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Holistic Living: Tips for Youth

Chapter Seven, "Thinking and Feeling":

I've already written about Asperger's traits relating to how people 'think' but 'thinking and feeling' that all character-types do definitely merits more consideration.

Some people think more by feeling and association, often using visual cues (or 'visiospatial abilities'), as I do, while others tend to think more linearly, drawing most often on abstractions.

In psychology, these differing ways of thinking are recognized as 'associative' and 'linear,' and people are dominant in one or the other.

All people typically still achieve analytical and logical thought, and creative and intuitive thinking, but they may take different routes to complete their thought processes and ultimately they may think differently about experience.

The dominant way of thinking can be influenced by environment or culture and upbringing, all of which on a different level than the 'thinking mind' help make real a cultural mindset and way. But a person's character-type and personal way plays the strongest and an underlying role in shaping how individuals use their 'thinking mind.'

There may in the near future be the potential to increasingly interlace the two ways of thinking, utilizing both sides of the brain, the whole brain, the way young and gifted math students have been shown to do.

Similar to the conceptual construct, 'associative' and 'linear' thinking, is the concept frequently referred to by the terms, left-brained and right-brained, that describes the two hemispheres of the brain being used for different ways of thinking/feeling and processing. The study of math students I refer to below found evidence of “interhemispheric” thinking in gifted students.

The left-brained person is known to be dominantly linear and the left hemisphere is known as the realm of rational math and temporal sequential language skills, as well as timed rhythmic perception of language (and music). The left-brain in conclusion applies much of what the brain in whole processes, but depending on the person and how integrated their mind is it relies more and less on the tremendous orb of thought that has the potential to emanate from right-brain faculties. Left-brain thinking also represents conscious self image making, or defense mechanisms. The right-brained person is known to be dominantly visio-spatial, environmental, emotional, creative, musical, perceiving, synthesizing, feeling, who, through his or her feeling, contributes to the understanding of language. The right-brain houses the unconscious self image or body image.i

Research from 2004 of middle school boys, one group that was gifted in math and one that was average in math, showed those with a gift regularly accessed both hemispheres of the brain.

Based on this study alone, there's evidence showing people, including young people whose brains only develop and become more united as years pass, can be synthesizing, not only creative, and intuitive, and analytical and logical, using the thought patterns of the brain to produce thinking that's whole in scope, which may then be understood similarly no matter a person's dominant way of thinking.

The East apparently derived the same conclusion thousands of years ago, which the West, because of Pythagoras, gained an understanding of, developing holistic, closed operating systems, such as Ayurveda and Enneagram, which already interlace both ways of thinking to bring about the most productive or fruitive outcomes.

These holistic systems apply both associative and linear thought in closed wholes.

Hence, they are also universally applicable.

Modern society is so great at constantly applying ideas and constructs using linear thought, which of the two thinking patterns, is the most hands-on, and applications-based. But in the modern world, since ideas applied are also usually primarily linear, and don't, the way the ancient, holistic systems do, incorporate as much the associative, ideas and constructs applied are not consistently whole.

The ancient holistic systems are, conversely, primarily associative.

Mathematics is also holistic, in fact, it's a holistic science, dating from before the time of Pythagoras, famous for the Pythagorean theorem, who started a group called the Pythagoreans, with whom he discovered spirituality in math. The ancient Enneagram symbol, relatively simple to understand like Ayurveda, is also rooted in holistic mathematics, built upon the number nine.ii iii iv The problem lay in that advanced mathematics in the modern education system have yet to be explained more simply, as all holistic science and constructs should be able to be explained, and as math is understood, by way of astrology and Vedic mathematics, now more frequently being used to enhance test performance in schools located in India and England and being introduced by way of seminars in the East and West,v vi vii viii ix since it provides short-cuts to linear or rational mathematical problem-solving. Mathematics is all the while, in the modern system, also not explained by the significance of its irrational and qualitative terms, which essentially make math whole, incorporating the psychological and spiritual. Modern math is most often instead explained via linear or rational numbers and constructs. The result of this all, arguably, is average math students don't understand math as a whole science because it's not explained to them as such. Gifted boys, on the other hand, take an inventive route to reaching the holistic science, intuiting and making implicit inferences, mostly right-brain activity; in the process, however, accessing both hemispheres of the brain, so to apply what they've deduced.

These gifted kids would have accessed the right-side of the brain to enhance their understanding of mathematics. That being the case, left-brained students, along with their right-brained cohorts, also discover greater unity between the hemispheres, and thus progressive interhemispheric thought, and both can develop gifted mathematical understanding, by utilizing both sides of the brain and 'linear' and 'visio-spatial' thinking.

In the process of practicing their math, the gifted students must continually and simultaneously experience how both the left-brain and right-brain function together, and apart, by synthesizing the information. This sort of experience, added up, could be the best means to educate the mind about it's secondary way of thinking, or about the hemisphere it uses less often instinctively, so that the mind automatically begins to process with its whole brain.x xi

I would argue that as people become more sophisticated they adopt and adapt aspects of “functioning” from both hemispheres of the brain, based on implicit knowledge of both and how they interact.

One would think accessing music, too, for left-brained people, would help them “see” and “feel” better the right-brained functions, while right-brained people already so often benefit, to a certain degree, from living in what is an overwhelmingly linear society, in which what is rational and temporal sequential is regularly accessed, and as a matter of survival, not only to achieve perfection.

Only when highly complex, holistic science is explained simply by its terms, like in Enneagram and Ayurveda, is it understood by everyone. Until then, or until each of us accesses both sides of the brain, the way the gifted students did in the study about math students, access to holistic science will arguably be constrained.

In essence, using the whole brain is fundamental to holistic science and understanding of it.

In my opinion, for the future, all science has the potential to be holistic science.

As a part of the student's overall experience, they became competent at utilizing the whole, or both sides of the brain, to solve problems. The ancient systems of the East and West have incorporated into them 'associative' and 'linear,' or left-brained and right-brained thinking, simply as part of a larger whole under which the types are inherently understood and balanced against one another comprehensively, working in concert with one another. But now, it should be said, the modern world of research is honing in on what the old differentiation means.

Expanding on what Carl Jung began in modern psychology, about the thinking, feeling, sensing and intuitive mind, today's scientific research continues to understand the whole brain as a sum that's greater than its parts. Jung introduced specializations but incorporated them into a larger whole.

He described the thinking-feeling person and the sensing-intuitive person, saying those who think and feel are judging and those who sense and intuit are perceiving. He said a person is usually dominant in one of their two strongest traits, so they may be, chiefly, thinking or feeling, or, chiefly, sensing or intuitive. Jung also described people as extroverted or introverted.

He went on to paint for people that which inhabits the space in between and underlying the brain. He coined the “collective unconscious” and went to lengths to define individuation and the conscious and unconscious. To help people understand the collective unconscious, he, based on meetings with people around the world and extensive research, also described the now rather popularly known universal archetypes of modern psychology.

As an indirect result of his work, we now know more about the mechanisms that trigger both thinking-feeling and sensing-intuitive types, and we are beginning to understand more about how the overlapping of the types may help people to safely and naturally access their whole brain.

There are two areas of Jung's thought that my understanding, based on my having Asperger's traits, and having experience with the mental health field, however after what was essentially a blood sugar imbalance, may shed light on.

The first has to do with archetypes, like the shadow, anima and animus, the old wise person, the innocent child, as well as archetypes from nature, like fire, ocean, river and mountain.i While I, with Asperger's, can absolutely connect with and comprehend the meaning of these archetypes in relation to the collective unconscious, the truth is the archetypes never appear in my dreams as archetypes the way they do for others. I can't begin to describe what an archetype looks like because I've never dreamed one, or that which Jung describes.

My dreams I do remember usually, while not everybody remembers, apparently because not everybody needs the extra help from their dreams to solve riddles. But, for me, anyway, my dreams are very straightforward metaphors. If I pay attention to them, what I find is they very simply and matter-of-factly work out the problems from the day before. Maybe a handful or two handfuls of times in my life I've also had dreams that are like major and moving clarity calls, that literally alter my judgment and make me more attuned to a holistic way to work. Both kinds of dreams, I can tell, happen because my dreaming mind is fastidious, or up to the task, more so than my waking mind. In REM-dreaming, that is, which happens shortly before we wake up, the right-brain is remarkably active, more so than during waking hours, that's for everyone. REM dreams are vivid, filled with imagery. The underlying spirituality, or collective unconscious, of the right-brain, is also most wholly applied, and as a result of the deep sleep people get. I can wholeheartedly agree with Jung's advice that to pay attention to our dreams, if we are among the people who do remember our dreams, is important, because we can find answers there. Yet, I've never experienced archetypes.

I think this is most likely because people with Asperger's already think associatively, which means thinking visually, too. This also means, facts are the same as associations. By “drawing” an associative idea and attaching it to a fact I grow to understand and even order or file that fact, in a system. So, I don't, unlike for people who think verbally and linearly, utilize in addition, per my dreams, a symbol to describe what's in part a visio-spatial concept. My associative and innate systems thinking incorporates the archetype minus the symbol. My mind already is so practiced in organizing images it doesn't need, I think, the extra aid of a symbol, which in effect collates ideas into a singular image, making them more accessible. So this is one thing that stands out for me as unique when contemplating what Jung shared with the world.ii

Then there's judging. Jung said the thinking-feeling person is a judging person. I'd like to replace the word judging with observing. We can just as astutely observe situations, particularly our own, and arrive at knowledge-based conclusions, as when we judge them. I take that back. We can more astutely arrive at knowledge-based conclusions when we observe and not judge. But the conclusions we arrive at should not be set in stone. Instead, they should be fluid, because with each moment life and nature changes, and so do we. The reason we are never completely self aware is because of the nature of our changing selves, how we change from moment to moment, and year to year. We can never completely know ourselves because we are changing all of the time, and therefore we can never know others completely, let alone ourselves. We can obtain “perfect knowledge” of ourselves and others, knowledge that is whole, and still not know the other as well as ourselves, and still not know ourselves one hundred percent. So its best not to judge. And conclusions reached at through observations are closer to being hypotheses or educated guesses, by which we try our best to understand, that is until even truer understanding comes along.

When we judge we don't simultaneously open our hearts to a person, offering them respect, love, understanding and forgiveness, in line with that which we observe. Meanwhile, love, respect, understanding and forgiveness are so important because they lead to peace and not war, to good deeds, not crime, to sanity, not insanity (or imbalance!).

It's impossible to be self aware while judging. In the act of judging, we have to try to know a person, place or thing as well as we know ourselves, and we're both changing at the same time. We can observe and increasingly understand “perfect knowledge” but judging doesn't achieve the obtainment of self-realization. As we judge, it detracts from “whole” knowledge, or wisdom, which still precludes judgment.

The truth is we're lucky in this life if we become more self aware or knowledgeable about our whole selves, and even then we're again not in a position to judge others because we can't understand others like we understand ourselves. Each day, each minute, new things happen to us that make us richer and more experienced souls; we can never know someone, at any instant, like we know ourselves, and even ourselves we do not completely know.

So we can't know and judge because all of us are changing all of the time. It's a lifelong challenge to remain self aware and you can only do it by constantly knowing and understanding self. About others, we can observe and know to the best of our ability. But again, while we're judging, we're not open, that is, to our own hearts and what our own hearts are telling us. The act of judging itself creates an obstruction and a blockage. We think we know while we are literally cutting ourselves off from the knowledge of the heart. We become committed to our judgments to the exclusion of facts, and reality. In many holistic and ancient traditions the heart is considered the seat of the mind! Therefore, we can observe others, but it's not practical or realistic to judge them.

It's for our own mental health that it's best to not even judge ourselves, but observe ourselves too. Since we don't ever fully know ourselves either, and need the wisdom of the heart to guide us. We need to constantly love and respect, and then building on those universals, practice observation, nonjudgement, understanding and forgiveness. We need them all to remain true to ourselves, and continue working well with others.

Observation, I've found, leads to forgiveness, probably the most important capacity in a person, which can be wholly applied on a daily basis. I've really studied forgiveness and come to find that if every day we forgive others, and ourselves, we are that much more whole, and observant.

If daily we think through what others have done, and what we've done, that is beating us up inside, and then choose to reconcile with ourselves, or forgive, it's a very rewarding thing. In order to forgive, it helps to come to understand why another person did what they did, what that person's motives were, or why we personally made a mistake during the day, and why it's also forgivable. We choose forgiveness instead of hate. I'm going to choose forgiveness because I know that's the better path. I know that if I choose forgiveness I can wake up tomorrow feeling more whole and like my time and energy are more freed up than they would be if I'd not taken the time to forgive. I won't be blocked or obstructed by hurt feelings. We should get into the habit of forgiving not just the big things we and others do, but the small things too. It can be an act of meditation every day. To think why we must forgive ourselves and others too, every time.

Four sources help me forgive: my upbringing/ my liberal-leaning mom but also the fact that my family went to church every week, for us it was the Roman Catholic Church. Enneagram. Gandhi and his nonviolent teachings. The universal law of Oneness, or nonduality.

Enneagram is another powerful tool for gaining knowledge of the self and world that is pseudo-spiritual, but not religious. I was introduced to the Enneagram school of thought when I lived in California, and it helped me realize my self in practical yet holistic terms, better than I'd ever taken the time to before. Like Jungian psychology and Ayurveda, Enneagram helps its followers or readers define themselves and their needs by helping them identify their core personality type.

Enneagram describes people's good and bad traits as well as their underlying motives according to type. There are nine types in total. By explaining human instincts, good and bad, Enneagram in turn describes personal solutions for people, ways for them to tap into the Sattvic mind and be whole beings, letting go of knee-jerk-style defense mechanisms they've developed since they were young.

I'll also describe what about the Church grounded me the most. There were again four things: I enjoyed going to church every week with my family and I liked that my priest was always jovial and nonjudgmental. I also enjoyed, while in church, private conversations with my god. I would usually pray for my deceased loved ones and ask for help to make things better on earth. The Ten Commandments meant a lot to me. For me, the Ten Commandments taught that one must always choose to do the right thing, however while following the laws of modern culture. But meanwhile, the prayer, the “The Lord's Prayer, Our Father,” delivered to me the essence of my religion, forgiveness. The total meaning of that prayer was also revealed to me when I discovered, separately, the truth of nonduality.

I couldn't have achieved forgiveness like I did, so completely, if I didn't also experience nonduality. Forgiveness I believe leads to and or derives from, nonduality.

Nonduality happens when we are able to see the Oneness in the world. We have all of these knee-jerk reactions that are defenses, or defense mechanisms kicking in. The way that they operate within us is that they busy our minds with all of the back and forth, or friction, our mind is occupied with when it's not practicing nonduality. When the mind is dual, it hasn't returned to the innocence it understood as a young child before our unnatural and unhealthy defenses began to kick in. Achieving nonduality means realizing a way that's advanced. The busy mind drops away. All of the friction from the back and forth of the mind goes away. Problems that were imagined before, not real, are seen for what they are, things that we make up because of our knee-jerk defenses, and they dissipate. When we achieve nonduality, simultaneously, and joyously, we become light, issues automatically resolve themselves, and truth triumphs.

It's as if everyone realizes on one day, in reference to Jung's collective unconscious, that the Hunger Games should be stopped, and why. People see the Oneness in the world and all hope to achieve it. Simultaneously, they stop the Games and, importantly, with the understanding why they must be stopped – because people are all One - the inherent harmony in the world becomes manifest, and people all stand to work together into the future. The next day after the Games are stopped, because of the understanding that has accompanied the change, the promise of Oneness begins to unfold, and each and every person is thereafter allowed to live to their full potential. This will remain true as long as the collective unconscious continues to take hold.

That's what it would look like if Jung's collective unconscious was suddenly realized in combination with the Law of One, or Oneness, in the world. It's an example of how change can result from “realization.” But on the individual plane, we also achieve Oneness, and when we do, we start to see there's no reason for the duality we create and perpetuate on a daily basis by letting our minds be busy. We stop our knee-jerk, defensive reactions, and instead ascribe to a thoughtful, proactive life based on the harmony that exists, and not the duality.

The actual process of choosing nonduality worked like this for me: Before I came to it as an adult, I'd read about nonduality, that it was the preferred way of living. I'd had my deep faith in forgiveness and understanding that allowed me to achieve things. I also had spiritual grounding, which came from hikes in nature, as well as from going to church.

Then I woke up one morning and in the shower I paid attention to my busy mind. I couldn't get over how it raced, going back and forth between what would have to occur that day. I would have to make deadlines, answer to people, rush around to get every day things done. There were disagreements between myself and others that still went unresolved. My busy mind thought it could handle this all and was wise to rush around like it did, trying to control things - the back and forth, that is. Every friction my mind created, every back and forth, was ultimately affixed to a defense mechanism, knee-jerk style, my own defenses and others. The friction in my mind that moved back and forth moved between polar sides, it was dependent upon polarity. The polarity is what knee-jerk-style defense mechanisms build.

But in science, ultimately there is harmony in the world, and that is what our minds, too, ought to attain to. Harmony, a constant, still fluctuates the way our minds do, but it is one of the universal laws or rules by which we're meant to live. The law of One is arguably the most important law by which we should live. Whenever we elect to return to the law of One, or Oneness, we are again able to reach our full potential.

When we “observe” we are steps closer to creating harmony. When we “forgive,” closer still. But when we see “Oneness,” or “nonduality,” we achieve harmony, and all it is is a choice that we make one day, to choose nonduality, or harmony. All you have to do is choose to see the Oneness, or the nothingness, as its referred to in some traditions, in the world, and all of the back and forth and friction, created by ego and defense mechanisms, falls away.

So in the shower when I witnessed my busy mind I envisioned Oneness too, and when I did I saw the futility in my mind being busy, and in the back and forth. Problems appeared as unreal, created from defenses, and they dissipated because of my immediate access to the Law of One. My mind stilled.

It's a totally relaxing sensation the first time that it happens, the first time you stop your busy mind and let all of that back and forth in it go, all of that friction, and choose to see instead the Oneness in the world.

This is where observing instead of judging leads us. When we observe, as in nature, things are constantly in motion. When we observe we arrive at questions, not false answers, like the ones that result from judging. When we observe we learn to be forgiving through understanding about that which we observe. And ultimately, we stop our busy minds and achieve peace, everything built up from knee-jerk-like defense mechanisms and ego falls away, and we realize the problems and back and forth in our minds are not even real, but created by us to perpetuate thinking that's not self-realized.

iVictor Daniel, “Lecture on Carl Gustav Jung,” The Psychology Department of Sonoma State University, Oct. 28, 2003, Nov 11, 2012, http://www.sonoma.edu/users/d/daniels/junglect.html.

iiRhahn Joseph, PhD., “Lecture 2: The Right Hemisphere,” Reprinted from Neuropsychiatry, Neuropsychology, Clinical Neuroscience, (Academic Press, New York, 2000), BrainMind.com, Nov. 8, 2012, http://brainmind.net/BrainLecture2.html.

I also came to realize that from now on if I needed to stand up for my beliefs, be defensive, that is, I could do it with the Sattvic mind. I could slowly, and thoughtfully, in a manner that would be welcomed, explain my beliefs, for example, at a roundtable discussion, whilst listening to others, too, with an open mind. The Gaviotas of Brazil practice this ancient tradition, meeting weekly to discuss any problems that may have arrived during the week, resolving them. I would think all the while, if I engaged in this practice myself, we are all One, the person or persons involved ultimately have the same goals as I do, peace and harmony. This is the kind of defense I think is practical, which should wind up at a roundtable discussion, or else in an open discussion between two people. Knee-jerk defenses instead come from wiring in the brain that's the result of evolution, which we can easily overcome if we just meditate on and practice things like observation, forgiveness and nonduality, tapping into the right-brain more than we usually do.

Blame is an example of what transpires as a result of defenses that stem from the ego. We've pitted blame on others in the past and seen the results. We hurt others, whether we intended to or not. Then in our unconscious we've known if we are to be blamed for something, we will hurt too. New defense mechanisms are created because we don't process what our unconscious is telling is. We, as a result, often times automatically shun all things that could potentially lead to us being falsely or prematurely blamed for something we feel we can't help. In the process, we shun, and often, healthy defenses, like open conversations, at roundtables and between two people.

Perhaps because of my Asperger's traits, I stopped blaming a long time ago. I found I might be blamed for something innocent and it derived in part from a misunderstanding. The result was my potential was constrained. Similarly to how I stopped making loud noises when I ate, and stopped sniffling, or chewing gum loudly, because I realized I could irritate others, as I became irritated by these noises, too, I stopped blaming, realizing blaming was typically short-sighted, when you could conversely be understanding, making allowances that were within reason, and finding solutions as a result. I stopped blaming completely, and began understanding, only.

Jung might have used a better term than judging, like observing. But I think too the more thinking-feeling people access the right side of their brain they will automatically be observing and not judging. It more so boils down to a choice people can really make any and every day. Important ideas like these allow people, and have allowed people, around the world, to tap into the right side of the brain.

The Asperger's mind thinks in associations and I would say the associations people with Asperger's make are the same as facts. When Asperger's or autistic people use facts they organize them according to their associations, they then systematize them to grasp a more full understanding of the way things work.

Neurotypical or normal people, including people with bipolar traits, who all seem to think linearly first, think in terms of targets, movement is from point A to point B. In between points A and B are, characteristically, facts or associations, but these facts, which will overlap with the same facts people with Asperger's think about, are not organized in association to one another. Rather, they are facts that simply fit between a target, between point A and B.

Linear or left-brained people can quickly draw associations between facts but it's not the way they order facts.

Initially, determining which way of thinking is predominant in you will help you better understand your self. Next, it can help you improve your way of thinking.

Again, now may be a fortuitous time for linear and associative thinking to become increasingly immersed.

With the advent of the computer age and the Internet, and the multiculturalism that exists as a result of globalization, trends have started to produce real results. For instance, people are using both sides of their brains more often, becoming both more abstract and creative.

The increased attention the autism spectrum is receiving, as well, opens people's minds to the associative and visio-spatial strengths of all people.

The benefits for mental health sufferers might be incalculable. The bipolar mind, like the neurotypical or normal mind, typically thinks linearly. But because a person with bipolar traits seeks added stimulation, those with bipolar traits learn more than others who are neurotypical to, through feeling, intuition and creativity, access the right side of their brain. They become stronger associative thinkers as a result.

I think there's potential that this correlates with a person with bipolar better managing their natural fluctuations, as thinking associatively, and perhaps even in systems, the way people with Asperger's typically do, can help a person whose mind might be speeding up and slowing down, organize their thoughts so imbalance or severe imbalance and disease don't get the better of them.

Perhaps a bipolar mind begins to gravitate more toward the why and the purpose versus the exact ordering, date, name and location of any event or person.

A bipolar mind can better handle ideas coming fast and furious, I think, by, rather than having a less meaningful association of the facts, having the facts be understood through their associations, and ultimately, in terms of how they fit into larger systems or wholes.

It could even be that the person at risk of developing schizophrenia would be better adept at avoiding a breakdown if he or she had practice in handling thoughts associatively.

Neurotypical and normal people would simply benefit from accessing the whole brain, safely, enriching their scope of understanding and enlarging their capacity to accomplish goals.

(Safety I've already described in brief when I wrote about the creative mind. I wrote: Becoming or accessing what is creative I don't think should involve sparking imbalance, like when becoming over the top obsessed with creating something new and out of the ordinary, leaving the real world to try to find a better and more remote one, or taking drugs. Creative energy should instead, when utilized in a way that makes sense, improve someone's overall state.)

A person with Asperger's or autism can alternatively access the left side of the brain, and attain to rational, temporal sequential and rhythmic thought (including fine motor skills) and applied analysis. I did this for the first 34 years of my life before I went and sought a diagnosis of Asperger's. Of course, I didn't think people like me, with Asperger's, necessarily should be diagnosed, but, again, because of my unique situation, I sought a diagnosis.

I wrote above that people at risk of developing schizophrenia might be helped by associative thinking, but this would logically mean different things depending on a person's dominant way of thinking, whether it's linear or by association.

A linear thinker isn't quite as rooted in associative thought and needs to develop a relationship to it. The linear thinker who becomes too overwhelmed by associative thinking may become at risk of a schizophrenic breakdown. Less able to handle associative thought, linear thinkers must be sure they don't exceed their own natural limits.

An associative thinker, conversely, is a natural at handling dominant, associative thought. But if he or she becomes overstimulated great chaos can ensue out of the many associations contained in the mind.

Both thinkers benefit from being able to think progressively by associations and in systems. But the first, a time-oriented and rhythmic thinker, is helped if they understand there are limits to the ways they should handle associative, creative thought. The second benefits from knowing even their mind, so strong in drawing associations and understanding complex systems, can become overtaxed, again stretching a person beyond natural limits.

I had an experience when I was in college that makes me think of the gray area between what it means to be safe and unnecessary risk-taking.

It was at a Grateful Dead show where Sting was the opening act. I went with my long-term boyfriend, two of his, or our, guy friends, and one of my best girlfriends, who was also a friend of my boyfriend. Shortly before the show, which took place in the afternoon on a sunny upstate New York day, my boyfriend asked me if I'd like to try LSD, or acid. He offered me a small amount, a half of a hit. I'd never had it before and at first I hesitated. But wanting to do what my friends did, I changed my mind and said I would give it a try.

Probably fifteen minutes before we went in to see the show, I took it. Then we were in the middle of the Buffalo Bills football stadium before the stadium filled up. As the stadium filled, my drug experience picked up, and I quickly became overstimulated, while the others didn't. Soon enough, Sting was on stage, and he's one of my favorite performers. By that time, I was starting to see a striking image when I closed my eyes that would stay with me, with my eyes closed, all day. I saw it when, sitting down in the grass, I leaned into my boyfriend's chest and he embraced me, continually, given I was crying on and off and feared the experience, in general.

The image I saw was of four doors, each a different color and emotion. They didn't look like exact replicas of doors, but solid colors that acted like doors. They appeared more like a wide cross, each cross-section a color, red, green, blue or yellow, that I alone imagined were situated on an invisible compass. So there was direction involved, but each section meanwhile represented an emotion: anger, sadness, happiness and fear.

Remarkably, I would spend what seemed like a considerable amount of time at a cross-section, or door, approaching continually what seemed like a precipice, and this happened cyclically, for the duration of the afternoon, as long as my eyes were closed and I was in my boyfriend's arms.

Each time I went to a new door of the colorful, wide, cross, with the image staying fixed in front of me, I was literally taken by all of the magnificent and also sometimes dreadful facets of the emotion the door represented. I was engrossed for a time, struggling to arrive and avoid the precipice, or tipping point, and then I would feel I could open my eyes again. I would open my eyes and describe for my boyfriend what I was seeing and thinking, before then again shutting my eyes and going through the motions until the trip wore off.

What I was doing, I recall, was on the one hand automatically accessing stories from my personal life that I then used like tools. So, whether it be my father or sister passing, the love I shared with my boyfriend, ensuing heartache, or my inhibitions about dancing in a crowd where everyone danced alike, the Dead dance, and I feared I couldn't do the dance the same as everyone else, I used these “experiences” and “emotions” and quickly related them to what was contained within the diagram I saw laid out in front of me, the multitudinous study of psychological states at each doorway. I had to match the wisdom, or understanding of every psychological state, contained within each door, in order to avoid the precipice.

Anger I had the toughest time with, I barely passed it, likely because I couldn't access an experience that connected to what I saw, and I was simultaneously discomforted by what it was I was seeing in the doorway. There was rational anger but also irrational anger and it scared me! I explicitly explained to my boyfriend the difficulty I was having with the emotion, anger.

If you've ever read of Sufi poetry or the wisdom of a Sufi, well then, that's what was laid out in front of me, that amount of wisdom, and I had to match, digest and understand it. The tools I wrote I had I used in order to do this, but I had to extrapolate on them as well.

Images became stark. I saw a crowded image, vivid, depicting what seemed like hundreds of specific stories, that's stayed with me until today. This was the image of the door, anger. When at the door representing “happy,” I saw smiling faces that were much more pleasant to experience.

My understanding is also that people with Asperger's and autism sometimes avoid obstructing, vivid visuals in order to process more or a greater volume of facts and their associations:

My mind was moving very fast that day and the speed was what fed some of the fear I knew as a part of the overall experience. I think because of the speed at which I was distilling facts I accessed less numerous visuals than I usually use to draw my associations and to do systems thinking.

When I would look up, and crying, describe what I saw and knew, which was not a hallucination, but order, and by way of emotion, what I had to describe was a very linear experience.

At each of the doors, I hung onto every emotion like it was a prayer, though the experience wasn't religious. Yet, the deep and difficult experience it was, which I would never seek to repeat, I wanted to relay to others so they would know of the meaning contained within.

What I think the doors represented were the heights of linear thought which I needed in this instance to maintain an extreme flow of associative thought. The stable image I describe helped me hold together the associative thoughts, and kept my mind ordered, too, I can only guess.

It, the diagram, was a support, as was the embrace of my boyfriend, and even knowing, Sting, my favorite performer, had been on stage.

But what a terrible risk I had taken that day. Having now read about schizophrenia, which might have been if I had reached the precipice, I wouldn't take the same risk twice.*

The linear diagram came to me spontaneously, the work I did to sustain myself, though, was with associative thought.

I've heard that psychiatric patients have drawn upon similarly stable and diagrammatic symbols before having a breakdown, when external hallucinations begin, and don't stop, arguably, without a lot of love and healing.i

So, this part of my past makes me relate, now, to that gray area between what it means to be safe and what are unnecessary risks. I know now that I made the wrong decision when I experimented with LSD. My mind, body and spirit, which is like fire, is already highly stimulated, like a pitta, and it was foolish to go and overtax myself.

But with schizophrenia, like I wrote, linear-thinking people are arguably more at risk of developing the severe imbalance. Less attuned to associative and creative thought, when challenged with that kind of thinking, they're more likely to become overextended.

In order to overcome that day, I needed to adhere to linear programming, but I also had to do ultra powerful associative thinking.

It might have been an impossible task if I didn't know how to manipulate both the linear and the associative mind.

I referred before to the 'thinking mind' in contrast to the cultural mindset. The thinking mind is more fixed than the cultural mindset.

Another continuum of thought besides the autism spectrum I've written about is the To Do To Be Cultural Continuum created by Dr. Gary Weaver, an international relations professor at The American University. With this continuum, too, what seems to be the trend developing out of the continuum, is a gradual merging of two distinct ways of being.

The Cultural Continuum of To Do and To Be cultures is described in the 2008 book, co-authored by Dr. Gary Weaver and Adam Mendelson: America's Midlife Crisis, The Future of a Troubled Superpower. Weaver, a professor in the School of International Service at The American University, Washington, DC, who's an old professor of mine, has for a long time used the Continuum to explain contrasting values between world cultures.

The Continuum works in the following way: You start with perpendicular lines. Along the horizontal line, all of the cultures of the world are listed in order. To the left of the vertical or dividing line, you have the To Do cultures, and to the right of the vertical line, the To Be cultures. Those cultures that have less pronounced To Do and To Be attributes fall closer toward the middle point, where perpendicular lines meet, while those that are more extreme To Do or To Be cultures are a further distance from the center.

According to Weaver, To Do cultures can be defined by the words 'self-reliance, individual achievement, earned status, equality, independence, individual competition, guilt, the future, immediate family and class mobility.'ii These cultures tend to be motivated around individualist actions taken toward progress which are often propelled by personal dreams or ambitions. To Do folks may think 'outside of the box' to come up with sometimes highly inventive solutions and in order to make their unique contribution to society. People in To Do cultures also tend to anticipate rewards and acknowledgment, and potential for earning profits.

Conversely, To Be cultures, Weaver says, can be described using the following set of words, 'ascribed status, affiliation, stability, inequality, extended family, reliance on others, interdependence, cooperation, collectivism, shame, past or heritage, and caste or rigidity.'iii People in To Be cultures tend more to think by feeling (Jung's definition of the feeling person was applied chiefly in the context of Western culture, where feeling people have traditionally adopted a linear-thinking mind), instead of in abstract terms. They're busy being. Instead of imagining what life would or should be like, they tend to go out and live it. Extreme To Be folks, for example, don't define themselves by how many and what kind of books they've read or written or awards on paper they've accumulated over the years, nor is their worth based on the amount of money they have sitting in the bank. Extreme To Be people also think primarily in associative terms and non-linearly, and tend to be more physical and alive in the moment.

Along the continuum, the To Do cultures that think more linearly and in the abstract, such as America and Germany, would be placed far to the left of the vertical line. The people of these countries are typically very punctual, ambitious, independent-minded and goal-oriented. The cultures of say Greece and Kenya, on the other hand, would fall somewhere to the right of the continuum, and are more To Be. In these nations, there's greater interdependence between people, a higher degree of a collectivist spirit, and more frequently, ascribed status.iv

To Do and To Be cultures that have less extreme To Do and To Be attributes fall closest to the middle point. There's likely a melding of both cultural types toward the center of the continuum.

But within each nation's culture, too, there are subcultures that may, regardless of the nation's overall cultural imprint, fit anywhere to the right or left, or on the middle point, of the continuum. For example, an urbane youth in America is more likely to be To Do-oriented while an elderly American living in the countryside could easily be considered To Be, based on lifestyles and local traditions. Generally, urban cultures present To Do type personalities, and rural settings, To Be folks.v Still, as an exception to that rule, you can also find a construction worker, carpenter, fireman, caregiver or nurse living in the city, who values and takes on many To Be attributes, and an attorney, writer or intellectual hidden in the countryside, who's more of an abstract thinker and utilizes today's digital technologies to communicate with people who are less remote.

In the end, Weaver's continuum is a simple means for differentiating between varying ways of doing and being, thinking and feeling, attributable to culture. It can be helpful for understanding what makes diverse cultures, and the people partially defined by them, tick.

Where the two distinct cultural types, To Do and To Be, find the most convergence, toward the middle point of the continuum, may be where we're increasingly headed in the 21st century, and so the logic in coming to know each type as well as their potential for convergence.

Culture in any case serves to help us define why we think, feel and act the way we do, and as a result can help us come to terms with what we know to be true, so that we're better able to expand on it.

Nader Khalili's story is the story of To Do and To Be working side by side and in unison toward a middle approach or third way. I've written another book entitled, The New Village, which describes relations between cultures and 'the holistic life,' and I use Khalili as an example in that book because he lived the holistic life. Those who do, I go on to describe, naturally serve as a bridge between To Do and To Be, and they meanwhile exist alongside everyday people in all countries. But my book also describes the future potential of the holistic life to become universally-accepted, and adopting this middle course, or holism, as I refer to it, involves the merging not only of To Do and To Be, but, also gradually of, and only by degrees, linear and associative thought.

The Merging

As a person with Asperger's, I don't think you can be taught to think by association. Anyway, I don't lecture to my brain on how it can do new things. But through experiences people have, that logically require one access the right side of the brain (for example, using creativity, intuition and feeling), this way, a linear person can instinctively learn to utilize, not just the right side of the brain, but the whole brain. Similarly, a person, whose dominant in associative thinking, who wants to grasp and utilize advanced linear thought, would, like me, continually learn to think rationally and temporally sequentially, and rhythmically, through practice. Linear thought, particularly in linear cultures, already frequently serves as a partner to right-brained thinking. I imagine that associative thinking, the right-brain, will increasingly become like a partner to linear thinkers, or left-brained people, in cultures that are more linear, and for many in these cultures, it is already the case.

The modern world leans toward linear thinking before associative.

However, not in children. In children, the right brain functions almost independently in the early years before left-brained dominance begins to take affect in neurotypical and normal people. Following this stage of departure, certain neurotypical and normal kids in time become more fluent in right-brained thinking than others. People with Asperger's and autism continue to think chiefly with the right-brain, even as modern society traditionally has transitioned them toward a linear frame of mind.

Kids as a result of right-brain dominance when they're very young experience whole living and have yet to build up defenses. They'll need their linear minds, however, to survive. This section addresses specifically just one way that the brains of all neurotypical or normal people, and people along the autistic spectrum, may be enhanced, according to their own way of thinking, developing for both more whole brain activity.

Perhaps the tremendous allowance for creative, enthusiastic and inspired thought in a linear country such as the United States is also a good model for understanding what cultural trends would permit adaptation or change in both the 'cultural mindset' and 'thinking mind,' since change in both may be required for real change to occur.

The one multimodal example I use, which exercises both sides of the brain, and is used in psychology for its health benefits, is music. Other examples that could be used are the arts, philosophy, cooking and team sports.

Music is useful for uplifting and moving people, in positive directions.vi vii It's universally enjoyed - and is just one tool to be used to encourage improved use of the whole brain.

I'm thinking of songs that have both uplifted and moved me through the years. They've helped me access right-brained thinking, such as analysis of tone and melody,* not to mention, left-brained thinking, like “downloading” rhythm. I'd say it's no mistake that psychologists literally use music to evoke certain moods.

I had an experience at a concert where I heard a version of Carol of the Bells, a traditional Ukrainian arrangement, and the music hit me all at once, so many octaves and chords arranged in such a way that sounded perfect to my mind, which received the music and was transfixed by it. If I had bipolar it would have been akin to becoming slightly high in spirit, but I don't have bipolar, it was concluded. Instead, I have a mind that is sensitive and alert to sounds and the combination of sounds in the monodic Ukrainian “ritual” song electrified my overall feeling in a safe and secure way. It was perfect music that sounded perfect to my head and simultaneously uplifted me, putting me in a zone that seemed ultrasonic.

Ultrasonic frequencies, beyond the human range of sound, are generally best received when listening to live music. They accent live music. It seemed to me the collective sound I heard at the concert hall resulted from the total vibrations, or sound, being contained by the theater, and pressurized by it, natural acoustics. The sounds of each instrument noticeably bounced off of one another, too, creating a multiplex effect. Most important was the arrangement and number of instruments being played. But in the end, what mattered was the effect on my mind, which was transformative. It caused me to reach a level of human perfection, a reflection of the superb sound I heard, experienced by the brain, that I could only imagine I should try to replicate in all the work that I do. It was certainly a mind-altering experience, this rare experience.

SACDs instead of regular CDs are meant to record and playback sound, with the use of special microphones, that encompasses a wide range of frequencies so one transmits the effects of ultrasonic sound at home. My live music experience was wonderful in any case.

At a more elementary level, as well, I've used music to create alignment.

Singles that have continually picked me up, the ones that I'll play in my head over and over again to help create balance and alignment, include: “Reboot the Mission,” by The Wallflowers, featuring Jacob Dylan. “Young Folks,” by Pete Yorn and John.

These songs basically have a rhythm, rhythm which is perceived, sequenced and applied by the linear mind, and which lightens me, it lightens the load. These songs call into action left-brained functions – as the listener acts in concert with the artist. Rhythm, here, simultaneously enhances and orders right-brain understanding, creating greater equilibrium.*

Another single, “Over the Rainbow,” by Israel IZ. Kamakawiwo'ole, has for my whole life made me have peaceful thoughts and made me feel at peace. Both its rhythm and sound and lyrics matter equally, my whole brain is activated by it.

Songs that have heightened a reflective mood versus sink me into depression, when I could go either way, include: “If,” based on the poem by the same title by Rudyard Kipling, sung by Joni Mitchell, “Hallelujah,” by Leonard Cohen, “A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall,” by Bob Dylan, and “Hands,” by the artist, Jewel.

Here, lyrics are more important, and the sound, versus rhythm, makes me feel deeply reflective, and positive, or inspired. Sound is more musical and associative, and, as it's registered, stands to align the right side of the brain, bringing about, again, an overall balance or equilibrium.*

With regard to sad songs, when I was age 30 and experiencing blood sugar imbalances, which, because of the misunderstanding about them made me feel great alienation, and thus depression, songs by artist, Nick Drake, which are remarkably emotional, matched my strong emotions, so to again heighten an already reflective mood, as opposed to make me sink into depression. Nick Drake's voice and melodies, sad as they are, made me happy at this stage in my life, helping me keep afloat, because they showed me people could feel as bad as I did and still sound beautiful and see promise.

On a more upbeat note, an electronica/house soundtrack I listened to a lot, since it gave me inspiration, is “Born on the 24th of July,” by Charles Webster.

I've listened still more to artists like Bob Dylan and Eddie Vedder.

With these performers/singer-songwriters, I again get the whole effect, their lyrics tend to move me as much as their rhythm and sound.

I might listen, like I did with Charles Webster's soundtrack, to one album, or a mix of songs, over and over again. And the result might be that an artist's spirit, through his or her voice (sound) and words (both their meaning (linear) and feeling (associative)), gets inside of me, and truly shapes work and direction in my life, in a psycho-spiritual way, dependent on both right and left-brained processing.

When I worked in CA, developing film ideas, Bob Dylan's spirit most definitely contributed to the work I did.

It was in the same time frame, when I was writing or researching, and couldn't concentrate on lyrics as much, like I did when driving in the car, that I would listen repeatedly to the Charles Webster CD.

Music was basically integral to my creative experience and, importantly, to big picture thinking. I didn't think to memorize lyrics, but the melodies of songs and their meaning just sang to me once I'd heard them.

I've since discovered that music or melody is integral to becoming enveloped by the big picture.

Of course, I listen to inspiring and balancing songs, and that's a given for me, as I think it should be for everyone.

When I was young, I listened to certain songs repeatedly, too. “The Rainbow Connection,” which Kermit the Frog sang on the Muppets, and the song that was so similar in concept, “Over the Rainbow,” were the first songs to which I listened. “The Rainbow Connection,” or “Over the Rainbow,” already then evoked a whole feeling inside of me and for the world. The Christmas song, “The Little Drummer Boy,” had a similar drum beat, and rhythm, to “Reboot the Mission,” and “Young Folks,” and the lyrics and sound were moving to me too. “Silent Night,” I also loved. “Silent Night” I admired when I was a few years older. The song's sound and lyrics evoke the associative mind. All of these songs spelled international peace to me, which has been a deeply felt, lifelong aspiration.

Interestingly, I cared enough about lyrics at a young age to take away from them what were my deepest and most heartfelt feelings. This was halted for a number of years in my teens and early twenties when I developed coping mechanisms to get along in a more linear world. I didn't have the space in my life to absorb lyrics and sound like I used to, but the skill came back to me after college, when I began working in documentary film and focusing on big picture projects that synthesized the learning process.

I never at any point stopped enjoying music, and I continued to prefer peaceful rhythms and sounds, but I just didn't pay as much attention to lyrics/sound for a while. I would still hear reflective songs and acknowledge the words to the songs, and enjoy the rhythm, but their meaning didn't penetrate me. I have to sink in to music instead of just hear it, essentially, and be in a place that provides freedom of thought, love, warmth and kinship, also, allowance for big picture ideals, then songs move through me with very positive results.

When I listened to “Over the Rainbow,” the freedom of thought I enjoyed at home as a little girl, I should also add, included, when I was a girl, alone time, time to let my mind ruminate. I remember being alone by the record player, standing in front it, repeating my favorite song. I was surrounded by the love of my mom and family, but also in my own world temporarily, safe and at peace, and it was then when I imagined Oneness.

The lyrics to “If” I love. They wrap up so much that there is to know about psychology, in one ode.


If you can keep your head
While all about you
People are losing theirs and blaming you
If you can trust yourself
When everybody doubts you
And make allowance for their doubting too.

If you can wait
And not get tired of waiting
And when lied about
Stand tall
Don't deal in lies
And when hated
Don't give in to hating back
Don't need to look so good
Don't need to talk too wise.

If you can dream
And not make dreams your master
If you can think
And not make intellect your game
If you can meet
With triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same

If you can force your heart
And nerve and sinew
To serve you
After all of them are gone
And so hold on
When there is nothing in you
Nothing but the will
That's telling you to hold on!
Hold on!

If you can bear to hear
The truth you've spoken
Twisted and misconstrued
By some smug fool
Or watch your life's work
Torn apart and broken down
And still stoop to build again
With worn out tools.

If you can draw a crowd
And keep your virtue
Or walk with Kings
And keep the common touch
If neither enemies nor loving friends
Can hurt you
If everybody counts with you
But none too much.

If you can fill the journey
Of a minute
With sixty seconds worth of wonder and delight
The Earth is yours
And Everything that's in it
But more than that
I know
You'll be alright
You'll be alright.

Cause you've got the fight
You've got the insight
You've got the fight
You've got the insight

As with so many people of recent generations, I more frequently chime into rock and roll. But I also listen to classical and world music, particularly in the car and when working.

I think the way autistic people frequently experience classical music and artists moving inside of them, I've had rock and roll artists with soothing lyrics and sound move inside of me. You might say that in light of the way classical brings one closer to nature and spirituality, the autistic person's love for classical is a sign of inherent spirituality.

When I seek balance from a world that sometimes seems like too much to handle, I turn to classical music too.

World music including Irish Celtic, Indian and Pakistani music, Himilayan chant songs, the vocal arts of Mongolians, Argentinian Tango, Latin music, African and Caribbean reggae and steel drums are but a few of the tastes of authentic world music emanating from different corners of the world.

Perhaps one of the most sophisticated forms of world music stems from the Middle East. It's the radif tradition, celebrated in 2009 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, a beautiful expression of world music whose home is considered Iran. UNESCO celebrated its heritage in part to conserve knowledge of how the radif has been passed along orally, from master to apprentice, though now it's being taught at universities too. It's such an informed practice it can take ten years to learn the spiritual art, which features highly evocative vocal and instrumental solos.

In the article, “What is Radif?,” by Ostad Mohammad Reza Lotfi, it describes the partial role of the spiritual art:ii

One of the most important features of the classical solo performance form is in the way the listener is guided along, not unlike being taken on a journey. Different moods and emotions such as fear, sorrow, and happiness are experienced throughout this journey; however, the final goal is to free the listener from her (his) worldly shackles and bring her (him) closer to her (his) spiritual self.

If you've had a chance to hear the music on the radio or internet, you'll likely agree the radif produces gorgeous and uplifting melodies.iii iv

Accessing the rich traditions of the different musical genres can lead to increased attunement with both sides of the brain, including the rich orb of right-brained activity and the complex and exquisitely ordered left-brain.

Closed, holistic systems automatically present to people a system that for every step of that system, there is a whole idea. Thus, each step in a holistic system is easily explainable, both on its own, and as a part of the macrocosm or larger whole.

From thousands of years ago there exist teaching systems, or systems for holistic understanding, that on their own are already the result of merging the two distinct ways of thinking, associative and linear, or the two hemispheres of the brain.

We can utilize these systems on their own and in combination with modern systems still evolving today.

It seems that thinking by association requires a little more effort than thinking linearly. To think associatively, one should literally access the mental, physical and spiritual realms, and find inspiration in them, at every turn. This is how a person understands associations.

But thinking linearly also doesn't have some of the perks thinking associatively has, including what I've suggested above pertaining to mental wellness and maintaining it. Odd as it may seem, thinking in creative, even disordered, ways, then using the wisdom of the whole to create a sense of order and understanding from creativity, seems, if you ask me, to aid the mind in managing ever more thoughts or facts, and in a concerted, coordinated way.

For the associative person, being able to spend a bit of time in a position or place adds to a person's comfort level, as long as its a healthy environment to be in, one in which you can meet your goals and excel, even if its gradually, over a matter of weeks, as you become better acquainted with your surroundings.

People who think linearly will of course be more torn up by surroundings that are nonlinear, to this they can't associate as easily. They would probably want to make their situation more aligned with their perceived interests over time, so they feel they have their bearings.

Try not to be too cavalier about any situation you find yourself in. If it's not right try to make it better or look for something that's a better fit for your way of thinking, and being.

If you find yourself becoming bored or aggravated, or like the rules are encumbrances, or you wished there was more straightforward thinking in your job, laid out in an order from A to Z, well, make a change. You likely need a course of study, or a job, that's more your size, and more or less associative or linear. Somewhere along the spectrum you can find a place where you can fit in and also get things done.

When you can find the right fit, you'll ultimately be able to perform well at jobs more consistently while also enjoying what you're doing.

Of course, having a job that holds purpose for you and involves much of your primary way of thinking, whether it be right or left-brained, still doesn't mean you're going to like every aspect of the job, or do every aspect of it perfectly. Though, hopefully you'll be better able to do your job well.

When I finally found that my strongest suit is in thinking in the realm of ideas and theories,

colors and sounds, usually focusing on the big picture somewhere - and using associative or emotive thought patterns to be this creative person - I still needed to gain the skills to do work that involved these human traits.

That's why it's best to know yourself well early on, best you can.

Memory & Concentration

Because on some days your mind may move faster than other days, perhaps consuming more, and more varied information than usual, as you live forward, and in some cases speed forward, you may someday find that you easily forget details about what you’ve learned, read, heard, or experienced over the years, or you may notice you’ve forgotten the exact order in which they occurred.

To a degree, this is what happened to me. I remember moving along at a hurried pace in my late twenties with the foggy notion that because of the way my life was constantly moving forward (meeting new people, living in new places, approaching work and life in evolving or differing manners) there was much in my past I hadn’t had time to revisit, and therefore couldn’t recall in a moment’s notice. My past memories kind of lingered in some distant corner (or corners) of my brain as seldom-approached groupings of older experiences that remained untouched for the time-being. I acknowledged, almost subconsciously and silently, how I had lived through a wide and varied list of events that were no longer prevalent in my life, as I realized that many of these past experiences, along with the knowledge gained from them, weren't ‘stored’ in a particular order, chronological or otherwise, but were like many pieces of a puzzle that hadn’t been put together.

I didn’t feel a pressing need to put this puzzle together, but I had anticipated life slowing down and becoming more stable at some point sooner than it did so that I could take the time to piece distant but important memories together again. (I did keep pace with my past, but only to the extent that seemed necessary as I continually moved onto new things and challenges.)

I was comfortable as I was because I had a vague idea that this may just be the way my mind worked; it collected random information from many sources so that it wasn’t easy or even intelligent to continually ‘order’ it. I was more interested in making sense of what came my way, that I knew well through associations based on the past I still held and was conscious of if not focused on, and knew I could build on.

And as time passed, I began experiencing fleeting thoughts about my past and what I could and could not readily remember from it. I realized that in particular there were many details from topics I'd studied or researched in school, or for work, that weren’t fresh in my mind anymore. While I recalled many impressions and events from my past, albeit not always in an ordered fashion similar to what you'd find in a timeline replete with facts and pictures but the essence of them, what I'd forgotten in many cases were exactly, little factoids that had been taught to me, or that I'd learned, that didn't have any emotional ties or weren't a part of the essence of a memory or lesson learned. They were facts that couldn't be directly utilized at the time that I could also look up.

I had already acknowledged to myself (and maybe a couple of others) that in general I didn’t remember well at all many names, from history and movies, for example, if they hadn't moved me; the dry facts; and dates listed chronologically, from long ago. It wasn't the first time it occurred to me that I had this problem with memorizing names and dry facts, long-term. As a result of it, I had begun, when I was living on my own and working independently, and as a freelancer, simply keeping organized notes for myself so that if I needed to return to a subject-area I'd studied earlier, I'd now be easily able to re-review it first to recapture the names and facts involved, that when combined together in the overall picture enhanced the essence about the subject, which was what I automatically recalled.

It's a strange memory loss, whether stemming from subjects studied or events from my past, because it's nearly totally dependent on association, or lack thereof. If faced again with a person from my past or a situation related to something I had cared about and studied or worked with before, memories will come flooding back. But to be able to recall certain things at will without a prompt has been more difficult, unless the memory becomes useful in the present. For instance, I may have long forgotten someone's phone number until I suddenly need to recall it, and while I didn't remember it when it wasn't 'useful,' the number may come back when it is. (The notes I made as a freelancer are really an aid to prompted memory!)

Regarding visual versus verbal or contextual memories, I can recall the past with visuals attached much easier and with more detail than I can recall what was strictly verbal or contextual (like words from a text book). In addition to thinking associatively, I think visually, and in order to remember I think back to images from the past, whether they were clear and real, like in a photograph, or I imagined them vaguely (such as images I concocted that represented infrastructures or complex systems) in order to lend an associative memory to a developing situation, voice, period in history or poem, like in a painting or moving picture.

While I was experiencing fleeting thoughts toward my late twenties that related to my memories of the past, it also became clear to me I was playing a lot of catch up, in odd ways, when assigned documentary projects to develop. My liberal arts education wasn’t as effective as I had hoped it would be. Only when I did research for independent documentaries, and later for Sierra Club Productions, that involved the environment, government and big business overlapping, was the idea finally driven home that the forces related to and surrounding the environmental movement, and the world's physical infrastructures, were key to understanding international politics. I began to develop in my mind more complex systems as they appeared to me, as they really are.

In school, I was taught in an 'international theory' class that television and media historically had a huge impact on developments in international politics. Learning this was like a “learning arc” for me, a turning point in my understanding regarding how complex systems must be systematically organized. Once explained, what I'd already understood on an instinctive level about the impact of television on the way the world worked was hammered home and became like a tool to be utilized for understanding systems. The same thing didn't happen in other important areas of development, and I later incorporated these areas with greater specificity as integral to the whole as a result of my documentary work, which for me involved applying all I learned to big picture thinking. But separately I don't recall there being in my coursework specific emphasis on the impact of the environmental movement and big business on government, and vice versa. It helped that as a part of the documentary work I met the scientists and heard their plight, learned from visionary architects and went inside their prototypical buildings, and absorbed the wisdom of ancient cultures, first-hand, it was experiential learning, but it also perhaps could have been taught to me previously as part of “systems theory” in college.

It's true that if while I was in school or shortly after I had chance to meet or study closely television (and radio) hosts like Charlie Rose or Amy Goodman, two of my greatest heroes because of the work they do that relates to international relations, I might have had an even deeper understanding of the role media has on systems, and importantly, its potential. As years passed, I watched both hosts frequently and learned from them about potential for progress. But in terms of there being more “learning arcs,” all parts of the system should be able to be better explained under advanced “systems theory.” Arguably, too, students learning about systems would more often choose projects to work on that stimulate them and may help lead them to discover the poignancy of the existent “learning arcs.”

At school, I learned primarily about the four branches of government, including Congress, the Supreme Court, the White House, and the fourth, which is considered to be the media. My studies included America's Greco-Roman roots, and its international institutions, relations, treaties, bills, laws, defense, budgets and political theories. I learned too about foreign countries, their political histories and resources. What I lacked was more big picture thinking which would have involved, in my opinion, more learning arcs incorporated into the coursework. The poignancy of the learning arc may have enhanced my memory in general.

For how much of what was in text books had to do with the day-to-day push and pull of things on a more cellular level? In fact, looking back it would be easier to grasp the relevance in text books having learned simultaneously more learning arcs, or what “systems theory” calls, “feedback loops.”

Granted, I learned volumes too in my classes, about various cultures of the world and how they differ, and about politics and human nature, but less about how the influences emanating from people representing different and integral subcultures also make important contributions to world affairs, with unbound potential for greater and more positive contributions.

So I acknowledged too, that as I sped and worked forward throughout my twenties, focusing on a wide array of subjects but for their political relevance, that I was learning all-important, applicable material I hadn’t comprehensively covered previously.

Having to do double duty on the job as a result, I of course found even less time to review what came before (or old memories), including much of what I'd studied or researched in school and for earlier work commitments. And I simultaneously felt a great need to tend to the present because my projects were timely.

I just hadn't had the luxury of time yet to go back and review my past concretely.

Add to my personal story that I'd worked to support myself through college, and was later diagnosed with an overconvergence ratio of 7:1, or a strong eyeglass prescription, that made it more difficult for me to read texts at length without my eyes becoming tired, in college and through my twenties, and I guess this adds to the quagmire. But perhaps there was no quagmire. Perhaps I was just moving forward as one individual and paying heed to my particular set of circumstances.

Because I didn’t have time or occasion to revisit the past as others often do revisit their pasts, through active personal and professional affiliations, I didn’t reorder or reflect on memories from years ago that were messily shelved somewhere in my brain. After ordering the memories, I also didn't feel any significant change in how organized I was as a person.

I think, intentionally or not, it didn’t matter which, that I was purposefully moving forward and building up to a place, or space, in which I hoped and intended that I'd be able to access and make practical use of all that came before, in a more targeted way than I was already doing, perhaps as a parent.

The past was also somewhat difficult for me. I couldn’t erase the depressing, intense, or slightly traumatic times I had had, and these experiences leave the strongest impressions, tending to shape memories, sometimes molding them. We often remember better the more intense and traumatic moments, and if we have too many of them, there’s a greater likelihood we forget some of the more plain, but important, things about our lives. I don't think I forgot what mattered most to me, but I suppose what was less relevant in my mind came to make up the foggy and hard to reach memories of factoids and events that I held.

So another reason we may forget things, and I forgot things, was that, in addition to the happy times, there was a lot of pain and suffering in my early adult years, and this clouded for me what wasn't as important to my and my family's well-being, for instance.

Unfortunately, because of my circumstances I didn't have the money to see a counselor every week, and I suppose I didn't want or see the need to either. I was simply occasionally talking with friends about serious things that mattered to me, and left me perplexed, to hear their impressions; taking long meditative hikes; thinking forward quite frequently; and acknowledging to myself that things would naturally slow down eventually.

In my mid to late-twenties, I thought I was gaining in my physical and mental condition, and my spirits were up too. I accepted that there were problems in the past I wasn’t able to overcome easily, and, in some cases, not at all – but this was part of the reason I strived to be healthy and strong, doing work that meant something to me and that I enjoyed.

I simply wasn't haunted by my past, but more so, was inspired by it to live forward.

What also could have haunted me but didn't were those days from my past I spent depressed and crying over a broken heart. I poured my love into my work while keeping an eye open for when true love would come along again.

The past, once I took a closer look at it, was something I could learn from and continue to learn from, mainly in light of the Asperger's traits and what light they shed for others along the autism spectrum. Now the past is something I can use to help show others how to avoid some of my pitfalls while also continually living for the moment, and not the past. Ultimately, my goal is to make people understand that despite my slight differences, I didn't need to be treated less than an equal.

Unconsciously, I was very slowly coming to know my creative self, having been brought up only to understand my analytic and linear side, while taking the creative side for granted - so these two sides of me were actively being merged while I also faced myriad challenges.

In 2003, I wanted to start a company that would involve incorporating much of what I learned in the twenties that was impressive, intriguing, and relevant to world affairs, categorizing the material according to central themes, that would then be communicated via outreach, lectures, and the media, a series of DVDs.

If the idea for a company didn’t work out, because I couldn't find partners with whom to get it going, I wanted to at last begin devoting my life entirely to writing, perhaps the arts, and starting a family. I thought of going back to school too, but it might have been for a degree that would have supported a writing career. I could have possibly still returned to school to study psychology or law.

I was ready to move forward, either with a budding company and partners, or a fresh start as a writer. No matter what, I wanted to at long last slow down and begin to access and use information I'd gathered in the past.

I wanted to draw stronger associations between the things I had learned and done than I had previously been able to, creating a semblance of order and an evolution of thought that could be communicated to others.

Looking back, perhaps I could have more consciously sought this slowing down and transformation, but instead it became an inevitability when a number of the projects I endeavored to make didn't receive funding, and I was looking for work at the same time.

The first time I actively sought to slow down was at age 25 when I wanted to settle down and get married. When that relationship ultimately didn't work out I felt pressed by socio-political circumstances that surrounded me and wanted to make a contribution that was uniquely my own.

By early 2001, age 27, I was a strong believer in the need for people to work together more on environmental issues, consumer rights, and other political relevancies, in order to achieve long-term security. I also thought Americans who were spending outrageous sums of money on technology, fuel and real estate needed to become reflective of the size cars they drove, for example, and why they might need so many televisions or computers, as another example.

When I took leisurely drives in Los Angeles, in a city where people tend to live as much in their cars as they do in their apartments or houses, I continually weighed how to bring about progress by decreasing the gap between the rich and poor, the haves and have-nots, in LA, and in the world.

In LA, in part because of the driving people do, there are two wonderful public radio stations that continually play progressive science and political talk shows, in addition to the hard to find world music that I love so much. Listening to these stations, and especially to the talk shows, “Explorations,” with Dr. Michio Kaku, and “Democracy Now!,” with Amy Goodman, as I drove places, was a remarkable learning experience.

The stations I listened to in California were KPFK 90.7FM (http://www.kpfk.org/), Los Angeles Pacifica Radio and KCRW 89.9FM (http://www.kcrw.com/). KCRW is National Public Radio's flagship station in southern California. In addition to national NPR programming, KCRW also broadcasts shows produced in its own studio, and shows produced by Public Radio International, for example. The stations may be accessible via satellite or podcast. For similar programming in upstate New York, WRPI Troy 91.5 and WAMC 90.3 Northeast Public Radio, broadcast shows produced in-house and by NPR, the British Broadcasting Company (BBC), and PRI, including shows featuring music and the arts.

The radio station Ext 97.7 also plays a wide range of eclectic and rock music and is unique because it's independently run and coming out of upstate NY. It features a lot of local artists and has helped make a few famous.

So, radio can be a great source for factual and in-depth examination of the issues, arts and sciences. Listening in many parts of the country and world, especially now with online and satellite radio, is easy to do, as it was for me in LA while I drove in the car.

In addition to what was happening politically at the time, two things from my past spurred the future work I did in documentaries between ages 25 and 29, the passing of my sister from cancer when she was age 20 and my father's passing at age 39, in a car accident. I wondered deep down, by my mid-twenties, if both could have been avoided.

My sister passed when I was 12, from a rare form of colon cancer. In short, as I conducted research, I encountered findings that spoke to the irresponsibility of industry to keep our environment clean and toxin-free, even when it's within people's power.

My father died at a time when consumer advocates like Ralph Nader began pressing for changes in the way conventional automobiles were made. Nader pushed for legislation that would require airbags to be installed in vehicles; it was one of the many things he and his staff worked to achieve. Airbag technology actually dates back to the 1940s and 1950s when it was used in airplanes, but it was only in 1967 when it was first marketed to the automobile manufacturer Chrysler. By 1971, Ford built an experimental fleet of cars with airbags installed, and in 1972, the first production car featuring an airbag was the 1973 Oldsmobile Toronado. By 1974, two years after the first production car with an airbag was built, dual airbags had become an option for consumers of a number of full-sized Buicks, Oldsmobiles, and Cadillacs. However, it wasn't until 1984 when legislation was passed that required all cars built after April 1, 1989 have either a driver's side airbag or an automatic seatbelt (the automatic seatbelt became very popular, only to later be phased out). Remarkably, many conventional cars didn't wind up having airbags until the mid-1990's, and only as of 1998, did law mandate de-powered or second generation dual front airbags. My father died in 1974 and it turns out that if there had been an airbag in our family car he might have survived the terrible accident he was in.v vi

When I met a group of space activists in LA whose reach through numbers penetrates universities, governmental and non-governmental organizations, the media, and grassroots activism, around the world, I thought their message and strategies had the potential to help spur quicker implementation of forward-thinking technologies, including space and earth architectures, but also spinoff technologies like the airbag (which was a spinoff from previously-manufactured equipment used in aircraft). The purposes of the youth space activism in particular were to affect the world in positive ways by promoting and administering space education, research and exploration, and other peaceful and environmental uses of space science and technologies.

The architect, Nader Khalili, who turned to earth architecture midway through his career and who thereafter devoted part of his time to working as a space architect, was the first person tangentially related to space activism who I met, and through him I was ultimately introduced to many others, most of them my age and younger. I wanted to tell their stories, and the unfolding story of space activism.

I slowed down at a point when I thought I might not receive the funding I would need to succeed, but then things unfolded in such a way that I believed the work I was doing was so important that it warranted my continued efforts.

It wasn't only a film series about space activists that I proposed doing but I proposed the feature-length film about Khalili and his architecture as well, and at the same time I did work for Sierra Club Productions. I proposed to Sierra Club Productions that we produce a Charlie Rose type show involving the environment.

And so the second time I really considered slowing down, and changing course, in my twenties, would have been when I contemplated the company I write about, which I coined Real Space Pictures. I actually began a company by that name with the person I partnered with for the second space series I developed, but this was well before I independently developed what could have become longer-term plans for the company. At the same time, I considered doing writing, and temp work on the side.

I was exhausted and the interim needed a break for myself and sought it. But one thing led to another and before I knew it I was becoming sick. Hence, a major and unforeseen turn in my life.

I would advise young people to make sacrifices but take what I now believe are ‘necessary’ precautions, by living a healthy lifestyle that matches a person's needs so that he or she doesn’t run the risk of becoming sick like I did.

If I had made it more of a priority, despite extenuating circumstances, to live balanced, making sure I had enough money, and recollecting the past in more ordered fashion as I moved forward, I probably would have been better able to avoid becoming sick.

Instead of being forced into a defensive position, which was in no way a healthy way to go, I might have succeeded at starting up a company, writing or starting a family in the first half of my thirties.

So not to run into the dilemma I did, it may be wise to make an effort to slow things down, at least for periods of time, when it feels like life is moving too fast, or becoming in one way or another difficult to handle, because in large part, where you've been will influence where you will go.

Eating right, sleeping well, and living a healthy lifestyle will help steady your life and mind, too, making you happier, and allowing you to remember more of the details related to things you've learned and done.

Ultimately, each one of us has a unique memory, and ability to memorize information. And we're continually making new impressions on our mind. To a point, we can control how well we remember what matters to us by controlling our lives and health. In other ways, our brain has a mind of its own, and we should learn to celebrate and care for it.

In Ayurveda, for example, the people with vata constitutions remember things more easily in the short-term and then often forget details over time.

It's also only natural for every person to forget quite a bit, while remembering what's important for their survival or well-being. We generally remember what matters, we remember what we need.

Memory is no matter what a fascinating and complex human ability.

After I recall the essence of subjects I can begin to remember peripherals related to subjects, but it's generally not the other way around. The essence, the way things fit together, leads me to the facts. Perhaps that also leads me to the style of studying that works best for me.

In practice, when it comes to studying, for me to know a subject really well it involves knowing it from many angles, and whenever possible, knowing it inside and out. By learning subjects from different angles and through first-hand experience, which involves more of the senses, I wind up repeating the facts in my head more often and in interesting ways, drawing new connections that wouldn't have been as obvious from one quick read, or even two or three quick reads. Again, in addition to learning from more linear books and lectures, it's vitally important to also experience the diversity in the world, human interaction, and even the feel, touch and smell of things.

Another trick I like to use to educate myself, so that I can gain greater understanding of history, is to first read an historical account that is very large in scope and does an interesting job of piecing together many different players and factors, that provides a good sense of the history. It may read more like a work of fiction because it's woven together with storytelling and so contains action. And while it's not, in this case, first-hand experience, it draws out the senses anyway and instills a sense of wonder and intrigue. Books that contain a good amount of storytelling mixed into the retelling of history, or that list important anecdotal evidence and metaphors that spawn curiosity, create the desire to know more and can help one know more.

Because I relate well to the unfolding of story and events, as time passes I'll be better able to remember what I've read. But the ideal arguably is to be able to learn through this type of exciting text while simultaneously experiencing the history in some hands-on way, too. Associative learning exercises that require students learn through action, like using dance as a metaphor of a subject from history, may create hands-on learning of history and other subjects, in addition to field studies.

A Means of Remembering and Thinking Things Through

Sometimes what also helps me recollect and consider the overall meaning of what I've begun learning is to walk undisturbed, and lay or sit, thinking or daydreaming about events, historical and otherwise. As I relax into my thoughts, I find I have more cause to remember what I've read or researched. In addition to memory of things learned ultimately from text and study, what I personally remember more automatically are the human interactions that have been playing out in life, and the implications of those interactions. Walking, laying, sitting and sinking into thoughts helps me downplay what it is I learn about human interaction through human interaction, which is for me as intense as book studies may be for someone else. As I begin to download on one hand, and downplay on the other, I begin to find relevant answers and questions relating to events and people that lead to solutions.

Under pressure and in conversation I often recall poignant or important truths stemming from both studies and interactions as well, but I'm more rigid then and not thinking as openly. I'm not able to brainstorm like I do when relaxing in a meditative way.

It may be that you don’t run into similar hiccups with your memory if you choose to take life a bit more slowly, and more consistently take time to reflect on and reread, or re-approach, material, including by reading novels.

Finally, it’s wise to continually review and keep organized and handy files or notes of what you've done.

To aid you in remembering well through the years you may want to journal regularly, including keeping track of books you’ve read, people you've met, lectures you've heard, places you’ve gone, and with whom you’ve gone to places. If you chose to study Latin or any other language, in order to not lose what you've learned keep reading literature which interests you that's in that language. Or, read the types of science and history books I've described above for continued insight into the roots of the modern world and to understand our foundations. You could also keep mental and physical notes (in notebooks or in your computer) of the types of foods you’ve tried and either liked or disliked, including where and when it was you found or bought a food product or recipe. You could do the same for exhibits by photographers and other artists that you've seen and want to remember.

Cataloging ideas you come up with, in drawings and or text, in notebooks, or your computer, is also a good idea. The journals and notes can store for you the information that you may have difficulty keeping track of with your mind alone, because you essentially collate so much information while some of its not concrete!

Also, it helps to keep organized records of the important documents (emails) you collect from year to year, such as tax forms, receipts, contracts, bank statements, medical records, school records, and other important school and work-related documents. It’s best to keep these forms and reports in a filing cabinet that’s waterproof, fire resistant, and has a key, but the desk drawers in your room or office, or a filing bin in your closet, could work too. Secure computer files should work too.

As I’ve written, I work best in spaces that are quiet and or feel copacetic. Otherwise, if in an environment with troublesome noises and distractions, I’m likely to stay at work for hours after others have gone home, in order to enjoy a quiet environment. I've had similar problems in noisy libraries. At my old school library I used to spend hours staring at pages in books not being able to study much of anything because of distracting noises (sniffling and gum chewing) I heard off in the distance. If only I had had an easier time concentrating during the days I probably would have had slightly better sleeping habits too, since I often wound up working into the nights to avoid the loud and crowded days on my college campus and at the office. Perhaps these issues also affected what I remembered and memorized.

I'm not trying to suggest that many of these problems couldn’t have been avoided. If, for example, I had found more comfortable, and most importantly, quiet and copacetic living arrangements as a college student, I might have been able to work from home more often. If I had a comfortable living environment and a well-adjusted social life, whether I was a bit of a loner or not, maybe I would have been motivated to work or study in other spaces, like outside in open fields of grass.

In fact, blades of grass I find incredibly relaxing and soothing, and wonderful to sit study, memorize and concentrate on!

I’m hopeful my experiences with memory and concentration will in some way help the reader. It's based on my experiences, and those of others I’ve talked with, or read about, I think these bits of advice are important to share with you and anyone with a mental depression, disorder, or perhaps, just with anyone.

Jotting Down Reminders,
Creating ‘To Do’ Lists, and
Making Mental Notes

For ensuring that you remember the many practical things you have to do, it helps to keep a running ‘to do’ list in a notepad that you carry around with you, or you could use one of those pocket calendar/organizer books or computer programs. For a while, I hung a to do list on my refrigerator so that I saw it every day, and could refer to it if necessary. Now I'm keeping my to do list in an OpenOffice document on a laptop computer. If you get into the habit of looking at your list as often as you find is necessary then you're less likely to forget what you’ve promised yourself and others you would do. You may even want to keep two running to do lists, one for the long-term picture, and another for the short-term.

You can date and fill to do lists with things like: "I have to: feed the cats, clean my room, give my mom a message that her friend called to confirm a meeting place, write a letter to a friend, complete a task for my science project or paper that I’m writing for school, call my dad, do laundry, turn the heat off or go for a walk.” A long-term list would include your long-term goals. As you complete the things you have on your list, including on your list what's difficult for you to remember, mark them off until you're ready to start a new list again.

Keep separate reminders, if it helps you, in a pocket calendar or your organizer. Making notes and lists for yourself can help you stay on top of things in school, at home, and with everything you aspire to do, even when you may be experiencing some level of imbalance.

When you are experiencing imbalance, your list or lists may become more filled up, as mine did when I was seriously sick in 2006, for example.

But it's also during the times when you're not sick that staying better attuned to running to do lists may be of great help.

When I write or work on projects, the many to dos I have to complete the project I jot down in a running to do list, for example.

A calendar, perhaps on your computer or hanging on the wall, or in an organizer, can meanwhile still be used to input any doctor’s appointments, parties, meetings, events, outings, or deadlines you have, which you may want to include on your to do list as well as on your calendar pages.

I should point out that I think these habits may be exceptionally helpful to the more creative person, and those who think by association, in general.

Lately, I’ve even gotten into the habit of putting reminders in my wallet, so that I see them whenever I open my wallet. I do this especially when there's something urgent or very important to remember, even when it has to do with a project I'm working on, but most often reminders in my wallet relate to practical every day things I have to do.

If not in my wallet, I might place reminders some place where I know I'll look on a daily basis, like where I keep my keys or pocketbook.

I’ve also seen people use the trick of calling their home or work voicemail or message box to leave messages for themselves that they must do something when they get home or to work, even if it's only to add something to a running to do list.

For as much as I depend on these tactics to remind myself of what needs to be done, I also keep many mental notes and perhaps still depend on what I remember in my head more than I do the to do lists.

I've for as long as I can remember, except for when I was experiencing imbalance, had a great short-term memory, in fact. And even for the long-term, as far as my mental memory goes, I can use pictures in my mind, especially, to create lasting memories, particularly when there's something concrete, like a store or book cover, to remember visually. The visual memory serves as a marker or mental note.

But, the to do lists are great to have as back-ups, and can really serve a person in the midst of severe imbalance.

Making Information Accessible

Earlier I wrote how I can become bored when working in certain environments and doing busy work, but there's a lot that holds my interest as well. People and places and different cultures and subcultures intrigue me, as do the arts, politics, religion, and issues related to education and environment, including the need to conserve more spaces for adorable, wild and endangered animals!

I enjoy doing research and development involving any of the above topics, and then communications and outreach through writing and other forms of media or art.

In a sense my mind’s always looking for new things that relate to the big picture that can be incorporated into my vision of it, which shifts and slides with the goings-on of the day, though certain universals always stay the same.

No matter what though, I've noticed I continually like to find new areas to study or work with, and then basically concentrate on only one area, for a number of months, or longer. In this way I pay more attention to the details involved until they're understood and then I store them away.

After I’m done working with a particular topic, that's when I tend to shelve it as a file in my computer, notebooks and in my head. Some or many of the details will eventually fade away until I access them again by meditation on the subject and or looking up old reference notes and punching in keywords that help me retrieve relevant articles or write-ups I can review.

If I continue to practice with or study the same topic, I think important details will stay with me more continuously. I haven't had many opportunities to stay with one topic for a long time though, mostly because my work assignments haven't allowed for that. They were and are always changing.

If I focus on only one or two subjects continually and build upwards (I've noticed sometimes people with bipolar traits, for example, who have a full-fledged career, interestingly hold a second job that's also akin to a hobby. For instance, someone might for the long-term hold down an office job they truly enjoy but on the side they work as something offbeat like a wildlife photographer), or also bounce around a lot like I have between subjects, moving across information thresholds, the new information I constantly search out, in any case, needs to be filed somehow so that it doesn't get lost.

In addition to having books and research articles available to access, the practice of taking notes and writing things down helps me memorize what I aim to know because I build a stronger association or relation to material when I've written it down. Taking notes also allows me to include in my notebooks or computer only what seem to be the key points made by an author, and to store those selected quotes, or excerpts, alongside important points made by other authors who have written on the same subject. In the end, the information I have stored is like a summary and sourcebook.

(I could also simply have a large library of highlighted books and cued videotapes, but I'm not wealthy, and a large library might not be as practical anyway. But it's another possibility.)

Keeping track or tabs of a specific subject-matter I'm covering for work (or at school) helps me. In addition to the more detailed notes, I write generalized notes for myself about what I’ve read that interests me, or learned in a lecture or class, or on television.

I’ll make a point of storing notes and articles under folders and subfolders labeled with the names of the subject-matter (e.g. 'Earth Science' and 'Tectonic Plates'). And I'll date the documents contained in folders (e.g. '120106 Notes Tectonic Plates, Historical'), so that when I want to access them I can more readily find what I need, and I have a record of the exact time frame when I worked on a subject.

It's good to keep track of phone calls you make and receive too, on the computer or in a notebook, if they're work or project-related. The purpose of the log is to record and list by date and time what calls you received and made, who they were to or from, and the nature of the call. You never know when you'll need to gain access to detailed information from phone calls you've made in the past, or know their dates and times, especially if they pertain to research or work, schoolwork, or other projects that you're organizing!

As a journalist, for each interview I do, too, at the top of the page of notes from the interview I list the name and title of the person being interviewed, their contact information and the date and time of the interview.

As well, if you ever interview people over the phone, or if you find yourself having long conversations with people who are answering questions for you, you may want to type notes into the computer ahead of time that help you prepare for the conversation, in addition to typing notes during the conversation, that record what is said. It's helpful to prepare questions ahead of time and type them out so you have them to reference, even if you don't follow them along exactly. You may also print your questions and take them with you wherever you go, to meet with a person or hear a talk, then file the notes. When you meet people in person, or talk to them over the phone, it's possible to record the conversation so you have it as a complete record (just be sure the person you're interviewing is comfortable with you doing it). This way you won't have to be as focused on taking notes while in a conversation, or else at a talk.

If you're beginning to file and log documents in your computer or cabinets, including research notes; academic papers; ideas for fiction stories or films, or science projects; articles and essays, and correspondence, you may also want to create 'contact lists' replete with the names of your contacts and their addresses and phone numbers, by subject. You can make the contact list in alphabetical order and continue to add to it as months and years pass. Perhaps bold each name so that they stand out as you review lists.

Meanwhile, if you're interested in working as a journalist or creative artist, you can call the company or entity you want to work for and ask for the name of the editor or creative director to whom you would apply, based on your specific interests. Contact him or her, once prepared, usually in writing first, and then with a follow-up phone call.

Ask if they're hiring and or interested in your ideas, which you may send to them in bullet points, or in a portfolio, along with your letter. If less interested in networking with executives or receiving a full-time job, and more interested in freelancing, you can alternatively send official “pitches” or proposals to the same creative entities. (The Internet contains lots of information on how to write official pitch letters for freelance writing, photography and documentary work.)

Taking and Giving Directions

I make a lot of mental notes that involve logistics and getting around town, because, most of the time, to gain a sense of direction, I think in visuals, or pictures, and when I understand things, I usually do so spatially. It makes the most sense to keep track of these things mentally as opposed to writing them down.

My mind thinks primarily in visual and associative contexts – even when recalling how to get from point A to point B.

Other people who think more linearly will focus on road names rather than the aesthetic, physical layout of the environment. It's a little different for me.

This may or may not affect you. It may be a way of thinking that fits a person with ‘Asperger’s’.

Do you think visually and by association, usually, or more so with the use of verbal cues, such as street names and, off the top, lefts and rights? I alternatively think of landmarks first and then whether they are to the left or right.

Thinking visually entails using landmarks that describe what you know is on a street corner or side, or what you know is at the end of the next street in the direction in which you need to go, for example.

When I move to a new city, I like to have a good understanding of the lay of the land, but I usually do this using visual representations of the city, that I gather as I travel through its different parts. I use the visual representations I develop more so than maps. Of course, I use a map when it makes sense to me to use it, but I definitely prefer less detailed maps to very complex ones, and many times I forgo a map altogether if I can just follow my 'sense' of direction. In time, I get to know, like the back of my hand, the neighborhoods and communities I like to spend time in and have to work in, that I know are safe, too.

When taking down and giving directions it helps to know how you think in terms of logistics, planning and directions, because knowing yourself, even in this seemingly trivial way, helps you to better communicate with others. Allow for a discrepancy in style between you and people who may 'see' directions differently.

A mistake I've made in the past was to take directions without having the courage to ask for them to be repeated when I wasn't positive that I'd taken them down right.

Always ask when you're not sure.

Also, when I'm receiving what would seem like relatively simple verbal directions, if there are more than a few steps involved, I to be safe need to write the directions down so I don't eventually confuse the steps in my head. Perhaps this is true for everyone, but it just makes more sense to write down what border on long directions, rather than try to memorize them, especially at times when the mind is moving very fast or it’s difficult to concentrate and stay focused.

Self Awareness

Paying attention to how you’re feeling what you’re thinking, and what you're doing in a given day can be a good exercise in self control and self awareness. This can help increase your awareness of how you behave and function in different environments, including at the most unsuspecting of times, like when answering the phone, ordering food, or opening the door in order to let someone else in ahead of you.

By thinking inwardly like this you’ll probably pick up on both good and bad habits that you have. For instance, you may begin noticing there are some things you continually forget to do or unintentionally mix up, or, for example, maybe you talk rather loud when in class or at the library, without noticing it all of the time. You may recognize, in terms of your behavior, you're shy or timid at times you could be more engaging and confident.

As well, you'll hopefully come to realize the positives about you. For instance, maybe you'll come to see how you tend to be very considerate when it comes to thinking of what gifts to buy for others. Your daily exercise routine, you may notice, leaves you feeling stronger and abler than some of your peers.

You may take time to recognize a keen ability to always see the cup half full, which can become contagious.

The self awareness you gain from being purposely reflective can lead to great improvements in your outlook and quality of life, making you feel more confident and whole.

Having a very healthy and fresh foods diet helps to slow the mind down even at busy times, making it easier to think more clearly and make less errors. Being more relaxed as a result of diet and good sleeping habits could perhaps also help increase your confidence overall, allowing you to appreciate the more natural you more of the time.

For people with bipolar traits, eating in a way that balances the mind is a large part of being self aware, and this remains true for their lifetimes.

Your diet can steady your mind and movements, if you let it, and it serves as a reminder that you need to look out for your particular needs, even when busy or overtired.

In general, taking things in good stride will likely empower you to give pause to a situation and create positive change in it if and when it's needed.

A person with bipolar traits, in particular, needs to think this way, to take responsibility for his or her own health.

Another important thing related to having self awareness is being aware of yourself when others are talking to you. It's so valuable (not to mention polite) to listen to what others are saying and doing. From listening well to others, you'll likely gain a deeper understanding about a number of things, including other people's beliefs and motives. I like to intentionally ask people questions so I get to know their beliefs and passions.

Self awareness inspires all of our decisions in life, so without it it's difficult to create the lifestyle we think we want to live. A combination of instinct and intellect makes us self aware, and gradually, as a result of creating a whole lifestyle that works for us, the two, instinct and intellect, become more like one.

My instincts came before me being intellectual about Ayurveda. Immediately, upon finding Ayurveda, I noticed my old instincts were described by the school of thought, my food tastes, for example, and favorite smells, were laid out in a science. I then had an intellectual understanding of many of my instincts.

Additionally, love for people led me to ask them questions about their beliefs and interests, or passions. Enjoying that process then in part led me to make career choices that would involve the 'interview process,' or else, heartfelt conversation.


I had a specific problem with reading in high school that I always added up to inexperience as a reader, since I didn't read a lot at a younger age. But I never really looked further into this until recently. The problem was pronounced when I read US News & World Report for history class. I regularly came up against difficult words I needed to look up and draw associations for to understand. While I understood, otherwise, the essence of the article, and most of the words, and I read from beginning to end, reading was not like a stream but a puzzle to be put together. It wasn't as pleasant of an experience as was later reading, which was inspired by whole or big picture thinking, and which ultimately began to be made smooth by melody.

In order to achieve the pleasant reading experience, I needed to be working with and within sets of wholes, to develop synthetic understanding, or comprehension, while reading. The synthetic understanding included unseen and unheard melody, which was foundational for digesting information.

As I read as an adult, reading became stream of consciousness, words flowed, and the experience was like - melody.

If only I'd begun developing wholes, or whole networks, in my mind, from a young age. I'd started with the one universal whole when I was very young. Songs like “Over the Rainbow” drove home for me what the universal whole was comprised of.

After that, developing ideas into circles of wholes, that stay with you, I only began to do in earnest in my mid-twenties, as a documentary filmmaker.

As a systems thinker, I held onto each whole I encountered and developed along the way, mostly in my twenties and thirties, and early youth, and always, I can intuit well how the wholes all overlap. Understanding the overlap involves knowing how the wholes relate to the one universal whole.

Being able to think in wholes means being able to think synthetically rather than in accordance with parts. The parts that you imagine or comprehend contribute to a larger whole, larger than the sum of its parts. So parts still remain, but they are automatically seen in the larger context, and melodically.

Music and melody you don't see or hear while you're reading is nonetheless in the foreground of your whole thinking and influences the way you read.

The sounds that you imagine are connected to the subject about which you're thinking are what maintain the melodic foreground, which surfaces as melody of the mind, again, not seen or heard, but nonetheless an important tool for synthesis.

The way that I discover wholes is by being “self-directed” whilst being open to the environment I live in. Self-direction involves intentionally tapping into the unconscious, the underlying and spiritual stream of thought.

When we listen to our whole mind, including our unconscious, we find direction, and where to go, and why, in my opinion.

I needed to do this more in earnest between 5th grade and college graduation, before I started work in documentary film. By high school already, I might have had a higher reading aptitude. In college, I might have found I developed a greater capacity to launch a career in politics or law. It was only after graduating from college that I began to consciously explore the potential to build whole circles in my mind, my time was freed up, so I could this. I ventured to an area bookstore, Afterwards, in Dupont Circle, Washington, DC, and attempted to find books that would help me along. But I found I hadn't the purpose or understanding to comprehend a whole like I did, automatically, as a young child. Books I found comprised parts, for me, and so they didn't push me further toward my nondescript goal of, basically, seeing how “everything” fit together. Years later, after having worked in documentary film for a number of years, and having begun nonfiction writing, I at last laid down to slowly read a book, India, by Stanley Wolpert, and because I knew by then which whole the topic was fitting into, and many associations from that whole came to me automatically, as well, I knew how the specific whole fit within the one universal whole, there was also unseen melody in my mind, which manifested, making it so that my reading experience had a flow that was melodic, in accordance with associations.

I find, in any case, I've still lived a self-directed life, and so have rarely felt lost. But I might have progressed so much further and in a more focused way had I been better educated from the start regarding my specific needs based on the way my mind works.

For people who find out late they themselves live with Asperger traits, they may begin to wonder if perhaps because of coping mechanisms they developed as they progressed forward in a largely linear world they're missing out on something. Maybe one of their 'other' interests, in the arts or sciences, or sports, was what they should have chosen to pursue instead of their own career path. I tend to think that because people with Asperger traits are self-directed, instinctively, they think by feeling and follow concretes, that they are pretty good at finding their way and staying true to themselves. I doubt that they typically do make mistakes about life choices. But there's a chance this has happened. So when I came up against self-questioning, what I did was refer to books for answers, and I found them. If you're curious about whether you've chosen the right field, and think that maybe your field should have been instead, these are just examples, physics, mathematics, psychology or law, try reading a book or two on the subject and see if you're still drawn to explore it as a possible career change choice. If so, by all means, pursue it and follow your dreams. I found, in any case, that books help decipher the truth. Additionally, certain pursuits, at least the fine arts, require hands-on experience. Associative thinkers may just benefit in general from advancing in one artform, but they can feel their way to which artform they would like to try, and see if they have a connection to it.

The associative mind, to find itself, is helped along by the linear mind. Books help inform, and books are linear since they're typically chronological and sequential. But right-brained people access general information linearly otherwise and it boosts their chances of meeting with that which might truly inspire them. Thinking associatively means looking out for events, places and people that fit within wholes that are being developed and systematized in the associative thinker's mind. As I started thinking in wholes, I less often looked systematically at all of the museum exhibits going on in the city, listed in the paper by date and time. I looked, instead, at only those exhibits that would interest me by adding directly to what I was currently working on. So I paid less attention to museum exhibits generally. And, at the same time, whole constructs that can contribute to whole thinking don't operate only within whole circles thinkers are currently working within. For example, in Los Angeles, before I moved back East, I was fortunate to have been told about an art exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, featuring the work, and in particular the sculptures, of Amedeo Modigliani. This work I might have missed out on since I wasn't looking in the papers for outstanding artists, generally, but artists who had something to do with the wholes I developed. It turned out, that upon seeing Modigliani's work, I was forever inspired, and because there was an element of spirituality in it I've not since witnessed. Again, in particular, stemming from his sculptures. So, even as I purposefully contact the right side of my brain to develop whole systems, looking horizontally at what's available culturally makes it so I don't miss out on stories that would contribute to the one universal whole.

Associative thinker's strength is that they think by feeling. And there are times in their lives that this is a remarkable skill. It should probably be tapped into more often. Along with linear aids, then, thinking by feeling can be used on a regular basis, to “maintain” wholes. The two ways of organizing should be merged essentially. In no uncertain terms, it was necessary for me to think by association, and by feeling, to begin to think in wholes and to learn to read rhythmically. But beyond being used to find and decipher whole systems, including a whole system for reading, right-brained thinking kicks in when there is something missing that a person or system needs to evolve. Thinking by feeling is need-based. And I have, in the past, almost magically found what it is that's needed so that a sense of wholeness and balance remains in place.

Communicating Your Needs and Allowing Space for Differences

It’s hard to continually try to work like everyone else does, and remain at the top of the game, when you in fact work differently. Being cognizant about some of the key ways in which you think that are different from others can ultimately help you avoid being placed in the wrong kinds of positions at school or work. Where, if you're in uncomfortable situations, you'll be more likely to make mistakes or become miserable because you're feeling like you must go against your grain, or 'way'.

Understanding keys to your core personality, as subtle as they may be when compared to others, helps you look out for your needs, and at the same time, teaches you to be considerate of others needs.

Of course, there’s an art to communicating with others that you have such subtle differences. In some cases, to be frank, it may not be necessary to do it at all. It may suffice to be aware of the differences.

Just recognize what's unique about you. If you need others to repeat directions to you, for example, you can just ask, without thinking to yourself, "I shouldn't ask because I should have gotten that the first time." No, you shouldn't have heard and written it down the first time, if you were trying, but didn't. If you're in the middle of a tense, busy or loud situation, it may very well be that you need something like directions or instructions repeated twice. Or, even in a perfectly normal situation, it may be that your mind is moving a little faster than others in order to compile information its stored, or perhaps you're thinking in pictures while the person talking to you is shooting out street names, and in these cases you should still feel strong enough to ask again for more description, or to hear it again, if it's necessary. All people have areas where they're weaker than others, and you need to recognize your weaknesses and take responsibility for them, so, in this case, you don't get lost. You'll have plenty of strengths too, which shouldn't go underappreciated. Asking for directions twice is not irregular or uncommon, don't feel you can't do it because you also know you're slightly different.

Conversely, it could be that in some cases it would be helpful to talk with a teacher or boss about communication problems or other problems you are having, to see if together you can come up with a solution. If you know beforehand you have a special need that will be an issue at school or work, that you can't resolve on your own, it might be a good idea to let someone who could help know.

As school, maybe you could sit at the back or front of the class so you're not as easily distracted, or near the window, if the light helps your mood. You could also meet with a teacher after school or class to ask to see if his or her teaching notes match what you've taken down for notes. Teachers may be willing to assign you additional or distinct projects, as well, that would cater to your sensibilities, enthusiasm and intelligence, for extra credit, or as a part of the main course.

In the case of team and group assignments, aware teachers, and bosses, could perhaps help by teaming you up with students with whom you can collaborate in creative ways and work well with, synergistically.

You could also ask if it's okay to read class material ahead of the course beginning so when it comes time to hear the correlating lecture in class you'll know the material well from reading and preparatory note-taking, making it easier for you to pay attention to the lecture.

When it comes to test taking, in college, and perhaps by senior year in high school, you could seek classes where exams are most often administered in styles and formats you prefer. For example, I often preferred essays or short-answer tests over multiple choice tests. In addition, I preferred smaller classes to big ones.

At work, you might find yourself coming up with special requests you'd like to make. For instance, requesting special hours so you might come in early or late and leave early or late, depending. If you get your way, you can enjoy quiet hours while at work, when there's next to no commotion. You might otherwise ask for an analytical or creative assignment versus one that involves accounting or linear thinking. Or, you might request two hours for lunch, given you'll work an hour earlier or later, so you can exercise during the day.

Being more proactive at school, and at work, can help you be more inspired in the long run. Be careful, though, that you don't come across as overly needy or pushy in your requests or demands! Be considerate of what others are doing for you as you seek out the best possible situation for your needs, and be flexible wherever possible.

Especially when you're young, of course, talking to your parents and or a trusted confidante, or mentor, would be a wise move to make before you go forward with having a serious conversation with a teacher, or a boss.

When and if something comes up for which you want to approach a teacher, boss or even a family member, about suggested changes in the way things are, that would accommodate your specific needs, it’s always wise to first think thoroughly through what you want to say and hope to accomplish.

As an adult, too, rather than leave the weight of what you are about to do all on your shoulders, when thinking about what you'd like to communicate to someone, talk with your trusted confidantes, a mentor, a family member or your counselor, to see, first, if others agree with your position and offer advice or support.

High School

In high school, I practically relied on extracurricular activities like student government to define me rather than classes and grades. It seemed like student government was where my greater skill lay, so I focused my energy in that direction.

I might have been a straight-A student. But something did get in my way. I did the extracurriculars to gain admittance to a good college because I knew my grades and test scores wouldn't be as good as some of my smartest friends.

I also needed a scholarship and or financial aid. I couldn't rest of my laurels, and get by with a B average, because of this.

Many school tests in high school focus specifically on names and the chronological order of events. Sometimes I found those tests easy, other times, to be honest, a bit challenging. When they were challenging, I didn't score as well.

But gaining admittance to a good college wasn't the only reason I did so many extracurriculars. It was also that my older sisters and brothers were very athletic and involved in school activities like drama and choir, and it was natural, I felt, to be involved like they were, starting in junior high.

As a result, and because I didn’t find an environment in which I could dedicate more of myself to studying, I developed some bad study habits in high school that stayed with me.

I procrastinated because of noises that were distractions, and wound up skimming certain reading assignments rather than reading all the way through them. Rather than having some sort of sanctuary, or quiet place, where I could apply my kind of thinking to assignments, which requires a good amount of concentration, for example, actively synthesizing a larger whole, I had trouble studying at home where I could overhear phone conversations and the television playing in the background. What was only a short amount of time I allotted for studying, was dampened by my Asperger traits.

My vision problem probably contributed quite a bit too, to poor study habits.

I was doing my school work later at night or in the evenings as opposed to during the days since sports usually made it impossible to do homework during the day.

What would have been more interesting academically for me would have involved deeper reading and comprehension, or rigor in mathematics, and for that I think I would have had to find a place to study during the evenings that was quieter than what I was used to, as well as I likely needed greater impetus from school.

In college, I no longer wanted to be as involved in school activities such as student government, and tried to become more heavily invested in classes, as well as a single off-campus internship. Deep down I wanted to find myself outside of the social and hierarchical dictums and nuances of a school environment, though I didn't know exactly that that was what I would aim to do until I did it.

Fortunately, there was in all that time, Mr. Steve Van Arnam, or Mr. V. He was the teacher in high school who really caught my attention. He not only inspired me, but forced all of his students to work and study harder, and think outside of the box. He was very animated, and passionate about his subject, which was history.

He encouraged students to be more critical when thinking about political ideas and themes. And he taught how politics transcended cultural norms in different eras. He presented the world of political affairs, and both American and world histories, to his students in a way that less dynamic teachers weren't able to do, making it possible for young students in a small town to contemplate world politics, and feel as if they were a part of the larger story, too. Mr. Van Arnam did this with amazing lectures but also by engaging students with reading assignments in US News & World Report magazine - the reading assignments I had trouble with, but consistently received As for anyway. The weekly assignments came with challenging and analytical questions, by which Mr. Van Arnam brought the world to his student's footsteps.

Through his exams and assignments, he taught us to think and write reflective and inventive responses, in essay format.

I also remember he once made a joke, in good humor, about the relative size of the local newspaper, which so many of us students had delivered to our homes. He compared it with 'real' newspapers like The New York Times and Washington Post. While he made us all laugh, for me it was the first time I considered how our local, rural paper was far different in scope when placed alongside more worldly, urban papers, particularly for understanding world politics and affairs.

He meanwhile supported his students as individuals with promising futures by occasionally probing us about what our roles (or jobs) might be when older.

It wasn't only that Mr. Van Arnam was lively and animated when he taught, a big plus for me, who has a lot of trouble with more monotone lecturers, but he was the first to introduce me to the world of international affairs and domestic, national politics, in a front-line sort of way. He managed to wake me up to new possibilities, forced me to have somewhat better and more dedicated study habits, and perhaps gave me direction I wouldn't otherwise have had. Albeit, I still had personal obstacles to overcome.

High school physics was an interesting class for me. It bored me because I couldn't understand all of the rules and formulas, and my teacher, unfortunately, taught in a monotone voice too! The strange thing is that in later years, in my twenties and thirties, any book or article I picked up on theoretical physics I loved, like the subject, architecture, the subject is filled with big and whole ideas that relate so closely to the one universal whole. I think physics is actually easy to comprehend when taught theoretically and that perhaps this should be an option for high school students, to be able to take theoretical physics as an alternative to applied physics.

High school is kind of a weird thing. Of course, I think you should shoot for straight A’s, I still wish I had gotten straight A’s. Who doesn’t? But, kids in high school are so often at such different places in their development. It’s difficult to draw fair comparisons between students at that age, I think. Some teens have been reading National Geographic magazines, big city papers, and books on philosophy or science-oriented books, since they were in elementary school or junior high. Others have been playing sports from a ripe age. A few might have been taking pictures or doing art from the time they could walk. While others may not have had any of the above stimuli. But that’s not to say that some kid in 9th or 10th grade can’t suddenly pick up a baseball bat for the first time, find he loves the sport, and be one of the ones to make it to the major leagues. Ultimately, straight A’s, and even a perfect batting average, aren’t the only indicators of intelligence, talent, goodness or potential. What you give and take from any particular situation is the most important thing.

I think it's important too to realize that your thinking processes might not be exactly the same as the kid sitting next to you in class, or the kid who sits in honors or Regents – the way you think will always be unique in some way, and even special. Being yourself in any given situation, academic and social, allows you to reap the greatest benefits. As you go along, I hope you don't let labels, grades, cliques, etc., limit you, or give you too big of expectations either. What's most important is what's in your heart and mind. Also, while I believe in us all being individuals, there are so many similarities in the ways different humans think, especially in high school, and those thoughts that we share are our greatest tools for understanding one another, which promotes peace and helps us build what we wouldn't otherwise have.

Acknowledge to yourself early who you are, and what you can do, by standing up for yourself and those around you, and making the best of the brains, energy, love and resources with which you’ve been blessed.

If for some reason you don’t feel challenged enough in your classes, see if there are extracurricular, academic projects you can be doing. Create for yourself big picture projects, along the lines of what I did when I developed documentary films, that enhance learning you're already doing. And enter more writing or drawing contests or groups, to stimulate your mind.

(I've since thought, too, that if I didn't work in documentary film, I might have instinctively followed big picture thinking if I worked on Capitol Hill. I consciously thought, when I graduated from college, that Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who I interned for during college, had already accomplished his goals with Social Security, for example. If he hadn't already tackled that beast, I would have loved to work with his office on Social Security. The reason being Social Security involved taking care of poor and disadvantaged people, people like my Mom who'd lost her husband; creating a model program for the rest of the world to see; it required people from both sides of the political aisle work together; it helped children, and last but not least, it involved economics, and budgeting, which is a very interesting aspect of systems and big picture thinking. The charitable construct, Social Security, also fits within the one universal whole or system I knew as a young child. It wasn't only in documentary film that I could have achieved big picture thinking. It just so happened that I worked in documentary film, and was able to create or draw wholes. I grew to learn from that work that applying big picture thinking was generally a dynamic and accessible challenge.)

In terms of helping your career along, if you already know you might want to become a writer, perhaps read more about writer’s lives, and try to meet with or email some who’ve published work. Maybe you could make an effort to find out more about what it takes to be published.

Also, why not take a look at things that are beyond your normal areas of interest? Today I have a great appreciation for architecture and the work entailed in being an architect. But I only began to appreciate the field after I met and talked with architects and came to understand the many universal fundamentals with which they work. I found their creative work dynamic. While I was in high school, I didn’t have the same kind of first-hand experience that comes from talking with an architect or seeing his or her buildings, and sometimes first-hand experience makes all the difference.

Actually, as an adult, learning about architecture led me more and more to artistic pursuits or interests, and it changed the way I want to live my life too in that I now care much more about the makings of a 'home' and a home's energy efficiency, from an architect's or designer's point of view.

Interestingly, Senator Moynihan had a love for architecture, and many accomplished people do. It's a dynamic, big picture field. When people come to architecture early they may learn they want to be an architect, or they may allow that whole system to affect wholes in their personal futures.

So you don’t know what you might be missing if you're not reaching out and investigating the many options that exist. You can do this by keeping your eyes open and being willing to make inquiries with groups and organizations to attend lectures and meet with people when interest in an area arises. Visiting museums whenever possible, frequenting public libraries and checking out books, reading magazines like National Geographic and Smithsonian, all will help you explore what the options are in terms of career.

I think young people should carve their own path, not being afraid to give whatever it takes to carve it the way they envision it. Also, young people should ask for guidance when they feel they need it, and they will want guidance from parents, counselors, mentors and people they admire. Young folks might even find that one of their teachers or mentors turns out to be one of their friends, or someone with whom they can talk about ideas. Most of all, young people shouldn't take for granted the years they have in high school, and the years directly following it, but should instead listen to what their heart tells them and make the most of their youth.

Foreign Languagesand Asperger's

The major I finally decided on in college, international relations, had a foreign language requirement. Of course, I started out in college studying international business, before switching to politics, before, by the second year, finally deciding on international relations. And well, for international business I needed a foreign language as well. Jobs at the State Department, World Bank, International Monetary Fund and the United Nations, and in diplomacy, typically call for people to be fluent in at least two languages. Yet, I couldn't learn a foreign language and be fluent.

I studied four years of Spanish in high school. With Spanish, I thought I was being lazy. I felt the coursework was easy enough, particularly in the beginning, so when I didn't excel in or master it, I assumed it was because I didn't try harder.

To me, it seemed logical to start fresh with a new language in high school that would peak my interests. Japanese would totally support my interests in international business, so I took intensive first year Japanese my first year in college. Japanese in college, a more intensive course of study than Spanish in high school, was also easy in the beginning. Soon enough, though, midway through the first year, I came up against a wall, and literally reached a point when I just couldn't do recall and utilize words the way my peers could. This time, I just sort of gave up, thinking again, I must not be applying myself. Perhaps Japanese and business are not for me after all.

I still needed to fulfill the foreign language requirement for international relations, and so studied for a semester in Salamanca, Spain the first half of my senior year. I matriculated from the foreign coursework, but again, like with Japanese, even when studies became more intensive and focused, I found didn't do as well as the rest in the classes, and in a way, again, I stopped trying.

With Japanese, I simply stopped studying hard before the course came to its conclusion my freshman year, and I managed to get by with an average grade. Then I never took it up again. In Spain, I studied along with everyone else, achieved decent grades, but knew all along I wasn't becoming fluent, and I resigned myself to this fact. Realizing, deep down, it would affect my future, but being helpless to do anything about it.

Nowadays, I've finally decided because of my Asperger traits, since I know there are others with Asperger traits who have a difficult time picking up languages, that I simply don't have the capacity to learn foreign languages fluently.

There are two reasons I can use to explain this very personal experience. The first stems directly from the right-brain versus left-brain story. As a right-brained thinker, I don't process language immediately, except through feeling the content of the language, its emotional content. So, I'm at a major disadvantage for picking up a foreign language, since I need my left-brained thinking much more than my right-brained, to learn and apply rational, temporal sequential and rhythmic language rules. Secondly, as a result of being such a right-brained thinker, arguably instinctively making me a lifelong learner, because I haven't been raised with a language, it's then seemingly an impossible task to pick it up, a foreign language, that is. As a lifelong learner, I'm constantly building on my associations from the time I'm young and the building blocks I can't do without. When they're missing, when I haven't been raised with a language system, I am automatically at a deficit. I can learn the facts only to the degree that I don't have to use them as a system.

In the future, what I think can happen to change the course of events and make it so people with Asperger traits who can't now acquire a second language, will be able to, is that youth need to start learning a second language from the time they are infants. And not in the way language is currently taught in schools, but in a more exhaustive way.

When we learn our first language from infancy, it naturally comes with all of the associations that make language whole to a right-brained thinker. Right-brained thinkers are actually busy 'language' people, too. Research shows the right-brain thinks by feeling in terms of language, perceiving intonation and deflection, in addition to incorporating melody. This is a big job.

In any case, once grammar lessons start to be taught in schools, language is taught in accordance with the way the left-brain applies it temporally sequentially and rhythmically. But with our first language, enveloped into our grammar lessons is culture, emotion, even love. If right-brained thinkers can be taught second and third languages from the time they're infants, with all of the necessary associations being tied to those languages, the culture, emotion and love, and in time, the larger whole, like the whole I heard and understood when I listened to Kermit the Frog sing “The Rainbow Connection” it would likely mean second and third languages would function like wholes, or whole systems, and could be understood by the person with Asperger's as such, melodically, synthetically. If the person is in symbiosis with the language, it becomes one with them, the way whole systems actually do, immersed with the one universal whole, people with Asperger's and a seeming deficit in language should be able, instead, to excel in language too. Along the way they need to be taught by family and school teachers in such a way that their right-brained thinking is used.

Following is a rather sweeping series of ideas I developed specifically to see if there's a way to enhance the school system with big picture thinking. You might take from it some general ideas of how you can yourself incorporate big picture and holistic thinking into your education experience, as you do special projects for teachers, either as assigned homework or for extra credit.

'Charting the Course:'

Brainstorming Holistic Education Ideas

I'm going to share with you my vision for a futuristic school system I think will help all character-types, including people who think primarily linearly, and primarily by association. It's a single, closed system, which interweaves the modern education system with holistic, closed systems.


To start off, and very easy to describe, school environments in the new system would feature organic furniture, like chairs and desks made of wood, or recyclable fibers. There would also be more subdued lighting than flourescent lighting, in all schools. And gradually, school buildings would become 100 percent green and sustainable.


School, at this age, and every age, shouldn't be so busy that minds don't have time to ruminate. Creativity should begin to be combined with every lesson plan, starting in kindergarten.

Creativity would remain a part of all lesson planning throughout the education experience.

Since creativity involves activating the senses, interactivity of discussion; formation of chairs in a room, perhaps being circular, or around small, round tables; and "hands-on" activities, will help activate the creative mind.

Buckminster Fuller's daughter attended a school in New York City, the Dalton School, which helps students in elementary school express themselves holistically through things like dance, in addition to the written word and written exercises.

3rd grade

This is the age that I'd argue, based on my experience in 3rd grade, when I recognized social networking differences between my peers and self, to start educating kids about the inherent and subtle differences between people which matter in terms of being able to understand one another the best we can, and also don't in any way stop us from treating each other as equals. I am referring chiefly to left- and right-brained thinking and the subtle differences between characters of each type. For example: A left-brained character-type may be more inclined to social interactivity by way of groups without prompts towards the arts and meditation, and conversely, a right-brained character may be more inclined toward the arts and introversion, and desire more prompts or help in gaining social admittance.

In this grade, too, to bring about awareness, early roundtable talks helping kids to learn from each other, their unique skill sets, versus the kids growing apart from one another, can take place, building on the true and "holistic" dynamics of the classroom.

3rd grade is arguably not only a preferable time to introduce cursive writing, but cursive might be complemented by integral art classes to serve all students.

Though right-brained or associative thinking, prevalent until around age 10 in the total student population, involves much more than traditional, artistic ambition, it early on in childhood development may be expressed by way of the arts and meditation fruitively. Right-brained thinking involves, in general, creative/associative thought, often highly analytical in nature. It can become more so, and remain, integral to education, and maintained by it, in direct connection with more left-brained and linear thinking.

5th and 6th grade

(In these grades, enter facts being taught in what seemed to me to be nonemotional ways, especially history, my favorite subject, but it's the same, I think, for all of the core subjects.

Meanwhile, the right-brain literally processes language using chiefly emotion and feeling, and so the education system could, I'd say, utilize this right-brained skill much more than it currently does.

Additionally, in 5th and 6th grades specialization starts, though kids, in the old days, when I was in school, used to still spend most of the day with the same grouping or class of kids. Now students begin, at the same time as specialization begins, to break off for parts of the day to be with different groupings of kids, for example, for math, history, English and science, disrupting what can be a more fluid and home-like, feel, during the school day.

When I was young, back in the 1970s, it was in 4th grade when I began to experience the home-like, or community-like, feeling, at school, that was associated with being with the same group of kids all day, sharing, as well, one teacher. In this instance, at this age of development, coming to know one another personally, in a communal setting, was complemented by a newfound sense of independence each child shared. 4th was actually, for this reason, my favorite grade during k-12.

As an adult, too, working at National Geographic Television, and later going and filming at Nader Khalili's architectural site, experiencing the "circle" in both places, always recreated a communal feeling like the one I experienced in 4th grade, which I knew as well to a lesser degree in my high school years, since it was a small enough school so that I knew almost everyone there.

It's perhaps advantageous to reinforce the community-like feeling that resides with the 4th, and possibly, 3rd, grade classroom, in 5th through 12th grade, which is also a step beyond the natural feeling of the "circle," or community, that exists, and that lacks social rigidities, in k-2nd grade. I have some ideas for how to do this listed below.

Finally, subject-matter, which was always easy for me to grasp, in K-12, and in college, also forced me to think, starting in 5th and 6th grade, more linearly, which this proposal tries to even out, or balance, with associative thinking strategies.)

Change that can be implemented from 5th grade through the high school years:

  • Utilize big picture teaching (see more details about this approach below). Start utilizing the natural overlap there is between subject-areas, strongly recognizable via their associations, including for all subjects, including science, history, math, and English lessons, and begin demonstrating, at this still early period of development of the proposed program, how it is certain core subject-areas overlap the most, and progressively, becoming a powerful tool for teaching, even while more immediately instituting this sophisticated series of changes at the college level, and via new focuses of majors that become exceedingly "holistic" (see, again, more details below, pertaining to the college years).

    Teach, simultaneously, as year progresses, in graduated, whole stages, instead of more strictly, linearly.

    STAGES: Stage 1) SUMMER READING. Start with introductory reading assignment for summer months to prepare students for coming coursework. Reading will include relevant and inspiring books of biography to set stage of subject-matter, plus nonfiction that is sweeping, vivid/synthetic, big picture historical, analytical and creative, of the subject-matter. The reading creates a combined associative and linear learning experience. Stages 2&3 are combined. Stage 2) Lessons during the school year become more lab-like, and targeted. Classes can take the form of a science lab, or they may feature dynamic teacher lectures combined with class discussion. In both cases, the object is to constantly engage students in learning. Students think in associations and linearly. Classes during the year draw on summer reading, and additional reading assigned over the school year, and simultaneously are drawn to form, in a learning way, assurances that associative ideas and understanding combines holistically with linear/chronological order. Stage 3) KIDS OF ALL CHARACTER-TYPES CHOOSE THROUGHOUT THE YEAR MULTIPLE SPECIAL PROJECTS THAT ENGAGE THEM IN PERSONAL LEARNING NEEDS. PROJECTS CAN BE OFF THE CHARTS. FOR EXAMPLE, IMAGINE THAT A HIGH-FUNCTIONING “AUTISTIC,” OR MORE RIGHT-BRAINED, CHILD, COMES TO UNDERSTAND HISTORY THROUGH LAND MASSES, OR EARTH SCIENCE. PROJECTS, THEN, MAY STRETCH BACK IN “GEOLOGIC” TIME AS A RESULT OF THE STUDENT'S IMAGINATION, THE STUDENT BEING RESPONSIBLE FOR PICKING THE PROJECT IN ACCORDANCE WITH HIS OR HER UNIQUE STORY AND SPECIAL INTERESTS. HAVING DISCOVERED A FOUNDATION FOR UNDERSTANDING LIKE THIS, WHICH BENEFITS STUDENT AND TEACHER ALIKE, NEXT, IN THIS EXAMPLE, SCIENTIFIC UNDERSTANDING, WITH GUIDANCE, AND, IMPORTANTLY, THROUGH EXTRAPOLATED ASSOCIATIONS THAT INTEREST THE STUDENT, LOGICALLY AND INTUITIVELY LEADS TO CULTURAL AND HISTORICAL UNDERSTANDING.

    Stage 2) of big picture teaching doesn't have to be linear, it will rather be a combination of linear and associative thought, but it's applied actions, being rational, sequence, and rhythm, are very linear and students ably gain on linear thinking this way. Stage 3) the personal projects, have to be linear in order to trace events, but they are steeped in a student's own associative thinking process.

  • Create whole classrooms, by creating fluidity in class structure. Firstly, create classrooms that feel a bit more like home, instead of school, where desks/chairs regularly form a circle (creating a roundtable effect), for example. Meanwhile, administrators, teacher-training programs and teachers work toward classroom sizes becoming smaller. Secondly, make sure all of the kids who are in a grade together, get together, so there is a functioning whole. Even if there are four classrooms in one grade, ensure they come together regularly for special meetings, lectures, Q&A sessions following lectures, to make presentations of group or class projects, brainstorming sessions following group presentations, field trips and to watch films together.

Junior High

*Continue with big picture teaching however lab or coursework and projects become more complex and sophisticated with each passing year between 7th and 12th grade.

Change that can be implemented from junior high through the high school years:

  • Uniforms: Starting at least in junior high and extending through the 12th year of high school, have students wear uniforms in public as well as private schools. I make this suggestion for the following reasons: 1. Students won't spend time worrying about what to wear. 2. Parents will spend less money on clothes and can spread their money elsewhere for school activities. 3. Students can still dress up and down their uniforms so to be comfortable at school, and will likely find it to be more comfortable this way than not. 4. To help teach students appropriate ways to dress. 5. Schools can choose soothing colors that will be worn, for example, blues and grays. 6. To avoid 'sexual thoughts' in schools the result of students being overly focused on fashion.

  • Institute art class through the high school years. Create in art classrooms, either cubicles or semi-private desks, or the opposite, wide open classrooms, by way of unobtrusive tables/stools and larger rooms. Both private space and wide open space may enhance creativity in the different character-types, including associative thinkers.

  • Institute music/dance classes through the high school years. Courses will involve singing, playing an instrument, reading and writing music, or a combination of the three, and ballroom or classical dance.

  • Skip study halls in both junior high and high school to make time for the arts.


  • Make a sport a year compulsory. Students can choose individual or team sports in any year but must graduate high school having done one of both for at least two years, between 7th and 12th grade.

  • Teach sports according to holistic science. Have student athletes use mind, body and spirit to improve athleticism. Have them utilize self-care that's mind, body and spirit, too, including diet, sleep and exercise. Teach yoga and meditation to enhance sport.

  • Make sports, in general, be about working in wholes, whether it's an individual or team sport. The goal will still, at least initially, be winning an event or game, but students should understand that the goal of their sport is ultimately working together as a team, first, and showing sportsmanship between teams, second.

  • For certain students, particularly those on the autism spectrum, they may elect to take part in separate leagues, and team sports, designed to have a purpose besides winning. For example, the objective of a sport could be everyone working together. I actually substitute taught an elementary gym class and the students in class were first asked to form a circle and learned to throw a ball to one another, back and forth, and around the circle. I made it so the objective of the game, however, wasn't for a student to 'get out' or feel penalized if they dropped the ball, were hit by it, or let it roll outside the circle. Instead, they were taught the purpose of the game was to work together. Whatever they achieved, it was the result of the process of working together. And the emotions around the circle were 'good' feeling in response, as the kids joyously played together. This rough concept may be a starting point for creating a holistic sport for non-competitive or generally non-sports-oriented people.

  • Sports/Competition: There will most likely always be an element of competition in future sports games because some people are more naturally competitive than others, which tells me there really is a place for competition. Competition can teach us to work toward our very best capacity, in all areas of life. We compete with ourselves too to be the best we can be, at least in some small way. But, that said, competition has a delegated place within the whole.

    Change that can be implemented from junior high through the college years:

  • Teacher's Preparatory Notes: Have junior high and high school teachers, and college professors, prepare 'teacher notes' from their lectures they can share with students of all character-types following lectures, that people with autism or Asperger's traits might utilize more regularly. Make sure sports coaches at the high school and college level leave extra time between courses and practice for teacher-student meetings.

High School

*Introduce evolutionary systems design.i

*Create and teach actual “learning arcs,” which I wrote about above, that act like levers for heightened understanding, within curriculum, that draw from associative comprehension.

*Extend high school to include two-year apprenticeship program or college degree, so to have a dual high school / college program. (Start educating everyone as a result, including future factory and restaurant workers and janitors, beyond high school educations, in things like first and second-year 'advanced' evolutionary systems design, astrology, evolution and consulting/coaching. The higher education for all will contribute to cultural change that approaches greater harmony, or utopia, whether the job market essentially stays the same and people are just more educated while holding jobs of all sorts, and more often find themselves in side jobs, like writing or coaching, and or jobs actually do change and become more holistic, not in the direction of blue collar or white collar, but toward increasingly fulfilling and whole positions.)

*Continue with big picture teaching however lab or coursework and projects become more complex and sophisticated with each passing year between 5th through 12th grade.

*Offer both theoretical and combined theoretical and applied physics at the high school level, requiring students take one or the other, having in addition to, or also, introduced physics as a foundational course, of the sciences, in ninth grade, if not earlier.

*Offer a course in architecture at the high school level.


*Start teaching, in first and second year of “dual high school, apprenticeship or college program,” advanced, evolutionary systems design and systems thinking, and make it integral to coursework.

*Apprenticeships increasingly available, combined with online/classroom training, and two-year degrees from community colleges, are both available for those not, at least right away, interested in a PhD program, who don't want to spend five to seven full years in college.

*For all character-types, institutional off campus and campus living available starting from freshman year. This accommodates, especially, people on the autism spectrum who may need more isolated, quiet places to study and live. For all character-types, classes are spread across campus, as usual.

Big picture teaching at the college level:

  • At the college level, continue to merge science, math, history and English (language) lessons within specializations, exhibiting, in a way that's exhaustive, the areas in which there is overlap.

  • Sophisticated learning/coursework is steeped in both the modern education system, and teaching systems from the recent and more distant past, that are closed, holistic systems. The modern and ancient cultures, and eras, ultimately complement eachother.

  • The college year is still broken into semesters or trimesters, but courses now run for the duration of the year.

  • Coursework will require, at least in one year, an internship.

Specializations would potentially incorporate the following combinations of subject-matter:

I. MATH AND MEDICINE: Astrology/mathematics/medicine.

Evolution/left-brained-right-brained thinking/cultural influences/the art and science of language.

Introductory understanding of mathematics&language/advanced systems theory training/cultural training/accounting&consulting/business systems understanding. (For this advanced business degree, interestingly, accountants would become trained business analysts, as well as accountants, who could as a part of their job write reports for government, business and institutions, related to taxes, potential for earnings and social welfare.)

The new specializations would lead to PhDs which would not require students start and stop college, but work all the way through, spanning five to seven years.

The new system, a more intensive immersion of linear and associative thought, makes allowances for deficits in linear or associative thinking/learning.

Learning stages at the college level:

Stage 1) SUMMER READING (Summer reading is optional at the college level and is there to make the semester's courseload a lighter load on students who are slow readers or tend better to concentrate on one area of study at a time. With summer reading, students can make preparatory notes based on their own “big picture” analyses, to better prepare them, through the formation of well-understood “associations,” for school year.)

Stage 2) Lessons are labs, they become more discussion-based or lab-like, featuring hands-on innovation, experimentation, group dynamics and guest lecturers. Assigned reading supports labs and discussions, it's not exhaustive so to put too high of demands on students, but may include selections from popular periodicals, scholarly journals, government documents, nonfiction, essays, fiction, poems. The reading assignments run parallel to optional summer reading. A potential model of coursework would be, Professor Madhu Thangavelu's University of Southern California's Space Exploration Studio, http://astronautics.usc.edu/student-projects/space-exploration-studio/. In Professor Thangavelu's class, students do individual and group projects. At midterm time, they present their individual project, and for the final, their group project. Projects involve developing architectures for space habitation and development. During the semester, guest lecturers at every class are experts from all fields that apply to space architecture, so they may be from NASA, Lockheed Martin or government, or they could be private space entrepreneurs.

Stage 3) Student projects will be discussion- and lab-inspired. Since students are no longer taking general coursework, projects become more individualized to match a student's specific interests. The projects that run throughout the year are supervised by a professor and his or her assistants. The purpose for them follows the same schema as in 5th through 12th grade but projects are now much more specialized and thorough.

Between 5th and 12th grade learning is currently organized according to linear thought. Part of what this involves is the notion that by 12th grade matriculation we will have achieved success if we've learned all there is to know about history between 5th and 12th grade, or else we could view it as we've achieved success if we've learned all of the facts between targets (e.g. 5th and 12th grade). Success becomes dependent on linear constructs and goals.

Rather than having more linear constructs and goals working alone, a “linear-associative construct” would make space for thinking on history, for example, that also relates to the other subjects, and what kind of concepts and projects can be built using the added associative knowledge. The added knowledge draws increased understanding of subject-matter by accessing what there is to know between topics, both within a subject (like world and European history, including their culture and arts), and between core subject-areas, like mathematics and history. Linear-associative constructs would also teach students to apply what they've learned about associations, the new “learning arcs,” making associations much more integral to the success of the system.

In the adult world, a vice president at a bank learns that success to him or her means making their bank the best it can be. The vice president will, while achieving his or her goals at the bank, also be able to see and understand the big picture, by doing things like tuning into the news. But what has happened is that while the vice president understands the big picture from, for example, the news, and likely from books and movies, too, he or she doesn't have mechanisms in place at work that easily allow for big picture thinking to be applied directly. The banker would, just as when they were in secondary school, be invested in linear constructs and goals.

There are otherwise different means for achieving success in a more associative framework and world. In this framework, now supported by an increasingly progressive education system, mechanisms are consistently in place that allow people to apply big picture thinking at work and at home.

Universal Teaching Approach

The 'Charting the Course' proposal would rely on a universal teaching approach. Teachers would work with student populations, classes of 15 to 30 students, by engaging them in conversation and dialogue which is intercultural between all students, including youth with developmental disabilities or mental illness. Students now in special education classes, too, would be a part of the generalized (in terms of population) discussion.

Students during class discussion time would engage each other even as their teacher engages them in conversation.

Lab work, or class work, which is either lab specific or involves students giving presentations followed by Q&A, would also, akin to the 'special projects,' be student specific, meaning students would be given assignments for school and home that are inspired by Individualized Education Programs.

IEPs can, in the proposed closed, holistic system, be for each student, not only for the special education population. The IEPs will be issued by the teacher instead of a counselor, and only involve two meetings per year between student, teacher and guidance counselor. The IEPs will be positive and help focus attention on each student's strengths. In the schools, there will also be a culture that promotes respect amongst students and between faculty so that IEPs are valued and not used to make fun of one another. They'll, the universal IEPs, in time speak to character-type, perhaps with new mental health labels for balanced students of all kinds. Immediately, they'll be informed by the nature and trajectory of the student's 'special projects' and the aptitude they show in different subject-areas. Current mental health diagnoses won't be included on the IEP, but teachers will be made aware of students that may be more left- or right- brained thinkers.

So the IEPs don't give offense in any way, and a 'holistic' teacher will be responsible for creating them. In turn, the teacher benefits from a closer relationship to his or her students and can really help guide that student toward their high school graduation.

Grading that will inform IEPs will include grades on special projects, class presentations, essays and lab work (i.e. creative problem-solving assignments in-class and for home). Grades will ultimately be based on understanding of a subject according to its big picture, or the concept, the sum is greater than its parts, which will show differently for each student: total understanding of a subject.

There will be less assignments per week and they'll, continually, thoroughly capture what's important about the nature of a subject.

So teachers, in the proposed system, create IEPs. They help create a culture in which students only share information from IEPs voluntarily, and students simultaneously respect one another's differences and privacy. The newly-trained teachers give less assignments, but tailor them, at least on occasion, to students' specific IEPs. For instance, one student may need a computer or digital device because they're severely autistic, another they get English assignments, for example, English being a subject which they're naturally poor in, that causes them to think of the rules of another subject their strong in. And teachers could devise homework assignments that achieve this balance.

In the new proposal, students then take IEPs to college with them. College admittance is based on the kinds of strengths student exhibit, versus standardized test scores.

In order to get this system underway, I would say it's possible to train teachers in as short as two months over the summer, using money allocated from special education funds for following year, which will no longer be necessary, and added stimulus dollars. A manual would be used that teachers can learn from in a week during their training which describes for them the attributes of the left- and- right brained continuum,and the character types of Enneagram and Ayurveda.

Amongst the people who do the training would be teachers who already have experience working with diverse student populations. For instance, Andrew Greenwald of Ballston Spa High School in upstate New York. Mr. Greenwald has worked with students who've been diagnosed with Asperger's and severe autism both, which is really right brained thinking.

Period for Self-Exploration

Self-exploration and knowledge is already strongly incorporated into the 'Charting the Course' education proposal. It might, in addition to becoming a larger part of formal schooling, however, typically take up the space of months, or even years, outside of the classroom (See Nader Khalili's story in, The New Village, and the notes below about both Ansel Adams and Jan Smuts). While self-exploration is integral to every person's education, students, in order to experience it in full as youth, might best have it be routine that they can opt to take some time off from school, or right after school, for this natural part of the self-growth cycle, typically a year or two:

It involves time to:

  1. Let the mind freely associate and ponder, about the world and your place in it.

  2. Come to know the world, and in terms of your particular interests.

  3. Apply yourself with work that's a reflection of your thinking and engagement with the world, you've discovered by way of exploration, or self-exploration.

Self-exploration is a period in youth for becoming in touch with the larger world, and its needs as well as your own, that's in line with building the details of your life and career. The three phases listed above may happen concurrently, or in stages.

Ansel Adams, who was home taught for much of his youth, frequently attended for the duration of a year, the 1915 San Francisco World Fair, when he was about fourteen-years-old. During this remarkable period of growth for him, he must have viewed many exhibits with cultures frozen-in-time. Then, after seeing the Sierra Nevada Mountains, with a new camera that was a gift from his father in toe, the idea of photographing the mountains in still life, for the world, increasingly occurred to him.

Jan Smuts, being a natural academic, was well able to experience a true flowering of self-growth in his undergraduate years at Stellenboch, in South Africa. He readily grasped of all kinds of academic knowledge, as if in a stupor, including what became his life-long hobby, botany, which also allowed his mind to freely associate between, in this instance, nature and political life. He then went on to write, in his law school years, in England, Walt Whitman: a study in the Evolution of Personality, which was a reflection of an extension of his own period of self-growth. In Stellenboch and England, he needed to set time aside for botany, and then the writing of his first book, to actually engage in self-growth.

Education with Digital Devices

Education with iPods can and does include using interactive diagrams and maps that can add to the dynamics of class discussion.

But programs on these devices might narrow what a teacher teaches, and still provide so much food for fodder that the teacher has no space to discuss outside-of-the-lines of the program.

Teachers may also not get to discuss what they want to because the program from the digital device veers away from regularly scheduled curriculum.

With the use of these devices, students could also not be taught just one set of methods for handling the rules and formulas of a subject.

In the proposed education system, there would only be a holistic use of digital devices in classes, in which they accentuate the learning already going on inside the classroom.

The 'Charting the Course' proposal would encourage students learn method from their teachers and only a uniform set of rules and principles from technology.

To encourage inventiveness, teachers might be assisted by digital devices in teaching the rules of a course, then, in addition to teaching the methodology, teachers may let students try to figure out ways to solve problems, or methodology, on their own, as is often done in math at the college level. Students would learn to tackle methodology to spur their creativity, however while guided by a teacher.

Learning through experiences both digital and hands-on can show students how to invent or solve problems independently.

Multiply Handicapped Students

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, 1985, Oliver Sacks, if you ask me, does wonders to inform special education teachers about the potential for working with students and adults who are multiply handicapped.

In 2005, reading Sacks' recollections from 'The Autist Artist,' a chapter of the book, showed me how, ultimately, the world can be such a different place when those who can, help those in need. The chapter of the book recounts when Sacks entered the life of a young man named Jose, who'd recently been admitted to a state hospital after 15 years of isolation in the cellar of his mother's house. Sacks described how he was able to enter Jose's tormented life at this stage, and make him smile. Jose couldn't talk or function well, because of his severe autism, but Sacks gave of himself and helped to guide him toward drawing. Using visual memory and imagination, Jose drew multidimensional, well-proportioned renditions of images he'd seen for only a few moments, and his spirits lifted.

Understanding an integrative school system:

The goal of k-12 in the above school system is to interweave associative and linear thought in the reading, coursework and in individual and group projects, for all students, so that studies or courses are consistently a combination of left- and right-brained logic. High school physics, for example, would be a combination of the applied and theoretical interpretations of the science. And, in the case of physics, theoretical physics would also be offered separately for students who are more analytical and can grasp the theory but have more difficulty working with the formulas of applied physics.

At the university level, progressive change may happen more quickly, as it usually does at this level, while in k-12 change will be more gradual and subtle, even after the new system has been implemented. In k-12, change begins with associative and linear thought processes complementing one another more and more, as described in the “Charting the Course” outline above. Courses for secondary school students will be more complete combinations of the associative and the linear, that is, until they become, like college coursework before them, models of closed, holistic systems incorporating applied sciences. For example, advanced sciences taught in the near future at the college level will eventually be able to be accessed already in the secondary school system, as what is intelligent about them becomes more commonly placed within an already existing whole system, that's just not a closed, whole system yet, as its missing some of its parts, like astrology in math and design and architecture in art. At the university level, more immediately, closed, holistic systems will serve to completely incorporate the applied sciences and put them into the context of the whole. Students won't miss out on any aspect of learning (since learning will be whole) under this new system, even while people will still become 'specialized.' Specializations will be part and parcel of advanced studies, on a five to seven-year track, and those studies will also be a mixture of liberal arts and highly technical studies. (Whole learning is learning that is applicable (applied in an immaterial sense) according to the law of universals, or the law of One, that lends itself to students gaining total understanding of a subject to the extent that they become able to apply that complete understanding to facts as they arise.)

In addition to describing above in the 'reading' section how associative thinkers develop and work within holistic systems to assist and complement their thought process, and what they do, I also wrote about some of the ways associative thinkers benefit from utilizing left-brained thinking and systems to ensure they know, for example, what art exhibits there are in the city that might contribute to their whole thinking. The left-brained or neurotypical person can stand to benefit from the modus operandi of the “in touch” right-brained way, and does. But more universally, the two, left and right-brained people, can and should work closely together on a continual basis. That is, sophisticated whole brain thinking should be a constant, and a goal.

An example of how and why the two dominant ways of thinking should be more entirely interwoven in the real world, and in schools too, is stages of development. Stages of development are what right-brained people, and left-brained people too, both accessing associations of the right-brain, use to imagine what the future will look like. Sometimes people come up against roadblocks, though, when the plans they envision don't unfold as planned. While the associative mind has much to do with the development of stages, or vision, the linear or left-brained mind orchestrates the unfolding. Both left and right-brained thinking are totally dependent on one another, and so one should be strong in both. This is part of the reason for the proposed education system described above. Because in the real world our thinking can truly benefit from whole brain thinking, which is already accomplished to some degree, but could be so much more rewarding for us all.


We usually can choose how much alone time we want to spend and how much time we want to be with others, but there are also times when we don’t or can't make the choice. We might just be scared of people because we’ve not made the right friends recently, and have been hurt in the past. Or we might be so bent on studying, working and using our computers, that we don’t take time to do the other things we like, and we spend too much time alone. Like a bad diet or not enough body movement, being anti-social can make us become imbalanced, too, even if we're only spending too much time alone because we're working diligently. If we become imbalanced in this way, we risk feeling estranged, out-of-touch, and or depressed.

Being so focused on my work and family life as a young adult, I sometimes had this bad habit of discontinuing my search for good and close friends, or I spent free time I had with people with whom I didn't have a lot in common. Perhaps we have this tendency to give up on finding new or better friends because it seems to us that a lot of the people we know and who surround us are not friend material, or they reject us for reasons we can't understand, that are usually pretty stupid.

If people get stuck like this, like I have, then I think it's a good idea for them to look deeper into the people who surround them, perhaps they'll find they have more in common than they thought, and if that's not the case, I recommend going out and trying to find different and interesting people to get to know - no matter how down on themselves or others they may be at the time. It's a good idea to talk to more people – to see if it's possible to know those who are interested in the kinds of things you are. People who feel alone should look for new friends online, at safe websites, or at the places they like to go to – hopefully they'll find good people and budding friendships, and people with whom they can talk and interact, while feeling positive at the same time.

Gatherings of local artists or nature and animal lovers, poetry readings, or live music shows at small venues, may be happenings where people can meet people.

People can also become friends with people older than them. For example, it's possible to build relationships with mentors, or elders.

There are some people you connect with more than others, those are the types who make the best friends I think. Maybe, as well, I tried too often to maintain a few friendships with people with whom I didn’t feel a strong enough connection, and I was missing out on other possibilities that lurked around the corner.

I wouldn't suggest people exchange numbers with people they meet too casually, like a cab driver, or a random man a young woman's met on the street, at least they shouldn't give their number, address or too much information away - people should always be cautious with strangers because they don’t really know who they are or what they may want. But, there are many individuals who are practical strangers, who people might meet socially at functions, school or work, who they can still interact with and get to know on a somewhat deep level simply by being open to talking with them, saying hello and how are you doing, and experiencing their energy. It's nice too to experience the energy of a cab driver, and engage him or her in conversation, I do it frequently, or the lunch lady or janitor at school, or the librarian – there are lovely and interesting people everywhere that can help people from becoming too lonely (of course, there are grumpy people too, but, hey, they have something to say, too).

When people are open to how other people feel, I think they'll be more likely to make meaningful friends and relations.

Often, my best friend has been my boyfriend, but I don’t know what life would be like without good girlfriends and guy friends. Or maybe I have come to know this, and can say it's a lot less fun.

Friends can be incredibly grounding, and they can make life rich.

Obviously, and as I've mentioned, the times when I didn’t have close friends to spend considerable time with were difficult for me. Though now I’ve in a sense become more independent and spend a lot of time alone, I miss the tenderness of passing more days and hours with people I truly love.

So, when people are slightly lonely, or don’t feel as close with their friends as they wish they did – they should work on it, look to make relationships better, or to find new ones.

But they shouldn't at the same time give up their independent spirit to form superficial friendships for the sake of appearing to have true friends, either. It's best to seek true friendships.

When I was the most comfortable with my friends, and those with whom I socialized, worked and studied, I felt like I could get the most out of life and really enjoy most of what I did, as well as put up with the things I disliked.

In the end, only individuals can know and trust their own self to make the right decisions about friends, families, teachers and mentors with whom they spend time - but they can ask for guidance in this sometimes difficult task as they weave their way through the maze of continually developing and maintaining changing relationships. Guidance might come from members of their nuclear family, mentors and counselors.

Trying New Things

The late scholar, best-selling writer, mythologist, and generally nice guy, Joseph Campbell, said something with the following effect: the secret to the journey is following our bliss.

If what we do intrigues us enough to want to continue in a direction that seems to possibly lead toward happiness or a feeling of being more whole, we're likely on the right course.

But, we have to feel good about ourselves and be open-minded to trying new things, so that we can experiment with our lives until we find what bliss is to us.

We may have a number of ideas about what career choice and hobby would make us feel like we are experiencing bliss, but we usually only know for sure after we've given a few things a try.

Through trial and error, we learn what we like and what makes us feel best.

Amazingly, it's not always the case that people do what they like, and do it well.

I, interestingly, already in third grade stopped drawing and painting because I thought my teacher didn't like a painting I made. It was of a bird, a cardinal, and I felt particularly good about, until, that is, I thought I perceived dissatisfaction or disregard from my teacher.

Around the same time, I was beginning to notice how I was acting introverted at school, while my friends were becoming more extroverted and starting to spend their free time in new cliques of friends. In fact, it seemed to me in third grade that kids began developing social networks for the first time, and I had this vague impression that I wasn't very adept at making connections in ways that the other kids were, too.

Art is generally something that you do on your own, for which you need to be in touch with your inner self - and for a short while in third grade I was turning inward. But as a result of my teacher not seeming to be very fond of what was my first painting that made me feel something, like pride or fulfillment, and probably because I didn't want to be one of the kids who was left all alone while everyone else played together, I somehow dropped art and painting and by fourth grade became a very sociable girl who had the most fun playing rough and tumble games with the boys during recess.

After third grade, life just continued to move forward. I was happy, and I forgot somehow that I ever made a connection to art. As time passed, I assumed I was a lousy artist, and never had any inclination to try painting or anything like it again.

I didn't experience fine art first-hand again until I was age 29 - a ridiculously long time. I had managed to brainwash myself into thinking I didn't have an artistic bone in my body. Meanwhile, all along I admired and often envied others who had artistic talent and expressed it. By my early twenties, I also grew to love quiet days in museums where I could study other people's art.

I dabbled with drawing at age 24 and thought maybe there was something, some kind of talent, there, but I let the feeling go, and in part because I wasn't comfortable in my own skin as an artist, not-to-mention, I didn't have enough money to partake in the informal class on a regular basis. The teacher there was great, but I felt less confident around my creative and artsy friends.

After taking up the arts again at ages 29 and 30, as everything else seemed to be falling apart in my life, art became a very cool outlet for me. Even if I'm not a great artist and instead am mediocre and inexperienced, practicing art can and does bring me bliss.

I just need to make sure I have enough of the materials around one needs to draw or paint, and commit time to doing it.

It's important too, for me, to make an effort to feel free or focused enough to give myself to art. I have to learn to let go and let be while absorbing more fully and intently what visuals and energy surround me, and then allow my creative energy to surface - which involves a good level of dedication and an adjustment in my way of life or lifestyle. For the most part, it requires giving into the natural reserve of inspiration.

But, my missing out for so many years on the bliss I receive from creating art is an example of why it's so important to have an open mind and the self confidence to do what your heart treasures, and to try new things even when you're unsure of yourself or your ability.

In addition to already being overly self-conscious when I was very young, when I was older (and this happens to a lot of people as they get older and more set in their ways) I used to occasionally be worried about looking silly or failing when I tried new things, especially if whatever it was was somehow close to my heart. Maybe that's another reason I stayed away from art for so long. One problem I had as a teen and adult was that I wasn't good at just goofing around to see what I could do in fine arts, with friends or on my own.

My sensitivity as an adult might have stemmed from my looking at artistic types and setting them apart from myself. I thought for one if people could brainstorm and call out titles, off the top of their head, they were creative and I wasn't, because I was awful at calling out names for titles. It involved naming names. As well, I thought artists broke customary rules, like rules of grammar, and because I was more rigid I thought I must not be an artist.

You know, maybe there was something to those collages I made from magazine scraps when I was young, and a bit older too, it could have been my inner artist calling out. But that's a sad comparison to actually getting exercise in the fine arts.

So here's what I've learned. Even if you're a terrible singer, you should still sing when you can. You may just find out you can sing after all.

I've also come to think everyone has an artistic bone in their body, but many don't know how to access their artistic side. Many also feel intimidated by art, or what they see of it in others.

We may stumble into our bliss, or fall away from it. But the preferred route, I would say, is not to fall away, but to seek your bliss, if you've not yet fallen for it.

It's not to say that other work and activities I was involved in throughout my teens and twenties didn't satisfy me, but what I wonder about now is whether or not my greatest source of bliss comes from art. If so, shouldn't art at least have played a more important role as I carved my path?

Since the age of 29, when I rediscovered the quote on quote artist in me, I've been fulfilled when I've written poetry and practiced visual arts like drawing, painting and photography. Granted, photography I wanted to do earlier, but didn't for money reasons. Photography also seems more accessible to me than drawing and painting, at least at first.

All of these artforms are different from documentary production too, which usually calls not just for one practitioner, but several, and involves many layers of development, production and editing.

Even though there may be some bumps along the way as people find their following their bliss, staying focused on and continuing to do what makes people happy ought to pay off in a big way.

To follow bliss, people have to listen to their soul, and also know their soul well in order to listen to it.

By the way, though Joseph Campbell spent his professional life in academia, researching, traveling, writing and teaching about world mythologies, and he loved what he did, he said he experienced his greatest bliss in college, at Columbia University, where he ran track and was very good in one running event, in particular. He won race after race, and said it was actually the 'high' he experienced while participating in those races, rounding the track to reach the finish line, as all things came together, that to him represented the greatest moments of bliss in his life. So, I guess we can follow our bliss for our entire lives if we want to, and are wise to, but we may experience certain peak moments too, that allow us to gain perspective and experience. Later, they allow us to reflect on feelings of pure elation.

Maybe the role art plays in my life should involve giving me direction, fulfillment and deep understanding.

I mentioned before how I made the decision to begin working at National Geographic, and shortly thereafter abandoned, in large part, what I had been studying during the four previous years.

Later, because my heart was to a degree still invested in the affairs of different states and peoples, I continually tried to incorporate international relations into the documentary proposals I developed, but documentary filmmaking and international politics are two different fields, albeit at times they are overlapping.

In a number of cases, anyway, like in the case of me and art, and perhaps of me and political work too, trying new things also involves going back and trying again what you were once close to, or affiliated with, and reworking it into your life, in a different space and time, if it seems right to you.

Maybe like an understudy of Pablo Picasso, I can one day paint images that evoke political and humanitarian sympathies, and maybe too art will be a soothing hobby alongside a more serious career in international relations, or film.

These are the kind of decisions we have to make based on self awareness of life circumstances and our own likes, dislikes and varying abilities.

Taking The Journey of Self-Discovery

Total honesty with yourself also tends to make life more enjoyable, as does courage to overcome fears. Many books spanning the centuries have been written on the topic of overcoming inner fears and discovering your true self. These books have been written by philosophers, poets, religious and political leaders, fiction writers, and playwrights, among others. The ones I've read that taught me the most about the journey of self-discovery were those that touched my soul. They include Racing Alone and Sidewalks on the Moon, by Nader Khalili, the Bhagavad Gita, Vedic Ecology, by Ranchor Prime and Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth, by Buckminster Fuller. I also get totally roused and inspired when reading some of Rimbaud's very early poems, Jalāl ad-Dīn Rumi, and when listening to Bob Dylan's songs and lyrics.

Seeking out literature and philosophies that describe ways of conquering deep-seeded fears, and maintaining courage, or that discuss the myriad meanings of self, and the motivations and roles of the individuals in society, can help make life's journey more profound, and hopefully less daunting.

While writings meant to enlighten and uplift often brilliantly engage the reader in an author's understanding of what motivates people, it's still wise to absorb the written word with a mind open to what is universally true.

Some writings on the subjects of transformation and change are relatively lighthearted, and some can seem very heavy - but I think so many titles have something valuable to teach.

A college course covering international theory was the first real opportunity I had to explore writers of philosophy. Then after graduating from college, and then again after leaving National Geographic, I began to find more time and energy to give to reading that was purely inspiring and thought-provoking.

Then while in Georgia, in 2003, I began a book that contains what I think is extraordinarily simple and straightforward advice for helping people learn how to conquer their inner fears, as well as find happiness and love.

Considering that overcoming inner fears is one of the most difficult and yet subtle of human challenges it was a bit strange to find such simply-put, matter-of-fact advice for taking on the inherited human challenge. But there it was in, The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom, by Don Miguel Ruiz, a book that describes and recounts 'the Four Agreements' of the ancient Toltec people of southern Mexico.

The Toltec are known as "women and men of knowledge" and they first organized as a group about 3,000 years ago in Teotihuacan, the ancient city of pyramids outside of Mexico City. Soon after forming, the Toltec, comprised largely of spiritually endowed scientists and artists, found they had to guard their thoughts and ideas from those who were in power who were less likely to concur with their rather forward-thinking ways. And so the Toltec quickly became a secret society.

Fortunately for us, many years ago, already, they began sharing their wisdom openly. There are still Toltec around today who can trace their lineages back for thousands of years, including the author of the book, Don Miguel Ruiz, who is from a family of Toltec teachers.

From reading through Ruiz's book about the seemingly infinite wisdom of his people, I was surprised at how succinctly he communicated the message of the Toltec. I definitely recommend picking up a copy of it, for people looking to conquer inner fears and gain spiritual wisdom.

Enneagram is another powerful tool for gaining knowledge of the self and world that is pseudo-spiritual, but not religious. I was introduced to the Enneagram school of thought when I lived in California, and it helped me realize my self in practical yet holistic terms, better than I'd ever taken the time to before. Like Jungian psychology and Ayurveda, Enneagram helps its followers or readers define themselves and their needs by helping them identify their core personality type.

Enneagram describes people's good and bad traits as well as their underlying motives according to type. There are nine types in total. By explaining human instincts, good and bad, Enneagram in turn describes personal solutions for people, ways for them to tap into the Sattvic mind and be whole beings, letting go of knee-jerk-style defense mechanisms they've developed since they were young.

Enneagram is meant to help people achieve transcendence, moving them beyond the limitations of the nine personality types and fixations situated around the symbol called, Enneagram.

The Enneagram symbol is made up of an outer circle (representing the law of one), a triangle (representing the law of three) and a hexagon (representing the law of seven).ii

The circle shape represents Oneness of being; the triangle, the triad or power of three; and the hexagon, the law of seven describing the movement between points on a path ascendant and descendent in space and time.

The three contiguous shapes create the nine points around the circle each of which represents one personality or character type of Enneagram. The nine types are frequently referred to as - 1. Perfectionist, 2. Helper, 3. Producer, 4. Individualist, 5. Thinker, 6. Problem-solver, 7. Visionary, 8. Power-seeker and 9. Peacemaker.

Every person at their core is just one of the types. However, each of the nine types, in the enlightened state and not, has influence on every persona, with some types having more sway over an individual than others. The goal is to reach the enlightened state of each of the types while being true to a core way, even as you literally make perpetual evolutions about the Enneagram symbol.

Here's a brief rundown of how Enneagram works:

For starters, to find out your type you can seek the help of an Enneagram coach. The coach may also do testing with questionnaires, and or ask you to simply read through all of the different types, in-depth, so that you can help them find your match.

There are ample online sites and books that tell about the working of Enneagram, the good and bad traits of the nine types, how to discover a centered self, and that offer questionnaires. Many of the popular sites and books, however, don't take the place of a coach, on the one hand, and don't do as much to help a student achieve transcendence, moving beyond the personality to what's called, the Holy Idea, or essential nature or core way.

Many books will focus primarily on the personality, which can be eye-opening, but really only the beginning of the journey of Enneagram.

I've personally had good luck studying side-by-side the teachings of Sandra Maítrí, author of The Spiritual Dimension of the Enneagram, and Michael J. Goldberg, author of The 9 Ways of Working. I've briefly worked with Mary Bast, co-author with Clarence Thomson, of Out of the Box: Coaching with the Enneagram;.

What I've learned of Enneagram is that it's from knowing the character traits of one's own individual type, as well as the characteristics of all of the types around the circle, that it becomes easy to learn a tremendous amount about the motivations people may have and their potential evolvement.

By understanding the positive and negative traits of each of the types, and what either guides or triggers them, which involves knowing the habits that continually promote and upset balance, students of Enneagram begin to see which actions they and others take, and have taken in the past, that are more and less authentic.

From the experience of learning about type, it's possible to begin making wiser choices that will help to optimize instead of exhaust a person's energy.

There are many more great books and sources related to the journey of self-discovery.

I've found many popular science books, as well as books about the lives and works of different scientists, artists and leaders, contain a variety of awe-inspiring as well as practical lessons about the self, and how self fits into the fabric of this world.

Science books that have helped lighten the load, readers of this book might like as well, are: Brian Greene's Elegant Universe and Fabric of the Cosmos (though I haven't yet read these books in their entirety, I'm anxious to, I've thumbed through them, and watched a PBS special the author hosted), Neil deGrasse Tyson's, Origins (also the host of a PBS special, and the current Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History in NYC), as well as books for lay readers by Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman, Thomas Merton, etc. etc.

All of these materials, I think, offer rather profound insight into the meaning of things.

Art on its own, in all of its different forms, can enlighten people in similar ways that books do. For instance, I find myself staring in wonder at the most basic human qualities depicted in lines, forms, and colors in paintings and sculptures by Amedeo Modigliani, and paintings by Alexej von Jawlensky, as well as Vincent Van Gogh and Winslow Homer.

Additionally, simply looking around you, at the lives of people you know, can be just as, if not more, eye-opening. One thing literature and art can't replace, though at times they may come close, is the intimacy and connections we make when we interact with others.

Though the journey of self-discovery can be life-long, there's no better time to begin (or continue) it than when you're young.

Finding Your Rhythm

People, by paying greater attention to their body's subtle needs, and following their natural rhythm more closely, might wind up being altered their life quite a bit. Along the way as they begin making changes and trying new things they may experience some difficulties, and when and if they do, my advice is that they keep their head up and continue searching for creative solutions rather than giving up.

There's a great sense of satisfaction that comes from being increasingly comfortable with the direction of your life. If people stay committed to their goals as they begin making progress, they ought to be able to continually move in the direction of the life they love instead of a life that makes them feel less than whole.

By taking things slowly and not demanding too much or too little from a day, each day people can achieve a greater level of inner peace and balance. People can implement changes into their lives gradually that complement and build upon one another.

Rome wasn't built in a day. It takes time for the benefits of changes made to manifest even after they've been instituted! And still, whether through meditation, fifteen minutes devoted to writing, a half hour of yoga, or a late afternoon spent cooking, perhaps with and for the family, or for yourself or you and friends, people can achieve a little something every day.

And yet, there may also be those bad days when it feels like you've mistakenly taken a few steps backwards. But those are also days from which to learn.

Typically, as working adults, only if we go on sabbatical like professors do when they take semester or year-long breaks from their college teaching schedules, to focus all of their energy on research in one area, or something concentrated other than classwork, is it possible for us to devote our days and nights to change, full-time.

As a result of it not being very realistic that we go on long sabbaticals, the only other option is to somehow make things pan out from home and in the process of living forward.

Regarding people managing time as they do some inner work, they can devote a chunk of time, even in the middle of a full program of school or work, so that in their “off” hours, over a season, or year, they focus on their "way of life" or journey, as if it's an ongoing project they're dedicated to that also stays in the back of their mind as they partake in the ins and outs of everyday life.

Maybe they can choose to use the fall, when it's not so hot, the spring, when the flowers begin to bloom, or the summer, when people are out of school, as a starting point. Thereafter, when they can afford to, they concentrate their thoughts on self and universal ideas about the environment in which they live. They could do this rather simply by making a conscious decision to look inward and reflectively at what goes on within and around them.

In addition to carving a bit of time out of our days in order to consider and begin making improvements in lives (which is very fun and fulfilling to do), making change may also involve a level of cooperation from those we love and those with whom we spend time.

It may be that people's family, friends, bosses and teachers will have to also be willing to accommodate what we're doing in an effort to make some positive alterations to our lives.

Some suggestions I can think of for working alongside others while also making time to work on self are: people sharing things they've read with others and trying to arrange times when they can talk with loved ones about what they're working on and what their needs might be. People stressing to others why it's so important that they try making the changes they envision, and if changes they've made work for them tell others why it's so important to follow-through with their new way of doing things. People should see if they can inspire others to be introspective at the same time as them. Maybe others too can think of smart changes that could improve their lives, and the lives of everyone involved. For instance, maybe together, or separately, after thinking about things like making quiet time for self during the days, diet, exercise, and ways to pass free time together, individual family members will come up with new approaches for organizing the family schedule. Family members and or friends may like to eat many of the same foods you've begun eating, and you could orchestrate cooking plans involving the whole family. Someone close may enjoy and or regularly do some of the same things as people making change, or finding their rhythm, and could therefore begin going for walks or hikes, taking trips to healthfood stores or farmer's markets, visiting places where animals live or visiting museums, together.

If at first people have a difficult time encouraging others to take up more holistic practices, and or to accommodate their needs, I would say to still follow as best as possible the new path carved, perhaps you'll lead by example and eventually change some hearts.

Taking a mini-sabbatical every so often may not be such a bad idea either. A short 'time-out' may be just what people need when they've reached a point at which they're ready to focus all of their energy on self, the environment they live in, and loved ones. In the process, they step back and begin to perceive new ways to enrich their life. When we have time away from things it often happens that our world becomes clearer, we gain perspective, and answers to riddles long plaguing us surface. Time in a different environment, away from the clutter of life, is time to breathe. Usually, when people can breathe more easily they begin to feel refreshed and liberated, and at these times they're likely to develop innovative solutions.

When people feel it's time for a mini-sabbatical, then they can plan a retreat with others or alone to some quiet place in the country, or even in the middle of the city. Perhaps a camp in the woods, or a park where they can set up camp, would be good places to go, if they can't afford a suite downtown!

While they're away they can experience solitude by going on long hikes, or for solo swims in the lake at sunset. They can also plan time-specific gatherings and treat those who they're with as members of a council. Discussions or brainstorming sessions around the dinner table or campfire, chess, yoga at sunrise, group meditation, stargazing, playing music, dancing or singing, or arts and crafts projects related to mythology and symbology, could all be done in a group.

If people take it up a notch from finding a remote place in the woods and pitching a tent, there are also many resorts and sites around the country (and world) where official and semi-official retreats are held.

It may be possible for people to arrange a retreat with like-minded souls either at school or in their community, alternatively, but that would take quite a bit of initiative. It could be cool to start something though.

Or, people can pay for and join a retreat that's being held by an organization of their choice. For instance, Dr. Scott Gerson's, National Institute of Ayurvedic Medicine, NIAM (www.niam.com), regularly holds retreats near Woodstock, NY.

People can also find short-term refuge at a monastery, or at an alternative, architectural site, like Nader Khalili's Cal-Earth site in Hesperia, CA, where work programs and apprenticeships are offered. Cal-Earth regularly offers paid workshops for which guests can stay at the Cal-Earth site for a week and learn how to build ecodomes and Superadobe earthen homes.

While I was living in California someone I knew there invited a dozen or so women (I was one of them, but couldn't make it) to her country home located north of San Francisco for what was a casual gathering, like a retreat, that took place over a long weekend. At the time, this person was studying alternative approaches to psychology at the Institute of Imaginal Studies (http://www.imaginal.edu/welcome.html) in Petaluma, CA. The Institute uses many images and exceptional forms of guided or ancient wisdom gained from mythology, indigenous peoples, spiritual traditions, creative arts, somatic practices, and deep ecology to weave psychology together with the soul. One of the things the women did together was make masks. Each woman made a mask that was ultimately an expression of herself. They did a number of transformative and soulful exercises together as well. (In the CA area, there are schools similar to Imaginal that blend psychology and mythology to form academic and professional specialties. They include the Pacifica Graduate Institute, John F. Kennedy University, and the California Institute of Integral Studies. People may be interested in checking these schools out, or other programs like theirs that are located around the country.)

Also, one other way that I can think of for making a mini-sabbatical happen would be to trade places with a friend for a while, a friend who lives in another city or in farm country somewhere. Maybe just being at a friend's abode for a few days while he or she is at yours would be a nice getaway for both.

Fortunately, in the midst of everything that is hectic and chaotic there are ways in which people can find refuge for their body and mind. Meditating allows us to get away, if in our minds only. However, in meditation the intent is not so much to focus on all that's happening in your world. Instead, during meditation one of the main goals is to observe nothingness, or to perceive an object and become one with it until finally our minds are so stilled that we detach from all of that mental chatter that normally makes our minds so busy. Meditation is an effort to control and still our minds so that we become enveloped in a sense of serenity and calm, and heal. There are many different forms of meditation. A simple one I learned in a yoga class years ago was to try to think of nothing but the movements of your body and the yoga you are practicing, while you practice yoga, letting everything else go, forgetting about your worries and whatever it is was that was preoccupying your thoughts. All the while through the exercises you inhale and exhale steadily, with deep and stretched out breaths, in a form of pranayama (breathing). It's nice to have soft background music playing, and or to be in a dimly lit room, if not outside. Then at the end of your exercises, when you lay down in a flat and relaxed position on your back, with your legs and arms stretching comfortably, begin to still your mind even more. First focus on your feet and relax them, then your legs and relax them, hips, back, shoulders and head, do the same all the way up your body, so that your mind is totally one with your body, its vibrations, and its senses. By the time you've thought of your temples and how they feel your entire body should feel light and cleansed, and perhaps lifted. At that point continue thinking on nothing but the overall feeling of serenity you're experiencing in your body. Try to just relax and rest for five minutes or more, breathing slowly and naturally. If your mind isn't completely clear of distracting thoughts, then at least let all disrupting thoughts go, holding on only to what you need and all that you love.

Other meditation exercises are often done when you're sitting upright, or, you can be laying down on your back and looking up at the sky, or ceiling. Sometimes your eyes are closed as you think inwardly, while at other times they can be focused on an image or object in front of you. Meditation often includes the use of mantras, or one word or image on which you focus your mind so that you can still it. This form of meditation involves repeating a sound or image over and over again in your head.

Meditation has been proven to heal people with disturbances of the mind and those who experience a lot of stress, and by stilling your mind you are actually cleansing it in the way you would cleanse your body by fasting for a day or weekend.

You can begin receiving the benefits from meditation by doing it for just five minutes a day. However, to advance to the higher, yogi levels of meditation, along the Eightfold Path of Yoga, takes practice, often years of it.

For a general overview of the Eightfold Path of Yoga, the book, Ayurveda and the Mind, the Healing of Consciousness, by Dr. David Frawley, is a good source. It also contains easy-to-understand instructions for methods of meditation along the Eightfold Path.

The truth is I believe our potential is so often beyond what we've imagined it to be. Our ability to love is greater than we know. Our ability to understand and extend our hands to help others is also greater than we know. And our ability to create and effect change is greater than we know. As humans, we limit ourselves by too often not looking hard enough for answers, and without spending enough time looking within, and finding all that's available there.

I don't know everything about how to live with a mental imbalance when it occurs. There's a lot that I'm still learning. Down the road, however, I'd be happy to share with people whatever new insight I gain, and I hope people will share their insight with me too.

I've seen people use the orchid as an analogy for people living with mental illness because orchids are beautiful flowers that can grow into unique and wondrous shapes, but in order for orchids to thrive, because they're extra sensitive, they need to be treated with special care. The temperature and amount of moisture and sunlight they receive all need to be just right. We need to treat ourselves specially, too, so that we can thrive.

I know people already know a lot about 'bipolar'. But, in this book I've shared with you what I've come to know about how different people with mental imbalances, particularly with bipolar, have been living long, healthy, and happy lives, with and without the use of medication, many times without medications. People manage this by creating a lifestyle that's best suited to their core ways of being, including, a well-defined diet and healthy sleeping and working habits.

It's true that living with bipolar doesn't need to involve taking drugs for the rest of your life, though for everyone, that is a decision they should make on their own. Whether or not people are taking medications, the right diet and lifestyle will undoubtedly help them live well and make the mark on this world that they believe is the mark intended for them to make.

People have a lot of traits in them that ought to make them feel proud. Nader Khalili, the architect in California whom I've continually written about, used to talk with me about the importance of being on a quest in life. Nader didn't discover his deepest purpose, or his ultimate quest, until he'd been a professional architect for years already. From a relatively young age, he knew he wanted to study architecture, and he'd been reading literary classics and books from a number of disciplines from an even younger age. But he didn't learn what special type of architecture he would dedicate his entire life to building until midway through his life. Many people don't discover their greatest purpose, or begin their quest with resolve, until they're older and have experienced more. But to be on a quest that is on the one hand grounded in reality, and, on the other hand transforming and spiritual, at any age, is a wonderful means to living out one's life with a sense of spirit and purpose.

Like diet, exercise and practicing art, pursuing an ultimate goal or quest you've dreamed up, or envisioned, and then begun to create, is a life-long form of therapy in which we manifest our souls so they can become one with the world in which they live.

People may find all of their reading is leading them toward being on a particular quest they have yet to dream about, day dream or dream in the middle of the night, and that unrealized quest can make them realize the reasons for which they do and think the things they do.

Moving forward, keeping your mind open to doing more than one thing well, perhaps one thing that's creative, and another that's more analytical, can also help create balance for you.

For instance, Khalili, in addition to his architecture, had his well-known translations of Rumi poetry that he wrote.

While I was in college, and a lowly intern for Senator Moynihan on Capitol Hill, a few of the "staffers" who worked as legislators at the Senator's office also played in rock or jazz bands, once or twice a week, at various venues in the city.

Having multiple outlets is good for people's minds.

I didn't always have two such outlets, or one that was artistic in addition to my school and career work. I might also do some cooking, which can also be a creative and relaxing exercise. I'll make a dish I haven't made before, or a favorite dish that I haven't made in a while, while listening to soothing music, or better yet, in complete silence. I feel so much better after I've switched gears for a little while, and am usually pretty happy with what I've done. Practicing some kind of art, and having the art you love act as an outlet for your brain, is spiritually very important for all of us, I think, and it's great for your health, too.

People should be careful, though, that at night before they go to bed they don't become so absorbed in their art, or for that matter, reading, that their mind is too wound up to fall asleep when they usually do. I try to stop working at least an hour or so before I go to bed, so that when I hit the hay I'm ready to sleep. Also, if for some reason I can't make it to bed by the time that Ayurveda recommends, which is by 10:00 p.m., I then shoot to go to sleep, at the latest, by 11:30 p.m. Any later, and I feel negative effects the next day.

Reasons I may not be able to be in bed by 10:00 p.m. could be work-related, or noise-related. If there's too much noise in a house or apartment I have trouble falling asleep. It used to be that I would stay up a bit past 11:30 p.m., until 12:30 a.m., and sometimes a little later, because I enjoyed how quiet it was after most people went to sleep, and that late at night I could concentrate without there being so many external distractions. My favorite show, the Charlie Rose show, on PBS, is also on between 11/11:30 p.m. and 12/12:30 a.m., and I would stay up for it.

But I can't stay up too late anymore without noticing, more than I ever used to, that I'm tired the following day. In addition, it's clearer to me now that my level of concentration after 11:30 p.m. usually isn't as good as it is earlier in the day.

Living Well-Sensibly

I don’t want to encourage people to over-think every step they take in the future, but instead, I hope they'll be smart about their health, even as they're taking a myriad of exciting steps leading them through the many phases of a teenager’s and young adult’s life.

By living and learning, we're constantly evolving as we become older. And no matter how well we try to plan our lives out perfectly, fate will always play a part in marking our paths.

People with bipolar traits, or people with idiosyncrasies, are often known for being passionate about things that to them mean so much.

To others, what may seem impossible with regard to making or creating change, or the arts, may seem plausible to a person with bipolar traits, largely because of the passion they feel. Rather then than looking at bipolar as a sickness, then, it can and probably should more often be viewed as a very positive way of being, through which a person, periodically, and sometimes more frequently, is compelled to do what others may not dare or think to do in times of crisis and peace, that's for the good of the people.

It’s possible to direct the passion and joy someone has in the right directions, through writing, art, politics, science, medicine, love. With a deep knowledge of ourselves and a love for life it's possible to understand our passions and make something from them that's healing and balancing, on both micro and macro levels.

People with bipolar traits, who tend to take greater risks in order to create the change they wish to see, and make an enduring impact, however, should avoid taking unnecessary risks in terms of managing their health.

If these folks become imbalanced, it’s important they not only maintain their diet and sleep patterns, since a rich diet and achieving regular sleep will help maintain their natural equilibrium, but they should think through the actions they choose to take, before taking them, especially actions involving risk. If there’s a risk people want to take, they should first calculate the pros and cons of all of the likely or possible consequences involved in that risk.

What would likely happen before, during, and after you’ve taken that risk? Who might get hurt if things don’t work out, who could benefit if things do work out?

If people find it’s a risk they still want to take, still take it with care. Reasonable risk-taking seems to me to be important at times; but risks should be understandable, and, well, reasonable. On other words, people with bipolar traits don't have an excuse to do stupid things that could wind up being hurtful!

Adventure and a sense of discovery, wonder and exploration, may also all be sought by someone with a ‘bipolar’ personality. It’s somewhat easy for people to experience the adventure they seek, if even by degrees, if they just step out the door in the morning with an open mind in search of fulfillment from the simple and natural world by which they're surrounded. Adventure can lurk in the backyard or on a patty at the other side of the world; in mass gatherings or in complete solitaire; in the colors that people see; in a painting or in words spoken loudly and effectively so they resound. Beauty can be found in a Parisian museum of high acclaim, or on the face of a child who has nothing in the world other than the clothes on his back and the love he feels for his family and friends. Individuals people meet can bring to them a sense of adventure, as can sights that you absorb while on a walk or hike, or from a plane. Exploration and discovery are found in the big and small. And each adventure is also a building block to a person's next adventure.

Athleticism, martial arts and meditative arts practices, like the ancient tradition of yoga, can also foster and fulfill your senses. Feeling that your senses, which at times may feel magical and like they're expanding, and at other times may feel as if they're reflective, are, in measured ways, fulfilled, has a lot to do with how people continue to look at what's happening in their world, and at what they'll give to the world and receive from it.

Life can perhaps be viewed as an open door through which you can always enter, if only you choose to knock first and inquire. Entry may sometimes be disguised as an obstacle, at first anyway, but eventually self-direction and senses will help lead you to find your way, and through the door at which you once peered.

Trying different things until you find what you love to do the most can be like an exploration as well. It may be that people take a circuitous route to finding what they love to do. People may also find what they love to do when young, only to realize years later there are a number of other things they also love to do, and do well – and this can reoccur at different stages, people may do them all. The latter encompasses a life-long exploration.

There may still be days when people, no matter their way or character-type, if they're not totally self-realized, will feel the need to yell and scream, or cry, when everything is just too much and nothing seems to be working out the way in which people had hoped or planned.

Me, with my Asperger's, when I felt these ways on bad days, I liked to be alone, and hide my feelings. And I stopped feeling these ways when I achieved balance in my life. People with bipolar traits are more outgoing and extroverted, and perhaps wouldn't instinctively want to be alone when and if they feel these hard feelings. If they are alone, they should take good care of themselves just like others would take care of them – they can try calling and talking or visiting with someone, if alone, or get their feelings out in writing, or by taking photographs to help express themselves, if these habits will work. Yoga and doing nothing may help, too, for people with bipolar traits.

It's unrealistic to think people don't need people to talk with occasionally, or on a more regular basis, when, for whatever reason, they're distraught or feeling down. People being able to talk with someone about their feelings is probably one of the most powerful things a capable person can do to help themselves out of a rut. Good conversations can help to keep people from having days of ugly despair, as well, especially if the conversations eventually help to bring resolution to the problems that are plaguing people or their loved ones. Whether it's a family member, friend, mentor, therapist, partner, or a combination of all of the above, hopefully people seeking solace in a friend always find someone whose shoulder they can cry on when they need it, helping them to feel relief.

Know that people's most hurt feelings are only temporary and will be lifted with time, and a commitment to a peaceful, fulfilling life. Just like people can’t always be happy, they can’t always be sad or angry.

If and when people are angry (and are feeling like they've got to release that anger), they need to get the angst out in productive ways, through martial arts, for example, or by taking a brisk walk or short run, or painting.

Meanwhile, keep seeking solutions to the problems of life, both by finding means of fulfilling senses and by trying to create positive change. Don't forget that yoga and meditation not only provide a sense of calm, but allow people to focus back on the core and what's most important, and if used daily, can be like preventative medicine that's healing for the senses, lifestyle, and even the world in which people live.

That said, talking with people about feelings, or expressing emotions, is important, whether or not we experience angry days, or days when we're feeling hurt - it's nurturing to talk with people about what makes us happy, and what interests us, too.

Conversations about the good things in life, and that which we see positive potential in, not only help make people grow, but they can cause what people are interested in to grow as well.

Hopefully, if people are sticking to a diet and lifestyle that’s right for them, and directing their anger, happiness, sadness, fear, affection, and sense of adventure, in good-for-you directions, they won’t have as many difficult days and there will be a lot more productivity and joy in their life.

To me, as all this goes on, and people become increasingly self-realized, it seems important to live out life’s special moments, which occur daily if we let them, with a degree of spontaneity and serendipity mixed in. To experiment, so-to-speak, with living, especially when people are young. There’s no reason that I can see for people to limit their thirst for life, as long as they're living responsibly, safely, and according to their best judgment.

In the end, each one of us is unique, and accepting ourselves for who we are matters a lot to our happiness. I hope people don't ever short-change their own self by having a closed mind about their and other people’s positive potentials, or by disguising theirs. Instead, I hope people use what they know about the world, and their core way of being, and live life in a way that enables them to live it well.

iRhahn Joseph, PhD., “Lecture 2: The Right Hemisphere,” Reprinted from Neuropsychiatry, Neuropsychology, Clinical Neuroscience, (Academic Press, New York, 2000), BrainMind.com, Nov. 8, 2012, http://brainmind.net/BrainLecture2.html.

iiPeter Collins, “Holistic Mathematics: Pythagoras Revisited,” Integral (Holistic) Mathematics, Nov 7, 2012, http://indigo.ie/~peter/9.htm.

iiiPeter Collins, “The Euler Identity – A Radial Mathematical Interpretation,” Integral (Holistic) Mathematics, Nov 7, 2012, http://indigo.ie/~peter/integral.html.

ivRhahn Joseph, PhD., “Chapter 6: Paleo-Neurology & The Evolution of the Human Mind and Brain,” Reprinted from Neuropsychiatry, Neuropsychology, Clinical Neuroscience, 3rd Edition (University Press), BrainMind.com, Nov. 8, 2012, http://brainmind.com/BrainMindEvolution

v“Vedic Math School,” Vedic Math School, Nov. 13, 2012, http://www.vedicmathschool.com/.

vi“About Jain” Jain108 MatheMagics, Nov. 13, 2012, http://www.jainmathemagics.com/about_

vii“Gaurav Tekriwal: A lesson in Vedic mathematics,” Ted Talks, Nov. 13, 2012, http://talentsearch.ted.com/video/

viiiSadaputa Dasa, “Astronomy and Antiquity of Vedic Culture,” The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International, 1991, Nov. 13, 2012, http://www.veda.harekrsna.cz/

ixKenneth S. Williams, Astronomical Application of Vedic Mathematics (India Scientific Heritage),

xMichael Boyle, “The Brain's Left and Right Sides Seem to Work Together Better in Mathematically Gifted Middle-School Youth,” American Psychology Association, About.com, Apr. 11, 2004, Nov. 5, 2012 http://psychology.about.com/gi/o.htm?zi

xiEtienne S. Benson, “Adding Up,” Monitor on Psychology, May 2004, Vol 35, No. 5, Nov. 5, 2012 http://www.apa.org/monitor/may04/math.

*Peter Breggin, MD, wrote in Toxic Psychology, that a route to healing for people suffering from schizophrenia is simply tender loving care, which is perhaps an interesting parallel.

*The right brain is highly analytical, it analyzes the emotional features of language, summarily, feeling, which can be construed, as well, as tonality in music, and the why and what in terms of decoding context, which can be construed, as well, as melody in music.

*The left-brained, or linear action, involved in accessing and processing music, a whole brain activity, is represented by the strings of the major keys of musical scales.

*The right-brained, or associative action, involved in accessing and processing music, a whole brain activity, is represented by the strings of the minor keys of musical scales.

iCame across this as researching online, believe Sacks would be able to list a source. Have still to retrace original research.

iiWeaver, Gary R. and Adam Mendelson, America's Mid Life Crisis, The Future of a Troubled Superpower (Boston: Intercultural Press, 2008) 107.

iiiWeaver and Mendelson, 107.

ivWeaver and Mendelson, 106-107.

vWeaver and Mendelson, 106.

viJohn Schinnerer, PhD., “Positive Psychology and Uplifting Music,” Ezine articles, Nov. 7, 2012, http://ezinearticles.com/?Positive-Psychology-and-Uplifting-Music&id=1941550.

viiRhahn Joseph, PhD., “Lecture 2: The Right Hemisphere,” Reprinted from Neuropsychiatry, Neuropsychology, Clinical Neuroscience, (Academic Press, New York, 2000), BrainMind.com, Nov. 8, 2012, http://brainmind.net/BrainLecture2.html.

iJoni Mitchell Lyrics, “If,” Poem by Rudyard Kipling, Lyrics Mania, Nov. 8, 2012, http://www.lyricsmania.com/if_lyrics_

iiOstad Mohammad Reza Lofti, “What is Radif?” Setar.info, Dec. 25, 2008, Nov. 13, 2012, http://www.setar.info/index.php?option=

iii“Radif: The Traditional Repertory of Iranian Classical Music,” UNESCO, 2009, Nov. 13, 2012, http://www.unesco.org/culture/ich/RL/

iv“Iran submits two documents (Noruz and Radifs) for registration on UNESCO list,” Mehr News Agency, Payvand Iran News, Oct. 7, 2008, Nov. 13, 2012, http://www.payvand.com/news/08/oct/

vMary Bellis, “The History of Airbags, The inventors that pioneered airbags,” About.com, Nov. 21, 2012, http://inventors.about.com/od/astart

vi“Airbags,” Classic Collection of Books, Nov. 21, 2012, http://www.cadvid.com/npkauto.com/data/

iAlexander Laszlo and Stanley Krippner, “Systems Theories: Their Origins, Foundations, and Development,” J.S. Jordan (Ed.), Systems Theories and A Priori Aspects of Perception (Amsterdam: Elsevier Science, 1998) Ch. 3, 47-74. Manuscript version submitted for publication in 1997. 21-22. http://archive.syntonyquest.org/

ii“Unveiling the Enneagram, Introductory Points III,” The Enneagram ...info from the underground, 2006, 9 Nov. 2010 <http://ocean-moonshine.net/e142857369/index.php?
page&PAGE_id=19Nov 9, 2010>.

Holistic Living: Tips for Youth
will be available soon.