Tag Archives: mindfulness

Why the World is Not Ending Anytime Soon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nowadays we complain about slow internet connections.

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

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

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

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

Marcus Anthony

 

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

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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

Englightenment-in-the-time-of-freedom

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?

Peter L Nelson and How You Can See the Secrets of Life

This article also appears on Conscious Life News

What if when you enter a room, instead of looking about with your eyes and listening with your ears, you first employed your feelings to get a sense of the place? If you did this every time you entered a new space, how would it change your perception of place? How would it transform the way you relate to the world, to people, to your experience of self as a conscious being?

There is a man who teaches people how to do exactly this, and his name is Peter L Nelson. A clinical psychologist with a PhD, Peter is no ordinary scientist. He is also a “seer,” a person who has been trained to sense what lies within the spaces that we normally do not look upon.

pln

Peter’s recent book Way of a Seer makes bold claims. The volume is founded upon the conviction that the human mind is connected to “second-stream of consciousness,” and that the information that this provides for the individual can be practically applied in our daily lives. This spiritual intelligence is innate, but our society and education system has forgotten it, instead conditioning us to tightly focus our attention on a very narrow range of perceptual experience. We are taught to push, to compete, to win. We are not taught to relax and look. We are not taught to listen. Instead, we impose ourselves upon the world, and in doing so miss its subtle essence and much of the information contained within places, experiences and people.

Peter’s induction to the world of seers is as remarkable as the teaching itself, as he told me recently on my podcast The Consciousness Files. In his early twenties Peter was a disgruntled postgraduate student spending his time cutting open rats’ brains in the university lab. He found the entire programme distasteful. Despite his inquisitive scientific intelligence, Peter never felt quite at home in society and modern education. He had long had disconcerting psychic experiences, which he tended to push aside.

One night he had a dream of flying over green hills, and had the profound sense that he knew the place he was seeing. The following night at the cinema he saw the exact same scene again, which was in Devonshire, England. He had a profound sense of longing to travel to the country.

In a series of coincidences, he soon met a wealthy woman who offered to take him there. He made the decision to quit his studies and soon found himself in London. To try to make sense of the experiences he was having, Peter visited the British Society Psychical Research (15:45 mins). It was there that the librarian began to act a little strange. She insisted that he read a letter, which she stated was very important. Peter declined, but he struck up a friendship with the woman. Eventually she convinced him to read the letter. It turned out that it had been written ten years before. It was apparently addressed to Peter himself, even though Peter had never met the writer. It described details of Peter’s life that appeared to be too accurate to dismiss as coincidence.

At first Peter thought it was some kind of scam, but the disorienting effect of the experience stayed with him. Despite his fear and the unsettling effect on his life, he maintained his relationship with the woman. She would, over a period of years, teach him how to become a seer.

According to Peter Nelson, perhaps the most important aspect of “seeing” is that it transforms our way of relating to people, the world and the cosmos. It is vital to helping us rediscover the connectivity that we have lost in our modern, economically-developed cultures.

What I particularly like about Peter is his honesty and the “scientific” approach to what I prefer to call “integrated intelligence.” He does not profess to know all the answers to life, the universe and everything. Indeed “not knowing” is central to his personal philosophy. We humans are very limited in what we can understand about the universe, he says. Yet even the simple act of noticing what we don’t pay attention to can be transformative.

Take a look around you now. What did you first pay attention to when you entered the room? What do you never pay attention to in this space? A minute of quiet meditation on these two questions can reveal much about what you have become – and what you have not become.

Perhaps Peter L Nelson’s way is not for everyone who works with the extended mind, but I think all “seers” can gain a great deal from his “critical” approach. Peter is not so much interested in laying down dogmas and certainties, as in problematising the way of the seer. He is sometimes critical of false or naive approaches to seeing, but I think this is a good thing.

The world needs people with the courage to speak and write openly about this often-maligned area of human perception. Seeing deeply is not merely an interesting aside to the human story, like attending a psychic reading or playing with a ouija board when you have had a few too many drinks. I am in full agreement with Peter L Nelson that non-ordinary perception is central to rebalancing the greater story of our civilisation and our species. Peter L Nelson makes an invaluable, fascinating and very accessible contribution to human knowledge.

What is Your Intention in the Next Election?

What would happen if instead of batting for a political party at the next election like following a football team, we instead focussed more on the intentionality of the leaders – and most importantly the “energy” we put out with the relationship we have to ideas? In this sense the policies are still very important, but just as important is the way our mind relates to such policies. Political ideas and ideals are no different from any other in the sense that the way we identify with them can become a kind of madness, if we are not careful… Some of the great introspective traditions have taught us this about the mind in general. You can learn a lot about yourself and the way the mind functions by observing it, observing the way it clings to thoughts, insists on always being right, and projects against others. Politics is a great opportunity to learn about such things.

I had a teacher once who didn’t care much what people said. Words can easily deceive, she said. She simply “read” people. Something I took from that was that there is a litmus test for whether a philosophy, idea or teaching is worth taking on. And all it requires is a simple question. “Does this idea cause a contraction of consciousness, or an expansion?” Even more importantly, “Does the way I relate to this idea cause a contraction or an expansion?” If it contracts, let it go or modify your relationship to it.

In this sense, the name of the idea, philosophy or the political party isn’t the only important thing. And we don’t need to become so deeply attached to thoughts, ideas and politics.

Almost any idea, however noble, can be abused. And some ideas which may appear imperfect or faulted can be expansive if we relate to them and apply them in the right way.

Marcus

Beyond the Violence of Neo-Liberalism

The fact that it is so very difficult to offer any critique of the problems within western liberalism without being targeted for “punishment” by that system is evidence that it has become a kind of hegemony in itself. Most sensible people avoid challenging political correctness. Any attempt to challenge the dominant narrative on racism, sexism, discrimation and so on can incur swift and dramatic consequences for the worse.

If policies are implemented at the systems level without a congruent shift in consciousness, many people will tend to return to the very behaviours and attitudes the policies seek to change. There is an obvious self-contradiction in employing a process with inherant intellectual violence to try to dissuade people from being intellectually violent.

Many of the problems we are witnessing today with the rise of conservative sentiments may be insolvable at the level of mind. This is what we are seeing with the backlash against liberalism, as evidenced by the relative success of conservative politicians like Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump and recently with Tony Abbott in Australia.

I believe that the problem is not just the internet or social media, as some have argued. Nor is it that all conservatives are simply stupid. The conservative backlash emerges from the inherant violence of the mind, something that no enforced liberal “machinery” is going to shift, as long as the policies merely target the human intellect.

What we are seeing is the limit of the idea that all you need are more rules and more education and more policies to shift things. Many people are rebelling against political correctness and against not being able to speak their truth.

A good example occured in the news here in Australia yesterday. According to a Fairfax media report, a caucasian student at the Queensland University of Technology in Australia is being sued by an Indigenous worker after he complained on Facebook about being removed from a computer lab. The room had been reserved for Indigenous students (but not signposted as such). According to the article, his error was in criticising the university policy for “segregating” students according to race. There is no evidence that he used any abusive or racist language, yet he is being sued under the racial discrimination act.

Clearly, both parties identify themselves as victims. The caucasian student believes that he has been discriminated against by being forcibly removed from a university space because of his race – then being labeled a racist and sued for criticising the system. We may assume that the indigenous worker feels she is the victim because of the long history of racial discrimination in Australia. By my estimation, both have legitimate grievances. The problem is that at the level of mind, each sees the other as the oppressor, and they are hitting out against the perceived enemy. This is a strong tendency of the human mind, one most likely it is rooted in our biology, our evolution.

Modern liberalism has the unintended consequence of encouraging people to identify with narratives of oppression. It encourages many to be angry, and to blame others and the system. This is despite the fact that the ideals of liberalism are well-intended. They appeal to justice and equality for all. Yet human beings prefer the victim identity to that of the oppressor. When the system labels them the bully, they get angry and lash out. When they are labelled the victim, there is a tendency for them to assume an attitude of moral superiority and to project shame at the “oppressors.” The accused then hit back, and round and round we go on the carousel of postmodernity.

What is to be done about this?

I have a suggestion which I believe would greatly diminish the tendency for mental projections to escalate into intellectual and sometimes physical violence. What if both parties in the QUT conflict had the capacity to witness the contents of their own minds, including the narratives of power and oppression which emerge from their worldviews? What if mindful reflection was their initial response, a state initiated before any further mental attitudes or physical actions took place?

Based on the Fairfax media report it appears neither the caucasian student nor the Indigenous worker have the skills (or intention) to assume responsibility for their projections.

The current Neo-liberal system encourages the Indigenous worker to pursue an unnecessarily aggressive action (litigation) against a person who is merely criticising a university policy. Once societies begin to become tightly controlled by such liberal ideas they tend to re-establish an hegemonic narrative, and those who challenge the narrative get punished (mostly they just stay silent). The presence of Donald Trump is in part a reaction to the powerlessness that a certain segment of the American population (mostly working class) feels under such a system. Is this one of the factors which leads them to reject the liberalism?

Meditators and practitioners of deep presence know from personal experience that the majority of human confict and “drama” emerges from mental projections. Yes, there is such a thing as “the good fight.” Yet the desire to fight an “other” is often completely unnecessary. Instead we can either walk away or engage the other in presence. Presence bypasses the hostility the mind tends to generate when it sees itself as being wronged.

Whatever legal or practical systems we lay down to solve the problems within our institutions and societies, none will ever be perfect. There will always be people who are inconvenienced or wronged, even by the most well-intentioned policies. Indeed, as a friend of mine used to say, solutions are problematic. It is irrational to believe that policies in themselves will ever resolve all human conflict. Yet what would greatly assist us as we all live and interact within such systems is the ability to be present to the mind and it’s projections. It would cut out the drama, leaving us with more time and energy to address the problems that are truly important. Is being asked to leave the Indigenous computer lab really that important? Does having your lab policy criticised on Facebook really require the racial discrimination act to be invoked? What about most of the things we get worked up about each day? I will leave it up to the reader to decide for yourself the answers to these questions.

Extreme liberalism can be just as hegemonic as extreme conservatism. Both represent a kind of intellectual violence, and that often escalates into more overt forms of violence. Both ideologies tend to operate under the imperatives of the mind.

I believe that if all people had the simple capacity for embodied presence and to be able to witness the projections of the mind, the ideals of liberalism would follow naturally. Then there would be no need for the enforced hegemony liberalism has come to represent for many.

In my ideal world, both liberals and conservatives would introspect to acknowledge to what degree they have become attached to an inflexible and intolerant worldview. They would then be able to assume responsibility for the intellectual violence that their projections create.

But how can this be done? This blog post is not the place for such practical details. More about that later. But I will grant one hint. You won’t transcend the current system by surfing the comments pages of most social media sites and firing off angry responses to other people’s online projections.

I am under no illusions that mindful attention will automatically solve all world problems. Nor should we desist with implementing sensible “liberal” policies to help address the problems we see in the world. Policy can help illuminate the dark spaces where inequality and injustice reside. Yet I believe a greater capacity for mindful attention can make a real difference in the way people respond to such policies, in real life situations.

Marcus

Why Hard Work May Be Needed To Live Your Bliss

In my book Discover Your Soul Template (http://www.amazon.com/Discover-Your-Soul-Template-Intelligence/dp/1594774269). I wrote about “living your Bliss” – following your heart to live the life of your dreams. Using Integrated Intelligence, you can listen to your guidance as you advance confidently towards your Bliss. Yet I would like to clarify a certain misunderstanding which exists amongst some alternative spiritual philosophies.

New Age ‘go with the flow’ philosophies may delude some people into thinking that hard work and ‘deliberate practice’ are not required to achieve success and excellence in a particular field of endeavor. ‘Deliberate practice’ is the intelligent application of repetition in order to improve performance. Let me assure you that intelligence, sustained commitment and hard work will almost certainly be required if you are live your Bliss. 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 fantastic book Talent is Overrated as a good introduction to this topic. It shows that deliberate practice is what often separates genius form 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. That’s not much like ‘Bliss’ at all. So this is where we need to be careful that we do not trip ourselves up with the idea of ‘Bliss’. Living your Bliss does not preclude the possibility of discomfort and a certain degree of sacrifice.

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 realised that his vocabulary was lacking, so systematically set about improving it.

Repetition is common to deliberate practice. Most of the greats in any given field repeat practice activities far more than mere amateurs. This requires great concentration and commitment. It is said that as a boy Don Bradman, an Australian cricketer who had a batting average of just under 100 runs per innings (almost twice as good as the next best guy) used to spend hours hitting a golf ball up against a metal tank using a cricket stump as a bat, just to improve his hand/eye coordination.

To be most effective, deliberate practice requires feedback; and generally speaking, the more the better. You must either find someone who is willing to tell you your shortcomings, or you must make the time to honestly critique your own work on a regular basis.

Practicing something systematically and intelligently is highly mentally 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. Generally speaking, there are limits to how long you can practice, however. Sessions of no more than ninety minutes at a time, and totaling four to five hours per day are ideal. Any more than that, and you risk burnout. Mental visualisation should not be underestimated here, as it can greatly enhance performance, as long as the imagined practice is correct and conforms to the requirements of deliberate practice. That means that specific skills are identified, and the imagined scenario is as life-like as possible.

So living your Bliss may require hard work and commitment. A lot of New Agers and dharma bums falsely believe that if it isn’t fun and ‘easy’, then it is not spiritual. Hard work will be a part of the journey if you want to reach mastery in most fields.

The key distinction if you have a genuine spiritual life focus is that your deliberate practice will be done in alignment with Spirit. Your mind will remain present and mindful of intuitive prompts when deliberate practice is required. You will have the advantage over many others in your field in that you will be able draw upon integrated intelligence as you go about creating, practicing and performing. You won’t find this distinction outlined in books like Talent is Overrated, because the idea lies beyond the understanding of most writers and thinkers in mainstream culture and science. The irony is that many performers and artists are very aware of the understanding. So with this final distinction, it is a case of following the practitioners, not the “experts.”

Marcus

Liberating Your Inner German Co-Pilot

Take a look at this picture. What is wrong with it? It was taken at a Starbucks in Guangzhou, a huge, mad, Bladerunnerish city of ten million Chinese people, about two hours out of downtown Hong Kong.

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In case you are wondering, the stuff plastered all over the floor is mostly the frothy bit at the top of a grande latte. Some idiot forgot that he is supposed to keep the rim of the mug reasonably parallel to the lay of the floor, or the coffee initiates evacuation procedures. Maybe gravity is God’s cosmic joke. But it’s not as irritating as the fact that the trail of suspicion in the photo above leads directly to the table at which I’m now seated. I wish the line of questioning could unveil the identity of the person who sat here before me. But alas it is 9:00 am. Sunday. On a long weekend. And almost everyone except me is either too asleep or too hungover to make the coffee shop at this time. What is particularly vexing is that the young woman behind the counter is yet to clean up the mess, despite my apologetic confession, which was really just a pathetic attempt to get her to erase the evidence ASAP.

Life can be annoying. Hell, being human can be exasperating. Sometimes things go the way we plan. We land the job we so desperately seek. We kiss the prom queen. The coffee stays in the mug. But often it doesn’t. The coffee spills. The company doesn’t even bother to get back to us. The prom queen slaps you hard and takes out a restraining order.

We like to imagine that we are in control. People obsess about control. They do anything to maintain it. Or at least the illusion of it. Even people who love to think they are “chilled” are often playing a subtle game of control.

In the news this past week there has been a certain story dominating the headlines. It’s a little too soon after the event to make light of it, but let’s just say that never again will the words “German” and “co-pilot” be uttered in the same sentence without a wave of panic forcing its way upwards from the collective human psyche.

The world is unfeasibly large. Not on a cosmic scale, of course. We are just ants in the greater scheme of things. But the planet is pretty big nonetheless. Tragedy is commonplace. About a million people die every year in car crashes. That’s more than a thousand times more than die in plane crashes. But strangely, almost none of these car accidents makes an international-standard newspaper.

When we get into a car the grim stats rarely worry us. Not even if the driver is German. So why the disparity with the relatively rare phenomenon of plane crashes? I suspect it is simply that when we are seated in a plane we surrender all control to the pilot, the mechanics, and to the laws of physics. In a car, we feel safe because we feel we are the master of our fate, at least to a high degree.

In the end, however, deaths in motor vehicles are relatively common. Even worse, death is universal. Even if you refuse to drive or fly, and live on a diet of organic alfalfa sprouts and sleep in an oxygen tank, the Grip Reaper is eventually going to nab you.

Death is that unwelcome stranger who annoyingly disregards all subtle hints of rejection. No restraining order can keep it at any less temporal distance than, say, eighty years or so. On average. German co-pilots notwithstanding.

Religion is often a narcissistic attempt to magically erase the spectre of death through an elaborate and ultimately hopeless negotiation with the Great Terrorist in the sky. Desperately, through prayer, self-flagellation or suicide missions individuals seek that elusive win-win outcome with the creator. After all, why should only God get immortality? Even some unsatisfying compromise like reincarnation will do.

Anything but ultimate annihilation.

Some of you may know about Stuart Wilde. The most popular article I have ever written was about him. Stuart described himself as the scallywag of the new age movement. Or something like that. And it wasn’t mere PR BS. Here was the one man in the business who really walked his talk. Stuart wrote some great books and was loved by many. However, by all accounts he was a womaniser, worshipped the bottle with unrestrained zest, and enjoyed imbibing mind-altering substances extracted from exotic plant species.

And he was an iconoclast. Stuart Wilde loved tearing down sacred objects and stomping on them, often with alcohol-laiden contempt. The man pissed a lot of people off. Some people hated him. Still do. Take a look. It’s all over the net.

My semi-professional opinion as a self-proclaimed spiritual teacher is that his greatest gift lies not only in his teachings. His metaphysics is a mishmash of brilliant insight coupled with intriguing self-delusion and a healthy dose of snake-oil salesmanship.

No. Stuart Wilde’s greatest legacy lies in his insistence that life need not be taken so seriously. To hell with the love ‘n light. I’m here for a good time, not a long time.

Like I said, he was good for his word.

Most people who subscribe to new age thinking and alternative spirituality do so because they have had a gut full of the rigidity and hypocrisy of organised religion. Yet they often unconsciously deliver that same consciousness upon their “liberated” spirituality. And they take it very seriously. After a while they become overly attached to their ideals and metaphysics. This attachment ultimately metamorphoses into unquestionable dogmas. When contradictory beliefs enter their reality, they immediately feel fear. Then anger. Then they attempt to erase or attack the offending idea.

You may have similar thoughts about this article. Especially if you are German.

This is precisely the mentality which has plagued religion for millennia. It leads to violence, either in the physical world, or at the consciousness level, where our projections play out a game of power and control.

It happens with “science”, too. Take a look at organised skepticism.

There is a way out of this, and it’s quite simple. Take your beliefs lightly. Instead of founding your life on ideals and beliefs, make being present to life the foundation of your spirituality. Then, when you work at the level of mind – socialising with others, creating, working – you can play with your beliefs. You might even like to experiment with them. Like throwing on an Hawaiian shirt, leather pants or a bowler hat at the local op shop. It just might be interesting.

Just don’t believe in your beliefs. Not too much, anyway.

Physicist Neils Bohr once said that the opposite of a profound truth may not be an untruth, but another profound truth.

Complementarity is intolerable to the mind and world of belief. But there is a deeper level within us where paradox can be seen and understood. Paradox is not so much a violation of universal law as a contradiction to the machinations of the human mind.

When we encounter a differing perspective, it pays to step out of annihilation mode and listen. There just might be something profound we can learn.

There is a price to pay for releasing beliefs. No longer will you be able to live in a world of perfect certainties. Indeed, not knowing will inform much of your experience. But that naivety restores the playful innocence of the child. It renews the world. A world that you thought you knew, but did not.

Of course, like a plane hurtling earthward at terminal velocity, the initial journey is terrifying, and the overriding resonance is the panic of impending and ultimate annihilation. Well, at least this is what it has been like for me. And there is still part of me that feels this way. I like to call it the “mind.”

Life is uncertain. We don’t know what today will bring, let alone tomorrow. No ceremony, ritual or incantation can lock down the future.

Hey, I’m not saying that the mental level – the human consciousness field and its intentionality – has no bearing upon the unfolding of experience. Nor am I saying beliefs don’t matter. They do.

Yes, intentionality is important, as I’ve outlined pretty clearly in books like Discover Your Soul Template. But I would be lying if I said I believe I can control everything, or even most things. And just as well I can’t, or Adam Sandler would never get another acting gig and no beautiful woman would be safe. But that’s just me.

In the end, we should travel this mysterious journey lightly. Spirituality that is taken very seriously is not actually spirituality. It’s the delusion of control disguised as spirituality. The balancing act lies in befriending and loving the dark and destructive parts of ourselves that tend to become lost in murky shadow. That way our inner German co-pilot stays within our awareness. It becomes liberated from the darkness and moves into the light. We can lighten up and stop being afraid of ourselves. We can stop pretending that only other people experience darkness.

Most of all, we can laugh often and loud, especially about ourselves.

Relax, let go, and have a great time of it today. Let yourself be human for once. You were not put here to be perfect. What attitude could possibly be more restorative?

So stop being so busy. Don’t try so hard. Enjoy a cup of coffee. But mind the gravity. It can be embarrassing.

Cheers,

Marcus

 

Are you a Master of the Intuitive?

psi min

The following is an extract from my brand new new book, Champion of the Soul.

Some new age teachings place the intuitive – and especially the psychic ream – at the centre of the spiritual journey. This is a mistake. In order for you to awaken, the intuitive must be made subservient to the mindful. Many new age teachings elevate the psychic to the status of ultimate wisdom. This is probably because for the layman who has never experienced much of the psychic realms, either directly or through education (who ever does?), the psychic seems incredible and superhuman.

There are some very, very gifted intuitives in the world, and some of them are practicing psychics. I have met and worked with several of the most amazingly gifted clairvoyants you could ever imagine. Some are so far ahead of their time that current science fiction doesn’t have a patch on them. Some of these intuitives are well-balanced and wise people.

But others have poorly developed life skills. These individuals lack emotional and spiritual maturity. For example, one I know is constantly on social media wailing about how awful people are. She always has some drama going down. So being “psychic” is no guarantee of spiritual maturity or wisdom. Given this, you should not blindly follow the advice of a “psychic” just because he channels the Archangel Michael. Nor should you expect that just because you are very intuitive – or are training to become such – that you have an advanced understanding of human spirituality. Some psychics I have met know absolutely nothing about awakening.

I am very psychic myself, a cognitive capacity that spontaneously opened up when I was in my mid-twenties. I immediately had visions of spiritual guides and alien intelligences. I found I could peer into the minds of people regardless of physical distance from me. I often foresaw events before they occurred, had out-of-body experiences and was visited by long- dead ancestors. I had lucid dreams where I could fly or leave the body at will. But I knew very little about spirituality. Nor did I understand my own mind. I was certainly no Buddha merely because I had some profound dreams and visions. Indeed, I was a deeply wounded individual who was barely connected to his own body. The intuitive realm can be a useful source of information. But so is the Internet, and a person is not going to awaken simply because he spends twelve hours a day online. Give a fool a computer and you don’t suddenly get a genius. All you have is an idiot sitting in front of a machine.

The psychic can be distracting, and it can be confusing. I can tell you from personal experience that is very easy to misinterpret psychic information. The ego will tend to see what it wants to see and distort the rest. The mind will also tend to view psychic messages in black and white terms – as either positive or negative. This is especially the case if the person does not have a strong capacity for mindfulness. If the mind exists in a state of polarity, a psychic message has the potential to throw the individual right off course.

Most of the spiritual information I have received via the psychic is ambiguous. The meanings are often unclear, the messages foggy. And I believe that this is deliberately so. Spirit will not give you all the answers. It wants you to develop wisdom by figuring out the answers yourself. I struggled with the psychic for many years, attempting to work out what was being asked of me. Make no mistake. Ultimately, the information and guidance gleaned from so many years of self-reflection has made me a far wiser man. But it is not so much the data itself that has made me wiser; it is the process of self-reflection. Basically I had to go out and test what I was being led to explore. And nobody made me do it. Nobody told me how to do it. Nobody told me why.