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…)

Back at the end of June, I posted a piece called “Charging Money for the Truth.” It generated 47 comments, which are really worth taking the time to read. This is a hot topic, a juicy topic, and one which opens up all kinds of important questions. Over the last couple of months, I’ve been able to go much deeper into these questions with some fascinating people.

Marc Gafni, for example, has been an ordained rabbi most of his adult life. Until a few years ago, he was living and practicing in Israel. Now that he’s teaching in the United States in a more “secular way,” he finds himself dealing much more with questions of making the books balance. He had some fascinating observations about the relationship between money and “dharma.”

Diane Hamilton was a “starving artist” and a single mother for much of her life. She took Zen Buddhist vows under Genpo Roshi, and is now a widely recognized Zen teacher, as well as one of the senior instructors in Ken Wilber’s Integral Institute.

Sally Kempton started out as a professional journalist and a writer for Esquire, the New York Times, New York magazine, and the Village Voice. She was an early voice in the second wave feminist movement. Spirituality was the last thing on her agenda.  After a powerful spiritual opening, however, she became a “sadhu” monk, and was known for many years as Swami Durgananda. (more…)

Sometimes it seems like all we hear these days is talk of the tough economy. I actually conducted a little sociological experiment this weekend, and counted up how many times I heard people refer to the economy, and therefore current times in general, in a negative way. I got 43 hits, even though I stayed home quite a bit.

There is, of course, some objective measurable truth to all of this depressing talk. If you own a house, it’s probably worth considerably less than it was five years ago. If you own a business, you may be making less money than you were, and you may have even been faced with the difficult decision of laying off some of your employees. If you’re an investor in the stock market, you may have seen your portfolio go down in value.

But not everybody these days is having a terrible time. I’ve conducted another little amateur sociological experiment over the last several weeks. I asked a lot of my colleagues: writers, teachers, seminar leaders, how they would evaluate their year so far, not just financially, but according to a broader spectrum of measurement. How are your relationships? How’s your creativity? How’s your health? How much are you living your deepest vision? I’m a member of two extraordinary mens’ groups, one where I live in Nevada City, and another that I travel to in Marin County, and I also asked this question at the recent meeting of the Transformational Leadership Council. More than half the people I asked told me that 2010 was proving to be their best year ever, myself included.

I hear people ask a lot on the blogosphere and in the media, “How long is this recession going to last? When are we going to go back to where we were?” Well, here’s a shocking question for you now. What if we never, ever, ever go back to where we were?  What if the old game is now coming to an end, and a whole different way of relating with each other financially and energetically is emerging? (more…)

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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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…)

Jack_Canfield[1]Arjuna dialogs with Success Coach Jack Canfield

Arjuna:    Jack, you are recognized as a great authority on success.  In the last months, with changes in the economy, many people are re-evaluating what success is all about. First of all, it’s more difficult these days to make money and accumulate a lot of stuff because the economy is not so supportive. Second thing is that becoming extremely wealthy has become less fashionable with the collapse of the banking industry. I wonder if you have felt called to reevaluate what success is all about, with the changes in our economy?

Jack:    I think with the changes in the economy, the recession, the Wall Street banking crisis, mortgage crisis and international meltdown in the markets, many people have lost a lot of money.  I’ve had friends that lost their entire savings with Bernie Madoff and other people that had other foundations and sources of income that dried up.

Therefore, they have to re-evaluate what success means to them and what most people are finding out is, and I’m looking at this in my own life as well, that success isn’t just what you accumulate, not just the amount of money you have or the toys you’re able to buy, but true success is having time freedom, emotional freedom, the freedom to pursue your own spiritual and emotional growth.

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fingerpointingBy now pretty much everybody has been affected in one way or another by the change in economic climate.  Some people have been hit really hard, like Dave from Brighton, I described in the post below, who lost his job and was concerned that he wouldn’t have the money to pay for gifts for his family for Christmas.  Or Maureen, who I met recently in Michigan, who’s husband lost his job along with their medical insurance.  When she discovered she had a rare blood disease, it looked like it would inevitably drive them to bankruptcy.  Others have been less drastically affected, perhaps had to just cut back on unnecessary luxuries.
The amazing thing about this shift in the economy, which I have discovered from my coaching clients, and from traveling and teaching, is how many of us take it personally.  It’s not logical of course.  But it’s a pandemic how easily we feel, “I did something wrong, it was my fault, I have failed.”
If you’ve noticed this happening for you, here are 5 simple tips to put things in perspective. (more…)