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All Posts by Conscious Owl


About the Author

One conscious owl to another... sharing what we learned over the years, and from many wise owls before us.

corporate well-being today
Apr 14

Corporate Well-Being Is the New Secret to Success

By Conscious Owl | Conscious Leadership

What is it about work that the majority of people would not show up the next day unless they were being paid? Is it all about external motivation, the ability to work hard for 40 hours and play in style during their evenings and weekends?

When I was learning to be a recruiter to go into companies and offer existing employees alternatives, I found out that 40% actually like their jobs and are not in the market, 40% truly hate their jobs, but can’t leave and 20% dislike their jobs and CAN leave. These are the undecided employees, much like the undecided voters that politicians target.

Is there another factor that can make a huge difference in the quality of your work life and mine?

Who Cares About Corporate Well-Being?

You do! You are giving anywhere between 40 to 80 hours a week to a company you may not even care about doing a job you would only do for the money. What kind of life is this? Is this how it must be for all the days of your life up to retirement?

Your employer does! Your employer has already invested tens of thousands on you. Every evening, the entire company vanishes and only continues as people show up the next day. Ignoring your well-being endangers her productivity goals, which impacts topline revenues and ultimately the all-important bottom-line profitability.

Your customers do! If you are unhappy, it shows up in subtle ways that diminish the customer experience, increasingly the benchmark of a company’s competitiveness. If you bought a sexy Tesla, only to read disturbing news and watch retail stores dry up, you are the loser on what was intended to be your dream car.

You make a difference! It is just that you and your employer can all too easily lose sight of that.

corporate wellness ideas

What Has Corporate Well-Being to Do with Making Money?

You may have grown up thinking about greedy capitalists in megacorporations exploiting their labor force to offer the cheapest price on increasingly shoddy goods. This is actually against sound management principles. Shareholders of such companies should carefully take notice, as community good will, an essential element of corporate valuation, can erode.

You are not productive when you are resentful and frustrated, when you feel forced to do meaningless tasks. You are not at your best when you sit in cubicles or open areas where people spy on you all day. I have a good friend who works for a major fashion company that has no respect for privacy. Their employees actually take breaks by going out to their cars and hanging out in the parking lot just to get away from the surveillance camera.

The companies that are flourishing, such as Apple and Google, are renowned, not only for being highly selective in their hiring practices, but taking care of their employees. People are made to feel that they can make a difference in the world, are always contributing to something larger than themselves and praised for their creative initiative.

How A.I. Is Making Corporate Well-Being a Real Possibility

While artificial intelligence is increasingly feared as dehumanizing, threatening our job security and dumbing everything down, almost the exact opposite is true. A.I. is automating the routine aspects of your job so that you can increasingly think, collaborate, imagine and do cool things.

America’s ability to compete powerfully in the world market against ever lower wages is its ability to be uniquely creative, constantly innovating, as we see in Silicon Valley. It is very hard for other countries, such as India and China, to duplicate this no matter how hard they try. Unique social and cultural elements favor America, especially its high level of diversity.

The more effective we are with imagination; the more our work resembles play. Most extraordinary scientists, inventors and artists play at it. They would continue their work even if they weren’t paid. As has been quipped about advertising agencies: “It is the most fun you can have without taking off your clothes!”

well-being example

How to Make Corporate Well-Being a Priority

Since this is what you really want out of your job, why not promote corporate well-being in your company? You may feel your top management is hard-assed and set in their ways. They might even be aging baby boomers about to retire. They only play it safe to secure their bonuses. In reality, corporate leaders who fail to inspire their troops are the most liable to get “fired.” Yes, C-level officers increasingly get fired by their board these days.

It is amazing to learn that C-level executives in Fortune 500 companies are doing meditation, yoga and Sanskrit chants as a way to be more present. Mindfulness is all the rage today. Conscious business and conscious capitalism are increasingly respectful as investment funds begin to label themselves accordingly. Being socially conscious, despite the ravings of certain Republicans, is in. Having an inner life is increasingly appealing, even to management no longer into financial survival.

You can align yourself with management and begin to trace the relationship between being mindful and being productive. You can also look at how increased attention contributes to greater revenues. It stands to reason that if you actually find profound satisfaction and fulfillment in your job that you are going to give a lot more than otherwise. Watch out for a company where everybody leaves at 5:00 o’clock sharp!

How to Initiate Corporate Well-Being Right Where You Work

Soren Gordhamer is a world traveler who got the idea that our digital devices should serve us, and not us serve our digital devices. He realized nothing was more important than our ability to be in present time. He was convinced that this standard was possible even in large corporations. Soren befriended key people at Google, including Gopi Kallayil, who was in charge of Google+, their social network.

Soren started a conference, Wisdom 2.0, where hundreds of people attend. He endeavored to build a community around conscious business and conscious entrepreneurship. He attracted Jack Kornfield of Spirit Rock Meditation Center, a world-renowned mindfulness guru. Together, they established a movement that grew into thousands all around the world who insist upon bringing wakefulness into their work life.

Today, if you advocate a conscious life, you differentiate yourself from the pack and put yourself in line for leadership in corporations, universities, churches, even the military! Nobody really wants to be unconscious. It is just that most of us have not put a value on being fully alive, totally present, relishing each and every moment.

Now you can. You have little to lose and a world of love, joy and peace to gain!

forgive yourself today
Mar 01

How to Forgive Yourself for Blowing It

By Conscious Owl | Inner Power

When Jesus had lifted himself up, and saw none but the woman,
he said unto her, “Woman, where are those your accusers?
has no man condemned you?”
She said, “No man, Lord.” And Jesus said unto her,
“Neither do I condemn you: go, and sin no more.”

Christ in the Gospel of John to adulteress caught in the very act

You may have grown up being taught to forgive, as when two kids get in a fight and making up. You may have heard platitudes that we should forgive without their really penetrating to your core. Being humanistic, you suppose you are somehow exempt from the whole Judeo-Christian tradition. You are strictly pragmatic about everything.

Hold on, it is never that easy! If you are in America, you are immersed in a culture deeply influenced by the Puritans who landed in Plymouth Rock several hundred years back. Everyone picks up these values, especially the notion of guilt. In Calvinism, we are all totally depraved, and without sovereign intervention, we go straight to hell.

As you grow older, you begin to wise up that you have something to do with all the conflict in your life, regardless of who started it. You begin to take responsibility for what you have done to people, and what people have done to you. If you are truly courageous, you take responsibility even for what others are doing to others all around the world.

How then, to forgive yourself?  It is much harder than forgiving your worst enemy, as you live with yourself day in and day out.


We Are “All Too Human”

As Friedrich Nietzsche put it, we are “human, all too human.” Nietzsche was a brilliant philosopher who probed deeply into our shadow. We are surrounded by “Philistines” who like nothing better than to bring the noble Samson down. Rather than attempt the heroic, they readily go on witch hunts, as we all too often see in politics.

We grow up with standards, whether our own, or others, that we never can quite keep. Whether it is cheating on a diet with a piece of chocolate, cheating on a relationship with a lurid affair or cheating in business to become top dog. When we violate our own standards, we can’t help feeling we are second rate. When we look at ourselves in the mirror while shaving, we are overcome with how much of a schmuck we really are.

The late Robin Williams did an amazing role in Being Human of playing half-a-dozen people throughout time, each one a reincarnation of the other. At the crucial moment, they all blow it and get themselves killed. In the final scene, Robin asks his estranged daughter, “Is this as good as it gets?

We All “Sin” from Time to Time

Liberation begins when you realize that you are not alone as a sinner. We all fail to fulfill our latent potential. We all slip into rationalizing and blaming others. We all settle for second best. Even when we accumulate honors, we are convinced we simply cheated and don’t really deserve them.

blame versus forgiving

Early on, I was involved in the human potential movement. Just out of school, that was a real eye-opener. People who seemed to have it all together totally fell apart. Both encounter groups and est, the pioneering transformational training, got us to own our ignoble feelings and petty bullshit.

At some point, you learn that it is not so bad to be “bad.” Everybody is bad at one time or another. In the words of the New Testament, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” This is not news, but our common lot. We discover that religious people are not exempt from this sorry plight. When they own their sins, they start to have compassion on their frail fellow humans.

To “Sin” Means Nothing More Than to Blow It

I grew up feeling sin was a moral outrage, a crime against God. You could even see on the shelf, My Sin Perfume, and it sold! Later I found that sin in the original Greek was simply missing the target in archery. You didn’t hit bullseye, the first circle or the second…you missed the target all together. It’s more like being a fool than being evil.

It’s more like being a fool than being evil.

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While you may feel beyond traditional values, you will find yourself judging yourself. You don’t need God’s standards; you have standards of your own. You even fail to live up to your full potential. When you actually do, it is a big deal.

All sin, even deliberately harming another human being, can be seen as blowing it. You made a mistake that caused pain to yourself and another. You were royally stupid. Welcome to the club!

Realize Your Mistakes Are FOREVER Forgiven

The turning point in my life was when I realized that ALL my sins are forgiven forever. I was speaking to my former est trainer on the phone, telling him I was in his training and had stood up to claim, “I didn’t get it.” He went through his mental file and rejoined, “You know what the Master said...Your sins ARE forgiven!”

The trainer said that in such a way that I knew he was referring to Jesus Christ. He put His teachings in a brand new light. God doesn’t simply forgive you AFTER you’ve sinned. You stand FOREVER FORGIVEN, from eternity past to eternity future. God simply doesn’t keep points. Not only is He your loving Father, you are “the apple of His eye.”

It took me many more years to fully realize that we live in a context of total forgiveness. God was never in the judgment game. We were. As Christ put it, “I came not into this world to judge the world, but to save it.” As was later written, “Love covers a multitude of sins.”

Your Mistakes Will Never Outpace God’s Love

Francis Thompson wrote a deeply insightful poem, “The Hound of Heaven.” When we are running from God, our Creator, our Source, our Only True Self, God seems like a blood hound. The faster we run, the faster He closes in. All our attempts at beating the Universe flounder. Our insistence on doing everything our own way, rather than surrendering to our Higher Self, seems increasingly futile.

When you finally do surrender, you will find that God is not attempting to beat you up, but to heal you. GOD, in His essence, IS PURE LOVE. He doesn’t care that you have been naughty, stupid or bad, he just loves YOU.

The supreme image of this in the Christian tradition is that of a divine love story, the ultimate symbol being the cross, itself. God loved you so much He willingly died for you, not at all because you were a filthy worm, but because you are infinitely precious in His eyes.

Judgment Is Never Your Role; Only Forgiveness

The more you realize that you, yourself, are already forgiven, the more you will forgive others.

The more you forgive others, the more you will forgive yourself. You might flatter yourself that you are sophisticated to condemn yourself. You may not realize that it is arrogant as well as self-defeating to trash yourself, when God judges nothing you have ever done.

The one thing that Jesus harped on in the Sermon on the Mount was to stop judging others. They will judge you in the very same way you judge them. You can break all the rules, and still be a son or daughter of God. That is because you are BORN that way. That is simply who you are. You are inherently divine, even though human. As Dr. Deepak Chopra put it, you are hard-wired for God.

Strangely, Christianity is not the only religion to say this, nor Christ the only Master. You will find this resonates with Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and even humanism. Forgiveness is always the way out. When you bless and forgive others, and thank God for the joy they bring you, you become the Light of the World. You fulfill the Great Commission, becoming Christ to YOUR world.

positive thinking techniques
Feb 15

Beyond Positive Thinking: Presencing the Divine

By Conscious Owl | Inner Peace

If you abide in me,
and my words abide in you,
ask whatever you wish,
and it will be done for you.

-Jesus Christ in the Gospel of John

You may appreciate the power of positive thinking from such classics as Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich. It may have served you in business, in attracting a mate or in losing weight. Positive Thinking was developed to counterbalance the mass of negative thinking that characterizes the world at large. Garbage in—Garbage out. Why leave your thoughts to chance?

Why not choose your thoughts?

If you look deeply even into Napoleon Hill’s philosophy, you will find that it is really all about developing the faith that can move mountains. You think positive through repetition in short affirmative phrases, most often spoken out loud. You attempt to visualize a desirable result and feel the emotional high from its fulfillment, far in advance of the reality.

When your life takes a spin, with death in the family, a sharp reversal in your career, bankruptcy or a life-threatening disease, you will find that positive thinking in and of itself is not sufficient. You need something deeper, much more powerful. How about opening up to God, Himself, to our very Source?

When you have direct access to the Presence of the Divine, you can confront any situation and utterly transform it.

positive thinking benefits

When Positive Thinking Is Not Enough

If you have ever told yourself, “I am a millionaire.” and then expected the money to magically appear, much as in The Secret, you were most likely in for a rude disappointment. Rarely does money come so fast, so easily.

With a little reflection, you realize that you are deliberately conditioning your mind to habitually think positive. While it is wonderful to think big, to imagine great achievements, your shadow self can quickly suck the very life out of you. In addition, the world tends not to favor Pollyanna’s, or extremely optimistic people.

You ultimately have to work on your identity. Tony Robbins introduced his concept of global change, a transformation of yourself on all levels. You think positive, because YOU ARE POSITIVE. To accomplish this, a small price is required. You must give up everything you have ever identified yourself.

To think or be POSITIVE – you need to tweak your identity. You must give up everything you have ever identified yourself.

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From Consciousness to Community

When we look at the great spiritual traditions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, even enlightened humanism, you find that they were established by an enlightened person of the ancient world. In Buddhism, it was Siddhartha, in Christianity, it was Jesus of Nazareth and in Islam, Muhammad.

Each of these visionaries introduced a whole new consciousness, a divine consciousness. They transmitted that consciousness to others and formed communities, whether an ashram, a sangha, a synagogue, a congregation or the ummah of Islam. These communities preserved the original inspiration and proceeded to promulgate that consciousness throughout the world.

What is most revealing is Christ’s assurance that “where two or three are gathered in My name, there am I in the midst of them.” No church buildings, no clergy, no printed Bibles. The first Christians met in synagogues, and then in homes, pooling all their property together in a primitive socialism. Remember, it takes only two people to form a community. The Master Mind, the Sacred Presence, forms a third person. 

From Community to Communion

If you take any tradition, and read deeply into its sacred scripture, and you partner with adherents of the living faith, you will begin to commune with them, and with its Source. It is possible to spiritually access any of the founders, Krishna, Buddha, Christ, Muhammad, by simply invoking their name, by calling on them.

Let’s say you read the Gospel of John, meet with Christians who are truly living their faith (I think of the profound grace and compassion of Pope Francis) and consciously invoke the Presence of Christ, whether or not at mass, you will begin to be anointed with His Presence. All you need is an open heart, an open mind and open hands.

As you practice for days, weeks, months and years, you will find that you are subconsciously in continuous communion with divinity. In my case, I invoke the Presence of Christ as the Lord of Love, the direct incarnation of God. More and more, I begin to see Him in others, and His God, in others. I begin to accept His revelation that God is LOVE, absolute love.

From Communion to Union

Communion, like meditation, contemplation and centering prayer, can be wordless. You sense the Sacred Presence such that you begin to unite with It. You walk hand in hand with Christ (Krishna, Buddha, Socrates, Muhammad). You intuit God as your friend or lover.

Because you are so much aligned with our Creator (most likely through an Avatar, Bodhisattva or Messiah), you begin to realize your divine nature as a son or daughter of God. Therefore, you can bless people, and they will be blessed. You can send healing energy, and they will be restored. You can bring peace to people on the other side of the globe, and they will relax. You just say to God internally, bless so and so, heal so and so, reconcile so and so with so and so, and it all begins to happen.

You find that you begin to want to truly get in step with God, to please Him. You recognize your own divinity and you realize that all your power comes from Him. Most of all, you realize that GOD loves you totally, without reservation. Whatever you ask of God, becomes in increasingly in harmony with what God wants. You fall in love with God, and, conversely God falls in love with you.

From Union to Identity

As you move from union to identity, you see a shift from God as precious but separate towards God as your only true and ultimate Self. You think of who you called yourself as no more than a piece on the game board. In fact, you develop a sense of humor about your persona. That’s not really me at all!

As you move into identity, you discover what Kabir did when asked to preach to a crowd of people. “To whom shall I preach. I see God everywhere.” More than being a lover of God, you find that the Christ, the Avatar, the Bodhisattva has taken birth within you. When you look upon the face of the Messiah, you will find that He is more YOU than you. At the end, LOVE is already within you… it’s up to you if you choose to live it.

positive thinking advantages

In identity, you can not only move mountains, you can change the world, even transform the Universe. You begin to realize that the galaxies spin within your Absolute being.

You begin to see how it is all perfect, just the way it is, and you can have it any other way, as well.

Waking Up to a Miraculous Life

You have now gone far beyond positive thinking. You have gone from your head into your heart, and from your heart into pure being. You are waking up to divine love, which is the most powerful force in the entire Universe. That love is yours. You can access it at any moment.

Then you can decide whether you really want that million dollars, or if you would rather bless every sentient being, and like Siddhartha, see the highest possibility for him or her in this incarnation.

Why settle for positive thinking when you can access what originally inspired it? When you continually invoke divinity, when you commune with God, when you unite with God, you actually become God. Believe it or not, the Orthodox tradition has a word for it, divinization. Realize your birthright as a son or daughter of God, and then co-create a whole new world.

Conspiracy Theory
Feb 01

Why Smart People Believe Conspiracy Theories

By Conscious Owl | Inner Power

You can fool all the people some of the time,
and some of the people all the time,
but you cannot fool all the people all the time.

~ President Abraham Lincoln

Recently, I cultivated friendships with several people I both admire and genuinely like. They are intelligent, well-educated and spiritual. These are not all aging men in their 50’s who have nothing better to do. To the contrary, they lead busy, productive lives.

What they have in common is a deep conviction about conspiracy theories. Things have gotten out of hand. We can no longer trust the media, our elected representatives, large corporations, financial institutions or even our religious leaders. There is a Deep State from which President Eisenhower once warned us, impervious to the political process, who are in no way accountable to the public.

I wonder how they reached that conclusion. Certainly, one has to question the continuing wiki leaks, the revelations of Edward Snowden, President George W. Bush’ handling of 9/11 and President Obama’s persistent waging of undeclared wars, using drones to bomb women and children.

Yet why give carte blanche to wild conspiracy theories that disempower us all? The bottom line is that smart people believe conspiracy theories because the mainstream media are no longer credible.

How Mainstream Media Inspire Conspiracy Theories

If you track the ownership of newspapers, TV stations and book publishers, you will find that, in the last couple decades, there has been a mass consolidation. Just think of Time Warner merging with Turner. Then the acquisition of both by AT&T.

If you look at the major book publishers, they have multiple labels, each with their own editorial staff. We are only talking a half-dozen megacompanies. Supposedly, they all have autonomy. But will the editorial board release any book incriminating to their parent companies? Likewise, the TV networks and newspapers, mostly online.

During the Gulf War, President George H. Bush sold the media on censorship to enable a rapid end to the War. I remember watching on CNN the same loop dropping smart bombs on Kuwait day after day. The war did soon come to an end, but self-censorship became the norm.

How Alternative Media Fill the Conspiracy Gap

It used to be you would have a few wacky newspapers and magazines like the National Enquirer to entertain you. Nobody seemed to mind, as you didn’t see too many liable suits. Nobody really took those publications all that seriously.

However, as the narrative of the broadcast media became increasingly repetitive, where journalists on one network did virtual lip synch with those of another, people began actively seeking other sources. With the emergence of Google, YouTube, Facebook and the various social networks, they didn’t have to look far. You could connect with people you didn’t even know and trade perspectives.

Even though you usually had to give your real name, your contact information was under your control. You could echo and elaborate on the most fantastic stories, such as politicians and stars being modern day vampires with the blood of innocent children. You didn’t have to answer to an editor or producer. Facebook would throw you out only with the most flagrant abuses.

How Conspiracy Theories Get You Off the Hook

Conspiracy theories all share one thing in common, whether entailing shapeshifting aliens, the Deep State or the Super Rich (Less than one percent of us controls the wealth of at least 80% of humanity.). Someone, something or some group “out there” is doing you in. You didn’t ask for it. They concocted a malicious plot specifically to undermine you and your world.

conspiracy creators

Whenever you hear the question, “Who done it?”, or hear the statement, “THEY did ______ to _________,” you need to start asking questions. Isn’t it possible that “little old you” had something to do with it all? Did these public villains just spring out of nowhere to harass you? Do they have nothing better to do than make your life miserable?

The more you agree with and entertain conspiracy theories, the less you need ever confront your own shadow. You can limit other people’s expectations of you by playing villain. If you can convince them to buy your theory, all the better. The last person to be suspect is you. After all, you came up with the theory, didn’t you?

How Far Out You Can Go with Conspiracy Theories

If you want to take a serious look at the possibilities, you may want to play the videos or read the books of David Icke, who has been at it several decades. Although David never finished high school, he is extremely bright and creative. With flashes of inspiration, he came up with the greatest synthesis of all.

When you probe the Illuminati, and the endless reports of UFO’s, you can develop a Grand Conspiracy theory. Given the world is undergoing rapid change (just thinks of the impact of the Internet) every single institution in society is undergoing transformation: government, military, education, corporations and churches.

You can look at this as a sustained collaboration toward a Satanic One World Government with mind control that makes George Orwell’s classic, 1984, look like child’s play. The President is in on it, the Pope, the Corporate Heads, the CIA and most certainly the Rothschild’s. Why try to fight it? The whole world is against you.

conspiracy believers

How to Take Back Your Power

As President Lincoln reminded us, you can’t fool ALL the people ALL the time. It is extremely difficult to pull off a conspiracy among even a handful of people. It becomes highly problematical when it is interagency, intergovernmental and interinstitutional. Somebody, somewhere is going to make a goof and blow the cover.

You could step forward and demonstrate real courage. All these happenings occur within YOUR space. YOU are the one witnessing them. Not the guy or gal next to you. This is YOUR life. You just might have something to do with where you are. You could choose it the way it is, and then work from there.

You could remember that you are inherently divine, that “He Who is within you is far greater than he who is in the world.” You have the power to wage love on the earth. That is what Buddha, Christ, Saint Francis, Gandhi and Martin Luther King were all about. You can choose to love your enemy until you literally have no more enemies.

How to get started? It starts with the prayer of blessing. Since you are divine, you have the power to bless another. As you bless, they prosper, as you curse the wither. When you consistently bless the problem people in your life, even President Trump, or most especially, President Trump, your life and your world will undergo transformation.

Only YOU can choose love over fear. We are all… all over the world, working for you, watching you become the hero and heroine you were meant to be.

Jan 25

Life is All a Metaphor!

By Conscious Owl | Inner Peace

Nature is a temple in which living pillars
Sometimes give voice to confused words;
Man passes there through forests of symbols
Which look at him with understanding eyes.

- Charles Baudelaire

While attending the Science and Nonduality Conference some time ago, I happened to meet one of the leading theologians of the 21st Century, Father Richard Rohr, a Franciscan Priest who founded the Center for Contemplation and Action.

Father Rohr gave a stunning exposition of Christianity’s single most arcane doctrine, that of the Trinity. He simply explained it as a divine dance: Three distinct aspects of God interplay, pulling us in as the audience. Father Rohr pointed to a Russian painting depicting the Three Divine Persons seated at the table, the fourth chair empty, waiting for you and me to sit down and commune with Them.

Father Rohr turned to me and hinted, “It’s all a metaphor.” All the most sophisticated philosophical and theological concepts are but symbols for that which escapes human expression. As Joseph Campbell put it, “The best things can’t be said; the second best are apt to be misunderstood. All the rest is what we talk about.”

What Is a Metaphor?

A metaphor is a figure of speech where something concrete is used to characterize that which is abstract. A simile makes the comparison explicit. For example, in the Gospel of John, Jesus Christ declared, “I am the Bread of Life,” and “I am the Water of Life.” He could have put it, “I am like living bread. I am like living water.” But that would have totally spoiled the dramatic effect.

A metaphor uses heightened language to drive us to a whole new understanding. When Christ proclaimed, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life,” He was speaking as an Incarnation, not simply as Jesus of Nazareth.

It is harder to realize that even the Mass is a metaphor. “Unless you eat My flesh and drink My blood, you have no life in you.” Jesus was saying in an unforgettable way, “If you want to follow Me, you must BECOME ME.” That this point was not fully understood by His generation or any subsequent generation is made clear by the way, even today, religious people shrink from the realization that they are inherently divine.

metaphor examples

Harmonize Every Tradition by Seeing Through Its Symbols

Over the course of a lifetime, Joseph Campbell systematically studied every mythology and cosmology he could get his hands on. One lesson emerged above all others. You must make a clear distinction between the local culture, the tribal, and the universal. To confuse the two is to undermine its potential to reveal the divine.

He quoted Adolph Bastian in referring to a symbol being “transparent to the Transcendent.” Any image of the Transcendent Mystery can become a stumbling block when we fail to see it as a symbol. When we are conscious of an image as being but a symbol. It becomes transparent to the Transcendent.

When we think of God as a Father seated on a throne throwing thunderbolts down on us, we ruin an image that leads to the realization that we “live and move and have our being” in Him. God, seen as a Father, is majestic. While we are in awe, we need not fear Him. This applies to every tradition. For example, the Buddha provoked people to awaken. This was not to awaken from physical sleep. It was to awaken from a spiritual stupor and come to terms with Ultimate Truth.

Probe Our Senses Through Science

We grew up in an age that prizes science and technology above all else. The philosophical mantle is Rational Empiricism. Only that which can be measured, repeated, documented and publically verifiable is deemed scientific. Taken to an extreme, only that which the senses register can be real. The most precious things in life, such as Love, Truth and Beauty are simply irrelevant.

Science and technology have made our lives immeasurably better on the physical plane. For that, we must all be thankful. However, they can’t really touch eternity and infinity. They are confined to time and space.

metaphor meaning

Einstein realized that the physicist’s best friend was not his rational intellect, but his imagination. His own imagination led to the breakthrough of the Theory of Relativity.

When we discover the limits of the scientific method, when we let go of the presumption that reality can then be defined once and for all by words and numbers, we are no longer its slave. The scientific method becomes our faithful servant. Only mysticism can pierce that barrier. We must move from reason to intuition, the sixth sense.

Say the Impossible Through Poetry

Poetry is the language of feeling and intuition. We sense our world, not only with our eyes, ears and hands, but with our heart. We get a feeling that something is about to occur without anyone having to tell us. We simply see with our inner eyes and ears.

Poems use metaphor heavily to convey evanescent moods that hint at something transcendent. To borrow from one of my own poems:

  "When you brake my breath, I wonder what thunder surrounds the centuries."

Here, “braking” breath is not literal. However, when you totally fall for someone, it leaves you breathless. The inner encounter with your true love might as well be “thunder” that resonates through the centuries.

deep metaphors

Poetry comes closest, along with music and art, in using language to overcome language. The greatest theology and philosophy will always fall short. The greatest truths are expressed in poetry, such as “The Lord is my shepherd,” which is frequently recited on death beds. Nothing quite captures our willingness to throw all ultimate concern onto our Source.

Feel the Truth Through Love

When we want to merge with the Truth, we will find nothing even comes close to the direct experience of divine love. It is one of those experiences that defies explanation. Romantic and sexual love lead us very close to the divine. The world is a friendly place, and you can see beauty in everything.

Divine love is impartial to friend or foe. You become a channel for a love to flow through you that you know is not really yours. You don’t merely feel love, you become that love. We see it in Mahayana Buddhism where the monks declare, “Though the flames of hell be infinite, I vow to extinguish every one of them.” We see it in the cross of Christianity where the Master forgave the very people mocking Him.

Love reveals the very essence of God in a way that any human can understand. This is why the way of devotion is always more popular than the way of intellect. In truth, you can’t really have jyana yoga without bhakti yoga. You feel a profound sense of gratitude for the guru. You can never really repay the one who opened you up to enlightenment. All you can do in return is do whatever you can to enlighten others.

We do walk through a forest of symbols, every single day. When we recognize it, this can be liberating. Symbols are a wonderful, irreplaceable tool. We might reduce life to a dream or a story. In truth, it is very much like both. But life is still LIFE. We could say life is a dance, a play or even a movie. It is most definitely like all three of these. YET LIFE IS LIFE.

Life is Not a Problem to Be Solved, but a Reality to Be Experienced.

- Soren Kierkegaard

well-being definition
Jan 11

Hawaii Is a State of Well-Being

By Conscious Owl | Inner Peace

During the holidays, a couple of close friends invited me to join them in one of the most beautiful of the outer islands, Maui. I had the privilege of my own cottage at an affordable price in the lush, rainy side below Mount Haleakala. Not too hot, not to cold. A full range of trees and vegetation from palms to pine cones.

After being crowned with a garland lei, and hibiscus blossoms decorating the furniture, I was struck by just how breathtakingly gorgeous it all was. My friends were highly creative artists and musicians, deeply spiritual offering healthy, but tasty food.

We were over two thousand miles from a major land mass, yet still within the United States. People maintain a high quality of life without being extraordinarily affluent. The stars began to pop out and the quiet sounds of the rainforest emerged with chickens, geckos and animals of every kind.

It felt like I had died and gone to heaven. The well-being of Polynesian culture pulsed through me. I finally realized what we all want most is a profound sense of well-being from the inside out.

What is Well-Being?

Well-being is far more than just being happy. Happiness is based entirely upon circumstances. If things go well, you are happy; the more complications, the less happy you become. It is more akin to bliss; it comes from within and overflows to the outer world.

Well-being is more than mind / body. It is the full integration of the body, mind and spirit. It begins with your own divinity. As you begin to experience God within, you start to see God in everyone and everything. Rather than a denial of life, it is the ultimate affirmation of life. It is to be fully alive in every sense of the word.

Think of the original idea of the Christian tradition: love toward your enemies, unspeakable joy and a peace that transcends comprehension. Think of the Hindu equivalent: Being, Consciousness and Bliss. “Aloha!,” Hawaii’s universal greeting, means the merging of breaths, with the spirit of God, and with your fellow humans.

Well-Being Is Far More Than Wellness

We think that we are well when we leave the doctor’s office with nothing “serious.” Wellness typically means you don’t need to fix anything. You may not jump out of bed eager for the next day, but you can at least get by. It’s great to be well, but there is nothing life-changing about it.

Well-being takes wellness to a whole other level. You are the Creator within your own creation. Life is a precious gift. It is your privilege to love all the people you meet with the same love that the Creator had in creating you. To give is to receive, to share is to realize your full potential.

We are here to awaken, create, play and celebrate. Sure there is survival. That is in place to ensure the dance stays entertaining. However, you can focus on being fully alive through it all. You are clued into the ultimate secret: There is only THE ONE. THE ONE is absolute love. ITS ALL PERFECT… just as it is. As the Greeks put it, “The true, the good, the beautiful.”

How Hawaii Turned Well-Being into an Industry

When you think of Hawaii as America’s 50th state, what you immediately think of is a lovely hula dancer swaying with the Trade Winds, or the surfer taking on the Pipeline. Hawaii offers the world what it always wanted, but never thought to ask: Ultimate well-being in this very moment.

The welcoming spirit permeates the islands from the moment you walk off the plane. If you take Hawaiian Airlines, you don’t even have to wait. You enjoy it from the very moment of departure. You are always welcome, very special and unconditionally loved. You only need hang loose.

Beauty is everywhere, on the trees, on the sidewalks, even in the food. Beauty is wealth. You don’t need a ton of cash to make it. Just the time to celebrate. Whether the Polynesian Cultural Center, or the next luau where you eat with your fingers. Every day is a special occasion.

well being in Hawaii

Well-Being Is Not Just for Tourists

Well-being doesn’t seem strange or out of place in Hawaii. It is the norm. All of the islands place a premium on it. Quality of life is nothing without well-being. Everything begins and ends with well-being. This is what makes the islands, with their lilting names like Waikiki, the very definition of paradise.

We don’t usually give ourselves permission to focus on well-being when we return home. Pressing obligations quickly besiege us. We have the responsibilities of job, family and finances thrust upon us. Perhaps we can simply remember as we fall to sleep how out-of-this-world it all was.

We should pause for a second and question our monkey mind. Hawaii is a living possibility. As you focus upon it, you draw it to you. What do you value? What are your priorities? What are your choices? At every moment, you can take a step closer. Do you really need to prove yourself, or do you need to start living?

Why Leave Hawaii? Create It Everywhere!

No one I have spoken to wants to leave Hawaii and go back home. It is usually a downer that people quickly choose to forget. How can you really expect that the people where you live could act and feel like Hawaiians? You can always book a flight back Oahu, Maui, Kauai or the Big Island next year.

create well being

Why not choose to embrace Hawaii? Hang out with people who place a high value on the state of well-being. More than just buying coconuts, macadamia nuts and pineapple juice, you can open up spiritually to that universal love that these islands embody.

The YOU that inspired you to fly out with your family, is the same YOU that can empower all your efforts to recreate it. You might start with something as simple as blessing and greeting everyone you meet. This well-being could very well save our Planet. Nothing better serves the interests of its Creator!

5MeO DMT experience
Dec 21

5MeO DMT Psychedelic: A Way to Experience God

By Conscious Owl | Inner Peace

You may have heard of entheogens, a new word coined out of psychedelics to give it a spiritual twist. Psychedelics have been used for recreation, medicine and psychotherapy. Their use by the Native American Church in peyote ceremonies, as well as the Church of Santo Daime with their use of ayahuasca, has awakened people to their profound potential for visionary experiences.

For the most part, these chemicals are eaten, swallowed as a pill or drunk as a potion. The most powerful of them was thought to be LSD, which could be taken in tab form, and later, N,N-DMT, which catalyzes intense visions of other worlds. For example, Terrence McKenna, who did more to popularize entheogens than anyone since Timothy Leary, saw machine elves. DMT lasts only 15 to 20 minutes, and then quickly fades out. However, it is a lot more intense than LSD with even more flashbacks.

A new entheogen has emerged, a cousin of DMT called “5MeO” DMT. This chemical was discovered and ingested only in the last decade or two. As attested by the psychonauts who have experimented with it, 5MeO is easily 10 times more powerful that N,N-DMT, which is 10 times more powerful than any other psychedelic.

5MeO is smoked, much like marijuana. Unlike marijuana, it doesn’t take a half-hour. When atheists smoke 5MeO, they almost immediately cry, “OH, MY GOD!”. This came out of the mouths of people who studiously avoided the use of that word, associating it with the old man in the sky. Yet only the word, “God,” could begin to describe the overwhelming nature of their realization. From atheist to true believe in seconds.

5MeO DMT effects

What is 5MeO?

5MeO DMT is the most potent chemical ever discovered for delivering the direct experience of God. It is a tryptamine that acts as a neurotransmitter to the brain. It is most commonly derived from the venom of a toad found in the Sonoran Desert, buffo alverius. It can also be found in various plants. Eventually, it was synthesized until it became illegal.

Unlike its visionary cousin, it is known for its delivery of Self-Realization, where you experience oneness with all that is. God is seen as all-encompassing. He contains all things, and without Him, nothing exists. Rather than a whimsical deity in the clouds, God is experienced as Infinite Energy. All is well in this Presence. Everything is, indeed, perfect just as it is.

While the experience is little more than 10 or 15 minutes, it is so intense that it seems like eternity. It blows any preconception you may have about reality to the stars. God is more real than anything you have seen or imagined. “God” is the only word in the English language to hint at the magnitude of this power. Just imagine an astronaut who was a founding member of the Flat Earth Society witnessing the curvature of the earth in outer space.

How Does 5MeO DMT Work?

5MeO is actually endogenous to the human nervous system. We manufacture comparable compounds within us, but not in such intense quantities as administered in this holy smoke, whether toad venom or synthetic.

Aldous Huxley, who popularized mescaline and other substances as part of his own spiritual search back in the 1950’s and 1960’s, realized our brain is a massive filter that screens out most of the information coming in from the cosmos, lest it overwhelm us. Psychedelics temporarily removes the filter so we experience this massive input directly without mediation.

The profound realization that all this is God, encompassing everything and everyone while being a singular unitary being, comes from within us spontaneously as the filters are removed.

5MeO DMT dosage

What makes 5MeO So Special?

Many entheogens open people up to the possibility of God, more in their head than in their heart. 5MeO instantly delivers a heart realization of God, not simply as an idea, but as the very context of all of our experience. In other words, 5MeO temporarily takes us far beyond all known boundaries. That awareness is self-evident, not requiring any proof whatsoever.

I can appreciate the concept that we are all God, but something of a different order is the head-on experience that there is ONLY GOD. As Werner Erhard once put it, “If you experience it, it is the truth. The same thing believed is a lie.” Through 5MeO, God becomes real as a living experience.

A single encounter with 5MeO is enough to send you on a philosophical quest that can last a lifetime. Integrating the experience requires not just a few hours or days, but months and years. Most of us who say that there is a God don’t really live like that. Imagine being continuously aware of God. The encounter with 5MeO can stay with you for days and weeks, accompanied by spontaneous flashbacks. You can’t possibly escape its witness to the Presence of God.

For in Him we live and move and have our being.

~Saint Paul in Acts 17:28

What Is the Upside and Downside of 5MeO?

Like any other entheogen, 5MeO has both an upside and downside. It can consistently deliver the most powerful experience of God faster and easier than any other medium. You finally apprehend the greatest insights of the mystics. Not as an idea, but as an overwhelming experience.

If you take your ego with you in the encounter, if you refuse to surrender your small self, you will meet the equivalent of a hurricane. Numerous people have suffered PTSD, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, for weeks and months. You can sleep or rest with flashbacks disrupting you. You can, in certain occasions, experience a living hell.

Most of us are not sufficiently in touch with ourselves to predetermine our response. Therefore, 5MeO should be considered only with extreme caution or under very special conditions. To complicate matters, in the United States it is currently designated as a Schedule 1 substance, which means it is totally illegal. Why would you risk a psychotic break, along with a jail sentence?

Why We Need a New Profession: Transformative Agent

The solution is increasingly apparent. From Timothy Leary onward, spokespeople for psychedelics have recommended they be controlled substances, not banned as illegal. When you want a medical prescription, you go see an M.D. However, the nature of entheogens is such that they go beyond the competence of a Western physician.

Such a powerful chemical as 5MeO DMT requires the insights of both a therapist and a priest, as it opens wide both psychological and spiritual frontiers. You have to go beyond Freudian, Jungian and Humanistic psychology to Transpersonal psychology, hinted at by the pioneering researcher Abraham Maslow.

5MeO is far too promising to simply be banned. Banning invites a virulent black market. The Drug War backfired, because it ignored the positive potential of psychedelics and completely failed to distinguish them from truly dangerous compounds, such as heroine.

We need legislation legalizing and controlling these compounds. An infrastructure needs to be established to provide a safety net. Breathing the smoke should be backed by world-class mentors or transformative agents. To legislate this requires political action, such as the initiative in California that legalized marijuana. To successfully do that requires public education in the entire field of psychedelics.

You may end up for or against entheogens. The one thing you can no longer afford to be is ignorant. You might want to read, Tryptamine Palace by James Oroc, or Being Human by Martin W. Ball. You also should check out MAPS.org in Santa Cruz, California. This is an organization of concerned physicians, researchers, therapists and spiritual leaders promoting the right to use these substances for the purpose of enlightenment.

Share your story or thoughts below!

universal faith definition
Dec 14

Is a Universal Faith Possible?

By Conscious Owl | Inner Peace

Imagine there's no heaven, it's easy if you try
No hell below us, above us, only skies
Imagine all the people living for today,
Imagine there's no countries, it isn't hard to do

-John Lennon, “Imagine”

Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha) was not a Buddhist, Jesus of Nazareth not a Christian, Muhammad not a Muslim. Yet all three founded world religions while thinking of themselves primarily as reformers. Hinduism was influenced by Buddhism, and Buddhism exported Hinduism worldwide. Christianity includes Judaism, and Jewish people have been irreversibly impacted by Christianity. Islam was strongly influenced by Judaism and Christianity, which were, in turn, permanently altered by Islam.

No faith can be fully appreciated until it interacts with other faiths and starts to blend with them. Very often, people grow up with a specific religion and never even question it until they go off to college. Many people then lose their faith, only to revive it in another form after a vital encounter with another tradition.

Is there one faith that might act as a superset of all other faiths, including humanism? The Hindus referral to Santana Dharma, and modern mystics speak of the Perennial Philosophy. Is there an inner core common to all faiths that might inspire universal consciousness?

All Faith Traditions Are Converging Through Globalization

Globalization has accelerated since the 1980’s, having begun by European and American imperialism and colonialism. After the decline of the Cold War, China, Russia and India all entered the free market. Immigration increased throughout the world.

All faiths are in the process of coming together in a universal consciousness. In many U.S. cities, you will find cathedrals, synagogues, mosques, temples, ashrams and shrines.

universal religion examples

Many Americans now actively explore Eastern traditions. Hindus have grown to 1% of the U.S. population. As a consequence, India has become increasingly pro-America and adapted Western conventions.

It used to be a simple choice of Protestant, Catholic or Jew. Now it includes Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Baha’i, Taoist, Humanist, Mystic or “Spiritual, But Not religious.” Today’s college students have a bewildering number of options. If they stay with the faith of their childhood, they will most certainly adopt a broader perspective.

No One Faith Is Complete without All the Rest

Every faith tradition is sufficient for transformation, variously called awakening, realization or being born again. For example, in the Sufi tradition of Islam, you can go all the way through to the very highest realizations of Hinduism and Buddhism. However, no one tradition, including Christianity and Islam, is truly complete, as other traditions reveal subtle nuances of the Supreme Identity and Transcendent Mystery we call “God.”

For example, I was raised a devout Christian and endeavored to evangelize my peers. After going through college, I deepened my respect for other traditions and began to study them. After working with South Asians for several years, I began to feel that Hinduism was superior to every other tradition. Yet ironically, it led my back to a whole new appreciation of Christ.

After immersing myself for decades in Eastern traditions, I am now convinced that the Western traditions need the Eastern, and vice versa. Ironically, I was first led to the East while studying at Cal Berkeley. I was most influenced there by Jewish students and faculty. Baba Ram Dass was an early example, who, while remaining ethnically a Jew, is truly a Hindu.

Mysticism Is the Origin and Destiny of Every Faith

All great traditions show evidence of being initiated by mystics: Moses with the burning bush, Buddha with enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree, Christ baptized in the River Jordan, Mohammad hearing the voice of Gabriel and Guru Nanak in the river with the realization there is neither Hindu nor Muslim.

Mysticism is the direct experience of God beyond rational thought. Many people who ingest the most powerful entheogens, such as 5MeO DMT, find that the only word that comes close to what they encounter is “God.” They encounter the transcendent in a deeply personal way that obliterates all doubt.

A new generation places a premium on spirituality over religion. Spirituality focuses on the practice of religious tenants with an eye to transformation. It is what the Eastern Orthodox churches has referred to as divinization, literally becoming divine. Today, nothing else will do.

A Truly Universal Faith Is Urgently Needed

Faith is simultaneously the most unifying and divisive force ever known. Economics, politics and society can only go so far. Faith touches the unmanifest, that which lies just beyond the senses. It is far more than a belief system. It is an integral way of being that touches every aspect of our lives. It is only within that context that we can realize that we truly are all brothers and sisters.

While every tradition is expanding to touch and include others, each tradition has a long way to go. We can see this in Pope Francis I’s thrust on deep ecumenism outside the Christian faith. It is no longer simply a dialogue with Protestant and Orthodox Christians, but of Jewish people, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists… even humanists.

With the environmental crisis pressing upon us from all directions, along with religious terrorism the new norm and the global economy increasingly fragile, we need a higher court of appeal. Fortunately, mysticism is no longer limited to a few hundred or thousand people, but involves hundreds of thousands, even millions of people.

universalism philosophy

A Universal Faith Contains Every Other Faith

Imagine that every single religion and philosophy offers a unique piece of the puzzle. What is the full face of God? Only until we contrast the various traditions does the nature of God come into sharp focus. The East stresses wisdom teaching and insight, while the West everyday experience interpreted through revelation.

Judaism contributes a sense of destiny, Hinduism a sense of the divine presence everywhere, Buddhism a deep appreciation of the central role of transformation, Christianity a recognition of the ultimate power of divine love and Islam absolute unity.

Every great tradition is already growing into all the others. What will such a superstructure look like? With the United Religious Initiative and the World Parliament of Religion, people are insisting upon a greater and greater God. No more a vengeful deity on a golden throne throwing down thunderbolts.

A Universal Faith Gives Direct Access to Divine Love

Most importantly, a universal faith will allow anyone at any time to tap into infinite, absolute love that overcomes all obstacles. It takes a transformed consciousness to live the Sermon on the Mount, to actually love your enemy. Only with full maturation do Christians, and even Buddhists, approach that level.

For most of us, it is a matter of presencing God, of simply invoking His or Her Presence. Over time, this is surprisingly effective. Neale Donald Walsch taught us all to have our own “conversation with God.” He maintains that God is always speaking to us in many different ways, through synchronicity, dreams, other people, words and ideas. We simply need to start listening.

Divine Love will triumph in the end, as there really is no other alternative. If God is Love, then Love is God. We all know what love is. We are just foggy on how to access it and freely share it. When the pain of clinging to unworkable lifeways becomes unbearable, we will all let go and let God. As the Qur’an puts it, God is closer to us than our jugular vein. We simply need shift our gaze from outward to inward. We will then find our only true and ultimate Self IS God.

Silicon Valley Possibility
Nov 30

Silicon Valley Breathes Possibility

By Conscious Owl | Conscious Leadership

There are no limitations to the Mind except those we acknowledge.

-Napoleon Hill

It seems that every day we hear news of Silicon Valley. The global economy is now fueled by its technology. Every single industry and human endeavor has been impacted by its multiple waves of innovation.

Everyone who visits Silicon Valley asks themselves “What is the secret of Silicon Valley?”. Is it the beautiful scenery, the welcoming climate, the abundance of universities and institutes or the technical talent that streams here from all over the world?

Or is it perhaps an inner quality, a state of consciousness, that makes Silicon Valley the supreme standout?

What Is Possibility?

Werner Erhard, who pioneered transformation in San Francisco introduced first “space,” then “context” and finally “possibility.” Possibility is typically thought of as a pleasant, but improbable occurrence somewhere in the future. It is never now, but always far off. At best, you cross your fingers and work toward it.

Werner saw possibility as something much more real and immediate. Possibility is a present reality that you can step into and live. It is generated by language, how we conceptualize. It transcends time and space as another order of being. When you keep focusing on possibility, it has a tendency to materialize.

John F. Kennedy created the “New Frontier,” and committed to the possibility of a human landing on the moon. Martin Luther King had a dream of America as a universal brotherhood. Martin did not waiver in this dream, even though it cost him his life. We see abundant evidence that neither man died in vain.

Silicon Valley Breathes Possibility

Silicon Valley emerges wherever people LIVE possibility. It is as much a space as a possibility. Like Broadway and Hollywood, no dream is too wild. Rules are meant to be mastered, and then transcended. You stop walking around with “Why?” and start asking “Why not?”

Maybe it began with the Gold Rush in 1949. People came from all over the world to get rich and ended up falling in love with California. Hippies in 1967 created the Summer of Love with San Francisco as ground zero for alternative lifestyle. During the Dotcom Boom of the 1990’s, it became a center for digital innovation.

Silicon Valley has spawned wave after wave of technology, from chips to systems to platforms to Internet to mobile to cloud to A.I. Even though it has suffered multiple recessions, it always snaps back more powerful than before. Think of Netscape leading to Google and Google to Facebook and Facebook to Tesla.

Crash and Burn? No Problem!

In Silicon Valley, it is no shame to initiate a startup and bomb. Only one in ten venture-funded startups does really well, and VC’s only choose one business plan in a thousand. Even the banner startups may fail. Microsoft literally drove Netscape out of business, but not without Netscape permanently altering the landscape.

Steve Jobs is the perfect example, becoming a millionaire in his early 20’s only to get thrown out of the very company he had started. From there, he created an alternative to the Macintosh without having his NeXT computers even run a credible challenge to Apple. Then came Pixar winning an Academy Award. Steve finally came back to Apple and took it to the stars as the world’s most valuable company.

Crash and burn is the best educator. In Silicon Valley, you learn by doing with experimentation the methodology. You look at an ultimate success, such as iPhone, and ask yourself, “What’s next?.” In Apple’s case, it was a very smart Watch.

Better, Faster, Cheaper Leads to Excellence

Moore’s Law has been in effect for well over a generation where chips are continually being made better, faster and cheaper. They double in power in less than two years. This law has been in operation for decades to the point where the iPhone can now do trillions of operations PER SECOND.

Better, Faster and Cheaper means that you can leverage technology to accomplish seeming miracles. As has been often hinted in Sci Fi, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

Apple added design and a passion for aesthetics. Even their boxes are souvenirs you never want to throw out. In Apple’s case, nothing less than Steve Jobs’ “insanely great” will do. It has done a stunning job of living up to that daring standard.

Silicon Valley talent

Stand Out AND Collaborate

Steve Job did an ad so powerful that it changed the financial course of Apple, moving it from red to black. He devoted his work to “the Crazy Ones,” people with the courage to stand out and be different. His motto was “Think Different.” He got a whole corporation to think different, while closely collaborating.

The secret is to stand out with a whole new possibility while building agreement. You see it, and then sell it. No matter that you are profoundly misunderstood and ridiculed. Regis McKenna, Apple’s first P.R. man, exclaimed, “Apple is not a computer, but a religion!”.

Most of the great startups were founded by just two people. With Hewlett Packard, with Apple, with Netscape, with Google. One of the partners is a technical visionary, the other is a master at how to sell that vision. One usually takes on the title of “CTO,” the other “CEO.” Neither could do without the other. Together, they are irresistible.

Your Ultimate Payoff? Change the World

When Jesus Christ promised the Apostle Peter, “Follow me, and I will make you a fisher of men,” He was taking a simple merchant and making him the head of His budding church. If you think back to Buddha and forward to Mohammad, you witness people with universal vision. They saw beyond their immediate circumstances to articulate a possibility for all humanity.

When Bill Gates left Harvard after his Freshman year for Albuquerque, New Mexico, he saw in the hobbyist electronics shop, not a primitive beast with programmable lights, but the worldwide emergence of personal computing. Like Steve Jobs, he envisioned a PC on every desk and in every home.

silicon valley startups

When Elon Musk started Space X, Solar City and moved over to Tesla, he was willing to sink his entire fortune in a single turn of the wheel. When Tesla was reeling in debt, he saved the company with his own bank account. Like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, getting superrich was not the driver, it was a shot at “putting a ding in the Universe.”

Bring Silicon Valley Back with You

Delegations of nations, provinces, cities and industries keep coming to Silicon Valley year after year to discover what makes it tick. They are seeking jobs for their people, but even more, the very ecosystem that creates employment. Time after time, they bump up against passion, vision and courage.

What is inescapable is what was referred to as Steve Jobs’ “reality distortion field.” Everyone near his gravitational field got totally swept up in his vision and accepted it as a sure thing. He had the knack of sensing what people want, and presenting it to them in a way beyond their wildest expectation.

You can live in the South or the Midwest, perhaps in a town or city that bores you to tears. It doesn’t matter. You can create a whole new possibility within yourself, systematically sharing it with others. That is what Conscious Owl, recently hatched in Silicon Valley, is all about. We maintain that consciousness, itself, may be just beyond the horizon as the final wave.

We look forward to your thoughts and stories.

Burning Man festival
Nov 23

How Transformational Festivals Like Burning Man Are Waking Us All Up

By Conscious Owl | Inner Peace

“This is not just an event; it's a spiritual journey”

-A participant in the Burning Man temple

You may be wondering why there is so much buzz around the Burning Man Festival in Black Rock, Nevada, a former lakebed that is hot, dry and windy. While most of the year the area is desolate, it comes to life the last week of August when people from all over the world convene with RV’s, trucks and buses to camp out for a week.

This is even more puzzling when you realize that several of the founders of Google, including Larry Page, Sergey Brin and Marissa Mayer have promoted it around Silicon Valley. It is now possible to see billionaires hang out, dispensing sushi to the hungry participants.

What inspired the young at heart to brave the elements in such a remote region for days on end and fight 50 miles-per-hour winds, raising a menacing dust storm?

How Festivals Transform their Participants

Urban culture around the world, unlike that of tribes and villages, has few public festivals, typically relying on private parties and public holidays. More and more, we are distanced from one another, as we spend more time watching a screen than engaging with real life.

Transformational festivals emerge out of nowhere and grow from year to year. They mimic psychedelic experience with extensive visionary art and installations. They feature a pavilion with nonstop fast beats, trance music that can rapidly bring you in state, amplified by a light show. Anyone and everyone can dance by resonating to the rhythm.

They bring people outdoors in beautiful areas and encourage the participants to loosen up on their inhibitions. It is natural to socialize, as people drop their pretenses in such a radical setting. It is like losing your mind while NOT losing your mind. You make friends in seconds or minutes, not the typical days, weeks and months.

From Flower Children to Raves to Burning Man

If we go back to San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury in 1967 during the Summer of Love, we see a steady progression to today. The Flower Children were inspired by an abundance of marijuana and LSD before the full apparatus of the government came down on psychedelics with a vengeance.

Art, music, lights and dancing unite Haight Ashbury, with its Acid Rock concerts at the Fillmore, with the rave scene of the early 1990’s, powered by rapidly developing technology, highlighting smart drugs, ambient music and first-generation VR displays.

In 1986, the first Burning Man was staged on Baker Beach in San Francisco with just a few people. Every year it grew until the city threw them out, and they found refuge in the austere desert. Artists from all over the world now display their virtuoso masterpieces, and then burn them at the end in compliance with the Leave No Trace policy.

burning man art

Beyond Burning Man: Transformational Festivals Go Global

Since Burning Man has been produced for over 30 years, it has spawned a generation of imitations across the U.S. and around the world. Lists of American festivals, especially on the West Coast, are readily available on Festival Fire website. You can also find eye-catching lists for Europe, as well as Asia.

These festivals are global, in that people come from all over the world to participate. Burning Man sells out online within the first 15 minutes! Radical inclusion is part of the ethos, as well as the gift economy. No crass commercialization allowed. Many of the participants are producers, and collaboration is the rule.

Since the requirements to initiate a festival are modest, it comes down to finding an attractive local venue and working with government officials to keep it safe and sane. People find beautiful parks all over the world. Japan, for instance, is over 60% forest. Increasingly, lighting equipment, sound systems and computer technology is available in any country.

Transformational Festivals Come at the Perfect Time

Governments throughout the world have recently swung to the right, in response to escalating terrorism, such as ISIS, widespread refugees, such as those from Syria, and increasingly erratic weather patterns, including floods, wildfires, hurricanes and earthquakes. While calls for “law and order” grow, nothing can quench the human spirit. It is difficult to outlaw parties, even fairs.

The New Paradigm of the Quantum Revolution, and the emergence from the East of inner science to balance the external focus of academic science, provides ample reason to entertain other possibilities. With digital graphics and 3D printing, it is now possible to make your dreams “real,” and try them out. The festivals offer a TAZ, or Temporary Autonomous Zone, where participants can risk being themselves, or any other persona they wish.

The complexity and stress of contemporary life in our post-industrial society makes seeking refuge in the divine truly compelling. As more and more people discover the God within, they are emboldened to take action to forge a new global society that puts deep ecology and sustainability at the top of the list.

burning man lineup

Transformational Festivals Introduce Collective Awakening

Transformational festivals offer the possibility of a whole new way of collective being. Traditional religion forms the foundation of most people’s spirituality. Yet it is the rare person who gets more than a glimpse of the mystical dimension. Most religions have failed to establish collective enlightenment with any real scale. Buddha was an exception.

New technologies are emerging to give people direct access to the experience of enlightenment, if only for a moment. James Cameron’s Avatar provided moviegoers an extraordinarily immersive 3D experience. Virtual and Augmented reality are becoming increasingly available. Goggle’s Cardboard interface lets you experience V.R. off a smart phone.

While not sanctioned, new psychedelics, such as 5MeO DMT, can give people a direct experience of “God” in 10 to 20 minutes. These psychedelics have been known to turn veteran atheists into believers overnight! Most of the people who went to meet Ram Dass’s guru, Neem Karoli Baba in Northern India, were inspired by extensive use of what is now called “entheogens.”

How to Create Your Own Transformational Festival

You may live far from the West Coast of America, let alone the Playa of the Burning Man Festival. You may not be able to take weeks off to travel to distant places. Chances are great that there is a park in your city or region where authorities might be flexible. You start small, and let it grow. No need to build a bonfire or flaunt mostly illegal substances.

I frequent the Science and Nonduality Conference in San Jose, California, produced by a professional videographer, Maurizio Benazzo, and his wife, Zaya, with exquisite taste and an acute aesthetic sensibility. Year ago, he had actually documented the world’s largest fesitival, the Maha Kumb Mela in India, with 70 million people coming and going over a month’s time!

At the Science and Nonduality Conference, the art, installations, music, keynote speakers, panelists and salons turn your mind upside down and inside out. They foster a community around Advaita Vedanta, or Nonduality, distinguished by some of the greatest contemporary philosophers, scientists and gurus, including the likes of Dr. Deepak Chopra.

If you are dissatisfied with a monotonous routine, you may want to consider a transformational festival soon. Chances are, the world, itself, will be much better for your having gone!

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