If you’ve been reading my stuff here for a while, you probably remember that back in the summer of 2009, I started to conduct interviews for a new publication with some very interesting people. I’ve been busy with that ever since. Finally, it’s come to some sort of completion.

In almost every tradition, there has been a split between spiritual awakening and worldly life. A sadhu in India renounces money, sexuality, and even clothes to discover “moksha.” In the Christian tradition, priests have generally been single and celibate, or even living in a monastery, secluded from the world. This remained true even 30 or 40 years ago when it was still quite popular to take a vow of celibacy or poverty, or to live away from the world in a spiritual community. But things have changed dramatically in the last few decades.

I regularly attend large conferences and events, and I’ve enjoyed conducting my own little amateur sociological project. When I get a crowd of a few hundred people, I like to ask, “How many people have a current vow of celibacy?” It’s very rare, these days, to see even one or two hands go up. Then I ask, “How many people would celebrate bringing your heart’s deepest awakening into your sexuality?” The crowd becomes a sea of hands. I can ask the same question about parenting, family, social and political action, but the most interesting to me is money and material success. “How many people,” I ask, “are living with a current vow of poverty? You’ve renounced money and material possessions?” Again, it’s rare to see a single hand. “And who,” I continue, “is interested in bringing awakening into your business life — to have a more conscious and awakened relationship to the flow of money?” Again, it’s a sea of hands. (more…)

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This is a practice from my book Leap Before You Look.

Lie down on your back
Under a cloudless sky.
Open yourself to the nature of infinity.
Let yourself move out infinitely in any direction
And be soberly present with the unavoidable fact
That as far as you travel,
You are still only halfway there.
There are no limits.
You cannot think about infinity.
It will blow your mind.
You can only become one with the infinite.
Look into the sky without blinking.
Let the sky enter you, so there is no inner and outer remaining.
Then close your eyes and stare into the inner limitless sky.

This simple practice, to look into the open, cloudless sky, has been used in every tradition in every age. I was introduced to it in the Tibetan refugee community of Bodh Nath in Katmandhu by the great Dzogchen teacher Choki Nyima Rimpoche. Once it is pointed out to you, it becomes so obvious—it was there all along. Many of us get involved in spiritual practices and teachings, searching for who we really are, and the answer is right there above our heads all along: you only have to look up into the vastness of the sky. This practice is great for modern humanity, as we have grown so used to a man-made world. Everything has been modified; everything has our fingerprints all over it, except the sky. The vastness of the sky cannot be touched, cannot be modified; it remains the last outpost of absolute innocence. (more…)

I just watched a fascinating new film this weekend, which has got considerably less attention than it deserves. It’s called “The Living Matrix,” and features Bruce Lipton, Lynne McTaggart, Eric Pearl, and Marilyn Schlitz, president of the Institute of Noetic Sciences.The film explores the fascinating question of spontaneous remission from disease: healings that occur everyday, and yet are unexplained by conventional medical science.

The movie tells us that every day, in hospitals all over the world, people will suddenly get better for no logical reason whatsoever. A cancer tumor the size of a grapefruit can disappear overnight. By now, this is well-documented. Because there is absolutely no explanation within the current medical model, these cases simply get ignored.

The premise of “The Living Matrix” is that we don’t understand the mechanics of “miraculous healing” and spontaneous remission simply because we are applying the wrong model. We’ve tended to view the body as though it’s a machine. We feed it the right nutrients, give it the right exercise, keep it well hydrated, and, when it gets sick, we go to an expert who tells us to take the right kind of drugs. It’s essentially a mechanical view of the human body. This view, which is by far the most prevalent in contemporary medicine and science, sees consciousness as a by-product of the body. (more…)

Ok, friends, listen up, as this is seriously interesting stuff.

A couple of years ago, I got introduced to a supplement (that’s capsules in a bottle, like at the health food store) by my friend John Gray.  The effects have been remarkable over this time, and the implications for the relationship of brain chemistry and consciousness are off the charts.  I got in touch with Brian Cunningham,  the inventor of the capsules in the bottle, and learned a lot about how the brain works.

Wanna know more?  Well, I’m no scientist, but I’ve been experimenting, so I’ll do my best to explain.

For as long as we can remember back, we know that human beings have been affected by different moods, or states of consciousness.  Excitement is a state of consciousness.  Boredom is a state.  So is depression, anxiety, grief.  At the other end of the spectrum is elation, oneness with God, insight and clarity.  For most of our human history there has been a very foggy understanding of the relationship between states of consciousness and the biochemistry of the brain.

As you know, in the last few decades, scientists have begun to understand what is going on in the brain when, for example, someone is depressed.  There is a neurochemical imbalance.

Brian Cunningham explains to me that our brains have an array of neurochemicals that need to be in a specific balance.  To create a symphony, to make beautiful music, you want to have every instrument working in harmony. It’s the same thing with neurochemistry in your brain. When there is an imbalance, we experience negative states like anxiety, stress, and depression. Depression, for example, is characterized by a deficiency of serotonin. Anxiety could be too much elevation of cortisol and adrenaline hormones, or also an imbalance of serotonin. Everything has to be in balance.   We have, in recent years come to understand how to treat pathological states with chemicals.  When someone is depressed, they do not have enough serotonin. It is being created, but reabsorbed too quickly.  So by inhibiting the process of “uptaking” serotonin, we can reduce symptoms of depression.  An equivalent understanding applies to anxiety, and even more severe states like schizophrenia.

Now here is the really interesting part.  Ready?  Sure?  Ok.  Here goes! (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.

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

The most powerful gift we can bring to our relating is the conscious practice of honesty. Under Iago’s spell, telling the truth evokes many conflicting reactions. We may try to be honest to protect an image of being a morally superior person; to prevent the other from leaving us; to avoid guilt, fear of punishment, and other uncomfortable feelings; or to conform to a learned
moral framework. We may also avoid being honest in an attempt to look good, to protect the other from hurt feelings, or to rebel against moral conditioning. We can also adopt honesty as a discipline to deepen presence, to expose and evaporate everything we carry within us that interferes with love. It can be a spiritual discipline, rather than something done in service to separation. Honesty is not just a moral principle. When we avoid the truth, we are cut off from ourselves. If you lie to another, you’ve also created a wall between you and yourself. We split infinity into two, and divide our own intrinsic wholeness. Brad Blanton, who has been a clinical psychologist for more than thirty years, came to translucence through the rigorous and sustained practice of radical honesty. Blanton describes honesty as being completely present and describing your experience just as it is:

“You can take the whole awareness continuum and divide it into three parts. Notice what is going on right now outside of you in the world, what is going on within the confines of your own skin, and what is going through the mind right now, and that’s all there is. Noticing and reporting what is here is honesty. . . just saying it right out as though you didn’t know any better.”

Blanton thinks of honesty as a spiritual practice more than as a moral virtue:

“We know meditation develops your capacity to be present. It becomes more complicated with eyes open, and even more challenging when it involves feelings and interactions with other people. Radical honesty is simply the predisposition for meditation that involves interactions with other people. Honesty and intimacy are really the same thing. When you’re honest, the boundaries between yourself and the other break down, and you experience more oneness or more of a mutual beingness.”

Entering into mutual agreements with your partner, friends, and community to end withholding and deception may be more challenging than first meets the eye. But it is worth the price we have to pay. The old habit that creates most separation, and that pulls attention back most forcibly into Iago’s grip, is the tendency to withhold. Says Blanton:

“The biggest rationalization for lying is “I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings,” the second is “I don’t want to offend anybody,” and the third is “I don’t want to make a fool of myself.” I recommend that you do all three. But stay present with people and let them stay with you until you feel your way through it and get clear. I recommend that you hurt people’s feelings till they get over having their feelings hurt, and offend people but stay with them; don’t do a drive-by. Make a fool of yourself, be a fool in life, be embarrassed, ashamed, whatever emotion comes up, do it out loud, and if you’re scared, feel your way through it and go on to the next limit.”

While researching this book, I was hard put to find anyone who had added honesty to their awakening and later regretted it. Practicing honesty as a translucent discipline is not just a disposition; it involves cultivating very specific skills, which in many ways run counter to our habits. Kathlyn Hendricks gives her definition of being honest:

“It is to describe what is going on in any given moment in a way that doesn’t blame anybody. It’s a whole set of skills: being able to pay attention, to notice what is actually occurring, and then to describe what is occurring in a way that matches the experience. And the act of doing that is tremendously enlivening. It literally will flush out and create a burst of aliveness; it flushes out any old grit, either physical or emotional. It is very, very powerful, but it is also a skill that people can learn and can develop. They don’t have to either know it or not know it; they can literally develop it.”

To read more about translucent honesty and translucent living in general, pick up your very own copy of Translucent Revolution today.

cocoonMany years ago when I was still an undergraduate student at a Cambridge University in England, I had a good friend who was doing medical research on cancer.  He was trying to find out what, if any, psychological factors would be relevant to a person developing cancer.  He developed a very elaborate psychological evaluation, looking for overwhelmingly negative events which could provoke a “death wish” in the subconscious of the patient.  But he only found such an event in about forty percent of his subjects. The death of a child, bankruptcy, the end of a marriage, were all potentially contributing factors for the subject developing cancerous cells in less than a year later.

So what about the other sixty percent?  For a long time he was baffled.  But then he changed the questionnaire from looking for overwhelmingly negative events to overwhelming events of any kind.  He included his scope to include positive things: a new relationship, the birth of a baby, a promotion at work.  Once he broadened his parameters to look for change of any kind, whether positive or negative, he found a correlation of almost ninety percent.

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