The choice is simple, but the consequences are profound. Basically, our defenses are put into play in important relationships again and again. Our feelings then become enacted indefinitely. In new relationships and amongst strangers, we replay the unresolved conflicts and relationship dynamics that caused us to install our defenses in the first place. These enactments aren't limited to our immediate family, or anyone who may have directly hurt us. When it comes to how painful and frightening experiences impact us, we tend to generalize, treating everyone in the world as if they're the source of our hurt and fear. Clots work both sides of the field: offense and defense. In fact, those who think of their Clotish behavior as defensive still enact it offensively, protecting themselves by attacking, provoking, playing the victim, and doing whatever it takes to knock others off their game to avoid being hurt. If you're a Clot, the likelihood is that you run on obsessive fuel; your anger rationalizes your behavior as you think compulsively about the people who hurt you, and you simultaneously become the target of other's obsessions, since the people you hurt retaliate. Again, all Clots mistake counterattacks for unprovoked attacks. You have endurance and staying power! For sure it's not War and Peace, but I do know that most articles purchased these days stay tight on our articleshelves, virtual or real, and never get opened. I really do believe you show the personal qualities like perseverance that reflect a good character. One final thing I want to suggest. That is, if you haven't taken any concrete social action during the time you were reading this article, make some plans right now before you do anything else. Assuming you read the article because you want to be better, knowledge is the essential pre-requisite, but for lasting change you need to take action : I know it can be hard and as I've said, we need to overcome our inertia and some fear of the unknown. But I am sure we can agree that only great and brave things will come from all our small, but decisive leaps of faith. Maybe we have normalized drinking alcohol, like our acceptance of obesity and America's love for soda. Are we, as in many other ways, taking personal freedom too far?

costs us a lot of money in consequential health problems, and not just for alcoholics. When Fraenkel observed his samples under a microscope, he observed bacteria shaped differently than what Friedlander had reported. So while there was increasingly broad agreement on the fact that bacteria caused pneumonia, there was sharp disagreement about which of the two bacteria, Friedlander's or Fraenkel's, was the real cause of the disease. As the debate continued, Fraenkel became more aggressive and hostile toward Friedlander and made a number of personal attacks on him. The acrimony continued to the point that Friedlander wrote, in the decorous language of the age, Of the manifold personal attacks and remonstrates which Fraenkel has directed against me in different places of his work, let them cease. I do not hold them fitting. 20 Fraenkel, however, did not change his tone. Resolving the discrepancy between the results fell to yet another scientist, who happened to be a graduate student and protege of Friedlander. His name was Hans Christian Gram. A physician originally from Copenhagen, he spoke German with a Danish accent and had earned his adviser's trust. Friedlander called Gram my esteemed friend and co-laborer. Like other negative states, low self- esteem often creates conditions of greater vulnerability, in this case to anything that might threaten identity. However, most people don't realize that the picture is rather different for those with mildly to moderately low self- esteem. This level can be represented as being nearer the upper portion of the same quadrant. To be sure, low self- esteem is not a pleasant state in which to be personally or interpersonally, but this level of low self- esteem is not clinically significant. Contrary to popular opinion, for instance, most people with this moderate level of low self- esteem do not walk around like the psychologically wounded. In other words, they do not hate themselves. Indeed, they don't even feel terribly bad about themselves. Instead, many people with mild levels of low self- esteem simply tend to focus on protecting this valuable resource rather than expanding it. To them, protecting the self and maintaining a stable sense of identity is much more important than risking the self even if that is the way to grow or expand identity and well- being (Tice, 1993.

) If one has knowledge, guidance and access to simple effective practices, then it is much easier to consistently choose the path of wisdom. You, too, can follow Nachiketas and choose the path of wisdom. Before we get started on that path, we need to look at the three key elements that underpin this article: Sanskrit, other timeless wisdom traditions, and practice. It is said that Sanskrit is the language of the universe. The wise say, that when all the noise and distractions fall back and the still, small voice is heard in our hearts, the language it speaks is pure and perfectly formed--in other words, sanskrita. The Sanskrit language that we find in dictionaries and learned works of grammar reflects this perfect universal language. Sanskrit is ancient, yet it is as relevant today as it was thousands of years ago. That which is timeless is always relevant. When I use the term Sanskrit, I will usually be referring to the ancient language of Indian scripture and philosophy, taught in universities and chanted in ashrams. However, some seekers use Sanskrit to mean that limitless language of the Universe heard by those with ears to hear; But people trapped in what feels like a threatening emotional experience are not just your average, run-of-the-mill Clots. While they may seem naturally inclined to devalue others, they actually feel like they're fighting for their lives. After all, if someone else's behavior seriously affects how you feel about yourself--that is, threatens your very sense of self--you can be damned sure it's going to trigger you to react as if your very life is at stake. It's not so hard to see how being a Clot serves as a kind of preemptive strike against reflected appraisals--the way we see ourselves in the context of others' treatment. How we experience ourselves influences how we navigate situations that might trigger anxiety, and those unconscious choices can feel like habit rather than reactive decisions. There can even be the sense that how you behave is simply who you are. As if being a Clot is so essential, it feels more like fate or heredity than a juvenile defense developed from the perception that the world is scary. We keep acting like Clots to retroactively and preemptively account for other people's bad behavior, all but ensuring that poor treatment indeed comes down on us in a self-fulfilling prophecy. Clots attract ill consequences from the people in their environments.

Intentionally behaving rudely allows them to make sense of other people's substandard treatment of them, yet that kind of retroactive excuse-making is often extended to the people who were unwilling or unable to effectively care for them as kids as well. It causes certain cancers, and it also contributes to obesity, car accidents, suicides, and homicides. Between 2006 and 2015, there was a 61 percent rise in alcohol-related emergency room visits in America. 6 More than ever, people are binge drinking and getting blackout drunk, which lands them in the hospital with alcohol poisoning. College kids come in with shock to the liver after heavy drinking, which sometimes results in long-term damage. Cirrhosis of the liver, a result of chronic alcoholism, can lead to a liver transplant, an expensive procedure that then requires long-term medication and care. While no drinking is the best for your health, the impact of moderate drinking is much less than binge drinking. If you're not willing to give up whatever drink it is you enjoy--and my hand is raised here--we should all consider drinking a little less. Drinking or abusing alcohol often goes along with smoking cigarettes. Both are detrimental. 21 It would fall to Gram to determine which scientist--Fraenkel or Friedlander--had identified the bacteria responsible for pneumonia. In the lab, Gram spent his days preparing slides for the microscopes, which required that he use various coloring methods so that some parts of the tissue would become more prominent and easier to see. This work was long and painstaking, and Gram was bothered by the fact that traditional methods of coloring the samples often left multiple parts of the tissue the same undifferentiated color. When the sample was viewed under the microscope, it was difficult to see whether there were any bacteria or not. Gram was determined to improve the process and, consequently, the results. He had read the work of Robert Koch, a leader in the field of bacteriology, and of Paul Ehrlich, a highly prolific scientist and a Koch protege. Armed with new insights from other German labs at the forefront of dyes and biological staining, Gram set to work. Gram started off by following the tissue-coloring methods developed by Ehrlich. The initial results were failures.

For the research on pneumonia that Gram was undertaking in Friedlander's lab, Ehrlich's methods--which stained the tissue with a particular dye called aniline-gentian violet--did not work. Mildly low self- esteem, for example, is often accompanied by something called self- handicapping, which is a way of regulating behavior so that self- esteem is protected. Such individuals are very interested in the opportunity to be more successful or more valued when such times come along in life. However, instead of focusing on the positive opportunities that come with taking the risks necessary for good things to actually occur, they focus on the potentially negative ones, such as the possibility of failure or embarrassment. These outcomes would result in a loss of self- esteem, so instead of making a full commitment to doing what is necessary to support personal or interpersonal growth, they hold back or psychologically hedge their bets. The logic of this strategy runs something like this: If I prepare myself for failure, then I won't feel as bad as if I really tried hard and failed. If I don't try my best, then I can always say to myself and others that maybe the next time I'll do better. Or the reasoning might go, I want to get closer to this person, but I don't want to feel rejected. Therefore, I'll give him or her a hint about my interest and maybe he or she will respond. If not, I can blame it on the fact that I didn't really express my intent well or that the other person failed to see it at the time. Psychologists also call this type of thinking rationalization, and its purpose is to defend the self. that still small voice that is forever calling to all of us, telling us the beautiful limitless truth of who we really are. This form of Sanskrit, this voice, is what aspirants at the higher levels of conscious spiritual development hear. Later in this article I will deal with the seven gateways to transformation that a seeker passes through to attain these higher levels of conscious development. The meaning we give to something determines our reality and life experience. If you see a grizzly bear coming towards you, then the meaning, or interpretation, in that moment will be one of danger, fear and survival. If you see a kitten charging at you, the meaning and experience is different. For the most part, we are unconscious of the meanings we lay over our reality. We project the meanings we hold in our heart and mind onto our lives. The meaning of something, our interpretation of it, determines our thoughts, words and actions.