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Ideas for people pursuing an empowered life,




Counter-terrorist defenses in human nature

In the last issue of The Jungle Times ( http://www.consult-IIDC.com/english/whatlinks/newsletter8.htm ), I wrote about that holy terror the "Tercipelo", but did you know that even this most deadly of vipers has a predator? Yes indeed, Costa Ricans hold the «Zopilota» in very high regard because it can quickly dispatch the much nastier snakes.

Zopilota (clelia clelia) is worthy of admiration and a most impressive serpent. While most snakes are either constrictors -like a python- or venomous biters -like tercipelo, the solid black or gray Zopilota has a very impressive arsenal of weapons. Feeding on snakes of every description, it's not only a constrictor (to better hold its slippery prey) but has grooved fangs connected to deadly venom sacs too; it can give a nasty paralyzing bite. Even more, Zopilota produces its own powerful antivenom to avoid all harm when it faces the terrors of the jungle.

Tragically, Zopilota's greatest enemy is man. Because the younger snakes are brightly colored, with a black head, yellow neck and red body, they are most often mistaken for other species. And because most locals know the general rule of the jungle - the brighter the color, the deadlier the critter - young Zopilotas are killed before they change their coloring and reach their more than seven foot long maturity.

Reacting to fear, we forget that Nature encourages mimicry and that many species learn "best practices" - like imitating the colors of more dangerous types - as effective forms of survival. Panicky reactions cause humans to destroy their own best defense against the deadlier terrors - like that nasty fer-de-lance.

Human reactions are easy enough to understand by seeing the circumstances that lead to their emergence. In fact we respond in a rather limited emotional range: We get scared, mad, sad, glad and (if we are really, really good…) we can bliss. While there are literally dozens of "maps of the brain", the quadrant view - where consciousness interacts with the brain's 4 sides - the reptilian brainstem at the back, the mammalian limbic right-brain, the hominid left hemisphere and the neo-cortex at the front - to form the parameters of the human mind.

The survival circuits in our inner and most primitive brain operate on permanent subconscious alert and they are ever ready to project "scared" onto our conscious mind; this so we take notice of danger. A cold-blooded serpent might not mind feeling scared all the time but the alarm triggers a "flight or fight" response in we warmer-blooded types. As fear becomes conscious, it will be directed inward or outward as aggression - we'll feel anger and hate. Territorial, we counter our fears by getting mad at the least threat or loss; we've all seen enough Nature films and/or particiated in Friday-night follies to understand how the pack behaves at feeding time.

Higher primates (consider how ape and human DNA are 98.4% identical) will display sadness over loss and will even manifest complex emotions like regret and shame. The hominid brain manages our relationship with "out there" and it remembers successful strategies… and failures. In the day to day, more individuals share fewer resources and so the opportunities for failing strategies abound. As such most people will sadly organize that information around negative perceptions instead of recognizing a responsibility to evolve better strategies.

At the front of the brain, the neo-cortex is a feedback loop wherein "I" becomes "self" aware. As we become more self-conscious, we'll discover the creating power of choice -- and that generic feeling of having the power to choose can make one glad in the sense we can then focus on selecting love to joy. Bliss will emerge as joy fuels decisions and self-esteem ignites into passion.

Human response needn't be limited to fear. Because consciousness looks for answers by running around the 4 corners of your brain, stress results. But we needn't stop at there. The "fight or flight" feeling is only a signal to get a 360° overview so we can then choose a strategy, and learn to better manage "in there". The most creative strategies will include love and the higher emotions... and then maybe young Zopilotas "out there" can avoid senseless slaughter.



Need "Breakthrough Ideas"? Your assumptions about how things "are supposed to be" might be interfering with your giving thought to how things "can be". Robert Kennedy expressed this idea when he said: "Some men see things as they are and ask 'why?' while others see things that can be and ask 'why not?'"

Breakthrough thinking is for visionaries so click here if you want to save the world... or invent a better coffee cup.



This month consider a week of creatively self-empowered team building. In only 7 seven days, your group can be transformed into a "High Performance Team" by sharing an outstanding array of adventures, theme activities and important learning. We have both high adrenaline and "softer, more gentle" versions.

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"Of all the properties which belong to honorable men, not one is so highly prized as that of character." -Henry Clay

"The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary." -May V. Smith

"Who you are speaks so loudly I can't hear what you're saying." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates depth. Kindness in giving creates love." -Lao Tze

"Few things are harder to put up with than a good example." -Mark Twain



The consultant recognized how many of the systems and methods used by a rather important client - a very profitable utility company - were from dinosaur days. When he mentioned that a couple of their practices were quite passé, his contact seemed shocked and scandalized. He insisted that these methods had always been, are very important and were undoubtedly the key to their success.

The consultant smiled and offered the following story: "A very long time ago, high in the mountains, there was a monastery and school from where the greatest leaders graduated. One day, when the spiritual master, his disciples and their students had begun their evening meditation, a cat who lived there and was in charge of keeping vermin at bay, made such a racket it distracted them.

Sent to see what the fuss was about, a trainee came back with the information that the cat, determined to get at mice camped in the walls, was beside himself in frustration. He would not be appeased. The master ordered that the cat be placed in a jute bag during the evening's meditation and so it was done. The next day, when the cat still hadn't figured out how to reach the mice, the master gave the same command. The walls stayed thick, the mice were well fed, the cat was fit to be bagged... and so it went.

A few years after, when that master died and the mice were long forgotten, the cat continued to be put in a jute bag during the meditation practice. And when the cat eventually died, another cat was brought to the school and bagged for meditation.

Centuries later, when that monastery had become an important educational institution in a modern building, in a big city, the new leadership students were initiated to the school's customs and rituals, and they wrote essays about the spiritual importance of bagging a cat before meditation practice. Their library held scholarly works on the history, the geography (from Katmandu), the biology, the psychology, the sociology, the physics and the cultural importance of cat-bagging and one whole section was devoted to the benefits the resident cat got from the deal.

In fact, the overall opinion was that this practice differentiated the school from all others and suggestions that perhaps the original idea had been misunderstood were regarded as heresy. To this day -even if the practice is kept secret so the animal rights groups don't interfere- a cat is still put in a jute bag by the most enlightened leaders of our time before every meditation."

----- Take a quick look around your own work place - what methods or processes are due to be changed? And what would happen if you let the cat out of the bag?

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