April 2015 Mental Arts Newsletter
Welcome to our April edition of the Mental Arts Newsletter…There has been much in the news recently concerning discrimination of women, of the LGBT community and race. It’s not that it hasn’t always been there, however it seems that this issue has come to the forefront. What we have seen recently with the “religious freedom” law that was passed in Indiana is lawmakers, businesses, and many others have been taking a stand and opposing the narrow-minded viewpoint of discrimination. We are a global community and as such I think we have come to a place in time where the prejudices and inequalities that have been perpetuated for decades are being exposed and a new era ushered in. However that requires that we as a global community stand together. Leonardo DaVinci wrote: “He who does not oppose evil, commands it to be done”.
by Wendy Johnson, Delta Floats, Lansing, MI/www.deltafloats.com
After all the movement of the last century towards equality for all people, it seems rather sad that we need anti-discrimination laws in this day and age. Why would we want to move backwards? This seems especially ironic in the land of “one nation under god…” that Indiana would hide discrimination in a religious freedom law. A law that fuels separatism, an “us versus them” and even more to the point, a “we are better than” structure in our society. This creates a division that can only cause destruction, not growth.
There are different quotes in the news like “they (LGBT) keep asking for more”. This seems pretty arrogant after the experiences during the equal rights movement and the woman’s rights movement. A better question as to why should anyone have to ask for or fight to be treated like a human being? This just does not make sense unless individuals need to feel superior to others is far more important than a society that creates and grows together. What does treating everyone as an equal cost anyone?
Intro to the Art of Rewriting for Business: Post Class Observations
by Ken Kaplan, Quantum Floats/New Jersey
How long does it take to bring meaningful change to a business? I used to think that the process was measured in years, but in the span of only a month I’ve witnessed one of my law partners transform from a wishy-washy people pleasing “friend to all” into a manager who Communicates clearly and effectively. In that same time, I witnessed another one of my partner’s transform from a person who routinely took on more than he could handle into a person who prioritizes his daily tasks and sees them through to completion. I have also seen another partner come face to face with how her rebelliousness is affecting her ability to get her work done and, as a result, her future at the firm.
These insights and changes are the result of the Introduction to the Art of Rewriting class that my partners and I attended last month. The experience had a profound impact on our business. We did what most businesses never have the opportunity to do. Working with a Mental Arts facilitator, each of us experienced how we have thought patterns that originate below the level of consciousness, which run like computer programs that affect our behavior and how we Communicate. What we discovered is that our bottom line is very much affected by these thought patterns. It has only been a month since we took the class and we are still processing the experience. Even so, the changes are recognizable in the way we work and in the way we Communicate amongst ourselves and with our clients.
Why I Float
By Tommy Baker, client of iFloat, Westport, CT/www.ifloatct.com
Ever since I was in College, I started asking myself some deeper questions that few, if any of my peers were willing to ask, or acknowledge and much less explore. Between the long days of studying and the long nights of socializing, I kept going back to these questions and found a longing to answer them.
They were: “Who am I?” and “What am I doing here?”
I sought every tool and method to discover the answer to these questions. For me, fitness became my spiritual path: I figured if I pushed hard enough physically, I would find a place where all the chaos and noise would shut off and I could truly find out who I was.
It worked for a while, but I still couldn’t answer those questions. I spent the following years, including now, devouring spiritual texts and learning the universal laws about human behavior and potential.
Meditation came up for me a lot, and I remember going to a retreat and being the youngest person by at least 30 years. I found it interesting that people around me had waited so long to slow down and I was told to cherish the desire to go within at such a young age. I took their advice and made sure this would not be a one-off event, but that I would explore meditation for years to come.
Floating to me is the ultimate form of going within. At the end of the day, it is about spending time with the most important person in my life: me. All the spiritual texts I ever read, from all traditions, always emphasized the importance of loving each part of yourself: the parts you’re praised about, and the ones you don’t let other’s see.
Floating allows me to be comfortable with exactly who I am and explore deep questions. As a society, I believe we create stimulus, distraction and drama in the form of stories created from unexplored thoughts to keep us from answering the timeless questions and facing our reality on a daily basis.
As an athlete, entrepreneur and someone who absolutely loves to “hustle” – floating allows me to create some much needed space. In this space, there is an environment of deep reflection, learning and introspection which allows me to better serve myself and my clients in the short and long term, connect me to my ultimate purpose and allows me to live a more fulfilled life.
An Alternative View
by John Worthington, author of “The Office of Shaman”
In late March of this year, a man attacked TSA employees in a major US airport. The man was reportedly carrying Molotov cocktails. He attacked agents with chemicals and a large knife. He was eventually shot just before he caused severe bodily harm to an unarmed agent. The would be terrorist was reported to be deeply religious. I’m sure you’ve heard of this terrorist. He was a Jehovah’s Witness named Richard White.
That’s right he was not a Muslim. He was a Christian. Within a few hours it was determined by the local police that he was “mentally disturbed.” No evidence of “mental disturbance” was presented, but the media did parrot what they were instructed to parrot. Mr. White was not even portrayed as a terrorist. His acts were terrorist acts, however. He did not know the TSA agents he attacked and if he did, no connection was presented by the police. If Mr. White had been named Fissel Abyadah he would have been labeled a terrorist and there would have been investigations into his religious and international connections.
However, his name was Richard White and his crime was swept under the rug as the man “having mental health issues.” He was not considered as a terrorist. But then he is a Christian not a Muslim.
In today’s world of the Global Village it is probably naive to consider this type of neo-isolationism as being a valid political stance to address our position in world affairs. The United States has a long history of isolationism which has been present in her politics from the beginning. George Washington said in his farewell address, “The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible.” The wisdom of this statement seems to be born out with the recent visit of the Israeli prime minister to the US Congress with the apparent purpose of furthering his political domination of his country’s political landscape. Bad form at best.
Yet we continue to meddle in Mideast and Latin American politics with disastrous results. Our war on drugs has cost all of Latin America a dreadful toll on human life and political weakness. Our meddling in Iraq and Afghanistan has, by all accounts, resulted in a macabre and morally bankrupt political entity known as ISIS. The strange thing is that this entity seems to be searching for a political structure that will address the needs of some part of the Arabic community. One has to remember that 1000 years before the Wright Brothers that Abbas ibn Firnas created a flying machine and flew it at age 70. He jumped from a mountain, achieved height and stayed aloft for 10 minutes but crashed on landing because, as he rightly deduced, he had not provided his machine with a tail so it would stall.
In short, the world is much older than we American neo-isolationists seem to realize. And while we may turn a blind eye to our home grown terrorists, that does not mean that there can not be cultures which have grown and flourished long before the declaration of Independence was ever conceived. Nor does it mean that those cultures have no value simply because they are based in democracy. It just could be that the desire to return to greatness in the Arabic world is well founded even if it is poorly represented. It could even be true that the more nearly Indigenous cultures of Latin America hold much for us to consider and learn.
Floating + Art + Helping Others
iFloat, Westport, CT/www.ifloatct.com
On Saturday, March 21, iFloat of Westport, CT had the art show for the iFloat artist program at FTS Gallery in Stratford, CT. The artist program was started three years ago. Artists participating in the program receive three complimentary sessions in exchange for a work of art inspired by their float experiences. The art show had thirty-eight pieces (mostly paintings) in the show. The owners of the art gallery were pleased with the quality of the art. “It came together nicely,” said Mike Mandacini, one of the employees of FTS Gallery. The artwork was collected over time.
Over the last three years iFloat staff had numerous discussions with local people about how to put on an art show. FTS Gallery finally stepped up and said, “We will help you do it.” Over one hundred and fifty people attended the art opening. They enjoyed seeing the art and enjoying good food, drinks, and conversation. Most of the art sold on the first night and all proceeds are being donated to A Better Chance of Westport, a local organization that brings disadvantaged youth to Westport for four years so they can attend Westport’s prestigious Staples High School. The art show is a powerful demonstration of how the enhanced creativity from floating can be used to create beautiful art and help others.
by John Worthington, author of “The Office of Shaman”
Defeating self-importance is work. As Castaneda said, “Self-importance is our greatest enemy. Think about it – what weakens us is feeling offended by the deeds and misdeeds of our fellow men.” Self-importance affects us by keeping us from achieving raises, getting along with mom, telling those we love that we love them and on and on.
Now this is the kind of problem that arises in the day to day life of the self important. Imagine, if you will, the problems brought about by a self important Float Facilitator. Would such a Facilitator live in a place where he or she could suspend moral judgements for those requiring, more than anything else, acceptance for errors they’ve committed during the course of their lives? Would such a Facilitator recognize the things that a business owner has done and must continue to do to pay employees and yet insist that those same employees work so as to earn the money that will pay them? What a dilemma for an employer and what a foreign concept for the self-important Float Facilitator.
The good news is because the self-important Float Facilitator cannot see the world inhabited by businesses and professions and training and discipline and education, that person will all too soon burn through a cadre of friends and family and will have trouble keeping his business viable in terms of income. I don’t know if this is true or not but I’ve heard that it’s best to learn from mistakes. Other people’s mistakes. Those of us who have come together to form Mental Arts have certainly made our share of mistakes. But we are not so self-important that we won’t share what we’ve learned from our myriad of mistakes.
Gays Topple the Belief that “Men Rule”
by David Conneely, iFloat, Westport, CT /www.ifloatct.com
When Indiana’s Governor Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act he conflicted with a fundamental tenet of the United States Government: the separation of Church and State. The reason the U.S. Government has the separation woven into the fabric of its constitution and laws, is because religious views can be misused to oppress other people. More importantly, the views can be spoken about as though they are real even though there is no evidence to support the view. State law, however, requires evidence. There is no evidence, for example, that gay people are “bad” for society. In fact, many prominent business people and thinkers, such as Tim Cook of Apple and David Geffen of Dreamworks SKG, have been influential in the shaping of this country through industries such as technology and entertainment, respectively.
Since there is no evidence to support discriminating against LGBT people is good for the U.S. then why are politicians creating such legislation? Are they using gay people as a pawn to polarize groups and win votes or do they actually believe in what they are doing? One of the beliefs that causes problems in the U.S. and the World is the belief that “men rule.” That belief shows itself in pay disparity between men and women and also in sexual practices. Social scientists have hypothesized that the idea of a man having sex with another man threatens the belief that “men rule” because it is an equal playing field in a male-male relationship. In a male-male relationship there is no “single” person who dominates or penetrates, and that makes the dynamic imbalanced to those who believe “men rule.” Perhaps it would be a better use of time if Governor Pence and his ilk put resources into enacting and applying legislation to re-educate people that “men work with” instead of “men rule.” Doing so would reduce domestic violence, rape, and other forms of violence thrust upon women (and LGBT people) in Indiana and throughout the country. Doing so would also improve business and the health and well being of all citizens.
The Power of Description
by Terri Stangl, Great Lakes Flotation/Swartz Creek, MI/www.greatlakesflotation.com
Recently the internet was buzzing with pictures and debates about the color of the “blue and black” dress. Among the stories, I found an interesting discussion of the history of human perception of the color blue. Kevin Loria from Business Insider Australia investigated the history of blue and his research was featured on a recent Radiolab show. Loria did not find a word to describe the color blue in any known language until only 4500 years ago. He wondered whether the lack of a word limited people’s ability to perceive or distinguish ‘blue’. A psychologist who was interested in the same question studied the Himba tribe in Namibia. They have no word for blue. He found that the Himba had great difficulty separating blue from green squares. As forest hunters, however, they could distinguish between minor variations of green better than most westerners.
This research raises an interesting question for anyone who wants to more accurately observe the workings of the human mind. Does the lack of a description of an event in the mind limit one’s ability to “see” it? Dr. John Lilly’s book based on his research with the float tank, Programming and Metaprogramming in the Human Biocomputer, lays out a detailed description of processes in the brain that happen all the time but for which we have lacked a workable language. One consequence of having no language to describe something, is that we have no way to time bind – to convert our shared experiences with that thing into knowledge. I can have the experience of blue light waves in my eyes for my entire life but unless someone else has a description that helps me notice and define that experience, I can’t verify with them that I too am having the same experience. For the brain to know anything, it requires an authoritative source “look! A blue square!”, an experience (can you show me the blue one?) and third party substantiation (“yes, that’s the blue one”). This is how everyone learns, starting from the time we first have language.
The brain was once referred to as a “black box” because what happened inside it seemed so mysterious and indescribable. With the development of computers in the last century we have a way of describing many of our own mental processes. This is an unprecedented opportunity for our generation. Marcus Bach wrote that “each person is involved in becoming that thing that his subconscious mind wills him to be…the only way to change our destiny is to change the aims of our subconscious.” Lilly sets out a description of the mind that is a powerful and practical way of observing and adjusting the aims of our subconscious. Anyone has the ability to learn and use his descriptions of thought as a tool to “see” many features of how their own mind works and to make adjustments if desired. The question is, who will dare to do so? Will you?
Nigeria and Change
by Patrick Paulo, Art of Floating, Bloomsburg, PA/www.artoffloating.com
The people of Nigeria took part in a historic presidential election this past March. For the first time since Nigeria’s independence, an incumbent president lost an election marking the first democratic change in power. This change in power brings hope that the new president-elect, Muhammad Buhari, will root out the corrupt officials and reform political practices to provide better living conditions for its people. There are hopes that this will produce a domino effect for surrounding countries.
Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, said “The only thing that is constant is change.” Fifteen million voters came to the polls to make their voices heard in a country known for its persistent political corruption. In other words, fifteen million of Nigeria’s people wanted change.
One thing we should pay attention to is that change is always possible even when it’s unprecedented. The people of Nigeria demanded that they will not be defined by their past and that their future has yet to be written.
Flatland – Revisited
John Worthington, author of “The Office of Shaman”
Have you ever considered how divided “if/then” thinking actually is? To think in if/then terms is rather like the famous double slot experiment. If we observe what goes through the slots or which slot a particle goes through then what we observe acts in an if/then manner. However if we do not observe what or where something goes through the slots then what we do not observe acts as a wave of probabilities.
In other words if we were to consider thought as though it were a quantum event, then if we were to incessantly self edit our actions and our words, then we reduce what we can see or perhaps consider to an either/or set of possibilities. One or the other. This thought option is not only extremely limiting but ever so boring.
However when we think, act, and move on, we guarantee our thoughts and actions behave in the future we’ve just built as undefined, but determined wave of probabilities. In other words we would have set in motion a directed wave of probable outcomes that might cover a wider range of beneficial outcomes than a simple and boringly predictable either/or set of limits could possibly allow.
Find Out Who Your Friends Are…
by Elise Lenhart, Quantum Floats, NJ
The candle that burns all hours of the day.
The light that always shines, willing to guide you on your way.
The tunnel dark and mysterious…
The answers in the depths…
Do you know who your friends are?
The vengeance, the remorse, the battle…
Never meaning anything at all.
Only past effecting present…
Present effecting future…
You know who your friends are.
You know where you are going.
You always have.
You always will.
Burdens of the morning.
Silence of the night.
Days filled with mystery.
Do you know when to fight?
You find out who you friends are…
The immovable anchors…
Hard to come by, yet so clear.
You know… You really do know…
All hours of the day, your friends will always stay.
Great Lakes Flotation hosts Holistic Health and Energy Expo
On March 24, 2015 Great Lakes Flotation of Swartz Creek, MI, hosted the Holistic Health and Energy Expo & Open House. The event featured several wellness practitioners, including therapists from NTouch Massage, Jon Potrykus of Qi Acupuncture, both of whom offer services in the same building as Great Lakes Flotation. They were joined by Dr. David Ewing, DDS whose company, The Quantum Difference, offers a unique line of clothing and products for pain relief and enhanced athletic performance. Attendees learned about different ways to increase the flow of energy in their bodies, enjoyed healthy refreshments and great conversation, as well as a little live music from Jon and Great Lakes Flotation owner, Terri Stangl.
An Energetic Fact Ken Kaplan, Quantum Floats, NJ
Most people have never heard of an Assemblage Point, yet we all have one. You could think of an Assemblage Point like a point of view that affects how we perceive and interact with the world. You could also think of it as a location on our energetic body from which we focus our attention to perceive the world. The thing about Assemblage Points is that while everyone has one, most people hold on to theirs with a death grip as if it is an unshakable part of their individuality. The folly of doing so becomes evident when you consider that the only way to examine your Assemblage Point is to change it. Like blinders on a horse, holding on to a single Assemblage Point limits your ability to see the world. What if you knew that the Assemblage Point you hold onto so tightly is not only one of an infinite number, but is NOT even aligned with the external reality? That would give you a distorted view of reality. For example, if your Assemblage Point, like that of most people, views the universe as being made up of particles, then by extension the things you see are all separate. That would mean, of course, that you and I share no connection and that my actions are of no consequence to you. That view is not only distorted, but it gave birth to most of our institutions including our churches and our perpetually deadlocked political system.
Quantum physics demonstrates that we are all connected energetically. Just because the is the prevailing view in America sees the universe as made up of unconnected particles does not mean that it is accurate or even sane. That the universe is comprised of energy is not a theory. It’s an energetic fact like gravity. You’d call me crazy if my point of view ignored gravity, but viewing the world as being comprised of particles is equally insane. The polish-american scholar, Alfred Korzybski, recognized that having a distorted perspective is a form of insanity. Korzbyski recognized that if our view of the world is distorted, our entire body will function from that distorted perspective including our thinking, our central nervous system and how we relate to other people. As Korzbyski put it, “ignorance about the world and ourselves, as revealed by science, is bound to introduce delusional factors…”
You’re free, of course, to hold onto your unshakable point of view, but if you don’t take the time to try on another one, you can’t be confident in your own sanity.