INTRODUCTION

I’m somewhat shamed rereading this advice written when I was a preacher, invited then to give it. Not that I disagree with it now, but I more clearly recognize the sin of my own omniscience at the time, reflected in the self-righteousness of some of my pronouncements. I obviously, then if not now, thought I know what others should do.

Now I see more certainly that my advice is more properly redirected back to me than to any other person. Literally, these statements should be called Advice To Me. Each of them does reflect my best experience at the time they were written about how to find good living in the here and now. They are what I still know (for me) and try to absorb into my larger self whenever I can find the faith to "practice what I preach."

But they may or may not be for you. There is, I now realize, a great danger in following advice which does not fit one’s own experience or emerging awareness.

If you choose to read further, I trust you will speedily dismiss any of my statements which don’t make sense to you. If anything I say does add up for you, giving words to what you already know, I shall be pleased to have shared this advice which is, finally, to myself alone.

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ADVICE ON ADVICE

1. Advice won't save; but will guide. It won't get you there, but may save lots of wasted energy in going in unproductive or destructive ways. Advice serves mainly to prevent wasting time on rabbit trails that go nowhere or the wrong way.

2. This advice is for charting a course for travel. It is like a road map, not a recipe. It may help you see where to go, but is no substitute for travel itself.

3. One can follow all these rules and be no better off than before; in fact even worse, if you fall into self-righteousness when you do a "good" job of following them.

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HOW TO GIVE ADVICE

1. Keep your good advice to yourself.

Almost never give advice, especially when you think you know what you are talking about and when they "really need it."

2. Give advice when you're getting paid.

When someone wants to know what you think bad enough to pay for it, then advising is safer. Otherwise, dispense your hard earned knowledge with extreme caution. Sometimes, when someone asks for it, like a stranger, you may tell without danger. Mostly, however, you are in an extremely vulnerable position when you begin to give advice. Two of the risks are: 1) That you may be wrong; your advice, though good for yourself and certain others, may not apply to the one asking. Then, if they do follow it, you have led them astray. Likely you will also be blamed. 2) Secondly, you risk their dependence on you if you are right. Temporarily you may enjoy this honored state; in time, though, you will tire of it. And they will resent you, in the long run, for tempting them to dependence, depriving them of something even more valuable than "doing the right thing."

3. Give advice personally rather than authoritatively.

Never say "You should...," or, "You ought to..." When you do chance telling what you know, say, "This is what I did when I was in a similar situation," or, "If I were in your place I would probably do thus and so."

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HOW TO TAKE ADVICE

1. Get it from strangers or professionals.

The best advice comes from those who have no vested interest in you; they are able to be more objective. Seldom take advice from friends; almost never from loved ones. Not that they don't mean well; but because they care for you. Because they are invested in you--they have something to gain or lose, depending on what you do--they are limited in their objectivity. Even if they are professionally knowledgeable on the subject, their personal involvement with you is apt to limit their effectiveness in your particular situation.

Never, of course, take advice from anyone who says, "Let me give you a good piece of advice." As has been noted by many others, "it will probably be worth about as much as you pay for it," even is it is right for someone else.

2. Take all advice with a grain of salt (in fact, several grains).

Weigh all advice, even from professionals, carefully. Never follow what someone else says without carefully considering your own experience and personal knowledge, no matter how small, on the subject. Even if the advice is good, perhaps applicable to many others, it may not apply to your particular situation. Think about is first.

Blind allegiance, even to proper courses, is extremely dangerous. Do not follow any advice until you have weighed and made it your own--that is, decided in your own mind to follow that particular path. When you have done this, you will never be able to say later, "Well I was following his advice," or, "I was just doing what I was told." Blaming or praising an advisor will be impossible when you have truly assimilated the advice before following it. It will then be yours, not theirs.

3. Take advice independently.

It's best to pay for advice so you won't feel indebted to the one who gives it. If you are obligated, you may be inclined to follow even bad advice, or to color your own judgment about its validity. Taking advice without pay also risks your becoming dependent on the advisor, which is often worse than not knowing what to do. Doing the right thing "because they said so" is less practical in the long run than doing the wrong thing responsibly (on your own choice). At least, in the latter case, you will be more likely to learn from your experience.

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MAIN THINGS

1. Be present, now, wherever you are--remembering your past and reaching for the future; but never get lost in memories or goals.

2. Respond discriminatingly to everything you encounter, but never judge anything.

3. Be honestly yourself--personally, wherever you go; play your roles artfully, but never try to be any role, including your gender.

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TOP EIGHT

If I ever find myself on a deserted Island of the Mind
as I often do
having forgotten everything I ever knew
these are the things I hope to remember/relearn first

Nothing, I have learned, matters more than these

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1. Show up; always be present.
2. Always discern; never judge.
3. Think for yourself; don't give up your own mind.
4. Never stray far from desire, nor be dictated by it.
5. Choose your own way; never be dictated.
6. Relate joyfully, but neither seek nor lose yourself in others.
7. Pace yourself in all endeavors, striving for timeliness.
8. Goodly be yourself; but never try to be good.

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PRESENCE

1. Show up; always be present.

Show up = Be present honestly
Show up, wherever you are; only be out to lunch when absolutely necessary.
-Showing up, being present, is the greatest thing you'll ever learn; to do so is to discover the kingdom of God on earth, heaven here, now rather than later.
-To Show up is to be honest with yourself and responsible with society, which often requires considerable deception, done with artistry but without any self deception.
-Be present, not absent.

To Show up means to be present with your basic human capacities activated. These include: sensing/feeling/thinking. Sensing is about being open or paying attention to what is outside your skin--seeing, hearing, smelling what is around you. Feeling and thinking are about paying attention to what is inside--being open to your emotions and thoughts. Your feelings include literal emotions such as fear and anger, plus right-brain knowledge (how you "feel about things") which has not yet been processed into left-brain thoughts. Thinking includes three arenas: the present, past, and future. To be thinking is to be open to present data picked up in immediate sensing, plus aware of the past and future--that is, remembering and anticipating, recalling previous experience and predictable consequences plus future plans.

When you are fully present you will be in the place where you are with these three major capacities in operation--that is, sensing the outside world, feeling in response to what you sense, and thinking or weighing your data consciously.

You will, in contrast, not be "out to lunch," "present in body but absent in spirit." The human capacity for consciousness allows us the option of its opposite--of existing without consciousness. We can be physically present but not "paying attention" to what is around us, "on Cloud Nine" it is sometimes called. We can also be cut off from our emotions and thoughts, not aware of what we feel, not remembering past experience, and oblivious to consequences in the future.

When I am remembering this first advice to myself, Showing up where I am, I am as open to the present circumstances as I can stand to be--seeing, hearing, etc., all that I can; I am also emotionally responsive, feeling my natural feelings, and intuitively aware. At the same time I am mentally present--open to the past, present, and future.

DISCERNMENT

2. Always discern; never judge.

Always be discerning, drawing mental lines; but never judge what you see.

-Never stray long--about 30 seconds at most--from choice, personally deciding what you think, say, do, or will do, especially when opting for duty over desire, for social responsibility over your own response-ability, that is, your choice to act in socially acceptable ways which are counter to self inclinations, "good" behavior which requires the deception of others.

-When wisdom and the power of others over you at the time, i.e., parents in early life or police later, require doing other than what you would choose were you free to, be especially careful that you never hide from yourself in have to. Remember that choosing, even what you don't-want-to, is not the same as giving in to have to. With head high and integrity intact, you can remain your choosing self, even in prisons of all sorts--like family, jail, marriage, or the church--if you choose submission over suicide or the consequences of rebellion.

Discerning is what to do in the state of openness called for in Showing Up. While present, with your capacities for sensing/feeling/thinking in operation, use them. Discernment is basically about drawing lines, separating this from that: this is hot, that is cold; this is white, that is black, etc. To be sensing, putting the sense capacities in operation, is to be engaged in many discernments, for instance, seeing and hearing.

Enlarged discernments, beginning with the primary sense capacities, also include those for feeling and thinking. How we feel about what we sense is added to what we think about it; discernment, the complicated mental process of making distinctions, is drawing mental lines between the wealth of stimuli which we receive both from without and within.

To follow this second advice is to be always making such discernments about the data we receive in our openness to the world without and within. When I am discerning, I am continually in the process of making and consciously acknowledging distinctions between  myriads of bits of information I am able to perceive.

Discerning may be thought of as the process of making conceptions out of perceptions. When our senses are open, we perceive (to per-ceive means to thoroughly grasp or hold in awareness). Then, holding perceptions in awareness, we may go on to the next human possibility of forming conceptions or mental images from what we perceive both from the outside world and from our inward feelings and thoughts.

Conceptions begin with names for what we sense (This is a tree, for example), and expand to include ideas about the named perceptions (Trees grow in the ground, for instance, and do not move around as do birds--another possible perception). Discernments which begin with simple distinctions such as this is a tree; that is a bird, or this is hot; that is cold, may be expanded into extremely complex ideas such as this is democracy; that is communism.

This second advice is: after you Show Up, begin immediately to discern among the multitudes of stimuli you receive--the wealth of sights, the cacophony of sounds, plus the feelings and thoughts which they stimulate. Name your perceptions in consciousness; begin to carefully separate this from that; make sense of what you perceive; transform perceptions into conceptions which you hold in consciousness for further weighing.

But, and this is the second half of the advice, often much harder than the first: never judge what you discern.

AWARENESS

3. Think for yourself; don't give up your own mind.

Think for yourself;. Always KWYK-- Know What You Know, consciously when possible.

-Be scrupulously honest with yourself and appropriately deceptive with others.
-Be conscious vs. nonscious.
-Honor your own perceptions made into conceptions which best fit your own experience.
-Hold experience in silence when feasible, but do not flee awareness into nonsciousness unless necessary for your soul's   survival.
-See what you see and know what you know, acting responsibly with your own data, except when containment seems         impossible and honesty too dangerous.
-Never accept the beliefs of others as you own when they do not fit your experience; remain silent in your disbelief when necessary, but do not swallow what others say without digesting it through the stomach of your experience.
-Learn the arts of pragmatic deception, especially with loved ones, but never fall into the pit of self-deception. Climbing out can be awesome.
-Reveal or conceal yourself as you choose or circumstances dictate, but never seek under-standing to evade standing-under what you know.

The move from per-ceiving to con-ceiving, from sensing to making sense, is an essential part of being who you are. This third advice is an affirmation of your capacity to do your own thinking rather than escaping into the thoughts and ideas of others. Although I often evade the challenges of making up my own mind, I now believe that thinking for myself is critical in living a good life.

Thinking for yourself means weighing your own data gathered in your personal experience and coming to conclusions based on the wealth of your living. What others think can be useful, especially when your experience is limited, but finally, making up your own mind is critically important. Because each individual is unique, our experiences are also different even when we are in the same family or similar circumstances as others; this means that no one else is in a better place to form accurate conceptions from your perceptions than you are. Even those who care for you haven't been in your shoes; only you have. You are the best one to be honest and accurate about what you know.

BODY KNOWLEDGE

4. Never stray far from desire, nor be dictated by it.

Be embodied and strive for heartedness, but never escape into the illusion of having either a body or a soul.

-Know and hold all wanting in mind-space for its merging with reason, carefully avoiding the idolatry of either.
-Never stray far from your conscious connections with genetic roots.

SUMMARY ON DESIRE

1. Always try to know; never try to deny.
2. Never judge; always discern.
3. Always choose; never be dictated by desire alone.
4. Always befriend desires.
5. Don't linger long in any habit. Away from wanting, the heart grows quickly cold; trapped in habits, soul dies.

Desire is Being forming itself into doing, God bringing Himself into human consciousness. Desire is inward urge toward action, doing something.

DECIDING

5. Choose your own way; never be dictated.

Act always and only from the core of your personal integrity; acquiesce and obey for survival and self-enhancement, pretending when practical. Move responsibly on you own; don't get pushed around, or pulled.

-Never be dictated, especially when you choose to go along with the decisions of others.
-Do what is right for you, carefully avoiding self-righteousness; but even more carefully, avoid the assumption that what other's believe to be right for them is right for you.
-Guard your integrity as your birthright and greatest gift.
-Respect society but honor genetics.

As said by others: "Follow your bliss." "This above all else, to thine own self be true." "Follow the gleam...."

OTHER PEOPLE

6. Relate joyfully, but neither seek nor lose yourself in others.

Meet others as you will, but never get lost in other persons. Luxuriate in the friendship of kindred souls, but never lose yourself in order to belong.

-Delight in the illusion of completion inherent in the kind of love you can fall into; but seek disillusionment as your faith allows, returning as soon as possible to the options of love.

-Be alert to what people think, even as to other sounds of the day and noises of the night.

-Weigh their opinions carefully as sources of information and keys to gaining social acceptance when it matters to you; but never make a god of what they think or your idolatry will cost you eternal life.

-Look to data from others for guidance while you clarify what you think, but return as soon as possible to your own elections. Better in the long run to be wrong from your own choices than right but mindless.

-Be honest with yourself, deceptive with others; never vice versa.

TIME

7. Pace yourself in all endeavors, striving for timeliness.

-Be timely, as best you can tell it, rather than on time or late.

-Carefully avoid either of the twin traps of being late or merely on time. Tardiness leads to self-shame; being on time--by their schedule--leads to self-righteousness. Either will get you exited from the kingdom of God which is here.

-Identify yourself with evolution, the ever-changing process of becoming, which, for you, is inagurated at conception and culminates with cessation of breath.

-Look at all appearances of permanence carefully lest you fall for such illusions as a Rock of Ages. All rocks erode in time, including those of sand, society, and sacred notions. Evade the disillusionment inherent in beliefs in any Static State.

-Wrinkles, like all changes, are as inherent in the human script as is erosion for soil and rocks. Seek change carefully and participate joyfully, or the prices of disillusionment will be added to those of aging.

-Knowing how to roll with the punches is more important than fighting the inevitable.

-Never waste energy pushing the river; swimming is wiser.

GOODNESS

8. Goodly be yourself; but never try to be good.

Be you completely. Act appropriately with others, but do not strive for being good--as though you are not inherently okay without any measuring up. The popular parental advice, "Be good," should be interpreted as: "Behave yourself," that is, "act in accord with our wishes." Unfortunately, children tend to take it literally--meaning that they are not inherently good enough to be acceptable and must improve themselves in order to be okay.

Get over trying to be good. Learn to behave appropriately, but never confuse behaving with being yourself. Give your primary attention to being you, goodly, rather than to trying to be good.

Behave yourself as a social act, but keep goodness as a quality of your being; never confuse nor identify virtue with behavior.

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How To Be Human

1. Be potent rather than omnipotent or impotent.
2. Be knowledgeable rather than omniscient or ignorant.
3. Be mortal rather then immortal.

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TO EVERYBODY

1. Be present.

Always be embodied--present as an embodied person--that is, continually sensing, feeling, and thinking. Don't be personally absent (out to lunch) when you are physically present.

2. Don't judge.

Never engage in put downs about anything or anyone, especially yourself. Instead, accept all reality as it is presented to you.

3. Do respond.

Participate with heart; without judgment, respond discriminatingly to everything you encounter. Never react only or withdraw without response.

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PERSONAL ADVICE

1. Profoundly be, before you do anything.
2. Embrace your shadow.
4. Goodly be you, but never try to be good.
5. Distinguish stimulation from projection; enjoy stimuli, but withdraw projections whenever possible.
6. Never stray far from wanting.
7. Seek to be a person, not just a man or a woman.
8. Never seek right through might or law.
9. Accept accolades graciously, but never be flattered.
10.Risk pleasure; past reproduction, it is your strongest heritage.
11. Get real.
12. Walk trustingly, whenever you can; but never trust people.
13. Strive for inter-dependence; avoid independence and dependence.
14. Never run from your own shadow; embrace it.
15. Become omnisexual.
16. Perfect the arts of compromise.
17. Never try to impress someone from whom you have nothing to gain.
18. Defend yourself when attacked, but never be defensive.

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1. Profoundly be, before you do anything.

Never let your doing be an escape from being yourself. Never say or think: "just being," as though it were a minor matter. Being yourself, whenever you dare, is always profound--even when you are "doing nothing." Let all activity (doing) spring from being (your centered self).

Keep primary attention on the challenges of remaining yourself; let any doing emerge secondarily--this in contrast to the more common stance of placing all attention on what you do, while ignoring being yourself altogether.

2. Embrace your shadow.

Look at your dark side; seek out your unaccepted self reflected in the mirrors of others, especially those who you don't like or who threaten you. If you do not claim your shadow, it will control you. Wrestle with your demons until they turn into angels; then claim them, demanding your name, until they are you.

Never run from your own shadow; embrace, when your courage is sufficient, all reflections of who-you-are, potentially.

When any aspect of your real self is unaccepted, that is, pushed into your unconscious mind, it will be unknown to you, yet still reflected in the mirrors of circumstances and other people. Shadow stands for a mirror image of some part of you which you do not currently see. Our real but unaccepted capacities do not go away; they simply remain hidden to our conscious minds. Other persons may see them clearly. To us, however, they may only be seen in reflection, mirrored "out there."

For example, suppose you do not consciously accept your own capacity for anger. Your denial does not eliminate your anger, only your awareness of it; others may still see it clearly. You, however, will only glimpse it in reflection, mirrored in circumstances or other people. You will think that "they make you mad." Or if you suppress your awareness of your own sexuality, you will see its shadow continually in the "sexy activities" of others.

A general rule of thumb is: whatever irritates you in others is probably a mirror reflection of some unaccepted part of yourself. You will dislike "seeing it" in others because the sight threatens the effectiveness of your own suppression in yourself. If you are threatened, for instance, at the overt anger in others, probably it reflects some of your own unaccepted anger. You are upset by your own shadow.

This does not mean that your perception is necessarily wrong; perhaps they are actually angry also. The fact that it bothers you, however, is the clue to your own projected shadow. There are, of course, real irritants in the world--polluted air, dangerous places, and people who step on your toes. Although we seldom recognize our own shadows at the time, most of the things which irritate or threaten us are but the reflections of parts of our unaccepted selves. We are most often offended by own shadows, seen reflected "out there."

Rule of thumb: a good place to look for your shadowed selves is in anything (place, circumstance, or person) which bothers you (irritates, threatens, "gets a rise," or "turns you on"). The most common shadows of who we are, but have not yet accepted, include: certain emotions in others, opposite gender reflections, and sexuality.

3. Goodly be you, but never try to be good.

Be you completely. Act appropriately with others, but do not strive for being good--as though you are not inherently okay without any measuring up. The popular parental advice, "Be good," should be interpreted as "Behave yourself," that is, act in accord with our wishes. Unfortunately, children tend to take it literally--meaning that they are not inherently good enough to be acceptable and must improve themselves in order to be okay.

Get over trying to be good. Learn to behave appropriately, but never confuse behaving with being yourself. Give your primary attention to being you, goodly, rather than to trying to be good.

4. Distinguish stimulation from projection; enjoy stimuli, but withdraw projections whenever possible.

5. Never stray far from wanting.

Desire is a primal part of yourself. To be out of touch with want is to be out of touch with yourself. Monitor the expression of all desires; be discrete in the world, but remain a passionate person.

Wanting is innate, but conscious desire is not. The big brain allows us the expensive luxury of repressing our desires--getting so on top of desire that we lose touch with what we want. In our society it commonly happens to everyone to some degree.

This advice is to reverse the habit of suppressing desire whenever possible. Take the chance of being continually alert to whatever you naturally want at any given time and place.

Awareness of wants doesn't, of course, mean acting out ever desire in its most direct form. Many desires, if you are normal, will be socially if not personally unfeasible. But consciously choosing to restrain a desire is not the same as getting on top of it, out of touch, not knowing what you want to do.

Wanting is a primary element of human capacity; you need to know what you want in order to know yourself. Choose carefully what you will do--how you express (or conceal) your desires--but never stray far from knowing them. To do so is to lose yourself.

6. Seek to be a person, not just a man or a woman.

Gender is a way-station on the path toward humanity. Pass by it, but do not linger for long. To do so is to settle for the unstable state of being half a person. Always thereafter you will either be longing for your missing half or bitter in you incompletion.

7. Never seek right through might or law.

Seek fullness of life through completion, but never through power or legalism. Righteousness is found through becoming and being who-you-are, ever increasingly so--not through being strong or good. Never try to be right by prevailing over another or by doing what's right.

8. Accept accolades graciously, but never be flattered.

Also, receive criticism openly; weigh it, later, for any truth it may contain; but never take it personally at the time.

9. Risk pleasure; past reproduction, it is your strongest genetic heritage.

The fear of fun, based on lack of experience, is one of the greatest deterrents in finding heaven on earth. Projection of heaven into the skies of an imagined after-life is but a safe way of keeping alive the primary hope, while protecting ourselves from the necessity of faith required for experiencing heaven in this life. In fact, heaven is here; it is we, with our debilitating fear of fun, who are absent. Whenever we conquer this psychological hang-up about the evils of pleasure we face the immediate prospect of enjoying fullness of life in the here and now.

Although society, with understandable reasons, supports our avoidance of pleasures, especially those related to sex, the resulting vulnerability to expression of this primal human capacity--with its identification with evil ("This is so much fun it must be bad.") is an unnecessary state of affairs. Actually, though many never find out personally, we are created not only with the capacity for great pleasures, but also with sufficient power to handle them responsibly. We are made capable of standing, without acting stupid, all the fun we are capable of having. Unfortunately, many of us never discover this fact and are consequently left in the regrettable position of having to postpone heaven till after we die--or worst still, not at all.

10. Get real

Thanks to Comedienne Joan Rivers for popularizing this advice; it bears repeating to those who may not have caught her act. For all the delights of Fairy Tale Land, the Enchanted Forest, and other-worldly religions, the fact remains that  best data supports the kingdom of heaven in the here and now--in the real world, that is. Magical wishes are fine for children and oppressed peoples; once into adulthood and relative freedom, however, we are best advised to devote our energies to getting real rather than striving to maintain and fulfill fantasies. When you have an option, opt for reality over illusion; it is far better in the long run. Keep your dreams, but as dreams; avoid escaping into them. You will pay eventually. Too much.

11. Walk trustingly, whenever you can; but never trust people--not others, and especially not yourself.

"Don't trust anyone, not your best friend--not even your wife!" (Micah 7:5; L.B.)

Trusting is extremely important; to live without trust is to only exist. The issue here is not trust, but where it is to be placed. Erroneously we tend to place our trust either in other people or in ourselves--with predictable disappointment in the long run.

The trust which counts is an object-less way-of-being; there is no proper "place"--that is, person or thing in which to place trust. Because our language structure leads us to have objects for our verbs ("I trust..." seems incomplete; "Trust in what?" is a logical question), we may add "in reality." This advice, if pressed for an object of trust, goes: "Place your trust in reality, indeed, in ultimate reality." This, however, is deceptive speech, since "reality" is literally indefinable. The figurative meaning of the word is "the way things are." Trust in "the way things are," or in "the facts of life." For further clarity we may add "in ultimate reality," that is, in the essence of "the ways things are;" not a shallow understanding of reality--such as, "the way we wish things were," but in "the way they really and truly are, even if we don't understand what that is."

The point is that trusting is a state of personal being, a stance of openness to reality; it is not a dependence on any "object"--tangible or intangible, that is, person, thing, or even an idea or belief. Trusting is a way-of-being responsibly open, not a condition of leaning on some assumed-to-be dependable object.

The popular understanding of "trusting in yourself" rather than "in others" comes closer to this advice. Yet taken literally, as in making an object of oneself--one's mind, strength, beauty, etc., this also misses the point. To "walk trustingly..." is, literally, without any object, including oneself.

Walk trustingly among all people, whenever your faith is strong; but never place your trust in anyone--your parents, friends, lover, or spouse--especially not in yourself.

12. Strive for inter-dependence; avoid the traps of independence and dependence.

13. Become omnisexual; carefully avoid the limiting spaces of hetero and homosexuality.

"Omni," in Latin, means "all." This advice means become as completely sexual as you actually are--no more, but certainly no less. For example, avoid the popular limitations of suppressing attractions to your same gender. The prevailing threats of homosexuality and lesbianism, though real to some smaller part of the population who become trapped in these opposite limitations, are mainly fear of our own unembraced shadows. We fear--are "bothered by"--those elements of our own sexuality which we have not yet accepted within ourselves. Shun both the self-righteousness which is characteristic of those trapped in heterosexuality, as well as the common guilt or shame of those trapped in homosexuality. Join the omnisexual.

14. Perfect the arts of compromise as an expression of your communal self; but never compromise at the cost of your integrity.

Give in often; relationship requires compromise. But never give up; integrity is worth more connectedness.

15. Never try to impress someone from whom you have nothing to gain.

Don't waste energy indiscriminately impressing people. Pose only for photographs; even then natural is likely to be better.

16. Always defend yourself when actually attacked; but never be defensive.

You can't "be defensive" without leaving yourself. For example, never explain yourself indiscriminately--unless an explanation is truly called for. Apologize for offenses, when you are willing to accept responsibility, but never be indiscriminately apologetic.

17. Be you.

Become yourself. Be self-ing. Instead of devoting your energies to trying to be good, or in rebelling against  virtuous directives by trying to be bad, abandon the entire quest for perfection in any degree. Instead, strive to discover and become who you truly are.

Assume that you are created O.K. as you are. No need for improvement. No need to "get better." Then, the energies of your life will become available for the more delightful fun and fulfillment of becoming who you are, for exploring and activating your own God-given capacities.

Said another way: Be sincere; be honest; don't be phoney. Try to honestly be just exactly who you truly are. Forget about trying to "be good;" think about "being true to yourself." Live the prayer of a once popular song: "Let my heart be heard in every word that I speak." In other words, speak yourself; also feel your honest emotions and do that which is truly "your own thing." Or, as I said at first: Be you.

18. Be loving.

Love something or someone, preferably both. If you move past judging and learn to be yourself, you open the door to the apex of it all, the love option. No need to try it without the first two first. This kind of love is not a virtuous act, subject to a positive judgment--a "good thing to do." It is, instead, at the heart of self-ing--being yourself. The closer you come to being you, to honestly becoming your most real self, the nearer you approach the door of love.

Fullest being of yourself is discovered in the extensions of who-you-are to something or someone beyond yourself. Actually, the what is incidental; it might be an idea, a cause, a pet or plant, a project, or highest of all, a person. It's not what you love, but that you do. Loving persons is not better than loving pets or plants, just different and with more options; persons invite us, when we love them, to even greater degrees of becoming and moving beyond who-we-presently-are.

Even so, begin where you will; inanimate objects or ideas are easier. Perhaps you will choose to start there in practicing the high arts of self-ing in its most intimate and expansive ways. Where you begin is incidental; that you chance this third advice is what counts. Once past judgments and into the delights of becoming yourself, move as rapidly as possible to this the highest level of self-ing, loving.

You will never be further from the sins of judgment or more into your deeper self than when you risk loving. It is truly "the greatest."

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APOLOGY

1. Apologize when appropriate, but don't explain yourself.

Apologize often, confirming your recognition and return to the human state of erring--making mistakes, offending unintentionally, and often sinning against others; but never explain yourself, make excuses, or rationalize any erroneous or offensive behavior, lest you cloak your own humanity and fool yourself, if not the other person.

Explanations all too easily subvert a sincere and appropriate apology, allowing the explainer to hide behind a barrage of artfully selected facts, escaping the responsibility and affirmation of being a limited human.

Better to risk the misunderstanding of an offended person and experience the reality of one's own humanity, than to end up totally justified in the eyes of the other person at the expense of self-deception. Too thorough an explanation also risks denying the offended person the relief of his own negative emotions about what you have done. Both you and the other person are apt to be affirmed through straight, brief apologies which major on accepting responsibility for the offense and minor on explanations:

"I did it; I regret the offense. I apologize."

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MISCELLANEOUS ADVICE

Be as conscious as you can, but never slip into self-consciousness; to do so is to lose yourself.

Be inter-dependent; you cannot be dependent or independent without losing some of yourself.

If you think or speak descriptively of "being yourself," say, "profoundly being me"; never say, "just being..."

Move fast or slow, appropriately, but never get in a hurry; to do so is to lose yourself. You can't be in a hurry.

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WHAT ABOUT ARGUING?

1. Make room for arguing in every relationship.

Arguing, for many, is scary, signifying terrible things--like the end of the relationship. Even so, because real conflicts are inevitable in any extended relationship, arguing has a legitimate place. I once heard a man bragging about his marriage: "We've been married for fifty years and have never argued once." I did not envy him; he was reasonably proud of the quantity of his relationship, but also confessed, I think, serious limits to its quality.

2. Separate arguing from abandonment.

For many grown children, fighting and leaving are emotionally viewed as synonymous--conscious thinking to the contrary. The childhood experience of many is either that they've never seen their parents argue and therefore fear the unknown, or that they have seen them fight and then flee. In either case, arguing may, on a deep emotional level, even unconscious, be connected with abandonment--the end of everything.

Break this connection. It is not necessarily so. The capacity of a relationship to include arguing without threat of abandonment may be a sign of its depth, not its shallowness. The anger which commonly accompanies arguing may seem dangerous, but when honest it needs room for inclusion in any quality relationship.

Anger, though synonymous with evil for some, is a legitimate, often needed human emotion. Accept it. One biblical injunction is: Be ye angry, and sin not. Whatever else the verse may mean, it certainly implies that it is possible to be angry without falling into sin. Experience confirms the possibly positive place of such strong emotions in a productive relationship. Make room for them in yours.

3. Learn to "fight fair," to argue sensibly.

Pre-establish mutually acceptable limits. For example, sensible arguments should include the right to a "time out" whenever either party reaches the point where their own emotions are about to overwhelm their ability to both speak reasonably and feel at the same time.

"King's X," children sometimes call this right. It means, "I need to take a rest, a time out. I am not stopping what is happening, but I recognize that a temporary halt is called for." Perhaps you may say, "Look, I'm getting too angry (or scared) to talk straight. I'm not abandoning the subject, and certainly not you as a person, but I do need, for my own well-being, to stop temporarily. Excuse me while I go to the bathroom (take a walk, or smoke); I'll be back shortly, to continue."

Such pre-established limits may also include a prior decision to respect the most vulnerable points of the other person, their weakest spots. For example, certain words are often particularly distressing to females, especially sexually related words; with males, certain actions, like walking away from them, are especially disturbing. In a "fight to the finish" these vulnerable places are, of course, good to know; but in arguments intended to clear-the-air rather then end-the-relationship, these atomic bombs don't need to be dropped. The point, remember, is to increase the honesty of the relationship by arguing, when necessary, about critical points of difference--not to blow the other off the face of the emotional earth.

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CONSCIOUSNESS

Continually engage in making your unconscious conscious.

Become self-aware, consciously yourself, without slipping into the trap of self-consciousness. Non-consciousness, living unawarely, is safer than self-consciousness, but not nearly so healthy or potentially productive as consciousness.

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ILLUSIONS

Seek dis-illusionment.

Living in illusions, though temporarily relieving and socially acceptable, is ultimately disastrous. The popular wish, "Don't ever disillusion me," is dangerous. Shun it. We all move into the Enchanted Forest, the exciting realm of magic, in early life. Perhaps the move is appropriate at the time; continued into adult life, however, the habit becomes destructive.

Continually be on the move out of the realms of your own illusions, no matter how pleasant they may immediately feel. Come back to the real world whenever you are wise enough to realize any evidence of your ensnarement in a magical state. As painful as it may seem at the time, seek disillusionment. The long time rewards of reality far outweigh the fleeting delights of life in the Enchanted Forest, especially in adulthood.

Change insight into outsight, with a Wow! instead of an Ugh.

Whenever you are blessed with seeing something for the first time, enjoy the gift of your insight. Then move swiftly to put it into practice, changing what you see within to what you will do outside yourself. Wow! How lucky you are to catch on to what you had not recognized before.

Waste no time whatsoever in judging yourself for what you have seen--either positively or negatively, good or bad. Don't rise to Cloud Nine, proud of yourself if your insight is positive, or sink into the Pit, ashamed if what you see seems negative at the time. Instead, give all your energies to translating what you have learned into practice. Take advantage of insight instead of being done in by it. Insight is the only escape from disillusionment. Accept each such gift with a Wow!


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KEEPING HEART


1. Be hearted in all things.

Always care, but never wear your heart on your sleeve.

2. Show your heart judiciously.

Give your heart when you dare, but never into the keeping of anyone. Show empathy when you dare, but never sympathy. Feel sorry with someone, but never for one.

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WHAT ABOUT PLEASURE?


1. Enjoy as much as you can.

2. Never judge fun.

"Blessed is he who has no reason to condemn himself for what he approves." (Romans 14:22)

3. Have fun, but don't try to give it.

Invite, share your pleasures, but never try to make anyone have fun. Contrary to the popular understanding, the fear of fun is deep seated and wide spread. When others are ready, they will take the chance. Otherwise, limit yourself to creating safer circumstances, plus invitations.

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WHAT ABOUT LONELINESS?

1. Embrace your loneliness whenever you have the courage.

2. Share when you dare, but never get rid of it.

Pushing down, hiding from, this fearful feeling is dangerous, risking the finding of your greatest gift. Closest to self, to a-lone-one-ness.

3. Transform loneliness into a-lone-ness.

This is a prerequisite for truly meeting any other.

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HAPPINESS: How to find it

1. Stop judging.
2. Be selfing; be you.
3. Be loving; love indiscriminately.

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TO CHILDREN (Of All Ages)

How to be a child (to grow up)

1. Find yourself
2. Cut the cord
3. Honor your parents
4. Learn to lie
5. Stay sexual
6. Don't forget fun
7. Avoid blaming parents
8. Let go of parents

*******

1. Find Yourself.

You are a unique-in-all-the-world person; discover and become who you truly are. Nothing matters more than this.

2. Cut The Cord.

Childhood is, in reality, but a temporary stage in life; never extend it permanently. The umbilical cord was cut for you (and her!); but the emotional cord will remain until you cut it. Work, at a reasonable pace, at becoming independently separate, responsible for yourself in all ways.

3. Honor Your Parents.

Respect them for who they are and what they have done for you, even if they weren't perfect and didn't do all you wanted them to. Gratitude, no matter how good or bad they were, is in order; but not worship or condemnation. Carefully avoid either of these latter traps which will only keep you a child.

4. Learn to lie.

Deception is an essential element in survival, both physical and social, especially with parents and family. It is, of course, to your parent's advantage to have you always tell the truth. They also must survive with you. You can make it easier by keeping yourself totally visible to them--by telling all. Do so whenever possible. They need all the help they can get. But never reveal yourself at the expense of your own integrity as a separate human being.

5. Stay sexual.

Unfortunately there is often a social, especially parental, conspiracy to pretend that sex does not exist. It does. Though with its dangers, sexuality is an inherent aspect of   humanity. Staying responsibly in touch with this essential part of yourself is one of the grander challenges of growing up. Pretending otherwise with your parents may be feasible, depending on how devoted they are to the conspiracy of silence. But falling for the denial itself will cost you your larger self in the long run. Even parental approval is not worth this price. Cloak it as you must, but whatever you do, stay sexual yourself.

6. Don't forget fun.

Inherently as a child, you know how to have fun. Your parents, unfortunately, in their own struggle for survival, may have forgotten. In measuring up to their desires that you become a responsible person, add responsibility to your playfulness; never let it replace your native ability to let go and have a really good time. Responsibility does count; but at the price of your funability, the cost may be excessive. Weigh carefully. Remember how much fun fun is.

7. Avoid blaming parents.

You were born into imperfect circumstances. We all are. Your parents, in all likelihood, were also imperfect--even though they may have tried to appear otherwise. You too, in making your choices, probably made some less-than-wise ones--which means that even you are not perfect now. What can you do?

One all-too-easy choice is to blame your parents. After all, they were the gods of your beginnings. If you join the ranks of those who make this choice, you will have a multitude of company. You will also be on a dead-end street toward happiness. Blaming, though relatively easy to do, is pointless. It is also non-productive, sapping the very energies and power needed to move beyond unsatisfactory places. Don't waste your valuable resources.

Growing up is demanding at best; you need all the power you can muster. If you have given any of yours away in the pointless habit of blaming your parents for your own shortcomings, stop now. Be angry at them, if you are, but use the power of your emotions to generate the energy for moving on. Blaming parents is a complete waste of time.

8. Let go of parents.

Hang on as you truly need to, but lend your major energies to letting go rather than clinging. If your parents are worth their salt, they will be trying to work themselves out of the job of parenting you. Cooperate by doing your part. Partings, especially with parents--our first gods--are generally sad if we are in contact with our emotions. Go ahead and grieve, if you feel like it; but begin as soon as possible in the bloom of youth to become a person in your own right. The sad side of this common endeavor is, if your parents were good, letting go of them. But then, if they were bad, you may be relieved to be free of them. In either case, growing up inherently means letting go of parents. So long as you have them, you can't be you. As you can, let go of them so you can become yourself more completely.

9. Gain integrity.

Become one; rebel against authority.

10. Discover your unique self.

Past rebellion, find you.

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TO CHRISTIANS

1. Stay human; or return if you have left.

Never say "never," "can't," or, "I know for sure,"--as I just have. Each tempts one to false godhood by its assumptions of immortality, impotence (the flip side of omnipotence), and omniscience.

For those who are human, the future is open. Saying "never" requires a grasp of time which mortals can never have. "Can't" likewise requires presumptions about power which are unavailable to those who are in touch with their own humanity. This other side of the coin of "can" easily tempts one beyond the appropriate human affirmation of real capacities and into the domain of godliness outside human boundaries.

Certain knowledge--about anything--(including about certainty) is certainly an inhuman venture into omniscience, a trait reserved by the gods for themselves alone.

So, if we would be human--which is our only real option this side of the realm of fantasy or sin--we will be appropriately leery of any declarations which tempt us toward immortality, omnipotence (or its twin, impotence), or omniscience. As humans, we stick with "maybe," "I think I can (or don't)," and "it seems so to me at this time."

2. Don't get religious about your religion.

Get involved, but for goodness sake, don't get religious. Indulging in such a psychological compulsion may make you a model member of your particular branch of the Christian Club but will stiffly the heart of your Christianity.

3. Never substitute beliefs for believing.

Always believe, but keep all mental formulations loosely held. Otherwise your notions will replace your faith, leaving you cold and heartless.

4. Discriminate carefully; never judge.

To substitute the latter for the former is to exit Eden and head for hell.

5. Never try to be right by doing right.

Good behavior is a seductress, tempting one away from righteousness into the abominable state of self-righteousness. Only good being  is heavenly; doing what's right is an easy substitute for the faith required for loving when things are wrong.

6. Go for the real.

Let your religion be your guide toward greater conscious contact with reality, toward "getting with it," rather than a socially accepted magical escape from reality. Strive for the essence of this-world-ism, not for some imaginary other-world.

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HOW TO BE RELIGIOUS

1. Be serious about all religious symbols, but never take any of them literally.
2. Believe fervently, but never succumb to the possession of beliefs.
3. Be faith-full, but never settle for a faith you can have.
4. Be playful about your serious religion.
5. Seek God continuously; find Her whenever hour faith is sufficient; but never get God.
6. Don't get religious about your religion.
7. Never substitute beliefs for believing.
8. Discriminate carefully; never judge.
9. Never try to be right by doing right.
10. Go for the real.

*********

1. Be serious about all religious symbols, but never take any of them literally.

God is, but there is no such thing as a god.

2. Believe fervently, but never succumb to the possession of beliefs.

3. Be faith-full (full-of-faith) but never settle for a faith you can have.

4. Be playful about your serious religion.

Religion is deadly serious business; therefore avoid being killed in spirit by taking it seriously.

5. Never get God.

Seek God continuously; find Her whenever your faith is sufficient; but never get God. Any god you can have is too small for you to keep.

6. Let go of your gods.

If they're small enough for you to have, they're not big enough to merit your adoration/ worship.

7. Strive continuously to believe--to be a believing person--but never settle for a string of beliefs; they will become a noose, hanging your spirit in time.

8. Be as faithful as your courage allows, but never freeze your faith into something to depend on or it will drag you down in the long run.

9. Establish justice whenever you can and will, but never fall for the illusion that injustice is inherently evil.

Unfairness is written into the script of the real world; it is neither good nor bad. It just is. But justice, when possible, is one of the foundations of love. Enjoy making things fair, when you choose, as a beginning for love.

10. Avoid shoulds and oughts.

The only shoulds and oughts worth having are rules-of-thumb to guide you in emergencies when you're too upset to think; use them then. But as soon as you find your mind again, return to thinking for yourself.

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WHAT TO DO ABOUT EMOTIONS

1. Experience emotions rather than getting on top of them.
2. Choose your behavior.
3. Feel bodily emotions; conquer mental "feelings."
4. Conquer fears; experience fearing.
5. Own your own anxiety.
6. Move from "anxious" (afraid) to "excited" whenever you can.
7. Escalate fear to anger.
8. Feel all physiological emotions; shun all psychological "feelings."
9. Translate all psychological feelings into personal ideas of physiological emotions.

1. Learn to experience emotions rather than to getting on top of them.

Emotions are an essential part of who you are--not all of you, but certainly an important element of yourself. Therefore, be emotional; that is, identify with your feelings as a part of you rather than as alien forces which invade and threaten you. Feel whatever you honestly feel. Emotions, like talents, are given, not chosen. The human challenge is to accept  feelings that come to us, being honest about them rather "on top of them."

This means, of course, that you will first have to get past any judgments you currently have about good and bad feelings. All emotions are morally neutral within themselves. Any feeling of course may be translated into destructive actions; this, however, is not the fault of the feeling itself.

2. Choose your behavior.

While feeling whatever, decide on how you will act. Being emotional and doing something are two different things. Though commonly associated, there are no inherent connections between experiencing any emotion and doing any particular thing. For example, anger, one of the emotions, is often associated with hitting or fighting. Not necessarily so. One form of expressing the emotion of anger is striking out; there are many others. A wise person feels the feeling, whatever it is, but carefully chooses an action which is appropriate with the current circumstances.

3. Feel bodily emotions; conquer mental "feelings."

Although the same name, feelings, is commonly applied to both, there is an important difference between physiological and psychological feelings. One is in the body; the other is in the head. One is a physical event, no matter what you are thinking; the other is often a mental event, with no particular physical condition associated. True, they are often experienced together; mental fears may lead to physical emotions, while physical feelings may tempt us to come up with mental objects to project them on. Even so, the two are different.

Distinguishing them is important because the proper way to deal with each is different. The first two bits of advice are about physical emotions only. Bodily emotions are to be experienced, while the accompanying behavior is chosen. Mental "feelings," however, are properly treated in an opposite manner. Since they are "all in your head" to begin with, they are responsibly treated as ideas in the mind. Most of the time they are to be conquered, that is, reasoned through and dealt with rationally, rather than indulged and acted out.

Said another way: Feel (experience, allow, embrace) all physiological emotions; shun all psychological feelings.

Physical emotions, broadly speaking: sad, glad, mad, and scared, are to be accepted as they come to you. They are normal, healthy, and needed in positive living. Psychological feelings, however, are dangerous and debilitating, both to yourself and to others around you. Psychological feelings are the presumed actions of others translated as though they are your own emotions. For example, feeling "rejected" is a psychological feeling. The supposed action of another is named as a feeling of yourself. This is literally impossible, hence the name "psychological feeling." The other person may or may not be rejecting you; in either case your "feeling" is psychological rather than physiological. "Hurt," "avoided," "disliked," are other examples. Psychological feelings, which are usually actions of others named as though they were your own personal emotions, often end in ed, such as rejected. Whenever you find yourself naming a feeling with an ed word, look for a psychological feeling rather than a physiological emotion.

This rule is: Once you distinguish the two, go ahead and feel  physiological emotions, but shun  psychological feelings.

4. Translate all psychological feelings into personal ideas or physiological emotions.

For example, instead of "I feel rejected (a psychological feeling)," say, "I think you must be avoiding me." This expresses your idea as in fact it is--your idea, rather than stating an assumption about the other person as a personal feeling. This avoids a projection on the other person, which is likely to evoke a negative emotional reaction to you, and keeps you alert to your own thinking.

Or, move from the psychological feeling to your physiological emotion if you actually are emotional at the time, and state your physical feeling. "I feel afraid, thinking that you may be leaving me." Or, "I get mad when I think you are not listening to what I say." Owning your own emotions is both healthier for you and more likely to be heard by the other person. Whenever you can, say what you think or reveal what you physically feel. Try to eliminate psychological feelings from expression until they are translated into ideas of physical emotions.

5. Move from anxious (afraid) to excited when ever possible.

Anxiety is usually but the forerunner of fun. Nervous, most often is but a cover for excitement. Whenever you are able to endure anxiety, to stand  being nervous, look for the pleasure which it may cloak. Ease from "nervous" to "excited" whenever you have the nerve.

6. Escalate fear to anger.

Fear, commonly, is a prelude to anger--the paralysis which occurs when anger is avoided. Whenever you feel afraid, think about getting mad. When your courage is sufficient, shift from the passive emotion of fear to the active feeling of anger. It is far easier to get over (move past) anger than fear. Activated anger will normally last only a few minutes, even seconds--but fear can be extended forever. Living afraid is hardly living at all.

7. Own your anxiety.

Projecting anxiety--as in: "You make me nervous," is dangerous for you as well as your relationships. Own your nerves; you need them for living well in this dangerous world. Anxiety is not inherently bad, except when projected or escaped into.

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MEN AND EMOTIONS

1. Add your emotions to your personal identity.

Already, as a male, you are likely to feel personal about "sense," that is, your "thinking" or reasons. Expand your sense of yourself to include feelings as well.

2. Learn to experience the tender emotions.

Probably you are already comfortable with the fierce feelings--anger and passion. To expand your emotional repertoire, you may need to give attention to the soft feelings: fear and grief.

3. Accept and allow the soft feelings in females, while helping them learn to feel the fierce emotions also.

 

HOW TO RELATE TO WOMEN'S FEELINGS

1. Accept whatever a woman feels, without requiring understanding first.

Commonly men cope by trying to understand, to make sense of what we encounter. Unfortunately, and usually ineffectively, we often bring this mode of coping to women's emotions. This is an error. Even she may not understand what she feels. Not that her feelings don't make sense, but that sense-making about feelings is not the best way to relate to them.

At the time, acceptance is the proper mode, especially if the emotions don't appear to make sense. Perhaps later you will both come to understand the feelings; leave that for later, however, while your first attention is given to profoundly accepting whatever feelings are being experienced.

2. Hang in with an emotional woman.

Men are commonly addicted to trying to do something about whatever threatens us--which a woman's emotions usually do. We may, for example, think we can't stand a woman's tears. Consequently we err often in rushing for the Kleenex box or advising women "not to feel that way."

But not when we are smart. Better, men, to stay close to a women who is obviously emotional, without trying to "take care of her," especially by explaining the feeling away. Let her feel whatever she does with you. Let her know that you are not going to be done in or driven away just because she happens to get emotional at times. One of the most convincing signs of love to a woman is a man's ability to remain himself and present with her while she is under the power of some emotion. Gentlemanly Kleenex, respectfully given, are one thing, but Kleenex handed because a man "can't stand tears" are something else. Wise men do the former, but not the latter.

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FRIENDSHIP

1. Keep things relatively equal and mutual.

Stay on level ground with each other. Share responsibilities (calling, paying, driving, etc.) Don't become a user or usee.

2. Stand by, through thick and thin.

Share joys and woes as you will, but never try to run your friend's life or let a friend run yours. It will cost you your friendship.

3. A "best friend will," in spite of the saying, "tell you," but only for information purposes.

But in a good friendship there is never any judgment implied or push to change you.

4. Your real friends take you as you are, really.

Iif they try to change you, or you them, you're something other than friends. Therefore, for sake of friendship, drop out of the ended friendship when changing enters in.

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WHAT TO DO WITH GUILT

1. Distinguish false guilt from real guilt.

Before any attempt to deal with guilt you will need to know if the type of guilt you feel is appropriate (real) or is simply the result of breaking some rule you learned in the past. I call this "false guilt," not because we don't really feel it, but because it is not necessarily about a currently real response to reality.

2. Confess and be forgiven for real guilt.

3. Confront and conquer false guilt.

If, for example, you are ashamed of your body--looks or functions, your guilt is false (not realistic); get over it as soon as you can. Until then you cannot be fully present anywhere.

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HOW TO BE HAPPY

1. Stop judging.

2. Be selfing; be you.

3. Be loving; love

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HOW TO HELP PEOPLE

1. Show rather than tell.

Say "look at me." Remember: "Monkey see; monkey do"; avoid advice; stand with; be there with mouth shut.

2. Be good listener.

Sometimes you may teach; but no patronizing. Be understanding in the sense of standing under knowledgeably.

3. Extend  acceptance.

Be with a person without judging them or what they have done.

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.

HOW TO BE HUMAN

1. Be potent rather omnipotent or impotent.

2. Be knowledgeable rather than omniscient or ignorant.

3. Be mortal rather than immortal.

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HOW TO LISTEN

1. Pay attention.
2. Stick to the subject and verb.
3. Remember that "it" is "I" and so are "you." Change "it" or "you" to "I."
4. Drop the nots.
5. Change questions to sentences and listen for personal messages.

*******

1. Pay attention.

The most important rule for good listening involves no special skill or knowledge, only the discipline of interrupting your own train of thought, biting your tongue, and focusing on what the other person is saying. Good listening, as the word means, is receiving what the other person has to say--hearing and understanding what they mean to tell you. The major requirement is that you get their message. To do this, you must pay attention, that is, focus your mind on what they are saying.

Your own opinions, reactions, or feelings at the time must be suspended while you give your mind to the challenges of understanding another person. Perhaps you will give your own thoughts in return; but first, if you will be a good listener, learn to carefully contain yourself while you engage in the wondrous art of receiving what another has to say.

2. Stick to the subject and verb.

Focus on the subject and verb--the weight of a sentence you hear, more than on the modifiers. The common tendency is to focus on modifiers and ignore the subject and verb. For example, in the statement, "I am worried (subject and verb) about my children (modifiers)," listen more closely to the subject and verb--the speaker's concern, than to the modifiers--the children's behavior or grades or whatever.

3. "It" is "I;" and so are "you." Therefore change "you" or "it" to "I."

Perhaps 90% of all subjects are personal projections--"I" disguised as "you" or "it." For instance, when someone says "It (the weather) is hot," the meaning is probably "I am hot." If one asks, "Do you want to go to the movie?," he is likely meaning, "I (change "you" to "I") want to go to the movie."

4. Drop the nots.

"Not" means naught--zero, nothing. Although commonly used in communication, good listeners most often treat it for what it is--nothing. They drop is from the sentence and listen more carefully to what is left. If, for instance, a person says, "I am not worried," the careful listener drops the not and listens for a cloaked confession, namely "I am worried," but am hiding the fact (usually to himself as well).

5. Change questions to sentences and listen for personal messages.

If you hear a question, in your mind's eye restructure the words into a sentence. Then try to hear what the asker may be saying about himself. For example, if someone asks, "Do you want to go to a movie?," think about the question, change it into a sentence. "You do want to go to a movie." Since there is also a you present, go back to rule 3, change the you to "I," and you get the sentence: "I want to go to a movie." Chances are, this is closer to the real message of the asker.

5. Gender Rules:

a. Men listening to women. Bypass words on the way to feelings. Listen more to the emotions of the message than to the words of the sentences.

b. Women listening to men. Ignore emotions and listen to the words being said. Listen for the man's intended meanings.

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TO LOVERS

1. Cherish your completion together.

In love you have found your missing half; enjoy your discovery completely. Your lover provides a glimpse of who you may become, hopefully together.

2. Withdraw Your Projections.

As soon as possible, begin climbing out of first love. The "fall" in was probably necessary; the climb out is essential before fuller loving is possible. Start seeing your lover without stars in your eyes, and begin to own the parts of yourself reflected in the other.

3. Add Loving.

Step two is, painfully speaking, the process of disillusionment. It will hurt, at first, and tempt you to run. Instead, if your faith is sufficient, learn loving in the ashes of your "love."

4. Never, when you can help it, fall in love; step in carefully.

"Give your hearts," as Gibran said, "but not (emphasis mine) into each others keeping." Any love you can fall in is crazy love. You are falling into your own shadowed self, into the pool of your own reflected image. You are Narcissus, centuries later, but the result is eternally predictably: falling out, in time.

Instead of seeking completion in another person, bring whatever degree of wholeness you currently possess to another and love them as they are as fully as you can.

Climb out of love. Stand loving as often as you dare, but if you fall in, as we all are apt to do, climb out as rapidly as you can, before you lose your soul while thinking you have found it.

5. Never tell all.

Don't make a priest or priestess out of a lover. Males are especially vulnerable to this error of making a "shrink" out of a woman. Memories of mother are strong. Confessing to a lover, temporarily wonderful, often backfires in time.

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TO MEN

1. Never get turned on by a woman.
2. Learn to lust, wisely.
3. Don't settle for being a "real man."
4. Add Kingliness to your heroic Prince, but never cease being a playful boy also.
5. Add femininity to your masculinity.
6. Learn to prevail without pride.
7. Fear woman power more than the gods or demons themselves.
8. Love sex; beyond survival it is your strongest biological base.
9. Never worship a woman.
10. Sublimate sex, consciously.
11. Be a man, first.
12. Love women, but never fall in love with a woman.
13. Seduce your shadow, carefully.
14. Marry for sex and companionship, not salvation, and to love.

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1. Embrace your masculinity.

First, be a man; accept and affirm your gender heritage--your genetic drives for sex, winning, and ruling. Your genes incline you toward women, trophies, and kingdoms--in that order; honor these gifts of your masculinity.

Masculinity can be summarized with three words: sex, trophies, and success. On the reproductive level, sex is about getting the girl and spreading-sperm--penetration, "doing it." Trophy stands for the second element of masculinity, namely, getting the game or providing for the family. It is about competing to out-do others in order to win and provide food for the offspring. Success, the third aspect of maleness, refers to kingdom building or keeping up the domain--successfully keeping the family, harem or circumstances for continuing the reproduction processes.

Sex includes "girl watching"--being on the look out for recipients of sperm, especially those females more likely to produce healthy babies. It involves "reaching out" (petting) and "putting out" (sperm).

Trophies refers to the competitive nature of maleness, the fascination with winning, coming out on top, being #1. On the physical level it is vieing for the trophies of life,  prizes associated with coming in first (which the surviving sperm must do). On the verbal level it is about arguing, proving points, having a "good argument," that is, fighting verbally to win.

Success is a name for that type of organizational acumen which follows winning the game (making the money). Victory must be parlayed into kingdom building, establishing a domain, harem, or business where the man is king. Success refers to making a place where one is "running the show."


BE A MAN

If you are male,
first, be a man.
Be masculine
before attempting
to add femininity.

Let your masculinity
be the basis for
your feminine traits.

Never become feminine
at the price of masculinity,
or use femininity
to evade the challenges
of being masculine.

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Your given gender is the best basis for becoming a whole person; if you are male, this means embracing your masculine traits as a foundation for the later addition of feminine qualities, all this on the way to becoming a complete person.

Conversely, as many are erroneously attempting at this time, often led by misguided females, never slip into femininity as an escape from the courage required to first be masculine. If, in the effort to please females, you become a wimp instead of a man who is sensitive, you will eventually lose the approval you sought. Even if certain females do approve of your emotions and softness, unless they are grounded in reason and strength, you will be the loser in the long run.

Masculinity may be broken down and summarized in two primal instincts and two social roles. Most basically males are the sperm-spreaders of the species. This may be called the sexual instinct. Before other more highly evolved capacities, our male "calling" is to be sexual--to want to "do it;" to be "out to get some." If you would be male, consciously accept your primary, indiscriminate urges to be sexual. The power generated thusly is needed for many other more civilized endeavors. Of course you must add discretion to any expressions of your sexuality. First, however, accept your genetic inclinations toward sexuality.

The "killer instinct" is your second biological drive. You, as male, are geared to compete, to get ahead, to win over the competition, to put down on that which gets in your way. Finally, at its lowest common demoninator, this means to kill. Like it or not, accept it or not, you, as male are genetically inclined to "beat the enemy"--to kill. From the primal level of sperm--where only one can win, to the social level of player, president, or money maker, you are an instinctive competitor--geared to win. You may not like the implications of "killer," and will often soften the final outcome. Best, however, to accept the instinct at its bottom line level, before attempting to reasonably moderate it in society.

These two uncivilized inclinations are most commonly expressed in two civilized roles--Prince and King. The role of Prince is the courageous, even fool-hearty, explorer. The King is the more sensible director of that which has been explored. The Prince is the dreamer, the King the thinker. The Prince gambles; the King is responsible for the debts. The King adds sanity to the nerviness of the Prince.

Both of these roles are a part of our male heritage. We are "called" to be sexual competitors, in the roles of Prince and King. To be male is accept these gifts and challenges, to become consciously sexual and at least able to kill, primarily through the roles of Prince and King.

The bottom line of masculinity is to be a wielder of overt--outward and visible--power. Maleness mainly accomplishes its goals through up-front power.

Before a male attempts to add the softer traits of femininity, he is advised to first embrace the harder attributes of masculinity--to be consciously sexual and always able to kill, and to be effective in the roles of Prince and King. Then he is ready for the additional quest of accepting his feminine shadow.


Play Prince and King.

Learn to act skillfully in the positive male roles, carefully avoiding the opposite escapes into SOB (macho-man) or Wimp. But never forget that you are playing and try to literally be either a Prince or King.

Add Kingliness to your heroic Prince, but never cease being a playful boy also.

To your bravery add reason; to your courage, thoughtfulness. Without ceasing to dream and explore, learn to lead and direct.

Become a person.

Woman shadows and reflects the other half of yourself. Confront your projections onto women and embrace your own femininity on the path to whole-person-hood. Specifically, add heart to your head. Become a feeling as well as thinking person; accept your capacity for covert as well as overt power.

A male, ideally, is to become a "male person," that is, one who is primarily a person, secondarily masculine. A man is to become a "male-type person," one in which the masculine traits are dominant but femininity is accessible. He is to become a "gentleman"--a man who is able to be gentle; a "poetic warrior"--a fighter who also writes poetry; a "romantic statesman"--a philosopher who sends roses.

Breaking the process into two parts: first a male is to affirm his own masculinity, to "become a man." Specifically this includes the capacities summarized as: sex, trophies, and success--that is, the drives to copulate, compete, and build kingdoms.

To this essential maleness a man is, in part two of his homework, to embrace his feminine shadow--that is, accept within himself the traits he sees most clearly in females, and most likely has projected onto them also. Specifically these may be summarized with the metaphors: heart, home, and right brain. Most basically a man must find his own heart--that is, his capacity for subjectivity, for personal involvement, for feeling the soft emotions (fear and grief). He must learn to cry and to care, to feel sorrow at losses. In female language, he must learn to "make commitments," to become involved in what happens in a personal way--to put his heart into his life.

Secondly he must discover the phenomenon of beauty--past pretty girls only. The home metaphor refers to the feminine trait of "homemaking," that is, of making spaces and people attractive and harmonious. It also includes feeding and tending, carefully. A men must "get tamed," domesticated, before he can become a person. To his native instinct for competing (hunting in the woods), he must find his own capacity for being "at home" at home as well as at the office or in the woods. Specifically this may include learning to cook, wash, and sew--that is, "keep house" as well as office.

Thirdly, men, if they are to mature, must also discover their own right brains, rather than continuing to rely on women to bring intuition to their relationships. Males naturally know about the light and have commonly identified themselves with their left brains (the logical, reasoning, hemisphere). Before they truly grow-up they must also embrace their lessor recognized capacity for responding intuitively. Already they read the news and sports pages; now they must become curious about the horoscope phenomenon--that is, the mysterious elements of life. To their natural attraction to the light--to understanding, they must also add an affiliation with the dark--accepting what they cannot understand. They must learn to embrace mystery as well as they do "the facts."

TURNING ON

Turn on with a woman
whenever you will;
but never get turned on
by a woman
(or any of her parts).

*************

Turn on with a woman as often as you choose, but never step over the chasm between with and by. To do so is to abandon a major portion of the power required for being a man. Enjoy female forms, as your genes and history direct, but never grant them saving powers.

The switch to your sexuality lies in your own brain, somewhere in the limbic system near the upper end of the your spinal cord. Although it does seem that women can "turn us on," this is only a metaphor (it seems like it). In fact and in reality they can't do so unless we "let them." Nobody, including the most beautiful girl in the world, can turn you on without your permission, conscious or unconscious.

To use another metaphor, the key to your sexuality is in your own hand (brain). Females only "have it" when we hand it to them. True, biology and society set us up and train us to become excited in the presence of female anatomy, scent, appearance, and behavior. And we gladly learn, usually forgetting that we did so. Still, the fact remains: the key is ours. The sexual turn-on switch is somewhere in our own male minds.

This  bit of male advice is to carefully keep it there. Once we give it away to women in general or any female in particular, we are in mortal danger of losing our souls as well. A woman who has the power to turn you on will inevitably have, at the same time, the power to turn you off. If she can "make you feel good," she can also "make you feel bad." When you give up this primary human capacity you place yourself at great risk in the world of relationships with women. Don't take the chance. Perhaps, if you are lucky, they will use the gift of your sexual key to your advantage. But perhaps not. Ah, there's the rub.

Subliminate sex, consciously.

Be sexual; consciously embrace your natural sexual instincts and interests whenever and with whomever they arise. Be discrete, however, in all expressions of your sexuality. Be sexy, but don't act stupid. Your biology equips you for more sexiness than your society provides structures for expression. You can, as the expression goes, "think about more than you can get." Even your socially acceptable sexual relationships are unlikely to pragmatically accommodate the full extent of your instinctive sexuality.

A common solution is suppression--ruling sexuality from awareness, driving it underground, so to speak--"Trying not to think about it." Temporarily, the plan works; except for the fact that even "not thinking about it" won't make it go away. In fact, like suppressing steam in a boiler, denial of sexuality tends to exaggerate its power. A better solution is conscious sublimation--that is, feeling the stirrings of sex, which in their most primal expression would lead to sexual intercourse, yet shifting the generated energy to other more socially acceptable activities, for instance, social intercourse. Sexualize events which are not inherently sexual. Fully aware that what you are feeling is sexual but that direct sexual expression would be unacceptable or impractical at the time, translate the energy generated by sexuality into some other activity.

Express your sexuality in forms not commonly considered to be sexual. Writing, for me, is one such way. Preaching is another. Although not usually thought of as sexual activities, I am often able to express my sexually generated energies in these ways.

Love sex; beyond survival, it is your strongest biological base.

Be discrete in the expression, both verbal and non-verbal, of your sexuality, but never suppress awareness of your primal, indiscriminate, sexual urges and interests. Consciously embrace the power of your sexual instincts. For pragmatic reasons, both social and personal, sublimate much of its overt expression into forms which are more socially; all this, however, without diminishing your own awareness of this well-spring of primal energy and masculine motivation.

Learn to lust, wisely.

Contrary to popular ethics, lusting is not inherently evil. Dangerous? Yes. Bad? No. The prevailing ethic of protection by way of judgment and suppression is costly in the long run--even more dangerous, I think, especially for males, than lusting itself.

To be cut off, consciously, from our natural male instincts to seek sperm recipients is to be severed from a huge element of our genetic heritage--to roots of who, in large measure, we are.

Healthy maleness lusts indiscriminately, relatively speaking--most any time, any where, after any female, especially of child-bearing potential. A good man remains aware of these inherited desires.

"...,wisely" is the last word of this advice. Conscious lusting does not, of course, mean acting out every desire or even revealing them to others. Wisdom always takes into account the pragmatic results of every word and action. A wise male is both consciously aware of lusting and, at the same time, practical about its expression in either word or deed.

A man may make errors in his choices about expression of lustful desires; these, however, are seldom as costly in the long run as the initial choice to avoid awareness of lusting at all. Better to lust and act wisely, than to play it safe by cutting oneself off from this essential element of masculinity.

Add femininity to your masculinity.

To your sense-making, add heart and non-sense. Strive to understand as much as possible, but never stray far from mystery. To do so is to leave reality.

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LOVING WOMEN

Love women,
whenever you dare,
but never fall in love
with a woman.

The temporary heaven
may have a hell of a price
in the long run
(and the theology is accurate).

Falling in love is a socially acceptable form of temporary insanity. Fortunately, both for society and ourselves, it seldom lasts for long. Such honeymoons, both with marriage or without, are notably short. The proverbial "daylight and dishes" soon return to replace the "moonlight and roses." When we are lucky. Otherwise we remain trapped in crazy "love."

This information, which is commonly known, won't, of course, change anything. When you fall in love, as of course you will if you remain honest and open to females, use your remaining mind--if any sense is left--to remember that you are participating in an illusion. No person is as perfect or powerfully able to make you happy as you currently imagine (note that word: imagine) your new lover to be. Strive to recall, in any fleeting moments of objectivity, that you are projecting your own unembraced capacities on to some innocent bystander, transforming her, in your mind's eye only, into Aphrodite. It is your arrow, Cupid, with which you have shot and injected her with a potentially lethal poison, possibly for her, if she falls also, but certainly for yourself unless you manage to recall in time.

You are acting crazy, literally. Though socially acceptable, even encouraged, it is still insane. Withdraw your projections as soon as possible, returning to yourself. Then, as your courage allows, love this innocent woman, and any others you choose to meet.

********

 

SHADOW LOVE

Fall in love, if you must,
with the shadow
of your own femininity
seen reflected in a woman.

Seduce it carefully,
courting long,
until you are able to propose
and consummate a marriage
which is made in heaven
and may last forever.

To yourself, that is.

Becoming a whole person, which includes, for every male, embracing the shadow of his own femininity, can well begin with what appears to be "falling in love" with a female. Once the wiser male begins to withdraw these projections, that same love may reasonably be shifted to those parts of his shadowed self which the unwitting female at first represented for him.

Embracing one's female shadow is, of course, crucially important in any man's quest for personhood. Loving it is a good way to begin. The content of the female shadow differs from man to man, but commonly includes various forms of softness: the passive emotions (sadness and fear); beauty (harmoniously blending shapes, colors, and textures); the capacity to wait and accept things as they are; and the function of nurturing.

A male becoming whole will do well to fall in love with any of these unembraced capacities within himself.

 

Fear woman power more than the gods or demons themselves.

Look to woman for sexual pleasure and companionship, but not for self-affirmation--certainly not for salvation.

Get your passion power back from women-- sex and sorrow.

All too often we men have given one--our sexual turn-on-ability--to women, and run from the other, the power of sorrow, denying it completely. We are trapped powerless in the control we have given women of our own sexual capacities, and in the denial of our own grief-abilities. We need to stop letting women turn us on and cease running from our own losses.

Get your emotional power back within your own self. Own your anger and accept your fear.

Mostly we project our true anger onto the world and women; we let them "make us mad," and we deny our own fears, losing the power which is inherent in honestly being afraid.

Get your heart back.

Heart is a metaphor for the right hemisphere of your brain, more particularly: your artistic, creative, spontaneous, dark, moon-self--your ancient, silent, timeless knowledge. Commonly we men identify with our heads, our left brains only. We project the right half of ourselves onto women and expect them to represent heart--even be it--for us. We fall in love with women, that is, our own heart-shadows; then try, always without long range success, to capture the missing part of ourselves in the form of a female-type person.

Of course our projections and "fall" serve them well also--temporarily. They too have their own shadow-selves which they, most often, project on us. But that the projections are mutual does not erase the dangers and eventual disasters which commonly result from making them. Wiser men, once they catch on, learn to stop the projections, to face and own their own shadows, and claim the power which is inherent in the capacities of our own right brains.

This "moon-side" of ourselves may be summarized with the single word: mystery. Already we, coming from the sun-side, know about sense-making; but, having projected our hearts onto women we have lost contact with our ability to face, stand, and embrace mystery--not-knowing, non-sense--as well as sense.

When we get our hearts back we encounter and accept the power which comes when we learn to enter the dark door of not-knowing as well as knowing. To our speakable knowledge we add the power of our own silent right brains, the heart which we most often seek in women.

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TO WOMEN

1. Surrender with style, but never give in.
2. Perfect the arts of attraction.
3. Never settle for being just a woman; seek personhood.
4. Act like a Princess often, but add Queenliness to your repertoire.
5. Add understanding to your native capacity for acceptance.
6. Never seek security from a man.
7. Fear the Prince Charming in your mind more than any man in the world.
8. Love security, seek it, beyond survival, as much as possible.
9. First be a woman.
10. Feel safe with a man, but never let a man make you feel secure.
11. Be indiscriminate about caring for.
12. Seek security.
13. Make beauty.

How to live with a man

1. Be sexual, touch him often.
2. Understand him.
3. Affirm him.

**********

 

How to be happy though married

1. Be intimate but never fall into dependence.
2. Stand together, separately.
3. Create romance, after the honeymoon is over.

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MEN AND MARRIAGE

Marry for sex
and companionship,
Not salvation--

and to love.


God, for all men, was  first a woman. Mother was omnipotent, omniscient, and immortal--the source of all good life, at least so far as any boy child knows. This primal memory is buried in the deeper mind of all males. Unless we uncover and accept this glorious memory as just that--a wonderful recollection, we are destined, if honest, to try to recreate the primal scene, to replace Mother in another form, to seek fullness of life in some new perfect woman.

When this common memory lies unresurrected into consciousness, available for analysis and reason, we males are set up to seek salvation not from the male God of our conscious minds, but from some innocent woman on whom we project the goddess memories of childhood. When so, we are drawn to marriage, not for such realistic purposes as sex, children, and companionship, but to be blessed with happiness, again from a woman. Pity the innocent females on which such magnificent hopes are pinned!

More wisely, when this advice is followed, men recognize and respect the primal memory of the all-powerful Mother Goddess, enjoying it when they will. Never, however, do they project it onto unwitting women in the present time of adulthood, setting them up for the impossible gift of a man's salvation. Instead they marry for such practical reasons as sexual experience, human companionship, and having a family. And, when their courage is high, to love--not a fantasied goddess holding the keys to the kingdom of happiness, but a real person with virtues and flaws, needing, as we all do, to be loved for what she is.


Never worship a woman.

Honor their wondrous powers, especially those you have projected on them; but never succumb to idolatry.

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ABOUT SEX

Be consciously sexual.

Wherever you are, and with whomever, remain aware of your own natural sexual responses and desires. Carefully avoid repressing your own sexuality.

Contain your sexuality.

Never project the power of your own sexual responses onto that (person, place, or thing) which stimulates (reminds) you that you are a sexual being.

Be sexually responsible.

Reveal your sexuality, in words or deeds, with great care wherever you are--especially with loved ones. No other aspect of your human capacity will be so subject to social judgments; be responsible.

Become omnisexual.

Omni, in Latin, means all. This advice means: become as completely sexual as you actually are--no more, but certainly no less. For example, avoid the popular limitations of suppressing any of your attractions to your same gender. The prevailing threats of homosexuality and lesbianism, though real to some smaller part of the population who become trapped in these opposite limitations, are mainly fear of our own unembraced shadows. We fear--are "bothered by"--those elements of our own sexuality which we have not yet accepted within ourselves. Shun both the self-righteousness which is characteristic of those trapped in heterosexuality, as well as the common guilt or shame of those trapped in homosexuality. Join the omnisexual.

Strive to become a person with both a masculine and feminine side, but never try to be a man or a woman only.

Never let sex get dirty; if you already have--and most have, clean it up as soon as possible.

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TO PARENTS

1. Provide resources and protection.
2. Introduce children to the world.
3. Let go graciously, but firmly.
4. Never tell a child "Don't be afraid."
5. Let children be, in the midst of provisions for growth.
6. Civilize children, without breaking their spirit.
7. Keep the balance of power 51% in your favor.
8. Play the game of parent seriously, but never forget that it is a temporary game.
9. Don't make children your life.
10. Grant autonomy while keeping authority.
11. Respect the survivability of children.
12. Suspend the laws of nature, temporarily.
13. Model humanity, with discretion.

*********

1. Make safe space.

Create good physical, mental, and spiritual "places" in which your children may grow up. Provide resources and protection for the development of body, mind, and spirit. Suspend the laws of nature, temporarily.

In preparation for the time of their total independence of you, grant as much dependence as you can. Protect them from reality while they become more capable of withstanding its eventual onslaughts. Let them "get away with murder," almost; allow sowing with reaping suspended, especially when they have planted bad seeds or tended their gardens poorly. Introduce reality gradually, allowing them to remain in the Enchanted Forest, where magical things happen, as long as feasible.

2. Intruduce children to the world.

Carefully, not too much at once, but without delay, invite your children to the larger world beyond your love. Mediate reality to them, and vice versa. Civilize them, without breaking their spirits.

Provide as many resources and as much security, physical and emotional, as possible, while still taking care of yourself as a separate person.

As an adult you have access to the resources of the world which are necessary for the growth and development of a new person. You are the child's major access to the nutrients and opportunities which this wonderful place has to offer to any new life. At first you are the only source, the prime mover of the universe to a child. In effect, you are God.

As the all-powerful one, your major responsibility, if you would be a good parent, is to do your best in mediating the wealthy supplies of the world and your society to this one who has been temporarily placed in your charge. Primarily this means to provide the proverbial "food, clothing, shelter,"--that is, the physical and emotional resources needed for the growth and development of any new life.

Specifically, this means nutrients for body, mind, and heart, security from the immediate dangers, plus access to opportunities available in the society where you live. Feed them; protect them from the elements; educate; give an allowance; and provide as many lessons in the social arts--music, dance, art, etc.--as you reasonably can.

All this within the limits of your own resources. Although you are godly to the child, you are not God; that is, you do not have unlimited power, knowledge, or resources. Provide what you can, even sacrificing temporarily; but never fall for the illusion of being God for your child. You do have your limits. Face them honestly. Provide what you can, but draw the line at the edge of what you can give without losing or destroying yourself.

3. Let your children go.

Hardest of all: remember that they aren't, finally, yours. Diligently be working yourself out of a job. Strive for a time beyond parenthood, when you can be "just persons" together, rather than parent and child. Let go graciously, but firmly (surely). Turn a child over to world. Push him or her out of the nest at an appropriate time; risk their failure; grieve privately.

Play the game of parent seriously, but never forget that it is a temporary game.

Parenting, if you have children, is something you do, for a time; it is not who-you-are. The goal of the game is to successfully work yourself out of a job--to finish as soon as possible, not to extend forever. Parenthood, ideally, is a temporary stance, not a permanent thing to be. Strive to let go of your children, not to hang on to them. They are temporary charges; finally, they are not your own.

4. Grant autonomy while keeping authority.

Let children have their way as much as possible--as you emotionally and economically can--but never give them the final power to control you in any way. Appear to be at their disposal; lend yourself, past necessities, to the satisfaction of their whims. Try to spoil them. Make a supporting nest, an unreal world, in which they may remain and become themselves in preparation for the real world.

5. Respect the survivability of children.

In spite of their vulnerability, innocence, and near-total dependency on parents, children are amazingly capable on their own--adaptable, clever, and inherently possessed by a powerful will to live in even the worst of circumstances. Handle with care, but, in fact, they don't break easily.

6. Model humanity, with discretion.

Although, as parent, you are in a godly position, possessing seemingly omnipotent powers, apparently being omniscient--since you have all the answers, especially the final word, don't fall for you own act. Instead of pushing your apparent godliness--it is abundantly evident--model humanity instead. Your own godly powers, plus every child's temptation to personal godhood, are more than sufficient. What children more often miss is any good example for what being human is like. Strive to show them. Don't make them leave home before they discover what real people are like. Reveal the lower limits of humanity (that even parents can "have enough" and get it "up to here") as well as the upper limits. They will see and learn yours anyway; be open in sharing, so you can teach while they learn. Let them know, for example, about your anger and sexuality, while they are learning about their own.

Under-protection is a risk, but for most children in our society over-protection is an even greater danger. Be wary, of course, about forcing your humanity on children, at the expense of parenthood. Discretion is required. But if you err, let it be on the side of modeling humanity; godhood is easy enough to pick up without your help.

7. Let children be, in the midst of your provisions for growth.

After providing resources and occasions for developing and expanding themselves, let your children alone in the midst of their opportunities. Leave them free to respond as they will to what you have provided. Your business is to pave the way for them to become themselves, not to force them. Provide as much freedom to become their fuller selves as you reasonably can; then let them be.

For example, provide an education, but be careful of forcing them to study. Perhaps you will pay for music or dance lessons, but be cautious about forcing them to practice. The rule of thumb is: make provisions and get out of the way. Although there are notable examples of children who were forced to learn certain skills and later appreciate the dictations of parents, there are far more cases where well-meaning parent's efforts back-fire in the long run. Intending to help, such parents may unwittingly lead the child to resist even that which he wants to do.

This rule means to be available, but without interfering. Remember that you are stewards of your children, not their owners and not finally responsible for them. As Gibran noted: they "come through you, but not to you." Although with you, you do not own them; nor do you, in the last analysis, have charge of them.

Finally, remember that your power to shape the life of any other, including your own children, is extremely limited. Your natural feeling of responsibility is not balanced by actual powers to determine their outcome. In the face of the overwhelming power of genetics and the personal choices of your children, you are relatively impotent. Though it may be painful, accept this minor role, do your best, and hope.

8. Civilize children, without breaking their spirit.

One of the challenges of breaking a horse is to introduce him to the bridle, saddle, and rider without breaking his spirit as an animal--in other words, to adapt him to social values, yet with his spiritedness intact. So it is with children. To live well they must adapt to society; yet, ideally, they do not lose their "animal" spirit--their native, unique, individuality.

Both count: knowing how to act civilized, and keeping one's heart. To be a good citizen without spirit is less than ideal; yet being a spirited person who cannot live in society is also a tragedy. Good parenthood includes the challenges of helping a child learn civility while keeping his or her heart intact.

Because "goodness" is commonly identified with civility--being nice, polite, obeying parents and the rules of society--the popular advice, "Be good," is easily taken literally, that is, as a way to be. In reality, such "goodness" can only be a way to act, not to be. We may learn to act "good," but we can only be ourselves--which includes our animal nature. Wise parents understand this distinction while valuing both acting "good" and being spirited. They civilize children by teaching them to act properly in society, yet to remain spirited at the same time.

9. Keep the balance of power 51% in your favor.

Dividing the power between you and your children into a total of 100 units, carefully keep the overall balance 51% in your favor. Often it may shift to their court, temporarily, in specific battles; in the long run, however,   try to keep the final word in your own mouth. Never dominate completely (keep 100% of the power), or abdicate totally. Either extreme is dangerous in raising kids properly.

The point is to encourage potency without catering either to illusions of impotency or omnipotency in a child. The fact is, we all have a certain amount of power. In healthy relationships, including those between parents and children, the balance remains close. When either party claims it all, both are cheated.

When  parents totally dominate a child they may achieve greater harmony in the home, but they ill prepare the child for life in the outside world. On the other hand, when they allow a child to fully control them, they cater to illusions of omnipotency which are equally inappropriate in the larger world beyond the home.

The ideal circumstances for guiding a child in learning to embrace his own realistic power are those in which he is challenged to do as much as he can, yet within a context where the final power lies beyond himself--as it will be in the world beyond home.

10. Never tell a child "Don't be afraid."

Emotions are given, not chosen. To tell a child, who hears literally, "Don't be .....(any emotion)," is to tell him to attempt the impossible, namely to not be himself. Avoid putting a child in this mental double bind. If he obeys you he loses himself; if he disobeys you, he may fear that he will lose your love. What an awful choice to have to make! Never force your child into such a position.

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TO SPOUSES

1. Be close, separately.

"Stand together," as Gibran noted, "but not too near together." Be intimate, but never forget yourself as a separate person. Function inter-dependently, carefully avoiding the delightful illusions of dependency. He was right: "The oak tree and the cypress grow not in one another's shadow." And neither do spouses. Combine forces, without giving up your own power. Become your larger self with the other, but not through the other. Expand your identity together, but do not identify with the other.

2. Play roles, but stay persons.

Marriage is like a stage; artfully play the roles--husband/wife, parent/child, friend/lover--which work and you prefer. Switch when you like; but never, never get trapped in one. They are only useful/fun games to play.

3. Create romance.

In the throes of first love, romance comes naturally. After the honeymoon is over, creativity is called for. Remember what you intuitively knew while courting; now use your mind and expand your artistry, regularly.

After unconscious romance--the love you fall into, add conscious love, which can be even greater.

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TO CHILDREN

1. Find yourself.

You are a unique-in-all-the-world person; discover and become who you truly are. Nothing matters more than this.

2. Cut the cord.

Childhood is, in reality, but a temporary stage in life; never extent it permanently. The umbilical cord was cut for you (and her!); but the emotional cord will remain until you cut it. Work, at a reasonable pace, at becoming independently separate, responsible for yourself in all ways.

3. Honor your parents.

Respect them for who they are and what they have done for you, even if they weren't perfect and didn't do all you wanted them to. Gratitude, no matter how good or bad they were, is in order; but not worship or condemnation. Carefully avoid either of these latter traps which will only keep you a child.

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TO NEUROTICS

1. Accept your craziness.

Hiding your variations from sanity from yourself is as non-productive as blaming your craziness on others. Quit pretending, especially to you, that you don't, as they say, "have problems." There's nothing wrong with a bit of insanity. We all have our fair share.

2. Try to understand.

After admitting that you're human after all, try to get some mental handle on the specific form which your craziness takes. Learn its particular name and characteristics, the current psychological explanations.

3. Seek wholeness.

Use therapy and drugs, when appropriate, in your quest for wholeness, but never forget that they are tools only. Counselors can't heal; ministers can't save; and drugs are but temporary crutches in most forms of craziness. Only you possess the inherent power for your own sanity. Use resources, but seek sanity yourself.

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TO COUNSELORS

1. Personify your clients.

All too easily counselors of all varieties come to see their clients as patients rather than persons. The first, and for many the greatest, challenge of effective counseling is to untrap oneself from the role of counselor by personifying clients--along with oneself.

2. Accept clients, as fully as you reasonably can.

Judgments, even hidden, always undercut the counseling process. Expectations, even for such positive goals as "to get well," interfere with therapy. The counselor's second major task is to accept the person he has agreed to counsel, with few   qualifications, granting the right to fail, or even to commit suicide.

3. Treat clients responsibly.

Before a client can learn to become responsible himself--the end result of effective therapy, he must most often experience being treated that way. Even when the evidence is to the contrary, the counselor treats the client as though he were responsible while he learns, in fact, to be so.

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RELATIONSHIPS

1. Fight expectations like the plague; they are.
2. Learn to lie in  service of truth.
3. Expect nothing.
4. Don't let anyone make you happy.
5. Be inter-dependent; avoid dependency or independence.
6. Be pleasing for pragmatic purposes only, never for love.
7. Defend diligently against destructive attacks, but never be defensive.
8. Speak yourself, but never try to make anyone understand.
9. Reveal yourself often, but never try to make anyone accept you.
10. Watch how your loved ones live, but avoid advice from those with vested interests in you.
11. Confide in anonymous strangers rather than friends and loved ones.

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1. Fight expectations like the plague; they are.

Dis-appointment is the predictable result of appointment. Nip the pain in the bud by removing its basis. Delight in favors; but the disease of taking-them-for-granted, as thought you have the right, is predictably fatal in any relationship.

2. Learn to lie in the service of truth.

Facts have a way of obscuring the truth. Allegiance to accurate data can often destroy larger truths. Parents, with pragmatic reasons teach children to always tell the truth; the wise child learns early to lie, especially to parents.

3. Expect nothing.

Plan and work hard for what you want; anticipate joyfully; but never slip into the deadly trap of expectations. They kill, especially in relationships.

4. Don't let anyone make you happy.

You are never in such mortal danger of losing your own soul as when you are with a person who seems to possess the capacity for making you happy. Although such power is always projected--an unconscious gift from you to them, the results of such projections are commonly disastrous. You never know at the time that you have given that which they seem to be giving to you. The risk of your ignorance is the willing gift of yourself to one who appears to possess magical powers.

Be happy with anyone you choose, but remain extremely wary with those who seem able to give you your own birthright.

Be happy with whomever you choose, but if you grant to anyone the power to bring you peace you also give them the power to do you in. In such a vulnerable state, happiness is too fragile to endure the winds of reality.

5. Be inter-dependent; avoid the trap of dependence and the illusion of independence.

6. Be pleasing for pragmatic purposes only, never for love.

If you try to please others, hoping to get love in return, you will always fail in the long run. Approval as a mode of power is often effective in achieving worldly goals; as a play for love, its benefits are always temporary.

7. Defend diligently against destructive attacks. Value your life and integrity supremely; but never be defensive as a habit.

The world is a dangerous place, especially to your spirit. We have gone far in providing physical protections for citizens; spiritual protection however, is still at a minimum. In the world be continually on guard against both physical and spiritual dangers--but especially the latter.

Never, however, give up the gift of vulnerability by falling into the trap of perpetual defensiveness. To automatically defend, even in safer circumstances, is to make an automaton of yourself. Automatons survive, but without the option of happiness, which requires openness as well as presence. You must survive in order to be present--this comes first; but there is more to life than "making it." Defensiveness as a habit may keep you alive, but at the expense of your fuller living. Defend when necessary; otherwise be open for love.

Nor should you automatically attack. The opposite of defensiveness is equally destructive of happiness. Whereas the world is dangerous, "people are out to get you" is paranoia--not an accurate appraisal of reality. Some may be out to love you; give them a chance too.

8. Speak yourself, sometimes, but never try to make anyone understand.

9. Reveal yourself, often, but never try to make anyone accept (approve of) you.

10. Watch how your loved ones live, but avoid advice from those with vested interests in you.

11. Confide in anonymous strangers rather than friends and loved ones.

12. Respect and relate consciously to the unconscious of the other.

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ROLE RULES

1. Be a person; play roles.
2. Learn the roles you don't know.
3. Become fluid in switching from one to another.

How to act like a prince

1. Explore, act heroic

How to act like a king

1. Take charge; lead

How to act like a princess

1. Flirt, attract

How to act like a queen

1. Nurture, be the power behind the throne

Male Rules

1. First learn to play Prince; then add king.
2. Never leave Prince for King.
3. Add Female shadow (Princess/ Queen).
4. Learn to recognize the demons associated with each role and avoid them.

Female Rules

1. First learn to play Princess, then queen.
2. Never leave Princess for Queen.
3. Add Male shadow.
4. Learn to recognize the demons

Relational Rules

1. Seek a balance with the other person in each instance.

First try for opposite level balance--Prince-Princess, or King-Queen, for a dance of opposites.  Then, if the opposite level doesn't work, try for the switched opposite, that is, King with Princess, or Prince with Queen.

2. When the other is temporarily possessed by a demon, assume an Adult role first--King or Queen.

As a second option, play a Youth role--Princess or Prince. Never turn demonic yourself, that is, give into your own demons, when the other person does. If you must, wait until they are back to one of their roles.

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Be a person; play roles.

Never identify yourself with any role. If you already have, as we all tend to do, begin the quest of dis-identifying yourself from any role.

Learn the roles you don't know.

Balanced living requires all four major roles.

Become fluid in switching from one to another as circumstances and your own goals call for.

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ABOUT TALK

1. Talking to males: Honor words, objective meanings more than feelings. Hear a man out, even when you already know what he means.  Try to understand what he means by what he says.  Stick to "the subject."


2. Talking to females: Honor emotions, subjective feelings more than notions. Suspend sense in favor of feeling. Talk to reveal rather than to explain. Tell more of what you feel, less of what you think. Accept whatever she says without contradiction.  Free associate rather than sticking to "the point." Talk specifically, not in generalities.

How to relate to a man's thinking

1. Try to understand rather than to just accept.
2. Hang in while he struggles to make sense.
3. Focus on sense rather than feeling.
4. Let him feel whatever he does as he speaks, without placating him.

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HOW TO BE A STEP-PARENT

1. Never criticize the children or family of the other.

Blood related families commonly accept the right to criticize their own members without any ultimate threat to the family structure. In newly created families, this right may not yet be established. Wise step-parents are careful about crossing this line before the new family has established deep ties.

2. Include new family members (step children and new spouse) in any events with former family members.

Even though it may seem easier at times to try to keep the two families separate--even desirable for practical reasons, the emotional dangers are likely to outweigh the pragmatic advantages of excluding one from encounters with the other. For instance, at birthdays, children from a former marriage may wish to gather with their own parent, excluding the new spouse or step brothers and sisters. This is an emotionally dangerous consideration. Even though it may be more difficult to include all, this is but one of the challenges of wiser step-parenting.

There is no realistic going back to pretend that the former family is still intact. Catering to this illusion through such private meetings only endangers the healthiness of the new family.