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.
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.”
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.
Many people feel that they are not lovable. They may feel ugly and bad, regardless of what they actually look like. In this edition of The Five Minute Mystic I answer this question from Lesley, and suggest what can be done to address the problem and to heal.
Can you give me some advice? Do you have anything that will help me feel more accepting of myself, warts and all? I am on this solitary path where people shun me and don’t understand me and look at me with disdain. Thanks, Lesley
The following extract is from my brand new ebook Games You Play to Deny Yourself Divine Love, which is now available on Amazon.com (if you would like a review copy, email Marcus, firstname.lastname@example.org). This book is part of an ebook series called The Deepening. The other two ebooks published so far are:
Ah yes. I am spiritual. Very spiritual! And I am becoming more spiritual. Soon I will be so spiritual that all those sheeple out there will be so far beneath me that I will not even know they exist!
There’s no more guaranteed way to sabotage a spiritual journey than to go on a spiritual journey. Where are you going, exactly? When will you get there?
Can you see the problem?
In setting up the journey, you are saying that where I am now is not okay. I must arrive somewhere else, later on – only then will I be whole and complete. This here and now is not good enough. Indeed, I must become more spiritual. Like the Dalai Lama, the Pope, Jesus, or the Buddha. Or maybe I can just be as enlightened as my spiritual teacher. Sure, I am not there yet. But I will be. One day. In the future. But not now. Not here.
The mind loves this spiritual game. It is a guaranteed way that it never has to release its power over you, for it sets up a perpetual cycle of conditional love. I will be OK when I am truly spiritual, when I get to the top of that mountain.
“I need to be perfect”
Jesus was perfect. He couldn’t be tempted by the devil, and he never had a wicked thought. The Buddha just sat around being all enlightened. I’m not there yet, but maybe one day I will be.
Sorry, but you are not going to be like Jesus, and you haven’t got a hope of being like the Buddha. No, you are just fine the way you are.
Make no mistake. There are lessons we can learn from the spiritual greats. There are subtle distinctions about the way mind and cosmos interact, between the way the ego and higher self operate. But you are not here to be like anyone else. You are just magnificent in what you are right now. If you stop and relax long enough, you might just discover this for yourself. So do yourself a favour and spare yourself those thirty years of penance or meditation you think you need to become perfect.
The key to awakening lies in the deep acceptance of all that you already are, including all those parts of yourself you deem to be unacceptable.
Get it through your thick head (or thick mind). You are never going to be perfect. Not ever!
Here’s another secret. No mind that has ever existed on this planet has ever become enlightened. That’s right. No mind has ever reached nirvana because the mind by its very nature exists in separation, and if you want to continue to exist on this plane of existence, a mind comes in very handy from time to time.
The truth is that the Deepening is a relaxation into the perfection that you already are. The mind can never live up to the ridiculous expectations which you place upon it. So don’t bother.
If you are not having a good time, why bother anyway?
Is your ultimate enlightenment worth the cost of being a boring, miserable SOB till the year 2050?
I don’t think so.
So snap out of it.
“I will be OK when I am healed”
Don’t interrupt my pain. I’m healing!
You have to give it to the mind for this one, for it is pure genius. Trying to heal is perhaps the perfect trap the mind sets up to fool itself. In this common scenario, you set out to heal yourself after you acknowledge that that there is pain within your soul. Your mind then declares: “My goodness! This is what is stopping the light from shining within me! I must go on a healing journey in order to awaken! I must get rid of this damn pain. When I no longer hurt, I will be free – and enlightened!”
Do you see the trap? In trying to get rid of the pain, the ego is rejecting the wounded child within. The ego is rejecting itself. Ironically, shutting out the light. Here the mind is saying that the current me, with all this pain and suffering, is not acceptable. But one day, when I get rid of all this damn anger, sadness and fear I’ll be okay. Not till then though!
What I am talking about involves a very subtle distinction. It is generally true that we have to acknowledge our pain before we can heal. If we suppress our hurt and emotions they will never heal. But we have to bring a loving, non-judgmental awareness to our pain. For any judgment of the wounded child will simply drive it further into unconsciousness.
Further, as Caroline Myss points out in Why People Don’t Heal and How They Can, the mind can become addicted to the healing process, especially the sense of intimacy that one gets from being part of a healing group, or sharing one’s pain with another.
“How will I connect with my wounded fellow-journeymen when the pain is gone?” asks the mind in terror. The answer is twofold. Firstly, in bringing your mind into presence with another, you connect in the intimacy of the moment. And this is a far more beautiful connection than one based on trying to swap emotional baggage. Secondly, there are plenty of ways to interact with others without bringing emotional pain into it. Join a hiking group. Discuss philosophy or gardening. Play sport.
“But these things are not intimate!” the ego complains. And no, they are not intimate in the same way. But often the sense of connectedness you get in sharing your pain emerges from a subtle level of dysfunction. In particular, the intimacy of healing groups can often be a co-dependent process, where people unconsciously begin carrying each other’s wounds. So you walk out of the group with lots of little inner children clinging to you back because you are rescuing everyone – or possessed by someone to whom you gave your power away.
To be perfectly blunt, no healing will occur while your wounded energy is in someone else’s possession. This is a blatant form of giving your power away to another individual or group.
The most effective solution to the sense of emptiness that may ensue after leaving behind the intimacy of healing groups or friends is simply to begin to connect deeply with what is before you in every moment, in deep presence. In the end, this is the only thing that will fill the void.
You are already a lot more powerful than you give yourself credit for.
In my latest book The Deepening: The Art of Unconditional Love, I provide some simple tools to help readers bring their minds into a state of peaceful, loving presence. It is in this state that the genuine “you” is re-born into this world. This is the “you” who is a magnificent being, one that is perfectly worthy of total love. Divine love, if you prefer.
The mind, by its nature, tends to invest emotional attachment into what goes on in the world around it. This is perfectly normal, but self-limiting. However, I am in no way suggesting that the human mind is the enemy! The way I like to approach things is by developing the right relationship with the mind. I am talking about a gentle alignment, not an abrasive self-correction. For the great paradox is that by judging your mind you simply expand its power over you. The ego will not surrender until it feels that it is loved and accepted. And I think you know whose job I am going to suggest it is to do that! You!
I strongly recommend that you try the simple mindfulness method that I outline below – Focusing upon the Body. As I said, it is simple… but powerful.
Focusing upon the Body
It is impossible to engage in drama with another when you are fully responsible for what moves within your emotional body.
Focusing upon the Body is the definition of simplicity. It is perfect for minor dramas, such as silly online arguments or meaningless squabbles with the relatives!
Use this method when you find your mind lingering upon a drama with another person, or stuck in a judgment of a situation you are involved in.
You can do this as a meditation sitting or lying down. You can even do it at your desk at work or anywhere you don’t need to keep close vigilance on the environment. Close your eyes and withdraw your attention from the person or situation you are judging or in drama with. Bring your attention for a minute or so onto your breath, and you will notice yourself begin to relax. After that short period, move your attention back to the person or situation you are in drama with. Next, simply take your focus off that person or situation, and focus upon the feelings that arise within you. The first thing you will note is that every feeling registers in your body. Feelings do not exist merely in abstract mental space. They might register in your solar plexus, your stomach, your heart, your jaw or any other part of the body. So simply bring your awareness to that feeling within the body. As the feelings arise, do not name them, judge them or condemn them. Simply allow them to be. If you simply observe them, they will tend to pass. Maintain this focus. When you find the mind returning to the drama, simply allow that – and then return to any feelings within your body. You can do this as long as you want, but even a few minutes can be very beneficial in helping you pull out of the drama.
Focusing on the Body is a tremendously powerful part of the awakening process. If done correctly, it brings into experiential awareness the fact that all drama exists predominantly within your emotional body, and that the mind simply projects the feelings out onto the world and generates the illusion that the source of its pain is found in the object of judgment (usually “the bad guy”).
Note that in some cases where the drama triggers the deeper emotional body, you may need to move onto Channeling the Wounded Child.
ACADEMIC ARTICLE: In this paper I examine three textual mythologies regarding China’s evolving present. These are an Orwellian world of covert and overt state control; a Brave New World dystopia where the spirit of the people is subsumed in hedonistic distractions; and finally I assess the progress towards the official vision of the current Beijing authorities: the “harmonious society”. These three “pulls” of the future are juxtaposed with certain key “pushes” and “weights”, and I explore their interplay within a “futures triangle”. Finally, I suggest whether any of these mythologies is likely play a significant role in the possible futures of China.
Title: The New China: Big Brother, Brave NewWorld or Harmonious Society?