Monday, February 28, 2011

quote from my Yogi tea bag

Empty yourself and let the universe fill you.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


Others can stop you temporarily, only you can do it permanently.

Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it - Buddha

Leaders should lead as far as they can do then vanish. Their ashes should not choke the fire they lit. - H.G. Wells

Knowings others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.

Vision - the ability to see what others only dream.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Enneagram 4 - Black

Healthy 4

Key Terms:

Level 1

Fours let go of the belief that they are more flawed than others and are thus freed from their self-absorption. Their Basic Desire, to find themselves and their significance, is also achieved and thus their problems with their identity and its stability are solved. They are self-renewing, redemptive and revelatory.

Level 2

Fours focus on their own feelings and preferences to establish a clear sense of personal identity. Self-image: "I am sensitive, different and self-aware."

Level 3

Fours reinforce their self-image by expressing their individuality through creative action. They are eloquent and subtle, exploring their feelings and impressions and finding ways of sharing them with others. Their creativity is highly personal but often has universal implications

A Letter from God

My child, do not be afraid. I have redeemed you and called you by name. I am always with you. I have given you Destiny, a sacred function to perform. I have given you the power to experience my peace and to extend it to others.

My child, my peace is always with you wherever you go. You can forget it, but cannot lose it. You are always precious to my eyes, and I love you. Love yourself today as I love you. Don't take yourself seriously. You did not choose me. I was I who chose you. All you need to do is be still and listen to my voice.

My child, I am always with you to protect you and watch over you. Put your trust in me, and you will never be harmed. Trust me as I trust you. Believe in me as I believe in you. I want you to laugh and smile more, because your salvation is already assured. Soften the brow of your face. There is no condemnation for those who believe in my mercy.

My child, let go of any fear of success or failure today. Each beat of your heart is a new creation, and I will always renew and refresh you. It is my will that you enjoy yourself today. Once you place this day in my hands, you can relax and be assured of my constant attention. I guarantee that I will never leave you alone.

- Your Loving Father

Definition of a Leader

A leader must listen to himself... to his inner voice of direction, strength and conviction. When this voice is not heard he drifts aimlessly through seas of fear and doubt. When this voice is heard and not followed he betrays himself and those around him.

A leader does have fears, doubts and failures - and conquers them. The inner voice is the foundation which holds firm against the waves of resentment and resistance.

A leader places himself aside so that the needs of others may prevail. He is gentle, strong, confident and unyielding as needed, always following the tune of his inner voice.

A leader knows fulfillment when he lives the freedom of the soaring eagle.

- Thomas Wilhite.

book: Getting Business to Come to You

formula for finding your purpose:

i could combine my interest in =
with my training & experience in =
to meet the need =
have for =

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Marketing Can Do Better

Marketing Can Do Better
by: Umair Haque

Harvard Business Review
10:17 AM Wednesday October 20, 2010

Why are so many marketing campaigns brand-destroyers and money-losers? Why is "branding" becoming a devalued asset, whose returns are dwindling (witness Google building the world's mightiest brand with barely a penny of orthodox marketing expenditure)? Why do people and communities exact steeper and steeper discounts, price-cuts, and margin-crushing concessions from the beleaguered, besieged companies once known as the masters of the universe?

The half-life of companies is shrinking and the weary practice known as "marketing," adding little to no real value, seems powerless to help.

The unvarnished truth is that the fundamental assumptions behind "marketing" haven't changed for decades. Though you may be using slightly more efficient channels (like "social media"), more "creative" ideas, or more productive mechanisms (like pay-per-click), it's still a militaristic, adversarial school of thought that's largely about cramming "product" down the already overstuffed gullets of "consumers" by "targeting" "messages" jam-packed with illusory, imaginary benefits at them, in grand "campaigns" that make overblown promises ("See this beer? It's going to land you the girl of your dreams!!"). I'd argue that marketing as we know it is, still, largely about talking down. And that's not nearly good enough to send this Great Stagnation packing.

Marketing can do better. Here's how: Instead of talking down, start listening up.

Here is what I don't mean. Listening up doesn't mean surveilling your customers, and then discovering slightly cleverer ways to trick them (yet again). Listening up doesn't mean holding five thousand focus groups a year, and then price discriminating the daylights out of hapless customers. Listening up doesn't mean delving into mines studded with billions of seams of "data" about "consumers." Listening up definitely doesn't mean techno-stalking people in creepy, weird, and slightly sinister ways.

Here's what I do mean by "listening up."


The "up" is the really important part. It means having dialogues about what elevates and betters people, what raises them up to higher standards of living, doing, having, and being, what really makes them better of in meaningful ways that matter — and then igniting a movement to make it happen. When Wal-Mart talks to stakeholders in its ground-breaking value networks — as much as you or I might not like Wal-Mart — it's beginning to listen up.

Listening up means spending time actually talking to your customers, about not just their "wants" and "needs" but about their hopes and fears, their opportunities and threats, their greatest achievements and biggest regrets. It's not just about sating immediate desire with lowest-common-denominators, outsourced from the lowest bidder — it's about learning to help people achieve long-term fulfillment, in inimitable, enduring, resonant ways that rivals can't. Facebook's making many mistakes, but perhaps the biggest is slanting its platform heavily towards lightweight, subprime — and low impact — stuff like Farmville, and away from services that produce lasting, meaningful, high-impact gains.

Listening up means empowering as many people inside your organization as possible to spend time talking to your customers to have those conversations, and empowering them to talk to one another openly. To get there, it probably means rethinking the shape of your organization, from tall, to flat, to networked, meshy, and circular. Ask yourself: why is it that the only person you ever really talk to at most companies is either a powerless cashier or an even more powerless customer service rep, five billion layers of management removed from the boardroom? Because most companies, as much lip service as they might pay to the latest hip management idea, are still talking down.

Listening up means letting your fiercest critics rip away at you — and hearing them. It means empowering people to be heard, instead of just trying to shout them down or drown them out. It means responding honestly, instead of dissimulating and misdirecting. Here's my favorite example of just how much companies feel they have to misdirect and dissimulate. Why is it that customer service reps, in an act of farcical bureaucracy so awfully absurd it's worthy of Monty Python's Spanish Inquisition, have to fake their own names, and call themselves Bob, Steve, and Jim — when you know and they know their real names are probably Anup, Priya and Bayani? Because most companies can't deal with even the simplest, most basic level of human truth.

Listening up means investing not just in "market research" but in people. Relationships aren't just idle promises: they're patterns of mutual investment. Essential to the art of listening up is making those investments, so people can be heard. Pepsi Refresh is a simple, tiny, limited, imperfect example of investing in people, a small step beyond merely conditioning them to buy, buy, buy more self-destructive stuff (yes, Pepsi's in the sugar-water business — but at least a tiny chunk of its marketing bucks aren't anymore).

Listening up means asking questions that matter — and then being tough enough to hear that, just maybe, yes, you really, honestly do suck at having real, tangible, lasting benefits. No company's made it this far — yet. But you know who's getting a bit better, faster than others? Oddly, it just might be Steve Jobs — now notorious for responding to random emails about Apple. Hey, he might never admit he's wrong, but at least he responds to, well, people. How many other CEOs do you know who do that?

Listening up is the emergent, complex, and unpredictable joint creation of shared values, that build common cultural foundations and let customers and companies feel like they're part of a shared movement. It is more than a commitment to transparency, it is a deep dedication to real dialogue (as opposed to this). Yes, it's the lofty ideal — and no company I can think of has gotten all the way there, yet.

But there are some wise elders, young firebrands, and revolutionaries on the frontier. In recent history, I'd trace it back to the Cluetrain Manifesto gang. Today, Doc Searls' VRM is a giant leap towards building an economy where organizations listen up--instead of shout down. Jerry Michalski, with understated elegance, has been listening up for years. Philip Kotler's masterful Marketing 3.0 is in large part about moving from shouting down, to listening up (with emphasis on the way, way up). Jennifer Aaker's insanely, tremendously awesome Dragonfly Effect is an ode to doing meaningful stuff that matters — by listening up.

Getting from where we are to where we need to be is going to be more like a climb, and less like a stroll.

But here's what you might get in return. Instead of merely discovering the next "feature-set" for your latest, greatest snoozer of a product (yawn — It got copied by approximately four hundred different factories in Shenzhen, Da Nang, and Johor Bahru even before I finished this blog post) you might discover how to change the world. You might gain a little bit of empathy. You might smoke out your own weaknesses and limitations. You might discover what more abiding passion, bigger purpose, and steadfast perseverance really mean — and can do. You might just learn how to topple the status quo. And if you keep at it, you might even be able to ascertain how to, in your own tiny way, sow the seeds of prosperity.

If you can do that, the people formerly known as "consumers," the hard-working folks who've gotten a raw deal in this Age of Austerity, the ones who are inured to the cries of buy, buy, buy, the folks who have been tuning you out, well — they probably won't just be grateful. If you can actually help them flourish and prosper in meaningful ways that matter, well then, maybe, just maybe, they'll start to respect, admire and even love you a little bit for it.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

content is king


Soapbox December 2, 2010 ET.Michael Eisner
The former Disney CEO has reinvented himself as author and new-media entrepreneur. Seeing the potential to reach larger audiences than ever before via the Web, the complex mogul talks about the transformation of media from caveman days to those ahead and how content really is king


This is the greatest time in my career in the media. Was it easier when I worked at ABC and there were only three networks and the least objectionable program was still a big hit? Sure.

I don’t think I’m doing anything different now from what I did at Disney when I walked into Imagineering or animation or live action or television development. My interest was always: What is the show? Because if the show is right, everything works out.

But if you are still working in the media business, you would have to be a troglodyte, or in a wheelchair and drooling and incapable of thinking, not to be involved in new media.

I’m intrigued that in this technological world you can create entertainment that could reach 60 million people. But it is selective. Farmville reaches 60 million people, yet there are other games that reach no people. It is all about the selection.

The media have as much opportunity today as they have ever had. The creation of content has never been more important. It’s wide open for all sorts of new creative ventures. The dissemination of content to every nook and cranny of the world has never been easier. It has gone from paintings on cavemen’s walls to the ability to digitally beam movies, television, news, information and music into every cave in the world. The need for entertaining, informative, provocative and important ideas has never been close to what it is today.

I don’t think it’s all about the user generation of material or democracy in media. It’s still about human beings coming together and deciding what is and isn’t interesting.

This is the power of an idea being translated into a mass media: We’re buying “Another American,” a show about “don’t ask, don’t tell,” by a guy who spent three years interviewing people in the military. He put on a one-man show in a theater the size of my office and it was only produced on Sundays and Mondays in New York. It could have been done 3,000 years ago.We’re going to translate that to a digital experience going out on mobile phones and Internet connections for an audience that instead of being 30 people in a theater could be 30 million around the world. It’s an example of how far we’ve come—and how we’re still dependent on an individual mind.

I’m a big believer in what Woody Allen said: If “show business” were not a business, it would be called “show show.” No matter how articulate I like to be about the importance of entertainment to international trade and American culture and expression and democracy, it’s still a business and you have to be able to afford to do what you do and there has to be a return. I saw that I could play in this world of creating games with FameTown, that I didn’t have to be a conglomerate. I like that you can do it economically and entertainingly.

“If you’re working in the media business, you’d have to be a troglodyte, or in a wheelchair and drooling and incapable of thinking, not to be involved in new media”After Disney, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I found new partners. I’ve always liked being part of a team, whether it was with Barry Diller [at Paramount] or Frank Wells [at Disney] or my wife or new people—finding the Shawn Fannings [of Napster] of the world. I believe in the idea of partners. I’m not a sole practitioner. Never have been. It’s more fun having somebody else there to commiserate with and celebrate with.

I used to be the youngest person in every organization I was at. My partners were always older. And then I woke up one day and I was the oldest person and my partners were significantly younger. Now my partners are generationally younger. When I left Disney, I brought Andy Redman with me. He was 25. We’ve worked together for five years absolutely the same way I worked with Frank and Barry and others—every day talking 22 times a day. And he is 38 years younger. I like young ideas.

I’m kind of back to doing things the way I did at the beginning of my career. When I started, I was the lowest person on the 37th floor at ABC. Everything is given to the lowest person to do. Now I do it all myself with a few people to help. All of a sudden delegation is not as available to you as when you had 125,000 people working for you. And that’s good. They say if you do the New York Times crossword puzzle it sharpens your mind, it keeps you young. Maybe being closer to the action does the same thing.

I know this is hard to believe, but I fly commercial. Disney had its own planes, but my wife, children and I traveled commercial when I wasn’t on Disney business. Now I fly private and commercial. As bad as airline travel has gotten—inconvenient and nasty, and you can only take one suitcase and it’s stuffed to the brim, and everybody’s fighting for the overhead racks—it’s so nice to have a little Kindle with your newspapers and magazines and the books you’re reading. What a great thing for content creators. I’m not talking about the economics—that will work out in time.

I would much rather hire an executive who has taken courses in history and philosophy and language and art, and English and Russian literature than somebody who has only studied a single element of one subject. When my son wanted to go to undergraduate film school, I called George Lucas, who told him: Don’t go. Learning to make a movie is like learning to drive. Anybody can learn to drive. It’s where you drive that counts.

A lot of people can learn to write computer code and understand the inner workings of the technological revolution we’re going through, but if you’re going to be in content, I would rather you understand what makes a good narrative. To find people who can make you laugh or cry or smile or get upset or learn something about yourself. Those people are rare. They are rarer, frankly, than the others. We always talk about the lack of engineers in America. I would say we lead in what is most important to create all this, which is the education system for liberal-arts students. To me, that’s key.

For people coming into the entertainment businesses, the openings are enormous. However, the rules of drama haven’t changed. Denouement has not been replaced by dead ends. You still have to have characters, you have to have an emotional reaction, and you have to learn something from it, preferably. Those things don’t go away.

I don’t know the third act of the transformation of media. I don’t even think we know the second act. We’re probably still in the first act or the prologue. I’ve gone to conferences where some people are getting carried around on top of shoulders like they just won the Super Bowl, and two years later it’s “whatever happened to that guy?” I sat at the Allen & Co. conference a couple of years ago and this guy Mark Pincus [CEO of Zynga, the company behind Farmville] was sitting at the table. Who knew that two years later he would have the best room at the lodge?

I remember talking to Barry in the 1960s about making entertainment like a phone book. You go to H for “Happy Days” and you dial it up, like you were ordering a pizza. We had no idea what we were talking about. But it was this concept of entertainment given over to the consumer to decide what he wanted to see.

Sometimes you have the right idea but you’re too early, or you have the right idea but there’s one tweak that’s wrong. We sat there and were very encouraged when Bill Gates was demonstrating his Tablet PC, but it wasn’t until now that the iPad has shown everybody the promise of what the tablet can be.

We shouldn’t complain about how technology is ruining our lives and our businesses. It’s not. You’ve got to adapt and move on.

Edited from Alan Deutschman’s interview with Eisner

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Spiritual Self-Confidence

It's important to have self-confidence. It's even more important to have spiritual self-confidence. Spiritual confidence is that unique and palpable sense of absolute conviction that cannot be affected by external or internal fluctuations. It's being absolutely sure. It's knowing, before you know, that you know. It's the highest gift and blessing that comes only from the deepest insight into the true nature of things. It can also be the most precious jewel that is freely transmitted from the awakened heart and mind of a true spiritual master to any and all who would receive it. Absolute conviction destroys existential doubt and frees the human soul.

The Eastern traditions say that doubt is one of the biggest obstacles to the profound discovery of enlightened awareness. The sparkle of ecstatic conviction in the eyes of a saint expresses the liberating joy and fearlessness that are testimony to powerful spiritual self-confidence. Unfortunately, madmen, monsters, and megalomaniacs from the East and the West also gain their power from absolute self-confidence. But that's not a confidence that comes from knowing that mystery which is ungraspable. More often than not, it's a confidence that comes from fear, from overwhelming arrogance, from the puny ego, or from ethnocentric pride. It's a confidence that comes from a desire for power and an aspiration to dominate. The kind of spiritual confidence I'm speaking about comes from a very different source and from a very different part of the self.

Some people claim that absolute conviction of any kind is dangerous and should never be trusted. But the kinds of people who make those assertions are hypocrites. They are hypocrites because they stubbornly express an absolute conviction in their own perspective while simultaneously proclaiming to others the futility of such a position!

Spiritual confidence is the heaviest anchor in the midst of the unending storm that is life and death. It is an unshakable confidence in the inherent rightness of being here -- confidence in the rightness of finding oneself in the very middle of the life process, even in all its chaos and complexity. Having this kind of confidence is of the utmost importance for anyone who is convinced that they deeply care about the way things are -- and even more so for the bold and courageous warrior who wants to create something truly new, who would dare to be the one to step forward, to stand for and bear witness to that which is higher.

It's especially important to have this kind of confidence in times like these when there is so much turbulence and individual and collective insecurity about survival. Without this kind of confidence as a constant reference point, we may find ourselves at times without the emotional, psychological, or spiritual resources to fight the good fight. And those who care more than anything else about the perennial quest to transform the world into a powerful reflection of that which is sacred cannot afford to allow even a moment of doubt or fear to overshadow their soul. Why? Because that may be the one moment that counted the most! In other words, we can't afford not to have spiritual self-confidence if we want to change the world.

The kind of powerful conviction that I am referring to fills one's heart with a love that is not dependent on external circumstances for its fullness. It's a love that is unshakable, unmoving, and indestructible. Such love -- a love that transcends yet simultaneously embraces the world -- is what compels human beings to evolve, from their own deepest depths, and to become better citizens of our world and our cosmos. Knowing the mysterious source of that love is knowing before thought that life is good. That inherent goodness is who we really are. And that's what we discover in deepest revelation.

Have confidence in that and change the world.


Huffington Post
written by: Andrew Z. Cohen Founder, Editor in Chief, EnlightenNext magazine
Posted: December 7, 2010 11:40 PM

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Confucius about battle...

Organizing the battlefield
Published on December 7, 2010 in Stories. 3 Comments 2168

This is to be my main appearance at the Writers’ Festival in Melbourne, Australia. It is ten o’clock in the morning and there is a packed audience. I am to be interviewed by a local writer, J. F.

I step onto the platform with my usual feelings of apprehension. Felton introduces me and starts asking me questions.
Before I can finish what I’m saying, he interrupts me and asks me another question.
When I reply, he says something like ‘that wasn’t a very clear answer’.
Five minutes later, there is a feeling of unease amongst the audience; everyone can sense that something is wrong. I remember Confucius and take the only possible action.

‘Do you like what I write?’ I ask.

‘That’s irrelevant,’ F. replies. ‘I’m here to interview you, not the other way round.’

‘But it is relevant. You won’t let me finish my thought. Confucius says: “Whenever possible, be clear.” Let’s follow that advice and make things absolutely clear: Do you like what I write?’

‘No, I don’t. I’ve read two of your books and I hated both of them.’

‘Fine, now we can continue.’

The lines of battle have been drawn. The audience relaxes and the atmosphere becomes electric, the interview becomes a real debate, and everyone – including F. – is pleased with the result.


Drucker on what to sell...

Drucker’s “The Practice of Management” influenced Yanai “to first think what customers want and provide more value, rather than what a company wants to sell,” the billionaire said. He declined to be interviewed for this article.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Living with doubt

... is almost always more profitable than living with certainty.

People don't like doubt, so they pay money and give up opportunities to avoid it. Entrepreneurship is largely about living with doubt, as is creating just about any sort of art.

If you need reassurance, you're giving up quite a bit to get it.

On the other hand, if you can get in the habit of seeking out uncertainty, you'll have developed a great instinct.

Posted by Seth Godin on December 05, 2010

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Ken Wilber's take on saving the world through cross-cultural communication

Ken Wilber's take on saving the world through cross-cultural communication

Philosopher Ken Wilber says that to solve the world’s problems, we need to take a more integral approach by changing the way we communicate our message across cultures.

Jurriaan Kamp | April 2009 issue

Ken Wilber, philosopher.
Photo: Julie Harris
Ken Wilber’s mission is simple: to make sense of our times—to explain what we need to do to eradicate poverty and save the environment, to name the two most crucial issues. These things have long been dear to me too, so I bought my first Wilber book about 20 years ago. Over the years, I turned the pages of most of his books but somehow never connected with them. Despite the obvious alignment of interests and missions, I had a hard time understanding and relating to Wilber’s message.

So when a trusted friend recently described Wilber as “one of the most important philosophers of our time” and suggested I interview him, my reaction was, well, not immediately favorable. But then I thought I should give it one more try. So I ordered some more books by Wilber. When I paged through the first one, I quickly came to my old conclusion. Then one early Sunday morning, I opened A Theory of Everything. An hour later I was surprised to discover I was still reading, immersed in Wilber’s brilliant analysis of the challenges of our times.

It may have taken 20 years, but my eyes, ears and heart had opened. Wilber convinced me that there are certain recognizable patterns in the development of people and cultures and that, by understanding these patterns, we can come to “a theory of everything”—an integral vision that brings together the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual worlds and invites us to be a little more whole, a little less fragmented in our work, our societies and our lives. And that’s how, in early February, I found myself standing in front of the building that houses Ken Wilber’s loft, overlooking the mile-high city of Denver, Colorado, with snowcapped mountains in the background. The temperature was 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius)—this is early February in Denver?!—which raised questions about global warming, one of the topics I was hoping to discuss with him.

Wilber’s apartment reflects the integral approach that is the theme of his books. Modern technology and sleekly designed furniture seamlessly blend with images and artifacts of ancient Asian spirituality. Even Wilber’s appearance expresses his thinking. His tall, strong body isn’t the body of a philosopher who sits around reading and writing books all day. It’s clear that his brain isn’t the only thing Wilber, 60, exercises. His integral philosophy is more than an intellectual exercise, too. It’s an urgent answer to stubborn, practical problems.

Wilber started looking for answers almost immediately after he graduated from college as a biochemist. By then, he’d realized that the humanities provided a much more interesting field of study for him. “The Sixties had brought a huge influx of Eastern traditions, such as humanistic and transpersonal psychologies,” he recalls. “We were looking at Eastern schools and attempting to integrate these philosophies into Western schools. I was much taken by these incredibly important ideas that we had a chance of discovering.”

Wilber explored this marriage of philosophies in his first book, The Spectrum of Consciousness, published in 1973. “At first, the two approaches seemed to fit perfectly together,” Wilber says. “The Western model went about two-thirds of the way [toward an integral philosophy] and that’s where the Eastern model appeared to pick up.” But there was a problem. “The new merged model seemed to imply that to get to the Eastern spiritual experience, you had to go through all the stages of the Western developmental model. And we just knew that was not right. Meditation state experiences can happen at every stage of the Western developmental model. The full course of human growth is going through both of these developmental sequences at the same time.”

This integrated approach has been at the center of Wilber’s work ever since. And over the years, he’s found he’s not alone. Dozens of studies, he writes, have shown “a remarkably consistent story of the evolution of consciousness.” There’s disagreement about the details, but the general message is that humanity evolves through a series of unfolding stages, beginning with simple survival and moving into an enlightened spiritual experience, not unlike the pyramid of needs devised by the 20th-century American psychologist Abraham Maslow. The flow is from “me” to “us” to “all of us.” Along the way, people and cultures move through distinct stages with distinct values.

“That is not an excuse for pigeonholing people and cultures, but a useful tool to understand at which altitude they are flying so that we can communicate with them,” says Wilber. He points out that each stage “transcends and includes”; the new level goes beyond the preceding one, yet still includes and embraces its values. Wilber compares the process to a cell that transcends but includes molecules, which in turn transcend but include atoms. “To say that molecules go beyond atoms is not to say that molecules hate atoms,” he writes, “but that they love them: They embrace them in their own makeup.”

There’s a catch though. To work together, cells and molecules and atoms must speak the same language. The same applies to people and cultures. Wilber observes that while globalization is turning the planet into a village, the world is rapidly disintegrating. In the past, most people were born and raised, married, had children and died in the same culture. Their lives developed within the same value system and those were largely the same as those of their ancestors. Now, thanks to globalization, many different value systems have been brought together. People travel, and their ideas and convictions travel with them. That often results in a failure to communicate. Some cultures speak the language of “me”; some speak the language of “us’”; some speak the language of “all of us.”

Wilber’s integral model is a kind of universal translator for this cultural cacophony, an ambitious attempt to integrate all the languages into a single theory of everything. According to Wilber, value structures fall into four major classes, which he calls “I” (self and consciousness), “We” (culture and world view), “It” (brain and organism), and “Its” (social system and environment).

“Why do we have all these theories?” Wilber asks. “Because they work. The problem arises when we try to make one theory the only approach. That does not work because it is a partial approach. The world needs to come to terms with different value systems. Development goes in stages and there is nothing we can do about that. We need to create social organizational structures that take [these stages] into account. Otherwise, we will have more social violence and more disintegration.” The challenge in addressing global problems is to address these different value systems in their own languages.

Take global warming, which Wilber describes as “the first issue that affects everybody everywhere on the planet. [Former U.S. Vice-President] Al Gore is saying that the entire world needs to change its behavior. But he says so in a language that is perhaps understood by 20 percent of the world population. Gore assumes that people will respond from rational self-interest based on sound science, but that’s the least of the motivations of the majority of the population of the planet.”

Other cultures, Wilber argues, may respond to the threat of global warming from different values. African cultures are dominated by feudal clans, he says, so they may adopt environmental and energy policies when these are phrased in a language that relates to how they may benefit their clans. Similarly, Hindus may change their behavior to honor Gaia rather than in response to rational self-interest. “Al Gore has to ‘language’ his message in at least four different value structures to get, say, 80 percent of the world behind him,” Wilber says. “Anything less than that will simply not work.”

According to Wilber, politics, too, could benefit from an integral approach. Take the classic conflict between conservatives and liberals over welfare. Liberals argue that people are poor because of lack of government support; conservatives argue that people are poor because of lack of family values and work ethic. In Wilber’s vision, both are right. It isn’t “either/or” but “both/and.” His ideal government approach: “‘We will do everything to help you but at the same time we want you to do everything to help yourselves.’ We need to find the way to reach out to touch all dimensions, interior capacity and external capacity. We need to recognize where you can help yourselves and where you need help.”

Multiculturalism is another issue ripe for an integral approach, Wilber says. He sees the Netherlands, a small, relatively homogeneous culture with a large immigrant population, as an important test case. “You cannot insist on one value system,” he says. “That leads to civil war. The Netherlands is the most evolved country with a single culture in Europe that has dealt with the issue of immigration longer than others. It has grown to a level that’s most conducive to an integral approach.”

Wilber cites integrative medicine, which unites Western therapies and ancient Eastern methods, as a clear example of how an integral approach can work successfully. He also describes how groups like UNICEF get results by casting development aid projects in the context of local value systems.

At the 2006 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, former U.S. President Bill Clinton described Wilber’s ideas as crucial to successful development programs. “I worry about all these grand ideas that we all promote here working to benefit ordinary people,” Clinton said. “If ordinary people don’t perceive that our grand ideas are working in their lives then they can’t develop the higher level of consciousness ... to use a term that candid American philosopher Ken Wilber wrote a whole book about. He said, you know, the problem is the world needs to be more integrated, but it requires a consciousness that’s way up here, and an ability to see beyond the differences among us.” Says Wilber, “It is easier to build artifacts than to build consciousness, so we continue to build artifacts but not enough of the consciousness behind those.”

So is more consciousness what the world needs now? “Take a wide view,” says Wilber, as he stares at the mountains from the windows of his loft. “Why are human beings here? Not just for greed and ambition. Try to expand what you think we are doing here. What are you doing with your life? How can you refresh your own vision? Look inside, and hopefully you are not disappointed about what you find.”

Jurriaan Kamp, who only speaks English, Dutch, French and German, is the editor-in-chief of Ode.

Reinventing Capitalism: Putting Soul in the Machine

Reinventing Capitalism:
Putting Soul in the Machine

A Quick Re-Vision of Western Civilization
by Howard Bloom

Howard Bloom
Bio & resources
The early part of the twenty-first century gave the Western world one skull-cracking slap after another. The downing of New York's World Trade Center; the battle with militant Islam's holy warrior; the crash and scandal of major corporations like Enron, Worldcom, and Arthur Andersen; and the growth of China to superpower status—these were wakeup punches. They handed us what may be our greatest opportunity and our greatest responsibility since the Great Depression and the Nazis threatened to topple the Western way of life in the 1930s.
Osama bin Laden's threats against America and against the “false religion” of freedom of speech, secularism, spiritual eclecticism, human rights, women's rights, and gay rights have the potential to nuke us into a new dark age. As you read this page, over ten thousand Wahhabi madrassas, “suicide bomber factories,” salted on every one of this planet's continents, are teaching children to make holy war against you and me. The West, these kids are told, has nothing left to give the world but immorality and decay. The teachers in these madrassas peddle passion brilliantly. They feed the hunger for meaning with the junk food of emotion—violence and righteous fury. But could the madrassa teachers be right? Do we in the Western system have nothing worth struggling for? Do we have nothing that's worthy of idealism and belief?

Our civilization is under attack. But many of us don't want to defend it. Why? There's a void in our sense of meaning. We've been told that “the Western system” is one in which the rich stoke artificial needs to suck money, blood, and spirit from the rest of us. We've been told that the barons of industry work overtime to turn us from sensitive humans into consumers—mindless buyers listlessly watching TV while growing obese on the artificial flavors, chemical preservatives, and cheap sugars of junk food. And some of that is true.

But the problem does not lie in the turbines of the Western way of life—it does not lie in industrialism, capitalism, pluralism, free speech, and democracy. The problem lies in the lens through which we see. Capitalism works. It works for reasons that don't appear in the analyses of Marx or in the statistics of economists. It works clumsily, awkwardly, sometimes brilliantly, and sometimes savagely. So we need to dig down to find out why.

We need to reveal the deeper meaning beneath what we've been told is crass materialism. We need to see how profoundly our obsessive making and exchanging of goods and services has upgraded the nature of our species.

The Western system is not at all what we've been taught to believe. This is not a mindless consumer culture destroying the planet in an orgy of greed. It is the most creative and potentially idealistic bio-engine this planet has ever seen. But if we fail to open our eyes and spot this reality fast, everything we believe in may easily disappear.

We need to stare a blunt fact in the face: Many of today's corporations are creatively and morally asleep. But you and I can wake them in a most ironic way—through a strange-but-vital upgrade in the richness of our lives. We can re-perceive the tale of capitalism's rise. We can lay out a new and far more insight-saturated story of our origins—a factual creation myth. And we can use this genesis story, this re-perceived tale of our history, as a key to the quandaries of work and daily living. We can use it as a cornerstone of a new view of our future in a world of instant change.

We can reveal a central secret of the Western system—we're not mere digits in a numbers game; we're feeling people woven in emotional exchange.


Here's a basic fact of the Western way of life: Hard as we may find it to conceive, capitalism offers more things to believe in than any system that has come before. Nearly every faith, from Christianity and Buddhism to Islam and Marxism, promises to raise the poor and the oppressed. But only capitalism delivers what these ideologies and religions profess, century after century. Capitalism lifts the poor and helps them live their dreams. The proof is in the mega-perks we tend to take for granted. Here are some examples.

In the early 1700s, cotton clothes were a luxury import that only the super-rich could afford. The masses worked from day to day in stiff fabrics that housed insects and that scratched and tortured the skin. Changing into new clothes every few days or laundering them regularly was impossible. There was little sense in bathing if your shirt carried last month's stench. In 1785, capitalism introduced the power loom and changed the very nature of the shirt on man's back. By the twentieth century, capitalism had made a T-shirt of cotton—the fabric of kings—the norm for even the poorest sub-Saharan African.

In the nineteenth century, capitalism gave us another universal: soap. Statistics show that Westerners grew dramatically healthier and added decades to their lives beginning in roughly the 1840s, when the soap-and-cotton revolution kicked in.

In the early 1800s, sending an urgent letter to a relative on a distant coast took months or weeks. Then capitalism built the telegraph system and made sending messages across continents and seas a matter of hours. In the 1990s, a mesh of multinational corporations took another leap. They built the mobile phone system and made it second nature to ring Taipei from Tampa and Bangalore from Boston while you were walking down the street.

In the mid-1840s, a trip from New York to California took over half a year either by wagon or by sailing ship. Your odds of dying on the way were roughly one in five. Then in 1869 there came a capitalist masterpiece, the transcontinental railway, that snipped the trip down to a week. In the twentieth century, capitalism gave the average citizen jet wings and slivered the New York to LA trip from roughly one hundred hours down to five.

The Western system accomplished in three hundred years what it would have taken evolution over three hundred million to achieve—it gave us the equivalent of new arms, legs, ears, eyes, and brains.

No other civilization in the history of this planet—not the Egyptian, the Roman, the Muslim, the Chinese, or the twentieth-century Marxist Russian—has ever come close to lifting the downtrodden in these ways. None has ever done so much to elevate, empower, and create a brand-new category of humanity, a brand-new niche of comfort and prosperity: a massive and productive middle class.

The middle class is an economy-and-culture engine that even Karl Marx, in his Communist Manifesto, praised for creating “wonders far surpassing Egyptian pyramids, Roman aqueducts, and Gothic cathedrals.” Yes, the same Karl Marx who hated the middle class. The same Karl Marx who turned the word for middle class into a curse word: the “bourgeoisie.”

But the middle class is something we usually don't notice—a sea of humans the Western system has raised from the ranks of the downtrodden . . . and has uplifted permanently. How have the Western system and its sidekick, capitalism, pulled off deeds of this magnitude? How has the Western system done it without really knowing its own nature? And if capitalism is such a miracle worker, why does it need a radical upgrade?

Because while the West does far more than it gets credit for, that's nothing compared to what it can ultimately achieve. Yes, the capitalist system has performed its share of miracles—and its share of atrocities. The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire in New York City in 1911 killed 146 women—most of them younger than twenty-three years old—in less than fifteen minutes. In 1984, a nighttime leak of forty tons of methyl isocyanate gas from a Union Carbide pesticide factory in Bhopal, India, sent a toxic cloud crawling across a forty-square-kilometer residential area housing half a million people. The result was death for 28,000 and lasting illness for another 120,000. And by 2001, one Texas company, Clear Channel Communications, Inc., had offices in 63 countries and owned 1,200 radio stations; 135 clubs, theaters, arenas, and stadiums; 19 television stations; and 770,000 outdoor advertising displays. In 2004, Clear Channel was on the verge of bridging the gap from the free market to monopoly and was capable of determining what information you and I do and do not get to see.


We have to retell the history of Western civilization in a way that hints at the rich ore beneath the slopes and plains of our history's terrain. We have to peel back the lumpy outer skin of capitalism and show the beating heart within. A semi-brain-dead capitalism has given vast new powers to humanity—powers like the ability to light our homes at night with electricity and add five hours a day to the normal human's waking life. A capitalism that knows its mission, a capitalism propelled by the troika of empathy, passion, and reason, can work far greater wonders.

Imagine what it would be like if at every staff meeting you were expected to put the care of the multitudes we mistakenly call “consumers” first. Imagine what it would be like to go to work each morning in a company that saw your passions as your greatest engines, your curiosities as your fuel, and your idealisms as the pistons of your labors and of your soul. Imagine what it would be like if your superiors told you that the ultimate challenge was to tune your empathic abilities so you could sense the needs of your firm's customers even before those customers knew quite what they hankered after. Imagine what it would be like if your superiors asked you to do what artists and psychics do—find your hidden selves in the hidden hungers of those you serve. There is an implicit code by which we in the Western system live—a code that demands that we uplift each other . . . and that we do it globally.

The “human resources” creed—the real business of business—should be one that comes from the poet Edna St. Vincent Millay:

A man was starving in Capri;
He moved his eyes and looked at me;
I felt his gaze, I heard his moan,
And knew his hunger as my own.

Mine every greed, mine every lust.
And all the while for every grief,
Each suffering, I craved relief.

The world stands out on either side
No wider than the heart is wide;
Above the world is stretched the sky,
No higher than the soul is high.

People are the ones who demand. We do it because we desire, we hanker, we hunger, we're eager, we're roused. Or we're deadened, we're hurt, we're unsatisfied, we need. Consumerism—that wretched sin—isn't what it seems. Capitalism is what we do each day, and it can generate in our daily lives and in the place we work the exuberance of satisfying others, the exhilaration of feeling wanted, the elation of creativity, and the knowledge that we've contributed to something far, far bigger than ourselves.

We desperately need a reinvention and a re-perception of the system that has given Western civilization its long-term strength and its recent weaknesses. We need to wake up capitalism to its mission—a set of moral imperatives and heroic demands that are implicit in the Western way of life. By reinventing capitalism and injecting our own souls into the machine, you and I can raise the bar of human possibility.

We stand at a choice point in history. We can wake up and smell the coffee of our civilization—its pep, its drive, and its power to add to human lives. We can see the ideals and the creative imperatives that capitalism now hides. Or we can go with the flow of the current zeitgeist and condemn all that we have as mere consumerist trash and every workday move we make as an attempt to pick the pockets of the poor. If we fail to see the force of secular salvation, the power of messianic capitalism, in what we do each day, then we will yield the planet up to those who insist on taking the Western system's transformative powers away.

Howard Bloom, a recent visiting scholar at the Graduate Psychology Department at New York University and a Core Faculty Member at The Graduate Institute, is the author of two books: The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition into the Forces of History and Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind from the Big Bang to the 21st Century.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Pilgrim of the Future

Orchestrating Our Many Selves

Jean Houston on the Fallacy of
by Amy Edelstein


Jean Houston:
"I would never use the word 'mastery'! I thought I'd tell you that right away. . . . To me, it smacks of galloping chutzpah!"

This was Dr. Jean Houston's response at the very beginning of our interview, before I had even begun to explain what we meant by "self-mastery" and why we were so interested in exploring the relationship between self-mastery and enlightenment. And we were off! Like a thoroughbred racehorse breaking out of the gate at the crack of the gun, Houston was a rush of churning energy, exploding outward, swirling upward, full of color, imagery, dynamism and personal tales that seemed larger than life, mythic, heroic.

We had wanted to interview Jean Houston for this issue of What Is Enlightenment? because of her outstanding and groundbreaking work in the field of human potential. A great thinker, with an extensive background in research on the human mind, creative capacities and emerging social patterns, Houston has proven herself to be one of the most independent philosophers of our time. Central to her work is her exploration of the mythic hero's journey. She has studied the significance, impact and evolutionary effects of mythic lore across many cultures, so we wondered: What would a philosopher like Jean Houston have to say about the modern-day superheroes we are calling the "Self Masters"? What would she think about their prescriptions for and conclusions about life? What does she think they have to teach us? True to our expectations, she had many fascinating things to say but, to my surprise, they were not at all what I had anticipated while preparing my list of questions for her. "I just don't think self-mastery exists," she began, and we proceeded from there.

Houston began her formal research on the nature of the mind in the 1960s when she was only twenty-one, in a government-sanctioned study examining the mind-expanding effects of psychedelics, but her curiosity about the outer edges of our potential and her precocious character were always a part of her nature. Half Sicilian, half Scottish, Houston's variegated ancestry includes not only Robert E. Lee and Sam Houston (the founder of Houston, Texas), but perhaps one of the only Jewish Native Americans—with the unlikely name of Scarecrow Rosenblatt. Daughter of a stage actress and a brilliant comedy writer who helped to create the Abbott and Costello favorite Who's on First?, Houston spent most of her first eleven years traveling while her father wrote for touring comedians, including Jack Benny, Bob Hope and George Burns. He encouraged the quizzical and outspoken spark in his daughter, which at times got her into hot water, such as when her exasperated first grade Catholic school teacher informed her that she had chalked up a total of 300 million years in purgatory for asking questions like, "Sister Theresa, I've been wondering, did Jesus ever have to go to the bathroom?" Houston's life seemed charmed from the start; her stay in the hospital incubator after her premature birth was indirectly sponsored by the great Henny Youngman—he bought 350 jokes from her father, which paid the bill!

Dr. Houston has been a tireless and innovative researcher, documentarist, philosopher, psychologist, student and teacher of techniques to expand our creative capacities for almost forty years. She travels around the world on a virtually impossible schedule, logging as many as 250,000 miles in a single year. In the three weeks during which I tried to schedule our interview, she crossed from coast to coast three times to teach weekend courses at her Mystery School in upstate New York, participate in and then present the concluding talk at the Gorbachev Foundation's State of the World Forum in San Francisco, host a radio show, cook a gourmet meal for her family and staff, and so much more. Her travels have taken her to remote cultures from Burma to Morocco, where she has learned the myths of the indigenous peoples and shared her own tapestry of knowledge with them, a tapestry woven with richly hued threads synthesized from her encounters with some of the most outstanding individuals of our time. She has presented her work in over forty countries and been a consultant to the United Nations, UNICEF, CEOs at Xerox, General Electric and Kraft corporations, as well as to First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. In 1966 she and her husband Robert Masters established the Foundation for Mind Research, and in 1984 she founded the Mystery School, an annual, nine-month-long program where students practice various exercises designed to increase inner awareness and creative capacity; and in between, she has authored sixteen books.

If Jean Houston's life seems mythic, it is—in fact, that's how she views everyone's life. An integral part of her approach to cultivating our human potential is seeing our experience as part of a larger story, seeing the patterns of the great myths in our own journeys. This takes us out of what she calls the "personal-particular" and puts us in touch with the "personal-universal," lifting us into a higher and more impersonal view. In one of her recent books, A Passion for the Possible, she writes, "How we view our life as a story often determines how life treats us. If we see our life as a trivial story, we fall easily into inertia and defeat. Seeing our life as a larger story puts us back on our feet and helps us get on with living."

When I first saw her teach at the Community Church on 35th Street in New York City five years ago, Houston exuded the very stuff that myths are made of. Her talk billowed out of her, wrapping us in participatory imagery, taking us on mythical journeys to expand our horizons, our view and our perception of the context in which the real events of our lives take place. Houston has unusual presence—dramatic, earthy—and an impressive confidence, independence and sense of purpose. Many of her exercises center on discovering and accessing different "selves" within us. Her emphasis on "orchestrating our many selves" is, significantly, not an excuse for mediocrity or a license to indulge. Instead, she wants us to access all of our talents and abilities to serve a purpose greater than ourselves. She is driven by a geyser of energy, by a deep sense of urgency to make our lives count, and it is this passion that she is committed to awakening in others. Deeply concerned not only about our inner selves but also about the state of the earth and our frighteningly destructive capabilities, Houston earnestly proclaims, "These are the times and we are the people."

So what did this dynamic woman have to say about the Self Masters—individuals who aspire to excellence and who call us to take action? It turned out that the very intimation of anything to do with a will-driven sense of progress was as inciting to Houston as a matador's muleta to an excitable bull. In effect, Houston would have nothing to do with the term "self-mastery," nor with the concepts that it generally represents, preferring instead to reinterpret the central questions of this issue of WIE in light of what she refers to as a "process-oriented" approach. "My problem with those who will themselves to a certain end," she explained, "is that they lose access to the coding." She feels that in order to realize our deeper potential, we must come into touch with the timeless secrets of life, with the universal stories that she believes are "coded in our inner selves." In Houston's view, the deepening of our potential does not come about through striving and achievement but by accessing "the congregation of personalities within us" and "evoking the many different levels of the possible human." In this, what she calls "a more feminine view," differences are validated and one finds oneself in a large, warm, chaotic nest of possibilities, voices, timbres—a very different place than the singular goal of the Self Master.

The interview that follows provides a fascinating insight into the views on mastery and enlightenment of a woman sometimes called a "midwife of the soul," one of the greatest contributors to the contemporary human potential movement.


WIE: I'd like to begin by asking how you would define "self-mastery."

Jean Houston: I would never use the word "mastery"! I thought I'd tell you that right away. Maybe that's a feminine point of view—I can talk about an orchestration and a balance of capacities, but I don't think I'd ever use the word "mastery." To me, it smacks of galloping chutzpah! I just don't think self-mastery exists. How's that for a beginning?

I think the nearest that we can come to talking about self-mastery is to talk about the nature of essence; and when we touch into essence, latent abilities and skills suddenly jump into life.

WIE: How would you define "enlightenment" then?

JH: I think enlightenment exceeds definition because it is so experiential; the mystics say it's unexplainable. But if I can speak about it as a process, I can get closer. I'd say it's an extraordinary effort of reweaving the self in body, mind and spirit that can be accomplished by a depth of loving, by a giving over of the local self to the godstuff. It is the honing of one's inner and outer perceptions so one is able to see, hear, touch, taste, feel and intuit the immensity of what is really there. The veils of the self are lifted.

WIE: Exponents of self-mastery and enlightenment each tend to see their approach as leading to the realization of our full human potential. Yet closer examination reveals these two approaches to be radically different. The highly accomplished individuals who we have come to call the "Self Masters" express what could be described as an "I Can" spirit. They are individuals who have made enormous effort to break through seemingly unbreakable barriers, and who exude a powerful confidence that comes from their fundamental knowing that "I can do it!" Jack LaLanne would be a good example of someone who embodies this "I Can" spirit. On the other hand, enlightenment is described by the great traditions as a fundamental groundedness in what is referred to as "Being" itself, or "I Am." Would you say that the "I Can" and the "I Am" are basically antithetical modes of transformation?

JH: Well, not from the perspective of God. You see, you can get extraordinary confidence from being "in the flow" in great sporting moments. For example, when I was fourteen or fifteen I was a very serious fencer. I really loved it and I was pretty good. Once, in New York, I was in a round-robin—where you keep competing until you lose—and what happened to me was fascinating. There were men and women, and we were fencing with foils. All the fencers were much older than I was, and they were some of the city's best. Well, as I began to fence I suddenly found that I was in "the zone"! No longer just a pretty good fencer, I had tapped into the essence of fencing. I was the sport! Anticipating all moves, seeing all opportunities, I couldn't tire. Endless waves of energy filled me. There was no possibility of beating me. One after another, twenty opponents came up and were defeated. And there I was, "Quarte, sixte, paré, et là! Strike to the heart!" On and on it went—my essence and the essence of the sport in a rapturous union of movement and spirit. That kind of gallant élan filled me. I was all the great fencers who ever were, Scaramouche, Cyrano de Bergerac. I felt as if their spirits were joining with mine for one last great bout, until after six hours of continuous fencing, the match was stopped and I was declared the winner. How did this happen?!

Several times in my life I've been in that state, and it's not a state of "I Can," I assure you. It is as if your essence joins the essence of the action itself—almost like you tune into the god or goddess of the action, the very archetype of it. It's much more complex than saying "I Can" and "I Am."

WIE: When speaking about cultivating our highest human potential, the approach of self-mastery advocates the use of discipline and effort to push ourselves through limitations, while the traditional teachings of enlightenment point to the realization of a condition of effortless "letting go" as the ground for deep and abiding change. What do you see as the fundamental basis for the realization of our full human potential?

JH: We're so different from each other. We're as different as snowflakes. I often say, "We're not flaky, we're snowflakes." Some people are pushers and some people are relaxers-into. That's why, when I teach, I always try to provide a variety of ways into the unfolding and enlisting of capacities. My workshops are filled with music and dance and jokes and enactments and "process" as well as cognitive exercises, because the point is to reach people through whatever form. That's why there are so many different forms of yoga—karma yoga, bhakti yoga, hatha yoga, dhyana yoga, etc. You can't just talk about one particular way.

WIE: I understand, but just to pursue this question a little further, individuals who seem to have achieved an unusual degree of self-mastery often claim that through the consistent development of greater and greater control over our bodies, thoughts and feelings, it is possible to discover a deep sense of fulfillment and a profound experience of inner freedom. Enlightenment teachings, on the other hand, generally state that it's only through a complete giving up of control, a submission to "Thy will" rather than "my will," that we can experience true spiritual freedom. What is your view of these two different approaches to inner freedom?

JH: I would never use the word "control" here. I just don't think it can be achieved! I would say instead a kind of "genial orchestration." And you've also got to realize that you're talking about the difference between the muscular West and the more relaxed East. Our Calvinistic theology is: Try! Try! "I will labor in the vineyard of the Lord to know if I'm worthy or not," or, "Am I among the 144,000 elect? I can only prove it by trying harder and harder." It's a cultural lensing. Look at the stories that make up our culture's mythic structures: Horatio Alger. Sail over the sea! Cut down the forest! Build! Push! Those are the words of a frontier psychology. And a frontier psychology will manifest especially in religious or spiritual experience as: Keep pushing, keep trying. Whereas the other is surrender: Surrender into love, surrender into being. The great mystics say, "My God, my Love, Thou art all mine and I am all Thine!" They talk about the intensity of loving; theirs is a culture of love. You see, the union with the Beloved is a different perspective.

What happens in either case is an alchemy, no question. It is an alchemy in which the human being attempts to become what he or she truly is, and in which they perhaps experience and express the greater life for which we have all been coded. You see, I believe that we've all been deeply coded for a much larger life. And I believe that what we're calling "enlightenment" is coded in us as part of our inheritance. For different people from different parts of the world, there are certain patterns of journeys and stages of unfolding—not unlike the unfolding of the coding of the DNA structures in the genes.

My problem with those who will themselves to a certain end is that they lose access to the coding, and then they only gain the culture's notion of what is good and best and bright and beautiful. You just have to look at Vanity Fair or Vogue magazine to see what I'm talking about. I think our potential is much richer than that, and I think that the Easterners have a deeper and more subtle and perhaps even a truer grasp of it.

WIE: You said you would never use the term "self-mastery," and that maybe that's a feminine point of view. It might intrigue you to know that it was very difficult finding women to interview for this issue of WIE, apparently because women don't tend to speak about their achievements in the same way that men do. For example, Susan Powter wouldn't go near the term "self-mastery" either. In spite of the fact that she expresses many of the qualities of self-mastery in her own life, she felt strongly that "mastery" represents a patriarchal view, and she insisted that we speak about this subject only in terms of natural processes and other more "feminine" concepts. Why do you object to the term "mastery," and why do you think women in general object to both the word and the concept?

JH: I think "mastery" offends the senses of anybody who has a real ecological sense of the world. Sir Frances Bacon talked about extending the empire of man over things, and we see where that has brought us—our so-called mastery has resulted in so much destruction. So I think that's why. Mastery just reflects such a narrow bandwidth. It is like making a slave of the self and then mastering your inner slave. In this country with its horrendous history of slavery—with its "Ho Massah! Yessah Massah!"—the word has fearful connotations. In addition to that, there is the sense that you are mastering the self. Who is to say that the self doesn't have its own agenda, which may be much larger than one's own ego's view of what that agenda should be?

WIE: In the course of our research for this issue, we looked at many individuals who expressed the unusual qualities of self-mastery: control, discipline, perseverance in the face of obstacles, going beyond limitations and deep confidence and positivity. We read about some extraordinary women, including Billie Jean King, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Jan Reynolds, who skied Mt. Everest, and Ann Bancroft, the first woman to go to the North and South Poles. To our surprise, we found that even these outstanding individuals didn't describe their accomplishments with the degree of confidence and pride they undeniably warranted. In fact, King and Bancroft, in spite of their achievements, slipped into depression, disillusionment and despair. They didn't sustain the same positive outlook on life—

JH: The way the men did.

WIE: Yes! We were intrigued by this, and we spoke with Beverly Slade, a psychologist who has studied the way women relate to excellence. She had some very interesting things to say. One of her primary conclusions is that women don't want to speak about their own abilities because it's socially unacceptable for them to do so; and if they do, they risk losing their relationships—the friendship, support, protection, and affirmation of men and of women. It's acceptable in our culture for women to stand out if they are nurturers, like Mother Teresa, but women risk censure if they speak with confidence about their attainments, about their cultivation of self-mastery. What do you think about her conclusions?

JH: I think that is partially true, but I think there is a deeper story to it. The deeper story is that women are devoted to process rather than product. I think the underlying reason is that women are devoted to making things grow—so you do something and then it's time to move on and do the next thing.

WIE: What do you mean by being "devoted to process"?

JH: Well, to be devoted to process is to really look at each stage as it unfolds, to see how the things cohere, develop, grow. The way or the path is what is important—it is the ways and the means; it is not the end. If you're watching little children grow, if you're taking care of things in process, then that's what's important and you get on with it.

WIE: From all I've heard about your teaching work, you really give everything you possibly can to what you are doing—you go all out. It doesn't seem to be just about process. It isn't only that you enjoy the preparation for one of your talks, for example, but that you give everything to make it exceptional. This is one of the qualities that we've found in self-mastery—giving everything, going for broke.

JH: To me that is not a mastery of the self. That is merely an orchestration of many qualities that I have developed over many years. It is my self in its efflorescence, you see, the fullness of my being. A fuller use. I even hate the word "use"; I would say—"fuller unfolding" or "being in the service of something that it seems very important to do."

WIE: What do you think it is in you that drives you to go all the way when other people would settle for giving less than everything?

JH: Well, it is not ambition. I'll tell you what it is—it's a sense of time, of history, and a sense of urgency; knowing that we could lose it all. These are the times and they're so critical. I figure I have maybe thirty or thirty-five good years left of my life. And I would hope in that time to continue to be able to do something to be of service to the planet, to people.

WIE: What do you think about the message of individuals like Anthony Robbins, who teach that the force of transformative change is materialized through taking action, that we control our own destiny through the decisions that we make? Or Jack LaLanne, who says he doesn't know anything about grace, and asserts that "God helps those who help themselves"? Or Dan Millman, former world-class gymnast and author of books about human transformation, who endorses as a way to live the popular slogan "Just do it!"?

JH: That's a very Western point of view!

WIE: The enlightenment teachings, on the other hand, point to surrender as the way to transformation. Would you say that genuine evolution is achieved through our own efforts, as these extraordinary individuals suggest, or is it found through naturally surrendering to that process of "unfolding," as you have described it?

JH: Well, my point of view is that it is both plus much, much more—it's not one or the other. As I said earlier, people are very different in the ways that they approach this. To be able to give a cogent answer, not only would I have to study these people's work, but I would also have to look at long-term results in people's lives. And I mean long-term results, not just people saying "I had a wonderful time at the seminar," because that's easy to get. We live in a testimonial world. To me the proof of the pudding is: are they kinder? Like the Dalai Lama says, "My religion is kindness." Also, what is the service to the world that people are giving? Are they trying to make a difference and make this a better world? I feel that it really comes down to that.

WIE: You write in your book A Passion for the Possible that "human beings are not constituted to be content with living as thwarted, inhibited versions of themselves. Throughout history and all over the world, people have felt a yearning to be more, a longing to push the membrane of the possible. They have entered monasteries and mystery schools, pursuing secular as well as esoteric studies. They have practiced yoga, martial arts, sports, dance, art. They have left home and family to adventure beyond the ordinary, embarking on visionary and spiritual quests." Are you suggesting that what motivates an individual to pursue excellence in any of those disciplines, be it creative or athletic, is the same as what motivates an individual to pursue spiritual evolution or enlightenment?

JH: I think they come from different levels of the self. I talk about four levels in my work—the sensory, psychological, mythic and spiritual levels. So I would say that more likely what motivates people to pursue excellence is from the sensory and psychological levels, and what motivates them to pursue spiritual realization is more from the mythic and spiritual levels. But that impetus, the great sounding chord that says "it is time to be what you are" is there all the time. This is what I try to communicate in my workshops, seminars and books. The simplest book I ever wrote was A Passion for the Possible, in which I try to lead people into ways of enhancing each of the levels. And all of this works to some extent. But if you're talking about enlightenment, I think it is a balance between all of the levels. At different times in life one level may be more emphasized than another, but above all it is the finding of the essential self that then becomes the orchestrator, the evocateur of these many levels of the self.

WIE: You speak about being "a conscious participant in an unfolding drama," about the personal drama of life as an impersonal event and about our own struggles as equivalent to the challenges faced by heroes in the mythic stories. You also very passionately ask people to act with strength, courage and perseverance, and not to stop in the face of obstacles. In light of this, would you say that you are calling people to live from the realization of what you refer to as the "unitive level," or could we say that you are also calling people to live a life of self—determination or, in other words, self-mastery?

JH: Again, I will not use the term "self-mastery"! I'm calling people to live out of the larger story, out of the capacity of their own destiny. The reason I use the great stories like the search for the Holy Grail and The Odyssey is that these myths help us tap into the extraordinary coding, which allows us to express the deepest truths about ourselves. We can find these deepest truths through realizing that we are part of a greater story. You see, we are storied beings; stories are just flowing through our bloodstream. We are a story at every second of our life, and the stages of our lives are great stories. What I try to do is help people to find these eternal stories that are there. These mythic tales of death and resurrection, rites of passage, quests and discoveries are organic constructs of the deep psyche. And they are there to show us that the story isn't over. A few of us may get stuck, get depressed, get caught up in our own insularities, but when we find the motivating story, then the personal-particular becomes part of the personal-universal and we move on. The yellow brick road unfolds and the journey is before us.

WIE: Would you say that we need to live from these higher levels in order for evolution to take place?

JH: I would say that it's as if we have a million potentials and we tootle and hoot on about twenty of them. Part of my work has been saying, "My God! Look what we've got! Look what's there!" It's not just in our body and mind, as Joseph Campbell thought, but in our very psyche. It's not just cultural, it seems to be structural. It's part of the resonance of the universal story that is activated in us, and when we tap into it, all kinds of potentials begin to unfold. If we are exploring our lives through the larger personae which we have within us, through the greater story, and if we are ultimately spiritually sourced in the ground of our being, we're cooking on more elaborate burners, and the fire is under the crucible of spirit.

WIE: In your travels all around the world, having met thousands of very unusual individuals, who would you say would be the greatest example of self-mastery? Who would you say was the greatest example of enlightenment? And what was it about them that distinguished them from each other?

JH: I wouldn't describe an example of self-mastery, but I would of enlightenment. The most evocative example for me was an old man who I used to take walks with. When I was fourteen years old my parents got divorced, and I was just grief-stricken about it. I took to running down Park Avenue, late for school—I would run from my grief. And one day I ran into an old man and knocked the wind out of him. I picked him up and he said to me in a French accent, "Are you planning to run like that for the rest of your life?"

I said, "Yes sir, looks that way."

He said, "Well, bon voyage!"

I said, "Bon voyage." And I ran to school. The following week I was walking my fox terrier, Champ, and I saw the old man coming out of a building. I lived at 86th just off of Park Avenue and the old man lived somewhere around 84th and Park.

He said to me, "Ah, my friend the runner, you have a fox terrier. Where are you going?"

"Well sir, I take Champ to Central Park after school. I just think about things."

"I will go with you sometime, okay?"

I said, "Well, sure."

"I will take my constitutional."

Now he was something. He had no self-consciousness at all. He had leaky margins with the world. He had a long French name but he asked me to call him by the first part of it, which to my American ears sounded like "Mr. Tayer." So I called him Mr. Tayer. We walked for about a year and a half, off and on, mostly Tuesdays and Thursdays. He would suddenly fall to the ground and look at a caterpillar: "Oh, Jean, look at the caterpillar! Ah, moving, changing, transforming, metamorphosing. Jean, feel yourself to be a caterpillar. Can you do that?"

"Very easily, Mr. Tayer." I mean, here I was, a fourteen-year-old girl nearly six feet tall with red dots on my face—I felt like a caterpillar!

He said, "What are you when you finally become a papillon, a butterfly? What is the butterfly of Jean?"

"I don't know, Mr. Tayer!"

"Yes, you know, you know. I know you know. Now, what are you transforming into?"

"Well, I think when I grow up I'll fly all over the world, and maybe I'll help people." It turned out to be largely true.

WIE: It certainly did.

JH: "Ah! Bon, bon, bon." And he'd say, "Oh, Jean, lean into the wind!" There are these strong winds off of Central Park. "Ah, Jean, smell the wind! Same wind once went through Jesus Christ."

"Jesus Christ felt this?"

"Yes. Oh, Marie Antoinette, here she comes! Genghis Khan, not so good. Joan of Arc, Jean D'Arc! Be filled with Jean D'Arc! Be filled with the tides of history!" We had all these wonderful games about life: "Jean, look at the clouds, God's calligraphy in the sky!"

He would suddenly stop and look at you, and he would giggle and you would giggle, and he'd giggle and you'd giggle, and then he would look at you laughing and laughing as if you were the cluttered house that hid the Holy One. I would go home and tell my mother, "Mother I met my old man again and when I'm with him I leave my littleness behind."

Toward the end of our walk together one day, he stopped suddenly and he turned to me and said, "Jean, what to you is the most fascinating question?"

And I said, "It's about history, Mr. Tayer, and destiny, too. How can we take the right path in history so that we even have a destiny? My friends at school all talk about the H-bomb, and I wonder if I'll ever get to be twenty-one years old. Mr. Tayer, you always talk about the future of man as if we had a future; I want to know what we have to do to keep that future coming."

He said, "We need to have more specialists in spirit who will lead people into self-discovery."

"What do you mean, Mr. Tayer?"

He said—and this is exactly what he said; I was taking notes because I knew I was in the presence of greatness—"We are being called into metamorphosis, into a far higher order, and yet we often act only from a tiny portion of ourselves. It is necessary that we increase that portion. But do not think for one minute, Jean, that we are alone in making that possible. We are part of a cosmic evolutionary movement that inspires us to unite with God. This is the lightning flash for all our potentialities. This is the great originating cause of all our shifts and changes. Without it there is nothing but struggle and decline."

And I said to him, "What do you call it? I've never heard of it. Can something as great as that even have a name?"

"You are right," he said, "it is impossible to name."

"Well, try to name it, Mr. Tayer. I've heard that once a thing is named, you can begin to work with it."

He seemed amused and he said, "I'll try." And then he said, "It is the demand of the universe for the birth of the ultra-human. It is the rising of a new form of psychic energy in which the very depths of loving within you are combined with what is most essential in the flowing of the cosmic stream."

I didn't really understand what he was saying, but I nodded sagely, and I said I would ponder these things, and he said he would also. One day toward the end of our time together—this was actually the last day that I ever saw him—Mr. Tayer began talking to me about the lure of becoming, a phrase that then became a part of my language. And also about how we humans are part of an evolutionary process in which we are being drawn toward something—which he called the "Omega point"—full of evolution. He told me that he believed that physical and spiritual energy was always flowing out from the Omega point and empowering us as well as leading us forward through love and illumination. And it was then that I asked him my ultimate question, the one that I must say has continued to haunt me all the days of my life: "What do you believe it's all about, Mr. Tayer?" His answer is enshrined in my heart. He started by saying, "Je crois"—I believe. "I believe that the universe is in evolution. I believe that the evolution is toward spirit. I believe that spirit fulfills itself in a personal God."

"And what do you believe about yourself, Mr. Tayer?"

He said, "I believe that I am a pilgrim of the future."

It was the Thursday before Easter Sunday, 1955. I had brought him the shell of a snail. "Ah! Escargot!" he said, and then he began to wax ecstatic for the better part of an hour about spirals and nature and art, snail shells and galaxies, the labyrinth on the floor of Chartres Cathedral—which later became a symbol of my work—and the Rose Window and the convolutions of the brain, the whirl of flowers and the circulation of the heart's blood. It was all taken up in a great hymn to the spiraling evolution of spirit and matter, "It's all a spiral of becoming, Jean!" Then he looked away, and he seemed to be seeing into the future and he said, "Jean, the people of your time, toward the end of this century, will be taking the tiller of the world. But they cannot go directly." He used the French word, directement. "You have to go in spirals, touching upon every people, every culture, every kind of consciousness. It is then that the newest in the field of mind will awaken and we will rebuild the earth." And then he said to me, "Jean, remain always true to yourself, but move ever upward toward greater consciousness and greater love." Those were the words that he said to me. Then he said, "Au revoir, Jean."

"Au revoir, Mr. Tayer! I'll see you on Tuesday!"

And Tuesday came and I brought Champ, and Champ whimpered; he seemed to know something. And my old man never came. Thursday, Tuesday, Thursday. Eight weeks I waited and he never came again, because it turned out he had died on that Sunday in 1955.

Years later, somebody gave me a book without a cover called The Phenomenon of Man. And when I began to read it, I said, "My God! That's my pal, that's . . . oh my goodness. . . ." And I went to my friend and asked, "Have you got the cover to the book?" And she gave it to me and I flipped it over and, of course, there was my old man. No forgetting that face! Mr. Tayer had been Teilhard de Chardin.

WIE: That's extraordinary!

JH: He was the most enlightened person I've ever met. He certainly has had a profound influence on my life, on my sense of history and of who and what we are. He was childlike, always in a state of wonder and astonishment. Always in a state of, as I said, leaky margins with reality. There wasn't a question of self because he was so embodied in all things, in all existences. And he saw spiritual and physical energy as utterly necessary to each other. So that's ultimately what I have to say about the whole thing and what I really believe.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


“Don’t let success go to your head and don’t let failure get to your heart." – Joseph Michael Levry

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Paulo Coelho, on writing

“There are two types of writers: those who make you think and those who make you dream” says Brian Aldiss, who made me dream for such a long time with his science-fiction books. In principle I believe that every human being on this planet has at least one good story to tell his neighbor. What follows are my reflections on some important items in the process of creating a text:

Above all else, the writer has to be a good reader. The kind that sticks to academic texts and does not read what others write (and here I’m not just talking about books but also blogs, newspaper columns and so on) will never know his own qualities and defects.

So, before starting anything, look for people who are interested in sharing their experience through words. I’m not saying: “look for other writers”. What I say is: find people with different skills, because writing is no different from any other activity that is done with enthusiasm.

Your allies will not necessarily be those that everyone looks on with admiration and says: “there’s nobody better”. It’s very much the opposite: it’s people who are not afraid of making mistakes, and yet they do make mistakes. That is why their work is not always recognized. But that’s the type of people who change the world, and after many mistakes they manage to get something right that will make all the difference in their community.

These are people who cannot sit around waiting for things to happen before they decide on the best way to narrate them: they decide as they act, even knowing that this can be very risky.

Living close to these people is important for writers, because they need to understand that before putting anything down on paper, they should be free enough to change direction as their imagination wanders. When a sentence comes to an end, the writer should tell himself: “while I was writing I traveled a long road. Now I can finish this paragraph in the full awareness that I have risked enough and given the best of myself.”

The best allies are those who don’t think like the others. That’s why, while you are looking for your companions, trust your intuition and don’t pay any attention to others’ remarks. People always judge others using the model of their own limitations – and at times the opinion of the community is full of prejudices and fears.

Join those who have never said: “it’s finished, I have to stop here”. Because just as winter is followed by spring, nothing comes to an end: after reaching your objective, you have to start again, always using all that you have learnt on the way.

Join those who sing, tell stories, enjoy life and have happiness in their eyes. Because happiness is contagious and always manages to keep people from being paralyzed by depression, loneliness and troubles.

And tell your story, even if it’s only for your family to read.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Spiritual Practice Is Spirit Lived

by Andrew Cohen

Are you a seeker or a finder? This is a very important question. If you are on a spiritual path, have you found what you are looking for? Or are you still searching? If you are doing a spiritual practice, are you doing it to reach a goal or are you doing it just because you think it’s a good thing to be doing? Or are you doing spiritual practice from another position altogether—the position of being a finder? Being a finder means you are one of those rare individuals who has unequivocally found what they are looking for, and are now doing spiritual practice only because they want to continue to develop.

People who do spiritual practice but who are not yet enlightened tend to divide their lives between the “spiritual” part and the unspiritual part. When they are engaged with spiritual practice and spend time in the company of others who share their faith or conviction in the reality of Spirit, that’s the spiritual part. All the rest is the unspiritual part. People who are enlightened, on the other hand, see all of life as an unending spiritual adventure with no holes or gaps where Spirit is not present. What you see is what you get. It is really only the capacity to see and directly experience the life we are living with greater and greater depth and more and more perspective that liberates our awareness and awakens our consciousness of Spirit’s all-pervasive presence.

If you are a sincere seeker, then it’s important that your spiritual practice be imbued with a life-and-death commitment to your own liberation here and now. The short-term goal must be to get to the other side of existential doubt. You want to free your soul from both the ego’s suffocating self-concern and the outdated and spiritually unenlightened values of our modern and postmodern culture. First and foremost, you need to do whatever it takes to free yourself. Why? So you will finally be available to participate, consciously and wholeheartedly, in the greatest gift you’ve been given…which is the life you’re already living right now.

If you are no longer a seeker but one who boldly claims to be a finder, then that means you no longer have any doubt about who you really are and why you are here on this Earth. In your own direct discovery of and awakening to Spirit’s true face, existential doubt has died a sudden and irrevocable death, liberating an infectious confidence rooted deep in your soul. A true finder may or may not continue to do spiritual practice. If he or she does, it is motivated, as I said, by the desire to continue to develop and evolve. Indeed in the new evolutionary spirituality, making the noble effort to catalyze our own individual and collective higher development is recognized to be the very raison d’être of the human experience at the leading edge. But as finders we’re no longer doing practice in order to experience a spiritual epiphany that will convince us of something we don’t already know. Now we’re making the effort to evolve because we’re in love with life and are committed to unlocking its higher potentials through our own development.

When we realize that the process of life is Spirit in action, then ideally we would aspire for our entire lives to become an unceasing manifestation of its multidimensional nature. Even more importantly, we would expect our actions to embody its most significant qualities. That means we would be expressing freedom and creativity in and through the way that we live the gift of life. And this would occur both as the spontaneous expression of a liberated heart and mind and as the practice of evolutionarily enlightened living.

I became a spiritual teacher twenty-four years ago, after I found what I was looking for. Up until that point I had been an ardent meditator. The practice of meditation, for me, was the means to an end: I wanted to become an enlightened person, whatever that was going to mean. I took my practice very seriously. I also exercised vigorously every day. I was careful about what I ate. I sought out and cultivated friendships with others who shared my passion for Spirit. And, typical of my generation, I looked to the East to find illumination rather than to the West. Like so many others, I traveled to India. When I arrived, almost immediately I felt like I was home. This was because I entered into a shared cultural context where the inner quest was accepted as being a lofty and valid endeavor. I no longer felt like such an outsider. After two and half years, I met my last teacher and he liberated my soul when he uttered ten simple words: “You don’t have to make any effort to be free.” Upon hearing this, I made the transition from seeker to finder.

I have spent almost the last quarter century struggling with the question of how to take people with me on the greatest journey that there is: from seeker to finder to co-creator of Heaven on Earth. The first step is straightforward—to become a finder all any one of us ever has to do is let go of the fears and desires of the ego, absolutely and unconditionally. It obviously goes without saying that this is easier said than done. Freedom is letting go and letting go is freedom. In truth, it doesn’t take effort. It only requires you to love God or Spirit more than you love yourself.

Creating Heaven on Earth is another matter altogether. It requires enormous effort and a long-term commitment that means forever. It also requires practice, because all truly great creative accomplishments require endless practice. So how much practice are we actually doing to ensure our own development? How deeply have we realized the importance our own higher evolution has, if we desperately want the world to change for the better? These are important and relevant questions for serious people who are committed to change.

After so many years, what have I come up with as the magic remedy for both letting go and creating Heaven on Earth? Well, that’s simple …we have to do it all! What does that really mean? We have to endeavor to take on and embrace every aspect of the human condition, individually and together, and insist that evolution happens. This approach has been called “integral practice.” Integral, in this case, means taking on our whole being, in all its many dimensions.

We can either approach the whole endeavor of practice from the “outside-in” or from the “inside-out.” Outside-in means we intellectually understand and appreciate the multi-dimensional complexity of our selves, and we aspire to engage with and develop as many parts of ourselves as possible because we have recognized that it makes good sense to do so. The inside-out approach is one in which we have already spiritually awakened, at least to some degree, to the perennial mystical truth that all is One. And from the direct cognizance of that Oneness, we endeavor to align and develop the many different dimensions of our own being. My approach is from the inside-out.

So what does a life of spiritual practice, a life in which Spirit is being truly lived, look like? If we are committed to creating Heaven on Earth, we need to pray or meditate every single day so deeply and earnestly that each and every time the result is freedom from fear and existential doubt. The goal is ultimately to get to that point in our own spiritual development where we no longer need prayer or meditation to know what the Truth is.

The highest form of spiritual practice, for those of us who aspire to create Heaven on Earth, is our relationships with one another. That means being willing to sacrifice anything and everything so that the intersubjective world of our shared culture becomes the stage on which the spiritual reality of who we really are, beyond our separate egos, comes to the fore. Think about it: If Spirit always comes before self, then the self that we are will always manifest as Spirit first. What could be more important than this if we want to change our world?

Another very important dimension of spiritual practice is the cultivation of what I call spiritual self-respect. That is because spiritual self-respect is ego-transcendence. We must do whatever we need to do to respect ourselves so that we can respect each other. It’s more important to respect yourself than to “love yourself.” In a spiritually awakened context, respect for self always means respect for God or Spirit. Respect for that which is higher is transformative because it instantly ennobles and dignifies our separate personalities. That’s very different from having to love your ego in order to feel comfortable being who you are.

If you respect yourself, you’re going to make the extra effort to take care of yourself. How you look from the outside is always an expression of what you believe in. Evolved and enlightened saints and sages from all traditions have already told us that the path to God is one defined by self-discipline, self-control, humility, and unshakeable commitment. Because of your rare degree of spiritual inspiration, physically you will radiate beauty, and emotionally you will vibrate with open-hearted self-confidence. This will be as a result of your own ceaseless efforts and submission to your own true heart’s longing.

Finally, and most importantly, because of our commitment to going all the way and putting all of this into practice, we will simultaneously create and reap the heavenly rewards. The life we have chosen to live and our relationships will become an ecstatic cauldron of creative ferment. Because Spirit is both freedom and creativity, our own empowering realization of spiritual freedom will give rise to an unusual capacity for creative engagement. The truth of God will emerge again and again and again through our own ongoing love affair with the possible.