The Spiral Ladder

Climb over the Wall

Category Archives: Human Potential

Natural Cures “They” Don’t Want You To Know About

 

Medical science has absolutely, 100 percent, failed in the curing and
prevention of illness, sickness, and disease.

Don’t agree with that statement? Consider the following:

• More people get colds and flus than ever before.
• More people get cancer than ever before.
• More people have diabetes than ever before.
• More people have heart disease than ever before.
• More people have multiple sclerosis, lupus, muscular dystrophy,
asthma, migraine headaches, joint, neck, and back pain than ever
before.
• More people have acid reflux, ulcers, and stomach problems than
ever before.
• More women have menopause problems than ever before.
• More women have more frequent PMS and more severe PMS than
ever before.
• More kids have attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity than
ever before.
• More people have chronic fatigue than ever before.
• More people have insomnia than ever before.
• More people have bad skin, acne, and dandruff than ever before.
• More people suffer from depression, stress, and anxiety
• More men and women suffer from sexual dysfunction and infertility
than ever before.
• More people suffer from allergies, arthritis, constipation, fibromyal-
gia, cold sores, and herpetic breakouts than ever before.
• More men suffer from prostate problems than ever before.
• More women suffer from yeast infections than ever before.

Yet surprisingly enough…

• There are more people going to visit doctors than ever before.
• There are more people getting diagnostic testing, such as blood
tests and X-rays, than ever before.
• More people are taking nonprescription and prescription drugs
than ever before.
• Not only are more people taking drugs, but each person is taking
more drugs than ever before.
• There are more surgeries performed than ever before.

What conclusion do the above facts logically lead to? Standard medical science is failing. More people are getting medical treatment, taking more drugs, having more diagnostic testing and having more surgeries than ever before in history. Yet more people are getting sick than ever before in history. Medical science is failing in the curing and prevention of illness, sickness, and disease.

Why?

As George Carlin once said, there’s a reason, there’s a reason, there’s a reason…

The reason is connected with another fact: The only winners in the cure and prevention of disease are the drug companies and the health-care companies themselves. The drug companies’ profits are at an all-time high.

A healthy person never has to take a drug. A healthy person never has to have surgeries. A healthy person has no cancer, diabetes, or heart disease. A healthy person lives without illness, sickness, or disease. Most people have no idea how good their body is designed to feel. We have been brainwashed into believing that it is natural for a human being to get colds and flus, have aches and pains, and have major medical problems like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. We are also brainwashed into believing that it’s “natural” to take drugs. We are programmed to believe that it is normal and natural to take drugs and that we “need” drugs in order to be healthy.

But there are all-natural cures for virtually every disease and ailment. But if trillions of dollars in scientific research has failed in producing ways to prevent and cure illness and disease, and all-natural inexpensive prevention methods and cures do exist, why aren’t we hearing about them? The answer may surprise you.

Natural Cures “They” Don’t Want You To Know About (Free ebook – right click to download the PDF)

 

Psyclone – New Ebook Edition

 

new cover

Announcing the release of a new edition of Psyclone. The new eformat-only edition has been developed to enhance reader interactivity. Using hyperlinked footnote referencing throughout the story, readers can now interact with the novel and directly access the information in the comprehensive appendix database. Each appendix entry features an active link to online research sources of supporting and additional information, which allows a complete utilisation of the novel as a reference resource as was its intended function

To celebrate the release, the ebook is available free for a limited period from The Centre of the Psyclone

5 Reasons Why Meditation Beats an iPhone

by Rahul Brown

People buy iPhones to be universally connected and have a ton of cool functions and features at their fingertips.  But as Rev. Heng Sure once said, everything we create in silicon already exists in carbon.  I’d add that the silicon technology is a poor facsimile at best.

So how exactly do you tap into the wonderful carbon technology you carry around with you all the time?

Meditation is a phenomenal tool to do just that.

Here are five areas where meditation beats an iPhone.

1. Connectivity

The truth is that you can’t really connect to anyone else unless you’re in touch with yourself.  The iPhone allows and encourages you to be marginally present when physically absent, and marginally absent when physically present.

Meditation gets you back in touch with yourself and helps you be present.  Period. Sometimes meditators are so present, they’re even present when absent!  And that makes their ability to connect way beyond what the iPhone allows!

2. Social Networking

Let’s face it: Twitter is often mostly random bits of irrelevant thought that you cursorily follow from people you don’t always know.  That Facebook’s popularity surpasses porn suggests that there is certainly something sexual about its magic, as 400+ million people compete for collecting more friends and appearing to have the most fun while waiting for the next ‘serendipitous’ connection.

Behind their popularity is the myth that quantity makes up for quality. 

How many of your Facebook friends could you call in a jam at 3am?  How many tweets will you ponder longer than a 160 character attention-span?

The truth is that quality is what counts, and meditation eases the disease of a random mind to add increased quality and relevance to ‘mental tweets’.  Random thoughts get slowly recycled into the mental soil, fertilizing the thoughts worth nurturing as attention stabilizes and intensifies.  The growing relief felt from all the chaos sloshing around in your head starts building sympathy for other people’s struggles.  You yourself start becoming a person willing to dash to the rescue at 3am, or just helping to make people around you a little bit happier, and that starts earning you deeper friends willing to respond in kind.

Suddenly you’re having real fun wherever you are, with no time left to tweet about it, snap pictures for facebook, or passively stalk other people’s lives.  Birds of a feather flock together, so you’re soon surrounded by like-minded people, paving the path for serendipitous connections that give you goosebumps in ways that connecting to your 2nd-grade-best-friend or unrequited-secret-lover-from-prom on facebook never can.

3. Features and Functionality

Is the iPhone’s 2-megapixel camera not enough for you?  How about the 324-megapixel equivalent of the human eye?  Not enough storage on your iPhone for those kinds of pictures?  Nobody knows a good way to calculate the storage of the human brain, but credible guesses say it can hold 1 to 1000 terabytes of information.  Can’t remember that much, you say?  Meditation improves memory, reverses memory loss, and delays or prevents Alzheimer’s and dementia.  How about GPS?  Meditation really grounds you and helps you figure out where you’re at and where you’re headed.  What about apps and games?  Meditation starts unlocking the games you play best and opening you up to more productive applications.

4. Environment

When 3G turns to 4G or 6F or whatever is next, your smart iPhone gets closer to becoming e-waste, full of toxic chemicals that California consider to be hazardous waste.  Be sure to recycle it when you’re done playing, and remind the other kids to do so too.

Meanwhile, meditation doesn’t add to your footprint on the planet, but might just soften it.  There isn’t much research on this, but a lot of anecdotal evidence that shows that you’ll start feeling the need for fewer material things.  And that’s great for the planet!

5. Cost

After all your fancy data plans and minutes, you can spend $5 or more a day on your iPhone.  Meditation is free, barring what you pay to learn or attend a course.  If you decide to try Vipassana, a past student who benefited will pay for your course!  And if you’re serious about practicing, meditation starts paying you, as all of that focus makes you more productive, creative, insightful, and energetic.  I’d call that a fantastic investment in any economic climate  :-)

In short, meditation is an unparalleled technology that surpasses the iPhone by leaps and bounds.  In fairness, any technology simply amplifies the will you place behind it, and its possible to use things like iPhone, Twitter, and Facebook while minimizing their downsides just like its possible to misuse meditation.

Yet playing with our silicon technology seems to have a much more slippery slope than figuring out our carbon technology, and that will keep me away from iPhones for a while.

The Question Holds The Lantern

John O’Donohue 

Humans have an uncanny ability to domesticate everything they touch. Eventually, even the strangest things become absorbed into the routine of the daily mind with its steady geographies of endurance, anxiety and contentment. Only seldom does the haze lift, and we glimpse for a second, the amazing plenitude of being here. Sometimes, unfortunately, it is suffering or threat that awakens us. It could happen that one evening, you are busy with many things, netted into your role and the phone rings. Someone you love is suddenly in the grip of an illness that could end their life within hours. It only takes a few seconds to receive that news. Yet, when you put the phone down, you are already standing in a different world. All you know has just been rendered unsure and dangerous. You realise that the ground has turned into quicksand. Now it seems to you that even mountains are suspended on strings.

If you could imagine the most incredible story ever, it would be less incredible than the story of being here. And the ironic thing is that story is not a story, it is true. It takes us so long to see where we are. It takes us even longer to see who we are. This is why the greatest gift you could ever dream is a gift that you can only receive from one person. And that person is you yourself. Therefore, the most subversive invitation you could ever accept is the invitation to awaken to who you are and where you have landed. Plato said in The Symposium that one of the greatest privileges of a human life is to become midwife to the birth of the soul in another. When your soul awakens, you begin to truly inherit your life. You leave the kingdom of fake surfaces, repetitive talk and weary roles and slip deeper into the true adventure of who you are and who you are called to become. The greatest friend of the soul is the unknown. Yet we are afraid of the unknown because it lies outside our vision and our control. We avoid it or quell it by filtering it through our protective barriers of domestication and control. The normal way never leads home.

Once you start to awaken, no one can ever claim you again for the old patterns. Now you realise how precious your time here is. You are no longer willing to squander your essence on undertakings that do not nourish your true self; your patience grows thin with tired talk and dead language. You see through the rosters of expectation which promise you safety and the confirmation of your outer identity. Now you are impatient for growth, willing to put yourself in the way of change. You want your work to become an expression of your gift. You want your relationship to voyage beyond the pallid frontiers to where the danger of transformation dwells. You want your God to be wild and to call you to where your destiny awaits.

You have come out of Plato’s Cave of Images into the sunlight and the mystery of colour and imagination. When you begin to sense that your imagination is the place where you are most divine, you feel called to clean out of your mind all the worn and shabby furniture of thought. You wish to refurbish yourself with living thought so that you can begin to see. As Meister Eckhart says: Thoughts are our inner senses. When the inner senses are dull and blurred, you can see nothing in or of yourself; you become a respectable prisoner of received images. Now you realise that ‘eternal vigilance is the price of liberty’ and you undertake the difficult but beautiful path to freedom. On this journey, you begin to see how the sides of your heart that seemed awkward, contradictory and uneven are the places where the treasure lies hidden. You begin to become true to yourself. And as Shakespeare says in Hamlet: To thine own self be true, then as surely as night follows day, thou canst to no man be false.

The journey shows you that from this inner dedication you can reconstruct your own values and action. You develop from your own self-compassion a great compassion for others. You are no longer caught in the false game of judgement, comparison and assumption. More naked now than ever, you begin to feel truly alive. You begin to trust the music of your own soul; you have inherited treasure that no one will ever be able to take from you. At the deepest level, this adventure of growth is in fact a transfigurative conversation with your own death. And when the time comes for you to leave, the view from your death bed will show a life of growth that gladdens the heart and takes away all fear.

Waging Peace

[Editor’s note: This isn’t a plug for the method specified in the article. It’s reposted here to promote thought and action in connection with the described processes. The method specified is one of a variety available that enable the process.]

Waging Peace

by Cate Montana in The Global Intelligencer

Peace is breaking out all over.

If you get your news from mainstream TV and radio, you probably haven’t noticed. But here are a few startling statistics the networks have overlooked in their rush to promote the usual stories of crime, corruption, terrorism and war.

More lasting peace initiatives have been successful in the last 15 years than over the last two or three centuries combined.
More individuals and private groups are involved in effective grass roots peace-making and conflict resolution efforts than ever before.

Thirty years ago the great majority of the world’s governments were autocratic, totalitarian regimes with democracies far in the minority. Today approximately 70% of world governments are democratic.1

With our attention fixed on “the problems,” we rarely hear stories like the one about the philanthropist who subsidized a group of 8,000 Transcendental Meditation practitioners to engage in group meditation twice a day from 1988 to 1990, near New Delhi, India.

During this same period, the seven year war between Iraq and Iran came to an end. The Soviet Union’s brutal invasion of Afghanistan was called to a halt. In 1989 the Berlin Wall fell, the Soviet Union dissolved, and the Cold War, which had held the world teetering on the brink of extinction for forty years, simply evaporated. Coincidence? Not hardly.

There is a technology of peace, and many organizations and individuals have been utilizing it for a long time. The most prominent is the Maharishi University of Management, based in Fairfield, Iowa, founded by His Holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

With a university degree in physics, Maharishi was determined to ground the ancient science and meditation practices of the Vedas in modern scientific understanding and terminology. In line with his stated goals to “bring enlightenment to every individual on Earth, and to establish a state of permanent peace in the world,” he established the university in 1971 to not only provide an excellent academic and holistic education for students from around the world, but also to take meditation mainstream by providing scientific proof that meditation is effective in reducing stress, and inducing calmness, peace and mental/emotional fortitude.

World renowned physicist John Hagelin, responsible for the development of a highly successful grand unified field theory based on the Superstring, is Director of the Institute of Science, Technology and Public Policy at the university and a professor of physics. Along with Hagelin, scientists at the university have meticulously conducted over 600 scientific studies on the effects of meditation, and have been awarded nearly $20 million in federal research grants over the years to continue their investigations.

From this research, the effectiveness of meditation as a world-wide peace inducing technology has been extrapolated. “Reality is really one of unity, one of awareness, and universal consciousness,” says Hagelin. “With the discovery of the Unified Field, we are witnessing a total transformation of human knowledge — from the isolated understanding of specific laws of nature to the holistic understanding of the unity of existence.”

Transcendental Meditation, also known as TM, is not just healthy for the individual, it’s healthy for the planet and everyone on it. By tapping into the peace of the unified field, individuals meditating alone or in groups, literally emanate the qualities of unity, oneness and peace that characterize this underlying quantum level of reality. Studies have even revealed the number of meditating participants necessary worldwide to effect optimum change: either one percent of the earth’s population of 6.5 billion, (6.5 million), or the square root of one percent which is (maybe you guessed it already) approximately 8,000.

Because of wave amplification dynamics, having that number meditating in one large group, such as in the New Delhi experiment, is ideal. However it is also effective having smaller groups around the world meditating. To this end, Hagelin is helping establish the University of Peace worldwide, with the main campus in Iowa.

The goal to establish one University of Peace near every state capital in the U.S. is currently underway, and campuses are already in place in over 100 countries. In India, about 175 small campuses, with an average of 350 students each, have been established. One campus is being created in Washington D.C. “Which is not enough to bring peace to the world,” says Hagelin, “but it is enough to bring a very powerful source of peace to the United States and particularly in and around Washington D.C. where the influence of peace and sanity is perhaps most critically needed.”

The Lebanon study

One of the most well-known, and best controlled studies of the peace-creating effects of group meditation occurred during the Lebanese civil war in the early 1980s. With Israeli troops heavily involved, the situation around Beirut and the Chouf mountains was rapidly creating a middle-eastern powder keg. Into this arena in 1983, Drs. Charles Alexander and John Davies at Harvard University, in collaboration with Maharishi University of Management researchers, brought 200 experienced meditators, setting up a group base in Jerusalem along with local Israeli meditators, for a period of two months. In addition, a smaller group was formed in Lebanon, containing both Muslim and Christian meditators, and five other larger groups were established at various distances from Lebanon, ranging from 2,000 in Yugoslavia to 8,000 in the US, at intervals over a 2¼ year period.

“The Lebanese participants were heavily at risk doing this,” says Davies, co-director of the Partners in Conflict and Partners in Peacebuilding Projects at the Center for International Development and Conflict Management at the University of Maryland. “If their fellow countrymen had known that Muslims and Christians were talking with each other, let alone meditating in harmony, they would have been killed.”

The results were highly significant. After controlling statistically for weather changes, Lebanese and Muslim, Christian and Jewish holidays, police activity, fluctuation in group sizes, and other variant influences, during the course of the study violence in Lebanon decreased between 40 to 80 percent each time a meditating group was in place, depending upon the measure and statistical approach used. This pattern was replicated seven consecutive times between 1983 and 1985. During the period each of the seven groups was in place, the average number of people killed during the war per day dropped from twelve to three, a decrease of more than 70%; war-related injuries fell by 68%; the intensity level of conflict dropped by 48%; and cooperation among antagonists increased by 66%. And the effects didn’t stop there. Violent crime incidents, auto accidents and fires in both Lebanon and Israel also decreased significantly during each of the studies.

According to an analysis of the results by the Maharishi School of Management, “the likelihood that these combined results were due to chance is less than one part in 1019, making this effect of reducing societal stress and conflict the most rigorously established phenomenon in the history of the social sciences.”

In 1988, Alexander and Davies’ meticulous findings on the very first study in 1983 were published in the prestigious Journal of Conflict Resolution. But the backlash of criticism was formidable, and it was another 15 years before Davies’ research showing that results were replicated seven times over with different groups could be presented in another peer-reviewed journal.

Peace from the bottom up

It is precisely because of the closed-minded attitudes of mainstream scientific organizations and publications, mainstream politics and mainstream journalism, that individuals such as Maharishi, Hagelin and Davies are taking peace-creating initiatives to the streets, teaching individuals how to transform their personal lives and showing them how they can make a difference in the world.

“Our most important responsibility as citizens is to create peace in our own lives,” says Davies. “We have to move beyond hypocrisy if we’re going to make peace. You can’t impose peace in a complex society, such as we’re living in now, through simply dictating what’s right and what’s wrong while not living up to your own standards. The first step of responsibility, which applies to all of us, is to be able to look to our own lives and see if we’re living and being the peace we want to create.”

Davies works to create peaceful solutions to political rivalries around the world through conflict resolution with Partners in Conflict and Partners in Peacebuilding Projects. His organization helped resolve an often violent Peru — Ecuador conflict over disputed territory when private citizens of both nations agreed to meet at the Maryland headquarters. “The solution that came up in our workshops was, let’s make this a bi-national park that honors the people that have died on both sides fighting over this sacred ground, and have shared sovereignty,” says Davies. “So that met the needs of both sides — it was win-win — and was incorporated as the basis for an official peace agreement.”

His organization has also been involved in mitigating tensions between Palestinians and Israelis, contributing to an agreement on how the very limited water supplies there could be managed. Civilian workshops eventually arrived at a solution where people’s basic needs would be met at a low cost within budget parameters, while higher rates were established for irrigation and luxury use and water waste minimized. “Since those agreements emerged, water issues are no longer a deal breaker for a peace agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians,” says Davies. “And that’s still the case.”

Davies is clear about the need for taking personal responsibility for creating peace. By uplifting one’s thoughts and expanding attitudes through meditation, people can prepare themselves to take a greater responsibility for world affairs. Changes in attitudes and widened perceptions are critical if a difference is to be made.

“We mistake the world for being some sort of zero sum place — we’re all fighting over limited resources,” he says. “But it’s not the resources that are limited. It’s the capacity to manage the resources well … and understand the human needs that are at stake. You’ve got to connect with people as human beings. From there, that and a little empathy allows you to be able to very quickly find ways of building partnerships that allow both side’s needs to be met.”

The Peace Government

After running for president on the Natural Law Party platform in 2000, Hagelin now eschews the regular political channels with their stubborn complexity, hierarchical structuring and lack of innovative thinking. As President of the US Peace Government, which is the US affiliate of the Global Country of World Peace founded by His Holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in October 2002, Hagelin is busy building partnerships that carry grassroots peace efforts far beyond America’s shores. Literally a country without borders, the Global Country of World Peace is pulling together organizations, citizens and diplomats from around the world who hold the vision and who are willing to learn the scientifically proven principles and policies of governance under Natural Law.

According to Hagelin, the international diplomatic community in Washington D.C. has welcomed the existence of this essentially self-proclaimed Peace Government, and has been very active in visiting Hagelin’s D.C. offices for luncheons and planning projects — especially peace promoting projects in their own countries. “There are many countries in the world that are not particularly pleased with the current administration,” Hagelin says, “and are very eager to explore the possibility of relationships with an alternative government in the United States that is fundamentally concerned with their welfare and peace, and prevention of crime and promotion of education in their country.”

For more information uspeacegovernment.org [1]

1 John Davies, Ph.D. Co-Director, Partners in Conflict and Partners in Peacebuilding Projects, Center for International Development and Conflict Management, Department of Government and Politics, University of Maryland, College Park MD

Source URL:
http://www.theglobalintelligencer.com/dec2007/soc-health/waging-peace
Links:
[1] http://www.uspeacegovernment.org/

_____________

Why I Refuse: On God/Love, Nonviolence and Israel’s Military Occupation of the Palestinian Territories.

 Reblogged from The Leftern Wall:

                    اقراوا الرسالة بالعربية                לקרוא את המכתב בעברית

My name is Moriel Zachariah Rothman. I am 23 years old and live in Jerusalem. I lived for most of my life in the United States, but I was born in Jerusalem (and am Jewish) and have thus been an Israeli citizen since birth. As such, I am, like other Israeli Jews, expected to serve in the IDF.

Read more… 3,820 more words

In the spirit of focusing on what’s breaking through, not what’s breaking down. Too seldom do we hear of those in Israel whose conscience has moved them to refuse to take part in the military occupation of Palestine. I’ve read the statements of many conscientious objectors, past and present. Though his stance is in keeping with others led by their conscience and principles, Moriel Rothman’s statement stands out. There is hope yet.

Something Bigger than Life is Trying to Work Through Us

This is the first in a series of posts from and related to the The Global Consciousness Project

Something Bigger than Life is Trying to Work Through Us

By Tom Atlee

More and more, I feel called to talk about crises, as creatively and usefully as I can.

Clearly crises are coming, some are very much here. Once reserved for the fringes, crisis talk has gone mainstream. We aren’t talking “apocalyptic extremists” anymore. We’re talking the respected chief economist of the International Energy Agency saying we’ll be feeling serious economic impact from peak oil in the immediate future . We just had four exhausting days of over 100 degree temperatures in my hometown of Eugene, Oregon — and new reports say that the humongous Greenland ice sheet is going to melt, regardless, more than doubling estimates of sea level rise . A scientist friend faulted me for having a few ounces of fish each day for breakfast — which I do for a cardiovascular condition — because the oceans are dying …

We can no longer act as if such information is merely the hope- curdling pessimism of doom-and-gloomers. It is now our daily news. But listening to it presents a quandry: On the one hand, it feels increasingly odd to proceed with life as usual in the face of it. On the other hand, what exactly are we supposed to do about it?

The more I delve into the situations we face, the less I see clear or easy answers. However, in this challenging process I am coming to realize a few things.

One of the big ones: To the extent our anguish over the coming crises is a cry for no disruption in our lives — and that is certainly part of my own anguish — I suspect we will not find ANY answers, because our business-as-usual patterns are so closely tied to the destructive systems at work on our planet. Nothing we do to change our small lives within the business-as-usual systems will change that disturbing fact. Only changing those systems will.

But changing a system is a gigantic, long-term undertaking. More immediate issues confront us. For example: once we face the fact that business-as-usual is not an answer, a logical next step is to prepare. But…

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO PREPARE?

I consider the options most often talked about in crisis-conscious preparation circles.

There is the option of personal material preparation — of stocking up, gardening, investing in gold, figuring out where to move, and so on. These are all useful as far as they go, but when we think them through, they just don’t go far enough. Other people fleeing adjacent areas of hardship would likely seek security of their own in whatever island of security we’ve managed to create. If they are welcomed, they would likely overwhelm our supplies. If they are turned away, some will try to take what we have.

We can prepare our communities, but the same holds true there. I do believe that resilient sustainable communities are part of the future, and are a top priority for our creative energy (see Transition Towns ). But what about the community next door? What about the migrants from afar, whose lives have been shattered?

Nowadays it seems to me like there is nothing to prepare except the world. For most of us, that seems too big. (As bright spots on the horizon, however, Transition Towns and related initiatives are making a valiant attempt to do exactly that, from the ground up.)

Of course, since we co-create our own suffering in our minds, we can develop psycho-spiritual practices that enable us personally to fully experience disruption and pain without actually experiencing much SUFFERING. There are ample tools for that, from meditation to belief- changing practices.

Although such practices help us productively engage with WHATEVER happens, reliance on them can also beg the question of what is happening in the larger world, and what it means for who we humans are together in the Great Story of Life.

IN SEARCH OF BIG-PICTURE TRANSFORMATION

The above paragraphs explore the sort of thoughts that come to me when I think of saving me and mine. Oddly enough, they don’t excite my life energy. What does energize me — and it is a calling filled with struggles, aliveness, and the most remarkable people I’ve ever met — is to center my life on serving that transformation of the world that is crying to happen THROUGH the crises that are emerging around us.

When I look at the big picture, I get the sense that we are part of something larger that is “trying to happen.” What I do with my life is a symptom, a sign of particular energies that are blowing in the wind. When I seek my own salvation — and extend it to everyone seeking their own salvation — it seems to me a symptom of The Whole coming apart, breaking into fragments that think they can survive alone. When I seek the transformation of The Whole — the whole society, the whole culture, the whole world — it feels like a symptom of the whole of humanity seeking to heal into something new, feeling its way into a future that is more wholesome.

It feels like none of it is really about me. It is about the whole, the whole of life, the thrust and intelligence of evolution working its way through time, through me, through you, through us all and our world.

BEING PART OF THE BIG STORY

In these times of daunting emerging crises, some truths that most potently shape my life are these:

The Big Bang is our awesome primal ancestor. We are its children, its legacy. Its energy is ours, whether we know it or not.

We are the hydrogen dew of the Universal Beginning that was then forged in red giant stars and exploding supernovae to become every atom of our bodies and our world.

For billions of years, we’ve been flowing with every other particle in the universal river of stardust on an exquisite, unlikely, painful, magical, and infinitely creative Journey into the lives and worlds that we live in and are, today.

Over and over, I forget this awesome truth in my seemingly ordinary everyday life. Then over and over I remember it: Truly a miracle is unfolding within and around me, moment to moment, hidden by the camouflage of business-as-usual.

But for better and worse, you and I are on the verge of business-as- usual tearing itself apart before our very eyes, revealing the raw truth of evolution here and now in our time, in our place, in our hearts and minds. Evolution always speeds up in the verges, the edges, the crises, the between-worlds spaces where anything can happen….

And we, on that edge, are speeding toward a whole new identity, a whole new Story of who we are and what we are about.

Today we ARE the 13.7 billion year evolutionary adventure dreaming of becoming conscious of itself — of becoming knowingly choiceful — able to evolve by aware understanding, will, and caring. If we awaken, evolution will awaken.

If we do this thing, everything will be different, and we will be saved. All together. As a new world.

CRISES ARE DOORWAYS THAT LOOK LIKE HURRICANES

Hidden by our institutionalized not-see-ism, the crises that are coming are being co-created moment-to-moment by our collective consciousness, our technologies, our social systems, simply by doing what they were designed to do. These co-created crises are magnificent in their complexity, their challenge, and their perfect fit for our evolutionary awakening, which is underway even as you read this. They call us to look in the mirror of evolution and see ourselves clearly, to look at how we have set up our world. They call us to step out of the box — for the box is burning! — and to transform ourselves and our world by wise choice, creating the path as we walk it.

There is no waiting. There are no spectators. We are It. Our collective systems are what It is about, and we are All Doing It.

Our emerging crises are a call to become wiser, collectively — to become the deep collective wisdom and monumental creativity of evolution, itself, becoming conscious through us.

To become evolution is to see the vastness of the Story we are living, a Story of deep time stretching back through chains of shape- shifting ancestors — back through families, through tribes, through animals and plants… back, back through bacteria, molten earth, stars, galaxies, elemental particles — back to the infinitely potent Great Radiance that birthed the universe as an Adventure, as a Family, as All Our Relations, as Us.

To become evolution is to realize that within the depths of the emergent Now reside the potent traces of Everything That Ever Was, shaping our next steps. Everything That Ever Was is within and around us, calling us urgently to awaken to what is trying to be born through us. It’s Voice — the Voice of Tomorrow — the Voice of the Whole — is in every one of us.

To become evolution is to wake and know in every cell that our still- adolescent human awareness, which arose out of evolution, is creating problems it cannot solve without transforming itself. It is to know that we, collectively, are BOTH that adolescent awareness AND its transformation.

To become evolution is to wake up to deeper and deeper awareness that our still-adolescent social systems — especially our political, governmental, economic, energy, technological, and information systems — all of which arose out of evolution — are creating problems they cannot solve without transforming themselves and each other — and to KNOW in every cell that they can’t do that without our active, conscious participation. And that that is our calling at this evolutionary moment.

To become evolution is to wake up to the reality that we are participants in everything alive and in control of nothing alive. To become evolution is thus to strive to learn how to be engaged, wise, creative awake partners with each other, with the world in which we live, and with the conditions of our time. Crisis is opportunity on the winds of dangers that can stupify OR awaken us. Crisis is the dangerous breaking of glass that opens locked windows of opportunity that require perceptiveness and courage to move through, with care.

To become evolution is to say “We are Life, I am Life, itself, finding ways to live, ways that work for and nurture Life. This task is what Life is all about, now and forever. We are All. In This. Together.”

Such big declarations, so much easier said than done. But such is the Story that makes meaning in my own life right now, in the midst of emerging crises. My efforts, your efforts, are part of the human story waking up to find its new proper place in the Universe Story. Our efforts are not about us. They are not even about winning or losing, succeeding or failing. They are about the great Unfolding, which we ARE.

A FEW GUIDANCES

For some years I have been passionate about exploring evolutionary dynamics that can be used to change social systems. In that exploration, Peggy Holman and I stumbled on the idea that evolution is about diverse entities interacting in nurturing and challenging contexts to create and sustain new forms of elegantly simple complexity. Each aspect of this definition now informs my life.

As evolution waking up, I feel called….

* I feel called to learn more about how to use our differences and our challenges creatively, not simply as problems to avoid or solve, but as signs of new life pushing to emerge — and as invitations into a new, more whole tomorrow.

* I feel called to learn and practice potent forms of interaction — especially conversational and economic interactions — that nurture deep aliveness and lead to breakthrough. I feel called to notice — in my life and the world — and to respond creatively to those interactions that generate frustration, violence, and breakdown.

* I feel called to notice the role of contexts, and not take them for granted. They so easily become invisible background, but they are SO extremely important. For example: spaces, histories, intentions, worldviews, social systems, timing, the quality of conversation — all these are potent contexts. They shape who and how we are and what is possible. They offer “nonlinear leverage” for evolutionary work. I feel called to attend to these and to work with other evolutionaries to shape and weave new contexts into a wisdom culture, mindful of their power. The contexts we shape will shape what happens to our children, to the Seventh Generation after them, and to the children of all species.

* I feel called to seek the deepest, most elegant and inclusive simplicity on the other side of complexity. I see that the shallow simplicities on this side of complexity — the oversimplifications that don’t acknowledge, welcome, and “digest” the full diversity and nuances of who we are and what we face — are killing us and our world. I dream of weaving ourselves into new forms of alive organic complexity that are a simple, straightforward joy to be dancing in…

I would not give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity. – Oliver Wendell Holmes

CRISIS INVITES US, THEN PUSHES US

I have seen all this over the last few years. We are thoroughly dependent on systems that are destroying us and our world. The very designs and beliefs that make them powerful and toxic are the designs and beliefs that, once transformed, will make us new. “We have it in our power to begin the world over again,” said Thomas Paine in another crisis era. “The birth of a new world is at hand.”

I see clearly that the longer we delay needed changes, the more demanding they will be. The more we delay them, the less resources we will have to do them. The demands on our lives from these truths will be increasingly profound and revolutionary. Because evolution, like water behind a dam, knows where all the cracks are, and is working on them right now with increasing intensity.

Not changing is not an option any more. How soon we consciously change — and how open we are to the Call of the Whole in and around us as we do it — will make the difference.

I have seen so clearly that all this is not about us as individuals. It is not about issues and candidates. It is not about good guys and bad guys. It IS about the larger motions we make together, and the cultures and systems that shape those motions.

Our individual suffering, our fear, our successes are meaningless transient eddies in the current of Life — unless they are part of shifting those larger motions, those cultures and systems, the Direction of the River.

The meaning of life — at least of my life — is increasingly tied to all this — to this waking into conscious evolution with others so that the Profound Possibility that is Larger than Life can happen through us with sacred beauty.

What is your role in this awakening from our dream of business-as-usual in Time, so that the remarkable experiment called human consciousness and civilization will not vanish, but thrive to greater heights, and be a blessing for the world?

___________

Go to Main Results Page

GCP Home

Why Do We Fear An Empty Mind?

Natasha Dern

“Man finds nothing so intolerable as to be in a state of complete rest, without passions, without occupation, without diversion, without effort. Then he feels his nullity, loneliness, inadequacy, dependence, helplessness, emptiness.”
–Blaise Pascal

Why is it so hard for us to tolerate emptiness in our minds? The prevalent belief that action always equals progress may be a contributing factor. We perceive emptiness as an undesired state, something to be feared. We feel uncomfortable with those moments when our minds seem devoid of any creative or productive activity. We rarely, if ever, simply sit with and allow the feeling of emptiness.

When a thought enters the mind, it is replaced by another. It is automatic. We are not aware that a thought has segued into another thought. But upon developing the muscles of concentration, we become conscious of the entry and exit process of our thoughts. The mind gradually begins to entertain fewer thoughts per minute. We become aware that there is an interval, a delay, a space between one thought and another. This space is emptiness but also a fullness. At this level of awareness, we are in the sanctum of pure awareness. There are many who are living in this state of pure awareness, and their experiences are lucid and real.

Many are in search of this state, whether they know it or not. We are wired to seek and find what we seek. This quest is as old as humanity itself. There is no need to spend time and energy seeking some illusory “self.” What you are seeking is inside of you, and it is you. It is the mind that asserts otherwise.

When you believe this mind, you seek this “I” outside yourself. All one has to do is to remain quiet, calm the mind and experience this space between the thoughts. In this state, only the “I” exists. When you let this “I” in your mind be, without resisting, you enter the realm of emptiness — pure consciousness or the creative void. Whatever comes up, do not take it personally. Just observe. Allowing your mind to “go blank” for a little while won’t kill you, and will actually help you discover your potential, unlimited.

Now developing some comfort with this state is both simple and complex in concept. Since we are slaves to stimuli, we can’t imagine harnessing such a practice of emptiness or of being. We are incessantly tempted to turn our attention to something just to avoid this sensation. Blankness is not nothingness. To be empty does not mean non-existence. Emptiness is the ground of being, and because of it, everything is possible.

When the ego cooperates in suspension of all sense impressions and thoughts, it enters the realm of empty, unnameable nothingness. This nothingness is the gateway into the deeper layers of consciousness. It is here where inspiration, knowledge and creativity will ultimately strike. While we are here, we do not decide what will be experienced but to allow whatever awareness it wants us to have.

When self is absent and thoughts negated, we are open to the unknown. Not only does the mind become utterly blank, but it loses the all encompassing idea of a personal ego. We are oblivious to all lower sensations and are instead awake to the rich, conscious and sublime nothingness. Since the capacity to remain in this state for more than a few minutes can impose a strain, the intellect or imagination rush in with ideas or images, thus ending the tension. With time and practice we can endure the weight of this indescribable and incomprehensible experience.

If we succeed in holding steadfastly to this nothingness in deep concentration or meditation, we realize that it is not a mere mental abstraction but something real, not a dream but the most concrete thing in our experience. The contrast between the personal and the impersonal melts away, and only the sense of Being remains — a Being that stretches far and wide, like the silent trance of infinite space.

All-Embracing Compassion: The Heart-Practice of Tonglen

All-Embracing Compassion:
The Heart-Practice of Tonglen

As human beings, we have a very interesting habit of resisting what is unpleasant and seeking what is pleasurable. We resist, avoid, and deny suffering and we continually grasp at pleasure. If we observe our behavior, it is easy to see that we habitually resist and avoid people, situations, and feelings we consider to be painful, unpleasant, or uncomfortable, and we are naturally attracted to people, situations, and feelings we consider pleasant, comfortable, and gratifying. According to Buddhist teachings, this behavior is a symptom of fundamental ignorance and is influenced by the defilements of greed (attachment), hatred (aversion), and delusion (misperception of reality). To break the spell of this dualistic perception, to dissolve the barriers in our hearts that keep us feeling separate from others, and to cultivate a deep compassion for all living beings, including ourselves, we need to meet and embrace reality in a radically new way. To accomplish this, we can use the precious heart-practice of Tonglen.

Tonglen is a Tibetan word which means sending and taking. This practice originated in India and came to Tibet in the eleventh century. With the practice of Tonglen, we work directly with our habitual tendency to avoid suffering and attach ourselves to pleasure. Using this powerful and highly effective practice, we learn to embrace our life experiences with more openness, compassion, inclusiveness, and understanding, rather than denial, aversion, and resistance. When we encounter fear, pain, hurt, anger, jealousy, loneliness, or suffering, be it our own or others, we breathe in with the desire to completely embrace this experience; to feel it, accept it, and own it, free of any resistance.

In this way of practice, in this way of being, we transform our tendency to close down and shut out life’s unpleasant experiences. In accordance with Buddha’s First Noble Truth, we acknowledge, touch, and embrace our personal and collective suffering. We do not run away. We do not turn the other way. Touching and understanding suffering is the first step toward true transformation. Rather than avoiding suffering, we develop a more tolerant and compassionate relationship with it. We learn to meet and embrace reality—naked, open, and fearless.

Although the idea of developing a relationship with suffering may sound somewhat morbid, we must remember the teachings of the Second and Third Noble Truths as well: when we touch and embrace suffering, we can finally understand what causes it. When we understand the cause of suffering, we can eliminate it and be liberated. There is an end to suffering, however, we must learn how to meet it in a new way. Tonglen practice can help us accomplish this shift of awareness, this training of the mind.

A New Way to Embrace Our Life Experience

It is obvious that Tonglen practice is completely contrary to the ways in which we usually hold our personality (ego) together. Each of us have our defensive ego strategies for coping with the pain, hurt, disappointment, and suffering we encounter in life. We armor, protect, and separate ourselves from our inner and outer experiences in numerous ways that we are not even conscious of. In truth, Tonglen practice does indeed go against our habitual tendency of always wanting things to be pleasant, of wanting life on our own terms, of wanting everything to work out for ourselves no matter what happens to others. This practice dissolves and transforms the armor of our self-protection; the psychological strategies and defenses we create to keep ourselves separate from our own suffering and the suffering we encounter in the world. Tonglen practice gradually wears away our habitual grasping at a false sense of self (self-grasping/ego fixation/identification with the personality).

Tonglen effectively reverses our usual pattern of avoiding suffering and seeking pleasure. In this process, we finally liberate ourselves from a very ancient prison of selfishness. With this radical shift of awareness, this new way of embracing our life experience, our heart becomes more tender, open, sensitive, and aware. We naturally feel more alive; more loving and caring, both for ourselves and others. By practicing Tonglen, we connect with a less defended and more open, spacious dimension of our being. The all-embracing compassion of our true nature begins to shine through and we are introduced to a far more intimate and grander view of reality. With this sublime heart of love, liberated from attachment, aversion, and indifference, we gradually recognize and feel the absolute interdependence and preciousness of all living beings. This is true intimacy with life. This is the cultivation of bodhicitta—the awakened heart of compassion and wisdom.

Hearing and Feeling the Cries of the World

Breathing in, we allow ourselves to feel the inevitable suffering that occurs in this life. Our heart’s natural response to this suffering, while breathing out, is compassion. We breathe in the pain and suffering of this world like a dark cloud, letting it pass through our hearts. Rather than bracing ourselves against this pain and suffering, we can let it strengthen our sense of belonging and interdependence within the larger web of being. Avalokiteshvara (Chenrezig) is the Bodhisattva of Universal Compassion. His name means “One Who Hears the Cries of the World.” Long ago he vowed not to return to nirvana until all living beings had been liberated from suffering. Avalokiteshvara listens to and feels the pain and suffering of the world. He breathes in, receiving the cries and anguish of the world and responds with the greatest care and compassion. In Buddhism, the traditional vow made by the Bodhisattva is to alleviate the suffering of all sentient beings.

The path of the Bodhisattva is to remember our belonging and connection with all of life. When we know in our hearts that we are connected to the insects, animals, trees, the earth, and every living being, we do not cause harm or suffering to any of these parts of ourselves. Rather, we become sensitive and attuned to the cries of the world, and we learn to respond with wisdom and deep compassion. We develop the wish to free all beings from their suffering and its causes; we desire, more than anything, to bring them happiness and peace. Indeed, the practice of Tonglen is an excellent way for us to train our heart and mind so we too can develop universal compassion and help alleviate the suffering of all living beings.

Suggestions for the Practice of Tonglen

Use what seems like poison as medicine. Use your
personal suffering as the path to compassion for all beings.

In Tonglen practice, through our compassion, we take on (embrace without resistance) the various sufferings of all beings: their fear, hurt, frustration, pain, anger, guilt, bitterness, loneliness, doubt, rage, and so forth. In return, we give them our loving-kindness, happiness, peace of mind, well-being, healing, and fulfillment.

1) Sit quietly, calm the mind, and center yourself. Reflect on the immense suffering that all beings everywhere experience. Allow their suffering to open your heart and awaken your compassion. You may also choose to invoke the presence of all the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and enlightened beings, so that through their inspiration and blessing, compassion may be born in your heart. In this way, you are resting in bodhicitta—the enlightened nature of the mind. Bodhicitta, is an inexhaustible source of purity, generosity, and compassion.

2) Imagine in front of you, as clearly as possible, someone you care for who is suffering. Although this may be more challenging, you may also imagine someone you feel indifferent toward, someone you consider to be an enemy, or those who have hurt you or others. Open yourself to this person’s suffering. Allow yourself to feel connected with him or her, aware of their difficulties, pain, and distress. Then, as you feel your heart opening in compassion toward the person, imagine that all of his or her suffering comes out and gathers itself into a mass of hot, black, grimy smoke.

3) Now, visualize breathing in this mass of black smoke, seeing it dissolve into the very core of your self-grasping (ego) at your heart center. There in your heart, it completely destroys all traces of fear and selfishness (self-cherishing) and purifies all of your negative karma.

4) Imagine, now that your fear, self-centeredness and negative karma has been completely destroyed, your enlightened heart (bodhicitta) is fully revealed. As you breathe out, imagine you are sending out the radiance of loving-kindness, compassion, peace, happiness, and well-being to this person. See this brilliant radiance purifying all of their negative karma. Send out any feelings that encourage healing, relaxation, and openness.

5) Continue this “giving and receiving” with each breath for as long as you wish. At the end of your practice, generate a firm inner conviction that this person has been freed of suffering and negative karma and is filled with peace, happiness and well-being. You may also wish to dedicate the merit and virtue of your practice to the benefit of all sentient beings.

Another Excellent Form of Tonglen

Clearly imagine a situation where you have acted badly, one about which you feel shameful or guilty, and which may be difficult to even think about. Then, as you breathe in, opening your heart, accept total responsibility for your actions in that particular situation. Do not judge or try to justify your behavior. Simply acknowledge exactly what you have done wrong and wholeheartedly ask for forgiveness. Now, as you breathe out, send the compassionate radiance of reconciliation, forgiveness, harmony, healing, and understanding. Breathe in the pain and the blame, and breathe out the undoing of harm. Breathe in taking full responsibility, breathe out the compassionate radiance of healing, forgiveness, and reconciliation. This exercise is especially powerful. It may give you the courage to go see the person(s) whom you have wronged and the strength and willingness to talk to them directly and actually ask for forgiveness from the depths of your heart.

Tonglen is a Practice and a Way of Life

Traditionally, we begin by doing Tonglen for someone we care about. However, we can use this practice at any time, either for ourselves or others. Tonglen can be done for those who are ill, those who are dying or have just died, or for those that are in pain of any kind. Tonglen can be done either as a formal meditation practice or right on the spot at any time. For example, if we encounter someone in pain, right on the spot we can begin to breathe in their pain and send out some relief. At any time, when we encounter our own emotional discomfort or suffering, or that of others, we open our heart and fully embrace what we are encountering on our in-breath. Breathing out, we offer the heartfelt radiance of acceptance, loving-kindness, and compassion. This is a practice and a way of life.

Practicing Tonglen on one friend in pain helps us begin the process of gradually widening the circle of our compassion. From there, we can learn to take on the suffering and purify the karma of all beings; giving others our happiness, well-being, joy, and peace of mind. Tonglen practice can extend indefinitely, and gradually, over time, our compassion will expand. We will find that we have a greater ability to be loving and present for ourselves and for others in even the most difficult situations. This is the wonderful goal of Tonglen practice, the path of the compassionate Bodhisattva

 

http://www.naljorprisondharmaservice.org/pdf/Tonglen.htm

 

Beating the Anxiety of Online Reading

I am a huge fan of reading online — I can generally do it for hours a day. But with the explosion of great blogs, online magazines and news sources, personal development sites, social media and more … how do you deal with the anxiety that comes with it?

Anxiety often results from:

  • Trying to keep up with all of your reading sources, online networks, etc., which have an endless stream of posts.
  • Trying to catch up with a reading backlog that might have items that are months or even a year old.
  • Being afraid that you’re missing important or key articles or posts.
  • Not being sure that you’re reading all the best blogs and sites, or following the most important people on Twitter or Facebook.
And so on. This is an extremely common form of anxiety. Take a reader, Eric, who recently wrote:

I have been struggling with the problem of keeping up with all the awesome self-development websites & blogs for quite a while and I thought I would ask you for your suggestion. The only self-development websites I am subscribed to as a regular reader include yours, Scott Young, Steve Aitchison’s and Lifehacker. I have plenty more that I want to add to my regular list of blogs, but even with just the blogs I regularly read, I frequently have difficulty keeping up with all the excellent articles that are posted on an ongoing basis. My current “waitlist” of articles consists of over 350 articles, among which the oldest one was written in April of last year!

How do you deal with this? It’s a matter of letting go, and realizing you can’t ever, ever possibly read 1% of the good stuff that’s out there. It’s absolutely impossible. And so you must let go, or the anxiety will never end.

Trying to keep up is not only impossible, but a great waste of your life. You could be spending some of that time creating, pursuing a dream, exercising, learning a new skill, spending time with a loved one, or taking a nap. Any of those would be better than trying to keep up with everything, or worrying about it.

How do you let go? More below.

But first, one additional point … Eric also writes:

I have considered subscribing to only the very best ones, because many blogs borrow content from other better blogs. But just the work of trying to research the best ones through trial & error by reading sample articles takes a toll on my time & energy because there are just too many websites and I don’t want to wrongly eliminate some great blogs based on a few of their less-than-average articles. My biggest fear is falling behind on some really important productivity findings, insights and so on, with the rapid rate at which information is expanding these days.

It’s also impossible to know what the best blogs are, and to be sure you’re reading all of them. It’s impossible to find the best posts on the best blogs. This is not an important goal, and should also be let go. The reason for this lies in a philosophy of life, which I call the River Flow philosophy. Let’s take a quick look.

The River Flow Philosophy

If life is a river, and all the information out there (including blogs, social media, etc.) makes up the water, as well as all the possible experiences in the world … imagine trying to consume the entire river. Consuming an entire river is obviously impossible for one person, and no one would ever try.

Trying to consume all information and get all experiences in life is like trying to consume the entire river. Impossible.

Now imagine that you wanted to taste all the best drops of water in the river. How would you go about doing that? Well, you wouldn’t know where the best drops were, and so you might have to sample huge amounts of water to find out. Or you could ask various fish and fishermen, and they might have different opinions, and so you could test out all their recommendations, but that could take a lifetime, and even then you wouldn’t be sure you didn’t miss out on the best drops of water.

This is how many people approach finding the best blogs, the best books, the best movies, the best experiences in life … they try out a huge amount, or read a lot of recommendations and spend a lot of time testing the recommendations. That takes an entire lifetime. And still they might have missed out (actually, they almost certainly did).

Notice the futility of all of this activity. Now imagine that you let go of the goal of tasting all the best drops of water, which isn’t a necessary thing at all.

What might you do instead? Try the drop of water flowing towards you at this moment, and enjoy it. It might not be the best drop of water in the river, but who is to say? Maybe it is. Maybe if you love that drop fully, it will be the best, regardless of how good other drops are.

Enjoy the post or article you do read, and don’t worry about the rest.

Enjoy the experiences you have, and forget about those you don’t experience.

Have fun with the people you’re with, and don’t worry about who you’re missing.

Life is a flowing river, and worrying about every drop is futile. The water you’re in now is the best.

The Art of Letting Go

How do you let go of all the articles you want to read but can’t? How do you let go of the worry that you’re missing great articles? How do you forget about your backlog?

Wipe the slate clean.

Every day, you’re not adding to a new list on a whiteboard — those you’ve read and those you still have to read — but instead you’re starting on a clean whiteboard. This clean board is empty of what you’ve already done, but also empty of what you still need to accomplish. It’s blank, which means the possibilities are endless, and the guilt is zero.

Wipe the slate clean every day.

You don’t need to worry about your reading lists. Mark them all as read. Don’t worry about all the social media posts you haven’t read. Don’t worry about all the blogs there are to search through, or all the news sites there are to keep up with. Each day, your slate is clean.

Then you can decide how to fill that slate each day, and enjoy whatever you choose to experience. Then let go, with a new slate each day.

You won’t get to everything either way, nor will you find the best of the best either way. So enjoy the water you’re in.