D21stCM, #4 The wisdom of water (video)

“Diary of a 21st Century Mystic” is new project (experiment) I have initiated to test the principles of Integrated Intelligence – spiritual intuition. I am basically beginning with nothing – no home, regular income, and few friends or contacts, after returning to Australia after 15 years overseas.

This is a short video about about a subject close to my heart. Part of the Diary of a 21st Century Mystic project, it was shot today high on a coastal rockface in Esperance, Western Australia, a very beautiful part of the world. It’s just a few minutes long. You’ll notice that I get some unexpected and wonderful visitors half way through filming! Perhaps they were trying to tell us something! Please forgive the shaky camerawork. I’ll make a point to improve distance shots in future!

Blessings, Marcus

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Diary of a 21st C Mystic, #3: Possibilities

DIARY OF A @!st CENTURY MYSTIC, # 3.

Where: Esperance, Western Australia, Bayview Motel

“In the mind of the novice there are many possibilities. In the mind of the expert there is but one.” So said ancient Chinese mystic Lao Zi some 2600 years ago. He was commenting on the tendency of peoples’ perceptions and attitudes to harden as they gain more knowledge and experience in a particular domain. That knowledge and experience is invaluable, but it can also be a grave hindrance to opening to new possibilities, to being creative.

This is particularly true at times of renewal or rebirth in your life. These periods typically occur after you leave you job, career, or relationship. Perhaps it might correspond with the end of your life in a particular location. You move to a new city or country.

That’s where I find myself in my life currently, having recently left behind a career and life in Hong Kong to return to Australia to live. I am at a crossroads. The great thing is that there are many directions that I might travel. However the stressful thing lies in narrowing down my range of options. To making a commitment. It’s all about choices,

And that why I have begun this Diary of a 21st Century Mystic project – to explain in details how to apply intuitive processes and tools in making important choices in life.

A month ago I had basically no idea what I was going to do here in Australia. Then one morning I awoke and a song came into my head, with these words:

Doesn’t have a point of view

Knows not where he’s going to

Isn’t he a bit like you and me

You might recognize the lines from the old Beatles song. Nowhere Man. This piece of spiritual guidance represented the second time that this song had come to me as a form of spiritual guidance. The previous occasion had been thirteen years earlier when I was living in Taiwan. At that time the ‘energy’ of my Taiwan experience was coming to an end, I was feeling depressed and stuck, and spirit was encouraging me to explore new avenues. That guidance prompted me to resume my PhD studies, and to leave Taiwan and move to Beijing.

I admit that a month ago when this song came through again, I was once more feeling stuck and depressed. I had been in Australia over a month, and was doing little more than sitting around in my brother’s house. Besides a little writing and blogging, I wasn’t doing much. The song made me realise I had to get moving again. I had to start making choices, and moving out in the world. The only thing was, I didn’t have any specific leads as to what I should do!

It is very important for people who have done a good deal of inner work that they stay true to their higher purpose. So I do know the bigger picture of my ‘soul purpose’, in a very general sense. My gifts are very much about utilising my intuitive abilities and knowledge of spirit to make a difference in the world. But that is very ‘purpose’ general indeed.

A significant problem is that I am now out of touch with current Australian society and culture. So there has definitely been doubt as to whether I can fit in here again, or whether I can find a way to be of service in this country.

When you embark on a new phase of life, it will push your buttons. You better believe that whatever self-limiting beliefs and fears you possess will surface. My main soul issues are about fear of rejection and failure, a belief that the world is not fair, and that I will be punished and excluded. “Trying is no use!” That is the cry of my wounded child. It’s the cry of the victim (a very common cry indeed, if you look around). Just look at social media and the internet in general, and you’ll see that call resounding across many an e-medium. In my case, all of these issues relate to my childhood and – I believe – past lives.

I have been working on these issues in various ways, but I won’t go into that here. I just want to emphasise that one key to dealing with “spiritual issues” is not to judge them as being wrong, or be ashamed of them. Trying to get rid of them doesn’t work, because that is a subtle rejection of the inner child. The wounded child will merely turn away from you, and create havoc in other ways (read, ‘create dramas’). I suggest that you merely learn to allow these parts of yourself to be freely honoured and expressed.

Another key is to just to make light fun of your “issues”. That’s what I was doing with this recent mini-video, which I put on FB and YouTube.

Just be careful not to believe in the story that the wounded child is selling you, or to try to seek attention for your issues. Nobody else needs to comfort you or support you (don’t confuse that with intimacy). You just need to develop the right relationship with your inner child. That will enable you to travel through your periods of transition with a light heart and a good sense of humour.

Back to my current situation. Just a week or so after the “Nowhere man” incident, I received an email from a friend. He told me about a talk being given in Melbourne by a man named Peter Cook. Peter is part of a dynamic team of “Thought Leaders”, the other notables being Matt Church and Scott Stein. After checking these guys out online, I found that there was something about the whole venture which excited me. But should I follow it up? I used the Quick Check (one of the INI Tools), and I got that I should go to the talk. So a few days later I took the two hour train trip into Melbourne to hear Peter.

As an intuitive, the first thing I do when assessing someone I’m about to deal with is to check “the intention” of that person, especially if it is someone I might be investing time and/or money with in the future. I like to think that I can tell a fake, liar or fool pretty easily, and Peter struck me as none of these things. So I listened. And I liked what he said.

Peter spoke of his “Million Dollar Expert” programme, a short intensive course which claims to teach smart people with good ideas how to develop them into a successful business. It impressed me. After the talk I bought his book Sell Your Thoughts (with Matt Church and Scott Stein), which provided me with more detail about Peter and his philosophy (I am not going to detail the processes here, but may write a little more about it in a later post).

There are two main questions to be considered here, and they are both important for my immediate future in Australia.

1)      What is the energy on utilising the Thought Leaders ideas and tools in developing my work in Australia?

2)      What is the energy on attending Peter’s Million Dollar Expert workshop (in December)?

The overall feeling sense I get is good for both questions. So for me there is no doubt that there is merit in following through with both questions with affirmative actions. But the truth is that I have to weigh that “vibe” up against financial considerations. The first option is no problem, as there is merely the cost of a book or involved. But the second question involves an investment of $3300. That’s how much it costs for the two day workshop.

Using the INI Tool the Quick Check, I get an 80% resonance on the first question. Yet the second option creates anxiety for me. It raises “money issues”. What if I do the programme and it is a waste of money? What if that money is better spent on other things? Like saving for a home, self-publishing a book, hiring a helper or attending a more useful programme? There is thus a possibility that fear can “contaminate” any energy reading I do on the question. So to do this reading accurately I have to put myself in a state of perfect presence, where my desires and fears don’t get in the way. The result? It still resonates quite highly – around 75%

So will I do Peter Cook’s Million Dollar Expert programme? With the reading, I am leaning heavily towards that direction, but I have not decided yet. I will do a Light Trance meditation on it in the coming days, then make a final decision. I will let you know about that.

Many important life decisions involve risk. We may invest much time and money into them, with no guarantee of success. What the INI Tools do is allow us to sense the energy of the decision and its most likely outcome. They can cut much of the guesswork out of decision making. But the whole process of activating Integrated Intelligence requires a reorientation of the mind/brain. It requires – to quote management guru Stephen Covey – to “lead from the right, manage from the left”. Covey is referring to the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Although it is simplistic in terms of its actual representation of neuro-physiology, the left/right brain dichotomy is a useful model we can use when trying to develop a better relationship between the “rational” and “non-rational” domains of mind. To “lead from the right” requires letting go, and trust in the intangible feelings of intuition.

I have always said that you should listen to your intuition, and follow your bliss. But it is also true that action itself creates an excitement and energy of its own. So it is very important to move from a position of possibilities, to one where you are taking committed action towards a goal. If you keep your heart open to spirit, it will guide you in the right direction. But it won’t do the work for you. You have to get off your butt and do stuff yourself. You have to make concrete decisions. Otherwise the guidance, the energy, cannot translate into the real world of people, places and markets.

There is something which I call “aligning with the path of least resistance”, where actions become relatively effortless and often joyful. Finding that alignment comes from listening to spirit and taking actions within the domain of highest good. That is what I will be seeking to do as I make these important decisions in the coming weeks.

 

But what next? Just a few days after the Nowhere Man guidance, I had another vision during the night. I saw myself on a bus, and was getting off – in Melbourne. I knew I was being guided to move to that city. So that will be my next step – after I get back to Morwell, on the other side of this vast county, next week.

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The spiritual trap

BLOG: I am a little unusual amongst the Futures Studies community in that I am one of the few futurists who is very open about the importance of allowing a space in our futures for the spiritual dimensions of experience to unfold. If we initiate policies and organisational practices which focus too much on economic development, productivity and efficiency, we are planning for a very bland life experience, one stripped of life’s very essence. I have long pointed out the limits of scientific and empirical research – and the culture of modern science and unbalanced capitalism – in being able to understand these issues. You just can’t measure the subtlety of spiritual experience; and there isn’t a lot of money to be made from any research into it. So it is poorly funded and poorly understood.

You might think I am suggesting that we should all become more “spiritual”. But you would be wrong. Setting yourself up as a “spiritual” person ironically has the likely consequence of making Spirit less available to you.

Take a look at most spiritual groups and organisations. It doesn’t take too long to realise – after walking in the door – that there is either explicitly or implicitly an attitude that “we are morally and spiritually superior to the others”. It doesn’t matter whether we are talking about mainstream religion, or alternative spiritual groups. The current Muslim protests and riots across many countries are a good example. Even as they condemn others for oppressing them, the protesters believe that they are culturally superior. The other is always more racist, more prejudiced, more “evil’ than “we”. Yet to all outsiders looking in, the vengeful mob exhibits all of those qualities in abundance!

But are “we” really that different from the rioters? The answer is a definite “no”. Many Christians believe that they have found the way to God through Jesus, and that it is the only way. Buddhists believe that they are superior because they do not adhere to dogma. Practitioners of the Tanta believe that they know the true secret, that “nothingness’ lies at the heart of all things. New Agers feel that only they have seen through the conspiracy of silence, and that they know “the secret” of the law of attraction.

You might be getting a bit pissed off as you read this, especially if you identify with any of those groups. You might even say “I already know all this.” It’s beginner’s stuff.”

And you’d be right, too. This is an obvious awareness that is not difficult to see. Yet what I have come to realise is that this is a truth which needs to be revisited over and over again by anyone who sets out on a “spiritual” path. This is because the mind – or ego – by its very nature sees itself as separate and superior. I catch myself doing this all the time.

“I know best.”

“I already know this stuff.”

“Yeah, yeah. What else is new?’

“Let me tell you the truth!”

It is impossible to transcend this problem at the level of mind, no matter how many times the mind has come to “know” it. You can’t “think” your way out of it. Whenever we are in the world of thought, judgment arises and we are in the world of separation.

So how does one rise above the issue, if one cannot defeat it? The answer is that you don’t “beat” it. You just come into right relationship with it. You develop a gentle and loving attitude towards your own projections as they arise within you. This is how you become a “parent” unto yourself. Just as parent firmly and lovingly disciplines a child, you learn to lovingly witness your mind and “correct” its misunderstandings. Just notice the judgment as it arises, and gently return your attention to something that is “real” – say your breath or the pen on your desk. You might even like to have a little chuckle and “confess” your humanness to “God”, as I do. “Oh, I noticed that I feel morally superior to Jim. That’s good to see.”

It is incredibly simple. Just imagine what the world would be like if all “spiritual” and religious organisations taught people this! We certainly wouldn’t see people screaming hatred at the other on the streets. Much of our anger – though not necessarily all – would be understood to be the mind’s way of justifying its own sense of separation. And superiority.

Of course that would all be a little embarrassing. We would lose face. There would be an “ego fall” as the mind sees itself for the truth of what it is. Not separate. Not superior. Merely the same.

So stop being so spiritual. It’s a trap. Just be here. Just like them. Spiritual “practice” can cut you off from people and the world, and leave you feeling decidedly disconnected. Fragmented, even.

And don’t forget to thank “them” when you see yourself. They just taught you a great lesson.

 

Blessings,

 

Marcus

 

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The Troll Wars – & what to do about them

BLOG: In the old story of the Three Billy Goats Gruff there was a big, nasty troll lurking under the bridge ready to devour the poor little goats. What a nightmare! Now in the twenty-first century the word “troll” has a completely different meaning, and we all know what it is. Trolls are internet bullies, lurking not under the bridge but behind the anonymity internet pseudonyms. The nightmare continues!

But it doesn’t need to, and that is the whole point of this post. I’m going to tell you a foolproof way to deal with trolls.

There’s been a lot of discussion about cyber-bullying in the Australian media of late. About a week ago Australian media personality Charlotte Dawson Checked herself into a clinic, suffering a kind of breakdown after she was ‘flamed’ big time on twitter. She tweeted “Okay, you win” just before she went down, so to speak.

Dawson is perhaps not so innocent, as she herself has made a name for herself in being a particularly acerbic critic on Australia’s Next Top Model. Charlotte Dawson is the show’s resident female version of Simon Cowell. So some people have said she that she got what she deserved.

I’m not taking sides in this latest troll war. I am just going to make a very simple point here.

Remember the old saying, “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never harm me”? It’s what parents always told their kids whenever they copped a little verbal bullying in the playground. Today’s internet users in general should take heed, for this is exactly how you should deal with most internet trolls. But how?

I am pretty much immune to the trolls. I just can’t take trolling seriously. As a person who has spent twenty years practicing mindfulness and meditative reflection – and dealing with their own childhood “issues” – I find that the projections of others now have a diminished effect on me. In real life, I still find I sometimes have emotional reactions to various criticisms and putdowns; but on the net it is pretty much a non-issue for me.

Readers of my old blog might remember a post I wrote about the late, young Australian bodybuilder and internet entrepreneur Zyzz. It went viral. It was a real hit. Unfortunately most of the hits were to my head and body. The post was about the limitations of relying too much on attaching yourself to physical beauty and gaining an illusory sense of power over others and life itself. Some of Zyzz’ fans found the post, and launched a hellish tirade of hate against me in the comments section. My blog posts typically get two or three comments. This one got fifty!

Here’s just a couple. Look away now if you don’t like your “F”s and “C””!

The writer of this blog is an old man with no idea how modern life works. GTFO u fukking kunt…

This blogger is a sad excuse of human life. Go fuck yourself you fat fuck piece of shit. What kind of low life writes lies about another dead human being. You’re a sad virgin 4chan fat fuck who needs a solid ass whooping. Cum at me Bro…

(The blogger) is mad, doesnt lift (weights) and is a phaggot. this was all just a silly post to bring views to his blogging. sad cunt…

To be honest, after an initial moderate shock at the intensity of the first two or three comments by the trolls, the comments had little effect on me. I left the posts up, with the exception of one, where the troll attacked another regular blog member and called her a “whore”. I found myself feeling compassion for the posters, because I know what it is like to be angry and full of hate. I’ve explored that side of my own psyche to a deep level. These guys were just like me, only younger and little less developed in their spiritual maturity.

Here’s why this kind of stuff has little effect on me these days. Firstly I have a simple policy of walking away from any internet discussion where I find myself having a strong emotional reaction to someone’s posting or ideas, or what they say about me. A comment can only create an emotional reaction in me when I ‘attach’ myself to the thing, and when I become entangled in the story of it. The same comment has little impact on me from a distance, when I just let go and pull out.

Secondly, I understand well the nature of the human mind, and its tendency to project on others. Ego’s judge and condemn, and their agenda is to diminish or destroy the thing being projected at. The projections of internet trolls are precisely the same thing that everyone does every time they judge someone or a situation in their everyday lives. In this sense judgment – including that of the trolls – is a reflection of a person’s inability to control their own mental projections, and has little to do with the person or thing being ‘beaten up’. (So don’t take them personally!)

Finally, I have learned to bring my mind into presence at will. That means that even if I do find myself entangled with another’s projections – in real life or on the net – I can instantly bring myself fully into mental silence; back into the world of the real, as Morpheus says in The Matrix. And all emotional “drama” is illusion. It’s just the mind playing in the story of the past, bringing forward the hurt, shame and anger that lies within. As I wrote in my book Discover Your Soul Template, as soon as we bring the mind to focus upon something we can see, hear or feel, the world of the mind vanishes into the ether. And if it doesn’t, it just means that there is some ‘issue’ or hurt within yourself that you need to bring to the surface. Sure, there are times in life when you have to confront genuine bullies, and the internet is no exception. But those times are few and far between.

Human futures can never be merely about more technology, comfort and convenience. We have to open a space for people to move inward and develop an understanding of their minds at a first-person level. Some futurists think that a future where we can load our minds onto computers will be a utopia. Personally, I think that even if this is done, if those ‘minds’ aree as unconscious and ego-based as the vast majority we encounter on the internet today, all that we will get is a cyber-dystopia. A universe of ranting mental projections raging against… well, the machine. A machine that we have imprisoned ourselves in.

So next time you come to cross the internet bridge and you find a troll lurking underneath, just blow him a kiss and walk away in silent presence. It’s a lot more peaceful.

Blessings,

Marcus
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Enough Already

BLOG POST: After living thirteen years in East Asia I now find myself living back in the old country, Australia. In fact it has been sixteen years since I left The Lucky Country; and just three weeks since I got back. So what do I notice that is different?

The first thing I appreciated is just how quiet it is here. To be fair, I am living with my brother in a small country town of Morwell (two hours drive from Melbourne), so it’s a huge contrast to the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong. In Hong Kong it’s a fight just to find a seat at a coffee shop or at the shopping mall. The streets are teeming with people, and quite often you have to literally shoulder people as they push and shove their way around you. When I walk down the street here, I am lucky to see any other human beings at all! The quiet is both nice… and a little disconcerting. One is often left to deal with one’s own sense of life and experience.

It is beautiful here. There is green grass, there are trees. The sky is vast and blue, with crisp white and grey clouds moving slowly overhead. There are birds too, something that one almost never sees in China. Indeed I have been attacked by several magpie mothers; a common hazard in the spring, as mothers attempt to protect the nests which contain their young.

At night the heavens here open up to the vastness of space, a million stars greeting the observer from scores, hundreds and thousands of light-years away. I can’t ever remember seeing a star in China or Hong Kong. It was often hard enough to see the moon or sun. In Beijing the sky is almost always grey, even when there are no clouds.

My brother and I drove to a house just fifteen minutes away from here a few days ago. There was abundant scenery to be seen; in the yard there was a horse, a goat and three dogs. I sent my wife a few photos. She is in Beijing at present. She said she was very jealous of the natural world she saw, and the “endless rolling fields”.

But it’s damn expensive here. When I arrived at Melbourne airport, I caught a fifteen-minute airport bus to a downtown train station. It cost me AUS$17. By contrast, the fast train to Hong Kong airport from downtown only costs about AUS$11. It travels ten times further than the airport bus in Melbourne. In China I can travel on a fast train from Beijing to the coastal city of Qingdao – a six hour journey – for about AUS$30. Everything else is really expensive, too. The cost of living here is extreme – with some exceptions. I was in a department store today and saw men’s shoes for as little as $12 – made in China, of course! Rent is much cheaper than Hong Kong, and that even holds true closer to Melbourne than I am. In Hong Kong an extremely unfortunate situation has developed whereby the government and property developers have taken a stranglehold on the city. With each passing year people are forced into smaller and smaller apartments at higher and higher rents. Most are 400-500 square feet, and that accommodates entire families. The latest trend is for the young in Hong Kong to live in subdivided flats. Landlords can make more money by dividing their already tiny flats into several rooms. There university graduates living in “flats” as small as 16 square feet. That’s about twice the size of your average coffin.

In Hong Kong and China I ate at restaurants every day, often two times daily. My wage was high, and the food cheap. In my three weeks back in Australia I have not eaten once at a restaurant. I am making my own lunch and cooking dinner again for the first time in over a decade. That is not an exaggeration. I cannot remember the last time I cooked a meal before my return!

Everything else costs more too. The internet, mobile phone bills, cinema tickets, coffee shops, you name it.

I have been complaining about the cost of living here, but then yesterday I listened in to a webcast by my favourite spiritual teacher, Leonard Jacobson. He was talking about abundance. He said that abundance does not always come in the form you think it does. Later that day I went to the gym not far from my brother’s house. As usual, after entering the gym I brought myself into presence by focusing on my breath, and my body. To do this I bring my energy out of “the head”, and get really grounded. When I did this yesterday it hit me. I already have access to abundance beyond imagining. All my immediate needs have been met since I arrived here. My judgment at the cost of living was just getting in the way of my experiencing how “rich” I already am.

 

After my workout, I went into the changing room, and ran the water in the washbasin. I cupped the water in my hand, and brought it to my mouth. I drank. It was cool and refreshing. “Wow!” I said to myself. For thirteen years in Asia I was unable to drink from a tap. Pure, fresh running water is available to everyone in Australia. What a gift! Then I looked in the mirror, and saw a very healthy 46 year old man staring back at me. How wonderful it is that I have my health, and can even engage in the vanity of going to a gym to shape my middle-aged physique. That was unimaginable in my parents’ day. I then walked out into the parking lot and jumped in my recently purchased car. Before my return to Australia I had not driven for thirteen years. Now  I find myself driving in a wonderful vehicle; second-hand but in great condition.

When I got back to my brother’s place, he had cooked dinner for me. It was a cool winter’s evening, but the gas heater was already on, warming the simple house.

Yes, that was when I really got it. The present is already rich in meaning and wonder. Why then do we always want for so much more? Many modern “spiritual” philosophies also encourage people to want more, and even that it is “spiritual” to do so. The New Age movement is full of such thinking. The best-selling The Secret (video and books) is perhaps the classic case. It has sold countless millions of copies. Yet as far as I am aware, nowhere in any of its teachings does it tell us the greatest secret of all. That there are riches beyond imagining right here and now, if only we stop, breathe deeply and still ourselves long enough to see and feel the magic.

In presence the mind stops longing and returns to a state of grace, where goodness is seen in everything; love in everyone. Gratitude becomes spontaneous. That is because in the silence of the present moment, we become love itself. And what a priceless gift that is.

Blessings,

Marcus

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