October 2009


listAs another year approaches, imagine looking over a list of the things you’ve accomplished and other goals not yet attained.  In reflecting back over your year, the things you’ve done and the challenges you’ve faced, can you see on your list the undertaking of a life-changing spiritual journey?   If not, I would like to personally invite you to mark off a few days from your calendar to begin this journey on the Pacific Coast of California with me and the Integral Spiritual Experience teachers, along with hundreds of like-minds and friends from all around the globe.
I am honored to have been invited to be a part of Integral Life this coming December.  We will be looking at what it means to lead lives of deep and essential spiritual practice in the 21st century.  Often our lives are hectic and leave little time for us to do this sort of reflecting on our growth as human beings, our truest longings, and the gifts of our heart that we want to share with the world.  Attending the Integral Spiritual Experience is a second chance to add to your end-of-the-year list of accomplishments. We will be meeting new people who share our visions, learning about our unique self, loving and celebrating the New Year as a symbolic renewal of the amazing life we have been given.  We will be celebrating this yearly rebirth on the Asilomar property wildlife refuge right on the Pacific Ocean.  During this time there is a gray whale migration and the monarch butterfly, which the area is known for, is just beginning to hatch.  It will be an exquisite unity of nature’s offerings and our inner gifts that will be coming forth for this time together.

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Here is a passage from my 2005 Bestseller, “The Translucent Revolution.”

vision3Vision is vital. It is the fuel that motivates action. It gives meaning to our lives, the aspiration to reach beyond our limits. Vision tells us where to put our energy, allows us to push through unforeseen obstacles, and, when a group of people work together, it is the cohesive force that keeps them motivated and connected.

Vision also seems to be innate. My nine-year-old son used to have two rabbits. They had never spent any time among other rabbits; they were still babies when they left their mother. We built them a fenced enclosure in our yard so that they could hop around all day on their own. Their very first day in the enclosure, they started to make burrows. No one showed them how; burrowing was hardwired into their DNA. Our cat knows how to chase birds without an instructional video. Pigs roll in dirt; dogs sniff everything.  And human beings . . . they have an innate capacity to sense their own, and life’s, potential, without any outside help. We are born with a sense of wonder and awe that is untouched by the limitations of the constructed world. The capacity to rest in this innocence is what makes childhood a time of wonder, for many the only time of wonder that they ever know. Although unaware of the stresses and disappointments of the adult world, this vision of our true heart is full of wisdom. It knows something about what is ultimately real.
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Hands framing

It has become a cliche these days to hear sayings like “in this economic climate,” or “in these difficult times.”  And of course it becomes a self-perpetuating prophecy.  Are these statements the whole truth about today’s economic climate?  First, people selling gizmos of various kinds, people who run restaurants, and folks in service industries, will tell you that customers are spending less money.  Why?  Because they are making less money.  Why are they making less money?  Because their customers are spending less money.  Why is all this happening?  Because of difficult economic times!  It is somewhat of a self-fulfilling prophecy.  The more we believe it, the more it becomes true.  The other thing that is true about these times is that it’s not longer so easy to make money from having money.  Back in the 90’s you could buy a house for $200,000 and, if you played your cards right, you could put 5% down ($10,000).  If the house went up 50% in value (which many houses did over just a few years), it then became worth $300,000.  You just made $100,000 on an investment of $5,000.  That is a 2000% profit.

The same thing could be done at that time in the stock market, or just lending money to start-up businesses.  Why?  Because everybody had the opposite belief as we have now.  It was boom time!  People were using worlds like “great opportunities” and “leverage.”  Everybody believed that story together, and it became another self-fulfilling prophecy.
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Here is a passage from my 2005 Bestseller, “The Translucent Revolution.”

Dr. Jeremy Geffen is a widely respected oncologist and the author of the celebrated book The Journey through Cancer. He makes the important distinction between the relative and the ultimate purposes of medicine:
“When we encounter a health problem, whether it is a minor one like a cold or flu, or something very serious like malignant cancer, there is a natural desire to move from feelings of fear and discomfort back to comfort and certainty. The relative purpose of medicine is to address the physical problem with as much skill and integrity as we can. This is a worthy objective, but it is only part of the picture. It does not recognize that medicine has another purpose as well, an ultimate purpose, which is to address the deeper needs and concerns of human beings with as much skill and integrity as we bring to the care of the body.”

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mountain topWhenever a group of people get together and become more honest with each other, one of the first thing to happen is that they realize how much we all want the same thing.  It happens in marriage guidance counseling, we come to the recognition that we both want love, we both want to be seen and acknowledged.  It happens in any kind of business intervention: we come together as a team and realize we all want and need the business to succeed, we want the workplace to be inspiring and relaxed.  Ultimately it happens politically, when the leaders of nations recognize that they are more likely to get their own needs met when they can also recognize the need of the other.

The greatest area of split and misunderstanding, which I discover among my friends and other writers and teachers is the split between the longing of the spirit and material desire.  To paint the picture in broad strokes, I am aware of two categories of people I know.  On one hand, I’ve spend a lot of my life in “spiritual circles.”  I lived with Poonjaji in India, I’ve lived in community in other parts of my life.  When we make our home in this camp life is about liberation.  We mediate.  We do Yoga.  We chant.  We disassemble the structures in the mind because we have fallen in love with a deep sense of spaciousness and peace.  When you live exclusively in this camp the desire for money becomes a hinderance to be avoided, not a goal to be pursued.  Relationships are okay-ish, as long as they don’t get too co-dependent.  Frequently, our relationship with our parents is something to be “completed” and “resolved” rather than celebrated.  When you live in this camp, wanting to make it in the world is the greatest symptom of ego-entrapment.

But there is also another camp, where I equally enjoy setting up my tent from time to time.  This camp is much better decorated, has better food, and everyone has an i-phone.  In this camp the emphasis is on worldly success of every kind.  Making money is a good thing.  So is having great relationships, great sex, better health and, in fact, having better anything is good.  When you hang out a while in this camp and look back to the other side, the spiritual people look like a bunch of losers. Meditating on their navels and letting go of attachments, you can see from here that they can’t pay the rent, their relationships are often messy, and they often have health problems to boot.

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This is a practice from my latest book: “Leap Before You Look.” This practice is chosen from the section “Community Practices.”

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Meet on a regular basis with a group of friends who care about you,
And who care as much as you do about living translucently.
Make a commitment to support each other
In leaping out of the confines of old habit.
We all have our arenas where we are already transparent and flowing,
Where the divine gushes through us free of restriction.
And we all have our arenas of opacity,
Where we block the flow.
Be a support to each other.
Each person will have five to ten minutes to ask for support
In living more translucently.
That person will share where they feel blocked and restricted.
Then the whole group will decide
By unanimous consent
On a practice or several practices from this book
That person will do regularly till the next meeting.
Everyone must agree, including the one who is to do the practice.
Everyone should have a turn in the hot seat.

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holding-hands

I’ve been traveling around the world most of my adult life conducting trainings and seminars.  During this time I probably got to hear every kind of story that a human being could tell:  people feel miserable, people think they are enlightened.  Someone is on a winning streak, someone is down on their luck.  One person is in perfect health, and another is at death’s door.

John Prine is one of my all time favorite singers, he summed it up beautifully like this:

That’s the way that the world goes ’round!
you’re up one day,
the next you’re down!
it’s half an inch of water
and you think you’re gonna drown
that’s the way that the world goes ’round!

So, I get to hear every kind of story.  What always touches me the most, what gets my heart every time, is when I meet someone who is single, and who sincerely and deeply has a longing for love.  It’s perhaps the most touching, innocent, raw, simple, and yet explosively potent state of human consciousness.  When we are busy seeking for enlightenment, or when we think we have found it, things easily get complicated.  We create all kinds of theories and concepts.  The same thing happens when we focus on health.  Next time you’ve got something wrong with your body, just ask around and you will find everyone has a theory on the universal panacaea.  But being single, and wanting to share your heart with another is such an innocent, beautiful place to be.
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