Spiritcurve

A discussion about things of the spiritual nature.

First Night Masonic Welcome

Posted on | January 1, 2009 | No Comments

This is the short essay I wrote for the First Night programs at the Masonic Center last night.  There’s a little bit about the building and a little about Freemasonry in general.

On behalf of the Masonic Family in Fort Collins, I welcome you to our historic Masonic Center. This building is truly one of the treasures of Fort Collins and we are very proud and happy to be part of the 2008 First Night festivities.

Take a few minutes to look around the building and feel free to ask questions to the Men and Women who are part of the Masonic Family and have volunteered to host tonight’s activities. They are happy to answer your questions about the building or the Fraternity and its related organizations.

A quick bit of history:
Freemasonry is traced back to at least 1717 in England, and Freemasonry has been active in Fort Collins since 1870, when Collins Lodge #19 was founded. The great history of the organization has truly mirrored the history of Fort Collins itself. The men of the Lodge met in several buildings prior to constructing the current building. The cornerstone of this building was set in 1925 and the building was opened in 1927. The total cost of the building and furnishings (many of which are still in use) was $144,990. That would be about $16,250,000 today.

The building is owned by the local Masonic lodges and membership on the Home Board is restricted to active members of Collins Lodge #19. The Home Board is charged with the day-to-day operations of the building as well as the long-term planning and preservation of this historic treasure. The group is actively planning for the future preservation and renovation of the building with the goal of keeping the building as a vibrant hub of community involvement.

What is Freemasonry about?

Many people ask me what being a Freemason is all about. The quick answer is “making good men better.” How is that done? Through a series of ancient symbolic rituals that teach moral and spiritual lessons. The Mason learns invaluable lessons of faith, hope, and charity in addition to being exposed to some of the richest and most meaningful symbols in the Western spiritual traditions. Masonry is NOT a religion, although members are required to affirm a belief in deity.  Our members come from, and tend to be active in, a wide variety of spiritual backgrounds. Masonry is not about business networking either, although many relationships are formed outside the formality of the Lodge.

While “Blue Lodge” Masonry is for men only, there are opportunities for women and children to join the Masonic Family through organizations such as The Order of the Eastern Star, Job’s Daughters, Rainbow for Girls, and DeMolay for Boys.

Masonry may be best known today for it’s charitable work. For example, most people have heard of the Shriner’s Hospitals. Every Shriner is a Mason, and there are dozens of other very active Masonic charitable causes.

Finally, to be one, ask one.
Kevin E. Houchin, Esq.
Member, FC Masonic Center Home Board
Member, Fidelity Lodge #192 and Collins Lodge #19

Personal purpose statement:

Posted on | December 3, 2008 | 1 Comment

“My purpose is to help as many people as I can reach as much of THEIR potential as THEY can.”

Thanksgiving Blessing

Posted on | November 28, 2008 | 2 Comments

Creator,

Thank you for the blessings you have created for us.

Thank you for the blessings you have created with us.

Help us always to remember
That your infinite power
Is also our infinite power

Help us to share it freely,
And use it wisely.

Amen.

Thinking

Posted on | November 23, 2008 | 1 Comment

Thinking

People associate this stage with “creativity.” It’s glamorized in every TV show or movie about the advertising business. It’s perceived as the scene of funky 20-somethings and their aging boss (who always seems to look like Donald Sutherland) brainstorming wacky ideas. Usually they are trying to sell a product nobody needs to people who already have more than enough stuff, but not enough happiness. However, creative people in the real world are usually trying to provide real value.

I’ve been one of those 20-somethings, and I’ve been the Donald Sutherland character (without the slicked-back hair). In my experience, great creative ideas start with all the logical and obvious ideas. One must build a foundation for creativity based on the emotion experienced when accepting the problem as one’s own. Also use the knowledge gained to build a deep understanding of the problem, and to focus upon the vision of a successful solution.




“Creative meetings” always start with picking the low-hanging fruit – the easy, logical, solutions than anyone can come up with in ten minutes. This step always feels very un-creative. It’s almost as if the assertive, power-hungry left brain needs to speak it’s piece before the quieter, more caring introspective right brain can get in with some “soft” thinking. Soft thinking is ethereal. Soft thinking is the “creativity” most fundamentally manifesting through inspiration, imagination, intuition, hunches, metaphor, humor, fantasy, paradox, play, ambiguities, and unusual juxtapositions. Soft thinking is the “magic” behind a Super Bowl ad becoming the talk of the nation for a. This type of thinking is about being unusual.
The challenge with right brain, soft thinking is that we’re not trained to respect it. Today’s schools are focused on math, science, and other logical, linear, process-focused thinking skills. Logic skills can be tested. Intuitive skills cannot (at least not fairly or effectively). Imagine the difference between the soft skill of writing a musical piece and the hard skill of technically playing the piece.

A few years ago this difference was illustrated perfectly during a television program with pop star Billy Joel showcased some of his classical piano compositions. He had written the pieces, but to actually play the pieces, he brought a different pianist on stage (one who had the technical skills to actually play the works) because the music he had written was too difficult for him to play. It was still great creative product.

We need both skills.

I’ve worked with graphic designers who were wonderful artists, but no printer could produce their designs, which is definitely not a successful solution. I’ve worked with engineers who couldn’t think out of the box and squandered opportunity. As Dr. Roger von Oech said in his classic book on creativity A WHACK ON THE SIDE OF THE HEAD, “Soft thinking in the practical phase can prevent the execution of an idea; here firmness and directness are preferable to ambiguity and dreams. Conversely, hard thinking in the imaginative phase can limit the creative process.” Dr. von Oech’s book is a great resource for breaking away from preconceived notions and coming up with new ideas. It’s a book I go back to over and over whenever I feel I’m not making headway on a problem. It helps you create multiple possible solutions, get outside the logical conditioning of Western thought, break some rules, be playful and impractical for a minute, forget academic silos of training, embrace ambiguity, act a fool, explore potential mistakes, and start thinking of ourselves as creative. One thing the book, and most other Western books on creativity forget about this stage of the creative process, is to be still. Stillness is a more “Eastern” way to creative solutions. It’s a way of thinking by not thinking.



Stillness and the space between

Posted on | November 22, 2008 | 1 Comment

Stillness and the space between

Stillness is putting a muzzle on that monkey chattering in your mind to hear the great ideas that come from somewhere else. You can call that somewhere else “God.” You can call it “the Universe.” For the sake of argument, I’ll call it “the Source.” Telling the voice in your head to shut up is one thing. Making it shut up or ignoring it until it shuts up requires practice. That practice is the basis of meditation. Another way to think of it is what I call “The Space Between.”

There is an infinity in the space between thoughts. The wonderful ideas that can come from that space are limitless. Picture a ruler or a number line from your days in grade school. On that ruler or number line, “1” is followed next by “2” then “3” and so on in both directions into infinity. Later, you learn about fractions like ¼, 1/3, ½, 2/3, ¾ and so on. Think about that. When you understand that the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, and so on are simply labels for concepts, and the same is true for each labeled fraction, then you understand that there is an infinity in the space between each number or fraction and its label. More importantly, there is an infinity between each label we choose for anything.



The infinity in the space between doesn’t apply just to numbers. “The space between” applies to anything you can label. So examining two words, phrases, or concepts that generally do not work together is a great creative tool – examining the space between things that we don’t even associate with one another creates something I like to think of as a “bigger infinity.” You could also think of it as a “richer” infinity for great ideas, because like a riverbed that has never been explored, a virgin piece of farmland, or an isolated lake in Canada, it’s resources have not been mined by others for their own purposes. When you understand the concept of “The Space Between” then you will never again experience a scarcity of ideas. If you’re stumped, you just haven’t mined the infinite spaces between thoughts, words, actions, feelings, senses, or labels.

In the quiet infinities of the space between we find inspired ideas.

The space between is not empty. The first occupants one generally encounters are the archetypes programmed into every human. Those archetypes are described in different ways. Joseph Campbell talked of them in his famous works including THE HERO’S JOURNEY and THE POWER OF MYTH. THE HERO’S JOURNEY inspired George Lucas’s storyline for STAR WARS, and is the outline of the human spiritual journey toward enlightenment. What it describes is found in practically every culture, in a virtually identical pattern. The hero hears a call to adventure, denies that call, experiences an event that requires him to engage in the journey anyway, finds a mentor, faces the challenge, achieves of the goal of the journey, then fights his way back home where his knowledge and experience are embraced for the benefit of the group.

We can also find the archetypes of our collective unconscious through the images of the Tarot. Now, don’t wig out and think this book has suddenly gone in the direction of some Satanic cult. (My mom would probably get that idea when someone mentions the Tarot cards.) It’s not. In addition to being easily associated with Gypsy fortunetellers, some interesting historic characters, and being unquestionably the fore-runner of the playing cards you probably have in a drawer somewhere, the Tarot is a really a wonderful creative tool. Through whatever Source you want to name, the cards have become associated with different parts of the “hero’s journey” and the archetypes of all human experience we find in the space between thoughts and labels.



The deck is divided into two major parts, the Major Arcana, and the Minor Arcana. The 22 Major Arcana cards directly parallel the path of the hero on his journey. It’s akin to Joseph Campbell’s outline, except that the 22 cards outline the journey in more detail. The Minor Arcana is the basis for our current playing cards and is divided into four suits with Ace through 10 and four Royal cards.

You’re probably thinking I’m going to tell you to lay a spread of cards to “divine” the solution through fortune-telling magic. If so, you’re wrong. The cards are a great creative tool, because you can randomly pull a few cards and then start exploring their meanings, which directly tap the subconscious images that cross age, gender, culture, and time. You can also use these cards as the labels for your exploration of the space between. You’ll generate some wonderfully creative, inspired, and effective ideas that will resonate with your audience at the level of their soul. The ideas will also manifest in every sensual form – editorial, visual, auditory, tactile – and you might even get some ideas for integrating smell.

Infinities know no boundaries.



Some people find the quiet in the space between to be a wonderful place to “receive” guidance. Many successful songwriters describe this experience as something close to “channeling” the music from a larger collective creative source. To tap in, they just get their egos out of the way and listen. This type of receiving assumes many names, from the “inspiration,” the fundamentalist church attributes authorship of the books of The Bible, to the Spirit Guides of tribal cultures, the “Holy Guardian Angel” of new age spirituality, and to actual angelic visitations as described in the Old and New Testament and Islam which many people all over the world claim still happen every day.

We’ve all had incredibly realistic dreams that seemed like messages. We’ve all had wonderfully creative ideas “come to us” as we are in the space between waking up and sleeping. We’ve all had moments of déjà vu. These are all experiences of finding the stillness in the space between thoughts. It doesn’t matter what label you place on the experience, or to what source you attribute the inspiration. The one thing that matters in the creative process is that you allow yourself to step out of the masculine energy of controlling the process and allow yourself to surrender to the feminine energy of receiving the inspirations that emanate from the spaces between.

Finally, those free-form ideas must be filtered back through the left side of our brain for some logical feedback on which specific solutions can be practically implemented.

Secret #3: Creativity is not just about action.

Posted on | November 21, 2008 | No Comments

Secret #3: Creativity is not just about action.

History shows humans are always creating.

My wife and I have 3 wonderful children. My wife is a labor Doula (birth coach) and is currently studying to be a Midwife, so between my own children, and the stories of the many labors at which my wife has been present, I’ve about as much credibility as any man (other than an obstetrician) can have about the birth process. I’ll never understand the experience in the full sense that any mother has experienced and I’ll never be a member of that club. No man will. But my non-member status shouldn’t disqualify me from using birth as the perfect metaphor for the creative process.

The creation of children is the most profound act of creativity imaginable. It truly shows us how miracles happen when we work together with God and the tools nature provided. Making babies is not a solitary practice. It’s not done alone. It is an act of manifesting a combination of natural materials (DNA, water, carbon, etc.) into something more. Conception takes both a giving and receiving. It takes time for the baby to develop in the womb. There are signals of the approaching birth. The manifestation and birth can be a euphoric experience when embraced with knowledge and intention to enjoy the process, or the birth can be traumatic, painful, and frightening if the process is forced or a non-creative will is imposed on the creator.

It’s no different (although it’s arguably less miraculous – at least to this man) when we create a novel, a movie, a skyscraper, or a business. To create a successful business we have to give (the masculine element or “yang”) something of value to customers and clients. To enjoy a successful business, we have to receive (the female element or “yin”) something of value in return.

These events can happen in either order, like breathing in then out, but it’s better to think of them as part of the same or simultaneous thing – like a “breath” includes both the inhale and the exhale. To create a novel, we have to receive an idea, and then we have to give effort to bring the idea to the page. Like a woman in birth, we feel the effort. If we force it, creativity can be very difficult, but if we work with the process, it can be an intense experience we’re happy to remember for a lifetime. We remember the process of creation not only for the joy of what we created, but for what we learned on the journey and how the process of creating something new changed us.



There are many great books on the process of creativity. The core of all those different methods boils down to a few key steps, which apply to all creative endeavors:
1.    Acceptance
2.    Understanding
3.    Definition
4.    Gathering
5.    Deciding
6.    Acting

Before exploring these steps in detail, it’s important to remember that for truly creative solutions to any challenge, we need two equally important factors in mind: first, to be creative, we by definition need to have something unusual; second, to be a solution, whatever we end up with needs to work and solve the problem. The process necessarily plays back and forth with these sometimes-competing approaches to maximize the effectiveness of each. It can be messy. It can be ambiguous. It can be anxiety-ridden. Most of all, it should be FUN.



Cause & Effect

Posted on | November 20, 2008 | No Comments

Cause & Effect

Sometimes we can make the connections between causes and effects, but many times we can’t. You’ve heard of the “law of unforeseen consequences” which is one way of looking at this principle. The law of unforeseen consequences works in the context of knowing the cause, but not being able to predict all the results, which is true enough, but is only half the story. We learn from mistakes, and if we’re in a bad situation, or one that at least feels bad at the moment, then we try to figure out the cause so we can avoid the casual action in the future and hopefully avoid repeating the mistake. Seems logical, and it is. The cool thing about the principle of cause and effect is that it reminds you to look both ways – toward the effect before taking action, and back toward the cause when experiencing a positive or negative effect. But there’s more.



The principle states that even though there IS at least one cause for every effect and at least one effect coming after every action, we can’t always identify the link. We’re human and as such we can’t possibly understand all the links. Sounds like chaos theory doesn’t it? You’ve heard of “the butterfly effect” when the movement of a butterfly’s wings in Asia causes a thunderstorm on the other side of the world. That’s this principle in action.

We can’t know everything that’s going to happen, and hind-sight is NOT always 20/20. When we understand that, we can forgive ourselves for past “mistakes” and we can remove the fear of moving forward. There are definitely going to be unforeseen consequence to every action because those actions can’t happen in a vacuum. We are all connected and the unforeseen consequences of are actions are the substance of a life being LIVED. Sure, learn what you can from your successes and failures. But, recognize and  embrace the unforeseen consequences of cause and effect in your life, because they prove life is not pre-determined and that as a human you have the spark of divinity that manifests as free will.



Polarity

Posted on | November 19, 2008 | No Comments

Polarity

Polarity is the control system for vibration in the universe beyond the range of our five senses. The principle states:

“Everything is dual; everything has poles; everything has its pair of opposites; like and unlike are the same; opposites are identical in nature, but different in degree (vibration); extremes meet; all truths are but half-truths; all paradoxes may be reconciled.”

Understanding this principle is a little tricky; or at least it was for me. The effort is worth it. This has the potential to be an “ah ha” moment in your life, as it was for mine, because it may completely redefine your conceptualization and visualization of life balance.



Polarity requires balance between related concepts, instead of trying to balance unrelated concepts. For example, for years I thought I needed to balance my “family” against my “career” against my “spirit” against my “health,” etc. It was multi-variable calculus, and I never could find the appropriate dynamic state of balance. Something always seemed “off.” Then I read about the principle of polarity and a light bulb switched on in my head. I was placing the wrong things at the poles of my balance control lever.

Think of a throttle control lever on a big airplane. At the bottom is “low” or “no” speed (vibration), and at the top is “high” speed (vibration).  One lever controls one thing – fuel to the engine. This one lever is not trying to control or balance more than one thing.

Likewise, in balancing my life, I needed to visualize the control panel as throttles. Rather than having “career” at one end of a pole and “family” at the other end of the same pole, each area of my life needs a SEPARATE throttle, with a high and low for “career” on one mental throttle, another labeled “family,” another labeled “health”, “spirit,” etc.

Now I can visualize each control panel with the throttles pushed to their highest levels – their highest level of vibration – on every plane of correspondence. Now, when something feels less than optimal, I know that I’ve mentally let the throttle slide toward a lower state of vibration, and I can mentally visualize pushing that throttle to the hilt and mentally increase the energy and vibration I direct toward that area of my life – WITHOUT letting the other throttle levers slide out of their top positions. Another way of thinking about each lever on the control panel is to equate each position to the level of your positive or negative attitude toward that area of your life now. Raise your attitude to raise your altitude. Raise your mental lever to change your vibration. It’s no longer a trade-off between family and career. There is plenty of mental fuel. You don’t have to rob energy from one pole to give to another. You just have to pay attention to each, and label them correctly.



Vibration

Posted on | November 18, 2008 | No Comments

Vibration

The Kybalion states that “Nothing rests; everything moves; everything vibrates.” Remember this saying long predates our current understanding of atomic theory and resonates perfectly with the developing “string” theory in physics. Think of vibration as the communication system between the planes of correspondence-the language understood on all planes.

The principle states that not only is everything in constant movement and vibration, but that the “differences” between the various manifestations are due entirely to the varying rate and mode of vibrations. You know there are some sounds you can’t hear, and colors of the spectrum in the ultraviolet and infrared spectrums we can’t see. Why should it be any different with any of our other senses? There are sound vibrations we can’t hear. There are odors we can’t smell. There are things beyond our senses of taste and touch. It’s easy to think of the areas beyond our sense of sight and sound as vibrations occurring outside the range of our sensory capacity. It shouldn’t be too hard to imagine vibrations beyond our other senses as well. All senses have vibration frequencies that are both too slow and too fast for normal human perception. When we understand that we can only perceive a very, very small range of the possible vibrational spectrums through our five senses, you’ll understand that we humans have a very limited understanding of the material universe. Take that a step further and question why we generally recognize or at least regularly exercise only five senses.



I believe we have more than five senses, most of which we simply never recognize. Like a muscle that is never used, these other senses atrophy over time. Our spectrum of senses, according to the principle of vibration, should be as vast as the spectrums of light and sound. Understanding the principle of vibration unlocks the physical constraints we place on human existence and gives us a language through which to communicate with other planes of existence and manifestation. If vibration is the language between planes, the next principle, Polarity, is the infrastructure.

Correspondence

Posted on | November 17, 2008 | No Comments

Correspondence

“As above, so below; as below, so above.” is the simple statement of the principle of correspondence. You may have heard of the Emerald Tablet of Hermes. Authorship of the Emerald Tablet is attributed to the same Hermes Trismegistus discussed earlier. The easiest way to understand this today is to think about there being planes beyond our knowing, but when we apply the principle of correspondence to these planes, we can understand them by understanding the planes we DO know. As above, so below. If we understand the material plane, we can understand the mental plane. If we can understand the mental plane, we can understand the spiritual plane.

A discussion of the different planes quickly dissolves into labeling and semantics, as has been done throughout history from Dante’s discussion of the levels of heaven and hell in Divine Comedy, to our modern discussion of microcosmic atomic and quantum physics, and all the way to macrocosmic discussion of the big bang, string theory, and static state dimensions of cosmology.



The key point of this principle is that if you can “visualize” or “feel” something on a mental or emotional plane, you can and will manifest that image or feeling on a material or some other plane. This act of manifestation is exactly that – an act. Whether the act is conscious or subconscious, the manifestation happens somewhere. The challenge is getting control of your power to manifest results, and channeling that power to the appropriate plane of correspondence. This is done through the third principle: Vibration.

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    Kevin Houchin

    Kevin E. Houchin is an attorney, artist, teacher, author, and principal of Houchin Consulting, PLLC, a copyright, trademark, arts & entertainment, business development, and branding firm located in Fort Collins, Colorado.
    To schedule Kevin for keynote speeches, workshops, or seminars, call 970.231.2426 or email
    kevin@kevinhouchin.com.

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