The Self is a Belief
The Self is a Belief is my latest book (2018, fall), and is a close-up look at the “I,” self, or egoistic mind, and how it is formed to create what we think is an individual self. For millennia sages of the East have been teaching about this false sense of self as the cause of most suffering. This is because the self identifies with the body and all sorts of objects and people.
The mind is a tool that has evolved to separate all things by way of the five senses. It does this to differentiate shapes, sounds, textures, tastes, and so on. But when this mind becomes conditioned by myriad influences over a lifetime then it comes to apply this same separation to life for nonpractical purposes. And this is where the self, the egoic self, is born. This conditioned mind becomes attached to ideas, memories, situations, accolades, the body, and on and on. As such it presents a false image of the world and all that is contained within it. It loses the knowledge that it actually exists in one flowing consciousness and that nothing is separate from consciousness.
In The Self is a Belief I bring in a great many voices to weigh in on this idea of consciousness, the self, and the problems that arise from this belief. You can read about yogis, sages, mystics, quantum physicists, neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who all have something interesting to say on the subject.
This book is based on my own personal findings, and at the end of the book, my wife Janice describes the process of self inquiry which leads to the realization that the self is only a belief. It is a practice that anyone can do if interested enough to uncover the ceaseless cycle of pursuing pleasure and avoiding pain.
Stressing Out Over Happiness
— exploring the effects of stress, meditation and happiness
Stressing Out Over Happiness is a new self-help book that merges the wisdom of ancient sages, neuroscientists, psychologists, philosophers and quantum physicists to explore the nature of happiness, the physiological and mental aspects of stress, and how the mind works. This book also delves into the two forms of Buddhist meditation that have been shown in university studies to lessen the effects of stress and lead to greater happiness.
If you are stressed out (who isn’t), anxious, depressed or wandering in a daze, this book should prove very helpful to you. If you are a natural health practitioner, nurse, or therapist, you should read what this work has to say because there is definitely a missing link in today’s health care picture — a holistic paradigm.
The mind is very complicated instrument. Or is it an instrument at all? The truth is that, despite our scientific effort, we are no closer to understanding the mind in terms of its shape, form or existence. We know it by its actions, but we cannot measure it or observe it except by means of its effect on the brain. To study the mind, we have to look into the nature of consciousness, and that is a big undertaking. In this book, though, we do just that. My hope is that this book will compel you to ask your own questions and explore the workings and nature of your own mind and your own existence. In the end, this should not only bring down stress levels, but it should also make you much happier.
Ups and Downs With No Regrets:
George Lichter’s story amazing adventures.
World War II veteran combat pilot Captain George Lichter who passed away at age 91, is the subject of a new biography called Ups and Downs With No Regrets.
Ups and Downs, written by Vic Shayne, follows George’s life through his growing up years in Brooklyn where he was first smitten with dreams of flying while standing transfixed on the beach at Gravesend Bay watching a tourist plane take off from the surf. By age six, George knew he wanted to become a pilot, and when he saw the silent WWI movie Wings in 1927, he realized that flying combat would be the ultimate thrill. George’s dream came true in December, 1941 when the United States entered World War II. Pearl Harbor was attacked on Sunday, December 7, and George lined up to join the Army Air Force the next day.
Ups and Downs is all about George, an athletic kid whose idea of fun always meant pushing his luck, taking crazy risks, and looking to try something new. These traits made him an ideal candidate for pilot training and air combat. In fact, his daring nature nearly got him killed on more than one occasion, including the time in 1943 when he and a fellow pilot decided to buzz New York Harbor and flew under the nose of the Statue of Liberty.
By the end of the war, George had flown more than 88 combat missions over Nazi-occupied Europe. Though he crashed and had his plane shot full of bullets, George emerged from the war unscathed but highly decorated with the European Theatre Ribbon and four battle stars, battle stars for air war service and battle stars for flying combat during the invasion of Normandy (D-Day). Only a couple of years after WWII had ended, and trying to settle down in the business world, George discovered that the new nation of Israel was about to be attacked by its Arab neighbors on the even of being granted its independence by the United Nations.
“I knew I couldn’t just sit by and do nothing,” George recalls. “I thought it was going to be a slaughter, but we had to try to fight back.”
George contacted the Israelis and joined their war effort. But instead of sending him to fly combat, the Israelis had more important plans for him, not to mention that the Israelis had no fighter planes in service. They sent him to Czechoslovakia where the new Israeli pilots were to be quickly trained for aerial combat as an air force was being centered around remnants and spare parts from used WWII planes. Ironically, the Israelis’ first aircraft were reconfigured German Messerschmitts made in Czechoslovakia.
Given his war record and exceptional piloting skills, George was chosen to be Israel’s chief trainer. Within months, the Israelis had put together an air force and took control over of their territorial skies to answer the bombing strikes of the Egyptian Air Force. During his tenure as chief instructor, George led a group of new fighter pilots through dangerous skies on a mission to bring Spitfires into Israel. For this perilous flight, rescuing a novice pilot lost in the fog near Yugoslavia and for his dedication, the nation of Israel recognized him as the one of the most treasured of their machal (foreign volunteer) military experts.
Nancy Spielberg (Steven’s sister) is currently finishing a feature documentary on the exploits and service of the machal fighters, featuring George Lichter among the living pilots involved in Israel’s War of Independence, 1948.
Ups and Downs With No Regrets features the favorable reviews of two celebrities — actor Jerry Stiller and television personality/author Dr. Ruth Westheimer, both of whom are personal friends of George Lichter. Dr. Ruth served as a sniper during Israel’s War of Independence. The book is not only about George’s war service, but also about his personal life, sexual exploits, stints as a trumpet player in college and in the Catskill Mountain resorts, battle with antisemitism, and world travels.
Ups and Downs With No Regrets is the personal story of George Lichter written by Vic Shayne and available on amazon.com. Published 2013. Shayne is also the author ofRemember Us: From my shtetl through the Holocaust, a first-person memoir of survivor Martin Small, 2009, Sky Horse Publishing.
Remember Us is now available in book stores across the country. It has reached the amazon.com and Wall Street Journal best seller lists and has received wide acclaim. You can also order it online by clicking here for amazon.com.
This book is the remarkable true story that begins in a world of Yiddish culture, bucolic countryside life in pre-war Poland and family relationships that were once the foundation of Jewish life. Living an idyllic life with family, friends and community, Martin Small was steeped in tradition, learning and culture only to be swept away in the storm of the Holocaust. His unchosen journey took him into a slave labor camp, into the forests as a partisan, into Mauthausen concentration camp, through displaced persons camps and further, all of which presented tests of body and soul.
I spent an intensive three and a half years interviewing and talking with Martin Small, going through his documents and photos, and listening to him address audiences with his message of loss and redemption. The result of these years is this book, Remember Us, in which I wrote Martin’s life story in the first person.
I invite you to read this book that has been heralded by Nobel Prize recipient Eli Wiesel, actor Jerry Stiller, actor/producer Ed Asner and many others, including veterans of World War II.
Remember Us is available in bookstores nationwide, as well as online.