Gurerilla War, Unfair (Part 3 – Engaged Presence)

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This is the third part of three posts I am writing about this topical issue.

In the first post I described the problem regarding the presence of hard-core skeptics group Guerrilla Skeptics, and their undue control of Wikipedia pages related to spiritual and psi phenomena.

In the second post I outlined three different approaches to the problem, and the merits of each. I also wrote why certain approaches are likely to be counterproductive – and potentially spiritually regressive. I introduced the idea of gentle engagement.

In this final post I will describe the practical application of engaged presence – which can be employed in any kind of debate or discourse, both online and in real world situations. I also suggest how “conflicts” can be of great benefit to anybody on a path of awakening.

 

Engaged presence

Engaged presence is simple. It is a process which involves attending to debates, online discussions and personal differences while remaining present and mindful. You can also use it in public talks, meetings, and media interviews. It enables you to access the analytical and intellectual mind while also retaining the equanimity of mindful presence. The greatest benefit of this approach to intellectual discourse is that it prevents you from getting lost in petty squabbles – the kind that tend to dominate public discourse, especially online.

You can employ engaged presence in any kind of debate or “argument” with someone. Of course, engaged presence does not feel anything like what you might think of as an “argument”. Arguments are confrontational in nature. Engaged presence is light. It is not a matter of life and death, which is how most intellectual confrontations feel – because the mind is so attached to the outcome.

For example, should anyone be foolish enough to take up the challenge of attempting to challenge the Guerrilla Skeptics on Rupert Sheldrake’s Wikipedia page, they could use engaged presence to minimise the level of insanity that might be expected to overcome any normal human being undertaking such a task.

Engaged presence does not require any pronounced altered state of consciousness. It is true that it involves a relaxed state of mindful presence, but this is not much different from, say, having a relaxed chat with a friend in the evening.

In short, the key difference between engaged presence and normal intellectual discourse is that the individual has a greater level of mindfulness – and indeed, playfulness. They maintain an awareness of the mind (or ego) even as they engage the other person.

In practice

This is very, very simple, no? It is unnecessary to complicate this.

1. Bring yourself present

In the minutes or moments before you are about to engage the other person (in a real world situation or via electronic media) bring yourself fully present. Sit or stand quietly. Take note of your breath moving in and out of your chest. Feel yourself fully in your body. Relax as you bring your attention to your breath, releasing any tension you might feel. With any thoughts that come into your mind, simply observe them, and then gently return your attention to your breath. Do this for five breaths, and you should then be present in the moment.

Alternatively, bring your awareness on to something that is physically with you. Anything will do – a cup, a chair, the desk before you. Allow your mind to become fully present with the object. Just gently observe it for thirty seconds. Again, if any thoughts come into your mind, just observe them, and then return your attention to the thing which you are observing.

2. Agenda awareness (optional)

For those who are proficient at working with the shadow or who have previous experience with meditative processes which involve introspection and self-reflection, you can add a few moments of “agenda awareness”. If you are proficient at bringing yourself into mindful presence you will automatically be able to sense any barely conscious or overt agendas you have regarding the people or situation you are about to engage.

The first part of agenda awareness is to take note of any emotions you feel within yourself, both those projected at the people you are engaging, and at yourself. Pay careful consideration of any aggressive feelings you have towards the people you are engaging. Common projections to note are thoughts and feelings such as the following

“You are an idiot! You don’t know anything!”

“I know best. I am smarter than you!”

Take note also of your agendas for power and control over the situation, or in trying ensure a particular outcome.

“I am in control here!”

“I must take control.”

“He must not be allowed to speak!”

“They are going to try to get me! I must strike first!”

Agendas like these are many. Just because they are half-mad doesn’t make them go away!

You can self-dialogue with such agendas if you like. But this takes time, and you may not have time in any given situation – see this summary of specific useful tools). A more efficient way to neutralise agendas is just to confess your agendas to “God”, the universe, or whatever greater intelligence you may perceive (see the fifth tool). If you are not spiritually inclined, just confess them to the chair or the pot plant if you like. The key is to fully admit the agenda. Remember, this is a non-judgmental process. You are not beating yourself up or finding that you are “bad”. In fact just laugh or smile. You are only human!

3. Engage mindfully

As you sit with the other person, or engage with them via image or word on a computer screen, keep mindful presence by regularly focussing upon your breath, body, or something solid within the room. Observe your own judgments, feelings and thoughts mindfully.

If during your engagement you find yourself being dragged into the mind, reacting with anger and judgment, pull back silently from the other. Bring yourself present again by focussing upon a single breath or something within the room. Observe the feelings of anger and judgment within you. Don’t believe in them and don’t make them the other person’s fault. They are your projections. If you do this, your projections will lose their power over you.

Give yourself permission to smile and laugh. Be light.

4. Disengage

As you leave the engagement, bring yourself to mindful attention again. Note any judgments, feelings or agendas that linger. Allow yourself to surrender to the outcome, whatever it may be. Let go.

It is easy to know if you have successfully employed engaged presence. You feel relaxed and possibly joyful. You feel at peace. If you feel angry, resentful or annoyed at those whom you have just engaged, then you have failed to employ the process successfully.

Agendas of mind

Note: Here the term “agenda” refers to subtle intentions of power and control over the other person or situation. It does not refer to any conscious intention you may have in the engagement, e.g. wanting to correct misrepresentations of Rupert Sheldrake on his Wikipedia page.

Having worked on being mindfully present for many years, I have come to observe several common agendas that tend to arise when people are confronting others, and when they are battling for control of ideas. It might pay you to reflect on these. Being able to catch the mind when it develops agendas is very useful if you want to practice engaged presence. As long as you have an agenda, you are not fully present. You are bringing some past hurt to the table, or some intention or motivation about the future. It is not possible to listen deeply if this is the case.

I call the modern, preferred way of fighting others for control of ideas “confrontational binaries”. The following agendas are commonly experienced during such engagements.

1). The mind is very serious. The mind sees the maintenance of its own worldview as a kind of life and death struggle. With engaged presence you relax in the knowledge that beliefs and ideas are ephemeral. Engaged presence is light and playful.

2) Attachment to one’s beliefs and opinions. In engaged presence you acknowledge mental attachments, and gently release them.

3). Identification with ones beliefs and opinions. The mind typically has trouble distinguishing itself from its own thoughts. In engaged presence, the individual is familiar with a deeper level of awareness beyond thought. This means that you are not so identified with the content of thought.

4). There is an incessant need to be right. The mind is often like a dog at a bone, and just won’t let go. In engaged presence you let go and allow the process to unfold (but are still mindful of what you understand – and believe to be true).

5). The mind sees the other as a threat. There is fear and anger. This is not as irrational as you might think, because in confrontational binaries the other person is also engaged in judgment, and the barely conscious agenda is to overpower and destroy you and your opinion. Debate and argument are inherently violent mental processes. In engaged presence you are mindful of this tendency to strike out at the other. In presence you see the other at a deeper level, beyond the opinions and arguments they are presenting.

6) The mind seeks approval from observers and opponents. In states of presence the need for approval diminishes.

7) The mind is attached to the outcome of the discussion. In engaged presence you release the outcome.

8) There is an agenda for power and control over your opponent, or in regard to the purpose of the discussion, how you are perceived etc. In engaged presence you gently acknowledge any need for power and control.

9) Typically, there is an attempt to be seen as clever – intellectually, morally or spiritually superior. This is often part of an implicit power struggle which attempts to place you above your opponent. Naturally, this tends to create fear and anger in the other person, even when the agenda is unconscious. With engaged presence, one releases the need to be seen as smarter or morally superior to the other person. If you are brilliant, good for you. There is no need to turn this into a game of “I am better.”

How is it possible to be mindful of all this in any given situation? It would be very difficult indeed if you had to consciously focus on all of these factors simultaneously. But in practice that is not actually necessary. These perspectives – and the awareness that goes with them – tend to emerge naturally from the presence that you bring to the situation.

However…

Engaged presence doesn’t excuse you from becoming informed about the subject matter you are discussing. Be careful. The ego might attempt to employ engaged presence with an aloof agenda to remain in control and to avoid being challenged. Nor is the purpose of engaged presence to impress people about how Buddha-like you are. That would be an agenda – and more approval seeking.

Employing engage presence doesn’t mean you will win the debate or argument. Sorry, but you might lose the debate! Observers might decide that your opponent’s arguments or opinions are stronger. People might retain their prejudices and biases.

Nor does gentle engagement guarantee systemic change – at least not in the short run. In the situation with Guerrilla Skeptics, Craig Weiler has blogged about his frustration at trying to fairly edit Rupert Sheldrake’s Wikipedia page when the editors appear to be heavily favouring skeptical input. If a person were to employ engaged presence in trying to balance that discussion, it would not change the Wikipedia system in the short term. However it would grant the person a greater degree of equanimity as he went about his work. It would also allow him to relax and be mindful of his own agendas, and what lies behind them (there is often trauma and anger behind our personal agendas).

Of course in the long run our imaginary Wikipedia editor might slowly influence the discourse on that site, and he would be able to keep his wits about him as he did so.

Nor does engaged presence guarantee that others will not conspire in a power game against you (which sometimes happens online, in the media or in public meetings and interviews). But it does pull your ego out of the game. This tends to disengage the other person’s ego, helping them to relax. They will feel less threatened by you, and logically they will feel less need to eliminate you from further discussions, or exclude you from any power within the given situation.

But again, there is no guarantee. Just be careful that your mind does not set up the agenda that it is owed something merely because it has employed a “superior” means of dialogue – seeking recognition or a God-guaranteed victory. Engaged presence does not guarantee outcomes. It merely permits a specific kind of engagement.

Mastery of mind

Of course, in order to access gentle engagement simply and easily it is best that you understand and are familiar with the experience of presence. If you do not experience presence regularly in your normal life, it is unlikely that you will be able to master engaged presence in a debate. As Leonard Jacobson has so often said, the awakening process requires not just the ability to bring oneself into presence. It also requires mastery of mind (which enables you to stay present at will). And being a master of mind means that you understand yourself well enough to be able to realise how your mind attempts to bring you out of presence and into the world of drama and projection.

There is one final benefit to employing engaged presence which I will share with you. In the state of alert presence you will increasingly notice subtle things about the people you are engaging with. Because you are no longer judging the other person or trying to control them, you will be able to sense the agendas of their minds, including their striving for power and control over you, their attachment to the need to be right, their wanting to be seen as clever and so on. If you are very relaxed, you may also see auras and energy structures about the person, and you might even see glimpses of their soul story. I often sense such things when I am in relaxed presence with others.

The wise man or woman will not use these intuitive insights to affirm an agenda – such as gaining power over the other. In fact, if you are deeply present, compassion and forgiveness arise spontaneously – even for your “opponent”.

I suggest you experiment with engaged presence. You don’t have to be in a formal debate to use it, you can just use it during normal discourse with someone you know or love.

Go ahead. You might be surprised at what you learn.

Blessings,

Marcus

Guerrilla War, Unfair (part 1)

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This is the first part of a three posts I am writing about this topical issue.

 In this post I will introduce the problem.

  • In the second post I will make some general points about what should be done, and why. I will also write why certain approaches are likely to be counterproductive – and potentially spiritually regressive.
  • In the final post I will provide some more practical tools and strategies, and suggest how this entire situation can be of great benefit to anybody on a path of awakening.

 

There’s a story doing the rounds amongst the pro-psi crowd at present (The pro-psi folks are those who take the affirmative side in the debate about the existence of psi phenomena such as ESP, telepathy and clairvoyance – I include myself in that group). The story involves the recent activities of the Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia group. The guerrilla skeptics are a well-organised group of self-appointed online vigilantes whose prime mission is to attack and discredit all claims of the validity regarding spiritual, intuitive and alternative truth claims (including alternative and complementary medicine).

The notable issue with the guerrilla skeptics is the revelation that they have taken to Wikipedia in an to attempt to discredit wiki pages that they find contradict their way of seeing the universe. Robert McLuhan wrote a good account of the problem on his paranormalia blog about six months ago. Rupert Sheldrake and Craig Weiler, who have discussed the problem together, have recently written about the issue.

Sheldake is a favourite target of hard-core skeptics in general, and his Wikipedia page is one that has been targeted by the Guerrilla Skeptics. Here’s what Sheldrake wrote about them in his recent newsletter:

Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia have been subverting Wikipedia in areas concerned with spirituality, psychic phenomena and complementary medicine…  a squad of guerrilla skeptics captured the Wikipedia page about me, and have controlled it… editing it in the most biased possible way. Several other editors have tried to restore a more neutral point of view, in accordance with Wikipedia policies… Wikipedia has strict rules against editors working in groups and against people advocating a particular point of view. The Guerrilla Skeptics have been flouting these rules for more than two years, coordinating their groups through secret Facebook pages. It’s time their activities are brought to a halt, because they are undermining the basic principles of Wikipedia, and rendering hundreds of entries untrustworthy.

Wikipedia is – in theory – publically owned and controlled. It portends to allow free editing of its pages, according to certain protocols. For example, if a credible citation is given, then one can challenge a point made on any given page. In this way alternative viewpoints are posited side-by-side.

As Sheldrake points out, here are guidelines on Wikipedia which are aimed at preventing vested interest groups in targeting pages in order to control and overpower free speech, or deliberately distort the information to suit their own agenda. For example, if a Japanese conservative group attempted to edit the Wikipedia page on the notorious Nanjing Massacre (which was perpetrated by the invading Japanese forces in 1937) and filled it with nonfactual propaganda, it would obviously be considered unacceptable. That would be a case of one group attempting to distort history because it did not have the moral courage to face up to the atrocities that its ancestors perpetrated.

The actions of the Guerrilla Skeptics are not dissimilar to the hypothetical case mentioned above. As Sheldrake writes:

The Guerrilla Skeptics are well trained, highly motivated, have an ideological agenda, and operate in teams… (There are now) over 90 guerrillas operating in 17 different languages. The teams are coordinated through secret Facebook pages. They check the credentials of new recruits to avoid infiltration. Their aim is to “control information”… They have already seized control of many Wikipedia pages, deleted entries on subjects they disapprove of, and boosted the biographies of atheists.

The actions of Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia are clearly inappropriate and contravene the site’s regulations. This is given more significance because the Guerrilla Skeptics appear to have connections with militant skeptics organisations like the James Randi Foundation. These are organisations which have a very clear agenda, and vested financial interests in ensuring that certain data and knowledge claims are not permitted free expression. Skeptics have a long history of deliberately distorting and misrepresenting information about psi-phenomena, spiritual experience, and alternative medicine. For example, Richard Wiseman, one of the most influential skeptics, appears to have deliberately misrepresented the positive results he obtained when he attempted to replicate a Sheldrake experiment. This involved an allegedly telepathic dog that seemed to know when its master was coming home, regardless of any sensory cues.

Given the political agenda of militant skeptics groups, they are about as far from being impartial arbiters of truth as is possible to imagine. I am in strong agreement with people like Sheldrake, Weiler and McCluhan that the situation is unacceptable in that it distorts information about a very significant realm of human enquiry. There needs to be a fair and open discussion of these subject matters, free from bullying, personal harassment and misrepresentation of the data.

 

My position

The question that really interests me is this: what is to be done about this deliberate and aggressive attempt by the Guerrilla Skeptics to discredit ideas that contradict their worldview and beliefs? I will address this more clearly in my next post.

But before I sign off for today, let me make my general position on the issue of psi-phenomena, alternative medicine and so on quite clear (for those who have never read any of my work on the subject). After years of intensive first-person introspective investigation, working with some very gifted spiritual teachers, and having written and researched many books, papers and a doctoral thesis on the subject, I am now certain that psi phenomena like ESP, clairvoyance, precognition and so on are genuine. They represent perfectly normal human cognitive capacities, despite the fact that they are not readily on tap for most human beings.

I am hardly a neutral party in this anymore, as I now teach people how to develop what I call integrated intelligence – expanded intuitive perception which engages the extended mind.

It is my conviction that current mainstream psychology and neuroscience are founded on the false presupposition that consciousness in merely a product of neurochemistry. I maintain that consciousness has non-local properties which are essential to understanding the human condition and our place in the universe. Science has made tremendous progress in human understanding and technology since the 1700s, and the benefits are obvious. But we have become obsessed with technology and abstract cognition to the point that we have bought into a false universal story – that human beings are biological machines. I call this the Deckard Confusion, after Harrison Ford’s character in the movie Blade Runner. Deckard wasn’t sure whether he was a man or a robot (in fact it is somewhat ambiguous in Ridley Scott’s director’s cut).

Similarly, contemporary science has become deeply confused about the essential nature of consciousness and the human condition. Science and society have become obsessed with the machine, so much that it now confuses the entire universe for a machine. The mechanistic paradigm which dominates science and much of modern society is a direct result of this. Skeptics organisations and hardcore skeptics in general are thus a product of the modern era, and have bought into the Deckard Confusion at such depth that they have completely lost the capacity to access Integrated Intelligence.

They have lost touch with the human spirit.

The problem is not that science is intrinsically wrong or evil, nor that the so-called left-brained mental functions need to be erased. It’s all a question of addressing the limitations of science, and also of analytical reasoning.

And while the limits of science is often a topic for discussion amongst scientists (who are generally very interested in the topic), the issue is rarely addressed at the required depth within mainstream scientific institutions, and within mainstream education.

In part two of this discussion, I will say a little more about this as I address what can be done about the problem of Guerrilla Skeptics on Wikipedia.

Marcus

Is There a One True Spiritual Path?

mountain

 How many paths up there?

 

The One Right Path?

Most human beings in developed countries and regions of the planet are presented with an opportunity to create a life.

Their life.

Once we are old enough to start asking questions and develop a capacity for critical thinking, there then arises the most fundamental of all queries.

“What path shall I follow?”

Sometimes this might be expressed as: “Whose path shall I follow?”

In countries with high levels of personal freedom, there are innumerable possible journeys and teachings that one might choose to undertake – or perhaps emulate. As we mature and are exposed to books, cinema and other media, most of us discover one or a few people whom we greatly admire or respect. We may think of these people as having lived a noble, powerful or model life.

In the current age there is no shortage of “teachers” professing expertise in the living of the ideal life. Some might be classified as spiritual teachers, others as self-help gurus. Other luminaries might simply have a notable philosophy which they have shared with the world, and their lives and ideas potentially offer wisdom.

We then have people who are set up as role models by our leaders; via education, history books and official media. Who is considered attractive or admirable varies from country to country according to the dominant worldview, values and religious structures. Conservatives in China consider Mao Ze Dong to be the greatest man in history. Yet many people in western countries revile him as a mass-murdering tyrant. In Melbourne where I live, many folks adore AFL footballer Gary Ablett, and see him as an ideal role model. My Chinese wife thinks all Australian footballers are buffoons.

 

Freedom to choose

Some people believe that there is no such thing as free will. If you are one of these people then obviously this discussion is not for you.

My experience has led me to conclude that while a great deal of life and personal expression is either conditioned or out of our control, the essential and most important choices remain open to us (or at least potentially open, if we can bring awareness to those choices). Here I wish to focus on two related queries.

  • Which religious/spiritual/philosophical path shall I follow? (I include scientific materialism as a philosophical choice).
  • What teachers or role models are worth emulating?

Now allow me to emphasise my main point here.

I believe that it is unwise to blindly follow the teaching of another person or philosophy, no matter how wonderful or successful it may seem. The essential reason is that each of us is a little different from the teachers we admire (sometimes very different). This is an obvious point, but it is one that many of us fail to fully acknowledge. It is important that we tailor ourselves a life process or path that is a fit for our own souls.

The idea is not difficult to understand. But there are some distinctions that each of us needs to keep in mind.

 

Which path?

When we are just starting out in life it is perfectly understandable that we choose a particular teaching or teacher, and try to model ourselves upon them.

When I was in my 20s I tried to be like mystic Stuart Wilde. But I discovered that being a visionary was a bit trippy. A bit later on I tried to be like Anthony Robbins. Later I realised that my teeth just weren’t big enough.

In my thirties I applied myself diligently in following the way of a master of presence – Leonard Jacobson. Leonard is a wonderful spiritual teacher. But I am not Leonard, and he is not me.

I’m a bit slow on the uptake sometimes, which probably explains why it took me a few years to work out something incredibly simple in relation to my attempts to apply Leonard’s teachings.

leonardphoto4

Leonard Jacobson

 

Leonard and the river

Leonard’s story is remarkable. In the 1980s he had several spontaneous spiritual awakenings which involved transcendent states of consciousness. There was little or no suffering in this for Leonard. He wasn’t trying to achieve anything spiritual, nor escape anything. In 1981 at a retreat near the Bellingen River in northern New South Wales, he threw himself into the flood-swollen river. When he emerged he discovered that he was in a profound state of non-ordinary consciousness. Everything seemed to contain love and beauty. He was filled with a great sense of gratitude for existence itself.

While such exalted states came and went, Leonard’s experience of divine presence remains to this day.

My own journey has been quite different from Leonard’s. My family background was quite dark, and as a child and young man I was exposed to alcoholism, drug abuse and the literal insanity of several close relatives.

When each of us is born into this world our minds become instantly imbedded in a pool of consciousness – that of our family and caregivers. I was therefore born into a vortex of great darkness.

I left Australia at the age of thirty – in part – to escape that darkness. Not long after I arrived in New Zealand I undertook some intense spiritual training, and in the process became highly clairvoyant. I saw intuitively that my mind was still gravely affected by the mental projections of my relatives. It was truly frightening to see the depth of that darkness, and to have to acknowledge how damaged I’d become as a result of it. The heaviness of dark energy was such that it was often exhausting just to be.

It was the realisation of all this – and the suffering implicit in being trapped in such darkness – that spurred me towards my particular spiritual journey.

As you can see, this is quite a different introduction to “spirituality” than that of Leonard Jacobson. Do not get me wrong. I have come to accept the truth of what Leonard teaches, and I apply much of that to my daily life. Yet there were some things he could not teach me – things that he does not understand (as far as I can tell), because his journey did not traverse the darkness that mine did.

So it was that about twelve years ago I asked Leonard what the best way is to deal with the destructive consciousness fields that were plaguing me. I will not go into details here, but the answer he gave me suggested that he did not understand what I was experiencing; because he had not experienced such things in his own lifetime (at least not at the same depth).

I applied Leonard’s advice. Yet it did not free me from those mental projections. In fact, I eventually learned that I had to do something that no other spiritual teacher I ever met advised me.

I had to learn to fight. To fight the darkness.

Perhaps “fight” is not quite the right word. A better term might be to “stand in my power.” But the intensity of the projections that I experienced had been such that the solution required the embodiment of a warrior energy. There was no way around this, because at a soul level I had come to believe that I was worthless, unlovable and intrinsically “bad”. My soul story was that of “The Sacrifice” – the one who is taunted, haunted and enchained by those of dark intent.

Consciousness fields work like attractor fields in physics. At an energetic level I had become what I believed. I needed to change the story, change the beliefs, and embody a more empowered male energy.

Unfortunately – to continue the physics analogies – systems tend to remain at rest unless they are acted upon. Those with whom I was playing out a karmic story of the victim did not wish to relinquish their power over me. That was where the warrior energy needed to come in. I literally had to scream it out of my base chakra.

To this day I have to keep standing up for myself. Old stories – like old habits – die hard.

Often I have asked God why my mind came to be embedded in such darkness. The pattern appears to transcend a single lifetime. But I have never gotten a definitive answer. It seems to be part of my soul’s journey, something unconsciously “chosen” when I came to believe that I was “bad and worthless”.

My journey is different from Leonard’s and many other peoples.

Your journey is probably quite different from mine.

In the end I realised that I was unique, and that I had to draw from a variety of sources to learn how to deal with the specific soul issues and spiritual challenges I faced.

I also discovered that what works in one phase of life does not always work so well in another phase. I had to learn to modify processes and approaches, and emphasise them to different degrees during different periods of my life.

 

So..;

I suggest that you stop trying to be someone else – whether the person be a contemporary role model of yours, or a teacher who has passed on (Jesus, the Buddha, gandhi etc.). After all, how many of us has had exactly the same soul journey as Jesus? How many can endure the outrageous suffering of Gandhi? How many can afford enough toothpaste to be Anthony Robbins?

The key then is to observe yourself as you travel through life. By all means apply the teachings which you feel are suitable for you. There are many fine and beautiful teachings out there, and many great teachers.

And follow through with the process. Some processes require many years of application, and attitudes and skills often require a lifetime commitment.

You might apply different processes and tools than your friends. And that is perfectly understandable. Remember, your life experience, soul needs and soul story are unique.

Nor should you insist that what works for you will work for others. By all means share your wisdom and experience. But do not try to impose “the one true path” upon anyone else. That is an ego game of power and control.

Most of all, be gentle and forgiving of yourself. Have fun along the way. Be committed, but don’t take it all too seriously. As Anita Moorjani is so fond of saying, you are a magnificent human being who is totally worthy of divine love.

You are not here to be perfect. You are here to be human. You are here to be yourself. And there is nobody else that is quite like you.

So live that, and love it. Joyfully.

 

Marcus

 

“Should I open my third eye?”: 5 Minute Mystic #6

third-eye-shiva

The following email came to me from Joe, and he is concerned about the implications of the opening of the third eye, the energy centre that is often associated with psychic perception. I have reprinted the email here, and you will see me answer it in the video, below.

Marcus

Dear Marcus,

I just watched the Eckhart Tolle video at the end of your blog “divine failure”. As soon as it started I felt a pressure/dull tingling in the centre of my face from just above my eyebrows to the bridge of my nose. I paid no attention at first but when I paused the video it stopped and started instantly when I started it again. I have never had that happen before. 

Of course it is my third eye, which has not opened and which I am not that interested in opening as I want to prioritise awakening / perceiving the true mind. I like that this is your focus as well. However your third eye has been active for years. Is it a necessary step? I really don’t think it is, but then this thing happened with the video by one of the current masters of awakening.  

Any guidance appreciated. If one of your books answers this perfectly just tell me and I will get it. Happy to support you sincerely!

BTW third eye continues to apply pressure. It seems to be pulling in presence with it, but the ego is active for sure. I can feel that as well. What is going on??

Joe.


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Live Your Soul Purpose Workshop, August 18

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For those of you who are in the Melbourne area, I am running the following workshop very soon at the Enkindle Wellness Centre, in Gisborne. The first workshop in North Melbourne was a great success, and we already have a list of people who have signed up for the second.

Here are the details for the workshop.

All the best,

Marcus

 

Live Your Soul Purpose

A workshop with Marcus T Anthony, PhD

 

Each of us carries within us a soul template which has encoded upon it all the information and wisdom you need to live your life to your highest purpose. Based on Marcus’ book Discover Your Soul Template, this practical and hands-on workshop has the specific purpose of providing you with all the tools and understandings you need to find and live your calling.

 

In Live Your Soul Purpose you may discover:

  • What your soul calling is, and how to begin to turn it into a worldly reality.
  • How to develop profound intuition, unbounded by space and time.
  • The essential Soul Issues which you are here to address.
  • How to use the power of presence to align each moment and day with your highest good.
  • How to release the me-centred mindset which lies at the heart of so much human suffering.
  • How to develop the right relationship with ego.
  • How to live, love, work and play in the world of time with joy and spontaneity, and without getting lost in the ego.

 

Time: Sunday August 18th 2013, 12.00 midday till 5.00 pm.

Location: Enkindle Wellness, 55 Heather Rd, Gisborne (north-west of Melbourne).

Cost: AUS$90 per person (early bird AUS$80, by July 6th, concession available). Includes a free copy of Discover Your Soul Template, valued at $25 in bookstores. For more information go to www.enkindlecommunity.com.au/workshops and click on the link. You can bring a second person along for $49, and every person after that for only $33. (Of course each person can share that total equally e.g. three people = $172 /3)

Contact: email: marcus@marcustanthony.com, mobile: 0403 526 001.

Note, if you prefer, you can also pay directly through my bank account:

Acct name: Marcus Anthony

Acct No: 14-361-8385

BSB: 083-785

Swift code: NAT AAU 3303M

Bank Address:

National Australia Bank, Greensborough, VIC, Australia.

Level 1, 49-51 Main Street, Greensborough, VIC, 3088, Australia

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Why I rejected the chance for a six-figure income

Why I rejected the chance for a six-figure income: Diary of a 21st Century Mystic #14

 

Many of you reading this will be aware that I write a lot about both mindfulness and how to develop spiritual intuition – what I call Integrated Intelligence. In fact this is the main subject of my most successful book, Discover Your Soul Template. But sometimes even I struggle to apply my own understandings successfully in my life. Some decisions we have to make are of such importance that the mind (“ego”, if you prefer) can play havoc with the decision-making process. This is precisely what happened to me this past week or so, when I had to make one of the toughest choices I can ever recall making.

It was completely unexpected. About seven days ago, and (not quite entirely) out of the blue, I received an email from the EDB, Hong Kong’s education department. The email informed me that I had been successful in gaining a job interview as a regional coordinator in the Hong Kong NET scheme. The NET scheme is a heavily-funded programme whereby the HK government sponsors about a thousand Native English Teachers to teach in Hong Kong’s public education system. Being a NET is possibly the most highly-sought-after ESL job in the world. It carries a very high salary for experienced teachers at very low tax rates. I worked as a NET for eight years in Hong Kong before returning to live in Australia in August 2012.

Of course I did apply for the job several weeks ago, so that’s why I wrote that it was not entirely a surprise. But I threw the application in as an afterthought, in a moment of what Thoreau might call “quiet desperation”. For things have not been entirely rosy since I returned to Australia. I have been lucky enough to secure some work at Swinburne University as a sessional lecturer in their Masters of Strategic Foresight unit. But that is very irregular work and not enough to pay the bills. And most of the jobs I see here in Australia are not particularly attractive to me. I don’t want to go back into secondary education. Being a teacher in a public school in Australia can be an unpleasant experience. You may just as well paint a great target sign on a man’s back and send him out onto an army artillery firing range. Kids these days…

But there is more to this dilemma than finances. The reason I returned to Australia last year is because I got some very clear spiritual guidance to do so. I awoke one dark night in Hong Kong and suddenly a large, dark map of Australia appeared before my mind’s eye. There were red lights around Melbourne, which I knew represented places I could potentially go. Then a song started playing in my inner ear, an old 80s classic by LipsInc – “Funky Town:

Gotta make a move to a town that’s right for me

Gotta keep me moving keep me grooving with some energy

I knew Hong Kong was no longer “right for me”. So I moved to Melbourne. That’s where I am now. It’s just that it hasn’t been easy.

Such is life.

The recent interview offer really threw me. I was genuinely torn as to whether I should go to Hong Kong for the interview or not. After all, a NET regional coordinator is a senior position in the system, a job with high salary and high status. It represented a promotion opportunity. And to boot, an end to my immediate financial issues.

There was another problem. I would have to pay for the trip myself, and that would set me back about $1500; no small sum, given that my savings are getting eaten away with every day I go without a decent income stream.

I decided to ask the EDB whether I could have a video interview. Many organisations do this these days when hiring people from overseas. I wrote an email to the EDB representative who had initially invited me for the interview, explaining that it would be very difficult for me to attend the interview. They had only given me only one week’s notice, so I tried to use this as leverage. This is the response my email got in its entirety.

Dear Marcus,

Sorry that the interview cannot be conducted online.

Regards,
W

Ah, yes, that remarkable Hong Kong bureaucratic hospitality displayed at its greatest! I was suddenly reminded of why I had left Hong Kong in the first place. Working life in Hong Kong can be a truly dehumanising experience. Hong Kong is a like a giant meat grinder, where employees tend to get squeezed by whomever is above them on the pecking order.

When I make decisions of any kind – but especially for big decisions – I rely heavily upon my intuition. That’s why I used two kinds of intuitive tools to make my final choice about this interview offer. The first is what I call Meditative States, and the second is The Feeling Sense (I outline these tools and how to use them in Discover Your Soul Template). So that evening I sat down in my bedroom and allowed myself to relax deeply. My mind became silent, and all thought and emotionality dissipated (any strong emotions – e.g. fear, worry, anger, excitement, lust – distort genuine intuition). I made a short prayer to Spirit, asking that I be shown the truth. Then I connected with the energy around my heart, and deliberately projected that energy outwards and towards my possible new job in Hong Kong. As I did so, the entire feeling around my heart became essentially negative – dull and listless, with a slight sense of repression, of being trapped. It just felt wrong. The feeling was definite, so I opened my eyes and brought myself back to full presence in my room. I gave thanks to Spirit.

“My strong sense is that I should not go to Hong Kong. So my decision is that I will not go. If this is wrong, please guide me in my dreams tonight.”

That night I slept. No message or vision came. When I awoke in the morning, I stirred and turned my attention once again to the decision at hand. First thing in the morning is the perfect time to ask questions to the subconscious, and to Spirit, for the mind is already quiet. Staying relaxed, I repeated the process from the night before. The result was the same. The energy was not right.

I would not go.

Early that morning I wrote an email to my contact at the EDB. I wanted to keep the channels open and relations friendly. Further, I felt I owed them a decent explanation. This is what I wrote, responding to the previous day’s email.

Dear W…,

That’s very bad news for me (about there being no video interviews). I do realise that the EDB will have standard protocols on this matter, so I understand.

If possible, I would like to telephone in person to make a personal apology in regard to this, for I feel that emails are just a little too impersonal. Even though I am not able to attend the interview on Friday, I would like to leave things on good terms, given that I may like to apply again in the future. In this instance, the one week I had to get on the plane just proved to be too difficult.

So would you be kind enough to allow me to phone either you or the most relevant person in this regard?

Kind regards,

Marcus

 

To date I have received no response to this email.

I made the right choice. The world of Hong Kong administrative bureaucracy is not for me. Melbourne may not quite be a “funky town” for me right now, but here I shall stay… until the energy moves me on. That’s all part of the test. When Spirit moves us in one direction, it does not guarantee instant gratification, nor effortless bliss. All things take time, and courage and perseverance are required; especially when we cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Who knows what will happen next? I sure don’t. If I did, there would be no requirement for the trust that lies of the heart of spiritual awakening. So thank you Spirit, for not telling me anything more than what I need to know right now.

Marcus

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Wanted: Courageous Pioneers for The Coming Consciousness Revolution (Part 2)

In Part 1 of this two-part post I stated why I think a shift in human consciousness is emerging, a shift which will revolutionise the way we view the nature of consciousness. Inevitably this will transform the way the human race views its relationship with nature, the cosmos and life itself. Here in Part 2 I will focus upon the practical side of the shift: what you can do about it, what difficulties you might encounter and the ideal attitudes to take. This is a long post, so I have used sub-headings to allow you to pick and choose what you want to read. Feel free to comment on this exciting topic! Marcus

 

The aftermath of the recent TED censorship saga strongly suggests that the way greater society views the human consciousness is starting to shift. Rupert Sheldrake, one of the speakers who had his TEDx talk censured by TED, states this clearly ín a recent interview on Alex Tsakiris’ Skeptico blog.

The internet is a big part of the shift that is occurring. In the pre-internet era, information was far less democratic. People basically could only read, listen to or watch what the media and publishing houses thought was suitable for consumption. Now podcasts and blogs, often run by one individual or a small team, can experience great popularity for no other reason than they meet the approval of an audience.

Self-publishing and the proliferation of e-books is another part of this expanded capacity for people to disseminate knowledge and opinion.

Those on the fringes of society finally get to have a greater voice, albeit often in a secluded corner of the internet. And one domain of knowledge which has greatly benefited is that devoted to spiritual life and a deeper understanding of consciousness. The blogs and podcasts range from those with a more rigorous scientific/academic bent (e.g. Dean Radin, Rupert Sheldrake, Richard Milton) to those with a more popular slant (e.g. Synchrosecrets, Craig Weiler, and Leonard Jacobson). All of these blogs have their own niche, but each puts forward the idea that the spiritual dimensions of human experience are genuine. It is true that there are plenty of more conservative – even skeptical – choices on the internet, but the popularity of spiritual discourses shows that we cannot go back to the way we were. Not ever. A comment written by Jason Orion on the TED site epitomised the sentiments of so many voicing protest at TED recently.

The philosophy of material reductionism is being challenged all over the world, along with its long held institutions. And that’s what this censorship is about: those institutions suppressing a growing sentiment. People are getting sick of being told they are just machines and there is nothing more to this universe than mechanics.

I couldn’t have put it better myself.

But where might this shift lead us?

 

What will happen?

Despite the impressive technologies that have arisen from it, the truth is that our current science is crude. There is much that is simply not amenable to our senses in a normal state of consciousness, nor by the machinery contained within laboratories. But this technology will improve in the future. And the future is a very, very long time. It is logical to assume that we will one day be able to detect aspects of the extended mind – consciousness which extends beyond the body to connect with other people, the environment and spiritual realms. Experimental evidence in parapsychology will likely only strengthen.

Inevitably there will continue to be conflict between those who wish to retain a foothold in the old system, and those wishing to extend the boundaries of the known. This is significant, because the system still generally rewards those with a conservative bent. It rewards them with status, employment, money and power. Those challenging the system will continue to face resistance.

Old school thinkers can wield a considerable amount of power. Hardcore skepticism is compatible with certain modern scientific and academic disciplines. Some have power within such institutions, and in turn they may have influence over powerful private groups. They may also wield influence in government and in the development of public policy.

This is exactly what has happened with the censoring of Sheldrake’s and Hancocks TED talks, and with TED’s recent decision to cancel the TEDxWestHollywood event. The latter gathering was given a now familiar label by TED: “pseudoscience”. The event featured people like Russel Targ (research scientist investigating ESP), Larry Dossey (alternative medicine), and Marilyn Schlitz (a parapsychologist associated with the Institute of Noetic Scientists).

Conservative neo-Darwinian thinkers Steven Pinker and Daniel Dennet are closely affiliated with TED, and are probably part of TED’s anonymous “science advisory board”. Notably, the recent censorship was initiated by pressure from committed skeptics Jerry Coyne and PZ Meyer, and their followers.

So if you are to develop a role in the great mind shift, you cannot expect to be received well by such people. You will just have to develop a thick skin. Better still, cultivate the art of mindfulness. Mindful presence will reduce your mind’s tendency to engage in drama with others with a differing opinion.

Still, as I wrote in my previous blog post, I predict that eventually the weight of evidence and public opinion will push ideas that are now “alternative” into the mainstream.

And that means opportunities will arise.

 

Endless possibilities!

Once the extended mind is an accepted fact and human spiritual experience is reinstated into education and society as a whole, it will open the floodgates in all manner of scientific fields, fields of philosophy, religious and spiritual movements, media/social media organisations, business and numerous other spheres. The opportunities for those with knowledge and understanding of these domains will be massive.

Just imagine the possibilities in computing, intelligence theory, evolutionary theory, cosmology, sociology, design, neuroscience, the military, healing work, writing, the arts, gaming, leadership, communication theory, teaching and learning… There are also many practical possibilities in research, as I outlined in my book How to Channel a PhD.

The possibilities are endless. I’ll just mention a few possibilities here. Feel free to use and expand any of them. If you can’t expand upon these, then you aren’t really trying!

  • Why not rethink the very nature of capitalism? Steve and Chutisa Bowman, authors of No More Business as Usual, have found abundant work traveling around the world teaching organisations the concept of “prosperity consciousness”. They see the world as being full of endless opportunity and wealth, and that the obsession with lack and competition keeps organsiation locked in an old world paradigm.
  • The Bowman’s work is also strongly related to conscious leadership. Surely it is time to rethink the nature of what it means to lead!
  • Think of the possibilities in education! How might teaching and learning be changed to allow students to acknowledge their intuitive side? If the extended mind really does allow us to tap into other times, places and fields of information, how might students be encouraged to creatively explore their subject matters? There have been recent studies into mindfulness and synchronicity in the classroom and education in general.
  • Artists, writers and film-makers may be able to seize an opportunity as the public becomes more open to spiritual subject matters. How might they employ integrated intelligence to create their works? I have been using this intelligence for years. I wrote Discover Your Soul Template that way.
  • Mind shifting bloggers and social media creators can make an impact. Just take a look at the London Real podcasts, Rob and Trish MacGregor’s synchrosecrets and Dancing past the dark, Nancy Bush Evan’s blog about distressing near death experiences.Many of these people have their own books and other services or products.
  • Mindfulness in business and education. How might decisions be made in business meetings if the intuitive mind is acknowledged? How might teachers and professors conduct a class if there is an acknowledgement that all can connect with the subject matter non-locally? If mindfulness can facilitate non-judgmental awareness, how might that shift a social science class examining racism, war, crime, misogynist projections and so on? Margaret Peterson, a psychotherapist, does exactly this in California, teaching mindfulness to groups of up to 1200 people! Another mindfulness practitioner is Gary Weber, an advocate non-dual consciousness in the Eastern enlightenment traditions. He is a strong advocate of neuroscience in the discussion on enlightenment.
  • If you are philosophically inclined you might like to consider the many possibilities as a futurist! The domain of Futures Studies that I work within – Critical Futures Studies – is very open to innovative ideas. Check out the thinking of Sohail Inayatullah, Willis Harman and Richard Slaughter.
  • It is reasonable to assume that eventually greater amounts of funding for research into alternative medicine and healing will be made available (although this will probably take decades). Do you practice a healing modality that could be of assistance to others?
  • I am no expert in computing. But surely the idea of the extended mind could have implications for this field. Although people who link consciousness to quantum physics get lashed by skeptics’ groups, entanglement and non-locality may ultimately prove to be highly fruitful ideas in computing, artificial intelligence and even in the transhumanist movement – those folks such as Ray Kurzweil, who fancy the idea of uploading their minds onto computers.
  • What about biology? Currently it is one of the most conservative of all the sciences, but once the idea of the extended mind gains scientific foothold, biology will have no choice but to make a radical upgrade. Rupert Sheldrake has been leading the way with his idea of morphic resonance. Sheldrake cops a bit of a lashing from colleagues, but I predict that in time at least some of his thinking will prove seminal in breaking the reductionist/materialist stranglehold in the field. Elisabet Sahtouris is challenging neo-Darwinism. Another fairly recent example of progressive research in this area is a paper published in the prestigious science journal Nature, by Elisabetta Collini and colleagues. That paper, entitled “Coherently wired light-harvesting in photosynthetic marine algae at ambient temperature”, provides evidence that quantum level coherence exists at room temperature in living systems. It suggests that that long-range quantum coherence between molecules can occur in living systems, even at low temperatures.
  • Once biology begins to shift, neuroscience and psychology will have no choice but to widen the scope of its thinking as well. This is because thinking in modern neuroscience is heavily linked to biology, and dominant thinking in psychology is in turn founded in neuroscience. Take a look at Stan Grof’s Holotropic mind and the wonderful work of Peter Fenwick on near death experiences. Or check out veteran researcher David Loye’s expansive take on a wide variety of related matters including re-thinking the legacy of Darwin.
  • Physics (and systems theory) is probably one of the most open-minded fields of inquiry. The list of physicists and systems thinkers probing a possible link between consciousness and the cosmos is long. They include Nobel prize winner Brian Josephson, Oxford’s Roger Penrose, and Fred Alan Wolf. Ervin Laszlo has been doing deep thinking in systems theory for many decades. Presently, these scientists and philosophers often have to face the slings and arrows of outraged fellow-physicists. Yet what immense possibilities lie here once consciousness is restored to its rightful place in the scheme of things?
  • Of course the field that stands to gain most by the great mind shift is parapsychology. As Dean Radin has stated, those working in this field at present face huge obstacles in gaining acceptance in the broader scientific community. Radin often says there is a “psi taboo”. Yet the field will inevitable boom once the great mind shift occurs.

These are just a few areas that provide possibilities. The world is an abundant place, and your imagination is vast. Get working on a few more!

 

No easy ride

That all sounds good, doesn’t it? But don’t expect an easy ride just because you follow your bliss and start putting time, energy and money into your brilliant idea. I do believe that things will improve gradually, but regular failures and rejections are very common experiences for many professionals in the areas I have listed above. In my previous post I mentioned by own struggle with acceptance in academia, despite having completed my PhD and publishing an enormous amount of work in academic journals and books. Let me tell you from personal experience that repeated rejection can be a real test of character! You really need to be committed to your idea. (Skeptics will probably agree with the idea of my being committed ;-).

Your personal shift will take time. If you are transitioning into work or a career which is part of this shifting mindset, remember to keep your feet on the ground. Keep your day job for the time being! Build your expertise, business or craft slowly on the side at first. Make connections, develop skills, learn how to communicate and sell – whatever it takes! For years while pursuing my doctorate and work as a Futurist I have worked in education, mostly full-time as a secondary high school teacher. This has simply been necessary, as the income from my books has not been sufficient to live on. Besides, the pay for blogging and writing academic articles is, well, precisely zero.

When I began research for my doctorate, my supervisor (a wonderful futurist named Sohail Inayatullah) told me that my research was ten years ahead of its time. Well, it is now a decade since he said that. Has anything changed, except for my having more grey hair? As I have suggested, I think things are shifting. The huge public support for Sheldrake and Hancock after the latest TED censorship drama is evidence enough. Still, it has to be acknowledged that such paradigm changes take time. Human egos will come into play, and when the human ego takes the stage there will always be struggles for power, betrayals, deception and unconscious projections at the other. Most power shifts involve upheaval or violence of some kind, though not necessarily physical violence.

If you decide to commit time and energy to being a part of the great mind shift, you are going to have to learn to be resilient and courageous. Don’t expect everything to be fair. Be prepared for a bit of ridicule and misrepresentation from those who would prefer things to remain as they are.

 

Beyond religious zeal

Another important piece of advice I would like to share here is to avoid the mindset that you have to convert anyone to your worldview. The desire to convert others or change their thinking stems from the ego’s fear and insecurity. Instead, begin with the attitude of sharing knowledge with enthusiasm. That will win far more hearts than the hard sell. Nobody wants another person to shove ideas and opinions down their throat. You see, there is a different kind of approach needed here. Science has been all about being “hard”, about detaching from intuition and emotion and seeing the world and its life forms as mechanical. Put the specimen on the slab and start cutting it up. Certain traditional religions have also tried to convert others, sometimes violently. I am suggesting that there is another way, a more gentle approach. It is quintessentially spiritual in nature. It requires a light heart and a light step. Unless absolutely necessary, avoid conflict. As you might note, most of the individuals involved in academic struggles for knowledge ever change their minds. In the so called psi-wars, people changing sides is rare. Skeptics and psi-proponents alike tend to stick to their guns.

The gentle approach does not mean being weak. You will need courage and resilience to stand up when the current is strong.

 

Don’t fight them

A related point is that it isn’t necessary to be against anybody or anything to launch a project or career in this area. That is a mistake an awful lot of people interested in this kind of path make. Don’t waste your energy on the extremists. Hardcore skeptics are never going to listen to an idea which is in any way connected with spirituality or subtle experience. So don’t even try. Remember, although their voices can be loud, and although some do exercise power and influence, these people are a small minority.

 

The importance of communication

With the great mind shift, there will be opportunities for people who are able to communicate with the large number of people who lie in between the extreme ends of pro-psi and skeptics crowds. As a practitioner, you will need to be able to convince the common people that your idea or product has value. A strong sense of audience is necessary to move out into the world. You need to learn to connect with people. So if you have been meditating away for twenty years, be prepared to learn a whole new skill set! This is not necessarily the easiest thing to do, so persistence is necessary.

The idealists and the pro-psi crowd can be the starting audience for your idea, but eventually you will probably want to expand your work into other “markets”. Marketing skills are always helpful, but this will not be the hard sell. The hard sell is violent and manipulative by nature, and incompatible with the new mind movement. Now there is a marketable idea in itself: the new spiritual way of selling!

 

Finally…

The fact is that the system will probably not be favorable for some time to those who follow their passion and work to help facilitate the great mind shift. I expect there will be breakthrough moments when new research or new media stories add value to all those working here. But you have to expect some resistance from the system in the meanwhile. I do not know exactly when the hard wall of scientific materialism will release its grip on the world. Most likely it will be a slow process, with a few gusts of rapid change here and there. Perhaps there will be a Berlin Wall moment, a sudden collapse of the existing order, and the floodgates of a greater understanding will open. For most, that would be what we futurists call a “wildcard”, something quite unexpected. But it will not be unexpected to those of us who have been walking the walk of spirit all these years. Nor should you be unprepared, given what I have written above!

Yes, committing time, energy and money to the great mind shift is a risk. We don’t know precisely what is going to happen, nor how quickly. I simply urge you to follow your calling. Is there a strong voice within you, inviting you to move into working, teaching or sharing knowledge within the great mind shift? If so, why not follow that voice of spirit? After all, that is the essence of the spiritual journey.

The great light illuminates the path but a short distance ahead. Do you have the courage to step forward?

PS: If you wish to be kept up to date about research and developments regarding The Coming Consciousness Revolution (interviews, videos, the book project, important links to other works etc.) just email me at newsletter@marcustanthony.com, and I will send you updates every month or so.

Marcus

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Wanted: Courageous Pioneers for The Coming Consciousness Revolution (part 1)

In this two-part post, I am going to outline why I think there is a dramatic shift in human consciousness coming, and how this will provide great opportunities for those courageous enough to invest time and commitment into this field knowledge.

 

I bill myself as a futurist. I have published and presented around forty papers and book chapters in Futures Studies journals and in several Futures-related books. I’m also a member of the World Futures Studies Federation, and speak regularly AT WFSF conferences. So I feel I’m perfectly entitled to call myself a futurist. The domain of Futures Studies in which I work is often called Critical Futures Studies. This branch of Futures is not so much concerned about prediction, but with analysing images of the future, looking to see who controls the power, and in particular asking “What is missing?” from ideas and visions of tomorrow. Futurist Richard slaughter introduced the term “Postconventional Futures Studies”, to accommodate critical futurists like me who like to think well outside the box; in particular exploring other ways of knowing (OWOK) and the spiritual and mystical dimensions of human experience. Those OWOK include the intuitive and spiritual cognitive processes that conventional science and education has tended to ignore.

I am happy to be labelled within either of these categories.

Despite the fact that these domains of Futures Studies are not focussed on prediction, one of the first questions I typically get asked when I tell people I am a futurist is “So, what is going to happen in the future?” I normally just explain what critical futures studies is, and don’t give a solid answer. After all, predicting the future is considered to be a fools game by many.

But sometimes I do like to prognosticate.

In my TEDx Hong Kong talk “Mind, Cosmos and our Brilliant Futures”(which mercifully hasn’t been taken down yet ;-). I actually make five predictions about the future. I present two of them here on the very slides I used in my talk.

1 slide

This is not exactly a brave prediction, is it? If there is one thing that the history of science and philosophy shows us, it is that knowledge expands from one era to another in ways that can barely be imagined by those in the era preceding such shifts. Being knowledgeable is of little assistance here. In 1900, Lord Kelvin, who was one of the most knowledgeable and highly informed men of his day, famously stated that “There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now. All that remains is more and more precise measurement.” Just five years later Einstein published his seminal paper on relativity theory, and by the late 1920s the quantum field theory was initiated by Paul Dirac, throwing a huge spanner into the works of the mechanical universe. If a highly learned man like Lord Kelvin can be so wrong, it is logical to assume that you and I are also capable of such poor foresight.

By definition, we can’t know what we don’t know we don’t know (that’s not a typo – think about it!). We tend to see knowledge as expanding in a linear fashion. To borrow from Foucault, modernity always sees knowledge as progressing from a primitive past to the inevitable outcome that is the advanced and superior present. In 1900 the known universe was precisely one galaxy big. Now we know of an estimated 100 billion galaxies. And this is not even taking into consideration that dark energy and dark matter may comprise 95 per cent of the universe. Lord Kelvin could only go on what was known then.

What big shift is going to happen next? “Oh, the internet will expand to become incredibly powerful!” many would say. But no, that would not be a paradigm shift in my meaning of the term.  The idea of a super-internet is an extrapolation based on the most obvious recent historical game-breaker. It is an observable trend. On the other hand, paradigm shifts involve sudden changes in the very way we view knowledge itself. The publication of Darwin’s Origin of Species (1859) and the theory of natural selection is a classic example. The idea of “evolution” is common-place today and used in multiple contexts, but before Darwin’s time the word – and the concept – was rarely used.

I believe that we are in the midst of another paradigm shift at this moment in history. And rather than a single thinker being behind it, the power of the internet is driving it.

This leads me onto my second prediction, which is really the one that is the real game-changer today.

Slide 2a

Once the extended mind is acknowledged, it will radically shift the way humanity sees itself, including its place in the cosmos. The implications for science, philosophy and society will be enormous. The extended mind is the idea that consciousness extends beyond the confines of the brain and skull, and is in relationship with the environment – including other people, places, times and spiritual dimensions. Integrated intelligence is my term, and describes the way that the conscious application of the extended mind can make us smarter and help solve problems. Most significantly, the expansion of Integrated Intelligence creates an inevitable shift in worldview, because one can no longer operate under the delusion that self and world are totally separate.

 

Why I believe this shift will occur

You might ask why I am so confident that this shift is coming?

The first reason is that the scientific evidence for the extended mind is strong, and it will only get stronger. The field that scientifically investigates concepts related to the extended mind is typically called parapsychology. As just one reference, Dean Radin is perhaps the foremost scientist doing such work. His meta-analysis of ganzfeld experiments – which test whether human beings can sense the contents of another’s mind at a distance – has produced the most impressive results. 0ver 122 experiments conducted in 20 labs and with 4674 sessions have yielded results of 300 trillion quadrillion to one (the latest results were published in Psychological Bulletin in 2010). Radin summarised these experimental procedures and the data gleaned from them in a talk he gave at the Electric Universe conference not long ago. The two videos are available on YouTube, and well worth watching for those who wish to familiarise themselves with the research done in this field.

It has to be admitted that the amount of money spent on this kind of research is miniscule, and the volume is insignificant compared to that spent on such fields as medicine and neuroscience. Further, there are various ways the research can be criticised (I will not detail those here, but parapsychologists have done a good job in countering those criticisms to date). Still, there is enough evidence here to make the claim that there is something very important worth investigating here. This is the only “rational” take on the research, in my opinion.

The second reason why I feel that an expanded conception of consciousness is inevitable is that there is just so much anecdotal evidence, with countless tens of thousands of reported cases. People throughout history and across all civilisations have reported experiences which can only be explained by the extended mind hypothesis. These experiences include crisis visions, near death experiences, premonitory visions and dreams, out of body experiences, ESP, remote viewing and so on.  While skeptics complain that “the plural of anecdote is not data”, only the most stubborn materialist could dismiss all these reports without at least some consideration of the possibility that many of these cases are genuine. Many defy any materialist explanation.

My third and final reason for optimism in the coming mind shift is by far the strongest for me. For over twenty years I have been exploring consciousness through meditative and visionary experience and have seen that the extended mind is a perfectly normal domain of human consciousness. After a period of committed scepticism in my early twenties I began meditating at the age of 26. I immediately discovered the world of psychic experience. I could not dismiss the many visions and experiences of connection with other minds and spirits that came to me. Five years later I began a systematic period of exploration of my emotional body, where I managed to dredge up unimaginable pain and hurt from within my psyche. This was not because I am masochist by nature, but because I sought healing of that pain. Although I barely read a book or watched any media, the knowledge that this six year period bought forth for me was profound, and helped me to understand in far greater depth the psychic experiences I’d had in the first phase of my spiritual development. But there then came a third phase of insight where I lessened my focus upon psychic and emotional experience, and began to allow longer periods of simple mindfulness. In bringing the mind into deep, silent presence, I came to understand at even greater depth the knowledge that I had received during the previous two phases of my spiritual development.

If I can summarise what I learned from all this exploration, it is that the human mind is embedded within a vast sea of consciousness, and that the way we experience “self” in modern society is but the surface level of the mind in its entirety. Twenty-first century life and education conditions us into a very constricted experience of consciousness, cutting us off from our essence. My inner journey helped me to see clearly that modern science and education have led us to a dead end. Scientific materialism has hit a wall that it cannot cross – at least not without a great shift in its core processes and in cooperation with those who have explored the human psyche in depth.

Science brought humanity out of mediaeval ignorance, but as currently practiced it is the single greatest hindrance to the advancement of human knowledge. Humanity has gone as far as it can go in the delusion of separation. As Huston Smith so elegantly put it, the twentieth century was the century of disconnection, the century where humanity lost touch with its spiritual essence. The previous century was the age of the talking head, where our elders and truth-tellers became detached from both the body and the human spirit. It was a century of spiritual trauma. It is time for the healing to begin.

And this is what I will explore in greater detail in part 2 of this topic. Join me in my next post as I suggest in greater detail what this means for us in our everyday lives, and how the coming mind shift can be a tremendous opportunity for those of us who are willing to pioneer the way forward.

PS: If you wish to be kept up to date about research and developments regarding The Coming Consciousness Revolution (interviews, videos, the book project, important links to other works etc.) just email me at newsletter@marcustanthony.com, and I will send you updates every month or so.

Marcus

 

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The way out of the TED mess, # 2: This moment in time

This is the second post on “The way out of the TED mess”. The first (“The problem”) is here, and the third and final (“Beyond the struggle”) is here.

I concluded the first part of this discussion about healing the divide between skeptic’s and idealists involved in the current TED censorship saga by asking the question, “What is the way forward?” In this second and third posts I will answer the question. The way I am suggesting is not the only way to approach the problem, but it is one that has many benefits. My take here will focus upon what those with a spiritual perspective can do, as this is the “camp” that I am with. There’s no reason why someone with a skeptical or conservative scientific mindset cannot apply my suggestions. However I suspect not many will be too keen, as their worldview typically precludes a familiarity with the kinds of introspective methods I am going to advocate as part of the solution.

 

Don’t take it personally

The most important thing is to not take this TED drama personally. What we are in the midst of here is a resistance to a paradigm shift that will inevitably arrive in some form during the next fifty years or so. The shift will come to fully acknowledge that the materialist dream has not only proved to be greatly faulted in its description of life and the cosmos, but that it is inherently pathological. It cannot sustain human civilisation beyond this point in time. There will be a slow shift in global consciousness, and if anything the fact that masses of people have come out in support of Sheldrake and Hancock shows that this shift is now well underway. But there is a sharp division in the modern world – which reflects the split in the modern mind. I have called this the “skeptics versus the idealists”, which is a simplistic way of making the discussion on a blog like this manageable.

Behind the conservative forces of scientific materialism lies great power and great wealth. It is inevitable that a power game will play out as those who are in control begin to see that power slipping away. This is part of what is happening in the current TED controversy.

I want to make one thing clear. There is nothing that can change the dynamic that is underway. This is why I suggest you see this as impersonal. But there are minds that are resisting what is happening – on both sides. The materialists are resisting the change because it is tearing at the foundations of their view of reality, and that is frightening. Typical of this is Stephen Pinker’s recent ridiculing of Thomas Nagel’s book Mind and Cosmos, which correctly points out that materialist science has greatly exaggerated the certainty of its case for a strictly neo-Darwininan, materialistic take on life, nature and the universe. The truth is that Pinker does not know as much as he thinks. He cannot, simply because the ways of knowing he uses – critical analysis and abstract reasoning – are self-limited in what they can perceive and understand. When such cognitive processes are not balanced with Integrated Intelligence, the mind is extremely limited in what it can perceive and understand about consciousness at its deepest, connecting levels. If my argument is correct here, it then logically follows that this point will not be intelligible to anyone who has not explored mind deeply at a first person level. So it is not necessary to take it personally when a materialist does not comprehend a deeper spiritual perception of the world.

The very act of berating anyone else’s perspective on this issue shows that the critic is still stuck in the mind and emotionally attached to the world of thought. The person’s mind still resides within the predominant ego-based level of consciousness.

 

Don’t fight them

My next main point is that there is no spiritual freedom in fighting the other guy, or the system. You cannot win, because the act of fighting traps you in that very system. At a deeper level of awareness there is no struggle. There is no fight to be won. The system will shift as surely as consciousness itself, as surely as the shadow of night passes upon the day.

But wait! some may plead. My whole life is about fighting these ignorant bastards! I’m not just going to sit around and be a victim, and let them walk all over me! That would be pathetic!

The truth is that a huge number of idealists are fighting from a victim consciousness. There is no law that says you have to fight anyone or anything. But there is a law of consciousness which finds that those who fight against something expand their experience of the very thing they fight against.

A higher truth is that in surrendering to the joy of being, wherever you are, you automatically begin to light the darkness around you. It is your joyfulness in the present moment that will shift humanity at the deepest level, because that shift occurs not at the personal, institutional or paradigmatic levels, but at the deepest level – the level of consciousness.

There is a price to pay for this shift. No longer will you be able to bond or find intimacy with other idealists, united in a sense of collective anger or blame at the evils of the system or the dreaded “atheists”, “Godless scientists” or “materialist zombies”. No longer will your mind be able to identify with the struggle. When the struggle is gone there will be… just this moment.

Emptiness, without struggle.

And that is why “spiritual” people keep fighting. Paradoxically, at a deeper level of awareness, the resistance to scientific materialism is actually a resistance to spirit.

So the way forward is…?

There is no going forward. That is the illusion. There is nothing to push into, just something to allow. And that is the perfection of what is.

What follows such a shift in attitude is peace, the peace that emerges from compete forgiveness of the system and all those stuck in that system. And the forgiveness for yourself for not seeing this for so very long.

A time will come when the confrontational binaries that dominate our science and education will give way to something much gentler, much more humble and much more joyful. When people hold knowledge that differs in fundamental ways, they will come together in a state of non-judgment. Only then will they be able to receive each other without violence. Only then will they be able to truly listen to each other. Their minds will be grounded in deep presence, not in attachment to ideologies and beliefs – no matter how “spiritual” they may be.

The irony is that both the idealists and the materialists believe that their view of the world exists in a state beyond belief. The materialists believe that they have left behind religious dogma to embrace a rational take on the world. The idealists believe that they have left behind both scientific materialism and religious dogma to embrace the spirit or some transcendent reality. In fact, everyone who is struggling against another does so from the world of the mind and its beliefs, not deep knowing.

With deep knowing, the awareness that another person does not understand the spirit cannot be taken personally.

 

Deepening the problem

There are multiple levels to this current TED censure impasse, and this is what we should keep in mind before putting emotional energy into it.

All of us are embedded in this historical moment in time, skeptic and idealist alike. However, as I describe the historical context of the problem, I am going to focus upon an idealised hardcore skeptic, because scientific materialism is still dominant in the hard sciences, and those behind the censorship of the TED videos hold a similar worldview.

The first level is the personal level. This is the one you deal with face to face or online. It may seem as if the other person’s opinions and thoughts are their own, but the lower levels of the systems underpin the way they see the world, use their minds and think in general. In terms of skepticism, this level is influenced by the ego’s refusal to surrender power to deeper psychological and spiritual forces. This is perfectly understandable. The ego is simply trying to protect itself from two things. The first is the prospect of death, which is how the surrender process appears to it (although it is not strictly death, but metamorphosis). The second thing is avoiding the deep emotional pain trapped within the body and psyche. The surrender process requires that one relax and feel all that is within. This can be a very difficult and terrifying experience. Trust is a key issue here. But why should anyone trust in such a spiritual process given the massive history of death, suffering, and violence on this planet? Each person has to find the answer to that question within himself or herself. Most people are not ready to cross that line, but more will be in time.

Next there are specific institutions and their culture. For example, if a person works for a university, there are generally domains of inquiry that are effectively forbidden for all of teachers, researchers and students. Spiritual and intuitive ways of knowing are rarely permitted. A lecture isn’t going to begin a lecture with “This morning I had a vision where the spirit of the Tibetan antelope spoke to me and clarified the nature of historical relationship between the Tibetans and the Han Chinese.”

What can and can’t be said in an educational institution will vary from faculty to faculty, subject to subject, institution to institution. I teach in a Masters of Foresight programme, and people there tend to be very liberal and progressive. I actually used the TED censorship issue in my last class as a subject matter to explore ways of mapping the future. Most students were sympathetic to the speakers. I know other universities are also exploring spirituality in various ways. La Trobe University here in Melbourne has a popular spirituality in literature class run by David Tacey. Tacey is Associate Professor and Reader in Arts. He teaches literature, spirituality and Jungian psychology. His book The Spirituality Revolution outlines the programme and his belief that many of today’s students are crying out for spirituality in education.

Despite the fact that there are more programmes like this getting around, few of us have been exposed to them. This brings us to the next level of the problem. This is the paradigmatic. As Sheldrake has so often pointed out, the mechanistic paradigm insists that the universe is a great machine and that – to quote Dean Radin – we are machines made of meat. This paradigm is still very strong in biology, neuroscience and cognitive psychology. It remains very influential across many branches of science and academic disciplines.

Beyond the paradigmatic we have a cultural and civilizational thrust. Anglo culture in particular has developed a very detached approach to science.

This is not the case in all western cultures. As Bruno Bettleheim reports in Freud and Man’s Soul, the Germans developed an empirical science similar to that which dominates in Anglo civilization. But they also developed a softer science which more readily incorporates the intuitive and spiritual dimensions of human experience.

Then we have to realise that science has not always been practiced the way it is currently. Before the industrial revolution the entire idea of the “scientist” did not exists as it does today. The idea of the detached, aloof individual in a white lab coat began to take hold after the 1850s, at the same time that experimentation really took hold in the hard sciences. The fathers of modern science like Newton, Galileo and Copernicus were very religious individuals. Put in perspective, the modern idea of the scientists is barely 150 years old.

Further, there has always been a very strong mystical and spiritual thrust in Western society. The Romantic Movement which flourished in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was a recent expression of this. This Romantic thrust existed alongside the more “left-brained”, intellectual side of the west. But the scientific enlightenment eventually became the dominant culture, and this same culture now heavily influences the way our education systems teach us to think and feel.

Even the ancient Greeks, often anachronistically depicted as rational reductionists, had a strong metaphysical component to their society in the six centuries before Christ. Ancient Greek philosophy became more “atomistic” over time, but the mystical aspects of their culture always remained strong. This even extended to Aristotle and Socrates.

And then of course we should remember that all other non-western cultures have had strong spiritual and mystical histories. African, Russian, South American and indigenous cultures have been no exception. The Chinese and Indian civilisations have produced some of the greatest spiritual thought on the planet. Sadly, it is increasingly becoming pushed aside by western mechanistic science, especially in China.

But even beyond these civilisational and historical perspectives, there has been a much longer-term evolution of consciousness. This has been referred to by innumerable thinkers, philosophers and mystics across many cultures – Teilhard de Chardin, Meister Eckhart and Rabindranath Tagore; and more modern mystics and philosophers like Ken Wilber, David Hawkins and Leonard Jacobson. My sense is that there is a movement towards an integration of consciousness which transcends the rational mind in its state of separation from the world. This is not the same thing as biological evolution, because as far as I’m aware it cannot be traced to any physical process in our genetics, nor natural selection. Of course the two are related at some level, as they are both part of the greater expression of mind and intention.

Given all this, why should we judge a person who finds himself embedded within a civilisational and conscious evolution which valorises the material world and separation? Why should we condemn those unable to see out of the system that they have been placed into? Regardless of what we see and perceive, whether we are skeptics or idealists, we are all limited by our level of awareness; and all our awareness is limited.

 

Blessings,

Marcus

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The way out of the TED mess #3: Beyond the struggle

This is the final post on “The way out of the TED mess”. The first (“The problem”) is here, and the second (“This moment in time”) is here.

 

 

Crossing the line of spirit

I have previously mentioned that there is a psycho-spiritual line that many people are not willing to cross at this time in history. It is here now that I confront your mind and say that it is not only skeptics who are not willing to cross that line. Most people on a self-proclaimed spiritual journey are also not willing to step over that line, at least not to a position which fully leaves behind the old world. That is one reason why so many of us remain attached to struggling against the other. It is my perception that we are merely struggling against our own resistance to spirit. For there is no reason to judge a person who remains trapped in separation. Compassion is the only truly rational response to a skeptic’s projections, not judgment and condemnation. For there is really only one spirit; and as Leonard Jacobson says, only one ego.

And that ego is us.

The projections that the idealist receives from the skeptic represent the mirror that life shines in the spiritual seeker’s face to tell her that she is not whole. Not home. Not here.

Not now.

Still trapped in the mind and the world of belief.

Still fighting the other.

A lot of people in the new age/alternative movement have explored the psychic and visionary worlds, and they know from first hand experience that consciousness transcends the brain. They know that there are spiritual dimensions to life, and that we are all deeply connected. Many see and feel these things through meditative experience. Others explore them through drugs such as ayahuasca (which is the subject of Graham Hancock’s censured talk). Over the last twenty years I have had many extraordinary visionary and psychic experiences myself, all through meditation and naturally induced non-ordinary states of consciousness (I have never done drugs). I have had out of body experiences, and visitations from the deceased. I have heard, seen and felt into the minds of others. I have been taught by highly advanced spiritual teachers how to read the consciousness fields of other people and collective groups. I have communicated with some of my long-deceased ancestors and been visited by spiritual beings whose eyes shone so bright it terrified me. Spirit guides have placed thoughts and wisdom into my mind to assist me to grow in understanding. Yet there was something that I came to realise over time.

None of this was able to free me, nor heal me.

In fact I realised after some time that I was addicted to spiritual experiences. I deferred my life to psychic communication. Just one more piece of guidance from some advanced soul in some higher plane and I would “get there”.

I never got there.

My experience is what I call “The spiritual trap”. It is more than merely common amongst those in the new age and alternative spiritual movements. It is almost pervasive. Most spiritual journeymen get stuck there. The truth is that the psychic realms will never set you free. Yes. They can be very useful. I have learned an incredible amount from my spiritual guidance.  I have even written a book about how to tap into it –Discover Your Soul Template.  But the psychic is but a stepping stone. In fact for many, it is not even necessary on the spiritual path.

We feel morally superior when we tell ourselves that we see more or know more than those other fools. “I know this is hard for someone with a low IQ to understand, but…” is how one skeptic on the TED blog responded to a post I made there.

It doesn’t matter how much spiritual knowledge you have, or where it comes from. Unless you learn to bring your mind into presence, into stillness, into a place where you can develop the right relationship with ego, you will never be at peace. You will simply be chasing the next psychic event, the next tarot card, the next synchronicity – and still stuck in the mind. The reason why so many “spiritual” people love weird experiences is because the weirdness makes them pay attention to what is actually happening in the moment for a change! When you stay in the moment, deep in presence, everything feels and looks new and incredible.

It is because of this dynamic that so many spiritual journeymen and women are so easily caught up in dramas such as this recent TED issue. Because they remain in the world of “the spiritual ego”, another mind with an alternative belief structure can cause them great disturbance. The anger that many have expressed at TED in this latest drama simply arises from a mind that is not at rest. Anger emerges from fear, and the fear in this case is that the opposing belief might destroy my belief.

No other person’s belief can erase your deep knowing. In fact, it is none of your business what another person thinks – unless you are engaged in open and respectful discussion. The vast majority of the online discussion regarding this recent TED saga does not fall into that category. It is mostly projection.

The awareness of this dynamic is actually a wonderful thing. It a great gift to receive – but not to judge. For judging anything as “bad” sends you straight back into the mind and separation.

Can you acknowledge all this with true love and compassion for yourself? For all those of us who keep making this mistake over and over again?

 

Gentle action

I am not suggesting that this is the only way to proceed in the present situation involving TED, Sheldrake and Hancock. Most people will not choose this path, and that is perfectly fine. However, the way I am suggesting you relate to the problem will produce a different outcome for all those who choose to adopt it. If you fight the system you remain trapped in separation, suffering and delusion, pretending that you are above the other (when you are just like them). If you assume responsibility for your projections you experience peace, love and forgiveness. This is a central message behind all the great spiritual traditions.

Nor does my way of dealing with the TED saga mean that you should not take action or express anger in an appropriate way. There is no reason why you cannot voice your anger at TED over this issue. And I suspect that the current drama online will shift things to some degree. Anger arises naturally in these kinds of circumstances.

Still, it is perfectly possible to fully acknowledge your anger and then take action without projecting it at the other person. I call this “gentle action”, a term which has often been used by others in a similar way. Gentle action is a little like Ghandi’s ideal of satyagraha, or non-peaceful resistance. (In practice of course, many Indians were unable to put Gandhi’s non-violent philosophy into action, because at the time the level of spiritual maturity was not great enough across Indian society as a whole).

It is true that even projected anger can be effective in changing things for the better. Anger lay at the heart of the suffragette movement, the Indian resistance to the British Raj and the Vietnam War protests. All these movements produced very positive and long-term results. Yet none of these movements has led to a full healing of the wider problems involved. Anger and suffering still remain. Part of the reason is that many people remain trapped in the projections of the mind – blaming the men, blaming the white people, blaming the governments.

 

Beyond the victim state

We love the struggle, of course. We are addicted to it. It feels good to see ourselves as victims of oppressive forces. The entire world of conspiracy theories thrives on this sense of outrage. Of course this does not mean that we are never constrained by oppressive people and systems. Graham Hancock and Rupert Sheldrake’s right to be heard on equal footing to other speakers has been suppressed in the recent TED case. It is understandably frustrating for them and those who support their ideas.

I have experienced an almost unfeasible level of rejection in the academic and publishing worlds. As just one example, my doctoral dissertation was given outstanding reviews by my examiners, one stating that it had reached a level of sophistication rarely seen in the discipline of Futures Studies. After receiving my PhD I then published more than forty journal papers, conference papers and book chapters in the field, all in an incredibly short time. I even organised and hosted an international Futures conference in Hong Kong. Yet I was rejected for every academic position I submitted an application for. Every interview I sat for over a period of about seven years ended in failure. At one point the university which gave me my PhD advertised four positions for Futures researchers. I applied, but did not even get an interview. Meanwhile, I saw colleagues of mine in the same field take academic positions and get promotions in rapid time. One futurist I know completed his PhD and published just one journal paper (in a journal which has published a dozen of my papers), and he immediately landed a full-time position at an Australian university as a futurist.

The main reason why I have not been hired is because I developed my own domain of futures research, which I call Deep Futures. Deep Futures moves beyond the standard focus of many futurists. Many futurists focus only upon technology and material wealth. Deep Futures on the other hand incorporates a strong focus on the transformation of education, explores enhanced ways of learning, and advocates an expansion of consciousness itself. It’s a bit too much for most universities to handle.

The good news, however is that I have recently begun working as a sessional lecturer at a Foresight programme at a Melbourne University. The students have been very receptive to my ideas.

The experience of rejection, of having one’s hopes and dreams snuffed out by others who don’t understand them can be difficult to handle. It has been one of my biggest tests to be able to experience this, acknowledge all the rage and sense of injustice that it brings forth, and still retain a deep connection with presence; with spirit. When our focus is upon being present, even the deepest pain can be allowed to pass through us. Healing then follows naturally.

 

The gift

An alignment into deeper levels of spirit occurs when we develop a greater understanding of the idea of struggle. Beyond struggle there is a relaxation into the truth of ALL that we are as individuals and as a people. This includes a non-judgmental awareness of the projections of ego and the power games that it plays.

All of this is perfect. Even the darkness. Even the struggle, paradoxically. Learn to love it all, even as you take gentle action where necessary. Then there will be healing, beginning with you.

What a great gift this TED saga is for all of us – if only we pay attention!

Blessings,

Marcus

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