Archive for the ‘You create your own reality’ Category

The world’s oddest couple

Sunday, February 6th, 2011

Dear friends

There’s a glorious story about Orson Welles, who imported a real witch doctor from Haiti to play in a black version of Macbeth. A critic from the Herald Tribune, one Percy Hammond, gave the play a bad review. So the real witch doctor begged Welles for permission to put a ‘beri-beri’ curse on Hammond. Welles, thinking nothing of it, told him to go right ahead. Hammond was in hospital in 24 hours and dead in 48. That much is documented.

Mind or matter? No surprise that medical experts declared the cause to be a long-standing physical ailment. But when a modern audience came to the opening of a play about Welles which contained the story, it was asked for a show of hands with this question: ‘Do we have any critics in tonight?’ Not a single hand was raised.

Traditional science says that original cause is physical matter. The spiritual masters say that original cause is consciousness. At first sight it seems that one must be right and the other wrong; the two could not possibly have anything in common.

But they do.

I imagine the front cover of—say—Time magazine, in the near future. It has a picture of a bride and groom. The groom is spirituality, the bride is science and the bride is wiping away tears, but looks resigned. The headline is: Spirituality and Science: will it be a shotgun marriage?

Yes it will. Science is being dragged at ever-increasing speed towards the altar. And those doing the dragging are scores of courageous scientists whose discoveries are shaking the foundations of traditional science. The universe is not what we thought.

This is nothing short of a revolution that will force much of humanity to re-examine what it means to be human. The old science paradigm says there is an objective universe to be discovered; that it is made of dead, isolated physical matter, with thought as an inexplicable by-product. But the spiritual paradigm says the universe is entirely subjective; that it is made of an infinite ocean of consciousness, with physical matter as a means of creating and expressing itself.

No wonder science feels threatened. ‘Rogue’ scientists have had their careers ruined for daring to research consciousness. Students have been censured by their departments. Scientists with evidence opposing the science paradigm have been labelled as deluded or as frauds. If only to survive such attacks, so-called rogue scientists have carried out some of the most carefully constructed, rigorous experiments of the past 50 years. And their evidence is mounting.

I’ll mention just a few. Albert Einstein, Niels Bohr, Erwin Schrödinger, Werner Heisenberg. And Cleve Baxter who showed that plants are aware of each other and react to human thought. And Masaru Emoto who showed that pure water is sensitive to human thought. And Jacques Benveniste who showed that water has a memory of molecules previously dissolved in it—a concept central to homeopathy.

Then there’s the placebo effect. Doctors have used it successfully for at least 200 years, but the science paradigm doesn’t even begin to explain it. One modern experimenter, Ted Kaptchuk told his ‘placebo’ group that they were getting a placebo which creates mind-body self-healing, and they still did better than the control group.

Perhaps the most spectacular discoveries of all are coming from quantum physicists. They have shown that the universe is a vast web, in which all particles are connected to all other particles; that physical matter constantly pops in and out of existence; that sub-atomic particles appear and behave according to what is going on in the scientist’s mind. Traditional science doesn’t dispute those results, but says they can’t possibly be true at the everyday macroscopic level.

The point is not whether traditional science has been right or wrong; the point is that consciousness creates physical reality, whatever the belief system. And science is a belief system. Science does not discover—it creates, and what it creates is real. It has been arguably the most powerful belief system in human history, giving birth to the technology which has populated and transformed the planet.

Which means that the paradigm of traditional science is, after all, perfectly valid. It’s  just that it fits into one corner of a much bigger paradigm—the one the spiritual masters have been telling us for thousands of years. Aham Brahmasmi: we are both the Creator and the Created. We are powerful beyond measure and we have only to remember the fact.

So, here’s how the forthcoming liaison of science and spirituality affects us all. In the past, science has brought us many comforts. It has also brought us nuclear bombs and germ warfare and experiments on animals as if they were robots with no feeling or awareness. When science does accept that it and we are all part of Consciousness, that it is a creator, not a discoverer, how will that change its behaviour? How then will it affect the technology that shapes the future of the planet?
 
The answer to those questions will affect all of us and all of our descendants for as long as there is such a thing as human life.

Namaste
Michael

The Mirror

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

Dear friends

There were three significant experiences in one evening! I do believe it—I have to, I was there—but as you’ll see, it confused me for a while. Here’s what happened. Do let me know what you think (comments).

Two weeks ago, I noticed a small advertisement in the local newspaper. Someone called Gangaji was speaking in my town, on December first, a week away. I had never heard of Gangaji. I didn’t even know how to pronounce the word. Apart from the vaguely spiritual context of the ad, I had no idea what she represented, let alone what she would say. Also, I don’t rush off to listen to every spiritual speaker who passes by. But I was drawn to the name, and something kept nudging me to go. I marked it in my calendar.

The night before her speech, I had a strange dream. I dreamed that Gangaji looked at me sitting in the audience and invited me up on stage with her, to sit on her right hand side and talk with her in front of the crowd. In the morning, of course, I dismissed it ‘just a crazy dream’.

But before we get there, I need to backtrack.

If you read last week’s newsletter, you’ll know that I’m in the happiest space of my life right now—which I put down to a new realization. Here’s a list of the main points I made in that newsletter: stop chasing enlightenment; you’re already where you want to be; nothing has to be fixed because nothing is broken; look for the silence between your thoughts; your thought of who you are is not who you are. And more. (If you want to read it again, click here.)

I sent that newsletter to you (to subscribers) just two minutes before I left to listen to Gangaji. Then, in the first few minutes of her talk she said all of that. Every main point of my newsletter.

That was significant experience number one.

In those few minutes, I became an admirer—not because she was echoing my new realization, but because of her presence. Gangaji was radiant. I have rarely seen anyone with such love and compassion. Once, when a woman in front of her was fighting tears, she did not try to fill the silence with words, instead she just smiled at the woman. It was a huge smile, wider than a dawn, and it was the right smile.

And then the dream turned into reality.

I tell you I did not force it to happen; in fact, I resisted it. Unlike the woman in tears and the other three who went forward, I did not volunteer. Dream or no dream, I had no desire to be a centre of attention and no burning question. I was there to listen. But Gangaji clearly thought otherwise; when there was no one else on the stage, she looked directly at me and beckoned.
     “You have a question,” she said.
     In spite of the dream, I was startled. I  looked around at my neighbours, back to Gangaji, and said, “Who? Me?” (Okay, call me slow on the uptake.)
     “Yes, you,” she smiled. “Would you like to join me up here.”
     Now I knew that the dream was unfolding.
     “Okay,” I said. I went up there, I sat on her right, I talked with her in front of the crowd. Here was the dream in every detail, except, oddly, that the size of the real audience was smaller than in the dream.

That was number two.

I did think of a question to ask her, which she answered. But that’s not what stayed in my memory. It’s what followed. I was so captivated by her presence that I said, “I know what I want… I want the look in my eye to be like the look in your eye.”
     To my astonishment and the crowd’s amusement, she chuckled, produced a mirror (!!!), and thrust it in front of my face, forcing me to look at myself.
     “But you do have that already,” she said. “See for yourself.”

No, I’m not planning to parade as the next Gangaji. In fact, as I left the stage, I was puzzled. Her manner suggested more than stage playfulness… there was serious intent there. What was she really saying to me? What was the point? Well, now I have to laugh at myself. How could I have missed it? It took my friend Tom Newnam in Philadelphia, to take off my blindfold with an email. His words, summarised: What you saw in Gangaji is not only who she is, but also who you are.

Of course, of course. In admiring Gangaji, I was primed to see—in her—the best in myself. We don’t see things as they are; we see things as we are. We don’t see people as they are; we see people as we are. She didn’t say that in words, but it’s what she was telling me. More to the point, she made me feel it.

That was number three.

Could there be a finer illustration of the second universal truth: that your life is your mirror. How extraordinary that she actually held up a mirror. How subtle, how playful, how mischievous. (And how startling… did she have that mirror ready?)

Had you or anyone else expressed the same desire as me, she could have made the same reply.

Turn it around. When 100 people look at you, they each see a different version of you: the version that best reflects them, their beliefs and aspirations. It’s not you that affects them, but their version of you. Not one of those 100 versions is the real you. So who is the real you? You’ll only find the answer by looking into the looking glass that is your life – yes, that life which seems to happen to you, but is really created by you. In this incarnation, your life, and everything and everyone in it, is you. Literally. The universe is not objective, it is subjective.

On the face of it, that stretches credibility. You could, for example, be in a coal mine one day and a cruise ship the next; so you might ask, How could I change so much overnight? But your physical surroundings are only the shallowest reflection of you. Instead, look to your relationships, the events you attract, and the attitudes you take with you from one place to another.

Here’s some Sufi wisdom, repeated from Finding the Field.

Once upon a time, somewhere between the mountain peaks and the shores of the azure sea, there was a village in which there dwelt a Sufi master renowned for his wisdom. One day, a stranger entered the village, and immediately looked for the master to ask advice. He said, “I’m thinking of moving to live in this village. What can you tell me about the people who live here?”
     And the Sufi master replied, “What can you tell me about the people who live where you come from?”
     “Ah,” said the visitor angrily. “They are terrible people. They are robbers, cheats and liars. They stab each other in the back.”
     “Well now,” said the Sufi master. “Isn’t that a coincidence? That’s exactly what they’re like here.”
     So the man departed the village and was never seen there again.
     Soon, another stranger entered the village, and he too sought the Sufi master for advice. He said, “I’m thinking of moving to live in this village. What can you tell me about the people who live here?”
     And the Sufi master replied, “What can you tell me about the people who live where you come from?”
     “Ah,” said the visitor in fond remembrance, “They are wonderful people. They’re kind, gentle and compassionate. They look after each other.”
     “Well now,” said the Sufi master, “Isn’t that a coincidence? That’s exactly what they’re like here.”

You do, most comprehensively, take your mirror with you wherever you go. You want to find yourself? You don’t have to go anywhere. You want happiness? You don’t have to wait. There’s joy to be had, even in the difficult times.

I have Gangaji to thank for the reminder. And also for the moment when she looked around at the audience during a silence, and said softly, “It’s all so very simple.”

Yes, yes, yes.
Joy to you.
Michael
P.S. Next week’s newsletter will be the last for this year.

To find out more about Gangaji, try this link.

Confessions

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

Dear friends

This week is different. Something significant has shifted in me and I want to share it, in the hope that it’s useful to you. I especially owe this to you if you have read or listened to Finding The Field.

A little background. I was 10 when I first started to wonder, Why is there pain? Actually, I’m smiling right now, remembering my egocentric outrage that such a thing had dared to enter my life. But even then I sensed that there was more to the cause of pain than the most obvious cause in front of me. (No, no details… I just want to get to the point.) Within another 10 years I was seriously looking for answers to the big questions: What’s it all about? Who am I? Why am I here? What’s my place in the universe? It took another 40 years for the answers to fall into place, and then into Field. In spite of what I’m about to tell you, that has not changed. The answers are satisfying to many, it seems, which is wonderful.

Now, let me try put my recent discovery into words.

I’ve been startled by new understanding of something I’ve heard many times, and so, probably, have you. I wrote it into Field: The journey is the destination; the destination is the journey. I learned that one when I journeyed through the Andes looking for the Truth in the classic way. Ironic, yes? I thought I understood it fully back then; but I didn’t, because I somehow never saw the connection with the first universal truth: You are entirely the creator of your reality. Existence is subjective, not objective—even in the hunt for the Truth. Yes, I know, it’s way too academic. Too much thinking. Which is exactly why I missed the point. Here’s the point…

Stop looking.

I must stop looking for enlightenment, because if I believe it is not here, it is not. If I believe it is elsewhere, it is. My beliefs create it so. And I must stop looking even inside myself, because if I believe it is hidden, it is.

Call off the chase. Stand down. Just remain quietly open, aware, relaxed.

Through intense, anxious decades I chased: answers, truth, enlightenment, awakening, fulfilment, self-realisation, serenity, all of that, chasing a butterfly I couldn’t see. What did it look like? Was I running towards it, or away from it? Would I recognize it if I saw it? I didn’t know.

Now, I must stop and allow it to settle gently on my shoulder.

Some have that butterfly on their shoulders all their lives and never speak about it or even think about it. They just live it. But we can sense it, if we want, when we are very still, aware of the silence that holds all sounds and the light that holds all sights and the invisible ocean that holds all thoughts and all things.

You know, I feel wonderful right now. Butterfly safaris were never this good. Why on earth did it take me so long?

Well, I do know the answer to that. I was like the Buddhist student who wanted to impress his master.
     “I’m going to plant this seed,” he said proudly, “and its growth will be an allegory for my spiritual growth.”
     “Yes it will,” smiled the master.
     And the student planted the seed and watched its growth anxiously. He gave it too much water and too many nutrients and it struggled to grow. So he dug it up and re-planted in different soil, again over-watering and over-feeding. Again it struggled and again he re-planted.  And so it went on.
     The day came when the master arrived to see the results, and there was, of course, little to show. The student hung his head.
     “I’m sorry, master. I wanted it to be an allegory of my spiritual progress, but it hasn’t worked.”
    “Yes it has,” smiled the master.

So, this newsletter is something of a confession. I am certain of what went into Field, but that doesn’t mean that the butterfly was flapping vigorously on my shoulder as I wrote. In some ways I was blinded by my own words, even though there is truth in them. My thought of the truth is not the same as the truth. My thought of who I am is not who I am.

But no one has to worry about such things. Why? Because everything works perfectly anyway. We lose the butterfly when we are separate from Consciousness, we find it again when we re-connect. It just doesn’t matter; one state is no better than the other, because  separation and connection are fundamental to creation. They are fission and fusion in perfect dynamic balance and the one has no meaning without the other. Consciousness does not have accounting columns marked right and wrong, good and bad. Jesus and Judas were two faces of one being.

Which means that there’s simply nothing that has to be fixed. Certainly our efforts to fix things add to the great adventure of life, but our efforts are not a requirement of existence. Nothing has to be proved. No one has to be saved. Nothing has to be done. What liberation!

I think I just dealt myself the get-out-of-jail-free card.

I surely have something in common with the man who said, “When I was young, I prayed to Allah to give me the strength to change the world. When I was middle-aged, I prayed to Allah to give me the strength to change those around me. When I was old, I prayed to Allah to give me the strength to change myself.” Well, I think that’s me. But I would add one thing—when I depart this body, I might pray that I have had the strength to be true to my heart. Which is what I seem to be attempting right now.

So does this new relaxation mean that I will become an aimless, protoplasmic blob?

Of course not. I aim to enjoy myself, including plenty of earthly pleasures in the mix. I aim to live fully and love well and make a difference to the world of people around me. But I don’t have to do anything. How terrific to know that everything is part of the perfection of existence—including that pain I experienced as a 10-year-old. How terrific to know that my individual existence will not be weighed on scales. How terrific is that?

And I will not think too hard. Maybe sometimes I will not even describe the smell of roses—I’ll just smell them, for heaven’s sake.

But I will keep writing these newsletters. Yes, I will, as long as you value them and as long as people keep asking me about Finding the Field. Don’t worry, I won’t always treat this newsletter as a confessional.

A last thought. In my writing I have dipped into compassion. But I realise now that I just had my toe in the ocean. The butterfly whispers to me about how vast that ocean is and I suspect that when I have as much compassion for a scorpion as I do for a puppy, I’ll have this whole thing sorted.

But I’m in no hurry.

Joy to you.
Michael

Happiness now, not later

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

Embrace pain? Yes. Here’s a serious method for going beyond pain, taking full control of your actions, and finding peace and happiness at the same time.  But first, a story.

     There was once a man who died and woke up in the afterlife.
     He knew immediately where he was, because the evidence was all around him: luxuriant gardens, marble mansions, tubs with gold taps, grapes and candied artichokes, harps to sleep him, nightingales to wake him, and a giant feather bed for him and all his loving women.
     So, he enjoyed the most perfect pleasure and comfort, day after day… after day… after day… until…
     One morning, he noticed that his plate of brandied truffles was empty. And—as usual in such moments—another full plate appeared before him. Instantly. Always, without fail, his slightest whim was satisfied faster than the blink of his eye. But this time, he just stared at the plate and thought about it, and the more he thought about it, the worse he felt. So he turned to the nearest servant.
     ‘You know,’ he said, ‘Just for once, I wish that perfect food would not appear the moment I think of it. I would like to work up an appetite.’
     ‘Oh no,’ said the servant. ‘You might suffer from hunger. That’s not allowed.’
     The man’s frown became a scowl. He looked out the window at the perfect weather and complained, ‘And just for once, when I go outside, I wish it could be raining.’
     ‘Oh no,’ said the servant, ‘You might suffer from cold. That’s not allowed.’
     The man became angry and pointed rudely at his bed, where seven perfectly gorgeous, naked women were waiting for him with perfect love in their eyes. And he snapped to the servant, ‘And just for once, I wish I could wake up without them.’
     But the servant laughed merrily. ‘Oh no. You might miss them and suffer loss and grief and pain. That’s not allowed.’
     So the man shouted at the servant. ‘Look, this just isn’t working for me. I don’t like it here. I want the other place. I’d rather have hell.’
     ‘Really?’ said the servant, ‘Where do you think you are now?’

Perfection needs to change its publicity agent. The idea that perfect happiness requires a sky free of pain-clouds is simply nonsense.

Do you know how to get the best experience out of eating and drinking? Do without for a day or two. Want the best shower you’ve ever had? Do without for a few days. Likewise, the full experience of hot must contain the experience of cold. Up has no meaning without down. A coin’s value is in both faces. You appreciate light best when it’s been dark, and starlight as the mist melts away. You hold more happiness when sadness has hollowed a cavern inside you. You feel friendship more deeply when your friend has been away and come back. Nothing can be fully experienced, appreciated or understood or have any meaning without its opposite or lack, or contrasting partner.

Yes, partner. The Tao symbol has two halves, black and white intertwining, each holding the seed of its opposite. Taoism understands the intimate, dynamic, oneness of the dualistic universe.

Think of pain and pleasure as partners holding hands as they look at you. Think of them together, because it’s a delusion to think that one must follow the other. Happiness never comes tomorrow, because it is never tomorrow, around the corner, or when the ship comes in. There is only now. Many people pass their lives in a semi-permanent state of anxiety—about past and future—fleeing pain in pursuit of the happiness that stays always beyond reach.

But happiness offers itself to us in every now, even as we experience the bad times. To achieve it we have to turn, not away from pain, but towards it, embracing it as a partner in our journey. I don’t mean that we should deliberately seek pain—that would need a word with the people in white coats—I mean that when pain happens we should accept it like the weeping willow that accepts a gust of wind, bending, straightening, strengthening. Only then can we then fully embrace the other partner, the patient one—happiness.

That’s what I aspire to. And I have found a useful device to help me. It’s called viewing the movie of you. It works for both mental and physical pain.

But let’s stay with mental pain for now. Let’s suppose you’re experiencing the pain of… say… anger. It might help here if you think about someone who makes you angry. You’re about to view the movie of your angry self. One thing before you start: to make this work you must decide not to turn away from your anger. Don’t deny it, block it or fight it. Don’t judge or label it or yourself; to think this anger is wrong, this pain is terrible, or  I must be a bad person for being angry simply nourishes the pain.

 Ready? Okay, here’s how to make viewing the movie work.

 First, Allow. Allow yourself to feel the anger. Accept its existence. Say to yourself, ‘This part of me feels anger.’ Even in this first stage, you will notice a difference, because most suffering comes not from pain, but from resistance to pain. Resistance comes from fear, and fear is what makes pain hurt.
     Second, Observe. Close your eyes. Strongly, vividly, imagine that you get up and stride a few paces away from your angry self then turn to look back at it as if it were playing on a screen. Say to yourself, ‘That part of me feels angry’. Notice the distancing shift from ‘this’ to ‘that’.
     Third, Release. Release the anger-ridden self on the screen. Let it dissipate in its own time. Don’t push it away; it’s not a rejection, just a letting go. Say to yourself, ‘That too will pass.’ Now you are standing back, viewing your full self, with a mind free to control your next thought or action, consciously directing the new scene. And feeling less pain.

Allow, observe, release. Now, now you can feel the happiness which is inherent in all of us, even in the difficult and challenging times. Now you’re in a state where you can master yourself, take command of your next actions, and allow the remaining pain to bid farewell.

It’s more than a state of mind. It’s a state of consciousness, a silent all-inclusive awareness in which you can discover that colours are brighter, sounds sharper, tastes more exotic. You can also discover the exquisite richness of the present moment, with past and future anxieties fading away. And you may well experience a surge in compassion.

Compassion? For whom?

Well, you, for starters. But it’s also possible that you will feel compassion for those who gave you the pain, and understand that they have their own pain and their own seeking of happiness. And what is compassion but oneness? I know that when I view the movie of me, that’s when I feel closest to that One being that has many faces, many adventures, many sorrows and many joys.

When my son Sam was a small boy and stubbed his toe on a rock, he wailed. That’s what children do, they wallow in the pain. Pain and the outrage of pain fills their world. But we found a useful trick. We would talk severely to the rock. “All right, rock, if that’s how you’re going to behave you’re not coming to Sam’s birthday party.” Instantly a smile would beam through the tears on the cheeks and soon the sniffles faded. You see it, don’t you? His awareness shifted from inside pain to outside pain. (Incidentally, it fascinates me that even toddlers understand the joke.)

Well, instead of verbally abusing a rock, try viewing the movie of you. It does work just as well for physical pain—try it at the dentist. Don’t abuse the dentist.

I would love to hear how it goes for you. You can leave a message below, or send me an email directly to michael (…at…) findingthefield (…dot…) com

May you become a talented director of the movie of your life.

Namaste
Michael

Nicola’s pencil

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

In 15 years of television journalism, the interview I remember most was with a five-year-old girl called Nicola.

Here’s what happened. Nicola was dying of muscular dystrophy, but was still well enough to attend school classes in her wheelchair. I was in her classroom, making an item on the mainstreaming of disabled children into normal schools. The children adapted quickly to our presence and got on with a normal day.

Nicola dropped her pencil. She leaned over the edge of the wheelchair and looked for it, frowning. Immediately, half a dozen other youngsters, both genders, dropped what they were doing and cast about under the table, until they found the pencil. Then only two of the helpers returned to schoolwork. The rest stayed as Nicola held court about the birthday party she’d had in the weekend. She waved the pencil about, punctuating her statements in the air.

She was obviously very popular.  Was it because she was in a wheelchair? Were they sorry for her? Had the teacher instructed them to look after her needs… especially today? Was it the presence of a camera, or the unusual attention of adults?

It wasn’t any of those things.

The sequence finished and the camera operator nodded at me. The teacher changed the activity. Now it was posters and group discussion. Video-taping began again. Nicola continued to be a strong presence, her every utterance doted on by other five-year-olds. And beside me, smiles grew on the faces of the cameraman and sound recordist, who, like me, had seen many things that don’t lead to smiles. The teacher said nothing, but her smile was knowing. She saw this every day.

They were entranced by Nicola.

I was fascinated.  This was more than superficial popularity. What was it that gave this five-year-old such magnetic presence? Her physical looks? Well, no, she wasn’t pretty in any conventional way. Was it the way she spoke? I noticed that she never stumbled over her words. So perhaps the secret lay in her words—but I could hear nothing essentially different from those of her friends. And yet, somehow, here was a small child with charisma. The ‘X’ factor. How does that happen?

The explanation didn’t emerge until the interview.

For that, the camera crew set up outside, then Nicola and I wheeled and walked across the playground towards them.  On the way, there were a couple of clues. When talking to me, she did not speak child-to-adult, but person-to-person. Also, a waiting television camera crew can easily be intimidating to a child, but she showed not a shred of self-consciousness.

The red light winked on, the tape rolled. Nicola did not change in any way. She continued to chat with me without self-consciousness, as if there was no camera at all. Somewhere in the middle of the interview—I couldn’t resist it—I nodded in the direction of the classroom and commented on her effect on other people.

“You’re very popular.”

Recognising the question for what it was, she screwed up her face and cocked her head to one side for about five seconds of serious thought. Then her expression cleared and her eyes came back to mine.

“I think it’s because I like them,” she said.

Not they like me, but I like them. That, from a terminally ill five-year-old, was an interesting reply. But it was years before I understood it.

Here’s the second universal truth. Your life is your mirror. It shows you what you’re creating and who you’re choosing to be. In the language of the Maori, our indigenous people, Ko au te taiao, ko te taiao ko au: I am the world, the world is me. What you think, feel and believe is what you get, and every object and event is an external reflection of your internal adventure. It’s the secret language of things and events.

The day we know that is the day we start to place what we want in our mirrors.                

There is no physical universe that exists independently of you and me. Everything is an expression of Consciousness, which includes your mind. And your mind—both conscious and subconscious—expresses itself constantly, creating your own adventure stories around you. But so that our adventures can be real to us, we forget that we are the creators. We forget that our thoughts, feelings and beliefs are potent, casting themselves around us like movie projectors.

As we grow, our challenge is to take conscious control of our thoughts, feelings and beliefs—and conjure our life story deliberately.                                         

I didn’t finish the story about Nicola. Yes, she died shortly afterwards, but not as expected. She died in an accident, sparing her the prolonged death of muscular dystrophy.

You know, even as I write this, I realise that I missed out the essential word in her five year life story: love. Nicola loved everyone around her—and it came back constantly in her mirror. Her love included me, a complete stranger. How about that? I love her for it. I’m about to have a glass of wine, I’ll raise it to her memory.

Namaste
Michael

Take me to all the five universal truths

The bandit and heaven

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Hello everyone

There was once a bandit leader, feared throughout the land for his cruelty and contempt for human life.
      One day, his gang surrounded a village and herded the trembling inhabitants together in front of him. He strutted before them, enjoying their terror, prolonging the uncertainty of their fate. But then he came to the village monk who was calm and unafraid. Surprised, the bandit stopped in front of him. But still the monk showed not the slightest sign of fear.
      So the bandit mocked him loudly and taunted him. “Before you die, monk, you must enlighten me. You must tell me about heaven and hell.”
      “No,” said the monk. “I will not.”
      The bandit leader could not believe his ears, so he repeated the demand, this time with a voice that promised a hideous fate if he was not obeyed.
      “No,” smiled the monk. “There is no need.”
      Then the bandit leader’s brows darkened with fury and he fell into a rage so terrible that he shook, and blood roared in his ears and rushed into his eyes, blurring his vision. Even his own men fell back in fear. But not the monk—who was observing him with great interest.
      “There,” said the monk, looking into his eyes. “That is hell.”
      The bandit leader was so shocked by these words it was as if his body had been pierced through with a great spear. But even as he fell to his knees, his heart began to soar—filled, for the first time in his life, with understanding, light and compassion. So the monk spoke again.
      “And that, my friend, is heaven,” he said. “You see? Heaven and hell were already inside you.”
      Immediately, the bandit leader wept and begged to become the monk’s pupil, and his gang fled in confusion.

The foundation of the universe is not physical matter. It is thought. Or, more accurately, a giant feeling called Consciousness. Consciousness expresses itself as all things and through all things, as us and through us. So the question where do we find heaven and hell? does have an answer. They are in our minds, deeply present, bringing real joy and real torment.

The poet John Milton once said, “The mind is a place in itself. It can create a heaven out of hell, or a hell out of heaven.”

Can you see where this is going? Don’t wait for a post-mortem white-bearded gent to hand you tickets to your ultimate destination. You are at your destination now. And now is all there is, with past and future mere malleable dreams.

Here’s the fourth universal truth: You are already home. Amidst all the paths weaving the tapestry of our combined Soul is your path. Wherever you are on your path, that is your spiritual home. Your home is not at the end of the path, or around the corner, or when the ship comes in. It’s here and it’s now. If you wait fearfully for hell, you are already there; if you wait joyfully for heaven, you are already there.

Which means that heaven is as close as the blink of an eye. We have only to see it. As Jesus of Nazareth said, “Heaven is right here in the midst of you.”

Yes, we can look around at poverty, hunger, illness, and the abuse of man by man and we can think, If this is heaven, then I will choose the other place. But if that’s what we choose to perceive of our earthly playground, then we have already chosen the other place. What we think, we become. What we feel will follow. What we choose to believe and perceive is the only reality—the idea of an absolute reality independent of mind is a mass illusion. All that stops us accepting immediate ownership of heaven and moving in is what we choose to think and feel and believe.

The trick is to choose consciously and deliberately.

Looking elsewhere for heaven is like going out to look for the horse.

What horse?

The horse. To look for it, you gallop to the top of the hill and gaze into the distance, and when you can’t see it there you gallop to top of the next hill and gaze into the distance, and when you can’t see it there…

Live now as if you were in heaven, and you will make it so. Become the master of your life and your bandit.

Namaste
Michael

Tail of the dog

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

Hello everyone.

A distressed Buddhist monk goes to his Abbot for advice.

“People in the street are mocking me,” he complains. “They’re calling me a dog!”

“Turn around and look at your rear end,” the Abbot says.

The monk looks at his own backside.

“Do you see a tail wagging?”

“No,” says the monk.

“Then the matter is settled,” says the Abbot.

When I heard that story, my first thought was, it’s not that funny. But my second was that it contains an interesting question. Why do we give other people—even strangers—the power to make us feel badly about ourselves?  Eleanor Roosevelt understood the same point when she said, “No one can make us feel inferior without our consent.”

Our reaction is a personal choice. Put a thousand people through the same event and a thousand paths will come out the other side depending on how each person chooses to react.

In the West, we habitually seek external cause for our current condition: we blame our parents, our upbringing, lovers, accidents, fate, the stars, the government and God. And people in the street. In doing so, we miss the point.             

Here, again, is the first universal truth: You are entirely the creator of your reality.

Entirely?

Entirely. At mostly subconscious levels—starting before birth and fuelled by the accumulated gestalt of thoughts, feelings and beliefs that were once conscious—you create every event, detail and nuance of your life. The day you live this truth and take conscious control is the day you declare your freedom and power. It’s also the day you cease to be a victim.

Before birth you choose the highway. During life you choose the lanes. One highway, a million lanes, and you negotiate those lanes with your thoughts. Most of us have little idea of the long-term power of our conscious thoughts. But Hindu teachers have known for 3,000 years. What you think, you become; what you feel will follow; what you believe will be manifest around you. Just as a beautiful building is the physical expression of an idea, so is our entire, magnificent universe the continuous expression of thought. It is a mass illusion that the physical world exists independently of thought.

The lesson is clear: take control of what you think, feel and believe. Choose. At any moment in any situation, ask yourself, Does this thought, feeling or belief serve me? Does it serve me now? Will to serve me tomorrow?

You may be asking how you could possibly be responsible for that earthquake, or tsunami, or pandemic. Do you believe that many things just happen? Nothing to do with you? But that belief, of its own accord, shapes much of your life.

Where are you on the scale of self-fulfilling creation-beliefs? 

Here’s the lowest, most helpless level of creation-belief. That you’re not the creator of your life, but a victim of circumstance. You always blame your condition on something other than yourself. You never stood a chance. You are inherently worthless. Life is a valley of sorrows.

Is that you? If you have read this far, probably not.

Try the next level, more evolved: you are sometimes the creator of your life. You can influence some events, but most external forces are too strong to fight. You blame most of your condition on something other than yourself. You take some responsibility for what happens to you. You have some worth, some potential. Life is a painful struggle with a few highlights.

Is that you?

The next level: you are mostly the creator of your life. You can influence most events, though sometimes external forces are too great. You take responsibility for most of your actions. You spend little time blaming others for painful events. You are a worthwhile person with faults. You have a lot of potential. Life is an interesting and often enjoyable challenge.

Is that you? If you have read this far, it probably is.

Or is it this? The master level of creation-belief is that you are entirely the creator of your life. You do not see your Earth character as you, but as your work of art. Your every thought and action is your choice. You are fully responsible, not only for your creations but for your response to your creations. You never blame or judge others for your experiences. Your inherent worth and potential are vast. Life is an exciting, surprising, sometimes painful, yet joyous adventure.

Is that you?

Do you see the irony of those levels of creation-belief? What you believe, you will manifest. None of them is right or wrong—you will simply create the conditions that appear to prove you right. The power of a belief is not in its truth, but in its depth and intensity. That is the potency of the first universal truth.

A last word. If you see any value in what I’ve just said, don’t waste even a second faulting yourself for past beliefs. The word is not fault, but cause. Instead, begin the habit of choosing your conscious thoughts, accepting some, dismissing others. Your most frequent and vivid thoughts inform your feelings, which inform your beliefs, which sink into the shadows of your subconscious mind where they become powerful creators of your life.

And if anyone calls you a dog, the length of the tail is your choice.

Prayer and witchcraft

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

Hello everyone.

The Christine O’Donnell witchcraft scandal has been hugely entertaining. O’Donnell, a rising star in US tea party politics, is wearing a storm over her admission that she ‘dabbled in witchcraft’ in high school. I’m especially enjoying it because I also dabbled in witchcraft, or ‘wicca’, when I was young.

The Bible puts witches and wizards together with words like ‘evil’ and ‘defiled’ and ‘shall surely be put to death’. The Old Testament God was offended by the craft and so are many modern Christians.

Yet those who seek the common essence of all religions quickly see through that nonsense; it swiftly becomes clear that the essence of Christian prayer is the same as the essence of a witchcraft spell. Let me say that in a different way. Faith-driven passionate prayer to God works, faith-driven passionate summoning of the Goddess works—and both use the same inner or subconscious power available to all of us, a power which knows nothing of right and wrong.

The only difference is in the imagery.

For that difference, thousands of witches were burned at the stake. While the Catholic church was enforcing its orthodoxy, it also took witchcraft very seriously—as a competitor. Some of those put to the torch really did summon power in the unorthodox  ways, including old women who invoked the Goddess and used herbs to heal the sick. Yes, the persecution was partly a cynical exercise in power, but it was also the product of blindness: zealous authorities could not see through their own god to the being that not only creates all things, it is all things and rejects nothing of itself. It’s a being many call Consciousness.

So, all that to tell you a little story, then to ask you a question.

Imagine this. A little boy comes to his mother in the middle of the night, crying, upset by a nightmare. He says, ‘The giant is coming to eat me again.’ So the mother gets him to draw a picture of the giant, then helps him set it alight in the fireplace. As the paper burns she gets the child to ask the Goddess for help, then to chant the incantation: ‘Bad dreams with me do not belong. With this fire, bad dreams be gone.’ The drawing goes up in smoke as the child—with unwavering faith—claps three times and cheers, triumphant that the nightmare has been banished. Witchcraft, of course.

So here’s the question. If the child had asked God for help rather than the Goddess, then chanted the incantation, would that make it prayer or witchcraft?

The answer is that it doesn’t matter; they are just words for arbitrary ritual. And I have successfully used the same process with my sons, without any appeal to a deity. My son’s faith was in me; but that doesn’t matter either. The essence of the process was faith, not the object of the faith. Belief, not the object of belief. And the power that belief generates is inherent in all of us.

I can’t resist another question. If witchcraft really works (and it does) then couldn’t  it be used to do harm as well as good?

Of course. Just like Christianity and Islam.

We are creators within the Creator. We create not only our religions, but also our science. We create our past and future, our right and wrong, our sorrow and joy, our reality and our truth, like a giant flower eternally unfolding. But we are also created to forget that we are the Creator, so that our experience can be real—and so that the Creator can, through us, experience itself in a billion exquisite ways.

Namaste
Michael

Beam me down, Scotty

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

Hello again.

We’ve all viewed movie scenes like this: someone throws a switch (in Star Trek it’s Scotty the engineer). There a hum and a flickering light—suggesting a powerful force-field at work—a human appears in the light, vague, then solid. The hum stops, the field dies, and the newly-arrived human sets about exploring the planet.

Why is that idea iconic? Because we instinctively know that there’s something real in it. In fact, to see the reality of our existence, we only have to make a slight adjustment to the scene.

Imagine that the force-field is always everywhere, like the clearest air, invisible to the human eye. Imagine that it concentrates a fraction of its power on one spot – still invisible – and you appear on earth. And, most important, imagine that the process is continuous: the switch is always being thrown and that you are an ever-changing projection of the field.

Who keeps throwing that switch?

You do. No, not you, but You (capital Y): that part of the invisible field you might call your subconscious.

Now, here’s the true, two-way magic, of your personal movie. Yes, You continuously beam your body and adventures on this planet, but You are constantly influenced by you—by your thoughts, feelings and attitudes. You projects you, which in turn changes You, which projects you… and so on to the end of your earthly enterprise. 

One more thing: there is no limit to You. The force-field is our collective, connected subconscious—think of an ocean which, through the sky, gives birth to every brook and stream and river. Yet, no matter how isolated, all brooks must run to the ocean, changing that which continues to give them birth. All brooks, no matter where they wander.

The force-field as a giant Being with many faces. You are that Being and you are your individual self. The illusion is to think that you are contained by your skin. 

Which raises this question. Why don’t we remember our greater Being? Were we beamed down with amnesia so that we would forget the mother ship? Who did that to us, and why?

The answer to that question is contained in a chess game: see last week’s blog, Passion and the condor.

Passion and the condor

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

Hello everyone.

I’ve been asked if any one experience led to the novel Finding the Field. And one certainly stands out. This, more than any other, taught me that our passion is the greatest generator of our existence.

I was in the Andes mountains of Peru at the time. Although my training was in science and physics, it was obvious that the incident could not be explained away by science, logic or rational thought.

I was on the altiplano: a frozen desert more than 16,000 feet above sea level. I was alone, exhausted from walking all day in the thin air. Snow was falling through air so deeply cold that stalactites of ice were fattening in my nostrils. I was not yet worried, because the most remote village in the region should be little more than two hours away. I had checked carefully in the previous village, where the chief, el jefe, was delighted to help—perhaps because a gringo was a rare sight in those parts. He assured me enthusiastically that the way was unmistakeable. “No problem, Señor, there is only one path. There is no fork.”

There was a fork.

The implications sank in immediately, infused with fear. I was in serious trouble. With the snow covering everything, I could not tell which path was the most used, nor could I hope to make it all the way back to the previous village. I had to choose one of the paths ahead, but which one? The correct one led to safety and warmth. The incorrect one, I reasoned, must lead to long-abandoned silver mines in desolate wasteland. In this cold, I would be condor breakfast by dawn—that specific, gruesome image flopped into my mind.

At first, I just stood there, with snow building up on my poncho. I wanted to sit down to think about it calmly, but that would lead to lying down, then to the urge to sleep, which would be suicide. So I just stood there, trying to control my thoughts. Which way to life? Which way to death? Life or death? Heads or tails? Life or death? Heads or tails?

Then, for the first time in my life, astonishing to me, I found myself praying—but not to any god, because I had no religious faith at all. My prayer was a wordless, formless reaching out to… something. It was a silent crying-out from my belly, both a plea and a command which meant: Show me the safe path and let me live! Above all it was an upward surge of passion that I did not generate with my mind, and it would be years before I understood the full significance of that passion.

No answer.

Then my mind took back control and sneered,Of course there’s no answer; what did you expect, you idiot! So I made the choice. I convinced myself that the path to the right was marginally more substantial than the path to the left, and began to walk.
In less than half a minute, perhaps only twenty seconds, a condor landed directly in front of me, exactly in the middle of the path.

It folded its wings in slow motion and bobbed its head and moved a couple of paces towards me, turning its head side on, and placing its feet carefully as if sensitive to the snow. I stopped still and watched it blink at me. The condor is a vulture, the world’s largest flying bird—wing span 11 feet. I looked around, but couldn’t see any others circling or waiting anywhere. Thoughts gusted through my mind, each trying to strip the condor of significance, trying to make me continue my travel along that chosen path. But all thoughts were a waste of time, subjugated by a black, leaden dread, dragging down through my gut. My feet simply refused to move one step further.

So I turned and went by the other path. Immediately the blackness changed to certainty, exhilaration and triumph. I felt fantastically, thrillingly alive as never before, and expanded as if I were somehow merged with the world around me. I didn’t hope I was on the right path, I knew I was on the right path. And in two hours I was recovering in the safety and warmth of the last village between the altiplano and the headwaters of the Amazon.

What was that… something I had entreated so passionately? What was the condor about? What was it doing there? And when I chose the other path—where did my utter certainty come from?

When I returned to New Zealand, months later, a Christian friend pronounced judgement immediately and without reservation. The conversation went like this.
     “God saved you. He sent the condor.”
     “Why would He bother? I’m not a believer. Not only that, I’m anti-religion.”
     “Well, in His infinite mercy He wanted to save you anyway.”
     “Oh, really? Then what about a bit of infinite mercy for all other people in strife and danger? And what about the millions of children born into poverty and disease? And what about-”
     “Well, He moves in mysterious ways,” said my friend.
     That’s the Christian Gallic shrug.

The rational and science arguments I heard were even less convincing.
     “It was a fluke that it landed on your path. A coincidence with no inherent meaning. It’s a human characteristic to look for significance where there is none.”
     “In that case the condor must have been blind, deaf, nostril-deficient, and unable to feel the vibrations from my steps.”
     “Maybe it was expecting you to keel over right then.”
     “A lone vulture lands directly in front of a meal that is still walking strongly and that could disable it with a kick? I don’t think so.”
     “Well, just because science can’t explain it yet, doesn’t mean that it won’t in the future.”
     That’s the science Gallic shrug.

So both religion and science required me to have blind faith to paper over the cracks. I couldn’t accept either position. But nor could I let it go. I wanted another alternative: a seamless cosmology, capable of explaining the condor incident without insulting my intelligence.

I had many more experiences (some in the Andes), many more clues, and even wrote a couple of books which laid out my first understandings. Then, very recently, the whole cosmology fell into place.

The condor was actually a distraction from the first real clue. Let’s go back to those vivid feelings: leaden dread, utter certainty, exhilaration, triumph. And a sensation of expansion and connection so vivid that I was the condor, I was the path, I was the snow and the wind sweeping the flakes around me. Now, finally, I do have words for that first clue and for what it meant: passion is the source, not the result, of all that we call reality. All events and all things are passion expressing itself.

The universe is a giant feeling—not, as has been famously said, a giant thought. Descartes was mistaken; he should have written, “I feel therefore I am.”

Passion is our essence. Feelings are the generator of the eternal creation. But thoughts are feelings with the juice squeezed out of them. The more that thoughts reach for passionless objectivity and stand-alone reality, the more they skate across the surface of existence. Undoubtedly, some very fine intellects interpret the great masters. But for spiritual growth—as distinct from spiritual knowledge—those interpretations only have value when they arouse vivid feelings and become a powerful experience in their own right.

Now let me get to the point. There is nothing we have to do to grow spiritually. There’s nothing we have to study. But nor is there any one experience we must have, because all experiences are paths up the same mountain. We are already that …something which creates us and is created by us, on every path on the entire mountain.

Let’s play with Genesis and give that …something a name. Let’s call it Consciousness.

Imagine. In the beginning, there is no universe, no galaxies or stars, nor any material thing.  There is no gravity, no space or time, no contrast and no opposites; which means no up and down, no here and there, no before and after, no hot and cold, light and dark, or black and white. There is only Consciousness, which is a deep longing, and the longing is the question, What Am I?

Now, Consciousness decides to play a game of chess. It uses a portion of itself to create a chessboard, with pieces drawn up ready. Who to play with? No problem. Consciousness places another portion of itself on one side of the board and calls it Mind. Then, in order to make the game real, it gives Mind a gift. It’s the gift of contrast and opposites (black and white), space (forward and back), time (this move, then that move), and gravity (so that the pieces don’t float away). And it makes the first move (pawn to king 4).

But the game still cannot begin, because Mind still knows itself as Consciousness. It knows every passion and stratagem, every move and counter-move in advance.

So Consciousness gives Mind another gift—the gift of forgetting. It forgets that it is Consciousness. It now experiences itself as alone, made of flesh, and contained by a shape with head, arms and legs. Finally, Mind makes its first move (also pawn to king 4) with the question Who Am I? and the eternal game begins.

We humans are the cutting edge of the Creation. Our question is the answer. Our journey is itself the destination because there can never be a final answer to the eternal question. We can choose to be happy now, not tomorrow. We can choose to appreciate the path now, even when it is painful. We are that …something that whispers across the chessboard, you are already home.

Do I sound spiritually complacent? Well, in part I am; there is no need to get out of bed in the morning and seek enlightenment, which is like going out on the horse to look for the horse. But why abandon a perfectly good adventure? Besides, the horse is keen on the exercise and the more passionate a rider you are, the more willingly it responds to the reins.

And I do still have my own spiritual goals. For example, I strive to fully realise, in the most passionate sense of the word, that all is connected; when 10 or 20 or 100 people gather, there is only one being in the room—a being with many faces and many adventures. I strive to fully realise that I am the creator of my life; that before birth I create the highway and during life I choose the lane. I strive to realise that my life is a mirror, constantly showing me what I believe, and what I feel and think, and taste and touch, and smell and hear and see. And I strive to fully realise the end of fear, knowing that the essence of me will live forever, continually changed by me and my journeys.

And who are you? Who is it that is aware that you have a body? Is it your thoughts and feelings? But who is it that is aware that you have thoughts and feelings? Is it your imagination? But who is it that is aware that you are imagining? Is it your soul? But who is it that is aware that you have a soul…?

The higher we climb those rungs, the more we know ourselves as that… something which, when passionately experienced, needs no proof of its own existence. 

Namaste
Michael

For more, read or listen to the novel Finding the Field (buttons at the top of this page) or go to articles on this website about the five universal truths.

Will science kill us?

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

Hello everyone

Once upon a time, on a planet far away, there was a scientist who had only one way to measure reality. His ruler. A farmer came to him with sacks of potatoes and asked if he could measure their weight for the town market. The scientist was skeptical of the word weight, but he ran his ruler over the sacks anyway, then shook his head. “No,” he said, “I can find no evidence of weight, so it does not exist. You are either deluded, or a fraud who takes advantage of people’s gullibility.”
 
That planet is Earth. Our traditional science is that confused.

When I travelled in South America, I was the butt of a favourite leg-pull. If I asked, “Señor, which way to the bakery?”, the response was (after thoughtful consideration), “No, señor, it is not possible to get there from here.”
 
Here, to traditional science, means ‘all things arise from physical matter’. There means ‘all things arise from consciousness’. Not only does science say there’s no way there, it says there’s no such destination. Science is trapped in the physical realm. So it cannot see that physical matter is an effect, not a cause. It cannot see that the universe is a vast net of intelligence exploring itself—that humans, animals, birds, plants and minerals are different faces of one being that I call Consciousness.

For humanity, the consequences of the material science paradigm have been terrible indeed. Oh yes, it gave us the comforts of technology, but it also gave us an earth that struggles to survive us. We all know it. It really is time to question why we allowed science – the most powerful religion in history – to create toxic wastelands, poisoned rivers, lakes and seas, and nuclear missiles. And to conduct cruel experiments on animals as if they had no feelings. As if they were made only of complex physical matter. As if all were disconnected from all else.
 
Will science now find the technology to cure the earth?
 
No, not while it turns a blind eye to the steadily mounting evidence that its core belief is simply wrong—evidence, for example, that thought can influence physical matter; that thought is detected by animals and plants; that plants know your intentions, form attachments, have memories and can communicate with each other. Evidence that all things are connected.
 
But there is hope. Einstein began the move away from disconnected (Newtonian) science. He sensed and sought to prove that all the fundamental forces were connected. He showed that matter and energy are connected and interchangeable (E=mc2). When science wakes fully and calls energy Consciousness, perhaps then it can help us save this earth that we have collectively imagined into being.
 
Incidentally, I meet many individual scientists who do feel our connectedness and genuinely strive to improve the quality of our lives—albeit within the crippling traditional paradigm. More often now I’m seeing their eyes light up with discussion just like this. The light comes from a feeling of recognition of something non-physical that was always inside them, like a live ember that must now be brought forward to the front of the cave.
 
Namaste
Michael
 
For more, read or listen to Finding the Field (buttons at the top of this pages) – especially Part II, chapter 6), or go to articles on the same website about the five universal truths.

Punishment from God?

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

In this morning’s newspaper, I found a glorious letter to the editor. A classic, straight out of a time warp.

First, you need to know that two weeks ago, my city (Christchurch, New Zealand) was hit by a magnitude 7.1 earthquake. It made streets look like a war zone, with army and police cordons. Thousands fled the city and surrounding towns and they’re only now returning as the number of aftershocks passes 700. I won’t try to describe the fear and trauma involved.

Now along comes this letter to the editor. It’s entitled Repent, Christchurch and here’s the text: Manchester St was the focal point for destruction within the city centre – Manchester St that is the street for prostitution. The den of iniquity is the area of greatest destruction. This is a warning from God to the people of Christchurch to repent and change their ways, as I believe the next time the earthquake comes we will not be so fortunate.

Wait, don’t laugh just yet.

Do you know the ancient game called Chinese whispers? Schoolchildren love it. The first thinks of a phrase and whispers it in the ear of the next, who whispers it to the next, and so on to the last person. When first and last whispers are compared, there’s usually a hilarious difference. Some children deliberately invent on the way, but most don’t—they hear the message, interpret meaning through their own filters, and pass it on in good faith, changed.

The letter writer’s vengeful, bad-tempered God may well have turned up as the result of a sort of Chinese whispers through the ages—nonsense, but still containing a faint echo of the first, inspired whisper.

Here’s the third universal truth. All things are connected. All things – seen and unseen – are different faces of one being, which is a vast, multi-layered web of intelligence. It is an ocean in motion, a river of eddies, an infinite field of creation in which the art is the artist, and the artist is the art. Let’s call this being the One. The One is all there is. It imagines us into existence, out of itself as if growing limbs. Yet we are individualized so that we can interact as if we were separate, so that our adventures can be real. So we are both connected and separate.

The first inspired whisperers knew that; but as the message passed through the centuries, it distorted: whispers of connection faded and whispers of separation grew. Those who craved earthly power deliberately encouraged that distortion. Fear came. The dark ages of religion began. We were no longer limbs of God, but of Satan. Now we were outside God. Now God was capable of being offended, by humans who were born offensive. And we could only appease his wrath by travelling a path prescribed, of course, by the ministers of religions.

So where is the echo of the original truth in this bizarre letter to the editor?

You are both the Created and the Creator. Aham Brahmasmi; the Hindu masters knew it thousands of years ago. The Buddha knew it also, and said, “What you think, you become.” You are the creator of your life. The most frequent thoughts and feelings you entertain turn into beliefs, which build the powerful but subconscious You—which in turn creates your life around you like a movie set.

Call it, if you like, the law of attraction.

Now, do you see where this is going?  If the conscious actions you allow are misaligned with the subconscious You, painful results must show up. Not as punishment—there really is no sin—simply a natural expression of misalignment with your greater being.

Now, think of this. While you are feeding your powerfully creative subconscious, so is your family as a group subconscious; so is your community, your city, your nation, your world, layer upon layer—what Jung would call the collective unconscious—creating individual and mass events in your world.

For a mass event you can’t do much better than a powerful earthquake. God’s punishment for sin? Of course not, but can you hear the far off echo of a universal truth? We made it. The giant collective subconscious We.

A last word about the working girls in Manchester Street. I wonder if the man who wrote the letter realises that many Christian churches (including a cathedral) were significantly damaged by the quake.

Namaste
Michael

For more, read or hear the novel Finding the Field: an adventure of body, mind and spirit.

Who or what created the earthquake?

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

It’s been 10 days since the massive earthquake here in Christchurch, New Zealand. Here’s my take on it – the answer to that strange question.

For me, it was like waking inside a berserk concrete mixer, which has since thrown more than 400 rumbling fits and is still going.  But here’s the first wonderful thing: even though it was the magnitude of the Haiti quake and centred close to our city, even though many streets looked like a deserted war zone with rubble and army cordons –  amongst half a million people there were just two serious injuries and not one direct fatality.

Here’s the second wonderful thing: before the sun cleared the horizon, thousands were out helping others – and the helpers included many who had just lost everything. The connected spirit here has been a heart-warming and life-affirming phenomenon. Hundreds of inspiring stories are emerging; I’ll just sum them up with one quote from a cousin whose house is almost certain to be condemned. He said, “You can’t buy experiences like this.”

To the point. Who or what created the earthquake?

A full explanation needs the combination of the five universal truths, but above all it’s the ultimate test of the first truth: that you are the creator of your reality. For an individual event, the concept is easy to understand, if not to accept. But for a mass event like an earthquake it seems like nonsense—until we deepen our understanding of the words ‘you’,  ‘I’ and ‘we’. 

Traditional science says we are separate from each other. Yet for at least 4 decades, modern science has known better (while resisting the implications).  It has seen abundant evidence that our body cells respond to our thoughts, that plants respond to our thoughts, that inanimate particles respond to the thoughts of the scientist doing the experiment—and that the behaviour of any particle in the universe depends on the behaviour of every other particle in the universe.

If so, then where does ‘I’ end and ‘you’ begin?

Try this: picture ten people as ten bars of light, each a distinct colour. Now picture those colours flowing out and blending into each other, the combination becoming a subtle new colour—our collective subconscious. Picture a hundred, a thousand, half a million people, merged so that ‘we’ is literally a single, powerful, creative being expressing itself in the physical world. Now, knowing the first universal truth, we can see how a mass event like an earthquake might happen—even though such specific destructive thoughts might never crop up in any individual conscious mind.

Hard to picture?

Once upon a time there were three men, walking through the mountains and the valleys, with only a small loaf of bread left between them. The first man grumbled, “I’m hungry, one loaf is not enough.” Just then a crow flew overhead. The second man complained, “I’m famished, we must find more food.” And the crow landed in a nearby tree and watched them. The third man cried out, “I’m starving, we’re all going to die.” And in his distress he dropped the loaf, and the crow swooped down and carried it away.

Why were there no fatalities in our earthquake? The accepted explanation points to timing (most of us were in bed), good building codes, and a great deal of luck. Fair enough. But I point to a unique state of that invisible thing which truly unites us: our powerful collective subconscious.

And now? After the quake?  Of course creation continues, as always, individually and collectively. My cousin’s attitude will lay his own post-quake path; other attitudes will lay other paths—some inspiring, some sad. There will be half a million self-created realities, yet only one.

I want to leave you with a smile. A Christchurch man, noticing one of the smallest tremours, said to his four-year-old son, “Hey, Al, can you feel this aftershock?” So the little boy held his hand up in the air and tried to feel it with his fingertips.

Take care. Hold your loved ones close. If you are shaken, be not stirred.
Namaste
Michael

For more, read Finding the Field: an adventure of body, mind and spirit

How do I know that ‘God’ exists?

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

How do I know that God exists? I’ll let my artist friend Tom Newnam answer for me, because his is the simplest, yet most profound answer to that question I have seen. Just four words:

“That’s all I know.” (If you’re puzzled, put a slight emphasis on the word all.)

Here’s my take on his beautiful answer.

All things—material and non-material—are different faces of one being, which I’ll call Consciousness. I could equally call it God, the Field, the Great Spirit, the Source, the Tao, the One: all are names for the same thing. The universe is Consciousness: it is an ocean in motion, a river of eddies, an infinite field of creative works in which the art is the artist and the artist is the art.

Consciousness, longing to experience itself, imagines us into existence, individualized so that we can interact as if we are separate, so that our adventures can be real. What we create in that experience is also consciousness. Whatever object you might name—a galaxy, a mountain, a mouse, a fish or a fowl, a blade of grass or a puff of air—all is consciousness. Whatever thought you might have—idea, concept, feeling, attitude, belief—all is consciousness. And if you ‘know’ something, that knowledge too is consciousness, waving to you in your life mirror.

All that you know, is God.

Here’s another glance at the same thing through a science window. In recent years, physicists have been mystified by some of their own discoveries. Here’s an example: the behaviour of subatomic particles often reflects what is going on in the mind of the scientist doing the experiment! So the scientist is then compelled to ask the astonishing question, “How can a particle know what I’m thinking?”

All that you know, is God.

For more, read  Finding the Field, Part II Chapter 6. Or you can listen to that chapter of the audio book.

Exercises from the soul gym

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

Try these two exercises from the soul gym. If you can, get some peace and quiet for them. If you focus well on both, and if you like the point I’m going to make afterwards, you should be left with a pleasantly disturbing feeling.

First. Place any two objects in front of you (it doesn’t matter what they are) and put a hand half way between them. Here’s your challenge: choose which of the two you’re going to touch without first imagining the touching. Tried it? Okay. And you’re right, it can’t be done: imagination is a core component of human creation.

Second (do this right after the first exercise). Close your eyes and try to imagine the universe without you in it. Tried it? Okay. And you’re right again, it can’t be done. 

Why not? Because your universe is an extension of you. One cannot exist without the other.

You think I’m playing with words? Then go one step further. Ask yourself this: Who is it that is aware that you have a body? Is it your thoughts and feelings? But who is it that is aware that you have thoughts and feelings? Is it your imagination? But who is it that is aware that you are imagining? Is it your soul? But who is it that is aware that you have a soul…? The higher you climb the rungs of that ladder, the more you know yourself as that essence, that observer, that eternal Consciousness which creates all that it observes.

Incidentally, physicists have discovered that when they stop interacting (experimenting) with sub-atomic particles, those particles no longer exist. Think about that. Einstein thought about it and he was horrified by the implications. He said, “I like to think the moon is still there even when I’m not looking at it.”

If the hairs on the back of your neck are prickling, you’ve got the point.

For more, visit my website article, The first universal truth.

You and the highway

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Hello everyone

Here’s the first universal truth: you are entirely the creator of your own life. 

Entirely? At first, that seems offensive or laughable. No one says to themselves, “I’ll have a hurricane come on through.” Or “Time to catch the big C.” Or “I think I’ll get myself mugged in the morning.”

So let me say the first universal truth more accurately. At mostly subconscious levels—starting before birth and fuelled by the accumulated gestalt of thoughts, feelings and beliefs that were once conscious—you create it all: every event, detail and nuance of your life. You are a part of the great Consciousness, a god-fragment who has deliberately forgotten your wholeness so that your adventures can be real.

Before birth you choose the highway, during life you choose the lanes. Your highway has a million lanes.

The highway is your fixed life parameters: certainly parents, country, skin colour, but also some pre-set milestones: a particular partner, a devastating illness, a great good fortune. You choose your lanes in every second of your waking life—with your thoughts. Your thoughts accumulate and become potent beliefs, the most powerful operating at subconscious levels.

Little wonder that when something unpleasant happens, we think life has ‘done it to us’. We treat the world as if it exists in its own right, when in fact life is the most perfect mirror of what we think and feel and believe at the deepest levels. It shows us who we are choosing to be.

Namaste
Michael

For more, visit my website article first universal truth.

Dealing with painful emotions

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

Who are you? Who is it that has your body? Is it your mind? Your thoughts and feelings?

But who is it that has your thoughts and feelings? Is it your awareness?

But who is it that is aware…?

The higher you climb those stairs, the more power you have to move on and take charge of your own life. When you can deliberately stand back and watch the movie of your thoughts and feelings, that’s when you can sit in the director’s chair and issue orders, redirecting the spotlights, changing the scene, consciously steering your life away from pain and fear and towards peace and happiness.

But how?

Here’s the method. But first, one important note: even though you can use the method to cope with painful feelings, you must not pretend that those feelings don’t exist. You must not deny them (I don’t feel it), fight them (I’ll beat it), resist them (I’ll stand up to it) or judge them (this is a bad feeling) or judge yourself (I’m an inferior person for feeling it). If you do any of that, your energy will feed the feelings you want to lose! Instead, this method helps you fold them safely into your repertoire of life experience.

Here it is then. Let’s suppose, for example, that your painful feeling is hurt. Wounded hurt.  Let’s also suppose that the hurt is pushing you to act out in an uncontrolled way, damaging your relationships and your life.

First, Allow. Allow yourself to feel the hurt. Accept its existence. Say to yourself, “This part of me feels hurt.” Even in this first stage, you will notice a difference, because most suffering comes not from pain, but from resistance to pain. Resistance comes from fear, and fear is what makes pain hurt.

Second, Observe. Close your eyes. Strongly, vividly, imagine that you get up and stride a few paces away from your hurt self then turn to look back at it as if it were playing on a screen. Say to yourself, “That part of me feels hurt”. Notice the change from “this” to “that”.

Third, Release. Release the hurt-ridden self to dissipate in its own time. Don’t push it away; it’s not a rejection, just a letting go. Say to yourself, “That too will pass.”

Allow, observe, release. Now you have freed your mind to control your next thought or action, consciously viewing and directing the next scene in the movie of you. It’s very simple, and with practise you’ll do all three steps in a few seconds. But it will take practise, because you’ll be doing it to override painful feelings which will exert their own force on you. Perservere, because the rewards are wonderful.

For more, read Finding the Field. Look in it for viewing the movie of you, and for the Quickening. Or go to the first universal truth.