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How You Can Develop Profound Intuition (3)

This is the third part of a series of posts I am writing here on CLN about how to develop powerful intuitive skills (integrated intelligence). Integrated intelligence is closely related to the classical idea of intuition, connecting us with a stream of consciousness which transcends the limits of immediate space and time. Each of these posts is an extract from my upcoming book “How to Develop Profound Intuition.” So stay tuned for further insights (Part 4). (Here’s Part 1, and Part 2).

The third thing you are going to need if you want to develop profound intuition is commitment. And this means dedication, persistence and patience.

The intuitive mind is an alien beast to most of us in the modern world. We all use intuition, of course. But few of us employ it regularly, nor trust it emphatically. Our cultures have left us living “in the head”, deferring to the yabbering voice in the skull, and existing primarily dissociated from the body and the spirit in a state of chronic abstract conceptualization. We live in the mind, in imagined futures and remembered pasts, and miss the present moment – where intuition is most powerfully sensed and activated.

Computers and mobile phone culture are other obstacles. More and more people are dissociating from the world and their bodies, living as distracted, disembodied zombies. How on earth is a person ever going to pay attention to the energy of people and places when they have allowed themselves to become conditioned to reaching for their mobile device as soon as they enter a room? I cannot emphasise the importance of this issue enough. You are going to have to discipline yourself to spend many hours a day away from your phone and computer if you are ever going to develop empowered intuition.

So the choice is yours. What will it be? Fiddling with your phone or empowered consciousness? Most people today are choosing the fiddling bit. What about you?

I became very conscious of this problem in my own life. I realised that I was becoming disconnected from the world and other people because of the distraction of using mobile devices. But I came up with a very powerful solution. I committed to not using any mobile or wi-fi device for the first eight hours of every day. And I followed through with it. Nowadays, when I do finally turn my phone or connect to the Internet in the late afternoon, I find that the world has not ended. Most of the email I receive is useless, and does not require responding to. The world remains intact even though I have missed reading BBC news. And certainly nothing is missed on Facebook – unless you count pictures of other people’s lunches and videos of cute cats as being significant.

The essential problem is that your mind has been conditioned to operate in a state of distracted dissociation. You are comfortable with verbal-linguistic modes of operation. If you are well-educated you probably enjoy critical thinking, analysing problems, communicating thoughts and opinions. You are possibly comfortable with philosophical and mathematical ways of knowing.

There’s nothing wrong with any of these ways of knowing and being. But they do operate in quite different ways from the cognitive functions of integrated intelligence. Allow me to explain the prime differences.

To activate intuition you need to release the need for control. At least temporarily. You need to be able to relax deeply and note what is RECEIVED by the mind. I implore you to note the idea of receptivity. This is the key to activating intuitive ways of knowing and being. With rational modes of knowing, the mind retains its sense of agency and control over the thinking process.

Now, some may argue that this sense of control is an illusion. That is a popular argument in the mind sciences today. But this is largely irrelevant to my main argument. The key point is that you probably enjoy feeling that you have great deal of control over your thoughts. And you probably tend to identify with the voice in your head. It is very likely you believe your thoughts ARE you.

Conversely, with intuition you develop a capacity to witness what emerges from the mind. There is a distancing process. There comes an awareness that many thoughts emerge of their own accord. Even more disturbing, you will come to realize that some of your thoughts are not your own, and that other people and groups impact your thoughts. Yes, this means that you are not in control of everything back there. That’s a scary realization.

By the time you are an adult your mind/brain system is basically set. It’s like a boulder rolling down a hill. It takes a great deal of energy to shift its direction. The mind resists. This is why you need to commit time and energy to expanding your ways of knowing. If you enter the project half-hearted, you will soon give up.

What I am talking about is a very, very different way of relating to your mind. It is, I beleive, an evolutionary step beyond “rationality”, at least as expressed in most modern societies.

This shift takes time, patience and practice. You need to set aside a significant amount of time to make this happen. The thing is, you have probably not spent much time at all developing such receptive modes of cognition. Few people in modern western countries have. As an aside, the same is now normal in China (where I live), and where these ideas have been equated with superstition.

When I was twenty-six I had no experience with the intuitive mind. I had lived in my head my entire life. But I began to set aside time for meditation, dream journaling and practicing visionary states. I admit, some of what I experienced was frightening. Much of it was uncomfortable. But it was also fascinating. A whole new world opened up before me, one I never knew existed. I discovered that I was a natural visionary. I had regular spiritual and visionary experience which included spiritual guidance, precognition and clairvoyant perception of other paces, times and people.

A few years later I engaged in deep healing processes, notably inner child work. Part of the way I was taught to work with the psyche was to allow the intuitive data from within me to bubble up to the surface, and then to act on it. After two years of solid work in this area, I became extremely intuitive. In particular my ability to feel had escalated dramatically. Best of all, I was far more grounded in my body, because when we are shut out hurt and pain, we are actually disconnecting from ourselves. You can’t work well with the intuitive knowledge within if you are shutting down emotional pain.

The other thing that this inner child work did for me was that it gave a me deep insight into the way emotional pain is tied to human behavior, to our sense of self. This includes the way we unconsciously attempt to control and manipulate others and life itself, such that we do not have to address our pain and in particular the fear of abandonment and death – the two greatest fears which lie within the human psyche. In fact they are the same fear, as for the inner child abandonment represents death.

Even suicide is, strangely enough, often an attempt to cheat death because in many cases the individual’s psyche is unable to deal with the finiteness of existence and the fact that all things pass. This creates a terror and despair so profound that for some people they just cannot bare to tolerate existence any longer – and so seek to end it. This is of course, a terrible irony. But it is part of the madness of mind. And make no mistake, the human mind IS a kind of madness, because it rarely deals in the reality of what IS in the present moment. It deals in fearful, imagined futures and painful, remembered pasts.

The prime means by which you will develop powerful intuition is by developing your ability to identify, sense and interpret your feelings. It is via your feelings that you will become an empowered intuitive being. Now, this can be quite a shift for many people, because as I wrote, many are used to suppressing their feelings. But more about that next week.

Marcus AnthonyMarcus T Anthony, PhD is the author of ten books about human awakening, including Discover Your Soul Template. He is also a life coach and teacher of profound intuition. His web site is www.mind-futures.com.

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How You Can Develop Profound Intuition (2)

This is the second part of a series of posts I am writing here on CLN about how to develop powerful intuitive skills (integrated intelligence). Integrated intelligence is closely related to the classical idea of intuition, connecting us with a stream of consciousness which transcends the limits of immediate space and time. Each of these posts is an extract from my upcoming book “How to Develop Profound Intuition.” So stay tuned for further insights. (And, in case you missed it, here’s Part 1.)

The second obstacle to developing profound intuition comes as surprise to many.

The fear.

Make no mistake. Developing the intuitive mind will be met with resistance from your “rational” mind. The rational, analytical mind is used to being in control. It is also used to seeing itself as a discrete, isolated entity, separate from the world. However, as soon as you develop what I call integrated intelligence it will become apparent that the latter is, in part, an illusion. Your mind is intimately connected with other minds and consciousness fields, and with the world around you. There is a part of you that transcends time and space. It also transcends your self-concept, that delimited idea you have of who you are.

Let’s talk about control. In a certain sense, the rational mind is an attempt by your biological organism to keep you safe by controlling as much of your experince as a possible – insisting that it is largely in control of your life experience – when in fact it is not. A great deal of religious and spiritual practice is an attempt to maintain this illusion of control. Prayer is often an attempt to control the world. Leaving offerings at temples is typically an attempt to receive some payoff. Similarly, much of the practice of the idea of the law of attraction is an attempt to establish the illusion that the mind can control the world.

I’m not telling people they should not attempt to manage and organise their lives, nor to use their minds and hearts to create desired futures. Creating desirable lives is a wonderful thing.

Nor am I saying that there is not a relationship between the mind and the cosmos, nor that thoughts and energy structures within the mind do not play a role in the unfolding of life. I believe they do, as I wrote in my book A More Attractive Law of Attraction. I am simply telling you that much of “spiritual” practice is often centred on the idea of gaining control of stuff that we have limited control over – because we are scared of losing control. And the fear of losing control typically reflects a poorly developed relationship with the mind within, and the world outside us. Ultimately, fear of losing control emerges from the fear of abandonment and death – but that is more than I can go into here.

If you develop profound intuition and have a genuine gift for clairvoyant perception (not everyone does), one thing that will become obvious is that we live in a complex multi-verse of entangled consciousness structures. All of us are being pushed and pulled by such forces. They emerge from other people’s minds, collective or group energies, and spiritual guides and discarnate entities. Some of these energies are neutral or benevolent. Some aren’t.

My point is that if you really go deep with this stuff, it can be frightening. But for most people it is not necessary to try to peer into the hearts and souls of others, nor to flay wide the intimate secrets of the world and cosmos. Indeed, any such attempt can be confusing, time-consuming and counter-productive. In fact, I tend to discourage people from getting caught up in the psychic mind. It can be a distraction from simply living here and now, enjoying life in the world of the present moment. That’s what we are here for anyway, and to learn from that experience.

Personally, I love, the idea of not being in control. I consider myself to be a slightly dangerous individual. If I had control of life and the universe, some people might get hurt. Starting with a few of my ex-employers. But I do digress.

There is something of a contradiction here. We need to find the right balance between controlling the things that keep our lives ordered and manageable, and relaxing and allowing the right relationship with mind and cosmos to unfold. It is not ideal to go so far into the mentality of control that we become tight, joyless robots terrified that everything is going to go wrong.

If a prime goal in developing profound intuition is to also develop the right relationship with mind and world, you need to release the insistence that the outcome will be the one that you want or expect. You need to allow life and the cosmos to be the wonderful mystery that it is. You need to be humble. Because the universe is a whole lot bigger than you and your tiny mind. You might think of yourself as special. But come on! How important could you possibly be? So just relax and enjoy the ride.

Okay. So here’s the final great paradox. Developing powerful intuition DOES grant you a greater degree of control over life. It enables you to better read people’s true intentions. It enables you to read your own motivations more truthfully. Further, you often get to sense the outcomes of decisions before they are made; to sense the way things will unfold. For example, you might have a strong feeling that you should walk down this street or that street on your way to the shop – because it feels right. You may not know why. You may simply know that there’s energy on taking that path.

Let’s address a further possible disturbing thing you may experience as integrated intelligence enhances your perception of the connectedness of all things. You may increasingly become aware of the effects of your thoughts and behaviours on others. Yes, I did say “thoughts”, because our thoughts do affect others, and projections of emotional energy can be harmful to those around us. Sometimes they can be very destructive. Therefore, you are not going to be able to just think and do whatever you want anymore. You have to be more responsible for your emotional projections, and that includes those that were previously unconscious and repressed. This inevitably involves doing some healing work, and connecting with the hurt and angry parts of your psyche. For some people, this might be quite a challenging journey. Certainly in my case it has been.

Developing profound intuition is a bit like getting out of elementary school. You are not a little kid anymore, and suddenly you have to start being more responsible and accountable for your life – and indirectly accountable to those around you (even though most will have no idea that you are doing so).

Now, you are probably thinking that others may well be affecting YOUR mind as well. And you’d be right. Some “crazy” people are not quite as crazy as is often assumed. Some are actually perceiving the thought projections of others, but cannot distinguish them from their own. If you become particularly lucid at an auditory level, you might even start hearing the voices of others. You might also have visions which reveal their dark side and their metal projections. All this can be quite frightening. And this is why many rebel at the idea of the intuitive mind. I have received plenty of correspondence from critics slamming me for teaching others how to be intuitive, and for is very reason. These are often people frightened of what they might see and experience if they open the Pandora’s box of integrated intelligence. Some of these emails are very angry ones, because when people get scared, they get angry and then they tend to attack.

The final great fear that you will likely have to face as you become increasingly intuitive is the terror of seeing what lies within yourself. This is related to the requirement to become more present, because to be genuinely intuitive, you really need to become more present in your body, and more present to the world and others.

So as your awareness expands, you will need to see what lies within your own psyche. Even worse, you will probably need to start FEELING what lies within. And in the end, this is what really terrifies people most. A key function of the rational mind is to maintain your emotional state at manageable levels, and to stop you from feeling all the pain and hurt that lies within you.

This is particularly true in many Asian and Confucian cultures, especially China, where I have lived and worked for many years. I first saw this first hand when I attended a mindfulness retreat in Beijing just a few years ago. Master teacher Leonard Jacobson led that group into profound levels of presence. And as that stillness emerged, the repressed emotional energy of various individuals began to surface. Some people began to express deep grief, others great fear. Others tapped into extreme rage.

This is perfectly normal, whether you are Chinese, African or Brazilian. Yet what are we to do with these deep emotions if our culture is not open to expressing them? I will leave that as an “open” question. (Read Discover Your Soul Template for more insight).

Thus, if you are to become more deeply present, you will see and feel more. In truth, developing integrated intelligence requires a simultaneous healing journey. Profound intuition does not come Scott free. There is a price to pay for this stuff. You have been warned. It requires commitment and courage. Yet it is also truly transformational. You will not complete this journey as the same person who started it. That I promise you.

Continue reading Part 3…

Marcus AnthonyMarcus T Anthony, PhD is the author of ten books about human awakening, including Discover Your Soul Template. He is also a life coach and teacher of profound intuition. His web site is www.mind-futures.com.




How You Can Develop Profound Intuition (1)

This is the first part of a series of posts I am writing here on CLN about how to develop powerful intuitive skills (integrated intelligence). Integrated intelligence is closely related to the classical idea of intuition, connecting us with a stream of consciousness which transcends the limits of immediate space and time. Each of these posts is an extract from my upcoming book “How to develop profound intuition.” So stay tuned for further insights.

Perhaps the greatest obstacle to developing profound intuition is the civilization barrier. Mainstream Western science and education has rejected most of the cognitive functions associated with spirituality, religion and superstition – which are often naively placed in the same category. Given that the idea of a brain-transcending cognitive mental ability is clearly considered “paranormal,” or equated with mental illness, we set out on the journey to profound intuition on rather uneasy footing.

The fact is that there is a stigma involved with developing the mind in the way I am suggesting. If this were a book about how to develop your logical thinking skills or raise your IQ, you wouldn’t have to worry about anybody finding it lying on the sofa or your computer desktop. If you are a male, it is even worse, as men are supposed to be hard-minded, straight-thinking individuals who have no time for “woo-woo” nonsense.

It is true that the intuitive mind represents a “fuzzy” intelligence. It can be problematic to employ. Firstly, it can be difficult to distinguish genuine intuitions from other cognitive functions such as anticipation, fear, imagination and so on. Secondly, it is often impossible to verify intuitions, unlike, say, mathematics, where it is perfectly possible to obtain “the one right answer.” Finally, it has to be said a lot of people employ intuition poorly, making endless mistakes and just plain deluding themselves.

But the same can be said of almost any mental discipline. So let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. The intuitive mind is a pathway to a genuine power and a wisdom mindset that are invaluable for human beings. In fact, I believe you cannot be a fully empowered and wise human being without having developed your intuitive mind. This is because the abstract/conceptual thinking of “rationality” is dissociated from the body and from deep inner knowings. In short, you need to develop both “hard” and “soft” mental abilities.

Unfortunately there is not much you can do about the culture in which you live and the perceptions of others, even when they are based on ignorance and misunderstanding. You have to develop a very strong sense of self and detach from the judgments of others.

It is no different for me. I have to negotiate the mundane world with such issues constantly in mind. I am a teacher and researcher with a PhD, and am a member of the World Futures Studies Federation. And I can assure you that “precognition” – to choose just one intuitive cognitive function – is not considered a valid discussion point amongst fellow futurists. I rarely talk about the intuitive mind when I am teaching. But I can assure you I am employing that very intelligence at all times!

It would be very easy to simply dismiss the idea of integrated intelligence as delusional mumbo-jumbo. Many people – probably most men it has to be stated – do exactly that. But if you have read this far without deleting this book then there is hope yet that I can persuade you not to throw away a massive and vital part of your mind and life experience simply because these mental processes are not supported by the greater community.

Yes, it’s tough to do what I am suggesting – to take time to develop integrated intelligence. You will need courage and persistence. You probably won’t get a lot of support from others (although if you can find such support with friends of specific communities, great). Indeed, some people will try to stop you. This is not usually due to malicious intent, but because they just haven’t got a clue what you are doing.

So you can see why not many people develop profound intuition.The courage, resilience and self-belief required can be immense; and when you don’t have the support structures around you to validate what you are doing, it is easy to give up. It is easy to simply accept that greater society is right about the nature of the mind, and you are wrong.

Don’t be one of these people.

In my next post on this topic, I will provide a profound example from my own recent life, where I needed to trust my intuition when everyone else and “the world” was telling me otherwise. It’s a story with a happy ending – it’s just the beginning and middle bits that get nasty.

 

Marcus AnthonyMarcus T Anthony, PhD is the author of ten books about human awakening, including Discover Your Soul Template. He is also a life coach and teacher of profound intuition. His web site is www.mind-futures.com.

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The Shocking Truth About Charles Darwin

charles darwinCharles Darwin, as we all know, was a great scientist who meticulously laid bare the myth of a purposeful hand in evolution, instead revealing that blind chance and survival of the fittest are what lie behind the evolution of species. He was vehemently opposed to religious and spiritual thought, instead insisting upon the empirical investigation of nature as the only means to truly identify the way our world works. In short, the selfish gene hypothesis famously posited by Richard Dawkins has much to thank Darwin for, in establishing the ground rules upon which nature produces new variations in plant and animal life.

Yet according to research put forward by veteran psychologist David Loye, this representation of Darwin is only partially correct. Indeed it is dangerously misleading. It fails to mention the shocking truth that Darwin was no advocate of blind chance as the key factor underpinning natural selection. Although the beginnings of genetic theory were still half a century away in 1858 when The Origin of Species was published, Loye’s research suggests that Darwin would not have been particularly inclined towards Dawkin’s selfish gene hypothesis and neo-Darwinism in general. Conversely, Loye writes in his latest book The Integral Darwin: The Revolutionary Rest of the Story and the Theory of Evolution that Darwin’s work and thinking actually presaged the mid-twentieth century arrival of systems theory, self-organising process theory, and a more progressive, spiritually-inclined psychology.

The case for a softer Darwin
Some years ago Loye’s investigative mind took to purusing Dawin’s The Descent of Man, which was published over a decade after The Origin of Species. To his astonishment, the Princeton psychologist discovered that Darwin had only used the term “survival of the fittest” twice in the entire huge volume, and wrote only six times of “selfishness.” Conversely he wrote about “moral sensitivity” no less than ninety-two times and “love” ninety-five times.

Loye’s case for depicting Darwin as a far more eclectic and even spiritually-inclined individual is strong. The quotes he takes from Darwin’s own works and diaries cannot be simply dismissed as aberrations. For this we should certainly thank the author.

Consider the following, from the conclusion of The Descent of Man.

Important as the struggle for existence has been and even still is, yet as far as the highest part of man’s nature is concerned there are other agencies more important… For the moral qualities are advanced, either directly or indirectly, much more through the effects of habit, he reasoning powers, instruction, religion, &c, than through natural selection.

It is difficult to argue that Darwin here is talking about cultural evolution. Yes, that despised word amongst empiricists, “culture.”
Or reflect upon this gem which Loye quotes.

Admitting for a moment that virtuous tendencies are inherited, it appears probable, at least in such cases as chastity, temperance, humanity to animals, &c., that they become first impressed on the mental organisation through habit, instruction and example, continued during several generations in the same family, and in a quite subordinate degree, or not at all, by the individuals possessing such virtues having succeeded best in the struggle for life.

This quote appears to suggest that mental characteristics can be passed down from generation to generation. This is not much like the selfish gene at all. Indeed, here is a Darwin who believed that “love sympathy and self-command (can) become strengthened by habit.”
Further, Loye finds evidence in The Descent of Man that Darwin was favourably predisposed to spiritual reflection.

… A belief in all-pervading, spiritual agencies seems to be universal; and apparently follows from a considerable advance in man’s reason, and from a still greater advance in his faculties of imagination, curiosity and wonder.

Again, we see a Darwin at great odds with the dominant culture of modern science, one who saw the spiritual as an “advance” in consciousness. Loye’s research suggests that the mental realm was just as important to Darwin’s evolutionary model as was the physical. Later in the march of scientific “progress” all trace the mental was to be largely excluded from the modernist worldview. Darwin’s story suffered a similar fate, with reference to such ideas excluded from the popular narrative, a link that Loye highlights often.

How it came to pass
What intrigues Loye is how Darwin has come to be so badly misrepresented in modern science. Why is it that we have only been told of half the story? How for example, did we get from Darwin’s initial theory – which was moderated by deeper philosophical and arguably spiritual ideals – to the far end of today’s neoDarwinism. The latter is epitomised by philosopher and neo-Darwinist Daniel Dennet’s claiming that ALL things in the universe operate according to processes which strongly mirror the mechanistic laws of a rigid natural selection? The reason for this perversion, according to Loye, lies in the mindboggling power of paradigm blindness.

Today, Neo-Darwinism has come to dominate biology, and in turn neuroscience and psychology have become handmaidens to its reductionism – a development that Freud foresaw and feared in the first half of the twentieth century. Yet there is evidence that the hold of the mechanistic paradigm is loosening. Such developments as the missing heritability problem in genetics, neurplasticity, and the evidence for the non-local properties of consciousness pose a genuine challenge to the machine cosmos worldview.

Darwin was no Darwinist, and why it matters
Yet what of Loye’s case for Darwin’s thinking being a precursor to more recent systems and chaos theory? The correlations are also clear, though some may find the link overstated.

Loye sees a far more humane, sustainable and ultimately accurate depiction of life and cosmos in the systems theories epitomised by the work of such thinkers as thermodynamicist Ilya Prigogine, brain scientist Karl Probram, integral philosopher Ken Wilber, feminist writer Rianne Eisler, systems theorist Ervin Laszlo and psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Indeed, the first part of the book details how David Loye was invited to join Ervin Laslo’s General Evolution research group in Budapest. Ultmately Loye would develop the Darwin Project Group, with the express goal of bringing Darwin’s Lost Theory to the world.

It is not Loye’s intention to deny the role of natural selection on nature. Nor does he deny many of the aspects of Dawin’s theory which are consistent with Neo-Darwinism. Yet Loye is adamant that Darwin himself was no “Darwinist” in the popular conception of the term.
But does all this really matter? Is it really that important that Darwin’s conception of natural selection and of nature in general was far more eclectic than mainstream genetic theory today and that we have underplayed the diffrences?

Yes, it is important, says Loye. Very important. The selfish gene theory and mechanistic biology in general have created a very selective and deeply distorted view of the cosmos in which we live. Such delimited thinking simply ignores the data which does not fit its map of reality. It therefore does not represent the full human story. At a social and cultural level it has contributed to the the often disconnected and morally vapid culture of modern developed economies. This distorted map and culture, argues Loye, are what lie behind many of the great problems of the world, including disconnection from nature, environmental recklessness, rabid consumerism and much human conflict. He also sees power-hungry conservative interests as having taken the neo-Darwinnian discourse to justify their own selfish social agendas.Therefore, the reinstatement of the full story of Darwin would represent an important step in acknowledging where we have gone wrong. From that point we could begin the long task of finding a more accurate and empowering narrative to drive the human species into the future.

In the end, Loye’s research shows us that the stories we tell about our heroes – including those from science, philosophy and education – can be heavily distorted by the prevailing thinking of those gazing upon the past. Examples from the history of science and philosophy abound. Socrates was no mere critical thinker, believing in the spiritually transformative power of knowledge. Newton started out as a theologian and remained mired in theology all his life (Darwin, too, excelled at university in Divinity Studies). Freud was sympathetic to research into ESP, but afraid to go public about it. These men were not the severe rationalists that are often depicted in modern tomes, each possessing ideas and ideals that were either mystical, religious, spiritual or Romantic in some sense.

If David Loye is right, Charles Darwin may one day be remembered as one of the men who healed the split in the modern mind between the scientific/rational, and the spiritual/intuitive. That would be some irony.

David Loye’s website is www.davidloye.com.
Marcus T Anthony, PhD is the author of ten books about human awakening, including Discover Your Soul Template. He is also a life coach and teacher of profound intuition. His web site is www.mind-futures.co




Video: How To Convince a Skeptic About Spiritual Realities

So you want to convince that skeptic about the validity of your spiritual perceptions. This is a problem faced by every person with a spiritual perspective. Here’s my video response. (And if you have a question you would like to ask me,  Marcus T Anthony, about issues related to spirituality and the wisdom journey, write it in the comments section, below, or mail it to marcus@marcustanthony.com if you prefer discretion).

 

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Marcus T Anthony (PhD) is a futurist of the human mind, writer and spiritual adviser. He is the author of Discover Your Soul Template and many other books.

Marcus posts a new article on CLN every Saturday. To view his articles, click HERE.

 




Why Life Is Cruel: A Spiritual Perspective

Marcus T Anthony (PhD) is a futurist of mind, writer and spiritual advisor. His web site is www.mind-futures.com. The following is an extract from his upcoming book, “Champion of the Soul”.

The soul’s journey is one of grace. The universe guides us and nurtures us, much like a loving parent.
But that parent knows the value of tough love. Oftentimes it leads us into places that lead to suffering, where that suffering can deepen our wisdom. And it is perfectly willing to allow us to make foolish choices which can lead to painful outcomes.

I have come to know this from personal experience, and from witnessing the lives of others.

Not that long ago I personally experienced this yet again in my life. I attended a teacher-training course run by Cambridge University, the CELTA course. This programme for teachers of English as a second language is well known for being very, very tough.

In fact, it was far tougher than any training I have ever done. All teachers were required to undergo eight trainer-evaluated lessons and submit four written assignments within the space of twenty days, not including weekends.

I received the evaluation of “unsatisfactory” for my second and third lessons. For the third lesson my evaluator gave me an unsatisfactory grade for ten of the twenty assessed criteria! This must have been close to a company record.

As you might imagine, I did not feel good about this. In fact for a few hours after receiving my feedback I felt quite depressed, and beat myself up. The possibility that I would fail the entire course was looking a distinct possibility. I wondered whether I should give up. I was certainly tempted to do so. But within a few hours I remembered why I had entered the course in the first place: to receive critical evaluation of my teaching, and use the feedback to become a better teacher.

I felt despondent, but resolved to keep going. Most of all I stopped beating myself up. I stopped taking it personally.

That night as I lay down to sleep I received two pieces of spiritual guidance. Often I hear songs being played to me in this state between waking and sleeping. To be honest, I don’t really know where the melodies come from, but it seems likely they are either initiated by spiritual guides or my higher self.

The first line to come to me was very simple: “Teacher, keep on teaching.” These words are from a Stevie Wonder song, “Higher Ground”. I knew that the words were encouragement for me to keep going. To keep teaching. I knew that I was making the right decision to continue the programme.
The second song that came through to my inner ear were from an old Nick Lowe song, and contained these lines:

Cruel to be kind, in the right measure
Cruel to be kind it’s a very good sign
Cruel to be kind means that I love you, baby
You gotta be cruel to be kind

The lyrics told me that even though the feedback that I was getting from my teacher-trainers was very, very critical, it was actually in my best interests. It was, in a sense, an act of love.

I knew then that I need not take the evaluations personally, but should see them as a means to improve as a teacher.

I returned to my lesson-preparations the next day with renewed vigour. For my next lesson I received excellent evaluations, and I passed all remaining five lessons, all remaining assignments and ultimately the course itself.

Best of all, I learned an incredible amount about teaching. And learning.

The truth is that life – and God if you prefer to use this word – is often like my experience on the CELTA teaching programme. Things may sometimes seem cruel or unkind. But all things are an opportunity to learn. All things inner and outer an opportunity to awaken from the dream of mind; from the delusion that it is “all about me”.

Trusting the cruel queen
Please allow me to share something else a little personal.
In between the two failed CELTA lessons – which were taught about four days apart – I had the following dream. I transcribe it here exactly as I wrote it down in my dream journal.

Two other students from the (CELTA) course are getting some kind of reading from a female oracle. She towers before us like a giant statue, and seems to look somewhat like the virgin Mary, although her image in hazy. The oracle’s head has all the left side missing (her left), as if someone has taken a great knife and chopped the left side of her face off.

I am slightly frightened and overawed.

I think R. (another student on the course) is beside me to my right. He gets a reading first. There is a loaf of bread in front of him, and I know this represents the soul issue he is being shown.

Next, the oracle turns to me.

“You’ve been into the left-hand side of the sea.” She says to me. “If you are to ever have hope, you must deal with your anger.”

There is a loaf of bread in front of me, round and brown which seems to represent my anger. I say something like the issue old, but the oracle says, “No, it’s fresh.” I look again, and sure enough the loaf seems fresh-baked.

“Have you ever lost a finger?” the giant oracle says as she he reaches down with a sharp, metal, serrated-edged knife and begins to slice into the long finger on my right hand, just to mid-right of the tip (hand facing me). I do not know whether to trust her, scared she will cut off the finger. She seems almost flippant, with a callous kind of humour.

There then comes the idea that one has to trust the goddess in these situations, so I present the hand. The blade cuts into my finger, but stops just a short way into the flesh.

I am relieved.
I wake up.

In this dream the symbolism is clear. Sometimes God (or goddess) will invite you into places that are frightening, which might be fearful or even trigger trauma and suffering. But there is an intention that through the experience you might be brought into deeper awareness of your soul issues, of the self-limiting beliefs and stories that you carry in your mind.

Although the meaning might not be apparent to you, for me the personal nature of the dream was clear. In this dream my anger and blame was towards the world. The belief was that no matter what I did, I would fail, that the world would push me down. This is a victim narrative.

I might add that it is one of the most common soul issues amongst people in the world today.
The reference to going into the left-hand side of the sea was an oblique reference to allowing myself to become too caught up “in the head”, and disconnecting with my body and my deeper emotional body.

The term “the left-hand side of the sea” was an indirect reference to the left-hand side of my brain – and my developing an unbalanced cognitive predisposition which left me ungrounded and disconnected from my emotional and intuitive body.

The important thing is that no matter what your life circumstances, no matter what set of cards life has dealt you, you are still responsible for your anger and projections. God does not grant excuses. No matter how downtrodden you are (including your “people”), there is an opportunity to see through the story of the mind and into the clarity of the present moment. There is an opportunity to heal.

You just have to be prepared to own your story, assume responsibility for whatever pain lies behind it, and then release it all to God.

Never believe the story that your mind is trying to sell you. Never believe the story that your people are pleading with you to take on – no matter how morally vindicated you believe they are.

For that story is what locks you into the world of the past, into the world of pain.
And into the world of karma.




A Dramatic Shift In Human Consciousness is Coming: The OTHER Singularity (Part 2)

In Part 1 of this two-part article I stated why I think a shift in human consciousness is emerging, a shift which will revolutionise the way we view the nature of the mind. I have called this The Other Singularity, following futurist Benjamin Butler’s term. In futurist Ray Kurzweil’s idea of the Singularity, machine intelligence will revolutionize life and society. However, in the other kind of turning point I am talking about here, the great shift will involve the acknowledgement that consciousness is non-local in nature, and plays a central role in the universe. Integrated Intelligence – the idea that our intimate and transcendent connectedness through space and time potentially grants each of us expansive knowledge and wisdom – will transform the way the human race views its relationship with nature, the cosmos and life itself. Here in Part 2 I will focus upon the practical side of the shift: what you can do about it, what difficulties you might encounter.

The year 2012 was when I began to sense a genuine shift in the way western society views the idea of “the mind.” It was the widespread critical reaction to the TED censorship saga, where that organization had TEDx talks by biologist Rupert Sheldrake and writer Graham Hancock taken down from the main part of the TED website, which strongly suggested a sea change. At the time, Sheldrake, stated this clearly in an interview on Alex Tsakiris’ Skeptico blog. The saga suggested that more people than ever had become open to the possibilities of expanded human consciousness.

The Importance of the Internet

The internet is a big part of this shift which I believe is still in the process of occurring. In the pre-internet era, information was far less democratic. People could only read, listen to or watch what the media and publishing houses thought was suitable for consumption. Now web sites, podcasts, blogs, YouTube channels and so on (often run by one individual or a small team) can experience great popularity and influence for no other reason than they meet the approval of an audience. Self-publishing and the proliferation of e-books is another part of this expanded capacity for people to disseminate knowledge and opinion.

Those on the fringes of society now finally get to have a greater voice, albeit often in a secluded corner of the Internet. And one domain of knowledge which has greatly benefited is that devoted to spiritual life and a deeper understanding of consciousness. The web sites, blogs and podcasts range from those with a more rigorous scientific/academic bent (e.g. Dean Radin, Rupert Sheldrake, Richard Milton) to those with a more popular slant (e.g. Synchrosecrets, Leonard Jacobson and of course Conscious Life News). There are scores of similar web pages I could list, and thousands more I have no knowledge of.

All of these thinkers and commentators have their own niche, but each puts forward the idea that the spiritual dimensions of human experience are genuine. It is true that there are plenty of more conservative – even skeptical or critical – choices on the internet, but the popularity of spiritual discourses shows that we cannot go back to the way we were. Not ever. A comment written by Jason Orion on the TED site epitomises the sentiments of so many voicing approval of the new shift in awareness.

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

I couldn’t have put it better myself.

But where might this shift lead us?

What will happen?

Despite the impressive and often wondrous technologies that have arisen from current science, the truth is that our mainstream understanding of consciousness remains crude. There is much of life and sentience that is simply not amenable to our senses in a normal state of consciousness.

Nor can all of it be easily measured by the machinery contained within laboratories. Still, such technology will improve in the future. And the future is a very, very long time. It is logical to assume that we will one day be able to more easily read the presence of the extended mind – consciousness which extends beyond the body to connect with other people, the environment and spiritual realms. The current experimental evidence in parapsychology, which is only reasonably robust, will likely strengthen in quality and volume.

Inevitably there will continue to be conflict between those who wish to retain a foothold in the old system, and those wishing to extend the boundaries of the known. This has always been way in all domains of knowledge. The conflict is significant, because the system still generally rewards those with a conservative bent. It rewards them with status, employment, money and power. Those challenging the system will continue to face resistance. Look at the criticism that Rupert Sheldrake, Dean Radin and Brian Josephson have faced over the years. Josephson, a Nobel prize winner in physics, was virtually excommunicated from the science community for stating openly that parapsychology has generated impressive evidence towards establishing the existence of psi-related experience.

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

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

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

The internet is now more hostile and more tribal than ever, and that is not likely to change anytime soon. Those who play a role in The Other Singularity cannot expect to be received well by mainstream thinkers, and sometimes criticism will be harsh and personal. So, proponents of the shift in consciousness will just have to develop a thick skin. I personally see the need to cultivate the art of mindfulness. Mindful presence reduces the mind’s tendency to personalise things and to engage in drama with others with a differing opinion. Having said this, as I wrote in Part 1, I predict that eventually the weight of evidence and public opinion will push ideas that are now “alternative” into the mainstream.

And that means opportunities will arise.

The Myriad Possibilities

Once the extended mind is an accepted fact and human spiritual experience is reinstated into education and society as a whole, it will open the floodgates in all manner of scientific, philosophical, religious and spiritual domains. Media, social media and business spheres will open, too. The opportunities for those with knowledge and understanding of related domains will be considerable.

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

The possibilities are myriad. I’ll just mention a few here. If you can’t expand upon these, then you aren’t really trying!

  • Why not rethink the very nature of capitalism? Steve and Chutisa Bowman, authors of No More Business as Usual, have found abundant work traveling around the world teaching organisations the concept of “prosperity consciousness”. They see the world as being full of endless opportunity and wealth. They believe that the obsession with lack and competition keeps organsiations locked in an old world paradigm.
  • The Bowman’s work is also strongly related to conscious leadership. Surely it is time to rethink the nature of what it means to lead! This could be true at multiple levels, from heads of departments at your local university, to small business owners, Fortune 500 CEOs and  right through to national governments.
  • Think of the possibilities in education! How might teaching and learning be changed to allow students to acknowledge their intuitive side? If the extended mind really does allow us to tap into other times, places and fields of information, how might students be encouraged to creatively explore their subject matters? There have been recent studies into mindfulness and synchronicity in the classroom and education in general.
  • Artists, writers and film-makers may be able to seize an opportunity as the public becomes more open to spiritual subject matters. How might they employ integrated intelligence to create their works? I have been using this intelligence for years. I wrote Discover Your Soul Template that way.
  • Mind shifting bloggers and social media creators can make an impact. Just take a look at the London Real podcasts and Dancing past the dark, Nancy Bush Evan’s blog about distressing near death experiences. Many of these people have their own books and other services or products.
  • Mindfulness will become mainstream in business and education. This trend is already well underway, as suggested above. How might decisions be made in business meetings if the intuitive mind is acknowledged? How might teachers and professors conduct a class if there is an acknowledgement that students can connect with the subject matter non-locally? If mindfulness can facilitate non-judgmental awareness, how might that shift a social science class examining racism, war, crime, misogynist projections and so on? Margaret Peterson, a psychotherapist, does exactly this in California, teaching mindfulness to groups of up to 1200 people. Another mindfulness practitioner is Gary Weber, an advocate of non-dual consciousness in the Eastern enlightenment tradition. He is a strong advocate of neuroscience in the discussion on enlightenment.
  • If you are philosophically inclined, you might like to consider the many possibilities as a futurist. The domain of Futures Studies that I work within – Critical Futures Studies – is very open to innovative ideas. Besides my own work at mind-futures.com, Sohail Inayatullah and Ivana Milojevic have been introducing spiritual concepts to organsiations and governments for years, while Benjamin Butler’s Emerging Future Institute is bringing together notable thinkers and ideas to push the boundaries of our thinking about the future. Also, check out the innovative thinking of, Willis Harman and Richard Slaughter.
  • It is reasonable to assume that eventually greater amounts of funding for research into alternative medicine and healing will be made available (although this will probably take decades). Do you practice a healing modality that could be of assistance to others?
  • I am no expert in computing. But the idea of the extended mind could have implications for artificial intelligence. Although people who link consciousness to quantum physics get lashed by skeptics’ groups, entanglement and non-locality may ultimately prove to be highly fruitful ideas in computing, artificial intelligence and even in the transhumanist movement – those folks such as Ray Kurzweil, who fancy the idea of uploading their minds onto computers. Hong Kong based AI and robotics researcher Ben Geortzel is exploring the possibilities in linking robotics to his panpsychic view of the cosmos; while Gino Yu, his colleague at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, has been fostering awareness about expanded modes of consciousness for decades.
  • What about biology? Currently it is one of the most conservative of all the sciences, but once the idea of the extended mind gains scientific foothold, biology will have no choice but to make a radical upgrade. Rupert Sheldrake has been leading the way with his idea of morphic resonance. Sheldrake cops a bit of a lashing from colleagues, but I predict that in time at least some of his thinking will prove seminal in breaking the reductionist/materialist stranglehold in the field. Elisabet Sahtouris is challenging neo-Darwinism. Another fairly recent example of progressive research in this area is a paper published in the prestigious science journal Nature, by Elisabetta Collini and colleagues. That paper, entitled “Coherently wired light-harvesting in photosynthetic marine algae at ambient temperature”, provides evidence that quantum level coherence exists at room temperature in living systems. It suggests that that long-range quantum coherence between molecules can occur in living systems, even at low temperatures.
  • Once biology begins to shift, neuroscience and psychology will have no choice but to widen the scope of their imagination as well. This is because thinking in modern neuroscience is heavily linked to biology, and dominant thinking in psychology is in turn founded in neuroscience. Take a look at Stan Grof’s Holotropic mind and the wonderful work of Peter Fenwick on near death experiences. Or check out veteran researcher David Loye’s expansive take on a wide variety of related matters including re-thinking the legacy of Darwin.
  • Physics (and systems theory) is probably one of the most open-minded fields of inquiry. The list of physicists and systems thinkers probing a possible link between consciousness and the cosmos is long. They include Nobel prize winner Brian Josephson, Oxford’s Roger Penrose, and Fred Alan Wolf. Ervin Laszlo has been doing deep thinking in systems theory for many decades. Presently, these scientists and philosophers often have to face the slings and arrows of outraged fellow-physicists. Yet what immense possibilities lie here once consciousness is restored to its rightful place in the scheme of things?
  • Of course, the field that stands to gain most by the great mind shift is parapsychology. As Dean Radin has stated, those working in this field at present face huge obstacles in gaining acceptance in the broader scientific community. Radin often says there is a “psi taboo”. Yet the field will inevitable boom once the great mind shift occurs.

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

No Easy Ride

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

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

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

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

Finally…

The fact is that the system will probably not be favorable for some time to those who follow their passion and work to help facilitate The Other Singularity. I do not know exactly when the hard wall of scientific materialism will release its grip on the world. Most likely it will be a slow process, with a few gusts of rapid change here and there. Perhaps there will be a Berlin Wall moment, a sudden collapse of the existing order, and the floodgates of a greater understanding will open. For most mainstream pundits and mainstream futurists, that would be a “wildcard”, something both unexpected and disruptive. But it will not be a surprise to those of us who have been exploring the deeper nature of the mind all these years. Nor should you be unprepared…

Yes, committing time, energy and money to The Other Singularity is a risk. We don’t know precisely what is going to happen, nor how quickly. I simply urge you to follow your intuition. Is there a strong voice within you, inviting you to move into working, teaching or sharing such knowledge? If so, why not listen that voice? Why not move out into the frontier lands that it implores you to travel? After all, that is the essence of a spiritual journey.

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

Marcus T Anthony

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Marcus Anthony

Marcus T Anthony (PhD) is a futurist of the human mind, writer and spiritual adviser. His web site is www.mind-futures.com. His new book is Champion of the Soul.

MindFutures is therefore all about the future – especially what I call Deep Futures. These are futures that are not just about science and technology, but about people and their deepest, most profound and spiritual essence. I started the whole idea of MindFutures because I saw that the way the future is often portrayed in the popular media, in government and in organisations is often superficial. In particular, MindFutures explores the way that human experience can be expressed in positive and profound ways, as we continue to speed towards the future.

To view Marcus’ other articles, click HERE.




Coming Soon: A Dramatic Shift In Human Consciousness (The OTHER Singularity)

In this two-part post, I am going to outline why I think there is a dramatic shift in human consciousness coming, and how this will provide great opportunities for those courageous enough to invest time and commitment into this field knowledge. There is a phrase I would like to introduce for this: “the Other Singularity.” This is a term first put forward by Benjamin Butler at the Emerging Future Institute.

I also bill myself as a futurist. I have published and presented around forty papers and book chapters in Futures Studies journals and in several Futures-related books. I have also been a member of the World Futures Studies Federation, and have spoken regularly AT WFSF conferences. So I feel I’m perfectly entitled to call myself a futurist.

The domain of Futures Studies in which I work is often called Critical Futures Studies. This branch of Futures is not so much concerned about prediction, but with analyzing images of the future, looking to see who controls the power, and in particular asking “What is missing?” from ideas and visions of tomorrow. Futurist Richard Slaughter introduced the term “Postconventional Futures Studies”, to accommodate critical futurists like me who like to think well outside the box; in particular, exploring other ways of knowing (OWOK) and the spiritual and mystical dimensions of human experience. Those OWOK include the intuitive and spiritual cognitive processes that conventional science and education has tended to ignore.

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

But sometimes I do like to prognosticate.

You might be aware of the idea of the singularity, put forward by futurist ray Kurzweil. The singularity relates to the precise moment when computers will become smarter than people. After that point, human civilization will never be the same. Computers will only continue to get smarter, while we flesh and blood humans will stay the same dumb “meat machines,” as Elon Musk describes us.

I’m skeptical of Kurzweil’s idea because I think that he and his followers fail to address vital aspects of consciousness and intelligence. To put this in simple terms, I believe that consciousness contains non-local properties. It is not purely localised in space and time, and very likely cannot be reduced to the functioning of micro-components – neurons. I outline this in more detail in my TEDx Hong Kong talk “Mind, Cosmos and our Brilliant Futures.”

The key point here is that if I am right about this, then human beings may be far more “conscious” and far smarter than we generally think. I like to speak of a fully-actualized human mind as having integrated intelligence. This means that the individual has a highly developed intuitive capacity which transcends “rationality” as we typically define it. They are not delimited by the sensory organs, nor time and space as we typically understand them.

In short, merely replicating certain information processes via machines is unlikely to grant those machines anything close to human-like integrated intelligence, let alone consciousness (but in all fairness, Kurzweil does touch on the distinction between “human-like” and machine intelligence. But he does not take the idea of integrated intelligence seriously).

What I and futurists such as Benjamin Butler do believe is that there is another Singularity which is fast approaching. That Other Singularity refers to the precise moment when our science, education and social structures finally accept the reality of the non-local mind.

The Other Singularity, and Two Predications About Consciousness and the Future

I typically make five predictions about the futures of mind. I present two of them here on the very slides I used in my TEDx talk. The other three I will describe in my following blog post, one week from today.

Prediction #1:  Our knowledge of the cosmos will expand in ways that we can barely imagine today, not just quantitatively, but qualitatively…

This is not exactly a brave prediction, is it? If there is one thing that the history of science and philosophy shows us, it is that knowledge expands from one era to another in ways that can barely be imagined by those in the era preceding such shifts. Being knowledgeable is of little assistance here. In 1900, Lord Kelvin, who was one of the most knowledgeable and highly informed men of his day, famously stated that “There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now. All that remains is more and more precise measurement.”

Just five years later Einstein published his seminal paper on relativity theory, and by the late 1920s the quantum field theory was initiated by Paul Dirac, throwing a huge spanner into the works of the mechanical universe. If a highly-learned man like Lord Kelvin can be so wrong, it is logical to assume that you and I are also capable of such poor foresight.

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

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

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

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

Prediction #2: Science will change to acknowledge the extended mind and Integrated Intelligence Education, and Society will follow

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

Why I believe the Other Singularity will occur

You might ask why I am so confident that the Other Singularity is coming?

The first reason is that the scientific evidence for the extended mind is strong, and it will only get stronger. The field that scientifically investigates concepts related to the extended mind is typically called parapsychology. As just one reference, Dean Radin is perhaps the foremost scientist doing such work. His meta-analysis of ganzfeld experiments – which test whether human beings can sense the contents of another’s mind at a distance – has produced the most impressive results. 0ver 122 experiments conducted in 20 labs and with 4674 sessions have yielded results of 300 trillion quadrillion to one (the latest results were published in Psychological Bulletin in 2010). Radin summarised these experimental procedures and the data gleaned from them in a talk he gave at the Electric Universe conference. The two videos are available on YouTube, and well worth watching for those who wish to familiarise themselves with the research done in this field.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marcus T Anthony

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Marcus Anthony

Marcus T Anthony (PhD) is a futurist of the human mind, writer and spiritual adviser. His web site is www.mind-futures.com. His new book is Champion of the Soul.

MindFutures is therefore all about the future – especially what I call Deep Futures. These are futures that are not just about science and technology, but about people and their deepest, most profound and spiritual essence. I started the whole idea of MindFutures because I saw that the way the future is often portrayed in the popular media, in government and in organisations is often superficial. In particular, MindFutures explores the way that human experience can be expressed in positive and profound ways, as we continue to speed towards the future.

Marcus posts a new article on CLN every Monday.  To view his articles, click HERE.




Have You Fallen Into the Spirituality Trap?

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 organizational practices that 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 organizations. It doesn’t take too long to realize – 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. Some social justice groups 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 outsiders looking in might see little more than an angry mob!

But are “we” really that different from such folks? The answer may well be “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 realize 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 organizations 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, if we are to do this it 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 T Anthony

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Marcus Anthony

Marcus T Anthony (PhD) is a futurist of the human mind, writer and spiritual adviser. His web site is www.mind-futures.com. His new book is Champion of the Soul.

MindFutures is therefore all about the future – especially what I call Deep Futures. These are futures that are not just about science and technology, but about people and their deepest, most profound and spiritual essence. I started the whole idea of MindFutures because I saw that the way the future is often portrayed in the popular media, in government and in organisations is often superficial. In particular, MindFutures explores the way that human experience can be expressed in positive and profound ways, as we continue to speed towards the future.

Marcus posts a new article on CLN every Saturday.  To view his articles, click HERE.




Why You Should Choose Your Healing Story Carefully

There’s a really great book which I read twenty years ago which deeply influenced me about personal and collective healing. It’s Caroline Myss’ “Why People Don’t Heal and How They Can.” The book alerted me to the very important distinction between travelling a healing journey… and actually healing. Many who see themselves as committed to psychological and spiritual growth embrace the former, but never quite realize the latter.

There are two essential points I took from the book which are crucial to truly understanding this distinction. Years of self-work, and working as a spiritual counsellor with others, have reinforced in my mind just how important these ideas are.

Firstly, many riding upon the sometimes stormy waves of the healing journey become identified with their wound. They identify as a victim of whatever occurred to them. For example: “I am an alcoholic,” “I am a child-abuse victim,” “I am a rape victim,” etc. It’s almost inevitable at some point that we all do this, to some degree. The key is to recognize the attachment, then to deliberately seek re-identification with a healthy state of being. This does not guarantee automatic healing, but it does shift the way we relate to the wound. The wound is not an end in itself, merely an important step along the way. This attitude gives us optimal opportunity to shift towards the healed state. What we focus upon expands.

The second important point I took from the Myss’ book is that having a wound often permits one to have intimacy within a group. Entire communities can be formed with a woundedness or even victim narrative. Healing groups are, ironically, one of the most salient examples. Within healing groups, to heal is to lose one’s reason for being in the group, and if that group is a central source of an individual’s personal intimacy, there will likely be resistance to healing. We can get stuck there.

Many social justice movements today suffer from the above issues. They identify with a wound,  a victim state, and those who challenge that narrative often receive hostility from other group members. Leaders within the group typically leverage power and control over members by enforcing the narrative. Healing becomes a threat to the group, as does forgiveness and peace. The group’s focus is not upon embodied, joyful presence, nor upon actualizing a preferred future. Instead, the group’s attention is firmly fixed upon the injustices of the past, designated oppressors and the “drama” between them. And that story must go on.

This is why I now mostly avoid social justice narratives, and suggest that others either avoid them, or work cautiously within them. The key is to bring consciousness to one’s thoughts, agendas and actions in relation to the group. Given that many agendas tend to be unconscious, this requires shadow work – looking deep within.

One should also examine the consciousness of the group. Social justice movements in general, and even many healing groups, have become very destructive in their intentionality. Much of their energy is projected at an “evil other”, who must be eliminated. This is part of the “drama.” It does nothing to assist in your healing, nor that of the group. This may be true regardless of how much the group uses the language of healing, justice and the moral.

Note that none of this means trauma should be denied or repressed. It has to be acknowledged. Indeed, in my understanding, it often has to be felt fully. To run from pain is to guarantee it’s perpetuation. “Drama” is any activity that emerges from an unconscious desire to avoid one’s own pain.

This is why inner child work can be really healing and transformative. The key is to be with the child, not identify with its pain, nor with the beliefs and narratives that have developed from that pain. Until the narrative shifts, healing is unlikely.

In the end the key to all healing is this. Be present with whatever thoughts and feelings arise within you, no matter how dark or painful. If you do this, deep presence, and healing, will surely follow. If your ideology or group does not permit this, you likely will never heal.

So, what do you choose?

Marcus




How You Can CHANNEL Your PhD Dissertation, Your Book or a Paper

Probably most people embarking on a higher degree or starting out researching a book or article think that the task lying before them is going to be fairly dry and laborious. In this article I am going to explain to you why this isn’t necessarily so. Researching and writing masters and doctoral theses, books, papers and articles can actually be an exciting and inspirational process. The key is being able to tap into your natural capacity for inspiration at will. And you can do that with what I call “Free-Form Writing”. Free-form writing is stream-of-consciousness prose, written fluidly, quickly and without immediate editing or too much conscious analytical thinking. It is essentially ‘effortless’ writing. I detail this inspirational writing process in my book How to Channel Your Dissertation, but here I am going to let you in on the secret for free!

I used Free-Form Writing extensively throughout the writing of my doctoral thesis, but particularly in the first two years of enrolment. A book which inspired me greatly in developing this process was Joan Bolker’s Writing Your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day. Bolker’s book is about writing a thesis through approximately four stages: the zero draft, first draft, second draft, and beyond. The book may be twenty years old now, but it is a gem any researcher should not fail to read.

In something of a synchronicity, I first came across the book while scrolling through Amazon.com. Even before I had formally enrolled in my doctoral program in Australia, a friend told me about Phillips and Pugh’s How to Get a PhD (which I also recommend for the logistical and technical aspects of obtaining a PhD). So, I went to Amazon to check it out. I did in fact buy Phillips and Pugh’s book, but just happened to see Bolker’s book there too. The title looked a bit gimmicky, but I felt a strong urge to buy it (a case of using what I call The Feeling Sense). So I did

It was Bolker’s concept of “the zero draft” which really me. Bolker recommends writing from day one of the course enrolment. She suggests writing at least fifteen minutes a day, no matter what. The principle here is that you condition yourself to write habitually, so that on days that you do not write you actually feel bad! The “zero draft” involves writing whatever comes to you, and without editing, proof-reading or censoring yourself. There is no going back, not even for typos! Whatever ideas come into your mind about the thesis topic – connections, distinctions, hypotheses, questions, guesses, confusions, whatever – you write it down during your daily writing time.

Bolker’s argument is that inevitably, amongst all the ramblings of the mind, some useful ideas will come out. Even if the good bits represent a mere ten per cent of what you write, you will still have a lot of potentially usable writing after six months. In Bolker’s system, it is only later on that you begin putting together a first draft. That is when the process begins to look more like a traditional approach to writing a thesis, with a succession of drafts. I highly recommend Bolker’s book for anybody in the early stages of writing a thesis. In fact, I highly recommend it to any researcher in any discipline.

Bolker does not link her idea of a “zero draft” to mystical inspiration. However, I adapted Bolker’s method to my understandings of Integrated Intelligence. Previously I had used Free-Form Writing when writing poetry and stories. I just wrote whatever came to me, and went back later to see if it was any good. Bolker made me realize I could use a similar process in the early stages of thesis writing – or any academic writing for that matter. Thus, when I actually began typing, I simply allowed myself to enter a fluid stream of consciousness, and let the words pour out. I typically found that there was just so much wanting to be released from my mind, that fifteen minutes was just not enough. I adapted Bolker’s system so that I set myself a goal of writing five hundred words a day, every day, first thing in the morning.

Just as Bolker argues, I found that this writing process really clarified my thinking. During my Free-form Writing time ideas came together, and links between people, ideas, and historical and philosophical concepts suddenly began to make sense. I did not stop to check if the ideas were valid. I just kept writing.

This is thinking as you write, not thinking before you write.

As is obvious from my subject matter, my worldview is rather mystical. I believe that there is a greater intelligence which contributes to the evolution of humanity, and indeed to the entire cosmos. So, where I differed from Bolker is that I adapted the process to my mystical/spiritual perspective. Before I started my daily writing session I began with a prayer or affirmation to Spirit. The word “Spirit”, for me, has both an impersonal and a personal dimension. The impersonal aspect emerges from the innate connectedness of all things, and is not mediated by any individual or spiritual entity. But I have also long had a strong sense of personal spiritual guidance also, and I believe that we can call upon spiritual guides for help – including during research! So when I engaged in my little morning prayer, it was both made to ‘the universe’ and to whatever spiritual guides may have been tuning in.

At the beginning of a writing session I would say aloud something like this (using examples from my own research).

Spirit, lead me through this writing process, so that this work that I am writing may be in alignment with Spirit.

There were often questions I would ask, and sometimes write down, to guide the whole process. Here are some actual examples from my own thesis writing period:

  • I don’t understand how Wilber’s thinking fits in with ancient thought like that of Lao Zi. Is it even the same thing?
  • Where can I find evidence that the mind is not localized to the brain?
  • Why is this psi taboo so pervasive in intelligence theory?
  • How can I create a schema which helps situate all these theories of intelligence into a system that will make sense to my examiners?

Or the questions might be more general in nature

  • I need help in turning this chapter into a coherent whole.
  • Please help me make sense of Eric Jensen’s “g” concept. I’m struggling with it.
  • I’m stuck with my writing. Please help it to flow.
  • Would it be best to continue to research Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences right now, or is there more energy on investigating Sternberg’s “successful intelligence”?

After putting out one or two questions (don’t ask more than a couple at one time, as it is too much for the mind to process at once) I would begin to write.

Note that in the very last question I used the term “energy on”. For me, this is a general term which helps me to gain a sense of where the intuitive flow is heading at any given time, so that I can move along that river of ‘energy’. Of course, I use the term ‘energy’ loosely, as it doesn’t refer to any of the four known forces of physics. What this flow is in scientific terms I do not know. All that I can say is that from my long experience in working with Integrated Intelligence, consciousness can align itself with a greater intelligence, and in doing so access the path of least resistance. When I am seeking “the energy on” a particular research route, I am therefore seeking that path of least resistance. I’ll write a little more about how to tap into optimal research paths a later in this booklet.

When beginning your Free-Form Writing (or any aspect of your research project which requires clarification) I suggest you use an affirmation or prayer that you feel comfortable with, one that reflects your particular worldview and belief system. And you don’t need to verbalize them, just in case you are in a public place.

Due to some administrative issues, my enrolment at The University of the Sunshine Coast (Queensland, Australia) was delayed by several months. Thanks to my habit of Free-form Writing, by the time I came to my official enrolment date, I already had about forty thousand words written on my computer, all related to my thesis topic. Later I began to put the ideas into longer arguments about certain aspects of the thesis as I saw it developing. Almost all of this initial work came together easily, if not effortlessly.

I emphasize that at least initially, I wrote about things that I was drawn to, to that which moved me – filled me with a sense of excitement (using The Feeling Sense – see below). In those early days I rarely even thought about what I was going to write before I sat down to write. Sometimes I would wake up in the morning and an idea would come into my head, and I would go with that. Other times I would begin with nothing. This may be difficult to believe, but there was not a single time in my entire period of enrolment when I had writer’s block.

Just as Joan Bolker suggests, I went through drafting phases. Without doubt I enjoyed the earlier part of the writing process more than the later stages. I am naturally creative, but not much of a natural stickler for detail! When it came to the endless editing of chapters, it became a real test of self-discipline for me. I also found that my sense of connection to Integrated Intelligence dropped off as the process became more and more left-brained. This is probably an inevitable part of the thesis writing process. Inspiration is not really needed when you are crossing endless ‘T’s and dotting endless ‘I’s!

My policy of writing consistently paid off. I completed my thesis in less than four years while working as a teacher and administrator very full-time (up to twelve hours a day of working/commuting at times). When I enrolled, I had not a single academic publication. By the time I was granted my PhD I had a total of over a dozen publication credits (either published or about to be published), including several book chapters. I had also completed the writing for my book Integrated Intelligence, which was based on my thesis research.

In my article next week on Free-Form Writing I will outline in more detail how to move from the zero draft to arrive at your final thesis, book, paper or article.

Marcus T Anthony

How to Channel Your Dissertation is available as a Kindle book.




The Troll Wars – and What You Can Do About Them

By Marcus T. Anthony

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 keyboards and 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 media of late. In Australia (where I hail from) a few years ago, 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 made a name for herself in being a particularly acerbic critic on Australia’s Next Top Model. Charlotte Dawson was 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 my 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 (who tragically died at the age of 22, from an apparent heart condition). My post 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 more than fifty!

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

The writer of this blog is an old man with no idea how modern life works. GTFO u f…..g k..t…

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

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

To be honest, after an initial moderate shock at the intensity of the first two or three comments by the trolls, the attacks 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 trolls, 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.

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’ remain 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 in which we have imprisoned ourselves.

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 T Anthony, author of Trolls and Demons: How to Stay Awake in the Age of Online Zombies.




How We All Can Celebrate Conscious Masculinity – and Femininity

Beyond the biological drives that bring men and women together, there is a deeper psycho-spiritual connectivity between the sexes. Men and women need each other because they complement each other. You might like to think of this as a complimentary. The entwining of the yin (masculine) and yang (feminine) motif in Taoism is an apt metaphor. Each half of the circle contains an aspect of the other. In a sense, they complete each other.

Jung drew from Taoism when he referred to the anima and the animus. He knew well how the masculine and the feminine were more than mere social constructs, nor merely biological imperatives to ensure procreation and perpetuation of the species. They are deeply embedded in the collective human psyche, and perhaps the cosmos itself.

Male-female complementarity entails a healthy need, and is not to be confused with co-dependence, where neediness arises from fear, especially the fear of death and abandonment.

Most of you will be aware of the social conflict between men and women today. It has been a major theme in western society for well over a century. Women have fought hard to gain an equal footing in society, and for the most part they have succeeded. There has been some resistance to this. There has been, for example, the recent rise of the men’s movement, as depicted in Cassie Jay’s documentary The Red Pill. That film does a very good job of depicting the current social impasse between the sexes.

The truth is that feminist progressivism and the resistance seen in the likes of the men’s movement have had both healthy and pathological expressions. I am not going to discuss that in derail here. Instead, I am going to write something about the current state of men. It is not impossible to do that without at least some reference to feminism and to and women in general, but I will, as far as possible, focus on men.

In short, I am going to outline what I consider to be a conscious and mature approach to men’s issues. Much of what I will say is equally applicable to women and feminism.

Let me backtrack a little, just to help me prepare you for my somewhat shocking major claim in this post. For I am sure it will shock some of you, if not anger you.

An Extraordinary Woman

Years ago I worked with some very wonderful female spiritual teachers who were well aware that our dominant narrative on male-female power is simplistic. In particular, I have been deeply influenced by one of my greatest teachers, Jessica,  a very powerful and wise woman with a mind so sharp and intuitive it could cut through you like a razor. A gifted psychic, at times she could be terrifying, such was the accuracy of her perceptions. One thing Jessica said that really surprised me was that it was most often men, not women, who were being dominated and controlled within modern relationships, and also across certain aspects of society in general.

Healing personal issues with the opposite sex was a big part of what Jessica and the other female teachers around her did. As a result of what I saw there, I came to the conclusion that men have taken on so much guilt and shame that many are now simply unable to stand within their own power. To generalise, many have become child-men.

In the two decades since, I have seen little to change my mind.

#mentoo

Women currently control much of the public discourse on gender relations, and men who offer dissent from the dominant narrative may face severe repercussions, both personally and professionally. However, I now feel we are at a juncture where more open discussion of gender issues is now at least possible. This is something that men (and women) should be grateful for. A social fabric and public discourse which is founded upon the open shaming of masculinity is good for nobody – not for men, not for women, and not for LGTB people.

Some may point out that the severity of attacks on men in the wake of the #metoo movement suggests men are now more under siege than ever. But I see it a little differently. As with all these kinds of movements, #metoo has both a positive and a negative expression. The positive expression is well accepted in mainstream media, and that is a good thing. Abuses of women, especially in the entertainment industry, are now being highlighted.

Yet the pathological side of the moment is also being discussed by several key feminists, including feminist icon Germaine Greer. This represents a shift towards a permissible internal critique of the feminist movement. All discourses must permit dissent if they are to remain healthy. For years the feminist movement basically forbid dissent, and those who tried to question it often suffered dire professional consequences. Yet I think this has now stated to shift.

And with that shift, there has been a notable shift in compassion for men. Part of the rise to fame of Jordan Peterson, for example, has been his open compassion for the situation that men now find themselves in. In previous eras, such compassion was almost a taboo in our society.

Approximately 70 percent of Jordan Peterson’s audience is male, and the Canadian psychologist is deeply concerned about the well-being of men, and especially young men. He regularly tells stories of lost younger males who write to him or approach him after his public talks, to thank him for helping them get their lives together. The passion that he has for them is clearly seen in this video, where he openly weeps when relating such interactions.

I agree with Peterson that we have to begin to address men’s issues. The problem is reaching crisis point.

Activism and The Shadow

Jordan Peterson does not let men off easily, however, and I believe that his ideas about masculinity can help herald a new era of a more responsible, empowered and ultimately loving masculinity. I call this conscious masculinity. In this sense, there is a potential for the new wave of masculinity to be more genuinely empowered and enlightened than so-called third-wave feminism.

The latter, like virtually all social justice discourses, has become so focused on blame and projection at a perceived “evil other,” that it has all but abandoned introspection. There is a dark rage and highly destructive drive in modern feminism which should be being addressed by its leaders. Instead, the feminist movement has tended till this point to ostracise those female and male feminists and critics who display any dissent towards its often misandrist doctrines.

It could be said that it lost its way, abandoning its edict of equality, while becoming unconsciously driven by a mentality of power and control. It thus joined the long list of hegemonic ideologies in human history, more concerned for the perpetuation of its own narrative than for truth or the greater good of society.

This is admittedly a harsh judgment, one which will offend some. But this is my honest perception of what mainstream feminism descended into.

The new wave of masculinity must avoid such mistakes if it is to offer any genuine resolution to the current impasse between the sexes, and between the political divides. This is why someone like Jordan Peterson offers hope. He is willing to be combative, is willing to stand his ground, but is also willing to assume responsibility for the shadow (the darker, suppressed impulses within the mind that we would prefer not see the light of day).

Peterson appears to be aware of how a failure to address the shadow can prevent integration of the trauma and self-limiting beliefs within a person’s psyche, and in doing so become downright destructive. When entire movements, groups and even nations abandon introspection, they can quickly become delusional and destructive.

Conscious Masculinity

Shadow work is the missing link in today’s social justice movements, and I will include much of the men’s movement in my criticism. It is for this reason that these movements inevitably descend into destructive delusion, adopting a victim consciousness, including addiction to blame and projection.

Conscious masculinity will have to include a greater degree of courage and commitment to truth than that displayed within the social justice movements we have witnessed in recent years. It will require a willingness to permit criticism and dissent. It must inculcate a high degree of emotional and social intelligence within men, such that the movement is able to offer dissent and receive criticism in ways that are respectful and mindful of those with differing perspectives.

Conscious masculinity must not make the mistake of seeing women as the enemy. Instead, it should have at its heart the goal of cultivating deep love for women; and for relationships between men and women. It must avoid the culture of blaming and shaming that has delimited the greater good that feminism could have brought to the world. In making men the enemy, feminism effectively stultified the healing of the collective male-female wound. It developed a consciousness not of love, but of shaming and destruction.

Of course, all is not lost for feminism, nor for other social justice narratives. But there needs to be a greater degree of introspection and honesty if they are to move forward.

I truly hope that Jordan Peterson can begin to address the issue of healing relationships between the male and female collectives. To date, as far as I am aware, he has not said too much on how to develop genuine love for women, both in individual relationships, and in general. Hopefully in time he can begin to do so and cultivate this attitude in the mostly young men in his core audience.

Trust

As Jordan Peterson has stated, the new masculinity must not adopt the pejorative narrative that today’s education systems and media typically apply to men. A healthy expression of masculinity is not about domination and control, colonisation, suppression and rape. These impulses must be acknowledged and incorporated within the male psyche, such that the man develops the right relationship with them.

Yet we must also put positive intent into the expression of conscious masculinity. Men can exhibit the noble qualities that truly healthy masculinity is capable of: high levels of personal responsibility, love and compassion, courage, doing soul-affirming work, sharing the wisdom of the father.

I believe conscious masculinity will be more restive, more embodied, more present. It will also need to be deeply responsible. It will allow a healthy expression, not suppression, of sexuality. It will honour the fundamental impulses of men, but in a positive way.

We must begin by encouraging men to believe in themselves, to create positive visions of their futures where they can embody the hero archetype, finding deep purpose and meaningful work. For meaningful work is a big part of what makes life worth living for men.

If this is done the right way, I believe we can create a generation of men who will exhibit a confidence and “charisma” that will be far more attractive, in every sense of the word, than the enfeebled, guilt-driven, virtue-signalling male that is often found today, an end result of generations of the shaming of men.

In order to succeed, we need to begin to trust men again. And to trust them, we (especially women) have to allow a certain space for vulnerability. We will have to allow our psychological walls to come down, at least some of the time. All spiritually healthy relationships are founded on firm boundaries, but they must also allow those boundaries to soften, when friendship, love and intimacy beckon.

What this new masculinity will look like in any given man will depend upon the characteristics of the individual. Perhaps Jordan Peterson is one embodiment of such a creature. Like all of us, he is imperfect. He can be overly scornful and sometimes his own state appears to venture towards the destructive. But his exceptional courage, intelligence and wisdom mean that he has continued to grow as a man even into his fifties.

Both men and women can now be the beneficiaries of this. Peterson is arguably the right man at the right moment in history. His massive popularity is just reward for the courage and tenacity he has displayed in championing men in an age where it has become an effective taboo to say anything good about them.

Empowered, deeply embodied men and women are not a threat to each other. When Cassie Jay came to Australia in 2017 to promote her documentary The Red Pill (about men’s rights groups) she was savagely attacked by the media, feminists and even men. It was merciless. This destructive mentality is what we all have to rise above to move forward. We need to start listening to each other, being present with each other. Learning how to love again.

Now is the right time to begin. Let there be (genuine) healing and empowerment for men. And for women.




Drama At The Ego Hotel

Spiritual maturity is something hard to define, but we all know what it is when we encounter a personal who is spiritually mature. They have a natural sense of grace and empowerment, and are able to avoid many of the silly squabbles and dramas that less mature people in spiritual circles tend to get into. For me, the defining quality of such people is the capacity to assume responsibility for their emotional and psychic projections. This is why such people are largely impervious to “drama”. This is turn is typically related to the relationship a person has to his or her own ego. Finally, this all has much to do with self-love and self-acceptance.

Rather than discuss this idea intellectually, I am going to share with you a story of a big drama I was once involved with. Those who have read my book Discover Your Soul Template will be familiar with it. This is an extract from the book. All names have been changed to protect the silly egos involved!

DRAMA DISEMPOWERS

The failure to love yourself completely and assume a high level of responsibility for your emotional energy leaves you vulnerable to end­less interpersonal and psychic battles. If you fail to rein in your need for drama, you disempower yourself. Drama depletes your energy, distorts your focus, and takes your attention away from what you want to create. It also robs you of any chance of being fully present. The higher your propensity for drama, the less creative energy you have left to manifest your dreams.

Some time ago, I was involved in a doozy of a drama. The situa­tion involved a certain think-tank and the development of a report for a powerful international organization. As a member of that group, I was invited to participate. The discussion was all electronic, involving emails and other web media. As it turned out, my contribution was minimal, as I was busy at the time, and much of it was beyond my expertise and interests. After several weeks, a final document was prepared.

Many of the contributions had been rambling and the whole dis­cussion was quite disorganized, so one group member, Sean, bravely volunteered for the onerous task of putting all the ideas together into one intelligible document. This huge operation took him a month. When the document was ready, Sean asked for comments from other participants. Feeling guilty that I had not really contributed as much as I should have, I offered to proofread and edit the document. This is where the drama started.

The document I received was rather shoddy, with multiple prob­lems. I felt numerous changes needed to be made. Yet time was running out because we had to submit the report in only a few days. So I went through it with a big red pen (so to speak), and made many recom­mendations for changes. I then sent it into the group leader, Harry, to see what he thought. Harry was aghast. He said that everyone was too busy to go through all my recommendations, so they would just have to leave it.

Here is where my ego checked into the hotel. I was annoyed that my voice had been ignored. Then another group member, Chang, came for­ward and stated that he also thought the document was well below pro­fessional standard. Harry reiterated that other members had looked at it, and hadn’t noticed any real problems. Sean wrote that if Chang and I were not happy with the document, we could have our names removed from it. He then blurted out that in all of his professional career, with multiple publications as a writer and academic, he had never received the kind of criticisms that Chang and I had put forward. He was indig­nant. His ego had checked into the hotel too.

Things were now getting pushy at the hotel check-in desk. Chang marched in and started clanging the bell at the front desk, demanding service. He sent emails and made postings saying that he had published twice as many books and papers as Sean, and that Sean had no right to submit the paper without his consent, nor the right to erase his name from the paper.

I tried to be diplomatic, and posted several times apologizing for any misunderstandings. I got no responses, which again pushed my but­tons. Ignored yet again! Now I was trying to wrestle my ego and stop it from grabbing an axe and running around the hotel foyer.

My part in the drama sprang from a childhood issue. My parents were particularly strict, believing that children should be seen and not heard. My father had little time for love and nurturing. Children were basically tools for fixing stuff around the house and a cheap source of labor for the family business. Anytime I complained or acted up, I was silenced with physical punishment or sent to my bedroom without din­ner or TV. In my father’s defense, sometimes I got water if I was really good.

Chang’s soul issues soon became clear to me. He wrote me an email. Did he start off with an analysis of the situation, or telling me how to resolve the problem? That would have been the rational approach, after all. But no! He got straight into telling me about his childhood and how everyone at school beat him up because he was different.

There it was in black and white. Chang’s investment in the drama sprung from his wounded child. Yet Chang had no intention of accept­ing responsibility for that hurt, and working toward healing and group harmony. No, he wanted attention and sympathy from me, and justice from the group for being wronged.

By that point I had worked on the issue, having completed several sessions of Connecting with the Ego and Wounded Child (these are healing processes described in the book), so I had pulled my emotional energy out. I had taken responsibility. I worked on some deep issues with my father and elder brother, especially some anger and sadness that were lingering within me.

Because I have a commitment to honoring Spirit and a vision to focus upon, I didn’t let Chang pull me back into the drama (which is what he wanted). I checked out of the hotel, which wasn’t easy, as there were bully boys at the door trying to push me back inside. I wrote a polite email to Chang telling him I was sorry for his childhood mis­treatment, but suggesting that we should focus on resolving the issue. Before I sent the email, I checked the intention behind it (by letting my ego speak, and correcting it), and acknowledged anything that was ego-based. The intention that underpins action is very important if you want to resolve dramas, for even as you are saying or doing one thing, energetically you may be doing the opposite.

Sean was eyeball-deep in the muck of drama too, reacting from his soul issues. My sense was that his father had punished him also, and the criticism had generated a fear reaction, followed by anger. Where there is anger, there is fear. Eventually it all died down. The blood was washed from the hotel carpet. In a final irony, I learned that Chang and I had been given the wrong document—an earlier draft, not the final copy.

There was also a broader group dynamic at work. All of us in the drama had been seduced by the ego’s desire for power and attention. We were looking for greater recognition. The paper was our passport to global-level power. It was about face, status, and prestige. Entire cul­tures are built on such ego stuff. However, as soon as you buy into the collective ego narrative, you become a magnet for drama, control and power.

Enjoy!

Marcus




Should You Become a Spiritual Teacher – and How?

If you want to go the whole hog and set yourself up in business as a spiritual teacher or counselor, then there are some important things to consider.

First, you have to ask yourself why you want to do it. You can clarify your intention by using  Connecting with the Ego, a method I have developed for working with that part of the psyche. Chances are the ego will go along for the power trip and the attention. That does not mean, however, that you are not suitable for the calling. All human beings and all spiritual teachers have an ego. Your job is to keep an eye on that part of yourself so that it does not dominate your work.

Above all, listen to the voice of Spirit. It will guide you. It will tell you if your ego is starting to party hard, and will often let you know whether you are ready or not, and whether to stop, go, or wait.

Regardless of all other considerations, a spiritual teacher is called upon to serve Spirit. If you are not doing that, if you have no intention to do that, you are not a spiritual teacher, even if you call yourself one. You are a spiritual fraudster. At a very practical level, you have to decide what it is you are selling. This may not seem very spiritual, but actually there is nothing unspiritual about selling or making money. Remember, in the end it is all an exchange of energy.

I highly recommend that you begin part-time. I have met more than a few naïve wannabe teachers who think the cosmos will reward them for the generous act of offering their grand wisdom to humanity. That’s not how it works. You have to honor the language and the realities of the market place. You have to offer a product that has some kind of business worthiness. Someone out there is going to have to want to buy what you are selling. And then you have to let people know about it.

Another approach is to make your teaching into a pastime, rather than a money-making venture. You might see it as a chance to share your wisdom with humanity. This is a perfectly noble ambition. One point to keep in mind, however, is that people often do not value what they are given for free.

Scientific studies have confirmed this. When people are charged more for a service, they tend to report more positively about it, and when it is cheap, they tend to dis it. If you write a book, print off a thousand copies, and give them away on the street, you can bet a lot of people will not value it. If you charge market prices, only people who really want it will buy it. If you overcharge people, they will think you are a crook.

Jessica, the woman who was the original inspiration for my theory of Integrated Intelligence, charged hefty fees. She earned about five times more per hour than I did at the time, and I was an education professional with a university degree (she had no degree). But she was so brilliant that she had no trouble attracting clients. She was also very generous. One time I had a one-on-one session with her and at the end she laughed playfully like a little girl and said that Spirit had told her to give me the session for free. And so she did.

The ego has landed

Every time you step forward out of your comfort zone in an act of creativity, it will draw out the resisting beliefs and energies from your psyche. As a Sage you will need to work on your consciousness, as well as deal with the day-today running of your business. This takes time and discipline. Don’t overestimate how quickly you can set things up, because it usually takes longer than you think. Creating unrealistic expectations places unnecessary stress on yourself. Money pushes buttons too. If you put yourself under financial pressure, you may, ironically, cut yourself off from Spirit.

Think about it. You open your little spiritual center and nobody comes. Suddenly you can’t pay the rent, and you are asking all sorts of questions of Spirit, and demanding some answers. The ego will tend to get scared and angry and then go into blame and judgment. Fear takes you away from presence and away from Integrated Intelligence and the wisdom of the Spirit. This situation can turn into a self-perpetuating cycle of poverty and poverty consciousness. You go into business believing that the cosmos owes you a living. You have a bit of a hard time, and suddenly the negative beliefs within the psyche come forward, and before you know it you are broke, bitter, and screaming, “I told you so!”

This is precisely what happens to a lot of wannabe spiritual teachers. Mostly, we overestimate our level of spiritual development and our faith in the cosmos. Nothing will bring out doubt and fear faster than the rent notice when you haven’t got a penny to your name. I have written about the concept of being a spiritual fraud. I call it frauding, when you believe you have gained a level of spiritual development that you have not. Frauding involves a rejection of certain parts of your psyche that you are not willing to look at, and this usually means that there is some personal pain that you are avoiding.

My ego fall at a country mindfulness retreat, which I mentioned in Discover Your Soul Template, is a classic example. My ego fall came early, as the lie was exposed by perceptive people. In day-to-day life (as opposed to doing spiritual work), a fall also inevitably comes when we fraud. It may just take longer to happen.

An awareness of the trickster and its tendency to fraud, is crucial for your business and for the manifestation of your goals in general. When your estimation of your attainment exceeds the reality, it creates a metaphysical wake.

A critical instability emerges when the delusion becomes too great. Even as you think you are putting forward positive energy into the world, your psyche will be working against you and against your intended outcomes. Once a certain level of delusion is reached, you have to invest more and more energy into maintaining the charade. Inevitably, the whole thing comes crashing down like a house of cards.

Everyone frauds from time to time, because everyone has an ego. It’s just a question of spotting the lies as they pop up, and gently and lovingly correcting them. When you are frauding, Spirit will send you signals. We have to be on the lookout for the signs.

Within my own psyche, I have always gotten a particular symbol in my dreams and meditations at such times: Mickey Mouse! To say that something is “Mickey Mouse” is to imply that it is false or simply of poor quality. For you the symbol you are given or the way Spirit lets you know you are going into delusion will most likely be different. Your life experience is different from mine, and the symbols within your psyche are particular to you. You have to learn that language.

Finally, it is important to remember that, though the Sage is always a teacher of Spirit, she does not necessarily have to become a spiritual teacher. As long as you are in alignment with your spirit and in presence you will be serving Spirit. You will be part of the light, pushing holes through the darkness. This may not be as easy as some popular versions of spiritual development make it out to be. Keep in mind though, that beyond the price you pay, the reward is the joyful discovery of your soul, and the knowledge that your time here on earth has been of service to all humanity.

This is an excerpt from Marcus T Anthony’s Discover Your Soul Template.