Thursday, April 19, 2018

A Drop in a Day: How Ego Puts Us on The Little Spot

"We are created by our thoughts. We become what we think. Pain and suffering follow negative thoughts like the wheel follows the ox that pulls it." 
The Dhammapada, 1: 1

      It's crazy what a fussy thing it is to be a human being sometimes. Fussy, itsy-bitsy preoccupations can end up occupying an entire day, or week (or life). Small slip-ups can cascade into torrential hang-ups and unexpectedly put a lock on practically everything, even when it might all be based on nothing, really. Just look at the way we look at things, and wonder why we tend to see them in such an upside-down way…

      We're up, awake, and "fully-functioning" for what – about sixteen to eighteen hours a day? The other six or eight we're safely in dreamland. During the course of that sixteen hours of activity, everything usually goes fairly well. Usually. For the most part everything runs pretty smoothly, except for the occasional day when nothing at all seems to go right. (My wife often blames that on "Mercury going retrograde," which doesn't do anything for me, except to get me mad at Mercury–a very hot planet that I barely even know…) 
      Even then, the problems of a problem-filled day at most add up to just an hour or two of difficulties, if you're really keeping track of it. One-sixteenth of your waking day. Most of the time, the trouble spots we experience are actually very brief – singular sticky moments that pass quickly, but that for some reason we may hold on to and inflate well out of proportion. 

      It could be one cross look. One misplaced word, or phrase, or gesture. One tiny misunderstanding, or slip, or traffic cross-up, or failure to hear something right, and suddenly it's as if the world got knocked off it's axis. That minor flaw—possibly only two minutes in the whole of our otherwise smooth sixteen-hours—can  take us hostage, eat up all of our mental bandwidth, and demand ownership of the entire day. Just two minutes – out of the one-thousand-four hundred and forty-four in a day.

"The cleaner the tablecloth, the more obvious the spot." 

      …says my mentor Ray, pointing out that unnecessary obsession with the one itsy-bitsy thing that goes wrong, the one little thing that can throw our entire well-being out of whack. So what's really up with that?

      Part of the hardwiring we labor with as humans being human is our vestigial, eternally fearful Ego – the picky, judgmental part of our thinking that still likes to imagine some prehistoric predator is hiding behind every bush. Nothing is ever right for this fuss-bucket from our left brain, constantly pointing out the smallest flaws in an otherwise beautiful finish. Unless we recognize that aggravating inner voice as not being who we want to be, and consciously calling it out, it will happily take ownership of our day in two silly, uncomfortable minutes. 
      That's the simple mindfulness  required – to become aware of that fearful self-criticism (by default), and reject it! After all, who needs a scold when things are actually going quite well?
      The other thing we can do to defuse that out-of-proportion foible is to fix it immediately. Blot out the spot right away! Instantly apologize for the dumb thing you said. Spontaneously extend forgiveness to someone who seems to have slighted you. Brush off the inconsequential objection your fussy Ego wants to stick on your forehead, and... 

      Instead of letting one wrong minute own your day, take ownership of the fifteen hours and fifty-nine minutes you got right! Be empowered by the fact that you're doing very well, thank you, and you won't need any more help from the self-criticism department. The fact is—you're really on a roll when it comes to living well, and as long as you remember that kindness, honesty, humility, forgiveness, compassion, and service are everybody's friends, you can ignore that little spot on the tablecloth – who cares? It just means you had a nice lunch.

      In the bright light of Love, one little spot is nothing...really.

"We are created by our thoughts. We become what we think. Happiness attaches itself like an inseparable shadow to the positive thoughts that precede it." 
The Dhammapada, 1: 2

Read about this and much more in the new book: How to Get to Heaven (Without Really Dying), Wisdom From a Near-Death Survivor is due out early 2018, from Llewellyn Worldwide can be pre-ordered online. The first book: How to Survive Life (and Death), A Guide To Happiness In This World and Beyond is available everywhere – but ask for it it at your local bookstore!

Monday, April 16, 2018

A Talk for Virginia Beach IANDS at Cayce A.R.E., 4/14/2018

Thanks to Neil Helm and the Va Beach Chapter for this lecture/book event, and excellent workshop – a beautiful group in a lovely location.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

I'll be appearing at the IANDS 2018 "Explore the Extraordinary" Conference, Seattle 8/30–9/2

Join me for my lecture on How to Get to Heaven (Without Really Dying) - Registration opens soon!

...yours truly, and many more. My lecture will be Thurs. August 30th,    
3 to 4:00PM. 
I Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

It's "How to Get to Heaven (Without Really Dying)" Book Launch Time!

March 2018

NDE survivors, mystics, swamis, and saints have all described a Heaven of infinite Love, luminous radiance, and complete compassionate connectedness—but I'm here to tell you that you don't have to go to quite so much trouble to locate that Heaven on Earth in your everyday experience of life. It's all around us, and within us, all the time!

Here you'll find reviews from Thomas Moore, Anita Moorjani, Llewellyn Vaughn-Lee, and many others, for a voyage into the Perspective, Presence, and Purpose that can help us realize a kind of paradise, in any world we may happen to live... 

Monday, February 12, 2018

How Media and Science Sell Us a Dangerous Delusion

I wanted to re-post this (slightly updated) article, because I think it speaks well, and with some immediacy, about what we see going on more and more these days. I hope you enjoy it. It starts with this:  

"Yeshua said: If you bring forth that which is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you."
Logion 70, The Gospel of Thomas

Denial is ignorance, accepted as truth through the force of will. Our personal will, and our collective will.

Popular Media and Science justify and enforce this will, directing us away from the self examination that makes us face our collective truths realistically, and psychically cornering us in the "The Way Things Are." They preoccupy us with good enough reasons for why things are like they are—and why they have to be like they are. Much of Media and Science is created and used to diffuse truth and replace it with a designed objective, to sell an idea or product—turning the truth into an obstacle that needs to be suppressed, where it becomes, as stated in our Gospel of Thomas quote again: "That which will destroy you." We end up walking confusedly through a false world, looking for what's real. This is the Maya of Media and Science.

It may sound funny to call this Occultism, and to suggest that media operatives and scientists are occultists, but unfortunately it does work for a couple definitions of the word — in the sense of using supernatural or paranormal means and methods: Media people know they are manipulating dark fears; and in the sense of it being only for the initiated: Scientists and media people consort amongst one another to keep their stories straight. They both harbor scary secrets about what motivates them, shared only by a select few.

Popular Culture often harnesses the psychic energy of "that which would destroy you" as it's chief attraction. The Collective Ego is always on the lookout for something to prove that humans are not particularly Divine and that we don't measure up, and so there must be something that can fix it—something that can calm or repair our shortcomings. So Media constantly stimulates those hot buttons of judgement and comparison—Fear, and the pathology of self-enhancement, to get you to quite literally buy into it:

My clothes are right. My lifestyle is right. I have the right friends, and the proper idols. My country is right. My religion is right. If you don't keep in line with these artificial demands, you won't measure up, or deserve material reward and the acknowledgment of others—which in reality can do nothing to assure happiness or fulfillment. You're made to fear that you might not even deserve Love unless you've achieved some cultural standardand we all know the truth—that Love is the only thing that really assures happiness and fulfillment, and it's available to everyone for free.

These common fears are manipulated, heightened and kept malleable by the ever-increasing exposure to explicit violence, explicit selfishness, and explicit narcissism, without which, there would be practically nothing on television—or increasingly at the movies, or on the radio either. And lately, these fears are increasingly exploited to define our political choices. In mainstream media's earlier years, human foibles were often pointed out as a lesson, or morality play. News programming reported events fairly objectively. But nowadays a corporate business model prevails that requires media to ruthlessly exploit human faults and fears, in every format where selling products, ideas, or candidates is possible.
Television and film must be be watched very selectively to avoid these base, destructive energies; and while the internet also allows for content choice, you musn't forget the greatest selectivity of all: You have the choice not to take part in it at all, if you don't feel it's serving your best interests. And if you must take part, don't invest yourself in it spiritually. You can't find happiness with an unhealthy spirit.

Remember what Marshall McLuhan said: "The medium is the message." If you are constantly carrying, sitting in front of, looking at, a device that keeps you constantly attached to a false world, it will be impossible to live the easy, authentic, love-filled life that everyone deserves. If the forms of input you receive are superficial and fragmented and designed by people who don't have your best interests at heart, your life will always feel the same. Attachment to current media results in the collapse of your consciousness into a dark and selfish place.

In a generally (though not always) less intentional way, Science does the same thing by manipulating the agnosticism of the seeker. It's kind of like a religion whose dogma is always changing—a religion of logic, of data, of "empirical" observation, based solely on what our current senses and devices permit us to perceive and calculate. In the past, these means were limited, but even in those 'dark ages' Science was still very sure of itself and it's authoritative description of the world. As means of observation improve, the world and being itself changes—according to Science—but still needs to be subjected to a healthier, more spiritual interpretation.

Now, as evolving Consciousness allows perception beyond our five senses (and is verified scientifically), and technology enables us to observe more and more of our (formerly invisible) nature of being, Science begins to resemble a dogma chasing a tale that Mysticism has been telling for a long, long time. And here's how that tale ends, and what it tells us about the real nature of our reality:
 Everything is connected and interdependent; and, if we aren't willing to investigate the truth behind our being, and the motivations that suppress that truth, then "That will destroy us."

But there is a form of Maya that can free us from the delusional limitations of the other (scary) three: We can switch to a Maya of inner experience and collective ecological sanity...The Maya of Nature. Turn off your mind, open your heart and your senses to the beauty and balance alive in the natural world, and the truth will rise up out of the ruins of our false structures of ego—media and science.

The Universe is an awesome and beautiful mystery, activated by our shared Consciousness. If we bring forth that Universe that is within us—that we all share—then what we bring forth will save us.

Read about this and much more in the new book: How to Get to Heaven (Without Really Dying), Wisdom From a Near-Death Survivor is due out early 2018, from Llewellyn Worldwide can be pre-ordered online. The first book: How to Survive Life (and Death), A Guide To Happiness In This World and Beyond is available everywhere – but ask for it it at your local bookstore!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Taking it Easy in the Isn't-Matter-World

The ocean pours through a jar, and you might say
It swims inside the fish!
This mystery gives peace to your longing,
and makes the road home
become home.

Yep, sometimes it’s a challenge just to take it easy.  This world does assault us. This world makes a lot of demands on us. But then, which world is it that asks so much and gives so little? And which world is it that really gives us everything (and maybe even more, if we let it)?
Any major Buddhist will tell you that the world of material attachments is an illusion, composed of a constantly changing—constantly coming and going—surface “reality.” What we think we need often turns out to be not what we thought we needed at all, and it’s all because of what we’re thinking. It’s because we’re usually making things up.
So, okay, it’s not really real…but then it is real, isn’t it? It just isn’t always too reliable, and a lot of it doesn’t come when we want it, or stay as long as we’d like.

This world is a made-up world. It’s made up of outside appearances, of important occasions, of accelerating schedules, of stuff you have to have and stuff you have to do. But all of that stuff comes and goes, and often, it’s just fine if you realize that you forgot all about it, until it was too late. Oops! I missed it!...and it doesn’t even matter that I did.
That’s the world we usually think really matters—the world of matter. That’s the world that’s so alluring, so demanding, so unforgiving. The “matter-world.” The world that you usually forget about (the one you take for granted) is the one that’s always there, but always sort of underneath everything. That’s the world that everything of real importance actually comes from. It’s the (often invisible) world that doesn’t change. It’s the Isn’t-Matter-World.

The Isn’t-Matter-World is the world of beautiful ideas that never go away, that stick with you until maybe you bring them into the material world, if you really want them there. It’s the world of Love, which is the deepest fundamental connection and motivation we have for everything of real value that arises in this life. It’s the world of miracles (like this miracle we’re all participating in, in every single instant).

The deep river water under the ice is the real, unchanging world of Love, of Art, of wonderful ideas and miraculous synchronicities—like meeting each other, or doing something really nice for someone else. It’s a world of elemental innocence, of compassionate connectedness, and of the awesome power of true humility that flows through everything of real value and beauty.

Skate lightly on the material surface, and know the deep river water-world is running through you. Live in that world, showing up (with an open heart) for the easy-does-it demands of the ever-changing surfaces. Then, the Isn’t-Matter-World will carry you in it’s flow.

Rumi by way of Coleman Barks

Read about this and much more in the new book: How to Get to Heaven (Without Really Dying), Wisdom From a Near-Death Survivor is due out early 2018, from Llewellyn Worldwide can be pre-ordered online. The first book: How to Survive Life (and Death), A Guide To Happiness In This World and Beyond is available everywhere – but ask for it it at your local bookstore!

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Visit the Brand New Website

I'm very happy to announce my new website is up–it's basic for now–but soon I'll be listing events, and featuring reviews and links to shows and happenings...💛 

Come by and check it out!

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Why Are Near-Death Experiences All So Different?

Despite what current politics may suggest, there’s no doubt that a “Divine Consciousness” is rapidly expanding throughout the human race. Even my coffee cup is about to start talking to me. A lot of what was once considered ridiculously paranormal has now been empirically proven, and popularly embraced. In fact, the human race is clearly now a race between the realization of the role Consciousness plays in the creation of our world, and the destructive consequences that ignoring it has caused, and is causing everyday.

So what does that have to do with ‘Near-Death Experiences?’ Well, now it seems even Science is converging on the ancient, but currently revolutionary concept that Consciousness itself may be an elemental force – a field, like gravity, or electromagnetism. That Consciousness itself is really the eternal quantum field of being, generating the formation of material life – rather than the other way around (this idea, as biocentrism, is very intelligently proposed by Dr. Robert Lanza, of Wake Forest University). And what are ‘NDEs’ but further testimonies of the continuation of consciousness beyond physical life?

The rapidly growing Near-Death Movement – based on thousands of testimonies of people who have experienced consciousness beyond the limitations of our physical life – is yet another example of humanity’s limitless spiritual potential. It's additional evidence of our ability to co-create whatever reality we participate in – be it on the Earth right here, or in that sweet hereafter.

I'd never given any of it much thought, until the power and meaning of my own three "NDEs" arose, and compelled me to write a book that put me into the hub of the hubbub. I've since discovered that the community of near-death experiencers ranges somewhere from five to fifteen percent of the general population, globally. Now that's a whole lot of non-ordinary reality.

Naturally, I have less reason than the average Joe to doubt the veracity of all that testimony; but I have found plenty of reason to ask this question: why is it that near-death experiences are all so different? If we're all governed by eternal, invisible machinery, why do we see such a range of afterlife options, all tailored to the individual participant? Shouldn't we all go down that identical tunnel into the light, and meet Grandpa in that same shimmering field of Elysium?

Some near-death returnees report celestial extravaganzas. Some tell of organizations of elders and angels, structured in an elaborate cosmic framework. For others, it's a hellish nightmare, complete with every infernal cliché. The reason for all these differences can be simply explained if we consider the way we’re always participating in the field of Consciousness – how we are always creating our own individual realities.

 My own NDEs were humble, by comparison, but they all had one glorious factor in common; that I did not lose Consciousness when I lost consciousness. In fact, all three times, I experienced an enhanced consciousness, seamlessly uninterrupted from this life to the next.
Skeptics suggest this sense of continuity is the result of a still-active mind – a mind not yet fully "dead," and they're right. Since Consciousness is a field we eternally participate in, our mind never actually dies, it simply joins a greater mind. The Hindu Vedas suggested that thousands of years ago. Dear Dr. Carl Jung described it too, way back in the 20th century. Mind continues working on, beyond these physical constraints.

And as for the differences, well, imagine someone dying, and awakening in this world. What would they experience? The war in Syria? A recital by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir? Perhaps a high-powered business lunch – or even that visit to Grandpa's? In this elemental context, we all imagine the life we are living, and live it. We all enter into the life we need to experience. This is the mystery of any incarnation; and it will continue to be the mystery, from this life to the next. What NDEs do tell us is that our continuing engagement in a greater mind is defined by the karma we create in our life (or lives), and carry that with us (and back) in a way.

"Memory ensures that nature creates individual forms that are copies of the primal universal forms."
                              The Hermetica

What if all bets (the limitations of this material world) really were off when it comes to our greatest potential imaginable – the unharnessed power of “God’s mind?”  What if our imaginations were released from the obvious limitations of this physical form? Almost anything is already possible here and now – so how about a world where your imagination is set free to manifest reality, without material limitations?

In "the next world," as in this one, our karmic imagination is like the clay connecting us to Divine Consciousness; that Consciousness is like the ever-spinning potter’s wheel that everything grows up out of; and the source of power is like, well, The Source of Power.
Welcome to every life (and afterlife) you will ever live–and remember, whatever life you’re living, create that life with Love!

Read more about the same thing, by Kevin Williams at the wonderfully complete and comprehensive And check out this Wiki entry for the Tibetan theory of the "bardos," or transitory states of the afterlife.

Read about this and much more in the new book: How to Get to Heaven (Without Really Dying), Wisdom From a Near-Death Survivor is due out early 2018, from Llewellyn Worldwide can be pre-ordered online. The first book: How to Survive Life (and Death), A Guide To Happiness In This World and Beyond is available everywhere – but ask for it it at your local bookstore!