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Parables For The New Conversation (Chapter 18: The Dao)

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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.

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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.”

18. The Dao

There had been a long-standing tradition on the island of Allandon for a secret society to meet once a year on the evening of the summer solstice. The meeting would take place just as the most generous sun of the year was setting, in a sheltered nook near the top of the mountain. In recent times the society had opened its doors to outsiders and now all the villagers were welcome to come up and partake in an open discussion into the mysteries of life around a hearty campfire.

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On this particular evening, however, darkness came more quickly under cloudy skies. The night was cold, the stars were not visible, and just as the group had gotten the fire started, a brief rainfall doused the flames and dampened all the logs. By the time the fire was restarted only the diehards remained. The masseur, the young philosopher and his mother the schoolteacher were joined by the farmer, who seemed more concerned about the height of the flames than the depth of the conversation.

“Isn’t it all just a cruel, cruel joke?” the farmer asked with a slight shiver as he stoked the fire.

“Do you have a joke?” mused the schoolteacher.

“I have. It is called existence. Life itself. Are we not always too cold, and if not cold then hot? Are we not always bored, and if not bored then anxious? Do we not always have too much of one thing or not enough of another? Constantly longing and never satisfied?”

“Perhaps, but we must laugh in the face of it,” the masseur said.

“Laugh?” the farmer mocked. “Why?”

“If we are the butt of a cosmic joke, what is there to do but laugh?” the masseur asked.

“If it is a joke, then who is the joker?” asked the schoolteacher.

“There is none,” said the farmer. “No being could be so cruel, so sadistic.”

“True, to be precise there is no such being,” weighed in the young philosopher, who had been listening quietly. “The culprit is being itself, the one that is the One, which has been called the Dao. And while there may be a joke, there is not an ounce of cruelty in it.”

“Yes, we should praise the Dao who brings us to laughter,” said the masseur.

“Rather brings itself to laughter—at our expense,” retorted the farmer.

“That is saying the same thing,” said the young philosopher, “for each one of us is in fact the Dao.”

“That’s nonsense,” said the farmer. “Explain to me how you can say that I am this Dao.”

The young philosopher hesitated for a moment. “I believe it is for each one of us to arrive at this truth in their own way. It is beyond all explanation.”

“Humph,” said the farmer.

After an awkward silence the schoolteacher looked around and then spoke cautiously to the young philosopher: “We can appreciate that it may be beyond explanation. But nonetheless you must try.”

“Yes, humor us,” said the masseur.

As the young philosopher considered the proposition there were sharp crackles and a sudden rise in the flames as the farmer continued to break twigs and push logs about. “That’s better,” said the farmer to himself. When he saw everyone’s attention on him he snapped, “Yes, yes, go ahead, I’m listening!”

The young philosopher cleared his throat. “Well how can I say it? I believe that some time ago—before there was time—there was only the Dao. It had nothing and nobody to laugh with—or at. The Dao could only be, which could not have been much fun. It must have longed to experience things.”

“Why could it not experience anything?” the schoolteacher asked.

“Because there was no contrast. There was no background from which discreet things could emerge. Imagine that the Dao is pure light. It could see all of itself all the time, and so in effect it could see nothing. To actually experience anything it needed to hide part of itself from itself. If the Dao is understood as light then it needed to somehow create darkness. And so one day it did the impossible. It somehow managed to fold itself over itself, so that half of itself was darkness.”

“Was that darkness then its shadow, or was it part of itself?” asked the schoolteacher.

“Not being light, it could not be the Dao itself,” said the masseur.

“It was not the Dao but at the same time it was the Dao. That is the most sublime paradox of existence. Out of pure light came darkness. And because of this, it was possible for the many to emerge from the one.”

“Creation,” said the masseur.

“Yes,” the young philosopher said. “Because now with light and darkness, with a pair of opposites, with duality, all the rest of creation was possible. Light and darkness could be combined into a multitude of patterns to give us a limitless number of separate things in our universe.”

“Like you and I,” said the farmer.

“Exactly, like you and I. We are two of the souls created by the Dao, each with a different pattern of light and darkness. Our light is the part of us that connects us to the Dao, founded in truth, our darkness is the part of us that separates us from the Dao, founded in illusion.”

The farmer poked the logs a final time. The fire was now full and bright, and its warmth was moving the damp chill out of their bodies.

“What if two things have the same pattern of light and darkness?” asked the schoolteacher.

The young philosopher laughed. “Then by definition they would be the same thing, which is not possible. To be a ‘thing’ in our universe is to be unique.”

“And if we were only light then we would be the same as the Dao: in fact we would be the Dao. It is really our darkness that makes us unique, the quality of the darkness which is different in each one of us,” said the schoolteacher.

“What do you mean?” asked the young philosopher.

“You have said that the truth of our existence is that we are all one and the illusion of who we are is that we are separate.”

“Yes,” said the young philosopher.

“Then the light part of us is our true self and the darkness part of us is our false self. The more we let go of our darkness and become a being of pure light, the closer we get to the truth of who we are.”

“That sounds like the search for enlightenment,” said the masseur.

“That is fine for those who are searching for that,” said the farmer, “but what about the rest of us?”

“I believe that this search is common to all of us,” said the masseur.

“How is it common? Have we not said we are all unique? Our lives must have a unique purpose,” said the farmer.

“Perhaps I can explain,” said the young philosopher. “When Creation occurred we became unique souls and were scattered off into all corners of the universe.”

“So there is the great cruelty of the Dao as I suspected!” said the farmer. “It has scattered us off and we are all lost.”

“We are not truly lost. We just don’t remember. We have voluntarily forgotten who we are. But this ‘amnesia’ is what is required for us to have this experience of being separate.”

“And why has this happened?” asked the farmer.

“So that we can have the authentic experience of evolving, of returning to the One which is the Dao.”

“And so the Dao revels in our fear and worry as we blindly search for the right path.”

“The right path?”

“The one that leads us back to the Dao,” the farmer said.

“There is no right path,” the young philosopher said. “And there is no need for worry. All paths lead back to the Dao.”

The farmer shook his head as the masseur rose and walked away from the fire to contemplate what had been said. The rest sat quietly until he emerged from the darkness several minutes later.

“It seems to me that we can never really be alone, because in truth we are always one with the Dao,” the masseur said. “Our path is simply one of having the experiences that will aid us in remembering this truth.”

“Yes, but again, we each have our unique way of doing it,” said the young philosopher. “There is no limit to the number of ways it can be done. This is one of the wonders of existence.”

“And so we cannot really teach another how to do it,” said the schoolteacher.

“Exactly, because for each of us it is different,” the young philosopher said. “The best we can do is share our own experience and let the listener decide if it has meaning for them.”

“This makes sense to me,” said the masseur. “In trying to heal people I have seen that letting go of darkness is a choice each person makes and only when they are ready. I have seen that true healing doesn’t occur when I try to force someone to let go if they are not ready.” After a pause, he added: “Yes—that’s it!”

“Some enlightenment?” smiled the young philosopher.

“Yes, because I see that the darkness is—our fear. And the light is our love.”

“What do you mean?” asked the schoolteacher.

“Well don’t you see? If our path consists of letting go of our darkness, of our fear, then we are all on a healing path, because we are all trying to become whole. And we become whole when we have let go of all of our darkness and have becomes beings of pure light. That is when we become self-identical with the Dao and we experience ourselves as pure love.”

“I see what you are saying,” said the schoolteacher. “Then it could be said that all of growth, of learning, of evolution, is about letting go of what actually separates us from each other—our darkness, which in the end amounts to our individuality.”

“That’s right, since our individuality is really the greatest of all illusions,” said the masseur.

“Slow down a moment,” said the young philosopher. “Are you suggesting that at the end of this healing path we eventually lose our individuality completely?”

“If there is really an end to this path, I believe we ultimately do,” said the masseur. “We have said that what makes us each unique is the quality of our darkness. In other words it is only the quality of our fear—”

“Or ignorance,” added the schoolteacher.

“Or the quality of our ignorance of ourselves as the Dao that determines our individuality,” continued the masseur. “And if our path back to the Dao consists in letting go of this darkness—our fear, our ignorance—then our path can also be seen as letting go of who we are as individuals, which is actually our false self.”

“Well I don’t have any desire to let go of my individuality,” said the farmer, “I happen to think it’s special.”

The young philosopher looked up and smiled to the others. “It is special,” he said to the farmer. “Indeed I think our individuality is the most special aspect of our world. While each of us may be on a path of enlightenment or self-realization, our paths are different, and we need to know about each other’s experiences. Sharing our stories with each other is what eventually will give each of us the whole picture of this wondrous universe—the totality of the Dao. Without this I believe it would be impossible for any of us to become whole.”

“But if we are actually whole to begin with, what is the point of going through this whole charade?” the farmer asked.

“Yes, yes, that is the question, isn’t it?” said the young philosopher.

There was a long pause of silence. The masseur looked over to the young philosopher, who sat serenely and did not appear to be in any rush to speak. He then looked over to the schoolteacher, who shrugged and whispered to him: “I have an idea about it, but—”

“Speak up!” said the farmer.

The schoolteacher inhaled and then exhaled deeply. “I said I have an idea about it, but it’s not fully developed. I don’t know if it will make any sense.”

“Share it,” said the young philosopher. “We will help you try to make sense of it.”

The schoolteacher stood up and picked up a long, thin twig from the pile of kindling. She started to draw something in the dirt, scratched it out, and drew it again. It was a simple circle. She looked at it for a long while.

“If this represents the Dao…” she said, and then paused again.

“Yes…?” said the masseur.

“If this represents the Dao, is it possible…” and she paused again, drawing a larger circle around the first one, “is it possible for the Dao to expand?”

“Expand?” asked the masseur.

“Yes, expand, grow, evolve. Can the Dao evolve?”

“The Dao is the all-in-all, everything, what could it possibly expand into?” asked the masseur.

“I don’t know, but, wouldn’t it give our lives a greater sense of purpose if we thought that our individual growth was actually contributing to the growth of the Dao? I mean maybe the darkness is something that the Dao doesn’t know. We could be the miners of the darkness, bringing light to unexplored parts of the universe. Our experiences could be adding to the Dao’s—”

“If we can add something to the Dao then it really isn’t the Dao,” said the masseur.

“Well, maybe there is something beyond the Dao. Maybe the Dao isn’t exactly the Dao.” The schoolteacher pointed to the circles with her twig, adding more concentric circles. “Maybe it’s a small Dao that itself has a larger Dao, which has a larger Dao, and so on…”

“And so on, ad nauseum,” said the farmer. “Let’s get back to planet Earth, if you don’t mind.”

“Well, I was just trying to see if our lives could have a greater sense of purpose than just this idea that we are remembering something we’ve intentionally forgotten.”

“But that’s all our lives can be,” the masseur said. “At the level of the Dao there can be nothing new. But for us many things can be new. I think our lives have an abundance of purpose by the very fact that we are searching for our purpose.”

“I like it,” intervened the young philosopher.

“You like what—my idea or hers?” asked the masseur.

“I like the fact that we are talking about things that may be beyond our ability to think! But perhaps we should get back to the planet Earth, as our esteemed colleague has suggested, if we hope to make sense of our purpose in this life.”

“I can’t believe it,” said the farmer, “I think somebody just agreed with me.”

“And I encourage you to continue,” the young philosopher said to the farmer. “What do you make of our purpose in this life?”

“Our purpose? Well, I don’t know about the rest of you. I believe my purpose in this life is to be happy. And be happy now, not in the future, not in some afterlife, but now. Becoming one with the Dao? Losing our individuality? What’s the rush?”

“Well, maybe because being one with the Dao is happiness beyond measure, beyond anything we can hope to experience in this lifetime,” said the masseur.

“And how long would that last?” asked the farmer. “If we actually were one with the Dao, as you say, then we wouldn’t be able to experience anything. So we would probably want to get exploded back out into the universe.” The farmer stopped for a minute. “I can’t even believe I’m talking about this,” he said, shaking his head.

The fire had become mostly embers with small flames flickering from the ends of a few twigs. Still, it generated some warmth for the four, who were now huddled more closely to the fire than ever.

“Why all this talk about purpose? All I want to know is how to be happy in my life,” the farmer said.

“When are you most happy?” asked the young philosopher.

“When my work is done,” the farmer replied.

“Why is that?” asked the young philosopher.

“Then I can do what I want. Eat. Sleep. Play around.”

“Play around?”

“You know. Pick up a tool and fix it. Make it work. Or better yet, turn it into something new.”

“Something that no one has ever thought of?” asked the young philosopher.

“Ha! I suppose that is the ideal,” smiled the farmer. “Yes, I have many ideas, good ideas, that have come to me over the years while I was working. But they have remained just ideas. Time…responsibilities…” the farmer’s voice trailed off.

“These ideas have come from your experiences?” the young philosopher interjected.

“Often, yes, through my struggles and toils. I could see how I could make my work more enjoyable, and make my life better. I could see how I could make other people’s lives better.”

“Something that would be your unique contribution to the world?”

“Yes. Yes!” said the farmer emphatically.

“How would that make you feel?” asked the young philosopher.

“Very…happy,” said the farmer, with soft emotion in his voice.

The masseur was about to speak, but the young philosopher put his hand up gently to keep the silence. They waited as the farmer looked down thoughtfully.

“That’s my purpose, isn’t it?” asked the farmer quietly. “My purpose is what gives me the greatest joy. Everything else is a waste of time. My whole life…” the farmer stopped as his throat tightened.

“Your whole life has brought you to this moment, to this realization,” said the young philosopher.

“So I guess the joke is on me then,” the farmer lamented. “I mean, here I am talking about wanting happiness now, but I’ve been getting in my own way the whole time.”

“We are all getting in our own way,” said the schoolteacher. “The lessons we learn actually teach us how to get out of our own way.”

“That is really what it is to heal, and what gets us moving forward along our path,” added the masseur. For a few moments they were all quiet, allowing silence to speak.

“Well, my friends, the fire is nearly out,” said the farmer as he wiped his eyes and gathered himself. As he extinguished the remaining embers, the others stood up and prepared to leave.

“Thank you for keeping it burning,” said the schoolteacher.

“I didn’t really need to near the end,” said the farmer, taking a tall stretch. “It has not turned out to be such a bad evening after all.”

“Amen to that,” said the young philosopher.

The group rose and began their slow trek down the mountain, untroubled by the darkness as they made their way back to their homes.

Almost a year after graduating from university, without money or job prospects, I was quite fortunate to qualify from a long waitlist for a government-sponsored computer programmer’s course. At that time the PC had just come into the spotlight, but while floppy disks were coming in and punch-cards were on their way out, it was still essential for a student of programming to thoroughly understand machine-level code and its binary system, a simple system made up of only two parts that continues to be the hidden driver of all computer operations.

The binary system governs the electrical flow of computer memory, where the basic memory cell, or ‘bit’, can be in one of only two states: it is either charged or not, on or off, lit up or dark. When the computer was first used only for complex numerical calculations, the orchestration of the binary system was fairly straightforward. But with the implementation of a keyboard and terminal, it became necessary to organize these on/off cells into units of eight, called a ‘byte’, so that a standard binary code set could be made with enough possible combinations of the 8 on/off cells (28 or 256) to represent all letters, numbers, and punctuation marks on the keyboard, as well as a few hidden characters. As an example, a capital ‘A’ is represented by the 8-bit pattern on/off/off/off/off/off/off/on, more commonly seen as ‘10000001’ where ‘on’ is represented as ‘1’ and ‘off’ is represented as ‘0’.

As the refinement of lower-level programs came to support more complex higher-level programs, the computer’s character-based drone terminal gave way to an interactive window onto the world of colorful complexity and ever-growing possibilities for creativity and communication. Computer pioneers could never have imagined in their wildest dreams what would become of their room-sized calculators. And while we ourselves can scarcely imagine what new innovations will arise in future computers, there is one thing that is certain: they will all continue to be grounded in the simple shifting around of 1 and 0, on and off, light and darkness.

If this is staggering, and indeed I think it is, it pales in comparison to a proposition I would now humbly ask you to consider: that the entire range of human experience, emotion, thought, perception, and beyond that the existence of the universe itself, is founded on such a binary code.

In the binary code of the universe the ‘1’ is the truth that we are all One, the ‘0’ is the illusion that we are all separate. The truth is that the universe is One and is always ‘on’, but the only way to create separate and distinct things in the universe is to pretend part of itself is ‘off’. Like the Dao folding itself in half, the light, which is the truth of the universe, first fabricated the darkness, which is the illusion of the universe.

And so from only two, light and darkness, it became possible for the universe to explode into an unlimited collection of different and unique things, forms that have become ever more complex over time, just like we have seen with the computer. Each one of us is therefore an ever-changing string of ‘1’ and ‘0’, an ever-shifting pattern of light and darkness, an ever-evolving hybrid of truth and illusion. As humans incarnate we all have a foot on each side of this duality and cannot escape it. That is the nature of our reality. It is impossible to be a distinct ‘being’ without always having some light and some darkness.

What makes us special as human beings is that we consciously experience this duality in how we see ourselves—as an Ego Self associated with darkness and illusion and as a Dao Self associated with light and truth. We perceive ourselves as individuals and yet, because we are self-aware, we know ourselves as ‘perceiver’ to be something more. That something more is our Dao Self, our connection to all-that-is. When we identify with our Dao Self we get closer to the truth of who we are and when we identify with our Ego Self we get closer to the illusion of who we are.

The complexity of the human experience is grounded in this primal duality, because, like an expertly cut gemstone, it gives rise to a multitude of facets than never cease to dazzle us. These facets of duality are ever-present in our lives and their poles are inextricable from each other, much as we might often want to identify with only one side. The following table is but a small sample of some of the dichotomies that give meaning to our lives and fodder for our ongoing conversation.

 

Ego Self                                           Dao Self

 

Illusion                                                Truth

Darkness                                             Light

Separateness                                      Unity

Individuality                                       Community

Doing                                                   Being

Rationality                                          Intuition

Control                                                Flow

Matter                                                  Spirit

Atomism                                             Holism

War                                                      Peace

Reactivity                                           Creativity

Judgment                                           Acceptance

Resistance                                          Openness

Debate                                                 Dialogue

Pessimism                                          Optimism

Competition                                       Cooperation

One special pair of opposites not mentioned above is worth exploring here, as I believe it can serve as a kind of umbrella under which many of these dualities are brought together. I think if we were to choose one word that most closely encompasses the spirit of the Dao Self the word would be love. Now while this word may mean many things to many people, let us call this Love with a capital ‘L’, and try to imagine it to be an absolute, pure, fully unconditional love. Our own understanding of what love is, no matter how imperfect, points us to experience a great force that binds us together, a state of being that unites, an energy that flows, and a ‘rightness’, a feeling that we have uncovering truth behind the illusion.

If the Dao is the essence of this Love, then in its full state of oneness it would lack the objects of its Love, and so the Love could not express itself. Our personal experiences of love are the experiences of oneness with the objects of our love. The universe may very well have been created to allow the Love that is the single truth of the One to express itself through separate beings such as ourselves. The only way this could happen would be through the creation of something that was not Love, and so it came to be that a darkness was created out of light, the opposite of Love, which I would like to call Fear. This Love/Fear duality is not an unfamiliar one in the language of the new conversation. While the word fear also has several connotations for us, let us define this pure Fear with a capital ‘F’ as beyond what we are capable of experiencing, and yet having a hand in everything we experience. This original division of light and darkness, of Love and Fear, is the prerequisite for existence itself. In Christian mythology, it is symbolized by the banishment of the Devil from the kingdom of Heaven.

Consider Love as the single fundamental truth of existence, the All, the One, the Dao. Love is rooted in the ground of being, permanent and everlasting, while Fear floats around, coming and going, rising and falling. Our own experience shows us that when we look towards and embrace love it reveals ever more of itself, and when we look towards and embrace fear it recoils and disappears. Fear disappears because it was never really there to begin with. It is illusion itself, and it only grows when we look away from it and do not face it.

Our Ego Self is driven by Fear. There are no exceptions to this. This Fear amplifies our feelings of separateness, making us attach ourselves to things. It fuels our insecurities, causing us to judge others in order to feel good about ourselves. It always leaves us wanting more, as though we literally need an ocean of abundance to drown our fears in. But when we are willing to actually face our fears we see that they don’t drown, they simply float on the surface that is our ego. In those moments that we penetrate the surface and see ourselves as coming from the Love of the Dao Self, we are able to leave our fears behind.

Living from our Dao Self is like living from a spacious place of peace and abundance. Most of us only get glimpses of this paradise from time to time. Mostly we are living from our Ego Self, and our lives are all about limitation and being cut off by our self-built walls. Our task is to question if these dark walls, these limitations we have put on who we are, are real. The process of moving into the Dao Self is the process of shining a light from inside ourselves, pushing out and seeing that these walls are not really there. As we do this, the space around us expands, and with it is the expansion of our joy. Moving into our Dao Self is our desire of desires. It is what it means to gain self-realization, the message common to all spiritual traditions. It is the enlightenment, the samadhi, the Christ Consciousness.

But we should not be fooled into thinking this is a simple one-step process. It is a gradual unfolding that the entire universe participates in. Even when we do experience the light and spaciousness of our Dao Self, life makes it difficult for us to remain there. As soon as we activate our senses, or refer back to ourselves purely as individuals—by thinking that ‘I’ am having this experience—the gravity of the physical world starts to pull us back slowly into the darkness of the Ego Self we tried to leave behind.

We all face a choice day by day. There is not a single morning we wake up where it is guaranteed that we will live from the expansive space of our Dao Self, nor are we condemned to suffer from the limited and fearful vision of the Ego Self. When it comes down to it, that is the only real choice that we face in life: to go with the flow or to go against it; to see a unity in all things, or a separateness; to be a part of nature or apart from nature; to promote harmony or survival of the fittest. We have a choice in how we experience the world, as a celebration of unity or a battleground of duality, as communion or confrontation, as collaboration or competition.

But in this back-and-forth movement there is some growth. On occasion we will make a big leap, but our growth tends to be slow but sure. What is required to make a lasting step in the expansion of our consciousness is letting go or releasing some of our darkness—which can be difficult to do, since we may be quite attached to it. Seeking expansion, the Dao Self is constantly challenging us to let go and step into what is the unknown for the Ego Self. The process of shedding darkness is the process of becoming more whole, more who we really are. Some have described this as resolving our karma, learning our life lessons or going through our healing. But it is never easy, for the unique quality of our darkness is what makes each of us distinct individuals, and represents who we think we are. There is a natural resistance on the part of our Ego Self to let go of darkness because in doing so it must let go of a part of itself. The more we believe that our Ego Self is our true self, and the more powerful a role our Ego Self plays in guiding our lives, the more difficult it is to expand. This is the great quandary of the growth of our individual consciousness—in a way it is a constant threat to our cherished individuality itself.

Having said that, there should be no concerns that our individuality is going to evaporate away any time soon, during our time on Earth or even beyond. While we are all on a path that moves towards a union with the Dao, that does not mean our real purpose in this life is to see beyond the illusion and move away from it as quickly as possible. Our personal path back to the Dao is as unique as our inimitable configuration of light and darkness. Each one of us walks a path that has never been traveled before.

Herein lies our important contribution to our collective consciousness and to each other. Our lives are tales that have never been told, and when we share ourselves and our unique perspectives we help each other to refine our understanding of who we are. Nietzsche once said that “to have circled the whole periphery of the modern soul, to have sat in every one of its nooks, that is my torment and my delight.” In a way he describes the agony and ecstasy of our interrelationship with each other, providing pieces of the larger puzzle of who we are to one another to help make us all whole. Our lives are intertwined so much more than we know, and as our consciousness expands we come to an ever finer appreciation of the supreme gift brought on by the original creation of duality—the capacity to express ourselves to each other, and to love one another.

Move on to Chapter 19…

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Consciousness

Extraordinary Children Who Can Do “Impossible” Things: A Documented Reality

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A document archived in the CIA's electronic reading room written by a University Professor details the reality of children, and adults, who have gifted abilities in the area of parapsychology.

  • Reflect On:

    Why has this kind of phenomena been ridiculed in the mainstream, yet vigorously and secretively studied at the highest levels of government?

Cassandra Vieten, PhD and current President/CEO at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS), which was founded by astronaut Dr. Edgar Mitchell, could not have put it any better. She said, “There seems to be a deep concern that the whole field (science) will be tarnished by studying 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.”

The statement above is true, for years discoveries have been rejected simply because they are big time paradigm busters. No matter how much truth, validity and scientific backing they have, the simple fact that they conflict with long held belief systems is enough to brush them off. It’s great to see this changing, because it’s important to expand human consciousness, which is done so by pushing the boundaries of what we think we know and discovering new concepts of our reality that we once thought held no validity, but actually do.

How much scientific validity do topics like psychokinesis, clairvoyance, telepathy and remote viewing (all fit under the umbrella of parapsychology) have? Here is a great quote from Dr. Jessica Utts, the Chair of the Department of Statistics at the University of California, Irvine and a professor there since 2008.

“What convinced me was just the evidence, the accumulating evidence as I worked in this field and I got to see more and more of the evidence. I visited the laboratories, even beyond where I was working to see what they were doing and I could see that they had really tight controls…And so I got convinced by the good science that I saw being done. And in fact I will say as a statistician I’ve consulted in a lot of different areas of science; the methodology and the controls on these experiments are tighter than any other area of science where I’ve worked.”  (source)

China’s Psychic Children

Are there psychic children in China? It’s hard to believe that there are not after one dives into the documentation that’s been made available through the long process of declassification, or by Freedom of Information Act (FIOA) requests. One can simply examine the science of parapsychology alone and come to the conclusion that yes, something significant is going on here when it comes to the phenomena within the realm of parapsychology.

Not only is this type of phenomenon being reported today, but it’s been throughout history and across many cultures, this is evident in ancient literature, from the Vedic texts and the yoga sutras, to Jesus, Moses, Milarepa, Mohammed and more. Again, modern day evidence is suggesting that these abilities are much more than folklore.

One interesting article/document I cam across is titled “China’s Psychic Savants.” I accessed it from the CIA’s electronic reading room. It’s a document that was written by Marcel Truzzi, a former professor at Eastern Michigan University and founding co-chairman of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP), and a founder of the Society for Scientific Exploration.

The introduction provides a good background of the lore from China regarding this phenomenon,

Eleven-year-old Tang Yu and his friend Chen Xioming were on their way home from school in the remote mountain village of Dazhu County when they began to wrestle. Tang brushed against Chen’s coat pocket, the story goes, and had the sudden vision of two Chinese symbols. He described the vivid symbols to Chen, who pulled a package of Flying Wild Goose cigarettes from his pocket. The label on the side of the package, the boys reported, consisted of the two symbols Tan Yu had “seen.”

Tang Yu was reluctant to share his discovery with Tang Keming, his fifty-year-old peasant father. He knew his claim would sound like a lie. Instead, he began to play guessing games with the villagers. He asked them to write random characters on pieces of paper, crumple the paper into balls, and let him hold each ball in turn next to his ear. Tang then guessed the message within, his guesses, it was said, always proved right. Word of the boy spread beyond his small town to all the Sichuan province in central China.

Soon the region’s science commission and its bureau of education and culture had asked to examine Tang, and researchers there confirmed his ability to identify words and colours on small wads of paper held to his ear. News reporters and awe-struck officials of the Sichuan Provincial Party Committee quickly backed those results, and on March 11, 1979, this remarkable tale was published in Sichuan Daily.

Truzzi goes on,

Reports began coming in about children with powers of telepathy, clairvoyance, X-ray vision, and psychokinesis. The typical child was between the ages of nine and fourteen, but a few were as young as four or as old as twenty-five; and it was estimated by Feng Hua, a traditional Chinese physician, that there were about 2,000 such gifted children within the Chinese population of 1 billion.

By early 1980 these remarkable children had made their way to the pages of China’s prestigious Nature Journal. And that February the surge of interest prompted Nature Journal to sponsor a huge conference – the First Science Symposium on the Extraordinary Function of the Human Body – for participants from more than 20 colleges and medical schools. The proceedings were filmed by the Shanghai Science and Education Studio, and the film, called Do You Believe It? was shown over national television to millions of Chinese.

He then goes on to describe a number of cases and examples, it’s quite interesting, but there are many to choose from beyond this specific document that provide great examples. The facts Truzzi write about here were were also outlined in a declassified US Air Force report on teleportation, which was made available through the Federation of American Scientists. That document also touches upon China’s psychic children, mentioning, in this case, the ones that were able to teleport full objects from one location to another without touching them.

Another one, titled “Research into Paranormal Ability To Break Through Spatial Barriers”  touches upon the same thing, and also provides multiple examples of children and people being video tapped and documented, under double blind conditions, being able to do the same thing. This particular document, which was declassified through a Freedom of Information Act request (FOIA), outlines specific people with very special abilities and how they’ve been studied by thousands of scientists and governments around the world for a very long time.

Pretty intriguing, isn’t it?

The Takeaway

It’s very interesting that studies regarding parapsychological phenomenon have been conducted at the highest levels of government, particularly within the defense department of multiple countries, with successful results. A great example from the United States was the remote viewing program, remote viewing refers to the ability to perceive a remote location other that the one the individual is located in, regardless of distance.

The success of this program is  outlined in a statement made by Dr. Hal Puthoff from a paper published after the program’s declassification in 1995:

“To summarize, over the years, the back-and-forth criticism of protocols, refinement of methods, and successful replication of this type of remote viewing in independent laboratories has yielded considerable scientific evidence for the reality of the [remote viewing] phenomenon. Adding to the strength of these results was the discovery that a growing number of individuals could be found to demonstrate high-quality remote viewing, often to their own surprise. . . . The development of this capability at SRI has evolved to the point where visiting CIA personnel with no previous exposure to such concepts have performed well under controlled laboratory conditions.” (source)(source)

Parapsychology is truly a consciousness expanding field that can really open up our minds to aspects of our reality that have, and continue to go largely ignored. There is much more to us as human beings than we’ve been made to believe, and if we stop, think, and do some research, it’s not hard to see how something significant has been overlooked.

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Consciousness

Extraordinary Cases of Children Remembering Their Past Lives & Proving It

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Reincarnation is a fascinating subject that has remained on the fringe of scientific study for too long. Fortunately, it has recently begun to attract serious interest from the scientific community. Decades ago, American astronomer and astrobiologist Carl Sagan stated that “there are three claims in the [parapsychology] field which, in my opinion, deserve serious study,” with one being “that young children sometimes report details of a previous life, which upon checking turn out to be accurate and which they could not have known about in any other way than reincarnation.” Fast forward to today, and amazing discoveries have been made, as multiple researchers have taken it upon themselves to study this intriguing and inexplicable — at least from a materialist scientific worldview — phenomenon. Subjects like reincarnation belong to the non-material sciences, an area of research that deserves more attention. As Nikola Tesla himself said, “the day science begins to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence.”

University of Virginia psychiatrist Jim Tucker is arguably the world’s leading researcher on this topic, and in 2008, he published a review of cases that were suggestive of reincarnation in the journal Explore.

A typical reincarnation case, described by Jim, includes subjects reporting a past life experience. The interesting thing is that 100 percent of subjects who report past life remembrance are children. The average age when they start remembering their past life is at 35 months, and their descriptions of events and experiences from their past life are often extensive and remarkably detailed. Tucker has pointed out that these children show very strong emotional involvement when they speak about their experiences; some actually cry and beg their parents to be taken to what they say is their previous family.

According to Tucker:

The subjects usually stop making their past-life statements by the age of six to seven, and most seem to lose the purported memories. This is the age when children start school and begin having more experiences in the current life, as well as when they tend to lose their early childhood memories.

Anonymous

Eli Lasch, a prominent physician in Israel who served as a senior consultant in the coordination of health services in the Gaza Strip. He passed away in 2009, but before he did, he was investigating a supposed reincarnation case in which a three-year old boy claimed to have remembered a past life. In this life, he remembered being struck by a big blow to the head with an axe, and having a long, red birthmark on his head.

The present-day boy, whose name remained confidential throughout the entire study, also had a birthmark in the exact same spot, which is interesting because multiple studies, like the one published in Explorepoint out how shared birthmarks are common to children who remember their past lives.

The boy’s father and a number of other relatives in the village decided to visit neighbouring communities to see if his past life identity could be established and Dr. Lasch was invited to join. On this journey, they visited multiple villages until the boy remembered the right one. He remembered his own first and last name, as well as the first and last name of his murderer.

According to the Institute for the Integration of Science, Intuition, and Spirit:

A member of this community, who had heard the boy’s story, said that he had known the man that the boy said that he was in the past lifetime. This man had disappeared 4 years earlier and was never found. It was assumed that this person must have come to some misfortune as it was known that individuals were killed or taken prisoner in the border areas between Israel and Syria for being suspected of being spies.

The group went through the village and at one point the boy pointed out this past life house. Curious bystanders gathered around and suddenly the boy walked up to a man and called him by name. The man acknowledged that the boy correctly named him and the boy then said:

“I used to be your neighbor. We had a fight and you killed me with an ax.”

Dr. Lasch then observed that this man’s face suddenly became white as a sheet.  The 3-year-old than stated:

“I even know where he buried my body.”

The boy then led the group, which included the accused murderer, into fields that were located nearby. The boy stopped in front of a pile of stones and reported:

“He buried my body under these stones and the ax over there.”

Sam Taylor

Sam Taylor is one child Tucker studied and wrote about. Born 18 months after his paternal grandfather died, he first began recalling details of a past life when he was just over a year old:

When he was 1.5 years old, he looked up as his father was changing his diaper and said, “When I was your age, I used to change your diapers.” He began talking more about having been his grandfather. He eventually told details of his grandfather’s life that his parents felt certain he could not have learned through normal means, such as the fact that his grandfather’s sister had been murdered and that his grandmother had used a food processor to make milkshakes for his grandfather every day at the end of his life. (source)

Pretty remarkable, isn’t it?

Ryan – A Boy From The Midwest

Ryan’s story began when he was 4 years old, when he was experiencing frequent, horrible nightmares. Once he turned five, he made an announcement to his mother. He told her, “I used to be somebody else.”

He would often talk about “going home” to Hollywood and would beg his mother to take him there. He told her detailed stories about meeting stars like Rita Hayworth, dancing in Broadway productions, and working for an agency where people would frequently change their names. He even remembered that the name of the street he used to live on had the word “rock” in it.

Ryan’s mother Cyndi said that “his stories were so detailed and they were so extensive, that it just wasn’t like a child could have made it up.”

Cyndi decided to check out some books about Hollywood from her local library, thinking that maybe something inside would catch her son’s attention, and it did. Cyndi said that once she found the below picture — of the man Ryan claims to have been in his past life — everything changed.

They decided to seek Tucker’s help, who took on the case and started his research. After only approximately two weeks, a Hollywood film archivist was able to confirm the identity of the man in the photo. The picture was from a film titled “Night After Night,” and the man was Marty Martyn, who had been a movie extra and then later became a powerful Hollywood agent before passing away in 1964.

Martyn had in fact danced on Broadway, worked at an agency where stage names were often created for new clients, traveled overseas to Paris, and lived at 825 North Roxbury Drive in Beverly Hills. These were all details that Ryan was able to communicate to Tucker before they learned the identity of who he described; for example, Ryan knew that the address had “Rox” in it. Ryan was also able to recall how many children Martyn had and how many times he was married. More remarkable still is the fact that Ryan knew Martyn had two sisters, but Martyn’s own daughter did not. Ryan also remembers an African-American maid; Marty and his wife employed several. These are just a few of 55 incredible facts that Ryan can remember from his previous life as Marty Martyn, though as he ages, his memories become increasingly dim.

Chanai Choomalaiwong

Chanai is a boy from Thailand, who, when he was three years old, began saying that he had been a teacher named Bua Kai who had been shot and killed as he rode his bike to school. He pleaded and begged to be taken to Bua Kai’s parents, who he felt were his own parents. He knew the village where they lived, and eventually convinced his grandmother to take him there. According to the research:

His grandmother reported that after they got off the bus, Chanai led her to a house where an older couple lived. Chanai appeared to recognize the couple, who were the parents of Bua Kai Lawnak, a teacher who had been shot and killed on the way to school five years before Chanai was born.

The fascinating thing is that Kai and Chanai had something in common. Kai, who was shot from behind, had small, round wounds on the back of his head, typical of an entry wound, and larger exit wounds on his forehead; Chanai was born with two birthmarks, a small, round birthmark on the back of his head, and a larger, irregularly shaped one towards the front.

The Case of P.M

P.M was a boy whose half brother had died from neuroblastoma 12 years before his birth. The half brother was diagnosed after he began limping, and then suffered a pathological fracture on his left tibia. He underwent a biopsy of a nodule on his scalp, just above his right ear, and received chemotherapy through a central line in his right external jugular vein. At the time of his death he was two years old, and blind in his left eye.

P.M was born with three birthmarks that match the lesions on his half brother, as well as with a swelling 1cm in diameter above his right ear and a dark, slanting mark on the lower right anterior surface of his neck. He also had what’s known as a ‘corneal leukoma,’ which caused him to be virtually blind in his left eye. As soon as P.M. started to walk, he did so with a limp, sparing his left side, and at around the age of 4.5 years he spoke to his mother about wanting to return to the family’s previous home, describing it with great accuracy. He also spoke of his brother’s scalp surgery even though he had never been told of it before.

Kendra Carter 

When Kendra began swimming lessons at the age of 4, she immediately developed an emotional attachment to her coach. Shortly after she started her lessons, she began saying that the coach’s baby had died and that the coach had been sick and pushed her baby out. Kendra’s mother was always at her lessons, and when she asked Kendra how she knew these things, her reply was, “I’m the baby that was in her tummy.” Kendra went on to describe an abortion, and her mother later found out that the coach had indeed had an abortion 9 years before Kendra was even born:

Kendra became happy and bubbly when she was with the coach but quiet otherwise, and her mother let her spend more and more time with the coach until she was staying with her three nights a week. Eventually, the coach had a falling out with Kendra’s mother and cut off contact with the family. Kendra then went into a depression and did not speak for 4.5 months. The coach reestablished more limited contact at that point, and Kendra slowly began talking again and participating in activities. (source)

James Leininger

At the time of this case, James was a 4 year old boy from Louisiana. And he believed he was once a World War II pilot who had been shot down over Iwo Jima, an island that the United States fought to capture in 1945.

His parents first realized this when James started to have nightmares, waking up and screaming “airplane crash” and “plane on fire.” He knew details about the WWII aircraft that would be impossible for a youngster to know. For example, when his mother referred to an object on the bottom of a model plane as a bomb, she was corrected by James, who informed her that it was a ‘drop tank.’ In anther instance, he and his parents were watching a documentary, and the narrator called a Japanese plane a Zero, when James insisted that it was Tony. In both cases, James turned out to be right.

James also insisted that in his previous life, he had flown off a ship named the Natoma, which, as the Leiningers discovered, was a WW11 aircraft carrier (USS Natoma Bay). James said that his previous name was also James, and shockingly, in the USS Natoma Bay squadron, there was a pilot names James Huston who had been killed in action over the Pacific ocean.

Dr. Tucker obtained additional documents for several of James Leininger’s statements, and they were made before anyone in the family had even heard of James Huston or the USS Natoma Baby.

Ask yourself, how could a two-year-old in Louisiana remember being a World War II pilot shot down over the Pacific?

The biggest skeptic of this case was the boy’s father, who remarked that he was “the original skeptic, but the information James gave us was so striking and unusual. If someone wants to look at the facts and challenge them, they’re welcome to examine everything we have.” (source)

An Explanation?

My Take On Reincarnation

I personally, wholeheartedly believe that reincarnation is real, but I don’t think it’s the only option for what takes place after death. I believe some souls can reincarnate, as we’ve seen above, into another life. I also believe some can reincarnate onto other planets, as beings we would consider to be alien. Furthermore, I believe reincarnation is just one option for a soul; perhaps they have the option to travel to other dimensions and experience a life there, or to completely forgo reincarnation and experience life in the non-physical realm, free from a physical body. Perhaps a soul must continue to reincarnate until certain lessons are learned to move to another ‘level?’ I also believe that there is a common place where all souls come from, so perhaps some of us go there. I believe, as Plato did, that when the soul enters into a physical body, it forgets where it came from, and has no recollection of that previous experience. I don’t believe this material world is the only one in existence; there are worlds out there that are beyond our physical senses. Perhaps we come to know them in the afterlife?

I can only speculate, of  course, but I truly don’t think reincarnation is the only option for a soul leaving its body. Perhaps the soul has a choice to reincarnate? Perhaps there are other options as well.

Sources:

https://med.virginia.edu/perceptual-studies/wp-content/uploads/sites/267/2015/11/REI37.pdf

http://www.rd.com/health/conditions/chilling-reincarnation-stories/

http://uvamagazine.org/articles/the_science_of_reincarnation

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Consciousness

How I Obtained A Conscientious Exemption From Mask-Wearing At School For My Child

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    I was able to obtain a conscientious exemption from mask-wearing in public school for my 6-year old son.

  • Reflect On:

    Will these Covid measures and the incoming promise of mandatory vaccines serve to push a critical mass of humanity to learn about, and ultimately stand up for, their natural and innate freedom of choice?

I have studied the principles of natural law, and I am clear that the inherent freedom of choice of every individual is the ultimate foundation of life on Earth. How these principles became the basis for real-world action occurred when I heard that my school board had decided, quite of their own accord, while professing to be ‘following the direction’ of the public health office of a neighboring district, that children in grades 1-3 in their schools would also be required to wear masks in school.

I will give you the whole story of my quest for a conscientious exemption from mask-wearing for my son as I am not entirely sure which of my actions actually turned the result in my favor. I do this to empower everyone with a full understanding of what we are dealing with in terms of school mask mandates and the manner in which school boards are trying to implement them. I am in Ontario, Canada so things might be different in different countries, but I believe that the ultimate application of natural law and our natural freedom of choice can and should be pursued anywhere in the world.

My journey began with an internet search of my school board, a phone number of the communications office which undersigned the announcement of the mandate, and my phone call to that office asking how I would apply for a conscientious exemption. Through voice mail the officer said I should be in touch with the principal, who said I should be in touch with the superintendent, who said I should speak to the trustee, who said I should go back to the superintendent. This is a process that went on for two weeks and ultimately gets us to the first day of school and this letter I sent to all the trustees who, it seemed to me, made up the school board and hence collectively made the ultimate decision that was affecting me.

My Letter to the Trustees

Dear Dufferin Peel Catholic District School Board Trustees,

Here it is, Tuesday, September 8th, 2020, the day that DPCDSB schools open, and I have not received the information I need to make an informed decision on whether or not I should send my son to school. He is slated to begin the Grade 1 French Immersion program at St. Pio de Pietrelcina.

After initially voicing my concerns about mandatory masking and applying for an exemption on conscientious grounds to a school board representative I was directed to the principal of St. Pio de Pietrelcina. She was polite and took my concerns seriously, but said that she had no latitude to make any decisions on exemptions on conscientious grounds. She suggested I speak to the superintendant.

I spoke first to the superintendant’s assistant, who was polite and took my concerns seriously, and said I would have to speak to the superintendant.

I spoke to the superintendant, who was polite and took my concerns seriously, but said that they had not received any ‘direction’ from health officials about qualification for medical exemptions. When I reiterated the point that I am seeking a conscientious, and not a medical exemption, she said that I should talk to the trustee for my school’s area.

I spoke to the trustee, who was polite and took my concerns seriously, but didn’t feel he was in any position to advance my cause. He referred me back to the superintendant, who, according to him, would contact me to let me know how I can make my request for an exemption to the school board.

I understand that these are trying times and things are changing rapidly, but I still believe you would agree that I’m getting the runaround. And the school year has already started.

So I will simply make my case in this letter, and I hope this letter will be able to cut through the bureaucracy and be read by all DPCDSB trustees, to whom it is addressed. I am requesting an official response undersigned by at least a majority of the school board members, who are directly responsible for the fact that, at present, my son is being forced to wear a mask at school in order to receive a public education.

Request for a Conscientious Exemption for my son from wearing a mask in school  

My fervent belief is that all directives related to ‘mandatory’ mask wearing in Canada are illegal and infringe on the rights of individual Canadians, based on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

However, in this letter I will speak specifically to my son’s case. At present, the DPCDSB has decided to unilaterally mandate mask-wearing for Grade 1 students (this particular decision was not imposed upon them by Peel Public Health). And so my son, who is supposed to begin the Grade 1 French Immersion program at St. Pio de Pietrelcina in a few days, is being forced to wear a mask in order to get a public education.

I will cite a small portion of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and explain how it applies in this case:

1.      The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

2.       Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
(a) freedom of conscience and religion;

I believe that forcing my 6-year old son to wear a mask may cause psychological and physical harm to him. Therefore, as his legal guardian, I cannot in good conscience allow this to happen. In mandating mask-wearing for my son, you violate my freedom of conscience as well as my son’s freedom of conscience, as he does not want to wear a mask.

Two more points, while not essential to my argument, serve to highlight my belief that the decision by the DPCDSB to mandate masks for young children in school shows an egregious lack of responsibility and concern for the health and well-being of the children who have been entrusted under their care:

1.       There is NO science, meaning no randomized control trials, which suggest that wearing a mask might have any impact in reducing the spread of a virus. In fact, any studies investigating the ability of masks to stop the spread of a virus have concluded that masks are not effective at all in this regard. (source) Mask mandates are based on the ‘opinions’ of Public Health Officers (political appointees) that ‘mask-wearing may have benefits’, opinions which are not grounded in the science.

2.       The statistics, which clearly show that low infectivity rates and a virtually zero mortality rate among children, would suggest that what would really be in the best interest of children’s health and well-being would be a normal return to school, without masks, distancing, cohorting, sanitizing, and any other measures. This has been the belief of many researchers and scientists in that very field of study whose views have been suppressed or marginalized in the media.

In other words, going back to section 1 of the Charter, I do not believe these measures have been ‘demonstrably justified.’

That being said, the main point of this letter is to get an answer to my request that my son be permitted to attend school without a mask, based on my conscientious objection. If denied, my son will not be going to school and I will begin to consider notices of liability to those on the DPCDSB responsible for implementing policy, who in my opinion have far overstepped their authority in attempting to enforce mandatory masking in their schools, especially for students in Grades 1-3 which was not imposed upon them by Peel Public Health and was a unilateral decision.

Thank you,

Richard Enos

The Response

Now it becomes interesting, when you are going about the business of standing up for your inherent rights, to wonder what drives otherwise busy and difficult-to-reach people into responding and suddenly having answers.

It was either the same day or the next morning that the vice-principal of the school contacted me and told me he was going to send the exemption form to me and that I should fill it out. I made it clear to him that I was requesting a conscientious and not a medical exemption, and he told me that I should fill it out nonetheless so that the school authority would have on record exactly what kind of exemption I am seeking, and I agreed I would do so.

Meanwhile, one of the trustees forwarded my email to the school board’s director of education, saying that this would end the ‘runaround’ I had been experiencing. And sure enough, the director of education sent me an email the same day, saying the following:

I am aware that the school has recently reached out to you to provide you with the documentation required to request an exemption. Given that you have identified the adverse negative psychological impact of wearing a mask on your child, I would encourage you to request an exemption.

Now I was intrigued by the phrasing ‘you have identified the adverse negative psychological impact…’ given that all I said was that I believed wearing a mask ‘may cause psychological and physical harm to him.’ So in essence, she reframes my conscientious exemption as a medical exemption.

I nonetheless filled out my exemption form, being as explicit as I possibly could that I was filing a conscientious objection. In fact, reading it, I don’t think that anyone can confuse this with a ‘medical’ exemption (the part I wrote is in bold and italics).

My Exemption Request

MASK ACCOMMODATION/EXEMPTION REQUEST FORM

I am requesting an exemption for my child from wearing a non-medical face mask while at school, (which includes indoor during the school day, transportation and in any before and after school program for the following reason(s):

REASON

I believe wearing a mask is potentially harmful to my son’s psychological and physical health. I cannot in good conscience allow my son to be required to wear a mask while in school. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms indicates the following:

  1. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.
  2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms: a) freedom of conscience and religion;

Based on the current science and current statistics I have researched (I do not include them here but would be willing to provide them if requested), I contend that mandating mask-wearing for children in school has not been ‘demonstrably justified,’ thereby liberating me to act in good conscience and demand that my son be exempt from having to wear a mask while in school.

ⅅ I have attached supporting documentation (please note that medical documentation is not required)

The Response

I sent the document and reminded the vice-principal in my email that my son would not be attending school until this exemption had been confirmed.

Lo and behold, this message from the school was in my inbox the next morning:

Hello

Kellen’s mask exemption has been approved.

His first day back at school will be Monday September 14th 2020

But this is not the end of the story. I found this email to be oddly informal for a matter of such obvious importance to me. It was not undersigned by anyone, only the school signature was underneath, and there was no signed copy of the exemption form attached, which on the second page had checkboxes indicating who had been informed of my son’s exemption (teacher, bus driver, librarian, etc.)

This was Wednesday, September 9th, and because of staggered entry my son was only to start the following Monday, having already missed his orientation day. I immediately sent a reply stating that I wanted to know who actually sent me the email, and who had approved the exemption. By Monday I had not heard back from the school, and consequently I kept my son home. The school called and left a message inquiring about my son’s absence. In response, I wrote a rather sharply-worded email explaining that I will not be sending my son to school until my questions were answered.

I received a phone call a few hours later from a very agitated principal. I got her to say that the email was ‘from the school,’ and therefore, yes, ‘from her’. As to who approved the exemption, she said she didn’t know. She said she sent the exemption form to the superintendent and was later sent a curt email that the exemption had been ‘approved’. That’s all she knew. She was not at all happy with the general lack of information she was receiving from the school board. I did my best to help bring a conciliatory tone to the conversation and noted that it seemed like the principal was more a victim than a cause of this confusion.

And so I was left to assume that the Director of Education must have approved the exemption, since the Superintendent told me that she herself didn’t have the power to approve an exemption based on conscience. I sent an email to the Director of Education, demanding to know who had approved my son’s exemption. You wouldn’t believe what her answer was:

I regret the experience you are having regarding your request for a mask exemption.  The principal is the individual who has the authority to approve a mask exemption.  That said, it is ultimately my responsibility to ensure principals have all the necessary information to carry out the responsibilities we task them with.  I will continue to work to ensure that our principals have a fulsome understanding of the process and support them in implementation.

Where I am at Now

This email was the final nail in the coffin for me. I spoke with my wife and we both agreed that we didn’t feel comfortable having my son in an institution that demonstrated such a lack of accountability from top to bottom. We have pulled our son out of public school and have begun homeschooling him. However, I know this is not an option for many, especially for those whose children indicate that they want to go to school and see their friends. So this article is more for those parents, to come to an understanding of what they are dealing with and what their rights are.

The way I see it, these bureaucrats are all part of a top-down control structure, from the Ministry of Education through the public health offices, and down through the school boards’ director of education, trustees, superintendents, and principals. One of the necessary qualifications for these jobs is a willingness to take and implement orders from above, rather than asserting critical and independent thought. At all levels people know that opposing directives from above based on their independent thought would likely mean termination.

Consequently, I see these people are acting (and reacting) from the state of fear that they have been subjected to. I’m not really interested in continuing to investigate these people to try to figure out who is lying and who might be liable for damages. My experience confirms for me the reality that this whole interlocked, top-down system of education, as with other systems under government control, has a clear and specific agenda to augment their control and to willingly deceive people about their rights and freedoms protected by the charter.

The way they are doing it is by forcing those lower down the ladder to actually assume the legal responsibility for enacting and enforcing these measures, without giving those people any choice as to whether or not they actually believe it is good to implement them. Speaking to all levels of the school board was an exercise in a perpetual ‘passing of the buck’ where I could not find a single person willing to stand behind or take ownership of any of these mandates or the justification for them.

The good news here is that this is a situation ripe for all individuals, and particularly parents of young children, to exercise their rights of conscience and request (read: demand) a conscientious exemption from mask-wearing for their child. Of course it requires courage and persistence, and perhaps even a willingness to keep their child out of school as I did until the matter is resolved. But if you feel within you a burning desire to stand up for your rights under these circumstances, I hope my story has helped to equip you to do just that.

This article was originally published on my own website daocoaching.com.

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