Dear Friends,

I’m in the middle of a whirlwind European tour here, and so this post will be shorter than others have been.

We had a wonderful evening event in Oslo last week, hosted by Peter Svenning, one of our certified Awakening Coaches.  Great people, mostly from professional backgrounds, quickly “got” what this approach is about.  Many will now be coming to the Awakening Coaching Training in Stockholm, February 20-24th.  Next day I saw some very inspiring people in Oslo for private sessions.  I’m constantly amazed by how regular people with relatively little background in “spirituality” can easily drop out of the mind and into the mystery of presence.

I took the train from Oslo to Stockholm, which took most of the day, and was a great treat.  When was the last time you took a really long train ride?  It’s great.  The carriage sways back and forth like the rocking of a cradle, massaging you into letting go.  You pass through small villages, larger towns, and then endless forest and fields put to rest for the winter.  I could spend my life on European trains!  The buffet car serves great food, the internet connection allows you to get things done, and the rest of your life seems far away.

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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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crystalball

I have met the future of the Internet, and trust me, it’s very, very cool.

The way that you recognize a particularly cool idea is that as soon as you hear it you wonder how you could ever have lived without it. Believe it or not fifteen years ago nobody had email. What? Yes, it’s true. When I tell my kids that, they stare at the ceiling, wondering when their dad is going to stop making stuff up. No email? How could anyone possibly live without email? That’s like… living without a cell phone or a computer. Don’t be an idiot, dad.

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Please enjoy the following except from an interview I did with Jennifer Hough of Soul Talk radio last week:

earth

Arjuna: This is an amazing time to be alive. It is really so important to be in these conversations, because the whole game is changing very, very fast. Up until just quite recently, there has been great emphasis on personal empowerment: manifesting, using intention, the law of attraction; that was the name of the game. It was like a playground, playing with the possibilities of personal empowerment. Now the game is changing very fast, very, very fast.

You can see it in our role models, it’s very interesting. Just a few years ago the role model for the collective were people with the most money and power: a movie star or a banker. Somebody who’d made a lot of money, driving a great car, was seen to be the role model for what is possible. An interesting thing happened. Last week the G-20 Summit was held in London.Bankers working in the city of London were going to work in rough jeans and old t-shirts and riding the tube instead of their BMWs, because they were afraid of getting lynched: it’s become so uncool now to be playing the financial system and milking money out of the system.   There was the huge outcry with the  AIG bonuses. The whole collective is changing, our values are shifting very, very rapidly. What was really cool a few years ago is no longer cool today. And of course Barack Obama is an icon of our changing values.

What you contribute is becoming more important than what you take. So what you give back, the value you create, which is all to do with awakening, the value you create is more significant than the reward that you reap for it. And I’ve seen lately so many CEOs are proudly announcing that they’re not taking a salary. I’ve seen this multiple times lately, that CEOs are taking a dollar a year to lead a company.

Jennifer: Yeah, it’s all over the news right now.

Arjuna: It’s all over the news, because you see we’re replacing acquisition consciousness with contribution consciousness and contribution consciousness is all about awakening. The pivotal essential point for acquisition consciousness is manifesting. If your life is about acquisition, you want to learn how to manifest and attract as much as possible, attract more to me. So that’s why the law of attraction became the great secret of an acquisition based mentality. When we shift to contribution based living, then the key becomes not the law of attraction but “who am I?” Who am I really? What is my deepest value? Not what am I trying to attract, but what have I already got? What is the wealth that’s already in my pocket before I try and manifest more?

Jennifer: And what can I possibly contribute to the world?

Arjuna: Yes, and then, you see, that’s what translucence is all about, is contribution, and the way to contribute is to awaken to who you are, to awaken to that which is giving the gift.

Jennifer: Beautiful.

Arjuna: Very exciting times. Things are changing so quickly. The whole game is changing.

park-placeMany years ago, when my children were still quite young, we got a visit for the weekend from my friend Peter Russell. You may know him from his book, “The Global Brain,” and more recently, “From Science to God.” He came to visit us for the weekend to get a break from his busy teaching and writing schedule. He wanted some time off. So that Saturday afternoon he organized a grand Monopoly tournament with my two sons, who were around six and nine at the time.

As the game wore on, someone had built up hotels on Park Avenue, and someone else had bought all the utility companies; you know how Monopoly goes. I was glad to get a break from looking after the kids, so I wandered in and out from time to time to see how they were getting on.

What I learned that afternoon has stayed with me ever since.

My youngest son, Shuba, who was only six at the time, got very caught up in the game, as kids often do. So at one point, when he landed on Pete’s two hotels on Park Avenue and had to pay thousands of dollars in rent, he lost it. He ran to his room crying, saying he hated all of us. It took us 15 minutes to coax him out. When the game went better for him, on the other hand, he was overjoyed, ecstatic, and wanted to play forever. Pete, on the other hand, seemed to be enjoying himself no matter what. He rolled his dice, and if his fortunes were good he laughed. He rolled the dice again, and if his fortunes were bad…he still laughed. (more…)