Posted by: paulbassler | August 28, 2013

I am the Enterprise

Have you ever wondered what made Star Trek, the first series, so popular? I have and I have a theory. The main characters of that series each represented a part of the human personality. Spock, Mr. logic, represented the mental side of the human personality, while Dr. McCoy represented the emotional side. Captain Kirk represented the ego, the guy in charge, the guy who made the decisions. Those three main characters each reflected aspects of us all, and then they went forth to where no man has gone before.

Think about it. Before Captain Kirk made a decision, he would consult with his mind and his heart, and then tried to determine what was best for the crew. Just as each of us consider how we think about a potential decision and what we feel about it, and then we decide which part of us to be guided by. The show was like an analogy of the human experience, bringing forth challenges and addressing them using a balance between the heart and mind. The other characters played similar roles of the human character, such as communications, representing our hearing and speech, and engineering, representing our power and our health, and so on. The travels of the Star Ship Enterprise represented the experiences we are all having in our day to day lives.

If you take that analogy and apply it to our politics, you will find a similar reflection. People who call themselves liberal, guide their political policies with their heart, their emotions. Those who call themselves conservative guide their policies with their mind. Whereas we would like to see our ego, or in this case our President, lead through a balance of these aspects of our national character, most often we get presidents who lean one way or the other, which is not much different than each of us. Each of us listen to our hearts and mind, but often make decisions leaning towards one way or the other. Those who are truly happy have learned to balance these aspects of their character in order to enjoy their life experience to the fullest.

It seems to me that living one’s life guided only by one of those aspects of our character, our heart or mind, is reflective of an unbalanced approach and most often leads to unwanted conclusions. Take our politics as an example. Liberal believers look at the helpless in our society, the needy, to those who struggle through life and believe we should do something to help them. They point to the disparity between the rich and poor and believe it is up to the leadership to make life more fair. In order to make it fair, in their eyes, they need take some of the money from the rich and give it to the poor. We have seen the problems created by this emotionally driven policy. When you take from the rich you stall economic growth which could help the poor with opportunities for growth and advancement. You also create programs that are mismanaged, leaving us as a nation in heavy debt. Worst of all, giving money to the poor robes them of their self-worth and leads to insecurity and dependency. What liberals do not recognize is that none of us are victims of our circumstances. We are the creators. If we are poor, it is because we chose to be. The love and sympathy at the heart of liberalism is admirable, but in order to find the best way to address the plight of the less fortunate, we need help from our mind.

Liberals view conservatives as those who hate, an emotional interpretation. They mistake conservative’s insistence on less government interference, lower taxes, a balanced budget and the desire to stop deficit spending as not caring about the less fortunate. Many conservatives have seen how badly we have managed our social programs in the past and would like to do away with all of them, giving up on the power of the collective to help those in need. They focus more on the fiscal aspect of their political philosophy and less on the social benefits a healthy economy can provide. Many conservatives could use more heart, more emotion in their policy decisions. In truth, liberals and conservatives need each other in order to find the balanced approach, in order to be Captain Kirk.

Helping out one another, and helping others throughout the world, is a good goal for any country to have. But before it can be achieved, we need to be strong, healthy and capable of supporting our assistance programs without self-destructing. It can be done, it has been done, though it hasn’t been done lately. Our president needs to be more like Captain Kirk. He needs to listen to both aspects of our national character and seek to utilize the strengths in their belief systems in order to find a balanced way forward. Otherwise, we don’t move at all, which is what is happening now. Before we can help others, we have to be healthy, we have to be strong and we need the capability to help without hurting ourselves. Once we have achieved good health, once we are strong, then we can listen to our hearts in order to find ways to manifest our compassion to those in need at home and around the world. If you look at it close enough, you will see that is true not only for our country, but for each of us as individuals. We can’t love others until we first take care of ourselves.

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Posted by: paulbassler | August 5, 2013

The Miracle of Life

The Miracle of Life

Five years ago I was walking down the streets of Manila in the Philippines, overwhelmed by my thoughts and fears. As the vehicles raced by, the noises and smells of the city bombarding my senses, my thoughts and emotions were surreal, as I could not move my attention away from my wife who was battling for her life in the hospital a few blocks away. She had suffered a burst brain aneurysm and was undergoing brain surgery to tie off the aneurysm and remove the blood in her brain. At that time, I could not imagine what was going to happen in the days ahead, let alone what life would be like five years in the future.
The evolution of our lives between then and now has been an incredible journey. The fear and trepidation I felt then has transformed to astonishment and gratitude. I am so grateful that my wife survived, and grateful to all those who contributed to her recovery. From the surgeon who saved her life to the nurses and therapists who helped her, and me, return to a life of semi-normalcy. I say semi-normalcy because our current life is nothing like what we anticipated it would be before my wife’s stroke changed everything forever.
My feelings of astonishment have risen from what the universe has done to help my wife deal with her disabilities. Though her surgeon warned that she may suffer from depression, as the stroke left her paralyzed on the right side of her body and confined to a wheelchair for the rest of her life, the universe chose a different path. Instead of depression and self pity, my wife is happy and grateful for every waking moment. In addition to the physical disabilities, the stroke created some brain damage that impacted her ability to articulate her thoughts, have easy access to her memories or project future events. That said, her consciousness is somewhat childlike, as she lives in the moment without fear of the future or concern with the past. She can access her memories, but only does so when asked to. When asked about a past event, such as the day we met, the birth of our children, trips we have taken in our lives, she can remember in great detail. But unlike most of us, she doesn’t speak of the past in the course of daily life. As for the future, she can remember plans that we make and she looks forward in grand anticipation for those plans to be implemented. Again, unlike the rest of us, she has no fear of what tomorrow may hold and gives it little or no thought each day. She lives in the now and is very observant of everything that is around her.
Being a full time caregiver has been a challenge for me without doubt. But she has made this challenge easy to face, as she is a constant reminder to me to live in the moment and be grateful for the miracle that is life. The universe has gifted my wife with a view of life that is filled with optimism, gratitude, amazement, enjoyment, happiness and love. In turn, the universe has provided me with these treasures through the love I have for my wife.
I am a firm believer that we are the creators of our own realities, and five years ago I could not see why we were creating such a traumatic event. Today our creativity is much clearer. So many of the things we thought were important in the past are no longer matters of concern. Our faith in a universe that knows what it’s doing is stronger than ever, and our fear of the unknown has been greatly diminished. Planning for the future seems less imperative, as the future does not exist outside the now. Today we are both grateful. We are grateful that we live, grateful we are still together and grateful that the universe is such a wondrous miracle. After living through this life experience, I am more certain than ever that there is purpose behind every challenge and a positive outcome to every grievous event. I am so grateful to my wife for sacrificing her physical freedom to show us the miracle of life. Whenever I feel a need to complain about anything in my life, I only have to look at her and I am reminded not to sweat the little things. She is always smiling, always feeling “fabulous,” always happy to be alive. Could any one of us ask for more?

Posted by: paulbassler | June 30, 2013

Do You Believe in God?

Unlike most folks in the world today, I am not a big fan of using the word God. It’s like so many other words used today, everyone thinks they know what God is. Everyone who talks about God thinks we all know what they are talking about. In our Judeo/Christian society, the word God is most often used to describe the biblical interpretation, being the creator of heaven and earth. In this interpretation, God is a divine being who created everything some time ago and is now waiting and watching to see what we do with it. If we do the wrong thing, God will punish us by sending us somewhere terrible for the rest of eternity. If we do well, we will be rewarded with everlasting life in the most beautiful place we can imagine. This God is like a father or mother, which should be loved and feared at the same time. We’ve all heard the term “God fearing”, as in I am a God-fearing Christian.
Do we really know who or what God is? If we didn’t have a bible to tell us, how would we know? Atheists say they do not believe in God and that everything in the universe happened without divine intervention or initiative. According to atheists, we are all on our own and believing in a divine power is just a waste of time. It’s seems interesting that atheists and religious people can come to such different conclusions while living at the same time on this earth. Life is able to validate each of their beliefs, and so many others, without having what one might call “indisputable evidence” for any of them. Life may hold “indisputable evidence” to the individuals who hold these beliefs, but they must be disputable if everyone can’t see them.
Is there any evidence of God? If we define God as the Creator, then the answer is yes. After all, creation is happening. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines creation as “the act of making, inventing, or producing,” and “the act of bringing the world into ordered existence.” Since we, as human beings, make, invent and produce, as well as bring (or attempt to bring) our world into ordered existence, we can recognize that we are all creators. Yet there is more to the world and the universe than what human beings have created and are creating. It does not take a huge leap of faith to conclude that “something” created everything human beings did not. It is also not difficult to see that Creation didn’t just happen a long time ago but is still happening right now. God, the Creator, didn’t create the heavens and earth and walk away. Creation is happening now, has always happened and will continue to happen forever.
So is God, the Creator, a divine being? That is to say, is God, the Creator, a conscious being? To explore this thought, we have to define consciousness. Again, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines consciousness as, “the quality or state of being aware, especially of something within oneself,” and “the state or fact of being conscious of an external object, state, or fact.” In short, consciousness is being aware of oneself, and of other things. Obviously we are conscious of ourselves, and all life forms appear to be aware of their own existence as well. Additionally, we are all conscious of each other and of things outside ourselves. Is it such a difficult stretch of our imagination to believe that the Creator is conscious of itself? Since we are all made of energy, and we are conscious of ourselves, then it seems apparent that energy is conscious of itself. And if energy is conscious of itself, then All-That-Is is conscious of itself. So, if we define God as All-That-Is, then God is a conscious being.
If God is a conscious being, like us, and God is a Creator, like us, does that mean that God has a personality, like us? That might be a stretch to conclude, since even though God may be a conscious being, God is not a person, like us. Our personality distinguishes us from one another. Our unique personalities make each of us unique. But if God is the consciousness of All-There-Is, then there is only one God and anyone and anything that is a part of All-That-Is is a part of the one…is part of God.
To believe in God is to believe in your Self…the “I am” that lives in all things. Does everyone see God in the same way? No, of course. There are as many ways to see God as there are selves in the conscious universe. In truth, however, there is only one Self, one God, and to not see this is like a drop of water not recognizing it is a part of a great ocean. It is true whether one recognized it or not.

Posted by: paulbassler | June 14, 2013

All the Selves Inside

All at once I think I see all the selves inside of me. That’s a line from a song I wrote many moons ago and it is descriptive of a modest epiphany I had. It started with the age-old question… who am I? When I looked within, I found I was many people. Not only was I manifesting many different characters then (and now), but all the characters I had ever manifested was still there. So which one is really me?

This is not such a difficult thing to see. We can all look back and remember our selves… what we did and how we felt when we did it. Take any memory. Take the first time you ever asked a girl (or guy) to go out on a date. If you look hard enough at those memories, you’ll recall the insecurity you felt, the innocence, the feeling of rejection when she (or he) said no. Maybe you were sixteen, battling moderate acne, short or tall for your age, and often worried about what other people thought of you. The harder you look the more you can see the character, feel the character, and re-experience the feelings that character felt even today. That’s because that character, and all the other ones you’ve portrayed in your lifetime, are still there.

Take a look at the many selves you project today. You have your professional self. The one you project when you are at work. There are the multiple selves you portray to your family, as you are a different character for your wife than you are with your children, your parents and your siblings. If you’re like most folks, your spouse, more than likely, knows more of your characters than anyone else in the world, though he/she don’t know them all. The longer you are together, the more of your Self is revealed.

The next question you may ask yourself, which of these selves is really you? In truth, none of these characters are you. They are, in fact, your creation. You are the creator of these characters, and you are the one experiencing the experiences of those characters. If you look closely, you will see yourself creating your selves, creating your different characters.

As an example, try to remember your first job. As you first arrived at work, the first thing you did was look around, listen to people and get a feeling of how people are relating to one another. In order to fit in you start to use the common words and phrases everyone else is using. You also begin telling your co-workers who you are. In your description of yourself you create yourself, in the eyes of your co-workers, and then you will go on to be that character as the job goes on in the months and years ahead. After you created that character, it will change and grow, along with your co-workers, and continue to evolve until your last day on the job. Every time you are in a situation like that, a new job or other new group encounters, you are given a new opportunity to create a new self.

So if you are the creator of your characters, then from that perspective, who are you? In order to answer that, you have to take a look at all you are creating, in addition to your many selves. In a universe that is constantly recreating itself, you are a co-creator, a consciousness in a universe of consciousness, a drop of water in an ocean of consciousness. You are not only the individual drop of consciousness, you are the ocean as well.

The Creator of all things is creating physical reality through you, and me, and everyone else, through our power of creation. Our creativity is the Creator’s creativity, and we are as much a part of the Creator as a drop of water is a part of the ocean.

All at once I think I see, all the selves inside of me. The butcher, the baker, the natural one, all vying for their place in the sun. That was the second line of the song. Every character you are manifesting now is vying to be manifested, to be recognized, to be. If you are a smoker who quit smoking, or is trying to quit smoking, you can see this clearly. That smoker self in you is strong. When you try to tell him/her no, the pressure is on. You can’t get that smoker character out of your head until you finally break down. That character wants to live. The smoker in you does not want to die. In the end, however, you are the creator and if you enforce your ultimate power of creation, you can eliminate that smoker self from your world. That self still lives, however, and will live within you forever. But you have given other characters the light of reality and there is no room for the old smoker self. That’s the key to quitting. For those who are trying to quit smoking, try not telling yourself you are not going smoke. Try focusing on who you do want to be. Put more attention into your diet, your daily exercise, your overall health. Create a new character that not only doesn’t smoke, but focuses on all aspects of health. The more you think about smoking, whether it is to smoke or quit smoking, the harder it is to remove it from physical reality. Focus on what you want to create, rather than something you don’t want to create.

Being a conscious creator of your reality is knowing that you are creating your reality. When you begin to see how you are creating it, you will have found a valuable tool in helping to improve your experience. To learn more about creating reality, please visit http://www.there-is-only-one-of-us.com.

Posted by: paulbassler | June 12, 2013

Safety or Liberty

If you’ve been paying attention to the news lately, you should have heard of the many scandals that have arisen in recent weeks. A couple of weeks ago we heard that the IRS targeted the President’s political enemies by delaying non-profit status for conservative groups and by auditing large contributors to the Romney campaign. We also learned that the IRS gave classified information from a pro-marriage organization to its political rival. Additionally, we found out that the National Security Agency (NSA) is keeping track of the phone records of most Americans, and may be “data mining” emails from Americans as well.
The NSA story is filled with all the elements of a good spy story. A twenty-nine year old technical contractor at the NSA’s offices in Hawaii, decided to tell the world that the United States was data mining American’s phones and emails. He was scene giving an interview in a hotel room in Hong Kong, and as of today, appears to be on the run. It’s 1984 all over again, with the fears of big brother monitoring the activities of the populace.
This story does, however, require every American to look at what is happening and decide for themselves if it is a good thing or bad. Should our government have the ability to track communications of any and all Americans, with a goal of stopping terrorist acts before they happen? After all, it is the job of our government to protect us and the world has changed, with new technologies and a new threat from radical Islamists. On the flip side, do you want your government to have the power to monitor your phone records and email conversations? It’s a question that pits our safety against our liberty.
In an ideal world, we would like to trust that our government will use tools, like a data base with everyone’s phone records and emails, to fight terrorists and protect Americans. If one judges by the government’s track record, it’s easy to see why so many Americans are troubled. In the current administration alone, we see the IRS abusing its power by targeting political opposition. They did apologize. We see the EPA giving personal information from America’s farmers to environmental groups. They apologized as well. There are many other examples from our government abusing its power now, and many more when you look back over history. Would it be such a stretch to believe the NSA might use the data they are collecting for things other than defense?
Keep in mind, the NSA data bank was unable to stop the underwear bomber, the Boston Marathon bombing, the Fort Hood shooting and the bomb that was placed in Time Square. It begs the question of whether or not the NSA’s data mining is effective in stopping terrorist acts. If it is not effective, why would it be needed?
So in the end, it boils down to trust. When the Patriot Act was introduced by the Bush Administration, those who did not vote for Bush or support him were against giving the government the power this act provided. Now that Obama is President, those who oppose him do not trust that the government will not abuse its powers.
We are living in a new world, where religious fundamentalists have declared war on our country and the western way of life. These new enemies are trying relentlessly to hurt Americans within our own country, and trying to recruit allies in America and around the world. How do we fight this war? Do we fight this war? How do we protect ourselves? The new technologies of our times are being used against us, and it appears, our government is trying to use these new technologies to fight back.
Perhaps we should take a page from Ronald Reagan…trust but verify. We can trust that our government will use its mega data base to fight terrorism, but put into place the strictest guidelines, rules and regulations we can to try and insure this data base in not abused. Information appears to be the greatest weapon in modern warfare. If only our enemies are using it, we may end up losing all our liberty in the end.

Posted by: paulbassler | May 31, 2013

Meeting Brother

I’ve been visiting spirituality forums lately and found discussions and threads concerning channeling. I found it fascinating that so many are into channeling and have a big desire to channel their inner characters. It makes me look back thirty-seven years ago when I experienced someone channeling a character, and at the time, I had never heard the term “channeling.”
At that time, I was reading the Seth Books, by Jane Roberts. In Robert’s first book, Seth Speaks, the reader is introduced to Seth, a character Roberts was channeling while her husband dictated their sessions. Though I won’t go into how good the Seth Books were or the essence of their message, I will simply note that these books introduced me to channeling.
In 1974, my wife and I returned to the island of Guam shortly after the birth of our son. Upon our return, we shared the Seth Books with a friend of ours who told us there was a military guy on Guam who was doing the same thing. A week later, she introduced us to John, a Staff Sergeant in the Air Force, who was freaking out about blacking out and having conversations with people while unconscious. We showed him the books we were reading and introduced him to channeling, giving him an explanation to his experiences. He told us that a few weeks back, he blacked out during a dinner party and when he woke up, the people in the room looked like they’d seen a ghost. They told him that he started to talk with a different voice and a confident, deliberate personality. We asked him if he’d be willing to try “blacking out” for us. Surprising, he agreed.
John had a broken arm at the time, which was wrapped in a cast and hanging on a sling. He sat down on his favorite comfort chair, closed his eyes and began regulated breathing. Within minutes, a character with a deep commanding voice said, “good evening.” After responding in kind one of us said, “who are you?” He said we could call him Brother and explained that he was one of John’s selves. “One of his selves,” we asked with astonishment. “He has many,” he replied. “Just as you do.”
For the following year, we visited John once a week and talked with Brother for hours. John never remembered the details of our conversations, though he had dream-like memories of some of it. What usually happened was question and answer sessions, with us pouring on the questions and Brother providing the answers.
On that first day, thirty-seven years ago, Brother wanted to drive home one point. “If you remember nothing else from our discussions remember this, thought creates.” That offered a great starting point for our inquires.
Throughout that year, Brother basically shared with us the nature of reality, the creation of physical reality and how we create our own reality. It was, I should add, the very same message the Seth Books reflected. The cool thing was, after reading the Seth Books, it was great to have a higher level of consciousness there, in the room, answering our questions with deliberative detail. Brother was also able to personalize our inquiries, pointing to aspects of our lives that reflected the information he was discussing.
At the end of that year, we really didn’t need Brother to answer our questions any more, since we knew what he would say. His responses always directed our inquiries back to us, pointing to the fact that we created the problems we we’re experiencing and the solutions to those problems must come from us as well. We learned to explore our thoughts, examine our beliefs, see how we created our reality and use that understanding to address the issues that challenge us. Sure enough, if you’re honest with yourself, you can see yourself creating your reality and you can see how others are doing the same. In fact, you can see how we, as a collective, are creating our reality and the thoughts and beliefs that sustain it.
So if you take anything away from this story, take this…thought creates. You are the creator of your own reality. Once you recognize this, you will be a conscious creator of your reality and it will enlighten your life experience more than you can imagine. If you wish to explore this a little further, please visit http://www.there-is-only-one-of-us.com.
As a side note, twenty-five or so years after reading Seth and meeting Brother, I read Conversations With God, by Neale Donald Walch. It’s a great dialog outlined in several books and describing the same information Seth and Brother shared, but in a unique way. Is Walch having a conversation with God. Read the books and decide for yourself.

Posted by: paulbassler | May 13, 2013

Killing the Killers

As a nation, we’ve had a tough year. From the murder of children at the elementary school to the Boston Marathon bombing, the Jodi Arias murder and the Dr. Goznell killing of babies, we have all been overwhelmed by murderous, senseless violence. Aside from the empathy we all feel for the victims and their families involved in these crimes, we, as a society, are left with the dilemma of deciding what to do to the perpetrators. I have to admit, I have been astounded at what appears to be an overwhelming desire to put these perpetrators to death.

It is certainly understandable why the victims and families of the victims would call for the death penalty for those who committed these crimes. After all, it’s a natural response to want to inflict as much pain as possible on someone who robbed us of a loved one for personal and selfish reasons, even though we all know that killing the perpetrators will not bring our loved ones back. An eye for eye still appears to be our nation’s belief in justice.

The thing is, people who kill other people justify their actions, as strange as that might sound to most of us. Whether it is Jodi Arias, who was convicted of killing her former boyfriend, or the Boston Marathon bombers, who believed Americans deserve to be killed for political reasons, they all justify their actions in their own way of interpreting their reality. The question we have to ask ourselves is, do we want to justify our response by killing them? In truth, if we are going to have a more peaceful world, we must all stop justifying killing, in all its forms. Easier said than done I know. An argument can be made, however, that sparing the lives of murderers is not about saving the criminals, it’s about saving ourselves. Do we want to become the very thing that we are condemning?

Few would argue that criminals should not be punished. Some would say that capital punishment is the ultimate form of punishment. But is it? I would argue that there are many ways we could make life hell for violent murderers rather than sending them to hell after death, if there is such a place. Condemning criminals to a life of hard labor would be a better form of justice than allowing them to die. As mentioned, killing the killers would not bring back our loved ones.

We have all heard the argument that we should keep murderers alive so we can learn what went wrong in their heads that led them to kill. I really don’t care what led them to kill. I’m not interested in being compassionate or understanding. I, like most folks, want revenge. But I don’t want to become a murderer as a justification for punishing murderers.

I think it is fair to say that we all are somewhat responsible for the violence in our society. We all see murder every day on our television shows, video games and movies. I’ve heard it said that each of us have seen thousands of murders on television before we even become adults. We’re supposed to distinguish between murder for entertainment, as movie producers sell, and murder for real. It is obvious that many folks don’t make that distinction. If we really wanted to get rid of murder, we need to remove it from our mind-set. Stop selling it in our movies and televisions shows. Stop selling in on video games. Movie producers say that they are only reflecting reality, not recognizing that they are creating reality at the same time. Look at smoking tobacco. It used to be that people smoked on television and in the movies all the time. Over time, however, as they have stopped showing smokers on television and in the movies, we have seen a drastic cut in smoking throughout our society. We can change our own behavior, not only as individuals but as a society. We must first recognize that we are creating our own reality through our thoughts and beliefs about reality. Change our thoughts, alter our beliefs, and we will change our reality. It is really that simple.

Becoming killers to stop killing has not worked. If we continue to seek justice through an eye for an eye, we may all end up blind.

Posted by: paulbassler | April 30, 2013

Pain is a Great Motivator

Being creators of our own reality, the recent attack on innocent people at the Boston Marathon begs the question…why did we do this? The media and government are diving into the lives of the alleged bombers to try and figure out what motivated them to harm innocent people, but that won’t answer the bigger question.
Whenever something like this happens on a national or international level, I try to make sense of it by looking into my own personal reality. In my world, whenever I hurt myself or I get a sickness there is always a reason why my inner self chose that course of action. As an example, as a younger man I used to spearfish for a living. Every day I would go fishing, catch thirty or forty pounds of fish and sell them on the street corner. I was living on Guam at the time and the dollar-a-pound I would get for my fish made me enough money to survive. After a year or so, I began to get tired of fishing every day, but I couldn’t stop (or so I thought) because I needed the thirty or forty dollars I received each day. Then one day, while I was fishing, I started to head down to shoot a fish and I felt water rush into my mouth from my ear. I knew I had just broken my eardrum so I got out of the water. Within minutes I experienced the incredible pain associated with a broken eardrum. After seeing a doctor a couple of days later, I was told I cannot dive for at least three years. So even though I thought I could not quit diving, my inner self proved me wrong. I did quit diving and did find another way to earn money.
Pain is a great motivator for change. On a national or international level, the pain we feel after an event such as the Boston bombing will, in the end, change things in America. We can’t really say at this time what changes may take place or how this event will direct the national consciousness to move in a different direction. You can already see the national dialog searching for new direction. We have talked about greater security at public events, immigration reform, the revisiting of our amnesty program and much more. We saw the same thing happening after the grammar school shooting in Connecticut. After that event we began looking into gun control, security in our schools, mental health and more. America is searching for change, but what change do we really want?
In order to know what change we are looking to make, we have to have a consensus on where we want to go. As a nation, we really don’t have a vision for our country that we can all agree on. Our country is divided in so many ways, we are pushing and tugging at each other and really moving nowhere. Any leader will tell you, in order to lead you have to have a vision of where you want to go. Who do we want to be as a nation? Where does humankind want to go?
In an attempt to answer those questions, I would like to offer some observations. Since the beginning of humankind on earth, the caveman days (may not be the very beginning), mankind has continued to grow closer. At one time different tribes lived in remote areas around the world, unable to go too far from their birthplace. They developed their own cultures, their own tribal roles and responsibilities. Over time, boats were created, allowing man to travel over the water, thus introducing them to other tribes, other cultures. Though this often ended up creating battles and wars no doubt, it also resulted in the joining of tribes to create bigger societies. Then the wheel was developed and travel became easier. Again, different tribes met up with other tribes and societies continued to evolve. It seems to me, since the beginning of man, humankind has been evolving towards each other. Just look at what we have today. Our transportation capabilities have shrunk the world considerably. Our communication technology has advanced so far, we know if someone stubs their toe on the other side of the planet. We are now living in each other’s back yards. As this evolution towards the unity of humankind has continued, so has fear grown in those who continually wish to maintain their own culture, their own beliefs, resulting in battles, war and terrorism. I believe we will overcome these challenges over time and one day we will unite as a species. It is fair to say that one day we will have a world government, not unlike the federal government in the United States. Even though we still have states that covet their own unique cultures and traditions, we now have a federal government that is tasked with uniting the people of the country towards the common good of all the people of America. The federal government doesn’t always succeed right away in uniting the people for the common good, but that is its task. It is not hard to see a world that has a world government trying to help humanity and unit the people for the common good, with the individual governments focusing on the individual countries, cultures and traditions.
As individuals we are all evolving towards unity with the one god, one creator, one universal self. The same process is happening on the national and international levels. In the end, we will either end up as one, or we will destroy ourselves and wind up starting all over again. We have the power to destroy ourselves, as individuals and as a species, so the time to decide which way we want to go is rapidly approaching. A house divided cannot stand.

Posted by: paulbassler | April 23, 2013

Some Days Are Just Special

I went fishing today, and even though I didn’t get a bite, I had a wonderful day. My brother and I chose to visit our local reservoir, located deep in a pristine mountain environment, surrounded by virgin forest. As I sat on the shoreline, I was amazed, almost hypnotized, by the beauty and majesty of the moment.
Being a weekday, there wasn’t anyone else there. The only sounds were that of nature, as the wind whistled through the trees, the ducks and geese honked at each other for no apparent reason, and the eagles screeched at the earth below as they circled the water looking for their next meal. The emotion of the moment was peaceful, reflecting the kind of serene calmness only nature can provide. It makes you feel like you are a part of something special, something magnificent.
While living on the island of Guam for almost forty years, my wife and I raised tropical birds, just so we could feel the same connection to nature. We used to sit in our aviary, watching our birds intermingle with one another, communicating with one another, staking out their territory, protecting their young, competing for food.
Sitting on that shoreline, it was like having my own aviary, only the birds have a lot more room and are living in their natural environment. Though I didn’t see it today, I have sat on that very shore and watched an eagle dive into the water and surface with a fish in his talon. It’s the kind of natural site you might see on the National Geographic channel. Like most folks, I have seen sites like this on television and I’ve seen amazing photographs of natural scenes not unlike the one I witnessed today. There is a big difference, however, in seeing something on television or in a photograph and experiencing it firsthand. Back in my younger years, when I was traveling around the world, visiting such exotic places like India, Afghanistan, Greece and China, my grandmother once said to me, “I don’t have to visit these places, I can just read about them.” I just laughed, knowing that there is really no comparison. Seeing a two-dimensional photo or video doesn’t come close to the three-dimensional experience of being there. As I sat on that shoreline today, I could feel the experience, feel the magnificence of the moment, and feel my own existence as being a part of the world around me.
The tropics have an abundance of natural beauty as well. From the sparkling turquoise ocean, with underwater visibility of 200 feet and coral so colorful it makes a rainbow look bland, to the gorgeous sunsets and sunrises, the beauty of the tropics is breathtaking. After growing up in Southern California and living my adult life on Guam, I never did experience the full breath of the four seasons, nor have I had the opportunity to share my daily life experience with the kind of wildlife found here in Oregon. Like a child I get excited to see raccoons in our cherry tree, deer roaming fearlessly around our property, hawks and eagles soaring overhead, and herds of elk gathering in an open field. I hope the newness and excitement I am currently enjoying living a country lifestyle never goes away.
I know a lot of city folks travel to the country, or the tropics , or to the mountains in order to experience the kind of nature those environments provide. I believe people go on such vacations because they need to feel their connection to nature. It’s a healing kind of experience. Placing yourself in the heart of a natural environment is like a meditation for your life. It draws you closer to who you really are. With the boost of inner-energy you get from your vacations in nature, you are refreshed, revitalized, and ready to tackle the challenges of the man-made jungles of city life.
I have always chosen to live in natural environments, and visit the city for the kind of fast-pace excitement it has to offer. When I visit the city, it’s like going to an amusement park. Everything is moving fast. Everyone is deep in their worlds, rarely taking the time to look up and say hi. I enjoy the experience, but can’t wait to return home. I love waking up each day and looking out the window of my home and seeing natural beauty all around. Whether it’s a mountain forest or tropical jungle, I feel at home in the bosom of nature.
I grew up in the city, but chose to live an urban lifestyle throughout my adult life. For some, the urban lifestyle is a slow lifestyle, a boring lifestyle. For me, mankind’s true nature is aligned with nature, though we are more than capable of behaving in unnatural ways.
The best part of natural living is our annual garden. For assistance in growing your garden organically this year, please visit my website at there-is-only-one-of-us.com.

Posted by: paulbassler | April 19, 2013

Medical Costs Are Outrageous

Everyone knows that medical costs are high. Still, you have to wonder how hospitals and doctors figure out how much they are going to charge. With most businesses, you first determine your costs, add on your taxes and a reasonable profit margin and you set your prices. When it comes to medical costs, it’s not that clear.
I have been caring for my wife for the past five years after she suffered a burst brain aneurysm and lost use of her right side, both arm and leg. Throughout those five years I have had to move her from her bed to her wheelchair at least five times a day. When we travel, that number goes up considerably. Unfortunately, my body gave out the other day and I suffered a hernia while trying to get her in and out of our car. After feeling a great deal of pain in my lower back on the right side, and pain coming from my lower stomach on the right side, I had no choice but to visit the emergency room at our local hospital. Not having medical insurance, I knew it was going to be costly, but the intense pain gave me no options.
There was not a long line of people in the emergency room at our local hospital. Upon arrival I only had to wait about a half hour before being called in. In the administration room I met a doctor’s assistant and receptionist. They asked me a few questions, name, address, insurance (if any) and my current problem. I told them I thought I might have a hernia. The doctor’s assistant asked me if I wanted him to check, I said yes, and down came the pants. Most guys know the routine…turn your head and cough, which I did. Yep, he said, you have a hernia. After telling me that guys my age often opt not to have it surgically repaired, he gave me the name of a surgeon, a prescription for pain killer, muscle relaxer and one pain killer pill then sent me on my way. It took about ten minutes.
Then I was sent to the cashier who asked how much I wanted to pay down on my bill. I asked how much it would be, but she couldn’t tell me. I gave her a hundred dollars and went home. A few weeks later, the bill came in. They charged $700 for that ten minutes of assistance, then reduced it to $465 because I was a cash customer. I couldn’t believe it. First of all, they wanted to charge my insurance company (if I had one) $700 for ten minutes. That’s ridiculous. That’s theft. Even the $465 they charge me was outrageous. How could they possibly justify that kind of charge?
A week or so later, I get another bill from the doctor. The bill was $245, and it claimed I was serviced by a doctor and his assistant. As I mentioned, I never saw a doctor, but apparently the doctor on staff gets paid even if he doesn’t treat the patient. I assume his role is to quality control his assistant. Still, those costs are simply not aligned with any justifiable costs. Again, since I was a cash paying patient and below a certain level of income, they were willing to reduce the cost 50%.
It’s nice that the hospital and doctor are willing to take less money for cash, but it makes you wonder why they hit the insurance companies with costs that are simply not aligned with actual expenses. If they are willing to take $587 from me because I pay cash, how do they justify getting $945 from the insurance company? Where is the justification for either cost?
I can understand that there is a cost to pay for having a doctor, receptionist and hospital space available 24 hours a day, but $945 for ten minutes work seems excessive. I suppose what they are trying to do is discourage people from going to the emergency room for anything less than an actual emergency. They are probably confident that if someone is willing to pay that kind of money, they must really be in dire need. I know I was. But next time I’m going to have to be near death before I go back to the emergency room. I would have loved to have simply gone to my doctor, but of course, it takes a month or two to get a doctor’s appointment and most doctors don’t handle walk in emergencies. I’m sure my doctor could have easily diagnosed my hernia and prescribed the same medication they did at the emergency room for about 75% less. Once Obama Care kicks in and the haves start paying for the medical expenses for the have-nots, our country is going to go broke in no time.
For me, my goal is to try and stay healthy through regular exercise, my organic garden and healthy eating. For anyone interested in starting their own garden (and avoid getting sick to begin with) please visit my blog and website at http://www.there-is-only-one-of-us.com. Of course, you might want to avoid heavy lifting as well.

Posted by: paulbassler | April 14, 2013

Losing Weight in a Wheelchair

In 2008 my wife suffered a burst brain aneurysm that left her paralyzed on the right side of her body. It took us a while transitioning our world into a wheelchair lifestyle and learning what we could and could not do. For me, as her primary caregiver, I had to learn to bath her, groom her, change diapers, avoid bed sores, move her from her bed to the wheelchair to the car, and to cook. I also had to learn how to keep the house clean, and do laundry. In the beginning it was hard to imagine how this one tragic event would change our lives forever.
With the love of my life limited to a wheelchair, my goal has been to find ways for her to enjoy living. At first, it seemed like eating was about the only thing she could enjoy. As the one bringing her food each day, I found myself trying to make her happy by providing her with the food she like to eat. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the healthiest diet and after a couple of years she gained over 100 pounds. She didn’t seem to mind the weight gain, since she enjoyed the ice cream (her favorite), candy, potato chips and other junk food I provided. One day, however, she saw herself in the mirror, fully unclothed, and was astounded. She started talking about going on a diet. We also saw a news report one day about a woman who was also confined to a wheelchair and ended up gaining over 700 pounds. Even though this scared by wife, it was not enough to stop her from graving the foods she enjoyed eating.
Then one day I got a hernia trying to move her around and we both realized we have to find a way to reduce her weight. I started looking for diets that might work for a disabled person who is unable to exercise, but found nothing. I spoke to a nutritionist, but all she said was limit my wife to less than 1500 calories per day. We actually did better than that. We cut her daily calorie intake to less than 1200, but still she did not lose weight.
Prior to my wife’s stroke, several years ago, we both tried the low-carb diet with great success. Back then, I was able to lose 40 lbs., and my wife lost 30 lbs. Now back then we were able to add exercise to our diet. Since we did have good luck with the low-carb diet in the past, we decided to try it again. With the Atkins Diet, phase one of the four-phase program is to eat 20 or less carbs per day. Once you start getting close to your ideal weight, you can begin to add more carbs through fruit and vegetables.
In order to meet our 20-carb a day goal, I designed a diet that we would eat each day. For breakfast, we would have two eggs, a half a strawberry, a slice of turkey bacon, one sausage link, and a small slice of mozzarella cheese. Eventually my wife cut back to one egg. For lunch, we would have a small salad consisting of Romaine lettuce, five black olives, cheese chunks, chicken chunks, a small slice of celery, a slice of dill pickle, a little cabbage and sugar-free dressing. For evening snack, we would have a few pieces of sugar-free candy, a half of strawberry, a half ounce of beef jerky, a small bowl of Jello, a few almonds and a half Atkins sugar-free snack bar. That’s it, our daily diet.
My wife began her diet in July and as of today she has lost sixty-six pounds. I began in January and have lost twenty-two pounds. No more ice cream, no more potato chips, no more bread, noodles, fast food or a million other things we used to love to eat. There are a number of other low-carb items we eat from time to time, such as broccoli, spinach, chicken, steak and other meats. Mostly, however, we have stuck to the daily diet I described. My wife has decided to get down to her pre-stroke weight of 150 lbs. Since her peak weight was 256 lbs., that would mean a total loss of over 100 lbs.
The weight loss she has already experienced has made caring for her much easier, and she feels better as well. My own weight loss has helped me feel better and given me more stamina to meet the challenges of my work day. Once we reach our target weight, the goal will be to maintain that weight and not fall back into the same old habits. I do hope to be able to have a small bowl of spaghetti someday, or a slice of pizza. I am hoping when that day comes, I learn what the term “moderation” means.
I can’t say our low-carb diet will work for everyone, but it is working for us. Even though I do get a great deal of exercise each day, my wife does not, and she is losing weight consistently every week. She had some blood work done not long ago and her cholesterol numbers and blood sugar numbers were good. Aside from her paralysis, she is in good health and feeling great. So if you are facing similar challenges, especially being unable to get much exercise each day, you might try a low-carb diet. But as they say in the commercials, you might want to discuss it with your doctor before you do.

Posted by: paulbassler | April 10, 2013

History Repeats Itself

With the recent death of former Prime Minister of Britain, Margaret Thatcher, it brings to mind the vast difference between those who believe in big government and those who believe in the private sector. When Thatcher took office in 1979, Britain had a 13% unemployment rate. By the end of her eight years of governance, the employment rate dropped to 5.5%. Prior to Thatcher’s administration, Britain was deep in debt due to the rule of the Socialist party. Britain was drowning in big government, and throughout Thatcher’s administration, Britain’s first and only female Prime Minister worked to reduce the size of government, build a strong private sector economy, break the power of the unions, build a strong military defense and lower taxes. Due to her successful efforts, Britain was able to restore its economy, get out of debt, raise family income and restore its power and respect on the world stage.
It is not hard to see the comparison between the U.S. today and Great Britain back in 1979 (and today for that matter). Today, the U.S. is so far in debt we can’t see daylight. The Democrat’s budget calls for more taxes and more spending. Unemployment in the U.S. is near 14%, if you take into account the number of people who have given up looking for work. Our military is losing funding and strength, our influence in the world is fading, and more people are on food stamps and living in proverty than any time in our history.
When Prime Minister Thatcher was fighting for change in Great Britain, the liberals and socialists vilified her, both in Britain and in the U.S. After all, if you give the country back to the people the socialists and liberals loose power, loose their high paying jobs. With a strong private sector economy, the people have power over their own lives and the government works for the people.
The United States became the most powerful country in the world in a short period of time due to its commitment to a government of the people, by the people and for the people. The U.S. built the greatest economy in the world due to the private sector, not the government. Is it any surprise that America’s growing weakness comes as our government continues to grow.
Socialists and liberals profess to care for the grass roots, the down trodden, the helpless. Yet their policies are designed to keep people dependent upon the state, assuring the power of the state in the process. As Ronald Reagan once told Americans, “government is not the solution to our problem, it is the problem.” Both Reagan and Thatcher used conservative fiscal policies to build strong independent countries. Both led their countries during the most successful financial prosperity in recent history. Even Bill Clinton, who tried big government policies during his first four years, eventually determined “the era of big government is over” in his second term, yielding, after tax reform and tax rate reduction, another successful and striving economy.
President Kennedy’s famous speech when he said, “ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country,” has been replaced by liberal ideology. The rich people are too rich, and that is not fair. The liberals, led by President Obama, want to make the rich pay a little more, and a little more, and a little more. They do not seem to recognize what history has taught us. The more you take from the rich, the fewer jobs are created and the slower the economy grows. The Reagan era saw record tax dollars making it to Washington, not from increased taxes, but from a vibrant and active private sector economy.
It seems clear that the Obama administration believes that they can “invest” the people’s money better than the people can. History does not support that belief. Social Security is nearly bankrupt, as is Medicare and Medicaid. Every program big government manages is mismanaged. History has proven that the profit motive is far more efficient than a benevolent government.
Using our vote and personal influence, let’s get our fiscal house in order. Let’s talk to our family and friends about the importance of personal freedom, the need to stay informed, the wisdom of being independent creators of our own world. Government is like any entity. The more you feed it the bigger it grows. Socialists and liberals want us to believe that by giving them our money, giving them the power over our lives, they will make sure we are cared for and life will be fair. In truth, we will become dependent, less confident in our own abilities, more willing to take than to give. Do we want to be sheep or sheep herders? The choice is ours.

Posted by: paulbassler | April 7, 2013

Growing in the Four Seasons

After living in the tropics for nearly forty years I got used to growing my gardens all year long. With a rainy season and a dry season, it was easy to grow most any warm-weather crop nine months of the year. The remaining three months were just too rainy for most crops, but there were a number of plants that could survive. Hot peppers were one of my favorites, but eggplant was also popular during those rainy months.
Living in Oregon these past couple of years, I have really been enjoying the four seasons. It’s as if nature is always in motion, drifting from one season to the next. In an attempt to learn how to grow flowers and food throughout the ever-changing seasons, I planted a wide variety of fruit trees, herbs and annuals last year in my greenhouse. I really wanted to see how the 20 degree and 30 degree temperatures during the winter would impact the growing process. I learned a great deal this past year, and I learned that there is still much to learn.
The first thing I had to learn when planting fruit trees from seed was the need to cold stratify the seeds. Obviously in the tropics, this is not needed. I started by bagging up the various varieties of apple seeds I purchased in moist peat moss and put them in the refrigerator. Most of the varieties began to sprout within a couple of weeks. Some varieties took a couple of months. I tried stratifying some thornless blackberry seeds, and I tried planting some directly in the ground. That was in September. The seeds I put in the fridge never did sprout, but the ones I planted in the ground began to sprout in early February.
Most everything I planted, both flowers and food plants, survived the cold weather well. It’s as if they go dormant during the cold months and start waking up when the weather warms. It’s April now and everything is growing with reckless abandon. Nature is really amazing. Outside the greenhouse, all of nature is doing the same thing. After sitting dormant for the past few months, everything is coming alive. It’s really amazing to see the whole world waking up as each day passes. And yet, after everything comes back to full bloom, full foliage, the next season begins to creep in. The leaves begin to slowly fall. The landscape begins to look more barren. Before you know it, there is snow everywhere. It’s never-ending and a beautiful thing to watch, and it’s fun to be a part of that process in my greenhouse.
I’ve also noticed there is a lot more insect activity during the spring. For months during the winter I haven’t seen any bugs. But now, they’re everywhere. I can only guess that they too go dormant during the winter and start to come alive when the weather warms. In the tropics, the bugs are always there.
Growing a successful garden in the four seasons is much like preparing a meal. When you cook a meal, say a chicken dinner, there is a tight schedule you have to keep in order for everything to be ready at the same time. If you’re going to have mashed potato, you have to start the potatoes first. Then a bit later you put the chicken in the oven. Sometime later, you put your vegetables on the stove. In your garden, you have to start preparing your soil first, stratify some of your seeds weeks or months in advance, plant your vegetables on a rotating schedule so everything doesn’t grow to fruition at the same time. Fertilizing and pest management have to be scheduled. Your compost pile has to be ready when needed. Everything has to be scheduled to coordinate with the ever-changing environment. It takes a lot more planning to grow in the four seasons then it does in the tropics. Perhaps like so many I will one day take the four seasons for granted. For now, I am really appreciating the ever-changing face of our natural environment.

Posted by: paulbassler | March 26, 2013

Growing Organically In The Tropics

It was back in the early 70s when I saw my first organic garden. I was visiting a friend in Port Angeles, Washington, and though I cannot remember which friend I was visiting, I can still see the beautiful garden his wife had created. It had a white picket fence, was fully mulched and had vegetables hanging on every plant. I was hooked.
Shortly after that trip to Washington I moved to Guam. For those who don’t know, Guam is a beautiful tropical island located in an area known as the Pacific Rim. A three hour flight to Japan, five hour flight to the Philippines, Thailand and Australia, Guam is a U.S. territory where “America’s Day Begins.” For the next thirty-nine years, I made Guam my home.
Being a tropical environment, the temperature on Guam never gets below 70 degrees or higher than 90 degrees. In the tropics you don’t have four seasons. Instead, you have six months of dry season and six months of rainy season, though sometimes it is hard to tell the difference. During the dry season, humidity is down, the trade winds are constant and every day is barbeque weather. It is the ideal growing season. During the rainy season, you still get many beautiful sunny days, though monsoons are common, typhoons occasionally swing by and the humidity feels like a blanket of wet air. The heavy rains during the rainy season make it difficult to grow many of the common vegetables, but there are still many things to grow in the garden year around, as long as you allow for drainage.
My wife and I always had food growing in the yard. When we first bought our property, a half-acre on the southern side of the island, we planted a variety of fruit trees, including mango, banana, guava, lemon, lime, cherry trees and more. During the dry season, our garden would provide us with tomato, cucumber, watermelon, cantaloupe, onions, broccoli, cabbage, hot peppers, bell peppers and more. We always grew organically, but ran into challenges that were hard to solve.
I remember my early gardens when I would put seedlings in the ground only to find them destroyed the following day. It took me a while to discover that land crabs were responsible. Guam has these land crabs that bore holes in the soil that made our fence useless. I tried filling the holes with water, but I got the impression that there were miles of caves under the ground and the water had little effect. I tried looking in my organic gardening books and magazines for a solution to no avail. I checked online, but still could not find anyone facing the same problem. There is lots of pest management information out there, but not that much for the kind of pests you find in the tropics. I finally asked other farmers and gardeners on Guam about the land crabs and learned what to do. You get a foot-long piece of bamboo the same diameter as the hole in the ground, which was about the size of a baseball. Bamboo has segments throughout the stalk, so you cut a piece open at one end and sectioned off on the other. At the open end, you take a tin can top, like a top from a tuna can. You put a small hole at the top of the tin and attach it with wire or string to the lip of the bamboo with the tin angled into the bamboo. Essentially you are making a one-way door. At the sealed end of the bamboo, you put a hole about the size of a quarter. Place the bamboo down in the hole with the one-way door on the bottom. At night, when the crab comes out, he walks through the one-way door and gets trapped. Using this method, I not only stopped the crabs from destroying my garden, but caught enough crabs for a great crab meal.
The tropics have a lot of bugs and pests not found anywhere else. You also find many of the common pests, such as aphids, beetles, grasshoppers and other troublesome insects. Many of the organic pest management techniques used throughout the states work well on Guam. One of the best pest management tools I used on my tropical garden was hot peppers and water. Guam has an indigenous hot pepper, known as Doni, that is so hot it will burn a hole in your skin if you get it on you. That may be a slight exaggeration, but it is really hot. I would soak some Doni in water for a couple of days and spray my plants with it. This worked extremely well on ants that were living in my corn plants.
Other organic techniques used in the tropics include banana leaves and coconut husk as mulch. Neem oil is also a popular pest resister and is also used on the mainland. The Neem tree grows in the tropics, making it beneficial to have growing near the garden.
Organic growing is more than not using synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides. Organic growing is about being a part of the natural process. Growing in a tropical environment is different than growing in all the other zones, therefore many of the solutions to the challenges of organic growing in the tropics will come from the tropical environment. If you have discovered organic techniques found in your unique growing zone, please share. To support your organic garden, please visit http://there-is-only-one-of-us.com/.

Posted by: paulbassler | March 20, 2013

The Universal Self

I believe there is an old Chinese saying, “may you live in interesting times.” I think it is fair to say that all times throughout human history have been interesting. Though there have been different challenges, different events, different social issues, different wars and different crisis throughout human history, there are many things we have in common with our ancestors and those who are living today. As human beings, we have all experienced pain, both physical and emotional. We have all experienced fear and love, though each individual often experiences a greater abundance of one or the other. Jealousy, insecurity, anger, friendship, compassion, irritation, inspiration and so much more are all a part of the human experience and we all experience these things to various degrees.
Even though we are all experiencing the same range of emotional, mental and physical aspects of physical reality, we all feel that our life experience is personal, unlike any others, unique. It is the individual way we navigate our lives through the wide range of emotional, mental and physical aspects of life that does indeed make each of us unique. At the same time, since we are all experiencing the same thing we are all the same, even though we experience things in different ways. It is our unique experiences on the same aspects of life that lead people to separate themselves from others. You might call this the us and them syndrome. In truth, there is no us and them…there is only us.
Imagine a universal spirit, the Holy Spirit, a consciousness of self that lives in all things. Now imagine this universal consciousness, in its yearning to experience itself, manifests itself in billions, trillions of different ways. Even though the great universal consciousness is manifested in an unlimited number of ways in physical reality, it is still one consciousness. Each aspect of that universal consciousness experiences itself separate and apart from all other aspects of physical reality, but in truth, everything is a manifestation of the one. That would mean that our own awareness of self is the same awareness of self that exists in all that is.
In my view of reality, this is God. This is the God-Self, the universal consciousness, the “I am” that lives in all that is. Being that the God-Self lives in all of us, there are ways to experience this universal consciousness, to feel your unity with this consciousness, to be one with the God-Self. We have a simple word describing our connection to the one self. It’s called unity. When we feel unity with anything outside of ourselves, we are experiencing our connection to the one self. God is unity and unity is love.
Since the reality of our existence is unity or love, when we experience unity or love we feel the joy of that union. On the flip side, when we feel separated from the world, from each other, from everything outside ourselves, we feel fear, sadness, loneliness, confusion and pain. The illusion of our reality is that we are separate from one another and from all things. It is an illusion we have created on purpose, since there is no other way to experience the one self. How can we experience love if fear does not exist? How can we experience happiness if sadness does not exist? The illusionary world we are creating exists to provide a platform to not only know who we are, but to be able to experience who we are.
The evolution of mankind has gone from living in tribes and caves, separate and apart from one another, to a world where advancements in transportation and communication have unified the world like never before. We are evolving from the illusion of our separateness to the reality of our unity. We are doing this as individuals and in mass. As individuals, we each have the ability to choose whether we want to facilitate the unification of mankind, or focus on the illusion of our separateness. As the advancements of transportation and communication have grown over the centuries, so has the fear of losing one’s unique identity. As people and their cultures fight to maintain their separateness and uniqueness from the whole, mankind’s destructive ability has grown. We now have the power to destroy all mankind. Each of us has the ability to choose. Do we want to live in peace and solidify our unity through our awareness of the one self, or destroy ourselves in our defense of our individual uniqueness? United we stand, divided we fall. Don’t be fooled by the illusion…love is all there is.

Posted by: paulbassler | March 6, 2013

The Evolution of Consciouness

Over the past few months, I have written extensively about the impact my wife’s burst brain aneurysm had on our lives. Though the physical disabilities resulting from her stroke have created many challenges, one of my greatest fascinations has been the evolution of my wife’s consciousness over the past five years.
It is very clear to me that the woman I married forty-one years ago is not the same woman I am living with today, if you define who we are by the characters we project. The woman I married was shy, soft spoken, and had a relatively low self-esteem. At the same time, she was loving, loyal, smart, hard-working, and really cared about the health and happiness of others. She would never allow having her picture to be taken and would never sing out-loud.
After the brain surgery that tied off the aneurysm and saved her life she literally had no concept of self. In those first few days and weeks after she awoke, she didn’t know who I was, or her son, as we visited her each day. She didn’t know who she was. She was just there, looking around the hospital room as if she was just born. Her attention turned to every sound, every motion and the look on her face was astonishment, surprise, innocence and curiosity.
A month or so after her surgery, they removed the trachea tube from her throat and we all waited patiently to see if she could speak. One morning, as the nurse and I rolled my wife over to change her diaper, my face was just inches away from her face when I heard her say softly, “ouch.” I immediately began to cry. It took several more days before she spoke another word, which was “good morning,” when I showed up for my morning visit. As the weeks went on, she would add one or two words a week to her vocabulary.
As the days went on I began to bring pictures of her family to her to find out if she recognized anyone. At first, she did not. Hospital therapists would come in to test her cognitive abilities. In the beginning, she did not know the difference between yes and no, and could not remember what a ball was, a hamburger or dozens of other common items.
She spent three months in the hospital and over that time she slowly began to remember. Before we left the hospital, she did recognize the photos of her family, even distant family members, though she still had little memory of the details of her life. She also did not have short term memory, as she could not remember things that happened just seconds earlier. For a time I put her in a nursing home after leaving the hospital, which is a story itself. In short, our insurance company did not want to pay for that, and the director of the facility seemed to be aligned with the insurance company. The director, who wanted to prove to me that she did not belong there, gave my wife a test. He asked her what my name is…she did not know. He asked her to sing Happy Birthday…she could not. So he turned to me and said she has serious brain damage and there was nothing they could do. I mentioned to him that her surgeon told me she could continue to improve over time, but the director said the surgeon was only telling me something I wanted to here. It was his experience, he said, that she would not see much improvement in the months and years ahead. I was furious that he would say such a thing and wrote a complaint letter to the hospital.
Over the past five years, my wife’s long term memory has nearly fully returned, as has her short term memory. Though she has her long term memory, she only uses it when asked to. Mostly she lives in the moment. She is still very child-like in her view of the world. She loves her life and is grateful for every moment in it. She can not only sing Happy Birthday, she sings all the great rock and roll songs of the 60s and 70s, and isn’t shy at all when she does. As the years have gone by, she continues to become more and more self-aware, but she doesn’t have the typical ego. She isn’t trying to be someone special. She doesn’t try to draw attention to herself. She speaks what is on her mind and notices the little things around her. As the old saying goes, we should stop and smell the roses. Well, she lives in the rose garden and is enjoying every minute of it. She is a constant reminder to me that life is lived in the now. There is really nothing more. She doesn’t worry about money, about anything. She has complete faith that everything is going to be alright. She is living at a different level of consciousness. It’s a simple place, an innocent place, a peaceful place, a happy place.
Admittedly, sometimes I miss having an “adult” conversation, or sharing some of the complicated issues I entertain from time to time. But she just brings me back to the moment. There are others in my life I can be a grown up with and allow my ego to do its dance. But I don’t have to dance for my wife. She loves me just the way I am and loves her life even with her physical disabilities. One day I would like to take my wife back to that nursing home and ask her to sing the director a song. It probably won’t change his demeanor much, but it would sure make me feel better.

Posted by: paulbassler | February 27, 2013

Don’t Be a Mark

Sequestration, here we go again. Another crisis, doom and gloom, the world is coming to an end. If you believe what you are hearing in the news, Armageddon is about to fall and the only ones who can save us is the rich. That’s right, according to the President and the media. All we have to do is remove the tax loopholes for the rich and we will make it to the promise land. If the government can’t get that money from the rich, we are all going to die.
It is very unfortunate that the majority of Americans do not know what sequestration is. It’s a shame that most Americans don’t seem to be paying attention to what their political leaders are doing. It’s more than a shame, it’s scary. America is like a frog in hot water. If you take a frog and put it in boiling water, it will immediately jump out. But if you put that frog in a pot of cool water and slowly heat the water, the frog will remain until it dies. Most Americans don’t seem to pay attention to the erosion of their freedoms as the government continues to grow in power and size. Our government is so intent on expanding its role in the lives of American citizens that it is willing to borrow over 40 cents of every dollar it spends. The water is beginning to heat up, and if we don’t jump away from our current path, we will lose what we value most…our freedom.
The weird thing is, sequestration doesn’t even cut the size of our federal government. All it does is slow down the projected growth in the federal budget. In fact, even if sequestration goes through on March 1st, our government is still going to spend more this year than they did last year. To those who are trying to grow the size and power of the government, any cut, even in the projected increase in the budget, is a loss and therefore detrimental to America.
Dear neighbors, please wake up and smell the coffee. In the language of grifters, we are the Johns, the marks. As you may know through your TV shows, grifters are con artists, scam artists, and the Johns and marks are the victims of their cons. Politics is no longer about having good ideas for the country, leading the country through actions and principles, it is a game of sales. Americans are used to be sold products and ideas, and our leaders employ some of the best salesman in the business to develop sales campaigns designed to get people to believe what they want them to believe. In the recent presidential election, the President had a much better sales team than their opponents and the American people, by majority vote, bought the sales pitch.
Instead of running on a record of accomplishment, the President was sold as a rock star. Instead of addressing the high unemployment rate, the growing debt, the deficit, the growing entitlement trend, the President visited the View, MTV, the Letterman Show and other similar venues where the toughest questions he faced was what is your favorite color. The democrats know how to sell a product better than the Republicans. These political sales teams know that the American people get their truths from television, a bias media, movie celebrities and the internet. Every day we sit and watch TV commercials and allow professional sales teams try to sell us their products. They try to convince us that their product will change our lives, make us happy, replace our pain with pleasure and help make our lives better. They use great props, such as sex, smiling people, testimonials and a million other things. Throughout our entire lives we have been bombarded by people trying to separate us from our money. The only difference with politics is that those sales teams are trying to separate us from our freedom.
The current administration believes in big government and the goal of the President’s sales team is to convince America to buy in. Their sales team is working to convince the average American that rich people are selfish, evil, oppressive, and they shouldn’t get to live well while others are struggling. They are trying to convince us that the federal government can do more good with rich people’s money than they can. If you are going to buy in to the administrations’ sales pitch, make sure you are a smart consumer and you know exactly what you are buying.
Think about it. Our government has been unable to manage its money, live within its means, run any program with efficiency and effectiveness, yet it believes it can “invest” our money better than successful entrepreneurs. Our current administration is trying to convince the American people that all rich people do is collect their riches, keep it under their beds and break it out once in a while to throw it in the air and marvel at their accomplishments. In truth, people who have money spend money, and the more they have the more they spend. They start new businesses, hire more people, buy new cars, new houses, more stuff, and as they do, they grow the American economy. If they have enough money, they support those causes and charities that closely touches their hearts. Nearly every charity exists on the strength of loving people with the means to give. Do we really want our government to take that freedom away?
Let’s stop being a John, stop being a mark. Let’s try to make our decisions based on an educated understanding of the issues. Don’t accept bad ideas dressed in a pretty face. Freedom for the individual is what propelled this country from thirteen separate states to the strongest, most powerful country in the world.

Posted by: paulbassler | February 26, 2013

Adjusting to Disabilities

In May of 2008, my wife of thirty-six years suffered a burst brain aneurysm that left her paralyzed on the right side of her body. It cost us nearly every penny we owned to save her life, even with medical insurance coverage, and thank God she did survive. Though she can speak well enough, she cannot move her right arm or leg. As you can imagine, this event changed our lives forever. Prior to her stroke we had plans, lots of plans. Since then, the time we used to spend dreaming and planning are now spent learning how to survive. For nearly five years now, we have been in survival mode, trying to figure out how to accomplish the simplest things, like getting in and out of bed, taking showers, getting out of the house and dealing with incontinence.
The first thing we learned when trying to adjust to our new life with disabilities was that medical supplies and equipment are outrageously expensive. Medical science has developed a number of helpful things for the disabled, like power chairs, adjustable hospital beds, hydraulic hoists and car lifts. The only problem is, each of these items costs an arm and a leg, no pun intended. Our first challenge, once we were out of the hospital trying to start our lives over, was car access devices. When it comes to cars, I really couldn’t find any automated way to get my wife in and out of a car. In order to adjust, we had to sell our cars and buy a van. I wish we could have afforded a van designed for the disabled, but those were way out of our price range. You can get a van with a hydraulic lift, so your loved one can simply role on to the lift and into the van, assuming the roof of the van is high enough to handle a person sitting in a wheelchair. You can also get a regular van and have it modified. One company I visited will lower the floor of our van, remove the passenger seat and make it handicap friendly. All they wanted was $17,000.
Most recently, our biggest challenge has been to try and weigh my wife. This past summer my wife suffered a mild heart attack and during her one week stay at the hospital we learned she had gained nearly 100 lbs. since her stroke. Obviously, my wife’s weight had become a big problem since she was confined to a wheelchair. One of the few pleasures she has in life is eating, but without the capability to work off the calories she gained weight very rapidly. Over the past several months, we have begun a serious diet, limiting calories and carbs and the amount of food we eat each day. The only problem has been our inability to weigh her in order to see if our diet is working. I looked up wheelchair scales on the internet, only to find price tags ranging from $2,000 to $3,000.
In trying to solve this problem, I came up with a plan. I bought a fish scale for about $55. It’s the long hanging scale that can measure weights up to 300lbs. I was able to attach the scale to our hydraulic hoist (used to move her from bed to wheelchair) and all we have to do is hoist her up and read her weight. Today was the first time we were able to weigh her in months and it turns out she has lost fifty pounds on our new diet. With the addition of a few smaller accessories used to attach the scale to the hoist, the entire cost of our weighing system was about $90. It could also have been done by using a pulley system from a roof beam, using the fish scale, which is what I was going to do if the hoist didn’t work.
Over the past five years, we’ve learned to adjust our lives to deal with my wife’s disability. From building a shower capable of holding a shower chair; to building 20 ft. ramps leading to our front and back doors; to putting a swivel pad in the car for rotating her into the passenger seat; to buying a floor pad for the van that allows us to change her when traveling long distance, we have adjusted our lives in many ways. Though we have come a long way, there is still so much more we hope to get done in the months and years ahead. Since we are limited on funds, we have to use ingenuity. It’s a different life than we once foresaw, but it is life and we are finding ways to enjoy it.
Our new life experiences have given me a new appreciation for what many people have had to do in order to care for their disabled loved ones. I can only imagine what their ingenuity has produced. It’s wonderful to see what medical science has created, but for those who cannot afford expensive medical equipment, I am sure that many have found inexpensive functional alternatives that have helped to improve their lives. If you have figured out some inexpensive solutions to your caregiving challenges for a disabled loved one, please email me at paulbassler71@google.com and share, or provide comments at my blog site, https://paulbassler.com/.

Posted by: paulbassler | February 4, 2013

Creating Yourself

Have you ever wondered how you can have a discussion with yourself? If you are one thing, where are the different perspectives coming from? Which one of those perspectives are really you? If you have ever explored the inner you, you must have recognized that there are many parts to you, many characters you have created, many perspectives you have entertained. For me it became very clear when I was young, when my parents would come to school. Standing in my classroom with my parents and my teacher made me feel uncomfortable. After all, I am not the same kid when I am home than when I am in school. I have a persona at school, an image I try to maintain, and it is not the same persona I reflected at home.
As we grow older, we create characters to play the roles of our lives. We create a character for our spouse, a character for our children, a character for our jobs, our friends our enemies. The cool thing is, all those characters we create throughout our lifetime continue to live within us, even though we may have stopped reflecting those characters long ago. And as I mentioned before, it is not uncommon for those characters to clash, to debate one another, to send you conflicting information at a time when you are trying to make a serious decision. So which one of these characters are really you? Actually, they are all you. You are not only the one who is creating the characters, you are the one experiencing those characters. You are the creator and that which experiences your creations.
Though there are similarities between our different characters, the amazing thing to observe is how different they can be. Just think about you the bachelor and you the married man (or woman). You may be honest in both lives, you may value your religion, your politics, your beliefs in right and wrong. But as a bachelor, you may have been willing to bend some of those values, party like there is no tomorrow, avoid commitment, curse like a drunken sailor or do a number of other things you wouldn’t dream of doing as a father and married man. You may have changed your ways once you married and had children, but you still have that “wild” character in you. Perhaps at times when your marriage isn’t going so well, you begin to hear the advice from that wild guy of your past. Thus you can see how the characters within you make up the whole of who you are.
So how do we create those characters? We create them by adopting the thoughts and beliefs that define them. Let’s say your name is Bob and you are married with children. When you were Bob the bachelor, you believed in a different date for every Saturday night. You got involved in the drug culture to help liven up things. You took your first drink early in the morning and didn’t go to sleep until the wee hours of the following day. Then you found the love of your life and started a family. No more drugs, no more alcohol, no more partying to the wee hours. You want to be a good example for your children, and you look into your own upbringing (assuming you had loving parents) and you adopt the beliefs your parents provided as you create yourself as a good parent to your children, and good husband to your wife. Thoughts and beliefs create reality, and by using thoughts and beliefs you define the characters you project.
The great thing to recognize is that all the selves you have created are still within you and available to help you create the character you want to be today and the character you hope to be in the future. So when it is time to make an important decision about today, listen to all your characters, past and present, and reflect those characteristics that have best served you, yielded positive experiences, offered the best results. This is the process of your inner selves helping to create your outer self. If you learn to listen to your inner selves, you may also discover that the depth of your inner selves go far beyond this one lifetime and there is an ocean of knowledge available to you. But that is another story.

Posted by: paulbassler | January 29, 2013

In Search of Truth

Unlike many of my friends and peers who went on to college after high school, I choose a different kind of education… world travel. I wanted to see the world and find the hidden truths about life that I thought had to be out there somewhere. I wanted to study people’s cultures, their religions, their lifestyles. I was especially attracted to Eastern philosophies and religions, which is why I set out for India.

How I made it to India is a story in itself, but I did it. Together with my girlfriend (now my wife of forty-one years) and my brother and his girlfriend, we made our way to Kashmir, located in the Himalaya Mountains in Northern India. My hope was to meet some gurus or sadhus and learn about the Hindu religion. Quite by accident, we found a Hindu temple that was apparently abandoned. We learned later that each year during the winter, everyone leaves; being that it gets incredibly cold high in the Himalayas during the winter. We showed up in the spring. We were also told that whoever takes on the operations of the temple each year are responsible for providing food and shelter to visiting sadhus and gurus. A big part of being a sadhu in the Hindu religion is to abandon all worldly possessions and travel around the country sharing and learning from the people and other spiritual leaders. It was the perfect place to be in order to meet the people I came to meet and it didn’t take long before I did.

Over the next four months we met sadhus and gurus from not only India but from countries all around the world. The most spiritual man I met actually came from Port Angeles Washington and was a professor of philosophy at the University of Washington. His name was Adrian Seagler. One morning we were sitting on the grass, under a beautiful tree, enjoying the beauty of our surroundings. Adrian walked into the temple yard, wearing a loin cloth and looking like a guy who was recently released from Auschwitz. He looked like a walking skeleton with every bone in his body exposed. He introduced himself and sat down. As we engaged in conversation, my brother walked up and said, “Look at that beautiful mountain,” as he gazed at the mountain side. Adrian turned and said, “I would never take the attention of my brothers engaged in conversation and throw it up on the mountain.”

Adrian’s demeanor was deliberate, very concentrated and very attentive. He told us he was a fruitarian, believing that fruit is the only thing we could eat that does not kill anything. He also said he had fasted for forty days and nights, as Jesus did, which explained why he looked so emaciated. Just then one of the sadhus stepped out of the temple and yelled “halac bum.” When Adrian asked what that was about, we explained that the sadhu was inviting anyone wishing to smoke hash into the temple. On these occasions, the sadhu did not allow for non-smokers to join the group. Hearing this Adrian reached down and plucked some grass, held it up and said, “Any man who values this more than he does his brother man is not a man I wish to entertain.” After a number of deep, holistic, spiritual comments such as these the rest of us sat back and listened to his philosophy.

As a professor, Adrian was used to lecturing and he spent a number of days with us sharing his views on life. He spoke of Jesus often, but not as one who worshipped Jesus, but as a man dedicated to living the life Jesus led. All his actions, all his words, all his attention was focused on the betterment of mankind, including people’s relationship with one another and our relationship to the earth and environment. When he walked through the streets of the town, people followed him like he was the Messiah. Mothers carrying their babies were asking him to heal their children. People just wanted to touch him. He was clearly loved and respected by the people. Though he wasn’t able to heal them, he did offer people diet recommendations for dealing with their ailments. He seemed extremely knowledgeable about food and how it affects the body. He was the most spiritually dedicated man I had ever met.

When I asked him how long he had been living his life this way he said, “Ever since I learned that thought manifests.” As a twenty-year old kid, that was the first time I heard that, though over the years I came to understand the meaning. Before leaving India, Adrian told us he has “free land” in Washington and invited us to come by.

Months later my girlfriend and I did visited Adrian at his home in Washington. We spent some time with him at his ranch in Port Angeles. When I asked him about the free land, he said the land isn’t free for the people, it is freed from the people. It was forty acres of land with a ninety-eight year old log cabin, surrounded by virgin forest. Adrian did not allow canned foods or any modern day accoutrements. He wanted the land to remain as virgin as possible.

One morning my girlfriend and I woke up and started a fire in the wood burning stove to make some tea. Adrian invited us outside to sit in the lily field. He asked us to turn and look at the cabin and then said, “I’ve been out here for about an hour. A half hour ago I saw the smoke coming out of the chimney from the fire you started. Before that, there were birds flying all around the cabin, up into the rafters where they have nests and babies. They share that cabin with us. Then you got up and SMOKED THEM OUT (he said sternly). Now if you needed the fire to stay warm I could understand that. But it is a beautiful warm morning (about 50 degrees) and you did not need that fire for your survival.”

Before we left, Adrian invited us to stay with him, as long as we were willing to live the spiritually conscious lifestyle he espoused. Become a disciple you might say. As enticed as I might had been at the time, I was unwilling to give up all my indulgences and my girlfriend and I left.

Adrian was forty-five years old at that time. Thirty years later a friend of mine Googled his name and learned that a few years ago, Adrian went into his barn on his ranch at Port Angeles in the dead of winter, took all his clothes off, sat in a lotus position and froze to death.

As for my search for truth, Adrian set me on a path that led to what I was seeking. Thought Manifests is an observation about reality that is profound. Once you recognize the truth of this statement, your life will never be the same.

Posted by: paulbassler | January 27, 2013

Social Violence

It’s nearly impossible for most of us not the feel the hardship, the pain, the utter horror when we think about the events at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. How could someone look into the terrified eyes of these innocent children and the fearful eyes of their teachers and take their lives in such a brutal way? For most of us it’s unimaginable. Unfortunately it’s not unimaginable for everyone.
With school shootings and gang violence seemingly on the up rise, our entire nation, politicians and the general public, are trying to figure out what can be done. But before we can figure out what to do to stop this, we have to understand how and why we are creating it. We are doing these violent things to ourselves.
The first thing we need to recognize is that all human emotions spring from two sources, love or fear. Whether you are feeling anger, jealousy, compassion, insecure, the source of these feelings is either love or fear. Love is what we feel when we perceive our unity with someone or something. Fear is what we feel when we perceive a disconnect with everything, our loneliness.
That said, the source of most violence is anger and the source of anger is fear. Violence can also spring from despair or depression, and of course, the source of these feelings is fear. It’s needs to be recognized that school shootings and gang violence are the manifestations of fear, not the creator of it, though it does create fear in the general public. The fear that causes young people to join a gang doesn’t seem so difficult to identify. Most gang violence is taking place in our cities, springing from the poorer neighborhoods. People who live in poverty are separated from the mainstream, they struggle for their next meal, their self esteem is challenged, and in many cases, their family structure has broken down. It is no surprise that many young people seek out more structure, more unity, more love outside the family. They combat the fear by looking for love and they find that love in the unity, companionship and loyalty of a gang.
The fear that lives in the heart of a mass killer, like those who have attacked our schools, is a bit more challenging to identify. For some it could be as simple as their desire for attention, springing from their feelings of loneliness, abandonment, or a feeling they are invisible in the world and they want people to see them. Some of these mass killers have already decided to kill themselves, and perhaps they feel that if they can’t live happy why should anyone else.
In the national dialogue, there are those who believe that guns are the problem and they are fighting to limit access to guns. It seems to me that those who have reached the level of fear that prompts them to express that fear in a violent way will find a way for that expression. If we outlawed guns all together, we may see a decline in gun related deaths, but we would also see a rise in blunt force trauma, poisonings and knife attacked. Fear expressed by violence will find a way for that expression.
So what can we do to reverse the trend towards social violence? In order to add my voice to those who share similar beliefs on the subject, I offer the following suggestions: Improve our economy in order to lift American families out of poverty, with a special eye on improving opportunities in the inner cities; start teaching our children at the earliest age, in our schools and in our homes, non-violent conflict resolution. Stress the importance of this value; Try to limit the glorifying of violence in our movies and video games. It’s one thing to show violence through these mediums, and another to glorify that violence. Whether violence is perpetrated for good, such as a policeman or soldier, or bad, like murder, violence is violence. The more we see it the more we believe it is a part of our society. That doesn’t mean we ignore the violence in our society, it means that we can focus on other aspects of our nature and give greater value to those aspects that promote our safety, our unity, our ingenuity, our creativity, our love; as for the gun controversy, I have no problem having folks register their firearms, just as we register our vehicles. As for the types of firearms that should be available to citizens, first I would let the states decide for themselves that question. We should, however, put into place strong federal laws prohibiting the transportation of firearms across state lines. I would also like to see stronger federal laws against the illegal possession and use of firearms. Let people know that possessing and using firearms against the community will be dealt with severely.
No one has all the answers to curbing violence in our society but there are things we can do. First and foremost, we have to address the fear that permeates our society, not just nationally, but globally as well. Right now, human beings are still afraid of one another and we need to find ways to lessen those fears. One way to do that is to recognize that fear is an illusion. Fear, being the perception of separateness and aloneness, is an illusion since none of us are alone. We are all a part of the one, whether we can perceive that or not. To help people out of fear we need to show them they are not alone, that everyone is valued, that we are all united. Violence is a reflection of our fear and we will have to face that fear in order to change our world.

Posted by: paulbassler | January 26, 2013

Pay Attention

The people of the world are wielding an unimaginable power, and most are unaware that they have it. It is the power of creation and it is wielded through our attention. Think about it. Wherever human attention is placed, reality happens. That is true for each of us as individuals and as a collective. If you look closely at your world, you will see that is true.

We can feel the power of attention in many ways. When you speak in a room of people and they turn their attention to you, you can feel it. If you are speaking in an auditorium and you have the attention of everyone in the room, you can feel that. In fact, the feeling is so powerful some people freeze when given that much attention. For the most part, however, attention from others is affirmative, gratifying, validating us in the moment and in the world. That is why some people work so hard to get the attention of others.

Just take a look at your children. You can see how valuable your attention is to them. At such a young age, your children need your attention to feel loved, to feel secure, to feel wanted. If you, their parents, don’t give them your attention, they will go out looking for it somewhere else. You can tell them that you love them, but without giving them your attention, they won’t believe you. They will even accept negative attention over no attention at all. Such is the power of your attention.

If you have a significant other is your life, think about how important their attention is to you and how lonely you feel when you don’t get it. On the flip side, think about how wonderful you feel when you have your lovers’ full attention. You feel the power of creation, of being, of unity and love.

Those are examples of the power of attention on an emotional level, but attention is equally powerful on the three-dimensional level. If you want to build a house, you have to keep your attention on the project. If you put your attention on the project and keep it there, a house will arise. Any and all of your creations require your attention to manifest.

Knowing that you have the power of creation with your attention requires that you pay attention to your attention. Where is your attention being placed? Are you paying attention to your spouse, your children, your friends, your desired projects? Are you paying attention to those you love, to the things you want to see happen, to the world you would like to see? Knowing that you have such incredible power, are you using it in a conscious way? Most of us don’t and that can cause some real problems.

When we stop paying attention to your lover, he or she will look elsewhere for it, which destroys relationships and breaks up families. If we stop paying attention to our children, they look elsewhere for it and sometimes it is provided by less than desirable sources. If you don’t pay attention in school, you won’t pass your classes. If you don’t pay enough attention to your job, you’ll never get promoted and you could lose your job. If there are things in your life that you want to see grow, to succeed, to manifest, simply put your attention on it and it will happen, and that includes your desire for the love of others.

One thing that I have learned about attention over the years is that the best way to get attention is to give attention. If you give someone your undivided attention, they love it, and for the moment, they love you. The more you notice other people the more other people notice you. Put your attention into your job and you will get the attention of your boss. Put your attention into your children and you will gain their attention. Give loving attention to your spouse and you will receive loving attention in return.

Attention is the window from which the power of your creativity comes through so use it wisely and be conscious of the power you wield. It can change your life for the better.

Posted by: paulbassler | January 25, 2013

Our National Consciousness

American politics has got to be one of the greatest shows on earth. Unfortunately, many Americans sit back and watch the show and don’t really participate. More than that, many Americans don’t even watch the show, allowing those in office to use the power given by the governed to move the country in directions that are not necessarily in the public interest. We are the creators of our government. Not only did we create our system of government, but we create the administering of that system as well.

It’s actually rather frightening that so many people don’t pay attention to the actions of their leaders. Since those seeking and holding office know that most folks don’t pay attention, getting and maintaining power becomes a process of marketing. All our elected officials have to do is appear to be leading rather than actually lead. It becomes image over essence.

A lot of folks are pretty cynical about politics these days, believing that most politicians lie and you can’t trust any of them. For the most part, these folks don’t vote and then continue to complain about the actions of their government. Others are simply too busy to pay attention to politicians or the issues, unless those issues have a direct impact on their lives right now. Many who do vote wait until the last weeks of campaign season and base their votes on the marketing they see on TV or social media. As I said earlier, people who are running for office know this, and spend more time and energy on marketing themselves than they do actually doing the jobs they were hired (voted) to do. We, the people, are responsible for the government we get.

To be a conscious creator of your world you have to pay attention to your world on all levels. As my son once described the diagram of consciousness it’s like an up-side-down pyramid. At the bottom of the pyramid is you and your awareness of yourself. As you go up the pyramid you have you and your family, you and your community, you and your town or city, you and your country, you and the people of the world, you as a living creature and you as a part of all that is. Where on that pyramid do you relate to? Do you pay attention to your relationships on all those levels? Politics reflects your relationship to America…the national level of yourself. When you relinquish your consciousness on the national level, you give your power to those who are seeking power on that level, and lose some of your freedom at the same time. To put that in simpler terms, take taxes. When you pay your taxes you lose some of your money and the government gains money. By doing this, you have less freedom to spend and the government has more freedom to spend. You lose power, the government gains power and you lose the personal freedom those tax dollars would have provided. Your consciousness is the same as your taxes. When you give up your awareness of what’s going on your leaders take your acquiescence to enhance their power and then use that power to take away some of your freedom.

One of the missions of my blog is to encourage people to become conscious creators of their reality. The source of physical reality is thought…thought creates reality. In order to be a conscious creator in the world of politics, all you have to do is give it some thought. Pay attention to the thoughts that are being sold to you and support those thoughts that are in line with your beliefs. Pay attention to the news once in a while and see what’s going on at the level of national consciousness. Today, as an example, the national dialog is about gun control, the national debt, the deficit, the violence in Northern Africa and Middle East, entitlements, and in general, the philosophies of liberal and conservative governance.

What do you think about these issues? Which leaders are reflecting your beliefs? What are the leaders of your state saying about these issues? Are they fighting for your values, your beliefs? Are you expressing your thoughts and beliefs on these issues in to the world?

You don’t have to be an activist to be a conscious creator of your world on a national level. Just pay attention, identify your beliefs of the issues of the day, share your thoughts on these issues, and support those leaders who represent your beliefs in the houses of power. The United States of America is supposed to have a government of the people, by the people and for the people, but if the people don’t participate, the freedom we have to pursue our happiness could be lost and many will be wondering where it went.

Posted by: paulbassler | January 21, 2013

All Life is Creative

Though the observation that all life is creative seems obvious to most, it really isn’t. Most people do not recognize the full breath of their creativity. Sure, when we build a dog house or a new porch, we can recognize our creativity, but how many people see how they are creating their own lives, their own realities, their own world. More than that, how many people recognize their role in creating the events we experience as a whole, as Americans, as mankind? How do we, as individuals, create the wars we are fighting, or the mass killings in our schools, or the giant storms that ravish our homes and environment?

Can we, as individuals, hold ourselves responsible for what happens on the other side of the world or the other side of the nation? I think we can. I think we must. We are the creators of our own reality, not only on a personal level, but on the national and international levels as well.

Understanding that all life is creative helps us to seek the true purpose of our creativity. As an example, the senseless killing of twenty children and six teachers in Newtown Connecticut has touched the human consciousness around the world. It was a horrible event that begs the question, why would we create such an event? Just look at what is happening throughout our nation. Everyone is asking themselves, what can we do to prevent this kind of thing from happening? Should we limit access to guns? Should we change the way we deal with mental health? Should we arm our teachers? Should we look at the movies we are watching, the video games we are playing? It is questions like these that lead to change.

We are the creators of the world, and if we want a more peaceful world we have to ask ourselves these kinds of questions. We have to examine our beliefs with an eye on making positive changes. It is not easy to change our national or international beliefs, just as it is challenging to change our own personal beliefs. But that is how we change our world, personally and globally.

There are people who have lost a beloved child to a sickness or accident, only to start a foundation that helps thousands of children. All life is creative. There many who lost a parent to disease at an early age, only to go on to become nurses and doctors and fight diseases for the rest of their working lives. All life is creative. As creators, we have the choice to take bad things and use them to make our lives better, or make them worse.

The way I see it, the children at Sandy Hook and their teachers gave their lives for the greater good of humanity. Knowing they are all eternal beings (we all are), I choose to honor their sacrifice in this life by finding ways to lessen violence in the world, pay attention to the national discourse, adding my support to those who are working for the ideals I share, and play my civic role as a voter and voice of the people.

In our own reality, our minds are filled with our thoughts and beliefs, and those thoughts and beliefs we hold above others are the ones that manifest in the world. The same is true of the national consciousness and humanity. Humanity’s consciousness reflects the sum total of all mankind’s thoughts and beliefs, and those thoughts and beliefs held above all others are the ones that manifest in the world.

All life is creative, the good and the bad. The creative result of every creative event is up to us. We can use life’s experience to create more experiences, so what kind of experiences do we want?

Posted by: paulbassler | January 18, 2013

Surviving a Burst Brain Aneurysm

May 13, 2008, a day that will live in infamy…at least for me. That was the day I found my wife of 35 years laying on the floor of our bathroom, looking up at me with a bewildered look on her face. Little did I know that from that day forward life would never be the same.

After a call for an ambulance, rush to the hospital, and a couple of hours of agonizing uncertainty, I learned my wife suffered a burst brain aneurysm and blood was filling her skull. The emergency room doctor gave her little hope to survive, but told me if she is to survive, I would have to get her to the US mainland or the Philippines for emergency treatment (we lived on the island of Guam). The doctor gave me three choices. I could fly her to California, but she has to be stable to be accepted by the airline and she may die before she could be stabilized.  I could fly her to the Philippines via commercial airline, but she had to be able to sit in a chair, which she could not being she was unconscious. Finally, we could take an air ambulance to Manila, at a cost of $37,000 for a three hour flight. That was the first of many tough decisions to come. Though we did not have $37,000, I was able to empty our bank accounts and use my brother’s credit cards to hire the air ambulance. Within four hours we took off for the Philippines.

For those who may be going through a similar experience and you are like me, your mind is full of unanswered questions and your heart is broken. Is my loved one going to survive? What is a brain aneurysm and what caused it to burst? If she survives, what permanent damage might there be? Can she completely recover from something like this? I had so many questions and got very few answers. What I would have loved to have then was someone who had gone through this and could share with me what happened to them and what I might expect. I got on line and found very little, though I found some organizations with folks who had similar experiences. It was helpful but more general by nature and I was looking for more definitive specific expectations. When it comes to brain damage, I came to learn, there really are no definitive expectations.

The surgeon who performed the brain surgery on my wife, tying off the ruptured aneurysm, had 25 years of experience. Though he said he was successful in tying off the aneurysm and removing as much blood as possible, he was unable to tell me to what degree she would recover. I remember just how important the word “recovery” meant to me at the time. The surgeon shared the results of many of his past patients, which ranged from fully recovered to those left in a vegetative state. Based on what he saw in my wife’s brain during surgery, he believed she would suffer some brain damage, but it would not be completely debilitating. He couldn’t say for sure, but he was optimistic some of her physical capabilities would return and her mental capabilities only slightly impacted.

Days went by very slowly then. Throughout the process, I couldn’t stop imagining what life will be like for me and my wife a year from now, two years from now, five years from now. It wasn’t a helpful endeavor, as I seemed to imagine the worst most of the time. What did help was sending our friends and family daily updates of my wife’s progress via email. It not only provided our family and friends much desired information, it gave me an outlet for my emotions and frustrations.

My wife remained in a coma for a week after the operation. When she awoke, she was unable to move anything accept her eyes. I could see her trying to look around the room, eyes shifting from side to side. But she had no emotion on her face. I began to fear her doctor’s optimism was misplaced. Throughout the month she spent in intensive care, she slowly began to improve. We were all shocked and amazed when one day she reached up and scratched her nose with her left arm. Due to the trachea tube in her throat she was unable to speak and no one new if she would talk once it was taken out.

After three months in the hospital, she was released. She was able to speak, but clearly had difficulty finding the right words to convey her thoughts. She was unable to walk as her right leg was paralyzed, as was her right arm. Her short and long term memories were affected, as in the beginning she did not recognize me or our children, her father, mother or siblings. Some of her long term memory did start to return during her stay at the hospital. I will never forget our first kiss after she awoke from surgery. When I kissed her, she drew back her head as if she was being kissed by a stranger. It took a month or so before she kissed me back when I kissed her, though I’m not sure it was because she remembered me or she was comfortable with my presence, as I was always by her side. Before leaving the hospital, she did remember me, our children and her family, as well as some distant relatives and friends (I showed her a zillion photos every day).

After returning to our home on Guam, it only took a few days before I realized I was not able to care for her and she still needed a great deal of help. Though our insurance company was unwilling to fund the professional help she needed on Guam (physical therapy, speech therapy, caregiver etc) they were more than happy to pay for continued professional therapy in the Philippines. As you might imagine, medical assistance is much cheaper in the Philippines. So my wife and I returned to the Philippines and spent the next four months getting her the help she needed.

Upon arrival in the Philippines, I got us an apartment, hired a live in nurse and arranged daily physical therapy and speech therapy. During that time, my wife continued to slowly improve and I learned how to care for her. This time helped prepare me for the months and years ahead.

To learn more about how we adjusted our lives to my wife’s disabilities, please read Living With Disability – Transitioning to a New Life.

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