Did you catch our conversation tonight with Gay and Kathlyn Hendricks?  We loved everything that unfolded.

If you missed it, please listen to the replay here.

If you were on the call, please post your comments and reactions with the “Add a Comment” link above

So much love to you!

Arjuna and Chameli

Modern Man’s Response to the Emergence of the Goddess

Back in July, I published a piece on this blog, as well as on Huffington Post, called Why It is Wise to Worship a Woman. That article emerged in a very personal and spontaneous way. I’d been out for a walk with Chameli, my wife, one evening. Overwhelmed with the feeling of “it just couldn’t get any better than this,” I popped a little update on Facebook in celebration of the goddess I’m married to. Surprisingly, by the morning there were dozens of comments. A lot were from women, but many were also from men, either wondering where they could also have the good fortune to find a goddess similar to mine or, perhaps more important, wondering how they could discover the same spirit of deep appreciation of the feminine.

That article was my answer to that question. It reflected on the wisdom of being in worship of the feminine. Not just get along with, or tolerate, or befriend, or cooperate with. Yes, I said what I meant: to worship the feminine. (more…)

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

As with every other area of our lives, there is a symbiotic relationship between the depth of our translucence and the way we view otherness. Translucence naturally shifts our habits of relating, without our doing anything about it. We have less to defend as we come to know ourselves as bigger than our own story, and our relating naturally becomes less strategic. As we see the other as myself, even if only in snapshots, we find that compassion occurs effortlessly. We develop more humor about the idiosyncrasies of our personality. We have less investment in laboriously working things out, and a greater willingness to breathe a sigh and return to innocence. The need to change others relaxes, since we are less tied to them as a source of our well-being. All these things can happen more or less spontaneously as by-products of waking up. At the same time, the attention we bring to our habits of relating can deepen and stabilize our expression of translucence. We can always bring more skillful means, more as an art form than as self-improvement, to our relating. We can become more aware of, and tell the truth about, the old habits that have created separation. These old habits run deep, and they will not necessarily die on their own. Our social environment reinforces them. When we are willing to put awakening into the fire of relationship, it will reveal all old habits and allow them to be released. Says Gay Hendricks:

“I think therein lies the difficulty, as well as the awesome beauty, of relationships. The universe is attempting to meet itself in play. When one person meets another, as that space links up with that space again, it pushes to the surface all the little places where we’ve withdrawn from space. Whether it’s being physically beaten, or starved to death, or criticized, or in beating others, those are the places where we’ve withdrawn and crystallized into mass, and then that has to come to the surface.”

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.

moviesFor many years now Chameli and I have enjoyed a special moment in our month, when an envelope arrives containing a single DVD. It generally contains a feature film, a documentary, and occasionally a few shorts, chosen not for their popularity or celebrity status, but for their ability to transform and awaken us. The Spiritual Cinema Circle was founded in 2004 by Gay and Kathlyn Hendricks, Arielle Ford and Stephen Simon. It is something like Netflix meets Esalen.

I have had some interesting talks over the last years with Gay and Kathlyn, and more recently also with Stephen Simon about what it is that makes a movie “spiritual.” I am delighted to tell you, there are no absolute conclusions. As you may know from the Translucent Revolution (which of course you have read cover to cover, right?!) my favorite all time translucent movie was Alan Ball’s American Beauty, which won five Oscars in 2000. You can read (or re-read) my critique of that film in the blog below this one.

american_beautyAmerican Beauty is not a feel-good, love and peace, happily ever after film. The protagonist, played by Kevin Spacey, is murdered at the end of the film by a semi-psychotic ex-marine. This is a film portraying dysfunction, alienation, and a pervasive degree of hopelessness. Yet…there is something about this film, and many like it, that transforms not the content of our experience, but our relationship to our experience. It does not change our experience from feeling bad to feeling good, but instead manages to shift us to a deeper dimension of ourselves, and of reality. The sub title of the film is “look closer.” Other examples of this kind of art, different in content, but widely appreciated as translucent in vision, are Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Roberto Benigni’s “Life is Beautiful” and Mike Leigh’s Secrets and Lies.

Of course my view is not the only view on what makes cinema “spiritual.” Another view, equally valid, is that we are all already too steeped in darkness, and what we need is more light, more healing and more “good vibes.”

I want to hear from you on this topic. Post me a comment below.

What is your list on the five most “spiritual” or “translucent” films you have ever seen?

Then please join me for a free tele-seminar this Thursday with myself and Stephen Simon, the founder of the Spiritual Cinema Circle, the producer of 20 movies, and the director of “Indigo” and “Conversations with God.” On this call you will hear Stephen and myself each share our list of the five most “spiritual films,” ( our lists are totally different, by the way!). There will also be lots of opportunity to ask questions and share your insights. Register here.

If you’d like to try out the Spiritual Cinema Circle, they have offered my friends  ( that’s you!) a free trial membership.  To check it out please look to the right of this post under my “blog roll” where you will see a link to SCC.