How a Lion Tamer Came Face to Face With Death… and Life

South African author and lion tracker Boyd Varty learned early the deep knowing which life seeks to instil within each of us: that there is something profound which transcends and connects our discrete human minds.[ii]

Varty’s tale of the terrifying involves a single night, set in time a moment or two following the initial post-apartheid elections in South Africa, when chaos and violence were common bedfellows across the troubled nation.

不出戶, 知天下.

不闚牖, 見天道.

其出彌遠, 其知彌少.

是以聖人不行而知.

不見而名,

不為而成.

Without stepping out the door,

You can know the world.

Without looking through the window,

You can see Heaven’s Way.

The longer you travel, the less you know.

Therefore:

The sage knows without traveling,

Perceives without looking,

Completes without acting.[i]

Lao Zi, Tao de Qing, chapter 47.

South African author and lion tracker Boyd Varty learned early the deep knowing which life seeks to instil within each of us: that there is something profound which transcends and connects our discrete human minds.[ii]

Varty’s tale of the terrifying involves a single night, set in time a moment or two following the initial post-apartheid elections in South Africa, when chaos and violence were common bedfellows across the troubled nation. Barty was but eighteen years old at the time, and he and members of his family were staying in a house in Johannesburg. The nightmare began when Varty was shaken awake, and driven to instant alertness by the sight of a gun being pushed into his face. The young man looked to his left and right to see that his mother and sister were both bound, the male house invaders in complete control of the fate of Varty and his family. Pure terror saturated his being, for he knew well that such incidents often end in rape or death. Or both.

Varty sat fixed with shock, powerless. But things were about to get worse for the South African youth. Moments later he was led outside of the house by the intruders. He relates what occurred next, as follows.

They put a gun to my head… and they basically said, “Now we’re going to kill you.” And the fear was so intense. Then I remember looking up the barrel at the man who was holding the gun to my head and we looked into each other’s eyes. And in that moment something happened… I can’t say what happened…  You might call it the peace of God that surpasses understanding. But I think it was too big for my ego structure to hold, and it collapsed. And as I looked at him all fear left me, and all concern for my own bodily safety left me, and I just felt a profound human connection with him. And as… there were three of these guys standing around me, as that moment happened it was… kind of a weirdness came over everyone. It was as if everyone had become glimmered. And they put the guns down and everyone just stood there confused. And I walked back inside totally unaccosted in any way. And I got the car keys, walked back out and I gave them (to the intruders and) said, “Get in that car and leave.” And they did.

In the years that followed, Voyd Barty contemplated often the happenings of that “bizarre” day.

I felt like I glimpsed through the most terrifying situation… That was the first freezing experience that I had. It was terrifying… I think sometimes of Jung’s description – of what is unconscious will be made conscious. It will manifest into your life until you become more conscious about what you’re carrying.[iii]

What was it that came over those four men in that moment? There was something intangible that Varty says appeared to visibly “glimmer.” Some structure of consciousness, or perhaps spirit, that transcended them as individual men living separate lives. And separate deaths. This transcendent connective field of consciousness is what I call integrated intelligence. By definition, integrated intelligence is within us all. And beyond us all. And it is what Part 3 of this book is all about.

This is an extract from Marcus T Anthony’s upcoming book, Power and Presence: Reclaiming Your Authentic Self in a Weaponised World.


[i] Stefan Stenudd, (n.d.). https://www.taoistic.com/taoteching-laotzu/taoteching-47.htm. Retrieved April 18, 2021.

[ii] Tim Ferris, Boyd Varty. https://youtu.be/sCVJUZlokEU. 14 March, 2022. The quoted section here has some small edits. I have removed some repetitious use of words, as the story is narrated verbally by Voyd Barty in his interview with Tim Ferris.

The University of Suffering

The Power Nobody Can Take From You – Unless You Let Them.

“A bird sitting in a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking, because her trust is not on the branch, but on its own wings.” Denzel Washington. 

It is not possible to create perfect systems. We can simply aim for better. And given that our systems and institutions will inevitably fail us sometimes, it is unwise to place too much of our sense of self and security on those systems and institutions. This is why it is important to develop a sense of internal strength and resilience. And to do that, we have to work on ourselves, and develop the right relationship with the mind, our feelings (including our woundedness), and the world around us. 

However, many ideologies and online communities today (spanning the entire political and social spectrum) perpetuate grievance and blame worldviews. They typically garner community support by identifying and projecting against enemies, mocking, shaming and condemning them. Some are obvious, such as conspiracy theory cultures, grievance-based social justice movements, anti-SJW and anti-woke cultures. Unfortunately, this also often includes mainstream institutions, media channels and leaders. It is very easy to get caught up in such spaces, and to allow our minds to be colonised by them. 

I suggest establishing a healthy distance from them all. Instead, look for good faith leaders and movements that seek responsible change in the world, and that seek to genuinely empower their audience; not to exploit their trauma and rage.

If we fail to develop an inner locus of power, we are going to be readily pushed and pulled by the world, cast upon a sea of emotional turmoil, as that world inevitably changes across the span of our lives. We may even sink to a life of projection and rage at the world and it’s people, a fruitless journey which ends in entrenched hopelessness and powerlessness. 

We are easy prey for bad faith actors and bad faith communities once we lose our sense of inner strength. Once they lose our sense of egency, some people attempt aggressive power and control over the system and other people. They may become destructive. 

We cannot always change the world. I live in China, and many things here are out of my control, while other situations are simply beyond my understanding. I am quite vulnerable in the sense that I enjoy few of the legal or human rights that people in western countries do. When I experience confusion, “oppression” or injustice, quite often there are no external means of rectifying the situation. There are few institutions or systems to support me, let alone “safe spaces” and counselling. 

Let me count the ways.

Within a few weeks of arriving in China, I was accosted by a local man at the post office. I inadvetently stood in the wrong line when lining up to be served (it was the line for mailing special packages, but I didn’t know). Suddenly a local man came up to me, waved his finger in my face and started shouting, demanding to know why I had pushed in. “You think you are special in this country!?” he yelled. I apologised and explained that this was my first time at the post office and I did not know the system. Later I learned that queue-jumping was a common practice in China. Most people ignore it. But not everyone.

I’ve also been evicted from my own home (twice) in China. When I arrived in Beijing in 2002, an administrator helped me rent an apartment across the street from the university (he even arranged the “foreigner discount” for me, elevating the actual price and taking a cut for himself). A week later there was a knock at the door, and when I opened it I found two uniformed police staring at me. They demanded to see my passport, and when I showed them said “Foreigners are not permitted to live here.” They generously gave me a few days to collect my things and move out. Apparently one of my Chinese neighbours had reported a laowai living amongst them. in 2015 I was also evicted from my rental apartment in Guangzhou. My employer had generously given me one of the apartments rented by the school. But later, when the landlord found out he demanded I be removed because he “Didnt feel comfortable with a foreigner in my apartment.”

I’ve been evicted from hotels in China, too, the management of one stating flatly that, “Foreigners aren’t allowed here.” They refused to refund my room fee, even though I’d only been there one hour.

I’ve been cursed at in public, and also had my Chinese wife called a “whore” and “traitor” on public transport simply because she was with a foreigner.

I’ve also been fired from a job here without notice or justification. There was no legal basis to challenge the decision.

The following institution I worked for was an international English-language programme designed to train Chinese students to study in the US and other English-language countries. We had a very progressive boss for two years. I worked very hard and was rewarded with several roles coordinating special programmes. Then that leader left and the new one announced within the first minute of his very first meeting that: “This is China, and in China the minority must serve the majority.” He said this in English, then abruptly changed to Chinese for the rest of the meeting. Thereafter, the institution’s default language became Chinese. Over the following two years I and other foreigners were all removed from management positions and many of our programmes dismatled without consultation. 

Another employer in China publicly condemned me on the organisation’s web pages – not once, but twice – for questioning a system protocol, resulting in having half my annual bonus slashed and my annual staff performance review of “excellent” retracted. And all that without ever speaking to me about the decision. My email asking for clarification from the administration was never answered.

Oh, and I’ve been physically assaulted in public. Just the once, though. 

And then there are the myriad “microaggressions” that I regularly experience in China. Foreigners in China know them all too well.

“Wow, you can use chopsticks!” (“Yes, but only one at a time,” is my common response.)

“Your Chinese is so good!” (after I merely greet someone with “Ni hao”).

“Why do foreigners have such big noses?”

And so on.

My attitude is that the best way to deal with microaggressions is to be micro-offended, and to just let them go. We are all human, and we all unintentionally do and say things that may be slightly rude or offensive to others. If no harm is intended, most of the time we can just move on.

To put all of the tales above into perspective, they have all occurred over a period of two decades, during which time 99.9+% of my interactions with China and its people have been positive or at least neutral. I have received so much in my time here, and that has far outweighed the negative side. I remain grateful (though in light of recent events, admitedly less optimistic about my future here than previously). Years ago I chose to let go of all grievances I held, and to focus on the present and my immediate experience. This has opened a space for genuine engagement with Chinese people, and even with its often frustrating institutions and systems. People can sense it when you are open and present. And they can sense it when you are angry and resentful, projecting past grievances onto the people and situations you encounter. Resentment is its own punishment, and robs the soul of the nourishment of engaging with the world and its people, here and now. And we are all greatly in need of such sustenance during these troubled times, where we are regualarly being tested with disruption and uncertainty. 


In his highly regarded book Man’s Search For Meaning, psychoanalyst Victor Frankyl described his time in a Nazi concentration camp, where he spent much of World War Two. All about him he saw what were possibly the worst injustices ever perpetrated by and on humanity. Many of his fellow Jewish prisoners gave up. Typically, those that did would simply refuse to get out of bed, and lie there in their own faeces and urine, till the prison guards came to take them away and shoot them. Frankyl’s own human dignity and power were stripped away to almost nothing. Almost. But what Frakyl realised is that there is one kind of power that nobody, not even the Nazis, could take away from him. And that was the power to choose the attitude he could take to his internment. The meaning of it all.

We all have the power to choose a healthy and empowered relationship with the world and its people. No matter where we are or what we are experiencing. And we can often choose gratitude over grievance. Don’t let anybody take that power away from you. Not even for a good cause.

Marcus

How We’ve Become Smarter: And How We Haven’t

Integrated intelligence is a fuzzy human cognitive skillset which can be developed with practice. It is also my belief that such human cognition will eventually flourish in societies and learning environments that are open to its expression. The problem is, our current science and establishment institutions are either ignorant of integrated intelligence, or are simply hostile to it.

In the 1930s, Russian psychologist Alexander Luria travelled into the villages of remote Uzbekistan to talk to the peasantry. This was not because he was fond of the rustic life of the rural classes, but because he was conducting research into human intelligence. What he discovered suggested that the uneducated rural classes of early twentieth century had very limited capacity for abstract reasoning. Their lives had granted them little exposure to tasks requiring formal application of those skills. The following two examples are edited transcripts from the conversations that took place there.

Conversation 1:

Q: All bears are white where there is always snow; in Novaya Zemlya there is always snow; what color are the bears there?

A: I have seen only black bears and I do not talk of what I have not seen.

Q: But what do my words imply?

A: If a person has not been there he cannot say anything on the basis of words. If a man was 60 or 80 and had seen a white bear there and told me about it, he could be believed.

Conversation 2:

Q: There are no camels in Germany; the city of B is in Germany; are there camels there or not?

A: I don’t know, I have never seen German villages. If B is a large city, there should be camels there.

Q: But what if there aren’t any in all of Germany?

A: If B is a village, there is probably no room for camels.[i]

Today, we may be amused or perhaps shocked that people of bygone eras were apparently deficient in mental abilities that we find to be pervasive in the modern world. Referencing Luria’s research in his book What is Intelligence, New Zealand psychologist James Flynn has argued that human populations now have much greater capacity for certain mental abilities than they did until recently in our civilizational development. Luria’s findings suggest that abstract reasoning is a latent human ability that requires either actual training or at least societal encouragement in order to flourish.

Modern education systems routinely promote the expression of mathematical, logical and linguistic abilities, alongside many other useful cognitive, social and technical capacities. It is undoubtedly true that without such environmental impetus to acknowledge and employ these expressions of intelligence, they would not be present to the extent that we find today. Without formal education, much knowledge would be lost and many mental abilities, practical skills and aptitudes would not be widely developed. Einstein could not have developed the theory of relativity if he had lived in rural Uzbekistan and been illiterate. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniaki could not have created the Apple Mac computer if modern science and technology had not provided them with the wide range of skills, knowledge and hardware needed to do so.

At least up until very recently, people have been getting much, much smarter – and that’s a scientific fact. Skeptics might protest that people can’t even retrieve their cash from an ATM machine in less than ten minutes. They might point out that there is a privately sponsored museum in the U.S. that shows Jesus riding a dinosaur. And they might lament that you can’t have a conversation with anybody without their feeble attention being diverted by an incoming alert on the phone they are clutching like the crown jewels. But such skeptics are wrong – at least according to James Flynn. “The Flynn effect” is the curious fact, named after that psychologist, that IQ scores tend to rise with each new generation – about three points on average. Flynn states that a full 98 percent of today’s population would score higher on an IQ test than their counterparts from 100 years ago.[ii] That is how big the shift has been.

Similarly, it is my conviction, based upon personal experience, that integrated intelligence is a genuine but fuzzy human cognitive skillset which can be developed with practice. It is also my belief that such human cognition will eventually flourish in societies and learning environments that are open to its expression. The problem is, our current science and establishment institutions are either ignorant of integrated intelligence, or are simply hostile to it.

One factor which Flynn suggests is behind the effect is how our societies and education systems valorize thinking skills, especially scientific thinking. He thus sees the world as being divided into eras of pre-scientific and post-scientific thinking. In particular, the popularization of “shorthand abstractions” (or SHAs) has made us much smarter. These concepts are so familiar to us today, that their absence may be difficult for us to imagine. What would your world, and your mind, be like without the following constructs? Note how recently in history they have reached popular awareness.

(1) Market (1776: economics).

(2) Percentage (1860: mathematics).

(3) Natural selection (1864: biology).

(4) Control group (1875: social science).

(5) Random sample (1877: social science).

(6) Naturalistic fallacy (1903: moral philosophy).

(7) Placebo (1938: medicine).

(8) Falsifiable/tautology (1959: philosophy of science).

It is arguably impossible to know what we don’t know – for that would be a contradiction in terms. Yet once we admit that our minds can be greatly expanded by our societies’ inculcation of key concepts – or retarded by their absence – we may be led to wonder what key ideas, not yet be widespread, could potentially expand our intelligence even further.  What might be the next big idea that will shift human intelligence?

Yet this question is itself restrictive if we do not question deeply the idea of “thinking” beyond abstract conceptualization. Could there be “non-rational” cognitive processes which could further enhance human intelligence? Perhaps even something which is difficult to measure in an IQ test? Something that is not presently on the mainstream scientific map of intelligence?

What I am referring to is a self-stultifying dynamic. Our dominant science generally doesn’t take seriously that which cannot be readily measured. And we don’t measure things that we don’t consider to be credible. This creates and perpetuates a case of paradigm blindness. As psychiatrist Stan Grof points out, paradigms delimit both the ways of knowing which may be employed to understand the world, and the range of questions that can be permitted to be asked in query of that world.

One very big idea – now beginning to emerge – that could dramatically shift our civilizational IQ is that of “entanglement,” including trans-locality and trans-temporality. I am referring to information transfer – and consciousness processing – that occurs seemingly beyond the confines of space and time. Yes, I am referring to integrated intelligence, and the related idea of entanglement in physics. Entanglement represents a significant challenge to current dominant paradigm thinking. Though typically excluded from mainstream science and our institutions in the modern era, related ideas have been around for thousands of years.

The evidence for integrated intelligence is mounting, as I outlined in Layer X. And I expect that the data supporting a deeply connected cosmos is only going to become greater. The extended mind and the seven modalities of integrated intelligence (outlined in Layer x) will eventually become accepted within science and education, in some form. Once it has been established that our universe incorporates an entanglement of consciousness, the entire field of cognitive science, and ultimately science itself, will have to expand massively beyond its current parameters. Parapsychologist Dean Radin, for example, believes that the idea of entanglement will soon become widely accepted in physics and beyond. Though the timing and precise process that will trigger this shift can only be speculated, it is my belief that this civilizational shift will inevitably occur in some way. I make this prediction (and I don’t make many) based on my personal experience working directly with integrated intelligence – both my own, and others’.

What truly interests me is what will then happen to human intelligence once entanglement and deep connectivity are commonly accepted and practiced? My prediction is that it will represent much more than a mere addition to Flynn’s list of shorthand abstractions, bumping our IQ scores up a notch or two. For entanglement potentially opens the doorway to a greater employment and experience of other ways of knowing. The acknowledgment of integrated Intelligence will shift all of our individual human identities, as well as our collective sense of the relationship between humanity and the cosmos.

It may be that this denouement will mirror my own life journey, and that of many people who have actively explored integrated intelligence. I first accepted the idea of an integrated intelligence intellectually. Then, after a year or two, I began to explore the extended mind experientially. That mindset became embodied. It became my lived experience.

I therefore believe that human beings will soon become much smarter, but not just intellectually. With the advent of integrated intelligence, an entire vista of wisdom and understanding will open before our eyes. It will represent the beginning of a transformation of human consciousness and human identity on this planet. We will never be the same again.

I note that James Flynn says nothing about integrated intelligence. But he does argue that agrarian era humans did not develop their full capacity for abstract thinking because their focus was elsewhere. They simply saw little value in employing such mental modes in their societies. What would be the point of parents and elders in rural Uzbekistan teaching abstraction, logic and hypothetical representation to the young?

Being a scientist trained in the western empirical tradition, James Flynn’s mind is also probably “elsewhere:” not focused upon the expression of an integrated intelligence, but upon the predominately abstract conceptual modalities that define current establishment science and education. I suspect he might be somewhat aghast at my using his insights and those of Alexander Luria to further my claim that innate intuitive abilities are latent within twenty-first century humans in much the same way as the capacity for abstract conceptualization lay dormant within human beings in less developed societies. Yet it is a claim I make nonetheless. The abilities are there. I have seen them in many people. It is just that they remain dormant.

This is an extract from Marcus T Anthony’s Power and Presence, avaialable July 2022.


[i] Quoted in J.R.Flynn (2009), What is Intelligence? Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[ii] This is a hypothetical point. Wide scale IQ tests did not begin till after World War Two.

An Oath to Your Power and Your Presence

As we spend more time online, it is very easy to lose track of what is important. It is very easy to lose our mindful, bird’s eye view of the world and our lives, and instead get caught up in earthbound cat fights. Often the squabbles and projections are with people we barely know, or do not know at all. I’d like to think that the Oath to Power and Presence, whatever version you make of it, can inspire you to keep your life on track, an dto affirm the higher values that we humans share as a collective.

It was a simple enough tweet, though mildly cryptic:

Are we sick of this yet?”

The writer was Sam Harris. The date November 17, 2021.

I think I know what he was alluding to.

The madness. Online.

Besides being a well-known author and social critic, Sam Harris is a regular meditator and mindfulness practitioner. That’s why I suspect that he was alluding to the increasingly unhinged discourse of today’s increasingly virtual world. Of course, I might just be projecting.

Harris’ tweet did get me thinking about something that Peter Limberg and Conor Barnes wrote back in 2018: the need for “a culture war equivalent to the Hippocratic Oath.”[i] Such a public pronouncement, they said on medium.com, could be affirmed by the leaders of the various online tribes, as well as regular netizens.

It would prove beneficial if journalists, authors, bloggers, and professors alike took this oath, but any social media user could take the oath, by pledging their name and accepting some sort of e-badge. Promises can be broken, but breaking public promises can generate swift social feedback.

What would this Oath consist of? At the bare minimum: a commitment to good faith dialogue, the principle of charity, and intellectual humility. The last virtue is critical. A caveat of “I could be wrong” underlying strongly held beliefs helps even the most difficult conversations, a shared commitment to that caveat helps even more.

The question then becomes, what motivation do we have to make such an oath? Do individuals and organisations have the desire to transcend “outrage porn” and produce more socially responsible content? For that matter, what motivation do I have?

It was this self-reflection which led to my beginning my book Power and Presence: Reclaiming Your Authentic Self in a Weaponised World with an “oath to power and presence.” These are words that can be affirmed on a daily basis by the reader, should they wish to take up the challenge of embodying a higher level what I call “cognitive responsibility:” this is developing the right relationship with thoughts, feelings and perceptions as they arise within the mind. The oath to power and presence is thus not a pledge to the book, but to embodying its key ideas and values. Power and Presence is about how we can develop a sense of personal empowerment by establishing a mindful sense of embodied presence. Its message is about being more present to ourselves and the world, less emotionally drawn into real world and online stories, memes, drama and projection. The context is our increasingly virtual lives, as the Digital Age morphs into the possibility of an all-immersive Metaverse. Our chances of becoming unstuck and returning to drama and conflict ridden online environments is immense. The motivation to choose embodied presence over online mayhem and distraction has to be daily affirmed, perhaps not unlike an alcoholic’s daily recanting of the serenity prayer. It is a reminder to ourselves of what is most important, and why we are here.


Oath to Power and Presence

It is my oath upon this sacred day
To say “yes” to my Authentic Self
And to the story that I have consciously chosen.
I say “yes” to that which reflects my highest values and “no” to that which does not.
I say yes to power, to love and to grace
For I am beautiful, I am powerful and I am lovable.

It is my oath upon this sacred day
To honour and give with generosity to those with whom I talk, work and play.
I choose to judge not those of differing views
But in presence to see beyond their shadows
And into their Authentic Selves
Beginning with common understanding and shared humanity.

It is my oath upon this sacred day
To stand in presence with those who stand with me
And with grace I step away from those who choose to be hurtful in word or deed.
I will not be drawn into tribes
Nor their stories, their dramas and conflicts.
My story is not theirs to steal.

It is my oath upon this sacred day
To stand in my power (as a man/woman/preferred identity)
And to listen to the genuine intuitions within which my mind rests.
I say yes to this moment
To its power, wisdom and grace
I say yes to love.

It is my oath upon this sacred day
To own my anger, my blame, my sadness and my fear
For they belong to me only.
I will stay here, I shall not flee.
And I will not add a single spark of rage
To enflame hatred in this world

Upon this sacred day
I am power
I am beauty
I am grace
I am gratitude
I am forgiveness
I am love.
Thank you. I love you.

You might like to change parts of this oath to make it more suitable for your journey. Or, just make up your own oath, one which affirms your highest values. For it’s a personal thing. You can say it first thing in the morning, or whenever you find yourself embroiled in online or real-world drama. Sometimes the mind needs a little nudge, a bit of encouragement. Sometimes it just has to be pushed firmly into line, like a recalcitrant child.

You may ask: is this an oath, or is it a prayer? The answer is that it is whatever you make of it. For me personally, it is more like a prayer, an affirmation to something greater than myself. To my Authentic Self. And to something beyond even that. But it is also an oath, a reminder to my small-s-self to honour my Authentic Self, and the greater good of the world and its people.

As we spend more time online, it is very easy to lose track of what is important. It is very easy to lose our mindful, bird’s eye view of the world and our lives, and instead get caught up in earthbound cat fights. Often the squabbles and projections are with people we barely know, or do not know at all. I’d like to think that the Oath to Power and Presence, whatever version you make of it, can inspire you to keep your life on track, an dto affirm the higher values that we humans share as a collective.

This is an extract from Marcus T Anthony’s new book, Power and Presence: Reclaiming Your Authentic Self in a Weaponised World


[i] Limberg, P., & Barnes, C. (2018). “The memetic tribes of culture war 2.0.” Medium, Sept 14, 2018. Retrieved Mar 27, 2020, from https://medium.com/s/world-wide-wtf/memetic-tribes-and-culture-war-2-0-14705c43f6bb。

Minding Djokovic’s Mindfulness

Those beginning a meditative or mindfulness practice often have a false expectation that they are about to become magically transformed into an awakened being, or perhaps even enter an exalted higher state of consciousness. Perhaps they might be thinking that they can tolerate a few weeks of mindless meditation, a few hours of dull, cross-legged sitting, or even staring at candles in the evening, if that means accessing the Bliss of Being. The petty inconveniences of modern life will all be forgotten once the divine light descends from the heavens, rendering us impervious to pesky feelings and inconvenient negative emotions like anger, sadness and fear… Alas, such people will be disappointed.

Those beginning a meditative or mindfulness practice often have a false expectation that they are about to become magically transformed into an awakened being, or perhaps even enter an exalted higher state of consciousness. Perhaps they might be thinking that they can tolerate a few weeks of mindless meditation, a few hours of dull, cross-legged sitting, or even staring at candles in the evening, if that means accessing the Bliss of Being. The petty inconveniences of modern life will all be forgotten once the divine light descends from the heavens, rendering us impervious to pesky feelings and inconvenient negative emotions like anger, sadness and fear…

Alas, such people will be disappointed.

Consider this. In 2020, tennis star Novak Djokovic, a regular meditator and practitioner of all things mindful, was disqualified from the US Open for accidentally striking a line judge when he whacked a ball in anger. In the following tournament, the Italian Open, he had several emotional outbursts in the final. Queried about his behavior, Djokavic stated:

Of course, it was a shock for me and a lot of people. But that’s life, that’s sport. These things can happen… But I don’t think that this will have any significant negative impact on how I feel on the tennis court. I mean, I won the tournament in Rome just a week later after what happened in New York. I did not feel any kind of emotional disturbance or difficulty to actually be able to play or still express my emotions in whatever way… That’s something that is obviously staying in my mind after what happened in New York. It’s going to stay there for a long time. Of course, I will make sure I don’t make the same mistake twice.[i]

Djokovic said in 2020 that he tries to keep negative emotional reactions on the court to a minimum. But “also… accept it and forgive myself for what happened and move on.”

And then most infamously, just recently, Djokovic was ejected from Australia when it was claimed that the unvaccinated star had deliberately mislead the Australian immigration department on his visa application, including not disclosing a prior failure to socially distance when in the early stages of Covid infection.

There are a wide range of often heated opinions about Djokovic’s Australian debacle, and that covers discussions far beyond mindfulness practice. The reader can make up their own mind on the subject. Yet the key point here is that mindfulness practice isn’t a guarantee of Buddha-like serenity and emotional purity, nor does it necessarily create instant psychological maturity. And it won’t save your butt if you violate societal or legal norms and the authorities come for you. Perhaps most notably, it doesn’t excuse you from the consequences of your actions.

Ego falls are a common experience for anybody on an awakening journey. The further into delusion we descend, the greater and more painful the fall.

Making presence of prime value in your life is a wonderful thing, and if you can attain a high level of mastery, then the benefits are great (including an enhanced sense of personal empowerment). But there are limitations, potential hazards and philosophical concerns that come with the territory. The Grand Canyon is beautiful. But if you don’t pay attention and fall off one of those great cliffs, the spectacular scenery around you will suddenly seem a whole lot less wonderful as you plummet earthward.

This is an extract from Marcus T Anthony’s upcoming book Power and Presence: Reclaiming Your Authentic Self in a Weaponized World


[i] Djokovic: US Open ball incident won’t change how I deal with emotions. Sydney Morning Herald, 27/09/20.

https://www.smh.com.au/sport/tennis/djokovic-us-open-ball-incident-won-t-change-how-i-deal-with-emotions-20200927-p55zl5.html

Mindfulness or Ritual? Which One Works Best?

Mindfulness is often most potent when combined with other practices. We shouldn’t employ mindfulness in our lives, naively assuming it is the most powerful problem-solving tool ever invented, while excluding other practical and useful methods and behaviors.

Imagine that you want to lose weight, but have a tendency to eat a little too much at your meals, and like to top your dinner off with a delicious calorie-laden bowl of ice-cream. Not surprisingly, you are finding the weight hard to take off. Desperate, you go to your local meditation center and ask the resident guru what you should do. After he adjusts his white robe, lights the incense and clangs a little bell, he pauses dramatically and peers deeply into your soul.

“You must be more present at your meals,” he announces, bowing his head slightly. “The art of eating is sacred. You must be mindful of each mouthful, and let the food fill your spirit, not merely your belly!”

You bow three times as you exit the room walking backwards, expressing your great thanks. A deep feeling relief fills your soul. But as you stroll mindfully to your car you notice a street sign on the opposite side of the road, indicating the presence of a dietician’s clinic. So, just to hedge your bets, you cross the road and enter the dietician’s office. You sit with her and share your problem. You mumble the bit about the heavy meals and the weight problem. She looks at you as if you are a little dull, but nods her head.

“When you sit for each meal, follow these three simple steps,” she says. “You must adhere to this ritual at every meal, and do exactly as I say. All meals. Every day. No exceptions!”

You listen, skeptical but excited. “Please do share. What are the three steps!?”

The dietician nods quizzically, a sparkle in her eye.

“First, you must cut the food.”

You nod slowly. “Uh huh. And…”

“Then, you must arrange the pieces symmetrically on your plate. In the shape of a triangle”

You scratch your head. “I see…”

“Finally, you must tap your plate three times with your fork. Only then may you begin to eat.”

“That’s it?”

“Yep. That’ll be forty-nine bucks, thanks. My standard consultation fee for ten-minute sessions.”

After flipping your wallet open, you walk out feeling a little foolish.

So, whose advice should you take? The spiritual guru’s, or the dietician’s?

The possible answer may surprise you. Harvard professor Francesco Gino and colleagues conducted a recent experiment, taking a group of people trying to lose weight and dividing them into two groups. The first group was told to be mindful during meals, and the second was told to follow a ritual similar to the dietician’s one, in the fictional story above. Surprisingly, the ritual proved to be more effective in reducing consumption of calories, fat and sugar.[i] As Nir Eyal notes in his book Indistractible, rituals can be powerful. They can help break bad habits and build an empowering identity.

Mindfulness is often most potent when combined with other practices. We shouldn’t employ mindfulness in our lives, naively assuming it is the most powerful problem-solving tool ever invented, while excluding other practical and useful methods and behaviors. Rituals, as indicated here, are very compatible with presence practices. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can also be combined with mindfulness, helping you manage thoughts and feelings more rationally, without undue hyperbole, catastrophism and generally neurotic thinking. And throughout this book I am suggesting the importance of emotional release as a means to help mindful states of awareness, and to heal trauma. I suggest you experiment with mindfulness, and seeing how it can operate together with your current knowledge base, beliefs and practices.


[i] Allen Ding Tian et al., ‘Enacting Rituals to Improve Self-Control’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 114, no. 6 (2018): 851–76, https://doi.org/10.1037/pspa0000113.

This post is an extract from my upcoming book Power and Presence: Reclaiming Your Authentic Self in a Weaponised World, which will be out by mid-2022.

The Movement or Your Soul?

In order to truly heal, you have to let go of your blame and anger, your rage towards your parents, siblings, teachers, the opposite sex, society, the nation, the other nation, the world and ultimately even to the universe and to God.

In order to truly heal, you have to let go of your blame and anger, your rage towards your parents, siblings, teachers, the opposite sex, society, the nation, the other nation, the world and ultimately even to the universe and to God. All of us will find some level of these wounds within us as we engage on a healing journey. If your institution, ideology or social justice movement stands in the way of that, if it teaches you – directly or indirectly –  that it is “just” to hold onto attitudes of blame and resentment to other people or to the world, then you have a choice to make. Whom do I serve? Do I choose the movement and its story, or do I choose healing and to honour my Authentic Self? If the movement or institution freely permits you to heal all of that, without politicizing and weaponising your woundedness, then no such choice is required.

This is true of any given movement or organisation, whether it be your church, Black Lives Matter, the feminist movement, men’s rights activism, human rights organisations, CNN or Fox News, the World Economic Forum, Alcoholics Anonymous, your local meditation centre or even Meals on Wheels. And it is equally true of the online tribes that marshal together the foot soldiers of the culture wars and various other online tribalist conflicts.

That is a choice that nobody should be permitted to make for you. So, what do you choose?

We are all permitted to make the choice, and I don’t personally think there is any judgment for not choosing to heal. But there is a price to pay for not healing. Or rather, more than a single price. The first is that you will go to your grave having not integrated all your unresolved issues. Secondly, you will tend to pass those consciousnesss structures on to your children. Even if you have no children, those unconscious issues will tend to become drivers of drama, both personal and in regard to broader social movements you engage in. Finally, you will have lived and died not having fully embodied your Authentic Self.

I might end here by saying that there are few amongst us who have complete awareness of all the unresolved narratives and self-limiting beliefs contained within our psyches and our emotional bodies. Many of those structures are not actually our own, but are passed down to us from our ancestors, or inherited from our cultures. It may be “unfair” in a sense, but the only person who can resolve those issues is ourselves – and with the subtle help that our integrated intelligence permits.

This is an extract from Marcus T Anthony’s upcoming book Power and Presence: Reclaiming Your Authentic Self in a Weaponised World.

We become thing we hate… or the thing we love

The most terrible thing that the Internet does is that it brings into full display the shadow, the dark and nasty projections that were once only ever seen in our darkest moments.  The most wonderful thing about the Internet is that… it brings into full display the shadow, the darkness within us all. For as Jung once noted, long before Facebook and Twitter emerged from e-space, we become enlightened not by imaging figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious. Perhaps then, it is better to think of the Internet not a conspiracy designed to set us against one another, but the universe’s way of getting us to notice how we set ourselves against one another. How dark we can become.

  
Recently, one late evening, I came across a post on my Facebook feed. I have many Facebook “friends” whom I have never met, or whom I barely know, and this poster was one of those. The post was a political one, a very common find on that platform. We’ve all seen them. The post warned of the dangers of fascism and extremism in the “other” political tribe. Now, if we take a detached perspective, it is easy to note that these accusations are almost always made against the “other” political tribe, never one’s own. But most of us have at least some bias in this regard, and tend to see the darkness in the other more readily than in ourselves, in our own side. I responded to the post by chiding the writer and proclaiming something like, “Can’t you see that your side is the same, that your “fascist” enemies are writing precisely the same thing about you and your tribe?”

This wasn’t the most conscious thing I’ve ever written on the net, and after I’d written it, my projections lingered in my psyche. As I reflected upon it in bed a little later, I realised that I had not practiced what I like to preach, and that I had judged the poster and projected against them. In fact, I felt ashamed of myself (and shame does serve a useful function, when we develop the right relationship with it). So the next morning when I awoke, I went to the poster’s homepage and apologized. After all, it was their homepage and their sandbox, not mine. I was out of line.

Catching ourselves in moments of irresponsible projection can be embarrassing. But that sense of shame may serve a positive purpose if it emerges from the Authentic Self, if we acknowledge the truth of what happened, and if we act appropriately in response. A little shadow work can be invaluable in such situations. It can be transformative, helping us to shine a light inward, illuminating the darkness. But if we allow the darkness to linger without bringing the light of attention to it, that darkness can expand, embedding our hearts in shadow. The ocean of voices that is the Internet is awash with the murkiness of billions of souls lost in the illusions of such shadows.

Be careful lest we become the thing that we hate, or so we are told. It is an aphorism for the ages, reminding us that at some level our minds tend to mirror the consciousness structures that we project outward onto the world. Another way to think about this is that we become what we strongly judge. The process of judging – including hating or rejecting something – can shape our minds and our hearts.

There are two ways to look at this. We might note that our brains, and our mirror neurons in particular, tend to assume the morphology of that we imagine is occurring in another’s mind. Or a more metaphysical perspective is that consciousness itself is a primal force that may attract the thing that we focus upon. This later take on the old aphorism is more akin to the new age ‘law of attraction.’  

Regardless of whether we hold the mainstream scientific or the more esoteric version of this principle to be true (or, both, as in my case), when we hear the words ‘we become what we hate,’ we probably don’t stop to consider that if this is true, then logically the polarity  must also be true.

We become the thing that we love.

Or rather, we become the thing that we choose to love. The attitude or relationship that we have with others and the world can also transform us in beautiful and positive ways. It invites us to consider where our power really lies. And that locale is precisely the point in space and time where and when we choose to love (or not to love). My upcoming book Power and Presence: Rediscovering the Authentic Self in a Weaponsied World, contains many practical “actions” that can help us remain grounded in what I call Embodied Presence, and in turn help establish the Authentic Self. Below, I share one such action taken from the book. Its purpose is to transform hatred and projection into non-judgment and love.        


Loving the thing that you hate.

What is the thing that you hate the most? That you most often judge and condemn? Like an alchemist of the mind, you can take that one thing into your awareness and transform it into an object of love. In this alchemic transformation you may just find your greatest power.

Perhaps the thing that you hate is your ex-partner, or the boss who fired you without perceived justification. Perhaps it’s the Russians, the Chinese or the Americans. The Jews, the whites or the blacks. The men or the women; the feminists or the men’s rights activists. The trans folk or the cis gendered. The Republicans or the Democrats; the liberals or the conservatives. Perhaps you despise the fence-sitting centrists for their failure to take a stand. Or maybe it’s the elites, the establishment, the New World Order, the illuminati, the NCPs, the conspiracy theorists, the anti-vaxers, or those mindless sheeple. Perhaps you loathe Russian bots, soulless AI or the luddites. The Stones, the Beatles or Madonna. Maybe it’s the cursed politicians: Xi Jinping, Trump, Hillary or Biden. Or in this age of the Human Extinction Movement, perhaps it is the human race itself.

That which you despise does not have to be a person, nor a people. It could be a thing, concrete or abstract. Perhaps it’s your job, or your lack of a job. The commute to work, or the ‘toxic’ workplace itself. It could be an institution: the bank, the library, the senate or the legal system. Perhaps it’s the media: CNN, Fox News, the New York Times or The Sunday Mail; Rupert Murdoch, Rachel Maddow or Tucker Carlson.

The most terrible thing that the Internet does is that it brings into full display the shadow, the dark and nasty projections that were once only ever seen in our darkest moments.  The most wonderful thing about the Internet is that… it brings into full display the shadow, the darkness within us all. For as Jung once noted, long before Facebook and Twitter emerged from e-space, we become enlightened not by imaging figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious. Perhaps then, it is better to think of the Internet not a conspiracy designed to set us against one another, but the universe’s way of getting us to notice how we set ourselves against one another. How dark we can become.

To practice Love the Thing That You Hate, find a quiet place to sit, preferably alone. Alternatively, you might choose to do this in the presence of another, or with others that you trust. One way to tame the shadow is to gently expose it before others. But these people will need to be well versed in shadow work, the murky machinations of the psyche. The ego tends to get triggered when exposed to the shadow of another, which often leads to drama. And needless to say, many projections are politically incorrect. Doing shadow work is not the time for social niceties and virtue signaling. It’s the time to delve into the darkness, no matter how unpleasant or debauched.

Begin by relaxing deeply, focusing for a minute or two upon your breath, feeling yourself settle deeply into your body. When ready, begin with a prayer or affirmation. Imagine the Great Light of Unconditional Love illuminating you.

‘I permit honesty and forgiveness, I hide nothing.’

Next, bring to mind the person or situation that you have been projecting against, then allow yourself to speak openly to it/them. If verbal expression is not possible, simply imagine or subvocalize the words. Allow any judgment or feelings of anger or resentment to simply express themselves. Speak to that person, place or situation, and let it know exactly how you feel about it. Judge, condemn, or even curse if that is what arises. Or shame, belittle, or berate. If the instinct is to strike or yell, you might like to imagine that, or even act it out for a moment. The key is to simply observe all this without judgment of yourself, without judgment of the projection.

Take no more than a minute or two to do this. It is not necessary to amplify or linger upon it. Gently notice any judgments you have towards yourself for what you have just seen about yourself. Imagine the Great Light before you, accepting it all without judgment. Then afform:

‘I relax and accept these feelings of (anger, rage, blame, judgment, fear etc.).’

‘I give them to the Great Light (or name a higher power).’

Then breathe and let go, safe in the knowledge that you are forgiven, free of any judgment. After all, it takes courage to honour the shadow.

Next, bring the object of projection to mind. Then say:

‘I fully acknowledge that I have judged and condemned you. I accept that I have lingered in resentment and blame. I ask for forgiveness. I allow myself to release all blame and judgment for both of us. I ask for grace and healing. I let go…”

Next, as you gently hold in mind the image of the object or person, imagine the Great Light enter your body, either from above or from before you, then project onto the other.

‘I accept you. I release my judgment and anger. I accept you. I accept you. I accept you.’

Feel yourself relax and fill with light. If feelings of anger and blame arise, do not judge or reject them, just gently permit them their moment, and give them to the Great Light.

‘Great Light, I fully acknowledge these feelings of judgment and anger. I share them openly with you. I choose forgiveness. I am forgiven. All is forgiven.’

When we let go and allow all that is within and beyond us to simply be without judgment, what often emerges is the experience of love and gratitude. If you feel this emerging as your feeling towards the other, give voice to it.

‘Thank you. I love you. Thank you, I love you. Thank you, I love you.’

If that does not emerge naturally, you might practice expressing this attitude. But there is no need to force that. If the feeling does not emerge, simply relax and permit that to be. Give it to the Great Light.

Ideally, practice Loving the Hateful Thing every day, or any time you find yourself strongly judging and condemning someone or something.

In this practiced,  you may just discover your greatest power, and your Authentic Self.   

A final note on this practice. Often when we judge and condemn another, when we feel genuine hatred, anger, blame and resentment, there is an underlying emotional or psychological issue that we have not addressed. The feelings that we have towards the person or situation may be a drama which emerges from some trauma or unfinished story that we have not resolved. Or we may simply be carrying anger and resentment over from other parts of our lives. There may thus be the need for some deeper healing work.

Becoming love
Assuming responsibility for our anger and projections is especially important in this time of tribalism and online drama. It is often true that we cannot directly change the people that we are in relationship with. But what we can do is transform our attitude towards them. We can become love, to use the words of Leonard Jacobson. Or to put it my way, we can become the thing that we love.


The kind of love I write about here has to be a genuine. It has to come from the heart. And for that to occur we will likely have to acknowledge the shadow. That is how we allow the possibility of love. In a sense we don’t control that outcome. We merely permit the possibility of its emergence.

A logical objection to deliberately releasing blame and anger towards another is that our deep feelings of rage and the judgment may be justified. What if the other person really shafted you? What if the boss really is an asshole? What about Chamberland’s appeasement of Hitler in 1938?  There’s no point in waving a white handkerchief when the Nazis are at the door, is there? But the truth is that most of the time the people that we hate are not  Nazis, the situation is not the holocaust, and nor are we getting fed to the machine guns at the Battle of the Somme. Are we really in Hell, dealing with the Devil himself? Or is the bigger problem actually within ourselves?

This is why we must be careful with our language as well as our attitude towards the other, and towards life’s circumstances. We have to be mindful of the images we employ, and the stories that we tell. When we unnecessarily throw around terms like “fascist,” “communist,” “supremacist,” “racist” etc., we are often engaging in hyperbole and catastrophic thinking, permitting ourselves to become something fearful and hateful. Sometimes we must ask ourselves whether we are the ones who are becoming the haters.      

Many of us are starting to realise that this is true. We are starting to realize that that we have to begin to tell new stories. Our media, social media, social justice and social science discourses are badly in need of introspection. There is a great need to teach cognitive responsibility. We cannot merely focus upon what is at fault with the other and with the system. The wisdom journey has to begin with ourselves. Ideally that should be the foundation of our lives. When we are well-established in the capacity for Embodied Presence we can then address what is “out there” in rersponsible ways; beginning from a position of personal empowerment, and releasing the illusion that somebody else is responsible for how we experience the world.

This post is an extract from Marcus T Anthony’s upcoming book, Power and Presence.

Why the Current System Will Not Heal Itself

The emergence of a self-generated solution to tribalism in the US and elsewhere is unlikely to emerge from those currently embedded within the system. The system itself promotes division and drama, which in turn sustains the minds within it (in their current small-s expression). In a kind of pathological, dark feedback loop, the system is then perpetuated by those minds and their projections.

The emergence of a self-generated solution to tribalism in the US and elsewhere is unlikely to emerge from those currently embedded within the system. The system itself promotes division and drama, which in turn sustains the minds within it (in their current small-s-self expression). In a kind of pathological, dark feedback loop, the system is then perpetuated by those minds and their projections.

Tribalism is both a cause and an effect of the system. Social media platforms like Twitter publicly display, concretize and immobilize our thoughts and projections, many of them poorly thought-through. This exacerbates the tendency to identify with those thoughts, even as others either affirm or attack them. Further, those public thoughts are often also tribal markers. It is not merely that I am for or against illegal immigration. The very fact that I have revealed that opinion and left it hanging eternally in virtual space means that I cannot simply let it go, as is the case with most random thoughts and opinions that come and go from my mind. Suddenly, the tweet is who I am, and who I belong to.

The current system (Memeworld) and its drama-driven tribalism was not developed deliberately, but this is what it has become. In the US, both the Democrats and the Republicans need each other as enemies (mirroring the human mind’s need for opposition and drama to sustain its existence). An immoral and intellectually lesser other is required in order to perpetuate each tribe’s power over its constituents. That is the drama. An enemy is needed, one that we must unite against, crush and eliminate. In this way those in authority maintain attention and power (at least over their own tribe). The words to “unity” may be mouthed by those leaders, but the politics of division remains, a necessary drug to feed the habit of projection and drama.

The problem is more than merely that the drama is self-replicating. It is that the arrangement is not sustainable. If you need to sow division and stir up projection to maintain power, eventually it is going to blow up in your face. It is just a matter of time before the system becomes violent.

This game is as old as politics itself. And as old as tribalism.

It is interesting to note that many of our institutions – notably political parties, the media, the universities, the intellectual class, and big tech – are largely silent on the idea of unity, of coming together (except along preferred ideological lines). I suspect this is because of the inherently self-stultifying fact that this possible future (this is, peace) is a vote for disintegration of the tribe, and thus their tribal identification and very likely their power base. Too many have a stake in the current drama. The problem is not so much that their founding ideals are bad, but that media, social media and big tech need drama for clicks. And for the profit that flows from those clicks. They need the bad guys. For the intellectuals, the reputation and livelihoods of many in the institutions and the university system depend financially on the perpetuation of their politics and group struggle; or the cost of dissent is simply too great.

In other words, for these people and institutions, the overt, noble narrative of “compassion, justice and tolerance” is subverted by the inherent self-contradiction that on MemeWorld those values often express themselves via tribalism. It is difficult to truly embody these values via the mind in a state of ungroundedness, without deep connection to the present moment and to the body. Conversely, those values tend to naturally express themselves when we are in a state of embodied presence. Then they do not need to be enforced, top-down via regulation, censorship or even violence.

As I have argued throughout this book (Power and Presence), the need for drama is a function of the small-s-self and its constricted experience of “mind.” That mind needs a constant drip-feed of problems, including enemies to crush, in order to perpetuate its existence. For the mind, peace – like silence – equals death. Without conflict, it cannot recognise itself. I believe that this is in part biological. We humans have evolved to fight for survival against outside threats, whether they be other human tribes, wild animals, or environmental hazards. This is built into our hardware (neurophysiology). Therefore, in the current age, the task of we twenty-first century humans is to employ our software (intelligent self-awareness) to disarm that hardware. We have to develop the self-awareness to reduce our predisposition towards conflict and drama – the story we have written (or been written on) over millions of years (and now made worse by the shift towards life online).

So how do we address that?

One means is to intervene physically with the hardware. By this I mean to begin to tinker with human genetics, the body and the brain. This might be something akin to Elon Musk’s Neuralink, where we could implant wireless brain-machine interfaces into our skulls. The aim of Neuralink is to enable people to operate computers and mobile devices directly with their thoughts, but it isn’t hard to imagine applications for similar hardware/software which helps modify our thoughts, behavior and feelings. For example, the University of California has developed a “personalized, biomarker-based” treatment for depression. The process requires drilling electrodes deep into the brain and leaving them there for a year. When the device reads the bio-markers of depression, it stimulates the right ventral capsule/ventral striatum, which in turn reduces gamma brainwave activity in the right amygdala. Yet to date, studies have been only minimally successful, while the therapy is costly and labor-intensive, needing two days of testing and two cranial surgeries.[i]

Such invasive techniques are mostly in their formative stages. Yet over time we can expect the application of such technologies to improve. Physical interventions could potentially help us regulate our neurochemistry and thus our behavior.

Genetic engineering of human babies is another possibility, at least in theory. Perhaps we can tinker with our bits and pieces to create people that are less aggressive, more agreeable and less prone to create drama.

Oh, Brave New World that has such people in it! And then there are the tempests which might follow. The problems with all these physical and technological interventions are multiple, not the least of which are ethical and legal. Are we ready to accept the risks in becoming a truly cybernetic species? Or in producing genetically-modified citizens? Where might that lead to? Where would we set the boundary in terms of how far is too far? It would seem that in the short to medium term the legal and ethical roadblocks to this option are simply too great. Genetically engineering humans is currently illegal, even in China where in 2019 doctor He Jiankui received a three-year prison sentence for editing the genome of three babies to promote their resistance to HIV.[ii]

Not the least, most people would probably find futures peopled by such modified humans to be dystopian.

This is why my preferred future is that we work with the physiology that we have inherited from nature and develop greater mastery of our “hardware.” Grounding ourselves in the Authentic Self through embodied presence directly defuses the power of the mind and the dramas that tend to emerge from it. We can say this is a bottom-up solution. Top-down solutions feature a host of problems. Regulation of online behaviors and information control, as well as physical interventions to human bodies, delimits the opportunity to encourage transformation and empowerment of the citizenry via the six pillars of effective sensemaking. With such top-down processes, there is no embodied presence, no cognitive responsibility, no mastery of society or digital awareness, and no integrated intelligence. And there is no opportunity to use the knowledge that potentially emerges from all that to develop wise actions in the world.

Most notably, top-down interventions also potentially invoke the specter of authoritarianism. This is because there are always going to be at least some corrupt or power-hungry-leaders, and people who wish to give their power away to them. And then there is the problem of those people who resist being controlled. If the number of resisters is significant, what are the authorities going to do? This is the dilemma that all idealistic, utopian philosophical and political movements eventually face. Top-down social and political movements almost inevitably lead to the persecution of dissenters. We have even seen this during the COVID period, where those who have protested the vaccines have faced significant stigmatization in the media and from politicians and public figures.

This is an extract from Marcus T Anthony’s upcoming book, Power and Presence: Reclaiming Your Authentic Self in a Weaponized World (2022).


[i] Clare Wilson, “Woman’s depression treated by an implant responding to brain patterns,” New Scientist, Oct 4, 2021, https://www.newscientist.com/article/2292182-womans-depression-treated-by-an-implant-responding-to-brain-patterns/

[ii] Sui Lee Wee. “Chinese Scientist Who Genetically Edited Babies Gets 3 Years in Prison.” The New York Times, Dec 30, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/30/business/china-scientist-genetic-baby-prison.html

Can You Really Handle Conscious Transparency?

Imagine waking up, going online to your favourite news site and finding the following lead story.

 

Chaos!

Information terror as Net IDs go public!

Global information systems are in chaos today, in the wake of the world’s first case of information terror. Radical libertarian group FreeThink has claimed responsibility for the hacking of the global internet system.

Currently all web sites, personal internet and mobile accounts in all countries are freely accessible to the public by entering a simple universal code. For legal reasons the New York Times cannot disclose the code, but it is now circulating widely on the net.

In related breaking developments, reports are emerging that World President Li Zhongri has gone into hiding.

More details as they emerge.

 

How would you feel if everything you had ever written, spoken or videoed – or had been recorded by someone else –  suddenly entered the public domain? And I do mean everything, including everything that you had written anonymously under pseudonyms. Julian Assange has famously called for “radical transparency”. But could we really handle it if it was taken to its logical conclusion?

Every link, every site, every text.

The headline above is not real, of course. It is taken from a short story called The God Moment, part of my book of science-fiction stories entitled Insufficient Data. The God Moment is set in the year 2047. The main character, Hugh Anderson, is an IT entrepreneur living in Shanghai. Anderson is a not a particularly attractive man. He is short, fat, balding – and his online secrets are even uglier.

The story is called The God Moment because the hypothetical situation effectively grants everyone God-like powers to peer into the souls of any person they care to enquire about – or get some dirt on. I wrote this story because the situation actually reflects a spiritual reality: that human beings are completely transparent to spirit.

My experience as person with a gift for clairvoyance is that there are spiritual overseers who can also see right into our hearts and souls.

There is nothing we can hide from them.

Nothing.

Many people with a spiritual focus in life will not find this idea too difficult to consider. After all, when we pray, when we ask or receive spiritual guidance, we are working within a “system” which renders us transparent.

I have received a lot of spiritual guidance over the years. Everybody’s journey is unique. In my case I had to deal with a lot of emotional issues relating to being abused and neglected as a child. Much of the guidance I received was about deepening my awareness of these issues and how to heal them.

For example, one problem I experienced was being drained of energy. Often I would wake up exhausted. I realised there was something wrong, but I had no idea what. So I asked for guidance. As part of the guidance I received, a song kept coming into my mind, the lines from a U2 song: “And you give yourself away…” Over time I came to realize that my consciousness field was deeply entangled with other people’s, and that literally I was allowing my energy to be sapped by them. More importantly, I came to understand that this was because there was a very needy part of me that was desperate for love and attention, a legacy of my childhood. So when I did not receive that in my everyday life, my psyche went out and sought it in a metaphysical sense.

Many such issues came into my awareness in this way. There would be an problem which I had no genuine understanding of. I would receive subtle hints as to what the general problem was, and its cause. Then I would have to go away and work on it.

This spiritual discourse made me aware that I was completely and totally naked before spirit. All was transparent. Every secret, every thought, every little habit.

Now here is my next question. What if this powerful clairvoyant capacity was the norm, and everybody could see into everybody else’s soul? What if we could see each other’s light and darkness, see how we give and take power, how we lie and deceive ourselves? Yes, even matters related to our sexual expression, our bodily functions, our anger and judgments.

Would that prospect excite you. Or terrify you?

glass-man

When I said The God Moment is science fiction and based on my experience with spiritual communication, I forgot to mention one thing. I have played, lived and worked with others with an equivalent, powerful seeing capacity. I saw first-hand that conscious transparency is a capacity that all humans carry to some degree. It is just that we play a game to hide this truth from each other. Our societies, our families, our media and education structures are unconsciously designed to disguise this fact. And it is unconscious.

One problem that conscious transparency brings to the fore is that it magnifies whatever latent trust issues we have. It also exposes our self-deceptions. It makes explicit to others our judgments and opinions about them. And ourselves.

In The God Moment the problem isn’t so much that information becomes freely available. It is that human beings cannot look upon the shadow of others without resorting to judgment and condemnation. We have agendas for power and control, and we use shame as a means for manipulating others.

The truth is that conscious transparency is too much for virtually all humans to bear. I can tell you from first-hand experience that being completely transparent before others pushes every imaginable button. It can be truly terrifying.

The terror stems from the fact that there is always repressed pain and fear which underpins our self-deceptions. When we bring the darkness into light, that pain seeks responsible expression.

Conscious transparency utterly transforms social dynamics; and the level of typical human spiritual maturity is not great at this time in our conscious evolution. Too much of our minds lie in shadow. The process of bringing that darkness into the light of conscious awareness will take a great deal of time for the human collective. It will take a great deal of love and patience.

Conscious transparency therefore requires great courage.

The good news is that any given individual can permit conscious transparency in their relationship with spirit. “God” has no fear of our darkness, self-deceptions and mind games. This is why when people have near-death experiences they often feel completely loved by the light.

There’s a simple spiritual practice which you can employ which enables conscious transparency. I call it “Opening to the Great Light”. I will leave you here with this. You might like to make it a part of your regular meditation sessions, or practice it at the end of the day as you are about to sleep.

Why not become more transparent?

After all, what are you hiding from?

 

Opening to the Great Light

Divine love exists within and about all of us. What most people don’t realise is that we can allow it to deepen within us if we embrace it during mindful presence or meditation. This is what I call Opening to the Great Light.

You can imagine this divine love as a great ball of brilliant light that sits directly before you. You can call it “God” if you like, but this is not strictly necessary. I like to think of the Great Light as being of indeterminate size.

Divine love is always with us – it is only our judgments of self, others and the world which keep it at a distance.

As you sit in meditative or mindful presence, allow yourself to become aware of any judgments towards yourself, others or the world that you are holding onto. As you perceive or feel these judgments, simply confess them to the Great Light. The process might go something like this.

“I see that I judge myself for getting older. I open that to you God/Great Light.”

“I now see that there is anger towards my mother, which I have been carrying. I open this to you God/Light.”

“I see in this moment that I carry a belief that the world is cruel and that life cannot be trusted. I open this to the Light.”

This opening is not like the kind of confession a Church-goer might admit to the priest behind the curtain. There is no sin here, no shame and no guilt required. These labels and attitudes would represent judgments of the judgments – leading you into an endless chain of self-rejection.

Nor is there any need for penance or self-flagellation. Indeed, if guilt and self-judgment arise during the Opening to the Light exercise, just confess those to the Light also.

This is purely an unfolding exercise. It is as if you are turning yourself inside out, allowing all that is repressed within you to emerge.

There is no requirement to keep the process of spotting judgments go on indefinitely. Return the mind to the simplicity of presence after a short time. The mind might try to turn this into a game, where endless confessions prevent you coming to rest in silent presence. When you find yourself playing this game you should know what to do. Simply open it to the Light, confess it without judgment, and relax into the presence of the Light!

The Opening to the Great Light results in a tremendous lightness of being. You are not trying to get rid of anything or change who you are. You are simply allowing all of your mind to be present before God. God (within you) has no judgment of who you are. Just relax into that beautiful awareness, and joy will emerge.