This is the final post on “The way out of the TED mess”. The first (“The problem”) is here, and the second (“This moment in time”) is here.
Crossing the line of spirit
I have previously mentioned that there is a psycho-spiritual line that many people are not willing to cross at this time in history. It is here now that I confront your mind and say that it is not only skeptics who are not willing to cross that line. Most people on a self-proclaimed spiritual journey are also not willing to step over that line, at least not to a position which fully leaves behind the old world. That is one reason why so many of us remain attached to struggling against the other. It is my perception that we are merely struggling against our own resistance to spirit. For there is no reason to judge a person who remains trapped in separation. Compassion is the only truly rational response to a skeptic’s projections, not judgment and condemnation. For there is really only one spirit; and as Leonard Jacobson says, only one ego.
And that ego is us.
The projections that the idealist receives from the skeptic represent the mirror that life shines in the spiritual seeker’s face to tell her that she is not whole. Not home. Not here.
Still trapped in the mind and the world of belief.
Still fighting the other.
A lot of people in the new age/alternative movement have explored the psychic and visionary worlds, and they know from first hand experience that consciousness transcends the brain. They know that there are spiritual dimensions to life, and that we are all deeply connected. Many see and feel these things through meditative experience. Others explore them through drugs such as ayahuasca (which is the subject of Graham Hancock’s censured talk). Over the last twenty years I have had many extraordinary visionary and psychic experiences myself, all through meditation and naturally induced non-ordinary states of consciousness (I have never done drugs). I have had out of body experiences, and visitations from the deceased. I have heard, seen and felt into the minds of others. I have been taught by highly advanced spiritual teachers how to read the consciousness fields of other people and collective groups. I have communicated with some of my long-deceased ancestors and been visited by spiritual beings whose eyes shone so bright it terrified me. Spirit guides have placed thoughts and wisdom into my mind to assist me to grow in understanding. Yet there was something that I came to realise over time.
None of this was able to free me, nor heal me.
In fact I realised after some time that I was addicted to spiritual experiences. I deferred my life to psychic communication. Just one more piece of guidance from some advanced soul in some higher plane and I would “get there”.
I never got there.
My experience is what I call “The spiritual trap”. It is more than merely common amongst those in the new age and alternative spiritual movements. It is almost pervasive. Most spiritual journeymen get stuck there. The truth is that the psychic realms will never set you free. Yes. They can be very useful. I have learned an incredible amount from my spiritual guidance. I have even written a book about how to tap into it –Discover Your Soul Template. But the psychic is but a stepping stone. In fact for many, it is not even necessary on the spiritual path.
We feel morally superior when we tell ourselves that we see more or know more than those other fools. “I know this is hard for someone with a low IQ to understand, but…” is how one skeptic on the TED blog responded to a post I made there.
It doesn’t matter how much spiritual knowledge you have, or where it comes from. Unless you learn to bring your mind into presence, into stillness, into a place where you can develop the right relationship with ego, you will never be at peace. You will simply be chasing the next psychic event, the next tarot card, the next synchronicity – and still stuck in the mind. The reason why so many “spiritual” people love weird experiences is because the weirdness makes them pay attention to what is actually happening in the moment for a change! When you stay in the moment, deep in presence, everything feels and looks new and incredible.
It is because of this dynamic that so many spiritual journeymen and women are so easily caught up in dramas such as this recent TED issue. Because they remain in the world of “the spiritual ego”, another mind with an alternative belief structure can cause them great disturbance. The anger that many have expressed at TED in this latest drama simply arises from a mind that is not at rest. Anger emerges from fear, and the fear in this case is that the opposing belief might destroy my belief.
No other person’s belief can erase your deep knowing. In fact, it is none of your business what another person thinks – unless you are engaged in open and respectful discussion. The vast majority of the online discussion regarding this recent TED saga does not fall into that category. It is mostly projection.
The awareness of this dynamic is actually a wonderful thing. It a great gift to receive – but not to judge. For judging anything as “bad” sends you straight back into the mind and separation.
Can you acknowledge all this with true love and compassion for yourself? For all those of us who keep making this mistake over and over again?
I am not suggesting that this is the only way to proceed in the present situation involving TED, Sheldrake and Hancock. Most people will not choose this path, and that is perfectly fine. However, the way I am suggesting you relate to the problem will produce a different outcome for all those who choose to adopt it. If you fight the system you remain trapped in separation, suffering and delusion, pretending that you are above the other (when you are just like them). If you assume responsibility for your projections you experience peace, love and forgiveness. This is a central message behind all the great spiritual traditions.
Nor does my way of dealing with the TED saga mean that you should not take action or express anger in an appropriate way. There is no reason why you cannot voice your anger at TED over this issue. And I suspect that the current drama online will shift things to some degree. Anger arises naturally in these kinds of circumstances.
Still, it is perfectly possible to fully acknowledge your anger and then take action without projecting it at the other person. I call this “gentle action”, a term which has often been used by others in a similar way. Gentle action is a little like Ghandi’s ideal of satyagraha, or non-peaceful resistance. (In practice of course, many Indians were unable to put Gandhi’s non-violent philosophy into action, because at the time the level of spiritual maturity was not great enough across Indian society as a whole).
It is true that even projected anger can be effective in changing things for the better. Anger lay at the heart of the suffragette movement, the Indian resistance to the British Raj and the Vietnam War protests. All these movements produced very positive and long-term results. Yet none of these movements has led to a full healing of the wider problems involved. Anger and suffering still remain. Part of the reason is that many people remain trapped in the projections of the mind – blaming the men, blaming the white people, blaming the governments.
Beyond the victim state
We love the struggle, of course. We are addicted to it. It feels good to see ourselves as victims of oppressive forces. The entire world of conspiracy theories thrives on this sense of outrage. Of course this does not mean that we are never constrained by oppressive people and systems. Graham Hancock and Rupert Sheldrake’s right to be heard on equal footing to other speakers has been suppressed in the recent TED case. It is understandably frustrating for them and those who support their ideas.
I have experienced an almost unfeasible level of rejection in the academic and publishing worlds. As just one example, my doctoral dissertation was given outstanding reviews by my examiners, one stating that it had reached a level of sophistication rarely seen in the discipline of Futures Studies. After receiving my PhD I then published more than forty journal papers, conference papers and book chapters in the field, all in an incredibly short time. I even organised and hosted an international Futures conference in Hong Kong. Yet I was rejected for every academic position I submitted an application for. Every interview I sat for over a period of about seven years ended in failure. At one point the university which gave me my PhD advertised four positions for Futures researchers. I applied, but did not even get an interview. Meanwhile, I saw colleagues of mine in the same field take academic positions and get promotions in rapid time. One futurist I know completed his PhD and published just one journal paper (in a journal which has published a dozen of my papers), and he immediately landed a full-time position at an Australian university as a futurist.
The main reason why I have not been hired is because I developed my own domain of futures research, which I call Deep Futures. Deep Futures moves beyond the standard focus of many futurists. Many futurists focus only upon technology and material wealth. Deep Futures on the other hand incorporates a strong focus on the transformation of education, explores enhanced ways of learning, and advocates an expansion of consciousness itself. It’s a bit too much for most universities to handle.
The good news, however is that I have recently begun working as a sessional lecturer at a Foresight programme at a Melbourne University. The students have been very receptive to my ideas.
The experience of rejection, of having one’s hopes and dreams snuffed out by others who don’t understand them can be difficult to handle. It has been one of my biggest tests to be able to experience this, acknowledge all the rage and sense of injustice that it brings forth, and still retain a deep connection with presence; with spirit. When our focus is upon being present, even the deepest pain can be allowed to pass through us. Healing then follows naturally.
An alignment into deeper levels of spirit occurs when we develop a greater understanding of the idea of struggle. Beyond struggle there is a relaxation into the truth of ALL that we are as individuals and as a people. This includes a non-judgmental awareness of the projections of ego and the power games that it plays.
All of this is perfect. Even the darkness. Even the struggle, paradoxically. Learn to love it all, even as you take gentle action where necessary. Then there will be healing, beginning with you.
What a great gift this TED saga is for all of us – if only we pay attention!
6 thoughts on “The way out of the TED mess #3: Beyond the struggle”
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thank you for your balanced and reasonable take on this whole affair, and all such related affairs. seems we humans like the loop-de-loop of neverending spirals.
keep up the good work, i will investigate deep futures more.
please be aware of a small typo, it is rupert not richard in the first paragraph of the section ‘beyond the vistim state’
Thanks for your support, Billy. Thanks for alerting me to the typo, too! I’ve fixed it. Marcus
Thanks for the much needed perspective and inspirational thoughts. I needed a reminder on ego and what that ego projects. Reading this level of introspect helps me ‘circle the wagon’ and shifts my level of consciousness in the proper direction.
Love and Light,
Glad it helped Paul. Everything that happens – especially the stuff we think of as “bad”” – is a chance to grow in wisdom. That’s how I like to look at it.
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