Most everyone is familiar with John Gray’s book, Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, which came out more than 20 years ago. It brought the issue of differences between men and women to a much wider audience than had ever happened before, and has to date sold more than 50 million copies worldwide.

John Gray is a fascinating man, and there are a lot of things that most people don’t know about him. I’ve had the good fortune to get to know John quite well in last years because we are in a mens’ group together that meets regularly in Marin County.

One really interesting thing about John Gray that very few people know is that he spent nine years of his life living in a meditation center in Switzerland. He was involved in deep spiritual practice for most of every day of that time, and became the personal secretary of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who was famous as the guru to The Beatles. So all of John’s work on relationship and gender difference actually was the overflow of that time of intense spiritual practice and focus on awakening. (more…)

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…)

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…)

In times of crisis like these, perhaps Love has never been more important than it is today. It’s for this reason that I’m delighted and honored to share with you that I will be participating in an extraordinary teleseminar series on The Future of Love which started already on April 17th.
During this 25-week series, we’ll engage and explore the biggest topic relevant to all human beings on the planet– Love!
Join me and over 20 of the world’s leading visionaries, spiritual teachers, thinkers and leaders dedicated to unfolding a new spirituality–including Ken Wilber, Deepak Chopra, Jean Houston, Warren Farrell, Traleg Rinpoche, John Gray, Lama Surya Das, Sally Kempton, Marilyn Schlitz, Brother David Steindl-Rast, Gabriel Cousens, Cynthia Bourgeault, Tami Simon, Robert Kegan, Sofia Diaz, Saul Williams, Eddie Kowalczyk, Dr. Marc Gafni, Diane Musho Hamilton, and others for this unprecedented conversation.
All of these calls are free, which is cool.  You can participate live, or listen to the recordings later at any time, from anywhere in the world.

These calls will address some of the most important questions facing us today, such as:

  • What is Love?
  • How do we find it, nurture and sustain it?
  • Does Love mean the same thing today that it did a thousand years ago when so many of the great religious traditions developed their views about Love?
  • How can we help Love evolve through our own development and transformation?
  • What are the structural patterns in the evolution of Love?
  • How does our conscious participation change the evolution of Love?
  • What are the evolutionary Integral skills of Love and relationship that have the power to deepen our realization and to liberate our true and unique self?
  • What new gifts for the world can emerge from this evolution?

REGISTER TODAY

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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Hilltop-Ranch-vista

I’ve just come home from one of the kindest things I’ve done for my body in 52 years.  Colors look much brighter and sharper than they have before, I can smell flowers and food distinctly, there’s a gentle hunger in my belly that’s no longer a sense of craving, but a health instinct for nourishment.  When I look over at Chameli, my wife, she looks 10 years younger:  her skin is glowing like she’s lit up inside and she’s probably lost 7-10 pounds in the last few days.  For the first time in a long time my body seems to really know what it wants to eat, its natural intelligence has been restored.  Don’t ask me what I’ve been smoking,or what pills I’ve been popping.  I’ve just come home from four days at John Gray’s ranch on the Mendocino coast.  You probably know John Gray’s name as the author of  Hilltop–foodMen are from Mars, Women are from Venus,  the best selling relationship book of all time.  That book has been praised by some as the savior of their marriage and ridiculed by others as overly simplistic, but everyone has heard of it. That breakthrough book has spawned mutliple others.  Just as Gray’s fame as a relationship expert is unparalleled, so his expertise as a health and anti-aging educator is little known.

The four-day retreat, which is scheduled once a month at the ranch, combines several exquisitely crafted elements together into a blend that, in my experience, is unparalleled.  First of all, there is the “Super-Cleanse.”  With a couple of days of pre-cleanse preparation, during your stay at the retreat you eat no solid food.  Instead you take several “Super-Cleanse” drinks per day as well as a host of supplements that helps the body to eliminate toxins without the cravings, headaches and light-headedness that I have experienced before with cleansing.
The second element at the ranch is John’s personal state-of-the art-spa, overlooking a magnificent 180-degree view of the Pacific Ocean.  Two outdoor tubs offer a full body iodine soak (which restore the much needed mineral often depleted from out body by excessive chlorine use) and another super oxygenated lithium soak which relaxes the brain while promoting cellular cleansing of the whole body. Several oxygenated infrared saunas allow a cleansing sweat without the excessive temperature and humidity that we often associate with saunas.  The marble steam room with crystal benches completes the experience . We got two hours in the spa utilizing all of these modalities, every day we were there. (more…)