What is a Problem-REALLY?

 We often speak of problems but in reality there is no single definition of what a problem is. Our company www.events chairmassage.com solves some problems by using corporate chair massage to get rid of headaches and backaches.

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Other  definitions of a problem  include:

  • Any situation which is unwelcome or harmful, and which needs to be dealt with and overcome.
  • An inquiry into some question to which the answer is not obvious.
  • Some process we have chosen to engage in that is difficult to achieve or accomplish and can be described in many different ways.

The most common words used to define a problem include; jig saw puzzle, trouble, worry, hiccup, setback, catch, predicament, stumbling block, plight, misfortune, mishap, misadventure, dilemma, quandary, headache, nightmare, snag, hitch, drawback, obstacle, hurdle, nuisance, bother, pest, irritant, thorn in one’s side/flesh, vexation, drag, pain, riddle, difficult and pain in the neck.

Many of the guests at our B & B and Retreat center are looking for skills to solve problems.   The   concept  of  “a problem”   can  be   observed  from a number of perspectives. On a basic level, we can categorize a problem by;

 

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  • The type of problem it is;
  • The cause of the problem;
  • The level of difficulty required to solve the problem.

There is no one approach that is best for categorizing problems. Various problem-solving models will work best in specific situations even as many categorizing systems have been supplanted by other models or overlap with them. Nevertheless, the underlying principles remain valid – a problem is an unwelcome situation that needs to be dealt with and overcome. One thing is clear; we cannot allow a negative attitude, an attachment to short term gratification, resignation or disillusionment to interfere with the process of solving a problem.

 

One of my mentors often said, “To be disillusioned you must first have illusions”. Many problems arise because we project our own agendas onto the agendas of others with whom we feel a sense of rapport or connection. In the end, when we do this, we are often disappointed. Often it just a big puzzle.

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Often what we perceive to be clarity of thought is nothing more than wishful thinking. In order to solve a problem with the least expenditure of energy, there are a number of things to keep in mind. To begin with it is essential that one recognize that without precision, focus and timing i.e. a system, one will struggle without reason. In addition, most systems have their own critical times and resonances. The key to effectiveness in solving problems is to work with the natural timing or rhythm of a system rather than in opposition to it.

One of the basic rules of physics is that it takes more force to apply the same pressure to a wide area than to a smaller specific point.  This applies to problem solving as well.

 

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Lewis Harrison – RealUGuru, is a writer, mentor, success and wealth coach, content-rich, motivational speaker, and an entrepreneur specializing in problem solving and strategizing  based on game thinking, applied game theory and Game Thinking.

He is the author of over twenty-two books published in five languages.

  

Don’t forget to tune to the RealUGuru Radio show every Thursday 4-6 PM EST  at WIOX 91.3 FM or on your smart device at WIOXRadio.org.

WIOX is a diverse station that broadcasts original programming including presentation from NPR, the BBC, Democracy Now etc.

If you are interested in business success in the 21st Century in the arts or in any other endeavor you need to read Lewis’ recently published business books.

You can find books on game theory and business success here:

http://www.realuguru.com/products/printed-books/building-your-business-in-the-new-digital-reality/

http://www.realuguru.com/products/printed-books/gamification-for-business/

This course and all the offerings on www.RealUGuru.com  focus on the application of applied game thinking, gamification, decision science, positive psychology, happiness,  and visionary thinking to solve basic, complex and extreme problems. He is the creator of a free course on business success and human potential.

Here is a short interview with Lewis;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zp4DtXpPBeM

Today’s stress management blog is supported by a grant from Events  Chair Massage –www.EventschairMasssage.com –  a company that offers Corporate Chair Massage and Stress Management Services to meeting planner, event planners, party planners and HR for Trade show booths throughout the United States. Also check out www.NoStressSpeaker.com

 

Below is a chair massage demo that shows techniques our corporate chair massage therapists use to massage their clients’ upper back, shoulders, and neck — using elbows and forearms, with minimal use of the thumbs.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNNSDH-0bZk

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An Attitude Adjustment

Thanks for visiting The Harrison Center. Please explore our website and our many blog posts. Each page has something different to offer  the creative thinker with a passion for ideas.

        Lewis Harrison – Founder and Director

 

I was recently re-reading The Power of Positive Thinking By Norman Vincent Peale and the Secret. I also spent time this week with a few old friends and clients who have crappy attitudes about life. They are “glass is half empty” types and it got me to thinking about the holiday season and how many people find this time of year depressing. It also reminded me again about the role of attitude and perspective on how we experience life. Now I’m not going to give you’re a sermon on attitude or bore you with a long blog on how to get a positive attitude but it did get me to contemplating on the subject.

Then I I received an e-mail from my old friend Mark Braunstein. I know Mark about thirty five years and send him the blogs that you are receiving from me. He is an author, philosopher, activist, scholar, entrepreneur and incredibly positive about life and living. . He also has some pretty extreme physical challenges. You see many years ago he went hiking and dove off a small bridge over a stream. Lots of people jump off this bridge into this stream all the time. Mark did it too (he is a pretty good athlete). When he came up he realized that he couldn’t feel his legs.

But Mark not being able to feel his legs is not the point of this blog. Mark has a pretty good attitude so the fact that he can’t feel his legs is just what “is” The point is that some people have a positive attitude about life and living and some people have a crappy attitude about life and living.

I have learned as a life and success coach and as an “expert” on Applied Game Theory that attitude counts for a lot concerning how we make choices in life and how wise these choices are.

This isn’t some half-baked motivational philosophy. Numerous studies show that this is so. People with positive attitudes have better marriages, more friends, make more money and die happier than people with crappy attitudes.

Now back to Mark Braunstein.

Well about a year after Mark’s accident (he’ll correct me if I’m wrong) network television did a show on extreme events that happen to people and that get caught on video. It happened that Mark’s friend had video-taped him jumping off that bridge. We had a party at my apartment in Manhattan. Mark came in his spanking new wheel chair and a good time was had by all as we watched the TV show. Yup, there was mark jumping off the bridge. Yup there was Mark coming to the surface realizing that he couldn’t feel his legs.  Eventually the party ended as all parties must and Mark went back to living his life with some new and unexpected challenges. He became an activist for the legalization of medical marijuana, testified at government hearings and generally did what he did before his accident; -lived a good life and made a positive difference in the lives of others which he continues to do.

So the essence of today’s blog is this…If you have a crappy attitude get rid of it. If you can’t get rid of it replace it with a positive attitude.

You might say, “Lew it’s not that easy. My parents had a crappy attitude, my siblings had crappy attitudes and I came from a damaged childhood where everyone and everything was designed to support the development of a crappy attitude.” You might say that.”

I feel your pain!

Now the visionary psychiatrist who created the foundations behind Neuro-Linguistic Programming, and Tony Robbins ideas was named Milton Erickson. Erickson, who created Ericksonian Hypnosis, said that some people respond to visual influence and others to auditory. If you happen to have a crappy attitude and would like to have a positive attitude this music video by Billy Joel might be of value. It is the song “Your Only Human: Don’t forget Your Second Wind” The link is below. I have included the lyrics in case you want to sing along

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YhxjNYvJbgM

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Lewis Harrison is the founder and director of the Harrison Center for Personal Development. He is a radio talk show host, speaker, consultant, practical philosopher and Contemporary Spiritual Teacher. Lewis is a pioneer in the personal development movement The author of nine self help books on human potential he offers a monthly retreat/seminar “How to Solve Any Problem”.  He also and phone based coaching.   This blog is explored more fully through Lewis’ E-book “Everything You Need To Know About Staying Happily Married”. It is available for $7.00 and can be ordered directly from Lewis by calling him at 212-724-8782.

Listen to Lewis on the radio on his show “That Was Zen, This is Tao” Wednesday and Thursday 4-6 PM

Lewis speaks to companies and other organizations on stress management

Lewis also offers phone-based and on-line life coaching services and a monthly workshop/Retreat – a simple program for decision making based on Game Theory, the idea expanded on by John Nash, the Nobel Prize winning subject of the biopick “A Beautiful Mind”.

What Does Self Help Mean?

A student of mine who is also studying positive psychology asked me what the terms personal development and human potential referred to in relation to self help books, self help CDs and such?

I explained it in this way. There is a specific, ever-evolving definition of what it is to be a human being (a homo – sapien). There is also a peak level, a maximum level of potential as well as the actualization of that potential that can be achieved (“realized” [see glossary for definition] and “actualized.”). Part of what it means to live a full life, one’s best life, is to have an intention to experience self-actualization and sustain that realization moment to moment.

Definition: Self-Actualization: Full self -knowledge and the total experience of who an individual “Is” spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically.

STUDENT: Please go into greater depth concerning your definition of self-actualization?

LEWIS: Self-Actualization means different things to different people. To Socrates one of our greatest philosophers, a self-actualized individual is one who is aware of every aspect relevant to his/her existence. To understand self-actualization one must have a passion for knowledge, hunger for wisdom and a willingness to be accountable for his/her personal actions.

STUDENT: Why is it important to be or become self-actualized?

LEWIS: Life is filled with all forms of unnecessary struggle. Much of this struggle is a direct result of ordinary thinking. To be ordinary is not enough. To think in ordinary ways is just not acceptable if we wish to live a life filled with freedom, love, and wealth.  Each of us has the potential to be extraordinary. Until we are committed to that intent we are incomplete. Without that intention we are only human in the biological sense. I do not say this with any moral judgment or through any sense of self-righteousness. Without that intention we are not truly being a “human being.” A human “being” is a human who is intent on realizing his/her inherent potential or has already done so.

To explore these ideas in greater depth see: the Glossary entries for an “Ordinary Person” and an “Extraordinary Person”.

STUDENT: Is it possible for an unhappy person to also be self-actualized?

LEWIS: Again it all depends on how you define self-actualization and how you define “happy”. When an individual experiences frustration, unhappiness and general discontent, what they are usually experiencing is the result of living inside their own being with unrealized potential. The result is more than just unrealized goals and an unfulfilled life. The person who wishes to have emotional balance in their lives (See the Conversation “Emotional Balance”) will experience what I like to call a “psychological itch” – a pain of longing that constantly tugs at them to think, speak and act differently than they are presently doing.

STUDENT: How do you define happiness?

LEWIS: On the purist level it is a state of contentment in spite of circumstances.

STUDENT: How does a person achieve happiness?

LEWIS: If we wish to have joy, contentment, freedom, and happiness it is imperative that we act in alignment with our essential nature. One way of doing this is to become conscious of our latent gifts and hidden talents. According to the great Taoist Sages Lao Tsu and Chuang Tsu; all other things, such as wealth, power, and influence, are no more than a means to the end.  It is self-actualization: the awareness and experience of one’s authentic nature, and the development of one’s given talents that is the most desirable path to peace and happiness.

STUDENT: How can a person become aware of their authentic nature and develop their natural talents?

LEWIS: Aristotle, the great Greek philosopher said “Nature does nothing in vain.”  The easiest way to become aware of one’s authentic nature is through self-assessment (See the Conversation on “Self Assessment”). Through proactive self –assessment a person may come to live a self-actualized life, fully in spirit and with passion. This is called “Living Your Bliss”, by the great anthropologist, Joseph Campbell (See the entry on Joseph Campbell in the Level: “Standing on the Shoulder of Giants”).

STUDENT:  Where does Lewis Harrison’s Applied Game Theorycome into play concerning self assessment?

LEWIS: Through the exploration of the Nineteen Strategic Resources (See the Level  on ‘The Nineteen Strategic Resources)

STUDENT: If one engages in self-assessment what comes next?

LEWIS: It is a multi-layered process. Self-Assessment for the most part is an intellectual, left-brain process. To achieve self-actualization one must engage in intuitive right-brain processes as well such as contemplation, introspection and meditation. This, in my experience, is the most desirable path to peace and happiness and self-actualization. To explore the ideas presented here please see the Conversation “Right Brain/Left Brain Thinking” and the Conversation “Transcending the Non-Linear Factor Through Contemplation, Introspection and Meditation”.

STUDENT: What is the best technique to employ to find one’s “bliss”?

LEWIS: You can cannot “find your bliss” by doing any one specific technique. It requires a consistent intention and daily self-assessment. As we learn more about ourselves and achieve greater awareness we continue to redefine ourselves (See the Conversation on “Wants and Needs”).

STUDENT: What changes take place as you redefine yourself?

LEWIS: As your awareness of who you are expands, there is a natural decrease in your interest in status symbols and those things that will impress others like a large house, expensive clothes, cars and jewelry. Instead you will begin to focus your energy on a personal level.

STUDENT: Are there specific levels or standards of awareness that one passes through on the way to self-actualization?

LEWIS: No. Each person is on his or her own individual path. In fact many of the individuals listed in the Level: “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants”, would probably disagree with each other on certain key ideas and points concerning what made them extraordinary. No one has all the answers.

STUDENT: There must be some way to give more form to these concepts. Is there a particular theory on the process of self-awareness and actualization that you personally connect with?

LEWIS: One of my favorites is the “Three Planes of Thought”, articulated by E.F. Schumacher; considered by many to be one of the most visionary and influential economists of the last half of the twentieth century. (See the entry on E.F. Schumacher in the Level: “Standing on the Shoulder of Giants”).

In May 1957 Schumacher gave a talk entitled ‘The Insufficiency of Liberalism’. In this talk, unrelated to 21St century definitions of liberalism or conservatism, he described what he termed the “three stages of development”. The first great leap, he said, was made when man moved from stage one of primitive religion to stage two of scientific realism. This was the stage modern man tended to be at. A few move to the third stage in which one can find the lapses and deficiencies in science and realism, and that there is something beyond fact and science. He called this stage three. The problem, he explained, was that stage one and stage three appear to be exactly the same to people stuck in stage two. Consequently, those in stage three are seen as having had some sort of a relapse into childish nonsense. Only those in stage three, can understand the differences between stage one and stage three.

STUDENT:  What are your thoughts on Freud, Marx and Einstein and their ideas on self-actualization?

LEWIS: These three are among the most influential thinkers of the nineteenth and twentieth century. I am not a psychiatrist, an economist or a physicist, so my opinion would not be authoritative in any sense. However; Schumacher who strongly supported the idea that we need to be personally responsible and accountable for our actions, felt that Freud, Marx and Einstein were negative agents to certain aspects of human potential. Mainly because, he felt; their ideas reinforced the increasingly common pattern where people felt less and less responsible for their actions.

STUDENT: Was Schumacher specific in his thoughts on this?

LEWIS: Yes. Schumacher saw Einstein as overly influenced by boundaries established by realism and science. Schumacher believed that there were some unchangeable and fundamental “truths” in life, and that Einstein, by undermining belief in absolutes through his concepts on relativity, also undermined personal morality, absolute moral codes, and personal responsibility for immoral actions.

STUDENT: What did Schumacher have to say about Freud?

LEWIS: Schumacher disagreed with Freud’s beliefs that perception was subjective and saw these ideas as overly self-centered. For Schumacher a self-centered reality inevitably led to a shift in attitude in human relations; from creating community and serving the needs of others to a reality where self-fulfillment was all that seemed to matter.

STUDENT: Being an economist Schumacher must have had strong opinions concerning Marx and Marxism?

LEWIS: As for Marx, Schumacher saw Marx as someone who sought scapegoats and created a philosophy that replaced personal responsibility with a victim mentality, built on a foundation of hatred and blame, accusing others for problems with society.

STUDENT: Why do you focus on Schumacher’s ideas? Certainly there are many thinkers, including Freud, Marx and Einstein who are better known and more influential than he was?

LEWIS: Schumacher’s ideas are more important today (2010) than ever before. This is particularly so due to the radical changes in the world economy, especially the collapse of the Soviet Union and the rise of China as an economic power in the last quarter of the twentieth century. Schumacher does not diminish the importance of Freud, Marx and Einstein. He recognizes that each of these individuals offered the world something of great value. All he is saying is that each of what they had to offer us has flaws. It is these flaws that fuel the question for human potential and self-actualization. This is why the best of who we are will become apparent only through our willingness to question and explore important ideas, as we also stand on the shoulders of the giants who have preceded us.

STUDENT:  Where does the concept of self-actualization connect to our own mortality?

LEWIS: Human life is limited, but wisdom expressed through the actualization of our full physical, emotional, and spiritual potential is virtually limitless.  To be attached and focused on the pursuit of the limited when presented with the limitless is foolish.

STUDENT: Are there certain things an individual needs to be aware of as they walk the path to self-actualization?

LEWIS: Yes. Learn to balance your wants and your needs and beware of ideologues and purists who will kill off the new just to maintain the old.

STUDENT: Is there a place for tradition and old wisdom in the process of self-actualization?

LEWIS: Yes, but not tradition just for tradition’s sake. This requires a balancing act as well. The self-actualized person is a reflection of the best in any tradition while transcending the worst in the same.  Such an individual is wary of those who will discard tradition and ignore “the Elders” who hold the truths hidden in these traditions, just so they can appear radical in behavior or visionary in thought.

STUDENT: Do you have any final thoughts on self-actualization?

LEWIS: Nothing definitive. Meditate daily, practice self-assessment, remember that there is a large distinction between what you want and what you need. Be kind, serve others, and live in Love.

Create love and freedom in your life. What else is there to say?

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Lewis Harrison is the Director of the Harrison Center for Personal Development www.TheHarrisonCenter.com and is the owner of a Corporate Stress Management Company www.EventsChairMassage.com

Influence and Highly Suggestive Psychological States

This blog explores game theory and decision science and the use of power and influence. If you have ab interest in the ideas of Jan von Neumann and John Nash you will find this of interest.

 

Influence and Highly Suggestive Psychological States
Research shows that all people are suggestible some of the time and that this suggestibility can be enhanced in a state of trance or altered states of consciousness. What is a trance state or an altered state of consciousness? There is no single definition. However, when a person involved with influence uses the term, he or she is speaking about an experience of non-ordinary reality. This is the type of state one is in when practicing creative visualization, listening to certain types of music, enjoying a massage, exercising, in deep prayer, meditating, in a deeply emotional state, and when one is being hypnotized.

 

When Masters of Influence apply their skills they keep the following guidelines at hand;

 

Some individuals are more easily influenced than others.

 

Some individuals respond to different styles of influence. Some respond to a more demanding, directed, and authoritative style while others respond to a more permissive style guided by requests and suggestions.

 

When a person who is highly suggestible is placed in an altered state of consciousness, or a trance-state, they become even more suggestible, even more susceptible to influence.

 

Skilled individuals can, through internal dialogue, bring themselves to a trance-like state and through internal dialogue inject suggestions into their own subconscious. The aim of this is to ultimately shift beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors.

 

The focus of the this guidebook is to explore these trance states and techniques used for entering them, and to provide different scripts that can be used to create influence on a subconscious level.

Are there limits to influence? Clearly, you cannot influence someone to do something beyond human capabilities. You cannot influence someone to flap one’s arms, but you can influence biological function through thought. Who can know just how fast the fastest human being can run? What is the limitation of a basketball coach to move a team to a level of performance that would have seemed impossible? Can a person be influenced to such an extreme level that it might be called “brain-washing”? Can a person, as in the movie the Manchurian Candidate, be so influenced, unwillingly and without knowledge that they are permanently transformed into a person with completely different ethics, beliefs, and habits? With rare exceptions, the answer is probably no, but that doesn’t mean that a person cannot be deeply influenced on a subconscious level.

Brain Wave Changes and Influence

Brain researchers now know that such extraordinary states as trance states and extreme emotional change produce measurable shifts in brain activity. This type of activity is commonly defined as brain wave activity. Brain waves can be measured (as cycles per second, called hertz) and an understanding of brain waves can be an important tool in addressing when and how influence may be most effectively applied.

 

Through data collected by electroencephalography (EEGs), four major brain-wave patterns – frequency of electrical impulses firing from the brain – have been identified. They are Beta, Alpha, Theta, and Delta waves. The beta state (alert/working) is defined as 14–32 Hz, the alpha state (relaxed/reflecting) as the 7–14 Hz, the theta state (visual imagery) as 4–7 Hz, and the delta state (sleeping/dreaming/deep sleep) as approximately 3–5 Hz.[2]

 

Altered State theorists believe that an altered state of consciousness is a core element in maintaining long-term influence. When a receiver is seeking to change a behavior on a deeply rooted level, he or she is in essence giving the influencer permission to guide him or her into a highly suggestive state. This process entails moving the receiver into a specific brain wave pattern related to altered states – alpha, theta, and delta – and make verbal suggestions, stated in such a way as to “implant” the suggestion in the receiver’s subconscious mind. It is important to direct the receiver’s induction process in such a way as to move them into one of these brain wave states.

 

Neuropsychological theories of hypnosis attempt to explain hypnotic phenomena in terms of alterations in brain activity. Based on large amounts of EEG research, hypnosis appears to shift brain activity to the anterior cingulate cortex and left prefrontal cortex in those susceptible. How connected this is either to altered states of consciousness or influence is still being researched.

One controlled scientific experiment postulated that hypnosis might alter a receiver’s perception of conscious experience in a way impossible when not “hypnotized” (at least in “highly hypnotizable” people).

Whatever the research determines, one thing is clear – all of us at one time or another has been in an altered state of consciousness. This is not as radical a concept as it might seem. You have experienced an altered state of consciousness many times if you have ever practiced visualization exercises, trusted your intuition, daydreamed, or driven a car “on automatic pilot.” Do you remember the time when your mind seemed to wander somewhere else and yet the car drove safely for miles even getting off at the correct exit?

 

There is no single defining factor of what this state consists of; however, there are various recognizable factors that indicate that a person has entered this state.

 

There is a sense of egoless-ness. It is as if a person feels that he or she is merging with people and objects around the environment, as if in a single state of consciousness.
2.  A distorted sense of time and space. There is a breakdown of normal boundaries. Intuition takes over in situations where a rational approach was the normal operating model.
3.  An intense and accurate sensitivity to the emotional states of others.
4.  A trance like state often called the state of “flow”.  Because an altered state of consciousness is generally noted through external observation, it is difficult to measure it with the traditional tools of empirical science, other than certain biofeedback machines. However, as the sciences of mathematics and physics have integrated more and more theoretical ideas into rational theory, the esoteric arts and sciences have filtered into Western academic thought. This in turn has filtered into the art and science of influence.
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Lewis Harrison is teacher, author and mentor. He is the offers seminars and coaching on influence and personal power.

Learn more about his work at www.HowtoSolveAnyProblem.com

He is also the owner of a retreat center at www.TheCatskillsBedandBreakfast.com

 

His book Healing Depression naturally is available on Kindle

 

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Non-Verbal Communication

The focus of this blog is   To explore, and learn to apply wordless messages as a tool for the creation of love, wealth, freedom and greater influence.

Definition:  Nonverbal Communication – The process of communication through sending and receiving wordless messages.

This is  extract of a class I taught on problem solving and the illusion of time.

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STUDENT:  What is the history of nonverbal communication as an academic discipline?

LEWIS:  It is generally accepted that the first scientific study of nonverbal communication was The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals (1872), a book by Charles Darwin.  Darwin proposed that emotions could in fact be reliably communicated in facial expressions by these creatures.  For close to a hundred years, most researchers on nonverbal communication struggled with the idea that most definitions concerning this type of communication were based on arbitrary symbols.

 

 

STUDENT:  Why was this a problem?

LEWIS:  That would mean that the meaning of such symbols differed from culture to culture.

 

 

STUDENT:  How has this changed?

LEWIS:  Paul Ekman conducted influential studies in the 1960s that determined that expressions of fear, anger, sadness, disgust, joy, sadness, and surprise are universal. With Ekman’s reach, it became clear that a large percentage of facial expressions are to some extent iconic, and thus universally understood.

 

 

STUDENT: I understand that human beings do not communicate by words alone.  Yet our bodies are regulated through the nervous system, and also by the sophistication of our communication skills.  Speak further about nonverbal communication skills from this perspective.

LEWIS:  Nonverbal communication can occur through any sensory channelsight, sound, smell, touch or taste, and transcend words.  Nonverbal communication may also include body language; posture, facial expression, voice tone, eye movements and eye contact, gestures, touch, (Haptic communication) and other subtle factors.  All these communication cues determine how we interact with other people.  In addition, our programming will determine the reality we choose to create and the boundaries we accept, either consciously or unconsciously.

 

 

STUDENT:  You mentioned other subtle factors of nonverbal communication.  What would be examples of this?

LEWIS:  People also use objects or artifacts to communicate nonverbally, including hairstyles, architecture, symbols, and clothing.  There are also many nonverbal elements within speech. This is commonly known as paralanguage, and may include elements such as pitch, voice quality, volume, rate, and speaking style, as well as prosodic features such as stress of voice, rhythm, and intonation.

 

 

STUDENT:  If  body language and posture are forms of nonverbal communication, where would dance fit into this conversation?

LEWIS:  Dance is definitively a form of nonverbal communication, and one of the most universally understood and expressed.

 

 

STUDENT:  How about writing, sign language, or painting?

LEWIS:  Yes these are considered verbal communication. All written texts have nonverbal elements, such as the physical layout of a page, handwriting style, and the spatial arrangement of words.  However, those elements of writing, or any other form of communication that do deal with words would be considered verbal communication.

 

 

STUDENT:  How about an art form such as painting?

LEWIS:  In painting there is the physical layout of a work, the painting style, the spatial arrangement of the elements in the work, and the tools used to create the work.

 

 

STUDENT:  There is so much here to learn.  Where can one begin?

LEWIS:  When studying nonverbal communication, it is usually easiest to explore and learn about face-to-face interaction.

 

STUDENT:  How would one do this?

LEWIS:  Nonverbal communication through face-to-face interaction is generally classified into three primary areas:

1. Environmental conditions where the communication takes place.

2. The physical characteristics of the communicators.

3. The behaviors of the communicators during interaction.

 

 

STUDENT:  Why these three?

LEWIS:  Because they utilize the primary elements in communication – neurology, understanding, and programming.

 

 

STUDENT:  This seems very complex and very systematic.

LEWIS:  It is very systematic, but this also makes it easier to understand.   Look, there are many different systems utilizing this triad of neurology, understanding, and programming. Among the most influential in my own studies and teachings are the writings of Milton Erickson, a pioneering psychiatrist in the field of trance work, hypnosis, and influence.  What made Dr. Erickson’s work unique was his mastery of rapport.  He developed the ability to enter the worldview of his patients, and from that vantage point, having established rapport, was able to make extremely effective interventions that influenced his patients to overcome many phobias and assorted life problems.  Most masters of influence now know that it is much easier to influence an individual or group if you can create rapport with them.  It is rapport that facilitates change through influence.

 

 

STUDENT:  What is the specific definition of rapport?

LEWIS:  Rapport is a harmonious communication or relationship between two or more living creatures.  Rapport is generally characterized by empathy, affinity, and mutual understanding.

 

 

STUDENT:  Are we always conscious that rapport is present?

LEWIS:  No.  Rapport is one of the most important features or characteristics of subconscious communication.  It is a commonality of perspective; being “in sync” with, or being “on the same wavelength” as the person with whom you are talking.

 

 

STUDENT:  Can one consciously build rapport with another?

LEWIS:  Yes.  There are a number of techniques that are supposed to be beneficial in building rapport such as matching your body language (i.e., posture, gesture, etc.); maintaining eye contact; and matching breathing rhythm.  Some of these techniques are explored in the Conversation on neuro-linguistic programming.

 

 

To explore these concepts in greater detail see the Conversation on Change, the Conversation on Understanding Systems of Greater Complexity, and the entry on Milton Erickson in the Level: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants.

STUDENT:  Is whistling, grunting, or “scat” singing, as might be found in some forms of jazz, considered verbal communication?

LEWIS:  They might be in common language, but definitely not in specialized language. (See the Conversation on Specialized Language)  Among scholars and academics dealing with various forms of communication, the term “verbal” relates directly and specifically with spoken words. The vocal sounds you have spoken of in your question are nonverbal.

 

 

STUDENT:  I have heard it said that the eyes are the doorway to the soul.  Can you discuss eye gaze as a form of nonverbal communication?

LEWIS:  The study of the role of eyes in nonverbal communication is sometimes referred to as “oculesics.”  Eye contact can indicate interest, attention, and involvement.  Studies have found that people use their eyes to indicate their interest with more than the frequently recognized actions of winking, and slight movement of the eyebrows.  Eye contact is an event when two people look at each other’s eyes at the same time.  It is a form of nonverbal communication and has a large influence on social behavior.  Frequency and interpretation of eye contact vary between cultures and species.  Eye aversion is the avoidance of eye contact.  Eye contact and facial expressions provide important social and emotional information.  People, perhaps without consciously doing so, probe each other’s eyes and faces for positive or negative mood signs.

Gaze comprises the actions of looking while talking, looking while listening, amount of gaze and frequency of glances, patterns of fixation, pupil dilation, and blink rate.

 

 

STUDENT: Please discuss nonverbal cues of the voice.

LEWIS:  This is known as Paralanguage. (sometimes called vocalics)  It’s the study of  nonverbal cues of the voice.  Various acoustic properties of speech such as tone, pitch, and accent, collectively known as prosody, can all give off nonverbal cues.  Paralanguage may change the meaning of words.

The linguist George L. Trager developed a classification system which consists of the voice set, voice qualities, and vocalization.[11]

  • The voice set is the context in which the speaker is speaking. This can include the situation, gender, mood, age, and a person’s culture.
  • The voice qualities are volume, pitch, tempo, rhythm, articulation, resonance, nasality, and accent.  They give each individual a unique “voice print.”
  • Vocalization consists of three subsections; characterizers, qualifiers, and segregates. Characterizers are emotions expressed while speaking, such as laughing, crying, and yawning.  A voice qualifier is the style of delivering a message – for example, yelling “Hey stop that!”  as opposed to whispering, “Hey stop that.”  Vocal segregates such as “uh-huh” notify the speaker that the listener is listening.

 

 

STUDENT:  What are your closing thoughts on the concept of nonverbal communication?

LEWIS:  Communication, especially distinctions in how we hear or listen, has many subtle elements.  When we listen, (or speak) we naturally focus our conscious attention on words, rather than body language.  However, our subconscious absorbs and responds to both verbal and nonverbal signals.

 

 

STUDENT:  Can one easily distinguish positive forms of nonverbal communication from negative forms?

LEWIS:  Nonverbal forms of communication are not usually positive or negative in and of themselves; the perspective of the observer, the message being delivered, and the situation at hand will determine the appraisal.

 

 

STUDENT:  Is there still much research being conducted on nonverbal communication?

LEWIS:  Studies now range across a number of fields, including social psychology, linguistics, and semiotics.

 

 

STUDENT:  What are the specific characteristics that define a type of communication as nonverbal?

1. Nonverbal cues are culture bound.

2. Nonverbal messages primarily communicate attitudes and emotions.

3. Nonverbal cues substitute for, contradict, emphasize, or regulate verbal messages.

4. Nonverbal cues are continuous.

5. Nonverbal cues are more reliable.

6. Nonverbal cues are often ambiguous.

 

 

STUDENT: Speak about clothing as an element of nonverbal communication.

LEWIS:  There are many different levels of communication that are reflected from clothing, including cultural and social interests.  One of the most powerful forms of nonverbal communication related to clothing is a uniform.  All clothing has both a functional and a communicative purpose, but this is even more so with a uniform.  When a person is in uniform, they can identify gender, position, influence, rank and function.  All of these can be clarified even more if the uniform contains a badge and a social insignia.

 

 

STUDENT: Speak on bodily characteristics as an element of nonverbal communication.

LEWIS:  Elements such as physique, height, weight, skin, and hair can also convey nonverbal information.  There are certain bodily characteristics that change their meaning depending on the interaction and qualities of those involved in the communication.  These factors include skin color, ethnic background, national origin, gender, odors, and clothing.  Studies have shown that there is a correlation between how a person dresses and their interest in courtship.

 

 

STUDENT:  What is the connection between nonverbal communication and financial success?

LEWIS:  Nonverbal communication affects us on every level of living, including financial success.

 

 

STUDENT:  What are your final thoughts on this conversation on nonverbal communication?

LEWIS:  Nonverbal communication is often much more impactful than verbal communication.

The more one can understand body posture, the perception of time, and our relationship to space the more effective our communication will be.

 

 

STUDENT:  If a person has the use of language, why does nonverbal communication even exist?

LEWIS:  There are many theories on this point.  One theory states that spoken language is most effective as a tool for communicating information about events external to the speakers.  Nonverbal cues and codes are more effective for creating and maintaining interpersonal relationships.  This brings into play the concept of social intelligence.  In many situations, it is considered appropriate – more polite – to communicate attitudes towards others nonverbally, rather than verbally.

 

E. F. Schumacher and Self Actualization

An interview with Contemporary Spiritual Teacher Harrison, the creater of Harrison’s Applied Game Theory

STUDENT: What is self actualization and what is its connection to reinventing one’s self?

LEWIS:  Self actualization is the awareness that one has connected to the highest and most profound levels of human expression.  It is full self -knowledge and a total experience of who you “Are” spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically.

There is a specific, ever-evolving definition of what it is to be a human being (a homo – sapien). There is also a peak level, a maximum level of potential as well as the actualization of that potential that can be achieved, realized and actualized.. Part of what it means to live a full life, one’s best life, is to have an intention to experience self-actualization and sustain that realization moment to moment.

STUDENT: Please go into greater depth concerning your definition of self-actualization?

LEWIS: Self-Actualization means different things to different people. To Socrates one of our greatest philosophers, a self-actualized individual is one who is aware of every aspect relevant to his/her existence. To understand self-actualization one must have a passion for knowledge, hunger for wisdom and a willingness to be accountable for his/her personal actions.

STUDENT: Why is it important to be or become self-actualized?

LEWIS: Life is filled with all forms of unnecessary struggle. Much of this struggle is a direct result of ordinary thinking. To be ordinary is not enough. To think in ordinary ways is just not acceptable if we wish to live a life filled with freedom, love, and wealth.  Each of us has the potential to be extraordinary. Until we are committed to that intent we are incomplete. Without that intention we are only human in the biological sense. I do not say this with any moral judgment or through any sense of self-righteousness. Without that intention we are not truly being a “human being.” A human “being” is a human who is intent on realizing his/her inherent potential or has already done so.

STUDENT: Is it possible for an unhappy person to also be self-actualized?

LEWIS: Again it all depends on how you define self-actualization and how you define “happy”. When an individual experiences frustration, unhappiness and general discontent, what they are usually experiencing is the result of living inside their own being with unrealized potential. The result is more than just unrealized goals and an unfulfilled life. The person who wishes to have emotional balance in their lives will experience what I like to call a “psychological itch” – a pain of longing that constantly tugs at them to think, speak and act differently than they are presently doing.

STUDENT: How do you define happiness?

LEWIS: On the purist level it is a state of contentment in spite of circumstances.

STUDENT: How does a person achieve happiness?

LEWIS: If we wish to have joy, contentment, freedom, and happiness it is imperative that we act in alignment with our essential nature. One way of doing this is to become conscious of our latent gifts and hidden talents. According to the great Taoist Sages Lao Tsu and Chuang Tsu; all other things, such as wealth, power, and influence, are no more than a means to the end.  It is self-actualization: the awareness and experience of one’s authentic nature, and the development of one’s given talents that is the most desirable path to peace and happiness.

STUDENT: How can a person become aware of their authentic nature and develop their natural talents?

LEWIS: Aristotle, the great Greek philosopher said “Nature does nothing in vain.”  The easiest way to become aware of one’s authentic nature is through self-assessment. Through proactive self –assessment a person may come to live a self-actualized life, fully in spirit and with passion. This is called “Living Your Bliss”, by the great anthropologist, Joseph Campbell.

STUDENT:  How do you explore this with your coaching clients?

LEWIS: Through the exploration of the Nineteen Strategic Resources as a tool for self assessment

STUDENT: If one engages in self-assessment what comes next?

LEWIS: It is a multi-layered process. Self-Assessment for the most part is an intellectual, left-brain process. To achieve self-actualization one must engage in intuitive right-brain processes as well such as contemplation, introspection and meditation. This, in my experience, is the most desirable path to peace and happiness and self-actualization.

STUDENT: What is the best technique to employ to find one’s “bliss”?

LEWIS: You can cannot “find your bliss” by doing any one specific technique. It requires a consistent intention and daily self-assessment. As we learn more about ourselves and achieve greater awareness we continue to redefine ourselves

STUDENT: What changes take place as you redefine yourself?

LEWIS: As your self awareness expands there is a natural decrease in your interest in status symbols and those things that will impress others like a large house, expensive clothes, cars and jewelry. Instead you will begin to focus your energy on a personal level.

STUDENT: Are there specific levels or standards of awareness that one passes through on the way to self-actualization?

LEWIS: No. Each person is on his or her own individual path. In fact many of the individuals listed in my Ebook “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants”, would probably disagree with each other on certain key ideas and points concerning what made them extraordinary. No one has all the answers.

STUDENT: There must be some way to give more form to these concepts. Is there a particular theory on the process of self-awareness and actualization that you personally connect with?

LEWIS: One of my favorites is the “Three Planes of Thought”, articulated by E.F. Schumacher; considered by many to be one of the most visionary and influential economists of the last half of the twentieth century.

Learn more about Lewis at www.AskLewis.com

In May 1957 Schumacher gave a talk entitled ‘The Insufficiency of Liberalism’. In this talk, unrelated to 21St century definitions of liberalism or conservatism, he described what he termed the “three stages of development”. The first great leap, he said, was made when man moved from stage one of primitive religion to stage two of scientific realism. This was the stage modern man tended to be at. A few move to the third stage in which one can find the lapses and deficiencies in science and realism, and that there is something beyond fact and science. He called this stage three. The problem, he explained, was that stage one and stage three appear to be exactly the same to people stuck in stage two. Consequently, those in stage three are seen as having had some sort of a relapse into childish nonsense. Only those in stage three, can understand the differences between stage one and stage three.

STUDENT:  What are your thoughts on Freud, Marx and Einstein and their ideas on self-actualization?

LEWIS: These three are among the most influential thinkers of the nineteenth and twentieth century. I am not a psychiatrist, an economist or a physicist, so my opinion would not be authoritative in any sense. However; Schumacher who strongly supported the idea that we need to be personally responsible and accountable for our actions, felt that Freud, Marx and Einstein were negative agents to certain aspects of human potential. Mainly because, he felt; their ideas reinforced the increasingly common pattern where people felt less and less responsible for their actions.

STUDENT: Was Schumacher specific in his thoughts on this?

LEWIS: Yes. Schumacher saw Einstein as overly influenced by boundaries established by realism and science. Schumacher believed that there were some unchangeable and fundamental “truths” in life, and that Einstein, by undermining belief in absolutes through his concepts on relativity, also undermined personal morality, absolute moral codes, and personal responsibility for immoral actions.

STUDENT: What did Schumacher have to say about Freud?

LEWIS: Schumacher disagreed with Freud’s beliefs that perception was subjective and saw these ideas as overly self-centered. For Schumacher a self-centered reality inevitably led to a shift in attitude in human relations; from creating community and serving the needs of others to a reality where self-fulfillment was all that seemed to matter.

STUDENT: Being an economist Schumacher must have had strong opinions concerning Marx and Marxism?

LEWIS: As for Marx, Schumacher saw Marx as someone who sought scapegoats and created a philosophy that replaced personal responsibility with a victim mentality, built on a foundation of hatred and blame, accusing others for problems with society.

STUDENT: Why do you focus on Schumacher’s ideas? Certainly there are many thinkers, including Freud, Marx and Einstein who are better known and more influential than he was?

LEWIS: Schumacher’s ideas are more important today (2010) than ever before. This is particularly so due to the radical changes in the world economy, especially the collapse of the Soviet Union and the rise of China as an economic power in the last quarter of the twentieth century. Schumacher does not diminish the importance of Freud, Marx and Einstein. He recognizes that each of these individuals offered the world something of great value. All he is saying is that each of what they had to offer us has flaws. It is these flaws that fuel the question for human potential and self-actualization. This is why the best of who we are will become apparent only through our willingness to question and explore important ideas, as we also stand on the shoulders of the giants who have preceded us.

STUDENT:  Where does the concept of self-actualization connect to our own mortality?

LEWIS: Human life is limited, but wisdom expressed through the actualization of our full physical, emotional, and spiritual potential is virtually limitless.  To be attached and focused on the pursuit of the limited when presented with the limitless is foolish.

STUDENT: Are there certain things an individual needs to be aware of as they walk the path to self-actualization?

LEWIS: Yes. Learn to balance your wants and your needs and beware of ideologues and purists who will kill off the new just to maintain the old.

STUDENT: Is there a place for tradition and old wisdom in the process of self-actualization?

LEWIS: Yes, but not tradition just for tradition’s sake. This requires a balancing act as well. The self-actualized person is a reflection of the best in any tradition while transcending the worst in the same.  Such an individual is wary of those who will discard tradition and ignore “the Elders” who hold the truths hidden in these traditions, just so they can appear radical in behavior or visionary in thought.

STUDENT: Do you have any final thoughts on self-actualization?

LEWIS: Nothing definitive. Meditate daily, practice self-assessment, remember that there is a large distinction between what you want and what you need. Be kind, serve others, and live in Love. Create love and freedom in your life. What else is there to say?

The Secrets of Initiation

This is derived from a class I taught on the role of initation in making effective strategic choices in life.

Lewis Harrison

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The basics of this class was:  To explore how an individual is accepted by a group through a specific rite, ritual, or ceremony.

Definition:  Initiation – A formal rite of passage, often a ceremony, marking entrance or acceptance into adulthood or into a certain level or formal component within a group or society.

 Q & A

STUDENT: What is the source of the word initiation?

LEWIS: It comes from the Latin, initium: “a going in.”  It was originally used to describe “an entrance” or “beginning”.  The English verb “initiate” means to begin or start a particular event, happening, action, or circumstance.

STUDENT: What is the importance of the initiation process for the individual and for a group?

LEWIS: An initiation not only formally defines the agreement between the initiate and the group, but the initiation process may also signify that a transformation or “rebirth” has taken place.

STUDENT: Anyone can simply say that a person has had a transformation through some ritual or ceremony.  What makes an initiation anything more than a new myth or story without any real substance?

LEWIS: A shift actually takes place in the most authentic initiations.  There is a real process involved in an initiation with substance.  The shift is both in the perspective of the initiate and of how the group views the new initiate.  The simplest way to describe the shift is to say that the initiate has earned and has been given a new role within the group or society of which he may already a member.

Examples of transformational initiations that signify a transformation in which the initiate is “reborn” into a new role may include the Jewish bar or bat mitzvah, a college graduation ceremony, a Christian baptism or Confirmation (Christian sacrament), a ceremony within a martial arts school where a student earns a higher level belt, a mystic school where an initiate is given “secret” codes or information.  Other examples include a fraternal organization, a secret society, a religious order, and a recruit training for a military or Para-military organization, such as a militia or the Mafia.

STUDENT: Why do we need initiations at all?  We certainly could survive without them.

LEWIS: It may be that human beings are hard-wired to join groups, and groups are hardwired to create some initiation process.  It may be that in order to function effectively in life we need support systems and boundaries that help define our relationships to these support systems.  An initiation is a formal way of creating a relationship where those who are at a more evolved, transformed, or influential level in a group guide the initiate through a process of greater exposure of knowledge specific to the group.

STUDENT:  Are there any common elements that might be found in most initiation ceremonies?

LEWIS: In most initiations, the individual conducting the initiation (the initiator) possesses or is believed to possess a specific power or state of being and has the ability to transfer this power or state to the person being initiated.  As a student of Shamanism, I went through such an initiation process.  I was introduced to certain words and certain meditation practices which I was told would open the “Inner Door” to certain insight and mystic knowledge.

STUDENT: What type of knowledge or access to knowledge is imparted at an initiation ceremony?

LEWIS: It may be essential factual information, such as what a post-graduate student might receive from his or her noble prize winning professor.  It may include secret mantras or words as are given in mystic yoga initiations, secret hand-shakes used by street gangs, and specific revelation of private symbols or codes that might be used in a secret society, such as the Masons.  Some information is reserved for those at the higher level of understanding within a group, a bishop or cardinal in the Catholic Church, for instance.

STUDENT:  Where does the concept of initiation fit in the process of self-actualization, especially in the life of an extraordinary person?

LEWIS: Self-Actualization comes in many ways.  If one has belief in religion, spirituality, or esoteric philosophies, an initiation may cause a fundamental process of change within the person being initiated.  Self-Actualization almost always involves some type of personal transformation.  This is also the case in most initiation processes. What most initiations have in common is the concept of simultaneous death and rebirth.  Initiation is an end and a beginning.  One level of being drops away as another ascends.

STUDENT: What role is the initiate expected to play in an initiation?

LEWIS: The willingness to be initiated in thought word and deed.  In many groups it implies that the initiate agrees to certain requirements such as living a certain lifestyle, prayer, meditation, etc.

STUDENT: Are their many initiation processes that have no relationship to religion, secrecy, or spirituality?

LEWIS: Yes.  In fact, most initiation ceremonies are secular.  In many groups the use of the word “initiation” represents a brief familiarization with basic rules, guidelines, codes, and procedures of the group.  Some groups may charge a one-time initiation fee.  Unions, professional associations, and many clubs would fit into this category.  Generally, you might say that there is the form of a specific ritual and then there is the function or the value of the initiation to the group.

STUDENT: Are all initiations formal?

LEWIS: There are many initiations, symbols, and rituals that are tied to specific communities that are unspoken and yet would be defined as a rite of passage.  They are not true initiations in that nothing is asked of the initiate.  It is merely a joint event in the community that a person has participated in.  An example might be a sports coach winning his or her 1,000th game or a baseball player hitting his 100, 200, 300 or 400th home-run.  For some individuals an initiation of sorts has taken place when they have crossed the equator on board a naval ship or as passengers on board a cruise liner.  There are, literally, thousands of such initiation rites, some with long histories behind them and some newly created.

STUDENT: What is the most common initiation practice in the world?

LEWIS: Probably puberty rites.  These are sacred collective rituals whose function is to facilitate the transformation of an adolescent to an adult.  There are records of puberty rites going back to the dawn of human history.

STUDENT: What is the most common form of spiritual, if not religious, initiation?

LEWIS: In the last few decades there has been an increased interest in different “New Age” and Shamanic approaches to initiation.  Some are quite serious and profound while others are no more than exercises in spiritual materialism.  Authentic Shaman initiations are generally limited to those few who have a passion and a calling to do inner work that is not accessible to the rest of the community but may ultimately serve the community.

STUDENT: What other types of initiations are there?

LEWIS: Aside from formal initiation ceremonies, there are often unofficial initiations held or practiced within subcultures of the larger group.  Many aboriginal tribes use initiation to both reflect and define the tribal identity. Initiations can include many different practices including: circumcision of males, genital mutilation of females, sub-incision and scarification.  In these cultures initiation truly is a rite of passage in every sense of the word; preparing a young person to be a good husband or wife.

STUDENT: How large does a group need to be to have an initiation?

LEWIS: There is no standard for this.  Initiation, formal and non-formal, exists in sub-cultures within larger groups.  Such small communities exist within groups like the Green Beret’s, Navy Seals, and on board military vessels.  Members of these groups are often tightly knit communities that are so internalized that they function like families, even after the initiate has left the military.  These subgroups, like the larger groups they are part of, may have a hazing or a trial before a new member can be formally accepted.

STUDENT: How extreme or dangerous can an initiation ceremony become?

LEWIS: They can get pretty extreme.  Of course, much college fraternity hazing is designed to be humiliating and can be dangerous without any deeper meaning of transformation.  It’s just about “belonging to the group” and doing anything one can to be accepted.

STUDENT: How long does an initiation ceremony take?

LEWIS: There is no way to define this since some initiations go beyond a single ceremony.  My Shamanic Initiation extended over the course of two days.  My Bar Mitzvah took a few hours.  In some Aboriginal cultures initiations may take 3-4 months or even longer.

STUDENT: Is initiation really important in our modern society?

LEWIS: I would say more than ever and yet the more modern a society is, the less likely that initiation and rites of passage will be taken seriously regarding an individual’s growth and development.  The anthropologist Joseph Campbell discusses this in his PBS (Public Broadcasting System) interviews with Bill Moyers.  Without initiation and rites of passage society loses much of its reason for being; and that which was once held as sacred is lost.  In some tribes initiation is essential if a person is to be regarded as a full member of the tribe.  Otherwise, the individual may not be allowed to participate in core social rituals and ceremonies.

STUDENT: Is there a sacred element to the concept of initiation that is separate from religion or spirituality?

LEWIS: Yes.  If we are hard wired to create community and to form groups (see the Level:  Community) then we must also have a reason for doing so.  The group, as well, must have a reason for existing.  This reason is sacred in that without it the community would have no reason for existing (see A Conversation: “What is Sacred?”).  Thus, initiation becomes sacred because it reconnects us to who we are, who we are to become, and where we are in the community.  The initiation process also reconnects the community to its own history, origins, mythology, and culture.

STUDENT: What are the greatest benefits of a truly transformational initiation?

LEWIS: There are many and they may vary from culture to culture.  Here is a list of the most universal benefits of initiation:

  • Ritual death or “Dying while Living” enables one to live life more fully and guide a person to conquer the fear of real death.”
  • To reveal the deeper meaning of our existence.
  • To help a young person to accept accountability for his or her actions, and to hold them to a higher standard so they may be powerful and effective participants in the group.
  • To make them aware, on a transcendental level, of whom they truly are.
  • To ground them in “what is” so they might be fully open and available for “what might be”.

STUDENT: It seems as if initiations are merely events that people give meaning to – a sort of cultural meme?

LEWIS: This may be so in some groups but there are initiations that are structured to bring individuals into an authentic transformation. Many of these initiations can bring a person into an altered state of consciousness.

STUDENT: Can you give me an example of some physically extreme initiation?

LEWIS: Some Native American tribes practice a “Sun Dance” that requires intense mental and physical endurance.  You may research “Sun Dance” to learn more.

STUDENT: Is there some kind of initiation in your work as a mentor and coach?

LEWIS: No.  This work is not spiritual, religious, or group oriented in that sense.  However, initiation is an important part of any transformational process.

STUDENT: Can you speak about the idea of initiation and “Rites of Passage” and how they connect with the stories we create?

LEWIS: We all seek power in our lives.  A person in possession of real power knows that we are all limited or empowered not by our experiences alone but by the stories we create about these experiences.  We create different life stories for a variety of reasons, some within our control and others not.  We can exert power over others and be controlled by others’ powers because of many different factors, some under our control and others beyond our control.  These factors may include gender, religious beliefs, cultural background, age, or general life circumstances.  The popular motivational author and lecturer, Leo Buscaglia, defined six stages in a person’s development.  These stages are infancy, childhood adolescence, maturity, intimacy, and old age.  Different types of power will be important to an individual based on where they are developmentally.  The stories they create and the stories they will cherish from the past will often reflect the stage they are presently in.

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Lewis Harrison, the author of this blog is a speaker, consultant, and Contemporary Spiritual Teacher. He is a  pioneer in the personal development movement  The author of nine  self help books on human potential he offers seminar, workshops, retreats and phone based coaching. He is creating a series of ebooks entitled “Ask Lewis…” which will be available on line

Lewis offers phone-based and on-line life coaching services and created the course on Life Strategies www.LewisHarrisonsAppliedGameTheory.com  –  a simple system for decision making based on Game Theory, the idea expanded on by John Nash, the Nobel prize winning subject of the biopick “A Beautiful Mind”.

LEWIS WILL BE OFFERING A WEEKEND BOOTCAMP  IN  SEPTEMBER ON LIFE STRATEGIES AND APPLIED GAME THEORY.

FOR INFORMATION ON DATES, AND TUITION CALL LEWIS AT

212-724-8782

Lewis hosts a weekly radio show “What Up” that explore game theory. The show broadcasts Wednesdays and Thursday on WIOX 91.3 FM  – 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM (EST).  The show is also available as an internet stream at the same time period at WIOXRadio.org

Story Telling, Memes and Influence

Over time, any story or series of stories where true or not within a community may take on mythic proportions.  In the United States, where I was born and live the landing of the Mayflower at Plymouth Rock, and  Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address  are examples.  Eventually, if a story is passed on enough times by enough people, it may take on a life of its own.  It may become a sacred story, a reality for us and our community with little connection to the historical events that were the source of the story. This sacred story, this myth, may actually reflect who we are in relation to our community and so reinforced it can how we see ourselves.

 

The most productive RTPs through history seem to be connected to the human evolution towards survival, reproduction, and personal and group efficiency and effectiveness.  This all happens on a backdrop of seasonal changes, the search for food sources, local geography, relations with perceived enemies, terrain, and so on. Regenerating Thought Programs (RTPs)  reflect these relationships. I a person doesn’t understand how this process works it is easy to become overwhelmed and depressed.

 

If you chose to live on the Wisdom Path while at the same time engaging the world you will consistently be dealing with the expansion of technology, internet based social networking, the reduction within the general population of critical thinking skills, access to web-based information, and an ever-increasing amount of data that will be thrown at You.  You will need to learn to deal with the breakdown in the traditional division between entertainment journalism, politics, influence peddling, spirituality and the politics of faith based organizations.  It is virtually impossible to address and integrate all of these factors in your life while discriminating and discerning between empowering thought patterns and Idea Viruses – negative RTPs. Clearly, technological innovations are a double-edged sword.  They can enhance our lives or displace and devalue human culture and human existence.

 

How can you know which RTPs are fact-based and which ones are simply rumors or disingenuous attempts to influence ones beliefs? This is no simple matter.  Our society today is so complex that concrete and simple things that seem to make sense are likely to out-compete a fact-based “truth” that may be less appealing.  What is one to do?

 

 

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Lewis Harrison is an speaker, consultant, and Contemporary Spiritual Teacher. He is a  pioneer in the personal development movement  The author of nine  self help books on human potential he offers seminar, workshops, retreats and phone based coaching.

He is the author of the Comprehensive book Healing Depression naturally www.HealingDepressionBook.com

He created the course on Life Strategies www.LewisHarrisonsAppliedGameTheory.com  – based on Game Theory, the idea expanded on by John Nash the Nobel prize winning subject of the biopick “A Beautiful Mind”. Lewis holds regular stress management,  and meditation retreats at his Spa in the Western Catskills. Learn more at Thecatskillsbedandbreakfast.com

His company offers on-site chair massage through www.eventschairmassage.com

Lewis hosts a weekly radio show “What Up” that explore game theory. The show broadcasts Wednesdays and Thursday on WIOX 91.3 FM  – 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM (EST).  The show is also available as an internet stream at the same time period at WIOXRadio.org

NLP, Ericksonian Hypnosis and Applied Game Theory

 

NLP,  Ericksonian Hypnosis and Applied Game Theory

 

A great place to begin if you are interested in applying game theory to Life Strategies or in the structure of an  nlp course is the work of Milton Erickson.   Ericksonian Hypnosis is an artificially induced trance state characterized by  heightened  susceptibility  to suggestion. This technique  which  was developed by the  pioneering  psychiatrist Milton Erickson may,  strangely enough, takes place while an individual seems to be awake rather than apparently asleep which is generally associated with classical hypnosis techniques. This is  hypnosis for weight loss that gets to the core of a person’s psychological motivations.

Erickson was a pioneering  psychiatrist   who had  a  great  influence  on the work of those who created neuro-linguistic programming as well as the work of Anthony Robbins.  Erickson pioneered the idea that the “common experiences of wonderment, engrossment and confusion” are in reality just kinds of trance.

 
Sadly many nlp training course do not recognize Erickson as the source of what they are teaching

 

It might seem that Erisckson’s discoveries are revolutionary but they are
only in the secular sense. These ideas on influence and trance are central to many spiritual and religious disciplines, and are regularly employed by   evangelists,  cult leaders,  holy men,  gurus  and  military  strategists.

What then makes Erickson’s work so important? It was Erickson who first articulated these ideas fully as therapeutic tools in a secular framework. He taught that there is no one type of trance and there are many levels of trance. In fact there can be a blur between what is considered hypnotic or awake state.

 

Many people are familiar with the idea of a “deep” trance from watching hypnotists but when you are driving your automobile on the highway and automatically get off at the correct exit while listening to  your  favorite music this is a trance as well.

 

 

 

What make Erickson’s ideas so revolutionary is the fact that while this approach is being applied the individual is fully awake but in a covert way. You see Erickson  was  a  strong  proponent  of  the  idea  that  it  was  not  possible to consciously instruct the unconscious mind. He further asserted that if one attempted to impose an idea through authoritarian suggestions the response would be resistance.  The most effective way to influence the unconscious mind  is  through  what  Erickson called “artfully vague” metaphors, symbols and contradictions. Permissive hypnotic suggestion comes from an intuitive right brain source rather than a logical, strictly defined left brain source. The Life Strategies Course  – www.LifeStrategiesCourse.com – integrates these ideas in the application of influence to create greater efficiency and effectiveness in groups.

 

About the author: Lewis Harrison is an nlp coach and is the Director of the Harrison Center for  Personal Development www.TheHarrisonCenter.com, he is the creator of  and is the creator Life Strategies Course  – www.LifeStrategiesCourse.com