Friday, June 10, 2022

Today’s Living Ain’t Easy: 2 Hard Ways, One Easy Solution

        Life seems relentlessly challenging these days, doesn’t it? Pandemia has still changed everything for now; corporations take advantage of it to inflate all the costs of living; media manipulators get better at pitting people against each other to manufacture power. All the while we just need to get by and provide for our families and ourselves.


        It ain’t easy, especially when we fall into a couple habitual methods of coping and constantly overlook the one big, beautiful solution that’s always staring us right in the face.

The main way we automatically deal with all the craziness is also probably the most difficult (…of course); that is, by hearing and seeing and reacting to all the information that assails us – sometimes every minute, every instant. We see something or hear something and get swept up by a fear or a desire, or a feeling of immediate need: Something bad is happening, or somebody is doing something wrong. I feel like I need to stop something from happening, or to make something important happen…or, I might immediately start to feel hopeless about something I have no control over.

In this automatic way, our well-being is conditioned by emotional reactions to perceived challenges we see or hear. Our effectiveness can be stifled, or our anxieties can run amok, simply because of the emotional state we suddenly find ourselves in. Life feels hard, when we just react to it.

The next way we deal is the way that does tend to come next for most of us – we start to really give it some thought. We get past the knee-jerk reaction and begin to look and listen less with our eyes and ears, and more with our mind, like: What is this really going to mean to me? How does it actually affect me, my interests, and my loved ones? What will it do to my plans, wishes, hopes, dreams – and what can I really do about it? 

While it’s always better to stop and give everything some serious thought, we can hit a few more potholes by doing so. We can get stuck believing that what we think is who we are. We may find ourselves thinking more about the future, and then about the past – about what we want to have happen or what has happened before – and not enough about what is happening now. Rationalizations, justifications and confirmations (the need to be right), resentments, uninformed conclusions – blind spots we’ve developed over a lifetime can rise up and prevent us from doing the next best thing. We can get trapped by our brain, with our thoughts circling madly, blocking us from any real solutions.

Fortunately, there is a beautiful, easy solution alive in every moment: Instead of getting caught up in seeing, feeling, and thinking, take a deep breath, relax, and just be. Just be right who you are, where you are, and let all the craziness fall away like a bad, poorly-fitting outfit. Don’t see with your eyes, hear with your ears, or think with your brain – see, hear, and think with your spirit, gratefully and compassionately detached from the constant human noise. 

You’ll find you’re not foolishly disconnected, but that you’ve suddenly got a different, much healthier perspective on all the craziness. Life isn’t a hard, anxiety-laden ordeal…it’s just Life. It’s just the way it’s always been, and always will be…and that’s just what we need. The horrors are still unacceptable, the celebrations are still too short, but Love, the expansion of your consciousness, your spiritual growth into your sense of purpose and belonging-to will be steady and dependable (that’s faith), and ground you in a grace that that makes you much more joyful, responsible, and effective.

If you find yourself paddling too hard upstream, turn around.

Read about this and much more in: How to Get to Heaven (Without Really Dying), Wisdom From a Near-Death Survivor  from Llewellyn Worldwide available direct on this page, or online. The first book: How to Survive Life (and Death), A Guide To Happiness In This World and Beyond is available the same ways – but ask for it it at your local bookstore!

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Why Sadness Can Feel So Beautiful (Simple Spiritual Technology is All Around Us)

 This edited excerpt is from "How to Get to Heaven (Without Really Dying); Part One, Perspective, Chap. 6, Compassion

If you feel too caught up in the challenges of your life (as we always can) to unlock more open-hearted compassion, there is a guaranteed way that you can find the key to unlock it; and although it doesn’t sound too good, it’s such a deep part of our shared existence that (despite being rather painful) it can often seem almost comforting. The key to finding more compassion in our lives – a key that none of us can avoid finding – is this: Sadness.

Sadness visits us all like a long-lost relative whose company we don’t always look forward to but then become grateful for in a mysteriously profound way. There’s nothing good about it to the outside eye, but inwardly it does make you wonder: Why is this sad feeling so familiar and strangely appealing?

It’s because sadness opens our hearts (whether we wanted them open or not), and in our moments of soul searching it reliably directs us toward a “secret” passage into Heaven – a small side door that insiders already know exists. Sadness is a magical ‘sixth-sensory’ key into the state of compassionate consciousness (an application of Spiritual Technology), because it causes us to resonate with structures of the Universe at a deeper level than we normally encounter here on Earth. All of us can realize that kind of deep, shared reality through sadness, and perhaps for some people only through sadness. No one will completely escape it’s insistent embrace.

Imagine these scenes: The loss of a beloved one to illness or death; the bulldozing of a favorite piece of nature; the sight of an abandoned pet; the feeling that a favorite piece of music gave you way back when, and the feeling it stills gives you when you reminisce; the look in eyes of a homeless person when your eyes meet – the entire story of a different, lost life you might have lived yourself…

Do you feel the sadness in any of those scenes? If you do, then right now – in this eternal moment – you are connected to our shared compassionate consciousness. “You let the pain of the world touch your heart and you turn it into compassion,” I’ve heard it said (by a Tibetan Buddhist), and almost nothing else needs to be said about this mysterious gateway into the realm of the heart. Sadness arises within all of us in those places that reveal a great shared meaning…and we all intuitively know that we must return it’s embrace.

“Sadness is but a wall between two gardens.”

                                    Khalil Gibran

Read about this and much more in: How to Get to Heaven (Without Really Dying), Wisdom From a Near-Death Survivor  from Llewellyn Worldwide available direct on this page, or online. How to Survive Life (and Death), A Guide To Happiness In This World and Beyond is available the same ways – but ask for it at your local bookstore!

Friday, October 22, 2021

How Spirituality, Religion & Psychedelics Are (and Aren’t) the Same – “Perennial” Truths We Can All Use

     Have you ever heard of Aldous Huxley? He’s the 20th Century author and philosopher best known for his prescient 1932 book, Brave New World, where he warned us about how future technology (and pharmaceuticals) could destroy the shape of our society and our lives. He’s also known for his ground-breaking account of the effects of psychedelic substances, 1954’s The Doors of Perception, which not only inspired the naming of the iconic L.A. rock band, but also open the doors to Flower Power, Sgt. Pepper, and “tune in, turn on, drop out,” the Sixties call to discovering a new, naturally ethical way to live.

Huxley was definitely tuned into something big earlier on his path in 1945 when his book The Perennial Philosophy was first published by Harper & Brothers. Intermingled with his observations about the nature of human being and our spiritual relationship to Life and the Universe, are excerpts and quotations from great spiritual texts and teachers, all of which define a set of principles that are consistent to every great world religion, and describe a greater “non-ordinary” reality that supports and enfolds all of humankind’s material knowledge and experience.

Pretty deep stuff, right? But when we break it down, as Huxley did, it provides us with four easy, direct concepts that answer those eternal mysteries: What’s going on here? And, What is the purpose of Life? Naturally, knowing those answers can give us much more practical ways to approach our personal day-to-day, here and now. Here they are, as simply as I can put them:

  • The entire material world, witnessed through our human perception and the nature of our Consciousness, arises from a “Divine Field-of-Being” – a unified, infinite ground of potential and manifestation – in which all realities exist. Different religions may call this “the Kingdom,” “the Tao,” “emptiness,” “Brahman;” or scientists might name it “the Quantum Field.”
  • Human beings cannot really know “The Divine” by presumption or by scientific theorizing, but only through a direct form of inner experience. Observation (particularly of Nature) may lead to some realization of it, but generally it requires the deconstruction of the material idea of our “self” – a psychic shift that often comes from a life-changing incident…because…
  • Human beings comprise a duality, consisting of our outward, ever-changing, ever-demanding material self and ego-mind; and our authentic inner self, or “divine spark, or well-spring” that is always connected by its true, eternal nature to that Divine Consciousness, and to all of Life.
  • Ultimately, we’re all here to identify with that eternal self – to recognize the transcendent part of ourselves that is alive, and connected to all of Life, in that greater spiritual reality. When we connect with the Divine, underlying Field-of-Being, everything that comes and goes – good or bad – is fine as it is, because we identify with that safe, grounding source instead. Creating that connection is the essential purpose of our human life on Earth – to realize that we all One. 

Organized religions end up having a hard time bringing these concepts to bear because their institutional attachments and dogma tend to obstruct or define the pure personal experience (the idea that anyone can experience “Christhood,” or become a Buddha themselves). Many saints of organized religion were actually outsiders of a sort.

Psychedelics, or what indigenous people may revere as “sacred plant teachers” are effective, but do require ingesting some mind-altering substance to force entry into a non-ordinary state-of-being.

What is left as the authentic ground of of these fundamental, eternal realizations is what we call Spirituality – that exclusive, available, ’anecdotal’  form of personal inner experience which contains both religion and the teachings of sacred plants. It’s very personal – all it requires is your undivided presence. It experientially defines, and is intellectually defined by Huxley’s remarkable Perennial Philosophy. I think of it as “Explicit Spirituality,” and it’s a great way to inform and direct your life.

It is interesting (though not necessary) that Huxley’s Perennial explorations led him to open those psychedelic “doors” later on, because they do bring about some overlapping realizations (according to most authentic experiencers of mescaline, psilocybin, ayahuasca, etc.) – realizations that most religions struggle to impart:

  • The unity and connectedness of shared, fundamental Consciousness.
  • An unshakeable understanding of the sacred nature of all of Life.
  • The awareness of a real, functioning greater reality; most often experienced as Love.
  • A realization of the eternal, timeless nature of the moment – a sense of presence.
  • A fundamental positivity and joyfulness (made possible by living principles, like Kindness, Honesty, Humility, Forgiveness, and Service).

If we literally take this trail-blazers simple schematic to heart, we can spiritually find ourselves where we’ve always belonged, heading in the direction we were always meant to go.

"Our present world is conditioned by our present mode of consciousness; only when that consciousness passes from its present dualistic mode...will the new creation appear…of which our world is a mirror."

Bede Griffiths

Read about concepts like these and much more in: How to Get to Heaven (Without Really Dying), Wisdom From a Near-Death Survivor  from Llewellyn Worldwide available direct on this page, or online. The first book: How to Survive Life (and Death), A Guide To Happiness In This World and Beyond is available the same ways – but ask for it at your local bookstore!

Monday, June 21, 2021

Join Robert with Kirsty Salisbury on "Let's Talk Near-Death"

Join Robert with Kirsty Salisbury for this new, light-hearted thought-provoking and entertaining interview
on her award-winning podcast – NDE stories, afterlife conversation, the truth about death,
and how to realize Heaven wherever you are!

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Imagine Merging 3 Cool Ways to Meditate...

“As a man thinks, so he becomes.” 
Proverbs, 23:7

That very Buddhist saying from the Bible always strikes me as a bit of a wake-up call, snapping me out of my typical rolling stupor. It just makes so much sense that it has to be true, doesn’t it? It takes me back to the challenges I had in my earliest efforts of sitting and trying to meditate – challenges I still have, sometimes, because (if you’ve tried it you know) meditating isn’t as easy as it sounds. 

I used to sit uncomfortably cross-legged and think: I'm gonna do this now. Okay, it’s time to meditate. Here we go. Meditating... meditating…meditating… I'd keep my eyes closed, and wonder when it was all going to happen. Whatever it was. The image I always ended up holding in my mind was of myself sitting there, trying to meditate. It never worked, but somehow I knew that if I wanted to free myself from the vexing constraints of my typical thoughts, “imagining” would have to play a major role in the process.

For me, it meant slowly formulating three ways that could help me step aside from the incessant demands of my "normal" semi-conscious stream of thought. Then, as I practiced them, I noticed how they began to merge within my meditations. Maybe my three ways can help you too.

It's said in Gnana Yoga – the Yoga of Wisdom, that "the intellect is a ladder that can be used to transcend itself." Well, being a ‘complicated’ guy, that's what I needed at first – an intellectual entry point to a meditative state. But that's just me, because I think I think too much. So I had to start by using that –  to recognize my thoughts themselves as being a simple, ongoing process that was always available to me, rather than as the self-defining dictation of every second of my life. 


I used the image of me sitting in a theater in my mind, watching my thoughts parade across the screen, with an insistent narrator listing the important details of my haphazard newsreel, one after another. I became an audience member, which was a start, but I needed something more concise, more organic if I was going to use my thinking to transcend my thinking. As often happens, nature showed me a helpful metaphor.

One day, I was sitting by a river where there were a lot of little flying insects, tightly swarming. Suddenly, a flock of beautiful swallows appeared, gracefully wheeling and sweeping through the insect cloud, devouring the gnats in an incredible silent choreography of circular aerobatics. I began to watch my gnatty little thoughts being swept up by my more organized, more elegant thoughts – the product of a calm, detached objectivity. Then the flock of swallows passed, and I sat there, neither insect nor bird, but simply the witness to this remarkable process of nature. That was it! I needed to become the witness to all my different thoughts before anything else.

That was the first way.

Another way I was taught to meditate at first was to observe my mechanical, physical process of breathing. The old in breathe in through your nose, out through your mouth. Of course, the point in having you sit and count your breaths in and out, is that it gets you to shut up and sit, and to practice just sitting. Then I happened to read Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, and Pema Chodron, about what they called tonglen meditation, and it added powerful emotional images to the boredom of just breathing in and out. I breathed in my anxiety, and breathed out serenity. I breathed in frustration, and breathed out compassion. I breathed in the evils of the world, and breathed out the answer: I breathed in fear, and breathed out Love.

While I sat, breathing in and out with my eyes closed, I couldn't help but notice that play of energetic activity inside of my closed eyelids. What was that dance of fluctuating, effervescent energy? A kind of subtle, electric storm – vibrating, coalescing, alive. And when I coupled that optical awareness with my controlled breathing, I could see my changing internal energies – a calming of that inner, electric ocean that connected me to everything. And naturally, through observing and feeling these physical experiences, I wasn't thinking anymore.

Finally, in that place where I could be a witness to my thoughts, and to my amazing internal processes, another way opened up: I became more and more aware of not being alone. There was a benevolent, eternal presence with me all the time, calmly waiting for me to get out of my own way. It was my Native American forefather; or the lovely angel who had rescued me from my personal precipices so many times. It was the huge heart of Gandhi, the compassion of Jesus, the omniscient understanding of Krishna. I remembered a Buddhist meditation where you sit, directly facing the Buddha, sequentially mirroring the energies of his chakras down from the crown, and up again.

In my heart, I identified with the spinning dervishes, recreating Rumi's search for his lost soulmate, Shams, through the circular landscapes of his heart. I saw the rocking Hasidim, pouring over scripture, oblivious to the life of the subway car. Suddenly, I knew the ecstasy of that devotional focus. The moment of dedication to one pure, true, shared spiritual soul. I stumbled upon the devotional aspect of meditation the other approaches had allowed me (called Bhakti Yoga by Hindus).

A witness to my thoughts, to the internal magic of my very being, to the company (wholly imagined, or absolutely inter-dimensional) of transcendent, benevolent, eternal spirits carrying me along the river of Life, I suddenly discovered that I could sit in meditation. That I’d really done a lot of sitting in meditation. And that––best of all––I could find that incomparable sixth sense of freedom whenever I wanted, and whenever I needed.

And I didn't even have to think about it anymore.

“As a person doesn’t think, well…they don’t have to become that.”

Read about concepts like these and much more in: How to Get to Heaven (Without Really Dying), Wisdom From a Near-Death Survivor  from Llewellyn Worldwide available direct on this page, or online. The first book: How to Survive Life (and Death), A Guide To Happiness In This World and Beyond is available the same ways – but ask for it at your local bookstore!

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

What Is Childhood to a Reincarnating Soul?

         What is childhood? Sounds like kind of a dumb question, doesn’t it? After all, it’s pretty obvious what childhood is – it’s the beginning of your life, and what happens before you grow up. That’s simple enough, isn’t it? But we all know childhood isn’t that simple, and that so much happens in our childhood to pre-condition the course we take that maybe it’s really the most critical part of life.

But what if we put childhood in a different context, in a larger context – in the context of our lives reincarnating, life upon life upon life? Then childhood isn’t just a stage we pass through in this life (since this entire human life is a stage we are passing through), but part of a continuum of human life-stages along with puberty, young adulthood, midlife, and old age (and even death and re-birth) – but notice none of those other stages seems to carry as much weight as “what happened to me when I was a kid”. 

In this larger “reincarnative” sense, the childhood we experience in our present life is something we’ve prepared for ourselves – something we’ve preconditioned, a foundational stage arising in the middle of our eternal soul adventure, over and over; similar to a re-booting, so to speak.

Most of us who can relate to this ‘lives of our souls’ intuitively understand that we carry the causes and effects of our life actions – our karma – along with us in every moment of whatever life we’re living; and that our karma is an indicator (and result) of the choices we’ve made, or paths we may take. So perhaps we can think of childhood as a 're-booted' starting point; a pre-conditioned ‘empty’ space, where our potential will begin to realize and manifest. So what kind of "re-start" is it?

Childhood is a time of innocence, of playfulness, of discovery, of awakening. It’s a time when, ideally, we are intuitively carefree, and unconsciously surrendered to the care of our providers. This is so for one simple reason: These are the forms and characteristics of our authentic selves. These are the characteristics of our souls:


Our soul is innocent – part and parcel of a pure, loving, creative force. Our soul is playful – it’s not weighed down by the gravity of self-importance. Our soul is in a constant state of willingness, and curiosity. Our soul is always open to awareness and expansion. Our soul is secure in its connection to, and complete dependence upon a loving, creative source – a divine matrix of loving intelligence.

So karma delivers our soul into our place – into our family, into our physical being; but the forms our life lessons will take have yet to be determined. This is the crucial period of forming our interface with the world – our ego interface. This is the time when our soul’s true nature is either suppressed or energized, dependent upon how the potential of Love’s energy is demonstrated to, and realized by our child. The actual conditions of life may be bad around us, but Love in the right places can lead us to a transcendent path. 

When we look back at the hardest parts of our own beginnings, it’s clear that it was the absence of Love that created them. This results in children feeling abandoned by those they naturally want to trust in most –  a serious, in a way imaginary condition many of us may carry for the rest of our lives that underlies so many of our personal struggles. Our soul always knows better: We are never abandoned. That is only the great illusion of human life, that we so easily feel separate and unloved. 

So here’s what childhood can mean to our karmic practice in this life (or How to Get a Great Childhood – next time): 

  • Intuitively, we all know how precious childhood and children are, and how important it is for children to be shown as much Love as possible, so we need to honor that responsibility absolutely – without fail.
  • It is simply the lack of Love that has created the difficulties we carry with us through life from our childhoods, so we can only overcome these difficulties in this life by becoming channels – givers and receivers – of Love. (You’ll notice 'karmically awakened' children do this from the very get-go!)
  • Realize that when life seems hard it’s because you’ve lost touch with your soul’s true nature – with your authentic self. Stop taking yourself so seriously. Do your best to open your heart, and return to a state of willingness. Try to be aware of the wonder and promise alive in every moment. Surrender to the natural design of your life, by releasing your willful urge to control things. Know that you are cared for.
  • And then...just be more playful! Have fun, be creative, and enjoy all the lovely little moments of life!

Here’s something one of our greatest “reincarnated” spiritual engineers said about it all, a long time ago… 

Yeshua himself called them and he said to them, “Let the children come to me and do not refuse them, because the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these.”

  Luke, 18:16

Read about concepts like these and much more in: How to Get to Heaven (Without Really Dying), Wisdom From a Near-Death Survivor  from Llewellyn Worldwide available direct on this page, or online. The first book: How to Survive Life (and Death), A Guide To Happiness In This World and Beyond is available the same ways – but ask for it at your local bookstore!

Sunday, November 1, 2020

The Curious [Spiritual] Phenomenon of Trump and His Supporters – A Call to Vote!

"A human being is part of the whole, called by us "Universe," a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest - a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty."

Albert Einstein

Different from other pop-pundits, I feel that as a “spiritual” writer commenting on material subjects like politics or contemporary culture, I should probably preface my commentary with a few qualifications; otherwise it may be hard[er] to accept that my observations come from an authentically “spiritual” perspective. Before I share my “spiritual” thoughts about Mr. Trump and those devoted to him, let me first give you some “material” backstory. 

Believe it or not, I survived three “Near-Death Experiences” over about fifteen years – you know, those other-worldly experiences where a person claims to briefly visit a crazy, beautiful “heavenly” existence beyond this crazy, beautiful human one.


In my first, I was knocked out of my body in a serious car accident and witnessed life on earth from about thirty feet above it. I “returned” with a literal spiritual Perspective on our lives as human beings – where we all channel a kind of divine life force through this “material” body-form we occupy. I returned to the crash scene later and confirmed parts of those surroundings that I could only have seen from the top of a light pole.

In my second, while living a downtown Manhattan life of self-destructive excess, I collapsed in a physical shut-down and was enfolded in a brilliant cloud where I was presented with some of the places I’d badly screwed-up in my life – like in an interactive movie that was hard to watch. I returned from that realizing the power of Presence – the power of each moment’s profound truth and singular potential, the awareness that awakens it, and the unconsciousness that can destroy it as in passes by in a flash.

In third and last (knock on wood), I was ambushed – knocked-out and severely beaten, stomped, and kicked by skinheads who mistakenly thought I was gay. I found myself in a safe, womblike place, surrounded by loving spirits who gently forced me back into this life, to naturally fulfill a kind of karmic “mission” that I still had to complete. I came back with a new Purpose, and after nearly ten years of volunteering in a New York City hospital, and thousands of hours of meditation and study, I became the author of two books, and an adviser and speaker dedicated to helping folks understand that there’s a lot more to this whole thing than meets the eye. At age 58, I’d found a greater reality…the hard way.

Like many experiences, spirituality is anecdotal – there’s no real way to prove to anyone else what needs no more proof to the experiencer. These are my true experiences, and they’ve understandably changed the way I live as a result of learning those three very difficult lessons. In the intervening years, I’ve worked with lots of people in various parts of Life – usually difficult parts – with questioning people, with crashing people, with dying people. I believe these experiences have (gratefully) given me a peculiarly valid kind of insight.

Basically, I view us as being expressions of the same Divine Consciousness – of all really being more or less the same thing here, expressing itself through each of our unique forms, filtered through our ancestry, our genetic make-up, our life experiences, our cultural biases. In this way, everyone, from the chillest swami to the biggest hothead, is expressing something we all know about – parts of a collective “self” we can all identify with. Everyone finds themselves at a certain level of awareness about ourselves and the world and behaves in a way that our personal level of consciousness dictates. With that in mind, I find acceptance, compassion, and forgiveness become the most important ways to work with each other; and kindness, honesty, and humility the most important principles we can bring to our own lives. 

That’s my “spiritual” backstory…and here’s my personal experience and observations about Trump and his devotees.

My own personal “transformation” occurred at the same time as I personally witnessed the events of 9/11, in New York City. I had lived there for more than twenty years leading up to that day – mostly years of material success, physical excess, and spiritual emptiness. I had many occasions to intersect life-paths with Donald Trump and his kind (while not nearly so well-financed, our interests did coincide in a number of ways, at that time). For years a close friend was a big TV Soap Opera star, and when I was with him, lots of strange and exclusive doors were opened. 

During those years I knew Trump as many New Yorkers knew him – objectively speaking – as a spoiled rich kid (his dad owned thousands of apartments in NYC) who was viewed as a selfish, lascivious, hedonistic con artist of sorts, and a guy who kept the company of pretty much the worst kind of people imaginable. I had no direct, personal experience of him other than the consistently negative things I heard through the local media (which I was a part of), although I did have three close friends who’d all had direct dealings with him, so I only had one “degree of separation.” 

It was always telling that everyone who worked for Trump in any way had to sign a Nondisclosure Agreement, guaranteeing they would not speak of any personal experience with him under threat of litigation.


In the 80s a relative of ours was severely injured by part of a Trump building that illegal (former Soviet-bloc, non-union) workers collapsed on them while they were walking down the street; followed by years of attested persecution and personal vilification by Trump and his lawyers, and costly legal complications that Trump eventually lost. 

Another close friend was hired to provide a professional service for a Trump project but quit when they refused to commit crimes (in furtherance of a massive Ponzi scheme) on behalf of Trump and his company. That company was subsequently shut down and ruled to be a criminal fraud. Trump settled that case by paying $26 million to his victims.

My third example is of a friend who was a Gulf War veteran who came home to start a business doing extremely dangerous maintenance jobs, which they had fairly contracted with Trump to do. After the work was done they invoiced the company as usual, only to receive a response that Trump had decided the job wasn’t worth the agreed-upon fee, and that they would either accept half the amount as payment-in-full or have the option to pursue the matter in court – and have their reputation as a service provider ruined throughout Trump’s extensive network of property owner contacts. 

These are direct, second-hand testimonials of friends that I absolutely believe – in fact two of them were definitively documented by the media. Those weren’t anecdotal experiences to me – they are objective truths that formed my impression of Mr. Trump, along with the knowledge around town that he had been documented as a racist, a dirty landlord, and a serial molester. NYers knew that his mentor had been the notorious Roy Cohn (mob lawyer and Joseph McCarthy’s righthand man), and that he hung around with drug abusers, gangsters, and deviants (like his longtime “party pals,” convicted pedophiles Jeffrey Epstein and John Casablancas). The Trump family had earned a thoroughly disreputable, even criminal reputation in financial matters, and Donald was demonstrably a pathological liar and failed businessman, and anecdotally considered a drug addict (known in those circles to abuse cocaine and other substances), a likely sexual deviant, and a low-grade gangster himself – turned into a TV reality star by a savvy British TV producer named Mark Burnett. 

As a media professional myself, the stories that circulated in production circles out of Trump’s NBC TV show told a sordid story that supported many of the worst impressions possible. In the 2016 presidential election, Trump lost his home town of New York City by a resounding 84 to 16%. Clearly, the great majority of New Yorkers who knew him best had formed a justifiable distrust and distaste for the man. 

Given the evidence of his administration (including the unnecessary loss of over ONE MILLION American lives) and his irrationally traitorous behavior since he definitively lost the election, I believe this represents a pretty accurate representation of a sociopath who has created so much chaos, division, and anxious, fearful preoccupation – something that none of us need in our already challenging lives. It is the profile of a desperately damaged individual, who despite deserving the full measure of our compassion, is nonetheless a very poor (even dangerous) candidate for any position of leadership and responsibility, having stated his desire to end American democracy and align himself with criminal dictators Putin (with whom he has a long history), Xi, Orban, and others. Still, we must avoid reactionary judgements.

 "Once you label me, you negate me.”

Attributed to Kierkegaard 

While these facts and impressions have formed my “material” profile of the man; and knowing that they’re available to everyone (including his daily statements and behaviors), it has always been difficult to understand how so many fellow Americans – particularly smart, otherwise good-hearted friends within my own “spiritual” circles, can harbor a kind of elevated respect and even absolute devotion that they seem to feel for a man who is objectively a criminal deviant – a victim of extremely dark karma, including likely childhood abuse in the same forms as he is known to have inflicted on his own children. It’s abuse that I suffered in childhood too, so I don’t speak from judgement, but from painful identification.

This phenomenon is fairly simply and directly described by the idea that we’re in a kind of ‘school of spiritual evolution,’ that sixth-graders through first-graders are attending simultaneously (I think I was expelled from an early grade…). Trump supporters are ‘first-graders,’ observably disturbed – objectively angry, aggressive, cognitively dissonant people; people who are likely to have suffered difficult, even abusive childhoods (like Trump); marked by alcoholism and drug-abuse, racist beliefs, feelings of unjust victimization, and beliefs of religious superiority and entitlement. Their spiritual surrender is incomplete, so they experience only a fearful God, not a God of absolute tolerance and pure Love. The degree to which they wish to control life is proportional to their level of suffering, and proportional to the level of violence that seems justified to permit their efforts to control the uncontrollable. Trump excites, focuses, and expresses this dark energy for them on a larger stage.

The elite corporatists and their professional media-shapers know this, and easily manipulate this ‘base’ of devotees, unconsciously driven by their own delusional, incomplete mythology. They know that people of constrained consciousness can be directed by their fears, and have made a science out of convincing them the corporate cause is to their own benefit, when in fact the opposite is true. For them, it’s all about money, power, and the selfish exploitation of our planet’s resources – they are the ‘second-graders’ who are the true creators of the Earth’s current theater of suffering. 

What you can do is to organize, take action, vote, identify and forgive, provide evidence of the unseen consciousness alive in everything, and remove the obstacles from Love flowing in, around, and through all of our gorgeous life on this amazing planet. 

VOTE to prevent the spread of ignorance and evil unconsciousness. VOTE to advance our spiritual evolution and to give our species a chance to help restore balance to the world. Step into the light, look at the real condition of the Earth, and VOTE like all the current life of the planet depends on it…because at this point in human history, it does.

Read about concepts like these and much more in: How to Get to Heaven (Without Really Dying), Wisdom From a Near-Death Survivor  from Llewellyn Worldwide available direct on this page, or online. The first book: How to Survive Life (and Death), A Guide To Happiness In This World and Beyond is available the same ways – but ask for it at your local bookstore!

Monday, September 21, 2020

Simple, Solid Bridges to a Working Spiritual Life (Learned the Hard Way)

            I'm known for having had the [mis]fortune of surviving multiple "near-death experiences," and as a result I (unintentionally) find myself absolutely certain that there's a spiritual reality that underlies, informs, and precipitates all of this success-seeking, bill-paying, precaution-taking material existence. It's a function of what the Hindus call Maya, the illusion of Life. While being hit on the head three times very hard may exclude me from what's normally considered as "sanity," I think it was what I personally really needed. I needed experiences that painfully proved the existence of a reality that's magically extra-dimensional in every sense – physically, spiritually, and conceptually. Realizations that I suppose are more commonly known as faith.

            Thankfully a lot of us acquire this understanding in easier ways, from our parents, or from religion, or just in the course of coping with the slings and arrows that life throws our way. Apparently being challenged by hardship does help to make us realize that there's a reliable order alive in the universe we can turn to, especially when things get tough. Naturally, I certainly can't recommend near-death as a means to bridging that elusive gap between the harsh realities of "material" life and a more grace-filled "spiritual" life, but I can offer you a few very practical bridges into that living magic that makes everything so much more enjoyable – grounded in this fundamental concept:

            We are spiritual beings learning through physical experience; we are designed to overcome the mental and physical barriers presented by human sensory experiences and realize our spiritual nature. There are bridges – invisible spiritual mechanisms (choices) – built into this physical experience that afford us passages to our spiritual evolution.
Here are a few solid bridges that help us cross that dimensional divide:

Unconditional Kindness is the most available (and enjoyable) mechanism that engages us with our spiritual life by giving us an immediate heartfelt identification with others – the [proactive] warmth and support that we respond to ourselves, when it's unconditionally shown to us. Being unconditionally kind to others is being kind to ourselves, because we find we can easily forgive others for just being human, and realize that applies to us too. We give everyone a break, because life is tough for everyone. As part of that, Unconditional Kindness obliges there be no exploitation, manipulation, or participation in doing harm of any kind in our actions, so we end up being forthright, friendly vegetarians who work at something that contributes to Life in a meaningful, productive way. (We even get to forgive those who can't understand our approach to Life)
            Hindus call this Karma Yoga, and it instantly connects us to an unseen dimension of profound compassion and generosity that we may have never known was alive everywhere in the world. We make, and find others who are making, good karma.

Honesty in all our relationships and dealings, and in what you might think of as a variation of confession—owning up to our mistakes, not always needing to be right—is really a visible invisible bridge. We all know how it simplifies our life, since being honest gives us fewer of life's complications to fear, because you're simply never adding to them. Your motives remain those of a seeker of fairness, truth, and wisdom. You become seen and known as a person who is resolutely trustworthy, whose intentions are of the highest order...that sounds pretty spiritual, doesn't it? It's a kind of intellectual vigilance that Hindus call Gnana Yoga.

Giving, simply put, may be the single most important bridge, particularly to an agnostic that isn't interested in "extra-dimensions" but does want to live with a more graceful connection to Life. What we might call Compassionate Consciousness (altruistic effort like charity and volunteerism) – often referred to simply as service (like responsible parenthood, being a good friend, etc.) – is the most reliable bridge to a working spirituality. It's simply the singular most effective means to overcoming the sense of separateness we develop while sitting and thinking about ourselves and our own life situations – that selfishness that paints us into our own little corner, only using the color fear.
            In selfless service—with no regard for reward or recognition—we're immediately attached to a greater universal intelligence by the lightest of all yokes: the engagement created by contributing to the cycle of well-being. We almost immediately escape the harsh realities dictated by our ego, and instantly begin to lighten and align our karma. (Karma Yoga, again)

Humility – not as a form of self-deprecatory ineffectiveness, but instead as a subtle, powerful sense of reality and connection; as an extraordinary underlying energy that filters all of your Life experiences, and provides an intuitive ideal to live by with purpose and grace. We've all experienced this powerful kind of humility as a truth-bearing, holistic force in Life, often demonstrated by the people we really respect the most. Nobody is really that important—even if they are; and often people who don't act important but just show up with open-hearted willingness are the most important of all.

"Conscious Contact with Source Energy" is what all these bridges lead us to, actually. A personal attachment and conscious surrender into the energy and intelligence alive in the Universe, regardless of whether we personify that power in popular traditional ways, or form our own concept of it as "The Field of Love," or other force. In this way we surrender—as a strategy—into the power that energizes and directs our being, recognizing the true control that our choices give us over our lives. You become aware of all kinds of beauty, the inherent divinity in nature; and realize that your actions in Life can be devoted to this undeniable Source of Creation – to "God," to Life, to one another, to Love. The Hindus call this devotional, or Bhakti Yoga.

            I don't pretend to know the designs of the Universe, only to have experienced the effectiveness of these visible (invisible) mechanisms in my own life and in the lives of those I'm close to; but I do know this:
            You do deserve the life that you have – with most of your biggest difficulties defined by whether you willingly cross these bridges towards "the spiritual," or stay stuck (and frustrated) on this side of the river, avoiding the magical extra-dimension of Life.

Read about this and much more in: How to Get to Heaven (Without Really Dying), Wisdom From a Near-Death Survivor  from Llewellyn Worldwide available direct on this page, or online. The first book: How to Survive Life (and Death), A Guide To Happiness In This World and Beyond is available the same ways – but ask for it it at your local bookstore!