Tag Archives: awakening

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

The Price of Being Right

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My belief is that there is often something more important than taking sides in a debate or argument.

How is my attitude towards the subject affecting my consciousness? Does my position cause an expansion of consciousness, or a contraction? This is not an intellectual question. It requires an intuitively-felt answer, and you will know that answer immediately. My suggestion is that if your relationship to the subject causes a contraction, just let it go.

Whether you are right or wrong makes no difference at all to what I am talking about. You can be right, morally justified and vindicated – and in diminishment.

Most situations resolve themselves without us needing to impose our opinions on them, and upon others. Yes, even the big things. There is nothing wrong with having an opinion, nor in believing it to be right. But if your attachment to that position comes at the expense of your own spirit, is it really worth the price?

Marcus

How to REALLY Unite Europe

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Most of you who read this are committed to some kind of psychological or spiritual process which you believe enhances your life. You probably like to think the world is also a better place for your doing this self-reflective work. Given this, let’s take this fantastic opportunity to expand our minds, hearts and souls. You might not share my idea of fields of consciousness. If so, just think “cultural mindset” or meme. It doesn’t really matter.

You know that there is a great opportunity for expanded wisdom and consciousness whenever your buttons get pushed. And these past few days there have been buttons pushed so hard they are melting. My social media pages have been doused in outrage after the result of the Brexit referendum.

Most of my friends are liberals. I adhere neither to modern liberalism, nor to conservatism, but I am attracted to the spirit of liberalism (You will find out what I mean by that as you read on). Despite my attraction to liberalism, it is obvious to me that much of what passes for liberalism in the modern world is actually conservatism dressed up as the former. There is an inherent degree of intolerance and bigotry which is commonly being expressed. Many liberals are inflexible, and deeply attached to ideals that they will not allow themselves to examine critically. If we really want to embody the spirit of liberalism, we need to admit that this is happening, and avoid being pulled into the wake of this ship of foolish people.

What is the spirit of liberalism? All ideals have an inherent consciousness field. In the case of the liberal ideal that mindset is typified by love, acceptance, compassion, equality, generosity and peace. It is no coincidence that these are also associated with the higher stages of consciousness evolution. Of awakening – or enlightenment, if you prefer.

Although conservatism is not intrinsically “bad,” it tends to be correlated with consciousness structures which resonate at a lower level. Moderate forms of conservatism can be quite “enlightened.” Yet far-right conservatism is associated with the very lowest expressions of consciousness: fear, intolerance, greed, projection of rage and shame.

No doubt your buttons are already being pushed – if not detonated – if you are a conservative, while liberals are nodding in agreement. Yet the truth is that liberalism has increasingly fallen to the far-left in recent times, and has also become infused with lower expressions of consciousness: fear, intolerance and irresponsible projection of shame and rage. It has become destructive.

The outrage that is being expressed after the Brexit vote is a wonderful opportunity for us to acknowledge this problem, and correct it if we so desire.

My Facebook page contains numerous examples I could put forward. One FB friend posted a map of Great Britain, highlighted in red and blue according to whether specific regions were “leave” or “stay” areas. He wrote: “Now at least we know where all the bigots, racists and fascists live. Let’s share this so that everyone will know.” Not surprisingly, some people who live in those places responded angrily to his update. So what motivated this post? What is the energy structure, the agenda that sits behind it? The answer is that it is the projection of shame; and shame is perhaps the lowest expression of consciousness.

The following poster has also been widely circulated on social media. Take a look at it.

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Again, the essential expression is the projection of shame. It also recreates many of the problems that liberalism is supposed to stand against. It stereotypes the other, asking us to rage against a monolithic evil other who have to be eliminated. The actual point being made is naively simplistic, since it is unclear how many British people are critical of immigrants. Given that nearly half the voters elected to “stay”, it seems likely that well over half the population does not hold the said view. Further, nobody living in Britain today did any colonising. Those people are long dead. Many Brits did not even have ancestors in Britain during the colonial age. Huge numbers are from families that immigrated to Britain in the past century or so, including from ex-colonies.

Most notably, neither of the cases above systematically addresses any of the issues associated with the Brexit debate. They are not analytical nor considered. They are irresponsible projections, dragging all concerned down towards base expressions of consciousness.

 

The debates

So there are important things to be considered in this referendum. I have said that the expression of consciousness is important. Is the system also important? Yes, of course. But the level of consciousness that people bring to it is more important. For example, it is difficult to imagine a peaceful and integrated society emerging in the society we saw in industrial revolution England. Workers, women, and children were disenfranchised and exploited. Many men were terribly exploited too. The elderly were often put into labour camps if they had nowhere to live, where they usually soon died from exhaustion and depression. This was not a society where higher states of consciousness can easily flourish.

So which would be better for mind-soul expansion in Britain: leave the EU, or stay? I will just mention a few considerations here.

The answer may not be as simple as some liberals think, because big government can be hegemonic, striping people and cultures of their individual expressions. There is an argument that big business and the multi-nationals are benefiting most from the EU project, while the lower classes are being left off the map. It is these lower classes who tended to vote against it. In England, their lives were being increasingly controlled by a far-distant entity in Brussels, whom they had little connection with, or understanding of. In fact, there is strong evidence that this is the way the entire world is being structured. Wealth is being channeled into the hands of fewer and fewer people.

The liberal ideal is what lies behind the idea of the EU. A united Europe can potentially move consciousness beyond the dangers of nationalism and racism, and away from the tribalism seen during the World Wars. In its ideal expression, there is long-lasting peace and prosperity, with people free to travel across borders and mingle with whomever they desire. Trade barriers can be a thing of the past.

Yet there is the concern that a monolithic, centralised European government is a contradiction to the plural society.

There is an important consideration in all of this. Technologies and the internet are rendering centralised government less important. City-states may eventually replace nations as the most important economic and political entities. National boundaries are more fluid, regardless of what government we sit under. Kevin Kelly points this out in his excellent new book, The Inevitable. In the rage against the Brexit vote, maybe we are missing the big picture. Decentralisation of big government does not necessarily lead to fascism, racism, war. In fact the exact opposite may occur.

It all depends upon the expression of consciousness which we bring to the system. Whether there is an EU or not is not the most important thing. Both scenarios can have positive or dystopian expressions.

What consciousness will you bring to the subject?

 

Shaming the other

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Shame can control people, but it can never heal. Shame is one of the most base levels of human consciousness, associated with worthlessness, guilt and self-loathing. It seeks to diminish or annihilate the other. The archetypal embodiment of shame is to be on one’s hands and knees, grovelling. This is the energy structure which you are attempting to pose on the other when you shame them.

There is another problem. Even if the shame is successful in controlling the other, that control will not last. The movement of consciousness evolution is towards gradually higher levels of expression. Thus if you shame someone and they assume the grovelling position, one day they will inevitably rise up through anger – and you had better watch your back.

Anger is of a higher energy than shame. Anger is actually empowering for those stuck in shame and guilt. Gandhi, MLK and Mandela employed anger responsibly (usually). But these men all embodied higher expressions of consciousness. Unfortunately, anger employed at a lower level of consciousness can be destructive. It wants to hit out, to beat, to kill, to destroy. If you shame most people, you don’t get Gandhian peaceful non-resistance (Satyagraha). You get a punch in the face. You get “F.ck you!” This is the inevitable response from many of the British who voted leave. And it is why shaming them is merely pouring petrol on to the fire. Shaming them is a stupid, destructive and infantile response.

Would any of the three great men above have responded to the Brexit vote in the way many outraged people have in the past few days? What would they have done?

 

The victim game

As I wrote above, the modern liberal tradition is founded upon noble sentiments. Compassion, inclusion, integration, equality. These are all noble ideals. They represent higher levels of consciousness. However, there can be problems with the way we seek to implement these ideals.

It is not possible to be truly compassionate at certain lower levels of awareness and consciousness. This is particularly so when we are coming from the victim state.

Perhaps the greatest obstacle to human consciousness evolution and awakening at this time is the victim mindset. The mental position can take very clear forms, such as when people lament “”Poor me!” “The world is so cruel!” “Look what they did to me!”

And liberalism as it exists today is trapping many in the victim state.

The victim consciousness field is of a low vibration. It lacks the willingness to introspect or assume responsibility for its mental or life experiences. Blame represents its essential relationship with the world, and with the other. Self-pity and the projection of rage and hatred are its natural expressions. It is apathetic, unwilling to move.

There is a payoff for all this, of course. One gets to reside in a self-made story with “me” as the star. The star victim, that is. It’s an easy ride. One does not have to do much. In fact, doing something may be undesirable, as this could shift the narrative, bringing the individual into unknown territories. Fear, uncertainty and the possibility of failure then emerge. So many simply choose to remain in victim.

The victim game always comes with an agenda, and that agenda is usually to shame and establish moral superiority (status) over the other.

A related problem is that identity politics tends to impose victim and persecutor narratives upon entire groups. The intention is a good one – to get the society to take note of past and present oppressions, such that the dark story does not repeat itself. Ideally, the oppression ends and the victim and oppressor can then be equals.

The problem is that some groups identify very strongly with the victim identity they are assigned. They may develop a deep collective apathy, blaming others for their situation, refusing to take responsibility for their situation. Outsiders may see this, but identity politics prevents the truth from being spoken. In fact the truth is often punished. To point out that an oppressed group has developed a regressive consciousness structure is to invite immediate criticism, even ostracism. So the victim narrative often goes unchallenged. Meanwhile the “persecutor” group begins to feel aggrieved. They are blamed and shamed for the situation. They become angry, resentful. Aspects of victim consciousness may then break out in that second group. “”We are the real victims here!”

The agenda of the victim is to retain victim status while shaming the other so that all remain trapped in the narrative, at lower levels of consciousness expression. This is not smart.

What we are seeing in Europe is following this narrative (and also with the rise of Donald Trump). Many lower class white people have not prospered under the current system. They not only do not get the goodies, they are told they are bad people. Middle class whites may engage in virtue signalling, shaming their own people (in reality the disgruntled, silenced lower classes).

Morality is the preferred weapon of choice for modern liberalism. These people are good, those people are bad. What he is doing is right, what she is doing is wrong. Again, there is a noble motivation in this, but individuals given status within the system tend to take this position and assume moral superiority over others. The result? You guessed it? Shame and blame. “You are a racist, bigot, fascist!” So we are back to square one as the system stagnates at lower expressions of consciousness. Healing and resolution are impossible.

No doubt many of you reading this are already steaming at the ears. No matter which group you belong to, you probably either see yourself as being right, or being the victim. The real victim, that is.

 

A possible solution

What can be done about all this? Should we scrap the whole system and just say “”Everyman for himself?” “Everywoman for herself?”

The only genuine way to address what is happening while elevating our consciousness is for us to introspect, and to examine the shadow. The shadow is our unexpressed and often unacknowledged darkness: rage, shame, guilt and so on.

Once the shadow is seen, then what? The answer is that we gently and loving develop a relationship with it. If we judge the shadow (shame it) it will not heal, and it will tend to run amok. This is why shaming entire groups is counter-productive. It locks all into a base level of consciousness.

When we integrate the shadow our consciousness expands. The light we bring to the darkness is healing. That light attracts more light, more prosperity. It is its own reward.

Given that the existence of the shadow is not well understood in today’s world, and that the work required can be frightening and demanding, it is not likely that your school or organisation is going to be embracing these ideas anytime soon. We will have to do the work ourselves.

Now, you might protest. “What about me and my people! We are oppressed! We were raped, murdered, humiliated! F.ck you and your privilege!” Well, that is an acceptable choice on a universal level. God is not going to punish you. Your tormented consciousness field will be its own punishment.

I am not telling anybody what to do. That is not how it works at this level. People can be invited, but they must not be coerced to do this kind of work.

You can work in groups. Many (including me) have done this, and it can be very tough work: highly vulnerable, naked, frightening; yet uplifting stuff. When I worked with my group we had a very deeply introspective process. We learned to channel each other’s shadows: the hidden parts within. Can you imagine being totally vulnerable and transparent before other men and women, unable to hide anything from them? It was often terrifying.

In fact such nakedness is how we are before God, and also before higher spiritual entities. They can see right through us. There are no privacy laws with spirit!

Alternatively, you might simply prefer to work with a single teacher. This may be suitable for those who find the group exposure too much.

Ultimately you will be able to do it yourself, at will. The work is actually quite simple. Just allow all that is within you to express itself. Give it a voice. Let it rant and rave and bawl. Lovingly witness it all without judgment. Don’t believe a word of what the shadow says, just feel its pain. The emotionality is the only thing that is real here. Then return to presence.

 

We are all liberals, all conservatives

The truth is that in a certain sense all of us are both liberals and conservatives.

We are conservatives in that we want our mental narratives to remain unchallenged. Our biological hardware has evolved to detect threat and danger at a physical level. However, over the last few thousand years we human beings developed an extensive and abstract mental world. Now that same survival-inclined biological function is employed in the mental realm. We are on the alert for mental threats, those who might annihilate our opinions, beliefs and ideals. There is an innate tendency to strike out against them. So it makes no difference whether you support the EU or are against it. Your mental hardware will tend to defend against – and attack – those who disagree with your ideas.

Yet in the end we are all liberals, too. Love, compassion, forgiveness, and peace are natural expressions of our higher states of being. This is true even if you wear a tattoo of Putin, Trump or Tony Abbott. All people seek love and acceptance, and ultimately peace.

So it is true that the ideals of liberalism represent higher psycho-spiritual states than that of the cognitive functions that tend to underpin conservatism. But as I have shown, another truth is that modern liberalism can easily become self-deceptive, wrapping darkness up to look like it is the light. And what we might consider to be conservative ideals (at least some of them) can also be held by those with expanded consciousness. For example, being entrepreneurial and money-oriented is neither intrinsically good nor bad. The healthy expression of the conservative mindset is typified by willpower, individualism courage, determination, generosity and future-vision. Its negative expression is what gets the bad press: segregation, xenophobia, selfishness, materialism, disdain for and violence against the other.

You see, the mental world is somewhat limited. We like to see things in black and white. The EU is good. The EU is bad. Those who oppose it are bad conservatives. They are fascists and racists. Those who support it are naïve liberals. And so on.

Any ideal can be infused with the energy of “fascism”. And modern liberalism is not immune from this consciousness structure.

If we consider ourselves to be genuinely committed to higher expressions of consciousness, we have to begin to loosen attachments to ideals, and instead learn to read the energy of people and situations. Words can deceive. Therefore the acknowledgement of the consciousness expression contained within an individual, group or idea should be the first consideration. Only then should we determine whether the speaker’s ideas and actions are aligned with those ideals. If we do not do this, if we espouse liberal ideals while our minds are infused with rage and blame, we are spiritual frauds. Spiritual fraudulence is common. We all do it. This is because of the nature of mind.

To minimise the power of mental projections over us, we can apply the following means.

  1. Acknowledge that your feelings are the primary evidence of your consciousness state. Your thoughts and words are secondary, so learn not to identify with them. If you are speaking words of love and tolerance while all you want to do is strangle the other person, the truth is that in that moment you are out of alignment and frauding. Take a little time to centre yourself, or better still, just pull out of the situation if you can.
  1. Do not engage other people’s projections, or at least minimise your exposure to them. If you repeatedly stare into the mental projections of others, you will become lost there. Never forget this. At a practical level, stay away from emotional projectors on social media, or in the real world. Whether they are conservative or liberal, or agree or disagree with you is irrelevant.
  1. Make presence your default state of being. Learn to connect with your body and breath so that you can return to presence at will. Then you will be able to pull out of dramas and projection exchanges immediately, when you choose. This is where your true power lies.

 

How to be a conscious liberal

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The reason I have become increasingly critical of modern liberalism is because it is often about projection of the shadow. It often creates hierarchies which permit shame and blame to be projected at some groups, while forbidding the same to be done to others. In other words, it is now recreating many of the problems it has sought to alleviate.

The principles of liberal tradition are noble, and represent higher stages of consciousness. But they cannot be forced upon people. They emerge naturally when one embraces the shadow and assumes responsibility for one’s emotional life. This is the key to the true unification of Europe, and of the human species. Not the policing of borders and the outlawing of thoughts and opinions, but in the natural flowering of connection that deep presence permits. The border might be open and the foreigners may be pouring through, but if we cannot be present with them and see beyond our mental frameworks and narratives, we can never truly receive them.

How does this work in practice? Presence is the key. When you are present and in a state of deep connection with the body and the place where you find yourself in the moment, you are automatically free of the narrative of your mind and your past. This includes the past of your people. But are you willing to let that go? There may be deep attachments to such identities – as well as the narratives you personally adhere to and impose upon others. If it is a victim narrative, you might ask, “Why should the other people just get away with it without paying?” (You have just identified a revenge drama). If you identify as part of a persecutor group you might say, “It’s our fault. We can’t just walk away from this!” (Self-flagellation founded on guilt).

Now that I have said all this, the reality is that it is important for our societies to acknowledge the unresolved energy structures within them. There is something somewhat similar to the idea of collective karma which seeks resolution. There are bio-fields embedded within societal dramas; deep pools of emotional energy that remain locked into the collective shadow of peoples, cultures and countries.

What is to be done about this? The answer is that it is the same as what needs to be done with the healing of your personal emotional body. You feel and witness the shadow without judgment, loving it, allowing it to be what it is. When we release judgment, blame and guilt, we transcend the karma. Given that these emotions and attitudes tend to arise within the mind periodically, there may be a need to observe them more than once. They may not simply go away. You just have to be responsible, much in the same way a parent has to look after a troublesome child.

Then there will be socially responsible actions that need to be taken by governments and citizens to ensure the wrongs of the past are acknowledged and addressed.

Unfortunately, unless you are a black, transgender, sexually abused dwarf with a disability, there are times when you will be identified as part of a persecutor group. Worse still, some people will abuse the situation to attack you and your group. Yet if you approach this mindfully, you will acknowledge the truth behind narrative, even as you refuse to buy into any “drama” that is associated with it. Compassion (rather than anger) will tend to follow.

Once we assume responsibility for the shadow, many of the same liberal policies and ideals which may have been applied unconsciously or imperfectly will automatically be applied more responsibly, and at a higher level of consciousness expression. Healing will follow naturally.

 

So…

Do we really need a centralised government in Europe? In the world? Truthfully, it might help in many ways. It may help economically, in terms of facilitating free movement around the globe, in the exchange of cultures and ideas… Yet all these things can still remain even if governments are less centralised. And as humanity awakens more, there will be less requirement for control and power organisations like the EU.

If all parties simply assume responsibility for their projections, regardless of race, sex, nationality or station in life, Europe and Great Britain (and the world) will eventually unite as a New Earth, as Eckhart Tolle might call it. Whether your government sits in Brussels or closer to home will not be that important. No government can remove the power of an individual or group that is committed to awakening.

So it is that you don’t have to wait for any government to give you permission to release your story and embrace presence. You can also release your idealism. You won’t be needing that. All you have to do is have a high enough intention, and also have the understanding of the process required. Then follow through and do the work.

Are you ready, willing and able?

Consciousness Hacking With Mikey Siegel

MikeySiegel1

On this episode of The Consciousness Files you will find out how artificial intelligence will be superseded by artificial wisdom intelligence; how Facebook can connect not only our thoughts and words, but our consciousness; and how the hearts and brain-waves of people within corporations can be synchronised to create compassionate business futures.

Today I am chatting with Mikey Siegel who is one of a growing number of consciousness hackers, a movement which he has helped found. He has also co-founded the transformative technology conference and the consciousness tech design studio. He has worked with robots at places like MIT, NASA and Audi. Situated on the west coast of the United States, he works to create tools that facilitate people’s paths toward higher consciousness, self-realization and awakening. This involves the creation of technologies which can help us to be more mindful, present, and accepting. Mikey draws upon the great wisdom and spiritual traditions, but seeks to adapt that understanding to modern contexts so that it is accessible to modern human beings.

Mikey’s web site is http://mikeysiegel.com/

Mikey’s TEDx talk is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nG_chQK9iGc

 

 

PODCAST OUTLINE

1:50 Mikey describes moving into a single house with nine others: the intentional consciousness hacking community.

5:40 The consciousness hacking community as it is developing in California and across the world.

7:50 The goal is transformation of world consciousness, to solve world problems.

9:40 Inner peace and compassion lie at the heart of the movement.

10:50 How can we use technology to address significant psycho-spiritual problems in the modern context?

12:00 The heart-sync technology synchronises the heart beats of groups.

14:30 This technology is being extended to include brain waves.

16:10 Maybe we could make a Facebook-style platform, but one which connects us more deeply than current social media

18:10 These technologies are now making waves in corporations. They are in demand.

20:00 “How have you found the experience of transferring from engineering to a more fringe field like consciousness hacking?”

22:10 “Will these technologies free us?” Kevin Kelly’s argument.

23:00 There is an evolutionary drive to what is happening.

24:20. We can create not only an artificial intelligence, but artificial wisdom.

25:40. Creating from wisdom, not fear.

27:20. “What technologies are going to transform us in the next twenty years?”

28:50 We could develop a wisdom technology which could bring together all old and new healing technologies to assist us.

31:10. The dystopian dangers of new technologies.

33:30 The technological wild cards which will surprise us. Technologies which transform conscious experience, and why they will be in demand.

37:20. “Is a dark age necessary before we see the light?”

40:00 “Is there one thing we can call enlightenment?” There is an evolutionary arc.

41:20 “What is consciousness?”

43:30 Why consciousness has non-local properties.

45:00 Technologies will be able to assist us to tap into the extended mind.

46:00 Mikey’s experience with mind-reading.

48:50. We can learn to develop expanded cognitive abilities like ESP.

The Stickiness of Soul Stories (and how to become unstuck)

I like to think of we individual human beings as bits of consciousness, embedded within greater fields of consciousness. Each of us is potentially evolving in awareness and understanding. Yet many of us remain stagnant, stuck in the world of the mind and it’s stories and beliefs.

This is very important to understand, because right now the human species is in a vastly accelerated transition phase of physical and consciousness evolution. This present time represents an incredibly rare opportunity for personal growth for the soul. To be unaware of this – and instead remain stubbornly locked in a rigid and inflexible story – is tragically wasteful.

The physical aspect of this evolutionary expansion has emerged via the technology which now allows us to manipulate genetic codes. This, combined with a massive and exponential capacity to store and process information via computers, means that evolution is no longer merely in the hands of the “gods.” We all have incredible power in our hands, a power that our ancestors could never have dreamed of.

The question then becomes: can we match this incredible physical evolution with a corresponding mental and spiritual evolution? This is of vital importantance. If we do not balance these two domains of evolution, then there is a strong possibility that we will abuse the power that we are being given. We are already abusing it in so many ways, as we all know from reading the daily news feed. How then, can we correct this imbalance?

Our education systems must make curriculum time for psycho-spiritual development. This must include not only conscious-mental reflection, but must help the young practice mindfulness and meditative presence. Without the capacity for meditative presence there is no chance for a person to be able to develop the capacity to witness the mind. And without the ability to witness mind, one remains imprisoned in whatever story the mind puts forward. And in turn that story will almost certainly be the one that reflects the trauma contained within our personal and karmic history.

When we fall for the delusion that we are the mind, we become stuck in the stories of the mind, in the pain of the past. And stories are very, very sticky.

From a grand cosmic perspective, you as an individual being trapped in a self-limiting story for a lifetime or a hundred lifetimes is a mere twinkling of starlight. Cosmic time dwarfs human mind-time. This is important to grasp, as there is no emergency from a grand perspective. And that means your getting stuck in the evolutionary mud is perfectly permissible in the greater scheme of things.

The truth is that most of our stories are a bit nasty, rather unpleasant and with more than a little suffering. There’s something wrong with me. I messed up. I’m not good enough. Basically, I suck and I got to try like hell to unsuck!

We also carry a story about the the world, and the themes tend to be repetitive. People can’t be trusted. They are mean and stupid, and trying to repress me. I’m a victim. The world is cruel, and we have to fight for survival. What is the point of trying anyway, when we all die?

The great news is that in perfect presence our stories dissolve, and along with them the suffering and fear that emerges from remembered pasts and fearful futures. So it is that our most empowered expression as individual humans arises in the present moment. The present moment permits a resplendent intelligence to emerge, a wisdom that simply cannot flower when we are stuck in the mind. In a seeming irony, perfect presence permits a far greater sense of the unfolding future. This is why wisdom is a natural expression of presence. We have a potential to make far smarter choices while in presence.

Most of us remain fixed in the world of story, and mostly this is because we are not present. We are not really in the wold when we are not present. We are living in an imaginary world of illusion, painting the world with such thick, dark colours that it’s natural light cannot be seen.

The mere acknowledgement that you are operating in the world of story is enough to dissolve the story, if only for a short time. The great news, as spiritual teacher Leonard Jacobson often says, is that presence never leaves us. It is we who leave presence. Yet the mere realisation that we are not present is an invitation to presence. With just a little understanding of what is required, we can return to presence whenever we wish. It truly is simple. Just be present with the body, the breath, or whomever or whatever you are with.

Once we are free of the story, we may begin to consciously construct a new, more desirable story, if that is what we wish. We can then play in the world of time and space again, only with greater awareness, joy and wisdom.

What story will you choose? And why?

How to Re-set Your Soul Story

Perhaps the single most important thing to become aware of if you wish to awaken from the dream of mind is being fully aware of how your mind attaches itself to stories – and in particular the story of you and the world.

It is my experience as a person who has long explored the human psyche that we all come into our lives with “soul issues”. These are essential tendencies and patterns of behaviour that recur from lifetime to lifetime.

There are other kinds of stories besides soul stories which impact our lives. Like soul stories, they are embedded within consciousness fields that impact how we experience life on this planet. For example, the consciousness structures of our ancestors become implicitly contained within our psyches when we are born, as does the energy of place, country, race and so on. Then there are planetary and cosmic influences. All of these things operate beyond our conscious control. An important point is that though highly significant, these other energies tend to be subtle. They are best dealt with by highly attuned masters of the spirit. In other words, addressing them is like doing advanced courses of math, and it is not much use for an average student attempting to explore such things.

This is not so with the power of story. It is your mastery of this level of mind that lays the foundation for your awakening. Without a strong understanding of the mind, you quite simply cannot awaken. This is true even if you are a master of the psychic realm. And this is why many people who are highly psychic or intuitive are not spiritually mature. Many clairvoyants remain trapped in drama and suffering because they do not become masters of the mind.

It is a very simple thing to become aware of your story. All you have to do is witness the thoughts that repeatedly enter your head as your life unfolds. Those thoughts contains patterns of belief, and macro-constructs about how life and cosmos operate.

The self-limiting themes that dominate humanity are easy enough to spot. We have the story of the victim, where life is unfair and has stolen your light from you. This is perhaps the most pervasive of all meta-narratives present in current humanity. It is a story of blame. It is always the other guy’s fault. Then there is the story of the bad boy or girl. This is one of guilt and shame, where the dominant idea is “There is something wrong with me.”

Of course we also have the stories of the bully, the unloved one, and the lost soul. In the story of the outcast, our hero must be vanished from the village, forever ostracised and alone. A related theme is that of the pariah, the dirty one who must carry the sins of the fathers.

All such stories have subtle variations and expressions, and the precise beliefs that underpin them vary from person to person. Nobody loves me. I can never get what I want. You can’t trust anyone. The world is a cruel and terrible place. People are crap. Life is unfair. It doesn’t matter what you do, you can never succeed. I am powerless.

There are, of course, positive stories and expressions of consciousness, yet they don’t tend to hold us back. Believing that “I am a beautiful and loveable human being” won’t get you into too much trouble. The exception is with narcissistic or delusional beliefs. Believing that you cannot fail may have certain advantages, but sooner or later the story will come unstuck, because we all fail at something sooner or later. So sometimes we have to bring awareness to how we set ourselves up for suffering by overestimating our capacities, and what is required to produce certain outcomes in life.

Every single thought that enters your mind, and every single life event you experience is an opportunity to deepen your awareness of your story. This is the great news. No matter at what stage of life you find yourself, you can bring attention to your soul story simply by bringing yourself fully present and observing thoughts and beliefs as they arise. One time I became more deeply aware of my story as the victim, when I saw how following a certain sporting team was bringing out my victim-centered story. When my team was losing, I found myself blaming the umpire (a very common theme!), the ground conditions, the media reports and so on. Anybody but the team. Have you ever met a person who, on Monday morning, admitted that the referee gave his team a leg up? It doesn’t happen. The referee is always against your team, the media biased against your political views, and the teacher always grades the other guy above you unfairly. Strange that, isn’t it? Like I said, the victim story – the idea that everything is unfair and the world is against me – is the prime story which currently holds back people on this planet.

Becoming present is simple. Whenever you find yourself in a situation where there is suffering arising from the world of mind, simply stop and bring your attention to any object that is within your physical proximity. It might be the photocopier, the chair, the tissue on the table. Plants are wonderful ways to ground yourself in presence, as their energy in completely here, completely now.

As your attention falls upon the object, say the words to yourself: “I re-set. I am here now in the truth of this moment.” Breathe deeply, centre yourself within your body. Then witness any thoughts that enter your mind in relation to the situation in which you find yourself. As the witness, you will be able to separate your judgments towards what is happening from the situation itself. Make an intention to stay in that state of presence for at least thirty minutes. As you ground yourself in the present moment you will be able gain a new perspective upon your situation, and from there you will be able to intuit the best course of action to resolve your problem; or alternatively simply relax and await the situation to run its course.

It is only from the truth of presence that you can truly see the world, can truly see yourself in your infinite magnificence. As long as you remain in the world of story you cannot live in the truth of who you are as a spiritual being. You cannot truly love yourself, nor this world where God has placed you.

The mind is a world of illusion. But most people tend to be so attached to their mind’s story and its interpretations that they cannot distinguish thought from truth. Your task on the path of awakening is to develop a full, experiential, embodied understanding of this. And once you do that, you will be a master of the mind, and a champion of the soul.

Can You Really Handle Conscious Transparency?

Imagine waking up, going online to your favourite news site and finding the following lead story.

 

Chaos!

Information terror as Net IDs go public!

Global information systems are in chaos today, in the wake of the world’s first case of information terror. Radical libertarian group FreeThink has claimed responsibility for the hacking of the global internet system.

Currently all web sites, personal internet and mobile accounts in all countries are freely accessible to the public by entering a simple universal code. For legal reasons the New York Times cannot disclose the code, but it is now circulating widely on the net.

In related breaking developments, reports are emerging that World President Li Zhongri has gone into hiding.

More details as they emerge.

 

How would you feel if everything you had ever written, spoken or videoed – or had been recorded by someone else –  suddenly entered the public domain? And I do mean everything, including everything that you had written anonymously under pseudonyms. Julian Assange has famously called for “radical transparency”. But could we really handle it if it was taken to its logical conclusion?

Every link, every site, every text.

The headline above is not real, of course. It is taken from a short story called The God Moment, part of my book of science-fiction stories entitled Insufficient Data. The God Moment is set in the year 2047. The main character, Hugh Anderson, is an IT entrepreneur living in Shanghai. Anderson is a not a particularly attractive man. He is short, fat, balding – and his online secrets are even uglier.

The story is called The God Moment because the hypothetical situation effectively grants everyone God-like powers to peer into the souls of any person they care to enquire about – or get some dirt on. I wrote this story because the situation actually reflects a spiritual reality: that human beings are completely transparent to spirit.

My experience as person with a gift for clairvoyance is that there are spiritual overseers who can also see right into our hearts and souls.

There is nothing we can hide from them.

Nothing.

Many people with a spiritual focus in life will not find this idea too difficult to consider. After all, when we pray, when we ask or receive spiritual guidance, we are working within a “system” which renders us transparent.

I have received a lot of spiritual guidance over the years. Everybody’s journey is unique. In my case I had to deal with a lot of emotional issues relating to being abused and neglected as a child. Much of the guidance I received was about deepening my awareness of these issues and how to heal them.

For example, one problem I experienced was being drained of energy. Often I would wake up exhausted. I realised there was something wrong, but I had no idea what. So I asked for guidance. As part of the guidance I received, a song kept coming into my mind, the lines from a U2 song: “And you give yourself away…” Over time I came to realize that my consciousness field was deeply entangled with other people’s, and that literally I was allowing my energy to be sapped by them. More importantly, I came to understand that this was because there was a very needy part of me that was desperate for love and attention, a legacy of my childhood. So when I did not receive that in my everyday life, my psyche went out and sought it in a metaphysical sense.

Many such issues came into my awareness in this way. There would be an problem which I had no genuine understanding of. I would receive subtle hints as to what the general problem was, and its cause. Then I would have to go away and work on it.

This spiritual discourse made me aware that I was completely and totally naked before spirit. All was transparent. Every secret, every thought, every little habit.

Now here is my next question. What if this powerful clairvoyant capacity was the norm, and everybody could see into everybody else’s soul? What if we could see each other’s light and darkness, see how we give and take power, how we lie and deceive ourselves? Yes, even matters related to our sexual expression, our bodily functions, our anger and judgments.

Would that prospect excite you. Or terrify you?

glass-man

When I said The God Moment is science fiction and based on my experience with spiritual communication, I forgot to mention one thing. I have played, lived and worked with others with an equivalent, powerful seeing capacity. I saw first-hand that conscious transparency is a capacity that all humans carry to some degree. It is just that we play a game to hide this truth from each other. Our societies, our families, our media and education structures are unconsciously designed to disguise this fact. And it is unconscious.

One problem that conscious transparency brings to the fore is that it magnifies whatever latent trust issues we have. It also exposes our self-deceptions. It makes explicit to others our judgments and opinions about them. And ourselves.

In The God Moment the problem isn’t so much that information becomes freely available. It is that human beings cannot look upon the shadow of others without resorting to judgment and condemnation. We have agendas for power and control, and we use shame as a means for manipulating others.

The truth is that conscious transparency is too much for virtually all humans to bear. I can tell you from first-hand experience that being completely transparent before others pushes every imaginable button. It can be truly terrifying.

The terror stems from the fact that there is always repressed pain and fear which underpins our self-deceptions. When we bring the darkness into light, that pain seeks responsible expression.

Conscious transparency utterly transforms social dynamics; and the level of typical human spiritual maturity is not great at this time in our conscious evolution. Too much of our minds lie in shadow. The process of bringing that darkness into the light of conscious awareness will take a great deal of time for the human collective. It will take a great deal of love and patience.

Conscious transparency therefore requires great courage.

The good news is that any given individual can permit conscious transparency in their relationship with spirit. “God” has no fear of our darkness, self-deceptions and mind games. This is why when people have near-death experiences they often feel completely loved by the light.

There’s a simple spiritual practice which you can employ which enables conscious transparency. I call it “Opening to the Great Light”. I will leave you here with this. You might like to make it a part of your regular meditation sessions, or practice it at the end of the day as you are about to sleep.

Why not become more transparent?

After all, what are you hiding from?

 

Opening to the Great Light

Divine love exists within and about all of us. What most people don’t realise is that we can allow it to deepen within us if we embrace it during mindful presence or meditation. This is what I call Opening to the Great Light.

You can imagine this divine love as a great ball of brilliant light that sits directly before you. You can call it “God” if you like, but this is not strictly necessary. I like to think of the Great Light as being of indeterminate size.

Divine love is always with us – it is only our judgments of self, others and the world which keep it at a distance.

As you sit in meditative or mindful presence, allow yourself to become aware of any judgments towards yourself, others or the world that you are holding onto. As you perceive or feel these judgments, simply confess them to the Great Light. The process might go something like this.

“I see that I judge myself for getting older. I open that to you God/Great Light.”

“I now see that there is anger towards my mother, which I have been carrying. I open this to you God/Light.”

“I see in this moment that I carry a belief that the world is cruel and that life cannot be trusted. I open this to the Light.”

This opening is not like the kind of confession a Church-goer might admit to the priest behind the curtain. There is no sin here, no shame and no guilt required. These labels and attitudes would represent judgments of the judgments – leading you into an endless chain of self-rejection.

Nor is there any need for penance or self-flagellation. Indeed, if guilt and self-judgment arise during the Opening to the Light exercise, just confess those to the Light also.

This is purely an unfolding exercise. It is as if you are turning yourself inside out, allowing all that is repressed within you to emerge.

There is no requirement to keep the process of spotting judgments go on indefinitely. Return the mind to the simplicity of presence after a short time. The mind might try to turn this into a game, where endless confessions prevent you coming to rest in silent presence. When you find yourself playing this game you should know what to do. Simply open it to the Light, confess it without judgment, and relax into the presence of the Light!

The Opening to the Great Light results in a tremendous lightness of being. You are not trying to get rid of anything or change who you are. You are simply allowing all of your mind to be present before God. God (within you) has no judgment of who you are. Just relax into that beautiful awareness, and joy will emerge.

The True Cost of Following Your Bliss (3)

There is a price to pay for following your bliss, especially if you choose to deliberately and publicly advocate an alternative philosophy that challenges mainstream opinion and the dominant worldview. In the first of these articles I described my own problems as a futurist with an alternative take on looking at the future, and how difficult it has been to gain a voice in the academic world despite having a PhD. In the second article I outlined some distinctions I have come to learn from my travails; perhaps the most notable being the error in thinking that success would follow automatically just because I followed my heart and publicly shared what I believe to be deeper truths about life and cosmos.

In this article I will offer some practical advice about setting yourself up while living your bliss. My suggestions follow on from my previous insights. After all, these three articles are aimed at helping people who want to develop their own career, business or professional interests while sharing an alternative or spiritual worldview.

I’m not going to go into details about how to set up a business or sell an idea. There are already many teachers and books who have put great materials out there. Instead I am going to focus on a few common issues typically faced by spiritually and mystically-inclined entrepreneurs and creatives.

Take action

If you want to develop an idea it takes time, energy and commitment. Yes, that means you have to work!

Here’s an interesting question for all those of you who have at least some idea of your own calling in this world – doing what you love for a living.

How much action have you taken towards actualising that calling?

In many cases people have a fair idea of what they want to do. They just never bother to do it!

One simple way to begin to eliminate procrastination is to write down three things per day that you can do towards making your dream real. Then do it!

No action = no dream.

Simple.

As I outlined in Discover Your Soul Template, I am a great advocate of introspection as a means to bring a deeper level of consciousness to life. But don’t become such a navel-gazer that you forget to do stuff in the world. Don’t let the conspiracy theorists fool you. You live in a time where the individual is empowered as never before, and where the knowledge and understanding available to you is simply incredible. Don’t waste it!

Deliberate Practice

If you take a look at the most successful people they tend to be very highly skilled at something. And in most cases they had to work really hard to practice and develop those skills. Most had to engage in what some people call “deliberate practice”.

Deliberate practice is the intelligent application of repetition in order to improve performance. New age “go with the flow” philosophies may delude some people into thinking that hard work and good old-fashioned practice are not required to achieve success and excellence in a particular field of endeavor.

Let me assure you that intelligence, sustained commitment, and hard work will almost certainly be required if you are to turn your “calling” into a profession. The truth is that this is a very competitive world, and that standards of performance and excellence have increased dramatically in many fields in recent years. Certainly, if your goal is to reach world-class status, then deliberate practice cannot be avoided.

I highly recommend Geoff Colvin’s Talent Is Overrated as a good introduction to this topic. It shows that deliberate practice is what often separates genius from very good. Colvin outlines the following features of deliberate practice.

  • Deliberate practice is hard work. It is not what we normally think of as practice, such as when you strum a guitar for a bit of fun. You have to move out of your comfort zone to perform deliberate practice.
  • Deliberate practice is designed specifically to improve performance. This means intelligent thought is put into the practice session, so that deliberate and conscious goals for improving performance are met. This in turn requires you to carefully define the elements of your skill that require enhancement, and then go about working at those. Benjamin Franklin, for example, wanted to be a great writer, but realized that his vocabulary was lacking, so systematically set about improving it.
  • Practicing something systematically and intelligently is highly demanding. It requires a great deal of focus and concentration. Studies have shown that excellent violinists practice a lot more than those of lesser skill. Keep in mind that research indicates that practice sessions of more than ninety minutes at a time are counter-productive.

Still, it is entirely possible to do such “hard” work in alignment with Spirit, keeping your mind present and mindful when deliberate practice is required. When I was studying for my PhD I was also working full-time. I used to get up at 5.00 a.m. and write 500 words on my thesis every day. Although commitment and hard work were required, I enjoyed the whole process because more often than not I was fully present and in a state of flow. I completed my doctorate in less than four years (including publishing a dozen journal articles and a book) The whole process went so well that I developed the idea of Integrated Inquiry, an intuitive and creative approach to research.

Develop people skills

I know this will not go down well with many mystically-inclined folks, but you are just going to have to suck it up I’m afraid.

The necessity to take action means you are going to have to get out into the world. You are going to have to work with other people. You are going to have to develop people skills. Yes, that means you! If you have been meditating on a cushion in the garage for the last twenty years you are just going to get off your bum and learn some new skills.

Communication skills can be developed. You do not have to be a natural extrovert or carry on like Anthony Robbins. It is not difficult to learn how to give a public talk, develop your elevator pitch or talk up your idea to a level of competence. Remember what I said about deliberate practice?

Think of social intelligence as being like any other ability, not merely an innate, immovable trait.

The requirement to develop people skills might mean that you have to get rather uncomfortable. But if you don’t like discomfort, I suggest you go back to that cushion in the garage for another twenty years. Because without crossing beyond that comfort threshold regularly, you ain’t going nowhere.

Yes, living your bliss requires discomfort. It’s not a contradiction. It’s just life.

Think about this related point. In his book The Luck Factor, Richard Wiseman indicates that one of the four traits of “lucky” people is that they typically have a wider circle of friends and acquaintances. In other words, they are not lucky in the classical sense. They just rub shoulders with more people, so serendipity is mathematically more likely to flourish.

Be intelligible

You have to take the time to study your market and to deliver products and services that are either needed or attractive to people. As futurist John Naisbitt says, if you move too far ahead of the parade, then nobody is going to be able to see where you are. When you are dealing with other people you need to work in a space, and with ideas and tools that allow those people to understand who you are and what you are doing.

Futurist Sohail Inayatullah once gave me some great advice on how to introduce spiritual concepts to public talks. He said he always begins with the mundane, and with ideas and concepts that the audience is familiar with. Unless it is a central focus of his subject matter, he waits til near the end of his presentation to introduce spiritual concepts. Inayatullah says this works very well. I have followed his advice, and found it to be true. People can become suspicious if you appear to be too other-worldly right from the start.

I know this runs counter to what you read in many new age philosophies, but let me be blunt. When you embark upon a spiritual journey the world will not change to accommodate your readjusted spiritual worldview. You have to make your ideas fit the system.

If your ideas cannot be understood, then nobody will listen to you. It doesn’t matter how grand or brilliant they are; it remains a universal truth. I learned this the hard way. Much of my academic writing is just too far beyond the system to be attractive to universities. When I was applying for jobs in Education faculties my CV featured scores of papers about mind and cosmos. Other candidates had one or two papers about things like classroom management or educational leadership. Who do you think got the job(s)?

Sure, you might change the world by dramatically shifting perceptions, paradigms and markets. Steve Jobs did just that, to a certain degree (as I shall mention below). He helped revolutionise the computer industries, mobile devices, animation and music.

But you still have to sell your stuff. You still have to speak a language that other people can understand and relate to. And if your idea is unintelligible or poorly designed or presented, nobody is going to buy it.

Feedback

It is vitally important to listen to the feedback you get from the client, the marketplace, and the cosmos. If nobody is buying your stuff or employing your services then there is no use complaining and calling them stupid. You have to find a niche, a way to get a foothold in the market. To do this you will have to frame or market your product in a way that is attractive to people, and that they can understand.

I highly recommend Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs. As you may know, Jobs was quite alternative in his thinking. He dropped LSD as a youth, then went to India in search of spiritual enlightenment. He had a liking for Buddhism and often used terms like “karma”, “a calling” and “following your intuition”.

Now, if we are to believe the naive law of attraction advocates, then Jobs – a multi-billionaire and one of the most successful men ever to step on the planet – should have been a laid back character who spent most of his time blissing out while visualising manifesting his destiny as Apple CEO; then calmly waiting for the cosmos to drop everything in his lap.

In fact Steve Jobs was almost the precise opposite. By all accounts he was a temperamental control freak with an obsession for having his way with almost every detail. He was obsessed with quality, and often flew into a rage when he saw work being done that he considered “shit”. He railed and verbally abused co-workers in a ways that would be considered inhumane by many.

And as Isaacson’s book indicates, Jobs was scared. He was full of doubt and fear. He was terrified of failure and not being good enough. Orphaned at birth, this instilled in him a great fear of rejection.

According to the naive law of attraction, the universe should have spat Jobs out and left him impoverished and abandoned on the street.

Instead it made him unimaginably wealthy.

What does this tell us? It tells us that stuff doesn’t happen by magic. Detail, precision, and understanding of the market place are vital to success. Nor does having doubt and fear prevent you from living your bliss. If you go out into the world thinking that the cosmos owes you a living just because you are following your dream or you have cleared out all your “blocks”, the world is likely to spit you out.

Don’t be an angry mystic

I have heard numerous mystically-inclined people say something like “Capitalism sucks! I’m not doing this for money! I’m spiritual!”

They have an attitude problem.

There is nothing intrinsically wrong about money and markets. Money can do just as much good as evil. Exchanging cash is just the way the system works.

What would you rather do? Would you rather be sitting at home on social security (hmm, that’s money, no?) and ranting against a world that is evil and materialistic, even as all your talent and soul aptitudes remain untapped? Or would you rather be joyfully sharing your gifts with the world, while accepting a little of that filthy lucre at the same time?

I believe that it is important to work with the system. It is not necessary to blindly accept it and to sell your soul. You can work within it without being a part of it. Play in the system, keep your values, listen to your heart and do no harm. That can’t be so hard, can it?

Many new agers and spiritual folk talk about love and peace. But if you actually listen to them you soon discover that they hate the world and they hate people. There is an anger, blame and judgment burning within them – often rage. “I am not one of the mindless sheeple! I am spiritual!” They reject the world.

It is not necessary to reject the world. Part of your journey is to forgive this place. All judgment is a mental act of annihilation. Judging the world is no different. How can you shine your light in the world if what you really want to do is annihilate it? What kind of message is that sending out to the universe?

I say get off your high horse and forgive the world! Acknowledge your own anger and pain, because that is your responsibility. Learn to shine your light from within, and then move out into the world. What greater gift could you possibly give?

Back to that price

There is no guarantee of professional success if you follow your calling. But if you shine your heart light, you will at least offer something to the world that you cannot by sitting at home and meditating and grumbling about how shitty the world is.

All this is not easy. This world is not for sissies. Acknowledge your weaknesses and delusions. Stand up for yourself and for what you believe. Take action, work hard and work smart. Be prepared for failure, and don’t take it personally. Step out into the world lightly, joyfully and with courage. Be strong, be noble and be as loving as you can.

Forgive others when they don’t understand what you are doing. Most of all, take note of their feedback. It just might be useful.

Living your bliss is sometimes not as blissful as you think! Your great idea will not manifest itself without you applying your God-given intelligence and work ethic in the real world.

Sorry to burst the new age bubble. But somebody had to do it.

Journey to the Blue Stone

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Here’s a little story that might have meaning to some of you here. I wrote this very simple story myself, but it is adapted from a tale I heard many years ago – so I cannot claim originality. I don’t recall all the details of the story, so I embellished it creatively. I wrote the story as part of a job application I made recently, to work with a team of creative writers. I did mention that the essence of the story was not mine. The reason I chose this story was because the job application asked for a one-page answer to the question “What makes you content, and why.” This was about 75% of my answer, with a little at the end explaining its relevance (which I haven’t included here. You can find your own meaning as you wish).

So, here it is…

In Indian lore there is an ancient a story of a young man who had a most profound dream one night. In the dream he was digging into the earth with his bare hands. As his tired fingers brushed aside the moist earth, he suddenly came upon a most brilliant blue stone. Its luminance was such that he had to shield his eyes for a moment. As his eyes adjusted to the lustre of the magnificent stone, he found himself gazing upon a gem so radiant that it seemed to be full of the life force itself.

The man awoke. When he realised that he had only been dreaming his heart was filled with great despair. He fell back to sleep, tears falling from his cheeks.

The following morning the excitement of the vision remained fresh in his mind. He was convinced that the dream was a direct message from God. Surely it meant that he would be rich beyond imagination and have all his wishes fulfilled! He knew within his heart that the blue stone was real, and that it would soon be his.

So that very day the man set out from his tiny village house, riding upon an old donkey which he had bought with the last of his money. He travelled all across India from village to village, scouring every hill and valley with his little pick and shovel. Upon his way he perused every gem store, seeking the blue stone that he knew was his by divine right.

The man’s search went on for many years. He was so possessed by his quest that he barely felt the passing of the years. Then one day as he left yet another gem store empty handed, he caught sight of his reflection in the shop window. He was shocked to see an old man staring back at him. It was then that the man suddenly realised that his entire life had passed him by, and so possessed had he been with finding the blue stone that he had forgotten to live. He fell to his knees in despair, right there in the street. He began to sob.

For some reason – perhaps because there was nothing else that he could do, so old and poor had he become – he began to meditate. His mind fell into a deep silence. For days he sat upon the street, breaking his meditation only occasionally to eat and drink the little food that was left there from the passers-by who took pity upon him. Then one night as he sat in meditative silence, there appeared before his mind’s eye a great blue light. At first it looked like a distant star. But slowly it grew and grew until its light engulfed his entire spirit. With that light there came the greatest peace imaginable. The brilliance of the experience was such that he knew that his quest was over. He was home.

The old man lived for many more years, and the brilliance of the blue light within never diminished. Then one night he passed away peacefully. For he was content, knowing that he had found the great blue stone that God had promised him.

Marcus

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Addicted to Distraction: or How to Remain Awake in the Age of Online Zombies

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In the age of social media and the internet the modern Sage has to endure a test to his awakening that Lao Zi and the Buddha would never have dreamed possible: how to stay centred while being bombarded with information. This includes the related problem of how to deal with trolls and haters on the internet.

This is particularly important for anybody who uses social media or posts comments on discussion forums of any kind on a regular basis. For me personally, I use popular sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, and by the time you read this I will probably be experimenting with other sites. I also put my books out there on sites like Amazon, Smashwords and Scribd. Then I have my blog and websites. My articles and stories also appear of many, many other sites around the global internet.

So there’s a lot of stuff out there, and sometimes people don’t like what I say or write. Sometimes I naively write the wrong thing, or don’t fully consider that what I am writing might be interpreted in a way that was not intended. Given that I often delve into the shadow side of the human psyche, and deal with the murky word of the spiritual and psychic, you can probably appreciate why my stuff sometimes pushes people’s buttons. I also write some personal things as well, because I believe that personalising points makes them more accessible to people. The downside of that is that some people with low levels of personal responsibility will use those personal stories and details to try to defame me or get inside my head.

So I have learned a thing or two from my mistakes, and I will share these insights with you here. The good news is that the skills and attitudes that you learn and adopt as an awakened being will help you greatly in your online life. For the truth is that if you wish to remain in presence and avoid being dragged into the mind, you must apply the same standards of personal responsibility online as you do in your day to day life in the real word.

 

The disembodied net

The most important aspect of internet and computer usage you need to be aware of is that there is an inherent dissociation process that occurs when you shift your attention away from the world and your body, and onto a computer screen Nicholas Carr hinted at this in his book The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains. Carr wrote this book because he had an intuitive sense that his mind was becoming shallower as a result of the amount of time he was spending on the net. He noticed that his ability to stay focused upon anything – either online or in the physical world – was suffering along with his increased net usage. In short, he found he was being driven to distraction. Carr goes into some of the research and science which backs up the claim that our brains are changing as we spend more time online.

Of course, as a Sage who is well connected to the intuitive feedback that your body provides you moment to moment, much of the science is only confirming what you (and Carr) have already sensed.

The inner peace and silent power of the Sage emerges from her ability to shift attention away from the chattering mind (both her own and others’) and into silent presence. Needless to say, she also knows when to turn off the mobile device and stop checking her damn email. She is able to achieve relaxed mindfulness, regardless of whatever or whomever she is engaged with. Such mindfulness requires a strong connection with the body. This includes an awareness of the emotional and psychic projections that minds tend to produce; and the dramas that distract her from mindful presence. If she takes her attention away from the present moment and moves into a space where her mind attaches itself to externals (rather than simply merges with them in presence), then her presence is immediately lost.

One of the wisest things I ever heard was something spoken by mystic Leonard Jacobson. He said that when you gaze upon the vastness of the ocean, you will see the vastness within yourself reflected back to you. When you gaze upon the eternity of a mountain, you will see the eternity of yourself therein. But if you gaze upon the unconsciousness of another and become transfixed by that, you will become as lost as them.

Can you see how this point is vital when dealing with your online life? The truth is that much of what is written on social media and the internet in general is of little value. It contains little wisdom or understanding. Almost all of it is distorted by the limitations of the mind, and a great deal is simply irresponsible projection from spiritually immature individuals. If you engage this online trash at the level that it is created, you will become lost in the shadows of the mind, separated from the light. So you have to discipline yourself when it comes to the time you spend online. It is that simple.

Before I go any further, I need to make something very, very clear. It is something that you may not like to hear.

The internet is not your slave, it is your master.

At least this is true for the vast majority of human beings. It’s very likely true of you too. Most of us have given our power away to the net; to the giant computer, software and mobile IT corporations. We are dancing to their tunes, even as we are fed the lie that we are being freed by them. But my point here is not so much about conspiracies, but a far more mundane reality, something rooted in the human psyche.

Human addiction.

The reason why so many people are on the net is because they don’t want to be here. By “here”, I mean here in this world, in the present moment. In the world of the real, as Morpheus might say.

The internet provides an escape from the world, and from the emotional body. From your pain. You will never awaken if you spend most of your time online, fidgeting with gadgets, or shutting out reality via the music pumped into your head via your earphones. Just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t make it good.

If you seek awakening, you need to make time in your life for quiet presence, for connecting with your breath, with your body, with what is present with you where you are. And this needs to be the main priority of your life, not an aside or a hobby. It is true that you can – and should – be mindful while using a computer. But it is very difficult to be fully present, especially while you are online. Most online environments are designed for maximum stimulation, for maximum distraction. They are designed to capture your attention, and keep you there. In the machine.

You must make the time, many times per day, to bring your mind to presence in your body. If you do not develop the habit of presence, none of this advice will have much benefit for you.

The zombies referred to in the title of my ebook Trolls and Demons: How to Remain Awake in the Age of Online Zombies are the hordes of internet users around the world who have lost touch with their genuine nature. They have unconsciously given their power away to the machine: the modern computer. It is something of an irony that many geeks are fans of the movie The Matrix. Many see themselves as modern day Neos, hackers of the machines. While it is true that many are not fooled by the broader materialistic system in which they were raised, most do not realise that the machines have already taken possession of them. But it is not the Pentagon or KGB mainframes that have them by the goolies. It is the very instrument that sits on the desk in front of them, and the mobile devices they carry in the palms that they have given their power away to. They have become addicted to distraction. Nothing will liberate you from the mind if you do not understand this fundamental truth.

The solution is simple. Spend less time online. You will not awaken while you choose distraction over presence. You need to make the time to be here now.

 

This is an extract from Marcus T Anthony’s ebook of Trolls and Demons: How to Remain Awake in the Age of Online Zombies.

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