Collective Awakening


Chameli and I have spent the last several weeks on the Greek island of Corfu, leading our annual Deeper Love retreat there.  Couples and single people gathered from all over the world to dive into an exploration together of a love beyond the usual confines of  personality habits.

Every few days we’ve been getting concerned messages from friends and family.  “You are in Greece?  Maybe you should leave early?  Are you going to be alright?”  Every now and then we open up Google news, and discover that we are, apparently, sitting right in the middle of the fatal crack in civilization.  “Why Greece may take us all down,” read one headline.  According to the news, we are trapped in the epicenter of a devastating financial and political disaster.

I write this to you from a cafe in capital city of Kerkyra. As I look around me, I can see, unfolding before my very eyes, a picture of global civilization coming undone.  It is a Sunday night, and the streets are packed with people.  These are not the usual tourists, but local residents, out in droves on this warm evening to express themselves with passion.  Let me see if I can paint you a more vivid picture. (more…)

The word “other” is commonly used in English as both an adjective and a pronoun. As an adjective: “born on the other side of the tracks.” As a pronoun: “if it’s not one thing, it’s the other.” Today I’d like to submit for your consideration the word “other” as a verb.  Examples?  “Dude, don’t other me,” and “she was in a terrible mood, othering everybody the whole evening.

Here is my proposed dictionary entry for the next Merriam Webster:

other |ˈəðər|
verb
1.  to attribute qualities onto another person, often a celebrity in the news, so as to avoid acknowledging these same qualities within oneself:
[as verb. ] hey, don’t other Clinton, most married men  have done stuff like that  | I went to a meeting with the Dalai Lama.  It was great but people tend to other him by putting him above them.

For the last ten days, our latest “otherfest” has focused on Rep. Anthony Weiner, whose name made him a larger-than-life-Disney-cartoon disaster waiting to happen.  Republicans are having a field day, of course, and even the members of his own party are calling for his resignation.  Now don’t get me wrong here.  I’m not advocating sending snaps of your private parts to women you hardly know.  I don’t condone lying, or emotionally abandoning your recently pregnant wife.  Probably everyone, including Rep. Weiner himself, agrees that these actions were stupid, immature, and  hurtful to other people.

We can learn from this and many other current events, however,  by shifting our attention from “what that terrible, despicable, lying rotten good for nothing over there did,” to “why are we getting so upset about this, and giving it so much attention?” (more…)

It’s hard to believe that 150 years ago, white people owned black people in 23 states. Slavery ended with the surrender of General Lee in 1865. Chief Justice Roger Taney, on behalf of the U.S. Supreme Court, wrote in 1857 that black people were “so far inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.” Do you think that Taney could have imagined, in his wildest dreams, that we would elect an African-American president in 2008?

Today, people with different colored skins have more or less the same opportunities and rights in this country. Does that mean that racism has been completely eradicated? I don’t think so.

In the same way, back in the 1920s, women protested for their right to vote. It was a struggle, but they succeeded. In the 70s, women demanded their right to participate in a social and economic system that had been mostly created by the male mind. Women became judges, police, politicians, religious ministers, all roles that had been previously reserved for men.

And now, in the last few years, we’ve seen women step up again, not to participate in structures created by men, but with their own expression of feminine wisdom. Countless books have been written now on feminine leadership, feminine ecology, feminine approaches to education and art, and perhaps most important, the emergence of feminine spirituality. Does that mean that repression or even disrespect of feminine energy by men is gone? I don’t think so. (more…)

What does the latest publication of leaked secret documents by WikiLeaks.org  (now wikileaks.ch)  have to do with you and me and the rest of us?

Nothing, you might say.

And everything, you might also say.

The state department’s response has been inevitable and predictable. The same questions get asked every time embarrassing information is leaked.  Who divulged this information?  How can we stop it being spread any further?   How can we prevent this from ever happening again?  Not prevent the two faced lying and encouragement for diplomats to train in espionage.  No, that’s ok.  How can we prevent ourselves from getting caught next time? (more…)

I decided to do something a little different for my blog this week. Usually I write a lot for you, but today I wanted to connect with you a little more more personally.

Is it possible for one human being to heal wounds they did not personally cause?  Could a German today apologize to a Jew for the holocaust, and create healing, even though it was decades ago and the actual perpetrators are dead?  Could a conscious man today apologize to women for burning witches?  Is this a form of healing or creating toxic shame? Watch this video and PLEASE POST YOUR THOUGHTS !!! …

You can read The Manifesto for Conscious Men on Facebook HERE.

Back in the late 80’s, Jacquelyn Small wrote a fantastic book called Transformers. It was a revolutionary book that influenced me more than anything else I can remember at the time. This was long before Eckhart Tolle came out with The Power of Now, long before Byron Katie developed The Work, and long before Satsang became popular. And in that wonderful book, there’s one particularly wonderful sentence that stands out among the rest.

“You don’t have to be ‘perfectly enlightened’ in order to be an agent of enlightening.”

It’s really worth savoring the taste of that statement like a good wine. Sip it. Let it linger on your taste buds for a few moments. That little sentence dispels so many myths and so many reasons we give ourselves to hold back our true gifts. (more…)

I was ten years old when Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, a little known Indian teacher who had founded the “Spiritual Rejuvenation Movement” back in 1959, gave a retreat in Bangor, Wales. That retreat, with its usual attendees from the metaphysical sub-sub-culture, would have gone completely unnoticed by the rest of the world were it not for the surprising attendance of four very influential people: John, Paul, George, and Ringo.

The Beatles had already been setting trends in fashion, music, haircut, and lifestyle since the early 1960’s. When they grew their hair longer into the “mop cut,” it became the signature of the Beat generation in 1962. When they started to experiment with psychedelics, it took only a few months for many others to do the same, and it spawned the summer of love in 1967.

So when the Beatles went off to visit Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, first in Wales and then in Rishikesh, India, the number of people learning transcendental meditation went from a few hundred to millions within a year. When the Beatles went to India they were joined by Donovan, Mia Farrow, and a handful of other cultural icons. The Beatles got disillusioned with Maharishi within a year.  Their song “Sexy Sadie” on The White Album ridicules their ex teacher. George quickly hooked up with Swami Prabhupada Bhaktivedanta, the founder of the Hare Krishna movement, and developed a devotion to Krishna which was unbroken until he died. Swami Muktananda set up shop in South Fallsberg, New York, and also drew in a torrent of celebrities. Werner Erhard created EST. By the early 1970’s, the question on everyone’s lips had shifted from “what’s a guru?” to “who’s your guru?” It seemed like everyone young and hip enough had a spiritual teacher they were following, and there were literally hundreds to choose from.

Many of those teachers were from India, Tibet, Japan, or China, and came from traditions where business and spirituality had no common ground. In the early 1970’s, however, many of them developed huge organizations, quite commonly with assets in the millions, and generally with a burgeoning feudal structure, not dissimilar from the very Catholic Church many of them had only recently shunned.

The attraction to having a teacher at that time was extremely clear. Many of us were born in the years following the second world war. Our parents were obviously confused about many things: gender roles, how to raise children, the purpose of being alive, to name just a few. They were, for the most part, adrift and unhappy. The religious traditions in which we grew up: Protestantism, Catholicism and Judaism, seemed to offer only the possibility that we could become like the generation that had reared us. So an India teacher, promising the giddy heights of enlightenment, appearing to be completely relaxed and confident, with an unambiguous and strong position around sexuality, money, and how to look after your body, often with a strict regimen of practices to follow, made life simple and easy. Back in the 70’s, everyone thought their guru was The Way, and that Nirvana and Utopia were just a few years of meditation away. (more…)

I’ve spent a good deal of my time in India over the last several decades. There’s a common saying in India that if a teacher charges money for “the dharma” (which loosely translated means “teachings about the truth”) that he or she will go to a special section of hell set aside for spiritual entrepreneurs, an area cornered off and designed to be much nastier than the areas for axe murderers, rapists, and the like.

My primary teacher in India, H.W.L. Poonja, for example, never asked money from anyone for anything. There was no donation basket in the back of the room, even.

At the same time, there is another, equally well-established tradition in India, called “dana.”  You never go to a teacher empty-handed. If you want the blessings of the teacher, you should come equipped with baskets of fruit, cloth, and all other kinds of goodies.

In the last several decades, there have also been some immensely successful teachers making huge contributions to millions of people who have worked from exactly the opposite mentality. A good example is Harry Palmer, the creator of the Avatar training. He is a genuinely deep and awake guy, highly motivated to help people experience freedom.  “People will only actually integrate insights that they have come to regard as valuable”, he stated back in the early ’90’s. “And the way that people create value in Western society is by paying money.”    Consequently, a couple weekends with an Avatar trainer would cost $2,000. The Avatar training was immensely successful for a long time. Other similar examples of huge, culture-charging movements that have charged high fees are EST, Tony Robbins Seminars, The Sedona Method, and many more. (more…)

Just as you might have given up hope of ever hearing from me again, just as you’re on the way to buy flowers for the funeral, we’re back. Did you miss me? As you might have noticed, I’ve been keeping an extremely low profile the last months. Hardly a blog post or a tweet or a chirp or a facebook post since February. But I’m back, and ready to play again. Here’s a little summary of what’s been going on.

Back in January, we started having a few problems in our office with being able to communicate effectively with our list of friends. Some people were not getting their emails on time. Things were bouncing back that shouldn’t: you know how it goes. So my office manager discovered a super-duper enhanced new alternative for delivering email to our friends.

“How long will it take to implement?” I asked.
“Oh, two to four days,” came the reply.
“Okay,” I said. “If it’s going to make things easier, let’s do it.”
Four months later…

The situation has been a bit like I needed to go down to the store to buy some butter for our family meal (sending news is the butter, and you are the family). So I’ve been driving down to get the butter in a slightly clunky car that doesn’t always start. I call the mechanic to ask what to do, expecting perhaps a little tune-up. A few days later I find a jet plane parked in my driveway. When I climb in the cockpit to go buy butter, I’m faced with an overwhelming array of knobs, panels, gauges, and LED displays.

“What am I supposed to do with this?” I ask. “It’s overwhelming.”

“Yes,” comes the enthusiastic reply. “But it will get you down to the grocery store in one thousandth the time of driving.”
It looks like we’ve finally figured out how to switch on the engine of the jet plane at least, and now we’re able to communicate again.

During this time, there’s been other stuff going on too. About 18 months ago, I met a charming fella named Vishen Lakhiani who read my book the Translucent Revolution and loved it. He suggested we make it into a multi-media home study course called “Living Awakening.” In the last months I’ve been putting the final tweaks on that course.

So many of us these days are having strong glimpses of awakening: of the dimension of ourselves which is limitless, spacious, free, which is love itself. The challenge is not in the access anymore, but in how we live it. Living Awakening is based on video interviews with some of the most successful people alive on the planet whose contribution to the world has been grounded in awakening of consciousness. You may be surprised to find out about the secret lives of some of the people you see regularly on Oprah.

Chameli and I have also been putting our Deeper Love intensive into a course that you can do at home as well. I’ll tell you a little more about that in my next post.

And the last thing that’s been inspiring to me is what’s been happening in our Awakening Coaching Training. For thousands of years, if you felt the longing to drop more deeply into yourself, to feel the divine, most of what was on the menu was hierarchical and patriarchal. That means if you had a longing for greater depth, you would go find a teacher, usually a man and often of oriental origins, and surrender completely to his beliefs and guidance. The more deeply you subjugated your will to that teacher, the more  your ego would die and “enlightenment” would theoretically bloom. Theoretically.  As you may be aware, these kind of scenarios often involve a crash landing.

Something completely different is happening on the planet today. Friends are able to help friends to wake up from the trance of separation. I’ve been training facilitators of awakening since 1995, and the results in the last months have become even more inspiring. I’d love for you to join me this Thursday at 6pm to hear about what’s been going on. A number of awakening coaches will be on the line with me to share their experiences as well. If you miss the live event, the call will be recorded and you can listen to the replay. If you’d like to join us, click here to register for free.

I just got back a few days ago from what feels like the most incredible week of my life.  I was attending and speaking at the Integral Spiritual Experience conference in Asilomar near Monterey, California.

Wow, wow, and wow.

The conference was attended by over five hundred people from 33 different countries.  Unlike many conferences of its kind, it followed an evolutionary path.  It traced the development from personal story: the circumstances of our birth and conditioning, to the development of personality, or what the organizers called “false self.”  From there the conference moved into awakening: the  shift from personality based living to the realization of our true nature as limitless, unborn, undying and the source of everything.  (Guess who facilitated that part?!)  And from there we moved into uncharted territories: what Ken Wilber describes as an evolutionary emergence.  We explored how the more we rest in true self, in limitless consciousness, and subjectively experience emptiness, the more other people experience the flow of a unique gift.

This is the paradox. By resting in oneness we deepen our uniqueness, and in the cultivation of unique gifts we deepen oneness.

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