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Friday, January 24, 2014

Dr. Wayne Dyer and the IDEAS that work or CAN work for you if you want them to – of such as Dyer, Mao tse Tung And Herbert Fensterheim

{ I know it has been a long time since I posted but for me things have to be ready. Is that another way of saying I have real method of working. Possibly. I have here what is really one of the original components of what were to be the many threads. One was to be self-help books and ideas. It is thus in that “stream” and a part of EYELIGHT. However, it, expanded could lead on to the various experiences of my life and into Politics, another of the strands, so to speak. 

But Mao tse Tung?! I am aware of the attitude many people have to Mao tse Tung but it and he must be understood in the large canvass of history and the Chinese war of revolution and liberation from Imperialism and specifically from the Japanese Imperialists. Mao tse Tung, like Mugabe, is a much and wrongly maligned (and misunderstood) philosopher, man of action, and revolutionary.  However the raison d’etre of the use of The Little Red Book which was at one time almost the only book I read, in a strange yet vivid time of my life when I was myself interested in “changing the world” (I all but joined the Communist Party): in a time that we were protesting the Vietnam War and the many injustices of Imperialism we saw China as a great potential; that raison so to speak, is complex and I cant debate or talk of it just yet.
 I say we saw China as a “great potential”, and it was. (Incidentally I talked openly with others who were communists at the time – ca 1970 - of the inevitability of it “turning revisionist” as had the USSR – but this did not dispirit me. I saw this as part of the pageant of progress or change in events of history: the processes of the so-called material universe as defined… There is more: one thing that the use in terms of “self-help” of the Little Red Book was, at the time, enormous. I still read it. Am I still ‘there’. That is another, more complex question. The Wayne Dyer etc I have used and the other book is of great value. More recently I have used my daughter’s methods via Cognitive Psychology to lose weight (as did my son). The difficulties are in changing habits, getting into a routine. Other posts [it may be on my experience of “taking up” art in 2010, although in a sense I have always had this as an interest] should follow this more speedily as well as some reviews on my other Blog. My What I Have Been Reading etc belongs both here and on separate Blog and on my other ‘Richard, You Must etc Blog…’ }  

Dr. Wayne Dyer and

the IDEAS that work

or CAN work for you

if you want them to –

of such as Dyer,

Mao tse Tung

And Herbert Fensterheim

Re  ‘Your Erroneous Zones” …. A quote:

“..The other day, I noticed a box of books which was obviously beginning this kind of journey. I was pleased at ----‘s initiave, as I have never been able to make myself throw away a book, no matter how poor a book I thought it was. But I thought I ought to check to make sure there were no first editions, or other valuable works, being discarded.
There, right on top of the pile was my paperback copy of "Your Erroneous Zones", by Dr. Wayne Dyer, a sort of pop psychologist, and something of a nut. However, I read his book back in 1977, when it first came out, and I seriously believe it changed my life for the better. Not that it is a very well written book, nor are there any original ideas in it. However, it has some rules that are very helpful for managing your outlook on things in general. So, I snitched the book out of the box, and started rereading it. I might have missed something the first time or two I read it.
From memory, here is a summary of the book.
1)       You control your own emotions, consciously or unconsciously. People do not make you mad, they do things they ought not to, and you choose to be mad at them. You could choose to be amused, sympathetic, indifferent or even happy.
2)       Of all of the emotions you can choose to feel, guilt is the least productive and one of the most unpleasant. You should never feel guilty. If you did something you should not have done, you cannot change it. You can decide if there is anything you can do to correct the situation, and if there is, go ahead and do it. If not, forget it. There is nothing you can do.
3)       Worry is also unpleasant, entirely unnecessary and counterproductive. If you have a problem, define it, and decide if there is action you can take to correct or solve the problem. If there is, go ahead and do it ASAP. If not, forget it. It is not really your problem.
4)       There is no time like the present. In fact, there is no other time. Everything happens in the present. The past is over, and totally unchangeable, and the future is not available for modification either. The only time we can actually do something is now.
5)       You should be concerned with how you feel about yourself, and not much about how other people feel about you. If you are pleased with yourself, other people will ordinarily be pleased with you also, and if they are not, it is their problem, not yours.
I may have remembered the rules wrong, but it probably won't hurt to follow them the way I remember them until I correct my mistakes. If Dr. Dyer doesn't like my interpretation, that is, as he says, his problem.”


                ‘Your Erroneous Zones’ by Dr Wayne Dyer

This book is not a literary book. It is a book, coupled with a book called ‘Pulling Your Own Strings’ by the same author that I value perhaps more than any other writing I have encountered. Earlier in my life the book ‘Release from Nervous Tension’ (it is more than a guide to relaxation) was also helpful.

In 1966 when I realized I was never going to get anywhere in Science (I had set out to be a biochemist or a microbiologist – or a biologist of some kind. For multiple reasons I pulled out and spent much that year at the Glenn Innes Library where I studied art books (mainly looking at the art works of various sculptors and modern artists), books about psychology (books by Eysenck who I found deeply absorbing, although I believe he has been somewhat discredited, I still accept most of what he had to say as very useful and interesting) and others. One was Harold Fink’s ‘Release from Nervous Tension’. I tried to use the methods in his book to offset the enormous nervous strains I had always experienced.
  In fact I lived on my nerves. I had a huge nervous creativity and intensity (I don’t mean my “intelligence” was remarkable just that I suppose I was on the “introversion” side of the spectrum…

Later that year I got a job as a Lab Tech in a Civil Engineering Company (Bitumix which was a subsidiary of Winstones). There I tested roads and bitumens. My boss Basil Dempsey, who had been the Chief Chemist of NZ’s branch of Shell and I got on quite well together. Actually roading engineering is surprisingly interesting and involves some chemistry and physics etc (but not a lot for a Lab Tech.) From that job I took the term BS (British Standard) tests etc which Iused larter in the 90s in my poetry. There were also ASSA or ASA tests which I think were US or Japanese based tests or standards.

In the Lab I used a circular slide rule, the closest thing we had to calculators (there were none and no computers and I didn’t own a TV although I hired a TV that year [1967] as I wanted to watch The War on TV. As a boy wars had fascinated me.  I had dreamed of being a fighter pilot and read much about aircraft, especially fighter jets. But commercial jets I also found beautiful (as birds, beautiful beings “designed” to fly).

I said to Basil that this was one use I would put the TV to – it seemed exciting. Here was a way to in a war without being in it! Like I was Biggles or something. As it was (my parents had refused to get a TV in 1960 or so when they came out to NZ, but I, nor my brother or two sisters, hadn’t really missed it). Basil was rather shocked saying that I should be there in the war.

This took me back, I had no idea where the war was (I had never heard of Vietnam, I did know of Indo-China) and in fact I had no idea what it was about. (I wasn’t till a Communist, Ray Gough, leant me a copy of Harold Slingsby’s ‘Rape of Vietnam’ that I really got an insight into what the war was about. )

But my answer to Basil was that there was no need for me to be in Vietnam as I could watch the war on TV! I said this quite seriously. He was thinking of things such as “freedom” and so on, abstract ideas which had no interest for me. In fact I lived in those days (perhaps in many ways I still do) in a rather self-centered place of dreams and ideas. I had very little knowledge then of “the real world”, at 18 and 19 I had never had a girl friend, had very few friends and moved between my place of work (just a few kms from where I lived in Panmure (the house I returned to in 1990). Basil was shocked. I then, when pressed on my “responsibility” pointed out that it was pointless me getting killed (at that time I would have not considered anything involving personal danger to myself for anything, as I say I was very self centered, the huge outside world outside of my self and my strange dreams and imaginings and my chess studies, was irrelevant and in fact seemed a hostile and sometimes a very frightening place). Basil realized I think my ‘strangeness’ (he was rather conservative in his views).

But it is true that both of us were member of what (technically) might be called the “middle working class”, or professional workers. My father was a relatively well to do Architect and Basil was a Chemist.   Something like that. But as it happened the war as seen I found rather boring (unlike the rather glorious and exciting scenes seen at times of the great battles of WW2 at the movies). More interesting were: ‘The Prisoner’ [a really strange thing that fascinated me], The Avengers, Dudley More and Peter Cooke, and other stuff.

Around the middle of 1967 I woke up in the middle of the night shivering. Thinking I was cold I put a heater on. I had heard at work that someone had died at 4 am of a heart attack. I kept shivering.

It was the beginning of a major nervous breakdown. This nervous collapse and my recovery, was the beginning of a major transformation in my life. But I want to talk of that some other time.

Before that time, the relaxation methods and ideas of Dr. Fink had meant a great release and in listening to music (my father had purchased a stereo and the first thing I think we listened to was a record of Chopin’s Etudes played by Glenn Gould (he also got the Well Tempered Clavier) and we then listened to the classics. I had loved music of that kind even as a child of 8 or so, but I discovered the classics when I listened to a series of records my sister had of all the great composer’s. I was then about 15 or so and at that time I used to listen to classical music for hours on my bed, often in complete darkness. The effect I cannot describe. I cannot feel the intensity of that experience: if I ever felt sure of God or whatever that was it.

I did listen to some popular and jazz music but I could never really get a lot from any of it.  (More recently I have found that unlike those days, when I felt that perhaps Beethoven and Brahms (although there were many and on the radio (IYC , there were only 3 radio stations) we later listened to many contemporary (20th Century) composers and others) were the greatest musicians ever: unlike that time more recently I seem to have “defaulted” to Bach, especially his choral music, and find it hard now to love Brahms as intensely as I did (but I have heard some beautiful and unusual Hadyn Choral music as well as some wonderful choral music by Handle (other than his more famous and popular works). Bach was my father’s favourite composer. It was he who told me that popular music was for morons.

Bach’s music (I am not interested in what words are sung I prefer them in German so I have no idea what is being sung) is the closest I come to that extraordinary vision of almost infinite ecstasy of music discovered as a 15 year old.

When I had used the relaxation process, I found that the experience then of listening to the records, bought at Marbeck’s, played by my father (or on IYC – now the Concert Programme – the only radio station I ever listen to) was somewhat different. It was a perhaps calmer, possibly even deeper beauty. I was in those days, “discovering myself” as the cliché goes….

But this was BEFORE my break down: and at the time it was medication, rather than any ideas from books that transformed my life. So none of these things were used at the time to overcome the very severe depression, and terrifying nervous attacks I experienced in those days.

A combination of sedatives and anti-depressants actually "saved my life" and in fact I slowly began to emerge so to speak. I became relatively out-going and more assertive. Gradually my life changed and about 1969 I decided that political issues in the world were the most important: that living life may as well be done as well as possible, as death, as I knew from my experience in the breakdown (so-called); was inevitable. (For many months it was as if I was indeed about to die). So while I had written and published one story and was writing poems, and continued to do so from time to time (and these were praised by many people, but I destroyed all of them, and only a few phrases which I still use from time to time remain). So effectively all writing stopped in favour of "revolution" and "street protest politics" as I joined the PYM...(and in fact, nearly, the CP).

Many years later I “discovered” the books of Dyer. They were of great help. Properly used they, the ideas and methods, coupled with perhaps methods of communication and assertion training, are potentially transformative. Far more “life changing” than winning say $6 million or even the pathetic $1 million offered by ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”  But the energy and discipline needed are offset by “the roar of life” and indeed the individual genotype.

But (we are - or I am - now in the mid 90s) the ideas and methods of these books have assisted me in many ways.

So this is a “component” of EYELIGHT that is added in here. It  is (like the other “threads” self sufficient, but like say the RANDOM interacts with many other of the “strands”. Of course these “categories” are never clear cut and in art as in life everything interacts.

(Another strand is THE POLITICAL but there are so many sides to that as there are to ART and POETICS…

One is my interest in the Chinese and other socialist revolutions. In relation to this I will be using also the writings of Chairman Mao as written in ‘The Little Red Book’ – another book of great importance to me. The Chinese and many other great revolutions of history (such as the French, the American and the earlier English and the many European as well as the Russian, Cuban etc) are of great importance. They are the earth or societal shaping events of the human process that shape and change human history.

Whether any of these things matter, whether these ideas and human adventures signal some kind of neo-linear “progress” is uncertain.

That tends to pull me back to PHILOSOPHY and ORIGINS etc as EYELIGHT presents these things. The author in varying moods or states of his own biochemical or even “spiritual” process.

So, strange as it may seem to add these rather gauche-seeming things (Dr. Wayne Dyer, Mao’s Red Book): I am not “dictated” by any preformed philosophy or plan (although I have tried to maintain some kind of structure); rather it is a mix of experiential explosions and explorations that lead, not to any certainty or truth or anything, but into a sea that beckons endlessly. A sea of ideas, sometimes clear, sometimes confused, to something created out of the junk of my own psychic history: the working or misworking, the endless query of the neurons and the deep rich darknesses of whatever I am. Whatever any of us is. 

From “Your Erroneous Zones” by Dr Wayne Dyer

            The next time you are contemplating a decision in which you are debating  
whether or not to take charge of yourself, to make your own choice, ask yourself an important question, “How long am I going to be dead?” With that eternal perspective, you can now make your it own choice and leave the worrying, the fears, the question of whether you can afford it and the guilt to those who are going to be alive forever. If you don’t begin taking these steps, you can anticipate living your entire life the way others say you must. Surely if your sojourn on earth is so brief, it ought at least to be pleasing to you. In a word, it’s your life; do with it what you want.

            Happiness and Your Own I.Q.

Taking charge of yourself involves putting  to rest  some  very prevalent myths.
At the top of the list is the notion that intelligence is measured by your ability to
solve complex problems; to read, write and compute at certain levels; and to resolve abstract equations quickly. This vision of intelligence predicates formal education and bookish excellence as the true measures of self-fulfillment. It encourages a kind of intellectual snobbery that has brought with it some demoralizing results. We have come to believe that someone who has more educational merit badges, who is a whiz at some form of scholastic discipline (math, science, a huge vocabulary, a memory for superfluous facts, a fast reader) is “intelligent.” Yet mental hospitals are clogged with patients who have all of the properly lettered credentials - as well as many who don’t. A truer barometer of intelligence is an effective, happy life lived each day and each present moment of every day.

If you are happy, if you live each moment for everything it’s worth, then you are an intelligent person.

Problem solving is a useful adjunct to your happiness, but if you know that given your inability to resolve a particular concern you can still choose happiness for yourself, or at a minimum refuse to choose unhappiness, then you are intelligent. You are intelligent because you have the ultimate weapon against the big N.B.D. Yep - Nervous Break Down. Perhaps you will be surprised to learn that there is no such thing as a nervous breakdown. Nerves don’t break down. Cut someone open and look for the broken nerves. They never show up. “Intelligent” people do not have N.B.D.’s because they are in charge of themselves. They know how to choose happiness over depression, because they know how to deal with the problems of their lives. Notice I didn’t say solve the problems. Rather than measuring their intelligence on their ability to solve the problem, they measure it on their capacity for maintaining themselves as happy and worthy, whether the problem gets solved or not. You can begin to think of yourself as truly intelligent on the basis of how you choose to feel in the face of trying circumstances. The life struggles are pretty much the same for each of us. Everyone who is involved with other human beings in any social context has similar difficulties. Disagreements, conflicts and compromises are a part of what it means to be human. Similarly, money, growing old, sickness, deaths, natural disasters and accidents are all events which present problems to virtually all human beings. But some people are able to make it, to avoid immobilizing dejection and unhappiness despite such occurrences, while others collapse, become inert or have an N.B.D. Those who recognize problems as a human condition and don’t measure happiness by an absence of problems are the most intelligent kind of humans we know; also, the most rare.

Learning to take total charge of yourself will involve a whole new thinking process, one which may prove difficult because too many forces in our society conspire against individual responsibility. You must trust in your own ability to feel emotionally whatever you choose at anytime in your life. This is a radical notion. You have probably grown up believing that you cant control your own emotions; that anger, fear and hate, as well as love, ecstasy and joy are things that happen to you. An individual doesn’t control these things, he accepts them. When sorrowful events occur, you just naturally feel sorrow, and hope that some events will come along so that you can feel good very soon.

Choosing How You’ll Feel

Feelings are not just emotions that happen to you. Feelings are reactions you choose to have. If you are in charge of your own emotions, you don’t have to choose self-defeating reactions. Once you learn that you can feel what you choose to feel, you will be on the road to “intelligence”- a road where there are no by-paths that lead to N.B.D.’s. This road will be new because you’ll see a given emotion as a choice rather than as a condition of life. This is the very heart and soul of personal freedom. You can attack the myth of not being in charge of your emotions through logic. By using a simple syllogism (a formulation in logic, in which you have a major premise, a minor premise and a conclusion based upon the agreement between the two premises) you can begin the process of being in charge of yourself, both thinkingly and emotionally."

  Re this. In his book, Dyer gives examples that I don’t agree with. For example he pushes the concept (indirectly) that learning is self actuated. Well it is and it isn’t. But his main point is (in his chapter on the Erroneous or “wrong” need for outside approval) that one by and large needs to take charge of one’s own fate and indeed feelings so to speak.

He even quotes Emerson’s essay on Self-Reliance. These are empowering ideas but many people give absurd counter examples. The assumption is still that we are social animals and need others. It is really how we operate inside the reality of society. So given certain reservations, if  one wants to change for the better in many ways, by and large the concepts (I will quote a few from time to time).

Dyer has written about 3 very good (great) books but then for me he drifted too far into a kind of “anything is possible” New Agey band wagon which I feel went to far. One issue he overlooks (or sometimes tends to down play) is the fact that many human problems are inherent.

That said there is much in his books of great interest and use.

Another book of great importance is here:

Don't Say Yes When You Want to Say No: Making Life Right When It Feels All Wrong
Title: Don’t Say Yes When You Want to Say No
Author: Dr. Herbert Fensterheim and Jean Baer
Ratings: 5/5
This must be a book that is made for me and for others who has this what they call the “disease to please”. When a person over extend herself/himself to others and is loosing her own identity, in the process, just to please other people. Some also calls them “people pleaser”.
Sad to say, I am one of those people and as I read this book, it pained me to accept the fact that I am a passive one (and so with my family). Though it can be shameful on my part, acknowledging this fact can be a good start to be cured from this disease.
Base from this book here are the qualities of an assertive person:
  • Reveals himself
  • Has an active orientation to make things happen
  • Communicate with people on all level
  • Acts in a way he himself respects
Assertation = Self Esteem = Success/Pretensions.
“As long as you act assertively, you maintain your self-esteem. You may fail and feel disappointed and frustrated but your core of self-respect remains.”
“They mistake the essential difference between being selfish in the bad sense and selfish in the good sense.”
“You’ve confused the goal of being liked with the goal of being respected.”
“You’re so caught up in the need for being liked that you sacrifice your own self-respect.”
“Through ignorance of fear, many people do not create any action plans for their own lives.”
“You must recognize your rights and stand up for them. If you do not, other people will define your role for you and you stop being yourself.”
This is another psychology book that I enjoyed reading. There are numerous points to ponder and could give you a nudge on how to live an assertive life.
I can’t say that I will be living an assertive life from now on because it can’t be done in a breeze and will definitely take some time. Nevertheless, I can start doing assertive things little by little. And as what they call “baby steps” for you to get to your goal.
This book gave me a handful wisdom about self respect and how to stand up for your own rights as a person.
“Aggressiveness” and “Assertiveness” were also explained well in this book. The difference of the two and some practical examples that differentiates them from each other.
Being tagged as an aggressive person is one of my fears before as well, because sometimes, I also can’t control my feelings and my emotions. I have the tendency to blurt out some inappropriate words and deeds when provoked and most of the times, won’t do any good for me and the situation itself.
It made me realize that I can be an assertive one without being aggressive by controlling what you say and what you do.
Assertiveness is not about being conceited and being selfish, its about knowing your rights and standing up for it. I can also say that this book can cure not only the “disease to please” syndrome but also some “inferiority complex” that some people experience (like me).
The true to life cases or scenario presented were also helpful and makes me feel less anxious knowing that I am not only the one who has that type of problems.
Above all, the best learning I got here was to maintain your self-respect no matter what you do and say.

Confidence and assertion in social situations are far more important than writing novels or worrying about Global Warming or other issues as for most of us these things are pretty remote and outside our control.

But one can control one’s emotions, the way one interacts and other things.

In my own case I tend to worry less and act more in difficult situations.

Wars, “injustice”, unfairness, misfortune etc are things that are more or less constant in human experience. (Many people fall into the Justice Trap, thinking that they are obligated to "return favours, to some extent Scott Hamilton does this in recent post about the supposed "heartlessness" of the NZ Government in not sending as much aid per capita as the Tongans sent us (for the earthquake in Christchurch*). This is exactly the kind of rather naive idea of justice many people have - but that can be understood by reading Dyer on that subject.)

*This event is another problematic area. Many people feel guilty even of surviving such an event, when such survival is often (mainly) simply a matter of chance. Those outside feel guilty if they don't send aid or write grief-stricken things about these events when - in truth - it makes no difference. This may seem heartless. But no one can be "blamed" for such a (in historic terms) common event. There is no need indeed, or little need, to even think about these disasters. (Unless you are skilled in some area that enables you to assist and you WANT to. God, if there is such a being, is in all probability, however, totally indifferent to any of these events. This doesn't mean we lack compassion: but we don't waste our time in useless emotions such as guilt, or worry.  

And chance, probability, plays a big part in world events.

Mao tse Tung’s and such as Karl Marx’s concepts are useful as part of a world view as long as it is realized that human progress is subject to chance. Of course we can learn from reading such as Epictetus, St. Thomas Aquinas, various writers poets and artists, and other philosophic or political thinkers (although politics is a very fraught area indeed.)

Science and knowledge have value but we have also to look to ourselves first.

As animals who have, en passant, it seems, evolved a large brain we are both constructive and destructive. Whether we will survive in the long run, whether we are “destined” for anything, whether we have souls or are making for a better future or some wonderful spiritual place or resolutions are part of larger questions.

These larger issues are dealt with in a way through art and philosophy etc and perhaps some of my work on EYELIGHT adds to the “spiritual” areas of human experience. So, in the “philosophic mode”, the question of meaning, being, consciousness and such are deeply interesting: but in the meantime we all have to survive whatever reality we are all in.

Here is another book of great use to me at (especially) a time of "crisis" when we thought that indeed the US or Soviet Imperialists would initiate a nuclear war to attempt to anhilate the great socialist nation of China. People forget the horror and barbarity of the Vietnam War (which many Vietnamese call "The American War" to this day. However I will not comment further except that for revolutionaries in those days, and even now, this book has great importance:


The Little Red Book

Mao tse-Tung possibly the greatest revolutionary of all time.

The need for unity of the people - Mao tse Tung and Chu Teh etc showed the power of the majority of the (mainly) peasant force in China from The Long March and the overthrow of Japanese Imperialism and the defence of Korea against the US Invasion in the 50s: this has been attributed to divisions but like the War against Vietnam it was an attempt to invade China, and to destroy any chance of a real peoples' nation. In this, for complex reasons, there was some success, (but there was much real progress) but what has been witnessed is a part of the ongoing "pagent of history". In addition the Great Cultural Revolution has been similarly maligned and misunderstood by capitalistic reactionaries in the US, other Western Capitalist nations, and inside China itself.


The beautiful ideas of Mao are wonderfully rendered in Chinese and English.

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