Saturday, December 18, 2010

Wisdom - The Ultimate Christmas Gift

I recently finished writing my second book. This one is about Wisdom. Not the kind of wisdom that seeks to answer mankind’s biggest questions, but the kind of wisdom that helps each of us make the best use of our time and energy on a daily basis.

Wisdom, I discovered, is a step by step process for making the best choices based on the information we have at hand.

Wisdom is the antidote for the vast majority of the negative emotions that cause us most of our problems. Wisdom is the cure for stress, anxiety, depression, and anger.  Why? Because when we are thinking wisely we are focused on the facts of a situation and not on the emotions of our story about the situation.  Facts don’t have feelings and emotions rarely have facts.

Wisdom is more important now than ever.  If we look at every aspect of our culture, we must admit that things are really a mess.

Wisdom can fix all those things, but where is wisdom needed the most? It is needed the most at the level of the individual because that is where we live and raise our children. If the next generation of leaders turn out to be no wiser than we have been, to put it bluntly, we are all screwed.

It is obvious that the people we have asked to lead us are dedicated to making selfish, short-sighted, and unwise decisions. It is obvious that our trust has been misplaced.

We must return to the ethos that made our culture the envy of the world; the ethos of self-reliance. Self reliance is the highest form of trust. We can trust ourselves to make the kinds of choices that evolve our own lives rather than depending on our environment to take care of us.

Wisdom is the key to self reliance because it requires us to focus on the things that are really important.

What difference does it make what is on the TV if our children are not being educated?
What difference does my address make if my children are not mentally and physically healthy?
What difference does the label on my shirt make if I cannot find a moments peace from my worries?
What difference does our income make if our children are destined to live in a third world country?

We cannot rely on anyone other than ourselves to make sure the distress in our lives is minimal, that our relationships are loving and respectful, and that our children are healthy and well educated.

Practicing wisdom will do that. Think about the impact that making the best decisions would have on your life.
1.    More Time
2.    Less Distress
3.    More Energy
4.    Better Relationships

That’s a real Christmas gift, to yourself and to your family.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

How to Actually Manage Your Stress During the Holidays

Once again it is the Holiday season, and the experts tell us additional stress is on its way just like Santa Claus. Had the experts read the original work on stress they would have realized the key to managing stress was included in that paper.

The word “Stress” actually refers only to the “work” the body must do. If we don’t like the work, it is referred to as “distress” and our brain makes chemicals that make us feel angry, anxious, or depressed. So it is actually distress that causes us so many problems.

At least 90% of our distress does not come from the actual work we must do. It comes from the negative emotional story we tell ourselves about the work. For example, if we walk into a church, there is the work our body must do in walking. The work is the same if we are walking into a wedding or a funeral. It is our emotional state that changes. It is negative emotions that cause our distress.

The best way to manage stress to avoid creating the mental kind of stress that makes us miserable, and we can do that by simply not telling ourselves so many negative stories.

During the Holidays there are three things that cause additional distress; relationships, finances, and time demands. Relationships: Too much or too little togetherness can cause pressure. Finances: Added expenses in an already tight budget can cause problems now and in the future. Physical Demands: We are all pretty busy and the extra Holiday demands can overload us.

It is obvious we all would like to enjoy our Holidays, and it is much more likely if we don’t spend so much time making our self miserable with our stories. So here are four techniques to help you stop the story telling and get back in control so you can get your work done.

Where’s the Danger?
Almost all our distress is simply the result of our stories. If you want to prove this for yourself, when you are feeling distressed just look around you. If you can point to something that is actually dangerous, run for safety. If there is no danger, the distress is coming from your story.

Look Before You Leap
Negative emotional habits are a lot like jumping off a cliff. Once you have jumped, you are committed to the fall. Once you have lost control, the damage from what you have done, said, or thought is done. Stay on neutral ground.

Stop, Drop, and Roll
When you get upset it is like finding yourself on fire. You are suddenly out of control. “Stop, Drop, and Roll,” like the time proven fire safety technique, can be used to put your conscious self back in control of your thoughts. STOP means just that. Stop thinking about whatever it is that is causing you distress. DROP would mean drop back or mentally back up to a previous thinking position. And then ROLL out your new decision in a different direction like a red carpet.

Change the Channel
Your negative stories are like watching a TV program you know will make you feel miserable. The major difference is that your story is being generated in your own brain. Since it is your story, you can change the channel on your imaginary negative program and think about something else, or just turn off the program.

Happy Less Distressing Holidays Douglas McKee

Friday, November 26, 2010

Dirty Diapers

Our Congressmen and Senators more closely resemble dirty diapers than elected representatives. They are full of their own stuff, their stuff stinks, and they need to be changed. We ordinary citizens would do jail time for the activities they commit, but only two Congressmen have been expelled from the US House of Representatives for their conduct since the Civil War.

The obvious conclusion is that leaving an elected representative in office very long is actually a bad thing for the rest of us.

It doesn’t matter if we are Dems, Reps, Libs, or Teas, there are issues much more important to us than party affiliation. We need desperately to transcend the distractions provided by cheap politics and the media, and focus on an Agenda for the American People that can save this great nation for us and for our children.

To be more precise, if our culture is to survive, we need the following:

1. A Department of Defense, not a Department of attack.
2. A Department of Education, not a Department of lowering academic standards.
3. A Department of Agriculture, not a slush fund for corporate giants.
4. A Food and Drug Administration, not a PR firm for the pharmaceutical Industry.
5. A Department of the Treasury, not a checking account for campaign contributors.
6. Restrictions on paid lobbyists.
7. Elected representatives governed by the same laws that apply to us.
8. Restraints on the government’s ability to spend money it doesn’t have.

How we, The People, get from the mess we are in to sanity and fiscal soundness is up to us. We cannot allow our elected officials to maintain a haven for plundering our earnings and squandering our future. They cannot be allowed to decide for us by themselves.

We must become involved in the political process. We have the right and responsibility to create an agenda that assures our survival and prosperity. We have the right to demand that the will of the people be obeyed. Elected representatives are our servants, not our masters.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Toddler's Wisdom

Last night my 14 month old granddaughter, Cali, showed me more about why I wrote the book, “The Science of Wisdom, The Art of Choice,” than all the other research I had done.

After dinner I was lying on the couch when our 2.25 pound Chihuahua named Sachi wanted up to escape the toddler. As soon as she was on the couch with me she assumed her favorite sleeping position on my left shoulder, curling up into a ball resembling a large New York bagel with ears.

A few minutes later here comes the toddler. She reaches across my chest and very gently placed Sachi’s favorite toy next to her and then toddled off.

At 14 months she already knows what life is all about. Recent studies reveal toddlers have the ability to consciously choose to act with altruism and can correctly recognize the intent in others actions.

Here I am, struggling to explain in the book that “Wisdom is the freedom and ability to make the kinds of choices that evolve your life and benefit the planet,” and a 14 month old toddler shows me clearly that the foundation for all Wisdom is built in. We come into this world hardwired to have the kind of life we dream about. We arrive on this planet already hardwired to nurture each other.

There is no higher wisdom than that.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Far from being the enemy it is usually considered, our ego is a marvelous entity and may well be our best friend. It takes care of many tasks automatically that we could not possibly take care of if we had to think about them such as digestion, respiration, walking and balance and the storing of all our experiences in minute detail.

There will certainly be a few who will state that some of the above functions are handled by lower portions of the brain that don’t have anything to do with higher level thinking. They are not only incorrect, but also miss the point that all the functions happening on all levels in our brains combine to make us who we are while residing in this biological suit, a human being.

What is the interface between our Consciousness and the physical world where all this experiencing is taking place? What is the mechanism that has allowed us to progress from a single celled algae to the point of thinking we don’t need a brain any longer?

Imagine going for a walk on the beach at sundown. Before you start walking however, you put on blinders, boots, boxing gloves, ear plugs, clothes pin on your nose, and tape your mouth shut. What will your experience be then? The ego is what applies meanings to our purely physical sensory experiences. Hopefully you are starting to get the point.

Are there differences between “feelings” and “emotions?” Yes, and the differences are significant. If your significant other walked up behind you and gently patted your backside, you would feel exactly the same sensations as you would if you were at a bus stop and a stranger walked up and patted you on the backside. However, the emotions would be totally different. The ego is what applies meaning to our feelings.

Our emotions are what allow us to experience all our physically manifested emotional states. Emotions are what make us stop breathing just because something is so beautiful that we are overcome by the sight. Emotions sometimes make us weep for joy? And emotions are what power our dreams and desires, fuel our intentions and makes us tingle all over when we have done something really well.

They are also what can drive us to kill in a fit of rage or take our own life in an imaginary abyss of unbelievable hopelessness and despair.

Our problem with the ego is that we want something to blame for the negative emotions that can keep us mired in lower energy states of being and the Ego is the only thing to which we can point.

What is the ego? It appears to be a database of experiences and meanings that is unique to each of us because our experiences and meanings are unique. It contains everything each one of us has experienced since being conceived and also the meanings attached to those events. It allows us to go about our daily routines such as work, driving, family, and play fairly automatically because it stores all the data necessary to handle those situations.

The ego is the result of billions of years of evolution and is a marvelous mechanism for living a matter-based life. Our DNA shows we have been everything you can imagine. We have been aggressively savage and we have sought life in the dark to hide in our timidity. We have been both predator and prey. Our ego is a product of all of this and more. The “lower” parts of our brain still function as they did hundreds of millions of years ago. Most of our non-verbal behavior is mediated by parts of our brain that actually developed many eons before we had words or even self-awareness.

Parts of our memories from those times are genetically encoded and do not depend on, or need, thinking to be activated. The lessons we learned during each of those experiences are still there also. When do we choose to be predator and when do we choose to be prey? Is it any wonder we sometimes behave and feel like we are schizophrenics?

If we act like that sometimes it’s because we are……. we truly are. A lot of new work points to the fact that we all have a multiplicity of personalities. The only difference between us “normals” and the “abnormal” folks with MPD (Multiple Personality Disorder) is that our personalities talk with each other and come to a consensus and people with MPD, the personalities don’t talk to each other at all.

In the people with MPD, one personality is in control and the others are suppressed. In a crisis, however, sometimes their personalities shift rapidly from identity to identity. In emergency rooms when this has happened, serial blood samples drawn from each identity as it arises, and then is suppressed, reveal something absolutely amazing. The blood samples show that each different personality has a physiologically different body.

This might not sound like a big deal, but in one patient with an obviously mental condition, you would not expect to find many different physical conditions such as high blood pressure, allergies, asthma, and even diabetes, each condition confined to a different personality and not shared by the other personalities, actually resulting in different bodies shared by the same patient as they shift personalities. Think about that for a bit. The ramifications of these findings are astounding.

Many husbands and wives will not be amazed by this because their spouses obviously have different beings inhabiting their bodies and quite regularly change from loving spouse to raging lunatic. I would imagine teens will also pick up on this quickly and, when told to quit doing something, they’ll simply reply, “I wasn’t doing it.”

It also raises some unique questions about our life as an individual. Who is it who gets sick and who heals that person? Who dies? Incredible questions which can only be answered in the context of higher order beings of energy with life streams reaching much farther back than our birth.

Before we had an ego, all we had was genetically inherited directives. All animals from chimps on down the scale to algae have no concept of self. They “see” themselves only as a part of a group. Marching back to the beginning, we find less and less evidence of awareness, but we are the ones deciding what awareness actually is. At that time, consciousness was a blank slate of potential waiting for experiences.

As Consciousness has grown in experience, our awareness has grown with it, until eventually we became self-aware; aware of our self as an individual. The great apes are the first animal we know of to exhibit self-awareness, but they have a very limited capacity to use it. It’s not for certain we humans have figured out what to do with it either. I have a dog that is at least as intelligent and certainly more loyal and trustworthy than most politicians.

Having made it to this lofty plateau of “intelligence” we now regard the ego as an impediment, but is it really? The ego deals with life in the slow lane, life in physicality, and it does it very well. The ego simply is not geared to living as a spirit, it’s too concrete. Whatever it stores becomes available to us as a metaphor and can only exist in a pre-determined context. All ego problems stem from this. When asked, the ego serves up a metaphoric stew containing all the possibly related experiences. Depending on the emotional force ingredient in the stew, and our habit, we either control the choice of resulting possibilities or we don’t.

The ego has a very limited concept of possibilities and they are already categorized and ranked by the amount of emotional energy stored with them. A new study quoted in the BBC showed via PET scan that, in gamblers facing gain or loss, the amygdala was really involved in the decision making process. The amygdala is a part of our brain that has a lot to do with our emotional biochemical response such as the fight or flight response. It also has no capacity to reason at all, in any situation.

At least ninety nine percent of our emotional response is actually directed by parts of the brain that are incapable of reason; they simply dictate a reaction to non-verbal stimuli. What the study demonstrates for us is that the ego is not exclusively cerebral. The ego is obviously influenced by parts of the brain that are totally incapable of reason.

Is the ego also the entity that lets us know there is something else, something larger and unlimited? As a small child I knew adults didn’t have all the answers but, at the same time, knew in my heart there were indeed answers. The ego understands it is limited. It also knows we ask it questions for which it has no answers. However, it does its best to provide them based upon what is already stored.

We all have experienced a child asking “why”, to the point that it has become part of our humor lexicon. They simply want to understand. Those “whys” are always there; they never quite go away completely. Many adults eventually simply give up asking and accept what is stored in their ego as the ultimate definition of their world. Every fundamentalist or terrorist has chosen a world of stark absolutes, discarding any and all evidence to the contrary.

The old adage, “An ignorant man believes what he thinks, but a wise man believes what he sees,” is good advice. But it’s not quite correct, is it? If the man were truly wise he would know what he “sees” is also the product of what he believes.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Whisper in the Wind

If one listens quietly, there is a Whisper in the wind, the grass, the trees, the way we pass each other, and the look of yearning we cannot conceal in our eyes.

This is the Message from those who have gone before to those of us who are here now and to generations yet born.

The Whisper says we can live in Peace and Harmony with each other; that those eyes I am looking into can share with me something more important than my own life, and that I, in turn, can share that gift with another.

Wisdom is that Whisper; the path of the Progress of Man. Should we not learn from those who have toiled before? What did they hope and dream for us, and what do we hope and dream for those we will leave behind?

To listen to the Whisper is to hear the Wisdom of the Ages. What is right and true has not changed.

When we choose wisely, the world becomes a marvelous place to be.

It’s as though all mankind holds its collective breath waiting for just one of us to make a right decision before moving on, inexorably on, toward the final goal of Unity.