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Integrated Intelligence as Practice

Can we deliberately employ the non-local properties of mind in creativity, business and education? I recently argued that we can in an article published in the Journal of Nonlocality. Here is the full version of the article, with links up front.

J. Nonlocality: Special Issue on Psi and Nonlocal Mind, 2017

Integrated Intelligence as Practice: Ideas, Insight and Inspiration Marcus T. Anthony
Bryant College, Beijing Institute of Technology (Zhuhai)
The PDF file of this article can be found here:

AbsractInspiration and insight in the sciences, education, business and arts are typically assumed to be founded upon neuro-centric cognitive processes. Personal experience and sensory data are often believed to be all that an individual may draw upon in the creative process. Yet the idea of non-local mind invites us to consider the possibility that inspiration and insight may utilize information and experience beyond that of the individual, and beyond the present moment, drawing upon past, present and future information fields. This paper highlights reports and deliberate invocations of non-local mind, including several current applications in the field of Critical Futures Studies. Some of the common tools and applications are briefly described. Finally, this paper identifies some of the typical problems that may arise from deliberate activation of the extended mind. The argument is situated within Anthony’s theory of integrated intelligence.

 

Integrated intelligence yesterday and today Integrated Intelligence is the deliberate employment in problem-solving of a wide range of human cognitive abilities spanning not only the scientifically accepted, neuro-physiological cognitive processes, but also including the non-local mind. It is my argument that integrated intelligence is processed through the brain, such that the cognitive functions are similar to those represented in scientifically accepted models of creativity and intuition (Anthony 2008, du Tertre 2012). Integrated intelligence therefore incorporates mental functions which might be deemed “psychic” or “supernatural” by mainstream science, and thus typically derided or simply ignored.

Despite the current predominance of scientific skepticism, integrated intelligence has been widely accepted throughout human history, in all cultures (Markley 2015a). Markley argues that this intuitive faculty is often misunderstood, assumed to be accessible only to the gifted (such as seers, oracles, medicine people, prophets and so on); yet various spiritual disciplines have maintained that it can be developed through meditative discipline (Markley 2015a).

Acknowledgment and deliberate employment of integrated intelligence has featured strongly with many scientists, scholars and philosophers in the western world, including Pythagoras, Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus, Augustine, Aquinas, Kant, and Bergson (Markley 2015a). Even though after the advent of the scientific and industrial revolutions the intuitive mind has tended to be discarded by many modern thinkers and organizations (Markley 2015a), there are many exceptions in recent history. Just a few individuals who have acknowledged the extended mind include psychiatrists Carl Jung and Stan Grof (2000), R. Buckminster Fuller, ecologist Barbara Marx Hubbard (2015), physicist Brian Josephson, systems theorist Ervin Laszlo, and futurists Oliver Markley (2015a,b) and Sohail Inayatullah. Outside of the accepted science of creativity, numerous popular ideas and programs either explicitly or implicitly embrace the ideal of the non-local mind. For example there are thousands of new age, self-and-spiritual development philosophies which hold to this ideal.

Finally, as outlined below, some western (and non-western) governments, organizations and individuals have attempted to tap into the non-local mind to facilitate enhanced foresight, strategy and problem- solving. My practical examples will focus particularly upon some examples from the field of Critical Futures Studies.

My purpose here is not to endorse such teachings as being non-problematic, merely to point out that beyond the accepted parameters of western mainstream science and education, such ideas are widespread. They are commonly found in almost all societies. For example, in the technology industries in Asia, many entrepreneurs and organizations regularly consult the IChing when making important business decisions, as will be outlined below (Chang 2015).

How much of the insights gleaned from such books, programs and apps are actually enhanced by non-local mind? How much can be attributed to neural-based incubation or pure self-delusion? Such questions are left for the contemplation of the reader.

The rejection of integrated intelligence In the western world, integrated intelligence was once commonly accepted as normal. However, with the advent of materialist science and experimentalism (Pickstone 2000), along with the industrial revolution of the mid-eighteenth century, science and psychology turned away from the inspirational, focusing upon physiological explanations for conscious experience. By the mid twentieth century any “parapsychological” or spiritual explanations or experiences were treated with hostility (Sheldrake 2014).
The emergence of the aggressive skeptic communities only reinforced the non-receptive nature of the intellectual environment. Perhaps the most telling case involved the widespread hostile decision which was directed at Nobel Prize winning physicist Brian Josephson, when he publicly acknowledged the rigorous work of the discipline of parapsychology in Great Britain. Josephson has since become a veritable pariah of the scientific community, suffering a virtual excommunication (Sheldrake 2014).

The oft-dismissal of integrated intelligence in modern science and neuroscience has created an unnecessarily delimited model of “mind.” This narrow representation does not acknowledge the greater range of non-local data which may be at the disposal of human beings. It has also been argued that the framing of mind in such impoverished terms is psychologically unhealthy, as the dissociation of “self” from the world creates a sense of alienation. Some have stated that this is central to the dilemma of human beings in the modern age (Sheldrake 2014, Tarnas 2000, du Tertre 2012).

Visionary experience in science, and the peculiar case of de Grasse Tyson A recent case highlights not only the potentially powerful insights that integrated intelligence may provide, but also the difficulty in discussing such ideas in some mainstream scientific circles. In the first episode of the documentary series Cosmos (2014), eminent scientist Neil De Grasse Tyson describes a seemingly psychic experience involving Giordano Bruno, the sixteenth century Italian Dominican friar, philosopher, mathematician, poet, and astrologer.

Bruno was deeply influenced by his visionary experiences. However, at that time the Church was incredibly powerful, and heavily intolerant of any challenges to its sun-and-God-centered map of the cosmos. As in Cosmos, Bruno had a powerful vision which shaped his decision to leave the Church and push for ecclesiastical reform. In the dream Bruno experienced himself leaving his body, and flying out into the universe. There he felt he personally witnessed the limitless nature of the cosmos. What he experienced convinced him that Copernicus was right in positing the sun at the centre of the universe. Cosmos recounts Bruno’s dream as follows:

“I spread confident wings to space and soared toward the infinite, leaving far behind me what others strained to see from a distance. Here, there was no up. No down. No edge. No centre. I saw that the Sun was just another star. And the stars were other Suns, each escorted by other Earths like our own. The revelation of this immensity was like falling in love” (Cosmos 2014).

Thus Bruno became convinced that the God of the Church was far smaller than the extant God of all existence. He believed that the sun was just one of many stars, and speculated that many worlds might lie beyond the Earth and that they too might be inhabited. This got Bruno into a lot of trouble, and he was imprisoned for eight years as a heretic, before being cruelly burnt at the stake by the Inquisition. It is said that his tongue and palate were pierced with iron stakes (Tarnas 2000). Despite years of persecution, Bruno refused to renounce his beliefs, famously stating to his inquisitors, “Perhaps your fear in passing judgment on me is greater than mine in receiving it” (Cosmos 2014). The relative accuracy of Bruno’s vision helped him to develop ideas that would become highly influential in the development of modern science, and in the development of the secular state. Yet in Cosmos Neil De Grasse Tyson dismisses Bruno’s vision as: “…a lucky guess, and like all guesses it could have been wrong.” (Cosmos 2014). De Grasse Tyson’s take on Bruno suggests that he may understand little about the way the human mind functions in non-ordinary states of consciousness.(i)

There are two factors which challenge the claim that what Bruno experienced was merely “a lucky guess.” The first factor is perfectly accepted in cognitive science, and it is the process of incubation (Benedict 2014). The brain can unconsciously process information on a subject matter even when we are not paying attention, when relaxed, or when focusing upon something unrelated. We receive immense amounts of data each moment, and we are unaware of most of it. The brain can go about processing this data, regardless of our conscious volition. The result can be personal insight, the synthesis of connected subject matters and creative inspiration (Benedict 2014; du Tetre 2014). If we consider this incubation process, the relative accuracy of Bruno’s visionary experience may have been the result of his brain taking in all the data it had received, and converting it into the best map of the universe it knew how to construct. Given that Bruno was an obsessive reader of science, philosophy and theology, this vision would have been anything but a “guess.” Perhaps it could be described as a “data-based intuition.”

The second important cognitive function that challenges de Grasse Tyson’s “guess” statement concerns a factor that is not yet widely accepted in modern science: that consciousness is not confined to the brain and is in constant interplay with the world about us, and possibly with the very expanse of the universe itself. This has been given various names including nonlocal mind (Dossey 2014), the extended mind (Sheldrake 2013, 2014), the psychic realm (du Tertre 2014) and so on. If we consider this, then during his dream, Bruno’s mind may not have been delimited by his personal experience, including by his readings of science. What he “saw” in his visionary state may have been his mind engaging the intelligence of the cosmos itself.

Neil de Grasse Tyson’s rejection of Bruno’s visionary capacities in Cosmos is perplexing. How is it possible that such a learned man as de Grasse Tyson, extensively educated and employed at the world’s finest universities (Harvard, Columbia, Princeton) can be so dismissive of the often unconscious nature of perception and creativity via non-ordinary states of consciousness? We could mention the self-limiting nature of the mechanistic paradigm in mainstream science (Grof 2000, Sheldrake 2014, Tarnas 2000). We might suggest the pressure that the Cosmos series producers may have felt to please their “scientifically- literate” audience. Yet the answer may simply be that one of the world’s most eminent scientists has never experienced such states of awareness. After all, our “best” educational institutions also tend to be our most conservative. Science in modern educational institutions is taught and conducted with logical, detached and analytical ways of knowing. The emotive and subjective elements of perception have been systematically and deliberately erased from the scientific method, a process instigated to avoid personal bias and misconceptions (Sheldrake 2014).

Experiences which appear to evoke an integrated intelligence are widely reported amongst mystics in many spiritual traditions and with transpersonal experience in general, although the nature of the knowledge gleaned may not always be along the “scientific” lines that Bruno experienced. The history of science also has many similar reports. Kekule envisaged the benzene ring in a dream. Neils Bohr dreamt a planetary system as a model for atomic structure that led to his Nobel prize (Markely 2015a). Biologist Alfred Russell Wallace, a firm believer in an integrated intelligence in nature, pieced together the essence of his model of evolution while in a fever-induced trance. Wallace did this at the very same time in history that Darwin was finalizing his ideas about evolution. Michael Flannery claims that Darwin plagiarized parts of his thesis from a long letter sent to him by Wallace, just months before Darwin published The Origin of Species (Tsakiris 2014).

Renowned biologist Barbara Marx Hubbard (2015) has recently revealed her own experiences of the spiritual inspiration behind her scientific work, as detailed in another section, below. She argues that the rational mind works best when “higher or intuitive mind receives inspiration, guidance and insights…” (Hubbard 2015 p 111). She also tells of conversations with Buckminster Fuller, where the late architect and inventor shared his experiences of transpersonally-inspired invention. Buckminster Fuller’s integrated intelligence included direct communications with other spiritual realms (Hubbard 215).

What are we to make of this? The easy solution is to dismiss the accounts as delusion or insanity. Yet as mentioned above, many cultures throughout history have had an entirely different relationship with such “other” ways of knowing.

Inspiration as guidance

Inspiration is not necessarily an immediate revelation of data for the purpose of enhancing a specific project. Many scientists and technological experts report a sense of overall guidance across their entire life, as if they are being compelled towards some greater purpose.

Ecologist and biolologist Barbara Marx Hubbard regularly employs integrated intelligence. She rises early and meditates with a “sensitive open consciousness, expectant, curious, but not driven.” She describes getting answers from “the higher mind… expanded knowing” (Hubbard 2015, p111). Hubbard believes that she gets intuitive insights to deep life questions. These can be life changing. She relates one anecdote, when in 1980 she was researching a new book about the future of humanity. While walking by a beautiful monastery in Santa Barbara staring out to sea, she contemplated the question of what kind of person could be entrusted to handle the incredible power and technology that human beings were developing.

“Tired, I sat upon the stone wall, looking at the great arc of the shining sea, the mountainous Earth arisen, and then, mysteriously, magically, hang-gliders – human butterflies – appeared, afloat above the Monastery at Mt Calvary in an ecstasy of freedom and weightlessness. Mass metamorphosis! We shall all be changed. Suddenly an intuition occurred to me – The resurrection was real. He did it. And so will all of us who are willing to do as he did, all who are willing to follow the commandment of love… It seemed to me that Jesus was a future human, an evolutionary template. His demonstration lodged in us an expectation of a personal future in a transformed body, in a transformed world, in a universe of many mansions. The capacities to do as he did have been activated by the expectation. Now is the fullness of time” (Hubbard 2015, p 112).

Hubbard then consulted the Bible, which in turn inspired her to write 1600 pages. “The thoughts were literally coming to me by some higher knowing beyond the mental mind, yet seemingly logical from the point of view of the new powers of humanity”(Hubbard 2015, p 112).

Hubbard then used this inspiration to make great contributions to both futures studies and ecology. She refers to this deliberate employment of integrated intelligence as “intuitions (which) go far beyond ordinary methodology.” For her, this is a kind of co-creative process between the individual and spiritual intelligences. Such intuitive process is a key in collective “conscious ethical evolution,” she writes. It enables us to “infuse our new powers with love,” where “powers,” refers to modern technologies (Hubbard 2015, p. 112).
When Hubbard related her experience in Santa Barbara to Buckminster Fuller one day, Fuller told her that he had had a very similar experience. Fuller then went to the New Testament and wrote “almost the exact same evolutionary interpretation” that Hubbard had written. Notably, he never published them, because language such as “Christ” and “God” were effectively forbidden within the scientific and engineering communities (Hubbard 2015, p 112).

In Hubbard and Fuller’s case, there is a direct sense of personalized spiritual guidance associated with their integrated intelligence. They believe that there are beings in other realms of existence passing on direct and indirect inspiration as they went about creating and innovating.

Whether the source of data is believed to be personalized or impersonal (as with Kekule and Bohr) both kinds of inspiration entail a source that is beyond one’s immediate locale, and perhaps temporal position.

One further aspect of inspiration where integrated intelligence has many possible powerful applications is that of research in general. There are several researchers, thinkers and authors who advocate what I call “integrated inquiry” (Anthony 2012, Ferrer 2000, Hart 2000, Nelson 2014, Puhakka 2000). Integrated inquiry is the deliberate employment of the nonlocal, intuitive mind while conducting research, either formally, or informally. In other words, integrated inquiry is integrated intelligence within research contexts. (ii)

Visionary experience in the arts, humanities and business

Creative and spiritual inspiration are far more readily discussed outside of mainstream science – in the arts, humanities and sometimes in business. There is a long history of creative geniuses claiming to be inspired by spiritual sources and/or altered states of consciousness: Keats, Blake, Coleridge, Huxley, Emerson, Thoreau and many more.

This has varied according to the sway of history and culture, and location. In the US in the 1950s at the height of behaviorism and scientific progressivism, any non-rational experience would likely have been frowned upon, especially in scientific and academic circles. However, in California in the 1960’s, it would almost have been surprising if a creative individual had not claimed some form of spiritual or divine inspiration for her works of music or literature.
Creative inspiration can be deeply personal. Ash Vadher (2015) is a former politician who both served in the British parliament and worked with Nelson Mandela in South Africa. After making the decision to leave politics, he found himself in a difficult financial position, with his family at risk. His two sisters stood to lose their life savings, perhaps around five million dollars. One night during this time Vadher went to sleep in his London apartment, which overlooks the Thames river and the houses of parliament. As the night unfolded he had a dream where he gazed out onto the river, and it was shimmering. It seemed to Vadher as if a great energy was trying to force its way up from beneath the water and communicate with him. Vadher felt intuitively that the shimmering represented wealth, like diamonds and gold.

At that time Vadher had been contemplating getting into the gold trade as a means to address the family debts, and the dream led him to commit to that decision, especially into business opportunities in Africa. Two months later, while in Nairobi pursuing a major investment, he found himself being shown through a great vault, with metal boxes of gold. As he reached into one of the large boxes, he pulled out a pencil box, opened it and saw it was full of uncut diamonds. As he gazed at the sparkling rocks before him, it struck him that what he was seeing was the unfolding of his recent, profound dream. Though there were many setbacks, he was able to experience much success in the business, and earn back the money his sisters had lost (Vadher 2015).

Significantly, for Vadher his Thames river vision was no ordinary dream. For him, as a man of Indian ancestry, it was the grace of God speaking to him. He saw it as a kind of divine guidance, and acted accordingly.

In East Asia the traditional idea of the harmonious society was one where the emperor had access to divine guidance, facilitating great insight, foresight and wise decision-making. According the Taiwanese technology trader William Chang (2015), it is still common for ninety per cent of companies in that part of the world to use divination when making key business decisions. In particular, the I-Ching is often consulted to determine if particular companies and individuals can be trusted to provide harmonious business relationships, and success. The worldview is quintessentially Taoist. Rather than attempting to impose themselves on the world, the wise businessperson listens receptively to what the universe is urging, Chang (2015) observed 2015.

Nowadays, this divination process has evolved into electronic form, using mobile device-based versions of the I-Ching. Chang (2015) finds that such divination is now used by the vast majority of Chinese business leaders and investors, including in mainland China, where he says that business people and leaders are hungry to re-learn traditional Chinese business wisdom. In the West, such practices are perhaps most similar to those adopted by the new age community, in such business teachings as those found in John Kehoe’s Mind power (2007), Rhonda Byrne’s The secret (2006) and in Napoleon Hill’s classic Think and grow rich.

Such divination practice is suggestive of an integrated intelligence, a kind of on-tap synchronicity. If divination is more than simple delusion, then it must entail some form of entangled consciousness, the intertwining of the mundane and the “divine.”

Policy, Strategy and the Future

The focus of this paper now turns toward the deliberate practice of integrated intelligence. Perhaps the most famous systematic employment of integrated intelligence in the modern West was in the Stargate program, a formerly secret government program operated by the US Defense Intelligence Agency, which ran from 1978 till 1995. The purpose of this program, initiated during the Cold War, was to determine whether psychic perception, and in particular remote viewing, could be harnessed to gain military advantage over the Soviets.

The program was abandoned after seventeen years. The official reason given was that it never gleaned any useful data, but several of the remote viewers who worked there including Joseph McMoneagle, Hal Puthoff, Russel Targ and Ingo Swann have come forward to passionately dispute this (McMoneagle 2002, Targ 2012). However, this project has already been widely debated, so the rest of the discussion on practical applications of integrated intelligence will focus elsewhere. In particular, attention will now turn to several practitioners within the field of Critical Futures Studies. This analytical field of Futures Studies focuses not so much upon predicting the future, but on disrupting unchallenged images of the future and in positing possible and preferred futures (Inayatullah 2015). It is important to note that the practitioners referred to below are atypical of the field in that they openly embrace the intuitive mind.

Most critical futurists do not do so in such an open way. In Critical Futures Studies, a number of practicing futurists both acknowledge the importance of the intuitive mind in thinking about the future, and apply practical tools to help organizations and individuals to develop strategy and policy. These futurists tend to draw upon an existing body of literature and practice that has emerged amongst certain ‘fringe’ thinkers and strategists in the western world in recent decades. These include Gawain (2002), Hendricks & Ludeman (1996), Miller & Miller (1976), Carl Simonton, and Elise Boulding (1988).

The Futurists

Futurist Ruth Miller (2015) has employed a process she calls Appreciative Inquiry in her futures consultation business. These are intuitive methods associated with imaging. They “provide access to an inner awareness… and… non-local possibilities that normal processes avoid” (Miller 2015, p 107). Miller employs relaxed states of consciousness, facilitated by breath control. This is followed by focusing upon images and any auditory, olfactory prompts which emerge from the psyche (Miller 2015, p 104). Similarly futurist Jose Ramos (2015) uses guided imagery as a means to use intuition practically with groups of clients.

Sohail Inayatullah (2015) is an Australian-based futurist who regularly incorporates relaxed, imaginative meditations into his futures workshops with organizations, corporations and governments. He gets clients to close their eyes, relax and “feel their way into the future” (Inayatullah 2015, p 116). Inayatullah believes that such a process gives clients permission to move away from the overly “cerebral” aspects of Futures work, and to tap into the collective mind of the group. His visioning process sometimes involves entering a six story building, each floor representing a chakra of Indic lore, with the sixth story representing the third eye of intuition. Here he invites participants to meet their future selves, and to glean wisdom from that wise old man or woman (Inayatullah 2015).

Inayatuallah also deliberately engages his intuition in journal writing, which allows him to gain insight into his life problems. Finally, as he facilitates his workshops, he often brings himself “present”, where he finds he can tap into intuition most readily, “read” the feeling of the room, and make spontaneous decisions about how to proceed next (Inayatullah 2015).

As the author of this article (Anthony 2008, 2015) I have written widely about integrated intelligence, as well as having employed it in my workshops and research. I have long advocated the need to synthesize “rational” and intuitive cognitive functions in modern education. I have also written theoretical and practical papers and books detailing how to activate integrate intelligence, including utilizing it during the research and writing process (Anthony 2011, 2013, 2015). The tools which I have focused upon teaching include activating feeling-based intuition, recording dreams, practicing meditative states, keeping an intuition diary, and harnessing synchronicity (Anthony 2013).

One of the longest-serving futurist practitioners in academic and corporate settings is Oliver Markley (2015a, b). Markley developed a Visionary Futures course at the University of Houston, Clear Lake in the 1980s, where he used guided imagery accessed in relaxed states of consciousness in his Futures Studies programs. The process involved both self suggestion and facilitator-guided instruction. Markley makes clear that he sees consciousness as a non-localized phenomenon which enables human beings to tap into an integrated intelligence, across both time and space, including tapping into minds and fields of collective intelligence far beyond that of human civilization. This includes inter-dimensional and alien consciousness (Markley 2015c).

Notably, Markley was very open about what he was doing. He was able to gain the trust of administrators, and wrote up his methods very clearly in his curriculum documents (Markley 2015b). He reports that students were receptive to his futures programs, which were conducted within an atmosphere of trust and respect for the students.

Prior to his work at UHCL, Markley was also part of “skunk-works” at Stanford University, which worked with organizations in developing strategy and policy. This is where he learned and refined his “imaginal” tools. The participants and senior staff at Stanford included Willis Harmon and Ruth Miller (Markely 2015b, Miller 2015).

On the basis of his long experience, Markley maintains that these future-oriented applications of integrated intelligence can be used for problem-solving, policy analysis and strategic planning, both personal and corporate (Markley 2015b, c).

Markley refers to a pertinent example from his time at UHCL involving a team from a large automotive and electronic data systems corporation. The group had come to the group “to learn the state-of-the-art tools of applied futures research” (Markley 2015b, p 124). The group included senior members of staff. The discussion turned to visionary futures research methods, and the group expressed a desire to experience one of Markley’s preferred tools: Mental Time Travel. The focus of the session was to be the company’s ‘‘Third World’’ policy, specifically the question: What would the future of our company and of the world look like if major ‘First World’ Corporations such as us… strategically embrace the poverty- stricken ‘Third World’ nations and cultures as customers? (i.e., not just as the source of low-cost labor) (Markley 2015b, p 125).

Two UHCL futures faculty and several graduate students and alumni also joined the exercise. All participants were invited to relax and focus. Then two Mental Time Travel journeys, one for each policy option, were facilitated by Markley. The stakeholders imagined journeying through two different futures: the first being the ‘‘do’’ option, then one representing the ‘‘do not’’ policy option. The results were clear- cut. All participants, both corporate team members and academic participants, experienced much the same thing. Writes Markely:

Our conclusion? Globally, ‘‘the chain’’ of human systems is only as strong as its weakest link. In the very long term, sustainable growth and well-being is dependent on the well-being of all nations, not just the ones that have a good shot at becoming prosperous. Thus, it is clear that developing a Third World customer base is essential. The corporate team, in mulling this over came to an additional conclusion: The strategic question that should be focused on is not: Whether or not the corporation should move in this direction; Rather, it needs to be: How might it be feasible to help leaders at all levels in our corporation to experience and see this for themselves, so that meaningful progress in this direction might become feasible to achieve? (Markley 2015b, p 124-125).

In this instance, the work enabled participants to gain new insights, and importantly, to reframe the questions which underpinned their strategy. This ultimately led to a core shift in the organization’s relationship with workers in the developing world (Markley 2015c).

Markley maintains that such work can be framed around secular or spiritual frameworks. Secular models might include Sheldrake’s morphogenic fields, Bohm’s implicate order or quantum physics. Spiritual framework can involve numerous spiritual traditions, including Christianity’s the Holy Spirit, Judaism’s Shekinah, Sufism’s barakah, and the Buddhist’s Alayavijnana (Markley 2015b). These processes do require a skilled facilitator or crafted programs of recorded guided imagery instructions, an appropriate mental set (Ramos 2015) and an appropriate, receptive institution (Anthony 2015; Ramos 2015).

The implications for the art and science of inspiration Human intelligence is not merely a function of the individual, but of the society and social networks that a person is connected to. Prolonged schooling constitutes part of the social setting of most people in the modern world. Modern education facilitates the expression of creativity and innovation, particularly in any domain which requires complex base knowledge, such as in science, technology and mathematics. Similarly is also true that without extensive modern education systems, various expressions of intelligence could not reveal themselves. For example, Russian psychologist Luria conducted research which revealed that Siberian peasants in the early twentieth century had very little capacity for abstract reasoning. Their formally uneducated lives had granted them no exposure to tasks requiring those skills. They struggled to make even essential generalizations about other places in Russia, even when provided with concrete facts about those places. Today the capacity for abstract reasoning is widespread across the developed societies of the world (Flynn 2007). In this case we can see that abstract reasoning is a latent human ability that requires education or at least social encouragement in order to flourish.

Similarly, integrated intelligence is probably a cognitive set that can be enhanced through acknowledgment of the facility, and encouragement (Targ 2012, du Tertre 2012). Having conducted numerous workshops aimed at developing integrated intelligence, and having seen first-hand what is required to do so, it is my belief that the reason why most people fail to develop their integrated intelligence is because modern education systems and other modern social settings typically provide little or no exposure to related ideas, experiences and activities. (iii)

The idea of the non-local mind and socially-enhanced intelligence invites us to contemplate the broader implications for creativity and innovation, including in organizational and corporate settings. How can we deliberately employ these entanglements with other people, places, things and times? The examples posited in the field of Critical Futures Studies, above, provide some insight.

Problems and ethics

Deliberate facilitation of the non-local mind brings forth some problems. These are practical as well as ethical.

An important issue which is sometimes glossed over by those who research or work in fields related to integrated intelligence is that of ethics. If we accept that we really can glean information from other places, times and people, then we are immediately invited to consider the issue of whether it is right or wrong to do so.

Joseph McMoneagle, the former military remote viewer, was adamant that a well-defined ethical system was necessary for remote viewing. He believes that governments will tend to use psi for whatever purposes they feel fit (Broderick & Goertzel 2015). McMoneagle revealed that the original six remote viewers in the Stargate program established their own ethical guidelines founded on the values and limits within the U.S. Constitution. When government representatives wanted to push beyond those, McMoneagle resisted (Broderick & Goertzel 2015). Clearly some other organizations and individuals may also abuse integrated intelligence for their own purposes. So when doing this kind of work, one must set clear ethical boundaries.

A related issue is that of privacy. How will stakeholders feel if they are exposed to a group of people whom they suddenly realize may be able to read their minds, or at least sense aspects of their cognition, including personal pasts, psychological and spiritual issues? The degree of trust required in such settings is immense, and not to be dismissed. I witnessed this personally in the late 1990’s when I worked with a healing group of about forty other people in New Zealand. Integrated intelligence became a vital aspect of the diagnosis of group and individual problems. What I saw is that this level of transparency is too much for many people. It creates a radical destabilization of the worldview, including how we relate to other human beings. With my healing group, some participants chose to leave, and in short time. I personally found it extremely challenging, but persisted because of a strong personal motivation, wanting to work on some of my biographical issues.

Of course, it is not necessary to tear open the heart of every participating individual in groups and workshops exploring integrated intelligence for specific purposes. Markley’s (2015b) work with students at UHCL, and his participation in “skunk works” there and at Stanford were focused on organizational problem-solving. Still, inevitably, once the intuitive mind is developed, personal privacy is reduced.

Another important question to ask if we are to attempt to tap into the non-local mind, and use the data to solve problems or construct strategies and preferred futures, is how are we to know the precise source of the information we are using? If we are indeed entangled within consciousness fields, can we be certain the source of data is reliable? Possible self-limiting non-local input might come from:

• a competitor, work colleague or administrator wishing to sabotage our success. • someone who is unconsciously afraid of our success (say, an elderly parent who fears your success might take you away to another location). • collective fields of intention, such as familial, racial, religious and cultural. These might contain ingrained beliefs which form effective attractor fields. • impersonal, self-limiting “habits” of the consciousness field, analogous to Sheldrake’s (2014) morphic resonance. • discarnate entities with their own intentions.

While the language of the last category might invite immediate incredulity, the idea is not incompatible with the idea of non-local mind. In almost all introspective spiritual traditions there are warnings regarding engaging manipulative disembodied minds or spirits (Grof 2000). Some advocates such as Le Shan (2007), believe that the non-local mind can only be used for the betterment of all, as if some cosmic law has been ordained that it only be used this way. Yet this is a naive conclusion, and my own experience also leads me to conclude that it is incorrect.

There is evidence to support my perspective from reports into near death experiences, where NDEers see or experience thought structures as being potentially harmful or destructive. NDErs often experience expanded, non-local awareness after they sense themselves leaving the body. Some “return” from their experience convinced of the importance of assuming responsibility for one’s emotional projections and judgmental thoughts towards others (van Lommel 2011).

There are other ethical considerations in the deliberate activation of integrated intelligence. Again mirroring the research into near death experience (van Lommel 2011) acknowledgment of the non-local dimensions of mind often leads to a shift in self-concept; and while most new age literature describes this in transformative and positive ways, the reality may be more nuanced. The sense of self may begin to weaken, or dissipate. Should those who are susceptible to mental illness engage in such practices? Are workshop practitioners to be made liable for any mental discomfort or pathology that emerges in the wake of doing such program?

Beyond a possible shift in self-concept, there may also be increased problems in relating to others and to society at large. When one’s personal experience of mind and life is non-local, even as one’s colleagues, family and friends live in a “localized” world, how is one to make sense of that? Does one’s sense of isolation (ironically) expand as one becomes increasingly different from others? This is precisely what Peter L Nelson (2014) reports in Journey of a Seer. For Nelson, this sense of being different emerged in childhood, and became exacerbated in his early university years as he came to conclude that his experience of non-locality was not an illusion, and that it was society that was deluded. This sense of alienation has lasted into his late life (he is now in his seventies).

The limits of intuition Intuition is a fuzzy intelligence. It makes itself known primarily through what I call “the feeling sense” (Anthony 2013). Integrated intelligence may also operate through all the known sense modalities (du Tertre 2012). Yet even with images, auditory and olfactory prompts, the feelings associated with these are often key to their understanding.

Nor does intuition exist in a perfectly demarcated cognitive zone separate from “rational” expressions of intelligence. Many intuitive researchers have pointed out that intuition works best when employed along side the rational mind (Inayatullah 2015, Markely 2015b, Ramos 2015, du Tertre 2012). Further, intuition is particularly susceptible to be led astray by desire (Inayatullah 2015). Others simply call this “the ego.” The key point is that it is not always easy to know from which place within the human mind any given feeling or image has emerged. Therefore, self-deception is always a working issue with the employment of integrated intelligence.
Credibility An ethical consideration for an individual or organization which employs integrated intelligence is whether to acknowledge the process to the broader community.

It has been observed that the employment of integrated intelligence in corporate and educational settings is politically sensitive (Anthony 2015, Markley 2015b, Nelson 2014). Notably, participants from the large motor vehicle and electronics company in the case described by Markley (2015b), above, decided that the process of Mental Time Travel, though practical, was “too politically risky” to bring to their company leaders. So the idea was vetoed (Markley 2015b, p 126) . Nonetheless, the organization eventually adopted the more globally responsible policy initiative that their visionary experience suggested, and with good results (Markley 2015c).

Markely (2015b) advises several ways of addressing the credibility problem when using integrated intelligence with organizations:

1. Production of high quality media materials on the topic. 2. Co-creation of an informal, experiential community of practice where intuition can be explored, developed and mentored by those who are qualified or interested; and using both personal/professional concerns and workplace problems as experiential R&D. Do not publish the outcomes unless, or do only if it is politically expedient. Carefully document them for later possible release. 3. Recruit one or more “champions” from senior staff, professional, managerial and executive ranks. The people should be interested and willing to mentor the community of practice in the tactics and strategy of organizational change management. 4. Talk discretely in increasingly public circles about the work, communicating successes and struggles, while avoiding embarrassing those who might not wish to have their names associated with the work. 5 . Publish in academic and professional circles, communicating notable successes (Markley 2015b, 125-126).

Conclusion

The great irony is that the scientific revolution which Bruno’s visions helped bring about and ultimately died for has also disowned the very cognitive processes which drove many of his insights. This rejection has created the split in the modern mind, where we tend to disown our essential connection to nature and the cosmos, and to our inner worlds. Yet there remains a strong undercurrent of research and practice in science, the arts and business in both the West and Asia, standing in contradiction to this.

Perhaps to bridge the current “split” we need another Bruno to rise like a phoenix from the flames of history and reignite – or at least re-legitimate – our integrated intelligence. We know from history and counter-culture that such experiences and practices are common to all eras, and amongst all kinds of thinkers and creators. Perhaps that day is not far away.

References

Anthony, M. 2008. Integrated intelligence. Copenhagen, Sense. Anthony, M. 2011. “Integrated Inquiry: Mystical Intuition and Research,” The Open Information Science Journal. 2011, 3: 80-88. Anthony, M. 2013. How to channel your dissertation. Hong Kong, MindFutures. Anthony, M. 2015. “Classical Intuition and Critical Futures Studies.” Journal of Futures Studies. JFS.2015.20 (1): 131-138. Byrne, R. 2006. The Secret. Los Angeles, Atria Books. Broderick, B. & Goertzel, B. 2015. “The future of psi research,” in Broderick, B. & Goertzel, B. (Eds) 2014. Evidence for psi: thirteen empirical research reports. Jefferson, North Carolina, McFarland & Company. Boulding, E. 1988. Building a global civic culture. Syracuse University Press, New York. Carey, B. 2014. How we learn. New York, Random House. Chang, W. 2015. Interview as part of an interview for the Futures of Consciousness project, on 24.09.15., Hong Kong. Cosmos, A Personal Voyage 2014. Television series, Fox National Geographic Channel. Santa Fe, New Mexico, Dossey, L. 2014. One mind. New York, Hay HouseDu Tertre, N. 2012. Psychic intuition. Pompton Plains, New Page Books. Ferrer, J. 2000. “Transpersonal knowledge.” In Hart, T., Nelson P. & Puhakka, K. (Eds), Transpersonal knowing. New York, Suny. Flynn, J. 2007. What is intelligence? New York, Amazon Digital Services. Gawain, S. 2002. Developing Intuition. New York, New World Library. Grof, S. 2000. Psychology of the future. San Francisco, Suny. Hart, Tobin 2000, “Inspiration as transpersonal knowing,” in Hart, T., Nelson P. & Puhakka, K. (Eds), Transpersonal knowing. New York, Suny. Hendricks, G. & Ludeman, K. 1996. The corporate mystic: A guidebook for visionaries with their feet on the ground. New York, Bantam. Inayatullah, S. 2015a. “Intuiting the future.” Journal of Futures Studies. JFS.2015.20 (1): 115-118. Inayatullah, S. 2015b. What works: Case Studies in the Practice of Foresight. Tamsui, Taiwan, Tamkang University Press. Kehoe, J. 2007. Mind power into the twenty-first century. New York, Zoetic Books. Le Shan, L. 2009. A new science of the paranormal, London, Quest. Markley, O. 1994 “Experiencing the Needs of Future Generations.” In Thinking About Future Generations. Kyoto: Institute for the Integrated Study of Future Generations. Markley, O. 2007 “Mental Time Travel.: A practical business and personal research tool for looking ahead.” Futures, 40(1), 17-24. Markley, O. 1992. “Using Depth Intuition in Creative Problem-Solving and Strategic Innovation.” Selection Forty in Sidney Parnes (Ed), Source book for creative problem-solving. Scituate, MA: Creative Education Foundation. Markley, O. 2015a. “Introduction to the symposium on ‘Intuition in Futures work.’” Journal of Futures Studies. JFS.2015.20 (1): 83-90. Markley, O. 2015b. “Learning to use intuition in Futures Studies. Journal of Futures Studies. JFS.2015.20 (1). 119-130. Markley, O. 2015c. Interview with Marcus T Anthony as part of The futures of consciousness project, July 27, 2015. Marx-Hubbard, B. 2015. “Intuition and Evolution – How I find it essential to use intuition in my futures work.” Journal of Futures Studies. JFS.2015.20 (1): 111-114. McMoneagle, J. 2002. The stargate chronicles:Memoirs of a psychic spy. Charlottesville, VA, Hampton Roads. Miller, R. 2015. “Applying intuitive methods in explorations of preferred Futures.” Journal of Futures Studies. JFS.2015.20 (1): 101-110. Miller, J.P., & Miller, R. 1976. Enhancing Policy Development through the use of Intuitive Methods. San Jose, CA: San Jose State University Press. “Neil deGrasse Tyson,” 2016. Retrieved October 26, 2016. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neil_deGrasse_Tyson Nelson, P 2000, “Mystical experience and radical deconstruction.” In Hart, T., Nelson P. & Puhakka, K. (Eds), Transpersonal knowing. New York, Suny. Nelson, P. 2014. Way of a seer. Nevada, Empiricus. Pickstone, J. 2000. Ways of knowing. Manchester, Manchester University Press. Ramos, J. 2015. “The inner game of Futures Studies.” Journal of Futures Studies. JFS.2015.20 (1): 91-110. Rothberg, D. 2000 “Spiritual inquiry,” in Hart, T., Nelson P. & Puhakka, K. (Eds), Transpersonal knowing. New York, Suny. Sheldrake, R. 2013. The sense of being stared at. London, Park Street Press. Sheldrake, R. 2014. Science set free. Los Angeles, Deepak Chopra. Targ, R. 2012, The reality of ESP. Wheaton, IL, Theosophical.
Tarnas, R. 2000. The passion of the western mind. London, Ballantine Books. Tsakiris, A. 2014. Why science is wrong about almost everything. San Antonio, Anomalist Books. Vadher, A. 2015. Interview with Marcus T Anthony as part of The futures of consciousness project, June 27, 2015. Van Lommel, P. 2011. Consciousness beyond life. London, HarperOne. Washburn, M., 2000. “Transpersonal cognition in developmental perspective.” in Hart, T., Nelson P. & Puhakka, K. (Eds), Transpersonal knowing. New York, Suny.

Notes

i It cannot be claimed that de Grasse Tyson is entirely contemptuous of the importance of first person experience when conducting science. On Wikipedia (Neil deGrasse 2016), he is quoted as describing himself as an “agnostic,” and rejects the label of “atheist.” Further, he uses the word “spiritual” in relating his emotive relationship to the cosmos. Yet he makes it clear that he is not referring to religious experience, but a sense of awe and connectivity.

ii Though there is not space to explore this area here, I have written several related papers (Anthony 2011), and a popular book (Anthony 2012).

iii There is an argument that the development of psychic experience emerges as part of collective human consciousness evolution, moving through pre-personal, personal, and transpersonal levels of cognition. The most well-known advocate of this model is Ken Wilber (2000). Washburn summarizes this perspective, arguing that transpersonal illumination occurs as part of “a deep, psychic transformation” (Washburn 2000, p 2007). However, perhaps we need to distinguish between simple intuitive and psychic experiences, and profound personal cognitive shifts. It is my belief and experience that no great shift within the psyche is required in order to tap into human intuition. The fact that most ordinary human beings claim to have had psychic experiences (Sheldrake 2014), is suggestive of the validity of this argument.

The Journal of Non-Locality

 

For those interested in mind and consciousness, there’s a special issue of the Journal of non-locality just out today, and available online:
“THE OTHER SINGULARITY: PSI AND THE NONLOCAL MIND”.

http://journals.sfu.ca/jnonlocality/index.php/jnonlocality/article/view/75.

The journal is edited by Hong King A.I. expert Ben Goertzel, PhD. Besides building robots he hopes can think, like me Ben is very interested in the non-local properties of conscious. There are great articles by Ben and other experts in the volume, and perhaps I should mention that I have one paper, too: “Integrated intelligence as practice: ideas, insights and inspiration.” The paper includes reference to practicing futurists who either explicitly or implicitly utilise integrated intelligence in their writings, practice and workshops. These include Buckminster Fuller, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Oliver Markley, Jose and Sohail Inayatullah.

Healing the Human Species

What is be done about this existential traumatic rage which sits at the heart of our human collective psyche at this time in our consciousness evolution? The solution is both extremely simple and extraordinarily difficult. What is required is for each of us to relax within the field of this consciousness, and allow a healthy expression of what exists within us. This can be as simple as taking up a discipline of meditative presence, and allowing all emotional contents of the psyche to rise, and to express them without judgment. Just let any judgment, blame, fear, rage, sadness, shame, guilt and belief to surface. The key is to observe it without believing in it. For if we beleive in the story that the trauma projects, both will persist.

There are several reasons why this simple process is also extremely problematic. The first is that the human mind tends to  resist the expression of pain. In a sense, the function of mind is to protect us from pain and suffering, so that we may live here in the world. Over time we tend to build walls to shut out the pain, and to make sure that it does not enter conscious awareness. This is perfectly understandable. All of us sit on at least some repressed pain and suffering. Many, many hundreds of millions of possess deep trauma.

For the latter folk, it may be no simple matter to allow that trauma to find expression. The process requires a great degree of understanding and skill. Most people walking the planet at this time do not possess those capacities. For those who wish to engage in such depth work, it is most likely that they will have to seek out a teacher to assist them.

It takes deep intention and courage. A lot. I have required teachers on my own journey. I could not have done it alone. Our teachers must be wise, committed and skillful. For much can go wrong doing this kind of soul work.

Many simply have little genuine intention to heal. It is much easier to project anger and shame out onto the world than to assume responsibility for it. The psychological immaturity seen in the often hysterical reaction to the rise of Donald Trump is a good case in point. Would any of those ranting and raving about Trump, including feasting on daily fixes of media and social media drama, willingly give that up and instead assume responsibility for that emotional “energy”? In most cases, the answer is no. The addiction to projection through the tribe is simply too great. And it is a great way to avoid acknowledging one’s own pain.

There is a second practical matter which is holding back the human race from healing. It is the simple fact that most of our cultures and ideologies do not understand the problem. Most cultures operate within control dramas, social and cultural procedures which are designed to maintain balance, and maintain power amongst certain groups and institutions. Again, part of the motivation behind our cultural structures is the fear of feeling this deep collective trauma. The fear and mistrust of others, of life itself, tends to create societies and institutions that seek to mandate against the expression of traumatic inner worlds, or at least the unpredictable and volatile behaviours that are associated with them.

Almost all cultures do this at some level. Religions do it. You won’t see too many Christians, Muslims or Hindus allowing deep vulnerability. Buddhists may try to meditate it away. New agers may insist upon “love ‘n light” at the expense of shadow work. Just manifest it away.

The greatest mistake in modern scientific culture is its fundamental misunderstanding of consciousness. Consciousness is not a mere expression of neuronal activity, confined within skulls. It is a pervasive, non-local “field” which transcends the physical boundaries of time and space as we commonly understand them. Our science is making almost no headway on this problem because of “scientific” culture, and the hegemonies within our institutions of learning, work, politics and finance. We have developed a conscousness-denying civilisation which spans increasing portions of the globe. It is no longer confined to the west. I have spent much of my adult life in Asia. Most East Asian countries are now heavily invested in scientific materialism. There are, of course, shadow cultures which defy scientific materialism, and they can be found in every country.

A science which misunderstands consciousness to the degree that ours does is ultimately a science perpetuating a delusion. It is making great progress cutting through the jungle… not realising it is in wrong forest (to use a Stephen Covey analogy). We have lost sight of the big picture. We have alienated ourselves from the cosmos which has spawned us. At a practical level, our scientific and education systems fail to create space for the inner work of connecting with the psyche, because they reject the very existence of that realm of mind.

Thus most of us live within societies and work and learn within institutions which deny the essential nature of consciousness. Therefore it is up to us as individuals to find the ways to work upon ourselves, including the God rage. Still, we don’t have to do it alone. We can find others to travel with. Yet in the end most of us will live and die in cultures that deny our fundamental nature. That is something we must come to understand, without giving our power away to such systems. We must learn to live with this fact. We must also learn to live and love in a world that rejects us. For if we in turn reject the world… we are back into the rage. The rage against humanity, the universe and God.  And the trauma will persist.

Then beyond all this inner work there are better institutions to build, better scientific and spiritual cultures to construct, and a better world to create. But all these must be founded in a deeper awareness of the consciousness structures which will underpin them.

Marcus

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Death to God!

In my last post I wrote about the disparity between the abundant lives most of us live in developed economies in the twenty-first century, and the anger and blame that sits within many of us. That attitude of rage is seen most often on social media. We may find ourselves surprised at how angry we become when reading or watching things online. Where does that anger come from? I argued that modern cultures, including liberal ideals and the human potential movement, have unconsciously created cultures of pessimism and judgmental condemnation. And I argued that this anger is, for the most part, unnecessary.

At the end of that article I promised to follow up with a post about anger at an even deeper level: the rage at God, the universe and all existence.

The essence of this deep rage is the rejection of the world and its people, the universe and all of existence. It is nihilistic. It seeks extinction of sentience. In other words, it is suicidal. Freud’s death wish holds true for many of us as individuals, and for the human collective.

At its deepest level this rage seeks to destroy God itself. We look around and see darkness painted thick upon the fabric of the cosmos: war, rape, suicide, and suffering in its multiple forms. No matter how much we are granted by kind fate, no matter how great we come to be, it is all taken away… by the hand of God.

Even as we struggle to live and thrive in the world, we may carry within us the polarity of the desire for self-preservation, and self-destruction.

You might say I don’t believe in God, so this doesn’t apply to me and the increasing masses of people in the world who no longer believe in God (or, at least, not in religious versions of God). But you would be wrong. As Carl Jung pointed out a long time ago, God is not just a belief. It is an archetype which sits at the heart of the human psyche. It is a motif which it central to the way we process reality, albeit often at a subtle level. This is why even atheists will curse God when something goes wrong, or thank God when an unexpected joy comes into their lives.

Nietzsche was wrong. The atheists are wrong. God is not dead. We just want that to be so, and we want the bastard to go out with a bang.

 

How science gets it wrong

Current mainstream dominant psychology and neuroscience is reductionist. It has all but rejected the concepts of the mind and consciousness, and along with them most ideas which are psychological and “psychic” in nature. The ideas of depth psychologists like Jung and Freud are rarely discussed. They have been thrown into the dust bin of history.

In modern cognitive science the mind is nothing but the expression of neuro-physiology. Within such a mechanical model, mental constructs can either be ignored or discussed merely as peripheral phenomena.

But as I have pointed out numerous times in my writings, the reductionist model of mind is faulted. I base this understanding on experience gleaned from several decades exploring consciousness at a first-person level. Conversely, many of today’s experts in the fields of psychology and even consciousness theory have spent little or no time opening these inner door-ways. This lack of experience  and understanding has greatly contributed to the misunderstandings that underpin mainstream mechanistic models of mind today.

Eventually the idea of consciousness will have to return to the fore in our models of mind, and with that we will have to reintroduce the mental world. Some of the ideas of traditional psychology will return, albeit with a more nuanced and scientifically literate integration with neuro-science. We will, for example, realise that although Freud’s essentially pneumatic model of mind was deeply faulted, it nonetheless contains many accurate understandings of the human psyche. Much of Jung’s work will have to be acknowledged, also. Archetypes do reside within the human psyche. They do form collective artefacts which influence human consciousness and behavior.

 

The turning away

A crucial aspect of our God rage is that many human beings, probably about a third of us, don’t want to be here (exact quantification is unnecessary). They reject the life that they have been given, the world and the cosmos. And they reject humanity. If my figure is right, we have over two billion people sharing psychic space who want to blow the place up. It is a highly volatile collective mental space.

Discovering the God rage within my own psyche was frightening. I unearthed it during inner child work, where I would relax deeply and allow myself to feel whatever emerged within my own mind. What I found was that what underpinned many of the “dramas” I had with other people and the world a was very, very, very deep anger. And fear. There was a terrifying sense of helpless despair within me. I just wanted everything to end, including myself. This came as some surprise, because I was not consciously aware of any suicidal tendencies within myself.

But there it was. And there it may still be. Despite doing much healing work, I have learned not to impose self-concepts on such things. It is better to relax and allow such energies to express themselves, if that is what the moment calls for. Having gone into such dark spaces, and having given that wound loving attention without judgment or desire to eliminate it, I now do not need to be afraid of it. That inner work has granted me courage to face whatever arises from the psyche.

 

The source of the God rage

The God rage is a mental remnant of both our personal biographies and of collective human history – and the history of all life on this planet. The God rage is primordial. Our psychic evolution through past eons and also through the relatively recent history of human civilization has been bloody and violent. It has been traumatic.

Trauma typically does not dissipate once the physical expression has passed. A child that has been abused by its parents typically retains that pain and suffering at some level, even if the kid grows up, matures, and hopefully manages to build a successful life and relationships. Further, if the individual does not process that trauma it will tend to be deposited onto the consciousness fields of their children, perhaps even before the offspring are born. When the traumatised person dies, his or her consciousness field typically does not dissipate either. It lingers. And along with that the psychic field remains.

A similar principle operates with human collective consciousness fields. Our history books may often substitute undesirable histories for the delusion of flattering narratives, but the consciousness constructs will tend to remain. Every war, genocide, invasion and colonisation remains extant at some level. Those narratives then tend to be reactivated in later generations.

We can tell big lies, but we cannot hide from big truths forever. We can employ misnomers like “Operation Iraqi Freedom,” “The Peaceful Liberation of Tibet” or “the settlement of Australia,” but you can’t lie to the universe. It knows.

We know, deep within ourselves.

Thus it is that at a mental level we hold the consciousness structures of the ancestors, and ultimately of the entire human race.

How this expresses itself varies from individual to individual. Our minds are like hierarchies of concepts and stories, each nestled into greater pools of consciousness which extend beyond the body and into space and timelessness.

This is why the destructive rage at God, the world and its people affects the way we live our lives even into the scientific era. Because our collective pain and anger is so great, we have to invest psychological energy into suppressing it. We have to generate strategies to deny our trauma, our anger. Most typically this generates depression. When anger, sadness sand fear are suppressed they become heavy weights which drag us down. We carry baggage – a lot more baggage that we would like to admit.

The God rage is one of the primary motifs which we humans must negotiate in our psycho-spiritual evolution. Until the problem is fully owned and integrated by us both as individuals and as a species, the God rage will continue to create chaos and suffering. And destruction.

After all this is stated, the question then becomes: what is to be done about the God rage? How can we heal this pain? That will be the subject of my next post.

Marcus

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Why Are You So Angry?

Social media is a good barometer of what lies within the collective human psyche. On the comments sections of blogs, news sites and web sites of all descriptions, the human population freely deposits the contents of their minds. Because many of these comments are anonymous, or delivered to people they don’t know and will never meet, people are more likely to be open about the thoughts that are actually running through their minds.

What then, is the most common mental state exhibited in the cyber world of today? The answer is straightforward. It is anger and blame.

People are angry at the government. They are angry at organisations. They are angry at those who disagree with them. And they are just plain pissed at the world.

This intrigues me, because the truth is that most of these angry people have never had it so good. For the most part, their lives are comfortable and free of physical threats. They are prosperous.

A century ago our ancestors had to walk to the local shop to get milk or ride a bicycle. The poor souls. Many unfortunate men died face down in the muck at the Battle of the Somme, screaming for their mothers as they sucked their last breath. And a century before that we had no penicillin and no antibiotics. Many people never made it much past forty. Most of the world’s population were peasants.

So what is it that people are so enraged about on social media today? Well, just looking through a few posts on my Facebook wall today, someone is angry people merely “tolerate” her kind. She wants real respect! Another is angry at Facebook because they apparently track people’s data. Then we have the usual rage at the stupid white man, Donald Trump. I don’t even remember the reason.

And then there is the person who is enraged because other people are enraged about a politically incorrect statement made by a left-leaning late-night talk show host who is normally enraged only at politically correct targets. But he slipped up this time. So the social justice warriors are now out to lynch him. Nobody is safe, it seems, from the anger of the masses.

Oh, the indignity of it all!

Step back for a moment and look at this clown show. Most of the teeth gnashing and projection of rage and shame is completely out of proportion with the issues that are being projected against.

More crucially, all this rage has made us forget how incredibly prosperous most of us actually are. We have lost the capacity for gratitude. In large part this is because media has become focused upon the darkness, and education has become focused on oppresssion and injustice. In the former case the intention is quite deliberate (to get you to click), while in the latter case the well-meaning leftist ideologies on human liberation have morphed into a hyper-critical obsession with oppression and injustice.

What you focus upon expands. It is a law of perception.

There is another reason why we should be grateful. We live in an age where we have masses of spare time, and where the amount of information and wisdom regarding psychological and spiritual well-being is at staggering levels. There is a veritable smorgasboard of professional and self-help wisdom available for anyone cognizant enough to turn on a smart phone or a computer. This humble blog is just one example.

Ultimately it comes down to this. There is one reason above all others why people are so angry today. They want more. They live in a society where gratitude has been forgotten, and where they are constantly reminded that they do not have enough. Are not enough.

The belief that you are not enough is psychological and spiritual suicde. The foundation of peace and presence is knowing that you are already enough. Already a magnificent being. And that you don’t have to become anything more. You don’t have to achieve anything. Your don’t even have to heal. Even as a wounded being, you are still an expression of universal perfection.

No, I am not saying you should not seek healing for your pain, nor that you should net seek to achieve, to create things that bring you or others joy and happiness. I am just saying that you are already enough. And nobody can actually take that perfection away from you. Not the government, not the conservatives, not the liberals. Not even Donald Trump.

You don’t need to be angry anymore. Not about these things. Sure, there are things and people that are justified causes of anger. But this post is not about those people and things.

Ironically, the human potential movement has inadvertently exacerbated the general sense of lack, the pervasive misery that defines much of life for so many of the people of today. Even as that same movement has granted people an expanded sense of possibility, it has instilled a sense of entitlement in many. Many people begin with a subtle belief that the world owes them a living, that just by being here they are entitled to things. But that is not how the world works.

We see this most notably in the university students protesting that professors are not granting them safe spaces, while believing that any given obstacle they encounter, any given failure, is the result of the actions of an oppressive other (usually another race, gender, sexual orientation, social construct or ideology). This may lead to a delusional mindset which lacks reflection and personal accountability. It is fundamentally infantile.

You better figure that one out, and quickly.

The actions required to shift towards gratitude and away from a scarcity mentality are simple. Give thanks for what you have on a daily basis. Remove your focus from the locales which support a culture of blame, shame and lack. Be present to the world and to others. Gratitude and love are spontaneous states of consciousness which emerge from presence. You don’t even have to try.

Of course, many of us will choose to keep being angry at things that are fleeting and illusory. And that, too, is our right. But what is the price that we will pay? The cost is our connection to this perfect moment in time. To our peace. To the love and gratitude that is our essential nature.

At an even deeper level, many of us have a deep-seated rage at God and the world, a destructive anger which leads us to reject the world, its people and our very lives. This is true even for many who do not consciously believe in God. That will be the subject of my next post.

Marcus

Discover Your Soul Template

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Listening to the Monsters

What if instead of trying to change others who hold different views, we simply chose to listen to them? I mean, just stopped telling others what they should be thinking and feeling, and were just present with them? What if the goal was not to change others, but simply to understand them? How might our own ideas and opinions change, including our perception of those others? How would the world change, and our relationship to it?

Liberalism, as was classically defined, was about inviting others into our space. It was about empathy and compasssion. It wasn’t necessarily about agreeing with them, nor ignoring their shortcomings or any relevant problems. But it wasn’t about labelling and condemning them. It was about listening. Can we really say that we have a healthy “liberal” discourse today? Are we really listening to others?

In the past few weeks I have seen quite a few idealistic folks imploring their social media friends to join them in spreading “the word.” The main idea is that these are extraordinary times, and this requires extraordinary action.

I have not heard a single person inviting others to listen to those they disagree with.

In fact, in the age of social media personalisation algorithms, many people are simply unaware of what that “other” side thinks or feels. This is because their voices are never heard. Or, on the rare occasions they are heard, they are not listened to.

I have never identified with a particular political party, but I have definitely identified with classical liberal ideals. I still do. I am an advocate of freedom and equality, including equality of responsibility. But I would not call myself a “liberal” in the current political climate. What I see coming from liberal commentators in the media and liberal media today typically violates classical liberal ideals. There is almost no desire to listen or empathise, nor to create spaces for open communication. Typically, current liberal discourse dehumanises any individual who disagrees with any of the tenets of leftist progressivism, by labelling them fascists, racists, sexists and so on. This has driven a vast gap into our political discourse. And in doing so “liberalism” has shot itself in the foot.

We see fascists everywhere.

I am not going to outline all those liberal tenets here. But let me just say that even as it preaches tolerance of race, gender, sexual preference and so on, today’s “liberalism” is typically intolerant of ideological, philosophical and political diversity. It often crushes dissent via a culture of blame, shame and fear, reminiscent of Maoist China. Most problematic is that in many left-leaning media outlets, free space is given to individuals who are extremely intolerant and even violent in their dialogue. Probematically, these same outlets often censor any criticism of this intolerant dialogue.

Needless to say, this says nothing about the role that the political right is playing in all this. But if even “liberalism” cannot find the capacity to listen, we shouldn’t expect to find such a capacity elsewhere.

Still, there are indeed plenty of moderate thinkers on both sides of the political divide (which is not so black and white, at any rate). But they are increasingly marginalised. In part this is self-censorship, as the consequences for dissent within this system can be swift and permanent. The power in our universities and much of the media lies with the left, so the left has a special role to play in correcting the current imbalance.

Jonathan Haidt is a sensible and considered voice on how this tribal political division has come about. He argues that we do not have much “liberalism” today. He prefers the term “illiberalism,” because the left has betrayed its own ideological roots. He too invites us to begin listening. To be more humble.

What would happen if you took a week, or even a month away from your favourite media outlets and commentators? What if you stopped posting on the internet and instead tuned in to listen to those who hold different opinions from you? Perhaps you might find the monsters aren’t so monstrous. They might even turn out to be human.

This is exactly what I have done in the past six months or so, and it’s why I have posted far less on this site, and other social media outlets. I feel I have a much greater empathy with those I once disagreed with, as well as a greater appreciation for the kinds of criticisms that I once saw as “wrong.” Perhaps the young Asian man in the video below is someone you would never normally listen to. It might be a good start. But don’t let me limit your choices.

Why the World is Not Ending Anytime Soon

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How much of what you experience of the world and believe about it is really based on the truth of “the world,” and how much is actually conditioned into you by the virtual world created by media and social media? This is an important question, because many of us today are actually experiencing less and less of the real world. And it is our connection with the present moment and this real world and real people that nourishes the human spirit most profoundly.

I have made the point about the importance of presence many times, but there is another crucial aspect of our increasing attention on cyber space that I have mentioned less: the worldview the media presents is a severe distortion of the actual world, often passing off the world’s more fearful and violent aspects as “normal.” Much of the media and social media is also deeply, deeply pessimistic.

This includes not just news media. Even well-intentioned news and media sources which seek to advance human knowledge or awareness are often unconsciously distorting our perception of humanity. Human rights groups depend on their very existence in making sure human oppression is continually brought to our attention. Liberal publications tend to be obsessed with oppression and social injustice, including racism, sexism and bigotry.

There has not been a lynching in the US for fifty years, but this didn’t stop a recent suicide of a black man by hanging in a public park in the US going viral, communicated by many as a lynching. This is despite the fact that about 8000 black people commit suicide per year in the US, making suicide the more mathematically likely explanation for his death by about 400 000 to one. His girlfriend later tweeted her outrage at his final act being used as a kind of political stunt. She had his suicide note at hand.

Third wave feminism has also become deeply pessimistic, producing a constant stream of hyperbolic narratives about “rape culture,” “slut shaming” and victim-hood. Is this really an accurate representation of western culture in 2016?

Another relevant story last year involved students at Yale University publicly shaming and swearing at a professor because he had failed to accept their demand for him to provide a safe space for them at Halloween. These mostly female and minority students felt that getting dressed up as “other” cultures (such as indigenous, Chinese, black) was a form of cultural appropriation, and thus traumatic for them. They then tried to have the professor and his wife fired and removed from campus. How oppressed can someone studying at Yale possibly be?

Despite the great progress the “liberation” discourses have helped make, are they now increasingly enslaving us in an unrealistic and pessimistic worldview?

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I have not only become a skeptic of the doomsday media and its constant focus on oppression and what is missing. I have also chosen to act, and now watch it very selectively.

And I choose to take the time to listen to people and sources which include an optimistic, positive quality. Is technology robbing us of our souls and rendering us redundant, as many believe? Futurist Keven Kelly doesn’t think so. In his book The Inevitable he writes that robots and automation are giving us ever-more free time to explore what makes us authentically human, and this wonderful development will only become more pronounced. He could be right! Do smart phones actually render us more stupid by making us constantly distracted? Benedict Carey in the book How We Learn refers to scientific evidence which shows that spaced learning with regular breaks is actually the way the brain works best. Intermittent distraction may actually aid learning and memory! Mobile devices could be deliberately used to this end in education. Indeed, one university professor in Queensland, Australia breaks his lectures into ten minute blocks, with spaces for students to fiddle with their machines.

The truth is that most of us have never had it better, all things considered. Yet many of us still act like – or believe – the sky is falling. And media distortion is to blame for much of the error in our thinking. If you want to see the difference between worldly reality and media reality, just open the home page of your city online newspaper on your mobile device, then step out of your front door and into the steet and compare what you see and experience to that home page. Where are all the rapes, murders and terrorist attacks? Unless you live in Mogadishu, they probably do not inform part of your daily experience.

So why do we insist that the media and social media are more real than what we experience? Why do we (want to) believe that the world is a worse place now than what it was when our grandparents were in their prime? Is the world really so terrible, so unsafe? Is it really falling apart because of the threat of terrorism, Donald Trump’s politically incorrect rhetoric or the war in Syria?

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The answer is no. We have been brainwashed into thinking everything is turning to shit, that we are oppressed, that there are evil others controlling the world and preventing us from shining our light.

Sure, there are many problems. Some people have it rough. Real rough. But in the bigger picture we have never had more freedom, more access to knowledge and more opportunity. And we are mostly pretty safe, living long lives and dying in old age. It’s hard to believe, I know.

A few weeks ago I walked through an old estate here in Melbourne, Australia, not far from where I live. At one time the estate was effectively a small village, centered on fruit farming. I wandered along a forested area which led into a small cemetery containing a few hundred graves, most from the first half of the nineteenth century. I was shocked to see how many of the dead were infants. Scores were children under five, many just a few days old. Many bore the same surname, and one family had lost five children, all under the age of six. Many of the graves bore nought but a tiny plaque with a name and age, the only remnant of brief lives snuffed out the best part of two centuries ago, forgotten by all, their mourning parents long dead. In those days there were no antibiotics, no penicillin and doctors did not even wash their hands because microorganisms had yet to be identified. Many women died horrible, protracted, painful deaths giving birth.

Nowadays we complain about slow internet connections.

I leave you with an extract and a link to a recent article by Steven Pinker, who puts much of the pessimism of the modern age into perspective. He does this by taking an evidence-based examination of many popular misconceptions about the way the world is developing. I quote a section here. I highly recommend that you read the article, and reflect upon it.

Marcus

“The world is not falling apart. The kinds of violence to which most people are vulnerable—homicide, rape, battering, child abuse—have been in steady decline in most of the world. Autocracy is giving way to democracy. Wars between states—by far the most destructive of all conflicts—are all but obsolete. The increase in the number and deadliness of civil wars since 2010 is circumscribed, puny in comparison with the decline that preceded it, and unlikely to escalate.

Why is the world always “more dangerous than it has ever been”—even as a greater and greater majority of humanity lives in peace and dies of old age?

Too much of our impression of the world comes from a misleading formula of journalistic narration. Reporters give lavish coverage to gun bursts, explosions, and viral videos, oblivious to how representative they are and apparently innocent of the fact that many were contrived as journalist bait. Then come sound bites from “experts” with vested interests in maximizing the impression of mayhem: generals, politicians, security officials, moral activists. The talking heads on cable news filibuster about the event, desperately hoping to avoid dead air. Newspaper columnists instruct their readers on what emotions to feel.”

Marcus Anthony

 

Marcus T Anthony, PhD is the author of ten books about human awakening, including Discover Your Soul Template. He is also a life coach and teacher of profound intuition. His web site is www.mind-futures.com

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Extinguishing Bruno’s Visions

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Visionary experience is not unusual amongst scientists, and in the history of science. Giordano Bruno was a sixteenth century Italian Dominican friar, philosopher, mathematician, poet, and astrologer. At this time the Church was incredibly powerful, and was heavily intolerant of any challenges to its sun-and-God-centred map of the cosmos. Bruno was also a mystic who was deeply influenced by his visionary experiences. As reported in the television series Cosmos, Bruno had a powerful vision which shaped his decision to leave the Church and push for ecclesiastical reform. In the vision Bruno felt himself leaving his body, and flying out into the universe. There he felt he personally witnessed the limitless nature of the cosmos. What he experienced convinced him that Copernicus was right in positing the sun at the centre of the universe. The precise account of Bruno’s vision is difficult to track down, but Cosmos recounts it as follows.

I spread confident wings to space and soared toward the infinite, leaving far behind me what others strained to see from a distance. Here, there was no up. No down. No edge. No centre. I saw that the Sun was just another star. And the stars were other Suns, each escorted by other Earths like our own. The revelation of this immensity was like falling in love.

Thus Bruno became convinced that the God of the Church was far smaller than the extant God of all existence. He believed that the sun was just one of many stars, and speculated that many worlds might lie beyond the Earth and that they too might be inhabited. This got Bruno into a lot of trouble, and he was imprisoned for eight years as a heretic, before being cruelly burnt at the stake by the Inquisition. It is said that his tongue and pallet were pierced with iron stakes. Despite years of persecution, Bruno refused to renounce his beliefs, famously stating to his inquisitors, “Perhaps your fear in passing judgment on me is greater than mine in receiving it.”

COSMOS: A SPACETIME ODYSSEY: More than three decades after Carl Sagan's groundbreaking and iconic series, "Cosmos: A Personal Voyage," it's time once again to set sail for the stars. Host and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson sets off on the Ship of the Imagination to discover Earth's Cosmic Address and its coordinates in space and time in the "Standing Up in the Milky Way" Series Premiere episode of COSMOS: A SPACETIME ODYSSEY airing Sunday, March 9, 2014 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. (Photo by FOX via Getty Images)
Neil De Grasse Tyson recounts this tale in the first episode of the Cosmos series. What interests me most is de Grasse Tyson’s take on Bruno’s vision. He states that it was “…a lucky guess, and like all guesses it could have been wrong.” It is significant to note that the world’s most eminent scientist understands so little about the way the human mind functions in non-ordinary states of consciousness.

There are two factors which challenge the claim that what Bruno experienced was merely a lucky guess. The first factor is perfectly accepted in cognitive science, and it is the process of incubation. The brain will unconsciously process information on a subject matter even when we are not paying attention, when completely relaxed, or when focusing upon something unrelated. We receive immense amounts of data each moment, and we are unaware of most of it. The brain can go about processing this data, regardless of our conscious volition. The result can be personal insight, the synthesis of connected subject matters and creative inspiration. If we consider this incubation process, the relative accuracy of Bruno’s visionary experience may have been the result of his brain taking in all the data it had received, and converting it into the best map of the universe it knew how to construct. And given that Bruno was an obsessive reader of science, philosophy and theology, this vision would have been anything but a “guess.” It would have been a data-based intuition.

The second important cognitive function that challenges de Grasse Tyson’s “guess” statement concerns a factor that is not yet widely accepted in modern science: that consciousness is not confined to the brain and is in constant interplay with the world about us, and the very expanse of the universe itself. If we accept this, then Bruno’s mind was not delimited by his personal experience, including readings of science. What he “saw” in his visionary state may have been his mind engaging the intelligence of the cosmos itself. Such experiences are widely reported amongst mystics in many spiritual traditions and in transpersonal experience, although the nature of the knowledge they glean may not always be along the “scientific” lines that Bruno experienced. The history of science has many similar reports. Kekule envisaged the benzene ring in a dream, while Alfred Russel Wallace pieced together the essence of his model of biological evolution while in a fever-induced trance. Wallace did this at the very same time in history that Darwin was finalising his ideas about evolution. In fact, there are claims that Darwin plagiarised parts of his thesis from a long letter sent to him by Wallace, just months before Darwin published The Origin of Species.

It cannot be claimed that de Grasse Tyson is entirely contemptuous of the importance of first-person experience when conducting science. He describes himself as an “agnostic,” and rejects the label of “atheist.” Further, he uses the word “spiritual” in relating his emotive relationship to the cosmos. Yet he makes it clear that he is not referring to religious experience, but a sense of awe and connectivity.

Nonetheless, the famous scientist’s rejection of Bruno’s visionary capacities is perplexing. How is it possible that such a learned man as de Grasse Tyson, extensively educated and employed at the world’s finest universities (Harvard, Columbia, Princeton) can be so dismissive of the often unconscious nature of perception and creativity via non-ordinary states of consciousness? We could mention the self-limiting nature of the mechanistic paradigm in mainstream science. We might suggest the pressure that the series producers may have felt to please their “scientifically-literate” audience. Yet the answer may simply be that the world’s most eminent scientist has never experienced such states of awareness. After all, our “best” educational institutions also tend to be our most conservative. Science is taught and conducted with logical, detached and analytical ways of knowing.

The great irony is that the scientific revolution which Bruno helped bring about and ultimately died for has also disowned the very cognitive process which drove many of his insights. This rejection has created the split in the modern mind, where we disown our essential connection to nature and the cosmos, and to our inner worlds.
Perhaps we need another Bruno to rise like a phoenix from the flames of history and reignite our integrated intelligence.

Marcus

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Should You be a Democrat or a Republican? The Spiritual Answer.

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It’s the answer to the question that you have been waiting for God herself to deliver unto you. What is the best political stance to take? Should I be a conservative? Or a liberal? Which is the more “spiritual” ideology? Which is the more righteous, the more holy, or in the parlance of the new age more “conscious?”

What am I getting myself into here? Everyone knows that, just like religion, you should never talk about politics. Someone is bound to get pissed off. And they are right. Given this, I have decided the best approach to this subject is to piss everyone off, and thus avoid accusations of bias.

Perhaps I should mention that I am Australian. We are a little more relaxed about politics where I come from. Can you imagine Steve Irwin (RIP) rocking up to a political convention and blasting out a heap of political dross because he really believes all that BS? No, he’d much rather be wrestling crocodiles, or in the backyard having a beer with the wife, or just spending time with the kids. So it is that we Aussies don’t really get the political divide in the US. This ignorance can be really helpful when writing about American politics, I find.

But wait. This is not really about America, is it? Australia also has conservatives and lefties. It’s a bit like America, only with less guns. And just about every country has liberal and conservative traditions. Some such ideologies are far to the right or to left, while others are more “centrist” and relaxed in their views. In Australia ironically the Liberal Party is conservative, while the Labour Party is leftist. Well, they used to be, but now it’s pretty hard to tell the difference.

Okay, let me be a little serious for a moment. We do have a problem on our hands. Right across the world we are seeing political parties and ideals swing towards more extreme ends of the spectrum. We do live in unsettled times. We have witnessed the rise of more conservative elements in many countries. Donald Trump is no tree-hugging greenie, and he might be the next Prez. Britain just voted to exit the EU, and concerns over immigration were a big factor – as they are right across Europe. In Australia Pauline Hanson was just voted back in as a member of parliament. You Americans have probably never heard of her, but she’s like Donald Trump in drag, and equally attractive.

Now, if you are a little conservative your blood pressure might be rising a bit right now. Is this Marcus T Anthony character, this Crocodile Dundee wannabe, taking a shot at our side? But if you are a liberal, you might be starting to feel a little self-righteous. It looks like Marcus is gunning for us here. After all, he put Trump in the “extreme” camp. “Should be a death camp”, you might be murmuring.

But you could be wrong.

Listen to this audio recording, below. This is a recent conversation between a conservative and a liberal. It’s Michael Brooks vs Sargon of Akkad (AKA Carl Benjamin). I dare you to listen to just two minutes, from 18:00 to 20:00. That should do you. It certainly did me. After listening, tell me what you learned, and what you think the two men learned.

It wasn’t so difficult to answer the question, now was it. “Nothing” isn’t too a difficult concept to understand.

While we are at it, check out this lovely display of liberal-conservative hand-holding. It’s super-liberals Chenk Uygur and the Young Turks in one corner, and the ultra-conservative Alex Jones in the left. Tune in from 1:40 to 4:20. What do they learn?

Well, Jones probably learned that it’s not always nice to get a free drink. In the face. Other than that, not a lot of wisdom emerged from this encounter.

Like I said, we’ve got a problem.

People aren’t listening to each other. Most of us have become so deeply attached to our ideals and beliefs that we can simply no longer engage others with an open mind. Part of the problem is the Internet. Personalisation algorithms mean that whenever you open most social media and news sites, you keep getting fed the same ideas from the same people and the same sources. They got you pegged.

There’s a term for this. It’s called “the echo chamber.” We keep hearing our own voices repeating on ourselves.

And we learn nothing.

It’s not just a problem in politics. I noted this long ago in the area of parapsychology. As an “intuitive” I was naturally drawn to the “proponents’” camp. But there is also a skeptics collective, and they are equally as convinced of their rightness. Few people traverse the treachery of the vast no mans’s land between the two camps. Well, almost nobody. I have done so. What I noticed when I ventured forth was that on both sides of the divide much of the “debate” is about how stupid and deluded the other camp is. Not a lot of listening goes on.

You can probably think of many similar confrontational binaries in many fields of interest. It just seems to be the nature of the human mind.

What is to be done about this?

I have come up with a solution. But perhaps it’s not one you would prefer to hear. I call it “being present to what rises before me.”

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When we become present with our breath, with our sense of the body, or with something that is before us (like a pot plant, a desk, a cup) the mind tends to fall silent. As we focus upon the thing we are paying attention to, thoughts will tend to enter the mind. We can observe them, and let them go. If we do this often enough we learn at an experiential level that we are not our thoughts. We learn that the mind likes to take thoughts and ideas and invest them with an importance and permanence that they simply do not merit. Over time these thoughts become beliefs, and the mind insists that they are “real.” Soon we identify with them. We think they are “out there”, and when others attack them, we feel personally threatened.

A powerful consciousnesss tool is to practice presence with people whom we disagree with. You can do this easily by going to YouTube and watching a video of someone whom you kind of despise politically. If you a vegan, tree-hugging leftie, go watch five minutes of a Trump speech. As thoughts and judgments arise in your mind (perhaps, “Die Trump, die!”) simply observe them, and let them go. If you can return to watching Trump’s orange face without judgment, you have achieved mastery, Grasshopper. If you are moonshine-swilling, gun-toting Rebublican, do the same with any public figure you fantasise of gunning down in your Charlton Heston t-shirt while quoting the second amendment.

Watch or listen, and simply observe the mind.

Another way to begin to achieve distance from our beliefs and our minds is to take the complete opposite side of an argument that you feel strongly attached to, and argue against it from the perspective of the other person. If you hate Trump, imagine defending him passionately. Better, still go online and write it out. Better do it on one of those anonymous forums, though, just in case your friends see. If you are convinced Obama was born in a tree in Kenya, do the same and write a strong rebuttal of that very idea, championing Obama as the right man to lead the nation during this period in history. This process is humiliating, but ultimately expansive.

Or you can just spend time listening to folks from the other side. Ditch Sargon of Akkad for the Young Turks for a couple of weeks, or vice versa.

Perhaps I should make a confession at this point. I am slightly confused about who I really am. At the level of mind.

Just in the last few days I have been criticised for being a liberal, but also for being a conservative. I annoyed a white liberal by criticising the writing of a black man whom I said was using racist language and attitudes towards white people. Then not long after, a conservative got a little annoyed at me when I stated that Trump did not offer a workable future which met the needs of all Americans, including blacks and Muslims. The good thing is that I understood where the critics were coming from, so I could easily let the criticism slide. After all, I kind of half-agreed with them.

Learning to be more mindful and listening to others does not mean you will no longer have opinions and  beliefs. It doesn’t necessarily mean you will never be offended, angry or perhaps rude to others. You will still have a “mind.” What it does mean is that you will be less likely to experience these projections,; and when you do you will be be able to immediately accept responsibility for them.

Notice that I expressed two opinions in the two instances mentioned above. Both opinions are founded in the belief that it is important that we rise above the tribal mind, that we stop blaming and stereotyping other people, groups and races. We need to be responsible for our destructive side. The key for me isn’t whether arguments hold to liberal or conservative positions, but whether they facilitate healing, or alternatively encourage violence, including intellectual violence. As the two YouTube clips above show, today there is a lot of this violence amongst both liberals and conservatives.

You can express an opinion without engaging the violence of mind by not attempting to impose your viewpoint upon others, and by letting go of the need for them to agree with you. If you find yourself ruminating over a battle for “the one correct truth,” just acknowledge it mindfully, pull out of the discussion and surrender it to the universe. You might even like to apologise to the other person. That is what I did in the instance I mentioned where I offended a white liberal make by being critical of an article written by the black writer. Nothing quiets the ego like making an apology.

Despite the origins of the ideology, which is founded in equality, generosity and community, generally speaking there is a rising problem amongst liberalism in that it is increasingly rigid, intolerant and aggressive. That is why, even though my ideals are a good match for the liberal tradition, I usually don’t identify myself as one (although occasionally I still do). I don’t like what has become of liberalism in general. So I let that label go. I’m not saying anybody else should do this.

Of course, fostering the attitude of being present with what rises before you doesn’t come without a price. It requires a new way of relating to your mind, to yourself. It is inevitably cognitively destabilising. It’s scary. For a while you will feel like you don’t know who you are anymore. And that’s why most people probably won’t choose this path.

Are you “most people?”

The truth is that in deep presence we simply CANNOT know who we are, at least not within the mind. For that identification with self requires thought and conceptualisation. In presence we can only EXPERIENCE ourselves (and others). We simply are. And we can simply let the other man or woman be.

All this doesn’t mean that you have to ditch all your beliefs and political attitudes. It may just necessitate that you become more relaxed, and more open. You will start to see things from the other person’s point of view. You might start to listen again. You may begin to appreciate other ideas and perspectives. In presence, empathy comes naturally, with gratitude. Even when people disagree, or attack you from “the mind.”

And that is the whole point.

So let me now deliver the final note of my sermon (cue organ master). If we really want to awaken into a more conscious experience of ourselves (the essence of spirituality), we will most likely no longer identify with being a conservative or a liberal. And if we do, we will be less rigidly fixated on the us/them divide. For such an identification is what locks us into the small “I.” In this sense, any time of political engagement can be an opportunity to witness the mind, to become more deeply present to self, to others and to the world. Politics then invites us to become more conscious – not less conscious, as typically happens for many. Politics, like all mental experiences, can be an invitation to awaken from the dream of mind.

Peace,

Marcus

Are You a Potential Spiritual Teacher?

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The following is an extract from my book Discover Your Soul Template.

If you want to go the whole hog and set yourself up in business as a spiritual teacher or counselor, then there are some important things to consider.

First, you have to ask yourself why you want to do it. Clarify your intention by listening to what your ego is saying. Chances are the ego will go along for the power trip and the attention. That does not mean, however, that you are not suitable for the calling. All human beings and all spiritual teachers have an ego. Your job is to keep an eye on that part of yourself so that it does not dominate your work. Above all, listen to the voice of Spirit. It will guide you. It will tell you if your ego is starting to party hard, and will often let you know whether you are ready or not, and whether to stop, go, or wait.

Regardless of all other considerations, a spiritual teacher is called upon to serve Spirit. If you are not doing that, if you have no intention to do that, you are not a spiritual teacher, even if you call yourself one. You are a spiritual fraudster.

At a very practical level, you have to decide what it is you are selling. This may not seem very spiritual, but actually there is nothing unspiri­tual about selling or making money. Remember, in the end it is all an exchange of energy.

I highly recommend that you begin part-time. I have met more than a few naïve wannabe teachers who think the cosmos will reward them for the generous act of offering their grand wisdom to humanity. That’s not how it works. You have to honor the language and the realities of the market place. You have to offer a product that has some kind of business worthiness. Someone out there is going to have to want to buy what you are selling. And then you have to let people know about it.

Another approach is to make your teaching into a pastime, rather than a money-making venture. You might see it as a chance to share your wisdom with humanity. This is a perfectly noble ambition. One point to keep in mind, however, is that people often do not value what they are given for free. Scientific studies have confirmed this. When people are charged more for a service, they tend to report more positively about it, and when it is cheap, they tend to dis it. If you write a book, print off a thousand copies, and give them away on the street, you can bet a lot of people will not value it. If you charge market prices, only people who really want it will buy it. If you overcharge people, they will think you are a crook. There is nothing wrong with doing things for no financial reward. However, just be mindful that your desire to take this approach is not undermined by a belief that money is bad, that you are not worth anything, or that abundance is just too hard to create.

Jessica, the woman who was the original inspiration for my theory of Integrated Intelligence, charged hefty fees. She earned about five times more per hour than I did at the time, and I was an education professional with a university degree (she had no degree). But she was so brilliant that she had no trouble attracting clients. She was also very generous. One time I had a one-on-one session with her and at the end she laughed playfully like a little girl and said that Spirit had told her to give me the session for free. And so she did.

As I mentioned in an earlier chapter, every time you step forward out of your comfort zone in an act of creativity, it will draw out the resisting beliefs and energies from your psyche. As a Sage you will need to work on your consciousness, as well as deal with the day-to-day running of your business. This takes time and discipline. Don’t overestimate how quickly you can set things up, because it usually takes longer than you think. Creating unrealistic expectations places unnecessary stress on yourself.

Money pushes buttons too. If you put yourself under financial pressure, you may, ironically, cut yourself off from Spirit. Think about it. You open your little spiritual center and nobody comes. Suddenly you can’t pay the rent, and you are asking all sorts of ques­tions of Spirit, and demanding some answers. The ego will tend to get scared and angry and then go into blame and judgment. Fear takes you away from presence and away from Integrated Intelligence and the wisdom of the Spirit. This situation can turn into a self-perpetuating cycle of poverty and poverty consciousness. You go into business believing that the cosmos owes you a living. You have a bit of a hard time, and suddenly the negative beliefs within the psyche come forward, and before you know it you are broke, bitter, and screaming, “I told you so!”

This is precisely what happens to a lot of wannabe spiritual teachers. Mostly, we overestimate our level of spiritual development and our faith in the cosmos. Nothing will bring out doubt and fear faster than the rent notice when you haven’t got a penny to your name.

Remember the concept of being a spiritual fraud? I call it fraud­ing, when you believe you have gained a level of spiritual develop­ment that you have not. Frauding involves a rejection of certain parts of your psyche that you are not willing to look at, and this usually means that there is some personal pain that you are avoid­ing. My ego fall at the country retreat, which I mentioned above (not included in this extract), is a classic example. My ego fall came early, as the lie was exposed by perceptive people. In day-to-day life (as opposed to doing spiritual work), a fall also inevitably comes when we fraud. It may just take longer to happen.

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An awareness of the trickster and its tendency to fraud, is crucial for your business and for the manifestation of your bliss in general. When your estimation of your attainment exceeds the reality, it cre­ates a metaphysical wake. A critical instability emerges when the delusion becomes too great. Even as you think you are putting forward positive energy into the world, your psyche will be working against you and against your bliss. Once a certain level of delusion is reached, you have to invest more and more energy in maintaining the charade. Inevitably, the whole thing comes crashing down like a house of cards.

Everyone frauds from time to time, because everyone has an ego. It’s just a question of spotting the lies as they pop up, and gently and lovingly correcting them. When you are frauding, Spirit will send you signals. We have to be on the lookout for the signs. Within my own psyche, I have always gotten a particular symbol in my dreams and meditations at such times: Mickey Mouse! To say that some­thing is “Mickey Mouse” is to imply that it is false or simply of poor quality.

For you the symbol you are given or the way Spirit lets you know you are going into delusion will most likely be different. Your life experience is different from mine, and the symbols within your psyche are particular to you. You have to learn that language.

It is also important to remember that, though the Sage is always a teacher of Spirit, she does not necessarily have to become a spiritual teacher. As long as you are living your bliss and in presence you will be serving Spirit. You will be part of the light, pushing holes through the darkness. I trust that this book has shown you that this is not as easy as some popular versions of spiritual development make it out to be.

Keep in mind though, that beyond the price you pay, the reward is the joyful discovery of your soul, and the knowledge that your time here on earth has been of service to all humanity.

Marcus