Tag Archives: spiritual development

Can You Really Handle Conscious Transparency?

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

 

Chaos!

Information terror as Net IDs go public!

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

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

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

More details as they emerge.

 

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

Every link, every site, every text.

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

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

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

There is nothing we can hide from them.

Nothing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Would that prospect excite you. Or terrify you?

glass-man

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conscious transparency therefore requires great courage.

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

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

Why not become more transparent?

After all, what are you hiding from?

 

Opening to the Great Light

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Can We See Into the Future?

pc

Can we see into the future? This question was posed to me here on mind-futures.com recently, so today i am answering the question on The Five Minute Mystic. My answer is “Yes, we can sense the future”, and I also provide two simple and practical tools which will help you look into your own future.

Namaste,

Marcus

 

Is looking into the shadow necessary?

infinite-possibilities

Today’s question for the Five Minute Mystic comes from Penny. This is a very important query. Why should anyone do shadow work, and is it really worth all the effort? In this video I address the pros and cons of delving into the murky depths of the human psyche. Penny’s question is below.

I have divided this into two videos. In this video, below, I address the idea of the “shadow” in its standard form as meaning the human psyche. In the second video here, I move the discussion onto the question of “darkness” as a consciousness field – is evil really a “force”?

Marcus

 

Dear Marcus,

I’m reading your The Mind Reader book right now, about half way through, and loving it but it is also difficult for me because there is a lot of darkness in myself and so the book is rather disturbing. I know that I have a lot of hard work to do and I hope I will have enough courage. It is a good book to read as a companion to your Discover Your Soul Template. You sure have had an amazing life and I thank you for sharing it with us. I’ve also found your videos on youtube and they are so very helpful too. And I like your sense of humor.

Penny

The True Cost of Following Your Bliss (3)

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

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

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

Take action

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

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

How much action have you taken towards actualising that calling?

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

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

No action = no dream.

Simple.

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

Deliberate Practice

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

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

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

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

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

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

Develop people skills

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be intelligible

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

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

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

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

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

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

Feedback

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

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

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

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

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

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

Instead it made him unimaginably wealthy.

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

Don’t be an angry mystic

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

They have an attitude problem.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Back to that price

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

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

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

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

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

The True Cost of Living Your Bliss (1)

So you want to dive in at the deep end and get into this alternative philosophy business? And by “business”, I do mean business. Perhaps you have had a few personal experiences which have led you to deeply question the way dominant science and education represent the human condition. You might have had a spiritual experience or an intuitive foretaste of something extraordinary – a glimpse of what have been labelled the “supernatural” or “paranormal”. After such revelations the wise words of the American transcendentalists and Eastern mystics have no doubt been jumping out at you from behind metaphysical corners that you didn’t even know were there.

It could be that things have begun to gather momentum for you – not so much like a giant snow ball rolling downhill, but a great wave of mystical light cascading from the heavens. Reading a few books about things like “spiritual business” and “the law of attraction” may have begun to stir creative juices within your mind. You could be forgiven for starting to think of the possibilities. What if I put all that spiritual knowledge into this idea??

So now you are all set to go, full of excitement at the journey ahead – as a writer, public speaker, social media expert, researcher, healer, entrepreneur… Those famous words of perhaps the greatest of the American transcendentalists, Henry David Thoreau, never felt truer.

“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with success unexpected in common hours.”

So it all looks pretty good from your current perspective, doesn’t it? Success seems almost divinely guaranteed. But before you step off onto the road less traveled, before you take that first step on the journey of ten thousand steps, you might like to consider the price.

“The price?”, you say. “What price? Everything’s cool!”

Please allow me to backtrack a little. Let me give you some advice from a traveller of both mystical and worldly waters. Permit me to return to where it all began for me…

Twenty years ago I made the big decision to resign from my job as a secondary school teacher in Warren, a tiny, remote town in western New South Wales, Australia. I had had enough of the mundane world of chalk and talk. My decision had been initiated a few months earlier when I had stumbled across Wayne Dyer’s new age tome You’ll See It When You Believe It in the local newsagent. Reading that book gave me the courage to quit. So I packed my stuff into my car and headed for greener shores – quite literally. I landed in Coffs Harbour, a nice little town on the north coast of the same state. As I outline in my book Discover Your Soul Template, my newly acquired mystical proclivities then led me to join a meditation group fronted by Lesley Halverson, a middle-aged woman with some obvious intuitive gifts. One evening after her meditation class had wound down, Lesley announced that she had dreamed of UFOs the previous night; and based upon that dream she predicted that UFOs would be observable at around 2.00 am that night. Although it seemed preposterous to me that anyone could predict such a thing based upon a dream, I challenged myself to get up at that ungodly hour and take a look around.

My naive mystical worldview was well rewarded, for that cool and starry winter’s morning I witnessed two very different UFO phenomena – one a great ball of shimmering light that glided silently across the sky, and the other a flotilla of disc-like objects which flew over my head at a distance of a few hundred metres.

You can imagine how this event forever changed the way I viewed life, science and education. No longer could I buy the dominant western worldview which depicts human beings as biological meat machines trapped without meaning and purpose in a mechanistic universe. Nor could I continue to commit to a nine-to-five mundane existence in my home country. Instead I embarked on a long journey of self-discovery that saw me live and work in five different countries. It also included exploring exhaustive spiritual disciplines and emotional healing that necessitated enormous courage and commitment.

Throughout this period I explored the mystical and spiritual realms via meditative and mindful practice, shifting my new worldview from a “belief” into lived experience. My innate intuitive abilities expanded and I developed cognitive capacities that had believed to be science fiction only a few years prior to that. I found that I could sense the future, channel creative energy, interact with spiritual dimensions and tap into consciousness fields of both individuals and groups.

During this time I did not ignore the more “rational” side of human experience. Eventually I earned a PhD, developing the concept of “integrated intelligence” – the idea that the human mind is not limited in space and time, and can draw upon non-local information. In my thesis I argued that consciousness is not confined to the brain, nor even to physical systems. Thus the notion of integrated intelligence was developed from both personal experience and formal research.

I kept working in mainstream education to pay the bills, even as I developed my esoteric and intuitive proclivities. Eventually I established a niche for myself as a researcher, writer and speaker. I became the futurist with a passion for Deep Futures, speaking and writing about how an unnecessarily delimited model of cosmos and consciousness was retarding human social and spiritual development. I published widely in magazines, newspapers and journals and successfully published my doctoral thesis. I was elated when I also got my first mainstream book contract.

Some fifteen years passed between the time I left my first teaching job until I published Discover Your Soul Template. In many ways it was a time of incredible excitement. I was following Thoreau’s advice and pursuing my dream. Success seemed to come easily. As I travelled from country to country I managed to earn a very good income, taking jobs that were high-paying but undemanding. This is what allowed me to pursue my doctorate and to write and present at academic conferences and in public domain.

It is not that there were no challenges during this period. Perhaps the greatest was acknowledging that I carried a huge amount of pain and self-limiting belief structures within my psyche. Working with that energy was often excruciatingly difficult. But overall I can say that everything fell together in what seemed to be divine perfection. As my wife noted, things just kept getting better and better.

Perhaps it was that this success had created a little naivety within me. I had conveniently forgotten something that Lesley Halverson had told me all those years ago when I had attended her mediation group. For one day she had passed on a message to me “from spirit”. It was the most simple communication imaginable.

“Remember that there is a price to pay for everything,” she had said.

That was it. The words had been spoken seemingly out of the blue in the middle of a meditation class. They were directed specifically at me. I suspect Lesley has probably forgotten about those words, but somehow they lingered in the back of my mind.

It took me many years to appreciate what they mean. I’m a slow learner.

So let me get back to my story. I haven’t quite finished yet.

It was only after I completed my PhD that I began to experience setbacks in my professional and personal life. The first and obvious problem was that my impassioned focus upon researching and writing about the spiritual and mystical had become a roadblock to my academic and public career. No university or academic institution would touch me. I got hundreds of rejections. I looked on with an increasingly despairing gaze as I saw some of my futurist colleagues (who did their doctorates in more mainstream fields) snap up university jobs with little or no effort. My papers were rejected at many academic conferences; and when I attended such conferences at my own expense, I often saw rather robotic and soulless presentations by professors who were just going through the motions of the academic system. I sat there thinking, “I know I could do a much better presentation than this!”

It was frustrating. It was disheartening. I felt angry and abandoned by the system.

When I returned to Australia from Asia things got even worse. Not only was I getting rejected by the universities; suddenly even public high schools would not hire me. My CV was a confusing mishmash of mundane public school teaching combined with extensive, self-funded academic qualifications and publications. I recall one interviewer looking at me with a rather puzzled expression. “It seems like you have even living two very different lives,” he said. I laughed. But the smile soon faded when he turned me away.

I experimented with different approaches. I submitted CVs leaving off all forty or so of my academic publications and erasing the PhD. But that just made me look like a middle-aged school teacher who had been too lazy to invest in career development for the previous twenty years.

The low point came when I had used up all my savings, and could no longer even afford to rent a house. While I was receiving an income stream from books and publications, it was nowhere near enough to live on. My wife and I were forced to move into a single room, sharing a house with three others.

I had to make a choice. Would I give up all that I had invested in my soul journey? Would I recommit to a mundane life of nine to five?

I’ll let you know what happened in the second part of this article, and I’ll also share with you some of the key distinctions I have taken from my setbacks.

Marcus

What Can I do about Feeling Ugly and Unlovable? (The 5 Minute Mystic #7)

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.

Dear Marcus

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

 

 

Gurerilla War, Unfair (Part 3 – Engaged Presence)

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This is the third part of three posts I am writing about this topical issue.

In the first post I described the problem regarding the presence of hard-core skeptics group Guerrilla Skeptics, and their undue control of Wikipedia pages related to spiritual and psi phenomena.

In the second post I outlined three different approaches to the problem, and the merits of each. I also wrote why certain approaches are likely to be counterproductive – and potentially spiritually regressive. I introduced the idea of gentle engagement.

In this final post I will describe the practical application of engaged presence – which can be employed in any kind of debate or discourse, both online and in real world situations. I also suggest how “conflicts” can be of great benefit to anybody on a path of awakening.

 

Engaged presence

Engaged presence is simple. It is a process which involves attending to debates, online discussions and personal differences while remaining present and mindful. You can also use it in public talks, meetings, and media interviews. It enables you to access the analytical and intellectual mind while also retaining the equanimity of mindful presence. The greatest benefit of this approach to intellectual discourse is that it prevents you from getting lost in petty squabbles – the kind that tend to dominate public discourse, especially online.

You can employ engaged presence in any kind of debate or “argument” with someone. Of course, engaged presence does not feel anything like what you might think of as an “argument”. Arguments are confrontational in nature. Engaged presence is light. It is not a matter of life and death, which is how most intellectual confrontations feel – because the mind is so attached to the outcome.

For example, should anyone be foolish enough to take up the challenge of attempting to challenge the Guerrilla Skeptics on Rupert Sheldrake’s Wikipedia page, they could use engaged presence to minimise the level of insanity that might be expected to overcome any normal human being undertaking such a task.

Engaged presence does not require any pronounced altered state of consciousness. It is true that it involves a relaxed state of mindful presence, but this is not much different from, say, having a relaxed chat with a friend in the evening.

In short, the key difference between engaged presence and normal intellectual discourse is that the individual has a greater level of mindfulness – and indeed, playfulness. They maintain an awareness of the mind (or ego) even as they engage the other person.

In practice

This is very, very simple, no? It is unnecessary to complicate this.

1. Bring yourself present

In the minutes or moments before you are about to engage the other person (in a real world situation or via electronic media) bring yourself fully present. Sit or stand quietly. Take note of your breath moving in and out of your chest. Feel yourself fully in your body. Relax as you bring your attention to your breath, releasing any tension you might feel. With any thoughts that come into your mind, simply observe them, and then gently return your attention to your breath. Do this for five breaths, and you should then be present in the moment.

Alternatively, bring your awareness on to something that is physically with you. Anything will do – a cup, a chair, the desk before you. Allow your mind to become fully present with the object. Just gently observe it for thirty seconds. Again, if any thoughts come into your mind, just observe them, and then return your attention to the thing which you are observing.

2. Agenda awareness (optional)

For those who are proficient at working with the shadow or who have previous experience with meditative processes which involve introspection and self-reflection, you can add a few moments of “agenda awareness”. If you are proficient at bringing yourself into mindful presence you will automatically be able to sense any barely conscious or overt agendas you have regarding the people or situation you are about to engage.

The first part of agenda awareness is to take note of any emotions you feel within yourself, both those projected at the people you are engaging, and at yourself. Pay careful consideration of any aggressive feelings you have towards the people you are engaging. Common projections to note are thoughts and feelings such as the following

“You are an idiot! You don’t know anything!”

“I know best. I am smarter than you!”

Take note also of your agendas for power and control over the situation, or in trying ensure a particular outcome.

“I am in control here!”

“I must take control.”

“He must not be allowed to speak!”

“They are going to try to get me! I must strike first!”

Agendas like these are many. Just because they are half-mad doesn’t make them go away!

You can self-dialogue with such agendas if you like. But this takes time, and you may not have time in any given situation – see this summary of specific useful tools). A more efficient way to neutralise agendas is just to confess your agendas to “God”, the universe, or whatever greater intelligence you may perceive (see the fifth tool). If you are not spiritually inclined, just confess them to the chair or the pot plant if you like. The key is to fully admit the agenda. Remember, this is a non-judgmental process. You are not beating yourself up or finding that you are “bad”. In fact just laugh or smile. You are only human!

3. Engage mindfully

As you sit with the other person, or engage with them via image or word on a computer screen, keep mindful presence by regularly focussing upon your breath, body, or something solid within the room. Observe your own judgments, feelings and thoughts mindfully.

If during your engagement you find yourself being dragged into the mind, reacting with anger and judgment, pull back silently from the other. Bring yourself present again by focussing upon a single breath or something within the room. Observe the feelings of anger and judgment within you. Don’t believe in them and don’t make them the other person’s fault. They are your projections. If you do this, your projections will lose their power over you.

Give yourself permission to smile and laugh. Be light.

4. Disengage

As you leave the engagement, bring yourself to mindful attention again. Note any judgments, feelings or agendas that linger. Allow yourself to surrender to the outcome, whatever it may be. Let go.

It is easy to know if you have successfully employed engaged presence. You feel relaxed and possibly joyful. You feel at peace. If you feel angry, resentful or annoyed at those whom you have just engaged, then you have failed to employ the process successfully.

Agendas of mind

Note: Here the term “agenda” refers to subtle intentions of power and control over the other person or situation. It does not refer to any conscious intention you may have in the engagement, e.g. wanting to correct misrepresentations of Rupert Sheldrake on his Wikipedia page.

Having worked on being mindfully present for many years, I have come to observe several common agendas that tend to arise when people are confronting others, and when they are battling for control of ideas. It might pay you to reflect on these. Being able to catch the mind when it develops agendas is very useful if you want to practice engaged presence. As long as you have an agenda, you are not fully present. You are bringing some past hurt to the table, or some intention or motivation about the future. It is not possible to listen deeply if this is the case.

I call the modern, preferred way of fighting others for control of ideas “confrontational binaries”. The following agendas are commonly experienced during such engagements.

1). The mind is very serious. The mind sees the maintenance of its own worldview as a kind of life and death struggle. With engaged presence you relax in the knowledge that beliefs and ideas are ephemeral. Engaged presence is light and playful.

2) Attachment to one’s beliefs and opinions. In engaged presence you acknowledge mental attachments, and gently release them.

3). Identification with ones beliefs and opinions. The mind typically has trouble distinguishing itself from its own thoughts. In engaged presence, the individual is familiar with a deeper level of awareness beyond thought. This means that you are not so identified with the content of thought.

4). There is an incessant need to be right. The mind is often like a dog at a bone, and just won’t let go. In engaged presence you let go and allow the process to unfold (but are still mindful of what you understand – and believe to be true).

5). The mind sees the other as a threat. There is fear and anger. This is not as irrational as you might think, because in confrontational binaries the other person is also engaged in judgment, and the barely conscious agenda is to overpower and destroy you and your opinion. Debate and argument are inherently violent mental processes. In engaged presence you are mindful of this tendency to strike out at the other. In presence you see the other at a deeper level, beyond the opinions and arguments they are presenting.

6) The mind seeks approval from observers and opponents. In states of presence the need for approval diminishes.

7) The mind is attached to the outcome of the discussion. In engaged presence you release the outcome.

8) There is an agenda for power and control over your opponent, or in regard to the purpose of the discussion, how you are perceived etc. In engaged presence you gently acknowledge any need for power and control.

9) Typically, there is an attempt to be seen as clever – intellectually, morally or spiritually superior. This is often part of an implicit power struggle which attempts to place you above your opponent. Naturally, this tends to create fear and anger in the other person, even when the agenda is unconscious. With engaged presence, one releases the need to be seen as smarter or morally superior to the other person. If you are brilliant, good for you. There is no need to turn this into a game of “I am better.”

How is it possible to be mindful of all this in any given situation? It would be very difficult indeed if you had to consciously focus on all of these factors simultaneously. But in practice that is not actually necessary. These perspectives – and the awareness that goes with them – tend to emerge naturally from the presence that you bring to the situation.

However…

Engaged presence doesn’t excuse you from becoming informed about the subject matter you are discussing. Be careful. The ego might attempt to employ engaged presence with an aloof agenda to remain in control and to avoid being challenged. Nor is the purpose of engaged presence to impress people about how Buddha-like you are. That would be an agenda – and more approval seeking.

Employing engage presence doesn’t mean you will win the debate or argument. Sorry, but you might lose the debate! Observers might decide that your opponent’s arguments or opinions are stronger. People might retain their prejudices and biases.

Nor does gentle engagement guarantee systemic change – at least not in the short run. In the situation with Guerrilla Skeptics, Craig Weiler has blogged about his frustration at trying to fairly edit Rupert Sheldrake’s Wikipedia page when the editors appear to be heavily favouring skeptical input. If a person were to employ engaged presence in trying to balance that discussion, it would not change the Wikipedia system in the short term. However it would grant the person a greater degree of equanimity as he went about his work. It would also allow him to relax and be mindful of his own agendas, and what lies behind them (there is often trauma and anger behind our personal agendas).

Of course in the long run our imaginary Wikipedia editor might slowly influence the discourse on that site, and he would be able to keep his wits about him as he did so.

Nor does engaged presence guarantee that others will not conspire in a power game against you (which sometimes happens online, in the media or in public meetings and interviews). But it does pull your ego out of the game. This tends to disengage the other person’s ego, helping them to relax. They will feel less threatened by you, and logically they will feel less need to eliminate you from further discussions, or exclude you from any power within the given situation.

But again, there is no guarantee. Just be careful that your mind does not set up the agenda that it is owed something merely because it has employed a “superior” means of dialogue – seeking recognition or a God-guaranteed victory. Engaged presence does not guarantee outcomes. It merely permits a specific kind of engagement.

Mastery of mind

Of course, in order to access gentle engagement simply and easily it is best that you understand and are familiar with the experience of presence. If you do not experience presence regularly in your normal life, it is unlikely that you will be able to master engaged presence in a debate. As Leonard Jacobson has so often said, the awakening process requires not just the ability to bring oneself into presence. It also requires mastery of mind (which enables you to stay present at will). And being a master of mind means that you understand yourself well enough to be able to realise how your mind attempts to bring you out of presence and into the world of drama and projection.

There is one final benefit to employing engaged presence which I will share with you. In the state of alert presence you will increasingly notice subtle things about the people you are engaging with. Because you are no longer judging the other person or trying to control them, you will be able to sense the agendas of their minds, including their striving for power and control over you, their attachment to the need to be right, their wanting to be seen as clever and so on. If you are very relaxed, you may also see auras and energy structures about the person, and you might even see glimpses of their soul story. I often sense such things when I am in relaxed presence with others.

The wise man or woman will not use these intuitive insights to affirm an agenda – such as gaining power over the other. In fact, if you are deeply present, compassion and forgiveness arise spontaneously – even for your “opponent”.

I suggest you experiment with engaged presence. You don’t have to be in a formal debate to use it, you can just use it during normal discourse with someone you know or love.

Go ahead. You might be surprised at what you learn.

Blessings,

Marcus

Guerrilla War, Unfair (part 1)

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This is the first part of a three posts I am writing about this topical issue.

 In this post I will introduce the problem.

  • In the second post I will make some general points about what should be done, and why. I will also write why certain approaches are likely to be counterproductive – and potentially spiritually regressive.
  • In the final post I will provide some more practical tools and strategies, and suggest how this entire situation can be of great benefit to anybody on a path of awakening.

 

There’s a story doing the rounds amongst the pro-psi crowd at present (The pro-psi folks are those who take the affirmative side in the debate about the existence of psi phenomena such as ESP, telepathy and clairvoyance – I include myself in that group). The story involves the recent activities of the Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia group. The guerrilla skeptics are a well-organised group of self-appointed online vigilantes whose prime mission is to attack and discredit all claims of the validity regarding spiritual, intuitive and alternative truth claims (including alternative and complementary medicine).

The notable issue with the guerrilla skeptics is the revelation that they have taken to Wikipedia in an to attempt to discredit wiki pages that they find contradict their way of seeing the universe. Robert McLuhan wrote a good account of the problem on his paranormalia blog about six months ago. Rupert Sheldrake and Craig Weiler, who have discussed the problem together, have recently written about the issue.

Sheldake is a favourite target of hard-core skeptics in general, and his Wikipedia page is one that has been targeted by the Guerrilla Skeptics. Here’s what Sheldrake wrote about them in his recent newsletter:

Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia have been subverting Wikipedia in areas concerned with spirituality, psychic phenomena and complementary medicine…  a squad of guerrilla skeptics captured the Wikipedia page about me, and have controlled it… editing it in the most biased possible way. Several other editors have tried to restore a more neutral point of view, in accordance with Wikipedia policies… Wikipedia has strict rules against editors working in groups and against people advocating a particular point of view. The Guerrilla Skeptics have been flouting these rules for more than two years, coordinating their groups through secret Facebook pages. It’s time their activities are brought to a halt, because they are undermining the basic principles of Wikipedia, and rendering hundreds of entries untrustworthy.

Wikipedia is – in theory – publically owned and controlled. It portends to allow free editing of its pages, according to certain protocols. For example, if a credible citation is given, then one can challenge a point made on any given page. In this way alternative viewpoints are posited side-by-side.

As Sheldrake points out, here are guidelines on Wikipedia which are aimed at preventing vested interest groups in targeting pages in order to control and overpower free speech, or deliberately distort the information to suit their own agenda. For example, if a Japanese conservative group attempted to edit the Wikipedia page on the notorious Nanjing Massacre (which was perpetrated by the invading Japanese forces in 1937) and filled it with nonfactual propaganda, it would obviously be considered unacceptable. That would be a case of one group attempting to distort history because it did not have the moral courage to face up to the atrocities that its ancestors perpetrated.

The actions of the Guerrilla Skeptics are not dissimilar to the hypothetical case mentioned above. As Sheldrake writes:

The Guerrilla Skeptics are well trained, highly motivated, have an ideological agenda, and operate in teams… (There are now) over 90 guerrillas operating in 17 different languages. The teams are coordinated through secret Facebook pages. They check the credentials of new recruits to avoid infiltration. Their aim is to “control information”… They have already seized control of many Wikipedia pages, deleted entries on subjects they disapprove of, and boosted the biographies of atheists.

The actions of Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia are clearly inappropriate and contravene the site’s regulations. This is given more significance because the Guerrilla Skeptics appear to have connections with militant skeptics organisations like the James Randi Foundation. These are organisations which have a very clear agenda, and vested financial interests in ensuring that certain data and knowledge claims are not permitted free expression. Skeptics have a long history of deliberately distorting and misrepresenting information about psi-phenomena, spiritual experience, and alternative medicine. For example, Richard Wiseman, one of the most influential skeptics, appears to have deliberately misrepresented the positive results he obtained when he attempted to replicate a Sheldrake experiment. This involved an allegedly telepathic dog that seemed to know when its master was coming home, regardless of any sensory cues.

Given the political agenda of militant skeptics groups, they are about as far from being impartial arbiters of truth as is possible to imagine. I am in strong agreement with people like Sheldrake, Weiler and McCluhan that the situation is unacceptable in that it distorts information about a very significant realm of human enquiry. There needs to be a fair and open discussion of these subject matters, free from bullying, personal harassment and misrepresentation of the data.

 

My position

The question that really interests me is this: what is to be done about this deliberate and aggressive attempt by the Guerrilla Skeptics to discredit ideas that contradict their worldview and beliefs? I will address this more clearly in my next post.

But before I sign off for today, let me make my general position on the issue of psi-phenomena, alternative medicine and so on quite clear (for those who have never read any of my work on the subject). After years of intensive first-person introspective investigation, working with some very gifted spiritual teachers, and having written and researched many books, papers and a doctoral thesis on the subject, I am now certain that psi phenomena like ESP, clairvoyance, precognition and so on are genuine. They represent perfectly normal human cognitive capacities, despite the fact that they are not readily on tap for most human beings.

I am hardly a neutral party in this anymore, as I now teach people how to develop what I call integrated intelligence – expanded intuitive perception which engages the extended mind.

It is my conviction that current mainstream psychology and neuroscience are founded on the false presupposition that consciousness in merely a product of neurochemistry. I maintain that consciousness has non-local properties which are essential to understanding the human condition and our place in the universe. Science has made tremendous progress in human understanding and technology since the 1700s, and the benefits are obvious. But we have become obsessed with technology and abstract cognition to the point that we have bought into a false universal story – that human beings are biological machines. I call this the Deckard Confusion, after Harrison Ford’s character in the movie Blade Runner. Deckard wasn’t sure whether he was a man or a robot (in fact it is somewhat ambiguous in Ridley Scott’s director’s cut).

Similarly, contemporary science has become deeply confused about the essential nature of consciousness and the human condition. Science and society have become obsessed with the machine, so much that it now confuses the entire universe for a machine. The mechanistic paradigm which dominates science and much of modern society is a direct result of this. Skeptics organisations and hardcore skeptics in general are thus a product of the modern era, and have bought into the Deckard Confusion at such depth that they have completely lost the capacity to access Integrated Intelligence.

They have lost touch with the human spirit.

The problem is not that science is intrinsically wrong or evil, nor that the so-called left-brained mental functions need to be erased. It’s all a question of addressing the limitations of science, and also of analytical reasoning.

And while the limits of science is often a topic for discussion amongst scientists (who are generally very interested in the topic), the issue is rarely addressed at the required depth within mainstream scientific institutions, and within mainstream education.

In part two of this discussion, I will say a little more about this as I address what can be done about the problem of Guerrilla Skeptics on Wikipedia.

Marcus

“Should I open my third eye?”: 5 Minute Mystic #6

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The following email came to me from Joe, and he is concerned about the implications of the opening of the third eye, the energy centre that is often associated with psychic perception. I have reprinted the email here, and you will see me answer it in the video, below.

Marcus

Dear Marcus,

I just watched the Eckhart Tolle video at the end of your blog “divine failure”. As soon as it started I felt a pressure/dull tingling in the centre of my face from just above my eyebrows to the bridge of my nose. I paid no attention at first but when I paused the video it stopped and started instantly when I started it again. I have never had that happen before. 

Of course it is my third eye, which has not opened and which I am not that interested in opening as I want to prioritise awakening / perceiving the true mind. I like that this is your focus as well. However your third eye has been active for years. Is it a necessary step? I really don’t think it is, but then this thing happened with the video by one of the current masters of awakening.  

Any guidance appreciated. If one of your books answers this perfectly just tell me and I will get it. Happy to support you sincerely!

BTW third eye continues to apply pressure. It seems to be pulling in presence with it, but the ego is active for sure. I can feel that as well. What is going on??

Joe.


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