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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modernmysticAmidst so much talk about the economy collapsing, global warming and a myriad of other problems, we are having a wonderful summer and hope you are too.  Over the weekend I went down to the Yuba River with my dear friend Brooks Cole.  It’s a magnificent place revered by Native Americans for centuries as a place of “sacred peace”.  I’m going to get a video up for you in the next few days.

Thank you all so much for the unbelievable number of responses I got about my new project.  I’ve read and digested every one and they have proven to be incredibly useful.  Last night I didn’t get back from SF until three in the morning; I was interviewing Bill Harris who is the creator of Holosync technology and Genpo Roshi.  If you don’t know about Genpo, he is a modern Zen master with an extraordinarily integrated teaching called “The Big Mind.”  I’ve conducted about ten of these video interviews now with great equipment in HD, and I will be doing three more shoots over the next week.  (more…)

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If you’ve watched the television news in the last few months, or listened to the radio, or been on the internet, or looked at a magazine… or even just talked to well… anybody, you must be aware that the general consensus is that this is a time of unprecedented challenge and transition. Economically, that often gets focused onto the United States, but actually in the wider implications, the transition that we are passing through is global.

I’m sure you don’t need me to spell out what that means. Whether we focus on sinking into a global recession–or even depression–or global warming, or peak oil, or the many unresolved political conflicts around the world: whatever parameter you choose to focus on, many people feel today fear that we are sitting on a bus heading over the edge of a cliff. Depressing, isn’t it?

Suppose for a moment that your house develops severe dry rot in the basement. The contractor comes, takes a look and says, “Sorry, there’s nothing I can do. It’s too far gone. Better to tear the place down.” This would be inconvenient, but not the end of the world. Now suppose that it was your neighborhood gone to seed, taken over by… what? Lawyers? Communists? White supremacists? Doesn’t matter. If you don’t like the area where you’re living you can always move to another part of town. Now what about if it was your city, or your state, or even the country? There’s always an alternative. You could move to Phoenix, or Alaska, or even Mexico or Europe. Bali is very nice, too. (more…)