There is the surface challenge du jure, of the moment, and the deeper challenge that created that challenge. We are exploring the root source of our chronic personal, social and ecological dis-ease, that has now turned into crisis. Why humanity has created the mess we find ourselves in, and have been in for thousands of years. As we began; the source of problem is not out there, in society, in our relationships, in the environment. The crisis is in each of us, how we perceive, think, feel, how we treat each other and the world. The deeper challenge is inner, a particular misuse of memory, and therefore structure of thought and our identification with this misuse.

The deeper challenge

  • The outer society, culture and civilization and our inner self-image or ego are two sides of the same coin. Both sides are mental abstractions or images.
  • When attention is focused and identified with these abstractions the resulting enchantment masks our true nature which is transcendent-creation grounded and expressed in nature.
  • The implicit disassociation from our true nature this enchantment causes, creates the false appearance that we are separate from nature. 
  • Falsely believing we are separate from nature predisposes actions and behaviors that create conflicts with our true nature; toxic chemicals and products, pollution, massive amounts of carbon, and many others, that now threaten not only human stability, but all stability of life as we know it.
  • The overarching problem appears to be human society, culture, civilization and the self-image or egos that sustain these outer forms. Behind this appearance however, is the deeper and more fundamental source which is a particular structure and function of human thought.
  • Down through the ages great efforts have been made to improve or correct the outer expressions noted above, various social reforms, organized religions, theories of psychology, psychoanalysis and therapies, for example. And yet, the overarching problems remain and seem to be compounding exponentially.
  • As described by Joseph Chilton Pearce, David Bohm, J. Krishnamurti, Samdhong Rinpoche and others, our failure to recognize and address this deeper source, which has been described as a misuse and false identification with memory, the outward manifestations of this misuse will continue and expand, a pattern that is and has long been unsustainable.
  • It has been observed that a problem cannot be solved with the same source that produced the problem. The particular problem is embedded in the source or structure that produced it. More of the same is the same. In our case however, we only know one source, the one that is repeating the old pattern which is now suicidal. Our most pressing challenge is to discover and embody a different quality of mind, one that does not falsely identify with and misuse memory.

Where do we go from here? It is necessary and essential that parents and educators recognize in themselves this misuse and false identification with memory (mental images and conditioning) and model in daily life a quality of thought and action that is not distorted by this misuse. Shuffling more concepts around fails to change the state of the mind, and the real source of the problem is state-specific. Complete mindfulness, to use a Buddhist term, gathering and investing complete attention now negates misuse and its distortions. Right now, this very moment is the only chance we have. J. Krishnamurti addresses this challenge in the simple observation, The Future is Now:

Unless I fundamentally change, the future will be what I am now, right? If I am vicious, cruel, brutal, today, as I have been in the past, I’ll be that way tomorrow too. I can’t get away from it. If I’m quarreling with my wife or husband and so on, I’ll do it tomorrow. So, tomorrow is now. And, to break this chain in which we are caught, there must be a mutation now.

Krishnamurti, Ojai, Talk 2, 1985

When considering the enormity of our personal, social and ecological challenges from our misused frame of mind, the future appears grim. Krishnamurti’s insight that the Future is Now, changes this. We reincarnate the unsustainable past in the present by our misuse of memory. Each of us continue the destructive pattern by our failure to “know ourselves,” to see what we are actually doing, which brings us to Krishnamurti’s second observation explored the essay If Not Teaching Then What and Media and The Mind;

It is the responsibility of each human being to bring about his own transformation, which is not dependent on knowledge or time.

J. Krishnamurti

Our new future begins the instant we stop reincarnating the old-habit or pattern, which is the source of both, our inner conflicts of self and the outward and expanding chaos in society, culture and the environment. The speaker, as he often referred to himself, often said; the house is on fire or you are drinking poison. Will repeating the same pattern change anything? That old pattern must stop before anything new can emerge. As we described, complete attention opens the door.

OK, smarty, how do I, who have lived with this insight for years, apply it in my relationship with Carly Elizabeth? The prerequisite, of course, is wanting and inviting Carly Elizabeth in the first place, that the prenatal experience is well nourished and stress free, that the birth intimate, safe, and free from chemical and technological interventions, that mother, father and extended family appreciate the challenges a new baby bring and care and support each other every day. The nest must be safe, welcoming and nurturing, and yes, I do appreciate that our culture and society, especially in the United States, is dramatically opposed to the creation and support of this safe, nurturing nest. Why on earth would a culture not support this? What diabolical twist of values and logic would do such a thing? And yet, this is the essential foundation, and upon that we:

  1. Insure that Carly feels physically and psychologically safe. Fear and insecurity, physically and socially, act like sand in an oyster, with the growth of a protective, defensive, aggressive self-image or ego as a result. Feeling physically and psychologically secure negates this defensive reflex. Another way of saying this is unconditional acceptance wrapped in tons of sincere affection. My emotional state is radiant. Carly is highly attuned to my inner states. Her feelings of safety or threat are most often nonverbal.
  2. Practice defensive health nutrition. The synergy of commercial food production, processing, chemical additives, and packaging (BPA), factory farms, the disgusting, inhumane ways we treat our animal cousins, the pollution, toxic chemicals, pesticides, genetically engineered mutations, poisonous air and water, and yes the chronic harm to the immune system caused by untested, more than fifty unproven and therefore unscientific government mandated for profit vaccines, is robbing children of the basic health, vitality and the mental clarity they need to cope. Adding insult to injury, an unprecedented number of children are medicated daily. We protect Carly as much as possible from these dangerous and even life-threatening influences.
  3. Attempt to recognize the many ways that cultural images etch and leave their marks on her developing psyche, and protect her from these and/or negate, as much as possible, their influence. When the milk spills I focus on the milk and not who spilled it. To the best of my ability I withhold any form of shame, judgmental comparisons, punishments and by implication rewards, including personal praise; ‘good job.’ When she naturally compares herself with others, not finishing first, for example, I suggest that everyone is different, no one is ever first all the time, or that being first isn’t being your best. Starving the comparing social-image or ego early is like starving a cancer. What remains is much easier to get rid of later. This mindfulness to culturally imposed social images also includes protecting Carly from environments and others who use rewards and punishments, personal judgements, comparisons and shame to control her, traditional schools and organized religions come to mind.
  4. Shield and protect Carly from commercial media and screens. At this age and up to age ten or eleven, technology is a curse, not a cure. Many of the most powerful enculturating influences that form the social-ego slip in with commercial media and the internet, with social-media directed at children being the most insidious.
  5. In place of exploitative commercial screen-time, including all the plastic and electronic gadgets ‘sold’ as educational, we immerse Carly in descriptive language, as of age two in two languages, with age appropriate non-Disney stories, fables, fairy tales, books like Little House on the Prairie, and Charlotte’s Web. We read together every day. We share a recycling stacks of books and audio stories in two languages, including National Geographic, books about far off places and ancient cultures. Books, not videos and YouTube, are her windows to the world because we know that descriptive language and story challenge the brain in ways that visual stimulation does not. The ability to play with symbols, words, language and metaphors is the core capacity that makes humans human. The visual system does not open and develop this core capacity. And we need true literacy, a mind that can imagine what wholeness, empathy and creative inner vision looks and feels like to meet the future we have created. This focus extends to ‘open-ended’ toys that change meaning by the way Carly shapes and transforms them, a rich assortment of blocks is a classic example, sand, molding clay, or large cardboard boxes that can be stacked, cut, painted, and rearranged. Real, natural objects and textures. As little plastic and blinking lights as possible.
  6. In addition to books, expose Carly to as much live artistic performance as possible, music, dance, and the arts of all kinds, surround her with the tools, supplies, resources and space to explore and express these experiences in her own way at home, at her pace, not ours.
  7. A rich extend family of all ages and community, caring adults that know what it means to meet, engage and enchant Carly at her level, not just theirs, and children who can share their inner worlds together as spontaneous, undirected, lightly supervised and supported free play.
  8. Realize the age and stage specific world or reality that Carly is in and adapt my interactions to meet her needs at this critical time. The majority of Carly’s protective-defensive responses, that calcify as ego, are in reaction to conflicts that we adults create and impose by not being attuned to her age, stage and stage-specific needs. Then, of course, we blame her for the conflict and repeat this daily.
  9. Appreciate, even up to age five and six, that the primary influences that shape her self-world view are nonverbal. I communicate, as much as possible, through touch and gesture, leaving verbal explanations as brief as possible.
  10. Understand that Carly’s reality is different from my own. She is still a child of the dream, where distinctions between the outer word and her inner experience is blurred. I appreciate that it takes her more time than adults to shift from one activity to the next. We think the child is being lazy. Inner states at this age dissolve slowly. By giving her more time I eliminate most of the conflicts that normally occur. When challenges do occur, and they do, redirect attention to a playful scenario, one that deemphasize Carly as the object or focus of failure, wrong doing or distress. Let playing together or story resolve the conflict rather than blame, threat and shame. Less conflicts, less defense, less ego later. At least, that’s the intent.

Being sensitive in these interdependent ways changes, and profoundly, the messages Carly responds to as she interacts with life. Recall, the social-image of ego is a coping pattern developed to navigate the threats that culture imposes in its relentless attempts to manipulate, modify and control behavior. As Carly’s body, brain and emotions continue to expand, so too will our response. Her ever-changing nature demands an ever-changing response.

Imagine what it might feel like to never feel ashamed, embarrassed, judged, compared, threatened or punished. How is it possible to give compete attention, the hallmark of optimum performance and learning at any age, stage or activity, if one must defend against all these threats all the time? Providing Carly the safety, and therefore freedom, to give complete attention expands her potential, and exponentially. Joseph Chilton Pearce was fond of saying; a child never restrained, never needs restraint. Now you understand why. Threat of any kind demands an equal amount of attention be diverted into defense. Culture, being the dominate threat, acts like a vaccine, injecting a cultural self-image into the body and psyche as a coping defensive shield. The greater the threat, the greater the egotistical image. The safety to invest complete attention in learning, which to the child is play, negates culture and the internal image.

The Wild Card

Just as the generic structure has built in wild cards that change expression in response to environmental signals, child and human development must do the same. What prevents this is culture. Everything we have explored rests on the simple insight that cultural conditioning, as identity, is fundamentally conservative, limited and exclusive, rather than open-ended and inclusive. When this insight is applied to human development it becomes clear that culture is, by design, anti-development. Culture and the mental states that reincarnate culture limits and constrains, prevents and punishes much more than it invites, opens, develops and expands human potential.

Technology has and will continue to develop. We can travel into space and manipulate genes, but inwardly we have remained more or less stagnate for thousands of years. Culture as an internal state of mind imposes a strict set of conservative limits on each succeeding generation, which excludes innate states of perception and possibilities that remain dormant, unexplored and undeveloped. Fire-walking, spoon bending, savant-like flashes of insight, direct knowing, distant healing and telepathy are all proven capacities, beyond any doubt, not to mention empathy, altruism, visionary creativity and compassion. What these and other capacities point to are potentials that are repressed, dismissed and excluded by the implicitly self-centered states of body and mind that express as society and culture. Breaking our mistaken identification with selfish-culture, open you and me, and more importantly our children, to the rediscovery and re-identification with our true nature, which is transcendent and interdependent nature. This discovery breaks the limitations and constraints that have trapped human consciousness for thousands of years. And this rediscovery opens the doors to the many states of perception, knowing and relationships that have been excluded by our false identification with culture.

The intellect is a magnificent accomplishment but it remains an extremely limited form of intelligence. A keen and well developed intellect is critical, in the service, not of its own conditioned and therefore limited process, rather as the servant of the infinitely larger intelligence we call life. The enculturated self, by its defensive nature, is abstracted and disassociated from this larger intelligence and we see the result; constant wars, pollution, egos exploiting egos at every turn, environmental and species collapse. This is what a dissociated ego as intellect, as culture does. More of the same is suicidal. As David Bohm described, existing knowledge cannot solve the problem. Something much deeper is needed. A completely new approach.

To frame this new approach deeply, fundamentally, what each of the teachers that have inspired this rant imply, is that this something new is not an another concept, rather it is a new state of the mind. Recall, ‘form is content’. The form or structure of the public schools is the primary content experienced in that structure. The form or structure of Television and the internet determine what kind of experience is delivered using that form. The same is true of the mind. The state of the mind determines its content. The state that produces concepts remains the same regardless of the concepts it creates. The much deeper approach that Bohm describes is in the state of the mind, not its content as concepts. Also implied is that the mind that creates conditioned images and concepts excludes or fails to contain perceptions and capacities that are not concepts. One state excludes others.

Implicit in all we have explored is a realization and invitation for, from our enculturated perspective, non-ordinary states to be included, rather than excluded, in the normal and whole development of children. Just maybe, the states of perception and capacities that have been repressed, excluded and dismissed by self-as-culture, will provide the answers we need to reincarnate humanity in a new and fundamentally different way.

Our approach therefore, is twofold; first, to break the false enchantment and identification with the habitual state of mind that creates and sustains culture and its inner twin, self-as-culture, and second, from this new state of being and implicit identity, discover or rediscover, develop and apply new states of being and relationship that return the human brain and its function to its natural order. In other words, to recognize and invite the miraculous.


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