Friday, December 28, 2012

Talking back to Dr. Phil

Posted: 28 Dec 12
Updated: 9 Jan 13

Months ago, when David Bedrick first announced the title of his intended book, I was dismissive. "How pretentious and opportunistic!" I thought. Dr. Phil has a gold-plated reputation, thanks to Oprah's launching years ago. Because he was a friend, I was curious how David would present his case as an experienced therapist and attorney.

In late November we received an RSVP invite to a book-signing reception at David's home in Santa Fe on December 15, but asked not to come too early (he would also be the chef that night!) and to park where there was space in public areas not far from his place. On our way from nearby Los Alamos that dark evening it began to snow and Birgitta and I got lost. Fortunately, I had my cell phone and David was answering his. So, with his patient guidance, we managed to find the place after parking and sloshing through fresh, wet snow. Without galoshes. I felt grumpy.

Many interested and interesting guests had already arrived and David met us with a warm embrace, kissing both of us on both cheeks. My grumpiness faded.

After we guests settled down with eat and drink, David began explaining the origin of his book and its title. My initial prejudgment began to change, especially when he sheepishly confessed watching "Dr. Phil" on TV while doing physical exercises. He found himself arguing with much of what the famous doctor would say and do. In mentioning this reaction to his friend and mentor Arnold Mindell, founder of Process Work psychology, Mindell suggested that David amplify his objections, this being a standard PW technique for understanding symptoms and disturbances. Hence the title, which I no longer objected to.

I met David and wife Lisa in Santa Fe three years ago at the suggestion of Arny Mindell, whom I have known since the late 1960s. I had been looking for someone experienced with Mindell's "Deep Democracy" concept in the process of building a new company called the Los Alamos Deep Democracy Open Forum. David and Lisa had recently moved to Santa Fe from Mindell's base in Portland, Oregon. It was good advice.

Signed: "Dear Eugene and Birgitta. Long term friends I Love  -- Stay strong brother. David"
Returning home from the book-signing and beginning my first read the next day, I noticed a long introduction and immediately complained to David via email about not liking long intros. But my complaint was premature! When I finished the section, he had fired my enthusiasm for reading and reviewing the entire book slowly, chapter by chapter. This is how I responded to Arnold Mindell's seminal Quantum Mind three years ago.

(click on image below to enlarge)

About the Introduction. 

The meat of this long section is contained in his seven "Principles Of A Love-based Psychology". As a professed believer in Jesus, I am impressed with Bedrick's seven principles, since he is a professed Jew, as is his mentor, Arny Mindell. Having known David for three years, I believe he is sincere in presenting these principles, so we have a common language. To feel free to tell the truth of what we truly think and feel to another human being is a blessed freedom! Such principles comprise a fundamental road map for any professed psycho-social activist! It is Deep Democracy in action.

Bedrick asserts that these principles "underlie the practice of a love-based psychology". And that "one or embodied in the alternative to mainstream psychology discussed in each essay of this book."

I am eager to put this assertion to the test in reviewing each part of the book below.
Principle 1: A love-based psychology deals with the structure and details of people's difficulties, whether internal or external, as reflecting important knowledge about changes they need or hope to make. 
Principle 2: A love-based psychology treats things that disturb people about themselves or others as revelations of their deeper nature.
 Principle 3: A love-based psychology deals with the powers behind difficulties or disturbances as allies instead of enemies. 
Principle 4: A love-based psychology treats the difficulties individuals and groups have as their own but also belonging to the greater web of relationships and culture. 
Principle 5: A love-based psychology treats individual and group diversity as natural and as expressive of wholeness and wellness. 
Principle 6: A love-based psychology views social prejudice as impacting people's well-being, and the promotion of social justice as an important psychological intervention. 
Principle 7: A love-based psychology takes into account the fact that people's emotions and behavior are affected by how they are observed by others.

To be continued....

Monday, December 17, 2012

Statement from Medical Doctor re CREEI

Posted: 17 Dec 2012

Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church

I am grateful for the participation and support of local physician, Dr. Robert Thomsen, in the Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church pilot dreamwork program. Bob first experienced the CREEI process at a public workshop here in Los Alamos in December 2007.
Dear Eugene, 
You have asked me to write a letter about my experiences in your CREEI Dream Workshop.  It has been and continues to be a wonderful experience.  The technique you have evolved for tracking dreams is interesting, private, and useful.  It does not involve attempts to do amateur (and potentially harmful) psychoanalysis or interpretation of dream contents, but rather considers the elements that form the dream.  By tracking those elements through time we are able to discover some things about ourselves that we may not have been aware of.  It is extremely worthwhile to do this self-examination as we walk on our spiritual path.  Thank you for providing our church with this new element in knowing our relationship with God.  It is a safe and secure way toward self- discovery in our religious community. 

Robert J. Thomsen, M.D.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Dreams of the Inner Church and its evolution

Posted: 14 December 2012
Updated: 16 Mar 13

On Wednesday morning, 13 December, I dreamed of being in a several-story church-like building where people are moving about at several levels. I am a teacher on one of the lower levels and am explaining to someone what I am doing here and that I need to be sure the leader is aware of my activities and purposes. No sooner do I express this need than I am talking to the leader himself on a stairway at the railing, who identifies himself as "Morris". He then smiles with approval at hearing my report and tells me that his responsibility is to evaluate and "dignify" the initiatives of church members (reminds me of the pastor of the church where I am currently teaching dream seminars).**

I then become aware of a toddler at the bottom of the stairs who seems lost and begins to cry. With concern and compassion I walk down and over to the child to hold and comfort him...

CREEI score: ++++++//+++/+++  Pattern: Transformative (comforting/confirming)

This brings to mind how my awareness of the "inner church" began. Prior to this time my awareness of "the Church" was fully external, having been born and raised in the Mormon culture. The change of awareness began with a nightmare in summer 1962 in Livermore, California, while working as a graduate research assistant at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Only weeks earlier in Salt Lake City, where I was in graduate school during the regular school year, I had been called to serve an extra-curricular Mormon mission as a counselor to the University of Utah stake mission president Morris (!) A. Kjar, an assignment I took seriously. President Kjar explained at this time that he had called me to this assignment because he was tired of "yes-men", that he valued my candor and independent thinking, and encouraged me to be my true self in my new position with him.

**Note: highlighted hyperlinks are to blog posts that come to mind associated with these recollections.

To be continued...

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Trying the 'REMEE' device for Lucid Dreaming

Posted: 13 Dec 12
Updated: 20 Dec

For the past week I have been trying out the REMEE mask device to see if I could become a lucid dreamer, as it is designed to teach. The device is the invention of two enterprising young men in New York City via the help of the Kickstarter project, which I contributed to at its inception, not actually expecting any results. But was pleasantly surprised to receive my unit last week as the project had promised months ago.

14 Dec.
As of this morning, after three successive nights using Remee, I've determined that the standard settings do not fit my sleeping habits. Therefore, tonight before retiring, I will make the first set of adjustments via the Internet "tool" that the device is programmed to accept and then try again....

15 Dec.
Rats! Yes, the reprogramming worked, but the mask slipped off during the night. Will try again tonight. It's taking a while to get the hang of this thing!

17 Dec.
Having difficulty matching the programming to my sleeping habits. Will keep working the process until this happens.

20 Dec.
Correspondence in reverse chronological order with developers:

Eugene replied later on Dec 20:

Thanks. I'll try that and get back to you.

From: Bitbanger Labs []
Sent: Thursday, December 20, 2012 8:09 AM
To: Eugene Kovalenko
Subject: Re: Trouble with Remee

In default mode, low brightness is at 20% - you may wish to reduce that significantly, as well as reduce the number of patterns that are actually shown from 3 to 1 (by selecting 'None' for signals 2 and 3)
On Thu, Dec 20, 2012 at 10:03 AM, Eugene Kovalenko wrote:

Yes, of course. But, since I'm an old man, I probably haven't got the hang of it yet.

Now that I've screwed up the standard settings (which don't fit my sleeping pattern), I'm not sure how to reset it. For example, there are three standard brightness settings (before accessing the online tool) which can be set in terms of one, two or three red lights on the RH side of the mask. I find that even one light is too bright for me. Then, when I go to the tool to see a brightness option in terms of %, it would be helpful to know the brightness % of those one, two or three red lights. That's for openers. That is, what is the brightness % equivalent for one red light?


PS. Can I talk to someone at bitbangerlabs?

From: Bitbanger Labs []
Sent: Thursday, December 20, 2012 7:03 AM
To: Eugene Kovalenko
Subject: Re: Trouble with Remee

Hey Eugene! Have you tried to use our online programming tool at all?
On Wed, Dec 19, 2012 at 11:39 PM, Eugene Kovalenko wrote:

Hey guys,

I'm having difficulty finding the right program for me. The standard setting is too bright and I can't manage to time it so it functions when I'm asleep. Do you have an online group to discuss strategies for finding the right settings?

To be continued...

Recalling inspiring letter from an old mentor

Event: May 1965
Updated: 14 Dec 12

(click to enlarge)
Page 1 of 2
In the midst of my excitement over discovering and reading George Adamski's books back in 1965, I received this letter from the late Howard E. Salisbury, an erstwhile Mormon mentor, who had unwittingly been instrumental in bringing the subject of flying saucers to my attention. Howard had sent a copy of a book to my laboratory at General Atomic written by his nephew Frank B. Salisbury, a Colorado State University professor of botany, titled Truth by Reason and by Revelation. He asked me to review the book critically as a fellow Mormon professional research scientist. I was not kind in my review, except for Frank's chapter on UFOs. Frank B. was one of five prominent American scientists in those days who had the courage to publicly urge the country to take the phenomenon of flying saucers seriously.

It was the second paragraph of Howard's letter that inspired my poem Nathan's Cry, written while in a state of personal crisis to Mormon Church president David O. McKay four months later in Salt Lake City. This hand-written poem was found in McKay's personal papers by one of the Church archivists and sent to me as a scanned attachment in 2005. That Pres. McKay would keep this item was for me particularly significant. It made me wonder if he had, after all, experienced the kind of remorse that ancient King David had experienced. Could this modern David have experienced remorse over the Mormon Church's reluctance to rectify its prejudicial policy towards the Negro race during his presidency? Or, more likely, in not protecting gay Mormons like Howard from abusive treatment at the hands of ecclesiastic leaders and regular church members? I was never sure what Salisbury's intent was in proposing "Nathan" to be the hero's name. Howard had been excommunicated for "perversion" by one of McKay's counselors in the First Presidency, who had been his missionary companion when they were young men. That same FP counselor nevertheless credited Howard for saving his ecclesiastical career after the counselor, having resigned his Canadian military commission, had come home from the Second World War in a state of depression and sought Howard's counsel.

Sent from Church archives in Sept. 2005

To be continued...

Sunday, December 9, 2012


Posted: 9 Dec 12

Birgitta made a Swedish fruitcake using a fabulous recipe from her daughter in Uppsala. I got to lick the bowl.


Going, going....