The many ancient cultures I have studied all seem to agree on the secret to obtaining great wealth and power.  They also agree as to how we have been robbed of our power as individuals.  Even nature, herself blatantly reveals this power to us.

When I used to travel through the jungles of Central America to study animals, my favorite animal was the red-eyed tree frog.  This crazy frog is about three inches long, bright green with white spots.  Its sides are banded yellow and blue.  The inside of its legs and arms are bright orange.  Its eyes are bright red with a bright gold lace pattern.  Normally it stays curled up on a branch, showing only the green and white, which is a camouflage. 

If an animal tries to grab it, the frog jumps, opens its arms and legs fully and leaps onto a nearby branch.  The predator, faced with a moving flash of color, throws its attention to where he expects the frog to land, several feet away.  Red-eye’s trick is that it sends the predator’s attention far away while it actually curls up on a close-by branch.  In this way it control’s the predator’s attention.

The secret to great wealth and power is the ability to control peoples’ attention.  The secret to your own happiness is to understand that process and not to be controlled.

We all know that packaging sells a product.  Many companies have spent most of their initial start up money on developing packaging.  Celestial Seasonings tea is an example. The manufacturers fight each other to have the stores place their product at eye level which makes it easier for you to grab the product and plop it right into your shopping cart. 

We are trained to pay attention to the packing. It is much easier to make pretty packaging than it is to make a good product.

The key to great power and wealth, though, is not in manipulating people to buy your product.  It is really in being able to discern the packaging from the product when it comes to who you are as a person. 

In any ancient system of training such as Tai-chi and Zookinesis, you find that you have many behavioral habits, in movement, posture, thinking and emotional patterns.  These patterns have been picked up throughout your life until you think of them as being part of yourself.  Eventually the patterns become your very identity.

We learn in the Push Hands exercise, for example, that the body is so finely designed that it takes very little effort and movement to toss your partner several feet into the air.  It is only the extraneous movements, such as tensing up your shoulders as you are about to push, that subvert your own efforts.  In an attempt to feel powerful (by tensing up), you are actually robbing yourself of power.

In the thinking process, we are used to thinking in words.  We may have an initial “jolt of thought” but can only understand the inspiration if they are translated into words.  A Zookinesis student would practice paying attention to the initial jolt of thought and refrain from translating it into thoughts. 

He does this because the words are only a label of the real thought, which is much more complex and complete.  By being aware of the actual experience of inspirational thinking and not merely the labels (packaging), he has access to the full power of the inspiration.

We learn in Tai-chi that the body is a conduit for the energy of nature.  A student will soon feel tremendous energy flowing through him which enlivens every cell of the body and heals the body.  He soon learns that we, as a society, have been taught to become disconnected from that energy and even to deaden ourselves so that we don’t experience it.  Once filled with energy, we no longer regard the body as just packaging for the mind, as a vehicle to carry the head around.  The vibrancy of the body, the balanced joy of the emotions and the inspirational thinking process all work together in a more powerful way.

Then you will be more effective in everything you do.  You will understand that wherever your attention goes, your life follows.  If it goes to its energetic connection to the vibrant energies of nature, to the experience of sharing your life with the human community, your life will be different than if your attention goes to the bright, flashy representations of value.

Yet, being in a more powerful, aware, integrated state, impervious to manipulation, you will be more successful in the material sense as well. 

The development of your attention has been recognized as the key to success throughout the ages.  My novel, The Doubting Snake, is an attempt to express this in an entertaining way.  The specific training of the attention is hidden in the story line.  Many ancient texts can be better understood as attempts to express this same idea.  As the hero of The Doubting Snake asks:

“And if both the sorcerers and the people who run our modern societies have such power to affect peoples’ minds then what hope does the ordinary citizen have?”

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