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5 Core Components of the Human “Ego” We Should All Strive To Diminish, From Eckhart Tolle

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Ego: It’s something all of us have, yet most of us don’t really understand. According to Eckhart Tolle, who has written two of the most influential “spiritual” books of our time, “Most people are so completely identified with the voice in the head—the incessant stream of involuntary and compulsive thinking and the emotions that accompany it—that we may describe them as being possessed by their mind.”

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“As long as you are completely unaware of this,” he continues, “you take the thinker to be who you are. This is the egoic mind. We call it egoic because there is a sense of self, of I (ego), in every thought—every memory, every interpretation, opinion, viewpoint, reaction, emotion. This is unconscious, spiritually speaking.

All quotes taken from A New Earth. 

He goes on to explain how our thoughts and thought patterns are conditioned by our past experiences, family life and upbringing, and overall environment that surrounds us.

“The central core of all your mind activity consists of certain repetitive and persistent thoughts, emotions, and reactive patterns that you identify with most strongly. This entity is the ego itself.”

The ego is full of thoughts and emotions with which each of us identify and which cause us to play certain roles in certain situations, without even being aware of it. And we have “collective identifications such as nationality, religion, race, social class, or political allegiance.”

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“It also contains personal identifications, not only with possessions, but also with opinions, external appearance, long-standing resentments, or concepts of yourself as better than or not as good as others, as a success or failure.”

He also describes how all our egos are essentially the same:

The content of the ego varies from person to person, but in every ego the same structure operates. In other words: Egos only differ on the surface. Deep down they are all the same. In what way are they the same? They live on identification and separation. When you live through the mind-made self comprised of thought and emotion that is the ego, the basis for your identity is precarious because thought and emotion are bey their very nature ephemeral, fleeting. So every ego is continuously struggling for survival, trying to protect and enlarge itself. To uphold the I-thought, it needs the opposite thought of “the other.” The others are most other when I see them as my enemies. At one end of the scale of this unconscious egoic pattern lies the egoic compulsive habit of faultfinding and complaining about others. Jesus referred to it when he said, “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?”

5 Core Components of the Ego

Complaining and Resentment

What is complaining? A lot of the time it is a lack of gratitude and awareness. It’s a feeling that places us in the victim mentality, a feeling that ‘something has happened to me.’ This is the ‘I’ to which Tolle refers. Complaining is the result of your mind taking on certain beliefs about how things should be and then finding fault when they end up being something else. It’s, as Tolle points out, “a little story the mind makes up that you completely believe in.”

“When you are in the grip of such an ego, complaining, especially about other people, is habitual and, of course, unconscious, which means you don’t know what you are doing.”

Another part of this is blame, which often goes hand in hand with complaining. When you feel as if something has been “done to you” by someone else, you are completely engulfed in your ego. While this doesn’t apply to all situations, it does to most. Judging and complaining about another person often reflects ourselves and our inner state. Stating that “he is this” or “she is like that” is simply, again, a story your mind is making up based on various observations and experiences.

This happens all the time. Having thoughts about someone else in general indicates that your mind is making up a story, whether “good” or “bad.”

“Applying negative mental labels to people, either to their face or more commonly when you speak about them to others or even just think about them, is often part of this pattern. Name-calling is the crudest form of such labeling and of the ego’s need to be right and triumph over others: ‘jerk, bastard, bitch’—all definitive pronouncements that you can’t argue with.”

The ego will then gather with others, to confirm and encourage these views. We mask these tendencies by claiming they are normal, that when we are upset, we confide in others. But really, it’s just gathering with those we know will “support us” and agree with our viewpoints when we are upset.

“Resentment is the emotion that goes with complaining and the mental labeling of people and adds even more energy to the ego. Resentment means to feel bitter, indignant, aggrieved, or offended. You resent other people’s greed, their dishonesty, their lack of integrity, what they are doing, what they did in the past, what they said, what they failed to do, what they should or shouldn’t have done. The ego loves it. Instead of overlooking unconsciousness in others, you make it into their identity. Who is doing that? The unconsciousness in you, the ego. Sometimes the ‘fault’ that you perceive in another isn’t even there. It is a total misinterpretation, a projection by a mind conditioned to see enemies and to make itself right or superior. At other times, the fault may be there, but by focusing on it, sometimes to the exclusion of everything else, you amplify it. And what you react to in another, you strengthen in yourself.”

“Nonreaction to the ego in others is one of the most effective ways not only of going beyond ego in yourself but also of dissolving the collective human ego. But you can only be in a state of nonreaction if you can recognize someone’s behavior as coming from the ego, as being an expression of the collective human dysfunction. When you realize it’s not personal, there is no longer a compulsion to react as if it were. By not reacting to the ego, you will often be able to bring out the sanity in others, which is the unconditioned consciousness as opposed to the conditioned.”

Nonreaction, calm, and inner peace are key. This type of inner state, unless you’re a monk or other spiritual teacher, will also bring reaction from others within the “spiritual community.” Those who strive to diminish these aspects of the ego are constantly challenged by people like this. Egoic feelings of jealousy and disbelief will emerge, and you need to mitigate these through your non-reactionary state. They may also be in so much disbelief at your non-reactionary state that they simply believe you are “holding it in” or “building it up.”

“At times you may have to take practical steps to protect yourself from deeply unconscious people. This you can do without making them enemies. Your greatest protection, however, is being conscious. Somebody becomes an enemy if you personalize the unconsciousness that is the ego. Nonreaction is not weakness but strength. Another word for nonreaction is forgiveness. To forgive is to overlook, or rather to look through. You look through the ego to the sanity that is in every human being as his or her essence.”

Tolle does clarify that complaining is not to be confused with putting up with bad behaviour or quality. He uses the example of being served cold soup. You can tell your server nicely that your soup is cold and you would like it warmed up, which is different from complaining and making a statement such as, “How dare you serve me cold soup.”

The key to mitigating our complaining and resentment is to simply become aware of it and observe it. So many of us complain so regularly that we don’t even realize we’re doing it. It’s an unconscious habit that becomes a part of our everyday lives, so much so that people will even try to defend their right to complain.


“The moment you become aware of the ego in you, it is strictly speaking no longer the ego, but just as an old, conditioned mind-pattern. Ego implies unawareness. Awareness and ego cannot coexist. The old mind-pattern or mental habit may still survive and reoccur for a while because it has the momentum of thousands of years of collective human unconsciousness behind it, but every time it is recognized, it is weakened. “

Reactivity and Grievances

Reaction is one way for the ego to grow itself. We instantly react to a person or a situation in our lives that triggers and emotional response. In my experience, when you become aware of your reactivity and emotional response, those triggers begin to fade away. It’s not to say that we cannot feel these emotions, and take them on, but rather that we usually feel those emotions and let them take over more when we are unaware of our reaction. The next step is to, while feeling the emotional trigger — be it anger, hate or resentment — control your reaction and observe yourself from a distance. The more you do this, the easier it will become for you to not react from your emotional response. Furthermore, the more you practice this type of self-awareness, controlling your reaction will not only become easier, but the emotional response will diminish. You will no longer take on feelings of anger and frustration; it will be as if you have a protective shield around you, or a force field. Reaching this state brings you closer to diminishing this aspect of the ego.

Without observing yourself or becoming aware of these aspects, the cycle will just continue repeating itself. In your own life, and for collective humanity as a whole.

“There are many people who are always waiting for the next thing to react against, to feel annoyed or disturbed about, and it never takes long before they find it. ‘This is an outrage,’ they say. ‘How dare you …’ ‘I resent this.’ They are addicted to upset and anger as others are to a drug. Through reacting against this or that they assert and strengthen their feeling of self. A long-standing resentment is called a grievance. To carry grievances is to be in a permanent state of ‘against,’ and that is why grievances constitute a significant part of many people’s ego. Collective grievances can survive for centuries in the psyche of a nation or a tribe and fuel a never-ending cycle of violence. A grievance is a strong negative emotion connected to an event in the sometimes distant past that is being kept alive by compulsive thinking, by retelling the story in the head or out loud of ‘what someone did to me’ or ‘what someone did to us.’ “

This is negative emotional energy that can also impact other areas of your life, including your health, given what we know about the mind-body connection. 

Being Right, Making Wrong 

This is a great transition from complaining. As Tolle explains, “When you complain, by implication you are right and the person or situation you complain about or react against is wrong. There is nothing that strengthens the ego more than being right. Being right is identification with a mental position—a perspective, an opinion, a judgement, a story.”

Personally, I am very passionate about information about our world, more so because so much about what is happening on our planet isn’t really presented in mainstream media. When you come across cool facts, you want to share them with others. But when you share information with others, sometimes they are viewed as challenges, and people  cut you off or ignore you, or are triggered to share even more information because they want to show that “they know a lot too.” That’s their ego. If they are challenged by new information, or by your also having knowledge, factors associated with ego will step in, and it’s a great lesson if you can watch and be aware of your emotional trigger and reaction. If, for example, you were a child sharing facts with an adult, the adult would be encouraging, and listen with wonder and awe at the child’s enthusiasm. But if you change that child into an adult and share the same information, the adult, in most cases, does not see the enthusiasm and can in fact be blinded by their own desire to know more, or to be right.

“For you to be right, of course, you need someone else to be wrong, and so the ego loves to make wrong in order to be right. In other words: You need to make others wrong in order to get a stronger sense of you you are. Not only a person, but also a situation can be made wrong through complaining and reactivity, which always implies that ‘this should not be happening.’ Being right places you in a position of imagined moral superiority in relation to the person or situation that is being judged and found wanting. It is that sense of superiority the ego craves and through which it enhances itself.” 

In Defence of an Illusion

Tolle brings up a great point here. As I mentioned above with the child example, facts exist, and sometimes we want to share them. This doesn’t mean that they always come from a place or intention of “being right,” or the ego, but rather a place of genuine passion and curiosity.

“Facts undoubtedly exist. If you say: ‘Light travels faster than sound,’ and someone else says the opposite in the case, you are obviously right, and he is wrong. The simple observation that lightning precedes thunder could confirm this. So not only are you right, but you know you are right. Is there any ego involved in this? Possibly, but not necessarily. If you are simply stating what you know to be true, the ego is not involved at all, because there is no identification. Identification with what? With mind and a mental position. Such identification, however, can easily creep in. If you find yourself saying, ‘Believe me, I know’ or ‘Why do you never believe me’ then ego has already crept in. . . . A simple statement: ‘Light is faster than sound,’ although true, is not in the service of illusion, of ego. It has become contaminated with a false sense of ‘I’; it has become personalized, turned into a mental position. The ‘I’ Feels diminished or offended because somebody doesn’t believe what ‘I’ said.”

Working in alternative media, and being an avid researcher of the entire human experience, I know what this is like. I’ve experienced anger when I share information and people don’t me. Inside, I always knew that that reaction was unnecessary, and that the response “I” receive shouldn’t matter, because I am comfortable within my own knowing.

Tolle goes on to describe the problem of the “I am right and you are wrong” type of mentality, and all of the trouble it’s caused for the world. He describes it as one of the ways the ego fuels itself, stating that “making yourself right and others wrong is a mental dysfunction that perpetuates separation and conflict between human beings.”

Does this mean that there is no such thing as “right” or “wrong?” Not necessarily. You can remain in your truth, and the truth you perceive to be, without the need to push it on others, or defend your position. To each his own.

You can still share your own truth without the need to be right, or to “win” an argument. If you are sharing information to be right or to “win,” as opposed to simply sharing from your soul, from your passion, from your excitement to share information, then you’re engulfed in your ego and allowing it to grow.

The Ego Is Not Personal

“On a collective level, the mind-set ‘We are right and they are wrong’ is particularly deeply entrenched in those parts of the world where conflict between two nations, races, tribes, religions, or ideologies is long-standing, extreme, and endemic. Both sides of the conflict are equally identified with their own perspective, their own ‘story,’ that is to say, identified with thought. Both are equally incapable of seeing that another perspective, another story, may exist and also be valid. Israeli writer Y. Halevi speaks of the possibility of ‘accommodating a competing narrative,’ but in many parts of the world, people are not yet able or willing to do that. Both sides believe themselves to be in possession of the truth. Both regard themselves as victims and the ‘other’ as evil, and because they have conceptualized and thereby dehumanized the other as the enemy, they can kill and inflict all kinds of violence on the other, even on children, without feeling their humanity and suffering.”

This is a great point, and shows how at the micro level, in everyday life, the human ego is present, which is also reflective of the collective attitude of “us” against “them.” Whether this narrative is being upheld and encouraged purposefully to create more separation between people, to further elitist agendas, is a topic for another debate, however. But the point is, we are in control. If more people on the planet worked on diminishing aspects of the ego, we would see a collective transformation as well, and perhaps that’s exactly what we’re going through: a collective evolution.

“Greed, selfishness, exploitation, cruelty, and violence are still all-pervasive on this plant. When you don’t recognize them as individual and collective manifestations of an underlying dysfunction or mental illness, you fall into the error of personalizing them. You construct a conceptual identify for an individual or group, and you say ‘This is who he is. This is who they are.’ When you confuse the ego that you perceive in others with their identity, it is the work of your own ego that uses this misperception to strengthen itself through being right and therefore superior, and through reacting with condemnation, indignation, and often anger against the perceived enemy. All this is enormously satisfying to the ego.” 

Concluding Comments 

Ego can be difficult to understand and discuss effectively, but it’s something that’s at the core of creating a change in the current human experience. Once humanity learns to transcend the collective ego, we will make tremendous advancements in how we communicate with each other, and probably enter into an age of abundance, or, “A New Earth.” It’s a key component of not just global change, but changes within our own personal lives as well.

There are many opportunities to transcend your ego, to lose your buttons so they cannot be pushed, to diminish your need to always be right or label others according to your own limited perceptions. The points made above from Tolle are simply a few important ones out of many, and you will no doubt gain a better understanding by checking out A New Earth, the book that inspired this article.

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Consciousness

New Moon In Aries: Pursuing Wholeness

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We are having a New Moon in Aries on March 24th. This is initiating a new 29.5-day lunar cycle and a new wave of energy for the coming month. However, the astrological configurations mentioned in this article will be more prominent over the coming two weeks. This cycle will include a Full Moon in Libra on April 7th/8th.

Before getting into the astrology of this New Moon, a lot of people have been asking me about the current coronavirus pandemic and my perspectives on it. It is very much connected to the previous Lunar Eclipse, Solar Eclipse, and the Saturn-Pluto conjunction (which happened at the same time) that I wrote about. The energies of eclipses can play out at different times in the 6 month period after they occur.

The recent Mercury Retrograde in Pisces/Aquarius (and its post shadow period) reflected the escalation and increased awareness of this situation along with some further confusion. In the days after the Mercury Retrograde ended (during the last Full Moon period in Virgo), we gained some more clarity (or perceived clarity) around the seriousness (or perceived seriousness) of the situation which lead to the majority of the world beginning to take extreme precautions and the financial markets going haywire. All of this fits like clockwork with the astrological weather. Check out my video below in which I talk about it more.

New Moon In Aries Conjunct Chiron

Aries season began at the Equinox as it always does per the Tropical Zodiac. Being the first of twelve signs and initiator of a transitional season (following the transitional sign of Pisces) it initiates the Astrological New Year.

Aries is the domain of self, independence, and individual needs. As a Cardinal Fire sign ruled by Mars, it is associated with assertiveness, courage, directness, pioneering, and leading. It is quick, bold, and energetic. Negatively, this energy can be inconsiderate, selfish,  hot tempered, combative, restless, impatient, aggressive, and overly competitive.

This New Moon is applying a conjunction to Chiron (also in Aries) which makes its themes very strong throughout this lunar cycle, but more so over the following two weeks. Chiron is associated with healing, wholeness, cleansing, spiritual growth, gifted abilities, innovative solutions/ideas, shamanism, self-awareness, discovery, teaching, and indigenous people.

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It is holistic, maverick, bridging, integrating, creative, unorthodox, paradoxical, and about bringing things together that are quite different from each other and wouldn’t be expected to mesh well. Chiron also reflects dilemmas, spiritual or physical wounds, blockages, negative patterns, disease, pain, suffering, and parts of the whole which have been fragmented.

Chiron related issues (as mentioned above) can be getting in the way (or we may perceive it like that) of us reaching our potential. With it being in Aries, these challenges may be connected to the themes and qualities of that sign. Chiron related issues want to be overcome or handled more positively which can help to open other doors. They can be transmuted into gifts, abilities, awareness, and further spiritual embodiment.

New Moon and Chiron Square The Lunar Nodes

The New Moon and Chiron are also in a square with the Lunar Nodes. Chiron has also recently transitioned from being closer to the South Node in Capricorn to now being closer to the North Node in Cancer as it moves in that direction. This configuration with the Nodes can reflect being at a crossroads with the energies of these opposing signs as well as between the past and the future.

Ultimately this is helping to push us to focus more on the Cancerian qualities and areas of life, while reducing Capricorn areas and/or letting go of its negative qualities. More beneficial developments and growth can occur when we do this and it may also help us to tap more into Chiron’s positive traits and healing potential.

When we focus on the Capricorn side we may face more challenges and may also be inhibited by Chiron’s negative expressions which can be getting in the way of our potential. However, this can also call for some sort of positive (or win-win) integration between both sides of this polarity. If so, then the emphasis is to be on Cancerian themes while expressions of Capricorn are fulfilling the Cancer focal point.

Cancer is about home, security, protection, emotion, instinct, family, nurturing, caring, emotional support, sensitivity, and other domestic aspects of life. Capricorn is associated with goals, ambitions, career, duty, productivity, business, government, critical thinking, banking, orderliness, structure, consolidation, conservation, and determination. Negatively expressed, it can be cold, aloof, pessimistic, overly concerned with social standing, or flaunt status and achievement.

This can also be a good time to reflect on the wounds of our past to help us in how to proceed into a more empowering future. Be open towards any sort of modalities, practices, information/media, journaling, people, situations, or anything else that can help to facilitate this process.

Saturn Just Entered Aquarius, In A Sextile With This New Moon

Saturn, the planet of restrictions, boundaries, limitations, responsibilities, commitments, discipline, maturity, and the elderly, recently moved into Aquarius, the social sign of groups, the collective, humanity, intellect, technology, and innovation. It is in a connecting aspect to this New Moon in the self-oriented sign of Aries conjunct the healing, impairing, and maverick Chiron.

Saturn literally entered Aquarius just over two days prior to this New Moon after being in Capricorn since late December 2017. However, Saturn will re-enter Capricorn in early July after it goes retrograde in the 2nd week of May. It will then re-enter Aquarius in mid-December where it will stay until early 2023. By that point it will be fully in that sign instead of back and forth between two signs. We will then notice its exclusive energy even more strongly and likely in different ways than we are currently.

With Saturn getting its first taste of Aquarius, perhaps certain things that are going on now, in these coming months, and especially late in the year can be seeding something pertaining to how this process will play out until early 2023.  I will be covering more about this energy and its significant upcoming astrological configurations in my future content. Join my mailing list here to get notified when my work gets released.

Making Intentions & Things To Consider

How can you use this period to overcome old wounds, blockages, and your negative expressions to assist you in reaching your potential and achieving wholeness? Do you have issues around independence, individual needs, or sense of self that need to be addressed? What can you do to be more caring and nurturing without sacrificing while still considering and acting on your personal needs and self-development? Are there any aspects of your ambitions, career, social status, that are getting in your way of emotional fulfillment?

These are just some examples of what to consider or focus your intentions on at this time. However, it is good to reflect on anything else that is coming up for you. It is generally best to make any intentions within the first 24 hours following a New Moon. The exact moment it will occur is 9:28am Universal Time on March 24th. You can click here to see what that is in your time zone.

Follow me on INSTAGRAM, FACEBOOK, and YOUTUBE for more astrology-related content.

astrology, astrology readings, carmen di luccio

I’m doing a BIG DISCOUNT during the pandemic period with 40-50% off personal readings.  Gain more astrological insight into what is going on in your life and have a better understanding of your individual potentials. Get a personalized astrology reading with Carmen (author of this article) specific to you based on your exact birth date, time, and location. Click here for the discounted rate.

 

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Consciousness

Conscious Truth Behind Coronavirus Lockdown

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Now is a time for deep reflection on the state of our world and how we wish to shift the way we live our lives on this planet. Society has an opportunity to change, are we paying attention?

  • Reflect On:

    Do we simply want to go back to 'normal life' after this? Or is this giving us a chance to see things differently?

I have seen an unprecedented amount of perspectives about what is going on with this global event. Typically, there are a few theories that emerge with something like this. A mainstream narrative, perhaps a couple political narratives, then a few alternative narratives. But in the case of the COVID-19 pandemic, I have seen narratives from virtually anyone with a voice. This has created an incredibly confusing landscape, but I hope to shift that a bit with the video I want to share with you below.

Perhaps the people that I believe should most take a breath are those that are angry, hateful and upset that some people are not terrified about this pandemic and choosing not to stay inside. Instead, some people are going for a walk outdoors to get fresh air, and this is enraging a certain part of the population. This group also seems to be asking their government for martial law and to take control of the food supply. My reflections towards these people are why are you feeling so angry and fearful? Why are you forgoing all of your power to the government? When have they given you a reason to trust them?

In fear, we will not have a good immune system. In fear, we will not have clarity. Take a breath, enjoy what independent media is sharing as the narratives are not riddled in fear like the mainstream media’s is.

As always, I feel these massive global events come down to consciousness and how we think about our world. We are in an unprecedented time right now where we have an incredible opportunity to break up the status quo and begin looking at what our world truly is at the moment. For those that are fearful of a totalitarian state, one question to consider is, do you truly feel that with how much more aware people are now than during 9/11, is a totalitarian state actually possible? I personally don’t think so as I don’t think enough people will stand for it.

Over the last 11 years I have seen so many people wake up to what’s going on. People you might not expect would change. At this point, even if the Deep State tried to pull something, I don’t think people would let it happen. Our collective consciousness is also truly asking for something different of our world, of our everyday life. It’s time for a great change, shift, and upheaval in and of our current systems and structures within society.

The main message of the video below is that it’s time for us to get back to dreaming, wondering, exploring and envisioning what world we wish to create. This can be the main focus of our conversations during this time, and it may serve the best to do so. My feeling is that now is a time to engage in practices of dreaming, imagining, and talking about what we could change and create, as opposed to just waiting for things to go back to normal, or just waiting for something to happen. This is an opportunity for us to collectively talk about and take action on creating a different world, as opposed to having someone else created for us.

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Enjoy the video below as it goes into much greater detail as to what I’m wishing to share.

I will be continuing to post regular thoughts and updates on Instagram, as well as go live. You can follow me on Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/joemartino29/

*Note, the first minute has bad sound.

What You Can Do

Below are three important links to help you in potentially preventing coronavirus infection and perhaps even treating it. It also includes how you can stay calm and present during this time, as this is one of the most important things we can do.

How To Take Vitamin C Orally. It MAY Help Protect Against Viruses

Enjoy This Free Conscious Breathing Course To Bring Peace & Heightened Immunity

Foods That Weaken Your Immune System

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You can stream conscious media 24/7 and enjoy mind-expanding interviews, original shows, and documentaries and guided programs.

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Consciousness

Parables For The New Conversation (Chapter 31: The Fisherman)

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The following is a chapter from my book ‘Parables For The New Conversation.’ One chapter will be published every Sunday for 36 weeks here on Collective Evolution. (I would recommend you start with Chapter 1 if you haven’t already read it.) I hope my words are a source of enjoyment and inspiration for you, the reader. If perchance you would like to purchase a signed paperback copy of the book, you can do so on my production company website Pandora’s Box Office.

From the back cover: “Imagine a conversation that centers around possibility—the possibility that we can be more accepting of our own judgments, that we can find unity through our diversity, that we can shed the light of our love on the things we fear most. Imagine a conversation where our greatest polarities are coming together, a meeting place of East and West, of spirituality and materialism, of religion and science, where the stage is being set for a collective leap in consciousness more magnificent than any we have known in our history.

Now imagine that this conversation honors your uniqueness and frees you to speak from your heart, helping you to navigate your way more deliberately along your distinct path. Imagine that this conversation puts you squarely into the seat of creator—of your fortunes, your relationships, your life—thereby putting the fulfillment of your deepest personal desires well within your grasp.

‘Parables for the New Conversation’ is a spellbinding odyssey through metaphor and prose, personal sagas and historic events, where together author and reader explore the proposal that at its most profound level, life is about learning to consciously manifest the experiences we desire–and thus having fun. The conversation touches on many diverse themes but always circles back to who we are and how our purposes are intertwined, for it is only when we see that our personal desires are perfectly aligned with the destiny of humanity as a whole that we will give ourselves full permission to enjoy the most exquisite experiences life has to offer.”

31. The Fisherman

Around noon on the East beach on the island of Allandon, the fisherman sat at a makeshift table gutting and cleaning his morning catch. He was so focused on his task that he took a while to notice his dog standing beside him patiently, wagging his tail with a large stick in his mouth.

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“I don’t suppose you came here to help me prepare the fish for market,” he said playfully. The dog continued looking up at the fisherman, eyes full of anticipation.

“No you just came to play,” he said as he scruffed the dog’s head briskly. “Play, eat and sleep, that’s your life, isn’t it?”

He put down his boning knife and wiped his hands off with a nearby cloth. “Well, I suppose I could take a break,” he said to his dog. He took the stick from his dog’s mouth and ran along the beach, leading the eager dog with the stick. Then he threw the stick far down the shoreline, and his dog ran after it at full speed and retrieved it for him.

After a while they returned, and the fisherman put out some of his dog’s favorite food, which the dog dove right into.

“Sometimes I wish I had your life,” said the fisherman as he picked up the next fish to work on. “I mean, you seem to have it all.”

The fisherman looked over to the dog, as if he was expecting a response. Of course the dog paid no attention to the fisherman, and kept on eating.

“Well there is one thing I have that you don’t, even though it probably causes more trouble than it’s worth,” said the fisherman, raising his boning knife with mock pride. “At least I can wish for a different life!”

What differentiates us from the animals that grace our planet is our self-awareness. We recognize ourselves as separate and distinct from our environment. More than any other we are the species that has traveled furthest from the Dao and have forged deep into the darkness of the universe. This is what puts us on the leading edge of consciousness, and what actually makes the discovery of who we really are all the more exciting and magical. If we identified solely with the source, the act of creation might be felt as something happening outside of us, rather than through the prism of our individuality.

Since animals are closer to the Dao than we are, they are more or less in flow with life all the time. They don’t have much of an Ego Self holding them back, and so they cannot help but live in the moment, grounds for occasional envy amongst us humans. And yet, even if it were possible to do, few of us would honestly want to trade places with them. Down deep we sense that the greatest experiences life has to offer are predicated on awareness, and the more conscious we become, the more sublime our experience of being inspired becomes. This inspiration has grown with the growth of our consciousness, and today is moving us towards the penultimate revelation: that we create our reality by the way we think.

Kernels of the idea that our mental state actually has some creative impact on our world and what happens in it have been circulating in our society for quite some time. In recent years, the conversation has intensified around the power of positive thinking, the value of visualization, the influence of intention. The full extent of the effect of our thoughts and the role they play in our endeavor to fulfill our deepest desires is something that I believe we are just coming to grips with today.

It is not a matter of much debate that we will be able to more easily ‘win friends and influence people’ if we think and act confidently and positively in their company. And with the power to draw strength from our relationships it is no big stretch to see how we can directly improve upon our esteem, our career and monetary success, and our overall enjoyment of life. The idea of visualization is a bit more amorphous, but it has certainly penetrated many aspects of our lives in relation to the outcome of our performance. My own experience in sports like golf, for example, has made me a solid believer in the assertion that we have to visualize a good result in order to ensure a good result. The clearer our vision is of what is to come, the more likely the intended outcome will occur. Be the ball, a conscientious golfer may remind himself.

In general, the idea that we will be successful if we believe we will be successful is not so hard to accept when we can make a direct link between our attitude and our own behavior, and then see that our behavior has a direct effect on our environment in terms of the way in which people and circumstances react to us. However it is entirely another thing to suggest that the way we think can affect the world around us at a distance as it were, with no visible ties to what we are affecting. Can we really believe that positive thinking can attract the right person into our lives at the right time? That visualization can bring us abundance from an unexpected source? That intention can actually affect the weather?

Actually, in some sense, it is only modern Western societies that have been skeptical about these possibilities. In earlier times these ideas were not only accepted, they were the foundations of tribal rituals and religious practices of all kinds. These practices ranged from carrying out personal vendettas to bringing much-needed rain to the communal crops. Perhaps the only difference is that rather than believing the power to be within the minds of each individual in their culture, they vested it in the particular deity that they were devoted to. There was no doubt in their minds, however, about the invisible connection between discreet things in their environment, and the ability to tap into this ever-present web of influence through prayer and other acts of devotion.

The advent of science, which ushered in the mechanistic world view, has made it difficult for us to give credence to these invisible connections between our thoughts and what actually happens in the world. More than ever in human history, our attention has been focused on the material connections between things, because it has been seen as the only way to gain the power to get what we want in our world. This in part explains the all-consuming supremacy of money in our modern world which, for all intents and purposes, we have made into a material ‘thing’ that is the main source of acquiring the other ‘things’ that are supposed to fulfill our desires.

When a claim is made that someone has brought something material into being and fulfilled a desire by their thoughts alone, the inclination of our materialist mindset is to write it off as superstition, voodoo, or the opiate of religious fervor, maintaining that we have evolved beyond such mysticism. When uncanny events occur that seem to present us with exactly what we want, need, or have been asking for, and no clear cause-and-effect relationship can be found in the visible world, our habit of thought has been to simply attribute it to coincidence and haphazard randomness.

Like many habits, this habit of thought has been hard to break. But we have begun to do just that. The evidence to the contrary has started to become too overwhelming. And more and more this evidence has been coming from an unlikely source—science itself. Contemporary research in physics and other scientific fields demonstrates that the mechanistic world view itself may be one of the greatest superstitions in human history. Mechanism has no choice but to maintain that our thoughts are simply random offshoots of physical processes in the brain, without transcendent design or purpose. The notion that we have any intelligence outside of the domain of our physical bodies, and that this intelligence can actually have an effect on matter, is untenable in a mechanistic world. However the discoveries of modern physics beg to differ. They are actually demonstrating that it has become more reasonable to assert that mind creates matter rather than matter creating mind.

It is no surprise that Albert Einstein, whose driving ambition in his scientific pursuits was to ‘understand the mind of God’, was a key player in the modern revolution of scientific thought, and of thought in general. In his seminal 1906 paper On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies, Einstein essentially put our idea of objective reality on the shelf forever. He showed that both time and space—the underpinnings of objective measurements—were themselves subject to the conditions by which they were being observed and experienced. In other words, the actual passage of time and measurement of space are relative to the perspective of the observer. With relativity, the nature of things breaks away from the cold calculations of pure objectivity and suddenly becomes subjective. Relative is how things REALLY ARE, meaning that there is no absolute or objective reality as such.

While it has taken quite some time for us to catch on to this fundamental idea—over a century, to be precise—our way of thinking and living is starting to come around. We are beginning to discern that what we used to consider to be objective truths are simply unconscious agreements, collective habits of perception that are so ingrained that we consider them unchangeable objective facts. Now certainly we need many of these agreements in order to live and relate to each other, but that is not the same as saying they exist independent of us. In other words, they need an observing consciousness to become ‘real’. The proverbial tree that falls in the forest with nobody around, then, actually does not make a sound—although it is debatable as to whether there could ever be ‘nobody around’.

The discoveries of quantum physics, which studies the behavior of sub-atomic particles, have only further refined Einstein’s notion, showing that the objective world is not so ‘objective’ after all. Let us take for example any experiment conducted by a scientist, purportedly an unattached and objective observer who desires to report on exactly what he sees and draw conclusions from it. This seems all well and good for ‘traditional’ observation in which a scientist can stay unobtrusively a safe distance away.

The only problem is that with sub-atomic physics, the physicist cannot stay a safe distance away because he cannot escape an intimate relationship to that which he is observing, influencing its behavior just by observing it. In fact, it has been shown now that some kind of exchange goes on between the observer and the observed in every act of observation. Its effects are simply more noticeable at a sub-atomic level. Heisenberg’s famous uncertainty principle confirms this very fact. Electrons exist around a nucleus not as ‘things’ as such but rather as ‘probability clouds’ that necessarily wait for the attention of an observer to bring the electron to an actual position in space. Without that attention, the electron is actually and truly nowhere in particular.

Now in the broader phenomenal world that we live in every day, the effects of observation are not so instantaneous. There is much more to do than to position a single electron. However, while the processes might be more complex, science is starting to prove that consciousness is a participant at all levels of activity. As Lynn McTaggert says in The Intention Experiment,

The implication of these early experimental findings [of quantum physics] were profound: living consciousness somehow was the influence that turned the possibility of something into something real…living consciousness is somehow central to the process of transforming the unconstructed quantum world into something resembling everyday reality.

The study of sub-atomic particles, the building blocks of life as we know it, has brought scientists to the unavoidable conclusion that consciousness affects matter by way of a unified energy matrix that orders the universe and weaves an intelligent design throughout the largest and smallest of entities, and all those in between. The long search of science for a unified field is now being conceived as an energy storehouse of all possible events in space and time. All things material originate in an energy state, as potential, waiting for consciousness to put sufficient attention on one possibility to bring it into material existence. In other words, material events don’t just happen, they all originate from the focused attention of an observing intelligence on a given possibility.

The next big step science is in the process of taking is determining whether we are restricted to the role of observer, of passive consciousness, or if we can actually affect the world of our everyday lives with our consciousness in ways that we actually want. What spiritual traditions have been claiming all along—that we can shape our world and our lives with our intentions—has become the subject of rigorous scientific inquiry. Ground-breaking work done by people like biologist Rupert Sheldrake is opening up a vast new field of possibilities. His explorations demonstrate that not only can intention intervene in the bringing-into-being of matter, it is actually the foundation of such processes.

There’s a kind of intention, a kind of goal-directedness inherent in the very nature of life in the most fundamental processes that enable embryos to grow and even protein molecules to form. And I think that the kind of conscious intention we experience as part of our mental life has its background in this goal-directedness which is inherent in all living creatures, and is an essential part of the nature of life and an essential part of the nature of the organizing fields that organize living organisms.

At the height of scientific materialism in the West, large numbers of people were skeptical of all things immaterial and came to doubt that there was any purpose to our being created at all. But purpose, goal-directedness, and intention are being seen more and more as the foundations of material life. As science gets turned on its ear, it shifts from being the strongest proponent of a universe devoid of meaning and conscious design to validating the role of consciousness and the existence of an invisible world of spirit out of which the visible world emerges.

It was not long ago that science took pride in its orderly mechanistic vision, one which had us living in an unspeakably beautiful, highly sophisticated and fully functioning natural world and yet seriously doubting that there was an intelligent design behind it and a purpose to our own existence. Today, no longer is science strictly the domain of the visible and religion the domain of the invisible. The line in the sand has been crossed, and the tacit agreement between the two camps has begun to dissolve. The result is that we are starting to feel whole again.

This did not all happen by accident. For me, this is the master stroke of Creation itself. It was intended that the illusion of materialism become so powerful that we could doubt there was an intelligence behind it—because this doubt itself had a highly transcendent purpose. With this doubt, born of the emergence of the Western paradigm, of the aggrandizement of rationality over intuition, of the separation of science and spirituality, we have been brought to greater heights of individual self-consciousness. We have been propelled into a complexity that distinguishes us even more from our source and yet holds the possibility that we can feel ever more of its power.

In the universe consciousness cannot contract, it can only expand. Expanding consciousness is the flow of life and the inherent mandate of all living things. Our capacity as human beings to be conscious of ourselves brings us to the brink of a great epiphany about our purpose here: we were created to experience being creators ourselves. We have begun our ascent into a higher level of complexity, one that empowers us to create our world anew out of our conscious intentions, grounded in our deepest personal and collective desires.

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