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Parables For The New Conversation (Chapter 17: The Kitchen)

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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.

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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.”

17. The Kitchen

The dinnertime rush at the village restaurant on the island of Allandon was generally hectic for the staff, and this evening was no exception. The cook was moving back and forth across a sizzling grill and the busser was washing and stacking a mountain of dirty plates like clockwork when the waiter banged open the swinging door with empty plates running up both arms. He dumped them down on the counter near the busser, causing one of the plates to slide off onto the ground and break into pieces.

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The waiter paused for a second, as the busser immediately set down to pick up the pieces. “Well don’t blame me,” the waiter said. “Isn’t it your job to pick up the empty dishes from the tables?”

“It is,” said the busser.

“Well get on it, man! People are waiting to sit down!”

The busser did not jump, but instead finished picking up the remaining bits of the broken dish carefully with a broom. “Are they getting restless out there?”

“Damn right,” said the waiter, tapping his finger on the grill counter as he waited for his next food order.

“Any customers take it out on you?” asked the busser.

“It seems like they all are tonight.”

“Well if anybody can handle it, you can,” said the busser, resuming his dishwashing. “You just have this cool way of calming them down.”

A slight grin came over the waiter’s face. “A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do,” he said as he lined up the plates of food along his arms in perfect balance. He glided over to the swinging door and, backing his way out, added, “I’ve always said, ‘if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.’ “

“I’ll remember that,” said the busser, smiling to himself as he continued working through the pile of dishes.

The new conversation hinges on our ability to create a space—a space founded on acceptance, a space that builds trust, a space that encourages choice. You don’t need to be highly informed in all matters of great import to humanity to participate. If you bring an openness of mind and spirit, an authentic curiosity about views divergent from your own, and a desire to serve others on their path as you would be served on yours, then you will be doing your part. And if enough of us do our part, the world cannot help but be transformed.

The notion that there is a new conversation today in our society crystallized for me a few years ago during my training at the Adler School of Professional Coaching in Toronto. It was as though the seeds of thought that had long been swirling inside me had suddenly found the soil in which to germinate. While there was a curriculum for the course, the underlying agenda was for the facilitators and the students to co-create each session as much as was practical. The content of the course was fully embodied in its form—a spacious and free-flowing conversation. As a participant I was made to feel comfortable with who I was and where I was at. I could be myself, and there was nothing else needed or expected. Rather than being motivated by external forces based in evaluation and judgment, I was able to get connected with my own inherent desire to learn and to grow. From there I was able to step into the opportunity to be courageous in my participation.

A memorable example of this came during a creative exercise in which we were all asked to draw a picture that represented our inner selves. When it came time for each person to show and explain their drawings, my mind naturally gravitated to which ones were good and not-so-good, and how they compared (unfavorably) to mine. It seemed a little insincere to me how some people could praise and acknowledge each and every drawing, regardless of the clarity of expression or artistic merit. I assumed everyone saw what I saw, and were encouraging one another out of politeness and tact as I had learned to do.

But somewhere during the exercise, as I noticed how heart-felt one acknowledgment after the next seemed to be, an uncomfortable thought suddenly crept up on me: Was my assumption wrong? Was I the only one preoccupied with judgment and comparison? Was I the insincere one? It was a disturbing revelation, and though I could have ignored the thought and tried to ride out the discomfort, I felt I might be missing out on something important. It was only because of the non-judgmental space that had been created in the classroom that I felt just safe enough to risk the embarrassment and share with everyone what I had realized.

My admission—that I was internally judgmental about people’s creative expression and sometimes patronizing in my acknowledgments—made quite an impact on the group. A few seemed shocked by it, and tried to gently express how sincere they were being in their own acknowledgments. Another confessed that she had some feelings similar to mine. More significantly, the conversation as a whole seemed to move to an even deeper level of authenticity from that point on. People expressed gratitude for my honesty. I was grateful too, because of the rare opportunity for me to be in a space where I was able to be real. I believe it was the space that enabled me to hold the awareness long enough to make a courageous choice. Expressing myself went a long way to helping me let go of this habit of thought. In turn this helped me to experience something new from that moment on: a more profoundly satisfying appreciation of other people’s uniqueness and creative expression.

Later in the course, the acknowledgments I received for my own creative expression were all the more moving for me. In a homework assignment I wrote a parable about creativity based on an earlier conversation with one of the participants who insisted she was not creative (see Chapter 30, The Waiter). The praise and encouragement I received to seriously pursue the creative work of writing parables, which I loved to do, helped to inspire me to embark upon a new project I had been contemplating. In front of all my new friends on the final day of the course in October of 2003, I stood up and made the commitment that I was going to write a book that I would call Parables for the New Conversation.

Needless to say, being part of a course that focused on learning the technology of a powerful kind of interpersonal conversation—the coaching conversation—had a big impact on the subject matter of my book. I believe it would be very helpful at this point to explain what coaching actually is, and describe its influence on my vision of the new conversation.

The coaching I am referring to is broadly distinguished as life coaching. It is different from the traditional notion of a ‘coach’ who guides and manages an athlete or sports team and is supposed to be the wise authority on the game. In life coaching the game is life itself, and since the flow of life is change, the mandate of a coach involves helping the client deal with life changes or supporting them in making the changes that will take them where they want to go. Whereas the goal in any sport is clear—to win—in life coaching the goal itself is determined by the client. Together the coach and client identify obstacles along the path of change, brings clarity to real goals, and help clients move towards realizing them.

Coaching is different from therapy, psychiatry or social work, as it does not seek to resolve trauma or fix what is wrong with a client. It works from the standpoint that the client is already creative, resourceful, and whole—capable of being responsible for their own desired transformation.[1] And unlike consultants, advisors, or mentors, a coach does not need to be an expert in any particular area—except in the art and science of the conversation itself. The coach keeps the conversation in a rhythm of penetrating and stepping back, challenging and allowing, inquiring and stating what is.

The coaching conversation tends to move through three phases, represented by the acronym ICA. The first phase deals with the issue that the client brings to coaching, and helps to find greater insight into the issue so that the client can become clearer on what their intention is for the coaching relationship. The second phase taps into the client’s creativity to uncover the broad range of choices available, in order for the client to find the one they will make a commitment to move forward on. The final phase determines the actions that will fulfill the commitment, and sets up the measurable conditions by which the client can be accountable. The learning and growth resulting from their actions gives the client a new awareness, which could lead to a new coaching cycle.[2]

The coach is responsible for creating an environment within which the client can explore their greatest desires, and for providing guidance and encouragement as the client walks through and over the obstacles along their path. While on the one hand the coach is fully committed to the client’s development and has a pointed devotion to their client’s well-being, on the other hand the coach is completely detached from the results of the client’s actions, and so is never in any way judgmental in the way clients go about the business of their lives. In this way, the client is provided with the best environment to embrace choice, their natural birthright, without the influence of coercion, ridicule, pressure, or a sense of obligation, debt, or a desire not to disappoint. There is no doubt that the creation of a safe and supportive environment greatly facilitates a client’s capacity to step into choice and move forward authentically.

One important thing to note is that a true coach looks at themselves not as an authority or expert teacher. The coach models the attitude and behavior of a learner who learns right alongside with the client. It is this equality and reciprocity in the growth process that distinguishes the coaching modality from some of its predecessors. When the benefits are reciprocal, and the energy flows back and forth, then the circle is complete.

Thought not usually as formal as the coaching conversation, the new conversation employs many of the same principles. They are both founded in trust, openness and non-judgment. They both work with the ebb and flow of duality, of speaking and listening, of action informing reflection and reflection informing action, of our tendency to advance into the Dao Self and then retreat back into the Ego Self. These two conversations share a common purpose: to create a space designed to help us step into our highest vision of who we are. However, while the coaching conversation focuses on the specific goals of individuals or small teams of individuals, the new conversation is more expansive: it also holds the space for a unified vision for all of humanity, a collective ambition that plays out in synchrony with the pursuit of our individual purpose and aspirations.

It is in the intersection of our personal and collective journeys that human consciousness evolves. And so, in the new conversation, every single aspect of the human experience forms a part of the story: our politics and our culture, our technology and our art, our day-to-day concerns and the entire span of our history, our bodies and our souls, our greatest triumphs and our most horrifying atrocities. All things big and small, light and dark must have their place at the table if a vision of humanity as One is to finally be revealed.

I believe this revelation is well on its way to being realized, and more and more people want to be an important part of the process. I am noticing that speaking to people today, friends and strangers alike, is so different from how it was even twenty years ago. Today there seems to be a much greater interest in why we are here, where we are headed, what we can do. There is a growing hunger for authentic conversations that encourage us to be real, and hold us accountable for who we are being and what we are doing. Spontaneous discussions are breaking out everywhere, with birds of different feathers increasingly flocking together. We are forming conversation groups like never before to share emerging ideas and information about how to improve our lives, our communities, and the planet as a whole. In the spaces we create we are exploring rather than preaching, observing rather than judging, and opening up to having our deepest beliefs challenged. And the more we do, the greater our conviction becomes that working from such spaces will bring about the fulfillment of our personal and collective destiny.

[1] This means that not everyone is a candidate to be a coaching client, and the coach has an obligation to evaluate early on whether the client is self-responsible enough to bring about their own desired transformation. In a typical one-on-one relationship, a coach will meet with a client for an initial intake session where the coach will come to know many facets of the client in greater detail, including their values, strengths, challenges, and long-term goals. Subsequent regular meetings over the course of three months or longer are held with an awareness of the big picture, the long-term goals the client has entered coaching to achieve.
[2] This cycle is not cast in stone, and is subordinated to the uniqueness of the individual client and their situation. The client is fully involved in a co-creation of the form of the conversation that will serve them best.

Move on to Chapter 18…

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Consciousness

Magic: Thoughts From Plato & Manly P. Hall To Modern Day Scientists – Is “Magic” Real?

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The Concept of 'magic' has been written about and explored for thousands of years. It's always been a large part of history and ancient mysticism, and today, "magical" concepts are being explored by science, mostly in the form of parapsychology.

  • Reflect On:

    Are there concepts of our reality we have yet to understand? Are there concepts we turn away from that have ample evidence, but simply push the boundaries of the mind a little too far to accept? Perhaps things are changing

“The underlying, primary psychic reality is so inconceivably complex that it can be grasped only at the farthest reach of intuition, and then but very dimly. That is why it needs symbols.” – Carl Jung

What is ceremonial magic? The works of multiple scholars, from Plato to Manly P. Hall and further down the line, suggest it is essentially the use of rituals and techniques to invoke and control “spirits” or lifeforms that could be existing within other dimensions or worlds. For example, according to Hall, “a magician, enveloped in sanctified vestments and carrying a wand inscribed with hieroglyphic figures, could by the power vested in certain words and symbols control the invisible inhabitants of the elements and of the astral world. While the elaborate ceremonial magic of antiquity was not necessarily evil, there arose from its perversion several false schools of sorcery, or black magic.” (source)

Yet if we examine the works of Plato, we see he specifically condemns, both in the Laws and in the Republic, the idea that “gods” can be influenced by the performance of certain rituals — called “necromancy” or “magical attack.” He believed those who try to control the spirit world should be penalized. (source)

Socrates, about whom Plato wrote much, also spoke of an entity that guided him. It was never given a name, but references to it ranged from daemon to daimon. Socrates believed this entity was a gift, and manifested itself in the form of the voice within, something we all possess. His communication with this entity was actually used as one of the charges against him when he was put to death. Socrates believed it to be a link between mortal man and God.

Socrates seems to be an exception when it comes to using these concepts for perverse reasons, and, as Hall points out, he provided evidence that “the intellectual and moral status of the magician has much to do with the type of elemental he is capable of invoking. But even the daemon of Socrates deserted the philosopher when the sentence of death was passed.” (source)

He was put to death for “corrupting the youth” and spreading “false” information amongst the people, but looking back, he seems to be a figure more like our modern day revolutionaries than a malevolent influence, put to death for exposing the aristocracy’s secrets and encouraging people to question the true nature of reality, to question the doctrine that had been provided to the masses by those in power.

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There are also native records containing abundant evidence that the civilizations of Central and South America were heavily involved in these types of arts, both black and white magics. This is well documented in the Popuol Vuh.

If such information is true, it’s hardly surprising. Human beings have always been subject to the lure of power, driven by their ego, greed, and shortsightedness. It’s disconcerting to imagine this power of working with the spirit world in the hands of those who would use it for their own reasons, taken by the power of black magic.

Fast forward to our modern day, and you have stories like that of Dr. Johannes Faust. Through his study of magic, he was able to conjure up an extra-dimensional who served him for many years is several different ways. There is even an excerpt from The Book of Dr. Faust, Wittenberg, 1524 describing his experience. (source)

Napoleon Bonaparte, the French military and political leader, is another example. He used to tell of a “Little Red Man of Destiny,” a ‘spirit’ that appeared at a Royal Palace. Apparently when something important was happening, he would appear. This man, and what others now consider to be silly superstitions and folklore beliefs, genuinely influenced Napoleon and his actions and guided his campaigns. (source)

According to Hall, The Little Red Man of Destiny is an example “of the disastrous results of permitting elemental beings to dictate the course of human procedure.” (source)

Phenomena like these appear in various cultures during different time periods all throughout human history, so what makes us think these practices have stopped today?

There is even a modus operandi for the invocation of spirits in various texts, one being The Complete Book of Magic Science that, according to Hall, was first published in the original British Museum. This is also mentioned by other studies of occult philosophy, like Francis Barret in his Magus, where he describes the use of symbols and more things relating to the occult.

Living creatures existing in a world we cannot perceive have been the subject of lore dating back countless years. It’s embedded in the stories and passed down orally, and written about in multiple religious texts like the Bible and the Quran. I am not referring to extraterrestrial beings in this case, but rather to beings existing in realms indistinguishable to our senses.

Black vs. White Magic

A distinction is made early in the article about black magic and white magic. Basically, black magic is the process of using entities to accomplish a goal through ceremonial magic.

Hall writes:

By means of the secret processes of ceremonial magic it is possible to contact these invisible creatures and gain their help in some human undertaking. Good spirits willingly lend their assistance to any worthy enterprise, but evil spirits serve only those who live to pervert and destroy. . . . The most dangerous form of black magic is the scientific perversion of occult power for the gratification of personal desire.  (source)

According to scholars of various philosophies, there occurred, long ago, a systematic destruction of all keys to wisdom, so that no one else could have access to the knowledge. Whoever did it completely inverted the rituals of the ancient mysteries while claiming to preserve them, believing what they did was the right thing to do.

Magic also uses symbols and sacred geometry. Black magic, on the other hand, uses inverted symbolism, taking pure symbols with noble meanings and perverting them. Inverted symbolism seems to be the way to invoke spirits for malevolent purposes.

“They mutilated the rituals of the Mysteries while professing to preserve them, so that even though the neophyte passed through the degrees (Free-Masonry) he could not secure the knowledge to which he was entitled. Idolatry was introduced by encouraging the worship of the images which in the beginning the wise had erected solely as symbols for study and meditation. False interpretations were given to the emblems and figures of the Mysteries, and elaborate theologies were created to confuse the minds of their devotees. ” (1)

It appears there were many black magicians throughout history who strayed from the noble concepts that underly the core of spirituality and working with the spirit world.

White magic, on the other hand, deals with the noble, the morally pure, and cannot be used to accomplish selfish ends. Ego, greed, and personal desire have no place in white magic.

I agree with Socrates that the concepts of white magic exist within all of us and can be used as powerful tools of manifestation, provided one is pure in their heart and intention. It’s simple, and cannot be used as a means to an end, or to fulfil a specific personal desire.

A Scientific Perspective

Proponents of what we now call ‘magic’  include nearly all ancient literature from all parts of the world, from the Vedic texts and the yoga sutras, all the way to Moses, Jesus, Milarepa and Mohammed. Donald Lopez Jr., a professor of Buddhist and Tibetan Studies and the University of Michigan provides a great example in describing the Buddha:

With this enlightenment, he was believed to possess all manner of supernormal powers, including full knowledge of each of his own past lives and those of other beings, the ability to know others’ thoughts, the ability to create doubles of himself, the ability to rise into the air and simultaneously shoot fire and water from his body…Although he passed into nirvana at the age of eighty-one, he could have lived “for an aeon or until the end of the aeon” if only he had been asked to do so. (source)

The crazy thing is there are also modern day examples, but they mostly come from the black budget government programs. In 2016, I published a well-sourced article providing multiple examples from a CIA document that confirms the existence of humans with ‘special abilities’ who are able to do ‘impossible’ things. It’s titled “Research into Paranormal Ability To Break Through Spatial Barriers.”  and it outlines how documented cases of children and adults who have the ability to teleport small objects from one location to another, using their mind. Why would the CIA archive this document? The study was done under controlled conditions.

Dean Radin, chief scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, has published a book called “Real Magic.” It has received praise from multiple scientists, including Nobel Laureates.

Dr. Carl Jung once stated, “I shall not commit the fashionable stupidity of regarding everything I cannot explain as a fraud.” This is something we should all hold in our minds as we examine this or other claims that are not part of our current perception.

The amount of statistically significant results when it comes to this reality, usually dubbed as “parapsychology,” is very significant. We are talking about hundreds, if not thousands of studies that have been conducted worldwide for decades.

There seems to be a deep concern that the whole field will be tarnished by studying a phenomenon that is tainted by its association with superstition, spiritualism and magic. Protecting against this possibility sometimes seems more important than encouraging scientific exploration or protecting academic freedom. But this may be changing. —Cassandra Vieten, PhD and President/CEO at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (source)

A lot of the statistical results for parapsychology are just as strong, if not in some cases more significant, than a lot of the results which emerge from hard sciences, like physics and mechanical engineering. The Department of Defense has stated that results in this area are a clear sign that these phenomena are real, despite the fact that they are still somewhat unexplainable. As far back as 1999, a statistics professor even published a paper showing the results dealing with parapsychology and mind-body connection are a lot stronger than the results used to approve some of our medications. That study was done by Dr. Jessica Utts, as statistics professor in California who had this to say about Radin’s book:

Real Magic illustrates the limitations of 20th century science and proposes a more comprehensive view that incorporates ideas that have been associated with magic throughout the ages. Blending history, humor, and plausible hypotheses, Dean Radin illustrates that there is a staggering amount of evidence for a broader view of science that offers hope for the future of humanity.”

Another review:

“A thought-provoking book. The author makes a convincing case for the reality and significance of magic.” —Brian Josephson, Nobel Laureate in Physics and Emeritus Professor of Physics, University of Cambridge

Today, hundreds of scientists are coming together to emphasize that matter is not the only reality. They’ve created a manifesto, and you can find links and access more information about this initiative, which started a few years ago, in an article we published here.

“Some scientists are confident that we already know what is and is not possible. But the truth is that science is very much in its infancy. To advance our understanding requires bold excursions into domains some might consider heretical, including esoteric legends about magic that have persisted for thousands of years. This is what Dean Radin sets out to do with Real Magic. In my judgment, it succeeds in blazing new trails. Well worth the read.” — Kary Mullis PhD, Nobel Laureate (Chemistry)

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Consciousness

Everything I Know: 42 Hours of Buckminster Fuller’s Visionary Lectures Free Online (1975)

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A 42-hour lecture series titled Everything I Know, by Buckminister Fuller, is now available to download at the Internet Archive.

  • Reflect On:

    Can we do things here differently on planet Earth? Do we have the potential, technological capability and solutions in order to create a new human experience that provides abundance to all?

Buckminister Fuller was truly ahead of his time, he was a humanitarian and an activist that provided multiple alternative ways of thought as well as critical questioning with regards to the human experience and how we are currently living here on planet Earth. He was one of many visionaries that could easily see how the human race could operate differently, in a manner where everybody could have their needs met, and provided ways that the human race could actually live in harmony with the planet. Fuller wrote over 30 books, registered 28 United States patents, and kept a diary documenting his entire life. These achievements and others have also made Fuller the subject of at least four documentaries and numerous books, articles, and papers, but it’s always best to hear someones thoughts straight from the source, and now you can do that. A  42-hour lecture series titled Everything I Know, is available to download at the Internet Archive.  You can listen to a part of it in the video below.

I really resonate with a lot of what Fuller shared, especially when it comes to our current system and the way we do things here, and how completely unnecessary and absurd it is. I agree with Fuller, that “One in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a wage.”  Today, we have that capability, and living in that kind of a world would be one devoid of power. It would be a service to others type of community, one that thrived off of cooperation, and not competition, and one where people who sought power would no longer be able to do so.

Imagine if the human race was free? Imagine if we didn’t have to continue doing the same thing, going to school, and finding a job so we can earn a wage to live. What would we do? I believe it’s in our natural state to explore, to be curious, I believe if we created that type of human experience we’d be travelling the stars in no time.

I won’t go into any specific examples. I’ll let you ponder how a utopian society would work, or how all of our needs could easily be provided for. Scarcity is something that doesn’t have to exist, neither does supply and demand. There are solutions and technologies out there that threaten the concept of scarcity, yet they never see the light of day. Our current economic models were all creations by what’s known today as “the 1 percent.” The system was designed to benefit them, not us. Something new needs to be created, a new way of life that requires the complete shut down and change of our current economic model. Just as Fuller said:

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” 

At the end of the day, the concept of “money” alone in my mind is absolutely ridiculous.

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Consciousness

Parables For The New Conversation (Chapter 33: The Ocean)

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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.”

33. The Ocean

On this morning like most every morning since the beginning, the ocean rolled its waves rhythmically onto the beach on the island of Allandon. Over time the waves had milled the sand into tiny granules, making the beach a pleasant conversation-space for the ocean and the island.

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“Today I am at peace with the rush of your waves upon my shore,” the island said, his tone on this day alive with curiosity and bereft of bitterness. “But other days it brings me unease. Why is that so?”

“I commend you for your growing awareness,” the ocean replied. “You are starting to see that ours is necessarily a relationship of love and of fear, of joy and sorrow, of acceptance and denial.”

“I don’t fully understand,” said the island.

“Of course not,” she laughed. “What would be left to do if you fully understood?”

And as had happened many times before, the island fell into silent frustration.

“My dear island, if only you could see that understanding is no greater than confusion, then you could just revel in your search for understanding.”

Still, the island was silent. And the ocean tried to soothe him with the gentle sound of her waves.

“Behold the life that has been created upon you, the trees, the flowers, the creatures that walk and buzz about.”

“Do you wish me to thank you for it?” the island asked.

“That would hardly be necessary—if you could see that you have created it.”

“And how can I see that? When I fully accept that I am a part of you?”

“It is no longer a question of accepting that you are a part of me,” the ocean said tenderly, “but rather of fathoming that I am a part of you.”

Nobody ever said the game that is the evolution of consciousness was an easy one to play. However, in a very real sense, it’s the only game in town. And we have all chosen to participate in it, just by being here. We are at a fascinating stage of the process, on the cusp of our definitive awakening, which will bring us to a collective awareness of ourselves as the fountainhead of consciousness itself, playing out as separate beings in a material world.

The great difficulty of this part of the process has been facing the intense loneliness and isolation, more profound than at any time in our history. It’s like moving out of childhood, when we get weaned off those things that give us a sense of security and belonging, and have to stand on our own two feet and become responsible for our lives. As conscious beings we have been driven ever further from the womb of creation, plunged into the darkness in order to forge a complex ‘I’ capable of self-awareness.

To make way for this move to a heightened self-awareness many of the traditional structures we have relied on at other times in our history have broken down. Blood-line ties are no longer the bond they once were. Religious structures have lost much of their power and have become splintered and fragmented. All manner of social conventions have been challenged. And those things that we once relied on to bring us together, our nationhood, our culture, our values and beliefs, are also being brought into question. So many of us feel the discomfort, either from clinging to beliefs that we have outgrown or from sensing there is no belief that we can count on at all. It is no wonder that ours is a society driven to distraction, rushing and competing, fighting and acquiring, using each other simply as a means of validation, all the time getting less satisfaction from it all.

Perfect.

For it is amid the disappointment, the despair, the dissatisfaction and the desperate seeking for something real to believe in that the definitive awakening occurs. When we grow tired of the tried and untrue avenues and feel like we have nowhere else to turn, we may finally choose to look into the teeth of our loneliness with a sincere mind and an open heart, and truly be humbled by something beyond ourselves. It is at this moment that, in spite of our disdain for religious dogmatism, we awaken to the fact that we are never really alone, that there is a loving presence that has been waiting patiently for us to open our heart in order to guide us. Once this is grasped, or more properly when it is deeply felt, a new doorway into possibility opens for us. We suddenly understand what it means to pray to be an instrument of a greater purpose.

This guiding presence answers our most sincere and probing questions, in the quietest and softest of our internal thoughts. The tone is much more subtle than our interaction with the physical world—and that is as it was meant to be. It is only when we perceive our interaction with this guiding force in freedom and choice can the experience truly impact the evolution of our consciousness. To follow the dictates of a higher force out of obligation or duty is often a helpful experience, but to do so fully out of choice is pure and utter bliss.

We have personified this guiding force in many ways: as a god such as Krishna of Hinduism or Zeus of Greek mythology; as a transcendent master such as Jesus, Buddha, or Mohammed, or the founder of a spiritual tradition that has spawned a long line of gurus; as spirit guides or angels, or even a departed loved one; as animals that cross our path or indeed nature itself, the wind and the sun, the moon and the stars; as signs that emanate from our physical bodies, or our dreams; even as the synchronicities that occur in our everyday lives.

All can be valuable in putting a face to the faceless One, the Brahman, Allah, God, Dao. Which is the right one? Simple. The one that personally resonates with us the most. For they all provide clues that guide us in the direction we really want to go. All we need to do is decide whether to pay attention to them or not. This is our ultimate choice, the foundation of our free will. Do I go with the flow, or against it? Do I choose Love, or Fear? Do I live consciously, or unconsciously?

I have called this guiding force our Dao Self, and I do so to particularly emphasize that our guiding force is actually who we really are. But because we have forgotten who we are, we don’t fully recognize the Dao Self as Our Self, we see it as an Other Self. This allows our Dao Self to guide who we think we are—our Ego Self—into the experience of being alive. In fact it is the only way experience itself is possible. Our Ego Self is really our ticket into the material world, but in order to have the experiences that we most deeply desire, it becomes essential to let the Dao Self lead and the Ego Self follow. As the Ego Self gets more complex, it becomes more capable of choosing whether or not to follow—which then makes following the Dao Self an increasingly profound and exhilarating experience.

Our Dao Self bathes us in guidance with the regularity of waves on the beach. But this is done ever so quietly, patiently and without judgment, providing a space for us to step into when we are ready. In this way, our conversation with the Dao Self is like the new conversation. In fact it is the original new conversation, a model that has been with us since the birth of consciousness, since the first day the island awoke and noticed that it was separate from the ocean.

From that moment we have had a deep longing to return to oneness, but life itself has a longing of its own—for ever greater diversity. In the evolution of all species there is a pull towards greater variety, greater complexity. Our lives are animated by the dance between the longing for unity and the longing for diversity. Today, this dance is moving us towards a more integrated and functional relationship between our rationality and our intuition, our darkness and our light, our Ego Self and our Dao Self. These polarities are getting closer together as our evolution proceeds, but like an exponential curve on a graph, the curve approaches the axis but is never able to touch it.

While the guidance of our Dao Self can come through gods and prophets, spirit guides and angels, more and more today it is coming through each other, for we too can serve as personifications of this guiding force. Despite all our flaws and foibles, faults and failings, we are becoming better placed to be a face and voice of each other’s Dao Self—after all, we share the same Dao Self. There is only One.

For this to work, we are called to establish a sacred trust in our conversations, one that grows the more we create a space of non-judgment, and live from a paradigm that is inclusive of all others—just like our Dao Self does. The better we get at doing this, the more we are able to provide one another with the leverage and traction to evolve, to move into a self that is much bigger, more powerful, more loving than we know ourselves to be.

Certainly we are free to try to go it alone, to insist that our path is uniquely ours and we cannot be following someone else. This may get us a little ways down the path, but eventually it will leave us stranded. If we are to fulfill our deepest desire to unite, part of our mission will always involve accepting help from others. And when we become lost or stranded, the best way to find our way again is by helping another to find their way. Our purposes become ever more entwined as we get closer to the top of the mountain and sense our profound connectedness.

Brave climber, fret not

When the slope is steep and,

Anxious to ascend,

You reach up for that helping hand

And find none.

For this moment too is precious.

It invites you not

To reach up but down,

To another who may be searching

For your helping hand.

For we chase the heights together,

Tethered by purpose,

And moderated by a rhythm

That delivers the most and least likely among us

As one to the view from on high.

Herein lies the perfection of our universe. If we look at the miracle that is the human body, we see billions upon billions of individual cells working together, each with a very specific function and purpose. And these cells are in constant communication with each other, governed by a single mind, checking and testing that their own functioning is perfectly aligned with the purpose of the organism as a whole. Every one of these cells are organisms themselves, which are graced in the same way by the synchrony of each atom and molecule that constitutes them.

From on high we can see that the entire universe is a living organism, where the individual destinies of its component parts are bound by a unified purpose. From the microscopic to the macroscopic, there are organisms nested within organisms, atoms and molecules, our individual bodies, our communities and nations, our planet and our solar system and in the universe beyond. Uni-verse literally means ‘one song’, and represents a stage where we are all part of one great and harmonious choir. Chief Seattle was right when he said ‘Everything is connected’.

What is special about human beings is that we can be fully conscious of our role, and actually have been given a choice as to how we will participate in this grand process. Here we can finally understand why the all-powerful, omniscient Creator doesn’t step in to set things right when the planet goes out of balance and we are not working together. It is because we are meant to have the opportunity to realize that we are the all-powerful creators of this world.

Like the cells of our body, we are all connected by a single mind. We are forging new pathways of communication with each other in order to unite around our common purpose. The mandate of the new conversation is to bring a critical mass of people to a certain threshold, one that will rouse the whole of humanity to its definitive awakening. While we certainly don’t need to talk to every person on the planet to reach this critical mass, every human being is invited to step in whenever they choose. One conversation at a time, we are waking each other up from the slumber of unconsciousness, so that we can be present together to the wonder of our creation.

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