The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Friday, May 29, 2009

Teaching and stuff

I'm having so much fun over at the 101 Board. Anyone interested in signing up for it, just go to

For the time being, we've changed our intent. Originally, we were going to sell the basic program after beta-testing. But there are important issues. If I feel blessed to have gained a measure of spiritual and psychological clarity in one small arena of my life (trust me, thar be plenty confusion in other arenas) then it makes sense to me to give back to the universe. So we're giving away the basic course, and will charge for the CD set and a personal consultation, keeping the price as low as possible.

Simple reason for this. I just see too much damage in the world that arises from fear, imbalance, and lack of empathy. Every morning I get to go over to the forum and talk to people about their hopes and dreams, their loves and losses. And that feels like earning my day's air.

I didn't set out wanting to be a guru figure. Studying NLP back in the 70's, the attitude was that if you wanted to really learn it, you had to use it. So I started playing around with it on willing victims, and people started asking me for help. After I had an epiphany about the concept of balance (after watching "All That Jazz" I decided that my only salvation was to become obsessive about it) I really sought out conversations about the subject, and that led to more interaction.

And somehow over the years, I just fell in love with teaching and sharing. The recent exploration of Steve Muhammad's "Four Rules" discusses the need for a spiritual law. Even if I were an atheist (and by some definitions, I am. Which amuses me.) I would want to have clarity on what I'm willing to die for, because in a very real sense, I'm trading the moments of my life for everything I do and want to achieve. Is it worth it? What is worth investing 10,000 hours of my life to master?

I'm clear on that: I would gladly die to communicate my core belief. And that belief is that we are asleep. We are gods pretending that we are ants. And if we can wake up, it is a transformative experience. And that core belief drives my writing, and my life. Yeah, I guess it gives me the guru-itch. But trust me: what I really crave is conversations and interactions on the subject of personal growth, and when I have them, I often find myself in the teacher position. I like it a lot better when I'm in the student position, trust me.


Cautious optimism. I may have found a real, genuine breakthrough for Jason's behavior problems. Every morning, we set a 2 or 3 minute boxing timer (he likes the "ding! ding!") and just sit, cross-legged or Japanese style on the floor, holding hands and looking into each other's eyes. For just a couple of minutes, I pull him into my breathing patterns, speak to him of maintaining calm, and constantly remind him to maintain eye contact. "Stay with me. Stay focused. Stay here."

Sometimes I make funny faces. Or redirect his breathing down below his navel. But we stay together, and after the ding-ding, we do one of Coach Sonnon's Prasara Yoga forms (he really likes the one called "Spider Monkey.") For the last 2 1/2 weeks, we've been doing this, and having a 100% success rate at preschool. His attention and calm have sky-rocketed, and his teachers are breathing a well-deserved sigh of relief. Like I said, I don't know if this will continue to work quite so well, but I wanted to share it, just in case.


I hear "Drag Me To Hell" is absolutely fabulous, and can't wait to see it today. Pixar's "Up" is also supposed to be off the chain. Woof. Good weekend.

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