web analytics
Menu

All Posts by Conscious Owl

Follow

About the Author

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

sustainable happiness definition
Aug 03

How to Develop Sustainable Happiness

By Conscious Owl | Inner Peace

Have you ever met someone who was smart, beautiful, rich…and happy? I’ll bet you have. I will also bet that you wish that they weren’t so happy. Why should some of us have everything? Life is so unfair! Of course, in your heart of hearts, you know that THE ONLY REASON they are happy is because they are smart, beautiful and rich.

Or could it be that they take happiness seriously, and make it a priority?

What Is Sustainable Happiness?

In recent decades, a group of psychologists moved over from perpetually analyzing sick people to learning from healthy people. They moved from classic therapy to learning theory. With major advances in neuroscience and emerging computer technologies, such as A.I., we now have a much better handle on how to induce rapid change.

This new discipline, positive psychology, laid the foundation for the practice of sustainable happiness. Dr. Aymee Coget of San Francisco is the leading spokesperson. Dr. Coget has pioneered a learning process of sustainable happiness which can work for anyone under any circumstances. She is totally committed to all of us being happy all the time.

Studies have shown that winning the Lottery, even with a $100 million stake, ensures happiness for only a finite amount of time, say six to eight months. Let’s say you simply bought a new, high-end Tesla. You might be happy for three to six weeks. If you bought a designer sweater, it might work for three to four days. A super-chocolate, crunchy ice cream cone might work for three to four hours.

Choose Sustainable Happiness

Sustainable happiness begins with the realization that this is a fundamental life skill that is everyone’s birthright. Even the Declaration of Independence justified the American Revolution as a means for each individual to pursue their own happiness. It entails a learning process that shows you how to be happy in any situation, much like the Buddha taught his disciples to disengage from all their attachments.

While sustainable happiness is generated from within, it is also behavioral in nature. You can do something every day to make yourself happy. It can take three to six months; however, even the clinically depressed can break the self-destructive pattern. This is all the more significant, since 48 million Americans are diagnosed with depression and teenage suicide is at an all-time high.

When you make inner happiness a priority, you lay the foundation for being far more effective, whatever your role. You live in the present moment, accept whatever happens and smile at the future. Your commitment to your inner growth, and your ability to make a contribution is unshakeable.

sustainable happiness meaning

Model Truly Happy People

Genuine happiness is contagious. People catch it from one another. It is possible to identify truly happy people, and model them. You can read about Sir Richard Branson and see his videos on YouTube. It becomes clear that Sir Richard’s own fulfillment is more important to him than his billions. You get the sneaky suspicion that his very billions came directly out of his commitment to be truly happy.

I met Dr. Coget recently in San Francisco for lunch, not seeking treatment. We talked about a variety of things. She asked me a few process questions, and we parted. For the rest of the day, and the next several days, I felt high… for no reason! I found myself laughing with my colleagues, who usually don’t laugh all that much.

I have had the privilege of working with my partner in this web magazine for a number of years. She is almost always cheerful, even when distressful things come up in her life. She almost never loses her cool. I feel instantly happy when I see her or hear her voice. Years ago, I made her a high priority in my life. It was well worth the commitment.

Practice Sustainable Happiness

Sustainable happiness is never a one-time event. It is only achieved when you fully realize that you are responsible for your own happiness and negative emotions need not run you. It is something you do every day. It can start with a simple, complete smile reaching up to your twinkling eyes. It can move to laughing at yourself in the mirror. It can even go to jumping up and down shouting, “I’m so happy! I’m so happy! I’m so happy!”

showing happiness

While this may seem undignified and just plain silly, over time it works. To borrow from Tony Robbins’ discipline, NLP, you are creating new associations in your brain. Over time, this becomes the new norm, and you begin to do this spontaneously. All professional actors and sales people know how this works.

Until the lines are your own, they will never work. Practice them enough, and they become your own.

You begin to seek out happy people, and learn from them. You begin to share your happiness with others, which is the whole point. You learn to see the best in everyone and welcome difficult people as a challenge to practice your skills. This doesn’t mean you manipulate them. You just learn to love them as they are through attention, appreciation and affection. Imagine how much better the world might be if President Trump woke up every morning to people like this!

Bring the Internal and External Together

Sustainable happiness starts by going within and recalling all the things you have to be thankful for. It might take the form of a diary, or it might even be a silent meditation. Along with it, you remember happy moments in your life, today, yesterday, even years ago. As you become genuinely grateful, the space around you changes. Miracles appear.

Positive psychology enables you to combine powerful inner processes with effective behavioral techniques. You begin to habituate yourself to see the world in a whole new light. The world is not really “out there.” It is your own personal world, every bit as much as your body. It may not at all seem that way. However, if you are willing to make the leap, you will be delightfully surprised.

As you become happier inside, you will become a little more attractive outside. Beauty in men and women goes beyond their skin to the energy that animates them.

sustainable happiness model

The beauty of Marilyn Monroe is classic. In one short video, you could see Marilyn give a couple hundred different expressions. A stunning spirit leapt out of her that made her a superstar, that made her seem like the most beautiful woman who ever lived.

Snap Back into Sustainable Happiness

If you are human, you can bank on being distracted, upset and occasionally meeting with catastrophe. We all seem tested by our guardian angel and seek a state of grace to simply get through it all. This will happen almost predictably, seemingly throwing out every effort to sustain happiness.

However, as you realize sustainable happiness, you will find that you are able to snap back quickly into your home state of inner fulfillment. You realize part of the fun in life is its perpetual surprises. No surprises. No life. You will learn how to grab pleasure in every possible moment.

One of the founders of positive psychology started out in a Nazi concentration camp. He had the extraordinary gumption to write out, “Today I will be happy!” Not only did he survive the death camp, but he went on to be a powerful inspiration to millions.

Join the Sustainable Happiness Movement

Dr. Aymee Coget invites you to stand up for happiness and join her in the movement. Find other people committed to happiness and support their efforts. You can find out more about her programs on her website. Happiness can go viral if enough people commit their lives to it.

Already, sustainable happiness is shaping into a global movement. What better foundation can you have to make a difference on our fragile planet than your own happiness, and your ability to spread that happiness to everyone you touch!

intelligent life forms
Jul 27

Is There Intelligent Life on Other Planets?

By Conscious Owl | Inner Power

And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see.
And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw:
and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.

2 Kings 6:17 Authorized KJV

You must remember a time in your youth when you looked out into the sky on a clear night, peering deeply into the stars. You asked yourself if we are all alone. Is there intelligent life on other planets, or even angels awaiting us in heaven?

Since then, we are in a much stronger position to wager that we are not alone. Not only do we have a lifetime of continuous UFO accounts, we also have ever increasing evidence that life exists elsewhere than our planet, or even our solar system.

If you ever wonder what inspired such movies as Close Encounters, Star Wars and Stargate, you only need crack open the 50th Anniversary Edition of Chariot of the Gods.

How Erich Von Daniken Changed Our World

In 1968, a year before the first lunar landing, a young, Swiss UFO fan published a daring thesis. Erich asserted that the gods of antiquity were actually aliens who nurtured life on Planet Earth, guiding humanity into becoming conscious beings. At first, he couldn’t find a single publisher to take a chance on him. Finally, a modest German publisher did a small run, which turned out to be one of the most popular books in all history.

At the time, UFO’s could hardly be considered an industry. However, youth all over the world were extremely skeptical of the “System” and reflexively questioned authority. The space race between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. was neck on neck. Nobody was sure who would win.

Erich’s first book sold several million copies within a year or two. His series of 40 books over 50 years became one of the most popular series of all time, 65 million copies in all. This series has inspired numerous documentaries and feature films. People resonated to his thesis that aliens played a guiding role in the evolution of our species.

discover intelligent life

Chariots of the Gods Profoundly Religious

You might suppose that a shocking disclosure which suggests aliens played with our DNA early on in our evolution was written by a rabid atheist and materialist. Quite the contrary, Erich Von Daniken grew up a devout Catholic who carefully studied the ancient texts of the Bible, especially the Book of Genesis.

Erich’s contention is the One True God is a loving one, quite inconsistent with the role of Zeus throwing down thunderbolts on hopless humans. He maintains that the aliens had a war in heaven and should be identified with the angels. The True God reigns over the entire Universe, not just Planet Earth.

Erich takes the reader to many different passages found in, not only the Bible, but also the Hindu epic of the Mahabharata. He shows that the descriptions are only comprehensible when seen in the light of state-of-the-art rocket and computer technology. Numerous men have been taken up into outer space to have a mind-blowing experience that forever changed their reality.

Ancient Astronaut Theory Rigorously Scientific

Over 50 years, Erich tirelessly travelled all around the world, visiting the ruins of every major civilization and plunging into the ancient texts. He kept finding recurring images and themes, including the Great Flood that almost destroyed humanity. As did Joseph Campbell, Erich has the ability to make the ancient myths pop out in our post-modern global society.

Erich keeps posing thousands of questions to his readers. He shies away from any semblance of dogmatism. You, the reader, decide for yourself what is the truth. Erich helps you see how many obscure passages from inscriptions, myths and religious texts suddenly come to life.

This stunning thesis has continuously been refined over 50 years. Erich freely admits that he made numerous mistakes in his first book, which the critics have seized upon, perhaps out of jealousy. In his later books, Erich explores the implications in great depth, including the possible inner meaning of crop circles.

aliens improved life

Chariots of the Gods More Relevant Than Ever

Recent developments, such as the privatization of space exploration courtesy of such tycoon entrepreneurs as Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson, suggest that we are most definitely back in space. We now enjoy vastly more sophisticated technology than was available in the late 1960’s.

Youth are questioning the sustainability of the human enterprise in the face of climate change and super storms. Seeking a new home for humanity is a no brainer. Von Daniken saw it coming decades ago, and the public is increasingly recognizing his visionary role.

Academic institutions are looking more and more seriously at rewriting the history books. Such universities as Stanford and Cal Berkeley now require entering freshman to study a civilization or ethnic group other than their own. It is no longer Western Civilization, but Global Civilization, the Big Story. Studying life on other planets has actually become a discipline: exobiology, or the study of extra-terrestrial life.

Von Daniken Offers Us an Alternative Future

If Von Daniken is right, and benevolent UFO’s actually did visit us in the infancy of humanity and gave us an unshakeable head start, it shouldn’t surprise us that they might choose to revisit us in our adolescence. The UFO community talks about “disclosure,” and all the great religions await their own vision of “The Coming One.”

While it sounds wildly optimistic, it just might be possible that we share a divinely ordained destiny in the stars. As Planet Earth, we are already far, far out into outer space. Our explosive growth in transportation, communications and I.T. has outstripped any notion of evolution. Their growth has been nothing short of exponential. Scientists are already working out strategies to reach and exceed the speed of light.

Perhaps the Biblical accounts of chariots of fire refer to interdimensional angels that we consider aliens. Perhaps the great spiritual masters of the past got in alignment with them, much like E.T., who could signal his Mother Ship in the knick of time.

Whatever the truth may be, let us not forget that, when we commune with our Source, we participate in the very Context that hold the galaxies together, all two trillion of them. We are truly never alone.

lonely definition
Jul 20

Lonely? Yes. Alone? No.

By Conscious Owl | Inner Peace

When you walk through a storm
Keep your chin up high
And don't be afraid of the dark
At the end of a storm is a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of a lark

Walk on
Walk on
With hope in your heart
And you'll never walk alone
You'll never walk alone

-Rogers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music

You may feel confident about most things, but there is one particular emotion that consistently makes you feel vulnerable. It emerges around the holidays. When you go to a party, no one knows you, no one recognizes you, no one even seems to care. You can easily come to feel that you are the invisible man or woman. You know the ghost all wrapped up in Band-Aids? When he unravels them, there is nothing there. You even feel like the shade that plunges into a pool without leaving a ripple.

You can feel equally lonely when totally surrounded by people or when totally alone. Loneliness emerges when you cannot connect with others, with yourself or with our Source. If someone you love suddenly appears, the loneliness can vanish for hours, or even days. Yet often it lurks in the background to pull you down when you least expect it. Taken to an extreme, this loneliness could drive you to make an early end of your life.

Loneliness is a false interpretation of your experience. Correct your interpretation, and you change your experience. If you are like most of us, you live by appearances. If people ignore you, it is because they really don’t like you. You’re unlovable. You don’t have what it takes. All the while, people ignore you simply because they are way too distracted by their own problems. They can’t be there for you, because they aren’t even there for themselves.

Loneliness is a false interpretation of your experience.  #loneliness #lonely #feelinglonely

Click to Tweet

I Know First Hand What Loneliness Is All About

I grew up in a broken family. Fairly early on, I had to choose between my parents, something no child should ever have to suffer. In choosing one, I had to reject the other. Guilt emerged and lingered for years. I had to force myself out of a shell. It was difficult for me as a teenager to look an attractive young lady in the eyes. Not the athletic type, I was nervous and shy, long before nerds were in and began raking in billions of dollars!

lonely person

For various reasons, I have spent most of my life outside of, rather than inside of, primary relationships. This is even when I had a significant other as a close friend. In this respect, I am not alone. In the U.S., 50% of marriages end in divorce. This often leads to serial monogamy, where you marry one partner after another looking for the right one.

Today, I spend my free time doing very different things from what I do to earn a living. Sometimes I am popular during the week, only to plunge into anonymity over the weekend. Even more to the point, I like to read and enjoy the finer things in life. I tend to be a bit choosy with my friends, and thus spend much of my time all by myself.

Feeling Lonely Has Nothing to Do with Being Alone

Over the years, I’ve found that you don’t always have to be with people who know you well. Stop and think about this: At one time, everyone you now know was once a total stranger, even your parents, family and neighbors. Yet, somehow you became acquainted with a good number of people. Chances are, you now rank them, considering some more important than others.

Yet, is this true? You are inherently related to all seven billion of us on Planet Earth by virtue of your being human. We are the same species, even if we don’t know each other’s language. To function in a complex, global society, you may take most of us for granted. However, this is a choice.

Once you choose differently, and reinterpret your experience, you will have different results.

Most people are decent human beings, whatever their nationality, race, gender or religion. Politicians and journalists like to separate us and fuel distrust. However, firsthand experience can change all that. Who comes to help you when your car breaks down? Watch how people come together after any “Act of God,” such as a minor earthquake. Notice how people open up when an elevator stops halfway between two floors and people are confined for any length of time.

overcoming loneliness together

While Loneliness Is Painful, You Always Have Company

Of course, it is deeply distressing to go to a dance and have no one invite you to join him, or have every lady consistently turn you down. You can feel like a pariah, an outcaste. No matter what you tell yourself, you can hardly avoid temporarily feeling something is deeply wrong with you. You are a freak! You want to cry, but it is not very cool to cry in public. So you put on a silly grin, and run home to bury yourself in shame.

If you ever do a transformational seminar or workshop, such as the Landmark Forum, you will meet dozens of other people where you have to look them in the eyes, shake hands and say something as awkward as it may feel.

You begin to see that not a single participant has it all together. I often review these events and am amused to see that the participants who always go to the microphone to complain learn the most. They perfectly illustrate the principles the trainer wanted us to impart.

Years ago, Werner Erhard, who created both the est training, and the Landmark Forum, put it this way: It’s OK NOT to be OK. At the core of it, most of us feel deep down inside that there is something wrong with us, that we’re basically not OK. You might call it “the sin nature.” This is based upon a mind that relentlessly compares and contrasts, that hardly ever gives us a break. The Truth is, of course, that all such separation is an illusion. These consciously constructed social contexts get you to witness this firsthand. In the process, you are set free.

No Need to Be Outgoing, Just Transparent

You may feel powerless to snap out of loneliness, because you are painfully shy. Did you know that 40% of the American public is shy? I am a social introvert who learned to thoroughly engage people. For a living, I contact total strangers to engage them in strategic partnerships with my clients. This came after years of work, starting with learning to look a pretty young lady in the eyes, even when I was blushing and my voice cracked. I learned to keep on going.

Yet you don’t need to be a star for people to open their hearts to you. You just need to tell the truth to them. “I would really like to talk with you, but I don’t know what to say. I’m the shy type.” You will be stunned at how many people will open their hearts to make you feel comfortable. In all likelihood, they have felt the same way more than once.

If you just connect with your eyes and smile, often you need do nothing else. From there, you simply welcome someone with “Hi, there.” We all feel awkward on first acquaintance. Yet there is something totally charming about this. You soon learn that if you don’t look her in the eye, smile and say “Hi,” you may never see her again. You quickly realize that speaking up is a small price for you to pay.

feeling lonely no more

Love Always Available for the Asking

As you go within, you may discover divine love, a love that is totally unconditional. It is limitless and always on. You access this through a form of God with which you most resonate. It can be any religious tradition. Very often, it takes the form of the Gospel. Unfortunately, the Gospel has been hijacked by institutionalized Christianity. While it was originally meant for the whole world, it got sidelined by the self-appointed guardians of the faith who presumed they could tack on a whole lot of conditions to it.

The fundamental narrative is this. God became human that humanity might become divine. In the process, God experienced everything we experience, including the acute pain of loneliness. God couldn’t stand to see people suffer. So He found a way to make His love available to anyone under any circumstances. All you need do is invoke His presence. Nothing more. As God’s love fills you to overflowing, you find that you, in turn, can love everyone with that very same love.

By invoking the Presence of God in whatever way works for you, you will feel yourself loved to a degree that far surpasses that of any human being, even your mother. You will begin to truly love yourself. As you start loving yourself, you automatically start being your own best friend, and equally wanting everyone around you to succeed.

Reach Out and Touch Someone…Today!

The simplest and best way to connect with other people is to literally touch them. Touch them lightly on a non-private part of their body for just a single instant. You may wind up shaking their hands or even hugging them. They can be total strangers. However, by the time they hug you, you won’t ever see them that way again.

When you open up to people, drop your pretense and become transparent, they begin to do so for you. When you make them feel like the most important person in the whole wide world, they will be inclined to do so for you, as well. As a cab driver once advised me about women, even gorgeous ones, “If you like them, if you truly like them, they will like you.”

Next time you feel lonely, remember that you have a choice. You are interpreting your experience in a limited way. Recognize that you are intimately related to whomever crosses your path. You are their mirror, and they are yours.

Hold your head up high and walk on through the dark. Like the Sound of Music says, you will never, ever walk alone!

God meaning
Jul 13

Is Your Present God A Trap?

By Conscious Owl | Inner Peace

I am a Muslim, and a Hindu, and a Christian and a Jew…
and so are all of you!

-Mahatma Gandhi

All of us start out our lives with a very childish conception of God. We adopt the religion of our family, friends or community without question. If we are lucky, it will be akin to Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Good Tooth Fairy. If we are unlucky, we will learn about Noah’s Ark, that a furious God chose to drown the vast majority of humanity, along with almost all of the animals.

Early on, we learn that other religions are most definitely wrong, and we, and our own religious community, have the only right view of God. For example, before I was even 12, I learned that all Catholics were going to Hell. As a Protestant, I was uncomfortable about this, but I wasn’t capable at that age of putting up an adequate defense.

If we study the mythology of various religions, God is portrayed all too often as a petty tyrant. His way or the highway. God is basically beneficent if you seek His blessing, but He has a quick temper and can easily throw a thunderbolt that will ruin your whole day. As the great mythologist, Joseph Campbell, quipped, “Picking up sticks on the Sabbath is definitely out!”.

The tragedy for all too many of us is that we dump the Baby Jesus out with the bathwater and reject our childhood faith. Some of us continue with the faith but never take a second look at the nature of God until we grow old and cynical. We maintain deep fears and prejudices that we can never really shake off. For example, in the United States, it is shocking how, according to recent polls, the majority of the public still clings to some notion of Hell, despite an abundance of alternative perspectives.

A few of us, however, dare to change our childhood faiths. For many, it is disconcerting and a deeply painful experience.

religious conversion

The Ultimate Challenge: Flipping Traditions

From Islam to Christianity
Nabeel Qureshi was a young, vibrant Pakistani-American deeply devoted to a minority sect of Islam, the Ahmadi’s. As such, Nabeel mastered every single chapter and verse of the Quran at an early age. Nabeel particularly loved his family and was utterly convinced that they had the only correct version of his faith.

In his best-seller, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, Nabeel recounts his experience in college with an articulate Christian roommate. They spontaneously develop a deep friendship and start a multiyear debate as to whether the Qur’an or the Gospel is the Truth. Nabeel starts out confident that the Qur’an is an unshakable revelation and that the Bible is full of errors. Deep research into the accounts of the resurrection of Christ shake up his complacency, as he finds they are based on substantial evidence.

After delving into the history and formation of the Qur’an, Nabeel discovers that this sacred document took much longer than he had suspected to come together. Many passages that he intuitively trusted were highly questionable. Nabeel then had a series of mystical dreams that induced him to convert to Christ. As soon as he did, his parents were shocked and profoundly distressed. They acted as if Nabeel had stabbed them in the back. He broke their hearts.

From Judaism to Christianity
Jason Sobel is a Rabbi from New Jersey. He is, however, no ordinary Rabbi. Jason is a Messianic Jew deeply convinced that Jesus of Nazareth is, indeed, Israel’s long-awaited Messiah. This realization took a long time to emerge.

Jason was active in his Conservative synagogue and studied the Torah, convinced that the Jews, and nobody else, were the Chosen People. He studied very hard in school and developed the practice of Buddhist meditation for hours at a time.

During one particular meditation, Jason had a shocking vision of Jesus Christ being exalted on a great throne, much as in the Book of Revelations. Mortified, he began questioning everything. Jason picked up the New Testament for the first time in his life. His dad came into his bedroom, saw the book, and threw it out, threatening to disown him.

Jason’s father felt that he had utterly failed in his efforts to instill deep distrust of the Gentiles, for their long history of persecuting the Jews, culminating in the Holocaust in Germany. Despite all this, Jason held his course. However, in contrast to Nabeel, he actively sought to combine his Judaism and Christianity. You can see the fruit of this work in the book: The Rock, The Road, The Rabbi, an exploration of the Holy Land’s contribution to Christianity.

From Exclusion to Inclusion

If one explores all the Great Religious traditions, we find both Healthy and Unhealthy versions, based on how traditional or contemporary their orientation. Unhealthy versions stem from the ancient tribal days when people had just gone beyond the caves and began to form cities in the great river valleys, such as the Nile, Euphrates and Indus Rivers.

Things were very different then. Each city had its own god, and that was the only one you dared worship. Religion was a collective experience focused on ritual and conforming to socially acceptable practices. All differences were settled by the sword, and salvation was thought of only in literal terms, salvation for this life. The next life was totally out of your hands.

Healthy religions emerged as the traditions became more inclusive, especially Buddhism, Christianity and Islam, which recognized converts from their very beginning. They focused on heaven and hell in the afterlife. While you had to be a member of their faith, you could be of any race, nation or gender. Only recently has the Interfaith Movement emerged with the idea that ALL faiths could reveal the true nature of God.

From Fear-Based to Love-Based

As we see from both the accounts of Nabeel Qureshi and Jason Sobel, their childhood faith only permitted their families conditional love, and that only if their sons adhered to the shared belief system. To disbelieve, or even worse, adopt a new and conflicting faith, was not only heresy, but family betrayal. This, in spite of our U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of religious freedom.

No matter how much love Nabeel and Jason’s childhood faith professed, the reality is that much of it was fear-based and exclusionary. Heaven and Hell were interpreted literally, and there was only one way out. In their cases, they went from Islam and Judaism to Christianity. However, there are many cases of people going in the opposite direction.

The danger is to go from one exclusionary, fear-based religion to another, either to assert yourself as an adolescent, or marry a partner of a contrasting faith. You end up stuck in the very same dilemma from which you were trying to extricate yourself. The irony is that EVERY Great Tradition has a love-based, higher expression that is deeply inclusive.

Nabeel rejected his Islam. However, had he studied Sufism, he would found a form of his faith profoundly appreciative of Christ. Jason was more fortunate, in that Christianity really grew out of Judaism. He could find many ways they complement each other.

Which Tradition and at What Stage Do You Choose?

In the United States, you can legally change your religion. While this might result in a severe disruption of your social life, it is doable. In a few countries, especially Islamic, you may actually risk death. What people often find is that somehow their childhood faith reappears. They can’t move on until they acknowledge the perfection of their own tradition.

More importantly, you will find that the Stage of any tradition can be far more important than the doctrines of that faith. All Great Traditions at a low level are locked in tribalism, with its fear and hatred of differences. They can share a heart-warming camaraderie. However, none of them has any choice but to either convert the unbeliever or consign him or her to hell.

Today, a hopeful sign is emerging, not only in the Christian Ecumenical Movement and the World Parliament of Religions, but also in how each of the Traditions, due to an ever more heterogeneous urban population, is developing elements of the other. With the World Wide Web and Google, it is increasingly difficult to deny other cultures their voice. A typical U.S. city now has hundreds of different faiths represented from all the world’s Great Traditions.

spiritual path

All Paths Converge at the Top

As you trek up the mountain of Self-Realization, climbing from the base in Religion to the middle ground in Spirituality to the apex in Mysticism, you begin to see the various paths get closer and closer. When you get to the top of your own Mount Everest, you will find everyone a mystic who knows God within, and who sees God in everyone and everything. He or she need no longer try to love. They find that they ARE love.

The irony is that the mystics at the top are a whole lot more like each other than they are like other people in their tradition. A delightful book exploring this topic is The Book of Joy, by both the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Both are Nobel recipients and exceptionally gifted leaders who withstood extensive persecution and triumphed at the end. They have developed a deep friendship that knows no boundaries. The Dalai Lama remains a Buddhist, and Archbishop Tutu remains a Christian. In their case, it doesn’t even matter!

The mystical perspective reveals both the advent and destiny of all religions. Unity, love and perfection lie at the very heart of creation. This is not something you can figure out. The realization of this begins to dawn on you. There is nothing outside of you, not even the billions and billions of galaxies. They all spin within the ultimate context of your own Absolute Being. Here, you are not “you.” There is only God. Always has been. Always will be.

Be a Krishna, Buddha or Christ by Being a Mystic!

Humanity is facing a global crisis primarily because we have entertained far too long gods that alienate us from ourselves, each other, and the precious creation we inhabit. Idolatrous conceptions of God are very costly. However, the way out is straight forward. Stop looking out, and start looking within.

The more mystical, the more like Krishna, Buddha and Christ you become. Have you ever considered that this is exactly why they were born? WE are to be Avatars, Bodhisattva’s and Messiahs. That is the whole point!

As a start, you might join me in my decade-long practice. As a Christian, it is my mission to help Muslims become better Muslims, Jews better Jews and Hindus better Hindus. I lovingly embrace their traditions. Only in this light will they embrace me, and deeply appreciate what I have.

Mahatma Gandhi put it so well in his advice to a profoundly distraught Hindu torn in the civil war in Calcutta after the partition of India and Pakistan:

I know a way out of Hell.
Find a child, a child whose mother and father were killed
and raise him as your own. Only be sure that he is a Muslim
and that you raise him as one.

-Mahatma Gandhi

inner beauty examples
Jul 06

Without Inner Beauty, Outer Beauty Is Useless

By Conscious Owl | Inner Power , Uncategorized

Outer beauty attracts, but inner beauty captivates.

-Kate Angell

You may have been in a rush today, and put on little, or no, makeup, deciding to go casual. You may even dress down, rough it a bit. No shave or cologne. Just a shadowy beard.

In your secret thoughts, you may wonder how you come across. You know for a woman to truly look like a knockout, it may take an hour or two-a-day to camouflage yourself and conform to classic stereotypes of beauty.

If people really saw through all your masks, would they find you disgusting, or adorable?

What Is Inner Beauty?

Inner beauty is the heart of beauty. Think of outer beauty as an elaborate frame for a stunning painting. Whichever frame you choose, it is to complement the master work of the artist. The frame, itself, merely hints at what is within it. If you choose the right frame; it never calls attention to itself. It plays a supportive role.

Inner beauty is marked by poise, presence, grace, gracefulness and graciousness. Think of a pure mountain stream gently flowing toward the sea. Or an alluring voice as gentle as the alpine wind through aspen leaves. Inner beauty is a beckoning presence that invites others to share the moment. Like a Prima Ballerina, it exuberantly pulls you back onstage to join in the celebration.

Inner beauty is being in touch with the miraculous gift of your body. It is your soul, your spirit that people engage with a few seconds after their first encounter. Your physical frame, your nationality, ethnicity, even religion are outward aspects of the main event: YOU!

inner beauty definition

Your Body Is the Medium to Express YOU

Think of a brand new 60-inch SONY HDTV fastened to a prominent wall in your living room. While it can double as a distinctive piece of furniture, no one will take that as its primary function. Even a gorgeous new 27-inch Apple iMac dominating your desk. You wouldn’t let this screen occupy so much precious space unless it opened up a whole other world.

So also, your physical being is the perfect medium to express yourself, a precious gift from God to allow you to discover your humanity… and your divinity! Through your arms and your legs, your hands and your feet, you can touch and play and dance, come fully alive like Pinocchio, freed forever from the utter monotony of being a wooden doll.

Your body’s job is most definitely NOT designed to be a carbon copy of someone else. No two people are identical, not even twins. You were placed here to make the plot and play fully engaging with a distinctive character, whether hero or villain, that people actually adore, beneath it all. You are one of kind. Why try to be anything else?

Each of Us Has a Beauty of Our Own

You may fancy yourself a god, or a goddess, but you confess, at the end of the day, to being all too human. Perhaps you are too tall or too short, too fat or too thin, too dark or too light. You never seem just right. You are haunted by constant comparisons to the stars, models and celebrities of the day. Yet if you look carefully, not one of them perfectly fits your preconceptions.

We can loosely be classified as ectomorphs, mesomorphs or endomorphs. That is, you tend to be tall and skinny with bones like a bird or solid with an average build, like a TV personality, or stalky, like a sumo wrestler. You can think of leading people in all walks of your life with one or another of those builds.

If you think of people who catch our imaginations, be it Madonna or Lady Gaga, Tom Hanks or Meryl Streep, they all may be considered attractive, but not one of them could be taken as a knockout without a lot of help from the wardrobe department and makeup artists. We love THEM. We love their frames, only because those frames give us THEM.

outer beauty

With Transformed Eyes, Beauty Is Everywhere

A Course in Miracles claims that every miracle entails a change in perception. God is everywhere, although we hardly ever see Him. Likewise, beauty is everywhere, in the forest and the sea, but also on the sidewalks, overpasses and rundown school buildings.

It takes an artist to make us see the beauty that lies all around us. Jackson Pollock, the great American Expressionist, literally threw paint at his canvases and relished all the splashes and drips. Spontaneity, happening is beauty. Dive into the moment. Silence the monkey mind, and marvel at the hidden beauty in everyone and everything.

If you only had eyes to see, you would see beauty in yourself that time cannot erase. Perhaps it lies in your soothing voice or bright eyes. Perhaps that beauty is in the way you walk around or move your body. When you are completely comfortable being the rascal you really are, people will begin to love that rascal, watching the Creator pop out of your very pores.

How to Bring Out Your Inner Beauty

Many people in the public eye are totally on their own side. Despite all the alcoholics and substance abusers on Broadway and Hollywood, the majority of working actors and actresses give it their all. They know it takes hours of dressing, grooming and exercise. They take nothing for granted.

Even more to the point, they know that at any time, they may get a shot at an audition. Thus, they are always on, even when they are dressed casually. They are thorough professionals who respect the big screen, but are also into life, itself. They are deeply interested in other people, ideas, the world… all that is going on.

To bring out your inner beauty, consider doing any of the following:
•  Cover the basics of dress, grooming and hairstyle.
•  Become a deep listener and ask active questions.
•  Focus more on other people, and less on how you come across.
•  Come alive by opening up to others, even if it means getting hurt from time to time.
•  Develop an inner life through reading, writing, prayer and meditation.
•  List all the things to be thankful for, every single day.
•  Bless everyone you meet until you become a reflection of pure love.
•  Above all, play and be happy. Pull out your inner child and welcome her to the stage.

No matter who you are, your inner beauty is bubbling up deep within. You may have given massive attention to your outer beauty, now make time for the rest. Then you will stop wishing you were divine. You will start sharing your divinity with everyone else.

mars nasa
Jun 29

Why Mars Matters

By Conscious Owl | Inner Power

As far as the stars are from us, so far are we from where we started.
As far away as they are now, so will we be then.

-Eyvind Earle, Celebrated American Painter

Remember Ridley Scott’s stunning feature, The Martian, starring Matt Damon as Astronaut Mark Watney. It is 2035. Due to a dusty super storm, a crew to the distant planet has no choice but to leave Mars early. At the last moment, botanist Mark Watney gets separated from his crew, fatally disabled. The rocket blasts off on its way back to earth without the slightest clue Mark is still alive.

The drama unfolds how one severely injured, but fiercely determined, astronaut gathers his wits in the home base and step by step figures out how to hold out, even though he has but a few days of rations.

As a professional botanist, Mark succeeds in growing his own little crop of potatoes, as well as getting the station’s radio transmission back up to alert the folks back home. Before the end, Mark, thinking he is about to die, conveys to his family that the mission was worthwhile, as he served something bigger than himself. Mars colonization must go on. Mark’s improbable rescue makes him a celebrated cause, uniting all humanity.

Colonizing Mars: Moving from Science Fiction to Science Fact

You felt exhilarated by this heartwarming story, yet you supposed it to be only science fiction. For decades, we have heard weird accounts of UFO landings while NASA remained stalled in the Shuttle program.

Yet something has dramatically changed. In the last 50 years, we learned an immense amount about our solar system and have actually mapped out the terrain on Mars even better than Earth, due to the vast amount of earth covered by ocean. Mars is over 30 million miles away, with one-third our gravity. No oxygen in the atmosphere, and the temperatures 100 degrees below zero.

We now have highly sophisticated sensor technology, super-refined telescopes and greatly enhanced rocket technology. Thanks to Elon Musk’s Space X, we now can reuse the booster rockets, shrinking the costs involved. What would normally take nine months can now be done in less than three months. Elon envisions it taking just 30 days.

rocket launch

Then and Now: Space Race and Space X

Back in the 1960’s, there were only two players, the U.S. and the U.S.S.R., rationalizing the huge effort and expense of a moon landing to establish the lead in the ideological Cold War. Today, there is not only America and Russia, but also the European Union and China.

When NASA successfully completed its first Apollo moon landing, its total computing power was less than what you enjoy in your smart phone today. Now, with A.I., robotics, drones and mobile computing, we are vastly more sophisticated, even when the journey is not simply 186,000 miles from Earth, as in the case of the moon.

In the 1960’s, the U.S. committed tens of billions of dollars, or 5% of its total budget, to NASA. Today, that same budget is only 0.5%, or one tenth as much. When the billionaire, Elon Musk, built up Space X, he used his own money. His impressive achievements have not cost the taxpayers a single cent!

What Would It Take for You to Actually Live on Mars?

If you listen to Elon Musk spell out his vision, you might think you were hearing Henry Ford sketch out the mass production of automobiles. Even though self-taught, Elon has got it down to a science by hiring the best people in the world. He is building a massive rocket with 60 engines that will transport a large team in style.

colonize mars

The sticking point is what you would do once you got there. You would have to develop the facilities from scratch. It would take flight after flight to build up a base. Mars’ distance from earth varies drastically. Your window opens up only once in two years. If you step outside and rip your spacesuit, you could die in seconds.

Imagine going to live on Antarctica for a couple years. Would you pay to do it? Of course not! Would you do it with all expenses paid and $100,000 per year? Or would you need all expenses paid and more like $1 million per year. Or, would no amount of many make you want to sign up for such a suicidal mission where the weather would make Siberia look like a warm summer’s day?

Are You Ready to Abandon Everything You Love?

One of the first lunar astronauts gazed back at earth with a stupendous love for our planet. He realized that everything that made life worthwhile lay on its surface. Without frames or boundaries, our world is beautiful beyond imagination when seen from outer space.

If you joined a Mars expedition at a low-ball price, say $100,000, you would come to realize that there was a high-probability of a mishap along the way, even before you stepped onto Martian soil. Just think of the Challenger disaster under President Reagan. The capsule blew up a large crew with the whole world watching.

The early pilgrims to Planet Mars will need to be made of hearty stock, as tough as the Puritans that settled New England, braving the first freezing winter, and celebrating the First Thanksgiving the following spring with Native Americans. To use a Boy Scout metaphor, no Tender Feet… just Eagle Scouts!

Challenge Awakens the Human Spirit Like Nothing Else

Something has shifted since the early 1970’s, when we shrunk from outer space, totally spooked that there was life nowhere else. With the advent of high technology, developed out of the Space Program, humanity created new eyes to see the Universe. Highly sophisticated telescopes could look into the furthest galaxy with spectacular vision.

Increasing evidence of water, the very basis of life, is found in planets and moons throughout our solar system. Many planets in other star systems fall within the critical “Goldilocks Zone.” We are growing from children to at least teenagers in our space explorations. We can now envision future scenarios in incredible detail. As all good metaphysicians know, the more intricate and elaborate the vision, the more likely it will manifest.

mars planet

When you step away from watching The Martian, you feel, not depressed, as you did with the film, Interstellar, but exhilarated. Your gut will tell you it’s coming. It is only a question of when. Maybe there are alternatives to global warming being our swan song. Maybe humanity is destined for something truly great.

The world now, more than ever, needs a powerful, positive vision. Though global warming is most definitely an “Inconvenient Truth,” it does not inspire us. Settling Mars and building up a city of a million people, in line with Elon Musk’s vision, most certainly does.

In the ancient tale of the Tower of Babel, humanity tried to build a tower to the sky to throw God down off His thrown. However, if we collectively build a tower to the sky in communion with our Source, nothing shall be impossible for us.

You will no longer look like a fool to plan a future literally out of this world!

Are you ready?

matrix energetics explanation
Jun 22

Matrix Energetics: How to Bend Your Reality

By Conscious Owl | Inner Power

If you think you understand quantum mechanics, then you don’t.

Dr. Richard Feynman

With all the disruptions and upsets in life, you may have wished, just like such classic psychics as Yuri Geller, that you could bend a spoon simply by gazing at it. However, you have convinced yourself that you are perfectly ordinary.

What you perceive to be real is far less solid or unchanging than you ever imagined. If you heard a lecture or saw a movie on quantum mechanics, or read a popular book, you may recall that the observer is fundamental to reality. Without an observer, nothing is real.

When you observe anything, you are actually creating it. Your toothpick collapses from being a probability wave to a collection of particles. Since you observe it, it has entered your reality. So with everything else. You are living within the very world you consciously create.

What Is Matrix Energetics?

Matrix Energetics is a transformational consciousness technology created a couple decades back by the celebrated chiropractor and naturopathic doctor, Richard Bartlett. At the time, he was paid to physically manipulate people’s bones to diminish pain from accidents and injuries. It was all about doing something to or for someone else.

Dr. Bartlett experienced a breakthrough after an unusual vision allowed him to suddenly start treating people by only lightly touching them. He no longer needed to employ pressure, or schedule multiple sessions to have people’s bones realign. He even treated scoliosis, which is a sideways curvature of the spine. Dr. Bartlett’s patients would be cured in a single session by a simple procedure of observation.

matrix energetics practitioners

Dr. Bartlett began figuring out what was happening with him through the study of physics. He worked with an apprentice to find a way to transmit his gift to others. After a breakdown argument with his first student, he suddenly realized a surefire way for his apprentice to “get it.” From there, Dr. Bartlett formed seminars and ended up training thousands of people, including veteran body and energy workers, as well as little children.

How Does Matrix Energetics Actually Work?

Matrix Energetics appears magical or miraculous. It defies commonsense. For example, one student accidently slammed the door on her little puppy, such that its leg bent upward like a broken twig. Mortified, she drove the dog to the vet, using a time-reversal process. When she brought the puppy into the doc, it began walking about perfectly normal, as if nothing happened. No sign of blood.

Matrix Energetics goes much deeper than the medical or biological approach, which focuses at the system, tissue, cellular and molecular levels. This new approach actually goes to the quantum, or subatomic level, the level of the mind, not the body. At that level, time flows both backward and forward, we can occupy parallel universes and we can travel faster than light.

With this new approach, you make a careful observation, usually with two light touches on a body to create a measurement. You look closely at the body, soften your focus and then profoundly relax. You go within and reimagine the condition, perfect before the illness or accident. Then you observe again, talk with the subject and notice the changes.

energetics practice

How Do You Expect Me to Believe All This?

At this point, you may be convinced that this is just another urban legend gone berserk. You’ve looked at hundreds of people before; no one has ever changed. When you have to go to the doctor, you KNOW you have to go to the doctor. You can’t just relax and smile.

You may not realize it, but you rarely see what is right in front of you. For example, you have seen your life partner for 20 years. You know what he/she looks like. (That’s the problem. You still keep seeing him/her as he/she was, not how he/she is today.) You are stuck in your pictures, your beliefs, your fixed notions of how it all is. Time to let go and do a complete refresh.

Also, we are talking subtle energies. It works to start small with something that won’t assault your belief system at the same level as a flying saucer hovering 20 feet away! If you pay attention to itches and minor pains, perhaps as you are trying to go to sleep at night, you will realize that they never stay the same. They keep moving from place to place. That is because they are not “things.” They are pure energy.

When Will I Ever Find the Time to Master Quantum Physics?

If you ever tune into Dr. Bartlett, you will find that he is a delight to watch. He is hysterically funny, confronting and light-hearted, all at the same time. His speech is studded with quantum jargon, but he takes none of it seriously. 

Quantum is the physics of possibility. It allows us to look at the world in daring new ways.

Dr. Bartlett is emphatic that getting multiple doctorates is a stumbling block to actually applying the physics. You don’t need to understand any of it. He endeavors to have people simple “get it” in an intuitive way. Dr. Bartlett is intensely transparent and pragmatic. Do whatever works, much like a Zen roshi.

Quantum Energetics seminars bring people up to a basic level of proficiency in a single weekend. You learn to see the world in a whole new way, much as Carlos Castaneda did with Don Juan. You open up to non-ordinary reality, intuitively picking it up from people on stage, as well as those beside you in the audience.

How Can I Do This without Getting Totally Stoned?

You will agree that, if you are with the Yaqui Indians in a peyote ceremony, or in the Amazon Basin with the Santo Daime church in an ayahuasca ceremony, you will have no problem accessing non-ordinary reality. Before you know it, you are a crow flying through the heavens.

But, come on! Marijuana may now be legal, but for this, you need the really heavy stuff! If you are straight, good luck having anyone in your immediate circle hand you a tab of acid!

Psychedelics simply disinhibit your blocks against raw experience. As has been quipped, “Religion is a defense against a religious experience.” We love conceptualizing, encoding our experience and interpreting it from a given framework. If you will simply drop your interpretation, even temporarily, you will “get it.”

Four Steps to a New You

You can begin experimenting with this approach as follows.

1.  Observe.
2.  Relax.
3.  Reimagine.
4.  Observe again.

Dr. Bartlett, as a chiropractor, began by defining two points on a person and talking with her. He would relax his perception and ask her to do the same. He would take a second to envision a new reality, and then look again. Whenever he does it, he always finds something surprising. He and his seminar participants laugh all the way home, feeling a million times better.

You, too, can bend your own reality. The price is supremely low. Let go. Allow whatever wants to come up to come up. We love to be right. However, we love true fulfillment even more. Growth always wins!

Have you ever practiced Matrix Energetics? What’s your take on it? We invite your comments.

ubuntu philosophy
Jun 15

Ubuntu: What We Can Learn from South Africa

By Conscious Owl | Inner Power

Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me
Let there be peace on earth
The peace that was meant to be

With God as our Father
Brothers all are we
Let me walk with my brother
In perfect harmony

-Jill Jackson and Sy Miller

When we think of South Africa, we think of many things. Spectacular diamonds and luscious beaches, modern high-rises where the world’s first open-heart transplant operation was performed. And, of course, Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela.

Mohandas K. Gandhi, who nearly won Time Magazine’s “Person of the Century,” got his start in South Africa through his experiments in nonviolent resistance to establish rights for Indian migrant workers. Nelson Mandela went from political prisoner breaking rocks on desolate Robben Island to President of his country, and then Nobel Prize-winning global celebrity.

What was their secret? What was unique to the soil of South Africa that so changed the world?

What Is Ubuntu?

Ubuntu is to South Africa what Chivalry was to Medieval Europe and Bushido to Samurai Japan. Ubuntu grew out of a common recognition that we are all equally human, no matter what are our race, gender, nationality or religion. Ubuntu puts into action Christ’s injunction to live the Golden Rule, to love our neighbor as ourselves.

Ubuntu maintains that we are only human by means of, and in relation to, other people. “I am me because you are you.” We can never truly be viewed in isolation. Each of us emerges from this earth in a state of infantile helplessness. We must be taught everything. Without proper education, we couldn’t even speak!

Ubuntu insists that we give consideration to others whether or not convenient for us. We must never sacrifice another person to a dollar bill. All the money in the world would be meaningless if we were utterly alone. You give me meaning and definition. I need you, just as you need me. I honor you as my other self, and celebrate our differences as the spice of life.

How Ubuntu Worked in South Africa

In traditional Africa, when you went from village to village, you needed no provisions. When you arrived at the next village, you didn’t need to carry money, seek a restaurant or a hotel. The villagers would automatically feed you and house you. You would be welcomed, much like the Hawaiians with their inimitable greeting of Aloha! (“I love you!”)

ubuntu africa

Whenever there was conflict, it was never a private matter. Your family and their family were directly involved. Things got worked out in community. To do a violent act would result in your being shunned. People will go to great lengths to prevent that from ever happening.

People weren’t punished for their transgressions. They were made to face their victims and confess their misdeeds. It was then wholly appropriate for the injured person to offer pardon to the offender. As a consequence, the person blamed would do whatever it took to restore the relationship.

Retribution or Reconciliation?

Clint Eastwood’s award-winning film, Invictus, introduces us to Nelson Mandela (played by Morgan Freeman) just before he is released from prison. Mandela had become a celebrated cause of the black South African resistance vehemently opposing apartheid. When Mandela actually became President of South Africa, the minority white Afrikaans of Dutch origin were terrified that he was about the wreak revenge on all the miscreants.

Mandela had spent 27 years in deep reflection while breaking rocks. He read a lot and developed into a model prisoner with extended privileges. Mandela looked at his responsibility as President of a “rainbow” nation of different races, different Black tribes, different whites (Dutch and English), and other ethnicities, such as South Asians.

Mandela took the High Road. Against all advice, he threw his entire weight behind the white rugby team, the Springboks, who had a dismal record against other countries’ teams and were utterly despised by the Black population. He recruited the team captain, “Francois Pienaar,” (Played by Matt Damon), as his ally. Mandela and Pienaar worked together to motivate the black majority to embrace rugby. Pienaar even visited the black townships and taught the youth the fundamentals of the game.

When the final game for the World Cup came, South Africa, against all odds, won the championship.

From Acceptance to Appreciation to Embracing

When we look at South Africa, and remember our own American history, we recall the struggles of black people to win basic acceptance by the whites. No more “separate but equal facilities.” Blacks and whites could share the same toilets, go to the same places and share their lives together.

In the 1980’s, sports and the media were increasingly dominated by people of color. Even in elite sports, such as golf, champs arose, eventually producing a Tiger Woods. In the 1980’s, Michael Jackson, Prince and Madonna reigned. Paul McCartney produced his hit “Ebony and Ivory.” Suddenly, blacks were in demand.

In the 2000’s, American went from appreciating black people to embracing them, as in the person of President Black Obama, with African blood, only once removed. Not only did white Americans find themselves looking up to blacks, but ended up granting them power, just as South Africa’s F.W. de Klerk granted power to Nelson Mandela.

Ubuntu Celebrates Diversity While Promoting Unity

Many of us were raised with the concept of the “melting pot,” that every American had to conform to a certain stereotype in order to be accepted, whether it was hot dogs and baseball, or Fourth of July fireworks with a keg of beer. In the 1960’s, people gradually moved away from this to celebrating their differences, starting with Black Power and “Black is beautiful.”

ubuntu principles

Ubuntu not only honors differences; it celebrates them.

If you choose to be outrageous and totally out there, so can I. I need you to be you, so that I feel free to be truly me. The U.S. is now moving to a stage where non-whites are a very substantial minority, 35% and growing. In states like California, whites are now actually a minority.

Ubuntu recognizes that our differences are a strength whereby we can effectively complement each other. Thank God we are not all intellectuals, or nothing would really get done! Some of us are visionary and passionate, and others of us are crackups that help us hold onto our sanity, if only a day longer.

Unity implies diversity, and diversity implies unity. You can’t have one without the other.

From Gandhi to Mandela to Obama

When we recall great men and women, as in Michael Jackson’s spectacular video, Change, we realize that the majority of them were openly human in such a way that they let their common genius hang out. Both Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu shared with the Dalai Lama an irrepressible sense of humor.

Gandhi in South Africa explained that his Phoenix ashram meant “a village… or the world.” Gandhi arrived at the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man in a roundabout fashion. Ironically, he became a vegan, not in Bombay, but in London. He read the Bhagavad Gita for the first time in England, as well, introduced to him by white British.

Mandela drew upon his South African heritage to make Ubuntu a rallying cry for all South Africans, and all people throughout the planet to come together in a common humanity. He must have taken inspiration from both Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, who went to India to study nonviolence from the legacy of the Mahatma.

President Obama took inclusiveness to new levels with his commitment to Gay marriages. Perhaps he went too far for most people’s comfort, but Obama politically established deep acceptance, respect and acknowledgement as his operating principles. Today, it is much easier to join him in saying, “Yes we can!”

Recently, some people despair of the legacy of Ubuntu, as many so deeply question it. It is time for us to remember the rallying cry of the activists. “If the people lead, the leaders will follow.” Don’t give up too soon on anyone, even if he is perceived as a tyrant. Love has a way of melting even the most obdurate heart!

spiritual seekers
Jun 08

Games Spiritual Seekers Play

By Conscious Owl | Inner Power

What did the Dalai Lama say to the Coney Island Hot Dog Vendor?
“Make Me One With It All!”

Games are inherent to life, and life, itself, is a truly magnificent game. However, the games we play are vastly more fulfilling when we play them consciously. Perhaps you are one of the grown-ups living here on Planet Earth. You don’t play games anymore, do you! Oh, yeah?

As Werner Erhard pointed out a long time ago, you can either play one of two types of games, survival or aliveness. You can play win / lose or win-win games. We are all trying to get one up on each other… and the universe. We are all thorough rascals. Hence, none of us can truly believe that we are divine.

Could it be that we are both divine and mischievous at one and the same time? Could this life be our terrestrial playground?

What is TRUE Enlightenment?

Enlightenment is far more than fireworks, bells and whistles, the super ice cream cone in the sky. Whatever our preconceptions, we won’t even begin to grasp it in advance. Enlightenment means to light up, and the word “guru” means light bearer. However, enlightenment also connotes “lightening up,” not taking it all so seriously.

Enlightenment always comes with a price: unconditional surrender, “letting go and letting God,” disidentifying yourself with everything you took to be yourself. As one guru put it, “You don’t even want enlightenment. If you truly got enlightened, you wouldn’t be there to enjoy it!” Or as Baba Ram Dass summed it up, enlightenment is taking the “crisp trip.”

enlightenment

Enlightenment is the supremely simple, excruciatingly difficult realization that Who You Are is the space out of which everything occurs. You are pure context, the subtle background of everyone and everything that appears in your world. You are both everybody and everywhere, and nobody, nowhere. You are both nothing… and everything.

Waking Up or Growing Up?

We set ourselves up for self-defeating spiritual games when we think that enlightenment is simply waking up with no need to grow up. We con ourselves into believing that when we finally wake up, all our troubles will be gone. The road ahead will be infinitely smooth and we can coast from there on out.

We think that enlightenment is simply waking up with no need to grow up. #consciousness #spiritualgrowth

Click to Tweet

Waking up is meaningless without growing up. The initial satori is delightful and precious. The sun breaks out from under the clouds. The day is magical. You feel blessed. You can be anybody and do anything. “This is it!” What further realization do you need?

When you begin to grasp the implications that, like the Dalai Lama’s hot dog, you are “one with it all,” it soon dawns on you that you are 100% responsible for your experience, for everyone and everything in it. You thought enlightenment was a single experience, rather than a perpetual journey of growth into divinity. Yet without growing up, your awakening will never deepen.

Spiritual Materialism as a Game

When we begin the journey, we have some inkling that we are moving forward on our prime directive, to know who we are and why we are here. Thus, we may find spiritual materialism the most obvious strategy. You have been ignorant and distracted most of your life, squandering most of it away. Why not take the short cut, go for all the symbols?

Baba Ram Dass confessed to being the ultimate spiritual materialist. You get your posters of Lord Krishna, your alter to do Puja, incense, a proper prayer rug and certainly the right pillows. One time his guru, Maharaji, told him that Ram Dass had to get certain Rudraksha beads used to make a japa mala necklace. Only one merchant knew how to make them right. Ram Dass dashed out to a remote village only to find that the merchant was over 100 years old!

spiritual growth

Today, you need to up the game. Sure you have been to Maui and Costa Rica on a yoga retreat. But have you ever been to exotic Bali on a global interfaith symposium? Only Bali will do! It is truly sacred. You have to fly across the Pacific Ocean. Oops, flights are cancelled because a noxious volcano has just erupted on this tropical paradise!

Programmed Spirituality as a Game

My favorite game happens in neat ballrooms. It all started years ago with Werner Erhard’s est training, which was at that time regaled with Hollywood stars. More recently I picked it up with the Landmark Forum. Everything happens with military precision. Everyone keeps their agreement; everyone honors their word.

These trainings are singularly wonderful experiences that yield a direct flash of enlightenment and a supportive atmosphere that helps people come to terms with their shadows. They are followed up with seminars and other trainings where you can easily make it a lifestyle. Of course, you must bring guests to keep it all alive. But for some of us, that is half the fun.

The challenge is to not make the organization, the leaders, the training “IT.” They enlightened you. They fixed you. They did a wonderful number on you. If things go well, they shall be praised. If you encounter major stumbling blocks and hurdles, then they are all too convenient a target of your blame.

Nonduality as a Game

These days, if you are really smart, you go for advaita, or nonduality. Advaita means in Sanskrit “not two.” There is only THE ONE. However, you don’t say it, because that is to imply it is two. Neo-Advaita stems from the great Ramana Maharshi, who lived it impeccably and was a total inspiration. The world pulled him out of his cave and built an ashram around him, then a city.

Neo-Advaita today shows people how they are already enlightened. They just won’t admit it. So they don’t have to do anything. Just relish the ISNESS of it all. If done properly, you can unquestionably get an authentic satori, or pop out of your rational mind. It is wonderful. However, rarely is it mentioned that this is just the beginning.

deep spiritual awareness

As nonduality expands, more and more people want to know how to live nonduality as a context. As Zen Buddhists put it, “Before enlightenment, chopping wood and carrying water. After enlightenment, chopping wood and carrying water.” Nothing has changed, or has it? Or, are you ready to start growing up?

Poor Me as a Game

I have gone in and out of this game most of my life. I love self-pity. It is a great place to blame others and refuse to take responsibility. I used to believe that I simply didn’t have what it takes. It took me decades to realize that this was utter nonsense.

Some people suffer Poor Me in waiting for enlightenment with all the fireworks. They are hell bent on their pictures of how it will be, and refuse to let go. A wonderful, but exasperating read is Dr. Susan Shumsky’s recent Maharishi and Me, in which she confides that while the Beatles’ guru could be naughty, he made an immense difference. Susan fell in love with Maharishi until he had to figuratively push her off the cliff so that she could begin to fly.

Poor Me is the single most disempowering game. In my experience, love, divine love, is the only force that can wake you, blow you out of it. If someone, anyone, believes in you infinitely more than you believe in yourself, it is truly salvation.

Mastery the Ultimate Game

Enlightenment means going up a very tall mountain, taller even than Mountain Everest. Most of us get wiped out half way up the side. The avalanches and violent storms defy description. We move from religion to spirituality. We find what we really want is mysticism, to know directly, not merely believe. Yet we are clueless how to attain it.

At the top of the summit you find only saints, sages and bodhisattvas, as you become one on the way up. You find that you all speak the same language, and that language is infinite love. Who you thought you were was jettisoned long ago. There is only one of us, and that One is you.

Buddha bet his global institution on wisdom and compassion. Yet somehow, no matter which school of Buddhism you encounter, compassion always comes first.

Christ bet his future religion on love and forgiveness. The only reason that it survives today as the world’s largest religion is because THAT LOVE, the love He embodied, could never die.

Go ahead and choose your path of enlightenment. You don’t know the journey ahead, but you do know the journey’s end: THAT LOVE.

limitless
presencing
Jun 01

Presencing: Living Out of Possibility

By Conscious Owl | Conscious Leadership

Transformation as a concept has been with us for well over a generation, pioneered by such innovators as Werner Erhard with his est, and the Landmark Forum. It developed from traditions within Hinduism and Buddhism, and was applied in a social context. Group processes can catalyze satori, or a sudden flash of insight on the nature of reality.

This transformation was thought to be primarily on an individual level. People would become enlightened one by one. Eventually, you might arrive at an enlightened organization, much like the Buddhist Sangha or Hindu Ashram. However, it was rarely applied to an entire group, to enlighten the group as a group, all at the same time.

Social transformation has emerged as a driving force in addressing the disruptive changes everywhere evident as we transition out of the modern age into a planetary era, where all major problems are experienced on a global scale.

Why We End Up with Results Nobody Really Wants

Despite these brilliant innovations, we still find ourselves living in a world characterized by results none of us really want. We face floods, fires, hurricanes, random acts of terrorism and financial instability. The traditional bonds of global society that have held us all together until now seem to have come unraveled.

At the core, we face major disconnects in the pivotal areas of global society: Ecological, where we perpetuate an unsustainable system that is slowly eroding our infrastructure, Social, where 1% of people control 50% of the wealth and Spiritual, where our little self is unable to arrive at our Big Self, our Highest Possibility.

presencing meaning

Every institution you can think of is undergoing rapid change, such that no one can keep up. This ranges from government agencies to the military to public education to corporations to non-profit organizations. All the rules we learned growing up no longer apply; the newer ones have yet to be written down.

Erasing Your Past, Designing Your Future

The latest stage of transformation, social, is intuitive, action-focused and participatory. Dr. Otto Scharmer, a former German activist before the fall of the Berlin Wall, committed himself to creating a world where institutions actually serve people, rather than systematically disempower them. He went into the academic world to discover new ways of being, and ended up synthesizing such disparate perspectives as Zen Buddhism, Systems Theory and Change Management.

Dr. Scharmer discovered a principle that has the most profound implications for our future survival as a species: To live your dream, rather than your nightmare, take the past out of the present, and bring the present into the future. We need not rely on our memory. We can transcend our rational mind to make it our servant, not our master. We can learn to let go and let come, to master a process of going inward in a group context and touch the present moment.

This process Dr. Scharmer calls Theory U. We go in as a group, opening up our mind, our heart and our will. We touch the present moment and ask, “What wants to be born?” As we get in touch with the emerging future, we share our vision with our teammates, and prototype a model, which we eventually take out into the “real world” as a pilot project.

Isn’t Presencing Too Academic?

You might wonder, “How can a process designed in a university change the world?” Better yet, “How can an engineering school, known worldwide for molding hardcore technicians, ignite a spiritual revolution?” If we look at MIT, we can see that it has pioneered the Media Lab, which, with Wired Magazine, spawned the digital generation, with President Clinton an active follower.

MIT also offers the Sloan Business School that inspired a revolution in the corporate arena by applying learning theory to management issues. Every company can be a learning organization. Dr. Peter Senge, who pioneered this vision, mentored Dr. Scharmer when the German professor first came aboard.

Theory U takes advantage of the hands-on, practical orientation of MIT to take it out into the real world. Dr. Scharmer was compelled, in creating his Presencing Institute, to solicit corporate clients. In the process, he got to reality test his cherished ideas in a no-nonsense atmosphere.

Isn’t Presencing Only for the Educated Elite?

You might then ask, “What have I have in common with an MIT student?” They are all rich people who have access to the best minds of their generation. They can simply walk over to Harvard University for the humanities. They have abundant leisure time to study.

While the Presencing Institute has a sophisticated theoretical framework to capture its processes, its orientation is to take its breakthroughs out into the street and leverage digital media as much as possible. If the directors find a methodology has revolutionary potential, they build upon it.

At the core of Theory U you is a meditative process of going inward. Dr. Scharmer picked it up from Zen, but any number of enlightenment traditions can be employed, including TM, mindfulness, prayer and contemplation. A team undergoing this transformation together spends a day by the forest or the sea to get in tune with their deepest self, their highest possibility.

Doesn’t Presencing Apply Only to Really Smart People?

Finally, you may feel that you really aren’t all that bright when compared to the world’s best minds. You may not be a Stanford, Cal or MIT alumnus. You may have never even gone to college. You are an average reader and write as little as you can. In what way can you consider yourself smart?

Actually, we have multiple intelligences, including cognitive, emotional, social, spiritual and kinesthetic. You can be a total Brainiac, but without street smarts, you may never get rich. You could be a daring entrepreneur, but if you fail with emotional and social intelligence, you will alienate your entire staff.

presencing theory u

With the mastermind principal, a group of stake holders intent on social transformation pool their intelligence to arrive at a Third Mind, Divine Mind. Ideas coming from no single participant emerge from nowhere.

How Presencing Will Change Our World

Thanks to Dr. Scharmer’s passionate commitment to change the world, Presencing is already out in the world on every continent, backed by his U.Lab, which provides the resources and methodology for transformation in all kinds of institutions, from city government to hospitals to corporate board rooms.

The Presencing Institute has mobilized MOOC’s (Massive Open Online Courses), offered to the public at no cost. This combines coordination with participants around the world in local, improvised hubs where people share their experience in person, while being networked with white boarding and discussion via online video.

So far, this institute has enjoyed 100,000 participants in 168 countries with extensive follow-up. Results have been immensely encouraging, as the demand has surged such that they are now offered on a recurrent basis. If you have always nursed the impulse to change the world, here is your chance. The price is right. Just a little of your time and no money. Just access to the Internet and a mobile device.

presencing practice

May we always remember President Obama’s original campaign slogan, “YES WE CAN.