Blog: Mental Arts

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June 2015 Mental Arts Newsletter


Welcome to the June Edition of the Mental Arts Newsletter

“In a relationship”, we hear this phrase used a lot, maybe even daily. We see it when someone updates their status on Facebook or some other social media, when talking with friends or family or reading the latest article. In our society that phrase has come to mean a “romantic relationship” that someone now has a “significant other”. I think what we are missing though, is we are “in a relationship” with everyone who is in our lives…family, friends, colleagues, clients, ect. And from that viewpoint a question to ask ourselves is… are we building relationship, are we maintaining relationship, are we seeking out relationship? In this day and age, I think it is time to redefine how we think about “in a relationship”, because really, if we stop for a moment and consider, it IS all we have.

“Sometimes our light goes out, but is blown again into flame by an encounter with another human being. Each of us owes the deepest of thanks to those who have rekindled this inner light.” ~ Albert Schweitzer

Thoughts on Agreement

by John Worthington, author of  “The Office of Shaman”

You know… anyone can pick a disagreement. Disagreement requires no skill at all. But Agreement, on the other hand, is a skill set which requires a deep and thorough understanding of not only one’s own programming but that of other people as well.

It appears that the biggest scary concerning picking Agreement at any level has to do with the nature of an Agreement itself. To pick an Agreement must necessarily entail not knowing, indeed not being able to know, what that Agreement might require of the Agreement holders.

Lilly said, “Hidden from one’s self is a covert set of beliefs that control one’s thinking, one’s actions, and one’s feelings. The covert set of hidden beliefs is the limiting set of beliefs to be transcended. To transcend one’s limiting set, one establishes an open-ended set of beliefs about the unknown.”

It seems that when we pick Agreement we set in motion a set of covert beliefs, which control our thinking, actions and feelings. To many people the covert nature of the Agreement in their thinking machinery is just frightening. Castaneda said ‘that man is at his best in the face of the unknown”. I don’t know about anyone else but I like being at my best.

What’s That Under Your Carpet?

by Ken Kaplan, Quantum Floats, Bedminster, NJ

While at a business networking event last month I ran into an accountant who I have known for a number of years. I’ll call him Alex. Alex works for a mid-sized accounting firm. I asked Alex about his business. He said they’re really busy and are looking to hire. Sounds great so far, right? Not so fast.

When I asked Alex what’s driving the need to expand he said that they lost several accountants over the lastHandsome businessman sweeping floor looking worried year. In fact, he said the accounting firm has been a revolving door with many employees staying only a short time. When I asked him why employees keep leaving the firm, he paused as if he was entering a taboo area that businesses are not supposed to discuss. He lowered his voice and took a step closer as if he was about to tell me a secret. He said that he and his partners had not taken the time to get together and figure out why employees keep leaving, but he said he thinks it has to do with the fact that the two most senior partners, both in their late seventies, have not communicated with the other members of the company about their plans for the future. Alex said he and some of the other employees at his firm have been wondering what the two senior partners are planning in terms of retirement and transition of leadership. I asked Alex if the attrition in the ranks was due to this lack of communication. He said “no” but then I asked him if he has taken the time himself to discuss these issues with the senior partners. His voice got even lower and he confided to me that he hadn’t. Alex’s company does what a lot of businesses do. Instead of addressing issues that go to the heart of the business, they sweep them under the rug and hope that the issue will resolve itself.

Issues don’t get resolved by turning a blind eye. They get resolved when the business takes time to make sure everyone understands what they are doing, what they are supposed to be doing and what the company is trying to do. They get resolved when the employees get along with each other. They get resolved when communication is the rule, not the exception. In Alex’s case and in all cases, resolution is possible when employees make adjustments within themselves and in the way they relate to others.  Businesses may choose not to go to these places, but they do so at their own peril.

What Irish Americans Can Learn from the Irish

by David Conneely, iFloat, Westport, CT/

Ireland recently “snuffed” the United States by joining over eighteen countries that have legalized gay marriage. I am sure there are some Irish Americans who were surprised by the announcement, such as the organizers of the New York City Saint Patrick’s Day parade, which has still only this year allowed one LGBT group to march in the event. Irish Americans would do well to follow suit of the Irish and encourage their peers and politicians to increase the rights of all people.

I have often wondered why some Irish Americans, such as the organizers of the New York City Saint Patrick’s Day Parade, are more conservative than most Irish people. Irish Americans sometimes cling on to ideas about what it means to be “Irish” or “IrishScreen Shot 2015-05-30 at 6.47.37 PM American,” and it includes holding on to strict dogma, such as that found in the Catholic Church. As the son of Irish immigrants (from the Gaelic speaking region of the Aran Islands no less), I am aware the Catholic Church is not always highly regarded by Irish people. Most Irish people I know are religious and spiritual but they also remember how priests once ruled the small towns and villages of Ireland (and sometimes to the detriment of the people). My parents often told me stories of how the people feared the priests, and not because the people were doing anything bad. Priests misused their power. One also only has to watch The Magdalene Sisters (2002) and the Philomena (2014) to get a sense of the abuse of the Irish people by the Catholic Church. It is, therefore, no surprise that Ireland does not bow to the Vatican, but instead reinterprets religious views to be in harmony with respecting all people in the country. Irish Americans who may have been in the United States for two,

three, or more generations might look differently on the Church because they have largely been removed by the abuses in Ireland. It is only after people began to learn about the sexual molestation charges in the late 90s in the United States that people in the United States began to seriously question the church. Irish (not Irish Americans) have had to question the Church for much longer and they realize they do not always agree.

For those Irish Americans who wave the Irish flag on Saint Patrick’s Day and who are proud to be “Irish,” it may be time to walk the talk. Gay marriage was overwhelmingly approved in Ireland. It is time for Irish Americans to See into the culture of Ireland and realize it is far more accepting and progressive than they may have ever thought possible. Erin go bragh!

David Conneely at 2014 Float Conference

iFloat, Westport, CT/

David was one of the guest speakers at the 2014 Float Conference in Portland, Oregon last August. Is it really “all good”? Listen to David’s talk about Float Facilitator’s and burn-out…

 NAFTA Revisited

by John Worthington, author of  “The Office of Shaman”

The US Chamber of Commerce states that nearly 6,000,000 US jobs rely on exports to Mexico. At first glance this seems to be a preposterous idea because there certainly has been a loss of low wage manufacturing jobs that have, in fact, gone south. It is also true that the US runs a trade deficit with Mexico. It’s about $54 billion. The deficit with China is $318 billion. So we’ve lost five times as many jobs, by calculating the difference in deficit, to China as we have to Mexico. We do not have a free trade Agreement with China as yet.

There are some sectors of the US manufacturing economy, which have benefited from the trade agreement with Mexico, because

business handshake in front of a globe of the western world isloated on a white background

Mexico will export 1.9 million vehicles this year and most of the parts and materials used to manufacture those vehicles originate in the US. How this works is due to NAFTA trade preference. An engine from Mexico could be combined with a Canadian transmission to build a US car as long as 62.5% of the value comes from within those three countries. Most cars now built in North America have a 75% value added.

Both before and after the NAFTA inauguration the world’s automotive manufacturing countries invested in Mexico’s inefficient automotive industry. They brought in state of the art equipment and trained the Mexican worker to run them. Because of that investment Mexican educational levels have improved.

Because of these advances the Mexican migration to the US has been curtailed and by some accounts it has be halted. The Mexican economy is outgrowing the US economy. The peso/dollar exchange rate has been stabilized. There are more Mexican suppliers as opposed to Japanese or European suppliers. Mexican domestic policy has focused on building a global auto industry.

The gap between the haves and the have nots in Mexico is being filled with that 30% of Mexican’s who have benefited from foreign investment in the country. There are still those in abject poverty in the more rural areas but without those better jobs, Mexico would still be a country of haves, like Carlos Slim who is one of the worlds richest men, and the indigenous people who have turned to drug trafficking to sustain themselves.

So has NAFTA been a success? If we were to suppose that the cessation of just the immigration problem were being solved as a result of NAFTA we’d certainly have to say it has. Besides which it has made Mexico more nearly independent as an economy.

Harmony Class – April 2015

by Brianna Sienkiewicz, client at iFloat, Westport, CT/

For most of my life I never thought I had value, because of what I believed was real I ended up in a violent relationship. The first time I went to Harmony Class I was finally able to stand some place with the man I was engaged to at the time. I was able to break free of that violence, and for the first time I was able to see what it was like to 1. See value in myself, and 2. What it meant to stand
up for myself. It took a few months to process the experience and come to those conclusions, but I knew there was more I needed to learn, so I went to Harmony Class again. This second time it was more about re-adjusting the pervious experience and allowing myself to express kindness for the people around me, but not kindness in the way most Americans think about that word, which is ‘kissing boo-boos’ and tip-toeing around subjects. Most Americans tell each other what they think the other person ‘wants’ to hear instead of what the other person ‘needs’ to hear. In Harmony Class, both times, people showed me that kindness of what I needed to hear, free of judgments, so I could find resolution in myself. If that hadn’t happened, if someone had tip-toed around my feelings, I would still be in that violent relationship having the crap beat out of me. So, by knowing this, the second time around I was able to let that expression through. And by thinking about others, starting to ask questions about the experience we were having, by actually allowing myself to fall into that experience, no matter how uncomfortable, I was able to start to see who I AM. Through the experiences in Harmony Class I was able to get glimpses of where I’m not a tip-toeing type of person. I do have value. I am strong. I am beautiful. I have a voice and things that need to be said. I was given that, ‘square one’, as an artist, as a woman and above all as a human being. As Harriet Tubman wrote: “Always remember you have within you the strength, the patience and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”

What Do You Do?

Patrick Paulo, Art of Floating, Bloomsburg, PA/

What do you do? It’s a simple four-worded question that can bring about an infinite amount of responses. You may have asked or answered this question when meeting new people. It’s an easy way to have someone give you insight on who they think they are and what value they have to society. I teach high school. I’m a veterinarian. I’m an accountant. The list is never-ending. A more interesting follow-up question is, “Do you love what you do?”

I recently had a conversation with a friend who didn’t like his job and thought suffering through the work-week is a normal thing in this society. He claimed that business and pleasure should be separate. This black and white way of thinking is very limiting to one’s happiness. Pablo Picasso said, “Never permit a dichotomy to rule your life, a dichotomy in which you hate what you do so you can have pleasure in your spare time. Look for a situation in which your work will give you as much happiness as your spare time.” Has the advice of one of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century fallen on deaf ears? Perhaps Pablo Picasso wasn’t saying to quit your job and find a way to have your hobbies pay the bills. I think he meant find happiness in what you do.

One way to do that is to realize the value you provide to your customers, clients and co-workers and build on your already-established relationships. Instead of counting the hours until quitting time, find ways to incorporate play into your work schedule and dissolve the dichotomy of business and pleasure. Finding happiness in what you do is the first step to tap dancing your way to work.

Art of Floating Celebrates 2 Year Anniversary

Art of Floating, Bloomsburg, PA/

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On Saturday, May 16th, Art of Floating celebrated their two-year anniversary. Purchased in 2012, Art of Floating opened their doors for business in April of 2013. A dormant building was transformed into a sgroup_Fotorpace filled with relaxation, energy and growth. Art of Floating started with a total of three isolation tanks and now has five tanks to accommodate larger parties. 300 to 500 clients float monthly with the possibility of floating sixty clients per day. Art of Floating continues to welcome local clients daily but are continuously humbled to receive clients from all over including nearby states. Art of Floating strives to be more than “just a business” but a holistic unity of business and community.


The Un-making of the Float Tank

by Terri Stangl, Great Lakes Flotation, Swartz Creek, MI/

When Dr. John Lilly invented the physical isolation tank, he designed it to safely limit the external sensory data available to the human brain. Lilly wanted to find out whether the mind merely reacted to external stimuli or also produced its own stimuli. As Lilly explored the tank space, he found that it was not merely a superb means to relax the body and mind, but an unusually effective environment for observing the workings of programming within one’s own mind.  As he wrote in Programming and Screen Shot 2015-05-30 at 6.47.51 PMMetaprogramming in the Human Biocomputer (1967), “Physical isolation…gives the fullest and most complete experiences of the internal external explorations.”

Within the tank space, one accesses and is more aware of thought beyond the ordinary internal dialogue. We also can observe the deeper levels of programming. Things that are held within the storage of the brain can become observable, and “the way the material is held in the dynamic storage is entirely strange to one’s conscious self.” “One’s basic needs and one’s assumptions about self become evident.” As these workings become observable to consciousness, they can then be examined and modified, as may be desired.

Since this feature is precisely what the tank is designed to do, I wonder, then, why so many recent float tank manufacturers seem determined to design tanks that impede the experiences that make the tank space so unique? Music, videos, colored lights, painted walls, and circulating water all generate sensory data that takes up brain circuitry. Such stimuli also maintain faster brain waves, which are little different than the states of consciousness that most people experience outside of the tank.

I suspect these manufacturers are trying to appease some people’s professed fear of exploring what is unfamiliar. Certainly there is nothing “wrong” with offering a relaxation service that stays within those limits. But by adding lots of sensory stimulation, users are denied the very experiences that the tank is uniquely designed to offer. Exploring one’s inner unknowns may seem a bit unsettling at first, but the benefits are great. Only by discovering what is already in our thinking machinery – even if it seems strange and unknown – can any of us do something that was previously unknown – change those portions of our thinking that have caused frustration within ourselves and with other people.

Why I Float…

Paul Herzer, client at Art of Floating, Bloomsburg, PA/

Simple question, difficult answer. Over the last 15 years I’ve tried all manner of healing/new-age/holistic techniques. Some have been based on science and psychology, some have been ancient and some modern. I’ve lived in multiple yoga and spiritual ashrams away from modern society, I’ve lived in New York City immersed in modern society. I became a yoga teacher and an avid meditator and never stopped learning. Always willing to continue trying new things as they come to me, one will lead me to the next, sometimes without logical connection. I’ve never questioned, “how did I get here from there?” One day I ended up in Bloomsburg on my birthday.

Some people get romantic or nostalgic about the past specifically how we don’t live in an age of Masters. Though I tend to agree with this, I have to remind myself that I’ve spent enough time with Yoga and Meditation Masters from the 1960s and Masters in other fields to recognize Mastery when I see it. John C. Lilly is a Master. And though I never met him, I knew that his work was important enough for me to try it.

The body is important, but it is not “you” is what I tell experienced yoga and meditation students. Yoga Nidra is an advanced, often misunderstood, yogic meditation technique that peels away the layers of “you” like an onion leaving nothing but pure awareness. As one of the few Yoga Nidra Masters in the world, I’ve spent thousands of hours in deep meditative states, yet the body in its fight with gravity can become a barrier to long meditations because of pressure points and numbness.

This is where floating comes in. Isolated from noise, light, and gravity, my body is free to relax all by itself. Sometimes I choose to work on specific meditations, sometimes I just float and sometimes do both. Regardless of the meditative experience my body is the same: relaxed and renewed.

Author Marilyn Ferguson said, in her book The Aquarian Conspiracy, that a person is exposed to 100,000 more stimuli per day than in 1900. This was 1979, before cable tv, before internet, before text messaging, smart phones and streaming information 24/7. The body is reacting to all those stimuli. After a float session of a few hours I can tell that my body is free from the stress of over-stimulation.

Floating works as a stand-alone meditation and relaxation technique or in series with any number of healing/new-age techniques available today. Why do I float? Because it supports me…pun intended. It supports all the work I’ve done in holistic areas, it supports all of my spiritual endeavors and it supports my ability to be present in the world.

The Cost of Putting Your Feelings First

by Wendy Johnson, Delta Floats, Lansing, MI/

We recently went to the zoo with some friends. My 4 year old son was not listening or staying with us, and deciding he could do what he wanted when he wanted to do it. The zoo was very busy that day and this behavior was just not safe. So, my husband suggested we all go behind a big sign after he had told our son we are leaving this area 3 times. We could see him from behind the sign but he could not see us.

It took a few minutes for him to realize that we were gone. He started to panic and was looking for us. My Husband and I were ready to teach him the dangers of not listening and staying with us and just before we did that, Jill, a lady with us at the zoo, jumped out and said peek-a-boo to our son. He immediately laughed and ran back to what he was doing.

I was furious that Jill had endangered my son so badly. Not only did he not learn that he had to listen and stay with us, he now thought that if we weren’t around it was just a game. Jill did harm to my family that day because she decided that she felt bad for my son or that he would feel bad about what we were doing. In either case, she was making feelings more important than the reality that it is not safe for a 4 year old to do whatever they want wherever they want to do it.


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