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To Rita: On What Qualifies Me to Help People

A Brief Description of My Journey

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This emergence transcript is excerpted from emails in which I discussed what I believe qualifies me to help people.

Fri, March 12, 2004

Hi Steven... Thanks much for the stories... they will certainly be referenced in the book. I do need, however, some more information about you and your work. You mention people coming to you... what exactly do you do? Are you a psychiatrist, psychologist, some other type of professional shrink? I couldn't find anything on your web site on your background and/or credentials, so I'd appreciate your filling me in, just so I can give you the proper credits when I use your work as examples of my thesis. I'd also appreciate a step-by-step rundown of your process when you work with clients on weight loss. I know meditation is part of it, but what else do you use, and how do you use it?

I'm having personal problems with practicing my own theory... I've lost my sense of smell completely, and have very little sense of taste left, so focusing on food has become somewhat uninteresting, to say the least. Do you have any suggestions to overcome these deficiencies? I tried niacin, but couldn't take the inevitable itchy heat rash that comes with it. Any ideas?

Must get back to work. Thanks again for your input. I'm really glad I found you!



I wrote back and said . . .

Hi Rita,

Well, let me start with what should be the easy thing; my credentials, although, to be honest, by not finding much about credentials on my site, you've stumbled onto one of my pet peeves: that people think credentials qualify persons to help people.

For the most part, this stuff never really impresses me, even about myself, except occasionally as a way to see that some good hearted people (me for instance) invest a lot of their lives painfully searching for answers as to why we suffer and the meaning of life. To such individuals, I give much credit and in fact, although I know little about you, you seem to be such a person yourself. However, as a way to know that someone is capable of giving another human help, I'm somewhat skeptical of credentials. This is why you've not found much in the way of my credentials listed on my site. This said, and as you've asked, here are mine:

The short of it is, I've been a personality theorist, writer, teacher, and therapist in full time private practice for many years now. I practice in New York State and have an LCSW-R; a six-year social work license.

I also am a CASAC, a NYS Credentialed Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor, and for several years, worked as the family therapist in an inpatient rehab for addicted adolescents and their families. Here, I learned and practiced some of the more exotic of the known therapies, things like leading multigenerational multifamily groups and Moreno type family sculpting's (a kind of multi person structured improv guided by a therapist; very healing and very intense.)

I also, while working there, began to explore the power of interactive visual therapy by doing multigenerational interactive genograms. In a sense, I was helping families to discover the beauty in revealing their family secrets, by having these families draw very personally detailed family trees in front of each other in groups.

So these are the basics. Add to them that I have also obtained probably a hundred or so other certificates and credentials, in varied topics such as in emotional release work (I have a PEER III Certification and went to some seven years of John Lee's workshops), Aids/HIV, and Silva Method. I've also actively studied what I call, "religious philosophy" since I was a kid and have read and still read books and articles on historical theology constantly, especially on things from the period 600 BCE to about 400 AD.

On a more personal note, I also have been a Reiki III Practitioner for almost twenty years (long before this word was even common knowledge) and years ago, studied MariEL with Ethel Lombardi, one of the first Reiki practitioners in the USA. I have also studied Past Life Regression Therapy and trained with Brian Weiss.

As for meditation, I have practiced Vapasana (Buddhist insight meditation) for years and have studied meditation with a number of teachers, including with Joan Halifax at Upiah in Santa Fe. Currently and for years now, I regularly sit meditation on a local mountain top overlooking the Hudson, often with a whole family of hawks circling feet above my head.

So much for the minor details of my lifelong searching. What I now offer is the genuinely personal stuff, what I consider my real qualifications.

Rita, I have been a practicing shaman, for lack of a better word, for most of my adult life, and am actually a pretty good astrologer as well. I've been seeing colors around peoples' bodies since I was very little, and people have been asking me to put my hands on them since I was a kid.

Much of this, I now know, developed in response to the fact that, as a kid, I suffered terribly from a kind of profound aloneness, a condition which today would be diagnosed as a variation of autism called, "Asperger's Syndrome." Had such a diagnosis been common knowledge back then, I am sure I would have been the recipient of this lovely label.

It wasn't, and so, I was said simply to be shy. In truth, though, I was a very withdrawn kid and in fact, often recoiled from touch and pretty much spoke to no one except non verbally to my non human friends: the trees and rocks and little violet flowers surrounding my home, and to the birds and clouds and the stream nearby.

Had I not made these non verbal connections early on, I believe I literally would have died of aloneness as a child. No surprise, fifty years later, I am the author of a whole new theory of human personality which posits that the true drive beneath human suffering is the experience of aloneness.

This said, we finally arrive at what I see as my primary credentials; my past nine years of work in and around human consciousness.

Formally, I call my work, "Emergence," and this term refers to the root of my discoveries and to my greatest personal epiphany; the idea that human beings genuinely heal, learn, love, and grow only by having their very nature change. By this, I mean, in order for people to make real, lasting changes, they need experience much more than just new information or better motivation. They need to experience literal changes to their nature. These changes occur only when people have epiphanies; aha's; Eureka's; or flashes of insight.

So what are "emergences?" Emergences are simply experiences wherein you internally see on the screen of your mind some visual material previously inaccessible. Translation; If you can picture it, you can consciously know it; if you can't picture it, you can't consciously know it.

Now, by inference, you might gather that I consider anything less than having these emergences to be that people are merely doing "damage control"; in other words, that they are using some variation of will powered logical control in an effort to restrain their true natures, all the while their insides screaming at them to be the person they are truly afraid they will be if they let go: a hateful, scared, unloving, and or lost person.

Are we these things?

Of course we are. But we've been taught that to be such things openly is to be bad, lacking in spirituality, ignorant, or irresponsible; more so, that to pretend we are not these things, to hold them in, if you will, is good, spiritual, wise, responsible, and so on.

Admittedly, doing these acts of "damage control" can mean people are practicing great acts of love in the service of imitating health and so, at times, I refer to doing these difficult acts as practicing "loving restraint." Even so, given the knowledge and tools to have emergences, I find it hard to believe people would choose to do damage control rather than choose to emerge from these self hatreds, which brings me to the topic at hand; "conscious eating."

"Conscious eating" is an application of Emergence wherein people attempt to have epiphanies in and around their eating, weight, and fitness, things like having their sense of taste or smell emerge (or re-emerge in most cases.) In fact, I, myself, only recently began to smell food normally after having spent most of my life enduring what I used to refer to as a "bad sense of smell."

Did I have a "bad" sense of smell? I guess. What I really believe though was that my sense of smell had, at some early point in my life, become BLocked; literally, inaccessible consciously.

Have I recovered it all?

I doubt it, and actually, I have no way of knowing really. I do know I now love smelling food for the first time I can remember. And smelling a lot of other things as well.

Now the hard part: how it works. Rita, when it comes to putting this stuff into words, after nine years of trying, I'm still quite literally at a loss most times, at least to find words with which I can pass to others what I really mean. How do you put one's epiphanies into words? Like the Tao says, "the Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao."

In a sense, then, my work is like this. More so, creating my site has been my way to try to find these words, and so far, these words have helped me to connect to quite a few like minded beings. In fact, I now get several thousand visitors a week, and every week, they come from every continent except Antarctica.

This said, and as you've asked so genuinely, I'm more than willing to give this a try one more time.

So what is Emergence? Emergence is a school of experience which explores health, healing, and human nature. It is based on a simple idea; that all wounds; the things which cause us to suffer; have one thing in common: they all involve a life area in which we have a selectively blocked ability to picture. Literally picture.

Case in point. If you, yourself, can no longer smell normally, you will also not be able to internally picture yourself smelling, even if told to simply make it up.

Said in other words, the "wound" is literally "what you can not see," rather than how almost every other therapy and philosophy ever told or recorded has defined it; that the wound is "the suffering you can see."

Thus Emergence would consider the bullet "wound" to be the hole the bullet created; the missing part of the person's body; rather than the visible part; the bleeding, the torn flesh, the collapsed lung, etc.

To digress a bit, can niacin help you reclaim taste or smell? Perhaps. But only if by taking it, you reclaim your lost ability to picture yourself tasting or smelling.

By the way, niacin exists in a "no-flush" form, and as I've taken both kinds, I can tell you, while the normal stuff is terrible, the no-flush kind is painless.

So now, rather than rewrite a lot of what I've already summarized elsewhere, let me offer some links that might help. I know they are a lot to read and I in no way am suggesting yon need read these things. But they may offer many starting points from which to write your book. And I'll be glad to offer whatever clarification you need as best I can. In fact, I welcome any dialogue we may have.

Now the links.

Partially motivated by your e-mails, I've just posted to my site a draft about the Yellow Book, including all the pages of Yellow Book itself. Hopefully, reading this will give you some starting places for your meditation diet book. The link is: Introduction to the Yellow Book.

You also asked me for some info on what I've discovered in and around food and diets. One brief article which may help here would be the Weight Ranges Quik Summary I wrote last year on what I've found about how peoples' weight changes. This link is: Quik Weight-Ranges.

You might also try reading the Healthy Weight Loss article at:

As for something more specific related to food and eating, you might read the brief taste and temperature article I wrote at:
Taste and Temperature.

Finally, the second Food Month flier might also provoke some interesting ideas in you. It's at: Food Month II Flier.

As for background to how any of this stuff works, you might consider reading a recent article I've written on the basic differences between traditional therapies and Emergence used as a therapy. It's at:
Emergence Therapy - Whats Different?

Lastly, you would probably find interesting The Introduction to Emergence article at:
Intro to Emergence 2003.
In this case, I'd bet you'll find we have quite a lot in common, especially with respect to traditional religions and philosophies.

Overwhelmed? I'm sorry. It's just that summarizing nine intense years of work on human consciousness is, for me at least, pretty difficult. Even so, putting my work into words has become my calling and the love of my life, especially when, though my efforts, I get to connect to wonderful like minded people like you, Rita.

Take care,


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