Archive for the ‘Articles’ Category

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

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.

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.

Plant identifies a ‘murderer’

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

When I was a school science teacher, I asked my class to help me conduct what was then a controversial ‘murder’ experiment. Here’s a swift summary:

We put two pot plants side by side in a backroom of the lab and looked after them for weeks so that they could ‘get to know each other’. One of them we called Percy. On the day of the ‘murder’ we attached Percy to a device known as a GSM machine, which would measure minute changes in the electrical conductivity of its leaves. Then the entire class left the lab, all but five going to a remote part of the school.

The five potential ‘suspects’ went to separate, pre-allocated places, each holding a sealed envelope containing instructions. The envelopes had been juggled so that no one (not even me) knew what any particular suspect was going to do. One by one, each suspect was directed to go to the room with the two plants, open and obey the instructions, then return to their pre-allocated place, speaking to no one.

One of them destroyed Percy’s companion plant, leaving it in shreds on the floor.  

All suspects were then paraded in front of Percy (the only witness), which was still attached to the GSM machine. Sure enough, for one suspect, there was an unmistakable jump in electrical conductivity of Percy’s leaves. The results were issued to the class. The suspect was accused, and he confessed in front of a hugely delighted science class. Percy the plant had identified the human ‘murderer’.

The excited class discussed the significance of what we had seen, and of course the interpretations varied hugely.

Here’s mine. Imagine that there is an invisible thread joining your little finger to every other object in the universe. So if you twitched your little finger, some measure of that movement would pass through every material object in existence. Now, imagine that the invisible thread is a form of awareness that permeates all things. Go further: imagine that the universe is a giant awareness, a feeling, expressing itself as all living and non-living things.

We are one Being, with many faces. Percy and Percy’s companion plant and the ‘murderer’ were three of those faces.

For more, read two articles:  The principle of existence and The third universal truth on the Finding the Field website.

Can an intellectually handicapped person be spiritually enlightened?

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

True or false? An intellectually handicapped person can be spiritually enlightened.

As part of my writing research, I was once shown through a hospital for the intellectually handicapped. Before visiting the most severely affected patients, the superintendent warned me that I could find the experience disturbing. He said, “I never enjoy going into this room, because when I look into their eyes I see that whatever’s going on in there, it isn’t nothing.”

One patient in particular (I’ll call her Nancy) had about her what I can only describe as a glow. She could utter no words, but she approached, touched my upper arms, and looked directly into my eyes. Her own eyes were filled with joy and love; and connection, as if she somehow recognized me. It was shocking – wonderfully shocking – from someone I might be expected to pity. She had something priceless that I did not have. She left me to return to the others, but her glow remained with her and all the while I was in that room, it connected with everyone around her.

The superintendent commented dryly, “Everyone loves Nancy.”

So, what do you think? Is the statement at the beginning true or false?  

It’s true. Yes, yes, yes, it’s true. Intelligence possesses no fast track to enlightenment. Nor does knowledge. Nor does even an encyclopedic knowledge of the words of the great masters. None of it says anything of our personal spiritual enlightenment and spiritual growth.

So what does? What is enlightenment? 

You’re enlightened when you know your neighbour as another face in the mirror. You’re enlightened when you know yourself as both the creator and the created.  You’re enlightened when you know a trillion invisible streams as a visible ocean. And you’re enlightened when you know that the question of enlightenment has the same answer as the question, “What am I?” 

My friend Tom in the US has just sent me this koan: “I’ll give you an orange,” the student challenged the master, “if you can tell me where God is.” “I’ll give you two oranges,” replied the master, “if you can tell me where God is not.”

For more, visit my website and read the article, the third universal truth.

Next week, I’ll tell you about an experiment  I conducted with a school science class, using a pot plant to identify a suspect.

Yes, a pot plant.

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.

The universe always grants your greatest passions

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

Last week, I said that passion is the magic ingredient in the power to have, do, or be what you want. Now I’m going to add something else that, at first sight, may seem like nonsense.

The universe always grants your greatest passions.

Looks easy to dismiss, doesn’t it? Let’s pick an example. You might say, “But I have passionately wanted a new car for the last two years. Why isn’t it here already? I believe in abundance, I’ve done the visualization, I’ve chanted affirmations to the point of needing throat surgery—and still no car!”

But where, exactly, is your passion focused? Where are you investing that potently creative energy? Is it really in what you want, or is it in what you don’t want? It’s very easy and all too human to confuse these opposites. If, for example, your current ride is a battered heap of rust with rodents nesting in the upholstery, your greatest passion may not be desire to own a new car, but despair that you don’t! Imagine the creative centre of your being looking from one passion to the other: desire or despair, which is the greater? If despair triumphs, then your universe must grant you the lack of a new car, and you already have plenty of that.

I have met many people who realize intellectually the power of belief in abundance, even while their underlying passion empowers scarcity. So no matter what rituals they follow, they can’t override passions that bring them pain.

It comes down to this: how do you take control of your own passions? How do you make sure that your greatest passions align with what you consciously desire? How do you take charge of your life and direct your own movie? For that, go to the First Universal Truth, or read about the Quickening in Finding the Field.

Namaste
Michael

Who are you? I mean really!

Saturday, July 3rd, 2010

The most important question in our lives is Who am I? Each of us, in our own way, is directed by our desire for the answer.  And believe it or not we can get one immediately – if we take a sidelong glance at Genesis. Follow me to the beginning of time…

In the beginning, there was no universe, nor any material thing.  There was 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 was only a deep desire. And the deep desire was the Great Spirit. And the desire was the Question, What Am I?

Now, imagine that the Great Spirit decides to experience the answer through a game of chess.  Out of Itself  It creates a  chessboard, with pieces drawn up ready to play.

Who to play with? No problem. The Great Spirit plonks another chunk of Itself on one side of the board and calls it Mind. Then, in order to make the game real, the Great Spirit 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 it is actually the Great Spirit. It knows every move and counter-move in advance. So the Great Spirit gives Mind another gift.

It’s the gift of forgetting. Mind forgets that it is the Great Spirit. It now experiences itself as alone, made of flesh, and contained by a shape with head, arms and legs. Finally, the game can begin. And in its deep desire to remember who it really is, Mind plays an excitingly creative game of chess, a  game that will evolve forever.

So, do you see it?   We are the cutting edge of the Creation. Our question, Who am I? is the Great Spirit exploring the Question, What Am I? In other words, our question is the answer. Our journey is the destination. And our challenge is to choose to love our life now, even as we strive with passion and creativity to improve it.

For more, click on the universal truths.

Namaste.
Michael

Why I know that you and I will live forever

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

I will always remember the moment I discovered, beyond doubt, that I am immortal and so is every human on the planet.

I was on my hands and knees at the time, high in the mountains of Peru. I had climbed too fast, too hard, from a village on the Amazon side of the Andes, up to the altiplano – a frozen desert more than 16,000 feet above sea level.  With too little oxygen to sustain such effort, I reached the altiplano as the headaches began and a clamp grew in my chest and upper right arm. It was too late to turn back and suicidal to lie down in that cold. So I stumbled on, gradually slowing, eventually sinking to hands and knees and crawling, shale cutting my palms.

I had seen no other human being that day, but now, incredibly, there were two, on the other side of a tiny lake. They were tending a herd of white llamas, their multi-coloured ponchos shockingly vivid in that bleak landscape. I called out for help, using the wrong word ‘ayuda’, rather than the correct one ‘socorro’ – I’m smiling now remembering it – but they probably didn’t understand Spanish anyway. And perhaps they were afraid that I was a trap of some sort. For whatever reason, the two turned away and shrank themselves and the herd away into the greys and whites of the altiplano. I remember my first feeling: a child-like hurt that they could just walk away.

Then I found myself simultaneously inside and outside my body. This is hard to describe because it was seamless – no real separation. The inside part of me was locked into pain and fear.  But the outside part of me had a very different experience. It was utterly calm, peaceful and strong… and expanded as if I was connected with everything to the far reaches of the universe. It knew itself as the enduring essence of me. It loved the body-locked me. It was the mother that loves a child, even as it is changed by the child; it was the wind that drives the sailboat, even as it is stirred by the sailboat, which may choose its own direction. It occupied a gateless realm that requires no entrance qualifications whatsoever: there was nothing I could do that was bad enough to deprive me of ownership of that realm.

And it would never die, but would go on creating many adventures in many bodies in many lifetimes. My body would die, but I would live forever.

Suddenly, I was back in my body, no longer afraid of death. 

Now this may sound strange, but instead of accepting body-death on the spot, I was filled with more love of this life than I had never known before. What had been desperation to live became determination to live. I kept crawling, then found the energy to rise to my feet and stumble on until I reached help in the next village.

A lot of my growing up happened in the Andes. Some of what I experienced is written into the novel Finding the Field: an adventure of body, mind and spirit.

 For more on how and why we live forever, click on the fifth universal truth 

A wonderful servant, but a terrible master

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

Your ego makes a wonderful servant, but a terrible master.  The popular meaning of ego disguises its real potency. Its purpose is not to raise you above others, but to maintain you as a separate entity—seemingly disconnected from  all else—so that you can go about your life with independent free will. That’s its only job description. It must make you believe that you are not connected with Consciousness, so that you will then long for the homecoming, and have real adventures on the way back. Separation and connection: that is the eternal dance of Consciousness.

To boost your journey, your ego whispers the essential message: you are distinct and unique. Fine; you need that in order to be human. But ego doesn’t know how to stop; give it half a chance and it moves on to whispering: anything that is not your mind and body is not you. Then it discovers it can isolate you even more if it makes you afraid: you are isolated and alone; out there beyond your skin is stuff that can hurt you. Which means that you can live through entire incarnations blighted by anxiety, apprehension, and dread. And your ego can even whisper (listen to how cunning this is) your suffering makes you special. Which means that you may be instinctively unwilling—not unable, but unwilling—to stop suffering. 

And where does your ego get these gratuitous, destructive whisperings?

From you.

How can that possibly be? For more, click on the fourth universal truth 

Redefining what it means to be a human

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

It’s the most profound discovery in the history of science – so fundamental that when the implicatons sink in, the human race will redefine what it means to be human. Modern scentists, hunting for the fundamental building blocks of the universe, have discovered that the behaviour of subatomic particles depends on what is going on in the mind of the scientist. Yes, you read that correctly. More: they have also discovered that even the existence of those particles depends on what is happening in the mind of the scientist. No, it’s not a misprint and it’s not fringe science; it has been replicated many times.

Of course the implications are stunning. As one science commentator put it, “Physicists these days are battling insanity.” Einstein wasn’t at all happy and said darkly, “I like to think that the moon is still there even when I’m not looking at it.” However he did also say, “Reality is an illusion, albeit a persistent one.”

Traditional science is fighting back. It doesn’t argue with the discoveries themselves; instead it says, “Just because that happens on a microscopic scale doesn’t mean that it happens in the everyday macroscopic world.”  Which is like watching a large animal with tusks, a trunk and loud trumpeting, bearing down on you and failing to call it an elephant.

You’ve seen the implications, haven’t you?  Each of us is creating our world around us as we go.

How can that possibly be? For more, click on the first universal truth 

You and the glove puppet

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

(Adapted from Finding the Field)
Our essence, as human beings, is not our bodies. We are the energy of consciousness, wearing our bodies like glove puppets, continuously discarding old parts of the puppet and replacing them with new until we withdraw the hands and move on.

Nonsense, says traditional science. There’s no ghost in the machine. The universe is made of dead things called atoms and, therefore, so are we. It’s like a complex mechanical toy, our paths dictated by the tiny atomic interactions that make up our bodies and environment. In other words, says traditional science, the future is fixed by the past. Michelangelo’s David, Beethoven’s Fifth, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, were supposedly all created by blind mechanical process.

Not only is there a ghost in the machine, the ghost is also the machine. The fundamental building block of the universe is not a physical particle at all – it’s thought.

How can that be? For more, click on the third universal truth

Pain, the art and the artist

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

We all experience anguish. Of course we do… that’s life. But have you ever wondered why?

I did. As a child (after bad behaviour) I was astonished – no, I was outraged – by the existence of  physical and mental pain in my life. And when I was older, I realized that many people lead lives of quiet desperation, filled with anguish and fear. So I began to wonder, What is it all about? Who am I? Why am I here? What makes the universe work? And when the answers fell into place decades later, I wrote Finding the Field.

Imagine looking at your life as if you were looking at a very narrow, vertical strip of wood. The strip is decorated with a complex pattern of light and dark colours (that’s your pleasure and pain). Then you suddenly find yourself looking at the same piece of wood from the side – and it looks utterly different from that angle. It turns out that the narrow strip was only the edge of a picture frame and now you can see an exquisite work of art, featuring you, created by you. You are the art and the artist. Seen from the perspective of Consciousness, your life – including all pain and all pleasure – is not only beautiful, it is perfect. In fact, you are already in your spiritual home

Have I taken leave of my senses? How can that be? For more, click on the fourth universal truth.

Michael