Game over

On my way to Earth

“Let go of all hope, all ye who enter here.”
Those were the lines I read before I burst from my mother’s womb. Later I forgot, trying to be loveable, hoping to be loved…

My brothers and sisters all over the planet hope… hope to restore dignity to societies run by intelligent but deeply disturbed people. Is that mad? Or is that as naive as most of us normally are?
Religion, spirituality, godesses and mantra singing, meditating on the sound of one hand clapping as we hear the sound of Starfighters, Harriers and drones, Cruise Missiles overhead, while the rebels march bravely forward wrenching the last cities, so they hope, from the hand of the psycho-terror master and his militia.

For the first time in history greedy men, and a few greedy women, hold states for ransom to bail out banks and their Champagne toting, Porsche driving, loft inhabitants raking in a recompense for socializing losses and privatizing profits. (The Grand Lie worthy of Goebbels: “You have to pay interest because we are taking a risk…”)
Mimicking, they are, CEO’s jumping with golden parachutes from crashing company planes —  the looters of London, real amateurs, going for some Nike runners and Adidas pants still have a lot to learn from the scientifically informed, professional looters of the people’s wealth. Looting the financial markets, looting the savings of hundreds of millions of not so innocent petit bourgoise sheep. Grandpa’s savings for old age. Insurances, mutual funds. Millions of people’s homes. Shearing sheep. People dreaming the next reality-show will reveal who did it with whom, voting for the next Superstar whose heart-moving voice will bring tears to any feeling person on the planet. People whose crime is ignoring when their neighbor, the rain forest, turns to timber for the houses in foreclosure. Criminally sheepish defending their shepherd with religious zeal as he drives them to the butcher.

The Holy River Ganges

I’d love to say I’m done with this world, done with a humanity inviting its slavers, destroyers, abusers and saviors to take another chunk of the pie, dancing to the loony tune of short term memory, of ignorance, of overwhelm, of “this ain’t my problem, ’cause I’m in love.” I’d want to say, I’m through with this. But I can’t lie.
I’d love to dramatically despair of this mad, mad world; I’d love to turn off the light, now the music’s over, and all that goes on is plunder and rape of our Fair Sister. What have they done to the Earth?! I’m gonna scream like a butterfly as I hear the One Hand clapping on the cheeks and buttocks of the spiritual crew, my deep-hearted brothers and sisters turning to me, asking, “How come you do not see this all originates with you? You are them and they are us and we are all together! We’re One, don’t you know?”
And as my one hand is clapping here & there & everywhere, I want to sing, “I’m crying! The madness jumps at me from every corner!” But the hands of the obscene rich around my throat only let me whisper…

Yes, I’m sick of it, probably beyond remedy. I may even oppose healing attempts, saying, “If you’re not sickened by humanity’s collective lunatics and its joy in torturing the weak, its trampling of the down-trodden, its stealing from the poor and putting them and their children in slavery of state deficits… If you’re not sick, you cannot be my friend! You are an alien to Earth and its beings!”
Yes, the aliens have walked in to humanity’s leadership, have eaten them from the inside, looking down through their eyes on the human cattle with utter contempt. And my fellow humans sucking up to them, or demanding better leadership, wanting a holistic shearing.

I admit. Rather then looking squarely into humanity’s cabinet of horrors I tally in social networks, processing information, knowledge, understandings – crowdsourcing myself. I’ve created such a sweet stream, I thought, of world-change agents, good people, brilliant people often, having empathy and sympathy and a wide horizon, thinking systemically and integrally, trying to do good every day. But surely, the madness I wanted to keep at bay creeps through the cracks everywhere. Spiritual leaders prey on their followers, or predate by proxy, letting the sharks swim among the carps, going all transcendent about the bloody consquences.

And all my wonderful acquaintances, called friends these days, who work, often day and night, with all their heart, rallying around this banner and that, around high values, enlightenments, good soul-food… good, good people, having my heart’s yes, YES! I feel you, I feel with you. I weep with you. I’d tear out my hair with you if it’d help — like the people in Kyoto of old, cutting off their long hair to make strong ropes to build the temples.

It may be time to be silent. It may be time to give up. It may be time to acknowledge failure.  I can’t do this anymore. No more plasters. No more medicine that prolongs the mad spasms. I’ll wait. May be a Great Embrace will take me off stage.

Oh, and just so you know. Just because it pains me, I’m not going to suffer while I cry! This ain’t about Poor Me! It’s about the Mad Beast and facing it flinchingly – not unflinching; my heroics are done.

Robert Pepperell-Paradox

This is beyond despair: Reality, and no more hope that any of us humans, including myself, or all of us together will get ourselves aligned, together or whatever. If anything will change this mad, sad state of planetary affairs, it’s not going to be any of us. It may include us, but it aint us, for sure.

This is no swan song; rather a squawk by a duckling born on an asylum-planet for lunatics.

Game over.

Did you know?

I think this viedo speak entirely for itself…

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHWTLA8WecI

Organic Farming Can Feed the World

As Whole Foods CEO John Mackey seems to have had his share of seemingly not too integral business (we’re all infallible, remember?) This bit of news reached me, and I’m happy to report it back to you… just in case you get into one of these arguments that we need ‘chemical farming methods’ to feed the world…

Organic farming could feed the world

(Source)

A switch to organic farming would not reduce the world’s food supply and could also increase food security in developing countries, say the authors of a new study.

They claim their findings lay to rest the debate over whether organic farming could sustainably feed the world. Organic farming avoids or heavily restricts the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilisers, as well as livestock feed additives.

Numerous studies have compared the yields of organic and conventional methods for individual crops and animal products (see 20-year study backs organic farming).

Now, a team of researchers has compiled research from 293 different comparisons into a single study to assess the overall efficiency of the two agricultural systems.

Available materials

Ivette Perfecto of the University of Michigan in the US and her colleagues found that, in developed countries, organic systems on average produce 92% of the yield produced by conventional agriculture. In developing countries, however, organic systems produce 80% more than conventional farms.

Perfecto points out that the materials needed for organic farming are more accessible to farmers in poor countries.

Those poor farmers may buy the same seeds as conventional farms use in rich countries, but they cannot afford the fertilisers and pesticides needed for intensive agriculture. However, “organic fertiliser doesn’t cost much they can produce it on their own farms”, says Perfecto.

Using data from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the team then estimated what would happen if farms worldwide were to switch to organic methods today.

The world currently produces the equivalent of 2786 calories per person per day. The researchers found that under an organic-only regime, farms could produce between 2641 and 4381 calories per person per day.

Misplaced debate

Perfecto’s colleague Catherine Badgley says she believes the calculations they carried out to arrive at the upper number are more realistic. These took into account the higher yields that would be obtained in developing countries, and the details of which crops are grown where.

She points out that even the lower number is sufficient to feed the world. Nutritionists recommend that people consume between 2100 and 2500 calories a day.

The debate over whether the world can produce enough organic food is misplaced, argues Perfecto: “We are producing enough food it’s a question of distribution of that food.”

The researchers also found that small farms tend to produce more per hectare of land. “An increase in the number of small farms would enhance food production,” they say. They also note that although organic production tends to require more labour, this labour is often spread out more evenly over the growing season, making it easier to manage.

Precision farming

Carl Pray, at University of Rutgers, New Jersey, US, says there is good evidence that small-scale farming in developing countries is more efficient. This is probably because small farms put more effort in the precise management of small areas of land.

But, he says, “the likelihood of all farms reverting to ‘small farmerdom’ is a big question in an age in which labour is becoming more and more expensive. Take China and India, for instance: the demand for labour is such that people are continually being pulled out of the countryside”.

Perfecto, however, maintains that the idea that conventional farming is cheap is a fallacy. “That is not including the real costs. Once you incorporate the cost to the health of people, once you incorporate the environment cost then organic agriculture is a much superior system.”

Pesticides are associated with a number of diseases, including cancer a fact that was first brought to public attention in Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring. Organic farming is thought to benefit biodiversity and the environment, as well as human health.

  • NewScientist.com news service
  • Catherine Brahic

We are the next Buddha

Helen wrote in her blog “Why the next Buddha will be a collective.” I hope to show with this article where I am coming from in this regard so that in the time to come we can have beautiful dialogues, trialogues or any other -logues to help this meme propagate.

I guess, for me it all started in earnest when in the summer of 2005 one of my trainees asked, “What about we?” I guess, he asked that because I was using my own path and experience as a template for the spiritual journey, as most spiritual teachers do. Because that’s what I felt myself to be at that time, a spiritual teacher. And, being steeped in a guru culture, my role was centered around having a ‘working relationship’ with the divine, by whatever name you want to call it, and my teaching and methods were congruent with that. (I won’t go into the aspect of the “teaching beyond words and scripture” that also is very much a part of this; some of how I looked at these matters you find here.)
The question really struck me, and so I started to read a lot of Martin Buber, and what he had to say about the possible quality of true relationship moved me deeply.

Wer in der Beziehung steht, nimmt an einer Wirklichkeit teil, das heißt: an einem Sein, das nicht bloß an ihm und nicht bloß außer ihm ist. Alle Wirklichkeit ist ein Wirken, an dem ich teilnehme, ohne es mir eignen zu können. Wo keine Teilnahme ist, ist keine Wirklichkeit. Wo Selbstzueignung ist, ist keine Wirklichkeit. Die Teilnahme ist umso vollkommener, je unmittelbarer die Berührung des Du ist.
Das Ich ist wirklich durch seine Teilnahme an der Wirklichkeit. Es wird umso wirklicher, je vollkommener die Teilnahme ist.

Being in relationship one participates in reality, that means, one participates in a being that is not only one’s inner being nor is it the being outside of one. All reality is a becoming-real in which I participate without my being able to take possession of it. Without participation there is no reality. Where there is a taking into possession to oneself there is no reality. The more perfect the participation the more immediate is the touching of the thou.

The I is real through its participation with and in reality. And it becomes more real the more perfect the participation is.

(My translation of Martin Buber: Das Dialogische Prinzip – Ich und Du – Seite 65-66)

Over time starting to understand what Martin Buber is indicating I left behind my formal conviction that was very much founded on experiences interpreted through Eastern philosophy and spirituality. “Thou art That” (Vedanta)… “I and the world are one” (Upanishads)… “I am is all there is” (Advaita). And I was moved to explore in all manners possible to me, what is between us.

During the winter seminar of the same year I went for a walk in a wooded valley nearby. The afternoon sun was coloring the snow golden white, the gurgling streamlet hid underneath a thin layer of ice and a deep blue sky spanned over the wonderful silence, when all of a sudden I saw a flock of finches, sparrows, stock doves and a rusty brown bird with a many-colored tail that is very common here. Different birds in one flock settling in a couple of trees and starting a game, it seemed, flying from branch to branch and tree to tree: a fink jumped-flew onto a branch on which a dove was sitting who then flew to a branch on which one of the brown birds was sitting and so on. And it seemed to have a rhythm: the birds in a game I used to play as a child called “Bäumchen wechsle dich” – a delightful jumping and a flying all over.
I had never seen anything like it or heard of it before, yet this experience befitted my development of the period very well. It isn’t important what species of bird I am with – what matters is engaging with what is between us, “Can we find a common game?” I wrote in my diary. Because then we can play with all species of birds in the trees of life. You show yourself as the sparrow or the dove you are, as the crane or the eagle or any other bird you find yourself to be, and you are taking the other birds just the way they are… and then something new, unknown, a never before seen or experienced game begins. Whatever song you sing let’s hear it, and listen to our melody, because without both the game, our joyous, delightful, mutual game cannot happen.

That spring and summer I was in trouble because I started to see that I couldn’t go on with my old way of teaching in which I was the one that “has it”, and the people coming to me didn’t – or where not conscious of it. Not, that I didn’t feel connected anymore to the deep sources of life and being, not that there were no more Satori’s or deep mystical states – quite the contrary many of my days were spent in a very juicy sense of lightness, as if bubbles of champagne were coursing through my veins. But it was what I and others made out of this that was the trouble. It was the ‘vertical spirituality’ in the patriarchal mode that I became wary of. It reminded me very much of feudalism, a social structure that I didn’t want to be part of anymore.
And as my opposition was growing (the article linked above was written in that period; you can see how very critical it is) so was my insight into what I came to call the emerging archetype of the “between us”. There is the huge P2P movement, Wikipedia, open source programming, sharing economy, distributed research, Web 2.0 & 3.0, etc.; the Internet has opened a huge gate towards the culture of collaboration in the production of knowledge and understanding but also of products and services.
I also came in touch with spiritual teachings and philosophies that are deep and and encompassing, thorough and practical and sophisticated as well, which apparently are not in need of the ‘vertical stance’ (John Heron‘s participatory spirituality, Jorge Ferrer‘s revisioning of transpersonal psychology, Alan Rayner’s inclusionality, Samuel Bonder‘s wakening down in mutuality… to name but a few).

I also saw that many of the methods I was using already for quite some time – dynamic presencing for instance – could be regarded very much as an expression of the spirit between us, the “We” (whenever I am alluding to the emerging archetype of the “between us”, which is also “the spirit between us” I will from now on be using We with capital W). And as I realized this the methods changed to incorporate this understanding. I started to realize that my real art is creating an atmosphere and situations in which the We can appear and start to move and even incorporate each and every one of us. The beauty of course is that this understanding meshes with another insight that came out of facilitating “Enlightenement guaranteed ;-)” events, a method that has become famous through Genpo Roshi who calls it “Big Mind”. Suffice it to say here that this method uses voices or sub-personalities as the main gate to understand how the human mind works. So there is not only the We between the many persons outside of us but inside of us as well. These ideas evolved into an understanding that I will sketch in more detail below.

Then in autumn and winter 2006 I went through a deep existential crisis which touched all aspects of my life, heart and mind – to put it in the metaphor I met the senex, Saturn, and it took quite some time before I could discover the We and allow it to unfold between us. But as spring dawned and with it my old friend Jupiter it was as if I started to hear a symphony – many different melodies coming together. And if I put it in language, this is how it sounds…
At this moment of our history we are on a critical path starting to leave an old view behind. If I am to sketch the perspectives of this view in a few broad strokes I would say it is basically one of centralism. It reminds me of what I think went on at the time when Kepler revolutionized the astronomical place of earth and sun. Before him most people, even the most intelligent ones, believed the earth was the center of the cosmos. But now he showed that the sun was at the center. It took a few hundred years for us then to realize that this is really not so, this cosmos does not have a center (more about this metaphor it in this article). So instead of our sun being at center we are now faced with innumerable stars and their relationships – constellations and configurations. So as beautiful as the sun might be around which I turn, and as enlightening the sun might be around which you turn, we are discovering that if we do not find the We (the movement and nourishment in our relationships and what happens or doesn’t happen in it) between us this universe starts falling apart into discrete stars and galaxies which are separated by huge stretches of empty space.

So it is very beautiful and makes deep sense that obviously this space is not empty at all; it is flowing over with the We that embraces all. And as I said, the We is making itself felt, understood, intuited all over this globe and is manifesting in many different ways – as people wanting to cooperate, to collaborate, to be in community and communion, seeing that the time of heroes (central suns) is definitely over, the time for the saviors and lone leaders that could set things right again. The world and its problems have become so complex that we can only hope to find adequate answers in “circles”of very different people where we can meet eye to eye and heart to heart – in a sort of collective leadership maybe. And this is underfoot already on a worldwide scale. The place here would not suffice to mention all the initiatives that are going on all over the world. Yet, this is one aspect of We manifesting.

Another aspect is the sense of spiritual or soul families or clans finding each other again across countries and continents. It is as if we have chosen ages ago to come together in this critical time on the planet to be midwives to what is wanting to emerge. What ever may be the case we do recognize each other and there is an immediate connection beyond words, even beyond understanding; all we do is accept it.

A third aspect manifests through what has been called the Circle Being, manifesting as a higher order of being together with an incredible coherence that draws in the individuals participating. This certainly is We, being highly coherent. (Helen has written about it here, and I have also reported a very strong experience here). The “between us” can also come into being in what has been called “a silver moment” or in German Sternstunde, “stellar hour”. In the Bible it has been alluded to – and much misinterpreted as only applying to the divine person of Jesus – as, “Where two or three are gathered in My Name there am I am in their midst.” (Matth. 18:20)

A fourth aspect is the insight that our very consciousness itself can best be regarded as plural and not singular as a traditional mysticism has it. In the individual this shows itself as sub-personalities or the many voices that speak in us – for instance the ego, the inner child, the judge, the saboteur, the seeker, the achiever, the non-seeking mind, the inner master, the higher self etc.. So looking at our individual consciousness or psyche as a “we” rather than as an “I” would pave the way for a “circle being” to manifest inside the mind of the individual. This to me at this moment is one of the most interesting aspect of the emerging archetype.
It seems obvious that the “inner We” does not dissolve individuality, I or ego; it rather enhances its possibilities and functionality, because as the so far dominant ego realizes its embeddedness it can let go much easier of its compulsory need to control, and become part of the conductorless orchestra of the “inner We” tuning in to the “larger We” dawning on all of mankind and even, so I think, all beings and what we now still call derogatively ‘dead matter’.

This allows us to regard the emerging We as a scalable, fractal phenomenon on many and maybe even all levels. Contemplating all of this I come to the understanding that I am called – as are many others – to support and nourish these dynamic constellations of individuals and voices to configure themselves so that the transformation that is necessary for the health of the planet and its inhabitants is facilitated optimally.

To Our Eyes Only

I’m not trying to save the world or even myself for that matter.
I believe not in the necessity of saying anything to anybody.
I’m just – people… expressing, as birds are singing.

I feel myself to be part of this multiverse of diverse voices, vistas and felt-spaces that flow around – creating and being created in this mystery called reality.

I have no hope for a better future. Actually I don’t need a future at all – if there is future, now it will take care of itself. What is not will not become, nor will it ever happen – that is, after all, its nothingness.

My movement is the very movement of time itself – I am time… eternally now inhabiting these whereabouts here – me here, you there and they everywhere else (all these other ‘heres’ that I know of and not know of).
Being time, you are close, they always a bit further away – coming closer they flow into another you, even closer still becoming we… always becoming.

Who are you? I am being asked, and in the question I’m flowing into another way of being here, a questioned being. Never knowing who I am but in the question, an absence flowing into presence – and you.

You flowing into being there for me here
And I here becoming present for you there
– I, never being there, and you never being here; what makes you into you is being there, and me into me is being here. We always flowing into being for each other
Somewhere

Looking for where I end and you begin
I cannot find it – fuzzy limits
My ending and your beginning somewhere in between
Imagination drawing a line

I’m singing a song I’d like you to hear
And maybe, if you wish, to sing along
Not to join!
No, hearing you tuning in
I tune into you
Hearing one melody appearing
Floating around for some time
There’s no more need to know
where we end or begin.

This is not about finding the truth but fitting in more snugly
Into the flows and eddies and currents of everywhere, including nowhere
A revelation in as much as you care, and I care to see us revealed
Revealing as much as we care to reveal
Of what is revealing itself over there and over here
And somewhere between and beyond.

A free floating song
Fallible, diverse, incompletely
Always incomplete and eager to reveal itself
To Our Eyes Only.

The myth of Cause and Effect Or, is it really the slap that hurts?

Most of us think linear when it comes to what happens in life: My cheek hurts, because someone slapped me; And now I am angry, because I did not deserve it.

Scientists, at least the overwhelming majority, are certain that consciousness is caused by the grey matter residing in our head. So in this view having a revelation, for instance, is just a matter of some neurons firing and sending chemicals to other neurons they even have a word for the discipline studying divine, mystical or other spiritual states of consciousness; neurotheology.

I have just read a scientific article which again states this theory in connection to free will in this view the free will is an illusion as conscious states which lead to free decisions are all caused by the brain. In this view free will cannot exist because everything is determined; in this case by firing neurons interchanging chemical substances as well. (Not once in all this scientific literature there is a deeper consideration of what most of us actually mean by free will, but Ill let that go this time).

So cause (neuronal activity) –> effect (conscious state).

It cannot be denied, without uttering nonsense, that to actually be angry and feel this anger one needs adrenalin, for instance. As it is quite impossible to make love to your beloved without the appropriate hormones moving in your blood. So there certainly is a deep connection between our state of mind and our neuronal-chemical state. And whoever had a friend or acquaintance who suffered a brain-stroke will know the shock that comes when the person has a very different character from before or doesnt even remember ones name or face.

So we do think: cause (stroke) –> effect (change of character).

But if we do actually believe this I do not see how we can truly believe that our conscious states lets say a satori or divine vision are actually what they themselves say they are: revealing our true nature or the divinity of being, for instance. We cannot have it both ways. The scientists saying that consciousness is an epiphenomenon are then just more honest than the rest of us still wanting to believe in free will, angels, spirits etc., and/or a consciousness that is uncaused.

Surely this is not my view. The setting or finding of causes and effects happens in accord with a great myth, the myth of cause & effect. Even though the cause&effect-myth is really helpful and practical in many ways, especially when it comes to actions and their consequences or our technically advanced society (click publish and this post appears on my blog, for instance). But what we usually do not see is that we create the story, we often divine the causes working backwards from the effect that we have differentiated from the whole situation/context.

What I do not like about this myth of cause & effect is that it fosters determinism and in the case of the brain and consciousness a very impoverished story that robs its believers of a depth and richness another story might provide. So Im reinterpreting the facts of life that my culture is continually shoving onto me, reinterpreting the stale story of determinism.

In the case of brain and consciousness it seems to me that the states of consciousness and the physical states of the brain are synchronically coincident. Actually only in the materialistic myth it makes sense to say that brain and consciousness are separate phenomena and one is caused by the other. Everything is unfolding in concert, it is resounding with everything else. The kinds of differentiations that we have used so far fosters the kind of culture we have in this day and age: an ecological, economic and political disaster-prone time. When we look with the eyes of the deterministic myth at the mystery called reality, for instance, trees are things and not living beings with yes! a consciousness.

So beings move in concert sometimes cacaphonically, sometimes polyphonically and sometimes symphonically, to differentiate a few of the many ways of relating between entities, beings and the whole. And when one looks in the cause&effect-way one takes a slice out of this resounding story to, maybe, know what to do. But looking at it as if the kosmos (signifying harmonious whole) were a concert one rather asks, how to be, how to sound right now.

In the cause & effect world there are laws. In the world of kosmic concert there are repeating melodies, rhythms and rhymes which is why Ive come to prefer that myth over the deterministic one.

The Self is an Archetype

The archetype of the self is the ‘product’ of an evolutionary development – we do not have a self, it has us once in a while 🙂
By archetype I mean a kind of constellation that psyche and cosmos have in common; they express themselves both in what we call reality and what we call our psyche – but more than that archetypes develop in this relatedness and at the same time (in)form it.

Around 7000 years ago (an estimate that I cannot explain right now) the archetype of the self appeared for the first time; it differentiated itself out of the archetype of the clan – the birth of individuality, the individual that could stand up to the gods… maybe this archetype is the one the ancient Greeks called Prometheus.

It appears to me as if presently a ‘new’ archetype is coming into being; it seems that what I call “between-us” and “we-consciousness” is very much part of this new constellation in cosmos & psyche… I really don’t know, but at times it is very clear to me.
Self-realisation would be the historic and personal prerequisite for this new archetype to appear on the evolutionary stage we’re on.
In self-realisation the song of praise of body, mind and spirit as one is sounded, and a true identity is forming when the personalities (inner child, controller, seeker and also the wise one etc.) are ready to become part of the choir; yes, once in a while the can sing a solo, but only once in a while and always as part of the choir as a whole. Individuation then would be the ’rounding’ of the archetype of the self in our psyche which expresses itself also in all kinds of synchronicities as all archetypes are inside and outside…

Archetypes last – they are not to be separated or isolated from existence and being (like disincarnated souls), and they are deathless yet evolving. As in our individuation or self-realisation the archetypes of, for instance, the ‘puer’ (what we call ‘inner child’ nowadays), the controller (in astrology that might be Saturn) and so on surrender to and become part of the rounded self – they don’t dissolve or ‘die’ - so in due time this archetype will become an organ of the now burgeoning archetype that I call “Between-Us”.

Sometimes we need reasons to hope

  • The number of international crises – defined as situations that leaders consider imminently threatening to their countries’ security – has declined by more than two-thirds since 1981, according to the Human Security Report.
  • Instances of genocide and mass killings of ideological foes are also down from 10 a year in the early 1990s to one in 2004, according to Barbara Harff, a conflict historian at Clark University in Worcester, Mass. That one is grave, however: It’s in Darfur, Sudan, where Arab militias have killed at least 70,000 black Africans.
  • In 1946, 20 nations in the world were democracies, according to the Maryland institute’s Peace and Conflict 2005 report. Today, 88 countries are. Many scholars contend that democracies go to war more slowly and rarely fight one another.
  • The number of United Nations peacekeeping operations more than doubled from 1988 to 2005, from seven to 17.

Source

The Open Secret

14 billion years of evolution since the Big Bang.

This planet, the solar system, the Milky Way – our galaxy… an endlessly large universe.

This moment, this experience now, you and me… all time and space in a conspiracy to awaken in you and me right now.

And so immensely rich is this cosmos that it gives itself away every moment again – it cannot keep anything for itself. All change is a witness to the unending richness of the mystery called reality – so rich that every moment it has to give itself away.

All that we can have, you and me, is this moment – the experience, the consciousness, the surrender to this moment.

Fish egg ‘miracle’ needs cracking

3 minnows in an egg
The academics say that there were no breaks in the egg
Biologists at the University of Manchester want help in cracking their “miracle” discovery of three fish inside a sealed egg.

The group found the duck egg in a small pond on a field trip to the French Alps and noticed something moving inside it.

When they cracked open the shell, three live minnows were inside.

They have enlisted the help of other experts, but despite their extensive combined knowledge, the biologists admit they are “baffled”.

Dr Matthew Cobb, a lecturer in animal behaviour at the university, said: “As 21st century scientists rather than 17th century antiquarians we think it’s unlikely this represents a hitherto unknown mode of fish reproduction.

Predatory attack

“Perhaps the egg fell into the pond following some kind of predatory attack but we’re baffled as to how the minnows got to be inside.

“Certainly, we didn’t see any crack in the egg.”

Dr Cobb and his colleague, Henry McGhie, head of natural sciences at the Manchester Museum, have written to the New Scientist magazine in the hope readers will help solve the mystery.

Minnows are small freshwater fish, often used as bait by anglers.

From: BBC NEWS | UK | England | Manchester | Fish egg ‘miracle’ needs cracking

Voices in the head ‘are normal’

Hearing voices in your head is so common that it is normal, psychologists believe.

Dutch findings suggest one in 25 people regularly hears voices.

Contrary to traditional belief, hearing voices is not necessarily a symptom of mental illness, UK researchers at Manchester University say.

Indeed, many who hear voices do not seek help and say the voices have a positive impact on their lives, comforting or inspiring them.

BBC NEWS | Health | Voices in the head ‘are normal’

Russian Walk

I found a really new way to take a walk recently on video.google because the title turned me on – and then the video blew my mind really. I could feel the energy coming from this way of using obstacles that are in the way – or so I thought…

“We go our own way,” this statement gets another meaning after you’ve seen this video.

The inventor of Parcours, David Belle, has a website dealing with this way of life in six languages, and a whole bag full of videos about this ‘sport’.

More Americans have now died In Iraq than died On 9/11

Boing Boing: More Americans have now died In Iraq than died On 9/11

That’s maybe interesting to know as the US-government pretended to wage a war on terrorism.
But what truly baffles me is that not even a mention is made of the many thousand Iraqians who have been killed because of this war…

In Dark Arms

Not blinded by the sun, at night, looking up:
Around us all space, cosmos.
Amidst the glistening darkness we are
breathing, we become
embraced by everlasting darkness.
Held by the moment
carried in the arms of dark open space
we, orbiting, turn towards the luminous body
warming and enlightening us.

Rising from nights embrace
we go about our manyfold business of light.

Until twilight when we can see
where this globe we are twists and turns:
And we are embraced again by the darkening night
in which our central luminary is among countless sparkling beings.

Being radical

Sitting in the bathtub just a moment ago, considering the situation I cooperated towards in ‘my’ life I found what the very radical way I go about things – burning bridges often, or at least kindling a strong fire – is all about.

I mean, I could really take it a bit slower, turn the things I’m doing into some kind of entrepeneural succes before I move on to the next thing – instead, so far, I discovered something deeper, more true, and instead of first exploring I think I should drop what I have, sacrificing it for it.

So why?

I guess, it’s my father. A radical in his own right – so I had to be more radical then him to show him!

I don’t know if that’s the true reason, but from what my feeling says – feels as if some heavy weight has lifted from my shoulders – it is satisfying. So I guess, I can take it from here.

Some good news…

… is always nice to find.

Here are the Top Ten Good News Stories of the Week, published every weekend . . .

1) Encouraging Results in Iraqi Police Recruiting More than 500 Iraqi men have joined the police in Anbar province — the most violent area of the Sunni Arab insurgency — in what militarysunsetoverreeds leaders called the most successful recruiting drive in the region ever by U.S. and Iraqi forces… (Civics)

2) Wetlands Restored After 107 Years – Not many wetlands have been restored in the world, or in California “where 95 percent of saltwater marshes have been given over to development”. But, this week environmentalists watched the ocean flood back over historic tidewaters, the culmination of a 30-year effort to restore the massive Bolsa Chica wetland. (Earth)

3) Judge Rules Bush’s Relaxed Pesticide Law Illegal – A federal judge in Seattle overturned new Bush administration rules that weaken the governing of pesticide use and their effect on endangered plants and animals. The court struck down the EPA’s new rules and restored prior standards that provided greater protection. (Earth)

4) Fighting Terrorism by Building Peace One School at a TimeGreg Mortenson is an anti-terrorism warrior in the Islamic strongholds of Afghanistan and Pakistan, and his main weapon is building schools… “Americans are now learning that we can’t fight the war on terrorism with bombs.” (Inspired! Individuals)

5) Camp Grows Friendship Between Middle Eastern Kids, Traditionally Foes – If you were invited to sit down with your enemy for a cup of tea and discuss your conflicting views, would you do it? … More than 2,500 Israeli, Palestinian, Egyptian, Pakistani and Indian kids spent three weeks with their enemies at a summer camp in the US arguing, understanding, and ultimately coming to respect the humanity behind every face even their enemies. (Civics)

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6) Black Rhino Numbers Up 20 Percent Over Two YearsBlack rhino numbers are on the rise in Kenya after years of decline from poaching and habitat loss. According to officials, the country’s black rhino population has increased 20 percent over two years… (Earth)

7) Katrina, Rita Create Unexpected Boom – Despite dire forecasts that Gulf Coast governors would have to slash state budgets in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita one year ago, a new report finds that booming “hurricane economies” have fueled state revenue surpluses across the region. State revenues in hardest-hit Louisiana and Mississippi swelled since the storms. (Civics)
8) Costco to Eliminating Customer-Infuriating Plastic Clamshell Packaging – Great news about those horrible plastic shell encasements that seem to require super-human strength — and stabbing motion with scissors — to extract anything from their clutches. Costco will begin to use recycled cases that are easy to open… (Home Life)

9) Scientists Flock to Test ‘Free Energy’ Magnetic Field Discovery – Sean McCarthy says that his small hi-tech firm in Dublin has hit upon a way of generating clean, free and constant energy from the interaction of magnetic fields. He took out an advertisement asking for scientists to test his product. The response was overwhelming. (Science)

10) Trapped Cat Tugs At Hearts Of 4 Youths Who Rescue It – Frantic cries rose from a sewer drain that was quickly filling with water. Four boys found a cat hanging on for dear life. They couldn’t reach it by themselves but figured out a way to help. With a happy, but also a very surprising ending, this story will cheer all pet-lovers. (Pets)

more of this here

“The Dis-Integration of Ken Wilber”

I found quite an interesting free online book from one of the most ‘biting’ critics of Ken Wilber, whom Geoffrey D. Falk calls “Norman Einstein”. And here is how he introduces it:

Ken Wilber is the “long-sought Einstein of consciousness research,” having been generously regarded as such since the late 1970s.
Ken Wilber is “a genius of our times.”
Ken Wilber is “the world’s most intriguing and foremost philosopher.”

Ken Wilber’s ideas have influenced Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Jeb Bush, Deepak Chopra, Tony Robbins, and a host of other luminaries, spiritual and otherwise. Writer Michael Crichton, leadership guru Warren Bennis, playwright Eve Ensler (The Vagina Monologues), alternative medicine’s Larry Dossey, the Wachowski Brothers (directors of The Matrix), and a handful of rock stars have all lent their voices in support of the “integral” community.

Yet Ken Wilber, his celebrated theories of consciousness, and the increasingly unquestioning population of “second-tier” spiritual aspirants surrounding him and participating in his Integral Institute (I-I) and Integral University, are not what they appear to be.

“Norman Einstein”: The Dis-Integration of Ken Wilber will show you why the community around Wilber is being increasingly called a “cult,” even by former founding members of I-I who have seen it first-hand.

Read the online-book here

Peace?! What a Foreign Concept…

just wanted to share this post on Elza Maalouf’s blog here with you.

It was much easier for me to think rationally about the war in Iraq. Like others who are interested in the Middle East or come from it, I was able to analyze the situation in Iraq to the best of my ability, discuss the issue with Iraqi friends or on the various listserves, and try to use developmental theories to justify certain decisions made by the US or by the Iraqis.

With this Lebanese tragedy, I find myself struggling not to scream at people who don’t see the situation from my perspective. All the socio-political, psychological and spiritual theories are reduced to a reactionary thinking on my part. I guess that the loss of souls and the pain of so many people with whom I share history, roots and DNA made me regress to a narrow ethnocentric mindset. Nothing is wrong with that, I know. However I wonder why I don’t feel the same intensity when I read about the genocide in Darfur, and the famine that the world can prevent in Niger.

When I say I have a worldcentric view, I know that I mean it on a ‘good day’…not when Ali, Fatima, George, Mohamad and Marie from Southern Lebanon, Beirut or the Bekaa Valley are displaced, wounded or in pain.

I do feel for every Israeli and Lebanese mother suffering for a child, a husband or a brother. They have nothing to do with politicians, militias and war. They just happen to be there living with hopes and dreams of a happy family and a better future…

(Source)

Abuse in spiritual circles

Following what goes on elsewhere on this world and the ‘integral Blogosphere’ in my German blog on June 12th I published a post called “Houston, we’ve got a problem”.
It is clear that abuse by spiritual leaders & gurus is a difficult topic; one that raises eyebrows and much more than that. And whoever raises this topic has got to deal not only with applause from all kinds of quarters that one surely doesn’t want it from, critique and stunning silence from quarters that one would like to have emotional support from, and the accusation that it is actually all about oneself and one’s immature look on things.

So let’s take it from the beginning: On my travels in the internet I stumbled on this piece of info “Cohen Collaborator Gafni Removed For Sexual Misconduct“. It is about Rabbi Gafni, a much celebrated spokesman of the Jewish Renewal movement, who also is in high esteem of Ken Wilber and prominently featured in his Integral Institute (I-I). The sexual misconduct (abuse) is not just one of these Internet-rumours, it is a fact that has been admitted openly by Gafni himself: He writes: “Clearly all of this and more indicates that in these regards I am sick. I need to acknowledge that sickness and to get help for it.” I find that courageous, and want to honor him for that.
What struck me, though, was that even now his work is still plugged on the I-I site with such works as “The Mystery of Love”, “The Ultimate Erotic Art” or “The Kabbalah of Surrender”. I don’t mean to say that theses teachings are not valid regarded on their own. But it does seem a bit – tasteless? Especially to the women who have been at the receiving end of the ‘misconduct’.

Also on the same I-I website there is a lengthy discussion about ‘integral ethics’ between Wilber and Roger Walsh which I found quite inspiring at the time I listened to it. So what then to think of Ken Wilbers reaction in his blog to the case of Gafni? It has ten numbered paragraphs. In #1 he says that indeed something happened that is not quite kosher. And in #2 he immediatly starts bashing the ‘mean green meme’ people for how they react pathologically. In #3 he says that Gafnis behaviour is pathological (something strange between the order of pathologies here, don’t you think?) to then says in #4 that Gafni has admitted to being sick in his letter. In #5 Wilber states that Gafni therefor is not fit as a teacher at the Integral Center until he has undergone therapy (which makes me wonder all the more how he is still fit to teach, for instance, “The Kabbalah of Surrender” at I-I). In #6 to #9 the therapy is thouroughly mentioned, and in #10 Wilber is saying that Gafni should nevertheless be allowed to write. And finally, in the very last paragraph of his statement Wilber finds words for the women, saying that his heart goes out to them.
I do understand, and appreciate Ken Wilber’s support for his friend Marc Gafni. Nevertheless it seems to me that mentioning these women only at the very end says something about ‘integral ethics’ in the practise of one of its proponents.
Maybe I wouldn’t have spent this much time on this happening if it wouldn’t have coincided with reading extended reports by former students of Andrew Cohen about his teaching-methods. Sure, ex-students can and will reinterpret what happened for them, once they leave their teacher behind, and not always fevourable. But what is astonishing is both the consistency of these renderings and the loving way in which most still regard their former teacher. These are, among others, stories (undenied by the defenders of ‘the faith’) of Cohen ordering senior students to slap others in the face as hard as they could for being ‘ego-ruled’ or other things that he didn’t see fit in his community, extorting great sums of money from people in deep distress, sending a student to a prostitute against his will, forcing a father to tell his teeange daughter about the sexual escapades of his mother from long years back to break her attachement to her, and so endlessly on. And all of this, you could have guessed, to help his students overcome the ‘ego’. (And Andrew Cohen is a good buddy of Ken Wilber who, remember, doesn’t have a problem in severly criticising the ‘mean green meme’ for reacting pathologically to the Gafni-incident; there does seem a great difference of ethical standards at work here which I, and maybe that’s my fault, have not found a way to reconcile).

And the story goes on: Wilber is not only criticised for being buddy-pal of Andrew Cohen but also by many others for flaws in his work. And recently he has greatly ranted “Wyatt Earp style” – his way of headlining his verbal bashing: The Unbearable Lightness of Wyatt Earp – against his critcs. Then he explains it away in “On the Nature of Shadow Projections in Forums” where he says (quite rightly, I think) that if something hurts us it is because there is a disowned part of us projected out there. But let’s look at this matter in a simpler way.

If I slap you in the face, and then say that you respond angrily because you project your shadow on me, than not only am I right, of course, because the anger is in you after all, but I am also being very nasty at the same time if I am an authority (rightly or wrongly) to you. Because deep down you know I’m right and are thus utterly helpless. The Wilber question is in this case, “Are you mature enough to get my lesson?” If you are, you didn’t need it. And if you aren’t, not only will you not get get my meaning this way but you will probably also be estranged enough to henceforth scheme behind my back to slap me back in some way.

Well, all of this looks confusingly (not convincingly!) abusive to me. I can’t understand this anymore. Here is Ken Wilber pleading for his friend Gafni: Give him a chance to rehabilitate. Then Ken Wilber has no problem whatsoever in supporting a guru that is very clearly quite violent in his teaching methods. And now he strikes out with verbal furor against his critics (punching some old friend, Frank Visser, wickedly hard who has the audacity to be a harbour to critiques of his work he doesn’t approve of – read Visser’s answer here) and then blames the people who cry ‘ouch’ for projection their shadow on his rant. (An insightful comment on the cultic attitude of Wilber in this regard here)
It is too early for any kind of conclusive learning from this situation for me. But it seems to be time to question the basic teachings where such behaviour comes from. As it looks to me these are the top 4 questions on my agenda:

  • What is the effect of the prolonged distancing of the observer (“I am not his body; I am not these feelings; I am not these thoughts; etc”), the prolonged ‘neutral witnessing’ of the phenomena inside/outside in a ‘mirror of pure consciousness’?
  • What is the effect of the trans-ethical’ stance that regards all human values as merely relative, and only the Spirit as absolute?
  • Are so called higher levels of evolution (yellow, turquoise etc. in SDi language as used by Wilber and his adherents) right in using all kinds of violence to raise lower levels up to their standard?
  • Is the non-participatory nature of the ‘pure witness’ in situations and phenomena in ‘the world’ – which will eventually dissolve according to Wilber et al in non-dual One Taste – maybe a cause for the kind of abuse we have recently seen in the integral world of Ken Wilber?

Enlightenment at the Padmafarm

Yesterday Janshi, Madrina, Nirdosh and I visited the Padmafarm, where I had a talk (you’ll find the audio here in some time) and facilitated a mini-seminar of 4 hours…

In the first hour of the event we explored the non-verbal, subtle dimension, and in the 3 hours after a little break we did the “Heart & Mind Clearing Process”, a method that via Assagioli’s Psychosynthesis, Hal and Idra Stone’s Voice-Dialogue and Genpo Roshis “Big Mind Process” in my seminar-work found its present form.

When some weeks ago in Brno in the Czech Rep. I did this process in my seminar there a physicist was participating, and I thought it would be interesting to do this process according to empirical scientific rules. So I started by explaining my working hypothesis somewhat like this: “We are/have one Self that manifests in the world as different ‘personalities’ (or ‘sub-personalities’ in Assagioli’s language) or `perspectives’ (as I like to call it). These ‘personalities’ can be called forth or activated, and then you can see things in life from this point of view and speak as that voice, exploring being in the world.”

Then I explained the experimental protocoll by which we as a group of poeople – having activated this or that personality – would explore the world through these eyes (and how we would go about activating and deactivating these perspectives). And that we would mostly concentrate on questions surrounding these issues: “What do you do?/What is your ‘job’?” And probably also: “How do you see the worldand things?” And: “What do you do or what are you for the ‘whole’ Self?”

And finally I made a prediction because that is part of the empirical process as I understand it; you can only check the validity of a hypothesis if it will be verified through what happens in reality. My prediction was: “Most – or maybe even all – of you will be enlightened for at least one minute, and you will not only know this to be so but you will also confirm it publicly here.”

When I did this for the first time in Brno I was wondering if I hadn’t gone too far doing this, because maybe the expectations I awakend would thwart the process. But it functioned beautifully. So much so that the scientist said that my results (95% of the participants confirmed their – temporary – enlightenment, and the energy-signature was very deep and rich) were truly remarkable from a scientific point of view: “In ordinary physical experiments you don’t have such high percentages”

Strengthened by this and similar experiences since in my talk I predicted yesterday at the Padmafarm what would happen later at the mini-seminar. And again the prediction held. An there was another thing I could observe: persons that have a greater difficulty to activate the ‘personalities/perspectives’ are helping the entire group to go deeper into the active voice (including the enlightened one). A paradox I hope to research more in depth in the future.