listAs another year approaches, imagine looking over a list of the things you’ve accomplished and other goals not yet attained.  In reflecting back over your year, the things you’ve done and the challenges you’ve faced, can you see on your list the undertaking of a life-changing spiritual journey?   If not, I would like to personally invite you to mark off a few days from your calendar to begin this journey on the Pacific Coast of California with me and the Integral Spiritual Experience teachers, along with hundreds of like-minds and friends from all around the globe.
I am honored to have been invited to be a part of Integral Life this coming December.  We will be looking at what it means to lead lives of deep and essential spiritual practice in the 21st century.  Often our lives are hectic and leave little time for us to do this sort of reflecting on our growth as human beings, our truest longings, and the gifts of our heart that we want to share with the world.  Attending the Integral Spiritual Experience is a second chance to add to your end-of-the-year list of accomplishments. We will be meeting new people who share our visions, learning about our unique self, loving and celebrating the New Year as a symbolic renewal of the amazing life we have been given.  We will be celebrating this yearly rebirth on the Asilomar property wildlife refuge right on the Pacific Ocean.  During this time there is a gray whale migration and the monarch butterfly, which the area is known for, is just beginning to hatch.  It will be an exquisite unity of nature’s offerings and our inner gifts that will be coming forth for this time together.

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This is a practice from my latest book: Leap Before You Look.” This practice is chosen from the section “Intimate Relationship Practices.”

argue1

When you find yourself caught in a disagreement
With your partner or a close friend,
When you are arguing,
Trying to be convincing that your point of view is more correct,
Stop and exchange points of view.
If you have been sitting together and talking,
Stand up and change seats.
For five minutes you will represent the point of view of the other,
Vehemently, passionately, fully trying to convince.
Do this with totality, give it everything.
Make sure you include (as the other)
How you feel, what you’re resentful about,
What you want and why,
And what you are afraid of.
After doing this exercise for five minutes
Move back to your original position
Take the point of view that was originally yours,
And see what remains of your dispute.
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This is a practice from my latest book: Leap Before You Look.” This practice is chosen from the section “The Daily Grind.”

office-depot

Take some time to discard what is no longer needed.

You could start with your clothes.

Be honest: if you have not worn it for a year,

Put it in a bag for the thrift store.

Look through your books: how many will you ever read again?

Go through your music, your movies, your knick-knacks.

If it is just taking up storage space, get it out of your life.

Take the things you can let go of to the garbage or the thrift store.

Then, sit quietly for a few minutes and

Feel the space you have created in your life.

Feel the space that has also been opened

Inside yourself.

Do this practice often,

Until all clutter is gone,

And you can enjoy simplicity.

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Presence in treesI met David in Brighton last November, he attended a weekend seminar I was teaching there. The South of England in November is always a rather depressing experience: I think it rained every single day of my six-day visit. People look down at the ground, hurrying on their way to the closest warm refuge. But David’s story was a particularly sad one.

At the beginning of the seminar I asked everyone to grab a partner and to tell their partner why they were there for the weekend: to set intentions. When they were all done I asked a few people to take the microphone and to share what they discovered with the rest of the room. Dave was one of those who volunteered.

“I’m new to all this,” he said, “Never been to no seminar in me life,” he went on in his London accent. His strong shoulders, simple innocent manner and rough hands told us that he was a working man.

“I came ‘ere coz me mate said it might ‘elp. I work in building, see, wiv’ concrete. Jus finishin’ a job right now on the new electric company plant, and then I ‘aint got no more work. Building work’s almost at a standstill in England… I dunno what to do,” Dave’s chin began to tremble with emotion. “Got me a fine wife at home. Luv ‘er her to bits, I do, and three great kids. But work’s been slow for several months now, and I’m desperate. Don’t even see ‘ow I can get me kids Christmas presents this year.” Now Dave was not just feeling emotional, he was actually crying. Somebody nearby passed him a tissue. He was clearly extremely embarrassed to have broken down in front of a group of strangers. (more…)