Values in Action


Values in Action (VIA) comes from positive psychology, and is a way to rank our individual character strengths. What is important to me? What am I good at? How can make use of it in everyday life? What ranks lower for me? How can I strengthen those?

The VIA test can be taken at the Institute for Character website, or at Authentic Happiness which has a wide range of tests.

Here is my current Values in Action score. I have guesses how it relates to NEO PI in parenthesis.

Your Top Strength

Creativity, ingenuity, and originality (may be similar to high in Openness to Experience in the NEO PI)
Thinking of new ways to do things is a crucial part of who you are. You are never content with doing something the conventional way if a better way is possible.

Your Second Strength

Love of learning (related to high in Openness and Conscientiousness)
You love learning new things, whether in a class or on your own. You have always loved school, reading, and museums-anywhere and everywhere there is an opportunity to learn.


NEO PI (ii)


I took the brief online NEO PI test again.

My energy level fluctuates some due to the chronic fatigue, which is reflected in some of these results. When I feel better, as I do now, my level of extraversion goes up slightly, and my level of neuroticism goes down. I also suspect my conscientiousness, agreeableness,  openness to experience goes up. With more rest, as I have had the last several days, I feel a bit more energetic, am more able to get things done, feel more friendly towards others and myself, and am more interested in life in general.


13.7 billion years


My birthday is coming up, and a couple of people have asked how old I am.

In the context of birthdays the answer is simple. It is the age of this human organism after it emerged from the womb.

But there are many other ways of answering the question. Each one equally valid and meaningful, and sometimes even more meaningful.

This organism was born a certain number of years ago, although the dynamics and shape of this organism has changed dramatically since then. The only thing that tells me it is the same organism are stories of different types – name, memories, photographs etc.

My subjective age is different. I experience myself as infinitely old, very young, as about 20 years old, when I am reminded of it – about the age of this organism, and as having no age at all.

This organism was conceived and developed for about 9 months prior to its birth and becoming visible to others, so that is a more accurate age than years from birth.




I went into a bookstore a couple of days ago and found copies of Sarah Palin’s autobiography prominently displayed in the fiction section. It may have been a staff person who deliberately placed them there, or a customer with a sense of humor. For a book with so many obvious distortions and factual errors, it is perhaps a good placement.

But all biographies and autobiographies are in a very real sense fictional. They are heavily filtered through interpretations and whatever information is available – itself just a selection and heavily interpreted.




When I was 17 or so, I remember sitting outside one summer day reading a book, looking up at the leaves against the light blue sky, and noticing a light band around the leaves. I took it to be an optical illusion. In the following days and weeks, I notice a similar light band around animals, inanimate objects and also humans. And it was slightly different in each case. Around plants, a vitality and also quite uniform. Around animals, a little more alive and varied further out. Around inanimate object, very simple and clear. Around humans, even more varied further out.

This difference around different types of objects suggested that it was something more than an optical illusion, and I soon realized that what I was seeing was more of a property of the object I saw it around. One or two years later I met someone who was much more familiar with this and helped me be more comfortable with it, partly through looking at the field around people and recognizing that we saw the same thing, or at least something so similar that the differences were not noticeable in language.




Another brief biographical nugget. (This one also shared with many.)

When I was a child, younger than school age, I had several flashes of memories from before I was born. There was a sense of golden luminosity, an infinite love and wisdom, and of being home. There was also a sene of communication taking place, possibly about this particular life.

These flashes would happen most frequently when I was outside in the garden during the summer, seeing the light filtering through the leaves of the trees.

Looking back, it is funny – although very understandable – how I didn’t make any connection between this and religion as a kid. The only forms of religion I had been exposed to had a distant and abstract cardboard-feel to it, and this memory was vivid, alive and rich. And not even just a memory, but also alive and present in the timeless now.



A small biographical tidbit which illustrates a more universal dynamic.

As a child, I would often wake up in the morning with a deep longing. And I would get up and eat a strawberry jam sandwich (my favorite), be with my parents, read Donald Duck comics, and do other things to try to still or satisfy the longing, but nothing worked.

Then, as there was the initial (Ground+soul level) awakening in my mid-teens, I realized that this was what I had longed for. I knew – somewhere in the background – that this is what I am, and longed intensely for it. I was finally home, and finally, I knew what home was.