Being my own Best Friend

The next couple of weeks, or maybe months, I’m going to return to changing my own brain — yes, that’s right, my brain. I’ll do so by embodied and lived inquiry, contemplation and open focus. And I know that it works because I trust the new science of Neuroplasticity, and because the first experiment of a week+ in which I looked at “love” along these lines have been very enlightening in practice. It was during the last day of the experiment I discovered a deeply hidden resentment of the world and most of all all the idiots that co-create and prolong suffering for others. I saw how this resentment informed and motivated most of my projects in life. And, at this point the newly formed pathways in my brain played a decisive role, where formerly I would have simply observed this ‘fact’ now I spontaneously forgave myself for this foundational resentment. [I know, to some of my readers love is situated in the heart, and I won’t deny that it may play a role, but it seems the brain plays a major role in all our emotions; and yet, inasmuch as love is not an emotion, but rather a natural force, like gravity, it may be the imaginal heart that is its major conduit.]

This week I’m going to experiment with “Being my own best friend.”
I’ve chosen to strengthen, enhance, grow this particular “brain-area” as it seems foundational to what I’m planning to embark upon. You see, one of the effects of loosing my resentment of the world and its huge population of idiots and ignorants and just plain bad guys and girls has been that I’ve lost quite some motivating energy which was caught in my rebellion. Part of my character is crumbling. The sense I made, These ignorants and suffer-makers are to be resented!, doesn’t make it anymore. So I want to re-build my character along other lines, that have yet to reveal themselves to me. Being my own best friend seems like a good place to start.

As the first day of doing this (sketching the way I go about this at present below) unfolds, and I’m writing this blog, I now see that, it may sound absurd, I resent myself somewhat. “I’m not good enough,” you may know the sentiment.
Exploring this feeling what pops up first is my utter imperfection: I’m too dreamy, I lack perseverance, mostly I’m not doing my best but settle for the mediocre,  I’m lazy, often act automatic, unaware, kind of scattered, and more.
Yet, when now I think about my friends, my few close friends, than surely they are not perfect, some of them are dreamy, settle often for less than doing their very best, etc. Does that effect my friendship? Do I therefor embrace them less? Really, these questions bring a smile to my face, Of course not! They are my friends just the way they are.

So how do I proceed for now, being my own best friend?

Every day - at the same time - cat waits for dog, and when he comes they go for a walk

When I wake up in the morning I remember whom I’m being with: My best friend! And I embody the feelings I have when I’m with a best friend; we hug and it feels good to be in his/her presence, enjoying the presence of the friend.
At any time during the day I remember to “be with me”, considering whatever I do as I would if my best friend would do this. How does the world look, how does my body feel, what spirit I’m in, when I regard my present moment – just now – with the eyes of the best friend?
When I contemplate and meditate, it’s a friendly exploration of whatever is the case – so when I’m aware of my breathing, it’s my friend’s breathing or, if I’m contemplating a matter than I’m as clear and honest as ever, only I’m contemplating before a friendly back-ground.
And before I go to sleep I’ll look at the days events and meetings and doings and non-doings as I would look at a friend’s day.

 

 

A Way Out of Economic Disaster

Coming up for air
Coming up for air

As the crisis lingers on that started 2008, a crisis the world economy didn’t really recover from – a crisis that now explodes into a European Debt-Crisis and so endlessly on…

As the Occupy movement picked up and made a movement famous that started with the “Arab Spring” and came via the Spanish “Indignados” to all of us, well an important part of Western society with a few other highlights across the globe…

As for the second time in recent history (the 60s of the last century being the first time) a global socio-political, cultural movement lays bare the inner paradoxes of the world-capitalist system…

As the “dogs of war” again howl, and violently try to oppress the movement and by the atrocious stupidity of the oppressing forces actually kindle the fire — an oppression that turns the activists into being heroic when all they do is demonstrate their intents peacefully…

As all of this is going on, I keep wondering how even the brightest use their intelligence to find ways out of a crisis that is actually an inherent embodiment of the system of commerce and finances. It’s like trying to fix the digestion system when the bones are crumbling. Come on you brilliant gals and guys, it’s about time we stop buying the crap bankers and other financial experts and their media-priesthood feed us all the time. That it’s all because of “easy money”, state-debts, etc. That if, as a state, we’d only spend as much as we make then everything would be all right. Nonsense. The crash & burn is built into the system from the very beginning.

Among the earliest researched economic crises is the 1340 default of England, due to setbacks in its war with France (the Hundred Years’ War) that brought down large portions of the Venetian and Florentine money-dynasties. But there were things going on like that already in Ancient Rome and presumably Egypt. And, to cut things short, the problem is not money, the problem arises from the way it is used and the greatest illusions connected with financial assets from it’s very emergence among the human species. The way we frame this illusions nowadays is, “Let your money work for you.”

We all know that money is just matter with a number — it’s not alive, it doesn’t do work, people do by creating things and processes and services, and the planet does, by growing plants and animals.
Upholding the illusion, by expecting positive “interest” when handing over money to someone, the disease spreads. “It’s much more complicated,” you say? Well sure, the systems that allow what has been condemned by most religions for obvious reasons: money-lending for an interest, these systems are flawed and must be corrected. If we want the patient world-economy to recover, we must fight the disease and not the symptoms.

So I propose the following, and hope it may go viral, “All countries of the world default at once!

And from ‘now’ on only allow negative interest for private persons and corporations and zero interest to the national treasury. That allows us to keep private property sacrosanct for as long as people still need that to feel safe. Negative interest will make everybody invest in real matter, like houses etc. that will sustain value over longer periods of time. It will cause a tremendous growth of real stuff and services and redefine wealth in an amazing way. But that’s just my personal guess from what happened before in history when all the major cathedrals in Europe were built…

The negative-interest scrip concept was originally developed by Argentinian businessman and economist Silvio Gesell. The basic premise is that money as a medium of exchange is considered a public service good, and therefore a small user fee is levied on it. Instead of receiving interest for retaining such a currency, the bearer in fact pays interest for its use. Interestingly enough, Gesell’s concept of “negative-interest money” was supported by John Maynard Keynes in his General Theory. However, banking interests have rather consistently strenuously opposed it, even though banks could keep a key role in a New Currency economic system. (more here)

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.

Benevolent Space

Most mornings I sit for 10+ minutes and, for lack of a better, not so charged, word, meditate. It was a strong desire to regularly celebrate being present that started this originally.

During this time once in a while I ask myself, “What am I doing here?” A question that doesn’t call for an explanation, although it’s always nice to have one. Telling myself and others stories about the ‘why’ of matters and behaviors is a very civilized thing, isn’t it? Especially if these stories can be ‘liked’ by my spiritual friends all over the world. But when I’m asking this question in my celebrating-presence-time what I’m doing is inquiring into the very practise that I’m engaged in, synchronous to when I’m engaged in it.
So yesterday a two word metaphor appeared that somehow changed the basic outlook of my morning-celebration from ‘precencing=celebration’. In a way it ordinarily has a more shining aspect – as if being present is a doing; of course, it isn’t in many respects, a doing, but it’s still an outflow most of the time. I didn’t really get that before these two words changed the ‘meditation’ to Benevolent Space.

Other than space, which to me is a neutral, never-ending openness for all/everthing to be, benevolent space is more of an invitation to what is good, beautiful and true to thrive. Benevolence [Latin, bene – good, volentia – will) is not neutral at all, benevolent space isn’t open to everything, it does have a membrane  – what that is? I’ll be coming to that.

As I have been contemplating benevolent space it became clearer in the following days that it is deeply connected to what we can call ‘seeing trust’. Most of my controlling tendencies stem from blind trust, and because of that I’ve been been hurt many times when I was a child and later in life as well. So to control ‘things’ in my case was vehemently developing the cognitive, some may call it the intellectual, functioning of my mind. Inquisitive –there is a resonance to inquisition here!– doubt and a tendency to question every assumption, idea, statement etc. and analyse it deeply, was born and sharpened out of that basic pain of a violated, blind trust.
Don’t misunderstand, please, I still love that ability of mine – listening to people I often, almost tacitly, feel/see the assumptions that their stories and explanations elaborate. But nowadays I do not feel the need to point out and criticize these assumptions anymore (well, most of the time, anyways); it’s just assumptions after all, the basic building blocks of any narrative. I also do not need to do any inquisition anymore, neither into others’ stories nor my own, as I’ve said goodbye to Universal Truth or the One Story or the Ultimate Assumption again, most of the time; sometimes, when I’m on auto-pilot it still happens. But then it’s easy to relax the automatic inquisitor, and lean back…

So in my further contemplation within the benevolent space I learnt that ‘seeing trust’ is the mature form of controlling. I actually trust that my and the collective unconscious is benevolent by nature, and moreover that not closing my eyes to whatever appears is simply fine, not compulsory but just okay — its often complex and/or paradoxical what appears, or dark, or …
Clearly, I cannot control anything in the immature sense of the world, but I can, of course, close my eyes to it and act if it isn’t happening or even numb myself to it more or less effectively. That is how immature control works, denial, obstruction, encapsuling, numbing, hiding in hazes; immature control not knowing it’s immature as long as it is immature…

Angela Lergo (Spain), I give you my heart, installation

And so I come back to the membrane around benevolent space: It’s ‘seeing trust’, guarding that space against malevolent influences and behaviors. It allows shadows in, though, as they are not malevolent but actually, once they enter benevolent space, they turn out to be a very peculiar kind of ‘being’, these hurting me’s. Maybe I’ll be writing about my dark friends at some other point.

For now I simply wanted to share the benevolent space with you and thereby expand it into the manifest realms of interpersonal flow.

 

The dark light of shyness

It’s been a long time since last  I wrote a blog. Not because I’ve run out of topics. Rather Facebook has taken it’s toll as I enjoy the short conversational style very much, and there have been quite a few interesting topics to go on about there. Yet, sitting here and focusing  on one theme and writing about it is something I really missed. So here we go again.

Last night, actually in the middle of it, I woke up. And as I  was opening up to the dark, for unknown reasons I remembered  how often I’m shy and contemplated its blessings.

picture by matt caplin

Let me elucidate a little. When I  was still doing lots of seminars  all over Europe I often did an exercise in which I asked people to  face each other  and simply look into each others eyes. And then I  would speak about the shyness they might now feel and that it was quite alright to feel this. Usually I went on and on until I saw that most of the participants where really feeling shy.

When I contemplated this last night I  asked myself why we so often avoid this feeling, almost at all cost. Do we avoid the dark light of shyness because  it shows us that obviously we’re not in control of the situation? And since we’re keenly aware of where our hands are, really not knowing where to put them, doesn’t that show how aware we are of not knowing what to do and how to act?  We’re so utterly self-aware. And most likely also feeling absolutely visible to the person (s) with us. We feel naked. And we’re shy. Remember?

So what’s so bad of being naked in the eyes of the other? Why are we so afraid of that? The answer is obvious, isn’t it? We do not trust each other. We do not trust our own feelings. Maybe they’re not appropriate. Maybe we think things, that we don’t want the other to know. Not that we’re thinking these things, really, it’s just that we’re afraid, maybe the other(s) think that that is what we’re thinking. Now you remember?

Usually, we don’t want to be shy, and when we are, we’ll deny it, even to ourselves.

The world is out of control. And often we are out of control. At least our feelings are. And also our thoughts are, when we look closely.  Gazing into a stranger’s eyes calls that to our attention.  We become self-conscious. Very self-conscious. Which seems synonymous  with shyness.

But what happens if you allow yourself to just be shy? What, if you stand in this self-conscious fire without trying to escape? What, if with this embarrassing emotion you connect? What, if you allow it to show?

picture by matt caplin

Everything changes. You start to notice the tiniest facial expressions of the persona(s) you’re with. You find, you’re utterly in the moment. Feelingly. Whole bodily. You may also, once you get the knack, of simply being shy or exposed with all you are, employ this way of being with people or situations more often.

This, my waking up in the middle of the night reminded me of,has been my discipline to get emotionally and whole bodily connected to whatever is happening right now. It has helped me to get unstuck in many ways. Waking up in the middle of the night has reminded me of a step I was blessed enough to discover. May it be a boon 2 U 2…

California – oops, Bay Area, here I am

I’m in culture-shock.

Well, okay, I’m exaggerating. The type of spirituality – I call it Californianism – that I meet here wherever I go is a mixture of New Age, Buddhist and positivist, basically Christian ideas (actually easily traceable to “Christian Science“); stirred well in a melting pot of activists, artists, hippies, healers and entrepreneurs. It’s almost as if these ideas have created a bubble, or better a membrane, that for an European mind like mine looks very superficial. Not that we don’t have our own brand of this type of spirituality in Germany and other European countries, but here it stands out very strong and plays an important role in many conversations on almost anything. It permeates everything and has a missionary seal unlike the ‘watery’ version we have in Europe.

Californianism (also in ‘my’ part of the world) lives because the art of self-reflections and deeper inquiry into one’s basic assumptions is not well developed or even unknown, or maybe because the ideas are vague enough so that you can believe in them without necessarily needing to put them into action. Take the “all is one” theme, for instance. It sounds good, saying so also places you on the right side of the fence (you’re one of us!), but it doesn’t require you to act in a way that would put you in any kind of danger – of someone disagreeing with you, for instance. If you believe that “we are the ones that we have been waiting for”, to use a slogan of this spirituality, you don’t really need to contemplate in what way you put that in your daily practices. If you are convinced that in reality “I am!” or “I am what I am!” you don’t really need to look at the patterns you enact daily because doing so would not make you “be here now” but you would look at what you did when and what for – if your meaning-making, and that is what spirituality is in a very important sense, suggests that in reality you are a timeless being, than looking at history, your personal history, is just a waste of time.

Not that all the statements I’ve just been quoting are wrong, they are certainly also expressing a deep experiential truth; it is the context that turns them into superficialities. Going from workshop to workshop, healer to healer, trying on this and that and one more new kind of change – secretly being frustrated that total or absolute happiness, enlightenment, is not yet your home – the consumers trap opens… and catches the spiritual aspirants. And since even more than in my home-continent everybody here is an entrepreneur, and many need or try to make their living by serving some particular brand of spirituality (and branding yours is an important part of the game), the context of this spirituality have become invaded and even overcome by marketing

Coming back to my culture-shock. This ‘in your face’ spirituality comes with the typical US-American agentive stance – it’s all about doing, being positive, changing yourself to, in this instance, be who you really are continually, and most of all: you gotta be excited about it. Maybe it’s all the adrenaline in the air that shocks me, the dominating ‘yang’ attitude everywhere. No wonder the new hit on the market is “The Divine Feminine”…

Photo by Flickr user Franco FoliniAnd then, when I took a walk tonight in San Francisco, down (up?) 9th street and then right into Market… seeing an amazing number of destitute people, mostly dark skinned, apparently preparing or already sleeping on the sidewalks. I’m not sure this was because of the wonderful warm weather – they say that finally it’s summer now – and that ‘normally’ you don’t see them so much, but it definitely gave me the feeling that I was in a 3rd world country.

Picture by Deb Booth (click on pic to visit)

Maybe Californianism is really an opium for the people that would otherwise find the situation unbearable and either choose politicians that change this situation or change it themselves. Californianism, with it’s main focus on “everybody is responsible for what happens in their life” is an escape, it seems to me, from an overly individualistic, harshly competitive, badly educated and deeply hopeful but disappointed life.
AND, at the same time, and paradoxically so – because of this – the possibility of real and deep change is closer than in my home, because this type of chaos might just be the ‘ground’ out of which the dancing stars of our future may be born.

How To Create A Thriving Economy

This is the storyboard of what I presented at theCOREconference.com on Sept. 24 2010 in Richmond, California. You might enjoy how I envision the move from the present economy 2.0 to economy 3.0 – a necessary and major upgrade of our Human Operating System to creatively and intelligently turn the challenge we all face into an opportunity to thrive.

An Anthropologists Take on New Media and YouTube

This is one of the rare gems that come out of universities that is actually fun to learn from. Full of examples he takes us on a ride through the short history of YouTube and what it’s effects on our self-reflection and reflections are – also looking at the emerging values in this culture that, at least that’s my expectation, will be some of the values that govern the 21st Century.

(Thank you Brad Nye for sending this link)

More interesting stuff on media / youtube anthrropology here http://mediatedcultures.net/youtube.htm

“21st Century Enlightenment

They’ve done it again: produced an animation to elucidate some great thoughts of wehre we want to go… enjoy.

Breaking Up, Breaking Down and a Total Mutual Embrace

Let me give you some context first:

Exactly 6 weeks ago I traveled to Basel and my girl-friend (we were a couple for 7 years) had made me some slices of bread for on the road. When I opened the bread box in the train there, on top, was a letter that said, “Read only when in the train.” After reading the first paragraph or two my heart crumbled and broke: she finished our relationship. Sitting in first class I couldn’t really do what I felt like: cry, moan, freak out… (I would have suppressed moaning, crying and freaking out in a second class carriage as well.)

Pain, sadness and devastation

In the following days – I was in Basel and in London on business – we exchanged emails, and said we’ll be talking when I come back to Berlin. And we did talk. We arrived at a sense of real peace and that the end of our relationship was basically the right thing to do. That very evening she went to a party and hooked up again with a lover she was having some time back in our relationship (I wrote about it here), a person that expressed how much he despised me on more occasions than one. A week later, when I figured this out accidentally and she spent the night with him, I felt betrayed, to say the least. Devastated. (She said that, since we were now separated, it was none of my business.)

I was hurt by the way she broke up with me, I felt very deeply wounded by her betrayal, but what is hardest of all is how my mind and feelings time and again totally spin out of control.

What I’m writing about here is still under the stress of a ‘failed life-relationship’ and the demands that finding and moving to a new apartment make on me. Failed life-relationship is, of course, the title of a story that I am telling, both to myself and to others (her version obviously would be different). I could, if that were true to me, reframe it as “the end of being under a lid for a long time”, as a good friend of mine does, or as “the wonderful beginning of a new era in my life”, and so on. But reframing the story like that doesn’t sound true to me…. yet. Guess, I simply have to live with the fact, that I’ve suffered a heavy blow to my system that is quite painful, stressful and taxing. And allow the whole ecology of me to regain strength over time.

Contemplating these last few days on what all this means, on what I now want to take forward, what I want to focus on, I was reminded of what we sketched out a bit a while back in a conversation with my dear friend Helen, and which she blogged about here. In this conversation we focussed also on God’s longing and evolution, and what that entails.
Here I want to first talk about where God’s and human evolution takes place and then how this might help me, now that I’ve been battered and broken, and am loosing a partner that I’ve shared so much with these last 7 years. I also want to speak about the “where” first because much more than in the question, “Who am I?” I’ve been interested in “Where am I?”

Is this real?

I’ve come to the conviction that God and man, the entirety of nature and artifice, all beings and entities essentially have their being in the “Imaginal”, in the sense that James Hillman and Henry Corbin use that word (Note 1). The “Real” in this understanding is the outside, the skin, the surface of the Imaginal. A surface that has been studied in an increasingly sophisticated manner since a few hundred years, studies that have greatly improved our health, governance, wealth, to be sure. But surface it is, because, as we shall see, everything of true value resides in the Imaginal. (Note 2)

What we call physical reality, the Real, is not ‘independent’ and ‘out there’ but very much a co-creation between the ‘mystery out there’ (Note 3) and the ‘mystery in here’. The Real is surface because it is simply an implementation of this co-creation which, of course, is happening within the Imaginal. I surely agree that objects in the physical world really, really exist. They can, with all clarity be called “hard facts”.  They truly exist. But there is an even harder fact: everything that really matters about the physical reality and how we are aware of it – symbols, images, visions, concepts, the mind, and so endless on – have their being in the Imaginal.

What’s more: in the Imaginal what we call spiritual, including non-physical entities and beings, what we call soul and what we call matter meet. The Imaginal is the meeting-place of being. In the realm of the Real things and people and plants and animals and so on exist, and their existence is, for instance, what science studies. Yet in the Imaginal all of these plus what’s spiritual, what is soulful and archetypal and all images and imaginations have their being which is what art celebrates, religion contemplates and meditates, psychology usually fails to understand and you and me intuit all the time. The Imaginal is where we are, the Real is where we exist.

Just as the Laws of Nature order and guide the existences and forces within the Real so there are ‘laws’ that guide the interaction between the beings and energies in the Imaginal. For now I would term these ‘laws’ Patterns of Being which I imagine to revolve around synchrony, attraction (self), awareness, memory, beauty, thrivability, embrace, spontaneity and others I can’t think of now. What is obvious to this flow of view (it’s definitely not a point of view!) is that everything of true value resides in the Imaginal, including the happiness that is the birthright of every being.

So what does all that have to do with breaking up, and breaking down and having suffered a blow to my system?

Peaceful

Recently in a conversation with Jean Russell we were talking about the nature of relationship and as I started to grope for what I truly want, given my recent catastrophe and all the other relation-ships that got grounded in my life, I could name what feels truly good to me: A Total Embrace of who I am, how I am, where I am, what I am – an embrace of my very being down to its very core. Such an embrace brings out the best in me. And likewise, when I totally embrace an other, the being I’m with locally or non-locally , it feels really very, very good. But to top both these goodnesses: there is a Total Mutual Embrace of each other’s being. (Note 4)

Obviously, to expect to be able to totally embrace someone all of the time would be a bit over the top. Sure, in meditation or similar non-personal ways we can do that most of the time, given a certain personal development. But a total embrace of a particular living being, a living and breathing other, will most likely be reserved for certain periods – maybe even daily periods – of life. What these periods of total embrace can eventually lead to, though, is a shift of identification from the individuality to the We that comes into being in any Total Mutual Embrace that is somewhat sustained. If then one allows oneself to be informed by this We, a new kind of relationship starts…

This, I’ve decided, is the basis of ‘my’ relationship(s) to be.

And I now realise that the Imaginal is already totally embracing you and me, any and all of us! This is probably why totally embracing someone’s being feels so good: it’s synced with one of the most basic patterns of the Imaginal: Its total embrace!

And now to totally embracing the Imaginal…

________
Note 1:  The Imaginal is much, much more than the imagination – matter of fact we could regard our individual imagination as a persons interface and interaction-space to the Imaginal. Our imagination is co-creatively participating in the Imaginal all the time.

Note 2: If you’re versed in Ken Wilber’s 4 Quadrants than I challenge you to not regard the Imaginal as the left quadrants and the Real as the right quadrants in that system, as you might be tempted to do. In this view the whole AQAL-view of reality is within the Imaginal, as is every other perspective as well.

Note 3: We cannot know anything about independent things and matters because the very instrument which we use to know, awareness, already doesn’t belong to it, the thing in itself, the independent thing, but to the aware one, the person knowing it or trying to know it; the Kantian “Ding an sich” cannot be known and will therefor remain a mystery.

Note 4: I know this state very well. Whenever this occurs I experience a ‘silver energy’ all around the edges of the experience. There is a deep sense of inspiration, as if a divine breeze blows and ruffles our angels’ feathers. I’ve called it ‘we-fullness’ for some time now.

The Secret Powers of Time

Another Great Point animated wonderfully! This time it’s Professor Philip Zimbardo conveying how our individual perspectives of time affect our work, health and well-being. Time influences who we are as a person, how we view relationships and how we act in the world.
I’m looking forward to the time – guess I’m a bit future oriented 🙂 – when this will be incorporated into human developmental views, like Spral Dynamics, for instance.
But for now, enjoy…

The Truth about what Really Motivates People to Work

A really cool movie that shows scientific proof of what people are motivated by. I love working in and with companies that are taking this lesson by heart.

The Culture and Networks

A very interesting slideshow that helped me see a couple of aspects of the deep patterns at work in our cultural development. Thank you, Tim Stock for this work.
Best viewed whole-screen

The Empathic Civilisation

A wonderfully illustrated talk – or better, fragment of a talk – by Jeremy Rifkin that I would love all my friends “world-change agents” to see and contemplate.

A good question to go with this is: “What is the most strategic contribution I can make?”

My more or less life channel

Just testing this – it’s not really life yet, I think, as I’m not having my iPhone camera on all the time; but I could more or less… So let’s see, where this takes us. (It even has sound; it’s strange that I can only use this functionality on my GS by using this app.)

The hidden influence of face2face social networks

Relating to Gods

Today, this evening I cried. I cried for all the visions of good people that remain visions; visions that will never walk for lack of feet.

But why would it hurt me so much that I cry? Is it because of all the visions I’ve had, that – on becoming true – didn’t really change anything for anybody? Or is it forf all the visions that haven’t yet come true, and might never become true, and therefor standing in the way of appreciating the complicated and ordinary, not so very visionary life that we all have?

This morning I stayed in bed for a while contemplating the Gods I truly care for. Quite e few times I’ve been almost evangelizing polytheism on this blog, but in truth, there ain’t many images in my mind. So here I am, contemplating how the world and everyone and everything flows forth from the unknowable Gods (some say God). Some, or even many of my friends still maintain it was a kind of Big Bang. Everything exploding out of nothing – creatio ex nihilo (I like to throw some authoritative Latin terms at you; you’ll take what I have to say so much more serious that way).  I prefer creatio ex mysterium and think that creation out of nothing is so unimaginative!

So, back on track: Contemplating how everything flowed forward into timed existence because – being caused – by the Gods. For all I know it could be some kind of coincidence, everything co-incides into existence in some kind of beginning, maybe a continual beginning that hasn’t finished yet.  And contemplating that I realize that my contemplations consist of images, some real forms and flows. So truly, whatever comes to exist for me, comes into being as an image, a form, a flow with recognizable and sometimes mysterious shape, gestalt, form. The mystery always staying just that: mysterious, unfathomable, unknowable ins essence and everything else as well.

That, to me, is the true abode of the Gods: the mystery. Nevertheless, they issue forth in forms and images. Maybe it is they that truly imagine the world: et voilá, here it is. Whatever may be the case, I cannot relate to the unknowable – I only relate to beings and things that have some kind of form, gestalt, shape. Can be a flow that is recognizable, that does manifest a pattern. So lying there I contemplate that out of mystery comes forms and flows, sent, as it were, into being by the Gods, who, in essence are truly mysterious and unfathomable but when the take form, and take form they must for me to relate with them, what exactly is that form for me.

And then I thought tahat maybe that is what we can give to the Gods: form. Maybe that’s why the Gods have created reality as we experience it in  the first place. So that there would be beings, definitely beings with their own imagination and psyche and spirit and more, an imagination that would allow them to give back form to the Gods who gave them existence.  And maybe some of these Gods, at least those that are involved in creating reality and beings within it, actually desire having form – because that way they could actually intimately relate to beings like us.

So for a moment it was as if I saw with the eyes of one of the Gods, and He (sorry girls, but I’m a guy) felt this deep, deep desire to also have a form. Hanging out in formlessness essentially is great but existentially – it’s boring. No restrictions, no creativity, no time, no heart or feeling, just plain pure transcendence and existence, “Iamness” – blissful, sure, and really, “So what?” Anyway, after an eternal eternity or two a desire wells up for “other”, for relating, for surprise, for creativity and that’s what got it all started. At least in my contemplation this morning – which is still much convincing this evening!

So as vague as it still is this morning I’ve started to answer to this Divine Desire to Be by imagining some kind of form to some of the Gods I personally want to relate to. So far there is one Goddess. Sitting on a chair or block she’s having a child on her lap. I think she’s black – most likely influenced by the Black Marias and her worship I’ve been looking into recently. On her lap a small child. A blessing for the world. Innocent, pure, clear, protected, creative. Around her some male Gods. One standing strong, on her right side. A Guardian, a warrior maybe.  On her left a wise old man, Saturn-like, but with some more humor, leaning towards the Jester, the Fool, the Chaotic Support of all that’s creative in this world. I see behind her some more strong forces, but I’ve not been able to identify/create any of them yet.

So how to relate to Gods?
With the knowledge that they love to be given form and then appear as the polymorphic Pantheon that humanity worships – to each as she is capable of co-creating. And then, relating from the heart, from our core-being which was given to us. Relating contemplatively when we call upon the images we have, and opening up through them to the mysterious essence of them, opening up to the breath, their inspiration.

They give us existence to play around with. We give them heartfelt attention and a form – and so we can realte to them and they can exist in our essence which is not different from their essence.

The Epiphanic Mood and the Power of the Heart

Picture by Matthew Fang

I’m in an epiphanic mood today – matter of fact, whenever I truly appreciate you being you, a flower being a flower and the house being the house, I’m in such a mood… only I didn’t know until today.

Becoming conscious of anything means, “There is something ‘out there’, independent of me, that alights in my consciousness as a particular form.” For instance: the flower on my desk exists out there, and when I become conscious of it – and by no means am I conscious of it all the time – its existence becomes apparent to me. But all the time it is out there, and it remains out there, whether I’m conscious of it or not. Therefor my being conscious of the flower does not really matter, neither to the flower nor to anything else out there (outside of my consciousness). This is the normal conscious state we’re all in.  And given our belief in physics and the relative permanence of things this is a very convincing way to be.

In the epiphanic mood (from the ancient Greek “ἐπιφάνεια”, epiphaneia, “manifestation, striking appearance”) on the other hand this way of being is turned back on its feet, or so it feels to me, saying, “Because I shine the light of my heart on whatever is anywhere – out there, in here, in between – it moves from existence into being; unless, of course, the ‘whatever is anywhere’ itself is epiphanic. Then in a very true sense two hearts resonate theophanically (from the ancient Greek  ‘ἡεοφάνεια’, theophaneia“appearance of God”).”

This presupposes that everything exists, but not in the usual physical sense where it doesn’t matter whether anyone is conscious of it or not. Rather it presupposes that everything exists in the Grand Potential and that, by the Power of the Heart, it is moved  from existence into being.

Being a radical I apply this epiphany to myself immediately. And then i see: my heart often slumbers, and when it slumbers, whatever there is, just is – I do become conscious of others and things, they do really and clearly exist but their epiphanic being is not awake. When, on the other hand, my heart is awake, like it is now, whatever exists in my surrounding truly comes into being.

The awakening of the heart’s power is, akin to our own awakening in the morning, a gradual process. And then, when awake, there are many graduations and degrees of wakefulness. Just today, when I’ve come to understand this (and remembering the many ways I experienced this before, understanding it differently or – often – not at all), I’ve been experiencing different degrees of its gentle power.

Directing this power at ‘me’ there is an all-pervading sense of wellness connected with it. And an intuition, that the Power of the Heart itself is an epiphany of a most divine kind, so really a theophany in the true sense of the word, a manifestation, incarnation of the Gods. A very first contemplation reveals the Epiphanic Mood to be compassionate by nature and a blessing for body, soul and spirit of the person.

What this does in contact with other beings, and most of all with others whose heart is awake, this only time will tell.

Can God Live alongside Chocolate Icecream?

‘GOD & THE CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM’ | FILM FROM NIC’S MONDAY9AM SERIES [2005/7]

‘… so many of the things people think they want, they want because they think they can’t have.
And as soon as they find out they can have it, the want goes away.’

Starring MICHAEL NEILL | Comments on FACEBOOK


MORE

‘MORE’ from Nic Askew

A film made for a brave soul who moved from a convent to a science lab then ended up as a coach to people searching for the strength to take similar steps. Steps towards meaning.

The Death of God

These days a large part of the world is celebrating the death and resurrection of God’s Only Begotten Son – an incarnation of Himself. And this year, on Good Friday, when listening to Johann Sebastian Bach’s St. Matthew Passion in the St. Matthäus Church in Berlin, for the first time I could feel what this means – the death of God.  The sadness, and the feeling that comes when “Now you’re on your own…”

No more guardian in the sky, the death of the Transcendent Protector – the loneliness of incarnation and the inevitable end it brings…. Embodied life, the interlude between bodiless eternities before and after…

Original by Marcin Wasiolka, edited by Mushin

It’s not that I do actually believe in the literal happening of the Cross and all that the Christian Myth claims as Real and True. I don’t. Actually I think we cannot take anything as being literal – ever. What strikes me, rather, is how central to our culture is this most basic pattern of the suffering and death of God – and His resurrection. But that’s an addition I can make intellectually. What I felt during listening to Bach’s music was the deep, deep sadness and grief and finally the acceptance of His death…

And an interpretation arose in me that tells me that the death of all that is God to me needs to happen, and actually did happen during those 3 1/2 hours.  And I thought of Nietzsche and his proclamation that “God is dead!” And the immense drama that is there. And I thought that maybe as humanity something similar is happening to us – the Old Gods are dying, and their death deeply affects and saddens us.

The death of a god is nothing new in the history of religion, I think. Osiris comes to mind or Tammuz. But the death of the Only Begotten Son of the Deity claiming to be the highest and actually only real god… Well, that gives it an absolutist twist that allows someone like me to understand, or rather feel something about the human condition that I haven’t measured out in my soul before. Deep in our Western culture Divine Death is anchored as an actuality that, even if one believes in the resurrection 3 days later, might be part of how come we are as we are and do as we do.

We could go into a discussion about sin, and the ecclesiastical explanation for why all this happened – but this seems to be the behavior typical when facing something we don’t want to see – we escape into explanation and interpretation. We seek the signs for hope – and the Christians give us hope with their belief in the Divine Resurrection. Yet, it is alright to let the shock enter us, we can allow the rumble of the thunder to shake us.

So my Easter wish for you is that the primordial image of God’s Death may initiate you.

And may You be resurrected time and again…

Addendum April 5:

I’ve come across paragraph in the book I’m reading (Alone with the Alone, by Henry Corbin) that put the above sketched experience in an interesting light.

If the cry “God is dead” has left many on the brink of the abyss, it is because the mystery of the Cross of Light was long ago done away with. Neither pious indignation nor cynical joy can alter the fact. There is only one answer, the words that Sophia, emerging from the night, murmured in the ear of the pensive pilgrim circumambulating the Ka’aba: “Can it be that you yourself are already dead?” The secret to which Ibn ‘Arabi and his companions initiate us impels those whom that cry has shaken to the depth of their being to recognize what God has died and who are the dead. To recognize this is to understand the secret of the empty tomb. But the Angel must have removed the stone, and we must have the courage to look into the bottom of the tomb if we are to know that it is indeed empty and that we must look for Him elsewhere. The greatest misfortune that can befall the shrine is to become the sealed tomb before which men mount guards and do so only because there is a corpse in it. Accordingly, it takes the greatest courage to proclaim that it is empty, the courage of those able to dispense with the evidence of reason and authority because the only secret they possess is the secret of love that has seen.

Maybe because I’ve been shaken to the bone by the Death of God and blessed with standing alone in the ‘god-less’ landscape that I saw after my tears dried, that I considered – circumambulating around the center of my core – Sophia’s words as actually directed at me: “Can it be that you yourself are already dead?” And then, regarding myself to be the tomb into which God’s dead body was taken, looking, looking on Sophia’s behest, I see that it is empty. The Old God, the One speaking in parables, the One that the religion is built around, the literal One and Only God has died, the Highest Authority… and now the tomb is empty. An Angel rolled away the stone and when I look there is no-one there.