Friday, January 18, 2013


In the past, I used visualization to help me in my projects; walking through presentations and meetings in my mind before the real events take place, like a rehearsal before the actual action. It is well known that this helps people succeed in their endeavors; from sports like golf (visualizing the shot) or in one’s everyday life (proposing to a girlfriend and so on). I guess it’s a sort of mental practice so one is more confident before doing the actual act itself in real life. Recently one uses visualization to reduce stress or induce sleep; think of lazing in a tropical beach or in the cool mountains to reach a calm state. It’s branching off to dream land. I recall in one’s youth that visualization was a form of day dreaming, where one is a master spy fighting enemies in secret lairs or a detective chasing criminal in the streets. Hence, it was a form of entertainment when one needs to fill his mind and avoid boredom. Holden Caulfield dreamed he was a hood, shot in the guts in some of the most hilarious scenes in J.D Salinger’s ‘Catcher in the Rye.’ Like in Holden’s case, it resulted in his being more detached from reality, living instead in his fantasy land, finally resulting in his mental breakdown.

Fortunately in some cases, a breakdown does not result; instead procrastination and a never ending mental churning of thoughts. In other words one is not alive to the moment, forever lost in a future salvation; one is not living in the ‘NOW’ as Eckhart Tolle and Werner Erhard often extoll. There is always planning for a future event, neglecting any benefit in the present moment, preferring to kick the can down the road and avoid the final reckoning.  Erhard with his brutal honesty tries to shock his est participants into the present moment, provoking people into ‘waking’ up like those ancient sages of the past that try to push people into enlightenment with the equivalent to a slap in the face. Erhard makes the case that one is COMPLETE right ‘NOW’, no need for more training or seminars to become what he wants to be. Hence, there is no need to read more books, enroll in more courses, and attend seminars because one does not become who he is via his experiences but instead one undertakes his experience because of who he is. (Sometime one can get into confusion while trying to make sense of the verbal contortions that philosophers often use).

The other day, as I left for work and drove through the rain to go to the library in the city, I doubted whether I needed to go to the literary talk by Dot Jackson. As often is the case, I left the event, at about 8 pm, happy to have gone, relishing the enjoyable banter with the author. But Erhard’s question haunted me: do I need to go to this event so I can be a better writer, or am I going to this event because I already have the sensibility of the writer and a fulfillment of my own inner desire. In another case: I wonder if I should enroll in NYC writing class again, costing about USD $ 300 for a six week session – thinking that I need this seminar to be a writer or should I change my perspective and say instead that I am a writer and this course will teach new techniques. One viewpoint is reactive (glass is half empty) while the other is proactive (glass is half full). Is this a perception or cognitive error? One is a ceaseless quest for experience while another is a self-actualizing act. Day dreaming or visualization does not help because it often prolongs the final goal, resulting in procrastination especially if it’s a dream of BEING: to be or not to be? I guess the question is whether one has the courage to accept failure if the dream does not pan out. In other words, one can attend the seminar as long as the perception is right.

Some interesting quotes from Joseph Campbell’s biography:
•    Myth (rather than a guru or spiritual guide) could serve in the role of a personal mentor, in that its stories provide a psychological road map for the finding of oneself in the labyrinth of the complex modern world.

•    Meanings of mythological tales (their symbols, metaphors, imagery, etc.) as a source for psychological realization than upon psychoanalysis itself.

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