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Kindly contributed by Myron Ball (author of

This Three-Legged Stool)

At the beginning of life on the planet, a single cell met its environment. All that followed, to the development of man, is recorded in a collection of data, for survival. A portion of the data is used in thinking.

Responses from the collection are reflexive. Some are superior, others have little merit. Some are compulsive leading to unpleasantness. A response chosen ahead may not rise when needed. How does one do better?

To override the reflexive, turn to an imagined captain of the collection.

Imagine also the response preferred. The brief mind play is necessary.

Turn to the captain at other times, conjuring an idea, a thing, a skill, an event, a condition.

Turn to what?

Turn to the region behind thought, to the amorphous you. Put thoughts aside in exchange for who you are. You will know when the connection is made, by a sign: quiet joy, resolve, raucous joy, confidence, courage, love.

Or form the sign — the veritable connection, I warrant — by pretending.

For dispatch, give your captain a name that warms.

Join (A) the image of a need with (B) a vital feeling. It is formulaic.

A + B

Is the exercise arcane? It's a walk in the park. You have built success with the two parts, often. Bring them to the worktable again.

Encountering anger, envy, fear, loneliness, let your turn (or pretending) be relentless. Make your first turn early in the day.

How does one learn this? Meet vexing discomforts head-on; then cover with sweetness. It is survival's first order of business. Knowledge drops in one's lap like an apple from a tree. To learn, there may be no other way. None of it is the sum of thinking.

You are a participant in the evolution of our species. I wish you well.

Myron Ball
Dallas, January 2012
[email protected]

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