Enhancing the Field Through Conflict

Conflict is necessary to build trust and connection in any relationship. In truly healthy and balanced relationships, conflicts are moved through together. The process of moving through conflict together by mutually learning and taking responsibility builds trust and deepens the connection. You often don’t know who your true friends are until you’ve gone through a conflict together. This is true in the many relational fields we’re in, including friendship, romantic relationships, work relationships, and any other kind of relationship. 

We need conflict to find our shadow areas, or unearth what is hidden to each of us. By not shying away from conflict, we can use it to learn about ourselves, the other person, and our dynamic together. The importance of addressing conflict is true for individuals, as well as in groups. The strength of a relationship is only as deep as the trust in the bonds that connect us. That trust is only truly as strong as the conflict you can endure together and still stay in connection. 

4 Stages of Group Development

I learned this model for the four stages of group development in a transformative learning environment. I believe this was derived from Tuckerman’s model, with a slight adjustment added by the presenters at Meridian University

  1. Forming– the group comes together and gets to know each other.
  2. Norming– the group sets up norms and rules for how they work together.
  3. Storming– the group experiences conflict and starts to have issues.
  4. Transforming– the group uses these conflicts to reset norms and changes to adapt to the conflict and make it work for all involved (if participants are open to self-reflection).

In most groups the storming doesn’t always lead to transforming. It can lead to irreconcilable conflicts. When everyone holds the values of truth and love together, we most effectively move through conflicts into a place where we can all learn and grow. 

The Fight for Who is Right

Conflicts break people apart when they are either simply avoiding dealing with it or fighting for who is right and wrong. When we approach a conflict through empathy by feeling into another’s perspective, we want to understand all sides of the conflict. It’s not about right or wrong, but instead about learning and growth. We honor the truth in everyone’s perspective and bring together differing perceptions to find a common understanding. When everyone is using empathy, this happens fairly easily. When one person in a couple or group stops using empathy, this process can break down quickly.  If one person is unwilling to look at the truth of their experience or open to another person’s feelings, it’s very hard to find a true win-win outcome.

Empathy’s Magic

Empathy helps us reconcile differences and feel each other with an open heart. Through using empathy, we can understand each other’s positions and find common ground to move through conflict. To truly be empathic we must be free of the egoic defense of positional truth, “I am right here; you are wrong.” We seek the truth of the open heart. We don’t need to be right. We simply are open to what is here. True empathy is a guiding light through all kinds of conflict. When empathy rules, we can truly create a dynamic that works for everyone. 

Empathy is what naturally happens when we are heart-centered. Through centering in the heart there’s an undefended way of living which naturally fosters connection, compassion, and love. For us to have a partnership, family, or work/community dynamic that truly works for everyone, we must value the heart-centered approach. Conflict becomes like an elixir for a more loving connection. In a heart-centered system, conflict becomes the straw that we spin into gold, as we find ourselves and love ourselves even more deeply. 

A World that Works for Everyone

It’s through empathy that we create a world that works for everyone. By learning to set aside our egoic power struggles and focus on empathically understanding each other, we sow the seeds of a powerful change. Humanity is ready to do something radically different. War and cruelty have been the driving forces in human history. It is often a tale of conquest told by the victors. 

The new story I’m hoping we get to tell one day is a love story. It’s a story of how humanity used conflict to wake up, grow, and learn. It’s a story of how humanity ended war, murder, rape, torture, and all forms of human cruelty. It’s a story of how humanity continues to use the challenges we face to open our hearts and learn to love all those in our field more and more fully. 

If this story is one you want to write with us, join the revolution. Help us find a benefactor who is willing to contribute money to see this vision become a reality. We have the principles and frames needed to make a world that works for everyone. We need to build the infrastructure and alliances to make this vision a reality. 

Join the Revolution

Adam Bulbulia is the author of three books on the topics of unconditional love, nurture being, and authenticity – all of which are available on Amazon. His upcoming book, Parenting from the Heart: A Guide to Create a Family Culture that Works for Everyone, is due out next year. 

As you continue your exploration of heart-centered principles, we invite you to read other articles on our blog. We also offer parent coaching, personal coaching, and business consulting.  Tell us what you thought about this article.  Like us on Facebook and share your thoughts. 

To join Heart-Centered Revolutions and make a world that works for everyone, sign up for our mailing list. By far, the best way to join this revolution though is to practice opening your heart and truly coming from empathy and unconditional love for yourself and everyone around you. 

Heart-Centered Revolutions is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to making a world that works for everyone. We can’t do it alone – we need you to join the revolution! 

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Sensing Human Dynamics: Unlocking the Hidden Potential in the Field

We are not given a guidebook or instruction manual for human interactions. Most of what we learn comes intuitively without any formal training. Yet, social interactions are some of the most complex dynamics we will ever deal with in our lives. The ability to feel and sense the field gives us a moment to moment guide in how to navigate the challenges of each social interaction. Through opening our hearts, and sensing and feeling the energetic field of an interaction, we have vital information for how to navigate in this world. Our feelings can help us sense and unlock the hidden potential in any interaction. We will build the basis for sensing the field in this article through developing a better understanding of how to relate to our feelings, the truth, our bodies, and human dynamics.

The Power of Feeling

Feelings are not widely understood in our society. Philosopher David Hume said “reason is the slave of passion.” He was speaking to the way in which our thought process and decisions are, on some level, always driven and ruled by what we feel underneath. Our feelings include both feelings we’re aware and conscious of and those we are unaware and unconscious of. With so many layers of feeling that we aren’t fully aware of, there is immense power in understanding what drives our unconscious. Humans have been aware of the gap between the conscious and unconscious for eons. Shamen, oracles, and medicine men and women, as well as psychologists and therapists help us navigate our realms of knowing and knit together our vast identity. They have always used the realm of feeling to help with this.

We are not as rational as we like to think we are. For example, economists build their models on the assumption that human beings are not ‘rational actors’ and factor that in to govern how the economy works. Social scientists have come to understand this principle, as well, when predicting behavior of individuals in various settings. The advertising industry uses these principles to manipulate us into consuming what they want us to consume. Humans don’t follow logical systems. We generally go with what feels right to discern how we move through life. 

The power of feeling can be used to help align us and move us toward health. Our feelings and intuition always want what is best for us. They guide us to the truth of the heart and help us be more honest with ourselves so we can move through life in a more integrated way. 

The notion that we are not rational actors is in fact a fallacy. We have the choice to enter into a new paradigm of freedom and integration between our minds and our hearts where we recognize that decisions are made by the heart and the intuition for our best good, and that living our lives from this place is actually the most rational thing we could do.

The Body Knows the Truth

The human body is the great truth teller. The body cannot lie. Your mind can say, “my shoulders feel relaxed.” But if there’s tension in your shoulders, the body will show it. Just as the mind can say, “I feel okay with this break up I’m having,” while the body holds all of the sensations that the mind does not want to feel. In the book The Body Keeps the Score, author Bessel van der Kolk writes, “The greatest sources of our suffering are the lies we tell ourselves.” These lies cause suffering because the body only knows the truth. All of the lies we tell ourselves are stored somewhere in the body. 

Author and physician Gabor Mate’s book, When the Body Says No: The Hidden Cost of Stress, presents case after case of people carrying symptoms in their body, even when their mind has no idea what is occurring. Whatever the body feels will come up as a symptom, even if the mind denies its importance. The way we know the body is through sensations. Sensations are the great messenger. When we are honest with ourselves, our body feels more at ease and we can have a better path to navigating our truth in this world. Honesty is simply good for our overall health. 

Feeling Sensations in our Body

We live in a culture that prioritizes the mind and emotions over the pure sensation of feeling. We often talk about what we’re feeling with emotional stories attached, such as “I feel sadness about breaking up with my partner,” or “I’m angry and anxious about losing my job.” Many of us have lost touch with the actual sensations these emotions are based on. Feelings are sensations we feel right now in the body. Anxiety is not a feeling, it’s a summary label of an emotion to describe the associated sensations. When we say, “I feel a fast moving sensation in the pit of my stomach when I think about not having a job,” – this is a sensation. For some, this distinction is a completely new way to think about feeling and emotion. The benefit of understanding this distinction is that it reconnects us to our actual experience of life and not just our mind-made interpretation and summation of life. 

Thought Verses Feeling Experiment

It’s important to do this exercise with your full attention, to understand the difference between thinking and feeling. Without doing this exercise you may not understand this essential difference.

  1. Focus on a rock, crystal, or small object  near you, but one you are not touching.
  2. Look at the object and get to know it with your thinking.
    1. How was it made or formed? 
    2. What color is it? 
    3. How does it appear?
    4. Is it shiny or dull?
    5. Does it look smooth or rough?
    6. What do you think it will feel like in your hands?
  3. Let your thinking think all about the object and know about it through thinking’s way.
  4. Now, we enter the realm of feeling. Pick the object up in your hands and use your hands to feel it.
  5. Close your eyes and just sense and feel the texture of it, as you run your hand or fingers along its surface. Feel every inch of the object and get to know it through feeling and touch.
  6. Take your time and really get to know this object just by feeling, without seeing it. If you find yourself thinking about it, that’s okay. Simply return to your feeling sensations of the object.
  7. Open your eyes and notice the difference between thinking about the object and feeling it. 
  8. What did you notice?

Did you notice that when you are thinking, you are perceiving primarily in your mind, while when you are feeling you are sensing the object directly through your body? Feeling is a kinesthetic sense, while thinking comes in words and images from the auditory and visual centers of the body. I’m curious if you were able to drop out of your traditional way of thinking as you felt the object. For most of us, our thinking is so strong that even when we focus on sensation it can sometimes be hard to actually feel the sensations.

Feelings are:

  1. Sensations in the moment.
  2. Present right now.
  3. New – It can’t be something you knew from before or you’re not feeling, you’re  actually just remembering and thinking about feeling.
  4. Impossible to conceptualize. You can try but they always elude the concept.
  5. Hard to express in words. Poetry and music are the best ways to express feelings.
  6. Rarely experienced in our society. Unless you are giving birth, present with someone dying, or perhaps making love or having some other peak experience with awareness, you’re probably not feeling. 
  7. An extremely powerful way of knowing and experiencing life. 

Exercise: Take Emotion, Find Feelings 

  1. Think of an emotion you’ve recently experienced. It could be anything, like happiness, anger, grief, joy, or fear, for example. Find where you feel the roots of this emotion centered in your body anywhere between your neck and your buttocks.
  2. What does it feel like? Is it tight or loose? Moving or still? Warm or cool? Sharp or dull? Heavy or light? What are the sensations you experience? How does it really feel?
  3. Notice as you feel the sensations, you are now in touch with the direct felt sense of experience.
  4. Accept all the sensations you have around this.
  5. Return to the original emotion you started with. What do you notice now?
  6. What is different? What is the same?
  7. Give acceptance for all that you are experiencing here. The emotions and sensations all get to be loved equally.

Perceptual Positions 

The Perceptual Positions Practice comes out of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), and is the most effective way I’ve experienced to cultivate our empathy skills. In the Process Coaching work I was a part of for 18 years, we used this tool as a foundation for developing empathy and rapport. 

There are four basic perceptual positions, which line up with the first four parts of speech: 

  1. First position is the “I” or self position. In the first position, you are looking out through your body and experiencing life largely as you typically experience it. 
  2. The second position is the “you” or other position. In the second position, we are empathetically feeling the other person’s experience. 
  3. Third position, “he/she/they,” is the observer position. In the third position we are the observer. We are like a fly on the wall watching the whole interaction. In this observer position, we are not in our own body, but we can see our own body, as well as all the others in the dynamic, from a neutral third person position. 
  4. Fourth position is the “we” position or field position. In this field position, we are feeling the whole dynamic and no longer neutral as we are in the third position. We are looking out for the interests of everyone involved. 

Each position has its advantages and disadvantages. Field position is the most wonder-filled position of them all. To truly be in field position, we have to have the ability to shift to all the other positions, as needed at any moment. So, rather than staying in field position, which is an ever changing kaleidoscope of experience, we can flexibly move wherever we are called to move and feel more penetratingly into every facet of life in and around us. 

Sensing the Field

We all sense the field. When you walk in a room and feel the vibe of the room, you are sensing the field. Through the conscious use of field position we can become even better at this. The better we get at feeling sensations in our own body the better we can feel and sense into other people’s feelings and whole dynamics. This is best taught in person or online and is difficult to write about. If you’re interested in learning this, reach out for individual coaching and we will have online courses which can teach you how to sense the field and read other’s feelings. 

When someone speaks, you can feel in your own body whether or not their speech resonates as true. If you listen closely, you will either get a yes when it resonates or a no when it doesn’t resonate. Similarly, you can feel into a group and sense how harmonious and connected or how disconnected it is. When a group is very connected, there’s a feeling of warmth in the heart. When the group is disconnected, there’s often an unsettling feeling in the solar plexus. The exact sensations in your body will vary from group to group depending on what is happening. 

The ability to sense the field is the most powerful leadership ability possible. When we can read people and dynamics accurately, and lovingly tend to them, we have nearly everything we need to be a good leader. This ability can serve as a compass to guide us in our decisions in every interaction. The more perceptive we are of human dynamics, the better we are able to navigate the complex social structures of our human world. I’m so grateful for the heart’s ability to feel and sense what is happening in the moment. With this guiding light, I find it much easier to find my way through even the most challenging situations. 

Join the Revolution

Adam Bulbulia is the author of three books on the topics of unconditional love, nurture being, and authenticity – all of which are available on Amazon. His upcoming book, Parenting from the Heart: A Guide to Create a Family Culture that Works for Everyone, is due out next year. 

As you continue your exploration of heart-centered principles, we invite you to read other articles on our blog. We also offer parent coaching, personal coaching, and business consulting.  Tell us what you thought about this article.  Like us on Facebook and share your thoughts. 

To join Heart-Centered Revolutions and make a world that works for everyone, sign up for our mailing list. By far, the best way to join this revolution though is to practice opening your heart and truly coming from empathy and unconditional love for yourself and everyone around you. 

Heart-Centered Revolutions is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to making a world that works for everyone. We can’t do it alone – we need you to join the revolution! 

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The Science of the Empathic Field

All my adult life I have been passionately seeking a union between the two worlds of the mind and of the heart. In practice I am a technologist, engineer, and scientist, along with being an ardent seeker of mystical, spiritual experience. As a wild craft techno-mystic, the one deep truth that continues to knit together all that I know of existence is one thing – the evolution of love. 

In my lifelong quest, the intimate interconnections between heart and mind continue to hold the most meaning for me. Along the many winding tracks and trails, I have been deeply touched by holistic minded and brilliant individuals, and had the uncommon fortune to personally know many of these brave pioneers. Let me take you on a journey through some of these adventures and encounters.

Truth is Interdisciplinary, maybe trans-discliplinary

A true science is interdisciplinary: it must knit together the very fabric of reality into a cohesive whole. Such integration can’t happen between different specializations without some degree of mutual understanding, appreciation, and respect. Empathy between experts is crucial if they actually seek collaboration. Exercising openness and empathy is the engine to build common ground and disarm the turf battle between the objective and subjective.

The science of empathy is an experiential wisdom that unifies the knowledge of the mind with the truth of the heart. The field of empathy has been studied widely, and contains substantial contributions from a wide range of disciplines, including the classical sciences and humanities.

Empathy shares experiences, needs, and desires to discover a shared frame of reference. This exercise creates a bridge of understanding between two or more individuals. Through an interplay of neuro-cognitive mirroring, we are able to perceive the emotion of others, resonate with them, and connect with them in a way that allows us to experience from their perspective. 

Empathy can allow us to appreciate how others feel, be more compassionate toward them, and distinguish between emotions that are ours from those of others. Emotional empathy is often difficult to achieve when two or more individuals have distinctly different life experiences and conditioning, be it racial, ethnic, religious, or physical cultural habits (Helen Reiss). Conscious and unconscious biases can be massive barriers to experiencing empathy. Not only is empathy difficult to practice due to cultural conditioning and disparate upbringings, but actually opposes standard professional models and training. Studies show how empathy declines during medical training as to-be doctors begin to depersonalize their patients as a means to defend themselves against emotional burnout. 

If we admit that empathy is a vital human capacity, we might be motivated to become an empathic based society at the large scale. Investing in practicing empathy can allow us to spontaneously and naturally experience compassion and caring for others in the world around us, deepen our sense of belonging, our bonds, and a felt experience of sustained connectedness. In doing so, we will quickly discover how imperative it is to learn empathy for ourselves if we are to stay emotionally balanced while having empathy for others. We might even begin to distinguish the two nicknaming empathy for ourselves “impathy” (Stefanie Neubrand).   

Living Within a Physical Empathic Universe

As we practice empathy, we will begin to experience something beyond our immediate senses and emotions. We experience the truth of the empathic field. 

The empathic field includes, and likely extends beyond, our parasympathetic vagus nerve system. Our bodies might be resonators and transceivers of the larger empathic field that exists between us all. To many in mainstream science, such experimental evidence is deemed impossible.

Gregory Bateson, an anthropologist, early cyberneticist, and one of my college advisors, touted “mind as nature” to study “the pattern that connects,” as he developed whole systems cybernetics. I believe this understanding is now evolving further as “heart as nature” and “the experiential connectome.”  

Many of these phenomena occur within the field medium of classical physics, including electromagnetism in water memory and sound (Masaru Emoto, Nobel Laureate Dr. Luc Montagnier). Dr. Emoto and others have repeatedly verified that emotion can be imprinted into pure water and it will affect both how the water crystallizes and how well it works in biological organisms.  

In one of my early tech ventures into creating music software, I collaborated with the enthusiastic Dr. Manfred Clynes. He had confirmed that different emotions can be encoded as subtle amplitude rhythms within music called Sentic cycles which he called Time-Forms. Listening to a piece of music from someone immersed in different emotions completely changed the experience of the music. The exact same Sentic waveform expressing love, or other specific emotions, for example, was found across all music performances.

Researchers have been surprised to discover that not only humans and animals can sense and react to different emotions, but even plants and cells can be affected by emotional expression (Cleve Backster, Christopher Bird). I have chatted with Christopher Bird, author of The Secret Life of Plants, regarding the incredible way plants not only register but immediately react to different human emotions. The wellbeing of the plants’ human guardians impacted their health whether or not the humans were present in the environment or remote. Could this phenomena point to a greater significance than some electromagnetic phenomena beyond our current level of understanding (Occam’s Razor)?  

Many of these researchers, inventors, and practitioners have repeatedly verified new phenomena which reinforce the idea there is a manifold of fields connecting us. Although many of these individuals were and are still labeled as purveyors of pseudoscience, the bottom line is something very remarkable is afoot. As Carl Sagan said, “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” The evidence is still mounting! One day mainstream science will begin recognizing what was once ridiculed and dismissed.  

The Quantum Empathic Field

The development of quantum physics and quantum theory help explain the existence of the field and how it manifests in our world. It suggests that the unifying field may even be nonlocal and outside relativistic frames. There may well be latent quantum entanglement between everything that exists. 

Very odd experimental results in the 20th century have given way to many efforts to create quantum technology that defies classical physics’s explanation of general relativity. In the past 20 years, everything points to an interconnecting field that exists beyond the electromagnetic spectrum.

Some respected physicists are suggesting that time itself emerges as a side effect of quantum entanglement, and some experimental results support the idea. Quantum entanglement can be understood in light. Two distantly separated photons of light are linked or ‘entangled’ together as if one. A change in one is mirrored in the other, and occurs faster than the speed of light. Some call this field medium the “non-local field.”

The famous physicist David Bohm elucidated ideas about  how the non-locality of the field is simply a manifestation of the ultimate unity that underlies all of what we experience as separate physical things. Everything is connected, all points in space become equal to all other points in space, and it becomes meaningless to speak of anything as being separate from anything else. In this sense, deep connection may be more the rule than the exception, despite what our outer senses so often relay to us. 

Another esteemed physicist, Hugh Everett, in his PhD thesis, theorized all that exists is embraced within a singular all-encompassing wave function. John Archibald Wheeler, another famous physicist of the 20th century, suggested that, in an analogous manner, consciousness may play some role in bringing the universe into existence – that reality is created by observers in the universe. 

On deeper reflection, it seems as if the existence of a universal empathic field is something built into the quantum nature of the universe. In essence we are all latently connected to each other. We discover this connection can be evoked by awareness, where we can learn to intimately feel and sense it, and each other. 

This all begins to speak of the borderlands between the material and the immaterial, bridging the physical and spiritual domains into a deeply connected continuum. Even though we may be physically separated from one another, we share the same existence, and that existence is unified, unmediated, immediate, quantum entangled, and possibly we all exist together within a great singularity.

Many data points are emerging in science and technology which strongly suggest the existence of the empathic field as a fundamental characteristic of the universe itself. The science and art of empathy and compassion, non-dualistic awareness, transpersonal experience, near-death experience (NDE’s), remote viewing, the non-local field, quantum theory, consciousness, shamanic experience, and extrasensory perception (ESP), are all exploring the depths of what we call heart-centered experiential awareness. 

A Practical Art and Evolving Science of Empathic Unity

We are discovering we are not passive participants, but active contributors. We co-create the field, contribute to the field, live within the field, receive signals from the field, and are embraced by the field. It is, in a sense, our ever-present cosmic mother holding us within her embrace for all time.

What we call “heart-centered” may actually be a universal truth of physical and spiritual existence and evolution. Sustainability, resilience, personal growth, love, connectedness, and social well-being are our sources of happiness, healing, and prosperity in our lives. They are all supported, if not deeply enabled, by the existence of a universal empathic field. Science is now increasingly confirming this radical idea to be true.  

We haven’t yet discovered the equations and experiments which will prove it to be a fundamental force of nature, but we may. More likely, it is the quantum wave function field of latent connectedness that contains within itself all the expressible four fundamental forces our modern physics has discovered. Some influential physicists agree. 

Despite all our efforts to scientifically understand, map, and detail the nature of empathy, and related technical attributes and influence it appears to have, the deeper reality is only known and appreciated experientially. It is beyond the mind. This experience can easily defy description and analysis, and almost be ineffable yet felt. 

I am grateful and humbled by the fact that the nonverbal sensing, feeling, presence, energetics, connection, caring and love that empathy speaks to remains the true territory to discover. The idea of the “field” is a felt sense of inclusive awareness and connectedness between everything contained within it. Our natural growth and convergence toward love and embracing all that is in felt connection and oneness could be the singular truth of what empathic heart seeks to usher within ourselves, between us, and with the cosmos. 

Join the Revolution

Adam Bulbulia’s upcoming book, Parenting from the Heart: A Guide to Create a Family Culture that Works for Everyone will be available on Amazon, as are his earlier three books on the topics of nurture being, love, and authenticity. As you continue your exploration of heart-centered principles, we invite you to read other articles on our blog. We also offer parenting coachingpersonal coaching, and business consulting.  

To join Heart-Centered Revolutions and make a world that works for everyone, sign up for our mailing list. This act places you firmly at the center of our communication channels. By far, the best way to join this revolution, though, is to practice opening your heart and truly coming from empathy and unconditional love for yourself and everyone around you. 

Tell us what you thought about this article.  Like us on Facebook and share your thoughts. 

If these words and ideas truly resonate with you and make your heart and soul sing, visit us online and join the revolution!

Heart-Centered Revolutions is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to forging a world that works for everyone. We can’t do it alone – we need you!

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Reference Links

Empathy – Social, Cognitive, Emotional, Somatic, and Spiritual Empathy – Wikipedia

John LillyWikipedia  The Deep Self

Heinz von FoersterWikipedia Second order Cybernetics

Charles MusèsWikipedia

Arthur M. YoungWikipedia

Stan Tenen – The Alphabet that Changed the World

Christopher Hills – Wikipedia

Helen Reiss – The Science of Empathy, J. Patient Exp. 2017

Mirror Neuron – Wikipedia

Stefani Neubrand – The Missing Construct: Impathy 

Vagus Nerve – Psychology Today

The Vagus Nerve & Emotions – The Osteopath

Gregory Bateson – Mind and Nature: A Necessary Unity (Advances in Systems Theory, Complexity, and the Human Sciences) – Wikipedia

Manfred Clynes – Sentics: The Touch of the Emotions (patents), Time-FormsWikipedia

Daz SmithEight Martinis

Jim Channon – First Earth Battalion – Wikipedia

Luc Montagnier – Electromagnetic Signals from DNA, Homeopathy- Wikipedia

Masaru Emoto – Water Memory – ArticleWikipedia 

Cleve Backster – Emotions in Plants  – Wikipedia 

Christopher Bird – The Secret Life of Plants – Wikipedia

Bernard Beitman – Meaningful Coincidences: How and Why Synchronicity and Serendipity Happen – Wikipedia

David Bohm – Wholeness and the Implicate Order – Wikipedia

John Archibald Wheeler – Geons, Black Holes, and Quantum Foam: A Life in Physics – Wikipedia

Hugh Everett – The Emergent Multiverse: Quantum Theory according to the Everett Interpretation –  Wikipedia 

Ingo Swann – Everybody’s Guide to Natural ESP – Wikipedia 

Paul Smith The Essential Guide to Remote Viewing – Wikipedia

Courtney Brown – Remote Viewing: The Science and Theory of Nonphysical Perception – Wikipedia

Jon Knowles – Remote Viewing

Charles Tart – The Secret Science of the Soul: How Evidence of the Paranormal is Bringing Science & Spirit Together – Wikipedia

Stanley Krippner – Mysterious Minds: The Neurobiology of Psychics, Mediums, and Other Extraordinary People – Wikipedia

Who is the Center of Parenting?

When we talk about parenting, many people might think the children are the center. However, the most effective parenting is centered on the parent(s). In a heart-centered way of being, the heart is at the center – not what the heart serves. For example, the limbs are very important body parts, but the heart must still be at the center in order to effectively support the limbs. When you put your own oxygen mask on first as a parent, then you have something to give to the children. To achieve true balance and harmony in your family, your children must orbit around you like the moon orbits around the earth. When your entire focus and attention goes to the children, it breeds insecurity and self-absorption and perpetuates generations of self-sacrifice in parenting. Self-sacrifice is not heart-centered. In the system of a body, the heart does not sacrifice itself for other parts of the system. It takes care of itself to tend to others.

When we look at family systems, we see they work almost like our own solar system with the Sun as the obvious center. In all family systems there’s also an absolute center to the system, which is always present. However, in many family systems this center is unspoken.  

When the family is working at its heart-centered best, there is a single, defined center. The family system may follow a traditional orbit around the mother, who holds the home together, while the father works and tends to the finances. It may be that the family system is centered around the father, while the mother goes out and works. It may be that the center is shared between the two parents. The parents orbit each other in a shared dance around a central point. The children orbit this system like planets orbit around binary stars. It may be that there is only one parent in the picture and they are the center. Or three parents.  Or two mothers or two fathers. Whatever the situation, there must be one single center.  It is best to have the center clearly and consciously defined.

Looking at the traditional family structure, the key to success is having a mother who is coming from her will, happy, and in balance. For a mother to be at the center of the system, she must have the best interests of the father and the children at heart. If she doesn’t have their best interests at heart, then she is not fit to be the center of the family system until she does. In this case, it would be better for the father to be at the center, assuming the father has the best interests of the mother and the children. Similar analysis holds true for any family system. The clearly defined center must have the best interests of the family at heart.

Family systems start to break down when there is more than one center.  In parallel astronomical terms, the orbit starts to wobble when there are competing gravitational points at the center. This can happen when manipulative children play one parent against the other, when a marriage breaks down and the former partners try to weaponize their children against each other, or when a new adult enters a stable co-parenting situation. 

To stabilize the system, a new center needs to be reached. In modern times, defining a new center often involves the court system, which can often cause as many problems as it solves. In a heart-centered family system, all involved adults need to feel into the complete family and reach an equilibrium, which is best for the entire field of all the parents and children in the system. Their competing egos must be pushed aside for the benefit of everyone.

In the case of a separated family, there are often two centers with one around each parent. The children adapt to the different sets of rules and parameters for each situation. The better coordinated both parents are in the service of the children, the more harmony will exist for the children. Unfortunately, this is not always possible given the reasons the parents have separated usually have to do with some fundamental disagreement or mismatch in values that often persists in the co-parenting dynamic.

Happy Children Orbit Around the Parent

Happy, well-balanced children orbit around their parents, much like the earth orbits around the sun. Children don’t need to be the center of the solar system or family system. In fact, when they are the center, they don’t have enough love or perspective to hold the system together. It literally stresses them out. Developmentally, children are simply not ready for this. In many indigenous tribes, the children simply circle around the parents in this way. It makes life move in a kind of harmony in the family when the children are following the adults. Since the adults are more experienced with living on earth, they should typically be the leaders of the family system. There are many children who may be more mature than their parents though. This is especially true in the case of severely abusive parents or parents who are lost deeply in addictions or some kind of trauma. When this is the case, the children can not be fully happy, but they will lead the system if there’s no leadership there. Oftentimes, the oldest sibling can take on this role. 

Free Yourself from The Parenting Trap

Sacrificing yourself for your children is a time honored tradition in which no one is currently happy, because we sacrifice our life force for the future success of our children. This is a recipe for zero happiness. Children can not be truly happy, if the parents aren’t having fun. And, the children will become future unhappy parents. This is absolutely no fun for anyone! 

You can live for yourself now and support your children. When you live for your own best interest in your parenting, it becomes a radical act of liberation from the shackles of conditioning. It’s all about your mentality! When you believe you have to sacrifice yourself just like your parents did when you were a child, then you will find yourself fulfilling this belief. When you take the approach that you are on an adventure of love and liberation, then you can realize the greatest potential imaginable in parenting. Let’s make parenting the most free-loving activity we could ever engage in! Let’s play with it so fully and completely that we celebrate this act as a revolutionary change in all of human consciousness.

The Orders of Love

In a family system, there’s an order to the way love flows best. When the order is not honored, disharmony is born. In family, or in any relationship, self-love comes first. Unless we put our own oxygen mask on first, how can we love another and have something actually true to give them? Cultivating self-love is a life’s work, not something expected to be an accomplishment in a moment, a month, or a year. However, when tending to yourself and loving yourself is at the center of your life, there’s a quality of ease and peace that enters all your endeavors. 

Next, love your partner or the children’s other parent. After loving yourself, this is the next place for love to flow. A lot of confusion and schisms happen when one parent places the children in front of the other parent. After self-love comes your spouse/partner. 

And, after the spouse/partner, comes the child or children. Often we put our children before our partner or our “self.” This engenders insecure and narcissistic tendencies in the child. Their ego gets an overinflated sense of importance and centrality that sets them up for selfishness. It also will drive a wedge between you and your partner. 

The Importance of Community

It takes a village to raise a child, as the old African saying goes. In other words, a nuclear family is not equipped to raise a child. Surrounding yourself with a supportive team is essential to being successful and staying sane as you journey through parenting. This can include people who give you insight into parenting, provide day care or spend time with your children so you are not constantly with them, or who teach your children specialized skills, which they would not be able to learn from you. The more trusted allies you have to help you on this adventure, the more fun and less burdensome parenting can be. 

Guarding your Time

When you are with your children, who is in charge of your time? How are decisions made about what is done? It’s important that you focus on what is best in all ways for you as the parent and a secondary focus is to take your children’s needs and desires into account. For example, if the children  want to play a card game and you don’t,  then there should be no card game with you playing it. Every little decision must feel right to you. Not right from some selfish sense of defending against the children, but right from the deepest essence and place of your being. Most parents in the U.S. either dedicate most of their time to their children without any regard for themselves, or are neglectful and devote no time to their children and let their children flounder. In a balanced way of parenting, there’s a kind of free range independent ethic cultivated in the children where they can go off and do their thing and are not dependent on the parents for constant encouragement or attention. With that, there’s a genuine desire to spend occasional quality time between the parent and children, resulting in so much love in the family, which fosters a good connection. 

Self Love is the Center

In this radical system of parenting, self-love is at the center of everything we do. We know that we can’t truly love our children if we are not loving our “self.” We have heard the message on the airplane that we must put our own oxygen mask on first before we help another or the biblical message that we must fill our own cup before we fill another’s cup. When we place self-love at the center, then we can give to others out of the love that overflows from our hearts.

One Great Focus for Parenting is Personal Growth

This can seem counterintuitive since parenting is so focused on the child. However, as a parent, when you focus on your own personal growth you have more leverage to affect change. Your parenting becomes more playful and dynamic. You can influence a child’s behavior but if you are truly loving you can’t control them. You can control your own development. It’s completely up to you how fast you grow and learn. 

When you play the game of self-development with your parenting, in the service of your child, you maximize your potential fully. Parenting is hard. There’s no way around this truth. Think of any other activity where you are on for 18 years or more and have to work everyday to pour your energy and time in. But this job you don’t get paid for, you actually pay to be a parent. It takes an enormous amount of energetic and financial resources to be a parent. 

Experience it: Shifting the Focus to You

  1. Notice something that’s going on in the children. And, notice what is coming up for you.
  2. How do you feel about it?
  3. How does it affect you?
  4. Let yourself feel whatever you feel here with acceptance
  5. If you pretend for a moment that children came into your life only to help you grow, what is the lesson here?
  6. Embrace the lesson that is coming through your children right now for you.
  7. Thank them for showing you this about yourself.

Join the Revolution

Adam Bulbulia’s upcoming book, Parenting from the Heart: A Guide to Create a Family Culture that Works for Everyone will be available on Amazon, as are his earlier three books on the topics of nurture being, love, and authenticity. As you continue your exploration of heart-centered principles, we invite you to read other articles on our blog. We also offer parenting coaching, personal coaching, and business consulting.  

To join Heart-Centered Revolutions and make a world that works for everyone, sign up for our mailing list. This act places you firmly at the center of our communication channels. By far, the best way to join this revolution, though, is to practice opening your heart and truly coming from empathy and unconditional love for yourself and everyone around you. 

Tell us what you thought about this article.  Like us on Facebook and share your thoughts. 

If these words and ideas truly resonate with you and make your heart and soul sing, visit us online and join the revolution!

Heart-Centered Revolutions is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to forging a world that works for everyone. We can’t do it alone – we need you!

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Freeing Our Children from Addiction to Technology

Addiction to technology is one of the greatest threats that our children will face as they mature. It’s not just children who are addicted to technology. Our modern world runs on constant access to the internet. The advent of the smartphone has changed the way we experience life. We need our phones for GPS, internet, social media, weather, music, and entertainment, on top of communication. What happens to you when you can’t find your phone for even five or ten minutes? A panic and sense of urgency descends upon many of us.

It’s hard for us as adults to fully imagine the impact of growing up with easy and instant access to this immensely powerful technology. Many of us had some video games growing up, but they were less sophisticated and harder to access. We did not grow up in the age of social media and the smartphone. 

In a song called “Brother Moses” by my friend Chris Makonnen, he sings about the plight the children are facing, “Children are losing themselves in a virtual modern cloud. Digitalizing the cosmos.” He goes on to say that children must be free. So many of the behavioral problems I see in all the families I work with center on addiction to technology. This addiction is enslaving our children and often seriously limiting their potential, as well as hurting the whole family. 

Children addicted to technology who are experiencing the withholding of said connectivity often function similarly to a person addicted to (a) substance(s). They will do anything or say anything to get their next fix. They throw enormous tantrums and, in some cases, even attack their parents to gain access to smartphones or games. It’s very important that we help our children be the best version of themselves possible. The addict is not a desirable identity for any person to be trapped in. The sooner we help break this bind, the easier it is for our children to wean themselves from technological addictions. 

Instant access to technology can breed a strong tendency toward selfish and narcissistic behavior. The children are thinking only about themselves and not considering the impact their actions can have on others. Many children who have free access to technology will refuse to go to bed,  staying up as late as possible while mindlessly scrolling for hours of screen time. The whole family’s health is compromised when one child is lost in this addiction. 

We need strong boundaries to help our children. Technology is a part of our world. Children will have to learn to live with it. Limiting their time on technology is so critically important. If they are under five years old, their brain is still forming and developing. The natural world should be their first teacher. Playing in the real world is an important skill children are losing with so much virtual access. As they graduate into elementary school, some access to technology is good. I believe children shouldn’t have their own phones or devices until they are at least over nine years old, perhaps 12 or 13 years old. When they have access to technology, there must be limits regarding duration, what they can access, and at what times of the day they can access it. 

Like many things, there are two sides to the use of technology by children. On the one hand, our children can face the threat of being exposed to adult content at too young of an age through pornography, extreme violence, and overly sexualized behaviors, for example. Social media is a very different world from the play yard. Some children can get themselves into trouble socially on social media by being bullied or ostracized from friends. They can attract the attention of adult sexual predators as well. On the other hand, the land of technology is a wild world and there are many useful aspects to technology that enhance all of our lives. For example, there are so many educational apps. Technology is not bad. It’s a good thing in moderation. However, if we are addicted to anything, we lose our power to it. 

How much technology is too much? In general, this is an individualized question. Observing your child and noticing when and where they show signs of having had too much technology is a good place to start. They will often be easily irritated, more self absorbed, and less considerate of others. Many children can not fall asleep because they want to continue playing on their devices. It’s essential to have a curfew on technology and be sure your children have at least an hour free of screen time before they go to bed. The artificial blue light makes it harder for all of us to fall asleep.

The only way to have a family that truly works for everyone is to have our children free of addiction to technology. When a child has broken free of their addiction to technology, they can use technology as a tool. When taken over by it, they can soon break free again. The forces that absorb us in technology are everywhere in society. As healthy adults, we must develop our own sense of what connects us, what is healthy, what nurtures and sustains our life.

It takes a skillful parent to raise children who have self-discipline and capably exercise moderation. Some children are able to carry these values on their own and limit their time on screens. Other children will need our help until they are living on their own. If your child has an extreme addiction to technology, seeking the help of a behavioral expert can be essential in aiding them to break out of this addiction. 

Join the Revolution

Adam Bulbulia’s upcoming book, Parenting from the Heart: A Guide to Create a Family Culture that Works for Everyone will be available on Amazon, as are his earlier three books on the topics of nurture being, love, and authenticity. As you continue your exploration of heart-centered principles, we invite you to read other articles on our blog. We also offer parenting coaching, personal coaching, and business consulting.  

To join Heart-Centered Revolutions and make a world that works for everyone, sign up for our mailing list. This act places you firmly at the center of our communication channels. By far, the best way to join this revolution, though, is to practice opening your heart and truly coming from empathy and unconditional love for yourself and everyone around you. 

Tell us what you thought about this article.  Like us on Facebook and share your thoughts. 

If these words and ideas truly resonate with you and make your heart and soul sing, visit us online and join the revolution!

Heart-Centered Revolutions is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to forging a world that works for everyone. We can’t do it alone – we need you!

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Narcissism in the Family

We all have an ego. The ego is like our psychological skin; it holds our sense of self together, and literally is our sense of self. Children are in a developmental process as they form their ego, which is necessary for survival as a core aspect of the human experience.  

I define narcissism as an excessive focus on self preventing us from having a healthy sense of connection with and empathy toward other people. I’m using a more expanded definition of narcissism than the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The DSM is the manual mental health professionals use to diagnose and treat patients.

Narcissistic abuse is rampant in families and our society as a whole. Oftentimes, parents have unconscious narcissistic patterns that play out with their children and their spouses. This is felt by the children as excessive coldness, being treated like an object by the parents, or in some cases, being emotionally manipulated. In extremely toxic cases the children can experience a complete lack of love from the parent who has this pattern and it may come with physical, psychological, or sexual abuse. If your child is suffering extreme abuse from your spouse, you may need to take legal action or get the help of a therapist, CPS (Child Protective Services), the police, or whatever agency is required.

While we are not all pathological narcissists, we all have narcissistic tendencies. Any time we become unfeeling or frozen in trauma we lean toward narcissism.  While parenting, notice when you don’t use empathy to relate with your child. Notice when you treat them like an object. It can be easy to shift out of subtle narcissistic patterns by simply choosing to feel and consider your child in every decision you make. If you have more pervasive patterns of narcissism in your parenting and personality structure, a trained professional can help you with these patterns. Your spouse may be able to identify this pattern in you more easily than you may be able to yourself. Many narcissistic people are unable or unwilling to look at these patterns in themselves. If you are with someone who is unable to look at their patterns of narcissism, this can cause serious damage in your relationship and the co-parenting. It’s good to consider leaving, if the relationship is abusive and toxic. 

Signs of narcissism include excessive defensiveness and a denial of the other person’s feelings. Narcissists will use a technique called gaslighting in which the other person denies your experience, blames you, and makes you seem crazy for the feelings you simply have in response to their abuse. 

The specific tactic narcissists often employ in gaslighting is DARVO: Deny Attack Reverse Victim Offender Relations. Initially, you might say something relatively innocent like, “It hurt my feelings when you ignored me last night.” Using DARVO they will say something that denies your statement: “I didn’t ignore you.” Next, they move into the attack: “Why do you take everything so personally?” Then they will make themselves the victim by saying something like, “Now you’re blaming me for all your problems.” A simple sharing of feelings that could have been resolved by a simple act of listening and understanding instead becomes a psychological war over whose reality is right. 

When you receive a defensive reaction from someone, first check yourself for blame. If you were blaming them, then defensiveness is appropriate. If you were simply sharing your feelings, then the defensiveness is their issue not yours. Staying calm while stating the facts and pointing out the dynamics is usually best. Beware that someone who is entrenched in this pattern may be very difficult to communicate with. 

Children can also embody narcissistic tendencies. Many children will abuse their parents with narcissistic patterns of behavior. Often loving and compassionate parents will feel bullied by their children. When the child doesn’t get what they want, they can throw enormous tantrums and blame the parents. I’ve seen situations in which it becomes so miserable for the parents that many parents begin to give in to the child’s demands, simply to attempt to keep the peace. Although I have tremendous amounts of empathy for parents who give in to children’s bad behavior, this is not heart-centered parenting. 

Heart-centered parenting does not allow disrespectful behavior to run the show. In heart-centered parenting, we know we don’t want to reinforce selfish behavior in our children. We want to encourage their best behavior. It’s good to set firm boundaries on the children’s disrespectful tones. Children should be considerate and loving to their parents. Children can not survive without their parents. Children need their parents for food and shelter and there should be gratitude and appreciation from the children towards the parents. Every parent has unconscious patterns which will affect the child. Assuming the parents are not abusive, children should not be allowed to carry blame and longstanding resentment toward their parents. If they are carrying blame, this is typically indicative of a problem in the dynamics between the child and parent. Whatever is happening in the dynamics, acceptance is the best medicine for it. When we have acceptance, everything else becomes easier to sort through and find the best action to take. 

Often children will carry resentment when the parents are carrying resentment. The children may need to be encouraged to move through the dynamics. This will flow better when the parent is not holding any issue against the child. Ideally, this is done by the parent who is not having the issue with them, encouraging the child to feel their feelings, to accept and forgive their parent as soon as possible. 

It’s okay to be angry with your children. Every parent gets frustrated and annoyed with their children. Long-term resentment is a different story, however. It’s best when you can use the resentment as the basis to work through the dynamics of your relating to find deeper connection and greater love. The first step to more connection when you feel anger, is to accept what you feel. Then, if there is a message that needs to be communicated, express what you need to say to the other person. When you communicate what is needed and are received, the anger will typically dissipate. Express the anger in a way that is as loving and compassionate as possible. 

I’ve seen many children embody narcissistic tendencies around the use of technology. Because they can be so extremely addicted, they will say or do anything to attempt to gain access to the technology. The last thing on the child’s mind when they want their technology is considering their parents’ feelings and perspectives. This is why boundaries around technology,  disrespectful, and narcissistic behavior are so important. Any statement that is demeaning or subtly objectifying of the parent should be corrected. When you fight the small battles for basic respect and empathy in every interaction, it is easier to win the bigger victories for your child’s overall potential. As parents, we are dedicated to helping our children to realize their fullest potential as much as possible. Correcting their out of line behavior, while nurturing and encouraging their positive behavior, is essential to having the best possible outcome. Narcissistic tendencies can be very intense. The more patience and loving acceptance you bring to the whole dynamic, the better everything will go. 

When you are setting boundaries, try setting them with empathy and compassion as well as firmness. Remember that like all of us, your child is simply acting unconsciously. Punishment is not what is required, just firm boundaries to help them learn. Compassion is the way of the heart. In heart-centered parenting, we do not seek retaliation for bad behavior; we simply do not encourage it, reward it, or allow it. We nurture our children’s true potential. Everyone has the potential to live in connection with their hearts and treat each other with kindness and respect. This is our guiding star as we parent.

Join the Revolution

Adam Bulbulia’s upcoming book, Parenting from the Heart: A Guide to Create a Family Culture that Works for Everyone will be available on Amazon, as are his earlier three books on the topics of nurture being, love, and authenticity. As you continue your exploration of heart-centered principles, we invite you to read other articles on our blog. We also offer parenting coaching, personal coaching, and business consulting.  

To join Heart-Centered Revolutions and make a world that works for everyone, sign up for our mailing list. This act places you firmly at the center of our communication channels. By far, the best way to join this revolution, though, is to practice opening your heart and truly coming from empathy and unconditional love for yourself and everyone around you. 

Tell us what you thought about this article.  Like us on Facebook and share your thoughts. 

If these words and ideas truly resonate with you and make your heart and soul sing, visit us online and join the revolution!

Heart-Centered Revolutions is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to forging a world that works for everyone. We can’t do it alone – we need you!

Facebook | YouTube | Instagram | LinkedIn

A Science to Raise Human Consciousness – A Brief Overview of Heart-Centered ABA

Heart-Centered ABA is a new branch of behavior science based on the heart. It synthesizes conventional Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) with tools and frames from Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Hypnotherapy, Waldorf Education, and wisdom from the indigenous ways of North America with the wisdom that has always lived inside my heart. Heart-centered ABA is a science of human behavior which branches off of conventional Applied Behavior Analysis. 

A Short History of ABA 

American psychologist B.F. Skinner is widely accepted as the father of behavioral science. His studies of learning and contingencies of human behavior were groundbreaking. He demonstrated that there are laws that govern human behavior similar to the laws which govern our physical world. He demonstrated that behavior which is reinforced will continue and behavior that is not reinforced will stop. He noticed the effects of antecedents on behavior and developed the three-term contingency (often known as the ABCs of behavior) antecedent, behavior, and consequence. This three-term contingency governs all behavior. It shows how behavior arises from the things which happen before the behavior and the future likelihood of behavior is a result of the consequences of the behavior. 

All behavior seeks to fulfill a certain function. The basic functions of behavior are attention seeking, escape, a tangible reinforcer, or they are automatically reinforcing (such as scratching an itch). Behavioral science became applied when the science moved out of the laboratory and began to work in settings such as homes, schools, and workplaces. This applied behavior science becomes a foundation for creating positive behavioral change across various environments. One of the best impacted areas of ABA is the work with children and adults with autism and developmental disabilities. There are many great changes ABA has contributed by helping the lives of families and their people with disabilities. 

Bringing Heart-Centeredness into ABA

In Heart-Centered ABA (HCABA), we bring focus to empathy and unconditional love. Empathy gives us insight and understanding as to what it is like to be in the shoes of the ones we are working with. ABA is often traditionally used in settings with neuro-atypical individuals experiencing developmental disabilities. Stepping into their shoes may be far off the beaten path of what the average human being experiences and is naturally outside what we have empathy for in our daily lives. 

Similar to the key element of empathy, unconditional love is the basis for feeling when nothing is in the way of our connection. Unconditional love takes the work of humanistic psychology around unconditional positive regard a little deeper. The humanists found we could have unconditional positive regard for any person no matter what behaviors they were embodying. Unconditional love rests on the work of psychologist Carl Rogers and all the other humanists. We love the potential in the heart of the other person no matter what behaviors they are currently embodying. We love and nurture their potential with everything we do. 

We accept and love the individuals as they are, while we attempt to modify their maladaptive behaviors such as physical aggression, angry outbursts, or spirals of negative thinking which affect daily functions. We use empathy as a way to connect more fully with the person we are working with, so we understand what it is like to be them from the inside out. 

Science of the Heart

Heart-Centered ABA focuses on measuring elements which are typically thought to be unmeasurable, such as empathy and heart-centeredness, to help affect change in these qualitative attributes. We use directly and clearly observable external behaviors, as well as taking into account much more subtle behaviors. To measure empathy we can measure the language a person uses, their tone of voice and body posture, as well as the general feeling you get from talking to this person. The Heart-Centering Scale is a good example of the ways in which we use measurement to help people more deeply into their heart. There is a subjectivity in these measures. However, when they are widely understood, I believe these measures will serve to help us make significant changes in our own lives and the lives of all those we come in contact with.

A Newly Forming Technology

I’ve always been drawn to difficult cases. I remember my first really challenging camper Zack, who taught me so much about how to shape human behavior. Later I evolved this into teaching as my student Karl showed me many of the areas in which I lacked patience and empathy. When I started working with the autistic and developmentally disabled population, my difficult clients continued to show me ways to reach people. At first I was just focused on the individual applications of this work to my clients. This approach naturally synthesized within me on how I run the company as a whole. 

While I’ve been applying these principles and practices for over 20 years, I have not yet codified this science, structured it, and verified it scientifically. Heart-Centered Revolutions is a nonprofit dedicated to making a world that works for everyone. The science and technology behind this vision is Heart-Centered ABA. When we are able to demonstrate the changes we can make in human consciousness and human behavior through this technology, I believe we will be able to make a significant contribution to humanity. 

Our Hope

Our hope is to attract donors to fund this newly forming science. We want to attract like minded individuals who believe in the potential of the human heart and what is possible when Heart-Centered ABA is more fully developed. As we codify this science of the heart, and attract practitioners who are already practicing with these tools and frames, we can create a powerful base to launch a technology that can change the way humans relate with each other on planet earth. Our goal is to raise $500,000 this year to fully codify the tenets of this science and create experiments to measure, verify, and replicate what we have found to be effective at Bridging Worlds Behavioral Services, the company I founded using Heart-Centered ABA. 

I believe we have discovered the answer to a key question which has plagued human beings since the beginning of time. This question articulates itself in many ways. I first asked it as: why is there war in humanity? I now articulate it as: how do we end human cruelty? I believe this science and technology has the potential to end human cruelty in any of those who embrace it. The practices of empathy and unconditional love, when exercised enough, stop us from creating unnecessary suffering for ourselves and each other. When the true heart-centered way of being  reigns supreme on planet earth, we will have the dawning of a new age in humanity. One where humanity is restored to our connection with nature and the goodness I believe we are capable of embodying as a species.

Join the Revolution

To join Heart-Centered Revolutions and make a world that works for everyone, sign up for our mailing list. This act places you firmly at the center of our communication channels. By far, the best way to join this revolution, though, is to practice opening your heart and truly coming from empathy and unconditional love for yourself and everyone around you. 

For more on how to bring heart-centered principles into your everyday life, we have a collection of books covering an assortment of topics. You can also continue your exploration of heart-centered principles by reading the articles on our blog. We also offer business consulting and personal and parenting coaching.  

Tell us what you thought about this article.  Like us on Facebook and share your thoughts. 

If these words and ideas truly resonate with you and make your heart and soul sing, visit us online and join the revolution!

Heart-Centered Revolutions is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to forging a world that works for everyone. We can’t do it alone – we need you!
Facebook | YouTube | Instagram | LinkedIn

Raising Consciousness: The Journey in Waking Up to our True Potential

Albert Einstein famously said, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” We’ve certainly created a vast array of problems in our modern world. Climate change threatens mass extinction, we have ongoing wars, economic inequality and oppression, sex trafficking, huge discrimination and acts of violence across gender, racial, and religious divides. When it comes down to it, there are vast disconnections within ourselves and between each other. How do we raise our consciousness to the level in which we can adequately address together the problems we face as a species?

It seems that we need a mass awakening in the consciousness of humanity. If we raise our consciousness to a vibration where we can all work together to truly solve our problems, then we can shift out of the kind of disconnected thinking that created these problems to begin with. This article will lay out some of the features I believe are necessary for this shift in consciousness. It all starts with individuals waking up to their true potential. 

The Path of Awakening  

Each and every moment is an opportunity to awaken. Any experience, no matter how great or small, carries its lessons. It could be the sunrise, a conversation that touches us deeply, or an unpleasant experience at work. There is actually a divine reason for all of the experiences that come to us. The purpose of our experiences is to help us awaken. We can choose how quickly or slowly we wake up, and life will continuously bring us exactly what we need to learn and grow. When we consciously choose the path of awakening, our growth becomes faster and more sustained. By pursuing the personal path to awakening, we raise our own consciousness and naturally raise the consciousness of all those with whom we come in contact.

Learning Through Experience

Experience is the greatest teacher. The more experience we have with something, the better versed we are at it. Cautioning someone about the dangers of fire only goes so far. Once you feel the fire burn your hand, you quickly understand this lesson through experience.

Experiences tend to repeat themselves until we learn the lessons. Have you ever had an experience happen over and over, until you finally woke up to the pattern and changed your behavior? I once had a client, let’s call her Sally, who was late to everything. Sally wanted to be on time, but found that at the last moment she was missing something crucial: her wallet, phone, keys, even at times her favorite lipstick or shoes. Time and time again she found herself racing around the house looking for “those damn shoes” again. Time and time again she found herself at important business meetings or doctor appointments just a few minutes late. She would apologize profusely and swear to herself to change her ways. Through counseling Sally on this pattern we found something unexpected. It wasn’t until Sally learned that she enjoyed the thrill of being late,  that she could break the pattern. When Sally realized she liked the rush of adrenaline that came from being late and having to drive fast to be on time, she had the key to breaking the pattern. She began to consciously choose to rev her sports car engine on her drives, while simultaneously reaping the benefits of the peace and satisfaction she felt from consistently showing up early to her life. 

Typically, we push away unpleasant experiences and don’t fully learn from them. This resistance keeps us trapped repeating negative cycles over and over like a broken record or a CD that keeps repeating the same track. By opening to the universe and fully hearing the messages, even in unpleasant experiences, we are able to learn and move forward. When we listen to our experiences and feel into them, we allow the lesson to course through our body. In this way, experience can be the great teacher it is meant to be.

Raising Awareness in Others

When you awaken to a certain extent, the desire to help others awaken seems to arise in most people. We want to share the benefits we have received by raising our level of awareness with those around us. When we liberate ourselves from some of the suffering we’ve been trapped in, we naturally want to help our friends and family awaken as well. In this way, humanity has always been learning and growing together. We share our knowledge and wisdom, ideally helping the next generation to become better off and further along. 

Raising Society’s Awareness

Turning toward pain is the way society will wake up. The phenomenon of turning away is what the rock band Pink Floyd sang about in their song, “On the Turning Away.” Through honestly facing the pain and suffering, we raise the level of awareness in ourselves and those around us. The path of the bodhisattva is to work for the freedom of all suffering beings. This path from Buddhism lays out a beautiful way for people of any religion to turn toward the suffering in others and work for their best interests. 

I believe the pains we feel in society have to do with the pains that exist in the individual. We all have a battle going on inside of us for whether to be true to ourselves or whether to be run by fear. Each day we are faced with a myriad of challenges as to whether or not we can be authentic. We all face the forces of disconnection inside our own soul. There are tremendous forces of disconnection at a societal level. The divide between the rich and the poor, the privileged and the underprivileged, religious division, and the battle of the sexes, to name just a few. 

The pains of this inequity in humanity can be felt by everyone who opens their heart. All we need to do is think about those who are suffering and we can feel the pain in society. By turning toward the suffering in the world when we have the ability, we can bring the light of our loving awareness. This suffering is not meant to make us feel guilty or responsible for all the problems in the world. It is simply meant to help open the heart to the plight of being a human being on earth at this time. 

When I turn my attention to the difficulties the homeless face right now, as we head toward winter, I have more compassion for their experience. I reflect on my own authentic interaction with homelessness on a daily basis, and am moved to approach those asking for money outside of the grocery store. Opening my heart to mass societal and universal issues, like homelessness, can lead to little changes in my daily behavior. When I leave the grocery store, I give my change to the folks asking for money, while looking them in the eyes.  

This opens the possibility for bigger changes to occur. I take out my ballot and scan for measures related to homelessness. I write to my county supervisor and ask them to address the issues of homelessness in our municipality in light of the coming rainy season. I take matters into my own hands – and really, the matters seem to unfold out of my heart and into my hands. As I become more connected to the suffering all around, I am intuitively guided by my own internal compass and change my behavior in subtle and profound ways. Rather than turning away from the suffering all around, I feel into it and feel a surge of energy as I allow it to awaken my awareness and sense of purpose. As I tune into other’s suffering, the compassion I feel raises my awareness and I become authentically connected to my own empowerment. 

Unity Awareness

The indigenous cultures of North America, and many others, use the ethic of understanding the universal interconnectedness they experience. Many Native American tribes start and end their prayers with “All my relations.” This ethic of unity and interconnectedness is necessary for us to solve the problems we face. If we see the problems as simply “other people’s problems,” we will not address them. Martin Luther King Jr. beautifully expressed this sentiment:

In a real sense, all life is interrelated. All {beings} are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be… This is the interrelated structure of reality.

When we awaken to this understanding of how interconnected we are, then we will intuitively be working to solve all the problems we experience together as a species. As a man who lives in a relatively safe town, I can walk freely at night without any fear. I remember the exact moment when I realized this wasn’t the case for everyone. I was in college, walking home in the wee hours of the morning. I noticed a woman walking nearby when I started to sense her agitation. It dawned on me that she was actually afraid of something, and that something was me.  From that moment onward, I started putting myself in the shoes of these women, and began to grow my awareness around how differently it feels to be a woman than a man. 

In a world where rape exists and is predominantly inflicted on women by men, I am at a low risk for experiencing this atrocity. When my heart opens to the sense of impending fear of and pain possible during this experience, I begin to feel some discomfort in my privilege. As my awareness grows through empathy, an issue I am statistically not in danger of experiencing, begins to be my problem too. I start to feel less content living in a world where rape exists.

If men in leadership opened their hearts to the plight of women on this planet, the policies, solutions, and the way governance happens would naturally be different. As more and more women are in positions of leadership, this will also help shift the balance toward increasing empathy and understanding, regarding the unaddressed inequalities women face in our culture. 

The Centrality of the Heart

The wisdom of the heart is central to raising human consciousness. Empathy and truth are two of the powerful virtues of the heart. As an organ, the heart pumps blood and oxygenates every part of the body (with a little help from the lungs, brain, and other organs). Through my own experience of tuning into the heart, I have learned that the heart feels every part of the body as a way to attune to how much blood it needs to pump. The heart empathically tends to the body. Yes, the brain is vastly intelligent and can entertain so many ideas. Yet, in my understanding, it is the heart that can discern the truth. By centering in our hearts, we become capable of empathy and truth at a much greater level than when we center in our minds. 

The Science of the Heart: A New Technology

To most effectively raise human consciousness, I believe we need a technology that helps people to center their awareness in their hearts and love themselves and each other more. Heart-Centered ABA is a technology that I’ve been developing for over 15 years through my practice in helping individuals, families, and business leaders to thrive and connect with themselves and others. It is a form of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). ABA is a science of human behavior which has been well established as an evidence-based practice helping people with autism and developmental disabilities. Heart-Centered ABA tracks patterns of dysfunction in their most subtle form. The technology of searching for the dysfunction at its most subtle level gives us access to make changes that will reflect in larger behaviors. This science applies to a wide array of human behavior. Heart-Centered ABA takes the science of human behavior and applies it to every interaction. 

I began organically bringing Heart-Centered practices into my ABA work, especially in difficult cases. I had a particular client with a cyclical pattern of physical violence with his mother. As he became older and stronger, his violence became increasingly concerning and dangerous. I noticed the preamble to the violence started with whining about what he was wanting and not getting. Repeated complaints turned into cursing directed at his mother. The storm of his anger would catch fire as he began to lose control of his body. He would start repeatedly hitting his mother. My ABA colleagues had little success in changing his behaviors by addressing his violence directly. So I tried a different tactic: focusing in on the moment his heart began to close as he realized he was lacking something he really wanted. By helping him change direction at the very beginning of the cycle, in this case at the moment he began complaining, we were able to change the whole course of his disrespectful behavior.

In couples relating, there are oftentimes the dynamic of fighting over who is right. One couple I work with has a long standing argument about how to approach scheduling and running the family. Again, I bring my expertise to hone in on the moment disconnection begins to occur. The moment they go out of empathy with each other and start disagreeing is the moment that can change the whole course of their relating. In this case, coaching the husband to stay in empathy with his wife allowed the conversation to remain a conversation, rather than escalating into a fight. 

By catching the problems in their most subtle seed form, the possibility to change bigger patterns becomes easier and easier. This can be done with individuals in any context where human behavior is occurring. It applies to parenting and families, couples and relationships, businesses and leadership, and work with communities as a whole. Empathy is the force of connection. When we use empathy in every interaction, we have a vehicle for creating a more connected and coherent solution to any problem we wish to address.  

If you look closely at this article, or any of my writing, you will find this science of human behavior embedded in it. All my writing is meant to help shape our awareness into a more loving and evolved version of ourselves. The power of awakening lives is guided by the human heart. By opening our hearts to love, we can awaken more fully to who we truly are. This awakening requires good discernment of our full potential.

What Disconnects Us

While empathy is the energetic way of connecting us, divisive energy is what I have named the literal energy that divides us. Divisive energy is present anytime we divide against our own or someone’s experience. When we relate from divisive energy, we relate with negative value judgmental and critical energy. Simply saying the truth is never divisive. If someone’s car tire is flat and you tell them that, you are simply stating what is. An example of divisiveness is telling someone they are a horrible driver. If you wanted to communicate without divisiveness you would say it seemed your driving was unsafe to me when you went around that turn at that high speed. Truth is factual, while divisive energy is categorically judgmental and condemning. 

Through measuring the amount of divisive energy in an interaction, and learning how to bring more empathy, we are able to more easily make the dynamic work for everyone. Divisive energy can be distinguished by the words people use, the tone of voice they deliver the message with, and the general feeling you get from talking with the person. People who naturally have a lot of empathy and compassion are often a pleasure to be around because they make everything flow easier. Conversely, people who are divisive are unpleasant to be around and generally make interactions difficult. 

Divisive energy occurs both inside of people and in interactions between people. Stopping self-divisive energy from taking over our own thinking is a very powerful tool to awakening. When we have loving and supportive thoughts occupying our mind, we are much more effective than when we have thoughts that are self-critical, blaming, or judgmental. It’s okay to be honestly critical of yourself, to simply notice what is not working. This is not about creating false positivity. We want to use our honesty to serve our potential. When our own mind supports and nurtures our potential we are more capable of responding to the needs of the moment. Similarly, when we are surrounded by people who love and support us, we are stronger than when we have people who doubt and distrust us. 

Everyday Heart-Centeredness

A big part of everyday heart-centered living is listening to the truth of the heart. This truth is simple, clear, and to the point. This truth awakens our consciousness to what we are actually experiencing. Often the truth of the heart is not what the mind wants to look at. By aligning with the truth of the heart, we commit to a path of love and learning which is very powerful and fulfilling. 

One way to experience this more fully is to turn your attention to this moment. What are you feeling in this moment, and what information is embedded in that sensation? I’m typing on a computer, and notice the excess stress in my fingers. I realize that I can relax as I type this. You are reading right now. How is it to read these words on a computer screen? How does it feel to be alive in this moment? Small insights into your own experience builds awareness. These are the little teaching moments, available in every moment when we are aware. 

Everything that comes your way is a potential teacher. It could be the break up of a most significant relationship, it could be the loss of a job, bankruptcy, the death of a loved one, imprisonment or lawsuit, everything is a learning opportunity. The more difficult the experience, the deeper the potential learning is. This is a hard truth that I find I need to keep learning. Life has a tendency to bring us lessons that are just at the threshold of what we can handle. Like in surfing, sometimes we can easily ride the wave and other times we are thrown by the wave and get out of rhythm with the ocean. 

A Vision for Humanity

As the leadership of humanity awakens, I believe we can make a world that works for everyone. Like the heart in the human body working for the good of all the other organs, so too can the leadership tend to the needs of all those who are suffering. If we care enough about the experiences of the other humans on the planet why don’t we help each other out? And, many of us do care in all the little ways we support our friends and family. How would it be if we treated all of humanity like our friends and family? Is it possible to make a world that truly works for everyone?

If enough of us wake up to the fact that we are citizens of this planet and our right role and relationship is as stewards of all the inhabitants of planet earth, then we are truly moving in an inspired direction. This is the direction I believe we are meant to move, to make a world that truly works for everyone.

Heart-Centered Revolutions is a non-profit dedicated to making a world that works for everyone. For this to happen we need heart-centered intelligence and wisdom to rule our planet and be the guiding star that ushers us into the dawning of a new era in humanity. 

Join the Revolution

To join Heart-Centered Revolutions and make a world that works for everyone, sign up for our mailing list. This act places you firmly at the center of our communication channels. By far, the best way to join this revolution, though, is to practice opening your heart and truly coming from empathy and unconditional love for yourself and everyone around you. 

For more on how to bring heart-centered principles into your everyday life, we have a collection of books covering an assortment of topics. You can also continue your exploration of heart-centered principles by reading the articles on our blog. We also offer business consulting and personal and parenting coaching.  

Tell us what you thought about this article.  Like us on Facebook and share your thoughts. 

If these words and ideas truly resonate with you and make your heart and soul sing, visit us online and join the revolution!

Heart-Centered Revolutions is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to forging a world that works for everyone. We can’t do it alone – we need you!


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Empathy: The Saving Grace for these Dark Times

In every dark tunnel there is a ray of hope; every night ends in sunrise. Empathy is a force like light and hope for humanity. I write a lot about narcissism and the doom of our civilization into selfishness. But, what about hope? The human capacity for empathy brings me hope everyday. When I see a child turning toward the suffering of another child and offering to help, it shows me what humanity is truly capable of. 

The roots of narcissism come down to an excessive focus on the self. Empathy is the antidote to narcissism or excessive self-focus. Empathy is the ability to feel the other person we are with and to understand their experience from the other’s position. No matter what the situation is, accessing empathy will nearly always help the situation flow better. 

Empathy is an underrated skill. Spiritual teachers such as Jesus, Buddha, Lao Tzu, and so many others have been talking about it for ages. Carl Rogers first brought significant scientific attention to empathy in his seminal article Empathic: An Unappreciated Way of Being. The field of humanistic psychology brought empathy to the forefront as a relational value. 

Empathy in Parenting and Families

Empathy is wonderful for parenting. Your children start out little and grow bigger overtime. Do you remember what it was like to perceive the world from a 5-year old body or a 10-year old body? We often forgot just how being small changes things. The world is so much bigger when we are small. The result of our actions  on our children is profoundly impactful. When we parent with empathy as the focus, the children’s wants, needs, and desires feel included. It’s so much easier to create a family that truly works for everyone when using empathy as the way of relating.

It’s not just the parents that need to practice empathy. Empathy can also be wonderful for siblings to practice with each other. A lot of the cruelty in families comes from the sibling rivalry between the older and younger siblings. When siblings think about how their other sibling feels, this creates more harmony. Particularly when the older sibling treats the younger sibling with this kind of empathy, profound change can occur within the family. Also, when the children practice empathy with the parents, this creates an even more unified and cohesive family. 

Empathy in Romance

Romantic relationships are one of the most challenging areas for most adults. We often struggle to put ourselves in the shoes of our spouse or significant other.  About 50% of the marriages in the United States end in divorce, according to Wilkinson and Feinburg. Long before divorce happens, couples usually get into oppositional stances where they are not able to understand each other. Divorce is not wrong. Some relationships are not meant to last. Yet, I do believe empathy is possible at every stage of the relationship, even when disagreeing. If we were able to bring empathy into any relationship, it would set it up for potential success. And, if the relationship needed to end, the parties could more easily mutually agree on the details of parting from one another.

Put yourself in your partner or spouse’s shoes as often as possible. How do they experience life? How do they experience you? How do they want you to treat them? When we ask these types of questions, it begets more empathy in the connection. When there’s empathy, it’s easier to work through challenges as they arise.

Empathy in Business

Traditional companies work well for the leadership and management, but not for the lowest level employee. Most businesses exploit their workers to profit off of their work. When a business leader works out of empathy, their whole team becomes much happier. An empathic leader wants the workplace to truly work for everyone. This approach in business can transform some of the negative aspects of capitalism. This way a whole company can be aligned with each other and work for the common good. 

Empathy can also be given to your fellow coworkers. When you work alongside someone else, it’s good to put yourself in their shoes. An empathic workplace is excellent for everyone. It’s not just up to the leadership to make this happen. Anyone can create more empathy at work by simply practicing being a better person to everyone you come in contact with at work.

Empathy on the Road

Driving is so much easier when we use empathy on the road. These days, many people are on their phones and not paying attention to their driving. When someone does something unconscious while driving, it’s good to honk at them to keep everybody safe. We don’t need to use toxic rage to get up in people’s face for their stupidity. Certain people who drive with narcissistic tendencies seem to think they can do no wrong driving. These people  are very condemning and attack others, making driving harder for everyone. We must understand that we are not going to be able to reach these people by raging back at them. I have found that the key to accessing your own potential for empathy in these cases is to remember that  the driver that goes off at you for no or very little reason is most likely very hard on themselves. This helps me soften into my own self love rather than responding to their rage with my own indignation. 

Empathy with Annoying People

Everywhere we go there are people who annoy you. It may be the tone of a person’s voice or the way a person is thoughtless or inconsiderate. Whatever it is that bothers you about people, you are sure to come into contact with someone  who annoys you. The first step is to always have empathy for yourself and let yourself feel whatever you feel about these people with acceptance. Next, put yourself in their shoes and experience what it is like to be them. 

Often people who are annoying to me have a level of self-judgment or self-hatred that’s hard to be around. When I realize this is what I find annoying, I have more compassion for them. If we’re being honest with ourselves, we all have some self-hate in us. I know first-hand from my own experience of hating myself how difficult it can be. 

Empathy with Extreme Cases

Empathy is one of the skills I practice most. I spend every day deepening my ability to “do empathy” with others. While I’m skillful at empathy, I can always learn more about it. Every interaction I have with someone is an opportunity to learn new aspects of life. I have learned that everyone I come into contact with perceives life from a slightly different vantage point (and some are dramatically different). 

I believe in the power of unconditional love to help all of humanity. To truly love someone we must first understand them. Without empathy we can not have understanding. I believe we have to use empathy with even the most extreme cases in order to cultivate love on this planet. I do not approve of or condone molestation, torture, rape, or murder. However, I do believe the human beings who engage in these actions still deserve our empathy and understanding. This doesn’t mean we don’t give appropriate consequences to protect people from further harm. However, it does mean that anyone who engages in these behaviors is suffering in some way and needs empathy, unconditional love, and support. 

The folk singer, Phil Ochs, wrote the song “There But For a Fortune.” This song taught me so much about empathy. He sings a song about a homeless person, someone in jail, and the country at war. It helped me deepen my understanding of truly taking the other person’s position and feeling their situation from inside. The more difficult the person is, the harder this has been. 

Empathy With People Who have Murdered

Everyone has the capacity to murder. Most of us have considered this option in moments of extreme heartbreak or betrayal. For me, several romantic relationships and a couple of business relationships have brought me to the place where I understood why people kill each other. Someone who crosses this line and acts on these impulses changes their life forever. When you’ve killed someone, it seems there’s a tremendous amount of guilt in the heart and soul of anyone who has taken another’s life. Shakespeare explored this in the way murder hung like an albatrose around the heart and soul of Lady Macbeth and ultimately drove her crazy. I believe anyone who has murdered feels the affects of this in some respect. We can not take the life of another without it bearing some impact on our own soul.  

Empathy with People Who Have Raped

Rape is about power. When someone rapes another person, they take this person sexually against their will. It’s not so much about sexuality typically, it’s a demonstration of power. Rapist only rape because they feel powerless. When we use empathy, even with people who have raped, we can better understand them. Not only can empathy help us to better understand the motivations of rape, but it has the power to transform  our culture to arrive at a point where this behavior no longer exists. 

Often men who rape feel rejected by women. By raping a woman, they are attempting to take back this power. The woman can’t reject them because they are saying I don’t care; I will take what I want anyway. Woman can rape as well as gender fluid people, but rape is still predominatly a male phenomena. Rape can only come from deep emotional wounding. I believe no one is born a rapist, just like no one is born a murderer.  When we use empathy with both victims of rape and perpetrators of rape, then we can strive to end this whole divide. Perpetrators of rape need empathy too! Only hurt people would ever engage in rape. Healthy people don’t rape, murder, torture or mollest others. 

Empathy with People Who Have Molested Children

Children are innocent. Most child molesters were themselves molested. They are drawn to the children’s innocence and attracted to this way of being. There’s a sensuality that is a part of human nature which children possess. Child molesters are typically compelled to act on this urge. Child molesters have a problem and need help. It’s like a disease that gets passed on through trauma. We must seek to understand this disease with empathy, and not simply condemn it but instead work for the healing of it. This way we can create a world that is no longer plagued by molestation and incest.

Empathy with People Lost in Narcissism

Narcissism is a buzz word in these times. So many people accuse other people of being narcissists. Some of this may be accurate and some may just be part of the selfish judgments we use to blame others around us. Those who are truly narcissists are sick with a psychological disorder in which they can not perceive themselves honestly. We all have tendencies towards narcissism. I believe that when narcissists are met with empathy and boundaries, it is ideal for their awakening. It’s so important that we use both these boundaries, as well as the empathy, in our dealing with narcissists. We don’t want to allow ourselves to be manipulated by them; and it’s important that we don’t close our hearts in hatred of them either. All people have goodness and innocence in them somewhere inside. 

Empathy Everywhere

Through practicing empathy with everyone everywhere we become carriers for this new way of serving unconditional love. Have you ever experienced a truly hard time when you felt completely stuck and you received empathic support from another? Empathy feels amazing, much like a religious sense of grace as in the song “Amazing Grace.” Empathy is a ray of light in the darkness. It is a lightness when everything in the soul feels heavy. When empathy is as common for humanity as breathing, we will have a truly empathic and loving society. 

It is my belief that we will only benefit from empathy. Perhaps this is one day something we can all agree on no matter what religion, political persuasion, gender, or any other differentiating feature. 

Join the Revolution

To join Heart-Centered Revolutions and make a world that works for everyone, sign up for our mailing list. This act places you firmly at the center of our communication channels. By far, the best way to join this revolution, though, is to practice opening your heart and truly coming from empathy and unconditional love for yourself and everyone else around you. 

For more on how to bring heart-centered principles into your everyday life, we have a collection of books covering an assortment of topics. You can also continue your exploration of heart-centered principles by reading the articles on our blog. We also offer business consulting and personal and parenting coaching.  

Tell us what you thought about this article.  Like us on Facebook and share your thoughts. 

If these words and ideas truly resonate with you and make your heart and soul sing, visit us online and join the revolution!

Heart-Centered Revolutions is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to forging a world that works for everyone. We can’t do it alone – we need you!
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How to Practice Empathy Most Effectively

Empathy is one of the most vital skills we can develop and use in our times and for all times. In its essence, empathy is the ability to place ourselves inside of someone else’s experience. There are many ways to practice empathy, but the most effective way I’ve found is to feel into the other by imagining that I am actually in the other person’s body. This process gives me the feeling of empathy as well as the sense of being in their shoes, thinking the way they do about a particular situation. 

Perceptual Positions

The Perceptual Positions Practice comes out of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), and is a clear and valuable guide to cultivate the empathy skills outlined above. As a Process Coach for 18 years, my cohort and I used this tool as a foundation for developing empathy and rapport amongst ourselves and with clients. 

There are four basic perceptual positions. They each line up with the first four parts of speech: 

  1. First position is the “I” or self position. In first position, you are looking out through your body and experiencing life largely as you typically experience it. To get a good sense of first position, feel into your body and your self, and narrow your awareness to experience the world through only your senses of your body.
  2. Second position is the “you” position. In second position, you are empathetically feeling into another person’s experience. In second position I imagine what it’s like to be you and feel and experience what you are experiencing. I extend my awareness to you and allow my sensations to feel what you are feeling. 
  3. Third position, “he/she/they,” is the observer position. In third position we are the observer. We are like a fly on the wall watching the whole interaction. In observer position, we are in a neutral third person position. I am not in my own body or your body. I am a fly on the wall watching the dynamic.
  4. Fourth position is the “we” position or field position. In field position, we are feeling the whole dynamic and are no longer neutral as we are in the third position. We are looking out for the interests of everyone involved. I am identified with the whole field or in service to everyone in the dynamic. I care about what everyone is feeling and am attuned to it. 

The Fifth Position: Field Position

The most powerful place to anchor yourself is in field position. From field position you have access to all of the positions while being connected with the feelings in your heart. In a sense, the heart is an organ of the field: it senses, measures and responds to the whole body. Flexibility is essential in field position. There are no drawbacks to field position since it is a hybrid position and incorporates the benefits of all the other positions.

The Gifts and Drawbacks of Each Position

Self position is a great place to experience pleasure and joy. When we are in self position, we can drop into our experience more fully and immerse more deeply in it. Too much self position can lead one to becoming self-absorbed and unable to recognize the other. 

Going into second position is a wonderful way to experience empathy and compassion. We can sense and feel others to become open to them in very profound ways. Too much other position can lead to enmeshment and a disconnection from self. 

Observer position is great for seeing things clearly and getting a sense of the dynamics at play. Too much observer position makes you removed from the situation and feels aloof to others. 

Field position is the most wonder-filled position of them all. To truly be in field position, we must retain the ability to shift into any of the other positions at any moment. Rather than staying squarely in the ever changing kaleidoscope of experience which is field position, we can flexibly move wherever we are called to move. With our awareness and focus, we can consciously feel into specific facets of our lives, whether inside of us or in the world around us.

The Perceptual Positions Practice:

Take a few moments to recall a recent situation you’ve experienced that matches the following criteria: an in-person, small to moderate disagreement or miscommunication. 

(Position names are capitalized here for ease of use.)

  1. Close your eyes and imagine the situation. From First Position, feel your body. Then take your awareness to the midpoint between your body and the other. You are watching the scene like a movie. Watch both people and notice the interaction. (Take a minute to replay the situation in as much detail as possible.)
  2. Return to your own body. When you look out, see the other person through your own eyes. Now replay the situation and notice everything you experienced at that time. What were you feeling, hearing, and seeing? (Take a minute in this position to re-experience it just the way you experienced it at the time.)
  3. Go back to the midpoint between the two of you (Observer Position) just for a moment so you can see both of you. As soon as you can see both of you, you are ready for the next step.
  4. Now you are going to place your awareness inside the other (Second Position). Do this first by getting right behind the other person and up close to them. Let your feeling extend into the other person’s body so that you can feel and imagine in your own body what they are experiencing. When you look out, you see yourself through their eyes. As the other person, notice what you are feeling, hearing, and seeing. Experience the situation from their perspective as fully as possible. (Take a minute to get every detail of this experience.)
  5. Now return to the Observer Position. From the Observer Position, feel into the whole. You’ve been inside your own position and you’ve lived inside the other person’s experience. Now move into feeling the whole dynamic. This is the feeling observer position which we call Field Position. Replay the situation by feeling into the whole interaction and notice what you experience from here. Take a couple of minutes to glean everything you can from this experience.
  6. Jot down some notes or share your experience with someone who has experienced this process. 

The first time you do this, it’s good to talk to someone who can help ensure that you’ve distinctly experienced all four positions. After you’ve done it a couple of times, it’s easy to do on your own. Once you’re comfortable and adept at moving through this practice, the next step is learning how to move between the positions in real time as you are communicating. I make a practice of feeling into the other every time I start speaking, when I’m listening, and periodically as I’m speaking to gauge how effectively I’m communicating. I also feel for how well they are feeling into me or what position they are in primarily. I try to use my communication to help bring them into a deeper field position where they can access both empathy for me and can feel into the whole field more effectively. 

The Immense Power of this Practice

This practice has been the backbone of Bridging Worlds. I’ve used it innumerable times with autistic and developmentally disabled clients and been able to bridge to them and communicate with them more powerfully. Recently I used it with a client with Prader Willi Syndrome to help him adjust to new rules around his diet. By using this practice, we were able to help him move through a really difficult conversation with grace and ease. 

I also use this practice while coaching neurotypical adults. It allows me to support others even when they are having experiences that I myself have never had. As I was working with a client who is coming out of some patterns of narcissistic behavior, I was able to feel with him what it was like to come out of a defense pattern he had been using since childhood. Everything was so brand new to him it was like he was learning to walk all over again. Even though I had never had this experience, I could feel it with him through using the perceptual positions practice. 

The practice of moving through the perceptual positions daily has given me deep and immense insight into what another is feeling at any given moment. By using it in every interaction I have, I continue to deepen and hone my ability to feel others. When you practice this exercise everyday (1-3 times per day) it becomes second nature to you, such that as a matter of course you feel the other and feel the field in everything that you do. 

The Gift of Flexibility

When we are flexible with our perceptual positions, we are able to move easily to other positions. Similarly, when we are flexible in perspectives, we don’t get stuck in one point of view. Anchoring in field position allows us to move into other positions and self position at will. Field position gives us maximum flexibility. Remember that there is no wrong perceptual position to be in. They are all equally valid ways of experiencing reality. It’s a great practice to do when you are bored or annoyed by an interaction. When you start using perceptual positions, there’s always something interesting to discover even in the most mundane situation. 

It is my sincere hope that this article gives you a sense of how to actually deepen your ability with empathy. The awareness and practice of perceptual positions has been one of the single most transformative practices I’ve ever done. From the time I learned it, this practice has informed everything I do. I even named my first company Bridging Worlds Behavioral Services because I believe that when we put ourselves in the shoes of the other, we can truly bridge worlds.

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