reign of King Monkey Mind can be overthrown by shifting the focus towards the second attention.

The second attention can be cultivated by relaxing the search for meaning.
This can be experienced by relaxing the tendency to project and/or assume
meaning onto whatever is perceived, in lieu of direct perception of the
phenomena. This can also occur by dropping labels through an agreement to
experience the world without naming what you are experiencing. Infants and very young children see this way most of the time. This begins a process of flexing a once active perceptual muscle before it weakened and/or atrophied.

The education of the first and second attentions turns into wisdom when
both awarenesses can work together. To review, the first attention is
attached to day-today survival concerns, solving everyday mundane problems, and making sense of things by automatically assigning labels and meaning to experience. The second attention is linked to presence, energy and phenomena, allowing direct engagement with the autonomous forces of creation, the archetypes governing existence. As these two attentions recognize each other and find ways to interact and work together, an important bridge can be built between their worlds.

a paratheatre manifesto by Antero Alli

About the Author
Antero Alli is an underground filmmaker and director of ParaTheatrical ReSearch who maintains a private astrological practice in his spare time. He is the author of Angel Tech, Angel Tech Talk, A Modern Shaman’s Guide to a Pregnant Universe (with Christopher S. Hyatt), The Akashic Record Player, Astrologik, The Vertical Oracle, and Towards an Archeology of the Soul.

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