How Am I to Live My Life?

April 13, 2014

When you ask the question, “How am I to live my life as a human being, when I have the pressure of earning a livelihood, raising children, and having a good marriage?”, it all seems enormous. Most of us are concerned with earning a livelihood but I’m concerned with how to live. We don’t receive any education in this direction, because our education is geared towards fitting in to the economic environment at that particular time. Most of us do the daily grind and party on the weekends because our life has become so purposeless and meaningless and everyone is really terrified to ask the question, “Is there more?” Those who asked this question at a very superficial level are looking for some magical thinking, some extraordinary spiritual experience. If not, they are still looking for some secret or esoteric teachings, and believe that they can manifest the great things to happen in their life. They never seem to understand or ask that question of how they manifest the pain in their life. This is where we are also conditioned not to look, not to find out for ourselves if we can be free from all our psychological suffering and problems.

Most people practice the psychology our forefathers practiced and was handed down thousands of years ago. The psychology of external control unfortunately prevents human beings from reaching their potential.  You see the brain is the instrument that houses our psychology.  That brain is thousands of years old and still responding with primitive instincts and reactions.  When we grew in technology and our brain was able to grasp processes like the Internet, mass media, particle physics, etcetera, we broke into a new consciousness in our brains. Our brains are in crisis because it houses the conditioning of the past. The awakening of the brain is its discovery that thinking and thought and the brain itself are just a material process. Thinking is beginning to see that it is just a limited thing but giving itself all types of qualities it doesn’t have.  Thinking wants to have special powers, and is constantly creating realities to suit its egocentric point of view, the same way old time and new time religion does.

In a human being’s search for meaning and self coming to terms with its own inadequacy and limitations, it has begun to create false realities of having super powers.  The lies of abundance and depravity from the book and movie The Secret is a true indication that people believe they have manifestation powers as an escape from the reality of their ordinary life.  As the ancients created extraordinary realities through religion to fulfill their meaningless and purposeless lives, mainstream media are doing the same by creating fantasies, vampires, witchcraft, mind powers, etcetera.

All this prevents human beings from truly gaining an understanding of what it means to live a spiritual life and flowering as a human being. This flowering begins by seeing things as they are and looking deeply into oneself and one’s daily relationship with people and things in your world. The crisis is in your own consciousness is your own daily relationships and removing all external psychology and living from internal psychology, which is the message behind all religion.  The only thing that can set human beings free is themselves. They must be earnest about breaking all illusion and seeking truth. Truth is a living thing and there is no path to it. Every living thing in nature knows this and lives it. Human beings are the only creature on the planet that invent realities to suit their purpose and exploit, kill, and massacre, in the name of religion. We are so conditioned to be Liberals, Conservatives, NDP, or nationalistic.  We don’t see that a truly spiritual person wouldn’t even participate in those movements.

In our daily lives we are at war with the people and attached to the things we have got, and the fight with that creates our conflict and our brutality. It is one planet, one people, and one purpose, which is to get along help those in need and find a way to live in harmony with mother Earth.

Coach Bri

Coaching (Motivation, Punishment and Rewards) – External Control and the Poisoning of Team Culture

October 17, 2011

I often receive calls from coaches who, after being exposed to a workshop I have given or coaching with me, come to a point where they are pulling their hair out trying to either motivate some athlete or they can’t understand how players can be so individualistic and self-centered and choose not to play as a team.  What we don’t understand as coaches is how deeply we and the players are entrenched in the world’s psychology of external control. This psychology is the psychology of having power over other people as a means to cover up one’s deep personal insecurity. All throughout history, having power over other people has put humankind in a perpetual state of conflict and war.  External psychology, the hub of human misery in coaching, damages the team culture by slowly or sometimes quickly eroding the relationships between coach and players or players and teammates.

In any successful endeavor that human beings tackle, the ease and effectiveness of learning and succeeding is based on how well the people doing this endeavor get along. Players learn how to play together in supportive, caring environments at a rate that is ten times greater than in environments where coaches play head games, power trips, punish for poor performance, or reward for good performance.  This sounds strange in any culture to people who are external psychology people. They are lost when you tell them that honesty is the best policy, something they have known and have heard instinctively but is seldom practiced in their life. The exception would be for relationships in their lives that are very important to them where they tend to be more honest with themselves and the other person. Punishment is so ingrained into our psychology that whenever we don’t achieve what we want from ourselves or another person, we punish. If punishment were a method to correct behavior, our criminal institutions would be empty. But in fact most are full of repeat offenders.

Coaches have always asked me, without “bag skating” or doing “suicides” or other forms of punishment, how do you get a team to cooperate and play together?  When I ask them what they are doing now, they say the same thing they have been doing for years – bag skating (a horrible term for skating people to exhaustion), suicides (a horrible term for getting players to run till exhaustion), taking away their playing time (taking away the thing they love) – it makes no sense whatsoever.

Most GMs, except for a few, practice nothing but external control psychology on the coach because the common practice to achieve quality is misunderstood by most people trying to develop it. So coaches are often rewarded with bonuses for wins, which means that most people love the reward but hate the rewarder. Motivation is often very low for people you dislike. An external control coaching style often dangles carrots or gives incentives that destroy team culture because they often pit people against each other creating external pressure.  Most people feel this external pressure any time you feel that someone is trying to get you to care about something you don’t care about or see the value in. Then things become adversarial and one or both people practice the habits of external psychology.  These habits are always in the forefront of our minds because they are so well learned and we think they are part of our human nature. But they aren’t.

Below are descriptions of the habits in order to show you what I mean. Often when people get frustrated by other people they do one of the following external psychology habits. Remember these are well learned, not our nature.

1. Criticism. When you criticize another person you harm the relationship. This is the main habit that kills team culture.

2. Humiliation. Coaches often use this to center a person out and use them as an example. When teams use hazing as a means to build a team and you hear other athletes say that it does no harm and everyone goes through it, or “I made it through it!”, obviously they didn’t. If you asked them, “Well, why not haze in your family then, to increase your family bonding?”, Children’s Aid would take the children and they wouldn’t be allowed to parent. No loving parent that I know would willingly want his or her child to be humiliated.

3. Guilting. Coaches and parents often use this as a means to control the athlete or child and the damage it does it sets in motion the process of head games and the cycle of doubt, which destroys players’ and children’s confidence in themselves and others, which is one of the building blocks of trust.

4. Punishing or rewarding to control. This habit more the any other confuses the issue of how to get people to self-evaluate. Punishing allows and excuses the undesirable behavior because the person punished thinks, “Now that I have been punished, things are over and I don’t have to look any deeper at my behavior or take any responsibility for my attitude and effect on the team”. When the person gets a reward the same effect is created in a different way. It still becomes all about me and achieving my short-term goals and less about the how I achieve them. Therefore the person rewarded thinks “I can do a lot of damage and hurt the culture but I get the reward so I did what you asked so we are even, so go work on someone else”. Any time we focus on the outcome without deepening our understanding of the process, we move away from strengthening the culture.

5. Blaming. This external psychology habit is so pervasive in our culture we often don’t catch ourselves doing it. This is the habit shown when shit happens and players look at others or external things in the environment to excuse their poor behavioral performance. Coaches often use this habit in ways that blame player or bad calls by referees and don’t see how blaming anyone but himself or herself is acceptable. Blame is always about evaluating something you have no control over and therefore futile. Blame is an action that takes the pressure off in a way that harms the relationships and kills trust and collective responsibility. For a team to be a team, blame must be removed and when shit happens we all must see our part in it through self-evaluation. Blame is about evaluating others therefore killing the process of learning. Players that can learn a lot can perform better as a team than players who can’t learn.

6. Threatening. This is a habit that forces people to become defensive and instills fear. Fear is a quick motivator but a cultural cancer. It will only last a short time then the coach or GM places the player or coach’s job on the line and greater damage is done because when you attack a person’s livelihood you are messing with their means to survive and therefore strengthening fear.  Fear based environments create aggressiveness – not towards the other team but the players, coaches, and GMs that turn on each other.

I challenge any team at any level to learn internal psychology, teach it to your whole organization and within four years you will have not only a winning program but a team that is a contender for the cup on a regular basis.


Meditation and the Friday Night Group

March 5, 2010

The day was bright and full of promise. One could feel the warmth of the spring sun on one’s face. Climbing on the maple trees were small sap flies – a sure sign of warmer weather. The flies seemed to stay close to the tree but every so often they would spring to life and hover around the dark creviced bark. The little bugs were more active in the sun. They seemed to delight in its energy and then they landed again and remained perfectly still.

All of nature seems to operate as movement and rest. The whole universe is in a state of meditation. Meditation is deep, radical, and therefore profound. Any time the human mind makes contact with the movement deeper than itself there is instant order. That order is a true internal movement. Very few human beings are interested in the movement that offers no reward or significance to their self-centered egos.

At Friday night group, we all come with a tremendous amount of baggage, of opinions, ideas, and self-centered projections. The significance of Friday night group is established when people are willing to let go of their point of view and find the necessity to empty all of one’s preconceived notions and ideas to enter a state of dialogue. The dialogue is in itself free from all personal intentions and is a simple movement of discovering an action that can free the mind from having the thinking process as the dominant function of the brain.

In order for this process to be discovered, one must first address all the external psychology dominating their brain, which is the source of all conflict. When the brain is caught in any contradiction, trying to become something that it isn’t, or trying to achieve a self-projected result, it is a source of disorder and human misery. The intent of Friday night group is to give people a chance to think together, which means the ability to address our human disorder in the personal realm that is responsible for global disorder.

Human beings do not want to see that the soul they have is the creation of external psychology. This means any imposed morals from the outside are not moral. The immoral is a movement from the outside, rules or laws imposed to keep us on a moral path. Why can’t we face the fact that we are immoral? Yet we cannot choose who we love; we can only choose the behavior we use to express that love. It follows then that we can only choose the behavior to also express hatred, prejudice, fear, anger, anxiety, agreed etc. Very few people are really interested and see the significance that one’s daily problems are the problems of the world.

I am sure you have heard that saying, “To be in this world but not of this world”. I understand this to mean that even though one thinks, the thinking process is used by something much deeper in the human mind. Therefore thought or the thinking process is a functional process dealing specifically with material in the physical world. Thinking is made out of material processes in the brain. Any process, however grand or so-called sacred, is just an expression of external psychology. The art of dialogue is a group of people, two or more, willing to set aside everything they know and look at things for the first time. This process of emptying is to live in the present and no guru, book, tradition, or ritual can bring about a state of mind that
is internal, orderly, and not practiced. If one sees the disorder that they are caught in completely, the perception of that disorder is the action that is internal psychology. Happy are those who find this.

The shadows from the trees on the snow grow longer as the afternoon deepens; a few squirrels have come down from the tree to check me out. Their inquisitiveness and their hunt for food is impressive – they seem to move in an attentive state. That level of attention keeps them alive and in a relationship with their environment. If only humans could apply that same attentiveness to the doings of thought! Then we too would be in a state of meditation where psychological problems are not. Friday night group is a place where psychological problems end. In that ending there is a new beginning to bathe in that emptiness is to understand the significance of nothingness. In the universe nothingness is holding everything together.

Coach Bri

The Four Premises of External Psychology

November 28, 2008

These four premises or conditions are embedded deep in our personal psychology and are the root cause of conflict and misery within all our relationships.

Premise One
Most people think that when we feel something the source of that feeling is outside ourselves. In our belief system we have been conditioned to think that a stimulus from outside forces us to think, feel or do something. In our language we use phrases like: “You make me so mad!”, “You hurt my feelings!”, “You pushed my buttons!” or “You make me angry!”. This first premise gets practiced the most when we take information personally. We seem to do this more when we are under pressure.

Premise Two
This premise is practiced when we don’t feel good and we blame that feeling on someone or something outside of ourselves. So people will say something like this: “I don’t feel good and it’s your fault”. These people are blamers.

Premise Three
In the third premise people often use language like, “Not only do I not feel good but I know how you should change”. This behavior is about taking one’s unhappiness and trying to change other people or other situations rather than change.

Premise Four
Premise four is practiced when, as we mature in our lives, we gather a sense of what we know is best for us. Then we get this tremendous insight that begins to be practiced in our relationships which is this: “Not only do I know what’s best for me, I also know what’s best for you”. Or, simply put, I know what’s best for everyone else. When this happens this is one of the greatest sources of human misery within a relationship. Knowing what one is best for people immediately creates disconnection. especially with teenagers.

I believe that anyone can take any relationship in their life that they are having problems in and see one or more of these premises being practiced. These premises are practiced in many sophisticated ways in our behaviors. Here are some of the ways that they are practiced:

Habit One
The most damaging habit of all is the habit of criticism. If you want to make your relationship better with anyone, stop criticizing.

Habit Two
The next habit that destroys relationship is humiliating people to control them. I think this speaks for itself.

Habit Three
The third habit is blaming other people for one’s mood. Often people that practice this habit are faultfinders.

Habit Four
The fourth habit is the habit of complaining. People love to complain to avoid self-evaluation.

Habit Five
The fifth habit is nagging. No one ever likes to be nagged about anything. Do it and it destroys connection.

Habit Six
The sixth habit is the silent treatment, which is not to be mistaken for planned ignoring. The silent treatment is the behavior that someone does in order to gain control of the situation and punish.

Habit Seven
Habit number seven is a combination of punishing and rewarding behavior. People often like the rewards but hate the rewarder. If punishments worked in deterring people’s behaviors our criminal institutions would be empty.

Habit eight
The eighth habit is the habit of guilting people. Guilting people into doing what you want them to do is manipulation. No one likes to be manipulated.

I’m stopping here although there are many more of these external control habits that we practice in our relationships. You only have to examine what you’re doing under pressure to reveal more ineffective behavioral choices you make. Good luck with that!

Coach bri

A Team Using Internal Control

May 28, 2008

It was a quiet evening in Osaka Japan. The subway had very few passengers and when one arrived at the station and entered into the night there was a tingling rain. The air seemed heavy and out in the night air the city seemed to be slowing down on a busy work week. The team I have been working with has been very successful and tomorrow we will play for a chance to win a medal. The players have been practicing internal psychology with each other after a long period of going external on each other.

No matter what we do in life, nothing is ever perfect. Perfection does not exist, especially in the psychological field. I think the Japanese know this because perfection is not the goal but constant improvement is. When dealing with material things, constant improvement has its place. But when dealing with human beings, perfection becomes a problem and a virus to relationship and performance. Each relationship we have in our life is undergoing a change. It is our ability to be aware of the movements going on in people that strengthens our relationship with them. Whenever you’re unaware of what’s going on in the people you care most about or people you have to accomplish some project with, you are greatly increasing the chance of conflict and ineffectiveness.

The problem in all human relationships is that they are a process, not an outcome. When you focus on the process, a relationship moves in the direction it moves and one begins to look at themselves with the awareness of how to stay connected to that person. When you focus on the outcome, you come to points in the relationship where you say, “we’ve already dealt with this” and this is a constant issue. When you see relationships in this way you are setting up the disconnect because, again, relationships are not an outcome. You can only understand human relationship by observing it, not criticizing, judging, or comparing. In relationships there is no such thing as a rival; every living thing is undergoing a change. We cannot understand that change but we can be aware of the movement of change and be sensitive to how it affects us and the relationship or relationships around it.

What actually happens with human beings is the constant need to create an environment that works for both people. Often when one environment doesn’t work for one of the persons in the relationship, they become critical of the other person or practice some external psychology on them. They do this instead of looking at themselves and their own self-evaluation and understanding what isn’t working for them and what they can do in order to change their environment so they can feel more effective in it. The last thing we want to be is ineffective. And when we feel ineffective then we often poison the environment and practice the habits that destroy the relationship or make the situation significantly worse. The way we poison the environment is when we practice any of the four premises of external control psychology.

The first premise of external control psychology is responding to information personally. When we do this we stop listening to the person and whatever emotion they are expressing, we take what they’re saying into our head and create the disconnect. Now I’m not saying that one should say whatever they want when one is upset. It is very important to be aware of the fact that when you are upset you should be very careful what you say because you can poison the environment. I would repeat a very old saying: It’s not what you put into your mouth that defiles you but what comes out.

The second premise is that whenever we don’t feel good we blame someone or some situation for the way we feel. When we do this what we are really saying is people and situations have the power to make or break me. Some people love to live into this because they then are not responsible for the situations in their life.

The third premise of external control psychology is this notion that when I don’t feel good and I want you or the situation to change. This is a very narcissistic view of the world and people go around trying to change other people and situations all the time to accommodate how they want it.

This leads us to the fourth premise of external control psychology that probably does more damage than all the other three premises put together. The third premise is about changing things outside of us and the fourth premise leads into people who know what’s best for them beginning to know what’s best for everyone. And often the problem is they let people know about it! And when you do this you make huge disconnections with people in a relationship. We often call these people ‘know-it-alls’.

If you look at the world truly you can see what’s happening in your own house, in your own backyard, in your own neighborhood, in your own town, city, province, and country. You will see one or more of these principles being practiced everywhere. All of these principles are really about laying a power trip on other people. When I take information personally it’s my way of fighting back from the person who’s come in at me. When I’m miserable and blame them for how I feel what I’m telling them is that they have to change, which is a pretty powerful position. When I start telling them how to change, well that’s even more powerful. But the most powerful of all is when I know what’s best for people or a situation. This is when you often hear the phrase, “Well who died and made you God?”

What I am really amazed about with this team is their development as people. They are true athletes that are beginning to recognize that the breakdown of other teams, even technically, often does become injected into the relationship between the people on the team. And then the team members start practicing external control psychology on each other. When this happens you can actually see the disconnect between the athletes and the team is unable to respond to pressure situations and therefore they can’t perform at their best.

It kind of makes a lot of sense: if you want to have and see people succeed in life, build environments for them that are caring, supportive and loving. Stay away from criticizing, blaming, threatening, ‘guilting’, humiliating, rewarding and punishing to control (just to mention a few of these external control habits!). Success in any endeavor that human beings do is dependent upon the health of the relationships. Healthy relationships adapt quicker than poor relationships. Healthy relationships support each other in times of trouble and find a way to succeed. Healthy relationships have broad shoulders, suspend judgment and are sensitive to the needs of the person. There is no arrival point!!! Just always live every day as a fresh beginning.

Coach bri