Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Alpha, Beta, Gamma, & Delta - Choosing your role

Picture credit: http://www.deviantart.com/art/ALPHA-349964323
The “Alpha” is the leader or directing individual in a group. For example, the Alpha male and Alpha female wolves are the dominant pair in a pack. Alpha is actually one of several social roles or personalities which can be considered:
Alpha: An Alpha personality is a leader. The alpha is usually the strongest, which may be physical strength, personality strength, or even intellectual strength depending on the group or circumstances. Positively, Alphas are influential, good communicators, promote change, and are the keystone that holds a group together. Negatively, Alphas can be arrogant, controlling, and power hungry. They can create conflict by challenging others for leadership, or try to hold on to leadership even when others could do better. In politics, Alphas are the candidates running for office.
Beta:  A Beta personality is a follower. (Some sources refer to a Beta as the second in command, but either way the Beta is following.) Positively, Betas are humble, supportive, help allow a group to function smoothly. Negatively, Betas can be dependent, lazy, and expect others to do things for them or solve their problems. They can also be submissive and taken advantage of, or hide their own talents and abilities out of timidness. Alphas command attention, although if an Alpha is too needy in seeking things from others they’re really a type of Beta. In politics, Betas are the ones following or supporting a particular candidate or party (however if a Beta becomes a strong enough proponent to others about a philosophy, then they’re really a type of Alpha).
Gamma: The Gamma personality is independent. That means they neither try to control nor allow themselves to be controlled. Positively, Gammas are self-reliant, and necessarily productive because nobody’s taking care of them. Negatively, Gammas can be isolated, selfish, and don’t contribute anything to society because they’re self-absorbed. Some Gammas have the determination to become Alphas if they wanted to, but they don’t want to. In politics, Gammas are the ones saying things like, “Politics is annoying and corrupt, so I don’t pay attention to it.”
Above are the three main roles people play in a given context, presented in a rather general manner. Each role can be implemented positively or negatively. Also, an individual can play different roles in different contexts, such as an Alpha manager of a business who lives alone and so is a Gamma when outside of work. A classic saying (perhaps invented by somebody stuck in traffic) requests that people should “lead, follow, or get out of the way” which is a summary of the three roles. Are there any roles other than Alpha, Beta, and Gamma? For example, consider a “group of equals”. However, such a group still has Alphas, because they are the ones that ensure the group of equals runs smoothly, or are the ones proposing and promoting ideas within the group for others to follow. There is however a meta-role to consider, which is a positive way of approaching Alpha, Beta, and Gamma:
Delta: The Delta personality is dynamic. The Greek letter Delta is a triangle, which is appropriate since it covers the three roles above synthesized and integrated. A Delta is confident and capable enough to lead, complete within themselves and humble enough that they’re not threatened by following, they’re self-reliant enough to be independent, and most importantly adaptable enough to switch between these roles as needed. If there’s an ideal role it’s Delta, because the person isn’t just focused on themselves and what they want to do, but are considering what’s needed for the good of the whole. The only potential downside is if a Delta focuses too much on serving others in whatever role that they neglect their own needs or inspirations, in which case they’re really a less positive type of Beta.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Meditation - Spiritual Exercise

Most people recognize the value of physical exercise, and can see how it improves strength and other physical attributes. Some people recognize that the mind can be exercised, and that intelligence can also be increased with practice. (Genetics plays a role in intelligence, just as it does physically, but a body or mind unused will go soft.) One final area is spirituality, which relatively few people (at this time) see the value in developing. Spiritual qualities like compassion and intuition can be increased, if we’re willing to exercise them.

One of the main forms of spiritual exercise is meditation. The simplest form of meditation is a sustained concentration upon a particular subject. In typical meditation, one focuses on a particular object or concept, considering and contemplating all its facets. That exercises one’s ability to stay focused and avoid external distractions, which is useful in today’s internet age. ;) Meditation can also be done as a group, which can be a powerful way to connect and work together.

Too often our lives are overfilled with physical activity, emotional reactions, and mental chatter, leaving little room for spiritual consideration. In other words, we sometimes let ourselves be dragged through life by bodily urges, emotional turmoil, and random ideas, instead of consciously and mindfully living life. Meditation allows more subtle vibrations to be sensed, like leaving the light pollution of a noisy city to be able to notice and experience the stars in the serenity of nature. This state of being can be called imagination, intuition, hearing the inner voice, and many other names.

One might think that those who meditate aren't accomplishing anything useful. That’s technically true, but only in a mundane sense. Inactivity on a physical level can mean one is more active on deeper spiritual planes, which have great opportunities for service. Which is more productive and meaningful: Physically earning a million dollars, or energetically building respectful understanding between people and nations?

We inhabit physical bodies, and the body is a wonderful tool, but we are not our bodies. That can be seen and proven after physical death, after which we exist much as before, but without physical pains and so on impinging upon our consciousness. Similarly, although we experience emotions and even thoughts like watching a movie, we are not our reactions and interpretations. Being aware of our core spark of conscious awareness allows us to better use and integrate our body, feelings, and thoughts.

Meditation, like physical exercise, can be done incorrectly or excessively. Aligning with the spiritual shouldn't mean abandoning or disliking the physical. Proper meditation is about actively tuning in and focusing, not passively tuning out and disconnecting from the world. The balance of bringing spiritual inspiration into a productive physical life is nicely covered in the classic adage based on Matthew 4:4, “One cannot live by bread alone, but neither can one live without bread.”

My book “Evolution of the Spirit: Our Journey Through the Universe” contains more information about meditation, in chapter 13 “Spiritual Practices”. ♥

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Discrimination - Capacity for Choice

Prism by Jessy McBump
Picture credit: http://jessymcbump.deviantart.com/art/Prism-362050162

Discrimination is the faculty of mind to perceive differences, and is what allows us to make informed decisions in life. Like many tools, it can be employed usefully or badly misused.

Some see “discrimination” as a dirty word, associating it with sexism, racism, classism, and other "isms". Indeed, negative discrimination is the cause of these problems, however real discrimination is a much deeper concept. More generally, discrimination is interpretation. Our outer or inner senses perceive something, and our mind interprets it as true or untrue, good or bad, pleasurable or annoying, and so on. These classifications may be accurate, biased, selfish, or any number of other qualities, but almost everybody is continually making them.

Discrimination is based on the Latin word for separate. We are all One, although in our manifest world this Oneness is expressed in many diverse ways, like the unity of white light refracted into a rainbow. In the grand scheme of things, separation allows us to ground and perceive different aspects of infinity. For example, different color paints are kept separate, else they would blend into an ugly uniform gray. In the human body, blood in the veins needs to be kept separate from air in the lungs. Both are needed for physical life, but blood in the lungs or air in the bloodsteam quickly results in death. However, problems arise when things become separated too much, or we forget we’re inherently One.

Discrimination is a tool: It takes practice to learn to use it properly and accurately. Undeveloped discrimination can be when it isn’t employed enough. For example, not recognizing a scam, or not realizing that one’s in an abusive relationship. Undeveloped discrimination can also be it overgeneralized or taken to extremes. For example, having an ex-romantic partner who was an Aries, and therefore thinking that all Aries people are jerks. Or even preferring strawberry ice-cream over other flavors, and thinking that everybody who doesn’t also know the truth that strawberry ice-cream is better than all others must die in a holy crusade of cleansing fire! ;)

Proper discrimination allows us (and penguins) to find our soulmates among millions of possible partners. It allows me to me able to determine which keys to press next while typing this sentence. It allows us to decide what to do with our time on this planet, and how we can most efficiently grow ourselves and serve others.

In summary, discrimination and its development is part of being human. Plants grow and bend toward the sun, but do so automatically or instinctually, without a mind interpreting and deciding to do so. Discrimination is also different from intuition. True intuition is beyond thought and duality. Intuition can bring in spiritual energy, however once it reaches our minds it’s up to developed discrimination to perceive and maintain the energy, and translate it into proper choices in our world.

Today let’s recognize the ways in which discrimination manifests in our lives, and work to refine the ways in which we use it. ♥