A Belated Thanks to Robert Ornstein

When I was in college back in the early 70s, I majored in psychology.  I did so because I was curious about life and its meaning....and who I was in relationship to all that I experienced.  I thought my psychology studies would help me with that quest.

Unfortunately, the prevailing Idea within psychology at that time was behavioralism. Everything was stimulus-response measurements, rats in mazes or pushing little bars for electrical brain stimulation.This stuff just didn't seem to help me in understanding myself or the meaning of life.

The only thing that really interested me in the mainstream studies and that I carried with me to this day was the work of Abraham Maslow and his hierarchy of needs.  That simply made sense!

Then along came an elective topical studies class in my senior year which focused on the book The Psychology of Consciousness by Robert Ornstein.Ornstein synthesized Western psychology and Eastern Buddhist and Sufi traditions along with fascinating descriptions of the hemispheres of our brain. The class and the book whetted my appetite for more explorations into consciousness. However, there were no more classes at my university that went into this subject.

Marriage, children, career and the distractions of life took me down another path. Little did I know there were numerous options out there approaching consciousness and its meaning from different angles – science, philosophy and spirituality. Years later – and with much spiritual seeking in the interim – I began to discover the world of consciousness studies again.

This morning in my meditation, I thought of Robert Ornstein and the seeds he had planted within my awareness so many years ago. Along my path, I have periodically checked in on Ornstein's latest writings. I did so again today – ordering a couple of books of his from recent years.

There have been writers and teachers who have been instrumental in the formulation of my thoughts and writings. Obviously, major sources of been Ernest Holmes, Maslow, Ken Wilber, Don Beck and others. Today though I want to thank Robert Ornstein for his interests, his writings, his passion and his commitment to understanding consciousness and life! He has been one of my heroes.

Mark Alan Gilbert


Embracing Your Middle Name

Most of my adult life, I have not used my middle name. I haven't really thought about it much, it was just simply something that I dropped early in life. However today I renamed this blog site using my under used middle name. Why?

Well the easiest reason was that i wanted to use my name in the title and variations on it were already taken...you know, first and last name, with and without middle initial. I could have used a hyphen or some such nonsense but said, ok use the middle name. Seems trivial, I agree.

Yet, my wife and I were joking the other day about a number of people we knew who were changing the name they used with other people....odd seeming truncations and mixtures of their given name. I told Mary that I was thinking of using "K-Al"....the last letter of my first name and the first 2 letters of my middle name. Sounds bizarre but no more bizarre in my opinion than some of the changes I had heard others make! K-Al was going to be my bad self!

Well, no K-Al here, but there is an Alan listed. First time in a long time, no big deal to all of you. But it does pose the question---what aspect of yourself have you buried and not used for years? Is something calling from within you and your past that is asking to finally be embraced?

Mark Alan


Political Ethical Concerns

There is a disturbing trend of simply lying in political ads to make your point as well as the media not calling someone on it. Read this article:

Link to article

I don't mean this to be overly political nor an anti-Romney rant...my concern is not about the specific person but the trend that we can seemingly throw ethics out the window in some false sense that our personal ends justify the means. The greater outcome here is that we more and more move to a place where everyone acts this way. These false and destructive means are contributing to a downward sense of personal ethical standards in the world.

Each of us needs to take responsibility for reversing this trend.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Blogging with the iPhone

Today I am resurrecting this blog site. I've discovered away and which the blog via my iPhone using something called blog press.

With this entire blog is being written using the Dragon voice recognition software on my iPhone, then being copied from my Dragon software into blog press and loaded up into my blog.

So I'm writing about what I am doing as I am also testing it. Pretty cool.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Dylan's Christmas Album

Year's ago in the 1970s, I worked in an office where we had desks on an open floor and everyone was visible to each other and very close by.   The job was fairly boring.....reviewing papers and filling out forms....blah.

To pass the time, we often created running jokes.....one year it became the imaginary Bob Dylan Christmas Album.  The joke was to come up with song titles.  Here is a sampling:

Snowing in the Wind
Snowy Day Women #12 and 35
All Along the Icetower
Snow Lady Snow
Bob Dylan's Talkin' Christmas Blues
Song to Santa

etc etc etc

So imagine my wonder when this past year Dylan announced his Christmas album!!  Will we finally get those new Dylan classics?  Excitedly I preorder the CD....it came on the day of release...and, it was Bob covering other standards.....

I played it through once....my wife would not let me play it on Christmas day for fear I would run everyone out of the house....I am still a big Dylan fan.....this was not a great album....happy my money went to charity (good call, Bob).

I can't help but wonder what the album could have been if he had done the tunes we envisioned so many years ago.....