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Pacific Book Review
All spiritual traditions mandate harmlessness, yet the twentieth century was the most violent period in human history. How is this possible? Positive Harmlessness in Practice documents that we have no collective experience of harmlessness because our habits of harm are so pervasive. To build our "harmlessness muscle", Dr. Riddle details a pragmatic three-step daily practice-a Butterfly Shift. Such mini-immersion experiences of harmlessness help us develop the skills and habits that make it possible for us to embed harmlessness as our core value. Positive Harmlessness invites us to embrace an ethic of harmlessness, individually and as a human family. Practical exercises and a Harmlessness Scale help us learn to model harmlessness in all that we think, say, and do.
Continuing her progression of reason from: Principles of Abundance for the Cosmic Citizen: Enough for Us All, Volume One, Dr. Dorothy I. Riddle astounds the reader with cognitive awareness in her sequel, Positive Harmlessness in Practice: Enough for Us All, Volume Two.
Harmlessness, a 12 letter word; etymology defines it to be compounded in the 13th century by the concept of what is harm and suggesting ways to avert such action. Dr. Riddle expands on “Harmlessness” from every conceivable angle. She begins with analysis of human psychology interleaved with social situations, addressing in particular violence to women. We all need a cognitive awareness of each other as being an element of our own existence. With her combination of logic, research and scientific observation, Dorothy I. Riddle concisely postures a unique platform of transpicuous insight to the fundamental core of human behavior. She challenges our own beliefs as she humbly outlines courses of action for us to further gain self-awareness through many provocative “exercises” strategically placed throughout her book. With kindness in her written voice, her book pages like a novel however is organized like a text book. Complete with a comprehensive table of contents, footnotes, web links and an index, she promotes further reading on tangent topics.
As I read Positive Harmlessness in Practice, I typically would bend a bottom corner of a page for retuning to cite an example. I must admit this book looked like an origami carnation with so many corners indexed of astonishing details I wish to convey. Hence I certainly recommend Positive Harmlessness in Practice for all. It is a challenging, thought provoking and inspirational book, one worthy of multiple readings and sharing among friends and loved ones. This is an excellent continuation of the theories presented in Dorothy I. Riddle’s first book, Principles of Abundance for the Cosmic Citizen: Volume One, with much anticipation to what may come in Moving Beyond Duality: Enough for Us All: Volume Three.
An excerpt which especially lingers in my mind is about the heart and the brain. Dorothy I. Riddle quoted the Institute of HeartMath: “The heart is not just a muscle. It’s also a sensory organ and a sophisticated information processing center. The heart actually has its own nervous system, which gives it the ability to sense, learn, remember and make functional decisions independent of the brain …The heart is part of the emotional system and … plays an important role in how we feel and think … Emotions are reflected in the patterns of our heart rhythms … Positive emotions like appreciation, care, compassion and love lead to a more ordered and coherent heart rhythm pattern.” I call this a “Wow” realization; never have I quite understood this in such this way before.
Another concept embellished and reflected in multitudinous ways is the “Butterfly Shift.” Dorothy Riddle appropriately credits the work of mathematician and meteorologist Edward Lorenz in popularizing the term “Butterfly Effect” in his 1972 paper titled, “Predictability: Does the flap of a Butterfly’s Wings in Brazil Set Off a Tornado in Texas?” The Butterfly Shift refers to slight nuances of social behavior which affect each other and become amplified. As exemplified by minute eye movements perceived by infants resulting in characteristic behavior, or subtle body language during conversations; a culmination of our individual changes of behavior becomes the vibration resonating societal change to mankind. As an inspirational empowerment for all of us to seek importance in one’s own desire to rid the world of harm, Dr. Riddle quotes Gandhi as saying, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”