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.
(more…)

Drop of waterLast week I had dinner with a wonderful man named Peter Baumann.  Peter is best known to the world as the keyboard player for the 1970’s German group Tangerine Dream, and later founded the label Private Music.  But in the last years, Peter has turned his attention completely towards the investigation of personal and collective awakening.  He founded the Baumann Institute in 2004 to fund research to discover what is occurring in the neurologically, the psychology and the biology in a moment of radical Awakening.

We had dinner in a small Italian restaurant in San Francisco, the kind that, as soon as you walk in the door, America is left far behind, and you are in Europe.  During our dinner Peter and I talked about what — if anything — is a reliable measurable indicator of awakening.  Is there any external characteristic which people share in common in the realization of their deeper nature?  We each came up with several candidates, and perhaps I will share those with you in another blog post.  But for today, I want to report to you the very first one on Peter’s list, which was to be comfortable with paradox.  The conceptual mind wants to come to fixed conclusions about things.  “We have no choice, it is all predetermined.  Everything is happening on its own.”  That is one philosophical belief.  “We have total choice and responsibility in everything we have ever create in our world.”  Another philosophical belief.  This is what the mind does, it wants to reduce something down to a formula: the Truth.

(more…)