Category Archives: Elementary

The time that is given us

An Article from Elementary


Film of the Month

Just as we have been reading or at least trying to encourage reading with our Book of the Month we thought that we should do the same for films. We love movies. So we thought that it would be fun to feature some older films that a lot of people may not have seen.

Now these are just suggestions for films that you might enjoy. We are not going to review or comment on the films other than to suggest that you watch them. You will find this image on the Bridge. Click to see the new film each month.

I really don’t watch a lot of episodic television anymore. Many because I am usually to busy to tune in each week to see what happens next. As a result I find I prefer putting a movie on. This also helps limit the amount to television I watch in a day. I realized with reality programing that I was sitting wasting my life watching the lives of others unfold rather than living my own life.

I also tend to get lost easily watching something I enjoy and abandon everything else. This of coarse resulted in the BSG virus. Click on the image belong to read more:

cropped-viper.jpgBSG VIRUS

Learning to focus is one of the reasons I started this site. Experimenting with my own reality and adapting new ” ALIEN” approaches to life that I was unfamiliar with has also helped. Learning to spend my time on things that really matters is on going process. This is the Extremus life view.

With a few acceptations I feel I am improving.

Let me show you what I mean. The average American watches television 34 hours a week. This doesn’t include the three to six hours of taped video they watch. All in that’s almost 40 hours. ( This is based on a 2012 Nielsen survey)

So when I used the excuse that I don’t have time to run, read, hike, study, learn, cook, etc. this was not true. The truth is I didn’t want to give up couch time. In order to abandon these habits I substituted movies for television. One movie a day is only approx. 90min of time vs. the 5.7 hours a day I was watching before.

I just put thirty hours a week back into my life that I was wasting.

So out went cable and in came Netflix. One movie before bed. This was working well until they started loading entire seasons of television shows. Now I am limited to one movie or two episodes a day.

This rule came into effect after the BSG virus.

To be honest I have this problem with most things I like or enjoy. I will take them to an extreme (and not in a good way). This is why I adopted the Extremus life view. By fully “jacking in” all things become possible. Watching 40 hours of programs is not “jacking in”  and living an Extremus lifestyle.

This is being a couch potato.

Thirty hours to spend with family and friends. To learn to cook and to workout, to read and learn new things. To write articles and podcast and make videos. To build models and paint figures.

To actually do the things that I need to do when I need to do them.

There have been a lot of different things that I have read or have seen that characters have said that have stayed with me throughout my life. Here is one that comes to mind.


“…All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

In that thirty hours there is  time for God as well.

May the Love of Christ be with you always….

…Live long and Prosper


The Thinker VIII

an article from Elementary


We really like our new graphic for the  Elementary station.

What Do you think?


What is Elementary?

Well it Is about thinking, reasoning, learning, studying and philosophy. I am not sure if being an autodidact is a blessing or a curse but it’s who I am. I believe if that a person can learn anything if they try and I spend a lot of time learning and learning about learning if you follow me.


Autodidact II


The Thinker VII


Why become an autodidact?

Each of us has a tool box in life. In this tool box is our skill set. This is knowledge and abilities that we have acquired formally and informally that we rely on to help us throughout the course of our lifes.The best investment you can make is in your skill set. The ability to teach yourself anything means you can learn anything.

Consider the possibilities.

Did you do your homework?

I will be the white mouse and give you an example of how to apply the basic components of learning.

My natural predisposition is:

  1. Visual 
  2. Auditory
  3. Kinesthetic

This is why most of my knowledge tends to be theoretical and my vocation leans towards direction and instruction. In order to challenge this predisposition within myself I try tasks that are Kinesthetic in nature.


For example…cooking. A simple task for some a challenge for others. Cooking is all hands on. I chose cooking because I like to eat. That is… I enjoy home cooked meals. So I started by learning basic,simple meals that I enjoyed.

Formula X

I love spaghetti and my ex-wife made a great sauce (aka Gravy). Being 100% Italian her recipe came from her grandmother and was wonderful. While I ate the spaghetti I never really learned what she was putting into it. When we split up I really missed her gravy.

So when I got sick of fast food I bought a set of pots and began teaching myself to cook. I made a list of meals that I liked to eat and one by one I began creating my own recipes for all these meals. The first one was  a spaghetti sauce that  had to at least equal if not surpass my ex-wives gravy.

So how do you teach yourself to cook?

Well you have to think like a scientist who is looking for a cure. You are not going to find it on the first try. The same is true with creating a recipe. The first thing I did was make simple recipes found in cook books. This was simple mimicry. Then I studied dozens of different recipes and looked at what they had in common and where they varied. I also looked at the aspects and qualities I wanted in the sauce.

For example I hate sauce that’s watery or sauce that tastes to tomato-e. I love a sauce that thick and has a beef flavor. Going home each night and eating spaghetti my not be your idea of a good time but I was determined. By forcing myself to eat my mistakes it wasn’t long before I had a sauce that I love.

This sauce is affectionately referred to as Formula X. It was discovered on my tenth attempt. ( ie X).

This one sauce is used for spaghetti, mostaccioli, lasagna, pizza meatloaf, meatball sandwiches, chicken Parmesan to name a few.

What is the point of this?

  • I moved outside my comfort zone into an area that I am not predisposed to in order to learn something that I wanted to know.
  • I did not quit on the first failure but expected to fail indefinitely.
  • I worked at this daily until I found the recipe I liked.
  • While cooking is Kinesthetic in nature it is complimented by my predisposed learning traits.
  • Gaining mastery of something you are not predisposed to is more gratifying than doing what is your natural inclination.

As human beings we crawl then walk then run. Each new effort is  failure before success.

Consider a baby learning to walk. They want mommy. In order to get to mommy they have to crawl or walk. Their focus is not on failure but rather on what it is they are trying to achieve. They want mommy. The same applies to us with learning something new.

Forget failure.

No one ever gets it right the first time.


Choose to master something that is not in your normal disposition. For example maybe you are not a big reader. Then pick a book about something or someone you are interested in and push yourself to read it.

Do it daily until you have mastered it.


May the Love of Christ be with you always….

…Live long and Prosper





The Thinker VII

Autodidact I


We have discussed the benefits of spending 15 minutes a day reading. We have discussed the effects of accumulative knowledge. These are ways you can begin learning on your own or by yourself.  They are some basic concepts of self-education. All of these ideas are some of the tools of an autodidact.

What is an autodidact?

For lack of a better definition an autodidact is an individual who has the ability to teach themselves something they do not know. The term autodidact comes from the ancient Greek meaning Self taught.

da vinchi
Leonardo da Vinci is the most famous autodidact in history. He was a
painter, sculptor, architect, musician, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist, and writer.

Please understand I am not saying we all need to be Polymaths  nor am I saying we all need to be Renaissance men ( or women).

What I am claiming is that  God created us to be empowered and limitless in our capacity for personal development. I make this statement based on the worlds efforts to tell us the exact opposite.

Lets take a minute to examine some of the prevailing fallacies that exist regarding knowledge, intelligence and education.

How many times have you heard people say that their parents did not teach them things or that they were poor students or that they never went to college?

So why is it we continue hearing these excuses again and again?


If we eliminate all of the people who don’t want to apply themselves what  we are left with are people who really don’t understand how it is they learn.

Sorry Fallacies Holders people with ADD and Dyslexia are able to learn. So no one has an excuse.

The Methods

There are three main ways people learn auditory, visual, and kinesthetic. At an early age people tend to gravitate toward the path of least resistance.

First lets look at these three then I will explain.

A Student of the Auditory Method

These individuals would rather hear something explained than to see and read about it. Students of this method tend to learn best by reciting the information out loud. When studying these students tend to like having music playing in the background.

A Student of the Visual Method

Students of this method are  book learners. They do best by reading, looking at graphs and charts or studying visual  depictions. They are good when watching a demonstration as long as they don’t have to focus too much by listening.

A Student of the Kinesthetic Method

Students here require a “Hands-on” experience in order to learn.Performing an activity is the easy way for them to remember. Students of this method tend to be note takers but do not perform well when forced to read and study.


The Path of Least Resistance

Most people use a combination of all three methods in learning. However we tend to gravitate toward the method that we find the easiest. Or The Path of Least Resistance if you will. If you are not aware that you’re doing this or if you fail to develop these other methods you will gravitate toward areas of study that best suits your learning method.


Vocational Disposition Example

Lets use vocational requirements as an example of how these methods apply. We listed Student X’s preferred learning methods in order. One being the strongest and three being their least favored.

Student X

  1. Kinesthetic
  2. Visual
  3. Auditory

Now lets look at two different occupations and their study requirements.


  1. Visual
  2. Auditory
  3. Kinesthetic


  1. Kinesthetic
  2. Visual
  3. Auditory

Again we tend to follow our predispositions or the path of least resistance. Student X will find it easier to be a mechanic than a Banker. Both of course are honorable professions.

So what is the point?

Studies have shown that people tend to fail and quit in areas of studies not because they can not learn the subject but because they have not developed the learning method required for that area of study.

Maybe math is not hard. Maybe you just didn’t develop your visual learning skills to the level required to learn higher mathematics.

To be an Autodidact we need to first learn how we learn, assess our personal strengths and weaknesses, strengthen these weak areas and then develop a personal study method.

Why become an autodidact?

Each of us has a tool box in life. In this tool box is our skill set. This is knowledge and abilities that we have acquired formally and informally that we rely on to help us throughout the course of our lifes.The best investment you can make is in your skill set. The ability to teach yourself anything means you can learn anything. Consider the possibilities. Consider a bigger tool box.

Being your own White Mouse

Your homework is to study yourself as though you are a white mouse in a lab. Look at how you do things, how you learn things and examine your personal interests and hobbies. Try to determine which of these three methods you gravitate towards.

You have probably already identified the type of learner you are. But you also want to identify your weakness. As you examine yourself and your habits list the required methods in order of importance. lets look again at our mechanic as the example.


  1. Kinesthetic
  2. Visual
  3. Auditory

Since his learning method tends to be very hands on we listed Kinesthetic first. We listed Visual second because he will watch others, study diagrams and manuals. We listed audio last because this vocation requires more Kinesthetic and visual  understanding.


Once you feel you have listed the three methods as you tend to use them start looking at things you would like to study. Don’t worry as to whether you feel you can learn them or not. Simply look at what you feel these each require.

Until next time…


May the Love of Christ be with you always….

…Live long and Prosper


The Thinker VI


In our last article we talked about spending 15 minutes a day to studying something new. In this article we are going to discuss the effect of accumulative knowledge.

For a minute pretend that you are a leading expert on a particular subject. You spend years learning and researching this given subject. Then you sit down with your notes and draft an outline for a book to share your findings. For the sake of argument lets say you’re the head of the department at a top ten ivy league school. So you have a doctorate on the subject your studying. The subject your studying will be on the social development of snipes. ( a fictitious creature from Pixars 2009 film UP).

As prestigious as being a leading expert on the social development of snipes is… you are not alone. In fact, seven other major universities each has a department dedicated to this same area of study. All of these departments are trying to find funding to advance their research so the book you are writing is very important. Publishing your research, sharing what you know and what you have learned is how your department will receive grant money.

You spend almost a year from writing the first outline to the book finally publishing. To your dismay when your book is finally published you find that three other books on snipes are also being published. You then find out from your publisher that two others were already published last year. This means there will be six published books in a two-year period all competing for shelf space.

You are invited along with the other authors to give a series of lectures on snipes. It appears that each author focuses on a different aspect of snipe development. You are asked to address the areas where your book mainly focuses. You realize that no one here is an absolute authority. Rather each of you is an authority in a given area.

So you’re wondering what all this is about right?

Well let’s go back to the idea of 15 minutes a day. We discussed how a person could read 10 pages in 15 minutes so that in 30 days that is 300 pages. So with little effort we can read a book a month.

In our snipe discussion we addressed how different authorities are each publishing their works. Each is an authority in a given area of snipe development rather than an absolute authority on snipes.

So after seeing the movie UP you are interested in learning about snipes. While you don’t have the time or money to attend an ivy league school you can get a book on snipes. As you read that first book you suddenly develop a passion for snipes. You are now committed to learning all you can about snipes.

If a person studies a subject for 15 minutes a day in a year he will be an expert. In 5 years he will be a national expert. -Einstein

So lets see how this Einstein quote applies. After that first book you get another. In a month you get another. This continues until you have read every book on the market. In six months you read all six books on snipes. Guess what…your an expert.

You know more than the average person on the subject of snipes because you have studied about them. But an Expert?

The six men who wrote the six books may have not read each others books. Being consumed by their own studies and in publishing their own works they were not able to read the works of others. We know that when these books are compared that each appears to have a different point of focus. As guest speakers they were each asked to speak in these distinct areas.

Since they didn’t bother reading each others books they were not aware of these areas of distinction. By reading all six books you may know more about snipes than any one of these men. Having read all six books you are aware of all the various distinctions. This means you know what the experts know. You might possibly know more than they do.This is the effect of accumulative knowledge.

If you think about this it makes sense. Maybe you have studied a subject for a school report. Lets use Theodore Roosevelt as an example. A lot of information about Teddy will be the same in all the books published. The year he was born, where he was born,etc. It’s in the areas of distinction that makes each book unique.One author may focus on his political life while another might focus on his personal life. This will make one author an expert on Teddy’s political life and the other an expert on his personal life. By reading and studying both you will become an expert on both aspects of Teddy’s life. Again this is the effect of accumulative knowledge.

Let nothing stand between you and the knowledge you wish to acquire – Geekus Extremus

The Thinker

So is our statue reflecting on all the knowledge he attained though his 15 minute a day commitment to reading?  or is he becoming aware of the fact that he is now an expert on a subject of study?


May the Love of Christ be with you always….

…Live long and Prosper


The Thinker V

15 Minutes A Day



If a person studies a subject for 15 minutes a day in a year he will be an expert. In 5 years he will be a national expert. -Einstein

Following Einstein’s death a lot of quotes were attributed to him. A lot of them may not have been real.  People still believe that by saying a quote came from Einstein somehow makes the statement more true. More believable. The quote here is probably one of those. Just the same I was in school when I first heard it.

This quote changed my life.

By devoting time each day to a subject and learning at your own speed you will quickly find that your knowledge in that area grows rapidly. One of my favorite examples of this is my son and Lego’s Star Wars. When he was little he played this video game constantly and loved it. He unlocked every character, every achievement and built all there was to build. The funny thing was that he had never seen the films.

When he finally saw the movies I was astounded at all that he new. His knowledge of all six Star Wars films was amazing. I found a new love for these films watching them with him. He new all the characters- good and bad, the various story lines, the ships and locations.


Because he devoted time each day to the study of something he loved and his knowledge grew. His “15 minutes a day” had made him an expert. In fact most kids are experts of the things they love. Cartoons, comics, video games kids know the things they love inside and out.

Is there something you want to learn or study? What about your hobbies or interests? is there more you would like to know? By committing as little as 15 minutes a day to study you will learn more in a few months than you can ever imagine.

Most people can read a typed page in a minute. So in 15 minutes that is 15 pages. Even if we go with a more conservative number of pages, let’s say 10 pages a minute, in thirty days that is 300 pages.

That’s an entire book !

In less than a month you can read an entire book on the subject of your choice.This small amount of consistency can change your life. Are there things you always wanted to know more about like art or music or film ? Maybe you always wanted to read the classics or the entire Bible.

How about cooking?

When I wanted to create my own stew recipe I started reading all the recipes I could find for beef stew. I took the common elements like carrots and potatoes and uncommon like red wine and Worcestershire sauce and created a wonderful stew recipe. My stew is definitely shaken, not stirred.

What about the internet or YouTube? Yes absolutely. These are great sources to learn from. They have a Wiki on everything these days. Through articles, books and videos you can learn anything. This blog site is the result this type of self directed learning. I devoted small increments of time to learning from all different sources. By doing this in small increments of time I was able to digest these ideas and return each day and bite off a little more. Finally the day came when I was ready to build the site and start posting articles. Since this entire blog adventure was a “learn as you go” process, many changes have taken place in the open where you could see. Others were done behind the scenes. Invisible to you the reader.  Personally I am amazed it exists at all.

I had a friend who was a musician. I told him how I always want to learn to play guitar. He looked at me and said, ” in five years you will be a great guitar player or you will be a guy who wishes he could play guitar.”  I wonder what would happen if I applied this 15 minute principle to an instrument. Food for thought.

I know nothing about something… so I commit to learning something about the nothing I know. -Geekus Extremus

Knowledge on any subject is never absolute. There is always more to learn. There are always new discoveries being made. New technics being introduced. New products to learn to incorporate. This is why learning to read, reading each day and being able to commit yourself to study is so important. Even if it’s only 15 minutes an day.

The Thinker

How about our statue? Is he pondering what to study next or reflecting on what he just learned? Maybe he is learning right now. Maybe he is engaged in focused listening.


May the Love of Christ be with you always….

…Live long and Prosper



nstein said that if a person studied a subject for just 15 minutes a day in a year, he would be an expert, and in five years he may even be a national expert. – See more at:
nstein said that if a person studied a subject for just 15 minutes a day in a year, he would be an expert, and in five years he may even be a national expert. – See more at:

The Thinker IV



The real question then is how do we control our own minds ?

Perception is the answer. Understanding how to look at our own minds is the key. Lets use doing laundry as our example again. When you think of doing the laundry are you happy ? excited ? do you find your bouncing out of bed on wash day? Are you the first one in line waiting for the laundromat to open?

Why not?

Because we don’t perceive doing laundry as a fun event. We don’t see it as something that will make us happy all day. Most people see it as a chore, a task and a hassle that must get done. However if we can take a thing that we do not enjoy and turn it into something we want to do then we have gained a mastery over our mind.

Laundry is a boring chore. No fun. Our mind is defeating our ability to perform a necessary task. We need to change our Perception. While motivational tactics will help for a time, like going for ice cream when your done, it doesn’t change how you feel about the task itself.

We pay a lot for our clothing. We want to look good. We take time and effort into getting ready to go out. So it’s only logical that we would want to properly maintain these articles of clothing and possibly extend their life. Learning how to maintain these articles of clothing is then essential to how we look. This is also something we will need to do our entire lives. Becoming a master launderer or laundress is a life skill.

To further this idea, this mastery will need to go beyond washing. We will need to acquire additional skills including Pressing or ironing the garments, stain removal technics and mending or sewing. This increased knowledge will help us maintain our wardrobes.

What we are doing is using a change in perception to alter our feelings. This is not an argument for doing the wash. This is actually how to change how you think and gain control of your own mind.

If you commit to learning all you can about doing laundry, satin removal, ironing and a little sewing ( like button replacement) what happens is your relation to the task has now changed. In the beginning this was a task I did not like but I had no choice in doing. I have to wash clothes. By gaining new knowledge and skills I have taken control of something that had control of me.

By doing something well that I initially did not want to do at all, I have a sense of accomplishment, a sense of achievement and a sense of mastery. Who I am has changed. When we are good at things, when we complete things and when we feel knowledgeable about things,  we are more likely to enjoy doing them.

For me becoming a master launderer was an experiment in mastering the mundane. If we can become masters of the things we hate doing, how much easier is it to master the things that we love doing. Maybe you want to learn to paint, or sketch or play the violin but never tried because you talked yourself out of it. If you look at your thinking it is the same as our laundry example.

Most people think of laundry as a mundane chore. Immediately our minds conjure up visions that make us not want to do it. This is our mind looking into future events. You remember this from our previous article. By stepping outside of ourselves and looking at our own thoughts we can change our thinking.

An infant is learning to walk. He crawls to the couch and pulls himself up. He then tries to walk to mommy. He falls. Again and again and again he falls. If this were an adult they would give up. They would say that they are no good at walking. Why try I’m just gonna fall again. I’m to embarrassed to try. An infant does not identify with their actions. Their sense of self-worth is not wrapped up in learning to walk. They don’t have a sense of defeat when they fall. Their goal is simple. They want mommy. They are going to get to mommy. They only see mommy.

As adults our unfocused minds give us all the reasons to quit or not try at all. Further, this thinking increases the cortisol level and lowers testosterone. We lose our sense of empowerment ( testosterone ) and anxiety (cortisol) takes over. Our thinking chemically changes us. We become unable to do the thing we want to do.

We are defeated before we try by the demon in our minds eye -Geekus Extremus

By stepping outside ourselves and looking at where we are in relation to what we want to learn  we can circumvent this defeatist mind-set.

Lets look at laundry again.

Laundry or garment maintenance is a life skill. Unless you plan on paying someone the rest of your life, you are going to need to learn it. Being able to iron and sew, as well as remove stains, will help with the longevity of the garment. So now we know the skills that we need to acquire. We also know that we will need to practice. We may not have used an iron before or a needle and thread. We can look on-line for these technics and we can also learn about stain removal.

In this focused way of thinking  we are intellectualizing without personalizing. We are envisioning what we will need to learn and how we will practice our skill set in order to achieve our goal. We know we will improve with time. There are no thoughts of failure or defeatist thinking. There is no wanting or not wanting to. Like the baby we are not seeing falling we are only seeing mommy. Our emotional responses are derived from our acquiring of knowledge, our achieving the task and our sense of mastery as we become more proficient at our new skill set.

Do we really need to intellectualize mundane tasks? Yes actually we do. The way you are going to develop this focused way of thinking is through constant practice. In this way you will retrain your mind to focus rather than react. By starting with everyday tasks or the mundane we gain the confidence to try new things.

You consistently are what you consistently do -Geekus Extremus

Practice this in everything you do.

The Thinker

How about the statue ? Is he defeated or is he intellectualizing without personalizing? Is he considering what new skills he needs to develop in order to achieve his goals?


May the Love of Christ be with you always….

…Live long and Prosper



The Thinker III

Part III



In the first article, we learned that our undirected thoughts are like rush hour traffic. By trying to stop them we learned that our ability to focus our minds was weak. Using the image of a white screen we found that we could train our focus muscles to improve our concentration.

In our second article, we learned that an unfocused mind self directs into thoughts of past or future events. We learned that if the task at hand is to mundane, the mind will shift it’s focus in order to resolve problems. We asked you to be self-aware and pay attention to which direction your unfocused mind  moves. Do you see the correlation between the self directing unfocused mind  and past or future events?

In this article we are going to discuss the systemic effects of these unfocused thoughts. Most of us don’t practice these self-awareness technics or interpret our minds thoughts. We trust our own minds and our own thinking.

The Enemy Within

Our minds are designed to solve problems and respond to stimulation. As we learned in the sock rolling experiment, our minds wander to past and future events. But if you look even closer our minds are actually creating situations or obstacles that need to be over come.

Have you ever relived an argument or fight that you lost? Even if it was years ago ? You find yourself saying things like ” I should have said this and I should have done that.” Mentally and emotionally we are responding to these self-directed thoughts as though these events are taking place now. We become angry.

” It makes me angry just thinking about it !”

Let me give you an example from my own life. In elementary school I was bullied a lot by a guy named O’malley. He was bigger and stronger and a jerk. Every time he bothered me I wanted to get even. This continued into middle school. By high school the problem went away. Years later after high school I saw O’malley in a grocery store going down an isle. I was an adult now and no longer the weaker or smaller one. I clenched my fist and walked after him. I was gonna knock his block off.

“Remember me?” I asked. I wanted him to recognize me before I cracked him in the face. Because I was seeing RED I did not notice his little baby girl in the shopping cart or his wife half way up the isle. ” well do ya’ ? ”

Amazingly enough he remembered me. What I didn’t expect was for him to treat me as an old school friend. He put his hand on my shoulder and called his wife over and introduced me. He stood recanting stories for his wife of the old school days and funny things that teachers and students did when we were kids. I kept waiting to see if the bully in him would come out. He was a loving and caring father and husband. As he told the stories, I realized he also had a wonderful sense of humor and a great personality. He explained that he and his wife were shopping for can goods for a food drive at their church.

This was not the same guy anymore. The only jerk in that isle was me.

When I saw O’malley in that isle, my mind returned to past events. I was reliving those past events and emotionally I was responding to them. What happened to me in the grocery store is an example of what occurs when our unfocused minds self direct into past events. As we relive past events in our minds, our emotions don’t differentiate between real and memory. We become angry, frustrated, sad and even depressed as a result of these unfocused thoughts. These thoughts are part of our internal voice or conversation.

87% of our self talk or our internal conversation is negative against ourselves.

According to clinitions our internal conversations are 87% negative against ourselves. This is our inner voice. We are our own worst enemy. These unfocused self directing thoughts that we refer to as demons in your mind’s eye, tend to relive past failures, unresolved issues and moments of pain. While the unfocused mind is simply seeking  problems to solve, the emotional side effects are devastating.Because our emotions don’t differentiate between the real and imagined we are left with feelings of depression, fear, anxiety, stress, anger and failure. According to CDC figures  1 in 10 Americans are depressed .

This figure does not include the millions of Americans being treated for stress and anxiety and hypertension.

But this is only one direction our unfocused minds move in. What about future events? Unfortunately here again we are our own worst enemies. Because our unfocused mind is now creating problems rather than reliving them,  we feel the stress and anxiety as our minds force us to face situations that we may want to avoid or obstacles that we can not overcome.

Ever imagine arguing or fighting with people before you ever talk to them? Ever imagine the death of a loved one, living through the sadness and depression, even though they are alive and well ? Ever think about doing something and actually talking yourself out of doing it because in your mind you failed ?  Again because our emotions don’t differentiate between the real and imagined we are left with feelings of depression, fear, anxiety, stress, anger and failure.

“We are defeated before we try by the demons in our minds eye” – Geekus Extremus

When we attempt to look at future events and determine outcomes we are really fortune-telling. When we prepare for winter or pull out summer clothes to see what fits we are responding to things we know will happen. These are cyclical events. When we panic over things we think might happen or become afraid of what could occur, we are allowing our imaginations to take control. We are responding, living and acting are though the imagined is real. As a result we are left with feelings of depression, fear, anxiety, stress, anger and failure.

Many people live their entire lives this way. While there is a case for our instinctual self preservation mode of thinking it is important to distinguish between the two. The fortune-telling mind creates an imagined situation where the instinctual mind is acting in response to real-time events.

The real question then is how do we control our own minds ?

For now continue to be self-aware in your thinking. Try to stay on topic or task. If you find your mind slipping into past/future mode and your feeling anxiety or stress as a result hold a white screen image until it passes. In our next article we will venture further into your minds eye.

The Statue

As we continue our study try to imagine what the figure is thinking. Is his mind looking into past events ? Is he looking at the future ? or is his problem more immediate ?

May the Love of Christ be with you always….

…Live long and Prosper






The Thinker II

Part II



So you have been practicing holding a white image for a week. You can hold the image much longer than you did the first time you tried. Your focus has improved, it’s a little easier to remember things and your mind is clear. But it is still a struggle, isn’t it ?

Before we get into why lets examine a few things first. Let’s go back to our movie theatre…

Can you remember the last movie you saw on the big screen? When you were watching the movie, did you have to struggle to concentrate ? Were you having problems holding your focus the way you did when imagining the blank screen in the empty theatre ? No, not at all. So why when there are images on the screen, is there no struggle? why does a blank screen overwhelm the mind?

How about video games or games on your cell phone. Maybe you like angry birds. I prefer Stupid zombies. But think about when your playing the game, is your mind being overwhelmed by thoughts ? is it a struggle to concentrate on the game? No, not at all.


Because your mind has something to focus on. Your mind always needs to have something to focus on. Just as your lungs draw air and your heart pumps blood, your mind must have something to focus on. If you can’t breath your body will struggle to get air. If the blood flow in your heart is interrupted you will have pain until blood flow is restored. The blank screen exercise is to demonstrate how desperate your mind becomes when it has nothing to focus on.

But  there are a lot of times your not thinking of anything. You don’t have that struggle in your mind the way you do with the empty screen, why ?

Your mind thinks without you directing it. Lets use folding clothes as an example. The task is very simple. Your rolling socks. Your mind doesn’t need to focus. The actions are very mechanical. So your mind moves to other things. Maybe you start thinking about what your going to cook for dinner,or about work the next day, or about a problem you had last week. You are thinking about all different things… but not about rolling the socks, why? Because once you rolled several socks the task no longer requires focus to perform. Your mind requires new stimulation. Rather than focusing on the task at hand your mind will begin anticipating future events or re-living past ones.

Another great example is your driving a long stretch of highway. You miss your exit because you are lost in thought, why? Because  the act of driving is mechanical or second nature and requires little focus. As a result your mind moves to a new point of focus. You are now so lost in thought that you miss your exit.

Your mind always requires something to think about. It must always have something to focus on. Something that requires obstacles and challenges. Lets go back to our movie theatre. When your watching a movie your mind is engrossed in the plot. It’s anticipating possible outcomes to a series of events. It’s the same with video games. You mind is trying to determine the pattern to the series of events occurring.

When your rolling socks there is no stimulation for the brain. So the brain will either begin creating (trying to anticipate future events) or re-living ( re-calling past events) that contain the desired stimulation.

By giving the brain something to focus on we are not allowing it to drift. The next time your driving a long stretch of highway or waiting for a bus, pay attention to your thoughts. Does your mind tend to look back into past events or does it look to future events ?

This week we will continue to hold that blank screen image. Practice will improve our minds ability to focus by stopping the mind from self directing.I also want you to pay attention to your thoughts are you looking into the past or looking into the future ?

Does your statue appear different ? are you now seeing a calmness about the thinker ? Does he appear relaxed? It’s funny how the more you study a statue the more it seems to change.


May the Love of Christ be with you always….

…Live long and Prosper









The Thinker I

Part I450px-The_Thinker,_Rodin

These series of articles called “The Thinker” are being posted so that I can share some of the discoveries I have made about how my mind works. I like learning new things. I realized at an early age the importance of having a mind that works for you and not against you. I also realized that I’m not the smartest guy, so I need to do the best I can with what I have. It just made sense to learn how the mind works.

This is not going to be about what the frontal lobe does versus medulla oblongata. This is about the minds abilities like memory, concentration, recognition, critical thinking as well as controlling things like fear, anger, depression.

Learning to control your mind is what these articles are about. But before we can discuss anything, you need to see for yourself exactly how your mind works. You need to understand it. I don’t want you to just read this article. I want you to see something that will help you change for the better. So for the purposes of our  discussions on thinking,  we will need to begin with an assignment.

This will require your participation… and a little homework.

You will need to be alone, in a quite place, with no distractions. It may help to have a clean white piece of paper with you. Like a blank piece of copy paper.

Sit in a comfortable chair. Relax your breathing. Now try to clear your mind. Let all the “worries” and  the “to do’s” rolling around in your head go for a minute.

Try to clear your mind.

Think of nothing.

Concentrate only on your breathing. When your comfortable…

and your breathing is relaxed…

and your mind is clear…

close your eyes.

In your mind imagine that you are in an empty movie theatre. There is nothing but empty seats and a large white screen. You walk to the first row. You sit down. In front of you is a large white screen.

Stare at it.

Imagine nothing but the surface of the white screen.

Imagine nothing else but the white screen.

If you are having trouble imagining the white screen try starring at a white wall or a white piece of paper. Stare at it for a few minutes then close your eyes again.

Can you imagine the white screen now?

You got it? …good.

Now hold this image in your minds eye for as long as you can. Let no other thoughts enter your mind. Hold the image of the white screen as long as you can. Nothing… no other thoughts…just the white screen.

STOP…Please don’t read any further until you do this.

How long did you last before you found you had completely forgotten the white screen ?How long was it before your mind became consumed by something else?

Now be honest…

how long did you last?

It wasn’t long was it?

Seconds.. maybe minutes?

You are not alone. Everyone who tries this fails in a few moments.

Let’s study exactly what happened.

As you are trying to hold the image of the screen in your mind,  you feel thoughts trying to take over your mind. This becomes a fight. You feel stressed trying to hold the white image in your mind. In seconds you can’t hold focus anymore.

What you are doing is an experiment in focused concentration. You are trying to take all of your mind and focus it all on one thing. You are flexing your mental muscle. Focused concentration on a single subject, rather than responding to what direction your mind is trying to lead you in.

You… not your random thoughts are in control.


Now  you are to do this each day. It’s better if you can find time at least twice a day. Each time try holding on as long as you can. As you continue doing this, you will find you can do it longer and longer the more you practice. Just like building a muscle and getting stronger, your focused mind will become stronger .

In a week I found I was able to remember things more clearly. My focus was much more concise. My stress level went down.I was making decisions quicker. I was getting the big picture of what was happening around me.

Above is an image of The Thinker by Rodin. You can find more images of him on line if you look. You can even find small reproductions that are very inexpensive that will fit on a book shelf. While you continue to learn to develop you concentration muscle, I also want you to continue to study this classic statue. Consider his depth of thought, his level of concentration, his absolute unyielding focus. Even his physiology appears to be directed at his thoughts.

When your done practicing this exercise each day… I want you to think of the statue.

I want you to start envisioning  yourself as a great thinker.

Why ?

Why can’t you hold focus?

It bothers you . . . doesn’t it?

I know… it bothered me too.

In the next article  we will discuss the why.

For now… just to do this training.

Trust Me…


May the Love of Christ be with you always….

…Live long and Prosper


About Elementary

0510132059In a study in Scarlet, Watson is amazed that Holmes doesn’t know that the Earth revolves around the sun. In the End game, Watson Blogs his amazement that Holmes doesn’t know the earth revolves around the sun.Yes I’m both a Holmesian and a Sherlockian.

In Elementary we will discuss both Holmesian and Sherlockian issues. We will also discuss Thinking and reasoning in its various forms. As  autodidacts we are  constantly trying to learn new things as well as new ways to learn them.

There are also things that I am just learning that everyone else seems to know. I can’t tell you how many times my Geeky, anti-social, introverted self seems to be the last one on earth to know something.

 “Hello…do you watch the news?” I hear that at least once a week. Usually there’s a fire or a flood or somebody famous dies and I don’t have a clue. I am usually far to consumed in my own interests, hobbies or studies or experiments to stay on top of current affairs. “Radio, television, Internet, newspapers and you didn’t hear anything about this? – It’s been going on for a week !”

In my head the only thing I hear is  skipper from Madagascar penguins saying, ” smile and wave boy’s …smile and wave !”

What can I say? They don’t want to know the truth. I can’t say well I down loaded this new app to help control household expenses but it required loading in all household items I routinely purchase. So I made lists and broke all the household goods  into categories ranging from freezer items to toiletries. Then since two of the stores I shop at are open 24hrs I went and  bar-code scanned in all the items. This seemed more efficient then the” load as you shop” method that the app creators suggest.

Smile and wave…” It’s just easier.

Elementary is also about the knowledge that I really should know that I don’t. So as I learn I will pass it on. We will also discuss thinking, reasoning and learning here as well.


May the Love of Christ be with you always….

…Live long and Prosper