Tag Archives: unconditional love

Is looking into the shadow necessary?


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”?



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.


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)


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.


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.



Is There a One True Spiritual Path?


 How many paths up there?


The One Right Path?

Most human beings in developed countries and regions of the planet are presented with an opportunity to create a life.

Their life.

Once we are old enough to start asking questions and develop a capacity for critical thinking, there then arises the most fundamental of all queries.

“What path shall I follow?”

Sometimes this might be expressed as: “Whose path shall I follow?”

In countries with high levels of personal freedom, there are innumerable possible journeys and teachings that one might choose to undertake – or perhaps emulate. As we mature and are exposed to books, cinema and other media, most of us discover one or a few people whom we greatly admire or respect. We may think of these people as having lived a noble, powerful or model life.

In the current age there is no shortage of “teachers” professing expertise in the living of the ideal life. Some might be classified as spiritual teachers, others as self-help gurus. Other luminaries might simply have a notable philosophy which they have shared with the world, and their lives and ideas potentially offer wisdom.

We then have people who are set up as role models by our leaders; via education, history books and official media. Who is considered attractive or admirable varies from country to country according to the dominant worldview, values and religious structures. Conservatives in China consider Mao Ze Dong to be the greatest man in history. Yet many people in western countries revile him as a mass-murdering tyrant. In Melbourne where I live, many folks adore AFL footballer Gary Ablett, and see him as an ideal role model. My Chinese wife thinks all Australian footballers are buffoons.


Freedom to choose

Some people believe that there is no such thing as free will. If you are one of these people then obviously this discussion is not for you.

My experience has led me to conclude that while a great deal of life and personal expression is either conditioned or out of our control, the essential and most important choices remain open to us (or at least potentially open, if we can bring awareness to those choices). Here I wish to focus on two related queries.

  • Which religious/spiritual/philosophical path shall I follow? (I include scientific materialism as a philosophical choice).
  • What teachers or role models are worth emulating?

Now allow me to emphasise my main point here.

I believe that it is unwise to blindly follow the teaching of another person or philosophy, no matter how wonderful or successful it may seem. The essential reason is that each of us is a little different from the teachers we admire (sometimes very different). This is an obvious point, but it is one that many of us fail to fully acknowledge. It is important that we tailor ourselves a life process or path that is a fit for our own souls.

The idea is not difficult to understand. But there are some distinctions that each of us needs to keep in mind.


Which path?

When we are just starting out in life it is perfectly understandable that we choose a particular teaching or teacher, and try to model ourselves upon them.

When I was in my 20s I tried to be like mystic Stuart Wilde. But I discovered that being a visionary was a bit trippy. A bit later on I tried to be like Anthony Robbins. Later I realised that my teeth just weren’t big enough.

In my thirties I applied myself diligently in following the way of a master of presence – Leonard Jacobson. Leonard is a wonderful spiritual teacher. But I am not Leonard, and he is not me.

I’m a bit slow on the uptake sometimes, which probably explains why it took me a few years to work out something incredibly simple in relation to my attempts to apply Leonard’s teachings.


Leonard Jacobson


Leonard and the river

Leonard’s story is remarkable. In the 1980s he had several spontaneous spiritual awakenings which involved transcendent states of consciousness. There was little or no suffering in this for Leonard. He wasn’t trying to achieve anything spiritual, nor escape anything. In 1981 at a retreat near the Bellingen River in northern New South Wales, he threw himself into the flood-swollen river. When he emerged he discovered that he was in a profound state of non-ordinary consciousness. Everything seemed to contain love and beauty. He was filled with a great sense of gratitude for existence itself.

While such exalted states came and went, Leonard’s experience of divine presence remains to this day.

My own journey has been quite different from Leonard’s. My family background was quite dark, and as a child and young man I was exposed to alcoholism, drug abuse and the literal insanity of several close relatives.

When each of us is born into this world our minds become instantly imbedded in a pool of consciousness – that of our family and caregivers. I was therefore born into a vortex of great darkness.

I left Australia at the age of thirty – in part – to escape that darkness. Not long after I arrived in New Zealand I undertook some intense spiritual training, and in the process became highly clairvoyant. I saw intuitively that my mind was still gravely affected by the mental projections of my relatives. It was truly frightening to see the depth of that darkness, and to have to acknowledge how damaged I’d become as a result of it. The heaviness of dark energy was such that it was often exhausting just to be.

It was the realisation of all this – and the suffering implicit in being trapped in such darkness – that spurred me towards my particular spiritual journey.

As you can see, this is quite a different introduction to “spirituality” than that of Leonard Jacobson. Do not get me wrong. I have come to accept the truth of what Leonard teaches, and I apply much of that to my daily life. Yet there were some things he could not teach me – things that he does not understand (as far as I can tell), because his journey did not traverse the darkness that mine did.

So it was that about twelve years ago I asked Leonard what the best way is to deal with the destructive consciousness fields that were plaguing me. I will not go into details here, but the answer he gave me suggested that he did not understand what I was experiencing; because he had not experienced such things in his own lifetime (at least not at the same depth).

I applied Leonard’s advice. Yet it did not free me from those mental projections. In fact, I eventually learned that I had to do something that no other spiritual teacher I ever met advised me.

I had to learn to fight. To fight the darkness.

Perhaps “fight” is not quite the right word. A better term might be to “stand in my power.” But the intensity of the projections that I experienced had been such that the solution required the embodiment of a warrior energy. There was no way around this, because at a soul level I had come to believe that I was worthless, unlovable and intrinsically “bad”. My soul story was that of “The Sacrifice” – the one who is taunted, haunted and enchained by those of dark intent.

Consciousness fields work like attractor fields in physics. At an energetic level I had become what I believed. I needed to change the story, change the beliefs, and embody a more empowered male energy.

Unfortunately – to continue the physics analogies – systems tend to remain at rest unless they are acted upon. Those with whom I was playing out a karmic story of the victim did not wish to relinquish their power over me. That was where the warrior energy needed to come in. I literally had to scream it out of my base chakra.

To this day I have to keep standing up for myself. Old stories – like old habits – die hard.

Often I have asked God why my mind came to be embedded in such darkness. The pattern appears to transcend a single lifetime. But I have never gotten a definitive answer. It seems to be part of my soul’s journey, something unconsciously “chosen” when I came to believe that I was “bad and worthless”.

My journey is different from Leonard’s and many other peoples.

Your journey is probably quite different from mine.

In the end I realised that I was unique, and that I had to draw from a variety of sources to learn how to deal with the specific soul issues and spiritual challenges I faced.

I also discovered that what works in one phase of life does not always work so well in another phase. I had to learn to modify processes and approaches, and emphasise them to different degrees during different periods of my life.



I suggest that you stop trying to be someone else – whether the person be a contemporary role model of yours, or a teacher who has passed on (Jesus, the Buddha, gandhi etc.). After all, how many of us has had exactly the same soul journey as Jesus? How many can endure the outrageous suffering of Gandhi? How many can afford enough toothpaste to be Anthony Robbins?

The key then is to observe yourself as you travel through life. By all means apply the teachings which you feel are suitable for you. There are many fine and beautiful teachings out there, and many great teachers.

And follow through with the process. Some processes require many years of application, and attitudes and skills often require a lifetime commitment.

You might apply different processes and tools than your friends. And that is perfectly understandable. Remember, your life experience, soul needs and soul story are unique.

Nor should you insist that what works for you will work for others. By all means share your wisdom and experience. But do not try to impose “the one true path” upon anyone else. That is an ego game of power and control.

Most of all, be gentle and forgiving of yourself. Have fun along the way. Be committed, but don’t take it all too seriously. As Anita Moorjani is so fond of saying, you are a magnificent human being who is totally worthy of divine love.

You are not here to be perfect. You are here to be human. You are here to be yourself. And there is nobody else that is quite like you.

So live that, and love it. Joyfully.



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Live Your Soul Purpose Workshop, August 18








For those of you who are in the Melbourne area, I am running the following workshop very soon at the Enkindle Wellness Centre, in Gisborne. The first workshop in North Melbourne was a great success, and we already have a list of people who have signed up for the second.

Here are the details for the workshop.

All the best,



Live Your Soul Purpose

A workshop with Marcus T Anthony, PhD


Each of us carries within us a soul template which has encoded upon it all the information and wisdom you need to live your life to your highest purpose. Based on Marcus’ book Discover Your Soul Template, this practical and hands-on workshop has the specific purpose of providing you with all the tools and understandings you need to find and live your calling.


In Live Your Soul Purpose you may discover:

  • What your soul calling is, and how to begin to turn it into a worldly reality.
  • How to develop profound intuition, unbounded by space and time.
  • The essential Soul Issues which you are here to address.
  • How to use the power of presence to align each moment and day with your highest good.
  • How to release the me-centred mindset which lies at the heart of so much human suffering.
  • How to develop the right relationship with ego.
  • How to live, love, work and play in the world of time with joy and spontaneity, and without getting lost in the ego.


Time: Sunday August 18th 2013, 12.00 midday till 5.00 pm.

Location: Enkindle Wellness, 55 Heather Rd, Gisborne (north-west of Melbourne).

Cost: AUS$90 per person (early bird AUS$80, by July 6th, concession available). Includes a free copy of Discover Your Soul Template, valued at $25 in bookstores. For more information go to www.enkindlecommunity.com.au/workshops and click on the link. You can bring a second person along for $49, and every person after that for only $33. (Of course each person can share that total equally e.g. three people = $172 /3)

Contact: email: marcus@marcustanthony.com, mobile: 0403 526 001.

Note, if you prefer, you can also pay directly through my bank account:

Acct name: Marcus Anthony

Acct No: 14-361-8385

BSB: 083-785

Swift code: NAT AAU 3303M

Bank Address:

National Australia Bank, Greensborough, VIC, Australia.

Level 1, 49-51 Main Street, Greensborough, VIC, 3088, Australia

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Breaking the Chains of Karma: Sunil’s Story (The 5 Minute Mystic)







Short link to this page: http://ow.ly/lPuSh

This is a rather special edition of The Five Minute Mystic. And not just because it is longer than usual!

Recently a man from India (I shall call him Sunil) wrote me an email (you can see it below). In the email Sunil describes his experience of suffering because of a poor sense of self-worth: essentially of feeling unlovable. I feel that his case deserves special consideration, as it reflects many of the issues that we face in our lives, though perhaps on a greater scale than average. I go into some depth about how personal biography (childhood) and the idea of karma and past lives affects us in daily life. It also touches upon the evolution of the human oversoul. I think it contains much that is important for people who are on a spiritual journey.

Here is Sunil’s email, and my response is contained in the two videos, below that.

Finally, thank you Sunil for having the courage to share your story with us.



PS. It isn’t possible to explain some important subjects at length in a video. If you want to know more about why I do not believe in the popular idea of karma, you can read more my ebook The Truth about Karma: http://ow.ly/lwNS6. And find out more about Life Alignment here.


Dear Mr. Marcus Anthony,

I am really glad to write this email, because currently I am reading your book Discover Your Soul Template. It has provided a lot of insight for me.

 OK I’ll tell my story. I must be honest about myself. I got your book in some site only for free. I am in India, especially South Indians don’t have much money to get direct counselling…

 My problem is that I can’t… talk to people in general, mostly with females and the also same energy with males… I am feeling high pressure in my head and my eyes, I am feeling fear, shame, low self-esteem, doubt and anxiety every time (I) interact with women, but I very much love women and sex.

 I am 33 years old now. For the past 16 years I have been suffering from the same problem. I don’t know how it started in my life, but it hurts me (greatly). Almost all the day I am affected (by) this (great) pain.

 In general, I like to talk to people, particularly women, and also men, but I can’t do that. I don’t have that concentration power, because (the feeling) simply overrides my conscious mind. My face becomes full of tightness and I (cannot look at) people’s faces directly. During the experience I just want to escape from the situation.

 Sometimes I talk with people with confidence, (and during) that time I am normal, but it only lasts for 1 to 2 hours normally… But in my anxiety time, they are not able to interact with me happily, my eyes become like starring too much.

 I want to seriously get rid of this problem. Kindly guide me for this soul problem. I am looking (to) you as my deepest friend and spiritual teacher.

 I am expecting your email of healing power.


Short links: Part 1: http://ow.ly/lPrSS,  Part 2:  http://ow.ly/lPrYK


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The spiritual trap: “I will be OK when I am healed!”








The following extract is from my brand new ebook Games You Play to Deny Yourself Divine Love, which is now available on Amazon.com (if you would like a review copy, email Marcus, mindfutures@icloud.com). This book is part of an ebook series called The Deepening. The other two ebooks published so far are:

Trolls and Demons: How to Remain Awake in the Age of Online Zombies

The Truth about Karma

 *          *          *

I will accept myself when I am more spiritual

Ah yes. I am spiritual. Very spiritual! And I am becoming more spiritual. Soon I will be so spiritual that all those sheeple out there will be so far beneath me that I will not even know they exist!

There’s no more guaranteed way to sabotage a spiritual journey than to go on a spiritual journey. Where are you going, exactly? When will you get there?

Can you see the problem?

In setting up the journey, you are saying that where I am now is not okay. I must arrive somewhere else, later on – only then will I be whole and complete. This here and now is not good enough. Indeed, I must become more spiritual. Like the Dalai Lama, the Pope, Jesus, or the Buddha. Or maybe I can just be as enlightened as my spiritual teacher. Sure, I am not there yet. But I will be. One day. In the future. But not now. Not here.

Not ever.

The mind loves this spiritual game. It is a guaranteed way that it never has to release its power over you, for it sets up a perpetual cycle of conditional love. I will be OK when I am truly spiritual, when I get to the top of that mountain.

“I need to be perfect”

Jesus was perfect. He couldn’t be tempted by the devil, and he never had a wicked thought. The Buddha just sat around being all enlightened. I’m not there yet, but maybe one day I will be.

Sorry, but you are not going to be like Jesus, and you haven’t got a hope of being like the Buddha. No, you are just fine the way you are.

Make no mistake. There are lessons we can learn from the spiritual greats. There are subtle distinctions about the way mind and cosmos interact, between the way the ego and higher self operate. But you are not here to be like anyone else. You are just magnificent in what you are right now. If you stop and relax long enough, you might just discover this for yourself. So do yourself a favour and spare yourself those thirty years of penance or meditation you think you need to become perfect.

The key to awakening lies in the deep acceptance of all that you already are, including all those parts of yourself you deem to be unacceptable.

Get it through your thick head (or thick mind). You are never going to be perfect. Not ever!

Here’s another secret. No mind that has ever existed on this planet has ever become enlightened. That’s right. No mind has ever reached nirvana because the mind by its very nature exists in separation, and if you want to continue to exist on this plane of existence, a mind comes in very handy from time to time.

The truth is that the Deepening is a relaxation into the perfection that you already are. The mind can never live up to the ridiculous expectations which you place upon it. So don’t bother.

If you are not having a good time, why bother anyway?

Is your ultimate enlightenment worth the cost of being a boring, miserable SOB till the year 2050?

I don’t think so.

So snap out of it.


“I will be OK when I am healed”

 Don’t interrupt my pain. I’m healing!

You have to give it to the mind for this one, for it is pure genius. Trying to heal is perhaps the perfect trap the mind sets up to fool itself. In this common scenario, you set out to heal yourself after you acknowledge that that there is pain within your soul. Your mind then declares: “My goodness! This is what is stopping the light from shining within me! I must go on a healing journey in order to awaken! I must get rid of this damn pain. When I no longer hurt, I will be free – and enlightened!”

Do you see the trap? In trying to get rid of the pain, the ego is rejecting the wounded child within. The ego is rejecting itself. Ironically, shutting out the light. Here the mind is saying that the current me, with all this pain and suffering, is not acceptable. But one day, when I get rid of all this damn anger, sadness and fear I’ll be okay. Not till then though!

What I am talking about involves a very subtle distinction. It is generally true that we have to acknowledge our pain before we can heal. If we suppress our hurt and emotions they will never heal. But we have to bring a loving, non-judgmental awareness to our pain. For any judgment of the wounded child will simply drive it further into unconsciousness.

Further, as Caroline Myss points out in Why People Don’t Heal and How They Can, the mind can become addicted to the healing process, especially the sense of intimacy that one gets from being part of a healing group, or sharing one’s pain with another.

“How will I connect with my wounded fellow-journeymen when the pain is gone?” asks the mind in terror. The answer is twofold. Firstly, in bringing your mind into presence with another, you connect in the intimacy of the moment. And this is a far more beautiful connection than one based on trying to swap emotional baggage. Secondly, there are plenty of ways to interact with others without bringing emotional pain into it. Join a hiking group. Discuss philosophy or gardening. Play sport.

“But these things are not intimate!” the ego complains. And no, they are not intimate in the same way. But often the sense of connectedness you get in sharing your pain emerges from a subtle level of dysfunction. In particular, the intimacy of healing groups can often be a co-dependent process, where people unconsciously begin carrying each other’s wounds. So you walk out of the group with lots of little inner children clinging to you back because you are rescuing everyone – or possessed by someone to whom you gave your power away.

To be perfectly blunt, no healing will occur while your wounded energy is in someone else’s possession. This is a blatant form of giving your power away to another individual or group.

The most effective solution to the sense of emptiness that may ensue after leaving behind the intimacy of healing groups or friends is simply to begin to connect deeply with what is before you in every moment, in deep presence. In the end, this is the only thing that will fill the void.

Cover Games play love

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Coming into the center – Leonard Jacobson Video








I have often talked about the great influence that Leonard Jacobson has had on my life and thinking. Leonard does one thing exceptionally well: teach people how to bring the mind into presence, and awaken from the world of illusion.

If only we taught children the beautiful simplicity of how to be present, the world would be transformed.

The video below is one of Leonard’s most profound, I think. So I simply share it here.


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Disappointment & the Mystic, Diary of a 21C Mystic #12.

If you could end all disappointment in two easy steps, would you? There’s a very simple way to do just that… but there’s a price to pay! That price would be… to feel your disappointment as fully and deeply as necessary.

This is the focus of the latest installment of Diary of a 2st Century Mystic. This seemed to be a rather appropriate topic to discuss, given that I experienced two significant “rejections” this week.

I have to mention that these videos only show me in the state after I have experienced some of these unpleasant mental states – like disappointment, or fear of abandonment (which I talked about in D21CM #11). It does create a kind of misrepresentation of my life, as I really do experience all these things, and often quite strongly (honest!). It’s just that they tend to pass quickly and I refuse to believe in the story of suffering they try to sell me – even as I use the kinds of methods I talk about. Maybe one day I will really scare you and video myself “channeling” some of these emotional states. But is the world ready for it? (I ask myself). 🙂

Keep smiling (or raging and crying, if that is what passes through you). But remember, don’t take take it all too seriously!





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Awakening out of the Psi Wars

Have you ever wanted to be impervious to the insults thrown at you by sceptics? That’s what you are about to find out how to do, below. The following is an extract from my upcoming book The Deepening: The Art of Unconditional Love. Here I write about something familiar to many people who are on a spiritual or awakening path, or perhaps just interested in psychic experience: the psi wars!

Note: Currently there are two longer (10 000 word) extracts from The Deepening available as ebooklets on Amazon.com. The Truth about Karma, and Trolls and Demons: How to Remain Awake in the Age of Online Zombies.


Awakening out of the Psi wars

One thing that is very apparent from my perusal of the blogosphere and literature on spirituality, mysticism and especially parapsychology, is that many spiritually-inclined folks have an issue with sceptics. Here I am referring to hard-core sceptics who are hostile to any notion related to the spiritual. These people can be contrasted with open-minded sceptics. The later may have strong doubts about spirituality and so-called psychic experience, but they are more open-minded, and perhaps even affable and inquisitive.

I have seen these discussions pop up again and again. The query goes something like this? Who are these sceptics? What’s wrong with them! They are blocked, brainwashed by science. They are too dumb to understand! To hell with them! There is then always a tale or two about how some sceptic was dishonest or aggressive towards them or another psi proponent.

The “psi wars” refers to the professional conflict that exists between hardcore sceptics on the one side and the proponents of spiritual experience on the other. At the top of the tree we have well-known public sceptics like Richard Dawkins, James Randi, Richard Wiseman, Susan Blackmore and (the late) Christopher Hitchins. Their counterparts include Deepak Chopra, Rupert Sheldrake,  Dean Radin, and Larry Dosey.

Quite often the discussion deals with professional dishonesty amongst sceptics, aggressive behavior by them or the way a sceptic has deliberately misrepresented the work of a proponent. These are all genuine professional issues in the psi wars that need to be addressed. For people like Sheldrake and Radin, they are either directly involved in the conducting of experiments in parapsychology, or talking and writing about others who are conducting research. And they are often doing this in public forums where those dreaded sceptics lurk. It’s their job to confront sceptics, and it is very important science. So I certainly have no issue with that. In fact I have great admiration for Sheldrake and Radin for their professional courage.


A not-so-wise man?

Amongst the proponents’ community, certain sceptics have a rather poor reputation (the reverse is true in sceptics’ communities).

One fairly well-known and notorious case occurred in 1995, when sceptic Richard Wiseman cooperated with radical biologist Rupert Sheldrake to investigate some fascinating experiments that Sheldrake had conducted regarding a dog that allegedly knew when its owner was coming home – without any visual, auditory or sensory cues. The owner of the dog, Jaytee, had reported the dog’s remarkable behaviour to Sheldrake. Here’s what Sheldrake wrote about what happened when Wiseman went about conducting and reporting his experiments, as described on Sheldrake’s website.


…rather than argue academically, I suggested that (Wiseman) did some experiments with Jaytee himself, and arranged for him to do so. I had already been doing videotaped experiments with this dog for months, and I lent him my videocamera. Pam Smart, Jaytee’s owner, and her family kindly agreed to help him.

With the help of his assistant, Matthew Smith, he did four experiments with Jaytee, two in June and two in December 1995, and in all of them Jaytee went to the window to wait for Pam when she was indeed on the way home. As in my own experiments, he sometimes went to the window at other times, for example to bark at passing cats, but he was at the window far more when Pam was on her way home than when she was not. In the three experiments Wiseman did in Pam’s parents’ flat, Jaytee was at the window an average of 4% of the time during the main period of Pam’s absence, and 78% of the time when she was on the way home. This difference was statistically significant. When Wiseman’s data were plotted on graphs, they showed essentially the same pattern as my own. In other words Wiseman replicated my own results.

I was astonished to hear that in the summer of 1996 Wiseman went to a series of conferences, including the World Sceptics Congress, announcing that he had refuted the ‘psychic pet’ phenomenon. He said Jaytee had failed his tests because he had gone to the window before Pam set off to come home.

In September 1996 I met Wiseman and pointed out that his data showed the same pattern as my own, and that far from refuting the effect I had observed, his results confirmed it. I gave him copies of graphs showing may own data and the data from the experiments that he and Smith conducted with Jaytee. But he ignored these facts. He reiterated his negative conclusions in a paper he submitted to the British Journal of Psychology together with Smith and Julie Milton. This paper appeared in August, 1998, with a fanfare of sceptical publicity in the British media, initiated by a press release accompanying the publication of the paper. ..

Meanwhile, Wiseman continued to appear on TV shows claiming he had refuted Jaytee’s abilities, and even as recently as February 2, 2000 he was still making this claim in his public lectures. Unfortunately, his presentations are deliberately misleading. He makes no mention of the fact that Jaytee waits by the window far more when Pam is on her way home, nor does he refer to my own experiments. He gives the impression that my evidence is based on one experiment filmed by a TV company, rather than on more than two hundred experiments, and he implies that he has done the only rigorous scientific tests of this dog’s abilities. I confess that I am amazed by his persistence in this deception.


Unfortunately this is not the only instance where Wiseman has deliberately lied about the evidence base in parapsychology.[1] Nor is he the only sceptic to engage in such unprofessional behaviour.

Given the level of dishonesty displayed by sceptics like Wiseman, it is only to be expected that Sheldrake and proponents would feel genuine distrust and even anger towards them. Again, this is perfectly understandable.


The problem

The problem, though, comes for those of us who do not want to be mere believers in a spiritual journey, but want to ground ourselves in deep presence. We want to awaken, and to remain there, not be regularly dragged back into mind games. And you cannot remain in presence when you are in hostile engagement with another. For when you are doing that, you are buying into the illusions of the mind; in a state of separation. And with that there is suffering.

The truth is that many advocates of spiritual disciplines or philosophies are doing just this. Most, if the truth be told.

A perfect example comes from is Kyle (not his real name) – a strong psi proponent – who has put forward discussions about why sceptics are apparently incapable of perceiving the psychic world. Kyle, who is strongly psychic, revealed that he’d spent a great deal of time trying to answer this question. He argues that sceptics are stuck in the left brain, unable to process psychic information.

Nothing wrong with arguing that, you might say. And you would be correct – if that was all that was going on. However, one of the benefits of being an intuitive is that I can peer into the souls of people (Richard Wiseman might dispute this!). What I perceive is that Kyle’s energy is engaged in battle with skeptics, and this detracts from his capacity to be at peace with himself.

I see the very same energy issue in so many psi proponents and those with a spiritual worldview. The reason for the problem is that many of them are coming from the world of mind and belief. They are not grounded in presence.

The truth is that both armies in the psi war are fighting a battle of the mind. The sceptics think that they are superior because they are more rational and don’t believe in superstitious things. The proponents believe they are superior because they have developed an inner life and are more spiritual, or perhaps more psychic. Yet from my perspective, they are both on the same paying field.

At the deepest level, what another person thinks about the nature of spiritual or psychic experience is none of your business. Certainly, at a personal (rather than professional, if you work in this area) level, you should not be trying to change their opinion. This is your mind giving its power away to an external focus.

Many spiritually-inclined folks have not developed the right relationship with the mind. For this reason, they remain the mind’s servant, not its master.


The world through worldview

To understand what is happening when we become engaged in dramas with others who hold different perspectives from us, we have to understand the idea of worldview, and how it operates. As you grow into adulthood your mind establishes maps of reality. Over time, the mind becomes attached to this worldview. The mind’s identity becomes rooted in it. When that map becomes threatened by opinion or experience, the immediate response from the mind is fear. If you pay close attention to the process, that fear is quickly followed by anger. Finally, the mind will then tend to launch into attack, and try to eliminate the opposing view, experience or information. This whole process effectively bypasses reason (even when the attacker identifies his position as being “rational”), as whatever data or experience is presented to the mind, it will simply retreat to its position of safety – the known.

This same process is true for all of us, regardless of worldview. Both a sceptical worldview and a spiritual worldview are maps of reality held within minds. They have no existence beyond the mind that holds them.

As someone who has explored both very subtle and very deep emotional energies within my body, I know that this fear/anger/attack response to worldview threats is true for me, too. It has remained true regardless of whatever mindful or awakened states I have developed over time. Remember. The ego does not disappear even after awakening.

This is why it is important to develop a practice of presence, and the ability to bring the mind into stillness. It is really only in this state that the mind is detached from experience and data, and can process it in a neutral way. When presence becomes deeply rooted within an individual, the mind is no longer the dominant aspect of self, and the attachment to worldview becomes much less. Yes, it still remains. It is just that a different relationship develops with the mind and its rigidity. This relaxation process occurs because one can see that everything the mind believes is ultimately an illusion. It’s just an approximation of the truth, and none of it perfectly aligned with truth (although some beliefs will get closer to the truth).

With that relaxed presence, a person feels no threat from a worldview which contradicts her own. Ultimately, as Leonard Jacobson says, there is only one ego – and it is us. With the awakening process, you will simply see yourself reflected back in the other. Her worldview may differ. It may even be diametrically opposed to yours. But each of you shares the one ego. Her agenda – at the level of mind – is precisely the same as yours: to eliminate all threats to its beliefs. The difference between you and the unawakened other is that you will rest in presence, as a master of mind.



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