Brother Phap Dung is a Vietnamese American who has been residing in Plum Village, a Buddhist meditation centre founded by two Vietnamese monastics, Chân Không and Thích Nhất Hạnh, for the last six years.
You might be familiar with Thích Nhất Hạnh, a Buddhist monk and peace activist who has written more than 100 books, including The Miracle of Mindfulness and Peace is Every Step. He also coined the term “Engaged Buddhism,” which refers to Buddhists who are “seeking ways to apply the insights from meditation practice and dharma teachings to situations of social, political, environmental, and economic suffering and injustice.” In 2014, Thích Nhất Hạnh suffered a stroke and has made few appearances since. He has been living at Plum Village, located in the south of France, since 2016.
Barclay questioned Phap about his opinion on Trump and asks how America can better manage their emotions through all the uncertainty created during this presidency. “As a collective energy, fear and anger can be very destructive. We make the wrong decisions if we base it on fear, anger, and wrong perception. Those emotions cloud our mind. So the first thing in the practice that we learn from the Buddhist tradition is to come back and take care of our emotion. We use the mindfulness to recognize it,” he says.
He also shares his opinion on anger, a natural reaction many Americans are experiencing during this presidency:
People are so convinced that anger and all this energy will produce change. But in fact it’s very destructive, because you’re opposing. Opposition wastes energy. It’s not healing.
Emotions can be good. Passion can be good, and compassion is very passionate. But compassion doesn’t waste energy. It includes and it understands; it’s more clear.
Engage in protest, but not from a place of anger. You need to express your opinion, and you need to go out there and say this is wrong. But don’t do it by saying hateful things. In a way, we Buddhists look more at energy than personality. That helps us be wiser.
Phap goes on to share some interesting perspectives on Trump that reflect points we also raised in an article detailing our stance on Trump. He says, “Trump is not an alien who came from another planet. We produced Trump, so we are co-responsible. Our culture, our society, made him. We love to pick somebody and make them the object. But it’s deeper than that. We have to see him inside of us.”
Elizabeth expresses how difficult it is for Americans to show compassion during these times, as they are afraid it will make them “passive” and therefore run the risk of getting hurt. Yet Phap explains that compassion can be active, too:
Compassion is not sitting in your room; it’s actually very active and engaging.
Trump is not an alien who came from another planet. We produced Trump, so we are co-responsible. Our culture, our society, made him. We love to pick somebody and make them the object. But it’s deeper than that. We have to see him inside of us.
We’re shocked because we found out there’s a member of our family that we’ve been ignoring. It’s time to listen and really look at our family.
We are afraid to engage, but you can dialogue and debate. It requires a lot of practice to sit there and listen, and not judge so you can understand.
You cannot end discrimination by calling the other names. All the people who voted for him are not bigots and racists and women haters. We are all judgmental, sometimes even a bit racist.
What’s in my heart is that people find the patience and clarity to listen before they start to blame and criticize.
Phap also expresses his admiration for Bernie Sanders and his decision to speak publicly about the illusion under which Americans are living. Bernie not been shy about his belief that it doesn’t matter who wins the presidency, since he or she will remain under the control of corporations.
Phap shares his own perspective of the media as well, saying, “Our society is very vulnerable to being very polarized and that’s what the media is taking advantage of. We have to be really careful. I don’t follow politics a lot, but because of my background and my teacher and how I come from a war, I had to look at some of these things. I’m not fooled by the media anymore.”
Assuming that we’ve stabilized our emotions when it comes to taking action, he suggests going out in nature and finding out exactly what it is you want to change instead of operating out of despair. It is then that we can go out and truly help others: “Our friend may be somebody who is being discriminated against. You can only be there to offer them that kindness if you are stable. You cannot help them if you are filled with hate and fear. What people need is your non-fear, your stability, solidity, clarity. This is what we can offer.”
We’ve explored the benefits of meditation extensively here at CE, and Phap offers further guidance for how it can help to calm our minds and connect us to one another. He says, “When you sit with someone who’s calm, you can become calm. If you sit with someone who’s agitated and hateful, you can become agitated and hateful.”
He also stresses meditation is a practice that has no setting, no rules; it can take place any time we remember our presence: “It can happen right in whatever activity you’re doing — while walking, in the office. It means you are there, present with calm and peace. With a breath, you can bring calm, clarity and rest your thinking.”
Phap also explains the importance of deep listening. Plum Village has hosted many retreats, inviting both Israelis and Palestinians, and spends three days preparing both groups to listen to one another through exercises like walking and meditation. Even political strife can be overcome in this way.
“Both sides are suffering — they may have different levels of suffering — but both sides are suffering. People don’t want to be hateful or harming. We keep that in mind. The wake-up call is to not to be too quick. That’s the hard part. When someone hates, it’s hard for us to accept that and listen. But to find relief, we have to listen,” he says. When Buddhist practitioners choose to get involved in politics, they have to be inclusive.
So how can we properly deal with a family member or friend we anticipate disagreeing with?
Drop all expectations.
The way I practice is that you cannot ask people for what they do not have. You only make yourself suffer. So you don’t need to try and convince them. Don’t put stuff in their box they’re not going to want. It’s a waste of saliva.
When there is discrimination, you can use the opportunity to increase understanding. You can concentrate on what makes you happy; there are other elements in this person, not just the prejudice. You have to find also the good qualities in them. Don’t focus on wrong views because that makes you angry.
This is not wishful thinking or deluded thinking. This is taking care of yourself. Only when you can do that — when you can be a good listener and be nonjudgmental — is a dialogue possible.
When I think I am right, I am on a course for a lot of conflict. Because I am stuck with my own views and not open to other people. So I suffer. When I see that in other people, I see they are suffering. Maybe kindness is there. Their viewpoints may not be correct, but their heart may be kind.
Barclay also asked Phap how we can best prepare for the future, and he offers a uniquely positive response focused on individual accountability:
The future is built with the present moment and how we take care of it. If you are fearful, the future will be fearful. If you are uncooperative, the future will be divisive. This is very important.
The future is not something that will come to us; the future is built by us, by how we speak and what we do in the present moment.
Community practice is crucial at this time. It’s crucial not to be alone in front of the computer, reading media. That makes the world dark for you. Find flesh. There are still wonderful things happening.
And what does Phap’s mentor, Thích Nhất Hạnh, think of Trump? “I heard that he took his left hand; he went like this (opens palm). You can interpret that all you want.”
Your life path number can tell you A LOT about you.
Is Facebook Just A Virtual Platform For Our Ego?
- The Facts:
Facebook is a great platform, but are we using it, or is it using us?
- Reflect On:
Are we using Facebook with intention and integrity? Are we being authentic and vulnerable on the platform?
In many ways, Facebook has served us, bringing people from all over the world together. It seems everyone is on Facebook and if they’re not, we’re usually shocked — Really? Wow, how do you even communicate, bro? We all know a few of these elusive people… But, how can I creep your profile and stalk you if you’re not even on Facebook?! Perhaps these people understand some of the darker sides of Facebook.
Without Facebook, there’s a chance I never would have found Collective Evolution online and then moved to Toronto in 2010 to join the team. It has served a powerful purpose for connecting like-minded individuals across the globe and bringing a wave of knowledge and truth to those who are seeking. However, as with basically everything else, this doesn’t come without a cost — as connecting as it can be in a virtual realm, it seems, in reality, many people are feeling more disconnected than ever before. So, why is this?
To the average user, Facebook provides a platform to share our successes, our accomplishments, our fun adventures and our beautiful pictures. But, what about the other side of life; the darker times, the challenges, the real and authentic vulnerability that helps to truly connect us and help us to see that we are not alone? That is where Facebook is lacking.
When we are scrolling through our newsfeed, and we are seeing how great everyone else’s life is — who’s travelling, who’s getting married, who’s having kids, who’s beautiful, who has bought a house etc. It may cause us to feel inadequate in our own lives, why does it seem like everyone else has the perfect life except for me? These are all thoughts I’m sure we have all thought to ourselves at some point or another.
But what we often don’t realize is that the people who we admire are often feeling the same thing as us when they are scrolling through their own newsfeed. It is so important to know that WE ALL FACE CHALLENGES, all of us. This is a natural part of life and ultimately; it’s what is pushing us in the direction to step fully into our purpose and potential.
The Addiction Factor Is Real
In the name of absolute transparency, I am guilty of this. Because a large portion of my job involves Facebook directly I catch myself mindlessly scrolling from time to time. Looking for that next interesting post to give me that quick hit of dopamine, stealing many precious moments away from my day.
When I post something and I hear that little “ding” a part of me is excited to see what it is, did someone “like” my post? Ooh, maybe someone even “loved” it, is there a comment? Says that little voice inside my head. Really, sometimes it leaves me questioning why I am even posting anything to begin with, is it because I authentically have something to share, or that I am bored and seeking some sort of validation or approval?
These thoughts triggered a conversation with a close friend about the idea that Facebook essentially serves as a virtual platform for our egos. In a sense our ego gets to live out this life with a little avatar and share only the most perfect moments, in some cases, the most beautiful and retouched photos, everything that we wish we were, everything that we feel that everyone else wants to see. When we do this however, we are ignoring a huge and important aspect of the shadow side and that is — ourselves.
This side of us is just as important as any other. By embracing this part of ourselves, not only are we able to step through this ‘darkness,’ but by being open and authentic with this facet of ourselves we can in turn, even if unknowingly assist others who may also be struggling.
Related CE Podcast: Ep #17: Who You Truly Are
Drama, Drama, Drama
Okay, so there’s a good chance that we all have a few of those friends who like to use Facebook as a platform to vent, about ex-partners, horrible jobs, hardships, and other drama. Maybe you see these posts and roll your eyes, maybe you can empathize with these words because you have been in a similar scenario, maybe you just love the drama. While there are no rules to this game, and we can use Facebook however you like, a good thing to ask yourself before posting is, how is this serving?
There is a difference between airing your dirty laundry on Facebook and sharing from your heart. The difference is the intention behind it. Do you wish to slander someone else, in order to make yourself feel better? Have you been going through a challenging time and have insight and awareness around the issue that you’d like to share? Are you seeking wisdom from your friends? There are really so many ways to use Facebook.
Anyone who knows me, knows that my life is essentially an open book. I am always willing to share, the good, the bad and the ugly and often I do so on Facebook as well. I do find that when my purpose is to simply share an experience, whether positive or negative, I receive a very heartfelt response. When I share about my challenges, I do so from a place of vulnerability, because I believe that there is tremendous power in being vulnerable.
Often I am overwhelmed with responses of so many people responding with deep appreciation because they too, have been experiencing a similar struggle or issue and, really, it feels damn good to know that we are all going through challenges. When we can allow ourselves to be fully vulnerable and express ourselves from the heart and to use Facebook as a platform to do so we can truly connect, from a place of compassion, empathy and understanding with one another. This takes away from the ego-fuelled attention game that so many of us are unwilling participants in and allows us to see that really, we aren’t so different after all.
Use ‘The Book’ With Intention
Yes, share your successes, and share your accomplishments but, I also challenge you to share the struggle of what brought you there, how did it happen, what roadblocks did you have to push through to get to where you are now? Speak from your heart and speak your truth. Don’t worry so much about what people might think to learn more about the real you, because chances are they will be able to relate in a way you never thought possible, and they may even be inspired, too. Before posting, anything really, ask yourself, what is your intention for posting it? This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t share pictures from your travels, or your new hairdo, but ask yourself why is this important and see what comes up.
We are craving real connection more and more these days and longing for a sense of community. Facebook can serve in this way if this is how we choose to use it. Be mindful of your activity, and most importantly, don’t forget to actually get out and live your life and take a good old break from Facebook from time to time. Go out and do something without any intention of sharing it, do it for you – not to satisfy your ego!
Your life path number can tell you A LOT about you.
Who Lucifer Actually Is & Why They Are Here (Part 2: Bloodline Families)
- The Facts:
The 'Fall of Lucifer' can be understood as the fulfillment of an agreement to bring evil to the Earth in order to create duality and hence the possibility of free will. Lucifer is a group soul that individuated through 13 sacred bloodlines.
- Reflect On:
How would our relationships change if we believed that all the evil in our world was actually here to enable us to have free will? How would it impact our personal evolution?
(Note: If you have not read part 1 of this article, my strong recommendation is to follow the link and read it first, because it provides an essential context for the discussion here.)
As we described in Part 1, Lucifer is considered to be a highly evolved ‘group soul’, having reached 6th density, while our world is currently in 3rd density transitioning to 4th density. The concept of ‘group soul’ is important here, as it suggests that, as individual souls evolve towards reunion with the One Creator, they gather into ever larger sub-groups of consciousness from which they came.
In this context, the ‘Fall of Lucifer’ is actually based on an agreement between Lucifer and the Earth’s planetary logos (creator) known as Yahweh, an agreement designed to introduce ‘evil’ to the planet in order to foster human free will and subsequently accelerate human evolution.
In the Bible there is reference made to the fall of Lucifer, characterized as God’s punishment for a self-centered angel who aspired to be above the one almighty God:
“How you are fallen from heaven,
O Lucifer, son of the morning!
How you are cut down to the ground,
You who weakened the nations!
For you have said in your heart:
‘I will ascend into heaven,
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;” –Isaiah, 14:12-13
What this in fact represents is the result of Yahweh’s anger at his human population having disobeyed him by succumbing to Lucifer’s temptation in the garden. Yahweh had only reluctantly accepted the proposition that his human subjects be granted free will, and actually went ahead with it believing they would not disobey him.
If you are wondering ‘How could God the Creator be angry?’ it helps to understand that Yahweh is not the One Creator but rather simply the creator of the planet Earth, and as a planetary logos had not evolved beyond anger, jealousy, and revenge. While being fully aware and very powerful, Yahweh’s soul had not grown much since the creation of the planet. It is, in fact, the evolution of the human race that is the vehicle for Yahweh’s own evolution into higher densities.
Lucifer Confined To Astral Planes
And so Yahweh took out his wrath, not only on his human population–which is well documented in the Old Testament–but on Lucifer as well. He confined the group soul to the Earth’s Astral Planes. Lucifer’s ‘fall from grace’ is actually a consequence of Yahweh’s jealousy, because Lucifer, as a 6th density group soul, had become a more highly evolved being than Yahweh was. Here is how Hidden-Hand explains the blowback from Yahweh’s actions:
Now that Free Will had been granted, Yahweh could not retract it, and we have to stay here as contracted to continue to provide the planet with the Polarity choice. Since then, Yahweh has confined us (as a Group Soul) here within the Earth’s Astral Planes (which is very constricting and uncomfortable for a Being of our Wisdom and experience).
The Council of Elders gave us the choice to be released (against Yahweh’s will), but at the cancellation of our contract to Serve the planet earth; or to remain and fulfill our assignment, and endure Yahweh’s self-proclaimed “Wrath”. We stayed, but as a karmic result of our Group Soul’s confinement by Yahweh, our own individuated Souls were given the mandate (by The Council) to “Rule” over Yahweh’s people during our physical incarnations here on your planet.
The fact that the soul group’s individuated souls ‘were given the mandate (by The Council) to “Rule” over Yahweh’s people’ is of paramount importance. It gives us a much greater and more profound understanding of the nature of the presence of evil on this planet. The oft-heard references to a nefarious ‘Cabal’ or ‘Illuminati’ group running the planet, no matter how accurate or inaccurate as those words may be, appears to be validated in this big-picture view.
The 13 Bloodlines
In effect, due to the karma that Yahweh created by his petty acts of jealousy and rage, the group soul named Lucifer would not simply be stoking the fires of evil on the planet from afar, but the individuated souls of that group soul would incarnate on the planet via 13 sacred bloodlines to actually rule the planet from a much higher level of consciousness and self-awareness that humans would have.
The original ‘incarnation’ seems to correspond to the Nephilim or ‘Fallen Angels,’ whose integration into the human race is described in Genesis 6:4:
The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them.
This may be where the 13 bloodlines got started. What is important to note is that, while the human race lived on the Earth with a healthy dose of ‘amnesia’ of who they were for the purposes of their own evolution, it does not seem as though the individuated souls of Lucifer were in the same boat. They consciously understood their role on Earth, and have had a structure in place to maintain cohesion in their role as rulers through their understanding that they are part of the ‘Family,’ an understanding that is passed down by every generation. Hidden-Hand, in fact, identifies himself as a ‘generational member’:
I am a generational member of a Ruling Bloodline Family, our Lineage can be traced back beyond antiquity. From the earliest times of your recorded “history”, and beyond, our Family has been ‘directing’ the ‘play’ from behind the scenes, in one way or another.
There are 13 ‘base’ or ‘core’ original bloodlines. Yet there are many many other lines that spring from these, as do rivers from the oceans. If you imagine the 13 Original lines as Primary colour, that can be mixed to create a vast array of other colours, then you will have some comprehension. Again, no competition, just Family.
Disciplines Of Training Within The Family
The Family, then, appears to be essentially the group soul of Lucifer, whose core members unify around their sole and original purpose, to provide the catalyst for human growth through playing the role of controlling rulers of the planet. They do so, according to Hidden-Hand, through a very comprehensive program of training of family members in key areas of human influence:
There are six disciplines of training within the Family, and each member of the Family is schooled extensively in all of them, from early childhood. We all have an area of specialty, though we have experience in all spheres. The six spheres or ‘schools’ of learning are Military, Government, Spiritual, Scholarship, Leadership, and Sciences. In practice, out there on the ‘stage’ of public life, we hold key positions in all of these main areas of importance. With the addition of a complicit Media machine and ownership of your Financial establishments, all bases are covered.
Hidden Hand Of Influence
These positions of power are not what we first think of–politicians, generals, corporate heads, even the visible monarchy. In reference to a question about the British Royalty, Hidden-Hand says the following:
The British Royalty is not the most powerful line. The names that you know, do not hold the real ancient power. There are others above these lineages in the Hierarchy. You will not know the names of these lines.
So the individuated souls of Lucifer do indeed play the role of a hidden hand, and hold the true power behind those people and institutions who seem to exert the most authority in the world. Are these powerful Luciferian souls actually perpetrating evil in the world themselves, or are they just inciting evil within human beings? We will examine this question in part 3.
Your life path number can tell you A LOT about you.
Why ‘Conspiracy Theories’ & Spirituality Are Intimately Connected
- The Facts:
Refusing to understand how our world truly functions and simply calling exploration into this as 'negative' is a common spiritual bypass. The elite/cabal is here for a reason, we must understand that.
- Reflect On:
Why do we find ourselves calling conspiracies negative or something we should not talk about? Why do we refuse to face some of the 'darker' things inside, or even outside, of ourselves?
Is it considered ‘not spiritual’ to talk about an elite or cabal running our world? This has become a commonplace today, and there is a great deal of ridicule that comes when people feel looking at the truth of what is playing out in our world is ‘crazy’ or a ‘negative’ thing to do. In fact, the ‘negative’ label on conspiracy theories we place is one of the biggest spiritual bypasses we can do. Let’s dive into this.
The truth is, understanding the way our world truly functions and consciousness evolution (spirituality) go hand in hand. Why? Because it is all part of life here. It is not separate! You don’t have spirituality on one side and conspiracies or truth on the other. It’s all interconnected in our life and human experience. And it’s time to bring them together.
Note: I did an amazing CE Podcast episode on this subject you can listen to here. It goes even deeper into the subject than this article.
This isn’t true 100% of the time of course, but in a lot of cases, we see those in the truth-seeking realm feel consciousness or spirituality is airy fairy and has no place in the big picture and is just a new age distraction. On the flip side, we see those engaged in spirituality-seeking feel conspiracy/truth-seeking people are crazy and negative. While there is truth to some extent in both cases, there is a lot more to the discussion and a very important purpose for both.
You’ve probably experienced it at some point, it’s believable that GMO’s are unhealthy and corporations are using them to make money in a number of ways but it’s damaging to people and the environment, but yet there is no possible way that’s happening with vaccines… or that 9/11 was an inside job. Let me be the first to say, there are a number of conspiracy theories that have no backing, no facts, are far-reaching and in many cases don’t even help us along our journey. But this is not the case with many, in fact, the amount of evidence is often staggering and it’s simply that we don’t want to believe it.
I’m writing this because I’m calling for an end of the reduction of conversation to ‘that’s crazy’ ‘that’s fake news’ ‘that’s a conspiracy’ etc. as it does nothing but maintain division, a lack of awareness and a misinformed world that can’t thrive. Time and time again what is often called ‘conspiracy’ turns out to be true only a few months or a year later. We can end this cycle by learning and choosing to listen instead of dismissing, then checking in with our hearts/souls about what role this is playing in our experience so we can dissolve the need for the cabal.
Why They Go Hand In Hand
Some of us view spirituality as learning techniques to feel good, as ways to cope with life and the challenges we have in our modern world. Some view it as a means to begin to feel better about the prospect of death. Others view it as a way to explore what’s beyond the physical and who we truly are.
From a conspiratorial side, when we’re talking about digging past mainstream media to find out what’s really going on in our world, some view it as a way to disempower the elite that does not have humanities best interests at heart. Others view it as a way to take back our power. Some see it as a way to uncover the truth of how our world truly works so we can begin to thrive. Some react to these truths with wanting revenge or justice, this is an important thing to note as this is where the spirituality comes in.
So it appears we have ‘two sides’ as we often like to do within ego states of consciousness. But what role does the elite and cabal play in our experience? How has that served to suppress our spirituality and why has it all happened? The two are intimately connected because part of the game we are playing on earth here is that we have to uncover what has been happening in our reality and remember who we truly are. This is a spiritual journey, that involves understanding the players in the game and the roles they play.
I’ve been running a conscious media and education company for 9.5 years now. Our mission is to bridge the gap between truth-seeking and spirituality via exploring a shift in consciousness taking place on our planet. We understand that both are part of one big picture in life and you can only go so far in each before you MUST bring in the other to deepen your understanding.
During the 9.5 years since I started Collective Evolution, I have seen thousands of people go through various stages of discovering and learning, both in truth-seeking and spirituality, that has sent them on different paths. Some begin to discover our food system is rigged for a lack of health and they begin eating cleaner. This leads them to understand our entire world is ‘rigged against us’ and suddenly there is a shift in how they see the world. I have seen others attend a yoga class and this begins a journey into connecting with self deeply.
But in both cases, I often see an identity form. The yogi becomes identified as a ‘spiritual person,’ dresses a certain way, talks a certain way and may refuse to look at anything the ‘truth-seekers’ are saying because they don’t want to fall into that crowd. The truth-seekers are often angry, pissed off at the world, call everyone else sheeple and think the elite need to die in prisons. They might look at the ‘yogi’ or ‘spiritual’ crowd as having fallen into pseudo-scientific new age deception because they look at consciousness and spirituality.
Then there are those who have journeyed beyond that stage and are simply authentic and understand how both ingredients, truth-seeking and spirituality, are one in the same and part of the journey. They are both a part of this game we call life and if we truly want to evolve, move forward, remove the cabal and so forth, we must see the truth and learn why it was there in the first place for our own evolution in consciousness.
The video below explores the role the elite/cabal play in our spiritual journey.
It’s A Role!
Remember, what the cabal and elite are doing isn’t negative in the big picture scheme of things. To our mind it might be, but not to our souls. This is why you must connect deeply with self to overcome the vengeful hateful view the mind creates when we observe them.
What they are doing simply is. And for our souls, it is the journey we asked for to challenge ourselves to remember who we truly are in a very disconnected system. The cabal, are just souls having an experience too, and we all agreed on this together. This doesn’t mean we accept what they are doing in the physical and just take it, no, it simply means we must evolve our consciousness and overcome the need for them for it to stop.
How does that look or happen? We must understand why it’s there by going beyond the judgement and the emotion and see what the trap it creates for us. With that understanding, we no longer can get trapped in the angry, hateful emotions that hold this world in place and instead we choose, from a consciousness point of view, to create a different world. This not only affects collective consciousness and helps others awaken, but we then now can create a new world, both physically and consciously, that comes from a higher state of consciousness and not one that is built in fear, anger and judgement of the old one. Remaining in that old state will only create more of the same world.
Again, I feel it is very important to listen to the podcast episode on this one as it goes into deep detail about this.
If you find yourself viewing matters in either of these polarized lights, challenge yourself to ask why? Why have this opposition to either side and why are we coloring things as positive or negative in the first place? What is that showing us about ourselves? Our fear of looking at our own ‘darkness?’ Collective ‘darkness?’ In many ways, what the elite/cabal are doing is just a reflection of our own journeys on a macro scale. It’s reflecting humanity’s current state of consciousness as we awaken to the truth. Change Starts Within.
Your life path number can tell you A LOT about you.