Saturday, September 3, 2016

Malware in the Conscious Operating System

We’ve all got some form of what I like to call “malware in the conscious operating system.” Malware as I use the term in this context equates to belief, which is like a computer virus or adware that infects a computer system and renders it less than optimal and only partially functioning in many ways. Some of our beliefs are very much like a virus as they are formed and seep into our conscious operating systems unconsciously. To understand this completely, we really need to look at these terms in a little more detail so we can clearly understand what is plainly right in front of us in terms of our daily existence. Until it’s called out, we are unaware of the existence of a thing. Without said awareness, the “malware” so-to-speak, lives on unfettered by understanding creating some interesting challenges for a soul to deal with. That isn’t bad or wrong, I’ll say. Keep in mind this is just a framework for understanding.

When we look at belief alone, we can begin to understand precisely what it means. In fact, defines it as:


  1. something believed; an opinion or conviction: a belief that the earth is flat.
  2. confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof: a statement unworthy of belief.
  3. confidence; faith; trust: a child's belief in his parents.
  4. a religious tenet or tenets; religious creed or faith: the Christian belief.
A belief in a thing does not make it real or a fact. A very quick and simple example of this fact is our common belief for the sake of convenience that the sun rises and sets each day when in fact, it is the Earth that is turning. We might even think the world turns slowly when in fact the truth is that the Earth spins on its axis at the speed near the equator at approximately 1,070 miles per hour according to So, we can believe the sun rises and sets all we want to or that the Earth turns slowly but we can see from the facts, that these things are not true. The beliefs are not real. We have come to believe the sun rises at sets or that the Earth turns slowly from things that we have read or been told by others who held these beliefs.

There is another term I have often used, “Environmental Psychology.” This term references the things, situations and influence of the outside world upon a person that leads to the forming of belief about one’s self, one’s life or life in general that has more of a psychological nature. Such things might include beliefs that we are worthy or unworthy, gifted or cursed, lucky or unlucky, lovable or unlovable and the list goes on. Again, our environmental psychology has shaped our beliefs about ourselves, other people and the world. But if our beliefs are not true and we’ve built the entirety of our lives upon a false premise in the form of belief or holding unconsciously to a belief created by environmental psychology, how might that affect our experience of life?

So above we have defined how our beliefs are formed. Let us get into the now and sit very comfortably with our new understanding for just a moment. How might this new information assist us in how we live our lives right here and right now? Well, it can help us in a great many of ways but we must first steer clear of any form of blame for the series of beliefs that we hold that limit us in any way. We’re going to start living in the now positively because that puts our power right where it belongs, in our own hands. So, let us be accountable for our beliefs because whether or not they were given to us or we formed them in response to environmental psychology, it is we who decide to continue to hold the belief or not. Right? Give that some thought. No one is holding a gun to your head forcing you to hold that thought from your childhood where you overheard Aunt Martha or Uncle Harry say to each other you were a "this kind of child" or a "that kind of child" that left you feeling either bad or good. Belief is not real. It is untested hypothesis.

Moving right along, we can unleash an anti-virus program for the Malware running in the background of our Human Consciousness Operating System in the form of belief given us by environmental psychology. But to do this, you must realize it will take effort, commitment, courage, tenacity and a little bit of reflection and critical analysis. You have to find the malware first before you can remove it. If you do not know it is there, you will never find its source and never be able to remove it successfully and will always resort to behaving as if old beliefs are facts. So, the simple way to find them is to look for them.
An easy way to spot them is to think about something that you really want right now in this moment. Go ahead, think about that for a moment. Have you got something in mind? Good. Hold that thought. Now, think about what in your mind prevents you from having what you want? Jot down all the reasons or rationales that have you believing that you cannot or do not have what you want. Continue until you have every possible reason whether real or not real, vetted and noted. Don't judge what you think, just write it down. Now, take a look at your list. I am willing to bet that there will be at least one if not many more life limiting beliefs representing themes of malware that you’ve lived with your entire life staring right back at you hidden quite conveniently in simple thoughts. 

Choose one of those thoughts on your list that you’d like to investigate further. Take that thought and ask yourself is the thought you chose real? Is the belief behind it real? Can you prove that it is real? How can you prove it is real without using an assumption and only dealing with independently verifiable facts that stand up to repeated testing with the same outcome? By critical thinking I mentioned above, I did not mean to think of yourself critically. I meant to start critically analyzing your beliefs with the rigor of a scientific researcher. Is that thought or belief true? How do you know? If you run across a belief on your list that cannot be independently verified as definitive truth or fact, I invite you to introduce yourself to your first piece of malware. Now, if you’d like to eradicate the malware you have to be willing to let go of the belief no matter what that means. Sometimes letting go of a belief can be simple and at other times it can be very difficult. Letting go of the idea of Santa Clause was not easy at first as a child now was it? Letting go of the idea of monsters under the bed also wasn’t easy but getting to the truth and dealing with reality is how we can set ourselves free from malware.  

You see, malware is a prison we commit ourselves to for many very good reasons but mostly due to lack of conscious understanding. You may have full understanding at the spiritual level and any malware you hold may be the very premise from which your greatest life lessons are learned. However, if you find at some point that your beliefs limit you in ways that you no longer desire, you can relinquish the beliefs that don’t bear out under the scrutiny of testing and in so doing you reveal to yourself the hiding place of the key that unlocks the door to your self-made prison cell.  
Do you remember I said earlier there was no right way or wrong way to learn life lessons? In this wonderful piece of wisdom from the Kybalion written by the Three Initiates early on in the last century, the following phrase comes: "Every Cause has its Effect; every Effect has its Cause; everything happens according to Law; Chance is but a name for Law not recognized; there are many planes of causation, but nothing escapes the Law."--The Kybalion. There is cause and there is effect. Your beliefs create the path from which you learn about your life. If you find your lesson plan enjoyable, proceed without change. If you find it isn’t and you seek greater understanding, then look to your malware, beliefs and environmental psychology. The emerging patterns and themes will be your guide and will help you to understand you. It’s one tiny part of the reason you are here.  

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little bit of food for thought. If you'd like to learn more about this topic and how the concepts of it can help you remove the obstacles in your life that prevent your growth, let me know. I've got a book and workbook for you that can help you discover more about yourself called Exploring the Conscious Self. With the self-study guide book and work-book, you'll be well on your way to discovering a good many things about you that you may never have given thought to. If you're interested in more details, please contact me at  

  Dr. J.L. Harter, Editor see bio section for more information.

Tell Me Not About the Weather but How You Perceive It

The quality of light is slightly different at 6:45 am when it’s already 79 degrees Fahrenheit than on a day that has started out at say, maybe, 60 degrees or below, I’ve noticed.  I’m not sure why that is.  Certainly there must be some scientific explanation that might serve as suitable enough a description to satisfy an inquiring mind such as mine? 
Alas, however, I am not a scientist but a philosopher and it is not may way to grab hold of scientific knowledge to tout it about but rather to take it in if and only if it might serve in some way to improve or challenge my understanding of a thing.  To describe my sunny observation of these hot days I have to go into a method of using the words inside of my mind to attempt to convey the richness of the hues, the golden ever so slightly rosy tint of silver everything seems etched in on the early morning of a very hot day and realize this scene and its accompanying set of associated feelings is not something we all notice very often if at all.  I notice it only because I am an early riser and I see this on every very warm day.  Sometimes my perception is accompanied by a neutral nonchalance while at others, a fair bit of trepidation as my mind runs simulations of the days' potential events and future potential resulting feelings.

We’ve been unseasonably hot with much humidity of late in my part of the world but I’m not really here to talk about the weather.  I’m here to talk about the human condition and leading up to that moment when we encounter something we just simply think we can bear not even one more single moment of.  What then do we do?  I suppose our individual environmental psychology might take over then and dictate how we will handle ourselves when the weather is so hot and we’re not used to it.  For many of us, we’re likely to feel quite miserable and no doubt that misery is likely to be shared with all in even remote proximity is some way.  Perhaps we are grumpy and frowning or elated and joyful with the warmth?

Unfortunate or fortunate as that may seem there is something I wish to convey in order for you to consider.  No matter what we face here, life on Earth is tenuous at best. 

Our consciousness however, is not.  Many moons ago on a hot summer day I learned about consciousness in a different way and I’ll never forget what I learned.  The impact that learning had on my awareness has nagged me for nearly 20 years and so it is not so surprising I guess that I’m awake staring into the darkness, noticing the stars and the fact that it is still 79-80 degrees Fahrenheit at precisely 5:38 am and I’ve got a full day of yoga training ahead of me.

One thing I’ve noticed is that the mind is so very powerful as is our ability to perceive and make choices.  Although so much seems so involuntary, it isn’t.  Maybe we can’t instantaneously and miraculously change the weather in an instant but we can choose whether we feel good or horrible about it and in so doing, changing our experience and how the experience is written into the archives of the soul that bears witness to everything we experience here incarnate and beyond.  And through the soul peers the observer that holds nothing other than its drive towards existence in the absence of judgement…a curiosity or knowningness perhaps that regardless of heat or not, the individual is going to be okay no matter how he or she perceives, reacts or does not react to a thing or situation.   

When I look at the day ahead this way, It doesn’t much matter to  me whether it is hot or cold.  It matters to me that I learn to understand the data I take in consciously and sort out that taken in unconsciously and then choose my perceptions and experiences carefully.  I also think it is important that I consider well my own ability to help me see my own way home and I’m talking about the home inside of me no matter where I am or go or exist.  I exist.  Smiling at that, I leave you with wishes for a beautiful day.

  Dr. J.L. Harter, Editor see bio section for more information.

Pure Consciousness

Photo:  Jaie Hart
Many a philosopher or those with a pioneering spirit from many other disciplines might argue about the concept of what precisely consciousness is.  From each of their individual perspectives and disciplines they may all be right, they might be partially right or they may be all wrong.  To define a bit:

The dictionary meaning of the word consciousness extends through several centuries and associated cognate meanings which have ranged from formal definitions to somewhat more skeptical definitions. One formal definition indicating the range of these cognate meanings is given in Webster’s Third New International Dictionary stating that consciousness is: “(1) a. awareness or perception of an inward psychological or spiritual fact: intuitively perceived knowledge of something in one’s inner self. B. inward awareness of an external object, state, or fact. C: concerned awareness: INTEREST, CONCERN – often used with an attributive noun. (2): the state or activity that is characterized by sensation, emotion, volition, or thought: mind in the broadest possible sense: something in nature that is distinguished from the physical. (3): the totality in psychology of sensations, perceptions, ideas, attitudes and feelings of which an individual or a group is aware at any given time or within a particular time span – compare STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS.”

Spend any time researching the topic of consciousness and pretty soon you’ll find yourself half mad with theories, hypotheses and words like qualia and awareness and many philosophical ideas of what consciousness truly means from so many different angles.  Hundreds of papers have been written on consciousness and still we are no closer to pure understanding but maybe pure is part of something we might need to branch off into and along with "pure" add consciousness and create a new term to explore.  

What is pure consciousness?  Well, I believe that it is that state where you experience not one single thing else but consciousness.  There are no thoughts, no sensations, no input no matter what the mind throws up, you let it slip away as rain down the side of a mountain.  Pure consciousness is like a mountain and something far beyond it as it has no limits or boundaries or definition at all.  From a state of pure consciousness, none of this matters, has bearing on or impacts pure consciousness in the slightest. 

Unless you have experienced this state it is a little hard to explain other than as I have.  The only way I know of to get to a state of pure consciousness is through the practice of meditation and it takes much discipline and practice to get to that state of pure consciousness.  To be honest, I first experienced it during an NDE (Near Death Experience - story for another time).  Knowing what it feels like, I took up meditation again out of curiosity and a desire to explore an experience and it took so many years to see it again, I don’t even want to tell you.  But you can learn to get to it.  The question I ask is, even if you get there and even if you find it and become "enlightened" at the finding of it...“And, so?”

Why would we expend so much effort to project ourselves into a physical existence if all we want to do when we get here is spend all of our time in meditation to make this world disappear?  Didn’t we want to be here in the physical for a reason?  So why not then see it through and learn why it has the parameters it does.  Aren’t you at least a little curious why or how you come to be here? There must be a reason and I think that it must be your reason alone. I don’t wish to know the meaning of life right now.  I’m focused instead on the concept simply stated as "I am."  I can’t tell you what it’s for but it relates to a focus on consciousness.  I can point you to a teacher if you are curious (just let me know).  What I teach is part of consciousness but focused more on the day to day stuff but this topic is never ending and all consuming if you let it be that.

I believe that we are consciousness.  We are part of the great unknown…The All of Everything...The Great Mind...the Source…God….Goddess – choose your term but focus as you do on the feeling when you contemplate consciousness and say I Am.  I Am is complete all by itself.  It needs nothing else but I resist it.  I resist it and yet I experience it every night in meditation…a vast nothingness of pure void, black, dark, beautiful, peaceful and wonderful.  It’s funny having experienced a concept and then rejecting it on another hand but only in a way and maybe it is just semantics and there is no resistance at all but instead an alternative angle of understanding present that will morph into some other understanding that might entertain my psyche for a bit.  It doesn’t matter, none of this matters. Being everywhere and nowhere and understanding what that means in terms of consciousness – now that is priceless.

This may make no sense from the outside looking in.  But if you cut off the outside entirely, breathe slowly and deeply, let your thoughts slide away like rain down the side of a mountain, you might understand what I mean.  In the stillness and quiet we taste a bit of who and what we are.  What does that matter?  I don’t know that it does other than to help you understand that you are more than flesh, bones, brain and a bundle of nerves.  You are that too but so much more.  Add emotion and you have the perfect storm of wonder that humanity is.  It’s truly beautiful.  You are truly beautiful.  Our consciousness from whatever angle for whatever purpose we design is amazing regardless of who is right, wrong or somewhere in between.

  Dr. J.L. Harter, Editor see bio section for more information.