November 3, 2010

Both Terrorism and The War on Terror Is Doomed to Fail

Nothing more boring sounding than the "Second Law of Thermodynamics" but it has everything to do with today's "War on Terror" and what will happen next.

The Second Law of Thermodynamics says roughly that if you fling a deck of 52 cards across the room to your buddy, they will scatter all over the place.

But to state it in stark terms: it is far, far easier to destroy order, than to create order.

Destroying order is what we do when we blow up a bridge. The bridge is ordered and when we apply explosives to the base of the bridge and pack them down and light the fuse (do they still light fuses anymore?) the explosive rips the bridge apart from ordered matter into chaotic matter like the deck of 52 cards you flung all over the room, remember?

Here's where this counts.

If you are protecting your city against terrorism, you have an impossible job. It is far easier for a terrorist to try this, try that, try another thing…and eventually blow up your city.

Blowing up the city is like flinging the deck of cards. It creates disorder and chaos.

The Second Law of Thermodynamics says that if you have people trying to blow you up, 100 people or 1000 trying, and only one has to succeed to blow you up, then they will blow you up. It is far easier to create disorder and chaos than it is to create order, remember?

So here's the story. The modern Nation State is a new invention. Roughly before World War I, the world was a series of tribes each of which owed allegiance to a king who supposedly owned the place.

After World War I, the idea of kings fell into disrepute and "democracy" or "people's rule" won the war of ideas. Thus the modern Nation State was born and the idea that you owe allegiance to the "government" rather than a particular king.

Since then, governments have been trying to acquire territory and inflict deadly force on other governments.

The US military consumes over 50% of all military resources in the entire WORLD. That is, the US military itself is bigger than all the other world's militaries COMBINED. And the US military inflicts deadly force in full form on Iraq and Afghanistan, and in partial form through at least 700 bases around the globe in many other countries.

It is relatively easy if someone really wants to get their way against the US to eventually inflict enough damage on the US citizens that the government has no choice but to withdraw deadly force.

In reality, there is no "we hate your freedoms" in the world. What other people outside the US hate is the US military using force against them — drones, killing civilians, waging war in countries that did not threaten the United States.

For this, there is "blowback." It isn't nice but it's reality. When people feel helpless against overwhelming direct military force, they try to get their way through other means that are available to them — which we label "terrorism."

The Second Law of Thermodynamics says eventually they will create disorder — blow things up — out of order. The odds are 100% in their favor if there are enough of them.

The US military fears Improvised Explosive Devices and guerilla warfare precisely because with enough of both, there is no way the US military can ever win. It is a 100% guaranteed loss. Just a matter of enough time going by, enough people getting blown up, and eventually the political will to continue will melt like ice in the sun. Precisely what happened in Vietnam will happen in Afghanistan, Iraq and everywhere else.

There are two reasons the US Empire will fail. One is economic and financial. The other is the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Eventually enough explosives will get through, enough terrorists will blow things up to destroy the political will to continue.

The Internet makes this a certainty to happen far sooner than it did in Vietnam. People can read blogs and learn the truth and are not controlled by what is printed in the mass media.

As I write this, one of my favorite organizations Wikileaks disseminated important documents about the Iraq war. The New York Times printed this headline:

"Detainees Suffered Most In Iraqi Custody, U.S. Logs Say"

As if the problem was really the Iraqi "government".

But the Guardian read a bit deeper into these 400,000 documents and came up with a very different angle:

"Iraq war logs: US turned over captives to Iraqi torture squads"

The truth is not going to be concealed anymore. There will be a Wikileaks or someone will leak information and it will escape. Again, it takes only one successful leak out of 100 or 1000 tries to bring the truth to people. The Second Law of Thermodynamics assures that the truth will reach people and that opinions and the consent of the governed will change quickly compared to decades and centuries required in the old days.

The solution to terrorism isn't to stop the terrorists. That is impossible. The solution is to stop trying to inflict force on other people. Then these folks will stop their terrorism. Ultimately this is what will occur. The terrorists will wear down support in places like the US for draconian government control. And the economics of these wars will force the hand of the government to stop the cause of terrorism.

And that will be the end of any need for a "war" on terrorism.


2974 flags on display one for each soldier killed
"No Skateboarding"
Woman with cat at checkpoint
Founder of Wikileaks Julian Assange and Bradley Manning

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October 16, 2010

Why are they so wealthy on Wall Street?

What causes vast differences in wealth between rich and middle class people? And what should be done about it? My article today answers these questions so fasten your seat belts and prepare to have your world utterly changed by the time you finish reading.

Wealth distribution in the United States is vastly unfair if you look at the numbers. According to Who Rules America, Prof. William Domhoff of the University of California at Santa Cruz:

The Wealth Distribution

In the United States, wealth is highly concentrated in a relatively few hands. As of 2007, the top 1% of households (the upper class) owned 34.6% of all privately held wealth, and the next 19% (the managerial, professional, and small business stratum) had 50.5%, which means that just 20% of the people owned a remarkable 85%, leaving only 15% of the wealth for the bottom 80% (wage and salary workers). In terms of financial wealth (total net worth minus the value of one's home), the top 1% of households had an even greater share: 42.7%. Table 1 and Figure 1 present further details drawn from the careful work of economist Edward N. Wolff at New York University (2010).

Table 1: Distribution of net worth and financial wealth in the United States, 1983-2007
Total Net Worth
Top 1 percent Next 19 percent Bottom 80 percent
1983 33.8% 47.5% 18.7%
1989 37.4% 46.2% 16.5%
1992 37.2% 46.6% 16.2%
1995 38.5% 45.4% 16.1%
1998 38.1% 45.3% 16.6%
2001 33.4% 51.0% 15.6%
2004 34.3% 50.3% 15.3%
2007 34.6% 50.5% 15.0%
Financial Wealth
Top 1 percent Next 19 percent Bottom 80 percent
1983 42.9% 48.4% 8.7%
1989 46.9% 46.5% 6.6%
1992 45.6% 46.7% 7.7%
1995 47.2% 45.9% 7.0%
1998 47.3% 43.6% 9.1%
2001 39.7% 51.5% 8.7%
2004 42.2% 50.3% 7.5%
2007 42.7% 50.3% 7.0%

So let's assume the bottom line is that income distribution is vastly unequal in the US. Indeed, the top 1% control about a third of all the wealth, and 20% or so control 80% or so of the wealth.

Now that we have that out of the way, the questions are:

1. Why is this so?

2. What should be done about it?

Americans want to be more like Sweden, do they?

In the interests of being interesting, I am going to discuss what Americans think should be done about it first…then we'll circle back to the root cause of the inequality in the first place.

Paul Kedrosky called attention to a poll of Americans on the subject of what should be done about it, a study by one of my favorite scientists, Dan Ariely and Michael Norton.

First, respondents dramatically underestimated the current level of wealth inequality. Second, respondents constructed ideal wealth distributions that were far more equitable than even their erroneously low estimates of the actual distribution. Most important from a policy perspective, we observed a surprising level of consensus: All demographic groups – even those not usually associated with wealth redistribution such as Republicans and the wealthy – desired a more equal distribution of wealth than the status quo.[emphasis mine]

The conclusion is that Americans want to be more "like Sweden". Sweden's wealthy own more assets than its middle class or poor, but nothing like the inequality of the United States.

I have to add here that I think the huge inequality is very unfair and wrong and goes across not just what happens in the US but also between the US and other countries.

People are surprised that something like 200 years ago, before the Industrial Revolution really got going, there wasn't a huge wealth difference between India and Great Britain, or India and the United States.

The "Third World" as it was called, was not in any significant way vastly poorer than the "First World" countries. If you went into a typical middle class house in either India or England, you would find the same dirt floors, the same low grade food, the same hand to mouth existence.

Nowadays, there is a vast income and asset difference of course between countries such as China or India, and the United States, Japan, England, France, etc.

So there are huge income inequalities in the world, both within a single country such as the US, and between countries.

What can be done about it? Not much unless you understand the causes. We could have class warfare and through a "democratic" process we could have the large middle and poor classes vote to confiscate wealth from the rich. But that will never happen. The rich are in power and will never allow it.

And even if they did allow it, it would bring everyone down because it would be the ultimate violation of private property and the rules of contract. We already have enough disrespect for the tenuous rule of law. We don't need class warfare and the precedent of even more seizing of property, whether it's in the name of "taxes" or not.

So now let's see the causes of the inequality and then the solution will reveal itself.

The cause of income inequality

In the late 1700s, England started the world's first permanent Central Bank, the Bank of England. Its job was to buy debt from the government, and to keep the banks propped up so they could make higher profits.

In 1913, the US Government started the US central bank patterned on the Bank of England. It was called the Federal Reserve system, and was designed to be identical to the Bank of England except for window dressing. The Fed was supposedly a network of banks, and each bank was located in a different metropolitan area. These banks remain but all power has always been with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and remains that way.

For all intents and purposes, the Fed is a single central bank. Its job is now to buy government debt, and keep the nation's bank in monopoly profits.

Before the Fed was created, money meant gold and silver. Now, money is "fiat" meaning it has no backing and is not equivalent in any way to gold or silver. Government creates money out of thin air.

When you borrow money, the bank creates the money to give you. The Fed creates all the money that is demanded by the banks. When the Fed believes more money should be created, it can go into the open market and print money to buy bonds, stocks or even real estate. So far, the Fed has purchased bonds, but there are many who believe the Fed also routinely buys S&P futures and other stocks in an effort to keep the US stock market from crashing or even keep it going up.

When the banks lend, or the Fed buys bonds in the open market, money is created.

Who gets this money? Those who borrow get it. That means those in the FIRE economy. FIRE stands for Finance Insurance and Real Estate.

FIRE economy includes hedge funds, insurance companies, banks, real estate investors. These are the big borrowers of money.

Okay, so now let's see how this works. A hedge fund borrows money from a bank. They borrow, say, a billion dollars. They buy stocks and bonds and real estate. They pay a bonus of 1%, or $10 million, to their executives, managers and employees.

The executive in charge of a hedge fund gets a part of that hundred million dollar bonus not because he is more productive than, say, a train engineer or a welder. But because his firm borrowed the billion dollars and he gets a percentage of that.

There are two economies in the US. One economy is the FIRE economy, and our hedge fund executive is in that. The other economy is the one our welder and  our train engineer are in, which is the Producers and Consumers Economy. I am indebted to Eric Janszen of iTulip for his explanation of the two economies.

The hedge fund exec is very rich. The welder is struggling. And all because one has access to unlimited fiat borrowed cash, while the other does not.

The FIRE economy uses borrowed money in billions, tens of billions and even trillions.

Banks are a fraud - they don't have your money when you want it

The P&C economy uses money in $10 per hour or $25 per hour or $3 per loaf of bread.

We use the same term "dollars" for each investment, expenditure or loan. But the FIRE economy dollars are made up out of thin air, while the P&C dollars are earned $1 at a time, with the government taxing at least $0.45, resulting in the difficult earning of one dollar in order to have a big fifty five cents left over.

Sometimes money leaks from the FIRE economy to the P&C economy. I sold my last piece of real estate in 2005, and instead of reinvesting the capital gains, I bought gold with it. This is rare, though. Most FIRE economy stays in the FIRE economy because people borrow, pyramid the "wealth" through using more and more borrowing, and only take a small percentage off the top. Of course, this small percentage is what makes the 1% own 34% of the wealth in the US.

So in brief, the wealthy are in the FIRE economy and borrow unlimited printed money. They take a small percentage off the top, and are able to use this printed money to buy more and more real estate and shares in companies, real wealth.

The source of the income inequality is printed money. Fiat money. Pure and simple.

Ron Paul says we should abolish the Federal Reserve. I agree because if we do that, we remove the source of all this printed money, and we end the grossly unfair system that allows those with access to printed money to buy up all the assets in the US

Real people get screwed by the banking system

and leave the rest of us poorer and poorer.

This is far more favorable than confiscating the wealth of the rich. Just abolis

h the money printing. Kill the FIRE economy. Make it so there is no more printed money.

And to do that, further to what I've already written about abolishing the Fed, let's abolish banks as we know them today.

How to abolish the banks - we don't need them

Banks take money in via deposits, and lend money out via printed money they create out of thin air. There is no link between deposits and loans, none at all.

Contrast that to real money, real savings. When I deposit money into my brokerage account at Fidelity, Fidelity keeps my money separately in a legal sense from everyone else's. Everyone could deposit money into Fidelity on Monday, and draw it out on Wednesday, and Fidelity in theory would be able to honor their requests to give them their money back.

Banks cannot return deposits if "everyone" withdraws their money. That's the meaning of a bank run — it threatens the bank because the bank, unlike Fidelity, does NOT keep each depositor's money separate. It comingles depositor money and lends it out along with 10 times more money that the bank gets from the Fed (printed money).

We no longer need banks to hold our money. It is a simple matter for the legal monopoly granted to the Fed and the banks to be eliminated. Who would you rather keep your real hard earned money with — a bank that doesn't keep it on hand, or a brokerage that keeps it for you 100% safe?

The role of banks has been to keep money safe and to lend it to worthy enterprises. Nowadays banks lend to those FIRE economy executives and managers who use it to steal yet more wealth from the producers and consumers. Only a small percentage of bank lending is to the job creation machines in the US — the small business. Most lending is to the FIRE economy.

So let's get rid of banks. And use a service that lets you directly find borrowers via the web.

So if you want to invest your money, you can buy stocks, you can buy bonds, or you can direc

tly lend your money to promising individuals or small business. You can pool your money and invest a small amount in a number of good business borrowers, alongside other investors.

Who needs banks anymore? They are a complete and total scam on all of us. We are all of us the victims of the fiat printed money Federal Reserve bank scam. It's time we got smart about it and realized that the banks and the Fed are the reason and source of income inequality. Let's ban the government monopoly on banks and start on the road to real free market capitalism.

photo credits:

bank vault

guy with credit card

bank run

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September 8, 2010

The Gell-Dog's current book recommendations

My friends and acquaintances are always asking me for book recommendations and I have some excellent ones right here.

First, I want to recommend you regularly read fiction. A lot of people think fiction is namby pamby and not what you "should" be reading but I disagree.

First, there are benefits in the form of entertainment and fun.

Second, fiction can bring you to times and places that give you new perspectives.

Third, fiction can help you tell better and more authentic stories in the business we're in, which is marketing our knowledge, real estate, or whatever.

Dean recommended Shantaram, by Gregory David Roberts, and I highly recommend this book. It is based upon real life experiences of a former armed robber who flees to Bombay and lives in the slums there. Thanks Dean! It is a long book but I was disappointed when I finished. It is quite an amazing read in many ways. I really didn't like the narrator, presumably Roberts alter-ego. But that doesn't take anything away from this sweeping epic. I love to learn about India and that is one of the many reasons I couldn't put this book down, and neither will you be able to.

Stone for Danny Fisher, or The Carpetbaggers, both by Harold Robbins. Two separate books. I have to tip my hat to Frank Kern on reviving my interest in Harold Robbins. He did a video about a year ago where he recommended you read people like Harold Robbins. Robbins sold almost a BILLION books and after his death his books still sell. These two are my current favorites. Some of his books are just too trashy although I always manage to finish them. The later ones have very graphic sexual acts so if this isn't your bag then don't read 'em.

Robbins had an eye for cinematic scenes. Everything is acted out, and never explained or narrated. Dense with dialog and action. And his stories are all built around archetypes that we may think we are too sophisticated to appreciate. But that is the reason why you should read them. They will help you tell your story better, I promise!

Now, on to non-fiction.

I have two recommendations today, both are superb and I'll tell you why.

The first is Your Brain At Work, by David Rock.

Rock is I suppose a consultant, but this isn't one of those stoopid "one trick discussed through the whole book just to promote the consultant's business" books. This book explains chapter by chapter how our brains work and how we can live with our hardware better.

This is big, really big. It gives us specific analogies and formulas for concentrating, focusing, working better with others. I mean, it is VERY specific and it will help you throughout your day to do better and feel better, and also when you go home (or leave your office and walk downstairs to the kitchen as I do) it will help you BIGTIME with your family and your friends.

This should be a top book for you to read and absorb this year. It's that important. And I am in the process of reading Rock's previous book on using these ideas as a leader of your company. I'll let you know what I think when I've finished.

Second of my "must read" recommendations in the non-fiction department is 59 Seconds, Think a Little, Change a Lot, by Richard Wiseman.

Wiseman is more of a scientist type. This book is totally centered in real academic studies and research. But each chapter gives you stunningly new ways of looking at life based upon research. Happiness. Persuasion. Motivation. Creativity. Attraction. Relationships.

I find myself going back and re-reading chapters of both of these books. Both are actionable and both will prove very useful. I created a whole course "How to Get Motivated" largely from the Wiseman book (along with Robert Fritz's pioneering work and some of my own material) and you will find so many gems here you won't believe it.

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August 30, 2010

Hyperinflation - will it come? How will it appear?

Hyperinflation, inflation, deflation…will any of it happen in the world today?

I believe that the US dollar is heading towards zero in value. And that will result in a very rapid depreciation of the US dollar and ALL currencies against such stores of value as gold, silver and oil.

Let's see why that is.

The reason people want dollars is that they can make MORE dollars from them.

It's the financial economy that wants dollars.

When and if it becomes evident that the jig is up, that by using and holding dollars you will LOSE dollars, then we enter hyperinflation. The crack-up boom when people holding dollars buy ANYTHING they can to get rid of the dollars.

This is the time of hyperinflation because the dollar denominated price, the nominal price, of tangible stores of value SOARS.

The REAL price of other assets COLLAPSES, although the nominal price might skyrocket.

Real wages FALL.

Real values of shares in businesses FALLS.

Real values of real estate FALLS.

Are we at the point? Of course not.

But as Bernanke has made interest rates near zero, there is less and less of a return from US dollars. So banks would ordinarily use leverage — borrow against US treasurys, use the money to buy more treasuries, and so forth.

I am sure the banks and hedge funds are doing that.

But at some point, bond prices will collapse. Interest rates will soar. Some event, some black swan, will cause it. And then there will be a rapid flight from the US dollar and all currencies, and a rapid flight into tangibles.

That's what we can expect, hyperinflation. It may be this year, next year or in five years, but it will happen.

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March 18, 2010

Why I'm Not Filling Out the Census

Okay, I am filling it out, but only telling the US Government how many folks are in my household.

Nothing more.


Because the US Constitution is the only authority governing the Federal government. And the Constitution only says they can ask for this basic information, for purposes of apportioning representation.

They cannot ask if I am Negro (really, that's on the form — look at it) or American Indian (again, it's on the form). I do not have to answer these questions.

I am Jewish and I recall that the US government herded Japanese Americans in the West Coast into prison camps during World War II. These were citizens of the United States. How did the US Government know whose address to go to, and who to round up?

In 2004, the US Government was forced to reveal that they use the Census to reveal who is an Arab American, and who to place in their "anti terrorist" targets.

So this year I will do what is constitutional and answer only the most basic question that i am required to under the Constitution.

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February 22, 2010

The Free Lie

Since I live close to Washington DC downtown area, Naomi and I often go to the museums. What we love about this city is that you can go into many museums such as the Smithsonian museums and nary a charge to get in.

So it's free, right?

Well, the costs of the exhibits, the staff, the building maintenance…none of this is free.

So free is a lie.

Government is all based upon what I call the Free Lie.

And now that local and state government spending is crimped, they are resorting to user fee as in Tracy California:

Tracy residents will now have to pay every time they call 9-1-1 for a medical emergency.

But there are a couple of options. Residents can pay a $48 voluntary fee for the year which allows them to call 9-1-1 as many times as necessary.

Or, there's the option of not signing up for the annual fee. Instead, they will be charged $300 if they make a call for help.

"A $300 fee and you don't even want to be thinking about that when somebody is in need of assistance," said Tracy resident Greg Bidlack.

When you have to pay to pick up the phone to 911, then all of a sudden, you have to wonder, am I getting what I am paying for?

Government services are often a monopoly. Years ago, when I was little, there were ambulance companies and hospitals that responded to emergencies. There was no 9-1-1 at all. There was no monopoly on first responders when it came to health care.

Now, we are quickly entering a period where the monopolies that provide these services are charging. And the charges are outlandish compared to what a private competitor would charge. Since there have been no private competitors, when the cost of the service was "free" nobody cared. Now everyone cares.

All of government is based upon the free lie. It's free because you, the recipient of the service, do not have to pay. The fact is someone else who is not consuming the service is paying, and they have no say in the service delivery or costs as they are taxpayers without a choice.

I am excited about user fees because I see the Free Lie as being revealed. And more and more government "services" will be done by private competitors.

An example is where I live. We have private trash collection. They come three times a week, take anything away, and charge a reasonable amount on the quarterly bill. Where I used to live in the County, they came once per week, were not friendly, and would leave things a mess or not take all our trash. What a difference. When the County threatened to take over the private collection in our area, the residents rebelled and the County backed off.

When people get a chance to make their own choices, and when the Free Lie is exposed, we will begin to see much cheaper services and higher value services and we will stop getting things that we don't want to pay for at all.

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December 25, 2009

Why federal health care bills are wrong

There are only a few enumerated rights of the federal government and the 10th amendment reads:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

The only powers that the federal government has to regulate individuals and states is the commerce clause, "To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes;" aside from some specific powers such as patent and trademarks.

If I want to choose doctor A, or insurance company B, these are my choices that fall if anything under state regulation and not federal.

This ENTIRE idea is unconstitutional, quite clearly.

We are NOT a nation of laws. The federal government increases its powers and there is NO regulator on it. This is EXACTLY what the Founders feared most and why they did NOT make this country a democratic socialist republic as it is today.

This is one of the many reasons I oppose the health care bills and all federal regulation of individual health care.

As a practical matter with this bill, it will lead to a one payer system and therefore remove all choice from the system that is in it now.

This is because anyone can get coverage under this bill. It will benefit people NOT to pay for coverage until they really need it. Then they can get it at a relatively low price. For this reason, insurance company profits will become thin to non-existent as they will be paying high prices for care for people who they MUST insure, people who are sick or injured.

The government will have to step in and provide a "last resort" insurance system, and that will put the private carriers out of the health insurance business altogether, or else will make all of them fall into line with a single type of health care, which is essentially the same thing.

Remember there are two ways to get people to act. One is by coercion and compulsion. The other is by choice. If two people reach an agreement freely, then they are both better off as a result. That is the way the free market works. If two people do not reach an agreement, but instead one uses "political" means to tell the other what to do, then the other person who is the victim of the political process is the loser.

Regardless of whether there is a democratic process or not, political means involve coercion and compulsion. Only the free market makes everyone into a winner.

For those three reasons, unconstitutionality, the flawed bill that will lead to a single payer system, and the coercive nature of it, I am completely against government monopoly health care.

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August 16, 2009

Mastering The Mental Thing That Cannot Be Mastered

The core problem we have is that our mind makes us feel miserable much of the time.

If things are going well, that is an experience that will create a thought in the mind:

"This isn't going to continue…if only this could be forever"

That is only an example.

If things go poorly, the mind thinks:

"Ugh, things are bad. I must be a bad person. Things will never get better."

So between fear of losing a good experience, and fear when we have a bad experience, the mind makes us feel miserable much of the time.

So how can we overcome the core problem of our minds making us miserable?

The key is to see that we are not our minds. That we are an organism containing everything including our minds.

Here is how you do this. Ask yourself:

Am I my body?

The answer is, are you still your body when you get a haircut? What if you lost a limb?

After investigating this I found I was not my body. I understand and get that completely.

Next up, and thanks to John Greven for helping me with this in his wonderful book Oneness and his podcasts:

Am I my thoughts?

This is easy to answer. If I am sleeping, I don't think (if I am not dreaming) and I am still me. There are spaces between thoughts, and I am still me in those spaces. Sometimes my thinking ends altogether, I "lose myself" watching television for instance. I am still me. So my answer is, "no, I am not my thoughts."

Try this inquiry for yourself.

Third question:

"Am I inside my body or my thoughts?"

This is a tougher question. I have a thought that I am inside my body. I have a mental image that I am somewhere up in my head. In fact that is just another thought. I have thought about this a lot. And you should too. I have concluded that I cannot possibly be inside my body or my mind. See Can You Control Your Thoughts?

Investigate for yourself.

So now, here is what happens. Every day if I am worried about something, I ask "WHO is worried?" and I try to find myself. I ask the three questions above and try earnestly to answer them.

My mind is losing interest because "it" realizes that it does not exist as such. There is only awareness that I am, and in that awareness is contained everything in "the world" as far as I am concerned.

As I have realized this truth, I have begun to feel less concerned about everything. I still see "me" going through the motions, but I don't seem to be as affected by the outcomes. That feels much better but it is a side effect, incidental to the whole game. If you try to inquire in order to feel better, that attachment to a desired result gets you in trouble. Ultimately you just investigate this stuff to see the truth of the matter, for the love of truth only.

The practice I am describing has to be done over and over but it does sink in. And if you conclude as I do that there is no separate "me", then you too should find yourself worrying less and less. Life is much nicer this way and much easier.

If you are doing reduced breathing as I have described in Breathing Fight or Flight, you will find it easier and you will raise your carbon dioxide levels, which is a good thing. Your diaphragm will be more relaxed all through the day and you will find everything comes easier.

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June 21, 2009

Can a book change your life?

For the past 6 or so years I've been investigating questions about my life, with the aim of lessening the pain of life.

The pain that I feel is like this: things go well in a material sense, and I fear loss. I fear that what is good now will go away. So that is painful. When things are going badly, I constantly fear the future and fear that things will never get better and may get worse.

That has led me to reading James Braha's Living Reality and it seems to have changed my life. Hat tip to Dean for recommending this book.

The book is about "non duality", and that phrase sounds quite boring.

It is obvious to me now that I don't exist as a separate entity. That has always been something I "knew" but now I "get it." What I mean is that I am just some matter and energy, and so are you,  and so is my dog Spencer. And I am part of everything, not separate at all.

I have a mind that likes to believe it is separate. That I suppose is a survival mechanism but it is not true. I am not separate.

And in fact, I exist apart from my mind. There is much more to me than mind. I exist as just "beingness", which I can often detect now in moments when I am awake but my mind is quiet.

Further, I am "lived", I am "done", I am "thought." None of this is anything I have something to do with. That is obvious now to me too. And you don't have a choice in how you think or what you do, and neither does anyone else.

And, there is only the hear, only the now, that is all that exists. There are traces of the past in the present, in the form of memories or tape recordings and whatnot, but there is only the here and now. There is no future and no past.

Habits die hard and this new insight is now very clear to me, but that doesn't mean that I won't often find my thoughts falling into the old ways of thinking. But I have found that I am very unconcerned about stuff now. I still do what I was doing yesterday, but it just doesn't seem to make any difference. In a good way.

If any of this makes sense, let me know.

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June 20, 2009

Breathing and Fight or Flight

When we were hunter gatherers and a wild animal threatened us, we had to quickly mobilize:

  • quick spurt of blood sugar (glycogen pouring into the blood stream)
  • lots of quick air (hyperventilation)
  • adrenaline to power the muscles
  • quickened heartbeat

In essence: jolt to the nervous system so we don't think and deliberate, we ACT NOW

This is the Fight or Flight thing. And we are in it ALL THE TIME when we hyperventilate.

When we raise our CO2 levels, our entire nervous system is changed and altered. Our nerves become less jangled and our thinking becomes more
rational because we don't have that "ACT NOW" stupidity.

Also, our blood sugar normalizes. When we do pauses and VSB we notice that we aren't as ravenously hungry. Fasting becomes a bit easier. Our
blood sugar regulates itself better. Type 2, adult onset diabetes, can right itself.

By the way, when your CO2 goes up, you may experience weird mental stuff, as a cleansing reaction. For me it felt like I was on a low does
of psychoactive drugs for about a month or so. It came and went. There were periods of anger when I watched myself lash out and wondered at it,
like seeing someone else lose their temper for no reason. It wasn't me doing this. It wasn't out of control or anything, but it was curious.

That all has passed. My Buteyko method teacher, the wonderful Christopher Drake, says it is quite common as our nervous
systems and thoughts rearrange themselves and I think it is due to the end of this Fight or Flight all the time.

In case you missed what I am saying here: we are, most of us, running away from the lion all our waking hours. This takes its toll. We can right that by first righting our breathing. The rest follows as day follows night.

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