Your guide to improved life satisfaction

Your Guide

      People are in search of something that lies within.  They search outside of themselves for this elusive sense of being through books, classes, associations, and a host of other avenues.  Sometimes their thirst is slaked, and they gain satisfaction, other times their confusion only deepens.  Phillip's passion and purpose in life is to help people who want to grow, take control of their lives, and live with purpose.  There is a desire within people to understand the power which lies dormant within.  We can take control of our lives by understanding ourselves.  With this insight, a new perspective is gained, allowing them to make informed choices based on their desires, and not someone else's need.  


     Here, I offer you some of the insights I have gained over the years and continue to discover.  If you find value in them, fantastic, I have served you well.  If you would like to discover more, schedule a complimentary session and see what nuggets of gold lie within you.  

Ultimate Reality

   Many authors have written of the three gunas, which are tendencies. While reading Archie Bahm’s The World’s Living Religions, something caught my attention. “Ultimate reality, whether as pure Brahman or pure souls, remains perfectly still, undisturbed, changeless, without motion (p78; par. 2).” Ultimate reality is the perfect balance so many strive to achieve. They fail to realize that perfection is changeless and without motion. The only way ultimate reality can be achieved is, “When latent, the forces of these three tendencies [gunas] remain in equilibrium so that no one dominates the other (p. 77; par. 1).”[1] In other words, when perfect balance has been achieved the ultimate reality exists.


Consider the ramifications of such a feat. Imagine if anyone can, perfect equilibrium. Its description is so sublime it’s frightening. At least, it is to me. Imagine, if anyone can an empty void. Imagine, if anyone can, a place where enemies do not exist. That may be enticing, but imagine, if anyone can, a place where loved ones cannot be. Imagine, if anyone can, a place where no light exists. Imagine, if anyone can, that we have no form. Imagine, if anyone can, a place where we do not exist. Only one word can describe such a place. That word is nothing. Only one flaw exists in this concept. It is an aberration of nature. It is the illusion of illusions.

   What are the three gunas? They are the rojas, sattwa, and the tamas gunas.[2] They are more easily recognized as the three illusions or tendencies of desire, tranquility, and fatigue. They are not harmful and are only labels with which to teach. They may also be responsible for suffering and the end to suffering. For instance, much of our suffering resides in our desires. One author describes suffering as being tied to lust, hatred, and ignorance.[3]

   Consider love. Many people, this very moment are searching for love. They don’t know what it is. They cannot describe it. They only know that they are supposed to have it or have experienced it. We’ll get into why in a moment. For now, let us say they are lusting after it. They have a very strong desire for love. People have done many things in pursuit of love, even killed others in an effort to possess it. When they believe they’ve found it, they tell themselves they are happy. Then the person they love no longer loves them, or the person they thought they loved isn’t the one. We are taught to cling to the fallacy of for every person there is the one, their other half, their soul mate, and until they find that person, they are incomplete. Theoretically, half of the people in the world are looking for their other halves. A portion of those halves may also believe that another possesses their half. Therefore, since it is their soul mate, they feel they have the right to take them away from their false lover, whatever the cost. Ridiculous, people don’t think like that, but they do. In 2010, 53 percent of those killed in the United States were at the hands of someone they knew. Furthermore, 37.5 percent were women who died at the hands of their husbands or boyfriends.[4] With regard to hatred, March of 2018 witnessed the development of the Division of Conscience and Religious Freedom within the civil rights office. According to NPR, the policy this supports allows employers to allow workers to refuse services, including medical services, if it violates the person’s religious or moral rights.[5] This deals specifically with homosexuals and transgenders. Imagine the potential suffering attached to such a purpose, which obviously is fed by ignorance. If any would properly investigate this issue, they would find such people are part of Nature’s Divine Harmony. However, this only address’s one of the gunas directly. There are tranquility and fatigue left.

   Tranquility or peace is something many crave. They are often taught that meditation brings this to them. Due to this belief, they become trapped in an illusion. Meditation does not bring tranquility. Meditation may be a pathway towards tranquility, but it does not bring or even cause one to feel tranquil. Such a sensation is a by-product of the practice, but not its purpose. Just as meditation is not a means for enlightenment. It can lead one towards enlightenment. Meditation is about awareness and awareness disperses fear. To become tranquil is to become undisturbed. Meditation often disturbs.

During the practice of meditation, we discover something of ourselves. We cannot silence the mind, as its nature is to generate thought. At best, we become aware of thought. As awareness occurs, the direction of mind turns upon itself. As we discover self, we find that disturbance is part of the process of the nature of mind. We discover the illusion of tranquility and enlightenment.

   Fatigue equates with disinterest. When we become disinterested in anything, it is because we have become interested in something else. Through our disinterest, we may fail in completing a task, a thought, or even an experience. Consider this. Many of us move through life as though on a cruise setting, in much the same fashion as travelling along the highway. We make minor adjustments. We move through the motions and routines because we have become disinterested in life. We have surrendered power to another. People such as these have chosen to avoid responsibility. An entire religious movement has been couched upon the concept of passing the buck. It thrives and even exploits the suffering of its supporters, encouraging disinterest. No wonder it has been referred to as the lazy man’s religion.[6]

   As any can see, the gunas may be portrayed as our enemy, but they are not. They are descriptors of the conditions of the life experience. The gunas are neither harmful nor helpful. They simply are because they are insinuated into the fabric of nature. Nature is dynamic. Therefore, they can never be equal. There may be one instance where the gunas and all else are equal. This brief moment in time can only exist in the space between thoughts. Only here, can there be no tranquility. Only here can there be no desire. Only here can there be no fatigue. Only between thoughts can such a thing exist, because there is nothing to compare. The same can be said of the Gnostic Aeon or Absolute. If God is unchanging, then God can only exist between thoughts.

   The nature of life is change. Change is not necessarily progress. The only place where change cannot occur is where life may not exist. The only place where the ultimate, changeless reality may exist is a place where there is no comparison. The perfected reality can only exist between thoughts. Between thoughts, there is no death, just as there is no life. For those seeking to depart the continuation of rebirth, they must find a way to remain here. Ironically, those who possess the skill to reach such a place are the same beings that have chosen to return to teach us. They are called bodhisattvas.

   Perhaps Vedantism would be a more precise path. This path leads us towards indistinctness. To be distinct or noticeable is a form of separation. When one becomes indistinct, they have reached a state of unity. Perfection, in this instance is a form of distinction, for it is an achievement, or an end. Since all things truly cannot end, reaching a state of perfection is an illusion or a guna. When we become indistinct, we have unified with nature, for others, they have joined with the Universe, the Absolute, or Infinite Intelligence. As we see a balance as being a deception, we also see a motionless reality as a deception. For when we look to nature, all is in motion, and flux is the natural state of all.

[1] (Bahm, 1964)

[2] (Bahm, 1964)

[3] (Leifer, 1998)

[4] (Justice, 2011)

[5] (Kodjak, 2018)

[6] (Bahm, 1964)


Bahm, A. (1964). The World's Living Religions: A searching comparison of the faiths of East and West. Carbondale and Edwardsville, IL: Souther Illinois University Press.

Justice, U. D. (2011). Expanded Homicide Data. Feder Bureau of Investigation. United States.

Kodjak, A. (2018, March 20). Civil Right Chief at HHS Defends the Right to Refuse Care on Religious Grounds. Retrieved March 31, 2018, from NPR:

Leifer, R. M. (1998). Buddhism and psychotherapy. In A. Rappaport, Buddhism in American. Boston, MA: Tuttle Publishing.


Escape the Throes of Suffering

   I would like to write that from the very beginning, humanity was conditioned to suffer, but this may be incorrect. A time may have existed when we did not suffer, relatively speaking. During the early stages of human development, our priority was survival. At the time, survival was not nearly as complicated as it is now. Survival at the dawn of our development may have amounted to basic necessities such as food, water, and shelter. These three formed the foundation of our sense of security. We could blame this on the need to survive, or we can move forward to a point when those needs are satisfied. In any case, suffering is a natural part of the life experience and it is up to the individual to redirect this energy towards something more useful.

   From the very first time humans stood upon two legs and demanded to be recognized, whether through genetic mutations brought about by nature's blunderings, a divine and as yet unfathomable consciousness, or through manipulations by alien visitors so long ago. Those primal needs are continual companions. The basics are food and water, shelter, security, and the need to belong. Security has many brothers and sisters in the form of confidence, ability, perception, and all things of the self. Security is often as elusive as the next member of our primal companions, the need to belong, or the need to be loved. No matter where you chose to begin, these companions are close at hand. They are constantly demanding to be fed and they have the ability to bend us to their will, if we let them.

   Being aware of our needs is the first step in befriending them. Yes, befriend them. To enter into combat with them can become a never-ending struggle for domination. Through cooperation, we can successfully obtain the basic necessities required to survive or succeed.

   Knowledge begets wisdom and wisdom begets responsibility and accountability. The acts we commit ourselves to, through every thought and movement are what move us in a direction. Moving forward is difficult to determine if we don’t know where we are or even where we’ve been. Only when we accept the fruits of our actions, whether beneficial or detrimental can we recognize the landmarks in our lives.

   There are those who claim suffering is the result of having desires. I disagree. Desires are what motivate us to help or to harm ourselves and those around us. Desire is one of those primeval companions walking beside us, aiding or hindering all that we do. Suffering is invited into our lives when we deny the fruits of our actions – which is often called ignorance. When we align ourselves with desire blindly, we create delusions in order to sooth the pain inflicted upon ourselves and others. These delusions are often in the form of blaming others for our misfortunes, our failures, and our station in life. Suffering takes us by the hand because we lack the courage to recognize suffering as the manipulator of our delusion. The companions of suffering are ignorance and impulsiveness. We discourage suffering by turning away suffering's companions, for suffering requires an audience.

   Impulsiveness travels with greed, envy, jealousy, and those emotions associated with detrimental behavior. Destructive is an incorrect term because often the growth process takes place through destruction and those things deemed to be evil. Detrimental behavior causes harm to the self and to those around us. When impulsiveness is paired with discipline, its acts are tempered. Discipline often becomes a part of our nature, which in turn helps to shape our habits. Correct actions may be seen as being impulsive because they are expressions of thoughts; behavior is merely an expression of our thoughts and emotions. Impulsive behavior is the expression of a person's emotions at play.

   Ignorance travels with a choice of companions, because ignorance is a choice. When we desire something or even another, we chose to become informed. We choose to know more about what we want or remain ignorant and covet. When we covet something, we become obsessed. Sometimes a person talks about the object of their desire incessantly while other times they may resort to stalking the person or the person who possesses what they covet. Planning is what discourages ignorance and those traveling with ignorance. Planning is part of the choice ignorance represents. When we become informed about something, we make numerous discoveries by the questions evoked. Do we truly want or need what we desire? Is it obtainable? What preparations need to be made? A goal has been set, and goals require plans if we are to succeed.

   Observation has revealed the thought processes of many, and what I have learned is not that people are lazy in this area, but are poorly trained. Laying plans as a means of obtaining a goal is a skill. Proper planning requires a person become informed and anticipatory. Unforeseen obstacles lay in wait, ambushing us with unexpected consequences forcing us to reevaluate our motives and alter our strategy. We must have a flexible mind to succeed. A mind rigid in purpose and pursuit is one who travels with ignorance, choosing to remain blind to themselves and to those around them. A flexible mind is an adaptable mind.

   Few of us actually pursue a goal without a plan. Plans can fail if poorly executed, just as properly executed plans can fail if poorly developed. In either case, a flexible mind can recover, whereas one trapped in the rigidity of process is doomed.

   To escape the throes of suffering, one must gain knowledge about what is fueling the experience. Wisdom comes from the application of the information gained through research and experience. As wisdom is gained, we find that we invite suffering to join us. We are responsible for what occurs in our lives, whether it is through ignorance, the consequences of our actions, or the of lack action on our part. Often suffering can be alleviated by responding accordingly. In the end, suffering is a condition of our delusions. Both are part of the experience of life. However, they need not control our life.

4 April 2018

Temporal Tools for Goals

The present has been the subject of several articles.  It most likely will be at the center of this one, but with a twist.  Like many activities, too much is not always better.  The same is true for certain aspects of our temporal existence, namely the past, the future, and we can’t seem to escape the present.  The present must always rest upon the past, just as it is dependent upon the future for sustenance.  What this means is our main focus should be on the present moment, not be mistaken for the current day.  The moment includes parts of the past and future, for they provide us with our bearings in life.  The moment brings to mind experiences from another time and anticipation of developing affairs.

As with all things, over indulgence is a risk we face almost continuously.  Focusing solely on the present is akin to walking down a street blind.  While blindness to us equates perpetual darkness, to the blind it may be a different form of sight.  Blinders, though remain blinders in any case.  Fixing our gaze solely on the present is disastrous because it puts us in a constant state of survival.  Living in survival mode is living paycheck-to-paycheck, event-to-event, or circumstance to circumstance.  Those who prefer living this way may have little in the way of subsistence.  For them, it is easier to avoid difficulties than reconciling them.  When I lived this way, life was a rut.  Change did not exist, unless moving from one crisis to the next is considered change.  To get out of this trap, I had to look elsewhere.  Looking backward appeared to be just as stagnant as standing still.


Moving backward is as bad as staying in the same place.  Everyone else is moving forward while those clinging to the past merely experience the passage of night and day.  Those not moving exist in a different time.  Living in the past is like looking for someone in one room while ignoring the others.  What’s the phrase people like to use?  ‘Same crap, different day.’  People may move physically through the day, meeting minor challenges out of habit, but they don’t seem to progress much.  Mentally they are stuck somewhere else.  A loved one who has passed, a husband or wife who has exited someone’s world, or perhaps that one moment when all was right in the world, only now you may not know what to do next.  These are markers people leave along the way in case they want to hang out for awhile.  Unfortunately, some chose to stay long past visiting hours.


People who favor living in the past have reasonably organized lives.  Structure allows them to experience their illusion to the fullest.  Those who live with both feet in tomorrow may have little regard for what is happening today.  They may appear disorganized and live in a fantasy of what life might be.  Satisfaction is an elusive sensation.  Many fail to recognize it when they are in the midst of it and are continuously searching for it.  People who live like this have no foundation.  They accomplish little in life because they don’t know what they want.  This should not be mistaken with obsession.  Those caught in an obsession are fulfilling a goal.


In each of these brief descriptions, people achieve little.  They have nothing to draw upon.  Those who draw from future and past experiences are able to measure their progress.  The purpose of temporal opposites is to provide us with a sense of movement.  Past and future are boundaries of today.  We are drawn to the past through a sense of nostalgia and call to the future to dream of possibilities.  No matter how strong the pull, we are rooted in the transition of time.  Each point is a tool for us to use.

What lies behind are the experiences of opportunities.  Judging them as mistakes, successes, or failures may undermine their value as instruments of development.  The same is true for what might be.  Tomorrow holds more than just opportunities.  Tomorrow holds experiences waiting to burst upon our sense of being.  I sometimes wonder if events control us.  I like to think we are able to exert some level of control over them.  I’m not implying we control the event itself, but I believe we have some level of influence in how they affect what happens around us.  When we chose to do so, we act with intent.  This approach moves us closer towards a goal.


Within is the ability to shape events relative to our authentic self, or to allow ourselves to be part of the landscape.  You are the artist of your life.  Only you can blend the colors of creation in shades pleasing to you.  Those who attempt to create in place of others reshape us into versions of themselves.  Their desire to shape another’s life is unfulfilling for those forced to take ownership.  Life only holds meaning for the one creating it.  Take ownership of your life.  One way of taking ownership is through goals.

Setting goals harmonizes the past and future with today.  They help you shape your experience of life in a fashion unique to you.  Goals, big and small, are sign posts created by you and understood by you.  They mark your progress through life.  Goals are temporal tools to help people move through life in a meaningful way.  For those who desire to improve their life experience, but do not know how or have trouble doing it on their own may want a BRDNSKY Guide.  Changing only one aspect of your life brings changes throughout the life spectrum (Newham-Kanas, Irwin, & Morrow, 2008).  Most people, when asked what they want in life don’t know (Maslow, 1970).  You have a choice.  Don’t be one of them.


Works Cited

Maslow, A. H. (1970). Motivation and Personality (2 ed.). New York: Harper and Rowe Publishing.

Newham-Kanas, C., Irwin, J. D., & Morrow, D. (2008). Co-active life coaching as a treatment for adults with obesity. International Journal of Evidence Based Coaching and Mentoring, 6(2). doi:Business Source Complete

What it means to be an Adult

What is it like being an adult?  Not the kind of question I would expect from a thirteen-year child whose main concerns were bullies and homework.  He also happened to be my client.  The question evoked all sorts of responses and images.  Taking me to a time when I was a teenager daydreaming about it would be like being an adult.  Walking home from junior-high school, I would say to myself, “I can’t wait until I’m an adult.  Then I can do anything I want.  No more school.”  What a joke that turned out to be.  I ended up going back to school several times.  If someone wants to stay on top of their game, they needed to continue improving their skills.  People become habitually unemployed.  In the first ten years as an employable member of society, I would have to take off my shoes to count how many times I was without work.  Often, people find themselves in this predicament is because they have adopted the attitude that school is out forever.  This only works for Alice Cooper.  When a person chooses to be this shortsighted, they are placing severe limitations on their potential.  I had better take this young man’s question seriously, because I want him to reach his potential.

I could tell him as an adult, you can do what you want, only that is a myth.  For someone to do what they want to do, they often have to do things they do not want to do.  Paying bills and taxes are things no one wants to do.  People don’t always realize that paying bills is a good thing; it means you are earning money.  We pay bills because we want to do the things we enjoy.  We pay taxes because we want protection.  We pay taxes because we want to help those in need.  At the same time, we don’t want to pay taxes because those in charge squander our hard-earned money.  Is this what it means to be an adult?  Is this what I wanted to impart to this child?

Then I began hearing some of the smart assed comments adults like throw out, thinking they are cute.  ‘You pay taxes, and then you die.’  ‘Life’s a bitch.  As some of these comments voiced themselves, I remember the one thing I tried to teach my children, to think.  When one did something he or she knew was wrong, if the child could convince me it was the right thing to do, no punishment was given.  If I was not convinced…well, you know what followed.  I didn’t swat their butts or send them to bed without supper.  I explained why I their explanation was unacceptable.  No, the lecture was not the punishment.  I asked them open-ended questions.  This allowed them to arrive at a better solution on their own.  This must have worked, because my son, who was eight or nine at the time, came up with a good reason for being late.

At the time, I lived in a mobile home community.  Like any other kid, my three liked to roam the park and mingle.  During the summer, night rolls in around 9:30 and they needed to be in by 8:30.  My son, who is also the oldest, came home one evening around ten o’clock.  As soon as he closed the door, he began his explanation. 

“Sorry, I’m late, dad,” he began as he caught his breath, “but I couldn’t leave.”

He must have run home.  “Why?”  I asked. 

“Mrs. Carlson asked me if I would watch her kids while she went to the store.  She was late getting back.”

He was confident in his response.  “Why didn’t come and tell me before she left?”  I challenged.

“She said she would only be gone an hour.”  He offered.  Then added, “She left around seven.  I thought she would be back in time.”

“Couldn’t you have walked over here with them?”  I continued.  The park was only three blocks and isolated.  I lived in the middle, which meant that traffic was not a problem.

“She had already put them to bed.”  He said defensively.  “They’re only three and four.”

I thought about it for a moment.  “Good enough.”  I decided.  “You did the right thing.  Next time someone asks you to watch their kids,” I added, “check with me first.”  No punishment.  I hadn’t forgotten what my kids were like when they were small.  Even a short walk around the house can give them enough time to get into some mischief.  I was impressed.  Of the three, he was the only one who thought before acting.  It didn’t stop him from making mistakes, but at least they were not as bad as they could have been.

My answer to my client was, “Being an adult is being accountable for your actions.  Being an adult is being responsible for what you do.  Unfortunately, many adults blame others for their situations when most of the time it was a lack of action on their part.  At least," I added, “that has been my observation.”

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BRDNSKY Guide...

The idea of coaching others has been around for a long time.  I received training in 1996 through Indiana University South Bend.  Certification through Coach Training Alliance came later

Did You Know?

Producing value is tied to honesty and integrity.  Thus, producing value is easier than creating value.



Hamilton, Mark; Alexander, Tracy; Savage, Eric & Wallace, Frank R. (2007). The Nouveau Tech Package of Inside Secrets. Neo-Tech Books

Want to know more?

Experiencing Difficulties?

Some of the issues people experience may be due to unfinished business, meaning they can be traced to past relational conflicts.  Other problems may be a person's inability to reconcile events with expectations.  Exploring this possibility is important, because they can be resolved today.


From Barbara Okun & Ricki Kantrowitz - Effective Helping: Interviewing and Counseling Techniques

Research Note Between Religion and Spirituality

Spirituality is described as an exercise on personal freedom, personal experience, personal well-being and meaning to life in general. All of this takes place outside the realm of traditional religious practice, which is rooted in obedience to moral rules established by religious institutions.

F. Garelli (2007). Review of Religious Research, 48 (3) 318-326