As the Seasons change, so do the days of our lives.

Geez that kind of sounds like a soap opera intro that my mother used to watch. 🙂

Here in the Austin area, the seasons change differently than they did when I was in upstate New York.

And just as the seasons have changed differently and at a different time, so has my view of life and some of the people in it. I came to Austin with a Pollyanna attitude and wished good and peace on all those I encountered here. I tend to project upon people trustworthiness as a default.

It turns out I can be wrong. And I’ve recently been bitten by reality as it comes from the the dark side. That will certainly kill the Pollyanna attitude quick.

Recently I was watching a video of a neuroscientist and he made a comment that floored me… in a very helpful, positive way. It was a missing piece of information I had been looking for for years, a piece of information that I didn’t even know I needed until I heard it.

Spirit (or unconscious mind if that works better for you) is funny like that sometimes. When the arrival of the perspective does come however, you know that you were secretly asking for an answer. You just may have not been asking in the right way.

But something up there — or out there — or in here — knows.

The statement was: “Just because a person is enlightened or awakened, it doesn’t mean they are ethical or moral.” He said while the two may go hand-in-hand, they are not conjoined. Morality, ethics, awakening and enlightenment do not have to go together.

This man was a neuroscientist studying “enlightenment” and God in the brain and mind. He said he had firsthand knowledge of this in addition to his research. His firsthand Knowledge involved Bagwan Rajneesh, also known as Osho.

While I cannot remember exactly what he said, I do remember it made a big enough impact on him to name him publicly. It made enough of an impact to say he was sure morals and ethics did not follow enlightenment. He was sure Rajneesh was enlightened, but he lacked ethics.

Now, whatever happened to this man I do not know. But I know the importance of this statement; I have experienced this exact same thing more than once. It left me very confused and disturbed, but his statement freed my mind. It exploded open with the truth of that statement. And it made sense of my experiences.

What had I done to cause my distress? What had I not seen? Or more importantly, what had I believed to cause this confusion?

As I went inside to contemplate, the answer came quickly: I believed that an enlightened person would also have ethics and morals. I figured the two had to be inexorably linked. I had never considered they were mutually exclusive and deserved their own unique consideration.

My brain continued to expand with a joy as this knowledge was linking parts of my brain and unlocking others rapidly.

The next big question that was quickly answered was, “What other erroneous assumptions had I made in life?”

Did I do the same thing with money? Appearances? Intelligence? Power? Did I put good and morals and ethics in one big pile of beliefs for these things as well?

Sadly, and at the same time quite freeingly, I knew that the answer was “yes.” It was a bittersweet realization, quickly moving towards sweet. I was seeing how I was captured in a kind of slavery of my own making, and yet a slavery known and abused by so many marketers, con (or confidence) men, sociopaths, politicians, sales people, etc. over time.

Here it was in a nutshell.

It reminded me of what a hunter does. I have nothing against hunters, but this is a perfect example. A hunter will go out and put a feed stand and feed the animals he wants to trap. He’ll leave the feed stand for months ahead of time to do three primary things: first, he is fattening the animal; second, he is observing the animal’s patterns; third, he is making the animal feel safe with the area while he feeds. As soon as hunting season opens, however, the hunter knows exactly how to harvest the animal.

From this neuroscientist, I learned that these people are smart. They have a knowledge of how to trap the human animal psychologically, and they learn how to manipulate the patterns they observe in others for their own gain.

The opposite type of person is the spiritual sage we all revere. These people can identify our patterns, point them out to us, and by doing so, they choose instead to help us set ourselves free. They choose to let us in on the game, and they give a doorway to something better.

I realized that I found myself in situations in which I was taken advantage of, and with some help from some brilliant people, I started to see how I let myself be set up. As smart as I think I am, I was as vulnerable and trusting as many of us are.

This is a very humbling experience. I once asked a person here in Austin what he thought was happening because I was starting to feel taken by someone. He told me, “Mark, why would someone go to a store to buy milk when he has the cow in the front yard giving it for free?”

When I look back on that statement with the new knowledge I learned for the neuroscientist, I understand what this smart man was trying to tell me. It wasn’t just about getting paid for the hard work I was doing. It was to look even deeper into the character of those that seek to do this.

Why did I not see it then? Because of my belief that ethics and morals went hand-in-hand with spirituality, awakening, and enlightenment. Another reason, to some extent to most of those who were rich and powerful, but I cannot say I went for politicians here. 🙂

When I started to separate these elements, I understand completely how we are all vulnerable to manipulation, con-men, and sociopaths. We truly want to believe that others have our best interest at heart.

“Well look, he is rich, he teaches spiritual principles, he talks about love often, he must be ethical and moral. Right?”

Well maybe. I remember the Jimmy Swaggarts and the Tammy Fayes and Rajneeshes etc. And while I leave it to a higher judge whether their spirituality is authentic, I question if their old morals came with them now.

Yes, I can give all the marketers out there credit for writing such great sales letters and making it all sound right, but still, I end up getting it wrong by buying their product. It’s wrong because I got taken.

The good fisherman knows the exact right time to go fishing with what bait for what fish. Most of the time, the fish gets fat by eating and never getting hooked. But it just takes one time to be lured by a juicy too-good-to-be-true bait, not seeing the hook because it has been expertly hidden behind the bait by the fisherman. And because that fish has no past experience with a hook, he ends up making a nice dinner for the fisherman.

What elements must we look for inside ourselves, as inherently vulnerable humans, and watch for in others so as not to be hooked?

Good question. I’m still researching, but I am putting my findings and thoughts together into something that I think can help many people. I will be starting a new FREE series called “The Red Pill Seminar.” My goal is to use my experiences to help us wake up to the scoundrels and make more informed decisions when we’re open to trusting another person.

I’ll talk about their techniques, their motives, how to identify them, and how to protect yourself.

This is important to know. This web site estimates that approximately 1-4% of average people are sociopaths. That is anywhere from 1 in every 100 people to 1 out of every 25 people. Think about it the next time you’re walking through the grocery store. There are at least 25-100 people there with you depending on where and when you go. There is an extremely high probability that you are walking through the grocery store with a sociopath. Perhaps you’re meeting with a new client, a business partner, maybe you’re going out on a date with a new person you just met. Will that person put your interests as important as his or her own? Or will they wisely watch you, learn your patterns, and use those things to their own advantage in your relationship?

This is important information.

And as you learn how to protect yourself from those who wish to keep you in a position of subservient slavery, you also wake up to your own success, your own power, and your own abilities. Your self worth is primary to all else. You cannot have success, power, or happiness if you are allowing others to take advantage of you in any way.

But for now ask yourself these questions — and assume nothing. Make sure you get the evidence first.

Do I know this person? How well?

Do you have data on them? Does someone I implicitly trust know their character? (Ignore the testimonials of their friends.)

Are they ethical or moral? Do they have the ethics and morals they claim to have, or are there cracks you have been noticing?

What does your gut say? Is there a feeling in your body that is telling you to be careful, even though your mind is telling you something else? What does your gut tell you about them?

Check them out. Have you heard of others being ripped off? Check the internet. Yes, you may find some people mad at them. Even the best have their detractors. Look for a pattern of deceit and deception.

Make them prove and earn you ethical and moral respect. This is one of the biggest gifts you can give. Please do not give it away for free. Make them ALL earn it.

As for me, I invite you to check me out on the web and talk to those who know me best. Some of you might not like me or what I have done, and I am cool with that. My point is not to judge people, it is to report and educate as best as I can, no matter what I am talking about. It is about being honest and letting you see who I am beyond the veneer of marketing.

If someone has the ethics and morals I adhere to now, I don’t care a whole lot about who they were. And I am not so Pollyanna anymore. I will remain vigilant. 🙂

Thanks for reading. We will talk soon!

And something from a movie I just watched…

the downward spiral is essentially a chain reaction
one thing begets the next
a man has a weakness… he is flawed
the flaw leads him to guilt
guilt leads him to shame
the shame he compensates with pride and vanity
and when pride fails, it leads to despair
despair takes over and they all lead to his destruction
woe becomes his fate

Something has got to stop his flow

-ink (The incubus)

Addendum: If, after reading this, you think I am sitting in victim mode and that I am blaming others for my predicament, you’re missing the point. The point is, I gave away my power. I made decisions from a place where I didn’t claim my power for a variety of reasons, reasons that I can’t get into otherwise I divulge much more than what is appropriate. I know where I need to grow, and I am growing and learning.

Life is not about shutting your eyes as tightly as possible and repeating affirmations until the bad things go away and you live in a world filled with joy all the time. Your propensity to feel joy is in direct correlation in your ability to experience it’s opposite.